The story behind this pre-nuptial shoot around ADMU is too adorable!

Prenuptial shoots not only serve as teasers for weddings, but it also captures moments of the couple before tying the knot. Some opt to tell a story through the prenuptial shoot that reflect on how they are – as a couple, as individuals, and even revealing how their love story began. After all, a wedding does celebrate the unity and life of two people.

We were absolutely captivated by the photos and the story of James and Dorcas‘. Shot at Ateneo de Manila University, the story of their love lives began in Katipunan avenue where James would visit Dorcas in her dorm wearing pajamas and even having the opportunity to walk and explore the grounds together.

The two tied the knot last February 25, on the very same day they saw each other for the first time six years ago.

WHEN IN MANILA has reached out to Dorcas for further details.

WHEN IN MANILA: When/how did you and your husband meet? How many years have you been together before you tied the knot?
Dorcas Domingo Topacio: 
Tim and I met in February 2012, when we were volunteering for a community-based organization, the Junior Jaycees Noveleta Kalero chapter in Cavite. We started getting to know each other deeply when we got involved in a summer project coined as Junk2School, where we go to different barangays and villages to collect scraps and recyclable materials that can be sold to the junk shop. Collected proceeds are used to purchase school supplies for public school students who are less fortunate. We started dating as the project progressed, then entered the courtship stage after that summer. We officially got together in November 2013, a few months after my college graduation.

Soon after though, his immigrant visa to the US got approved after seven years of waiting (the petition was filed when he was fourteen but there was a lot of scrutinies that, thankfully, caused delay, or else we would not have met when we did. In February 2014, he moved and we transitioned to a long-distance relationship. I visited him twice in the US, first in December 2014 and second in November 2016, when he proposed in a restaurant on a hilltop with a view of the city lights. 

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WIM: What’s one favorite memory of you in the Ateneo? Was there a go-to place in the school grounds for the both of you? 
DDT: We have a lot of good memories in the Ateneo as he visited me almost every Sunday and picked me up to go to church, have lunch, and hang out a bit (I was very grade-conscious, so we had a rule that I need to be back to the dorm by late afternoon to start studying). Every time, I would be awoken by a call at 6 AM because he chooses to come very early in the morning, excited to spend time with me.

We like to hang out in the Science Education Complex (specifically in SEC C), with a good view of the trees surrounding the red-bricked buildings.

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WIM: How would you describe your identities as students? We figured you both are UAAP fans.
I am [actually] the only Atenean and Tim used to study at a state university in Cavite. I’d like to say I am a true blue-blooded Atenean and I treasure the education that this school has given me. It has opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart to things I would have not rather seen, perceived, and felt.

And since he dated me… he had no choice but to support my team, haha! He was actually a DLSU and UE fan because he admired Joseph Yeo (DLSU), Rico Maierhofer (DLSU), Mike Cortez (DLSU), Pari Llagas (UE), and Elmer Espiritu (UE).

WIM: How did you conceptualize the shoot?
We wanted a prenup shoot that would be meaningful for the both of us and not just consist of “random” poses, so we thought that the shoot should retell a part of our love story. We initially wanted to relive the Junk2School project, but since it required a lot of logistics and we were planning the wedding while he was in the US, we agreed that we needed a light and easy-going shoot. Since we spent a lot of time in the Ateneo before he left for the US, plus the beauty of the campus could speak for itself, we then realized reliving our courtship phase in the Ateneo would be the perfect idea.
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WIM: What is your message to a lasting relationship like yours?
To date with a purpose that is marriage. When we met, we were individually in a season where we no longer wanted games and had a resolve that the next person we would date should be someone we could consider for marriage. We were both 19 then and many of our friends said we were “too young” to be thinking that, but we both believed there is no use wasting time, energy, and feelings. We did not want any more relationship baggages. That includes having non-negotiables in dating. For one, we both wanted a partner with the same faith and who lives true to it.Healthy communication is also essential. We realized we fight less when we communicate honestly, openly, and lovingly to each other. Relationship over being right, always.

Most importantly, we acknowledge that it cannot be just the two of us in this relationship. Christ has to be the third person, at the center. We have loved, we have forgiven each other’s faults, because we were first loved and forgiven by Christ. Only by His perfect grace could it have been possible to survive this journey by far.

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Congratulations to the both of you!
What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments below!

The Topacios wish to acknowledge the following:

Photos: Brillant Bum Photography (Sergius Cruzem, Jay-R Questorio & Kingvee Reyes)
Hair: Karen Gallano
Makeup: Xyrene Eugenio
Ateneo de Manila University
Vince Cosmiano (Campus Event Management)
Jelour Casimiro (Marketing & Property Admin Office)
Tim Gabuna (Residence Hall)