The LookBook and Inquirer Lifestyle launched last Thursday “I Do! An Insider’s Guide for Brides,” a slim but useful volume designed to help engaged couples lessen, if not totally eliminate stress, while planning their dream wedding.
Written by Carmencita Sioson, Stefanie Cabal Rostoll and Ronna Capili Bonifacio, the 171-page book is full of beautiful images and useful, practical tips from real brides and top wedding-industry practitioners such as wedding planner Rita Neri.
The book’s launch at the Peninsula Manila’s upper lobby coincided with the formal launching of Bulgari’s line of engagement rings and wedding bands. (See related story).
As the book’s major sponsor, Bulgari set up a display area featuring its growing collection of engagement rings, wedding bands and various timepieces and jewelry as gift items. It has become a popular practice these days among Filipino couples to give each other gifts on their wedding day.
A chapter in the book is devoted to models wearing iconic jewelry pieces from Bulgari and wedding gowns by designers Randy Ortiz, Lulu Tan Gan, Rhett Eala, J.C. Buendia and Ivarluski Aseron.
Organizers also staged a one-night exhibit of bridal gowns worn by real brides featured in the book—Kelly Misa Fernandez, Isabel Roces Trebol, Kristel Yulo Diaz, Bianca Gonzalez Intal, Cybill Gayatin Guynn, Pam Huang Hernandez, Bea Soriano Dee and Beatrice Tantoco Reyes.
“Before this book came out, I don’t think we even had a comprehensive, locally produced wedding guide,” said Bonifacio.
What makes it different from articles and tips in wedding magazines is the selection of real brides and their unique stories and personal experiences.
“Since it’s a handy, reader-friendly guide consisting of 12 chapters, including a directory, couples don’t have to buy different bridal magazines to get plenty of useful and current information,” said Sioson.
If certain inspirations and ideas provided by real brides aren’t exactly applicable to some couples because of budget and time constraints, every pair, especially the woman, is sure to benefit from their “top tips.”
“Relax,” Diaz, who married Marco Diaz in Tuscany, says in the book. “Being happy with your groom is more important than the minute details of your wedding, which you should delegate to your planners and suppliers. Things will all work out if you let them.”
Fernandez, who married Carlos Antonio Fernandez at the St. Pancratius Chapel (aka Paco Park), reminded couples to be “smart” with their money.
“Decide on a realistic budget,” she says. “Don’t blow all your money on your wedding. Remember, you also have to think of your life together after the wedding. You want to start comfortably and not worry about money. Set the date and the rest will follow.”
Guynn, daughter of designer Arcy Gayatin, has a short and sweet reminder to couples based on her own experience while she and then fiancé Kevin Guynn were planning their Cebu wedding: “Regardless of what’s trendy and trending, your wedding should reflect who you are.”
Apart from chapters featuring destination weddings, wedding baubles, including Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary love affair with Bulgari, and his-and-hers gift ideas, the book also devotes chapters meant for the bride like pampering and hair and skincare to help her look her best on the big day.
Leading makeup artists such as Bobby Carlos, Mayesa delos Santos and Paolo Maranan likewise share tips and tricks of the trade on how to achieve various looks—from sun-kissed glow to effortlessly radiant, classic and romantic—with the right makeup and styling.
Two of the best ways to minimize stress and make planning a shared, enjoyable experience for the couple are to plan ahead and prioritize, according to the book. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done.
So there’s a bridal calendar, which doubles as a checklist of various things and concerns the couple should attend to as they start preparing a year ahead.
“We’ve also put together stories of what makes a wedding successful from insiders and industry veterans themselves like Rita Neri and events stylists Robert Blancaflor and Moss Manila,” said Rostoll.
Sioson and Rostoll also wrote “Help! I’m a Shoe Addict!,” The LOOKBook and Inquirer Lifestyle’s first hardbound title launched earlier this year.
Having been brides themselves, Bonifacio and Rostoll drew from their experiences and the real and immediate concerns they had to deal with while planning their weddings.
While she has yet to march down the aisle, Sioson has had ample first-hand experience in planning weddings, as she helped plan elder brother Patrick Sioson’s recent wedding to Jebeth Lejarde.
The authors’ collective experiences are reflected in the book in terms of the importance, length and priority they put on each topic. They also shared personal advice on how to make a difficult and time-consuming process like planning almost effortless and joyful.
“Focus on what you get at the end of the day,” said Bonifacio, who experienced rain, of all days, on her wedding day in Tagaytay. “When you wake up, you’re single. When you go to sleep later that day, you already have a husband. No matter what happens on the wedding day, it’s the union that’s supposed to last forever. That’s what is important.”
On a more practical note, she reminded couples to set a realistic budget and stick to it. All your grand plans would amount to nothing if you don’t have the right budget. And don’t forget to share the “fun.”
“We both wanted our families to have fun on our wedding day,” said Rostoll, who married her Spanish beau in Barcelona. “As the day nears, couples will be swamped with too many options and possibilities. But like in a business, they should be decisive once they’ve set their minds on something.”
Bonifacio reminded couples, especially when they’re in doubt about their decisions, always to “go back to the why. Why are we doing this?”
Sioson added: “At the end of the day, no matter what others would say, and they would always have an opinion, you do it for yourself. What’s really important is what happens to you as a couple after.”