'Let go of the mindset that you have to have a big wedding celebration to make it special'
Photographs by Nice Print Photography
Raymond Galano and Jhoanna Vasquez planned to get married in Rome on May 2020 but in March, they knew that their dream wedding and a year’s worth of planning would no longer be a possibility. The couple instead created Plan B, an intimate wedding on August 8, 2020 at St. James the Great Parish in Ayala Alabang with only a handful of guests. The reception was help in a private residence. Now Mr. and Mrs. Galano, Raymond and Jhoanna share their journey to the altar and what got them through. “...because of prayer, we never lost hope,” Jhoanna says.
Scroll down to see their wedding photos and to read their account.
What were your wedding plans?
Raymond Galano (RG): I proposed to Jhoanna in Hong Kong Disneyland in June 2019. We started planning our wedding and decided we want to hold it in Rome, Italy on May 2020. Nearing the date, the pandemic struck. We had no choice but to abandon the original plan. Given the government regulations at the time, we held an intimate celebration with only a handful of guests. Despite this, we have beaten the odds. Thus, I can confidently say, when you are with the right one, love always prevails.
Jhoanna Vasquez-Galano (JVG): We planned to wed in Italy because that's where Raymond's parents renewed their vows. Our guest list was at 50. Despite the overseas arrangement, we had no issues planning the wedding since my in laws have contacts in Italy which helped a great deal. When the pandemic struck, it was apparent that we had to postpone. We were both very emotional. Anxiety kicked in. But because of prayer, we never lost hope.
When the pandemic was declared, what did you do?
JVG: We realized that the current global situation will not permit us to push through with a wedding in Italy. That's when we decided to have it here in our home country. Because of social distancing, we trimmed down our guest list from 50 to 15. I could no longer wear my ballgown wedding dress. Instead, I opted for a lace mini dress, which suited our intimate wedding. We couldn't book a hotel for the wedding reception. We rented a private residence that has the capacity to hold a reception for 15 guests instead.
How did you feel during your wedding?
JVG: We realized that we don't need an extravagant wedding. Ultimately, what we need is each other and the people who matter to us. During the celebration, we felt very comfortable and relaxed around each other and our guests. It was an emotional event. There were tears of joy. There was laughter in the air. And so, with much love and gratitude, we can both say, we finally made it.
Are you still planning for another wedding?
JVG: We still want to celebrate in Italy once the pandemic is over, but since we're already married, it will be a renewal of vows instead. It will also double as a family reunion, and it's also an opportunity to share the love with our friends and family who were not able to attend the wedding. For now, we are thankful and blessed to say, finally, we are one.
What’s your advice for couples planning their wedding?
JVG: Plan for a simple wedding--as simple as possible. Always remember that everyone's health and safety comes first. As hard as it may be, let go of the mindset that you have to have a big wedding celebration to make it special. Focus on what matters, and realize that what makes a wedding special is your love for each other and the people who truly matter to you.
Photos courtesy of Raymond and Jhoanna Galano
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