In Anna Fay Plaza-Rosal’s world, every day is a busy day. As creative director of The Peninsula Manila, she oversees all efforts for beautifying the hotel.
These cover floral arrangements, centerpieces and gardens. The job is almost 24/7, especially during holidays, when guests expect the hotel to be dressed up.
That’s why when Rita Neri tapped the Pen to create an appropriate wedding table setting for the yuletide season, as part of an ongoing collaboration with the Inquirer Lifestyle, it was not surprising that the task should land on the creative director’s desk.
Plaza-Rosal finds the task challenging—how do you combine the requirements of a wedding reception with Christmas?
The key to her table setting is to carefully choose the color palette to reflect the occasion and mood of the season. Since flowers are de rigueur for any wedding—a wedding and reception would simply be bare without them—she opted for roses as focal point. Utilizing red and its myriad hues, all she needed was a unifying theme to tie up the two occasions.
She was inspired by the starburst sculpture in the ceiling of the Pen lobby. Reinterpreting it with roses, she not only connects color and theme, but also mines a Peninsula Manila original.
Placed by the presidential table, an upright floral arrangement adds a sense of occasion to the event.
She sets the starburst of roses in a frame that has been painted silver. From a distance, the roses spring forth from a central conglomeration of roses, rays darting outward to the frame’s perimeter, much like vines and shoots.
The Pen creative department has four of these picture frames ready for use for any occasion; the celebration dictates the color of the frame.
The starburst of roses is repeated on the floral centerpiece for the presidential table. The colors of the blooms are apparent only when seen up close. The roses are not just red: they come in deep red, rose red and fuchsia.
Pink makes a surreptitious appearance every so often, like a whiff of fresh air added to the arrangement. To add color and floral texture to the centerpiece, Plaza-Rosal adds blooms to the setting: crimson cockscomb, purple hydrangeas, pink carnations and green native berries.
Spread throughout the floral centerpiece are elements that hint at the holidays, like little balls in green, silver, purple and clear resin. Then there are other festive touches, like bigger balls embellished with green sequins.
The floral setting is repeated on glass columns placed on opposite sides of the table. The columns are filled with water and topped with huge spherical floral arrangements that mirror the table centerpiece. Fresh branches of curly willow spring forth from the flowers; hanging from the branches are crystals that resemble sparkling snowflakes.
Adding a touch of whimsy to the arrangement are white ostrich feathers. Plaza-Rosal says she originally planned to use peacock feathers, but the green and blue in peacock feathers are more apt for a setting in gold, which is inappropriate for weddings.
The presidential table is covered in green satin to serve as contrast against the overall red theme. The Tiffany chairs and candles in clear glass pedestals and hurricane lamps add that final festive yet elegant touch.
Plaza-Rosal’s setting is versatile—with a few touches, it could move from nuptial to yuletide in a cinch. After the reception, the entire setting could easily be transformed into a Christmas party by just taking out all touches of pink.
She says a deeper palette of red and purple would be appropriate. Likewise, the presence of balls clues in guests on the forthcoming holiday celebration.
As portent of the Peninsula’s New Year’s Eve countdown, the arrangement includes elements of the forthcoming celebration. She says hotel guests and regulars should watch out for that one.
The cocktail tables carry elements from the presidential table. One setting has a spherical floral arrangement on a glass pedestal, while another decorates the flowers with ostrich feathers. Instead of green, the cocktail tables are draped in a taupe fabric that complements the red color scheme and green tablecloth.
This isn’t the first time the Peninsula creative manager has designed a wedding reception in time for the holidays. Last year, she had engagements for both Dec. 29 and 30, just a few days before New Year’s Eve. However, on those occasions, her designs were both traditionally bridal, as requested by the newlyweds. For some couples, the holiday season isn’t that important: their wedding is the holiday.
For inquiries about the Peninsula Manila’s packages, visit www.peninsula.com.
Anna Fay Plaza-Rosal thanks Orlan Lopez of Emphasis Salon.