(As I mentioned, this is now the conclusion of this series. However, I had to cut it in two parts because it's rather long).
Outdoors. Intimate. Nontraditional. Simple.
These were what we wanted for our wedding. And one that would not burden our parents financially or otherwise. With creativity and resourcefulness, we believed we could still have a garden wedding somehow. Forget the gazebo, the trellises and symphony. Any garden would do.
We decided on a venue that would entail the least hassle and expense--the yard of Groom's house. No need for permits. Accessible. The yard was small, maybe just 12' x 20' or smaller but it was covered with green grass and there were plants along the edges. It could easily contain 50 people, standing.
The only thing that Groom didn't like was a prominent concrete rectangle on the ground that covered a septic tank on the side adjacent to the house. I didn't care. At that time, I wouldn't know a septic tank if I stood on one.
Because the yard was located at a street corner and visible to neighbours and cars and tricycles driving by, we had the wedding at 6 a.m.(!) before the area got busy. It was still dark and the December air was cool. It turned out to be great timing because the sun rose behind the mountains of Antipolo while the ceremony was going on. Poetic!
Getting married at dawn. Really cool!
To have an intimate wedding, we limited our guests to 50, including our immediate families, closest friends and relatives and those who had a significant part in our lives. This was a hard decision considering that we both had many friends and relatives, but we stuck to it. Even our entourage was small: just a Best Man, a Maid of Honour and a Flower Girl (my eldest niece). We did away with the traditional candle, veil and cord ceremonies done by groom's men and bridesmaids. Ho-humm.
The ceremony was short, maybe 15 to 20 minutes in total. Remember, everyone was standing and we did not want to tire them (and us) with things we had seen and heard many times before, they had become trite. As far as I can remember, our program had only the following:
- A Processional. Bride, preceded by Flower Girl and flanked by Parents, walked all of 15 steps or so to the front where Groom and Minister waited, Maid of Honour and Best Man on either side. (Instead of the usual wedding music, we chose Bach's Minuet in D to play in the background. Loved this piece.) My mother had to slow me down because I did not pace myself like Brides normally did. Couldn't wait to get to the Groom.
- Appreciation of Parents, where I choked but held off tears because my mother said aloud "Walang iyakan" (No crying). So Groom had to read my prepared speech from an index card.
- Exhortation by the Minister, which we requested to be concise (no long and boring sermon that everyone has heard before, please).
- Exchange of vows that Bride and Groom wrote ourselves, memorized and recited.
- Our much anticipated Kiss the Bride
The officiating minister was Groom's friend in college who entered the ministry after graduation. I think we were about the same age.
The ceremony was over before the classical music pieces we compiled on one side of an audio cassette tape was finished. As Bride and Groom walked together during the Recessional, I tossed my bouquet unannounced towards the single ladies. Surprise! My Maid of Honour caught it. I think I threw it towards her direction.
A few tables were quickly set up in the garden and reception started. I was very pleased at how my new in-laws, who were very good cooks, prepared the food and decorated the buffet tables. For centerpieces, they used white and yellow flowers, baby's breath, and blades of the ubiquitous cogon grass arranged in vases. I can't remember if the flowers were wild (growing in vacant lots) but that was what we suggested.
My sis-in-law at the dessert table
Because the affair was small, Bride and Groom had a lot of time circulating and chatting with guests. They mostly knew each other from university days and from church so they also socialized with one another. I thought it was quite cozy. Just the way we wanted it.
I could say that this simple wedding was not stressful for me and Groom and our families before, during or after the wedding. There were only minor glitches, which we took in stride. We did not go into debt. In fact, hubby and I spent more on our wedding photos than we did on our wedding.
Hopefully, we made the guests feel special, relaxed and attended to. They did not have to come all dressed up in shiny clothes and jewelry. We hoped they would not have to buy new clothes. We simply requested that they come in something pastel, off white or white if they could, for the sake of the photo shoot.
I wonder if other people knew what that concrete was.
Here's the continuation of the previous pic to give
you an idea of the size of the garden.
After the reception, we moved to the Bride's house where my parents had prepared lunch for relatives we could not invite to the ceremony.
(conclusion of the conclusion here)