Tuesday, August 20, 2013


First, an aside. It was the groom, Jeff, who found out about Vatel Manila in - where else? - W@W in late 2009 and emails were sent and promptly returned. We weren't supposed to be doing the reception flowers because we eventually discovered, with much consternation, that their wedding fell on the last day of a major, major bridal fair at SM Megamall. How bad is that? @_@

I even went far as to discuss the matter with the alternative florist, but nothing was finalized. The coordinator was eventually fired and replaced, and the first meeting happened at Gateway in December. Amusing how I totally forgot that there were two Coffee Bean outlets in the mall so the first meeting was a rather awkward one that was saved by pleasantries that really were, uhm, pleasant. We actually felt that Jeff & Stacey have become friends and we're happy to note that we remain friends even after the event has long passed (would you believe that I haven't met Jeff yet? Ha ha!)

Our thoughts on this event? That overseas planning can really be terrible if you do not get suppliers that you could talk to. Second, if you come home a week before the wedding, the rush to finalize everything could wreak havoc on your system (imagine squeezing an engagement session days before the wedding!). Third, the fun really was in indulging in all the results of your previous troubles while surrounded by friends and dear family members.

Me? I'd remember the nerve-wracking confirmation of orders from abroad (Holland, Taiwan, you name it) while a storm was ongoing in Asia. Having to man the Fair booth a day before, then working on the flowers on that same night, then ingressing at Makati Shang at 2AM the next day and - you guessed it right - by 6PM (an hour before cocktails was to begin), I was ready to keel over and sleep under the nearest table I can find.

But looking at all these pretty photos, who cares anymore? There's happiness and love in equal measure oozing from these pictures and methinks that's enough to say that yey, we made it! We survived! Yipee kayee!

Vatel Manila is absolutely proud & happy to have been part of Pon & Zi's, er, Jeff & Stacey's very special day in Manila. In this post, Jeff & Stacey write down their thoughts on the preps, the wedding, and looking forward to a life of marital bliss. :-)

Preps_Makati Shangri-la
Wedding_Santuario de San Jose
Photo_Paul Vincent Photography
Video_ Chug Cadiogan
Couturier_ Ernie Villamin
Entourage Flowers_ Vatel Manila
Reception Flowers_ Vatel Manila
Coordinator_ Perfect 10 Weddings by Darlene Tan-Salazar
Music_ Da Capo Instrumentalist
Emcee & Lights_ Max Tiu

How did you two meet?JeffOnline, of all things :) We both were playing the same game on Facebook called "My Heroes Ability", a now-defunct game based on the TV show "Heroes". It required for us to socialize and form groups to make the game fun. We just hit it off from the beginning, no strings attached and the rest is history.

StaceyCan I just add that we were introduced by friends? Hahaha! We had in-game friends who brought us together, mostly because we had a similar schedule and were on the game together most of the time. And as Jeff says, the rest is history. :)
Our favorite memory of the day was:

Jeff: Seeing Stacey walk down the aisle, I was smiling ear to ear after my own march, not really nervous or anything. But from that point of seeing her on, I knew everything was going to be alright - I mean, the woman of my dreams wanting to be married to me! :D The rest of the day was pretty much auto-pilot, kahit medyo nagkalat kami during the entourage dance :D Nothing really fazed us afterward, some momentary jitters with the surprise serenade I did though but all in all, it was a blast!

Stacey: It has to be the walk down the aisle! I was having the wedding jitters in the bridal car and since we got there early, the wait time didn't do much for the anticipation and anxiety. Plus, the realization that "this is it" hit me hard when I was finally standing in front of the doors. Thank God for my wonderful coordinators who pretty much kept me sane and the manong driver and photo/video team who kept making me laugh and calmed me down just before the doors opened! Seeing everyone there, all with happy, smiling faces including friends and relatives that I haven't seen in a while..to have them come out to celebrate with us was such a high! It was such a mix of emotions too, like seeing my dad valiantly putting up a brave face and my mom with a happy/sad smile on hers. And of course, Jeff... seeing him there with this expression of unbelievable joy and overwhelming love, tears brimming in his eyes.. I just couldn't stop smiling. :D



Tell us about your photographer / videographer.
Jeff: Excellent! Chug and his team was very quiet and unassuming throughout the whole documentation process, and then when you see the AVPs, wow! Sobrang speechless. Even my parents were amazed because before the event, all they can talk about was, so and so had ganyan or pare-pareho lang yan lahat, hahaha! It's nice to know we still had a good eye towards the creative. It really helps to let the whole artistic process go thru to fruition as well. Paul was also THE life of the P/V party ever since we met him New Year's Eve pa to the whole prenup session 3 days before the big day, how he was able to direct the shots and come out with such stunning pictures is just amazing. Pure masterpiece-quality artistry.

Stacey: Awesome cannot begin to describe the tandem. :) It's clear that Paul Vincent Photography and Chug Cadiogan Videography make a great team. Maybe it's because they know each other so well that they worked wonderfully together. They made us feel very at ease about being in front of the camera. It was so much fun that Jeff would randomly pose on his own (the poser! Hahahaha!) and either Paul or Chug would shout "Hold it! I like that!" They kept joking around, too, so you forget about nerves and being self-conscious. And of course, the end products (at least based on the raw images and the slideshows on the day) were exactly what we wanted. The engagement photos made us look like models, and as one guest pointed out: "Jeff looks like a frustrated action star!"

Tell us about finding your wedding dress.

Jeff: I wasn't allowed to see her wedding dress design and what not. Tip for grooms, you don't have to be as honest and opinionated about any of the dress designs, because it might be taken as commenting on her actual dress, and trust me, you will love the dress that your bride is in on the big day. I did, no lie!

Stacey: I already knew what silhouette I wanted. It was only a matter of making ideas into reality. The dress silhouette I wanted came from the Monique Lhuillier Spring 2010 collection, but to match the Modern Filipiniana-Chinese fusion theme we had going, I wanted to have detachable dress elements that will take it from church to reception and make it look like a completely different dress each time. My designer, Ernie Villamin, had the brilliant idea to have a lace skirt overlay and some Maria Clara-like sleeves for the church ceremony. Removing them and adding a brooch with fabric that drapes over my shoulder changes the look for the reception.

Our favorite detail(s) of the wedding was/were:
Jeff: The venue, yes, everything was just right. The banquet hall didn't seem overpowering, much thanks to the reception styling :) Everyone loved the centerpieces, it had such a cozy and loungy feel to it, despite being such a grand location. Exceeded everything that we could have imagined. My barong too was such a hit, I was worried it wasn't going to be unique enough but everyone loved the chinese touches (the buttons, the collar), the P/V team made all the details stand out so much more.

Stacey: I love love love my dresses! The entourage dresses and barongs came out really well, too. My bridal march was super special, too, since my dear friend Ron Yu composed it especially for me and Da Capo did such a wonderful arrangement of it on the day.

And is it kissing up to you much to say we absolutely loved the flowers and the styling? XD Hahaha! My bouquet came out more feminine than I imagined (a good thing!) and the lace was just gorgeous. I loved how the roses in my bouquet matched the roses on my dress! The reception styling was better than what we both imagined. It was the perfect "simple yet elegant" that we wanted with subtle touches of our theme evident. Better yet, it was cozy and not at all ostentatious. A considerable feat, as the venue was ostentatious in itself!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding?

Stacey: We both wanted it to be traditional and more on the conservative side because we doing it in the Philippines and you can only really do traditional Filipiniana in the Philippines. I've always wanted to do a traditional wedding and Jeff was very supportive about it. We had to do a fusion though to incorporate his Chinese heritage into the theme, as well. To keep it in balance and with us being borderline minimalists, we wanted to focus on the "fusion" and have clean lines with not have too much going on.

Tell us about your caterer.

Jeff: I wasn't able to attend the food-tasting event at Makati Shang, but from all accounts I heard, the food was amazing. As the couple, we weren't able to really eat that much during the day itself, but thanks to the staff and our coordinator team, we were able to eat a bit before and after the event. Medyo bitin lang after and we didnt get to really sample the succulent duck / lechon as much but our waistlines and cholesterol levels are thankful for thatm I guess! :D Everyone else seemed to have enjoyed and were full that night.

Stacey: We got the in-house caterer from Makati Shang and they were very accommodating during the food tasting. My in laws were very particular about each dish, so much that the account exec decided to bring out the chef so that they could talk to her directly! I thought it was nice how they were able to to add more personalized touches like our monogram on the menus, as well as cater to our requests with no questions asked.

What was your biggest splurge?
Jeff: There were a number of things that actually went over-budget, but in the end, I think how well the event went and how satisfied everyone was, it was all worth it na rin!

Stacey: The reception venue, hands down. @_@ Everything else felt like they needed upgrades because of it, but it all turned out well in the end. :D

Why a daytime wedding?

Jeff: The early afternoon wedding turned out to actually be a good thing. We were afraid the broken time would leave a lot of people with nothing to do in the middle, it ended up that we needed all of that spare time in between to make sure everything went off without a hitch and not having to feel rushed na rin. It was one of those whole day events that we didn't mind being a whole day, we were so pampered na it wasn't like bone-achingly tired at the end of the day. I'm sure our suppliers probably didn't feel the same way though!

Stacey: Why not? :) It's a good way to weed out "unnecessary" guests. Chances are, the people who will make it to your actual wedding ceremony will be those genuinely interested in the couple and therefore, will be the people you will most likely want to be there to begin with. The other guests your parents invited (and you don't know) will most likely only attend the reception.

The natural light for photos are also awesome in daytime. Plus, we had to do a staggered time to accommodate Chinese customs and it gave us just enough time to freshen up and rest a bit in between the ceremony and reception.


What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding?
Jeff: Following up and miscommunication during the preps, minsan not just with suppliers but between ourselves and our relatives/parents rin.

Stacey: The distance! Planning a wedding overseas can be prone to a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication between the client and supplier. Not being physically there meant we had to rely on our parents/friends to make key decisions for us and that might not sit well with a control freak - me. Contacting suppliers who don't promptly reply can bring about bouts of anxiety and arguments between the couple. It was a good thing both sets of parents were there with us the whole way as we've had to rely on them for a lot of things that we couldn't do ourselves.

Tips to couples who are based overseas?
Jeff: Trust your judgement, like what others say din, love your own. Let your suppliers be your suppliers and don't spazz out! There were many times during preps that you might be at each other's throats din, haha, but make sure you remind each other that at the end of it all, its not just the big day you are planning for and should get ready for but for the life ahead in your marriage. If you can't see past that, baka you might need to really check why you are getting married in the first place. It's not a means to an end.

Overseas folks in particular, in case you do visit the Philippines before your wedding, you might feel that your whole vacation was dedicated to your wedding planning, but if you can, try to go to one of the bridal fairs. We've never been, but we hear it's a riot, it opens your eyes to more suppliers and you might be more confused than when you first started! :D

Just make sure your favourite supplier/florist doesn't have a big fair during your big day :D

Stacey: Don't nitpick, keep your cool, research.research.research, trust your suppliers (but make sure you picked the right ones to begin with using your Sherlock Holmes-like sleuthing skills!) and never lose focus on the marriage after the wedding.

No matter how detailed you plan your wedding, some details will still be left out or missed on the actual day so don't focus on the little, inconsequential things like how the shade of the napkins don't perfectly match your color scheme. Most guests are oblivious and very forgiving. And the fact that you DID plan your wedding from out of the country will make them more amazed by what you pulled off than what you didn't.

I cannot emphasize it enough, but research, research, research. Always make an educated decision, especially if it involves money. If you don't know what it is or you need clarification, don't be afraid to ask.

When picking suppliers, don't forget your gut feel. I don't care if they're cheaper or their package seems better than others, but if you don't feel comfy working with them now, that will just add to your anxiety in the long run. A good night's sleep is worth more than agonizing stress you get from saving a couple thousands of pesos. So do your research and try to gauge your rapport with them before making a decision. Once you've decided that they understand what you want and have signed the contracts, let them do what you're paying them to do. Don't encroach on their creativity to come up with ideas that will benefit you by imposing yours; but don't be afraid to say you don't like it if you really don't.

As cliche as it may be, a wedding is just a day and the marriage is for a lifetime. So, don't go bridezilla on your hubby-to-be just because he thinks the angle of the flower girls' lace overlay on their dresses are too steep (yes, this happened to us. :P). When you ask for his opinion, take in stride one you may not agree with. If you want him to be more involved, realize that you will not always share the same views. But you cannot let these squabbles taint the experience. It's perfectly normal and it prepares you for your life together. So share the load of planning a wedding and think happy thoughts when you feel like blowing a fuse by remembering how you felt when he put that engagement ring on your finger.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yay! We're famous! Thanks Dylan! (huuuuugs) - Jeff and Stacey :D


-- We distinctly remember this day: we had five (5) weddings (two in Metro Manila, one in Cainta, one in Cagayan de Oro, and another in Bora...