Chapter Seventeen: Celebrations!

21 May 2008 at 10:18 pm | Posted in Adventures | Leave a comment
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[She Writes]

First, two things:

1. I know, I know.  I haven’t been as active in blogging as I should be.  This is probably because of the second thing.

2. Yes, yes.  I seem to have lost my mojo in wedding planning.  Oh, it’s still in my mind all the time. But that’s where it ends – my mind.  Oh, well. I’ll get the excitement back somehow, I’m sure.  I just don’t know when.

Having prefaced this entry, let me tell you about the Celebrations! Bridal and Events Expo held last Saturday at the big-ass SMX Convention Center beside the equally big-ass SM Mall of Asia.

I attended the event with Jona who I met through a lovely online community of engaged couples.  We came as strangers (technically) to the Expo, but left as very good friends.

We got to the SMX Convention Center around 11 a.m. and found a horrifyingly long line to the parking lot, so we decided to avail of the valet service.  We were surprised at the thought that there were so many people who decided to come to the bridal expo as early as we did – until we found out that there were simultaneous events such as the Food Expo and another where grown men were walking around in regal-looking suits with navy blue sashes over their fronts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stepped onto the yellow-balloon-framed escalator and trooped to the second floor where the bridal expo was.

The lobby of the second floor held a breathtaking setup by Gardens by Pido.  After getting our name tags from the registration area, we met a nice lady, who we presumed worked for Pido, and Pido himself who didn’t seem to know the meaning of human interaction and kept absentmindedly staring into space as if looking for someone worthy of his saliva.  Nonetheless, the photos of his setups were as magnificent as he was antisocial.

The prices of guest table centerpieces range from Php500 to Php3,000, depending on the complexity of the design.  The setup for a VIP table starts at Php20,000, and the bridal stage is another Php20,000.

I suppose it’s worth it for the beauty of the setup.  But I also value the relationship that a vendor tries to develop with a client.

It is no wonder then that Balay Kandila is such a popular choice, not only among engaged couples, but even among fellow suppliers in the industry.  Balay Kandila, which is re-branding itself as 4th Wall (probably because it has been offering so much more than just kandila for a while now), has such BFF-worthy owners.  We met one of them – Ronald – when we finally went inside the cavernous halls.  It was a happy shock to learn that they had a booth in this particular expo, since I’ve never seen them as an exhibitor in any of the other fairs I attended.

Ronald is expectedly witty and surprisingly down to earth.  He was very warm and sincere, and didn’t seem to realize that Balay Kandila (now 4th Wall, I suppose) is quite well-known even beyond the wedding world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt good – no, great – vibes from him, and was excited to explore the possibility of getting their services.

W@W was sharing a booth with them, so we got a few w@wie paraphernalia like bookmarks and flyers.  We weren’t able to catch Ms. Benz, but we met a fellow w@wie couple when we passed by the booth again on our way out.

We were able to roam the exhibit in less than two hours, stopping only from time to time to taste a cake or two.  After, we headed to the end of the hall where VS&F was.  Jona had planned on making her downpayment that day, so she was kind enough to take me with her for a food-tasting session (i.e. free lunch!).

I enjoyed the food, especially the lengua, which Jona aptly described “melts in your mouth.”  She had done her research so she knew which food choices were delicious.  I also liked their squash soup (but I may biased because I like any and all squash soups) and the fish with lemon butter sauce.

Their setup reminded me of Marikina with the greens and pinks.  I wasn’t too fond of the combination, but I thought their ceiling treatment was pretty nice.  I also liked a few of their other design elements, which might go well with a nature- or beach-themed wedding.

Jona’s contact person, Val, was very accommodating – BFF-material as well.  He provided honest input about the food, and was very patient while she made her decision.  He was also already a manager in VS&F so he had the authority to include more in the packages, which he did for Jona.

The downpayment Jona made earned her a lot of entries to the bridal expo raffle.  No, wait.  I meant, A LOT of entries.  I helped her fill out the tickets, and boy, were our arms sore by the time we were done.  We spent a good half hour just writing her name, address, phone number, and email address on each entry.  I could probably dial her number from memory by now.  She promised to treat me to the next expo if she won.

As we were about to leave, our eyes caught the stall of Carmen Lorenzo, where wafer-thin models were handing out brochures.  The gowns were beautiful, and they became even prettier when we were told the prices.  Jona and I expected a higher amount, but they turned out to be quite reasonable, definitely more affordable than most.

We met Carmen Lorenzo herself.  Her fine taste is evident in her own persona, and she’s quite charming.  She’s definitely not BFF-material, not because she’s not easy to get along with, but because she is more a Tita-How-Are-You-Beso-Beso-material than anything else.  Their store is located in Glorietta, so it’s accessible to most.

It might be because I’ve already been to a number of bridal fairs, but I suppose Celebrations! didn’t really meet my expectations.  Maybe I was expecting too much – a grander setup, more exhibitors, and lots of new suppliers.  But all things considered, it was definitely worth the trip to Pasay.

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.


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