5 Female Wedding Planners Who Enliven Dream Events

These female wedding planners are fairy godmothers that grant their clients a beautiful and memorable day of love.

Committing to forever is the most romantic thing you can do for your partner. Nothing can be as exciting as spending a lifetime with the person you love. What comes after the engagement, however, is a stressful yet enjoyable undertaking: planning the nuptials. There are a lot of things to be done, from the pre-nuptial preparations up to the reception and after party, so the process may be overwhelming. However, these female wedding planners have proven that after whirlwind months of planning, they can help turn dream weddings into reality.

Coordinators or planners, may it be in weddings, birthdays, or other occasions, are the unsung heroes behind every events’ scenes. They meticulously orchestrate every detail, becoming the calming force of brides and grooms in their most important chapter.

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Lifestyle Asia had the privilege to talk with six celebrated female wedding planners in the industry, all of whom have stories to tell and wisdom to impart.

Christine Ong-Te

Christine Ong-Te has been one of the foremost planners in the industry, having been in it for 24 years. She started Christine Ong-Te Events or COTE in 2000 and handled events like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, launches, and Christmas parties, among others. She is also experienced in proposals, family reunions, alumni homecomings, and other corporate affairs. 

Christine said that in order to build a relationship with her clients, she makes sure that both sides are open and honest. “We build friendship in every event that we do,” she commented. COTE’s reliability is evident as the wedding coordinator got a lot of her clients through recommendations or word of mouth. “This means a lot to me because it means the relationship my clients and I have is effective.”

Christine Ong-Te of COT Events has been a wedding planner for 24 years
Christine Ong-Te of COT Events has been a wedding planner for 24 years/Photo from Christine Ong-Te’s Facebook page

Christine starts her process with discussing the clients’ interests and wants on their big day. She asks them about what’s important to them like the budget or their theme. “I have to enumerate their interests and get the details done before we start providing suppliers. After which, we provide them with the timeline.”

For Christine, managing expectations is one of the most overlooked details in a wedding. She explained that some clients forget their set budget but would insist on the dream wedding they have in mind. Some clients also forget that planners can only do so much to cover everything. While they would go above and beyond for clients, not everything is possible. “You need to align with your client in all of the details,” she suggested. “Align regarding budget, schedule, and align with your team [of suppliers] also.”

Christine’s tips for couples and planners

The wedding coordinator said she maintains focus and presence of mind to effectively manage a high-pressure event like weddings. She expounded on the importance of anticipating potential issues and a solid timeline aligned with everyone involved. Covering these aspects would avoid delays or dissatisfactions among guests. Planners should also be quick to embrace decisions regarding back up plans in case an unforeseen event occurs. 

Christine gave key tips to wedding planners. She said passion and patience are virtues that are paramount to the business. “Wedding planning is demanding and a genuine interest in the job is crucial for success,” the coordinator said. “Being resourceful and flexible is essential as you’ll need to find creative solutions to ensure your clients’ satisfaction.” She also emphasized building strong relationships with suppliers is vital as event planning is not a one-person show, but it is a team effort.

She advised soon-to-wed couples to understand their priorities and visualize their wedding before meeting suppliers. They have to be patient with their wedding planners as they may be busy especially on weekends. “Communicate openly and honestly about your preferences and expectations. Don’t be intimidated. Remember that it is your wedding, and your vision should guide the process. Be flexible and open to suggestions as well.”

Amanda Tirol

Amanda Tirol started her career in event planning in Boracay, until eventually she and her team did events in various destinations in other parts of the Philippines as well as international locations. She’s been in the industry for 21 years.

The coordinator said that as the one in charge of arranging a big event, gaining a client’s trust is key. “We create a chat and have zoom meetings with them,” she enumerated. “They see us as they get to know us and we are prompt to answer any questions they have, may it be via our group chat or in email inquiries.”

Event planner Amanda Tirol is in the planning industry for 21 years
Event planner Amanda Tirol is in the planning industry for 21 years/Photo via Instagram @amandagtirol

Amanda painted a picture of how their process starts. “As soon as they sign the contract with us, the first thing we do is send them a checklist. So, our initial meeting’s purpose is to go through the checklist. We discuss where they want to have their wedding, but if they don’t have a venue [in mind] yet, we get proposals from venues. We ask them their priorities and provide them with a list of suppliers.” 

According to her, a detail that couples often forget is lights and sounds. Clients think they can use what is part of the package. “Sometimes clients think, ‘why do we have to get that?’ It’s not that important to other people. So, to us, that’s a detail often overlooked.”

Amanda’s pointers for couples and coordinators

In order to deal with stress, Amanda and her team create a checklist and ensure that they don’t miss any of the details. “We make sure that the clients follow along and everything is followed. Nothing is perfect, there will be things that won’t go the way we planned. But we maintain open communication with the client and we come up with solutions and back up plans.”

Amanda said for current and aspiring planners, they should be really guided and have the drive to really do it. Looking at it as just a job and if they don’t love what they do, they won’t be great at it. “I actually love what I do. If you don’t have that passion, you won’t be able to succeed in what you’re doing.” 

“Choose your suppliers wisely,” the coordinator coaxed. “There are so many suppliers out there so just ensure you choose the right ones for you. Don’t pick them based on affordability, you have to pick them based on the fact that they are good at what they do. Don’t choose them for the wrong reasons. And then, when you pick yours, keep communication lines open and give them your full trust and confidence.”

Teena Barretto

Wedding planner Teena Barretto has been in the event planning industry for 20 years.  She said that in those many years, she is proud of the relationship she built with her clients, which has now turned generational. “This means, when we do weddings, it doesn’t end there,” Teena explained. “It follows through with a baby shower, first birthdays, and other milestones of the family.”

Teena said she prioritizes the individual dreams and desires of the bride and groom when she first meets with them. The couple’s vision is important regardless of their age or level of clarity about what they want. “The first thing I do is get to know them and their dreams,” she said. “[I] put them in a comfortable spot where they can openly share with me their visions and ideas. Everything that they’re dreaming, whether big or small, I want them to be able to share with me.”

Teena Barretto has been an event coordinator for 20 years
Teena Barretto has been an event coordinator for 20 years/Photo via Instagram @teenabarretto and @luiricoteh

A detail that is often overlooked in a wedding according to Teena is having authentic, raw emotions and organic details. She narrated that we all live in the digital age with heavy social media influences. “Staying true to the event’s essence is what we are missing out right now, especially in the midst of all the lavish luxurious weddings that we’ve been doing,” she expressed.

Teena ensures she helps her clients when she’s at her very best through making time to take care of herself. “In order to take care of others, I have to prioritize myself too,” she said. “Coping is essential in this business. Find your balance so you can give a sense of peace to your clients or less stressful experiences. Be grounded.”

Teena’s counsel for couples and planners

“Invest in yourselves,” Teena advised aspiring and current wedding planners. “Specialize and don’t be a jack of all trades. Find your niche and amplify your strengths. There is a client for everyone.”

She also provided guidance to engaged couples. The wedding coordinator pointed out that it is essential for them to own their wedding day. “It’s easy to trend or to go viral, but what people will remember is an experience that is always uniquely you.”

Rhed Sarmiento

Rhed Sarmiento has been a passionate female coordinator for 17 years. She builds a strong relationship with her clients through consistent communication like replying to inquiries and concerns, understanding their needs, and showing empathy towards them. 

“It’s important to maintain professionalism,” Rhed explained. “Respect their time, provide consistent updates, ensure transparency in all matters, and demonstrate reliability throughout the entire process.” She believes seeking feedback and making adjustments strengthen the client-coordinator relationship over time.

Her system starts with her explaining the process of wedding planning to her clients. She outlines the steps from recommending vendors to finalizing bookings. She also addresses potential challenges that may arise during the planning phase and comes up with solutions. “I also actively listen to their vision for the wedding,” she added. “We collaborate on creating a mood board to visually capture their ideas.” 

Rhed Sarmiento has been in the industry for 17 years
Rhed Sarmiento has been in the industry for 17 years/Photo from Rhed Sarmiento’s Facebook page

She said one of the most important details that are overlooked in weddings is the cocktail or pre-reception area. “Weddings nowadays have guests wait or enjoy the cocktail hour. But, they often forget to allocate a budget or provide seating for guests, especially to the elderly.” She explained seating options can make a significant difference in their comfort and overall satisfaction. 

A wedding is a high-stress and elaborate event, so it requires careful planning and effective communication. Rhed noted that as planners, one must have the ability to stay composed and calm under pressure. She said she employs strategies to handle an event like this, such as: establishing timelines, team collaboration, regular communication, organization, avoiding overbooking, being flexible to last minute changes, taking breaks, and staying prepared at all times.

Rhed’s message to couples and coordinators

“Please do not enter the field of wedding planning if your heart is not in it,” Rhed expressed. “Becoming a wedding planner requires passion and dedication in everything you do. Do not view this career as just a job, rather, view it as an opportunity to assist couples in turning their dream weddings into reality.” She added that though she has been a veteran in the coordinating industry, she and her team treat all events as if it were their first.

She advised soon-to-wed couples to invest in good wedding planners. “Check their reviews and background and don’t fall for scams on social media. Seek their help from the initial stages of your wedding planning so they can assist you throughout the entire process.”

Princess Ramos

Princess Ramos is known as Miss B amongst her peers and clients. She ventured in the corporate world for 10 years and also had a salon at one point, before becoming a wedding planner in 2016. She said people asked if she could do it, and she could, and did. 

When consulting with clients, Princess said she actively listens to their questions and concerns and ensures she understands their preferences. “The key to creating strong and trusting relationships with clients is regular communication,” she affirmed. 

Princess Ramos has been a wedding coordinator for about 8 years
Princess Ramos has been a wedding coordinator for about 8 years/Photo from Princess Ramos’ Facebook page

The first thing she does is set up a meeting with her clients. She arranges a comprehensive discussion on their wants and needs as well as laying down expectations before, during, and after planning. 

“For me, some important details that are overlooked in weddings is the guest experience,” Princess explained. “From the comfort of their seat, the timing, quality of food and drinks, accessibility of the facilities, and even parking. I understand that clients have a few non-negotiables, but they must not forget the guests on their big day. It is a day of love which you celebrate with your loved ones, not just both of you.”

Princess spotlights how vital it is to be calm and meticulous as an event planner. “I have to use detailed checklists, updated timelines, and delegate responsibilities to my team. I cannot make it by myself. Wedding planners should have contingency plans, maintain communication, and stay organized.”

Princess’ recommendations for couples and planners

The businesswoman-event coordinator said that aspiring and current wedding planners should gain as much experience as they can. They can start through internships, working with established partners, or volunteering for events. She also said unexpected challenges often arise during events so it is essential to be a problem solver and make firm decisions. “Also have social media presence, do little vlogs and reels, and don’t settle for less, always,” she added. 

“Couples, stay true to what matters most to you,” she said as parting words for future brides and grooms. “It’s easy to get caught up in what you think a wedding should or should be. Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to your wedding planner. Most of all, remember to soak in your big day for a few minutes because it will go by quickly.”

Kim Torres

Kim Torres has been in the wedding planning industry since 2015. She started her own team in 2019 called Kim Torres Events, to which she is the overall director. 

Kim said the first thing she does with clients who seek consultations is chat openly. Kim draws a contract first and schedules a meeting with her clients before anything else. She said the initial meeting to discuss their vision and the set budget for the big day.

She finds that most clients have common interests as her and usually, her relationships with clients don’t stop at the wedding. “Our connections last even after the wedding, so if you peruse my social media, most of my clients have post parties and we hang out as if we’re the closest friends.”

Kim Torres is in the event planning industry since 2019
Kim Torres is in the event planning industry since 2019/Photo from Kim Torres’ Facebook page

“I think a detail often overlooked in weddings is its real meaning and creating a realistic timeline,” Kim commented. “We often focus on shoots instead of candid moments. Nowadays we have to start early and extend the post-nuptials, unlike before, where all of us focus on the big moment, which is the couple’s marriage.” She added another detail missed during the planning process is allocating meals for the families and the entourage. “Some clients would say they are on it, but on the day it will just add stress for everyone. Even if you order a delivery, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the food in a snap.” 

Kim’s advice for couples and coordinators

According to Kim, in any job, stress is always around the corner, but even more so as an event planner. “Our role is to manage that and basically promote patience as a virtue,” she answered. “Learn to love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life. If you love what you do, you’re just like playing.” 

Kim advised future and current event coordinators to hold constant communication at the highest regard. “It’s essential to be a good listener, so convey information to your clients properly. Stay informed about interesting trends per year or season. Also, what I’m most proud of about my team is that their morale never diminishes, so never lose heart in this industry.”

Meanwhile, she encouraged soon-to-wed brides and grooms to communicate with honesty. When couples are shy they might not articulate their vision for their wedding well, and wedding coordinators could misinterpret. Next, she told them to set realistic expectations. She explained that making time for each other is essential, too. “It’s not our wedding, it’s not your suppliers’ wedding, but it is yours. Have fun with the process and celebrate these special times together.”

Banner photo from Nice Print Photography via Rhed Sarmiento.

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