Actress Ara Mina and Trade Undersecretary Dave Almarinez had their dream wedding on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at the Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges Chapel in Baguio City.
Their wedding was a dreamy affair, a celebration of thier love, and, by far, the grandest and biggest in showbiz during the pandemic,
Here are some of the memorable highlights of the wedding:
The white-and-green motif was in perfect harmony with the wedding venue atop the majestic mountains of Baguio.
Event stylist Gideon Hermosa did wonders in transforming the Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges Chapel into an indoor garden, filling the altar and aisles with greenery and white flowers—gypsophilas, hydrangeas, roses, snapdragons, and anemones.
In an Instagram post on Friday, July 2, 2021, Gideon shared his inspiration behind the set-up.
Gideon wrote, "We took inspiration from the labyrinth of Versailles. Everybody regaled on the majestic chandeliers that hung from above and the grande decors that adorn the tablescapes.
"Our bride and groom deserve nothing less than a dazzling reception! #Gideonized #TeamDarve"
THE BRIDAL GOWN
All eyes were fixed on Ara as she entered the aisle, truly a sight to behold in her fully crystalized princess-cut wedding gown designed by the Pasig City-based couturier Leo Almodal.
The gown was a gift from her two younger sisters Heidi Gatmaytan (left) and Cristine Reyes (right).
Equally stunning was the figure-hugging long dress designed by Francis Libiran that Ara wore at the wedding reception.
Ara wore two different sets of diamond earrings from Janis Fine Jewelry on her wedding.
The pair of stud diamond earrings that the bride wore during the ceremony has 10 total carat weight or 5 carats each piece. At the reception, Ara wore 5.5-carat diamond drop earrings.
Dave looked dashing in his royal blue suit during the ceremony.
For the reception, he changed into a black and white suit to match the elegance of Ara's outfit. Both suits were designed by Francis Libiran.
THE LITTLE princess
Guests gushed as Ara's six-year-old daughter Mandy walk down the aisle ahead of the bride.
During the exchange of wedding vows, Ara tried to hold back her tears as she read her letter to Dave.
She said, "When I met you three years ago, I wasn't really looking for love kasi naka-focus ako sa work and kay Mandy.
"Totoo pala yung kasabihan na ang love daw hindi hinahanap, kusang dumarating. Kahit marami akong pinagdaanan sa buhay ko, hindi naging hadlang sa akin na mangarap na magkaroon ng sariling pamilya.
"Hindi ko akalain na ikaw pala na hindi ko naman crush, at sabi mo nga, hindi mo ako crush, ang bubuo sa mga pangarap ko.
"Pero nagpursige ka at nagtiyaga ka for two years. Pinakita mo sa akin kung gaano mo ako kamahal kahit na alam mong hindi ko priority ang magkaroon ng relasyon."
Ara went on to share what made her fall in love with Dave.
"You never gave up. Hindi mo sinuko yung pagmamahal mo sa akin at doon ko na-realize na ikaw pala yung answered prayer ko na matagal ko nang hinihintay.
"Nagustuhan kita dahil sa magandang bagay, maraming magandang bagay tungkol sa iyo. Isa ang pagiging simple mo, responsible mo, at pagiging mapagmahal mo sa pamilya mo.
"Hindi ako magsasawang ipagmalaki ang kabutihan ng puso mo. Maraming magpapatunay niyan.
"Kahit yung mga taong hindi gumagawa ng mabuti sa iyo, alam nila sa sarili nila kung gaano ka kabuting tao."
Ara also opened up about some of the challenges they went through in their relationship.
Ara told Dave, "Alam ko ang mga sakit na napagdaanan mo kaya kahit minsan may mga bagay akong hindi na naiintindihan, kumakapit ako dahil alam ko deep in my heart, binigay ako sa iyo ng Diyos para tulungan kang buuin ulit at kilalanin mo ulit ang sarili mo.
"These past years, even until now, some people have tried to break us apart or hurt us. Hindi madali ang manahimik lalo na nakikita mong nasasaktan ang mahal mo, kahit gusto mo ipagsigawan sa buong mundo kung ano ang totoo."
"Minsan may mga bagay na kailangan mong ipaubaya na lang sa Diyos, kahit hindi ko akalaing makakayanan ko ang lahat ng ito, pero nagawa ko dahil sa pagmamahal ko sa iyo.
"I choose the higher but more difficult road and chose to be silent to save our relationship because you are worth fighting for.
"At the end of the day, only God knows everything we went through and He knows our hearts. Wala akong hiniling sa Diyos na hindi Niya binigay. Kailangan mo lang minsan maghintay and it was worth the wait."
Ara ended her letter with a promise to her husband, "I may be a work in progress, I may not have been the perfect girlfriend, but with all to you from this day forward, I will take care of you, support you, protect you, be by your side...
"Pangako sa iyo ano man ang mangyari, ano man ang problemang dumating, mamahalin kita hanggang sa pagtanda natin.
"Hayaan mong ako naman ang tumupad sa mga pangarap mo. I will make you the happiest husband. Mahal na mahal kita, Dave."
Dave, in tears as Ara read her vows, said, "Sabi ko hindi ako iiyak, e. Hindi ako makatulog gabi-gabi, kakaisip. Kanina ninenerbiyos ako."
Like Ara, Dave opened his heart in his wedding vows.
"Ano bang nagawa ko? Sobrang pinagpala ako ng tadhana nung pinili mo ako. Isa lang naman akong simpleng tao para sa isang sikat na si Ara Mina.
"College pa lang ako, kilalang-kilala ka na na 'Crush ng Bayan.' Pero sa totoong buhay, kung saan walang ibang titulo kundi ikaw at ako, si Dave at Ara or Hazel at Dave, alam ng puso natin kung ano ang mahalaga."
"Sa araw na ito, katapusan ng buwan pero ngayon ang umpisa ng ating now and always hanggang forever.
"Ito ang aking pangako sa iyo, Hazel, forever kitang aalagaan. Sabi ng mga kasama ko huwag ako iiyak, e.
"Forever kitang itataguyod, forever na itataguyod ko ang ating pamilya, at bibigyan ng pangalan na malinis at marangal.
"Ang pangarap mo ay pangarap ko rin. Ngunit, siguro ang biggest kong pangarap ay yung mapasaya ka, mapangiti sa gitna ng anumang pagsubok.
"Hazel, 46 years ang lumipas bago kita nahanap at ilang taon nabuo ang tiwala at pagmamahalan na nagdala sa atin dito ngayon.
"Sa araw na ito, tititig na lang tayo sa iisang kalendaryo nang habang buhay bilang mag-asawa, bilang responsableng mga magulang, bilang maging matalik na magkaibigan, at higit pa, bilang Dave at Hazel, Hazel at Dave... ngayon at ang aking forever. Mahal kita."
There were a number of celebrities spotted at Ara and Dave's wedding: Barbie Imperial and boyfriend Diego Loyzaga, Sunshine Cruz and Ara's half-brother Macky Mathay, Miss Grand International 2020 first runner-up Samantha BernardoMelissa Ricks, JC Parker, and Jeny Miller, among many others.
Gideon retained the white and green motif for the wedding reception venue, a basketball court that he turned into a grand ballroom.
Guests feasted on an eight-course meal prepared by Juan Carlo Catering.
Broiled Alaskan Halibut on Forest Mushroom Risotto
U.S. Certifies Prime Rib Eye and Grilled Marinated Black Tiger Prawn
The couple's wedding multi-tiered cake from Hazelberry Cafe, which is owned by Ara.
One of the highlights of the wedding reception was Ara and Dave performing for their guests.
Ara sang Regine Velasquez's "Pangako," while Dave rendered with Gary Valenciano's song "Ikaw Lamang."
The newlyweds also had a duet. They performed Alamid's "Your Love."
The couple's wedding was organized by Christine Ong Te Events.
Ara was styled by Cath Sobrevega. Her glam team included celebrity makeup artist Albert Kurniawan and hairstylist Raymond Mateo.
Meanwhile, Nice Print Photography is their official wedding photographer and videographer.