How does a wedding in Georgia—and being stranded there—sound?
Dubai-based Filipino couple Mike and Glorie Plaza are living their love story of kilig proportions. Six years dating, the couple’s relationship blossomed after being set up by common friends until the wedding proposal in front of a crowd during one of John’s DJ gigs at a bar in their hometown in Davao City. “After midnight, he hosted the party, and started calling for me in the crowd. I was shocked and speechless. I never thought he would propose to me that night in front of so many people. I went to the DJ’s booth shaking while Mike started his speech. He dropped down on one knee and asked me to be his wife in front of the big crowd. I said ‘yes,’ of course! My heart was so full that night,” beams Glorie.
Though the couple is now based in Dubai, they originally planned for an intimate church wedding in Davao. “But I was having a hard time planning due to my work schedule. I only had one day off and I couldn’t even finalize our guest list. After a few months of planning, we decided to get married in Dubai,” says Glorie. They flew back home for the Filipino tradition of “pamanhikan,” with Mike asking for her parents’ blessing in marriage, informing them about their wedding plans in Dubai.
That was one problem solved, but they weren’t off the hook yet. “Planning a traditional wedding is tough and stressful, especially for those who work overseas. We’re on a tight budget and worried kami that some of our friends would hate us for not inviting them. Mike is also known to be frugal and we do not want to spend all our savings just for a one-day event,” she explains. This is when they came across “wedding in Georgia” Facebook page. “We were hooked by the idea of an elopement type of civil wedding where we can get married and explore Georgia at the same time. All we needed were our passports and a local wedding planner who assisted us with our wedding plans.”
On to new adventures
Going to Georgia to get married last March, the couple was ecstatic to travel and experience snow for the first time. “Georgia is also a great place for intimate weddings because of its beauty and nature and it’s way cheaper than Dubai and other countries,” adds Mike, who also shared that the place was just a three-hour plane ride from the United Arab Emirates. “Since we also miss traveling, we decided to ditch the traditional wedding and opted for an elopement instead.”
With no guests and just a wedding production team composed of planner, photographer, videographer, driver, and witnesses, the wedding was just purely about them. As for the reception? “We were booked for dinner, which included a Georgian cultural show, by our wedding planner in a hotel in Tbilisi. It was pretty simple and amazing,” Glorie says.
Lockdown in Georgia was implemented a few days after their wedding. They were stranded there for four months. Mike admits, “The first few months were tough, being stranded in a foreign place, not knowing anyone, getting out of your comfort zone, etc. But we’re still thankful for all of the things that have happened.” Glorie chimed in, “I never imagine our vows would be tested soon after our wedding—global pandemic, canceled flights, lockdown, and out of work. But despite all the setbacks we encountered, our marriage and our faith in God grow even stronger.”
After getting married in March, they decided to post their photos again last September as a way of celebrating their sixth month of entering a new chapter. They didn’t think it would go viral the second time around. Some of their favorite photos include the one where they exchanged their vows on top of the mountain as the snow started falling. “I thought it only happened in the movies,” Glorie gushed. She also loved the photo of Mike carrying her on his back, “because my boots were totally soaked.”
In hindsight, the couple stayed true to what was important, and it was what made them both happy. Glorie shares, “Take time to plan. Do not rush. Plan your wedding based on what truly matters to the both of you. Pray and surrender all your plans to the Lord. Focus more on your marriage rather than your wedding.” Mike adds, “ Do your best to be prepared mentally, emotionally, financially, and physically. Married life is far different from just being a boyfriend and girlfriend. It will definitely take a lot of patience from you and your spouse.”