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Stephanie Ong-Del Rosario said “I Do” to her long-time beau, Luis Del Rosario, in Hong Kong on January 8, 2016 and celebrated their big day with family and friends at the Verandah in Repulse Bay.

Philippine Tatler Weddings: What was the deciding factor for your choices of where you both wed and honeymooned?

Stephanie Del Rosario: Initially we wanted to do a civil ceremony at the China Club with immediate family and host a separate reception locally. In the end it was simpler to have something small over a weekend in the same city. Hong Kong is familiar yet ever evolving, and while we thought of a few far flung locales, we knew that with all the children involved it had to be convenient. Repulse Bay is a short drive from Central, which allowed us to give our friends and family a different perspective of the city. The weather, being January, was crisp enough to hold an outdoor ceremony at sunset, and our guests lingered for cocktail hour before wandering into The Verandah for dinner. We are still trying to figure out honeymoon dates, although we have tossed some ideas around like Patagonia, Scotland and Slovenia. We just want to be able to eat and walk our way around, without any specific agenda.

PTW: How involved was your spouse? Did you want him more or less involved?

SDR: My husband and I had been t ogether for almost a decade before deciding to tie the knot, so I value his opinion even when I don’t share it, as he always sees facets to situations that I often overlook. It was important for me that he was comfortable with all the core decisions, and that he had his inputs. He was very happy with the way it all turned out, which thrills me because ultimately it was a celebration of us and the people we love who helped keep us together.

PTW: From first-hand experience, what are the three most important things you would advise a bride-to-be in planning her wedding?

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SDR: (1). It is a wedding, but it is just a wedding—it ends. Simply enjoy the day. Don’t allow the planning to consume you, because it really does go by so quickly. You don’t want to look back and think, I can’t believe I wasted so much time obsessing over that while I could have spent it with visiting guests. Make a list of the “non-negotiables” that you and your fiancé find most important and work it out from there. Handle these things yourself, then delegate the rest. (2). Never underestimate how much your friends and family want to help you. My mum, my best girl friends, my sister-in-law, Georgia and cousin, Bernadette, were always asking me what they could do. I desperately wanted to minimize stress on their behalf, since I wanted them to enjoy the weekend, but inevitably they went along and delegated tasks to themselves. (3). Work with like-minded individuals. Red Sheep Photo Cinema, Mango Red, Rosalyn Lagdameo, Nimrat Brar, and Nicole Froelich of Bespoken For all had one thing in common: flexibility. Set the tone then give them the freedom to do what they do.

PTW: In retrospect, would you have preferred a smaller or a larger wedding and why?

SDR: I was very happy with the size of the wedding (130 people), as we were able to have individual conversations with our guests to make sure everyone was well fed and having a good time. You need to be able to appreciate the presence of all the people who flew in just to be with you, so having fewer guests allowed us to carve out time for this.

Photo: Jinggo Montenejo | Flowers: Bloomwoods

Tags: Weddings, Stephanie Ong Del Rosario, Advise