How I Found an Affordable yet Stunning Bridal Gown

How do you see yourself on your wedding day?

This was the same question I asked when I started to dream about of getting married. Imagining myself wearing that little crown on my head and dancing with my long beautiful white gown, made my heart skip a beat. I couldn’t wait for that day to become a reality.

When me and my fiancé then, now my husband Dave started with our nuptial preparations, we set a certain budget for all the suppliers. As financial planners, we don’t want to indulge ourselves in a posh celebration yet will leave us with empty pockets after the ‘big day’. After classifying all the wedding items as negotiable and non-negotiable, I found myself crushing the reality that my bridal gown is a negotiable item for us and not on the top priorities of our budget. But of course, the woman in me wanted to make that ‘dream wedding dress’ a reality.

However, four months before our wedding, I still didn’t have a bridal gown. (panic mode!) Tapping a couturier was not our option since it is not within our budget which custom made gown ranges from 25,000 pesos and up. We also heard some horror stories that gown was delivered just few hours before the wedding ceremony started. We didn’t want to have that kind of stress since we know four months is such a limited time for a sewer to finish the dress. We went to malls and wedding expo and looked for ready to wear (RTW) gowns. There were very few low-priced gowns but some didn’t fit my body type and other designs are not my type. (Sighhhhh…)

“Oh dream wedding dress! Where can I find you?”

Ooops I forgot…

Oh cheap dream wedding dress! Where can I find you?”

But we still had our last option. What if I rent a wedding gown?

I made an extensive research about shops that offer wedding gowns for rent. I read reviews and testimonials from brides for each shop. Then I found this shop nearby called Damsel which is located in Makati Cinema Square. We went to the store and we were really impressed by the hospitality of Belle and her staff. They accommodated us promptly and showed us their available gowns though there were other customers at that time. Wedding gown rental rates starts at around 2,000 pesos. After trying out three gowns, finally, I found the perfect one for me. We avail their wedding package which includes wedding gown, accessories (tiara, veils, petticoat, pillows, cords, mannequin, etc.) plus the groom’s coat for only 10,000 pesos. We picked up the dress two days before our wedding day.

Budget-shoot!

Designlove it!

Fittingperfect!

Some people will find renting a wedding gown amusing and unconventional. But if you are like me who is frugal, in a limited budget and time, who doesn’t know where to put the dress after wearing it (Swear, it will not fit in your closet!), and who doesn’t care if you’ll not be able to wear the same wedding dress on your 50th anniversary or for your daughter on her wedding day, then renting might be good for you.

 

After you make a decision to rent your wedding dress, research, research and research! Aside from the cost and their policies, read feedback from the shop’s clients. Read reviews about their personnel because they will be part of your wedding team. Check their online portfolio to see their designs. Consider also the location of the shop. It is advisable that it is near your hotel or house since you are going to return it within a week. Be mindful also of the accessories and be careful on how you wear your dress since any missing item or damaged to the dress will be deducted from your deposit.

Me and Dave believe that this was one of the best decisions we made during our wedding preparation. I was able to choose the best wedding gown for me without shedding most of our funds. But after all, a bridal gown is just a small part of your wedding. What really makes a bride beautiful is the love and joy that glow from within.

 

Just love,

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When I said “YES” to the Three Proposals

Third Proposal

I remember the time when Dave and I attended a wedding fair more than a year ago. We wrote our name in a blank space of the groom and bride section in a registration card, secretly claiming “Someday…at His perfect time!”

During the fair, I tried the trial makeup for the bride and during the conversation, the makeup artist asked, “How did Sir propose to you?”

I was in silence for few seconds.

I was a in dilemma because that was a life or death question. If I say that we were not yet engaged, maybe she would not finish my makeup because we were not her potential clients. I didn’t want to walk out of the place with mascara and blush on but with no eyebrows and lipstick. (But of course, that was a nasty judgment!). Then I recalled how Paul Soriano proposed to Toni Gonzaga. Boom! I retell Paul’s proposal to her with a little something of Dave’s #NinjaMoves. I thought that I was saved by the bell until…Ooopppss! I remembered that I didn’t have an engagement ring on my finger. But the good thing, she was kind enough not to ask, “Wow! That is so sweet! But where is your ring, Ma’am?”

We have been talking about marriage since in the first year of our relationship. We liked to spend long hours of chit chatting over coffee or donuts talking about on how we will raise our future family, what our decorations in our own house would look like, and imagining the moment when we would stare at  each other’s eyes with our wrinkles and gray or bald hair. We also attended a marriage preparation seminar and a homeschooling orientation where we were the only unwed couple. That is why I thought “marriage proposal” is only a formality, in our case.

But I was wrong.

After our Noche Buena, he gave me a huge purple box. Inside that box were various gifts and another purple box. I opened it one by one. He gave me his collections of key chains of different places because he knew that I am fond of collecting key chains whenever I travel. He also gave me a purple shawl, a big Cadbury chocolate (purple, again), a coin purse, fruit container, a face towel, and my favorite Ube Jam from Baguio. (Yes, purple again!) Then I opened the purple box. But inside that purple box, is another purple box. Then inside it is a box of an iPhone 5s. But I was in doubt. Being a financial literacy advocate, Dave is the last person I know who would buy a very expensive phone. (LOL) When I opened the iPhone box, definitely it was not an iPhone (I was right!), but a small red box.

“Oh my! Hon, what is this?” I said with sweats all over my body. (I already had a hint what was on that red box, but I didn’t want to be assuming 😀 )

After all his romantic gimmicks, he said with his shaking hands and teary eyes, “And the last part/gift is the time that I kneel down, open the box, get this ring, and pop up the question, “Will you marry me?”

And the rest is history.

Nothing fancy. That’s how I described Dave’s marriage proposal to me. No camera. No video. No bunch of crowd, only my mom. But that moment was indescribable. Surreal? I guess that was an understatement. Because that magical feeling was beyond words. Then I remembered I had almost the same feeling way back then, during the second proposal I received in my life.

Second Proposal

Last December 2012, few months after the letters C, P, and A were added to our names and after we had crossed over the “hindi kami, pero parang kami” stage, Dave knelt down and got a ring on his pocket.

“Oh no, Please. I’m just a fresh graduate and 20 years old. I’m still new in my work. I’m not yet ready for marriage at this moment. “, I said.

He laughed and rolled on the floor and said, “I’m not yet going to ask you that question. What I want to ask is…will you be my girlfriend?”

 

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Again, the rest is history.

But before those two proposals, there was one person who proposed to me and asked for my heart. For me, that was the best YES in my life.

First Proposal

When I was in first-year high school, someone asked me to entrust my heart to Him. He said that He will never leave me, nor forsake me. He was the first person to promise me the “real forever.”

I said, “Yes!”

But our love story was not smooth sailing. I was a cheater.

There were times that I left Him and tried to do things on my own. There were times that I looked for His love from a toxic relationship. I gave chocolates to a guy. I gave a love letter to someone. I confessed my feeling to another guy through a video recording. HAHAHA. What a shame!

But at the end of those crazy moments, I got tired, felt rejected and wanted a new heart. But I found out that all this time, He was just watching and waiting for me to come back to Him.

I surrendered my heart again to that one person who will never get tired of asking my heart and my Yes. He is GOD.

At the end of it all, I am unfaithful but He is faithful.

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Because those times were part of my pruning season. I have learned to wait for a beautiful love story to be written by Him. But waiting was not that easy. It was painful. But after all those things was the harvest season-the best man he has prepared for me asked me “Will you be my girlfriend?” and later on “Will you marry me?”

It may sound cliché, but I couldn’t ask for more.

YOUR STORY

Have you already said your best YES to HIM? You have the best story to tell. Write it now.

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Just love,

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Wedding Preparation vs. Marriage Preparation

Of all the trials and the breakthroughs that I faced last month, one of the things that would still be fresh in my memory till I have my wrinkles and walking staff is when the day that me and Dave stepped out in faith and decided to attend a Marriage Preparation Seminar. It is conducted by a Christian church for the engaged couple or even to those who are not yet engaged, but looking forward for marriage (that’s us).

Victory Marriage Preparation

For all Thursdays of May, we talked about the biblical principles of marriage, the role and the differences of the husband and wife, and some practical tips to have an amazing and God-centered marriage. (will blog the whole story and share the things that we learned from this seminar, very soon!:-D)

Victory Marriage Preparation

On the last day of the seminar, the pastor explained the meaning of the different symbols use in a wedding ceremony. Excitement rushed in our veins as we experienced and saw the glimpse of what would happen on our special day through a mock wedding. But something surprised me.

For the last three weeks when the foundation of marriage is tackled, a very few people would confidently asked questions from the topic discussed that night. I remembered the time when the pastor would ask for five times, “Do you have any questions? Come on, please don’t be shy.” But on the fourth week, something happened. People were active. There were no hesitations.  Most were excited to ask questions.

“Pastor, how long should the bride walk down the aisle?

“When will the wedding singer start to sing? Should it be before or after blah blah blah?”

“Can we use the sand instead of the candles? Can we use color other than blue and pink for the sand?”

“How long should the reception last?”

And so on and so forth.

Cute questions for excited soon-to-be brides and grooms. But I wonder if most of us forgot that we were talking to a pastor and not to a wedding coordinator. A little funny but I was reminded of a very important note.

We have the tendency to focus more on the wedding day rather than on the marriage life.

Wedding day is just for one day but marriage life is till the day we will never open our eyes anymore. This may sound scary, but I believe it is a very beautiful thing. More than the financial preparation, the wedding dress, the motif, the flowers, the reception, and the honeymoon getaways, what will matter most are the DAYS after we say “I do” to  our life time partner in front of God and our love ones.

Victory Fort Marriage Preparation

Whatever season you are in life right now, whether you are engaged, or in a relationship, or still waiting for your “OTL (one true love)”, that season will be the perfect time of pruning and preparing yourself not only for your big day, but most importantly, to those days that you will say, “Challenging man, pero totoo nga! May forever! :-)“

What are you preparing for?

Just love,

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Why we don’t know each other’s Facebook passwords and don’t scan each other’s phone messages

I grew up with no father in our family. My mom and dad separated when I was born. As a young kid, I saw our incomplete family in the perspective of a fatherless child. But growing up, when I began to learn the real things of this world, I started to see it in a perspective of a woman cheated by her man to whom she gave her only “I do.” Very sad. There was a fear in my heart that maybe I will have the same fate as my mom and all the other women of broken families.  So this thing called trust issue became a big part of me.

Thus when I came to know God and started to surrender the pen to Him to write my love story, every day, God is teaching me to surrender all my fears and heart issues to Him. He teaches me to trust Him first so I can trust the man He has set apart for me.

But on the first few months of our relationship, I couldn’t understand why I agreed to this term, and I couldn’t understand the term itself. Dave and I both came from past relationships where we have unlimited access on our partners’ Facebook and phones. But why this time it is a no-no?

boyfriend-looking-at-girlfriend-on-cellphoneBut one thing I realized. It is one of the benefits of marriage that we decide not to enjoy until we say I do. This time, God is teaching us in our courtship season to trust each other as we trust God.  This is a very uncomfortable decision. There were instances that I thought of choosing our preference of having a right on our privacy over a principle of a relationship that is based on trust.  I had moments of pessimistic thinking and unreasonable doubting. But at the end of the day, I still decided on to trust. And maybe, he felt the same way too but still chose to stand on our decision. Others think that this is insane and it’s not possible. Yes, it is insane but it is possible. We believe that this will have a great impact on the next season of our lives, as we change our roles from being a boyfriend and girlfriend, to husband and wife.  And this uncomfortable decision really changed the way on how we see and define love in our relationship.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7

We all have the tendency and the capability to hurt the one we love. But despite this fact, it should not ruin the true meaning of love. It always trusts. And it always forgives. To believe that there is FOREVER takes trust to the One who writes our love story and to the one who will be a part of our forever. Totoong may forever!

Just love,

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Where do broken hearts go, Tita Whitney?

I also had my fair share of heart aches. When my first crush, Rico Yan passed away, when Dao Ming Su had his amnesia, and when Basha said to Popoy, “Ako na lang…ako na lang ulit. “, to name a few.

But I never learned what it means to be broken hearted until I learned how to give a portion of my heart to someone…to somebody…and to another one. All my unrequited love, puppy love, and all crazy kind of love left me with a scarred and shattered heart…Broken heart.

Where do broken hearts go?

hizpe

  1. Inside the Room

Broken-Heart

Alone and crying through the sleepless nights.  This is a perfect place for asking questions and taking regrets.

  1. Shot Glass

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1,2,3..Drink..1,2,3..Drink…We think that alcohol can help us forget the pain. We can drink up to the last drop, but the moment we wake up in the morning, the pain is still in our hearts, sometimes even worse.

  1. Someone’s shoulder

Friends consoling crying girl lying on bed

The greatest need of a broken heart is a shoulder to cry on. We need someone who will listen and cry with us.

  1. Social Media

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From being single, to it’s complicated, to in a relationship and back again to single. Social media is the “Dear Diary” of this generation.  It becomes a platform of our emotions. Just for one click, we can share our brokenness to the world.

  1. Food

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If there is stress eater, there is an emotional eater. We try to find our comfort from the food we eat which gives us extra baggage of unwanted calories and fats.

  1. Workplace

workaholic

We tend to work more and more when we are broken hearted. We do not want to be focused on the state of our hearts.

  1. Beautiful Places

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Once we realized that it is really over and we decided to move on, we start to appreciate the beauty of the things around us. We start to explore the world outside our box. Beach, mountains, and all other beautiful places give inner peace to our hearts.

  1. Salon

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Having a new look, like short hair and makeover for women and new hairstyle for men, is another way of saying to the one who breaks our hearts, “It’s your loss!”

But the real question is where do broken hearts should go?

18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)

Our broken hearts should go to the One who can really understand our brokenness, to the One who wants to be close to us and to the One who loves us unconditionally more than anything else. But there are times that God is on the top of our who-to-blame-lists. The reality is God doesn’t want us to have a broken heart. He wants us to have an undivided heart.  I remembered the time when I felt the love of God in the midst of my self-pity party, the time when I felt that I am alone and rejected, and the time that I felt that I was the ugliest creature alive.  And that love helped me realize that I am valued, I am loved, and I am a chosen.

Heart aches would be always a part of our being but those will help us to become a better version of ourselves.   Those heartaches will teach us to trust our hearts to God. Those heartaches will teach us to surrender our pen to God and let him be the writer of our love story.

If you have been hurt by the one you loved, many times or even just for the first time, go to God. Feel your emotions. Surrender. Trust.  Never let the pain of your hearts ruin your perspective on the true meaning of love.  Never be afraid to love again because His perfect love drives out fear. And the best is yet to come, in His perfect timing.

 Just love,

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