Here's What Went On At Event Stylist Teddy Manuel's Masterclass 2019
You have to see the outputs of his students in the "fantasy meets reality" gala challenge!
August 20 and 21 were probably two of the most eventful days in the lives of these students. Around 70 of them—aspiring, up-and-coming, and professional floral designers and event stylists alike from different parts of the Philippines and the world (some were from US, Dubai, and Myanmar)—gathered at a ballroom in Manila Marriott Hotel to participate in the Masterclass of sought-after and renowned floral designer and event styling expert Teddy Manuel.
Teddy—who was supposed to pursue a career as an air traffic controller given his educational background in aeronautical engineering—formally launched his “Flowers & Events” business venture in 2001. 18 years since he shifted gears to join this creative field that is now in-demand, he still credits the exposure of the bouquet he designed on Metro Weddings magazine cover as the big break that he took as a sign to pursue floral designing and event styling.
Over the years, Teddy has become famous for his beautiful flower arrangements and opulent venue designs. The “Teddy Manuel Experience,” as his branding goes, is all about elegant, dramatic, and jaw-droppingly beautiful creations. He prides himself in an extensive portfolio of events, which include the weddings of celebrities like Isabel Oli, Maxene Magalona, Iza Calzado, and Rachelle Ann Go.
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Repost from @maxenemagalona - “Your love helped me find myself again. I began seeing my worth as a person and started loving myself for who I was because you showed me that I was someone worth loving and accepting. You loved me even when I was at my lowest. Even when I was totally lost and broken, you helped make me whole again. I learned to love myself again because you showed me that I deserved it.” We said our vows under this magical tree of stars. ✨ Thank you to @teddymanuel for this beautiful set up and to @amandagtirol of @boracayweddings for helping us plan our dream wedding. 💕 #iROByouveryMAXX #MagalonaMananquil 📸 @mangored_studios
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Looking at this venue from a guest's perspective gives us the feel of festivity! Styling by @gideonhermosa and @teddymanuel for Mr. and Mrs. Wintle with Bella Banquets' Fabrianna white steel chandeliers with white shades.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #bellabanquets #bellabanquetsph #eventstylingrentalsph #fabriannachandelier #weddings #weddingsph #weddingrentalsph #ceilingdecor #chandelier ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #rePLANOLY @teddymanuel⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thousands of fairy lights to light up the night and muted colors in nude blooms. @missizacalzado @benmwintle #becomingmrswintle #teddymanuelexperience @eventsbyamandatirol @clubparadisepalawan @bellabanquets ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo @josephgatz
Four years ago, he started his Masterclass with the goal of imparting his knowledge to those who share his passion for the profession. “The most important of all is being passionate about what you do. Being passionate makes you work harder anytime and anywhere, allows you to be more creative, and inspires others who work alongside you,” Teddy shared.
In his Masterclass, he not only tackles the creative aspect of his job but also provides insight on its business side, aiming to help his students kick-start their own careers or pick up new learning to improve their current practices. He told Metro.Style, “Stock knowledge and skills are intangible treasures to keep.” Teddy was extremely generous in giving invaluable tips, never stingy with sharing industry secrets, because championing this profession that has taken him to so many places across the globe and has paved the way for him to work for and with notable personalities is, after all, his advocacy.
With his humble beginning as a floral designer and event stylist, Teddy knows how hard it can be to find and establish one’s footing; with his “back to basics” approach to his fourth Masterclass, he was able to take his students through the intricacies of the event styling process, expounding on the areas of sales and marketing, creatives and production, and on-the-day/post-production executions.
In a previous interview with Metro Society magazine last year, Teddy shared, “When events styling started, there were no schools for this! There were no mentors, nothing. No one tells you how it works. But this time around—I’ve been doing my masterclass for three years now and I get to do mentoring. I also have international students. It’s for two days. What I try to put in my students’ minds is the value of business ethics. Because while our industry is young, there is a lot of room for improvement, we shouldn’t forget about business ethics, how to respect each other. I also stress to my students that this is a challenging job. You should come up with your own style. You have to make it your own and really respect others’ work.”
For his latest Masterclass, all the abovementioned items were ticked off. And by the end of this 2-day Masterclass, students were all in agreement that this “Teddy Manuel Experience” was not only informative and helpful, it was also a challenging yet fun activity that stimulated their creative juices and put their being a team player to the test.
Here’s what went on at the Masterclass of Teddy:
A ballroom in Manila Marriot Hotel was transformed into a classroom, one that was set up with rows upon rows of conference tables and whose ceiling was dressed up with pink marble installations made out of tarpaulins, white flowers, chandeliers, and cascading woven-like accents.
Some students knew each each other as they have previously attended Teddy’s Masterclass last year and the one he did in Boracay recently for his team GMT with his best friends and fellow event design experts Gideon Hermosa and Michael Ruiz. Some students introduced themselves as up-and-coming players in the industry, eager to learn from the master.
The Masterclass started a bit past 9 a.m., with a short introduction by Teddy, kicking off the lineup of topics with the sales and marketing side of event styling. In relation to this topic, Teddy sought the expertise of Gino Canlas from Ideyalab to talk about digital marketing and how it can help boost one’s business. Gino shared tips on how to launch a business online, how to craft a digital marketing strategy, as well as how to run ads on social media.
Taking a break from the business and digital jargons the students were introduced to, the Masterclass shifted to the creative mode with freelance event stylist and floral designer/instructor Renato “Renie” Villanueva demonstrating how to put together a unique floral arrangement. Inspired by the “Tree of Souls” or “Avatar Tree” in the 2009 American epic science fiction film Avatar, he used a fabricated steel stand that had a circular top and base to hold his floral ensemble. From the top part of the stand, he suspended strands and attached round colored floral foams and started filling them up with an assortment of blooms. Despite the floral creation already looking beautiful as it is, Renie wowed everyone when he revealed the final statement-making touch he prepared: a lavishly designed arrangement of fresh and dainty gypsophilas in pink, lavender, blue, yellow, and green, which were assembled to look like the crown of a tree. Renie also showed another unique creation: an M-shaped Moroccan-inspired arrangement that made wise use of multi-colored floral foams.
Before the students took a break for lunch, they were asked to pick an ingredient list from a mystery box. Once lunch was over, they claimed their pre-determined sets from the flower market set at a corner in the ballroom. Using these ingredients, each student was tasked to come up with a flower arrangement in 30 minutes. Renie, Teddy, and a Fleur du Monde representative chose their favorite creations. Students were also encouraged to post photos of their arrangements on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #TeddyManuelMasterclass and #TeddyManuelMasterclass2019 in order to determine a People’s Choice awardee.
After this activity, a flower industry talk by Fleur du Monde showed the students the rigorous process the flowers go through to ensure quality before reaching their shop.
This was followed by the continuation of Teddy's discussion on the event styling process, tackling its creatives and production aspect. “It’s all about storytelling,” Teddy quipped. Every concept he comes up for a client stems from a particular narrative that will tie all the elements together. He discussed the components of event styling and drew emphasis on the entrance décor and ceiling design. Teddy also walked his students through the steps of transforming a space.
And because dressing up a venue entails so much planning and many hours of breathing life into a vision, it’s important to document one’s work through beautiful photographs, making sure every angle and detail is covered, to give you something to remember the event by. This is where the expertise of event stylist photographer Adrian Ardiente played a role in.
After seeing stunningly taken photos of various setups, the students couldn’t contain their excitement about the next thing on the day’s agenda: the team challenge.
Teddy revealed the Gala Challenge: “Fantasy Meets Reality.”
The students were divided into four groups and given their respective team themes: Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Little Mermaid. To set the tone and mood of each area, Teddy pre-selected statement pieces from his go-to suppliers: chandeliers and other lighting fixtures, candelabras, tables and chairs, carpets, and charger plates. It was up to the students to add on to these elements. Familiarizing themselves about the task at hand alone gave the students a crash course on inventory and floor plan layout. They had to carefully consider the number of items they were provided with, how they will spread out and fit those accents in the space assigned to them, and what other elements would complement their theme and statement pieces.
After discussing their strategies and divisions of tasks for the challenge the following day, and doing a quick ocular of their areas, the students got ready for a tour around the Dangwa flower market in Manila. There they participated in a unique Bingo game that had them searching for specific flowers to complete the patterns T, E, and D on their respective Bingo cards.
The first day of the Masterclass may have ended late but the students were still full of energy the following morning. After having breakfast, a resource person from TriGonz Flower Trading Corp. gave a presentation that zoomed in on how relevant weddings are now, sharing that based on a research, the projected number of weddings in the Philippines by 2020 can climb up to 1,021 per day.
From this insightful talk, Teddy discussed the timeline the students were to follow for their challenge. Since they were dressing up a venue for a gala with guests that included notable personalities in the event industry, it was important for the students to operate as if they were working for a real client; therefore, they needed to be aware of the shedule and do their best to follow it.
More than exercising their creative muscles, this challenge also highlighted the importance of teamwork. For team Little Mermaid, which this author was a part of, a team leader was assigned to watch over the overall execution. Based on the skills of each student, the team members divided themselves into different departments: ceiling design, flowers, and balloons. It was crucial for these designations to be established to ensure that each part of the overall design would be finished on time.
Once the trusses, from which the ceiling arrangements were attached, were lifted, it was time for the tables and chairs to be set up. A visually delightful and luscious collection of vases with fresh flowers were then thoughtfully laid out on the tables, which were then completed with final touches—place cards for one team while shimmery fishtail fondant creations for another.
This was not a competition. But all throughout this challenge, all teams echoed the same sentiment: it’s okay to be competitive, but what’s more important is to enjoy and learn from the whole experience.
While the students were so busy and pre-occupied with their own setups, Teddy was also working his magic on the center of the venue with a festive look that complemented all four themes. The highlight? An interactive LED floor! And as the students were getting ready and glammed up for the special occasion, photographers from NicePrint and Mayad as well as Adrian Ardiente took snaps of the entire outputs and their details.
Come the gala night, the teams were invited into the ballroom one by one, the lights on their respective spaces turned off for a special reveal. To kick-off the program, Teddy did a short dance number and gave a short speech to welcome everyone to the night's festivities.
All the hours of work Teddy's students put in to transform the areas that were assigned to them deserved to be acknowledge in the best way possible. Rather than just putting the spotlights on each area with a simple introduction, Teddy and his team wowed everyone as they worked with professional dancers whose performances segued to the grand reveal of the themed vignettes. Still aligned with the team themes, talented drag queens dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Jasmine from Aladdin, Ariel from Little Mermaid, and lioness from Lion King entertained the guests.
From putting together each and every little detail in the setups from scratch, it was then time for the students to experience their creations from a guest's point of view, surrounded by so much flowers and luxurious accents and overwhelmed by the amount of creativity and resourcefulness it took for all of them to complete the task at hand.
Each student were later called onstage to receive their plaque of participation from Teddy himself. After the graduation rites, representatives from each team reported the details of their outputs from the design elements they incorporated to how they went about the budgeting. By doing so, Teddy was able to establish the importance of achieving a balance between the creative and business sides, as well as the vision and the realistic scenarios necessary in pulling off this job.
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
Teddy Manuel's Masterclass 2019 may have started with some students sitting apart from each other in conference tables, but in just two days, they had become close to one another and each team ended up spending the gala night with their members bonding together, sharing conversations and exchanging numbers, Facebook usernames, and Instagram handles with the promise of staying in touch.
This whole masterclass painted a clear picture of what a life in this industry could be like: physically tiring and creatively draining but, more importantly, emotionally rewarding. Just like how Teddy found friends for keeps on this job, these students, too, could be nurturing lasting relationships with those they came across with in this real-world classroom, all while taking with them invaluable lessons that will last them a lifetime.
Photographs by NicePrint Photo and Mayad