A family’s love felt through a wedding halfway across the globe

HONGKONG— Weddings are always a big affair in Filipino culture.

It is always a mayhem from the “pamalay-i” to the actual wedding.

Weddings in the Philippines are getting grandiose with the many suppliers offering services to make the couple’s life easier for their big day.

But more often than not, weddings are somehow seen as just another big event, and has, over time, lost the real essence of the occasion which is the union of two hearts determined to make their love story last forever.

But, in this read, CDN Digital will give you an insider look at what it’s like to be wed in the laidback city of Gisborne, New Zealand with a big and loud Cebuano family.

READ: First comes love, then comes introducing your partner to your big Filipino family

The newlyweds. | Rambo Estrada

This story is not just a story of getting married, but the story of how a family would go halfway across the world to make this wedding truly a family affair.


Coming from all over the world and some years in not seeing each other, this big bunch is in for an adventure including helping prepare for a wedding and making a good one.

Days before the wedding, a small 50-plus-year-old Kiwi house with only three bedrooms was suddenly occupied by a big family, overwhelming every inch of the porch, living room, dining room, kitchen, and garden.

READ: Creating a family, celebrating love

This is to help prep meals and get the work done for the big day.

Just like how families are in the provinces, chipping in every effort they can give to make an event a success, let alone a wedding.

St. Mary’s Church in Gisborne, New Zealand. | Rambo Estrada


Unlike in the Philippines, where most families just let the wedding planner do all the work, this wedding is different in that it was personal for everyone who was part of it.

Almost every member of this family chipped in to get the work done. One aunt was in charge of the lector duties during the mass, and one was in charge of the floral arrangement and was the wedding coordinator. Cousins of the bride acted as runners for that day.

A different way of sending in your messages for the couple. An audio book to make it more intimate and special. | Immae Lachica

One uncle was in charge of getting the videos during the wedding day. Another was in charge of driving and the other one was in charge of keeping the house safe while everyone was busy.

The view at the reception venue. | Immae Lachica

The rest of the family was busy carrying things from the house to the church.

One team can do all these if they hire a wedding planner, but this wedding is not just any other wedding.

This wedding served as a family reunion for a grieving family. This was their way of coping with pain and creating new core memories thousands of kilometers away from their hometown, Cebu.

The preparation for the reception area. | Immae Lachica

A couple of hours before the wedding, the entire family rushed to the church carrying pillars with flowers, clearing the nativity decorations in the church, and making sure the entire church was spotless for the big day.

Wedding reception set-up. | Rambo Estrada

St. Mary’s church in Gisborne is now ready for the big day.

In New Zealand, it is a practice to do everything on your own, not dependent on others. This was not new to this family, they were known to get things done on their own and they always get it right.


The house was filled with busy stomps of feet running around making sure everything was ready for the day.

Each one was doing their hair and makeup and nieces were in charge of fixing the hair of the aunts.

This was a scene that would easily fill up every heart with happiness, a scene that some of the families of today seldom get to see and experience.

The altar. | Rambo Estrada

This was their way of showing love for each other—through support and presence.

The church was filled with people closest to the couple. The day was filled with love for the couple.

It was a perfect day for a wedding.

Reception time! People gathered to welcome the newlyweds on a beautiful farm in Gisborne where a white tent was set up for the special occasion.

Hugs were tighter after every speech during the reception. | Rambo Estrada

The program started and everyone was hooked inside the tent, listening to the speeches and in the moment with the couple. No one was outside the tent taking pictures, making videos, or whatnot.

This wedding is a story of how a family can leave everything behind to show support to a family member.

The whole family. | Rambo Estrada

READ: Beware of ‘love scams’ as Valentine’s Day nears — DILG

This Valentine’s season let this story be a reminder to everyone that the love month is not just for your partners, lovers, husbands, and wives, but more importantly, of the love we always need to share with our family.

The love that nothing can compare to. The love that only a family can give.

This one’s for our uncle who passed on last year, missing out on the biggest day of his youngest daughter. He may not be with us physically, but his love for family resonated with every member especially on that unforgettable day.

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