My husband and I were never quite into weddings. After we got engaged on Valentine's Day we didn't touch the idea of weddings for over 6 months until we decided we wanted to at least get a marriage license by the end of the year.
Before we knew it was had committed to multiple wedding ceremonies and receptions.
Our first one in the SF Bay Area was in Dec 2008. The ceremony was private and that is what we wanted. City Hall ceremony with a justice, a photographer and the Best Man. It was beautiful and truly us. That Saturday we hosted a small Chinese Banquet reception for our local friends. It was a totally DIY job done in one month for 30 close friends, and we loved the intimacy of it.
Next up we had committed to a May 2009 ceremony and reception in the LA area. This would be for our parents. As I said we are not wedding people but before I knew it we had all that "stuff" - wedding planners, DJs, MCs that traditional weddings need. Amongst other things we didn't have a choice on the ceremony or reception locations and as I soon learned location basically determines everything else. We dealt with it the best we could. There were glimpses of my husband and me, but in terms of compromising, my husband and I did most of the compromising and the wedding was more a reflection of our parents' taste.
Through it all, PW has been a blessing. Almost every vendor that I found on PW was a great one and everyone's reviews were immensely helpful when were made final decisions. On top of that all support from other PW ladies (and gentlemen) has helped drag me through the tough times. So thank you to everyone and congratulations!
The goal was to reuse and recycle as much as we could. Here's how it turned out.
Aisle Decorations: Paper Roses in Cereal Box Paper cones
Roses are made of coffee filters (didn't use recycled filters because of the color issue). See Martha Stewart or mommymakesroses.com for directions. http://www.marthastewart.com/article/paper-roses
The paper cones are cereal boxes cut and shaped and then covered in paper shopping bags.
Same paper roses in a smaller size mixed in with silk hydrangas petals and embellishments.
Packaged in a recycled paper bakery boxes filled with raffia.
Random used shipping boxes covered first in white calender paper (good ole free Chinese calenders) and then in satin ribbon. I was able to uses pieces of ribbon that had already been cut but gone unused for other projects. I started by alternating the 1.5" green and chococlate brown ribbon. But it was too loud. I toned it town by stripping in skinnier ribbon. Everything was held together with hot glue and double stick tape...I adore double stick tape.
Homemade Jam Favors
Each guest received 1.5 oz of homemade jam. The available flavors were pineapple, meyer-lemon blueberry marmalade, vanilla bean-meyer lemon marmalade, and kumquat - vanilla bean marmalade. Except for the pineapple and vanilla beans, all the citrus fruit was picked from my parents' and close friends
trees. I made them a few months before the date and water processed the jars. It was time consuming in a large part because I knew the bitter taste that is part of marmalade would not sit well with our majority asian crowd. To minimize that flavor component I painstakingly scrapped every bit of pith off who knows how many citrus fruit. The marmalades that turned out are the best I (and quite a few people I know) have ever had and was a great use of the abundant winter citrus crop. I am really proud of these.
I made our two December wedding cakes - one traditional two tiered buttercream number and a second Wii groom's cake. We actually had three cakes that reception. It was near my sister's b-day so I made her an apple-date cake with cream cheese frosting
My wedding present to the groom for our May reception was an Oski cake. Oski is the Cal Berkeley mascot. The traditional cake for May was included in our reception fee and from Torrance Bakery.
The traditional tiered Dec cake was a white chocolate feather cake frosted and filled with swiss buttercream. It was served with fresh blueberry topping. It is a recipe from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berebaum. Very yummy cake and easy to work with. I actually started making it two weeks before, so froze most of the layers with no problem. I used a topping instead of a blueberry filling to ensure everything would be fresher tasting. It was a two tiered square cake (12" two layers and 8" three layers) with simple decorations. The swiss buttercream was smoothed down and then I used an ombre blue 1.5" ribbon around the bottom of both tiers. The tiered cake could actually serve about 100. Everyone had a slice of the apple date and white feather and took at least one slice of their fav home. Even after that we still have half of the top tier in our freezer.
The Wii and Oski are fully edible, but I knew I wanted to keep them so they are made out of rice treats instead of cake. Wii is my first fondant cake..so it is rough. I was learning as I made it. The most obvious mistake is I didn't frost the rice treats before I put the fondant on..so the fondant surface is bumpy like rice krispy. Not very Wii like, but it was good enough to fool folks. At first glace most people thought my husband had brought his Wii to the reception so we could play it. I also included controller and nunchuck. I love baking, so these projects were a lot of fun.
Left to Right (Wii cake, traditional two tiered cake, birthday apple-date cake, Torrance Bakery four tiered cake, Oski cake)
Other projects without pics:
The table centerpieces at the reception were simple square or rectangular glass vases with local flowers. I used this fushia berry that was on twigs and this rosmary like plant. For the other tables - cake, drink - I made simple bunched arrangements of one flower. The cake table was lillies, the drink table roses. All flowers were from local growers. The vases were surrounded by square glass votives (8 on each table) arranged in geometric patterns.
Tartine's devils food cake in cupcake form. I'll be honest..these didn't turn out well. I made them on Wednesday and the reception was on Saturday and they didn't hold up. The caramel and chocolate frosting partially made up for it, but they were still a bit dry.
Container Soy Candles
Friends and friends of friends donated used and cleaned glass jars to hold the soy wax candles. Soy candles are much cleaner burning and just that little bit better than regular candles..which are petroleum based. They are also easier candles to make then regular was. Easy cleanup and easy pour. We used them for the head table decorations at the May reception.
Used the second un-used side of already written on white foam board and then freehand cut out decor and lettering from 100% post consumer waste cardstock...easily purchased at local craft store
* Review posted
* Wedding Planners - Aquafuzion, Temple City
* Invitations, programs, menus, namecards - Aquafuzion
Thank you postcards - Vista Print
Wedding Photographer - Brett Butterstein
* Bride's Wedding Dress - JinWang, SF
Bride's Evening gown -Target.com
Bride's Shoes - Nordstrom and eBay
Bride's Jewelry - personal collection and etsy.com (Amy Hatch)
* Bride's veil and hair flower - Erica Koesler
* Groom, groomsman, dads' Tux Rental - Friar Tux, Torrance
Mothers' Dresses - Venus Bridal World, Temple City
Bridesmaids' Dresses - Target.com
* Bride's Makeup - Joyce Luck, Walnut
* Bridesmaids' and Moms' Makeup - Nicole Chen, Roland Heights
Ceremony Venue - Private Residence
Reception Venue - Torrance Doubletree Hotel
* Cake -Torrance Bakery
* Catering - Sea Empress Seafood, Gardena
Alcohol -Pavilions, Arcadia
* Floral -City of Commerce Flowers, City of Commerce
Rentals, Ceremony -Ace Party Rentals, Carson
* Harpist, Ceremony - Cathyrn Daniels, LA
* Rentals, Reception -Aquafuzion, Temple City
Paper Lanterns, Reception - Paperlanternstore.com
Lighting Reception -Eddison (DJ contractor)
DJ - Philip Liu, San Gabriel
Valet - Park4you, Torrance
Favors - specialtybottlecompany.com, Costco, DIY
Bride's dress and accessories - Glamour Closet, SF; Nordstroms, SF (5 Stars for both)
Dress Alterations - Wedding Altilier, Alameda (4 stars)
Grooms Suit and accessories - Giorgio Armani, SF (4 Stars) ; Saks Fifth Ave, SF (2 stars)
Ceremony Venue - SF City Hall Rotunda (4 stars)
Reception Venue - East Ocean Seafood, Emeryville (4 stars)
Flowers and centerpieces - DIY, SF Flower Mart (4 stars)
Engagement Photographer - Ben Chrisman, SF (5 stars)
Ceremony and Reception Photographer - nLighten Images, Oakland (5 stars)
Invitations - Evite (3 stars)
Thank-you cards - Vista Print (3 stars)
Hardware - Shreve and Co, SF (3 stars); Tiffany and Co, SF (5 stars)
Our goal was to minimize all paper use. For December, everything except the Thank you postcards was electronic. For May, Save the Dates were electronic, invitations were 1 piece of 8.5" x 11" cardstock, programs were a 1/2 sheet double sided, only 1 menu per table, and we used the same Thank you postcards from Dec. All the paper we did use was recycled cardstock.
The invites are are seal-n-sends made of one 8.5 x 11 piece of recycled cardstock paper. The almost full size invite (5 x 7), RSVP postcard and reception card fold up into a nice, neat envelope that we closed up with clear mailing seals. The RSVP and reception card are perforated so they come off nicely.
It's all block font (optima), all-caps text in chocolate brown. We used the palm trees on the property that we will be married as our theme through all the stationary. The house on the invite is from the deck the ceremony will take place on.
Top to bottom: Invite laid out, folded up invite -back, folded up invite- back without flap down, folded up invite -front
His suit for our Dec ceremony and reception. We went to Giorgio Armani and got a contemporary suit. It's got the amazing tailoring that Armani does in an updated more fitted suit. He looks so hot in it, especially from the back =)
He'll be wearing a rented tux for the May ceremony
I love my dress..but really I'm all about shoes. Here are the shoes I'll be using for the ceremonies and reception
Gold Manolos to go with the red and gold Chinese chi pao, May
This is probably the shoe that is the most me. Sorry this is a bad picture, I just pulled it off the web. They are actually a plummy patent leather. I used it for our December ceremony and reception and also for May. It's amazing how well constructed 4.25" heels can be just as comfortable as flats!
**Blue Jimmy Choos were not used. They did end up being used for a wedding, just not ours**
For the December city hall ceremony and reception I wore a Jim Hjelm sample that I got a sweet deal on because it had tears in the organza. It was a chapel length dress with a sweatheart neckline, an empire waistline, and beading on the bust with an organza body and train. I loved it because the beading had snowflakes - perfect for a Dec wedding.
Front (yeah..in retrospect I should have gotten my hair and makeup done for December, but I was low on time and feeling the pinch of all my purchases so I didn't. A big regret.)
The main wedding gown was the western style dress. It is Dawn by Enzoani from the Spring 2009 collection. It is a semi-cathedral length A-line dress with a gentle sweatheart neckline and slightly dropped waist. The whole thing is asymmetrically drapped ivory silk mimosa fabric that is overlaped. I LOVE the fabric - it's got a richness and fullness akin to cream (vs milk..which is what i think of satin and then skim milk, how i think of taffeta). I've really been thinking of chopping off the extra length and making it a wearable evening gown. It weighed a lot, but the built in corset made it feel pretty weightless when it was on.
The drop earrings are from Amy Hatch's etsy.com site. They are a vintage crystal set with drop pearl beneath with gold plated findings. The bracelet is a simple small pearl necklace that my sister made for me a few years ago. I changed the findings on the necklace to gold to match the earrings and then wrapped it around twice to make a double stranded bracelet.
Hair and Makeup:
Joyce Luck did my hair and makeup. She was amazing. She followed the lines of the dress and did an updo that was also intertwined. I wanted a bit more of a natural look, so it wasn't pulled tight on the top and had some curls running through it and off to the side.
I wanted pretty natural looking makeup but with a little more dramatic lip. I wanted the drama because the Enzoani gown had a bit of glamour and sexiness to it.
I also wore a Chinese Chi-pao (red) and ended the evening with a purple cocktail dress.
I got really lucky and was able to find something that worked at Target. We didnt' want to have to do alterations because the BM are all over California. Yeah for Target! They wore purple shoes and green and gold jewelry of their own choosing.
Took place on the deck of a private residence. It was supposed to rain, but we got lucky and had blue skies.
The decorations were very minimal:
- Tall Centerpieces from reception on columns to offset the stage
- A line of green paper lanterns hung with microfilament from the rafters
- Rose petals on the ground
- Paper cones with paper roses to decorate aisles
* Pictures to come *
We didn't have a choice with our reception site (family drama). Here it is:
The room has unusually low ceilings so we're trying to make it feel a little more open with uplighting.
Unfortuantely because this is a Chinese banquet with lazy susans, most of the centerpices will be removed for the meal =(. Even though we knew that centerpieces wouldn't get much time on the tables, I didn't want to do without them. That room is just so big and boring, we had to lighten it up and make it seem less like a conference room and more like a wedding banquet.