Wedding Supplier Review: GARY DACANAY Event Stylist

We were always fascinated with glamorous art installations, floral decors etc that we see on weddings that’s why we decided to push through in booking a separate Event Stylist for our wedding and that’s GARY DACANAY. Below is our supplier review for him and his team.

  • Supplier Rating: 3.25/5 (Event Styling) and 5/5 (Bridal Bouquet/Groom’s Boutonniere)
  • Mode of Communication: FB Chat, Email
  • Contact Person: Mr Gary Dacanay
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Our reception styling for our Spanish Vintage Glam themed wedding by Gary Dacanay. Official photo by Myio Okamoto

UPDATED WITH OUR OFFICIAL PHOTOS AS OF APRIL 2017

We first knew about Gary Dacanay’s works from our friend who was fond of following FB posts of florists in the Philippines. He’s connected with Mindworks Productions and Events of the North. It seems they’re a local favorite in the North (Pangasinan/La Union/ Baguio). By accident we saw one of his recent works and we immediately contacted him around November 2015. From that time on we finally got his quotation for both the entourage flowers and reception styling. But since we have a tight budget, it took us a few months to decide if we’ll be getting a separate stylist for our reception since we already have basic styling included with our caterer. Around February 2016, after a lot of consideration, discussion and budget adjustments, we finally booked his services but informed him that we’ll only be getting his Standard Package for our reception styling (for now) since as per his quotation we will probably be needing his Gold Package to do what we want for our theme.

Since our wedding is still a few months away, we would only contact Gary whenever we need to know some details that he might be needing for our reception styling and he would be prompt in replying whenever he can. Nakakatuwa lang din since magkatukayo pa sila ni hubby. As early as July 2016, we informed him regarding our scheduled meeting for the last week of November (our vacation in Manila) with our caterer and venue to do ocular and discuss the details of the styling from restrictions, corkages, rules etc since it will be his first time to decorate La Castellana. Since we know he’s busy with his work, we would remind him every other month regarding the appointment whenever there is some changes through FB. By October 2016, the final schedule was fixed, with all our detailed final pegs sent to his email in advanced for our meeting and honestly, we were just so excited to meet with him.

But came Nov 28, Gary sent an SMS around past 12 Noon informing us that he won’t be able to be with us to meet with our caterer at 1.00 PM and instead he will go straight to the venue to do the ocular. He also informed us that he will be arriving earlier to the venue than scheduled. This was quite surprising since as per our agreement, he was supposed to be with us to meet with our caterer in QC and we’ll go together to our venue in Intramuros. But due to some work-related issues, he arrived in La Castellana around 3.00 PM when our scheduled appointment is still at 5.00 PM. If he gave us an early heads up, we could’ve arranged our time with our caterer a few hours early and inform Christian of La Castellana about it. Between my then-fiance and I, I’m the OC type when it comes to meetings. So this was obviously uncalled for but we informed him to just go on and do what he can while he’s at the venue. Of course, he obviously know that we’re still traveling from QC going to Intramuros by that time since our scheduled detailing with our caterer (who will be providing some of the materials) is at 1.00 PM.  We found ourselves surprised by this action and just thought that maybe he wants to see a good look at the venue with that extra 2 hours on his hand. At around past 4.30 PM, we reached the venue and finally had our first meeting with Gary Dacanay.

Ironically, it was us who felt guilty at first because he came earlier than our expected appointment and us, making him wait, though it was very clear that we have our planned meeting for that day. So from the time that we arrived, we immediately talked about what he wanted to do with the venue, with Christian of La Castellana standing beside us who gave us the heads up that they already talked about the venue’s rules and regulations. Gary simply took over the floor and continued to give us overwhelmingly great ideas to work with our selected wedding color motif and theme which is Spanish Vintage Glam. Okay na sana yung meeting kaso it only lasted for 15 minutes! Ramdam na ramdam namin yung pag mamadali nila at parati niya sinasabi na may kasal pa sila na iniwan that day sa Baguio para lang makipag-meet sa amin personally at makapag-ocular sa venue. Pakiramdam namin masyado mabilis ang pangyayari at hindi man lang kami masyado nakapag-usap ng maayos. Yes, he’s an expert on his field and would probably know what he must do, but would getting to know your clients personally for possibly less than an hour wouldn’t hurt, right? Honestly, that was the only time we felt like minadali kami ng supplier. Quickie-supplier meeting, ika nga. For someone who probably do not know anything about event styling, that person would be really speechless and overwhelmed. But, for us who have had sleepless nights in creating our visual reception pegs and had some specific things in mind, we felt that Gary “forgot” to look at what we did. And just like what my hubby’s gut was telling him, we found out later on that he was definitely right. Our event stylist definitely has a lot of excuses. 

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GA with Gary Dacanay during our 2nd meeting in Trinoma

Since my hubby was really (literally) hands-on and detailed with what he wants, he told me that he will be the one to talk to Gary because right after our meeting, he felt disappointed and had to request for a second one dahil nabitin siya at he felt like hindi napag-usapan ng maayos ang dapat pag-usapan. Also, he needed time to decide with regards to the final color of flowers to be used that would have a huge impact on the whole feel of the setup. My hubby wants an all-red feel, but Gary said it will be difficult and costly so he recommended to add magenta so to have more flora variety. With this, we set the meeting 3 weeks before the wedding since he was so busy (held in Trinoma) and had resend the detailed pegs of our reception styling — twice.

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Exchange of messages wherein nainis na si hubby dito since we felt na hindi niya pa na check yung peg namin prior sa 1st meeting kaya we have no choice but to ask for a 2nd meeting to clear everything

During the meeting itself, Gary forgot to bring a copy of our contract (with a whole bunch of other contracts inside his bag) and looked like he really need some sleep. He looked disoriented, keeps talking about his very tight schedule and uses one of the contract’s back-side to list down whatever we were tackling during the 2nd meeting. Although he looked stressed, he was still giving great information and recommendation based from his experience about the things he was planning to do with our wedding by showing photo pegs for our art installation decors, the colors of the flowers that he will be using etc But what my hubby particularly observed during that time was that Gary seemed bored every time we would emphasize something that we want. Ilang beses namin siya napansin na paulit-ulit niya dinudutdot ng pen yung papel into little dots as if non-verbally telling us na mas alam na niya gagawin niya at hindi na namin kailangan sabihin pa. Parati din niya sinasabi na siya na ang bahala dahil may concept na siya sa isip niya and he wants to surprise us. He was always emphasizing that there should be an element of surprise for the couple on their wedding day. And boy, we were definitely surprised by what he did!

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My burgundy red bridal bouquet

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Photo by Myio Okamoto

Garry and I were so excited to see how he would transform La Castellana especially after seeing what he did to my bridal bouquet! Nakuha niya talaga yung gusto ko mangyari and ang cute din ng boutonniere ni hubby. I’m very particular kasi with flowers and I was really happy na sinunod niya talaga yung gusto ko. My rating for him because of what he did to my bridal bouquet was a 5/5 for making sure that I have my red peonies sa bouquet ko since isa yun sa major request ko! So when we were doing our retouch in the bridal suite, our coordinator Ayie was telling us that the reception was done beautifully, something she didn’t expect since it was her first time to work with him. We got all praises from our coordinators, HMUA, photo and video team at that time who already had a glimpse of the reception area. I also kept thinking that it would be a blast since I really, really fell in  love with my bouquet! But then when we went down and saw the entrance, we knew there’s something wrong.

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This is how our entrance looked like.. malayo sa flower arches na pinag usapan namin. Screenshot from our official SDE.

The entrance area for one is not what we discussed. We told him that we wanted to use the bricks area for the entrance and not the usual one. And then when our eyes laid on the decor, it wasn’t what we discussed earlier. We specifically told him we want flower arches on the side of the curtains for our main entrance and not flowers hanging on the top! He simply just used the curtain possibly available on the venue and put hanging flowers with combination of crepe paper to look like they’re “wisterias”. We weren’t even sure if the flowers he used here were real or fake ones.

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Close-up shot of the entrance curtain with flowers. Screenshot from our official SDE.

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“Hanging flowers” Entrance decors. Official photo by Myio Okamoto

Then when we went inside, I couldn’t help myself to but to be utterly DISAPPOINTED with what I saw! The couple backdrop is not what we expect it to be! Ang layo sa peg namin at halatang tinipid! The huge black and white decor frame that was erected on the back of the couple’s couch was a complete disaster especially when we got to see the full view up close! Nakakaiyak!

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This is our very small couple backdrop which has a lot of missed details from what we expect it to be. Photo by one of our Guests.

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Close up shot of our Couple’s Backdrop. Official photo by Myio Okamoto

Akala ko malabo lang mata namin (I was wearing a new pair of contact lens) kasi kahit sa malayo, kitang-kita na na hindi pantay-pantay yung paint at pag kakadugtong ng huge decor frame na obviously minadali ang pagkakagawa! It’s okay if they attached a couple of decors to hide the irregularities of the design, but it looked like it’s a job done by a high school student for a school project!

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This is our couple’s backdrop. The irregular details at the back (see huge decor frame) is very obvious.

Also, the platform was really, really small na kasya lang talaga yung couch and table.. It was also low that while seating on the couch we couldn’t see the people at the back. The moment we went on the platform, we knew hindi mag kakasya mga tao na mag papa picture later on and hindi nga kami nagkamali. We have only seen photos from our friends and yung iba ang akward tignan kasi kitang-kita na nag sisiksikan mga guests and super halata yung irregularities ng decor frame!  

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This is how our couple backdrop looks like when more than 3 people take photos. The platform was very, very small with ordinary flower arrangement (which we didn’t expect he would be using lilies) and the huge decor frame looking like a disaster! See the white arrows above.

Moreover, the flower arrangement on the couple’s backdrop was so simple we felt like pang-basic styling lang siya ng caterer, especially when we saw how he mixed huge lilies where I specifically requested that he would just limit the flowers to roses, tulips and carnation. The backdrop looked really dull with the plain red curtains he placed on the sides without even putting any decor. Kahit konting flowers man lang or anything to make it more glamourous gaya ng napag usapan namin during our detailing! I know I even requested him to put string lights or anything glittery at the back to have that “glam effect” but it was so plain and boring, I really couldn’t help but be sad while seeing how it turned out. Whenever I look at one of the pegs that I told him for our couple back drop, naiiyak lang talaga ako! Some of our close family friends even commented that they weren’t expecting the couple’s area to be so simple and that he could’ve done better.

And then our eyes scanned the area and looked for our huge lighted letters! There was no G & A lighted letters standing beside the cake! Nakakainis lalu! I remember we asked him during our last meeting about that if he can do it and he said yes. He would always say “okay ma’am kaya yan gagawin natin yan“. I even told him that if he can’t, just inform us earlier so we can look for a supplier (I’m already in talks with Limeworks but cancelled because of what he said to me) who can provide that but he said that’s it not a big deal so we trusted his word! I know it’s a simple request, but again we felt like he should’ve told us earlier since I was personally expecting to have that in our couple’s area.

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There were no string-lights that I requested for the ceiling, nor any string lights on the couple’s back drop to add glamour. The curtains were just plain red and the size of the couple’s platform area was so small na nagsisiksikan mga tao whenever we would take photos with them.

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Close up front view of the fans. Official photo by Myio Okamoto

Just like with the never ending details that he missed, our eyes immediately turned towards the ceiling to look for our requested string-lights and there was none! Another missed detailed!

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The back of the huge Spanish fans were so plain whereas we discussed that the design should be back-to-back. The hanging flowers were even arranged in an odd fashion that we couldn’t grasp if it was art or he was in a hurry to finish the set up.

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The back side of the fans, our view of the whole reception. Official photo by Myio Okamoto

Even so when we were seated on the couple’s area, we also noticed that the back of the huge fans were so simple and bare. It’s like the design on the huge Spanish fans hanging on ceiling were done were only in front and not back-to-back just like what we talked about. I remembered that day there were moments that Garry and I looked at each other for a couple of seconds before trying to compose ourselves during our couple dance! We were thinking — the show must go on kahit gusto ko talaga siya kausapin at that time. Then we later found out after he delivered my bouquet in the hotel, he went off somewhere (maybe event or meeting) and he won’t be coming back during the egress.

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Our VIP tables. Photo credit from Gary Dacanay’s FB page

Among the things that he missed, we were still thankful that the VIP tables were really beyond fabulous. Feeling nga namin dun niya masyado ginalingan. So for the duration of the reception dun na lang talaga naka focus ang mga mata ko since gandang-ganda ako sa setup niya.

Plus okay din yung setup niya with our non-VIP tables na hindi din pahuhuli.

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Non-VIP Table. Official photo by Myio Okamoto

PROS:

  • We felt we were lucky to be able to book his old rate.
  • My bridal bouquet was more than what I expected. It was really gorgeous. I also really like the boutonniere that he did for Garry.
  • The decors in the VIP tables were beyond fabulous! Everything was according to our peg except for the chair decors.
  • The overall look of the reception was somehow beautiful since we felt he managed to do what we envision for our wedding. But then there were details that we felt he should’ve focused more as well because our expectation for his work was really, really high.
  • I give him a separate rating of 5/5 for my bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere since he was able to get red peonies kahit kulang ng dusty miller to complete the look.

CONS:

  • Our first meeting was a quick-one and instead of arriving on time, he arrived earlier than expected which he knew from the start that we already have our scheduled meetings on that day so we cannot simply adjust to his time even though he reasons out that he’s “busy” with other weddings at mukha siya wala sa hulog. Ang sa amin lang he agreed earlier to meet with us since that would be our first ever meeting personally and we, on the other hand, made time for him as well with our also busy schedule so we just felt like we need the same courtesy from him but was disappointed. That, already is a red flag for us kaya my hubby demanded for a 2nd meeting and even told him not to take us for granted because that’s how we felt during our 1st meeting.
  • On our 2nd meeting, we were more than disappointed with his attitude towards us — walang contract na dala and he even used one back side of the contracts that he has to write the details of our meeting. May instance pa na dinudutdot niya yung paper using his pen ng paulit-ulit to emphasize na alam na niya gagawin niya while we were explaining our pegs and what we want to happen on our wedding. He even kept asking us if na-send na daw ba namin yung pegs namin and we said of course (4 times pa nga just to be sure) and even showed him screen shots kung kelan namin na send sa email niya. Dito namin na-realized na hindi niya pa nakita pegs or possibly even read his email prior to meeting us kaya pala everytime I would ask him sa chat to reply back seen zoned lang ako. Also during the meeting we felt like he was too arrogant to say na “no problem ma’am” but then again on the wedding day itself there were a lot of things that were not executed!
  • There was no dusty miller in my bouquet which I requested but anyway I still like what he did with my bridal bouquet.
  • The entrance wasn’t what we expected it to be. There was no flower arch just like what we requested in the meetings. Instead, it was just a curtain where he put hanging flowers hoping to look like they were “wisterias” or something. Napaka-dull tignan.
  • The couple backdrop was a mess since hindi yun ung peg na gusto namin especially the black-and-white frame decor. Nagkakalat yung paint design and hindi pantay-pantay yung pagkakadugtong niya which was really obvious and visible kahit nasa malayo. The flower arrangement in the couple backdrop was not what we expected it to be and yung platform was so small, kasya lang yung couch and center table.
  • The huge hanging fans in the ceiling was plain at the back, unlike what we had in the meeting na dapat back-to-back yung design. From the front, it looked okay but from our view sa may couple’s area, super plain and boring tignan. Nagkakalat din yung pag kaayos sa ceiling, ang gulo. The fans were supposed to be connected with each other with string lights as per our peg pero hindi yun nasunod and instead it was just placed here on the ceiling on its own.
  • There were no decors in the VIP chairs. Not a single one. It was so plain and boring. Again, we informed him that if he can’t, we will find a way to procure one but we found ourselves disappointed, yet again.
  • He used purple flowers in big vases in 2-3 non-VIP tables where we firmly said that our color scheme division should be 80% red especially sa malalaking vases placed in the center of tables and 20% magenta dun sa maliliit na vases. But the overall feel wasn’t like that and talagang kita-kita yung purple so hindi masyado nasunod yung color scheme na napag-usapan namin.
  • Worst that I also remember was how rude his staff was to my mom and to a lot of our VIP guests. We had a deal that he would be making “customized fans” to be displayed on the VIP tables and will be given to them after the wedding as souvenirs. Those sitting in the VIP knew about it before hand since we informed them about a surprise souvenir. Of course we thought this was relayed to his staff but no. Napahiya ng isa nyang staff si Mommy when she was getting one of the fans and putting it on her bag by saying na “ma’am hindi niyo pwede iuwi iyan, sa amin yang gamit na yan” in front of her other amigas that night sabay kinuha yung fan kay Mommy. My Mom was startled kaya hindi siya nakapag-react quickly and nung nakaalis na yung staff saka lang siya ng salita sa amin. She even told us na buti hindi daw niya napatulan kasi sabi she should just enjoy the night. We thought it only happened to my mom but it also happened to the majority of those sitting in the VIP tables kaya some of them nag-walk out na lang because of that.

Gary knew about our disappointments prior this supplier review and he’s also fully aware that we will be posting this. He even apologized for the rudeness of his staff by saying “lesson learned and para ma-tackle sa meeting nila.” We were thinking of asking for a refund for some of the things na hindi nagawa but we decided sakit lang ng ulo. Instead, we just demanded for the fans to be given back since it was promised to the VIPs and they were actually expecting it. He send it naman na (but we still haven’t seen it personally since pinadala niya yun after we left Manila) but we found out na yung “customized fans” na pinagmamalaki niya were actually just bought from Kultura.

**Tip!** Before your meeting, be sure to bring your copy of the contract and remind him as well to bring his.

**Tip!** Always ALWAYS remind him about your pegs.

CONTACT INFO
Gary Dacanay of Mindworks Productions
FB: Mindworks Productions
IG: Gary Dacanay
gary_chen6@yahoo.com

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