We see it in movies. The pretty straight-A girl who looks like she has everything figured out, from the profession to pursue, to the kind of guys she’ll go out with. And suddenly, she finds the man who’ll change her laid-out plans. But just when everything is going well, they are kept apart. Miles apart. That’s pretty much what our featured couple Beate and Beltran had, which beautifully led to a dreamy, rustic barn wedding in Norway.
The Model Daughter
Half-Filipina and half-Norwegian, Beate’s years of schooling were a blend of staying in Norway, where her parents were based, and living in the Philippines with her relatives. While her mom and dad would rather have her with them, she always found a way to persuade them to let her stay in Cebu. By college, she was living on her own, enjoying the freedom while making sure she was still the brilliant girl who always made her parents proud by being top of the class.
The Guy in Uniform
“I saw him first. He was wearing his Clinical Instructor uniform outside Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu. I vaguely remember looking at him and thinking he was hot. I have a thing for men in uniforms. I did not know that he was a University of Cebu (UC) Clinical Instructor back then. I just thought he looked good in a uniform. I didn’t think he saw me,” Beate recalled.
Not long after, one of her closest friends, Marian, invited her to have drinks at a bar. “Never one to say no to a drink, I went,” Beate admitted. As fate would have it, Beltran, whom she would later know to be nicknamed BJ, was also there. However, while Beate thought he was cute, she couldn’t place him right away because he wasn’t wearing his white uniform.
“White uniforms are sexy. What he wore was not. Besides, I was dating somebody else at that time; ditto for him,” she shared.
So they went their separate ways. Until January 2010.
The Classroom Learnings
In 2010, Beate, who was then a nursing student, was surprised to see BJ—or Sir Bontuyan in the academe—as her Clinical Instructor (CI) in the OR at VSMMC for a week. It was then that Beate noticed the small things about her unknowing future hubby.
“The first little thing that made the choice easier was during my fourth year as a nursing student with him as the CI. I was scheduled to assist with a kidney transplant. And before you could assist, you’d have to discuss the case with the meticulous staff. So my group did that. We were at the OR at 6:00 AM, anxiously awaiting our turn without the aforementioned CI present,” Beate said.
“He was supposed to guide us through the discussion and help us if we ever had too difficult questions. But he was late. And we couldn’t contact him. As the group leader, I was nervous about the discussion and at the same time annoyed at Sir Bontuyan for not being there. Needless to say, he came. Eventually.
During kidney transplantation, I had to be sterile. I was preparing different sutures and had the transplantable kidney on my table. I was terrified. And hungry,” Beate shared. “Because I was so nervous during the case discussion, I forgot to eat. Luckily, sir Bontuyan was right behind me. He fed me a piece of chocolate behind my surgical mask!”
It may have been such a small gesture, but to Beate, it meant the world. And after that moment, the rest, as they say, is history.
The Whirlwind Romance
The couple has never been conventional. On their first date, BJ showed up with a guitar, took her out in his dad’s multi-cab, and they enjoyed a KFC takeout.
“We didn’t think things were going to get serious. But they did, and fast. Sir Bontuyan was not my type on paper. Friends who know me well knew what type of men I’ve dated. And he wasn’t it,” Beate revealed. “We had been a couple for only six months and broken up twice already. I have never felt as much pain as the times we broke up. But we made up. And not too long after, I got pregnant—much to the chagrin of my Filipina mother.”
With disappointment over her ace, responsible daughter, Beate’s mom bought her a one-way ticket to Norway. Cue heartbreak number three…
For six months, the couple had a long-distance relationship. “We got by through Skype and Facebook messages,” the couple shared.
Beate was torn between the excitement of having a baby and the misery of being away from BJ. But little did she knew that he had asked an acquaintance leaving for Norway to bring her a letter containing an engagement ring and a proposal.
“The ring was simple; a Unisilver ring with Eatz and Belts 4ever engraved on the inside,” Beate said. “It is to this day one of the very few most precious possessions I own. He bought a ring for himself too, which he lost not long after he bought it.”
This became BJ’s first proposal.
The Actual Proposal
After months of being apart, BJ finally had the opportunity to join Beate in Larvik, Norway. Since then, they’ve enjoyed life together with their son. Their family even grew with the addition of a daughter.
Life had finally felt stable for Beate. She had everything she wanted and needed. Thus, a proposal was the last thing she had in mind.
“The second proposal was unexpected. It happened in February 2017, during the joint celebration of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s day in Larvik. There’s this community of Filipinos in Larvik (Larvik Filippinsk Dansegruppe) who celebrate different occasions by arranging parties. I, unfortunately, am often the emcee of these events, all because my mother is the president of the said group. This party was no exception.
Bu then I wondered why BJ volunteered to sing when he usually wasn’t too fond of these events. I wondered why he was taking lots of sips from his water bottle. And I also wondered why he wanted to wear sunglasses while performing. Who was this dude, Lionel Richie?” Beate said in jest.
“But it turned out, it wasn’t water he was drinking, but vodka to boost his confidence. He was wearing sunglasses to fight the urge to cry. And he sang because, at the end of the song, he wanted to propose in front of my family and friends. Lucky me; two engagement rings from the sweetest man ever!”
The Practical Wedding Planning
Rushing to be wed was never in the couple’s vocabulary. “I have always been practical. We were engaged since 2011 (the first proposal), what’s a couple of years more? We were thinking of a wedding in the Philippines within the year 2021,” said the bride.
“January 2019: we were planning on buying a bigger house. But our eight-year-old son did not want to move. And the thought of probably having to change schools if we moved upset him. So the move was put on hold. Why not get married this year instead? Everything happened so fast. We were suddenly getting married!”
Beate always wanted a church wedding and a rustic barn wedding reception. “Wooden barns are rustic and warm. And I personally think that I’m an old soul like the growth rings on trees. And because I’m the luckiest woman in the world, I got my wish.”
The couple found their venue first. It was a barn used as boat storage during the winter and as a wedding venue during the summer, which unsurprisingly stole the bride’s heart right away.
“Even with 12 boats inside the barn during initial viewing, I could picture the candles, mason jars and flowers on the tables; guests chatting and drinking; me and BJ dancing to our son’s singing. We found a suitable date and booked the venue very soon after the initial viewing.”
The Money-Saving Tricks and DIY Details
When you plan a wedding in one of the most expensive countries in the world, you need to budget. Since the couple had spent a considerable amount of money on the dream wedding dress and the perfect venue, they tried to keep a tight budget wherever they could.
“Much of the wedding was DIY. One of my best friends, Queenie, sent me a Youtube video on how to DIY invitations because I, unlike her, am not gifted with innate creativity. We bought papers, a digital template from Etsy, eucalyptus, watercolor, and set to work,” Beate shared. “BJ and our son CJ handpainted the paper themselves, while I personalized the invitation template, printed them out, and sent them to their destinations. They cost very little, and in my opinion, looked beautiful!”
Moreover, the couple found different means to save on the decorations. “I bought a lot of the decorations used. BJ found an old veranda door to use as a backdrop for our photo booth and we used old windows to write our table placements on. There was also a lot of wood and mason jars at the venue which could be used as decorations. And we felt that the venue was so beautiful on its own, that minimal decoration was needed.”
Luckily, like in any part of the world, the Filipino community in Larvik was eager to help out a fellow Pinoy, especially if it means realizing a dream wedding. “We did most of the decorations ourselves with loads of help from the Filipino community in Larvik. I shared wedding planning duties with my matrons of honor, friends, and Ates. I don’t know what I would do without them,” Beate shared.
The Rustic Barn Wedding
It was exactly how they wanted it: a breathtakingly rustic barn wedding within budget. But for Beate and BJ, the most unforgettable thing about it can be summed up in two words: Thank you.
“To see how loved we were by so many people was astounding. We received so many offers for help, so many hands. DIY wedding planning can be immensely difficult, but when you have family and friends eager to help, it may not be as daunting a task at all. So family and friends who are reading this, thank you. Salamat. Takk. We are very grateful!” the couple expressed.
So family and friends who are reading this, thank you. Salamat. Takk. We are very grateful!
As for the celebration itself, nothing short of fun could be expected from a couple who was always down for spontaneity. “Our friends have told us what a great party it was. Open bar courtesy of Arven, DJ Egil/my coolest (only) brother playing sick tunes, the best speeches/videos by the best matrons and best man, the most delicious food courtesy of mom and dad, the list goes on and on!” said the blushing bride.
“But personally, it was when we danced our first dance as a married couple while our son, CJ, sang “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran with Jeco playing on guitars. We danced alone for about thirty seconds before our three-year-old girl, Iris, came and wanted to dance with us. We danced, the three of us while smiling proudly at CJ and I thought, “Now that we’re married, shall we add one more?”
How did I know that I’d found the one? I don’t think it was just one thing. There were many small things, many situations, many instances that made me think: he’s it. I still discover new things about him that solidify my life choices everyday. He sings to me at random times, he’s the best father to our kids, he makes me laugh every single day, his snore lulls me to sleep.
He still feeds me to this day. Lucky is the wife who has a husband who can cook. Unlucky Sir Bontuyan who most times has to feed himself. – Beate
Bride: Beate Christine V. Aasheim
Groom: Beltran Jay Tan Bontuyan
Cake: John Hansen Selskapsmat
Flowers: Nanset Blomsterverksted
MUA: Gretchen Lee Fiel
Video/Photography: FAB Films Norway
Ceremony: St. Francis Parish, Larvik
Reception: Tvedten Farm, Larvik