How These Offbeat, Colorful Artists Wed with Black Butterflies and Homemade Cake
As an artist, Maria Jeona Zoleta has always exceeded expectations, through her unconventional creative process that usually leads to equally unconventional results. Her preference for breaking from tradition carried on to her nuptials with engineer and fellow artist Emmanuel d’Aboville. The two were wed in an intimate outdoor ceremony surrounded by family and close friends.
In the place of doves, black and white butterflies brought smiles to the wedding guests’ faces as they were released from their woven enclosure and proceeded to dot the ceremony venue. The celebration that followed tore down the formalities associated with a usual wedding reception. The wedding party, along with relatives and friends, entertained the guests with various musical numbers. The groom’s mother, Araceli Valenzuela d’Aboville, prepared the spread especially for the occasion, while friends of the couple gave touching speeches.
Jeona Zoleta and Emmanuel d'Aboville
THE LOVE STORY
Tell us how you met.
We met again in late February of the next year, during the Malasimbo Festival. We arrived a month before the festival because she was working on her installation and I was managing various things (mainly progress of infrastructure, like the bars, the entrance, the cleaning of the grounds).
We would sometimes eat together, walk to the grounds.
During the festival,
We would part ways the next day, leaving an impression on each other once again.
The next four years, we barely heard from each other.
She was surviving on art from paintings and art installations, with regular shows abroad. I was doing the
How did you propose?
My other sister Maia and her husband had built a temporary art residency partnering with Z Hostel in 2017, at a place called the Ruins in Poblacion. I was spending lots of time there painting and doing music. That's where
I think I might have impressed her with my art production with a few paintings produced and my first book at that time. One night during that blue blood moon in the month of January, we had our first date and got together. So much has happened in a very short time. We were like family to each other right away. I proposed quickly after that, during a quiet night among the blankets and pillows.
Our son Gabriel Aqua-Amin, born on January 22, 2019, is part of the completion of our love story.
Jeona wears a dress by Salad Day, worn with butterfly sleeves by Maria Goes to Town, a gift from Moira Lang
PLANNING THE WEDDING
Tell us about your DIY wedding.
The wedding was fun and entirely DIY with help from our families.
The first step was doing the papers; together we went to our local city hall and prepared the documents. We were having fun following the procedures while enduring a few long lines.
We opted to start with a civil wedding. We went to a [marriage officiant], whose contact we found at the Makati mayor’s office. After the scare of a no-show and trying to make sure everything was within the law, my
Our wedding cost us about P25,000, with flowers from Dangwa and live butterflies from Binondo.
Our wedding was held at my parent’s home in San Lorenzo Village. Here, we did most of our errands by foot or bicycle. We decided to host our wedding here for simplicity and to allow our guests with easy access.
The last few days before the wedding was about preparing the scenery for our ceremony. Our household help Yaya Merylin and
THE INTIMATE CEREMONY
Tell us about the wedding.
The ceremony happened in the lanai, followed by lunch in the living room where we had 40 guests of family and friends.
Guests were invited at 10 a.m. for a ceremony at 11. We had little sleep the night before but woke up refreshed and excited. What a pleasant feel one has to wake up and do things for such a life event.
The bride and groom prepare for the wedding ceremony
By quarter to 11, our guests had mostly arrived, and it was about time to start. Billy Bonnevie and Agnes Arellano, our good friends and art mentors, sounded the horn (a foot and a half-long seashell) and all guests were called outside. I found my wife at our little altar, [which was] decorated with a cross and a magical sculpture from Agnes showing a couple naked in
A sculpture from Agnes Arellano
Moreno's ceremony was very meaningful and full of useful advice. We followed his ceremony program before we exchanged vows and
[Following the family pictorial], we freed a colony of local butterflies, which the kids Leo and Matthieu helped release. They ended up filling the garden, landing on guests and occasionally bidding them hello.
Leo and Matthieu release the butterflies
We enjoyed the home cooked buffet prepared by my mom, Ara d’Aboville, and then spent time in the pleasant company of our friends and family.
My boss and good friend, Emmanuel Schutz, and
The guests slowly departed, taking home our gift set, comprising of a Love Magic Potion of Health (coconut oil from our farm), a mini painting from me and
That night, we cleaned and disassembled the tables, and relaxed by just contemplating the day, and happy we made it here, now husband and wife.
What do you look forward to in this new chapter in your lives?
The trip will be an opportunity for me to show to
In the coming months when Gabriel is a bit bigger, we are planning to move to Puerto Galera, so that our son experiences the clean provincial air and spends his earlier years growing up in nature. We intend to help in the organization of our farm, develop the land, and find ways for it to be profitable.
Our main concern now is to develop a sustainable income together, to secure our family needs and the education of Gabriel. We have plans in
Agnes Arellano with
Olivia d'Aboville Grgic, Turing Valenzuela, and Maia d'Aboville
Butterflies land on Emmanuel's father Hubert d'Aboville
The Zoleta cousins
A photo of the entire wedding party and guests
With family members
Catalina Espinosa, Agnes Arellano, Billy Bonnevie, and Emmanuel d'Aboville
Billy Bonnevie with
Jeona and Emmanuel d'Aboville
Catalina A. Espiñosa
Hubert d'Aboville and Emmanuel Schütz
Giles Katigbak and Cal Tavera
Emmanuel d'Aboville and Geoffroy de Boissieu
Chris Bruant, Emmanuel d'Aboville, and Emmanuel Schütz
Maia d'Aboville, Olivia d'Aboville Grgic, and Araceli Valenzuela d'Aboville
The groom's mother prepares a cake
Yana, Catalina, and Mack Espiñosa
Emmanuel Schûtz, Regis Bruant, and Karla Zoleta, with the newlyweds
Mother of the bride Nerissa Zoleta, Jeona Zoleta d'Aboville, and Joanna Sanchez
The newlyweds with the Zoleta family, headed by Ramon Zoleta
Guillaum and Charlotte d'Aboville with Emmanuel d'Aboville
The bride with Martin de Messa and Moira Lang
The d'Abovilles with Yaya Merlin and Sir Boy