A Panda-Potter wedding tale | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THE GROOM with his family led by his mother, Deedee Siytangco (in red)
THE GROOM with his family led by his mother, Deedee Siytangco (in red)
THE GROOM with his family led by his mother, Deedee Siytangco (in red)
THE GROOM with his family led by his mother, Deedee Siytangco (in red)




MAY 4, 2015, Monday—that was what the invitation said.


More than a few well-meaning friends and prospective guests inquired curiously about the date. “Why May 4?” they asked. “Monday?”


As out-of-town weddings are usually held on weekends, a Monday afternoon wedding in Tagaytay did seem a little … off.


To my mind, these people were obviously not science fiction fans. Moreover, they probably didn’t know my brother and his then bride-to-be that well.


THE NEWLYWEDS with their principal sponsors
THE NEWLYWEDS with their principal sponsors


Margaret Rose “Ayet” Tipton and Amado Juan “AJ” Siytangco are both dye-in-the-wool … die-hard … Harry Potter/Star Wars/Narnia fans.


AJ is an animator who worked on several episodes of “Clone Wars” for Lucas Films. Ayet runs the family-owned Tips N’ Toes Nail Salon. Both are sci-fi enthusiasts, certified bookworms.


He collects comic books, she hoards “Ann of Green Gables.”


Their love story is, I dare say, as interesting and magical as their wedding.


A little over five years ago, four impish matchmakers (my daughter and Ayet’s nieces) connived to get them together.


They first met at a Halloween party in my home. Ayet came dressed as a witch, AJ, who was then home on furlough from Singapore, came as a wizard.


The matchmakers then scheduled another meeting in the guise of a family Harry Potter game night. The prospects of romance hung in the air that night as the witch from Slytherin and the wizard of Ravenclaw competed for the Potter prize.


Veiled in mystery and magic, AJ and Ayet’s love bloomed over hundreds of Skype dates, digital and mobile correspondence, their ground zero always being the magical world they both loved and the books that kept them company while the other was away.


When they did get together, the matchmakers also dubbed them The Pandas.


Thus the Harry Potter theme of the wedding and the auspicious choice of May 4—“May the 4th be with you” day, in reference to AJ’s former employer and creator of the Star Wars movie franchise.


It would have been May 3, they said, but the church wasn’t available. (May 3 is International Harry Potter Day.)


As soon as the date was set, Ayet and AJ meticulously planned every detail of the wedding to reflect their own taste.


AJ designed the wedding invitations and “save the date” cards. Ayet lovingly made the circlet-of-flowers headdresses for the bride’s maids and flower girls. She also stitched the pillows for the rings and arrhae.


The couple’s wedding rings belonged to Ayet’s parents, their stones from her grandmother. They refashioned them and added white gold, and voilà, heirlooms from three generations.


Ayet’s gown was designed by the Tiptons’ family friend, Frederick Peralta. AJ wore a barong suit by Mel Meer of Bergamo.


The wedding cake by Joy San Gabriel was adorned with Harry Potter books, a time-turner, a golden snitch and two cute pandas sitting on a book on which was inscribed, “After all this time … Always.”


Party Marathon carefully styled the garden of the Light of the World Formation and Retreat Center to look like the great hall in the movie, with candles and lanterns hanging overhead and long banquet tables draped in white and deep purple runners, topped with spring flowers, books and other Potter knickknacks.


Glenda Barretto of Via Mare, ninang to AJ and Ayet, prepared beautiful edibles for cocktails and an impressive dinner feast, enough to feed a hungry army of magical creatures.


Laughter, happy tears and lots of good wishes punctuated the party.


The Sound of Strings quartet’s enchanting music filled the air and put everyone in a jovial mood. And as if on cue, a full moon rose from behind the trees and cast an ethereal glow on the Panda-Potter.



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