Bathed in sunrise glow, medicine student Samantha Luna walked down the aisle alone in her dream wedding dress, without a groom waiting for her at the altar. It's the happy ending she made for herself after a broken engagement, one which many other heartbroken Pinays can make for themselves.
Samantha's former boyfriend of seven years bailed on their wedding and until now, she couldn't make sense of it. She realized she didn't have to because she only needed the resolve to move on. Her story resonated with thousands on Facebook, where her groom-less bridal photos showed how women can be happy even without a man in their lives.
"Our wedding was supposed to be in 2020. We have a date na, may venue, church. I already had my gown made and then nakipag-break siya so hindi natuloy yung kasal," Samantha told reportr. Like many in failed relationships, Samantha too had her fair share of tears given that she was ready to say, "I do." She said, "Ginawa ko rin yung nagmakaawa hanggang sa yung nakuha kong reason from him is that hindi niya kaya mag-reciprocate. Hindi niya kaya ibigay yung love na binibigay ko sa kaniya."
In June this year, Samantha still received the bridal gown she had made for her canceled wedding. At the time, she said she was no longer interested in seeing the dress or remember the painful memories since she was already moving forward with her life. "The gown and him, the ideas were interlaced in my head kasi siyempre when I had it made, I had my ex-fiancé in my mind," Samantha shared. "Pagdating nung gown, never ko na siyang binuksan. I know what it looks like. I don't have to check it out and cry."
Closing the chapter
Unsure if she has really moved on from the breakup, Samantha said she told her friends of her wedding gown and her plans to sell it. A longtime friend, Athina de Ocampo, who knew of Samantha's story offered a "creative" way to close the painful chapter in the latter's life—a bridal photoshoot.
"Naisip ko na mas maganda siguro i-close natin yung chapter na 'yun but in a creative way para it's closed but with a beautiful ending," Athina told reportr. "Ang ganda ng story niya and I was super moved [by] how she handled it and [how she] was able to move on."
Samantha said she was hesitant to do the photoshoot at first given that she was afraid of her emotions once she sees the dress. But once she finally saw and tried it on, she realized that she really had moved on. "Nung binuksan ko siya wala na ko nafi-feel, so totoo na pala na okay na ako," she said, noting that it was even Athina who was crying during the shoot.
The photos, posted on Facebook, earned thousands of likes for the empowering message: Women don't need men to feel whole. Each photo was captioned by Samantha to express her emotions over the ordeal and show her moving on process.
"I am who I am and I make no apologies. I am my own person," she wrote in one of the photos. "I can be—and will be—happy and content even without you. I am beautiful. I am amazing. I am loved. I am strong. I am enough," she wrote in another.
Samantha said she wanted to represent women who had been in the same situation as her and was surprised to find out that many have actually been in the same spot. "Kaya siguro ang daming [nag-comment] at nag-share kasi madami pala yung pinagdaanan din yung pinagdaanan ko so it shows na hindi dapat ikahiya, na you're not alone," she said.
Now, Samantha is in a happy relationship again and is starting on a new adventure: studying Medicine. "Ngayon, [nagagawa] ko yung mga gusto ko talagang gawin for myself. Childhood dream ko talaga ito na na-put off. But now I [realized], God really has better plans," she said. "Hindi end of the world ang breakup. Things really happen for a reason. Dumaan din ako sa hindi mo mahanap yung rason. Apparently, hindi mo dapat hanapin at nangyayari na lang yung reasons," she added.
If there's anything that she learned from her heartbreak, Samantha said it's to trust in God's plans and to know her value. "Things will make sense eventually," she said. "You just have to believe in yourself. Know your value and your worth so that next time, alam mo na yung dapat mong ma-deserve. Alam ko na ngayon."