Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wedding Guests Etiquette 101

I have always been horrified by wedding guests who bring +1 or +2 or +N when the invitation is just bearing one name - his (or hers). It's just downright rude. Do you have any idea how reception costs?

Anyway, my post below is inspired by w@w's You're Invited! This is my own version of Wedding Guests Etiquette.

1. So you got an invite but can't or have no plans of attending what should you do?
Whether or not you can attend please, please, please, RSVP.
RSVP, btw, means "répondez, s'il vous plaît". Yes, it's French which literally means "Please respond".

Huge percentage of the wedding budget goes to the reception and it would be downright inconsiderate if you didn't inform the couple that you're not coming and have that portion of food that was alloted for you put to waste.
Now, if you really are attending you still need to RSVP. The couple can't read minds. They have to know you're attending because they need to finalize the number of guests and they need to do the sitting arrangement. Oh, and if you RSVP'd and didn't show up on the wedding day you better have a very valid reason. Or atleast, give the couple something to make up for that wasted "sit" that could have been given to another person in the couple's "wait list".

2. So what's the deal with the gift-giving. Should you still give gifts even if you're not attending?
If you're invited it's customary to give gifts and any decent, polite, self-respecting person should know this already. But it's not required. Your presence is the best gift you can give.

3. So you want to bring a "plus 1"? Just one extra guest won't hurt, right?
This is one of my wedding pet peeves.
Listen, if the couple really wants you to bring plus 1 you would see it on the invitation they sent you. If you don't see a "+1" use your common sense.
And don't you dare call the couple and ask "Can I please bring so and so?". Ofcourse the couple would say yes, because it would be awkward and impolite to say no. Plus you know how Filipinos are, we are not comfortable to turn down people.
Plus you're putting them on the spot where when they say no they would look stingy or inconsiderate.No couple deserves to be put on the spot like that. You on the other hand is being an ass (excuse the word) for even bringing that up.
And again, like I mentioned in #1. A huge chunk of the wedding budget goes to the reception. Do you have an idea how much caterers/reception venue charges per person? Please be considerate.

4. So you want to bring your kids or your nephews or nieces or neighbors kids.
One simple rule. If their name/s is not in the invitation you CAN'T bring them.
Secondly, usually the invitation would say something like "This is an adult only event" if children are not allowed, please respect that. Why? Most of the time wedding run late and alcohol are served and no children policy is actually for the children's best interest. Also, most of the times the equipment and furniture at the wedding are expensive and you wouldn't want to be responsible for anything the children may damage. By the way, what will you do if the children started wailing or started throwing tantrums? If that happens you will just upset the couple and all the other guests.
Now, if one of the kids is part of the entourage, ofcourse, you need to bring the kid with you. But, just that kid, not the other siblings.

5. So you don't know how to greet the couple while on the Receiving Line?
I'll quote Miss Benz on this (

"Here’s the rule: Say "Congratulations" to the groom and "Best Wishes" to the bride.
The reason behind is that "Congrats" implies that someone has caught something or won a prize, and it is rather improper to imply that the bride "caught" the man who married her.
If this rule gets mixed-up in your head come wedding day, just say the two phrases together and look at both of them. That usually works!
Likewise, saying "Good Luck!" no matter how pure your wishes are will also sound very inappropriate for obvious reasons."

Now, some of my friends in the U.S. thought its ridiculous to say that it's improper to say "Congrats" to the bride. They have been so accustomed to saying "Congrats" to brides that they thought that's the correct way. I got yelled at for being old-fashioned.
I'm sorry. I'm sure you're intentions are clean but I'm Filipino and in my country saying "Congratulations" to the bride is impolite. Deal with it.

6. So you don't know what gift to give the couple.
Fortunately, wedding/gift registries are common now so this won't be a problem anymore. And usually, couples have a wide variation  of items in their wedding registry wish list (cheap, medium priced, pricey) so there are a lot to choose from. If you're dilemma is you're embarassed to buy the cheap ones but couldn't afford the medium-priced items you'll never go wrong with just giving cash. Cash is most specially advisable if the couple would be living abroad since they won't be able to bring the physical items with them. But like I mentioned in #2, your presence can be the best gift you can give.

7. So you want to just go straight to the reception.
Unless you have a very valid reason to skip the ceremony please don't skip it. It's like saying to the couple "We don't care about your special ceremony, we just want to eat!"
Please don't get me started with because you're not a catholic or your atheist or druid or whatever. You don't have to do the sign of the cross or anything. You can just be present and be as quiet as you can be.
Just a little respect for the couple won't hurt, right?

8. So you want to know the banquet etiquette.
One rule. buffet doesn't mean eat-all-you-can. Be mindful of other poeple in line who have yet to be served. You can always go for seconds.

9. So but what about if it's a sit down dinner?
Just sitdown and relax. If you're not sure which fork or which knife to use first "observe". Just pretend to be enjoying the view and you're just looking around even if the truth is you are really just  watching how other people eat with finesse.

10. So you want to leave the reception right after you stuffed your mouth.
If it's a really valid reason, fine. But don't just disappear. Have the courtesy to say goodbye to the couple.
Now, if you have no valid reason you are not allowed to leave! I mean, c'mon, the couple have concocted a lot of different cool stuff to entertain/show the guests and that usually starts after the guests have finished eating and then you'll just leave?
It just shows how it really just the food that you came there for and not to celebrate with the couples happiness. Shame on you.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wedding Rings - How to Choose

I came across an article about how to choose a wedding ring. Thought you'll find this interesting too.

Aside from start early (specially if you want customized rings), setting a budget, here are some other tips that if you think about it, really make sense. I listed them down according to level of importance (at least in my opinion).

Consider Form and Function

Your ring should respect your lifestyle: Those who enjoy sports or music should opt for a slimmer ring with rounded edges (appropriately called a "comfort fit"), rather than a wide, bulky band. Those who work with their hands will want a simple, solid metal ring, as stones can come loose and carvings will trap dirt. And those who are highly allergic to certain metal alloys will want to invest in platinum, as its purity renders it hypoallergenic for most people.

When to size your finger

Never finalize your ring size in the morning (you retain water from the night before), after exercise (fingers swell), during menstruation (swelling, again), or when you're extremely hot or cold. Do your "final fitting" when you are calm and your body temperature is normal.

Inspect for Quality

Wedding bands should have two marks inside the band: the first is the manufacturer's trademark (which proves that the company stands behind its work), and second is the quality mark (24K or PLAT, for example, which proves that it's what they say it is). If the ring consists of two or more metals, make sure there is a quality mark for each.

Think Style

This is a ring that's going to have to look cool for a long time, so select a style that will look as great with jeans as it will with that Armani suit you're going to own in 20 years. Stick with a basic shape and a clean finish, and avoid unusual stones that will be over next week. Mix metals -- like many ring designers are doing -- if you're someone who wears both gold and silver on a day-to-day basis. Make sure your wedding band is one you'll want to wear 'til...well, you know.

Be Different

Just because you and your fiance are a perfect match doesn't mean your rings need to be. Feel free to pick wedding bands that reflect each of your style sensibilities and tastes. Some aspect should match, which can be as simple as metal or inscriptions.

image credit: achilleos

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On Unity Sand Ceremony

Ever heard of it? me neither.

I've seen it for the first time while I was browsing thru a cape may website that sells/rents wedding supplies. Didn't think much of it the first time and ignored it. But today while I was browsing thru different bottles and colored sands for another of my DIY projects i came across the unity sand again. So I got curious and started researching on it and i must admit, it is very interesting  and since we're having a beach wedding this would add a nice touch to the wedding ceremony.Hopefully I can convince the H2B and he won't find this a little cheesy, lol.

So what is it?

The sand unity ceremony originated as a solution to beach weddings trying to light candles on windy beaches and today, the unity sand ceremony has become a creative alternative for the popular unity candle ceremony.

The blended sand is symbolic of the union of "two into one", the unity of the bride & groom created by their joining through marriage.

The resulting vase will become a permanent fixture in the married couple's home for years to come.

So how does it work?

1) The groom will start the ritual by pouring a portion of his black sand (or any other color) into the main glass vase to create the first layer.
2) The bride will follow by pouring a portion of her white sand (or any other color)  into the same main vase to create the second layer.
3) To complete the unity sand ceremony, the groom and bride seal their union by pouring the balance of their sand simultaneously into the main vase.
4) Be sure to have someone carefully transport the vase for you to display in your new home.

note: the funnel is optional.

image credit:

Friday, June 24, 2011


both h2b and I are photo hobbyists....i'm into landscapes and stills while he's more into portraits......

the cost of engagement photoshoots here in the U.S could go up to $600.... that's almost the price of a decent wedding photography package in the philippines already.... and since we're also planning our wedding and we know how expenses could balloon if you're not too careful, i figured i can offer a freenup (free prenuptial photos) for my engaged/soon-to-wed friends.....h2b was thrilled when i told him about photo sessions i have lined up that he decided to give me an external flash as an easter present .....

i'm only doing this for free for my friends as a labor of love, i have to charge otherwise because, as much as i enjoy doing engagement photoshoots, it's really a tiring job.....i also do post processing to remove oily faces and blemishes and unwanted people in the background, stray hair, etc (sorry that's the limit of my photoshopping skills,cant make the body look like kim kardashian, lol ) the job doesn't stop at the photoshoot continues until i have the photos in a thumbdrive, ready for the couple.....

below are some sample photos....these are taken at longwood garden (

my starting price is $150 for first 2 hours for engagement photoshoots  depending on your location...
i do weddings and parties too...drop me a line and we'll talk...
for my friends, this is free! just facebook me or email me...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

behind the scenes photos for 2sqrtof3

i decided to put all the photo inspirations i have compiled so far in one place:

on honeymoon

h2b and i were talking about this yesterday........ i know, i know, it's too early to talk about honeymoons but h2b and i are both traveholics and this is our "non-negotiable"......

i'm lucky h2b owns a house and doesn't need to worry about mortgages anymore..... so we didn't have to  choose between splurging (just a bit) for the wedding and  downpayment for a house..... we, however, had to make sure we don't go overboard with the wedding expenses, specially since we're planning two weddings, so we could afford h2b's dream honeymoon destination.....

yep! you heard (err, read?) it right...... honeymoon would be my h2b's choice......  my dream honeymoon is in santorini, his is in some beautiful exotic island (clue: one of their islands has a "somewhat"  similar name as one of the beaches we have in the philippines), i have to keep the name for now so i won't jinx it, lol...... at first i wasn't too thrilled about his honeymoon proposal...... i mean, i'm from a tropical country and we have tons of amazing beaches, so i'm kinda biased about other beaches, but after seeing photos of the place and those glass floors where you can see the blue waters and swimming fishes while sitting in your living room and the breakfast being delivered by someone paddling on a boat, i have to admit that place is awesome!

anyway, like i said honeymoon is our non-negotiable and we're sadden by stories of couples who, because they splurged too much on their wedding, cannot afford to go on a honeymoon anymore or had to postpone it for later...... that's like ordering banana split but asking not to include the ice cream until after a few days...... alright, alright, bad analogy but i'm sure you get my point...... but hey! we're not judging..... to each his own, right? different couples have different priorities..... and we don't swim on money either and we also do prioritize stuff......

honestly, we're starting to get horrified about how the cost of the wedding in the philippines is starting to balloon specially when we started adding in the airfare for some of my h2b's relatives/friends  that we want to be at the wedding.....  not to mention we also need to allot money for the civil wedding too (but we try to make the US wedding as simple and intimate as possible)........ we just try to console ourselves by thinking that we have more than a year to save........ oh, did i mention we're almost done paying the deposits for our dream team? this month is the last payment for our **customized worry-free package...the other half won't be due 'til 3 months before the wedding.....  so for the remaining months of this year we will be pooling our
money for the US wedding.....

**customized = venue, caterer,basic sounds/lights, flowers, string quartet, cocktail bar...we asked them to take off the: photographer, video, OTD because we want to get our own team for that, not theirs...


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

official wedsite - update

i figured it's time to update the official wedsite again....

i finallly added the "How we Met" section...... i still need to get h2b's side of the story for the Proposal section.... i also need to update the Philippines wedding's Team since we pretty much have all the suppliers booked except for the wedding coordinator......

as to the U.S. wedding.... i still have nothing to put there still since we haven't booked our reception venue yet.... once that's taken care of all the other details will just follow....

im sorry, the official wedsite is still just for relatives and close friends..... you need to have the wedpass to view it.....

photobooth is out!

...atleast for our taste...

don't get me wrong, photobooth was a cool idea but being, well, somewhat a non-conformist that i am i try not to join the band wagon...... we liked the idea of having a photobooth on our wedding in the philippines to keep our guests busy while we're busy with our wedding photoshoot specially since we might need 2 hours (we need  to wait for the sunset)...... but i'm not liking the photobooth anymore....... tons of couple have done it already so we scoured the net for something different...... when we found this supplier that does onsite studio set up we're sold!  both the h2b and i are photo hobbyist so this is really something that would entice us....... plus we really think this would be a hit...... something our guests would enjoy...... specially my cousins and friends who are photo studio addicts, lol.....

so how is it different from photobooth? well, it's not just a booth where it can only take half body's an actual studio, like a rolling studio.....with lights and softbox and everything so guests can do their glamour shots......... also excellent for having family portraits taken which would be ideal since everyone is there and are dressed nice......  oh! and like photobooths, it also does instant printing......

anyway, after thinking about it for months and months i finally gave in (the h2b was insisting on doing this but i was the one who was having second thoughts because they're somewhat pricey)............
we paid for the deposit to block our date last friday and they have just sent us the Conforme Agreement today......we'll talk about the details when our wedding date gets closer but basically, we just need a paris theme set up since that's our wedding theme "paris travel"........

image credit:

Monday, June 20, 2011

pinas ToDos

Things to do when i go home for a quick vacation (in no particular order):

1. Food tasting
    - h2b is v-e-r-y particular with food and the first thing he asked me to do is to NOT do the basic package. We're getting package C or D. We  really want D because we love chilean sea bass but the sauce that comes with it kinda scares us. So I need to make sure I tried that first before we commit to the food package. If that didn't work, package C it is.

2. Interview wedding coordinators.
     - I already have a shortlist of whom I want to get but we want to make sure we have a certain rapport therefore the need to meet with them face to face. We just need partial coordinating because we're pretty much done with the major stuff. We're done with the researching, haggling, booking, paying the deposits and ofcourse conceptualizing the theme of the wedding. We can actually just do the OTD (on-the-day) but I need someone who can do errands for us 6 months before the wedding because I really think that would be the stressful part. Like, I need someone to make "kulit" the couturier for my entourage gowns to make sure he/she delivers on time. I need someone to accompany my entourage during fitting. I need someone to close the deal about the detailing for the reception (what color of napkins, what table cloth to use, how to decor the reception area, etc). Basically, the wedding coordinator will be my "eye"  and my second hand when I go back to the U.S. And since I'm anal, I want to hire someone who's very organized and meticulous about stuff  like me too.

3. Go to divisoria.
     -  I need to buy my raw items for my DIY projects. I have DIY projects for both the US and Philippines wedding . See my  Divisoria to buy list

4. Meet personally with the photographers and videographers.
     - I might schedule an engagement photoshoot with my photographer or an MTV video with my videographer (i have to make sure my free trial make-up doesn't go to waste, lol)

5. Open a peso checking account
     - To make paying "large" items easier. Payment for "large" items starts 3 months before the wedding.

6. Visit the wedding venue
      - and take photos and videos. Also, I need  to locate the good spots for wedding pictorials.
      - ask about the bridal room..reserve it and see how it looks like
      - reserve gazebo as back up?  

7. Talk to the chapel's person-in-charge.
      - Ask about  "mixed" marriage (h2b is non-catholic) paperwork and if pre-cana and other seminars can be done in the U.S.

8. Talk to prospective vans or coaster rentals.
      - For entourage transpo.

9. Buy h2b a barong
      - For the beach wedding in the U.S.

10. Do the trial hair and make up.

 11. Talk to the hotel manager.      
     -  We have made up our mind on where to stay 3 days before the wedding. I need to talk to the manager to ask for wedding discounts for out-of-town guests.

12. Meet with my entourage.
       - Thank them for agreeing to be part of the wedding.

13. Look for entourage couturier.
      - Should be near the majority of the entourage.

14. See if I can book the surprise gift this early.
      - That "thing" that I'm sacrificing my gown to.

15. Go to cartimar and look for bird cage.    
     - Nope, we're not using it for the doves. It's for something else which I will reveal on the wedding.

<to be continued>

image credit:

yellow meadow, where art thou?

this past few days i have been driving the h2b crazy because i was pestering him about finding a yellow meadow, lol

since i live in suburb philly there are a lot of wide empty spaces..... unfortunately, none of them is a yellow meadow.... when i say yellow meadow, i'm talking about yellow wild flowers..... buttercups, rapeseeds or daffodils

i am actually finding those yellow wildflowers all over the place since last saturday but the problem is it's just a small random area..... or if i did find a 'somewhat' big area, it's right next to a highway! i need a big open, kinda discreet area...... because i want to do this:

or this:

but we'll keep looking..... i'll drive around this week after work to see if i could find some.....

i also mentioned to the h2b my plan about doing the winter photoshoot at his yard..... i said we can buy those cheap arch/arbor at home depot and we can use it as props..... he thought it's interesting but first we need to put arbor vitae so we could have some privacy if we decide to push through with the pictorial..... we might start planting some arbor vitaie this fall--hopefully...... our wedding expenses are piling up so we'll see if we still have money to afford those trees, lol......

image credits:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

tiffany blue - inspiration board

our civil beach wedding inspiration board...
click the image for bigger view

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

four seasons prenup

we got this idea when one of my friends posted her spring engagement photos (hi anne!) and she mentioned that it was supposedly a four-season prenup but time wasn't on their side because they got too busy......

that's another advantage of a long engagement, we can do engagement photoshoots on all four seasons-autumn, winter, spring and summer...... and the other nice thing is we'll have two chances of autumn and winter season for photoshoots.....  we could have two summers too but we need to lose weight first, haha...... so we'll start our first prenup this autumn.....  i get so excited just thinking about it!


right now we're busy looking for locations...... we have already found two good locations for our autumn photoshoot - valley forge and longwood garden.......... summer's easy, because we can just go to any beach plus our civil wedding photos can double as summer prenup too....... i mean, "church" prenup, i know, it's confusing, lol ....... spring is easy too but i really want a buttercup meadow (like on that photo above) but i'm not sure if we can find one without travelling long distances......... if we can't find a yellow meadow i guess we'll just go to fairmont park or longwood garden.....  the really tricky location to find is for the winter photoshoot......  we're looking for a place with long lines of trees and a wide space with a bench (like that on the photo)...... if we can't find one maybe  we'll just do it at h2b's yard....... his yard looks pretty at winter time....

image credits:

Friday, June 3, 2011

beach wedding motif

when we went to cape may and witnessed a beach wedding there's one thing in that wedding that immediately caught my attention--a dark color motif  is not a good color for a beach wedding....


the bridesmaids looked like they were wearing  black dresses (it was some kind of dark purple)  from afar specially when they are back lighted......

we figured we need to have a color that's really bright..... something that's the same color as the ocean.....or sky....or some other happy beach colors..... a color that would pop out even if it's cloudy....something that would complement the color of the ocean......

then on one of our visits in cape may, i was wearing a bright blue top and had my photo taken infront of a life saver boat that has "cape may" written on it and with the ocean as my backdrop.... and boy oh boy, that color really popped out ....... and that's when we had an epiphany, lol...... so what would be our civil wedding color motif is now?


tiffany blue
(or aqua blue)

image credits: and