Boracay Weddings Decoded

Newly engaged couple Karym and Mabeth
by J Lucas Reyes in Filmtastic

"Karym and I are planning to have a beach wedding (preferably Boracay since that place holds a special spot in our hearts). But we don't know where to start (I guess like all other newly engaged out there... ;)

Is it okay if I/we talk to you about how you made your wedding happen? Nahihilo ako just thinking about the things we need to figure out: wedding reception, entourage, wedding coordinator, caterer, flowers, music..and though I've worked in Bora, I don't know the local wedding businesses there :D We would appreciate any help...thank you!"

Mabs & Karym

"Life's a Beach in Boracay" by Wedding Guide Asia
Once in a while, I get questions on how to plan a wedding in Boracay. And although I don't claim to be an expert (because the real Boracay expert and Boracay Queen is Amanda Tirol), my dream was always to have a wedding in Boracay. I make it a point to go to the island at least once a year because I am just so in love with it! And if there's one thing I can advice to future Boracay brides-- advice from family, friends, wedding resources are aplenty--but with Boracay being Boracay, if there are people who can really understand and help you, it's ex-Bora brides who have gone through what you are about to go through.

So here are some of the things that I have "decoded" about planning a Boracay wedding. While most of these ideas come from my own wedding, most of the ones I will share here are also things that I learned along the way, which I hoped I knew before. So here goes!


Photos by Mango Red
I guess this is the first question right? People easily think it's expensive. Other couples would think, why not just a beach wedding in another venue and not Boracay? It might be cheaper? --- I went through the same exact thought process and evaluation. Even if Boracay was my dream venue, I also tried to look elsewhere in the hopes that it might be more affordable. What have I learned? Boracay is still your best option. The costs are the same. In fact, some venues can even be MORE expensive because they are not equipped to have weddings--whereas in Boracay, the wedding industry there is in place! It's also more convenient for everyone. Lest you think that the beaches in the likes of Batangas or La Union are nearer, imagine the long drive to go there VS the 1-hour flight to the Paradise and Party Island that is Boracay!


Summer Months = Lumot Months
Photo by Pat Dy
If you are now dead-set on having a Boracay wedding, the first and most important decision is the wedding month. And I am sorry to say this, but in this case, it won't be feng shui or the guests from abroad, or your favorite date that will dictate your wedding month. Because for a Boracay wedding, the best season or time of the year should be taken seriously. 

 What is/are the perfect wedding month/s of the year? I'd have to say February. Why? It's not too hot, not too cold, summer is just around the corner, there's no lumot, and it's considered an off peak season for airfare and hotel rates. 
June to Oct. = Rainy & Hanging Habagat Months
(isolated rain showers are also possible
during Nov-Feb) Photo by Pat Dy
If Feb is not appealing to you, another month I would recommend is November. Why? Again, it's not too hot, not too cold, December is just around the corner, there's no lumot, again it's considered an off peak season, and by then the hanging habagat would have already ended and the boards on the beach fronts would have already been taken down. If you really want to do it during the Summer months or during December-January, then just be wary of peak season rates, the scorching heat and lumot during summer, and that you will probably have to book your suppliers at least 1 1/2 to 2 years in advance--especially if it's a December wedding (I'm not being OA). ***As you may have noticed, I purposely wrote WHEN IS THE WEDDING MONTH--AND NOT THE WEDDING DATE. Later on you will know why. 


Photo by Pat Dy
If you haven't known this already, then I hate to be the one to break it to you--you cannot have a church wedding in front of the beach. And you will go: HUWAT?!?!? A Boracay wedding that is not on the beach front doesn't make sense! -- I feel your pain sistah. It doesn't quite make sense to me either.

How do you solve this? So you are Catholic and your parents will burn you in hell if it's not going to be a Catholic wedding? What other couples do, I discovered, is that you can actually have a small, simple Church ceremony the day before your beach front wedding with just your immediate family. Just to "formalize it so to speak". Additional cost for this is very minimal. Then, the next day, you can have your beach front ceremony with all of its wonders, with all the personal vows you can muster, with a pastor for a civil ceremony to officiate, the beautiful island as your backdrop, and the sunset as your song in your heart.


Photo by Toto Villaruel
Once you have your wedding month pinned down, then it's time to figure out your budget. What's a decent budget for a Bora wedding? Well it depends on your number of guests and the kind of suppliers you would want to get. I can't exactly divulge how much we spent on our wedding because we got a lot of negotiated rates but let me just tell you that at first I thought we would have to spend 7 figures but we significantly lowered this to 6 figures.

So my first budget tip would be to set a budget and stick to it like glue---even if it means trimming down your guests, eliminating some elements like flowers or entourage gowns, "redefining" your reception, etc. And towards the end, when you are nearing your wedding date and you realize you have extra money to spend, then that's the time you can add a little bit of more "twists" for the wedding.

Also, always put a 10% contingency fund on top of your budget because it's an out-of-town wedding--there might be expenses that you might not have taken into consideration like transportation allowances, per diem (supplier's allowances), etc.

How do you also stretch your budget? PLAN A WEDDING FOR ONE YEAR. Why? Because you will only have to pay down payments at the start of the year, then you have the rest of the year to save up for the rest of your payments.


What's the top 3? The top 3 are the 3 main elements you would want to splurge on or invest on even if you are on a budget. After all, a budgeted wedding doesn't mean that you won't get the best. It's just knowing what to prioritize and what not to.
What's the TOP 3? First would be WEDDING COORDINATION by AMANDA TIROL. I cannot stress the importance of this any further. She is every Boracay Bride's BEST FRIEND. By just getting her, you would have already saved so much money significantly because she has a clout in Boracay--she can give you the best rates in practically everywhere and she has resources which she will be more than willing to pass on to you. She has the BEST team there. And she has a great relationship with all the wedding partners. She will be your angel, and your savior (Click for related article)

Photo by Pat Dy
The second would be PHOTOGRAPHY/ VIDEOGRAPHY. While everyone would dream of having both a tier 1 photographer and a tier 1 videogpher, some just don't have the budget for that. Getting a Pat Dy and a Jason Magbanua tandem, could cost P350-P400,000 alone (including out-of-town rates, hotels/accommodations and per diem). But if you have the money to spare, then why not? I cannot even begin to stress on just how important it is to invest on great wedding photos and videos because that's the only thing that would truly immortalize your wedding. But what do you do if you simply cannot afford both? Then figure out what is more important to you, then spend on the latter but get a non-"tier 1" supplier who is  equally just as good. Here are sample scenarios:


Scenario 1 - Videography is more important to you. You are a true blue Jason Magbanua fan and you've watched every video he has ever made. So get him for a STANDARD rate and remember that there's an extra Boracay rate on top of it. Now where to book your airfares and accommodations? Book through AIR PHILIPPINES -- they have the cheapest Caticlan rates and book it in ADVANCE. We only paid P2,000 per person for our suppliers because we booked a year ahead. For accommodations I recommend HEY JUDE in D'Mall--they are very, very affordable, the place is decent, and the location is convenient.

***Are you intimidated by Jason's rate? DON'T FRET. All you need to worry about is your reservation fee of P30,000 then raise the funds for a year--that should be enough time to save up. + Photography get Mark Cantalejo. Mark, is a Cebu-Based photographer so flying him to Boracay will be more cost efficient. His rates are very, very reasonable too. Get him for a STANDARD RATE. Another option will be J Lucas Reyes. His filmtastic look is so beautiful yet his rates are quite reasonable.

Photo by Mango Red
Scenario 2 - Photography is more important to you. So who to get? This depends on the look you are going for more than anything. Get Pat Dy if beauty shots are your priority, get Mango Red if you want a "cool candid vibe", get Toto Villaruel if you want pops of color, or Nelwin Uy if you want a natural more organic look. They are all good so I guess it would be best to meet them personally and see if you have a natural rapport with them. Extra tip? Don't get an album. I know their albums are much-coveted but it adds to the burden on the pocket so if you can have your albums done elsewhere, just get them for a Standard rate. + Videography from Ian Cruz or Mayad Studios. They are actually also expensive haha. But they are a little bit lower, and Mayad is based in Iloilo so at least your out-of-town rates, per diem, and airfares will be lower. Ian on the other hand, has a package that can cover just the SDE--which is a great option to have if you are already on a tight budget but would want a great quality SDE video. 

At the end of the day, you should get the BEST photographers and videographers our industry has to offer. Your photos and videos are your wedding treasures. I know of people who have skimped on these two and later on regretted it. Don't make the same mistake. 

Photo by Mango Red
The third top 3 would be your VENUE. 

If you get Amanda, she will be the best person to tell you where to have your venue. So I'll leave that responsibility to her haha.

But to give you a little bit of perspective, we had our ceremony at the WHITE HOUSE (which I also highly recommend for the ceremony + accommodations + cocktails + reception -- the food here is good!), but in our case, apart from the White House, we also hopped around various Boracay spots in replace of the reception and it was waaaaay lower

The White House (Photo by Mango Red)
 than a reception (this concept costed us 5 figures only). But whatever your concept is, be ready to spend on this because it is where the magical day will happen :) But LIMIT YOUR GUESTS. That's the best way to manage the costs for the venue. 

This is just my personal suggestion for your top 3. I know that you might have your own thoughts on what to prioritize--perhaps your bridal couture is more important to you than a photographer, then go ahead. HOWEVER, if there's ONE thing that I will once again stress on, JUST MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AMANDA. NUFF SAID.

Now that you have your Top 3. I can tell you why I said to pick a WEDDING MONTH FIRST. Because you have to swallow your prides and egos folks. The fact of the matter is, your date will depend on WHEN your top 3 will be available. Remember that these are the people/elements that would help make your wedding day memorable so they are just as important as your guests so it is important to give equal importance to their availabilities as well.  So put in an excel sheet, the available dates for Amanda, your photog/videog, and your venue. Circle those that are commonly available for all of them--THAT'S YOUR WEDDING DATE. THAT'S YOUR LUCKY DATE (Click here for related article) 


Maybe you are wondering, okay so what's next? How about the gown, the concept, the flowers, the invitations, the souvenirs? HELP! That's where your friends, family, and Amanda Tirol will come in. Amanda knows EVERYTHING and ANYTHING you need for the wedding, And that's the beauty of hiring her. Not yet that convinced? The most HASSLE and PAINFUL part of the wedding is going through documents and seminars. But with Amanda, this is a BREEZE. A WALK IN THE PARK. Ex Bora brides who live abroad, and who have not even set foot on Bora ever, have learned to entrust their weddings to Amanda--and they are so thankful to her for that. Again, she is your angel, your savior. Now if you still don't know what concepts to create for your wedding, and you don't have anyone else to turn to, that's where WE come in (email us to inquire about out Wedding Agency service).

Photo by Nelwin Uy

As with every endeavor, start it the right way and everything will follow. The things I have decoded above I speak from experience--for being an ex-Boracay bride. Again, advice is aplenty when it comes to friends, family and the like--and that they will have their own take on the perfect wedding date, or the ceremony itself. But be rebellious, take charge and learn the things you need to change in the usual way that wedding planning is done.

Photo by Nelwin Uy

Since a lot of people say our wedding video looks like a Boracay Tourism Video, and have convinced others to choose Bora upon watching it, once again, here it goes :)

follow us on twitter! @RebelliousBride 

read a similar article:
Rebellious Brides to the Rescue! 


  1. -via blackberry-

    Thank you so much for ur was late last night when I saw your blog but even if super sleepy na ako, parang novel hindi ko mababa hanggang matapos ko :)

  2. Just curious, did you get Amanda's full wedding coordination or semi? I like your idea of hopping around bora for your reception. I'm just wondering did you get to play your SDE at any of the places you hopped in? Trying to picture your beautiful wedding.. :)

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for your comment :)

      I got Amanda for partial coordination because we already had a clear vision of our wedding concept and had already selected all our wedding partners before we got her. But if you are starting from scratch, you may have to get her for full coordination.

      As for the SDE, we opted not to have an SDE. The video would not have worked if we asked Jason to edit that same day because we hopped from one place to the next. Our dinner at True food with all those wonderful speeches and the firedance show would not have possibly been included in the video had it been edited that same night. We had the video debuted instead, during our post-wedding party in Manila, a week after the wedding--the result of which was a much more complete story of the wedding :)

      Hope this helps!
      RB Kai

  3. The couple looks really nice! Boracay is indeed a "perfect" choice for wedding locations. With a wider beachfront, less tourists and a greater degree of privacy. Wedding stuffs are so cute.