A purple-themed wedding in the Philippines
04 Jul 2022
High school sweethearts Estelle Jose and John Baduria married exactly one year after they got engaged and on their ninth official anniversary together
How did you meet?
We first met in third year of high school more than 13 years ago. Just a few days into the school year, I already had a secret crush on Jepoy (John), and I’d always been praying that he liked me too. However, Jepoy was mysterious and quiet, although he did admit later on that it was also crush-at-first sight. I also had super strict parents, so we slowly got to know each other and then Jepoy asked me to prom – the rest is history.
I’m just grateful that we’ve witnessed each other walk through the different stages of life and grown so much together. Now, as husband and wife, I couldn’t be any happier. It is a dream come true to get married to my high school sweetheart.
Tell us about the proposal
I’d actually been waiting and nudging Jepoy for quite some time to get married. The proposal came during the Covid pandemic. There were a lot of restrictions, and my family were super particular about safety and minimising exposure to the outside as much as we could. Even Jepoy and I rarely met as we were from different households.
Jepoy fetched me during my last workday of the year and I had no expectations whatsoever – I was just excited to meet for our eighth anniversary. I pre-ordered some letter doughnuts which read ‘HAPPY 8 ♥ LOVE YOU ★’. We ate dinner just inside the car and we spoke about our day and a bit about our future plans. After dinner, Jepoy said we would go to a romantic place with better lighting, and I still didn’t have a clue then.
He found a good parking spot with lots of Christmas lights right outside the church where we eventually got married. He then suggested we eat the doughnuts, specifically the heart-shaped one, and that we divide it into half. I was so shocked to see an engagement ring fall out of the doughnut that I shrieked; I couldn’t believe it. There was lots of flailing and crying in between but to cut it short, he asked me to marry him, and I said yes (and afterwards, said: "Finally").
We got engaged on December 18, 2020 and married on December, 18, 2021. This is also the same day I became Jepoy's girlfriend (2012), and prom date (2009).
How was your wedding affected by Covid-19?
Our wedding preparations took place in 2021. There were still a lot of cases in the Philippines, as well as a lot of restrictions and uncertainties. We prioritised safety above all, which made things difficult, but we were still able to do most transactions and decisions online, going out only when necessary. A few weeks before the wedding, the restrictions were already easing up and cases declining. Thankfully, everything went well despite all the Covid challenges.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
I’ve always been the type to personalise every little detail, however Jepoy is the complete opposite. He just wanted to marry me, witnessed by our family and closest friends. And yet, he made sure I got my dream wedding – something deeply meaningful, highly bespoke and unique, which embodies our relationship.
Purple has always been my favourite colour. I chose lilac and plum with hints of gold. I made sure to religiously incorporate it in all the details, and it turned out beautifully. In addition, all of our wedding elements and details were personalised, and had a meaning as to why they were chosen. Everything was well thought out, down to the very last detail.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We got married within the University of the Philippines Diliman, where we finished college. Both the ceremony and reception were held inside the campus; even the preparation venue was just outside UP’s perimeter. I’ve been living inside the UP Diliman campus since childhood so we could say that this is my ‘hometown’.
The Parish of the Holy Sacrifice is the same church where my parents got married 30 years and six days before us (December 12, 1991), the church where I serve as a lector and where Jepoy and I attend mass since college. And to make it even more meaningful – Jepoy actually proposed right outside this church.
UP Ang Bahay ng Alumni, our reception venue, is the same place where I had my debut 11 years ago. Jepoy and I danced on the same dance floor when we were partners during my debut cotillion.
How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
Being a super bridezilla, it’s not surprising that I tried on more than 60 wedding dresses and met with several designers before eventually going with Heleyna Bridal. My bridal gown was a full-lace serpentine cut gown. It had a deep V sweetheart-cut neckline with thin straps, a corseted top, low back, detachable tulle train and veil, all in pure white.
I definitely wanted that hint of purple still present in my pure white gown, so there was lilac tulle layers added within the dress. It had dainty and intricate details of leaves/foliage with hints of stars (Estelle means star), and it had our wedding date (12.18.2021) and our names (Jepoy ♥ Estelle) embroidered at the back of the gown and at the end of my veil. I personally requested the cut, laces and the details myself during the design process. I also made sure very light materials were used to minimise the gown's weight so I could move around freely on our big day.
Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear?
My bridesmaids were two of my closest friends, my sisters-in-law, and the closest cousins of the groom. They wore bespoke gowns in plum and lilac shades using chiffon layered with tulle fabric. We wanted the dresses to be light and flowy, but each chose a different design, in line with the motif. This was one of the most important and difficult decisions I had to make, choosing the exact shade and even buying the actual fabric of the gowns, as I knew this would set the mood and feel of the overall motif.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
Both our mothers wore a lighter and dark shade of purple in chiffon fabric, embellished with gems and floral laces. Both mothers’ gowns were a different shade from that of the bridesmaids to ensure they stood out.
What did the groom wear?
Jepoy wore a traditional barong tagalog, with gold accented buttons and embroidery that matched my bridal gown. It also had details embroidered on each cuff (our wedding date and names) and a purple heart embroidered on the back of the collar. Jepoy's socks were plum while his handkerchief was lilac with dark purple embroidery reading 'Jepoy & Estelle 12.18.21'.
The male entourage also wore barong tagalog to complement the groom's barong, further embodying the Filipino culture and offering an elegant and clean look. The groomsmen wore black trousers, while the groom wore khaki.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I felt pure bliss and so much love. Words cannot explain the feeling.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
I walked down the aisle to Ikaw at Ako by Johnoy Danao. This was my most memorable moment, when Jepoy and I first laid eyes on each other. The entourage walked down to the aisle to Bibingka by Ben&Ben. All the other songs played in the church were also hand-picked and curated, each with a back story and meaning. There were Disney songs and Beatles songs, to name a few.
What was the most important investment for you?
For me, it was all the details and the effort that we put into them to make this wedding truly ours, highly bespoke and personalised. And of course, the photographers and videographer who captured all of those details and gave us a memory that will last forever.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
For our first dance, we chose Greatest Story Ever Told by Oliver James. This was our last dance during the high school prom when we were prom dates. We slow-danced to this song at the start of our reception, but we also had a second first dance....
It has always been my wedding dream to dance to Time of my Life from the movie Dirty Dancing. I was super excited when Jepoy, even if he did not dance, agreed to do this performance with me. We even wore outfits inspired by the movie: black polo, pants and shoes for Jepoy, and I wore the same cut dress as Baby in the movie, with a purple twist.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
Yes. The music meant alot to us and we both wanted a curated playlist to reflect our story and relationship. We personally chose all the songs to be played in the reception and we selected a quartet comprising two violins, a cello and piano, plus an acoustic singer with guitar, to perform our most loved songs. We wanted that romantic and classy vibe for our reception, and we definitely got that feeling.
We also did the usual mother-son, father-daughter dances and had a few personal musical performances from our family members.
Tell us about your wedding cake
I’ve always had a dream wedding cake in mind since high school. I wanted it to be purple and have hints of Lego incorporated as I am a huge Lego fan... and I got my dream cake.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
During our wedding ceremony, Super Typhoon Odette brought severe rain. However, I was just happy to be getting married to Jepoy. I had no worries or doubts on that day. Rainfall during a wedding is also thought to be a blessing in Filipino culture. I did wish that we got to take more post-ceremony photos. However, no wedding is 100% perfect or goes completely to plan, but it will always be perfect because of your love for each other.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We originally booked our honeymoon to be a week each in Boracay and Bohol, both of which are known for its beautiful beaches. However, due to Typhoon Odette, Bohol was devastated and we had to cancel our trip, so we decided to go to the mountains in Benguet instead, which is the province of Jepoy’s family. These two weeks following the wedding were just pure bliss to me and I’ll always savour the feeling and the memories of our first few days together as husband and wife.
We were supposed to have two rest days in our new condominium after the wedding, but Jepoy surprised me with a romantic post wedding honeymoon in a five-star hotel in Manila and I couldn’t have been happier. I really wasn’t expecting it and loved every moment.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Make sure to always take a step back, breathe and enjoy the planning proces. You will definitely miss it when it’s done. Cherish and savour every moment, especially the times with your family and closest friends.
Finally, the wedding planning process is your first challenge as a couple, and there are difficult and important decisions you will have to make together. One thing I’ve learned during the process is how much we love each other – my groom has always been super supportive of me. Even with all the nitty gritty details I focus too much on, and even if he just wanted a simple and low-key wedding, he still made sure I got my dream wedding.
And of course, I had to compromise and make sure he was comfortable with all our decisions together because in the end, this was our wedding, and it was the first day of our life together. What matters most is what comes after.
Steal their style:
Wedding planner: The Purple Bride PH
Bride: Estelle Jose
Photography: Vital Image Photo
Photography (candid): Bamboo Kite Photography
Videography: Bethena Aundrea Films
Ceremony venue: Parish of the Holy Sacrifice
Reception venue: Ang Bahay ng Alumni
Preparation venue: Balara Content Studio
Wedding dress: Heleyna Bridal
Shoes (ceremony): Sarah Oxales Design Studio
Shoes (reception): Prome & Theus
Hairpiece: Mirth & Yift
Bridesmaids' dresses: Desino Dulce
Groom's barong: EA Casedos Embroidery
Groomsmen's barong: MA Barong Pilipino
Wedding rings: La Real Jewelry
Hair and make-up: Dred Postigo Makeup
Bouquets: Accents & Petals
Cake: Phoebe Cakes
Entertainment: Quartet Manila; Jholo Cabero Music
Co-ordination: Events Republic
Hosting, lighting and live streaming: Hosting by Portia; WABS Light and Sound; Team Neoneonan; The Day We Stream
Catering: CVJ Foods Catering
Cocktails: Cocktails Manila
Stationery: Design & Letters