A fabled Filipino wedding in Singapore a la ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

While Iloilo high society has not, for the longest time, made an imprint on the social scene, the recent wedding of Juan Fermin “Abbie” Caram and Judith Marie “JM” Tiongco at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore proved that this social set, mostly low-key and understated, could show the richest of the rich — and the jaded of the most jaded — how to celebrate in a grand and stylish way without of course sacrificing tradition, old family values and the Filipino propensity to warmth and fun.

WITH the Marina Bay Sands serving as a fitting backdrop to this elegant wedding of the year attracted international attention.

Such may be said of the recent Caram-Tiongco wedding that brought in from the Philippines, US and Australia 150 friends, relatives and their closest associates, who had gathered to wish the couple the best. And if this first day of their married life together is any indication, it will most likely be a wonderful journey for the couple and their future offspring.

THE bride, JM Tiongco.
(FROM left) Bo Parcon, Dr. Napoleon Tiongco, Sheila Golez-Tiongco, Nonoi Ybiernas, Mags Cue and John Cue.

But that’s going ahead of the story of the wedding inspired by the Crazy Rich Asians betrothal of Colin Khoo and Araminta Lee.

Lest we take away the fun of telling the story of this wedding of the year, a trailblazing celebration for us from this part of the world, from our Social Set columnist Nonoi Ybiernas, who was present in this dazzling affair, allow us just to share with you the broad strokes.

The wedding ceremonies were held at Gardens by the Bay last Sunday, 18 June, and this was followed by a reception at the Supertree Grove. The beautiful bride was in a Vera Wang creation while the groom, who looked even more dapper in a suit, was by the Philippines’ own AJ Javier.

Interestingly, reports mention the color motif of red, orange, and purple having been inspired by the bride’s favorite flowers, birds of paradise, along with the famous movie that juxtaposed the traditions of the Oriental rich establishment against the modern ways of its younger set, mostly educated in the posh schools of the west.

From a TikTok video uploaded by Mary Golez, guests entered the venue by way of a red carpet laid out on a floral-lined aisle, but not before having their pictures taken at the entrance. Its art deco ornamentation provided a unique backdrop.

CRISTINA Golez, Ian Golez and Josephine Caram.

Supertrees, as though straight from fairyland, added to the romantic elegance that was even more evident in the candlelit dinner.  A lion dance showered good luck on the couple and their guests, along with a ribbon dance. A jazz performance elicited the guests’ warm applause.

A special and unique feature of the evening was the presence of a painter who captured the wedding on canvas, most likely emphasizing the beauty and grace of the smart-dressed Ilongas and the gentlemen in their barong tagalog.

A grand wedding it was, but more than the magnificence that made it unforgettable, it was the laughter, glee, sincerity and the general feeling of affection pervading the night that would forever be etched in the hearts of those who witnessed this once-in-a-lifetime event.

GOING wacky to everyone’s delight.

Thanks to Nap Tiongco and Nonoi Ybiernas for the photos.