Weddings That Inspire

Japanese Inspired Intimate Wedding Weekend in Cebu

'We made it a wedding weekend so it can also double as a beach getaway for our guests'

Craig Brendon Samson and Rae Sharlene Legaspi studied in the same high school in Cebu but only met when both were studying in Manila for college. Their friendship blossomed into romance only when they met again back in their hometown.

Craig and Rae initially had the usual wedding in mind–around 350 guests at an events place near the church of their choice. But when they shifted their plans to an intimate wedding, they also came up with the idea of doing a wedding weekend. Their ceremony and an intimate family dinner was scheduled on Saturday, February 20, 2021, and their reception of only 40 pax was scheduled the next day. The couple decided on a two-day celebration to cut down on the amount of people they would be inviting to one room and also to allow their friends to have a bit of a getaway.

Below, Rae talks to in detail about their wedding weekend:

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Describe to us the vision you had for your wedding.

Mactan Shangrila was not our first venue, we actually decided to change at the last minute because of COVID-19. I initially did not have a theme. What was more important was planning a safe wedding weekend. We had decided that the ceremony plus immediate family dinner will be on Saturday and Sunday would be the reception with friends (40pax). We made it a wedding weekend so it can also double as a beach getaway for our guests. So our friends actually checked in already by Saturday ahead of our Sunday reception.

I had a lot of help from my stylist for the theme. Wild Reverie was my stylist and they helped me come up with our final theme: oriental bohemian. I did not like the usual floral styles (not a big fan of flowers) or those over-the-top styles, I only wanted something simple yet unique. Wild Reverie incorporated a lot of wabi-sabi elements into the theme and used Japanese style arrangements for the flowers.

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How was it different from your original plan?

Our original plan was to have around 350 guests,and to have the reception at Vivace Events Center in Ocean Park Cebu, right beside the church. We had to adjust. From just one day, we made our celebration two days so that we would not have too many people in a room. We scaled down our guest list to just 40 pax on the second day reception. We also did not have the usual entourage for the church ceremony anymore. We asked our close friends to stand in as the necessary ones needed: principal sponsor (just a pair), secondary sponsors, and offertory only. We did not have bridesmaids, groomsmen, and more principal sponsors as we thought it was just not necessary at this time. 

What were some of the challenges you encountered in your wedding planning?

Just making sure that all our guests and suppliers are all Covid free leading up to the event and also checking up with all our guests after the wedding. Since we were a small group, we were able to keep track of everyone as we quarantined and took swab tests after the wedding. Thankfully, everyone was negative. Planning a two-day wedding as opposed to the usual one day was also quite challenging but our suppliers and our coordinator made it all hassle-free.

A few days before the wedding, we also had to deal with an incoming typhoon and a sudden liquor ban. We initially planned to have an outdoor reception for day two but had to move it indoors.

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How did you handle these challenges?

Just let go and accept that not everything will go 100% according to plan. And most importantly, just remember to enjoy everything.

Tell us how you felt on your big day.

I was just glad to finally get married and get all the planning over with! It was a big relief. Everyone also enjoyed, so that was good.

Do you have advice for couples planning their wedding?

Keep your guest list small and intimate, make sure to remind your guests of the safety protocols, check up on everyone before and after the wedding, and enjoy. What is most important is celebrating your marriage together with your loved ones.

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The Dream Team

Coordination by Joan Lapus of Belle Mariée Weddings | Photography by Leftfielder Photography | Videography by Franz Arrogante | Styling by Wild Reverie | Bride, groom, and family outfits by Mike Yapching | Band: Music Avenue Cebu | Makeup by Jomer Arances | Venue: Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu



@photographedbyphoebe by Wild Reverie, courtesy of Rae Legaspi Samson
@photographedbyphoebe by Wild Reverie, courtesy of Rae Legaspi Samson
@photographedbyphoebe by Wild Reverie, courtesy of Rae Legaspi Samson