My Sister’s Wedding Gown
Here is the wedding memories of my younger sister who got married in the USA. Unfortunately, I was 8 months pregnant with Lauren and I couldn’t travel on my sister’s wedding day. This is my sister’s story. Click on the thumbnails for an enlarged photo.
My wedding gown sits, folded neatly in a box atop my closet. Wrapped within those folds are sweet memories of my young days with my husband, Manolet. We had met here in America, during what was supposed to be my last days of vacation in San Francisco. Young and wild, we both meant to just have a fling, but ended up madly in love. Divine intervention, I suppose?
I returned to the Philippines on January 1985 because my tourist visa was expiring, but filed a working H-1 visa with a structural engineer in Oakland. After months of passionate love letter-writing, Manolet flew to Cebu to attend my sister, Noemi’s wedding, as a secondary sponsor. He then asked my father for my hand in marriage.
My mother-in-law, at first against our marriage, reluctantly accepted our decision once my father and she discussed our plans over the phone. She proceeded to buy the cloth for my wedding gown from her hometown in Quezon along with cloth for my bridesmaids. The cloth was made of jusi and embroidered intricately with delicate flowers and leaves. She jokingly said that some of the embroiderers must have lost their eyesight from hours of sewing the cloth.
My older sister, Lorna, referred me to a designer in Cebu (I don’t remember his name anymore!) who designed a Maria Clara type of gown, shawl and all, and a ten-foot train. He said I should have a tiara just like Hilda Coronel in one of her latest movies, so a tiara was made with a gauzy veil of three layers. The designer had his seamstresses sew sequins and pearls onto the cloth to add glitter to the gown. Several layers of petticoats were sewn underneath the skirt.
My husband and I were wed on a wintry day on February 1, 1986 in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, California. There I was, in a Filipina style Maria Clara gown, while Manolet, my husband, wore a tuxedo. Quite a metaphor for a marriage of the Filipino tradition and the American way of life. For life after that wedding has always been a balance of honoring our roots and embracing the American lifestyle.
Only Lorna, my oldest sister, attended the wedding among my immediate family. Unfortunately, my father suffered a stroke a few months before our wedding and could not attend. Our relatives from Phoenix came to represent the Lardizabals.
Still, we were thrilled to finally get married and I recall, after the wedding, how we peeled off my gown and threw it on the floor in the hotel room…
Now, Manolet and I are close to celebrating our 22nd Wedding anniversary, with three teenage sons, and still happily in love. We are truly blessed by God. I see my wedding gown in that box, and I relish the sweet memories it holds.
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