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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
    stuck with each other forever! ;)
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Archive for the ‘Real Wedding’ Category

Our Drive-Thru Vegas Wedding!
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013


Vegas state of mind

To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary this year, we have planned to treat ourselves with a US trip sans the kids. The Las Vegas wedding/renewal of vows was just a crazy afterthought we agreed to add in our itinerary. Since we’ve been living and breathing weddings throughout our married life with the establishment of W@W, we wanted to experience how it is to get re-married in the so called “wedding capital of the world.”

We both knew that this wedding will be just a small part of a bigger American adventure in the company of friends. We agreed that we only want a quick ceremony typical of any Vegas weddings, not stiff with traditions and no drama. We want to have fun this time around! We knew we don’t want to hold it inside a Hotel-Casino but in a quaint wedding chapel off the Strip. We also knew we don’t want “Elvis” to officiate it. As we were browsing online, we learned that there are windows in a few wedding chapels that offers drive-up ceremonies. We wanted that! Looking at pictures and videos other weddings, we got an idea which drive-thru venue is to our taste and which just isn’t so.


But before any of our travel/wedding adventures are realized, we needed to apply for US visas. We’ve both been dragging our feet to apply for the longest time because of the ‘horror’ stories we’ve heard of fellow Pinoys queuing outside the embassy early in the morning for a chance to taste the land of milk & honey only to have their American Dream crushed before they hit the exits. Truth be told, it really didn’t appeal to us applying and spending for visas only to get our egos crushed if we got denied. That is never fun.

Fortunately, our visa applications got approved so the wedding was on!

Team Vegas

We’re glad our friends (Bong, Jason & Madge) decided to join us in this trip. Aside from being our travel buddies, they perfectly fit the roles in our wedding party (two bestmen & a bridesmaid), witnesses, and wedding suppliers (two videographers and a makeup artist) all rolled into one.  But we knew we also want great pictures to document the day. We we’re lucky that destination wedding photographer, Ryan Ortega, was scheduled to have his North American tour at around the same time and he eagerly agreed to stop by Vegas to cover our wedding.

Benz finally got her wish to be a Veluz bride. I was surprised that Veluz even agreed to design her a pair of bridal shorts under a hand-painted white dress. The hand painting is based on Mimma’s back tattoo which she just had added to especially for the trip.


The bridesmaid’s outfit is by Cecilio Abad, while me and the boys were taken cared of by Boy Kastner’s BKS Men. Incidentally, the three designers were all named Supplier of the Year in the past so we knew we were in very good hands. Madge stood as our de facto stylist who took charge of how the colors and patterns of respective outfits would blend to create our very own (daytime & nighttime) Vegas look.


Mimma wanted to have a non-floral bouquet which was ideal given the long haul flight and our 2-day road trip from SanFo to Vegas. Fresh flowers simply just won’t cut it given the logistics. Teddy Manuel designed the Vegas/casino themed bridal bouquet and the bridesmaid’s wrist corsage, while Gids Hermosa did the white bouquet and the personalized boutonnieres for the boys.


Just like any other bride, Mimma wanted to shed some weight off before the big day. As luck would have it, Cristalle Belo Henares and the rest of her team in Sexy Solutions by Belo agreed to take Benz into the program for seven weeks in time for the big day (thanks Sofia for hooking up Benz with Cristalle!).


Two days before we flew to the States, Oly Ruiz did our pre-wedding shoot as a gift to us. It was done at night on and underwater, and lasted until wee hours. Mimma got to wear her dream ‘pokpok red’ gown she had wanted since she started losing a few inches & pounds. Oly made sure Benz got to showcase her new figure. But we never got to see the images until the day of the wedding when he posted it on his blog.


Vegas proper

When we got to Vegas, we visited our chapel of choice for inquiry and reservation. It was our concern that they might not allow outside photographers/videographers to cover the wedding, and we’re glad that said rule only applies to weddings inside the chapel, and not drive-ups. We also learned that we didn’t need to reserve a slot for a drive thru ceremony nor any legal document. Since ours was vow renewal, we simply drive up to be served just like in a fastfood joint. And it will only cost us $45.00.  Cool!

Incidentally, Paolo Feliciano was also in Vegas that day and came with us during the ocular and took a few posterity shots. :)


The big day came and we all woke up late (past 10am) since we slept quite late the night before — with the girls doing some hair coloring, while us boys visited a gentleman’s club for some sort of stag party. After breakfast, Bong & I had to go out of our hotel for my haircut and to pickup the car we’re going to use in the rental (we got a Mustang convertible for $100 that’s already good for 24 hours). When we got back to the hotel, my bride was already made-up so I had to take a quick shower to suit up as well.


As a rider, I would’ve wanted us to ride a Vespa for the ceremony.  But my bride was firm she wanted a car.  Still, I tried to put bits of Vespa-related details in my getup.


After a few more clicks from the camera, we we’re out of our hotel suite and on our way to the chapel. It was already past 1PM.


When we got there, the drive up window was “serving” another coupele so we had to wait.


When it was finally our turn, everything went by so fast that it was over in fifteen minutes or so.  No hour-long mass. No exchange of personal vows. We simply repeated what the Minister said while exchanging rings and I dos, and that was it!


We we’re all so hungry after the ceremony.  With all the rush and frenzy during the preps, we forgot we haven’t had lunch yet!  We went to Wendy’s and ordered the boys the best Baconator we’ve ever tasted in our lives! The girls we’re still on diet mode and ordered a wrap.  After which, we head to Nelson (a man-made ghost town in the middle of the desert about 40 minutes drive from Vegas) to take some more wedding photos of our 5-man wedding party.


After we changed to our second look and a few more clicks, it’s already sunset.  We decided to head back to the Strip for our “reception” – reserved a table for a party of six at a classic French bistro in Paris Las Vegas Hotel with a view of the Bellagio fountains.


Before all these, we never imagined we can pull off a destination wedding without spending an arm and a leg. But we are indeed lucky to have friends in the wedding industry who are so game to support our crazy idea. Having a “quickie wedding” within a planned vacation to celebrate an anniversary is a great adventure in itself for any couple to experience. We’re glad we did!


End Credits

Here’s a rundown of our Vegas Dream Team:

bride’s outfit: Veluz
groom & bestmen: BKS Men
bridesmaid: Cecilio Abad
hair & makeup: Madge Lejano
bride/bridesmaid’s earrings: Mickey See of Cru
bridal headpiece: Clayton of CA Design Team
white bouquet & men’s boutonnieres: Gideon Hermosa
Vegas bouquet & bridesmaid’s wrist corsage: Teddy Manuel
photo: Ryan Ortega
video: Jason Magbanua  + Bong Sare of Threelogy

A Special Memory Wedding Chapel Drive-Up Window
table for a party of six in Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
bridal car:
Mustang Convertible from E-Z Rent-A-Car

Special thanks to our friends and relatives in Vegas (shoutouts to Ate Thess + Kuya Carlo, Freddie + Sheila, and Lous) for helping us out to make sure our stay and going around town would be a lot more comfortable.

Pinoy couple gets a second shot at wedding photos in Vancouver
Friday, June 21st, 2013


(photos & story via northshoreoutlook.com) Ruchel Dacanay’s wedding in the Philippines went off without a hitch 10 years ago, until the newlyweds lost virtually every wedding photo.

The store the couple brought their negatives to closed down before they had a chance to pay for the photos and the owners were nowhere to be found.

Left with only a single extremely blurry photo snapped by a friend, the newlyweds were forced to live without photos to share their memories.

Casually mentioning this to her friends while flipping through a bridal magazine, she had no idea a simple conversation would turn into a huge surprise on her 10th anniversary.

“My friend said she booked me a room in the Hyatt hotel and she had a 50 per cent off coupon at her house, so I had to come get it,” says Dacanay, a nanny in North Van.

She had no idea dozens of friends and family were waiting in her friend Angie’s frontyard in North Vancouver.


While her husband Lemwell waited, she was quickly blindfolded and put into a flowing wedding gown.

Trying unsuccessfully to hold back tears, the ‘bride’ walked down the aisle to say her vows after her maid of honor, flower girl, and ring bearer made an appearance.

The beaming ‘newlyweds’ posed as guests took thousand of photos and video to finally document the marriage properly. With many shooting from cellphone cameras, the day will never be forgotten.

“Early in the day, I was a bit surprised many people didn’t remember our 10 year anniversary,” Dacanay tells The Outlook after the event. “But now I know why they didn’t say anything, they were all in on the big surprise.”

Her friend, Me-An Laceste, helped organize the anniversary wedding after she heard about the missing photos.

“I thought this is a wonderful thing that the friends did especially that most of the friends are nannies themselves…. to make someone’s wish come true.”

The W@W Peer Awards (redux)
Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Hear ye! Hear ye!

This coming July 7, 2013, the W@Wies will be having their Grand EB. This event will be filled with games, advices and a whole lot of fun. This is for W@Wies by W@Wies with the support of our generous roster of supplier friends. (So, thank you so much in advance!!! ^_^)

One of the highlights of this event, is the W@W Peer Awards. We first did the peer awards back in 2005 during the very first W@W Grand EB.  Just like the last time, the W@Wies nominated their co-W@Wies on 10 categories and now its been tallied and ready for voting. So who are the nominees? Come and let’s take a look!

Kaibigan ng Bayan Award

  • Cecile (ni Lemjay)
  • Freda (ni Jec)
  • Joed (ni Allan)
  • Nikki (ni Jay)
  • She-ann (ni John Neil)

Serbisyong Totoo Lang Award

  • Bonnie (ni Neptune)
  • Freda (ni Jec)
  • Joed (ni Allan)
  • Mimi (ni Jan)
  • Nikki (ni Jay)

The OC-OK Award

  • Donna (ni JP)
  • Jen (ni Jake)
  • Joed (ni Allan)
  • Kitel (ni Ruden)
  • Marianne (ni John)
  • Peachy (ni Alvin)
  • Pia (ni Eugz)

Always Present Award

  • Cecile (ni Lemjay)
  • Joed (ni Allan)
  • Marie (ni Nich)

Ginoong W@Wie

  • Allan (ni Joed)
  • Aweng (ni Thessa)
  • Japeth (ni Shannon)
  • Nich (ni Marie)

Blogerista Award

Tunay na Malikhain Award

  • Donna (ni JP)
    • donna-headband.jpg
    • donna-bouts.jpg
    • donna-hanger.jpg
  • Karen (ni Zham)
  • Kitel (ni Ruden)
  • OJ (ni Charles)
  • Thessa (ni Aweng)
    • aweng-bouts.jpg
    • aweng-invites.jpg
    • aweng-pillows.jpg

Talk of the Town Awards

Trending Wedding

Trending Prenup

Trending Video

So there you have it! Exciting times for everyone! So W@Wies, vote now! ^_^

67 W@Wies (Part 1) – W@W Chat
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

wawies 2013

about this episode:We wanted to do another episode featuring the W@Wies. We asked the group who among their fellow members would they like to hear in the podcast. Newlywed couples Nich + Marie Francisco, and Allan + Joed See, plus soon-to-wed Cecile (ni Lemjay), are among the most active in the group, so their names were the ones that came out. Since active W@Wies are usually a talkative bunch online and offline, the chat lasted for a couple of hours so we had to cut it into two episodes. Here is the first part…


Two weddings with two month to prepare!
Monday, April 8th, 2013

Patrick & Ygy only became a couple five months before their wedding.  They initially planned a simple civil ceremony by the beach, but eventually relented to a church wedding soon after to honor their parents’ wishes.  Ygy shares with us how proud she is they were able pull both off despite the time and budget constraints. ~Abet & Benz

– – – – – – – – – – –


I can’t believe I just got married. Twice. To the same man. On the same month. Of the same year.

What started as a single, solemn, intimate affair evolved into a two-part initiative which pretty much involved our families, relatives and those who are close to us. Both weddings became non-traditional endeavors for me and my groom. Why? Perhaps we can start with the most spontaneous decision that triggered it all: although Patrick and I have known each other for 5 years, it was only in July of 2012 that we officially became a couple. Five months later, we got married.

You can just imagine the reactions that we got from everyone.  Believe me, we were hearing the same sentiment from everyone all throughout the planning and preparation period, but we stood our ground and decided to get married right away. After all, why waste time when you can just seize the day? :-)

So what was the main challenge? Limited time. Limited funds.

I do wedding planning and coordination part-time, but even I can only do so much. We originally planned to have an intimate beach wedding in December 2012, then hold our church wedding in 2014 to give us ample time to prepare; knowing that the church ceremony would be a bigger affair. It was only in October 2012 that we finally “gave in” to what both our parents were requesting: hold our church wedding on the same year so that we can start our married life with a blessing. Yes, that was only two months to prepare for both events!

And so, the solution: keep it simple, straightforward, and DIY. We went through the whole process – pamanhikan with our families, attending government and church seminars, personally visiting our ninongs and ninangs, and processing all requirements needed for marriage. But of course, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t infuse our own unique ideas, tastes, preferences, as well as personalities into both affairs! Below are some details from each wedding and see how we became quite creative in our own simple ways.


Beach Wedding
December 27, 2012 / 25 guests
Villa Igang Resort, Poblacion, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Island

I would say that  this wedding really aimed to defy tradition in every way! No frills, no complexities. Just a simple, straightforward affair in the presence of those who are closest to our hearts. :-)


what we did differently:

  • BRIDAL GOWN: my dress was bought completely off-the-rack. The beadwork done on my sandals were completely DIY!
  • HAIR/MAKE-UP: Not only did I do my own hair and make-up, I was also the one who curled the hair of my maid-of-honor and bridesmaids!
  • NO VEIL: I had a Bohemian headdress customized by my couturier friend, Ryan Sarangay
  • RINGS: our wedding rings are black tungsten with just a very small diamond stud in the center. We used the same rings for our church wedding
  • PHOTO/VIDEO: I just got two friends (who have experience in photo/video coverage) to document everything and give us the shots and raw footage. The final AVP of the wedding was edited by none other than yours truly. My very first try at video editing!
  • SOUND SYSTEM: Believe it or not, I had to devise a way to hook up my laptop to the resort’s videoke machine (as in the deposit-5-peso-type videoke) machine by configuring a simple audio cable and plugging it into the videoke’s microphone input. Success!
  • NO RECEPTION PROGRAM: just a simple dinner after the ceremony, and flying of sky lanterns at the beachfront (with much drinking afterwards!)


Church Wedding
December 29, 2012 | 125 guests
San Antonio de Padua Parish, Taytay, Rizal | East Ortigas Mansions, Pasig City

Twelve days after our beach wedding, we found ourselves exchanging vows once again, but this time it was in front of God, the priest, and all our family members and relatives. Yes, it was the most acceptable, traditional way of getting married, but we managed to infuse our own unique plans into a most conservative, family-oriented affair.


personal touches:

  • I sang the communion song “Panunumpa” while we knelt in front of the altar
  • We did not do the traditional newlyweds’ first dance
  • Our table names were all names of RnB artists
  • We had to fold 125 origami paper flowers for each of our place settings at the reception
  • For our pictorials at the reception, the table which had the most creative pose won a prize
  • The bridal veil, second veil, pillow and cord were all borrowed from a friend
  • Instead of using the traditional/regular leg garter, I used a garterized headband for babies/toddlers. Why do this? More cute designs to choose from. :-)

So what was the aftermath of everything? Yes, we pulled it off, both times. But my husband and I learned a lot from this whole experience. We discovered that you don’t need to spend a lot in order to have an extra special celebration. You just need to think out of the box and unleash your creativity. Ultimately, we realized the essence of this whole endeavor. It didn’t really matter what kind of wedding we had, nor did it even matter how many times we got married to each other. What matters is that we did – and that’s the most important thing above everything else.

But given the opportunity to do it all over again? Hell yeah, I’d do it! I wouldn’t mind getting married a third or even a fourth time – as long as it’s to the same man.