Bright, beautiful blooms –bad weather be damned
For the people and flowers’ sake, ditch the lunch reception, unless it’s indoorsBy Alex Y. Vergara
Philippine Daily Inquirer
As the weather gets more unpredictable these days, it has become harder for event stylists like Jing Tañada to do outdoor receptions. Rains are just one of her problems. Flowers also tend to wilt if it’s too hot and sunny.
“Timing is important,” says Tañada of Palamuti. “Apart from the rains, my biggest concerns would be the sun and wind. Since most outdoor receptions start in the early evening, my team and I start preparing the flowers by 3 p.m.”
Once everything is in place, she and her team need about 45 minutes to set everything in order and make final arrangements. This happens quite often, especially during evening events held in hotel ballrooms.
“Even if we want to, we can’t set up early when another party has booked the venue in the afternoon,” she explains. “We have to wait until their time is up. In the meantime, we prearrange everything and put them in a holding room in the hotel.”
In her 16 years as an event stylist, Tañada, a licensed medical technologist, has yet to do an outdoor reception over lunch. Unless clients insist, she would discourage them from doing so.
“Since we’re in a tropical country, the noonday sun can be quite harsh,” she reasons. “It’s not good for both people and flowers. If they want a lunchtime reception, it’s better that they hold it in a temperature-controlled tent or ballroom.”
Tañada was a full-time medical technologist when she started doing giveaways for leading wedding planner Rita Neri almost two decades ago. Before long, she shifted her creativity to doing floral arrangements, and has been servicing weddings, debuts and corporate events for 16 years now.
“I love seeing and making beautiful things,” she says. “I basically learned about flowers on the job, but I consider Rita Neri as my mentor. She introduced me to the wedding business. I loved my job as a medical technologist, but I had to quit when my time was being eaten up doing events.”
One step ahead
Under dark, cloudy skies and hemmed by Manila Bay to her right and a fabulous swimming pool to her left, she does an outdoor floral arrangement at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel’s resort grounds (two weeks before typhoon “Pedring” buffeted the seaside hotel with tsunami-like storm surges).
To keep one step ahead of the erratic weather, she violates a cardinal rule by asking her team to set up as early as 1 p.m. It’s a good thing there’s no harsh sun to worry about, but the sky threatens to rain.
Tañada opts for a green and off-white theme with hints of yellow by combining such blooms as hydrangeas, Ecuadorian roses, local roses, tulips, agaphantus, dainty gipsofilas and orchids called cymbidiums.
“She’s one of several stylists known in the business for giving clients value for their money,” Neri attests. “Her arrangements are always teeming with flowers. And not just ordinary flowers, but nice blooms imported from abroad.”
In lieu of a table runner made from some woven material, she uses a “carpet” of fresh moss on the presidential table, which, in turn, is covered in organza. The guest table, which features a table runner made of beige chiffon and cut to make it appear like paillettes, is equally nuanced.
“I used a sheet of plastic underneath the moss to keep the tablecloth dry,” she says.
Tañada uses green twig-like horsetails to cover a series of cube-shaped wooden vases on the guest table. Each table offers an interplay of cube vases in various sizes. To keep the presidential table from looking too predictable, she throws in a couple of tall glass vases, which Neri likens to giant champagne flutes, into the mix.
A series of votive candleholders, which Tañada had commissioned a supplier to do, rests on carved white bases made of fiberglass. She even dresses up the back of each covered tiffany chair with a bouquet of hydrangeas.
Tañada has had the opportunity to do events overseas. One of her more recent projects was the wedding reception of Mariel Santos and Leo Po in Kota Kinabalu.
But her biggest project to date was the wedding reception of Diana How and Jerbie Ong two years ago at Makati Shangri-La. (It was another wedding planner, not Neri, who planned the wedding.)
“They had to pay the entire time the ballroom was closed,” says Tañada. “With such an elaborate design and the amount of work needed to realize it, we couldn’t do it any other way.”
Following the design of Sonia Olivarez, Tañada and her team worked almost round the clock putting together imported blooms such as roses, tulips, peonies and hydrangeas flown in from New Zealand, Ecuador and the Netherlands.
Event stylist: Jing Tañada of Palamuti
(tel. [+632] 7243392; Mobile 0927-5631005)
Hair and makeup: Toto Bagamasbad
Venue: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Rita Neri Event Planners (0920-9209615)
Special thanks to:
Cynthia Esteban – Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
Mayeth Gopez – Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila