Richard and Sarah with (from left) Lorin and Mom Ruffa Gutierrez, parents annaballe Rama and Eddie Gutierrez, and twin brother Raymond
Richard & Sarah wed in civil rites
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - March 18, 2020 - 12:00am

Abnormal times call for drastic steps — and drastic changes.

As scheduled, the wedding of Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati was held as planned last Saturday, March 14, at 4:45 p.m., 45 minutes behind the time listed on the invitation.

The event was trimmed down to basics, with only the couple’s parents and family members present. Instead of the elaborate original Christian wedding at Shangri-La at the Fort at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC), with 25 pairs of Principal Sponsors led by Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte and former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Estrada, what happened was a simple and quiet civil ceremony presided by Judge Bernard Bernal at the office of Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano at the SM Aura Tower.

After exchanging vows before Judge Bernard Bernal, newlywed Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati are prayed over by their families and blessed by Pastor John Ong

Despite the no-kissing/no-beso-beso style of greeting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the newlyweds did seal their new legal status as man and wife with a kiss, after which they were prayed over and blessed by their families led by Pastor John Ong.

“The big wedding and big celebration will be pushed through but there’s no date yet,” Richard’s mom Annabelle Rama told The STAR.Matutuloy kung ano at kung sinu-sino ang nasa invitation,” adding, “nagpapasalamat kami kay Mayor Cayetano for facilitating the civil ceremony. It was also Mayor Cayetano who let Pastor Ong do the blessing.”

For the civil ceremony, Sarah wore a simple dress. She is reserving the gown by the same Paris designer who is said to do the dress(es) of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez.

“Up to now,” according to Annabelle, “I haven’t seen the gown yet. Ayaw ipakita sa akin.”

Sarah with parents abdel and Esther Lahbati

Movie writer Jun Lalin, a close friend of the Gutierrezes present at the event, quoted Annabelle as saying that her wish for the newlyweds was not to have any more children although Richard said that it all depends on God’s plan.

“It was Raymond (Richard’s twin brother) who acted as ring bearer,” revealed Jun. “No, it ‘s not a joke. Raymond told me that when it was time for Richard and Sarah to wear the rings, si Raymond ang nag-abot ng rings sa kanila.”

The reception was held at Samba, a Peruvian restaurant also in Taguig City.

annabelle and Eddie with Maryann Opeña (a Principal Sponsor in the postponed big wedding).


Meanwhile, here’s how Ruffa Gutierrez is coping with the COVID-19 situation:

It’s the first day (March 15) of the Metro Manila Community Quarantine. 

I’m waking up to the birds chirping, to the sun shining. It’s a beautiful day! I still feel blessed in spite of everything that is happening around us.
Instead of being engulfed by fear and anxiety (which is normal during these challenging times), I will choose to be productive. For the next few days, I’ll clean out my closets, watch Love Thy Woman (may one week pa kami on-air), oversee my children while being temporary “home schooled.” 

Learn how to cook? Swim? Meditate? There’s nothing we can do right now but face the problem, accept the situation, turn out from negativity, help one another and pray for each other. Friends, I’m just a phone call away if you’re bored! I have so much time now. Lol  

My Prayer : Lord, give us all wisdom, patience, endurance, and sensitivity for the days and weeks to come. Thank you for the food on our table and for keeping us safe from harm. In Jesus’ name we pray...AMEN.  #PrayForPhilippines  #PrayForTheWorld

(E-mail reactions at For more updates, photos and videos, visit or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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