So everything was ready for the big day. The gowns have been fitted, the invitations sent out. Nothing more to do but worry about the things that could go wrong.
We had decided to get married at Tito Billy Abueva's residence. In his gardens, he built a Temple for the Child Jesus and filled it with sculptural interpretations of biblical persons and events. He made floor upon floor of artworks and statues. Indeed, it was the perfect setting for our wedding.
A few days before the wedding, the priest who would marry us, a close family friend of DH asked if we had secured permission from the Catholic Church to have a garden wedding. Now being first-timers in this wedding thing, it didn't occur to any of us that we had to secure permits for the venue. Apparently, the Catholic Church has banned weddings outside the church. You needed special dispensation from the Bishop if you wanted a garden or a beach wedding. It was too late to get that, not to mention difficult.
We tried to talk to the parish priest of the subdivision if we could have the wedding at his church and then move to Tito Billy's house for the reception. But he was so put out about not being part of the original plan that he absolutely refused our request. And oh, there were those usual reasons like posting of the bans and marriage counseling sessions that we were supposed to undertake with him but didn't.
Some people confess to experiencing wedding jitters. I would admit to complete numbness. I knew I was really out of it when this piece of news didn't even make me panic. That was a big wrench to throw in the works don't you think? We can't change the venue, all the preparations have been made. And this close to the wedding, what alternatives did we have?
Our priest, Fr. Ben, was parish priest of Smokey Mountain and he came up with the perfect solution. He invited us to marry in his church the day before the wedding was supposed to happen. And so it was that on September 27, DH and I, together with his closest friends found ourselves in a classroom-like chapel in Tondo. We got married during the youth mass so our witnesses were the young people of Smokey Mountain. One young girl sang with the most angelic voice, backed by the church's combo. The choir was composed of a band complete with drums and electric guitars. Parang bandang pang-fiesta.
At the end of the rites, Fr. Ben reminded us to love and care for each other. That we shouldn't forget our commitment to each other, most especially to our community. And to forever remind us of our obligations to the community, he requested, the band, errr, the choir and the congregation to sing Bayan Ko. I almost burst out laughing despite the solemnity of the occasion. The only time I had ever sang Bayan Ko was during rallies pre-EDSA revolution. It was all it took not to raise my clenched fists while we sang the song. "Ibon mang may layang lumipad...." Well, obviously, this bird has been caught and caged.
He then introduced us to the congregation as Mr. and Mrs. DH's Surname. And just that like that, in a matter of a few minutes, after a lifetime of being, I stopped being Ms. Myself and became Mrs. DH's Surname. September 27, 1997. That's the official date of marriage on the marriage certificate.
But there's no time to mourn, still alot to do for the wedding celebrations with family, friends and guests the next day.