Quarantine Chronicles: Wedding Cancelled?
My church wedding had been cancelled. Think I needed to blog about this because I still haven’t processed my thoughts, and to be honest, I don’t even know how exactly I should feel at the moment. But I have been seeing many soon-to-wed couples expressing their sorrow about either moving their wedding to 2021 or cancelling it altogether. So maybe I need this in order to help both myself and perhaps others who are in the same boat. First, let me organize this entry with an outline:
If you’ve been a follower or reader of this blog, you probably know that my husband and I got married in 2017. It was an intimate ceremony (officiated by a pastor) that was followed by a lovely dinner. Wonderful vendors, good food, great company. Oh, we had bloopers, but my husband and I loved this wedding so much. Being introverts, this was our dream wedding come true. This happiness reflected well in the photos.
There were a couple of problems, though. My husband’s parents couldn’t attend (dad-in-law was in Europe, mom-in-law scheduled a hospital visit), so Uncle Let (DIL’s brother) stood as proxy. They also requested that we undergo a Catholic ceremony. I guess, part of us also wanted to share the moment with close friends and relatives, so we weren’t completely averse to the idea of planning a bigger wedding.
Now, looking for venues in Tagaytay (which was close to one of my parents’ houses, and also close to my in-laws’ house in Calamba) is a very romantic activity. I really did enjoy checking picturesque places, and doing wedding budgets for friends actually allowed me to find places I’ve never even heard about. What isn’t romantic is the part where you contact multiple vendors and do transactions. (An introvert’s nightmare!!!) Don’t get me wrong, we love the people we chose. But I don’t even like opening up my FB Messenger! ? I normally don’t even like contacting suppliers that don’t already list their prices. (I actually have no problems contacting restaurants with food I crave for because that’s a one-time thing…not multiple restaurants at the same time.)
If contacting multiple people at the same time isn’t stressful enough, let us talk about the guest list. LIKE HELL. I’d rather not go through this again. It was drama after drama after drama, then poof! Two hundred guests! ? I found myself longing for my 2017 wedding that was super chill and fun. I mean, I’d loooove to share the day with my family and friends, I really really do. But husband and I prefer meeting a few people at a time. Not like this. ?
The Financial and Emotional Trauma
Most people plan their weddings two years in advance. That means, they’d be setting aside money and holding back on expenses. Want a new gaming laptop? HAH. Forget it. We even sold the Nintendo Switch that my husband won from his company Christmas party. But hubby and I also found ourselves wanting to buy a place of our own, which made us a bit resentful that we were holding back. This desire was even made worse when an incident happened: we thought that the condo we were renting was gonna burn down.
Anyone who has been in our shoes would probably know how it feels to have 2 years of wedding savings go down the drain. Well, I actually don’t know what to feel yet, haha. I only know that that money could have gone to our monthly amortization. (Yes, we ended up putting downpayment on our current condo in September 2019, seven months before our church wedding. Thanks to obsessive budgeting, we managed to secure the amount we needed to fund the event completely, and we were able to make arrangements for the condo. BUT OMG, things were really really tight.)
I think I feel out of it because I had gone through this scare already during the time Taal went berserk. Every night I prayed that it would be over soon, while at the same time we’d be looking for alternative places in Bulacan and up North. And then it was over, yey. Then the pandemic arrived, wah. And unlike the Taal tragedy, where people could evacuate elsewhere, COVID-19 guaranteed that no place in the country would be safe. I had barely enough time to catch my breath about one disaster when another one arrived. Quarantine was announced three weeks before our event. THREE FRIGGIN’ WEEKS.
Our venue was gracious enough to offer we move the date for free. Bless them! ? So we moved it to July 3, 2020, our 99th monthsary as bf/gf. This still didn’t completely sit well with me because I was so hung up over celebrating during our actual anniversary. April 3, 2020 was our 3rd wedding anniversary, and our 8th bf/gf anniversary. And it was a paaaaaain having to contact ALL the vendors to inform them of the reschedule. A few showed lack of sympathy (“hindi na po kayo pwede mag reschedule ulit pagkatapos nito ha,” just to repeat what one of them told me), but thankfully most of our vendors were commiserating. I worried about their business as well.
It has now been roughly two months since quarantine started, and it was becoming pretty clear that this pandemic would be staying for quite some time. Husband and I talked for a bit and made a final decision. We sent out this message to our guests.
Heaven-Sent Wedding Vendors
We posted the above message after talking with our venue about cancelling. As of this moment, they’re still drafting a proposal that would be amenable to us and other couples. ?
I absolutely have no desire to revisit our guest list, which we had been cramming even right before quarantine was announced. So no, I don’t want to plan another big wedding. It really isn’t us. But because we’ve cancelled the event completely, I’m now back to my spreadsheet, doing the thing I hate most: informing all the vendors. AGAIN. This is even harder than telling them that the date has been moved, because it means that some of them will not be receiving any more money from us…at a time when everyone needed money the most. The wedding industry is one of those that have been hit the hardest by this pandemic. I feel for the vendors we’ve let go (though some of them didn’t/couldn’t respond anymore).
We’ve kept the photo (Quirky Creatives, same team who handled our original wedding), video (Cupcake Cinema), coordination (Hello Diaries), and makeup (REAL Makeup Artistry) services because we know we can avail of them for many other future occasions, not just weddings. Once we’re done with our projects, I could blog about them separately.
Let’s talk about the ones we’ve asked alternative services from:
Kroo Meals – I booked them for the entourage and the vendors’ lunch meal. I didn’t want to waste the downpayment, so I asked for them to use it by sending food to medical frontliners instead. The closest to them is Tagaytay Medical City.
Hartie’s Kitchen – Found her on FB because there was a cake design that I loved from her portfolio. I was really excited about the cake, and we’ve even had a cake stand customized from one of my favorite wood workers, so I didn’t want to just cancel this. In lieu of the now-cancelled wedding cake, we requested for an inspirational cake, which will be sent on July 3. I will update this post when it arrives.
Casa Grande Flora – Before the pandemic, they offered complete and reasonable packages that include the chapel, accommodations, reception area, food, and styling. They have been such lovely lovely people. Super looking forward to their proposal/alternate service.
Handmade Blooms by Joy – Already finished my bouquet, actually, so she’s sending it over in a box that will preserve it. For the rest of the downpayment, she will be making bloom boxes for both my mother and my mother-in-law, which we will be sending on their respective birthdays. I love love love her works, especially her sunflowers and gumamela replicas.
Dexact Photo & Graphic Services – They delivered all the invitations (limited, because we only wanted to print for the principal sponsors in order to save trees) and preliminary stickers we needed before the quarantine. The products were of superb quality.
Shopee Sellers: Misolas Trading and MarcDee’s Creative Minds – Talk about photo finish! Misolas Trading supplied us with 200 abaniko fans (from Albay!!!), which arrived exactly on Day 1 of the quarantine. MarcDee’s already printed the stickers that will be used on the favors, but Shopee cancelled due to COVID-19. I wanted to ask them if they can still send the stickers, but good thing they contacted me again. I didn’t want to change the dates on those stickers. I also still want to give those favors away to our guests if they want.
Just that we should have had an intimate Catholic ceremony in 2019 in Casa Grande Flora, and then have the after-party when we’ve returned to Metro Manila. My in-laws and my sister, who is now in Australia, would have been home, not waiting out the pandemic where they currently are. We could have just shown the SDE, post-nup photo slideshow etc. during a program-less dinner. (Where we wouldn’t have had seating arrangements because we don’t want to think about who shouldn’t be seated with whom, or whoever is love/business rivals with whom. Balakayojan.)
A small part of me is relieved that the event is cancelled. What initially was a simple plan ballooned to monstrous proportions. As a project manager, one of the things I insanely hated was scope creep. So if features were not going according to plan, and if those features were blowing our budget out of the water, some form of resentment would bubble up inside me. This was not how I wanted to celebrate our anniversary, feeling like it was something we just needed to get over and done with. Like a tiresome project that had overextended its release date.
This pandemic forced us to evaluate the most important part of our lives: that our marriage should always be first and foremost and it can be celebrated whichever way we wanted. A grand celebration was not a reflection of who we are. In fact, it is completely the OPPOSITE of who we are.
Another part of me is thankful that we had already been married. I cannot imagine what it’s like for couples who have had to postpone their marriage, and now we’re in this quarantine where lovers are forced to sustain long distance relationships. (Sending virtual hugs to all of you who are in this situation. Kapit lang, mga besh!) Being legally married also provides couples with protection. I cannot emphasize this enough. I remember many instances where I had been grateful, one of them being given an extension Maxicare card by my husband’s company (at a time when I was still not eligible for my own organizations’ health benefits).
As for the money we’ve already spent on the wedding that will no longer be used, I have to chalk this up to sunk costs and find a way to move forward. Though I have to admit that it’s pretty hard to think about, let alone do, during this pandemic. On the bright side, we still have the remaining balances on hand, so this should help tide us over in case one of us becomes unemployed. (I’m actually due for a salary freeze, and will be relying solely on hubby’s income when that time comes.)
By the way, hubby and I created an app invitation for this event. We bonded over this because this is the first project together that we actually FINISHED. ? The first time we met was when we were working on a port of Dream Chronicles, and that was cancelled. We weren’t able to use the app, but if you’re interested in checking it out, you can find it here.
Btw, the Jojo & Matet illustration was done by Sao Menguito.