Monday, November 28, 2005

Launching the Wedding Decorator

I've been a wedding decorator for longer than I've been a journalist, so I figure it's high time I start blogging about the many weddings and parties I decorate for my mom, Aida Barrientos.

First, some background.

When I was in elementary school, I remember getting ready for school and my mom rushing off to the Flower District in Los Angeles for her floral arrangement classes. When my parents got divorced when I was 10, my mom kicked her business into high gear out of necessity, but now is one of the most in-demand florists in the Filipino community.

Why just the Filipino community? Well, she is most comfortable with what she knows, and that would be Filipinos. Plus, now, she's on the verge of retirement, so she's slowed down some - no more two or three-wedding days, thank God! Those were killer days.

I realized the other day, as I was decorating at the Our Lady Of The Angels Cathedral in downtown L.A., that since I like to post pictures of what I do on Saturdays before going to work at CBS - I might as well create a companion blog. It's a concept that I have modeled from Franklin Avenue, who has several companion blogs - thanks for the inspiration, Mike and Maria!

Anyway, wedding season, much like Southern California's fire season, is year-round - May and June are known as the most popular wedding months, but after more than five years of helping my mom on a steady basis, I've learned that there really are no wedding months. This month is a prime example - my mom had one wedding for each weekend in November this year, but during May, was not really all that busy.

The frequency of weddings is directly related to the frequency of my posts to this blog - I can't really blog about a wedding I've decorated unless there is one, so don't expect real frequent posts. The idea of blogging about the weddings I've decorated (and dude, I probably have decorated more than you think is possible) is kinda exciting also, because this way I can add little notes about the hotels and churches we work with and other vendors we encounter.

However, I don't work as directly with my mom as I used to (when I lived with her), so I often don't have much to say about the couples or families in question, so don't expect any snarky gossip about monster brides.

I also plan to post more pictures, but in a size and quality that will make it impossible to for some eager-beaver florist to try and copy. I know all your tricks...

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Our Lady Of Angels

You're looking at a picture of the courtyard of the Our Lady Of Angels Cathedral in downtown L.A., where I helped my mom with a pretty big deal kinda wedding. Weddings at the cathedral in general are kind of a big deal anyway, since I think the waiting list for the cathedral is, like, two years long and really expensive to boot. This particular view is from the second-floor conference center, across from the main cathedral sanctuary.

Of course, the difference between other Catholic churches and the cathedral is that there are any number of tourists at the cathedral at any given day. They watched my brother and I eagerly as we carted equipment over to the sanctuary in preparation for a 10 a.m. wedding.

Oh, yeah, here's another reason - the sheer size of this church.

I know you're wondering why I said the wedding was a big deal - well, it was because this was apparently the first time the Cathedral allowed draping on the altar.

Here's a close up. Yep, that's what I do. It's not as easy as it might seem, and it took me years to figure out how to do all this in less than 30 minutes.

Trinity and I both work night shifts on Saturdays, so doing working with my mom is definitely out of love, especially on Trinity's end. He so loves his morning sleep.... This picture is of him tying the sashes - which were bubble-gum pink, by the way - onto the seat covers, all of which were provided by mom. We fought over this picture right after I took it.

More pictures...

This is a sweetheart table, which my mom insists on at almost every wedding reception we do, although some hotels and reception sites still don't understand the concept. My mom really does the sweetheart tables up - for this one, besides the draping and the flowers, she scattered rose petals on it and put special, custom-made seat covers on the chairs.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Recap: Holy Matrimony Batman!

What is this you ask? Well, first, this was the wedding of my friend Moonie, more popularly known as the editor and publisher of Flavor and its predecessor Pinoylife. He decided to get married on Oct. 1, the peak of the fire season and sure enough - a brush fire was burning the hills of Burbank the day of his wedding and reception, which was at the Castaway, nestled right in the hills of Burbank. Oh, and yeah, my family and I also decorated the wedding, so we got to deal with all the fun wrangling with the Burbank police and fire departments, trying to get past the roadblocks so we could unload all our flowers and equipment. Now, I can put "decorating amidst brush fire" up there along with "decorating amidst Long Beach Grand Prix" on my list of things I've done as a florist's daughter.

There's the water-dropping helicopter flying into the hills, as my mom and her teacher Silverio feverishly put together their arrangements.

I thought this was a nice environmental photo of my mom - what do you think?

Oh, yeah - besides decorating amidst the flames, we attended the wedding too. I was so tired at the end of the night..... Unfortunately, to Moonie's disappointment, there was no flames lighting the hills as the reception went on. This was, however, the most fun and crazy wedding I've ever seen - and I've seen plenty. May King Choc Nut live on!

Lovella looked absolutely beautiful and actually, clicking through their online wedding proofs, she was absolutely photogenic this night too. Too bad I can't say the same for the other female in this picture.... *ugh*

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