Saturday, March 17, 2007

GARCIA-CALLE (March 17, 2007)

Finally, March is over. And what a wedding to end it with! The moment I heard the strains of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (melody by Johann Schop, improved upon by Johann Sebastian Bach), I knew it will be an extra-special day. Okay, so I am biased. The music is a movement from a cantata written by Bach when he was in Leipzig. I love that music so much and it practicaly erased all my tiredness from preparing for this wedding.

The sun was shining softly through the pink altar fabric. The ribbons are waving in the wind. The tivoli lights are pretty even if it isn't evening yet. The bride was resplendent in a gown she herself designed. The groom was dashing in his suit. The guests were all beautiful people.

To Sir John and Ma'am Bernadette, thank you so much for entrusting to us the styling of your ceremony. We pray for a lifetime's worth of blessing, happiness and wonderful children.

Flower balls have become almost like a regular feature in weddings handled by Vatel Manila. Here's hoping nobody else does them or else...

If only mangoes are forever...

The groom's mother and Best Man.

It's in the details. You know when a wedding is well-planned in the small details. A teddy bear takes on a new role as bearer of the rings.

The groom and his proud parents ham it up for the cameras.

"If eyes were made for seeing, then Beauty is its own excuse for being" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
My dream shot. The bride floats towards the altar to the welcoming arms of her groom - and that of family and friends.

I love this shot. The couple's silhouette against the shadow of the setting sun. Now that's the shot only garden weddings can give the photographer.

Family photos to cherish forever.

This is Vatel Manila's first time to use the Mango Farm's Pavilion. The modern lines make it so unboring and refreshing to the eyes.

A nice touch. The flowers in the ceremony are also at every main door of the Pavilion.

Buffet setup. This is Avengoza Catering.

Couple's gazebo during the reception. This is by Avengoza.

8 is such a lucky number. Basic table setup by Avengoza.

What do men talk about during wedding receptions?

TMF crew cleans up after the ceremony.
All's well that ends well.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

TAJOLOSA-FLORES (March 10, 2007)

This is my second to the last wedding this March. I told friends that the level of difficulty is increasing as I end this merry,er, marry month of March. The couple, whom I never met, left instructions as to how they want their ceremony setup to look like: tropical flowers on bamboo pillars (not tripod style). The motif is blue. And they wanted an arch with a shower of white orchids for the altar background.

Here in Vatel Manila, we only desire to make all your wishes come true. While the bride was going down the ramp for her entrance walk, I heard her say to her coodinator, "Wow, ang ganda!"

I think I won't be able to mop this smile off my face for another month. Thanks for trusting us, Sir Juancho and Ma'am Myrtle! May God look kindly on your marriage and bless you with many beautiful and obedient children!

Doves behind bars. Does love beget freedom?

Lucky are the couples who marry while the mangoes are still here. Come March 22, harvest begins. Awww...sad.

Rose petals on the red carpet. A classic wedding feature done thousands of times all over the world. A fantastic shot, methinks.

When smoke gets in my view. I was talking to the Bishop-Officiator when I noticed that smoke was coming in from the neighbor who may be burning dried leaves. The effect is just so cool! I was expecting an LOTR character to just walk into the frame any second now!

In my last blog, I was complaining of having run out of new ideas for the aisle setup until this couple came along. I thought this wouldn't work at first but look at that! A ceremony setup that is bursting with color.

There will always be brats in every wedding. Sigh. Kids!

Perils of the trade. That's Tony making last minute changes in the tivoli lights we were putting up.

Silence before the D Hour. Bishop Martin, a Catholic Bishop of the Eastern Rite, contemplates before he began the celebration of the Holy Mass.

So young, so happy. Members of the Madrigal et al. They were very good!

"She walks in beauty, like the night..."

The groom is impeccable in his marine uniform as he awaits the arrival of his bride, along with his mother and his Best Man.

I never thought the setup would look like this at night! Did we just franchise (insert name of that famous venue here) or what?!

All's well that ends well. Thank you, Father, for another chance to be of service.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Haven't handled a tangerine-themed wedding for a long time! Come to think of it, this is my very first wedding in a tangerine color scheme. Friends say it'd be very tricky but I've always thought that tangerine was an exciting color to work with. First, because it stands out from among the sea of green that basically makes up the Mango Farm. Second, tangerine goes very well with green. Third, tangerine can be very classy if one knows how to temper its loudness.

For my first wedding this 2007 (the 1st of three this March), I had a new A-tent cover sewn for this particular event. The old one, first used during an exhibit in Megatrade Hall in 2005, now has reincarnated into curtains for the staff house. Sayang naman kasi to throw it away. I am also happy to use the A-tent again. I designed this in 2005 for an exhibit for the Farm and it has been used several times - from exhibit tent to a couple's booth during a reception to a cake booth. Name it, this very original Vatel Manila booth has done it! It is sad though to see it starting to show signs of wear and tear - missing nuts and bolts, dried out bamboo skin but when we dressed it up for this wedding with this really flamboyant gold-orange fabric I found in Ilaya, the trusty dame of Vatel Manila looks like it's ready to sashay down the aisle again.

On March 17, the tent will sport a glossy baby pink fabric once more. Here's hoping it won't be the last time we use it.

The A-tent standing regal and proud once again.
The Farm was a bit bewildered by an unusual request for this wedding: a ribbon cutting before the ceremony. I mentioned this to some friends and it turned out that this is a common practice in the provinces. In fact, there are members in the entourage whose only roles would be to cut the ribbon. Very quaint. We are honored to have been given this chance to participate in a tradition we are only too happy to continue here at the Mango Farm. Another tradition we love seeing here is the money dance.
Another Vatel Manila original is the ribboned flower ball that we hang on tree branches. This is a very nice time to do this as mangoes are all over the Farm lately! Mango Farm na Mango Farm talaga, 'ika nga. An event a day before this had flower balls too, but not as clean and well-made as that in the photo, and they didn't use ribbons. What a relief! We'd like to hold on to this design feature for a little bit longer until we think of a new one. So far I haven't seen this used in any wedding magazine i've read lately. That's very good, methinks.
Another Vatel Manila design feature would be the way we arrange calla lilies. Calla lilies used to be so ordinary. Florists before would team it up with ferns and poof! It's done. Another way to do it is to arrange them in a spreading manner, like sticks jutting out of an arrangement. Let's just say we have a thing for disordered orderliness hence this style of arrangement we'd be keeping for a bit more. Two dozens of long-stemmed lillies are bundled together by a thick strip of banana leaf and secured by a ribbon, usually that of the color motif. If you'd look closely (not possible in this photo), the calla lily tower would have a belt akin to a kimono obi.

When one of our Mango Farm staff commented that she hasn't seen this arrangement style anywhere else, I regarded the statement in two ways: First, as a compliment. We'd like to think we can do things differently. Second, it's been done too often that it's about time to give the concept a rest. Say, for another year? Or unless someone requests for it.

Notice how clean the arrangement is. The ribbons from the flower balls add a feminine touch to the whole arrangement.

The groom, James Gonzales, walks down the aisle with his mother.
Bridesmaids confer with Lola.
Ah, the perils of a huge gown!!! But Kareen was brilliant and beautiful like a bride should be on her wedding day.

I'd like to give the Maid of Honor and the Best Man awards for being the most efficient aides I've ever seen in any of my events. They were really there for the couple at every move, any time they were needed (or even if they weren't). I really wish future weddings would have the same kind of entourage members. Makes the world go around a little bit more easily.
Pa-cute boys. The one in front gave his dad a hard time running after him all over the farm grounds. I was about to pinch him earlier as he kept on messing up the rose petals strewn over the carpet but what the heck! Kids are kids.
Here's a lovely photo of the couple after the ceremony. The photographers removed the altar, kneeler and chairs and made the couple stand beneath the A-tent. Brilliant idea! They both looked very nice under the shimmer of the gold-tangerine fabric. Very royal yet not stiff. Nice framing too, with leaves above and people below. Great composition. Thanks to Mike S. for this photo.
All's well that ends well. Thanks so much, James and Kareen, for the opportunity to share in this most happiest day of your lives. Wishes of eternal and true love to you both!


--  We're opening this busy month of December with this Tagaytay wedding that we worked on earlier this year. Truly, how time flies...