Thursday, June 02, 2005
My brother's wedding (aka If Looks Could Kill...)
posting is going to be very long, so you might want to settle in with a
cup of java and some pastry, or a glass of red and some good cheese.
wedding... I owe my friends photos of the occasion... unfurtunately I
don't have any yet. DJ (Gerard's wife) is currently going through all
the shots the photographer took and will make final decisions later. I
can't wait to see that photo album!
Anyway, as the wedding fell
on Mother's Day, Rob, Sheila and I had brunch with Mom at the lobby of
the Peninsula Hotel, where we were all billeted for the night. Gerard
was still asleep (reasoning: "it's my wedding day, I'll wake up
whenever I want"). The Pen prepared one hell of a buffet! Breakfast
favorites, salads, beef and lamb, seafood, an omelette station, a pasta
station, and desserts. I had a gown to fit into, so I skipped the more
fattening delights, but Rob with his tireless and speedy metabolism,
enjoyed himself. My mom limited herself to the salad and pasta (when
she isn't sure of what's in the prepared food, she visits the pasta
station by default). The carbs in the pasta kept her relatively calm
for the stress of the storm to follow. (Yes, I'm exaggerating... I do
get a bit dramatic sometimes... not as dramatic as some of my other
friends, but that's another posting for another time.)
on with the more mundane details of the day: make-up, hairstyles,
Gerard finally getting out of bed... the hairdresser trimmed and styled
Rob's hair, then headed upstairs to take care of DJ, and then back
downstairs to groom Gerard... my mom and I were handled by another hair
and make-up person... then we all dressed up and posed for preliminary
photos. Say cheese! My mom was still calm. She was beautiful in her
Inno Sotto gown of different shades of blue chiffon, the shades getting
lighter from her shoulders to her ankles. It made her look gorgeous,
which was the effect she was after ("Gusto kong magmukhang reyna"). I
had a Rajo Laurel gown of baby blue with a lace top, something to match
the groomsmen's barongs. Of course, I was my brother's best man so I
needed to look my best. I was also responsible for carrying the wedding
bands (white gold of two textures: matte and shiny, thanks to Ding
Velayo) as well as Kleenex and pressed powder. I can't be having a
shiny nose in the wedding photos!
6 PM comes around, and we're
off to the Sanctuario de San Antonio Church in Forbes Park, Makati.
Gerard and DJ were able to secure the venue because one of their
ninongs is a Forbes resident, DJ's one and only violin teacher, Prof.
Basilio "Billy" Manalo. He was the man to whom DJ's own father left her
for her tuition. Her skills are owed to this man, and she loves him
very much. She was the only person he smiled at the whole night.
remained at the hotel for her solo pictures to be taken, while Gerard,
Mom, I, Aurora Go (one of the ninangs), Sheila and Rob are at the
church waiting for the ceremony to begin. Sanctuario's last Sunday mass
was scheduled to end at around 7-ish, so all we could do was wait in
the heat and humidity. Not make-up-friendly weather, unfortunately.
Thank goodness the make-up artistes had the foresight to use waterproof
everything, and I was armed with tissue paper and pressed powder in my
purse. One by one, relatives and friends were arriving, waiting along
with us in their finest wedding attire. Then my father arrives... my
mom upon hearing of this immediately and quickly darts into the
church... and not too subtlely either. Subtlety isn't one of my mom's
finer qualities. Man, my dad was starting to look a little long in the
tooth, much more than usual. I let him know that my older brother
Charlie was downstairs with his family (including my adorable
5-year-old nephew who I met for the first time that day and immediately
fell in love with), so down he went. I just thought it was hilarious
for my mother to behave that way. Indifference is perhaps something she
just doesn't practice very well.
Anyway... the mass ends, and
all the regular churchgoers file out in a trickle that I was wishing
went a little more quickly. We all then went inside and hurriedly
starting taking our positions. I left my dad to one of the coordinators
(I didn't want to be bothered with him either, to be honest), said a
few quick hi's and hello's to friends and family, then took my place at
the back of the church along with my mother and Gerard, ninongs and
ninangs, secondary sponsors, flower girls, and the pageboys (ring
bearer, bible bearer and coin/arrhae bearer). My bouquet was handed to
me... and then, following a few last minute casting changes (some of
the ninongs couldn't arrive and proxies weren't assigned, so some
shuffling had to be done), the wedding began.
The page boys were
to walk first, then me (best man kasi, eh), then Gerard and Mom,
followed by Primary then Secondary Sponsors. Once the flower girls hit
the aisle, we knew that DJ, along with her mother and eldest brother,
would walk soon.
When the last flower girl disappeared, the
orchestra began playing the wedding march... it was a special piece of
music that Gerard wrote especially for this day, inspired by his
beautiful bride. At the wedding rehearsal two days before when it was
first played, there was not a dry eye in the whole church. My mother
broke down, the orchestra played with tears in their eyes, and DJ was
just a sobbing mess. The music was just so beautiful... you just knew
that the angels in heaven were whispering those notes to Gerard. I
don't know that it will ever be played again. I sure hope so; I want
that preserved on CD.
A few bars into the march, Gerard put his
arm on my shoulder, sort of leaning on me as he anxiously awaited the
arrival of DJ to the altar. He was, for the first time in a long time,
nervous. My brother normally has nerves of steel when it comes to
situations of great pressure and high stakes, but this was his wedding
day after all, the day when men of great sinew and nerve are turned to
mush. Happened to my own husband; it would happen to Gerard.
was beaming... the church doors flung open to reveal the silhouettes of
the bride and her family. All heads immediately turned to face the back
of the church. With every note and bar played, the bride was getting
closer and closer to her beloved, tears in her eyes from her very first
step to the very last. The groom, becoming increasing giddy and
emotional, began to shed tears of his own, while smiling his widest,
his arm over my shoulder. I would turn to him, then to her, and I could
see the love exchanged between then, the veil covering her face a minor
obstacle. If anything, it lent an almost fairy-tale mistiness, making
the view from each pair of eyes that much more romantic.
mass was celebrated by a close friend of the couple, Fr. Manoling
Francisco who was one of the priests concelebrating the mass at my own
wedding. Rob read the First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm. I was
very proud, considering that he isn't Catholic and thus not completely
familiar with the sequence of a mass. Archie Castillo, Gerard's friend
and Berklee College of Music connection, took care of the Second
Reading. Then the Madrigal Singers broke out into a resounding Alleluia
which lead to Fr. Manoling reading the gospel, then the homily. I've
been to masses where I found myself shutting down from bad church
speakers, poor enunciation (on the part of the celebrant), or a
combination of the two... but when Fr. Mano spoke that evening, all
ears were fixed and we all hung on to what he had to say.
homily at the mass was one of the most beautiful I've ever heard. He
likened Gerard and DJ's relationship to a simphony of three movements,
each movement mirroring aspects in the chronology of their love affair.
I can't remember the movements by name unfortunately, but I do remember
smiling at the description of each one. It was gorgeous.
(Next time: the ceremony itself... I need a break! This is long!)