Wedding celebrations come in many shapes and forms, from simple to splurges. In the Philippines, there may be no single template for weddings, but they tend to be large and lavish affairs with a deep sense of family and tradition.
Filipino celebrity weddings, of course, are usually extravagant affairs showing off the couple’s social status and wealth. From televised ceremonies to crystal-embellished gowns, here are five of the most luxurious matrimonies.
Heart Evangelista and Chiz Escudero
It’s no surprise that Heart Evangelista is on this list, as her posh wedding with Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero took place at Balesin Island, one of the most expensive island property projects in the country.
The wedding began with a celebration of Evangelista’s birthday and despedida de soltera, a Filipino tradition that bids farewell to the single life through a send-off dinner. The stunning island venue was decorated with a canopy of 5,000 white wisteria stems and 100 crystals.
Evangelista wore a Grace Kelly-inspired gown designed by Dubai-based Filipino designer Ezra Santos, featuring a detachable five-metre train and 70,000 Swarovski crystals and other decorative elements.
Notable business moguls and A-listers made the guest list, including Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ramon Ang, Andrew Tan and Lance Gokongwei – truly evocative of the film Crazy Rich Asians.
The couple had a Balesin reception and another at The Blue Leaf Filipinas in Paranaque City for guests who couldn’t attend the island event.
Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho Jr.
The famous dermatologist to the stars Vicki Belo married cosmetic surgeon and media personality Hayden Kho Jr. in 2017. It was one of the most talked about events of the year, as the couple spent a total of 80 million pesos, or roughly US$1.67 million.
They had a simple civil ceremony in Manila before getting on a plane for a Parisian fairy tale celebration. The grand nuptials began with a cruise on a yacht on the River Seine followed by a religious ceremony at The American Church in Paris.
Among four Michael Cinco gowns, Belo chose a beautiful blush frock handmade by 11 seamstresses, complete with a three-metre French lace train. The dress was also adorned by a fully embroidered baroque pattern with rose opal and transparent Swarovski crystals.
The couple had their reception at the historic Opéra National de Paris’ Palais Garnier, where their first dance took place on the Grand Staircase. Kho was dressed in a white Tom Ford tux while Belo donned a pale blue Mark Bumgarner gown.
The entire event took almost a year to prepare and was attended by 250 guests including celebrities such as Bonnae Gokson and Kim Robinson, 400 crew members and 28 artists.
Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes
GMA Network’s prime time love team, Jose “Dingdong” Dantes and Marian Rivera, had one of the most extravagant weddings in the country. Dubbed the “Royal Wedding”, the actors exchanged vows at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Cubao.
What really set the ceremony apart was the massive LED screen set up outside the venue for fans who wanted to get a glimpse. The event was also televised for the entire nation to witness, which was a first for any Filipino personality. They also had a glittery guest list, which included then President Benigno Aquino III, Vilma Santos, Kris Aquino and Ben Chan.
The bride wore a Michael Cinco lace gown worth 2 million pesos (US$41,000), and held their reception at the famed concert venue, Mall of Asia Arena, which also housed their 12-foot (3.6-metre) wedding cake and a special short film by director Joyce Bernal.
Rochelle Pangilinan and Arthur Solinap
Former SexBomb Girls dance troupe member Rochelle Pangilinan wed her long-term love, actor and model Arthur Solinap in a lavish ceremony in Tagaytay city. The event went viral and garnered international media attention.
Pangilinan’s dress featured a three-metre-long Spanish hand fan-inspired train, which was attached to her dress by a cape, and was embellished with Swarovski crystals and the fine threadwork of Michael Cinco. The couple also had a nine-tier wedding cake covered in black fondant and decorated with a cascade of fresh flowers.
Several big names in the local showbiz industry were spotted at the wedding, such as Regine Velasquez-Alcasid who sang for the couple’s first dance, Ogie Alcasid, and the iconic comedy trio of Tito Sotto, Joey de Leon and Vic Sotto. Guests were treated to dance performances by the SexBomb Girls and the groom, and the event wrapped up with a fireworks display.
Divine Lee and Blake Go
TV host and fashion blogger Divine Lee wed retail businessman Blake Go in 2017 in a church ceremony at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Lee went the unconventional route with a beautiful gold gown paired with a cream-coloured veil designed by top Filipino designer Rajo Laurel, who also attended the wedding.
To match the bride’s colour scheme, the 32,000 sq ft reception venue was done up to look like an enchanted forest, with almost 1,000kg of flowers imported from Taiwan, Ecuador and Holland.
The cake was a commissioned confection based on a chandelier design by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, which had 518 gold sugar crystals.