What Mar-Korina's reception would have been

by Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak

Posted at Oct 14 2009 10:21 PM | Updated as of Oct 17 2009 01:02 AM

What Mar-Korina's reception would have been 1
Engaged couple Sen. Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez watch a show at the Araneta Coliseum, the original venue for their grand wedding reception.

MANILA - If plans pushed through for Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas and Korina Sanchez's grand wedding reception, it would have been one heck of a show.

This was what members of the couple's core planning team told abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak in separate phone interviews, 2 days after Sanchez and Roxas announced that they will cancel their wedding reception and donate the funds to needy typhoon victims instead.

The reception's stage design alone would have been a sight to behold, with large cut-out props of delicate fans and carved wooden arches suspended from the ceiling, plus capiz accents on the sides.

The rest of the coliseum would have included buffet stations and dinner tables for guests.

Mike Miñana, who is in charge of production and physical set-ups, said there would have been a large TV screen onstage to project live scenes from the Sto. Domingo Church, where the couple plans to wed.

The fans and arches could have been moved up and out of sight, much like in a stage play, depending on whether the TV screen was being used.

This would have been followed by a brief musical interlude and Filipino-themed dinner for expected 7,500 to 10,000 guests, comfortably seated inside the coliseum, which ordinarily houses up to 22,000 people.

Miñana, who was tasked to direct the reception's program, said the TV screen would have been unveiled once more when the couple arrived from the church. This would have signalled the start of 2-hour reception ceremonies like cake-cutting and bouquet-throwing on a special revolving stage.

He said there would have also been a giant cake presented to the couple from one of the wedding guests. This would have been the grand follow-up to what Sanchez and Roxas described as "The People's Wedding."

Contemporary Filipiniana

What Mar-Korina's reception would have been 2
A computerized sketch of the Fan-themed set design that Korina Sanchez chose for their wedding reception at the Araneta Coliseum. The design includes elevated stairs and movable props.

Gino Gonzales, one of the country's top production designers, said the fan-themed design was chosen by Sanchez, whom he described as "very hands-on."

"Down to the last detail, she is very particular about what she wants. Her sensibility is 'Filipiniana baroque.' Mar is very minimalist. So we have to strike a balance and we'd like to think we did so. But you know, in things like these, it's the bride who calls the shots," he said.

Following the entire affair's "Contemporary Filipiniana" theme, the wedding and reception would have included accents like sampaguita and rosal flowers, capiz lanterns from Quiapo, mirrors from Apalit in Pampanga, and light-colored ribbons that rippled across the stage.

The wooden arches that would have been used in Araneta Coliseum were inspired by The Tecson House in San Miguel, Bulacan.

"It's like 'Bahay na Bato.' Very 'Old Philippines'," Gonzales said. "We would have used cut-outs to look like lanterns. We are using a lot of motifs from Philippine embroidery, from barong, piña, and mats."

However, none of the wedding planners could confirm the total cost of the Araneta Coliseum reception. "Just imagine feeding 10,000 people nalang," Gonzales said.

He is in charge of souveniers, stages, set design, coordinating flower arrangements, coordinating with the ABS-CBN Network for the reception program, and figuring out table settings with CIBO's Chef Margarita Fores.

"It would have been beautiful, but too ostentatious for the times. It would have been appropriate for a couple of their stature, except it might have come out as insensitive [in light of the recent tragedy brought on by tropical storm Ondoy]," Gonzales said.

When Sanchez called up the wedding planning team on Monday to tell them the reception was cancelled, the team agreed with the decision.

'Scaled down'

What Mar-Korina's reception would have been 3
Another option shown to the couple was a capiz-themed stage design, which would have been the focal point of the reception. The floor plan is shown here.

What would have been an opulent reception has now been "trimmed down" to a simple and intimate dinner at one of the homes of the couple's family.

Only wedding entourage and immediate family members, numbering at around 200 people, will be invited to the "no-frills" dinner. The spread will include Filipino fare like "caldereta."

Marichelle Ligon, the couple's wedding coordinator, said they are still trying to give Roxas and Sanchez the wedding reception that they wanted - only on a much smaller scale and at a much lower cost. "Parang pampalubag-loob sa kanila. Pero, if not, we'll go with Plan B. We have back-up plans ready," she said.

Ligon said the couple were a little sad to let go of their dream wedding reception.

"You know naman weddings, it supposedly happens once in your lifetime. You can say nanghihinayang sila, pero tao naman inuuna nila. Public servant sila. Mar's in the business of politics and Korina is a broadcaster who does public service. It wasn't that hard for them," she said.

Gonzales said Sanchez sounded "in control" when she called to tell him the reception was cancelled. "You know, Korina has really given this wedding away already. So she was prepared," he said.

The team is now busy finalizing plans this week, so that they can polish these plans further next week. The couple is set to get married on October 27.

"There is pressure, given the fact there were a lot of considerations. We have to keep the public perception in mind," Gonzales said. "Basically, [we're] simplifying everything and trying to keep the integrity of the event without compromising too much."

Something borrowed, something new

What Mar-Korina's reception would have been 4
The high-profile pair announced their engagement on entertainment show 'Wowowee' in early April. The couple is pictured here a few days after their announcement.

So far, the team said, nothing major has been purchased for the reception because most items are borrowed from friends and family.

The reception's "white-and-wood" theme will include wooden candelabras bought from Pampanga, glass vases, rosal and sampaguita flowers, candles, venetian mirrors, and Araneta-Roxas heirloom pieces like crystals and silver.

Ligon and Gonzales said it is a challenge to source wedding items now because most of the stocks, like Baguio City flowers, were damaged or flooded following storm 'Pepeng.' Flowers are being sourced from parts of Laguna and Davao.

The wedding itself will still include essential features like giant TV screens outside Sto. Domingo Church for those who want to watch the ceremony from outside. Miñana said there are seats reserved within the church for the masses, but on a "first come, first served" basis.

The Philippine Madrigal Singers and the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra will reportedly render "solemn but joyous" songs for free.

The ceremony will be followed by a short meet-and-greet with the newlyweds at the church courtyard. There will be simple cocktails and finger food for about 2,500 people who are expected to grace the event. Report by Kristine Servando, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak. Photos sent to ABS-CBN News.