Looking back at the old posts that we did for this blog which contained all of our various wedding supplier researches, I felt the need to review again the preparations that we have done so far. Although we already have a list to summarize all that we have booked, it’s still interesting to look back at how much we’ve accomplished. Thank you Lord!
Overall, it’s a 1 year and 4 months wedding preparation. 😊
(16 months before the BIG day)
After getting engaged and the Pamamanhikan done, the first thing we did was to finalize our wedding date, time and location. It actually took us a couple of changes because we had a lot of things to consider. Getting married in our home country, the Philippines is a non-negotiable factor for us even though we are both based abroad. Add the fact that majority of our relatives and friends still live in the Philippines.
For our wedding date, we initially considered our bf/gf anniversary to make things easy but then we also considered the month since not everyone would be able to go on vacation during October. And since both of us also wanted to get married on DECEMBER because of the month’s festive, vibrant feel..we came to a final decision to have our wedding on December with the date that we both agreed as well.
** Tip! ** Don’t start booking suppliers if you do not have any final date and time in mind. Rebooking will cost you to lose down payments that are not refundable. Doing this will definitely save you less stress in the process of wedding preps later on.
(15 months before the BIG day)
Then the struggle of finding the perfect Church for our Catholic ceremony started. As per Filipino tradition, the wedding location should always be from where the bride comes from. But then again, practicality wise, choosing the best location needed compromise since we are from two different cities. I’m from the North and he’s from the South. To make things work, we both decided to have it in Manila so it will accessible for both sides and would still adhere to old traditions. Both sides happy. From there, we trimmed down our list to 3 Catholic Churches in Manila. Without a heartbeat, we chose SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH inside the historic walled city of Intramuros! Aside from being one of the oldest and most famous church in the country, a UNESCO World Heritage Church for that matter, it just gave us that this is it feeling when we first saw its pics online. We just knew we wanted to be married there!
Next on the list that we considered to book early was the venue and caterer. Tips from former brides who are friends and relatives as well as wedding forums and magazines highly suggest booking these top 3 major suppliers. After reading countless reviews, checking out venue and caterer profiles and recommendations from both former couples and professional wedding coordinators, we have selected a new events place inside Intramuros which embodies an old Spanish-inspired casa called LA CASTELLANA which is situated a block away from our church and then JOSIAH’S CATERING for our catering service. (**As of this writing, we are currently keeping tabs on Josiah’s performance since there were 2 wedding events that received negative feedbacks online from couples. After talking to our coordinator, she assured us that if we can’t let go with the deposit, we’ll just have to be more keen and OC in dealing with them to ensure high quality service. Just like what Ayie said, there’s no perfect supplier. All caterers have their own horror stories. **)
Thankfully, our chosen caterer had a Food Tasting event on the day when we wanted to book our reservation for the venue, since pencil-booking is usually allowed for a minimum of 3 days. We did a 2-in-1 booking, including the benefit of acquiring awesome discounts and freebies because of the event. God really works miracles!
**Tip!** When booking the church, it is advisable to go personally to ask for the availability of your desired wedding date. We paid our down payments personally (through a relative actually who became my point of person since we are overseas) in CASH because most churches, venues, and caterers prefer it that way in order to sign a hard copy of the Event Order Contract Form. For any kind of booking with a supplier, ALWAYS ASK FOR A WRITTEN AND SIGNED EVENT ORDER CONTRACT. **
(14 months before the BIG day)
Only a few weeks after our engagement, we already booked 3 major suppliers which already gave us a clear idea towards what we need to do next. After reading countless practical wedding tips from GT forum and W@W, we started searching for our Coordinator, Photography and Videography team. Since we have been separately following certain wedding suppliers when we started talking about marriage plans even before we got engaged, we divided the task of choosing our P/V teams since I have a certain style that I like when it comes to Photography (since I’m a hobbyist myself) and my fiancé is an enthusiast video editor. After months of research, endless late-night talks comparing the pros and cons, profile stalking, budget calculations and debate, we finally booked VIDLENS PRODUCTIONS!
We were actually stuck with our Top 3 choices for each category – photo and video teams separately, but unfortunately, its either a) they’re not available on our wedding day (imagine their demand since we tried to book them more than a year before our wedding!), b) we didn’t clicked during the online skype meeting, c) they have increased their rates with possible OOT fees if we’d do our prenup esesh outside Manila or d) they just couldn’t customize their package to fit our budget. As much as we wanted to splurge all the way for these two very, very, very important wedding suppliers, we still tried to calm ourselves down and see our reality — that we are stuck with a budget that we just can’t disregard. Thankfully though among those top 3’s that we have, we were able to have a match to our liking and of course our budget, and voila we finally have our P/V teams!
**Tip!** I know it’s very difficult to just disregard your budget when it comes to these two major suppliers since their work would definitely last a lifetime of memories, but still they’re not the only suppliers that you need. Their price rates usually soared high because of reputation and their style of work, but then again you can still try to ask them if they can work with your budget. If not, don’t be really disappointed (It’s sad at first, we know that) because somewhere out there you guys will find upcoming talents or under rated talents that are at par with those big names! Yes, they are out there, they just needed to be discovered. And guess what — that’s what we did! 🙂
During these times, we were also able to book our wedding coordinator IMBITADO EVENTS and emcee/host AYIE CONTRERAS-TUATES, after a long series of email exchanges and interviews from different suppliers. A W@W Top Supplier nominee for 5 years, Imbitado Events is one of the most sought-after Wedding Coordinators in the country. Interestingly, they have also been highly recommended by my 2 friends who were former #Imbitadocouple that were also based here in Kuwait. We decided to book OTD services since we both decided to be hands on with the wedding preps and thankfully even though we are both based overseas, we have ample time to do wedding supplier transactions through online portals like FB, emails, skype and IG. Moreover, we also decided to have Ayie as our host since our first choice, was already booked on our date. Imagine, it’s still more than half a year before our wedding but major suppliers are already being booked! We actually also considered to have a male host instead, but the other option that we want is too expensive for our budget.
**Tip!** Always include booking a reputable coordinator and host for your wedding as major priorities because they can actually make or break your wedding!
I, personally have been checking out known makeup artists on IG and have followed quite a few. Since the bride (ahem) usually has the say to the HMUA for the wedding, I inquired with a few and booked our Hair & Makeup team, TONI AVILES. Surprisingly, I just found out that a former college classmate also got our HMUA team for her own wedding and the review was great, so that gave us another – Whew, Thank God moment!
**Tip!** If you plan to have a prenup/engagement shoot, be sure to book this service together with your chosen wedding HMUA because this can be a good trial to know your rapport and to check whatever adjustments he/she can do for you on your wedding day. Prenup shoot looks can be a great chance in order for the HMUA to know the type of your skin, acidity level and the style of hair and makeup that will better suit you in you and your fiance on your wedding day. Also at this time, it is also advisable to know whether airbrush is really that good as compared to traditional HD makeup.
(13 months before the BIG day)
Breath of fresh air. We just felt we needed this. 🙂
(12 months before the BIG day)
During this month we made sure that our wedding date is really final to avoid any further issues with the reserved dates of the suppliers that we have contacted. So it’s really final.. December 23, 2016 it is!
I, with some friends and relatives, were also able to check suppliers for Groom’s attire, Entourage attire, Wedding Invitations, Souvenirs, Florists, Mobile Bar, Band/Strings, Photobooth, Cake and Hotel preps. Of course, doing an ocular for the first time for our booked suppliers like church and venue was on top of my wedding preps itinerary. The opportunity to be able to personally scout for wedding suppliers (I even went to Divi to check out affordable mananahi) was something I was grateful for, though I felt sad as well since fiancé isn’t with me. Anyhow, even with our temporary-month-long LDR, we were able to accomplishment amazing feats in our preps! We were able to book ceiling drapes add-on with our venue’s in-house supplier and hotel accomodation for our family who will be coming from out of town.
Thankfully, I was also able to personally meet my chosen Filipino designer, MEL ORLINA, after lots of research and consideration. I made sure to book my appointment 2 months in advanced before coming home for vacation to ensure that we can meet personally so I would know if I’ll have that this is it feeling with her. Although my fiancé was informed about this booking, all the details will still be a surprise until our wedding day! 🙂
On the 23rd day of the month, we decided to release our DIY SAVE THE DATE VIDEO exactly one year before our wedding day. This would be a great reminder for our guests to mark their calendar for our big day and of course an inspiration for us as well as we do our wedding preparations.
Personally, our wedding preps so far still feels like a HUGE PUZZLE that we – fiancé and I, should carefully and slowly put all together to make the perfect dream team for our wedding a reality. We still have a long way to go but we definitely know that we’re doing just fine. Thank You Father God. 🙂
** Edited: OUR WEDDING PREPS TIMELINE 2016 PART 1 HERE **