Wednesday, February 18, 2009

**an overseas couple's DIY, no-coordinator wedding:

note: something I wrote as a post for w@w (sa mga bagong silang, that's weddings@work for you--an online community of Filipino couples (although mostly brides) planning their weddings). Removed some details (some of the prices. hehe) :

*Suppliers Rating (LONG READ!) Part 1*:
**pwede na
****Sulita Monsod.
*****highly recommended at bumubula pa ang bibig
Church: Chapel of the Transfiguration of Jesus, Nasugbu Batangas (aka Caleruega Chapel) (
Special thank you to: Ms Sally Dastas (Nasugbu Parish—dyan kayo magsasubmit ng lahat ng papers nyo. AT sumasagot sya talaga sa text inquiries)
Rating: *****
Kwento muna:
Eight years ago when the topic of such was brought up between me and Jay, I’d always say I want to be married in this quaint chapel in Alabang—the one fronting and very close to ATC (St Jerome Emiliani and Santa Susanna Parish). For some reason I find it elegant yet not too showy. Fast foward to early 2007, another chapel came to our attention and the funny thing about it is that it’s always been mentioned by people we know, but we never saw it as another option. Then came our fascination with our local wedding videographers and photographers—ayun, dun lang kami napa-wow—this is it. For a chapel we only saw once in person (we attended our friends’ wedding there, in late 2007), and a gazillion times in photos and video, we knew it’s a tight race between Sts Jerome and Susanna, and Caleruega. While doing my excel sheets, it occurred to me that we might be spending more if the wedding will be in Alabang. Sure, it may be more accessible but there are lots of factors which we had to consider (like the theme, the logistics, the traffic!, how to control the crowd and keep the ceremonies solemn (i mean hello—ang lapit ng ATC noh), the cost of hotel stay and of course the overall presentation). We were in the brink of a decision when sorting upon my ‘aged’ files from years back, I chanced upon these two lines I wrote, for whatever reason I can’t remember: ‘And nais ko lamang naman ay makasal sa’yo sa harap ng mga mahal natin sa buhay at mga kaibigan. Sa lugar na mataas—sa bangin...overlooking ‘a bulkan’. Ayun naman pala eh.

NOTES: The chapel was a bit pricey, but it was all worth it. The view and the ambiance—that’s what you pay for. You don’t need additional eye candy, really. Kasi maganda na sya on its own. Chance upon a sunny afternoon (which I prayed for, and was granted. Yey!) and you’ll get lovely pictures—meron pang ‘may-i-shine upon you’ slash ‘beam-me-up-scottie’ epek yan. Ganda. The chapel can only sit up to a hundred (I think), and it’s got a choir loft. Now, a note to some: may kasama na pong host and wine yung simbahan (we fondly called it the communion package). Meron naring candles na sisindihan nung sponsors (ang wala lang eh yung unity candle). I have to emphasize this, kasi hindi namin agad na check yung chapel, so naghanap pa tuloy kami sa Sta Cruz at Malabon ng mga ganon, eh meron naman na pala. Hindi naman sya nasayang, kasi we offered those we bought sa communion. Pero yun nga—meron pong mga gamit. Meron ding mag aassist sa inyo, if in case nagtapang-tapangan kayo at naisip nyong wag nang mag coordinator. Tulad ko. Hehe. They have this sacristan mayor (Victor) who you can contact, to help you in almost everything you need sa simbahan—make the entourage fall in line, back up church music kung wala kang choir, sound system, atbp.

Some shots which highlight the rustic and charming appeal of the place:

Priest: Rev Fr Christian Sabili, OSJ (Parish Priest, St Exequiel Moreno Parish, Palawan)
Rating: *****
He’s my cousin, so his service (plus airfare from Palawan to Manila) is all for free. Regalo nya daw sakin. May hiya naman ako, so I have other things in mind for him, na kasama naman sa budget. hehe. I sent our onsite video to some of my friends who weren’t able to make it, at ang unang reaction nila ay ganito: ‘ang gwapo ni father!’. Aside from his good looks (nyahaha), Father Christian was also very game and engaging. Sya pa nga ang nag suggest na we celebrate the mass in Tagalog, para daw hindi masyado stiff, and in the case of our foreigner guests, they’ll get to see a Filipino mass. Ceremony proper, nag enjoy ang guests, feeling ata nila nasa isang talk show sila. Since I’ve always been known for being so ‘impromptu’, hindi sya nagpatalo. For the gospel reading, he changed it into something else. He sang some parts of the mass, at may audience participation pa. Overall, lahat ay tawa nang tawa. Masaya ba. And that made it so much special.

Reception: Ladera Golfer’s Lounge, Splendido Taal (
Special thank you to: Ms Cherry Sanchez (Marketing Supervisor and AE), contact: / 09209471840 and Mr Noel Digma (Asst), contact:
Rating: ****
Ay okay itong Splendido. The only qualms I had with them was from the beginning nung nagpalit pala sila ng AE tapos hindi ako sinabihan agad, at nung minsan na nagbago pala sila ng bank acoount at mali ang naibigay na info nung accounting dept nila. Madali lang namang i-rectify yun, at matapos ang makabagbag damdamin kong letter sa bago nilang AE (na si Cherry), all went well na. We had our food tasting (which Cherry threw in for free. Bumabawi. Hehe), and we brought along my dad with us—our human-gauge (pag nasarapan siya, okay na). We got their 750++ buffet for 100 pax, which is around 915 pesos all in (with tax and service charge). Since we’re not getting their wedding packages, we only had to pay for the venue rental at an additional 25K. There are a couple of kids in the reception, and they eat for free (7 years old and below). There’s a waiver of corkage for 10 bottles of wine, and there’s free flow of drinks and coffee/tea (for the VIP tables only). Feedback on the food? Masarap daw. All raves from everyone. As usual, hindi kami masyado nakakain (although sabi nila mukhang ganado parin daw kami. Hehe) We’ve tasted the appetizers while at the holding room at masarap nga! Fave namin yung liver and banana wrapped in bacon. Masarap din yung tahong. From the guests? Everyone loved everything, and they have different ‘favourites’—they told us about it after the dinner, at talagang nakakataba ng puso. Misis P (Jay’s mom) is a cakes and pastry mafia, so when she told us that the desserts were marvellous, we had to request for them nung nagse settle na kami ni Noel afterwards (to which they gladly obliged). Masarap nga.

NOTES: Ngayon, ang problema as usual, is either sobra sobra ang food, or kulang. While we booked for 100 pax, and they prepared for 120, our guest turnout was—140. So talagang kulang. For some reason our guests didn’t get the idea behind RSVP (well, wala naman talagang nag RSVP. Hello!), nor did they get the fact that the reception will be held in Splendido, at hindi sa bahay ng parents ko. (side kwento: just to illustrate what I meant, may mga tao ngang hindi invited na after the wedding asked my dad: ‘wala man lang bang halaya at leche flan na ipinamigay?’—o diba.) Meron pa ngang nagdala ng mga ’hatak’—so you can imagine how Jay and I would exchange looks ‘sino ba yun? kilala mo ba?’ Well, to be technical about it, hindi naman talaga nag kulang yung food, kasi nakapag uwi pa kami ng left overs, so hindi ko ma gets kung ano ang ibig sabihin nung mga nag comment na hindi daw sila nakakain (exxag. Ahah).


Flowers: RCJC Flowers, Mendez Crossing, Tagaytay City (
Special thank you to: Tita Cora Perey, contact: 0920-4057081
Rating: *****
PRICE: 17K, includes every floral what-have-you’s we used (church, reception, bridal bouquet, ento—name it). Pramis.
Now, why is it very cheap? First of all, we recycled some of the flowers—those buckets on the aisles in the chapel? we asked them to be transferred to the reception, to be dressed up as table name holders, which also acted as centre pieces. We were very specific in which flowers to use, and none of them included ‘favourite’ varieties, like roses whose prices, at this time of the year would have gone waaay up, kasi malapit na ang valentine’s day. Tita Cora (and the gang) used mumps, liliums, spider lilies and hydrangeas in shades of white, green and purple, while my bouquet was all white (stargazers)and green—just the way I liked it. The flowers were minimal accents, and we intended them that way. Kasi nga, our church and reception venues are already pretty (to our opinion ha. Hehe). Yung entourage namin, mga babae lang ang may flowers kasi yung boys—they had badges on (more about this later). Yung groom lang (an orange gerbera!), FOB and FOG ang merong corsage. the girls had wrist corsages on, and my flower girl—had a popcorn-bucket-full of petals for her to scatter while walking down the aisle. Yung female sponsors had each a stem of calla lilies, and the MOG and MOB had their purses lang. (for practicality’s sake diba, ang dami na nilang hawak nung araw na yan kaya) we didn’t use any flowers for the bridal car, and we made use of other elements dun sa table setting and the church arrangements—candles, vines, twigs and candelabras.

NOTES: it pays to stick with what you want. Syempre Tita Cora looked a bit worried at first, nung sinabi naming yung gusto naming arrangements (minimal), and the motif (‘black? Hindi nga?’), pero kasi we have these details into mind na, and we know it will work with the rest. Have reference pictures (if there are) so that it’s fool proof. Overall, maasikaso si Tita Cora (she even volunteered to help dun sa pagbubukas ng pinto sa chapel for my grand entrance) and very thoughtful. If you’re doing DIY, she’ll be very glad to help out.

Some pictures:

Wedding Cake: Sugar box (
Special thank you to: Ms Emily Uy!, contact:
Rating: *****
PRICE: 12K for a three layered, ‘luggages inspired’ fondant cake (carrot walnut flavoured) , includes out of town fee, plus 12 mini cakes for free
Don’t be fooled by the price. Ang daming tao na nung unang narinig how much we’re paying for our cake, handed out other recommendations na mas mura. We then asked around, and told these other options what we wanted (a luggage inspired cake for our travel themed wedding). For some reason (na overwhelm sila siguro), they had to revise the pricing for us, at tumaas yung pricing significantly, tapos wala man lang freebies. Lumabas na pag kumuha pa kami ng mini cakes, mas mahal na dun sa package ni Emily. Emily’s package was flat out—yun na yun. And we loved it. She just gave us the rates sheet by email, then I told her about our cake and all the other borloloys (should have these tags na may logo namin, may dalawang twin reflex cameras sa gilid na naka-sabit), and she said she’ll do it. Walang price increase whatsoever. Madali syang kausap, at sa email lang kami talaga nag co-correspond when Jay and I were still overseas. And the mini cakes? They were made into luggages din. we gave them out as souvenirs for our sponsors, na sobrang natuwa sila. We even chose which flavours to use for these mini cakes. Cake tasting was really fun—we ventured into their place kasi sa Binondo. Parang 2 angkan lang naman kami. Ahaha.

End result?

Official Photographer: Mangored ( )
Special thank you to: Randall ‘frustrated rockstar’ Dagooc and wife, Joanne (taga-salo ng bala) contact: ,
Rating: varies...volatile...harbouring between *** and *****
Palagay ko may love-hate relationship kami ng Mangored. First off, I’d like to express how much admiration we have for this zany, very talented group. Sobrang paghanga ito, na sila ang una naming ni-book na supplier (yes, bago pa kami nakapag confirm sa simbahan). We soo love everything about their work. It’s very different, edgy at wala ka talagang masasabi. They're tagged as the country's premier. Oh yes, they are. And while their prices were really up there, we called it an investment. Minsan lang ‘to—and we think we’re not committing any mistake in getting what we think is the best compliment and supplement to our personalities and the event we ourselves are organising. We were trying hard at first—alam mo yon, para bang you wanted to please them din. So much, that the concept of the ‘cigarette dispenser’ even came to mind, kasi my dad and my sister both used to work for a big cigarette manufacturing company , so sabi ko matutuwa ang mga sunog baga—este, Mangored dito, pag may ganito sa lunch spread naming during the preps, at sa reception table nila . Eh kaso masyado silang busy (all throughout the preps nga, niloloko ko si Randall: ‘Eh, masyado na silang sikat eh. Rockstars nalang ang pinapansin nila—nde naman kasi kami rockstars’, to which he’ll reply with his Randall laugh). Madami na silang inaasikaso, and all we wanted was a bit of time for us din. Diba? There were times na wala talagang reply sa emails, texts atbp. We understood at first, kaso nung tumagal tagal na, tapos hanggang 1 week before the wedding hindi sila makadeliver, at kelangan pang kami ang sumunod sa schedule nila, ay nagtaray ang lola mo via a funny text message wherein I bluntly said ‘paying clients din naman kami ah’. Ayun...Yung frustrations ko from the very beginning, kasama na yung tampo ko, nasabi ko kay Joanne via text. In fairness to her, alam kong madami syang ginagawa at talagang busy sila. Pero kung ako sa kanila kasi, magdagdag na kaya sila ng tao, para hindi naman feeling nung maliliit na clients (like us) na echapwera sila. It was a cathartic moment, that text I sent. After nun, hindi na ako na stress with the other pending details. I’d repeatedly tell anyone ‘nothing surprises me anymore’.

Ang nakakatawa eh hindi lang pala kami ang fans. May mga suppliers din kami na fans (im not naming names. Hehe), pa sikreto man ito or hindi. I find it really amusing kasi you can see their reactions upon realising that they will be working with Mangored. Para bang na challenge na na pressure na ewan. Haylavit! Ahaha. Given the heartaches they’ve given us, ewan ko—I’d still go for Mangored. Better yet—sana kinasal nalang kami ng mas maaga, nung hindi pa sila sikat. Hehe. Galing talaga. No regrets.

--Will post pictures once we get them (raw pics plus some of the engagement shots should be by end of this week).--

Official Videographer: Gilbert Obispo of 3rd Generation Video Production ( )
Special thank you to: Direk Gilbert , contact: 5577339 / 09285208363 / 09225885484 / 09158414868
Rating: ***** (at isa pang tumataginting na *)
Price: 16,500 all in, for onsite video, out of town charges and free use of lumens projector. Also included are the raw clips taken during the entire event, in DVD.
Talk about super sulit na, mura pa. Direk Gilbert makes corporate videos, one of them for my Dad’s/Sister’s former company. I’d have to be honest na at first nagdadalawang isip talaga ako, kasi naman hindi sya sikat, at hindi rin sya w@w supplier. It turns out that he’s more of a photojournalist, and seeing the non-bridal photos he took, he’s really good (or maybe it’s a matter of taste—hindi kasi kami ‘bridal’ ever. Hehe). In short, he’s very flexible. If you want bridal, he’ll give you bridal. Pag hindi naman, he’ll work out something for you. We emailed him, over which I negotiated for a couple of things, one of them getting the projector for free. We also gave him a specific wish list, and our choice of song. We wanted to go for a non-traditional wedding onsite video kasi, so walang lovey dovey talaga. And the result? It was a huge surprise. Everyone liked it, as he was able to get hold of the many details we have incorporated in the event. Hindi pa nakakasawang panuorin yung video (or maybe it’s just me. Hehe)

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