Chapter Twenty-Four: The Glass Garden

2 July 2008 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Adventures, Partners, Reception | 3 Comments
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[She Writes]

The Glass Garden| 257 Evangelista St. corner Pasco Ave., Barangay Santolan, Pasig City| 646.5323| http://www.theglassgarden.com.ph

The first few weeks I started our wedding planning, I was looking for venues near our area.  I came across The Glass Garden and became fascinated by it, but never got around to visiting the actual location.  I had gone to their website, which wasn’t completely finished at the time, and the photos didn’t seem impressive.

During the wedding expo, I encountered The Glass Garden again, and learned that the owner was a former school mate of mine!  I didn’t even recognize her, because she looked so grown up.  But she recognized me right away, and chatted me up.  I became even more intrigued, because I knew that she has impeccable taste.

I was finally able to go to the place when Manila Catering extended an invitation for food-tasting mid-June.  I brought two of my friends from work and we had no trouble locating the place though we weren’t familiar with the area.

Much like another well-known venue, The Glass Garden is situated in an urban area in which one would never have guessed that such a beautiful place existed in its midst.  On the (slightly narrow) road to the venue, we passed by lines of tricycles, trucks, and what looked like abandoned warehouses.

 

But once the gates to the Glass Garden opened, it was like entering a different dimension.

It was clean – almost distinguished  – which I think is precisely what they were going for, being an English-inspired venue.

Parking was ample, with a designated lot for each “Garden.”  I believe there’s even additional parking in a basement.

There are two garden venues – Diamond and Emerald – which didn’t have much difference in terms of size and design.

 

The food-tasting was being held at the Diamond Garden.  Entering the glass doors, we were greeted by a beautiful zen-like paradise with soothing water cascading down a large stone wall.

A bridge connects the “lobbies” of Diamond and Emerald.

When we stepped inside the Diamond Garden, my first thought was “The initial pictures I saw in the website did not do the place justice.”

It was spacious and airy, with just enough greenery to lend the feel of nature, but urbanized enough so that it remains very comfortable. (No need to fear insect bites or creepy crawlies!)

The colors of the walls were subtle enough to maintain an atmosphere of elegance, and blended well with the trees, plants and flowers.

Most noticeable and notable is the great intelligence and intuitiveness put into the design, with the guests’ utmost comfort in mind.

Everywhere is handicap-friendly, with floors that had rubberized matting.  The stairs’ steps were just sufficiently spaced (Yes, that I even noticed), and no area was left un-maximized.  At the corner of the Garden is the Suite, where the couple or the guests could choose to rest.

While it is a gem on its own, it still allows for creativity.  In a wedding, for instance, the couple can opt for a dramatic entrance from the Bridal Suite to the entryway, or directly from the Bridal Suite, or directly from the entry way.

It is beautiful as it is, but may still be dressed up with swags or more flowers, depending on the couple’s taste. 

There are also so many ways in which the caterer can set up their wares, because of the ample space of the Garden. 

I don’t have pictures, but I just have to say that even the bathrooms are beautiful – possibly better than some hotels’.  Inside (in the Ladies’ room at least), there was a slightly smaller version of the zen-like garden with the water cascading down a large stone wall.

We were also able to explore other areas of the venue – even as far as the offices.  Everything adhered to the English Garden theme.

RAVE:  Beautiful.  Clean.  Serene.  Comfortable.  Easy to find.

RANT: Not exactly located in the likes of Forbes Park.  Nevertheless, the place behind the heavy gates should more than make up for that.

REVIEW: If we didn’t already have a reception venue, The Glass Garden would definitely be on our shortlist.

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.

Chapter Four: The Click Factor

2 March 2008 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Partners, Photographer | 1 Comment
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[She Writes] 

I am a photofanatic.

In fact, as soon as we had settled the date, the very first Wedding Partner I booked was our photographer.  (That’s right – not even the Church nor the reception venue.) It’s not so much as vanity as it is to ensure that our once-in-a-lifetime (ideally) moment will be captured beautifully.

DINO LARA PHOTOGRAPHY| www.dinolaraphotography.com| www.dinolara.com| http://.dinolarablog.com

Rave: It was serendipitous when I came across his name while surfing a certain videographer’s website.  I clicked on his link, and I was hooked.  Even my fiance was inspired by his art.  Dino’s work speaks volumes about his talent and creativity.  His response to my email emanated with humility and sincerity.  Meeting him only served to add more substantial reasons why he is the photographer for us.  He showed me his albums, and took my compliments in stride, even pointing out how certain shots could have been done better.  While his style is photojournalistic (which is our personal preference), he also appreciated (and allowed me to appreciate) the (more traditional) styles adopted by other photographers.

Dino Lara

His albums are also highly personalized, which is a prime factor for us.  When I was telling him about our love story, he seemed genuinely interested and even advised us to start saving certain meaningful elements in a CD so he and his team could incorporate it into our album.  The people in his office are also very nice and accommodating.  And he has a Boston Terrier too! –> Okay, so this last statment is really not a basis for anything. But our beloved pet, Jack, happens to be a Boston Terrier, and I just felt this coincidence further confirmed that this partnership was truly meant to be.

Jack

Rant: Nothing. That’s why he will be celebrating with us on our special day.

Review: We can’t imagine anyone else capturing the good wishes and great moments in our wedding.

Fotogra (Mimi + Karl)| www.fotogra.ph| www.mimiandkarl.com

Rave: Dino Lara himself had nothing but praises for this duo.  Their style is photojournalistic, and their website is evidence of their love for travel and art.  They are creative and innovative, dynamic and young.  Their work alone can speak for these.  I never met them in person, communicating only with Mimi through email.  Online alone, one can already sense how nice and accommodating she is.

Rant: Nothing. We’re just hell bent on becoming Dino Lara alumni.

Review: For modern couples who want an innovative style of photojournalism.

Andy Samaniego| www.andysamaniego.com| http://andysamaniego.blogspot.com

Rave: He lives conveniently near our reception venue, so I decided to meet with him.  And I’m glad I did.  He takes beautiful photographs in a modern photojournalistic approach, and his albums are timeless and classic.  He is very accommodating and helpful – so helpful, in fact, that he even gave recommendations about the photographers in my shortlist.  He didn’t give me a sales pitch, offering only honesty and sincerity.  His passion for art and photography is crystal clear in his work.

Rant: Again, nothing. We just REALLY like Dino Lara.

Review: For couples who want a style that’s photojournalistic and timeless.

Metro Photo| www.mymetrophoto.com| http://mymetrophoto.blogspot.com

Rave: A gem I discovered through WeddingsAtWork, Metro Photo’s work precisely reflected their passion for the “unordinary.”  Oly Ruiz, their Chief Artist, responded swiftly and in detail.  He was also witty and funny, so I can just imagine how fun our wedding could be with them around.  Clearly, their service is also highly personalized and genuine.

Rant: What do you think?

Review: For young couples who want photos that are”unordinary” and photographers who can bring fun to your wedding.

Pat Dy| www.patdyphotography.com| http://blog.patdyphotography.com

Rave:  He is known in the industry, and it is no wonder why.

Rant: You know already.

Review: Pat Dy. How can you go wrong?

Eddie Boy Escudero| http://ebeseyes.multiply.com

Rave: Also known in the industry, his is a name I saw consistently in bridal magazines, capturing weddings of prominent couples in society.  When I communicated with him through email, he was oh-so-humble and accommodating.  He was quick to reply and sweet, saying he was crossing his fingers about our decision.

Rant: Nothing.

Review: No matter what angle, your wedding will be beautiful through Eddie Boy Escudero’s eyes.

Mango Red| www.mangored.com

Rave:  Innovative. High-Style.  Young.  Dynamic.  Passionate.  Creative.  Very Creative.

Rant: If you’re into “simple and minimalist,” try Mango Yellow or Apple Red.

Review: For adventurous couples who want an artistic and stylistic memento for their wedding.

Smart Shot Studio (Lito Genilo)| www.smartshotstudio.com

Rave: My brother’s wedding partner back in the day.  Established.  Strong foundation.  Award-winning.

Rant: Not our style.

Review: For couples who honor creative traditionalist photography.

Ariel Javelosa Photography| www.arieljavelosa.ph

Rave: Established.  Award-winning.

Rant: Not our style.

Review: For couples who want creative classic photos.

Almost all true photographers are naturally gifted and passionate about their art, the difference lying only on their style.  Choosing a photographer therefore, depends greatly on one’s taste.  But apart from your personal preference, an important determining consideration is the chemistry between you and the photographer.  When you meet with a prospective photographer, you’ll know if he or she’s the one for you.  You’ll feel it – the click factor.


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