Many people have been asking me, ‘Des, where’s your debut post???’ and I’m very happy to say that it’s finally here guys! 😀 Apologies for the long delay for the photos have just been recently handed to me and I have been busy! 😦
Without further ado, here’s MY SPECIAL EDITION DEBUT BLOG POST! This will be a very (emphasize on the ‘very’) long post and will be divided into two parts! Do read on! 🙂
I don’t ask a lot from my parents and I usually handle things by myself as much as I could because I know they’re busy with work, but just this once, their little princess asked for a wish – a celebration of her 18th birthday.
You see, debuts are not common in Filipino-Chinese families. Usually, when it comes to birthdays or any type of celebration, members of the family would gather in a frequented restaurant (that is most likely Gloria Maris), catch up with each other, and go on each other’s separate ways after eating. I didn’t want it to be like this. I wanted my 18th birthday to be special, surreal, full of unforgettable memories, and become a night to remember.
I’m not the type of girl who has been planning her debut since she was 7, but I always knew as I was growing up, that I wanted to have one, and it was going to be held in either The Manila Peninsula or Makati Shangri-la – my favorite hotels in Manila ❤ I wanted my party to be formal and intimate, so a hotel was definitely the perfect venue for it. We checked out both hotels, and in the end we chose the Rizal Ballroom in Makati Shangri-la as the venue.
COORDINATOR AND HOST
Whatever occasion it may be, the most important step in planning a party is getting a reputable coordinator. I told myself that if I was going to have a debut, then it was crucial to secure a good party planner. Since I wanted my party to be a formal one, I already knew that RJ Ledesma was the perfect host for the event, and so we booked him first. Online forums are very helpful and my mom and I used them as references for the best party planners in Manila. After much research, we decided to get COTE (Christine Ong-Te Events) to spearhead my debut because of the reviews that she got 🙂
THEME, MOTIF, & ATTIRE
I didn’t want a theme at first because I felt like it wasn’t necessary for an intimate party, but then again, what’s a debut without one right? Ever since I read Anna and the French Kiss, took up European studies, and studied French, I have been in love with Paris (Pah-ree). I’ve also been fond of Ladurée macarons and the dainty details, decor and interior in their shops. Hence, during the first meeting, I decided that the theme of my debut would be: Parisian Soirée, and since this theme was Ladurée inspired, the color motif was pastel. Ladies would be required to wear evening formal in pastel colors except Teal (or anything close to it), which is my favorite color, while the gentlemen would be asked to wear their suit and tie.
(c) Moniomi Design
I don’t know if it’s a Liberal Arts student thing or what, but I’m very picky and precise about layouts, spacing, alignment, font size, and font styles (my group mates in school have endured enough to attest to this), which is why I wanted my invite to be done according to my strict specifications.
My mother has worked with Printsonalities for her birthday invite before, and we got them to make my debut invites because she was quite impressed by their performance and output. What’s great about having a reputable coordinator is that he/she has worked with almost everyone known in the industry, so it’s very easy for him/her to coordinate with different suppliers.
It was a breeze to work with Printsonalities! They’re so fast in replying to emails and revising the invites! They also offer monograms on envelopes, which I really really love. I wanted my invite to be formal, teal-colored with a hint of gold, embossed, dainty, and Ladurée-inspired. It’s important to have a peg for the invites so you can tell the artist what you want in a clear and visual way. Pinterest and Google Images definitely came handy in this process. It has also been my dream to have a personalized illustration or sketch! I have always been fascinated with them whenever I see one in magazine spreads or coffee table books, and so I wanted to incorporate them in my invites, more specifically, the envelopes, since I want the illustration to greet the guests when they open the invite. The end result is just beautiful and perfect. It’s everything I wanted my invite to be! I was absolutely delighted with the illustration because the girl looked like me! I didn’t even tell them to do that, I just sent them pictures of the sketches I like. The lining is really nice as well! They’re really skilled and efficient, this I can say. By the way, if you’re curious about the Ladurée font, it’s Caslon Openface.
In short, Printsonalities NAILED IT.
In today’s globalized era where technology’s presence is prominent, it has somewhat become an unspoken rule/trend to create a hashtag for an event or basically just about everything (#summer, #fun, #beach, #fitness). I didn’t want it to just be #DesireeTurns18 or #Desirees18th because they’re overused and obvious. I wanted it to be personalized, related to the theme, different, quirky and the ‘18’ has to be there to signify the event. My best bud Reena and I thought of this one for a long time and we had about 10 proposed hashtags before we got to the right one: #EiffelforDesireeat18 ❤
THE PRE-DEBUT SHOOT
A debut will not be complete without a pre-debut shoot. COTE recommended Lito Sy who was also present during our first meeting with them. Lito Sy was also in charge of the photos and videos of the debut itself. He chose Enchanted Kingdom as the venue of the predebut shoot because some areas have Parisian vibes. It was this shoot where I felt how it was like to be a celebrity. While someone was holding the umbrella to shield me from the heat, another one was holding my bag, another was dabbing tissue on my face, another one was retouching my makeup, and another one was holding the straw and water bottle as I sip the water. CELEBRITY TREATMENT INDEED! KAVOUGE!
Behind the Scenes
Enchanted Kingdom is a public place and hundreds of people were there to enjoy the rides, and then suddenly there goes this chinita in pastel colors strutting around the park and posing out of nowhere.! Naturally, people were like ‘who the heck is this woman?’. I had to swallow my shyness and keep posing despite numerous people watching me (someone even photobombed while doing a peace sign)! DO IT FOR YOUR DEBUT was my mantra hahaha! I had a total of four looks for the shoot and an afternoon tea setup, all styled by Tipping Point Collective.
Waiting for my Chuck Bass charaught
Used this for the background of my Photoman pictures (It’s like a photo booth, but instead of the guests going to the booth, the photographer goes to them and gives them a photobooth-looking picture instantly)
Looking like I had no quizzes and exam the next day lol
I absolutely love this shot, I used it as the screensaver in my debut!
Playing with the balloons~
Twinkling Lights and Pastel Colors
Afternoon tea ❤
Legs legs legs mo ay nakakasilaw moment
Strolling on a lovely day~
My super fave as well!
HAIR & MAKE-UP
My make-up was done by the very talented Gery Peñaso, whose works can be seen in just about every Philippine-based fashion and wedding magazine. A very tricky part in doing my make-up is making my eyes look big, and Gery was able to achieve it! I’m so chinky that I’ve gotten the usual joke of ‘Des, how do you see the world?‘ countless times. His skills are amazing; it was like magic! Gery was also the one who did my make-up during the pre-debut shoot. I wanted my hair to have the va va voom volume and Aries Manal made sure of that! Ahh~mazing!
THE GOWN AND THE DRESS
Randy Ortiz has made gowns for my mother and I before and is also responsible for one of my prom gowns. We got him to make my debut main gown and cocktail dress because his gowns fit me best, and they’re very ladylike and regal, which is perfect for a debut gown. He asked me to choose the color and of course, I chose teal, and I told him I wanted a tube gown with intricate details. During our first meeting, he said he’s very excited to experiment with teal and nude. I was definitely not disappointed and was in fact breathless with awe when I first fitted the gown. I felt like a princess~ The embroidery was so intricate, the teal blended perfectly well with the nude, and the belt added the final touch. He also put tulle on the front part so the gown would still lean towards the conservative side (lagot kay daddy kapag hindi!). As for the cocktail dress, I chose the color powder pink so I can still be feminine and girly. It’s like pink flowers are cascading on the dress, and when you wear it, it looks like a part of your skin since the base color is also nude. The embroidery is simply beautiful. It’s ‘very Valentino’, according to Randy haha~
Our event stylist was in charge of decorating the cocktail area, the stage, and the ballroom itself. Cocktails were served at 6pm for guests who arrived before the ballroom doors opened. For the cocktail area, we wanted it to feel like a café in Paris. Pictures of my predebut shoot adorned the windows and lots of treats (which are my personal favorites <3) such as choco pretzels, choco balls, chips, eclaires, and cookies were laid out for the guests to munch on while waiting. Guests were also served fruit punch.
To achieve the café setting, I also made sure to put a Starbucks cart in the cocktail area because, well, who doesn’t love Starbucks? My mother can’t resist not going to Starbucks when she sees one, my brother can’t stop ordering Caramel Macchiato, my best friend Tricia practically lives in the Starbucks in our campus, my blockmates hang out at Starbucks, and even Tambays of Lozol consider Starbucks as their headquarters. See?? Everybody loves Starbucks! Even me, who doesn’t drink coffee, and that’s saying something! Let us not forget that Marshall Eriksen has dubbed it ‘the best coffee in the world’. Wait, why am I even elaborating, I’m sure everybody knows how great Starbucks is (even the hipsturrr people who supposedly prefer artisanal coffee, chos!). Guests were given Starbucks stubs along with their table numbers upon registration and were asked to choose among 6 flavors: Coffee Frappucino, Mocha Frappucino, Caramel Frappucino, Vanilla Cream, Chocolate Cream, and Caramel Cream ❤
Dessert buffet arrangement by P2 Details
My lovely blockmates~
My stunning high school friends who are like my classmates but are really my brothers’ (and my brother!)
Some of our family friends who are close to my heart ❤
Ladies of LR33! ❤
I, myself, find waiting to be such a drag and so I thought of these for the cocktail area so as to lessen, if not dispel, the agony of waiting and keep the guests happy as they wait hehe~ I hope they did! And the decor can also serve as a background for picture taking with friends or for solo shots as the guests wait! ~
Now, let’s have a look inside the ballroom!
The Eiffel Tower surrounded by the dessert buffet
Larry truly outdone himself with the Eiffel Tower! It certainly exceeded my expectations! I thought it’ll be like those mini Eiffel Towers I see in parties, but boy was I wrong! It really looked like a replica of the Eiffel Tower! With the lights twinkling all over it, I felt like I was in the City of Lights indeed!
Flowers by Nikki Chatto
LED Dance Floor
Stage Design with the LED Doors
Some say I look like the girl on top of the cake. Do I? Haha!
Cake by Penk Ching
While the guests were chatting and enjoying their treats in the cocktail area, I was changing for my Entrance.
A few minutes later, the doors opened and people started filling up the ballroom.
Thought that was the end? Definitely not! It’s only the beginning! 😀 More to come in the second leg of this post! Thanks for enduring the excruciatingly long post and reaching up to this point (or maybe you just scrolled down and skipped most parts GOTCHA!). Please bear with me in another long post – the second instalment of this (parang series lang?). Stay tuned! Á bientôt! Bises, Des ❤