giveaway packing ideas

There’s nothing quite like the excitement you get when you’re opening a gift. For me, it’s half of the gift already!

If you’re one who have good hands for doing handicrafts, it may be worth to consider wrapping your giveaways in a way that would really delight your guests, even with just the packaging per se.

Saw these in a rack in Family Mart. Okay okay I admit I got attracted at first because it has our wedding colors lol. 🙂 But the gift wrap ideas are really lovely, aren’t they? If I’d receive something akin to these as a wedding giveaway, it’d probably take days before I’d open it and that I’d probably make sure I had already taken pictures of ALL the angles before I’ve opened it up. 🙂

Pretty aren’t they? Especially the orange one.

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Lupicia’s Kotobuki

Finally had the time to drop by Lupicia in Kamiooka to cater to a w@wie friend’s request to canvass for particular flavors. One of her recommended flavors was Kotobuki and goodness, the smell was just so good I ended up buying five packs haha. Four of them are gifts by the way. Loved Lupicia’s packaging for our principal sponsors giveaways. But I love this new packaging as well, which can be a nice giveaway for secondary sponsors.

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As I have a cat’s tongue (Japanese idiom for a person who cannot drink nor eat anything hot), I had to let my cup of tea go cold before I can take a sip. I don’t mind really, since I can take my sweet time smelling the tea. A sensual experience, especially if the smell is as good as the kotobuki.

By the way, kotobuki 寿 means long life or congratulations. Fitting for weddings I might say.

a Japanese wedding

NSO took their sweeeeet time in verifying my records when I was still applying for my spouse visa hence I wasn’t able to attend Hamakawa-san’s and Akika-san’s wedding which Hubby and I sooo wanted to go together.

Thankfully though, this time, we can go together to the wedding of hubby’s bandmate, Hosogai-san. Trust that I was a bit nervous with this social function as it’ll be the first time I’d be meeting all of Hubby’s bandmates.

To aid me for the function: Shu Eumura loose powder, hand lotion, meds for headache, L’Occitane peony perfume, my Inden-ya purse containing the essentials I should always have with me when I go out – my alien card, my train pass, my atm card.

Have to look my best, as I was with the bestlooking guy in town. 😀

Hubby’s unusual but cute necktie pin sure got a lot of attention.

And no, it doesn’t actually move, much less cut.

The wedding was also a good opportunity for us to wear the couple bracelet that our Ninang Vanz gave us for our wedding. 😀

We were a bit early (or make that almost 2 hours early) so we lounged in Hotel New Grand’s cafe. Loved this honey lemon iced tea. One of the best I’ve had so far.

This being my first to attend a Japanese wedding, I absolutely have no idea how the ceremony and reception is. Albeit this is actually not a very traditional ceremony because the formal ceremony is not held in a Shrine but in the hotel. Still though, there were quite a number of interesting customs that was kept in place.

The entourage is just composed of the “lightbearers” who carried a slim torch and lighted the two candles set up in a candelabra up in front. I was wondering why they left the middle one unlighted. A few minutes later, I knew why. The couple will use the light from the side candles to light the candles they’re holding so that together, they can light the center candle. Yep, this is the Unity Candle. Seeing this, I realized why there were some priests (ours didn’t allow us!) who doesn’t allow Unity Candle ceremony in Church weddings in the Philippines: it really isn’t Catholic tradition and was just “copied” from another culture’s wedding rites. And I wouldn’t blame couples copying the Unity Candle tradition, I would want it for ourselves as well, if only the priest allowed us. It really has such a beautiful symbolic meaning – the coming together of two families (the bride’s and the groom’s) into a single familial union. It follows then that the lightbearers in yesterday’s wedding was the sister of the groom and Hosogai-san’s brother. Too bad I wasn’t able to take a decent shot on it. My phone camera has limited powers.

The couple enter and leave the ceremony room together albeit the groom is walking a couple or so steps ahead of the bride. My interpretation on this custom is that it signifies the groom as the head of the family, leading the way, with the wife supporting and obediently following behind.

This is age old custom. But I am so thankful Atsushi and his family didn’t insist on us walking like this as I do want us to be side by side, holding hands as we leave the Church and (symbolically) face our future together.

The formal ceremony took only around 15 minutes. Before the Unity Candle lighting, the bride and groom each had a speech and had their vows. The Unity Candle lighting was followed with an exchange of rings and after which was the signing of the official marriage documents, with the lightbearers signing as well as tthe witnesses. We then proceeded outside for the pictorials, and then proceeded further to another part of the hotel for the reception.

Japanese wedding receptions are actually pretty organized as more often than not, the affair is really an intimate one with guests definitely less than a hundred. After giving our cash gifts, hubby was given the reception program booklet wherein the seating arrangement is conveniently mapped out.

The couple also had their short bio in the leaflet which I will not post here for privacy reasons.

I love what greeted me in my seat.

If I’ve come across the idea of handwritten messages for the guests before our wedding, I would have done so, especially since we only have less than a hundred guests.

What about food, eh? The vegetable-seafood cake with caviar as appetizer was interesting as well as serving the grapefruit sherbet before the beef entree. My favorite though was the seafood doria and the dessert. And the coffeeeee!!!

Halfway through the reception, the bride is escorted by her father out of the hall for her to change out of her kimono into a western bridal gown.

Sometime later, the groom is escorted by his mother out of the hall for him to change as well into western groom tux.

Group picture!

Hubby and I look very “healthy” in this picture. 😀

Now, the most touching parts of a Filipino wedding are mostly parts of the Church Ceremony, and the earlier parts of the reception. But usually when the reception is drawing to a close already, the guests are also somewhat preparing to wrap themselves up, getting ready to leave.

But the most emotional part for me during the wedding was actually the last part wherein the bride and groom ceremoniously goes to their parents to give them flowers and gifts. This has got me crying big fat tears alright. Thankfully, lights were turned off and the spotlight was focused on the family.

Another detail I loved in this wedding was the message slideshow that the couple prepared. Yes, they had the growing old slideshow as well but they prepared another slideshow which they showed at the end of the reception. Aside from the personalized message they put on each guest’s seat, they also had personalized slideshow message. It was just one liner for each guest, yes. But there’s something good about waiting for your name to flash on the screen; the anticipation of knowing what the message for you will be impressed in me a very good feeling. If we can do our wedding again, I’d definitely have this as well.

And, as it goes, it all comes in threes. A third detail that I would have wanted to have had incorporated in our wedding was for me and Atsushi with both our parents line up near Ville Sommet’s door to personally see off each and everyone of our guests. The chat may not be long and it may be more formal, but at least you get to see off all of your guests.

They were giving out a small neatly packaged souvenir at this time. This is on top of that paperbag in the picture which is the takeaway loot each guest are which contains a bom cake and the formal giveaway expensive glass set.

I was delighted though when I opened the small package they were handing out at this time.

They had it personalized at decocho.com. Love how they chose the pictures for the chocolate giveaways: a photo each for when they were kids, a photo together, a photo of the reception venue’s grand staircase and a photo of the university where they went to together (Waseda University). I love it how the packaging is so like the usual Japanese food packaging. It has information on the flavor as well as the calories! This particular one has 55 kcal for each square chocolate. Again, pardon for the blurriness, I’m just using my phone camera.

I may not understand the language used but still, the wedding has touched me. And had me commeding the bride on the detail she did for their wedding.

Congratulations and Best wishes Mariko-san and Takashi-san!!!

laundry string photos

I was instantly charmed when I saw this idea on a bridal website. When Erika suggested it, I was really into the idea already. But Hubby is shy in sharing pictures and I have to consider him.

Thankfully though, more than a month before the wedding, Hubby was already very much convinced with this idea. Was very thankful as well that his family, Otosan and Okasan, was very generous in sharing their pictures. The time when we scoured their family albums was actually one memorable time for me. Because even Obachan and Ojichan were taking out old photos that they were keeping in their drawers and shared them with everyone in the dining room. I particularly love that moment when together, Obachan and Ojichan were pouring over the old family album, laughing and pointing out something on the picture. Sweet.

We displayed a hundred pictures from our childhood up to our latest prenup. There were even pictures of the weddings of my parents’ and Hubby’s parents.

But having this string display earned us more than having something to display during reception. 

We also earned memories as we “unearthed” old memories. Lovely.

I requested Hubby to buy the wooden pins at the last minute. Good thing that his flight to Manila for our wedding was in the evening so he had a few hours to drop by the 100yen-store in Kannai to buy these wooden pins. And yes, he had his guitar and big luggage with him when he went in looking for these pins. Thank you Hubby! 🙂

Raw photos courtesy of Dino Lara.

calendar guest book

We have avoided that not-so-posh tradition of guests queueing in at the registration table to look for their names on some sheets of papers by having escort cards for our reception.

I was then on a look-out for a brilliant idea on how to be more creative with the traditional guest book signing.

When Lene and I met last January, she casually mentioned that I can pass around a calendar for the guests to sign in, putting their names on the dates of their birth. Just the kind of brilliant idea I was looking for.

When I went to Japan last March, one of my agenda was to look for a cute A3 size (max) calendar. It now hangs by our wall, with birthdays of our guests. Just perfect location for us to check in on if it’s time for us to send our thank you postcards, in time for their birthdays. 😀

rustic napkin bouquets

Idea: Erika of Detalye Weddings and Events

Execution: by Atsushi and Marjorie 😀 Doing it together was so much fun! It was one of my favorite evenings on our last week before the wedding. It was good to have our good laughs offset the scary atmosphere of Prince Plaza Hotel II where we stayed for 3 nights. (Segue, on Prince Plaza Hotel II: I am sensitive to “presence” of those not human. At one point, Hubby asked me, “Can you feel the ghost? Even I can feel the ghost”.  That’s how eerie the place was. One good advantage of the place though is its convenience being just right in front of Greenbelt IV.)

Materials: bought by Erika’s team in Divisoria

So proud with our finished products! Ready for handing over to Macy of K by Cunanan to adorn our napkins.

bouquet/garter games, anyone?

I have mixed feelings with the traditional bouquet and garter games. When I was still single, I always grunted whenever this part of the reception is around. I try to wriggle myself out of it, if I can. It’s like, “MUST I be here??”. But then come the games, I find myself enjoying it.

There were also times when the couple modified this part and asked married couples to join in on the game instead of singles. It’s fun to have this, for a change, and it’s fun to see married couples enjoying the game. But then some part of me was thinking, “ah, I wonder who would have been the couple if it were singles in this game”.

There were also times when the games were obviously scripted. That there was some pre-arranged couple who should emerge as winners. This one is nice especially when the couple is really game with it and that their being the winners would help the party be more lively (e.g. they’re the crowd’s favorite and that everyone wants them to be together as a couple or want them to get hitched already). But then again, it would be nice also to have some element of surprise; to let good ol’ fate to decide who should have the bouquet and the garter.

See? Mixed feelings. What’s your thoughts?

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