Charles Tiu to Sari Lazaro: âNo matter where, my dream wedding has always been with someone like youâ
Tiu becomes one: Sports news anchor-businessman Charles Tiu and fashion designer Sari Lazaro-Tiu
Photos by PAT DY

Charles Tiu to Sari Lazaro: ‘No matter where, my dream wedding has always been with someone like you’

MY TURN - Maxene Magalona (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2021 - 12:00am

Love stories in the time of COVID

An intimate yet romantic destination wedding set in a medieval castle in Rome. This was what sports news anchor-businessman Charles Tiu and fashion designer Sari Lazaro-Tiu had dreamed of for their special day in May of 2020. With 150 of their loved ones and friends, they would say “I do” at the Castello Orsini-Odescalchi castle located on the southern shore of Lake Bracciano in Lazio, Italy.

When I first heard that Charles and Sari got engaged, I was over the moon about it! Sari has been like a sister to me ever since we were introduced by one of our best friends Cristina Garcia back in 2010. I remember randomly singing and rapping for her the moment we met, just for laughs, and the rest was history.

Hans Sy and Jerry Tiu wear face masks by Sari Lazaro Studio; below, embroidered ones on Ching Lazaro, Celia Lazaro, Monica de la Cruz and Pia Guevara

We’ve become such good friends since then that I asked her to be one of my bridesmaids and design the dresses for my bridal entourage at my own wedding to my husband, Rob Mananquil. When Sari told me and Cristina about their wedding plans in our group chat, I was so happy for her and at the same time excited. After reading the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert while I was in lockdown in Bali, Indonesia, and then watching the movie starring Julia Roberts, I was excited to explore Italy. The lovely couple, who got engaged in El Nido, Palawan, on Nov. 23, 2019, was planning a fun celebration in Rome with lovely cocktail views and just an enjoyable trip for them and their guests.

In the middle of their wedding preparations, however, news all over the world broke out about COVID-19. With the sudden onset of the global pandemic, they were left with no choice but to make significant changes in their plans.

“We were still hopeful at first when COVID came,” said Charles. “In fact, Sari even flew to Rome towards the end of February to check everything out. We didn’t cancel right away and some friends even said they’d go with us no matter what!” They had to make the safest and most plausible decision, which was to postpone and put their wedding on hold. Because the pandemic came as a shock for the whole world, Charles and Sari admitted: “There wasn’t really any Plan B, but at some point during the lockdown, we just decided to go through with it.”

Soon after, they agreed to tying the knot in Tagaytay, where one of their family’s favorite residential resorts is located. “Tagaytay Midlands is a very special place to both of us and was actually Charles’ dad’s dream. So thanks to their great team, we were able to pull it off.” Sari recalls not being able to invite too many guests, as it was a rather scary time with the city of Batangas already in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Thankfully, they were allowed to have a small gathering of 35 of their nearest and dearest. For those who couldn’t make it, like me and Rob, as we still couldn’t book a flight home from Bali at the time, they set up an online live stream on Facebook so that we could witness their holy union and be with them in spirit. Their guests, who were mostly their immediate families, godparents and a few very close friends, came tastefully dressed in different shades of royal blue with matching chic embroidered facemasks. Sari said there was no deep meaning behind the blue color theme. She just really loved it and knew that it was a color that all guests would readily have available in their closets.

“At this point, these things didn’t matter so much to us anymore,” she clarified. “We just wanted to get married.” Charles looked every inch the dapper groom in a dark blue suit by Sarotia Dalcuore paired with trousers by Salvatore Ambrosi, both from Signet Store, while Sari was the most exquisite and luminous bride in an ethereal lace gown by Italian designer Antonella Rossi. She actually found the dress in Rome while she was on a venue ocular.

“When the pandemic came, they had to make do with communicating and discussing details about the dress through WhatsApp. When they shipped it to me, it fit like a glove.” Words of appreciation coming from a talented and elegant fashion designer herself.

On July 23, 2020, Charles and Sari finally exchanged vows at the Madre de Dios Church in Tagaytay. After the heartfelt ceremony, they all enjoyed superb food prepared by the fantastic chefs at Tagaytay Midlands. They consider themselves blessed as they were actually one of the first couples to get married in lockdown.

The grateful newlyweds were just relieved that everyone who attended their wedding was safe, even afterwards. They believe that their special day was God’s greatest gift.

The speeches given by family members were touching as always, the groom warmly spoke from the heart as he gave his vows without reading anything, and the bride gracefully walked down the aisle to a recording of her own voice singing Hallelujah, a worship song in praise of God.

As a newly married couple in the time of coronavirus, Mr. and Mrs. Tiu envision their wedded life to be an example to others of how it is still cool to be husband and wife.

One of their goals now is to start their own family and hopefully have kids soon. They have no plans of having a post-pandemic wedding; they just hope to be able to see their friends one day and celebrate with them when the time is right.

They recently came out with Your Daily Dose Coffee, a delicious brand of cold-brew coffee available for home deliveries, which so many people have been raving about online — myself included! One of the things that I said about Charles and Sari in a video greeting that Rob and I sent to them from Bali for their wedding reception was that I see them as a dream couple.

A couple of passionate and hardworking partners who are ready and determined to make all their dreams come true. “You are my answered prayer. My gift from God.” These were some of the kind and loving words that the blushing bride chose to describe her husband in her wedding vows. She loves Charles for being kind, thoughtful, disciplined and family-oriented, and truly appreciates how he started building the habit of praying the rosary every night.

The newly minted Mrs. Tiu feels more at ease as she affectionately witnesses her husband’s daily devotion. “This gives me security, knowing the foundation of our marriage is built around someone who is unshakable.” As for Charles, he admires his wife for being the strong, independent, gifted and godly woman that she is. “I know this is not exactly our dream wedding, but my dream wedding has always been with someone like you,” the groom vowed. “No matter where it may be.”

Their love is proof that even though our world’s current reality is riddled with fear and anxiety, there is still so much goodness, beauty and grace all around us, if we keep ourselves anchored in prayer and strengthen our connection to God. Charles and Sari Tiu have become one.

* * *

Maxene Magalona is the renowned actress from a family of movie stars and music artists, headed by the late, legendary master rapper Francis M., whose parents, Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran, were iconic sweethearts-idols during Philippine cinema’s golden years. An inveterate traveler, Maxene took yoga teachers’ courses as well as vegan cooking lessons in Thailand and Indonesia, where she spent a year in Bali. Starting as a child actress when she was seven years old, Maxene is a Star Magic stalwart.

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