Chapter Thirty-Five: Attending a Tagaytay Wedding

20 October 2008 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Adventures, Caterer, Ceremony, Invitation, Reception | 6 Comments
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[She Writes]

One of my eldest brother’s best friends (whom we considered family) recently got married.   My brother was in another country, so he wasn’t able to come. But my Mom was a Godmother, and we all attended to show our love and support to the couple.

The save-the-date magnetic strip immediately reflected their personalities.  My brother’s best friend was in the car racing circuit, while his fiancee (now his wife, obviously) was a commercial model.

The invitation showcased their wedding’s bright sunset (or sunrise) hues of orange and red.

It also carried their theme of car racing and show business.

AdWorks, famous for their fun caricatures, produced the pop-up invitations.

I absolutely loved the wording on their invitation:
“When God started the engine
He paved the road that captured two hearts
To share a race that has no finish line.”

The invitation included a map and a registry card.

The reception was held at Ville Sommet in Tagaytay.  We left Manila after lunch, and arrived half past two.  We were very early.  Although the invitation stated that the ceremony would start at half past three, it was supposed to officially start at four.  And it actually began at five.

Nonetheless, we were able to enjoy the breathtaking place for a few hours.  Ville Sommet is a lush garden that offered beauty and privacy.

One is recommended not to wear heels though for the paved steps are cobblestoned and uneven, and the ceremony itself was held on the grass.

There was a beautiful nook under the tree where we hung out at before the event.

The pond was filled with large Kois and other fishes.

Josiah’s Catering set up Cocktail tables along the path towards the ceremony and reception areas.

Tents covered the patch of grass where the ceremony would take place.

A beautiful arch of flowers where the wedding entourage would pass through.

Beside the ceremony area was The Glass House, where the reception would take place.

The Groom with his parents.

The entourage.

The Bridal Walk.

Bubbles filled the air.

The Bride was crying the whole time…

… And so was the groom.

The Groom hugs his Bride’s mother.

They sealed their love with a kiss…

… And a long tender hug.

The beautiful couple’s blown-up photos propped up on easels, welcoming the guests before entering the reception hall.

Guest were asked to pick a mini racing flag before entering the reception area.

Josiah’s set-up for the VIP tables.

Long tables were set up banquet style.

The ceiling drapery was standard in the Glass House.

Votives added a romantic touch to the centerpieces.

The emcees were the bride’s model friends.

Torches were lit as the couple entered the venue.  The guests waved the mini racing flags during the couple’s entrance.

They immediately had their first dance…

… And the cutting of the cake.

The awesome cake followed the wedding theme.

It was almost symbolic of the roads they took during their time together…

… Until they finally reached their destination, their wedding, their marriage.

The wine glasses were dressed up in a tuxedo and a wedding gown.

The couple’s table.

The beautiful couple staring at each other.

The couple’s friends prepared an AVP for them.

Finally! I was able to capture a kiss!

They had a money dance.

No less than Php500s please.

There were several giveaways: a small chocolate cake by Joy San Gabriel, a mini bottle of wine, and a tin of candies.  I wasn’t able to take a photo of the cake though.  We ate it right away!  It was delicious!

Here’s the wine though.

And the tin of candies.

 

The candies were Jelly Bellies, no less!

 

A sweet ending to a sweet wedding.  Best wishes to the gorgeous couple!

Chapter Thirty-Three: Gazebo Royale

17 September 2008 at 5:25 am | Posted in Adventures, Bridal Events, Caterer, Partners, Reception | 7 Comments
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[She Writes]

A picture is worth a thousand words.  So here are the images I took from the Hizon’s Catering’s grand food-tasting held at the Gazebo Royale.

Beautiful greenery greets guests.

Hizon’s Food Tasting was held at the Champagne Hall.

The Champagne Hall is a huge area that should easily fit 350 to 500 guests.

It is a roofed but open-air venue.

Ceiling treatments of the Champagne Hall.

One of the many ponds.

The men’s rest room.

The bridge leading to the women’s comfort room.

The airconditioned and spacious rest room.

A venue for smaller gatherings, the Bamboo Grove.

Airconditioned and fits about 50 to 60 people.

From the Bamboo Grove to Phoenix Avenue.

A smaller version of Champagne Hall.

The ceiling decor of Phoenix Avenue.

RAVE: Fairly easy to locate.  Clean feel.  Gorgeous greenery.  Spacious parking.  Airconditioned bathrooms.

RANT: Venues may get quite hot.  Far from more desirable churches.

REVIEW: Beautiful option for a garden-style wedding within the metro.

The Gazebo Royale is located at 29 Visayas Ave. Ext., Quezon City.  For more information, visit their website at http://www.gazeboroyale.com.

Chapter Nine: Encounters with Caterers

18 April 2008 at 5:21 pm | Posted in Caterer | Leave a comment
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[She Writes]

Priorities.  These vary among couples.  A good number are willing to shell out a significant amount for fabulous photos.  Some would rather spend more on the honeymoon than the wedding.  Still others would never let music fade into the background.  But if there is one element that I daresay is a priority for ALL couples, it’s the FOOD.

People may not notice the intricate beading on the bride’s gown, or the variety of flowers the couple painstakingly selected with the florist, or the reception design and set-up that took the stylist months of planning and research.  But they will definitely have something to say about the food.  If they were delectably satisfied, they will be raving about it for months.  Otherwise, the untouched food on their plates and the way they subtly left the reception much too early will silently yell out the discontentment of the guests.  Feed the guests well and they will stay on until the wee hours of the morning if need be.

So we knew the selection process for the caterers required more time.  And with over a year and a half left for planning, we definitely had plenty of that.

Juan Carlo the Caterer | 78 C. Cenacle Drive, Sanville Subdivision, Quezon City | 632.929.3674 | http://www.juancarlothecaterer.com

As major sponsors of the Wedding Expo Philippines 12th Edition, three catering companies lorded over a quarter part of the massive venue for free food tasting.  They showcased not only their appetizers, entrees, and desserts, but their styling prowess as well, with their elaborate set-up and beautiful blooms.  One of these caterers were Juan Carlo the Caterer.

Juan Carlo the Caterer

Along with my fiance’s mother and little sister, we took to their buffet table mid-afternoon for a late-lunch-slash-snack.  Because we had lunch before heading to the Expo, we weren’t exactly very hungry, but the food seemed to whet our appetites.  Almost everything was delicious, from the entrees to the desserts, even down to their fragrant water, which had a hint of pandan.  My fiance’s younger sister took seconds of several dishes.  My fiance’s mom, who was a cook herself, was quite satisfied as well.

Juan Carlo the Caterer Entree

Juan Carlo the Caterer Dessert

The set-up was pretty, and the flowers they used were very elegant.

Juan Carlo the Caterer Set Up

Their service was impeccable and efficient, with a friendly and polite crew.  Mark Abrea, who I met at a bridal fair in Megamall, took care of us, making sure that we were sufficiently attended to.

Josiah’s Catering | www.josiahcatering.com | http://josiahcatering.multiply.com

My parents got Josiah’s Catering for my 18th Birthday Celebration.  The food was fabuluous, including the wide selection of desserts and the entire section for Japanese food such as Makis, Sushis and Sashimis.

 

Josiah\'s Catering Old Logo

A lot can definitely change in six years.

Josiah\'s Catering New Logo

We sampled the food of Josiah’s during the Wedding Expo Philippines 12th Edition.   We were actually pretty hungry when we got to their area.  After hours of roaming the stalls in the Expo, we seized the opportunity for an early dinner.  I showed them my SMS invitation for food-tasting, and we were ushered to the buffet station.

Even after settling in our seats, none of the account managers approached us, not even the one who contacted me in the first place.   The service crew weren’t as responsive as expected.  It took several requests before we were served water.  And they weren’t very friendly either.  We didn’t feel taken care of as compared to our experience with Juan Carlo the Caterer, which even my fiance’s mom noticed. 

Josiah\'s Catering Set Up 02

This all wouldn’t have mattered if their food more than made up for their service (or lack thereof).  But it didn’t.

Let’s just say that we had plenty of food on our plates left untouched.   Most of their dishes were quite bland, while their soup, which might have been their best bet, was ironically, a little too salty.  Add to that, the entrees were already cold and dry.  It might have already been late in the afternoon, but their warmers should have been able to keep the food, well, warm at the very least.

Josiah\'s Catering Set Up 01

My parents weren’t surprised by this verdict.  They had recently attended several weddings with Josiah’s as caterer, and their feedback mirrored ours.

Their set-up was decent, although it wasn’t spectacular.  But our primary concern was the food, so this wasn’t really an issue anymore.

I actually heard positive things about Josiah’s from a couple of suppliers I encountered, saying that their service is excellent and that they were very professional.  I suppose they just weren’t the caterer for us.

K by Cunanan | 632.711.0940 | 632.711.0952 | www.kbycunanancatering.com

Kaye Cunanan, and her partner, Kar Reyes, are charming and delightful.  The postive feedback about them are overwhelming, and I am certain that a major factor here is because of their personalized client service, and fresh ideas.

K by Cunanan

Their set-up precisely reflected their image and personality – youthful but elegant, creative but timeless.  I had my heart set on booking them, but my fiance, being the sensible man that he is, reminded me that it is important that we taste their food first.  So we did.  After meeting Kar at the Wedding Expo Philippines 12th Edition, we set the date for the food-tasting at Kaye’s house.

K by Cunanan Catering Set Up 01

K by Cunanan is innovative not only when it comes to their styling, but also in their dishes as well.  This can come out both positive and negative.  I personally like trying dishes with an odd mix of flavors, which tickle my taste buds.  But that’s me.  I admit I have an unorthodox taste when it comes to food.  I enjoy tofu and mushrooms, and can enjoy a combination of sinigang with corned beef.  So I actually can’t trust even myself when it comes to food, so I usually bring others along who have more discriminating tastes.

For the food-tasting with K by Cunanan, I requested my parents and my fiance’s Mom and younger brother to come along.  It was an unexpectedly long drive, as Kaye’s house was a little too far into their village but it wasn’t a problem.  Kaye was very nice and accommodating.  Before the soup was served, she talked us through different ideas for the reception and gave us tips on seating the guests.  The food-tasting also turned out to be a nice bonding experience among our parents, as we spent over two hours in Kaye’s house.  After, we bid goodbye and she sent us off with a smile.

K by Cunanan Catering Set Up 02 

While she was a delight to talk to and her ideas were wonderful, my parents and my fiance’s mom weren’t completely satisfied with the food.  They felt the dishes were a either a little too ordinary or they were a little too different for their taste.  My fiance’s younger brother and I actually thought the food was excellent, precisely because it was different.  But I do have to consider other guests’ expectations.  It’s always best to stay on the safe side.

I read one blog where they remarked that K by Cunanan’s food is a hit among the younger crowd, but it wasn’t as well-received among the older ones.  I suppose this was applicable as well to my experience.  And while I would have loved to work with Kaye and Kar, I suppose, again, that they were not the caterer for us.

To be continued:  VS&F Catering.  Hizon’s Catering.

Chapter Seven: In the Supplier’s Shoes

8 March 2008 at 12:04 am | Posted in Adventures, Caterer, Ceremony, Partners, Reception | Leave a comment
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[She Writes]

A couple of weeks ago, a former work colleague (a very good friend of mine) asked me to help her coordinate her friend’s (the groom) wedding.   The company I used to work for, which she is still a part of now, handles corporate PR, publicity and promotions.  I figured it would be fun working with her again in coordinating events. Plus, it would be able to provide me a basic assessment in terms of hiring my Day Coordinator for my own wedding as well.  Hence, my adventure of (sort of) being in the Supplier’s Shoes.

Non-working holiday.  The Wedding Day.

I had to attend to work-related matters in the morning (workaholic in the house), so I arrived at the venue (The Oasis) around noon.  Coming from ABS-CBN, I was able to get to The Oasis in less than fifteen minutes (It’s either the fact that it was a non-working day or that I drove like a maniac. Or both.).

I passed by The MakeUp Studio, which was located at The Oasis, to pay Jesy Alto a visit.  She was shocked when she saw me. And when she found out that I was doing day coordination, she kept teasing me that we might someday end up working together as suppliers.  It was fun seeing her, and I somehow felt more excited about helping coordinate this wedding.

The Couple.

The Bride was very sweet and genuinely nice.  She was radiant in her gown, though she confessed that she was stressed from the preparations, admitting that they only focused on their wedding planning about a month before THE day.

The Groom was… unconventional.  He didn’t get to the venue until about 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony (And he was still in his jeans and an old T-shirt).  He burned the songs for the ceremony only minutes after he arrived.  He said they had a missalette.  When we rummaged in his bag, they actually did – one photocopied missalette provided by the church.  And that’s it.

Oasis Couple

That’s when I knew it was going to be an interesting day.

The Oasis| 169 Aurora Boulevard, San Juan| 721.4585| 726.6832| http://www.oasismanila.com

It was my first time at The Oasis, and I couldn’t mask my surprise at the location.  I’ve seen photos of the place, and I never at all expected that it would be in an area right along a major road, much less right beside the LRT.  It was mind-boggling how a place so serene could exist within an area completely unlike it.

The Oasis Manila

I met up with my friend and we went up to the Bridal Suites (There were three, and two were being occupied for this one wedding).  We checked where the Bride was being made up, and it was filled to capacity by (I presumed) family members and friends.  The room wasn’t that spacious to begin with, but people kept popping in to see the Bride in all her un-made-up-yet glory.  My friend had earlier advised the photographers to shoot the wedding details at the (luckily) unused hall next door, which worked out better for them because it offered more lighting.

Oasis Suite

The second room was for us (coordinators) and other materials such as souvenirs, flowers, doves, and whatnot.  We had our lunch there (Jollibee Chickenjoy – Yum!), and my friend handed me one of two walkie-talkies her brother purchased for her in the States.  As I inserted the plug in my ear and hooked the radio onto the waistband of my skirt, I was really feeling the Day Coordinator vibe.

We went downstairs to check The Pavilion.  It’s basically the largest of the three options in The Oasis, and it offered the best “garden” location without having to worry about the unpredictable weather.  I saw this benefit first hand since the sky was moody at the time – rain and shine and rain and shine.

Oasis Manila

The staff knew that we were coordinating the wedding (as a friendly favor) and they were very accommodating to us, helping us in any and every way possible.  They helped us carry the souvenirs from the room to The Pavilion, and they shared their supplies with us (scotch tape, scissors) when we were preparing materials for the reception program.  (I figure professional coordinators would have enough people to carry wedding-related materials, and would have essential supplies on hand.)

Oasis Reception

After some last minute checking on the venue and the bride, we loaded all the materials for the ceremony – the doves, the flowers, the bible, the veil, the cord, and all the CDs of the songs to be used – in my car, then headed to the Church.

Mount Carmel| Our Lady of Carmel Shrine| 5th St., Broadway, New Manila, Quezon City| 724.5938

It was also my first time at Mount Carmel, and it was no wonder that it’s the usual church tandem with The Oasis because it’s only about 2 or 3 minutes away.   It was fairly easy to locate, and there was ample parking.  There’s no airconditioning, but because it was raining, heat wasn’t really an issue.  It’s also quite spacious, so there was plenty of air circulation.  The huge wooden doors allowed for a dramatic entrance for the bride, which is a big plus for me, personally.

Our Lady of Carmel Shrine

We brought all the materials down from my car (By then, the interiors of my car smelled suspiciously of molten earth and bird poo), and settled at the last pew at the back.  We set the cage containing the doves near the entrance for easy accessibility to one of the groomsmen who volunteered to take care of the dove release.

About 10 minutes before the official start of the ceremony, we handed out all the bouquets to the entourage members.  I’m quite proud that we were able to get instant proxy’s for the Ninangs who were running late.  (The Maid of Honor was a great help to us.)

We stayed only until after the bridal march.  After making sure that everyone and everything was settled, we headed back to The Oasis to check on the reception set-up.

Hizon’s Catering| http://www.hizonscatering.com

The caterer was the long-standing Hizon’s Catering.  Their set-up was quite festive, following the couple’s theme colors of maroon and gold.  Long vases held lively flowers arranged like a pomander.  Tiffany chairs were provided for all the guests, which was good.  I just didn’t like how they added a maroon Organza to decorate the chair, which I felt defeated the whole purpose of having the Tiffany.  Oh, well.  I guess that’s already a matter of personal preference.  The couple’s table stood under a gazebo with strings of tivoli lights cascading at the back.  Two long presidential tables were placed at either side of the couple’s table.

Hizon\'s Catering

While it was good that they had finished their set-up early, they also already brought the cake out (We saw this even before heading to the Church).  It just sat on the stand for hours, being exposed to all the outdoor elements.

Because of the rain-shine-rain-shine weather, a couple of chairs by the registration area were already wet.  But none of the people from Hizon’s bothered to remove them to keep from being further doused with rain.

They had a guest frame as well, but didn’t even bother to remove it from the plastic bubble wrap.  It was just lying on the gift table.  They didn’t have an easel either, and they didn’t even exert any sort of effort to mount it on anything.  I just placed it atop a chair, and I had to ask the Captain Waiter for the marker, too.

Hizon\'s Catering Set Up 01

About an hour after the supposed start of the ceremony, the waiters were already dressed in their uniforms.  They sat on one of the guest tables, and they were playing with the goblets and utensils.  Seeing this, I felt like a Mother who wanted to scold naughty schoolchildren for misbehaving, but I decided to let it go.  It wasn’t that big a deal anyway.  That is, until the guests started arriving.  Even when they could clearly see the people heading to the pavilion (and most were Principal Sponsors), they just continued to sit there, playing with the dang goblets and utensils, like they were oblivious to the entire event, which they’re supposed to be working for.  We told them politely that there were guests arriving, and they just looked at us.  So we had to request them explicitly (albeit politely) to move because the reception was starting in a few minutes.

Because our coordination was being done as a favor, we could also partake of the buffet like all the other guests.  And considering I was really hungry by dinner time, I still wasn’t very satisfied with the food.  I’ve attended other weddings with Hizon’s as the caterer, and the taste of their food doesn’t seem to be consistent for all their events.  There were some occasions where their food was delicious, but others (like this wedding) weren’t up to par.

Emcee| Friend

Right at the start of the reception, it was further justified – the emcee is actually CRITICAL and IMPORTANT in ensuring that your guests will enjoy and actually stay to finish the entire program.

While it will save us money to enlist friends to do the emcee-ing, it will not save us from the possible embarrassment of having a long-drawn-out and dull program.  It’s best to hire someone who is naturally witty, with a good sense of humor, and whose taste is similar to ours.

Trading back shoes.

After all was done and said, it doesn’t really matter what I thought about this couple, their wedding or the suppliers they chose.  The most important thing is this:  During their wedding, every time I happened to glance at them, they looked happy and satisfied.  And I’m sure this didn’t come simply from the fulfillment of their plans for their wedding day.  Instead, I’m pretty confident it came from the fact that they’re finally going to spend the rest of their lives together as man and wife.

Cheers to all the couples who have taken the plunge.


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