Practical Weddings: Five Ways to Cater on a Budget


“Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks.” –Lin Yutang

Throwing an elaborate and lavish wedding is already expensive by itself.

In fact, an itemization of the things you would need to spend on from the event venue down to the catering would show you the extent of what you would have to be spending on. However, this is not always the case. Sure, you may need to cut down expenses here and there, but there is no absolute need to compromise what your dream wedding would be. One of the crucial aspects that make a wedding so expensive is the catering. After all, most caterers would charge you an exorbitant fee for every guest you would be feeding considering that they would be doing more than just serving your guests food. However, it is not so much that caterers would be charging their clientele with a premium but more on the fact that couples who do avail of their service do not know how to strategically plan their catering that they would end up having the best price possible.

Fortunately, with the recent rise of affordable catering, the thriving market has created a demand for exceptional catering service sans the exorbitant price. Today, affordable catering is widely available. If you wish to have catering that exceeds your expectations and stay within budget, here are some of the things you should consider:

1.) Know your guests

Have an estimate of how many guests would be attending your event. By having a rough idea of how many they are, you can accurately estimate how much food you would need to order with the assistance of your caterer. Overestimating the number of your guests might cause you pay a little more but that is at least a little better than not having enough food on your function. Moreover, it is imperative that you note down any dietary requirements or allergies your guests might have so that each and every one of them would leave fed and satisfied.

2.) Find the best caterer for you

The caterer selection process can be a bit overwhelming considering that there is a myriad of options available. However, it is best to choose the caterer who is comfortable with supplying you with the food you want and an event your size. Remember, established large-scale caterers might not be so receptive in catering a small function and might price you a premium just to cover your event.

3.) Skip the extras or at least keep it to a minimum

Sure, it can be tempting to go with a caterer that can provide you with almost everything that you need. However, do note that more often than not, these caterers would charge you a lot more than necessary considering that they are doing so much of the extra work. More often than not, it is more cost-efficient to just go with a caterer who provides solely food and look for other vendors for other elements. In any case, it is best to ask yourself whether you really need those extras. By choosing the services you avail of carefully and eschewing aspects you do not necessarily need, you can significantly reduce how much you pay.

4.) Find the right venue

The catering and venue aspect of your wedding event go hand in hand. Indeed, selecting the appropriate place to host your event can contribute to achieving your budget goals. Remember, your caterer would likely charge you a bit more if you selected a venue that does not come with the equipment they need to prepare their food. In this regard, it might be best to choose a venue that complements their hosting service with a catering one. Today, quite a lot of venues would offer you great deals on function rooms if you can guarantee a certain number of heads.

5.) Book in advance

This one is self-explanatory and needs no further elaboration. The reality is, the closer to the event you book, the more your caterer would charge you. Moreover, by booking ahead, you would give your catering partner and yourself a wide berth in planning a menu for your event.

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Beautiful Weddings: Five Signs You Have Found the Perfect Wedding Gown


“Just go in and try things on…things you may even think you would never wear in your life. Give yourself that freedom” –Vera Wang.


Finding the perfect wedding gown is about as difficult as finding the one special person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Indeed, the endeavor involves a lot of considerations and decisions to make and may even be fraught with complications—such as the ideal dress not making a particular church’s dress code. On top of that, you have a myriad of options to choose from which makes the entire process all the more challenging. There are limitless designs from ball gowns to bias-cut gowns that choosing one might seem like an impossibility. However, there are ways of narrowing the search and knowing if the dress you are trying on is “the one” for you.

Here are several of those tell-tale signs:

1.) You do not want to take it off

An excellent cardinal sign of your ideal gown is that once you have donned it on and observed yourself in the mirror, you do not want to take it off. While trying on wedding dresses makes you appreciate each gown’s beauty in their own way, there is just something about one particular gown that sets it apart from the others in a sense that you cannot wait to picture yourself with it. In fact, you cannot wait how it would look with the full ensemble—veil, flowers, hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories—on.

2.) The tears start flowing

Putting on the perfect gown gives you that overwhelming feeling of euphoric excitement. In fact, the feeling it gives you is pretty close to the sense of elation you felt when you said “Yes!” to marrying your husband to be. If you feel yourself tearing up when trying on the dress, then it is the ideal gown for you. However, if you are not much of a crier, if any of your family members or friends would shed a few tears upon seeing you (or even the stylist himself or herself), then that is a good sign.

3.) You truly feel like a bride

Yes, you have the ring, the date, and the fiancé but from where you are standing, the wedding seems ages away and seems like a vague concept to you until you have a particular wedding gown on. Putting on the right wedding gown would not only give you a sense of jubilation, but it would also give you that realization that you really are getting married and that this is going to be it.

4.) You start using superlatives

Of course, every gown is beautiful in its own way, but the perfect gown for you would be so incredibly gorgeous to you that you would only be using superlatives when describing it. If you suddenly catch yourself proclaiming things such as “the most beautiful gown in the world” or “the best gown I have ever laid my eyes on,” then you have probably found your second soulmate.

5.) You do not want to try any other dresses on

The gown you have tried on might be the first or fifth or even the twenty-eighth gown you have worn for that day, but once you have worn it, you suddenly feel like no other gown compares. In fact, you are just about ready to cancel all the other dress or fitting appointments you have made as you have found the dress of your dreams. To you, there is simply no other dress the world can offer that is just as beautiful and as stunning as the one that you have on you. In this regard, you can safely say that the search for the perfect gown is over.


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Wedding Planning: Four Things Your Wedding Planner Does Not Want You to Know

“Weddings are not about spending the least amount of money or the most amount of money; they are about spending good money on the elements that are most important to you and your partner.”-Kristi Richardson

Wedding planning is, no doubt, a process littered with tricky situations and peppered with crucial decision-making scenarios. Indeed, the logistics are never quite straightforward nor are they always the same. To be successful in this endeavor, many brides-to-be would elect to seek professional help in the form of wedding planners. Wedding planners, for their part, have a particular expertise and flair in pulling weddings together. In this regard, they can be considered somewhat of a pro in planning weddings and are incredibly helpful in planning out the nitty-gritty details of a wedding. As a result, the bride can breathe and relax on her big day and would not be more stressed and anxious than she already is.

Choosing a talented and skillful wedding planner is not easy, and it is best to approach this attempt with your eyes wide open. While some wedding planners opt to be as transparent as they can be with their clients, there are less scrupulous planners who would rather keep essential details from you. In any case, here are some things that your wedding planner would not want you to know to determine whether what they kept from you is for your own good or for their bank book.

1.) Something will go wrong

With so many elements and aspects involved in a wedding, it is virtually impossible to pull it off flawlessly. In this regard, it would be inevitable that something would not go according to plan—no matter how meticulously you have planned their entire thing and regardless of how adept your planner might be. However, not all snags are major, and you can hope that it would be something insignificant such as the groom’s tie or something negligible. Similarly, you should also put into mind that there are no perfect weddings, just beautiful ones.

2.) Some of the vendors are probably her chums

Established wedding planners would already have a list of vendors they prefer to work with. If you wish to work with other vendors, it is best to stipulate this before you sign any contract. By choosing your own vendors, you can often get a better deal and quality—you would just need to do a little research and price comparison first. Seasoned and established planners would refer esteemed vendors—after all, a planner’s reputation would also be on the line. However, some planners might refer less qualified vendors who are still trying to build their reputations in the industry. With this in mind, it is best to consider a wedding planner who encourages you to keep your options open.

3.) They might not be as qualified as you think

Majority of wedding planners are already experienced in the field and have already developed an expertise in handling weddings. However, there are also handfuls few who are still trying to break ground in the industry. With this in consideration, how do you determine which one is which? After all, becoming a wedding planner does not require a license nor are any permits necessary. In this regard, it is best for brides to check with multiple references and review their past work samples. After all, some unsavory wedding planners are known for inflating their qualifications just to be hired.

4.) You can probably do it on your own

Some brides already possess the talent and flair for planning a wedding. In fact, it might be a second calling of all sorts and may even be considered as an avenue for showing off your budgeting skills and flawless taste. However, with stress and anxiety on top of the planning process, a bride may want to take a breather and let a wedding planner handle it all. But if you think you can pull it off on your own, you can save some cash and have a wedding that truly reflects who you and your husband are as a couple.

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Weddings Sins That Will Make Your Lola Gasp

It’s 2017, and it seems we forgot our values and traditions of weddings. Millenials have embraced the liberated culture of the West and have forgotten local traditions that are unique to Filipino culture. Thus, you may be guilty of committing wedding sins even when you aren’t aware. 

Read on to find which of the forgotten traditions will save your Lola from the heartache even if you are getting married in Intramuros – Casa Manila style.


Placing The Groom’s Name Before the Bride in Invitations

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The bride and her parents’ name should be written first. They are the host and share a large portion of the expenses. 

Your Lola and titas will agree to this because they’ve been through it. They definitely understand the delegation of responsibilities. Therefore it is tradition to have hers before the groom’s and his parents’ name on the invitations.

Thank you letters should print the groom’s name and his family before the bride’s name to show their support and acceptance to the ceremony and its proceedings.


The Bride Coming Before the Groom

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Ladies come first, but this isn’t one of those times. It’s bad luck for the groom to arrive after the bride. This is a grave sin for both couples, so be wary on your big day. 

Coordinate with each party and find a way to communicate if your partner is on his or her way. Be mindful of the time during preparation. Oversee any hindrance that may come along the way, be it traffic jam, a car breaking down, weather changes, broken zipper, lost pair of shoe or worse, a lost wedding ring.



The Bride Wearing a Pearl Jewelry

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It’s not pearl but look at what happened to Ariel because of the necklace.

As much as possible, pearl fanatics are discouraged from donning their prized accessories. Pearls resemble teardrops, and it is said that wearing pearl accessories will bring you tears. Unfortunately, they aren’t tears of joy.

Avoid wearing a string of pearls or pearl earrings on your wedding day. Doing so will bring sorrow and tears to your married life. Spare yourself and your future family from despair by following the tradition. Don’t come running to abuela, we warned you.

Like all events, there’s proper etiquette for guests. This case, the proper decorum also stems from our culture and traditions. Read this in case you get invited to someone’s big day.


Giving Sharp Objects as Gifts

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Give appropriate gifts. Remember when she thought forks were used for combing hair?

It may be tempting to give a set of knives to your BFF chef getting hitched this weekend, but doing so will bring bad luck. 

Sharp objects like scissors and gardening tools are home essentials, but there are other home necessities like appliances, pieces of furniture and home décor that are better given as presents to the newlyweds. They will greatly appreciate the gesture even if it’s not in the registry.

Giving a set of knives is also creepy, don’t you think?


Dress Code

The bride should be the most beautiful woman on her day. The groom is the most handsome man in the room. Not you nor your date

A wedding is a formal event, so dress accordingly. Some weddings have a theme indicated on the invite. Hence, respect the couple’s wishes what attire should be worn.

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Avoid stealing the spotlight and earning an eyeful from the elders by wearing skimpy dresses. Opt for modest clothing options. Don’t wear revealing, skin-tight dresses or short-sleeved casual attire. Polish your black shoes and style your hair to look clean and presentable. The guests’ appearance reflects the bride’s or the groom’s personality and any undesirable traits will reflect negatively to the in-laws.


Party Pooping

A wedding is also a celebration – feast of life, love, and unity. Don’t be a spoil sport by refusing to partake in the games and festivities. You’ll be putting down the energy and the mood of the couple. The goal is to attract positive and boundless energy for them. Do not be the cause to negate them.

These are some of the customs and traditions that are not observed by couples during their matrimonial rites. Guests also have to look out for these practices and make sure they follow the practices when gracing the event with their presence. If you want a refresher on other practices that are a must, head on to Casa Manila Museum. It features the lifestyle of elite Filipinos, who were conscious of social etiquettes and graces. It’s great place be purified and instill the traditions in yourself. Lola will be so proud.

Wedding Receptions: Four Types of Food Never to Serve At Your Wedding




“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” -James Beard
A witty and catchy proverb about weddings has said that the most dangerous food is a wedding cake. Although it is meant to be funny and entertaining, the adage’s sentiment echoes a metaphor that you should be careful and at least meticulous about what you serve to your guests. You may have scoured countless of wedding packages in the Philippines, but your guests would hardly find any of the garlands of flowers, or splendid entourage ensembles memorable but giving them a hearty and savory dinner experience will certainly make an impressive impact. Without a doubt, most of your guests would be looking forward to what they will eat during your wedding reception and you ought not to disappoint and deliver. Indeed, one of the biggest decisions you will have to make when planning your wedding is the menu as well as the appropriate budget for it seeing as feeding a sizable guest list would not come in cheap.

To make the decision-making the process a bit easier and less complicated, know which types of food you should not include in your list and from there you can create a menu that will leave your guests with a lasting and memorable taste in their mouths.

1.) Food that requires an intricate setup

While it may look gorgeous by the buffet table and is an entertainment feat itself, the main attraction of your wedding reception should be you and your new spouse. Not the food prepared. Having your caterer prepare complicated setups for food stuff might sound like a great way to make an impact and impress your friends. In a sense, it would even set your wedding apart, but unless you are celebrating an intimate wedding, it would be challenging to get each dish made for each guest. Choose another way to dazzle your guests apart from making complicated food.

2. Anything Raw

While sushi and sashimi are excellent additions to the wedding banquet, serving other kinds of raw food items can be potentially risky. Steak tartare might sound sublime, but the two primary ingredients are raw meat and a runny egg. It might look elegant and grand, but in some cases, it would not do your or your guests’ stomachs any favors. Skip the uncooked fares and best be safe rather than sorry.

3.) An all meat (or anything) buffet

To any meat lovers out there, this sounds like the only way to throw a wedding banquet. Dishes upon dishes of various meats—a carnivorous treat if you may. While the array of different meat might sound like a succulent feast to you, your guests might not have the same enthusiasm. Regardless of what your favorite food might be, it is always best to introduce a little bit of variety. Similarly, cheese lovers, seafood lovers, and chocolate lovers should introduce dishes that are not all chocolate based, cheese based and the like. After all, there are only so many ways you can prepare dishes from a single ingredient.

4.) Mini versions of everything

Traditionally, it would be great to serve your guest’s tea sandwiches, mini-sized burgers, and even pocket-sized pizza during the cocktail hour while they are waiting for you to make your grand entrance. However, serving mini versions of everything is not a great idea if this is all you are serving. Your guests would need a little more substantial during the main course and believe or not, the cocktail drinks and finger foods are there only to keep their hunger at bay, not fully satiate it. Consider serving something a bit more filling than soup and salads.


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Pre-Wedding Blues: Top Three Causes of Wedding Jitters


No matter how in love or sure you are about your future spouse, weeks or months before your wedding day, you may experience a bout of pre-wedding jitters that would render you jittery, anxious and at times, a nervous wreck. Not to worry, this is simply the case of pre-wedding stress getting to you—perhaps from meticulously planning the wedding menu down to the the strategic seating arrangement of your guests. However, you need to sit down and contemplate about your proposal or your upcoming marriage if you are suddenly having doubts about your future partner—ones that would not go away after days of trying to relax. If you are having persistent qualms about your wedding, perhaps reviewing what the top three reasons for pre-wedding jitters would help you identify what is causing your anxiety.

1.) The wedding day

Sometimes, the wedding day itself would cause you incredible stress and anxiety. This is especially true for rather large weddings wherein every single one’s family, friend and relative are invited. Having all the people you care about in one room can cause you to worry especially if there are divorced parents, step-parents and even estranged family members involved, the wedding day can particularly be stressful. In other cases, it could be that being the spotlight is what is causing the stress. However, in any case, and in all instances, you should get support for your wedding day as this is essential. A counselor or a wedding planner would help you create a plan for dealing with difficult family members.

2.) Becoming a “wife” or “husband”

More often than not, the marriage of our parents would give us the first real insight of what a marriage is like and sometimes, their marriages would serve as the blueprint of yours. If your parents went through a particularly rocky relationship or if you came from a broken home or a home filled with anger, shame, neglect and violence, intimacy is something you would rarely see. If this is the case, we entertain the fear that we will turn out to be just like them no matter how irrational that may be/ Take note that you are not your parents so you do not exactly have to mirror your blueprint. Similarly, you can also choose not to repeat the same mistakes they have done. In any case, just because your parents did not have a happy marriage does not mean that yours is also doomed from the get-go.

3.) The plan after I-do

Remember that an essential thing before proposing to your significant other or even agreeing to become man and wife is to know what your plans are after the wedding. Some of these would involve significant questions that would determine you would do as a couple after your respective “I do’s”. These questions include if you want kids, where you should live, how much money you plan to make, how to budget, what kind of ambitions you would both have—and other questions of a similar tone. When you have talked about this with your partner, then well and good as you would at least know what your plans would be after the wedding and are least likely to stumble into a complication or come across a problem. However, if this is something you and your partner have barely discussed or never even talked about your problem then it would be understandable why you have wedding jitters that may even be particularly overwhelming.
Some couples think that these are the things they can work out after marriage and everything would fall into place right after.

However, a wedding is a major milestone in life and should you find that you and your partner are not on the same page as regards some aspects of marital life, you will end up having a lot of conflicts and arguments in the future. Before joining the nuptial club, consider having a one on one talk with your partner or find a couples counselor who would guide you both through discussions that would assist you create goals for yourselves and negotiate when your needs and desires differ.




Although it is normal to be wary about lasting decisions in life (such as choosing a life partner), the same cannot be said about persistent anxiety and worries about the state of your relationship and your marriage after you both have said I do. To know the root cause of you nuptial jitters, it would be wise to identify what is causing your stress to distinguish if what you are experiencing is a simple case of pre-wedding anxiety or something even more—and worth talking about with your fiance or fiancee.


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Advantages of Small Weddings


Most little girls would not envision a small intimate affair when they dream about their weddings. They would dream of long ball gowns, towering cakes and being a princess for one more night and getting married to the man of their dreams. As girls transition to women, their collective vision of what their ideal wedding would be will greatly vary. Some would still retain the idea of having a lush and big wedding adorned with festoons of flowers. But there are also some women who would want their weddings as intimate as possible, celebrated only with close relatives and friends sans the hassle. So, for brides-to-be who are on the fence as to what kind of wedding they should have, here are some of the biggest advantages of small weddings that may convince you.


Undoubtedly, one of the greatest benefits of having a small wedding is the fact that it is friendlier to your budget. Considering you do not have a horde of guests to feed, you would not need to hire an army of caterers just to provide food for them or an extremely grand catering menu. Having a big wedding, on the contrary, would mean you would need to have a bigger budget. The logistics of planning a big wedding can be quite complicated, and the costs could really add up to a sum that can be quite daunting. Having a small but intimate wedding will be less the hassle, and less costly.


Big weddings do not offer many avenues for coziness and an air of familiarity. More often than not, the newly-wedded couple would not even be able to fraternize with all of their guests for more than a couple of minutes so things may have the tendency to get a tad bit impersonal. Some of the guests may not even be personally acquainted with the couple and are invited as a date by one of the guests. Smaller weddings would compel you to pare down your wedding invite list and would allow you to invite the people who truly matter to you. This opportunity would make you contemplate on the people who you really want to celebrate this special occasion with you, and as a result, you would have a more intimate environment in celebrating your marriage.


Having a small wedding can significantly reduce the wedding stress that is commonly associated with wedding planning. As the wedding is an intimate affair, there would be no need to hire too many vendors, nor a lot of caterers and essentially, everything is much simpler from the methods of dining down to the venue to be used. Considering you do not have to mull over a lot of extraneous aspects, you can enjoy planning your wedding without the rush or the pressure of having to ensure that everything is done right for a rather large number of party guests.


Considering that small weddings have a limited number of attendees, it would be an excellent choice for those who are contemplating of having a destination wedding. It would be easier to transport a small number of guests, and as a result, you would be able to organize this wedding party elsewhere much better. Essentially, with a limited number of people in attendance in a destination wedding, it would be like celebrating your union as well as getting a chance to experience a vacation with the closest people to you.


Anyone who has ever been married would tell you how easily overwhelming planning a wedding could be–no matter how beautiful and magical they may seem. This is true regardless of whether your wedding is big or small, but the chances of getting overwhelmed while planning an intimate wedding would be significantly less than that of a big one. This is because with simpler logistics involved, you would not have to be in constant worry of things going awry on your big day and you are less likely to worry about mingling with every single one of your guests. Having fewer guests would make you feel more relaxed and more connected to the moment of being married to the love of your life than having a big but otherwise, detached wedding ambiance.

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