Thursday, May 31, 2012

"You are my Inspiration"

Photography and romanticism.. A great combination.

Eric and I have always prefered Nikon over Canon but this video is too cheesy to pass off..

Watch and be inspired..


We are not endorsing any camera brands

Aris Centeno : the best solemnizing officer ever!

**** My apologies, I wasn't able to attend to all your emails. Instead, I'm posting Aris Centeno's number so that it's readily available for all of you. My only request is for you guys to also share your SO experiences below. :) happy preps! - chi

Rating - ♥♥♥♥♥

Name : Aris Centeno - 09194026369

Registry Number : 2011-25Y43NTVB2-2013
Fee : P4,800


Why is Aris Centeno the best solemnizing officer in our book?

Because he is easy to talk to, very nice and above all, he knows how to run a wedding ceremony effectively.

Though I talked to him over the phone a couple of times and texted him quite frequently, we only met with him a few weeks before the wedding.

The initial meeting was great and we had a blast!

It was great talking to him. He offered a lot of insights and advise one can only expect from someone who's been around longer.

We talked about family life, about business, about opportunities, about the economy, about character and yes we also talked about the ceremony. tee hee!

A very sweet man, when we asked about the payment, he said to just pay it after the event, that way we can still use the money for other expenses. He even bought croissants for our baon" (packed food) before we left because the travel home was long.

Moving on to the wedding..

He made it more special and meaningful to us and to the guests. We can't help but laugh and we can't help but cry. And the best part is knowing that the guests are really there, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally to be a witness to our special day.

We started off with the traditional vows from Sir Aris that we had to repeat. Following it was our own personal vows which really had us crying.

The exchange of rings was a funny moment because Eric had inserted the ring all the way through before Sir Aris said so. We didn't know that it should be done slowly so he had to take it back out then put it back again.

A hands down "hagulgol" (very loud weeping) moment was when Sir Aris asked us to hug our parents. It was totally beyond words.

I wish I have more photos of Eric for this since it's a very touching moment. These are the only ones I currently have.

After that, the parents were asked to give us their advise. It's worth to note that sir Aris was great in giving Ad libs. When he called my mom who doesn't want to talk, he segued to my mom being touched beyond measure etc etc.. Very smooth..

After the parents, it was our godparents' turn.

Most of our Ninongs and Ninangs took center stage to offer their words of wisdom. However, the best one was by my Ninang Baby. It was a grand speech alright that she got a very loud applause afterwards. I couldn't agree more.

I couldn't remember the exact words, but it was something in the line of.. "We're not here to just eat the food that the couple prepared. We're not here to dress up. We're not here to complain about the heat. We're not here to give our opinions. We are here so that we can be a witness to this couple's union and give them guidance, advise and assistance in the future if need be."

Hell yeah! I would have given her a fist pump but it wouldn't look dignified. I settled for an applause of my own.

Ninang Baby giving her thought-provoking speech

Sir Aris also gave a short talk about marriage and love and commitment and all that stuff which was very inspiring.

Their advise and anecdotes were really a wonderful part of the ceremony. The wedding in itself was almost perfect all because we chose the perfect person to officiate.

It was a constant switch between laughing and crying and it's so funny to do it at the same time. What's great is to see the guests also doing the same. :D priceless!


Get your SO questions answered here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"To make you feel my love.." a great ceremony song

While browsing the world wide web, I heard this beautiful rendition of Bob Dylan's "To make you feel my love." Done by our very own Johnoy Danao, it's a great song for any part of the ceremony or reception.

Great artists such as Adele, Billy Joel and Garth Brooks have covered this song in the past and Johnoy performed it just as amazingly.

Here is it.. 

"Make You Feel My Love"

When the rain is blowin' in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue
I'd go crawlin' down the avenue
No, there's nothin' that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love.

Though storms are raging on the rollin' sea
And on the highway of regrets
Though winds of change are throwing wild and free
You ain't seen nothin' like me yet.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn't do
Go to the ends of the Earth for you
To make you feel my love.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Common questions about getting a Solemnizing officer ( introduction to our S.O. Review )

Of all the suppliers combined, finding a Solemnizing Officer (S.O.) was hands down the most difficult.

What made it difficult was that only a limited few have anything to say about it. And no one we knew, during our planning stages have actually had a wedding officiated by one.

It was very much a shot it the dark and we really didn't know if it would work. It was scary since our wedding is on the line here, yet we know that this is what we wanted and we just have to try and trust that it'll work out for the best.

Aris Centeno's name came up on one of the GT threads. It was a very old post. Fortunately, his contact number was also given.

I gave him an initial call and it turned out really well. Sir Aris was so easy to talk to. He's very patient in explaining things to me.

Since we still don't have the legal requirements, we put off meeting with him until a few weeks before the wedding. If we had only talked to him sooner, we would have saved us a lot of unnecessary worries.

Before I talk more about my rating, I'd like to address some questions that really confused us with this S.O. officiated ceremonies :

Is catholic marriage allowed outside church?

No, it's no longer allowed. Bishop Gaudencio Rosales banned all wedding rites from being held outside churches. The only exception is when one of the couple is “in periculo mortis” which means that he/she is near death. ( source )

Will we have a catholic wedding if the solemnizing officer is not a priest?

For any catholic couple, a marriage officiated by an S.O. (who is not a priest) is not considered valid by the Catholic church. It is, however, valid and binding in the Philippine law's legal perspective. 

Is this a civil or a church wedding?

It is neither.

A civil ceremony by definition is a ceremony performed by a government or civil official. Whereas a church wedding is simply that, a wedding ceremony performed in church.

It's more of like a civil wedding on the legal aspect. On the other hand, the ceremony and everything else may resemble a catholic wedding if the couple so chooses. 

However, since this option is not common with Filipinos, we just say it's civil to avoid lengthy discussions.

We checked his sect at the Solemnizing Officers Information System by NSO and it's not Catholic. Does this mean that we have to convert (or at least pretend to convert) to a different faith?

This confusion was caused by the 1987 Family Code of the Philippines' Chapter 1, Article 7, which states that a solemnizing officer may be a priest or minister who is authorized by his church or sect and registered with the local civil registrar.

Sir Aris is also of catholic faith. He is not a pastor nor a priest though he was an ex-seminarian. He, together with representatives of other religions registered an ecumenical* organization with SEC and later with NSO. This is the reason why his registered sect is not showing as Catholic.

A point to note:

All registered S.O. whose indicated sect is catholic, are priests.

What are the documents needed?

The S.O. would only need the marriage license so that he may draft the contract. Click here for info on how to apply for a marriage license.

Is the ceremony like most church weddings?

It's totally up to you, the couple. The only thing that you won't be able to incorporate would be the mass. The rest such as candle, cord and veil can be thrown in to the mix. It would be best to discuss the program with your S.O. just so you're on the same page with him.

In our case, we already drafted the program before we spoke with Sir Aris. It was only then that we found out that he preferred for the program and the ceremony proper to be separated. Because of this, we had to make some revisions on what we initially planned.

Can we add certain elements to the ceremony like different kinds of readings, personal vows, etc?

Yes, you can. Just make sure to discuss it with your S.O. to avoid any hassle. 

Are you and your fiance/fiancee Catholics who wants an outside wedding and a personalized, touching ceremony to boot? Then this option may just be right for both of you.

It certainly worked for us.. :D

My rating in details.. coming up next..

*In wedding parlance, this means that they are able to legally marry couples as long as they believe in Christ. Right now, it only governs heterosexual marriages since same sex marriage are not yet legal in the Philippines. Their jurisdiction doesn't include other religion that does not believe in Christ such as Muslims, Buddhist etc.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Facebook billionaire's low-key wedding

Being a practical bride, I have always been on the look out for alternative choices and affordable options for anything and everything wedding.

Being able to stage an offbeat, unconventional and budget friendly one, I have been an advocate ever since.

That's why I couldn't hide my excitement when I read about Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's wedding.

photo credits by facebook and forbes

For those who doesn't know, Mark Zuckerberg is one of the co-founder of our much beloved Facebook which made him a billionaire.

Given his financial capacity, one would assume that his wedding would be grandiose and extravagant. But not this guy.

He and fiancee, Chan, had a surprise wedding ceremony and reception at their backyard which the couple planned in roughly about four months. 

Food was from a local (affordable) restaurant and for a touch of nostalgia, desserts were the chocolates they ate on their first date.

How low-key is that?

It just goes to show that all that flair and fanfare isn't really necessary to get wed. Very much like Christmas, we've been victimized by the media into thinking that it does matter when it really does not.


read the rest of the story here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Elfa flower shop

Rating - ♥♥♥♥♥

Contact number : 0939.601.6971 / 0905.873.3420
Address : I-V Session Road, Socorro, Cubao, Quezon, City


Because of our drive for a non-floral wedding, searching for a flower supplier was very low on our list. All we needed was loose petals for the aisle.

photo credits: Candy Alvarez

A week before the wedding, we head off to Farmer's Market in Cubao to book one. Though Dangwa holds more suppliers, we chose Farmer's because it's near our event. We only need a few anyway.

Almost all the shops sell the same variety of flowers at about the same price. In times like this, the tipping point for us would be the customer service.

When we stopped by Ms. Elfa's shop, she was very accommodating and answered all our questions. She  quoted us discounts even if we were still only canvassing.

She also offered to let the flowers bloom for us and we can just pick it up early on the day of the event.

We booked her right away and made a down payment. The rest is to be paid upon pick-up.

Half of the mums were supposedly for decoration at the end of the aisle while the other half was supposedly going to be used on a part of the reception program. Our coordinators turned them to bouquets for the mothers instead. 

Peso Power

Loose petals ( per kilo )       - P130 x 3 = P390
Mums ( per dozen )             -                   P560

If there's one thing that I could change, I would have decided against buying the mums. I felt that it was a money not well spent because it wasn't fully used.

With regard to Elfa, we're very happy with her. A supplier that's so easy to deal with. This is just what we need and we fully recommend her.

CDs: a gift for the guests

Music have always tied us together.

Playing in a band. Attending underground concerts. Organizing music events.

Doing it .. Together.

With our history, it's a given that we'll find ways to integrate the music in our wedding.

Receiving those crystal swans, bells and other whatnots are quite boring and far too common that we decided to use CDs for this instead.

The cost has always been our guiding light. It should always be within reason given it's use.

The CDs were bought from CDR-King. It was suppose to have CD sticker paper labels on it but the stickers alone were equal to the entire souvenir cost so the idea was chucked. The design was left alone.

We also planned to put it in jewel cases however we were looking for ways to cut the budget for this so that we may use the money for other necessities.

Brown paper bags fill in as alternatives because of its rustic appeal. Medium-sized ones are the best for a sure fit which means no bulging on the sides. It would be best to bring a sample CD for fitting when buying the bags specific for this purpose.

As for the seal, we used our left-over stickers from the invites. We still have quite a few enough for the souvenirs.

Peso Power

CDs                                           - P6 x 60 = P360
brown paperbags  (100 pcs. )     -                 P42
stickers ( cost placed on invites)              __________


Souvenirs, very much like invitations are like happy meal toys. People line up to get one but often than not, never really use it.

To avoid this, we alloted the souvenirs per family instead of per guests.

No frills. No fuss. Just plain good ol' music.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

unconventional readings

In a salute to my passion for books, we planned a couple of readings for the wedding program.

It's not the typical Sunday Mass 1st and 2nd reading, but more in line with passages that talks about love and marriage.

Here they are..

1st reading : Excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran

When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

photo credits
2nd Reading : The Letters by Rainer Maria Rilke

To love is good, too: love being difficult.
 For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
 For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it.
 With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.
 But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is--solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.
 Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate--?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself for another's sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.

photo credits
3rd Reading : Gift by the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.  

Reading for the Hand Fasting :  Excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
      You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
      Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
      But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
      And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
      Love one another but make not a bond of love:
      Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
      Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
      Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
      Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
      Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
      Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
      For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
      And stand together, yet not too near together:
      For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
      And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.  

There are still a ton of books out there that speak about love. As it is in all things wedding, all it takes is a little inspiration and a great deal of research. 


an unconventional program

What's great about having an unconventional wedding is the liberty to play around with each and every aspect of it without having to pause and ask whether it's allowed or not.

A good example of it was our program which was tweaked a bit from the traditional.

Initially, we designed the program to be integrated with the ceremony proper. However, our Solemnizing Officer wants the ceremony to be done separately so we had to make some adjustments.

Anyway, for those who also want to deviate from the ordinary, here is an insight on the the twists we planned to inject.


Face Painting and Photo shoots

One of our groomsmen does face painting stints when he's not tattooing. He gave his services as a wedding gift. Thank God for great friends!

Simultaneously, our P/V is to go around and take photos of guests pre-ceremony.

Program and Ceremony proper


my BIL, our bestman

the groom with his parents

Our godparents

Our bridesmaids and groomsmen

our bubble girls

me, with my parents

lighting of candles for our late grandmothers - both our grandmothers died last year. We had hope they'll be able to witness the wedding and this is our way of honoring them.

Prayer - The prayer we chose was our "Novena to God's Love." A prayer known to all "The Feast" attendees.

my SIL leading the prayer

Worship song
1st reading
2nd reading 

Hand fasting ( alternative to the cord )
Reading for the hand tying

Lantern lighting* ( alternative to the candles ) 

Ceremony proper - this is the tradition Q&A portion of weddings. Aside from the "do you accept this woman.." string of questions, we were asked to repeat certain preset vows from our Solemnizing officer, Aris Centeno.

Personal Vows

Exchange of Rings 

Talk of the S.O.


we are now pronounced, husband and wife!


Confetti toss
Photo shoot

Upon the request of our solemnizing officer to separate the program from the ceremony proper, it was planned to be done pre-ceremony instead. Unfortunately, since I was an hour late, it was decided for it to be cut and to proceed to the ceremony proper instead.

It was sad because we took a lot of time planning the program to make it memorable and different but all in all, the wedding was still almost everything that we wanted it to be. For that, we can't be any happier. 


* We lighted the lantern just for fun right after most of the guests left for the reception


Friday, May 18, 2012

Song choices

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent."
                                                                           - Victor Hugo

For a music enthusiast, being asked to stick to only liturgical songs can be quite limiting.

There are a lot of great gospel songs out there. It's just that we felt it's not enough to cover the myriad emotions that we wanted to convey. It was one of the factors that made us decide to not have a church wedding.

On the other hand, having free rein with our song choices was exhilarating and it was one of the tasks that we really enjoyed.

Here are the ones that made the cut.

Prenup video - I caught fire ( the used )

The rawness of our need for each other, well defined by this song.

Groom and entourage march - Miles away ( years around the sun )

This was Eric's choice. He was drawn to the lyrics and the melodic rhythm of the song. A very relaxing piece.

Bridal march - Bless the broken road ( selah )

A great melody with equally great lyrics. This song encompasses all the things that I wanted to say to the person I'll share my life with.

Announcement - Happy day ( jesus Culture ) and Today is the day ( lincoln brewster )

These are gospel songs that we really liked. It perfectly conveys the happiness we felt when we were announced as husband and wife to our friends and family.

Our first dance - Kun' di man ( the jerks )

This was my wedding present to Eric. He is a big fan of "The Jerks" who's vocalist happened to be my uncle. He didn't know that uncle would play a set during the reception. Just seeing his look of excitement and happiness during our first dance was pure joy.

Wedding Ceremony video - Stolen ( dashboard confessionals )

Eric and I are big Dashboard Confessionals fans. We've decided early on that this song will have a part on our big day.

Reception video - Signal Fire ( snow patrol )

Johnoy Danao's cover* of this song introduced me to Snow Patrol. His version was nice but we opted to go with the full band version. Let the lyrics speak for us.

We may not have the chance to say everything that we wanted to. Yet we know that the music behind our love story was able to do just that.


listen to it here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

U.P. Bonsai Garden - wedding ceremony set-up

The huge bonsai plants in the middle of the U.P. Bonsai garden is a thing to consider. Our initial concern was how to make sure that all the guests would be able to see the ceremony.

ocular with Candy*

We brought our coordinator, Candy Alvarez, with us for an ocular so that she'd have an idea of the layout. This would help her in visualizing the possible layout for the chairs as well.

What we failed to anticipate however, was the sunlight bouncing off the garden. ( It was raining when we visited )

Despite of it, she and her team did quite well.

Here are samples of the set-up. Most photos courtesy of our OTD coordinator, Candy Alvarez.

the aisle

petals, petals and more petals

makeshift altar - photo credits: Quittine Moya

left side

one of Candy's team, Pinky

speakers strategically placed at the sides for maximum audio experience

right side

the candles would have been lovely at night

Unexpected things are bound to happen but with a great coordinator, everything has a work-around. :D


*our layout basis. Front would refer to the ceremony part ( where the table is ) and back would be the area near the entrance. 


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