Sunday, March 28, 2010

What I'm loving now (more like who I'm stalking now): Vatel Manila Flowers

Once in a while, I shall be re-posting photos of reasons why I know I will never fall out of love with weddings. And today, I shall start with photos from Vatel Manila.

First off, let me confess that I am completely and hopelessly enamored with Vatel Manila (Flowers by Dylan Gozum). As a link I found on the website of The Mango Farm, an events venue in Antipolo, I have been incessantly stalking Dylan's blog, allowing myself to be mesmerized by his designs, wishing someday I could witness this floral genius at work.

Although I have not met Dylan in person, I can only surmise from the photos and descriptions in his blog that he is no ordinary florist. He truly knows his flowers -- their common and scientific names, scent, pliability and seasonality. He is driven by inspiration and when limited by a bride's budget, he relies on his creativity to source out accessories or devise flower combinations to turn his floral blueprints into architectural creations that leave his brides (and me) gasping for air.

If no two weddings are alike, shouldn't the flowers, as well as the look and feel of every ceremony and reception also be unique for every wedding? That's what Dylan believes (even if other brides insist on copying decor from other weddings). My dears, there is such a thing as a "peg" but I'd rather go for something "personalized."

Dylan, to my mind, epitomizes the floral stylist that matches my affection for flowers -- someone who considers doing flower arrangements as both a science and an art form. How many florists truly see both the blossom and the bouquet? Who can scrutinize the anatomy of a table centerpiece? Who can seemingly coerce flowers to bend to do his will so that he can transform them into something too beautiful for words?

I suspect that Dylan is actually a "flower whisperer." :-)

Ok, I admit. I'm a fan. And if there's anything I hate about Vatel Manila, it is the fact that they were not yet around when I got married half a decade ago.

Just look at these photos and seethe with flower envy:

Imagine dangling crystals and dainty flowers behind you as you exchange your vows.

Tin pails brimming with blooms to line your aisles or arm candy for the little angels!

In shells! Not your usual wedding flowers, indeed!

These bright crimson roses in black urns remind me of a popular book cover.
Definitely a backdrop with bite. Hint, hint.

Flora and fauna (represented by the feathers).
I hope no animals were harmed in making this bouquet. :-P

Twigs with eucalyptus leaves

Roses married with rose cacti.

How can you not swoon over a ring pillow made of flowers?

A rustic amalgamation of a native woven ball, flowers and feathers. Fun, fearless and fabulous!

What I love most about Dylan's body of work is that he practices the art of real elegance, or what I'd like to call "glamour with restraint." Even with the recession looming over our heads, I am left dumbfounded how some couples still opt to go the extravagant route, defending their overbearing wedding details with "because we only get married once." To each his own, I suppose but there must be a limit as to how a wedding should look like, never short of being mistaken for a corporate launch or variety show. :-P

Below is Vatel Manila's Guiding Principles for Designing their flowers:


REFINED SIMPLICITY. This is something we work hard to perfect. While we may have differing views on what is "elegant", we humbly present here our guiding principles in design.

Simple and tasteful. The Filipino's current penchant for the "production number-act" is something we have discussed and studied thoroughly among ourselves. This may be something we have acquired from television and from our increasing buying power. In the end, our homes end up being filled - to every crook and cranny - with things: huge aparadors and dividers go side by side with knick-knacks from our travels, as well as with our seeming fetish for souvenirs from just about any event and place. In short, horror vacui. However, Filipino design as gleaned from our history and traditions, hardly border on the loud and boorish. The work of our indigineous peoples and local weavers attest to the beauty of our artwork. This concept - simple and tasteful - is at the core our design sensibility.

Conversation-friendly and comfortable arrangements. Although the aim to make our designs conversation pieces in themselves is already a given, VATEL MANILA draws the line on the theatricality that pervades the current design concepts of many catering and event firms in Manila. In our review of current practices, many design firms resort to the "shock policy" - that is, they capitalize on their ability to shock guests with venues teeming with flowers, lights and other pompous what-nots like employing yards upon yards of fabric, supposedly to make it "an event like no other" or "an event to be remembered". Sometimes, even tables - from the main sponsors to the guests tables in a wedding setting, for example - are filled to the brim with flowers designed to block guests from seeing each other thus impeding conversation; tables are bathed in silk or organza, apparently designed to astound the visitor BUT without consideration of their comfort or safety. The end result: uncomfortable and crampy arrangements. While we only suggest and can provide suggestions as to how to put life into your own concepts, the overall idea, really, is to effortlessly evoke images of the grand and the sophisticated without being distracting and obtrusive. In the end, the true winners will be you and your guests - with the reward of pleasant memories arising from the things your ideas and our guidance / expertise can do together.

We all know that people like Dylan who have real talent never rest on their laurels (or in this case, his bouquets) so I will regularly stalk his blog to update myself on how Dylan will continue to outdo himself for future weddings. :-)

For now, I leave you with a list of Dylan's current favorite bouquets. Hold your breath.

Layers of Ecuadorian roses paired with rice flowers, a base of asparagus leaves and crystal inserts.
Love the morrocan-inspired lamps too!

Fuchsia Ecuadorian roses, Phalaenopsis and Cymbidium orchids with a base wrap of Cypress and a brooch to complete the look.

Gypsophila (a.k.a Million Stars). Pure loveliness!

Yellow calla lilies, Ecuadorian roses, Hypericum berries, Queen Anne's Lace, and crystal inserts.

Cymbidium orchids, mini Calla Lilies, and wax flowers mixed with purple ostrich feathers and a pretty brooch which the bride later used on her gown during the reception.

Echeveria elegans (Common Name: Rose Cactus), Haworthia attenuata, & Craspedia. Truly unique and very current (if you follow US bridal blogs, succulents have been the "in" thing for mid- to late- 2009)

Fuschia and lilac Ecuadorian roses, Craspedia, Cymbidium orchids, rice flowers and Eryngium. One of Dylan's most colorful creations!

Tulips, snapdragons and Queen Anne's Lace loosely arranged for that "fresh-from-the-garden" look.

Yellow Ecuadorian roses, yellow calla lilies, Queen Anne's Lace and Snapdragons.

Dylan's first-ever black + red arrangement. Calla Lilies and black feathers with those twirly fern-like accents. Quirky.

Orange calla lilies, Mokara orchids and crystals.

Two-toned Holland tulips (red / yellow), Molucella (a.k.a Bells of Ireland),
Leucandendron, Leucospermum (both endemic to South Africa & Zimbabwe), Mokara orchids from Bangkok, and red Hypericum berries. A united nations kind of bouquet!

Here comes the bouquet, all in white....Lilacs, Snapdragon, Matthiola & Tulips

Rust and canary yellow roses, wax flowers, Hypericum berries, eucalyptus leaves, a brooch and a wisp of ostrich feather.

All-white roses interspersed with white rice flowers

Dylan Yap Gozum
Mobile: + 63.915.383.8803
Landline: +632.645.6993 (The Mango Farm)
By Appointment Only.

All photos are from Vatel Manila's blog,