It was one of the last few moments before a wedding would start, and there were no church decors and flowers. The bride was throwing suspicious looks from inside her bridal car, knowing from the scene outside that something was wrong. The coordinator explained that the florist, who had been the couple’s choice, had not arrived and was unreachable. The situation was unfortunate, and the beautiful but anxious bride was willing to walk down the aisle without the embellishments, but the wedding planner wouldn’t allow it. She immediately called a reliable supplier to set up an array of daisies, roses and calla lilies on the aisles, finished right on time for the ceremony. The situation is the stuff of nightmares, and only an experience wedding coordinator would have survived it—but after 14 years in the industry, Snoogie Reynes Mata is truly a master of her craft.
“Walking down the aisle with no flowers is unacceptable. As a wedding planner, you really need a backup plan and the gift of foresight,” Snoogie insists. “You have to be on top of everything, monitoring the biggest items down to the smallest details.”
This excitement and passion was fueled when she visited a friend at a wedding reception, where she fell in love with how romance and creativity could jive well together. SNOOGIE Wedding and Events started late in 2003, but her big break came in 2004—the much anticipated wedding of Francis Llaban, one of Cebu’s most eligible bachelors, to the beautiful Angel Selma. “It was very challenging for me because it was a really big wedding, and I was collaborating with Cebu’s foremost names in event styling—Pinky Chang of Pink Flora and the late interior designer Paul Schroth,” Snoogie recalls. “And can you imagine, at the time I was working alone and was just assisted by our office workers!”
These days, most weddings are lavish affairs with pre-nuptial photo shoots, food and wine tastings, makeup sessions, video collaborations, and non-stop fittings all part of the the package. When asked if weddings can be simple, Snoogie quickly says that many couples start off the planning session by saying exactly that. “I have learned that there is no such thing as a simple wedding, especially when details start coming in, but if a couple is on a budget, they can still have the wedding of their dreams,” she explains, adding that it’s all about finding the right suppliers. “As a wedding coordinator, it is my duty to be part project manager, part troubleshooter, part confidante. Hiring a good wedding coordinator is more like having a good friend helping you out with your wedding preparations, sans the drama.”
Snoogie takes inspiration from clients who have become friends along the way, and has made it her mission to help newlyweds embark on the new chapter in their lives. “It can become very personal because you’re involved every step of the way,” she admits. Most recently, her team had put together the Nunez-Soco nuptials. “I was very involved. We all know that Glenn Soco is a very successful business man, but the trust he has given me in planning for his wedding was simply amazing and inspiring. Her would just call to ask for advice about certain matters, and he hears you out.”
Although Snoogie is also a medical practitioner on the side, she devotes a lot of her time to her clients, making sure to be available when they need her. On the day of the wedding, she is usually on-site, where she can address any minor problems that arise before it turns into a major one. Her charm and calm demeanor has become tools for working in the high-tension industry, where last minute changes and unfortunate surprises are common “All my couples know that the Snoogie touch not only assures them of perfection—practically obsessive-compulsive attention to the minutest detail—but also that I will accomplish it with true grace under pressure with a genuine smile,” she says proudly.
Being relatively lucrative, the wedding industry has lured many newbies to try their hand in the field, but Snoogie makes it a point to never compare herself to others. She believes that she has her own strengths and weaknesses—“I just think that I have to keep on improving my craft, no matter how long I’ve been doing it,” she shares, although she admits that experience is a huge advantage. “But I constantly remind myself not to get too comfortable, because every wedding is always a learning experience.”
While love dominates the feeling in this industry, Snoogie confesses that being grateful is a feeling she wants to express to the bride and groom, to her team, and most especially to her suppliers. She adds with a smile, “You really have to build a good relationship with them because in the long run, they will be the ones to help you go the distance.”