Toto and Nicolai

In Blog, [email protected] Weddings, What's New by wedding1 Comment

We had a chat with recent bride, Nicolai, about her ranch-themed wedding, to her now husband, Toto Villaruel, held last March 18. She is not a [email protected] but she belongs to the [email protected] Universe.

Nicolai Melicor Wedding Photography, herself a wedding supplier, is used to the hustle and bustle involved in a wedding preparation. We were curious about what it was like for her being the bride this time.

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The wedding was held at El Kabayo, Subic, a western-inspired venue in Pampanga. The wide open spaces of the ranch, surrounded by trees and white picket fences, was the perfect backdrop for Nicolai and Toto’s dream wedding.

The entire wedding setup –from the dressing of the tree, to the six long tables that accommodated 50 people for each, from the invites and the calligraphy on small chalk boards, to the bean bags and art materials at the kiddie table, was a collaboration of many great artists from the industry who excitedly worked on making the couple’s dream wedding a reality.

“Aira styled my prep area, I didn’t want a set that looked like a ‘set.’ And Aira is good at that! How to make simple things look really nice. Just the right amount of class and style! When I arrived at my preps place, it simply made me say ‘its going to be a great day!’ It started my day right.”

“Worked with Byron Velasquez a couple of times already, and his works is one of my favorites! Just beautiful. Not only that, he works well with photographers, assists the bride and takes care of the the couple talaga. Years before Toto and I got engaged, he told us ‘Alam ko matagal pa, but I will do your make up on your wedding’ and just like that, he was our 1st wedding supplier haha Forever grateful because he made me feel comfortable with make up and I’m not a make up fan!”

Gideon Hermosa, worked on our ceremony. We really didn’t know what we wanted so we didn’t know what to expect. We just wanted it to look raw, that’s it. So why hire a stylist if you want it raw? Now that’s where his artistry kicks in!! Gids maintained the realness of our location but gave it more kick! Tada! Our ceremony with tall grass and everything else he added there was spot on!

“I told Vatel Manila about this many times and I’ll say it again. It is because of his bouquets that I learned to appreciate flowers. Never was a fan of receiving flowers (even when I was younger), not until I became a wedding photographer and then started seeing Vatel Manila’s work at shoots would always make me wish that it was my bouquet hahaha. Thank you Dylan for making this for me! We were shooting my portraits when they handed the flowers to me, I had to stop the shoot and hugged my own Vatel Manila bouquet.”

“I really wanted a black gold with black diamond ring but after searching far and wide from Manila to HK, it wasn’t available. So Plan B it is white gold with black diamond. Still beautiful. “

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“Badang Rueda did our reception! For the reception we were keen about the long tables and cascading greens over our tables, and really prayed that the set wont intimidate the guests but would make them feel cozy.”

Trusting new artists. Natalie Lim did the calligraphy and Istorya did the tie clips of the gents and necklaces I gave my girls. I was once a new artist and the couples who trusted me, aaaaah thank you! These two new suppliers were both game and despite the rush work I placed them in they delivered really well. So happy.
I become my bride’s client

My invites was made by Paper Thread Studios, from my bride Pat Felizardo-Ruedas with husband Ian Ruedas. Despite the couple’s pregnancy they agreed to make it for us. I so believe in this couple’s talent, they are so driven and creative! I also got them to do the invites for our workshop last year!

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“My robe was from ‘Amelia in Lace’ you can search them on IG, this was made by my bride Tia Bulan-Roco. I was on the search for a prep dress! And oh man was it hard to find a dress to wear for make up and pre portraits. You’re only going to wear it for a while right? But thanks to Tia, I was in a very nice robe. A robe you can still use after the wedding and for honeymoon, wink wink!”

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Every detail had a different supplier assigned, but all of them had one concept in mind. According to the guests, the styling of all areas were on-point to the theme which shows just how well everything came together.

[email protected]’s very own Benz Co-Rana was one of the wedding sponsors for Nicolai and Toto.

If there was anything of huge consideration, it was the weather. There was news about a storm coming on the day of their wedding, but Nicolai and Toto were set on exchanging vows under “that” tree that they were ready and willing to get soaked in the rain when they say their I do’s.

“If the sun shines, then amazing!” Nicolai says, “Our faith wasn’t shaken, we knew that God made that day for us.”

Fortunately, there was not a drop at the time of their wedding.

The guests gamely dressed for the occasion as the couple requested. And even though the place was quite far from the metro, they stayed until the lights were out, dining, drinking, dancing and celebrating with the couple under a blanket of stars.

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“Supplier Guests. Just a trivia: almost 180 out of the 300 guests were wedding suppliers.
Every 18th of the month Toto and I would want to celebrate our monthsary but we would always have shoots. The 18th of whichever month is always a hot date. So to have these guys with us… to block our wedding date, not to book shoots, that they chose to celebrate with us was bliss! The people in this photo are people we love to make kulitan with during shoots, people in the industry who inspire us, who helped us and those who saw our love story.”

It helped that the couple was naturally carefree which made everyone else feel the same way. Beer was served right away, along with burger sliders for cocktails. No one minded how long the post-nup shoot was taking because everyone was full and satisfied while they waited.

This may also have a lot to do with the couple handpicking every single one of their guests and refusing to let the dramatics of some relatives affect them.

“Make sure that your guests who you invite are the ones who celebrate with you, and not be the celebrant,” Nicolai advises future brides.

For Nicolai, the best part about being a supplier planning your own wedding is that you have the ability to go crazy with ideas. The photo shoots happened smoothly, even the photographers were enjoying themselves.

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And since they’re also friends with the suppliers, everyone got to join the party as well, an opportunity that doesn’t come by often in wedding shoots.

When it comes to the budget, Nicolai admits that beautiful weddings can be costly and that you can expect it to go over your budget. However, she’s quick to assure would-be brides that she’s talked to many other brides before her and they all said that they didn’t regret spending for their weddings.

Just make sure that you pay for a wedding that you really want.

Nicolai’s final word of advice for future brides is this, “Remember that wedding planning is preparation for marriage. It’s all about teamwork. You, your fiance and the Lord. You need patience, understanding, perseverance, fighting procrastination and more. So, when it gets tough, go to the Lord and then talk it out.”

Here are some of the highlights of their wedding:

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About the contributor May de Jesus-Palacpac:

May jests that writing for [email protected] makes up for the details she missed at her own wedding. Prior to jumping into writing and editing full time, she was a full time musician who spent her last two years in the circuit serenading newlyweds and their guests. May is the Editor of the books Productive Pinoy and Right Start. She is also a blogger and a contributor for other websites and publications.



  1. Leslie Ann L. Arcala

    Love the theme of the ceremony: raw! Vague and unique. 😉

    Imagining how it is to have a 180 supplier guest! Cool! 😉

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