It’s weird how we get wedding fantasies set in our heads when we are little girls. Everyone always says that they never thought about their wedding until they got engaged, but I’m not going to lie to you. I started dreaming about my wedding as soon as I could talk. When my mom gave me my first piggy bank at four, she asked me if I’d like to save for college. “No,” I told her “College is boring. I want to save for my wedding.” I still remember the horrified look on my feminist mother’s face. “But…” she said weakly, “You know that girls can do anything! What would you like to do?” “Save for my wedding dress,” I said firmly.
As a child and teen, I remember knowing girls who could go on for hours about their someday wedding. They’d get this glazed, “welcome to the cult” expression on their faces, and describe in great detail the music, the flowers, the dresses, the shoes, the groom’s attire, the church, the way their father would walk them down the aisle, the limo, the rice, and where they’d be going on the honeymoon. They could describe the living hell out of everything but one essential element: the groom.
“Do you take this man to be your lawful lovely husband,” said the priest who officiated Lancaster New City's "May Forever Libreng Kasalan," a free mass wedding held at the Church of the Holy Family in Lancaster New City, Imus, Cavite sponsored by ProFriends (Property Company of Friends, Inc.), a real estate company. This day is the day that every woman dreams of, her wedding day. Little girls would plan this day with all her girlfriends, picturing it to be that “picture perfect wedding”. Most girls dream of what they want their wedding to be. Is it on going to be on the top of the hill, on the beach during a sunset, or eloping? There are many different types of weddings, but to that particular woman, it’s her little touch that makes her wedding truly unforgettable.
In keeping true to its vision and mission of being a "Family Friendly City," ProFriends' Lancaster New City had made 17 couples' dream come true by sponsoring a mass wedding. 17 couples were pre-selected by Lancaster New City and the real estate company sponsored and shouldered all the required wedding expenses. From their pre-nuptial videos and photo shoots with hair and makeup, pre-wedding seminar, wedding ceremony, wedding cake, bouquets, boutonnieres, arrhae and a grand wedding reception no less at the Leighton Hall, an ideal wedding venue in Cavite.
To be perfectly honest, I never liked attending weddings. Perhaps it is because of the fact that I am in my mid-thirties already but I am still single (and the thought of being a spinster for life brings me too much pressure from both family and friends). Nevertheless, I had agreed to cover for events such as this “Kasalang Bayan” in Lancaster.
|The interiors of the Church of the Holy Family|
|Church of the Holy Family Facade|
The minute we had arrived in Lancaster New City, I could hear one of my favourite piano pieces, Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D as each lovely bride marches down the center aisle. The sound of the falling leaves was also a bit hypnotic…giving its submission to the wind, prepping up the vibe for the solemn Filipino mass wedding and somehow it also serves as a cue as it invites the guests to gather altogether to witness as the 17 couples exchanged their “I Do’s” at the Church of the Holy Family.
One could actually feel the solemnity of the wedding ceremony. Lancaster’s Church of the Holy Family is an ideal wedding venue for Lancaster residents and nearby Cavite areas. Yes, it’s open to outsiders (meaning even if you’re not from Lancaster, you can have your wedding done at the said church)—secured and safe, well ventilated, vast seating capacity with ample parking space. Not to mention, you can also hold your reception just across the street: right there at the Leighton Hall.
|The Buckingham Hall of Leighton Hall where the reception was held|
|Each couple had their own designated tables for them and their guests|
|Sumptuous Buffet Catering by M Catering|
|Wedding cakes for the couples|
I’m not really into any ‘kilig’ that Filipino word that refers to the excitement due to various romantic situations. (FYI, it is now included in Oxford Dictionary). I’ve always believed I’m a little bit old for such things. But at that moment, I couldn’t help but feel that romance in the air, seeing all those 17 couples together as they begin their happily ever after. I had secretly wished I would be able to find my own groom someday (if at all it will be part of God’s plans for me). Awww...but that should be included in another blog post, not this one.
Each couple had their own “highlight” from the proper ceremony up until the reception. I also loved that each couple had different love stories to tell, on how they’ve met, the hardships they both had to encounter prior to the wedding, etc. In fact, some stories are worthy of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” or even an entire length film! How I wish we were given the chance to interview them all. I’m sure we’d be able to learn a few things from them. But we were lucky to be given the chance to interview two couples. There were May-December affairs where the woman is much older than her groom. Yes, as they say, love knows no bounds and no boundaries. Age is simply just a number. They were even blessed with a daughter.
|The May-December couple at the Lancaster Kasalang Bayan 2016 with their daughter|
Another love story would be that of Allan and Ann Rixie Saulog. They were the 17th couple who made it to the list of Lancaster Cavite Homes’ mass wedding. The couple shared with us how they had first met. Allan was the resident pianist of Lancaster Church of the Holy Family where Ann Rixie became a choir member. Soon enough, the two had played beautiful music together. And the rest, as they say is history. Ann Rixie admits she never thought that the two of them will have the opportunity to get married in the church. “Labis po kaming nagpapasalamat sa Lancaster at ProFriends sa oportunidad na ito. Iba po yung feeling na may blessing ng simbahan. Kasal na po kami ni Allan sa huwes, pero mas masaya po kami ngayon na kasal na rin kami sa simbahan. At least, sa mata ng Diyos at ng aming kapwa, mag-asawa na kami,” explains Ann Rixie as she had shed tears of joy while being interviewed. (We are so grateful to Lancaster and ProFriends for giving us this opportunity. It's such a great feeling to be wed in the church because we are blessed. Allan and I were previously married in the civil rites, but we are happier now that we are officially married in both the eyes of God and men.)
|Ann Rixie and Allan Saulog are one of the happy couples we've met.|
|Ann Rixie Saulog couldn't help but cry tears of joy.|
|One of the 17 couples with the presiding priest|
Of course, part and parcel of having a married life means looking for a place to build your new family. And that's exactly where Lancaster New City comes in. While there, I tried to go around and saw the exclusive and first-of-its-kind-master-planned township development which offers affordable yet high quality houses in Cavite. Lancaster New City Cavite also has a commercial-retail business district and Suntech iPark to house BPO companies to give residents an option to work close to home. And best of all, it's a Family Friendly City, the kind of neighborhood you'd want to raise your kids and build your own family.
|One of Lancaster's Model Units|
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