DINGDONG DANTES AND MARIAN RIVERA

The Manila Times’ official guide to Philippine showbiz’ ‘Royal Wedding’

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This is the story of a girl born in Madrid, and a boy who hails from Manila . . . one day, the universe conspired to make them meet, and together, they decided to make the story complete PHOTO COURTESY OF BELO MEDICAL GROUP

This is the story of a girl born in Madrid, and a boy who hails from Manila . . . one day, the universe conspired to make them meet, and together, they decided to make the story complete PHOTO COURTESY OF BELO MEDICAL GROUP

“Basta itong araw na ito ay para kay Marian, and I want to give her everything to make her happy,” were the very tender words of groom-to-be Dingdong Dantes the last time The Manila Times sat down with him before the Christmas break.

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Since announcing his engagement to the enchanting Marian Rivera and their wedding date back in August, a blissful whirl of activities and positive buzz had broken through the typically controversy-laden and critical world of Philippine show business. For indeed, who wouldn’t be carried away by such a picture perfect union between two beautiful celebrities who grew up in the public eye, and whose romance blossomed for all to see?

And so, with just a day to go before the “Royal Wedding” of Philippine Showbiz, dubbed as such from Dingdong and Marian’s stature as Primetime King and Queen of GMA Network, The Manila Times takes a quick look back at the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Dantes’ love story, and lays out a comprehensive guide to what is sure to be remembered as the “Wedding of 2014.”

Remember this?

Remember this?

The love story
It was lights, camera, love for Dingdong and Marian when they met on the set of GMA Network’s Filipino adaptation of the Mexican TV series Marimar in August 2007. At least as the characters Sergio and Marimar in the beginning.

With an undeniable chemistry on screen, the pair of talented actors were cast in one teleserye after another and a spattering of movies in between; and it was only two years later that they realized the feelings they had for each other as Joy and Migs (One True Love, Regal Films, 2007), Dyesebel and Fredo (Dyesebel, GMA Network, 2008), and Prosefina and Homer (Ang Babaeng Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang, GMA Network, 2009) were real and true away from lights and beyond the shoot.

Not without their share of controversy even before their five-year relationship came to be, Dingdong and Marian overcame every single blind item, detractor and basher, and are now headed toward the aisle.

On the August 9 episode of Marian Rivera’s self-titled dance variety show, GMA Network’s Primetime King finally proposes to his enchanting Queen

On the August 9 episode of Marian Rivera’s self-titled dance variety show, GMA Network’s Primetime King finally proposes to his enchanting Queen

The engagement
It was on the set of dance-variety program Marian on August 9 that Dingdong went down on his knees to ask for his beloved’s hand in marriage—the second time around.

At a press conference a few days later, the couple revealed that they have secretly been engaged for two years after Dingdong, with his whole family, pulled a surprise proposal for Marian in Macau’s Butterfly Garden.

“It was an epic fail,” the handsome actor recalled of his August 12, 2012 proposal, with many glitches on what was supposed to be a perfectly planned moment. He further told www.gmanetwork.com that he decided to go down on his knee all over again publicly on Marian for the sake of their loyal fans, and also for another shot at a memorable proposal.

“I could not accept for the rest of my life knowing na hindi ko ginawa ‘yun,” he said. Even more romantically, he added, “I can do it over and over again and still have the same feeling. And if I can renew that feeling every time, maybe every decade, and reset everything, why not?”

And with that, the choice of a wedding date—December 30, 2014—came to be, and as the couple’s wonderfully unique invitation writes:

“This is the story of a girl born in Madrid, and a boy who hails from Manila. She grew up praying to meet the man of her dreams . . . and he to meet the woman of his prayers. One day, the universe conspired to make them meet, and together, they decided to make the story complete.”

Church20141228The church
On Tuesday, December 30, Dingdong and Marian will exchange vows in a private ceremony at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. Explaining their choice if the wedding venue, Dingdong said in an interview, “Doon ako lumaki sa area na iyon. In fact, doon ako bininyagan, pero iyon din ang isa sa mga simbahan na madalas namin puntahan ni Marian when we got together.”

The couple personally visited their chosen principal sponsors

The couple personally visited their chosen principal sponsors

The entourage
No less than President Benigno Aquino 2nd as “Witness of Honour,” leads the prominent and star-studded entourage of the Dantes-Gracia (Marian’s father’s surname) Nuptials as can be seen above.

The reception
While neither Marian nor Dingdong have confirmed the number of guests to the reception, rumor has it that the grand total is not far from the 1,000-mark. Thus, the Mall of Asia Arena as the reception venue.

With close to a thousand guests said to be attending the reception, only The Arena at the Mall of Asia can accommodate Dingdong and Marian’s first dinner

With close to a thousand guests said to be attending the reception, only The Arena at the Mall of Asia can accommodate Dingdong and Marian’s first dinner

As Marian put it in an interview with PEP.ph’s Rose Garcia, “Gusto kasi naming maimbitahan yung mga taong nandiyan at nagmamahal talaga sa amin.” That means family, friends from within and outside showbiz, and yes, selected fans who have become close to the celebrity couple through the years.

The “arena” of influential personalities, celebrities, and supporters will all be served a superb dinner especially created for the Royal Couple by noted chef Margarita Fores of Cibo.

The party, as the invitation indicates, begins at “eight minutes pas six o’clock in the evening,” and the attire for the men is Black Tie or Barong Tagalog, while ladies are asked to attend in Formal Gown “preferably red.”

All in the details
Now what’s a “Royal Wedding” without grand details? Ever generous in sharing their wedding plans, Dingdong and Marian have gone to social media to reveal bits and pieces about their big day—from the extravagant to the meaningful, which all together is sure to play like picture perfect movie for this very real and genuine couple.

From The Manila Times to Dingdong and Marian, congratulations and best wishes. Long live the Prime Time King and Queen!

Wedding gown
The bride-to-be posted this Instagram photo when she visited Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco to plan her wedding gown. Cinco’s works have been worn by the likes of international supermodels, Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton, and Sofia Vergara, among many others. According to www.gmanetwork.com., the designer said in an interview, “I’m so honored [she chose me]because I didn’t know that she likes my designs and she was a fan of my works.”

Reception gown
Since her Marimar days, Marian has always been loyal to noted designer Francis Libiran to dress her up for awards nights and other important occasions. He will be very much part of her most special day with the House of Libiran designing Marian’s gown for the reception.

The suit
High profile Filipino designer Randy Ortiz promised, “Sisiguraduhin ko na wala nang pinakaguwapo sa gabing iyon kundi siya,” in designing the groom’s suit.

The bridal car
Dingdong posted the above photo on Instagram with the following caption “I learned how to drive in this 1976 sedan. From its original owner, my tita [and soon to be ninang]@luihenson, down to 3 more masters . . . I decided to get it back a couple of years ago for sentimental reasons. Now, after going thru an intricate restoration, it is already fully equipped to serve its new purpose: to wheel my bride to church.”

The ring
With the wedding rings yet to be seen, here is a close-up of Marian’s engagement ring. As they say, “‘Nuff said.”

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