Sunday, March 21, 2010


Very unusual, but I am flattered. Two wedding blogs, Moons and Junes and Ferris Wheels by Blanche Rivera and The Wedding Enthusiast by Meleen Rodriguez-Carlos, requested us to make a list of our Top 10 favorite bouquets. The thing is, I have done so many and I can't possibly have one favorite (or a top 10, for that matter) so here's a short list of 15 bouquets that I liked. FOR NOW. I will make another when I get official photos of the new ones and those I've made in the past.

This was the very first time we used yellow Ecuadorian roses (in 2006?) and I immediately fell in love with Ecuadorian roses since then. The fact that these beauties are available all year round and their prices don't change regardless of season is a huge plus, too. I totally love the yellow-ness of this bouquet and the way the details of the petals presented themselves. You can actually appreciate the layering! There's grace and strength at the same time. Paired with rice flowers and a base of asparagus leaves, this yellow number made the day for the bride.

Every now and then a project comes along that tests one's resolve to make something new despite the fact that everyone's been working on the same color scheme for a year. Yes, I am talking of the plum-fuchsia color scheme: 2009's official wedding colors. But making it for a very young couple who don't like too much formality make it all the more exciting. For this couple, we used a base of fuchsia Ecuadorian roses (this was January 3 so there were no flower deliveries for the past few days) and mixed it with Phalaenopsis (my personal favorite) and Cymbidium (my all-time reliable orchid). A base wrap of Cypress and a brooch completed the look. A total eye candy!

Photo credits: Monsai Magsaysay + Jay Lucas Reyes

The work on the flowers for this couple began with a white-wedding concept in mind. A white wedding in a Farm in December. What to make of it? Add to this the pressure of knowing that the groom's Mom was a florist in Canada (who apprenticed at the Waldorf Astoria in New York; she was supposed to do the flowers!) so bummer; one must level up and meet those challenges head on. In the end, the choice of Gypsophila (a.k.a Million Stars) turned out to be fortuitous. It was perfect against the bride's structured Francis Libiran gown and her lithe frame! The white-wedding, which turned out to be our first-ever rustic setup, was also one of our best photographed (well, IMHO). And oh, yes. Groom's Mom & I had a lovely chat for a good one hour about flowers and the concept of a flower-cum-coffee shop. *winks*

Photo credits: Charisse Santillan-Tinio of Nice Print

The original color of this bouquet should have been white, but when I found out that the wedding was in the evening, I subtly made hints to the event coordinator to convince the bride to change to her other motif color which was yellow. And yes, we won, which resulted in one of our favorite bouquets of all time. We loved it because it was multi-dimensional - there was texture! Yellow calla lilies, Ecuadorian roses, Hypericum berries, Queen Anne's Lace, and crystal inserts made this bouquet interesting. It's when looking at it from a distance that one realizes that a lot of thought went into the making of this bouquet. Definitely not run of the mill, and definitely one of a kind.

Photo credits: Joel Francisco (oh, when will I work with him again?!)

Ms. Val is Vatel Manila's first W@W bride who is not booked at The Mango Farm. She found me through the net and didn't have second thoughts of inquiring. Her wedding made possible our second opportunity to dress up a church (the beautiful St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori Parish in Magallanes) and our first chance to use tin pails for a church setup. Although we only met thrice (yes!), the memory of the event was so good that we have parted as friends. For her, we made use of Cymbidium, mini Calla Lilies, and wax flowers. Accessories were a base of purple ostrich feathers and a pretty brooch which she later used on her gown during the reception (sweet!). The arrangements for the entourage were very interesting, too. Oh, we had a rather amusing encounter with her Mother which made me want to faint in the car. Will never forget it for the rest of my life. :-)

Photo credits: Rolando Pascua

While brushing my teeth prior to delivering this bouquet to Seven Suites, I suddenly broke into cold sweat. I mean, an all-succulent bouquet has never been done before in Manila (at least not that I have seen any in local blogs or magazines. If you have, please let me know! I don't want to be so presumptuous) so I am not quite sure how Mitch, the bride, would take it. Needless to say (but I am still saying it), this particular succulent project saw more inquiries to use succulents in our future projects (the bouquet for the Mothers / Maid of Honor were particularly loved and admired). In fact, our challenge to make an all-succulent entourage was taken up by a Riyadh-based bride. So exciting! Anyhow, for this bouquet, we used Echeveria elegans (Common Name: Rose Cactus), Haworthia attenuata, & Craspedia (which are terribly expensive, by the way, given their diminutive size).

We also got to work for the first time with the amazing duo, Lei + Jo, of Daniel Lei Studios. :-)

When we got the color scheme for this wedding, we had a seizure: Plum / Purple / Periwinkle / Fuchsia / Chartreuse / Yellow / Pink / Lavender / Peach. We tried our best not make this a tutti frutti project, but we wanted it to be a fun one. We used Fuchsia and Lilac-colored Ecuadorian roses, Craspedia, Cymbidium, rice flowers, and Eryngium. Everyone loved it! I think it was perfect for this daytime wedding. Although the bridal bouquet wasn't exactly a study in restraint, the flowers of the entourage flowers were more structured and pulido. We'll never be able to make a bouquet this colorful ever again. *sighs*

Photo credit: Smart Shot

Here's a story: I have designed most of my bouquets without ever meeting my brides. I only meet them a week before their wedding dates for the payment and contract signing. So how does one make bouquets that reflect the bride's personalities? Why, I use a technique I learned in medical school to extract even the most well-kept information from patients. It's like doing the Patient History and Medicine being an art form, one's investigative skills help a lot in coming up with the correct first impression(s) and eventually, the diagnosis. So there! :-)

For this really nice wedding, the bride only mentioned that she wanted yellow tulips. I mean, how does one use tulips without doing something everyone has seen before? Well, mix it with other flowers! For this bouquet, we used tulips, snapdragons and Queen Anne's Lace for that loosely arranged bouquet that had the feel of being freshly picked from the garden. :-)

Photo credits: James Limsoc

The concept for this bouquet project is simply that it will be yellow. A yellow wedding! Don't you just love the idea? I love yellow! :-)

This gorgeous bridal bouquet is made of yellow Ecuadorian roses as large as teacups, Queen Anne's Lace for that airy, feminine look, and Snapdragons. Oh, yeah, and yellow calla lilies, too! The bride would have wanted to preserve the bouquet, but the house maid had a better idea. *chortles*

The first, and so far the only bouquet project that made me cry. Anyhow, we got over that obstacle and made our first-ever black + red arrangement. We appreciate it very much if the bride allows us to have a free hand in designing their bouquet. There have been instances when brides come to us with specific flowers in mind and simply ask us to make a costing. I mean, where's the fun in that?! We can never thank you enough, Ms. Joan!

Photo credits: Megapixel

Before this bouquet project, we weren't really a huge fan of orange. The bride originally wanted an all-orange calla lily bouquet, but I felt it might come out too ordinary. Instead, we also inserted Mokara orchids to make it full so it will register on camera & video, which pretty much explains why we make large bouquets. Because if I don't see it on photos & video, then the effort was all for naught.

What luck: an Autumn-themed wedding during Autumn! Ha ha! The bouquet was the bride's idea, and we were only glad to make it real for her. The universe conspired with us because we got all the materials we needed the night before the wedding day. The flowers came fresh in the boxes they traveled in, and we had to wait for three hours as they cleared customs at the NAIA and were finally delivered to Dangwa. This bouquet was particularly huge and heavy because of the many things that went into making it: two-toned Holland tulips (red / yellow), Molucella (a.k.a Bells of Ireland), Leucandendron, Leucospermum (both endemic to South Africa & Zimbabwe), Mokara orchids from Bangkok, and red Hypericum berries. Hands down, this bouquet must have had the highest carbon footprint of them all! (laughs) But if you knew where your flowers came from, you would appreciate it more, right?

Photo credits: Bryan Yap

We made only the bridal bouquet & the boutonnières for this beautiful December wedding at the Farm. For this bouquet, we used four great whites: Lilac (the fresh and sweet smell alone would make you want to bury your face in there the whole time!), Snapdragon, Matthiola & tulips, both from Holland. For the men, we used the Majolica variety of roses because they're very sturdy and not too large (men hate wearing flowers, remember).

Photo credits: Nelwin Uy

Orange or Tangerine is a particularly tricky color especially in a tropical setting where there's too much sun / light. Orange, if used heavily, can actually border on the tacky. It has to be tempered by another dark color (in this case, yellow) and another light (in this case, white). Here's a really pretty & robust-looking bouquet in rust and canary yellow with lots and lots of wax flowers in between. Hypericum berries, eucalyptus leaves, a brooch and a wisp of ostrich feather completed the look.

Long before rice flowers became widely used, Vatel Manila has employed this in several of its arrangements. For this bouquet, we used all-white roses interspersed with white rice flowers rendering what otherwise could have been a very simple arrangement into something airy and feminine. Bear in mind that there are grand events that call for the simplest of arrangements (the bride's gown was already heavily ornamented); no need to break the bank to acquire the feel that you want. It's how the whole look is pulled together that counts.

Photo credits: Nelwin Uy

Saturday, March 13, 2010

REAL WEDDING: ANDRE + ANGEL (March 13, 2010)

How the heck does one photograph an arm sheaf? Ha ha! Anyhow, the bridal bouquet made several changes until the gown design finally came out and we thought that an arm sheaf would be just perfect! For this, we used Cymbidium orchids, Lilac (there should be more of these now that it's Spring, but see you again in Winter anyway!), and Holland Matthiola. Black satin ribbons, white ostrich feathers, and a brooch with pendant adorn the handle. Very light, very easy to carry. I can't wait for the official photos! :-)

As most of the accessories for this wedding were fabric, including the chest corsages of the Moms & Principal Sponsors, we were able to make only four hand-tied bouquets. To compliment the scheme of deep plum & cream, we used rose cabbages, roses and berries to soften the overall look. The dresses were fitted and pleated so the pinks and the feather wisps were the perfect foil for the structured dresses, adding a soft feminine dimension.

These were last-minute changes to what originally were flower baskets. We made use of vine balls and inserted pink carnations, succulent shoots, ostrich wisps and a single black satin flower for a lite-weight, unusual accessory for the flowers girls. Oh, you should see their super cute dresses!

For the first time, we made flower pillows using all-white cluster Carnations, broken by randomly placed succulent shoots & Cattleya orchids (from Cavite). These were for the Ring & Coin Bearers. Lush & plush! :-)

ACCESSORIES by Cholo Ayuyao

Vatel Manila is happy to finally work with Cholo Ayuyao, the costume jeweler and accessories designer from Angeles City. He was featured in Wedding Essentials magazine last year. For this wedding, we contracted Cholo to make fascinators with cage veils & fabric corsages for the Moms, the Principal Sponsors, and all the rest of the ladies in the entourage. Left: The bride's fascinator / cage veil. Right: The corsages for the Moms. Everything has been meticulously hand-painted & assembled in Cholo's shop in Angeles City.

Left: The fascinator / cage veil for the Maid of Honor. Yes, compared to other weddings we see where only the bride was wearing a fascinator / cage veil, this wedding saw everyone dressed to the nines. All the ladies in the entourage either had a fabric corsage or a fascinator / cage veil. Right: The fabric corsage for the Principal Sponsors.

Left: Fascinator / cage veil for the bride's maids. Right: Detailing.

RECEPTION at the Glass Pavilion (Styling by Kaye Cunanan)

Left: Yet again, we had the chance to dress up a white cake. We rummaged through the bag of goodies the bride left with the caterer and saw strands and strands of faux pearls and tons of feathers. I mean, what's a mafia-inspired wedding without the glam? Here's our little tribute to Belle Époque (1930's version). The topper is all-black feathers that's why we can't see it, ha ha! Right: This event will be the first time, too, for the caterer to incorporate damask in their setups. This was a bolt of cloth that I bought in 2009 without no particular event in mind until I was told of this one. All coordinated - from chairs to the tables, cream / black damask on gun metal fabric with plum napkins.

Left: Couple's chairs covered in the same damask fabric. Right: Table names were from Mafia Wars, the couple's favorite online game on Facebook.

Thank you so much, Andre and Angel, for making us part of your SUPER FUN wedding! :-)


Entourage Flowers//

Cholo Ayuyao
Angeles City
Mobile: 0921.810.5538


K by Cunanan Catering
c/o Kaye Cunanan
Tel. Nos. 711.0940 (look for Meg)


--  There's an obsession with super grand weddings lately that sometimes we miss the really simple ones, the kind where guests and ...