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How This Couple Beat ‘Wedding Mishaps’ Amid Taal, COVID-19 Disasters

“We learned there is always a perfect time for a perfect moment.”

For 24-year-old Migs Casten and 23-year-old Bianca Mercado, 2020 will forever be remembered not just as the year they tied the knot, but as the time when their patience, resolve, faith, and strength as a couple were tested not by one but two unforeseen disasters beyond anyone’s control. 

Set to wed on March 15 at Tagaytay Highlands, a dreamy destination and sentimental place for the couple, Migs and Bianca changed plans fast when the January 12 eruption of Taal Volcano left many parts of Cavite and Batangas covered in ashfall. 

The couple quickly secured a new date and destination in Manila, and just as things were going their way, the government announced it would place Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) beginning 12 midnight of March 15.

Photos from Atty. Dante T. Pamintuan of Ayala Westgrove Heights / Manila Bulletin News; (Right) Eloisa / Reuters / Devex

The stringent measure was made to prevent the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19. “March 15 is our wedding date,” says Bianca in an interview.  “How sad, isn’t it?”  

Other couples would have probably interpreted this double whammy as a sign to sit things out. Bianca and Migs saw it the opposite way and took advantage of the government’s announcement to allow religious gatherings that limited attendees to a maximum of five people. (Read: Here’s what you can expect on 2020 weddings, baptisms, Sunday Masses)

In an email to My Pope Philippines, Bianca recalls the twists and turns leading to her date to forever with Migs.   

(Left) SOLEMN AND HISTORIC An imposing altar and religious images gave this simple wedding a dramatic air. (Right) LOVE CONQUERS ALL Migs Casten and Bianca Mercado. (Photos courtesy of subject)

How long were you engaged before you made wedding plans? 

Migs and I got engaged last September 11, 2019. We spent five months planning our wedding since we wanted to get married in March 2020. 

How did you feel when your wedding plans were affected by the Taal eruption? 

We were devastated. Tagaytay Highlands is a memorable place for us because we would always go on dates there on the weekends and visit their chapel. But when we saw the pictures of the aftermath of the Taal eruption, we knew right away that we had to change our venue. We had to be the earliest ones to reserve a new venue in Manila since we foresaw that a lot of events in Tagaytay would be transferring to Manila as well. (Read: Manila Cathedral opens its doors for weddings affected by Taal Volcano eruption)

PARTY OF FIVE Except for their officiating priest and two principal sponsors, Migs and Bianca had the St. James the Great Church all to themselves.

How did you deal with the stress of changing your plans because of the ECQ? 

We were optimistic and unfazed! We would always uplift each other and we saw the silver lining that we could still improve our wedding plans and make them more exciting once this is all over. In this experience, we learned that there is always a perfect time for a perfect moment. Maybe in this troubled time, God wants us to be with our families first and spend more time with them at home. (Read: 5 Celebrities Share Their Biggest Realizations While In Quarantine)

What’s your advice to couples who are in a similar situation as yours?

First, love is all that matters. In these uncertain times, we don’t really know when this pandemic will end. In our case, time is very important for us. Second, if you and your partner want to get married, just go for it! It will be all worth it since you get to marry the love of your life and spend the rest of your life with him or her.

With principal sponsors Joyce Barut (far left) and Rudy Ella (far right). (Photo courtesy of subject)

What did you like about the wedding that you had?

It was very solemn and historic. Imagine, in the middle of a pandemic, we managed to host a wedding via Facebook Live Stream to show our friends and family how much we love each other. 

Also, we really felt the presence of God through the ceremony because everything was so quiet and decorous. We were able to look deeply into each other’s eyes when we said our vows. It was perfectly romantic. Just saying this makes me want to get married all over again! (Read: Couple holds ‘online wedding’ amidst coronavirus scare)

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