Soo.. After getting engaged, and letting our families and friends know of the news, we then started planning and scouting for our suppliers. Of course the first two things we checked were the church and venue. It was extremely difficult. And I am not just exaggerating here. Couple of years back, I thought of getting married in San Agustin Church in Manila. This church has a very beautiful interior and the architectural designs really amazes me. Although the facade is somewhat modernized (even the color), it’s the size and the interior of the church is what gets my interest.
Manila Cathedral was also appealing but I didn’t like how modern the altar of the church looks. In my opinion, I think the altar clashes with image of the church which is grand and classic spanish-era.
Then I had the idea that Mt. Carmel in Quezon City was ideal, especially since my parents got married there in May of 1982. The altar is simple but I find it very lovely.
But of course, this is the real planning. Back then, all the “plans” were more like dreams and ideals. This time, we had to make sure that whatever we decided on, it will be the best and the nothing less. This means, 3 options for the church is no longer enough. I had to research for some more in case our choice won’t be available. In my mind, I was picturing our wedding ceremony taking place in an extravagantly old looking church; then I decided to search for churches around Rizal area and San Juan area, taking into consideration the interior of the church and the altar. Here are the results of my research:
1. San Agustin Church – Intramuros, Manila
2. Manila Cathedral – Intramuros, Manila
3. Mt. Carmel Shrine – Aurora Blvd., Quezon City
4. Malate Church – Malate, Manila
5. Santuario de San Jose – Greenhills, San Juan
6. Santuario de Santo Cristo – Blumetritt, San Juan
7. Immaculate Concepcion Church – Pasig City
8. Our Lady of Light – Cainta
9. St. Paul of the Cross – SSS Village Marikina
10. Christ the King Parish – Green Meadows, Quezon City
11. Nuestra Señora de Gracia – Guadalupe, Makati
12. St. Jame the Great – Ayala Alabang
13. St. Jerome Emiliani – Alabang, Muntinlupa
After having this list, we then proceed to searching for venues. I tried my best to find churches where there are good and possible venues around the same vicinity. Initially, I wanted to have the reception at Fernbrook Gardens. When I discovered Fernbrook in one of the wedding photos of a schoolmate back in high school, I searched in online and immediately fell in love with the place. I love the victorian theme of the venue. Everything looks so royal, and with all the details: horse and carriage for the brides transportation to the mini basilica, which they also have within the compound, the pillars, gazebo, verranda.. Even the gondola! It’s just perfect. But unfortunately, the price is not. You’d have to spend almost P300,000 for a package good for 100 people, which is way too much for us. So I had to
scratch that off the list. Besides, the location of Fernbrook is quite far from us and I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t agree to such a location. And the calling of Mt. Carmel to me was really getting stronger.
While researching, my husband-to-be found a very helpful forum and gave me the link for me to read it. Of course, I do the reading and researching most of the time and I let him make the decision since I get confused easily with all the options. So while going through all the replies in the forum, one lady gave a list of venues she checked for her wedding. The post was dated way back 2007 if I remember correctly. That forum was full of information with all of the possible venues, hotel or garden, prices, rates, even caterers! All I had to do was take the name and search online just to check the photos of the place to get a feel if it meets my criteria or not. Of course I also took note of the rates posted by the ladies in the forum. So I checked all the possible venues in Manila if ever we decide to have the wedding in San Agustin or Manila Cathedral, or even in Malate church. I also got the names of venues along Quezon City and Pasig area. I even tried to consider places in Antipolo, but I was concerned with the distance of Antipolo from my groom’s place. They live in Cavite and it would cause them too much hassle if I choose to have the wedding closer to where we live… We live in LA, by the way… Lower Antipolo. *grin*wink* Anyway, enough blabbing, here are my options for our venue:
1. La Castellana – Intramuros, Manila
2. The Oasis – Aurora Blvd., Quezon City
3. Puerto Real – Intramuros, Manila
4. Baluarte de San Diego – Intramuros, Manila
5. Glass Garden – Pasig City
6. Fernbrook Gardens – Muntinlupa
7. Light of Love – Santol St., Quezon City
By the way, before we proceeded searching for our venue, we had to confirm which church and since Mt. Carmel meant something to me, and I want to believe that there was a calling for me to have my wedding there, we decided to have the ceremony at Mt. Carmel Shrine Parish. The location of the church is also easy to find so it would be convenient for the guests. Therefore our options for venue would have to be around the vicinity of Quezon City.
But even before we were able to finalize the church, we had difficulty with the date of our wedding. We have no idea when we would be having our wedding.. For crying out loud. Initially, I wanted to have a February wedding since I felt that Feb was a good month, Christmas and New Year (the busiest time of the year, in my opinion — December and January) is over, and the weather is not yet that hot nor humid. Spring was the theme I thought for February. All is set, we agreed for a Feb wedding… I told my mom, my dad.. He told his family as well. He even had a voting done with his mom and elder sister between Feb or December. They voted for Feb.. February as in February 2013, okay? So yipee! I got the approval for my wedding date! February 8, 2013 is the big day.. That was until I told my best friend. Her initial reaction was… “13?! Bakit 13?! Malas 13!”. I must admit, I also realized she was correct. So I told my mom that my best friend doesn’t want to agree with me having a 2013 wedding just because of the number 13. Well lo and behold! My mom agreed with her! What do I expect from someone who is a great believer of chinese Feng Shui and all of those lucky charms stuff. (I have nothing against the chinese and Feng Shui whatsoever coz I also believe in that stuff. *wink*) I discussed this with my beloved. Blahblahblah.. To cut the long story short, we were back to zero again. Searching the calendar for a good wedding date. 8 and 9 are lucky based on the chinese belief. (By the way, as far as I know we have no chinese blood, but my mom really believes in all this stuff. And we somehow believe also, but not like her level! Believe me…) I didn’t want a December wedding due to the reason that I feel the month is already way to crowded. When I think of December, images flash to my mind; divisoria jam-packed with people rushing to buy Christmas stuff, traffic, humid, malls full of people Christmas shopping, busy people rushing everywhere. And not just that, another reason is because my love’s birthday is on December, as well as his mom’s birthday. And there’s also Christmas, and his sister’s wedding was just last 26th of December. After Christmas comes the New Year celebration.. So all of these events, come to mind like a flash flood that I feel so overwhelmed with the busyness of the month. So.. No. I don’t want a December wedding, sorry. I thought sometime between August and September was quite okay. I mean, August because it’s the 8th month so I guess that would be lucky. September is the 9th month so I believe that would also be lucky. We searched the calendar, checked out the dates.. We wanted a weekend wedding so guests would not have a problem attending. No excuses. Must attend. *grin* So blahblahblah all considerations were taken and we actually ended up having 3 options. We can either do it on August 18, September 8, or December 8. I know, I know.. I said I didn’t want a December wedding, but what the heck. The date appealed to me. *grin again*
So on we go to check the availability of the church on our preferred dates. I asked my cousin who lived near the Mt. Carmel to inquire on our behalf. Initially we asked if they were available on 8th December. Unfortunately, the church doesn’t do weddings on that date since it is the feast of Immaculate Concepcion. We then decided to ask for the availability on 8th of September. Voila! The church is available! We was hoping for late-in-the-afternoon wedding, but sad to say, the church only had 3 time slots available: 7 in the morning, 1:30 in the afternoon, and 7 in the evening. It is ultimately impossible to have a morning wedding; we might not be able to get up, what time are we supposed to start preparing?! 2 in the morning?! Now, 7 in the evening is okay but still.. Considering the time it will take for the ceremony to finish and the pictorials, even the short travel, you could expect us to proceed with the reception by almost 9:00PM already! We thought it was a bit too late, especially for the oldies. *GRIN*
So we had to settle for the 1:30PM schedule and convinced ourselves that we’d finish just in time; not too early and not too late. The church gave us (if I am not mistaken) 2 days to pay the reservation so our booking will be confirmed. We paid them 50% of the total fee (I’ll post all details of rates later) on the deadline, received their form via email (credits to my cousin), filled it up, scanned, and sent back to the church. Thank you Lord, one down! But a dozen more to do.. (o_O)
Next up: venue. Beside Mt. Carmel Shrine is the Oasis Manila. A simple yet very elegant events place. A pavilion sits in the middle of what looks like a caged garden in the middle of the city. They have 3 choices of venues: The Pavilion, The Gallery, and The Lounge. The last 2 are both advisable for small gatherings. The Pavilion on the other hand is big enough to accommodate bigger events. We already have the rates good for 200 pax from Oasis, but for our wedding date, they were already booked.
So on to the next venue on mind: Light of Love. I liked the place based on the pictures I’ve seen on their website. The lady who recommended this venue on the forum I read also said that this is a cheaper alternative to Fernbrook Gardens. Although she chose the latter for her wedding venue because she said the Fernbrook theme is perfect for their wedding theme, Light of Love is without a doubt a very good alternative. So we requested my cousin again to visit the place although we already acquired their rates thru email. I also tried Fernwood Gardens but it seems that they are not that eager to attend to inquiries of possible clients. I wouldn’t waste my effort if I don’t see any from them. Gazebo Royale was also a good place but sad to say they were also booked on our date. And I really wanted Light of Love, so lucky me, I guess the stars connived for our benefit. *grin*
In Light of Love, we initially booked Loyalty venue. They have 6 venues you can choose from: Loyalty, Integrity, Love, Trust, Atrium, and Cherish. There is also the Garden but I think it is only for ceremonies. Loyalty and Trust are tents, Cherish is outdoor, and the other 3 are all indoor venues good for 150 to 200 pax. Trust is good for 300-400 pax while Loyalty is good for 250-300. I wanted the tent because I see the venue as a blank canvas where you can do all the styling and decors to make your theme wedding come to life. We initially had a draft guest list of 260+ so we thought we’d get Loyalty to accommodate the size of the event. But once again my mom went against this and said that it would be a waste if people don’t come. My love and I thought she’s got a point and so we agreed to cut down on the number of guests since children was also counted in the 260+ which shouldn’t be the case. We decreased the number to 200 but upon receiving the new package rate from LoL (Light of Love), an upgrade fee of Php.24k+ was required for use of aircon in the tent (standing-cabinet type aircons and fans). This was acceptable since we want everybody to be comfortable during the event. But still my mom wants to decrease the number some more, arguing that it would be a waste if less people will come. This is also somewhat similar to what my love received as an advice from a previous co-worker: it’s better to underestimate rather than overestimate. So we decided to reduce the number to 150. After receiving the new rates from LoL, another upgrade fee of Php.42k+ was required if we were to use Loyalty for our event on top of the Php.24k+. I figured the reason must be this: 1.) the fee for use of aircon was because the true capacity of Loyalty is 250-300, thus reducing the number to 200 or lower, use of aircon is no longer free, and 2.) since the venue won’t be maximized, an upgrade fee of Php.42k+ is required. Because of the too much additional fee we had to pay, we decided to change our venue. Changing means transferring from Loyalty to another venue but still within LoL. We have already paid our reservation fee so it would be a waste to find a different supplier for our venue. We were only allowed to change our venue once, so we had to talk this out thoroughly. I repeatedly went through all the pictures in their gallery to decide which one was good enough. I actually didn’t like the other venues because they were all indoor, but my love didn’t want Cherish. It’s outdoor and he fears it might rain. Of course, we cannot control Mother Nature so who was I to say it wouldn’t rain? Our next option was the Atrium since we liked the glass ceiling of the venue. Besides the other venues were all rectangular and the other was L-shaped which I didn’t like because people seated at the ends of the room won’t see each other.
My love went home last week of August and went to the venue with his mom and elder sister. He was texting me and even called me to relay how the place looks, that it was okay, he liked it blahblah. I was actually still sleeping when he texted me, so I had to wake up, call to mom in the kitchen and said I needed her help. What I needed was to convince myself that the Atrium is good enough. I didn’t want any regrets so I wanted a reassuring answer from someone whose judgement I trust. She said the place looks okay (based on the pictures I showed from the website) so I confirmed with my love. And by the way he paid 50% of the package price to LoL the same day as required, a month after the reservation was paid. So there. Venue is set, date is set, church is set. By the way, since we took the package of venue + caterer, we also took time deciding which caterer to choose. LoL had 5 or 6 accredited caterers. We decided to have Hizon’s as our caterer after comparing the amenities and menu list with all other caterers.
So far as the planning and preparation continues, these three major suppliers are now booked and confirmed. In my next entry, I’ll continue with the other stuff. (I’ll update this post soon with pics 😉