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We’re coming Tasmania!

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A few more days and we are off to Tasmania! This will be our very first trip outside Asia and will be sort of our second honeymoon :) Where is Tasmania you say? I’ve never heard of this place until a colleague of mine from Australia asked another colleague whether he’s ever been to the Island. The answer was ‘nope! never been there’ and my colleague’s response was ‘Ugh! you’re missing half of your life!’. I wasn’t eavesdropping okay? Its just that they were talking from a hearing distance (like beside me) so naturally i will hear everything  they say. Okay, okay, chismosa na kung chismosa! hahaha…. So anyway, i thought hmmm… what’s in Tasmania? And so that night, all I did was googled Tasmania and understood why. We’re so looking forward to see and experience the island for ourselves.

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We decided to plan the trip without the help of a travel agency. Rudel did all the plane, hotel, car (yes, he’s driving!) bookings while I helped with creating the itinerary. We are flying by Qantas to Melbourne and Jetstar from Melbourne to Tasmania.

Here are the sites that helped us with our planning:

www.travelerfolio.com/places/australia/tasmania/
www.discovertasmania.com.sg/
www.tasmania.com/
www.transport.tas.gov.au/licence_information/tasmanian_road_rules
www.puretasmania.com.au/default.asp?pID=28
www.foodrehab.com.au/category/search-by-location/tasmania/

Please watch out for my next posts about this trip. It will surely be filled with lots and lots of photos!

Written by mella

December 9th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Wedding Tip: Booking a Caterer

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One of the things I didn’t appreciate on most of the wedding caterers in Tagaytay is that they don’t offer free food tasting. Food tasting will only be complimentary if and when you book them and pay the down payment. Unfortunately, because I didn’t have the right guidance during our wedding planning or maybe I was just simply naïve about these things, I had booked this one caterer without trying out their food beforehand. I only relied on the feedbacks I’ve read over the internet from previous brides. On the day of the food tasting, I found their main course meals to be very disappointing (mas masarap pa ang ulam sa carinderia ni Aling Nena kumbaga). I ended up cancelling my reservation with them. I couldn’t bear the thought of feeding my guests tasteless food! And yes, our down payment was forfeited.

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We all have different taste preferences. What may be delicious for others, may not be for you. So before paying the down payment, try out the caterer’s food first EVEN if you’ve already read/heard good feedbacks about them. Pay if you have to. What is 800 pesos compared to 10,000 pesos diba?

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What else do you need to know? I find these tips from theknot.com very useful. Read it NOW.

Questions to Ask Your Caterer

  1. Does the caterer specialize in certain types of food or service? (They should provide you with sample menus to review.) Find a wedding caterer who can make a memorable meal.
  2. Can the caterer arrange for a tasting of the specific foods you’re interested in prior to hiring? (They should.) Schedule a tasting if you get a good vibe.
  3. What is the caterer’s average price range? Are costs itemized depending on the foods you choose, or is there an all-inclusive flat rate? What would that include (linens, tax, and gratuity)? Does the caterer have printed price sheets for food selections? Make sure there’s room in your wedding budget.
  4. How involved is the caterer in a typical reception — does she work like a wedding coordinator or banquet manager, cueing the band, telling the couple when to cut the cake, adjusting the schedule if guests don’t seem ready to sit down to dinner? (You will need to find someone to fill this role — if your site manager or caterer isn’t going to do this, think about hiring a wedding coordinator.)
  5. Will the caterer provide tables, chairs, plates, table linens, silverware, salt-and-pepper shakers, and more? Ask to see these items to make sure they’re acceptable. Do you have to rent tables, place settings, or other equipment? Or will they arrange for the rentals? If not, find wedding rentals in your area.
  6. Who is the main contact? Will the same person you work with when planning also oversee meal service on the day of the wedding? (You want this to be the case.)
  7. Will the caterer work any other weddings on the same weekend, the same day, or at the same time as yours? (You want to be sure they will devote sufficient attention to you.) You may want to pass on a smaller outfit who indicates they have another job or two scheduled for that day.
  8. Does the caterer handle all table settings? Will they put out place cards and favors?
  9. Will the caterer provide wait staff? How many would they recommend for the size of your wedding? What will the wait staff wear? (Top caterers say they always use their own serving personnel, even if the site’s staff is available, because they understand the caterer’s way of doing business.)
  10. Will the caterer be willing to include a recipe you provide, like a special family dish, or an appetizer with some sort of sentimental significance? Can they prepare vegetarian, kosher, kids, or halal meals for just a few of your guests?
  11. Where will the food be prepared? Are there on-site facilities, or do you, the caterer, and the site manager need to make additional arrangements? If the caterer must bring in his own equipment, is there an additional fee?
  12. Can the caterer provide alcohol? Or can you handle the bar separately? If you can provide it, is there a corkage fee? How and when will you get the alcohol to the caterer? If the caterer will provide it, do they have an flexible wine list, and can you make special requests? How is this list priced?
  13. How will the caterer arrange the food on the buffet table or on plates? Can you see photos of previous work displays?
  14. Can you speak to previous clients? (Get at least two references that had a similar number of guests and a similar menu style.)
  15. Does the caterer also do wedding cakes? Can you use an outside baker if you desire? Is there a cake-cutting fee?

    and more…….from other sources

  16. How much do you charge for children’s meals?
  17. How much do you charge for supplier meals?
  18. Can you show me photos of cakes you’ve done in the past?
  19. What types of linens, glassware, plates and flatware do you provide?
  20. Do they have any other events or weddings the same day or weekend?
  21. What is your policy on cleanup? TIP: Be very clear about what “cleanup” means and who’s responsible for handling it—and be sure to get it in writing. We’ve heard many tales about caterers that left dirty dishes, trash and uneaten food behind. In most cases, when you rent a location it will be YOUR responsibility to leave the place in acceptable condition. You want to spend your wedding night with your honey, not picking up empty bottles from the lawn!
  22. If there is leftover food from my event, can we have it wrapped up for guests to take home or have it delivered to a local shelter?
  23. If my event runs longer than contracted, what are your overtime fees?
  24. What is the last date by which I can give you a final guaranteed guest count?
  25. How much of a deposit is required to hold my date? When is the final payment due?
    Are there any fees that won’t be included in the proposal that we should be aware of?
  26. Once we book with you, how quickly can we expect a contract? And if we make changes to menu choices or other items, will you update us with a revised estimate and contract?
  27. What is your refund or cancellation policy? – very important! Unexpected events can happen that will force you to cancel, so know your way out!

Tip from me: Try asking for a sample contact which may contain their general terms and conditions.

Written by mella

August 4th, 2011 at 10:52 am

Posted in Tagaytay Wedding

Tagged with , ,

Our Tagaytay Wedding

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Onset
We first thought of having a very small and intimate wedding. Intimate as in his immediate family and my immidiate family only. We wanted it to be held at the beach. Not in Boracay but in Palawan. But we changed our mind later on because of costs and logistics issues. So we decided to have our wedding in Tagaytay, after all its only “2 hours away” from Manila. Little did we know how that 2 hours drive mattered a lot, not only to us but also to our guests. It affected EVERYTHING–time, budget, schedule of supplier meet-ups, guests accommodation etc. Yes, I have to be honest. I kind of regretted having a Tagaytay wedding (I’m not discouraging you or anything, just sharing my feelings). I think primarily because we were not aware enough of the consequences of having an out of town wedding.

Tip: THINK HARD before opting for an out of town wedding. Be realistic about how much money you really WANT and CAN spend for your wedding. Because out-of-town can also mean out-of-budget.

Choosing the Date
Choosing the date of our BIG day proved to be stressful too! We originally wanted to have a July wedding so our relatives from the US can come home but my father who’s also living abroad said he won’t be able to make it if we choose July. So we settled for a December wedding. It was all set from there. We started booking the major suppliers. We booked the church and venue as well. Unfortunately, months before our wedding, my soon to be father-in-law (at that time) unexpectedly passed away. I won’t talk much about it but it all I can say is that it was one of the saddest moment of our lives. So yes, we had to move the date again. We chose March 04. No sentimental reasons whatsoever. We just thought that the weather would still be nice during that time. Not too hot and not too cold. Luckily, our suppliers understood our situation and did not charge us for changing our wedding date.

Tip: Have at least two back-up dates in case something unexpected happens. You’ll never know. At least your ready diba?

Hunting for Supplier
I THINK this is second the most stressful part in a wedding preparation (I’ll tell you later what’s the first). Our initial budget for our Tagaytay wedding was around 300K (yes, we were unrealistic!). Hence, hunting for a good and affordable supplier had been really a tough challenge. I spent a lot of time reading supplier feedbacks in WOW and in different forums (namuti talaga mata ko kababasa) .  Another headache was the mixed reviews for the suppliers I had shortlisted . Some had a good feedbacks while some had bad.

Tip: You read 5 feedbacks for one supplier. 3 commented that they were sloppy while the other 2 said they were the best.  The 2 probably just got ‘LUCKY’ (unfortunately, we were one of the unlucky ones for one of our supplier)

Decision Making
This is the hardest part when planning a wedding. We (ladies) are born with the ficklest of the fickle mind you all know that. What you want today, you may hate tomorrow. Choosing a wedding designer. Choosing a wedding design. Choosing a photographer. Choosing a Church. Choosing the menu. Choosing a wedding theme or motif. Aaaaghhh. Imagine all that? And the horror. The horror of making the wrong decision. That is the scariest part.

I don’t have any tip for this part because again this is my own true weakness that I have yet to conquer. But let me leave you these inspirational quotes about decision making.

“My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are cheap; you make them because they’re right.”
~Theodore Hesburgh

“The more alternatives, the more difficult the choice.”
~Abbe’ D’Allanival

“Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.”
~Dr Phil

Was it worth it?

Yes, I supposed. Because our family and guests enjoyed Tagaytay’s cool weather and Taal’s breath taking view. And the wedding? Well, no ‘major major’ glitches. But I had tons of ‘could have’ and ‘should have’ going through my mind every time I look at our wedding pictures. I know, I know, wedding pictures are meant to remind you of the happy moments but I can’t help it hahaha. I guess that’s already a part it and I call it “post wedding syndrome” hehehe.

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Coming up….pictures from our ocular visits.

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Written by mella

June 3rd, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Tagaytay Wedding

Tagged with ,