Booknotes: Munky Luv!

So I guess the circus theme is officially out because I learned that Mark is frightened by clowns and feels bad for freak performers, despite my assuring him that I would never exploit people that way.

So, we settled on something sillier and which I believe is actually much more personal! Th wedding concept is now Munky Bizniz, and it’s coming from the idea that marriage is essentially a launching of a new life. Why not have a party that looks like a brand / product launch!

We recently started our Munky Bizniz site, which is where all basic details about the wedding will be. Check it out here: munkybiziniz.wordpress.com!

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Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chapter 18: Change of Heart, Change of Wedding Theme

Blogging backlog! Anyway, lately I’ve been trying to give the book theme some thought and I’ve started to realize that I think I’d like to go for something more personal.

Apart from that, book themes have been done quite a number of times already. Well, really, it’s just my being vain and wanting to be unique and furthermore, I’ll admit, my being KSP (kulang sa pansin = wanting for attention) that is at work here. Being the baby in the family must have to do with that in part so I guess marrying someone who is the eldest in his should balance out the brattiness.

So I talked to Mark about the idea of changing themes and we was definitely okay with it. While thinking of ideas, I thought first about our personality as individuals: crazy, mental, nutcases. Alright, maybe a little short of being childish—no, childlike! At 28 and 36 years old, I would like to believe that we still have this innocence, this naiveté in certain aspects of our life. I guess any couple, regardless of their age and life experience is, at the start of their marriage, at some level of innocence, having been freshly thrust into this new state of being wherein it’s not just about you anymore but you with your partner.

Anyway, so the words “young at heart” comes to mind and though that sounds uber cheesy to me, I like the idea that amidst the dark, pessimistic concerns of adulthood, we should still try to embrace  the positive qualities that we find in children–sheer joy, optimism and even brute honesty and shallowness. Life is hard enough. I suppose we should just lighten up.

From there, Mark and I thought of the things we liked as kids. There are commonalities but they don’t seem to be normal childhood things. For one, we both made our toys copulate. Yes, we did and for that matter, I guess we weren’t really that innocent as kids. I still remember the grin on my face as I received a Barbie Family set–obviously you would have to act out the way the “family” came about.

So I suggested other more common childhood things, particularly the circus/carnival. Who didn’t love the circus!? Images of street magicians, freak shows, cotton candy machines and acrobats immediately come to mind.

“Parang kiddie party yon,” Mark retorted. I admit that there are lots of kiddie parties that have circus themes with fire eaters and clowns.

“Yes, but think a more adult circus,” I replied. “More Criss Angel Mindfreak then Boyoyong clown,” I continued, referring to that famous trio of clowns who were a fixture in the local kiddie parties we both attended in the late 80s to early 0s.”More Carnivale!” I added, remembering the HBO series I used to obsess on back in 2004. “More Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” I further suggest, referring to one of my favorite movies of the past 2 years.

So for now, we’re trying to come up with a sort of surreal carnival wedding with friendly freaks, mind-bending magicians, and maybe a clown or two to entertain the kids and the kids-at-heart.

Carnival Wedding inspirations:

For fonts (in say, invitations and programs), something vintagey like Carnivale.

For the look of performers (magicians, host, etc.), something sort of gothic like that infamous masquerade ball in Labyrinth, another personal favorite.

For the program, something like the traveling show in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus–very raw and rough on the edges but entertaining.


For other decorative elements, the fun, freaky quality of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland, which Mark and I both love.


Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chapter 17: Finding Home

As we get closer to the wedding which is now a year and a month away, I have found myself losing interest in it. I have not been thinking much about the accessories I will pair with the simple white strapless dress I picked for the big day; whether the journal souvenirs will be yellow or cream or its pages lined or un-lined; not contemplating on which book-themed dishes to consider for the menu or whether the chocolate cake will come in a single or double tier. Not even the church requirements, previously a source of anxiety for me, bother me nowadays.

What is getting me excited (and anxious) is the beginning of house-hunting for me and Mark.

Soon, we'll be playing house for real.

For the past two weeks I have been poring over listings for real estate, both for rent and for sale. Although we have considered rent, we came to the conclusion that if we’re going to put out money anyway we may as well invest in property that we can earn passive income from later on.

The first two units we looked at in the Barrio Kapitolyo area of Pasig City–a very accessible area, my own brother and his family lives in this flood-free area which is very close to the Ortigas Center–wasn’t really worth it, in retrospect. At 28 square meters and 55 square meters and Php2.2 million and Php4.4 million respectively, these semi-furnished units, complete with a state-of-the-art security door, seemed attractive at first. I guess souped-up model units have that natural effect.

The second set of units we checked out is another Pasig development, but unlike Kapitolyo, this brand-new cluster of condominiums is located deeper into the suburbs. Unfortunately, on our way for the scheduled viewing with the agent on a wet Saturday afternoon, our car got hit and scratched by an already beat-up taxi, which shows just how “careful” the driver is. It was the first time ever I got hit by another vehicle and I was not even moving, which resulted to a sour mood for the rest of the afternoon. Thankfully, we ended up with a scratch while the cab received another dent to add to its collection of more dents and a broken, taped-up light. After 15 minutes, we continued our drive to the condo, through a long, heavily-trafficked road. I immediately thought, after getting used to living in areas that only took me 5-10 minutes to get to EDSA, the main highway,  I didn’t want to drive this far on my way home every day! Moreover, I got turned off by the unfriendly locals who would sometimes act as if they didn’t hear us when we tried to get help with directions. I hadn’t gotten to the development yet but I felt more than 50% decided that I disliked this neighborhood.

When we finally arrived at our destination, welcomed by the Asian-inspired exteriors, I felt a little relieved. The agent was a very accommodating lady who waited for us even as we were an hour late due to traffic (and the dratted taxi). The units, at 42sqm, 49sqm, 71sqm and 83sqm, where a little larger than the first condominium we checked out. The price was also fair enough, however I realized that more than just prize and location, we needed more space, as Mark and I both treat out current homes as offices as well (he uses his bedroom as a working area while I have a work desk in mine).

On that same day, Mark and I spoke to my brother who resides in Kapitolyo and he warned us that the condo we just viewed is surrounded by a flood-prone area. So much for those claims in real estate classified ads, ensuring buyers that their Php2.8 million investment won’t get affected by rising water levels, if not in the unit itself but on the immediate areas encircling it. With that, I decided that option 2 wasn’t even going to make it to my short list.

In the aftermath of the Ondoy floods of 2009, locations has become an even more significant factor in choosing where to live in Metro Manila. This concept house is designed to rise with flood levels and go back when the water recedes.

Furthermore, my parents suggested that we look at foreclosed property listings from banks. Any money saved from buying a brand new unit can go to other things like repairs for a fixer-upper or renovating of a new-old place.

And so the house-hunting continues…

But it was just a few months ago when Mark and I originally considered living in my parents’ condo during our first year of marriage in order to have more time to save money for a unit. Again, I have come to realize that there is a lot of emotional and physical space needed when starting a new life together.  Moving into a new place also stands for the cutting of the umbilical cord from our respective families–not that it’s a bad thing to live with them.

In the Filipino culture, it is not uncommon for extended families to live with the parents, and Tsi-noy (Chinese Filipino) families even traditionally require newlyweds to initially live with the husband’s family. However, personally, distance is something that I have been craving for some time now, both personal distance as well as enough breadth in order to build a new life under our own roof with our own rules. I suppose being the youngest member of my family, not to mention the only girl in a brood that includes four boys, has a lot to do with it, as this makes me the natural recipient of surely well-meaning, “protective behavior .” To a degree though, because sooner or later, little girls must grow up and learn to fend for themselves and that is something I am continuing to learn to do at nearly 28 years old.

For one, I am still learning the real estate process. Ironically, I come from a family that is involved in the industry: my mom is a consultant who gives advice to investors and my dad is in the architecture and construction business. On occasion, he would get involved in the real estate side of the family business by helping with the paperwork. A lot of the jargon that I have been hearing these past two decades of my life–authority to sell, special power of attorney, transfer of title, contract to sell, etc, etc–have been ringing in my ears like bees. I wish I didn’t have to deal with all this paperwork, because the looming unfamiliarity with the process makes me feel less confident. I wish I could have someone, like say, a lawyer, guide me through all the details so I don’t worry about getting gypped. The only thing I know for sure is how to figure out if a piece of property is worth it based on how much it costs per square meter and how prime or accessible it is.

It is this very corporate nature of real estate that makes the idea of buying property still feel like something that “our parents do” but the marriage process, with all its preparations and planning for the day after the big day, reminds me that yes, we are already at the age of responsibility. We are already doing what our parents have done. While I may sometimes wish to be young and responsibility-free again, I can’t honestly say that my teens were much more fun and carefree because I embrace the independence I have as an adult. I prefer it, in fact. Although, I must repeat, that I will always be seen as the little girl in the family therefore I need to be “shielded” from the harsh,unfair world.

But  that’s also how our angsty, young selves tend to see our lives. Back when we were teens, we found it harsh and unfair to be subjected to the rules, the dos and don’ts, the “be home by 1am” curfews and “no boys in the bedroom” mandate. As we got older, for as long as we still live under our parents’ roof and even though they may have become less strict with us, there are still regulations to abide by–and we find it harsh and unfair because we’re not “kids” anymore, we say. Even as we break free from our parents’ grip and go on to have jobs, start businesses and pay taxes, we still find it harsh and unfair to have to deal with the bureaucratic realm of enterprise and government.

But you know what, despite these, I still feel glad to have come to this part of my young life. Marriage and its many emotional challenges, work and the daily task of pleasing the clients, a real estate investment and its monthly amortizations, all takes its toll on us, but the reward of independence and the opportunity to train ourselves to become survivors in a yes, harsh and unfair world, is much greater.

That’s why we need a warm place to come home to, to break free from the corporate toil of an adult existence. Then we can become like children again, following our own crazy rules in a house we can call our own.

Published in: on November 15, 2010 at 5:34 am  Comments (1)  
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Booknotes: Food Survey

So, what are your favorite foods from books?

Mine is Quail with Rose Petals from the most mouth-watering novel ever (and worst thing to read on an empty stomach), Like Water for Chocolate.

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Booknotes: A Quantum Solution?

Nowadays, I’ve been really happy and sad at the same time. The added responsibility of running a business, the responsibility of doing volunteer work, the responsibility of studying for class and the unproductive (non-existent) wedding planning because reserving a venue is a the bottom of my to-do list, have all resulted to a 5 pound weight loss. I’m down to 96 from 101.

I supposed I’m close to burning out and I won’t even approve a leave of absence for my own self.

So, I guess it was timely that my mom gave me a Quantum Pendant yesterday.

It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of one.

In a nutshell, this pendant, which is made up of molecularly-bonded natural minerals, produces scalar energy which regulates the positive flow and balance of energy in one’s body. In other words, it helps you perform well even under stress.

The box says “Japanese Technology” which confused me because personally, I find that the pendant is somewhat more of an amulet. I guess by placing the word technology there, skeptics would be less taken aback by any quakery that this piece may represent.

Here are a list of benefits according to the manufacturer:

– Reduces inflammation
– Promotes unclamping of cells
– Enhances circulation
– Enhances immune and endocrine systems
– Has the ability to destroy viruses and bacteria
– Enhances cellular nutrition and detoxification
– Enhances cellular permeability
– Increases energy
– Helps to protect DNA from damage
– Helps to retard the ageing process
– Helps to fight cancer cells
– Strengthens the body’s bio-field preventing
electro-magnetic waves from affecting one’s health
– Increases focus and concentration

I started wearing it today but I don’t necessarily feel the rush of scalar energy, or maybe my body has gotten so used to stress that I’ve become numb. I’m not well-versed in the science behind scalar energy nor do I believe in simply putting a piece of healing jewelry around your neck so that life becomes a breeze. I’d rather take a more holistic approach to balancing my life out, even though I must admit it’s something that I still have to train myself to do.

Nevertheless, this curious pendant doesn’t actually look bad and I don’t mind wearing it for the aesthetic benefits. Whether it proves to be helpful in the anti-stress department is yet to be seen–or felt.

Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chapter 16: Marriage and Security

I will never forget this blog entry by one of my former officemates, Therese, on her engagement to her husband, Brian:

She tells him: “Magpakasal na kaya tayo? [Why don’t we get married already?]”

Sige. Wala tayong pera ha. [Sure. We don’t have money, okay.]

Okey lang. We’ll never have enough money anyway. [That’s okay. We’ll never have enough money anyway].”

Most engagement stories are the culmination of having spent enough time together to call your relationship secure. In the emotional sense, this is the point wherein you feel comfortable enough with each other after having weathered your own set of trials and tribulations in addition to becoming familiar with the less attractive bits like, such as say, the smell of each other’s fart. Of course, engaged individuals are expected to have a steady income or business by the time they put a ring on it.

Purely financial? What does security mean most engaged couples?

Therese and Brian’s engagement story stood out because their’s is a situation that Mark and I can relate to most and moreover, they earned my thumbs up of what an engagement should also be about–not just being in a comfortable place but entering the challenge of married life together.

When Mark and I first entertained the idea of tying the knot, it was in 2007 and we were two years into the relationship.

Magpakasal kaya tayo next year,” over a dinner of anchovy and garlic pasta from the Old Spaghetti House in Katipinan Avenue. I think the fact that we couldn’t care less about garlic breath is one indication of our increasing security with each other.

Sige! [Sure!]” Mark replied as though agreeing to a random game of Rock,Paper, Scissors. Of course we never took that plan seriously enough back then; not until we made it official in January 2009. But as the months rolled by, I realized that I couldn’t ignore the financial side any longer and that a marriage isn’t just a game of Bahay-Bahayan [House]. It wasn’t that we were taking our work for granted but we had to definitely strive towards having an income that was sustainable; one that could pay for more than just dinner-and-movie dates. Unfortunately one of my worst habits is procrastinating. I can be a good planner but I don’t always follow through. I’d like to believe that not all plans are feasible for various reasons like a lack of budget, but when things remain unrealized then something ought to be wrong with the way I manage my goals.

Getting engaged was probably one of the best things to happen to me in the past year and it also came at the right time: 2009 was my last year of working full time with my former employer and 2010 not only gave me more opportunities do freelance work, which in my case is more financially rewarding but it gave me time to finally begin my own marketing communications business called Root and Vine, which started operations in August. Even better, I feel lucky that without even trying to look for clients, two opportunities were presented to me–on the same month (and this is precisely the reason why I haven’t been able to blog much).

I was reluctant at first to work with these potential clients particularly because I still hadn’t completed my business registration, although I was about 90% done by the time I touched based with them. All papers, documents and permits will be accomplished by the first week of September but I decided to just go ahead and do business. However, the exhilaration of having one’s own company and beginning operations soon gave way to a new sense of nervousness that  I hadn’t felt since I started working in advertising. Now I have to think about profit, unique selling propositions and managing clients first hand. As a copywriter, I may have interfaced with clients as well, but I was more concentrated on creatives. As a former coordinator for campaign-related events, I also interacted  with suppliers in addition to clients but I was not on top of the project. Now, I have the responsibility of heading an entire campaign and holding the client’s hand.

It’s a tougher job but I feel more ready than ever. Moreover, there’s a lot of humility that comes with it. When you start a business, you don’t necessarily have “no boss to answer to” or “have your own time” as most people would like to believe of entrepreneurship. The truth is you become answerable to more people: clients, companies, consumers, suppliers. Your schedule becomes busier and more than ever, there is a need to brush up on your time management skills. Working with my former office mates is also a challenge. I don’t want to think that I’m much better than them because we’ve been in the industry for around the same amount of time and the reason why I invited them to work with me is because they have their own unique area of expertise in this business–a skills set that fills the void of my own areas for improvement. However, at the same time I need to maintain a take charge attitude. I suppose I’m more people-oriented that way.

At the root of it all, I personally believe that starting a business isn’t just there to make me feel like I’m ready for marriage. It becomes more than that.

Saving up for a wedding will just be the first of many financial endeavors that one will go through.

Entrepreneurship fulfills other things by providing me with an opportunity to service people. Advertising may be seen as a materialistic, somewhat shameless industry and I must admit that at several times, my colleagues and I have taken a step back to reflect on how our work tends to be all about the bottom line: making a sale. Of course we can’t get away from that because making money is all about sustaining lives and growing businesses. However, I realized that more than that, we must challenge the bottomline. As communications practitioners, we must consciously consider consumer education as a vital part of responsible advertising. A good place to start  is by being educated consumers ourselves. I’m not just talking about buying things, but the way we buy into ideas. During a workshop in my previous job, I learned that everyday, we are exposed to an average of 3,000 communication messages. Do we allow ourselves to absorb everything without passing these through a critical sieve? Do we outrightly purchase something just because it’s “hip n’  trendy” or do we take a step back and figure out if it’s something we need? Do we immediately agree with what we read in the papers and see on TV? When there is a more holistic way of approaching business–one that considers both profit and relationships with stakeholders and consumers– then I believe we have a more solid foundation for running an enterprise, which is crucial in the midst of an ever-changing socio-economic sphere. Even natural occurrences may affect business on the grand scale, as illustrated by the Ondoy floods of October 2009.  Simply put, business isn’t 100% secure and several challenges will challenge the way we run our organizations and threaten our relationships with stakeholders and consumers.

I also believe that our idea of security in a marriage or preparedness must also be challenged.  Marriage isn’t a “settling down” but it is entering into a new challenge and a lifetime that will be in constant flux.

The business of marriage is all about weathering new challenges together.

I know that people would like to see marriage as more than just a contract but I see a lot of parallelisms between it and an entrepreneurship. Both are all about nourishing relationships we have with people: our spouse, boss, assistant. Both are all about growth, whether its in our annual net profits or in our expanding household. Both are all about weathering the storm, in sickness and in health, in recession and progression.

In business as in marriage, security is all about embracing the challenges.

Published in: on September 6, 2010 at 11:35 am  Comments (3)  
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Booknotes: Have time, Will blog!

Since, I can’t always find time to write an entire entry, I decided to come up with these micro-posts called “Booknotes.”

It’s been quite some time since I last posted something here. With a year and three months to go, I haven’t been busy with any wedding planning at all. Instead, all my time has gone to starting a business. Yay….and nay!

I guess that’s the positive effect of an engagement on me: it kicks your ass into finally realizing your plans.

On the upside, I have found and reserved a wedding dress–off the rack! I’m not going to post a picture here but all I can say is that it’s a very, very simple strapless cream sheath with a corset and some really lovely draping. The best part of going the classic route: the dress won’t look dated decades after the big day. However, if I could really be adventurous about it, I would choose this black dress:

Well, that’s it for now. Back to work at half past midnight.

Published in: on August 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Chapter 15: A Place to Celebrate

For the past two to three months, together with my fiancee, Mark and my bridesmaids, Cha and Maruja, we conducted a series of initial occular visits to potential wedding reception venues. Lately, the usual marriage musings haven’t been occupying my thoughts and I’ve been thinking a lot about the big day from a more logistical perspective, particularly because I hope to reserve a venue before we reach the 12-month pre-wedding prep mark. However, the very process of even remotely considering a venue had to meet my limiting demands.

“I don’t want a hotel, tent or any venue that has the word ‘venue’ in its name,” I told my friends and family. I explained to them that  I wanted an event that would be creative and memorable: the de rigueur ballroom, where hundreds of other couples had their photo-op just wouldn’t do. Although, the idea of a nice hotel room did enter my head for the main reason that I would have to worry less about logistics.

Eh di, dapat matapilok ka! Siguradong, maalala ka nila! [You should trip on your wedding day, so they’ll surely remember you],” one of my brothers suggested. He does have a bizarre point: crazy antics, flashy gimmicks and small accidents will help etch your big day in one’s memory.

But why do I worry so much about being remembered? Is it the bunso [youngest child] syndrome at play here, hence I want to be constantly noticed and to do so I must really make an impression on people? Besides, people don’t actually forget about their relative’s or close friend’s wedding day. I’ve talked about before in this post, and I still believe that our innate competitiveness, our ego, plus our desire to wow our guests, thereby resulting to laying bare our best (and insecure) selves, are all to blame.

In the meantime, I’d like to put these visits into good use  (not to mention making the travel expense worth it) by sharing with you some of the venues we’ve checked out, especially if you’re also scouting for a place to celebrate your own big days.

Please note that the rates I mention below may or may not be inclusive of other fees such as reservation, electricity, VAT etc. Hence, it’s best to call up the venue coordinators directly for complete information.


THE NATIONAL MUSEUM

Address: Padre Burgos Street, Manila

Venue Rental Rates: P100,000 – P200,000, depending on chosen venue. But these are not official rates, meaning it’s based on what our occular guide “remembered” at the moment.

Contact Information: (632) 527-0278 (632) or 527-1215, http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph

When I think of creative venues, I think of libaries and museums. While researching possible places in the metro, I came across a Carlos Celdran article promoting the National Museum of the Philippines. Renovated by architect Lor Calma, the museum has refurbished interiors that are worthy of a revisit, since those Grade School field trips some may eons ago.

The museum is comprised of two buildings. Receptions are allowed in the Museum of the Filipino People (this is NOT the building that houses Juan Luna’s infamous painting Spolarium), which boasts of 3 venues for rent:

The Courtyard

The Courtyard at the Museum of the Filipino People.

 

The Courtyard is a large atrium that can accommodate 500 guests. Apart from being located in the National Museum of the Filipino People, it’s not aesthetically unique: the fresh, green grass, shady trees and cobblestones dominate the square, which is ideal for your requisite garden wedding. However, it also requires rather deep pockets at P180,000 to P200,000 for rent alone.

The Marble Room

A Regine Velasquez concert and Miss Earth fashion show have taken place in the grand hallway of the Marble Room.

The Marble Room is probably my favorite of the National Museum reception venues. High ceilings, imposing doors and a marble floor characterizes the hall, which can house around 150 guests.

The Marble Room boasts of high ceilings, marble floors and large doors.

 

I wouldn’t mind throwing a party at this venue but at P100,000 for rent, it’s still too expensive.

The Manila-Acapulco Room 

At the other end of this function hall is a wall of Spanish era flowers on exhibit.

I don’t remember if this function room did have an actual name but I called it such because outside of the rather bland space you can see above, there is a wall exhibit of actual, preserved flowers that were brought into the country during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade.

Actual flora--dried, pressed and preserved.

At P100,000 for rent, I still don’t find it enticing enough to get this room, despite the exhibit built into it.

On  my way out of the museum I told my contact, “Miss, dapat babaan niyo yung rent niyo, para ma-encourage ang mga tao mag-reception dito [You should bring your rates down so that people will be encouraged to hold their receptions here.”

To which she replies: “Actually, ma’am, dini-discourage po sya, kaya mataas [Actually, it’s discouraged to have wedding parties here that’s why we have high prices].”

That surprised me, I thought. We live in a society that is criticized for our lack of support for the arts and culture. A Filipino wedding is typically large because of our equally large families. Hence, encouraging the public to have their receptions at places like the National Museum would be a great place to help people rediscover their heritage. Personally, I would market such venues to the wedding industry. I would even throw in a museum tour to go with the rental package but that’s just me.

On the same day that I visited the National Museum, I dropped by the Ayala Museum. Unfortunately, they do not allow wedding receptions at all, which was too bad because the venue is very accessible and I love the modern interiors of its lobby. With that, I gave up any hope in having a reception set in a museum.

THE MANILA HOTEL

Address: One Rizal Park 0913 Manila, Philippines

Venue Rental Rates: Wedding packages start at P187,867.50 for 150 guests. 

Contact Info: Banquet Sales Office, (632) 527-0011, (632) 270-1277

The Champagne Room

Manila is known for its bevy of historical sites and the Manila Hotel, having once housed General Douglas MacArthur (his former home is now the MacArthur suite) during the war years, is one of the city’s icons. Through writing  a series of hotel advertorials for a magazine, I discovered that they recently renovated all 500 or so rooms, which piqued by interest in finding out what this classic Filipiniana landmark had to offer.

Manila socialites and social dignitaries held parties at the Champagne room during the early 20th century.

The hotel’s banquet sales team was a very pleasant group of hassle-free folks. Polished, well-dressed and equipped with seamless English, they gave us an unhurried walk-in ocular of three venues: first up, the Champagne Room. 

The Champagne Room is by far, the prettiest venue I’ve seen. A wrought iron entrance welcomes guests and opens up to a romantic carpeted space, decorated with vintage, hand-blown lamps, warm lighting, large doors that lead to a peripheral anteroom with marble floors and floral, buttercup yellow chairs. My best friend (and maid-of-honor) Cha remembers how this historical room was also dubbed the “Jane Austen room” and  it really feels like walking into the past, when Manila Bay was cleaner, the peso-dollar rate was almost 1:1 and local society was dressed to the nines. If you’ve seen a picture of women walking the daylit streets of 1960s Cubao in their little black dresses and handbags, you’ll know what I mean.

With its beautiful, antique interiors, this reception venue doesn't need much event styling, but it does require a large budget.

But as soon as we walked into the Champagne Room, one of the guides uttered: “This can be rented at a minimum rate of P700,000 for 150 guests.”

“That’s a brand-new car!” I replied. If I include tax plus other charges, I would be the new owner of a 2010 Honda Jazz or City.

“This room has been preserved,” explained the guide. “The way it looks now is the way it has always looked.” I must say they did a good job of maintaining the romantic, vintage elements.

Between partying pre-war, high society style or driving a a 2010, gunmetal Honda, I thought neither option is worth my P700,000. Then again, I don’t even have P700,000 to spend on a single day!

Intricate, champagne lamps like this one lends distinct character.

If  I had an unlimited budget, I would definitely rent this room and let the hotel take care of the rest while I sleep away the next year and a half leading to December 2011. However, anything that comes close to a million pesos is automatically out of the question and Cha and I left the room with nothing but Champagne-colored dreams of a period style party.

The Pool Area

The new poolside of the Manila Hotel.

Next stop was the newly-renovated poolside area, which is a great alternative to the usual ballroom and features an updated modern design and lots of outdoor furniture of the woven, on-trend sort.

Beside the pool is the spa and gym. The 2nd floor deck can also be used for the reception tables and chairs. But beyond this sleek outdoor set-up, we were greeted by the less-than inviting smell of Manila Bay.

Th unfortunate thing about Manila Hotel is that it is located beside the more uhm, pungent area, where large ships are docked beside the rocky, murky waters.

Above the spa, a 2nd floor open deck may also be used for the reception.

“Aren’t you concerned about this?” I asked the staff, while looking into the depressing view of what was once Manila bay in its pristine heyday, juxtaposed against the hotel’s sleek poolside deck and modern furniture.

“Management is working on it,” they replied with a genuine grimace. Ah. The essential press release answer.

The Maynila Ballroom 

A grand staircase leads up the Maynila Ballroom, opening into a theater style function room that's best for very large guest lists.

The Maynila Ballroom represents everything I associate with a late 80s early 90s bongga [extravagant] wedding. Moreover it reminds me of my lone attempt at modeling: during that era, I wore floral petticoat dresses for a CDO fashion show (remember the Cubao mall that was known for its puppet shows?) in this very space. Coming back to the same ballroom in a white dress doesn’t sound so enticing though because:

1. The room is too big. It can hold 500 guests and would dwarf my ideal party of 150, and;

2. Our theme isn’t Moulin Rouge.

However, to the point of the 2nd reason raised, Cha and I both agreed that if your event theme is say, Broadway, Cirque de Soleil, the Flying Graysons or The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus then this ballroom isn’t so bad. It’s designed like a theater and the stage is large enough for vignette performances, which I personally believe would make for a pretty unique party. If I had an unlimited budget, I’d probably get some real theater actors to sing my personal favorites from The Phantom of the Opera.

I don’t remember how much this room costs exactly, but it was upwards of P300,000 (note: I’m also not sure if this is inclusive of food or not).

LE SOUFFLE: TOP OF THE CITI

Address: 34th Floor, Citibank Tower, 8741 Paseo de Roxas, Makati 

Venue Rental Rates: minimum spend of P180,000 inclusive of VAT 

Contact Info: (632) 758-5810, topoftheciti@gmail.com

During our ocular, Cha, Maruja and I opted to dine out. The 34th floor view is as breathtaking as it is vertigo-inducing.

The idea of a rooftop city wedding has always interested me. The combination of a great view, gourmet food and the chic interiors of Le Souffle: Top of the Citi fit the bill. During initial research on this venue, a lot of reviews mentioned how Le Souffle was an intimidating albeit romantic venue. Mark nor I are not romantic people but I particularly liked the idea that this restaurant was intimidating! 

Makati by Night: The view from the Top of the Citi.

Upon entering the 34th floor, guests are greeted by a decidedly modern space that spreads across horizontally. On the other side of the main restaurant is the Japanese sushi bar. There are two verandas but dining and wedding receptions are allowed in only one side. According to the coordinator, the other end is too windy.

On a regular day, the food will set you back at around P500-P1,000 a head depending on how much you order but my friends, Cha and Maruja, and I decided on an alugbati salad, mushroom in filo pastry and seafood risotto. All of us loved the salad, which was tossed together with prosciutto and  arugula. I particularly appreciated its grassy, earthy flavor  since I’m a fan of raw vegetables especially uncooked sprouts and leaves; the Mushroom appetizer was fine and the addition of a bed of salad, with its acidity, balanced the nuttiness and umay factor of the dish (I ordered it to compare to another version in another French restaurant across town, which I personally prefer for the latter’s flavorful gravy). Finally, the Risotto didn’t sit well with Maruja, who thought it tasted too Chinese, like chop suey, but Cha and I liked the dish which used brown rice instead of the usual long-grain.

The dimly-lit, sleek interiors of Le Souffle.

For wedding receptions, Le Souffle requires a minimum spend of P180,000 inclusive of VAT. The restaurant may also lend you linens in keeping with your color scheme as well as a platform for your main program. Ingress-wise, Le Souffle affords wedding coordinators the luxury of preparing the entire day since the venue is closed on weekends, hence receptions are likewise allowed only on weekends. However, expect your bill to go considerably high because of drinks, which is not factored into the menu and is charged on a per person basis. Drinks that are brought in will likewise incur steep corkages.

KASALIKASAN

Address:  De Jesus Oval, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Venue Rental Rates: P35,000 for 12 hours 

Contact Info: (632) 818-3601 local 3201 

Blink and you'll miss it: Kasalikasan is Global City's own secret garden.

Kasalikasan is one of those venues that in my opinion, looks much different in actuality as compared to its pictures. The garden was much smaller than I expected. Yet the size of this outdoor gathering place is just enough for 200. Nestled in a easy-to-miss spot in Bonifacio Global City, amidst the business district’s condominium row, Kasalikasan is an amphitheater-style space with a circular floor area. 

The amphitheater steps are covered in grass and moss.

During late afternoons, the perfectly-groomed neighborhood dogs are walked by their “nannies” around the area. Inside Kasalikasan, trees lend extra shade and coolness to the space and serves as a counterpoint to the crimson brick tiles. Rain should not be a problem because the Bonifacio Art Foundation (BAFI), which manages the venue, only allows dry season bookings, from December through April.

Behind Kasalikasan are Global City's upper crust row of condominiums.

Its small size, organic character and overall tranquility–loud bands are not allowed, which is a bummer, since Mark and I are bent on having live entertainment for the guests–makes the venue great for intimate gatherings of the less rowdy sort: the idea of loud, inebriated guests don’t quite mix with the wholesome earthiness of Kasalikasan. 

TOP SHELF AT FULLY BOOKED 

Address:  Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Venue Rental Rates: P45,000.00

Contact Info:  (632) 858-7000

A bookstore seems like the perfect setting for a book-themed wedding and Fully Booked’s Top Shelf, a function room at the 5-floor store in Global City, can certainly deliver a creative, on-spot venue. 

A grainy, camera phone shot of Top Shelf at Fully Booked.

However, when I visited Top Shelf with Mark, my fiancee did not feel convinced, even though I personally liked it. The floor itself is fairly plain and will require some degree of event styling. Top Shelf has an unusual T-shape, white walls, grey tiles and a small verandah with a view of the busy stores of Bonifacio High Street as well as the Serendra condominiums on the other side.

A small balcony where guests can take a breather while waiting for the party to start. On the other hand, they can always shop for books during the cocktail hour.

For a  top floor venue, the view isn’t anything special and has nothing on Le Souffle’s 34th floor city-lit spectacle; but knowing that your reception is taking place amidst four floors full of books offers interest, not to mention, easy escape activities for bored guests or restless kids who would like to check out the children’s section. 

KAPITAN MOY

Address:  J. Rizal Street, Marikina City (across Our Lady of the Abandoned Church)

Venue Rental Rates: P15,000.00

Contact Info: (632) 646-2360 ; http://www.marikina.gov.ph/pages/kapitan.html

Classic, colonial-era elements makes Kapitan Moy fit or a Filipiniana wedding.

Marikina City is the bastion of shoemaking in the Philippines and at the residence of Don Laureano “Kapitan Moy” Guevarra, the city’s first pair of shoes were created in 1887 at the mezannine of the former ilustrado‘s [nobleman] bahay-na-bato [stone house].

The spacious interiors of this historic ancestral home was at different times a residence, school, American tribunal and headquarters of the Japanese occupation.

Mark truly fell in love with the antique, Filipiniana elements–classic chandeliers, polished wood floors, capiz windows, embroidered curtains–of Kapitan Moy; and it will certainly be loved by the wedding photographer’s camera.The large structure is perfectly maintained and can host a party of up to 500 people. 

The historic structure is located along a row of colonial homes.

I was also impressed by its Old World architecture and historicity but I wish it was more accessible. Our church will be in Greenhills, San Juan and although Marikina isn’t necessarily far from the ceremony venue, it will take a few directions, a map and a little travel time to get there. Moreover, parking poses a big problem because the narrow streets offer limited space. On top of that, the wedding will take place on a Sunday and churchgoers across the street will be our main competition for parking. However, Kapitan Moy is several hundred thousands of pesos more affordable than the Champagne Room, even though both places have their roots in Philippine upper-class society.

At the end of the day, the venue that Mark and I chooses will have to satisfy everybody. However, wedding-related decisions are one of the most difficult because there are several parties to please. I may have been exposed to the events industry but I’d have to admit it’s nothing like proposing potential venues to corporate clients. Finding a place to celebrate is a journey that we’re still traversing and hopefully we’ll find that halfway point where we can be pleased with our choice as much as the rest of the family and our friends will be.

Chapter 14: A Room of One’s Own

“Familiarity breeds contempt,” said my Creative Writing professor, Neil C. Garcia. Sir Neil, who Mark and I share as a common teacher at the University of the Philippines, always had an insightful and unique way of looking at things. Moreover, his statement was one of the most relevant observations on marriage that I had come across with in years, and one of the few that actually validated my own ideals. 

Our professor spoke of a necessary yet potentially useful degree of separation within marriage.  Traditional ideals dictate that marriage is all about the union, of becoming one, of merging together as man and wife but for my own twisted reasons, these matters disturbed me somehow. I have always felt like a single girl at heart and there are several creature comforts of bachelorette-dom that I can’t come to terms with letting go of: things as simple as sleeping alone on a queen-sized bed (I have never felt 100% comfortable about having other people beside me. I hog space–enough said); saving up for my own studio without worrying about incorporating somebody else’s taste or having to live with that person’s habits (I am seriously obsessive-compulsive); or the more complicated matter of sharing last names or putting a hypen on mine (Yet why doesn’t the husband hyphen his own name?). This makes me wonder how such a “selfish” individual like myself can make peace with marriage. 

Ideally (and unconventionally), Mark and I would want to have our own personal spaces.

 

We are always told to compromise yet personally I don’t completely agree with this popular piece of advice. I’m sure a lot of people would beg to differ, stating that marriage should be about meeting halfway at a place where two individuals can be happy. Before eyebrows are raised, I would like to say that, my personal idea of compromise is allowing the other person to be him or her self, living a life that allows the other to be a proper, supportive partner in marriage while being an individual with his or her own interests. It is about providing a space for the other which allows for growth, both as a couple and as individuals.

“Love is still possible,” Sir Neil continued. “It is not about trying to change the other.” He continued by giving suggestions on living plans. “Build a house,” he advised. “With a room for each one…and your own bathrooms!” Oh, how I appreciated this suggestion as it echoed my own “wish” to Mark a few years ago.

“I need to have my own room,” I told him back then. “I have to have my own space.” The great thing about my fiancee is how he happily obliged and personally agreed with such a set-up.

“Okay yun [That’s a good suggestion],” he said, “Paminsan-minsan, puwede kitang ligawan uli. [I can attempt to ‘court’ you again and again].” I envision that idea of separate rooms as more than just a literal place where we can express our unique selves but also as a device to help maintain the passion in a relationship.

I once read in a women’s magazine that after some time, a couple’s love life fizzles because of too much familiarity. In other words, we’ve settled into a spot that has become too comfortable and just too easy. Maybe that’s why quickies in dangerous places are so alluring. Then again, it’s precisely these novel and adventurous activities themselves that rekindle the butterflies-in-the-stomach feelings of new love. The article goes on to suggest ditching the usual dinner-and-movie combo for more creative dates. As a result, the rush and excitement from doing activities we don’t routinely do will mimic those feelings we first felt. 

Even Mark and I are guilty of falling into a rut. We meet after work, go to dinner then check out the movies. Movies have always been a failsafe activity since we enjoy analyzing films right after. But this mind exercise, although great for developing a critical eye, has become the norm. Sometimes, we welcome the idea of watching a gig (as a date activity, so night-outs with a big group of friends don’t count, as  far as I’m concerned) but in our 5 years together, we’ve probably seen less than 10, which is strange because Mark used to be in a signed band himself and was deeply immersed in the local music scene. Nowadays, whether it’s because of age or our increasing preference for less stimulating (read: loud bars) activities, we almost never watch gigs (not even bands of our own friends, which is a shame) just because we are satisfied enough with drinking coffee while reading magazines. Yes, go ahead and call us spoilsports.

 

Routine, like brushing your teeth together every 7am, offers the comfort of normalcy but surprises keep things interesting.

 

Seriously though, Mark and I have started to address our own issues of over-familiarity. It’s ironic. We expect our relationships, and later, marriages, to provide us with a sense of stability and normalcy, yet normalcy itself still tends to lose its luster. It’s ironic how we demand convenience and comfort when too much can have the reverse effect.

“Nagsawa lang sila sa isa’t isa [They just got tired of each other]” is a common explanation for long-standing relationships that abruptly end to the surprise of the community. “Weren’t they so happy together? What went wrong?” people ask. Could it be that what went wrong was the now-exes did not have enough mystery, complexity, perhaps danger or periodic distances during their time as a couple? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say; but likewise, it heightens the effect of your partner’s pheromones. In other words, when you don’t see each other 24/7, you feel crazier for each other.

In order to better understand the normalcy bane, let’s take a look at the relationships of girls. Such unions seem to be even more successful then romantic unions. Sometimes, friendships fall out, but generally girlfriends stick together. Why? Is it because girls maintain a lifetime physical distance. In other words, we don’t get tired literally of one another’s faces. Is it because our innate, subconscious competitiveness imbibes an element of tension that keeps things interesting, for as long as we don’t end up in a catfight and appropriate that sense of competition to challenge ourselves to do better? Is it because girls are constantly finding new things to try, whether it’s as mundane as copying the latest catwalk make-up in a fashion spread or gushing on a new Hollywood crush? I’m not a relationship expert, but maybe there’s something about female relationships that can help us with our own romantic relationships with the opposite sex.

Secondly, maybe we can take a look at literature as an example. When I was in the first year of my master’s course and had to take up a pre-requisite subject in literary theory, I had to do a report on Russian Formalism. I don’t remember most of the details in that report but what stuck with me was the concept of Defamiliarization or Ostranenie, which was popularized by the Russian Formalists. Essentially it is a technique for making common things appear unfamaliar. Ostranenie literally means “to make strange.” One example was the use of a horse’s point of view in  Leo Tolstoy’s Kholstomer. When I think of how I can apply this to spicing up a boring love life, I am immediately reminded of an episode from one paranormal TV show (in the same vein as The Twilight Zone), wherein a man’s wife–literally and figuratively–changes into a different woman everyday, shifting from a leather-clad, whip-wielding dominatrix to a Stepford-type wife who wouldn’t be out of place in a 1950s nuclear family. Hmm, maybe role playing games for couples do help.

Maybe, we should even consider taking relationship cues from Cosplayers. 

Cosplayers constantly dress up in different gaming characters. Outside of the gaming convention, I think role-playing is also great for couples.

 

Yes, I may have always dreamt of separate rooms but I would have to admit that it could cost more as well, especially if this compels us to get a home with more bedrooms, and it displaces say, a potential home office or study. But without having to resort to strictly having a room of one’s own, I believe that the lesson is this: A marriage brings you together because you not only complement each other but you have  a partner with which to explore the novel things that life has to offer; that which keeps life itself interesting and inspiring enough for us to keep discovering a world that is not so familiar after all.

Chapter 13: Handmade Weddings versus Packaged Parties

The past weeks has been extremely hectic for me because of an ongoing transition into a place of greater professional responsibility–not to mention the stress-related diseases that came with it–so for today at least, I’ve decided not to blog about something more complex than event planning for a wedding. Well, I haven’t actually started on any real wedding planning yet–as in conducting occulars and quoting suppliers. Nineteen months is still more than enough time for me but then again I have a history of being a procrastinator.

However, at this point I’ve been exploring what’s currently out there, from venues to chair rentals to photographers–window shopping if you may and this initial exploration has been partly spurred by my mom and brothers prodding me on about my supplier choices. 

Some of these suppliers were hotels offering all-in-one packages. It is something I didn’t consider at the beginning of the engagement because hotels are a popular choice for Filipino wedding receptions so I never took time to look at what they offered. Now, I admit that they can be pretty practical, everything is included from the food to the wedding cake, the hotel room to the centerpieces. Moreover, hotel food almost always pleases guests. As far as my current research goes, the cheapest package I found at a fairly good business hotel in the Ortigas CBD was at P140,000 for 150 people–all in! That’s roughly $3,100 at today’s exchange rate of P44-P46. I’ve actually attended a party at one of the modern function rooms of this particular venue and I did like the food (I particularly remember the carrot and ginger soup best) and the view. In the 5 to 7 -star hotel range, the cheapest offer I found was at P188,000 for 150 guests as well. 

A Hotel wedding comes complete with a can-do staff, leaving you lesser things to do.

Not bad, I thought. This whole packaged deal makes DIY seem a little less attractive. I initially wanted to do a combination of DIY and supplied services but the trade off is almost every detail has to be paid additional attention to. However on the other hand, the thought of a hotel reception felt so boring to me. It’s the party equivalent of an overproduced album or an excessively Photoshopped picture. We lose some of that rawness that gives a personal event character.

So I’ve decided to come up with this list of the pros and cons of putting the party together by hand versus packaging your wedding:

Labor of Love: The DIY route.

The Pros

A DIY wedding requires some craftiness and an extra dose of creativity. Once handmade items are involved, the maker places some level of artistic pride on his or her creation. This not only gives the wedding greater personal value because of the specially-customized pieces but it also gives it a greater level of uniqueness. As a result, the party will stand out more, guests will remember those extra-special details and most importantly, a sense of community is established by the collective efforts put together by friends and family, which is always a great way to begin one’s married life.

DIY Weddings provide opportunities for two families to work together and bond in the process.

 

DIY can also help bring wedding costs down by significant amounts. Naturally, a traditional wedding supplier, especially bigger, more established companies, will charge more because of their credibility and overhead  (their office is in Makati not Divisoria). By creating your own items such as a  handmade veil or a hand-packed candy jar souvenir, you save on thousands of pesos that can go instead to longer-term investments such as the downpayment for your first house or the maternity costs for your first baby.

The Cons

DIY takes time and yes…talent. If someone with a false sense of artistry attempts to come up with a hand-tied bridal bouquet and ends up creating just a tied-up bunch of messy blooms, it will be harder to be upfront with your in-house supplier and both of you might just end up with hurt feelings.

Extremely busy individuals in particularly high-stress work environments might feel hassled by doing the DIY route. Between your 16-hour shoot and the next 16-hour shoot, when do you find time to buy 20  individual flower vases in different  yet complementary designs while following your red and aqua palette and budget of P100 and below? I know that weddings happen once but life and work doesn’t stop during the planning process.

Recommendations

* Assign DIY tasks to natural talents in your bridal party or family. Lucky you if you have  a sister who’s great with makeup to do you big day look or a cousin who’s an art director to design your invitations. If someone insists on creating your paper mobiles and you know for a fact that this individual can’t create paper boats to save his or her life, then ask the decorating committee head to gently guide your eager beaver and to assign simpler tasks to him or her such as painting the wire wreaths white for the mobiles. I personally believe that managing situations like these are better than completely shunning relatives. 

* If you can’t do a 100% handmade wedding–don’t force it. We don’t want to be purists here so be honest with yourself and think about which aspects you would rather assign to a professional supplier. For me this would be the harder-to-manage details such as a buffet for 150 and the centerpieces. For other people it may be the photography or the entertainment. 

* Don’t be overwhelmed by Bridal magazines. Magazines will flood you with various looks, color schemes, wedding themes and supplier advertisements. Don’t feel overwhelmed or compelled to immediately book 80% of them. Read these magazines to gain inspiration and to know your supplier options but at the same time, be aware of what you want aesthetically and budget-wise, otherwise you might get too excited and end up over-spending when you don’t need to. Secondly, don’t depend on bridal magazines, which tend to be pricier as with anything that has the word bridal attached to it (include any white dress in a bridal line and watch the prices go up). As far as I’m concerned, bridal magazines are best for researching gown styles, which is also the reason why I am guilty of having a large stack beside me to feed my fashion fixation. There are other alternative sources such as that gift wrap with the cool blue and red paisley print, a butterfly with vibrant shades of lavender and yellow, the coral colors of a sunset sky or even that sparkly bottle of glittery nail polish! The next step is to write down the colors, motifs, even the films and artworks that you and your fiancee like. Moreover, magazines–and i’ll throw in bridal fairs as well–are not the only source of advice for planning a wedding. Seek advice and recommendations from organizers, married friends and the internet for wedding blogs. Do your research based on actual experiences and this will make the DIY process less stressful.

Do your research: Bridal Magazines are more concerned with selling you a product. Instead, seek further advice and gather tips from organizers, married friends and even on online forums and blogs.

 

For more online DIY inspiration, I recommend visiting the blog, 2000 dollar budget wedding

For ideas on creative wedding themes, head to Rock N’ Roll Bride.

For reviews on Philippine wedding venues, visit http://venues.multiply.com, a particularly helpful site by a local events organizer. 

Finally, look through Etsy, an online store for unique handmade designs (I recommend the wedding accessories page) that you can probably reproduce yourself on a smaller budget.

Polished to Perfection: The Packaged Wedding

The Pros

A packaged wedding is the polar opposite of the 100% DIY wedding. Whether you get a venue with an in-house caterer or a hotel, you won’t have to worry much about putting together the individual details such as renting chairs and tents from a separate source or getting your cake from another baker. That means your planning will involve less grind work, less travel expenses and less headaches. In my personal experience of working with a luxury hotel for an event three years ago, I was absolutely impressed by how accommodating the staff was even in high pressure situations.

The Cons

On the aesthetic level, if you’re as anal as me in terms of trying to organize an alternative wedding, then I think one based on a template package won’t be as helpful in achieving this. For one, you will be using the same space, chairs and tables that other couples have used. Hence, you will need to make an extra effort at customizing your celebration and working closely with your venue coordinator to achieving this. 

Recommendations

* Know your priorities and determine your weaknesses. Depending on whether you or your fiancee will be on top of the wedding planning, I recommend going the packaged route if one of you has: 1. a highly-stressful day job, 2. night shift work, 3. little patience with details. Maybe you’re saying, we only get married once! We should make this a priority despite how busy we are! Yes, I do agree with you however I personally believe that planning a party that will last a couple of hours is really just one aspect of your married life. I would like to think that there are practical, economically-related matters matters such as working and saving for the beginning of your life together, that need to be taken care of as well in the months (or in my case, years) leading to your betrothal. I also recognize that not everybody is in the business of event organizing and would have little patience for the tasks involved. As with running a business, if a particular area is not your expertise, get someone to fill in those gaps. Whether you want to hire a coordinator or designate a family member who is accustomed to throwing parties, by all means, do so.

* Don’t get too comfortable. Sure, the hotel is taking care of everything but don’t forget to involve yourself. The couple still has to be on top of things. This will help you prevent any unpleasant surprises on the big day. At the same time, you must be able to assert what you desire because at the end of the day, a wedding is still a personal occasion.

* Note your guest list. In my opinion, packaging it is more practical in the context of large weddings involving 200 guests or more. In the Filipino culture, family ties are so close and the families themselves so large that it’s fairly difficult to keep one’s guest list to a minimum. In fact 150 guests is considered a small wedding in this country whereas in the West, it’s more common to have celebrations with less than a hundred. If I could have just 50 guests at my own, I would by all means, completely prepare it myself with my friends and family. 

Consider how many guests you're expecting when deciding on how to implement your wedding.

 

Whether you choose to go completely DIY or to package everything, everything boils down to this: Know what you want, be aware of your limitations and don’t feel compelled to follow everything that you read or hear about.

Extremist individuals from both the DIY camp and the professionally-supplied camp tend to put down the other side with a passion. For example, one local photography ad had copy that encouraged couples to hire a pro or regret bad images for the rest of your life. On the other hand, the DIY group frowns upon the commercialism of the wedding industry. I don’t completely agree with neither side because practically, I would like to have the uniqueness and community-building of the former and the convenience and physical quality of the latter.

Most importantly, I believe that what matters most is getting ready to take the next step of living your days after the party ends and the responsibilities and challenges of marriage takes over. Amidst all the fuss about planning for one big day, a wedding is really just the beginning of something greater.

Published in: on May 23, 2010 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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