When Dane proposed, one of the first things we did after the blissful emotions of the wedding proposal was to decide on a wedding date. We initially had three dates in mind, but ultimately went with the one that had most sentimental value for us—December 8th. The date we met 14 years ago, in 2008.
Many of my family members live in Malabon, which meant that having a wedding in Tagaytay or Batangas would mean at least 2 hours of travel on a good day. With senior citizens included in those family members, we wouldn’t want them to deal with that kind of stress, especially since we were deeply considering a morning wedding. That meant we had to find a location that was within Metro Manila or a place where it didn’t require traveling from literally opposite ends of it. Narrowing down the general area made it easy for us to filter out places that we would have loved, but can’t consider.
The very first supplier we wanted to finalize was the venue, as everything else will be dependent on the location, venue policies, and add-on rates for corkage and additional requirements.
In total, we had over 30 venues considered, but we looked at more than double of that. Our criteria in our initial assessment was:
- location – must be within Metro Manila or Rizal
- date availability – must be available on Dec 8
- aesthetics – must get at least an “I like it” from one of us AND an “okay lang” for the other
- price – must be reasonable based on inclusions and in proportion to the number of guests allowed
Any venue that didn’t meet our “requirements” OR if one of us didn’t like the place based on photos available online were immediately out of our shortlist.
We consolidated everything into a spreadsheet file, itemizing the important details. Then color coded it based on the location we liked best—from green for our top pick to yellow for our next considerations. As a Type A, our spreadsheet was a joy for me to look at.
Once we had this put together, we mapped our route to visit our top 5 places and scheduled an appointment to visit on April 19th. Unfortunately, our contact for The Atrium at Enderun wasn’t available on the date so we had to make a choice and remove it from our list. December 8 is a hot date, so we had to decide fast or run out of good wedding venue options. Since it was in Metro Manila anyway, we can just visit it again if we weren’t sold yet with any of the venues we visited.
Cutting the story shorter, what we wanted to gauge during our visit was:
- accessibility – how easy it was to go there and if there was enough parking
- aesthetics – if the photos we already liked live up to reality
- COVID-19 policies – vaccination requirements and policies if events were suddenly not allowed
- rates and fees, and package inclusions – if the ones we saw were still updated, to clarify any other charges and add-ons, and to check if packages were available
Some of the venues we visited had policies and terms that were too specific, too inconvenient, or a bit questionable. For example, one venue couldn’t disclose who their stylist partners are until you actually book them. So you have no idea if the stylist would be able to do the design you’d like and you’ll have no choice since you already booked them. Like what?
After going to all of the places, we were already pretty sold with the first event venue we visited in Cainta, Rizal— Sitio Elena. It was our top pick and they hit the checkboxes for many of the things we wanted. Me, particularly, wanted to have a high ceiling and a bright space.
Sitio Elena in Cainta, Rizal, also had ample parking space for your guests. It’s also not very far from the metro—about 45 minutes from Ortigas via Ortigas Ave Extension.
Our contact, Mel, was also easy to talk to, and their add-on charges and policies were reasonable. For example, since we wanted a morning wedding, they were happy to let our suppliers have their ingress even as early as the night before if they wanted to. Other venues would charge by the hour you extended for ingress and egress. They were also kind enough to not charge us or give discounted rates for some of the add-ons we wanted, like having our ceremony in the garden. It was an easy and light experience.
In the end, we loved our decision to go for Sitio Elena as the place looked amazing, especially dressed up with styling, courtesy of Cainta-based event stylist Tropical Blooms Florist.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have many photos from the reception as the guests were seated early since we had many senior citizens on our guest list. But regardless, it was really beautiful.
Sitio Elena Banquets in-house Caterer
Sitio Elena Banquets’ in-house caterer is the restaurant Chef Resty’s Roast Beef. All their food is made in-house, which means that they are freshly cooked straight from the kitchen to the reception. This was an advantage as it meant the food doesn’t need to travel like when you’re getting outside caterers for your events.
Sitio Elena also invited us to a food-tasting session during one of their events. Basically, feeding us the actual food cooked for an actual event. This was an offer of confidence in their skill set, and a great way to hook people in because you know they can deliver good food in huge quantities. I’ve heard of stories from other couples checking out other caterers where the food tasting was so much better than what was served during their wedding.
We’ve received a lot of feedback from guests that the food was great. This was Dane and I’s top priority, and we’re glad that Sitio Elena was able to deliver well to our expectations.
Overall, Sitio Elena is one of the best decisions we’ve made as it was our top pick. We’re glad we were able to book them as our wedding date is known to be a “hot date” in the industry.
The only thing we didn’t like about Sitio Elena is the lack of overnight bedrooms. We would have preferred staying there already the night before to minimize travel and fees if only there were enough rooms to accommodate us.
Contact Sitio Elena through their Facebook page.