#RealWeddings: This Couple's Two-Decade Love Story Culminated In A Romantic French Countryside-Themed Wedding
They channeled their love for travel for their Big Day!
A love story spanning two decades—from being high school sweethearts to tying the knot during a once-in-a-generation pandemic. The story makes for either a fairytale or a box-office hit, but this is what tied Rian Serranilla and Carmela Orozco together and led to a happily ever after.
In an intimate ceremony last February 20, Rian and Mela tied the knot in a European travel-themed wedding at the Hillcreek Gardens Tagaytay, in a ceremony that culminated adjusted plans amid the constant threat of the Taal Volcano erupting and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mela recalled the entire process, saying: “It was very stressful, but with the help of our family and event coordinator, Rian and I had finally tied the knot. Going through it all–the fights, the celebrations, the trips, the differences, career stresses and now the pandemic–just was a clear indication by how we can take on this milestone we call marriage together.”
The couple drew from their love of traveling, which they sorely missed during the pandemic, as a source of inspiration for their civil wedding. “We went for the all white and green classic style as well as the vintage and dainty tea-length dresses of the bridal entourage for the ceremony, so as to give the ethereal and romantic countryside feel of the U.K. and France,” Mela said.
Among the priorities the couple had for the ceremony was that they held their civil wedding ceremony outdoors in order to ensure proper ventilation and enough breathing room for the select few that were present in the intimate ceremony. But well before the wedding bells rung for Rian and Mela, the two started out as high school sweethearts in a love story that only others could dream of.
Sixteen years ago, Rian and Mela initially met in high school at a gig outside the Hillsborough Clubhouse in Alabang, where Mela said she got smitten over Rian because he was “very funny and cute,” while Rian noticed Mela’s big almond eyes and the cutest accent Mela made when she said “why.”
Weeks following the initial meetup, the two found themselves in a meet cute scenario when Mela found herself in Rian’s house for a halloween party. This resulting encounter ended up with friend requests on Friendster and Multiply, private messages to each other, then countless hours of dates at either Alabang Town Center or at each other’s house.
Despite some initial bumps on the road—including Mela turning down an invitation to go to Rian’s prom for finding him “weird,” and Rian facing initial resistance from Mela after insisting to win over Mela “no matter what”—the couple dated for eight months before the two made it official. Despite briefly breaking up after two years, the two could not be separated for long, and further strengthened their bond together. As a couple, Rian and Mela spent most of their time traveling to local and foreign destinations, but it was their multiple trips to Japan that stood out the most. The Land of the Rising Sun played a huge role in their relationship, as it was the site of the couple’s engagement in July 2019 at the flower fields of Shikisai No Oka, Biei, surrounded by Rian’s family members who flew all the way from the United States and fought off jet lag to witness the special moment.
To further encapsulate this moment, Rian and Mela intend to walk down the aisle one more time in a church ceremony, backed by a Japanese theme, to further celebrate their love for traveling.
Mela adds, “As we are now married, this is when our lives together have changed despite having known each other for more than 15 years. It almost feels like we were back to being 16 and 17 years old again, but even better. Our journey over the years that was once a teenage dream turned out to be something worth believing in, experiencing and now, hopefully, worth sharing.” —Edited by Diego de la Paz
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- Ceremony venue: The Courtyard at Hillcreek Gardens Tagaytay
- Reception venue: The Flowerhouse at Hillcreek Gardens Tagaytay
- Date of wedding: February 20, 2021
- Wedding coordinator: Rita Neri Event Planners
- Photographer & Videographer: Nice Print Photography
- Invitations/Printers: Print Divas
- Designer, bridal gown: Debbie Co
- Designer, bridal entourage: Debbie Co
- Designer, groom entourage: Mixy Dy and Suit It Up Manila
- Designer, groom: Sam’s Tailor
- Event stylist: Rob Blancaflor Group Inc.
- Jewelry Designer: Miladay Jewels
- Lights and Sounds: JS Mina Sound System
- Officer: Honorable Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Lopez
- Giveaways: Knotville Favors and Keepsakes.ph
- Cake Maker and Caterer: Bizu Catering Studio
- Hair: Mike Brase
- Make-up Artist: Eva Arce
- Nails: XOXO Nails Philippines
- Bridal shoes: Staccato Philippines
- Groom shoes: Russell and Bromley
- Wedding hashtag: #MeRiMe