Judith Los Baños and Jonathan Abalos on their wedding day at the San Sebastian Church in Manila. Photos by Martin San Diego
A hands-on ‘Cinderella’ gets her dream wedding
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - September 20, 2018 - 12:00am

They were set up on a date by his mother. Yes, his mother.

Evelyn Guiang Abalos was having lunch at The Conrad Manila when her lunch companion Signorina Quemado introduced her to the hotel’s PR consultant Zeny Iglesias.

To make a long story short, Evelyn and Zeny decided to match Evelyn’s son Jonathan with Zeny’s good friend Judith Los Baños, then the PR manager of the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas. As in most blind dates, this was going to be a gamble.

A gamble that ended up with a contract before God and man.

But that is getting ahead of the story.

*  *  *

The newlyweds with (from left) Therese Fojas, Rachel Los Baños, Juliet Pineda, Clarissa Jose, Sophia Elyse Los Baños, Frances Vivian Beltran, Violeta Los Baños, Arthur Lawrence Los Baños, Romeo Beltran, Esteban Los Baños and Juan Joaquin Los Baños.

“I didn’t expect to get married. I didn’t even dream of a perfect groom and a dream wedding gown,” recalls Judith, who is in her forties. “I’ve been married to my career all of my adult life, having been based overseas for the past 17 years. Even after I moved back home in 2015, I was still married to my career. Then I met Jonathan.”

Their engagement was inadvertently announced by one of their future ninangs on social media, leaving members of both their families with mouths agape.

“And with the fake news phenomenon reaching its peak last year, even the family members had to confirm with us if the news was true or not. Yes, family and friends didn’t expect me, the bride, nor the groom, to get hitched,” Judith continues. Like her, Jonathan, an engineer and a self-made man, is in his forties.

You would expect that with their careers and their years in their respective fields, both Jonathan and Judith would have a kilometric guest list. But guess what, they decided on a party of 36 people — including the bride and groom!

The wedding was a happy reunion for the big Los Baños family, as Judith has six siblings, four of them living overseas. “The last time we were complete was four years ago, during my mom’s (Violeta Ante Los Baños’) 80th birthday.”

The couple chose the Gothic San Sebastian Church in Quiapo, Manila for their wedding Mass. That has been the groom’s favorite church since he was a college student. When Judith first saw the church, it was love at first sight. After all, it is an all-steel church said to be the first all-iron church in the world, and its second all-iron structure, next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was a good place to start a strong union.

*  *  *

The couple with (from left) Evangeline Villaflor, Evelyn and Emiliano Abalos Jr. with Rey, Renzo and Ralph Villaflor.

On their wedding day, Aug. 8, 2018, Judith was late for their altar date!

“On the day of the wedding, my wedding gown and the bridesmaids’ gowns were delivered at the very last minute, in the morning,” she explains. “It was challenging for the designer as my matron-of-honor and all of my bridesmaids are based overseas so the fittings were only done a day or two before my wedding. I’m so lucky my designer Renee Salud got the fittings right from the start.”

“Since it was also a grand family reunion after five years, it was chaotic during the wedding day itself that the bridal entourage left the hotel less than an hour before the wedding Mass. It was Wednesday and traffic was worse than usual.

“In the bridal car sitting beside my mom, I was thinking of calling my groom as he must have been worried as there was another wedding right after ours! And the bridal entourage and the wedding accessories were in the next van, also running late!”

The groom’s family and the godparents were in the church ahead of time. Before thoughts of Judith being a runaway bride could enter their worried minds, the bridal car made a grand entrance up the driveway, like the carriage of Cinderella.

And out came Judith looking like Cinderella. “For my wedding gown, it’s indeed true that every girl’s dream is to be a princess on her wedding day.” Since her father Jackie had passed away many years ago, it was her mother Violeta who walked Judith down the aisle.

“My father passed away at such an early age that he didn’t walk any of his four daughters down the aisle. So I requested my florist to include a photo of my dad in my bridal bouquet to signify that he was also walking along with me down the aisle to give me away,” Judith recounts.

*  *  *

(From left) Zeny Iglesias, Celina Los Baños, Anita Ignacio, Signorina Quemado, the newlyweds, Dr. Rodolfo Ante, Jose Emiliano Abalos, Roy Iglesias and Adrian Enzon.

For the wedding reception, the newlyweds chose the Conrad Manila, where else? It was where they were matched by Jonathan’s mom and Judith’s friend, it was the scene of their first date, their “monthsary” as a couple. It was where Jonathan proposed.

There was a wedding tea at the C Lounge before the dinner at the China Blue, both venues with a breathtaking view of the sunset and Manila Bay. Carlo Orosa serenaded the couple and their guests.

“We were so hands-on in the wedding preparations,” shares Judith.  “The groom being an engineer by profession suggested that we ‘engineer’ the wedding preparations by meeting one supplier per week. So with 10 suppliers, we were able to finish in less than three months. We sort of mixed and matched our suppliers from the talented up-and-coming millennials to the tried and tested ones, the experts. It worked! We were able to combine new trends and the traditional practices. It was perfect combination, from the iconic princess wedding gown to the modern beaded wedding cord, from the traditional printed invitations to the customized champagne flutes as name cards and giveaways. From the luxury bridal car to the intimate wedding dinner.”

The couple flew to the Maldives for their honeymoon.

“I didn’t have a dream wedding,” says Judith.

Because it was for real, and it was a dream come true.

AAA 20th golf tourney

The Assumption Alumnae Association holds its 20th golf tournament this Monday, Sept. 24, at the Sta. Elena Golf Club in Santa Rosa, Laguna. The tournament begins with a ceremonial tee at 7:15 a.m., with “shotgun start” at 7:30 a.m. The awarding of winners for the men’s and ladies’ divisions follows over lunch. There will also be exciting prizes to be given away at a raffle draw. Sponsors include Eat Bulaga! (Gold Sponsor), special donor Metrobank Foundation and major sponsors are K-Servico, Let’s Save the Brain Foundation Inc., 10 Acacia, Jessie Soriano, Starbucks, Hydration Nation and Meralco. Part of the proceeds will go to the Assumption mission schools.

(For inquiries, please call Arlene at 894-3561.)

(You may e-mail me at joanneraeramirez@yahoo.com.)

JONATHAN ABALOS JUDITH LOS BAñOS
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