‘Think of your favorite place that matches your love’
For engaged couple Angelo Patrimonio and Jasmine Maierhofer, shooting their pre-wedding portraits was an homage to the bride-to-be’s family. Their picturesque location was Tropicana Castle, built by Jasmine’s dad. “I’m so in love with this resort–no bias. This is the fruit of my father’s hard work and I’m such a proud daughter,” Jasmine says. From a mere four rooms, he expanded the Puerto Galera resort to 60 rooms. “Growing up there really made me feel like a princess and bringing my prince charming there was a dream,” she says.
Below, Jasmine shares the concept for their prenup and their top tips for pulling off an out of town shoot like theirs. The secret? A good wedding planner!
What was your concept for your prenup?
King & Queen in our own love story. Ever since I was young, I’ve been planning on having my bridal scene here in Tropicana Castle. I’m so In love with this resort–no bias. This is the fruit of my father’s hard work and I’m such a proud daughter. I’ve seen the castle grow from four rooms to 60 rooms, 35 years in the making. Growing up there really made me feel like a princess and bringing my prince charming there was a dream.
I’m so excited for my Dream Wedding to finally happen. I’m really happy that my wedding venue is such a dream, I was looking for a place that has a long aisle for my walk and Club Ananda, Sandari Batulao has it. They have a Garden Area for a wedding ceremony, a Waterpark perfect for cocktails, and an Event Hall for an air-conditioned reception. It’s near Tagaytay.
It’s going to be a Christian Wedding and our Bible Study Leader, Pastor Joseph, who happens to have baptized Angelo and I will be the officiant.
Our theme is boho chic. We have Kim Torres Events as our coordinator, Teddy Manuel as our Event Stylist, Reynaldo Santos Jr, as our wedding stylist, Juan Carlo Caterer for our catering and Niceprintphoto for our photo and video. I can’t wait marry the man of my dreams.
Soon-to-weds Emmanuel and Caryl find the perfect fit through Themes & Motifs Live Videos
Emmanuel Belizario and Caryl Capila, like most soon-to-wed couples, have had less time together outside of their homes due to the pandemic. So on weekends, they spend time together by going online and consuming content together. “Because this pandemic has restricted some events, including wedding fairs, watching weekend Facebook live videos have become a bonding activity for my fiancé and I,” says Caryl.
During a recent Exhibitors Live video of Themes & Motifs, a livestream video where wedding suppliers showcase their promos and packages for the online bridal fair, Caryl tried her luck and joined the Hashtag Raffle. “It was pure joy seeing my name as I won the first prize!”
But Caryl took home more than the Tita Witty guestbook, golf umbrella, and face mask. The couple also found their photographers for their upcoming engagement shoot, Greentomato Productions. “In order to claim the prize, I needed to provide my contact details. So I also inquired their rates. Eventually we felt that the team would capture our personalities perfectly so they became one of the first suppliers we booked. We felt comfortable right away,” Caryl says.
Emmanuel and Caryl’s engagement shoot took inspiration from the current K-Drama trend and the couple chose to do an outdoor shoot “for safety reasons”. “We were blessed to have such a cool and chill duo from Pictratto Photography and Greentomato Productions. After our prenup session, we were so kilig and became excited to work together for our big day.
We can’t wait to see your big day too, Emmanuel and Caryl!
'We want to show our love for the mountains and nature'
Jezreel Cillo and Alyssa Katrine Barlis wanted to shoot their engagement photos at Mt. Ulap but due to travel restrictions, had to relocate. The couple, who wanted to show their “love for the mountains and nature” shot at the nearby municipality Pantabangan.
Like most couples, Jez and Alyssa didn’t exactly know what they were doing when the shoot started but were able to let loose thanks to their photo and video team’s direction and encouragement. We were really overwhelmed with results, all we can say was, “OMG, ako ba’ yun?”
Below, Alyssa talks more about the challenges of planning a location prenup shoot at a time like this.
We planned to have a photoshoot in Mt. Ulap, showing our love for the mountains and nature. That was our dream photoshoot because that place is very special to us, however due to pandemic restrictions, we can’t proceed with our dream photoshoot. Baguio was on lockdown and the mountain itself is not accepting tourist.
Any special reason why you selected your theme and/or shoot location? What was the inspiration behind it?
Since we wanted to showcase nature, we have limited options due to travel bans. These locations are the nearest spots since we are residing in Nueva Ecija. Actually, this was just our last option because we also wanted to have shoot in Tanay, Rizal. But as we proceed with the Pantabangan shoot, and it really turned out great!
How were you able to bring the theme to life?
Planning the shoot during these times is kind of toxic, you must need to coordinate the availability of the following: Photo Video Team, Stylist, HMUA, Venue and of course the couple. We also rented a van that will service the Photo Video Team since they are coming from NCR.
Since this is a destination shoot, you must check on the requirements of the location if they need health declaration forms, medical certificates, travel pass or so on. Since our shoot was May 5, 2021, Nueva Ecija was on MGCQ already, but Pantabagan has random checkpoints and requires IDs and swab test results. We had our team tested two days before the shoot.
The team collaborated via FB messenger; it is so helpful during these times especially the planning. We don’t have any script or any pegs to copy, we just really go with the flow, show our natural emotions. There are times that Jeri of Hello Forever Studio will direct us on what to do, where to look, and we are really surprised on the outcome because we are really not used to things like this.
We were really overwhelmed with results, all we can say was, “OMG, ako ba’ yun?”, “Looks like this could be a magazine cover!”, We are now excited for the wedding day!
Share with us your engagement shoot experience.
We really had no idea when we started because obviously, it was our first time! The team gathered early in the morning at Chateau de Corazon. Our first set was inside the Mansion’s library, it was very hot inside so we were very sweaty! We were warming up with our poses since we are still camera shy at this point, but with the help of our photo and video team, we were able to let loose.
We had a mini trekk going to Pantabangan Lake, it is a 15 mins walk from Chateau de Corazon up to the lake. It is downhill, so it is a good thing that Alyssa brought her sandals. As of the moment, Pantabagan lake is really closed, due to some government issues, (they wanted to have entrance fees) but we managed to enter the area via trekking on a mini forest. Yes, make-up on and wearing a gown.
This time, we are already confident with our poses and we just really had fun and we really enjoyed the very beautiful windy view. Though it is super hot because it is noon already. We were sunburnt after the shoot. After that we had lunch, makeup retouch then proceed with the indoor shoot. We channeled our inner Anastasia and Christian Grey. But no joke, we had our choice of song for the video, and we just keep on playing it on our mind.
Shooting inside the Mansion was really hot. We are very glad that we brought our mini fan. This experience was very tiring and it takes a lot of energy. On our way to the last destination, which is Aulo Dam, we had a little snack break because really, we could eat up in a buffet after this. Our stylist, Sassy by Cha, set up a mini picnic-style area where we can shoot and it is so cozy! Again, we just enjoyed the view while having a photoshoot here and the sunset added to the mood. We ended with sparkles at night then packed up. The experience was totally amazing!
What advice or tips can you give to couples planning their prenup photoshoot during this time?
Make sure the team is available on the date
Get all the requirements needed if there are checkpoints
Secure the clothes before the shoot date
Make sure payments are settled
Know the restrictions of the destination
Have yourself groomed or pampered
Workout a little
Preparation for the day itself
Food for the crew (bring extra since this is very tiring and make sure to pack individually for safety purposes)
Bring water (have a water bottle for each person)
Bring medicines and first aid (just in case)
If possible, bring rechargeable electric fans (depends on your location)
Tissue, tissue, and more tissue (for the sweaty you)
Bring nipple tapes or silicone bras, cycling shorts
Bring extra undergarments (just in case you need to get wet)
Bring extra pins
Alcohol and disinfectant, face masks, face shields
Choose your song for the engagement video and align it with your photo and video team ahead of time
During the photoshoot, try singing your chosen song in your mind and then express yourself
Watch engagement shoots in Facebook or Youtube so that you’ll have an idea
While posing, make some jokes to have a truthful laugh or reminisce your past with your partner
Act natural and if there’s a scene channel your favorite movie, or artist.
Remember that this will only happen once in your life so enjoy and seize the moment with your love one!
'We realized that being safe with our loved ones is all that matters'
Achilles Lance Garcia and Danna Go first met as young children during their grade school years. “We became best friends but Aki transferred in high school,” Danna recalls. “We still kept in touch after and eventually became more than just friends. So now we’ve been together for 10 years.”
Planning their ting-hun presented to be a challenge for the couple because their families wished to have 100 guests but the ever changing quarantine levels made it difficult to invite their loved ones in advance. They were only able to finalize their guest list a week before the event. Aki and Danna held their intimate ting-hun on February 27, 2021.
Danna says the couple decided on a theme that fit perfectly with their venue, Canton Road at Shangri-La The Fort. This meant they did not have to bring in too much when it came to styling, a worthy tip to consider for couples planning their ting-hun or wedding–work with what you have. Another way to execute this is to book a venue that already checks off items on your vision board to minimize your styling needs.
Below, Danna talks in detail about their Old Shanghai ting-hun, how they managed the changing guidelines, and what they found to be most important for their ting-hun. Read on!
We wanted it to have an Old Shanghai feel. Since Canton Road's interior was already perfect for the theme, it was easier to make decisions on the styling.
Our non-negotiable was actually the design of the backdrop and the "lighted sanghee" because it sets the mood to the space and it was the focal point of the event. It was nice that we didn't have to think about the whole venue and just focused on the backdrop and ceremony table.
We wanted to take a lot of photos with family and friends so we also didn't want to compromise on the photo and video. It was a once in a lifetime experience to have this event so making sure to document everything is a big deal for us.
Was this your original plan?
When we planned the event, it was Covid season already but it was when business operations were allowed. At first, our families wanted to have at least 100 guests since it was possible to book a venue at the time that was big enough to accommodate guests while social-distancing. In the process of planning, the pandemic was really unpredictable so we decided on downsizing the event.
We didn't encounter a lot of challenges with suppliers because Tinghun Tris (our coordinator) helped us a lot during the process. The one thing we had a hard time with was inviting guests. It was really unpredictable because we couldn't foresee if the pandemic would get better or worse so our guests weren't really sure if they wanted to go or not. Of course, we understood the circumstances and didn't want to pressure them to give us an answer right away. We were not able to finalize our guest list until a week before the event.
How did you handle the challenges?
In the end, we decided to downsize the guest list to 50pax only since this was the safest option. We also conducted Antigen swab testing for all guests and suppliers who were attending the event.
It was the first time we saw all our family and friends since the pandemic so it was definitely an event to remember. We also realized that even though it was an intimate event, the presence of our loved ones and the ones that made time for us is all that matters.
Do you have advice for couples planning their ting-hun?
Prioritize what's important to you and let go of what you can't control. If you're planning an event at this time, being flexible is the way to go. Stressing over little things isn't worth it. We realized that being safe with our loved ones is all that matters and that an intimate event isn't that bad at all.
Ara Mina and Dave Almarinez’s engagement session at Culion, Palawan is giving us itchy feet! The couple shot at Sunlight Ecotourism Island Resort with Nice Print Photography, who also shot their proposal. Renowned stylist Gideon Hermosa was also part of both the couple’s proposal and prenup photoshoot, as well as wedding planner Christine Ong-Te.
Ara Mina is an actress and singer and Dave Almarinez is the president and CEO of the Philippine International Trading Corporation. Here are three things we loved about the couple’s shoot:
1. Gorgeous location – Easily at the top of the list, especially at a time when most of us are confined to our homes and only able to see the beach through old photos or our wallpapers of our devices. The couple chose a picturesque location for their backdrop, which means all other details don’t need to make big statements.
Bonus: a local destination is great for boosting the economy and is an instant vacation!
2. Bridal inspired – Ara’s outfits seemed to have taken inspiration from the quintessential bridal shade, white. This gave some photos a wedding portrait feel. Wearing wedding dresses to engagement shoots is often done by couples in surrounding countries. Doing so can add to the number of wedding portrait shots you can keep as memorabilia after your wedding. It’s also an easier dress code to prepare for and think of if you’re going to DIY your engagement shoot styling.
3. Whole day affair – Since Ara and Dave took time to fly to Palawan for their shoot, the couple made the most of their trip with daytime, magic hour, and evening shots. If you want to do something similar for your engagement shoot without having to stay over night at your location, you can start your shoot mid-afternoon and end early evening.
Look no further than your favorite dates for your engagement session just like this couple
Jay Tulao and Hanna Liwag’s love story is calm and consistent. They naturally transitioned from talking for months, to meeting up for coffee and workout dates, to officially becoming a couple. Jay proposed to Hanna with the help of her cousins and pretended the weekend beach trip was an errand he had to run for his mom. As they prepare for their intimate wedding, the couple decided on an engagement shoot theme that showed their usual activities as a couple: coffee and working out.
Below, Hanna shares the secret to enjoying a photoshoot session for a couple who “tends to be awkward in front of the camera.”
Tell us about your love story.
We were talking for about five to six months before we decided to finally meet up in person. A once a month meet up became every other week and onto a weekly thing spent over coffee, movies, food trips, working out at the gym, a yoga class, a run, a bike ride. He was consistent. After 2 years of dating, we officially became a couple.
How did he propose?
On a weekend beach trip to Batangas with my cousins, he had this alibi of needing to make a side trip to their family's house in Tagaytay to take a drone shot of the property for his mom. She has not visited the place since the volcano eruption and the start of the pandemic so he needed to take photos and videos to take back and "report" to her. Turns out, he had the proposal planned at the roofdeck of the house with the drone shooting the whole thing.
What was your idea or concept for the engagement shoot?
We wanted something simple, light and easygoing, nothing too formal nor "scripted". We both love coffee and working out together so we zeroed in on these ideas in coming up with the shoot.
Was there any challenge in doing a prenup shoot?
We kept the shoot simple, taking in consideration the logistics put into it. We were lucky that our venues were all nearby so it did not pose as a challenge for us.
What are your tips for couples getting married when it comes to planning and executing an engagement shoot?
Our coordinator did a really good job in booking the place for us and guiding us through preparations. She rallied us in keeping a schedule, making sure to remind us of the things we needed to bring and making sure everyone was well fed.
It is also important to convey to your photo team about the look and feel you are going for while also allowing them to showcase their signature style. Doing research, creating a mood board and making an ocular to the venue/s allowed us to properly prepare and optimize our time. We didn't get a stylist but did a dress rehearsal and practiced posing too as we both knew that we'd tend to be awkward in front of a camera.
Gideon Hermosa styled the proposal setup, an ocean of various white blooms and candle light. Tom Rodriguez got down on one knee to propose and kissed Carla’s hand. He also gave her a bouquet of red roses after he proposed. TomCar, as their fans fondly call them, have been together for six years.
Tom posted this Pablo Neruda quote for his engagement announcement, “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this…”
Tom recently guested on GTalk TV Show on YouTube before the couple announced just before their engagement and when he was asked when he would ask for Carla’s hand in marriage, he replied, "We never know. When we’re ready—people might know and you never know if it’s already happened or not."
Tom and Carla spoke to Inquirer in January about their pandemic experience, sharing that it was all new to them because they were more accustomed to not seeing each other frequently. But being quarantined together meant they were together all the time. Like most couples locked down together, the actors face their fair share of challenges including balancing household chores with working from home without the advantage of a production staff which meant they had to upgrade their equipment.
Carla said to Inquirer, ““The pandemic tested us. We learned a lot from each other. I would say that our relationship became even stronger.” When dealing with misunderstandings she said, “We give each other time. That’s how it has always been for us, even before the pandemic. We’re quick to reflect and apologize. We don’t let such things go unresolved. We talk about them, because we don’t want to end the day on a negative note.”
We can’t wait to see what the TomCar wedding is going to look like! What's your guess–garden, beach, in the city? Congratulations and best wishes, Tom and Carla!
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Chester Chan and Honeylet Lim spent only two months planning their wedding and for their prenup photoshoot, the couple decided on a simple and timeless concept. Thankfully, it was also easy to execute and well suited to the times. Shooting inside a studio requires less coordination than location shoots, a wise choice for couples with short timelines.
Below, Honeylet talks about their concept, how they shot safely, and tips for planning your engagement shoot:
What was your concept?
I wanted something really simple and classy so I decided to have a Korean-inspired prenup shoot. It was also a bonus that almost all of our photos were shot inside a photo studio. My make up was fresh the whole time.
How did you follow safety protocols?
The studio we rented (Studio Blanc) was really thorough with their safety protocols. Everyone was encouraged to wear masks the whole time. Also, they sanitize the whole studio every after shoot so everyone is safe. Only a limited number of people per shoot were allowed to be inside the studio.
"Our engagement shoot was really unforgettable in spite of the changes brought by the pandemic"
For engaged couple Carmelo Guino-o and Precious Mae Tacolod, their gowns and polos were packed and ready for their Siargao engagement shoot when the pandemic hit. “I was really excited because it’s our dream. We have been there twice before and we fell in love with Siargao’s beauty. I already contacted my suppliers and booked tickets going to the island because I was so excited. But when Covid hit, it seemed like all my dreams were shattered,” Pres says.
A beach photoshoot was their non-negotiable–Carlo is a surfer and Pres loves the beach as well. The couple also felt their numerous beach trips built and strengthened their relationship. So they relocated their shoot to Davao Oriental, a three-hour drive from their home city, Davao City.
“Our engagement shoot was really unforgettable in spite of the changes brought by the pandemic. It was really one of the best experiences with Carlo. We enjoyed every hour in nature, and I saw how Carlo enjoyed the shoot while surfing.”
Here’s their advice for couples planning their engagement shoot:
As a couple, plan your theme together. It would be better if you find common ground in your chosen concept. It may be one of your hobbies or interests.
Let your photographer and videographer know what you want. Inform them of your plan and provide them with explanations as to why you have chosen the concept.
Book your suppliers in advance. Even during the pandemic, suppliers are still busy doing intimate weddings.
Carefully plan your wardrobe. It’s better if both of your outfits match each other’s.
Enjoy every minute with your partner and just be yourself in front of the camera.
Visit Themes & Motifs to get great deals discounts and finding the best suppliers in the country!
Nature lovers, Johnlee Luces and Melanie Bernabe, wanted less props and more of the natural surroundings to do the talking for their pre-wedding shoot. The twosome and their team hiked up to Treasure Mountain in Tanay, Rizal to witness the heavenly sunrise amid the fine morning mist. What followed was a romp through a field of flowers and a stop by a cozy nipa hut, showing the beauty and simplicity of a paradise just a few hours from Manila. –Marielle Ong
Photography by GJ Esguerra Photography courtesy of Johnlee Luces and Melanie Bernabe