BRIDE TALKS: Sposi Novelli

Bride talks is back and today we’re delighted to share with you our lovely bride’s memorable experience. Caren, our bride, wanted to talk about a fact that’s much less known by couples: that the Pope himself can actually bless your marriage. And as she said, we deem this information very helpful specially for newlyweds. Let us share with you the steps Caren and her husband took in having their marriage blessed by the Pope.

1. Read and research

First thing they did was to research and read online articles about “Sposi Novelli” (which literally translates to newlywed couples). Aside from this, they also read tips given by those who have already experienced it. All this started during the month of January.

2. Send a letter of request

Next thing they did was to send a letter of request. From Manila to the Vatican, it cost them Php 2,733 to send the letter. In her letter she stated that they are newlyweds and they wanted their marriage to be blessed by Pope Francis.

3. Apply for visa

By February, they have already received a positive response from The Vatican. The response in the form of an e-mail contained all the necessary instructions. Next thing they did was to apply for visa.

4. Go to the Vatican

Then finally, they went to the Vatican and claimed their tickets, following the instructions contained in the e-mail.

5. Go to the general audience

The fifth and final step was to go to the general audience and be blessed by the pope. She wore her bridal gown and her husband wore his suit to relive their bride-and-groom-feeling once more.

Check out their photos below:

Aside from being blessed by the Pope, they were also able to take home with them Pope Francis’ zucchetto, in exchange for the one they bought in Vatican.

We do hope that today’s feature will inspire and motivate soon-to-wed and newlywed couples. Caren also shared with us that by the time they got back to their hotel, they wore smiles not only in their faces, but also in their hearts.

Bride Talks: How To Manage 1 to 2 Hours of Cocktail Activities

Bride Talks is back and we know that you’re excited for it, and so are we! Today, we talk about wedding cocktail activities–something that most people normally overlook or do not give much attention to. Lea of #lemigetmarried is here to help us list down the things we all should take into account while managing a 1 to 2-hour cocktail activity.

Photo by Foreveryday Photography

Cocktail Activities. This is a part of the wedding celebration that is usually taken for granted by most. But for Lea, she poured her heart out, countless time, energy and resources to plan and visualise what the guests could do during the cocktail hours. Usually on weddings, there is a 2-3 hour waiting time between the ceremony and the reception, and this gap may make or break the total mood of the wedding. Therefore, Lea has thought of the most crucial things to take into account to address the waiting time. Here are Lea’s thoughts on managing this:

1. Proximity of Church and Reception. I wanted to lessen the hassle and travel time of our guests, so I highly consider the proximity of location from each other. For instance, Mary the Queen San Juan and Sampaguita Gardens are just 1km apart , hence it will only take about 5 minutes maximum to travel between these two locations, despite the traffic and stop lights.
2. Food and refreshments. The ultimate thumb of rule is to never let your guests hungry–or dare I say HANGRY (a portmanteau of hungry and angry). After a couple of hours of wedding ceremony, endless photo ops and travel time, hunger is inevitable. Therefore, cocktail is important.
3. Activities to keep them busy on the waiting time. I really thought of a lot of activities the guests can do while waiting. I wanted everybody to participate and enjoy while they were waiting. I prepared a lot of fun activities that everyone could enjoy to fill in the dead air and combat boredom.

At the same time, here are the cocktail plan, food and a little bit of supplier reviews on my wedding:

1. Cocktail Area. We were fortunate enough to reserve and get the garden pavement of Sampaguita Gardens, since I prepared a lot for the cocktail activities. Below was my cocktail area layout including the mood boards.

2. Lounges – A cocktail area usually features cocktail tables, hence making the guests stand for a few hours. But considering the fact that there were senior citizens in my guests list, I added lounges from Amante Fleurs for them to sit while waiting for the commencement of the reception program.

3. Registration Area. I displayed our several photobooks that I created myself. These photos were mostly from our travel and prenup shoot. I prepared sharpie pens for photo messages and panda ballpens for mad libs. I made some simple DIY memorabilia (like movie tickets) that I compiled and put it in a cork board. I bought mini easel stand at Japan home for P66 each. I also bought some envelopes, since we requested for cash as a wedding present.

4. Place Cards. The front of the place card shows the name of the guest, while the back contains the table number and some reminders reminders the guest can do while waiting at the cocktail area.

5. Mad libs. I got this idea from one of the brides in WAW when I joined way back in 2016. I combined the mad libs and You Complete me sheet in one page. This listed all activities the guests could try out; first five to try all activities could win a prize. My hubby and I thought of catchy phrases to make it more fun and exciting.

6. Polaroid Photo Message DIY and print. I did a DIY layout on and made it look like polaroids. The space provided in the photo was guests’ messages. This also allowed them to choose their favorite prenup photo of us.

7. Refreshment and additional canapes. I got free rustic juice bar from Passion Cooks and I got 2 variety of juice drinks and additional 4 flavors of canapes from Periwinkle and Lace. Aside from these, iced teas from Passion ooks were served as welcome drinks. I just made sure that there was a variety of juice drinks for refreshment.

8. Smores Bar. The guests, especially the kids, loved this the most. This was one of the most ‘sulit’ freebies I got from Passion Cooks. The rustic set-up matched our rustic garden theme.

9 Cocktail Food. Passion Cooks prepared some chips, biscuits and nuts. The main cocktail dishes by them were Montadito Don Pepito and Beef Tortilla. Assorted nuts and chips were the other freebies we got from Passion Cooks.

10. Photo Area. I used the free Passion cooks stage backdrop as a photowall. I first saw it from the celebrity, Melai Cantiveros’ Baby Shower and I immediately took note of this–a picture perfect backdrop.

11. TV Frame.  This was another freebie from my wedding coordinator and host. He gave me the rotating TV for guest list table number, in case the guests forgot their tables. Our prenup photos were also displayed here, saving me from printing out these photos in Sintra board.

12. Hashtag Photo Prints. Everyone, especially millennials, prefers now uploading the photos directly on Instagram as everyone brings their phones wherever, whenever. This costs P11,000, which includes unlimited photo prints for 4 hours, free photo projection (hashtag photo projected on LED was during dinner time), free gallery, and photo layouts. I added 1 photoman from them, in case the senior citizens were not able to go to the booth and so that there was someone can do it for them.

13. On-the-Spot Caricature. This costs P3000 for 4 hours per artist. He was referred to me by a friend and I got this idea to provide the guests with a unique souvenir. However, not everyone went home with this, as it took time to finish one output.

14. Lawn Games. I wanted some guests to play some games just for fun. I saw this lawn games while browsing Facebook and I found this very unique. It was setup in the garden and meshed well with the theme. Fifth House gave me an artificial grass as a freebie. This costs P2500 per game for 4 hours plus delivery charge depending on the location.

15. Tacos bar. I got Luna Vida as our mobile bar supplier which is accredited by Sampaguita Gardens. I just got a text promotion in 2016 that if I booked them,100 pieces of tacos could be added for free.

16. Digital Photobooth. This is the usual photobooth with printed copies of photos. What’s cool about this was the guests could choose their own background design and the props were only digital. The guests could also leave a video message.

17. Trivia Games with exciting prizes. I prepared some trivia questions about ourselves and the one who could answer would win some prizes. I bought random prize from Japan Home and Miniso.

18. Picture perfect everywhere. Backgrounds are everything, so the styling was kept in tact and in line with the theme so everyone and everything were picture perfect ready.

19. Live band. We hired a live band during the cocktail. This kept the guest relax while waiting.

Here’s our detailed cocktail timeline:

PS: We had a successful pictorial on our reception before the guests came inside the Azucena Hall. Cocktail activities was also a key to do a reception pictorial. 🙂

Also check Lea’s blog, her wedding tips are helpful!