Laid Back Zambales: My Wedding Story

It was dreamlike—seeing familiar faces, cheering as I walk down the sandy path. The simple mango orchard was turned into an enchanted place. Everything went blurry afterwards. I slowly approached the ceremony arch. And there he was, amongst the two hundred fifty warm bodies, I spotted him. Teary-eyed, but he looked happy. Everything made perfect sense afterwards. This is my new blissful life.

There was never an occasion that was focused mainly on me. My first birthday was merged with my brother's as his was fourteen days after mine. I’ve never had a debut party or engagement party so I wasn't used to having all the attention focused on me.

I never dreamt of getting married. I didn't have a perfect wedding in mind at all. All I wanted is to be happy, whenever, wherever and with whomever. Exactly ten days ago, I tied the knot with the person who showed me the true meaning of a 'blissful life'. Everything felt right. We had a simple, yet honest, ceremony on a mango orchard. Then partied 'til dawn under a blanket full of stars. No fuss, just pure bliss. Love overflowed that day and it was surreal. At the end of it all, I realized that it isn't that gorgeous white dress or the eight-course meal that really matter. It's the celebration of love with all your friends and families that makes for a perfect wedding. And just for one day, they all gathered and took time to witness our union. To everyone who celebrated with us, thank you so much for the love! ❤ "Happiness is only real when shared." - Alexander Supertramp Photo by @thelakwatsero #BlissfulLakad
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It was May last year when my travel buddy popped those four little words. I was dumbstruck that I ignored the fact that I needed to respond. I was over the moon, but thinking about the tedious wedding preparations made me uneasy when I think about ‘the’ big day.

I never imagined myself wearing a huge white wedding gown walking down a carpeted church aisle. Actually, I never imagined getting married, at all.

Maybe I was not the romantic kinda type or I don't have girly fantasies while growing up—I'm the only girl in a brood of three and almost all of my friends are male, maybe that’s why. If some girls know what they want up to the minutest detail of their dream wedding, there I was, having no clue on where or how to start.

Garden Wedding Zambales Near Manila

Months passed without the thought of what we really wanted for the wedding. I'm the type of person who doesn't know what she wants but knows what she doesn't want. So we started from there.

I regard weddings as one special day to any couple. One day. Just one day. I wouldn’t want to spend all of our travel money just to have that picture-perfect wedding, for one day. I’m not a pleaser so it didn’t bother me to receive hasty and nasty comments about me wearing cheapo sandals on that big day, ‘coz in real life, I don’t wear shoes. I want this one special day to mirror our lives as a couple. Period.

Garden Wedding Zambales Near Manila

Okay. So we didn’t know what we wanted, but we know what we don’t wanna happen. A casual chitchat over some bottles of beer with our best buddy kick-started all the ‘wedding planning’.

We didn't want an uptight black-and-white formal kinda thing—that is so not us. No pre-wedding photo and video sesh will be done and I will not be wearing any jewelry because in real life, I don't wear them. We envisioned a laid-back celebration starting with a small pica-pica area for the guests as they arrive (with fishballs, dirty ice cream, etc.) followed by a relaxed backyard commitment ceremony with no bridesmaids or groomsmen, just godparents. There will be no reception rituals but only a simple dinner afterwards right on the same venue, and an all-nighter party with free-flowing drinks to cap off the night. 

Our definition of a 'perfect wedding'.

Garden Wedding Zambales Near Manila

We chose February as the weather is generally fair in the country for this month. The task of looking for a venue that would fit everything we desired followed next.

My endless online research for reasonably priced outdoor wedding venues led me to Zambales' Center for the Arts—CASA San Miguel in the town of San Antonio.

Music, art and nature converge on this 15-hectare mango orchard with a brick house as the focal point. Acclaimed concert violinist Alfonso "Coke" Bolipata established CASA San Miguel Foundation in 1993 and launched the Cuerdas and Cuadros Community Arts Program which trains young musicians and visual artists from Zambales. Fundraising activities such as the Backstage Café, Bed and Breakfast and Anawangin island tour offers plus the support from private companies, including Starbucks Philippines, help in raising money for these young artists.

Garden Wedding Zambales Near Manila

Me and my buddy are both art enthusiasts which made us love the place right away—I’m a public high school music and art teacher for ten years now and my buddy is an architect and photographer. Their whole day venue rate (which wouldn't even rent a garden space in Metro Manila for one hour!) also suited our budget which totally sealed the deal. Much more, my parents' hometown is just two towns away from San Antonio.

We were given a point person/event organizer that helped us with everything. Honestly, if it weren't for Remarc, the wedding will not be as lovely as it turned out to be. Plus, all of his suppliers were from Zambales which I totally love. 

Gifts in the form of wedding dress, wedding suit, wedding bands, cake, photo & video coverage, wedding favors, wines, hair & make-up, percentage on the catering package, desserts, to name a few were given by lovely angels who were too grateful for this celebration. It's as if, all we needed to do was to attend our own wedding because everything was almost taken care of.

Two and a half months before the wedding day and we're all set. I didn't realize that organizing a wedding could be this easy and stress-free. I even went to work before and after the wedding. Weird, I know.

Garden Wedding Zambales Near Manila

It was 'the' day. The three o'clock sun was beaming towards the glass window of my room. I was with some of my best buddies who collectively helped us with our final looks. It was pandemonium as the room looked like a scene from a disaster movie. Make-up brushes and steam irons dominated that small space. But everyone’s excited. 

Small requests (like something to eat while I was having my make-up done) were given in an instant. I felt their love for us as they were all seriously focused on making everything flawless. At that moment, I realized how lucky we were to have friends and families who would go out of their way (and flew all the way from Cebu, Iloilo, Australia, Canada, Singapore, U.S., Bahrain, and Malaysia, to name a few) just to be there.

Garden Wedding Zambales Near Manila

It was time to go. Being the last one to leave the room and seeing the gorgeous venue turned into a magical place was overwhelming. Words went garbled, images became blurry and all I could hear was the wedding march, Canon in D rendered in guitar. I was extremely happy and emotional at the same time. Seeing two hundred and fifty people who purposely chose to be there with us at that moment was beyond words. My moment, our moment. And all of the important people in our lives were there, for us.

Claps. Cheers. Smiles. Happy tears. Surreal.

Garden Wedding Zambales Near Manila

I reached the ceremony area and saw my buddy down the path, teary-eyed. At that moment, I was the happiest person in the world. And everything that followed was dreamlike, a genuine celebration of love.

I don't really know what constitutes a 'perfect' wedding. But I know that it's not that gorgeous wedding dress or the extravagant eight-course meal that matters, it will all be forgettable, really. I think what truly defines a 'perfect' wedding is having all your friends and families on that one special day and seeing them truly celebrating that overflowing love you have as a couple. It's that moment when the universe conspired to make things seem perfect even if it's not. That moment when you choose to be happy, no matter what.

Garden Wedding Zambales Near Manila

There were no what ifs and should’ve beens. Everything was carried out the way we wanted it to be, much more than what we expected, actually. It’s exactly seventeen days now after that one special day and I still don't know where to store my dress and my wilted bouquet. But the laughter and love that poured out that day will be forever etched in my heart. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I am now Mrs. BlissfulGuro. Cheers!

To everyone who shared that one special day with us, thank you for the love!

CASA San Miguel
Provincial Road, San Miguel,
San Antonio, Zambales
Contact Number: (+63) 917.838.2752
Facebook Page

Eventhologist Weddings & Events
264 Simminublan, San Narciso,
Contact Number: (+63) 912.410.1275
Facebook Page

Light Invaders Photography
Contact Number: (+63) 905.636.3925
Facebook Page


  1. Simple but romantic...this is the best sample of perfect wedding.
    I know my boss is so happy while watching you walking that place and taking your vow. "Iyan ang pinakamaganda kong anak" as he always said.
    Best Wishes, blissfulguro.

    1. Awww... Salamat po Ma'am Marie. Nakangiti nga po si daddy, sure ako dun :)

  2. Congratulations. Love your dress. You looks incredible in that dress.

  3. Congratulations!
    Reading your wedding 'vision' is like reading my own thoughts - we have exactly the same idea of a laid back wedding with a simple menu and no reception rituals. I love it. Can I ask if you were able to achieve the "fishball and dirty ice cream" menu?

    1. Oh yes! I did! With TJ hotdog, gulaman and cheesy fries stands pa! :)

  4. Hi! May I ask how much is the venue? I also wanted a laid back ceremony and Zambales is what I think of (except Tagaytay). Thank you! :)

    1. I'll email you the details. You may send it at :)


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