The path to true love never did run smooth. For our featured couple, Hyna and Paul, it had to take being strangers in one university, a heartbreak, a chance meeting, a couple of drinks, a life-threatening illness, and an out-of-the-country trip to ultimately lead them to their emotion-filled, unforgettable classic wedding.
Timing is everything
Paul Joseph was ecstatic when one magical night at a local hang-out, he was formally introduced to the girl he had been secretly crushing on for the past two years. Unfortunately for him, the meeting barely left a mark on Hyna, who was struggling with a recent heartbreak and was not in any hurry to jump into the dating game again.
Paul felt he had a very limited window of opportunity before another man was bound to sweep this amazing lady off her feet again. So, an earnest pursuit of texts and invitations immediately ensued. Against herself, Hyna caved and agreed to meet him for dinner, partly because, at that very low point in her life, she just needed someone to vent to, even for just one night.
That first date turned into random daily text messages and endless night chats. In Paul, Hyna Mae found somebody kind and caring who would tirelessly listen to all her drama, and who would never take advantage of her even when terribly drunk. Gradually, she felt her sadness ebb away, and, before she knew it, she was in love.
That feeling of ease
Asked to describe how Paul won her heart, Hyna Mae is eloquent, “You won’t expect too much at first because you’re used to things not working out for you. You’re guarded about meeting people who only want something from you while putting in the minimum effort. You’re exhausted from having your heart broken due to your past experiences. You’re afraid that this would lead to eventual heartbreak that you swore you would avoid at all cost. The thing that you’ll soon learn is that the right person will give you all the right feelings.”
She continues, “He will make every effort to make you his priority, accept you for who you are and, most especially, love your daughter as if she were his own. He will support you in every endeavor. He will make your heart beat faster and your smile wider for all the right reasons. He will grow to love the person you are and will be proud to be with you. He will love you deeply in the present and will want to materialize forever with you.”
The ultimate sign
Tragedy struck two years into the relationship when Hyna Mae was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Throughout a long, turbulent period in which Hyna Mae courageously fought for her life, Paul stayed by her side. Hand in hand, they weathered extreme pain, indescribable fatigue, scary treatment procedures, and countless chemo hours. Physical changes including, weight gain and hair loss, side effects of her treatment, threw Hyna Mae into a deep depression, but did not turn Paul off in the slightest.
“That was the moment I realized he was ‘The One’. I knew from that moment that this man will never leave me and that he is God’s gift to me. And, then I realized I couldn’t live without him,” Hyna Mae gushes.
For the proposal, Paul pulled out all the stops. While they were having dinner at a Hong Kong restaurant, he suddenly left the table. Their song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” started playing and Hyna Mae felt a bit disappointed that Paul was currently not in sight to share the song with her. Then, to her surprise, a parade of staff led by the restaurant’s head chef started walking towards her table. They delivered a cake, a small red box, and a plate, on which she read the classic question, “Will you marry me?” With shaking hands, she opened the small box but found it empty. Confused, she turned around and found Paul already kneeling behind her.
The classic wedding with pink details
Planning for their classic wedding, in itself, brought with it its own problems. Warned by the doctor to avoid stress that might trigger another flare-up of her lupus, the bride-to-be had no choice but to take a back seat. Paul, again, rose to the occasion and shouldered most of the responsibility. From the big decisions (like, budgeting) to the little details (like, flower arrangements), Paul was very hands-on. Hyna Mae practically only had to make the final call on choices Paul already painstakingly screened.
The couple chose a classic-elegant theme to fit the reception venue, with Paul opting to wear a Barong rather than a suit to be in line with their timeless, classic wedding feel.
Even the wedding wasn’t disaster-free. In a pre-wedding shoot stunt, Paul had a potentially fatal near-miss. The photographer, aiming for a dramatic shot, instructed the groomsmen to throw Paul as high into the air as possible. He almost landed head first on the ground, but, was luckily caught at the last minute by his friends. In the reception, PAUL’s ring slipped off his hand while dancing. All the guests in their formal wear had to drop down to their knees and scramble on the floor to look for the ring, until a lady saved the day, when she shouted, “I found it!”
Planning pointers from this couple
- Choose a good wedding coordinator. Hyna shared that their coordinator was very helpful in giving them vendor recommendations and other planning tips.
- Check your hotel for a VIP pass. It might be an added cost but it will bring you more savings along the way with an arrangement that may allow you to have a no-restrictions photoshoot and room rate discounts, among others.
- A good emcee will go a long way. Hyna and Paul’s wedding guests were certainly entertained by how the masters of ceremony brought more life to the program, which left a good impression on the attendees.
The beginning of an ever-after
Paul and Hyna Mae know that their troubles aren’t over yet, but are merely just beginning. However, they are not worried. After all, their long road to the altar has already proven that their love endures, for better or for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Bride: Hyna Mae Briones Ondona
Groom: Paul Joseph Ondona
Wedding Coordinator: Flowers and Choirs Events
HMUA: Margarette Budd
Emcee: Ms. Lore Santillan
Photographer: Alvin Asayas Photography
Videographer: Benjie Sorreño Films
Lights and sounds: MJQ Sound and Lights System
Mobile bar: WK Mobile Bar
Venue: Radisson Blu Cebu ; Casino Español De Cebu