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#RANawaywithMartha Wedding Blog 1: Tips on Choosing the Right Wedding Venue, Theme, and Food For the Guests



Hello! I'll be blogging about my wedding journey and tips in the next few days! Starting off with the most important wedding elements in my opinion: VENUE, FOOD, THEME.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT VENUE:

I wanted a beach wedding, but due to the cost and challenges involved in such destination, we chose a garden wedding instead, but we didn't feel that we were downgraded because we equally wanted a beach and garden wedding; any would do.

Also, we both wanted a destination wedding so we chose Tagaytay, the best place to have a destination wedding in our opinion because it's a preferred out-of-town place for a lot of people and due to its proximity to the city.

In December 2016, we traveled back and forth to Tagaytay and scouted the place for the best venue; here are three that made it to our list: 

MAHOGANY PLACE

Mahogany Place seems like a mansion turned into an events place. This venue is located inside a compound with ample parking space. There's also a ceremonial garden with Turkish- inspired design.

Mahogany Place only had one venue and it's this; it can house around 300 people, if I am not mistaken.

What we liked about Mahogany Place:

1. Ample parking space
2. The compound set- up made the place feel safe and private.

Why we did not go for Mahogany Place:

1. The Bridal Room is too simple for my liking; didn't make me feel that I was awaiting a very important event plus it didn't have enough good lighting and windows.
2. Their food selection is okay; we were looking for something a bit gourmet-ish.
3. Venue is too big for our number of guests.

Mahogany Place event packages start at P250,000.00+ for a guest list of 150.

LOS ARBOLES

Los Arboles is one of the newest outdoor event venues in Tagaytay. This one's pretty high end. We were told that the ground is made with a high tech kind of drainage system that prevents the grass and ground from being too soaked and wet in case it rains.

What we liked about Los Arboles:

1. Beautiful, luxury garden setting.
2. It's one of the newest outdoor venues in Tagaytay.
3. The place feels and looks classy.
4. High tech drainage system is a great idea.
5. Can accommodate a huge number of guests (up to 300).

Why we did not go for Los Arboles:

1. No indoor venue. We wanted a venue with air-conditioning.
2. A bit out of our budget.
3. Too little freebies for the cost of their packages compared to most venues we've inquired from.
4. We are required to get a tent to ensure that our guests will be safe from the rain, which in turn will blow up the cost.
5. Unless we make a downpayment, management will not show us entire inclusions of the package (including food choices) that we inquired about.

Los Arboles event packages start at P350,000.00+ for a guest list of 150.

HILLCREEK GARDENS

Welcome to the venue of our choice! Hillcreek Gardens is one of the premium indoor and outdoor venues in Tagaytay.

When my husband and I set foot at Hillcreek, we immediately knew that this is the venue for our wedding; we fell in love with the charming, paradise feel of the place and most importantly, how exclusive and intimate the place felt.

Hillcreek Gardens has 3 main venues:

Pavilion- the biggest reception venue; this can accommodate around 200- 250 people.

Courtyard- their main ceremonial garden where you can have the reception as well; the other ceremonial garden is the Gazebo, but due to its shape, it cannot hold receptions.

Flowerhouse- second main reception venue. This is our chosen venue because it fits our guest size and theme of the wedding, which is Bohemian-Rustic.

There's another reception venue called Anahaw right beside Flowerhouse, which is the smallest at 70 guest capacity; if you opt for Hillcreek's To Love and To Cherish package for Flowerhouse (the package we purchased), they normally give Anahaw for free as cocktails area or in case of emergency situations such as a heavy downpour as long as there's no event in the venue.

We settled for Flowerhouse because the size is just right for our number of guests and the venue is perfect for our theme. Also, with all the details like wood, chandelier, and colored tiles, we felt that the place would only need minimal styling, hence no need to spend more for it.

What we liked about Hillcreek Gardens:

1. There are a lot of freebies in the package that we got, which is To Love and To Cherish package.
2. Staff are very helpful, professional, courteous, and knowledgeable.
3. We felt that HCG wanted our wedding to be very memorable and wonderful too, thus management gave us a lot of leeway; they were sensible enough to know when to charge and when not to charge.
4. Food is good: it's familiar yet a bit gourmet- ish; I loved that it catered to everybody's taste. In fact, a lot raved about the food after the wedding. Also, their Banana cake is AMAZING; they provide free wedding cake in their packages and I'm telling you, GET THE BANANA CAKE.
5. Has an indoor and outdoor setting for events.
6. Place feels well- maintained.

What we did not like about Hillcreek Gardens:

1. Parking area feels a bit cramped.

Hillcreek Gardens event packages start at P297,000.00 for a guest list of 100. Our package is called To Love and To Cherish package (P297,000.00 all in).

Here are sample rooms at Hillcreek Gardens:

Master Suite

Lilac Suite

**Bride gets a complimentary overnight stay in any of these suites when you purchase any of their packages.

TIPS IN CHOOSING THE RIGHT VENUE:

1. Determine your kind of wedding first: is it a destination wedding or are you okay to have it in the city? This will help filter your area and venue choices.
2. Determine your guest size.
3. To be more efficient, stick with 3-5 venues only and visit all of them to get a feel of the place and to know if it's right for you, and to also learn about their rates, packages, and freebies.
4. Destination weddings usually have high dropout rates as compared to weddings done in the city; ask yourself first if you are okay with this; if you really want a destination wedding regardless of that challenge, I advise you to increase your guest list (around 15-20 people will do and make room for unexpected guests on the day of the wedding) so you won't have too few attendees come your wedding day. Trust me, people will drop out weeks and even days before your wedding, plus there's always a dropout rate of 10-15% on the wedding day, depending on location.
5. Research, research, research.
6. Make sure that your venue has indoor and outdoor options in case it rains.
7. Or better yet, have your ceremony outdoors and the reception indoors to be sure that you will finish the program even if it rains.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT MIX OF FOOD

Thanks to my background as an event organizer, I was exposed to various people with varying food preferences and events with different food demands; all these experiences have helped me form my own strategy when it comes to choosing food for events, not to mention I personally love to eat as well as my husband. Needless to say, we've got taste. I'm just glad that all my guests were so happy with what were served in our wedding! Read on and learn from me. ;)

TOP: L-R: Appetizers of Chicken Cordon Bleu and Spring Roll with Ranchero dip; Kani Mango Salad with Wasabi
BOTTOM: Pumpkin Soup; Seafood Pasta Puttanesca

Your preferred wedding venue will have a fixed list of kinds of meals that they will serve all throughout the event; all you have to do is choose exactly what dish to serve. I always like starting the meal with something tangy and savory to tease the palate, followed by a mildly sweet meal in the form of soup or salad to clean the palate for the main course. For pasta, I treat this as an option for conscious eaters always so I choose either seafood or vegan pasta.

Top to Bottom: Crusted Fish with Lemon Butter Sauce, Garlic and Rosemary Chicken, Beef with Red Wine Shitake Sauce, Pork with Applesauce (later on changed into Asian Spareribs)
Square plate: Sweet Potato Gratin and Buttered vegetables

For the main course, I balance it out always with rich and mild- tasting viands.

Dessert: Creme Brulee, Brownies, Carrot Cake

For dessert, we had two choices. We went for a classic brownie, carrot cake, and creme brulee, lightly sweet desserts to clean up the palate. We had our complimentary wedding cake served.

TIPS ON CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOOD: 
1. Make sure the overall taste is balanced; one good gauge is to touch on the major tastes: sweet, salty, sour, mild. For spicy, best to reserve it for sauces because not everyone is into spicy food.
2. Always have an option for vegetarian and conscious eaters (e.g. seafood).
3. Always have a mild/balanced- flavored dish so the entire meal won't be too overwhelming

CHOOSING THE RIGHT THEME



For our theme, we wanted a mix of Bohemian and Rustic elements; our overall theme is a mix of flowers and plants (Bohemian) and wood and metal (Rustic).

TIPS ON CHOOSING THE RIGHT THEME: 
1. Align with your partner and agree on a theme; it should please the both of you since this is your union after all.
2. For table display, don't overload it most especially with tall pieces so as to avoid obstruction of the guests' view.
3. As much as possible, keep the pieces in the middle so guests will have space to eat and put their things in.
4. Avoid heavy, draping pieces as these might fall on the guests' plates and worse, head.

My wedding invitation is courtesy of my dear blogger friend, Sophie Uy!

That's all for part 1! For part 2, I'll tell you all about my chosen makeup artist and my wedding gown!

Check out my other wedding blog posts series:

#RANawaywithMartha Wedding Blog 2: I chose the best makeup artist + wedding gown and accessories

#RANawaywithMartha Wedding Blog 3: The Best Wedding Coordinator + Cake Rental for your wedding?

#RANAwayWithMartha Wedding Blog 4: Choosing the right wedding souvenir for guests, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and principal sponsors

#RANawayWithMartha Wedding Blog 5: Quirky elements in our wedding + My DIY Bohemian-Rustic wedding bands box

#RANawayWithMartha Wedding Blog 6: My Chosen Photo and Video Coverage Team + Tips in choosing your photo and video theme + My Wedding SDE and Photos!

#RANAwayWithMartha Wedding Blog 7: 10 Things I realized after my wedding
My directory of wedding suppliers:

WEDDING COORDINATOR:
Day One Project
https://www.facebook.com/project.day1/?ref=br_rs
project.day1@gmail.com
Contact: Angela Ibarle- 0917 886 7441
VIDEO AND PHOTO:
Meg and Jane Studios
https://www.facebook.com/megandjanestudios/
megandjane.inquiry@gmail.com
Contact: Jane Moreno- 0956 589 6568
CAKE:
Caketella Cake Rental
http://facebook.com/CakeRentalPhilippinescaketellaph@gmail.com
Contact: Mac Chan 0908 894 0144
MAKEUP:
Shebby Chic Makeup Artistry
https://www.facebook.com/shebby.liquete
Contact: Shebby Liquete- 0917 673 5887
GOWN:
Raffy Viernes Couture
Contact: Raffy Viernes- 0917 722 7232
SOUVENIRS:
Zen Zest
https://www.facebook.com/ZenZestAsia/
alloccasions.zenzest@gmail.com
Contact: Catherine Ong- 0917 559 9046
LIGHTS AND SOUNDS:
JS Mina
https://www.facebook.com/jsminasoundsystemrental/
VENUE AND CATERING:
Hillcreek Gardens
https://www.facebook.com/hillcreekgardenstagaytay/
FLOWERS AND SET- UP:
Tita Sonya Tagaytay (Manuel Francisco)
https://www.facebook.com/titasonya.tagaytay

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beauty. Fitness. Fashion. Food. Travel. Unicorns. World Peace. Digify Corporation.

32 Lovely Thoughts

  1. Love your wedding theme Ms.M! Bet na bet ko din boho themed wedding. You're wedding is so dreamy. 😍 Will take notes for future references. Mga 5 years from now siguro. Haha. Congratulations po ulit! ❤

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  2. Exactly what I wanted in my wedding too! Yan pala tawag na themed ng wedding! Super intimate tlga and exactly the counts of important people in your life po! Super ganda ng venue!! ��☺️Sana someday, matupad ganyang dream wedding ko! Especially sa taong pinakamamahal ko...Again madam Congratulations po! Waiting pa sa mga pics and videos po ng wedding mo! God Bless you so much Joy and love in life!

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  3. This is amazing! Very helpful yung list about what you like and don't like about the venues. The food looks sumptuous! I wanna devour it from my screeen hahaha! I agree with the tips on choosing the theme. Simplicity truly is key. Oh and did I mention I LOVE THE INVITATIONS! the graphics are so classy and sophisticated. Totally aligned with the garden theme. One of the best ones I've seen so far, truly. Thanks for sharing this! Looking forward to more. :)

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  4. At dahil hindi pa ako kinakasal this blog will be very helpful once my prince arrive.

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  5. I really enjoyed reading your journey in terms of the venue and food tips in preparation for your wedding. This would be helpful to a lot of those who are planning their wedding. Ang galing Ms. Martha, so much effort and love you put on it. Iba din talaga na ikaw mismo marami alam sa ganyan bagay kaya naging mas maayos. Congrats again and Best wishes!!

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  6. Very informative article. I love your wedding Ms. M! "Dream Wedding" πŸ’—πŸ‘Œ sure it will help a lot sa mga nagbabalak mgpasakal este'magpakasal! hehe hindi talaga biro ang ikasal. magarbo man o simple ang kasal mahalaga tunay ang pagmamahalan nyo sa isa't-isa.😍

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  7. This is so helpful po since my fiance and I are planning to wed when he's already back here in PH.

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  8. What a beautiful venue that you've chosen! Thanks for the honest reviews about these venues. At least future couples who are getting married can have choices.Love this post a whole lot!

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  9. I wish I've read this before we got married. Hehe. Really good tips and insights. Thank you Ms Martha! The conditions of Los Arboles were weird and quite demanding for someone who's into a business providing services. When my friends ask me for tips and recos after our wedding, I always tell them to get suppliers that are friendly and easy to deal with to save themselves from lots of headaches, and possibly heartaches later on.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Feel free to share this with your friends. :D

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  10. OMG eto na pinakahihintay ko 😍 Thank you po for the tips, time and effort sa pagshare ng ganito ka-detailed. I'll show this sa pinsan kong magpapakasal next year ❤

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    1. Weee! Hope she learns a lot from the posts. :D

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  11. I like the ideas and tips! It's really informative. Tagaytay is one of the best out of town dream wedding venue. Same as yours Ms. M, I also want a beach wedding.I will take down note this blog for my future wedding (if ever). Thank you so much Ms. M for sharing your wedding planned! 😘😘😘

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  12. Forgot to comment here Ms. Martha :) Haay this is so helpful Ms. Martha :) I super love the package na napili nyo po pero ipon ipon ipon po muna since malayo layo pa po naman :) Gusto ko din po sana ang tagaytay pero I am taking consideration sa family, friends and relatives na malayo sa tagaytay :) Pero still love ko padin po ang tagaytay :)

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    1. The best thing about destination weddings is it's less likely to be crashed by people you've never invited. :p

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  13. Lovely wedding Ms Martha!! Nice place too saw one blogger din dyan yung wedding siguro ang saya ng ambiance dyan :) *craving for banana cake nowwwww*

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  14. The invitation is freaking awesome! I have to earn and keep track of my expenses my dream wedding is Batanes because I want it to be solemn.

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    1. I want that too! But the husband's parents are old na rin so can't do. :p

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  15. Ive saved this for future reference ate hehehehe baka dumating kasi si prince charming at baka ikasal din ako someday. I think sa tatlong venue yung pangatlo talaga ang pinaka magandang choice kasi ang ganda nung place bagay sa theme tapos dami mo pa nakuhang freebies. Also love the food ate hahaha kumikislap ang mata ko habang tinitignan at binabasa ko sila. Anw, congratulations again misis martha! 😊

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Thank you for your comments!