Last week, hubby and I turned half a year! It has been 6 months of married bliss. :) Who would’ve thought that this time, last year, I was burying my head from tons of wedding tasks and decisions? The last time I blogged about my wedding suppliers’ review was back in March and I have completely forgotten that the last part was still pending, lol! So yep, here goes the third and final installment of my wedding suppliers’ review! For a quick recap, you may check Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
Host: Richard Agtarap
Our wedding reception wasn’t meant to be fancy or a full-blown party. We were aiming for a simple program. We’re an extremely shy couple and even if surrounded with family and friends, we cringe at the idea of everyone’s eyes glued on us. But of course, we don’t want a reception that bores our guests so we tried to seek the best emcee that balances our personality.
A bad emcee can ruin the entire reception so we’re really keen about getting the best our budget can afford. We tried getting in touch with ones that are best known in this field but *surprise, surprise* our budget always fall short. We were surprised to know that emcees charge that much!
A little more research and we discovered Richard Agtarap. He has remarkably good reviews and recommendations. But what made us sign him up was his videos available online. Not all wedding hosts have a portfolio for you to check so it’s a risk to book them. We liked Richard’s style and enthusiasm – he can adapt easily to the audience. We loved him!
Overall rating: 9.5/10
- First impression – When we received Richard’s reply from our inquiry, we were shocked (in a good way!) at how detailed and organized he is! He probably has the longest response from all the wedding suppliers we’ve inquired with. It was a very nice start. We met with Richard and our coordinator months before the wedding day to plot our moves on the reception. He knows how to work with shy couples like us and didn’t ask us to do things we do not want to (believe me, there are some people who are pushy).
- Cost – I don’t know how to say it better but Richard has such generous heart. He gave us a good (read: discounted!) rate without even asking. That and the inclusions on his services is amazing – unlimited consultations, reception coordination (if the couple didn’t hire a coordinator) and free song numbers (lol, lahat na ginawa nya!). It’s a very good deal that’s very difficult to resist!
- Program and hosting style – Almost all guests stayed until the end of the reception, which just proves how effective of a host Richard is. He rendered a song number that was well-received and he hosted some fun games (yes these were not cringe-worthy ones!) that guests of all ages enjoyed. Our families commended how he carried the reception – this proved that we made a wise decision of taking Richard onboard.
Stylist/Florist: Michael Ruiz
The original plan was to DIY as much as we can to keep the budget to a minimum. But it turns out, DIY-ing from here where materials are limited and expensive isn’t a good idea. Plus, shipping the items to Manila will incur a lot of headache. So we scrape off the DIY idea, save for some elements that we really wanted to personalize, hired a stylist and voila, no more problems!
Overall rating: 9.5/10
- Dubai Philippine Bridal Fair – We met Mike during the Philippine Bridal Fair in Dubai held May last year. He’s friendly, easy to talk to and not pushy that we book him on the spot. He suggested that we meet and discuss and from there, we decide whether to get him or not. We hit it right at the very beginning!
- Cost-effective – Getting a stylist is no-joke when talking about cost. Our budget was blown when we hired Mike. But thinking about the amount we had to pay for the florist (without styling), the add-ons and the stress (cost and effort of DIY items and shipping), it will all equate, if not more, on that same amount. Plus, since we hired Mike during the fair’s week, we received a generous discount from him. Win, win, win!
- Service – Mike and his team are on-off when it comes to responding to mails. Sometimes, he’s also difficult to reach by phone, though he answers quite promptly in Whatsapp. It’s always best to set a meet-up with him. He’s very organized and can answer all your questions on the spot.
- Style – Mike and I were on the same boat from the start. We liked each others’ styles that every time I talk to him, I always feel confident and excited about the wedding. Come big day, to say that we were overwhelmed is an understatement. Mike did wonders on the overall look of the venues and he gave more than what was asked of him. I love everyone’s bouquets and bouts! The little girls’ floral crowns are really gorgeous, too! He exceeded expectations and it was indeed a job wonderfully done!
Photobooth: Photobooth by DJ Coki
Setting up a photo booth is a fun and effective way to entertain guests during the cocktail hour. We don’t have any specifics for a photo booth supplier, save for the layout that we wish we could personalize. We found a couple of suppliers online – both expensive and not, and we wonder what makes one that ridiculously pricey. After a couple of weeks researching, we discovered Photobooth by DJ Coki. There weren’t any reviews available but what the heck, as long as they perform and affordable, take our money, please.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
- Affordable – Photobooth by DJ Coki is in the middle range when it comes to price. We chose the Photostrip package that comes with a 2-hour unlimited photo shooting and printing. This supplier is based in Quezon City so for Tagaytay weddings, they charge an extra 2,500 PhP.
- Prints – The Photostrip produces photos in lengthwise strips. They look cute when seen from afar but a closer look will reveal that the strips weren’t printed properly.
- Service – Photobooth by DJ Coki handed over a USB stick that contains all high-res images and laid-out strips before leaving the venue. Unfortunately, all files got corrupted so we sent them a mail right away. They promised to send us everything (via WeTransfer) the following day but it wasn’t until three weeks and a series of follow-ups until we received the files.
Favours (Printer): Mustang Advertising
The husband and I are not fans of wedding favours that will just collect dust in shelves. We wanted to give our guests something personalized and useful. So we came up with the idea of handing out canvas bags. I quickly doodled something and had it printed.
All was sorted except for who’s going to print it. We searched for bag printers in Dubai and Manila. The ones in Manila are way cheaper but it will take them 3 weeks at the minimum to finish. We didn’t have that enough time to wait (and hope that they’d deliver on time) so we decided to have the bags printed here in Dubai. It took Mustang Advertising 4-5 days (!!!) to do the job.
Overall rating: 8.5/10
- Cost – We had 125 canvas bags priced at 10AED per piece. Not bad, although tad pricey compared to Manila suppliers that charge as cheap as 7AED.
- Quality of work – When we picked up the bags, we inspected the first few ones on top and found them to be of good quality. However, when we reached Manila, we noticed that some of the prints were not centered. It wasn’t that bad but we hope they exercised quality control.
Invitation Printer: Global Invitations
The initial plan was to DIY as much as we can, including our wedding invitations. But as you can see, the DIY thing was the most unsuccessful part of this wedding – we ended up paying someone to do the job because DIYs don’t always equate to saving. As for the invitations, we had thought of coming up with a design/layout and have it printed at home. But alas, we scoured every stationery shop we know in Dubai and didn’t find the best card stock to print our invites on! We had no choice but to outsource the printing.
Invitation printers in Dubai charge so ridiculously. If you wanted to have something embossed or gold-foiled, it will come with a hefty price tag, per card. Change of plans – we considered having the invitations printed in Manila. We had a range of choices for suppliers that are either expensive, have bad reviews or have a minimum number of invites (if you have 100 guests, you don’t need 100 invitations – 50 cards at the very most), which made the search even more difficult. To make things easier, we enlisted the help of our on-the-day coordinator for a recommendation – Global Invitations.
Overall rating: 6.5/10
- Cost – Global Invitations’ packages are affordable. A set (4 cards with complimentary foil stamping and dry emboss on flap of the envelope) was quoted at 115PhP. In Dubai, that amount can only give you one card without any stamp whatsoever.
- Quality of work – We are not very happy at how the invites turned out. Despite giving clear instructions (we even prepared illustrations for them), the quality of the prints were not good. The rounded edges and foil stamping were not perfect. The card stock used was not 300gsm and they’re warping on the edges. The laminated layer on top were peeling on the sides. The envelopes were of poor quality. They seemed to be made of normal bond paper, folded, cut and glued crookedly. Some of the paper used were even wrinkled. The embossing was a mess! We demanded to have the envelopes changed, with no charge of course. They had it replaced with good ones but still, not the topnotch quality we’re expecting.
- Coordination – It was easy to communicate with Che and she answers emails quite promptly, until we complained about the quality of their output. Our coordinator helped us settle the pending job at the end.
Cake: Sweet Solutions
A two-tiered wedding cake (one tier edible, the rest is styro x_x) is already included in Tagaytay Highlands’ wedding package so it kinda sorted out the cake supplier problem in the beginning. It was only three months before the wedding day that we got in touch with them to discuss the cake design and flavor.
We opted for a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting without nuts and prunes. The design we had in mind is simple – either a white cake with subtle texture or one with watercolor wash (to match our invitation), and then styled with a few flowers.
Overall rating: 8.5/10
- Cost – Despite the cake being included in the package, we were asked to pay extra 2500 PhP because apparently, our chosen cake design is an upgraded version of what they usually offer. We just paid the amount and didn’t ask any questions just to get on with it.
- Look – Sweet Solutions made the cake exactly as what was on our peg. We couldn’t be any happier! The flowers look real and the watercolor effect was on point.
- Taste – Well, I think this one was where Sweet Solutions fell short. We’ve had far better carrot cakes before. The cake also seemed to crumble and the frosting falls off when cut.
Yep, so that was it! I hope this series of reviews help you decide which suppliers to book! Happy planning! :)