Wedding Planning #1

It’s that time of the year again when a lot of people seem to be getting married. I don’t know what it is about June that precipitates this. (I know I could find a quick explanation from Google, but I really wanna finish this blog now.) My wife and I, after several conversations with friends and other young couples about to get married, have been happy to remember our own wedding preparation process which started exactly 3 years ago.

So we thought we’d share our experience through our blogs in case they could be of service to others. Just a quick disclaimer: this is just our story. You’ll have your own. As we learned along the way, getting advice from others is helpful, but at the end of the day it’s your story that you’ll make together. So don’t copy foolishly or comply slavishly.

I still remember the day after the proposal. We were talking, still on a high, and I asked, “So what kind of wedding did you have in mind?” She said, “I really don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.” I was surprised since the stereotype states that women from the time they’re little girls plan out their weddings in detail. Since then, I’ve seen that stereotype match very little reality.

Some of the people who were with us the next day. Eric, Donita, and Pinky acted along with the deception to fool Carla. David, my brother, helped set up the entire scene. Thanks guys! And lots of other people helped with the set-up the day before too.

But I didn’t know that yet. I thought I’d be handed a set of plans, which I’d be expected to finance and execute. My bad. We would have to do this from scratch. What followed would be our test run at working on things together that we still look back on with much fondness and has served as a foundation for our married life. In the next few blogs, we’ll share a little bit about the advice we heard that helped.

Set objectives

The first thing we did together was set objectives for the wedding. There were always gonna be great ideas so we needed objectives to set direction filter everything. Beach wedding, ballroom, or garden? All Filipino food or variety? Casual feel or solemn? WWE-style entrances or NBA? (I actually have two friends who wanted this.) Our objectives would serve as our criteria by which other options would be weighed. Objectives mean if the wedding accomplished nothing but these things, then we’d be thrilled. For us those three were:

1. Honor God.

We wanted a wedding that people would walk away from saying, “Man, God is a good God.” We didn’t care so much if people didn’t notice the food, dress, decor, our vows, etc. But we wanted it to honor God. We also didn’t want people to walk away from the wedding speculating on how much it cost and that kind of thing. Now, we’ve been to beautiful weddings like that, which we both enjoyed. So that’s their story, but this was ours.

This affected the way we planned the wedding. We were demand excellence from each other and the people we worked with, but not to the point that we dishonored God in the process. This included treating suppliers and vendors with respect. No bride or groom zilla-ing would be tolerated. This also meant having integrity in financial matters. If there were shortcuts that could be taken, but would leave a bad impression on others, then it wasn’t worth it. A wedding is only a day long at the most; other things are more important.

This doesn’t mean we didn’t negotiate. But I’ll explain that more in another blog. This also doesn’t mean we were faultless the whole time. Plenty of mistakes were made along the way; apologies were necessary with vendors and each other. And we knew that what would honor God would be to go humbly before the person and ask for forgiveness. That story will be in the next blog. 😉

Pastor Paolo and Jen (not pictured) Punzalan, Dan and Iris Monterde - the veteran presence in this rookie team!

2. Tell our story.

An actress marrying a pastor is admittedly pretty weird (at the time, maybe it isn’t so much anymore and maybe it’ll be commonplace in the future, who knows). So we wanted to include people in the process of how we met, became friends, fell in love, etc. This helped us decide between many good and beautiful options of the current wedding industry. Was it beautiful? Was it uso? Was it definitely gonna be a hit? Maybe. But was it us? That was the question.

I love seeing that in many weddings lately. Couples including their own unique personalities either in changing the ceremony or reception, in their videos, decor, or vows that no one but that couple could pull off, etc. The people who are close to you will know that that’s really your personality. And the people who maybe don’t know you that well will appreciate being let into a more personal side of your relationship. Let your personalities shine! Your guests came to see you, not Kate and Prince William.


3. Something we’d enjoy

This was connected to the previous point. While we wanted something for our friends and family to enjoy, we wanted to enjoy it too! Some very wise couples advised us about this early on in the process. This helped guard us against this drive to perform for our guests. No one wants an unsettled bride and groom. This also allowed us to cut out some parts of the program that weren’t so crucial to us.

At the end of the day, someone told me, when you leave that place and you’re married to the love of your life, that’s a successful wedding. It can get rained out, the videos don’t work, people mess up their lines, vendor concerns, etc, but you can go with it because you’re marrying the person God intended for you. We had quite a number of glitches that day, but it just makes for a more enjoyable story now.

Well, hope this is helpful for anyone planning any weddings soon. And if you’re not, bookmark it and come back to it when it’s applicable. Hopefully it’s helpful then. 😉

Left: Roger, our former (and sometimes) driver - indispensable in the planning; Teena Barretto, the wedding specialist - great coordinator and friend; Right: Teena and I about to start having a friendly heated discussion. Haha
Join the discussion

  • nice! thank you for sharing your story! hm, maybe i’ll blog about ours also, er, someday when i can squeeze in a little blogging time in between juggling two under-twos!

    “vows that no one but that couple could pull off” — hehe, so true! gabe’s vows suddenly came to mind… in a cream / white suit, and down on one knee <3

  • I was a witness from start to finish on how God was honored through every step of your relationship. You were both very careful to stay accountable in everything you did…except maybe for the time u had to pry your eyes off of Rica walking across the pool in a bathing suit. Bwhahahahaha! I was laughing with Eric from a distance on how obviously smitten you were by her before you even started courting her! Kilig!!! You guys are one of my greatest examples on how God honors a marriage through faithfulness! Eric and I love you not hand rejoice in your 3rd anniversary. We also just celebrated 9 beautiful years last June 9th! God is so good, isn’t he?

    • Hahahaha!!! Yeah, your renewal of vows was beautiful – simple, sweet, and we loved that we all got to stay in one place. And thanks for giving us moments to be together. Haha! Belated happy anniversary! God really is good. Hope you guys are doing well over there and we hope we get to visit you soon. Before JP gets too big! Hi to Eric and JP

  • Hi,
    Me and my husband got married long time ago we live together for maybe less than 5 years.I wnet abroad as OFW.Long story short until now we are separated but after i recieve Christ in my life when i came to America that is about 7 years ago.I reconnected with my husband we talked,we fight,we chat online we fight and still sharing God’s words we talk over the phone and still have some issues.deep in my heart i wanted to go home and make things right.

    The desire of my heart s to obey God’s words and i would really appreciate if you can give me some advice of course i need prayers too.

    Regina Galasa from San francisco Victory church of the Bay area.

    • Oh, I appreciate you sharing that. I think being part of a spiritual community like that is a good start. Are there people there that you can talk with who can help you with your faith?

  • wow!!! getting married to the one you love and to the one God prepared for you is one of the most amazing things that happened in your life..we also celebrated our 2nd anniversary with my husband last may 19 & God is surely good & faithful in our married life..God bless you Ptr. Joe & Carla..

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