The radiant bride in a Carolina Herrera gown.
Photos by Joanne Rae Ramirez
‘My forever’
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

They are each other’s  first love, and before God and family last week, they vowed to be each other’s forever.

Catherine Orosa Concepcion and Javier Lopez Puno met at a soiree between an Assumption class and a Southridge class nine years ago, when they were both only 16.

According to Fr. Noni Africa, who officiated at their wedding at the Santuario de San Antonio in Makati City, Catherine was not looking at anyone in particular during the soiree, but Javier… well, he was looking at Catherine with “laser-like” focus.

“He thought she was the most beautiful girl in the soiree,” said Fr. Noni in his homily.

Later on, Javier’s admiration for Catherine grew even more, as he found her “super humble and she treats others really well.”

The newlyweds Catherine and Javier Puno.

She also grew to like Javier even more because of his maturity and good heart.

The priest said it was important not just to fall in love, but to fall in love with the right partner.

Javier is the son of lawyer Roderico “Eric” Puno and the former Beatriz “Bea” Lopez, while Catherine is the daughter of  Presidential Adviser Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion III and Ma. Luisa “Marissa” Orosa.

Both come from big clans and have sterling role models. The groom’s paternal grandparents, the late Justice Ricardo Puno and his wife Priscilla, were married for 73 years, till death only did them part (truly, #mayforever). His maternal grandparents Oskie and Connie Lopez and the bride’s paternal grandparents Joe and Marivic Concepcion are the picture of love and devotion. According to Joey, Catherine, whose real name is Maria Victoria Catherine, is very close to her lola Marivic and used to sleep beside her when she was a baby.

*  *  *

Joey Concepcion and wife Marissa, stunning in a Rubin Singer gown.

In addition to the traditional vows in a Catholic wedding, the couple also recited vows that they composed themselves. Aside from professing to love and honor his wife, Javier also promised to laugh at his father-in-law’s one-liners. Javier’s voice cracked in the middle of his vows when he recounted how he once almost lost his faith, and it was Catherine who brought him back into the light of their faith. According to his cousin and Southridge classmate Luis Puno, that was the first time he saw Javier cry publicly as a grown man.

“I remember the day we were talking about this day… And here we are, after almost nine years of being together. We made it,” said the radiant bride, who was breathtaking in her white Carolina Herrera gown. We found out four out of their nine years were spent in a long-distance relationship as Javier majored in Economics at New York University. “People always asked us how it worked. But the truth is, I don’t know.”

Bea and Eric Puno.

When Catherine recited her vows, she addressed Javier as “my first love, my best friend, my greatest adventure and now, my forever...”

She concluded her vows by promising to “be the best mother I can be.”

“In my heart, I know that you will be the best father. Today, in front of God, and all my loved ones, I give you my arms as your home and my heartbeat. I love you.”

According to the efficient Rita Neri, who was the over-all event planner for the wedding, the couple chose to line the red carpet with Pampas grass for a natural “prairie look.” The Kilyawan Boys Choir sang like angels on earth, with Mike Shimamoto as soloist.

*  *  *

The newlyweds with their parents (from left) Joey and Marissa Concepcion and Bea and Eric Puno.

The bride’s mother and I were in the same high school batch at Assumption and during gatherings in their home, I would observe how very well brought up her children are. Marissa, unbeknownst to many, would also take them quietly to outreach programs to expose them to life beyond their gated community. During Christmas parties, one side of the Concepcions’ sprawling lawn would have tables for children from orphanages. So I am not surprised that Javier noticed how well Catherine treats others.

During Marissa’s 50th birthday, Joey paid tribute to her, saying, “Marissa was able to fuel me to get where I am today and have what I have now — one great happy family.”

The newlyweds with the bride’s paternal grandparents Joe and Marivic Concepcion and their clan.

And now, Joey’s family is bigger, and with Javier, the newest addition to the family, promising to laugh at his one-liners — it’s happier, too.

#myforever #mayforever

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

CAROLINA HERRERA JAVIER PUNO JOEY CONCEPCION III MARISSA OROSA
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