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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."


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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.”


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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.


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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
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MALICK : Creating a Beauty Masterpiece

Malick James Hilado muses on creating a beauty masterpiece

by Marielle Ong

For makeup artists, the visage is often considered a blank canvas to work their magic on. Malick James Hilado, on the other hand, has a specific sort of reverence for the faces he works with. “Behind every wonderful and successful workmanship is a great story to tell,” he says. Undoubtedly he has a lot of great stories up his sleeve. After graduating from college, Malick took lessons from School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA), attended workshops under MAC Cosmetics, and trained at Australian College of Hair Design and Beauty Manila. Eventually, he began the makeup artistry company that would be known as The Face Mantra, where he and his team take on various styles, from subtle and sweet to avant-garde fierceness. Malick is also known for his work with brides and here he reveals what it takes to look oh-so-on-point for the big day.

Bolder is better - When asked about what’s looking to trend in the immediate future, Malick says it is ladies making bolder beauty choices. “They will be more adventurous and creative when selecting colors and palettes, while makeup artists will be experimenting with more self expressive styling with regards to the clients’ individual characters,” he points out. Chalk it up to social media and high-concept looks becoming the norm. He emphasizes, however, that a bride’s priority is still to express herself on her big day.

A personal touch - It’s all about the eyes for Malick. “Matte and subtle glitter pigments are great materials to work with to make the eyes more expressive and beautiful,” he says. A quick look at The Face Mantra’s Facebook page proves as much. There is no shortage of tantalizing eyes carefully contoured and bedazzled, be it bridal or editorial. A full brow and soft coral lips usually add the finishing touches.


Confidently nude - Of course, a lot of soon-to-weds also know to stick to the classics. One of the most requested looks from Malick still revolves around a light- or blush-colored palette that focuses on projecting a fresh and youthful face. The go-to is lightweight makeup that will make the skin look hydrated. “The best celebrity bride peg for this is Coleen Garcia,” Malick notes. “She wore minimal foundation, barely there eyeshadow, a few swipes of blush and lipstick. Nevertheless, she looked fabulously radiant—a shining example of the flawless, bridal glow.”

"Go to bed early. Hydrate skin and body with plenty of water. Stick to a skincare routine. Groom the brows at least two days before the big day to let stressed skin settle down."

Prepping for some primping - His beauty schedule for big events is practical: Go to bed early. Hydrate skin and body with plenty of water. Stick to a skincare routine. Groom the brows at least two days before the big day to let stressed skin settle down. He also preps the skin with a cold face mask to tighten the pores for an overall smoother skin texture.

Beauty, everlasting - Rather than just focusing on makeup brands per se, Malick attributes the long-wearing look to carefully prepping the skin even before any makeup touches the face. “Choosing the right skincare products and having a curated routine will help the makeup last,” he explains. “Healthy skin equals a glowing look that lasts.” But for a little bit of help, he recommends stocking the clutch with a luminous loose powder, a matte lipstick (to prevent color transfer), and a pack of tissue. His work of art is now ready to face the world.


Spotlight On

Flash a Smile, Dr. Grace Diana Abragan

Spotlight On: Whitlock Dental Clinic helps you flash a smile that’s as radiant as your big day glow.

Looking your best on your wedding day is a must, and you’ve already spent the time and effort to make sure that you’re groomed, dressed to the nines, and ready to go. But did you forget something? Is your smile as on-point as your outfit? Since you’re bound to be beaming the entire time, having a confidence-boosting teeth whitening session should be a non-negotiable for you. We broke down the basics of an inoffice treatment with Dr. Garnett Diana Abragan, and here’s what we learned:

What whitening service do you offer, what does it entail, and who’s a good fit for it?
Surprisingly, it can take just one appointment of a chairside bleaching procedure with light curing to do the trick, and most people with discolored teeth are free to try it. But there are still exceptions. According to Dr. Abragan, “It’s not recommended for people who are wearing anterior bridges or if their teeth have restorative fillings, as the whitening agent only works on natural teeth.”

There are four steps that make the magic happen, namely, removing debris from the enamel, drying and isolating the teeth, applying the bleaching agent and curing with light, and repeating the previous step with bleach reapplications along the way. Depending on the teeth’s reaction, the repetitions can be done after a few minutes or in a separate session. The latter is for those with sensitive teeth in particular.

How is it different from at-home whitening services (gel or strips)?
Well, for one, the in-office treatment actually works faster. Dr. Abragan explains, “Chairside whitening makes use of a more concentrated whitening agent while a take-home whitening dentrifice has a much lower percentage of whitening agent.” That same concentration helps speed up the process.

How long before the wedding should it be done, and how long does that dazzling effect last?
One to two weeks before the big day is enough, though the doctor recommends it be two weeks, just in case you need to extend the sessions. Try not to rush it! And, oh yeah, the effect can be seen for six months or more when maintained with proper dental hygiene practices. (Hint: It includes regular brushing and using whitening toothpastes at least thrice a week!)

To finish off, we have some words of wisdom! Dr. Abragan says:

“What truly makes a bride beautiful on her special day is when she is able to smile with confidence.”

After all, gleaming pearly whites can brighten up any look in a snap.


Health, Beauty, & Wellness Products by: Whitlock Dental Clinic
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Collaborative Coordination, Daphney Ligsay

SPOTLIGHT ON: Miss DAPHNEY LIGSAY on a collaborative coordination effort

 “A completed GUEST LIST is a great help in making the rest of the arrangements go smoothly, including the daunting task of BUDGET setting.”

THE BUSINESS OF EXECUTING MILESTONES beautifully is Daphney Ligsay’s forte. The beginnings of her eponymous company, DAPHNEY LIGSAY EVENTS & CONCEPTS (DLEC), was born from her own experience as a bride over a decade ago. Realizing that events management was something she took joy in, this professional coordinator began by organizing her best friend’s wedding. From there, she gradually gathered the confidence and expertise to establish her own business, and she hasn’t stopped since. We asked and she shared some vital wedding planning knowledge.

Depending on the time and budget constraints for each soon-to-wed set, there is a suitable wedding planner package. The three main categories that Daphney’s company offers are: Full Coordination, meant for couples who both have fulltime jobs and/or are based abroad. Mid-year Coordination, a part-of-the-way service where the bride and groom can book some major suppliers themselves but still require professional assistance with the rest of the suppliers. For the pair who don’t mind doing most of the prep, On the Day Coordination allows them to step back and enjoy the activities on the big day itself knowing that a pro has taken the reigns.


“The first step that I usually do is to get to know my client,” Daphney answers. “Then I suggest themes that will fit their personalities and ask them to express what they like and dislike.” To be an effective coordinator and stylist, the vision of the dream wedding of the engaged couple should be understood clearly in order to make suggestions accordingly. That theme is then followed by establishing the budget and creating further plans.

The must-haves that also happen to be provided by Daphney’s service include an event timeline, a budget sheet, a supplier checklist, and a detailed checklist. While having to update these lists can be challenging at first, continuously staying on top of the new developments makes all the difference in having everyone on the same page and ready to go. Couples often treat the Guest List as a minor requirement in favor of designing the aesthetics of the wedding, but it definitely deserves more careful attention. A completed guest list is a great help in making the rest of the arrangements go smoothly including the daunting task of budget setting.

Naturally, it’s the juggling that comes to mind. “The real challenge is to manage and control the suppliers with different objectives without creating conflict with the services they each provide,” Daphney notes. The most rewarding, on the other hand, is to see the couples’ appreciation for all the hard work put in.


Wedding Planner by: Daphney Ligsay Events and Concepts
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Luxury Garment Care, REVIVA


Learn about how REVIVA cares for your wedding clothes

“One of the MAJOR KEEPSAKES you’ll get to hang onto after the wedding is your WEDDING CLOTHES.”

“LET’S MAKE IT LAST.” One of the major keepsakes you’ll get to hang onto after the wedding is your wedding clothes. You can revisit these garments time and time again, or you can even hand them down to your son or daughter when the time comes. But in order to make sure your delicate threads stand the test of time, meticulous maintenance is a non-negotiable. With REVIVA’S HYDROCLEAN TECHNOLOGY™, your bridal outfits can stay gorgeous the safe way.

It’s common knowledge that the usual laundry cycle using regular detergent can be too harsh for gowns and suits, often causing them to wear out prematurely. Brittle fabrics and faded colors are indeed a sad sight to behold! On the other hand, most dry-cleaning shops employ the use of perchloryethylene (a.k.a. perc) in their dry-cleaning fluid in addition to petroleum. These may work on oil-based stains, but they are also considered hazardous to the health. Perc, in particular, is classified as a potential carcinogen. Going in the opposite direction, the cleansers formulated with Hydroclean Technology™ are much gentler on clothes, on humans, and on the environment. They are biodegradable, nontoxic, and phosphate-free.


In addition to their specifically formulated cleansing agents, Reviva has a stringent five-step process for each and every garment that comes their way:
1. A nine-point checklist is used to identify the corresponding cleansers and machine settings to go along with specific fabrics. This bespoke treatment gives each piece of clothing the TLC they deserve. Measurements may be taken to prevent shrinking or stretching.
2. Stains are pre-treated to loosen their hold, making it easier for the machines to work their magic.
3. The clothes are washed and dried with the type of cleanser and fabric in mind. Heat or air-drying is employed.
4. Additional care is given in the form of ironing, steaming, and/or folding.
5. The garments undergo a final inspection to ensure that they are in tiptop condition prior to their release.

Aaah, the post-wedding frenzy. Some couples just have to hit the ground running after the I Do’s. For those with busy schedules, Reviva goes the extra mile for their clients with the added convenience of arranging the pick-up process online via the Reviva website ( No excuses not to treat your luxurious gowns and suits with the reverence they deserve!


Photo from
Gowns & Flower Preservation by: Reviva