Nurse Lallyn Velasquez, a COVID-19 frontliner, knew she had to push through with her wedding last week. The government was cautiously unwinding restrictions on public gatherings and her father, a seaman, could be called anytime to resume work.
Up to two days before the ceremony last July 17, Velasquez told reportr she was still waiting for physical distancing guidelines for the wedding. The feeling was a mix of excitement, anxiety and uncertainty, she said. The St. Lukes Medical Center nurse's predicament is shared by many brides whose dream weddings were scuttled by the pandemic.
"Rescheduling is not our option," she told reportr. "We decided to push through because I as a bride, I wanted to be wed with my whole family. And we feel happy and blessed because finally, after all the anxiety, we are wearing our rings and made a promise to cherish one another at the altar with the blessing of our Almighty God. "
The bride her her groom, Ben Leonin, wore face masks throughout the ceremony at the Sacred Heart Parish, some 12 kilometers from the hospital where she works. Guests were seated far apart, some occupying entire pews to themselves. They wanted to have a big wedding with relatives and friends from ther Catholic community, MFC Singles.
"Since we need to abide to the laws, we decided to change almost the entire plan. We decided to conduct an intimate wedding instead," she said.
When anxiety gave way to celebration, the couple and their families gathered for a reception with Filipino wedding staples: lechon and cake.
"Getting married during this pandemic gave us a feeling of excitement, anxiety, uncertainty, and blessed. Like a rollercoaster ride because up to the very last two days before our wedding, we were waiting from announcements from the government. But getting married during this time is the Lord's blessing and we thank all the people who helped us to make it possible," he said.
It was only in early July that pandemic restrictions allowed religious gatherings of up to 10 percent of the venue's capacity. Metro Manila is under a general community quarantine or GCQ until the end of the month and authorities said a return to the stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine or MECQ was possible if virus infections in the region fail to slow.
As of July 19, the Philippines tallied 67,456 COVID-19 cases including 1,831 deaths and 22,465 recoveries. President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his penultimate State of the Nation Address on July 27, where he is expected to discuss the government's response to the health and economic crises spawned by the pandemic.