Sarah & Rocky's prose & poetry wedding with a soul

April 13 2011 | offbeatbride

What is a sweeter story than a couple writing their first book together? Day 3 of Library Week features authors, charities, and lots of poetry. – Becca

Photos by Bobby de los Santos, Red Fox Photography

The offbeat bride: Sarah

Her offbeat partner: Rocky

Location & date of wedding: Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Crossroad 77, Quezon City, Philippines — January 21, 2011

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was a Prose & Poetry-themed wedding cum book launch cum fundraising project.

My husband and I launched our first co-authored book with Central Books Publishing entitled "Under the January Moon." We gave the books to our guests as souvenirs. At the same time, the guests were encouraged to buy a book for a friend and the whole amount goes to two institutions here in our country that focus on the development of children in depressed communities: one is SAGIP (Sagipin ang Galing, Isip at Pangrap), a child & youth development program of Gawad Kalinga (means "to give care"), and the other one is Santa Maria Eufrasia Daycare Center, a school in the mountains of Sariaya, Quezon, practicing the Waldorf teaching method. Donations were made under the name of the donor guest. This advocacy angle of our wedding was our way of doing our share in making the world a little bit brighter for children. It's our lifetime commitment to love not just each other but those who are in need.

We wanted to stay true to our Prose and Poetry theme. We wanted it to be present even in the smallest of details. Here's the list of how it was executed:

  1. Escort cards handed to each guest at the reception were in the form of library cards.
  2. Guest tables were named after our favorite prose and poetry writers.
  3. Old hardbound books were incorporated in the table centerpiece. A long-stemmed rose was placed on top of every book. The cake table was also surrounded with vintage-looking books.
  4. Every seat/every guest had a sample of that particular writer's works. Each and every guest got a unique piece. None of them got the same prose and poetry piece. Prose tables had damask-designed postcards with relevant and favorite lines from the writer's books. Virginia Woolf's novels for the Virginia Woolf table) PPoetry tables had parchment paper scrolls with the writer's poems. (e.g. Robert Frost on the Robert Frost table )
  5. Upon entrance to the reception hall, guests were welcomed by an exhibit of our prenuptial pictures with books as props with captions borrowed from different literature pieces.
  6. Reception area was adorned with prose and poetry boards mounted in easel standees.
  7. White drapes at the stage area had calligraphy of the words from one of the poems that I wrote.
  8. On the insides of the pages of the book we wrote together and gave as favors, we wrote our text messages, email correspondences and conversations. Scattered inside the book are artworks by the groom's mom and the bride's uncle that serendipitously complemented the pieces that the couple wrote.
  9. We had a poetry reading of Pablo Neruda's "If You Forget Me" by Bart Guingona, a theater and TV actor and also the groom's family friend.

Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony is always the most important part in a Filipino wedding. Philippines, being the only Christian country in Asia, is a country known for people who are very religious and who practice a lot of religious traditions. My husband and I met in a church group and we share the same strong faith. No wonder we put so much effort in our ceremony.

Our Misalet (a booklet containing the whole program of the mass or Eucharistic Celebration) also had a touch of our theme. It started with a page of poetry. Our Second Reading was a prose interpretation of the famous love reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians as we wanted to veer away from the same old "Love is patient. Love is kind…" lines without losing its essence.

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was when family members got involved in some of our plans and decisions in ways that created a conflict between us and what they wanted. Our color motif was made of black, champagne and burgundy. Some family members had a belief that the color black wouldn't bring good luck. We were able to overcome almost all the challenges through a heart-to-heart talk with involved individuals.

Some meaningful moments at our wedding:

  1. Jim Paredes of the APO Hiking Society (a popular music group in the Philippines) serenaded the audience with the APO hit song, "Panalangin" (a love song, means "Prayer").
  2. The Blue Symphony, an orchestra from Sarah's university played a Beatles medley and a Michael Jackson medley.
  3. The bride's girl friends since grade school days sang "At Your Side" by The Corrs. Apparently, all nine girls could equally sing well!

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? My day-of-coordinator got pregnant and had to be on bed rest! I thought not having her on the day of the wedding would be very problematic. Good thing, her very new team turned out to be very efficient, wise, and hardworking!

My advice for offbeat brides: You are not required to have a theme, but a theme helps a lot because it narrowed down the gazillion, scattered ideas we had for the wedding. When both of you are passionate about the theme, your creative juices simply flow and you enjoy planning the details. Wedding preparations should be enjoyable and not like something that you're just forced to do.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? A wedding is an extension of yourselves. I've learned that what makes a wedding very warm, personal, and special is when the guests get an intimate knowledge and understanding of the couple just by attending their wedding.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

Library week is an Offbeat Empire event! Check out the posts on Offbeat Mama and Offbeat Home too.

    • Thank you so much, Chrissy! We both know for sure that weddings are big in the Philippines. I highly recommend the country as a wedding and honeymoon destination =)

      Thank you for sharing our wedding with your readers, Becca! It’s a pleasure to show the world a taste of Filipino weddings =)

    • This same Church baptized me also 28 years ago that's why it's very meaningful to me and that's why we chose it as our wedding Church =)

  1. your dress is FANTASTIC! I love everything about your wedding. The culture, the literary elements, the love thats so obvious in the pictures. Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration 🙂

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  2. Incredible! LOVE the dress, and the bridesmaid's dresses! It's so nice to see a filipino wedding – I'm thinking about incorporating some of my filipino heritage into the wedding, but not too sure how. Gorgeous.

  3. This is just gorgeous! As a fellow writer, I LOVE all your literary decorations and centrepieces! Aw, and HUGE congratulations to you and your hubby on getting your book published- what an awesome achievement! 😀

  4. Filipinos, represent!!! Yayyy!! So glad to finally see a Filipino wedding featured on here. I love the bridesmaid dresses and how they all look different but still fit the overall theme. Sarah — you are breathtaking! <3

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  5. Wow, what a gorgeous couple! And your church and decor are very nearly as gorgeous. Kudos for being true to your culture and faith while also being true to yourselves!

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  6. Dear All,

    Thank you so much for appreciating our wedding! Receiving heartwarming comments and "likes" from people we haven't met is really overwhelming. We really enjoyed making our wedding our first personal project as a couple. And it's just awesome how many people appreciate the written word as much as we do. The beauty of words is indeed something universal.

    Our gratitude also goes out to our fellow Filipinos who share our love for our culture, heritage and faith. Much of the soul of our wedding comes from our being Filipino.

    We'd be glad to share with you, Offbeat Bride readers, intricate ideas/details of our wedding that may be of interest to you.

    Thank you. Our first book, our wedding and our marriage is our testament to love and to our God.

    Sincerely,
    Rocky+Sarah

    1 agrees
  7. Woot! Pinoy wedding!

    Wow, never underestimate how powerful it can be to see your culture represented in an unexpected place. Really moving.

    Also, kudos all the lovely literary touches AND for co-writing a book! To be able to collaborate creatively like that speaks volumes (hahah, yokyoklang!) about the love and trust between you two. Congratulations, y'all!

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