Wedding reunites Assunta with family

- Leah Salterio () - March 16, 2004 - 12:00am
Actress Assunta de Rossi’s wish for her immediate family to be "complete" on her wedding day, was fulfilled last Sunday night, when she exchanged "I do’s" with Negros Occidental First District Rep. Jules Ledesma, at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati.

Assunta’s father, Luigi Schiavone, her mom, Nenita, and her two younger sisters — Marguerita and Isabella — flew in from Italy to be with her on the most important day in her life. Assunta’s other sister, actress Alessandra de Rossi, was the maid of honor during the ceremony, along with Jules’ 12-year-old daughter from his previous marriage, Cristina Julieta Victoria.

The wedding was also a tearful reunion for Assunta, her mom and Alessandra, who were earlier estranged after she started going out with Jules. Not one of her family members was present when Assunta and Jules were wed in civil rites in November 2002 in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, hometown of the Ledesmas.

"They made my wedding complete," gushed Assunta. "They made me very happy."

It was a "dream wedding" for the 21-year-old Assunta, as promised by her 43-year-old groom, who vowed to give her a "grand church wedding," after their civil wedding ceremony. The actress was a radiant bride as she walked down the aisle not to the traditional bridal march, but to the powerful strains of Ave Maria, rendered by tenor Nolyn Cabahug.

Clutching a bouquet of mixed orange-rust calla lilies and roses, Assunta was in a Vera Wang gown with a bustier top and flowing skirt, reminiscent of the Ramon Valera gown worn by Jules’ mother, Conchita Arenas Ledesma, more than four decades ago. Asssunta’s gown was matched with a flowing veil by Rhett Eala. Jules, meanwhile, was in a black tuxedo. He later changed into a white one during the reception at Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

"I really can’t wait to be Mrs. Jules Ledesma," Assunta said even before her church wedding with Jules.

With tight security and the ABS-CBN TV crew recording the proceedings, there was mounting excitement inside the church. The crowd was composed predominantly of families from high society and a few from politics. Except for the showbiz stars in the entourage, there were hardly any faces from tinseltown seated on the pews.

Jules’ eight-year-old son, Julio Carlos Tomas, was the best man with Rep. Charlie Cojuangco. Bridesmaids were Assunta’s showbiz friends–Claudine Barretto, Ciara Sotto, Rica Peralejo and Nikki Valdez.

Principal sponsors in the ceremony were led by President Arroyo and House Speaker Jose de Venecia, with Jose Mari Chan, Manuel Pangilinan, Oscar Lopez and Meldy Cojuangco. Those who did not show up were Marichu Vera-Perez Maceda and businessman Danding Cojuangco Jr.

Secondary sponsors were Beaver Lopez and Jackie Ejercito Lopez (candle), Jinggoy Estrada and Gretchen Barretto (veil) and Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales (cord).

Cabahug, with Ciara Sotto, sang The Prayer, during the couple’s exchange of vows. Cabahug also rendered Our Father during the communion and Amazing Grace during the recessional.

After Monsignor Antonio Javellana Ledesma, S.J., who officiated the ceremony formally declared them husband and wife, Jules and Assunta smilingly faced the church crowd. Jules was ready to lead Assunta down from the altar, until Assunta somewhat reminded him that the "kiss" had to be made. Then he lifted her veil and tiptoed to kiss her, much to the amusement of the church crowd. They later hugged each other.

Seven hundred guests were expected at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La Hotel, but the venue was not filled during the reception. The sit-down, five-course dinner consisted of garden greens with balsamic sauce, pumpkin cream soup, grilled salmon steak with buttered spaghetti and tomato pesto sauce, dalandan sherbet, grilled US tenderloin and a buffet dessert selection.

Tenor Nolyn Cabahug with his sister Lisa rendered Broadway tunes during the reception. Other guests were German Moreno, JM Rodriguez, Tuesday Vargas, showbiz couple Eddie Gutierrez and Annabelle Rama, Assunta’s talent manager June Rufino and ABS-CBN vice president for comedy Joanna Santos-Gomez.

The wedding will be aired as a TV special on Friday, March 19, 9:30 p.m. on ABS-CBN, where Assunta is a regular talent.

Assunta’s relationship with Jules started in March 2002, but was not spared of nasty talks and negative write-ups, especially when they started living together. For a long while, Assunta had not been on speaking terms with her sister Alessandra, 20, and her mom Nenita, 48. The wedding was a perfect time for the family to be together again.

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