Friday, June 28, 2013

Edited Workbook

Hi Current Couples,

I edited the workbook I sent prior. If you'd like to have a copy of the edited file, do send me an e-mail. :)

God Bless
Darlene

Friday, June 21, 2013

Do you know what causes couples the most stress a week before the wedding?

Couples use up a lot of energy and resources just to mount their weddings. Planning for several months, revising the programme just so guests will enjoy, going through several food tasting sessions and a hunt for useful souvenirs just so guests will feel going to the wedding would be worth their time -- the list is endless. 

However, do you know what has caused many a bride and groom to be stressed a few days before their march down the aisle? (Assuming all their suppliers are ok and everything is on schedule...)

Answer: the responses/lack of response of some guests

How do some guests cause stress? Let me count the ways: 


a) the guest who doesn't RSVP on his/her own
b) the guest who doesn't respond even if he/she has received several messages pertaining to the wedding
c) the guest who picks up when called and responds with, "I'm not sure, eh"
d) the guest who tells the bride and groom, "I will try my best ha"
e) the guest who insists on bringing the new boyfriend/girlfriend
f) the guest who insists on bringing all of his/her kids to the reception (bata pa naman yun, 10 years old lang
g) the guest who threatens not to go because his/her whole family was not invited
h) the guest who tells the bride and groom, "Hindi na ako pupunta, ang arte naman, may dress code pa"
i) the guest who tells the bride and groom "kami lang sa table ha, dapat walang ibang tao" (but there are only 7 of them, so how about the other three seats?) 

To these guests, I say: imagine spending anywhere between XXX,XXX to XX,XXX,XXX for your celebration, and imagine how you would feel if your chosen guest said, "I'm not sure, "bahala na", or "hahabol kami". 

The problem here is not just the money spent but also the REALIZATION that the bride and groom considered the guest special, but the guest doesn't consider them special enough to give a real, polite response. It would be better to tell the bride and groom that you can't go and you really regret it, rather than tell them "I'm not sure". 

If you tell them you can't go, at least you are not causing problems while they are fixing their final guest list with table numbers. If you say you're not sure, "pinapaasa mo sila"; thus, they will take great pains to include you in the guest list -- even resorting to paying for your seat and your meal, only to find out you weren't really planning on going anyway.

For me the guest who sends an SMS on the day informing the bride and groom of his/her absence is a gray area. On one hand, it's good for the coordinators because they now know of an extra seat -- especially if there are hardly any extra seats for those who aren't in the guest list. On the other hand, it can be a downer to the bride and groom when they receive such messages before walking down the aisle. Perhaps, it would be better to send such notes to the coordinator instead of the couple. 

Those who bring kids have to remember that, kids of a certain age, I believe 7 and above, are counted as adults. Younger kids are counted at half count or need kiddie meals so as not to be considered as additional heads. That means when you request for added seats for your kids and your yayas, you must note that you're asking the bride and groom to spend more. 

So to all reception guests, here are a few reminders: 


P.S. The points raised here are all based on past experiences as coordinator. This article was written to be of assistance to couples who get stressed while encoding the final guest list. As one friend of mine put it, "You can't say the guest list is not a problem until you're on your final week prior to your own wedding". (This was her response to a groom who said the guest list is not a problem. Well, when he said it, he was still months away from his big day. So yeah, he couldn't have known better... ;-) 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Of Mixed Marriages and Meaningful Programmes

The first wedding I coordinated and emceed was that of Billy and Abby in June 2010. Yup, almost 3 years ago! 

We made sure the details and programme would meld Scottish and Filipino traditions so that both their sides would get to know a little about the nationality they are marrying into. (Note: All photos are from Really Awesome Weddings, through the kindness of Abby who allowed me to grab pictures from her FB page.) 


Vatel Manila provided boutonnieres of thistles, the national emblem of Scotland. 

Of course, because I mentioned Vatel Manila, I must also post a picture of the beautiful bouquet of peonies that Abby held as she walked down the aisle. 

The term "peony" came from the name of the Greek physician, Paeon, who supposedly received the said flower from Apollo's mother, Leto. Thus, the peony is believed to have healing properties. 

Incidentally, Abby is a physician as well, and she, of all things, had an epi pen in her bridal purse -- in case someone gets an allergic reaction to something on the day. Talk about being such a thoughtful bride! She even planned for guests who might have food allergies as she was preparing for her big day :)

The groom, his father, his best man, and the bearers all wore kilts -- shipped all the way from their home country! To say that these ensembles are heavy is an understatement. As we attached boutonnieres, we realized how much they would suffer due to the thickness of the cloth and the heat in our country. The kids definitely looked too cute for words! Raphael, their son, refused at first to wear the kilt saying, "for girls", but he eventually agreed when he saw the rest wearing their official attires for the day. 



If you're wondering about what the rest of the entourage wore, well, they donned traditional Filipino garb -- the Barong Tagalog. 

One of the groom's friends who was also a secondary sponsor opted to wear the Barong Tagalog as well, so that he would not look different when marching down the aisle between the first and third pairs of secondary sponsors. (Oh yes! He also teased the men that he was more comfortable because he wasn't wearing an ensemble worth several kilos.) 


At the end of the recessional, one of the bearers was tasked to hand over two decorated horseshoes to the bride. This Scottish tradition symbolises good luck, as the groom's parents dutifully explained to me when she handed over the pink box. 

We also had the usual shower of petals for them as they exited the church. San Sebastian does not allow the more traditional shower of rice grains.

Of course, we had to let the foreign guests experience how festively we greet the bride and groom after they are declared man and wife.




The men though were such troopers -- posing and smiling for pictures -- till it was almost time for the reception. I think even the church officers of San Sebastian got pleasantly surprised by the kilts that they were also all smiles as they asked each member of the entourage to line up and march. 


Oh! Raphael wore his kilt till the end of the program! He absolutely refused to remove it even if his yaya was offering him a change of clothes. So cute! :) 

During the reception, specifically the cake-cutting part, we had a regular knife but we told the guests that there is a specific cake cutting sword, called a dirk, that the Scots traditionally used for this part of the ceremony. What we did have was the quaiche, their traditional cup shown in the picture. It has two handles because historically it was used a way to welcome guests and signify trust and friendship. During the ancient times, guests were welcomed with a drink from the said cup. As they held it with both hands, they definitely could not hold a weapon as well, that's why it's a symbol of welcome and trust. On Billy and Abby's big day though, they used the cup for their toast as a symbol of their union, i.e. drinking from the same cup.

Since that time, I have had several other weddings between Filipinos and other nationalities. In one Welsh - Filipino wedding, we had a bagpiper providing music to guests during cocktail hour. In another, we had a little girl give the Irish bride and Filipino groom a horseshoe for good luck. In yet another, the American groom requested that we end the programme with a chicken dance... :) 

----- *** -----

Let us fast forward though to the wedding we just had some days back, the 5th of June 2013, a Mexican - Filipino beach wedding. :) They had cacti all over the place -- most notable though were the big replicas they used as photobooth background and as message card holder. Forgive the picture quality, I just took pictures using my ipad. :) 



I thought it was because they wanted to symbolize their surroundings in Mexico, but when I saw a cactus with hearts in their prenup AVP, I asked if there was a particular meaning to having cacti as part of their wedding decor. Alan, the groom, remarked that a cactus reminds Mexicans of how "love can be painful at times but in the end, it's all worth it". So sweet right?  

They used a Spanish song for their entrance, and a medley for their first dance with you guessed it right, another Spanish song. It was the groom who personally choreographed the dance because as Anna said, the groom is the better dancer between the two of them. 

The couple's area -- complete with a nipa hut and a bottle of tequila -- shows us how the stylist thought of melding the two cultures together. 

The cake comes to us straight from the beach with all the faux shells attached to it. The bride and groom were really cute though -- they did their cake cutting, dutifully served forkfuls to each other, then they turned and had a picture biting into cupcakes as well. Sweetness twice over! 

They used wine for the formal toast but for the toast led by the maid of honor, they had tequila. Actually, Alan and Anna made sure there would be enoough tequila to go around by putting them on tables along with shot glass souvenirs for all attendees. No excuse not to have a shot, right? 

Dinner entertainment was provided by their friend, RJ, who went OPM all the way. 

Upon resuming, we gave the usual trivia game a twist by having everyone answer questions based on Mexican and Filipino wedding traditions. Yes, this is instead of the usual Q and A about the bride and the groom. The teacher in me came out as I researched for possible questions. 

The clincher? When do Mexicans use the piƱata? 
a) during birthdays only
b) during weddings and birthdays

Do you know the answer? 
After the trivia game, we had another one that required participants to stand in front. Everyone paid attention to this game because: 

a) we had singles and married couples as participants -- so they didn't know what to expect
b) w@w couple, Joed See and Allan See, gamely agreed to do the sample poses for the rest of the ladies and gentlemen -- impromptu!!!
c) the men were asked to wear aprons -- in the Mexican vernacular, they call it "mandil", and it's part of the game because it symbolizes how men in Mexico are made to help out with household chores and the like (Someone in the audience quipped, "Ay parang Pilipino'ng lalaki din lang".)
Taken by She de Ocampo Aguiba of ImagineNation
d) the ladies were asked to wear homemade veils -- in this case, the bride got a lot of assistance from her bridesmaids and maid of honor
Taken by She de Ocampo Aguiba of ImagineNation
e) after they wore their aprons and veils, we revealed the real task ahead -- to catch a rose (girls) and a garter (boys) in order to avoid the consequence! 

f) the garter taking wasn't preceded by the usual groom's sexy dance

g) the married man and the single girl who ended up with no garter and no rose were asked to just dance the waltz with the bride and groom -- no garter taking (w@wie Donna gracefully agreed to allow her husband, Sai, to dance with single girl, Carla)

The two on-site AVPs from ImagineNation and Aisle 1401 were true to the Mexican - Filipino theme... Wish I could already post both links. As of now, only the Aisle 1401 link has been posted by Anna... :)

Alan and Anna's SDE by Aisle 1401

How does one end a night full of joy and laughter? The best way we Filipinos like to observe great events -- with a major fireworks display!!!  

Thank you so much, Anna and Alan, for the gift and the touching note that you wrote!!! Super duper appreciated! :) 

P.S. Because Alex Ruelo of ImagineNation already posted these two images, I am sharing them here: the first is Alex's perfect "dove release" shot, and the second, his picture of the bride and groom with their w@w and GT family. :)



Monday, June 17, 2013

Of Sweets and Intimate Weddings

Details are easily shared with everyone when couples opt to have intimate weddings. Look at how Tina and Marlon shared lots of sweetness with their guests.

They had a board stating the names and specific table numbers on the left. But they also had chocolates with name flags serving as placeholders for all guests.

Guests could take the ferrero, bring it to their tables upstairs and mark the seats they'd like to take later on when they finally sit down. You see, the photobooth and the message cards were one floor lower than the reception pavilion. Thus, most of them opted to go down upon "marking their territories" upstairs. :) 

Midway through the cocktail period, we opened their Something Sweet Candy Buffet. It was my suggestion to cover it and open it only after the pictorials carried out by the official photographer upon the arrival of the bride and groom. Something Sweet is the latest baby of my former bride Len Alapide, together with her former coordinator, Jac. Len was also the one who recommended me to her friend, Tina. Thanks so much, Len :)
Thanks for sending this picture, Len. :)
The newlyweds with the owners of Something Sweet. :)
Picture grabbed from Len's FB wall. :)
grabbed from Len's FB wall

Marlon and Tina's wedding was so intimate that they actually got principal sponsors who knew them well and loved them enough to dance upon entering the pavilion. I'm sure Kath of TOE got anxious during the briefing as she reminded the godparents that they would be dancing to the tune of "Gangnam Style" but they all obliged and danced with big smiles on their faces! The entourage did not want to be outdone; thus, they also did their own steps. Of course, when Tina and Marlon entered, they also had surprises up their sleeve -- even to the point of wearing shades during their dance ala "Gentleman". :) I can truly say that for this wedding, my effort to edit the mp3s really went a long way! :) 

The photo below came from Rule of Thirds by JR Salonga. Thanks for sending, JR. :)
This was a weekday wedding, but note that we still had a full pavilion by the time we ended the programme. Why? Well, having an intimate wedding limits your guest list to the ones who know you very well and consider you special eneough to finish the program. Definitely we also did not dare test their patience as well since we respected their time and executed a fast-paced programme. The execution of the programme details was done together with Tina's cousin who also sang beautifully to end the dinner part and re-start the programme. :)

Even the games were executed quickly -- we had "name that tune" which everyone enjoyed till the point we were giving answers and getting mixed reactions from members of each table. We also had a game prior to the garter ceremony which the girls enjoyed because they didn't need to do much. Hehe! The boys, in contrast, sweated it out and tried to shoot the ball as fast as they could to avoid having to do the consequence. The moral of the story? Don't take too long in trying to fasten the hoop... that might just be the signal that you'll end up dancing prior to the garter ceremony later on. :)
This guy gets A for effort and persistence... :) 
Thank you again, JR Salonga, for sending these pics. :)
Check out the AVPs below: their on-site photo slideshow from Rule of Thirds and their same day edit from Zoombox. Kudos to the two teams for finishing their AVPs on time, no need to lengthen the programme and stall just to wait for the AVPs to be ready. Love it! :)



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Because it's Father's Day...

Let me give your dads (and granddads) ideas on how they can be of help to you on your big day. Mind you, these ideas actually came from the dads we had in past weddings... :)

grabbed with permission from Myla's
FB album
a) Have your daughter/the bride fasten your boutonniere. (That way, as the original daddy said while facing the p/v teams... "more airtime with his daughter". Their wedding day, by the way, was 2011's father's day.)

b) Choreograph a lively dance with your daughter. Guests will truly cheer because it's not something they expect to see during the father - daughter dance segment. (Take it from the dad who danced to the tune of "Gentleman" with his daughter.)

And if you're the lolo but you dance better than the dad, by all means, we invite you to bring the house down like this lolo who danced "Moves like Jagger" with the bride, his granddaughter!

c) Sing for your daughter (or son). (This dad did everything for his son who was getting married. He was hands on during preps, and he even sang during the reception. At the end of the day, he asked me to write on the cheques for suppliers because he was so tired.) (We also had a dad who prepared two song numbers which the guests lapped up with gusto.)

d) Help during preps -- like this dad who knew exactly where his daughter kept all the items we needed for endorsement.

e) Cook for everyone during preps. We felt that it would be too tiring for him, but this dad insisted. So yes, he made everyone happy as they ate lunch prior to having pictorials.

f) Prepare your speech well -- a mix of serious messages and funny anecdotes. That way, everyone would be awake all throughout your speech.

g) Help during the line-up. This dad, who also happened to be a General, had his comrades as godparents -- all high ranking officials as well. Because he dutifully lined up as I called out to him in the church, all the rest followed suit. That was the easiest and fastest line-up ever and it happened in a big cathedral, mind you.

h) Gamely pose for pictures during preps, after ceremony, and of course, during the reception. There will be a lot of pictures and footage to take, so Daddies would do well to exercise their jaws prior to the big day.

i) Listen very well when the coordinator is giving instructions re: where to stop when you walk down the aisle. That way, your wives don't need to pull you back because you're walking straight to the altar when you should have stopped early on.

j) Prepare for the big day by making sure you have everything you need including a pair of shoes that fit well. :)

P.S. In case your daddy has gone ahead, he can still make his presence felt. We feel that the big butterfly that flew around our couple as they were about to sign their contract inside an airconditioned church could have only been the bride's dad giving his sign of approval. We also had another experience wherein we experienced slight drizzling for around 5 seconds after the priest declared the groom and bride, "man and wife". This was at a garden ceremony, and before everyone could open their souvenir umbrellas, there were no drops of rain anymore. Whew!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thank you, Aeson and Jean; Alvin and Kristel! :)

Couples usually experience the height of stress on days leading up, so when they can actually take time to prepare gifts for their suppliers, these tokens of thoughtfulness are truly more than appreciated. :)

Thank you, Jean and Aeson! :)




Thank you, Alvin and Kristel :) 


Alvin even had time to take a picture of our run through
prior to the start of the programme :)  

P.S. Because of these back-to-back weddings with pink as motif, I now have two coral pink long gowns -- one with a strap on the left and the other a strap on the right. I was supposed to buy the lighter shade of pink for one of the days, but I was advised against it. I was told I "disappeared" when I tried on the light pink gown. Haha! :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fun, Fun Chinese - Filipino Wedding Part 2

Because I was asked to emcee back-to-back Filipino-Chinese Weddings in Century Seafood last May 26 and 27, I have a part 2.

Alvin and Kristel, May 27, 2013, Century Seafood:

Alvin and Kristel didn't want the usual Chinese wedding. Rather, they wanted to offer their more than 600 guests something more attuned to their personalities. It was really nice of them to add me up on Facebook long before we met for the programme. Their posts and pictures showed me how close they are to their families, and how fun-loving and cheerful they are. :)

They sent me their workbook before we met -- almost complete with all the details they wanted. Because they filled out what's needed, I was able to prepare for the meeting and ensure that I'd have ready suggestions to further spice up the programme. It helped that they got Thoffy as their coordinator, since he is always up for a challenge. :)

Here are some tips/notes I gathered from the reception: 

1) The onsite photo slideshow becomes more entertaining if you have a good photographer and of course, a bride and groom who are willing to do a variety of poses :) Have cute details as well, like the bridal bouquet and groom's boutonniere from {etc} handmade goodness. I believe the rest of the bouquets and boutonnieres (fresh ones) came from Vatel Manila. :)

Check out the link below :)

Onsite Photo Slideshow by Ryan Ortega

my own picture of the {etc} bouquet

2) The OBB (or the AVP shown right before the grand entrance) should set the tone for the grand entrance -- the "i-Dawn Zulueta" moment right before the OBB ended truly caused everyone to cheer and have huge smiles on their faces    -- perfect for the entrance of the bride and groom! :)

3) Gather entourage members who care enough about the bride and groom's vision to really dance with them -- despite being shy and all. Check out how the bride and groom executed their "grand entrance to ento dance segment". So glad that Derek and his team captured the major points of the dance really well... :)

SDE by Derek Yee

4) If you will have poppers, make sure you do your dip and kiss well. I'm sure you saw how Alvin and Kristel pulled that off in the SDE link above. You may also check out the screen shots from the said SDE :)

Yes, it also helps a lot to decorate both stages so that there's a backdrop wherever you are positioned during the programme. :)



5) Surprise everyone, by having a singles game complete with single boys who need to strut their stuff. (will update as soon as I get a picture)

6) Pull off an even bigger surprise by being one of few Chinese grooms who can dance to the tune of Teach Me How To Dougie before getting the garter! (will update as soon as I get a picture)

7) Have giveways on the table serve as centerpieces as well... that way, by the time the waiter brings out the food, part of the table is cleared away already. Guests usually take their share of the giveaways once the waiters' parade starts. (This also helps to lessen possible obstructions during pictorials. If there's no obstruction like really tall centerpieces, pictorials go faster, and we all know faster pictorials would ensure more tables visited within the specified time frame.)

It was so cute that Alvin's mom approached me over dinner to tell me that I should remind people to bring home their candy crush souvenirs... :)


8) If you want a tall cake but you also want to share it with everyone, follow the idea of the picture below. :)  


 9) If there are so many guests, get a photobooth supplier as well as a roving photo man who can take pictures of those who would rather not line-up for their turn at the booth. At the same time, the photo man can capture stills of the couple's friends and relatives as they are posing in front of the designed photo nook. :)
styling of the venue was c/o amante fleurs
10) Even if your venue has been used for other weddings, don't worry too much! Have a concept and get a stylist who can execute your concept. Look at this picture taken from the FB page of Alvin. Compare it with the couple's area picture in Part 1. Nothing about both pics will tell you that both events happened in the same venue. That's the magic of hands-on couples who get stylists to make their ideas come alive! :)

Tip: If you have tall VIP centerpieces, get two screens so that guests on both sides of the ballroom have an equal (unobscured) view of the AVPs. Thanks, Metrotech for allowing me to use your picture. :) 
notice the tall centerpiece near the date? in this picture you will see the screen on the left,
but there is another one on the right -- the couple truly made sure everyone
will be able to see their AVPs without needing to stand or strain their necks
There's still a part 3... watch out for it... :) 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fun, Fun Chinese - Filipino Wedding Part 1

How does one achieve a not-so-formal yet still classy Chinese - Filipino wedding reception program?

Aeson and Jean were so diligent in filling out the emceeing workbook I sent them -- they really filled it out, asked questions, and sent in their ideas before our meeting. Thus, when we did meet, we already had a framework and we all knew what we could bring to the table to further improve the programme on paper. They were truly a joy to work with! :)

Aeson and Jean, May 26, 2013, Century Seafood:

1) Shy entourage? No problem... if you have a little brother who can dance with the ento as they come in by pairs. Check out this video clip of Jean's cute little brother leading the entourage dances. He tirelessly repeated the steps for each pair! And what's more, this part was totally unplanned! He was just requested by the entourage to dance with them and he obliged right away... :) Thank you, Daniel Lei Studios, for sending this clip... :)

2) You want the perfect first dance and the perfect dip? Choreograph the dance and let go of your inhibitions. Check out the perfect presentation of the perfect dip in this link:  SDE by Daniel Lei Studios

3) You want everyone to know your theme? Showcase it through the couple's area. Look at this picture from Jean and Aeson's wedding -- taken from Jean's FB wall. I'm sure you also saw the thematic arch at the entrance through the video clip in number 1. :)

4) Ask couples to do a creative couple pose and provide a prize for the best pose. Look at the pictures below and how the couples were motivated to really have creative poses! Thank you, Jean, for sending the pictures taken by Blacktie Project. :)






5) Choose couples who will be competitive. That way, your couples' game will surely be fun and entertaining for everyone. Look at this picture of the game, "damsel-in-distress basketball version". Thanks again to Jean for sending this Blacktie picture. :)


Note: Before the entourage entrance, one guy asked me if I remembered him... because he was part of the singles game the previous day, May 25 wedding. He didn't win there; thus, he was not asked to do the consequence. This time though, with his girlfriend, he managed to win the prize. The magic question of his girlfriend: Sino'ng partner mo kahapon? (Of course, we explained that the game before was a singles game. Haha!)
Picture taken by Blacktie Project, Sent in by Jean :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Thematic Weddings

Some couples choose to have thematic weddings. While doing so will definitely require a certain budget, styling does let guests know that you truly prepared for your wedding and you'd like them to stay till party time. 

Here are some pictures from the weddings I had last May 24 and 25. Joseph and Christel made sure One Esplanade would channel their theme, contemporary southern in sweet summer tones.  On the other hand, Kiko and Ninay transported guests not just to Glass Garden, but to Bali, Indonesia with the decor they chose to provide. 

May 24, 2013, One Esplanade, Joseph and Christel's Big Day: They had a save-the-date AVP from Wang which we used as their OBB prior to their grand entrance amidst entourage and friends holding sparklers. Their trivia game went down the wire with competitive friends and relatives. Oh! And they also had a fireworks display right after the program... Talk about giving their guests a real treat from start to end! 
K by Cunanan's set-up of the couple's area
 definitely had a southern vibe to it. 
The couple made sure their guests would have something to talk about after locating their tables
since each table had its own framed quotation about love and life. Of course the guests also
appreciated having flowers to bring home after the programme. 
Joy San Gabriel's cake and toppers symbolized Joseph and Christel's professions
as well as the southern, laid-back theme. I am so sure the couple enjoyed their
cake-cutting ceremony because they got forkfuls of not just any cake, but a JSG cake! 

May 25, 2013, Glass Garden, Kiko and Ninay's Reception: Heartfelt yet entertaining messages from the parents, best man, and maid of honor; a really sweet family dance; a funny singles' game involving shoes, clothespins, and kisses; prizes for those with the most creative photobooth pose, and an ipad mini raffle -- what more can you ask for? (Oh! They didn't do their grand entrance with the usual background music, too! They recorded their vows and played it as they went from the door to the couple's area. Talk about getting around the church's "no personal vows" rule.) 

The couple's table certainly spoke of the theme.
Look at the add-on decor!  
Hearts and Bells cake for the Bali-themed wedding of Ninay and Kiko

K by Cunanan's tables not only had different flower arrangements,
they also had postcards of places -- not just table numbers and names. 
Aside from showcasing their theme, Ninay and Kiko also prepared placards
of themselves for the table vs table trivia game. Guests definitely enjoyed
raising the cards in response to the questions.