Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tales from a Crafty Bridesmaid: Flowers

N just about had a heart attack when she recieved her very first quote for bridal bouquets. I believe the shop told her that bridal bouquets start at $200 and only go up from there. In addition, boutineers start around $15. This is a pretty big deal when you are footing the bill all by yourself and your parents keep increasing the guest list!

Since N's requests was fairly simply: all rose bouquets for the bridal party. I suggested that we buy flowers in bulk and I would help create them for her. How hard could it be? I've watched enough bridal shows and how-to videos can find  all over the web.

Generally speaking, boutineers should be a relatively simple task. BBBBUUUUUUTTTTTT in Chinese weddings, ever member of the family sports a boutineer to show the guests that they are family. We're not talking about just the nuclear family here: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Oh and not just first cousins, second, third...seventh. On and on the list grows. Luckily bouts are easy to make, we just have to make a lot of them (like 50-70). Good thing we'll have help from one of her aunties and at least one other bridesmaid.

Armed with floral wire, floral tape, a dozen red roses, half a dozen white roses, bunches of red and white carnations, and extra sharp floral shears, we gave it a try. Thank goodness I had the florist strip the stems of the red roses, that cut down on a lot of prep work.  

First we tried our hand at the boutineers. We made one from a red rose and one from a red carnation. Nothing special, but they did turn out pretty darn good. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures of the trial bouts.

Next we tackled the bride's bouquet. N wanted mostly red with a touch of white.
Trial 1: red roses and white carnations - no go, N didn't like the difference in texture that the carnations added. Plus the carnations were big blooms which gave it too much white.
Trial 2: red roses with baby's breath - no go, too much red.
Trial 3: red roses and white roses - Winner! We added a few touches of green and called it good. We just have to remember to order more roses for her bouquet for the real deal. We also wrapped ribbon around the stems to complete the look. For the real thing the ribbon will be dark green and we'll also decorate with some pearl beads like you see in most bridal bouquets. Oh yea, we'll also shorten the stem, it was way too long in the trial run.

Lastly we worked on the bridesmaid bouquets. N wanted these to be opposite of her bouquet so that the flowers would pop against the girls' burgundy dresses. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough white roses, so we just used the white carnations to give us an idea.

Top left to right: Red roses and white carnations, Red roses and baby's breath,  Red and white roses.
Middle left to right: Bride's bouquet from the top (carnations used only to fill out the bouquet), Bride's bouquet tied with white ribbon, White carnations, white and red roses.
Bottom left to right: Bridesmaid bouquet, Green filler, Arrangement with left over carnations.

In case your wondering how far 1.5 dozen roses and a couple of bunches of carnations go, the answer is not very far. We kept reusing the same flowers until the end. After all the pictures were taken, we recreated the bridal bouquet and tied it with pretty ribbon. I sent N home with it to show her mom. I threw the remaining carnations in a vase.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

T-minus 13 months

Wow, can you believe that we're basically half way through our 24 month engagement? We thought 2 years would be a long time, but boy has time flown by. And in 13 months from today, we will be partying the night away with our family and friends.

The other night we were catching up with our friends who happen to be newly engaged. Their wedding date is a week before ours and already they're having a food tasting. It got me thinking, are we behind in our planning? I found a generic wedding planning checklist and compared our progress against it.

12 - 16 Months before the wedding:
Choose a wedding date - Check, August 20, 2011 
Discuss & Choose the style and formality of your wedding - Done.
Put an announcement of your recent engagement in the local paper - Uhh, yea....we're going to skip this.
Decide on a wedding budget - Yeup, had to start somewhere.
Hire a wedding consultant - Check, check!
Select a ceremony location - Got it.
Select a reception site - Easy peasy, same as ceremony.
Start shopping for a wedding gown - Half a check. The white dress has been taken care of us, but now I have my Chinese dress to worry about.

8 - 10 Months before the wedding:
Select your bridal party and request their participation in your special day - Almost
Interview and Hire the following:
     Wedding officiant - Done. Yay for friendors (friends that are your vendor)
     Reception Caterer -NOPE, still have plenty of time.
     Photographer and Videographer - Photog CHECK. Videographer, still on the fence about.
     Band or DJ - Plenty of time, Paula will tell us when we need to get on this.
Decide on bridesmaids dresses - Leaving this up to the girls, but we'll be going dress shopping for the bonding experience in 2 weeks!
Start compiling names & addresses for the guest list - We started compiling a list of email address. Mailing address will be obtained later via Google documents. 
Sign up for a gift registry - Is there an all cash registry out there? 
Engagement party - I don't think so.

Not to shabby! Of course there is a long list of projects that we are (I am) working on. Things like our website, invitations and other stationary items, the card box, etc. We'll continue to take things easy and take care of the big ticket items as they need to be done.

On a side note, we start dance lessons tonight!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

(almost) Heart Attack #1

You would think that a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders after finding and ordering my bridal gown. However, with my personality that was not the case. I worried about the color; is it going to be too white? I worried about the alterations, will taking it in ruin the dress? Is the salon going to order the right dress? Will the manufacturer send the right dress? Paula, our planner, assured me that everything will turn out. She assured me that alterations will be seamless (haha, pun) and that the seamstress is a master at what she does. I breathed a sigh of relief and let my worries slip from my mind. Then I recieved the following voicemail yesterday:

"Hi Celia. This is so-and-so at La Reine Bridal. The gown that you ordered does not come in the length that you need from the company."


My heart practically thumped out of my chest as I continued to listen to the message. My mind was racing with thoughts. OHMYGOD, it's only been a month and already things are futzed up?!?!

As it turns out, I could not have my gown made to a specified length by the manufacturer, but the seamstress has seen the sample dress and she said that it would be no problem at all. The salon wanted to give me a heads up so that I didn't flip out when the dress came in and was longer than I had asked for. Thank you, thank you, thank you La Reine. I can't put into words how appreciative I am for this heads up.  

So, no heart attack, but my worries will crop up again. I ordered my dress hallow to hem (length) so that one less alteration would need to be made. I didn't do this be cause of price, the cost is the same whether the manufacturer does it or a seamstress does it. I did so because I figured less alterations means less degradation of the original gown. I'm sure everything will turn out beautifully in the end, but until then...

Related post:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Homemade Pizza(r)

Jake: Can we take pictures of the pizza when we're done?
Me: Sure, why?
Jake: I want to post it somewhere... we made dinner like an adult!

Mushrooms (3 types!), pineapple, and basil pizza.

Almost forgot to take a picture of the finished product.

Pretty tasty for a first try. I think we'll be making our own pizza from now on.

Jake's comment is in reference to This is why I'll never be adult.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary to us! Last weekend we celebrated our 3rd anniversary by seeing Michael Buble! Jake surprised me with tickets back in May for my birthday. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. The show was at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT which is literally down the street from Jake's paren'ts house.

Our friends J and S also went with us to the concert. Lower left picture: dude walked into our shot and then tried to do a matrix move that failed.

The show was warmed up by a group called Naturally 7. If you've never heard of them, you need to! This is a group of 7 guys, originally from New York that is a mesh between a capella and some serious beat boxing. Click here to see them in action (video not by me). These guys have been around since 1999 and they've been opening shows for Michael Buble since 2007.

Michael Buble opened his show with Cry Me a River. I'm kind torn about not having caught the opening act on video. It was amazing to see in person. It was just like his music video. They even had sparks flying at the end. I don't think that I would have enjoyed it as much had I been recording it.

I can't even begin to describe how entertaining Buble is. Not only can he sing (and is easy on the eyes), he's also ridiculously funny. He's all around just a great entertainer. He interacted with the crowd throughout the entire show. I tried to capture a instances of him being hilarious.

Michael Buble: "Go f!@# yourself" (Video by me. Apparently my camera doesn't record sound when  I zoom)

"Nobody makes me bleed my own blood." (Video by me) They had two giant beach balls being thrown around the arena, at one point, one of the balls ricocheted onto the stage hitting the mic stand. This caused the mic to hit Buble, actually cutting him.

Home. This song has been my theme song for the last four years (video by me).

Here are a couple of other videos I captured from the concert. All photos and videos were captured on my point and shoot, Samsung TL225.

Image from closing act: A Song for You.

Here is an review (recap) on Michael Buble's concert in Portland, OR at the Rose Garden. The author does a much better job than I at capturing the feel of the concert.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Milestone: White Dress!

*squeal* I bought MY dress (a month ago)! *squeal* Yay for another milestone completed!

I'm not the type of girl that has been dreaming (and planning) my wedding since I was young. But I will admit that at one point in my life, I did imagine my wedding dress. It was this GIANT poofy thing. What girl doesn't want a princess ballgown? I'll have you know that I'm older, wiser, a touch more mature and thus I didn't not purchase a big poofy dress.

Here's the disclaimer, I will not post any pictures of my dress or any of the dresses I've tried on prior to the wedding for two reasons. 1) Jake reads this blog and wants to be completely surprised on our wedding day. 2) My dress is so awesome (at least I think so) that I want it to be one of the many surprises that we have in store for our guests.

I won't tell you about how I came to find my dress just yet. It probably won't be much fun to read without all the pictures that go with it. You will just have to sit tight for 13.5 months!

Now if only I could just find a seamstress to make my chinese dress. BAH!

This is the dress I imagined as a young girl. Image is captured from 98 Degrees music video for I Do (Cherish You).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tales from a Crafty Bridesmaid

A couple of weeks ago, I was honored when our friend N asked me to be her bridesmaid. Now I haven't known N long, only for as long as Jake and I have been dating. But over the last couple of months we've grown very close as we've bonded over wedding planning and life in general.

N is getting married in September so I was launched right into the middle of the shower planning and bachelorette party planning. It's a good thing I've been following along since the beginning, so things weren't too much of a shock. The shower was a laid back BBQ style Jack and Jill shower. I decided to suprise the bride in multiple ways. Her favorite color is green, specifically lime green. I found cute lime green polka dot cupcake liners from The Bakers Confections on Etsy. When N first started wedding planning, I had put in her head that she should have a monogram to brand her wedding. She become inundated with work, school, and wedding drama, so the monogram was left behind. N is marring N, thus N^2 was born. I took her original ideas and concerns and whipped up something with the help of the bridesmaids. Details on the cupcakes and monogram can be found on my cupcake blog.  

If you've been following along, you can count 2 suprises so far, the cupcake liners and the monogram. I had one more surprise up my sleeve for the to-be-weds. I ran to Michael's on a quick run to get supplies to make the monograms. But of course I do a quick walk around of the clearance bins to see what treasures I can find. I struck gold this time. They had double sided scrapbook paper that normally retails for $0.99 per sheet marked down to $0.14/sheet plus I had a 20% coupon in my hand. That's a whopping $0.11/sheet (pre-tax)! Oh, did I mention one side of the paper matched the cupcake liners? Oh yea, lime green with white polka dots. I didn't know what I was going to do with the paper, but I went through every bin and found as many sheets as I could. I managed to scrounge up 17 sheets.

In the end, I decided to make some bunting (or banner). Apparently, I can't do anything the easy way. This was a lot of fun to make, but a little bit more time consuming than I had originally thought. Good thing for Illustrator. After figuring out sizing and how to get the shadow effect (so that I wouldn't have to print and cut 2 sets of letters), I printed each letter on white cardstock and then cut them out with an exacto knife. Each letter was then glued onto the green cardstock.

The bunting reads "Natalie + Nelson = N^2". Yes, all the math whizes and nerdy geeks pointed out that the math should have been N x N = N^2, but N + N made more sense.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Words of Wisdom

For those of us that are control freaks. Just a little something to ponder:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Make-over: part deux

OK, last update to the blog layout for awhile. Yea, I say that now, but I'll probably be eating my words in a couple of days.

Notice anything different with the posting titles? I got it to work with our font! Yeup, I'm a nerd. Ain't it beauuuuteeefuuuulll? I think so.

One thing you'll notice is that it takes a bit of time to load. Unfortunately, there's no getting around that.

Wedding Train: Stop #3

Maral and Nema
June 5, 2010
Maral and Nema's backyard
Folsom, CA

As I mentioned at the last stop, Jake attended Abbey and Matt's wedding without me. You see, I was bound for sunny California the same weekend. Nema is a good friend from college. Along with our other friends in attendance at the wedding, we spent exorbitant amounts of time couped up together in computer labs working on homework and projects throughout much of undergrad and graduate school. Of course, all of us also spent time together outside of the lab, aka, the bar and at Chris & Amy's house for game nights.

Jack, the newest addition to the crew.

The crew and I at Folsom Prison

In the last 10 months, I've poured over every wedding blog that is out there (quite literally) and seen every wedding show produced. I've seen weddings big and small, simple and sweet, eclectic and loud,  low  budget and platinum budget. Nema and Maral's was a mix that hadn't even occurred it me. It was held in their backyard, talk about intimate! We estimated about 70 guests. The decor was something out of Platinum Weddings. It was nothing but GORGEOUS!!!!

(Personal photos by me)

Check out their gorgeous pictures taken by photographer Mariea Rummel.

All Aboard! Next stop: Cannon Beach, OR

Wedding Train: Stop #1
Wedding Train: Stop #2

Wedding Train: Stop #2

Abbey and Matt
June 5, 2010
Rochester Museum and Science Center
Rochester, NY

Jake was able to have some quality guy time with one of his college buddies at this wedding since I was unable to attend. Jake tried to take pictures of the event, but after a few beers in, a finger covered the shutter. But have no fear, I have shamelessly ripped pictures from Facebook that were posted by the groom!

Just from the pictures alone, I'm in love. The image in my head of what our wedding will look like was captured in their photos. And get this, Abbey and Matt even had milk and cookies as a late night snack! As I told Matt, I need to come up with a new late night snack plan.

Photos by Jake - Left: cocktail hour with a mastodon (actually I have no clue if the skeleton is of a mastodon here, but the picture below is of a mastodon. Top Right: science+wedding=nerd heaven! Bottom Right: yes, that is a ball pit.

(Photos shamelessly, but with permission, ripped from Matt's Facebook album. Photo credits: J. Biser, B. Trachimowicz, A. Clymer, S. O'Neil, R. Clymer)

All Aboard! Next stop: Folsom, CA

Wedding Train: Stop #1