Saturday, October 06, 2007

Nail it!

Years ago, I never thought a nail spa would be a business that was going to be booming in this country. After all, why specialize in something that regular beauty salons were already offering? And at prices where it was usually twice the amount I've had to pay at regular salons? It just didn't make sense.

Now, I've become a regular nail spa patron. With all those nail spas mushrooming all over the metro, no one has an excuse not to have their nails cleaned and preened like dogs. Haha. In the QC area, I discovered a quaint and not too expensive nail spa called the Nail Loft. They have very accommodating nail technicians, and use clean (uh, what do you call them? nail gadgets?). Their price range is very affordable that it won't make you feel guilty to have a hand and foot spa plus manicure and pedicure and throw in some eyebrow threading and a little hair treatment. Oops. My kikay side is showing.

I recently went to their newest branch at Jose Abad Santos Street in Greenhills (perpendicular to Wilson before you hit P. Guevarra if you're coming from Ortigas Avenue). It is by far the biggest yet coziest of the branches, the staff tell me. Aside from hair and nail services, they also have two beds for simple body massages.

Knowing how wedding preps can rattle brides (and her entourage's nerves), I suggest you go and turn off your celphones and spend a girly day at a nail spa like the Nail Loft and prepare your hair, nails and skin for your big day.

The Nail Loft
140 Sct. Gandia St., Quezon City
Unit 7 Diliman Comercial Center, Commonwealth Ave. Quezon City
Unit 20-C Carmel Ave., Project 6, Quezon City
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-9pm
Closed on Mondays
Spa parties and home spa services available

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A New Leaf

About a month ago, I went to S&R at the Fort to with my family to check out what new stuff I could get my hands on --- going to the grocery is therapy for me --- so I took the opportunity to check out the newest Events venue that side of town, The Blue Leaf.

As timing would have it, Josiah's was having a food tasting event that day, although I didn't stay long to enjoy Josiah's sumptuous menu. I was able to have a brief tour of the place, one hall of which wasn't fully completed yet.

The pond in between the Silk and Banyan pavilions.

Josiah's had their set-up in the biggest venue -- Banyan Pavilion which can accomodate about 300 pax. Adjacent to the Banyan Pavilion is the Jade Pavilion which can accomodate 200 pax so it is an optional hall to rent in case you have 500 guests. A separate venue, the Silk Pavilion can accomodate around 250 pax and unlike the two other venues, the Silk Pavilion has a circular/polygonal lay-out.

Outside the Silk Pavilion

Set-up by Josiah's at the Banyan Pavilion

Although the Blue Leaf gardens are already well manicured for nice photo ops and their facilities are ready to accomodate events, I would recommend holding your event at night to avoid seeing the unfinished buildings surrounding the area. The rental fee would cover the following:

Airconditioning charges
Pavilion sound system
Pavilion projector and screen
Use of VIP Lounge and Caterer's Area
Ample parking space
5 hours use of the pavilion
3 hours for ingress and egress

Other Charges:
Venue Rental in excess of 5 hours P5,000.00/hour
Electrical Charges for live band/mobile P5,000.00

Security Deposit:
P20,000 to be refunded with 10 days after the event.

Accredited Caterers:

Mandarin Oriental Manila
Boutique Caterers, Inc. (Kai)
K by Cunanan

Here are some photos I took as well as some photos sent to me by their very helpful Events Manager, Eia Dy.

The Jade Pavilion

The Blue Leaf Events Pavilion
100 Park Avenue
McKinley Hill Village
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
632 898-BLUE(2583)
917 831-1718

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Inside InStyle Weddings

The other night, I made a new wedding-related purchase -- because my conscience kept reminding me I hadn't made one in quite a while. I went to the newest Powerbooks branch in Trinoma and took a peek in the In Style wedding book and the next thing I knew, I was handing over my credit card to the cashier.

The book not only has beautiful, drool-worthy wedding photos of celebrities but also tips in helping brides-to-be coordinate their own weddings. Inside, you'll be able to pick a few ideas how you'd like your dress to look like, the kind of ceremony/reception venues suitable for the kind of ceremony you'd want to have, cakes and different kinds of flavors/icings you'd probably want to consider, and other tips on other wedding essentials.

A classic find indeed. I normally look at wedding books whenever I go to the bookstore and just pick up inspiration but these are the rare books that I purchase when a lot of what's inside aren't really just trendy stuff but information for brides beyond my generation.

Am starting to love Trinoma. It almost feels like Makati has come to QC! Yippee!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Trash the dress Philippine version

In one of my e-groups, one of the members asked for volunteers for a Trash the Dress Phililippines photo shoot. "Trashing the Dress" apparently refers to a new photography trend in the U.S. wherein brides who are edgy and adventurous allow photographers to take shots of them in their wedding dress in the most untraditional way. According to (as I read in Ems Chua's blog, the whole idea of "Trashing the dress" is that it is Usually done after the wedding with the original gown or a cheapie ‘fake’ wedding gown. It’s a great stress release/climax to months, if not years of planning the wedding and entering a lifelong commitment. Jump in a fountain with your dress- you will never need to wear a wedding dress again! You are past a HUGE mile marker in your life.

I of course got excited and volunteered right away. Who else but a bride who wore red on her wedding day would quickly agree to something like this?

And so, after volunteering, I was contacted by Ems Chua, wedding photographer for Van Goth Photography/Imagineation's second team and I found myself being made up and styled for a Trash the Dress photo shoot six days shy of my 3rd wedding anniversary. I was thankful that even if I only gave birth 6 1/2 months ago, my dress fit me perfectly. I wasn't even rattled when Ems told me that we would be shooting at the Chinese cemetery. It was a shoot that was meant to be.

Check out Ems pics:
Wasn't I a confidently petite model? :-P

See Ems' other Trash the Dress shots at

Kenneth Uy, another wedding photographer was also with us. Check out his shots:

Bet you guys never thought the cemetery could be an awesome post-nup photo location.

My make-up was done by Jesy Alto from I had so much fun having her paint my face. She's so bubbly, you wouldn't mind staying in the make-up chair for hours.

I do hope that more brides become more adventurous with their wedding pics (of course I can't expect a lot to be as adventurous as I am) so that it inspires photographers to always try something new for every bride, every couple, every wedding and not have the same poses, same locations because every couple is unique. :-)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Plate or pile?

Filipinos love to eat. Ok, that was an understatement.

Filipinos live to eat, is more like it.

For most of the people in this country, there is no such thing as a restrictive diet unless you are allergic to some type of food or if your life depended on it. Filipinos love it when there's a lot of food to go around, even asking for doggie-bags (which really won't be for their dogs -- hehe) during family celebrations. Think of them as having "to-go" food instead of dining in. You'll see this type of behavior in most Filipino celebrations -- birthdays, baptisms, family reunions, Christmas parties, and of course, weddings. More food, much better.

And that is why, some wedding guests get disappointed when they attend weddings that have plated portions instead of allowing them to choose the food they food like to eat from a buffet table. Also, this appeases most palates since plated foods are usually just one kind unless you have instructed your restaurant, caterer or hotel to provide carnivores and herbivores the option to choose meat or fish.

Caterers know that Filipinos love food variety so most of the menu they offer consist of chicken/poultry, fish/seafood/shellfish, pork, beef, vegetables, dessert and bottomless drinks to go with the almost bottomless food and tummies. :-) I do suggest that you go with variety rather than an expensive plated menu to appease most of your guests. Well, that might exclude me since I'm easy to please. Hehe.

When I was planning my own wedding, I wanted to hold my reception at the Manila Hotel's Champagne Room since the room already provides a beautiful set-up. I already had a plated menu in mind but when I stumbled upon a caterer who offered good food (and value and variety), I chose to go with the latter. My venue was a simple hall and my caterer just provided me with beautiful flowers for the reception. I'm glad I made that decision because my guests were raving about the food. It didn't bother me that my reception set-up wasn't as spectacular as I imagined it to be at the Champagne room but at least my guests' stomachs didn't go home wanting.

Whatever your preference may be, just make sure your guests enjoy whatever food you intend to have. And make sure you and your groom get to eat too!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Wedding traditions and superstitions

Today is July 7, 2007. Some say it's the luckiest day of the year. Some say it's a great day to open a business, to travel, to give birth, to get married. Others say it's just a date with the same numbers.

Almost, if not all countries have their own superstitious beliefs -- and that includes Filipinos here in our native land or around the world as passed on by relatives who've chosen to dwell in other countries but have kept their "Filipino-ness" in tact.

Superstitions abound all around the world which mostly consist of old wives' tales, stories of good/bad luck or a need to explain the unexplainable. In the Philippines (in Tagalog), they're called "Pamahiin" -- some beliefs passed on from generation to generation and Filipinos have a pamahiin for every stage or milestone in their lives, beginning from while a child is still in the womb until their death. Marriages/weddings are not spared from these beliefs, which by the way have no real scientific basis and yet there are still a lot of people who choose to follow them to ensure the success of a wedding/union. Some have even passed on these superstitions as traditions which should be revered.

From Western countries, common traditions and superstitions that have been practiced even in the Philippines are: wearing something old/new/borrowed/blue (forgetting that there should be a sixpence in the wedding shoe), carrying the bride while crossing the threshold, throwing the bouquet and garter, cutting a wedding cake, showering the bride and groom with grains/rice/confetti during the recessional, to name a few.

Some popular wedding superstitions still practiced by some Filipinos include:

A bride should not try on her wedding dress before the wedding day or her wedding will not push through.

Now I don't know about other brides but I would like to know if my dress would fit perfectly on my wedding day instead of not being able to close zippers or having safety pins holding my dress together while i walk down the aisle. I believe this superstition comes from the fear that wearing your bridal gown prior to the actual wedding day means you are preempting the actual event, thereby jinxing it. Some brides choose to play it safe and fit their wedding gowns but not together with the wedding veil. For the record, I wore my wedding gown and my wedding pushed through. On their wedding day, some brides make sure that their grooms don't see them before they march down the aisle because again, this is considered bad luck. I really just consider this spoiling the surprise when he finally sees you in the wedding dress that cost him an arm and a leg -- and that's what really makes him cry. Haha.

In other Eastern countries, the groom only sees his bride on the day of the wedding and the face of the bride is covered to protect her from evil spirits, thereby keeping her pure for her husband. This also prevents the groom from seeing his bride who actually looks like an evil spirit. :-P

Soon-to-weds are believed to be more prone to accidents as their wedding day approaches and are therefore advised not to travel or drive long distances.

I think a wedding planner must have thought of this in order for you to hire one. :-) Also, it might have been thought of by well-meaning old folks to spare the soon-to-weds from possible accidents, thereby canceling the wedding. My, my, what would they do with their gowns if your wedding got canceled?

Prosperity and marital bliss are sure to pour in when the rain does on your wedding!

Now, this one, I think was concocted to make the bride feel better when it rains on her wedding day after all the preparations she went through to make everything a success. I guess Mother Nature has a way of telling you that not even the best wedding planner can stop the rain from falling. But let me ask you, what does the cycle of evaporation and condensation have to do with marital bliss? Weird connection, I tell you.

A bride shouldn't wear pearls on her wedding day because it brings tears to her marriage.

I think we inherited this belief from Mexican traditions who think of pearls as "oyster tears" and wearing them on your wedding day counts the tears you will have during your marriage. Yes, I say, blame it on the poor oysters which are eaten on the honeymoon night as they are said to increase the newlyweds' libido. Go figure what the oysters are more known for.

If the flame on your wedding candle dies out first during the ceremony, you will die ahead of your spouse.

I think this just means the electric fan was too strong on that side of the room which blew out the candle. :-D

Siblings shouldn't get married in the same year. In the Philippines, this is called "sukob." This means that the second sibling to announce their plans of getting married in the same year will have bad luck throughout their marriage.

Since it's a tradition for Eastern countries that the groom's family pay for the wedding, I suspect this was a ploy to reduce the groom's family expenses for the year. Now, what did I say about keeping it simple and sweet?

And if you are aspiring to be a bride, you can either sing while you cook or laugh out loud "tawa ng tawa, gustong mag-asawa" ("laugh with glee, a bride you'll soon be").

Traditions or not, I think it's best to leave everything to the One who will bless this marriage. No force of nature, no circumstance, no third party can crush a marriage filled with faith, hope and true love unless they allow them to. Most of the time, traditions and superstitions prevent us from making our own choices and when you talk about weddings or marriage, right choices are what we should make. In recent years, couples have discarded the bouquet and garter toss, have opted for cupcakes instead of a big cake you can cut, the doves have been replaced by butterflies, the white dress is not so white anymore.

Slowly but surely, we are letting go of these superstitions that we have realized have no real bearing on our marriages. Thank goodness for that!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Flower fever

I don't know if I was one of those kids conditioned to believe that flowers are beautiful things -- the way we're conditioned to believe that spiders are icky and snakes are dangerous and yet probably, if we were not warned so, we would still think of these creatures as beautiful things too.

But I digress.

As far as I can remember, I’ve always loved flowers. I am fascinated by flowers that grow wild, those found in our garden and especially those dressed up for special occasions such as weddings. I bow to the beauty of all flowers, from the sweet smelling sampaguita to towering birds of paradise to fast wilting tulips to forever living everlastings and statices. When I was a preteen, I would even talk to the flowers in my grandmother’s garden, pretending they were my playmates. I greeted them every morning when I watered them, even spoke to them. I even spoke Spanish to a particular variety, the Bandera Espanola fearing that they may not understand me if I spoke to them in Tagalog.

And so, this fondness for flowers is something I never outgrew. Every summer, I try to go to UP Diliman to look at the rows of sunflowers as we drive along University Avenue going towards the oblation.

When I was planning my wedding, I wanted to have tulips for my wedding bouquet for these were flowers I only read about in books when I was a little girl. They were rare, found only in Holland or in countries with colder climates but in recent years have been readily available. I still don't know if they are grown locally by some florists but it's nice to know you can always find some available in our local flower shops.

I wanted to have lots of flowers at my wedding and I wanted to make sure they were beautifully, professionally arranged so I searched for the florist who fit my style, personality and of course, budget. I ended up with a good florist who took into consideration all my requests and my wedding turned out beautiful. I loved flowers so much it didn’t even matter that my flowers for the entourage and church ended up more expensive than my wedding gown!

Aside from the staple roses and occasional casa blancas or stargazers, I have yet to personally witness a wedding that uses entirely local flowers like sampaguitas, ylang-ylangs, champacas, rosals even dama de noches which are coincidentally some of the most fragrant flowers in the country. More abundant are colorful varieties of mums, orchids, gerberas, tulips, hydrangeas and calla lilies. Some florists are more creative and come up with combinations of carnations, Queen Anne's lace, and button mums.

Above, a pink Gerbera. Below, a pink rose selling for 20 pesos for two dozens (short stemmed) at Dos Castillas street in Sampaloc, Manila. For more purchases, you can haggle for smaller fees per dozen. These flowers however still have to be rinsed and "beautified" by taking out loose or torn petals and leaves. The red roses usually have to be de-thorned thoroughly.

Below, a new find! I forgot what their real name is but the vendors at Dos Castillas call them "paper roses." They come in white, purple and pink versions and are seasonal. I bought purple ones and made an arrangement for my sister's surprise party at home.

I mixed pink and white roses over formosa ferns and topped them with purple paper roses. Below, I combined the paper roses with Azucenas, faintly fragrant white buds that are favorably used during weddings to add height for floral centerpieces and aisle decor.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have pots of flowers as centerpieces instead of the freshly cut blooms stuck on floral foam that would wilt as soon as your reception was over? Some guests become so enamored with the wedding flowers during wedding receptions that they even bring them home. My husband and I brought home some of our own centerpieces and offered them to our loved ones on their graves the day after our wedding.

Some brides actually do not pay much attention to the flowers for her wedding, knowing that they’ll only last for a few hours. My sister just concentrated on her bridal bouquet and gave everyone else dainty white orchid wristers.

Here's my sister holding her bouquet of mango calla lillies during her wedding.

In a recently concluded food expo at the World Trade Center, I took snapshots of white, blue and pink hydrangeas and plump orchids being sold at the lobby. See how much of a flower freak I am? :-)

Flowers have always been part of weddings partly because each kind symbolizes a trait or quality that we would want in our weddings -- loyalty, friendship, devotion, to name a few. It would be best to be careful as to how they are perceived in different countries since some flowers that may be popular at weddings symbolize or are associated with death in other nations.

Potted or not, bouquets or wristers, tall or low arrangements, I really can't imagine weddings without flowers. Some brides opt to go zen and some go full force with candelabras, drapes and colored lights but one thing's for sure, flowers will always be part of the celebration. Another reason why I love going to weddings!

Attack of the killer cupcakes!

We've all heard it. A couple on the eve of their wedding along with their sleepy relatives, are finishing their wedding souvenirs, making last minute alterations on their gowns or simply cramming something they should've done weeks ago. I myself had to do the same thing at my wedding -- asking help from my sisters to pack mint candies in the souvenir boxes and staple missalette covers.

Some brides, although I don't know anyone personally, have even thought of doing wedding flowers or their cakes themselves. Talk about trying to cut on costs or bridezillas on the loose.

Just last Sunday, Father's Day, I surprised our youngest sister with a debutante cupcake party. She didn't want to celebrate her debut with a real party because what she really wanted was a digital SLR camera. So, I asked all our relatives to come celebrate with us. My sister was so busy trying to make the chocolate fountain I bought run smoothly, she was oblivious to the fact that I was decorating our dinner table with flowers and cupcakes using her favorite colors of pink, purple and white. Using my mom's cake stands and glass coasters, I was able to make a nice setting for the party.

Here are the cupcakes I had made at the Shoppersville bakery (Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights) across Miriam College, which only cost me 11 pesos per cupcake.

I would have to say they tasted ok. Not enough to make me say I've died and gone to cupcake heaven but they were decent cupcakes. Not too sweet icing, not too moist nor too dry cake.

After I tasted the cupcakes at Mom's and Tina's Bakery in Libis (across SM Hypermart), I thought of buying their cupcakes for my sister's party (averaging 25 pesos per flavor), but when I found out that Shoppersville sold less expensive cupcakes, I chose to order the latter. Don't get me wrong though, I'd still go back to Mom's and Tina's Bakery for their cupcakes since they taste real good too. Here are some of them:

I've tasted Sonja's Cupcakes at Serendra and although I'd say that their cupcakes are good and relatively larger than M&T's and Shoppersville, using only the finest ingredients in cupcakelandia with more flavors to choose from, I find the prices a little a bit exorbitant for something my hubby can gobble in 15 seconds flat. :-)

Below are some cupcake bouquets from Sonja's that you might like to use as centerpieces too!

Above, Sonja's colorful sprinkles for her cupcakes.

I actually wanted a cupcake tree for my own wedding, wanting to deviate from the usual tiered fondant cakes that are usually made of styrofoam. I wanted to make sure that unlike other wedding cakes that are just for show at the reception, my caterer can easily distribute the cupcakes to my guests so they can partake in what is known to be another symbol of fertility in weddings -- the cake. In the olden days, it used to be bread that was to be broken over the bride's head. Weird huh?

I went through the motions of looking for cupcake tree suppliers but back in 2004, there were still very few wedding cupcake bakers. I inquired with one baker who wanted to charge me 25,000 pesos for 150 pieces of cupcakes. It sounded outrageous. There were other bakers however who quoted me 30 pesos per cupcake but by then, I had decided on my caterer and they offered a three-tiered fondant cake as part of my package. And so, I ended up with a regular cake after all.

If you choose to have a cupcake tree though, all you need to do is find a good cupcake maker, rent a stand or stands in various heights since they don't need to be on top of one another, add a few flowers (you can buy nice and inexpensive ones in Dos Castillas st. in Manila -- but that deserves a whole new post) and voila! your own do-it-yourself wedding (cup) cake!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Virtual wedding planning

I haven't tried this game but when I found it on Yahoo Games, I was so thrilled! Imagine planning a wedding and having fun at the same time! This so reminds me of Jennifer Lopez in the movie, The Wedding Planner.

According to the game description:

Plan a Dream Day Wedding for your friend Jenny in this beautiful, fun, and romantic game. Use your keen eye and memory to find items at the flower shop, gown boutique, bakery, and other stylish shops to help make Jenny's special day a dream! Between shopping trips, play Perfect Match to help unlock the secret honeymoon level, or try Choose A Story – you'll decide what happened at Jenny and Robert's first meeting, on their first date, and of course the proposal! You'll encounter a wedding crisis or two along the way -- solve these challenging levels and you'll get to pick the flowers, cake and dress for Jenny's big day!

Game Features:
· 12 levels and 9 mini-games, with 16 unique backgrounds
· Crisis! Save Jenny's wedding from the brink of disaster
· Perfect Match – play this memory matching game to unlock a tropical honeymoon level!
· Choose A Story – it's up to you to decide how Jenny and Robert meet, fall in love, and get engaged in this unique game

Just imagine how you can actually plan a wedding again and again without paying real money or earning the ire of your bride and vendors. Doesn't sound like a lot of fun? I'm sure some brides can only wish they could do the same with their weddings. Try it out. Maybe we could all learn some planning tips from the game. Enjoy!

Sun up or sun down?

Some brides are morning people. Some are party people.

When I got married, the ceremony started at 10am followed by a lunch reception. I almost didn't make it to church on time because I called in the make-up artist and her team at 6am to fix up seven females. I realize now that we should have given an earlier call time. I have heard of make-up artists going to the bridal room as early as 3am and it's like preparing for simbang gabi :-)

One of my sisters and some of my cousins got married in the afternoon. This gave them more time to plan, re-plan, troubleshoot and revise anything from the wedding march to the reception program. True, afternoon weddings and dinner receptions are ideal, especially if you were up all night finishing your do-it-yourself souvenirs or rearranging your table assignments. Or if your groom was tempted by his barkada to do the stag party the night before your wedding. Poor, poor you.

In the afternoon, the pictures are usually more dramatic with the sun setting after the ceremony and having fireworks at night during the reception. But since I was to be wed in a no-so-lit church, I chose to get married late in the morning when the sun was at its peak. Also, I was getting married on a Saturday and on a rainy month so I chose a time when traffic was lightest and unfortunately, that was usually in the morning.

So, what are the benefits of holding your wedding in the morning?

  • For one, more natural light, less flashbulbs.
  • I haven't really attended a breakfast menu wedding but I've always heard people say that it's cheaper than a lunch or dinner reception
  • To match the light food, no pressure to provide alcoholic beverages
  • Your bridal gown and entourage dresses could be made of lighter fabric, pastel hues vs. nightime long gowns with lots of beads
  • Less traffic (except if you're getting married on a school day)
  • Some events venues even offer discounted prices for morning celebrations

How about afternoon/evening ceremonies and receptions?

  • More time to prepare
  • More people likely to attend especially if you're holding it on a working day
  • A sunset shot
  • Fireworks
  • Party music
  • Booze

How about not-so-nice things you'll have to deal with?

For morning weddings:

  • Vendors late for their call time
  • People late for the ceremony -- couldn't wake up early
  • Can't do an outdoor reception because of the heat

For afternoon/evening weddings:

  • People get really hungry because they skipped lunch getting ready for the ceremony
  • People leave early to get ready for work if you marry on a working day or a Sunday, may waste the fact that you hired a band
  • The elderly sleep during your ceremony
  • Children will get fussy -- time for bed or skipped their afternoon nap
  • Drunk and/or rowdy guests

Whatever time you choose, make sure it's the time that you and your groom are comfortable with so whatever happens, you enjoy your own wedding. :-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Weddings in color

My family and I are probably a few of the people in this world who are really unconventional when it comes to weddings. My parents sired four girls and to date, three are already married. The oldest sister got married in the US in1996, in a traditional white gown with very few entourage members. I got married in 2004 wearing a red wedding gown. The sibling after me got married just last year with an off-white gown with red, yellow and orange ribbons and flowerettes.

Here she is.

Not so long ago, after seeing my older cousins get married and having so much trouble getting fittings for their big entourage, I always told everyone that I'd have my entourage in jeans to make life easier for everyone and make my wedding memorable. Of course, I didn't get married in jeans but I was the first bride in the family to wear red while my entourage wore white dresses. My husband wore a suit while the male entourage members wore barongs. We stood out as a couple and eventually made the wedding memorable.

In some wedding magazines I've read, I've seen a bride wear royal blue, or silver or even gold. I've seen designer wedding gowns with colored sashes, swarovskis, ribbons or embroidery. Locally, I've seen an entourage wearing beaded denim dresses. I even recently saw pictures of a bride from my wedding e-group wearing a blue-shaded gown and her entourage members were wearing white tops in blue jeans -- even the girls! Very brave and very unconventional indeed.

Cakes also used to be just white with ribbons matching the wedding motif. Now, cakes even set the tone for the reception -- lavish with swarovskis, playful with quirky toppers, festive with fruits, flirty with flowers.

This is just proof that weddings need not be all white afterall.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tagaytay Treasures

Since the start of 2000, a lot of brides and grooms from Manila who want to have an elegant, relaxed but intimate wedding have opted to have their celebration in the coolest vacation spot next to (and closer to Manila than) Baguio, Tagaytay.

The most popular wedding destinations are the Caleruega Chapel and Sonya's but a lot of restaurants and private gardens have opened up for weddings as well in the past five years or so.

In the blog Our Awesome Planet by Anton Diaz, Anton visually entices readers on how some of these Tagaytay treasures can make your weddings beautiful, with menus you can delight your guests with. Some of Anton's recent posts include Balai Taal (, Hacienda Isabela, Antonio's, Ville Sommet ( and Balay Indang.

Caleruega remains a crowd favorite because of its quaint interiors and the dramatic (but somehow tiring) bridal ascent to the chapel. It is not a popular wedding destination at night and during the rainy season because the road going to the chapel is not well-lit. The little chapel is just right for about 150 guests and for those brides who don't care much for long aisles. Also, in choosing your wedding ceremony/reception location, it would be a nice thing to consider if the venue is accessible for elderly guests.

As for a reception venue, Sonya's continues its passion of providing comfort food -- something you can always come back to whenever you want to take a break from all the fastfood and oil-loving dishes we Filipinos are fond of. Having all-you-can eat salad, pasta and dalandan juice is a refreshing change from usual hotel (even catered) food amidst natural surroundings and cool weather. The nice thing about Sonya's is that they don't charge corkage fee for additional food and beverage you may want to bring in.

Also, since you're already in a garden venue, you need not spend more for flowers since Sonya's provides garden-fresh flowers. When we went there, the tables had my favorite fragrant flower of all time -- gardenias!

And since it was summer, Sonya's offers a summer photo opportunity in her very own sunflower farm. What more can you ask for wedding photos?

Sonya's also offers a charming Bed and Breakfast that brides can use for their preps and where the
newlyweds may want to stay on their 1st honeymoon night. Some of the different rooms can accommodate as much as 13 persons inclusive of breakfast. And if that's not enough, Sonya's also has a delightful spa to ease those wedding jitters.

Here's a shot of the "waterfalls" outside the Conservatory. This cools the interiors and adds to the peaceful ambiance while dining. For extra comfort, Sonya's added big evaporating airconditioners in the Conservatory and in the Greenhouse venue.

Sonya's recently converted their big greenhouse into an additional ceremony/reception venue, providing restrooms, tiled and pebbled floors among colorful chandeliers and blooms. Their signature mismatched furniture and china completes the rustic feel of Sonya's.
Since most wedding vendors based in Manila request for additional out-of-town fees for Tagaytay weddings, soon-to-weds really have to look for Tagaytay-based suppliers or those from Manila who charge the least out-of-town fees. I really hope the Taal volcano doesn't errupt in my lifetime. I'd hate to see what kind of damage it may do to Tagaytay and its lovely wedding venues. Sniff...

I would like to thank my officemates, Pinky and Brenda and my sister Mixie for the additional photos of Sonya's.