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Alyssa and Indoi’s Enchanted Philippine Forest Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Alyssa Miranda


Alyssa & Indoi

Indoi and I were together for 12 years before we finally tied the knot. We have been classmates since grade school, were teased in our senior year of high school and finally became boyfriend and girlfriend in college despite going to separate schools. Even as college kids, we would dream of the future.We always fantasize about our wedding as well.

I always wanted a garden wedding but changed my mind when I saw the 90’s movie ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’. Robin Hood was married in a forest clearing and I thought it was very pretty. I talked about it with Indoi and he agreed that a forest wedding would be nice. This was in the mid 2000s. Yep, we are dreamers!

Fast forward to June 25, 2014. Indoi finally proposed in the country’s surfing capital, Siargao Island. I thought it was pretty sweet that he proposed in the water with us sitting on our surfboards. To commemorate the proposal, we had our engagement in Siargao a few weeks before the wedding.

You would think that we would have started planning our wedding right after the engagement, but no. I am your typical bride to be and was really annoyed by this, haha. Since I am a wedding photographer also, I see weddings everyday so I was really get motivated to make my wedding dreams come true. Indoi, on the other hand, is a network securities engineer and knows zilch on when to start planning. It was only two months before our wedding date of June 25, 2015 that we started preparing for our big day! It was also an advantage that we had an intimate wedding of only 85 guests.We really wanted it small and chose the people that we knew would really be a part of our lives.

Crazy? Yes, because we chose to have a destination wedding in my province of Baler, Aurora. Baler is the birthplace of Philippine surfing thanks to the American movie, ‘Apocalypse’. It is a five to six hour drive from Manila where we are based. I consider it to be my favourite place in the world. It’s a good thing I am in the wedding industry because if I wasn’t, this two month prep would have been impossible! It was quite easy because I knew who to book already. I also had to travel back and forth between Manila and Baler so that was a bit tiring.

Our wedding preparations started out at Costa Pacifica Hotel. It was pretty fun because I was surrounded by wedding industry friends. It was just weird that they were working and I wasn’t.  Just an FYI, it is very important to get an excellent coordinator. They make or break your wedding!














Our forest ceremony was held at Dicasalarin Cove, a private beach resort. I had been a pretty relaxed bride because I chose to let the coordinators do their thing. Yet, en route to the ceremony, I started having butterflies in my tummy. I guess no matter how relaxed you are, you will still get that. It finally started subsiding when I was walking down the aisle. Lo and behold, Indoi was crying. I believe that was the first time his relatives saw him cry. Definitely a highlight.








On a personal note, my grandmother officiated our wedding and whilst I was listening to her, I was admiring my stylist’s Dave Sandoval‘s work. I loved how he went all out red with the flowers. From my bouquet, bridesmaids’ flowers and the ceremony and reception styling, the flowers and details that he did was just beyond beautiful. He didn’t scrimp on material. He made everything that I envisioned come to life but so much better. The finale of our ceremony was our vows. Vows are important to us because these are spoken promises as witnessed by our loved ones. This is where I finally broke down and cried.










Following the ceremony, it is typical to have cocktails beside the reception area but I did ours differently. Since our reception was outside at Dicasalarin, I felt that it would have been a waste if the guests did not set foot on the beach itself. Thus, I put the cocktails there. The guests’ reactions definitely did not disappoint upon seeing the beach.


Our reception was held at AMCO Beach Resort. I chose this venue because of the beautiful rock formations meeting the ocean. This time, Dave decided that the floral table arrangements should be a mix of different coloured flowers. He also placed gold plates and candelabras on the tables. I also made him put strings of lights over the reception area so the ceiling  – which was the sky – didn’t look flat.







Two thirds of the way into the reception , it started raining. For some, they would have been disappointed but not me. In a way, I thought it was a blessing because I had an excuse to have our wedding day videos be played at an indoor venue where I do not have to worry about the projector and sound not working. Thus, I ushered everyone back to Costa Pacifica and watched our videos play in a small function room. True enough, our intimate wedding got even more intimate when watching the videos. The reactions of guests while watching the videos were priceless.




Even before I got engaged, I already have two of the most important suppliers worked out. For the photographs, I had to have my boss, Ian Santillan, and our team. It’s an inside joke between Ian and me that he has been preparing for my wedding for five years now (I have been working for him for five and a half years). For the videos, I got a personal favorite of mine, Cinemaworks Wedding Art Film. Marvi de Guzman, the owner, made sure that I  booked him even before I was officially engaged.

I cannot stress enough how blessed I am to be in the industry and have friends in it as well who excel in what they do. They are the reason why our wedding was a success. They went over and above! Would it be too biased to say that I had the wedding of my dreams? Maybe, but I really felt that my husband and I did. Everyone thought so, too. Friend and strangers alike, everyone kept saying “your wedding was so you.” We always wanted to have an intimate wedding that was not entirely traditional.  Even now, I still watch almost everyday the videos as they remind me of how truly blessed we are that we had the wedding of our dreams!


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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Alyssa and Indoi; your enchanted forest ceremony with the beautiful flowers was just magical!

Photographer: Ian Santillan Photography / Wedding Co-Ordinator: Celebrations Events Specialists / Stylist: Events by Dave Sandoval / Makeup Artist: Mayone Bakunawa / Pre - Wedding Preparations: Costa Pacifica Hotel / Ceremony Venue: Dicasalarin Cove / Reception Venue: AMCO Beach Resort / Videographer: Cinemaworks Wedding Art Film / Cake Baker: Madison's Cakes and Pastries / Guitar: Noel Mendez

Inspired Words – Rhea

by | Inspired Words, Weddings


Ms Chinoiserie

elopement ceremony

Celebrating her love and commitment to her fiance – and really just wanting to be married – were the things that mattered to Rhea as she looks back on her sweet mountain top elopement with Joel.

“What’s all the fuss about? The day should be about the bride and groom. Enjoy the small things in life.”

elopement bubbles

elopement first kiss

garden elopement in queensland

green garden elopement

intimate elopement

sweet elopement

Images by Artography

A Tribute to The Baths Sorrento

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Mrs A


In the wake of the fire a few months ago at The Baths in Sorrento, there has been tremendous outpouring of sadness from the public about the devastation of the situation. I agree, it is devastating, especially the loss of a beautiful venue as well as staff suddenly out of employment and ruined wedding plans for many couples. However, I think The Baths deserves to be remembered for all the joy and happiness it has brought into the lives of so many people.

I’m going to write about how The Baths made the best day of my life a reality.

My now husband and I always wanted to have a very casual wedding; not much fuss, good food, one big party and most importantly no lengthy, boring speeches. I must say The Baths was not the first venue we visited, but it was the last. As soon as we stepped through the door, we fell in love with the open design, the beautiful view of the beach and attentive staff.

Faith, our wedding organiser at The Baths, was very much a motherly figure which was actually what we needed. Our ‘big party’ idea wasn’t exactly realistic. Guests expect certain formalities at weddings, such as ‘thank you’ speeches and other acknowledgements. By the time we had finished meeting with Faith, we had locked in a ‘thank you’ speech (as short as possible), a first dance (as short as possible) and a time for cake cutting (in a location as inconspicuous as possible). Luckily, we found a suitable date six months from the date we met with Faith, as a couple had cancelled due to pregnancy. Hooray for babies! Not so hooray for cramming wedding planning into a short six month period though!

At least we found our ceremony venue easily enough in Mornington, the Dalywaters Rose Farm. Our ceremony had to take place in the morning and The Baths happily agreed to start our reception earlier than usual at 5:30pm. Yes it’s true, we took up all of our 115 guests’ entire day to celebrate with us. But no one complained.








The next important point was the food. My husband used to train as a chef, so food quality was high on our priority list. We brought our family down to try the food at a lunch tasting. During the lunch, I got on my bridezilla/Masterchef high horse but actually could not find any fault in the food. It was absolutely amazing – the duck melted in the mouth and fish was cooked to perfection.

The accommodating nature of The Baths extended to the wedding day itself. They were happy for us to decorate their room to my ‘rustic’ aspirations, with many ideas taken from Pinterest. My husband rolled his eyes every time he heard the word ‘rustic’. But my dreams were fulfilled – little straw hearts were hung along the wooden poles, soil and flower filled half globes hung from the ceiling and of course a ladder and hessian table runners also joined the scene.



My family and I were able to decorate the room after the restaurant had shut the evening before to set up our decorations from Stylish Weddings Melbourne. While we were there, The Baths also let me take a sneak peek at the wedding cake I had ordered. I received the shock of my life because my rustic cake actually did not look rustic at all! The Baths must have seen my pale, green face, and offered to speak to the florist to rescue the disaster. Low and behold, crisis averted with fresh blooms! The cake was beautiful and in fact actually tasted delicious.



The Baths kept their arms open, by allowing our florist Hummingbird Blooms to go in early on the day and decorate the room in advance. Our photographer from The White Tree was also able to go into The Baths before the reception to take photos of the venue, the band had ample time to set up their gear and the photobooth company, Little Black Booth, had plenty of time to set up prior. And when last-minute apologies occurred for guests who could not make it, it was no issue to put the money paid for them towards extra alcohol behind the bar!





Our big party went ahead without a glitch on the night. I think this is purely because of the hard-working staff at The Baths and their organisation beforehand. There was plenty of alcohol, full stomachs and lots of laughing and dancing. We could not have asked for a better venue.

Thank you to The Baths for all the memories that you have given not only to us but also to so many other couples. I do hope you rebuild and provide happiness to many more people in the future.


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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Mrs A on your wedding – and thank you for your heartfelt words about such a magical venue! We look forward to hearing about their re-opening date soon!

Bride’s Dress: Essense Designs / Bridesmaid Dresses: Sheike / Ceremony Venue: Dalywaters Rose Farm / Flowers & Decor: Hummingbird Blooms / Photographer: The White Tree / Reception Venue: The Baths / Photobooth: Little Black Booth / Decorations: Stylish Weddings Melbourne
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