How does it feel to marry your first love and first official boyfriend? For KZ Tandingan, it fills her heart with gratitude that God didn’t allow her to go through heartbreaks before meeting ‘the one.’ Joining her in this episode of Kapamilya Chat is now-husband, TJ Monterde. The newlyweds talked about their intimate wedding and their new single titled “Can’t Wait to Say I Do.”
LOOK: KZ Tandingan & TJ Monterde’s road to forever in these 30 photos
KZ and TJ exchanged ‘I dos’ in a solemn, ethereal wedding ceremony actually held last August 28. But the couple only revealed the news just last week. They’re happy to still tie the knot amid the pandemic, proving that love and hope grow if we’d allow them to.
However, their celebration does not mean they’re turning a blind eye to the sufferings of others extremely affected by the crisis. “Kami, may pinagdadaanan din kami but we always try to find something to be grateful for everyday. Ngayon, kahit hindi namin kasama both families namin, masaya pa rin kami na kinasal na kami. Pamilya na namin ang isa’t isa,” said the new Mrs.
It should’ve been a busier year for KZ and TJ had the pandemic didn’t happen. They had the entire 2020 planned since their engagement last year. But despite the unsaved dates and cancelled gigs, and after thorough thinking, they decided to live in the moment and wed. They thought tomorrow is never promised, so they would do what can be done today, and it’s the pandemic that brought them to this realization. Besides, they had all they needed – more than the love, they had their parents’ blessings, and they’ve long been ready for that moment.
Twenty-eight is a relevant number for the couple. They celebrate their anniversary as boyfriend-girlfriend every January 28th, thus the wedding date. “While we were staring at our wedding photos, na-realize namin na this is a manifestation of miracles. Sino ba namang makakapagsabi na, ‘sure akong ikakasal ako kahit may pandemic.’ Ang daming pwedeng hindi mangyari pero nag-align ang lahat ng mga bagay,” expressed KZ, quoting the bible verse Romans 8:28 which says, “All things work together for good to them that love God.”
In the middle of their musings, they realized that the verse also has the numbers 8-28. “After realizing that, parang mas naramdaman namin, wow grabe! It was really orchestrated by God,” KZ enthused. It was a confirmation that they made the right choice.
Since their engagement, their friends and families were aware of the wedding plans slated on August 28. However, when the pandemic happened, everybody expected them to postpone their wedding. KZ and TJ invited a limited number of guests as per rules on mass gatherings. So, their friends were surprised by the sudden news. Albeit shocked, all were happy and supportive.
The wedding ceremony and reception happened at The Farm at San Benito in Batangas. The couple had 12 guests who underwent complete tests and isolation, and who were also supposed to have significant roles in the original wedding plans. They had three pairs of ninongs and ninangs. There were six friends present including the best man and maid of honor, and the pastor and his wife. It was a small romantic bubble!
So, how did they choose the twelve guests? KZ described the process as difficult. They started with the core, the people who would share important roles in the ceremony. “Ang hirap talagang magsabi na ito lang ‘yung invited kasi ang dami talagang magtatampo. Pero siguro ito ‘yung time na ‘di mo masyadong kailangan mag-worry na may magtampo kasi nung nag-invite kami ng guests, in-expect namin na magno-‘no’ sila because we know the risk ‘pag lumabas ka ng bahay,” the Asia’s Soul Supreme explained.
“Sobrang thankful kami sa mga friends namin na pumunta and also to those who weren’t there but sobrang supportive,” she added. They’re hoping to have a bigger reception once the situation improves by next year.
KZ walked down the aisle without her parents as they weren’t able to travel from Mindanao. Despite their absence, their parents bestowed them with the go signal.
“Sa totoo lang, sila ‘yung nag-push na, ‘Sige, ituloy n’yo na kasi you need each other sa season na ‘to. Kailangan n’yo ‘yung isa’t isa. Sa Zoom na lang kami manonood.’ Sobrang na-touch kami na we are so blessed to have parents like our parents,” TJ shared. True enough, their families and loved ones attended the ceremony via Zoom, all dressed-up for the wedding.
KZ started the planning right after their engagement, considering that 2020 was supposed to be a busy year. They listed down their preferred suppliers and enlisted the help of their organizer, La Belle Fete. The planning slowed down by March with the first round of community quarantine imposed and with more COVID-19 cases rising. By June, they decided to still push through with the wedding, with lots of adjustments and back-up plans.
“Naging challenging siya pero nahanapan lahat ng paraan. Nagkaroon ng solusyon lahat ng problema,” expressed KZ, still elated to be called as Mrs. Monterde. She also finds it strange to call her in-laws ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’
When asked about baby plans, the couple mentioned that they’re still taking their time. “Kung binigay, wala naman po tayong magagawa pero sana huwag po muna,” KZ said as she erupted in laughter.
The newlywed game
The universe aligned for KZ and TJ to make beautiful music for a lifetime, so much so a pandemic didn’t stop them from tying the knot in an intimate ceremony, in a small romantic “bubble” last August 28.
While soaking in the newlywed bliss, the couple guested on Kapamilya Chat to talk about their beautiful symbolic wedding and to play a fun couple quiz. Through the “newlywed game,” the sweethearts reveal facts and secrets about their relationship!
They started out as strangers in the small world of music. “Si Sir Martin Nievera at siya ay under the same record label, so ‘pag nanonood kami kay Sir Martin, palagi siyang front act. He also goes to his mall shows, so palagi namin siyang nakikita,” KZ revealed.
Despite the kismet-ushered little encounters, KZ and TJ weren’t formally introduced to each other until a common friend added them up in the same group chat. The bunch met at a mall in 2012, and that’s where and when their first official meeting happened.
The romance began in March 2014 when TJ started to pursue KZ. He was kind of a confident suitor, asking her the typical “tayo na ba?” courtship line every month. And her response was always, “Hindi pa ako ready.” So, he just stopped asking, much to her disappointment.
“After ilang months na pagtatanong, tumigil na siya. Dumating sa point na ako na nagsabi sa kanya, ‘Hindi ka na nagtatanong,’”shared KZ, who then started to become more open after that realization. Therefore, the first kiss happened between the ‘ber’ months of 2014.
In January 2015, they went on a Korea trip with friends. The romantic place known as a setting for ‘kilig’ dramas became the witness to KZ and TJ’s real-life romance. They officially became a couple on the 28th. Fast forward to 2019, TJ finally popped the question on the evening of December 30.
Sharing more deets about their love story, they revealed that KZ wore an all-black outfit on their first date. TJ’s forgetfulness caused their first major LQ (Lovers’ Quarrel) but he’s always the first one to apologize after a fight. They agree that KZ is more clingy.
A watch is the most expensive gift she got from him. The first thing TJ does in the morning, as Mrs. Monterde revealed, is to embrace her and check his phone.
TJ playfully tapped his wife’s shoulder to demonstrate her biggest pet peeve. The newlyweds erupted in laughter when told about the connotative meaning of “kalabit” in a couple’s married life.
By the end of the quiz, KZ and TJ got a score of 7. The singing-songwriting couple ends the interview by sharing a few lines from their collab single “Can’t Wait to Say I Do.”