This Couple Had a Sunrise Wedding in Batanes and It Was Breathtaking!

Imagine having an intimate wedding on top of a breathtaking landscape in Batanes. GM and Odai did just that! To make it even more unconventional, they had it at sunrise and had a breakfast reception! That's something else, right?

Read on as we pick their brains as to why they made the choices they made: Why an intimate wedding? How did they finalize their guest list? What were the joys and challenges of planning an intimate destination wedding? Plus some tips from this couple who've already done it!

"All the planning of the specifics revolved around this thought: 'How can we best celebrate our wedding day AND our family and friends?'"

Big thanks to Ram Marcelo for capturing and sharing with us these beautiful photos of GM and Odai's wedding story.

Why an intimate wedding?

From the start, GM and Odai knew they wanted an intimate wedding because they wanted to be surrounded by people whom fully witnessed their love story. "Kasi naniniwala kami na those people will celebrate not just 'us' but also celebrate with us. They weren't there just for the food and chika, but they're really there to witness the culmination of our 10-year boyfriend-girlfriend love story!" This is aside from the fact that Odai is an introvert and the couple has a small circle of friends.

"Ayaw namin magpakasal just for the bonggang event na parang the groom and bride are performing for the guests. Gusto rin namin ma-feel ang emotions ng lahat on that very day. Makita yung joy, tears, and love from every single one present. We want to experience the day with them. Hindi yung 'hi, hello, picture, laters' kasi marami pang ibang dapat i-meet. Sabi nga namin sa kanila: Kinasal na rin sila samin! Clingy lang!"

GM and Odai had a total of 19 guests. All of them were part of the entourage and had different assignments during the wedding.

"Sabi nga namin sa kanila: Kinasal na rin sila samin! Clingy lang!"

How did you pick your guests?

"We set a ground rule na ang invited lang ay closest and common sa aming dalawa. Hence, UP friends (since we met in college) and spouses of those married. We also didn’t want na may magtampo kapag di naimbitahan lahat ng relatives, so nagresort kami to having only our immediate family."

GM & Odai defined intimate as not just being small in number, but rather based on the degree of their guests' involvement in their relationship. It was a sunrise wedding, so you can imagine the very early call time to start the wedding preps, but the couple didn’t hear any negativity nor complaint from their guests! This was one of the perks of inviting loved ones who really wanted the wedding day to be truly special for you. "Our wedding will forever be proof of how much loved we are by our friends and our family."

What was your wedding theme or inspiration?

"Actually, we can’t pinpoint a specific theme or peg. Ang gusto lang namin: Destination wedding. Sunrise. Everyone in white except for us. Sunflowers. Our Baybayin Monogram (because we're from UP)."

What would you say are the pros and cons of an intimate wedding?

Since the guests were a selected few, RSVP duties weren't difficult for the couple. "Actually, we knew already that they will say yes regardless of the date and venue." In fact, everyone was a part of the entourage and had an active role in the wedding. What GM & Odai loved the most was that they got to interact with all the guests, before, during, and after the wedding. They treasure how the documentation team was able to capture all the guests and each and everyone's emotions on the day. "Lahat sila either may picture or video na nagpapahid ng luha, tumatawa, nakanganga, etc."

What's even more special is the couple got to indulge their loved ones with everything they could offer. "Aside from the typical material wedding souvenirs, we had arranged an island tour for them as a way of thanking them, not only for helping us during the wedding preps, but also for their love ever since." Wow!


  • "Saying no to so many people na expected na kasama sila (closest relatives)"

  • "Yung ibang supplier packages may minimum, and since ours was below the minimum number of guests, we had to spend for more than we actually needed (buying for more than our guest count) or DIY na lang."

How did the wedding planning and budgeting go? Was it easier or cheaper because there were fewer people?

Planning and budgeting a wedding, regardless if it’s intimate or large, will depend on how you would define your wedding day.

"Since we like to travel, we wanted to do it sa place na may majestic view. When we chose the venue, we considered a place na hindi pa napuntahan ng guests namin." These initial plans already equated to big expenses and GM and Odai readied themselves for it.

We also visualized our wedding to be very inclusive. Sabi namin dapat everyone will feel that they have a participation and a contribution. For instance, our reception was not the typical with the first dance, cake slicing, wine toasting done by just the couple. Instead, all were included: everyone gave speeches on how their version of our love story unfolded in their eyes. We all danced, we ate donuts (cake slicing) and we toasted tea (as wine is too early for breakfast!) with them." How cute!

During the wedding planning, we both had to be very detailed about everything, and all the planning of the specifics revolved around this thought: 'How can we best celebrate our wedding day AND our family and friends?'"

GM and Odai also noted that intimate wedding couples shouldn't expect that they will recover their wedding expenses from wedding gifts. Less guests, less gifts. "Although we told our guests na no gifts na, they still insisted na magbigay (typical Pinoys). Let’s be honest about it though, minsan may mga wedding na paramihan ng i-invite para makabawi sa expenses. Mahirap to achieve that for an intimate wedding unless richest of the rich ang guests."

Any advice for soon-to-be-weds who are planning to have an intimate wedding?

  • "Enjoy it. Every detail of it. Make it as personal as possible. You as a couple will be tested for sure, but it’s worth it.

  • Don’t expect na it will be hassle-free or less gastos dahil kaunti lang ang guest. It can be the other way around, depending on how you visualize your wedding day and kung sino ang mga taong invited."

  • Learn the art of saying NO. "If you really want to keep the number of your guests, you need to tell agad na hindi sila invited, rather than prolonging it by saying 'ay di pa final ang guest list', etc."

Photos by Ram Marcelo Photography. Check out the full set here.

Photographer: Ram Marcelo

Bridal Gown: Ivory & White

Videographer: Story of Us Studios

Groom’s Attire: Piña - Ailyn Del Moral from Lumban, Tailor - JE&Co.

Rings: Ty Pho Huat

Flowers: Green Thumb Farm

HMUA: Shem Lee

Coordinator/Styling: Janice Alasco

Beach Party Food: Harbour Cafe

Shot on location: Abengana’s Guesthouse, Racuh a Payaman, Batanes, Cafe Du Tukon


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Metro Manila, Philippines