MANILA -- The dreaded seven-year-itch did not happen to couple Margarita Angela “Yanah” Laurel and Rafael Lamberto “Rafa” Siguion-Reyna. Instead, after more than seven years of being together, they decided to tie the knot last March.
Laurel and Siguion-Reyna will be celebrating their eighth year on May 10. They met when they were in grade school and reunited when they became dance partners in the touring musical of “Saturday Night Fever” in 2015. They began dating that same year.
“Rafa and I love spending time with our dog Yoki,” Laurel told ABS-CBN News. “We also truly enjoy quiet time at home together. Our work schedules keep us very busy.
“We both work long hours with Rafa as an actor in film and television causing him to travel to multiple cities, while I am busy as an executive producer for 'Drag Race Philippines,' as well as singing and hosting events.
“So whenever we have time to wind down, we simply enjoy having a good meal and having movie and series marathons at home together in our cozy pambahay.”
The proposal took place in the Siguion-Reyna family home on the couple’s seventh anniversary on May 10, 2022.
“That was also the day we celebrated Yoki’s 10th birthday,” Laurel recalled. “We love Yoki very much and wanted to commemorate the day.
“We got her a birthday cake and commissioned our dear friend, Myra Ho, a talented photographer, to photograph us for this double celebration.
“Little did I know that it would actually be a triple celebration, as Rafa knelt down right when we were about to show Yoki her cake which said ‘Will you marry my hooman?’ I was utterly stunned.
“I said ‘Of course!’ My family immediately came out which made it even more special. It was the perfect proposal, at home with our family and Yoki.”
Eventually, Laurel and Siguion-Reyna both agreed on the date of their wedding. “We simply wanted it to happen on a weekend, so our family and friends did not have to worry about work and we could all enjoy our time together till the wee hours,” Laurel said.
Laurel’s wedding gown was made by her cousin, noted designer Rajo Laurel. “It was truly special because my Kuya Rajo was able to repurpose my late mother’s wedding gown by National Artist for Fashion Design Pitoy Moreno,” she added.
“Kuya Rajo was able to create a truly beautiful and very special piece. The embroidery on my gown is 52 years old and showcased embroidery work that is no longer done today.
“It is truly one-of-a-kind and so very precious to me as I was able to walk down the aisle and celebrate our wedding feeling my mother, Mama Fely embracing me.
“Rafa’s barong was also made by Rajo Laurel. Rafa and I had a Filipiniana-themed wedding and we wanted to showcase the vintage aesthetic of Filipino culture and craftsmanship which you see in the style of Rafa’s barong.
“My maid of honor [my sister, Sandra Laurel], secondary sponsors (my sister-in-laws: Ayen, Guia and Michelle Laurel], along with our flower girls [Sabina, Sofia, Clara and Lucia] all wore stunning ternos and mini ternos by Rajo.
“My brothers [secondary sponsors] wore custom barongs as did Rafa’s groomsmen. My bridesmaids wore beautiful creations by my dear friend Oz Go. My girls were absolutely stunning.
“Rafa and I were so in love with the look of our entire entourage. We aimed to have a traditional Filipiniana wedding with modern touches.”
A few days before the altar date, Laurel had her despedida de soltera attended by both their immediate families and entire entourage.
The couple respectively took care of most of the important details in their wedding. “I took care of the creative aspect, design concept, sourcing suppliers etc., while Rafa took care of administrative and logistics,” Laurel shared.
“We were both extremely hands on and made a great team. I am very thankful to have had a great and involved partner. Many late night and early mornings working together took place till the end and it was all worth it.”
The most important advice that Laurel and Siguion-Reyna got as a couple was “to always keep God at the center of our union and to always choose each other and prioritize family always and in all ways.”
With Siguion-Reyna as her husband and life partner, Laurel best expressed it in her wedding vows.
“Rafa is the most free-spirited person I know, strong in his convictions, his values, wildly curious, forever ready for an adventure and so incredibly fearless,” Laurel said.
“I have learned to be so free because of him. I have learned to be even more fearless because of him.
“He loves my family, honors my mother in every way and loves how much I value and prioritize them as he loves and prioritizes his. He is extremely hardworking and has a great attitude towards life. I love that about him.”
Being part of the Siguion-Reyna family – Carlitos and Bibeth, as well as daughter Sara – is something that Laurel had been looking forward to.
“I look forward to creating, experiencing and sharing wonderful moments with them,” she said. “They are a very loving and warm family.
“I am extremely blessed to have the best mother, father, sister-in-law and new Tito’s and Tita’s. They are a true blessing not only to me but to my entire family. I look forward to our families coming together as one crazy beautiful bunch.”
Meanwhile, Siguion-Reyna was likewise looking forward to having Laurel as his future wife and life partner.
“I love that she adores my dog Yoki,” he said of Laurel. “It’s extremely cute! Yanah is also extremely hardworking in her job. I respect this. She has strong values and is God-fearing.
“In terms of the best advice I received from her family, it was always about remembering to choose each other no matter the circumstance. To always put our relationship in the center and to value how special this union is to one another.”
Sharing his life being with the Laurel family excites Siguion-Reyna. “They share the same values as Yanah,” he maintained. “Extremely hardworking in their respective professions and at the center of everything is family.
“We all share this in common. I look forward to always being styled by my Kuya Ninong Rajo. He is the best! He always makes me look pretty.”
The best gift that he got from Laurel through the years was something that he also shared in his vows.
“She has taught me that there is value in being humble, patient and kind,” Siguion-Reyna said. “To always remember that we must put our family and God at the center. I love that about her. Everything about Yanah is the greatest gift a man could ever receive.”