Visions from Vatel Manila

Back to bouquets.

Now this is the truth and nothing but the truth so help me God: I almost, almost ditched Dangwa for this florist. Who wouldn’t be tempted by the fact that Vatel Manila NEVER does the same bouquet twice — and they’ve been doing weddings for five years! But I did a not-so-quick math and realized I had already spent my extra on a surprise gift for our guests, so there goes my NFF (new favorite florist)  and there goes bride to old reliable Dangwa.

That doesn’t mean though that I can’t share some beauty with you from my NFF, right? I mean, if you can’t have them, drool over them. So I asked Dylan Gozum of Vatel Manila to send me his favorite bouquets to date. And here are MY favorites from his favorites:

Top 1: How stunning is this black and red bouquet? A.K.A. the bouquet that made the florist cry, God knows why, but if those tears can produce this kind of output, then cry me a river.

Top 2: An autumn-themed bouquet. If I could choose only one season to last the whole year, it would be autumn. In fact, if only people in this country didn’t have a hard time pronouncing it, I’d name a daughter Autumn. But this is about bouquets. From Dylan:

We had to wait for three hours as (the flowers) cleared customs at the NAIA and were finally delivered to Dangwa. This bouquet was particularly huge and heavy because of the many things that went into making it: two-toned Holland tulips (red/yellow), Molucella (a.k.a bells of Ireland), Leucandendron, Leucospermum (both endemic to South Africa & Zimbabwe), mokara orchids from Bangkok, and red Hypericum berries. Hands down, this bouquet must have had the highest carbon footprint of them all!

Top 3:  I like succulents! They dare to be different (like they have any choice. LOL). For this, Vatel Manila used Echeveria elegans (common name for us common people: rose cactus), Haworthia attenuata & Craspedia, which according to Dylan himself, is “terribly expensive, given their diminutive size.” So be forewarned. But hey, you get what you pay for.

Top 4: Ah, million stars (scientific name for scientific people: Gypsophila). This is the closest you will get to holding the stars in your hand… I want one, I do, I do! (I wonder when the flower-cum-coffee shop idea birthed by a dialogue between florists — one of whom is the mother of the groom — open?)

Top 5: And I’m suddenly a fan of roses…

Dylan explains how the ordinary can become extraordinarily beautiful, and I can only say, Amen!:

For this bouquet, we used all-white roses interspersed with white rice flowers, rendering what otherwise could have been a very simple arrangement into something airy and feminine. Bear in mind that there are grand events that call for the simplest of arrangements (the bride’s gown was already heavily ornamented); no need to break the bank to acquire the feel that you want. It’s how the whole look is pulled together that counts.

Top 6: Another white; in fact four great whites as Dylan calls it: Lilac, snapdragon, matthiola and tulips. Love, love, love how the bouquet looks with the gown, too! Some things just go together PERFECTLY.

Top 7: I am NOT a fan of orange (reminds me of my previous company’s tacky jacket. LOL), but you have to hand it to this one. NOT irritating at all…

A sound advice from Dylan:

Orange or tangerine is a particularly tricky color especially in a tropical setting where there’s too much sun/light. Orange, if used heavily, can actually border on the tacky. It has to be tempered by another dark color (in this case, yellow) and another light (in this case, white). Here’s a really pretty & robust-looking bouquet in rust and canary yellow with lots and lots of wax flowers in between. Hypericum berries, eucalyptus leaves, a brooch and a wisp of ostrich feather completed the look.

So, there… sigh… why can’t I have everything??! Anyway, for more lovely bouquets, head over here. Just don’t forget to wipe that bridal drool off your face.


Summer of Love from Joey B.

As promised, as penance for my looong blogging absence, we’re giving away some lovin’ this uber hot summer — and it’s thanks to no less than Mr. Vintage Joey Boquiren, who, believe it or not, was the one who bugged me about having another round of these unbelievably generous FREEBIES!

So what’s the deal?

1) If you want a FREE ENGAGEMENT or TRASH-THE-DRESS SESSION, send us a theme board of your concept/inspiration and tell us how you plan to execute it, i.e. venue, props, even dresses, etc. The contest is open to couples whose weddings fall between April 1 and Dec. 31, 2010. We will pick the most interesting boards (one for TTD and one for engagement), so get creative. It doesn’t have to be a whole elaborate and expensive production (in fact, I’d personally prefer one that’s practical, too). Here’s some inspiration from a pre-nup shoot in a Zapote perya.

2) If you prefer FREE BACK-UP WEDDING COVERAGE, like what Mark and Gina won last year, send us your best DIY wedding project, complete with photos and instructions. Make it short and sweet, please. Only weddings slated on April 30 to July 15, 2010 may be covered (because Joey B. will be in the U.S. this July with Rene Gaviola).

Okay, the floor is now open for nominations (first-time features will be given priority). E-mail your entries to with the couple’s complete names and wedding website (or if you don’t have one, please put your venue, wedding date and contact information).  If your theme board or DIY project is already on your website, you may simply send us the link and other details you want to share.

We close at midnight on April 15. Go, go, go!!!

Feeling rice flowers and other fillers

Need flowers, will go to Dangwa.

And so I did what every other practical bride does:  I went to the famous flower market in Manila for my bouquets. No. 1 advice when going to places like this is KNOW WHAT YOU WANT/NEED because, simply put, clueless people can die there from flower overload (well at least you get buried in carnations, yeah? LOL).

Now I’m not flower-savvy but I went there armed with pegs of bouquets I liked (It’s good to have several options so you can compare prices and availability of flowers). Besides my long-time preference for carnations, I was not particular about bouquets. All I knew was that I didn’t want the usual flowers, so I instead kept an eye out for lovely fillers — and ended up fancying what Ver Flower Shop told me were called rice flowers (Excuse the blurry pictures, I took them with my mobile phone amid a throng of flower shoppers).

Anyway, I loved the pretty little things so I asked for a mock-up bouquet for my bridesmaids. This what they came up with:

A closer look…

I’m not a fan of the ribbon they used so I’ll provide my own pretty pink lace to tie our bouquets but otherwise, this ain’t bad for P200 ($4). Yep, two hundred pesos only. Sold!

Those who are on the lookout for a different bouquet, try getting creative with fillers. They are usually cheaper and can make a surprisingly pretty bunch for your entourage. Like these statice flowers:

I forget now what these fillers are called but they’re bright and potentially lovely too, from Dangwa. (NOTE: They’re called Sweet William, according to Dylan Gozum of Vatel Manila. Thank you God for brilliant florists like him!  8P)

As for my bouquet, this is what I asked them to copy:

Again, according to Dylan, the flowers are not peonies but English roses… Hmm… I’ll have to ask the flower shop again if they have that and how much. I initially suggested that the flowers be replaced with white carnations (after the girl told me they were a certain kind of peonies, which are P350/stem) — and anyway I’ve always thought of myself as a carnations kind of girl (I’m a lot more playful than roses or calla lilies). Cost of my bridal bouquet? P800 ($15). Is that happiness or what?!

Now I’m crossing my fingers that Dangwa will deliver on the big day, literally.

Block letters from Simple Joys

I am O-V-E-R-J-O-Y-E-D.

I have been charmed by these initials decor since I stumbled upon them on Martha Stewart Weddings a few months back (it helped that they were OUR initials), but I never really thought of looking for such big, bold block letters here.

Well, I was browsing through Regalong Pambahay, one of my ultra favorite local stores, for gift ideas for principal sponsors when I saw this lovely little thing way up there on their display shelf:

and this:

I immediately asked the saleslady if the letters were for sale. “Yes ma’am, they’re right in front,” and she directed me to what I can only presume is their sister shop, Simple Joys, and now I, happy beaming bride, am the proud owner of these:

And did I mention that they’re actually photo holders? And that they are on sale until April from P325 per letter to P250 (about $5 each).

Sigh… some things just find their way into your life, er, wedding 8 )

Candlelight dinner, anyone?

So some couples spend as much as, gulp, P100,000 on their wedding  flowers (bouquets, church and reception set-up, etc). I, on the other hand, would take that cash and hie off to some exotic destination. I know, I know, flowers are pretty — that’s their role in life — and they can make guests go oooh and awww and wish they had a whole garden of what’s on your table. And wouldn’t we all love to have as much of them as we can BUT the fact is — the oohs and aahhs could cost so much that at the end of the wedding, your guests’ awws could be your biggest ouch!

So what’s a practical couple’s options aside from those stunning floral centerpieces? Candles, my dear, and lamps or luminaries. I’d like to share some of  these centerpieces that will light up the place, literally, without breaking the budget. I came across them from various US wedding blogs (Martha Stewart definitely!) and thought they could be useful to  us chocolates-over-flowers people. 8 )

This one’s cool for the beach… Won’t be blown away by the tropical breeze.

But more than anything, I’m a big fan of lamps and luminaries 8 )

This is the Third World

I would like to reintroduce myself because I figured, by the time I post this, it’s been exactly 39 days since I last put anything here, and for that alone, I deserve to be forgotten. Or not (depends if you’re feeling merciful and gracious which I hope you are). LOL.

So what’s the deal? I’m back in the Third World, home sweet home, with slow, super-slow-your-hair-will-turn-white-before-you-upload-anything Internet connection. Until today when I finally got some decent PLDT line (Globe Tattoo just couldn’t hack it, sorry!).

And so I’m back in the game!!!

To make up for my long absence in the blogging world, I’m giving away some summer love from, who else, Joey B. Stay tuned!!!

P.S.  Thanks to whoever made that cute little laptop above available to WWW users!

Orj and Len: Hippie love

Let’s just think of this as the prequel to a box-office hit. Except that, well, it’s a pre-nup that’s being shown after this creative couple’s big project —  their 1920s flapper-themed wedding in Tagaytay on Jan. 2, 2010. Instead of going far, Orj and Len decided to bring their engagement shoot to Tagaytay as well.

This is, hands down, my favorite engagement shoot last year. Very happy and hippie and heartfelt! It didn’t look too composed or you know, themed. It’s just effortlessly gorgeous. See what two people in love and one photographer in love with his craft can do with a yellow van, a parking space, some balloons, hoops and signs. Oh and a lot of styling by Len, the bride.

If you say so…

I totally dig this van! The couple searched for a LONG time before they found this perfect little moving thing.

A kiss for luck and they’re on their way…

If, like me, you just want to stay a little longer with these two on their hippie shoot, head over here for more photos from Joey Boquiren