The Day Certain


"A day certain is understood to be that which must necessarily come."

— Article 1193, Civil Code of the Philippines 

Even in 2013, I knew it would happen. I had no idea when, but it always seemed inevitable. 

How do I even begin to write about this? Well, I've been planning to write about the entire wedding preparation process for months (while I was actually knee-deep in it), but, as most of you will probably understand, ain't nobody got time for that. So instead, I'll just write as I please, with no structure, no chronology, and no forced timelines. Just how I feel and what I remember, at this moment, exactly one month later. Blurry, but vivid and bright.  

You can envision a moment a thousand times, but nothing will ever prepare you for the real thing. You can watch a dozen romcoms and sitcoms, and practice a hundred poses, but once you're there, only your purest, most spontaneous feelings will prevail. Ours was pure joy, relief, and laughter. I still can't believe it. 

Finally. I got married in my dream church with my first crush from my first semester in UP. Aaaaaah! 

“Love is so short, planning a wedding is so long.” (To borrow from Neruda.) Much of the myths about wedding planning revolve around putting emphasis on the magic, the miracle, and the spectacle of romance. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, after all, especially for something you are only doing once. (Ideally, and hopefully.) You expect everything to go perfectly, as if in the movies, with everything being a hyper-saturated palette of blush pinks and lavenders. But I found that the real trick is sustaining the wonder in the idea of just the two of you – filling up forms, driving to city halls, buying furniture – finding comfort in the mundane. It’s not the festivities that will sustain you, but the clarity of the simple fact that at the end of that day, it will just be you and him.

There’s a reason why there weren’t a lot of tears shed on our wedding. We were certainly teasing each other about crying in all the months leading up to it. But deep down, I think we both knew, that while we are both quite prone to tears, we are just as, if not more, prone to laughter. Despite the many things that seemed to stress us out during the last stretch, deep down we were just really excited and ecstatic to be together for good  and to do so in front of our family and friends, who are equally thrilled for us. Scrolling through the unedited photos from our photographer, I can’t help but chuckle at how many pictures of us laughing were actually taken. It all just felt so happy, and joyful, and cheerful.

From the get-go, I just wanted our wedding to capture who we were as a couple: goofy, slightly unconventional, and, truly, the bestest friends. Which explains a lot of choices that, initially, garnered some huffing-and-puffing from old-fashioned (but well-meaning) titas and lolas, but which ultimately made the day closer to who we actually are than what tradition dictated. Such as, but not limited to:

  • I wore my hair down all throughout;
  • I didn't put my veil over my face;
  • I opted for sneakers instead of heels (ilytysm Kate Spade);
  • I had a champagne gown instead of white (and it has pocketssss);
  • The bridal robe was my "something borrowed" as it's one our high school barkada's past brides have also worn (yes, yes, the Sisterhood of the Travelling Robe; and we intend to pass it on to the next one);
  • I danced Macarena with Papa, instead of a slow dance, while also flashing a video of us from 1995 dancing to the same song;
  • We didn’t do a first dance and instead played our first jam to “Friday, I’m In Love” by The Cure instead; him on drums, and me on keyboards (Incidentally, our first time to ever play together! #symbolic);
  • Bought our gifts to each other beforehand (we don't like surprises!) and wore the watches right away;
  • Used old vinyl records as souvenirs and table decor;
  • Made super personalized games, like a fun interactive quiz on Mentimeter that we flashed on the LED wall (and where all our guests got super competitive, lol, especially since most of the details were found in our Pre-Nup Film);

...and so many other little things and choices, from props to games, that basically let our guests get a glimpse of our real selves, only slightly more polished and cleaned up. We’ve been a couple for ten years, but I’m happy to say that to our friends and family, we haven’t molded into one giant blob of a person during that period. We are still very much Karla and Ludwin. Although I think it was nice to finally pull back the curtains a little bit wider and let everyone see Karla and Ludwin together. 

It’s funny that when I close my eyes to think about my favorite part about the whole day, it’s not walking down the long aisle (although that is certainly my Top 2) or kissing at the end (we felt shy, lol) but it’s the part where we were just kneeling in front of the altar, oblivious to the people behind us, squeezing each other’s hands, and whispering inside jokes to each other. Up there, in front of the Basilica I've envisioned in my head for years, came the realization that the wedding doesn't change things about us; we will always find ourselves inside this imaginary bubble, sharing this language that only we understand, in moments big or small. The wedding didn't redefine the DNA of our relationship, because there was nothing I needed to say to him in our vows that I hadn't already said, and there wasn't much he could share with me on that day that I didn't already know. The traditions, the cliches, the whole nine yards I actually agree that we don't fundamentally need any of that. The commitment to make the future certain for each other does not have to come with all these bells and whistles.

And yet, we repeat these wedding rituals with good reason. We go through it, like characters cast in a play, dutifully and happily playing our parts. When people collectively embrace a familiar pattern, there's a sense of unity, a shared existence in this world that feels natural and effortless, like a group of strangers singing the same song, or dancing to the same chorus. We're all familiar with weddings. We understand, even if we haven't experienced it ourselves, the close calls, the brushes with mortality, the swelling and overwhelming feeling of seeing love vocally being affirmed. It's human to marvel at how timing and chemistry conspire to make coincidences, like two random people meeting, feel serendipitous.

Adding a little slant to how we did things certainly made things feel more genuine to us. But ultimately, just going through the motions of what we already expect: saying our vows, sharing a moment with our friends, dancing, drinking, repeatedly being vocal and open about our love it's cathartic in many ways. The cliches are imbued with new meaning, ones that are personal and special only to you. When done with the right person, and surrounded by the best people, the form and function of it all feels incredible.

It was everything the movies and TV shows said it would be, yet nothing how I imagined it. The thing is, they're right. About the feeling, the excitement, the rush. The thrill. But they couldn't hold a candle to the real thing. Having lived through the spectacle of it all, I can say: it was so, so much better.

Here is how I'll always answer the question, "How was your wedding?" It was a Friday, and we were in love.

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