Event stylist and interior design consultant Barbie Pardo-Tiangco talks about entertaining, family, and her greatest extravagances.
What’s the first thing you usually do when you wake up?
Grab my cell phone and check for urgent texts, calls, e-mail.
You throw parties for a living. How much fun is that?
I love my job! Event stylists are always ranked among the top ten most stressful professions, but I can’t imagine doing anything else right now.
How did you get started doing that?
I have a background in interior design so I kind of went overboard when planning small parties for my own kids and for my friends at home. I enjoyed it so much that I offered to style parties for friends. Eventually, when complete strangers started asking me to do it for them, I knew a new business had been born.
A tea party-inspired first birthday; and an all-pink christening with roses hung from the ceiling.
Your creations are absolutely adorable. How do you come up with all those creative ideas?
Thank you! Most clients come to me with a look or theme already in mind so I often get inspiration from them. I particularly like it when a theme isn’t just a party concept for cuteness’ sake but when it has meaning to the family. I can help with creating concepts from scratch but more often than not, I just assist clients in expanding their ideas to incorporate all aspects of the party. This includes graphic elements, ceiling treatments, tablescapes, desserts, giveaways, background music, and often, I even assist in picking the entertainment.
What are some of the
I love it when clients allow me to use décor made out of recycled materials. So much décor goes to waste so I appreciate it when clients are conscious about trying to use items that are green or can be recycled.
How do you entertain on your own?
I am constantly egging my husband to celebrate and entertain but he prefers last minute, impromptu get-togethers out of the house.
By nature I’m not a lavish person, so my parties never go in that direction but I do try to make sure each guest knows I took the time to think of how to make the experience a bit more special than normal. It could be as simple as carefully picking out the music to be played in the background, preparing a little gift bag, or by ordering the newest “it” dessert. The gestures don’t have to be grand, just meaningful.
A Ladurée-inspired spread at the Peninsula Manila; and a 13th birthday party with a touch of Fred Perry.
Is the food usually as elaborate?
I don’t cook, unfortunately. I’m an order-in sort of gal.
I love dogs. I love interior design and furniture design. I’m also a TV series and Internet junkie. And I’m currently obsessed with trying to get healthier.
I used to live in black. I once went for a month wearing only black (without repeating) but realized that no one noticed (that I didn’t repeat) so I’ve since incorporated
I’m not too particular about brands. I like what I like regardless of the brand that carries it. I’m not a fan of labels and clothes that outwardly carry someone else’s name or brand on it.
Simple stud earrings are my staple. I like dainty
What do you like most about your appearance?
My skin. I'm constantly researching on how to best take care of it.
Drink of choice?
I love good iced tea. Manila has the best selections. No alcohol for me.
What do you do as soon as you get home?
Hang out with the kids.
I hate people who don’t spell words out on SMS and e-mail. I mean, how hard is it to write “How much please?” instead of “hm”?
Love of your life?
My husband, John.
Her son Two's nautical birthday party; and at Turner's library-themed christening, where donations to Navotas' public library were requested in lieu of gifts.
What do you wear to a hot date?
Can’t go wrong with a black dress.
Qualities you like most in a man?
Kindness and intelligence.
Any guilty pleasure?
A nap in the middle of the day and chocolate.
O-toro. I die for fatty tuna sashimi!
This story was originally published in the December/January 2014 issue of Town&Country.