Date: May 23,2010
Church: St. Francis of Assisi Chapel (Fernwood Chapel)
Reception Venue: Fernwood Gardens
Caterer: Center Table Catering
Hair and Make up: Madge Lejano
Church Flowers: Scenta Flora
Entourage and Reception Flowers & Stylist: Beth Amat of Eve & Co.
Cake: Cake Artist by Judy Uson
Photographer: Oly Ruiz of Metro Photo
Videographer: Threelogy Video
Lights & Sound system: Sensitivity
We are so happy to announce that our wedding entry DON & RICHELLE ESTACIO, won the TOP prize in the WE Heart Weddings – Beautiful Weddings Contest by Wedding Essentials. We feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful wedding and so proud of our amazing couple Don and Richelle !! We are all excited and looking… forward to the front cover issue with you both :))
Richelle Atas – Estacio entry:
Some Kind Of Wonderful
At first glance, our story seems like any other. Boy meets girl. They like each other. But he doesn’t want to commit. Another guy comes into the picture. Boy gets jealous. He runs after her. She falls into his arms. They get married.
Only it wasn’t that simple. You see all this happened in a virtual world. We were but two players out of the thousands in Ragnarok, a massive multiplayer online role playing game. In the fantasy world of Midgard, I was a priestess named Rinoa and Don was Bul-Kathos, a blacksmith. In real life, I was a first year law student and Don had just graduated from college. I lived in Bacolod and he was living in Manila.
It didn’t matter at first, not the distance nor the fact that we have never ever seen each other. In the game, it was all too easy to get caught up and lose ourselves in our characters. We would roam all across the fields and forests of our fantasy world, fighting mythical monsters and winning glorious battles. Our nights were spent talking, sharing secrets and laughing over the silliest things. There was an instant connection; it was as if we have found what have always longed for. It was as real as it could possibly be, at least for me.
Being the silly girl that I am, with notions of happily ever after dancing around in my head, I had no qualms in taking things a step further. In Ragnarok, there exists a marriage system where two characters can bind themselves in not-so-holy matrimony. Of course, I wanted to get married. He, however, refused to marry off his character on principle. For him, to do so would be to commit and that was something he would never do unless he could do it wholeheartedly. He was convinced that to go any further would only result to heartbreak for the both of us. Because while online relationships are a dime a dozen in our virtual world, how many of them actually progress beyond the game?
I was never one to give up but it was hard not to when he started pulling away. I saw and talked to him less and less. By then, another player had come into the picture. He wanted to marry my character. It was nothing serious but since I was still hoping for Don to change his mind, I declined his proposal. Until one night when I saw him online – he not only ignored me, he was actually flirting with another girl. In an instant, my heartbreak turned into fury. The next day, using my alternate character, I married the other guy. It wasn’t long before he noticed my character in a wedding dress. He immediately confronted me, admitting he got jealous and before I knew it, he asked me to marry him, this time with my main character, Rinoa the priestess. It was a good thing he couldn’t see me because by then I was jumping up and down with excitement.
And so we had our Ragnarok wedding. We also agreed that outside the game, we were free to see other people. After a couple of months however, it stopped being an online thing and started getting serious. As improbable as it sounds, we really did fall in love over the internet and we soon became desperate to see each other. But it was only after five long months before the opportunity to meet came. I went to Manila to help in the Bar Operations and it was then that we finally saw each other for the first time. Everything just fell into place. No words could describe the feeling, the one you get when you see him. I think it was at that moment when I started to believe in some mysterious cosmic force that brings people, lovers, together.
We spent the next four years going back and forth between Manila and Bacolod. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t convenient. There were instances when I’d miss him terribly – like no other person had ever missed another. Goodbyes at the airport were always tearful and dramatic. It was just so unbearably hard at times. But it was all worth it. Our long-distance virtual love affair had turned into something deeper, more serious than we had anticipated. It was love. The kind that transcends the physical and overcomes any distance or obstacle. Love in its purest, sincerest form.
In 2008, I graduated from law school and went to Manila to take the Bar Exams. His unwavering love and support got me through the hardest thing I’ve ever had to tackle. With perseverance and a little bit of luck, I passed the exams and became a lawyer. Just when I thought I couldn’t be any happier, life had another surprise for me. We were admiring the sunset overlooking Manila Bay at Sofitel when he took out a brilliant princess-cut diamond ring, slid it on my finger and asked me to be his wife. Of course, there was no other answer but yes, yes, a million times yes.
Because of our love story, we envisioned a fairytale wedding, a midsummer night’s dream. For that, I knew I would need fairy godmothers. Enter fairy godmother #1 – Veluz Reyes. The moment I met her, I knew I would look no further. I wanted a classic and intricate gown. Veluz gave me that and more. My gown was fully beaded and embellished. Hand-embroidered flowers and vines cascaded from my neck down to the bodice and extending all the way to my skirt and chapel train. My back was bare except for one single strap. And it sparkled. When I wore it, I really did feel like a princess in some long-forgotten fairytale.
Aside from my traditional white shoes made by Niko for Veluz, I had another custom-made pink shoes fromGaupo, a gift from my husband.
To complement my beautiful gown, I needed another fairy godmother to work on my face. Madge Lejano isn’t called the magician for nothing. When she was done with me, I could barely recognize the girl in the mirror.
My entourage wore lovely lavender dresses. My maids of honor looked like nymphs with wreaths of flowers in their hair.
Don and his boys were dashing in their Barong Tagalog.
Don and I wanted an intimate ceremony with just our family and closest friends. We chose St. Francis Of Assisi.
The nature-themed chapel was decked out with a pretty garden aisle and white lampposts by Scenta Flora.
And in true fairytale fashion, I rode a horse-drawn carriage.
When I stepped into the chapel, rose petals fluttered down and I couldn’t help but burst into tears when I saw Don. He was beaming with joy while trying to hold back his own tears.
Everything felt so perfect, it was almost surreal.
After the ceremony, our guests wrote down their wishes for us on sky lanterns. It was breathtaking to see the delicate paper lanterns floating lazily into the night sky with nothing but fire to guide their course to the stars.
To pull off our dream wedding, we had to have a reception venue that could bring to life our midsummer night’s dream theme. When we saw Fernwood Gardens, we knew it would be perfect for what we had in mind.
Fernwood is naturally lovely, but in the hands of our stylist, fairy godmother #3 Beth Amat of Eve and Co. with the help of our lights supplier, Sensitivity Lights and Sounds, it looked magical and otherworldly.
The lush foliage, the twinkling faerie lights, the candle-lit tables adorned with assorted flowers, the crystals hanging down the tree branches of our centerpieces, and the swans gliding across the pond – it looked exactly like the enchanted forest of my dreams.
Sweet music played by our band, Serene8, enhanced the dreamy and romantic atmosphere. To quote one of our guests, “I was fighting the urge to crane my neck upwards expecting fairies to pop up any minute and join the celebration.”
Our gorgeous three-layer fondant cake, with cascading sugar flowers and icing embroidery, was made by The Cake Artist, Judy Uson.
After a sumptuous feast prepared by our caterer, Centertable, Don and I started the festivities with a choreographed dance number. For our song we chose A Love Story Meets Viva La Vida arranged by Jon Schmidt. Despite having two left feet, Don and I danced and twirled around our eight-paneled glass dance floor.
At the end of our dance, sparklers lit up the dance floor as Don lifted me up in the air.
And as we kissed, time seemed to stop. Everything else faded into the music and the world was only he and I.
If our ceremony was intimate and solemn, our reception a sentimental affair (what with all the emotional speeches of our parents and friends), then our after party was nothing short of merry and high-spirited.
With flowing drinks from Flair-Up, our mobile bar, and lively songs by our band, our family and friends trooped to the dance floor and danced the night away (some, including me, already barefoot).
My super cool mother-in-law showing the kids how it’s done.
Flawlessly tying together all the details and execution of our wedding was another fairy godmother, our coordinator Kutchie Zaldarriaga and her team.
To capture the nights’ events, we had the kickass Metro Photo team andThreelogy, who gave us our super awesome onsite AVP.
I didn’t want the night to end. It was the culmination of everything Don and I went through to get where we are now. Our journey had been long and arduous. The odds were stacked against us and everyone thought we were crazy when we got together. Our relationship demanded so many sacrifices and required all the faith we could muster. But we fought for this, fought for each other. So when we exchanged vows on that beautiful summer evening, it was more than just having a dream wedding. It was a testament to love’s enduring power and greatness.
1. Prioritize. Most of us work within a wedding budget. List down the most important elements of your wedding and work your way down the list. Have an open mind and be prepared to compromise to avoid stress and arguments.
2. Get feedback/insights from other brides. There’s a wonderful community of brides out there (W@W) and these lovely girls will help and support you all throughout your wedding planning. Though I wasn’t really an active poster, I found most of my wonderful suppliers through this community and I got tons of advice on how to negotiate/haggle for prices/rates.
3. Make a wedding website. It adds a personal touch to your wedding. Since practically everyone is on the net, it really is a great way to connect to your guests. Through your wedsite, it becomes easier to share all the details and information about your wedding. You can also upload pictures, chronicle your love story and even track your guests through an online RSVP. There are also wedding websites that include wedding planning tools such as checklists, a guest list manager and a budget calculator. Best of all, it’s free! Our wedsite: http://www.weddingwire.com/donandchel
Special thanks to: