‘We are not wedding planners’

Flowers by Ivie Joy Florals

Flowers by Ivie Joy Florals

By Jen Furer

At the March 7 Makilala TV taping of the episode on “Filipino American Wedding Trends and Tradition,” we had the pleasure of meeting three dynamic and successful entrepreneurs: Ivie Joy Agustin of Ivie Joy Floral Arts and Events; Glenn Maningas of MPW Media Group; and Amable Yalong of Events by Amable/Key Music Group and Y2 Collection.

The trio, who has been working as a team since 2009, are consistent Wedding Wire Bridal Choice awardees. We learned that to win the Wedding Wire Awards for five consecutive years means that your business has to be in the top 5 percent of wedding service providers in the country.

Staying humble and down-to-earth, these three design professionals consistently earned positive reviews online. They stressed that in analyzing customer reviews, people should read not only the 5-star comments.

“A 2-star rating can also be a positive review if it highlighted the exceptional service and professionalism,” said Amable. “Sometimes, you just lose out a little on the pricing, which has nothing to do with the quality of service.”

Our conversation with these three energetic and fun-loving individuals friends reminded me of what my parents taught us siblings, and what I am now trying to pass on to my children: Dream big, be true to yourself, work hard, value team work and give back. Ivie Joy, Glenn and Amable truly personify these life goals.

Ivie Joy has an exotic background. She was raised in the lush Hawaiian countryside which propelled her passion for the floral arts. She started as an associate designer of a floral retailer and quickly became general manager before launching her own business, Ivie Joy Florals. She’s the go-to florist of top corporations, celebrities, fashion magazines, Broadway show premieres and award ceremonies.

Glenn and Amable have just as interesting career paths before venturing on their own.

‘The Experience’ team of Amable Yalong, Glenn Maningas and Ivie Joy Agustin

‘The Experience’ team of Amable Yalong, Glenn Maningas and Ivie Joy Agustin

Glenn has an engineering degree from the Philippines, worked as a computer consultant in the U.S. before creating My Pinoy Wedding offering photography and video services. Hence the name of his company: MPW Media Group. His passion is to change the way weddings are visually captured for couples about to be married. One of his trademark New York scene is a finely-attired couple in suit and satin coming out of a grungy yellow cab

Amable worked in accounting and finance before he founded Events by Amable, a boutique entertainment production company that provides music to weddings and other celebrations. He’s known as “The Maestro” if he is not being called the Filipino version of Ryan Seacrest when doing his DJ duties. He recently launched Y2 Collection, which makes luxury custom-tailored suits for men.

As parents, we try to encourage our children to follow their dreams. When I put together my kids’ lunches, I leave short notes in their lunch bags to remind them how wonderful they are, how they can do whatever they put their hearts and minds into, how to dream big and keep smiling – daily inspirational messages that I hope would brighten their day.

Amable embodies someone who seizes opportunities. He dreams big and is passionate on branching out from hosting events to launching a men’s wear and oversized leather totes. His Y2 Collection had its debut at New York Fashion Week on February 17.

“I left corporate America to follow my passion,” he described his journey. “My goal is to always inspire others to never give up on their passion and dreams. I’m living a dream and someone else can do the same.”

Glenn followed this adage with another: “Know your niche.” That’s how he grew his photo and video business. He knew he wanted to be in the wedding industry. However, in starting a business, sometimes you have to start small – take baby steps, he said. His MPW Media Group offers a variety of services including the Same-Day Edit video where the couple and their guests get to view a video of the entire wedding toward the end of the reception.

“No need to wait for weeks or months,” Glenn said on Makilala. The tab is slightly higher but worth it, he said.

A dream doesn’t magically become real just because you imagined it to be.

In my conversation with Ivie Joy, she emphasized that dreams and passion are nothing if you don’t work hard – and she meant work really hard. Three things she emphasized people should remember:

1. Be punctual. There is no excuse for being late.
2. There’s no room for sub-par performance. You have to be accountable to whatever product or service you put out there.
3. There is no such thing as “free internship.” How can you hold someone accountable if they’re not getting paid?

Some Filipinos are known to have the “kanya-kanya” or “If I can’t have it, neither can you” mentality. This dynamic trio debunked that misconception.

They compliment one other and are not known to credit-grab whoever brings in the connections and business opportunities. They appear to work well as a team, saying that they are out to give clients the complete package of services or what they call “The Experience.” It’s such a pleasant sight to see them joyfully praise one another’s hard work, expertise and creative professionalism.

Just don’t call them wedding planners. “We are more than that,” they said. While they are there for the moment, they offer a breadth of insight and experience on what makes a matrimony live in one’s memory long after the wedding album has been put away.

Bespoke tailoring by Y2 Collection

Bespoke tailoring by Y2 Collection

Photography by MPW Media Group

Photography by MPW Media Group

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