Friday, April 30, 2010

Nice-To-Have: Fully Dressed-Up Reception Venue

Dear Online Diary,

Do you know Becky Bloomwood and the Shopaholic series?

I am a big fan of the series. Sophie Kinsella captured my heart when she wrote about the mischief and romance of Becky Bloomwood with her then boyfriend Luke Brandon. They are the perfect couple for me.


This post is not about the book or the characters. This is mainly about Becky and Luke's wedding reception venue which was featured on Shopaholic Ties the Knot edition and the source of our wedding reception style.

This is during the planning stage where Becky was talking with her event designer:

'We'll have birch trees imported from Switzerland, and garlands of fairy lights. You'll walk down an avenue of trees, with their branches hanging over you. Pine needles will give off a wonderful scent as you walk, flowers will magically blossom as you pass and trained songbirds will sing overhead . . . What do you think about an animatronic squirrel?'

Later on the story, Becky did not quite contain herself so she sneaked into the venue and here’s what she saw. Read on and let your imagination work on the details:

Nothing could have prepared me for walking into that room.

It's like walking into another land.

A silvery, sparkling, magical forest. Branches are arching high above me as I look up. Flowers seem to be growing out of clumps of earth. There are vines and fruits and an apple tree covered with silver apples, and a spider's web covered with dewdrops and are those real birds flying around up there? Colored lights are dappling the branches and falling on the rows of chairs.

A pair of women are methodically brushing crumbs off every upholstered seat. A man in jeans is taping a cable to the carpet. A man on a lighting rig is adjusting a silvery branch. A violinist is playing little runs and trills, and there's the dull thud of timpani being tuned up.

The enormous, white and gold room where Luke and I will lead the dancing. Oh my God. It's even huger than I remember. It's even more gilded and grandiose. Spotlights are circling the room, lighting up the balconies and chandeliers. They suddenly switch to strobe effects, then flashing disco lights, playing on the faces of waiters putting finishing, touches to the tables.

Every circular table has an ornate centrepiece of cascading white flowers. The ceiling has been tented with muslin, festooned with fairy lights like strings of pearls. The dance floor is vast and polished. Up on the stage, a ten-piece band is doing a sound check. I look round dazedly and see two assistants from Antoine's cake studio balancing on chairs, sticking the last few sugar tulips into the eight foot cake. Everywhere is the smell of flowers and candle wax and anticipation.

Quite magical, right? I’m one of those brides who want to have a fully dressed-up reception venue. I’ve browsed and gazed over fully styled venue all over the net and fell in love with the works of David Tutera, celebrity event stylist abroad. I immediately became a fan of his TV show, The Party Planner, and I love all his DIY ideas. Here’s a few sample of his works I found from his Facebook Fan Page:

{Eco and chic}

{Glamorous Garden}

{Yellow Wedding}


I'm pretty sure you loved these pictures. Breath-taking, right? Did it light a bulb and gave you inspiration for your reception venue, too?


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Guest List

Dear Online Diary,

I can’t believe how finalizing the guest list takes forever. H2B and I have been working on it for about five (yes, five!) months now and it’s nowhere near our target head count. Partially because I belong to a huge clan and I’m afraid that people will get hurt when they found out that they are not invited to our wedding (the other part is, yet again, lack of time). Seriously, it’s not easy to tell people that they are not invited without hurting their feelings, right?

Anyhow, I was just rummaging around the net when I came across this cute bridal website. To my surprise, they have a flow chart on guest list decision-making. It’s pretty simple, it’s like telling us that deciding who to send the invitation is the easiest task ever. See for yourself:

{Guest List Flowchart from Today's Bride}

What do you think? It makes a lot of sense, right? :)

.. and oh, H2B is almost done with his own DIY project. I expect to share it to you next month. Happy preps!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bridal Fair Escapade: The 4th Southern Bridal Show, A Wedding Festival

Dear Online Diary,

Yesterday, we went to Festival Supermall to meet H2B’s friend and browse through the suppliers who participated to the 4th Southern Bridal Show.

It was sweet and cozy. The suppliers are not too well-known in the wedding industry saved to some photographers like Eros Ocampo, Joey Boquiren and BA Studio but what caught my attention were the beautiful gowns on display. I particularly love two of the gowns and here they are:

{Two of the best bridal gowns on display: Delby Bragais (left) and Fatima Beltran (right)}

There was no gimik or what-have-you. It was such a pretty simple affair to pass by. Although we weren't able to book any supplier (we are still hunting for cake and light&sound suppliers), we’d like to commend the organizers and the suppliers for being polite and friendly. Kudos! :)


Friday, April 23, 2010

Thoughts to Ponder: Half Way Realization Tid Bits

Dear Online Diary,

It’s exactly 6 months to go before the Big Day (Tic-tac...).

Although I can hardly wait to walk down the aisle, I feel nervous thinking that our preparation might not be enough to pull the wedding of our dreams. No, let me correct myself, it’s the wedding of MY dreams since all H2B wants is a simple wedding but he sometimes can’t do anything but give in to all my whims. :)

Being a hands-on bride made me realize a couple of thing during preps but what’s more surprising is that it let me discover some things I never knew I could do.

{The Road to a Successful Wedding}

Here are the Top 10 things that I discovered (so far) while preparing for our wedding (since April of last year):

1. It is important to built a positive relationship with all of your suppliers – even when some of them are pasaway (hard-headed), diva or what-have-you. I’m not going to lie, I have difficult suppliers but I just feel I do not have a choice but to lay all my cards so as not to break a good relationship. In the end, they are the ones who can make it happen. I guess a little patience won’t hurt both parties. (This reminds me that I need to follow-up on one of our suppliers. It's been, what, two weeks since I sent an inquiry but I have yet to get her answer. Talk about testing one's patience...)

2. Suppliers who personally manage their business are easier to talk to than those who hire people to manage their business. Owner-supplier tend to value their client’s time and energy more than those who hire people to do the job for them. Say for example, HMUAs are easy to talk to about their schedules and freebies than AEs of caterers and photographers. Based on my experience, AEs tend to set aside your inquiries and never return your call or text messages (real headache!).

3. It’s not the end of the world if you will not get what you want. I do have a long list of Nice-to-Haves – fireworks display, car, cake, caterer, event styling, bridal dress, But because of a limited budget, we have to forgo some of the things that can give a major oomph to our wedding. It’s better to start saving for the real deal (house, insurance and other things needed for married and family life ahead) than splurging everything we have for a one day affair.

4. If the supplier of your choice does not fit into your budget, go with the alternative. Big time suppliers such as well-known designers, photographers, videographers and caterers offer satisfactory services but their rate can be as high as heaven. Blooming suppliers can do a job well done and can offer the same quality of service for half a price.

5. Be creative. Doing DIY projects will go a long way. Use what God gave you. Be positive and faithful. I have been creating DIY projects for some time and it let me discover the artistic side of me.

6. Being creative also means saving some moola. If you saw something that you really love (say, a wedding cord), don’t buy it just yet. Search for some inspirations online and before you know it, you’ll realize that it’s actually easy to do. You got the cord that you want, you have the bragging rights and you saved a couple of bucks. Happiness. :)

7. Attending bridal fairs will open your eyes to wedding reality. I still can remember the first bridal fair that H2B and I attended (Martha Stewart Bridal Fair on February 27-28, 2009). I felt the This-Is-It-I’m-Getting-Married feeling and it made me embrace the wonderful world of wedding, which (I later found out) is pretty much addicting!

8. In the early stages of our preps, H2B appeared like he does not care about our wedding. He seemed oblivious about my need for support resulting to some of our major fights and bad days. I later realize that it’s just the way (some) grooms are. They think the only tasks they need to accomplish are to pay for the bills and be there at the altar (which I think is pretty lame). I resolved this by giving him assignments that I think he will enjoy. I make it a point to praise him for a job well done (that’s for his ego. Sigh, M-E-N.) So far, it’s working because he had photographed most of my featured DIY projects here in my blog and he’s currently working on our caricature (using Photoshop). Win-win, right? :)

9. Involve your friends and family in your wedding preps and details. After announcing our plan, I got a couple of volunteers who wanted to sponsor some key things for our wedding (Thank you!).

10. Being a W@Wie is the best move I’ve done. I will be the first to get married in our family after my parents so I’m a total wedding noob when I started the preparation. I can still remember how clueless and scared I was thinking that our wedding will be a huge joke. Being a member of W@W built my confidence and I have this eager feeling that our wedding is going to be a blast, just like the brides who shared their wonderful experience in our e-group.

There you go. As they say, experience is the best teacher. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my H2B and the world of wedding while going through the process. So, today, I still have:
… 6 months to attend a couple of bridal fairs.
… 6 months to complete our supplier line-up.
… 6 months to put our suppliers to the test.
... 6 months to complete our wedding checklist.
… 6 months to finish all my DIY projects and knick knacks.
… 6 months, before I type my suppliers rating (a W@W tradition)
… 6 months before I walk down the historical aisle of Bamboo Organ Church.
... AND it's only 6 months to go before I marry the man I couldn’t live without. :)



Monday, April 12, 2010

Bridal Fair Escapade: A Day for a Lifetime

Dear Online Diary,

A Day for a Lifetime bridal fair was originally slated October of last year but later canceled because of a very unfortunate event. H2B and I wouldn’t miss something that we’ve been waiting since last year so yesterday, we went to this very stylish event.

{A Day for a Lifetime souvenirs}

The fair aimed to showcase the creativity of the suppliers and spark the imagination of soon-to-weds. The participating suppliers were grouped so they could work and create one- of-a-kind wedding realms: I Dreamed of Africa; Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom; Roman Holiday; Paris When it Sizzles; Casino Royale; Memoirs of Geisha; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Blue Hawaii, Sinbad.

Of all the themes, Memoirs of Geisha caught our attention upon entering the venue. The cherry blossom tree that the suppliers used to style their realm is very romantic.

{No less than Rene Gaviola, one of the photographers/wedding suppliers at the fair, saw H2B taking a photo of me so he offered to take a photo of us together.}

{The romantic cherry blossom tree}

Probably one of the exciting things that we did during the fair was the shooting of our invite video done by no less than Buddy Gancenia. The shoot was fun and natural (hope so). H2B and I enjoyed the whole process (no doubt). It was a sweet and short video, which is going to be available in two weeks time. Can’t wait. :)

{After the shoot: Buddy Gancenia of Reality Wedding, yours truly and H2B}

For the meantime, I’d like to point out some things that are worth sharing. There are, of course, some flaws. I have to agree with my co-W@Wies, there are a limited number of suppliers, thus, few choices. We did not even notice some of the suppliers because they are way at the back of their assigned realm. As far as I can remember, we were able to complete our suppliers’ round after about 20 minutes.

One more thing. While the event venue was fully dressed up and styled, the reception/registration area was a bit bare as what we can see on these pictures:

{Registration Area}

{Main Entrance}

There you go. Until the next bridal fair. Good night and happy preps!

Myspace Glowing text

Friday, April 9, 2010

Supplier’s Update

Dear Online Diary,

It’s 196 days to go before our wedding day. Scary yet exciting.

Last week, I’ve sent out email messages to all our suppliers mainly to follow-up on few things and give them an update. H2B and I want to thank them for promptly replying to our queries. Let’s enumerate those who took time to drop us a line, shall we.

Shangri-La Ria Resort (Free 4D/3N stay at the Hotel from Martha Stewart Bridal Fair)

Ms. Lydia Joibi, secretary to the General Manager of Shangri-la Ria Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, was the first to send a reply to ask for our check-in requirements and flight itinerary. After I sent the details, we were able to reserve one of the rooms at the Ocean Wing. Here's where we are going to stay: [click here for the link].

{a bird's eye view of the Shangri-la Ria resort}

{Ocean Wing Balcony: First Floor}

{Ocean Wing Balcony: Upper Floor}

{Ocean Wing Premier Room}

Rocky Blooms Flower Shop (dp paid)

Ms. Rona is one of the suppliers who do not fail to update us whenever they are going to attend a bridal fair. She and her husband, Kuya Marlon (feeling close? hahaha), are easy to talk to. I like them because I was able to haggle for some freebies and discounts (a huge yey!) and they are open to my suggestions. Booking them was a breeze.

{Latest Work of Rocky Blooms Flower Shop: Church Set-up}

{Latest Work of Rocky Blooms Flower Shop: Flower Girl Basket}

Val Villarin (W@W Auction)

I'm lucky to have won the services he donated for the W@W auction last year. He’s one of the most sought-after make-up artists. A lot of W@wies love him because of his expertise in using airbrush make-up and for being so bubbly. I just have to finalize our engagement shoot so I can make an appointment with him for our trial make-up. Thanks Val for being so nice.

{Val Villarin at work}

Ma Del’s Cuisine (dp paid to lock the date, price, freebies and discounts)

Miss Anj, the owner’s daughter, is a sweetheart. She reminded us about the things that we need to submit prior to our meeting next month. They’re busy with wedding commitments, which I totally understand. Their food and service are superb!

{One of the recent events of Ma Del's Cuisine}

Special Events by the Planners (2009 W@W Auction)

I won the reception coordination package they donated on W@W Auction last year. As most of my co-W@Wies say, Beth is easy to talk to. They recently received a bad feedback/rating from one of our co-W@Wies but Beth was gracious enough to explain their side and gave me an assurance that they will not allow it to happen on our wedding. H2B and I are still thinking on upgrading the package to OTD but most likely than not, we’ll go for it. We just want either Love or Beth to lead their team on our Big day.

Sweet Affair (2009 W@W Auction)

Another supplier I got through W@W Auction last year. Van has been kind and prompt. We were able to finalize the booking although I have yet to receive the contract. I’m happy because they are familiar with our venue since they’re from Las PiƱas, too.

Raymond Fortun Photography (dp paid)

He is the busiest suppliers we got. I should know because I constantly check his website for update and we’re friends in Facebook. hehe. He has to cancel some of his commitments due to health reason and his professional ties lately but I’m hoping and praying for his good health so that he’s going to be at our wedding especially since he’s our main photographer. He takes great pictures -- something we crave for.

{One of Atty. RF's innovative pictures}

Photobot Manila (reservation paid to block the date)

I’m thankful to Ms. Aggie for coming up with damask background, which is one of my requests when we booked them. Thanks a bunch. I hope to see them at the next bridal fair.
{One of the latest events of Photobot Manila}

There you go. So far, so good. I'm still waiting for the rest of our suppliers. We sure hope to receive their responses soon.

Myspace Glowing text

Saturday, April 3, 2010

OT: The Good Friday Procession

Dear Online Diary,

Good Friday
, also known as Holy Friday, Black Friday, Great Friday, is a holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death as believed by Christians at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and often coincides with the Jewish observance of Passover. (source: Wikipedia)

It is our vow to join the traditional Good Friday procession as part of the Lenten season. Here are some of the photos that H2B captured:

{The Bamboo Organ Church}

{Banda San Jose leads the procession}


{Pontius Pilate}

{Jesus Christ}

{Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus Christ (and later carried the cross)}

{Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary}

{St. Veronica}

{Jesus Christ was crucified}

{Virgin Mary carrying the body of her Son, Jesus Christ}

{Angels wept when Jesus died}
{After the procession, the priests bless the floats. The flowers were then given to the crowd}

{a devotee asked to dab his handkerchief to the saint}

Myspace Glowing text

Thursday, April 1, 2010

DIY: Nature-Inspired Bearer’s “Pillow”

Dear Online Diary,

As we all know by now, our theme is Nature Photography. To capture the elegance of nature, we will be incorporating our theme with our very own (read: DIY) nature-inspired “pillow” to hold our wedding rings.

{Our Nature-inspired Ring Bearer's Pillow}

It’s a bit messy yet easy and fun to do. You can be as creative as you want. Let’s take a look at the materials and the tools we need for this project:

{the tools}

{Materials: 1. a bag of moss; 2. a 6''x6''x3'' piece of Styrofoam; 3. artificial flowers, leaves and birds; 4. felt paper: 8''x8'' and 25''x2''; 5. round-headed corsage pins; 6. a 12'' ribbon}

I went to the National bookstore to get the Styrofoam, ribbon, felt paper and round-headed pins while the moss is from a local flower shop. The artificial birds, flowers and leaves are free (all of which are part of an old Christmas ornament) but you can always get one from a local store or market.

Here's how it's done:
1. Center the Styrofoam square on the 8''x8'' felt paper. Fold the edges of the felt paper over the sides of the Styrofoam and secure with pins. Wrap the corners neatly and pin. (see figure 1a)

2. Once you’re happy with the position, glue the felt paper in it’s place using the hot glue gun and remove the pins. Neatly glue the edges just like in figure 2a.

3. Turn the Styrofoam over and put ordinary glue (so you'll have time to arrange the moss). Take half of your moss and stretch it out across the top of the Styrofoam. It doesn’t have to be perfect at this point but make sure that most part of the Styrofoam is covered.

4. Flatten the moss and allow the glue to dry for around 20-30 minutes (this is the main reason why we do not want to use the hot glue gun to secure the moss on the Styrofoam ^__^).

5. Affix the 25-inch felt paper on one side of the Styrofoam using a pin. Glue it around all four sides (this time, using the reliable glue gun), covering the edges of the square felt paper and some part of the Styrofoam. It should look like in figure 5a.

6. Take the rest of the moss and neatly cover the Styrofoam.

7. Arrange the artificial leaves wherever you like it to be (In this project, I put it in the middle). Secure each leaf with a pin.

8. Take the artificial flowers and secure it on top of the leaves using a glue gun.

9. Cut a 12-inch ribbon and put it in the center of the pillow securing it with a pin. The ribbon will secure the rings in its place.

10. Put the birds in the center. Arrange the leaves, birds and flowers while making sure that the rings will be the center of attention.

11. Carefully put the wedding rings (my engagement ring, in this picture) and tie a knot.

{another view of our nature-inspired pillow}

There you have it. Isn’t it pretty? I used my engagement ring since we do not have our wedding rings yet. I hope you'll be inspired to create your own pillow and incorporate it with your wedding theme. Happy preps! :)

As for our wedding checklist, Pillows = checked! :)

Myspace Glowing text


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