#RealWeddings: This Tuscan-Themed, Nature-Inspired Wedding In Tagaytay Featured A Dinner-Under-The-Stars Reception
“The first night we met, I was too drunk to even have a conversation with him,” giggled professional makeup artist Nivien Soledad-Paez as she recalled the night she met her now-husband Jorge. “I thought we’d never talk again, but here we are now, still dancing and laughing drunkenly ’til the wee hours!”
Nivien had no clue that the wine-induced evening was only the beginning of a life of bliss. After dating Jorge for a couple more years, sharing laughter and conversations over dinner and drinks, the beauty expert and the pilot officially got engaged—ready to start a new chapter together.
"When Jorge proposed to me last December 2017, he instantly had a date in mind: September 17, our third dating anniversary."
The Cebuana bride and the South Cotabato-born groom decided to wed in a church in Batangas—a venue far away from their home provinces. This way, they were able to limit their guests to the significant people in their lives.
"I've always dreamt of having a destination garden wedding with only my closest family and friends. That's why we decided to get married in Caleruega Church in Batangas and have our reception dinner in Tagaytay," shared the bride.
Their Tuscan-themed wedding was adorned with nature-inspired elements and hints of metallic gold details. The reception dinner was elegantly styled in a way that brought the outdoors in, eliciting a breathtaking, dinner-under-the-stars vibe.
To score tips on how Metro real bride Nivien was able to pull this wedding off in nine months, keep scrolling!
About the couple
How did you and your husband meet?
"Jorge and I met through a common friend. Before he agreed to meet up with me, he stalked me on Instagram, to see if I'd meet his standards. I stalked him too, for the same reason. Ang yayabang noh? Hahaha!"
How long have you two been together?
"We dated for a few months before we became official. Then, after two years, he asked me to marry him. Now, we've been married for almost one year. How time flies!"
What are your current occupations?
"I am a makeup artist and an AXA financial advisor, and Jorge is a pilot."
What do you enjoy doing together?
"Jorge is very sporty and active. He plays football, basketball, golf...you name it. He's also into joining triathlons and riding big bikes. I, on the other hand, have a very sedentary lifestyle—but I'm always there to be his cheerleader!
"We both love going on random adventures together: traveling, going on road trips, listening to good music, and heading out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates (this, we wish to be able to do forever—even when we'll one day have kids!)"
Preparing for the wedding
Why did you choose to have a Tuscan-themed wedding?
"Just like any bride-to-be, I started pinning wedding ideas on Pinterest right after we got engaged. My phone was also full of screenshots! I also consulted our creative friends for ideas and inspirations.
"While planning, Jorge left almost 80% of the details up to me—it was amazing because I love weddings! I've always been fascinated by weddings ever since I was a kid, and I knew I'd enjoy planning my own.
"I chose to have a Tuscan-themed wedding because we love its vibe—Tuscany has always had a special place in our hearts."
Why did you decide on a green, gold, and bronze color palette?
"I didn't want anything too common or traditional. To stay in harmony with our theme, I thought of nature-inspired colors mixed with vintage greens. We added a little gold here and there to add a pop of elegance.
"For the entourage's gowns, I didn't want my bridesmaids to wear matching dresses. I wanted them to feel like themselves, so I only provided the fabric, but had them choose their own style and designer.
"It was my dear friend, Lorymer, a stylist and fashion designer, who helped me decide on the material of my entourage's dresses. He chose silk charmeuse and the exact colors of the fabric. He definitely knew better!"
Why did you choose a "dining under the stars" concept for your reception dinner?
"We loved the idea of bringing the outdoors inside. And as Tagaytay's weather is temperamental, we didn't want to risk having our reception outdoor.
"We considered several factors before deciding on our final reception venue, like ample parking, accessibility for elderly guests, nice restrooms, etc. When we were at the verge of choosing our venue, one of Jorge's friends advised us, 'You'd just know when it's the perfect venue for you. You'd feel it!'
"That's exactly how we felt about Ville Sommet in Tagaytay. It was perfect because it was a glass house in the midst of a beautifully landscaped garden, so it still feels like being outdoors. Our stylist Il Fiore went above and beyond, installing a thousand fairy lights at our reception ceiling to achieve my vision. It really felt like we were in a garden under the stars; it was as romantic as it could get."
What were the challenges you encountered along the way?
"Planning your own wedding is so fun and fulfilling, especially when you get to be hands on. But it's certainly never without challenges along the way.
"One of our challenges was setting a realistic budget. They say, the key is to pick which to splurge on—whether it be food and drinks, décor, bridal gown, entertainment, or photo and video documentation. But when you're at it, believe me, it's so hard to decide because, of course, you'd want every detail to be as perfect as possible. But then again, we should always remember that weddings last for only a day, but marriages are bound to be for the rest of your lives. Thankfully, we were always reminded by our parents to spend wisely."
What was the best part in preparing for your wedding?
"Getting to bond as a couple. We got to really know each other better! We also spent quality time with each other every time we went on errands for the wedding. Whenever we would drive to Tagaytay for appointments with our suppliers, we would always squeeze in a breakfast or lunch date, or drinks in between, which is one of our favorite things to do!"
What is your tip for future brides and grooms who want to have a destination wedding?
"The key is to take things one at a time. Come up with a checklist of all the things you need to accomplish. Then research on several destinations, so you both get to decide where you really want your destination wedding to be, taking into consideration the pros and cons of each of your options. If you feel like a destination wedding is the answer to your prayers, go for it!"
The wedding look
As a professional makeup artist, did you ever consider doing your own bridal makeup? Why or why not??
"As a professional makeup artist, maybe it wouldn't be surprising if I'd be doing my own makeup on my wedding day. But I booked a glam team: Mauri Estrada for my makeup and Antonio Papa for my hair.
"At first I considered doing my own, because apart from me already knowing what kind of look I wanted to achieve, it could also be a lot of savings! But then I also thought, I didn't want to look my usual, and it's really different when you have someone else do it for you. And a friend who just got married told me, if there's one thing she would've changed during her wedding, she would've hired a makeup artist.
"Jorge also kept reminding me that he wanted me to be stress-free on our wedding day, so I shouldn't be doing my own makeup. After all, I only become a bride once. There's nothing like just being the bride and having a glam team of your own! For my look, I didn't want it to be natural and effortless. I'm all about eyes, so I went for smokey eyes with brown tones and bronze. Then I opted for natural glossy lips."
Tell us something about your beautiful dress. Why did you choose an intricate lace ensemble by Maureen Disini?
"I knew I wanted my dress to be simple yet classy, and of course a reflection of me. I was already contemplating on Maureen's designs way back, and when I came to see her for the first time to see if we can work out the dress I wanted, I was certain right away I'd go for her! Maureen got this fully beaded lace fabric in one of her trips abroad, and we both instantly fell in love with it! At her recommendation, I finished the look with a cathedral-length veil. And it turned out to be just the perfect wedding gown of my dreams!"
Number of guests: 200 (100 from his side, 100 from my side)
Date of wedding: September 17, 2018
Church: Caleruega Church, Batangas
Reception Venue: Ville Sommet, Tagaytay
Priest: Father Melchor Saria, O.P.
Wedding coordinator: Jets & Rhona
Photographer: Jaja Samaniego
Videographer: Bob Nicolas
Invitations: CDI Designs
Bridal gown designer: Maureen Disini
Groom's suit designer: Ziggy Savella
Designer of entourage: Tet Ko
Glam team: Mauri Estrada (makeup), Antonio Papa (hair)
Florist/event stylist: Il Fiore, K by Cunanan
Caterer: K by Cunanan
Cake designer: Cay Cuasay of Cupcake Lab PH and Lucille's PH
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