The story of Santi and Mireille’s “meet-cute” had all the elements of a chick lit book: common friends of both Boy and Girl tried to set them up several times but to no avail; Boy and girl bump into each other one sunny day in Boracay while on vacation, ending up in the same banca, shuttle ride, and hotel; Boy and Girl finally meet at a party and find out that, just like this trip, they will be in London at the same time; Boy and Girl end up having their first date in London, and the rest is history. It is no wonder then, that their wedding hashtag was #ForeverSaMir, a play on their names and the first time they met that one, fateful day in Boracay.
However, their wedding did not exhibit any of these sunny, summery elements, instead they opted for a clever take on the Chinoiserie theme. They wanted to theme the moment! The couple took inspiration and connection from the groom’s mother, Lisette Dimaculangan, and her vast collection of chinoiserie pieces acquired over the years. While the couple typically took their time mulling over other major decisions, they knew instantly that they wanted to have their wedding reception in a garden, not a hotel. The bride’s mother, Marichelle Infante, the recognized pioneer in the wedding planning industry, took a back seat and let Santi and Mireille plan their own big day. “This unifying milestone will be personalized, unique, planned by both of them and focused on their own likes and preferences.”
The couple found Gallery MiraNila by The Blue Leaf, a new events place housed inside the historic Benitez Mira-Nila compound. The venue was perfect as the place combined public functions with private needs, creating an intimate ambiance in a storied location. The sprawling garden was a lovely setting for guests who opted to sit outdoors.
For this reason stylist, Zenas Pineda, chose to accentuate the surroundings with tasteful and lush greenery, instead of using over-the-top florals. Following the Chinoiserie theme, the bar, buffet spread and table centerpieces had blue and white vases and delicate flowers. The highlight was the dramatic drapery seen on the imposing point- of- convergence tree, which served as the main backdrop for selfies. Finally, the distinctive Chinoiserie designs were tastefully reflected on the elegant invitations made by The Write Impression as well as the fanciful Instagram filter made by Georgina Camus.
The ceremony itself was held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Quezon City. Renowned opera singer Christian Nagano sang The Prayer, to accompany Mireille’s walk down the aisle, with her parents, Alfredo Pio de Roda III and Marichelle Infante. From the get-go, Mireille was worried about being the center of attention, something she is not used to. “I was so nervous leading up to the day of the wedding,” Mireille admits. “The thought of walking down the aisle with everyone looking at me made me gave me pre-wedding anxiety, especially since the aisle was quite long. Thankfully, I had both my parents walk with me all the way, and seeing Santi up there with a big, goofy smile on his face made all the nerves go away.”
She also had the support of her fashionably stylish entourage, who were dressed in varying shades of dusty blue, made by Minette Santiago. Maids of honor, Leya Castillo and Saira Mendoza, made sure her veil and dress from Pronovias were properly arranged as soon as she got to the altar.
The couple arrived at the reception in a classic Mercedes Benz W100, one of the many vintage motor cars owned by the groom’s father, Manuel Dimaculangan. At the pre-dinner cocktail, guests milled around an enticing grazing table groaning with delectable hor d’ oeuvres, and fine wines chosen by the bride’s father, Freddie Pio de Roda, the country’s leading wine connoisseur. The couple then ushered the guests to the dinner reception, where a feast that the couple chose themselves, catered by Bizu, awaited.
Christian Nagano sang a few songs shortly, followed by speeches of Best Men, Toby Benjamin and Ian Umali and the maids of honor. Guests cheered the newlyweds on as they cut the luscious three-layer cake that principal sponsor, Heny Sison, created just for them. A sweet surprise came in the form of a song How Deep is Your Love by the bride’s cousin, Carlos De Guzman, who then invited them to dance together with both sets of parents.
Finally, a full night of revelry and dancing was in order—thanks to the Powerhouse band, followed by DJ Nino Belza. Mireille did an outfit change and slipped into a custom, pleated number by Franko Barrio and danced the night away with Santi. It was so much fun that apparently, their coordinator was asked by several guests if they could foot the bill for the venue’s overtime extension charges. Truly, it was a wedding that stood out from the crowd, a wonderful way to experience family, food, drinks, entertainment and everything else this couple love.