Thursday, November 26, 2009

What to wear to a wedding?

If you were a guest, that is.

Weddings are usually formal affairs so it is best to have either a barong tagalog or a suit ready (if you're male) or a floor-length gown (if you're female).

But sometimes, the couple ask their guests to wear something specific to their wedding depending on the mood and tone of their ceremony and/or reception. So if you're unsure of what to wear, take the cue from the invitation:

1. Formal/black tie - this means suits (dark) for men and gowns for the ladies. Keep the chucks and flipflops at home, deck the neck with jewels and play with make-up. :-) Uh, the last two were meant for the ladies.

2. Semi-formal - there may be no need for ties, but a collared shirt and a blazer or jacket is still required for the men. Ladies need not have elaborate gowns. A pretty cocktail dress and heels will do.

3. Chic - depending on the location, this could either be urban chic, garden chic or even beach chic. Just means that the couple wants you to dress comfortably but still a bit dressy. Jeans are still a no-no. Instead of heavy velvets and shimmering silk or satin and lots of beads, the fabric of choice could be chiffon, jersey or even cotton. As for footwear, you can also take a hint from the location of the ceremony or reception -- wear comfortable, non-heeled shoes for a beach or garden wedding, unless you want your heels sinking in soil or sand.

4. Casual -yes, there are couples who don't care a thing for how you'll dress to their wedding as long as you look decent. I've stumbled upon a wedding where even the entourage wore white tops with jeans and flipflops but as a guest, it wouldn't hurt to arrive still with a bit of party flare -- a wedding is still a cause to celebrate. :-)

So there, I hope these few tips enlighten you all on what to wear to a wedding. It won't hurt to look your best as guest so that someday, when you stumble upon the married couple's wedding album, you'll never have to ask yourself, "what on earth was I wearing?!?"


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy 5th Wedding Enthusiast!

Five years ago, I fell in love and got married.

And five years ago, I started writing again. Not for a fee or to beat a deadline but simply to write about something I never thought I'd be fond of -- weddings. I guess I got inspired to write about weddings because I enjoyed myself so much when I planned my own wedding.

And here I am, still writing and sharing things that delight me, the gorgeousness and gracefulness of weddings, moments that take my breath away. I feel it's like falling in love all over again every time I witness a wedding, even those which I only see through photos.

Now, after five years, I've decided to change the look of the blog. Just wanted to try something different, something new. Aren't weddings always evolving? Well, so will my blog :-)

I wish I could've taken more pictures of all the ceremonies and receptions I've attended long before I started writing this blog so I could've shared more. An officemate of mine, even prodded me to ask wedding vendors to allow me to photograph some weddings of people I don't even know so I could post about them. I'm not sure that's possible, but hey, maybe I'll try one of these days.

One thing's for sure, as long as there are weddings, there will always be wedding enthusiasts, like me.

Enjoy reading!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Love and a different kind of wedding vow

In the Philippines, a predominantly Christian country, more than once did I hear this verse quoted from the bible during weddings:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

But a thought came to me: what if we substitute "love" with the name of your spouse-to-be or your name? Then the verse becomes something else. It becomes a promise. A pledge. Something that we should aspire to be. Something we can ask ourselves if it is something we can emulate for the rest of our lives. Something that can be our wedding vow. Shall we give it a try?

(Imagine saying this at the altar facing your future spouse): I will be patient, I will be kind. I will not be envious, I will not boast, I will not be proud. I will not be rude, I will not be self-seeking, I will not be easily angered, I will keep no record of wrongs. I will not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. I will always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. I will never fail...

Sounds like a really difficult task, isn't it? The next time you read or hear this verse, you might want to re-think what love is and what it is that you are promising the person with you at the altar.

Just something to ponder on as you prepare for your big day. The dress? Check. The flowers? Check. The cake? Check.

How about your wedding vow? Can you really live up to the promise of love?

Check :-)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A chic little spa in Quezon City

Since I live and work in Quezon City, my eyes are always mercurial in spotting new places to go to in the quaint and cozy community of QC. Whether it's a mall, a new restaurant, a salon, anything!

Down Don Antonio/Holy Spirit Drive in Commonwealth is a gem of a day spa called Chic Nails. I've only visited this place once for a quicky foot spa and pedicure and I plan to go back when I have more time on my hands.

You could say I was lucky when I visited because there was no one else but me (it was a weeknight, at around 830 pm) so I relished the relaxing muted hues of my surroundings with nothing but the gurgling fountain and the scent of peppermint for company.

Because I already knew what I needed that day, I made known my request right away to the receptionist and before I knew it, an attendant had a pretty pail full of water at my feet. While my toes were scrubbed, soothed and stained with a shade of pink called "Catch the Bouquet" -- yes, I was having my toenails painted for a wedding I was attending that week-- I was all the more spoiled with a glass of iced tea. Can I live here, please? :-)

Below, the calming colors of chic nails' salon.

Chic nails has a wide array of beauty and products that you can enjoy at home.

So what was the verdict after my Chic Nails visit? Well, you could say that my feet were so ecstatic that they danced the whole night at the wedding.

Will definitely post more once I try their scrub and massage services. Each day I see their salon facade, I temporarily get transported into a dreamy state :-)

Chic Nails
Hand, Foot & Body Spa
Unit 60 A & B Don Antonio Heights, QC
Tel. No.: 393-6503, 0928-5544305

Friday, November 06, 2009

Unique table centerpieces (and taking them home)

One of the wedding elements I look forward to seeing at the reception is the table centerpiece. The default centerpiece is of course, flowers whether it's a tall or low arrangement, set in gigantic vases or fishbowls accented by candelabras or votive candles and sometimes, adorned with crystals and even feathers.

In one magazine a few years back, I saw photos of chandeliers used as centerpieces with sampaguita garlands strewn all over them -- it was an "ooooohhhh" photo for me.

Some couples are creative enough to make their centerpieces really personal or more in line with the wedding theme they've chosen. Some of the memorable centerpieces I know of (although don't have photos of) are:

1) Places (Cities/Countries/Restaurants/Trips) where the couple has been to or would like to visit. If the assigned table was "Paris," it would usually involve items associated with France/Paris like the Eiffel Tower, and other french or Parisian mementos and landmarks.

2) "I Love you" or other words of endearment in different languages. Te Amo, Je t'aime, Iniibig Kita are used instead of table numbers. I've also seen photos showing words associated with marriage like "Happiness," "Forever," "Trust," -- which can also be a great reminder of what marriage is all about. :-)

3) Mini cakes - actual, edible cakes (sometimes a miniature of the wedding cake) that guests can eat after the cake-cutting ceremony. Yummy!

4) Theme-related - if the couple opted for a beach theme, they had "beach items" like sand, petrified coral, starfish and shells as part of the centerpiece. If the wedding is during the Christmas season, the couple had pine cones, even a mini Christmas tree complete with bells and balls at the table! How festive is that?

It has been an unwritten rule that the centerpieces are usually taken home by the guests. After all, we wouldn't want those gorgeous flowers to just end up in the garbage bin, now do we? So most often than not, the female guests get the flowers and sometimes even the containers! As guests, we should always ask before taking home anything because some centerpieces are just rentals -- most of which are used by the florist or event designer for other occasions.

I attended a cousin's wedding in Toronto, Canada more than a decade ago. The centerpieces they had for the reception were silk flowers and each was given to one of the guests. The DJ had a game and the winner at the table won the centerpiece. Now that was way much fun than simply taking the vase. :-)

Whatever you decide on, just make sure your centerpieces still allow for great conversation for your guests and don't block your guests' view from the program, the AVP (if you have one) and the newlyweds' table. This is to ensure they'll see every kiss you and your hunnybunny will make throughout the reception. Awww.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Just like in the movies

Admit it, we've all watched a movie that had a wedding scene and some of us have even told ourselves while watching the film "I want to have a wedding like that!"

While planning your wedding, you might want to watch those movies again that inspired you. Some personal favorites are the following (not in any particular order):

1. Sex and the City - I loved the part where Sarah Jessica Parker was being made-up, dressed up and photographed wearing different wedding dresses of famous designers like Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Lacroix, Dior, Vivienne Westwood, among others. I also liked the dresses of her friends that were in different bold colors.

2. American Wedding - this movie was the culmination of the American Pie series which I caught one night on HBO . Although I'm not particularly a fan of this series, I liked the location of the wedding. It was like a glasshouse filled with flowers overlooking a garden.

3. Father of the bride - I loved Franc! If all wedding planners were like him, weddings would be pure fun! I also liked the personal touch of the father of the bride who made wedding sneakers for his daughter. That part really pinched my heart.

4. Bride Wars - I loved it whenever the two girls would meet with the wedding planner and lots of dresses, cakes, and flowers were part of the scene. I also laughed at the line "you do not alter Vera to fit you, you alter yourself to fit Vera."

5. 27 Dresses - I found some of the different wedding themes over-the-top! This is an example of what you put your bridesmaids through when you drape them with costume-y dresses (and expect them to simply alter and wear them again -- I don't think so).

6. Sweet Home Alabama - I liked the wedding proposal part -- going inside Tiffany's to pick out a ring. Awww. I also liked how Patrick Dempsey accepted defeat in the end (ooops, spoiler alert!)

7. My Best Friend's Wedding - I gushed at the scene with lots of flowers while Julia and Cameron talk about jello and creme brulee. Oh and the scene with balloons with ribbons too! I of course couldn't stand Cameron's karaoke singing!

8. Love Actually - the wedding scene is where Kiera Knightly's character gets married. Loved the simple feather fascinator in her hair!

9. The Wedding Planner - I just found J.Lo's character as the wedding planner so hilarious! But so true! The wedding planner has to be ready for anything!

10. The Wedding Singer - I liked the part where Drew Barrymore practices the "wedding kiss" with Adam Sandler and got totally smitten where the old lady sang to her husband on their anniversary.

Oh, there are a lot more wedding related movies that I haven't watched (or can't remember at the moment) but the wedding scenes are those I always remember as I step out the cinema (or after I eject the DVD).

Have a wonderful wedding movie marathon with your hubby-- to get him in the wedding mood, uh hopefully. :-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wedding workouts

Every bride wants to be beautiful (and for some, sexy) on her wedding day.

Sadly, not every bride has the slightest idea how to look healthy and glowing. Some brides, after pouring so much into preparing for the wedding, march down the aisle haggard and almost lifeless, some even fainting from hunger and lack of sleep.

Like most successful weight-loss stories, the trick is to balance everything instead of cramming a diet, an exercise regimen and for the more desperate, relying on diet pills just weeks or days before the big day. Relationships take time, planning a wedding takes time and so does losing weight to fit into your dream wedding dress (and looking hot on your honeymoon!)

When I was young, I played a lot. Nope, not with computer games although we did have Atari (ok, so now you have an idea how old I am). My cousins and I would play hide and seek and climb trees in my grandparents' house during the summer. My parents would take us to the country club and my dad would always ask us to do 20 laps in the olympic-size swimming pool. During school days, I would play dodge ball with my classmates or participate a game we called "agawan-base" -- the object of which was to try to covet the "fort" of another team, tagging the opponents so they could convert to your team to eventually take hold of their original fort. It sounds complicated but as a child, it was just pure fun -- and maybe it was because of playing so much that I didn't grow up to be a chubby kid.

When I was in high school, I played volleyball with my barkada as much as we could. I wasn't a voracious eater but looking back, volleyball was the reason why I had strong arms and legs -- even if I had a pooch for a midsection.

I didn't have much physical activities in college and maybe that explains why it was in college that I was at my heaviest. Two years into the working world, I decided to join a gym and made it a habit to work out before I punched in my time card. Sure, I had to wake up earlier but at least I could get exercising out of the way early in the day.

After going through 2 pregnancies and getting older, I admit that getting back into shape is not as easy as when I was younger. So now I'm back in the gym on most days, attending yoga classes and at least one day of the week, I attend Tae kwon do classes (which I haven't done in the last 20 years).

No, I don't expect brides-to-be (and their future hubbies) to become gym bunnies. Like everything else in preparation for the wedding, we need to set aside some time for our bodies -- if we have time to attend meetings with our caterer, our dressmaker, our musicians, our make-up artists, uh, you get the point? Surely, you can set aside some time to prepare your bodies for your wedding day.

There is simply no excuse not to look good even if you're stressed with work or the wedding preparations. There are so many gyms in the Metro offering great equipment, good classes and other benefits. If you're like me who can't bear to look ridiculous in an aerobics class because of the quick changing of steps, you can try yoga where the movements are slower yet stretches your muscles, conditions your body and helps you relax in a way because of all the breathing. Could even be good in alleviating wedding-related stress! :-)

Some good gyms I know of are Fitness First, Gold's gym and Planet Infinity. Be sure to check with a doctor before engaging in any kind of fitness regimen!

If you think joining a gym is not for you, then maybe some kind of sport would be more enjoyable (and less expensive and non-committal than a gym, haha). Why not try badminton, biking or simply jogging around your village or your old school campus with your spouse-to-be? It might even prove to be a great venue for some pre-nuptial bonding.

Whatever physical activity you choose, remember that on our wedding day, we not only offer our hearts and minds to our spouses, but our bodies as well. That said, we must also take care of our bodies -- especially if we plan to have kids right away.

Don't just be beautiful on your wedding day, be healthy too!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cash or kind?

Gifts, that is.

Would it be better to have tangible, stereotype newlywed gifts or is cash/are cheques a wiser option so you can spend it anyway you wish instead of the possibility of being stuck with wedding gifts that may not be to your liking? Some brides would be clueless with a waffle-maker or a juice extractor. What would a couple do with five sets of pots and pans or 3 dozen flatware sets if they don't host parties often?

I've been cleaning my parents' house for quite sometime -- clearing out items that are no longer being used so I can either sell them in a garage sale or donate them to charity. In my clutter-clearing adventures, I've discovered an array of items that may have well been saved "just in case" but were hardly used. Or never used.

I believe this is mostly the case with Filipinos, especially those belonging to my parents' generation who tend to keep the more beautiful, more expensive things, especially those with "sentimental value" locked up in cabinets and drawers for fear of being lost, broken or tarnished (and are difficult to restore as if they were new).

An aunt now lives in Boston with her husband but they got married in Manila in the 1980's. She had about a dozen or more pairs of godparents and they were mostly politicians at the time so you could consider their wedding as one that was grand. Since she moved to Boston, she had to leave some of her wedding gifts here at home and as I clutter-cleared her house, I was surprised to find four punchbowl sets (I hear they were a fad in the 80's, haha).

In my parents' home, there are a lot of tea sets, glassware and flatware I don't remember ever being used.

Some of the things in my parents' house that have yet to see daylight.

In my own home, I have wedding gifts still in their boxes because well, we haven't found use for them yet.

So what's my point?

We get gifts that we don't use -- often or at all!

But don't get me wrong. I'm far from being ungrateful. When I attend weddings, I make it a point to find out what the couple needs -- his and her towels, perhaps? An espresso-maker? A funky lamp? And believe me when I say that having a wedding registry is a lifesaver. For one, it saves you the effort of mind-reading the couple because their registry list already tells you what they need or want from a particular store. Two, it already indicates the price of the items so you don't need to go through the entire store looking for one that fits your budget. And three, some stores even deliver the items straight to the newlyweds' home so you don't have to lug them to the reception.

In the 1980's, even probably during the 1990's, asking for cash in lieu of gifts is something that would have been thought of as tacky, even downright despicable. But nowadays, some couples are not only spreading their cash request through close friends and relatives but saying it in their invitations, albeit not outright "your gifts are ok but we prefer cash." Hahaha.

This "cash preferred" mindset for this generation may be a sign of the times where couples are more wise in spending their hard-earned money on things that they would really use. But some people are offended with a "cash box" by the registration table that makes guests feel as if they're "paying" to attend the reception.

My personal take on this topic is this: If you can't afford a lavish wedding and are expecting a "return of investment" from your guests by asking for money, I say postpone the wedding until you have enough money to spend on your wedding AND AFTER the wedding. Choosing to get married is one thing, but expecting gifts is another thing. People don't get married to get gifts. People get married because they're in love and they want to celebrate their love with people who matter to them. And people who truly matter need not bring gifts, they just need to be there.

If you invite people to your wedding and they bring gifts, good. Yes, even those you probably will never use. If they don't bring gifts, be grateful that they still attended your wedding.

I've heard of recent newlyweds who lost everything they had during Typhoon Ondoy and yet they're thankful that they still had each other. Awww. Sniff.

So for you out there who treat weddings like a business (unless you're a wedding vendor), repeat after me: "The most important things in a wedding are these: Me, my future spouse, and our love. (Oh, and someone to officiate the ceremony. Ok, throw in a few witnesses)."

On a final note, maybe you can look at gifts from my own experience -- when I was still single and I prayed for God to help me either accept that I will forever be single or if he could send me not the perfect man but the perfect man for me, God didn't hesitate to send me Rahyan. And if I thought long and hard enough, among all my wedding gifts, my husband is probably the best gift ever.

Cheesy, I know, but true. :-)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Back to back weddings and sweetness overload

No, I didn't do what Katherine Heigl's character did in the movie "27 dresses" where she was straddling two weddings in one day. I did however, attend two weddings last weekend -- one on Friday and one on Saturday.

My Friday fete was my distant cousin's wedding. Rikka and I have never met in person but my Tita Zeny who lives in the US introduced us "virtually" via Facebook. Since she was an "overseas bride," I was giddy everytime she asked my opinion about certain elements about her wedding. Couldn't wait to attend her wedding, obviously so I could meet her. I had planned my outfit to be 1920's inspired.

My Saturday wedding was the wedding of my hubby's good friend Jerdy and his paramour, Malaya.

Although just hours apart, I was fascinated by the uniqueness of the two weddings I attended. Nothing beats a wedding where the personalities of the bride and groom shines through. Just by looking at the wedding invitations, you already know how different the two weddings would be.

Rikka and Chris had a classic wedding invitation with touches of the gunmetal grey and powder blue motif while Jerdy and Malaya gave out not-your-usual wedding invites printed out like passports to match their avant-garde black and white motif.

That Friday, we went to Santuario de San Antonio for Rikka and Chris' wedding ceremony. I had earlier assured Rikka that choosing to sign up 92AD for her choir and 3rd Avenue for her reception band was a choice she would not regret, and true to form, both musical groups did not disappoint!

But first, the wedding march...

My wedding partner in crime, my sister strike a pre-wedding pose while waiting for the entourage march.

That's the groom, Chris doing the ceremonial last walk as a bachelor.

That's my dad standing in for one of the ninongs (male principal sponsor).

And that's my aunt who flew in from Boston as one of the principal sponsors.

The parents of the bride, Tito Ramon & Tita Helen .

And there goes the beautiful bride, Rikka, escorted by her parents to the altar.

Although small in number, 92 AD's voices filled the entire chapel and gave everyone goosebumps through their songs especially with their rendition of The Lord's Prayer.

As part of the wedding ceremony, Rikka and Chris offered flowers to Mother Mary.

The first kiss.

The newlyweds.

Anything you'd like to tell all the single ladies out there, Rikka?

While most brides change their look for the reception, I too had something up my sleeve, well, more like pinned to my hair...trying to complete my 1920's look.

After the ceremony, just as our car passed Manila Polo Club's gates, it started to rain. Really hard. My sister and I dropped of my dad and aunt at the entrance while we parked the car in the pebbles and sandy soil area. Before we went down, we grabbed a shopping bag, donned our Crocs and proceeded to the reception area. We went to the bathroom to change into our dress shoes and hid our comfy shoes under our dinner table. Hahahaha!

Below, the elegantly-decorated Manila Polo Club, a witness to thousands of wedding receptions. I liked the touch of this particular set-up where white drapes covered the entrance to the main hall while the guests enjoyed cocktails at the adjacent foyer.

Just like the wedding ceremony flowers of white roses and calla lilies, Rikka and Chris opted for all white dendrobium orchid centerpieces for the reception. The presidential table was dotted with white tulips and lavender hydrangeas. Yes, a smile was pasted on my face once I entered the reception hall. :-)

The presidential table. A setting of understated elegance.

The hosts for the night, the groom's brother Mark Halili and wife, Pia Arcangel-Halili.

The father and daughter dance. Rikka is the only girl in their family.

Below are photos of the lovely cake and the ambrosial dessert buffet by Bizu.

Between the "ooohs" and "ahhs" as I was getting my fill of sugar from the dessert buffet and while trying to stop myself from popping all the petit fours into my eager mouth, I was truly in a sweet surrender. How often anyway do I indulge in this much saccharine? Ok, don't answer that.

Above, 92AD singing songs that the oldies were singing along with.

Below, the 3rd Avenue band rocking their tunes from the 70's, 80's, 90's and the latest dance music which made everyone strut to the dancefloor. It was like a flash mob as dance instructors not only taught most of the guests how to do the swing, but led the choreography for the more popular songs sung by 3rd Avenue.

It had been a while since I danced in a party so I went home tired but a happy kind of tired that night.

Before the night ended, Rikka and Chris gave out Bizu cakes for their female principal sponsors and macarons for the male principal sponsors.

Each of the guests received delightful boxes of chocolates.

The next day, my husband and I attended the wedding of his friend Jerdy and the stunningly beautiful Malaya Lewandowski. Unlike Rikka and Chris' wedding which had a Catholic ceremony and a separate reception venue, Jerdy and Malaya's wedding was Christian -- the ceremony and reception of which took place in the same venue, Crossroad 77's convenarium.

That's Jerdy with his parents going down the aisle.

Hubby as one of the principal sponsors.

The radiant bride, Malaya obviously excited to be with her groom at the altar, accompanied by her
her mom and her sister.

The first kiss as husband and wife in front of about 300 guests. Note the widescreen behind the couple which gave us a more intimate view of the ceremony vis-a-vis the enormous venue.

Hmm...the stage, the lights, the set-up reminded me of a weekend noontime show. Haha. At one point during the picture-taking, I couldn't help but get a tissue to help Jerdy blot sweat/oil from his forehead -- wouldn't want him to look shiny in his wedding photos, now would we?

Above, the presidential table. Below, the centerpiece for the other tables. Jerdy and Malaya opted for a colorful palette -- reds, salmons, lilacs of various flowers -- roses, stargazers, mums, carnations and hydrangeas.

Above, the newlyweds as they re-enter the convenarium as husband and wife. Below, the newlyweds cut the wedding cake. I just hated that the smoke machine was making my photos foggy. Hmp.

Above, Me and hubby and with the newlyweds and below, with the gorgeous gals of Creative Futures.

Below, the dessert buffet by Hizon's and the chocolate giveaways for the guests.

Here are some more photos that Malaya posted on Facebook:

Just look at that ridiculously gorgeous bouquet! Love the peacock feathers!

Even for a sweet-toothed senorita like me, binging on two dessert buffets and chocolates was overwhelming. Or maybe it was intensified by the all the love and sweetness that I witnessed during the two weddings? Hahaha.

To Rikka and Chris, Jerdy and Malaya, may the good Lord bless your marriage for many years to come -- filling it with more sweetness each day!