Friday, December 21, 2007

Marriage Proposals

I bet every time you remember how your fiance/husband asked for your hand in marriage you still experience that warm, fuzzy kilig feeling. I could just imagine how overwhelming that moment was and that you might have cried.

A few months ago, I did a post about proposals and then I recently bumped into the Wifely Steps blog where Toni initiated a "Marriage Proposal Blog Carnival". The stories are really nakakakilig! Included in the blog carnival are recounts of how Neil Gaiman (the author) helped Jason in his marriage proposal and a scavenger hunt proposal and a whole lot more.

The Sweetie says that the recounts are quite challenging to beat. Methinks if any of those happened to me I would've probably hyperventilated and fainted. LOL. I just noticed though that in marriage proposals, it happens either: (1) just as a spur of the moment (like LadyCess' recount); (2) it just happens as a natural progression of the relationship (like my parents); or (3) the hubby-to-be plans it out and makes a grand fuss about it.

One of my friends who I accompanied in buying the engagement ring did a grand plan. It entailed all of us, his friends, dressing up in white during his GF's birthday dinner, but that didn't push through. So, we waited and waited and waited. It took a couple of weeks and all of us were wondering if he was still going to push through with the proposal. He eventually ended up giving the ring in the car after making a downpayment for the condo they were going to move into after getting married. He said he went for the "no fuss" proposal since he thought everything was in its proper place anyway.

Well, the proposal is just the first step to a pandora's box, este, to a whole lifetime commitment. My married friends keep telling me what really matters is how you make things work after saying "I do". I agree, but I wanna get more kilig, share naman your proposal story.

I'll send a gift on Valentine's day to the one who has the most kilig story. You may either leave a comment here or email me at aileen at

Come now... don't be shy. =)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fun Wedding Photos

If you attend wedding events you'd notice that there are a LOT of wedding photographers and it would be a dizzying experience to actually choose one for your wedding. I did a post a while back on some tips on how to choose a wedding photographer.

Today, I thought of showcasing the fun side of wedding photography through Cliquebooth's unique service. Cliquebooth works like your usual ID photo machine, but with a twist (and the Twisted Wedding Planner loves twists!). It's quite hard to describe, so I'm just going to show some photos from events I had Cliquebooth in and some photos from Karl de Leon, its owner.

This is me and Sweetie at an event (he's going to kill me for this but one of his good friends gave me the blessing to feature it here, LOL)

You can also check out photos from some of the events I did that Cliquebooth attended here, here and here.


Wedding Guests

The Cliquebooth photo album

I think it would be great to have Cliquebooth in a wedding. It captures the fun side of it. For bookings inquiries please call Mimi Abesamis at 0917-624-6464.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Finding Suppliers Easily

The easiest way to find suppliers is, of course, to sit in front of your PC and do a search on Google! Aside from going through search results, you can always visit wedding websites, wedding blogs (and these help verify if the supplier is a good one as well because it serves as a testimonial), online wedding directories or whatever online site you can bump into on weddings.

But, of course, one cannot always be online, so we often scramble for hurriedly copied numbers on small pieces of paper or your wedding notebook (if you keep one) - I also don't have the patience of going through tons of flyers I get during wedding events I attend. The solution? Get a wedding directory!

DPC Yellow Pages has finally launched their very own wedding directory! And since they're the official publisher of the Philippines Yellow Pages (for all telcos), you can be assured that the suppliers who advertise on DPC Yellow Pages are legitimate businesses (you cannot just imagine the tons of paperwork that goes before these things get published, I know coz I used to work for them LOL).

Get a copy today!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Choosing a Caterer

The largest chunk of your budget would most probably go to the caterer that's why it's very important to know how many guests you are going to have from the beginning. And -

food = enjoying a wedding
yucky food = bad wedding experience

Believe me, no matter how good you've managed all the other stuff, guests would remember that the food was not good at your wedding. Well, I do remember.

I've been getting a lot of food tasting event invitations in my mail and since my weekend was suddenly freed up, I decided to go attend Hizon's Catering food tasting event at One Esplanade. I have helped my friends choose their caterer, but I've never really gone to a food tasting (left that to the lovebirds teehee). Anyway, from that experience here are some tips that I think would help when you are evaluating a caterer:

1. Menu Composition - there are many parts to a meal. Are you having a breakfast, lunch, merienda or a dinner reception? You'd normally have to choose the soup, appetizers, salad, main meal, dessert and beverage. Choosing a cuisine makes things a whole lot easier. And, don't forget to ask Sweetie if his relatives have any food restrictions (i.e. most of them are diabetic, have high blood etc.). Also, ask the caterer what their specialty is.

2. Cost - the cheapest is not necessarily the best. Find out what the cost includes - food, venue rental, chairs & tables, set-up, flowers/decor, waiters and other services. Does it include freebies like the sound system? LCD projector? Sometimes it's better just to hire a caterer for what they do best - the food - and just get someone else to handle the decor, sounds etc. And what are the payment terms?

3. Service - there were quite a number of things falling down on the floor (thus creating banging sounds) during the event. You don't want plates and stuff falling down on the floor during your wedding reception do you? It was quite annoying, plus the first table we sat down in was see-sawing so requested to be transferred another table. Make sure the waiters and service staff are attentive and are capable of exercising last minute instructions during the reception.

4. Taste - remember, not yummy food = not happy guests. `Nuff said.

*Photos by Jay de Jesus.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tips for the DIY Wedding Bride

I know there are a lot of couples who do their own weddings. Instead of hiring a wedding planner, they go through all the motions of choosing the caterer, the dressmaker, the church, the venue for the reception, the photographer etc. and the bride handles all the nitty-gritty details. I am all for that since it gives the couple a project to-do (one of the most important projects! next one would be having kids...) and they can also save up a lot by doing things themselves.


Sad to say, you really cannot do it on your own. Aside from tying the know, the most important objective you should have for your wedding day is TO HAVE FUN. I've seen a couple of brides give in to anxiety on their wedding day. Bad idea sister! Bad for the photos! You wouldn't want to have a ngiting aso smile on your wedding photos right? Right?

The key elements to having a DIY wedding are: (1) your friends/relatives; (2) delegating properly; (3) forgetting about all the details and just enjoying your wedding day.

(1) your friends/relatives

Your wedding is something you can use as an excuse to hold coffee get-togethers with, perhaps, your bridesmaids. Do not allow them to be mere "decoration" in your wedding! Get them moving and meet-up with them to help you out on wedding day tasks. It's also fun! Do it with your best gal friends (and willing guy friends) or your relatives. I was around 8 years old when I started having wedding tasks for all my Titas and cousins who got married. Imagine the possibilities!

It pays to have many friends!!!

(2) delegate properly

Emailing tasks to friends IS NOT ENOUGH. Make sure your instructions are clear and accurate. Here are just some of the tasks you should assign someone of handle, but make sure you have an "overall coordinator", one who everybody can run to on the day of the wedding so you can just sit back, relax and have fun with your sweetie:

Ceremony Things to Do

1. Physical arrangement of entourage during the ceremony
2. Church & Entourage flower arrangement
3. Distribution of entourage bouquet and corsage (don't forget to bring pins!)
4. Check sound system at the church
5. Distribution of missalette
6. Line-up of readers (readings, responsorial psalm)
7. Choir arrangement (make sure there's someone who'll prompt them to play the wedding march!)
8. Line-up of photo batches and have someone announce this or include it in the missalette

Reception Things to Do

1. Check for physical arrangement, table arrangements
2. Signature frame signing
3. AVP Presentation
4. Arrangements for the program (doves, bouquet throwing etc.)
5. Distribution of souvenirs
6. Background music/orchestra
7. Emcee program/script

These are just things I remember on top of my head and I'm sure there are many more nitty-gritty stuff that need to be cared for during the wedding day itself.

(3) enjoy your wedding day

I have a former colleague who held her wedding in Bali (Indonesia) and she took care of all the details for the wedding. When she came back I asked her how things were and she said that all she did was to forget about all the mishaps and just enjoyed her wedding day. Despite all the loopholes, her photos were awesome because SHE ENJOYED HER WEDDING DAY.

And, don't forget your sense of humor!

Monday, October 15, 2007

How to do a Bridal Shower

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. That's me. Hmph. I am a professional abay I think. I have gowns in many different colors because I always get chosen to be either a maid-of-honor, a bridesmaid or a secondary sponsor. Heck, one of my friends even had a gown made for me when I was just her wedding coordinator. I think I should start renting out my gowns. LOL.

Anyway, as a professional abay, I've time and time again planned bridal showers/despedida de solteras for my friends. I haven't done any of the rowdy ones though, but if you need a guy (you-know what kind) I think you can just find one on the Yellow Pages or ask any of your guy friends, they might be willing to do a free-show (I wouldn't want any of my guy friends to do-so when my time comes, puh-leeeaz!). LOL.

For the parties I've arranged for my friends it's usually nothing fancy. What's important is gathering everyone who is dear to her and just spending some girlie-fun time, with or without the fiance. Last weekend was no different when I planned for a party for a dear friend who's getting married next week. I just SMSed our friends that we're having a shower, asked them what food they were going to bring and gave out a theme for the gifts (thongs/undies). We just fixed things up in less than a week and everyone just showed up at my door. Nothing fancy, but packed with so much fun and camaraderie.

The program went this way:

1. Dinner
2. Harana for the couple (coz we're part of a choir)
3. Bride formally introduces the fiance to her friends
4. Bride and Groom grilling (we asked them questions like when their first kiss was, how they became a couple... our "elders" were the ones asking the more controversial questions!)
5. Marriage advice from the elders
6. Gift offering from the bride

It was as simple as that, but we had a helluva lot of fun!

Here are some photos of the bride and groom during the grilling and gift-offering:

And the friends serenaded the bride and the groom with "When I Fall in Love":

*abay - entourage
harana - serenade

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Finding THE ONE

Did you wait a long time to find your one true love? I'm almost sure you're reading this post because you found it through and that you're scrounging around for information because you are making arrangements for your wedding. Right?

If you've been following my personal blog you'd know I have been searching and searching and searching for my one true love. I sure wish it was as easy as doing a search on Google. LOL. But then again, I don't think that's something that can be indexed. Well, that's what dating sites are for and that's something I don't think I'll ever do.

Anyway, I've asked most of my married friends how they knew that they were marrying their spouse. They all said that you would just know. Geez, how vague could they get. Even my parents said the same thing.

Reading Bo Sanchez' "Finding Your One True Love" helped me a lot in clarifying things in my mind and it kinda changed my perspectives in a lot of things. I used to be one who'd run away from guys who'd try to get close to me. Brother Bo said that one must meet as many guys as possible. The worst thing you'd end up with are loads of guy friends. I'd say, it's true! LOL.

I've been through a lot, including a broken engagement (looong story) and it took quite a while before I got over that hump. Quite a number of people have told me that it's really going to be hard for me to find THE ONE because my Dad's a tough act to follow and they say one would normally look for someone like Dad. I'd say before getting married make sure he is not one of the guys listed in my 'not to date' post and think about the following:

(This is just my opinion based on my experiences and the advice of my parents.)

1. Were you friends before you became a couple?
2. Do you trust each other?
3. Are your values the same as his?
4. Do you laugh together?
5. Are you really, really sure you want to spend the rest of your life with this person?

There's no real formula I guess on knowing if he/she is THE ONE and I think to really know, you just really have to pray hard and keep your eyes open. You never know, he/she might just be right under your nose.

If in doubt, I strongly suggest reading Bo Sanchez' book "Finding Your One True Love" and getting counsel from a priest.

What do you think?

*This post was inspired by the movie "A Love Story" starring Maricel Soriano, Aga Muhlach and Angelica Panganiban. Now available on DVD (that's how I got to watch it).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Wedding Dream

Have you ever dreamed about your wedding? Not daydream, but have an actual dream that you are walking down the aisle. I have!

I've been having the same dream since I was 15. It's like watching a wedding video where the camera pans on me (the bride) and then focuses out as I start walking down the aisle. I am very happy in this dream. Ecstatic. Emotional (as any bride would be I think).

At some point through the years I became curious on who my groom was and tried looking, but it was like a curtain that wouldn't open. The face was always blurred. Strange huh? It's always been that way and I've been having this dream for more than 15 years now. Have I ever seen who it is? Secret :)

Anyway, at least I could say I would be a very pretty bride (LOL) and that I look great in a tube gown (but what I wear always changes). Hahaha. I honestly don't think I'd be able to manage my own wedding (if ever!) and well I gotta find myself my groom first.

I think it's nice to dream about one's wedding, albeit mine's pretty strange and let's not talk about what the manghuhula says about me and having kids. For those who are still searching (why are reading this blog, head over to An Apple a Day if you're single haha), a lot of people have advised me to pray to St. Jude (the patron saint of the impossible) and I think my prayers have finally been answered.

*Photo - Tappy throwing her bouquet. I think the photo was taken by Boggs.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Weddings Should Be Fun

Monster brides are born because of the thought that everything in one's wedding should be perfect. NOT! I remember having a bride who didn't sleep a wink the night before her wedding because she was so anxious about impressing everybody. She didn't want to get any criticism and spent a lot of money to "impress" her guests. Well dear, you did impress everybody but you forgot to enjoy your wedding day and the anxiety you felt is all over your wedding mementos.

So, lesson learned, BE HAPPY! BE SILLY! And ENJOY your wedding day!

Which is precisely what me and my friends enjoyed at Sunshine & Leo's wedding yesterday. We all knew the pains Sunshine took in preparing her wedding. Everything was chosen after careful selection - read her blog and you'll know how she took care of every teenie-bitty detail for her wedding day. And it was just really perfect.

I was just really happy to just be a guest for once at Sunshine & Leo's wedding. I wasn't stressed at all and managed to enjoy the whole ceremony. Plus! I got to eat a lot of the sumptuous feast at the wedding reception. And seeing old college and high school friends was really a feast in itself. We all looked like we were still in college (yeah, yeah, put that brow down) and despite our formal attire, we were just plain silly the whole time.


Cheers and best wishes to Sunshine and Leo! :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Proposal

If there is one thing that will surely make a guy sweat - it's THE PROPOSAL. Some guy friends also brought me with them to buy THE RING. And, my oh my, they were anxious the whole time.

So is there any formula for the perfect proposal? Nah, I don't think so. I think the secret is just to ask from the heart and being sincere. So, if you have doubts, then don't even think about asking!

Here are some really kilig and sweet proposals I've been told:

1. Will you marry me? - this couple traveled to several countries in Europe and in their second stop at the Eiffel Tower the guy just got down to his knees, whipped out the ring and asked the girl to marry him. And then he brought out two shirts, one with "Will you marry me?" and the other had "Yes" printed on it - the words were written in all the languages of the countries that they went to. Preparation is key.

2. Before flying off - the guy brought the girl to the airport. She was leaving for the US, little did she know that the guy was able to get an airport pass and he surprised her inside with flowers and the ring. I am sure her altitude would've gone up even before the plane took off.

3. Style Mo Bulok - okay, I take that back coz it's how my Dad asked my Mom to marry him... My Mom said that after passing the bar exams my Dad told her, "I'm going to get married already." My Mom said, "Okay, so get married." Dad replied, "I'm going to marry you." Plain and simple. They've been married almost 50 years now. Now you should hear about how my Dad made her his girlfriend, but that's another story.

What about you? What's your kilig story?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Top T.O.E.s (Terms of Endearment)

Who doesn't want to be called a special name by one's beau? I have not encountered a couple who doesn't have nicknames for each other. Here are some of the terms of endearment I've heard used:

1. Honey - oh such a sweet, syrupy nickname for a loved one. Derivatives of this TOE include, "Hon", "Ney", "Honeypie"

2. Baby - everyone wants to be babied. Calling one's SO "baby" connotes TLC. TOE derivative: "Babe"

3. Sweetheart - ahh the most classic term of endearment. I remember finding a "chattering" heart my Dad once gave to my Mom, the box had "For my sweetheart" lettered in front of it. TOE derivatives: "Sweet", "Swit", "Sweetie Pie", "Sweetie", "Heart", "Tart".

4. Darling - another classic term. One that I can't imagine myself being called (my hair's now standing on end)! But, still commonly used. TOE derivatives: "Dahleng", "Ling".

5. Dear - "Coffee na lang dear," remember that TV commercial?

6. Cutie-Pie - I don't hear this commonly used, but it is still used as a TOE.

7. Boo - I read from the Urban Dictionary that the term is derived from the French word "beau" meaning beautiful. The term has evolved to mean "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" slash "sweetie". Remember all those songs with "boo" in it? Now, I don't mind being called "Boo".

8. Love - I've caught some friends calling their beaus "love". It is not commonly used in public though and normally used in private. TOE derivative: "lovey", "lab", "labidubs", "labidubdubs"

9. Mom/Dad/Mama/Papa - this term is normally used either by married couples or couples that have been together for a long time already. TOE derivative: "Mommy", "Daddy", "Mami", "Dadi".

And the ultimate Pinoy TOE:

10. Mahal/Pangga - the ultimate kilig TOE. I think I'm going to hyperventilate if someone uses this on me. It is my personal opinion that this is THE Ultimate TOE because it is very Pinoy and I believe when someone tells you "Mahal kita" it really comes from the heart. Why? Because you are Filipino! If you are, you'd understand what I'm trying to say.

Check this out for more TOEs. And for those with Fil-Am or non-Filipino speaking SOs, have them read An Apple a Day's post on Pinoy Ako and Some Important Pinoy Terms.

So, head over to the poll at the right side and vote for your TOE!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wedding on a Budget

"No budget yet," is what I always hear from long-time couples when asked why they haven't married yet. But should weddings be really extravagant? Should you really spend more than PhP100,000 just for a wedding gown? Or another PhP100,000 just for that engagement ring? Or have the reception at a hotel?

Nah, I don't think so. I have done a shoestring budget wedding and a very extravagant PhP1.6M wedding. Guess which one was more meaningful?

The shoestring budget wedding I did was for one of my colleagues/staff/friend. She had been together with her boyfriend for 9 years already and though they both knew that they were meant for each other, they just didn't have money to spend for a wedding. When our company gave a windfall CBA bonus, we got things going and started planning the wedding. And less than 2 months after getting the bonus (that was around late June), the two lovebirds tied the knot on August 20. (And no, she was not on the family way).

Maybe I should have named this post, "Express Weddings" as well. LOL.

So, this is how I did it (with costs):

Wedded bliss for Rolly and Ruth.

Church - Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish (Paranaque), PhP3,000 (discounted from PhP5K)

Wedding Gown - Divisoria, PhP5K including all the accessories plus the groom's barong and pants; mind you, her gown didn't look off the rack, everyone thought I had it done

- Max's Fried Chicken Restaurant with 100 guests, between PhP30-35K

- the bride got this and it cost them about PhP12K

- paper, envelops and stuff cost around PhP500; lay-out was done by our colleague from the graphics department

and Wedding Cake - included in Max's package

Wedding Rings - I think they got it in Ilocos, cost around PhP10K

Maid of Honor & other abay gowns - Divi, PhP750 each

Flowers - about PhP4K, Dangwa

Wedding Planner - no cost at all (that's why I only do this for friends) :)

The budget wedding team.

All in all, the wedding just cost around PhP70K. Who'd have thought they'd be able to invite a hundred people to attend it? We were all giddy after the wedding coz we knew we pulled it off. A lot of people though they spent PhP200K on it.

Oh, and take note, after their "wedding dance" they had PhP13K pinned all over them. They used it for their honeymoon and to buy stuff for their pad.

Ako pa, I'm an expert at budgeting. :)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Internet Tools for Engaged Couples

The twisted wedding planner is back from her Cebu and Davao trips! So sorry! I have been swamped with work and I was quite shocked with the traffic I've been getting from! And speaking of the internet and weddings (bad segueway I know, heh), here are some tips for engaged couples on how you can utilize the internet to make planning your wedding easier.

I know, I am definitely addicted to blogging, but hey, it's my job to spread the word and here's my top 5 internet tools for you:

1. Gmail - we cannot always be with sweetie the whole day can we? And we do see stuff that we want to share with him/her. Send that link of the fab gown you saw online, or perhaps a photo of that brilliant diamond solitaire would give the hint that you do want an engagement ring? Or maybe just send over a one-liner love note over email. That'll make your sweetie's day I'm sure. And, of course, use Google Calendar for all those appointments you'll be having.

2. Gtalk - I'm doing 2 weddings now wherein the spouses-to-be are apart! They're like 5 hours apart by plane! And being the harassed wedding coordinator/friend, the only way we could scrimp on phone bills is through IM or calling each other through Gtalk! Did you know you can actually leave a voicemail on Gtalk for your sweetie? Imagine how kilig I was when I got a voicemail from, ahem, a friend from the US. Download the console today!

3. Google Docs & Spreadsheets - I know how crazy the guest list gets as THE day draws near. How do you actually merge your lists? Google has answered our prayers through the Google Docs & Spreadsheets! Just open up your Gmail account and click on the "documents" link found on the upper left corner. You can also import or just copy/paste from your current excel file. Now you and sweetie can access and edit the document easily! And you can share this document as well with your wedding planner.

4. Google Notebook - this is my all-time favorite! I do a lot of searches in a day and it's just next to impossible to keep track of all the websites I visit! Looking for that perfect honeymoon spot? Clip the links in your Google Notebook and you can easily leave little notes on it as well. And you can create several notebooks which basically allows you to segregate honeymoon spots from gowns, flowers and all those wedding stuff that's buzzing in your mind.

5. Blogger - a must for all you engaged people! Blogging will be your online wedding journal which you could share to your family and friends. Capture everything online, from preparations like choosing that caterer, the church, the reception venue. And don't forget those photos? Think it's hard? Nah, it's so easy! Just watch this video which shows you the basics of blogging. Don't forget to use Picasa to upload your photos and Youtube for videos! Oh, and check out my friend's blog which has captured all their wedding preparations.

And the ultimate internet tool you could use?

Google Apps for Your Domain
- this allows you to give out email addresses using the Gmail platform with your own domain (i.e., put up your own website using Google Page Creator and a lot of other things that allows you to communicate, collaborate and organize stuff easily. Just get your own domain name and sign-up, you'll be ready in just a few minutes. Check out this video to find out more!

Whew! That seems like a mouthful, but I assure you, when you got it in your system it's going to be like second-nature. Get going sweeties, there's so much preparations you have to do.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wedding Announcement: Gangoso-Pastor Nuptials

Mabel is my friend from the Sun Valley Music Ministry. We come quite a long way already and through the choir we've done numerous wedding performances. And, one of the greatest benefits of being in a choir? You don't need to hire a choir or wedding singer. Plus, you also get the benefit of free wedding coordinators and helpers. I remember Mabel and Jaja helping me out for one of the biggest weddings I've done.

Mabel and I used to rant a lot about our singleton existence. One day, she declared she will have a boyfriend before her xx birthday. Yes, she did! An old flame, Ricky was Mabel's first boyfriend. They've been separated for more than 7 years - as partners and physically. She never thought she'd see him again because she moved here in Manila a few years back and was but all gone from her radar.

Until, one day, they bumped into each other. Ahhh, so romantic indeed. It didn't take a long time for them to rekindle the old flame and after less than a year decided to tie the knot.

Is that destiny or is that destiny? True love, no matter how impossible the situation is, finds itself back to where it should be.

The Gangoso-Pastor Nuptials:

Date: October 20, 2007
Church: Mary Immaculate Church, Las Pinas
Reception: Nature's Cafe, Las Pinas
Motif: apple green
Expected No. of Guests: 120

I'll be featuring Mabel's choices as it comes up. Oh, I will be, of course, a professional abay again.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Twisted Tips: Choosing a Photographer

If there’s one supplier you should have a great relationship with among your wedding suppliers: it’s your PHOTOGRAPHER.

And monster bride’s be warned. Be very warned! You don’t want your gorgeous self to look like a basing sisiw in your wedding photos do you?

I remember a friend of mine hired a photographer that I didn’t recommend. I thought his photos were kinda bland and I had this funny feeling about him. I wanted them to get another photographer whom my amiga used for her wedding. Well, the bride scrimped for the wrong reason and got that photographer. It was a total disaster since a few days before the wedding the bride and the photographer had a shouting match about payments. Geeez! I wasn’t happy myself with the photos he took of me.

On the other hand, my best friend, Tappy, decided to do away with a videographer and just hired a photographer to take black & white photos of her wedding. One of her colleagues, Boggs who is a professional photographer, also took photos of her wedding. Guess who had the better photos?

Establishing great rapport with your wedding photographer is key to having great photos. Why?

Because he will treat you like a friend and will make sure that your photos will look great.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with photography hobbyists and these are the things I learned:

(1) The rapport will help because it would be easy for you to relax in front of the camera. When I started out hanging with these photography hobbyists, I was quite uncomfortable with the fact that their lenses were up my nose all the time. Until I got used to it.

(2) Friends know your nuances. They can actually determine when you’re about to give an impish smile and capture that in your camera.

Check out the photos below by Sasha Manuel and Abe Olandres:

*Please take note that they are photography enthusiasts/hobbyists and they don't do this for a living. I just want to illustrate the fact that photos get better when you have great rapport with the photographer.

Photos by Sasha Manuel

Photos by Abe Olandres

And remember:

Make your photographer your best friend.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Setting the Date of the Wedding

Aaaargghh! I've been so busy being a lakwatsera I've basically been a MIA wedding planner!

But, lo and behold! I have been busy talking with two friends who are about to get married. They've requested me to be their wedding planner (I hope they know what they're doing! But thanks for the vote of confidence my dear friends!). It would be quite a challenge since their fiances are both abroad (one in New Zealand, the other in Malaysia). Things are a bit crazy coz:

Couple A - Groom is in Manila, Bride is in New Zealand
Couple B - Groom is in Malaysia, Bride is in Iloilo

And how complicated could it get?

Anyways, that's beside the point. Couple A is kinda confused at the moment when to set the wedding date. Couple B originally planned it for this month, but had to push it back because the groom got a job in Malaysia.

So when should you set your wedding? Well, based on the weddings I've been through, these are the things couples usually consider when setting the date of the wedding:

1. Anniversary - pfffft (rolling eyes), but it's true, a lot of couples set their wedding date based on their "anniversary date". My parents didn't. I only found out about the day my Mom agreed to be my Dad's girlfriend when I unearthed one of their love letters.

2. Budget - when the projected budget is already available. Of course, couples have to save up for the wedding, it's quite rare now that a guy already has a wedding nest egg on hand before he proposes. Only happens in the movies I guess. But this is a major decision point.

3. Availability of Relatives - if you're Filipino, I'm sure you've got relatives who are going to come home just to attend your wedding. Why do you think statistics show that most of the weddings are during the Christmas season and not June?

4. Vacation Leave - what's a wedding without the honeymoon? You're going to have to spend a lot of time off from work to prepare your wedding coz you have to attend seminars, choose a caterer and go shopping for stuff.

5. Readiness - notwithstanding that couples should be ready before they think about tying the know, but ya know it doesn't hurt to think about the reasons why you are marrying the person and whether you are really ready or not. As Peter Parker's aunt said, "You must be ready to put her before yourself. Are you ready to do that Peter?"

There are many reasons you have to consider when setting the date of your wedding. You can do this by yourselves or you can involve your family, but I think the most important thing is being prepared and knowing what you are getting yourself into.

*Photo - that's my best friend on her wedding day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Meeting The One Online

You know the deal with long flights. You either get a great seatmate who's a great conversationalist or you get someone who just keeps to himself and looks at you suspiciously once in a while.

A few months ago I found myself boarding a plane to the US. I prayed to God to give me a seatmate who'd be friendly. Lo and behold! I was seated beside an American. He's name is Michael and was on his way home to Texas. He was not only friendly, but we managed to talk about a lot of stuff - everyone was already asleep and we were still talking!

Anyway, Michael was visiting a friend in Cagayan de Oro and he mentioned that he was looking for a wife! He said he wanted a Filipina since Pinays are not only beautiful, but caring too!

Nuninunino... fast forward to March... Michael buzzes me and tells me he's getting married! He asked me details on documentations needed and the local wedding customs. I then directed him to visit these sites:

I warned Michael about all the paperwork he needs to put up with and all the seminars he'll have to go through before the wedding. He was unfazed and I helped him book a hotel near the embassy for his trip here in Manila.

I had lunch with the lovebirds last week. It was my first time to meet Jovil, such a lovely young lady who had her Tita Janet as her chaperone. We had a sumptuous lunch at Gerry's Grill in Robinson's Ermita and good thing Michael was "game" at tasting all the Filipino food we ordered for him.

The lovebirds met online! A sure testimony that love may happen on or offline, a stone's throw away or ocean's apart. They were really sweet (check out the head-smooch photo I made them do).

The Michael-Jovil Nuptials will be on April 26, 2007 at Butuan City. Congratulations and best wishes! (Wish I could be there to attend!).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

How to Choose Your Motif

I’ve been part of the entourage for several of my friends, that’s why people keep kidding me that I am a professional abay. I have gowns in almost all colors! (That's me coaxing the flower girl to do her walk haha).

I never really thought about what would’ve been my motif for my wedding. I was too scared to even think about fixing it up (that’s why I’m a twisted wedding planner remember?). So how does one choose le motif? I don’t really know, but this is what my friends thought;

o It should be the bride’s favorite color (er… normally it is)
o It should be a significant color for the couple (cheesy!)
o It should be a unique color, something not normally used for a wedding (that is if you could find the right tela for it)
o The color should flatter your whole entourage (don’t use red if most of your entourage is morena)
o Choose a color that suits your age (when you’re 45, I don’t think baby pink suits your age and that goes for the gown too, no Cinderella ballgowns please)

Motif also doesn’t only revolve around the color of your wedding. You should also define what you want out of your wedding. Do you want it to be fun? Formal? Traditional? Relaxed? Stiff? By defining what you want out of your wedding then it would be easy to pick a theme. Beach? Filipiniana? Sun-shiny? Old Manila? Modern? Zen? Bubbly? Dolphins? Whatever it is, make sure you are in agreement with your spouse-to-be. And make sure you DO NOT alienate the groom with your choices. You don’t want him just to be guest at your wedding.

After defining your motif and theme, it would then be easy to choose the tela and the bling-blings you will be using for the gowns and the giveaways and the flowers. You wouldn’t want to use gumamela as flowers for a really formal, traditional wedding do you? (well that’s an extreme example). It’s just like making a marketing campaign. Make sure you communicate only one message. If it’s Filipiniana, then stick to it, there wouldn’t be any place for American burgers in your reception. It could also be a mix of stuff, a fusion. But make sure it’s not a hodge-podge of things! Simple elegance goes a long way.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I remember going through the pamamanhikan for my Tita Pet, Ate and Kuya, and the Brit-Pinoy wedding I did. Tita Pet married Uncle Fumio, a Japanese, back in the 80s and Uncle Fumio had to ask for her hand in marriage from my Dad since my Lola Iyay was a widow back then. I think I was only about 7 years old when I saw Uncle Fumio having a one-on-one with my Dad at our resort, Villa Merced, in Bicol. It was a very long adult discussion and I just remember that they made me play longer at the seashore so I won’t bug them.

My Ate’s pamamanhikan was a huge party we held at home. I was only about eleven at that time and just knew that the party was about getting the permission of my Dad for my Ate’s hand in marriage. What was different then was the fact that my sister and Kuya Johnny were in the US and they just called in during the party to fix up stuff (too bad the internet wasn’t commercial as it is now during that time). After that all the wedding arrangements were done offshore.

We had to travel to Pangasinan for my brother’s pamamanhikan. I was about 13 then and we rented a huge coaster to fit in my immediate family and about 20 more relatives. We had to put in a show of force since Ate Joy’s family was huge. All I could remember was the food!

Another experience I had recently was for a British-Filipino wedding I did. I was tasked to accompany the bride’s brother to pick up the groom’s parents at their hotel. It was their first time in the Philippines and I had to act as the tourist/culture guide. It was a short ride from the hotel to the bride’s home, and I realized they had no idea that they had to go through ‘pamamanhikan’. So I explained it to them and they got through with it without any hitches. I’m glad I brought it up since the bride appreciated the gesture they made in adjusting to Filipino customs.

So what exactly happens during pamamanhikan? I’m not really sure if people who get married nowadays go through this. I personally went through this a few years ago when my fiancĂ© asked for my Dad’s permission to marry me. There wasn’t so much fanfare. It was just like any other day that he was at home. I asked my parents to sit-down at the dining table because my boyfriend wanted to speak with them.

Of course, my BF then was very nervous. My Dad’s very traditional and normally that scares guys away (not so much now though, he’s about to sell me already!). Anyway, my BF then just took a deep breath and said we were already planning to get married. I guess my Dad was expecting it already and he just said that it was about time and that they were very much willing to help in any way.

I’ve heard of some pamamanhikan horror stories. There are some where the in-laws end up bickering about the wedding arrangements, usually financial matters. I had a friend who even went through the stage where her mother-in-law said, “there’s still time, my son can find another woman to marry”. Ouch, but things ended well when they had a baby.

Inasmuch as my wedding didn’t push through, I think I would want to go through the same thing again. Traditional as it may seem, I think it’s a very important step that shouldn’t be missed before the wedding. It may not be that your fiancĂ© is actually asking for your hand in marriage from your father, but the gesture says a lot. Respect for your family is highlighted in this event. And besides, marriage is not just all about the two of you, but all the “merger” of two families.

So what exactly is the pamamanhikan program?

- Introduction of parties (if they haven’t met before)
- Formal offer by groom’s father to bride’s father
- Acceptance of bride’s father to the offer
- Discussion on wedding arrangements (budget, where and when)
- Discussion on the after-wedding arrangements

Of course, notwithstanding that everything goes well, both families should try to spend more time together by helping each other out in the wedding arrangements. I know this may be difficult to fathom since it’s usually the bride and groom and their friends (or wedding planner) who does the arrangements, but wouldn’t it be great if you guys try to reach out to your families?


Tita = Aunt
Lola = Grandmother
Ate = older sister
Kuya = older brother

*Photo: Tappy and Jolet, taken by Boggs

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How to be a Professional Abay

“Marriage requires a person to prepare 4 types of "Rings": Engagement Ring, Wedding Ring, Suffering, Enduring”
- Fr. Leo Acierto, C.P. in one of his homilies

I've been privileged to see four of my friends tie the knot last year and they dragged me into the wedding preparations which I did (of course) because I love `em. And they now call me a professional abay and because of this I have acquired several gowns of different shapes and colors. Seems quite funny, but I always find pleasure in seeing my friends start forever by walking down the aisle (ay romantic!).

When I was a kid, my Mom, Ate and I thought of opening a wedding shop. My Mom taught us how to organize activities (events), do craft work (giveaways), negotiate with suppliers and the most important of all, people skills. Our dream didn’t push through since my Ate left for the US to take her MBA. That was in the 80s, and today I believe I’ve lived through that dream.

Planning a wedding is no easy feat. I’ve been through different types of weddings, from budget to bongga. Hired bands, the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra, wrestled with printers, photographers, exporters and designers. The brides would wake me up before my wake-up time, call when I’m about to sleep, SMS in the wee hours of the morning, discuss tela, beadwork, tiaras, seating arrangement, bridal cars, lay-out… get the picture? And I did it for free. But, all in all, everything was successful and so far all of them are still on honeymoon stage and my best friend is giving birth in May.

But what does it take to get married today? I don’t know! But, the best advice I’ve read and heard so far are the following:
  • Mom and Dad – Make sure he comes from a good family with the same values you were brought up with.
  • Momma Jackie (Mom of a British groom) – It’s not finding the one, but finding the right one.
  • Ate Rose – Ask God if He is the one.
  • Fr. Manny – Always pray, God will provide you the person you need (take note: not you want, but need).
  • Sheri & Bob Stritof – If you are questioning why you should get married, don’t do it.

For some insane reason my friends keep asking me about wedding requirements. So, how does one prepare to wed? Parishes/churches require the following from couples:

  • Baptismal certificate with annotation “free to marry” or “for marriage purpose”.
  • Confirmation certificate
  • Publication of wedding banns
  • Marriage license (this comes with other requirements from the city hall like your birth certificate, attendance in the seminar etc.)
  • Canonical interview
  • Spiritual preparation or attendance of pre-cana seminar.
  • Confession prior to the wedding day

There are additional requirements for those marrying a foreigner, divorced or divorcee, widow or widower, and non-Catholic/non-Christians in case of mixed marriages.

Because of this wedding planning hobby of mine I always get asked, “So kelan ka?” And I just always roll my eyes and say, “Madaliin ba ako? God hasn’t Willed it yet.” Some of my friends would say, “She has to be tied up to a chair and forced to do the deed.” Yeah, yeah, but seriously, I think getting married is serious business (and a daunting task) and something that would just come when it is the right time. For the meantime, I believe all singletons out there should be make the most of their time by being of service. Aside from being able to help others, you’ll gain new friends and manage to keep away from food binges since you’re busy. (And one tip: just disappear from the hall when it’s time for the garter toss and bouquet throwing haha).

*Abay - part of the wedding entourage