Happy New Year everyone!
I’m a true W@Wie so I just had to make a supplier’s review for my mom’s 65th birthday celebration. After all, I was the one who mostly talked with the suppliers and coordinated the event.
I won’t be rating each of them but instead simply narrate our experience with them. Here’s to hoping that this post will help other people in planning their events whether it be a birthday celebration like ours or a wedding.
Venue and Caterer: Bali Garden
Recommended! (specially for those on a budget like us…)
Bali Garden is a nice event place at Longos, Cavite. “Cavite” might sound a little too far for some people but the place is actually located near the Alabang-Zapote Road and is very accessible. Not that far of a travel at all for people living in the South.
As with the name itself, the place is Bali-inspired so you’ll see a lot of Balinese decorations inside. They have two auditoriums, one is non-airconditioned and the other is an airconditioned one. We went with the airconditioned one since it’s completely covered and we were afraid that it will rain. They also have an in-house caterer but I believe you could rent the place as a venue only and bring in your own caterer. I’m just not sure how much that costs.
Their packages are very affordable and pretty much already complete. We got the Birthday Sovereign Package for 130 people. This included the venue, the food, a 1-layered cake, 50 cupcakes and basic lights and sound. We were charged 2,000.00 for overall electric consumption (this is fixed no matter how many photobooths we bring in or if we even get our own lights and sounds supplier so we thought it was a pretty good deal). They are very flexible with their packages so don’t hesitate to ask if there’s something that you might want to replace with something else.
The AEs are very easy to talk to. I just had some problems whenever I requested for something to be sent via email (like the map and table layout). I don’t know why but I had to follow up the map a couple of times which I really needed to use for the layout of the invitations and I never received the table layout. They can also give you suggestions when you’re not sure about something and I don’t think we ever had problems with them.
The food was good though may not be at par with other caterers around but I think our guests were able to enjoy the food. It was more than enough for everyone including our suppliers.
The cake and cupcakes included in the package were very moist. The cake was really small though and even had styrofoam at the bottom. I also didn’t like the candles that they used. It kinda look very tacky (very Goldilocks-y). I tried to look for nicer ones and the ones at Tous Les Jours would’ve been nice if they weren’t too small so we had no choice but to use the ones that they provided.
The basic lights and sounds are also good enough for our celebration. They have someone in charge manning both lights and sounds so there’s really nothing to worry about.
During detailing, we were asked if we wanted seat covers. Since they were using Tiffany Chairs (which I thought was already nice to look at) and we thought about going simple, we said no. I noticed on the day, however, that the tiffany chairs don’t look so nice anymore. Some of the cushions have stains or are a bit dirty. Another thing I noticed (coz it was hard to ignore) is that our table (#1) was rocking back and forth.
They have some really nice table setups that we saw on their Facebook page as well. We opted for a black table cloth and damask table runner. I wanted to achieve the below look wherein the yellow just completely pops out from the setup but they don’t have a black vase so we asked to just use a clear vase and fill it with black water and the flowers should be 100% yellow but for some reason, that wasn’t followed. As you can see from the photos below, the water was yellow and the flowers used is a variety of colours. It still looked nice though so I let it slip and didn’t ask questions about it anymore but it did kinda irked me a bit.
Bali Garden’s setup
OTD Coordinator and Emcee: Kiss the Girl Events
When my mom asked me to help plan this event, I was actually thinking of doing pretty much everything including the on-the-day coordination. I just needed to get people to
boss around assist me and of course, my hubby would be #1 on the list. However, I later learned that I was pregnant and by the time August comes in, I would be on my 8th month and it would be pretty hard to move around. Hence, we decided to get an On-The-Day Coordinator.
I was hoping to get Darlene as our emcee for the event but she was no longer available. When I asked N@W for suggestions for coordinators and emcees at the South area (to avoid the dreaded OOT fees), Darlene recommended Cece’s team.
I think the rates for OTD for birthdays and weddings are the same. I was thinking that birthdays would have a lower rate since it’s not as tedious as an actual wedding. The package includes unlimited consultation with them via email and two meetings before the event. We didn’t really get to maximize the consultation thing since we were the ones who sourced out our suppliers. We asked Cece for recommendations on some of the suppliers but she was only able to recommend a photographer. We just got her opinions regarding some things like decorations, etc. which was also helpful.
Our initial meeting was more of just getting to know each other and Cece learning what else we needed. My mom voiced out her want of a “debut-type” of celebration like having candles and roses but her being already 65, we can’t possibly do 65 roses and 65 candles. That would take the whole night. Hehe. Cece suggested that we just do it by decades, so 6.5 decades or 6.5 people. The “.5” was supposed to be represented by kids but we don’t have kids on our side of the family yet so we ended up with an all-adult set of roses and candles. I just thought, well, my brother and I can represent that “.5” since we’ll always be her “babies”. Naks!
For our second meeting, she brought our emcee-to-be, Arbee. We were able to finalize everything including the programme and they asked us to provide some information they needed for the big day like the supplier’s list and contact numbers.
We were using paper airplanes for the escort cards and my mom wanted to be able to use these paper planes somehow as a game so it wasn’t going to be totally useless but we couldn’t think of any. It was Arbee who suggested for guests to use the planes as props in the photobooth and whoever uses them best would win a prize. My mom liked the idea and we did get a couple of entries from the guests on the day. They were the ones who picked the winners so there was definitely no bias here.
Another thing they suggested is to give a prize to the best guestbook message so that guests would be more inspired to use the postcards and leave my mom a message. The coordinators were also the ones who chose the winner and I gotta say that they picked the right one. My cousin, Bon’s message was very heart-warming. I wish I had a photo of it to show you.
On the day of the event, their team arrived at the hotel around 2:30PM. They organized everything while my mom and I were being made up. Their team left at around 4:30PM so they could start preparing the place. When we arrived at the venue, the guests were already starting to arrive and the registration table has already been set up. I didn’t have to do much during the whole event anymore. I left everything to them and they would just occasionally ask us if there’s something they’re unsure of. They were able to make sure that everyone has been fed and that the whole party went without a hitch. By the end of the evening, everything has been packed up and Cece turned over everything to me: list of items that were returned or lost, list of guests who attended and number of gifts received.
It was a breeze working with them and I would not hesitate to get them again for similar celebrations… Not that there’s anything lined up any time soon.
Photographer/Videographer: Rene Gaviola
If you’ve browsed through this site, you’ll know that this isn’t the first time we’ve worked with Rene. He was our first prenup photographer, our wedding backup photographer (if I met him earlier, I would’ve booked him as our main) and our first postnup photographer as well. I’m a big fan of Rene’s work and I believe he is one of the best photographers I have had the good fortune to work with. He’s super nice and easy to get along with as well.
When my mom asked me to organize the event for her, I told her that I’ll take care of the photographer and it would be my gift to her. Her first words were, “Si Rene ba yan?” Of all the photographers we’ve worked with, somehow she remembered Rene. Hehe. I sent Rene an email and inquired with him. We got his photo and video services and I’m glad that we did.
Rene has a way of making people feel at ease and I think my mom enjoyed getting her photos taken. I think they pretty much covered everything that happened during the event. For the video, his colleague (Leo) made an MTV-style video to show what happened during the event. Rene sent me the link and asked me to check it and let him know if there’s anything I wanted to have changed. Check out the video here: http://vimeo.com/103050310
He sent me the photos and edited video via courier so we can check the output even though I haven’t event paid our balance yet. The photos (as expected) came out great.
HMUA: Monique Cruz
We booked Monique via the last wedding fair that we attended. My mom and I didn’t really have much preference with make up so we didn’t really dwell about it much. We met Monique at her booth and felt at ease with her which I guess is the most important. She even asked my mom if she would like to have a trial makeup right then and there but since we didn’t have much time for it, my mom had to decline.
Her call time was 1PM but I think she arrived before 12:30PM. She was very professional and always asked us what we wanted for our hair and make up. We mostly let her make the decisions for us and just trusted in her skills.
Photobooth: CLIP Photobooth (by Contact Live Photography)
CLIP Photobooth had a variety of products to choose from. They have flipbooks, mugs, bag tags, the usual photobooth printout and magnetic prints. We got them via a wedding fair as well and my mom initially booked their 2.5 x 6 magnetic card and another 2.5 x 6 printout with a space for guests to write their messages on. We get to keep the printout. My mom eventually changed her mind and got the 5×6 magnetic prints instead. That left us with no “guestbook” though so we had to think of a way to get around it and ended up with the postcards. 🙂
I think it was early June when I received an email from them about what they needed from us to produce the photobooth layout. I gave them the artwork guidelines but I got disappointed because what I advised that we wanted for the layout was not followed. All of the choices that they sent us did not make our requirements so to make things a bit easier, I went ahead and looked for sample layouts from their FB page where I saw two layouts that we liked. I replied to them re-iterating what we wanted and advised them that they can just use/copy the sample layouts we saw and just change the details. That one worked and we approved the layouts.
On the day of the event, the photobooth guys got lost and I got a call asking for directions. Not sure what happened there but when we booked them, they told us that they have been to Bali Garden before so I didn’t think they would get lost. Thankfully, they found their way. When we got to the venue, the photobooth has just been opened and the hubby and I were among the first few who got to try.
The guy in charge went to me to advise me that there was only 30 minutes left. There was still a line and my mom wanted to get some photobooth pics so we went to the photobooth for our turn but we were told that they would give 30 minutes for the guests and another 10 minutes just for us. We didn’t really get to maximize that time anymore but we were glad that they alotted us our own time to be able to use the photobooth instead of us having to take some of the time from the guests.
We got the photobooth DVD right away so I got to post the pictures on Facebook the next day for everyone to tag themselves. Overall, we were very satisfied with their service and wouldn’t hesitate to book them again.
Invitations: Global Invitations
Another supplier booked via a wedding fair. After booking the venue, my mom was set on having a passport-type invitation which started the whole travel theme in motion. There were a lot of invitation suppliers around the fairs with passport-type available but my mom really liked the quality of the samples from Global Invitations so we booked them. Not to mention, the price was very reasonable.
My mom knew exactly how she wanted it to look so when we sent them what we wanted, everything has already been provided to them (including the words they would use) and they just needed to execute it. We still needed a couple of revisions though but everything was sorted out in the end. We went to their office for the mock up invitation and confirm everything in detail and we were able to pick up the invitations on time.
I got some compliments because of the invitations so I guess people really liked it.
Souvenirs: Wedding Library (Mall of Asia)
My mom wanted an additional souvenir aside from the photobooth that we already booked so we tried to look for something that would suit our travel theme party. The hubby and I were in MOA one day when I decided to check out the Wedding Library to look for potential souvenirs. We saw some souvenirs that had airplanes on them and thought it would be a good way to incorporate the travel theme so I told my mom and she ended up booking them for a pen holder with an airplane decor.
It was an easy transaction and they were able to expedite the delivery of the souvenirs as requested by my mom. I just didn’t like the packaging of it very much… It was just in a plain plastic with yellow ribbon. My mom repackaged it using yellow Japanese paper and a black ribbon to stick with her motif.
Flowers: Jayzell Flowershop (Dangwa)
After one of our fittings with Elizabeth Saddi, we mentioned that we were going to Dangwa to look for flowers (65 roses for the 6.5 decades). Elizabeth recommended someone she knows at Dangwa to us and gave us the contact details. When we arrived, we got bombarded by offers left and right to check out their shops. One guy helped us find the shop we were looking for but Elizabeth’s contact was not there. When we exited the shop, the guy who helped us look for the shop asked us to check out his shop and maybe he can give us a better offer. He was a good salesman, I’ll give you that. We booked them for 65 yellow roses that will be made into 7 bouquets. 6 bouquets with 10 yellow roses each and 1 bouquet with 5 yellow roses. He even showed us a sample bouquet that they just made which looked nice. He promised that it will be fresh and quoted as 1,200.00PHP for it.
When we asked about delivery, he said that they could deliver to the hotel. We told him we’ll pay 200.00 for the delivery but he insisted on 300.00. We just gave in and agreed so that’s a total of 1,500.00. My mom was hesitant to pay them in full but the guy insisted to get paid in full so we wouldn’t have to worry about balances on the day (or so he says). So we went ahead and paid him the full amount and went on our way.
Before the event, my mom gave them our room number at the hotel and reminded them of the delivery. They replied and we asked them to be there around 12 noon. The delivery guy told us that he was there around 11AM (I think it was more of 11:30AM though coz we left our room to get some lunch around that time so we didn’t know that the front desk was calling us). My mom left her phone at home and couldn’t get in touch with them so the hubby and I went back to our room which was being cleaned by housekeeping and she told us that the front desk has called twice about the flowers. We immediately went to the lobby and was directed to go outside where we saw the delivery guy. I was immediately disappointed with the way it looked. The flowers weren’t fresh anymore and it looked like they were leftover flowers from somewhere. The bouquet itself wasn’t so nice either. PLUS, they made a mistake with the 7th bouquet. It was supposed to have 5 yellow roses only but they made everything with 10. Grrrr.
When we received the flowers, the delivery guy had the gall to ask us for lunch money (seriously?!). We didn’t have any money with us at the time (since we were just supposed to get something from the room when we found out that he has arrived) so the hubby had to run back to our room for money. We handed him a hundred bucks and he left. I sent a text message to the flower shop to advise them of their mistake about the bouquet that was supposed to have only 5 yellow roses but I didn’t get any acknowledgement about their mistake.
We are definitely NOT going to book them again for any of our future events.
Don’t let the below photo fool you. We just had good photographers.
Gowns: Elizabeth Saddi
I’ve seen Elizabeth Saddi’s name in different wedding fairs before and even in magazines. For some reason, her name also stuck with my mom. Apparently, her place is on the same street as a relative of ours so she was familiar with the place.
I knew that her quote would be way beyond my mom’s budget. When she was quoted 7,000 for the gown she was already saying that it was too expensive so it completely surprised me when my mom booked Elizabeth. I guess she got charmed. Elizabeth told her the magic word… “sexy”. 😀 She told my mom she could make her look sexy. Hehe.
She sketched a gown based on my mom’s peg and she liked it. I didn’t want to book a separate designer anymore so I went ahead and got her for my gown as well. My mom also ended up getting a bag from her to match her gown.
We love the output. I just wish it was a few thousand cheaper. Hehe. My mom’s gown was so her and you can really tell that she was the queen of the night. 🙂 I love the way my gown fit me as well and I think I would still be able to use it in the future when I’m no longer pregnant.
Inspiration of my gown.
Final product. I kinda wish we stuck with the black belt instead of this glittery one. And the brooch (which was worth 500php) that was used was very sparkly so it’s kinda hard to see it with all the glitter of the belt.
Hotel Preps: MIDAS Hotel and Casino
Recommended (more or less).
We decided to go for MIDAS Hotel because it’s near our house and Coastal Road. We got the Deluxe Room with 1 bedroom for two nights and booked it via Agoda (it was WAY cheaper). These are my feedback:
– They don’t allow taking photos in the lobby. Boo! The lobby was really nice though…
– Slow service. We asked for a tissue and a bucket of ice. We had to follow up 3-4 times before it finally arrived.
– There was so much noise coming somewhere near our room. At first it was a loud clanging sound. After I called the front desk about it, it stopped eventually. As we were preparing with the coordinators, there was a loud drilling sound next. It was so loud that when I called the front desk, the person who answered could also hear it. It eventually stopped but I got really annoyed with it.
– Deliveries will have to be dealt with outside the hotel.
– The room was nice and spacious but the 1 bedroom suite we got at Crowne (for our wedding) was way bigger.
– Food was really good.
– After getting the flowers from the delivery guy, we met Monique (HMUA) at the lobby. As we used the elevator, for some reason, my key card won’t work. So we went to the 2nd floor where my family was eating and I asked my mom for her key card. When I tried it though, it was also not working so we had to go back to the Ground floor and I went to the lobby to inform the receptionist that they key card wasn’t working. She took my card, did something, apologized and handed it back to me. When I got back to the elevator though, it was still not working. I was getting frustrated as I was running out of breath (try to run around a hotel with a big, pregnant belly). So I went back to the reception desk (girl I talked to was different though) and told her of my predicament and how I was getting annoyed ‘coz they were getting me tired and I’m 8 months pregnant. She did something with the card again, and got a bellboy to take me to the elevator and make sure that everything is working. Finally, it worked!
Candy Buffet: Minka’s Sweet Tooth
We saw them in a fair but we didn’t book them there. My mom and I really liked the ferris wheel with cupcakes (skyride as they call it) and thought it would be a nice addition for the event.
The only bad experience we had with them was when we set a meeting with them at Robinson’s Ermita (her request because she has an event near the mall) and we got stood up. I got really upset and told her off about it. She apologized profusely so we just let it go and my mom still decided to book her.
During our meeting (where she finally showed up), she was able to answer all our questions and even provided us with suggestions. They were also able to incorporate the travel theme in the candy buffet setup and the guests seemed to enjoy their candies. Most of the candies were the gummy-type or marshmallows though. Nothing fancy.
And I think that’s it! All our suppliers for my mom’s 65th birthday. It was definitely much easier to plan than a wedding. Click here for my previous post about the details of the party.
I can’t wait for the next family event that I can help plan in the future… Our baby, CJ’s, first birthday perhaps? Maybe I should start planning that. 😛