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GO LUXE OR GO PRACTICAL?

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By Zoe Gabe

The idea of splurging and saving at the same may seem incongruous to some people, but WE say it’s not about how much you spend but how you spend what you have that matters. Yes, you can have your dream wedding, and no, you don’t have to break the bank to do it. In this issue, WE share with you tips from some of our favorite wedding suppliers who’ll tell you when to splurge and when to save to make sure you’re really spending where it counts.

Event Styling by Badang Rueda

Event Styling by Badang Rueda

CEREMONY DÉCOR
Supplier: Badang Rueda, Michael Badang Rueda Event Styling

Splurge: For the wedding ceremony, Badang recommends splurging on what he maintains are the two focal points. “The first is the entrance,” he says, “where the bride enters, and you always get a shot of the bride entering.” The second focal point? “The altar,” Badang explains, “where everyone looks during the entire ceremony. So whether it’s inside or outside, where you’re competing with the scenery, the altar has to be this grandiose thing.”

Save: “Save on the aisle,” Badang insists. “The main focus during the walk should be the bride. Huwag labanan ang bride (Don’t compete with the bride). This is her day and she should be the focal point during her walk, so keep the aisle simple. You can use fewer or smaller arrangements, like a runner of different kinds of leaves. You save money because aisles are long and you don’t want to spend a lot of money decorating this when, anyway, the focal point should be the bride.”

RECEPTION DÉCOR
Supplier: Meg Amat, Eve & Co.

Splurge: Dramatic ceiling arrangements. “Drapes are nice,” Meg explains, “But there is so much more that can be done to give you that gulat (wow) factor. Try ceiling installations or consider hiring a lighting coordinator.” Another item you should splurge on? “Table linen,” says Meg. “Nice linen gives you that luxe feel and instantly enhances a setup.”

Save: No need to go overboard with the expensive blooms. Meg says, “Local and so-called ‘cheap’ flowers like mums and calla lilies can look good when handled by a good designer.” Then prioritize. “Focus décor on the couple’s table, backdrop, and VIP table, which are the most photographed and most remembered areas,” Meg advises. Her final scrimping trick? Double-purpose details. Meg shares that couples can cleverly save money by incorporating items that play a dual function; for example, “escort cards [that can] add to the look of the centerpieces” or “centerpieces that double as souvenirs or additional cocktail food/dessert.”

CAKE
Supplier: Joy San Gabriel, Joy San Gabriel Cakes

Splurge: “I’ve always believed that the wedding cake is part aesthetics—for ceremonial and picture-taking purposes— and is part taste, as the couple and their guests will eat the cake,” says Joy. While traditionally, the focus on cakes has mostly been on visual aesthetics, Joy explains that more and more couples are now opting to put taste at the forefront. “Many couples realize that their guests talk about what transpired during the wedding at post-wedding celebrations,” she says. “It is during those post-wedding gatherings that the couples realize that one of the most appreciated experiences their guests have is a fine-tasting cake. In the end, the eyes are forgiving, but the palate is not.” Her advice? “Splurge on taste; you won’t regret it.”

Save: Save on fancy souvenirs. “Couples can opt to get cupcake wedding cakes or mini-cake wedding cake towers as an alternative to traditional multi-tier fondant cakes,” says Joy. “Arranging the cakes in a multi-tier stand creates additional desserts for the wedding. Or the cakes can be individually boxed to double as souvenirs. Either way, the cakes accomplish a double function that spares the budget.” Also, use less mock cakes. Joy advises that instead of getting a multi-tier cake, which has Styrofoam as a major structural component, couples may want to instead get a multi-tier all-edible cake for the same price. She says, “The all-edible cakes are whipped cream-covered. Couples have the option of having the same cake flavor for each tier of cake, or a different cake flavor per tier. Regardless of the flavor, one thing is certain: couples and their guests will be able to eat every inch of the cake.”

BOUQUETS
Supplier: Justine Bumanlag, SaSO Event Styling and Interiors

Splurge: Love your own! “I think it’s natural for the bride and groom to splurge on their own florals for their special day,” Justine says. “When the bride is very particular with her flower choice, she should at least get what she wants.” She adds, “Bouquet handle details should also be considered; it can’t be plain Jane. The ribbon, lace, or whatever fabric wrap is used should be special.” Justine also suggests looking into non-floral bouquets as an alternative to fresh flower  arrangements. “They might be perceived by some to be less expensive,” says Justine. “But in truth, [a non-floral bouquet] may cost more than you think. It is customized, as is. Some items may be inspired by the couples’ personality, interests, and sometimes, even heirloom pieces. It takes more time to make. But the end result is rather new and original, as it is inspired by the couple themselves.”

Save: Consider the season. “Couples can save on the entourage bouquets if their selection of imported flowers is in season, and/or their choices are homegrown and produced in our local farms,” says Justine. “Peak seasons for high-priced flowers are usually in January, February, May, November, and December. So couples should also take note of these months if they really want to save on high costs.” She also advises couples to consider alternatives. For example, “bouquets are also pretty in solid colors,” Justine advises. “Check out what colors are readily available in the flower market to avoid having to order imported ones to save on costs.” You should also love local. Justine says, “We have local flowers, berries, unusual leaves, and succulents that can spruce up a bouquet beautifully. A bouquet is likely to be more interesting in the composition of flowers. You should be more open to flower choices with your stylist. The choices can be mixed with local and imported ones to help save on costs, compared to an all imported bouquet, which would definitely be priced more.”

CENTERPIECES
Supplier: Teddy Manuel, Flowers and Events

Splurge: Go for grandiose. “A grandiose floral centerpiece and imported flowers are key elements to create a conversation piece for a wedding,” says Teddy, who recommends splurging for large-scale arrangements that will leave guests in awe when they enter the venue. He adds, “I incorporate technology nowadays in my styling—panoramic LED walls and dance floor, a hydraulic that will lift the chandeliers from floor to ceiling. The production side of it is costly because we need to hire a floor and light director. But the memories and experience of your wedding will be priceless!”

Save: Three words: Do it yourself. “DIY is the way to go if you want to save on centerpieces,” says Teddy. “You can do this ahead of time except for the perishable items, which should be made on the wedding day itself.” You can also save thematically. “Think of a theme that will not require a lot of flowers,” Teddy advises. “For example, a travel theme requires props and knick-knacks of small details that may be bought from local or foreign countries that you’ve been to.” Finally, details matter. Teddy recommends focusing on nice, small details that you can personalize. “For example,” he shares, “a bride and groom client of mine love to collect Lego pieces, and they ended up using Lego characters for the male entourage’s boutonnieres.”

STATIONERY
Supplier: Ghia Patricia Pastoral, The Write Impression

Splurge: Paper is king. “When choosing invitations or stationery, couples should splurge on or give more importance to the quality of paper—its texture, finish, and thickness,” Ghia shares. “It makes a whole lot of difference when you use a premium milled paper. Even if the printing of your invitations is not thermographed or letterpressed, a fine textured and thick stock will make a simple invitation elegant.”

Save: Ghia advises knowing what you want when you talk to your printer. “Inform your printer of all the printed stuff you will need during your initial meeting, as your printer can help you save on expenses by packaging the printing costs.” Having a good idea of the guest list is also important. “Make sure to decide on the quantity of the invitations before finalizing your order, because it’s always more expensive to do a reprint for a few pieces,” says Ghia. Finally, she shares that you can “save on printing costs by using one color print and thinner paper for inserts” such as the entourage page, map, and other details.

LIGHTING
Supplier: Juancho Fondevilla, Sensitivity Lights and Sounds

Splurge: Detailed lighting. Juancho recommends setting aside a budget for detailed lighting, which means “more lighting requirements and different lighting fixtures for the job.” This would be, for example, dedicated lighting for the cake, the stage/musicians, props, and ambience. He cautions though that more lights may mean more electricity than the venue can handle, so be prepared to also splurge on a generator.

Save: Use lighting as a décor piece. “Instead of spending for props in the background,” Juancho says, “you can use lights to decorate a venue.” He adds, “You can also make use of lights as a substitute for your other reception details. For example, instead of an expensive lighted dance floor, you can use intelligent lights with patterns projected on a regular dance floor to add effects for your first dance.” You can also use alternative lighting fixtures with lower power requirements. How will you know which lighting fixtures are right for you? Juancho says, “It’s important to get the right people to do the job who you can trust because they can tell you what to get to give you the best lighting without having to spend too much on things you don’t need.”

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