A fruition of a blind date, Maria Angela Gabay and Paulo Mendoza were matched up by one of Paulo’s classmates, who happened to be the dermatologist in Angela’s office. Dinner at Manila Peninsula made for a first date that was the ultimate blend of excitement and nervousness. “Seeing her the first time was like having the best answer after a long wait,” Paulo recalls. “We had an enjoyable and sweet seven months of courtship, getting to know each other over food, music, movies, plays, and Sunday masses.”
In 2016, it was the day after Paulo’s birthday when he decided to ask Angela’s parents for permission to marry their daughter.
“WALKING THROUGH THE FAÇADE AND INSIDE THE BASILICA MADE INDELIBLE IMPRINTS AND TOUCHED THE CORE OF OUR HEARTS” PAULO MENDOZA
The following weekend, the couple found themselves on Apulit Island in the Philippines, on the brink of an engagement. “It happened during a private dinner that was set up at the beach, while being serenaded with some of our favorite songs,” Paulo describes. “It was a lovely weekend filled with love and inspiration on one of the world’s most beautiful islands.”
A Vatican wedding is what Angela and Paulo envisioned once the wedding planning process began. Although it sounds like a lofty dream to be married in Rome and blessed by the Pope himself, the engaged pair proceeded with the utmost faith. “Two days after submitting our papers, an overseas call was received,” Paulo explains. “The Italian-speaking lady turned out to be the bearer of good news – yes, we could have a Vatican City wedding.”
Elated that their request had been granted, the couple jetted off to Europe for a two-day winter engagement photoshoot in Paris. With a multitude of gowns and suits to wear, romantic moments were captured around locations such as the Louvre, Versailles, Champs Elysees, Arc De Triomphe, and the iconic Eiffel Tower.
When their wedding day arrived, the bride and groom were still in awe that their nuptials would be taking place inside St. Peter’s Basilica at the Capella del Coro. “Walking through the façade and inside the basilica made indelible imprints and touched the core of our hearts,” says the groom.
“The wedding songs were in Latin, sung by our niece – an opera singer from Boston. Our friends, the two officiating priests, selflessly gave us an inspiring and solemn wedding ceremony.”
After the ceremony, a reception banquet was held at Residenza Paolo VI – a quaint hotel with a grand patio overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Guests enjoyed a delectable Italian meal, and some of the newlyweds’ loved ones performed song and dance numbers for entertainment.
“The day after the wedding was the awaited Papal audience,” says Paulo. “It gave us a chance to be with the Pope up close.” Not only was that meeting an incredible way for Angela and Paulo to begin their lives together – it was the final touch in making their dream wedding come true.
Ceremony Location: St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy; Reception Location: Residenza Paolo VI, Vatican City, Italy; Wedding Dress: Pronovias; Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Marianne’s Jewelry & Watches Co. Ltd. Tsim Shu Tsui, Hong Kong