Bom & Rizzie’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love On A Day When Purple Reigned

12 01 2009

A most beautiful bouquet... Rizzie carried this in her hands.


“Oh, they shut the doors!”


I was chiding myself as I alighted from the car, seeing that the huge doors of the imposing Shrine of St. Thérése on Andrews Avenue, right across the NAIA Terminal 3, had been sealed shut.  Fortunately, after negotiating the short flight of stairs, taking a couple of steps at a time in my unforgiving, lethally pointed Italian leather shoes, I saw that one panel on the right side had been left open – in consideration of the latercomers like me!  I glanced at my orange-strapped Technomarine wristwatch and realized that almost a good twenty minutes had already passed since a text message told me that my good friend Marie Thérése Monique “Rizzie” Cruz Ocampo had taken her dramatic walk down the aisle.


Hands down, one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen - Marie Therese Monique "Rizzie" Cruz Ocampo - moments before she took on her new last name.

But don’t get it wrong, if there is ever anything at all that Rizzie is not, it would be “dramatic.”  But walking in to the church, my jaw just dropped at how beautiful the shrine was and how solemn the ceremony that was going on was.  I glanced back at the closed doors and imagined just how breathtaking Rizzie would have surely looked the moment that, as perfectly cued by the music, the heavy panels flung open.  And on the other side, ready to take her first step to meet Enrique “Bom” V. Lontoc, Jr. waiting for her at the altar, there stood Rizzie bathed in the light of the afternoon sun.  It would have definitely been a dramatic, or more appropriately, magical sight to behold – the natural light around Rizzie, with their rays piercing through the veil while at the same time framing her silhouette.  Perfection.




It's all in the details. Rizzie was resplendent in her beautiful gown - the cinched waist, accented by these beautiful 'cabbage' roses, set off the billowing skirt. Nobody looked lovelier than my friend on her special day.



The expanse of the Shine of St. Therese. This was my only shot.

Having missed that moment – one of two that I really look out for in any wedding – I just proceeded nearer the altar with gingerly footwork over the shiny floors.  For a couple of seconds I got confused where to sit – where does one go if he knew both the bride and the groom?  I didn’t bother even attempting to answer that question in my mind and just decided to sit next to two of my friends from work – the very lovely Diane and Ken. 


The Shrine of St. Thérése has such huge expanse, that I felt the priest’s words from the grand altar had already gained even more meaning the moment they reached my ears, way down the end of the pews.  I would look up and the high ceilings couldn’t help but make me feel that God was indeed presiding over the lovely ceremony.  It simply has got to be one of the most heartfelt weddings I’ve ever been too.  I think Bom and Rizzie wrote their vows themselves.  As their friend, I couldn’t help but smile on some of the lines.  As a listener, I could tell that the words came from two people who were not only optimistic or hopeful of what they were doing that very moment – they were sure.


And the musical accompaniment was just perfect.  The hair at the back of my neck and on my arms stood on ends during the singing of “Lead Me, Lord,” “The Prayer,” and “Our Father.”  With the last one, I could feel my lachrymal glands get affected as my eyes welled up with tears the very moment the song built to a raging crescendo with the lines, “For Thine is the Kingdom / And the power / And the glory…  On behalf of my friends Bom & Rizzie, I said a silent prayer of thanks to God for this wonderful day as the song came to a peaceful “Amen.”

Mr. & Ms. Enrique “Bom” V. Lontoc, Jr. & Marie Therese Monique “Rizzie” Cruz Ocampo-Lontoc!!!

Of course there was the requisite photo shoot right after the ceremony.  And the last one with all of Bom & Rizzie’s friends was a huge group!  Rizzie’s friends from Intel® and Numonyx, and Bom’s from Intel® and Dell came in full force!  Each guest was just overjoyed and took turns in greeting the happy couple.  When I got my chance, I congratulated Bom with a hug and when I was motioning to give Rizzie a hug and a buss, her eyes lit up and she (sort of) screamed, “eNTeNG!!!”… letting out her signature toothpaste-commercial-model-like perfect smile.  I guess she was kind of relieved I showed up – so far a 33.33% hit rate in making it to weddings.  I took snaps of the newlyweds and off I went to the reception venue,  where Rizzie asked me to look for her head wedding coordinator, a certain Andrew Que (of Happy Events), to go over final preparations.


Big smiles from the beautiful couple - Bom & Rizzie!

Yes, Rizzie & Bom had asked me to emcee their wedding reception.



Where we joined in celebrating Bom & Rizzie's joy - The Blue Leaf Events Pavilion.




Bom & Rizzie's Pre-Nup Photos on display on easels by the ballroom's entrance.



I got to the venue – The Blue Leaf Events Pavilion – at a little before 6:00 P.M..  The front desk was teeming with activity.  It was a busy line to get seat assignments but everything was handled in a very orderly fashion.  Everybody was patiently waiting for their chance.  After I got my number – table #4 – off I went to look for the wedding coordinator to touch base on any final reminders on the reception program, the final version of which Rizzie e-Mailed me the morning of the day before.  But not before I first got my photo taken right in front of Bom & Rizzie’s official photo wall.  Snaps were courtesy of Pose ‘N’ Print.  All I had to do was stand in front of the wall.  Smile.  View the photo on the instant replay screen.  Wait 3 seconds and smile for the next shot.  And do that twice over, for a total of four shots.  I waited a minute for my photos to be printed.  The prints turned out great and as I walked to the door leading to the ballroom, I thought to myself that Pose ‘N’ Print was a nice touch that Bom & Rizzie added to their wedding.  I’ll put my photo on my office wall and it shall serve as a reminder of the wonderful day that was slowly unfolding.


The elegant table setting. This was my spot on table #4.


The flower arrangement that served as centerpiece on our table was just so luxurious. It spoke volumes of the thought Bom & Rizzie put to this celebration.

Bom & Rizzie actually gave me a free hand on the script, my spiels, guided by the final reception program they sent.  Rizzie was just clear with one thing.  She asked me to make sure it would be lively.  And that a great time would be had by all – family, friends, and their parents’ colleagues that included prominent members of The Rotary Club.  Truth be told, I was quite nervous because simple as Rizzie’s requests were, I didn’t want to let her down.  Bearing her reminders in mind, I took note of just one more thing – I wanted to make sure I would help celebrate her and Bom…  and their families.  Being friends with them, one thing that I had learned all this time was how much they value family.  And that how much, all their lives (especially in Rizzie’s case), they have been surrounded by the loving care and support from all the people imporant in their lives. 


The reception went well.  There were just some minor, on-the-spot changes that sort of threatened to throw me off my pace.  But I did manage, with much help of course from Andrew and his very-capable associate Leslie (who was very Jennifer-Lopez-in-The-Wedding-Planner, complete with her earpiece/headset).  And of course, I credit the cue cards I made (in the bride’s purple/plum color motif) on the eve of, and all the way to the morning of the wedding.  As you can see from the pictures, I wrote my spiels in my own long handwriting.  I wrote the first “script” that came to mind in block (all uppercase) letters.  I used my cursive penmanship for any edits or additions I had to make.  As an added bonus, on a whim right before I dressed up, I thought about making a cue card holder.  I glued together three sheets of the specialty paper (to make the holder really sturdy) and jazzed it up with the words “BOM & RIZZIE” made out of magazine cut-outs (finally, the May 14, 2007 issue of PEOPLE was put to good use!).  One funny thing happened, right before the reception started, I noticed that the letter “O” (in “BOM”) was missing!  Creativity kicked in (as suggested by, I think, Rubie) and I used the invitation’s golden seal to take the place of that “O.”


I made these myself... complete with a cue card holder!

While the reception program ran long, I thought it was a good one.  It was full-packed with highlights and poignant moments that would surely help carry the newlyweds through the coming years. 


I was blown away by Bom & Rizzie’s grand entrance!  Strutting down the red carpet to the tune of Michael Buble’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” they surprised everyone by breaking into a full-on dance number – front and center!  They had perfect timing and they knew their steps!  I loved the “Hollywood” dip Bom gave Rizzie, perfectly accentuating the catchy beat – clearly a highlight of the dance.  I looked around and I could see all the guests smiling.  We were off to a good start.  What Rizzie requested me – to keep it lively – was something she and Bom clearly helped me with.  I stomped my feet to the beat and I knew I was all smiles too.  That set the tone for the evening.


I was moved by the presence of the couple’s three sets of grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Tonying & Ellen Lim, Mr. & Mrs. Roger & Terry Cruz, and Mr. & Mrs. Benny & Pat Ocampo (lovingly called by Rizzie as her “Koko” and “Kaka,” respectively).  Their presence gave my friends a beautiful example on what they could make for themselves.  And I was touched by the fact that Mr. & Mrs. Cruz came all the way from Los Angeles, California, USA – halfway around the world – just to celebrate the union of Bom & Rizzie.  They were joined by one of the female principal sponsors, Ms. Ruby Diel.  Some of Bom’s relatives, the Lims and Pasaguis, came all the way from Tacloban, Leyte.  And the Biasons from New Jersey, USA.  (Probably) speaking on behalf of all the grandparents, “Kaka” expounded on the virtues of patience and forgiveness.  And I didn’t miss out on the love she has for Rizzie.  It was clearly there and her words and actions almost made her love palpable.  I could feel it that very moment.


I will remember Bom & Rizzie’s reception for three song numbers and one very special musical number.  Alexis Duque sang “Two Words,” more popularly remembered as the “Lea Salonga” wedding song, an original composition of the bride’s uncle (brother of her father).  But as I had told Rizzie, it had gained a whole new meaning being sung for them that night.  And of course there was Rizzie’s dad, Mr. Enrico J. Ocampo, who sang “The Way You Look Tonight,” accompanied by his brother on keyboards (still the same uncle of Rizzie’s).  But it was the song entitled “To Love You Once Again,” that really captured the essence of the celebration for me.  Beautifully sung by Rizzie’s cousin Mikee Ocampo, the song was an original composition, yet again, by the same uncle of Rizzie’s.  And a couple of lines that resonated in my mind and struck a chord in my heart said something like: “I felt I have loved you even longer than we met / To love you is to love you once again…”  As I had told the composer right after the song, he could very well have another hit in his hands.


The final musical number that for most of the guests was the runaway highlight of the night was when that uncle of Rizzie’s – yes, the Maestro Louie Ocampo, brother of her father – attempted to compose a song on the spot, based on just 5 notes randomly selected by Rizzie.  After Rizzie hit the keys, and after everyone laughed boisterously at the Maestro’s joke that should the song be a hit they’d have to split the royalties, a hush fell in the ballroom.  Louie glanced at the ceiling, hummed a little, played with the keys…  and what came out next was probably one of the most beautiful melodies ever.  Picture “A Love Affair”, the scene where Katharine Hepburn was playing the piano and then the love theme played.  It was that magical a moment.  As I had said, we really were in the presence of greatness – I would have curtsied.  Some of the guests just had to scream: “More!”  And the Maestro obliged, this time asking Bom to give 5 random notes.  I found it funny when Bom chose the same for 4 of the 5 notes!  That would have been a monumental task to lesser mortals (what can one make of practically just 2 notes?!) but not the Maestro.  He played with the keys for about a couple of seconds…  and then hit them with a passion that let out this catchy, more upbeat tune.  Rizzie’s was melodramatic.  Bom’s was more uptempo.  Both were perfect!  I had to put down my microphone, my cue cards and my glass of Chardonnay to give the Maestro a rousing round of applause, anything less would have been sacrilege!


In the presence of greatness - that's me with the Maestro Louie Ocampo and his lovely wife, Ms. Marie Josephine "Jojo" Ocampo.



Simply one of the loveliest and most elegant female principal sponsors I've ever seen - Ms. Jojo Ocampo - wife of Rizzie's Uncle Louie.

All in all, it was a great reception, overflowing with love.  The three audio-visual presentations were short and sweet.  Over dinner, the photo montage shared the couple’s pictures from childhood to when they found each other.  There was also the requisite “On-Site” video editing presentation.  But the sweetest was the one put together by Rizzie’s younger brother Reggie.  It featured stories and messages from those closest to the couple’s hearts – parents, siblings, and close friends.


The fitting close to the day Bom & Rizzie officially stepped into the thrill of the unknown as husband and wife were the speeches from their parents.  Mr. Ocampo, with the very lovely Mrs. Rachel C. Ocampo on his side, didn’t have to apologize (though just in jest!) for the five-page, size-7-font speech he had prepared.  It was from the heart and the anecdotes he shared, while attempting to be light at times, only further underscored the precious value he has attached to his eldest daughter.  The account about the “pamamanhikan” (the guy’s family asking for the girl’s hand in marriage) was just so funny.  For their turn, Engr. Enrique A. Lontoc, Sr. & Mrs. Ma. Terevita V. Lontoc responded by wholeheartedly welcoming Rizzie to the family, while also letting us in on the short accounts of how Bom clued them in on the biggest step he has planned to take.


After Rizzie danced with her father to the strains of “Butterfly Kisses,” Bom & Rizzie gave a heartfelt response, with some of the guests standing in attention to all they were saying.  I was quite happy to see my friends were really happy.


And to the opening bars of a Teri DeSario song, the guests were ushered to dance the night away.  And I let out what could be one of the best lines of the night – the bar had been opened!  Drinks started to flow freely!  As Mr. Ocampo seemed to be a wine connoisseur (I loved the Chardonnay!!!), that could only mean that a good time would surely be had by all.

It was both an honor and a pleasure to emcee the wedding reception of two of my good good friends – Bom & Rizzie.

I took one more 360-degree sweeping review of the ballroom.  It was perfect.  From the flower arrangements; to the sumptuous food prepared by Josiah’s Catering (I loved the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta and the Lengua); to the elegant three-tiered fondant cake by Ms. Judy Uson; to the beautiful pre-nuptial photographs by Mel Cortez on display on easels; it was nothing but perfection.

With the newlyweds – Bom & Rizzie!

Isn’t she lovely?! Marie Therese Monique “Rizzie” Cruz Ocampo-Lontoc!

eNTeNG with the lovely Ken & Diane.

The Numonyx Finance Contingent – Brenda, Vic, Alvin, Rubie and Jim.

Themselves newlyweds of barely two months – my good friends Darryl & Brenda Aragon-Gallo!

eNTeNG with Engr. James Kenneth Torres, one of the groomsmen, and eNTeNG’s good friend!

eNTeNG with Kuya Nestor.

eNTeNG with good friend Darryl Xerxes Poblete Gallo!

And I have to say I was so touched by Bom & Rizzie’s text messages on Sunday morning (the day after).  Apart from talking about “the dance,” with Bom saying that his and Rizzie’s experience at putting together shows for office parties has finally paid off (Haha!), they graciously asked if we could go out for dinner once they come back from their honeymoon in Thailand.  Seriously, they shouldn’t have to invite me to dinner.  They need not have to.  Seriously.


Again, congratulations and best wishes to Bom & Rizzie!  LOVE YOU BOTH! 





Inside Scoop:

How did I get this gig?  It all started with knowing that Rizzie & Bom got engaged.  The primary photo (with her brandishing a new ring on her finger) which she posted on her Friendster® account, aptly captioned, “It’s a yes…”  said it all.  And then she told me how it all happened.  On the side, I got the inside scoop from another good friend “Lloydy” (Engr. James Kenneth L. Torres) who was Bom’s engagement ring supplier.  Rizzie and I work closely at the office.  And every now and then, she would give me bits and pieces about her wedding preparations.  Or sometimes, in the middle of very serious discussions at work, I will shoot questions that Rizzie would gamely answer.


Soon, I learned that the big day would be the 10th of January 2009.  Then came the invitation.  And then in November, Rizzie sent me an IM (instant message) asking if I was free to chat.  I remember being really swamped at the time and I was actually in a meeting.  She said we could talk later.  But I insisted that she spill the beans (she doesn’t usually open a conversation by asking if I was free so I knew something was up).  And she did by saying that she and Bom were wondering if I could emcee their wedding reception.  They didn’t ever need to wonder!  Though in a classic case of “reality check” (or was it reality bites?), Rizzie also asked that should I decide not to do it or even show up, I should give her the courtesy of sufficient time’s notice.  Hehehe.


Quite obviously, I still have a hangover of/from Bom & Rizzie's wedding that first thing this morning, I put on the necktie I bought for the occasion. Purple reigns!