Saturday, July 26, 2014

DIY: Overseas Save-the-Date

I've mentioned before that we wanted to give our overseas friends ample time to prepare (and to think if they wanted to come to our wedding, haha) so we decided to send STD to our overseas friends more than a year before the wedding. In that way, they can plot their leaves, buy luggages, check for promo fares and do their other preparations.

So, my very own graphic artist came up with this STD. :)

The luggage colors represents our motif, the places were each of them are based is represented by the planes and the concept is basically an invitation to travel... for a wedding. :)

It will be printed on photo magnets and will be sent to them ASAP. We already contacted our supplier who will print the STDs and once we have it, we will begin sending it out.

Two DIYs done, gazillion more to go. :)

DIY: The Monogram

Presenting, our Monogram.

Noun. a design consisting of two or more alphabetic letters combined or interlaced, commonly one's initials,often printed on stationery, embroidered on clothing, etc.

I have bullied pressured wait for J to come up with our final design. I wanted to have the final monogram before we print our wedding paraphernalias. It took us a couple of months before we come up with our final monogram. J spent a lot of time squeezing out all his creative juices to show me  a wide array of samples that we can choose from. We even had a small fight along the process and I told him we'll just pay someone to do our monogram but in the end, he said he wanted everything personalized. And I'm glad I believed him.

This may not be the most perfect monogram, in fact, to some, it may not even look good. But this is us. This represents us. And the journey that we will walk on during the wedding preparations.

Finally, we can start doing our STD, WYB and stuff. One excited bride-to-be here. :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Supplier Hunt: Photographer

This is one of the major suppliers that is really giving us a headache. I often say I am only willing to splurge on 3 suppliers: Caterer, Photographer and Videographer. Caterer because that's the only memory that the guests will remember. Photo and video because that is the only memory that will be left to us.

Since early part of 2013, even before we started seriously planning, we are already in search of our P/V supplier. On my last post, I mentioned about my heartbreak with Nicolai. Then we became busy with work that we weren't able to really scout for P/V. Then while I was browsing my FB news feeds, I came across a picture of my friend and my goddaughter. And oh my! I was blown away.

my friend and goddaughter
the shot that gave me the "this is it"
I've known Ding because he covered my goddaughter's christening last year. But I thought he was just doing it as a hobby. Found out he cover weddings and other events din pala. So we chatted on FB then since we live on the same village, we set up a meeting the coming weekend.

J and I were accompanied by my sister and cousins. We set the meeting at 1 PM but dumb moment, I left my phone at home. So we are already at the meeting place since 12:30 after an hour, he's still not there. I had to call back home and ask my other cousin to search my phone and send me his mobile number. When i called him, he was already having lunch with his family but he drop by and said he'll just finish his lunch. Found out he had been texting me since morning to confirm if our meeting will push through but he didn't received a reply from me. Haha! Sorry, my mistake. So we had lunch na din and just meet up after. 

He was accompanied by his photographer/partner and after a small chit-chat, we go straight to discussion. They presented their rates and sample works. Surprisingly, their package is so affordable, not to mention that there will be no OOT fee. 

sample works of Inio
They have day jobs and just shoot as freelancers. I saw a couple of their shots and what we really like are the clean, crisp and colorful shots. Their style is photojournalistic and I appreciate that they just want to do fun shoots. They really don't concentrate on weddings per se, lately they've been covering debuts and birthday parties. But I think what's important are the passion and talent. We also had fun during the meeting, kwentuhan lang and wala ilangan.

So, you ask, do we found our photographer now? I think so. Did we block the date yet? No. Haha.. Well, they said we can forego the down payment since we lives on the same village but we want to give din naman down payment. They will cover my sister's debut and that's confirmed. We are yet to meet with another photographer next month then magdedecide na kami.

On a different tone, I hope everyone's spared from the Typhoon Glenda. We don't have electricity for three days but thankfully no one in our family is hurt and no properties were destroyed. Keep safe everyone!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Time Check: 18 Months To Go

 I haven't posted for quite sometime because I was busy with work but wedding preps are still on. For my one and only post this month, I want to highlight (and remind myself - J included) that it's down to the last 18  months. Still quite a long journey for some especially those who doesn't have long engagement and preparations but for us who started more than 2 years in advance, this is a big time check. :)

A couple of things happened this month so I'll just enumerate it (in no particular order):

1. My first supplier-hunting heartbreak

One of the suppliers that we really wanted to book early on are the P/V. We had a couple of prospects. We almost book some but decided to go against it. I am very thankful to Ayie (Imbitado Events) because whenever we had our prospects, I would ask for her opinion and she will always be ready to answer it. I had my full trust in Ayie - shouldn't it be the case, after all? So if she votes against a certain prospect, we are happy to let go. Now, to my heartbreak. there's this one photographer that really caught my attention. I ALMOST book her. She was a former apprentice of a photographer that I used to dream about booking so I know she is good. When I read her home page, it was like she was talking directly to me because that's exactly the shots that I wanted. Aside from that, a former classmate had her at her wedding so I look browse spy on her wedding albums and check out the photogs work. Sadly, I didn't like what I saw. I showed it to J and he feels the same way. The bride doesn't rave about her that much, too. So I went into hunting again. A w@wie mentioned Nicolai Melicor to me and I decided to check her works again. This might sound funny but all along I thought Nicolai's a guy. Haha. Silly. I found out, I have asked for her rates and packages through email months prior because another w@wie gives a very high supplier rating for her but I didn't paid much attention to her work that time. This time, I really check her shots and boy! was I moved. I loved the shots, I love the colors, I love the cleanliness. And I found myself asking for her payment terms as we are willing to pay the DP to secure our date even without setting a meeting with her first. I really felt the "this is it" moment. I made myself believe that I felt it on the first photog I was talking about early on because I know she is good but there's really no kilig moment. Unlike with Nicolai. Then she said she just got booked days ago. :(((( I never imagined that supplier-hunting heartbreaks really happen. Super sayang that I didn't paid attention to her portfolio the first time.

2. P/V Hunting Mode-On Again

Now, we are hunting again (lakas lang maka-twilight ng term). We are currently eyeing 3 prospects. 2 photogs and 1 P/V. I don't want what happened to Nicolai happen again but one thing about supplier hunting that I learned is, meet them first. Check if you'll have the rapport. Check their works and albums. Talk about their services and experiences in wedding events. I set a meeting with each of them but our schedules wouldn't match so we haven't decided yet. I just really hope we found "the one" soon as this P/V hunting is really stressful.

3. Prospect Reception Venue

We are eyeing this newly-built venue that is near SBC and we showed it to Mama. She loved the place too even if we are only basing it on the pictures. Down side is they have a preferred caterer which is not on my list of consideration because they have mixed reviews. But I think we can rent the place and get our own caterer (of course with additional corkage fee). The venue price is almost 3x what we set when we first decided to hold our reception on the exclusive village' clubhouses around the area but we are willing to shell out more if we will agreed on the terms. Hopefully we will get to do an ocular soon so we can decide.

4. Engagement Dinner Venue Booked

This is J's task but I'll update you na din. Engagement dinner is our own version of pamamanhikan. :) 8 years into the relationship and our families didn't get the chance to sit down and chat yet. Both our families know each other but not really spend time with each other so this will be a good time to get to know each other's families before the wedding. My family knows J and he often go with us to family events and outings but I really haven't spend much time with J's family yet except for a couple of occasions. So you would ask, why not do it the traditional way where in J and his family will go to our house and bring food for lunch/dinner? Well, we wouldn't fit in our humble abode. haha. And we want a neutral ground to hold the dinner so everybody's relax. It will happen early week of August during my mom's vacation. I leave the planning, choosing and booking to J. After all, he's the one paying. :)

5. International STD Lay-out Done

You would ask, what the heck is an "international STD"?? Haha. It's a Save the Date card/notice to our foreign guests (lakas maka celebrity wedding). We wanted to notify them early on so they can plot their leaves and check early booking flight promos, too. So hindi lang yan personal ek-ek ko. Haha. May purpose talaga yan. We are set to have them printed this July so we can finally distribute it.

So there goes our wedding preps for the month of June. Oh, we were supposed to attend the Themes and Motifs wedding fair at SMX last weekend but I got tied at work so we weren't able to go. I missed going to fairs. :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

BOOKED: St. Benedict's Church

We went to SBC last year to book them when our wedding was set to this year but when it is move tho next year, we decided to just go back last weekend. We have set the schedule to be back and secure our slot prior to him asking for my hand formally. Last week J called SBC's contact number on their flyer. Red's number is unreachable. The other person listed there is not really friendly and according to her doesn't want to received calls regarding SBC and just call the office landline directly. I think they shouldn't have listed their numbers on the brochures if they don't want to be called.

So prior to going, J called their landline and asked if our slot is still available, lucky us, it is. YEY! When we arrived, there's still an on-going mass and there's no one at the office. The guy there asked us to wait after the mass. I noticed that the sound system improved since the last time we were there. From my post about SBC before, I said my main concern is really their sound system. I am very happy that it is fixed/replaced already. After the mass, the guy approached us and said to be back in the afternoon as the person in charge will be having his/her lunch break. Okaaaay.

We proceed to Tagaytay as that is our original plan. We will be having lunch at Bulalo Point. Our travel time is approximately 1 1/2 hours. After our late lunch (as we arrived there at around 2 PM), we headed back to SBC praying that we will make it. We arrived on time at around 30 minutes before closing.

The lady who attended to us is very nice and apologetic as she wasn't able to attend to us in the morning. She is so nice so OK na din the hassle that we go through that morning. She asked us to fill up the form and we paid the downpayment. She scheduled us for our Canonical Interview and voila! We are booked already. :) We really felt that the date is for us. Found out that there is only one more remaining time slot available on our chosen date and it is also the time we wanted. Thank God!

Personal Questionnaire for the Canonical Interview
Wedding Information Sheet
Down payment is Php5,000 plus another Php5,000 during the interview. The remaining balance should be paid 1 month before the wedding date.

A very productive weekend indeed. Got officially engaged on Friday, 2 Food Tastings on Saturday and secured our slot at SBC on Sunday.

Food Tasting #6: Alba's

Alba's Catering is not really on the original list of my prospected caterers. I haven't read enough reviews about them and they are not really that sikat sa w@w and GT. But I tried contacting them anyways and their packages are almost the same with Queensland's. Our scheduled FT was moved for at least 3 times before we were given a slot. I think they give priority to events na malapit na. It is only when I vent out my frustration (in a nice way) that we already tried scheduling for 3 times did the AE obliged to us. After I said that she kept on rescheduling us, she texted non-stop about the schedule and make bawi naman to assist us.

When you come from Tropical Ave., nasa bukana lang sya ng El Grande Street (right side). Medyo nalito lang kami sa map na binigay ni Cherry coz it's indicated na Kristine's Garden. When all along, the sign says Alba's pala and then the garden is inside.

We were ushered into their office. Then later one transferred to the adjacent room. It is not the usual FT where you get to try the dishes with other couples on a dressed venue complete with waiter and table/buffet arrangements. The food is prepared on trays then you get to try their main dishes. No salads, appetizers, pasta & desserts.

From Top Left (Clockwise):
Chicken Cordon Bleu - the sauce is buttery and the breading is still a bit crunchy. The meat is not really moist, but not really dry. My companions liked it.
Pork Baby Back Ribs - they are very tender but I don't like my baby back ribs to be sweet. I want it to be salty and spicy.
Chicken in Char Sui Sauce - this is so yummy! The sauce doesn't look so appetizing because it is so sticky but nonetheless, it is good.
Fish Fillet with Tartar sauce - this is good. No malansa after-taste. In fact, you wouldn't think it is fish. And the tartar sauce is so yummy!
Fish Fillet in Sweet & Sour Sauce - this is good, too. Hindi malansa and the sauce is yummy. I would have preferred the breading to be crunchy though.

From Top Right (Clockwise):
Pork Asado - it is like eating the Siopao Asado filling. I'm biased coz I like Siopao Bola-Bola. I don't like sweet sauces.
Buttered Vegetables - this is sooo yummy! you can taste the butter in every piece of vegetable. It is so flavorful.
Beef Kaldereta - meat is tender but I would prefer my Kaldereta to be spicy
Beef Stew/Korean Stew - The meat is tender pero the sauce is nagsebo na. I like my Korean Beef Stew to be spicy, too.

Overall: We particularly love the fish, chicken and vegetable dishes. It is yummy and flavorful. But if we will choose them, we would pick different pork and beef dishes. I think their dishes are yummy naman based on the fish, chicken and vegetables. Matter of preference na lang since I don't want sweet sauces/dish.

We are seriously considering them for my sister's debut. Package starts at Php425++. For our wedding, we will have them on our list but have to try others pa then we will decide.

I appreciate din that their add-ons are really not expensive and they are not really strict with corkages for additional drinks or food.

Food Tasting #5: Juan Carlo

I first tasted Juan Carlo's food from a friend's wedding more than 10 years ago. I can not remember anymore how the dish was but I think it was not really that spectacular. The serving was small and the food taste so-so. But during the Big banquet at the Blue Leaf, we got to taste Juan Carlo's food again and we so love their salad and dessert. It was really yummy! So when I saw on their site that they will have a food tasting at Fernbrook, I emailed them right away to reserve a slot.

Me and J was accompanied by my sister, who is also on the look out for a caterer for her debut, and our two male cousins. We arrived early. Medyo hindi ok yung pagdating namin dun because I think the AEs are still preparing and they are huddled on one table while we are standing there waiting to be acknowledge. I think it was an awkward 1-2 minutes before someone approached us. Yung medyo hindi OK na moment na yun, nabawi naman because Zarah, the AE assigned to us, was very machika and nice. It would have been better if she let us eat on our own first after discussing the packages then just come back after. Mahirap kase magdiscuss ng taste and presentation na merong nakikinig. Nonetheless, she was nice naman and offered so many freebies.

upgraded set-up

Sopa de Congrejo
The blue lemonade is sooo yummy. I drank a couple of glasses because it is refillable. We were served two kinds of soup. Sopa de Congrejo and Fresh Mushroom soup. I haven't tried the Sopa de Congrejo but J said it tasted bland. The Fresh Mushroom soup is OK naman.

Clockwise from Rice:
Rice - I forgot what it's called but tasted like Java Rice
Penne Carbonara with Bacon - tastes good (biased because I love Carbonara)
Mongolian Vegetables - tastes like Mongolian :) which I like
Pork Geneva - I don't like this. It has a strong aroma that I don't like
Chicken Hongkong Style - a bit dry but taste OK
Kare-Kare - this is yummy. I love kare-kare and this taste good
Salmon in Tequila Cream Sauce - better than Queensland's version :) But I am not really a fish person so ok lang sya for me

Clockwise from Rice:
Roast Pork with Prunes & Walnuts - this is sooo yummy! I really liked it.
Stir Fried Vegetables in Oyster Sauce - I liked the veggies. Parang chopseuy but with  Oyster sauce
Fish Steak with Tomato & Vegetable Salsa - I like that the fish is not malansa though I would prefer if it's crispy
COS Chicken with Piri-Piri Sauce - Spicy grilled chicken which surprisingly is not dry
Ox Tongue with Buttered Mushroom/Mashed Potato - I love lengua! And this does not disappoint me
Angel Hair Puttanesca - more on like an italian pasta than a pinoy one. But taste is OK

Pictures of how the main courses are presented at the Buffet Table:

Fruit Tarts - they are yummy but I would prefer it cold sana
I forgot the name of the one with the cherry on top but it's like meringue with cream and fruits - taste ok although sweet
Coffee Magnifico - this is to die for! If you've seen my Juan Carlo post from the Big banquet you would know we already tasted it there. This time, it is not chilled, mas ok sana if chilled, but as expected masarap talaga
Pandan Pannacotta (not on picture) - I don't know why they called it as Pannacotta because it's just like Pandan Jelly

Zarah offered us A LOT of freebies such as free centerpiece upgrade, free buffet upgrade, +2 desserts, +1 pasta, upgraded backdrop, 50 pcs. brewed coffee but we did not book on the spot. Wala pang "this is it" feeling and my concern is the food's not warm when served. Ganun din experience ko 10 years ago. Plus I think their servings are a bit small. But taste-wise, they are OK.

Status: Officially Engaged

OK. That is a bit funny, don't you think? Ours is not the conventional type of engagement. We've been planning for the wedding for more than 6 months now but we just got engaged last Friday. We've been together for more than 7 years now. It was a long overdue engagement. We've been talking about getting married half way through that 7 years. But certain things happen beyond our control so we have to leave it up to God for we know if it's really God's will, it will happen.

One of the reasons why it took us a couple of years more before deciding to tie the knot is because my one and only sister. I've been her second mom already as our parents are away from us. We have a 13 years gap. She opposed to me getting married. I think part of her thinks she would lose me if I get married. I am lucky that J respects that and wait for her to finally let me go. It was just last year, when she finally said it's OK for me to get married already and start my own family. And we are here now planning for the wedding...

My kwento about the proposal can be found here: The Proposal

should have said "finally!" instead :)

I have to give credit to J. I really underestimated his capabilities and taste. LOL.. For one, nakalusot sya sakin sa pagplan ng proposal nya. Second, this is his own design inspired by a couple of rings that we've been checking out.

My sister's note when she shared our engagement photo
I think mas excited pa nga sya. Inunahan ako sa pagannounce in social media. LOL.

Now, I am officially engaged. Full wedding planning from now on. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The search for THE Monogram

This is H2B's (Hubby-to-be) task. He is an IT by profession so he is way more techie than me. So I've been asking reminding nagging him to do a couple of samples for our monogram. Finally, I got the first batch para mapagpilian.

my personal favorite

I want our monogram to be with lots of strokes and soft lines. You can tell that J wanted a monogram that is masculine with lots of sharp edges. So I hope we can pick one that we would both love. I do not know when will he give me the next batch of choices pero I am hoping we can pick the monogram as early as now as I want to have the monogram na.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Food Tasting #4: The Big Banquet (Part 3)

When I think of Bizu, first thing that comes to my head are desserts. I have no idea how their food taste. I like their dessert buffet set up that night. Their chairs are also so old school that brings back childhood memories.

Wild Mushroom Deep Dish Quiche - 2
Mini Eggs Benedict - 2
Smoked Salmon with Dill Pistachio Mousseline on Short Bread - 2
Three Cheese Spinach & Mushroom Ravioli Pasta - 3
Cucumber Lemonade - 2
Macaron de Paris - 3
Nirvana Trifle with Dark Chocolate & Pistachio Creamer & Rocher - 3

Overall Comment: They offer quite a few selections. Their set up is very dainty and girly. I like their desserts. I like the ravioli. But that stops there. I did not like the rest of the food I have tasted. The Lemonade tasted like my cleansing juice. Haha.

Center Table
We are already in a rush because we only got less than 30 minutes to finish with all the caterers. Plus we are so full that we are just dragging our feet to each caterer. Since patapos na din yung event, madami na din yung ubos na and makalat na. But their food is OK naman. OK din ang set up.

Eastern Shrimp Rolls - 5
US Certified Black Angus Beef - 4
Strawberry Sansrival - 2
Green Apple Iced Tea - 3

Overall Comment: Sila lang ang nabigyan ko ng 5. Their Shrimp rolls are super yummy and not to mention hot. Kaya nag enjoy kami kainin. The rest tikim-tikim na lang sa sobrang busog. I don't know bakit hindi ko napicturan yung food. Grrr.. I don't like their sansrival. Tasted like super lamog na strawberries.

First time to hear about them. Pero their food is OK din naman. Hindi ko na lang naenjoy kase nakakasuka na. Not their fault naman.

 Andre's Poke - 2
Roast Pork Belly with Lechon Rice - 3
Pauline Chocolate - 2
Raspberry/Tamarind Iced Tea - 2

Overall Comment: What I appreciate it that their Pork belly is so tender and the skin is so crispy. I also like the sauces for the wraps. Andre's Poke is spicy. The chocolates are super bitter. I didn't enjoy it even though I love dark chocolates.

Nice set up. Damask + Black/Red is nice. Food is OK din but what I really love is their Callos.

JalapeƱo Stuffed Croquettes - 3
Callos - 4
Arroz con Leche - 2
Fruit Blended Iced Tea - 3

Overall Comment: I love their Callos. Day after the event, I'm still craving. But yun lang nagustuhan ko. Hindi ko na naenjoy yung Croquettes even if I love croquettes kase super busog na. The dessert is a bit bland so I didn't like it.

Sulit ba yung Php500? YES. I may not have met my 'this is it' caterer on the event but I enjoyed the whole experience. Will I go to future events like this? Absolutely! :)