I’m definitely a lover of weddings–especially the über-romantic types where love is evidently overflowing, and where, amid all the trappings of a traditional ceremony, it’s the personalities and the relationship of the bride and groom that take centerstage.
So it was no surprise that, all the way from the Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan, I was following the activities leading up to the wedding of William, Prince of Wales, to his long-time love, the ever-elegant “commoner”, Catherine Middleton. As soon as I got home, I kept myself glued to the event reruns and pretty much kept the TV open until this morning. My husband has graciously kept the TV on the different channels showing the ceremony highlights so that I could have my fill of “the wedding of the century.”
All this has made me very sentimental about my own wedding over a year ago–on 09.09.09, to be precise. Held without any of the traditional elements and with a lot of creativity and resourcefulness, our wedding took place in Milan, Italy–not in a lavish ceremony, but in the midst of the Homeless World Cup (where Paul had performed and conducted some aquadrum workshops and where I was a media volunteer) and in very, very simple civil ceremony at the Philippine Consulate in Milan. Instead of having family and friends there, my husband Paul and I were accompanied by our friends from the Homeless World Cup Team Philippines and some members of the Filipino community that we had met while in Milan.
Instead of being whisked to the venue in a grand carriage or luxury car, we walked and took the metro to the Arena Civica, where the football games were being held.
An hour before our scheduled ceremony, at 3PM Milan time and 9PM Manila time, we walked and cabbed it to the Consulate with our witnesses, Bill and Debbi Shaw, founders of Urban Opportunities for Change Foundation and Jeepney Magazine here in the Philippines. They were also the ones who introduced the Philippines to the Homeless World Cup.
While Paul was able to have his hair shaved and his beard trimmed at a nearby salon, our budget dictated that I simply keep my hair the way it was. My dress was an off-white cocktail number made by designer Reggie Gaba in Manila, a week before our scheduled flight and with the instruction that it be made so that it could be easily packed and not require any ironing. (My beaded bridal gown with the long, maroon train is still unfinished waiting to be claimed for when I finally have my ceremony here in the country!) Paul wore a white “pinangga” shirt designed with some traditional elements, and a funky but elegant maroon and gold pair of pants.
For our reception, Paul conspired with our Filipino friends to pull off a surprise picnic outside the Castello Sforzesco in Parco Sempione, Milan, where we had a lot of fun and food, and even made new friends along the way!
Here’s a great video made for the Homeless World Cup archives–with a bit of our wedding thrown in, for good measure, made by Bill and Debbi’s friends who flew in all the way from the States to cover the event!
It was most definitely an unconventional wedding, and we will be forever grateful to family and friends who supported our decision to have our Big Day in this way. Paul and I are bound not only by our love for each other, but also by our shared vision for the world and our shared advocacies, and now that I have the luxury of looking back on this day amid the pomp and pageantry of the biggest wedding in the world, I can say that, if I had the opportunity to do things all over again, I wouldn’t have done things any differently.
At the end of the day, our wedding is just the beginning of our life together as husband and wife. What I’m really looking forward to is spending the rest of our lives together in absolute awe of everything else that is left to explore and discover. 🙂