Canmaker knew he wanted something simple yet memorable. And it would have to be at the beach resort they frequently visit for vacations. He made us, his high school group, take care of the ceremony and act as over-all organizers. Then he fanned out venue set and decor to his production designer friends, the food to his chef friend and finally all the other details to his partner’s friends. They had a very select group of witnesses to the event. We were about 30 in all. And half of us was involved in the event.
It was fun just putting things together. We had a couple of meetings to discuss concepts and align ideas. And lots of email exchanges. There was a slight setback when Canmaker, his fiancee and production friends, made an ocular visit a week before the event. He was dismayed to see the condition of the resort, which he would politely describe as “rustic”. So much work had to be done to make the areas beautiful for the photo ops! (Yes, that was always the concern!) So, he told us not to expect much by way of amenities and accommodations and just focus on helping them make something memorable.
No matter, we all thought. We were all fired up anyway. And so the production people arrived early, even two days before the event, to get the place in order. By the time we arrived at the resort a day before, the place had started to show much promise. It was cleaned up and painted. And when they started putting the touches, voila, the area just came to life!
The program at 3pm started with cocktails at the verandah overlooking the beach. The place had magically transformed into Santorini, replete with white arches and linen swags There was even a photowall for the obligatory poses. We played some lounge-y music as the guests started arriving, all in the prescribed white top. By 415pm, the couple joined the guests to socialize. We served wine, fruit juice and splendid pica-pica.
At 430pm, the couple did their french exit to change into the ceremony clothes. Cocktails and chitchat continued. Shortly after, the emcees requested the guests to go down to the beach area and form two lines. They grabbed handfuls of rose petals from a basket.
All were lined up as they waited for the couple to make their entrance. The first bars of their theme song played in the background (“Sana Nga Ay Ikaw Na” by The Company) as soon as the couple appeared at the top of the short flights of steps. Canmaker was already welling up as they went down the steps, with their 'kids", two shitzu's, and marched between the lines formed by the guests. As they passed, the guests threw the rose petals at them.
When they got to the top of the line, the ceremony officer was waiting for them. And we, the guests, enclosed them in a circle. The sun was rightly timed as sunset was due soon.
In front of all of us, Canmaker and his partner made their vows. They came up with their own touching scripts. And as each was reciting his lines, each was choking up with tears. And so were we.
From then, they got the rings, tied in a bow around their two dogs. They put the ring on each other’s hand. Then solemnly, they were pronounced partners. Then they kissed. I watched this with sun in my eye. Which was just as well because I was tearing up. It looked so right. It looked so real. Because it is right. And it is real. No matter if the Church or the Government says it is not so.
We all went nearer the shoreline to catch the glorious sunset and have our pictures with the couple taken with it. Everyone was just giddy and happy for the couple.
And as darkness approached, we gave everyone their paper lanterns to light. Those darn lanterns took forever to catch fire. The technique, I realized, is to light it up with a candle on one corner of that square 'puck'. Then as the flame grows, set the lantern down on the ground so the air heats up faster. And that allows you to hold the paper sides up. One by one, the lanterns ascended in the dark blue sky, with the sea below it. It was quite a sight! With the lanterns, we made wishes for the couple.
From there, we enjoyed the cocktails until dinner was ready. It was on the balcony of the hotel building. When we got there, everyone was just amazed at how the area transformed into a stylish, intimate reception with the most heavenly dishes served. Canmaker was just blown away. All their friends pulled through for them! Read how one of the guests experienced the event.
The merriment continued into the night. And everyone was just drunk with joy for the couple who were doing this for no other reason but love.
I look back at that event, two weeks after, and I am still in awe that it all transpired, exactly as Canmaker wanted it. But beyond that, it was an affirmation that something like this was possible. It gave me hope. But not just for me. But for every other beki out there who dreams of a time when one can be proud about professing gay love to the whole world, with or without the legal trimmings.
*photo credits: Pics 1-3 by the blogger. Pics 4-6 by various photographers who will remain unnamed. But they own the rights to the use of the photos.
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