'This is married life, right? Facing challenges together, getting stuff done, and in the end, enjoying our small victories' –Bym
By Misha Fabian
Theirs is a romance that began in the office. Roberto Miguel H. Buhain III and Christine Joyce S. Placino met at work, which they fondly recalled was the beginning of their long-distance relationship. It was an LDR in the sense that Joyce was from Fairview, Novaliches, while Bym was from Las Pinas City. Their middle ground? Their office space in Makati City. They went out to have merienda in Maginhawa one day, and they soon had an official first date at a restaurant in Glorietta after work. Dozens of dates and a couple of months later, Bym moved to another agency located in Bonifacio Global City. However, this did not stop their budding romance. They continued to date until they officially became boyfriend and girlfriend.
Five years later, Bym proposed. The couple wanted to celebrate their fifth anniversary with a trip to Taiwan, and there, at the Houton Cat Village, Bym got down on one knee and asked Joyce to marry him. During that time, it was only Bym and Joyce… and, well, a whole host of new feline friends. The couple laughs when they recall how Bym tried to document the moment by propping up his phone on a nearby bench. However, their proposal ended up getting photobombed by a cat’s butt.
They began planning their wedding right after their engagement in October 2019, which they planned to have less than a year from when they got engaged. Bym works in advertising, while Joyce works in the PR industry, so neither of them are strangers to planning and executing an event. They did away with a coordinator because they felt that they could DIY their wedding
planning, and they immediately got to work on putting together their "wedding deck”. They used their weekends to scout for suppliers, and they even prepared their own Gantt chart to make sure everything was running smoothly.
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Everything was going so well that they were all set for their wedding by January of 2020. All they needed was to have their marriage documents processed in April–six months before their planned wedding date as required by the church. At that point, the couple thought of it as a waiting game, a countdown to their big day.
However, they were thrown for a loop when the COVID-19 pandemic happened. Bym and Joyce were aiming for an intimate wedding celebration during the period they dubbed as 2019-2020 BC, or Before COVID-19. They had initially planned for 130 guests, and they wanted to hold the ceremony at the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Makati with a reception to follow at an event space in McKinley Hill. However, because of everything that happened, they had to cut down their guest list to 15. They also scrapped their plan for a reception. This is what they had to say about their change of plans: “In a way, we stripped down our nuptials to only the bare essentials – a church ceremony with a casual family lunch right afterward.”
They had a difficult time adjusting their plans during the earlier part of the lockdown as they opted to stay indoors and many of the offices they needed to go to were closed. This left them roughly three months to switch to Plan B. Apart from needing to plan out a new wedding celebration, they needed to secure their documents required to get married. Perhaps their biggest challenge was securing a date for their family planning seminar because Metro Manila was placed into ECQ again. They needed to get to Las Piñas to get a marriage license–just three weeks shy from their wedding date. However, with a ton of optimism and being grounded on the reality of the present situation, they were able to pull through. While it wasn’t
the ideal time to get married and push through with a church wedding, the couple accepted that they needed to be flexible with matters and resolve each challenge that came their way by sticking to what they can control. They also made sure to communicate with their suppliers their concerns about their safety to make sure that their wedding was as safe as possible. They needed to downsize their original plans, but in a way, having to keep their wedding small made it all the more special for them.
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The couple finally tied the knot on September 17, 2020 at the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart. While it was not the wedding they had originally planned, they still thought it was perfect. Their wedding had been stripped of all its trimmings, but it made it feel all the more personal and special. “Ultimately, we were tired, but fulfilled, and the thought of just doing everything ourselves felt absolutely right. I mean, this is married life, right? Joyce and I, facing challenges together, getting stuff done, and in the end, enjoying our small victories,” said Bym.
Their advice to couples planning a wedding or getting married amid this pandemic? “It’s okay to be sad about it because it’s really sad, but then one has to remember why they’re getting married in the first place and what matters–and that is to make that lifetime together official. And that the friends and loved ones who truly celebrate your love, will understand and still be happy for both of you. We’re living through a time of curveballs, and we all just have to weather through it and be grateful that there are still things worth celebrating at such a trying time. After all, this is an unprecedented time, so don’t worry about the fact that your wedding may be a little different from how it was done before! Especially during this time, anything and everything can go wrong, but as long as you manage to make it through, the mishaps are irrelevant! It’s the happiness, love, and joy that you’ll remember.”
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Catering: K by Cunanan | Cake: Mary Grace | Flowers: Smitten Floristry | Guest Tokens: The Grazing Girls | Photo & Video Documentation: Carlo Acetre Photography | Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Little White Pouch | HMUA: B Delgado | Groom’s Suit: Cornell’s Tailoring | Bridal Gown & Shoes: White by Vera Wang | Bridal Mask & Hair Accessory: White Label | Church: National Shrine of the Sacred Heart Parish