Friday, June 20, 2008

Tips in Selecting a Reception Venue

Ok, so I probably should have thought of this earlier, but I think with much more experience at this, I have become more qualified to make these recommendations. The following is my guide to selecting a reception venue that's perfect for your needs:

1. Budget - Of course, this is the first thing that you should set and most importantly stick to, below are some price ranges for different types of venues.
Garden: Rental fees for garden type weddings in Manila ranges from 60,000-180,000.
Hotels: There are not rental only of hotels, but rather packages. A bit more expensive.
Packages start at around 300,000 for 150 guests.
Multi purpose Halls/Tents: Some are purposely built for weddings and some aren't but most are air-conditioned. Rental varies from 2,000 for a Multi purpose hall inside a
village up to 50,000 or more for purposely built Tents or Halls.
Restaurants: This is an excellent alternative if you are on a tight budget, and want good
food. Prices of course vary.

2. Location - It would not make sense in selecting a location that most your family and friends will have a hard time traveling to and from. You have to consider what modes of transport are readily available to your guests and what the venue offers. For example, if you know that most of your guests have their own vehicles then a venue with ample parking space would be good, conversely, if your guests will have to commute then choosing a venue with good access to public transport will be more appropriate. It is also best to try to find a venue where there is not too much traffic especially just before the time of your reception, in my opinion this is the reason that most guests try to leave early, because they want to avoid the traffic.

3. Amenities - Of course, what you want is what you should get. Before booking any venue please check out all the amenities that they offer. You might end up paying extra for something that you could have negotiated earlier. Remember, you are most powerful when you have not committed anything to the venue yet. Shop around and don't be shy to ask for free stuff, in fact they want you to have those stuff because believe it or not those of us in the wedding industry want the best for our clients.

4. Check out all the rules and terms - Some venues will ask you to pay a cork age fee for some items or unaccredited suppliers or electricity. Also please read all the contracts so that you will not be surprised. Some venues want to have some sort of monopoly having their own accredited suppliers for catering, photo, lights, sound systems, etc. Learn all the ins and outs of each venue.

5. Try to find some referrals. If you know somebody who has had experience with a venue either attending or throwing a party at a venue, try to get their inputs. This first hand experience is invaluable in your search for a wedding venue. If you have a wedding planner, he/she might have some suggestions, and always remember to keep an open mind.

6. Decor, decor, decor. Having a more expensive venue may not be as expensive if your thinking about the additional decorations that you might want to add. For example, you won't be needing as much flowers to decorate a garden venue (duh!) as you would a tent or a hotel. Also, creating beautiful lighting effects might only be possible in an enclosed area, meaning that open air gardens won't be as effective. Keep in mind that an aesthetically pleasing venue sticks to the minds of your guests and will keep them saying what a beautiful reception.

7. Comfort and Ease. Almost none of the other things matter if you are not personally comfortable with the venue. Meaning, that the venue puts you at ease either by great aesthetics or great service and even better if both are present. So what is it about choosing a venue that puts you to ease? Well, this really varies from person to person. Your preference should really dictate what venue you choose, it is also a reflection of your personalities. Along the way to choosing your perfect wedding venue, always remember that life is a journey and not a destination, so don't be afraid to indulge yourself even though you know that this particular venue isn't quite right for you don't be too hasty and just live the experiences one at a time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Father Mark Horan Hall

The Father Mark Horan Hall is located in the side of the Mount Carmel Parish Church in New Manila. It is run completely by the church. It is a great option for those who do not want to travel far from the church and risk traffic and as a major plus, it has ample parking spaces as well. It's main rival (due to vicinity) is the Oasis, which is a beautiful garden venue although it is not air conditioned. I always stress the air conditioning because even on a good day a venue without air conditioning is going to be at the very least a bit uncomfortable (unless you're in Baguio or Tagaytay perhaps) for guests in Barong, suits or gowns. Back to Fr. Mark Horan Hall, the facility is fully air conditioned, and has a built in sound system and stage. There are also some chandeliers hanging on the ceiling. While I won't divulge the pricing of the venue rental of the Fr. Mark Horan Hall, I will say that the price is just about the price you would expect to pay for a good sound system with a stage, that alone should suffice. I've seen beautiful decorations made in the Fr. Mark Horan Hall but it really does vary depending on your caterer. Catering packages for the Fr. Mark Horan Hall are also some of the cheapest that I know of and as a plus the Fr. Mark Horan Hall has its own Tiffany Chairs, which on some other venues your caterer might charge you extra for, but here it is all inclusive. Maybe I am endorsing this venue a bit too much, but other than the lack of a picturesque photo opportunity spots outside, I cannot say that anything else is lacking with this venue plus I cannot over emphasize the cheap price of rental, which includes, a sound system, stage, LCD projector screen, tiffany chairs and air conditioning, plus ample parking space which is within the compounds of the church.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Barong Tagalog or Suit?

This is the only choices that most Filipino grooms have for their attire, in fact its not just for weddings its the only choice most men get when going on a formal event. My personal opinion on the matter is, when the occasion calls for it, try to think about what the event is all about. If it is a Filipino function the Barong Tagalog is the most appropriate attire but if it is an international event, maybe a suit or a tux might be more appropriate, unless otherwise specified.

For weddings however, there has been a recent surge of grooms wearing suits and tuxes. One of the main reasons to do this is that the groom can easily stand out, especially if the other male guests are asked to wear a Barong Tagalog. The tuxedo and suit look classy and sophisticated, but unfortunately unless all the venues have good air conditioning the Groom will also likely be sweating like a ... really sweaty person. This indeed defeats the look the suit and tuxedo tries to bring about. This is why for me at least, the Barong Tagalog is still king in the Philippines, tuxedos and suits are part of western culture and fashion, that is why they were designed for far cooler temperatures than our own. The Barong Tagalog on the other hand is part of our own culture, and is built specifically for our climate. It is one that is uniquely Filipino. Chances are all grooms all around the world are wearing a tuxedo or a suit to their wedding but we are the only people who can say that we have our own custom and our own standards of clothing. In closing, I say that although a tuxedo or a suit would look really awesome, it is not part of a Filipino wedding because it is inherently foreign. A Barong Tagalog on the other hand looks just as classy, perhaps ordinary to us, but it is still a massive source of pride and culture to the one that wears it. I am proud to be Filipino and I am proud of the Barong Tagalog and would like for it to keep its place in our hearts and minds and in the Filipino Wedding.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Coconut Palace

Truly one of the most treasured piece of Philippine architecture, the Coconut Palace is a great option for hosting your wedding reception. The Coconut Palace offers, beautiful landscapes as well as top notch interiors. The second floor is off limits to guests and to most people for that matter. One of the greatest features of The Coconut Palace is the view of the ocean and the beautiful poolside in which your reception will be held. Which means that if it does in fact rain during your wedding it will be a very wet affair. For those with foresight the alternative venue is the quite small room in one of the wings on the first floor. There is air conditioning in this room but it will prove to be very small and quite cramped for your guests. But when the conditions are perfect, the poolside of The Coconut Palace is rivaled only by the great views at the Sofitel and Manila Hotel, but I personally would rate it just a little bit higher. With that said I think that some of the designs at the poolside could use a little bit more elements, like park benches, a small nipa hut or more lights. Overall, The Coconut Palace is a very cool and historical place to hold your wedding reception, but it could use some minor face lifts.

The Coconut Palace is located near the PICC (Philippine International Convention Center) in Roxas Blvd.

Paco Park

Indeed, one of the most surreal venues I have had the privilege of going to, Paco Park located at the heart of Metro Manila provides a very unique and unforgettable nuptial. The fact that the church is literally a stone throw away might be it or it might even be the utter unique heritage and history that surrounds the place or it might even be a mystical force that you feel due to the fact that Paco Park is a cemetery. This is a most unique occurrence that can be very appealing to some and just plain creepy to others. One thing I will say is that the Park is very well maintained and certainly feels safe enough and clean enough. It can also be weird since guest will pass throgh a courtyard with fountain to get to the church and this will later turn out to be the reception venue. It is very peaceful and serene in Paco Park, also there is quite a sea breeze coming through most of the time which brings in nice, cool air. My biggest concern is that the restrooms are very difficult to find and take around 5 minutes to get to, which can be a long walk if you're very full. Paco Park defies explanation and must be experienced to be appreciated completely, if at all. So please view the photos and if it feels right for you, visit and feel the amazing aura that is unique to Paco Park.

Paco Park is located along Gen. Luna St. and at the east end of Padre Faura St., in Paco, Manila.

The Bellevue

This is the first hotel that I will be including in my reviews, since hotels packages also include bridal suites, I will also comment on this whenever doing a hotel review. Located in Alabang, Muntinlupa, it seems to be the only multi star hotel in the immediate vicinity. It is the logical (only) choice for business people who need to do some business in and around the south.

Firstly, the bridal suite is an executive suite, complete with a king sized bed, living area and kitchen. It is by no means big (actually looks pretty small for a suite), it is nicely put together with great attention to detail. Problems arise when the bride comes from a big family and everybody wants in on the bridal suite, needless to say it can get pretty crowded very quickly. But again if it can be helped that only a maximum of 5 people stay in the bridal suite (not including the makeup artists, dress maker, photographers and videographers) it can be pretty comfortable in there.
The Bridal suite

The Bellevue has a very large ballroom that can be divided into 3 smaller ballrooms each capable of handling an event for 150 guests on their own, but combined the huge ballroom can accommodate a good 600 guests easily. Aesthetically it is one of the most modern and beautifully crafted ballrooms. The best part about the Bellevue ballroom is that there is an entirely different entrance exclusively for your guests. This includes your very own (at least for the night) private atrium that can serve as a cocktail area for your guests or just lounging around. My biggest bash on the ballroom would have to be the fact that it is on the second floor which is not exactly odd but the restrooms are located on the ground floor. There are escalators and an elevator though that cater to this design flaw. The food is also great and plentiful and the service is nothing less than one would expect from a 5 star hotel. Also the Bellevue has a small and unique swimming pool area, which is great for photo shoots and the like. All in all, the Bellevue is one outstanding venue, that can provide for a very classy and comfortable experience on your wedding day.
Link to the official Bellevue Website
North Bridgeway, Filinvest, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Tel. 771-8181

About Me

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FX_MEN is a professional wedding and portrait photographer in the Philippines. Loves to travel and going to the spa.