Obviously, one of the first steps in planning a wedding is deciding WHEN and WHERE to hold it. Aside from it being two of the most frequently asked questions to any newly engaged couple, the answers to these two simple questions sets the ball rolling in deciding on the other million things to decide on in wedding planning.
But do not be deceived as to how simple these two questions are. They are, I think, two of the most difficult ones to be answered as there are many factors that you need to consider like your budget, availability of yourself, your partner as well as your important family members, proximity to your guests, and superstitions/traditions in choosing the right/lucky day.
For our case, we didn’t have much trouble deciding WHEN to hold the wedding. We instinctively wanted to hold it on our 10th anniversary, May 22, 2014 para meaningful pa rin, but at this time we would be more busy in our training programs (Maan will be 4th year/senior resident and I will be a 1st year/junior fellow). We then decided on December 2013, so that we’re still both in third year, less demands in training, and to have more time in the preps. We also figured that a 1.5 year long engagement is just enough preparation before the wedding. Despite being in the peak-season, a December wedding also allows our balikbayan relatives to join us in our wedding. 🙂
We want our wedding to fall on a weekend so that our guests (mostly fellow doctors) would be available to celebrate with us, preferably a Saturday so that there’s no work the following day. December 7th was then perfect. This would allow us to have at least a week off from work for honeymoon before returning to work mid-December in time for the moratorium for PGH residents: no leaves on the last two weeks of December.
One of the first things we decided is WHERE to hold the wedding. We want our wedding to be a destination wedding but also want it to be a accessible to our guests, especially our co-residents coming from PGH. We eventually narrowed it down to three locations: Tagaytay, Batangas or just hold it here in Manila. But since Tagaytay has a special place in our hearts (thats where we had our final “date” before she answered my question, cheesy haha), we decided to hold our wedding in the breezy, cool city in Cavite.
Maan, who instantly and expectantly became so engrossed in wedding planning the moment I proposed (haha!) bought three wedding magazines in one go! In one of the magazines was a feature about Tagaytay weddings. It said that in Tagaytay there were only a handful of available churches/chapels, but lots of possible venues for the reception. What intrigued Maan was the exclusive chapel located at Tagaytay Midlands, the Madre De Dios Chapel. Upon seeing the beautiful pictures of this cozy-small chapel, she immediately texted me that SHE WAS SOLD. 🙂
I then told her that we must keep our options open for other places especially if we wanted to hold the wedding in December, baka fully-booked na (this was around June 2012, 1.5 years away pa when we were deciding!). So when we both had a free Saturday, we headed to Tagaytay to do an “ocular” of some of our finalists:
1. Transfiguration Chapel (Caleruega)
Maan and I have been to Caleruega before with our brods and sisses in our Tagaytay trip during boards review. With the cool mountain breeze with lush gardens surrounding the church on top of a hill, we knew then that this was a great place to get married. But as one of the most sought-after churches in the Tagaytay area for weddings, we knew that Caleruega would be a tough choice for us. Unfortunately (or fortunately), this was easily scratched off our list since all its December weekends were FULLY BOOKED already when we inquired. (Again this was sometime around June 2012! Crazy right?!) Besides, we were not sure if this chapel is big enough to accommodate our guests.
2. Chapel on the Hill (Don Bosco Batulao)
This is the chapel near Caleruega and was our 1st runner up. We fell in love with the circular chapel and its breathtaking view of Mt. Batulao outside! We fell so in love with the church that we almost paid the downpayment for reservation of our chosen date! But after much deliberation, we realized that we didn’t have many options on where to hold the reception if we hold the ceremony on this side of Tagaytay (Batangas side). So again, we scratched this off our list.
3. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
Because this is a parish, this I think is the biggest church in Tagaytay located along the highway itself. This would be a great option for a big wedding because of its 1) proximity to the Tagaytay city center; 2) there are a lot of reception venues located near this church, 3) did I say it’s huge? haha. But Maan didn’t want a big church for our wedding, so yet again, we scratched this off our list. We didn’t even bother going there during our ocular.
4. Madre De Dios Chapel (Tagaytay Midlands)
We finally decided to give Tagaytay Midlands a visit along with our families. I’ve been to Highlands many times before but was never able to go down to Midlands so it was both our first time to see the chapel when we scheduled our visit there.
Our first impression of the church: PERFECT. 🙂 The chapel was not as tiny as Caleruega or Chapel on the Hill as it comfortably sits around 200 guests. With its high painted white walls and ceiling contrasted by dark wooden beams, the coziness of this chapel is just perfect for a very solemn Tagaytay wedding. It also offers a great view of the Taal lake! What more can you ask for?! Maan also loved that the altar is not as “traditional” looking as with old churches. One of the drawbacks in choosing this chapel however is that it has a short aisle for the bridal march. But Maan seemed not to be deterred by this fact so we went for it and reserved the chapel the following week. (Here is a great write up from Weddings in the Philippines website about the chapel)
A great feature of having your wedding in Madre De Dios is that you wouldn’t have a problem on choosing where to hold the reception as The Veranda clubhouse is just an escalator ride away! This is very convenient for all the guests since they don’t have to ride cars going to the reception after the ceremony. However, one downside to this is that you wouldn’t have a choice of a caterer since you’re limited to getting food and drinks exclusively from them.
So as early as late August last year (about 1 year and 4 months before the wedding) we already finalized WHEN and WHERE. Akala namin we’re going to breeze through the other decisions, but boy we’re we wrong! This was only half the journey, but half is really not that bad is it? 🙂
Below are some pictures I took when we went to Midlands for our second ocular and food tasting this August (one year after booking it!). There was a wedding about to happen that afternoon so the place was set-up already! Too bad it was raining hard that time (Habagat hay..) so the view wasn’t that spectacular as we first saw it last year.
Madre De Dios Chapel, Tagaytay Midlands
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