This year was a big wedding year for me and H. Earlier this fall, our two good friends A. and N. held their commitment ceremony on the shores of the Pacific Ocean at the Marin Headlands Institute. And yesterday, Gura M. and Tatang Retong, and my co-worker D. and his woman V., tied the knot. No, it wasn't a double wedding, but both events happened on the same day, which made my Saturday a busy one.
First, went to Gura and Tatang's ceremony at St. Joseph's Basilica in Alameda. I grew up going to this church; I was baptized there and received my first communion and confession there. My sister also went to the adjoining high school (also the bride's alma mater), so there were lots of flashbacks and deja vus for me. It was a lovely, fairly traditional Catholic wedding, but Father Rich made it more interesting by doing a kind of interactive, almost talk-show like homily (sermon), while the traditional malongs worn by the sponsors andMaster Kalanduyan and his Panabuniyan Ensemble's kulintang performance gave the ceremony a more tribal-regal air.
After that ceremony we dashed over to the Oakland Museum for D. and V.'s wedding. We missed the actual wedding ceremony (I'd told them about this ahead of time), but arrived in time to see the happy couple posing for post-ceremony photos. V.'s dress was gorgeous, a slim, cream-colored silken slip of a dress, and D. looked dashing in his updated tux. The Museum's a surprisingly beautiful place to have an outdoor wedding; on the far side of the building there is an enclosed terrace and grassy courtyard. The only drawbacks were the infrequent siren or helicopter sounds floating over the otherwise bucolic setting; this is still Oakland, after all!
After eating and chilling for a little bit at the Museum wedding, H. and I dashed off again to pick up my Mom, who wanted to go with us to Gura and Tatang's reception, which was at a nice hotel out in San Ramon. We got to hang out with my kumare and kumpare, my ina-anak and his brother, and a bunch of other folks at the party--including fellow blogistas Jean Vengua and Eileen Tabios. And of course, this being a Filipino wedding and all, we got to cha-cha to our heart's content (H. was a trooper and kept up pretty well; Filipinos are notorious cha-cha lovers). There was a sweet slide show of M. and R.'s childhoods and courtship, and of course, the money dance.
But the highlight of the reception was definitely seeing the bride--in full, floor-length white wedding dress and veil, no less!--doing an impromptu kali demonstration during the halad (offering) section of the program. The bride said it wasn't planned, and knowing Tuhan Joe, that doesn't surprise me, but she stepped up to the challenge with her usual panache and grace, and wowed the wedding crowd with some beautiful stick- and knife- (yes, I said knife, but it was a butter knife) play, taking on two other guros (teachers) as well as Tuhan (Master) Joe himself.
I had wanted to try and go to D. and V.'s wedding 'after-party' back in Oaktown after the reception, but it was past 11 p.m. when we left, bamboo plant wedding favors in hand. But we had a great day celebrating the joinings of two beautiful couples, and I send them much love and many blessings as they embark on their lives together.