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.
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:
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.
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Wedding photo from Weddings Exquisitely Designed Facebook Page
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.
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.
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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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!
“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.
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.
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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Photo is for illustrative purposes only. Courtesy of unsplash.com.
Bring in the inflatable pool, beach beds, and scooter!
What do you do when you can’t visit the beach for your child’s first birthday? You bring the beach to you! That’s what Arnold and Lesley Cua did to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday and dedication. Alonn Celeste Cua turned a year old and celebrated with an intimate birthday party with family and friends.
Alonn’s party was held at Kandle Café and styled by JAMPL Designs and Events, a business her mom Lesley just started with her friends. A “chill beach vibe” was their theme and the outdoor area of the café was decorated with inflatable pools and makeshift beach beds.
Lesley says they prepared for Alonn’s party by first creating a group on social media with all their guests. “We made an event group with reminders and rules for safety protocols, and RSVP.” They required guests to wear face masks and face shields and provided temperature checks at the café’s entrance. The Cuas also made sure there was a lot of space both at the indoor and outdoor areas.
Another detail the Cuas did to ensure the safety of their guests was to serve the food in packed sets and to provide alcohol sprays everywhere. “At first it was awkward, even though the guests were mostly family and we see each other weekly,” Lesley recalls. “But when the program started, we started to enjoy the celebration.”
Lesley says, "Arnold really wanted to celebrate the first year milestone despite my hesitation. We talked about it, weighed the pros and cons, and eventually settled with a number. We made sure there were lots of safety rules and most especially trust in the Lord."
She adds, "We felt that Alonn's first year was not something we could bring back. The celebration was actually for us as parents, to experience and capture so we have documented memories we can share with her. We are also fortunate to have a place my family owns so we felt comfortable and safe because we could control every aspect of the party."
When it comes to hosting a party, here's what mommy Lesley had to say: “I highly recommend a place you can reserve for your own use.Pack meals so there’s less contact with employees. And create a seating arrangement, have it prior to the event for contact tracing.”
See the photos of Alonn’s chill beach vibe part below!
Just an hour and a half away from Metro Manila and already offers intimate wedding packages with Juan Carlo the Caterer
After almost a year of not seeing each other due to the COVID19 pandemic, wedding planners, event stylists, and other Philippine wedding industry big shots trooped to Lipa City, Batangas on the invitation of Juan Carlo The Caterer. The event was to launch the exclusive partnership of Juan Carlo the Caterer and The Old Grove Farmstead and their intimate wedding packages.
The Old Grove Farmstead is located in Lipa City, Batangas, a mere hour and a half drive from Metro Manila. Thanks to the new Skyway Stage 3, this trip is a breeze even if you are coming from the northern side of the Metro on the tip of Quezon City. The sprawling events venue can be seen from the STAR Tollway, another blessing of the highway that traverses the Southern Tagalog region which makes commuting to this part of countryside a pleasant experience. The lush greenery along this highway is a much welcome sight for city dwellers’ tired eyes and COVID19 pandemic weary spirits.
There are two main architectural features that will draw you to the charming The Old Grove Farmstead. First is the windmill. Yes, a windmill that looks very much like the iconic trademark of Holland. Just about the same size, the windmill in The Old Grove Farmstead is nestled on verdant grounds with white fences and where sheep and ponies graze and ducks, geese, and other fowls feed. The scenery is straight out of a rustic farm wonderland. Truly the perfect setting for the Philippine weddings’ finest and brightest creative minds to unwind.
The other architectural feature to note is the big and imposing red barn. This is The Old Grove Farmstead pièce de résistance for weddings and other events as it offers a covered event grounds that can accommodate intimate wedding celebrations or any party of about 400 guests during non COVID19 pandemic times. The interior is a blank canvas that is a dream for any event sylist as it allows the barn to be transformed into any theme desired by the celebrants. For the launch of the Juan Carlo The Caterer and The Old Grove Farmstead partnership and intimate wedding packages, the theme was barnyard chic. The overall look and feel at the launch was barnyard fabulous.
The sprawling The Old Grove Farmstead property is a destination itself perfect for farm, barnyard, rural, provincial, or rustic-themed events. Or maybe even just for a relaxing family picnic or a romantic date, a respite from COVID19 pandemic concerns, where you can savor the lush greenery and scenic rustic scene that remind you of how tranquil and peaceful life can be under a blue sky and a gentle breeze that seem to carry your cares away. Imagine farm animals you can feed and a small picturesque lagoon where you can row a boat and while away time. It’s picture perfect and the venue has been booked for prenup photo shoots and fashion pictorials precisely because of this. With Juan Carlo The Caterer’s all-in intimate wedding packages, we see a lot of rustic-themed weddings happening here.
Juan Carlo The Caterer left no stones unturned to make sure that their guests, big names in their own right in Philippine weddings, will have a fun time at the launch of their partnership with The Old Grove Farmstead and of their intimate wedding packages. While a lot of their guests were understandably from the Batangas, Laguna, and Cavite areas, some of their industry partners from Metro Manila and as far north as Bulacan were also invited.
The welcome drinks of summer coolers and Juan Carlo The Caterer’s signature popsicle-in-fruit punch quenched away our thirst especially coming from a long drive from our side of Metro Manila and away from COVID19 pandemic worries. Seeing friends, wedding industry colleagues, and the warm welcoming smiles of Alex del Rosario, Chairman & Founder, and JC del Rosario, AVP of Juan Carlo The Caterer instantly shifted our gears to party mode.
The grazing table was a sight to behold. And double joy of a feast to partake. The awesome spread of oysters, tahong (New Zealand mussels), cold cuts, nuts, dates, cheeses, vegetables sticks, flat bread, and mini burgers was a such visual delight that will make your mouth water by just looking at it. But was it delicious? Of course! It’s Juan Carlo The Caterer.
The interior décor of Gideon Hermosa, one of Philippine weddings’ creative geniuses, was something else. The combination of farm fruits in crates, candles, votives, orchids, and other blooms was postcard pretty barnyard chic at its finest. Three long tables with fragrant centerpieces dominated the room accented by faux trees to give the place a cozier outdoorsy vibe. Juan Carlo The Catarer’s party souvenir of Batangas tablea, honey, and kapeng barako packaged in a crate box with a sliding cover was a pleasant surprise that greeted the guests upon being seated.
The food was great. But that’s a given of any Juan Carlo The Caterer’s event. The plating was superb. Another given. It was fancy hotel dining experience in a remote setting such as The Old Grove Farmstead. And for this event, Juan Carlo The Caterer did not disappoint.
Morissete Amon, herself a soon-to-be bride, dazzled and mesmerized the Philippine wedding industry guests with three Trina Belamide/Regine Velasquez collab songs (You Made Me Stronger, Shine, and Reason Enough For Me) and encored with the Mariah Carey remake of the Jackson 5 classic I’ll be There with the 3rd Avenue lead vocalist.
To help ensure the safety of their Philippine wedding industry guests, an antigen swab test area was appropriated and guests were requested to be tested before they can proceed to the event grounds. While everyone in the party grounds tested negative for the COVID19 pandemic virus, reminders of the minimum IATF safety protocols of wearing masks and physical distancing through beautifully styled themed signages and announced by the event emcee every so often. This is an idea an intimate wedding party of any celebration in this time of COVID19 pandemic can adopt.
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If you’re yearning for more ways to bond with your S.O. safely at home or are merely looking for more reasons to lure him into your newfound love for K-Dramas, consider this short list. Some of these may be a rewatch for you, especially if you’ve been around the K-Drama block for a while. But we’re sure that if your fiance will join for the next round, there will be no qualms in watching any of these with your man.
Below are five K-Dramas you might want to try for your next date night or when you want to get your mind off wedding planning. Here’s a tip: Start the first episode with your favorite K-eats!
Thinking of wedding souvenirs your guests will truly appreciate can be tiresome, and it would admittedly be easier to just go with the usual suspects. However since weddings have shifted since the pandemic, so have our habits and what we think is important. Souvenirs that just take up shelf space in homes are definitely out of the question. And we believe, so are souvenirs that are far too luxurious. Here are five giveaways we’re sure your guests will appreciate even after your wedding day:
1. Formal face masks – Weddings these days are giving formal face masks their entourage or loved ones can wear to the wedding. If your wedding party is small, you may consider sending them face masks that will suit their formal or semi-formal wear. Choose neutral colors like champagne, gray, silver for the ladies and dark gray or black for men. Plus points if your mask includes filters. Make sure to send it to your guests before the wedding if you wish for them to wear it to your wedding. Check out The Masq Collection.
2. Sanitation kits – What’s a better way to remind your guests to practice safety protocols than to provide them with everything they need on the day? Some local government units require hosts to provide guests with sanitation kits. You can either personalize it per guest or add details of your wedding designs, such as your monogram. You can also put a cute message such as this sample from Etsy, “Spread love, not germs.” We suggest 70% ethyl alcohol, just as Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.
3. Abaca fans – This giveaway may seem ordinary and run-of-the-mill but at a time when ventilation is important, having a fan handy at all times is very useful. Another advantage: since many are opting for outdoor events, a fan can also keep us cool or help give shade during the day. Since this will remain with your guests after the wedding, consider personalizing each one to make your guests feel how much you appreciate their physical presence.
4. Indoor plants or succulents – Since everyone has grown a green thumb during the pandemic, giving away indoor plants or succulents will surely make newbie plantitas and plantitos happy. You may also think about giving herbs if it reflects your personality as a couple better. A cute tag like “Let your love grow” as in the photo below would look great.
5. A jar of Kisses – Okay, this sounds a bit ordinary but with the right tag it becomes perfect for a pandemic wedding. Attach “Socially Distanced Kisses from the Newlyweds” and your guests will love the pun as well as something sweet as they head home from your party.
Scroll down to see the photos!
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Because you cannot over-communicate these in a pandemic–but you can definitely do it with style
Ensuring that our wedding celebrations are observing safety protocols is now a given for all couples. If you haven’t thought long and hard about how to enforce safety protocols on your big day, here’s our friendly reminder: it is prudent to expect that your guests will likely find it difficult to follow all the protocols at all times. With this mindset, you can plan for “the worst” while “being hopeful for the best.”
First things first, hiring a wedding coordinator is one of the best decisions you can make particularly when it comes to observing safety protocols. This saves you and your relatives from having to remind family and friends to wear their masks properly and to observe social distancing.
Another trend we’ve seen in Covid weddings around the world is displaying reminders around the venue, similar to the signs we see in establishments today. Of course these signs are getting a bit of an upgrade to be wedding-worthy.
Below are 7 signs we found online and available for purchasing on Etsy. Simply buy the file, download, and have it printed! Our tip: print more than one sign and display in different “high traffic” areas.
Scroll down to see the signs! Links to respective Etsy shops below.
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Relaxed, informal, bold colors, and big announcements
We’re not sure if we’ve said it yet, but we at Inspirations.ph absolutely love intimate weddings. And we love how, now that this is the way to go, couples and wedding suppliers are running with it and making weddings just as meaningful and as beautiful. Here’s our prediction of 2021 wedding trends, some are already being done by couples right now while others are just about to be all over your news feed and mood boards.
Scroll below for 11 trends you can include in your wedding!
Which of these 11 wedding trends are you doing for your wedding? Share this article to let other couples know what’s trendy in 2021!