EXCLUSIVE: Wedding Bells Are Ringing This Holiday Season With MMFF Movie "Mary, Marry Me"
"It’s not about the theme, the venue, the cake, or the gowns. It’s not about all that. It’s about you marrying your best friend and the love of your life," Toni Gonzaga-Soriano tells Metro.Style as she reminisces her beautiful wedding to director Paul Soriano in June 12, 2015. Three years into wedded bliss, the couple's bond and connection are getting stronger and tighter with each passing day, as they discover more things to love and admire about each other and raise their two-year-old son Severiano Elliott (or Seve) together.
But as the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." Thankfully, both Toni and Paul have supportive families who are always around, ready to shower Seve with all the love he needs to grow up as a good man—the presence of Toni's sister and Seve's "TiNang" (Tita and Ninang) Alex Gonzaga in their lives is the most notable of all.
On Alex: Gown by Rosa Clara and earrings by Love Rocks | On Toni: Gown by White Label Bridal
On social media, Alex has been very vocal about how much Seve has touched and changed her life, always documenting and even vlogging about his milestones, whether big or small. She's so fond of Seve that she even released a single inspired by the nickname she coined for him, "Chambe," and the adorable dance moves of the little boy; the "Chambe" song, music video, and choreography quickly went viral online with 8.2M views on Alex's YouTube channel as of this writing, and even Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray got hooked on it.
"I don't know how to feel about it," Toni chuckles. "I don’t know how Seve will react when he grows up and sees that his name became a trend or a hit song." That's how Toni feels as a mom, but as a sister, there's no hint of uncertainty about the joyful feeling that fills her heart, knowing that Alex has found a passion that truly showcases her personality and authenticity as an individual. Toni adds, "I'm happy for Alex. She doesn’t stop evolving. She doesn’t stop improving herself. She’s very creative. Si Alex, you cannot box her e."
The kind of person Alex has grown up to be can be credited in part to Toni, who has been her source of inspiration and motivation from the time when her Ate assumed the role of "inang yaya" and took care of her in behalf of their working mom, to that very moment she entertained the idea of entering showbiz, to this day when Toni now sets a good example for Alex in the aspects of being a loving wife and a doting mother.
Settling down and getting married are topics that are inevitably brought up these days upon the mention of Alex's name and in her presence. And 30-year-old Alex, who's been in a steady relationship with non-showbiz personality Mikee Morada for two years now, is not one to dodge these curious questions thrown her way any longer: "Is Mikee 'The One?'" "Are you ready to bid singlehood goodbye?" "When are you getting married?"
In an interview with Vice Ganda on Gandang Gabi, Vice, the host asked Mikee: "Saan mo nakikita ang relasyon na ito?" To which, Mikee replied, "Sana sa tamang panahon e umabot din sa kung saan dapat mapunta." As a follow-up question, Vice Ganda asked, "Saan ba dapat mapunta?" "Sa samahang walang katapusan," Mikee said.
But is Alex ready to settle down? "Not yet. Hindi pa sa ngayon. But it's sooner than later," Alex tells Metro.Style. "It's near but hindi naman tipong next month na. We talk about this. It's always part of our conversation." At this point, Alex says she is 99 percent sure that Mikee is "The One" for her, and that she only sees herself walking down the aisle with—no one else but—Mikee waiting for her at the end of it.
Asked about the best thing he loves about her boyfriend, Alex says, "He makes me love and appreciate my family more. Mas connected ako sa family ko now. I’m a better daughter, I’m a better sister. He made me realize how lucky I am, and that I should be loving my parents more. Minsan nakalilimutan natin 'yun, may mga gusto tayong gawin na napipigilan dahil sa parents natin, so we resent them pero si Mikee, he always reminds me to be thankful to my parents."
Planning for the wedding is one thing, planning for a stable future together is another, and the happy couple knows this. Alex shares, "Actually, more than the wedding, we are planning for the house, where to live."
On Alex: Gown by Rosa Clara and earrings from Love Rocks
While Toni acknowledges how mature Alex has become ever since she met Mikee, she echoes the sentiment of her younger sister about the unlikelihood of getting married real soon. She says, "I don’t see it anytime soon. Hindi ko pa nakikita sa kanya, but if it’s meant to happen, it will happen. I’m prepared for anything." This is not to say that Toni thinks Alex is not mature enough to take her relationship with Mikee to the ultimate level of commitment, Toni simply knows that there are still things Alex wants to accomplish on her own before committing to a lifetime with a man.
"Hindi pa talaga ako ready. Kasi feeling ko wala pa akong enough savings. Feeling ko di ko pa talaga alam 'yung ginagawa ko. 'Di ko pa na-establish 'yung sarili ko sa career ko," Alex shares. "Alam mo, nag-pray ako kay Lord, sabi ko, gusto ko 'pag magpapakasal ako, 'yung kahit papaano after ng wedding, after ko magpakasal, meron pa rin akong branding sa sarili ko, meron ako kahit papaano na sa akin."
Then Alex's vlog happened, and it sped up Alex and Mikee's journey to the altar. "Hindi ko naman in-expect na ganyan 'yung magiging result," she quips. Alex's hilarious YouTube channel was launched in June 2017; her first vlog entry was a makeup tutorial, where Alex did a "natural (brownie) makeup" for her Ate Toni. Currently, Alex has about 2.4M subscribers on YouTube, certainly a feat for someone whose vlogging career is on its early stages.
This is the answer to Alex's prayer: an outlet for her creativity that has significantly boosted her showbiz career and her status as a social media star and online influencer. But much more than that, having this achievement meant an item ticked off her bucket list of things to do before she gets married.
Whatever Alex's decision may be and whenever she feels ready to say her "I do," she can trust that her Ate Toni will be by her side, enlightening and guiding her until she's ready to settle down.
On Toni: Gown by Von Lazaro
There are many things Alex and Toni are grateful for this 2018. Alex marked the first anniversary of her vlog, starred in the movie Nakalimutan Ko Nang Kalimutan Ka, and has been the host of TV shows I Can See Your Voice, Pinoy Big Brother Otso, and Star Hunt: The Grand Audition Show. Toni, on the other hand, has her successful TV show Home Sweetie Home running for almost five years now, has been tapped for several endorsements with son Seve, has made a major beauty statement with her short 'do by hair stylist to stars Alex Carbonell, and has traveled to many places that include Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii, California, France, Netherlands, Italy, and South Korea. It's also this year that Alex and Toni launched the book they co-authored, titled Sissums: The 18 Rules of Sisterhood, According to Alex and Toni Gonzaga, which became an instant bestseller.
This Christmas season is particularly special for the Gonzaga sisters, because they got to topbill and co-produce their first-ever movie together, Mary, Marry Me, which also happens to be an official entry to the 44th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
Directed by first-time movie director RC delos Reyes, Mary, Marry Me focuses on sisters Mary Jane (Toni) and Mary Ann (Alex). Mary Jane is an event/wedding organizer, and the most difficult event she's ever had to deal with is her estranged sister Mary Ann's wedding to her ex-boyfriend Pete (Sam Milby). As the big day approaches, past issues resurface to create conflict between the characters, who will eventually have to choose between the very things that give meaning to their lives: love and family.
On Toni: Blazer and trousers both by Mango | On Alex: Gown by Rosa Clara and earrings from Love Rocks
With the plot of their MMFF movie revolving around a wedding, Alex and Toni shared some tips for engaged couples, specifically to brides-to-be, when it comes to planning a wedding:
1. Alex says: "Take time to prepare."
Since a wedding is a special event that only happens once in a lifetime, make sure you have ample time to plan the details of your big day. "Para 'di kayo magagahol," Alex says.
2. Alex says: "Know what you want for your wedding."
Do you want your wedding to be big or small? Indoor or outdoor? Will you go for a destination wedding? There are many factors to consider, but it's very important that you decide on these key elements first and foremost, before you can zoom in on more specific details. Alex advises, "'Di p'wede 'yung biglang lalaki ang wedding mo. Dapat ang unang-una mong desisyon e, ano ba talaga ang wedding mo? Bago ka mag-plan, bago ka mag-prepare ng wedding mo, make sure na meron ka ng wedding in mind. Ang Ate ko kasi naman, they were very sure that they wanted it June 12 kasi it’s their anniversary."
3. Toni says: "Don't overthink anything."
Yes, it's your big day, but you'll get more things done—stress-free and more efficiently—when you learn to let go of some aspects of wedding planning. Find a really reliable team of wedding organizers, and leave it up to them to ensure everything in your wedding goes smoothly and according to plans. "Don’t over analyze. Relax. Always go back to the reason why you’re getting married," Toni says.
4. Toni says: "[When it comes to the wedding gown] don't go for what's the latest."
Keep in mind that photos from your wedding will be with you forever, so the look of your gown must be classic, something you can still appreciate (and won't cringe upon looking at) many years from now. Toni adds, "Don't go for what’s trendy or what everybody is wearing. Go with what your heart feels, something that makes you feel in love again. Go with where your heart feels right." In her case, her "The One" was a strapless form-fitting Vera Wang wedding gown, which her sister Alex helped her pick out.
5. Toni says: What truly matters in the end is that moment when the party is over.
What was her favorite part of her wedding? Toni shares, "I think it was when it was time for Paul and I to go home together. Kasi sa wedding, parang we were just floating, we were just enjoying the moment. Nag-sink in na talaga sa'kin that we're married when the party was over, the reception was over, and then we were going to ride one car, going home and we were going to sleep in one house."
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Creative direction by Chookie Cruz
Photography by Seven Barretto
Makeup by Effie Iñigo (Alex) and Krist Bansuelo & Steven Doloso (Toni)
Hairstyling by Jerry Javier (Alex) and Macy Dionido (Toni)
Styling by Patrick Perez of StyLIZed