Queens Please

I loved my bridal shower and bachelorette party – they were fun and didn’t have to prepare anything for any of them. It was a nice change to enjoy something freely without worry. Moh’fo did a great job with the bridesmaids in putting everything together and very appreciative of all of their efforts in making sure I had a great time. Since day one of planning, I told Moh’fo the criteria of my party: 1) That it’ll be a lot of fun and 2) I only want drag queens. Hunkamania was an option, however. I thought about it for five minutes, looking through their gallery or their “goods” and realized that it wasn’t my scene. None of the “dancers” were good looking and oddly shaped. Some would have great muscles, but wasn’t in proportion for their body stature and looked simply dumb. I concluded that I’ll be marrying a handsome man with an awesome body, why do I need to spend a raunchy night with men who have nothing on him? I might as well enjoy my night with men who are secure enough to look fabulous in a wig, lipstick and heels.

 

The choice was LIPS, NY. A dinner and drag show located in the upper east side.  We first got ready at a nearby hotel including a champagne toast and met with the invited guests for the 9 pm show. As soon as we walked in, I fell in love with the place. Since we had a large party, we were seated right upfront near the stage and had a Katy Perry inspired waitress who also performed in the show. We ordered from a pre-fixed menu and was treated to one of their signature shots and shot glass as one of the 7 other bachelorettes partying that night. There were some talented queens, beautiful queens and of course a couple of royal messes. There was one queen who could make any athletic man question their agility after demonstrating a series of high leg kicks and pirouettes in 4 inch heels. The food was impressive as in I wasn’t expecting it to be tasty and not overly salted. Their mini cannolis were delicious!

 

After the show, I parted ways with some of my guests where a few stayed behind to a local bar/lounge. More shots were had and enjoyed the music. I ventured to the second floor to the main dancing area and we ran into a bachelor party where one of the three stooges asked me, “So, you’re getting married?!” as I’m wearing a glittery tiara and pink feather boa. After scoping the room and feeling a layer of scum emitting from aspiring Jersey Shore wannabes, I was so grateful for being in a relationship for the past five years.

 

For a night to be the last “hurrah” before taking the plunge with one man for the rest of my life, I couldn’t have been happier to get married. It wasn’t scandalous and didn’t drink enough to get sick. In the meantime, Jerry had his bachelor party, which turned out as a dinner with the guys and walking around Hoboken. Can’t help but feel a bit of pride knowing that I had a better party for me and my guests. ;o)

 

 

Had so much due to these ladies and all of my friends who came out to party!

 

 

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Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 4:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Being Mrs. Lee

Much time has past since my last entry and feel bad for my poor and neglected blog. Of course now, I am now Mrs. Lee; well, almost. I’m still Ms. Chan and working on/thinking about changing my name. But that is a whole other entry. There are many things that I wanted to write about in my engagement journey and want to back track including the bachelorette party, the actual wedding and the honeymoon.  For now what I can share about being a newly wed is that it’s not what I expected, in good and not so good ways. When I hear people say that a relationship shouldn’t be work I need them to clarify. The different levels of a relationship requires more work than others and marriage is work – the critical variable in any level of a relationship however, is happiness. Some people who haven’t seen in a while congratulate me getting married, but they also follow it with, “Marriage is not for me”, “I’m still young”, or “half of today’s marriages end in divorce”. I’m not sure why anyone in good tact would say that to a newlywed, but though you can’t fight statistics, you don’t have to fall into cynicism.

So what will this blog be from now on? What my journey will be as Mrs. Lee and that sounds so promising.

Published in: on November 27, 2010 at 3:23 am  Comments (2)  

I got papers on him…

Getting a marriage license in NY is easy, too easy that it’s scary. We took a day off of work to get our official papers on each other and had to show up at the City Clerk office in Manhattan. From our friends’ experience in getting their license and reading comments online, we anticipated a long wait and agreed to get there early in the day. We arrived around 9 am, an attendant at the information desk checked out IDs, instructed us to fill out the application at the computer kiosk, where we got a confirmation number and a printed ticket number. We saw other couples getting their licenses, many of them dressed up and we showed up in our jeans and sneakers. We walked down the big hall of the office and sat in their large green couches for no more than 2 minutes and our number was called. We approached our assigned station teller to sit down again and show our official government issued IDs, verified that our application information was correct and then signed our marriage license. That was that, about 8 minutes at the City Clerk and had a license to wed – now we have papers of each other, no turning back. As we were signing the license, I felt a slight tinge of nerves through my stomach because we’re almost there. People say that it’s just a piece of paper, it doesn’t really matter, but means at least a little bit of something to us. Even though the license is not complete until our officiant signs it, we walked through the Chinatown streets (where we went to on our first date) holding each other at the hips tighter, grinning more, and laughing more.

After the license, technically we just need a signature and we’re married – do we really need to go through the whole ceremony and reception?? Of course we do, unless we don’t want to get killed by my grandparents and mom. So what else is there to do? Since we were at Chinatown, we picked up the wedding bands, which I’m extremely excited over and couldn’t resist trying on over and over again. We have final appointments left over – dress fittings, hair & make up, flowers – ceremony rehearsal and table seatings (how much fun). I’ve noticed myself getting more nervous each passing week. Not over taking the leap into marriage, but over the details of the big day. I wonder how all of the colors will come together, from the combination of the flowers in the bouquet, the bridal party’s chinese dresses, the tuxes and the reception venue. Before I was very easy going with the details but now I need accurate visuals, or close to it. Part of me understand why brides get the horrible Bridezilla label, or I can understand how brides can get caught up in the stress and frustration to the point that they’re just tired of it all so in defense put their guards up and put their foot down. It’s at that moment people, who are not in the thick of the details and enjoying the sheer excitement of the wedding are at ease to say that the bride is being too uptight and is a Bridezilla. I’ve been called that even before the nerves were piling up but the days training with the Weapons9 family helped me not to react to unjustified name calling and keeping me in wedding dress shape.

Speaking of dresses, next week is the second fitting for both the white wedding dress and the qipao. When I went for the first fitting, I was relieved that the white dress still fit. Mabel was able to make a slight change in the sleeves that made a big improvement in look and fit. It really demonstrated her experience and knowledge in the wedding industry. The qipao is going to need some alterations at the hips but the design looks great. I’m still warming up to the bright red though. I’m more stressed about fitting into the qipao than the white wedding dress because it’s not as forgiving, there is no room for flaw. I find it funny that I’m squeezing my jook sing, not so typical Chinese girl body into a traditional Chinese dress.

Published in: on August 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Menu, Invitations, Wedding Bands oh my!

Long time no blog, but plenty of work done behind the scenes. In one Saturday we took care of our banquet menu, ordering invitations and selecting the weddings bands – it was a long day but a productive one.

What’s in a menu? Well, at least in a Chinese wedding menu there is plenty to it. Traditionally there are 8 courses including seafood, pork, beef, chicken and dessert on top of the wedding cake. A combination of these are a must and the best way to describe it is…it’s a marathon. Some first timers make the mistake to speed through the first couple of dishes and by the time they reach the shark fin soup (like the intermission of the meal) they’re stuffed. Slow and steady wins the race.

Jimmy from Pacificana was more than helpful with deciding on the menu, the options for the table cloth colors and the additional services he offered us. All I can say that he’s taking great care of us and happy that I don’t have to think/worry about the reception. He did convince us to have an open bar that we purchase the liquor to manage the cost – it’ll make things fun he says. We originally thought of doing only wine and beer to 1.) manage costs and 2.) hold responsibility for our guests since many of them have to drive. After our session with Jimmy, we were set for the evening – such a relief.

After our visit to Chinatown Brooklyn, we headed over to Chinatown Manhattan to order the invitations. It probably

Our invitation - the red bomb - with the traditional dragon & pheonix

took 20 minutes too long picking amongst a few invitation designs. How hard can it be to pick amongst red invitations with double happiness signs? More difficult than I thought it would. We picked out one with a double happiness sign and a cartoon of a wedding couple in traditional Chinese dress. It was cute, but very bright orange red. Later on in the week when we confirmed the wording of the invitation, we changed the design to a more traditional look and less offensive to the eye. Plus, they were cheaper at 70 cents each! There isn’t a need to spend so much on an item that will either get lost or end up in the trash anyways. In total we ordered 300 invitations and RSVP cards.

Since we were in the city, we visited the jeweler who helped Jerry find the diamond for the engagement ring. Even though we visited him the week prior with out our parents, mom wanted to look into buying a bracelet and earrings. Of course while we were there, she wanted to see the wedding bands we picked out and got me looking at bands with diamonds. We originally picked out plain white gold bands because it was within our budget. While looking through some new designs, I picked out a new band that is unique and absolutely beautiful. Jerry stuck to his guns and still wanted his plain matted finished band. Then it was another item on our check list done.

Chinatown is the best one stop shop for Chinese weddings, gotta love it.

Since that week, we’ve picked up the invitations and started mailing them out. We also had our engagement photo session with our wedding photographer, Bill Xie. It was fun to me despite the 90 degree weather. We started off at

Got my hair did for the engagement photos – my hair stylist, James did a great job giving me the Hong Kong star inspired do.

Central Park and ended in Brooklyn for beautiful sunset pictures. I have to give Jerry credit, being able to go through the 4 hours in the heat and not

The result of James going origami with my hair. I’m not used to this kind of hair style, but it’s fun.

comfortable with taking pictures. But Bill was great with us, equipped with over 40 pounds of camera equipment on his shoulders and waist. From the pictures he showed us through his camera, I’m excited to see the full set and know that we made a good choice with our photographer.

Now we’re less than 90 days before the wedding and little by little I’m making progress with Jerry and our bridal party to get things done. It’s coming together. I just paid for our honeymoon a week after the wedding and if anything, at least we have a vacation!

Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 4:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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My Not So Much Bridal Boot Camp

Several years ago, when finishing up my work out at the gym I remember seeing/scoffing at a flyer for “Bridal Boot

Drink of choice, 1 gallon daily - if you need the caffiene, coffee with skim milk or diet coke. Been trying more tea lately.

Camp”. 2 classes per week for 6 weeks, brides can get in “wedding day” shape for a fee on top of their monthly membership fee. Granted I was not wedding minded at the time, but now being on the other side of the fence with 113 days away from our wedding I still think it’s unnecessary and such a trend. From my years of training (lifting onto martial arts) and progressing through lifestyle changes, I’m coming from a different perspective with a different motivation/purpose. My motivation is not a dress and my purpose is not to stress myself to look good for just one day. I joke sometimes when offered dessert or a drink; “No thank you, I have a wedding dress to fit into” seems to be an acceptable ‘pass’ on eating junk food as if I should eating this way. I don’t deprive myself of food, I’m saving myself from garbage building up in my body.

In a way I can say that I have a tangible bridal boot camp – it was in an old grimey boxing gym in the heart of New Brunswick. Though it wasn’t the safest neighborhood to be at, it was a place where you can smell the years of sweat and tears of skilled fighters. That’s what I think about when I hear the word boot camp – not an air conditioned gym with hardwood floors, lights, mirrors and meatheads. Training in muay thai for the past two years has offered so much more than I expected and in some cases wanted. I love it. Granted, I’m not training in the art so that I can fit my wedding dress but it’s doing a great job in keeping my body in shape even after my sweet attack episodes. Plus hitting pads is a great stress reliever from all the wedding details or any stressors in that matter – to each his own. Evidence of my “boot camp” rigor is on my Khun Kru’s Facebook, where I’m all rosy cheeked looking constipated while doing drills but enjoying the torture me and my classmates love.

Loving these Pilates flat stretch bands for its versaility and portability. Recommended for "wedding dress arms".

After 5 years of cross training and strength development, my best advice for brides to get in shape is to 1.) Start early – right after the engagement or even before it – some of you know that it’s going to happen,  2.) Find something that you have fun with – helps with motivation and at least tolerable even on the toughest days, 3.) Commit – if you’re going to commit yourself to another person for the rest of your life, making a commitment to yourself for a healthy body to live longer shouldn’t be difficult and 4.) Be true to your purpose in training – whatever your reason is for exercise, including for it to be short term, at least know what you’re doing it for. I’ve experience many episodes of complete frustration and self-disappointment and realized that it wasn’t because of my inability but from disregarding my training goals. Going through this as a lifestyle change was hard but to hit this wall hard when “cramming” and stressing for a wedding can be brutal and self-defeating. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone – it sucks.

Meal of choice: veggies and more veggies with fruit and lean protein. The staple of fitness meals.

My Bridal Boot Camp is in my mind- the key is to approach exercise for its benefits aside from physical attributes. As abride, regular exercise helps you to relieve wedding planning stress (and daily stressors), release toxins from your body, gives you “me” time, increases your metabolism and energy to stay up for your very special but LONG day and this is very important ladies, builds up your stamina for “after wedding day” activities *wink*.

Do this - indulge, just not too often. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is where it's at. The taro always gets me. (image from Littleviews.com)

Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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Peaceful Planning

It’s been a while since my last post – school will do that to you. Another reason for it is that the big items for the wedding were taken care of for by the first week of April. That is a big relief. With graduation in less than two weeks, now it’s time for all of the details and that’s not something I’m looking forward to. Our tentative planning schedule is:

  1. Week of May 17 – Finalize guest list and confirm total number of invitations needed
  2. May 22nd Weekend – Order invitations
  3. Week of May 22nd – Find alternative place to do gown alterations
  4. First week of June – Have a meeting with Entertainment vendor, work on “run of show” schedule for the reception & start paying vendors
  5. June 6th – Engagement photo session with Bill.
  6. 3rd or 4th week of June – Have a bridal party even though we’re not doing a registry. Just an occasion for the ladies to get together.
  7. 2nd week of June – 1st wedding dress fitting
  8. Last week of June – Send out wedding invitations – red bombs to hit mail boxes by first week of July with an RSVP date in late August.
  9. First week of July – Meet with reception venue manager to decide on menu.
  10. Sometime in July – Find liquor warehouse for the open bar
  11. First week of August – order wedding favors
  12. 2nd week of August – Meet with DJ and MC to confirm “run of show” schedule
  13. Mid August – Qi pao arrives!
  14. Last week of August into first week of September – Final dress fitting for wedding dress and qi pao
  15. Sometime in August – Bachelor and Bachelorette parties
  16. September 11th – Ceremony rehearsal

I recently started a new job at McGuire AFB coordinating programs and events, so I’m back to my event planning and logistics mode. *smile* But that is the high level game plan for the moment. So far I’ve been doing ok with everything. Acquaintances and friends keep asking me how my plans are going and I have to honestly answer them that April was “I’m taking a break”, meaning it was a break from all of the serious stuff (appointments, coordination, meetings, late night discussions with parents) to focus on the last leg of the semester. So my “break” wasn’t much of a break, it was moving my focus from one serious planning project to another. Even then, some wedding stuff snuck in between.

From all of the work that needs to be done, I’m calm but it is the calm before the storm. Just last week I warned and apologized in advance to Jerry for possible fussing, blurt outs and frustrated rants that may come in the critical last few months. My timeline on theknot.com has been helpful as a check list, but there are other details that need to be considered based on the type of wedding we’re having. They do not include for example, “Order overly worrying relatives monthly dosage of Chill Pills”. Even though there are extreme cases of Bridezillas out there for whatever reason, I can understand how brides can be pushed to the limit. Sometimes it’s not her doing and there is only so much that she can control. The worst part of the process thus far is finding compromise amongst both sides of the family and us and for some folks to assume that we’re just going to do it their way. Not exactly – we’re easy going but not push overs. Before starting the whole planning process we talked and agreed on our “Non-Negotiables” – these are the elements of our wedding that are most important to us and willing to fight for, no ands ifs or buts and others will just have to respect it if they truly love us. Everything else doesn’t matter and will always change throughout the planning so it’s not worth the pain for us and others.

Our Non-Negotiables:

  1. Our ceremony (wherever it maybe) will be God and Christ centered. Our relationship would never have happened without prayer and our marriage will not have a chance without Him.
  2. We will uphold and respect our cultural traditions with a Chinese reception and ceremony. Even though it may be an inconvenience to us and guests who are used to Western style weddings it’s what we recognize as a wedding. Even as a jook sing, been to both types of weddings – I grew up dreaming about my big red and loud Chinese wedding.
  3. We decide our bridal party and the decision should be trusted. The friends and family that we chose to help us

    Wedding planning update meeting with the bridal party back in March. I had a meeting agenda and draft schedule for the wedding day...oh yeah, that's how I play.

    along this process was for us. These are the lovely people who been with us through thick and thin throughout our lives, know us and love us individually as much as a couple and are able to commit whole heartedly in planning. Also, they have to love and demonstrated a good chemistry with our parents since they are very involved in the wedding process – most importantly are able to keep us in check when our parents drive us nuts. We trust them to support us with all of the planning details, help us with their thoughts with OUR best interests in mind and to represent us well. We knew that we wanted a small bridal party – it’s quality not quantity for us, plus decreasing the chances of drama is a BIG benefit.

This would be my best advice in wedding planning next to communicate frequently with your bridal party– agree on your Non-Negotiables, stick with them and every thing else is immaterial, really. Let everyone else worry over the rest. This has helped me to stay calm throughout a lot of the planning because there were only a few things that were REALLY critical to us. Do I care that the bridesmaids dresses are not floor length gowns for a church ceremony? No. Is it going to matter that my wedding favors are unoriginal and not packaged so pretty as others? Not at all. Do we care that we’re having a large guest list, over 50% of people we really don’t know? Sort of, but sticking to our traditions and respecting the fact that our family is our family is more important to us. It’s a wedding and we intend to do it only once. When it’s all said and done a lot of hours and money would go into one day but it is just another day because there is a marriage after all of that. We’ll have nothing left except pictures and each other. A couple does not agree to a lifetime commitment to just plan and have a wedding.

With all of the details that I include in my entries, including my feelings, I have to say that I’m honestly calm with the planning so far and for me to truly enjoy our special day I have to continue this peaceful mood for the last several (and crucial) months.

Published in: on May 5, 2010 at 4:11 am  Comments (3)  
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Vendor Round Up!

Pacific Blue Rose - More like a shade darker than lavender

I was determined to get all of my major vendors booked and/or place deposits with by the end of March, first week of April the latest and we did it. We decided on the florist and DJ in one week. YES! To be honest, I decided on the florist since he didn’t have an opinion on it, nor cared much about it. Flowers was probably the one line item of my budget that I didn’t want to fuss over much because from good advice, guests don’t really notice the flowers that much or at all. The only times when you see flowers featured is in the wedding album and photos and fresh flowers with the right lens will always be photogenic. I didn’t do a lot of research for florists and what type of flower I wanted, but decided to go with a local florist since we would need the flowers before getting to the ceremony site.  The florist I chose was recommended by Melissa who used him for gifts at the office and always had a good experience with him. I saw him first back in February to get an idea of prices, then by another word of mouth recommendation checked out another florist whose work is really good. She gave me great ideas on different flower combinations and I liked them all, also she was very quick with her responses and quotes.  The decision was made fairly quickly after I placed the two quotes side by side and compared everything. In the end, it just boiled down to cost and there is no way in sugar coating that. The order itself is small since I’m not doing centerpieces and don’t need additional decoration for the ceremony site and reception. Within a lunch hour, I was able to confirm the details and make a deposit – that was a power lunch.

The flowers will be different shades of purple. For those who know me, this is not a surprise to them. My bouquet will

The alternative solution for Peonies not being in season in September.

be a mix of dahlias, pacific blue roses and orchids. The bridesmaids will have pacific blue roses and lisianthus. The groomsmen will have pacific blue rose boutonnieres and my hubby to be will have a double orchid boutonniere. There are other details to hash out for the flowers for the relatives, but was told that doesn’t have to be determined now.

Over the weekend, we finally got to meet with the last DJ vendor that we wanted to check out. Leo from 7even Events. He was recommended to us from the manager of Pacificana. It took us a while to get a hold of him in between his schedule and ours. Jerry got a bit frustrated at first, but understanding how business can be gave him another chance to talk to him. Once we walked into his office in Queens, I was impressed with the layout and as cheesy as it sounds, with the awards on his walls that he received from beauty pageant associations and TVB. Any Chinese person with immigrant parents or grandparents can identify with TVB. Through his huge TV screen, Leo showed us video and power point slides from his computer highlighting what his Emcees can do and different packages that he can do for us. His videos said it all and made us feel comfortable to know what his staff can do. Managing a big wedding wouldn’t be a problem for them, plus had Emcees that can speak Cantonese, Mandarin and English (so that some of our guests won’t need subtitles). The only thing that they didn’t have was a Fujianese Emcee, then again, they’re rare and mostly freelancers, if we need them we need to find them ourselves. But for now the Mandarin can do for his side of the family.

When I first saw the sample videos, I couldn’t helped but chuckle because I felt that I was watching a Hong Kong popstar concert with the fog machine, spot lights and laser lights. The emcees feed off each other very well and have at least 7+ years of experience hosting weddings and events. Leo priced out a custom package for us and we left to think about it more. We decided to have some lunch before getting to Chinatown at a pretty good yet small restaurant. During our meal we went over the details we knew about the other DJ vendors we met with and realized that they were very competitive in price and experience, we had to go with them. So we did. After lunch we walked back to Leo’s office and secured our date with a 20%  cash deposit (we came prepared).

Just like that, we decided all of our major vendors that we had to secure a date for. It couldn’t have happened any later since I’m finishing up my last semester in grad school and gearing up for the final case study project to walk in May. With all of that done, now all we need to flesh out are the dreaded DETAILS. Final invitation list, the invitations, ceremony music, ceremony program, reception time line, wedding favors and the deadlines in paying for all of this. It is now that time of the wedding planning process where money is so fluid. For the past several months, the cost for everything was just part of a discussion, soon enough we’ll be needing to pay them in increments and in cash (since most of our vendors are Chinese – that’s just how we roll).

The purpose for this blog was two-fold, to record a major life event through a medium that I enjoy and to create a resource for future brides, specifically the modern Chinese bride. To fulfill the latter, here is the list of my team of vendors:

Bill Xie – Photography
http://www.billxphoto.com/
New York, NY
Bill was highly recommended by a friend of mine, whose sister-in-law used for her wedding. We were 80% sure that we were going to use him after seeing his website and meeting Bill for the first time during our appointment. His professionalism and charm sold us.

Sheri Newton – Make Up & Hair
http://www.sherinewton.com/

Jersey City, NJ/ New York
A long time friend of my Aunt’s and just a lively person all together. She has the credentials and experience as a

1st consultation with Sheri - The Hair

makeup artist, but her personality makes you feel comfortable and beautiful too. The level of frankness that I have with her could be from knowing each other for a while, but the delivery her honest opinions is helpful for any worrying bride to stay real. With Sheri, you’re not just getting make up and hair service, you’re getting a professional consultant.

Hers Couture – Bridal Dress Designer and Qi Pao
Allentown, NJ
Mabel, a talented seamstress and designer with 20 years of experience. Being friends with my mom worked towards my benefit in pricing for my qi pao but bear in mind was not the least expensive vendor I researched. Her professional experience and frankness is appreciated when creating “the” dress that mattered to me more than the white wedding dress.

Smith Florists & Gifts – Flowers
http://www.smithsflorists.net/
Matawan, NJ
Locally owned business by Will Smith and provides great options in floral combinations in addition to competitive pricing. Very easy going, yet straight shooting when asked for his opinion. Since I wasn’t too picky with my floral choices, he was honest with various combination and very aware of cultural meanings of flowers. He knew that white flowers are a big no-no for Chinese weddings.

Viver’s Kitchen – Wedding Cake
http://viverskitchen.com/
Queens, NY
I dedicated an entire blog on this topic and raved about her delicious cake. Again, a professional in her industry and have think that her business will grow fast. Her creations are already in demand but it’ll increase soon I feel. And how can I not like someone who has a big passion for baking and cake as much I do? I’m starting to crave the chocolate cake with coffee butter cream and chocolate ganache right now.

7even Event Management & Entertainment – DJ and Emcee
http://www.7even-event.com/
Queens, NY
Professional event entertainment business that knows their target market well and recruits experienced EMcees. They’re very direct in what they can bring to the table yet not trying to “sell” you anything. They’re confident in their work and it shows from the recognition that they have received from notable businesses and media groups.

Published in: on April 7, 2010 at 4:29 am  Comments (2)  
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The Video Says it All

Work and school assignments have been delaying my postings; I cannot wait to graduate, counting down to May 14th! Then I realize that upon graduation I’ll be four months away from the wedding date. Yikes!

Since the last post, we’ve had an appointment with a DJ, florist and this past week’s separate venture in tuxedo fittings and veil shopping/hair testing. We’re still deciding on our florist, which is my fault from not having the time to compare prices and have one more DJ to meet with before making a decision (which will be this Saturday). Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m functioning but strictly on “gotta get it done” mode. Where I think I’m at a good pace, I’m reminded of pressing items such as invitations, ordering my qi pao and wedding favors. As I describe this, I’m surprised that I’m not frustrated beyond all belief but I’m starting lose patience with inadequate service. I’m remembering to check myself to avoid turning into a bridezilla. It is not my intention to turn nasty, as much it’s not my intention to waste my time and money on foolishness.

Saturday was a separate adventure. Mine was with Melissa and Aunt Marie in NYC. It started in searching for material for my veil with great help from Aunt Marie’s friend, Nicki who is a designer and made her own veil. It was an alternative from being robbed by bridal stores with overpriced veils. Starting at one end of 39th Street & 7th Avenue we walked into each store that had isles of fabrics. We probably visited a total of 5 stores, with beautiful fabric. By the third store I wish that I had sewing skills to create fabulous dresses. We looked for standard tool, specifically checking the look and feel of the material. We grabbed a few swatches – 1 of tight weaved tool, 1 with an iridescent shimmer and the other with flecks of glitter. There are several factors to think about in deciding which tool to use for the veil. The design and embellishment of the dress and look of the headpiece play a part in the overall package. Since there is beading all around the bodice and my headpiece has a lot of stones, we figured that the tool with flecks of glitter was the best material. It’s noticeable enough, but not overbearing with other elements of my ensemble. With $5 a yard, at most my veil would be $15 just for the tool. Got to love it.

After material shopping, Nicki was nice enough to open her apartment to us for my consultation appointment with Sheri (www.sherinewton.com) – another friend of my aunt who is also a make up artist. We did a trial run for my hair, which was a combination of various styles that I emailed her. I liked the classic look of a French twist and curling the ends of my hair to create a sweet nest for the headpiece. I was surprised how long it took but now understand that the hair style is a process in literally “building” the up-do. It was a tiring but wonderful time with Aunt Marie’s friends, they’re all really fun people, good people.

The Master of our wedding ceremony - We are okay if he does the ceremony wearing the jeans and black bow tie.

During my busy day in the city, Jerry was Justas busy with his groomsmen in their tuxedo fitting at Herscoture. Theytried on the mandarin collar jackets, which they were all cool with. We found out that the vendor that Herscoture uses for tuxes don’t have a white mandarin collar tuxedo jacket available for rental. Only for purchase, which he decided to do. I sent MOH’fo with the boys to be my eyes since I was in NY. Also she was able to take care of some details for the bridesmaid dresses. Of course she could not do this without shooting some clips that made up a pretty good video. The first part of the video is Jerry and Wil going back and forth about Uncle Joe being the officiant for our ceremony. Wil thinks Uncle Joe looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin and then his imagination went on from there. Compared to all that the bridal party has done so far, as simple the task was in the tux fitting they sure do know how to make us laugh.

Yeah, this is not going to be like any other Chinese wedding out there, and we prefer it that way.

This is a video that we finally uploaded. This was taken after our cake tasting with Vivian.

Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 4:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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CAAAAKE!

Using the shape and color from this sample.

Sorry, I get excited about cake, but who doesn’t? Who can refuse it, really?

The other half of the weekend was focused in moving forward with our cake decorator where it felt half of the day was spent in the car between church and stuck in traffic. Traffic into any other borough than Manhattan is a horror and draining. I experienced dehydration slowly. I only took little sips of water in fear of needing to use the bathroom while stuck in traffic. This shocked my body since I drink a gallon of the earth’s purest liquid a day. It was more than dry mouth, it was headaches, sleepyness and a whole lot of anticipation to get out of the car. We made it to our appointment with Vivian a half an our late, starving but Vivian was so nice waiting patiently. Me, Jerry and MOH’fo saw a huge box at the table and a smile just as big came to all of our faces. When she opened the box, we were surprised from the serving samples that she gave us – 6 huge slabs of cake (“pieces” doesn’t come close to describing it)! Aside from the fact that charging for cake tasting is expected for bakers, I can understand why she charges for them.

Shortly after our first meeting with Vivian, she emailed a list of popular flavor combinations and got to select up to 3

Example of the lace design that we referenced to Vivian. Is there such thing of cake couture?

flavors for the tasting. All of the combinations sounded good but stuck with the good ‘ol cake & cream combination since some of friends do not like to mix fruit with cake. Since it’s a detail that Jerry & I are neutral about, missing fruit for one night is fine with us if it’s going to satisfy others. That left us with two flavor combinations, so I looked at her website for additional cake flavors, which proved to be helpful in making our three. We tasted:

1. Chocolate cake + chocolate ganache + fresh cream

2. Chocolate Cake + mocha buttercream + chocolate ganache

3. Yellow cake + espresso syrup + coffee buttercream + chocolate spread

Despite the fact that we were all hungry, they were ALL very good. They weren’t too sweet either, which will be good

Because tasting requires more than 2 bites. The chocolate cake covered in white is a full "slab" of cake. There were 6 of them.

for our guests since a majority of them are older generation Asians and like bland dessert. We started with the Yellow cake a.k.a. Tiramisu Inspired flavor combination – it was light yet moist cake, subtle in flavor but each layer complimented each other, especially the chocolate spread, resulting in a great overall package. We then moved onto the chocolate on chocolate with fresh cream. Again it was a moist cake and gave a good chocolate flavor where the fresh whipped cream kept it light enough to not feel guilty. Last but not least, the chocolate on chocolate ganache with mocha buttercream was my favorite – the cake was slightly dense, borderline cakey brownie and the thicker layer of buttercream followed with the chocolate ganache made it so silky to the palatte. It was the sweetest of all three flavors but that was the one I kept on eating during our appointment. It was one of those “eat in case of emergency chocolate cravings” food. We didn’t make our decision right away, but we discussed the size of our order and the height of the cake. It’ll be a 3 tier square cake with a lace piping design and cascading fresh orchids on the side that will feed up to 150 people, and there will be enough sheet cake to feed another 250 people. That will take us to 400. Based on Vivian’s suggestion and expectations, we’re going to order less than the number we expect so that we won’t waste delicious cake. There is a good chance that not everyone will eat cake by the end of dinner, especially after 10 courses. We originally thought of four tiers but as reminded by my mom and grandma, the number 4 does not sound right in Cantonese. It sounds similar to the word “death” and we can’t have that. Again, a minor detail that doesn’t matter to Jerry & I so letting it go if it’ll keep the peace.

Since there was so much extra cake (no matter how much I picked at it), I got some opinions from coworkers, a bridesmaid, parents and grandma. Without tasting the chocolate ones, grandma picked the yellow cake because for a Chinese wedding we can’t have dark colored cake – it’s not good luck. Go figure. My coworker tells me that I’m lucky for being easy going otherwise I would be up the wall by now. Everyone had their favorites but it seems that the Tiramisu inspired cake is the winner. Not only do Jerry & I like the taste, but the flavor also fits us as a couple. We’re subtle yet can hold our own individually but together we make something wonderful. I know…CHEESY. Honestly, it fits us because Jerry loves coffee and Tiramisu is my signature dessert. There are more details to hash out with Vivian but we’re feeling confident that our wedding cake is in good hands. I bake, but really amateur level with no formal training or education in the art. On the other hand, from what I experienced from baking and having passion for sweets, I appreciate the thought and end product of her work.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate a good portion of the samples, but why not enjoy it? It’ll probably be the most that I get to eat of my wedding cake since the day of people only care to see Jerry & I eat A bite from one slice. I hope that our guests will leave some room for cake, even if it’s just a little bit. It is not “that” wedding to break out the form fitting formal wear.

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 5:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Qi Pao – Round 2

Another busy wedding planning weekend and have to admit it’s taking a toll on me. By 8 pm Sunday I could barely see straight while I was researching possible wedding favors. Sunday was also the first time I was feeling overwhelmed with everything hitting the 6 month mark until the big day. 193 days to be exact, thanks to The Knot reminder.

Saturday was my second appointment with Hers Couture with all of the bridesmaids plus mom and Aunt Marie’s

Trying this on again for everyone - definitely not doing the trumpet dress style (taken with Liz's Blackberry)

fabulous friend, Liz. Upon arrival, I looked through her catalog of qi pao styles, went through pricing of possible designs, showed her a couple of pictures/designs for quotes and looked at different fabrics for the bridesmaids’ qi pao. Considering the price and look, they preferred the brocade material but as suggested by MOH’fo to stay within the color scheme the designer needs to search for a fabric color close to the bridesmaids’ dress for the ceremony. I tried on a pre-made dress they had in stock, which was VERY red with an embroided and beaded phoenix & dragon design. It was the same dress that I tried on during my first appointment – the whole party wanted to see how I looked in it. Even though it still didn’t fit right in the back, it was looser in the middle so the meal adjustments and extra exercising is working. I had a different perspective on the dress and design a second time around while everyone thought it was a pretty dress. Of course, mom thought it was a pretty dress and a better option than a white qi pao. It’s still a pretty design and a good balance of embroidery and beading, which I liked. The only thing I didn’t like about the design is that the dragon is small compared to the phoenix and looks borderline corny.

Close up of the design - mix of embroidery and beading. My favorite part of it is the phoenix.

After trying on the dress and Aunt Marie giving it a try, I confirmed pricing for that design and using a different fabric. I didn’t like the color and feel of the sample dress, to me it’s a fire orange red and matted satin. I prefer the look and feel of shiny lighter satin, plus like a darker shade of red. Also, I do not want to look like a fire truck if at all possible. Even mom was talking about having a mother of the bride dress made or not so typical mother of the bride dress. With more accurate pricing, my options have narrowed down and with Liz’s smart suggestion got our measurements taken with a rough sketch of our dresses. Each of the bridesmaids will have their own qi pao design but same color. I guess I’m in good company, we dare to be different with tradition. The designer was nice enough to keep the store open beyond her hours for us and will most likely pay off as I’m leaning towards her at the moment. Now being a few days after the appointment, getting a variety of honest opinions and a deadline to make a decision by the end of the month, I think I have a winner. There is also a convenience factor since we can rent tuxes through her too; the boys have their appointment later this month. Trying to explain to grown men that their suit sizes cannot be in Small, Medium, or Large, a number is included.

Things are moving along. There are times when I think I’m on track, but now starting to feel pressure with having to find two more vendors, florist and DJ and then the invitations. I keep forgetting about those! I’m hoping to get all of that done by the end of the month, early April the latest.

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 5:37 am  Comments (2)  
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