Spotlight On

Spotlight On Bela Maraña Makeup

Bridal makeup shouldn’t mean altering the appearance

By Marielle Ong

Main photograph by Gabatan Digital Gallery | Makeup by Bela Maraña | Hairstyle by Wella Basbas | Gown by Marsha Berbon | Jewelry by A. Bernardo's Jewelry | Model: Laurice Trasmaño-Lopez

Bela's photo by Mark Vitasa

For some celebrants, their milestone occasion is the perfect opportunity to take on a massive transformation for just one special day. But bridal fair top-booking makeup artist, Bela Maraña, adheres to the belief of staying true to your own personal brand of beauty. Read on to see why she makes a convincing case. 

The Real Beauty Philosophy

Bridal makeup shouldn’t mean altering the appearance,” Bela stresses. “It should just enhance what’s already there.” And even if there might be a few areas that could do with a spot of concealer, the goal is still to cover up in the lightest possible way. Too much makeup comes across as cakey and flat, a big no-go in the era of HD photo and video. You can see Bela's latest shoot with here.

For a debutante’s makeup, I don’t like making them look more mature,” she confesses. “I want to maintain that youthful look they already have.” Additionally, this artist enjoys working on her clients’ eyes. She places importance on the fact that emotions can be felt from looking at the eyes alone. It’s a powerful statement-maker that deserves more attention. 

Related: Dress Up Your Bridesmaids For Your Zoom Wedding

The Fresh Feels 

It seems that the trend is shifting towards a more simplified version of glam these days. Bela observes, “Most of my brides and debutantes want fresh makeup looks. Clients want natural-looking base that still manages to hide imperfections.” Bela achieves this with the help of some airbrushing. While it provides a full-coverage base, it also feels lightweight on the skin and lasts all day. For eyes, smokey neutrals and warm color palettes are frequently requested. Bushy, natural brows are ideally paired with those peepers. 

For a dose of star power, Liza Soberano, Nadine Lustre, and Kathryn Bernardo are the fave pegs of clients. Bela, on the other hand, loves Megan Young’s wedding makeup. The light and simple look has a timeless appeal. 

Building Good Habits 

In anticipation of the big event, there are a couple of habits a celebrant can pick up to achieve good skin. Starting a pre-bedtime skincare ritual, including eye cream, moisturizer, serums, etc. will help improve your skin while you snooze. For daytime, be religious with sunscreen application. Try to get six to eight hours of sleep, if possible, for the entire week before the big day. And as for the major no-no, stop getting facials a month before. It’s possible that your skin may suffer a reaction, especially if you were not getting regular facial treatments to begin with. 

Right before your makeup artist arrives, Bela recommends washing your face with ice water to invigorate the skin for a fresher canvas. 

End the night right 

Finally, the time comes to remove the makeup. Bela emphasizes the importance of being slow and deliberate. “Take your time,” she says. “Double cleanse starting with an oil-based cleanser followed by a facial wash. Remove any leftover makeup with a cotton pad soaked with micellar water.” Rest up, but never forget to take it all off. 

Contact Bela Maraña through her Facebook page, @belamaranamakeup, or email at [email protected]; +63 977 383 3769.

Photography by Randolf Evan Photography borrowed from Bela Maraña Makeup Facebook Page
Photograph by Primatograpiya Studio borrowed from Bela Maraña Makeup Facebook Page
Bela Maraña started in 2015. | Photographed by Mark Vitasa
Hair & Make Up Artists by: Bela Maraña Makeup
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Spotlight On: Splendido Hotel, Garden Venue

By Marielle Ong

Photographs by Studio 1 Photography

A wedding celebration might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a golf course and country club, but Splendido Taal’s charming location and idyllic countryside feel will make a believer out of anyone. Allow us to inspire you:

A Garden Sanctuary

Picture a well-manicured lawn surrounded by trees, soft sunlight filtering through the branches. A nearby lake sparkles in the background, the very picture of serenity. Parque Al Lago is a beautiful venue for an outdoor, garden-themed wedding. The wide, open space can be transformed into a ceremony venue, cocktail setup, or dining area. All it takes is a little imagination.

Simply View-tiful

Another way to get the al fresco experience for a more intimate party is to host your event at the Ladera Veranda. The space has a picturesque view of the Taal lake. It’s the perfect balance of the great outdoors and the Golfer’s Lounge’s exterior.

Related: Promise Wedding: Marry Now, Party Later

Great Indoors

For an indoor event, imagine a high-ceilinged space with Spanish design elements. Wood-paneled ceilings and entryways add a relaxed warmth to the ambiance. A fireplace and Spanish tile accents create a cozy cottage feel. You can enjoy the all-weather area with your nearest and dearest at the Ladera Lounge.

In Close Company

An intimate indoor affair will thrive in La Esquina. The modern, minimalist interior looks fantastic with a contemporary rustic theme. But sky’s the limit on the ways you can plan and play with your big day’s motifs.

Related: Star in Your Own K-Drama: SilverMoon Studio

Food for Thought

Once you’ve picked out a venue, it’s time to talk cuisine. Ladera Catering, Splendido’s in-house culinary service, creates sumptuous Spanish-Medittarenean and Filipino dishes that encapsulates the Tagaytay dining experience. You and your guests will be tempted to dig in right away.

Scroll down to see photos of a wedding spread and setup at Splendido Hotel!

Forward this to a friend planning a garden wedding!

Photo & Video Company by: Studio 1 Multimedia Productions Inc.
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Star in Your Own K-Drama: SilverMoon Studios

Korean fairytale photography comes to Manila

By Marielle Ong

Dreamy, ethereal, romantic. When you look back on the memories of your engagement and wedding, it’s that excitement of being swept off your feet that will immediately bring you back to those very special days. And while love is all around when you’re feeling it, having a stunning ambiance does add a complementing aura to those photos. Hannah Patriarca of SilverMoon Studio paints us a picture of how they make things more magical.

The One-Stop Shop

Before there were exotic destinations to traverse with the prenup/wedding photographer, there was the photo studio to capture the happy couple’s formal best. But in an age where the demand has shifted towards a more unique look, how does the standard photog home base evolve to retain its relevance? This particular studio has a finger on the pulse.

SilverMoon Studio is the first and only indoor and outdoor studio in the Philippines,” explains Hannah. “You can shoot with any weather condition. You won’t be restricted by the time of day or [the hassle of moving around from location to] location.” So if practicality is a major factor in organizing your shoots, look no further. Plus points: Now that it might be a while before we do international travel again, shooting with SilverMoon Studio is a safe way to achieve those pegs!

K-Style Sweetness

There is a distinct appearance to the photos produced by SilverMoon that reflects the SoKo style of wedding photography. It’s a minimalist approach that puts the focus on a natural-looking environment. (Most notably, the studio has a cherry blossom garden setup that looks straight out of a Koreanovela wedding scene!

Related: MECQ Bride Says: We Never Felt It Was a Downgrade

The photographer and director, who are from Korea, then take into account the more technical requirements of getting gorgeous shots such as the choice of lens, the placement of natural light, and the time of day. And while trends may come and go, the team always makes sure to address the fundamental needs of a good photo: suitable composition and lighting.

Simply Happy

Because less is more, props and decorations can take a backseat. “We observe the body language, facial expressions, general good vibes, and contagious smiles,” reveals Hannah. They take their cue from those factors to immortalize those natural, unguarded moments and then some. As for posing like seasoned pros, well, the team also provides ideas on the best poses for each layout.

Smooth Shootin’

Even though many are used to projecting and flexing for their IG feeds, a pro-level photo session can still make even the most socmed-savvy subjects a little nervous. The solution is to get to know the studio and its facilities for better preparation. “Before we put our clients in front of the camera, we like to give an overview of the shoot schedule to ease any tension or confusion,” Hannah says. This is followed by a tour of the studio with suggestions of possible themes. “We view our clients more like visitors and we want them to feel at home [in the setting].”

Related: Bridal Bliss: Beauty Looks for an Intimate Wedding

SilverMoon Studio is located at 6 Rustia Cubao, Quezon City; tel. no. 7901-5505; silvermoon.phSilverMoon Studio Facebook,

Share this article with a K-Drama fan!

Photos courtesy of SilverMoon Studio

Director Su Young Moon
Photographer Jinil Choi
Photographers by: Silvermoon Studio
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Spotlight On: La Rosa Bridal, Robes Worn by Celebs

This bridal detail can still be donned at your intimate weddings preps

By Marielle Ong

The hottest bridal accessory in town isn’t a shiny bauble. It’s a piece of clothing made from elegantly crafted fabrics that the bride can enjoy before her wedding--yes even in pandemic weddings and intimate weddings at home. Luxury bridal robes are a rising fashion trend that we just can’t get enough of. Even Heart Evangelista's been spotted wearing this proud local brand for lounging at home during this quarantine season. Other celebs we spotted? Isabel Oli-Pratts and Valerie Concepcion. Apart from adding a dose of glam to your wedding preps photos, you can wear these robes as loungewear for your wife life!

Let’s dive deep into the details with leading local brand of luxury robes, La Rosa Bridal.

Glamorously Getting Ready

Aside from having a comfortable outfit on as you get your hair and makeup done, the bridal robe undeniably adds a hefty dose of glam to the bridal preparation pics. The same goes with the bridesmaids, since the matching outfits are reminiscent of the slumber party days. Just BFFs bonding in style!

Palette Push

We’re quite familiar with the standard detailed shots of the flowers and the invitations, but did you know that the color and design of the bridal robe is another way to interpret your theme and color palette? Think light-colored and lacy for the demure bride with classic theme, or picture sheer and jewel-toned for soon-to-weds with bolder tastes and dramatic aesthetics.

Ready to Go

Though La Rosa’s robes have a bespoke feel to them, the big surprise is that the brand has over fifty designs and colors to choose from that are all ready to wear, on-hand, and ready to ship. (Yes, they even accommodate rush orders!) The robes are actually free size, but customization with a one-month lead time is possible for petite or plus size clients. Further alterations are also offered by the company for those tiny tweaks to make the fit more precise.

Blushing Brides

When tackling the subject of current trends, the La Rosa brides lean toward classic designs with a little flare. Puff sleeves are a popular pick for having a timeless look while still adding drama to the resulting photos. Blush tones and champagne shades offer a distinct touch of color and some refreshing contrast to the white wedding gown that the bride will soon be stepping into.

Squad Goals

While the brides usually get the license to sport the more dramatic robes, the bridesmaids or your family members can take it easy with the more playful pieces. We’re seeing a lot of floral prints in pastel tones or fun, vibrant colors. For a low-key version of the entourage ensembles, single-color outfits also spell elegance. And FYI, The bridesmaids’ robe lengths are usually shorter compared to the bride’s floor-length number. There’s always room for flirty and fun!

For more information visit or call (0917) 799-5631.

Photos from La Rosa Novia Facebook page and Instagram.

Meghan, a La Rosa Bridal Bride, on her big day
A red bridal robe is a dramatic contrast to your white wedding gown.
Simi wears her La Rosa Bridal robe on her wedding day.
Pink champagne is a popular choice among brides today.
Remy Cruz, designer and founder of La Rosa Bridal. Photograph by Nicolai Melicor
Spotlight On

Why You Should Choose Your Wedding Bands with Care

By Marielle Ong

As a luxury item, jewelry is often bought or given during special occassions or to commemorate milstones. With one of the biggest life events being a marriage, selecting wedding bling for keeps is a must. We discuss the permanence of wedding rings to a union with Kenneth Mau, president of J’s Diamond.


Elegance and Experience

The story of J’s Diamond began back in the late `90s in Hong Kong as a designer’s workroom. The company expanded to the Philippines in 2012 and has since opened several locations in prominent malls. To produce fine pieces, J’s Diamond employs a mix of traditional casting and cutting-edge technology. Thus, able to do both traditional desgins and more innovative ones.


A Sound Investment

Pricey as they might be, the pieces you don from your wedding day onwards are long-term inverstments. Says Kenneth, “They are the few tangible things that will be with you and your partner after the wedding celebration.” So apart from the photos and videos of the big day, your engagement and your weddings rings will instantly trigger those sweet memories anytime you look at them. Moreover, it’s always good to have a subtle reminder of your Forever Love, especially during times when you are physically apart.


The Golden Touch

There may be a lot of experimentation going on with metals and jewelry design, but the not-so-surprising fact is that a classic is forever. J’s Diamond specializes in 18K gold engagement and wedding rings. Naturally, it’s the high-quality craftmanship and authentic, Gemological Institute of America-certified diamonds that speak volumes.


A Great Selection

With so many designs to choose from, how should a couple go about it? Perhaps take a cue from Marie Kondo. “Choose a ring design that will bring joy and love to your hearts every time you look at it,” advises Kenneth. The rings will summarize your love story, so it makes sense that it should spark joy. In fact, it’s that aha moment that the J’s Diamond team values so much from its customers. “It brings us so much happiness whenever we see their smiles and excitement as they pick up the rings they ordered,” says Kenneth.


Finding The One

The perfect proposal partner (aka The Engagement Ring) can be a source of great anxiety for potential grooms. But Kenneth offers some practical advice. “First, set a working budget beforehand,” he instructs. “Second, choose a diamond that is brilliant and will really stand out.” Then all that’s left is to bear your partner’s personality in mind, and The One will simply call out to you.

This article was first published in Inspirations Magazine Issue 14.

See more at, follow @jsdiamondjewellery and

Wedding & Engagement Ring by: J's Diamond Jewellery
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MING'S GARDEN : A Not-so-Secret Gem in Tagaytay

Spotlight On:
Discovering Ming’s Garden, a not-so-secret gem in Tagaytay

Written by: Marielle Ong

As far as captivating venues go, Ming’s Garden has an equally interesting story to back up its serene aesthetics. Event Manager and Consultant Elaine Estrada-Arzadon gives us a closer look at a garden paradise.

A Timely Transformation : Sometimes, beauty is best shared with the world. What started as Lola Ming’s Garden, the space that housed former First Lady Amelita “Ming” Ramos’ plant collection, got a makeover and expansion that evolved into Ming’s Garden. The three hectare property is now home to a full-service events venue. There’s even a fully operational restaurant in the premises that’s open to the public, called Mozu at Ming’s. “We wanted to be part of something bigger,” says Elaine. “We wanted to create timeless memories with all of our guests.”

Open yet Intimate : The area may be sizeable, but events at Ming’s Garden are held in intimate open spaces. This has a lot to do with the location’s somewhat secluded vibe. You’ll have fun with your family and friends while maintaining a sense of privacy. The company can cater to small, indoor pocket events for 20-40 guests. For a moderately sized event like a wedding, its al fresco garden area can accommodate 100 150 guests. And for a grand celebration of up to 400 guests, Ming’s Garden offers its air-conditioned greenhouse-type space.

"We wanted to create timeless memories with all of our guests."

Fine Features : Tagaytay is no stranger to destination weddings, so event venues aren’t exactly a rarity in the region. But the central location of Ming’s Garden beside the main highway makes it easily accessible, even to the unfamiliar. Both San Antonio de Padua Parish and Ina ng Laging Saklolo Parish are only 10 minutes away, while St. Benedict Parish in Nuvali and Our Lady of Lourdes Church are just 30 minutes away. Another main feature is the lush, well-kept garden that will provide numerous opportunities for photo ops and detail shots.

A Festive Feast : In addition to creating regular meals for customers, Mozu at Ming’s serves as the venue’s in-house caterer. Its specialty is sumptuous Filipino fare featuring crowd favorites like Crispy Tinapa Rolls, Chicken Soup with Lemongrass and Kamias, Gising-gising, and Bagnet Kare-Kare. With the garden ambiance in full effect, the accompanying celebratory feast sounds like the start of a local countryside vacation, an idyllic way to begin married life, for sure.


Venue by: Ming's Garden
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HENRY EVALLE: Earnest Approach to Wedding Photo

Henry Evalle’s earnest approach to wedding photography

Written by Marielle Ong

Serene moments. Soft smiles. Tears of joy. But most of all, love all around. These are the impressions one can get from the photos of Henry Evalle, R.N., chief photographer of Henry Evalle Photography and Team Ossome Lab. We find out the method behind the shots.

From Moment to Moment : The role of a wedding photographer is to capture the most intimate and emotional scenes of the big day. Henry would be remiss if he didn’t have shots of the moment the bride enters the church or the groom’s initial reaction. Other moments that must be immortalized include the exchanging of vows and the petals being showered on the newlyweds. You’ll know that a photographer is astute when those heartfelt instances are a staple in his or her albums.

On Embracing Innovation : As the craft is ever-evolving, creativity is crucial. But it’s not just about copying trends. “I make sure that when I attempt a creative shot, it still has our own style,” Henry points out.

Couple’s Choice : It is integral for Henry that his subjects be the ones to select the theme. He says, “The theme’s beauty comes out if we’re working towards the same goal. Once they have chosen their theme, that’s when I give suggestions to bring out the concept.” When the photographer selects the theme, there’s a tendency for the couple not to get all that comfortable, or they just won’t be as pleased with the result.


Down to the Specifics : Aside from deciding on a theme, Henry gets down to the nitty-gritty when meeting with his clients. “I find out what the couple like and dislike, like their preferred angle for me to capture,” says Henry. It helps to show pegs and sample images to your photographer to give the team an idea of how you want to be photographed.

Fullproof Practices : Next to photography skills, it’s the photographer’s demeanor that helps get the perfect photos. It puts the subjects at ease to be cheerful, friendly, and approachable. Henry opts to dress distinctly, so that he can easily be identified as the official event photographer.

A Matter of Trust : Finally, after establishing a rapport with your photographer, Henry advises to simply trust. Since all the specifics have already been discussed beforehand, it’s time to let the artist work his magic.

"The theme’s beauty comes out if we’re working towards the same goal."


Spotlight On

ANNA WINSTEL : Copping Styling Trends

Copping styling trends from Events Central by Anna Winstel

Written by Marielle Ong


Celebrations south of Manila are looking a little more spectacular, thanks to Events Central by Anna Winstel. Since 2014, the event styling and floral design company based in Cavite has been providing premium services for weddings, debuts, and other social events. We talk to Anna about the aesthetics that make any party look lit.

Cool With Colors : While there are still a lot of conservative couples and debutants who go for traditional shades of white, blush, and gold, the trend is shifting towards color play. According to Anna, “Some of our clients are being more experimental with their color choices. Pops of bright, vibrant, or deep hues are being injected to veer away from the usual pastels.” So don’t be afraid to pick out something bold. You’re in good company.

Savvy Shapes : Additionally, themes with modern and geometric elements are still on the rise. The clean lines, often combined with metallic colors, add some masculine details to balance out the feminine florals and soft colors.


Look Up : Another trend that celebrators can’t get enough of is playing with the space above them. “More clients are including ceiling treatment in their design decks as it is now becoming a staple in event styling,” notes Anna. Hanging strands of flowers is a regular feature of recent debuts and weddings, and so are enormous lighting fixtures.

"Clients are being more experimental with their color choices. Pops of bright, vibrant, or deep hues are being injected to veer away from the usual pastels."

Luxe-Leaning : With its out-of-this-world visuals, Crazy Rich Asians has become the ultimate peg for event styling. “That movie paved the way for the mirrored aisle trend and the use of botanicals and greens,” says Anna. But it isn’t a flat-out copy of what’s on-screen. Their clients usually request for something classic, romantic, and elegant. Then the team gives it a twist by adding elements that match their personalities. That personal touch truly makes an event the celebrator’s own.

Practical Planning : Aside from telling celebrators to savor the moment (for it passes by way too soon), Anna is all about identifying the main priorities in an event and allocating the budget accordingly. “You don’t want to be looking at your wedding photos and thinking to yourself, ‘I should’ve allotted more budget to this’,” she stresses. When working with a budget, it is also important to collaborate with your stylist to make the aesthetics affordable. “Know your options. You can ask your stylist for cost-effective alternatives to achieve your design inspiration.”


Spotlight On

OMAR PEREZ: Glorious gowns

Glorious gowns and Omar Perez Couture

"Before I even begin to design a gown, I ask clients how they
see themselves on their big day, I listen to them before I offer my suggestions."

Based in Taysan, Batangas, Omar Perez Couture is a design house that caters to clients living here and abroad in countries like Italy, Spain, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and Canada. The business started in October 2014, and a new office has just opened at another Batangas location. Omar Perez gives us insights on Big Day dressing.

Most Wanted : Constantly in style for brides and debutantes alike are off-shoulder and deep V-neck numbers. A flattering neckline goes a long way in shaping the figure, right along a gown’s silhouette. The see through illusion neckline is still as hot as ever among the ladies, owing to the way the thin fabric makes the meticulous details (like beads or lace) on the bodice the star of the show. Coveted celebrity gown styles include Marian Rivera and Kaye Abad. Finally, the most popular gown shade for bridal gowns is still blush.

Comfort Driven : But more than just a smashing cut or silhouette alone, Omar’s clients are wise in requesting for gowns that are also comfortable. They want to be able to move freely, be it while walking down the aisle or dancing at the reception. Be mindful of the fit of the gown when standing or sitting. If boning is present, does it jab you awkwardly? Bring that to the designer’s attention immediately. For the sleeves, check during the fittings that you can move your arms properly.

Choose Your Fighter : The mark of a good designer is the way he or she carefully handles each project. “Before I even begin to design a gown, I ask clients how they see themselves on their big day,” says Omar. “I listen to them before I offer my suggestions.” In the same vein, an openness and connection with your designer is a must to get the collaborative effort going. Omar advises seeking out a designer who has a genuine concern for his or her craft, so that quality output and client satisfaction are major priorities.

Couture on a Budget : For budget-conscious brides and debutantes, Omar recommends focusing on a cut and style of the gown that will flatter their figures. Additional details, such as beading and lace, tend to cause the prices to go up. Only request for those if you have the budget.


Spotlight On

RAM MARCELO : Capturing the Special Moments

SPOTLIGHT ON: Ram Marcelo on capturing the special moments

by Marielle Ong

To Ram Marcelo, there’s more to event photography than a lucrative business and accolades. While his company has the projects and recognition to make its name a staple in the wedding industry, it’s the relationship with the subjects that he’s particularly proud of. “I would say my most notable accomplishments are my clients who have become my friends,” he says. “I love being able to capture each of their stories and immortalize their dream weddings. That’s the satisfaction!” For Spotlight On, we picked his brain on being part of those milestones.

Dream driven -  “All events start out as a dream—our client’s dream,” Ram muses. “We are part of what makes this dream come true!” To achieve that, his team sits down and brainstorms with the soon-to-weds or debutantes to get a feel of what they want and who they really are. Suggestions are then made on the nitty-gritty to help realize the dream.

Comfort comes first - Now, there’s the delicate matter of getting shy subjects to let loose or at least tone down the nervousness for the shoot. “The meeting prior to the shoot is crucial,” he stresses. “This is when we establish a relationship and good rapport that help make our clients more comfortable on camera.” Thus, it is important to sit down with your photographer, get a sense of his vision and shooting style, and ask all questions you might have.

Apart from setting his clients’ minds at ease during the initial meeting, Ram keeps it comfy by knowing the subjects’ limits. “We make sure that our clients only do what is comfortable for them on set and, more importantly, that they enjoy the day.” The energy of his young team also helps.


Hot shots - The current event photography trend isn’t as extreme as one might expect, according to Ram. “What we love right now are the art shots and showing creativity and boldness in our photographs—beauty that cannot be seen with the usual eye,” he mentions. But poses are still kept natural, candid, and simple, with the team documenting those unguarded moments to great effect. While Ram isn’t afraid to work with trends, his goal is to bridge the gap between the stylish and the timeless.

Take it away - Destination shoots are notoriously tricky. Careful preparation makes a huge difference in pulling the session off. Research the area, figure out travel logistics and locations, and then create moodboards for the final look and feel. Ram advises, “It’s always good to limit the ideas and locations into a few strong ones versus many ideas that don’t collectively tell one story. This will make our time and energy together much more efficient.” A super early call time is also better than a late one, especially when you’re trying to get the best lighting conditions or are trying to avoid throngs of tourists from photo points.

Into the light - Finally, Ram’s biggest piece of advice is about finding the light. “[Lighting] is the main ingredient behind those soft, dreamy photos,” he says. Choose a location with good quality sunlight, and avoid a noontime schedule due to the harsh light creating unflattering shadows. Indoor shoots are made all the better with open shades and big windows. Lighting setups should also be carefully considered in reception venues.


Photographers by: Ram Marcelo Photography