'Don't wait–have your dream wedding!'
by Joaquin Reloj
The genuine love between Marc Wesley O. Pua and Lynsette N. Lo first blossomed 6 years ago during the Secret of the Vine Seminar at CCF Makati. Little did they know that this seemingly small, shared moment in their lives would ultimately be the spark that will lead to their union. The newlyweds celebrated their intimate wedding on June 19, 2021, holding the ceremony at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity followed by a reception at The Blue Leaf Filipinas.
Even before the seminar took place, Marc and Sette had studied in the same school but their paths never seemed to cross then. “We never thought or even expected that we were already meant for each other,” shared Sette as she looked back at how it all started. The two simply became friends after the event but as time went on, their friendship grew deeper.
“We even knew everything about each other. We shared happy and sad stories, good and bad experiences, crushes and even love life, and many more,” Sette recalled. She also knew that Marc had told his parents in the past that he never had any plans of getting married, but God set out a different path for the both of them: one filled with love and affection for each other.
“God did not grant his request of single blessedness, He really knew what his heart desired just like what Jeremiah 17:10 says, ‘I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’”
Everything turned around for Marc in February 2019, when the two of them went on a trip to Taiwan with their friends. It was then that Marc realized he was already falling in love with Sette, but he did not want to rush in expressing his intentions. Marc first asked for his parents’ approval and blessing as well as the Lord’s perfect timing. He prayed for three signs: an out-of-town trip, nature, and a cold breeze. Of course, it did not arrive right away.
“Courting Sette was not easy it took a lot of prayer as there were a lot of obstacles that I need to overcome,” Marc admitted. “I talked to her daily and would constantly ask her out on dates. By God’s grace, she was always available and we got to know each other on a deeper level.”
Marc also had an awareness of the risks because if everything didn’t go well, he would’ve lost Sette and jeopardized their friendship in the process. But, finally, after three months of hanging on to his commitment, the signs he asked for were given to him and he seized the moment. “Perfect timing with the Lord’s guidance is really important,” Sette said. In May 2019, the two bonded after they attended the a retreat in Batangas where they found themselves at a parking lot surrounded by nature and a cold breeze.
“He declared his love for me when I least expected. Little did I know that he was about to lay his intention to court me. Without him knowing that was also the time when I fully surrendered my future to God and to let God fulfill His purpose for my life. That was also the time that I almost accepted my single blessedness and had a prayer agreement that only God and I knew,” said Sette as she recalled the moment.
Marc, on the other hand, cherished the result of his steadfastness in trusting the Lord. “I patiently waited and finally, after three months, we officially became a couple. It was the start of our journey to forever as we already know our next destination.”
Sette’s prayer agreement went: “Whoever that will declare and lay his clear intention on her next, she will definitely give that person a chance and would not say ‘no’ without giving that person a chance.” Who would’ve thought that just two years after that fateful—and indeed, faithful—day, the couple would come to celebrate their intimate wedding. Truly, God’s timing is above all else.
Marc had planned to pop the big question during their Japan trip with Sette’s family in April 2020 but ECQ had been implemented along with a travel ban. “Instead I proposed at her home with the help of her siblings in all of the preparations on August 8, 2020. Before the proposal was made, a week before I sought for my parents and her parents for the blessings.”
When asked about their original plans, the couple expressed that they initially wanted to have their dream celebration at Okada Manila’s Grand Ballroom with 500 guests in attendance. They realized, however, that the pandemic would not be ending as soon as they hoped. Add to that the sudden changes in the government’s quarantine guidelines, which made the planning all the more challenging.
In order to push through with their union during the pandemic, Marc and Sette had to reduce their list of 500 down to 150 guests. But additional shifts in protocols over time led them to trim the list further to only 62 guests, making it a very small and intimate wedding.
The couple had also scheduled the ceremony to be held on May 8, 2021 at first. Unfortunately, they were both afflicted with COVID-19 which necessitated a two-week quarantine putting a halt to their wedding errands. To maintain the safety of their guests, the couple chose to move the date to June 19, 2021, instead.
“Every day felt like a roller coaster ride while waiting for the government’s announcement whether we are under ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, and so on. This really felt hard as some of our loved ones can’t physically attend our wedding. But God gave us comfort every time we were worried and converted it to trusting in His plan more. Jeremiah 29:11 says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Nothing is really impossible with God’s plan; we just really need to put our full faith in Him.”
While their original ideas were far from the intimate wedding that they had, the couple was still able to weather through the storm and see the silver lining. They learned to be more flexible and open to compromise in order to get through the struggles that they experienced during the planning. Most importantly, they prayed and put their trust in God that He would deliver what was best for them.
The newlyweds also didn’t necessarily have a theme in mind for the event. They just wanted it to be simple, classy, and magical. Their stylist went for a gold/blush pink/elegant white color design and numerous guests even commented that the church emulated the wedding scene from Crazy Rich Asians. “Everything turned out to be perfect, we loved the design.”
During their wedding day, Marc had felt anxious at the outset but he was able to overcome this as he thought about his future wife which gave him an energy boost and renewed sense of excitement. Meanwhile, Sette’s emotions were a mix of awe, excitement, happiness, and even a bit of sadness. Nonetheless, love prevailed among all of these.
“Awe: in seeing all that we’ve planned for the past few months for our wedding come to life and become reality. Excitement: As I walked down the aisle and saw the man God has in store for me to be my partner for the rest of my life. Happiness: As I see all of our family, relatives, friends, and loved ones witness our marriage physically and join us in this beautiful event. Sadness: knowing that I will not be staying with my family’s home already and will be missing them for sure,” she explained.
The first kiss, being pronounced husband and wife, seeing all the stress finally pay off, and getting to spend time with family and friends during the pandemic were some of the highlights of their intimate wedding that Marc enumerated. For Sette, it was marrying the love of her life in front of God and acknowledging her answered prayer as well as the traditional wedding activities.
“Exchanging our vows to each other melted my heart. Thanking my parents and saying ‘I love you’ made me cry a lot, especially when I saw them halfway through the aisle looking at me happily with tears, and together they walked with me to give me to my lifetime partner. This moment made my heart break a bit; it was like saying goodbye to my parents and welcoming me to the new chapter of my life. I never thought that we will still get the chance to have our first dance as a couple, dance with my dad, dance with his mom, wine toasting, and cake cutting.”
As for other couples planning to get married during the ongoing pandemic, the newlyweds listed some advice:
1. Always put God first in your plans. It is difficult to plan for the wedding but as soon as God is involved in your planning everything will fall into place.
2. Learn to be flexible to changes. Nothing is constant in the current situation and you must be willing to adapt to changes. Sometimes these changes lead to better results.
3. Learn to communicate. Being open to one another about concerns and thoughts is very important.
4. Budget accordingly. People think that getting married during a pandemic is less expensive, but it’s not. Find a venue that can accommodate 100 but could grow to 200. Having an outdoor area that could fit your guest count in the case inside events become a no-no is a great plus. Budget for onsite testing of your guests and suppliers because that could be a requirement or that could be for the peace of mind of everyone who will attend the wedding. But above all these what-ifs, you have to be happy with any scenario. Accept that the virus and laws are not under your control and be willing to go in the available direction.
5. Do not wait. No one really knows when this pandemic will end.
6. Set your dream wedding. Not even a pandemic can stop your dream wedding, you can still have your dream wedding programs such as cake cutting, wine toasting, first dance as a nnewlywed couple, and enjoying the night with your families, friends, and loved ones with the right protocols.
7. Enjoy the moment because this is just a one-time event, no more rewinding and this is your day.
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The Dream Team:
Wedding Coordination by Kiss the Girl Events | Emcee: Max Tiu | Photography by Mayad Studios | Videography by Kreative Machines | Hair and makeup by Lindsay Co-Alog | Gown by Rosa Clara | Preparation venue and bridal car by Okada Manila | Florist, stylists, lights and LED by Tiger Lim | Reception venue and sounds by The Blue Leaf Filipinas | Catering by Tijoe the Caterer | Cake by Penk Ching | Music by Manila Philharmonic Orchestra | Nurse for antigen: Vir Ann Inotiva | Church: Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity | Officiant: Christ’s Commission Fellowship | Wedding bands by The Diamond Finery | Groom’s Suit by Jun Reynoso | Entourage gown by Marrion Chua Couture | Invitations by Unifair Printing