Sunday, May 30, 2010

When Simple Elegance Mattered

Mike Marquez and Sabs Wee
Santuario de San Antonio

Blue Leaf Events Pavilion

The wedding of Mike and Sabs would be best remembered as intimate, genuine, and heartfelt.

Sabs, who is a flight attendant, is the sweetest bride I have ever had. She has a genuine concern for me, not only as her wedding planner but also as a friend. The bond we had established became the cornerstone of our wedding preparations.

The very first time we sat down and talked about her wedding, she said succinctly that she liked it to be very simple – “I want the wedding to be a celebration of the love that Mike and I have for each other, and the love we share with our families.” You see, both Mike and Sabs come from close-knit families. Since Sabs was out of the country for most of the planning stage, her mom came to the rescue and she helped us out with the wedding preps.

The concept of “simple and elegant” – though perfunctorily used by many brides I have met – is very subjective. What may be simple and elegant to a person may not be necessarily simple and elegant to another. But Sabs was able to concretize what simple elegance was, first, through her color palette of silver and navy blue which turned out to be a great choice! It was clean, modern, and regal.

The invitations designed by Printsonalities reflected the simplicity yet formality of the event – two cardstock boards in ivory with the text in charcoal gray thermograph. The main invitation carried a pearlized border to add texture to the invitation suite. Designer Rajo Laurel kept up with the preference for simplicity of the bride. Inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s wedding gown, Rajo created a lace masterpiece with a high neckline. The back details included crystal buttons for enclosure and a neat bow in Mikado silk.Sabs wore shoes from Solea, and Rajo provided her a vintage-looking hairpiece.Madge Lejano made sure that Sabs looked her best. There was no bad angle for Sabs – each angle was picture perfect. She has an almost perfect facial symmetry. It was as if she had a spotlight following her wherever she went. She was a sight to behold.Sabs carried an all-white peony bouquet by Zenas Pineda.The entourage wore elegant blue gowns with silver accents.They carried white bouquets dotted with lilac flowers and tied with silver ribbons that matched their outfits. Sabs didn’t want any elaborate floral decor in the church. She asked the florist for clusters of asters in silver urns to decorate the aisle. She also decided to do away with the red carpet, and thus expose the elegant marble flooring of the church. It was refreshing to see the church’s aisle bare. A plain shiny board covered the misalettes which were tied with a silver cord. The end of the strings had silver ornaments. The unity candle set featured a white pillar candle tied with a textured white ribbon and accentuated with a vintage brooch. Two white tapered candles wrapped in blue tulle and white organza were used to light the unity candle.Photographers Pat Dy and Francis Perez captured the fun-loving couple during their portrait session. Despite the rain, the couple was game for posing, hence, these lovely photographs. (Reminder to myself: The makeup artist must be available for touch-up. Good thing, Madge stayed and made sure that after being drenched a bit by the rain, the bride was as radiant as ever when she entered the dining hall.)Both the Jade and Banyan halls of The Blue Leaf were reserved for this event. Half of the Jade Hall was venue for cocktails; the other half became part of the dining area for guests. Bizu Patisserie provided a variety of cocktail food which consisted of mushroom duxelle in vol-au-vent; melon, shrimp and prosciutto croquettes; Spanish chorizo and cheese croquettes; and beef and capsicum in skewers. Guests swarmed around the wine and cheese station. It overflowed with the best of wines and cheeses from all over the world – Gruyere, Stilton, Emmental, Brie, and Edam. Bai Capture set up a photo booth which became an instant hit among the guests – some of whom came all the way from Zamboanga. Zenas featured square-mirrored vases, old-fashioned candle holders, and pebbles to create a minimalist look – as per request of the bride. She also used tall crystal vases filled with white pebbles to add height on some of her arrangements.The menu cards were placed together with the napkins and tied with a silver ribbon. Boards with the names of the guests served as a napkin holder and place card, too.The tables were named after the international destinations of the airline for which Sabs and Mike work. Right after their grand entrance, the couple proceeded to the dance floor for their first dance. They danced to the tune of “Panalangin” by the Apo Hiking Society. A shower of confetti capped their dance.Then, the couple cut their five-layered fondant wedding cake by Penk Ching. It was indeed another masterpiece from the Queen of Fondant herself.Daddy Toti, Mommy Cristina together with Mike’s siblings – Anthony, David, and Mark – welcomed and thanked everyone on behalf of the Marquez family.Dinner ensued right after. Bizu served a mouth-watering buffet which included a 10-hour roasted U.S. beef belly on the carvery with mushroom sauce and horseradish cream; chicken with bleu cheese tarragon cream; baked cream dory with pomodoro, prosciutto, bechamel and artichokes; roast pork tenderloin with dijon thyme; and grilled tiger prawns with aligue cream. And what’s Bizu without their famous macaroons? Yummy ending indeed.
The grandparents of Mike also gave a heartwarming speech.
On the side of the bride, Papa Ernie, Mama Gina, and siblings of the bride, JR and Kuya Mickey with wife, Kaye welcomed Mike to the Wee family.An emotional thank you speech from the bride and the groom made everyone teary- eyed – this coordinator included. Mike and Sabs were the epitome of happiness during their wedding day. Here's Jason Magbanua's onsite AVP.

Mike and Sabs sent me a touching thank-you note almost a year after their wedding. I have to admit that letters like this make my heart melt and I am not ashamed to say that I was crying in a public place when I was reading it.

Dear Ernest,

I might have known what kind of wedding I wanted maybe even before I had a grasp of what marriage really means; from the style of my gown, to the "feel" I'd like to project; the flowers, the colors...but little did I know that with you at the helm, my husband and I are now proud to say that we had the wedding beyond what we dreamed of.

You made it possible to have our wedding with everything we wanted, but not compromising the factors that would make our personalities as individuals and as a couple stand out. That made us really respect your suggestions and opinions. I might have been stubborn during the early months of our discussions (causing money down the drain..ha ha ha!) but what mattered in the end was that everything about our wedding came out to what I can call my "dream wedding perfection."

I guess the perfect manifestation of how great you are at what you do are the many feedback we received from our family, and our guests about our wedding. Words like, "This is the best, most sincere wedding I've ever attended!" or "Everyone was crying!" and "Your wedding's so beautiful" or "I felt part of your love story!" were more than enough for us to appreciate the hard work and sheer effort you'd exerted to make our special day as it was. We can't thank you enough. Our gratitude is beyond words.

Thank you, Ernest! With you, I did not just have a wedding planner. I have family. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When Fashion and Romance Met

Choy Nuñez-Jill Sabalo
Our Lady of Lourdes

Taal Vista Hotel

The wedding of Choy and Jill was undeniably fashionable, detailed, and personal.
Honestly, when I first met the couple, I was smitten by their good looks and natural charms. Choy can easily be mistaken for a movie star while Jill has the bearing of a refined and well-bred hacendera. Warm smiles and pleasantries abounded during our first meeting. The couple had a clear vision of what they wanted for their wedding. Our talk was finally sealed when they said, “We trust you, Ernest.” It was the magic phrase expressive of their confidence in my ability , style and taste. After that, everything, as the saying goes, was smooth sailing.

The couple decided to take their wedding a notch higher than the typical and the mundane. They wanted fashion to play a role in the festive occasion – from the outfits of the participants to the reception program. In fact, they liked fashion infused into the tiniest of details.

Details? This wedding validated again the fact that there is always room for a myriad of elements to make an event special, unique, and personalized. With the couple listening to all of the suppliers’ ideas and suggestions, there was no way that the wedding could fail. The affair was a huge success as far as everyone involved was concerned – most especially for the newlyweds.

Brace yourself for all the wonderful wedding minutiae, and the amazing photographs taken by no less than Pat Dy and Francis Perez.

The couple chose mimosa and brown as wedding colors to exemplify the warmth of the sun. A lace pattern provided a dramatic backdrop for the text-laden letterpressed invitations. I replicated the pattern and used the copies on the other components of the invitation suite. The couple opted for a handwritten font to evoke a formal yet fun wedding. Don’t you just love how these patterns appear so becoming in letterpress?
The wooden arrhae box with gold and silver metal plate carving matched the theme. The arrhae was composed of six coins from 1980, the year when Choy was born, plus six coins from 1982, the year when Jill was born, and one coin from Weddings at Work.A golden brown-textured pillar candle served as unity candle. Decorated with brown and gold trimmings, gold tapered candles completed the unity candle set. Gingerly handcrafted by the bride, the couple’s gifts for their entourage members reflected the same color scheme and the patterns. Veluz, once again, left me breathless with her bridal lace creation. It perfectly fit Jill. Featuring an asymmetrical neckline, the gown had seed pearls, Swarovski crystals, and lace cutouts as accents. The veil had similar lace-like patterns which were hand-sewn on the helm line. Multiple layers of delicate lace completed the standout look – suited for a fashionista like Jill. I have already said this so many times, but I look up to Veluz not only as a mentor but also as a paragon worthy of emulation. I always strive to approximate the passion, creativity, and quality service she invests in all her undertakings. I owe this lady bigtime.Make-up was done by Gela Laurel. She enhanced the natural beauty of the already stunning bride. Red bag and brown pillows for the rings were courtesy of Niko for Veluz, of course. Bejeweled Ecada shoes – Lovely!Choy was not to be overlooked. He appeared dapper in his Randy Ortiz classic suit with a twist. I just adored his white long-sleeved shirt with textured details on the chest area. And did I say that he looked dapper? Niko was a winner hands down for creating those wonderful entourage gowns in soft flowing chiffon accentuated with cutout fabric flowers and tea-stained lace. The flower girls looked innocently cute in their gowns that mirrored the color motif.The bridal bouquet, inspired by fireworks, was an arrangement of exotic flowers exquisitely created by Zenas Pineda. With the signature Ernest touch, a brooch was placed on the ribbon to hold the flowers together. Brooches were similarly placed on the bouquets of the entourage members.
Jill demonstated the ideal bridal gait. She walked down the aisle gracefully, elegantly, and effortlessly. The embroidered embellishments on her veil appeared radiant against the red carpet. Choy could not contain his emotions when Jill sashayed toward him. Here are pictures of the couple during their portrait session. Don’t they look good together?Right before the guests gathered inside the main dining hall, the newlyweds had a pictorial session in the ballroom. They gushed at how Zenas beautifully created the look the couple had envisioned for the reception venue – formal yet warm, romantic but not cheesy. The dance floor was illuminated for the entrance of the couple and their entourage.
The stage was covered with fresh green kamuning leaves accentuated with the initials “C” and “J” made of yellow flowers. A lovely couch covered with delicate fabric and tied with a yellow band completed the setting for a great photo op.
On the right side of the stage was mounted an enlarged photo of the couple taken during one of their trips.
Gobo lights depicting the same pattern brightened up the otherwise boring walls of the ballroom. Lights and sounds were provided by Sensitivity Lights and Sounds headed by Juancho and Meanne Fondevilla.At the cocktail area, guests looked for their escort cards which listed the different countries the couple would visit for the duration of their honeymoon. Hence, the table was aptly labeled “Find your destination.” A wish tree, painstakingly crafted by the mother of the bride, was another activity for the guests during the cocktails.Trivia about the bride and the groom were framed and placed on top of each of the cocktail tables.At the dining area, guest tables were decorated with square glass vases wrapped with thick lace and containing yellow flowers – liliums, alstomeria blooms, and cymbidiums. The brown table number cards/program cards coordinated well with the other wedding stationery – from the pattern to the fonts used. Silver wooden candelabras exuded a warm glow on the tables. Scattered white pebbles accentuated the table set-up. For the VIP tables, square menu cards were tucked in crisp white napkins placed on top of golden, square-shaped plate chargers.Specially wrapped candle holders with a print of the pattern were used as additional decorations on the VIP tables.The cake was a sight to behold. Penk Ching proved once more that she is the queen of fondant cakes. She was able to replicate the pattern (down to the minute, intricate peaks and whorls) using sugar. Truly, the cake was an amazing, edible art piece.Handmade custom butter cookies baked by Judy Uson were given out to the guests. Bright yellow icing looked perfect on the flower-shaped cookies.Before the couple’s grand entrance, the entourage members made their way to the illuminated dance floor accompanied by a specially made audio-visual presentation. The finale, of course, was the walk of the bride and groom. Heartfelt speeches of selected entourage and family members dotted the program. A wonderfully choreographed dance number by the couple capped the night's merry-making.Jill and Choy, I would run out of vivid adjectives to describe your wedding. Simply put, your wedding is really a testament to your sense of style and romantic nature which are innate in both of you. Thank you for your friendship, and cheers to a married life filled with laughter and love! Here are some outtakes of the wedding. And here is the awesome onsite avp by Bob Nicolas.

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