Monday, December 14, 2009

Wedding Shoes

Not blue, but still pretty, no? Anyway I continue to be on the lookout for blue shoes.

Also, like that handkerchief it's sitting on? That may or may not appear on the tables at the wedding, along with that flower pitcher. I'm so design right now. haha.

I really did mean to write, truly

So I have a list of blogs that I "follow," meaning that they are on a list that show up in a nice list whenever I log into this site and I can conveniently scroll through what they've been writing about for the past few weeks/months. I am dutifully impressed by their profilicity (is that a word?). How can people write so much about one day in their life and oftentimes a day that has already passed? But anyway I am glad for it because they have thought of all the things that I have never thought to think of. Salt shaker vases? Brilliant and cheap! Wedding ring ads? Outrageous and sexist! So much passion to expend on fleeting ideas. Now I don't have to figure out which hotels to book. . . hehe.

Anyway as I've stated previously, I'm not anti-wedding blog (Hello, here I am). But I just can't write about weddings with such all-consuming passion. I simply don't care enough. There, I said it. But I can't help but feel a bit curious for that feeling. That love love love of all things weddings, and in particular, all things potential for your own wedding. Most of the time I know I'm getting married because my ring always turns in such a way as to jam into my pinky finger whenever I carry a heavy bag in my left hand. Am I not a romantic?

I think maybe the more attention other people pay to it, the more likely I am to discount the significance of that thing. I am not a populist. I believe firmly in esotericism. The wedding will be intimate and full of momentous import, but mostly just for us. For the rest of you, it's a big party with flowers and champagne. I'm okay with that.

Anyway, updates! I did our wedding website which is full of the usual sillness and some marginally useful information. I cannot for the life of me be really serious about this stuff. I'm lucky people think I'm funny and not worried that their dear friend/son/brother/nephew/cousin/grandson is marrying a sociopath. (Which, for the record, he is not. I am very well-adjusted.)

And our winter break is coming up soon so we hope (fingers crossed) that we will be able to get many wedding chores done. Music, invitations, hotels, cake, veil, second wedding dress.--wait, what? just kidding. Although in the Year of the Wedding, I should be able to purchase any pretty dress I want. Ha.

Okay dudes, I have to get back to studying. Thanks for the break. Talk to you soon!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our wedding song

hmmm. . . I found this on YouTube via Facebook from another girl who just got engaged. But I don't know how technology works. So here's the link.

Awesome wedding song, huh? I mean this has to be played at some point and possibly danced to, in a coordinated fashion.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yep, still getting married

Hello. Just thought I'd say hi. I don't have anything to report. We're just cruising along. I've been popping into shoe stores that are having sales. Also, I've started to stash away money in a little envelope marked wedding shoes. This is my way of budgeting for things that aren't really important. My thinking is if I can forego enough overpriced cups of coffee or pack my own lunch to afford these shoes, then I can buy them.

Oh wait, I should take this moment to recognize FP for his collection activities. He spent the morning the other day at a church sale and found some really nice vases for us and free wine carafes that we can use for flowers. We're just sort of poking around thrift stores and yard sales and picking up piece we find interesting, and we'll use them on the tables or as the ceremony decorations. So props to my man for his bargain-seeking eye.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weddings are expensive

I've been getting a little frustrated at the cost of weddings. I know. I know. This should not be unexpected. But I think you can still be annoyed about it. It's just that I feel like we are making a lot of economic choices and cutting out a lot of wedding frill, but it doesn't seem to actually save us any money. What's the point? I may not spend hundreds of dollars on this one thing, but this other thing will cost thousands of dollars. Boo.

Recently we have been on a quest to find a decent and affordable photographer. The complication for us is that we are having two weddings, but our budget for photography will probably barely cover one wedding. So maybe we should rely on the cameras of friends and family for one and get the professionals for the other. But we don't really want to do this. Both weddings have a lot of meaning for both our families, and it feels a little like we'd be making one less important if we didn't hire a photographer for both. I don't know. We might revisit our budget on this. Grrr. I know cameras and equipment must be expensive, but I am surprised at the prices of many uninteresting wedding photographers. We would be willing (to a point) to pay for a good photographer, but the prices are inflated so that the bad photographers are barely affordable and the good ones seem out of our league. We would be open to using a student photographer, but they'd have to come with high praise from someone we know personally and whose opinion we respected--not an expensive photographer trying to get work for one of their interns.
Anyway I'm trying not to stress out too much over this. But time keeps ticking away and the best photographers (in terms of quality and price) get booked early. Boo.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I've been thinking about our wedding?!?!?!

Well, mostly, I've been avoiding my homework. I'm starting to think that being in school and working full-time will really kick this wedding planning into high gear. So here are a couple of things that I think about while I read through page 265 of my cell bio book for the fifth time:

1. Shoes. I don't really want to wear white. Mostly because it's boring to wear white and I will get them dirty. Better to get something in fuschia or turquoise or both. Anyway I've been lurking a bit at zappos and bluefly and at DSW. Nothing has caught my fancy. I found a store this weekend in Soho that may be promising, if they stop using suede. I mean, I would love to that bride that wears suede at her June wedding, but then I'd be that bride with sweat-stained suede shoes. Fail.

Also, $600 shoes. Fail.

2. Music. Mostly our first dance song. We have a few possibilities. A friend of ours is getting married soon, and we were talking about the difficulty of figuring this seemingly simple task out. How does one find a song with just the right blend of cheese and fun without the wierd? We are not indie people, and we are not too snobby for a song that may or may not have used in a car commercial, but still it's been hard to find something we agree on. Anyway this conversation brought up the topic of wedding traditions gone awry. Apparently, according to Miss Manners, the first dance was not supposed to be a mini-show that the bride and groom put on for their guests (Youtube evidence to the contrary). The bride and groom start the party with their dance, but at some point during the song, the wedding party is supposed to bring people onto the dancefloor to join them. I like this tradition. The same is somewhat true for the father-daughter, mother-son dances. They have songs that are dedicated for those dances, but they're not really supposed to halt the action of everyone else. I mean, since when did getting married become synonomous with attention-hog and party-pooper?

4. That being said, I'm getting intrigued by choregraphed dances. What? I never claimed to not be a wedding hypocrite. Anyway most of the youtubed wedding dances are lame to the naked eye, but I wonder if it might be a lot of fun for the people involved. One of the bridesmaids is a choregrapher. I feel almost like it's wasting a resource to not come up with something. Definitely not the "let's start out slow--screech--what happened--cue rap song" routine. That has been overdone. But maybe a song that plays randomly during the reception and all of a sudden, dance party. . . with choreographed steps. Anyway I'm not saying I want to do it. I'm just saying let's consider the possibilities.

5. Centerpieces. So really we're doing an Anthropologie-themed wedding. We're collecting interestingly-pattern square scarves from flea markets and thrift stores to place on the table as base layers for the centerpieces. We're also collecting inexpensive vases and containers--both from those same places as well as ones I'm making myself. We're going to fill them with random flowers from the grocery store. Use little tealights and some other little knick-knacks that we find. Like the picture below, but less fancy. The eclectic pack-rat look is so hot for weddings right now.
(image from
6. Veil. Yes? No? With lace? With Swarvoski crystals? Fingertip-length? Bird-cage? Blusher? What? I think veils are pretty. They're sooo wedding. I'd like one that is simple and whimsical. I'm thinking about getting a plain ivory one and then embellishing it with fabric flowers/feathers at the crown. For an organic bohemian bling look.
7. Hair. Definitely an updo as it will be mid-June and I will be dancing up a storm (choreographed or no). So a style that will keep my hair out of my way is important. Been looking at the knot and things for ideas. Nothing too severe as my forehead looks both alien and child-like and I have a blockhead (for real, ask any of my recent hairdressers), but it has to stay in place. The challenge with my hair is that it will do what you want it to do and then go beyond to realms you never dreamed it could go. Yeah, the challenge will be how to keep it from going back to the 1980's or 19th-century. Fun stuff.
Oh man, that's a lot of wedding thinking. I need a nap. Tata for now.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why, Hello There!

I have come to realize that I am a callous blogger. I mean, what other word can describe a person who starts a relationship and then leaves it, simply out of boredom. That's just not right. People want to know, did we pick our florist, are we going with a dj or an IPOD, and what oh what will I be wearing on my head next June? You do, don't you?

Well, in any case, you deserve some attention now and then. Although let's be honest, this attention is really my attention, or rather paying attention to me. Blogging is a strange and fascinating phenomenom. I just saw Julie and Julia, which was a nice movie, but the Julie character's relationship to her readers and her own ego was foreign to me. I guess that means I won't be writing a book to be made into a movie about myself anytime soon.

But I digress, dear friends. The wedding. The wedding is what we've come here to talk about. And talk about it, we shall. Talk. Talk. Talk. Today, FP and I decided that we accomplished a lot of wedding planning by looking at photographer websites and talking about what we wanted and what we were willing to pay. I have realized that most of wedding planning is talking. The decision, once made, is quick. Yes, we are having a luncheon wedding. Deposit is down. We are in. Snap. It was the months of talking and exploring our options that were so excruciating.

But it has to be done. Wouldn't you feel just a little bit guilty if your wedding planning was easy? I mean, don't you care about your wedding? How can you not stress out about the BIGGEST day of your life? Everyone you care about will be there. Don't you want to make sure that it's perfect? Don't you want to guarantee that it's fun? How do we know you're getting married if you're not constantly fretting about your wedding and reading wedding magazines? This is the state of the modern wedding.

Anyway it's silly. We know it's silly, but we still do it. We know what's important and what's not, but we are social creatures, subject to the influences and pressures of the world around us. So be it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wedding? What wedding?

It's absolutely true that the wedding will take up whatever space in your life that you let it. I feel like I went from obsessing about all the details and figuring out all the logistics of the event every day to not thinking about it for weeks. I finally delegated tasks to good ol' FP, and he is happily not doing anything about it, and I honestly don't care. I guess at some point, we'll have to do the invitations, but that is months and months away. Right now, we're just going through the normal ups and downs for two imperfect people making and sharing a life together.

Although it's not all "doing laundry and watching Jeopardy" bliss in our household. We bought our wedding rings! Michael C. Fina had a sample sale. We went to look at rings, found two that we liked, had a moment, and decided, why wait? We got a great deal and beautiful rings. Woohoo! We're getting closer and closer to this whole wedding/marriage thing.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Martha Stewart is a genius.

(image from Martha Stewart)

Martha suggested a money-saving option for the cake. Buy different-sized sheet cakes and stack them yourself with cake dowels, which are easily available at any bakery supply store or I think, probably Michael's. You get your tiers without the sticker shock.

As some of you may know, I was planning on baking the wedding cake myself, and I've been practicing. Upon further thought, I think it may be too much to do. We have a big guest list and no time. I don't know. I still might, or perhaps I'll bake a groom's cake. I change my mind on everything so why not this?

Anyway this idea from Martha is brilliant. We don't want a fancy cake. We'd prefer a clean, simple design. With this, we would save money and get the cake look we'd like.

I am an unabashed thief.

We went to a stunning wedding last weekend at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, VA. Lush, serene grounds and gardens. And the center is green-certified. You get to have a gorgeous wedding and lessen the environmental impact of your event. Pretty cool, huh? I hope this trend will increase.

Anyway, check this out. Instead of having a guest book, they had a marriage certificate made and all the guests signed it as witnesses. I think this is a great idea, and I will totally will steal it. Also, I'll probably try to steal the bride's talent, as she is a gifted graphic designer and crafter.

Other ideas I will steal:

Bubbles for the send-off. We're getting married in the daytime. I'm thinking bubbles and pinwheels.

Colorful Japanese lanterns in the pavilion.

Wish bottle. My friend had a beautiful glass bottle and strips of nice paper. People wrote well-wishes for the couple, rolled it up, and stuck it in. They opened it on their one-year anniversary. Cute, huh?

Anything on Martha Stewart that is brightly colored and doesn't require too much work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I swear this will be the last wedding(s) I'll ever have. . .

Onto plan 563.1a, folks. That's right. We and our families have finally settled on one of the numerous iterations of our wedding, and we have signed a binding contract. You see, the fire hall is ready to give us our deposit back if we changed our minds more than 60 days before the event. And apparently we did change our minds. I just wasn't really aware of it. Or maybe I was, and I was ignoring my parents' suggestions to consider other venues because frankly I was tired of looking for a venue that suited everyone, so I chose a venue that didn't really suit anyone.

Anyway it came to light that my parents didn't want to have the reception at the fire hall, and they were willing to cut the guest list so that we could afford to have the reception at a nicer venue. Who am I to argue with that?

The bad news was that the Bristow Manor Golf Club was booked for the evening of June 19, 2010. Ack! This is what happens when you don't actually communicate for several months. The good news is that they were available for a daytime reception. We thought about changing our date and redoing all the work we had done to book the church, etc. And then we decided it was just easier to keep the date and do the wedding in the morning (which it was already scheduled as such) and a wedding brunch instead of an evening reception. Then, we'd have the Cambodian ceremony and lunch the next day. This is our compromise.

My parents' compromise is we'll do the complete Cambodian wedding (not the shortened version as originally planned) plus the Chinese wedding banquet on Sunday night. They will pay for it on their own. They will invite less to the Saturday event, but they will invite whoever they want to the Sunday event. They will do all the planning for Sunday. And so we will be having the wedding that we want on Saturday, AND the wedding that they want on Sunday. Which of course, makes the total cost of the wedding(s) sort of ridiculous. But it is a small price to pay for their happiness and the removal of blockages in further wedding planning.

So yes, we are having two weddings. It will be sort of crazy, but it was always going to be. I hope that now it will be fairly smooth sailing to next June. Wish me luck!

This is our new venue: Bristow Manor Golf Club.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Guest List

After the hard part--you know, the growing as a couple to the point when you're ready to get married, is the hard part--making a guest list. This is somewhere between the hard part--finding a venue and the hard part--everything else it seems. But anyway we came up with an easy way to figure out who we want to be surrounded by on our wedding. Auditions. Yes. Auditions. If it works for American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance (I just discovered these shows. Yes, I've been living under a rock.), why can't it work for us?

FP suggested that we can have people sample a chicken florentine or a beef wellington to see if they can properly appreciate it. I think we can have a pseudo-dance marathon--"We Are Family" on repeat and the ones who can bust a move the longest are getting invitations to Virginia! There could also be speed conversation sessions. Can you talk to me in less than thirty seconds?

Maybe a simple questionnaire would suffice. How quickly can you go through a buffet line? Do you know how to work other people's cameras, if requested? Have you ever been dropped on your head on the dance floor?

How else could we possibly choose who to invite?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Can You Feel the Love?

This past weekend, FP's parents threw us a spectacular engagement party in New York. Yes, we are the kind of couple that gets two engagement parties. Don't be gel-ous.

Anyway this party and the one my parents threw for us back in March in Virginia serve as reminders that we are not the only ones who are excited we're getting married. Now, we don't like a lot of fuss and attention, but being at these parties and just seeing all the people who are genuinely joyful about our future together helps me realize that we have a good thing going. No marriage exists in isolation, and we are incredibly lucky to have the loving support of so many strong couples and strong individuals. I know that even if the centerpieces are gauche or the DJ plays "We are Family" on repeat, our wedding will be rocking. June 19, 2010! Woohoo!!

Also, we are good-looking people. Check out the pictures.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Eloping is hard to do.

Actually it's very easy. A simple ride on the good ol' 2/3 to Park Place and a short walk to City Hall. Recently (and by recently, I mean, sometime in the past three years I've lived in New York), Mayor Bloomberg declared New York the wedding capital of the world. Or something like that. Basically they renovated City Hall so it doesn't make you sad when you sign your marriage certificate in front of an anonymous city bureacrat. *sigh* That's my dream wedding.

But in the real world, where you have a reasonable affection for your family and friends, you're in the wedding section of Michael's, wondering if $4.99 for tulle circles is a good price. And we all end up here. Or most of us do. After gazing at the lovely, design-alicious weddings on the different websites, more often than not, the most authentic thing to do is to simply get the mother-of-pearl guestbook and be done with it. Because as excited I am to be getting married, I have a ridiculously short wedding-attention span (as evidenced by me not posting since when, April? no idea).

Anyway the basics are covered. We have our date! We have a venue! Done and done. I won't do a countdown because I'm philosophically opposed to waiting. We've already found two caterers that we get good e-mail vibes from, and we'll meet them at some point this summer. We're in a good place. A good, forgettable place. i.e. when anyone asks me how the wedding planning is going, I get confused. Wait, I don't feel angry or frustrated. Am I still planning this wedding?

But don't worry. There is time yet. Our latest pre-wedding adventure brings us to engagement party #2. FP's parents are graciously hosting a party in New York for the NY family and friends. And I have graciously offered to bake favors for the 50 guests. Why? Because I'm glutton for wedding punishment.

Actually it's fun. It's an excuse to avoid looking for a full-time job. I mean, who would choose the want ads over chocolate chip cookies? Anyway we spent this afternoon preparing the favor boxes (100 boxes for $19.99 at Michael's). We made a mock-up. What do you think?

2. Uh, this one is easier, so I'm pretty sure this is what I'll do. But tell me if it's offensively ugly.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Things I Don't Care for

I'm going to make a list. Because I like lists. They make me feel like I'm accomplishing something, instead of avoiding my organic chemistry homework.

Things I Don't Care For

1. Envy wedding planning. That's the planning I do when I read wedding blogs and wedding magazines (which I've decided are the same thing. Both are opinionated about their wedding, her wedding, your wedding, my wedding. Both are gushy. Both are designed to create envy. I think I might get some blogger smackdown if anyone reads this besides the bridal party. Please please tell me about your favorite blog/magazine that is soooo different. ha!). Anyway back to the point. So I read/browse these and I start to think, Wouldn't it be nice to . . . or So cute, maybe we could. . .you know the drill. But it sucks because it is unlikely that I can afford to do any of these projects for reasons of both time and money. And also, that's not really our wedding. None of these sites can tell you anything about yourself or your relationship to your fiance or to your family or to your friends. Yes, silk dupioni table runners are nice. I should not spend any time thinking about how to make them or buy them cheap.

2. Actual wedding planning. Because it's boring. Because I have to constantly wait for people to call back. And then I have to convince people that it's going to be okay. I mean, just because our reception venue doesn't have chandeliers does not mean that people will not be happy for us. I'm fairly certain that chandeliers are not a requirement for marriage licenses in Virginia, though I should check on that.

3. Wedding advice. Really, I could use help with determining the forces at play when a hiker steps onto a wooden bridge that is fastened on both ends. The hiker weighs 95N and the bridge is 400N. I get really confused about which forces are pointing up and which ones point down. No really, this is important. The wedding? Nope, I'm good. I have a fairly clear idea of what will happen then.

4. Final exams. Damn it, can't a bride catch a break?

Oh, note that I'm not going to stop doing any of these things. Except maybe finals. . . after May 20th. Dang!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wedding Theme, perhaps?

In order to maximize the "awwwww" factor at the wedding, we should consider making this website our theme:

Who can resist baby animals?
(by Tambako via ZooBorn)
This is what we look like when we wake up in the morning.

Wedding Exit Strategy

I took an international relations course in college, and I think the lessons I learned there can be applied to weddings.

If you want to win a war, you have to set a tangible goal that can be attained. Then you can know whether or not you've won. And so in the spirit of successful war strategy, I present my tangible wedding goals.

1. The people who are most important to us and to our families are there. We may even try to talk to them at some point during the event.
2. We will serve plenty of delicious food and drink, with as much of it locally-sourced as possible.
3. I will be dancing. So will you. If someone wants to talk to me, they can find me on the dancefloor.
4. At the end of the night, we will be a tired and happy married couple. And while we hope the wedding is fun, magical, romantic, [insert whatever emotional term you want here], we know that marriage is the best part of this day and that lasts the rest of our entire lives.

Thus begins my war on motherly opinions, unsolicited wedding advice, bridal magazines, and such.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Makings of a Bridezilla

This was a real conversation I had with a vendor (more or less).

Me: So I wanted to know what your menu was for weddings.

Her: Well, we can do anything. We make whatever you want. What do YOU want? It's your special day.

Me: Well, we don't have anything particular in mind. We're just interested in serving good food.

Her: We can do anything.

Me: Okay, but can you give me a sample menu?

Her: Let me tell you about a wedding we did recently. The bride wanted 26 kinds of bread. And we did that for her. ( I think at this point, I was expected to applaud.)

Me: That's nice, but what kind of FOOD did you serve?

Her: Well, first, tell me. What is your fantasy wedding?

At this point I really should have hung up on her. Anyway needless to say, she refused to give me any details about the food they serve at the venue. And I crossed that place off my list.

Bridezillas are decisive!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bridezillas get things done

Unfortunately, I'm not one. I'm beginning to think I've made a mistake in not throwing tantrums and trying to be considerate and reasonable with everyone. I think maybe some people are forgetting that the wedding is about us, and not about them. I know this isn't all that unusual.
Unfortunately, for them, the more they try to make me feel bad/guilty for wanting our own wedding, the less I want to have any kind of wedding.

Hmm. . . passive-aggressive bridezillas are probably the worst kind, aren't they? But still, I think I'd rather be that than a doormat bride.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Table Decorations

(from Ikea)

We're leaning away from centerpieces at the reception, or at least, no main floral arrangement the center of the table. Instead, maybe just have a couple blooms (I'm thinking carnations or gerber daisies or maybe zinnias?) in these spice jars from Ikea at each place setting. We're considering serving a family-style dinner so the middle of the table would be freed up this way. Maybe we'd just put a small bowl of fruit (apples, cherries, oranges, pears, grapes) in the middle so that it wouldn't look so bare. Or dessert stands with fruits. An arrangement of candlesticks. An apothecary jar full of cinnamon sticks. Moss-filled fishbowl vases. Tree branches with glass ornaments. We're not looking for a uniform table look, though I am wondering if we should pick a color to hold it together.

Anyway I've been browsing the Michael's and the Save-on-Crafts website and getting inspired. I'm starting to think that we may save a lot of time, money and headache by foregoing fresh flowers. There seems to be a lot of ways to decorate without those fickle creatures.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Speaking of spending money well

White Aisle teamed up with Daughters Cambodia to help survivors of the sex trafficking industry. These girls and women are forced into prostitution at a young age, sometimes by their own families, and they have an incredibly hard time transitioning back to society. White Aisle decided to help by selling crafts handmade by these women to provide them with an income and a way to step out of poverty. They talked about their trip to Cambodia and their decision to get involved here.

As you can see, these women make beautiful things: silk flowers, ring pillows, and sashes (not pictured). The fabric is local hand-loomed Cambodian silk, and they've kept their design simple so that it really goes with any wedding. We've decided to purchase our ring pillow from them. My favorites are the first two pillows. What do you think?

Turning the Tables

Well, I thought I had it all figured out. We had two great spots to decide on. We talked to caterers. We talked more concretely about our budget. And we finally have committed to a total cost. This is great progress.

FP and I have been very adamant that we have no dream budget in mind. A wedding can cost any amount of money, so our budget needed to be determined by the generosity of our parents. We have a little bit to put in, and our parents have agreed to pitch in the rest. We are very lucky.

Anyway as we've been mulling over the country club vs. the historic library dilemma, I've started to think that we're spending money in the wrong place. While neither of these places is extravagant, they both limit in our ability to fete our guests. We can't afford the good stuff in one, and we can't have everyone we want in the other.

A wedding is not about the setting. Getting married on the Potomac River goes along better with a Great-Gatsby theme, but that isn't what matters. We've said from the beginning that we only care that the people we love are there and that they enjoy themselves (and us too!).

So I've looked into renting a hall from a fire and rescue squad. I know that we will create our own ambience wherever we end up, and it just might be worth it if it means that we have room to use our money to create a better overall celebration for everyone.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We are officially engaged.

One of the first things my mother asked me when she found out that FP had proposed was when are you free to do a traditional engagement ceremony. This was very important to my parents. They are extremely involved in their local Cambodian community, and they needed us to have this ceremony that basically announces our engagement to everyone, including the all-important Ancestors.

Anyway I was sort of dreading it because 1. the guest list was out of control, 2. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, and 3. I don't like ceremony, in general.

When we arrived the night before to pretty much a hot mess, I thought I might lose it. It's strange how things are reasonable to one person, and absolutely insane to another. One person might think it's okay to move couches from their normal, not-in-the-path-of-traffic location to one where it creates a bottleneck and inconveniences everyone. Another person might think that it looks ugly and hates it.

Why is this necessary? I asked continually.
Because we need to make the living room look like an auditorium, that's why. And did I think this day was for me and my fiance? Listen, that's your wedding day. This day belongs to your mother.

Fine. And everything turned out fine. People had a good time. Even the ones who could not understand the language. The food was great, and sure, people were constantly in the way because of those d--m couches. But it wasn't a big deal. Good practice for the wedding.

The groom and the guests have a procession to the bride's house. Everyone carries a platter of goodies. The groom is supposed to be covered by the umbrella at all times. Sometimes this worked. We definitely had some neighbors peeking from their driveways.

FP tries to convince the crowd that he's serious about marrying me. Apparently his first answer wasn't good enough so he had to recite his resume. He's such a good sport. One of the many reasons I'm happy that I am marrying this man.

Eventually I was summoned. We went through a number of little ceremonies. Here's the jewelry exchange. I got my ring back, and he got a blingin' gold cross. We also presented flowers to my parents and his parents. We made an offering to the ancestors. We got blessed.

We're engaged!

Nice duds, huh? When my mom told me that she had hired a wedding dresser for this ceremony, I was miffed. Uh, is this an engagement or a wedding? Who knows? But I'm actually happy that she did. The woman and her daughter were so kind. They did my hair and makeup. Two things I hadn't thought about. It made my parents happy, and we looked great.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Table numbers

These are from Anthropologie. You can buy them here. I love that store. In my dream world we would register there and at Pearl River Mart.

Imagine how cute these would be as table numbers with a flower in them.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Love in Coney Island

Last weekend we met up with Tim Wong and his wife for a little camera-loving. Tim wanted to bulk up his portfolio and put up an ad on weddingbee, and I responded. The rest is history, as you can see.

We had a lot of fun, despite the cold. It was a good excuse to get close and cuddle. Anyway here are some of our favorites from the session.

(All images by Tim Wong of Please do not repost without permission.)

Check out Tim's gallery at! He has a great eye for details, color, and location. He was very easy-going and made sure we were feeling comfortable. The pictures turned out great. If you're in need of a photographer in the NYC-area, I would definitely recommend him.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to Buy a Wedding Dress in Under Three Hours

I've had mixed feelings about wedding dresses. On the one hand, I think that they are far too expensive and generally uninteresting. On the other hand, when else will I and the dress get to be the center of attention for a day?

Anyway this past weekend I went dress shopping for real with my FMIL and her friend. And by for real, I mean, I braved the crowd and chaos at Filene's Basement Bridal Sale in Union Square, lovingly named "the Running of the Brides," after the festival of San Fermin in Pampalona, Spain. You know, the one where tourists get gored by bulls running through quaint Spanish streets. Right. (It is marketing like this that sort of makes me happy that this industry is shrinking. Hopefully it will make the advertising around us more intelligent. Though of course, I'm not actually happy that people are losing their jobs.)

Here's me walking to the subway in my "I can this off easily without exposing my underwear" outfit. Note the tennis shoes and the relaxed stance. I was ready.

I approached the day with this attitude. I get to hang out with my FMIL, whom I love, and her friend, who I also think is great. They are really excited to help me find a dress. Much like I don't really believe in THE ONE in love, I don't believe in THE DRESS. Things will fall into place, and I don't need to scratch and claw my way to perfection. If I didn't find a dress today, it wouldn't be a big deal.

We met up at 11 AM. After the morning craze, when apparently women who had lined up for hours before ran into the store and stripped the racks. We arrived to a calm, if disorganized scene.

I wasn't really sure what to do. So I grabbed a dress that didn't look hideous and tried it on. See.

Here are some things that I learned:

1. Wedding dresses are heavy. It's strange how much silk can weigh when there are a gazillion layers and yards of it.

2. Some dresses really do make you feel like a princess. It was kind of a fun feeling, but they also sort of made you feel like a robot.

3. Wedding dress designers must have all signed some sort of pact that obligates them to put beads and sequins on everything. I had a hard time finding dresses that balanced bejewelry and simplicity. Most were really gaudy (which is cool if that's your thing) or really plain (also cool if that's your thing).

4. Sizes don't correspond to anything. I fit into the size 10s just as well as the size 4s. We realized this after about an hour of looking for size 4-6 dresses and not finding much.

5. Apparently being a bride means you don't have to adhere to any rules of propriety. I definitely saw a woman wearing only her underwear (no bra) standing in a pile of white silk and many others walking between the aisles in thongs and bras. Really? There were photographers, fathers, fiances, and all sort of strangers in the store. I'm no prude, but really? Wearing a tank top and leggings would ruin the look of a dress so much that you made the decision to be generally naked instead?

6. I could not have done this alone. My FMIL and her friend were dispensable. They were cheerful with a great eye. We decided early on what shape looked best on me, and they scoured the racks and even followed around a couple people who were holding onto dresses. Here they are putting the dresses back onto the hangers.

They are so sweet.

Anyway I was about to give up. I was getting hungry and tired of looking at the sea of white, ivory, lacy-beaded fluffiness. Then I tried on this dress, which I had seen earlier but decided that at size 10 it would be too big. Anyway it wasn't, and I really liked it. So we stuck around until our friend returned from feeding the meter so that she could see it.

I liked this dress a lot. It was simple and elegant, but it had a little bit too much skirt. I like to think of this dress as my inspiration because it gave me a little more energy and while we were waiting, I found a different dress and tried that one on. That was the one I had on when our friend came back, and I could tell from the look on her face and on my FMIL's face that I had found my dress.

Anyway I'm not putting up a picture of that dress because FP reads this. Send me an e-mail if you're dying to see it. I didn't have an epiphany when I tried on the last dress. It just felt comfortable. Maybe it did feel different from the other dresses, a little more like me. I don't know. I looked at the price tag and figured why wait? I had no real desire to do the whole bridal salon thing. Here was a perfectly beautiful dress at a good price. So there you have it. Wedding dress. Check.

Now, if only the rest of it could be this simple.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh yeah, and the ties for the men

Perfect. From Vintage-Ties.

It's the thought that counts

Unless you're thinking of buying us ugly crystal vases or ugly designer napkins. 

So I don't really like obligatory gifts. I love to shop and spend time thinking about what to give people for different reasons, but I hate feeling like the gift is somehow a measure of how much this person means to me. I do like receiving gifts, but I can't really get myself excited about the prospect of getting them. I just don't think one should expect gifts. Gifts are gifts. 

Anyway I find it hard to express this without sounding self-righteous. I suppose I am sort of self-righteous. I appreciate that people would like to give us something, but more stuff is the last thing we need, and registering is the last thing on my list of things-to-do. Why is it not enough that people come to our wedding (if they can) and be happy for us?

Apparently, I'm wrong. Interestingly, the question now is, "Would I really appreciate ANY gift (even a coffee table book about ferns) or do I actually care about the things I might potentially own and want a say in it?" 

I'm not really sure. We'll probably pick the path of least resistance and register somewhere. I'm telling my friends not to buy any gifts, but no one ever really listens to me.

Thank goodness for E-bay, suckers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My friends have talent. Fedora Photography.

(all images by Jeremy Wade Shockley. Posted with permission. Please do not repost without asking.)

My friend, Jeremy, just sent me a link to his wedding photography album on flickr. Needless to say, I think Jeremy has tremendous talent. Maybe it's because we spent many an afternoon in Lesotho (where we were both Peace Corps volunteers) talking about the nature of the world and people and our relationship to the earth, etc. so I see the depth of his open-minded views in his work.
He doesn't just produce pretty images, but they are all positioned in the context of these human relationships. They're intimate and expressive, which is exactly what you want in your wedding photos.
Or that's what I would want anyway. We brides are constantly told that a wedding is in the details. So if my napkins don't match the plates and make a pretty picture, I don't have a wedding? Damn. Well, I do not believe this is true. What I like most about Jeremy's wedding photos is that the focus is on the people, and not the shoes the bride is wearing. They're sweet and full of vitality.
Anyway Jeremy has a very diverse body of work. He's a photojournalist and has traveled all over the world. He does weddings on the side (for a very reasonable rate) and is based in Durango, CO. Check out his portfolio at FedoraPhoto or go to his blog. Though mostly unrelated to weddings, his images are stunning.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Do I Really Care This Much?

Cheap, designer wedding dresses. Bridal mayhem. Worth it?
I'm going with my FMIL. She is so awesome.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Updates up the Wazoo

Hello dear readers! We're back from a highly productive visit to Virginia, with lots of pictures. The weekend, of course, was not without its drama, but we've survived and are progressing nicely on the cambo wedding extravaganza.

Anyway first things first.

Chocolate cake! I actually made this a while ago for a friend's birthday. Yummy cake, but the frosting was too hard. I think I need to just practice making frosting alone. Next cake to tackle: Red velvet. . .

And now, the finalists for reception sites. As many of you may know, we have been struggling a bit to find a site that accomodates our large number of guests, is affordable, and doesn't make me and FP want to puke. We now have found very viable sites.

This is Collingwood Library in Alexandria. It was part of George Washington's River Farm. It has BEAUTIFUL grounds. Look at that lawn. It goes from the back of the house all the way to the Potomac River. They have a little patio for a sunset cocktail hour. *sigh* But their reception hall is a little bland, and 200 people would really push the limits of that space. If the weather is nice, it'd be perfect, but if it rains, it's not that pleasant. Other pluses include no restrictions on catering. This means we can really own the space and work with people to really make it how we want it. This also means it's A LOT more work to make it happen.

And here we have Bristow Manor in Manassas. The house was built in the 1800s. It has a really gorgeous interior, which we would get to use for a cocktail hour. Their reception hall is full of light, and we would get a tent extension to make room for everyone. It is really lovely. Also, it's an all-inclusive package with flower arrangements and a wedding coordinator! So easy. The director there seems so easy to work with. She was extremely professional.

So there you have it. We're doing some research on catering prices for comparison, and then we'll make a decision soon. Yay!

And last but not least.
This was my Valentine's Day gift. We now have a box of these organic, fair-trade chocolate bars. It is so sweet (cha-ching!). FP knows that I try to support these kinds of businesses that help farmers and workers in developing countries compete in the global marketplace. I had read a NYTimes article about the chocolate trade months ago. He remembered and found this company. I can't tell how much it means to me that he takes the things that I care about seriously. We don't necessarily agree politically, but we do share a commitment to doing what it takes to make the world a better place, whether it's buying environmentally-friendly or socially-conscious goods or working for the most vulnerable segments of society. For us, that's the real meaning of love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Last night my mother mentioned in passing that she had asked my sister to call the Kennedy Center. Right, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, where people go to see the opera in Washington, DC.

I am really trying not to be a brat. I really am. But seriously, what in any of our conversations about the wedding has caused my mother to think that the Kennedy Center would be something that we'd like. Being the good sport that I am, I did look at their website for prices, and the rental fees at least are quite reasonable. (see! this is me being a good sport) But this is definitely not what we want for our wedding. I'm sure that it's a beautiful space with beautiful views of the city, and everyone would be duly impressed, but it is simply not us. Anyhow this makes me wonder what other places has she been thinking about without consulting me.

Later, she called back because she had called the bridal dresser and she wants us to trek all the way up to Gaithersburg, MD to pick out our clothes for the Cambodian engagement ceremony in March. I don't care what clothes I wear. I don't want to spend two hours in a car to look at clothing that all looks the same to me. At least, though, I will choose my wedding day outfit too. Two birds. One long-ass car-ride stone. I have already told my mother that I would not be changing my outfit multiple times, as is usual with a Cambodian wedding ceremony. I think that usually the bride changes 4 times. I could tell that she was disappointed, and I'm sure she's thinking about her friends who will be asking, "Why is the bride wearing the same outfit from 20 minutes ago? What sort of chicanery is it?", but two wedding outfits (wedding dress and Cambodian gear) is enough.

Anyway tomorrow we leave to go down with FP's parents for a visit with my parents. They've insisted that we all stay together in the house so that we will have plenty of time to talk about the wedding. The prospect of weekend-long wedding talk makes ill, but I suppose it needs to be done.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Carnations and Candlesticks

(image: Eddie Ross)
I found this on Eddie Ross's blog. Another great simple centerpiece, though much more labor-intensive. Learn how to do this here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Centerpiece Inspiration

(photos by Jeff Tisman, found on Brooklyn Bride)

I came across these centerpieces from a wedding showcased on Style Me Pretty today. I love it. I love the mix of vases and containers, minimal but vibrant flowers. This is exactly what I'd like to achieve at our wedding. Just so simply lovely.

Oh God. It's Valentine's Day soon, isn't it?

I have to face it. I'm not a romantic. Not at the moment anyway. Yesterday, when I was opening all drawers wildly in our apartment to look for a misplaced item, I found FP's valentine's day card to me. What? Now we're getting each other cards? ha. Just kidding. We usually give each other cards. So I ruined his surprise, which is what I usually do because I'm a control freak and don't like to not know what will be happening next.

So now I have to make up for it. But how? Stealing his card and replacing it with one that he hasn't seen so at least one of us will be surprised? Buy a dozen Valentine's Day cards and hide them around the house in easily-noticed spots so that when he finds one, I can act disappointed that he ruined the surprise?

Hmm. . . I should probably try harder.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm already bored

What's the big deal about all this planning? Of course, I could spend my time trying to find a 200-year-old farm that's less than 15 miles from my hometown with enough space and amenities for a large-scale event that costs less than my semester tuition that is perfect. But I don't want to. In a couple weeks we're going down to Virginia to look at a country club and possibly a historic library. At the country club, it's an all-inclusive package. They take care of most things: food, set-up, even floral arrangements. The library is a historic building right on the Potomac River. We'd have to figure out the catering and all that ourselves. The library is probably more unique and will be easier in some ways to turn the space into a personal reflection of ourselves. But the country club is giving us flowers and champagne. Hmm. . .

At the moment I am completely uninterested in doing any more work for this wedding than I already have. I will assume this is normal.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The real world intrudes

School's back in session. Was this break all a dream? This semester I have brilliantly signed up for physics, organic chemistry, and biology. Classes started on Monday, and I already feel behind. I was pretty disciplined last semester, but now I'm engaged. Isn't it non-stop, attention-to-me time now? Homework is for the unwashed, unengaged masses. Just kidding.

This is a pre-emptive apology. I got to get some science in my brain and get it in there good if I want to get into medical school. I'll be applying at about the same time as our wedding. Is this adding more stress to my life? Yes. But life doesn't get put on hold because you either decide to get married or decide to go to medical school. I'm a big girl. I have to do both.

So sorry that I won't be posting very often. Hopefully the posts that do go up will be worth the wait. TTFN.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cake Buffet

Easier than making tiers, huh? Eliminates need to choose just one yummy cake recipe. Lots of pretty cheap cake stands on Ebay too. Hmmm. . .
(image found on WeddingBee via Martha Stewart)

Recipe Love

The Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Birthday Cake via FoodNetwork

Lemon Pound Cake via SmittenKitchen

yum yum yum. I've declared it the year of the cake! Have I said this already? Probably. If I'm visiting you anytime soon, I will be bringing a cake.

I looked around for cake decorating classes to take with my FMIL and FSIL, but they are expensive. I mean $400 for a 12-week course is too not terrible, but too much for my student budget. So I'm going to grab some books from the library and practice on my own. Any book recommendations?

I think this blog is turning into a baking one. Oh well.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cake #2

I attempted a lemon bundt cake this past weekend. I used a recipe from smittenkitchen, which was adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa cookbook. I didn't have all the ingredients so I improvised some too. Very yummy, but probably not wedding cake material. I used the leftover buttercream frosting from the first cake for the icing on this one. mmm. . . can I get a job making and eating buttercream frosting?
I think I need to pace myself. I've already made two cakes since deciding two weeks ago to bake my own cake. This is probably not good for either of our health, though it does make us very happy.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Growing up

The range of emotions that wedding planning induces exhausts me, but I have found that the stress has brought my relationship with my parents, with FP, and with myself to a whole other level. Today a dear friend pointed out that this is the first big adult transaction that you do, with large sums of money and many varied interests. This is so true, and I've realized that much of my anxiety about getting it "right" has to do with the fact that this is my first real public act as an adult. What does this wedding say about me? What does it say about our relationship? etc.

Add to these questions matters of cultural differences, the commonplace generational differences between the couple and the parents, the economics. Now you got a bride about to throw a tantrum. It was like because I cared so much about making sure that other people were happy, I felt like no one cared if I was happy. As if there was a finite amount of caring in the world. If I was caring about them, no one is caring about me. Cue tantrum.

It's strange how choosing to share your life with someone can turn you into a self-centered beast. Because people didn't want exactly what I wanted, it was me against them. My awesome perfect me wedding vs. their impersonal generic them wedding.

The truth is none of that was going to happen. A part of growing up is understanding that people may disagree with you, but they still want the best for you. A part of your parents treating you like an adult is their honesty with you. A part of you being an adult is you listening. My parents are more open-minded than I give them credit for, and I've recognized (again) that my own openness must stem from their openness. We are all trying to ensure each other's happiness. That's what families do.

Anyway wedding planning is not going to be easy sailing, but it is good to remind myself that this isn't supposed to be a day when I get whatever I want. It's a day for love, community, and sharing, as that is the real meaning of marriage.

However, I did get my parents to agree to decreasing the party size by 50-100 people. Score!