ANTICIPATION AND BLISSFUL CERTAINTY AS THEY AWAIT THEIR ALTAR DATE
How do you know if a guy is hell-bent on marrying the girl of his dreams?
When Dodot Jaworski went shopping for an engagement ring in Hong Kong, he impulsively purchased the first band that caught his fancy. Entering a second shop, he found another that he liked even better. Horror of horrors–he couldn’t return the first one anymore! He brought the second ring home anyway.
"I bet he liked the rings so much, he just decided to propose to me so that he could buy them!" jests radiant Mikee Cojuangco, proudly flashing a diamond solitaire — the second ring — whose sparkle is matched only by the joy in her eyes.
And although the future benedict seemed to have been two-minded about the rings, he was very sure about who should wear them, and why.
When the time came for Dodot to propose, he feel on his knees, pulled out the ring of choice, took Mikee’s hand and said:" Mahal, there’s no one else I’d like to spend the rest of my life with. I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I want to ask you a question and I hope you’ll say yes. Will you marry me?"
Tearfully, she hugged him and said," Of course!"
Since then, the couple has been on Cloud Nine — and so have the people closest to them. In fact, upon learning about the engagement, most of their friends heaved a sigh of relief. "I’ve always known it was just a matter of time," remarks Maita Locsin, whose husband Noli is one of Dodo’s best buddies. "They’re so in love, we’ve often wondered why they haven’t decided to get married already."
The Locsins have been asked to play a significant part in the July 25 wedding ceremony–as with hardcourt hero Vince Hizon and prized equestrienne Toni Leviste, who were responsible for bringing Mikee and Dodot together on a blind date two years back.
"I wasn’t very keen about going out, but Toni kept on bugging me about it," recalls Mikee. "She was saying," I have the perfect date for you. You have to go out with Vince’s friend. He plays basketball, he’s a councilor, he’s the valedictorian of his high school class. Talagang todo build up!"
"When we finally arranged to meet," Dodot quits with a teasing grin," I just sat eating my pasta while she talked the whole night." At this, his fiancée feigns offense and throws him dagger looks." I did not!" she says in mock protest.
They’re not one for PDA (public displays of affection), but there is no denying that Dodot and Mikee are blissfully in love. One can tell from the way they looked dreamily into each other’s eyes, or the stolen glances one would throw as the other spoke.
"Marriage has always at the back of our minds ever since we started going out two years ago," reveals Dodot. "The only question was when."
Mikee adds:" We both believe in playing for keeps. There’s really no sense getting into a relationship without aiming for performance. What for."
For Dodot, a former professional athlete who has now set his eyes on politics, his desire to settle down was made palpable by his growing listlessness over bachelor life. "I’m turning 28 and I’ve had my share of meeting people and going out. But I always came home to an empty room. When I met Mikee, I realized she was that one person I’ve been looking for and that I never want to let her go. She makes me feel that special, that I’m her priority, and that’s very endearing. I’m very lucky that things worked out between us."
"I’m not ashamed to admit that in this relationship, I’m the luckier one."
On the other hand, the 25-year old actress-model-equestrienne had also been similarly contemplating making that big leap.
"I was beginning to realize that while I spend so much time and energy training, traveling and competing, most of my hard work has gone unappreciated. Very few people shared my interest or understood what it is that I do and how important it is to me," she recounts. "I felt that there should be more to life than just pleasing myself and the people around me. Lately, I’ve begun to get really lonely each time I traveled for competitions."
After several long and serious conversations, wedding plans began taking shape late last year. The young couple decided to set a date in September or October 1999 — depending on whether Mikee makes it to the pre-qualifying rounds for the Olympics scheduled in May.
As fate would have it, her horse got injured on their way to France. Instead of getting depressed about the misfortune, they took it as an auspicious sign that they should no longer delay trying the knot.
Dodot, who is got given to dilly-dallying, seized the moment with firm resolve. "I called her up and asked her to hurry back home and marry me."
And so she did. Two months later, they are at the home-stretch of last-minute preparations.
"We didn’t have to hire any bridal organizers," the bride-to-be proudly claims." We just left the work to the Tingting Express!" Mikee is, of course, referring to her mother, former Tarlac Governor Tingting Cojuangco, who had taken it upon herself to oversee the details of her third daughter’s wedding.
"Mommy’s like a whirlwind," Mikee avers. "She’s such an angle. Obviously, she’s been quite frantic, especially as the day draws nearer. She’s really all over the place now – but she sure gets things done!"
Both Dodot and Mikee also took time off from their respective careers to thresh out the wedding arrangements.
"For some people, it seems like things are happening really fast. But for us, the days seem to take forever," opines Mikee. "We really can’t imagine how other couples can get engaged then decide to wait another year or two before marching down the aisle."
"Actually, it’s not the length of time that determines how prepared you are for marriage," explains Dodot. "For me, there are only two things: One, that you are very certain you’re committing yourself to the right person, and two, that you truly believe you can accomplish anything for as long as you put your heart and mind into it."
Dodot make his traditional pamanhikan last June 11 with his parents, basketball legend-turned-legislator Robert "Sonny" Jaworski and his wife, Evelyn. They were received by former Rep. Jose "Peping" Cojuangco and spouse, Tingting, who gave their blessings for their daughter to wed.
The wedding will be held at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes park, Makati. A wedding dinner for guests and well-wishers will follow at the PICC.
Mikee will walk down the aisle in a strapless pina gown by Inno Sotto, who will also dress the bridal entourage following the pink/peach motif and make Dodot wedding barong.
The principal sponsors — composed of 10 pairs of distinguished figures in politics, industry, entertainment and sports — will be led by President Joseph Estrada and Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Business titans Lucio Tan and Emilio Yap are on the list, as well as Gift Gage owner Virginia Ramos and talent manager Girlie Rodis.
The bride’s young siblings, Mai Mai and China, will be maids of honor, while the groom’s brother Ryan and best friend, Jeff Ng, will be his best men.
Aside from the presence of celebrities like Regine Velasquez (if she’s back in the country), Rachel Alejandro and Cris Villonco, the couple insists the wedding will be strictly non-showbiz affair.
"That’s why we tried to keep the details under wraps for as long as we could," Mikee intimates. "We want our wedding to be a very special and solemn celebration shared among family and friends. Of course, we realize that’s not exactly possible, but given the circumstances, we’re hoping to retain as much privacy as we can."
Dodot agrees. After all, when the excitement and public interest in their wedding eventually dies down, they can finally relax and look back at the event with fondness, if not amusement. "What we should never forget," he points out, "is the reason why we got married. And that’s because we love each other."
Source: Angie Belardony Ureta, Metro