The wedding of Mel Gibson and Catherine McCormack’s characters in Braveheart is my favorite wedding scene. I haven’t seen a lot of movies with wedding scenes that stuck to my head afterwards. I wanted a wedding that’s between me and the man I would spend the rest of my life with, in front of an officiant (because we legally need one). I didn’t want any spectator mostly because I can’t stay too long in the limelight. When scouting for our wedding venue, my then boyfriend and I took into consideration the following: (1) an outside area where the ceremony would be held, and (2) a covered hall for the reception. In addition, the venue must have a bit of a history (because we are historyphiles), must be romantic and must be secluded.
My personal choices were: (1) the chapel in Tulang Diyot (an islet off Camotes Island), (2) the Central Azucarera de Bais Chaplaincy, and (3) Siquijor island (because that’s where I’m from). My husband and I initially agreed to have our wedding in Siquijor so it would be a destination wedding for most of our guests. We chose from Salamangka Resort and Princesa Bulakna. At the time, Salamangka can only accommodate 50 people for an event. While 50 people would have been great for a wedding, my side of family alone is about 50. Princesa Bulakna would have accommodated all guests, but their covered area could not accommodate 100 people, and I don’t want guests to be wet if there’s unexpected rain. To my amazement, my parents disagreed and suggested we hold our wedding in Cebu City instead.
So, we scouted possible locations in the city and our choices were: (1) the Rizal Library and Museum, (2) Casa Gorordo, (3) Fort San Pedro, (4) Laguna Garden Cafe, and (5) Casa Escano. The Rizal Museum was not available at the time we asked because there were repairs from the 2013 earthquake. Casa Gorordo also does not accept wedding parties at that time. Fort San Pedro offered a really good deal of only P6,000 for the whole day with sound system, only the place would not be closed to tourists. And, I don’t want strangers in my wedding. Laguna Garden Cafe and Casa Escano were our best choices. Our only concern with Laguna Garden Cafe was I did not want to hold the ceremony in the same place as the reception because I want the ceremony to be held outside, like the scene in Braveheart. There’s a garden in Ayala but I doubt if we can hold the ceremony there. Casa Escano was also a romantic place, only the dining area was small for our estimated number of guests.
Our final decision was Laguna Garden Cafe. I was willing to forego my Braveheart-wedding ceremony dream in exchange for what we know would be good food. We were ready to make the down payment with Laguna Garden Cafe. When my prayers were answered.
Circa 1900 opened. And that sealed the deal.
My husband and I do not have any personal connection to the house and the restaurant but when we got there, we just knew this is where we want to get married. This is exactly the infrastructure I was looking for (Spanish colonial), the location (secluded but at the heart of the city – Sanjercasvil, Lahug, Cebu City), and the vibe (laid back and rustic). At the time we told them we would like to have our wedding there, they didn’t have any package or menu or anything for any wedding yet, but a few weeks later they were able to send us their wedding packages. It was a bit expensive but we thought the venue and the food would make up for the price. And, it did. My husband and I only have praises for Circa 1900 — the venue and the food are excellent. But what really made my husband and I conclude we paid a good price is their service. It’s beyond excellent!
Contact CIRCA 1900:
Sanjercasvil Road, Gorordo Avenue
Lahug, Cebu City
Tel: (032) 239 6265
Mobile: 0923 279 5616
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Here are some things I learned while scouting for and preparing the venue:
- COST. This depends on how much you intend spend for your venue from your wedding budget. While I indicated in my prior post on wedding budget that we spent 77% of our money for venue and food, the truth was we only paid for the food. We paid zero for the venue and zero for the services. Many hotels and wedding venues offer both food and party hall for amount cheaper than what we paid for, but I noticed that with them the bulk of the money went to the location, rather than the food. This is the reason we choose Circa 1900. Because they did not “cheat” us on the food, plus we used the garden and the first floor of the restaurant, plus they gave us excellent service.
- ACCESSIBILITY. My husband and I have been invited to many weddings before our own, and the foremost reason we turned down some invitations were because the location was too far. I know that distance will not matter if your guests truly love you, but we thought we should at least have our wedding in an accessible place. We also thought that our guests should not be burdened with more than a hundred pesos of taxi fare to get to our wedding. Circa 1900 is accessible through public utility jeepneys and they have a cart who shuttles guests to and fro the main road.
- PWDs and SENIOR CITIZENS. We had several senior citizens in our wedding, including my 78-year old grandma. While they are able, most of them, I know, should not be bothered with walking a thousand steps just to get to the venue. We initially decided to hold our wedding reception at the ground floor of Circa 1900 so that my grandma and our guests wouldn’t need to climb the stairs. However, there was a leak on the ground floor, which caused one area to be closed off, which also means, all our guests can’t be accommodated inside. So, we had the reception on the upper level. Thank heavens, the stairs was short.
- PRIVACY. This is not a problem with some couples, but my husband and I always get a good laugh when we attend a wedding and a stranger or strangers (not part of the wedding) who are in the area are taking photos of the wedding. We also wanted a venue that was peaceful and quiet so our guests and we would be really talking to one another without shouting.
- PARKING. The guests will be bringing cars. We didn’t want them to waste their precious time looking for a parking space. We wanted that time to be shared with us.
Top photo by Christian Toledo