This wedding narrative is from the Groom’s POV written one full year ago when the details were still fresh in memory.
Around half past six in the morning, we had awakened, despite some superstition that the bride and the groom shouldn’t see each other the night before the wedding, we figured we’d use the free breakfast for the corner suite rather than let it go to waste. After some freshening up, we went to the room we reserved for me (the groom’s prep room) to fetch my parents to go down to the restaurant together.
The call time for the hair and makeup artists (HMUAs) was seven in the morning and by the time we went down to the lobby, they were already there, raring to take their equipment up and begin prepping a total of 10 individuals apart from the bride. I had approached them to ask if they needed to go up immediately, because the bride was just having her breakfast then, and they did say that it was fine to go right after. We had breakfast in separate tables then, Katsy with her cousins and me with my parents and eventually my brother and his wife, it was the last I saw of Katsy that morning, she went ahead and ushered the HMUAs into her room beginning the preps at the side of the bridal party.
After my parents and I had finished with breakfast, we went back up to the 15th floor into my room and I was immediately on the computer telling my groomsmen of the room number and reminding them of the call time for the shooting schedule in the morning. My brother, who was also checked into the hotel albeit at a lower floor, had come into the room and was facilitating my two other brothers coming in from different parts of the city; A few minutes pass by and the head coordinator shows up at the door, I immediately told her about the stuff that we wanted brought to the reception venue, there was quite a bit due to the amount of DIY components we ended up integrating into the event.
I was reminded to take a bath already and prep myself because the photo team should be coming in shortly – their call time was 9 in the morning. After a few more keystrokes, attachments, messages, and mail, I finally started my bath. Round 15 minutes passed and I was out in pure black threads with my burgundy coat on the bed with accessories on top and beside it, readied for the shooters for when they arrive. While waiting, the flowers had arrived and distribution began; I was called out to settle the bill with them.
When the clock turned 10, I was still the only one present apart from my dad and brother, (mother was still being made up) on the side of the groom which wouldn’t make much sense shooting really. My best man was on his way along with a groomsman and they were like 10 minutes out which was great; they sent me a photo of them in the car for assurance.
The photo and video team came then and proceeded to shoot the details pending my own grooming and the arrival of the rest of my party. Soon after, my best man and first groomsman comes knocking at the door followed by the HMUA tasked to prep me for the shoot; after a few swipes of a foundation stick and swirls of the brush to blend and set the material into my skin, the shoot had begun for my scenes immediately followed by scenes with my best man documenting each part of my ensemble up until the coat. While this was happening, another groomsman had come in so they were now three.
The photo/video team wanted to usher us into the pool area, which I advised to be misinformation as we had switched shooting venues with the bride’s party ending up with a shoot at the 24th floor bar instead of the pool which we had reserved for the bride later in the day. This was important as the hotel had been known to be quite strict with their scheduled and approved shooting locations.
With some time to kill, the P/V Team brought us outside towards a wall with a row of bamboo planted on it to take some footage of the groom and his party being silly. On the way there, we had encountered the fourth member of my party completing the groomsmen that had been expected to arrive for the morning shoot, which was a good even number for a variety of formations. We armed him with his own tie for cohesion and I had borrowed sunglasses from one of them to make the shoot more fun under the sun.
The sequence completed just a few minutes past noon which was the time we had reserved to use the bar at the 24th floor. I messaged my brother so that my family can meet us up on the 24th and begin without delays. It was a bit disappointing to find the bar and its balcony in its pre-opened state, no lights were turned on, and some of the chairs outside even had covers on them.
Despite that, we had a full 30 minutes up there finishing up all the photos and videos involving me prior to the ceremony. That leaves me free to check up on the reception area where I had to complete some final arrangements… mainly because that part of the setup – the photobooth, was mine, a previous business venture that had been plagued with competition that drove prices to the ground. Right after the final shots were taken, I was going to ride with the groomsmen to the site when I realized that my bag had not been with me and was left in the room. We stayed for a little bit in the lobby until I got my bag from my brother at which time we proceeded to travel. It was just a little past 1PM when we arrived because Waze was having a field day with us due to the absence of cars making us go through inner roads instead of the main thoroughfares – the timing was off by a bit from our earlier estimation but it wasn’t a big deal, stuff can still be accomplished. Past a short discussion on where to have our lunch, I went ahead to the reception venue along with my three groomsmen… one of the earlier four went home, I think, because his place was near the church. Our reception venue was just to the side of the ceremony so there was not going to be an issue of mobilization with the two locations literally just a few steps from one another.
Once inside the hall, we saw that the catering team was in the middle of their ingress, which was good timing as edits could be made early should there be any. I saw two persons from the coordination team there and was slightly surprised that the stand of the photobooth had been built up already – in all fairness, the coordination team was only trying to be helpful by speeding up the process with the setup already pre-prepared… but while the gesture was appreciated, the build was put together wrongly and would not work with the setup. I had them take the whole thing apart once more so that I could build it up properly. It was around half past 1 when I began putting up the booth. The groomsmen with me wasted no time and had food delivered to where we were to not waste any more moving ourselves into another location just to eat. After the build was completed and the components were in place, we tested it a few times to make certain that everything was working properly; we did it while we were having lunch and it was ready when I had to leave because apparently, at just half past two, the bridal car had already arrived on location… an hour early from the actual ceremony.
I made my way into the church by the route behind the altar leaving my groomsmen up top because the band equipment was just coming in… and they were part of the band.
When I crossed the threshold into the church, I was surprised to find over half of our invited guests already present. Greetings were exchanged with every encounter and it was pleasing to see all the people that we’ve invited settling into the space quite well. In my opinion, the amount of guests we had and the space left unoccupied achieved a pretty nice balance. At one point, I found my fifth and last groomsman there and gave him his tie to complete the groom’s party.
At another, I handed my bag to my brother so that I wouldn’t be holding anything while walking down the aisle. One by one, the couples who formed our primary and secondary sponsors came in and the entourage was pretty much complete leave for just one who had encountered car trouble and had to be filled in by one of the partners of the sponsors. Around 10 minutes past 3PM we were made to line up by the head coordinator and just in time, the bridal march had started.
We had not been able to meet with the church coordinator and so we were working with what we could call the standard wedding procedure. We were able to talk to them about removing the flowers that would be placed on the aisle and any treatments that it came with, this decision brought about by our idea to highlight the minimalist nature of the church and so we walked on a simple red carpet towards the altar.
In Santuario de San Vicente de Paul, the Altar is at the lowest point of the church with the congregation forming what almost feels like an amphitheater around it – this means everyone that were walking “descends” a moderate slope towards the center. So I stayed there flanked by my parents and saw each and every one of our entourage walk towards the center and then ushered into their seats, a view that, I realize now, the bride would not have at all (until the full wedding video that is, and is another reason why it is quite important). Every person and pair that finishes the walk is dear to us and we’re honored and happy to see them there.
As to be expected there were some joyous moments especially at the time when the kids were to be the ones walking – it must really be daunting to be in their shoes and so supervision had come to be expected. It was the bride’s parents entry that beckoned everyone to stand up and look towards the church doors in equal anticipation. For me, at least past breakfast, this was the first time I’d be seeing my partner in her wedding dress, one that I have not yet seen before, and under a veil.
Slowly she walked, literally like an angel, she came towards me – I could swear there were “godrays” coming from the fenestration. There is some distance to cover from the door to the altar and I kept on projecting myself right next to her as assistance because of the slope, even though I know full well that she can manage to get herself to my side, and I just couldn’t help but think consistently about how beautiful she was and that in just a short while we’d be bound together in marriage – the end of one journey and the beginning of another one we’d go through stronger as one.
She made it to the center with her parents, I was so mesmerized I almost forgot to pay respects to them before taking her by the hand. I brought her to my parents, and we went on to the seats they had for us right in front of the altar. The ceremony thus began.
The homily was almost just like the conversation we had with our priest when we had the canonical interview. There were several moments when we just couldn’t help but smile such as the time when she’d put the ring on me, expecting it not to fit as well as hers and it didn’t (we found out later because it was on the wrong hand… it actually fit perfectly). Also the time when we were asked for acceptance of one another when there was a pause one would think she was still thinking about it.
A very simple and straightforward ceremony which ended with a kiss over the bouquet and the consequent photo session at the altar which was prompted by the very same monitors that the church had been using.
When the ceremony was over, the guests were ushered out towards the front of the main door, so that we can do the egress – loose petals came into play here and we saw a drone hovering about for the first and last time in the day, it was getting dark, and fast, so shooting had to be quick as there were quite a few scenes necessary for a roundup of the SDE (same-day edit) to be presented just a few short hours later.
In this round of photos we’d requested the secondary sponsors be a part of the bridal party sharing around the same age as everyone else on there. We had more people in the frame which is a good contrast to the wide frontage of the church. At this time one of my groomsmen had already gone somewhere else but it was all good… balance was still present during shot compositions. After a bit of walking about, all of the group takes had been completed and Katsy and I had to film the last few sequences before we were ushered into a waiting room (which was incidentally where church paraphernalia were kept because the events hall didn’t really have one).. we had a selection of the menu that we had prepared and Katsy put on her second look before we went up to join all of our guests at the second floor.
Going into the stage, I had been alerted that the photo booth had apparently “jammed” – basically it had not been working for the entire time that we were shooting outside and having our dinner.
It was a good chunk of time, round about maybe 45 minutes that the photo booth had not been operational, so I was thinking of a time when I’d be able to attend to it the soonest possibility and the opportunity came right before any of the shoots with the couple began prior to dinner – before this, all of the wedding traditions had been taken care of such as the cutting off the cake and the drinking of the wine, first dances, speeches from the matron/man and maid of honor, and the best man’s toast. So for the first time I’d gone off the stage to attend to my attendants on the booth, its a good thing that they’re quick on the pickup and were able to handle the thing as soon as I was able to get it back to working order… it was a rogue floating window that had been the culprit to communicating with the printer. I’d been requested back at the stage around three times while I was repairing the booth but I believed the task to be of paramount importance because it would otherwise become dead space within the reception.
After making sure that it was in working order I made my way up the stage once more and the shooting sequence began and consequently, dinner for each set of tables that went . The guide to wacky poses at this time was quite nice as it allowed for everybody to not be idle once that part comes along. There is a bit of a downside to it because the first two formal shots would have to be clarified first with every new set of people that comes on stage.
The beginning of the dinner also cued the band to perform and our reoriented setup had surprisingly worked out shifting focus into either the front (towards the balcony) where Katsy and I were seated, and the back (towards the wall where events normally place their main stage) where the band had set-up along with the video projection for the event where all the queueing and video presentations were displayed. It was a beautiful and soothing set rendered masterfully by my then band mates who also did double duty as part of the groom’s party. There had also been a special number from one of Katsy’s cousins who sang a pre-arranged track along with the band.
When the dinner was well on its way, the program continued with several games as we’d discussed with the coordinator prior. Before any of these however, our growing up video, one that I’d put together just two days before the wedding, was shown as a projection – here we found out that there was a mismatch between the resolutions of the computer and what was being projected on to the wall, one side of the video was not in the frame. Additionally, there appeared to be an LCD burn overlaid on the projection. We extrapolated that it was due to the constant still image that was being projected while nothing was being shown. It was not the perfect execution we had hoped it to be. Afterwards, there was the music identification game, a couples trivia game, and the two best dedications were chosen to also gain some prizes. This was also the point when the winners of the previously announced Instagram contest were selected, it was a really fun part of the program and plenty were participating.
It was finally time to show everyone the SDE. We’d also been looking forward to what our directed sequences actually looked like from behind the camera. They’d started to play the mini movie back but the same issues as earlier we’re resurfacing and we were not having it this time. And so I went to the computer to reset the position of the movie window so as not to go through correcting the windows display settings to match the projector. Thus, despite colors being affected by the burn brought about by the static image, were able to view the highlights from the photo and video team’s POV. We had not given them additional instruction, but they made full use of the grandeur of the church which we really liked. It was a very pleasant seven minute wrap up of the entire wedding day.
The final few speeches were delivered and the host had closed the event, she wasn’t able to tell everyone about the final set of the band and another performance we’ve had prepared; All of a sudden… club music was heard coming from the speakers. I looked towards the rear and saw one of my groomsmen working the turntable of the lights and sounds team. I had requested for him to play round a month back but he had divested himself off all his dj-ing equipment and would not be able to properly conduct the music without it – by stroke of luck and some just-in-case preparations courtesy of a USB key we suddenly had a DJ hyping up the crowd and closing the event.
With several guests moving to depart, we then saw even more activity at the DIY booth as well as the photobooth – which had another hiccup that I had to attend to once again so that more people can have their photos taken. It was a good feeling seeing everything that we’ve put together being used and appreciated and we’re thankful for everyone’s participation. Slowly the crowd thinned as more and more groups of people who came together bade us congratulations, best wishes, a good evening, and a see you next year greeting as well. Plenty that night would have to have made the journey to where their loved ones were to then celebrate the turn of the new year immediately the next day. We could only hope that they had a memorable 30th of December – one day that seems to have just whizzed by and ended up with our partnership bound by the church and celebrated by our expanded families and friends.