From peak to Pico
From mountain to sea, Germany to Hong Kong, to Manila, this love knows no boundaries.
Reena Ritz Tee, then an executive with Shangri-La Hotels based in Hong Kong, and Eric Charles Uy, vice president for Technical Services for SM Hotels and Conventions then based in Guam, started as Facebook friends after meeting in Hong Kong in 2012.
They shared a love for travel and discovering new places. Both embrace an active lifestyle; Eric is an avid runner and Reena loves to bike and do yoga.
Theirs was a long-distance relationship that stood the test of time and space. In November 2019, just as winter was unfolding, Eric took Reena to Germany, where he grew up.
“Eric wanted to bring me back to the place where he had so many fond memories growing up. Since it was just the start of winter, he thought it would be nice to go to Garmish-Partenkirchen, a quaint ski town in Bavaria.” A day before their flight out, they went up Mt. Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. It was breathtaking not just for its panoramic views.
“At the peak of the mountain, Eric got down on one knee and proposed,” recalls Reena.
She said, “Yes.”
And there, on the peak of the mountain, surrounded by snow like icing on a wedding cake, they saw forever.
Time and space weren’t just the challenges they surmounted in their long-distance relationship. A few months after Eric proposed to Reena came the COVID-19 juggernaut.
“We used to fly every month back and forth to see each other. While we thought that this year would be the year that we could finally close that gap, it, unfortunately, became the year that we were separated for nine months as we could not travel to see each other,” says Reena.
They had originally planned a September 2020 wedding in the South of France, but it wasn’t meant to be. Instead of dwelling on what couldn’t be, on things they could not control, Eric, the son of the late Charles Uy and Elizabeth Sy, chairperson and president of SM Hotels and Conventions Corp., and Reena, daughter of business couple Gerry Tee and Delfina Tee, who are in garments and seafood exports, decided to take the big leap.
“After all the postponements and disappointments, we started to ask ourselves, ‘What are we waiting for? Let’s just do it, even if it is just the two of us.’”
Shortly after, the couple made their decision not to postpone their wedding any longer. Reena, who was by then area digital marketing manager for the Shangri-La Group in Hong Kong, packed her bags, flew back to Manila, and “had three weeks to plan this intimate wedding.”
They decided to hold their wedding at Pico de Loro, with its sprawling beachfront and sunset views.
After all, if the man who loves you can take you to the highest mountain, he can also take your hand by the sea.
“We brought a feel of the south of France to Batangas, sans the chateau and vineyards, but instead we continued with the garden wedding and an outdoor reception donned in fairy lights.
“On top of that, I’ve always envisioned my wedding to exude the beautiful garden setting from one of my favorite classics in English literature, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Pico de Loro has this beautiful wide-open garden area by the beach, which was a perfect setting.”
Gideon Hermosa turned that piece of paradise into Pico’s own secret garden with white and pink fauna growing from the main tree as the focal point. “The reception was equally stunning with an elegant table scape of soft feminine flowers and a mesmerizing ceiling of string lights,” the happy bride recalls.
“It was perfect and everything we wanted.”
Perfection has its imperfections, but overcoming them makes for a truly memorable milestone.
“The ceremony was supposed to start at 3:30 p.m.,” shares Reena, who was radiant in her Ines di Santo gown, “but 15 minutes before that, there was a downpour. We needed to wait for a bit for it to stop and on top of that we didn’t have a tent set up as we thought it wouldn’t rain that hard. The rains stopped for a while, but right when Eric was about to walk, it started to drizzle again; then it stopped when I was about to march down the aisle. We all had a whirlwind of nervousness about the weather during the ceremony, but there was not a single drop afterwards. We all prayed very hard! On top of that, after the ceremony, we were blessed with the most stunning sunset.”
As originally planned, the wedding was intimate, with only 28 guests, all of whom took COVID-19 tests onsite.
The reception started with the couple’s first dance, with family and friends around them. Afterwards, one of their godparents, Eric’s uncle Henry Sy Jr., (his wife Jasmin was also a godparent) led the prayers before the meal and a short speech to commence dinner. It was followed by a short program hosted by JC Alelis with music by Da Capo.
“After the whirlwind of emotions, uncertainties during the year, there was a moment right after the ceremony, when we were having our photo taken by the beach and the sun was slowly setting into the horizon. We had a quiet moment just dancing to the sound of the waves. And right there, we both realized that we did it, finally! We were both elated that this finally happened against all odds.”
From mountain peaks to stunning sunsets by the sea, life truly paints the perfect backdrop for love that is meant to be.