COSMO QUICKIE: This story at a glance!
- Everything you need to know about booking a photographer for your prenup shoot and big day!
- Do you really need a wedding planner?
- Wedding dresses: What are your options?
- Did you know flowers can cost up to P200,000?!
Any woman who’s ever been a bride can tell you how difficult—even impossible—it is to keep costs down when planning a wedding. You go into it thinking, “I’m only going to spend this much.” Some brides do their own research, while others sit down with a wedding planner or coordinator. Either way, the amount she originally thought of before she started crunching the numbers quietly doubles, or even triples, itself.
In an attempt to make the lives of future brides less stressful, we conducted our own research and consulted several professionals in the wedding industry to have a better grasp of how much weddings really cost in the Philippines.
Prenup and wedding shoots
We spoke to Nice Print Photography, the people behind the gorgeous prenuptial photos of Camille Prats, Karel Marquez, and Kaye Abad, about how shoots are arranged. Their prenup shoot is part of the wedding package, which is around P80,000 to P160,000—sometimes higher. If the client doesn’t have a stylist or a set designer, Nice Print Photography usually has references that can help the couple conceptualize their shoot. If, however, the client isn’t interested in hiring that type of service, Nice Print Photography has sample prenup photos for the clients to peruse. When it comes to prenup trends, people are increasingly opting for destination shoots, but rustic-themed and relaxed or personalized prenups are still really popular.
Stylist Bela Vitug dishes about what it’s like to be an engagement stylist, and it’s no walk in the park: “I’m responsible for the overall look of the couple. They tell me what they want, and I have to conceptualize the theme and mood of the entire shoot, look for the perfect location, provide the clothes and accessories as well as potential props, and guide the hairstylist and makeup artist—all while making sure the atmosphere is fun and memorable.” Though Bela offers several packages, her base fee is P5,000.
Black Tie Project is another company that specializes in wedding photography and videography. Their photo and video packages can go as high as P174,000, but that’s including three professional photographers, three professional videographers, an engagement shoot, high resolution images, an SDE (same day edit) video, and much more.
If you’re looking to document your wedding day with just digital copies of your photos, we suggest booking a freelance photographer, like Mark Jesalva. According to Mark, the basic fee for this kind of service is somewhere around P30,000. Most of the time, three photographers show up: one for the bride, one for the groom, and one for candid shots of the crowd.
Some of you may think, “Do I really need a wedding planner?” See, unless you’re Monica Geller, the madness of wedding planning might ruin the experience. Ycoy Sitchon of La Belle Fete Weddings & Events says, “While ALL engaged couples have the ability to plan their weddings, not everyone is familiar with the challenges that arise during the whole wedding planning process. Wedding etiquette is also an important part of the engagement period. Friends and family may offer you advice—often unsolicited. You’ll have thousands of choices to ponder, decisions to make, and questions to ask. When opinions come flying in your direction, knowing the do’s and don’ts, and having an expert handle these tough situations can help alleviate some of the tension.”
In terms of cost, there are no fixed prices. Wedding planners have several packages that provide different services. For example, Gia So of Bride’s Maids & Co. tells us that their packages go for P80,000 upwards, depending on which package the couple picks, the number of quests, and the location of the wedding. La Belle Fete Weddings & Events’ packages cost somewhere between P85,000 to P150,000. Both wedding planners offer full coordination packages; this means they’re there from start to finish. But for couples who’ve already booked most of their suppliers, and just need a little help preparing and finalizing all the details, wedding planners also have partial planning services.
What’s the process actually like? Gia says, “After booking us, we ask for all the details: mood boards, contact information of the entourage, contact information of the suppliers, and guest list (to determine the venue, number of invitations, layout, and budget). After that, we give them a working budget sheet and time table, so we’re all on the same page. When we’ve finalized all the suppliers, we start planning the day itself: bridal and entourage march, songs for the mass and reception, reception program, duties, payment sheets, meal sheets, turnover sheets, and so on.”
Though there are still couples who choose to have a more lush and elegant wedding, both Ycoy and Gia note that modern and contemporary trends are slowly taking over. Couples are all about personalizing their big day. Ycoy adds, “Gone are the days of cookie cutter weddings where you see the same styles and similar programs. Weddings now are more expressive. Brides used to just copy details straight off Pinterest, but now, couples are more concerned about finding ways to reflect who they are in their weddings, bringing in elements that hold special memories.”
Wedding Dress Designers
We reached out to five wedding gown designers—Kristel Yulo, Jazel Sy, Maliche, Patty Ang, and Patricia Santos—to give you an idea of all your options out there. Prices of gowns vary, depending on design, materials, and intricacy. Maite Caballero-Matute of Kristel Yulo prices their couture gowns from P75,000 and up, but they’re also in the middle of launching a retail line that’ll have gowns that start at P30,000. Jazel’s gowns cost around P50,000, while Maliche’s bespoke gowns start at P7,000 and reach around P40,000.
If you’re wondering what makes a wedding dress ~*expensive*~, it’s materials like lace, crystals, satin, and chiffon, as well as the amount of time dedicated to beadwork and embroidery. But there are always ways around that! For instance, Kristel Yulo’s team “recreates the softness of chiffon with more economical fabrics like soft tulle.”
All five designers take their bride’s requests to heart, but they also make sure they serve their clients well by providing options that might suit the bride better. That said, most brides stick to classic, simple, structured looks with modern and romantic twists.
Hair And Makeup Artists
Hairstylists and makeup artists take a lot of things into consideration when coming up with their wedding rates. Makeup artist Martin Alonzo tells us, “You have to consider how simple or lavish the wedding is. How many outfit changes does the bride have? Is it within Metro Manila or out of town? How many heads am I doing that day? My usual price is between P9,500 to P14,000, which includes the hair and makeup of the bride and groom, touch-ups of the photo shoot, and the second look of the bride.”
Kaycee Lim, also a makeup artist, reveals that common packages include the bride plus two heads (usually two moms or a mom and a sister), and it can go as low as P15,000 and as high as P50,000. The P50,000 packages are the prices of celebrity makeup artists like Albert Kurniawan and Mickey See. Kaycee adds, “In our market, bridal trends are based on the looks of local celebrities like Heart Evangelista and Kathryn Bernardo.” Both makeup artists stay away from heavy contouring that’s reminiscent of the quintessential Kardashian look. Martin focuses on a soft, glowing, feminine look; he’s all about healthy-looking lips, soft contour, natural-looking eyebrows, and layered eyelashes. And Kaycee believes that simply enhancing your best features will never go out of style.
The two offer trial sessions for both hair and makeup months before the big day; it’s ideal to have it done three to six months before the wedding, and the rate for that varies from P2,500 to P10,000.
Louise Pimping of Printsonalities says the prices of set invitations depend “on the quantity, printing process used, paper type, size, inclusions, number of colors, and type of invite.” To give you an idea, their classic invite starts at P140 for a minimum quantity of 100 sets, which includes two big cards and a small card with a plain envelope. Printsonalities’ clients still prefer classic invites and hand calligraphy. For the printing process used, people typically go for letterpress and foil stamping.
Food (+ Wedding Cake)
Food, especially for Filipinos, is one of the most important parts of a celebration. When booking a caterer for your wedding, you have to also consider factors like equipment usage, delivery charge, payment for wedding amenities, staff service fees, crew meals, and other unforeseen charges. To give you an idea, Queensland Catering + Events offers several wedding packages that go from P365/pax to P775/pax. Each package includes table and chair setup (for VIP and regular guests), buffet setup, a gazebo or backdrop for the couple, a red carpet, and more. Obviously, prices are different for each catering service, so you have some room to save and splurge when it comes to food.
And who can forget about dessert? Cynfully Sweets specializes in couture wedding cakes, and they are TDF. The prices for Cynfully Sweets’ delicious masterpieces are: P10,000 to P18,000 for a two-tiered cake, P18,000 to P25,000 for three tiers, P25,000 to P30,000 for four tiers, and P30,000 to P40,000 for more than five tiers. Some cake trends involve designs that are rustic, or clean and classic; and elements like watercolor, geodes, geometric shapes, and gold leaf. If you’re not a cake person, they also make cupcakes, chocolate truffles, and cakelettes!
For a list of budget-friendly catering services, click here.
When it comes to breath-taking floral arrangements, all you need is Amante Fleurs. They offer local, hybrid, and imported flowers. They can do receptions, ceiling designs, bridal bouquets, entourage bouquets, and church or ceremony setups. Their ceremony setup packages start at P15,000 and go up until P25,000, while their reception packages go from P40,000 to P200,000, and comes with a registration area flower arrangement. Amante Fleurs also has an out-of-town charge of P7,500 and up.
You can either hire a DJ or a live band. DJ Marco Arcilla advises, “For weddings, DJ rates are around P4,000 to P8,000.” The DJ asks for specific song lists: entrance songs, program songs, reception songs. Marco asks for these lists weeks in advance so he can find ways to get songs if the couple doesn’t provide a media database. If the wedding is out of town, his rates go from P6,000 to P10,000, taking the venue into consideration. If the couple wants the DJ to edit some songs—like a medley for a dance number—that’s an additional charge.
If you’re more interested in hiring a live band, you can usually find them in forums and other online communities. Totally Mesmerized’s packages vary from a solo vocalist to a big band complete with a brass section: “The common preference of couples is the quintet package, which is composed of one male and one female vocalist along with a keyboardist, guitarist, and a percussionist who plays the kahon.” Rates for live bands are somewhere between P9,000 to P20,000. These are some songs that are commonly requested: “A Thousand Years, ” “Forevermore,” “How Long Will I Love You,” “You And Me,” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”
Speed 7 Events supplies lights, sounds, a full LED wall, staging services, truss tenting, LCD projection systems, and more. Elaine Estrada, our contact at Speed 7 Events, says that this year, couples were more willing to play with lights. They also leaned towards crystal bead designs and draperies. The entire package costs P50,000.
Good luck! :)
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