There are a few local wedding blogs here and I did read them from time to time but they only feature very specific kinds of weddings – usually very young and attractive couples choosing countryside rustic outdoor venues with pretty pastel colors or glamorous high-profile celebrity weddings featuring luxury designer labels and it was starting to feel like we couldn’t have a beautiful wedding unless we fit those very specific categories. I spent some time looking online for more original ideas and WWW was one of the first blogs I encountered that really encouraged me to eschew what’s trendy and embrace what feels authentic to us. Seeing so many gorgeous real weddings with different styles really validated the importance of making this day our own and celebrating the unique aspects of our relationship.
Adrian and Ava
I have to say a huge thank you to WWW readers Adrian and Ava for such lovely words about WWW, how special it is to hear that the blog helped them to create their dream wedding day! Adrian and Ava were married on the 8th March 2020 in a Catholic ceremony followed by an industrial vibe reception at Seda Vertis North in the Philippines. Their focus was on incorporating their families and traditions that were important to them both. I just adore all of their wedding day styling; the grey and blue colour palette is so chic and teamed with wood, metal and concrete it works so well. They also added in more romantic touches such as wild natural blooms and flowing fabric to add contrast. Look out for gorgeous stationery, pretty florals and a striking cake too.
Ava looked really amazing in her modern gown complete with pockets, while Adrian donned a 4-piece navy and grey suit, very dapper indeed! I really think you are going to love these spectacular images from The Backyard Studios, thanks so much for sharing them with us guys!
Adrian proposed during a New Year’s out of town trip to the beach. It was the first time we had brought our puppy to the beach so it was a lot of fun for all of us. After dinner, we went for a walk in front of the water and the beach was completely empty. I kind of knew he was going to propose because he had been acting a bit strangely for weeks and I caught a glimpse of the ring box in his pocket before we went for dinner. He had a prepared speech but kind of fumbled it because our puppy kept running around and wrapping his long leash around us! It was so dark that I could barely see anything, I couldn’t even see the ring! It didn’t really matter, he could have proposed with an onion ring and my answer would’ve been the same!
We knew from the beginning that we wanted this wedding to be a family-centric celebration so that meant incorporating traditional Filipino, Chinese, and Catholic practices. We also wanted to make sure that our more modern personalities and preferences shine through. Instead of trying to avoid the contrast between these, we decided to embrace the concept of contrast and make that part of our special day. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of mixing delicate flowers and flowy fabrics with less traditional materials like metal, wood, and concrete as a harmonious balance of textures. Our stylist and florist helped us conceptualize an urban industrial chic concept where we could put together my request to have metal and concrete elements with the more traditionally romantic and feminine details that people associate with weddings. We chose our favorite colors steel blue and gray and balanced them out with soft touches of plum and lavender.
The Planning Process
We were determined to be as hands-on as possible despite our busy work schedules and family responsibilities. We decided to take a project management approach and Adrian created a Gantt chart to make sure we listed down all tasks and completed them according to a defined schedule. A budget sheet and detailed breakdown helped us keep track of all supplier payment deadlines and stay within our set budget. Spreadsheets don’t sound very romantic but they were invaluable in making sure my partner and I were updated on the wedding preparation! Our wedding coordinator was also kind enough to send us reminders and materials that helped us figure out other details we may have missed.
The groomsmen wore black suits that they already owned. We just provided them with ties that matched with the bridesmaids.
Our wedding ceremony was held at Santuario de San Jose (Sanctuary of Saint Joseph). It was built in the 60s and it’s a bright, modern, and cozy church with beautiful stained glass windows that stands inside a private subdivision. We were able to have a solemn Catholic ceremony officiated by a priest who is also a family friend.
We have a lot of older relatives who flew in for the wedding so it was important to have a comfortable place where they can stay and it was definitely an advantage to have them be an elevator ride away from the reception venue. Seda Vertis North Hotel was an obvious choice for our wedding reception because not only does it provide excellent accommodations for our guests, it was also built specifically to be a canvas to showcase modern Filipino artwork and they have a spacious and modern ballroom. They feature a lot of functional art pieces that fit with our urban industrial theme. We drew inspiration from the mesh-like metal sculptures, cool colors, and geometric paintings and photographs throughout the venue.
Your Outfits & Accessories
I wanted to break away from the usual white or light colored sheer flowy bridal robe. This doesn’t really fit my personal style and the theme of our wedding. I also wanted something that I could wear again in the future. I found a dark blue gown from Apartment 8 with puffed sleeves (I’ve always loved puffed sleeves!) and a full structured skirt that twirls nicely. It was very comfortable and I love how the color pops in photos and isn’t too “bridal”.
I knew I wanted a smooth gown with no lace, beads, or any sort of sparkles and the gown absolutely needs to have pockets for my phone and anything else I might want to bring. I was looking for an understated structured architectural gown in a luxurious fabric that fits perfectly – something that suits my minimalist style and won’t feel like a costume when I wear it. Wedding gown trends here in the Philippines lean more towards show-stopping ball gowns or sweeping mermaid gowns with lots of lace, mesh, and crystals straight out of fairy tales but none of them felt natural when I tried them on. I researched online about local couturiers who could execute what I was looking for and fell in love with Tony Evan’s portfolio. The gown he designed for me was so sleek and lightweight but I was going around showing off how much I could fit inside the pockets without ruining the dress silhouette. I’m so happy I chose to stay true to my personal style, I felt beautiful, comfortable, and very much like myself in this modern gown.
Adrian wore a custom made 4-piece navy and gray suit from Arvox Tailoring and they gave him great advice while choosing what kind of fabric was best for what he wanted. That turned out to be useful since our wedding day was unusually warm, even by Philippine standards.
I wanted to look glowy but natural. I didn’t want a makeover or anything that would cause Adrian to wonder if a different woman was walking down the aisle! I found my hair and make up artist through Instagram and I’m very happy that she made me look fresh and well-rested throughout the day without drastically altering my appearance.
Our florist and stylist was so instrumental in making our wedding unique. She asked me if I had any special requests and I only had two: I asked for a bouquet that looks a little bit wild and not too “bridal” and that there should be no pink flowers used anywhere. I loved my bouquet so much that I had the flowers pressed and framed so I can keep it forever.
I have been a bridesmaid enough times so I was very careful not to put my bridesmaids in something they’ll hate. I opted to have them in separates – off-white tops and silk gazar skirts in blue and gunmetal. I let them choose whatever style top they wanted to wear and made sure their skirts also had deep pockets (I’m kind of obsessed haha). I wanted to make sure that they were comfortable and happy with their attire, and I’m really hoping they can reuse the pieces again in the future. I know all brides say that but I really tried my best to make it real!
The Readings & Music
We chose close friends and one of Adrian’s nephews for the readings during our Catholic ceremony. We chose special family members to serve as secondary sponsors to put on our secondary veil, light our unity candle, and put our handmade unity cord on us. Composing playlists for our wedding was something we really took seriously because we wanted to play music that we actually listen to on a regular basis. We both like the band Snow Patrol but we weren’t quite sure how to incorporate their songs into our playlists without raising some eyebrows. Exactly four months before our wedding, Snow Patrol released their Reworked album featuring soft covers of their hit songs and it was an unbelievable stroke of good luck for us! We were able to have our first dance to their Reworked version of Chocolate (one of Adrian’s favorite songs) and play their songs during our reception.
We found our photographer through Instagram. We preferred more candid documentary-style photos over traditional ones so we didn’t have to do a lot of posing. The Backyard Studios did an excellent job of capturing our natural reactions and unscripted moments throughout the day.
Our videographer usually works in tandem with our photographer so their teamwork was seamless on the day of our wedding. They were able to capture some emotional moments as well as lighthearted scenes while we were preparing for and during the ceremony.
The Details & Décor
I got my shoes online from the Blue by Betsey Johnson line. I really wanted to have dark blue shoes as my something blue and the baby blue soles were too cute to pass up. The almond shaped toe with the crystal buckle was stylish without being painful and the two inch block heel was easy to manage so I was comfortable being on my feet almost the whole day.
We went against the norm by choosing something dark and unusual for our wedding invitations. I wanted clean lines and zero flowers on our invitations so we chose gunmetal gray origami covers matched with gray geometric borders on off-white cardstock.
We designed our wedding bands to have baguette cut sapphires and diamonds (for me). We love the deep blue and the mixed modern and vintage feel of the rings.
Adrian chose our cake and I was very pleased with his choice of a minimalist white three layer chocolate cake with modern asymmetrical semi ruffle and blue sugar flowers.
We got married about a week before our cities were put under quarantine due to COVID-19 so we haven’t had the chance to go on our honeymoon. We feel very lucky that we got to celebrate with our friends and family before all this happened.
There’s a common superstition here that it’s bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony because then the wedding won’t push through. We decided to completely ignore that and had breakfast together before getting ready for the day. It really gave us the chance to relax together, feel normal, and eat a lot before we had to face everything that we had to do that day.
At the end of the ceremony where the groom is supposed to lift the veil, Adrian ended up rolling up my veil and accidentally tossing it directly into my face and we all burst out laughing including the priest! I’m so happy our photographer got even those bloopers because we love to laugh at ourselves and these funny moments contributed to the relaxed atmosphere during our ceremony.
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t be afraid to be yourselves and make your wedding your own. Analyze trends and traditions well to make sure you follow the ones that truly represent you. Your wedding day is a celebration of your relationship, try to focus on your partner and your commitment to one another rather than having a Pinterest-worthy party. Strive for authenticity and trust your wedding suppliers!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
The Backyard Studios
Seda Vertis North
Hair & Make Up
Thea Dionisio Make Up
Tony Evan Manila
Getting Ready Dress
Apartment 8 Clothing
Atelier Cassie Montealegre
Flower Girl Dresses
Oh so beautiful.
Adrian and Ava thank you so very much for sharing your stunning Philippines wedding with us, it looked like you had such a special and meaningful day xo Lou