First Anniversary Series: Working with Filipino Wedding Vendors

Call me biased, but when we were planning our wedding, I already knew I would like to work with Filipino vendors. Maybe it’s because I was very new in New York, have not explored the city as much as I would’ve wanted… and the fact that I don’t have the same network of wedding suppliers as I did back home made me feel uneasy. We sourced out most of the stuff from the Philippines (as it was cheaper, too!), and if only we had the resources to fly in vendors from back home, then we would’ve probably done that!  

That’s why I’m thankful to have met two Pinoy wedding vendors who really worked to make our wedding beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I think we did a great choice choosing ALL our vendors (given the short planning time and the weather restrictions, since we were planning during winter) and I love all of them, but Jha and Justin are close to my heart.

Jha Villanueva (Hair and Makeup Artist)

I found Jha online while I was researching for makeup artists in the area. In my mind, I really wanted to prioritize makeup over the dress—I can have a simple, not-so-expensive dress, but I would like for my makeup to last. What caught my eye was, to be honest, her name. After the wedding, we’ll most likely have the same name (except my nickname is Jan)! I emailed her (and a couple of others more) to inquire, and Jha responded in a timely manner. She set up a phone consultation and I was immediately calmed by the warmth of her voice. My gut says, this could be it. So we scheduled a trial session—and the only schedule I had available was one Saturday, very early in the morning. She came with her husband Wesley, who is a photographer, and is equally friendly. He and Warren hit it off right away. It wasn’t formal at all! We felt like we’ve known them for years, and we were just catching up over (makeup products), coffee and pancakes. Wesley took some photos too, for Jha’s portfolio. What a supportive husband!

On the day of the wedding, Jha came on time and was able to calm me down with her sunshine-y attitude (I lacked sleep, was rushing that morning, and still tensed because of the AirBnB incident from the night before). Needless to say, she did a really great job and my makeup lasted until the evening, despite all the crying I did from the hotel to the reception!

Wedding Day. My “Before-Jha-Did-Wonders-to-my-Face” look. Photo by Justin Tinapay.

After. All set and ready to get married! Photo by Justin Tinapay


Justin Tinapay (Photographer)

Justin was referred to us by our friend Jana, who’s also into photography. Checked his website and was immediately impressed. Justin’s style is natural and candid, elegant and romantic. Just what I was looking for. I am soooo bad at posing for photos, and I need someone who wouldn’t “force” me to pose. I wanted someone who’d capture the natural flow of events, even the portraits. I am also noooot into heavily edited photos– I’m okay with my blemishes and tears, so long as we have natural lighting. Our church (St. Thomas) is already beautiful, and our room at Angelina’s had big windows overlooking the patio and water– and I wanted them captured that way.


We also did a telecon, so we can relay to him the style we wanted, the photos that are “a must” to us, as well as the payment and logistics on the day. His rates are reasonable, so we booked him right after that call. Although we only met personally on the day of the wedding, Justin’s very easy to talk to, young and fun, and everyone loved him. He worked the wedding alone, and I was actually surprised he got as many photos as he did! Everyone loves our photos. Here are a few of the ones I loved which I wasn’t able to post before…

Warren with our angels. 🙂

Love the stained glass art which served as our beautiful background in church.

My husband’s much better than me. Helping me get in with his ever-ready smile. 🙂


What I loved most about Justin was, when the job was done, and we asked him to enjoy himself… he gamely stayed and partied with us! 🙂

Justin and I. The only photo we got of our Photographer. Lol.


I feel so blessed to have found and worked with my fellow Pinoys with such great talents… even more so that they have eventually become our good friends. 🙂

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