Yessa & Miguel’s Wedding at Semara Luxury Villa Bali

From Yessa
Paco and I met at a picnic in Central Park, New York in 2009 when we both lived there. He proposed to me last March 2015 in the bathroom of the W Sentosa in Singapore where we were checked in for the weekend. I was sitting by the edge of the bathtub waiting for the water for my bubblebath to cool when he approached me, reached into his right pocket, went down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. It was the sweetest surprise of my life.

He sheepishly admitted shortly that he was supposed to propose in California at the Coachella Music Festival the following month but could no longer wait when he got the ring that he ordered from New York based jewellery designer, Satoru.

The Villa Wedding

Coming from the Philippines of the Filipino-Chinese community, weddings with 500 guests are considered standard. When we started wedding-planning, we knew that we wanted a much more intimate affair and so decided to have it abroad. Bali was an easy choice because we fell in love with the charming island when we visited a few years back. We wanted an outdoor wedding to take advantage of Bali’s beautiful weather in September and took it to the next level by having it cliffside. On our wedding coordinator’s recommendation, we saw photos of Semara Luxury Villa Uluwatu’s sweeping ocean view immediately booked the place even before seeing it in person. When we finally saw the place, my jaw dropped as I took in the unbelievable landscape – it was truly paradise right before my eyes.

The vision of twinkling lightbulbs at the dinner reception made us feel like we were dining under a million stars while being serenaded with the smooth sounds of the saxophone, it was magical and soothing all at once. The ambience put people in such a genuine good mood like we swept all our guest to a magical celebration, even if it’s only for one night – that’s what made it so special to us.

The Venue, Ceremony and Wedding Style

We wanted to give guests an unexpected Balinese experience that would leave them breath taken. The infinite Uluwatu cliffside view was the perfect backdrop for it. We chose a colour that would complement grey (which was our dominant colour) and would stand out against the beautiful azure Uluwatu cliffside view – lilac was an easy pick! There was no specific theme in mind. From the simple, all-white setup adorned purely with baby’s breath for the ceremony, to the twinkling copper lightbulbs that enveloped the guests during the dinner reception – all we wanted to create a day that they would never forget and make our wedding as magical for them as it was for us.

For our ceremony, we kept our vows very real, personal and funny and we think that the guests appreciated this because they were able to relate to some of the things that we shared.

When Paco recited ‘How Do I Love Thee’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I knew that the poem would have a special place in my heart forever. Our officiant, James Sietstra’s personal anecdotes of me and Paco made the occasion more meaningful and not just ceremonious. He’s Paco’s best friend from college who knows the both of us very well.

The Photography

We wanted the photographers to capture raw and candid moments as opposed to the typical, heavily choreographed poses. We are very, very pleased with Bonjo’s work – looking at the photos always take us back to that night – so vividly.

And lastly, do you have any wedding advice for brides-to-be?

As soon as you step on that aisle, breathe in, exhale, let go of all the stress and enjoy your hard work!


Bridal gown – Ivarluski Aseron 
Groom’s suit – Pinky’s (a superb tailor that we discovered in Thailand)
Shirt studs from Paco’s late grandfather
Photographer – Terralogical
Videographer – Bali Metro

Wedding planner & Decor – Bali Exclusive Wedding 

Florist – Gloriosa Flower House
Cake – Ixora Cakes
Food and drink – Bali Catering Company 
Stationery – Amis Print, Philippines
Seating cards calligraphed by Mica Samar 
Entertainment – Traffic Blues & DJ Arshad



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