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.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My (wedding) fair lady

I just love going to bridal fairs. For wedding buffs like me, it's like wedding heaven filled with flowers, reception decor, sumptuous food, beautiful gowns, jewelry, great music, lovely photographs and videos, sugar-filled treats and wines. You come home with delight, suddenly hyper or possibly intoxicated from all that cake and alcohol. If you're diabetic or allergic to alcohol, this could be a depressing place for you.

Once in a while, I drop by the bigger wedding fairs that happen every year in the metro. It's the ideal place to spot new trends and possible suppliers not just for weddings and debuts but for corporate parties and events, even children's parties! And usually during bridal fairs, the exhibitors offer discounts and freebies for those who book on the spot.

For soon-to-weds, going to bridal fairs is the perfect venue to interview possible suppliers. In one big event, you can sample their work (food, wines, cakes) , see their portfolio (flowers, reception set-ups, photographs/video, gowns, event coordination) and find out if you "click" with a particular supplier.

If it's your first time to go to a bridal fair, I would caution you into booking on the spot just because there are discounts or freebies being offered by a supplier. Chances are, you may not even need the freebies. Going to the fair is the perfect opportunity to test your emotional quotient by examining if a certain exhibitor is really worth having at your wedding or what they have is just a whim. Do you really need those fireworks? Or the vintage car for just 3 hours? If not, it would be best to simply collect then select. By "collecting", we mean being nice enough to collect all the leaflets, calling cards, pamphlets and other marketing materials that each supplier hands out as you comb the aisles. See anything you like? Make a mental note. NEVER take photos of an exhibit. You may also leave your contact numbers with them and await invitations to a food tasting or a sample concert. Then, after the fair, you can trim down your choices to your top three and give them a call based on your vision of your perfect day.

In doing a little bit of research and pinning down exactly what you want for your wedding, it will help you to decide the kind of look and feel you would expect from your potential suppliers. For inspiration, you may want to look at or

At the end of the day, choosing a good supplier needs enough discernment. Like choosing your life time partner, your suppliers should be those that you've chosen with both your mind and your heart (and possibly your wallet). Choose the ones that feel right and you can't go wrong.

On to the next fair!