Zanjoe and Ria pull off surprise wedding

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Zanjoe and Ria pull off surprise wedding
Zanjoe Marudo and Ria Atayde happily tie the knot less than a month after getting engaged. The civil ceremony was officiated by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.
Official wedding photos are courtesy of Nice Print Photography

MANILA, Philippines — “In love na in love.”

That’s how guests described Zanjoe Marudo and Ria Atayde on their wedding day last March 23 — coinciding with the bride’s 32nd birthday — just a little over a month after their engagement news.

Last Monday (March 25), Zanjoe, 41, announced their union to the world by sharing the date “03.23.24” on social media, accompanied by the short and sweet message, “Happy birthday MY WIFE,” plus photos from their civil wedding officiated by Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte. The post sparked a flurry of happy as well as surprised reactions from industry colleagues and netizens alike in the comments section.

Many of the guests themselves were surprised by the wedding, sources told The STAR. This was because they initially received an invite — with a dress code instruction to wear something white — from the bride’s mom, veteran actress Sylvia Sanchez, to what they thought was the birthday party of Ria at Concept Space Manila along Congressional Ave. As it turned out, it was the reception for the celeb couple’s earlier civil wedding that was attended by mostly immediate family members.

The newlyweds share a tender moment.
Official wedding photos are courtesy of Nice Print Photography

“The guests were surprised because the way (Sylvia) invited us, parang normal lang, like it was one of their regular dinners. ‘Birthday dinner ni Ria, please wear white.’ So we thought it was a white party. When we arrived at the venue, nagulat kami because hindi pang ordinary dinner ang setup, ang ganda-ganda! Sila yung nasa gitna. So, we realized it was for their wedding,”

As far as our sources know, there will be a church wedding “pero hindi pa ngayon.”

Among the celebrity guests were ex-couple Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, Darren Espanto, Joshua Garcia, Eula Valdez, Enchong Dee, Dominic Ochoa, Bayani Agbayani, Jane Oineza, RK Bagatsing, LA Tenorio, etc.

“Konting-konti lang kasi napaka-intimate lang na parang family and close friends na may meaning sa buhay nila,” said one source, estimating the attendance at the reception proper to be around 100 guests.

“The wedding was down-to-earth. It was simple, it was fun,” the source added. There was band music later on and “Joshua and Daniel sang (before the guests).”

There wasn’t any strict program either. “Ang nangyari lang, nagsalita si Ria and Zanjoe,” one guest said.

The bride shares a light moment with her parents, Sylvia Sanchez and Art Atayde.
Official wedding photos are courtesy of Nice Print Photography

“Si Zanjoe, nagpapatawa. Cool lang si Zanjoe. And si Ria, medyo naging emotional during her speech wherein she also thanked her siblings, cousins and the family of Zanjoe.”

One of the most touching parts of the wedding was how “we saw how in love they are with each other and how happy.”

“They would finish each other’s sentences and they were laughing non-stop,” a wedding guest said.

“Alam mo yung feeling na nakahanap ka na ng lalaking mag-aalaga sayo, magmamahal sayo, magiging ka-partner mo sa buhay? I’m excited for their adventures together.”

Overall, they said “the reception was so relaxed; it’s really a reflection of who they are — really chill and laid back.”

As seen in the official photos shared by Nice Print Photography, the bride exuded minimalist chic in an off-shoulder, white dress by designer Martin Bautista with jewelry courtesy of mom Sylvia. The groom, on the other hand, went for a black tuxedo with a small medal carrying the image of his late mom pinned to his chest.

The groom gets a hug from his dad, Zosimo Marudo, while a small medal that appears to be bearing an image of his late mom, Rosanna, is pinned to Zanjoe’s chest.
Official wedding photos are courtesy of Nice Print Photography

It was back in January 2023 when Zanjoe first confirmed their relationship in a TV interview. But even before they were romantically linked, Zanjoe was already vocal about his desire to find a partner for life. In a February 2022 interview with this paper, he said, “Siguro yung magiging partner ko, yun nalang ang pinaka-kulang sa buhay ko ngayon.”

The actor also said then, “My last relationship was about two years ago. So hindi ako yung tumatalon agad, pinapahinga ko talaga yung sarili ko. I really try to enjoy being single and if makakilala man ako ng magiging partner ko, simple lang naman yung gusto ko, yung makakasundo ko sa lahat ng bagay.

“Then, yung tanggap namin ang isa’t-isa at saka kailangan kaibigan ko siya. Kasi ‘pag kaibigan mo yung tao, alam mo na yung hindi at pwede. Yung respeto nandun at hindi na mawawala.”

Ria had also previously told this paper that their 10-year age gap was never an issue. She said of Zanjoe: “I laugh a lot (whenever I’m with him.) We get along and I think that is what’s important. I think it helps that we’re also fans of each other. There’s a lot of support.”

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