With the entire planet plunged into uncertainty because of the pandemic, 2020 is an unlikely year for life-changing decisions. Young couple Bea Fabregas and Nikko Ramos, just went for it and got married. How did they do it?
It was a stripped down ceremony. The bride wore a champagne-colored dress while the groom wore a white rose boutonnière to match. Behind the scenes, it was more complicated. Guests were tested and the ceremony was choreographed with physical distancing in mind.
Couples who want to defy the pandemic can learn from Bea and Nikko. With neither cure nor vaccine available, wedding planners must ensure the coronavirus doesn't gatecrash and sicken the party.
"Nobody knows when this pandemic is going to end, and for us getting married was more important than what the wedding would look like. Given the challenges out there in the world, we wanted to brave them together instead of apart," the bride, a popular DJ, told reportr.
"I have so much admiration, that's all I can say. They have all the reason not to, every reason not to," said their wedding filmmaker Jason Magbanua in a video. He called Bea the founding member of 2020 Bride's club.
What's it like being a pandemic bride?
To be a pandemic bride involves a lot of acceptance and adaptability, according to Bea. Engaged on the first day of the lockdown, they know the short engagement that they had in mind will be hard to pull off.
The quarantines flipped life as we know it -- families were separated and celebrations were postponed and later canceled. The couple had no choice but to share the joy to friends and family online, and away from each other.
"I had a ring on my finger and I was alone in my unit. It was strange and equally sad to be going through all those emotions while checking the number of COVID cases per day. So I really couldn’t wait to get married," she said.
Weddings are rituals deeply rooted in Philippines society. They are usually held with as many families and friends around, which can no longer be promised in a pandemic where there is limited capacity for public gatherings.
You May Kiss the Frontliner Bride: A Pandemic Wedding
Internet I Do's: New Bill to Make Online Weddings Binding, Legal
In a pandemic wedding, safety is a must
As Bea and Nikko are both events hosts, there are aware of quarantine rules and protocols as they were unfolding. The pandemic will teach you a lesson in selflessness, she said, keeping in mind what could and could not be done in mass gatherings.
"You must think of everyone involved. You must test everyone! It’s not the most romantic thing to do before your wedding, but it must be done. By testing everyone you’re mindful of your suppliers, you want to make sure they feel safe around your family and that they can do what they do best without too much stress," she said.
It can be cheaper, but the ceremony is fluid
Not every pandemic wedding tests all their guests. For those with a limited budget, they rely on following other protocols to keep their wedding safe. It's for this reason that a pandemic wedding is generally cheaper, according to master event planner, Dhon Conwi, Weddings and Motifs.
"Nung una wala akong makitang reason bakit hindi idedelay, but upon seeing my clients, I guess there are two things: yung walang kasiguraduhan na bukas and of course, financial. And it’s really more of having the reason now to get married at a lower cost, by keeping it intimate," he said.
Weddings take years to plan for some, which makes it even more frustrating for couples who were suddenly forced to postpone or reimagine their nuptials. For Bea and Nikko, some of their closest friends and familiy who couldn't be in the ceremony drove by in their cars and said their congratulations to the couple on the street.
"You have to be at peace that what you had in mind, MOSTLY none of that will go according to plan. I laugh about it now, but there were many days that I struggled, cried, wrestled with the thought that such a momentous occasion had so many obstacles," she said.
According to her, taking the extra mile of making sure everyone tested negative was their way of making sure they can still celebrate it in the best way they can. It allowed them to focus on what truly matters.
"At the end of the day, you just wanna start your life together. I feel like it's better to do life together in the worst of times and just start now, and then it can get better from here," she said.