A luxury wedding in the Philippines: Jamie Tolentino and Pierre Deludet
06 Jul 2016
Tying the knot in the luxurious Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu, Jamie Tolentino and Pierre Deludet's wedding paid homage to the bride's Filipino roots
How did you meet?
We met at University College London back in 2008, where Pierre took a BSc in Theoretical Physics while I took a BSc in Psychology. We were both on the Executive Committee of UCL Union in 2009 and we became best friends, but we only officially got together after graduation.
Tell us about the proposal.
Pierre made a walk down memory lane in his hallway, taking me through the years of our friendship and subsequently our relationship in photo prints. Then Pierre gave me roses and outlined the reasons why he loves me, before getting down on one knee and presenting me with the ring.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The colour scheme was gold and white with splashes of purple. The theme was ‘Modern Filipino’ with elements of Filipino culture in the bride and groom’s attire, food, and Pierre’s serenade song. Modern is described in the way the Filipino elements are inspired by Western influences, so there were a lot of international elements in the wedding as well.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I knew I wouldn’t be able to just ‘find’ a dress off the shelf as I wanted Filipiniana sleeves with a Western style cut so had to have it custom made by Modista. The result was a Filipiniana fishtail dress with detachable sleeves which turned into a short A-line dress with a sweetheart neckline for the reception. Very modern Filipina.
Where did you find your suits?
Pierre didn’t want to wear a suit. He wanted a ‘Barong’ which is an embroidered formal shirt considered to be the national dress of the Philippines. He had Barongs made for himself and his groomsmen at a tailor called Prince Albert in Manila, Philippines.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
For a change, Pierre was the one in charge of the flowers (and he did a very good job at it). It was dominated with classic white and pink roses for the entourage bouquets with purple orchids for the godparents’ wristlets. The backdrop, table centerpieces, and bridal car were also decorated with white and pink roses.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
People say that the devil is in the detail, so we had loads of it in ours. We wanted the wedding to show appreciation to our loved ones, entertain them and make sure that the event was properly branded (as I am a marketer by trade). Appreciation was shown by giving the adult members of the entourage a bottle of Kahal (Filipino-French coconut champagne) and part of the reception was presentation of gifts to the godparents in the form of a Louis Vuitton London City guide per couple. A photo booth was also set up during the cocktail reception, which took place before the reception dinner so that people could mingle and take home visual memories of the day while we had our photo shoot.
Entertainment was another big thing for us, so to start off the night with a bang, we had a fireworks display with heart shapes as the sky went dark. Dinner commenced with a buffet of Filipino and international cuisine, which reflected the variety of cultures in the room. The night's entertainment kicked off with the couple’s first dance with a song especially composed by Celine Tsai (my cousin) with the ballroom bits choreographed by an instructor and hiphop moves choreographed by me. You can see it on YouTube here.
The night was all the more personal with my brother and sister rendering solo performances of 'Everything' by Michael Buble and 'Photograph' by Ed Sheeran respectively. Following speeches from friends of ours, Pierre serenaded me with a rendition of 'Harana by Parokya ni Edgar' to which I responded with 'Love on Top' by Beyonce.
The audience also got in on the action when they were required to guess who the fact belonged to such as 'Who owns more shoes?' where the answer was either Pierre or Jamie. The formal festivities concluded with a same day edit presentation by Rock Paper Scissors and Digital Minds before the dancefloor got busy until bedtime.
DIY for many means the decor and food, but we thought we’d DIY the performances and ask members of the family to officiate and host to maintain the personal element of the wedding; even the game questions were written by Jamie’s cousins.
Branding was making sure that all elements reflected the theme and/or colour scheme. We also had a pre-nuptial photo shoot so that we could have a wall with all our photos and our thank you cards had our photos in them. Jamie also gave ‘branded’ stationery to all the people who needed to speak on stage so that their cue cards reflected the branding. Sticker logos of the PJ monogram were put in places that we couldn’t brand by print eg. unity candle, food labels, name cards on the table, etc.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
It actually felt quite surreal that all my family and friends were gathered in one room. I was also really glad that I was able to play my own composition as I walked down the aisle. Many brides dream of having a ‘dream wedding’ since they are teenagers, but I clearly remember not wanting to play Canon in D for my aisle walk. Nothing else mattered, just that little detail. In fact, I also composed an instrumental piece for the wedding party to walk to before me.
What was your most memorable moment?
When Pierre sang ‘Harana’ in Filipino. Harana was a traditional form of courtship in the Philippines wherein men introduced themselves and/or wooed women by singing underneath her window at night. It was widely practised in old Philippines with a set of protocols, a code of conduct and a specific style of music. With the theme of Modern Filipino, Pierre had to sing a song which is about doing a Harana, but he had to do it in Filipino. Pierre also felt that it was his most memorable moment because he had never sung in front of a crowd before.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Planning this while abroad was really challenging, as we had to keep on track of progress and make sure we didn’t cross wires.
What was the most important investment for you?
The time and effort we put into the planning trumps the money we put into it. We wanted to make sure that we knew of the details - from Pierre wanting to hire mood lighting and me going over the whole programme and deciding the lighting colours to creating the presentation displayed on the LCD screen and making the table seating arrangements. You can throw all the money you can on an event, but it can turn out to be non-personal and generic.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
We had one especially made for the occasion titled ‘It’s True’. Most pop songs are originally made with someone else in mind, and we wanted something that was specifically made for us. A line in the song says ‘Pierre and Jamie forever’ which we wouldn’t have had if we just picked a song off the rack. To match the song, I choreographed the hip-hop chorus, and we hired a ballroom dance choreographer for the verses and finale. See it here.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
It was three layers, white and decorated with flowers. Simple but elegant.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Having more time to spend with friends and family. People have come from all over the world to be with us during the special day and we didn’t have enough time to spend with all of them.
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
We wish we knew that during the wedding there was absolutely no time to socialise. We would have had a pre-event or post-event for this otherwise.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to Miniloc Island Resort in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Discover what is important to you, stick to your budget and plan ahead of time. Early on, we had a lot of arguments because we didn’t know what each other cared about. I was absolutely insistent that I compose the songs to be played while walking down the aisle, not hiring professional performers or MCs and doing my own make-up. Pierre on the other hand, had an idea of the decor and atmosphere he wanted, so he took charge of that aspect.
Delegation of certain parts of the wedding planning is key as there are too many decisions to be made and too many moving parts, especially when planning from a distance. It is also important to realise that the wedding is your own and traditions don’t necessarily have to follow.
Steal their style:
Photography: Rock Paper Scissors
Videography: Digital Minds
Flowers & Decor: Simple Wishes by Debbie Huang
Wedding Planning/Coordination: Connie Te
Venue: Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa
Bride’s Dress: Modista
Groom’s Attire: Prince Albert
Photo booth: Alvin
Lights and Sounds: Extreme Go Events