To Have & To Hold: Isabel Lagdameo and Brendan Murphy Wedding
Love knows no boundaries. This statement rings especially true for Maria Isabel Lagdameo and Brendan John Murphy, whose romance grew from strength to strength while continents apart. They met at the NYU Stern School of Business in New York while taking up an MBA Program and became immediate friends. Time passed, bonds formed, and they found themselves unequivocally in love with one another. A week before graduation, they officially became an item.
Young and ambitious, however, their career paths forked; Lagdameo stayed on in the Big Apple to work for the Estée Lauder Companies, where her star shines bright as the Director of Business Development; Murphy, who is currently Director of Strategy, heading up Cross-border Transactions for Mastercard, moved to Seoul, Korea, for a job with Samsung.
Frequently visiting one another over the course of three years, a ski trip to Killington, Vermont, one of their favourite vacation spots, in February 2018 led to a rather special proposal and the ultimate decision to close the continental gap for good.
On 23 December 2018, they exchanged their I do’s and their Cartier wedding bands (her engagement ring was made by a family friend’s jeweller in New York, based on a Kwiat setting) at the Santuario de San Antonio beautifully done up in resplendent white by Mabolo flowers. The festive ceremony—it was Christmas in the Philippines, after all—was followed by a fl ower-filled garden reception at her grandparents’ sprawling Forbes property. As one of seven children, she reveals, “Save for one union abroad, I loved all [of my sibling’s] weddings at my grandma’s and wanted something like that.”
A classic bride, she donned a strapless mermaid-style Oscar de la Renta number, which fit her figure and personality to a Tee. Her lovely entourage was beautifully in sync in their—as the bride put it “burnt rose champagne”—Pepito Albert regalia.
According to Lagdameo-Murphy, when her husband-to-be saw her floating towards him for the first time, she jokes that his initial reaction was, “Wow, that’s a long veil!” “But,” she backtracks with a giggle, her adorable dimples in full display, “in all seriousness, he did say I was more beautiful than he could have ever imagined… Of course, our videographer, Jason Magbanua, captured both our reactions in the same-day edit, which was great to watch during the reception.” A nice sentimental touch was a scarf that she had wrapped around her bouquet as her “Something Blue.” “I picked one that had surfboards on it, which I thought would be perfect since Brendan is a big surfer,” she reveals.
Touched that her ninang Nedy Tantoco had arranged for the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra to play at the church, Lagdameo-Murphy’s bridal march was to “The Indian Queen.” Both being based in New York, the wedding planning phase had its challenges but family came through for the couple in more ways than one. While the bride enlisted the help of Bride’s Maids and Co., “thankfully we have a great support system in the Philippines, between my family and our close family friends, who helped bring everything together. I joked that the best advice was to have a big family with a lot of siblings—everyone helped to create such a magical evening for us,” she says.
The couple put their trust in Ponce Veridiano, who used an abundance of tropical flowers and plants from around the archipelago to create a magical garden setting. Later on, a standout moment for the newlyweds was walking into the reception as Mr. and Mrs. Brendan Murphy, surrounded by loved ones, “and seeing how beautifully Ponce had transformed the space. We were both in awe!” she shares.
During dinner, the Manila String Machine set the mood followed by the Yellow Lane Band and DJ Gino Yulo. The dancing let up for a few minutes for the traditional cutting of the cake. The gorgeous five-layer confection with buttercream frosting was a creation by the talented Heny Sison. Recalls Lagdameo-Murphy, “Each layer was a different flavour, because we couldn’t decide which one we liked best!”
Running through the entire celebration, the couple had so many moments that felt truly magical. But most especially was having Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle offi ciate their wedding. “We met with him before the wedding and so the sermon felt very personal and he seemed to capture us as a couple,” she says, adding, “For me, what stands out was walking down the aisle with my dad, which was such a special moment… and meeting my mum at the end and having them both give me away to Brendan before approaching the altar.”
It was so touching to have everyone there and it meant so much to us
- Isabel Lagdameo-Murphy
Still simmering down from their big day high, the newlyweds are still in the midst of ironing out their honeymoon plans. “We are planning to go later this year, perhaps at the end of summer or early Fall. We were originally thinking of going to Argentina, but may go somewhere in Europe instead. We’re trying to think of places we haven’t been to before, so we can explore them together,” she shares excitedly.
Now that husband and wife are back at home in the city that never sleeps, the question that begs to be asked is, what’s changed? “Honestly,” starts Lagdameo-Murphy, “it doesn’t feel very different. I’m definitely still getting used to calling Brendan my husband, instead of my fiancé. It’s been great being back and settling into the apartment, figuring out our new routines together. It’s funny looking back at last year, because just over a year ago today is when Brendan was going ring shopping with my sister, Caterina, and I had no idea any of that was happening. We are both looking forward to just being together—doing the little things like grocery shopping, laundry, and binge watching the latest Netflix series.”
- Photography Francis Perez, Team Pat Dy
- Hair Patrick Rosas
- Make-Up Patrick Rosas