How we pulled off our wedding anniversary celebration | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

ALVIN Tan, Barbara Bennett, Cay Singson, Tessa Valdes, Dennis Valdes, Solo Chavez, Gilbert Avina, Ian Galliguez, Klay Tan, Paulo Camacho, Russell Baguasan
POPSIE Gamboa, Sea Princess, Girlie Sison





As the saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”


My husband Dennis and I have gone through hairstyle changes and weight fluctuations, collected several thousand miles of travels, made new friends, and had four kids—and yet, our love for each other never wavered, never faltered.


It has been a beautiful 20 years. So much has changed, but the love we have for each other is as constant as the changing tides of the sea. Yes, there will be high tides and low, but we remain strong amid every ebb and flow.


ALVIN Tan, Barbara Bennett, Cay Singson, Tessa Valdes, Dennis Valdes, Solo Chavez, Gilbert Avina, Ian Galliguez, Klay Tan, Paulo Camacho, Russell Baguasan

This milestone had to be celebrated. In this day and age, when some marriages last only 72 hours, our score can be likened to an eternity!


Twenty years ago, we had four months to plan our medieval wedding. This time, we had four weeks.




Thank goodness, there was a plethora of amazing, talented and resourceful individuals who pulled miracles from thin air!


All the details needed a king’s hand: one to get everything set and organized. That person was my best friend and high school buddy, Popsie Gamboa.


Her powerful triumvirate included all-around manager Ian Galliguez and Girlie Sison, whose church ties, knowledge and experience made the wedding ceremony nothing less than spectacular.


It was Girlie, for example, who arranged the program with Msgr. Manny Gabriel, booking the same church, Santuario de San Antonio, and even adding small but beautiful touches like having a leather-bound Bible with a gold V monogram. She also lent us her wedding cord and veil for the ceremony.


We were blessed to have had Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle present at the Mass, and Fr. Gerard Deveza and our new parish priest Fr. Reu Galoy as co-officiators.


Girlie’s hubby, Ricky Sison, as well as Bobet Vera and Bambi Jimenez, were our lay ministers.


NICEPRINT Photo’s Charisse Tinio, photographer Klay Tan, event coordinator Ian Galliguez, Sea Princess, Buganda Talents and Events’ Elmer Pascua, INQUIRER’s Cathy Yamsuan, Tess Diego, Maricris Benito,NanaNadal, overall event head Popsie Gamboa, Marlon Garcia, Ambiance by Pido’s Pido Villanueva, Bobby Galura and Bong Lozano

We had many fun meetings to iron out the plan, from the Manila Polo Club venue, to ambiance wizard Pido Villanueva, flower maven Robert Blancaflor, and even our theme entertainers of stilt walkers, fire dancers and fire breathers, all supplied by the super amazing Elmer Pascua of Buganda Talents and Events. We even had our own original Dennis and Tessa Valdes family crest created by Monet Perez of MWorks!


Top priority


Of course, the wedding gown was a top priority and none other than designer Rajo Laurel made my beautiful Melisandre-inspired gown of rich red and gold. Add a majestic crown made by Mark Tenchavez of Shandar and a 15-foot train, and I was definitely feeling royal!


Costume changes from talented Albert Andrada were also readied.


Part of the fun of planning an event were the little things that pop up serendipitously. The hunt for the Iron Throne made it all very exciting. Expert photographers like Marty Ilagan and Klay Tan documented every step of the way as well as the prenup and wedding videos.


Incredible designing couple Mye and Norman Cruz of Adworks Graphic Designs (tel. 0917-8165200) created our spectacular invitations that were truly a work of art! Each invitation had silk tassels, a popup dragon image, and all were individually labeled.


They also created matching bag tags for more personalized touches. More #DandTLove20 details were incorporated with the creations of Michelle Sacramento  (tel. 0917-8114412).


All our ninong and ninang got special gifts that Michelle made just for the occasion. To add the sensorial aroma, Michelle Asence of Zen Zest created our own room scent made from cloves, oranges and mint.


WEDDING video teammates with Emir Bautista, Roko Arceo, makeup stylist Kharu Jazmin, lead photographer Marty Ilagan, Sea Princess and Manila Polo Club’s Tessa Baybay-Magcase and her team

Costumes were another highlight and we have taken a page from our DIY Shell Canvas costumes from 20 years ago, and improved on that by commissioning “Project Runway” finalist Joseph Montelibano to create over 30 costumes for the guests!


Special bread


A highlight of the celebration was the bread that was thoroughly researched and created by artisan baker Gretchen Consunji-Lim of Manila Bake. She even made a special “Arya” bread just for the event.


Cake maker Judy Uson whipped up sweets and cookies from that time period which perfectly complemented the sweet mini cupcakes of Sonja Ocampo of Cupcakes by Sonja.


Real grapes, pears, oranges and apples were spread on long tables that were laid out with a feast created by Manila Polo Club chef Christian Wiedenmann and his team. The medieval buffet was punctuated by 14 cochinillos and two roasted calves given by ninang Ruthy Vera.


Special bread giveaways from Gardenia Bread and French Baker made our guests very happy. French Baker owner Johnlu Koa did a special artisan bread from his new brand, Lartizan Boulangerie Française. The breads were baked and delivered just a few hours before the party.


Two days before our celebration, Dennis and I visited the Made in Candy store in Power Plant Mall in Rockwell to make our own D&T candies for our guests. Charming owner Darlene Chua arranged for us to make the candies from scratch.


Our wines and liquor were likewise fit for royalty, including Casa Noble tequila, Remy Martin and Penfolds wines.


San Miguel beer also gave us draft beer, although we did draw the line and decided not to have wenches serving them.


The last piece of the party was the Iron Throne itself. We found one, thanks to Victoria Court’s Ian King and Joey Mead-King, who got it from Victoria’s “Game of Thrones”-inspired party room.


WEDDING gown by Rajo Laurel

It was as if the universe was cooperating to get this party done the way it should be. We had a massive influx of support and gifts from many other generous companies and individuals.


Twenty years ago, we did not even have a cake ceremony. Now we had three massive cakes! Penk Ching gave us a breathtaking GoT-theme cake for us to cut. Goldilocks gave us a dragon-topped cake for our cake-favor game for the lords; and Marita Laddaran of Hearts and Bells’ cake was for the ladies to pull out tokens and prizes.


The production also had dragon eggs, this of the chocolate variety, thanks to Discovery Primea.


A special-edition magazine, “Throne,” shared all the epic efforts of the production cast of thousands. Editor Sheryl Songsong and her team amazingly produced the issue, filled with detailed stories that will have to wait for another column, just like the GoT series.


Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter or visit



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