A Destination Wedding on a Budget! Mau and Wy Tells Us How.

We sat down with happily married Mau Wong and Wyatt Ong as they dished about their beautiful intimate wedding in Old Sacramento, California. I was there myself and it was evident that they put their heart and soul into planning their wedding - from their beyond-poetic vows down to the personal details of it all. At the end, they give us tips on how to plan an intimate wedding by being creative, spending with intention and making it your own. #untemplated

1. Why did u go for an intimate wedding?

"We were starting a new life abroad so we had to be as practical as possible. Weddings in the US cost tens of thousands of dollars. We'd rather see that go to longer-term savings. Plus, we chose to pay for it ourselves. We also understood that not everyone could come all the way to California."

"My husband and I wanted to know the names of each person in the crowd, and have personal histories with each guest."

2. For you, what were the pros (and cons) of an intimate wedding? What were your special non-negotiables? What traditional elements did feel like you didn't need?


  • More time to bond with each guest. Our guests bonded with each other. 

  • More room in the budget to go for truly personal details. I sourced as much as I could from Pinoy creatives, who are amazing and in my view, the best. 

  • The guest size made keeping track of everything so much more manageable, I was not too stressed! 

  • Intimate speeches, small crowd means we were not shy to dance, be loud, sing at the top of our lungs!

  • We got to choose a stunning venue that would have been too small for a bigger wedding.

  • Everyone in my family, plus our friends, did something to pitch in. Tasks like driving elderly guests to the venue, picking up rented instruments, or even doing the groom's hair. Even the little kids had tasks. Each was a gift of love.

Con: The only thing I was sad about is missing some guests who were important to us but couldn't make it for various reasons. And that is it! 

We did away with:

  • A church wedding. Instead we got a non-denominational officiant who designed a beautiful custom ceremony wherein she incorporated our story. There was a special reading from my 'bridesman', a handfasting ritual, and a group vow. The whole audience was asked if they'd support us in our married life and of course everyone shouted "YES"! (Check Mau & Wy's wedding video to see and hear it all)

  • A big band and DJ. Instead, my high school music teacher and her husband, who were our guests, kindly played for us. We had to have them as one of their original songs, "Steady," just means so much to us! This was also the song used in our wedding video. Then I just hired a sound man to make sure everything was smooth. 

  • Large separate reception venue. After the ceremony, the vendor flipped the ceremony area into the reception!

3. What was your design vision for your wedding? What were your favorite elements?

"There were things we could only pull off precisely because the wedding was small. Our design philosophy: all personal details. "

  • Color palette: Dusty blue, watercolor pastels. Lush, rustic, imperfect but polished.

  • Vows sewn into wedding dress by Mara Chua.

  • Table numbers were watercolors of famous pop culture couples + trivia about us.

  • Photo booth with no props. I just wanted to see everyone's faces. And the souvenir photos just had a plain black frame, no wedding logo or name of the couple.

  • Handwritten vows on custom vow cards.

  • Separate dessert was served but custom gemstone cupcakes doubled as wedding favors. 

  • Nephews and nieces carried phrases that formed a beautiful quote, setting the tone of the wedding.

4. If you had the chance, what would you change in your wedding?

"Nothing. I mean it!"

5. Advice for soon-to-weds who are looking to have an intimate wedding?

Our wedding philosophy was to spend in moderation for things we did want and totally eliminate things we didn't want.

"We realized that spending nothing would be impossible. You'll have to spend, inevitably. Instead, spend with intention, with care. For example, we really wanted a video package but the cheapest ones in the US were still significantly more expensive than in the Philippines. So it actually made financial sense to fly Hello and Co. Cinema there rather than get a US company, believe it or not! 

One of our vendors told me something important: 'A wedding is a feeling.' We thought a lot about what feelings we wanted to create: sincere love, pure joy, and closeness."



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Metro Manila, Philippines