By ROWENA JOY A. SANCHEZ
Manila, Philippines –AND they vowed to love each other until their hair turns gray.
Shalani Soledad and Roman Romulo exchanged I do’s in an austere yet heartfelt ceremony held on an apparently auspicious date, Jan. 22 the eve of the Chinese New Year at St. Benedict Church, Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
The wedding started at nearly 6 p.m., almost an hour behind the scheduled time. Soledad was at her most beautiful in an Inno Sotto creation: an off shoulder, off-white long gown with delicate beadwork that was reminiscent of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s conservative ensemble in her wedding with Prince William last year. Roman, on the other hand, was a dashing groom in a darkcolored suit.
Shalani looked radiant as she walked down the aisle, and was met by her uncle, Mon Soledad, halfway through the altar. They had a quick, gentle embrace before proceeding with the march, with Bruno Mars’“Just the Way You Are“ being sung by the choir.
A highly awaited wedding since it was announced a couple of months back, it was how Shalani imagined it. The decorations reflected the couple’s aura and persona: the bridal pathway had no red carpet, but bouquets of neatly arranged white flowers perched at the end of the pews by the center. The church was illuminated by white, orange, and purple lights, while an array of flowers and leaves alternately covered the St. Benedict’s pillars.
The relatively small yet homey church was quite comparable to an intimate, standing-room-only concert, with the couple’s family, friends, and colleagues, as eager witnesses to their union. Some even had to sit on high plastic stools, while others stood beside the pews.
The mass was officiated by Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales, D.D., Bishop Mylo Hubert C. Vergara, D.D., Rev. Msgr. Bartolome G. Santos, Jr., and Rev. Fr. Isagani Avinante.
Bishop Vergara, who delivered an inspiring homily, lightheartedly asked the couple, “Bakit ngayon ka lang, Roman, Shalani?“ What came next from the bishop appeared to be the answer: “It was, is, and always will be God’s mysterious plan.“
Their sacred union, he added, is an alternative to a culture that “cultivates broken relationships,“ and breaks the trend of people fearing to commit with someone.
Vergara closed the homily with an advice and a prayer: “That you may be one flesh, that you be loved, and you do what God tells you.“
Their personal vows were brief yet brimming with love. Shalani said to Roman, “When you found love, you just know…You are my home…my happiness.“
Roman, meanwhile, gave her his most passionate “I love you,“ which merited cheers from the crowd.
The songs which served as soundtrack to the wedding were mostly modern. Included in the lineup of songs were Train’s “If It’s Love“ and “Marry Me,“ as well as Sting’s “Fields of Gold.“
When the priests told the groom, “Roman, take over,“ the latter planted a quick, soft kiss to his blushing bride.
Several celebrities took part in the Shalani-Roman nuptial. TV host and congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez did the second reading, while broadcast journalist Karen Davila read the Prayers of the Faithful. Manny V. Pangilinan, TV5 head honcho, was one of the principal sponsors.
Also in attendance were Shalani’s “Willing Willie“ co-host Mariel Rodriguez, actors Nonie Buencamino and Richard Gomez, and DZMM anchor Vic de Leon Lima.
Leaders also attended the Shalani-Roman wedding. Serving as principal sponsors were former Cynthia Villar (who arrived with daughter Camille), Senator Panfilo Lacson, and Secretary Albert del Rosario.
The Groomsmen were Erwin Romulo, Rep. Anton Lagdameo, Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, George Rafael Lorenzana, Jr., and Dante Soliven. The Bridesmaids are Mrs. Catherine May L. Hervas, Mrs. Annaliza S. Jacinto, Mrs. Ma. Lourdes P. Romulo, Mrs. Monica T. Garcia and Ms. Diamond D. Villar.
The reception was held at the open-air Evolving Center Dockside in Nuvali, Sta. Rosa.
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