SOLEMN, SIMPLE Valenzuela Councilor Shalani Soledad and Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo are married in simple and solemn rites at St. Benedict Church at the Ayala Westgrove in Sta. Rosa City in Laguna. RICHARD REYES
STA. ROSA CITY—A brief kiss but one filled with longing sealed their wedding vows.
It didn’t matter that the bride marched down the aisle some 20 minutes late.
Valenzuela Councilor Shalani Soledad sealed her union with Pasig City Representative Roman Romulo at sunset Sunday at St. Benedict Church at the Ayala Westgrove in this industrial city in Laguna.
“I’m very happy that I’ve found you,” Romulo, 44, said during the ceremonial exchange of vows.
“I promise to love you from now on until forever,” Soledad, 31, replied.
One of those invited was not around—President Benigno Aquino III.
Officials said Mr. Aquino was resting on his “private time” in the summer capital of Baguio City when his former girlfriend began her march down the aisle 275 kilometers away.
The wedding capped a whirlwind romance even by today’s standards. Romulo and Soledad were engaged for five months.
Soledad’s gown, which designer Inno Sotto said was “simple, feminine and elegant,” was a white romantic number with a fitted V-neck top with lace bodice and a skirt made of 17 layers of soft tulle. She wore a pair of shoes by Lila Almario.
Romulo wore a midnight-blue tuxedo, a white shirt and a gray bow tie by Hugo Boss and a pair of black leather shoes by Louis Vuitton.
The 22 principal sponsors came from the business and political sectors. The Mass lasted over an hour, with not a seat empty in the 500-seat church.
The bride’s mother, Evelyn Soledad Yumol, and uncle Mon Soledad, who looked after the young Shalani while her mother worked overseas, gave the bride away. The bride met her real father only last year.
Soledad was born out of wedlock to banker and businessman Adolfo Aguirre and Evelyn San Ramon, a flight attendant. While her mother worked, the young Soledad grew up with her grandparents, aunt and uncles. Her mother never brought up the subject of her biological father, whom Soledad met only after 30 years.
Soledad wore a Kate Middleton-inspired gown with a lace bodice, tulle skirt and off-shoulder neckline with tiny cap sleeves. The bride’s face was shrouded in a thin layer of tulle. The look was simple yet elegant, calling to mind Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s lacey wedding gown when she married Prince William of Britain.
But Shalani chose to show off her arms instead of covering them.
The wedding invitation, made from an off-white paper material, had an embossed “RS” insignia, which stood for the couple’s initials.
After waiting for Soledad for 20 minutes, the guests at the church heaved a collective gasp at the sight of the resplendent bride emerging before them for her march.
The wedding ceremony, described as simple and solemn, began at 5:45 p.m., with Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, Rev. Msgr. Bartolome Santos Jr. and Rev. Fr. Isagani Avinante officiating.
What took months to prepare was soon over. Cardinal Rosales commanded the groom, in jest, to “now take over.” Roman gladly did and planted a kiss on the bride’s waiting lips.
Romulo, son of former Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and Rosie Lovely Tecson-Romulo, arrived at 5:15 p.m. Soledad came minutes later in a white S-Class Mercedes-Benz.
The principal sponsors were Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Gretchen del Rosario; PLDT-Smart-TV 5 chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and Norma Ona; Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Corazon Ong; Emilio Yap and former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar; Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua and Betty Chua; San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang and Bettina Aboitiz; Roberto del Rosario and Elizabeth Gan-Go; James Sy Gaisano and Lily Lee; Felix Tuikinhoy Jr. and Maria Jessica Bautista; Manuel Dy and Natividad Cheng; and Bench founder Ben Chan and Janet Napoles.
Romulo’s best friend, J. Antonio Cabangon, was the best man while Joy Marie Castellvi was the matron of honor.
Romulo’s groomsmen were his brother Erwin, Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Lagdameo, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, George Rafael Lorenzana and Dante Soliven.
Soledad’s bridesmaids were Catherine May Hervas, Annaliza Jacinto, Ma. Lourdes Romero, Monica Garcia and Diamond Villar.
The entourage also consisted of 21 flowers girls. Broadcaster Karen Davila and Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, wife of actor Richard Gomez, were gospel readers at the Mass.
Sunday’s reception was held at Evolving Center Dockside of the nearby Nuvali, also in Sta. Rosa. In lieu of gifts, Soledad and Romulo had asked their guests to donate to the victims of the deadly Tropical Storm “Sendong.”
An online news report earlier said President Aquino would not attend the wedding but would send a gift “bought by his staff.” He had wished the couple a happy life together.
“What is the message?” the President said recently. “The emphasis has always been to strengthen the family. We believe that a lot of the solutions to the problems of the country will be best addressed by a family that is strong, united and caring to the children that they bring.”
Actress-TV host Kris Aquino, who was not at the ceremony either, wished the couple “good health … and all of God’s blessings in the years to come.”
She also said: “I’ll echo what P-Noy (Aquino) said, may both of them continue to be instruments of true public service.”
“We thought Roman would not be able to find that person he can be with all his life,” said actress Dawn Zulueta. “He finally did and I think Shalani is perfect for him.”
Shortly before the ceremony, Romulo’s mother Lovely said the diamond engagement ring that Romulo gave Soledad in September was a family heirloom. “I’ve had it for a while. I didn’t know it would end up with Roman when I had it taken out of the bank,” she said.
The guests savored such dishes as Angus beef, chicken binakol soup and cheesecake made of queso de bola prepared by caterer Florabel Co. Penk Ching and Shen Ratilla did the cake.
Co chose Angus beef because the couple are said to be fond of tapsilog, the complete Filipino everyman’s meal consisting of tapa, or strips of cured beef, fried rice and egg usually cooked sunny side up. Co included “dirty” ice cream on the menu, as the bride had asked for it. With a report from Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
Originally posted: 8:44 pm | Sunday, January 22nd, 2012