We didn't set out with a specific budget in mind. All we agreed upon is that we'll spend what needs to be spent but will make tipid for things (i.e. no food carts since I felt that we had enough food from the caterer naman) which are unnecessary so budget-wise, I think that we did well.
I won't give the exact amounts that we paid for each item but I can share details if you want, email me privately.
1) Venue: Ariato Function Center, Penthouse Il Terrazzo Bldg, Scout Madrinan corner Tomas Morato, QC
I have to be honest and say that this location is owned by the family so I may be biased with my opinions. With that, here goes...
- The location is perfect for our guests who are mostly from the QC and Manila areas (it's in a nice, central and accessible location for everybody).
- Ample parking (free parking in the building perimeter, pay parking in basement of the building).
- Size is perfect for our event of 170 guests. There are 2 ballrooms available for different event sizes, we used both.
- The place is new so hindi pa gasgas. Interior is nice w/ high ceilings (not cathedral or vault ceilings pero higher than normal).
- Great AC unit. The venue was packed full with guests and the AC worked well.
- There is an open air area near the kitchen wherein our caterer was able to set up their on-the-spot cooking area so hindi bumaho or nag amoy food yung loob ng venue.
- Free use of Tiffany chairs and tables
- Sound system is included
- I was not able to check out the restroom, but I heard from my brother that it got smelly towards the end. Something to do w/ the exhaust yata (parang sira ? or di naka on ?) I did not ask any of the guests naman. Unfortunately, hindi rin ako naka ocular ng site before our event so I don't really know how many stalls are available. In any case, the bldg has restrooms w/c are available for guests rin.
2) Apple of Yan-Ple Party Shop
I'm very happy with Apple's services. During the course of our email correspondence, there were a couple of times when nag panic ako when I did not immediately receive an email from her. But once I decided to relax and trust in her (after all, she is a n@wie who has handled lots of parties before), everything became smooth and easy. We got her services for the following:
Balloon decorations for the venue (around 350 balloons) and balloon burst with 30 balloon inside, we also asked Apple to provide the prizes.
Peso Power - very reasonable
Rating - A+
Styro stage backdrop w/ Baby Einstein theme - this came with a standee in w/c was set up at the entrance of Ariato. The backdrop and the standee were customized with my son's name.
Price-wise, medyo iffy ako dito at first because I didn't really want to spend big bucks for a background rental. Pero when hubby and I saw the sample pictures of the backdrop, maganda naman pala and we decided na we might as well pay for a background para maganda rin yung stage ng party.
My one comment lang pala w/c we realized after the party was that the name of the celebrant is way up in the corner and if you look at the picture, yung nasa gitna was the name of the theme "baby einstein". Okay lang ako with this and wala naman akong comments until one aunt approached me and said, "Einstein pala name ng baby mo." Medyo mahaba habang usapan bago namin na find out kung bakit nya naisip yun :) Syempre hindi rin nakatulong that "Baby Einstein" is not exactly mainstream or as popular as Sesame Street or Disney characters.
Cake - we ordered the cake via Apple na rin (my main goal talaga is to lessen the number of people I have to coordinate with so I was happy when Apple had a complete set of services). We also ordered 50 character topped cupcakes para hindi mukhang kawawa yung small cake (I did not want to pay extra for an extra non-edible layer of cake).
Price-wise, okay lang. Look-wise, pwede na. Taste-wise, it was normal. Nothing spectacular. Hindi to naubos because we had lots of dessert provided by the caterer and those were admittedly much yummier and more tempting than the cupcakes. But I have to admit that my brother and I feasted on the cupcakes the day after the party. We kept saying na hindi naman overly masarap and hindi spectacular but we just couldn't stop ourselves - we each ate 4 cupcakes in one sitting that day.
My husband and I were busy talking with the guests so we didn't get the chance to sit down and listen to the entertainment. But from what we've seen and heard every now and then, bentang-benta si Bobi sa mga kids. Super lakas ng halakhak ng mga kids at tuwang tuwa talaga sila. I didn't want to be bothered by any details na because I had a lot of things to attend to so I loved that Bobi and his assistant (Lara?) took care of everything - the programme, hosting, prizes, popping the balloon burst, giving out of the loot bags,... Lara would just cue me on what's next on the agenda and I'd let her know kung ready na kami or not.
peso power - very reasonable (included na ang hosting, puppet show, magic show and he has his own sound system).
Rating - A+
Souvenir loot bags (mini backpacks) w/ goodies inside, prizes for the games and prizes for the balloon burst.
Peso power - reasonable
Rating - okay
The loot bags were customized with the Baby Einstein theme, okay naman yung quality ng bags but the background of the print (the white background) looked dirty, yung tipong hindi maganda yung resolution ng picture that was used when it was printed. We ordered loot from Apple and she assembled the bags for us, the bags contained bubbles, plastic balloon, pencils, a notebook, sharpener, eraser, pick-up sticks and a wallet. Okay naman siya so far as lootbags go and I was happy with the contents and what Apple charged us for it.
3) Caterer: Verleo
I'm super happy with Verleo's services, very courteous ang staff and maganda ang service. Happy rin ako w/ the head waiter (Joey). Aside from the food, our package included: table centerpieces (flower), cake table, gift table, two buffet lines for adults and one buffet line for the kids, tablecloth and chair ribbons for the Ariato tables and chairs, kiddie tables and chairs, lechon chopper / servers
Note that Apple also kindly talked with our contact at so that we could get tablecloths and chair ribbons that coordinate with our balloon decors.
- Verleo fried rice
- Birthday noodles
- Seafood Spinach soup
- Salt and Pepper Spare Ribs
- Boneless chicken teriyaki
- Grilled steak (on the spot)
- Ebi bacon tempura (on the spot) - in retrospect, parang di ko nakitang may bacon
- grilled salmon with lemon butter sauce (on the spot)
- mixed vegetables
- dessert: buco pandan, mango crepe and assorted pastries
- lechon (we ordered 2 lechon from Elars, not part of Verleo's package)
Service wise, it was great (as I've mentioned earlier). Food was great too, though there was a batch of two of the grilled steak na medyo tough (hindi tender). Overflowing yung food and we were left with a lot of food to bring home. In retrospect, we should've ordered for a lot fewer people than we had (we ordered food for 160 guests and final headcount was around 180, not including suppliers).
4) Photo Coverage
Main photographer: Michael and Mark Bautista of Pixel8. Chel is the husband of my friend Kay so I didn't think twice about booking him after husband and I saw his sample photos (w/c we liked). Our package included unlimited shots throughout the event plus 40-50 edited photos. I was able to receive our raw pictures na and I'm satisfied with the results naman. I'm still waiting for the edited shots (we did agree that this will follow na lang after a few weeks because of the holiday rush).
Rating: I will reserve my rating for them muna until I receive the final edited shots.
Backup photographers (gratis): Bernard and Karen Osana of BK Pixels Photography
A few days before our event, Apple approached me about Bernard and Karen. They were starting a photography business and were offering to cover our event for free. Syempre, oo naman ako. The more, the merrier diba ?
I have not talked to Bernard or Karen to thank them since our event but I will surely write them a thank you note. What I liked about them were:
- they had uniforms (matching shirts w/ their business name) so very professional ang dating
- ang bilis ng turnaround ng raw pictures. We had our party on a Sunday and we received the DVD via courier that Tuesday. Nagulat nga ako.
- Very nice shots
5) Video Coverage: Louisa (? don't remember), c/o YanPle party shop
Price: very affordable :)
I wanted to get video coverage for our party but didn't want to spend a whole lot more. I thought about this long and hard but couldn't decide until I saw that the rate was very affordable - no brainer na. I figured that we were covered by a reliable photographer na so I was okay with any video coverage.
Package inclusions: raw video in MiniDV format, edited video in DVD to be delivered by courier. There was 1 videographer and 1 lighting person.
I have not received our videos so I cannot rate their output yet. Mukha namang sanay mag cover ng events yung videographer, they were always around us whenever I turned my head so siguro na cover naman yung mga dapat i cover. Sila rin yung nag remind sa amin to get some shots taken of us opening gifts, I forgot this na nga because my son was already very tired and sleepy by that time.
Medyo turn off lang because I saw the videographer asking the the waiter for a take-out container after nila kumain, siguro nakita nyang maraming food so nagbalak mag take home. Na turn off ako kasi they did not ask me - I did hear the waiter tell them naman na "bawal po kami magpabalot, ma'am" so I did not comment na.
In fairness, I did not see them sit down to eat throughout the event (either kuha sila nang kuha ng video footage or subtle sila kumain, haha!) so gutom na gutom na siguro sila by the time we finished.