It has been a little bit over seven months after our wedding BUT I can still tell you exactly what happened from the night before till the wedding party ended. It truly is one of the happiest moments of my life – our families were there, friends flew to the Philippines for the first time to be part of it, the Boracay sunset as our back drop during ceremony; what more can a bride ask for (maybe James Reid coming out? Kidding!)?
I personally think it was a successful event although there were minor details that I realized later on that I wish I have done differently or have realized sooner. Like how I wish we had pictures with the flower girls and the ring and sand bearers; my letter for Johnrick wasn’t given to him during exchange of gifts so he only got to read it after the wedding; I wish I didn’t freestyle the first few lines of my vow so I didn’t mess up while reciting it; or the fact that I actually rushed into reciting it because I’ve been crying and if I don’t hurry I will never finish. But despite these things that I would like to tweak, it has been a stress-free journey (okay, maybe a little stress every now and then), that I would love to go through it over and over again if it means going back to that special day.
Having said that, what’s my advice for future brides? I am at no means an expert when it comes to weddings but I have few things that I’d like to share to future brides-to-be which I think played big roles in making our big day run smoothly.
#1 Choose your top 3
Three things that you will not compromise no matter what. My top three were my planner, photographer and the reception. They are the part of the wedding that I feel will help me not stress about it, will make the guests happy, and will give us something tangible to remember this big day. That’s why I searched for the best ( and within budget) and didn’t settle for less. Everything else in the wedding, you can always work out. Well, that’s just me, everyone else has their own priorities.
#2 Get a good planner!
I can’t stress enough how important and big of a role the planner has when it comes to destination weddings. Think about it, you are not personally there to talk to vendors and scout for the things that you want, so it is important to get someone that is really good at this and someone you can really trust. I remember my mom sending me horror stories of couples having destination wedding in the Philippines and sending monies to their planners only to find out on their actual wedding days that they got scammed and their planners, apparently, didn’t really plan anything. The moment I saw Amanda Tirol from BrideandBreakfast (a famous wedding site in the Philippines), I knew there and then that I wanted her to be my planner. She has a very good reputation with brides, has planned most of the weddings in Boracay and what’s more convincing than knowing she planned celebrity weddings like Jericho Rosales and Kim Jones’ wedding ( which is only my ultimate dream wedding!). She may cost a little bit too much than what I will pay for a wedding planner but I don’t regret a single dollar. Her team is worth EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY and more. First of all, I planned this wedding for more than 2 years – 27 months to be exact. And her team was with me throughout those 27 months – sending me lists of what needs to be done (real talk, I’ve never been married! How would I know what I need?), negotiating with vendors for me, scouting for things that I want, and letting me know what works and what doesn’t. I actually felt their real value more on the wedding day. Everything was well organized that all I had to worry was if it’s going to rain, that’s the only thing that they can’t do for me. I know I had so much time to plan that’s why it didn’t feel stressful but I attribute it mainly to my planning team, they made everything so fun and easy.
#3 Get a good photographer
Or videographer, if you’re into that kind of stuff. I am honestly not too much into videos because I think I look like a dork in it so I prefer stills more. Although, I will admit, Lula Films changed my perspective and made me love our wedding video because they were soooo good! Everyone was really impressed with the Same Day Edit and kept telling me how it made them cry. Anyway, you know how they say that you need to enjoy your wedding day because it will go by so fast? They weren’t lying. All those 2 years of planning, all done in what feels like few hours of socializing. So, I think it is very important to get someone who can document this day well enough. When all the fun is over, you want something to remind you of it. You would want to see your pictures/videos and just be taken back to that special day. Even now I still look at our wedding photos everyday.
#4 Stick to your budget
Unless you’re someone who doesn’t really worry about monetary issues, stick to your budget no matter what. With all these beautiful ideas that you see on the internet (ahem, pinterest) it’s so easy to just want to get everything and lose track of your budget. We get vulnerable to the idea that “I will only get married once, so it’s okay to spend”. NO! Sure, you will only get married once, but what about after the wedding? What about starting your new life together? And most importantly, what about the honeymoon? Again, that’s just me. But seriously, why spend so much on your wedding day and eat cup noodles for the next days to come? If it’s out of budget, don’t force it or make people go out of their way so you can have it. I have a favorite wedding wisdom that says “Your marriage is more important than your wedding”. A beautiful wedding is every woman’s dream but remember that it’s more important to invest in your marriage.
#5 Prepare a Thank You speech
When you’re ecstatic and in the moment, you get overwhelmed and sometimes you can’t think clearly. One thing that I actually regret a lot was not delivering a well-thought speech. I was caught off-guard when I got handed the microphone for a Thank You speech (and I hate public speaking!). I was just sitting there trying to express what I really wanted to say but all that came out was nonsense talking and somewhere between the lines of “Thank you so much, I can’t really think right now, but thank you for coming”. Like, OMG! All these people that came all the way from far places and spent so much for airfare and hotels just to witness our wedding, and I can’t even thank them properly. I mean, yes I sent them Thank You cards but it could have been nicer to say it personally. I terribly failed on that. So make sure you prepare one although it wasn’t listed as part of the program, because they can always hand you the microphone then you’re on your own.
#6 Have fun!
This day is meant to celebrate two people who decided to be together. It’s not to show the world what a beautiful wedding you have, or how expensive and detailed your gown was, or how big the cake was. And it’s definitely not done for the gram! You don’t need to impress anyone. So don’t sweat the small stuff. If something goes wrong, it’s not the end of the world. You will still get married and you get to do it in front of your family, friends and God. And that’s all that matters. You want to remember this day as the happiest day of your life, not the day when you stopped talking to your best friend because she forgot to do something you asked her to.
These are just few of the most important ones that really worked for me. Every bride is different but I hope it somehow helped another bride in need.
Congratulations to all the future brides for deciding on forever. 🙂