Q: How soon should I get a response from you if I text or email you?
Darlene: You should get an almost instantaneous response. If you don't, please re-send the message or call me. I do my best to respond right away. Only problem is, some emails and Facebook messages go to Spam; thus, I don't see the messages as quickly as I do those that go into my regular inboxes.
Q: How do I get your packages?
Darlene: Just send me an email or SMS with the following details: Date, Time of Reception, Venue of Reception. If you're sending an SMS, add your email address, so I can send you the new packages.
Q: What packages do you have?
Darlene: The packages vary depending on what responds to the needs of clients. Do email your details (stated above) via email@example.com so you can get the latest list of packages.
Q: Why do you have online meetings in your packages?
Many couples live abroad. Thus, it's better to have online meetings as option. That way, they can plan with me as soon as they are ready, not as soon as their landing here in Manila when they already have too many tasks in their to-do list.
Q: How do you customize the programme planning process?
Darlene: I do send you a workbook (in excel) with a sample programme, possible games, and other needed tabs; however, as you read through the sample programme with its questions, tips, and suggestions, you will most likely come up with ideas on how to personalize the programme contents. I will, of course, give my suggestions as well. We can tweak programme contents to fit themes and the kind of feel/atmosphere you want on your day.
Note: I send the workbook to all clients. Games are also part of the programme -- no matter what package the client opts to take. These games are meant to stretch the time for those who are editing your SDEs.
Q: So I don't need to follow the sample programme?
Darlene: Absolutely! You can change the sequence, add other items you wish to have in your programme, etc. I had a couple who decided on really customizing their games, and we really spent time talking about how to execute so that on the day, it would really be a hit among the guests.
Q: But what if what I'm adding or revising is not really ok?
Darlene: I will take your venue layout, your gown, your food service, and typical guest behaviour into consideration while analyzing what you want to have on your big day. So definitely, I will give you the pros and cons of your chosen sequence of events, the games you'd like to add, etc.
Q: What languages do you speak during the programme?
Darlene: Most couples request for a mix of English and Filipino so that all the guests will be able to relate to the contents of the programme. I am comfortable with speaking in English only or in combining both languages -- Filipino and English. I've also handled a Filipiniana wedding and spoke in Filipino all throughout.
Q: What was your profession prior to joining the wedding industry?
Darlene: I graduated from Assumption College with a Bachelor of Secondary Education degree, major in English.e. I taught Reading at an exclusive school for girls, where I eventually ended up handling the Intermediate English teachers for four years. I went to the Ateneo de Manila University and garnered a Master of Arts degree in English Language and Literature Teaching.
Q: Where did you graduate? What were your awards?
Darlene: BSE - English, Assumption College; MA-ELLT, Ateneo de Manila
Modesty aside, I graduated Summa Cum Laude and was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines. It was through the said search that I met my husband, Emman Salazar.
Q: Why do you include music in your package?
Darlene: Usually, couples have difficulty choosing music they wish to have in their programmes, or they know the music they like but they have no time to prepare the CD of songs which has to be turned over to the sound system provider on the day of the wedding. (Or worse, they prepare a cd that's incompatible with the player that the sound system provider has on the day.) Thus, I figured, I will just make life a little easier for you (as a couple), for your coordinator (less cueing needed), and for myself (because then my OC-radar won't get activated due to the wrong songs being played).
Q: Why do you make medley MP3s for couples?
Darlene: Some couples are able to make these for themselves. Some have choreographers who prepare medleys. Those who don't have the means can ask me to make their medleys for them -- that way, they are able to perk up the crowd with their dances without being scared that the sound system provider would not be able to play the song at the exact point they practiced.
Q: Is it really necessary to have games?
Darlene: The games buy time for the editors of your on-site AVPs. Table vs. table games are always big hits, so I would say that this one is a good add-on. Singles games and couples games depend on your guest profile. Do you have lots of singles or couples who are willing to play games? Word of advice: Do not pick game participants from just one or two groups in the crowd. Make sure the groups are represented -- some from friends, some from relatives, that way, few will leave during the singles/couples game proper.
Q: Why do you bring props?
Darlene: I have accumulated some props due to my stint as wedding coordinator, and I am open to sharing them, since I know some couples would rather not buy or make personalized props anymore.