Prep Venues – What to ask before booking a hotel

Your hotel room will the center of all activities prior to the actual wedding celebration. You want to make sure everybody, including you, your future spouse and future in laws are comfortable during this time. So here are some tips to make your life easier during the wedding preps. Less things to worry about on the day, less stress for you, more smiles, more beautiful pictures, memorable occasion. 🙂

1. Ask your prospect hotel if they have a limit on how many people can stay overnight. Your whole family might want to stay with you.

2. How many guests will they allow to go up to your room? Consider the number of suppliers you will have on the day, the entourage members who will line up for make up, and other guests who will be using the shuttle service you provided. This means an ocular of the actual rooms is very important. You have to know if everyone will fit and still be comfortable.

3. Do they allow outside food to be taken and consumed inside their rooms? Aside from your suppliers who you will have to feed, your mom or your sister who’d be assisting you in dressing up may already be in full make up by lunch time. They won’t have the time to go out and find their own meals.

4. Request for rooms that are on the same floor. We understand the “pamahiin” that you should not see each other before the ceremony. Note that some, if not most of the hotels, give out access cards and that will only work on the floor where your room is. You will have photographers, videographers, make up artists, and coordinators, going to and fro the bride’s and groom’s room. Which means you may have to ask for 4 additional key cards per room, and not all hotels can provide that without a fee. So save yourself and your suppliers from the hassle and request for rooms on the same floor. Let your coordinator worry about how to go through photo sessions in the hotel without having to see your bride or groom to be.

5. Please do not schedule the bridal suite for check out, especially for an afternoon wedding. Check out time is usually at 12 noon and not all hotels allow late check out of rooms. During this time, the bride has just finished eating and still not dressed up. Imagine the hassle you and your photographers have to go through if the Hotel Duty Manager shows up in your room, and requests you to vacate the space immediately. Then you and your family and entourage who just started dressing up will have to pack all bags, make sure none is left and stay in the lobby for hours because they is nowhere to stay.

6. Ask for the fees you need to pay if you’d like to have photos taken in the lobby or other facilities of the hotel. Photo video teams like to be creative, hence, they need other spaces, aside from your crowded room to shoot.

Enjoy your hotel-hunting!

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ANNOUNCEMENT – LENTEN BREAK

In observance of the Holy Week, Team Events: Simplified will be taking a short break from April 2 – 5. We may not be able to reply to inquiries, as we would like to take this time to reflect and bond with our families.

Replies to emails and inquiries will resume on Monday, April 6. Thank you.

While Your Guests Are Waiting – Cocktail Activities

If you have attended a wedding recently, you would have already known that the cocktail hour doesn’t really go for an hour only. And you had no choice but to glue yourself to your seat because you had nothing to do, aside from taking selfies or groupies.  At one point, you’ve probably blurted out “why do they take so much time with the photos?”

If you haven’t, it’s high time you know that IT DOES TAKE A LOT OF TIME. And most of the time, one hour isn’t enough to have photos, do your second look and also sneak in a few carbs or sugar before nailing that grand entrance you have prepared. And that having a photo booth set up for the guests will not suffice to what seems to be forever before the host finally steps up on the stage and start the program.

So what should you do to make sure your guests won’t be bored and (notice the keyword) “hungry” and pissed? There are actually several ways and we’ve listed some here J

  1. Serve plenty of appetizers and have some welcome drinks – One round of cocktails won’t be enough so if you could provide more, please do so. Anyone who is hungry gets easily agitated. So while they are waiting, please make sure they have something filling to munch on.

Try having these: A Bibinka station if you’re feeling that Filipiniana mood, or maybe a bread and coffee station for early morning weddings.  Serving sweets and treats for guests at the candy bar is also a great idea.

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Les and Bethy’s DIY (and color coded) candy bar

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Cookies, pretzels and chocolates for Kayo and Haydee’s Treats Station

  1. Think your guests love having selfies? Have a Selfie Booth! Jazz up an area of your reception and set up a Polaroid camera they can use and have them write messages at the back of the printouts. Cool, right?
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DIY Selfie Booth at Tyrone and Aileen’s wedding

  1. Get them into the party mood by having a game for everyone. A photo scavenger hunt like the Wedding I Spy or a Trivia Game about the bride and groom would be fun. Don’t forget to prepare exciting prizes so everybody will get enthusiastic about it.
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credits: Reflexions Studio – Ka Lai and Joe

  1. Make them busy. Instead of having them sign a typical guest book, hand out personalized message cards or puzzles. This can be doubled as another game your guests can look forward to.

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photo grabbed from ES Bride Ivy’s blog

  1. Keep them entertained. If you have something extra to spare, hire a really good band to play your favorite songs. But if you don’t, a good playlist will do. As much as possible, pick upbeat music for cocktails for a happier mood.

With all these stuff they have to do, I don’t think they’d be bored for an hour and would not consider leaving your reception early. 🙂 Happy Planning!

How your guest list should look like

We want to make sure everybody will be seated on their proper seats just as you planned. And so for effective guest management, distribution of favors and gifts, and execution of other special instructions, please make sure your guest list have these.

  1. Complete names of all your guests preferably in Last name, First name format. Avoid using nicknames or aliases on your final guest list.
  2. Table assignment for each guest
  3. If a guest will be bringing someone to your event and a name was not given, tag them as “guest” or “company” (example: De Guzman, Michael Guest). And if they will be bringing more than one additional guest tag them as “guest 2 or guest 3” and so on. (example: De Guzman, Michael Guest 2)
  4. Should you be serving kids’ meals, a mark on every kid’s name will be very helpful
  5. In case you will be giving tokens for your guests but not for everyone in the list, you may also put a mark beside their name.
  6. In case you have color coded your guest list for VIPs, kids, special tables and those with souvenirs, please provide a guide or a legend.

What To Ask A Church Before Booking It for your Wedding

You finally got the “This is it” feeling after visiting several churches. You got so excited you paid the 50% down payment right away only to find out later on that they don’t actually allow reciting personal wedding vows during the ceremony, that one non-negotiable thing for you. Now what? Cancel your reservation and find another church? How about the 50% non-refundable down payment? That would have been enough to pay for a really nice wedding shoes.

So to save time, money and effort, here are some questions you may want to ask the parish officer before booking them.

1. What are the inclusions of the package?

Priest and Stipend – Is the officiating priest included? If yes, do I still give him stipend, considering that I have settled the full amount to parish whose package indicated “priest included”.

Flower Arrangement – If the flyer says “basic flower arrangement”, please do ask for a photo of an actual set up. Or better yet see an actual wedding in that church. You wouldn’t want to settle for the “basic flowers” and end up having just ferns and fillers and a few small buds on your aisle come your wedding day. Now if this is not part of the package, ask them if you can hire any florist to set up the church flowers, as some churches have accredited florist and only they can set up. Also, inquire how many hours or minutes are allowed for supplier ingress should they allow you to outsource a florist.

Pianist/ Soloist/ Choir – Ask which part of the ceremony is covered in the package. Some churches have pianist and/or soloists for the entire mass only, not covering the part of the pictorial and recessional. Also, ask for the point person’s contact number so you can coordinate your songs directly with them. If this is not provided, ask if you may hire any musician and if the sound system requirement would also be supplied by the parish.

Ushers/ Usherettes – Though it is a trend nowadays to hire a coordinator, it would also be convenient if there is a point person from the church who would assist the coordinators during the ceremony should a problem arise (i.e mics not working or the gate to the choir area is closed). If there aren’t any ushers provided, will there be a go-to person should urgent assistance is needed.

Lectors/ Commentators – Most churches require the client to provide their own lectors and commentator, while others already got this in the package.

2. Can we have special effects? – Sure we’d like our wedding to be memorable and unique and picturesque, hence the special effects. But before we get so excited with the fireworks during recessional please do ask them if you may have this at their church.

Closed Door – Some churches charge clients for closing the doors for the bride’s entrance. Yes I know it may sound unreasonable, but if their doors are too old and big and heavy, they may need to pay someone to do that, otherwise your petite coordinators would look tormented in the video while she tries her best to open the door for you.

Petals, Confetti, Bubbles, Butterflies – They look really nice in the picture but if you’d be required to clean up afterwards, you may want to opt to not throw anything 🙂 Bubbles, butterflies, balloons, or ribbon on sticks are your other best options

Sky Lanterns and Fireworks – Some cities and municipalities would require you to secure a permit from the Bureau of Fire Protection for these kind of special effects. Check with the church if they are covered by such policy.

3. Are there other (Hidden) charges – The word “hidden” is indicated because there are a few churches that will deliberately have you settle the full payment for the package first before they disclose the “other charges” like per socket charge for electricity, per light unit fee, per ID fee for your photo/ video and coordinator’s team and the list goes on and on. So make sure you ask right away if there’s anything else you need to pay for other that the standard wedding package.

4. Is there a limit for the number of entourage members? – Don’t forget to ask this if you don’t want cutting a few names from the list the last minute. Also ask for the age limit for flower girls and bearers. This way if the minimum age is 6, you have a very good reason to refuse your neighbor who has volunteered her daughter to be one of your flower girls.

5. What can my entourage wear for the ceremony? – Dress code should not only be imposed to entourage members but to guests as well. No need to follow your color scheme, just something appropriate for the event. Of course, we know backless and see-throughs are not allowed, but what actually is their limit to this. How low is the low neckline and how short is a short dress for them.

6. How about…? – These are other items that may or may not be a big deal to couples. It’s your call whether to ask these questions or not. But I guess it wouldn’t hurt if you would.

Bringing your own priest to officiate the event – Do they allow this or not? What are the requirements or documents that you need to prepare to make this happen?

Requested songs – Can you request for any song from the provided musician? Do they allow non-liturgical songs to be played during the bridal march?

Personal Vows – As the name says, it gives your event that personal touch and this is actually one of the moments your guests are waiting for and probably the moment you have been dreaming about, so ask them if you’d be allowed to have a short personal vow for each other.

Offertory – Ask if you are required to offer goods. Inquire for their preferred list of offerings if there’s any.

As for the documents needed, these are given so we didn’t include it in the list, because you would really have to be clear about these otherwise, there won’t be any wedding if you don’t get the requirements right, as simple as that.

So there goes our long list of questions for your parish officer. This maybe a long read, but you’ll definitely have a stress free event if you have taken care of all these important items prior to your event.

Randy and Chem (R+C)

And we’re back with more beautiful wedding stories to tell.  First up, is Randy and Chem’s wedding.  When I met them, I knew that this couple knows what they want, and that they are no dummies in planning events because the groom himself is a corporate event planner. Whew! The pressure is so on! But actually it didn’t feel like that at all. We met several times before the wedding and I only have good memories to keep.

They had a simple ceremony attended by their families and friends. But the bridal walk and the look on Randy’s face as Chem walked down the aisle, the vows they shared, and the presence of their relatives who flew in just for this wedding made it extra special.  The reception was one of the most fun we had been to. Thanks to their host and close friend, John, everybody went home smiling and with their tummies aching from all the laughing. No one was exempted! Even the official photographer, Mot Rasay, played with the bachelors that night. We would recall John’s punch lines for days and still laugh at it. True story.

The evening ended with a spectacular dance number by Randy, Chem and their families. And yeah, we danced Cha-cha too while doing our wrap up tasks. 🙂

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Thanks Randy and Chem for making us part of your beautiful love story. God bless you and your future family.

**Special thanks to Randy, Chem and Framed Up Productions for the photos.

Don and Ivy

If I were to describe Don & Ivy’s story in one word, it would be “inspiring”. I met these two, one afternoon in Makati and we felt comfortable with each other that same day. Don and Ivy from the outside are both beautiful as they are good looking, and are always smiling. But wait till you get to know them. You know that “rags to riches” story in books and movies? – that’s Don & Ivy. They started from almost nothing and then journeyed their way up to success with their diligence, hard work, faithfulness and becoming an inspiration to others. Ivy, was dubbed “Millionaire Missionary” on her feature story in Kerygma Magazine. As we went along with the planning, I realized that more than I helping and inspiring them, it was actually them who inspired me. 🙂

 

Theirs is a wedding a coordinator won’t easily forget. Here are few of the reasons why:

1. It was the first time that all principal sponsors stayed until the end of the program. No need to worry about giving the souvenirs before they leave, or skip the AVP or dances just so those who would need to speak for the couple, would still be there by the time they need to 🙂

2. All friends of the couple danced with them during the after party. It wasn’t part of the actual program, but I guess when their group hears that song, they get on their feet and dance 🙂 It wasn’t choreographed either, but it looked like it 🙂

3. Bumblebee was there 🙂 Too bad I didn’t get to have a picture with it. 

4. Bo Sanchez was one of their Principal Sponsors. Need I say more?

5. Everyone was just nice and sweet like the Don & Ivy.

I’m sure there’s more that their guests can list down on “why Don & Ivy’s wedding was phenomenal”. Because it really was. It was a day full of love, inspiration, faith, family and friends.

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Aliw & Katrina

Kat and Aliw were one of our overseas couples who booked us without even meeting us in person. We only met via Skype and they signed the contract right off the bat. We were thankful that they entrusted us their big day, with only our clients’ feedback as their basis for booking us as their wedding coordinators. They were a very hands-on couple during preps and so as their family. This was one wedding we’re truly thankful for because not only have I met a beautiful couple, I also got to meet their wonderful families.

The wedding day was as fun as the preps. Or must I say, it was more fun because Froilan, the make up artist and a friend in the industry made everybody laugh and loosen a bit. James Limsoc and his team of talented photographers and videographers were also a breeze to work with. I could tell, Kat really enjoyed her photo sessions with the team.

Here are some photos from the wedding shot by the talented James Limsoc and team.

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