More than the love that led them to the altar, music and friendship glue KZ Tandingan and TJ Monterde together. The couple tied the knot last August 28 amid the pandemic, proving that true love thrives even in the darkest moments.
The number 28 is symbolic for the couple, thus the wedding date. Just to pull off a wedding in the midst of a crisis is already a feat. There were lots of limitations and adjustments, of course.
The couple’s parents weren’t able to travel to Manila due to the quarantine protocols. So, Martin Nievera, KZ’s mentor and one of the godfathers, escorted her on the wedding day.
KZ still hasn’t gotten over the Concert King’s touching act. She said that Martin turned down his work for that day just to fulfill his promise of walking her down the aisle. She’s utterly grateful for Martin’s generosity.
Their wedding was a solemn and romantic bubble, with just a few guests present. “Sobrang lutang. Nakangiti lang ako. ‘This is the moment I’ve been waiting for since day one,’ ‘yun na ‘yung tumatakbo sa isip ko,” shared TJ about how he felt watching the bride-to-be walk towards him, while he was standing under a 300-year-old mango tree, and Ebe Dencel was singing their favorite song, “Bawat Daan.”
Even though not everyone was present during the ceremony, the newlyweds are grateful for the support of their families, friends, and especially that of their parents.
Not wanting to miss out on the big event, their families dressed up to attend the wedding, via Zoom. Even if it was just a virtual gathering, what matters is the love between the couple and the blessing bestowed by their parents. A digital ‘pamamanhikan’ also happened.
KZ began planning the wedding right after the engagement in December 2019, thinking that this year would be hectic. They started coordinating with the suppliers and doing oculars. The planning slowed down by March, with the first round of lockdown imposed and the COVID-19 cases rising. That was when they felt unsure. They didn’t want to appear insensitive. They waited for things to get better but the situation remained bumpy. Because of their parents’ spontaneous go signal, they decided, by June, to push through with the wedding.
They took lots of precautions, adjustments, and back-up plans. Despite the challenges, the event ended up truly beautiful and solemn. And they’re thankful to the wedding planner and everyone who helped them pull off the journey towards becoming Mr.and Mrs. Monterde.
Music has always been a big part of KZ and TJ’s lives and their love story. He was under the same record label as Martin, also KZ’s mentor in X Factor Philippines. They often bumped into each other on Martin’s shows wherein TJ would sing as the front act. They clicked right away because they’re both Bisaya and they have many things in common. But, TJ had a girlfriend at that time.
He was like a ‘kuya’ to her and he, and the rest of their friends, called her ‘baby girl.’ They didn’t have any hint of feelings for each other at first, although he looked up to her as an artist. And this admiration didn’t change even now that they’re married. So, it’s safe to say that he married his idol.
What made TJ realize that KZ is the one? TJ shared one advice he got from his mom, ‘When you choose a girl to marry, you choose somebody who loves her parents.” He was told that a woman who disrespects her own parents can treat his own the same way.
When he got to know KZ better, he realized that she’s exactly what he’s looking for. It was also TJ’s love for parents that made her say ‘yes’ to him.
The couple revealed that they went through a tough time two years ago, which KZ described as one of the darkest phases in her life. She thought she’s a burden than a blessing to him and that she was so hard to love. Yet, he didn’t give up on her.
There was a time when TJ invited her to pray. She didn’t want to. And she was surprised to hear his response. “Sabi niya sa akin, ‘Okay, ako na muna ang magdadasal para sa ating dalawa. Ako na muna ang magmamahal para sa ating dalawa.’ So, ako naman, ‘Why do I deserve this kind of love?’ Parang ganoon,” shared KZ. That was the turning point, the moment when she knew ‘he’s the one.’
KZ and TJ are each other’s best friend, thus they’re open to each other. They are not afraid to be honest and show their weaknesses, knowing they won’t be judged. TJ shared a lesson he got from his grandfather. “Sometimes the romance fades, and with age na rin. But the friendship always stays. ‘Pag nawawala ang romance, babagsak pa rin kayo sa friendship kasi ‘yun ang foundation n’yo,” he said.
To end the interview, the couple took on a newlywed game where they answered questions about their relationship. It was revealed that the courtship stage lasted for a year. They had a third wheel on their first date. TJ said ‘I love you’ first. He’s also the first one to apologize after a fight. Coffee time is their favorite bonding activity. KZ and TJ plan to have two kids in the future.