Every now and then, life throws us an interesting plot twist that might get the best of us. But often, these unexpected twists and turns offer a silver lining, opening our eyes to realizations of what is really important.
Sarah Lahbati and Richard Gutierrez both had a vision for their big day. This was highly anticipated by family and close friends in the industry—and most definitely by their fans.
Alongside the preparations, the COVID-19 crisis was getting louder by the second. As the cases continued to rise, Sarah and Richard could not help but grow anxious about the health and safety of their beloved guests, should they continue with the wedding as planned. Rumors of a lockdown eventually spread, intending to contain the virus.
Despite having almost everything set two days before the wedding: the lights and the sound system were all set; the stylists, Gideon Hermosa and Teddy Manuel were nearly done with their initial setup; dance rehearsals were ongoing, and some of the family members were even having their nails and their lashes done already. It was proposed to have an emergency meeting with the couple, the couple’s immediate family, and the suppliers to talk about the possible scenarios and options that the couple had, given the situation.
With a heavy heart, without waiting for the President’s decision regarding the rumored lockdown, the couple decided to postpone the wedding indefinitely until the pandemic was over.
Sarah and Richard made their announcement through an Instagram post. After learning about the news, the couple was showered with overwhelming love and support from everyone around them. With hearts filled with gratitude, they were inspired to make the most out of this twist of fate and instead have an intimate wedding celebration together with their closest family and friends, at the last minute.
In fact, everything happened a day before the lockdown and the celebration was simply beautiful.
We may be used to seeing well-crafted wedding celebrations nowadays, especially from celebrity weddings. But one thing that this pandemic made us all realize is, that though life could be challenging, love and family remain, and are what will keep us going.
Come to think of it, Sarah and Richard’s wedding was the very first intimate wedding celebration during this time of the pandemic.
Here are some words from the now Mrs. Sarah Lahbati-Gutierrez as she talks about the hardest, yet best decision of their lives, by far:
How did you feel when the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the Philippines—about two weeks before your wedding?
I was obviously worried and nervous. We were constantly out to prepare things before the wedding and welcoming family members and friends that were flying-in for the wedding, so we really had to be careful.
What was going on in your head while the issue of the lockdown was being talked about, two days before your wedding?
I couldn’t believe what was going on. We knew right away that we had to make the tough decision to postpone the wedding.
What made you finally decide to postpone the wedding date? How hard of a decision was it for you?
We knew that it would be risky for everyone involved and invited to the wedding, including us. It was a tough decision to make for sure. We planned the wedding a year before the first lockdown, and everything was in place already. It was a sad day, but we never regretted making that decision for everyone’s health and safety.
How and when did you decide to have an intimate civil wedding in the meantime and then have the bigger celebration later on?
We decided to have a civil wedding a day before, I think! Everything was last minute, from the dress to the location, but it turned out perfectly well, thanks to the dream team spearheaded by the amazing Amanda Tirol. In hindsight, it was always our dream to have a soulful and intimate wedding.
Could you briefly share with us the sequence of events from the postponement of the wedding to finally deciding to have an intimate civil wedding instead?
Amanda helped Richard and I finalize the civil wedding, Gideon Hermosa setup the location beautifully, and Teddy Manuel surprised us with a gorgeous intimate dinner set up.
How did you feel on the day of your civil wedding when it was over?
We felt at peace and relieved.
Could you share with us what transpired in the intimate civil ceremony and reception?
The civil wedding was quick. Our closest family members were the only ones there, and they all got to share a short but heartfelt message for us. We then all shared a very special family dinner together.
When are you planning to have the big celebration, as planned?
I honestly don’t know yet. I’m still hoping to be able to celebrate with all our family members and friends when the time is right! Hopefully, I will still fit into my wedding dress! (laughs)
Do you have any words of advice for future brides and grooms that are struggling with the decision on planning a small and intimate wedding and maybe postponing the big celebration for better times?
I think we shouldn’t look down upon civil weddings because, at the end of the day, it’s all about the lifelong partnership and the love you share with your future spouse. A bigger celebration can always wait! And if you have the means to get help from a wedding planner, please do, as they can get all the needed suppliers together.
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