Wedding preparation is harder than I thought. Having organized a gazillion events back in university, at work and after work in at least four countries, I thought organizing a wedding should be a piece of cake.
“Why the hell would people book their suppliers a year in advance?” I thought. “It’s just a wedding. A one-day event. Why stress out about it?”
After almost two months of wedding planning, I’ve come to realize that weddings are hard not because of the suppliers themselves. Weddings are hard because of the high expectations of everyone — the bride, the groom, the family of the bride and the family of the groom. If you’d like to add best friends of bride/groom to the mix, then all hell breaks loose.
Personally in my case, the hiccup came from my side of the family.
Since my fiance’s family will be footing most of the bill as per Filipino-Chinese tradition, my family can be very careful of making their opinions known. “They’re paying for it,” my mom would say. “Ayaw kong makialam (I don’t want us to meddle).”
Which can be an issue when making decisions.
The issue arises because despite statements of wanting to meddle, moms do have opinions and they do feel slighted when their opinions are not asked or followed.
Take for example, securing a venue for our wedding.
The groom’s side of the family only had a few requests:
- To have the wedding this year, preferably in June. Because that’s the time my Shanghai-based fiance’s sister and her husband are both here in Manila.
- The wedding should be in the afternoon/evening as they don’t like waking up early.
- They don’t want to have a hotel wedding since it’s already been done over and over, and they do want something special/different.
- They would like a plated sit-down dinner, catered by Chef Jessie, one of their favorite restaurants.
Total attendees should be 500 — 250 for each side. Since this is the third wedding for the groom’s family, they are wary from inviting acquaintances from eras before, and plan only to invite close friends and relatives. Since I prefer an intimate Western dinner, their ideas mesh with mine, so I have no problems with fulfilling their reasonable requests.
The problem is my mom who initially chose to stay out from the planning process.
When it came to booking a venue, we had limited options. For one, we are booking a bit too late in the game, half a year away, so most venues are already full. Two, not a lot of non-hotel venues that is not named Gloria Maris and Century Park Seafood Restaurant (both of which are Chinese restaurants) can comfortably hold 500 guests.
So in the end, we only have two choices.
1) Fernbrook Garden (Address: Portofino South, Daang Reyna, Las Pinas, Metro Manila / www.fernbrookgardens.com) or
2) Blue Leaf Filipinas (Address: Belle Avenue, Aseana City, Paranaque / http://www.theblueleaf.com.ph/)
Fernbrook Gardens is in Alabang, a 20-minute drive away from Alabang Town Center. For those who are not from the Philippines, for the normal Filipino, Alabang can be a bit far. “At least 30-40 minutes drive from Makati (the business center), and expensive tollways all throughout.” Toll ranges around Php 150++ one-way.
Despite the distance, Fernbrook is beautiful as you can see in the day and night photos:
There’s a nice fountain by the lobby and the reception area is beautiful, full of greenery and small waterfalls.
I kid you NOT. The photos is as beautiful as reality. There is also a quiet little man-made river and a gondola for picture taking opportunities. For sure, guests would gape and awe at the venue. It’s really that nice.
If you are interested in booking Fernbrook Gardens, you can contact the friendly Ms. King Flores (Tel: +63-917 862 4357, or landlines: 217 9968, 710 8545 or 710 8608). Her email is at email@example.com.
Blue Leaf Filipinas on the other hand, lies in the reclaimed land in Manila Bay. Just a stone throw away from the newly-opened Solaire Resorts, Blue Leaf is as chic and modern as Fernbrook is as whimsical, and at the time of viewing last December, was still undergoing some last-minute finishing.
The halls were pretty big though. The three halls could handle a thousand guests. We were happy to just book Sinulog and Pahiyas Halls which can cover 800 people.
A stone’s throw away from the newly-opened Solaire Resorts, Blue Leaf is as chic and modern as Fernbrook is as whimsical, and at the time So given our tight schedule, we were lucky to have these two equally beautiful halls still available on our dates. But we had to make a choice, FAST.
Since my groom’ family was happy with either, I proceeded to ask my mom which venue she’d like.
“Bahala na sila mag-decide,” she said. Translation: It’s up to them to decide. “But don’t you think that Alabang (where Fernbrook is situated) is a bit too far?”
“Hmmm, not really. If my guests really want to come, they’ll still go over there even if it’s in Singapore or Hong Kong,” I answered. “But since Pam (my fiance’s sister) was married in Fernbrook, they would prefer Fernbrook Gardens.”
“Uncle Ellison, do you think that Alabang is far?” she then asked my uncle who came to visit us that day.
“It’s a bit far…” my Uncle replied. “But if that’s what they want, we’ll still go…”
My mom proceeded to ask my auntie and our real estate broker the same question that day. Their answers were pretty consistent: It’s perceived to be far, but if needed be, they’ll make the trip.
My mom then changed tactics saying, “It would really be frustrating if my friends would call me up to complain about the distance. It would make a happy day to be very frustrating.”
“Mom, I’m sure they would grumble but not directly. If ever, they would do it in a joking manner and shouldn’t be taken seriously,” I said in defense.
Mom: “Yes, but it would be bad…”
“Mom,” I somewhat rudely interrupted (my bad). “Are you trying to say that you would prefer Blue Leaf rather than Fernbrook?”
“Nooo, I didn’t say that,” she said defensively. “What I just said is, it’s up for them to decide.”
“Okay, if it’s up for them to decide,” I explained. “We would go for Fernbrook. Because they’ve done a wedding at Fernbrook and they like it there. They don’t care about the distance. Are you SURE you are okay with what they decide?”
“Well, Fernbrook is beautiful,” she then replied. “It’s very very nice. But so what if it’s nice if it’s far?”“So if I get it right,”I clarified, “What you are saying is you like Blue Leaf?”
“Nooo, I didn’t say that,” she again answered. “What I did say is I’m okay with both Fernbrook and Blue Leaf.”
I wanted to throw my hands up in despair. Waaah, that’s a lot of passive-aggressiveness going around. 😦
“Aiya mom, let me make a decision for both of us already,” I firmly stated. “Let’s just do Blue Leaf.”
“But but I’m okay with…” my mom started to insist.
“No mom, I insist,” I replied. “Choosing Fernbrook would relentlessly drive me up the wall. I cannot really stand choosing one, then having our side resent and not fully accepting the decision. It’s clear to me that everyone wants Blue Leaf so let’s just go with Blue Leaf.”
Not wanting to be the bad guy, mom insisted again she’s fine with both venues.
“No it’s fine,” I insisted. “I already texted Auntie. We have decided on Blue Leaf.”
And then there was nary a talk about Fernbrook and Blue Leaf already. Auntie was fine with our decision and paid for the deposit a few days later.
Waaaah, if deciding on a venue was enough to drive me up the wall, how much more are the rest? As you can see, there’s a lot of indirect passive-aggressiveness that came about and Lord help me in keeping my sanity as we decide on the other details.
Regardless, we’ve finally chosen a venue. It’s an achievement, and onward to the other wedding details such as the dress, the photographer and videographer, the stylist, among others.
Have a good week ahead!