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The Latest in Wedding Gowns - Hints of Drama

Take inspiration from the latest in bridal runway

In the international scene, bridal houses were not able to showcase their collections via the traditional runway shows. However they naturally still found ways to share their creations amid the challenge of the global pandemic. Because as we know, love does not stop and weddings cannot be cancelled.

Fashion houses like Amsale, as reported by Vogue.com, gave its clients the option of virtual try-ons. And many bridal dress shops have already adapted to the digital boom brought about by quarantine.

RELATED: Kim and Pochai - London Lockdown Proposal

1. Minimalism continues

Brides already began to embrace minimalism following Meghan Markle’s wedding to Prince Harry, but with the Covid pandemic safety protocols this meant couture (or hand-sewn and embellished gowns) shows could not be done. This pushed forward dresses that highlight beautiful fabric and architectural cuts. It is also fitting for intimate weddings and weddings at home.

RELATED: Mountainside Pre-nup Shoot in Pantabangan

2. Multi-occasion

Practicality has also become a trend at a time when we have all become extra conscious of our expenses and have had to deal with financial restructuring. Galvan created the White Collection, where pieces are multi-use. You can buy a white suit or a sheath dress for your courthouse or as we call it, your civil wedding, and then use it later on for another special occasion. Or the reverse! Perhaps another occasion calls for a white ensemble–who says you can’t wear it to another event before your wedding day? Multi-occasion pieces is a great way to make your wedding more sustainable.

RELATED: This Pandemic Wedding is Fit for Royalty

3. Drama in the details

Didn’t think of wearing a bow at the back of your wedding gown till recently? These exaggerated details add drama to a gown and can become the focal point in the absence of beadwork and embellishment. A mullet skirt for your wedding day? Why not! Brides are also letting loose and including more playful details into their gowns as intimate weddings take a more relaxed tone.

Scroll down to see the latest in international bridal wear for some inspiration!

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Photos from Vogue.com

Amsale Bridal Spring 2021
Amsale Bridal Spring 2021
Amsale Bridal Spring 2021
Amsale Bridal Spring 2021
Galvan Bridal Spring 2021
Galvan Bridal Spring 2021
Oscar De La Renta Bridal Spring 2021
Oscar De La Renta Bridal Spring 2021
Oscar De La Renta Bridal Spring 2021
Galvan Bridal Spring 2021
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5 Things We Predict Will Remain in Weddings

1. Online meetings

Now that we have all tasted what it is like to cut back on running from one place to another for different meetings, wedding industry experts worldwide agree that many couples and suppliers will continue to take advantage of meeting online. Even when it is safe for us to gather, many couples will opt to do their initial meetings online and save face to face meetings for when it is absolutely necessary just to save on time.

Many international wedding suppliers have also shifted and made adjustments to the way they do businesses. Bridal shops in the US, for example, have already made dress shopping available online to the bride’s loved ones–practically anyone who wants to watch the bride choose dresses–and is still currently being done amid loosening of quarantine restrictions.

Cake artists are doing the same. For cake tasting, the couple can be sent a sampler box and the decision can be made remotely or with a virtual consultation. This setup can be a win for both suppliers and soon-to-weds as it saves on time and allows both parties to focus their energies elsewhere.

2. Outdoor weddings is here to stay

Couples and their guests will continue to choose outdoor settings over completely enclosed and indoor settings, even when more and more people are given the go signal to move freely. This is because we are now more aware and have a better understanding of the reality that well ventilated spaces is the safest. Given our weather, perhaps this could set off other trends: choosing cities with cooler climates and more relaxed attire for guests.

RELATED: Dreamy Pre-Debut Portraits Shot in Cebu

3. Livestream services will continue on

Remember it was just a little over a year ago when most of us felt like the intimate wedding sounded like a death sentence? Intimate weddings will be staying on too. And livestreaming weddings will be the option couples will go to if they want to share their big day with hundreds. Of course we have also seen how livestreaming weddings has made it easier for couples to include very important guests who live in another timezone. Instead of flying halfway across the world, logging into a livestream link will likely be the preferred choice of overseas guests even when travel restrictions continue to ease up.

4. Sustainablity and less carbon foot print

Today’s couples are hyper aware of the large amount of daily waste accumulated and making sure they hardly contribute ranks high in their value system. This means that even on what we like to call the biggest day of our lives, there is no resting from making sure that everything is sustainable. Yes, even weddings. Couples are opting for suppliers who understand this value and vision and intimate weddings is also perfect for sustainability.

RELATED: Chic Intimate Civil Wedding and Home Reception

The pandemic has reminded us all of the inescapable reality of taking care of nature which is why couples will continue to make decisions toward a sustainable wedding. Check this story for some tips on how you can make your wedding earth friendly.

5. Shorter engagements

Couples are also becoming bolder in setting a date as soon as possible rather than the pre-pandemic norm of a year long engagement. Perhaps it’s the reassesment of what is important and essential or the intimate wedding not requiring a year’s worth of prep time, but couples want to start their forever as soon as possible. Apart from shorter engagements and couples being unafraid to set their wedding dates as soon as possible, perhaps this means we will also see more couples who will not prolong proposing or the decision to get married.

Is there anything we missed out? Let us know what you think! And share this article to a soon-to-wed or wedding supplier!

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Dreamy Pre-Debut Portraits Shot in Cebu

‘When you envision your pre-debut shoot, let your imagination run wild’

Leila Danielle B. Ramos did not intend on doing a pre-debut shoot to commemorate her eighteenth birthday. She simply wanted a birthday lunch or dinner with her family and for things to be fuss free. But thanks to her family’s prodding, the debutante organized a shoot with Leftfielder Photography where she enjoyed posing in fron of the camera.

“The amount of dresses I had to wear and sample was shocking. I had to learn the basics of how to pose in front of the camera, as expertly instructed by the photographer,” Leila recalls. Her vision revolved around her keyword “dreamy“ and the location, Sirao Garden-Little Amsterdam, was the perfect spot to realize their idea.

Below, Leila talks more about how she planned the shoot, made sure it was safe, and why she is glad to have pushed through with her pre-debut shoot amid the times.

RELATED: Chic Intimate Civil Wedding and Home Reception

What are your plans for your debut?

Initially, I was quite skeptical with the idea of doing a pre-debut shoot. I wanted a simple birthday lunch or dinner with my family; I wanted it fuss-free. But once my family pitched the idea to me, it just happened. Their reasoning was, “Sige lang, you only turn 18 once.”

Tell us about your pre-debut shoot. What was your concept or idea?

The keyword is dreamy! I spent a lot of time mulling over what I wanted to capture and to see reflected in the photos. I communicated my ideas to the professionals, and they sent me photos as suggestions, which would inspire the shoot. We ended up with a magical and dreamy garden theme. Located in Sirao Garden-Little Amsterdam, it was the perfect place with its scenic views and colorful landscapes.

How did you successfully execute your pre-debut shoot? What made you decide to do a pre-debut shoot?

It took a lot of coordination and planning. The amount of dresses I had to wear and sample was shocking. I had to learn the basics of how to pose in front of the camera, as expertly instructed by the photographer. Hair and makeup was planned thoroughly, as well. Since this was an outdoor shoot, we had to coordinate schedules to get the prime time for shooting underneath the sun. Altogether, I was lucky to have a set of professionals who made all this possible; the magicians behind the magic.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Make Your Intimate Wedding Sustainable

I was lucky, too, that my family convinced me to go on with the pre-debut shoot at all. Like I mentioned, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of having my pictures taken and I had my reservations about it. I’m so glad they persuaded me, though. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have this great opportunity to commemorate my 18th birthday. It’s quite the special event, I realize now.

What is your advice for ladies who are planning their pre-debut shoot? How about for ladies planning their debut celebrations at this time, during the pandemic?

When you envision your pre-debut shoot, let your imagination run wild! Take inspiration from everything around you, as long as it’s true to who you are. Try to think: “In ten or twenty years, will I look back at these photos and remember what it was like to be 18?” And when preparing for your debut celebrations, be mindful of what quarantine restrictions are implemented in your location. It can be special just as much as it is safe!

RELATED: Intimate Garden Wedding with a Coffee Booth

What’s your personal highlight as a young lady turning 18 years old? What are you looking forward to?

Turning 18 marks the end of a chapter for me. I realize my childhood has come to a full stop, and it will all remain as memories in my mind. But looking forward, I’m excited for all that is to come, like going to college and building a future for myself. In all honesty, it’s quite scary. I imagine the

adult world involves making a lot of hard decisions and being confronted with difficult situations. Still, I’m lucky because I know my family prepared me well.

Did you find this story inspiring? Share it now!

The Dream Team

Photography: Leftfielder Photography | Hair and makeup: Emi Ayag, Gino Fonghe | Stylist: Style Like Ai

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8 Ways to Make Your Intimate Wedding Sustainable

Sustainable living is no longer a trend for couples getting married these days. For most, it is the norm. Because even intimate weddings can generate quite a bit of carbon foot print.

Event stylists now recognize that going green and eco-friendly is where intimate weddings are going. Here are 8 ways you can make your intimate wedding more sustainable.

1. Thoughtfully use paper.

This is one of the easiest ways you can throw an eco-friendly wedding. Many celebrations now opt out of printing their invitations because they choose to go digital. If you are sentimental and prefer to save a memento or two, you may consider the kind of paper that you will be using. There are many recycled paper and board choices that are already available in the market. Setting up a website with the details, a private Facebook group, or e-vites are other ways you can go paper-less.

Remember that this can also go for other printed material in the course of wedding planning. If it does not need to be printed, opt to store files and paperwork digitally.

RELATED: Intimate Garden Wedding with a Coffee Booth

2. Wear heirloom jewelry.

Proposing with a ring that has been in the family is not only sweet, it is also another step towards an eco-friendly wedding. It does not have to be a diamond if this was not something either of your families had kept. Another way to keep tradition going is by resetting heirloom jewelry and adding in details that would reflect your personality as a couple.

If a conflict-free diamond is your concern, you may also check with your jeweler for certification. Many couples are also opting for substitutes likes Moissanites and Signity Stones which are both man-made and grown in laboratories, therefore no mining takes place. Bonus: it is easier on the pocket and shines just like a diamond!

3. Hire suppliers who understand your vision.

Going green and eco-friendly for your wedding has become a recent trend among couples because sustainability is important to our generation. It can be a challenge to work with suppliers who do not value your desire for a sustainable wedding. When you do find a supplier who embraces your vision, they will be able to bring their creative genius to the table rather than feel limited by your requests.

4. Use potted plants and flowers.

The trend of flower or balloon walls are likely no longer in your mood board if you are going for an eco-friendly wedding, but blooms don’t have to be missing from your wedding altogether. Decorating your tables or focal points with potted plants and flowers is better for the environment than cut flowers, and most especially than cut imported flowers. These pots can double as gifts to your guests.

If you do plan to use cut flowers for your tablescapes, do not forget to go for our local suppliers. Apart vastly reducing your event’s carbon footprint, you are also helping boost our economy.

RELATED: Melissa Ricks’ Intimate Backyard Wedding

Another element you can request for your florist or event stylist to do without are floral foams. This means that flowers may not stand or hold up the way we see in photos, but there is definitely still something beautiful and romantic about how flowers and plants are naturally arranged in reusable vases, jars, and bottles.

5. Skip the confetti during your recessional.

Throwing pre-packed confetti and the traditional rice grains look great in photos but can create quite a waste. If you hope to get this money shot in your album, biodegradable petals or already fallen leaves might be an option to consider.

6. Rent what you can rent.

If items are going to be used only once, consider renting these items instead of buying them. This is especially true in styling and even in clothing. For your styling needs, you may want to either use what you already have in your homes or the reverse–buy new items that you know you want for your future home.

RELATED: Old Shanghai Tinghun for Longtime Sweethearts

7. Forego a new gown.

Buy a secondhand wedding gown or recycle a loved ones’ gown if the bride is willing to part with it. The same can be done for your guests who will likely appreciate not having to spend extra bucks on new attire during a pandemic. Choose to set an attire theme that is easy for all your guests and readily available. Some couples do go for a semi-formal attire but choose a color scheme that does not come by easy, which defeats the purpose because guests still have to source for their outfit. Apart from being eco-friendly, this also lessens the burden loved ones take on when they participate in weddings.

8. Choose edible wedding favors.

Mementos and memorabilias have long gone in weddings, couples are now opting for either useful giveaways or something their guests can enjoy. A recent local wedding gave away a basket full of fresh vegetables sourced from local farmers and it made the rounds on social media. These days when we have learned what is essential and what is not, such a bountiful harvest is more tha welcome.

Did we leave anything out in our list? Let us know by commenting. And share this article to help other couples plan their wedding!

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8 Outdoor Intimate Wedding Venues Metro North

Now that we know that outdoor is always better than indoor, does that mean your wedding venue options must be a drive away from the city? We think not, especially because there is quite a good number of outdoor event venue options within the city alone­–so much in fact that listing them in one article would be too long! So we are breaking them up into zones, especially now that couples are not always looking to going out of town for their intimate outdoor wedding.

Below are eight outdoor intimate wedding options north of Metro Manila, particularly Quezon City. Yes you can still get that Pinterest-worthy garden wedding with any of these venues without having to request for your loved ones to drive too far.

1. Gallery MiraNila by The Blue Leaf

This newly opened wedding venue has become a popular choice among couples who have tied the knot during the pandemic. It has likely come up in your feeds or has been suggested by your wedding entourage because it is easily accessible for guests and is an absolutely gorgeous garden. Gallery MiraNila is by The Blue Leaf group and it is near four churches namely Santuario Del Santo Cristo Parish, St. John the Baptist Church, Mary the Queen Parish, and Santuario De San Jose Parish. Visit Gallery MiraNila by The Blue Leaf to see more of its photos and recent events.

26 Mariposa Street, Quezon City

2. Light of Love Events Place

The secret estate turned events venue is another beloved choice by couples because you get the beauty of a garden wedding without having to travel out of town. In the evening, Light of Love lives up to its name when all its trees are lit with its capiz lights. The venue is spacious enough to host outdoor intimate wedding ceremonies and receptions with social distancing. It also has an in-house caterer which can simplify your wedding planning and is a perk for couples who only have a few months to plan. See more of Light of Love via its website.

1163 Santol Street, Quezon City

3. Blue Gardens Wedding & Events Venue

This venue is just a few minutes away from the popular St. Peter’s Cathedral and boasts of English and French gardens that are great choices for outdoor intimate weddings. It is located at Commonwealth Avenue making it easy to locate for your guests who are from the area. Choose the Upper Gardens or upgrade to Jardin De L’Amour for the medieval old romantic feel. Visit Blue Garden Wedding & Events Venue site for more info.

28 Samonte Street via North Zuzuaregui Road, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City

4. Felicidad Mansion Events Place

Tying the knot in Felicidad Mansion Events Place will give you the warmth of getting married at your family’s ancestral home if you had one. The mansion was built in 1970’s and combines old and modern European architecture. Its fountain is the focal point and a popular backdrop for couple’s entrance and portraits. Opt for its garden for a fully outdoor wedding. Visit Felicidad Mansion Events Place’s site for more info.

2 Baler Street corner Roosevelt Avenue, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City

5. Las Casas Quezon City

Here’s a venue that hardly needs too much styling. La Casas Quezon City has the charm of the Old World and the Philippines’ Spanish heritage, just like its first venture, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, and has quickly become a popular choice among couples for intimate outdoor weddings. You can choose from its four packages, Intimate Weddings, Classic Weddings, Signature Weddings, and Grand Weddings. To know more about Las Casas Quezon City, visit its website.

134 Roosevelt Avenue, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City

6. Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant

This fine-dining French Mediterranean restaurant was always a go-to venue of choice for couples who opted for an intimate wedding pre-pandemic, so you can be sure that Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant knows everything about intimate weddings. Recently it’s also become a favorite of men who want to propose to their lady loves. The newly renovated Terrace is ideal for garden ceremonies while The Garden is favored for outdoor reception venues. Visit Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant’s site for more information.

5 Julieta Circle, Horseshoe Village, Quezon City

7. Sampaguita Garden Events Place

The property popularly known as a former film studio is a leafy enclave at the heart of the city. Many beloved churches and parishes are just a few minutes away from Sampaguita Gardens, which is why the venue is preferred by many couples. Find out more about Sampaguita Gardens via its Facebook page.

36 Valencia Street, Quezon City

8. LoLa Café

Prefer a homier feel like booking a restaurant? Try LoLa Café for its modern take on Filipino favorites and hassle free packages. The Podium Roofdeck is a picturesque outdoor option against the background of beautiful skyscrapers. Parking makes it easy for your guests as they can make use of mall parking. LoLa Café also has a branch in Tomas Morato that matches its modern cuisine. Another option is its S Maison branch, though located in Manila, but has a stunning view of Manila Bay. The Podium and Tomas Morato can accommodate up to 60 PAX at GCQ while S Maison can accommodate up to 80 PAX. Its packages start at P650 per head. For more info, visit LoLa Café’s website.

5/F The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong and 99 Scout Lozano Street, Diliman, Quezon City

Did we leave anything out of our list? Let us know!

Gallery MiraNila by The Blue Leaf photo from Facebook
Gallery MiraNila by The Blue Leaf photo from Facebook
Light of Love Events Place photo from Facebook
Light of Love Events Place photo from Facebook
Blue Gardens Wedding & Events Venue photo from Facebook
Blue Gardens Wedding & Events Venue photo from Facebook
Felicidad Mansion Events Place photo from Facebook
Felicidad Mansion Events Place photo from Facebook
Las Casas Quezon City photo from Facebook
Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant photo from Facebook
Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant photo from Facebook
Sampaguita Gardens Events Place photo from Facebook
LoLa Cafe The Podium photo from Facebook
LoLa Cafe Tomas Morato photo from Facebook
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5 Zoom Bridal Shower Ideas Plus Tips

How to host a fun virtual bachelorette party

Weddings have taken a new form and so have the pre-wedding celebrations. Many of us are opting for virtual celebrations or drive by parties to allow us to keep on celebrating with our loved ones safely. Below are five suggestions to spice up your bridal showers plus tips to ensure that the party is memorable and fun.

1. Take a fitness class together.

You can schedule a fitness class together like beginners’ yoga, zumba, or HIIT. Depending on the budget you can either go DIY such as choosing videos on YouTube or book an instructor to join your video call. Amp up this theme with cute workout tank tops and caps for your guests and the bride. Your kit can also include a refreshing drink or a healthy post-workout meal you can enjoy together.

RELATED: He Planned His Valentine's Proposal Four Years Ago

2. Tap into your creative side.

Painting classes and floral arrangement are other fun ways to celebrate. An activity can make it less awkward for guests who might not know each other yet or are not close. Send kits to make it easy for the guests to participate and to curb any regrets to your invitation. You can ask a florist, a professional or hobbyist artist to lead or teach your group. Another secret to make this kind of party super fun? Make sure their creative kits includes wine or some booze!

3. Sing your heart out!

Karaoke is always a fun option and likely a surefire hit. This kind of bachelorette is best for a guest list of ladies who already have met pre-pandemic or are from one tightly-knit barkada. Pick a playlist theme to make your party extra fun and work it into your food, zoom backgrounds, attire requests, etc.

RELATED: ECQ Laguna Wedding Was Not the Dream–Marriage Is

4. Miss the kink? Go for a movie night.

We’re sure you won’t need a suggestion list from us if you were hoping for the usual bachelorette party, it’s easy to think up of titles! Perhaps a binge-watch of a certain steamy period piece set in London’s Regency era or would work too! This kind of zoom party can be most fun if you throw in the cockails and don’t put yourselves on mute. Interact as if you would if you all gathered in a room together for a movie night!

5. Try a cocktail mixing session.

Speaking of cocktails, why not send the girls a cocktail mixing kit? If your group of gals doesn’t need a program to have fun, then this might be all you need for your bridal shower.

Don’t forget to zero in on the details for a virtual party the same way you would for a physical gathering. Here are some things you might want to think of:

RELATED: Wedding Planners Pro Tips for Intimate Weddings

  1. Choose a theme that honors the bride or the love story of the bride and  groom.

  2. Ask a creative friend to take care of making a special zoom background or a set of backgrounds for all guests. There’s also Canva for those who prefer the simple route.
  3. Don’t forget to arrange for food for the guests! Tip: Cheese platters and finger foods are popular picks for parties such as these that require a bit of logistics since it doesn’t require that it’s freshly made in order for guests to enjoy.
  4. Think of fun prizes if you are playing games!
  5. Have a playlist ready as you’re waiting for guests to arrive or any time during the party. This will help set the tone and remind guests it’s not your usual zoom meeting for work.

Did you enjoy these tips and ideas? Share this article now!

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What About a Drive-By Party?

This might be the next big thing in celebrations

Parties aren’t coming to a halt as we are all finding new ways to celebrate life and milestones. Drive-by Parties might just be the next big thing in the party scene while we are all still navigating our way through these times. Inspired by the drive-by weddings that we’ve seen here and abroad, party organizers and specialists are now incorporating it into other big events such as baby showers and birthdays.

Below are six tips if you are thinking of throwing a drive-by party.

1. Block off a few hours for the party.

Similarly to the usual parties, schedule what time your drive-by starts and ends. If you only have a few cars driving by, you may want to give specific time slots to keep them from overlapping. This will also allow you more one-on-one time with your guests, versus having at least two cars or two families you will divide your attention between. However if you want to keep it short and sweet (no more than 15 minutes if you want to stick to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations), then you can skip scheduling altogether.

Tip: Later in the afternoon might be cooler for both the guest and the celebrant!

RELATED: ECQ Laguna Wedding Was Not the Dream­–Marriage Is

2. Ask your guests to decorate their ride.

This is a new bonding experience for families in the time of pandemic. Decorating their family car so that their loved one sees from afar that they’re approaching is already part of the fun. Families can get creative with this one­–some print photos of the celebrant, tie balloons, create posters–the options are endless!

3. Give your guests something to enjoy as they drive home.

Think of a drive-by party the same way you would a regular party, there has to be something for your guests to enjoy. You would not throw a celebration and not serve food and drinks, right? A drive-by party is the same, you just will not be eating together. But that does not mean you cannot give your friends and loved ones a takeaway bag of food they can enjoy. Just consider what you will be feeding them and how easy it is to eat it in a moving vehicle. No plated meals, here! Think: sandwiches, wraps, and the like. If you want to be considerate, why not include an extra bag for their trash after they eat in the car?

RELATED: Ara Mina and Dave Almarinez’s Palawang Prenup Shoot

4. Decorate your receiving area or the outside of your home.

To give your drive-by party a celebratory feel, try balloon arrangements that are larger than life. Your guests will be able to see it from afar and it will build the excitement. You can also set up your cake, a gift table (again to minimize contact), and a giveaway table for whatever you plan to be sending your guests home with.

5. Don’t forget your documentation.

Again, think of a drive-by party the same way you would your usual parties. You would not skip photography or videography for your milestone events. The same goes with your drive-by party. You will love looking back at this event and the unique way your family celebrated it, whether it was a bridal shower, a baby shower, a birthday party or even a wedding reception.

RELATED: Wedding Planners’ Pro Tips for Intimate Weddings

6. Communicate the safety protocols to your invited guests beforehand.

Let your friends and loved ones know that their safety is a priority. You can remind them that all minimum safety protocols will continue to apply whether or not they go down the car. This might also be a safe option for senior citizens and children to be able to socialize albeit briefly.

If you want to know more about drive-by parties, watch our Love Wins Live Forum Quarantine: Home Celebrations episode featuring Balloonery by Liz and Party Station for more ideas!

Did you enjoy this story? Share it and inspire more people to celebrate safely!

Photos from Events Embassy Manila, @joycepring, and @ballonery.by.liz

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Wedding Planners' Pro Tips for Intimate Weddings

Here’s how you can make your wedding memorable and hitch-free according to the experts

What is the secret to an intimate wedding amid the pandemic? More than a year into the norm of intimate weddings and wedding planners and coordinators have now amassed enough wisdom to share what couples should look out for and remember as you plan your intimate weddings. Of course in many ways, a pandemic wedding has its own unique set of challenges. These include constantly changing restrictions, the health and wellness of celebrants and loved ones, and shifting financial priorities. Add to that the usual wedding concerns of two families coming together and what we have is a recipe for a challenge.

Inspirations.ph asked two sought-after wedding planners on their top tips for wedding planning and what we got are these six pointers that all couples must read. Rhed Sarmiento of Rhed Sarmiento Event Planners and Coordinators, based in Metro Manila, and Agnes Tuale of Dumaguete-based Weddings Exquisitely Designed share their top tips below. Here’s what Rhed has to say:

RELATED: 5 Secrets to a Memorable Intimate Wedding

1. Hire a wedding planner even if your wedding is just intimate. Intimate events during this pandemic have a lot more requirements, such as safety, protocols, testing and etc. If you will handle this by yourself or assign a relative or friend, you might get stressed on the day. Professional planners can resolve issues or problems just in case something comes up.

2. Follow your heart. Even if your event is intimate, follow the things that you want since this is just a once in a lifetime event.

Agnes reflects not just on the past year of weddings with her tips, she also gleans her advise from an entire year of video calls, social distancing, and mask and shield wearing. Agnes says, “If there is anything this pandemic has taught us, it is the power if technology to connect us wherever we may be in the world. While your wedding might not have been the celebration you had envisioned, there are still many ways to make this day memorable and magical.” Below are her four tips:

RELATED: Simple and Romantic All-White ECQ Intimate Wedding

1. If your wedding turned virtual, design a virtual backdrop or change the background to one of your favorite places as a couple.

2. For micro or intimate weddings, request your family and friends who are not able to attend your wedding to coordinate and learn dances to perform over video.

3. Consider having food or cake delivered to family and friends who live nearby who can’t come so you can eat altogether.

4. Always stay one step ahead by keeping directory of your vendor contracts and compile a list of rules about deposits, rescheduling and cancelling, etc. This way you’ll be fully prepared to take any changing restrictions.

Did you find this article helpful? Share it and inspire other couples who are planning their pandemic intimate wedding!

Wedding photo from Weddings Exquisitely Designed Facebook Page

Rhed Sarmiento of Rhed Sarmiento Event Planners and Coordinators
Agnes Tuale of W.E.D. Weddings Exquisitely Designed
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7 Musts for Attending Weddings Online

What are the rules when you're a virtual wedding guest?

A little over a year into the global pandemic means most of us have likely been invited to at least on virtual social event. Livestreaming intimate weddings or incorporating an online aspect is becoming more and more normal and expected. But when you are invited to a virtual intimate wedding, is it the same as being invited physically?

Now that almost all contact with our friends and family is through screens, many of us are putting less of a premium on online events. Should we treat a virtual intimate wedding the same way we would treat a virtual catch up with friends? What is the etiquette? Below are seven musts for attending any virtual event.

1. Check if there’s a dress code and follow it.

Many streamed intimate weddings take the time to document online guests, that means whatever you are wearing to attend their wedding will be part of their wedding photos. The couple will very likely appreciate the time and effort their guests put into preparing for their big day. Another good reason to dress up a bit, if there’s no dress code or if turning on your camera will not be requested by the couple is to hype yourself. The monotony of working from home and quarantining has often made us more lazy to dress up, so we say take every excuse to bust out your special occasion clothes. Who knows when the next one will be? Getting yourself excited for a loved one’s big day can also make up for any sadness you might be feeling for being unable to attend physically. If you are attending as a family, it’s a good time to squeeze in some photos too since you’re already all dressed up!

2. Come on time.

Much like weddings offline, we always make it a point to arrive at weddings on time. It should not be any different for virtual intimate weddings. We understand that it is tempting to, given that you are at home and it only takes a few seconds to open up your computer or setup your device. But consider that this is part of showing your love and respect to the couple who invited you. Plus points, it’s fun to chat with other guests pre-wedding just like you most likely would have done if you were all attending a wedding together.

RELATED: This Couple Had Not One But Two Intimate Weddings

3. Give a gift.

Online wedding invitations often include details on gift requests from the couple. In the same way that our highly connected new normal makes attending weddings easier, so does giving gifts. If the couple requests for monetary gifts, make sure you have their bank or online wallet details. If they have registered or have a wishlist, try to arrange for buying and delivering your gift until two months after the wedding. If cash flow is tight these days, as is the case for most, don’t worry too much about how much to give or the amount of your gift. There are many ways you can still “gift” or bless newlyweds, like sending a home cooked meal to their home once they’ve settled in, or buying small items for the home that’s overlooked in registry but are important. You can also bless them through favors–newlyweds will always be happy to be remembered by their loved ones.

4. Ask before sharing.

Some couples specify whether or not they prefer that their wedding be shared online while it happens. Despite livestreaming becoming a norm these days, there are still couples who will prefer to be the first to announce online that they’ve tied the knot. If this is not spelled out in the wedding invite, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Especially if you enjoy sharing your daily life on social media.

5. Your background matters.

Rule of thumb–consider the same things you would before turning on your camera for virtual work meetings. Can the couple see your face or faces or is it too dark? Can the couple see the other members of your household they might not know personally and might feel awkward seeing when they drop by zoom? Again you may want to consider that if there is a zoom link, it will likely be recorded as part of the couple’s documentation for the big day. So you may want to do away with things you prefer not to be documented forever, a messy room, family members in their house clothes, etc.

RELATED: Sunset Shades for an Intramuros Intimate Wedding

6. Mute yourself.

A standard by now but still worth mentioning. Put your mics on mute when you enter the virtual rooms and wait for instructions from the host if you are allowed to unmute. You may also refer to the wedding program if available, to see if there is any portion of the wedding where you will be requested to unmute and be given a chance to interact with the couple in realtime. Couples have different programs for their virtual weddings which means attending one doesn’t mean you’re likely going to have the same experience for the next one you are invited to.

7. Be fully present.

Being at home means it is easier for us to multitask while our webcameras are turned on. We have practically had an entire year’s worth of experience. But think about how the couple would feel. Put yourself in their shoes. The wedding of our loved ones is worth carving out time in our day and getting rid of all distractions. You would have most likely done the same if you were attending physically, blocking off a day or half a day to attend. Now that you’re likely setting aside less time because there is no travel time and even primping is quicker, there is really no reason for us not to soak up the day with the couple. After all, their wedding is something they put much effort into. It’s still only proper to express our love and support by being fully present even from behind the screens.

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Real Brides and Groom's Tips on Staying Healthy

Apart from planning one of your most important days, staying healthy is just as important to ensure

As if wedding planning isn’t complicated enough, adding the element of a global pandemic makes the task at least twice as difficult. The biggest caveat? That a healthy body and strong immune system is necessary for life in a pandemic. That means cutting back on stress, sleeping well, and eating right–things that are not the easiest to do when you’re planning an intimate wedding!

While it may not be easy, real brides and grooms who’ve tied the knot with intimate weddings during the pandemic shares their advice on staying healthy while doing wedding preps. Because the last thing you would want is for your big day to be postponed because you or your partner fell ill. From making sure to get enough sleep, to minimizing non-essential trips out, here are tips you and your partner can follow to make sure your health is in tip-top shape on your big day.

1. Be faithful with your vitamins and supplements.

Arvin and Kathy Bautista, who were married at Villa Milagrosa say that being consistent with their supplements is one of the ways they played defense against the virus. “Arvin, my family, and I consistently took supplements to make sure our bodies were healthy. We tried to make time for indoor exercises but taking supplements was something we diligently did.”

Chester and Honeylet Chan practiced similar habits. “We bought a lot of vitamins and would take it every day.” Working it into your daily “I love you” and “good night!” sounds like a sweet way to stay healthy together!

Related: Greenery Inspired Intimate Wedding in the City

2. Sleep early. Don’t overglamorize the hustle.

“Being healthy comes with with habits, so we would always remind each other to sleep early,” Honeylet says. This tip can be quite a challenge for us who are juggling our daily responsibilities and wedding planning. Remember that proper sleep isn’t an empty promise. If anything, we do not give it enough credit for its effect on our mental and physical health.

Find out what are the things that’s keeping you from getting the right amount of sleep as well as sleeping at the right time. If you are overloaded with wedding planning, remember that that’s where a wedding planner comes in. And during these times, the investment is definitely worth it especially if it means you do not bite off more than you can chew and it allows you and your partner to be healthy.

3. Quarantine 14 days before your wedding.

This is a difficult one to stick to, especially because there are many last minute changes and errands that often take place as your wedding day approaches. One way you can try this tip is to plot out your quarantine into your wedding gantt chart or schedule. This means that you plan not to do anything outside of your home any more 14 days before, including gown fittings, delivering of gifts, etc.

“As much as possible, we avoided going out in the last two weeks to minimize exposure. We had to say no to important physical events even if close friends invited us,” says Kathy Cua-Bautista.

Other couples make sure to lessen their “risky behavior”, such as dining in restaurants or going to gatherings with those not from their respective households. Again, maximizing your wedding planner or coordinator’s work plays a big role during this period.

Related: Carla Abellana and Tom Rodriguez Reveal Engagement

The Chans share that they were not able to do this because their wedding planning period only lasted 8 weeks. “We had a lot of errands for the wedding because we only had two months to plan. We just wore our masks and were cautious and careful,” says Honeylet. “We would watch the time and day when we would visit places we needed to go to so that we could go when it was not crowded.

4. Monitor your health two weeks before the wedding.

If number 3 is not possible, at least minimize your errands outside of your home and log your body temperature two to three times a day on the days leading up to your wedding. This way you’ll be able to observe if you need to slow down and take it easy so as not to push your body to the limit.

Remember that the goal isn’t just avoiding the virus before or on your wedding, it is also being healthy enough to enjoy your big day! As much as you can, get good rest on the days leading up to your wedding. Delegate tasks to your entourage or your coordinator.

5. Eat healthy.

Always in a rush because of all your responsibilities and tasks? It can be tempting to settle for a quick fix just to check off more things on your check list. But eating healthy is also a simple way to stay healthy. This is another commitment you can do together with your partner. Eventually it will become a habit for your future family.

6. Follow the safety protocols at all times.

Yes we know that it is now common knowledge that safety protocols are non-negotiables. For Atty. Ernest Levanza and his bride Kat, they took this to heart by having customized masks made for their wedding. They also ensured that there was constant reminder of social distancing on the day of their intimate wedding. There’s many picture perfect ways to execute this on your big day.

Related: Cityscape Relaxed Intimate Wedding

Before that however, make sure both you and your partner follow all safety protocols. Do not skip them especially if you are out and about. Always stay up to date with the guidelines of the government and the local government units (LGU) of your wedding venues. Keeping yourself abreast with the guidelines will also help you and your spouse-to-be to host your wedding with confidence.

Planning a wedding during a pandemic has a unique set of challenges but in the past year, we have seen many couples who have conquered it. And they did so beautifully. Your wedding day will come, no matter the curve balls thrown your way. The most important detail, especially for a pandemic intimate wedding, is that you and your spouse to be are healthy and are able to enjoy this momentous occasion.

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