Monday, December 29, 2008


(Source: by Hal Stevens for

I am happy about this event because I was able to fulfill a dream: to finally do my first ever church wedding. Second, that I was to able to do it in an old one (I am a huge fan of old churches) and Paco Park, at 188 years old, is no mean feat! Thirdly, that I was able to work with people I already worked with before.

I do not know the couple personally, but I do know her former boss. We worked together in the Peninsula Manila event. The bride, Rose, was one of the staff. She happened to have brought home some of my centerpieces that time and they were the flowers at their house when the groom did the traditional pamamanhikan. Sweet. So I guess that made the connection.

If Vatel Manila were to do more projects outside the Farm (and I hope that’d be soon!), I guess we already know what to do. And yes, Jaime, we will not do it at Divisoria rates ("Where everything is a steal!") , ha ha! So, anybody out there who is planning to get married at the St. Joseph's Parish in Las Piñas? :-)


I am such a stickler for floor plans. There's no way I'm going into an event without being armed with a floor plan. From the coordinator to the caterer to the stylist, the same floor plans rule them all. For this event, we're lucky that the Park's schematics are available on the NPDC's website so it was kinda easy to plan. I made an ocular two weeks before the event and sat there for 3 hours waiting for the Park's lights to go on. I also guess-timated the position of round tables as well as the buffet tables. Actual setup below. :-)

I wouldn't have thought of this - putting the cocktail tables on the inner ramparts of the Park, the paseo portion of the walls - but my partner, Jaime, a veteran of bigger events suggested it and the idea got sold immediately (not by the groom though. It took a while to convince him). The bride made a slight change: she placed the table for the hors d'ouvres on the walls as well so the waiters didn't have the bring the food up. Great idea, too! Final setup below. Great photo by my friend, Vivian Limpin. :-)

I am such a major fan of lighting. For the record, I like the works of avant garde designers Stuart Haygarth & Ali Siahvoshi (I love Philippe Starck, too, but he doesn't do lights alone). For this event, however, I had the four pillars of the chapel's facade highlighted with white uplights and that the tivoli lights be turned off (too kitschy! Old structures should never have to suffer from bad lighting). 200 pieces of paper luminaries were also spread out around the Park. The walls behind the reception area were also lighted to situate the guests as to the location of the event. I am pretty sure many people, like me, were here in this really, really old place for the very first time.
The final effect. Unfortunately, the lighting supplier didn't seem to get the instructions to keep the lights at the columns ON the entire time. They kept them off during the ceremony and again, during the reception. Corkage was paid the Park so there was no electricity costs to worry about, so why put them off? Sigh.

From the very start the bride was very clear about covering the two fugly side doors of the altar with fabric draping. We also made low aisle floral arrangements; as an amateur photographer myself, I think this allowed clearance for the official photographers and guests to see what's happening at the altar. (Photo Source: B&W chapel photo from

The final result: the two side doors were successfully covered. The problem here, however, was that the lights of the photographers were too strong that they killed the blue lighting behind the fabric swags. Grrr...

One of the two side doors can be seen behind the fabric.

The altar during the actual wedding.


Cocktails: 5PM (On the walls)

Simple arrangements of yellow Statice flowers were used on these cocktail tables to complement the matte gold runners. Alternating these were holders with candles.
The weather was very cooperative! We didn't have to rent tents!

A lovely B&W shot of the cocktail tables.

The Wedding: 6:30PM (St. Pancratius Chapel)

Dinner: 8PM
(Paco Park Gardens)

FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS: Entourage Flowers, etc.

The bridal bouquet was requested to be small, round and lite weight, the bride being lite herself. Ten (10) pieces of yellow Cymbidium orchids make up most of this classic arrangement broken only by occassional bursts of yellow Solidago, green Hypericum berries & acrylic crystals. The base is Eucalyptus and bound by a brown Mokuba ribbon with a moire pattern and held together by a diamond brooch.

The rest of the entourage members had these thin, long and lite hand-tied bouquets made of green Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) & white Queen Anne's Lace. Again, breaking away from the color motif, these were tied with satin ribbons in matte gold hue. Acrylic crystals were used to distinguish the bouquets of the mothers and the Maids of Honor.
The same flowers were employed in the wristers (see photo below) for the secondary sponsors.

At the Reception

For the couple's stage, we employed the same flowers and arrangements found in the chapel.
For the centerpieces however, we used white Lisianthus and Golden Rod (local Solidago) fillers.
Methinks it looks great with the overall color scheme - nothing too intimidating, conversation-friendly, and unifies the entire look. Too bad the caterer didn't have centerpiece mirrors.

At the Ceremony

Outside the chapel, we employed white Dendrobium orchids to frame the arched entrance. I would have loved to use white Lisianthus, but I was worried about the weight. We also wanted to have a monogram placed on the oval, but there was another wedding before this so that was scrapped.

Inside, we placed floral arrangements on places where it is allowed. To reach the highest points of the altar, we "rented" (read: we made suhol) a 28-feet aluminum ladder from the Paco Fire Station across the Park. The chapel's altar is not the original altar, by the way. This new one is not very solid; the top portions are empty and plaster-y. From this viewpoint, there are arrangements on the ledge above the altar from where the fabric comes from, on the candle stands, in front of the lectern and on the pews. The bride also had the fabric covers of the kneeler and the couple's chair removed to reveal the sleek wooden chair underneath.
For the pews, we employed Casablanca Liliums (to provide the volume as well as the nice scent which filled the airconditioned chapel almost immediately) and white Dendrobium orchids from Bangkok. Inserted into the arrangements are random green Lisianthus.
Detail. The arrangement on the twin candle stands.
Detail. The aisle flowers.
Of course, the white Moroccan lamps make for really lovely luminaries along the aisle.


Floral Arrangements, Styling & Light Effects Direction//
Dylan Gozum & Jaime Santos for Vatel Manila

Wedding Venue//
St. Pancratius Chapel
959 San Marcelino St. Paco, Mla
c/o St. Vincent de Paul Parish (Adamson University)
Tel. Nos. 525.7853 / 524.2022 loc. 119

Lai's Catering Servicesc/o Ms. Lai Pobre-Dizon
9 Mahiyain St., Teachers' Village
Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. Nos. 435.0728; 0917.530.5247

Bridal Gown//
Rhett Eala

Coffee Bar//

Mia Castro
Tel. Nos. 0917.533.8704

Wedding Cake//
Claycakes by Karla Lapira-Magbanua

Special thanks to the following:
Paco Fire Station
The National Parks Development Committee (NPDC)
The Paco Park Staff
Mss. Nora & Norma Capuloy
Nene's Flower Shop
Lilia Constantino
Vivian Limpin (for all the photographs used in the 1st & 3rd blog entries)
Ms. Denise Seva of Liquid Concepts

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam! Solo Dios Basta!


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