Canceling or postponing a wedding, no matter how horrific and pamahiin-filled a concept, does happen. It can be because of a family emergency, an inclement weather, an illness, or a pandemic like the coronavirus. These days, it's becoming an unavoidable "trend" in the wedding industry, with these erstwhile excited couples aptly rescheduling their ceremonies for everyone's immediate safety.
It was, however, not an idea that crossed this young couple's minds.
Meet Chari Trinidad and Marvin Mendoza, who, after moving their wedding thrice, managed to exchange their "I dos" online.
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Chari and Marvin were supposed to tie the knot last March 22 at Antonio’s in Tagaytay. "The dream was a beautiful, romantic, intimate wedding... A sweet escape not too far from Manila for the convenience of our loved ones," Chari tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle.
However, the couple had to change their plans following the Taal Volcano eruption last January 12. (The phreatic eruption left Tagaytay and nearby regions in Luzon covered in ash, suspending many operations in the affected areas.)
"My mom kept nagging me to have a backup plan because she said, when Pinatubo erupted, the recovery took months," continues Chari.
The couple then moved their church wedding and reception to Metro Manila instead. About two months later, the two faced yet another snag: The coronavirus, then already forcing countries including the Philippines to follow strict lockdowns and social distancing protocols.
"During that time, the stress was beyond words... and we were two weeks into our wedding!" Chari recalls.
The two would resort to planning a last minute civil wedding just before the community quarantine. To their dismay, they failed to pull it off as nobody could accommodate them.
It was clear they had to postpone and move the church wedding to a later date this year.
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But not knowing when things would go back to normal, the couple felt like looking for other ways to push through with the wedding as soon as possible. They knew that "if we were to live together (during the quarantine), at least our relationship has already been blessed by God."
Chari adds, "Marvin incessantly looked for ways to at least get a priest’s blessing, which for us meant more than the civil because it’s a commitment with God."
On March 27, few days after their supposed church wedding, Chari and Marvin finally got the ball rolling. They approached Fr. Serg Kabamalan to officiate their wedding, yes, online. The couple invited their immediate families over at home but, as Chari details, "with everyone observing social distancing, of course."
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Chari says it was an experience that finally brought them a satisfying peace of mind, while already battling the anxiety-induced crisis together. She hopes that they can eventually follow the virtual blessing with a civil union. "We are very grateful for this chance to already turn a new leaf and celebrate our lives together with a quarantime kind of honeymoon."
She adds, "Despite all the wedding disruptions we had to deal with, I’m very grateful that we're a couple who's calm through every storm. All these wedding disruptions may symbolize all the problems that will come our way and the solution being, not to nag at each other, but to address and to see the problem as a problem that’s beyond us—never between us."
Weddings in the middle of a pandemic? For Chari and Marvin, it still can happen as long as you keep the faith—in every sense of the word.
"Thrice our wedding got hit, didn’t expect that this would mean we would get married thrice, too. As they say it, third time's the charm," Chari sighs. "It is true that God’s plans are always better than the plans we set for ourselves. We are each other’s answered prayers, and with God’s perfect timing, He makes it happen in the most beautiful of ways."
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Photos from Chari Trinidad-Mendoza