Thursday, April 30, 2009

Overseas Couples Redux

As if it was déjà vu, April proved to be another frenetic month for me–-not for weddings, but for meetings with overseas couples. I met with eight engaged couples (all in less than three weeks) and it was a thrill interacting with them during the customary ocular inspection, food-tasting session, and cordial discussions with their chosen suppliers. Truly, the energy, excitement, and fun were endless.

Couple # 1 – Brenson and Myles. Both Brenson and Myles are based in Japan. They will get married January next year at Punta Fuego in Batangas. At the helm, Myles is bent on having sunset colors for her motif. Kaye Cunanan was tasked to whip up a sumptuous feast for 150 family members and close friends of the couple. Jason Magbanua plus the husband-and-wife team of Mimi and Karl will be in charge of videography and photography, respectively. The latter found a perfect spot inside Punta Fuego for the Christian ceremony--not the beach front though. The location is top secret for now but let us just say that the site is a sight to behold.Couple # 2 – Roger and April. Both Roger and April are doctors based in the States. Roger is already a resident physician while April will begin her residency program in July. She e-mailed me while I was in New York, and we decided to meet up in Manila to finalize her wedding plans. Working with her was a breeze–-she exactly knew what she wanted, and we were lucky to have her cool, doting mom to help us out in the preparations. Roger and April’s wedding is set in Tagaytay. Jason Magbanua and Pat Dy will do the videography and photography, respectively. Veluz Reyes will prove once more why she ranks among the favorite couturiers of brides. Couple # 3 – Romeo and Jen. Both Romeo and Jen are based in the United Kingdom. Having been together for a long while now, the couple has decided to tie the knot in April next year. Kaye Cunanan, Aaron Lejarde and Veluz Reyes top their list of suppliers. We managed to maximize the couple’s brief stay in Manila by finalizing almost all of their wedding requirements before they headed back to the UK. The food tasting in Kaye’s residence was definitely several notches above satisfying. Her bright food ideas always attest to her enviable status as one of the most sought-after caterers in town. Aaron transformed Jen to a lovely bride which prompted her to say, “I never thought I could be this beautiful.” Meanwhile, Veluz’s vision for the bride made Jen giddy with happiness. Couple # 4 – Jasper and Karen. Jasper and Karen are both doctors based in the States. I met them in New York, thanks to Mimi and Karl who recommended the very soon-to-wed couple to me. The first meeting was very casual–-I remember I didn’t have a proposal to show them. What were the odds of having a successful client meeting while on a vacation, right? (I’m not complaining, okay? I think this is way beyond coolness – booking a wedding while on a vacation.) Threelogy Video, Veluz Reyes, Madge Lejano, and of course, Mimi and Karl are part of their dream team. It rained hard during the photo shoot at a new resort in Angono, Rizal, but there was nary a whine or whimper from the couple. I love this couple to death. They’re one of the easiest people to please and work with.

Couple # 5 – Mike and Ysabel. A few weeks from now, Mike and Sabs will say their wedding vows. Jason Magbanua, Pat Dy, Rajo Laurel and Madge Lejano will help me make this couple’s dream wedding a reality. Surely, this young couple will have the time of their lives come their wedding day. This will also be my first time to work with Audrey of Bizu who’s doing the full catering for the occasion. I couldn’t stop talking about how accommodating she is with our countless requests. Couple # 6 – Jeff and Kathleen. Kathleen is a flight attendant for Qatar Airways while Jeff manages his own business in Manila. They were recommended to me by my brother. We are concocting a wonderful night of fun, festivity, and good music for this young couple, as well as for their more than a hundred guests. Madge Lejano will prettify the already gorgeous Kathleen. Bob Nicolas will do the video. Eagerly anticipated are the avant-garde bridal gown and cutting edge suit designed by Puey Quinones for the couple. When Kathleen flies back to Manila in time for the wedding, Oly Ruiz will be ready to do a prenup shoot which promises to be another kick-ass e-session.Couple # 7 – Mark and Rica. Mark works in United Kingdom while Rica is a Manila-based marketing executive. All systems go for their Tagaytay wedding in June. When Mark returns home in May, the couple will have their prenups with Paul Vincent with whom I will work for the first time. Teddy will spruce up Sonya’s Garden with his eco-chic floral arrangements. Completing Mark and Rica’s suppliers are Threelogy Video, Niko Hernandez and Veluz Reyes.Couple # 8 – John and Heidi. It’s crunch time for John and Heidi who will get married in a few days. John is a physical therapist while Heidi is a doctor practicing family medicine in Illinois. Mimi and Karl will take photos of the wedding while Oly Ruiz is in charge of the postnups. Jason Magbanua will document the wedding on video. Heidi will don a Veluz Reyes creation. Jing Tanada will transform the Rigodon Ballroom of The Peninsula Manila into an ocean of pink and magenta flowers. Finally, guests should look forward to the yummy cake of Alex Franco.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Real Weddings: Details Diva Goes to Bohol

Remar Balatero-Joelene Sarmiento

Baclayon Church
Bohol Tropics
Almost a year ago, I got an e-mail with the subject, “in desperate need of a wedding planner.” I was intrigued by the subject line and I immediately opened and read the message. One could sense the sender’s desperation and predicament. Briefly, she told me her difficult situation: 1. They are a couple based in California. 2. Both of them could spare only a few days in Manila before the actual wedding. 3. The wedding would be held in Bohol. 4. They expect 250 plus guests.

After sending her my standard wedding proposal with a few links featuring my most recent weddings, I got a follow-up e-mail from the bride – “I've spoken to numerous coordinators through the e-mail, but none have quite the experience and portfolio you have. I've spoken to many coordinators that just didn't mesh well with me, and now I feel like, judging from your e-mail and website galleries, I found THE one.” Now, tell me, who would not be flattered by that generous compliment? Even I, in my jaded, stoic self was so touched, and honored to be a part of her wedding.

Luckily, a huge load was taken off my back when I learned that Mimi and Karl, Madge Lejano, Veluz Reyes and Jason Magbanua were all included in the list of suppliers.

I visited Bohol twice for ocular inspection and to look for local suppliers who could furnish our other needs for the event. The wedding preparations were a breeze. Joelene, the bride, had a clear-cut vision of how she wanted the wedding to be. My inbox was filled with photos she gathered from all the websites and these were used as pegs -from the gown to the invitations, flowers and the reception. Everything neatly fell into place.

The details were, pardon my self-patronizing tone, downright elegant, coherent and exquisite.

Invitations. The purple, damask-laden invitation was rich and opulent. It featured a letterpressed main invitation with an RSVP page, entourage page, and liturgical participants page inserted into a lime green- lined envelope.
Chocolates. The two-layered Kitkat chocolate wafers were covered with specially designed wrappers that bore the purple damask prints of the invitations. These chocolates served as décor on the customized lime green linens. Individually, all the seated guests got significantly apt and different words (e.g., laughter, trust, desire, compromise, etc.) that semantically spell a happy and successful marriage. At the back of the chocolates were the pronunciation transcription enclosed in parentheses and a brief dictionary definition of the word. Truly, this ingenious touch was a conversation piece. Unity candle set. The crystals encrusted on the matches and candles were actually earrings snapped up from a thrift store. Add a silver ribbon and voila!, you have an instant expensive-looking unity candle set. Misalettes. The misalette covers were done plain lime green and plain purple. Adding interest to the misalette were metal ear hoops with a vintage feel.

Gown and bag. To say that Veluz did a geat job was an understatement. Joelene’s wedding gown was truly a fashion magnum opus. The moment she glided along the church aisle for her bridal march, a series of ooohs and ahhhs emanated from the guests. Apart from the jaw-dropping intricate details, what made the gown most amazing was the fact that Joelene never had a fitting not until a week before the wedding. The bag featured ostrich feathers and the same rosettes found on the wedding gown. Simply, Veluz outdid herself once again (as if this is even possible) proving time and again that you will never go wrong with great talent combined with sheer artistry. Gifts for the principal sponsors. The couple gifted their principal sponsors with a pack of social cards – something which they can use. Special silver gift wrappers covered the boxes which contained a matched set of 100 cards and 100 envelopes. The packaging was topped with a personalized gift tag and accentuated with purple ostrich feathers. Bridesmaids’ outfits. Since all the bridesmaids would come from the U.S., it was Joelene’s idea to buy their outfits online. It was also very thoughtful of the couple to give the female entourage members brooches to be used on the wedding day. Even the cute flower girls were provided with brooches. Notice the matching shoes of the female entourage members – very chic indeed! Bouquets. Each bouquet for the female entourage member had a special crystal trinket. This is another personal touch which was well appreciated by the bride’s friends.Cake and dessert table. Would you believe that the wedding cake cake was made of butter icing? From afar, the cake looked like it was made of fondant which is the common trend in wedding cakes. And with its intricate damask print design, one would expect fondant icing to be used. But no; upon closer inspection, it was made of butter icing! A dessert buffet was set around the cake table. Aptly labeled “Sweets for my sweet,” it offered a variety of decadently delectable desserts specially chosen by the bride and the groom. A hit among the guests was the R and J- shaped gingerbread cookies. Thanks to Ching Usares of Lola Lilia's for the scrumptious dessert spread and the intricate wedding cake. Floral arrangements. A great find in Tagbilaran, Bohol was the team of Joseph Dumadag and Michael Yu of Blue Grass Project who supplied all my floral requirements. The aisle of Baclayon Church was lined with white floral arrangement on lighted posts. For the reception, special white damask printed lamps and ornamental wood lamps from Manila were shipped all the way to Bohol. These lamps were decorated with clusters of white flowers. Customized green linens were made specifically for the 14-seater tables of Bohol Tropics. Specially designed table numbers and program cards adorned each guest table. The program cards contained the names and oft-quoted verses of famous poets. Four damask backlit posts topped with cascading white flowers served as the couple’s backdrop. Stairs. Of all the motifs, I liked most the love quotes which were placed strategically on the stairs leading to the reception area. These love quotes were specially handpicked by the bride. Photo Booth. If Mimi and Karl brought the Clique Booth to their own wedding in Bora, Joelene brought it to Bohol. Guests didn’t mind the long queue just to have their pictures taken. Bus ride. Since there were about 60 guests who came all the way from the U.S. (and some Manila-based guests), a bus shuttled all the guests from the resort where they stayed to the church and back to the reception venue. Wisely, every would-be bride should listen to what Joelene has learned from the pre-wedding experience-- one has to “let go” so one can enjoy her wedding. She trusted her suppliers and in return, she got the best (and more) from all of them.

Special thanks to Auntie Bettie for helping us with the logistics; Mae of Supreme Weddings and Chinkie Agregado for their expertise and indispensable assistance;. Ella and Joy for making sure that all wedding plans and details were carried out to the letter; Ryan Li for the tips in mounting a wedding in Bohol;. Veluz, Niko and Ate Lempot for the masterpiece and the pleasure of their company.( I appreciate as well their going out of their way to help us with the entourage outfits); Tetta for hosting the event in three languages – English, Filipino and Bisaya; Madge for leaving her comfort zone and doing an excellent job on Joelene; Jason for the well-received on- site video coverage; Mimi and Karl for the wonderful pictures and for recommending me to this wonderful couple. (Wow, I feel like I’m the bride here.). Lastly, on a serious note, thank you Joelene and Remar for your trust in me. It was a joy planning your wedding and I look forward to going with you to Disneyland in July.

Click here for M+K’s article on Remar and Joelene’s wedding.
Click here for the wonderful
write-up by Veluz.
Click here for
Jason Magbanua’s onsite AVP.

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