#RealWeddings: The Beauty Of The Northern Lights Inspired This Starry Sky-Themed Wedding
When Louella Ching and Jeffer Chan first laid eyes on each other as toddlers, little did they know that forever, together, had already begun.
Having spent quite a lifetime transforming from school mates to soul mates, this couple now lovingly calls each other husband and wife while looking back on their wedding that was visually stunning, deeply personal, and masterfully executed all at once.
"It started with the same zip code—1006. Our parents sent us to the same kindergarten in our neighborhood and, being old acquaintances, they often bumped into each other before and after classes with little Jeffer and Louella in tow," Louella reveals about her adorable beginnings with Jeffer.
This bride who, quite literally, grew up with her husband-to-be ironically never once thought of him as anything more than a study buddy but something simply fell into place along the way, something so life-changing that it had her heart beating for him in a completely unfamiliar way, but one that felt right.
"And though we didn't plan it, it began again in university. Somewhere between 7:30a.m. classes in CTC and studying for that killer Math LT, we fell in love. And the rest, as they say, is history," she continues.
Years after they had become a couple, the introverted Jeffer devised a plan for the carefree Louella: on their trip to Northern Sweden—one of the many international adventures this travel-loving pair have gone on together—he would propose to her under a blanket of twinkling stars set against a dancing canopy of the gem-hued Northern Lights.
The secret would be successfully kept form Louella until the right moment had arrived.
And as their story goes, January 2018 proved to be that year's most memorable month for both of them, as it became the day they chose to spend their lives together as Mr. and Mrs.
To announce the news on Instagram, Louella wrote, "Lying on a frozen lake covered in thick snow, gazing at the infinite galaxies above and beyond, asking some of the most fundamental questions of the human race: How many stars are there in the sky? What is the meaning of life? Did I want to spend the rest of my life with you? Yes. ?? #HappyLouJefferAfter."
Fifteen months after their time in the stunning, almost otherwordly, Swedish Laplands, they set their eyes on a place closer to home, but one that would prove to be much more special because of what it would be the venue of—their wedding.
Louella and Jeffer easily decided on the Manila Cathedral to exchange "I dos," the historical landmark's effortless grandeur serving as the perfect backdrop to the culmination of their love story, so far.
According to this bride, everything about her big day fell into place as she consciously chose to be as relaxed and easygoing about it as much as possible.
"The priority for me was to make sure that we would both enjoy the wedding. I was always determined to be a bridechilla throughout the planning stages and not to let the minute details get on my nerves. I didn’t want to look back at that period as a stressful time of my life," she said.
Besides, the self-proclaimed "bridechilla" had a roster of amazing suppliers and planners to not only help her get through her wedding, but to also experience it.
With Christine Ong Te Events coordinating logistics, timing, guests, and the event's other nitty gritty details, Louella and Jeffer were free to concentrate on other details, most importantly, their wedding's aesthetic.
Louella worked closely with Teddy Manuel to conceptualize the special occasion's theme that she envisioned to be a recreation of Jeffer's wintry, starry-skied proposal to her.
She describes, "I decided to recreate that evening for our wedding reception, with the East Ocean Palace ballroom transformed into a starry night outdoor wedding venue by Teddy Manuel."
"I also wanted to recreate a Yayoi Kusama infinity room for the wedding, something I always saw and loved on Instagram and which I later found out that Teddy was also a huge fan of. It happened to be in theme with the starry night decor, so it was perfect. After several conceptualization meetings with him, we made it happen and it really was a dream come true for us both. He executed it so wonderfully," Louella adds.
Of course, no matter how beautiful a wedding and its reception are, the real star of the day is the bride herself and her chosen bridal look.
For Louella, she went with a strapless Monique Lhuillier number that highlighted her shoulders and neckline. Understatedly elegant, the dress injected hints of playfulness in its multi-layered skirt and structured bodice details while shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti and Manolo Blahnik completed her ensemble.
Makeup artist Lindsay Co-Alog was, of course, a crucial member of Louella's glam team and outfitted her with a fuss-free hairstyle paired with a lightly made-up face.
Jeffer, on the other hand, was equally well-dressed in a sharp suit by Ziggy Savella.
And not wanting her bridal entourage to be without their own fashion moments, Louella picked White Label Bridal to dress them in an unexpected shade of choice: earthy red.
There to capture the evening's most special moments were Mico Gonzales and King Caldera of Mayad Studios who took photos and videos bound to bring smiles to this couple's faces for years to come.
But despite having professionals around, Louella let her video-editing skills shine when her DIY video montage, which served as their travel-inspired pre-nup, was presented to their guests.
Stitching together clips from their many holidays together in and out of the country, the thoughtful four minute-long video was as especially touching to watch.
And for guests to remember this day the same way as Louella and Jeffer will, they decided on partnering with Baicapture Photobooth for the giveaways, Sound Salad for their reception's live music, Mannix Peña for their intricate, Instagram-worthy cake, and Liham Paperie for the event's printed items.
Overall, it was everything that Louella and Jeffer had wanted their wedding to be: stunning yet personal, grand yet relatable, and of course, holding special meaning in all its elements.
Three weeks after this couple officially started happily ever after together, one thing holds true about them: as infinite as the galaxies and the stars they hold are, so is their love for each other.
Congratulations to Louella and Jeffer!
Photographs by Mayad Studios, courtesy of Louella Ching