The Wedding: Final Part

I have been ranting over and over about our wedding this past week, and well, please don’t blame me for being overly cheesy.  I have waited a long time to talk about this and I have been wanting to talk about this for some time now.  Hahaha.  Finally, the cat is out of the bag.  I can’t even remember why I chose to be mum about it to begin with.

Anyway, I do have a few more tips to shell out, even though they are quite unsolicited.  Planning and putting together this wedding was hard and a breeze at the same time; I could not have done it without the village that I had then and now.

We managed to keep to our budget and spent a little under $16,000, including honeymoon expenses.  We had 112 guests at the wedding, and they were all fed and taken care of.  I’m glad to hear until now that they had a really good time at our wedding.  How did we do it?

  1.  Our guest list was intimate.  At first, it was hard because being Filipino, friends of friends of family of friends are always being suggested as invitees, but Le Mari actually gave a good position:  invite the ones you know would be sad for missing your wedding.  Don’t invite people who will be sad because they didn’t get an invite.  After that, it just became easy.  I knew and he knew who we wanted as witnesses to this union, and my inner introvert came out, and the list was the list.  It started at 70, so having a list at 120 (8 couldn’t come) is already a stretch.
  2. There were a lot of craft parties.  Now, not everyone is up for this.  Come to think of it, you also have to compute the cost of raw materials, the food you’ll serve, and the time you and your party will consume.  One of the main reasons why we did this is because our family is always meeting up.  Our entourage is quite intimate especially the ones coming from the Philippines, so there was never any hesitation to rally and help me out.  I am most grateful to them.
  3. Research your suppliers well.  I found out about Roxy in my university’s forum, touting her as the next big wedding gown designer.  They were right.  There are a lot of budding talent looking to break into the wedding industry and they should be given a chance to.  Of course, it’s a risk because their inexperience might reflect on their work, but they can also be your biggest surprise.  I remember back then my cousin booked Jason Magbanua, and he was the only one doing SDEs.  Now she proudly says she’s one of his first customers.  You can be a building block to their success.
  4. We didn’t look for miracles.  It’s true.  We knew what our budget was so we didn’t go for Gideon Hermosa, or Jason Magbanua, or Ian Cruz, or Metrophoto… we knew what we can afford, and we settled.  For some, the budget is adjustable.  For us, it wasn’t.  We knew that we would need the money as we would be starting out with me not having a job and therefore only on single income.  What was important  was to have a wedding that would be memorable to us and to our friends.  And we nailed it.
  5. Patience is a virtue.  The thing with budget wedding is having to look high and low for suppliers that meet your criteria and your pocket.  So yeah, I am so grateful to my brothers for taking the time to take me anywhere just so I can find the best deals and discounts.  My entourage, especially Marga my MOH, went above and beyond what is required.  I’m just so grateful for our village really.

It was the perfect party, did you know?  I can still replay everything in my head.  I can’t even remember feeling so happy and so sad at the same time.  Happy to be with the love of my life, and sad because I didn’t get to have my father-daughter dance.  But our wedding was phenomenal.  It truly was the best welcome to a new life for us both.  I couldn’t ask for more.

How was your wedding?  Do you have a dream wedding in mind?

The Wedding Part 4

Not all aspects of our wedding were sourced in the Philippines.  There are a lot that was given to us by the gods of Etsy!  Hahahaha.  Here you go:

Giveaways for the Groom’s Men:  Personalized Knives
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰
Le Mari loved it, seriously.  And ultimately regretted not getting one for himself the moment he got it.  Hahahaha.

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Get yours here.

Giveaways for the Bridesmaids:  Monogram Jewelry by House of Monogram PH
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
I gave rose gold tinted monogram bracelets for our bridesmaids.  It was really nice.  This one was not Etsy sourced but they do have a lot of options there.

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Cake Topper:  Better Off Wed
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰
It was exactly as pictured, and we were right to want that instead of the traditional bride-groom figurine.  We still have this intact and would make a great mantle piece, when we eventually find that home.

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Principal Sponsor Giveaways:  Leather Passport Holders and Bag Tags
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
The Leather Company from the Philippines did a wonderful job making light gray pebbled leather passport holders and bag tags, with monograms of our principal sponsors.  The finished product is similar to the one photographed below.  They really know how to satisfy their customers, because when I said that I needed it two weeks later, they delivered it at the door of my house.  WOW.

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We also had our wedding madlibs, and thank you tags all from Etsy.  The table numbers, guest names and thank you notes were all made by my beautiful bridal entourage!  Thank you bridesmaids!  Anyway, do not be afraid to explore that option.  For small details like this, Etsy is such a life saver.

The Wedding Part 3

And so the supplier review continues.  While I’m pretty sure most of my readers come from North America, you might want to consider a Philippine wedding.  Seriously.  When you see the last part of this post, you’ll see just how much we spent and why you should consider the possibility of a destination wedding.

On-The-Day Coordinator:  MCC Events by Mayette Cinco
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
I had a hard time finding a coordinator mainly because of the date we’ve chosen.  Mayette was recommended by my first two choices and with that, I’m pretty sure I made the right decision.  And I did.  I thought we were doing so well already, until Mayette pointed out the small details that aren’t really so small after all.

For example, she was the one who found my lights, sounds and DJ suppliers.  I thought what Blue Leaf had would be fine and an app on the iPad would be enough to surround our event with music.  Boy, was I wrong.  She really did set me on the right path.  I loved meeting her, and she wa super organized.  Unfortunately, the team she sent to our wedding was not.  It seemed like they didn’t listen to her turnover because I had to reorient them from top to bottom the moment they arrived.  Good thing they arrived early.

I actually didn’t notice that there were misses during the wedding.  I was just elated.  I was pampered and every time a tinge of worry comes across my face, Mayette’s team immediately puts me at ease.  But my family gave some unfavorable feedback — like texting during the event while the hosts are asking for assistance, or suddenly missing when the hosts have a question that they can’t ask me — so I had to take down a couple of hearts.  Mayette though was still absolute perfection.  She had two weddings on that day and she still managed to swing by and check on ours.  I am so grateful for her.  So make sure you book her right away so you get to have the A Team on your special day.

Bridal Hair and Makeup Artist:  Makeup Therapy by Cai Guiang
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
I met Cai at a friend’s wedding in 2015 and I knew she’s the one.  Her hands are light as a feather, I swear I almost fell asleep on my chair.  It was just a relaxing experience.  I love that she knew right away what to do with my face.  Hahahaha.  My lack of eyebrows seem to be an inspiration to her.  Even Le Mari loved my makeup, to think that he hates makeup.  It was natural looking and it lasted all night.  Can you believe it?

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Top to bottom: Before the wedding in natural light, after the wedding in the chapel, during the reception

Entourage Hair and Makeup Artist:  PV Dela Cruz and Kristine Viudez
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️ / ❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰 / 💰💰
These two are a great tandem.  Most of my entourage and some of our guests came from overseas so they didn’t have time to make arrangements for their hair and makeup.  So we covered that for them and well, they did amazingly well.

I gravitate towards PV more because she helped me with a special project.  More on that later, and believe me, it is an amazing more on that later.  HAHAHAHA.

PV’s work:

Kristine’s Work:

Flowers:  The Flower Boutique by Menchie Lumbang
Rating: ❤️❤️
Cost:  💰
This one was such a steal because my cousin bridesmaid and I went to Dangwa for it.  It truly is the haven for the budget warrior.   While I loved the bouquet she gave me and the church decor (truly divine and exactly what I asked for), her team literally went to the venue, dropped everything and that’s it.  We were even missing the bridal car flowers.  I felt so sad, looking back, because we used my mother’s new car as our bridal car and it would have been a nice photo to have.  But because it wasn’t as decorated, there was no reason to take a photo of it, especially because it looked like any other car on the street hahahaha.  But don’t worry, the bridal bouquet was amazing.

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Bridal Gown:  Roxoanne Bagano Couture
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
And with that, we have come to the best part ever:  MY DRESS.  Hahahaha.  I know I know that was narcissistic.  But really, I fell in love with this dress.  Roxy turned out to be a friend of a friend, and I swear, she got me.  She delivered the dress to our hotel on New Year’s Day.  My niece Max saw it before I did, and when I walked in the hotel, she was just screaming, TITA CARLA, WE HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU!  IT’S YOUR DREAM DRESS!  And it truly was.  Le Mari held back tears when he first saw me in it, and he couldn’t stop raving about it to this day.  Roxy was such a gem, I could not have asked for a better designer.

Roxoanne Bagano Couture

Men’s Barong Tagalog:  Josie’s Piña and Jusi
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
This store came highly recommended by my cousin.  Their barong tagalog designs are a mix of traditional and modern.  Le Mari loved his barong and is actually one of the first things he asked for when we came to NJ.  Picture this, it’s the same classic designs from the malls but the quality and hand embroidery of Lumban.  It could have easily cost PHP 20,000, but Carlo the store owner gave it to us for even less than half the price.

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Wedding Rings:  Mayfair Jewelry, Binondo Manila
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
Recommended by my college mentor, Ben Cu.  This is another steal.  They make quality jewelry for a fraction of the price.  The only thing I forgot to mention to them is to make sure that the gold is nickel free, because you might be allergic to it.  The engagement ring, Le Mari got from NJ.  We love our rings.

Another tip:  if you prefer the satin finish, might as well go for the brushed one so it doesn’t fade as fast.

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Invitation Suite:  Printsonalities
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰💰💰
Our invitations became a source of drama because our first supplier just flat out disappointed us.  I should have gone with my instinct and booked Printsonalities right off the bat because they were perfect.  Because of the previous supplier’s shortcomings, I had to cancel our contract with them, leaving us with just 40 days before our targeted date of distribution for the invites.  When it’s a destination wedding, you have to send out invites early.

I came to Printsonalities’ Makati office during lunch time, stressed and in a hurry.  My God, are they worth the buck or what.  First, they had me pick a design (if I hadn’t brought my own).  Then, color, which they assisted me with in terms of matching with our intended color scheme.  Then, paper and print quality.  I can definitely see our invites being framed for our future home.  The invites were laid out, proofed, printed, and readied for pick up in 30 days exactly.  FASCINATING.

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Wedding Cake and Cake-In-A-Jar Giveaways:  Box of Sweets by Punky Porca
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
I love this girl.  Believe me.  I think she gave me a good price for our cake and giveaways because she knows just how much I love her.  I’ve seen this girl grow her enterprise from their kitchen to her own cafe.  From orders from friends to being featured in wedding blogs left and right.  Her talent will blow you over, and she is just the sweetest thing.  And her personality is in her end product every time, made with love, sweet, and just right, never overwhelming, and will always go with a good cup of coffee.

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Photobooth:  Flash With A Smile
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰
I fell in love with them the moment they agreed to make me FROM SCRATCH my classic photobooth.  Seriously.  I love them to pieces.  I can’t even believe that they charged me for the basic package when essentially they’re making my entire booth for our wedding alone.  It was amazing.  The props were tasteful, the photos were crisp, and there were two copies of everything.  They turned over the prints and the soft copy of files on that same day.  They’re a well oiled machine!  Get them.  Truly.  GET THEM NOW.

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Almost done with the reviews!  Thank you for bearing with me.  These people really made our day special; they deserve some space in our world.

Stay tuned!

The Wedding Part 2: J Franco Digital Films

I promised a dedicated post for our photographer and videographer, so here it is!

Photo/Video:  J Franco Digital Films
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰💰
This team made miracles for me, and I can never thank them enough for it.  Really.

One of the downsides with having a long distance engagement is the fact that all your pre-wedding frills are put to a hold until your partner is with you.  Le Mari arrived in the Philippines three weeks before the wedding, and being December, it’s obvious that Fritz and his team are fully booked the entire month.  Want to know when we shot our pre-nuptial photos?  December 26.  Yes, this team woke up probably hung over from Christmas celebrations and marched off to the Joya Residences at Rockwell, Makati to give us an amazing time and well, needless to say, amazing photos.

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They made the most of the entire space.  I swear, this photo set does not even begin to describe how well they captured our coupledom.  They were patient and caring, they helped us ease into the shoot.  Le Mari is very shy, so being in front of the camera is not really his cup of tea.  (When he realized that we’ll be taking so many photos, he started to explore the possibility of not being in so many of them.  Seriously.)  But Fritz was able to put him at ease!  The photos turned out so great.
Wedding Paper Divas Thank You Cards

Come wedding day, they were so early and complete.  It was a very relaxed atmosphere because of them, and my personal favorite would be the female photog, Cha (if I recall her name correctly).  The team was accommodating and on point all the time.

I do regret though not having that many photos of just me and Le Mari.  We did steal away an hour to drink at the nearby Bugsy’s just to relax before the formal reception, so we did steal from them precious time with precious lighting.  Nonetheless, we love the selection and we still owe them the final picks for our album.

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There were some problems with lighting, looking now at the raw pictures.  But Fritz and his wife Mayette are more than reassuring that everything will be properly edited and adjusted to our liking.

I swear, everything that we paid for with this team is absolutely worth it.  Book them.  Seriously.

Oh and did I mention the divine same-day edit video?  If this is already this awesome, I am so excited for the final edit.  I almost wanted to change the song, but I am so happy that Fritz talked me down and that I relinquished control.  This is just perfect.

You must MUST consider them for your next event.  :)

More supplier reviews to come later! ❤️

First, The Wedding Part 1

Being in a long distance relationship that transitioned into a long distance engagement only meant one thing:  planning the wedding alone.  Up to this day, I still don’t know how the whole wedding happened, but I know I got a lot of help from people and online resources.  We had a budget and in this day and age when blogs are popping left and right with insane wedding pegs and styles you JUST MUST HAVE, it’s quite difficult to stick with that budget.  But we did.  And we did it because we worked hard.  Hahahaha.

Let me just give a rundown of our major suppliers and my review.  Please note that our wedding happened in the Philippines, where US$1=PHP45 at the time, so prices are adjusted accordingly.

Introducing, our monogram.  Thank you, Printsonalities (more on them later).

Church:  Iglesia Ni Cristo, Bel-Air Chapel
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  NONE
Seriously, we didn’t spend anything on the church.  We just had to inform them ahead of time since our wedding date was right after New Year’s.  We requested for an English-speaking minister, and they gave us Bro. Felipe Naguit.  The church was clean, organized, and we had the best choir ever.  It was perfect.

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Hotel:  Fraser Place Manila, Bel-Air Makati
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰💰💰
This cost us quite a lot, but it was absolutely worth it.  We booked two two-bedroom suites that were so huge, each room hosted over 8 adults and 4 kids.  It was spacious enough to have two hair and makeup stations in each, and the photo-video team even had enough space to gather their editing stuff.  Did I also mention it had a washer and dryer?  Perfect for those emergency wash and dry the night before (which happened).  The staff was amazing too.  Since I forgot to book a car for my husband (SORRY MAJOR SLIP), they had a car waiting for him to take him to the church.  They were soooo accommodating, from extending our check out hours, to entertaining our suppliers as they come.  It was the best buck spent.  Each facet of their service was personalized, the best way to start the year really.

To know more about Fraser, click here.

Venue:  The Blue Leaf Events Pavilion, Taguig City
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰💰💰
I have to admit, I wasn’t ready to spend this much on a venue.  But Le Mari saw Blue Leaf online, and he was enamored.  There was no changing his mind, and I’m now glad that I didn’t.  Our event coordinator Mikee Reyes assisted with everything:  caterer, hotel, car, styling.  She was the best.  The venue too was great, but I already knew that, having attended a couple of weddings and corporate events in the same place.  Blue Leaf is like a semi designed canvas — just add little touches and it’s already awesome.  Our hours were only supposed to be until 10, but because my friends decided to clean out the bar, we stayed till almost midnight.  They didn’t even turn off the air conditioning till 30 minutes before they closed.  No extra charge.  Amazing.

To know more about Blue Leaf, click here.

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Caterer:  Josiah’s Catering
Rating:  ❤️❤️❤️
Cost:  💰💰💰
I have a love-hate relationship with this caterer.  Love, because they have catered to almost all weddings in our family.  Hate, because their service flat out sucks.  We booked them as part of a package with Blue Leaf, and from the moment I tasted their food, I knew I was right.  They’ve also improved a lot on their styling, based on their portfolio, so in my head, I’m in good hands.  That is, until the final tasting day.  First, the account executive made us come at noon only to make us wait for over an hour before finally tasting the menu.  She wasn’t even the one who accommodated us, it was the head chef at the time.  When we did taste the menu, everything that I said shouldn’t be there was there.  From peanuts to appetizers and desserts I didn’t like during the initial tasting, it was all there.  I have made all the details of the menu clear on the day we finalized the styling details, but it was such an epic failure to not even try with the menu.  Plus, she wasn’t there 80% of the time!  It was the head chef explaining to us what we were tasting.  Le Mari was so infuriated that he called for the sales head and demanded that that person be replaced immediately.  Take note, we only had two weeks before the wedding.  Le Mari was so angry, he actually said if that AE is at the wedding, we will demand a full refund of the service charge.  He also included that if all the allergy triggers are on the food, Josiah’s will pay for the medical expenses.  I think it was such an unusual thing to happen, to be so disappointed with the service that the sales head just agreed to everything.

Anyway, fast forward to the wedding, with the new AE, everything was good and well.  The guests even told us the food was great.  It wasn’t until I looked at the wedding photos did I notice that a lot of the styling cues we decided wasn’t followed.  For one, I hate the mirrored runner.  I wanted the continuous and flowing floral runner.  But they used the mirror and there were barely any flowers.  Same goes with the guest tables.  So lesson learned:  HIRE A STYLIST if you are particular with how you want your event to look.  Thankfully, they performed well food-wise.

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We stocked the bar ourselves, so we just requested for a staff to pour the drinks.  He put out a small jar for tips.  I wish he asked us first if he can do that, because we really didn’t want our guests to shell out anything, but I guess it was just for the trouble.  We tipped all the waiters in the end, so he didn’t really need that jar.  Good thing is all the alcohol was consumed and nothing was brought home by the staff.

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I would love to post a review for our photographer and videographer but I’ll save that stuff for the next one.  With the work they did, they absolutely deserve a post of their own.

Please stay tuned!  More wedding details to come.