Neri: A golden celebration

They were newly “minted” doctors when Emmanuel Lat and Zenda Garcia Lat promised “till death do us part” at the Sacred Heart Church on Dec. 30, 1972. Fifty years later, after having made their home in New Jersey, USA, they came back to dear old Cebu to renew the vows they made when they were “young and starry-eyed” as the song goes. This time around the ceremony was held at the beautiful chapel of the Archbishop’s Palace, officiated by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.

The golden affair was orchestrated by their lawyer son David who planned the details, including having the anniversary celebration at the very same venue of the wedding reception which was Casino Español de Cebu. It started with cocktails at the foyer of the ballroom and went on to a sumptuous dinner.

The loving couple opened the evening’s festivities with a dramatic entrance and a dance number. They each gave words of welcome and expressed their thanks to David for the beautiful anniversary celebration. Then their precocious five-year-old grandson, Harlan, surprised them with a song and read his message. His Dads David and Zach Shemtob followed with their own messages and greetings.

When it was her turn to speak, Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia narrated how excited she was to be chosen (at 17 years old) as one of her cousin Zenda’s bridesmaids. Old wedding pictures were flashed onscreen and then Zenda called on the original members of the wedding entourage who were present: Her sister Joyce Garcia Dizon who was Maid of Honor; secondary sponsors Elvira Monreal Lim, Francisco Dizon and doctor Rise Faith Espina Dajao. Very much around too was the ring bearer Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority general manager Julius “Jayjay” Neri Jr. Cake-cutting, picture-taking and all the traditional wedding do’s were of course part of the evening. It was a lovely celebration of love and commitment for all of 50 years. Cheers!