Wedding Planning 101 (Part 3): The Ceremony and Reception

I continue with my sharings on wedding planning here. If you wanna revisit parts one and two, here are the links, respectively: http://bossagirl.tumblr.com/post/138012587517/wedding-planning-101-pt-1-relational-learnings , http://bossagirl.tumblr.com/post/138476183002/wedding-planning-pt-2-your-suppliers .

The venue. Three factors usually considered in choosing where to get married - significance, accessibility, climate. Which places are memorable for you and future hubby, is there a Ninong offering his place? We arrived at our Baguio decision again through the process of elimination - we didn’t want to get married in Manila, Tagaytay just didn’t appeal to us, to fly out of Luzon would just cost more. And so Baguio it was, and what a perfect choice, too! The just-right cold weather was perfect - I now firmly believe na kung nainitan kami at ang mga guests namin, di kami at sila masyadong nag-enjoy, hehe! So that’s another piece of advice - choose a place with comfortable weather. Of course, Baguio’s picturesque greens were just absolutely lovely, too.

The Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes in Scout Barrio was the last church we saw on our quest, and upon seeing it, I knew in my heart of hearts that “This is it!!” Joey, on the other hand, wasn’t sold on the initial area we were looking at to hold the garden ceremony. He saw an elevated portion to the left of Golf Course Holes 3 and 4 of the Baguio Country Club with a beautiful sprinkling of pine trees and a ready, tree-lined aisle for our “walk”, and so it was there that we exchanged vows anew. No one has ever used that particular area for a wedding before - it was so Twilight- and Into the Woods-ish, and I remember being so proud of my husband’s ingenuity. He just sees the promise of things that escape most people. So really, when it comes to the venue, in your search, go for the one that speaks to your heart.

Our reception venue was in the same area where we held the ceremony. We arrived at this decision because one, we wouldn’t fit in the BCC ballroom, and two, we really wanted an outdoor wedding - less stuffy, fresh air, more relaxed and nature-y. Be cautious though as choosing to have a garden reception would entail that you get a tent supplier for your plan B if it rains (unless you and hubby are really gungho and decide to not have a tent installed, rain or shine). We were fortunate to have been referred to a local lights and sounds and tents supplier, Baguio Reinforcement Lights and Sounds. We were able to get a good deal from them considering the size of the tent we were gunning for. Plus since they were a local supplier, we saved on out-of-town costs other suppliers would have charged us with.

  I love this candid picture of us walking towards the reception, while our friends’ kids ran and played in the open, grassy area. <3

I love this candid picture of us walking towards the reception, while our friends’ kids ran and played in the open, grassy area. <3

The walk - my dearest brides, do walk slowly during the march. The ceremony will not start until you reach the altar / the front, but knowing this, do savor every step and not think that “Oh, I’m taking too long.” Let the music adjust, let your friends take your photo. Just smile, and for heaven’s sake do not make a silly pose as i did at our church ceremony, hehe. Paiyak na daw si Joey nun e pero nung nag-wacky ako wala na, nasira na yung moment. :/ My only regret during the whole two-day event! Hehe. But perhaps, that wacky pose set the mood that it was gonna be a fun and light wedding, and it was. During the garden ceremony, I knew my musical cues but also forgot that live music was playing, that Tito Gary Valenciano and my band would simply adjust to wherever I was and prolong the song as needed. And so when I was near the congregation, I kinda rushed a bit. So again, my dear ladies, walk slowly, take all the time you need. :)    

  You’re gonna get nervous with all those eyes looking at you, and your emotions will probably be at their highest during the walk. Whatever happens, do not, I repeat, do not throw the drama away by acting goofily as I did. Hay, hahaha

You’re gonna get nervous with all those eyes looking at you, and your emotions will probably be at their highest during the walk. Whatever happens, do not, I repeat, do not throw the drama away by acting goofily as I did. Hay, hahaha

  I learned from the first wedding and took my sweet time - but when I got this point I realized the song was ending so I kinda sped up again. Eep, hehe. Nerves.

I learned from the first wedding and took my sweet time - but when I got this point I realized the song was ending so I kinda sped up again. Eep, hehe. Nerves.

Reception proper. They say there only two keys to a successful reception - satisfy your guests with delicious food and keep the program short. Aye, aye. And if I may add, choose a host that know you and your husband well, one who is funny and quick to respond to the slightest of program changes. My all-around, stylist extraordinaire John Lozano hosted ours and he just led the entire program so well with his comic quick-wittedness! We thoroughly enjoyed his hosting. :)

  Oh, my dear great-looking friend, John Lozano, there really is nothing you can’t do.

Oh, my dear great-looking friend, John Lozano, there really is nothing you can’t do.

Food tasting - we scheduled about two of these sessions with BCC, and there were about three revisions to the menu. Do not be afraid to comment on how exactly you want the food to be - less or more salty, etc, etc. Choose a fine and tested caterer too - there are many who’ve built good reputations for themselves in the wedding industry. Some may be pricey but the quality of food you will get is worth it.  

Drinks - you know your guests well - first, if they are drinkers, second, which drink do they prefer, beer or wine? Plan accordingly. Most wedding venue managers and caterers can give you a ballpark figure of how many you should prepare. But also have a plan B in case drinks run out - mabuti nang sobra, kesa kulang.

Speeches - not everyone whom you think should talk must talk. Joey’s parents, my mom, they all didn’t give a speech at the reception (though they did say a few words at the ceremony) - we asked them and they weren’t comfortable with it and so they didn’t. So, choose speakers who are comfortable doing so, or probably inebriate them enough to cough up the courage, hehe! Choose the funny ones, too. One of the highlights of our night was Joey’s brother Jami giving the most hilarious Best Man speech. :D 

  Top photo: our Best Man Jami, Joey’s younger brother, who gave such a hilarious speech it was many a guests’ favorite part that night. :) My Kuya on the bottom left was very nervous but very funny, too, as was our Ninong Mark Ellis (minus the nerves). Very good choices for speakers! Haha :D

Top photo: our Best Man Jami, Joey’s younger brother, who gave such a hilarious speech it was many a guests’ favorite part that night. :) My Kuya on the bottom left was very nervous but very funny, too, as was our Ninong Mark Ellis (minus the nerves). Very good choices for speakers! Haha :D

Music. Ah, I cannot stress just how important this aspect is. Music sets the mood, colors the celebration, or perhaps I just really love it that’s why I wax rhetoric, hahaha. The two ceremonies pa lang, Joey and I really thought through which songs and which instruments to have played, what tone we wanted. For the Catholic ceremony, being a choir member myself, I requested for a four-member choir from the acclaimed a cappella group, Pinopela. My gulay they are SO GOOD. They just embraced the whole ceremony with so much solemnity and heavenly music. Accompanied by just a keyboardist, they were perfect, our band of angels singing and weaving through the whole congregation. For the wedding march, we had just a harpist and a violinist perform Panunumpa, adding to the rustic simplicity of the ceremony. We also had them serenade the guests during cocktails at the garden reception the following day. We carefully chose the songs they performed, settling for a list that is familiar to the young and old alike.

  Tito Gary and Nyoy - both of them being at the wedding and sharing their awesome talents with us, were answered prayers. &lt;3

Tito Gary and Nyoy - both of them being at the wedding and sharing their awesome talents with us, were answered prayers. <3

For the Christian ceremony, we asked Nyoy Volante to perform an acoustic version of Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace to set the crowd in a praising mood before the actual rites started. My band and a three-piece horn section played The Beatles’ All You Need is Love for the entourage march. It was joyful and light and fun, and set exactly the tone we wanted :) For my march, we asked Tito Gary and my band to perform Jason Mraz’s Love Someone. The lyrics tell our story just right, the rhythm was happy without being overboard. Tito Gary’s rendition was just beautiful.. haaaay and with the cool breeze and the gently dripping rain and his voice wafting through the trees.. hay I can’t thank the Lord enough. <3

Our reception saw only three performances - first, me and Joey performing a duet of You’re the One That I Want as our first song (because we didn’t want to open with a first dance, hehe!). Tito Martin Nievera generously serenaded us with two songs - The Carpenter’s You and Side A’s Forevermore - and with Baguio being Forevermore-land (you know, the LizQuen-starred teleserye), these were the perfect song choices for both the young and old. Our guests were all happily singing along with Tito Martin! And of course, he sang splendidly and with all his heart, as he always does.. <3

I am so lucky to have the Sessionistas as my good friends :) naturally, I asked them to sing! Haha. I chose songs that were relevant to Joey’s and my courtship. Joey sang God Bless the Broken Road to me on our first videoke date, so we had Aiza sing that. Joey sang the first lines of I’ll Make Love to Youwhen he proposed to me (Close your eyes, make a wish..), and so we asked Nyoy to sing that. We had Richard Poon sing For Once in My Life, no sentimental reason, it was just fitting and a nice start to the whole medley. For the last song, we had Kean and eventually everyone, rock out to We Built This City, because the first time I met Joey’s Fitness First triathlon teammates was at a videoke birthday party, and his friends changed the lyrics to “Joey Loves Sitti! Joey Loves Sitti!” Kean adapted this and added “They rock and roll!”. It was so much fun and we all LSS’d “Joey loves Sitti! They rock and roll!” for many days after that. :D

We got two bands to perform at the after party. :) The Edralins played a Beatles’ set that had everyone dancing and jumping and singing along. And since our friends loved to rockeoke, we got Yin Yang Theory to accompany the crazies who hogged the microphones lol. SO. MUCH. FUN. I sang Laklak, hehehe!  

EAT before the reception. And TRY to sneak in treats during the program (usually doesn’t happen, but still, do try). And do not drink wine so much because you might forget some things and of course, you do not want that to happen. Hahaha! Joey was so nervous about our duet that we spent much time rehearsing after the ceremony and we didn’t get to eat. Major mistake! Hehe, I think I was in a bit of a daze for most of the reception. But hey I was very happy and overflowing with love and thank God we have the raw footages of the reception. Hehe but please, learn from my mistake and eat! Eat! Buti nlng din we had food tasting, kasi wala talaga kami nakain nung reception, haha!

  They all warned us, but we were too nervous about our first song to eat a substantial amount. If I had only known, I would have eaten more of  Coco Cake ’s delicious naked cake!! Haha

They all warned us, but we were too nervous about our first song to eat a substantial amount. If I had only known, I would have eaten more of Coco Cake’s delicious naked cake!! Haha

My last but most important pieces of wedding advice: LET GO AND LET GOD, as in all things in this life. Prepare your utmost best, but on wedding day, leave everything to Him and to your coordinator. LIVE IN THE MOMENT, your wedding will not repeat itself, and so do your utmost best to bask in each minute. It’s okay to cry and to be emotional, BE TRUE, to yourself and to your husband. FEEL DEEPLY, all the love, all the gratitude, all the kwela things. STORE THESE CHERISHED MOMENTS IN YOUR MEMORY, for you to draw on in times when you need to be reminded of just how much love you can hold in your heart.  

I hope I was comprehensive enough in these three entries! Apologies for their length but I really tried to cover everything. Please do not hesitate to ask me for anything, I would be more than happy to be a “resource person”, hahaha! :)

God bless you in your wedding planning! :)

Bossa love,

Sitti

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All photos in this entry by Cherryblocks. <3

P.S. Many, extra thanks to Albert Flores of the Baguio Country Club, and to Mr. Anthony de Leon, as well. They have definitely helped this bride not to morph into a monstrous one. :)