for the w@w community: suppliers’ review

We owe w@w a lot. We would have been at a loss preparing for the wedding without an online community.Just to give you an idea of what our wedding was like: we had a white on white motif and aimed for a simple wedding. We only had 1 pair of principal sponsors, 3 pairs of bridesmaids and groomsmen, no ring bearer, no flower girls. Our bridesmaids and groomsmen doubled as secondary sponsors. At the ceremony, the aisle was decked out in white flowers, white tulle, and white aisle runner. At the reception, cocktails were served inside the coconut palace as soon as guests arrived. Dinner was by the poolside. Buffet setup on either side of the pool. Tables were decked out in white linen, silver flatware and a water goblets. Centrepieces were in white roses and green apples. We had Sonata strings belting out soft music. No programme – no bouquet/garter throwing, no games, no speeches, not even cake cutting (we had no wedding cake, but instead plenty of dessert choices).

Church:San Agustin Church. Recommended.
Contact Details: Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila; +63 2 527 40 52; Mon-Sat 8:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00.
Contact Persons: Fe/Belen
Costs: P20,000/hour including electricity costs. Additional P1,000 for use of the choir loft. Additional if
you want to take pictures in the ruins. And I think they raise their prices every year.
Tips: book at least 2 hours. Opening and closing of church doors will only be allowed if you book a minimum of 2 hours. If you have unusual requests, it pays to be persistent even if you’ve been turned down countless times.
Our Opinion: It is for a personal reason that we chose this church. We frequent Intramuros before and promised ourselves that one day, this is where we will get married. It is one of the most beautiful churches in Manila and highly in demand for weddings, hence, the very high fees. Such a pity that the front of the church doesn’t look properly maintained (antique look daw). But the interior will not disappoint. There is no air conditioning in this church and we were expecting to melt under the heat being that our wedding is right before holy week and starts at 3pm. But it was quite cool inside with all those electric fans. We still supplied abanicos (fans) to guests anyway and had a basket filled with crackers and mineral water just in case. Sound system is not good. It is sometimes quite hard to understand what is being said. Church staff are very patient and quite friendly. We never had any problems dealing with them, except that they keep turning down our requests on a few things we wanted. But persistence paid off in the end.

Reception Venue: Coconut Palace. Recommended.
Contact Details: Roxas Boulevard, Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, Manila; +63 2 8320223.
Contact Person: Mabel Ferrer; msmabel915@yahoo.com
Costs: P25,000 venue rental for 4 hours. P75/person in excess of 150. P3,000/excess hour. P7,500 electrical charges. P2,000 pool service. Various corkage fees.
Tips: don’t use the grassy area fronting the bay as it’s not well maintained and you’ll end up forking more money on extra lighting. Parking for 5 cars free inside the gates (plate numbers will have to be supplied). Your other guests have pay parking at the front. Limit guests to under 150 if there is a chance of rain. Only so much people can fit inside. The poolside is only great for evening receptions. Any earlier, it will be too hot. Make sure none of your decorations would topple over as the wind will knock them down.
Our opinion: There are plenty of venues sprouting up around Metro Manila these days that there are so many choices. We wanted an exclusive venue, I wouldn’t like running into another bride on my day nor competing for space with other guests in the lobby. Coconut palace fitted our bill as it is quite near Intramuros and parking is not going to be a problem for guests. Plus it wouldn’t hurt that there’s plenty of space for my number of guests. There is a receiving area, cocktails area inside the house, dinner was served at the poolside. And a spectacular view of the sunset. It was breezy that night and it didn’t felt that we were outside in the middle of summer in Manila. No swarms of mosquitoes like I feared. And Manila Bay was not smelly. Comfort room inside the house was clean. Didn’t get to see the loos outside. We supplied liquid hand soap, citronella candles, facial tissues and loo rolls (all unused items were returned to us). Communication with Ms Mabel was very straightforward, There aren’t really a lot of things you can’t do here. They were changing their fees in 2007 and we weren’t informed at all that we can pay in advance to be protected from the price increase. We paid in advance anyway after finding out from w@w, but they didn’t push through with their price increase in the end. Also, no a/c inside the house only electric fans (not sure if you pay extra to use a/c).

Ceremony invite, RSVP, lined envelopes: CraftMaster. Recommended.
Contact Details: 1339 F. Agoncillo Street, Malate, Manila; +63 (2) 5274195; craftmaster@i-manila.com.ph
Contact Person: Marie & Henry Tan
Tips: to keep costs down, settle for a design that they already have, choose classic designs and keep colours to a minimum.
Costs: P115/set debossed 8×6 main invite, lined envelope, RSVP card, all thermographed in black ink.
Our Opinion: After falling off my seat several times when I was still scouting for invitation suppliers, I chanced on this supplier who promptly replies to my emails and gave me a quote that wasn’t too far off from our budget. We had to hassle them when we were proofreading with our coordinator, as emails keep flying back and forth. And hassled them a bit more when Al was in Manila and we demanded that they deliver the invites on time even if typhoon Milenyo was wreaking it’s havoc in Manila. They did deliver, And the invites were just what we wanted. But (and a big one), it was only until all the invitations were all out that we(actually somebody else) noticed that the RSVP date says 31 February 2007. It was what we signed on the proofs and we, technically, can’t blame CraftMaster for this (we haven’t had the time to inform them about this). But still, it was a big blow to us because we spent a lot of time, along with our coordinator debating on the right wordings, only to have missed this.


Misalettes, Reception Invite, Church Rules, Menu, Slideshow. DIY. Not recommended if you’re cramming.
Tips: Delegate if you can. The misalettes are usually the last on every bride and groom’s list and was the source of much of our stress a week before the wedding. So it pays to start on this early. It’s not as easy as it looks. Also, there’s no point spending lots of time and money on these, as they will just get thrown away. People might notice that fancy tassle or expensive-looking cover, but it’s hardly worth keeping. We had printed out church rules and menus, but nobody seemed to have read them (either that or they just ignored them).
We kept the venue of the reception a secret until the day of the wedding to make sure guests would go to the ceremony. This didn’t really work as some relatives just had to make a call to the other relatives to know where to go.
We created the slideshow from windows movie maker and was a combination of pictures and movie snippets of our travels and adventures. Quite a lot of what we’ve shown are scenic as opposed to being portraits of us (which I thought can be boring). We’ve included a video of our skydiving as well, and got lots of questions about it. People were expecting a slideshow of us morphing into adults, but, who would love to watch that but us and our parents?

Personalised stamp, Wax Gun and sealing wax. Custom Wax n’ Seals and The Celtic Shop. Recommended.
Contact Details: http://www.customwaxnseals.com; http://www.thecelticshop.co.uk
Costs: vary. Check out the various designs on the website.
Our Opinion: Lots of designs to choose from and can do customised designs as well. Supplies good quality wax seals as well. But they’re not cheap. Shipping available outside of the UK I think. Hassle free transaction everytime we bought stuff from them.

Wedding Coordinator. Cristina Velasco of Weddings By Victoria. Recommended.
Contact Details: 78-B South Lawin Avenue, Philam Homes, Quezon City; weddingsbyvictoria@yahoo.com; +63 2 9251588; http://www.weddingsbyvictoria.com
Costs: not sure how much she charges for OTD or full coordination, it was P37,000 for shared coordination at that time. She has raised her prices now I think.
Our Opinion: You pay for experience and a proven track record when you get a wedding coordinator. You have to trust them enough as you will most likely channel funds through them and have them making decisions on your behalf. There are plenty of choices but only so few have been in the business for so long. We did not want any part-timers as we want the freedom to call them whatever time we like. We did not hire Cristina to be our best friend and we have been quite formal in our dealings with her at the start. It can be quite easy to warm up to her as she is very personable. She has a lot of contacts in the industry and that is where we think we get our money’s worth. She deals with all suppliers quite well even if we were not too happy with some of them. We let her be our mediator whenever we have problems, and we think the suppliers performed well because of her prodding. At the end of the day, she realised our dream wedding for us. We had to make a lot of adjustments along the way, and many bloopers behind the scenes, but we had a successful wedding and remained stress free the moment I stepped on the aisle.
She would make decisions on our behalf, sometimes without informing us. But this I realised has to be done at times to not further stress the couple. I don’t know how many coordinators were at the wedding, as I only saw 3 of them. Cristina dropped by the hotel suite during the preparations. Nobody was there all the time. I was made aware of this beforehand, but I realised, it should be a must that there is a coordinator with you (and the groom) to take over stuff that needs to be done like making sure all suppliers have had their lunch and nobody will be hassling you to order extra meals, making sure that we are still on time, and communicating with the other coordinators other things that crop up like a participant sending in their regrets. Also, I was only made aware of the timetable on the day itself. Emceeing was done by Cristina as well (we have no program, she announced our arrival and introduced parents and sponsors and directs people to watch our slideshow and on site video).


Photo. Lito Sy. Recommended.
Contact Details: 12 B Century Plaza Building, Perea Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City; litosy@mac.com; http://www.litosy.com
Costs: P135,000 now for a photo and video package. Plus additional charges depending on the album you want
Our Opinion: We believe he is the best in the industry. He’s got an eye for good shots and is a real professional photographer as compared to plenty of hobbyists with no real skills out there. He went the extra mile for us, and we are very grateful. He is very discreet during the mass, careful not to distract the priest and respects the solemnity of the occassion. Very professional with other suppliers as well. The photographer and videographers must have a good working relationship else they might end up in fistfights. He will direct you on your poses but can be quite demanding. At times, I thought he was shouting at me, but realised he was shouting at his staff pala. Still made us do a lot of posed shots. None were cheesy, but there were still a few times I’ve totally ignored him when he asked us to do some poses. His second photographer was not very good though. And we didn’t get all the photos we have asked for. We sent in a list before the wedding, I couldn’t find any pictures of the buffet setup. We have not seen the album yet.


Video. Imacron. Recommended.
Contact Details: IMACRON Media Center Bldg., 115 Kamuning Road, Quezon City; +63 2 9200575; imacron_inc@yahoo.com; http://www.imacron.com
Contact Person: Beth Dapiton
Costs: P15,000 (1-cam), P24,000 (2-cam), P33,000 (3-cam), P12,000 (on site editing), P20,000-P30,000 (MTV style edit), P30,000-P40,000 (documentary style edit), P70,000-P110,000 (director’s collection with Dominic Velasco), P14,000-P70,000 (AVPs)
Our Opinion: Their on site video had been the highlight of the reception and to think that this was a last-minute upgrade. Everybody only seem to remember the food and the video. Very professional crew, very patient even when we were already tired of all the poses. We didn’t hear any complain even if they seem like they were playing second fiddle to Lito Sy, just quietly remaining in the background until it’s their turn. And I don’t think all of them got to eat lunch. But nobody approached me to complain or ask for a reimbursement of their meals. The videos turned out very professionally done. All dealings with them prior to the wedding were a breeze. Picking up the DVDs and mini DVs, we had to come back several times because the mini DVs weren’t copied yet or they forgot that there were more mini DVs than previously thought, which was a bit inconvenient.

Caterer. Via Mare: Recommended.
Contact Details: 7503 Bagtican Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City; +63 2 8908090; http://www.viamare.com.ph
Costs: Wedding packages costs from P132,000 to P176,000 for 100 persons. Personalised menu available.
Tips: don’t bother emailing them, they rarely respond. Phone calls don’t seem to work either as only a few persons are worth talking to and they are hardly in the office. Get your coordinator to communicate on your behalf and to make sure to speak to the right people.
Our Opinion: Food was our top priority as a wedding’s success in the Philippines relies on how good the food is. Considering that there is only a limited number of caterers we can hire for the Coconut Palace, we decided to go with the best available, never mind the cost. Truth is, you can get a lot more for your money going with other caterers, but we don’t want to risk it. Via Mare Catering is well-regarded and I haven’t heard a single bad comment about them. Consistency of service is very important. At the wedding, food was good and there were a lot of servings. But we did pay for more people than those who came. The waiters were very attentive (but were not wearing the attire we’ve chosen during the food tasting). We opted for a personalised menu because we think the packages don’t have enough choices. Appetizers were served in trays passed around by the waiters during cocktail hour. We provided the drinks and estimates were given by Via Mare staff (we ran out of juice as we didn’t follow the estimates to the letter and had a lot of softdrinks left over). Having a cocktail hour is a must when you have a time to kill in between the ceremony and reception. I was told guests were already hungry at the time and the nibbles passed around were very much appreciated. Asking families for comments after the wedding, they don’t remember much but the food. We had a food tasting before the event and this proved indispensable. You should know first hand that all your choices work well together. You can choose table settings and suggest on adjusting the taste. Personally, we think the food was good, but not mind blowing. It is what you could get in good restaurants, but the taste is not at all unique. Food setup – everything was ok except for the coffee and tea table that was almost hidden (but I think the guests were directed to it), and that there was only one puto bumbong and bibingka stall – which isn’t really a fault in itself, but made some of the guests at the other side of the pool think that they don’t have access to it.


Florist for Bridal/Entourage Bouquet and Boutonnieres. April & Karen Yu. Recommended.
Contact Details: 25 Cu-Unijieng St, Sinag Talaga Subd, BF Pque; +63 2 8073468; aprilkarenyu@gmail.com http://community.webshots.com/album/457108950CZnVYS http://community.webshots.com/album/522885077pyyGQJ
Costs: varies greatly depending on flowers you want.
Our Opinion: Most of our communication is done via email. Payments coursed thru our coordinator. First met them when the flowers were delivered. The bridal bouquet of cymbidium orchids was gorgeous, almost doesn’t look real. The other bouquets made of white roses seemed almost papery – not dewy fresh, like it was dried. I commented on this on delivery and was told it was quite hard to get white roses and have them delivered in their top form, which is most probably true. But they looked great in pictures anyway.


Florist/Event Stylist. Tropical Blooms. Not Recommended.
Contact Details: http://www.tropicalblooms.net
Costs: will vary greatly depending on your choice of flowers and styling needs
Contact Person: Angel
Our Opinion: We have had problems dealing with them at the start. Most of our communications have been coursed through our coordinator. On the day, they actually delivered to most of our expectations. But we believe this is only because our coordinator was constantly at their back. We still think their price was high. But truth is, we haven’t found any cheaper option who offers consistent service. We were supposed to have a mock-up of the wedding bouquet at one point, but he failed to deliver without even informing us that he won’t come. We were told later on that they had trouble finding calla lilies on that day. This was highly unprofessional in our books and worried us that maybe on our wedding they would have trouble finding the flowers we wanted, hence, we decided to switch to another supplier. I don’t think any couple deserves the extra stress so close to the day. He always insists on what he thinks is best and dismisses our ideas when we got to talk to him. And it always seems he always goes for the more expensive ideas. We haven’t established a rapport with him I guess and this affected our trust that he will actually deliver on the day. We also specifically asked for white parasols, we were given green ones because they had problems finding white ones. It didn’t affect the look of the reception that much, but it could have looked nicer.


Hair and Makeup. Madge Lejano’s second team – Jessy and Steve. Recommended (but a bit on the fence here
Contact Details: http://www.makeupbymadge.com; +63 917 8949480
Costs: Madge P20,000/2nd team P12,500
Tips: have a trial makeup so you can communicate what you wanted done and that they will come prepared. Never assume anything, always speak to the actual person doing your makeup to confirm requests. Our Opinion: They came in a bit late, probably had trouble finding where G hotel is. And they work a bit slow which made us panic when we realised it was quite near the time and there’s still plenty to do. We asked the other staff when we booked them (Feb bridal fair) if they can trim the groom’s hair, and was told they could. On the day, Steve says he didn’t come with the tools and that he should have been informed beforehand. We didn’t know. And Al wasn’t happy with his hair as it was too long(he was told to get a haircut 3 weeks before the event and it grew out). They use quality makeup. My mom was quite happy with how she looked. I always had problems with makeup. I am not used to wearing them and my face always changes with it on. I should have had a trial makeup to experiment with what works. So in the end, I wasn’t happy with how I looked. I think my eyebrows were too high up and I looked mataray (I had my brows threaded beforehand and Jessy told me I should have left them up to her and she shaped them some more). The foundation sometimes cakes around my mouth and gave me frown lines, but weren’t visible in the pictures. The makeup registers well on camera. With the correct lighting, it can look natural. So yes, Al and I weren’t totally happy with our look, yet we still recommend them. It’s because we still think they know what they’re doing. They just weren’t prepared because we haven’t taken the time to actually bother talking to them beforehand as makeup is the least of our worries. But I think they should also have taken the time out to ring the client as well to make sure they will come prepared.


Bridal Car. Adeb. Recommended.
Contact Details: http://www.adebcars.com; adeb_limo@yahoo.com; +63 917 8976797
Costs: from P3,800 to P11,800 for 3 hours depending on car you hire
Tips: Choose a nice looking car if you want to be photographed next to it. We scrimped on our choice of car and hated the pictures with it.
Our Opinion: Arrived on time, courteous driver, clean car. That was all we needed.


Other Vehicle Rentals. From Buy & Sell. Not Recommended.
Our Opinion: Only get first hand recommendations from people you know. Don’t just hire people you’ve never met. The people we got were extremely unprofessional and were the source of most of our stress on the day. Some showed up late and some did not show up at all making up all sorts of excuses. You don’t need this sort of problem on the day. I wish I had the names of these people, but we had asked a relative to book them for us and they don’t have the contact details anymore.


Bible. The Bride’s Bible, NCV version from Back to the Bible Bookstore. Recommended.
Contact Details: 135 West Ave. Quezon City; +63 2 3721772
Costs: more than P1,200
Our opinion: quite expensive for a bible. But unique and worth photographing with its white faux leather and stitched design cover.


Wedding Rings. Hallmark. Not recommended. Contact Details: The Centre, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK; +44 1908 392445
Costs: varies greatly depending on style, weight, thickness.
Tips: you can spend as little or as much as you want on wedding rings but make sure that you have a design you will be happy with for the rest of your lives. I don’t see the point of scrimping on rings now only to buy another one later.
Our opinion: We wanted platinum rings we can personalise. They were the only ones who can execute our designs which we never realised was complicated to do. We got the rings we wanted but it did come at a cost. But this store was a pain to deal with making me worry that we’ll not get our rings on time before we leave for Manila. Their staff are not well trained, relying heavily on the owner for much of the information. It is quite a rare occasion to find a store in the UK with no real sense of customer service.


Arrhae. Coins collected from various countries we’ve been to together.
Our opinion: we’d rather choose the coins that meant something to us rather than buying ones that would just gather dust later on.


Veil and Cord. included in the veluz bridal package.
Our opinion: I intended to just borrow these until I realised it’s already included. Don’t really care much for spending extra on these.


Sounds and Lighting. Sound Syndrome. Recommended.
Contact details: don’t have this information.
Costs: P13,000
Our opinion: truth is we hardly noticed the lighting. But the sounds were crystal clear at the reception and the ambiance at dinner was great. I never got to talk to them as I coursed all communications through our coordinator.


Harpist. Holly Paraiso. Recommended.
Contact details: 33 Mt. Caraballo Street, Fairmount Hills, Antipolo City; holly.paraiso@gmail.com; http://www.hollyparaiso.net; +63 (918) 2612709
Costs: P9,000 for ceremony; P14,000 for ceremony and reception
Our Opinion: If you’re dead set for a harpist, there’s only a few choices and most of the others are hard to get hold of. Compared to another harpist who’s got a recording contract, Holly is far better. Wasn’t too impressed when we met up with her on the February bridal fair, but she executed the songs we wanted impeccably at the wedding. She had to learn a number of songs for us as we insisted on classical pieces which there aren’t a lot of in her repertoire. Our only regret is that our videos did not have a live recording of all music played. She replies promptly to emails and there were no hassles at all in booking her.


Quartet. Sonata Strings. Recommended.
Contact Details: +63 919 4031957; o_d_j_i_e@yahoo.com
Contact Person: Odjie Bautista
Our Opinion: All members of the Philippine Philharmonic orchestra. They perform regularly at the Manila Peninsula if you want to hear them first. Played beautifully at the wedding and stuck to our preferred genre of songs. Quite hard to get hold of as we’re limited to calling her mobile phone. And you have to text her when you send an email as they don’t regularly check it


Hotel for Preparations. G Hotel. Rooms recommended but crappy service not recommended
Contact Details: 2090 Roxas Boulevard, Malate, Manila; +63 2 525 0888; http://www.g-hotel.com.ph (they don’t havepictures of this particular hotel last time i checked)
Costs: published rates of P8,000 suite, P6,000 standard room
Tips: ask for a discount when you call to book, especially if it’s not peak season. And check your bills before you sign them, getting your money back is not easy.
Our Opinion: We weren’t happy to shell out a lot of money for a hotel suite. You can get a suite here for the same price as a standard room in the best hotels. The hotel is new so still looks immaculate. Ask for a room with a view of the Manila Bay, the view is wonderful. Lobby is not spectacular, but there are a few photo-worthy places. Decked out in black and white and mirrored walls – great for a black and white motif (a friend of mine commented it looks like a very posh salon). Rooms are spacious and broadband is available. We wanted a non-smoking room, but was not asked when we booked. I constantly had to send someone up to spray the room to hide the smell. Staff are pleasant and courteous but not well trained. When you’re told on the phone that they will get back to you on a query, they don’t. Check your bills before you sign them, we were billed P500 more and only raised this after the wedding. Their staff (including the hotel manager) gave us the runaround on the phone and it took us a while before we got our money back.


Fans. From Divisoria. Recommended.
Costs: roughly P5 per medium-sized fan.
Tips: know how to bargain.
Our Opinion: The fans were to make sure our guests are comfortable at the church and weren’t meant to be souvenirs. They were given out as is, but some guests left them at the church because they thought they weren’t meant to be taken home.


Bridal Gown. Veluz. Recommended.
Contact Details: 1311 Pres. Quirino Ave, Malate, Manila; +63 (2) 5638692; veluzreyes@gmail.com; http://www.veluz.biz
Costs: varies greatly depending on material used and design;
Tips: meet her in person when she does the design and measurements
Our Opinion: I contacted her via email and sent my photos and measurements (which I did myself). I was in Manila a month and a half before the wedding. The first fitting was very loose because she followed my (off) measurements. The second fitting, the lining fitted me perfectly when I can’t remember her taking measurements. Veluz has a talent for designing a gown that will suit your personality. The materials she was to use were what I really wanted (chiffon and lace) even though I haven’t told her beforehand. I like the simplicity of my gown, even though I wasn’t really gushing over it. I felt that I looked a bit macho, with my shoulders a bit wider than my hips and the gown showed that. Also, the design had been very typical of other gowns Veluz has already created – spaghetti-strapped number with a bolero, it just lacked uniqueness. Veluz added a number of other details to the gown including, if I had so wished, a change of material used in the bolero (which was exquisite with silver threading but I decided against because it wasn’t me), without adding to the price. Niko and another staff were at the hotel to prepare the gown for photos and to dress me up. I owe a lot to Niko for trying to cheer me up when the tension was beginning to show. He will coach you how to walk and sit and stand in your gown. And will hold your hand until it’s time to do your walk. There’s a lot of sincerity in him that tells you he loves what he’s doing and you’re not just another client. I just wish I didn’t let him down too much when I still walked quite fast after him telling me countless times to walk slowly. Looking again at my gown as it came back from the dry cleaners, the hems weren’t properly done – running stitches that looked temporary (this was inside the gown), some stitches at the sides that either weren’t there or came off at the cleaners. I wasn’t as in love with my gown as her other brides, but in the end, I got a quality gown and a quality service, probably worth a bit more than the price I paid for it.


Gowns for Entourage. Veluz. Recommended.
Costs: Roughly P10,000/gown
Our Opinion: Whilst I was relying on Veluz to do what she thinks is best on my gown, I had specific things in mind with my entourage’s gown. I wanted tea-length dresses. She kept on insisting on full length ones. In the end, she won. And the gowns do look beautiful even though they were very simple. I wanted one shade of white for entourage and moms, she insisted on different shades. I don’t know who won here, but they looked the same to me because the original material for the moms were changed due to lack of supply. Veluz has her vision set on each gown she creates and doesn’t seem to like deviating from it. I had 2 pre-teens and 1 adult bridesmaid and they looked great in their gowns.


Groom’s Suit. Veluz. Not Recommended.
Our Opinion: Veluz designs gowns, not so much on suits. I guess, Al was a first for her – he wants a new design for a white suit. Truth is, the finished suit does come close to what Al wanted, but (1) the lapel was supposed to be able to fold back, can’t do this as the automatic buttons would show (2) the lapel doesn’t remain flat and shows in some of the pictures (3) trousers don’t have lining (which I thought should be standard for white trousers) (4) I think, the cutter employed by Veluz only knows how to make standard suits and barongs. Any new designs they will struggle making it. Quality of the finished suit is not as good as we expected.


Suit for Entourage. Edwin Valerio. Recommended.
Contact Details: 221 – D Katipunan Avenue, Blue Ridge, QC; +63 (2) 4212477; kdvalerio@netscape.net (not sure if they reply)
Costs: P10,000/suit + shirt but price may vary depending on material, material comes with the price
Our Opinion: Good tailors. The cutter at this branch used to do suits for former President Marcos. He was able to suggest on designs as well. You can fit various designs to see what suits you. Quality suits but quite pricey. Delivers on time but make sure you get your entourage to do the fittings on time as well. Only issue we had with them was right before the suits went into production, we heard that the company has a case with DOLE over a dispute with it’s staff. There was a chance that the staff would go into strike at some point. We got worried, but didn’t bother finding another supplier as we were running out of time, we just asked our coordinator to keep a close eye on them and have a backup. We didn’t find out what happened with their case in DOLE.


Bridal Shoes, bag and Hair Accessory. Niko (of Veluz). Recommended.
Our Opinion: they came with the package and I wasn’t at all fussy with these details so I let them do what they do best. You get to choose the height, style and design of the shoes and bag and have a few styles to choose from. Shoes were comfortable, my feet did not hurt at all. Design was ok. White fabric shoes will get dirty, mine turned a shade of gray and the dry cleaners wouldn’t take them in for cleaning. I love my bag. It was pretty enough for pictures that I don’t have to keep putting them down when photos are taken. Hair accessory was ok and worked well with the gown.


Groom’s Shoes. Mark R Shoes. Recommended.
Contact Details: Marikina Shoe Expo, Cubao.
Cost: P3,000+
Our Opinion: Getting white shoes for men that aren’t nurses’ shoes is a tough job. This is the only place that we found with stylish designs (squarish design at the toes, flatter top). Delivered on time (10 working days). Only problem we had with them was that we were charged a higher price on pick up, saying that the price quoted to us when we made the deal was a mistake – could be true, we gave in anyway because we still think the price are quite fair.


Shoes and bags for moms. Abbilyn. Recommended.
Contact Details: Marikina shoe Expo, Cubao.
Cost: P1,500 for both shoes and bag, cheaper if you choose from their ready-made shoes
Our Opinion: you can mix and match available designs. It’s best that you come with the cloth you want to use for an exact match. Chiffon (or cloth that needs lining) are more costly. Choose the cloth well (1 yard to fit shoes and bag), we didn’t and ended up with a fabric that gets dirty easily. Delivered on time (around 10 working days).


Shoes and accessories for bridesmaids. SM. Recommended.
Our Opinion: it’s cheap and there are a lot of choices.


Wedding Insurance. Wedding Plan. Recommended.
Contact details: http://www.weddingplaninsurance.com
Cost: £54
Our Opinion: If you can get one, please do. Nothing beats peace of mind. The insurance would cover our costs if some tragedy occurs on the wedding day or got cancelled because of a tragedy (not including bride or groom walking out). I know we all hope and pray nothing bad would happen, but if they do, the financial implications should be the least of my worry.


Projectors, screen and scaffolding. Brain. Recommended.
Contact Details: they have a showroom at Megamall; http://www.brain.com.ph
Cost: 3500 lumens P10,000
Our Opinion: We coursed all communications through our coordinator. The projector was working and was clear enough for an evening outdoor reception. But their head office quoted us a different price than their branch in Megamall. The cheaper price was matched.


Wedding Guestbook. Weddings By Victoria. Recommended if you want to get one.
Cost: P375
Our Opinion: It was a white cloth covered guestbook with rope design. quite pretty. Inside were 2 columns for the name and address. Was dilly-dallying on getting one until we were convinced by the fact that we wanted to know who came. Not everyone would sign the guestbook anyway even if everybody was asked to. We only had 3 pages of it used. And I think, now, it was a waste of money.


Priest. A very good friend of ours from high school.
Our Opinion: He forgot my name during the sermon because of nerves, even though we’ve known each other for more than 20 years. Skipped our personal vows (we didn’t get to say any wedding vows at all), and a few other sections of the mass because we started a bit late and he really had to finish on time as he had to travel to his other appointments. But we wouldn’t have wanted anybody else to marry us. It had made the ceremony a lot more intimate and personal to us, and we wouldn’t have traded that for anything else. (but yes, I will forever remind him of the time he forgot my name).


Pre-wedding grooming needs.
Our Opinion: For massages, facials and scrubs – go to The Spa at Podium. We’ve checked out quite a few spas around Ortigas and we think this is the only place worth spending your money on. Might need to book though especially if you’re coming in after office hours. For waxing needs – Flawless at the SM Megamall is ok. Do not go to Let’s Face It – their beds are covered in hair, and towels that should only be used as rags. For threading – go to Piandre salon at Greenbelt 1.


Honeymoon. Around the Philippines in 2 months. Recommended.
Tips: pack light – meaning only take a backpack each. And make sure your immunisations are up to date. Our opinion: We love to travel. And we always thought it is such a shame that we never have really been to anywhere outside Luzon when we were here. When we get asked what places there are to see in the Philippines, we can only tell them so much, because we’ve never been to the places we tell them. And so we embarked on a trip with only a one-way ticket out to Busuanga, no itinerary, and no set time when to come back. I sometimes wake up in the morning and had to think hard to remember where we are. We don’t always stay in resorts or fancy hotels as we were more interested in seeing the way of life in the provinces and our resources aren’t unlimited. And we travelled by the cheapest means possible – airplanes, habal-habals(motorcycles), tricycles, multicabs, buses, big cruise ships to lantsas(small covered boats) . We did everything from hiking to kayaking to learning how to scuba dive. The places that stands out are the Bacuit Archipelago in El Nido, where we stayed at Lagen Island Resort; Camiguin island; Bohol; and Sarangani Province. Every day has been an adventure. The Philippines is a beautiful country, but I don’t recommend island hopping for that length of time as some places begin to lose their appeal. Islands will start to look the same almost anywhere you go, no matter how beautiful. I was so sick of the sea at some point. I recommend varying where you go so you don’t get a beach overdose. After 2 months of honeymoon, we have been to a total of 16 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao. We’ve postponed our Luzon tour as it might get tricky travelling during the rainy season. Please visit our blog, we will endeavour to finish adding text to each province we’ve been to at some point, but there are pictures there.

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