5 TIPS FOR DRESSING UP YOUR DREAM-WEDDING PRACTICALLY

By Moxx de Vera

“Magical,” the only word that brides wish to happen on their special day, the day that they will be one with the love of their life. That one day where everyone’s attention is on them, beautiful and in white.

Photo grabbed from Dave Sandoval’s Facebook account. 
Styling by Dave Sandoval
Photo by NicePrint Photography

Are you reading this because you are already planning your dream wedding? If so, I’ll hand it to you nice and straight, you are getting married for the first time, everyone is. Unless this is your second wedding, I don’t suppose you’ll be putting too much thought and research about it because it rarely happens that a bride gets married twice with the same extravagance. So let me paint you a picture, but just before I do, I want you to know that I am writing from a man’s point of view and probably have a slightly different priority when it comes to wedding reception planning, nonetheless, I’ve seen a good spectrum of styling to the simplest of events to big and elegant ones, some have made it difficult to work with and others enhanced the overall effect positively, so for what it’s worth, I just really want to send you some things to consider.  

From a producer’s viewpoint,meaning, YOU, the bride, or anyone who is producing or funding an event just simply want to have your money’s worth. You want things in order, seamless and organized. Aside from trying to be the highlight of the event, you want your guests to enjoy and remember that day. There are hundreds of factors to a successful event but today, I want you to take notice on your layout and styling.

Event stylists are very talented. They wouldn’t be in the business if they weren’t. They have the capacity to turn their visions into reality by executing details you wouldn’t probably have even thought of. The likes of the best local talents such as Dave Sandoval, Michael Ruiz, Teddy Manuel, Ralph Copacio, Tei Endencia, and a whole lot more I haven’t personally met, or exchange words have blown me away with the level of fantasy-like masterpieces in events. I take photos of the event styling and post it on Instagram because it’s note-worthy. You get instant good impressions from an event with excellent styling. So, what makes it great?

1. Make it thematic.

Styled by Dave Sandoval

Events come in themes. If you want it to be appealing, you have to make it consistent with a concept. Go with something that is either up to trend or close to your personality, why? So you can feel comfortable. Imagine creating a sophisticated setup and you’re the simplest person everyone knows. It will feel like you don’t fit in your own event. For some other types of events, understand the objective and work from there. Pick the theme you want and make it consistent. Choose the least colors possible unless your theme is rainbow or psychedelic. Don’t combine elements from different themes JUST BECAUSE.

2. Go all-in.

Arthur Solinap & Rochelle Pangilinan’s wedding
(photo grabbed from web-search)

There’s no room for half-baked concepts in events. It’s either you make it simple or you go all-in. There’s nothing wrong with a simple set up. You’ll know when an event is trying hard to pull something off because of the consistency. You can make it simple through the elements, centerpieces and other table ornaments, draping, color-combination.For a wedding couple on a budget, be realistic with the design. Don’t ask for the moon when you can’t build a rocket ship. Event stylist will be very forward with what you can get with your budget. Don’t be an internet meme of budget vs.reality.

3. Consider venue conditions.

A big venue can accommodate massive styling, or you can concentrate a spot to focus your styling if the venue is too big. You can’t cramp a small venue with too much styling. I’ve seen wedding receptions sacrifice the space for styling where guests can’t stand up at the same time because the tables are too cramped because of other elements. It’s either you have chosen a small venue, or you have too much event elements, pick one that is of more priority.

Air flow and air conditioning is another thing to consider. For venues in cold climates like Tagaytay or Baguio where it’s usually open air or garden weddings, it’s easy to style with drapes and other elements but for enclosed areas where air conditioning is high, drapes will restrict air flow, combining it with the event lights will make the place warm once people start coming in. If the A/C system is just near head-level,then drapes and other hanging items will be good, but consider it if it’s really necessary.

Stages are also considerable fora couple of reasons, to centralize event viewing where things happen and of course to highlight your main objective. Be reasonable with your stage.Professionals would know how big or how high your stage should be depending on the number of guests you’ll have as well as other venue conditions. If you have a big crowd, consider having a higher stage or live feed with a big-enough screen for videos. Sometimes you might need an extra screen for the other half of your guests (again, depending on the size). Be mindful of where you put it as well.If the venue is rectangular, you might want to consider placing a stage in the middle wall of the venue rather than the end.

Columns in the venue are something you can’t change but be considerate as well of guests you will be placing near a column. Will they be able to see around it? Will they be able to participate? Consider monitors or speakers for them.

4. Table designs.

(photo grabbed from web-search)

Here is where it gets critical. Beautifying your event styling is a priority but be sure that it’s aesthetic as well. I’ve encountered a lot of events with tall table centerpieces where guests can’t even see the person across the table. Sure, it’s elegant but if you’re a guest seated all the way at the back and you really want to participate but can’t see a thing beyond those ginormous centerpieces, you’ll probably speak up. I personally have had a lot of trouble connecting to guests who can’t even see me when I’m hosting, all because the vases and candle holders were blocking the guests’ view of the stage or dance floor.

Crowded tables are also unappreciated. From a stylist’s point of view, their work speaks for them and they table design elements are justifiable, but up to what point is it really justifiable? As a guest, I would like to be able to sit on a table for 8-10 people and maybe still able to put a plate or two in front of my spot.Sometimes other dishes are placed on the table for sharing and this cramps up the space. If aesthetics is not your priority, then you may skip this but it’s just something else to consider.

5. Fabrication

Sometimes, a bride is totally hands-on with her vision for her wedding that she wants something in particular. Be aware that not all items may be provided by the stylist and sometimes they will have to purchase this. Depending on your agreement, you may take a “particular” home for yourself if you made this fabricated or the stylist may own it if they could reuse it. You are the boss but unless it’s totally necessary, then go for it.

In the end, your stylist will beat your will when you have the budget to work with. No supplier in the right mind will commit to something that can’t be done. If they do, these are the suppliers who’ll later on give you a headache in payments or execution, so never risk it. Choose the stylist that fit your budget and your vision. What clients have to understand is that we, your suppliers were chosen. Choose us not just because of the trend or the budget. We want to work with you too because we want you to have what you deserve, and you deserve our best work because that’s what we do. This article is not intended to discredit any event stylist, these are just my observations from my point of view. Feel free to disagree or add to my opinions.

A couple more tips to make the best out of your deals. “Set your expectations, early on.” Do tell your suppliers what you envision so they can discern what can be done or not. Don’task for things last minute especially if it’s a heavy task. We are prepared for back up plans but only with enough time and budget. Consider your suppliers as talented individuals, not your assistants for hire. We are here for you, and if you built a good relationship with us, we MIGHT even go the extra mile, so it’s up to you how you treat us.

For more tips and consultation, you may contact me on my website www.moxxthehost.com, email me at moxxthehost@gmail.com and my Facebook Page www.facebook.com/moxxdeverapro

We have gone over a lot of wedding stuff, and if you’re preparing for your own, I’m sure you’ve heard and seen the parts of a program but do you really know what’s going on? Do you know the meaning of what you’re doing? I’m sure you’ll give me a 50% nod and still have no idea what it’s for.

Through this blog entry, I’ll try to explain some of the wedding programs’ symbolism (as cliché as it is) and give you some fresh ideas on what you can do to make it exciting or at least as memorable.

WC-Cutting-300x234One of the most common part of wedding receptions is the ceremonial cutting of the cake. The bride cuts the first piece together with the groom. It has come to symbolize the first task in the couple’s life together. Originally, the guests would take part of this to but as cakes became grander and guest lists get bigger, the task became quite unnerving. After cutting the cake, the bride and groom feed each other the first slice which symbolizes the mutual commitment to share and provide for each other. Two people as one facing life’s journey together. Wedding is a commitment to share whatever path life takes you on, with love and devotion, and the shared cutting of the first slice represents this commitment. Sharing of the cake to each other symbolizes your vows which means to love, honor and respect one another.

Lately, I have had requests from couples that I host to leave out the traditional symbolism spiels for the cake cutting and wine toast just because they find it senseless. I kind of agree that this spiel is just a waste of breath as no one intently listens to it and remembers so, I devised a way to spruce up this portion and make it more meaningful, to sum it up:

  • It is the first task in the couple’s life together
  • Commitment to each other
  • Sharing and providing for each other
  • Love and devotion
  • Sometimes, they even say that whomever eats the bigger slice in one bite rules the house.

So my suggestion here is to narrate to the crowd a simple mini-vow coming from the couple while they are doing the ceremonial cake cutting. A simple 1-minute testimonial for each other (bride and groom) telling each other how they plan to do this in their most simple, sincerest way. They may even get their cheesiest lines from their original vows (I would ask this from the couple but this means they would have to give me a copy of their vows which might be somewhat out of the way for them). This is good for the video and is cheesier (or generally saying, sweeter) way of pulling off the segment.

30University-Club-Chicago-Wedding-Sweetchic-Events-Second-Print-Productions.-Bride-and-Groom.-Wine-Toast.-Cheers.-680x453Next is the ceremonial toast. Again, it’s a tradition that almost all couples go through during a wedding reception unless they can get away with it. Basically, the wine represents two individual lives, and the intertwining arms while drinking it combines them into one single life. It also symbolizes passion and to some, fertility for each other coming into a married life.

It’s a day where we set aside whatever we find is corny and cheesy and overdone. It’s your day, you are licensed to be a cheese-ball and no one will care. So what we do instead is to tweak it to make it less traditional-ish. We do the same for the wine toast, another narrative of each other’s’ promise (such as in the vows) expression how they plan to keep each other passionately interested, how they see themselves in 50 years, what type of family scale do they wish, how do they envision their future to be, those things. It is to epitomize what they aspire to become as one unit.

I see these wedding reception segments from three point of views: the organizers’, the couples’ and the guests. To most, these are overused and traditionally pointless for our modernistic taste, but if we look deeper into its roots, the history of why we do this is very special yet then again, the basis is nothing but ritualistic. Every wedding that I go to whether I host or as a guest has their own take, their own style and treatment but at the end of the day, it all boils down to the two people (eventually as one) celebrating it. It doesn’t matter what the program is as long as it is done tastefully and in order, that’s the essence of preparing for the whole thing. The rest is just for documentation and memory.

How many gigs can you have in a day?

In a professional talent’s life, it’s inevitable to get double, or sometimes even triple-booked in one day. I had my first just this weekend. I have hosted not one, but TWO wedding receptions. It was awesome. I knew it was going to be a challenge physically and mentally but when I finally got home, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Gig 1: Mr. & Mrs. Jed and Nori Labastida

Jed and NoriIt was a slow morning at Legend Villas. I was asked to be there by 10am. I got caught in traffic and was afraid to have my first late entrance for a gig (as a professional, I never want to be late). So to set everyone’s expectations, I communicated with the coordinator that I am running late. I knew they can’t do anything about it but at least I want to set their expectations if ever I arrive late, though I don’t want that to happen. When I finally got out of the jam, it was a breeze from Magallanes to Mandaluyong. When I got to The Legend Villas, my first venue, I was surprised that I made it before the guests. Apparently, they all started a bit late and got into some traffic situation themselves. So I was totally safe. So the program went on…Jed and Nori, the couple had invited relatives from Masbate which made the afternoon special sharing it with relatives that made a worthwhile trip to celebrate this wonderful day.

It was a small crowd, an intimate, loving one. You can easily feel the closeness of their guests with the bride and groom. Every moment that passed by meant the world to Jed and Nori. There was nothing less of that reception. What it lacked in numbers were filled with happiness for the bride and groom. Jed and Nori was made for each other from the start. You can see it all over. This wedding may have been due for a long time but in their hearts, you can tell that they’ve always been married to each other.

To Jed and Nori, congratulations. When we met when I helped you with your wedding reception program, I felt this deep appreciation that giving you my insights weren’t just that. When I realized what it meant to you guys, it meant more to me.



No one really knows where they’re headed when preparing for a wedding. Wedding planners might have an idea, but they know it from the outside. I-myself may be used to a program but the real emotions you get during your own wedding is just magical. . .

Gig #2: Mr.&Mrs. Paolo and Kim Mendoza

The earlier crowd was intimate. I was not quite ready with what came next. When I met the Kim and Paolo, I forgot that they mentioned they were expecting about 400 guests. It did not register then in my head how big that was until I saw the venue myself at Enderun College tent.

From the garden wedding that happened with the sunset effect, I knew I was in for a good fight. It’s like a boxing match finding out your opponent is 5 feet taller than you. When the guests started pouring in, I can barely see faces from halfway onto the reception venue.

Addressing a wedding crowd is challenging. You are faced with people coming from different personalities, culture, expectations, level of society and intellect. I was like Eminem getting ready for battle on his move 8 Mile. So when it was time to hit the stage, I knew I had to kick it into high gear. I kept my energy up as I was running on reserved energy (c/o a can of Monster Energy Drink), while wondering how long I can keep this up. It was a fairly tough crowd. For one, I’m pretty sure people all the way at the back can barely see or hear me so I’m guessing they didn’t bother to listen. I threw everything I got, questions, jokes, I was almost at a point where I was going to threaten them just to react (hehe kidding). Luckily, God was at my side and I got their attention before dinner was announced.

Enderun

I was always sure I can get the crowd once I worked the games, and that I did. It was really hard to see the reaction of each of 400 guests but I get some smiles and laughter every now and then. That was enough to motivate me and move forward. The show must go on.

Moving along, I was surprised how I eventually warmed up to the crowd and breezed through the program. I closed the program with good enough applause working like tips on a subway busker but I would not gauge my performance because of that. I knew 400 guests won’t easily listen but even so, I know I brought the house down. At the very least, the bride and groom enjoyed it. Client’s satisfaction is most important.

When I host, I always say… all weddings are the same. It has a ceremony, a reception, the entourage, traditions, speeches. What makes it special to each newlyweds are their stories and the people they share it with. No matter how big or small a wedding is, the people who make you happy are all in one place, that’s all that should matter. At the end of the day, it’s just going to be the bride and groom in their own little world.

Congrats to Jed & Nori and Paolo and Kim. Your love stories trancends you both. Keep each other as husband and wife as you have done since early in you relationships.