by: Michaella Yupangco-Pugh
1. How fulfilling is your job and where do you get your energy and inspiration?
I know I am made for this job. Every bit of me thrives in it. I love the challenge, but what I love most is being able to make dreams come true, bring fantasies come to life. There’s nothing more fulfilling than being part of people’s milestones, be it weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, corporate celebrations, nothing can beat the feeling of being the one to deliver those unforgettable moments.
I get my energy from clients who continuously challenge me to raise the bar. I like it when I am asked to do things I’ve never done before. I like it when the client trusts my creative process.
2. How do you make your mark? How do people know that this event is a Teena Barretto event?
With all the new event planners, some make it to the top, others fall short. I know i have left my mark when clients and suppliers alike would use phrases like “It’s very Teena” or “Style Teena Barretto.”
I broke walls by introducing my dose of creativity and rebelliousness. I bent tradition. I looked past convention. I was unafraid to be tagged as crazy or impossible. That’s when I realized I was the first ever wedding planner to introduce that style 12 years ago when weddings used to be traditional, conventional, and by the book. Now it has become pretty much the standard.
Modesty aside, I believe the original has more value than a copy. Creativity requires courage. And i have so much of that. I am not afraid to make mistakes. I am not afraid of taking risks. I an not afraid to stretch each and everyone’s limits. All the suppliers I often work with know this, I always push them to do things they haven’t done before.
3. With a huge pool of concepts and inspirations, how do you keep your events unique?
Now is a different challenge because of all the technology available. It is a matter of being able to keep up with the new technology while staying true to elegance, style, and class. Being able to merge these technologies with creativity is one thing that sets me apart. I understand production. I understand technicals. I understand stories. I understand treatments. My attitude of always wanting to create something new, something that’s not readily available in the market – that’s what makes my events unique.
4. Which event would you say is your breakthrough event?
During my start up, my breakthrough event was the wedding of Rica Peralejo. I already had a very active calendar before her wedding, but the media spotlight turned inmy direction after her wedding. I have been in the industry for a good 4 years at that time.
Things slowed down for me when I got pregnant. I was advised total bedrest for months. At that time I thought my career was over. Then Dingdong and Marian came along. That was another breakthrough for me. When people thought I was done, God gave me a big comeback. And that was my assurance that God really wanted me to be in this industry. He planted me here.
5. What is the most difficult dilemma you’ve faced as an events organizer and being at the middle of it all, how do you keep it together?
Dealing with bridezillas, groomzillas, momzillas and all the zillas in the world, doing a wedding right smack in the strong winds and high waters of Typhoon Ondoy, a principal sponsor suffering a stroke in the middle of a wedding ceremony, running a 1500-guest celebrity wedding while I was on my 3rd trimester of pregnancy, my staff being arrested by Boracay police because he was getting some sand needed for the set up, walking through C5 and SLEX in the middle of a storm just to get to my wedding, a celebrity wedding that was transferred to me 2 weeks before the event and I had to do everything from square one, and the list goes on!
I always make sure I have my head above water to be able to call objective and sensible shots. Though there are times when I become a slave to my emotions– it is only by God’s grace I am able to pull through as He is the one who fills in the gaps for me.
6. If something serious goes wrong, what is your game plan? Say the light that supposed to make it look like fairy woods didn’t arrive, what is your first move?
Make it happen with the available resources. It doesn’t matter how– i just really have to make it happen.
7. How do you handle a “bridezilla”?
Let her feel I am in control and I know what i am doing. Let her rest in the assurance that I’ve dealt with these issues a hundred time more than her so she should just trust me.
8. How do you balance different opinions from your clients?
I try to find out first who the decision makers are. That narrows the clutter instantly.
If in case their opinion differs from mine, then that’s different. I always lay down my cards, give my recommendations, level expectations, and give out possible outcomes of the different options and decisions.
9. With all the events that you’ve produced, which would you say is in your top three?
“The Royal Wedding”
10. What would you want to say to all the aspiring wedding organizers?
Find your niche. It’s easy to copy, it’s easy to conform. I would say that it is important to stand out from the clutter– only this can guarantee your longevity “staying power” in this industry.