Shane Yapcoy Ybañez: The New Normal Bride

Shane Yapcoy Ybañez: The New Normal Bride

Shane Yapcoy Ybañez didn't let a global pandemic stop her from marrying the love of her life, but it was quite the journey to make it happen at the height of Cebu's strict lockdowns.

As someone who works in events, Shane had a first-hand perspective on how the pandemic affected the industry.

“A year ago, while in the middle of pre-production for a client’s event, the organizers received a call from the Department of Health and were told that if they continued with the event, they would be fined,” she recalled. “At the time, I remember being completely in shock. I couldn’t believe that it was serious… and that the virus was actually in our country. Not to downplay how real it was for other countries that were already experiencing it at the time, but I had never really imagined it would reach the Philippines.”

After that day, it all went downhill. “We received calls from one client after the other, informing us of cancellations and asking for refunds. That was when it hit us… that this is really happening, and that our lives might change after this.”

With a wedding set for August 2020, the onset of the pandemic also had Shane talk to her then-fiance Bernard about their plans. In January, preparations were already well-underway with most of the main suppliers half paid. Teasers had been released, while save-the-dates had been sent out. 

The young couple hoped that by May, everything would be back to normal, “The reality forced us to rethink everything, that maybe we should cancel our wedding, or at least postpone it towards the end of 2020, or maybe even this year,” Shane said. 

While they announced the postponement of their wedding in May 2020, living out the toughest months of the pandemic with Bernard by her side encouraged Shane to do her best and still make it happen. “Honestly, it was the most stressful situation we had encountered together, financially. We were saving up for our wedding, but having zero income for 7-8 months and in quarantine forced us to use our wedding funds to survive,” she explained.

“I think being together for the most part of what I consider my early adult life, being engaged and living together, growing together amidst the many crises we dealt with before and during the pandemic made it clear to me that it was about time for us to get married,” she continued. “It didn’t have to be exactly how I planned it to be, but I guess in every wedding, the most important part isn’t the celebration itself, but the marriage that comes afterwards.”

Their biggest challenge was acquiring the license to marry, something they couldn’t do much about because the lockdown forced them to stay at home. When Cebu had the 15-day general community quarantine (GCQ) period in July, Shane and Bernard were able to complete all marriage requirements before the island reverted to a stricter lockdown.

Shane also called the church every week to ask for updates if their August 22 nuptials would still be possible, but would only receive vague answers. “They told me that they can assure me only when the city government announces for GCQ. By the last week of July, I called all our main suppliers to get ready just in case we could get a go signal from the church.”

Finally, on August 10, Shane and Bernard finally got the news they’ve been waiting for: The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will be lifted on the 15th, giving them the confirmation to push through on August 22. In two weeks, they were able to attend the counseling and complete all the interviews needed to get married.

“Almost everything changed, except for the church venue and our wedding date,” Shane explained. “The suppliers we hired were still the ones who provided for us, including my designer Mike Yapching really stood by me and never hesitated to make my dress beautiful in a short period of time.”

“We were supposed to have a full LED Wall inside and outside the reception venue with amazing ceiling work with a sunset theme, and were expecting 300 of the people we truly love and cherish, to celebrate with us,” she continued. “But that’s not what happened — we had no fancy flowers, no reception venue with a high-technology set-up, nor a grand celebration. Instead, we strictly had 15 people inside the church; the aisle I walked on didn’t have a fancy carpet or surrounding decorations.” 

“What I did have was a clear view of my parents and my husband waiting for me at the altar. Our reception was in our garage with a simple tent, a few flowers and centerpieces, some string lights and one set of LED wall as our backdrop,” she remembered. “All of us were in our comfortable clothes and dresses. We actually finished at nine in the evening because curfew hours were still strictly implemented at the time.”

I’m confident saying that there are so many things I’m yet to discover about myself, but I’m sure that whatever it is that I want to do moving forward, I could make it happen.

Shane credits the love and support she received from her family and friends in making her pandemic wedding possible. “Up to this day, I’m still very thankful for my younger sisters and my bestest friends, who were all my maids of honor. I don’t think I would survive having planned a wedding amidst the pandemic without having their moral and overall support,” she said. Each of them, Shane explained, had a huge amount of responsibility from the preparations down to the actual wedding day, with all of them playing multiple roles due to the restricted number of guests.

While the pandemic changed her wedding plans, at the end of the day, it was still all about getting married to the love of her life. “I especially love how we got married; it reminded us of how marriage is supposed to be,” Shane concluded. “No fancy things… just the sole purpose of wanting to spend the rest of our lives together.”

Shane Yapcoy Ybañez is the Marketing Director of Videohub Audio Visual Sales and Rentals and Chief Financial Officer of Yapsambin Motor Trading Inc.. Follow her on Instagram at @shaneyapcoy.

Wearing Calista coordinates from Let’s Stylize. Photography by Rae Cabradilla-Padin | @raecabradilla