How did COVID affect your wedding?

It made budgeting a puzzle because we didn’t know how much we should spend on a pandemic micro-wedding, knowing that we might potentially want to still throw a bigger celebration later. So, instead of one big wedding, we were faced with the possibility of paying for two weddings: the COVID micro-version and a “normal” one after. The hardest part for us logistically was trying to determine what kind of wedding to throw in the meantime, and relatedly, how much to spend on what now versus later. In the end, we chose an affordable venue for the COVID micro-wedding, a beautiful patio restaurant that came built in with dinner service. On an emotional piece, it was heart-wrenching not being able to celebrate with our friends and family in person.

All that said, however, the simplified wedding was also a blessing in disguise because it allowed us to focus on the elements that really matter—preparing ourselves in heart and mind for the day, and enjoying time with our friends and family in a more intimate setting, since there were only around 20 guests overall, as opposed to 100+!

Was there anything you knew you wanted for the day?

There were so many things I wanted for the day that went completely out of the window with COVID! I was really keen on having a large bridal party and doing all the bridesmaid activities like getting ready together and a dress reveal. In the end, I only had one in-person bridesmaid, and then Facetimed close girlfriends for various parts of the day. We also Zoomed in friends and family from four different timezones: Asia, Manila, California and New York. That wouldn’t have been a thing pre-COVID, and so I was glad to have that memory to share with our international community!

How would you describe the ceremony?

Our officiant was a pastor from the church we attend, and he incorporated our faith journeys into his message, which made the ceremony feel more personal to us. We also added traditional Filipino wedding elements where family members present the couple with a veil , cord and unity candle. In the Filipino ceremony tradition, the veil symbolizes faithfulness, the cord stands for strength in unity and the candles represent two families coming together. These personal touches were important in reflecting who we are and the faith and family traditions that rooted us.

Any memorable moments?

Our reception was the best! Our venue went above and beyond with dinner service. Our guests were all raving about the food. We didn’t have much planned for the reception given the micro-wedding nature of it, but we ended up having an impromptu first dance, and the groom and the best man surprised us with a choreographed number of their own! We also played the shoe game (emcee’d by one of the guests!) which was a hit.

What was your favorite detail from the day?

I actually really loved our cake. It was a citrus olive oil cake with sweet mascarpone, mandarine orange curd and honey Italian buttercream. I would eat that cake everyday if I could!

How do you think your guests will remember your wedding?

Many of our guests commented on how much they enjoyed the day because of how simple, but beautiful, and intimate it was. We actually had time to talk to everyone, which wouldn’t have been the case with a large wedding.

P.S. Charlotte + Mark had a fun post-wedding photo shoot in Apple Hill! See it here!