December-February is peak season for weddings in the Philippines. Churches and reception venues tend to be booked already even if a couple books a year in advance. Prices of vendors' services particularly flowers and well-know photographers' rates are higher during these months. Plan your wedding months ahead.
We chose The Blue Leaf Events Pavilion because it’s near the Shrine of St. Therese. It is relatively new, and it also has simple Zen-style pavilions. We had simple flower arrangements in the tables and no drapings on the ceiling, but the venue was still very beautiful. The pocket garden where we had our cocktails got a bit crowded for our guests, but it was still nice.
We got their smallest pavilion, the Jade Pavilion, because Ian and I initially wanted a small, intimate gathering of 100 guests including family, close friends and wedding vendors. The Jade Pavilion has a maximum capacity of 200 persons. And since our caterer has a minimum order of 150 heads, we figured we can still invite 50 more. But our guest list ballooned to 200 because our parents kept on inviting people. It seemed that for every 1 guest who’d RSVP that he/she won’t be able to make it, our parents would invite 5 additional heads. And of course , there were people who did not RSVP at all. When we asked them through text messages, they said “not sure”. So we dropped them from our guest list. But they still showed up. There were a total of 210 guests that night, not including the wedding vendors who were around 30 heads. The venue got a bit cramped.
Even though we had a band stage but no dance floor, I give The Blue Leaf a perfect. Why? Because in spite of the limited space due to the increased number of guests, there were ample parking spaces outside. My friend remarked that the pavilion was cozy and the washrooms were nice. We had no problems with the people who work at Blue Leaf. Because we had a band and moodlights, we were told about the need for a gen set beforehand. We chose to rent theirs. We also got back our security deposit a few days after our wedding. No hassle at all.
We have been married in civil rites for 6 years before we had our dream church wedding. We chose to be married at the Shrine of St. Therese in Villamor Air Base because it’s near the hospital where we did our medical internship (Air Force General Hospital). When we were interns, we thought it was just a columbarium. A few years later, when we found out that weddings are also held there, we decided to inquire. We were actually considering 3 other churches. But when we visited the Shrine, we fell in love with the church. We decided to book the Shrine for our wedding. We were ready to comply with all their requirements.
We got their old rate of Php 25,000 with priest, blue carpet and aircon. Php 14,000 if with no aircon. We decided not to be married by one of their in-house priests, because we felt intimidated by a priest there. He reprimanded us for marrying in civil rites and having 2 children before deciding to be married in Catholic rites. Imagine his homily if we had gotten him to officiate our wedding. I cringe. We invited a Jesuit priest instead (Fr. Jboy).
I fell in love with Shrine of St. Therese’ long blue carpet aisle, stained glass windows and altar. What I didn’t like was how strict they were about playing liturgical songs only and with paperworks (they required 4 banns: from our respective parishes (Taguig and Pampanga) and from where we were baptized (Pandacan and Laguna). They also required us to attend Canonical Interview and Pre-CANA Seminar and to go to Our Lady of the Airways (in old NAIA) to have a permit signed by the parish priest there.
In spite of the trouble it took us to acquire the certificates, banns and permits, I would have given the Shrine a perfect rating. But because of the fiasco with Janea Flowers and Balloons, their in-house florist, and because of the fact that they did not extend the time even though it was Janea’s fault that the ceremony did not start immediately, I am only giving them a rating of 2/5. They only allotted us 1 hour for the mass. Our wedding was at 3pm. 30 minutes before the mass, most of our guests were already there. I was in my bridal car already by 2:45pm. The ceremony did not start early because Janea failed to deliver the flowers earlier. It started at about 3:10pm. At exactly 4pm, the Shrine workers turned off the electricity and began locking the side doors while the guests were still inside. Picture-taking was cut short. We did not have recessional music. We didn’t even have confetti/rice shower outside because they wouldn’t allow it. We used bubbles instead. Did I mention that they turned the air-con on only a few minutes before the ceremony? It’s a big church. It wasn’t as cold as it would have been had they turned the air-con on a lot earlier.
The mass was meaningful because of Fr. Jboy and our family and friends. The church was picturesque. But the people who work at the Shrine… uncool.
We checked in at Dusit Thani Hotel the day before the wedding. Because of our limited budget for dressing venue, we only got their corner grand room and an adjacent deluxe room. We were able to avail discounts by making use of our Dusit Wine and Dine Cards. We bought 3 memberships. On the eve of the wedding, it was only me who slept in the grand room, while my couturier from Pampanga stayed in the deluxe room.
The following day, it was the hair and make-up artists who arrived first. They set up at the receiving area of the grand room. My gown was in the queen’s bed area, where the photographers and videographers were taking pictures of our wedding stuff. Relatives, friends and other suppliers quickly filled up the space. The rooms got a bit cramped, but nobody seemed to mind. Everybody was in a jolly mood.
The lobby was beautiful. Our photographers had a field day taking our pictures in Dusit Thani’s grand staircase.
The entire hotel was newly-renovated. We love their lobby, the rooms and of course, that staircase.
We’re so glad we stayed in Dusit Thani Hotel. Best of all, unlike the other well-known hotels in Makati City, Dusit Thani Hotel did not charge photo-op fee in their public places. After the reception, Ian and I with the kids and the yaya went back to the hotel. We had a sumptuous breakfast buffet the next morning. We even went swimming in their beautiful zen-style pool.
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