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-travel themed wedding guest giveaways

Hubby and I wanted guests wedding favors that covered both the rustic and travel aspects of our theme. And well, katsa (rustic) bags (can you get any more “travel-ly” than bags??) certainly did fit the bill!

But we want it personalized.

With the help of a co-w@wie Anna, who designed our cartoons for us just in the nick of time, we had our cartoons silkscreen printed on the katsa bags.

Credits!

  • Cartoon design by Anna Bonnevie
  • Giveaways tag design by Lene Dee-Dragon
  • Printing coordination, twine wrap and tag fringe edge ideas by Erika of Detalye

And oh. I wanted to use our cartoons as a stamp on our postcard thank you cards that we’ll be sending our guests. Customizedesigns did give us freebie stickers but the number of sticker cartoons we have is obviously much less than the number of guests we need to thank for. I tried to edit our cartoons to put some stamp border on it using Photoscape but my computer just freezes over whenever I try to attempt to edit it. After almost a day’s attempt, I had an output. But far from satisfying. I emailed Anna what she used to obtain the same stamp border as our cartoons for our giveaways. And I should have expected – Photoshop is the answer. But what I didn’t expect was the attachment that came with the reply. Anna revised our cartoons and gave me four options for our stamps.

Hubby was so surprised when I just suddenly exclaimed, “wow, Anna is such a nice person!!” when I read Anna’s email. True, Anna is one of those persons I have encountered that would make you say, “People are intrinsically good”.

Thankful for the blessing! 🙂

Katsa bag raw photo courtesy of Dino Lara.

Review: Linda Dee Bridal

One of my suppliers who absolutely didn’t give me any stress whatsoever was my entourage dress supplier Tita Linda and her sisters, Tess and Beth Salamat. In fact, they even helped remove some of my stress by taking care of the fitting scheduling themselves. I had to fly to Japan early March, which was around the time that they had to fit Kat’s dress as well as the dresses of the little kids. They coordinated the schedule themselves – I absolutely didn’t have to worry about it at all. I think it helped though that we personally knew each other and that their son, Rey, was my friend and long-time batchmate in the office hence Rey himself can coordinate with the moms of the kids who were our officemates as well.

When Tita Tess had an emergency operation in the brain due to aneurysm last end of January, they were teasing me that I should freak out already because beadwork will not be by the expert and that it might not be finished in time for our wedding hence everyone will be pitching in with the beadwork, including me. Honestly, I was more freaked out on dabbing a hand on the beadwork myself as compared to the beadwork being done by the others and not by Tita Tess. Thankfully though, Tita Tess recovered amazingly fast (she’s the most cheerful patient I have ever seen!) and insisted that she do the beadwork herself. She was even the one who can’t sit tight when she knows there’s still something missing/not perfect with the dresses (although I think all three Salamat sisters have the same streak hehe).

Mama’s dress. The design was inspired from a design we got from the internet albeit Tita revised it by adding beadwork on it. Green japanese beads and white swarovski crystals were used on the dress as well as on the delicate bolero. Cloth is chantilly lace. Very delicate and girly. When I brought this to Davao last December for Mama to have her first fitting, Mama initially doesn’t want Papa to see her on it. She wants Papa to see it only during the wedding. Feeling bride? hahaha! Tita Linda though made the dress a bit longer on the back, making a very short train. There’s some justice I think to Mama feeling like a bride considering the train haha.

the newly weds! er, parents of the bride. 😀 Irene Sy-Go opted for the "Pilar Pilapil" look on Mama

Okasan’s dress. The design Okasan liked was one of Richie Ortega-Torres’s designs. Tita Linda opted to have it as a blouse and skirt though rather than a whole dress. She also opted to have the skirt layered to add more beadwork. Cloth: Dope dyed chiffon with charmeuse silk lining. Orange japanese beads and orange swarovski crystals were used on the dress.

still waiting for the official photos with Okasan in her dress
And of course, I have already mentioned the purse made for the mothers, haven’t I? They were just so pretty!!! Mind you, the pretty beadwork extends up to the back. Happy.
Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids’ dresses. These dresses are a cross between Japanese and Greek style. The cut is grecian but Tita Linda added an obi-belt, giving it a Japanese touch. We were also very happy with the bags provided. As Cindy put it, “hindi gumamit ng tira-tira lang na tela, may bling-bling pa” (they didn’t use leftover cloth; they even added an accessory!). 😀  Shawls were also provided which my pretty ladies used during reception. Dress cloth: chiffon with charmeuse silk lining. OB cloth: charmeuse silk with lace applique lace peppered with beads and swarovski crystals.

pretties with tita linda

pretty kat in her intricate finely pleated bodiced japanese-inspired grecian style gown (LOL!)

pretty cindy

To Cindy: when it’s your turn to wear the white gown iha, hold the bouquet lower. Remember, flower over flower 😀

pretty mayumi with handsome hubby (hehehe!)

And! and!! Our little kids’ dresses are obviously one of my kilig things with our wedding details.

Of course we wanted something Japanese on my entourage dresses since we already have the barong for the men – Filipino side. Me wearing a kimono is definitely out since it would take a long time (certainly longer time compared to wearing a white dress) to dress me up in it, even with the help of an expert kimono stylist (and we didn’t have one with us in the wedding). Plus, the (true) elaborate obi would make it harder for me. I have to sit at least a foot away from the back of a chair. My pretty ladies wearing a yukata is out as well. Yukata is too simple for the ladies, especially in this special occasion – you can even wear a yukata for sleeping!

kat and I, Matsumoto, winter 2008

But with the little kids, the yukatas and hakamas would lend to an overload of cuteness in a wedding!!! ahhh! I just love these! Love the cloth Tita Linda used as well for the girls – just perfect for our motif.

from the left, Gabrielle, Rafael (they're twins!) and Micah

I wouldn’t wonder why Cathe, the other flower girl, is not in this picture. Because Cathe was forever with me, haha! I had been showered with a lot of compliments that day but I think 50% of it came from Cathe alone. She would come up to me, and shower me with compliments, each different from the previous one she said. Name it, she said it, “you look so gorgeous!”, “you look so beautiful!”, “you’re like a princess!”, “your dress is so lovely!”, “you’re like an angel!”, “tomorrow I want to have your autograph”, “you’re very pretty”, und so weiter. Tell you, I was amazed with the number of compliments she had in her little head. She even want to walk with me! haha. To which I (along with Erika Bergara, Dino Lara and Richie Torres) had to convince her that she should lead the way for me. End result, she later on told everyone, “I’m the leader!”. haha! So cute! I think though, she’s the bride bride, if you know what I mean.

Cathe in a Japanese pose

Tita Linda and her sisters also thought to include in the little girls’ outfit a matching bag (see Cathe’s picture above). Cathe was telling me she hid her bag inside the big folds of the arms of the yukata so that it would appear that she’s only holding her flower ball. Very smart little girl! 🙂

Segue: Cathe also gave us more laughter on our wedding day. When Atsushi and I kissed, she stood in front of us and said a loud “uuuyyyy!”. Her mom, our Ninang –  Ate Loida, told us later she has been asking Ate Loida a number of times when are we kissing in that when it was time for us to have our kiss, one of the coordinator told Cathe it was “kissing time” already and Cathe immediately went to stand in front of us. hahaha! Also, later, after our performance in the reception, Cathe passed by in front of us and gave us a two thumbs up to tell us we did a great job. A truly adorable kid.

I just don’t have a picture of it but the girls’ obis have a big ribbon at the back, like a true obi. And please do take notice on the knot of the cord on their obi – that’s how it’s really done in the Japanese way. Tita Linda and tita Beth had to watch videos on how to correctly tie the knot and they had to research tons on how to make a yukata and hakama (the boys’ outfit). Yes, it’s their first time to make these kinds of dresses – can you imagine?? It definitely doesn’t look like a first timer’s work. And if one is convinced of this, then it goes to show how good a couturier is.

Oh, take a pause for this thoughtfulness: Tita Linda and her sisters were sure the kids being kids, they might be uncomfortable with their obis after some time and that for first timers, it would be difficult how to tie the knot and form the obi ribbon. So, to have less stress for the moms and kids, what they did was sew everything in the cloth so it would be just like a belt. Nice.

The skirt of the boys’ hakama looked authentically Japanese! All cloths (cotton) were bought in Divisoria by the way. Tita Linda and her sisters were just so good in looking for the right cloth.

It took a long time for my 3-yr-old nephew, our Bible bearer, to wear the hakama and his Japanese socks and slippers. Everybody in the family had to convince him he look really pogi (handsome) in it for a loooong time before he agreed to wear it hence, he has a lot of pictures with his hand on his chin, for the “pogi” look.

little Carl and his dad

See the back detail of their hakama. Like!

yep, Carl finally agreed to wear the hakama - but with his jeans beneath it haha

More photos!

kilig overload!

with the newly weds

I think it goes without saying that i’m giving Tita Linda and her sisters an excellent rating.

Supplier: Linda Dee Bridal

Rating: 5/5

Contact numbers: +632.920.5165; +63917.628.3483

To the curious, yes, Linda Dee is Lene Dee-Dragon’s (our invites and stationeries designer) mom. Talent runs in the blood, eh?

All pictures except Kat and me in yukata (from me), Cathe in Japanese pose (from Cindy), Carl and his dad with the pogi shot (by one of my brothers using my phone cam) were courtesy of Rey Dee.

———–

A month after posting.

I`m still in the middle of sorting our pictures from Dino (6DVDs containing 5500+ photos!) but finally, I can share here a picture of Okasan in her dress.

 

A&M wedding day tales and our SDE

Before starting off (part of) our wedding day stories, Atsushi and I want to thank our friends and family who had set aside some of their time, travelled to Tagaytay from Manila and even flew in from Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Davao, to be with us in our wedding day. We can’t thank you enough. Honto ni arigatou Gozaimashita. 🙂

To our friends now in different parts of the globe (US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Indonesia) who wanted to be with us yet can’t, thank you still for being supportive and for helping us during the preps. We would always remember the help you gave us. 🙂

————–

I was pretty emotional the couple or so weeks before our wedding. When hubby arrived though on the 23rd, I had to set aside being emotional and focused more on what’s left to be done. End result, it was hubby who was more like the bride (feeling anxious, worried etc) while I was behaving more like another coordinator – I had to keep focused on what’s next to be done. We were not just organizing a wedding but was organizing as well a vacation for my family and friends (who was here from Davao) and hubby’s family and friend (who came from Japan).

So yes, the day before the wedding was very hectic, not because we had to tie some loose end details of the wedding but that because we had to fetch up our families from different airports and have fittings for the entourage (they’re out of town/country so that was the only time we can have the fitting). I had to make sure as well that our other guests whom we’re not picking up at the airport gets to their respective hotels safely. I wasn’t feeling so bride-y at all but more like a tour guide. So in turn, groom-hubby had to feel for the both of us.

In any case, because I really cannot attend to the preps anymore, I was really very thankful for Detalye’s efficiency. And creativeness!!! Anyways, will post a separate blog about Detalye once I receive our photos from Dino Lara’s team (so looking forward to it!!). Suffice it to say that i’m another satisfied Detalye bride. Oh yes there are hitches here and there, but it definitely wouldn’t mar my excellent rating on them.

By the way, as we still don’t have with us photos from Dino Lara, we are thankful to our friends who were fast in uploading our pictures in Facebook. This one was among my favorites.

Anyways, I digress.

Come wedding eve, after having had tucked all Tagaytay newcomers in their beds, I was able to sleep early. I slept for seven hours – to which both Erika and my HMUA Irene Sy-Go commented that this is most unusual since a lot of brides doesn’t get that much sleep the night before the wedding. I do agree considering I have had bouts of insomnia during preps.

Was up early (7am is early for me, yes) on the wedding day. Had some quiet breakfast inside the house while my family ate in the gardens of Yellow Coco. I was yet to make my vows and that was the only time I had hence I willed myself to make use of it.

When Dhonna called in from US, we were already in Ville Sommet’s Chalet and Irene was doing Mama’s makeup and Rica (hairstylist) on Kat’s hair. At that time and up till after lunch, I was feeling so calm. No butterflies in the stomach whatsoever at all. In fact, I actually didn’t feel anything at all. Except that I kept looking at the sky and praying that it wouldn’t rain until after the reception (to which my prayers were answered by the way). I felt so calm I was actually wondering if the calmness I was feeling is at all normal for a bride.

Halfway through the makeup though, I already felt some hammering on my chest. It was so loud I was thinking Irene might hear it. Rica kept on cracking jokes to calm me down. It helped actually. The nervousness was gone once pictorials started though. Our wedding was at 6pm hence we had our “first look” before the ceremony.

Hubby is really shy when posing in front of the camera but I am very thankful that Atsushi played along with what our camera guys asked from him during our wedding day. And yes, he kissed me a lot of times. Yey! 😀

My nervousness came back when we were getting prepared for me to walk down the aisle. I can hear “Ikaw” being sang as my entourage walked and I was almost teary-eyed as I remembered how I sang “Ikaw” in a number of weddings already and that I can’t believe this time, it is MY wedding.

Okay, I willed myself not to cry during our wedding. But blogging about our wedding now, made me cry. It was a good thing I am blogging this while Hubby is home ’cause then hubby can hug me as I cry myself silly. That “it’s my turn this time” thingy cracked me up. 😛

So, my nerves was really all in knots just right before the walk, whilst “Two Words” was being played. Good thing Richie was there to encourage me.

Jumping on to the reception. I suffered a terrible migraine from right after the ceremony until well into dawn. Hence am really thankful my pain didn’t show during the entire reception, not even during our short number. I just couldn’t eat K’s good food though. I can only eat enough to satisfy my hunger but not too much else I’d throw up again.

As we look back, Atsushi and I were really happy that our prayers for a beautiful wedding was answered. To have our guests tell us it was a beautiful and successful wedding infused with a lot of details makes me realize all the more that all the hard work was worth it. Even Taal cooperated; answered prayer.  😀  Even the insect kept to our colors haha!

We wanted a small wedding. My original dream wedding was actually in a beautiful island in Cebu/Bohol with only 50 guests. But of course, come actual dream wedding planning for Tagaytay wedding, it has to be bigger. All those who confirmed their attendance showed up hence all the airplane origami escort cards that EJ (of Detalye) made were brought home by the guests. Happy. We had a total of 74 guests. Ninety nine percent of the guests stayed until the reception ended. The 1% went home after Jason’s SDE was shown, which was actually just roughly 15minutes before reception program ended. Happy.

Anyways, I’ll have my ratings (and share my kilig!! with suppliers’ outputs) in another post. Most, if not all, of our suppliers were commendable actually. Except for one. I am still thinking if even the negative review is worth posting here in our blog. I really don’t want to think about the group anymore – the group which had given me a heartache ever since we got in contact with them. It makes me think though, we probably got the “pirated” one – considering how out of tune they were. Yes, their performance was one that would make you say, “Is this really XXX?” I wish they recorded how they performed that night. That way, they can assess how badly they performed.

Hmmm, in restrospect though, I find myself really upset whenever I performed really bad. So probably, since they themselves are professionals, they must be terribly embarrassed and tortured about the bad performance. So I think it’s decided. I will not be mentioning them again on this blog, bad review or otherwise. For both sides’ sakes.

For now though, am sharing Jason Magbanua’s same-day-edit (SDE) for us.

Segue: A lot have asked us why an evening wedding? Trust that considerable thought has been spent on it and that a lot of factors has been considered. And in truth, part of the reason why we finally settled for the 6pm wedding (it has to be April 30 in Caleruega) was so that we can have Jason Magbanua personally cover our wedding. Of course, our decision was correct.

Jason is simply brilliant. He had the music we picked run continuously and then seamlessly inserted the part of my vows where I sang. End result: hubby’s family and some other guests (even Kat who has been my roomie for a number of years) and some suppliers asked if I sang the entire song. Haha! In turn, since Atsushi’s vows were not included (Hubby had two versions of his vows. He read the scratch paper version. I loved the stationery version), Jason must have had decided to have Atsushi’s face on focus for a long time. End result: people has been teasing hubby that it was his promotional video to launch his new career as an actor – LOL.

More than that, there were a lot of other aspects in our SDE that I loved – among others, the sequence of Mayumi hanging her head followed by Kawauchi-san raising his; the timing of the piano’s rythmn to the lighting of the lamps.

Anyways, the song is Angela Aki’s version of Kiss from a Rose. Hubby and I used to play this while chatting in Skype – him on guitar, me on vocals. We love this version much more than Seal’s. Angela Aki didn’t just translate the song to Japanese, by the way. She made an altogether different lyrics. Good thing hubby found an mp3 of this song and hence was able to give it to Jason, 2 days before our wedding. And yes, we were practicing it before with only Youtube’s help.

Enjoy! Hubby and I can’t get enough of our video haha. I hope the same goes for you. 🙂

(By the way, Jason gave us the video in .vob format and we had to convert it just so we can upload it here. End result: resolution and quality was sacrificed during the conversion process.)

And oh, I also tagged Lene-Dee Dragon. She was the one who designed our giveaway tags which was focused towards the end of the video. The idea of having the fringes was Erika’s (Detalye) brainchild, on the other hand. When I saw it, I couldn’t help but gush about it. Kilig! 😀

rustic-travel themed invites

♫…brown paper packages tied up with strings,these are a few of my favorite things…♫

Yep, our invites indeed are one of my favorite things (among many others in our wedding details). Ever since I saw a passport invite months before we decided to get married, I was bent on having our invites passport-style. But when I actually got started with the wedding preparation, I learned that a LOT of couples already adopted this idea. We’d only be one in hundreds. How to make our invites a bit different from the others?

Lene certainly had more ideas in mind. In her words, “who said we’re just sticking to passports?” I-just-love-her. See, what she had in mind were for us to have:

  • main passport invites, with the front and back cover text and logo gold embossed
  • a postcard for the RSVPs and dress code
  • a train ticket for our gifts preference (we’ll be based in Japan whilst the wedding is in the Philippines hence we had to specifically request our guests to not to follow Filipino tradition on gift giving – which is actually buying house items for the couple)
  • a hotel stationery wherein a
  • location map is attached

Lene also tossed the idea of wrapping our invites with brown craft paper for the rustic touch and Erika (Detalye) tossed the idea of sealing it with  logo sticker.

I love each and every part of our invites because of the detail in each. Take for one our train pass. Our inspiration was from Yokohama’s old subway train pass (nowadays, it has the pink PASMO mascot in the background). 

It has some orange logo in the background. And you know what Lene did?

I was beside her when she was doing this bit. We were just talking about some normal topic, totally non-invites related and then wham, she reduced our logo into minis and had it as background for our train ticket. Imagine my giddiness when I realized what she was doing. Lene is just simply awesome, isn’t she? 🙂

To complete our invites, we wrapped it in laminated craft paper and tied it up with a string. Erika’s team (Detalye) was kind enough to buy the strings for me in Divisoria. For somebody who gets sick e-v-e-r-y-t-i-m-e she goes to Divisoria, this favor is really something. Dust and aerosols and any minute particles really doesn’t sit well with my nose (that includes tatami and the dust and mites housed in the tatami which means I shouldn’t stay a lot in out tatami room 😦  Or better yet, clean the tatami room thoroughly hehe.)

There was one hitch though that really got me pressured. I can’t ask the printer to set up our invites for me because if they fold the paper and tie it up already, I would have to untie it and unfold it again so as to write the RSVPs and addressees. This could result to a much-wrinkled wrap. Shoganai ne, I have to do the wrapping myself. And for one who has untrained hands, this really put a lot of pressure on me.

But nothing is too strong for prayer and determination. True, before I started folding and tying, I had to pray for it. And I had to say this is for Atsushi and our loved ones.  Suffice it to say that each invite was a labor of love. 🙂  And they turned out not so bad after all.

Requested my ex-colleague/friend Russell Olaguer to take some shots of our photos. They turned out really nice, as expected! Together with Douglas Cataylo, Russell also covered our first prenup. I am so excited for our 2nd prenup tomorrow or sunday, granting good weather conditions with Russell and Gali Montalbo!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ugh, I can’t delete the first two pics about the train pass in this slideshow. Anyways the map was in full lime green print (not in the pictures, it was the one folded in the hotel stationery), giving balanced exposure of both our wedding colors. Sorry, I had to mosaic the names though, for privacy purposes.

Oh, by the way, do visit Lene’s FB page for her miniatures and be amazed more with her talent.  Please do visit as well Lene’s portfolio. We are thankful as well to Crowne Print through Erika (Detalye) for their very good output/prints of our invite. Really nice work. 🙂

9 weeks and counting!

Nine weeks left till our wedding and i think we have almost everything down pat already. Almost. 🙂

Met with Erika and EJ for our invites yesterday morning. Happiness!!! 😀 I’m still working on the invites and I figure it’ll take at least an additional one whole day to finish the RSVPs, addressing and most of all, WRAPPING our invites hence I’d probably be able to start its distribution by Tuesday hopefully. Excited!! Thank you Lene and Erika!! Will talk about the invites in a more lengthy post later, once they’re all out.

Had my 3rd fitting with Richie as well yesterday. The moment I caught sight of my gown, I sighed “ahhhhh” dreamily almost ending with a high-pitched “ahhhhh” whilst giggling. I kept on saying thank you to Richie and her staff. And they in turn tell me it’s not yet finished; that there’s more. I-just-can’t-wait. I remembered a bride’s post on Richie’s FB page, something about “the journey of the bridal gown”. And indeed, it is the same for me. We talked about the latest Puey Quiñones scandal and I saw how Richie cringed with the stories. Really, the scandal was just too much, isn’t it? Anyways, one thing noteworthy with Richie: she doesn’t consider it beneath her to bend and measure me up, help me undress, dress up and even try and help me with my shoes! With this last one though, I just had to say “It’s okay Richie, I can handle it” because it’s just so embarrassing to have Richie help me with my shoes. One thing I love meeting up with Richie is that she, her staff and her shops (all four of them including her condo and Hidalgo’s library haha) are all full of positive vibes – positive vibes that a bride should surround herself even more especially with all the stress of the wedding preps.

Okay, got to go back to my invites! 😀

3 months exactly

Our wedding is gonna be hopefully exactly three months from now!  🙂

I’m really all hoity-toity and giddy today because our invites has already been finalized by Lene! Why giddy? Because it’s soooo pretty!! And creative. And out of the box. I just love Lene Dee-Dragon! And we’ve attained what we’ve been aiming for – your not so usual travel-themed invite. Will share it here on our wedsite once we’ve had our invites delivered to our invitees.

So thankful for Lene who’s designing our invites free of charge, to Rey and Dee sisterhood for giving us a warm stay at their place and for MOH Kat who stayed with me in the Dee household to support and keep me company.

For now, I need to update the invitees list to finalize the total number of guests so as to estimate total number of invitations we need (plus allowance) to make as well as the number of reserved seat for each guest (no allowance) that we will put on the RSVP card.

Yet another ASAP item as well is that I need to update our “Tagaytay Hotels and Sites” page since, well, I made a reference to it on our invites.

We are also currently starting discussions for detailing on Reception styling. And you know what? I just love Detalye. 🙂

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