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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Budget Jitters

All couples go through the same thing. Be it that they will be paying for their wedding or sponsors will be a plenty, all couples at one point will have a dilemma about money. This situation can either make or break a couple. It also serves as a pilot test as to how both parties will handle the hard facts of married life they will have to face head on.

I myself have experienced it as early as now. Jp and I are expecting that we would pay for the whole wedding ourselves. As much as we would want family to share some of the expenses, we are not obliging nor expecting them to do so. We figured it is enough for them to have raised us to where we are right now and we felt it is the most responsible thing to do for adults like us. We also share a common view that this wedding planning will be the dry-run for our married life. Might as well know now how we handle our finances.

At the initial stage of our wedding planning, we already determine a budget and we would have to stick with it. We wanted a Tagaytay wedding and of course we know that it will cost us a lot. But when I started researching, I saw how a wedding today has turned into an industry urging couples to get things that were not in existence before. A wedding before simply meant going to the church in a white dress and then eating afterwards. Now you have a video to worry about, a pre-nup pictorial to attend to, a photo booth or mobile bar to rent and the list goes on. Needless to say, we jacked up our projected budget and saw how much we really needed. It will costs us A LOT hahaha!

But being the stingy person I am, I am determined to keep the budget lower than what we have projected. I scouted for the best suppliers within our price range and haggled and got price locks. PRICE LOCKS are a budgeted bride's bestfriend. DIYs is another. To let you in how useful a price lock is, the P/V coverage we got now costs 9k more including OOT fees. That 9k is now alloted to our lights and sound supplier.:)

Of course there are days when I doubt myself for ever wanting this kind of a wedding. With the money we afford to save, we can already have a downpayment for a condominum unit. We can already own a piece of property we can call our own if we opted to take the "simpler" route.

But then again, when the budget jitters sets in, I think of the reason why we are spending this much. We wanted to have a wedding that not only us to remember but also that of our families. We owe it to them. And we owe it to God that is why we are continously praying that God will provide for us the money we need. We are not asking for a lot after all, we are just asking enough to cover some nice things to have in a wedding.

I always believe that money should never be an issue and that God will give us the money we need when we need it.

Nice-To-Have: Back-up Photographers

The luho bug bit me!:) I now WANT a back-up photographer.:)

What exactly is a back-up photographer. Well, to use the term itself, a back-up photographer is just an additional photographer that clicks away at your wedding. They exist for the purpose of covering more ground in capturing those precious moments that transpire during the wedding. Couples usually get them because they want more photos. Photos are afterall only the ones left long after the wedding day has passed.

The role of a back-up photographer is limited. Your main P/V coverer will be the one to dictate where you will pose, what pose you will do and that of the entourage itself. The back-up will just be there to capture mostly candid shots and if the main P/V will allow, he can also dictate poses although this is more of an exception than a rule.

So it is not exactly a need. You can always have only your P/V cover the whole event. In our case, the preps, ceremony and reception will only be in one place hence the back-up photographer is really just a want. But I really do want one for the simple reason that I want a lot of photos for our wedding. I can always make an album or have these pictures printed out in the future. Plus it will be a sweet reminder how young we are when we get old and wrinkled.

Because Jp does not want one, I will be paying for it from my own money. My piggy bank says that it can only accommodate til 12K for one and I am now on a search for the best back-up photographer my money can afford. Our rule is, if it is a nice-to-have and we want it bad, we have to pay for it on top of our contribution for the wedding day budget itself.

Of course I will make it happen hehehe! I have a few in mind already whom to get.

Sometimes you just have to scratch that bug bite... sometimes.:)

Wedding Suppliers: Wacky Shots Photobooth

Because photo booths are all the rave in weddings nowadays, I really was not planning on getting one. Apart from the cost being steep and that I have to pay out-of-town fees on top of it, I scratched the idea of getting one as my souviner. But then a friend of ours excitedly asked if we will have a photo booth in our wedding and it made me realize, I have a lot of vain friends hahaha!!!:)

So began my search for a photo booth. I learned that photo booths are all the same hahaha! It is just a matter of resolution, layout and props that separates one from the other. It is getting generic but it also serves the purpose of entertaining guests. Bottomline is, if you have vain and photo addict friends, GET ONE!:)

It was in W@W (yes, this site is very useful) that I came across WACKY SHOTS Photobooth. Check their works at their Facebook account. Ms. Avery is very nice to talk to. She actually gave me tips on my own wedding planning since she got married over a year ago. I got their promo for 3hrs at a lower rate plus there are no out-of-town fees since they are from Cavite.

I know photo booths are the norm nowadays but I know also that my friends would love it. If they are happy, then I am too.

Maybe I will just throw in a candy bag or a little souvenir to go with it.:)

Of All Foods Glorious Cooked With PASSION-Passion Cooks Catering

Wake me up now!!!

I think I am in a food coma!

And it's all because of Passion Cooks Catering. Yep, I blame Maja and Mommy Chef! I blame them for inducing me in this sweet food coma after having some food orgasm-inducing oooohhhhhhssss, aaaahhhhhhsss and bbbbrrrruuuupppsss in between!:) I am guessing this coma is because my foodie soul left itself at the kitchen of the Martinez family, waiting to be fed more of those glorious food they cook.

I am not exaggerating when I say that their food IS THAT GOOD!:) I know I am not because I brought three people with me who are either a staunch foodie (my bestfriend), a critic (my little brother) and a picky eater (my little bro's best friend). These three people can attest to how good Passion Cooks' food is and we have the pictures here to show.

Now before I take you into a culinary adventure, let me just tell you how I came across Passion Cooks catering service. At the start of our wedding preparations, Jp and I decided that our priorities will be the photo/video coverage, venue and FOOD. Food is very important to us because we love to eat. We had our bonding moments in our food trips and we simply love to try and experience new dishes every time we go on a date. Needless to say, we need to get the best caterer our money can afford. One that will cater to our taste and that of our guests. We believe that providing a good caterer would leave our guests enjoying our reception and of course it will be the only thing that would have a lasting impression on them.

I have mentioned before that I am a member of W@W here. It is at this e-group that I had found a certain Passion Cooks Catering and the stream of positive reviews piqued my curiosity to go ahead and look for their website. The selling factor was that Passion Cooks employ a one-event-per-day policy, meaning our wedding will be the only wedding they will handle. I have also read all the praises for Maja's accommodating personality and personalize touch in each wedding she handles. This was more than enough to get myself to send them an inquiry but when I saw their multiply account I was floored. Their styling was amazing. I immediately sent Maja an email and we first met last November.

The mistake I committed when we met with Maja last November was not asking if we can have a food tasting with them. She was insisting that time that we schedule for the following week the food tasting, so as to her words "we can have a peace of mind" in considering them as our caterer. She answered all my questions and even helped me think through as to what I want for our reception to be. It helps that she was a former Bridal Events Manager at the now New World Hotel (Renaissance Hotel) and that she was good at her craft. She even had as have some snacks and that was the first time I fell in love with their chocolate lazy cake but more on that later. At that time, I was already 50% sold. Only the food is left to be tasted because I told myself, if the food is not good, I would not get them. And boy was I glad that the food did not fail me.

So after the holidays I immediately sent her an email to inquire for a schedule for our food tasting. Jp was suppose to come with us but since his work limits his availability, only the three people I mentioned above came with me. We talked about the menu and I gave her our budget for costing. And today was the day I tasted the utterly glorious food of Passion Cooks I can ever taste from a caterer.

We came to their office 20 minutes before our scheduled food tasting. Everyone was starving already and we were all raring to eat. Maja had the table at their office set-up for us and a waiter was there to assist us. My little brother was telling me that his bestfriend was asking if they would eat lunch at our house before meeting me up at Sucat because he thought food tasting meant only small portions. But Maja did not fail to make our tummies happy and bursting.:)

Masarap pla ang crispy hito!

Now this was the dish I was skeptical the most. I hate that fishy taste and as what my little brother told Maja, we got traumatized with our Lola's adobong hito that we never, ever touch this fish eeevvvveeeerrrr!!! At the back of my mind, I was thinking I would not like it but Jp will, so I would just ask them to give me a plain salad instead. I had my battle plan ready but alas I was defeated.

When the dish came out I tasted first the catfish to see how I would like it and oh boy , I don't. The catfish alone made we want to push the dish aside. But I instantly remembered that some W@Wie sisters said in order to appreciate the salad we must mix everything and take a bite of it all together. That was what I did. And it was the beginning of a series of food orgasms I would experience all through out the food tasting. It was an amazing salad and take my word for it because I DON'T EAT CATFISH!:) It was that good, the tanginess of the dressing for the salsa, the saltiness of the fried catfish and the freshness of the lettuce leaves made me release a loud sigh of appreciation at my first bite. I would still not eat catfish even if my life depends on it but I will eat THIS SALAD!:) My lil bro and my bestfriend who are like me also has their seal of approval on this dish. You can never go wrong with it.:)

Next was the CREAM of PUMPKIN SOUP.


All my little brother can say is "IT'S GOOD" one slurp after another. It's creamy but light and not sweet unlike most pumpkin soup. Who would have thought kalabasa would taste as good as this. It will be a perfect soup for when the weather in Tagaytay gets chilly during our reception. It warms you up without filling you.:) I find this batch a little bit salty for my taste but that is just me.

Served next was the CHICKEN and HAM CREPE:

It's so fluffy (and tasty)!

I wanted to try the quiche and was disappointed that it was not included together with the three-mushroom pasta. My heart sank as I was told it was not included. I think Maja sensed my disappointment and explained that the chef suggested this menu because my choices are all creamy and there would be no balance to our buffet. Maja however told me that if I really want to, we can still have it. But I decided to just go with the menu we have right now since I can trust her that she knows what she is doing. That is the good thing with them, they are always concerned with what your guests would like.

After tasting the crepe the quiche was thrown out the window hahaha!:) Imagine a  cordon blue but inside a light crepe fried to crispiness and drizzled with gravy. Imagine biting into a crispy but fluffy crepe filled with moist chicken shreds, ham and cheese accentuated by the smoky flavor of the gravy all happily partying in your mouth. That is what this dish is. This will also be a sure hit.

After the appetizer, Maja told us it is time to move on to our main dishes. Oh, I have not told you yet that Maja explains what the dish is before we eat. She is attentive like that.



Kabab :P
The pork dish was something new for everyone. I know that apples are really great with pork but together with cream cheese, I wondered how it will taste like as I was piercing my pork. Oh man, cheese, apples and pork!!! OOOOOOHHHHHH, AAAAHHHHHH food orgasm!!!:) It was soooo gggooooodddd!!!:) It is something new that I think our guests would appreciate. The muscavado apples are that awesome that my lil bro's bestfriend ate them firsts and ask for ours hahaha!

As for the beef, well I cannot give you a feedback because I do not eat beef. Yes, it might be a shocker to you but I simply don't because I just do not like the taste. I am weird like that. But my carnivore of a bestfriend loved it so much that she let a loud food orgasm at the first bite. They all said the beef was so tender and flavorful and the sauce complimented it. It is a "safe" dish that would balance the newer pork dish in our menu.

Everyone was starting to get filled when another gem of a dish was served. Next up was the BAKED PRAWNS THERMIDOR:
Ang istar!:)

Everyone of my companions let out sighs of approval for this dish. To say that this will be a hit is an understatement. If there was one dish everyone raved about it is this dish. Prawns with ham, mushroom and lots of cheese baked to perfection. Words are not enough to describe this dish. Everyone was simply at awe!:)

And Maja thought it might not be enough, there was still some pasta left for us to taste before dessert. Our tummies are filled up already!:) She reminded us to leave some room for the dessert and my lil bro just had to ask if he can just taste and not finish it. The pasta was the BASILICO E POMODORO:
The change in the pasta dish from my request is also a heart-breaking moment. I love all things white with mushroom for my pasta and I SIMPLY MUST HAVE THE THREE-MUSHROOM PASTA. But as what was explained by Maja, we have to balance the creaminess in our buffet lest we tend to get our guests "umay" already. And like the quiche, the pasta was thrown out the window as well. Not that I would not mind getting it for our menu but simply because this pasta dish cleanses the palate in preparation for the more savory flavored main dishes. It serves it's purpose of balancing out the taste of our buffet. Who would have thought about that? Only Maja of course.:)

Then came the most awaited part, DESSERT!:) As I mentioned earlier, Maja already served us some lazy cake during our first meeting last November. I already had a feeling their food was good because that lazy cake surprised me and my not-a-dessert-type-of-girl bestfriend. It was that good that my bestfriend raved so much about it on our way to Maja's home to my little brother that he was raring to eat it. Out came this dessert plate:
Mango Cream Pie, Panacotta and Lazy Cake

It was a hit!:) Everyone loved it. I fell in love with the panacotta, it was the real panacotta!:) The lazy cake still holds its place as the best dessert among all but the panacotta is the runner up. The mango cream pie is nice too. I am thinking if we should add up another dessert but with our experience of being so full already, my bestfriend said it will not make a difference and I believe her.:)

So how was the overall experience? AWESOME!!!

You get to eat a lot of good food, be assisted by the most charming owner of all and to see my little brother glee in approval of ALL the dishes Maja and her team prepared, simply priceless. Apart from the food, I enjoyed seeing my bestfriend get food orgasmic at every bite, my little bro speaking his opinion how good the food was and my little bro's bestfriend eating everything served. Those are the things that made PASSION COOKS the only caterer for me. I am sure if Jp attended, the catfish salad would have already won him over.

And oh, one last thing. Since my little brother LOVED the lazy cake so much, he asked Maja if he could buy some and Maja had a box prepared. We were going to pay for it when Mommy Chef told Maja we could have it for FREE!!! We insisted on paying but they refused. It was truly an icing on the cake. They are so generous since they sensed that we loved the food so much and might have wanted to give back something to us in return. To my opinion, their gesture showed how thankful they are for our appreciation of their passion to their craft. It is very hard to find people like them anymore in an industry that speaks of money rather than service from the heart.

Now I truly believe that if you put your heart into something not only for monetary reasons but also for putting happiness into the lives of others, leaving a lasting impression, you will truly be successful.

And Passion Cooks Catering showered me with that lifelong lesson. They have left me wanting more and I am sure they would not fail me.

Ms. Maja, me and my bestfriend.:)

I have yet found THE ONE!:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wedding Planning 101: On Booking Suppliers

In the past few months since we got engaged, I am on the search for the best and affordable suppliers that we can have for our wedding. We have already booked a few and I am still on a search but so far I have been satisfied with those who we have gotten. My current job entails me to talk to suppliers for seminars and events for our project, so in a way I am knowledgable on these things.

Which has gotten me to think what kind of a customer I am in booking suppliers. Now the reason why I had myself thinking is because I think I am a bit easy to deal with in booking suppliers. I tend to do my research and once I have found the supplier whom I feel will be the best for our requirement, I go meet them and see if we will click. Almost, always I will book these suppliers on the spot, some I have not met yet personally but I booked them anyway.

Let me tell you that not all brides/grooms are the same as not all people in this world are the same. I have heard of stories of brides who are diva-ish to the point that they really do demand heaven and earth to get what they paid for. I have also heard of brides who are doormats, who ended up apologizing to the supplier for a bad behavior that was caused by no less than a bad service from the supplier. Most are fickle minded and some are OC.

As I analyze myself, I realize I am the type of bride who does her research, talks to a supplier to get a feel of the kind of working relationship that can be established, book them instantly and have faith they will deliver. I am not fussy about trivial things but I would want everything to be written in the contract and that they would be prompt in delivering their services. I am a feeler and if I do not get that "IT" feeling that the supplier is the one, I wont get them. The opposite is that if I get you, I will expect a lot.

Sometimes it bothers me that I do tend to not look around anymore for another supplier for comparisson. But I have always lived by my gut feel and more often than not, the gut feel is correct. I do worry if they would deliver but I stand up to my choices and make sure I am vigilant about their service. I may appear to be nice but I am strict. I expect only the best. The upside of things is, I am very easy to work with.

My suppliers are booked for one reason, I know their talent and dedication will create the wedding I envision.

Friday, February 11, 2011


In the course of your wedding planning, a word will come out most often in the decision making process. Be it about the budget, the suppliers you are getting, the venue, the ceremony and everything else you will decide on as a couple. This word will be the one that would hopefully guide you trough the rigorous wedding preparations.

That word is PRIORITIES.:)

When we were starting out with our wedding preparations, Jp and I talked about our priorities in what we want to prepare for our wedding. It was simply put into providing the best food there is for our guests and securing the best photo/video coverage for our wedding. We figured that our guests will only remember the food they will eat, hence we need to get the best caterer we can afford and the photos plus videos will be the only one left with us after our wedding day.

But as days pass by, I have contemplated what is really important in our wedding. Weddings are after all just a day event and what is left after, which is the marriage itself, is something we would have to focus on. So now our priorities are these two:


Who but the Lord is responsible with why we are getting married in the first place and what best way to do the Lord the honor IS by offering our wedding to Him.:)

Sometime couples have forgotten that they are getting married to honor the Lord. I am not one to deny that I have lost track of this and was more busy with getting the best suppliers or about the wedding details. Wedding are after all a big commercial industry now, that the last thing couples worry about is the ceremony rites.

I am not one who is religious to the ground but I know and accept who my Lord is. I have faith. And I came to realize that the wedding day itself is not about the suppliers or the reception details but simply our offering of thanks and guidance to the Lord above for guiding us to that day and yes, beyond that. If it were not for the Lord above, we would not be there in the first place. So I am not losing sight of this one.:)


After the Lord, the next would be the people who have helped in their own little way to make us realize that we have the shot to share this lifetime we have with each other. This has been my guidance in getting the best supplier within our budget and finding the venue to hold our wedding. We wanted to make sure our guests will have a really good time because they deserve to have one. If not for these people, we would not be in our wedding day in the first place.

These are the two priorities we are keeping in our hearts for the whole wedding preparations. I think about these two when I try not to get jealous that much about other brides who gets the high-end suppliers or when we cannot afford the supplier I want or when things are tough. I know whoever we have chosen is under the Lord's guidance and our guests would appreciate. With this two, we will never loose sight of what our wedding would and should be.

Because really, a wedding is just for a day and the marriage is the road we will travel on in this lifetime.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wedding Supplier: Rosemont Gardens- Tagaytay

When everything between you and your fiance/hubby-to-be/boyfriend has been agreed that you will get married and a date is settled, the next thing that will take place is the look out for a church and reception venue. These two will mark the beginning of the wedding preparation task.

In our case, since we are going to be wed in a Christian ceremony, we are on a look out for a venue that can hold both the ceremony and the reception in one. I have dreamed of having a garden wedding since my high school years and the nearest place that I could think of that can offer my dream venue is Tagaytay.

Why Tagaytay you might ask?:)

Well the reason really is because it is cool out there. Honestly. :)

We initially thought of a Manila wedding because I have always wanted to be wed in Intramuros. My favorite theme is vintage and I knew Intramuros will offer that plus we had some of our memorable dates there, watching the sunset in one of its forts. But as we are getting serious about the wedding preparations, we realized that Manila is too polluted for us not to mention, it gets too hot and flooded when it rains. Not that going to Tagaytay is a breeze for most of our guests but somehow the benefits out weighs the cons. What made us decide on having it in Tagaytay is when my brother vehemently insisted that we MUST HAVE THE WEDDING IN TAGAYTAY hahaha!:)

So last October, Jp and I went up Tagaytay to look for possible venues. I brought a long two of my friends to help us decide.

Let me tell you what I have learned from our ocular:

1. Tagaytay venues are EXPENSIVE hehehehe!:) You have to do tons of research on the internet and ask around first to make sure the venue you would visit is within your budget.
2. Each venue offers a different feel. Either you want a view of the Taal volcano or you want peace and tranquility for your reception.
3. Those that offer a good garden venue are FAR from the main road. Some are very, very far hahaha!:)
4. And lastly, it is true what they say with venue hunting, you will know when you have found THE ONE.:)

And that is what I have felt when I stepped inside Rosemont Gardens.:)

Rosemont Gardens is yet another find in W@W and Girl Talk. It is primarily used as a site for wedding preparations but a few wedding receptions has been held in its cozy garden area. It is a family house owned by Ms. Karla Fider-Santos family, which I was later to find out was a former W@W herself.

When we started scouting for our venue, all I wanted was a garden that would offer both a place for the ceremony and for the reception. A view of the Taal volcano was not my highest priority. But when we were roaming around Rosemont Gardens, I was surprised to see that they offer a view of the Taal Volcano.:) I felt at that instant that I have found THE ONE.

Check out the pictures from their Rosemont Garden's Facebook page.

Since we are on a tight budget, the rental fee for both the venue and one night stay in Rosemont Gardens is so budget friendly for us. Another plus is that our preparations, ceremony and venue will be held in one place. The guests will not have difficulty going from one place to another and will have all the time in their hands to bond with one another. And the two friends I tagged along liked it most from all the venues we visited that day.

There are places that rarely looks like exactly how it is in the photos when you go there yourself. And I am glad Rosemont Gardens is one of those places in my list.

Just perfect for an intimate garden ceremony and reception for us. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

DIY Monograms :)

These are my first babies for our DIY projects for the wedding:
Our Seal :)

For everything else. :)
I used MS Powerpoint for this one. The font is Gigi. There are hundreds of tutorials from the web and I used several ones for this. It is easy! I am not a techie and I sure had fun doing it. A friend would ask their company's graphic artist to polish everything I will do as a gift, so pardon if the outcome does not look good yet.

I guess you have an idea what kind of a couple we are from our monograms. :) This sets the tone for the other DIYs that we will do for our wedding.

Happy preps everyone!:)