Having a destination wedding takes another level of planning and coordination- especially for Siargao. For one, we are still a young wedding market so there are not as many local wedding vendors to choose from. This means that it is likely you might be shopping for vendors in Surigao City or Cebu, and if you decide to go with them, you’ll have to bite the bullet on added out-of-town fees and travel costs. It takes a boat or a plane to get to this place, so read on for a primer on how to ship, construct, or rent guest seating and dining tables for the big day.
A Wee Background Story
If you’re new here, thanks a lot for stopping by! My name is Megan and when my husband and I got engaged, we decided to have a home wedding right here at our residence in Punta Dolores, Siargao. Abe’s family is local and he built his beautiful beachfront home sometime around 2006. I’m a surfer at heart and when my ex-boyfriend proposed to me in Siargao, I just knew I wanted to celebrate on the island in my tanned skin and laid-back beach glam. Siargao has this incredible energy about it, and I think it has a lot to do with its natural beauty, awesome waves, and its local and international surf culture.
Planning my wedding was not easy. Not a lot of people know (or at least I didn’t at the time!) that having a home wedding can be more costly than having a ceremony and reception at an exclusive event venue (think churches, and community centers, and banquet halls in hotels). Why would it be more costly for an at-home wedding? It has a lot to do with traveling, power requirements, availability of facilities, and the labor involved with structures used. Luckily, I’ve done all of that FIRSTHAND so you don’t have to, and if you’re looking to have a Siargao wedding by the beach, I can think of a thousand ways to make your planning life a whole lot easier.
Chairs and Tables Rental
Furniture is one of the more costly items you can rent out for your wedding. Often it can or will determine the size of your wedding, because you just don’t want to get fancy chairs or tables for some of your guests and not the rest. However, it is common for VIPs and sponsors to have a fancier setup. Why does furniture have to be so expensive? For the vendors, buying and storing these big items means they have to have a warehouse or storage place that can accommodate these things. It also has to be a building or space that’s well-maintained or else their investments in the furniture can be damaged by leaks or pests. Secondly, big items like couches, tables, chairs, and cushions have to be transported to the island, driven to the venue, and set up. After the party, it has to be taken down, driven back to port, and offloaded from the island, which means it likely has to follow a ship loading schedule according to the tides AND it has to reserve space on that boat. Phew. It seems like common sense on the face of it- get the furniture in, get the furniture out- but with more hands involved and distance covered, a lot of things can go wrong with poor planning. Trusted networks and vendors are so important because it's really the people running the transaction that matter more than the product rented; if it never gets to the venue or communicating with you is difficult, that already says a lot. Furniture vendors also have a good chance their pieces get damaged or stained, so vendors often roll those risks into their rental prices.
The Logistics Involved in a Siargao Wedding
Experienced destination wedding planners can appreciate the intricacies involved with hauling big ticket items via boat or plane. It is not a walk in the park and that is why you pay for their service to see those things through. It would be a big failure to fly in to Siargao 3 or 4 days before the wedding just fine, but discover that there would be no boat schedule or space available on the ferries for your furniture to follow! Honestly, a wedding in Siargao IS a destination wedding, no matter how you look at it. Majority of your guests are not living in the island nor can they simply drive here, so boat and ferry schedules matter, as do check-in and check-out times at hotels and ticket schedules at the piers. Sometimes hotels are fully booked on your wedding weekend, and sometimes there isn’t boat space for your furniture. Planning ahead is essential, but being on the ground making sure things are on schedule is a must. Sound overwhelming? For most people, it certainly will be. Just think about how critical things can get days before the big day… yes, that is precisely why we pay planners and vendors to cover all the details.
At my own wedding, I planned the transport for my VIPs, I booked their hotel reservations, I found my own florist and stylist, and I basically DIYed everything. By the time the big day came around, I can now say with confidence (and shame) that I was BROKEN and exhausted for the days leading up to my wedding. I cried a lot 2 days before the wedding, and am still surprised my wedding photoshoot the next day at Pansukian Island look so great! (Thanks Aisle 1401 and Pictratto! You da best!)
The intensity of my stress and emotions has never happened to me at those levels before since I am simply not a “fancy fusser”! So I urge you to honestly consider hiring the professionals. I’ve always been a can-do girl, but if this is your first wedding, you can be amazed at the things you simply can’t control. Likely or not, you will feel like everything about your wedding is a reflection of you. I say it with so much gratefulness that my friends and family really pulled through at the end for me. Having no experience planning parties or events, I really got overwhelmed. I mean, I'm always the first one in line at a party to start the meal! Nowadays, I'm always the first one putting the menu together and the one giving the OK signal to start! And I'm proud of that. I really needed help for my wedding and I think my family really sensed the situation, so with grace, knowing better, and simply having more energy, people rolled up their sleeves and just did what they could for the show to go on!
I realize I make my wedding sound like a bad day haha! Honestly, I didn’t want to freak about the tiny things, but oh girl…sometimes you gotta take care of ALL those little things before anyone can move forward. I think people really loved and enjoyed our wedding and thought it was beautiful. My wedding photos look gorgeous! I know I had fun that evening. But I stretched myself thin and it became a real mental exercise to “let go and let flow”. I was absolutely DEMOLISHED after the event. But I had to keep going because people still needed leaders with directions, but most importantly our vendors needed to get paid! 😰I wish I was more relaxed after my wedding so I could spend more precious time with my family and friends.
I simply don’t want you to feel that way for your big day. That’s why I’m also sharing my blog posts, so that you can avoid some pitfalls when it comes to planning your wedding. Needless to say, I cannot wait for my 10 year anniversary party. It's going to be so dope! 😎
Okay this section was supposed to be about Chairs and Tables. Back on track.
For my wedding I purchased 300 white plastic monobloc chairs. I wanted to make the money I spent for my wedding come back as an investment, so I bought more chairs than I needed for my 185 person guest list. I bought the nicest and comfiest white plastic chairs I could find, because I didn’t want it to look like your typical event chair which can be short, flimsy, and ill-proportioned. Plastic is the way to go, especially in this humid weather where things get easily wet or dirty. These are standard and sturdy white plastic chairs that l still love using today. They will look fine in photos even without a chair cover because our lawn and greenery make the white pop.
For a more elegant seating option, our most beloved chairs at Punta Dolores is our Hamoyaon hardwood chairs. They’ve adopted an aged, rustic, greyish tint and weathered appearance since they were made in 2004, and that entire look seems to improve over time! These are 16 oversized chairs that match and fit an equally gorgeous, super long, wide, and heavy VIP table. The chairs come with chair cushions too for extra comfort! Whether you decide to have cushions or not, these chairs are classic and unique to our property and will look fantastic as the couple’s seats during their ceremony or reception. Also below are our Hamoyaon benches and side tables for rent. Check them out!
Dining Tables and Other Surfaces
Plastic folding tables are quite an investment for my venue business and our aim to have our current stock grow with our business. For my wedding in 2017, we constructed about 20 plywood tables to be covered with tablecloth. We've added a handful more tables since then for guest dining, buffet setups, and kitchen prep tables. Our tables are oversized, 4 foot x 8 foot rectangular tables with marine plywood on top and pipe or wooden leg posts. Both chairs and tables are stored in our warehouse just waiting for the next event.
Pictured above is our beautiful Hamoyaon hardwood table that matches the 16 elegant chairs I mentioned in the last section. Isn’t she gorgeous? Personally, this chair and table set is a must for any wedding here in Punta Dolores. We offer this table as a rental option (not an inclusion) because it takes almost a dozen strong men to breakdown, lift, transfer, and rebuild just one panel of the table where you need it to be. It’s so extra but it can also be a wonderful centerpiece to your wedding. Not all couples are ready to shell a little more for something regular tables can do, especially if styling and décor are the same.
Cheaper to Make, or Cheaper to Rent?
Rarely is it cheaper to build your own wedding furniture, and sometimes it is cheaper to rent.
Here are the Pros to make your Siargao wedding furniture: you’ll get the look just right for your styling and event needs. Making that dream lounge area or bar and ceremony arch is such a deep wish for many brides and couples. It’s also a generous gift of sponsoring or contributions to your nephew or niece’s wedding to step in and offer to have these made. However, If you don’t intend on selling your constructed furniture to someone on the island (like us!), it could be a waste to have beautiful wooden pieces made and nowhere to call them home. As a venue owner, I would only consider pieces I can reuse that will last me at least 2-3 years, which means cheaper woods that are unfinished or untreated are not really a considerable investment for us. Sure, there might be other interested buyers, but where and who are they? You might have to find buyers which is another wedding task to add to your list, and making sure they’ll buy something which hasn’t been made yet can be tricky.
Which brings me to the Cons to creating your own furniture: quality and craftsmanship may or may not affect the guest’s experience at your venue and the costs of materials and labor can be prohibitive. Also, where do you plan on having these pieces made? I’ll say it here that if you want to have furniture made on our premises, there will be fees associated with rental, power, and storage. If pieces are made offsite, you’ll have to find a truck and driver to get the completed items transported to our venue and then find a way to get them back off the venue after the event! You should also consider the speed at which your pieces can be built, so the faster you want it done, the more people you might need to hire, which translates to more costs for you.
Wedding Furniture Rentals in Siargao
If you decide to rent, your styling options can be limited to the vendors you can afford and what they have available. Most times, it feels expensive to rent furniture for a one-off event, so it’s really up to the couple if they want to spend that money. Luckily for our clients, we have all the chairs, tables and covers they basically need so they can explore their other rental options. You should anticipate the distances to travel, vehicle choice, people responsible for the load, paying the out of town fees, and all other expenses associated with getting the furniture here. And if clients do decide getting some furniture (i.e. altar chairs, benches, or peacock woven chairs, ottomans), at least they won’t have to rent hundreds of pieces, which can cut the rental and transport costs significantly.
Simple and Flexible Venue Offerings
To wrap things up, to start planning your wedding you should first consider three things: where, how many, and what’s included? At Punta Dolores, our venue rates are simple and include your most basic needs: long hours for your event, chairs and tables, garden area, and nice bathroom facilities. From here, next you’ll decide how many people should come, and then later on you can get specific if you want to add our extra offerings like catering, florals, and tent décor. Some of our extra offerings are inclusions provided by other wedding vendors you might hire, which is another reason why we decided to keep our venue rates basic and straightforward. One big statement I want to make about our venue is: We accept outside caterers and vendors at our Siargao wedding venue! If you are looking for flexibility in planning for your destination wedding here on the island, we’re the venue for you. I’ll follow up in my next blog about our extra services so stay tuned.