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Old and new wedding traditions.

SO my niece Boo-Boo finally got hitched to her Mr. Right in her dream destination-Boracay Island.

It was my first time to attend a wedding of millennials (Boo-Boo is 30, Mr. Right is 35), so I was curious what they would do, and how they would pull it off. Of course, having a dedicated wedding planner on the island itself was a must to organize the fine details of the ceremony and the reception like the making reservations with the church, booking the venue for the reception, arranging the flower decor, booking the makeup artists and the photographers/videographers, picking the right priest to do the ceremony, and so on.

With Boracay having been heavily promoted as a wedding destination, there are a number of planners to actually choose from, each one appropriate to the budget and temperament of any would-be bridezilla and groom.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Villamin

Even then, Boo-Boo and Mr. Right had to make the overall huge choices like allocating the budget (they spent for everything, and didn't ask their respective parental units for additional funds, so yay for financial independence!), their individual attire and that of the entourage, choosing the dishes to be served during the cocktail/reception, and the music to be played by the band at the reception, among others.

With a wedding planner, Boo-Boo tells me it wasn't too difficult to rein in the expenses. '[The wedding planner] already had a checklist so it was easier to stick to the budget,' she tells me.

The gorgeous bride Nikka Policarpio and, ahem, the equally gorgeous ninang.

Boo-Boo is the youngest of Big Sis and Hubby, and the first one to get married, which makes the wedding even more of a big deal to the family. Still, the couple decided to keep the guest list to a minimum, about 150 persons (there were less during the reception). It consisted mostly of immediate family members and Boo-Boo and Mr. Right's very close friends, who played significant roles during the wedding ceremony itself.

They opted for a limited guest list to be able to hold the destination wedding and, wisely enough, spend more on the reception itself, which took place at the expansive beachfront of ever-popular Discovery Shores. The reception, of course, accounted for the largest chunk of the couple's budget-with numerous pass-around cocktail food, generous main entrees and desserts, along with an overflowing amount of alcoholic beverages.

Being a guest, I'd say it was worth every peso spent; needless to say, the dishes were superbly put together by the resort's excellent food and beverage crew. And, yes, there were a lot of food we didn't even get to try just because we were at the presidential tables, far removed from the buffet table. (And what can I say about the rooms of Discovery Shores except they were perfect, as usual. I especially love the huge teddy bear in our room, a new touch for the resort's 10th anniversary.)

Discovery Shores in Boracay Island provided

the heavenly backdrop for our family's wedding of the year.

It was quite the mix of old and new traditions, as the couple did away with those usual wedding customs that they felt didn't work, while injecting some fresh aspects, which I experienced for the first time.

At the wedding ceremony itself, for instance, the kids did away with writing their own vows, as some couples have been wont to do, and just said the regular vows that are part of a Catholic wedding ceremony. They also had a choir, which sang the Mass songs so beautifully, making the Mass itself a joy to experience. (Bravo to the Van de Steen Male Choir for a great, inspiring performance.)

But at the reception itself, I was surprised; there was no tossing of the bouquet, nor tossing of the bride's garter. If you blinked, you would have probably missed the cutting of the cake (which looking back, I didn't even get to taste).

I am told the couple wanted to do away with most of the long customs and traditions, so they and the guests could go straight to partying.

And, yes, while boozing and partying were what made the reception so much fun-props to the band which had an extensive repertoire, from 1980s disco to 'Versace on the Floor'-the highlight of the evening was courtesy of my Bro-in-Law. An accomplished singer, he started singing 'Turn Around' by Kenny Loggins (or Harry Belafonte to the elderly generation):

Wanted to take home this big brown teddy

bear from our suite!

'Where are you going my little one, little one?

Where are you going my baby, my own?

Turn around and you're two, turn around and you're four,

Turn around and you're a young girl, going out of the door....'

And as he took his 'baby' to the dance floor for the father-daughter dance, we all sniffled, broke into tears, with some of the men, fathers themselves, trying to keep it together, albeit unsuccessfully. I found it difficult to even hold my phone camera steady as I kept mopping up my tears. It was one tradition that I was glad the newly wedded couple had decided to keep.

As a romantic, I'm heartened that many young couples today still opt to get married. Who doesn't have friends who are either separated, divorced or had had their marriages annulled. And with so much vitriol spewed on the Internet about the pitfalls of being married, it's a welcome surprise that this hasn't deterred couples from formalizing their unions. (In the Philippines, apparently marriages are on a downtrend, decreasing about 14.4 percent from 2007 to 2016, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority. PSA, however, doesn't say why.)

So, I am cheered by the fact that Boo-Boo and her Mr. Right bucked the trend and chose to be exception rather than the rule.

To the newlyweds, cheers! May this union be blessed for many years to come. Now, start working on those babies.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Apr 12, 2018
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