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    this blog by Abet Benz Rana
    husband & wife tag team behind WeddingsAtWork.com (W@W).
    friends since '91 • married in '98
    built W@W & turned parents by '99
    been blogging here since 2004
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    Home & Living - Top Blogs Philippines
Twelve Best Weddings of 2012!

best-of-2012.jpg2011.There have been countless weddings celebrated the previous year, and each of them, special in their own way. But each start of every brand new year, we ask our friends in the wedding industry (the wedding suppliers!) to pick what to them is their ‘Wedding of the Year’ based on their own personal standards.

We received numerous submissions and here are the twelve best….


Brian + Vera-Mae
10 February | Bab Al-Shams Desert Resort, Dubai, UAE


Not many photographers get the chance to shoot in the Middle East. Because of their conservative stance and the prohibitive cost of securing visas, most couples would rather hire a local photographer for their wedding. Fortunately for me, Brian Cotaoco and Vera-Mae Javier had fallen in love with my imagery, and decided to bring me over to Dubai, together with a teammate.

The wedding was done in February, when the weather was cool and similar to Baguio. Nope, that is not a misprint. The unique images I took, the warm and gracious hospitality of the people there and the experience of being in a real desert for the very first time easily qualifies this as my Wedding of the Year.

- Raymond Fortun, photographer

Gus + Camille
17 March | Villamor Airbase


I first met Gus in his sister’s wedding. I guess what made us click instantaneously was our common love and desire to serve Jesus. It would have been normal if Gus was just any ordinary man, but he was an officer in the military and a PMA graduate at that. Since then, we became text buddies sending inspiring quotations and prayers to one another.

Several months later, Gus told me that he’s been praying that I’d agree to shoot his wedding though he didn’t know where he could get the money to pay off my service fee. I told him, “If you agree to use your wedding as a tool for evangelism and agree to always include me in your prayers I will work with your budget.” And it just so happened that the figure he had in mind was actually the figure i was telling God: “I know You are asking me to help him out but please leave me with something to bring home to my family.” Both Gus and I were blessed.

Though I probably got the lowest TF I had for the 2012, I was so excited that I was shooting not because I was paid to, but because I’d love to. I also knew, that it would be Jesus who would be giving me the balance. True enough it was a great wedding wherein I felt God’s presence all over and I know God was telling me “This is what I gifted you to do.

For me, its not really the fabulous picture that makes a wedding the best, but the story of relationships being built because of us acting blindly to God’s calling and proud to say that until today I consider Gus not only as a good friend but as a brother in Christ and a fellow servant. Me being there during Gus sister’s wedding was not a coincidence but God’s appointment.

- John Mateos Ong  for Imagine Nation Photography

Aries + Rinka
24 March | Osaka, Japan


“Aries and Rinka’s wedding was an intimate affair and a lovely marriage of not just two people in love, but two cultures. It was a charming mix of Filipino and Japanese traditions. Veluz designed the bride’s dress and the groom’s barong, and the piña stood so well next to the local guests’ kimonos. They did a quick change into kimonos themselves, halfway through the reception. This was their second wedding. The first one was a civil wedding in New York, and this time around, they had their two adorable children to enjoy it with. Japan was on the verge of spring then. It rained and it hailed on their wedding day, but the sun came out in the end. This was one of the most beautiful weddings we’ve ever had the honor of shooting.”

-Lisa Llarena of Jeff and Lisa Photography

Aweng + Thessa
16 April | Caleruega


I have come to know that Aweng and Thessa are well known to every W@Wie as the “King and Queen of DIYs.”  Their big day was even referred to as the “royal wedding” by their peers. Come April 16th, every thing was beautiful. The feel, the aura, the weather.. It was such a beautiful day to get married. As the wedding ceremony went on and then drew to a close, Thessa started to feel uneasy and was starting to get sick and weak. She was still strong enough to get through the postnup pictorials, but en route to the reception venue, she was feeling worse. Thessa was given bed rest while waiting for the reception to start. When things were already starting to take longer than usual, Aweng went out to acknowledge their guests explaining to them well that Thessa needs some rest and that the program had to proceed even without the bride. But somewhere in the middle of the program Thessa came out of her room, mustered enough strength she had left to give Aweng their first dance. It was so visible that she was really weak then, but it was truly a sight to witness the love and trust Thessa had giving it her all knowing that Aweng’s arms are enough to keep her up.

- Vinz Matias, photographer

Nino + Nina
18 September | St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City


I have covered weddings from different churches but a wedding at the Vatican had been my ultimate wish. It’s not just a wedding but a 12-day bonding of friends and families with a wedding on the 12th day at Vatican, Rome. I became part of the whole experience, not just as the official photographer but as part of the celebration of love.

- Dino Lara, photographer


To be honest, this one takes the cake in terms of being unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. This is a dream wedding shoot coming true. Yeah, the distance we covered, the places we went to, the absurdity of actually pulling this wedding off (hats off to Nino & Nina!), and me shooting alone all play major roles in my choice for Wedding of the Year.

- Bong Sare for Threelogy Video 

Noel + Rae
14 November | The Atrium at Enderun

photo by Jowell Mariano

Not that I’m being vain or anything, but getting married to the woman that I love is a true highlight for me. If there was any wedding for that I would consider THE wedding of the year 2012, it would be my wedding to Rae. We finally got to be on the client’s side for once and went through all the things that our clients go through: booking suppliers, planning the theme, etc. We went through the ups and downs of wedding planning and disagreed and fought with each other, but we made it to the altar. A big plus for us was knowing our family and wedding community friends were in full support of us, urging us on to the finish and offering all the help we needed. It was great knowing that there were people we could totally count on. We can know honestly say that all the stress and all the planning that our clients go through (and that we went through) are all totally worth it, especially if you get to be with the person you love for the rest of your lives. And since most of our guests were from the wedding community, our wedding was just one big fun party!

- Noel Salazar, photographer

Zoren + Carmina
15 November | Fernbrook Gardens


This wedding touched millions of people not because the couple are celebrities, nor because they had a grand extravagant wedding, but because, their wedding has been a speck of hope to many. It clearly showed that dreams and fairytales still do come true.

 – Charisse Tinio for Nice Print Photography

Patrick + Patty
22 November | Hacienda Isabella

photo by Jorem and Sheila Catilo Photography

The wedding of ‘The Pats’ has been one of most awaited for 2012. Everything about their wedding – the washed out look, the rustic vibe, even the romantic typeface of their invites and signboards – was just adorable. They are such a sweet and happy couple, and their personal vows during the wedding are worth every happy tears shed – totally moving. What we loved about their wedding was it was more a thanksgiving celebration than a wedding – no live band, no video presentations, no games. Just endearing speeches & conversation with a setup that is full of personal details and supported by great food & company. We’re very honored and blessed to have been asked to work with them on their entourage flowers.

~Dylan Gozum for Vatel Manila, event stylist


Amidst the glitz and glamor of the current trends of weddings nowadays, one thing remains true and real… that is love. We chose “The Pats” wedding video as our wedding video of the year simply because of the love that blossomed and shined during the day they tied the knot. With one of the most memorable vows we’ve heard this year, we dare you not to fall in love with these two.

- Mayad Studios


This is my wedding of the year because everything was kept simple, the palette was refreshingly neutral, and the ceremony up to the reception focused on giving thanks. Every element had a touch of the couple (nothing dictated by trends or other people) and were lovingly made or contributed by friends — a very big DIY project.

- Jasmine Mendiola, makeup artist

Elo & Mara
28 November | St. Andrew Parish Church | The Peninsula Manila

photo by Dino Lara

I can’t recall any other wedding where I cried during from the bridal march, to the vows, to their SDE playback, and up until the thank-you speech at the reception. Maybe because I got to know Mara and Elo in the course of the wedding planning. I got to know their hopes, struggles, and the love in their relationship. Their vows were moving and inspiring. TRUE LOVE indeed!

~Madge Lejano, makeup artist

Reiñer + Raissa
02 December | Taal Vista Hotel


Love is not a feeling. It is a choice. And it was Raine’s choice to stick with Raissa Laurel for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, through sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, until death do they part… and that’s even before they were married. That is love. You see, on that fateful day of September 26, 2010, while joining the celebrations for the post Bar examinations at the De La Salle University campus, a bomb exploded right where Raissa was standing. She knew she was never going to walk again. But God must have had a purpose for her and her life. She survived. With an unwavering faith, a new sense of hope and lots of love from the people around her, Raissa got back up on her feet, pun not intended, and continued living her life as normally as she could. Two years later, she WALKED down the aisle for all the world to see. Now Raine could have easily turned around and headed for the door. Where was he in all of these? Right beside her, holding her hand and egging her on. He could have left, but he chose to stay. She was the damsel in distress. He was the knight in shining armor. They were both stars in their own right. But there was only one star that day – the reason why BOTH of them were STANDING before the altar; the reason why she is alive and why they continue to be in love with each other inspite and despite of; the reason why the sun shone at 12:30 in the afternoon amidst the rain and cloudy skies during the morning. The star that day was Jesus Christ. For their love story is a living testimony of faith, hope, love and miracles.

- Alex Ruelo for Imagine Nation Photography

Paolo + John
13 December | Blue Leaf

photo by Jeff and Lisa Photography

Set aside the controversy, the novelty and the conflict and what do you get? Two people in love wanting to express their commitment to each other in front of friends and family. Personally, this marks a very real milestone of how the LGBT community can express their committed love to their partners without hiding in the fringes.

- Jason Magbanua, videographer

Raffy + Ces
29 December | St. Therese of the Child Jesus Shrine | Mango Farm


A bride who chose not to cover her face with a veil during her bridal march, a groom who knows what he wants and was very hands-on and a wedding that filled up a big church with guests… Ces and Raffy’s wedding is definitely one for the books It was such a classy and elegant event I would love to shoot all over again. All the details were very well thought of. Everything was beautiful and I really liked their reception program the most because it was very intimate and personal. All the guests including us, felt really at home and we all enjoyed the party!

~Jaja Samaniego, photographer

  1. Best 12 weddings of 2012; ours made it to the list !!! « tamarind street Says:

    […] when we thought the hype from our March wedding was over, now here comes Weddings at Work (WAW) 12 best wedding of 2012 , Aries & Rinka, that’s us. Our wedding made the list, say what, hihihi. WAW is the […]

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