I vividly remembered the day Jek proposed to me. It was last November 10 of 2015. Exactly 10 years after he asked to court me way back highschool (we were in the same school since pre-school). 😊 He proposed right infront of my father’s grave. He knows very well how I wanted my father to be involved in all of the major moments in my life. I think it’s a really nice gesture and very gentleman of him. Daddy, I found the man who will take care of me as much as you cared for me. I know you’re happy up There. After the proposal, the first question that popped up to me is WHEN. I think that is one of the toughest decisions a couple would decide in to. As much as I wanted to pick our anniversary date as boyfriend-girlfriend, which is February 10, I dropped the thought immediately because 1. It lands on a Wednesday and 2. I thought it was too early for just 3 months of preparation. So I thought of the next nearest 10th of the month that will land on a weekend and that is in the month of April. OK, set! 5 months of preparation is good. But wait! There’s more… Something sudden happened. Jek’s uncle died and so Papa, my father-in-law, who’s working abroad, supposedly be going back in the Philippines in March, booked for an earlier flight which was January. To cut the long, complicated and stressful story short, the date we picked was March 5. I chose the earliest weekend possible. You’ll never know what’s going to happen in the future. So I made sure that nothing’s gonna stop my dream wedding from happening, haha!
Please take note that we don’t have any wedding coordinators. We wanted a DIY wedding, it’s good for our budget and more exciting. The more the stress, the happier. LOL!
@Pastry Chef after the proposal 😍
After we’ve picked the date, we immediately booked our officiating pastor which happens to be my uncle (my mom’s sibling). Then, the most crucial, frustrating, tiring but fun part of preparing was to choose the venue. As I’ve said in my previous post, as early as our 2nd year as bf-gf, I’m already planning my Dream Wedding. 😁 I wanted a beach wedding. However, having a huge family, both sides, we can’t have a beach wedding because of the budget. How are we going to transport our family members of more or less 100 pax and accomodate them in a beach resort/hotel? Not to mention our friends, colleagues and others. So practically, we chose to have garden wedding instead. So pretty damn quick, I hit Google and looked for garden wedding venues in Bulacan. To save time and money, searching online would be the best option then just compare all the details you’ve gathered. But first, here are the things we considered in choosing a venue:
- Number of attending guests
- Availability of the venue
- Rates, corkages if outside cateres and amenities you’ll be needing for the wedding
- Accessibility of location
- Parking space
- Okay for fireworks display (if you’ll be needing it)
- Access to drone / aerial photography (if you’ll be needing it)
- Weather conditions
- Fit our desired motif / theme
- Enough space for the wedding ceremony
- Near hotels and other accommodations
Scouting for a venue. Photo taken @ Grass Garden Resort
We’ve been scouting for garden venues that will fit all the criteria mentioned above. It wasn’t easy. We examined like 5 to 7 different venues and we ended up in booking Malolos Heights Clubhouse for 10,000php good for 24hrs usage of the venue. It was perfect for what I imagined. It has a heart-shaped pool, a covered pavilion (if ever rain pours) and an open space perfect for our wedding ceremony with nice dramatic aerial shots courtesy of the drone. Having more or less 250 guests, it was really spacious because it can accommodate up to 500 guests depending on the setup. Also, the parking space is really huge. It is also accessible for commuters, just 1 tricycle-ride from the national highway where jeepneys, buses and UV express can access.
Next, we opt to look for a caterer. Again, Google is really helpful. Aside from the referrals from others. This would be easy if our budget is extravagant. Haha! But we have limited resources so this is really challenging. I looked into several caterers from Bulacan, about 6 or more, I think. Nothing appealing to me because my criteria again is high. Here are some that we considered:
- Quality of food /food tasting
- Date availability
- Grant our desired motif / theme
- Flexibility regarding menu and other requests
- Dedication and responsiveness to our queries
- All-in packages
The caterer we chose is Al’rise Catering. They are less popular but when I stumbled upon their Facebook Group and saw their wedding setup, I fell in love to it right away. That particular photo of a black and red motif with a touch of elegance of a table setup really captured me. I was really excited and hit them a message without further ado. The owner, Sir Joey Villavicencio, asked me how much our budget will be and that he can arrange a package for me. Having tight resources, I told him that we only have 75,000php for the catering. He then gave me a package inclusive of food, drinks and desert for 250pax + VIP services for the pastor, parents, sponsors and abays, complete ceremony and reception area setup with our Rustic Rock N Roll Theme, cake and gift table arrangement, dove cage, wine bucket, stage setup for the couple, pair of dove, wine, 2-layer fondant cake, on-the-day wedding host, lights and sounds and fresh flowers for the setup. Wheeew! That really covered almost everything we need. But as we negotiate further, I ended up slashing off the cake from the list then replaced it to mobile bar for 3hrs unlimited and photobooth also for 3hrs unlimited and ended up with a contract of 80,000php. Great deal, huh? For me, this is really a relief to us because almost everything was covered including the emcee. Disclaimer: This may depend on the package and your negotiation with the caterer according to your preference and needs. If you’re interested with Al’rise Catering, you may visit their Facebook Page linked above or contact Sir Joey here, 09227838266 / 09154911863.
Setup for the wedding ceremony area.
Venue and caterer done, now let’s move on to gowns and suits. This is also important to prepare as early as possible especially if you want to customize your gown or make a new gown for you and all your abays. There are 2 popular places in the Philippines if you are looking for gowns, one is Divisoria and the other is Pandi, Bulacan. Of course we dropped by on both places. We’ve learned that most of the shops in Divisoria were sewn and came from Pandi. So we went back to Pandi specifically in Brgy. Bagong Bario to look for shops that can sew my own customized wedding gown, Jek and bestman’s coats, my mom’s gown and 12 gowns for the abays (1 maid of honor, 3 secondary sponsors, 3 bride’s maids, 2 junior bride’s maids, 3 flower girls)to be finished for a month. Again, it was not easy. We searched Pandi for one whole day to look for the cheapest but has good quality gowns. At around 4PM, I think, we found the humble shop of Ate Tressie in Poblacion, Pandi (I lost her contact number when I reformat my phone. You can just ask the locals where her shop is). Anyway, Ate Tressie is really accomodating and super nice. Plus, she offered me incredibly affordable rates for different gowns. What catches my attention is that she can make my dream gown for just 6,000php (compared to others who offered me 10,000php or more). Included also in my wedding gown package are the garter, white bag, veil, cord, pillows for bible and coin, coin or arras and the long veil). I forgot the individual prices for the gowns of adult gowns and kiddie gowns plus the 2 coats but more or less, we paid 16,000php. As Ate Tressie being nice, she also made me a free cocktail dress as a gift. Plus free rental of a half-body mannequin for the pictorial of my wedding gown. Just a tip, for us to save money and to fit for our budget, we asked our abays if they can pay for their gown. Fortunately, some of them agreed and so all of us were happy. LOL! This is now acceptable nowadays, you can offer half, full or free. It’s up to you and the generosity of your abays especially if they can keep the gowns after they use it in your wedding. For the male abays, we asked them to provide their own coats and black & white Converse Chuck Taylors. We just bought for them red neck tie for the adult and black bow tie and suspenders for the kids.
I so love black and red. 😁
Another important things are the souvenirs and invitations. For the souvenirs, we came up with 2 kinds, 1 for the sponsors and the other for the guests. For the sponsors, we asked my mom’s friend, Tita Ellen, to bake a red velvet cake for us (perfect for our black and red theme) and a chocolate ganache cake. We have 20 sponsors in total. Cake is 300php each for I think 6 or 8 inches in diameter. I should say, they’re really mouthwatering! For the souvenirs to the other guests, we went to Tabora St., Divisoria. This is the most popular souvenir place in the Philippines. I’m looking for something that represents me and Jek. I opted for the Jack Daniel’s mini bottle but we just can’t afford it, haha. I think it costs 150 each. May I just say, drinking is our favorite thing and our bonding moments. That explains why I wanted that JD bottle. As we hunt for more, we found a shot glass which contains 3 bottles of wine in it. Perfect! Another alcoholic souvenir, haha! I forgot about the price but roughly 40-50php each. We just ordered 80pcs, I think. As for the invitations, we are genuinely blessed that my cousin, Ate Rizzel and her husband, Kuya Pau were into printing business. Before anything else, I’d like to thank my super friend, Aiko Lee, for the layout of our invitation. I wanted the invitation to look neat regardless of the motif black and red. Also, I wanted to add gig ticket-looking piece of insert to add on. We arrive finally to 4 parts of invitation (gig poster-style front page, list of entourage names, ticket-type invite and a logo consisting of our name initials to be pasted in front of the invitation). For guests not inluded in the entourage, we just provided them the ticket-type. This saved us a lot of money by not printing all the other 3 parts of the invitation. Now for the printing, as I’ve said how blessed we are, Ate Rizzel and Kuya Pau didn’t charge us even a single cent. After like 3 days of printing, we just bought special papers (1 embossed floral design and 1 black with like tiny silver particles) and arrange the as an envelope for the invitations. We also bought a red heart-design ribbon to enclose it. Again, it was a DIY invitation. Simple but I like it because it’s black and red, LOL.
Photo and video coverage, this is another major thing to be prepared for. Wedding is just once in a lifetime and not all couples are blessed to be given an opportunity to have one. Although it will last in our hearts forever, printed memories and documented clips are exceptional in remembering this as years pass by and will give our future chidren a chance to have a glimpse of our happiness then. Being so much blessed, this is another good deal for us. We are fortunate that a friend of ours, Tope (videographer) and Joshua (assistant and photographer) are working in Red Media Photography which is based in Quezon City. Having high quality equipments and exquisite service from all their staff, their rates are also high but I should tell you, they are worth every penny. We got their package of just video coverage inclusive of prenup photoshoot, save the date video, whole wedding coverage, same-day-edit of wedding highlights and full length coverage of the wedding highlights plus the use of their drone. If I’m not mistaken, this package costs 35,000php. But having friends with them, we got a really decent discount. For the photo coverage, of course we also have a friend who offers to cover of our wedding from the preparations in the hotel up to the very end of the event. Kuya Lito is so generous to offer this for free. I suggest if you are planning to get married, befriend a photographer/videographer now. It will hep you save a lot of cachings.. 😉
The videographer and photographer.
With Kuya Lito and Best man.
What is a garden without flowers? Of course we needed more flowers for the bouquet and corsage of the entourage. As referred by Jek’s cousin, we contacted Royal Empress Flower and Delivery from Hagonoy. When we had a meeting, i discussed that our motif is black and red. It is really unusual for a wedding but they still did it. I loved my red roses bouquet.I forgot how much we paid but as far as I remembered, it was 6,000php for my bouquet, 10 bouquets for ninangs, 9 bouquets for adult abays, 3 baskets with flowers for the flower girls, 26 flowers for men (I forgot what it’s called), flower arrangement for our bridal car and for Jek’s motorcycle. Plus a wedding couple bear included in the flower arrangement of car and motorcycle.
I believe we’re done with all the major things that we need to be prepared for. For some minor details, here are the list we could cosider and not to forget:
- List of ninangs/ninong and abays
- List of guests
- Hotel accommodation near the venue
- Hair and Makeup artist
- Jewelries/accessories/shoes/small bag
- Spa/relaxation treatment before the big day
- Bridal car
- Candles and matches
- Wedding cake
For the list of attendees, you should be very strict with it. If you have limited resources like us, you may cut-down to just important persons that you want to celebrate with. Hotel accommodation is also a thing to be thought of. This will be the place where you can prepare before and after the wedding. We stayed in Paradise Resort and Hotel from 8am until 2pm the next day. We just paid for less than 6,000php inclusive of free breakfast for 2 and free use of all the amenities and swimming pools of the resort. We inquired in other different hotels but they won’t allow the time that we requested. It’s either we stayed for just 24 hours or extend for few hours and pay for a whole day room rate. Paradise is the only hotel which granted or wish to just pay for a minimal additional fee. Hair and makeup is really important. Again, a friend from my elementary days, Kim, is a HMUA. She did very well and great with my transformation, haha! She offered us good rates with discount of course, including Jek’s, my mom’s, 2 sisters’ and 3 nieces’ hair and makeup as well. Jewelries and accessories were courtesy of my mom, so no problem with that. I only struggle in looking for a pair of shoes, leather boots to be exact. I wanted the Dr. Marten’s but can’t afford it. Haha. So again, I asked Mr. Google where to find the perfect boots and landed in Moderno Sense‘s Facebook Page. I found this mid-high leather black boots with studded straps for just 900php. I immediately inquired, paid and waiut for the arrival at home. Another blessing is that we have a ninang, Ninang Julie, who owns Pretty Preciosa Spa which accommodated and entitled us a free whole body massage, facial and foot spa. This is to erase all those stresses that you accumulated in the process of the preparation. Just a reminder, have your facial sessions scheduled at least a week before the big day. You don’t want to have a red, bulging face on the camera. For the Mani/pedi, you may opt to do this a day before the wedding. We didn’t have a problem with the bridal car because we just used Jek’s family’s newly bought Ford Ranger (yes, a pick-up truck). For as you know, Jek is originally from Bocaue and we both studied in a school in Bocaue, home of fireworks. So obviously we have a Bocaueño friend, Jericho, who owns RN Navarro Fireworks located in Turo, Bocaue. Meaning, we have a free fireworks display as a gift. Our wedding cake was sponsored by my father-in-law. Yey! Thank God for we are really highly favored with friends.
OOTD @ Paradise Hotel
Makeup transformation with Kim, LOL.
Bridal bike? Haha
They say, “A great marriage is not when a perfect couple come together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”
No one’s perfect. So as to a couple. There are no perfect couple. But giving yourselves to God, submit to Him and let Him be in the center of you relationship, everything else will follow near to perfection. It is true that the preparation for the wedding is really tough and frustrating but as I’ve said, keep your eyes on the prize, it will be all worth every tiring day and stressed mind. Just enjoy the journey.
2nd entrance with the abays.
Special guest, Mr. Phillip Salvador.
See that cutie bear? His partner is in the bridal car.
I love this bouquet…
I hoped you learned something with my very brief narration of our preparation. If you think I forgot to mention a detail, please do comment down below. Also, if you are interested to get the contact details of our suppliers mentioned above, don’t hesitate to ask me. Should you have any stories related or want to share your’s, feel free to do so.
This goes to all the ladies for your clueless minds on wedding preparations. I, myself, also experienced being clueless regarding this matter. Of course, we can only get married once here in the Philippines.
I’ll end this blog for now. Have a great day 😆.