For as long as Jossel is with Vel

13 12 2010

FOR A brief moment, I thought where I was was autumn in New York.  It was breezing and I could see the leaves falling from the tree, buoyed by the slight wind.  From my vantage point at the edge of a pew, I smiled as some of the leaves attempted to touch the delicate tulle that by then had covered the bride, extending meters behind and around her.  It was a dramatic sight – she, framed by the massive cathedral wooden doors, bathed in the little sunlight that managed to pierce through the thick afternoon clouds.  On cue, the live music played and it was as if an angel rejoiced at the most joyous occasion, singing, “Ikaw lamang ang pangakong mahalin…  (You alone I vow to love…)”  My hair, including that at the back of my head, stood on ends, defying the holding power of the matt-finish wax I had slathered onto it.

My good good friend, Vel, ready to take her walk down the aisle to meet Jossel at the altar.

 

The bride like I've never seen her before.

 

The imposing façade of the Imus Cathedral

Really unforgettable weddings are feasts for the five senses.  And when one does get touched – most likely when one least expects it, unable to pull back anymore a tear threatening to drop from bursting lachrymal glands – that’s when an unforgettable wedding truly does become magical.  My good good friends Jossel and Vel had one last Saturday, the tenth of December.  But it was not just a wedding.  It was the lovely couple’s very important plan together with God, coming to fruition.  Their union was solemnized at the Imus Cathedral which was where they would regularly hear mass, and where, more importantly, Jossel professed love for Vel, and where he proposed two years later.

The altar

 

The light breeze was kind of dramatic! (All photos are courtesy of Omeng, a.k.a. Chax, unless otherwise specified.)

Like some of the many people around them, I would lay claim to witnessing how Jossel’s and Vel’s love for each other was born, blossomed, was nurtured, and was planned to be given its fullest expression.  They’re two of the nicest, most hardworking and smartest people in the office and undoubtedly, two people I really really like.  Theirs is a love story that started with a simple crush on first sight, pursued through text messages that said someone cares, and after a year, made official by a declaration of love that merited acceptance.

And oh, in the course of all that time, a lot of food helped conveyed Jossel’s brewing admiration that just couldn’t be held back – suman (sweet, sticky rice roll) from Antipolo, Mrs. Field’s cookies, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  See, as I would always say, be careful who you feedor cook forthey just might not want to ever let you go.  From the looks of it during the priest’s homily and sermon, Jossel and Vel just ever won’t.

The bride and groom

 

The bride and groom both wore creations by Paul Haute Couture.

 

The bride and groom with the veil sponsors.

 

Jossel and Vel couldn't help but smile at one point during the mass.

 

This was a really heartfelt, touching sight to behold.

 

Mabuhay ang bagong kasal!!!

I would’ve stayed for the couple’s recessional, where I would most likely elbow my way to be able to shower the couple with flower petals or confetti.  But duty called, and together with my wedding reception co-emcee, Alfie Madriaga, off I headed to Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park where the reception was to be held at the Tejeros Grand Ballroom.

Entrance to the reception venue, the Tejeros Grand Ballroom of the Island Cove Hotel and Leisure Park.

 

Tejeros Grand Ballroom

The afternoon being overcast, and one of the color motif being blue, I took the irony tongue-in-cheek as I reached out my hand to shake that of Ms. Bleu, owner and head of The Bleu Team, the couple’s on-the-day wedding coordinator.  Alfie and I introduced ourselves as the co-emcees and like clockwork, one of The Bleu Team’s coordinators handed us our cue cards, tastefully done by Vel in her blue and bronze brown theme.  I actually lightly chuckled to myself as I recalled what Vel told me at the church just over an hour ago when I just had to catch a glimpse of her inside her white Jaguar bridal car, “eNTeNG, your cue cards are with the coordinator.  Get them at the reception venue.”  I smiled back at her as a thought formed above my head.  Vel was ever the hands-on bride – to the last minute – worrying more about my needs as her emcee than her most important moment.  Though I bet she was bracing for her walk down the aisle.  She probably just didn’t show it.

I flung the massive wooden doors open, and I marveled at the sight before me.  Everything was awashed in shades of blue!  I originally planned to rehearse my lines – no matter how many times I have done this (emceeing), I can’t do away with the nerves – but I realized it would be a waste not to admire just how tastefully done the ballroom was.

I loved their table arrangement / setting!

 

The table on the foreground is "Teal", right next to "Powder Blue" where guests are shown busy with the crossword puzzle!

 

Working on the crossword puzzles! That's Vel's manager Loradel, Jossel's former manager Rez, together with Alfie, eNTeNG, Lyndon and Melo.

 

These name cards / tags that direct guests to their tables were such a nice touch. Very Vel.

 

The place setting was exquisite... and quite thoughtful. This was the first time I saw a crossword puzzle left to help entertain guests. (Photo taken with eNTeNG's Canon IXUS860IS.)

 

All the AVPs were projected on to this screen. The onsite video made by FreshMinds was wonderful too. (Photo taken with eNTeNG's Canon IXUS860IS.)

Totally doing away with traditional table numbers, Jossel and Vel named each of their tables with – yes, you guess it right – shades of blue.  I espied tables named “teal,” “midnight blue,” “sapphire,” and “tiffany blue.”  I soon found where I was assigned, “baby blue.”  I took a feel of what appeared to me as “Tiffany” chairs and that was when I had a full appreciation of the meticulousness of the place setting, a reflection of the couple’s refined taste and strict attention to details – and needs.  The silverware was a given – a soup spoon, a dinner fork, a dinner knife, a dessert spoon, and a dessert fork – but what lay beneath the impeccably starched and folded pristine white table napkin were pleasant surprises.  This was the only time I found a crossword puzzle for each guest (a test on how well guests know the couple!) and for kids, a coloring book.  Everything came with a blue pen and a set of crayons.  How thoughtful!  No wonder that the ballroom managed to keep a semblance of order as everybody awaited the newlyweds’ grand entrance.

The three-tier blue wedding cake.

 

So lovin' the cake topper!

A red carpet rolled from the entrance, framed on either side by beautiful arrangements of calla lilies, all the way to the stage where the couple’s table was set.  Cloaked generously in a richly embellished off-white fabric, it was set against a backdrop of a couple of screen dividers that created a checkered blue-and-white pattern against the lush blue draperies that framed the illusion of a waterfall right behind the couple.  To one side stood the beautiful three-tier blue fondant wedding cake ensconcing a moist chocolate confection inside.  The cake topper was an amusing touch.

Guests could have their photos taken at the FreshMinds Photo Booth. We lined up again... and again! That's me with my good friends Jing, Betchie, Glendz, and co-emcee Alfie.

 

One of our FreshMinds Photo Booth shots!

 

...and another!

As Alfie and I waited for the cue from Ms. Bleu to start the program, we helped ourselves with the pretzels and the cookies – for me a silent homage to the little treats Jossel would give to woo Vel – before proceeding outside to get our snaps taken by the FreshMinds Photo Booth.

Just married!... Jossel and Vel moments before their grand entrance to the reception venue.

 

Jossel and Vel's grand entrance! Look at Jossel, he's making the moves!

 

One part of a multi-genre dance number!

To the opening lines of Taylor Swift’s Love Story, Jossel and Vel made their grand entrance amidst thunderous applause, cheers, a shower of confetti and blasts of party poppers.  Taking their rightful place at the dance floor right in front of the stage, the newlyweds launched into a full-on production number.  I thought they’d first do a tango the moment Jossel picked up the lone stem of red rose and bit it.  Hahaha!  The couple came rehearsed, gliding through a personal selection of songs.  The special treat ended quite dramatically, with what Sex & The City fans could arguably call a “Hollywood kiss”.

Jossel sings, "Basta't Kasama Kita"...

But that was not the end of the evening’s surprises.  Once Vel had settled beautifully on the French sofa the “propsmen” set up, Jossel proceeded to serenade his lovely bride with their theme song, Dingdong Avanzado’s classic “Basta’t Kasama Kita (As Long As You’re With Me)”, with the Red Thread Band (these guys and gals are AMAZING!) accompanying him live.  Soon enough, the solo became a duet as Vel shared the microphone and sang with him, looking deep into his eyes, I suppose not even blinking to break the stare.  From where I stood, it felt as if Jossel and Vel were looking into the eyes of their heart’s deepest longing and their soul’s most fervent desire.

As a wedding is a union of families as well, I was moved by the presence of Jossel’s and Vel’s relatives who literally had to cross oceans and traverse hundreds – if not thousands – of miles just to share in the couple’s joy.  Jossel’s parents flew in from Italy just a couple of days before and were scheduled to fly back the following day.  A lot of his relatives also came in from as far as Oriental Mindoro and Catanduanes.  Vel’s 93-year old paternal grandmother came all the way from Australia, together with Vel’s sister’s family, just so she could witness her granddaughter’s most special day.  There were also people who traveled halfway around the world from the States.  In this fast-changing, digitally connected world, finding the time to be physically “there” for someone is a huge deal.  Even more so, if one has to make the time.  I felt a lump forming in my throat just thinking about these gestures of love and affection.

This love was apparent as well from the families that Jossel and Vel have made with the people they’ve met at work.  Vel put it simply when she said, referring to her Industrial Engineering department, “You have made this wedding your own.”  I choked on that one too, even more when she said a line that started, “No matter where the coming months take us…”  For a brief moment, I had to step away from the podium and turn around.

As tributes would go, I have to say that I have gained a whole level of respect and admiration for Ricci De Leon–Bejarin for the two videos she made for the couple – one tracing their story back from their childhoods, and another that captured the highlights of their pre-nuptial photo shoot.  The videos were thoughtful and really captured the essence of Jossel and Vel as individuals, and as a couple, and allowed us a short but meaningful glimpse into a love among equals… a love between two people who help nurture the best things that they like about themselves.  Ricci was ever so modest to try to evade my compliments.  But if I would have my way, I’d hand her the Oscar for Best Editing.

The fitting close to this wedding reception were the messages, both from the couple’s parents and the couple themselves.  Oftentimes, as an experienced wedding reception emcee, a standard spiel would be to say from whom the bride or the groom got their looks.  But beyond that, listening to Jossel’s and Vel’s parents showed me from whom my good good friends got their strength of character, fear of God, belief in the basic goodness of people, and capacity to offer themselves selflessly to someone else.  They happen to be someone’s good siblings too.  Jossel’s and Vel’s sisters words pulled at the heartstrings without even trying.  I couldn’t look at the couple because I too might cry.

With hugs so tight and thank-yous going to-and-fro, I knew I wasn’t in New York at autumn time.  I was at home, part of a huge family two good friends were kind enough to include me in.

Jossel and Vel, thank you for the honor of inviting me to your wedding and for allowing me to be one of your hosts.  Congratulations and best wishes.

Jossel and Vel listen intently to the special messages given by their families and friends.

 

Finally, it was my turn to give my message!

 

Jossel's younger sisiter, herself set to wed in January 2011, gave the couple a sincere, touching, grateful message.

 

The couple was all ears.

 

Vel was moved to tears towards the end of her father's message.

 

My good good friends were profuse with thanks towards the reception's end.

 

eNTeNG, the newlyweds, and Alfie.

 

Vel & eNTeNG

About the food:

I L–O–V–E–D everything!  The Farmer’s Soup, a bright orange concoction, was hot, chunky and creamy.  I especially liked the Chicken Au Gratin, quite a revelation as it is something I wouldn’t pick out ever on a menu.  But Island Cove’s rendition was a welcome melange of succulent white chicken meat chunks and fresh cut vergetables in a bechamel made more creamy by a topping of browned cheese.  It’s very tricky to cook white meat, as undercooking is a sin, while overcooking is an offense.  I wouldn’t enjoy fighting with stringy chicken meat.  But the one I had at Jossel and Vel’s reception was amazing!  I could tell that the chicken meat’s center was warmed to perfection – at 168ºF perhaps? – and then cooked no longer than 25 minutes!

After devouring all the chicken I could, I moved on to the Stewed Pork Knuckle with Black Sea Moss, something someone unceremoniously named as Pata Tim, though it was not quite.  It was something else.  I loved the black moss that swam all through the sauce.  For those who would rather not have meat, this was taken care of by the availability of the Pan-Fried King Fish with Tomato Cucumber Chili Salsa.  Besides chicken, fish is another one that needs special care in cooking, especially when made ahead of time.  But the cut I was served was tender and moist.  I scooped on top of each bite a lot of the fresh salsa and it proved to be quite a new taste sensation I could get used to.  I didn’t go crazy over the buttered corn, carrots and peas, though I saw some who did.

But wherever there is rice, there I am too!!!

Stewed Pork Knuckle with Black Sea Moss

 

Chicken Au Gratin

 

Pan-Fried King Fish with Tomato Cucumber Chili Salsa

 

Buttered Corn, Carrots and Peas

 

The co-emcees, with one of their great friends, Mabelle.

 

Shine and Janine, the amazing vocalists of Red Thread Band!

 

eNTeNG with Red Thread Band!

 

Co-emcees Alfie and eNTeNG. Alfie is the master when it comes to wedding reception games! eNTeNG not worthy!

 

So lovin' the ensemble – Barong Tagalog borrowed from brother a couple of days before (mine turned up with a tear on the left shoulder from the dry cleaners), charcoal gray pants, Italian leather shoes, and Philip Stein wristwatch.

 

Moments before the reception, eNTeNG going over his spiels.

 

The requisite solo shot in front of a mirror.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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7 responses

13 12 2010
Roanne Castillo

Enteng,

This is briliant! I can’t fathom what was there, the
feelings and all. Always loved seeing them as a couple
at work, pure souls indeed! God bless them and God
bless you, I am a fan and always will be.

Roanne

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13 12 2010
Chax

Bravo! For doing a great job emceeing the wedding reception.
Amazing! For the very brilliant write up on this heartfelt wedding!
O-some! For very your perfect get-up! And +1 on your hairdo!!!
And another +1 point for showcasing my photos 🙂

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14 12 2010
melai

hello enteng, the writing’s superb (as usual!) and the photos are awesome! it’s almost like we were there during the wedding… 🙂

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14 12 2010
Partner

Partner! It’s very nice to see you doing the things we love (i just remembered that our silva-ojeda wedding stint was almost 3 years ago already!)..as always, i’m sure you were exquisite at this wedding!

Jossel was my MTP-mate, congratulations to him and Vel…may they have a blissful life together 😀

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14 12 2010
entengvince

Partner! Nice to hear back from you again. You’re right, this is something that we love to do together. Kelan kaya ulet? Hehehe. By the way, do you still have a photo of us with Joyce and Brian? I suddenly thought about collecting photos of weddings I’ve emceed / co-emceed… Amishoo!

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21 12 2010
Partner

i think i do partner but i have to search for it coz i don’t know exactly where i saved them (yes, my memory has been failing me!:()

oo nga, wala na bang ikakasal ulit na friend natin na pwede natin i-host ang wedding party? 😛

btw, are you friends with joyce in FB? you should see their christmas family photo…so fab! (most especially my dear friend’s magenta pumps!:D)
i miss you too partner, we should really see each other soon!

p.s. they have the some limited edition nama here that i want you to try!

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1 06 2011
Partner

i know when you’re hosting your next wedding!;)

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