Thursday, December 09, 2010


There's something about early morning weddings, especially those held in al fresco gardens, that make them truly different. It must be the freshness of the flowers or the soft, beautiful light that streams through the trees and caresses the setup and the people attending.

As far as I can remember, I have always liked doing morning weddings more than afternoon ones. For one, I actually like delivering flowers early in the morning (see photo above by Lia Bacorro taken at 4.30AM at the Astoria). A florist's day, after all, begins in the evening so early in the morning is already midday for me. :-)

Mishi and I started discussing her flower choices in May of this year. (An aside: Mishi's one of those rare brides who know their flowers really well. I mean, be prepared to be embarrassed if you don't know what she's talking about.) There was a long lull in between preps and we resumed discussions only in October.

Okay, another aside (ha ha!): Mishi wrote me a long letter after she received my initial costing. This particular mail was very memorable for me because it was the very first time a bride challenged me to get out of my comfort zone ("... I have observed you usually go for opulence - with the feathers, beads, damask fabric and brooches... the whole she-bang.") and make something "super interesting" because the one I designed for her was "medyo conservative." Nahiya naman ako! (O, my turn, Mishi! Ha ha!).

Eventually, the whole costing was revamped. Things were removed, new items added. Once the final costing was sent, Mishi was beside herself with tuwa and galak (are these two different?). Anyway, imagine our surprise (yes, I still surprise myself) that the actual end-product was more than what we both expected: it was a bouquet straight out of a magazine! No, make that a bouquet worthy of a magazine. It was great, too, that we were able to import Craspedia in time as this was the only flower that got Filbert's attention.

Mishi and Filbert, I guess we can say that we've been through a lot. From your first visit to the Farm to our long chikahans that lasted until early evenings, it's been a real pleasure and honor working with and for you. You had a real meaningful wedding and more than the details, it was your love for each other that made it even more beautiful. Vatel Manila shares in your happiness. :-)

In this post, Mishi looks back at their preps and their wonderful day. :-)
Q: How did you two meet?

A: We met seven years ago. We were classmates in medical school. We see each other everyday, although we never saw “eye to eye”. Several girls in my circle of friends were scrambling to get his attention, and I never cared. After two years, God made a weird (and at that time, uncomfortable) arrangement that left us with no choice but be together for over an hour. Just to prove that we are civilized beings, we talked. Afterwards, we began seeing each other in an entirely different (and wonderful) way.

Q: Anything D-I-Y for your wedding?

A: Our wedding is truly a labor of love. Filbert and I were determined to give our wedding an ultra-personal touch in order to achieve the look that we want.
1. The save-the-date cards.
2. Designing, selecting and purchasing the materials for all the dresses.
3. I have personally created and sewn the rosettes and the crystals on the bags and shoes of the bridesmaids.
4. I did the embellishments of the flower girl’s dress and the matching dress for her doll.
5. The ring pillow made of jute, bobbin lace and wooden flowers.
6. The ceremony program and guide.
7. The tree painting which served as the thumbprint and sign tree for guests.


Q: Why a morning wedding?

A: We love daylight. Both of us are more fascinated by sunrise than sunsets, and so none of us considered having our wedding in the afternoon. We also realized that it will be more convenient for our guests from the provinces to travel after the wedding.

Q: Our favorite memory of the day was:

A: My bridal walk. It is almost every bride’s most memorable moment, yet I believe it is an entirely different experience for each one. Everything was in slow motion for me, yet it was all in a blur, like a dream. Our loved-ones were there, surrounding us with love and warmth. I saw my Dad facing me as I made my way towards him, with tears welling in his eyes that he refused with laughter. At that time, it was only his face that I saw and I remembered thanking God for giving me such a loving father. As I reached for his arm, I cried instantly. He cracked a joke and I laughed, but still I wouldn’t stop crying. As he was walking with me, I looked towards the end of the aisle and saw Filbert wiping tears as well, and smiling at me with the biggest smile I ever saw in my life. My Mom did not realize she was staring at me and my Dad with eyebrows to the sky only because she was holding back tears, and we were laughing when we saw that that was caught in video. It was a rare, touching, and amusing experience.

Q: What was the design inspiration for your wedding?

A: Early in the preparations, we have agreed that we want our wedding to be a true reflection of our love and our personalities – our desire for simplicity, comfort, and fondness of nature. We did not want to focus on extravagance or trendy wedding items / ideas. We want a perfect medley of beauty, elegance, and exceptionality. I have always been attracted to the idea of a country wedding, hence our country-orchard theme. It was a big relief that we found the perfect venue for our theme (The Mango Farm).

We want the aesthetics of our wedding to be in one direction – polished, uncluttered and out of the box. We gave detailed instructions to our suppliers on the look that we want to achieve.

My bridal gown has been the inspiration for the design of the dresses of the entire entourage. The combination of lace, rosettes (taken from the lace’s design), pleats and buckled belts came out beautifully. Orange fruits carried both our theme and color motif and gave our wedding a fresh and unique look. It was incorporated in our invites, table numbers, menu, place cards, aisle and table arrangements. Native materials and woven patterns were integrated (native baskets, jute carpet for the aisle and ring pillow, sinamay runners and rattan balls for the tables, basket-weave pattern for the cake).


Q: Our favorite details of the wedding were:

A: My top four:
1. My dress. It is a dress straight from my dream. Everyone thought it suited me perfectly.
2. My bouquet. They say a bride can wear anything she prefers— from a grand ball gown to a short and sweet dress. She may choose to wear the prettiest pair of heels, or be in sandals or rubber shoes, or even marry barefoot, but she will always carry flowers. But not all bouquets are created equal. For me, nothing was, and could ever be more beautiful than the flowers I carried on my wedding day. Dylan did an amazing job of perfecting my idea of a dream bouquet.
3. The ceremony arrangement. It was too beautiful for words.
4. Our cake. Not only it is delicious to look at, it was so yummy! The topper was Filbert’s brilliant idea, his major contribution. Too cute! Our guests were raving about it.


Q: Tell us about your photographers.

A: We loved how Imagine Nation does straightforward and classic photographs. We chose Arlene Briones as main because we were impressed with her lighting techniques and the way she captures details. Lianne Bacorro was our second shooter. We met her on our wedding day for the first time, and I could say that she is one hard-working and dedicated photographer. She attentively took several shots on different angles during the entire event and was successful in capturing the important moments. Noel Salazar, who did our e-session, was also there to shoot and we felt honored to be able to witness his craft and artistry all over again. The sweet personality of Shayla Sanchez was evident in all her photographs. Amazing team!

Our videographer, Dan Mendiola , was God’s gift to us. We have searched high and low for a videographer, and in the end, we felt that his style was closest to our hearts. Our onsite video was fantastic and was well-applauded.


Q: Tell us about your wedding dress.

A: I loved attending weddings even as a child. I have also learned to appreciate the intricacy of lace very early. I remember that my favorite flower girl dress was made of a delicate soft pink chantilly lace, and I felt not like a princess, but a BRIDE in it! I was five years old at that time. I have decided I want a lace dress when I get married, and my choice has never changed.

I personally designed my dress and searched and selected / bought the fabrics myself, including the lace, beads, and embellishments. It’s a high neck, short-sleeved full alencon lace dress with delicate beadings of Swarovski crystals and cut beads, and a full pleated hem under the lace’s dainty scallops. The skilled and able hands of my aunt Rosita Flores executed the idea. She is a 68 year-old lady who have been doing my dresses since childhood. She promised that no matter how old or sickly she may be by the time I get married, she will still be doing my gown: a sweet promise that she joyfully and lovingly fulfilled.


Q: Tell us about your caterer.

A: K. by Cunanan was our non-negotiable during the entire preparations. We assumed they are the best, and they did not disappoint. We loved the food, their attention to details and the unmatched service. Our AE, Lace Tan, was so patient and accommodating. We were deeply touched by the way they valued our ideas and inputs. They helped us make our wedding truly our own.

Q: What was your biggest splurge?

A: The food, since we want our guests to enjoy a real great feast.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding?

A: Thriving in our relationship in spite of stress. There were so much issues during the planning that threatened to drain us out – things to do, places to go, deadlines, budget, meetings, time, misunderstandings, family drama. To avoid conflicts, we had to talk about our ideas and share our feelings in every issue with an open mind in order to arrive with a mutual plan. It wasn’t easy, especially during the first few months where crucial decisions had to be made. We had to learn not to be overly serious about everything, and constantly remind each other what has brought us to the stressful phase in the first place, which is our love for each other. Prayers have been our constant weapon.

Q: What are you looking forward to?

A; Having a family of our own. We are excited. :-D

Q: What will you miss most in the preps?

A: E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

Q: Tips to brides-to-be?

A: 1.) Pray, and pray together.
2.) Be sure to cherish each moment of the planning and all that comes with it, including the stress, hassles and the draining expenses, since we pass this road only once.
3.) Nurture your relationship and DO NOT neglect your partner. Keep in mind that the planning should help both of you grow, not break you.
4.) Be diligent, patient and have enough drive to work/sacrifice for the things you want. If there is anything that needs to be done, act promptly. Do not procrastinate.
5.) Set realistic and proportional goals, expectations and budget. There’s no room for mismatch here. Learn to let go, especially if you can no longer afford, or if a supplier could not meet your needs or deliver your expectations.
6.) Be persistent and meticulous in your search for your suppliers. Get thorough information, seek advice and learn to distinguish reliable feedbacks.
7.) Based on experience, all suppliers are important, but if you should list priorities, place the following on your top 3:

a.) Food – Since it is obviously (and will always be) what your guests will remember most.
b.) Photo/Video
c.) Coordinator - For a once in a lifetime event, you want someone to help you execute your precious ideas and plans and set everything straight, not ruin it.

8.) Finally, learn to explore and love Divisoria. It’s a haven for crafty brides.


Watch their SDE by Dan Mendiola here. Their fun e-session by Noel Salazar is here.

This wedding has been featured on Bridal Book. Read about it here.

We're likewise happy to have met and worked with Dan Mendiola & Arlene Briones / Noel Salazar / Lianne Bacorro / Shayla Sanchez of Imagine Nation, and the ever gregarious Jesy Alto-Ocampo! Amazing work, guys! :-) The amazing reception styling was by Lace Tan of K. by Cunanan Catering, yay! I heart!

Arlene Briones for Imagine Nation
G/F Oasis Manila, 169 Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City
Landline: 727.6295
Mobile: 0915.842.1897

Taken with Lianne Bacorro, Shayla Sanchez, and Noel Salazar.


Preps: Astoria Plaza
Wedding: The Mango Farm
Cocktails & Reception: The Mango Farm
Caterer: Lace Tan for K. by Cunanan Catering
Photographer: Arlene Briones (with Lianne Bacorro, Shayla Sanchez, & Noel Salazar) for Imagine Nation
Videographer: Dan Mendiola
MUA: Jesy Alto-Ocampo
Ceremony & Entourage Flowers: Dylan Gozum for Vatel Manila

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