15 Essential Activities for Your Wedding Preparation

On the 30th of July 2013, I posted the first wedding prep post which is about SM MoA’s The Venue. After more than a year of writing about our wedding preparation, I amassed plenty of information that are useful for you and others like you who are preparing for the Big Day.

This list summarizes our activities that we gone through as we prepared for the Big Day. I am sure that these activities will be applicable to your wedding preparation as well.

I suggest that you read each of the Wedding Prep blog posts one by one. But if you’re in a hurry then this list of 15 essential wedding prep activities will do:

Choosing the Wedding Church

Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Finding our church is our first step in our wedding preparation because other aspects of our wedding depend on the location of the church.  We checked the most-sought-after San Agustin Church (the church where my friend and fellow blogger Tin K got hitched), Binondo Church, and St. Peter’s Church located along Commonwealth Ave. But what got My Beloved Wife Lei’s approval is the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. She immediately liked this church when she saw its beautiful altar.

Read my post about the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.

Looking for the Wedding Reception Venue

Golden Bay Fresh Seafood Restaurant

The venue for our wedding reception is the next big item on our list. We wanted the venue to be as affordable as possible but still with class. We first checked out SM MoA’s The Venue but we were turned off by its steep price. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) Aerospace Museum is awesome but their cancellation policy (and the possibility of last minute cancellation) scared us. We also went to Enderun, Park Metro, and Villamor Golf Club.

Of the many venues that we visited, it is Golden Bay Seafood Restaurant that gave us the best deal. Read about our wedding experience in Golden Bay Restaurant.

Processing Church Requirements and other Required Documents

Kumpil or Sacrament of Confirmation
(Source: Wikipedia)

We spent many days to fulfill the requirements asked by the Church and the government for our wedding. The most important of these requirements is kumpil (Sacrament of Confirmation) that I received in Quiapo Church. We attended two pre-wedding seminars: one in our church and the other in the munisipyo.

If you are planning your wedding then makes sure to allot time and money for these requirements. To avoid the long lines, I suggest that you request your birth certificate and CENOMAR online. For the baptismal and confirmation certificates, you have no choice but to visit your parish church.

Read my post about the Sacrament of Confirmation or Kumpil if you need more info about this sacrament.

Finding the Ring(s)

Suarez wedding rings
(Source: Suarez Wedding Rings)

Our wedding rings are important items for the wedding ceremony. So went to the malls and to Binondo Chinatown (where we encountered matapobre jewellers). I even inquired through email. After the long search, we found our wedding rings in Suarez Wedding Rings in SM Mall of Asia.

Our wedding rings are just simple bands but it symbolizes our “forever”, making it more precious than other fancy wedding rings with big precious stones.

When looking for wedding rings, I suggest that you visit as many shops as you could to compare their prices and design. Remember that the more shops you visit, the more choices that you will have.

Hunting Down that Wedding Gown Couturier

Wedding gown from Divisoria
Lei's wedding gown from Divisoria

We just scoured Divisoria for Lei’s wedding gown, my suite, and attire of the whole entourage. We talked to couturiers in 168 Mall and 999 Mall but we hired the one in Yangco Market. Unfortunately, our couturier made a bad job for Lei’s wedding gown (imagine the added stress to my bride!). My Beloved Wife had no choice but to fix the gown by herself.

If you decided to have your wedding gown made in Divisoria, I suggest that you choose your couturier well. When you canvass for wedding gowns, you must consider both the price and quality. Low price usually means that the quality is sacrificed.

Searching for the Best (and Affordable) Wedding Cake

Wedding cake from Salazar Bakery
Our wedding cake from Salazar Bakery.

The wedding cake is the centerpiece of the wedding reception. That’s why we did our best to find a very good but affordable wedding cake. We visited Red Ribbon Bakeshop, Goldilocks, Bakerite, Bakers’ Fair, and Salazar Bakery. The winner is Salazar Bakery and I am confident to say that their cake was delicious.

Asking for Wedding Invitations in Divisoria

Wedding invitation card from Divisoria

We tried to make wedding invitation cards but we realized that it will take great effort (and creativity), and plenty of time to make 50 pieces or so. So, we decided to just ask a shop in Divisoria to make our wedding invitation cards.

Canvassing for Flowers


Flower catalogue in Dangwa

We had a great adventure to Dangwa, the flower capital of Manila. A fixer became mad at us when he couldn’t convince us to order flowers from him. Our visit to Dangwa was fruitful because we got our florist (and avoided that dubious fixer).

Dangwa is great place to search for florists. There are plenty of flower shops, which will give you the opportunity to compare prices and offers. I suggest that you visit at least five shops so you can have plenty of options. As for the fixers? Avoid them like the plague.

Booking the Make-up Artist

Lei's trial make-up

Lei was the one who hunted the make-up artist. We didn’t visit any boutique because she did most of her search in the Internet.

Lei was impressed with our make-up artist during the trial make-up that she hired her immediately. Her offer was airbrush make-up for the bride and traditional make-up for the other members of the entourage, including the flower girls. The negotiated price for her service is 10,500 pesos.

Booking a Hotel for Wedding Preparations

Copacabana Apartment Hotel
(Source: PCG Auxiliary)

Lei’s house and my house are very far away from our church so we had no choice but to find a hotel where we can do our prepping for the Big Day. After doing some Google search, we decided to visit Heritage Suite in Makati, Avitel Hotel, and Copacabana Apartment Hotel.

We selected Copacabana because of its proximity to the church and the size of its suite. Since Copacabana is an apartment hotel, we got rooms with living area and kitchen. The space was ample enough for the make-up artists and photographers to do their work. The only problem that we had with this hotel is that they prohibited us from taking photos at the hallway and the lobby. We defied this prohibition and our brave photographers took beautiful photos and videos of my lovely bride.

When looking for hotels for your wedding preparations, I suggest that you Google search first before going to the hotel. Ask the hotel staff for the prices, available promos, and restrictions before booking any room. For other tips, I suggest that you read Bridal Book’s tips for finding a hotel for wedding prep.

Shopping for Wedding Souvenirs

Wedding souvenirs from Divisoria

There are only two places where we searched for wedding souvenirs: the shops under the bridge near Quiapo Church and Tabora Street in Divisoria. We didn’t buy any item from those places because I already bought wedding souvenirs from the beautiful island of Guimaras.

Posing for Pre-Nup Shoot

Pre-nup photoshoot in UP Diliman

Our pre-nup shoot is included in the package that we got from our wedding photographer. We enjoyed an afternoon of posing like artistas in my alma mater, UP – Diliman. Our pre-nup photos were shown during our wedding reception and it made our families and guests smile.

When preparing for your pre-nup, I suggest that you create your props. This will not only save you money but will add personal touch to your photos. It is also recommended that you do your trial make-up during the pre-nup so you’ll see if the make-up will look good in the photos.

Shopping for Offertory Items

Mass wine and hosts from St. Paul's

The Church wedding ceremony is included within the celebration of the Holy Mass so we were expected to bring mass wine, hosts, flowers, and fruits as offertory. These items are not hard to find. We bought wine and the hosts from St. Paul’s at SM Mall of Asia.

Organizing the Big Day

One thing that I wish we had during our wedding preparation is the constant help from other people. Other couples have their maid of honor and the best man always ready to be tapped for help. We didn’t have such privilege since the maid of the honor lives in Davao while the best man is a busy man. We also didn’t want bother our families. Our limited budget prevented us from hiring a professional event coordinator.

Lei and I were the ones who did all of the legwork. We personally searched and negotiated with suppliers. We prepared the wedding reception programs. I even acted as the wedding coordinator at the hotel and the church. Good thing that a generous friend (who is a professional event coordinator) helped us for free.  My office friends also helped by acting as emcee, ushers, and event hosts during ceremony and the reception.

 You should not imitate what we did (although we managed to pull it off). Ask help from the maid of honor and the best man because that is their duty. Make your wedding preparation a family affair so that you can rely on plenty of helping hands.

Making Spiritual Preparations

Being busy during the wedding preparation should never be an excuse to ignore the spiritual aspect of the ceremony. God will be present (whether you like it or not) on your wedding day. So it will be best that you personally invite Him. Start praying as a couple. Be serious about the required Sacrament of Confession. Practice the virtue of patience, temperance, charity, and even chastity (I bet you that these will be very useful after your Big Day)

I realized prior to our wedding day that we need God to make our marriage work. Only He can assure us that we can avoid the threat of marital shipwreck (that will haunt us until our death thanks to the unceasing effort by the Devil).

Of the many tips that I posted in this list, I think that last bit is the most important.

Wedding in Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
The altar is waiting and we're ready.

An office mate said that I will never want to experience another ordeal of wedding preparation. I nodded my head in agreement months before our wedding day. I felt so stressed and exhausted but all of that went away when I heard her “I do”.

So to all couples out there, make the most out of your wedding preparation. Don’t despair when problems start cropping up. The wedding day is just the icing on top. What’s more important is your commitment to love one another till death.

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  1. You have to buy the offertory items too? Here, it is provided by the church but we have to give an ang pao (red packet containing money) to the priest and altar servers and choir...and these days, we would need to prepare a big bouquet of flowers as at the end of the church service, there would be the presentation of the flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a a token of respect to the mother of the Holy Family.

    1. Yes, we're the one who will provide the offertory items. Hmmm...the tradition of the Church in country is different. Well, that difference makes our Church more colorful. :-)

  2. We have the same taste in rings. No "bling". Just a simple band will do. I think it really reflects on the preferences of the couple.

    Love Salazar's! They have a branch in Cavite and I always make sur eto buy eggpie from them. Nostalgic. Hehehe!

    I know a lot of couple who didn't hire wedding coordinators and they were still able to manage well. It's not really a necessary thing. Kudos to you both! That was a hard stunt to pull off. =)

    1. It was a very hard stunt. Super stressed out nga eh. Hehe. But thanks be to God nakalusot din without major problems. :-)

      Wow, may iba pa palang branch ang Salazar's?


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