In 1977, a couple in Manila were having dinner at Shakey’s. The woman asked, “So, do you have any plans of marrying me?” The man replied, “Yes, of course, I do.” Within a month they got married.
The woman had reason to be impatient. She and her boyfriend had been dating for more than five years when she popped the question. Back then, the guy was busy with business, and the idea of marriage was still far from his thoughts.
She happened to be my late mother (bless her soul), and her anecdote crossed my mind while attending “Inspired Beginning 2019: A Bespoke Wedding Experience” at Conrad Manila.
This third edition of the wedding fair showcased Conrad Manila’s ballrooms and event spaces, nuptial packages and more.
The two-day event presented a lounge-style fashion show featuring the designs of Jo Rubio, Carina Canlas and Happy Andrada.
Part of the program were talks on planning one’s wedding by event stylists Gideon Hermosa, Michael Ruiz and Teddy Manuel.
There was also Ycoy Sitchon who touched on “Thematic Big Weddings”; Christine Ong Te on “Chinese Wedding Banquets”; and celebrity chef Jereme Leung on “Chinese Wedding Banquets and Trends.”
Hermosa discussed the thought process involved in styling an event: “I always take time to know my clients. I
interview them. We then formulate a theme that incorporates the vision of the clients and our own experience in the industry.”
He also recalled how his travels to Morocco, Austria and around the Philippines contributed to his knowledge and design aesthetic: “In other countries, you see different foliage, designs and themes. It expands your horizons and definitely imparts great ideas in styling.”
He added: “Filipino clients know what they want. We just steer them to the right path. They are pretty firm with what they want to have in their event.”
Leung narrated that modern couples favor the color green, which, in Chinese culture,
symbolizes spring and vitality of life. He also described the perfect banquets, explaining that arranging food by themes make it easier for guests to pick their food.
I never imagined that much work can go into arranging a wedding. Now I understand whatever difficulty my dad must have experienced when he said yes to my mom’s proposal.
Ever the fashionable baby-boomer, my father arranged his own wedding reception at The Manila Hilton on United Nations Avenue, then the most popular hotel in the city with its own chapel—for which it became the wedding venue of choice in the 1970s. (The Manila Hilton, part of the then Hilton Hotels Corp. founded by Conrad Hilton, was the precursor to Conrad Manila.)
Dad arranged everything down to the traje de boda. He also booked the catering.
Not your common groom, to be sure. Mom, probably shocked at my father’s sudden answer to marry her, allowed it.
In the Philippines, planning a wedding is usually a woman’s job.
Remembering the wedding story of my parents has put into perspective what my father did, and made me relate to the difficulties of arranging a wedding.
Modern bridal fairs, like the one at Conrad Manila, offers a curated selection for discerning men and women to lighten the load in choosing the perfect wedding coordinators, couturiers, tablescapists, videographers, photographers, chefs and event stylers.
Weddings are supposed to make an impression on the guests. My father was one of the first in his clan to get married at the “modern” Manila Hilton. He became the “trendsetter” for his younger cousins.
When my time comes to get married, I want to put my own unique style. However, I just might opt to follow the old man in one respect—my wedding to be held at a Hilton property, the Conrad Manila.—CONTRIBUTED