#WERealWeddings featuring RYAN ANTHONY BUCCAT and MARIA LALAINE RIVERA
We met in a hospital in La Union in 2009. I was 25, a medical technologist, and she was 21, a volunteer nurse. I knew the moment I saw her wearing that white uniform that she was the one. I developed a “crush” on her and to my embarrassment my colleagues started teasing us. We even had a “mock wedding” on her last day at the lab. I couldn’t express my real feelings for her back then because I was her senior. So, I waited.
A few months later, she got hired by the hospital. That was my cue that it was time to approach her not as a senior but as a colleague and a potential suitor. I had difficulty catching her attention because she was too preoccupied with work. I brought her cakes and gifts to the NICU where she was assigned. I even called the nurses’ station to check if she was working. Unfortunately, her time in the hospital came at an end when she decided to transfer to Manila. I felt sad knowing that we didn’t even get the chance to know each other better. So, I waited again.
We both had prior relationships before we reconnected. She stayed in Manila and I left for the US. It was as if it was meant to be that way so we can transform into who we are today. We both learned valuable lessons in life during our time spent apart. In short, we grew up.
Fast forward to 2018 during one fateful day that I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw her. My feelings for her came rushing back in an instant. How I felt for her never changed through the years. I hid them and they’d always been there. I sent her a private message and everything just fell into place. One simple hello turned into 6-hour long video calls. A few months into our long-distance relationship, I went home from the US for a short vacation. On February 5, 2019 during our first hike together (we both love the outdoors), I went down on one knee and asked her to marry me. We were literally above a sea of clouds as we watched the sun rise. It was perfect. The timing was finally right and everything was worth the wait.
The preparations included planning for two weddings. One was an intimate civil wedding in La Union which was attended by 10 close family and friends and another a church wedding in Manila. We were both hands on with the preps. We only hired an on-the-day coordinator and my wife mainly chose the suppliers based on reviews she found online. She actually tried going to a bridal fair once but got stressed with the traffic and overwhelmed with the array of choices presented to her. So to make things simple, we just decided to google and pick suppliers from weddings featured online. This way of planning helped us to see the bigger picture and stick to our budget as we focus on what we think are essential for this celebration: us and God in a beautiful place eating good food with good people surrounded by good music.
In January 2020, we finally exchanged vows at the altar in front of family and friends. There were unexpected events (2 bridal cars booked by mistake; 2 bridal bouquets because the other one was a gift) but we just lived and enjoyed each moment. While it is true that weddings nowadays reflect the personalities of the couples, we believe that what makes it truly special is the fact that two people and God are making a covenant by way of the sacrament of marriage.
Ryan and Lalaine’s DREAM TEAM: Church: Manila Cathedral | Reception: Conrad Manila | Coordinator: Maxine Covar Events | Cake: c/o Conrad Manila | Invites: Designed by Kenneth Uy invitations/ Printed by Vistaprint USA | Event Stylist: Ginger Events Styling | Photographer: Foreveryday Photography | Videographer: Jason Magbanua | Gown: Pronovias | Suit: Men’s Wearhouse | Photobooth: Baicapture | Host: Marc Richmond Co | String and Piano Quartet: String Fusion | Entourage dresses: April Dalid | Entourage suits: Gardini | Entourage flowers: Living Flowers by Cess Yao | Gift for sponsors: Naked Patisserie