Monday, March 30, 2009

An encounter with Martha Stewart

A Martha Stewart bridal fair, that is.

It was the first ever Martha Stewart bridal fair in Manila so this was something I really didn't want to miss.

So off I went to the World Trade Center Tent Pavillion -- yes, to my surprise, there was such a location right beside the World Trade Center Exhibit building. The tent, if used as a wedding venue could probably fit a thousand guests.

Above, the registration area with white roses and white-painted wooden birdcages set the mood for the fair inside the tent.

Below, a detailed shot of the roses and ribbons on the wrought iron tables and chairs on display at the foyer.

Below, a larger-than-life print of the 2nd issue of the Martha Stewart Philippines magazine from Summit Media. Guests could purchase a copy and they would be entitled to free entrance to the fair.
Pre-registered online guests can also enter for free.

Anticipating that this particular bridal fair would be the Queen of all bridal fairs, inspired by Martha Stewart, the wedding guru herself, I would have to say I left the fair a bit wanting.


Let me first praise the organizers by saying that it did have elements of what a Martha Stewart wedding fair would be as I imagined -- dainty tones of simple white and tiffany blue here and there, no pompous and crass decors, aisles that were not suffocating and a roster of exhibitors whom you would not normally come across in other bridal fairs -- Rajo Laurel, Margarita Fores, Aranaz, among others.

However, the number of exhibitors were really too few. The choices were too limited for a bride looking for more possibilities in realizing her vision of a perfect wedding (unless her vision was just that of the expected--- designer gown, hotel reception, popular cake maker and photographer, ordinary souvenirs).

There were less than 10 exhibitors per "wedding category" and not even all the categories were covered. Some of the exhibitors were also the in-house wedding vendors of the hotels already present at the fair which didn't really leave much vendors to choose from. I would even say that the wedding directory of the Martha Stewart Philippines magazine would be a better resource for the list of potential wedding vendors if you truly want to make a very informed (and later on a heartfelt) decision once you've narrowed down your wedding vendors not by default (or their lack of presence in a bridal fair), but because you truly went out of your way to seek them out and meet with them personally. After all, that's what bridal fairs are all about.

A dainty centerpiece of white flowerettes and ribbons by Pido.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting hitched hair-free

It's been almost five years since I was a waxing virgin.

Since my wedding gown was a tube top and all my sisters’ gowns were sleeveless, it goes without saying that we should have hairless underarms on my wedding day.

And so, four years ago, we all went for the first time to the spa to have our underarms waxed a few days before the wedding. We were all curious how this waxing thing was done and if it really hurt like hell. We also wanted to know if it really was better than shaving – that it won't grow back thick and coarse.

I volunteered first – being the sister with the highest tolerance for pain. The spa used hot wax for the underarms and I felt the gooey-warm-sticky purple blob on my skin just a few seconds before the hair was pulled. My first reaction was “yeeeeeoooooowwww!!” My older sister even looked at where the wax was pulled from and screamed, “Ugh! There’s blood!” Of course, the “blood” was just little spots where the hair used to be and contrary to my sister’s reaction, the blood wasn’t a lot.

We did notice though that weeks after the waxing, our underarms were still hair-free and when the hair finally grew back, it was thinner and softer and there were no stubbles that were usually present after shaving.

Although most spas and even salons offer waxing services, there's only one waxing salon that I know of that offers waxing, and waxing only.

Straight from their website, Lay-bare says this about the kind of cold wax that they use:

"At Lay Bare, we use cold sugar wax jelly made of sugar, kalamansi, and honey only. These natural ingredients have bleaching, exfoliating, and moisturizing properties. Since there is no heating involved, you never have to risk getting burned or be concerned that the wax would stick to your skin. Sugar wax is water-soluble so it is easy to clean up with just water. With continued waxing you may expect your skin to be lighter and smoother, while hair re-growth finer and sparser"

After you register for the first time at Lay-bare, they will give you a loyalty card. Every visit earns you a stamp and after your 5th visit, your bill will be minus P100. On your 10th visit, there will be a P200 discount. :-)

I've tried three of Lay-bare's branches and I must say, the newer branches have add-ons/amenities that the older branches did not. For example, the Don Antonio branch's cubicle partitions are made out of wood, not thick curtains. Their salon towels and bed covers are now Lay-bare branded, no longer generic. The music that they play during your waxing session is piped in, not from a radio at the receiving area -- they even had mini-flatscreens in each cubicle where I watched Rihanna and Mariah Carey in concert (well, separate concerts, that is). This is a nice distraction to take your mind off the pain. Haha!

What is consistent though is the never-overbearing service, the comfortable waxing beds (at some point, I fell asleep while my legs were being waxed!) and the general interiors sporting the popular wedding motif colors two years ago -- mint and rose.

For those who haven't tried Lay-bare, the waxing procedure goes like this:

1) your waxer preps your skin by dusting baby powder on the areas to be waxed.
2) she gets the wax and repeatedly pulls at it with her fingers like taffy until the consistency is enough to make your hair stick to the wax
3) she starts waxing (and yes, it will hurt a bit if it's your first time, but some friends have sworn falling asleep while having a brazilian!)
4) they put anti-itch cream on the waxed area
5) you're ready to face the world hair-free (in some body parts, that is)

Yep, that simple.

And so, even if I still cringe at times when I have my legs, underarms and bikini area waxed, it is indeed worth the pain. And great for honeymoon! :-P

Visit their site at and find a branch nearest you. Enjoy the summer hair-free!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Arrive in style!

For most grooms-to-be, the highlight of being in a bridal fair is seeing the bridal cars (or maybe it comes in second to the food-tasting). Haha.

Brides-to-be might be so engrossed in the cakes, flowers, jewelry, gowns and delightful souvenirs, but boys will be boys and most would rather spend time looking at the bridal cars after an overload of "girly" things at the fair.

Being the not-so-particular-about-the-car bride that I was, I simply wanted an elegant car whose engine and airconditioning wouldn't conk out on me on my way to the church and reception. The car didn't even have to be white since my wedding gown was red. I even asked my florist to omit the bridal car wedding flowers and I asked for something in exchange but my cousin who helped me find a car for my special day insisted that there should be flowers on the car -- so off he went to get flowers for the hood. Sweet, no?

Above is a charming vintage car that would be perfect for the turn-of-the-century kind of wedding, or if you want to have a gangster-kind of feel for your wedding. It goes without saying that you should only use this during the colder months (when it's not raining), unless you're comfortable having your make-up melt and your perfectly coiffed hair windblown along with your veil. Not.

If you're the Lara Croft type, this stretch Hummer may be your type. But seriously, I'd rather have the groom and his posse ride this to the church. The grooms deserve to ride in style as much as the brides, don't they?

Must be my love for vintage that made me look at this Cadillac the longest. Won't it just be perfect while mom and dad take you to church? Sigh.

If you're a Herbie fan, this might be the perfect car for you. If you know members of the Volkswagen Club of the Philippines, maybe you can have a cute convoy of bugs on your way to the wedding!

And for the traditionally elegant bride with a playful streak, this white Chrysler could be the perfect mode of transport -- with a Mickey and Minnie bride and groom on the hood (or a Hello Kitty or a Snoopy or whatever favorite stuffed toy you may have). :-)
Whatever your car choice will be, make sure you won't be late for the ceremony!

Monday, March 09, 2009

I went to a bridal fair, now what?

After oooh-ing and aaah-ing, almost suffering a stiff neck from looking left and right at all the wedding vendors in this month's bridal fairs, and collecting all the flyers of potential suppliers who may be your partner in realizing a dream wedding day come true, what happens next?

It's time to make the cut.

From among the flyers, you must (in some cases, painfully) sift through the pile and pick your 3 top potential suppliers for each wedding requirement based on your vision, budget and agreement with your groom-to-be. If you want to be more organized, you can draw a table of your suppliers indicating each of their pros and cons.

If your wedding is at least 6 months from your bridal fair visit, you still have enough time to decide on the supplier who best meets your requirements. Meet with your top 3 suppliers (separately of course!) so you can discuss your vision, what you want and don't want, what your limitations are, what their provisions are, and other details of your wedding. If they have packages, you may want to haggle or discuss options in case some of the inclusions are items which you feel are things that you don't need.

If you are lucky enough to find them in the next bridal fair, book them on the spot to get a discount! Haha. Seriously, think of the 1st bridal fair as the first time you'll meet your potential suppliers, your first meeting as your way of testing the chemistry between you and the suppliers and the next bridal fair to seal the deal.

Remember that even if your wedding day may be the ultimate expression of your commitment with your loved one, some wedding vendors simply see it as business so choosing wisely is key.

While major discounts or exchange deals are next to impossible (unless you're a celebrity, perhaps), it won't hurt to negotiate with your wedding vendors for little freebies or a change in your package inclusions.

Some other tips in negotiating with wedding vendors are the following (if you like shopping, then think of it as if you were shopping for the perfect vendor):

1) Window shop - during the wedding fair, find out what each vendor offers for the same price range, and use this as leverage. (Note: Do not impolitely compare one vendor with the other by saying things like "Vendor A has the same cost but has a better package"). Ask about the details in the packages that they offer, inquire if they have extras that you can avail of in place of items in the packages that you may not have use for. For example, you might not want to avail of the doves or butterflies as part of a catering package, how about additional flowers for the presidential table, in exchange?

2) Be open and stick to your limit at the same time - when most brides start out planning their wedding, they usually start looking at pretty pictures of weddings and put together a vision for their own wedding. Then reality (budget concerns) sets in. Wedding vendors should be able to help you realize (maybe most, not all) elements of your vision. The truly helpful vendors will try to find solutions to what you want with your budget so be open to what they might suggest. There are however, pushy vendors that might want to sell you something that you don't really need so you must also be firm in saying "No, thanks."

3) Be indifferent - for those who are experts at haggling and bluffing, having an "indifferent aura" while you negotiate with your vendor also works. You need the vendor to believe that if they can not meet your request, you can always walk away so if they really want your business, they will usually oblige before you do so.

Well, I'm off to another bridal fair this weekend. See you there!