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Birthday bash becomes surprise wedding for longtime couple.

Byline: Maurice Arcache

Trina Santos and Nikos Gitsis had been together for 12 years since neither of them were the "marrying kind."

Famille and pals had been bugging them to get married for many years, but they would always just say, "We'd rather just keep going on honeymoons and skip the wedding part." So they traveled extensively, said Trina.

Nikos proposed last January, but Trina completely sucked the romance out of his well-orchestrated proposal by not believing he was serious.

"I thought he was joking," said Trina. "To the point that the waiters and staff at the restaurant ran out because they thought I wasn't going to accept his proposal!"

Although Nikos had wanted a big wedding, she insisted on an intimate one, and after much arm-twisting he agreed.

They chose Sala Restaurant because aside from its great food, they had wanted a small and intimate area for the civil ceremony.

"We used the tree in the courtyard as the backdrop," she said.

The catch was that it would be a "surprise" wedding ceremony. By surprise, they meant they would surprise kin and friends by inviting them ostensibly to Nikos' "birthday dinner," for indeed it would be his birthday the next day.

SUPREME Court Justice Mariano del Castillo administers the vows on Trina and Nikos.

So after one hour of canapes and champagne in the courtyard, they all went inside the restaurant where Nikos clinked his glass and announced, "I am the happiest man tonight, because not only am I celebrating my birthday with all of you, but I am also marrying Trina tonight!"

And everyone broke out in surprise applause. All the invitees headed out into the courtyard again for the civil ceremony officiated by Supreme Court Justice Mariano del Castillo.

Guests included the associate justice's wife, dean Cynthia del Castillo, and their son, Jay del Castillo (their late daughter, Ansky, was one of Trina's best friends); and Sen. Joker Arroyo, Trina's lolo.

Her parents Rico and Elsa were there, of course, as well as sister Missy and brother Ral, and cousins Jackie Arellano-Tan and Stephanie Arellano-Figueroa.

Alexandros Moukas, Nikos' nephew, was also there.

Principal sponsors were Fely Aquino-Arroyo, Stavros Psinakis (with Presy Lopez-Psinakis), Lucy Consunji, Tomas Lopez Jr., Iren Dornier, Alana Dornier and Myra Puyat-Santiago.

The latter did Trina's bouquet and all the flower arrangement.

Guests included Charlelie Dray, Melissa Monasterio, Mike Locsin, Rambie Lim, Yuri Psinakis, Tara Reyes, Rogy Panganiban, Lynn Nawata, Francisco Delgado, Kimi Rocha, Pierre Tountzis, Marie Lozano, Mike Marozzi, Moon Ramos-Marozzi, Trent Frankum, Jenny Tan, Biba Cabuquit and Donna Reyes.

The divine canapes included salt cod fritters with tarragon and anchovy aioli; goat's cheese and tomato croustade with rocket bruschetta of duck rillettes and pear chutney.

COUPLE leads the dance floor with sexy tango

Dinner consisted of imbale of tiger prawn and swimmer crab remoulade with cucumber, lemon and dill; and Portabella mushroom, ricotta and thyme ravioli with parmesan and truffle oil.

Guests also had a choice of roast ocean trout with pickled beetroot carpaccio, horseradish potatoes and fennel salad; char-grilled marinated lamb cutlet and loin with roast pumpkin, fine beans, feta, lemon and oregano; or fillet of mulwarra beef with Jerusalem artichokes, carrot puree and confited garlic jus.

THE BRIDE with cousins Jackie Tan and Stephanie Figueroa

For postres, there were Vittoria coffee and petit fours (chocolate macadamia squares and earl grey macaroons), and Baby Yulo's to-die-for Strawberry Shortcake, Nikos' "surprise" birthday cake.

Afterward, Trina conceded to Nick wanting to invite more people by agreeing to have an "after-dinner-drinks" celebration at M Cafe, where their other relatives, friends, and Nikos' business partners and longtime employees all came for his birthday salubong.

The birthday-cum-wedding bash got on a speed roller to the tunes DJ-ed by the newlyweds close friend, Mike Constantino.

Wow! That's what a real lasting romance is all about, palanggas. N'est-ce pas?
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 10, 2013
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