Renewing our vows minus last year’s pomp

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What a difference a year makes! In extreme contrast to last year, when my hubby Dennis and I celebrated our silver wedding anniversary with a bit of pomp and circumstance, this year’s 26th milestone June 24 was a simple dinner at home. We were lucky to have Fr. Armand Tangi of the Society of St. Paul to do our renewal of vows, witnessed only by three of our children and my parents.

The homily was so touching and heartwarming as Father Armand shared the three “rings” of marriage—caring, sharing and persevering. He also joked that the smallest handcuff is a wedding ring!

Last year, we had four officiating priests: Fr. Reu Jose Galoy, OFM (who presided over the ceremony), Fr. Fernando Suarez, Fr. Efren Jimenez, OFM, Fr. Baltazar Obico, OFM, and Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag. I’m just glad my Assumption classmates Popsie Gamboa and Girlie Sison help with our spiritual growth.

Father Tito shared our personal answers to questions he had sent us earlier, and interjected them with his insightful spiritual wisdom. He touched everyone with his beautiful homily.

It was wonderful to exchange vows again. “So, once again, I take you, Dennis, to be my husband to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance. I do! I do! I do!”

Devoid of any floral arrangements and décor, our home altar was just a simple table with a white tablecloth and two candles.

Last year, celebrity weddings florist and good friend Robert Blancaflor did an African-inspired church set-up. For our grand entrance, his team created tall African poles for the ushers to hold prior to our arrival. Conjuring up an experience like no other for this momentous occasion, Robert continued the African theme inside the church with wheat stems, Banksias, cotton flowers and pops of peacock feathers.

Last year’s glam safari theme

Our communion song this year was from iTunes. What a stark difference from our amazingly impressive church choir a year ago. I told Lester Delgado, musical director-conductor of Vocalismo Chorale Group, to include some gospel music during communion. Musical genius Rony Fortich composed a special Disney compilation for our recessional march.

Every year, we have a theme of our anniversary. To fully express the African royalty vibe, Norman and Mye Cruz of Adworks Graphics came up with the idea of a wedding invitation integrating photos from our past milestones. They designed a book invitation with a glam safari color scheme with touches of gold.

Our food theme this year was Korean, since newly opened The Grill Master Korean restaurant (www.thegrillmasterph.com; follow @thegrillmasterph on Facebook and Instagram) generously provided us lunch. Located at Magaoay Building, Pilar Village, Las Piñas, The Grill Master is not your usual big name samgyeopsal place. Opened the day before enhanced community quarantine and closing the day after was like having the owners’ dreams crash down on them. So, like other restaurants, they decided to get into the delivery business.

The Grill Master has food made with genuine recipes, the freshest all natural ingredients, using only spices and sauces sourced straight from Korea. Premium meats are cut fresh from choice parts as you order your daily samgyeopsal feasts.

Their signature samjjang sauce, the kimchi (featured as one of Metro Manila’s best), and spicy marinated beef are already top favorites of customers. Gathering tags and likes on social media posts with the most heartwarming reviews gives them so much inspiration.

Generous suppliers

My K-pop-loving daughter Athena was the happiest over lunch, enjoying her favorite Korean cuisine.

I’m a newbie at K-drama, but loved “Crash Landing on You.” I gathered table setting ideas from #CLOY and found home décor ideas, too. It was nothing compared to our amazing wedding by events stylist Gideon Hermosa, who transformed the Manila Polo Club ballroom last year into an elegant African tablescape with beautiful flowers and over-the-top venue décor.

I would like to thank once again all the suppliers who generously provided their services. For #DandTLove25 décor and set-up, thanks again to @18th.ph and @kandneventrentals (K&N tables and chairs), @formm_rentals (lounges), @shoprentgala and @cl_decor (chandeliers and candelabras) and @casaluxia (dinnerware) and many, many more!

Special thanks also to Cyndi Fernandez and her Moss Manila team (@mossdesignhouse), who did the outdoor safari theme for guests to enjoy the outdoor activities. Congratulations also to their renewed company, Moss Design House, offering interiors, events, pop-ups and rentals.

Vows

For our renewal of vows this year, I wore a pretty pastel cocktail dress by Debbie Co. Her atelier (@atelierdebbieco) now makes face masks and stlyish personal protective equipment.

Watching again the 2019 wedding video by ace photographer Marty Ilagan made me teary eyed and overjoyed at the same time. Our fave fashion designer Rajo Laurel truly created the most elaborate and outstanding outfits for Dennis and me. I can’t wait to celebrate with our travel gang #TropAfrica once again.

A year has passed but I still remember my vows: “Our differences did not break us, but magnified and enlarged us. You have been a great husband to me and a wonderful father to our four children. It is because you have such a big heart. You love without limits. You are my heart’s most precious treasure; a treasure without measure.

“God’s love is perfect, faithful, unconditional, forgiving, all-encompassing, pure, lasting, sacrificial, strong, enduring, refreshing, redeeming, everlasting, lavish, full, inspiring, hope-filled, gracious and so much more. It’s never based on us, our abilities, or striving to ever be good enough. It’s found in Him, His character and a huge capacity to give. It knows no boundaries and has no limits. There’s no place too deep that His love can’t reach us still.”

Sea Princess with “samgyeopsal” feast by The Grill Master Korean Restaurant
The Grill Master Korean Restaurant spread for our anniversary lunch
Fr. Armand Tangi with Tessa and Dennis Valdes, after the couple renewed their vows at home on their 26th anniversary
Dennis and Tessa Valdes, Nova Veluz and Gerard Sison, with last year’s church decor by Robert Blancaflor
Joby Belmonte, Franco Laurel, Mye Cruz, Digzy and Carlo Umali, Norman Cruz, Sheryl Songson
Sisters of Mary Girlstown and Boystown students with Dr. Vicki Belo-Kho, Dr. Hayden Kho, Scarlet Snow Belo, Sea Princess
Event stylist Gideon Hermosa and Sea Princess
Marita Laddaran of Hearts & Bells Cakes, Marla Tamayo, Rosette Benedicto, Dr. Eileen Cuajunco and Girlie Sison
Vina Francisco carrying Mave Prieto Travis
Last year’s beautiful African-inspired wedding reception set up by Gideon Hermosa
Last year, Dennis and Tessa Valdes with Fr. Tito Caluag, Fr. Efren Jimenez, Fr. Baltazar Obico and San Antonio parish priest Fr. Reu Galoy

Follow @seaprincess888 on Instagram.

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