TALK TUESDAY: Having an unplugged wedding

Did I mention that we had an unplugged wedding?  At the doors of the church, our coordinators and junior bridesmaids handed out these notice cards to our guests:

When I first pitched the idea to the husband, he was immediately all for it.  My mother, not so much.  She pointed out that it will be inevitable that people will whip out their phones and tablets and cameras and just take a snapshot of everything.  I know what she meant; I myself have a hard time putting my phone down.  But I was adamant.

Of course, our wedding is not my first wedding.  I have seen so many, and in the recent past, two of which were my close friends’.  Both were grand celebrations, and everyone seemed to be present.  They had hashtags and everything, so that anything posted on social media about weddings will be publicly curated.  I did this too, and it really was great seeing everyone else’s perspective of our special day.

Anyway, the guests were taking photos of everything — flowers, each other, selfies — and then the entourage started walking.  It was marvelous.  You know you’re about to see something special when each participant is a build up to something better.  Then the doors opened.  The bride’s silhouette made everyone gasp in awe.  It was just like in the story books.

But it completely SUCKED A** for the photographer and videographer.  Everyone had their own phones, cameras, Go Pros and what not blocking their line of sight.  I swear I even saw a couple of the crew visibly and verbally irritated.  Some of them even asked the guests to move out of the way so they can catch that moment, and the guests had the gall to be annoyed that they’re being asked to move!

At that moment, all I could think of was the money the couple paid for the professionals to take pictures and videos of their special day. True, in the end, they made it work, but honestly, not without extreme effort.  There was even a wedding I attended that there were so many phone up, the videographer couldn’t see the groom’s face when he first saw the bride.  He had to make do by capturing a tablet capturing the groom’s face.

It was such a distraction.  I felt so bad for the photographers and videographers.  It was at that point that I decided that for our wedding, we’ll have everyone turn off their devices, at least during the ceremony.  Right off the bat, our coordinator and my mother immediately said this will be difficult to pull off, especially at this day and age where it is just automatic for people to whip out their phones at any god given time.  But we made it work.  And thanks to completely cooperative guests, everything was pulled off perfectly.

Not a single phone or tablet in sight. Our families and guests were amazing. They truly made our day special.

It was almost a special gift to our suppliers.  No distractions, no need for body contortions, because the space was open and free for them to take photos and videos of our special day.

I know how important it is to have your own memento of things and events that had happened in your life.  I know because I too am an enthusiast of taking photos.  You can check out my almost 3,000 photos on Instagram, and even on Snapchat.  I take a lot of photos and make sure that they’re properly framed so they’re deserving to be exhibited on my feed.  But us, the to-be-married couple, we’re right in front of you.  You can see us live and alive, exchanging our vows and very much in the moment.  Why would you settle for the small screen?

Our journey as a couple is filled with Facetime, selfies, chats, numerous text messages and email journals even.  For once, it was nice to not have those things in the way and just be present.  Believe us when we say real life is a million times better.

It did result in fewer public posts in our social media feed, but we didn’t care.  I’d like to believe (and as what most of our guests have shared after the festivities) that everyone was moved because everyone paid attention, and listened, and was completely present.  Now, that was truly a moment to remember.

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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.