what comes after the wedding is more important

It is a well-known fact that couples do pour a lot of effort, time and money in planning their dream wedding. Nothing really bad or wrong with that actually -- what's bad is when they neglect planning for what comes AFTER the wedding -- the marriage! Ideally, you and your future partner should have talked about the important aspects of your new life together before or soon after the engagement. Being in a couple relationship is radically different from sharing the rest of your life with another person. Sure, you love the person and you think that would make it easier to accept his domestic faults (snoring, food chomping, messy slip-ups, etc) -- but trust me, it's really easier said than done! LOL! After nearly 5 months of marriage, I still can't get over how messy Labsie is. To his credit, he's been cleaning up his morning mess ever since I talked to him about it. Yeah, COMMUNICATION is and will always be the best way to keep your marriage intact =)

Domestic and personality faults aside, what's more important to talk about are the life-changing compromises you and your partner will make. First off are the finances. Should both of you work or will one working partner suffice? Who will handle the finances and budgeting? Sometimes when both the husband and wife work, they keep their finances separate and just contribute to the household budget. If the married couple leans towards running a business, it is best to talk beforehand what kind of business will you go into, how much of your shared money will go into the capital, etc, etc. On a sidenote, Clean and Green Home Businesses are doing well these days. You and your partner might want to look into it! A cool green home based business that you might want to start is selling air purifiers. EcoQuestproducts help in getting rid of harmful elements in the air we breathe. Check out Ecoquest's profile and know more about this business opportunity.

Next, you should talk about how many children you want and when will you be financially and emotionally ready to become parents. Of course, you can opt to not have children and just travel/loaf around like us ;-) Also, in the event that you two can't bear children (despite fertility treatments), is surrogate parenthood and/or adoption a feasibility? Some persons are really not into it so it's best you talk about all the possibilites with regards to having kids. Also important to talk about is where you two will live after the wedding. Most couples opt to have their own space but to some who are limited financially, there's the option of staying with either set of parents or other family members. Now this setup is quite sensitive so it's best you and your partner talk beforehand what you will contribute to the household. This prevents the wife from being reduced into a maid by the in-laws or the hubby being called dirty names (lazy, good for nothing, etc).

There are other lots of stuff to talk about like the religion to be followed at home or by the kids (especially if you don't have the same faith), frequency of visits to each other's families if you live apart from them, limit of financial support to your families, compromises with regards to career advancement especially if you two both work (and most especially if both are workaholics!!), who's gonna do the household chores as it's not just the wife's duty anymore (hah!), etc, etc. The main thing is: TALK with your partner about your expectations, needs and wants with regards to marriage! Always, always, always keep the communication lines open.. =)

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finding the best reception venue

One of the hardest decisions we made in planning our wedding was choosing the right reception venue. Truth be told, we made tentative bookings in all hotels (and some resorts) in Davao City since we weren't able to decide til the last minute, LOL! We finally signed the contract with Grand Regal Hotel (P480/head with 2 appetizers, 1 soup, 3 salads, 3 entrees, 3 desserts, rice and 1 round of drinks) with two weeks to our wedding ;-) Anyway here's a guide to help you find the best wedding reception venue you can afford. Read and learn!

First, decide on the budget for your reception (depends on the number of your guests). If you have a tight budget, this will effectively rule out the fancy expensive hotels in your area. In our case, we budgeted P100,000 for 200 persons which limited us to a P500/head menu. We said goodbye to Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao (P650/head and up) and The Marco Polo Davao (P1000/head). BUT what if we decided to just have 100 guests? Having our wedding reception in Marco Polo, a 5-star hotel, would have been possible!! =)

Second, know the size of the reception venue. It goes without saying that the venue you'll choose should be able to fit all your guests comfortably. Also, take note if they have All Year Cooling and Heating system especially if you're holding a winter/summer wedding. Since we had 200+ guests, most fancy clubhouses couldn't accomodate us. It was a shame since clubhouses of ritzy villages have cheaper banquet rates than hotels. Also they have pools (you can have floating candles here!) and pretty gardens by the side -- it would have been perfect for our fairytale / pink butterfly theme!

Third, the location of the church or wedding ceremony site is an important factor. Preferably, the reception venue should be just 15-20 minutes away from your church so the guests will arrive on time for the reception program and dinner. In our case, our wedding started at 2pm (the 4pm time slot we wanted was taken already) and ended at 330pm --> if our reception venue was near, our guests will arrive early (before 4pm?) and will be bored waiting for the program to start at 6pm. Thus, we opted to have our wedding reception far from the church, around 30-45min away AND we served cocktails to keep them occupied =)

-- other stuff if you might want to consider -- 

Whether the reception venue offers an "all-in package" where almost everything that you need in the reception like wedding cake, flowers and decor, entertainment, emcee, accomodation, etc are included. Here in Davao City, Sunny Point Function Plaza offers the most comprehensive package. They will even make your invitations, giveaways and assist with your wedding  outfits. Perfect for "absentee" couples! Also, most fancy clubhouses (Monteritz, Woodridge, Las Terrazas) here offer packages too.

If you're not having a Catholic wedding, consider having your marriage rites and reception in the same venue -- this will save you a lot of expense in decors and traveltime. What else? If you're an OC about your theme, find a venue that will fit. This is the reason why we considered the Mergrande Ocean Resort -- they have a fairytale castle and a domed botanical garden (that's it below)! Sadly, the dome was not airconditioned and our parents didn't like that =( Again, such a shame coz it was sea&poolside and very fairytale-ish..

Guess that's about it! I do hope you learned something and that I somehow guided you in finding the right wedding reception venue. If you'll have a wedding here in Davao City, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about reception venues, churches, wedding planners, flower suppliers, etc. Four brides did that last year and I hope they'll have the wedding of their dreams in Davao City this year! ^_^


long-distance marriage -- will it work?

Driven by tough economic times, married couples are often separated by distance in an effort to give the best to their children, i.e. they go abroad to earn $$$. My flippant solution to this? Don't have children!! Hehe! For sure, even at minimum wage, you can afford to live in the city with your life-long partner by your side ;-) Seriously though, will long-distance marriage work? In today's technology, I would say yes. There's email, there's text messaging, there's Skype and tons of other sites with free VOiP services (By the way, you can compare internet phone services and discover the difference Spectrotel services offer. Know more about the company through Spectrotel's profile here.) that will bridge the communication gap due to distance. No more loneliness and yearning to hear your loved ones' voices or see them in person! With a phone or computer, one click will treat your homesickness =)

However, in the same breath, I will say that long-distance marriage will not work due to this same available technology and due to the liberalization of our society's norms. With email, text, chat, cheap voice calls and such, it will be so easy to connect with someone else. And better yet, it will be very easy to find someone NEAR you to connect with. For sure, it would take all your willpower not to succumb into an affair in a foreign land but hey, I'm a realist -- we are all just humans and sometimes we just need another human's warmth. No matter if s/he's not your wife or hubby. Not that I'm condoning cheating on your spouse but really, these are the multitude of sacrifices you must both endure to feed your family =( That's why I heartily applaud those who remained faithful to their spouses despite the time and distance between them. For me they are the unsung heroes of our country -- morally and financially-speaking! ;-)

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our first dance as newlyweds

Labsie and I both have pairs of left feet. And so one thing we agreed on early in our wedding planning was that we won't have a "dance production" that's so common these days for the newlywed's first dance. We promised we'll just have the usual simple couple dance (his hands on my waist, my hands on his shoulders) and dance to a slow song so our feet won't get tangled, hehe! Most wedding sites suggest that your first dance as husband and wife should be an exciting, romantic and memorable occasion, and not a boring experience. There lay our problem -- doing the usual couple dance is definitely boring! And of course, we don't want that. So what did we do? We amped up the excitement factor by choosing a fun song! =)

Labsie wanted to dance to Phantom of the Opera's OST "All I Ask of You" -- a very sweet song and oh-so romantic! However it's rather obscure. Meanwhile I wanted “A Whole New World” by Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle mixed with "Beauty and the Beast (Prince)" to keep in with the fairytale theme. All beautiful songs but somehow unexciting. Three days to the wedding, we finally decided on a classic Filipino love song by Rey Valera =) It's kinda upbeat and a very fun song! Even better, the lyrics just reeks of "till death do us part" theme. And as we expected, our audience loved it plus we really had fun dancing! You can see our big smiles (the invisible braces known as invisalign San Diego not seen of course!) even from afar, hehe! We even gave a twirl at the end of our dance, LOL! CLICK: Tips on choosing your first dance song

Here's a modern version of our wedding dance song. Like it? =)

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proposing? here's a guide in buying engagement rings!

Buying an engagement ring is often a difficult and costly decision, its best to know the basics before you buy. It would even be better if you know what your girlfriend wants -- I'm sure she has hinted more than once about it. Hehe! The first two videos are about the "4-Cs" and "Cuts and Styles" of diamond engagement rings. The last video will show you some recession-friendly (read: affordable, hehe) engagement ring trends that brides-to-be will love =) Go watch the videos guys and learn!

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choosing the song for your first dance

Selecting your First Dance Song as husband and wife
Choose a song that is special to the both of you. It could be the first song you ever danced to together. For our story on how we chose our first dance song, come back next week. It makes for a funny story ;-) Also, your song should be easy to listen to and have a steady beat. To check this, try clapping your hands to the music. If you get confused as to when to clap, then the beat is probably weak and you may want to choose another song. Ours was a kinda upbeat song. I can't follow beats so I can't comment if our song had a good beat, LOL!

Ask yourself these questions:
Do you want something slow and romantic, or upbeat and fun? (ours was the latter)
Do you want an old classic or something more modern? (classic Filipino love song)
If you are having a live band, will they be able to play your song, or will you play it from a CD? (sung by a live 17-man choir with violin and piano)

Classic First Dance Song Ideas
“A Whole New World” (Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle) - I initially wanted this!
“Because You Loved Me” (Celine Dion)
“Can You Feel the Love” (Elton John)
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” (Elvis Presley)
“Could I Have this Dance” (Anne Murray)
“Dream a Little Dream” (Mamas and the Papas)
“Grow Old with Me” (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
“I Finally Found Someone” (Barbara Streisand)
“I Only have Eyes for You” (The Flamingos)
“I Will” (The Beatles)
“One Moment in Time” (Whitney Houston)
“Unforgettable” (Nat King Cole)
“We’ve Got Tonight” (Bob Seger)
“Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong)
“You Are So Beautiful” (Joe Cocker)
“You Had Me From Hello” (Kenny Chesney)

Modern First Dance Song Ideas
“Come Away With Me” (Norah Jones)
“From this Moment” (Shania Twain)
“I Knew I Loved You” (Savage Garden)
“Unbreakable” (Westlife)
“Unchained Melody” (Gareth Gates)
“Amazed” (Lonestar)
“Cloud Number 9” (Bryan Adams)
“When You Say Nothing At All” (Ronan Keating)
“I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” (Aerosmith)
“Power of Love” (Celine Dion)

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3 days to Valentines Day! =)

Not that I have something special planned for that red-letter day-- I suspect Labsie doesn't have any plans too, LOL! Currently we're reading Davao City newspapers for ads on restaurant and hotel promotions for Valentines Day. My parents are suggesting we all go to Chad Borja and Dulce's concert in Garden Oases Resort. Say what?? Whoever went out with their parents on V-day?? Well, we did on year 2005 with Labsie's parents. Mood killer, I tell you, hehe! The upside? We got free dinner in an upscale European restaurant! ;-)

Anyway, if you're like us that still have no plans for Valentines 2009, here are links to posts with creative V-day gift ideas, kissing and date tips, plus a love story that will make your heart melt. And the author is a married guy! Who says marriage makes guys unromantic?

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feng shui tips for choosing wedding motif (color)

Color combinations that create good luck:
• A yang color (i.e. red) with its yin version (i.e. pink) are always good, safe choices (ours was red/pink with brown for earth). Others include: dark blue/light blue, purple/lavender, dark green/light green.
• Red and green (great for Christmas weddings)
• Yellow and red (The perfect feng shui pairing for harmony, good social standing, and wealth)
• Metallic colors (white, silver, gray, gold) with yellow
• Greens with blues are perfect together
• Blues with metal colors (white, silver, gray, gold) are well-suited for each other.

Color combinations that create bad luck:
• Greens and metallic colors (white, silver, gray, gold)
• Red and blue
• Black and red
• Green and yellow
• Yellow and blue
• Red and metallic. Metallic colors such as white, silver, gray, or gold metals are especially bad when they are paired with red.