Monday, March 30, 2009

Reverse Blogging; The Bachelorette Party

A girl's guide to a successful Bachelorette Party:

1. Be a good, creative, and fun loving person.
2. That way you will have good, creative, and fun loving friends; that will throw you a good, creative, and fun Bachelorette Party.
3. If you don't want a stripper (midget, Filipino, Brazilian, or otherwise) - let it be known, early and emphatically. Clean fun is the best kind of fun there is.
4. If your bridesmaids are making the effort to surprise you, don't ask too many questions. By finding out what's going on, you're only depriving yourself of the wonderful spontaneity of what is meant to be your craziest and most free-spirited night.
5. Don't take yourself too seriously! We dressed as thugs, and after the food and games, rolled out to Embassy - and nobody was allowed to change. Mind you, there was a major event at the club that night, but half the fun is really not caring what other people think! [Note: If you are not extremely good friends with the people that own/spin at/promote Embassy, I do not suggest trying to enter in costume. Just a thought.]

Me with the 'Masta Plannas', Margaux and Thea

The Girls hit Embassy

Group 4, spitting rhymes...

Big L, Ill Nana, and Baby G

East(Wood) Reprazent!

Mishequa and Sam Shady

Ay Bay Bay, winner of the 'Most Stylish Thug' award

Event Master-Planners: Margaux Cortez & Althea Arvisu
Accomplices: All the girls that started a Facebook thread behind my back. Lol.
Theme: 90's Gangsta Hip Hop/Chola/Thug
Games: "Jeopardy, the Sarah Facts Edition", "Best Sarah Impersonation", "Freestyle Rap about Sarah", "Guess Who Wrote This Memory/Message", "Plant the Kiss on Common" [didn't push through due to technical difficulties], and of course, "Just Call Me By My (Gangsta) Name" - the patented Julie Dela Cruz party favorite!

Guest list for the night:
Moniqua (Monica), Big Momma Fae (Mafae), The Real Sam Shady (Samantha), Shainiqua (Yishai), Zim Zimma (Chesa), Big L (Leila), Ay Bay Bay (Bea), E-Munny (Erica), G-Funk (Gina), Margeezy (Margaux), Jacquisha (Jax), Baby G (Girlie), Mishequa (Michelle N.), R-Nana (Rina), Ill Nana (Manina), and can't remember Julie, Oz, or Michelle C.'s names....!
Oh, and me - Queen B(illions). That's right....Gangsta! :D

[Pictures c/o Manina Jose, Samantha Johnson, Michelle Nocon, and Erica Paredes]

Reverse Blogging; The Pre-Nup Shoot

So, in the throes of wedding chaos, and me trying to source out the best suppliers for my not so run of the mill taste/needs, I found myself sitting down at Seattle's Best, High Street, one evening, with wedding video masterminds, Threelogy.

It began via txt;
s - hey cj, i'm here na - you?
cj - we're inside
s - what are you wearing?
s - sorry, that sounded bad. lol.

In a nice little sit down, throughout which CJ (and later, Bong), were completely amicable, fun, professional, and unflinching (even when I abruptly screamed [no, shrieked] upon seeing a mouse scuttle behind the couch), I knew I had found "the guys" to do the video.

[I'll type more about the wondrousness of Threelogy later, but for now, let me continue into what was soon to become our Pre-Nup shoot...]

So, everything goes beautifully, when Bong says, "Our friends heard we were meeting with you, and in case you didn't have a pre-nup scheduled yet, were offering to shoot you....have you heard of MangoRED?"

Have I heard of MangoRED?! Are you kidding me? What self-respecting about to be bride, hasn't done internet research and seen the breathtaking works of Threelogy and MangoRED?

I squealed.
Uttered a bunch of "OMG's".
Then breathed.
Then said, "But of course."

And there you have was written :)

Thank you's are in completely in order for the most unprecedentedly rugged and spontaneously creative pre-nup shoot in history ("Pre-nup - Cubao Expo?!" - YESSSSS!)

The magical pieces of the puzzle are as follows:
MakeUp {Xeng Zulueta} & {Madge Lejano} of theMakeUpStudio
Hair {Angel Salian} of theMakeUpStudio
Styling {Geof Gonzales}
Video {Threelogy}
Couture / Veluz, Niko for Veluz, Geof Gonzales, Mike Lavarez, Cheetah Rivera
Location {Mogwai} c/o Direk Erik Matti / {Sputnik} c/o Lyle Sacris / {Karma} c/o David & Mai Kaufman

For more of our MangoRED pre-nup shoot.
For the feature of the pre-nup shoot on

Reverse Blogging; Get A Wedding Planner

There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing things on your own, but unless you're blessed with incredible people around that have done this all time and again, there are little things that may be overlooked, simply due to lack of experience. I can't even imagine what could have gone wrong if I didn't have my "Dream Team" around me; a group comprised of wonderful girlfriends, who were all very hands on with their own weddings [not to mention a majority of our group's children parties, baby showers, etc.] *Tristan Cablay, Michelle Cariaso, Girlie Castro, Julie Dela Cruz* + the sole person in our group that can singlehandedly plan a party, coordinate everyone's whereabouts, all while cooking, setting up, and entertaining (this is for our wonderful extended family of about 50+ people) *Nats Calinawan* + my perpetually laughing and singing bridesmaids *Cynthia Kurleto, Erica Paredes, Margaux Cortez, Leila Amerling, Thea Arvisu, Jena Daza, Kristine Fernandez* + my fairy godmother through this entire wedding process, who calmly and deftly addressed my spiritual, logistical, and palatable needs (guided me from a Catholic perspective, helped me make MANY decisions, provided her home as my refuge when things began to get hectic, fed me well constantly, and prepared the canapés for the actual reception) *Chesa Zimmer* + my the wonderful women in Banjo's family, namely Tita Gela, Tita Pia, Ninang Baby, and of course - my mother-in-law! Thanks also goes out to *Manina Jose, Mafae and Nic Belasco, November Tan, Osang Yulo, and Bea Constantino* for being lifesavers and contributing/hauling/laboring/shouldering/delivering one thing or another - mostly the night before/actual day of the wedding :D And to Froi Raymundo, our Steak Productions Production Manager, who between him and Leo, kept suppliers organized, fed, and paid - salamat po!

From shopping trips to Divisoria (handled by the Divi Queens Girlie and Michelle), to crafting sessions (which, at Tristan's house, consisted of yummy fish tacos, Sangria, and the occasional sliced and bleeding finger [the corks came out fantabulous!]), to staying up the entire night on the eve of the wedding (so much so that they didn't even make it to the ceremony, let alone the reception) - these individuals (who I call my bridesmatrons), not only kept my sanity at bay, but made me smile, and actually let me ENJOY the fact that I was preparing to get married. Plus, it was breathtaking to see what creative and handy, versed and talented, able and willing, meticulous and determined, friends I have :)

Handcrafted 'Horseshoes' sign.

Tristan & Ember nursing Margaux's sliced finger.
(By the end of the evening, Ember too, cut herself, and by the time of the wedding - Tristan joined the list of casualties!)

Maybe not so smart to drink and use knives after all...

Come the actual wedding day, I had suppliers asking who "those girls" were. When I said, "who the PBA wives?", they were floored, and mused on how my girls needed to put together their own Wedding Coordinating business because of the excellent ideas and execution. I agreed, and continue to agree, wholeheartedly :D Ladies (and Nats), you are wonderful. My eternal appreciation, debt, and gratitude go out to you.


Reverse Blogging; Thoughts on Wedding Blogging

This 'Reverse Blogging' series is all a product of one of the most discombobulating notions I've come across. When you are (crazy enough to choose to be) planning your own wedding, and are not excused from regular duties of motherhood and career; plus have decided to make majority of your guest list a smattering of people from across the globe [that you will later feel horrible for not spending enough time with] - really, how is Blogging about it all, even possible?!

My answers:
a) You are the type of person that finds solace and organization through writing
b) You actually DO have a wedding planner
c) You have someone writing for you
d) You are normal, and started planning your wedding more than 8 weeks before your chosen date
e) You are doing it in the "proper" order - meaning, you are not already civilly married, and with children, and really actually DO have time to do all of this stuff...

In any case, I couldn't handle it, and so am now relegated to retelling events transpired, retrospectively. This means that things will be a little more detached in terms of emotion, but maybe that's a good thing :) You don't want to know how blasé I was, because it's not recommended...;)


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reverse Blogging; The Bridal Shower

It all began with a slip.

See, I was traipsing around ABS-CBN's 8th floor, which also happens to be the home of CCPMG. What the heck is that, you ask? It's the Kapamilya's Cable Print and Media Group (I know I'm missing a "C", but really, don't think it stands for anything), which basically houses everything from the Velvet Channel, to Cinema One, MYX, and all the ABS-CBN glossies, including...dun dun dun dun - Metro Weddings.

Anyway, by this point, I had already asked Chris (Lopez) to be a Ninang for our wedding, simply because from MTV days to the newer Velvet days, she had always been real, and supportive, and always took interest in what was making me smile/frown. Chris and I had shared some good years together, and after seeing her come into the office day after day during her pregnancy, I knew there was something about this woman that I could learn to learn from. But I digress.

So anyway, I'm on the 8th floor, and someone comes up to me with a series of questions about my wedding - what's the theme, what are your colors, who is your Maid of Honor, can we have her number? I was a little taken aback, and I guess this lady in front of me sensed it, and to appease me says, "It's for your bridal shower. We're planning it for you..." - which was a wonderful surprise, until Love (my effervescent Production Manager) hisses at her in passing, with "It's supposed to be a surprise...".

To make a long story short, in the weeks leading up to the "surprise" bridal shower, I learned more and more from various unassuming people; a friend told me when it was ("I'll see you on the 21st!"), another told me where it was ("Girl, this whole time I thought it was Shangri-La Makati - good thing I read the invite and saw EDSA Shang"), and an intern told me excitedly that she was going to be doing registration for the event, which only let me know that this wasn't going to be some little get together.

I was right.

February 21, 2009
Banjo drives me to the EDSA Shangri-la, where I walk in, hit up Margaux on the celly, and ask her where exactly I'm going. She says poolside. I get to the pool, and go;

"Oh, look - there's some sort of event. But I wonder where they are?".

Lo and behold, "the event" was my bridal shower.

Event Styling by Henry Pascual

Free Facials and Make Up by Guerlain

Booth by Unarosa

Cake and Mini Cakes by Judy Uson

Chocolates by Chocolate Confections

Me with Ninang Chris;
Free-flowing Wine and Champagne by the CAV Wine Shop
My dress by Arleen Sipat of Salsatrends

Photobooth Pictures by Baicapture

Portrait by Gigi Lapid

And not only surprise visits from my husband, Banj, and former co-VJ at MTV, Marc Abaya...
But a surprise performance from Out of Body Special!
[My bridesmaids knew I would flip out - and I did!]

Goody Bags by Aranaz

Invitation Design by Wink

So, as you can tell, it was a surprise well worth spilling. My thanks goes out to everyone at Metro Weddings; from the cover shoot to the bridal shower - you guys always know how to make things extra special. I won't be getting married again, so I can't say "hope to work with you again soon", but I do hope other ladies out there get a little slice of what I did from the advice you give in your magazine!

Ninang Chris, Love, Anne, Bebeth, Michelle, and everyone else who could have been doing something other than planning this shower - you guys rock, and are truly appreciated!

To all the partners - EDSA Shangri-La, CAV Wine Shop, Salsatrends, Guerlain, Unarosa, Chocolate Confections, Baicapture, Aranaz, Gigi Lapid, Henry Pascual, Judy Uson, Out of Body Special - thank you so much!!!!

To Frank - for making an AVP that seriously made me cry, Salamat!

To Banj and Marc - surpriiiiiise!

To my Bridesmaids and the ladies that were there - I love you girls; you know that. Now how do we replicate this for the next party? :D


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Entry 5: "Progress".

Invitations; not designed yet. Am twiddling my thumbs, and beginning to wonder if I should do it myself.
Guest List; still way too many people.
My Dress; after all these years of modeling, fittings, fashion shows - you think this would be just another trip to Rajo's. But slipping into that dress today, and everyone collectively smiling, and saying "Wow, perfect...", and it really, actually feeling perfect?! [Insert sound of heart soaring here]. And my goodness; to think that was only the lining I tried on.
Kaya's Dress; purple - what else? ;)
Banjo's Suit; an extremely fruitful trip to Joey Samson yesterday resulted in Banj finally deciding what color he's going to wear, and what his groomsmen are going to wear too. Yay!
My Bridesmaid Dresses; swinging over to visit with Lyle (Ibañez) as soon as he gets back from Malaysia next week.
Food Tasting for Reception; Still being scheduled. I'm worried/scared. Sat down and wrote out my ideal menu, and it looks nothing like what they plan on serving....I'm really hoping we can schedule it while Chesa is here. It would comfort me beyond belief to have her opinion and advice, like you don't even know.
Color Theme; Plum, Orange, Brown, Raspberry.
Ninongs & Ninangs; score update? S -4, B - 1
Everything Else; I'm getting the Dream Team together this Saturday to help me streamline things and take a leap forward in the wedding planning. I have an Events Company, and access to my Production Managers, Set Designers, Stage Suppliers, the works...but for this event? I would much rather have my amazing friends sit and sew, and glue gun, and brainstorm, and bake, and laugh, and cry, and argue, and eat, and drink, and print, and tie, and arrange, and shop, and just BE WITH ME, every step of the way. [Remind me to ask Mom if there's a Saint to pray to for 'Patience and Understanding of Friends in Times of Extreme Stress'.]

Other wedding-related randomness:
- Casey is coming out of VJ retirement, and will be hosting the reception. I suspect I am in for laughter, tears, and a good deal of trouble. I wouldn't have it any other way (except maybe if Belinda could make it, and host with him. Awwww. Will miss you Bee!).
- I have successfully Facebooked friends into slaving away at my wedding, when in reality, they should be enjoying themselves. Shout out to Jay Lara, who has agreed to snap away at the wedding alongside Raymund I. - Awesome!
- Speaking of pictures, I made my first jab at my self-imposed cardio routine last night, just so I can drop this Holiday Foie Gras weight, and get right for March. Went okay. I'm hitting the gym to do some light lifting in the morning.
- I don't know if I want to rent a bridal car. There's something strange about paying for a car for 2 hours, primarily just for picture's sake, that is a little "meh" to me.
- My Ring Bearer and Coin Bearer are booked, and ready to par-tay! Thank you to Mafae and Nic, and Julie and Tony, for allowing your boys to be part of our entourage :) [Joy, if you're reading this, you know I'm still leaving Bible Bearer open for Jakes....]
- Drove all the way to Malacañang yesterday to get my Confirmation Certificate, and of course - Monday is the only day the Parish Office is closed. Oh well, Take 2 next week...
- Pre-Cana at Caleruega! 2 hours, 1 session. And I heard the Priest is fantastic :) Can't wait to get our schedule.

Okay, going to go figure out church songs now. I will catch YOU, later.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

57 days...

Happy New Year everybody! May God bless us all with great health, bountiful wealth, & a prosperous year filled with lots of love, peace, & joy! As of today, Jaunuary 4 (Happy Bday to my best man JC), we have 57 days left til the Big Celebration! For everyone flying to the PI, please book your tickets ASAP! We can't wait to see you guys. Hope you all had a great holiday season. Stay posted...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What To Wear?

My wonderful sister-in-law Kim gave me a shout on the phone from NY today, asking if I could send pegs of what I wanted her and my other sisters to wear to the wedding. Figured I might as well share what I sent her with all the ladies!

Attire for the Chicas:
Printed, flowy, mid-length or maxi dresses in deep/dark reds, blues, purples, oranges + black/white
Sandals also highly recommended; the chapel is on a hill (i.e., lots of uphill steps), and the reception is in a garden, so high heels will be a hindrance (but what do I know? I only have one pair...). Hope this helps!

Feel free to ask any other questions! Also, just a reminder - the wedding is in Tagaytay, so for the non(winter)-seasoned New Yorker, it may get a little chilly. Shawls/cardigans suggested! ;)


Monday, December 29, 2008

Entry 4: Progress

1. The Rajo Laurel has finished designing my dress. It took about 34 seconds the first time, and after I changed my mind about material, 27 seconds the second time. The rest of the team? Hair and make up: Jing Monis. Portraits: Raymund Isaac. The benefits of partnering up with someone you've worked with for the last 12 years = ahhhh. So so priceless.

2. After we came to the realization that the big Manila wedding, and the whole Boracay thing was not what we wanted, Banj sat me down, and asked "What did you always dream of?". I told him a small, simple, but meaningful ceremony, and a laid back and fun reception. I kept saying "Mamma Mia minus the ABBA music". He asked me where I wanted it, and I told him there was this chapel in Tagaytay/Batangas called Caleruega, that I had my heart set on for years.

He said let's do it.
I was elated.
So I called.
March 3 was booked.


But I had showed him a reception venue online [Hacienda Isabella] which was in the same area, that he wanted to see in person. So we made the drive, with the intentions of looking for another church in the vicinity.

En route to Hacienda Isabella:

San Antonio de Padua Quasi Parish Church -
Cute, quaint, totally did not feel right.
I pretended to take pictures, but knew in my gut that if we did it there, I'd be forcing myself to justify why I liked it. At that point I realized that if I did it anywhere other than Caleruega, I'd probably feel the same way. I felt sick, but was determined to be optimistic. We got back in the car.

Instead of proceeding straight to Hacienda, Banj said "Let's stop by Caleruega anyway", which I retorted with a "Why, so you can see how perfect it is, and we can rub it in?".

He shrugged.
We drove.
We arrived.
It was beautiful.
And available on March 3.

Wow. Talk about stars aligning.
Yeeeeeeeeee boy ;)

[3:00PM - 03.03.09 - been civilly married for 3 years, Kaya's 3 years old, John Starks' number is 3, etc. etc.]

Made the down payment on the spot, and after a bit of childish running up and down the stairs, took a look at the view from part of the grounds, and for the first time, actually felt...well, bridal.

Reception venue - Hacienda Isabella:
Crossing my fingers that Banj would like it, we pulled up.
A little surprised to see an American kid named Jasper approach us. Nice ass dude. Went on to show us the grounds, and I already knew B was hooked.

How hooked?

We got back in the car:
"We can't just stay there one night."
"We should have everyone come spend the night Monday night, and stay until Wednesday night"
"Did you see that pool?"
"Wow. That place was dope."
"We really can't just stay one night."

3. We are still in the process of getting in touch with all our prospective Ninongs and Ninangs. There are 10 on our list. I've asked two of them. Let's keep score, shall we? Lol. S- 2, B - 0.

4. Sent in the text for the invitations yesterday. The people that did the Steak website are doing them. Interested to see what they come up with ;)

5. Have to drive to Sta. Clara de Montefalco in Pasay, and San Miguel in Malacanang to get original copies of my Baptismal and Confirmation Certificates. Thinking about making the trip worthwhile and going to my first ever Confession, which leads to my First Communion. Easier said than done.

6. Waiting for Erica to get back from Australia so we can round up Pam and Bea and do a brainstorming session on the bridesmaids dresses and hair/make up look.

7. "Wedding CE as of Dec 28.xls" and "Wedding Guest List.xlsb"
These are the two documents on my computer that I need to take a deep breath before I open. Dreams don't come cheap, and the balls to cut people off the invite list don't either.

8. On that note, we're doing a party at a club back in Manila on Thursday night, just so we can still celebrate with all the people that we couldn't squeeze into the 150 person cut off for the out of town reception.

9. Deliberating on when to start with the flowers/reception decor and set up/giveaway stuff. Whenever I get my act together (possibly after the meeting with Hacienda Isabella), I'll grab my Manila-present bridesmaids, along with Miss Tristan Fernandez-Cablay, Nats "Please Give Me Something To Do" Calinawan, and hopefully the Queen Bee, Ferdi Salvador, to head up to Hacienda for lunch and a brainstorming session.

10. Banj has no idea what he, or his groomsmen, are wearing. I'm deciding to not get involved on this one :)

11. Artstrong has lovingly obliged to provide dinner music for the reception. You don't even know how happy that makes us! If you haven't heard his solo keyboard old school R&B set, you're in for something truly special.

12. Still no DJ, simply because we want everyone to be able to enjoy the party. Meh. We'll figure this one out later :)

13. Church music? Keeping it in house, baby. Banjo's ultra-talented family, headed by Tita Vicky Villarino and her awesome vocals, will be singing the hymns at Caleruega. Does she know that yet? I hope so. Um, Banj?

14. Spoke to some of B's cousins in New York last night, who were figuring out their dates and flights for March. Ted goes, "Yeah, we just need to get everything sorted. It's like, 2 months away."

2 months away.


Monday, December 1, 2008