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the Juday-Ryan wedding

Posted by ram agentorange

First-hand account: Untold stories

TEXT AND PHOTOS by Büm D. Tenorio Jr. of PhilStar

Juday gamely poses for pictures wearing her simple yet elegant wedding gown by Paul Cabral. I took this photograph (and others on this page) long before guests were respectfully asked not to use their cameras and phone cameras

MABINI, Batangas, Philippines — From my vantage point, three tables away from where they were, a lovely scene was what I saw. He peeled a prawn for her while she put beef Thai curry on his plate. From time to time, they would whisper to each other then burst into guffaws. In between bites, he planted a kiss or two on her cheek. She would reply by caressing his face. Such love existed between Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos at the very romantic sunset wedding dinner reception on April 28 at Balai Anilao, a cozy resort in this town.

“Thank you for being part of this treasure hunt. You really have to be here,” Ryan told the more than 200 guests, referring to how everybody tried to keep the details of their wedding under wraps.

Earlier that day, there were only more than 80 of us who witnessed their 7 a.m. exchange of vows at the San Juan Nepomuceno church in the town of San Juan, three hours away from Balai Anilao by either boat or car.

“This is such a perfect moment. This is exactly how I envisioned it to be. Thank you,” Juday said, profusely punctuating her speech that night with gratitude.

Taking turns in hosting the dinner program were Juday’s best friend and Ploning director Dante Nico Garcia, KC Concepcion, Tuesday Vargas and Agot Isidro-Sandejas (who sang Runaway when Juday walked down the aisle in the church). Entertainment was provided by the APO Hiking Society and Session Road band. The party ended way past midnight.

When APO’s Buboy Garovillo, Jim Paredes and Danny Javier sang Panalangin, the couple stood up and did their first dance. How they tenderly held each other as they danced sent many guests crying. Again.

In the church wedding earlier, everybody cried, too, when Juday melted in Ryan’s arms as they met by the altar. At the end of the wedding rites that lasted for 45 minutes, Ryan kissed his wife for 17 seconds, ending it with a 31-second of tender embrace.

The air of elegance at the dinner reception was all the more heightened when the Chiang Mai white lanterns, about 20 of them, floating in the sea were lighted and flew in mid-air. The lanterns gyrated towards the horizon, illuminating the darkness of the night.

The sumptuous dinner of roasted calf, Vietnamese spring rolls, Thai beef curry, inihaw na liempo, chapchae, sushi and sashimi among other Asian delights was catered by Gene Gonzalez of Café Ysabel. Gonzalez was Juday’s culinary instructor when she took up culinary arts a few years ago.

Café Ysabel also catered the primero — a quick-bite spread composed of pandesal, kesong puti, churros and tsokolate-e among others — that we took around 5 a.m. of April 28 before we headed to the church for the matrimonial ceremony.

The night before the wedding, Juday and Ryan’s closest friends and family of more than 80 people were housed in three simple yet cozy resorts that are adjacent to each other in Brgy. Hugom in San Juan — Balai-Laiya Resort, Taramindo Resort and Tivona Resort.

My best friend and Cinema Evaluation Board chairman Christine Dayrit and I were given Sampaloc Room No. 9 at the Balai-Laiya. It was a cozy but comfortable thatch-roofed cottage with bamboo slat flooring. Below our room was where Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez stayed. They later sang The Prayer at the wedding.

Across our room, at Sampaloc Room No. 3, were Juday and Yohan, her four-year-old “mini me.” Above their room was where Susie Entrata and husband Paolo Abrera spent the night. Ryan and his friends who flew in from the States stayed in a three-floored cottage just a few meters away from where Juday was. Some guests opted to stay in tents by the beachside.

Film and TV director Joyce Bernal was in charge of the rooming assignments of the guests. Names of the guests were handwritten on a one-fourth-sized yellow paper, then taped outside the rooms.

Guests left the resorts at 5 a.m. for the supposedly 6:30 a.m. ceremony. As early as 2 a.m., sought-after makeup artist Juan Sarte was already putting makeup on Juday as Jing Monis styled her hair. Sharon Cuneta was exchanging early morning laughter with Juday while the latter was being dolled up. Ryan did his own grooming.

After the simple and heart-warming church wedding, Gonzalez and his team prepared a brunch reception composed of Pinoy specialties like tapa, tocino, longaniza, daing na bangus and danggit at the Balai-Laiya Resort. Guests were seated on four long rectangular and five tables covered with Indian fabric table cloths and accentuated with Robert Blancaflor’s masterful flower arrangements of white roses, cabbage-like cacti, phaleanopsis orchids and dwarf ferns. As we ate brunch, we were serenaded by Ed and Tina Pasamba’s sextet.

All of us were given two hours to freshen up before we headed to the sunset dinner reception at Balai-Anilao. To get to the dinner reception, guests had to be ferried for three hours to Anilao by three big motorized bancas.

Ryan and Juday changed outfits before they took the banca ride. So did most of their guests. White polo and pants for Ryan’s boat wear and a mini baby lace off-white dress for Juday.

At Balai-Anilao, the couple and their more than 80 guests were met by about 150 more VIPs who were just asked to attend the sunset dinner reception. This included ABS-CBN’s Charo Santos and Cory Vidanes and TAPE’s Tony Tuviera who all gave a short speech of congratulations to the couple.

But before they entertained their guests, the couple and their daughter Yohan changed their outfits again for the third time. This time, Juday was wearing an empire-cut tube dress whose very delicate Swiss lace fabric was sourced by Paul Cabral in Paris. Ryan was wearing a white shirt under a gray vest and pants, designed by Jerome Lorico, whom the groom met while he was hosting the show Talentadong Pinoy. Yohan was in a white eyelet dress. The three all came wearing white Arizona-styled Birkenstock slippers. Cabral and Lorico respectively designed the off-white wedding gown and gray suit of Juday and Ryan and all their change of clothes.

Those who opted to ride the car going to the sunset dinner had to take 100 steps going down the beachside dinner reception area in Balai-Anilao. The three-tiered wedding carrot walnut cake at the reception was masterfully done by Penk Ching of Pastry Bin. The cake had “edible photographs” of Ryan and Juday kissing as its design. Those pictures in silhouette were reproduction of the actual shots of the couple during their many travels around the world.

Security was so tight that even guests were not allowed to bring in their cameras and cellphones inside the church or at the reception areas. Official photographers of the wedding were photography masters Patrick Uy and Raymund Isaac.

“The couple invited only the closest of their friends and family because they wanted to keep it simple,” said Noel Ferrer, manager of Ryan. The invite, which came in a rectangular native brown box read: “Eto na ‘to. Inuman na! Punta kang nakaputi. Sikreto lamang natin ‘to ah.” Most guests got their invites four days before the wedding via mail. The invite also came with the left pair of slipper. The other pair was claimed at the dinner reception. The slippers became the “official” footwear of the guests at the wedding dinner.

Juday’s and Ryan’s names were not mentioned in the invite. Many, however, were able to figure out whose wedding it was when they called the R.S.V.P. number of Rita Neri, the country’s premier wedding coordinator. Neri’s office confirmed it was indeed the wedding of Ryan and Juday and they never gave further information.

A sense of adventure was definitely an intrinsic ingredient of the wedding and only those who were truly close to the couple would understand the reason behind the thrill and suspense.

A month before the wedding, Ryan and Juday sent text messages to their invited guests for their complete names, home addresses and the sizes of their feet. Many guessed that a wedding invitation would follow after they sent them back the information needed. But the couple kept mum about it.

“Juday and I just want to surprise you,” Ryan told me when I asked him why he was asking those details from me almost a month ago. The couple prepared for their wedding only for two months.

Even us who were present on the eve of their wedding were still guessing on the activities that would take place in the wedding. The couple and their suppliers were simply quiet about them. Till the end, everything was a surprise for the guests.

“As we said, we still want to surprise you,” Juday said. So their guests simply went with the flow and they were happily surprised as one beautiful event took place after the other.

The couple’s love affair blossomed four years ago at the set of Krystala, a fantaserye topbilled by Juday. Ryan was one of her leading men in that TV show. When their feelings for each other bloomed, the Balai-Anilao resort became their rendezvous.

They were engaged on May 11, 2008, the day Juday turned 30, at Antulang in Dumaguete. Ryan turned 30 last April 10.

The morning after their wedding, the couple told me on the phone, they woke up “happy and hungry.”

“We’re still feeling very high!” Ryan told me, adding that they just woke up. That was already 11:45 a.m. They spent the night at a vacation house which was just beside Balai Anilao, the resort that served as their rendezvous when their affair started to bloom. They will leave Batangas today to get ready for their May 2 reception at Le Soufflé in Rockwell. Juday told me they will live in the house they built in a village in Alabang in two weeks.

“By the way, we plan to have a kid soon,” Ryan told me in between giggles. “And there’s a reception on May 2 and I plan to get her pregnant by then.”


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