Dexter Lee and Katleen Catapusan: âWe were only five during our wedding, but what matters most is our love that made us weather the storm.â
Pandemic wedding: Real estate developer Dexter Lee and lifestyle blogger-fashion designer Katleen Lee

Dexter Lee and Katleen Catapusan: ‘We were only five during our wedding, but what matters most is our love that made us weather the storm.’

ALL IN MY HEAD - Monique Toda (The Philippine Star) - April 14, 2021 - 12:00am

Love stories in the time of COVID

I t was the most unromantic of times. A global pandemic was raging and various lockdowns were observed in many places. Nonetheless, real estate developer Dexter Lee and his lovely wife Katleen Catapusan had quite a memorable wedding experience. This was the culmination of their romance, which had begun in 2012. Kat, a food and lifestyle blogger and an upcoming designer who completed her fashion design studies in Central St. Martins in London, met her future husband through common acquaintances. Dek and Kat became quick friends as they both shared an interest in food and travel.

They then decided to start their own blog and website chronicling their food experiences, with Dek mostly behind the camera, while Kat was in the front of it doing most of the eating. This project drew them closer and eventually they became an official couple.

Their relationship was filled with food and travel adventures while dealing with Kat’s various health issues (she is a Lupus warrior and survivor) and Dek’s own complications with his personal and business life. “On Feb. 23, 2020, Dexter surprised me with his wedding proposal at a new Korean restaurant in Sheraton Manila, together with our other media and blogger friends,” says Kat.

“The proposal was disguised as a media event but everyone else knew what was planned that afternoon — except for me!” Grand wedding plans followed with a church ceremony at the Manila Cathedral followed by a reception at the Peninsula Manila for 400 guests scheduled in November. Down payments were given for main wedding suppliers such as photographers, videographer, event stylist and florist, church and reception venue. Then came the lockdown. The couple spent the succeeding months wondering whether the wedding could still push through.

Everything was fluid with guidelines for weddings and large gatherings constantly changing depending on the current situation. They modified big-time. Dek and Kat postponed everything and decided to have a civil wedding instead on their couple anniversary last Oct. 8.

Their parents could not even attend this because of the various restrictions for seniors. Kat’s parents were unable to leave their province due to the lockdown. In the Quezon City Justice Hall, there were only the bride and groom, Dek’s sister and husband, and two of Kat’s closest friends.

Kat designed her bridal gown (with matching facemask) using only what materials were available at the time. She did her own makeup as well. Dek bought an off-the-rack suit at Zara. Kat also hand-picked her wedding bouquet and lone centerpiece for her reception. A wedding lunch followed at Mireio, the French restaurant at Raffles Makati.

Dek and Kat Lee improvised a lot for their wedding.

From the originally planned 400 invitees, their reception had five people in attendance, including the couple. A bigger church wedding and reception is planned for October 2022 when, hopefully, the pandemic will have been eradicated. “Despite the limitations, it was still a very wonderful and meaningful wedding day because we finally got to seal our amazing journey. We surpassed all our personal trials and adversities, even a global pandemic, to officially become husband and wife,” says Kat. Dek reflects: “COVID has really taught us that your choice of partner in life is really important.

When things don’t go smoothly and the world becomes quite scary, your relationship with your husband or wife, coupled with your faith in God, is the only thing you can count on to keep you strong and steady.

It’s not the material things or a big wedding or a beautiful house that’s important, but it’s your love and commitment to one another that will make you weather the storm. COVID has also taught us how to value each precious moment we have with our families and loved ones, because we never know how much time we have left with them.”

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