Mimi Miaco and John Paul Rivera's quirky, laid-back wedding is unlike most nuptials you've probably witnessed in the past. For starters, there were no floral decorations, bridal robes (the bride and her bridesmaids wore the pambahay clothes they woke up in for the wedding prep shoot!), awkward garter tradition, and interestingly, there were no wedding rings, too—just a meaningful tattoo forever marked on the couple's ring fingers.
"It may seem like we aimed to be wedding rebels but that was just [a part of] the result." Ultimately, Mimi says, breaking and rewriting traditions helped them achieve a wedding that was truly them—chill, practical, and best of all, fun. "[It was] an experience that we can completely call our own," the bride mused, reminding couples to not hesitate to "question what has always been done [before]," especially if there are certain time-honoured practices that simply don't hold up anymore. Doing so could help drastically cut down wedding costs—in fact, according to Mimi, they only spent approximately P400,000 for the entire wedding, which accommodated up to 130 guests.
In an interview with Female Network, Mimi shared why they opted for matching tattoos instead of wedding rings, plus other details and traditions that she and her husband remade for a more meaningful nuptial:
Female Network: What's the story behind your wedding tattoos?
Mimi Miaco: If we’re talking about representing our commitment, the tattoos, for us, just felt so right—even if we bathe, get sick, and die, it’s with us.
When we were thinking of a ring design, [we thought] an infinity symbol was too common. And instead of choosing “forever” or “always,” we thought of a Tagalog word that had a good ring to it: “palagi.” My husband always jokes about what palagi meant for him: palaging taga-buhat, palaging taga-abot, and the list goes on! But really, it means always choosing each other.
FN: How much did the tattoos cost? And where did you have your wedding rings tattooed?
MM: They were done by Kat Fallaria of Epidemic Tattoo in Santa Mesa, Manila. Her minimum charge is P1,500, but we got our wedding tattoos for P2,500 for the two of us!
FN: Given that you're a practical bride, were there details that you DIY-ed?
MM: My dress! I didn’t have a dream wedding gown to begin with, but I knew that I wanted my dress to be cheap, comfy, and not totally white. A month before the wedding, we went to Disenyo Pandi in Bulacan. Prices are at par, if not cheaper, than Divisoria (it was less crowded, too!). There were decent off-the-rack dresses, but I decided to have mine custom-made at the price of P2,500. The dress was simple, so I waited only a week to get it and it took me over three hours to paint it. I was so scared at first, but it turned out better than I imagined."
I opted for a design centered on waves, because like the sea, I can be calm. I can be restless, and I am blessed to marry someone who not only accepts this, but surfs with it. I also painted my husband’s tie with clouds. We’re both nature lovers so what we wore also reflected that.
FN: Any tips for DIY brides who want to also paint their own gowns but are scared that they might “ruin” the dress?
MM: This was exactly how I felt, that’s why I kept setting [the gown] aside! Practice with a small piece of the actual fabric, so you know how it reacts with the paint (I used random brands of textile paint). It also helped that my dress was inexpensive, so I had fewer episodes of mini heart attacks. If you’re not confident enough or have no experience in painting, practice on paper first and look for pegs. Most of all, make sure you are doing it for you, not for the thumbs up of your guests or anyone else’s.
FN: What were the other wedding traditions that you skipped?
MM: Super dami!
We slept beside each other the night before the wedding.
We were so secure that we didn’t feel like we had to hold seeing each other. We even interacted freely during preps! This made it easier for all the suppliers because they did not have to tiptoe around us to make sure we don’t catch a glimpse of each other. Despite seeing each other, hindi nabawasan yung intensity when my eyes locked on my husband while I was walking down the aisle.
I didn’t wear a veil nor a garter because I felt like they were unnecessary and uncomfortable.
Being a feminist, I researched wedding traditions with sexist origins. I was selective of what to follow because these traditions almost always put the burden on women.
No poor doves were released and recaptured in this wedding.
There was no dress code for guests—not even for our entourage.
We encouraged everyone to wear anything they like and something they can possibly rewear.
Our 'cocktail foods' featured our favorite snacks like isaw.
Our guests raved about how good and unusual it was!
We saved a lot of money because there were no flowers at all!
I wasn’t a fan of flowers ever since, and they are so overpriced for weddings. I had a lovely dried bouquet, though!
We gave poop spray as giveaways.
It was also made and gifted by our friends. It’s one of the things you didn’t know you needed. Plus, it’s so us!
We went for a less waste and recycled styling.
It was brilliantly done by Gathered Creative Co. The owner, Kay, is also a dear friend. They reused materials from their inventory and previous weddings and we contributed recycled wine bottles. Even the paper used for table numbers and menu cards were recycled. We didn’t spend for unnecessary décor which we will not even use again.