The Philippines is home to many beautiful islands; most of them offering a wonderful stretch of white sand, great scenery, and luxurious accommodations for the relaxation of guests. However, only one island has the distinction of offering the wonders of seven countries in one place. You heard it right, seven!
Balesin Island, located in Quezon Province, is the island paradise where Payam and Gabriela had their dream wedding. With seven “villages” each offering guests a totally different cultural experience, one can experience a bit of the world all in one place! These seven “villages” are Balesin (the premier village), Bali, Phuket, Costa del Sol, St. Tropez, Toscana, and Mykonos. We’ll give you a little photo tour of the place later on before we get on with the wedding pictures.
Payam and Gabriela are a couple based in Dubai who wanted to have their wedding in the Philippines due to Gabriela’s Filipina lineage. Balesin couldn’t have been any more perfect for them, as they did not have a big wedding, and it was a great place for the guests to relax in before and after the ceremony. The atmosphere was very relaxed; Payam and Gabriela were not stressed out at all. In fact, Payam even found time to jog just a couple of hours before they tied the knot. They were even game to do a prenup the day before their wedding! The very talented videographers of Mayad Studios were on hand during the prenup as well to artistically capture all the fun moments they had.
Preparations were held in their own villas, which were spacious enough to make them and their entourage comfortable. Makeup was done by Pamm Merrera and Macy, who made Gabriela even more beautiful than she already is. Everyone marvelled at how radiant she was on her special day. Of course, Payam was not to be outdone! He looked sharp in his suit and his outfit really complemented Gabriela’s sleek wedding gown.
They had two ceremonies, a Catholic one, and a Bahai (Payam’s religion) one. Each had a different feel but we loved both nevertheless. The Catholic ceremony was done in Balesin’s chapel – which had amazing architecture that made our photos stand out! The Bahai ceremony meanwhile, was done just behind the beach. It was bathed in wonderful natural light, and perfectly complemented the happy smiles of not only our couple, but of all the guests as well.
Their reception was held in the Balesin Sala, which was sort of a pavilion right in front of the beach. Wonderful speeches, a sumptuous buffet, and the sound of the waves made it a very relaxing evening for everyone. Great music, drinks, and a crazy party capped off the night. It was truly a day to remember!
Congratulations once again, Payam and Gabriela!
Before we post the wedding photos, we’ll give you guys a virtual tour of Balesin, mixed with some photos of their prenup as well. Here we go!
This is the plane we used to get to Balesin. It’s only accessible via private plane.
There is a lot of great scenery to view during the 30-minute plane ride to Balesin.
Upon arriving, you are brought to the welcome center for some refreshments and given a quick overview of the island.
Aside from golf carts, jeeps are the main way to get around the island. Jack of Mayad Studios can be seen fooling around by posing as one of the staff!
We went around the island with Team Mayad for a tour, and our first stop was the Balesin Spa. This was where Payam and Gabriela’s Bahai ceremony took place.
First stop among the seven villages would be Balesin Village! It is the “flagship” village, and has the best stretch of beach in the whole island. The villas here are huge, have great ventilation, and are a stone’s throw from the beach itself. This is where Gabriela had her wedding preps! We also shot some prenup photos here, but we’re not allowed to show those photos :p
Next, we went to Bali Village, which is on the other end of the beach where Balesin Village is located. The highlight of this village would be the two villas on stilts above the water, which takes privacy to a whole new level! We spent a night here, although it wasn’t at the sea villa. Still a great experience though!
Private villas above the water!
Our next stop was Toscana Village is a very faithful representation of the Italian countryside and its architecture. The vilas are still under construction, but we were allowed to shoot there though. This was where we shot most of Payam and Gabriela’s prenup sets. It really felt just like Italy!
Next stop is Phuket Village! It has a large clubhouse with a black-tiled infinity pool and restaurant. Also, its villas are very private, making it ideal for couples or guests who want peace and quiet.
Private villas surrounded by trees offer privacy second only to Bali village’s sea villas.
Next up is St. Tropez! Named after a famous resort in France, it has really long pathway heading to the village. Instead of villas, they have an assortment of rooms arranged like a hotel. We actually spent a night here, and we loved that the rooms lead directly to the beach and pool!
The brightly colored walls, rooms, and shops give off a vibe of a French seaside resort. It felt very authentic!
We did a quick set from their prenup here too.
Up next is Costa del Sol, which has Spanish influences all over. It is reminiscent of the Spanish Coast of the Mediterranean Sea, with its sunny weather, great beaches, and relaxed atmosphere. The huge clubhouse is great for dining, get-togethers, and parties! Payam and Gabriela had a brunch here after their wedding together with all the guests.
Parties are great outside, while dining inside, you will be serenaded by a band singing Spanish classics.
Finally, we have Mykonos village This is probably Balesin’s most iconic village, as it very much a local version of Santorini! With blinding white walls and blue accents, it is very minimalistic yet there is no shortage of relaxation to be had here.
We did our final prenup set here. Here are some samples!