#WERealWeddings: Us Through Hell or High Water
Featuring Chester Ng Gokingyok and Maria Georgianna Eleazar Carlos
Words George Carlos | Photography Double K Studio
We moved our wedding date 5 times. Like many couples, we were set to get married last 2020. However, less than 3 months to our wedding, the country was placed into lockdown to curb the spread of Covid19, and, well, it’s 2022 and we are still in the pandemic.
Originally, we were going to do a chinoiserie, 1920s Shanghai themed wedding to celebrate our heritage. My husband, Chester, is Filipino-Chinese. I on the other hand, am proudly Filipino, with my mother’s side having some Spanish roots. In fact, the arrhae we used were my lola’s, which are Spanish galleon coins. But with the pandemic, we cancelled all our plans and decided to just keep some elements of our heritage sprinkled around the wedding such as having the groom wear a barong with a Chinese collar, the black brass lanterns in our reception, and our misallette having the red carnation, the national flower of Spain, on the cover. The food as well reflected this where we would have squash flower appetizers but it is wrapped in Chinese chorizo instead of prosciutto, or having a cheese station but duck as our carving dish. The only aspect that we didn’t change was my wedding gown. I wanted to give a nod to my late grandmother and her heritage, which is why, instead of a veil; I wore a full-length lace mantilla.
Leading up to the wedding was stressful. As mentioned, we changed our wedding date 5 times in total because our dates kept on hitting whenever there are changing quarantine protocols, new variants, etc. We also downsized our guest list from 350 to 70 with just the entourage and immediate family invited. By Christmastime we thought all was well until all hell broke lose on January 1. First, the government announced that they have moved Metro Manila’s alert level from 2 or 3. Our entourage and guests started cancelling on us since they got sick during the holidays. All the way until the day before, people were cancelling and in fact, the night before our wedding, our photographer cancelled on us! We had to rush and find a new one. Every hour leading up to the wedding, people were cancelling on us and many were telling us we should just postpone again. At that point though, that would mean doing a 6th wedding date so we can have more people. However, we decided that, come hell or high water, we would push through- even if it will just be the priest and us in the church come wedding day. On the day itself, our stress continued as our own priest called informing us he tested positive for Covid! In the end, my Parish priest took over and continued on with the wedding. Whoever showed up was willing to take multiple roles last minute, including my brothers who were assistant coordinators, offerors, and ring bearer and flower boy. In the end, from the original guest list of 350, it was cut down to 70 and on the day itself, all of us including the couple were 43 persons in total. However, we didn’t feel bad about that. Rather, it felt that it was a blessing we were able to start 2022 with finally being married and that we were able to have an intimate celebration with those truly close to us.
Chester and George’s Dream Team: Church: Santuario de San Antonio | Ceremony: Fr. Reu Galoy | Caterer: Cibo | Coordinator: Marge Montemayor | Cake: AA Cake Designs with topper by Sweet G Cakes PH | Invites: Kasali | Event Stylist: Zenas Pineda | Photographer: Double K Studio | Videographer: Good Wolf Films | Gown designer: Vania Romoff | Suit designer: Kingsman | Hair and Make-Up: Iya Gueco and Renzo Lusterio | Choir: Aleron