Featuring Elmer Dela Rosa and Cherina De Guia
Words Elmer Dela Rosa | Photography Lito Sy
We started as high school sweethearts. I was 13, and Che was 15. How we ended up as batch mates despite the age gap isn’t hard to figure out. I was probably still learning to crawl and say “mama” and “papa” while Che was already talking and running or I was attracted more to older women. Those were our jokes about our relationship.
Ours wasn’t love at first sight. A good male friend of mine was going out on a date with a schoolmate who happened to be Che’s best friend. And since Che was going too, why not bring me as well? A double date of sorts. Or perhaps to distract her. I hesitantly agreed because my friend offered a wager, the usual between boys. The prize money goes to whoever wins the girl. Guess who did?
Che and I were already working on our respective careers when I got a big break. And I thank my lucky star who became my brother-in-law. It was he who paved the way to patch things between me and her family. Rules and conditions were imposed but it didn’t bother me. What mattered was that her family is aware I have nothing but good intentions for their daughter. Even if I grew up in a questionable background, I firmly believed in the sanctity of marriage. And I swore I’ll do right by them.
The Big Day
Che and I are both meticulous and detail-oriented. So we handpicked all suppliers. Everyone and everything, down to the song playlist. It came to us naturally, and we both enjoyed it. But I think she had an edge since she’s been side hustling as an event coordinator for some time. Those moments have probably given her ideas. And that time was coming.
It’s a popular belief that weddings is the bride’s special day rather than the groom’s. Che knows what she wants, and I supported her throughout. That is not to say I dumped everything on her lap. Our likes seem attuned to one another with very little creative difference. So petty that it doesn’t merit arguing. We are well aware of each strengths and weaknesses. One supported the other if it was the former’s forte.
Event stylists were unheard of those times. And it was Che’s creativity that I think gave birth to a new industry. Flowers as the table centerpiece were ordinary. And they were expensive and impractical, mind you. Since Che was a certified fruit lover, why not incorporate as the setting accentuated by floating candles? The guests are free to take it home as they normally do with flowers, but better.
Guests? Would you believe we made a list of 800? Our idea was initially to invite everyone, but went against it later on and trimmed down to 500. The idea of surrounding ourselves with people dear to us was far more meaningful, rather than pleasing everyone.
Again, not to brag. We were among the first to utilize a photobooth shebang at our reception venue complete with matching photo magnets. But unlike nowadays where taking pictures are much easier, the contraption then was not fancy and the waiting time was terrible. Nobody seemed to mind as it was new to everyone. Whew!
If we did skimp on cost, it would have to be the bridal car. Our practical reasoning is working here once more. Luxury cars would cost ten thousand pesos easy. One of my brother-in-law offered his vehicle, a white SUV. Something inconceivable given its bulk and height. But we took it nonetheless with gratefulness. Thinking back, I’d still say it was a brilliant move.
Most unforgettable? We forgot to eat during the festivities! We had so much fun! And how could we not savor the occasion? 50-plus tables for photo opportunities, not counting family and friends all wanting to take selfies with us. Che and I had to stop by a fast food restaurant and grab something to eat before we retire to our hotel. We were still wearing our wedding attire right inside the establishment. What a day our wedding turned out to be!
My wife and I have been blessed materially, that is true. But it doesn’t derail us from what is important and far more valuable: love and family. What we have are resources lent to us by the Almighty. To be used wisely so that we can be His instruments to bless others. “For what does it profit man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”
Elmer and Che’s Dream Team: Church: Christ the King Church Greenmeadows | Coordinator: Ricci Ang Events Management | Event Stylist: 4th Wall Design and Production | Photographer and Videographer: Lito Sy | Band: Seren8 | Host: Francis Day | Bridal gown: Mila Santiago de Leon | Barong: Tesoro’s