How To Plan a Destination Wedding in the Philippines | Local News
With all the wedding proposals from the past holiday season and Valentine’s Day, many couples are planning their big day.
For couples who have a lot of family members in the Philippines and want to share their special day with them, a destination wedding can be an attractive option.
For those without family there, the country is close enough to Guam to be cheaper than traveling to the mainland or Europe, but still creates an exotic and unique experience if you want to get married outside of it. ‘Isle.
Guam resident Boots Lambrecht celebrated her fairytale wedding in the Philippines with her husband in the summer of 2013. They celebrated with her family in Antipolo, the city of Rizal province, where she grew up.
Planning a destination wedding can be overwhelming and you might not know where to start. Lambrecht gives us a glimpse of his own experience in planning his wedding abroad.
Hire a planner
After all the hectic planning of the wedding, Lambrecht’s biggest advantage was hiring an event planner.
âI’ve been to the Philippines about four times in an eight-month planning period, from the time I got engaged until the wedding date,â she says. âIf you are working full time and have to travel to the Philippines, it would really help if you had a good wedding coordinator.â
Planning an off-island wedding has a lot of moving parts to take care of, so getting help will make your life a lot easier, if you can afford it. Lambrecht says she regrets not hiring a better planner and recommends that couples shop around a bit to find someone who can take the strain off your shoulders, especially if you can’t make the round trip often. You will have to find someone you can rely on since you cannot be there yourself.
âThere is a food tasting with the caterers, and my wedding dress was also made there. So I had my measurements taken there, researched the location, taken care of the documents – it took about four trips to the Philippines for all the planning. â
Lambrecht says you should expect to make at least two trips to the country so you can check it all out for yourself.
When planning your wedding, the first decision you need to make is the theme and the venue.
âYou have to decide what type of wedding you prefer – a beach wedding, a garden wedding, Catholic or what religion you are, because there are certain requirements for a Catholic ceremony,â says Lambrecht.
The Lambrechts being both US citizens, the Catholic Church in the Philippines asked them to obtain a document from the US Embassy stating that they were not married at the time. They had to make an appointment with the embassy, ââand there was no appointment available before the wedding date.
âWe first had a small civil wedding in Guam near the beach, to get around the requirements,â she says.
Everyone’s budget will vary depending on how lavish or simple their wedding is, but for 150 guests, Lambrecht’s wedding costs between $ 25,000 and $ 35,000. She says the wedding industry is big in the Philippines so it’s relatively expensive because the vendors charge quite a bit.
The budget will include your ceremony and reception venues, food vendors, clothing for the couple and the bridal party, and air travel between Guam and the Philippines for planning.
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If you’re looking for one of the more popular wedding venues, be sure to book it well in advance. Lambrecht recommends booking high-demand venues a year in advance, for places like Tagaytay.
The Lambrecht have chosen the Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Antipolo.
Depending on the time of year, you may want to plan ahead for weather factors that might be hindering your big day.
Lambrecht says July is a rainy season, so she and her husband have rented tents for their outdoor reception in Domaine La Huerta. They also had fans to keep the guests cool and lemongrass in case of mosquitoes.
With many family members arriving from Guam or the Philippines, it is more cost effective to rent a house, large Airbnb, or group of rooms rather than each family booking their own hotel room.
âThe hotels are quite remote if you are staying outside of Manila, so it’s more convenient for people traveling without a car to stay closer to the church and the reception area,â Lambrecht explains.
The Lambrechts family also hired a van to facilitate transportation between the venue and the guesthouse. The White where they stayed.
Once you’ve prepared the venue, check with management or the organizers what type of caterers they can work with.
âAsk the event space coordinators what kind of vendors they allow,â says Lambrecht. “They may already have partnerships with different caterers, and you can do your own research and ask for recommendations from other people you know.”
Once you’ve narrowed down the caterers to the last contenders, you can do some taste testing to make your final decision.
Figuring out who to invite to your special and possibly expensive day is a tricky process. You will of course want the important people to come, but how do you invite people in without hurting and excluding others along the way?
Lambrecht planned to have around 150 guests, but invited around 200.
âWe were sure some people weren’t coming, so we got courtesy invitations so they wouldn’t be offended,â she says.
Set your target guest count first, then make room for people you don’t necessarily need there, but need to invite out of obligation. Send out your invitations and count the RSVPs and see how many attendees you should expect.
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Honeymoon and gifts
If you are planning to leave for your honeymoon from the wedding venue, be sure to make arrangements to take the gifts home. You can have your gifts, clothing and other souvenirs reshipped to Guam, or make sure you have room in your luggage to bring them on your return trip.
The Lambrechts wrote on their invitations: âSince we like to travel light, your presence is the best gift, or anything that fits in an envelope.
Giving monetary gifts is a custom in the Chamorro and Filipino cultures, so it’s a convenient way to pay for some of your wedding expenses and avoid the hassle of carrying the gifts home. This way you will lose a little more stress and have more time to focus on your honeymoon.
This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: How to Plan a Destination Wedding in the Philippines