Hi there! Thanks for visiting my Project Wedding site. Here, I'll do my best to document everything leading up to the wedding. So far, everything that we've done in preparation for our big day has been so exciting. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to document and share it with others :)
After 6 years of dating, Ben and I got engaged in August 2009 in Oahu, Hawaii - it was a wonderful, funny, and romantic surprise! Knowing that we didn't want to rush the process and experience, the wedding date was still up in the air. Being such the "planner type" I saw that 09-10-2011 was a fun date and gave us plenty of time to plan! We're surrounded by such loving and supportive family members and friends - it'll be a total piece of cupcake (I'm a cupcake fiend)!
So begins the road to 09-10-11...
2 years to plan! We knew 09-10-11 would catch on as a popular date, so I deemed it imperative to get the big stuff out of the way.
1) The Church
I knew our ceremony had to be in a church. There were several options around town, but I wasn't sure where we could get married. My parents had (heavily) suggested holding the ceremony at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles in Downtown L.A.
It's a gorgeous venue located in the heart of our hometown, so why not? In December of 2009 we were able to book it, along with asking a family friend, Father Dan, to be our officiant. We attended an informational session and got a tour of the space. We even practiced walking down the aisle and reciting our vows - that was SO surreal and intense but in the best ways. Since then, we've gotten most of the required paper work done. We did n't get the desired time we wanted for the ceremony, which will lead to a wide gap between that and the reception. That was something we were slightly disappointed with, but we're definitely working with what we have.
2) The Reception Venue
I was temporarily unemployed at the end of September 2009. During those few days off, I researched, researched, researched and called, called, called so many venues. Our criteria included:
• being within budget
• location must be at a decent distance from the Cathedral
• must hold at least 200 guests
• must (of course) be beautiful and have an outdoor area
• provide ease of catering
It was down to Castle Green in Pasadena, Ambassador Campus in Pasadena, the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens near Downtown, and Kyoto Grand Hotel in Downtown. While it was gorgeous outdoor venue and at a good location, there were too many hoops to jump through for the L.A. River Center - it was also pricy and their catering rules were very strict. We really liked Ambassador Campus, but it was truly unfortunate to find out that it was closing as a venue in March 2010. We toured the Kyoto Grand Hotel, and while it was really gorgeous and contemporary, it wasn't exactly what we wanted. Although it was at a close second, in the end, we booked Castle Green!
It's gorgeous, reasonably priced, has so much character and history, has outdoor areas and an atypical interior. An added bonus: the caterer I had researched was exempt from their fee of using caterers not on their preferred list. Pasadena is a place where Ben and I love to hang/shop/eat so we were more than delighted to book Castle Green!
3) The Caterer
Through Ambassador Campus's site, I had found Event Professionals - a catering company who does it all!
They've been in the business for a long time and have worked all over the L.A. area. Their menu looked good and I've read plenty of good reviews on how responsive and resourceful they are. We had an initial meeting, tasting and by June 2010, we booked them. A few weeks ago, we had an itinerary meeting with them going over the detailed schedule of the big day. We plan on attending another tasting since I wasn't feeling too well at the first one. Woohoo! More food!
Having the big stuff out of the way is such a relief. What's even better is having all the time in the world to let everything else fall into place.
We've checked plenty of things off our list...yet there's so much more to do! I cannot emphasize how wonderful a long engagement is when it comes to planning for the wedding :) At this point, I think we're all set with our vendors. We've met them all and booked them all and we're so excited to have put together a team of awesomeness and talent - all in the heart of SoCal!
One of the first things I researched was a photographer. I believe it was thru PW that I found Zenia Anderson.
Not only is her work beautiful and exactly the style I wanted, but she was affordable too! I was in contact with her for many months before finally booking her. She's shot at both my ceremony and reception venues before, so she's familiar with the settings. I am so lucky to have found her - I cannot wait to shoot our engagement session at Disneyland next month with her!
A few weeks ago we booked our DJ - Mr. Tim Coy from Pacific Events Entertainment.
Once again, I lucked out on finding a vendor who's experienced, got raving reviews, and fits within our budget. What really won me over was the fact that he somewhat serves as a day-of coordinator. He plans to always check in with us and with the other vendors before any of the big moments of the evening. Score!
We plan on having a jazz trio (or quartet) perform during the cocktail hour. Ben's a jazz vocalist so he's in charge of that department. He's already got a few "cats" potentially lined up to do the honors.
Just last night, we booked Make My Day Videography.
Another great find who has shot at the Cathedral, produces great-quality work, and fits within our budget. We're definitely excited to work with them.
As for a florist, my wonderful aunt will play the role. She's kindof a genius at it! We checked out the flower mart in Downtown just to get a feel of what we want and what's in season. Sample pics soon to come!
So this is it...these are our team players! They're all really cool individuals and we're so excited to have booked them all!
At the beginning of the engagement I was slightly stumped over what our color scheme would be. Luckily I found inspiration from two things:
1) Ben saying "I wanna wear a gray suit for the wedding." Brilliant! I love gray, and it would serve as a great neutral.
2) I stumbled onto this entry from one of my favorite wedding blogs, 100 Layer Cake:
"Modern Fall." I fell in love! I adjusted the colors so that brown was out and gray was in, and that the "fig" was more of a "plum". So here's my color inspiration board:
Main Colors: Purple, Blue
Accents: Pink, Yellow
At first I was apprehensive about having so many colors - but I think it'll lend to a cool and festive feel. We can mix and match and use them in different ways, and there would definitely be cohesion. I'm glad I can post this now, I know it can be difficult to explain to people :)
[Disclaimer: This inspiration board is no indication as to how things will actually be/look on the big day - it's just for showing off the feel of the colors:) ]
Since this is a public page, I've chosen not to show my dress. I don't have it yet, and after a few shopping trips I've decided to have it made. A friend of mine referred me to a dressmaker in Long Beach - after she gets her dress and (hopefully) tells me how great it turned out, I'll make my appointment to meet with the dressmaker next month.
BUT - I will talk about the shopping experience!
First stop: Panache in Beverly Hills. Can we say "swanky"? I took my mom, sister/MOH, and future mom-in-law. With printed pics and my shoes in hand (yes, I bought the shoes before the dress...so sue me!) we excitedly walked into the spacious and elegant store. I was lucky enough to have a really sweet consultant help me find my dress. My dream dress was one of the ones we were able to find - I'm gonna go ahead and say that the designer is Jim Hjelm. It was the first thing I tried on and it was a DREAM. I loved it! Adding a veil to wear just added to the surreality of the exerience! I tried on others that were similar, but they didn't live up to the Jim Hjelm. Unfortunately, even after the sale and discount, the dream dress was still out of my budget. I didn't leave too disappointed.
Next stops: Rose Petals Bridal in Toluca Lake and La Soie in Pasadena. Panache's service spoiled me and therefore made my expectations a bit too high for Rose Petals. I didn't like any of the dresses I tried on unfortunately. La Soie was a bit nicer and I spent a good amount of time there. Again, the dresses I tried on were out of my budget and I wasn't 100% into any of them.
Last stops: Beautiful Day in Korea Town and Glamour Closet in Mid-City - I took 2 of my bridesmaids with me for these visits. I was pleasantly surprised to try on great dresses at Beautiful Day! They were quite similar to the Jim Hjelm and were in my budget - but I had already decided to have my dress made at that point. The experience at Glamour Closet was more for fun.
So now I am at a stand still. I know what I want and am glad to know there's an affordable option out there that will produce a dress best fitted for me :)
My guy doesn't put that much research into wedding planning - nowhere close to what I do. I've accepted that and realize that almost all fiancés are like that anyway. But there will be a few little suggestions he'll give that'll push me in a good direction (such as what color suit he wants to wear). A short while after we got engaged he asked "Could you wear a flower in your hair on our wedding day?" I melted!
Hence, the search for the perfect hair flower begun - even moreso now than before. I can spend HOURS on etsy.com looking for a handmade something. I want something pretty and classy with a touch of glam but without screaming "LOOK AT ME!" Here are a few favorites that inspire the look I want:
^Gorgeous, but too big.
^Gorgeous as well, but maybe a bit too heavy? It also strays away from the idea of "flower in your hair"
^Very cute and simple, but kinda small.
^I am crazy about hydrangeas! If I wore this, it would match with the wedding flowers. Somehow this isn't "glam" enough.
I recently found www.haircomesthebride.com and while they have so many beautiful items, they're way too expensive for me.
After perusing countless flower hair clips/fascinators/brooches/pins, I've narrowed it down to these, but I'll ask the seller if I could get them in white:
This is the etsy seller: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Kadeena
They're pretty, they've got some substantial bling, and they're not overpowering. I love where it's place in her hair near her ear. Of course I love how they're hydrangeas, the main flowers for the wedding day. I'm thinking of getting smaller ones for the wedding party, not sure. Anyhoo, I'm VERY excited to have found the perfect hair accessory!
Being too excited and impatient, I'm bummed that I'd have to wait until the springtime for this seller to obtain white hydrangeas. Oh well. Like I've mentioned before, there are sooo many out there to choose from, I'll find something eventually :)
My wonderful aunt, FI, and I woke up illegally early one September Saturday morning to visit the Downtown Flower Mart. I wanted to see what's available during this time of year so we know what to expect for next year. Again, I felt silly doing some planning so early, but it's all for the greater good :)
I already had in mind what I wanted:
My mind and life has been consumed by planning and research!!! AHHH!!!
Almost every day, I spend most of my internet freetime reading PW forums, and researching any of the following simultaneously:
• rings (FI's got it easy - a plain titanium band. Whereas I want a pretty little engraved/paisley/floral/scrolled ring...that'll be quite the hunt in the Downtown jewelry district!)
• dressmakers (got a few referrals and appointments made. This is a BIG BIG DEAL! I hope I can find someone I trust to make my dream dress come to life!)
• recycled paper resources/printers
• DIY "photobooth" materials
...and that's about it for now. It's stressful - but in a good way. I have to admit I'm gonna be really sad when I don't have to do it anymore. I almost wanna steer my career's direction into this world of event/wedding planning since I love it so much!
In other news: we took our engagement pics on Sunday at Disneyland! It was really fun. It was cold but the sun was out and that mixed with walking around all day made for a sweaty me. I really hope I don't look gross in the pics! I can't wait to see them in a few weeks!
I'm SO excited to have gotten our engagement photos and to share them with the world! Our photographer, Zenia, ROCKS! We got them in a timely manner and they turned out so fun and great! Here's a link to the blog entry and a few more that I love:
Can you tell we hate Disneyland ;)
Yay yay yay!!! It was so fun - I wanna do it again, but I'd make sure my hair looked better hehe. All nitpicking aside, I'm happy with how they turned out and can't wait to apply them to all our wedding stuff!
The circle is complete! We've rounded up all our bridesmaids, groomsmen and party-kids:
My sister is the Maid of Honor, while 3 of my high school BFF's will be my bridesmaids. My cousin's daughters will be the Junior Bridesmaid (age 10) and Flower Girl (age 6), and B's cousin's daughters will also be Flower Girls (ages 6 and 4). B's other cousin's son will be our Ring Bearer (age 7). B's brother will be the Best Man, while his friend since highschool, his cousin, and one of my cousin's will be Groomsmen.
As a Filipino tradition, there are usually sponsors involved in the wedding. They're defined as:
"The sponsors are made up of two groups; the Principal Sponsors are grandparents, uncle, aunt or even parents. These sponsors are considered silent sponsors who are there for the couple in time of need but are silent during the wedding ceremony. The sponsors are called ninongs and ninangs (godparents).
The Secondary Sponsors take part in the ceremony and handle the candle, veil and cord."
I don't want a huge production at the ceremony, so I plan on just having 2 pairs of sponsors - one from each side. I haven't decided on who, and whether or not they'll handle the veil and cord. It's something I'll need to discuss with B.
So onto the fun part of finally having the bridal party down pat - ATTIRE! I have an idea for what the little girls will be wear and my mom and B's aunt would like to sew the dresses themselves. I'm thinking of color blocks of lavendar and white and of course tulle for a fairy/ballerina affect ;)
For the ladies - I've decided to let them choose their own dresses, but in purple. I am all about the monochromatic! To stand out my sister will wear a darker, almost indigo shade while the other girls will wear dresses along the lines of a plum shade. I've given them color swatches from the paint section at a hardware store, along with instructions of looking for knee-length, with strap, comfortable/flattering dresses. Here's some inspiration:
I figured this way, they can look their best and have the option to not spend a fortune. I'm really excited to see what the girls end up with!
As for the boys, my guess is that they'll all get the same suits from the same place. To stay on the monochromatic theme, I'll have them wear different shades of blue for their ties. I'm also trying to think of something cool for the Ring Bearer. It's all coming together and we're so excited!
"A Wedding is a Day...A Marriage is a Lifetime."
One of the requirements of marrying in a Catholic church, is to attend some form of formal pre-marriage instruction program. We were given info on Engaged Encounters which had two options of attendance: 1) attend a weekend retreat in a beautiful setting or 2) cram it all in 1 day in some random location. We went for the weekend retreat - up in Malibu, hey-o! There was a bit of reluctance when signing up for this - mainly because we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. Ben isn't Catholic, so I knew he was more apprehensive than I was, but I had only heard great things about the experience.
Our Engaged Encounter was at the beginning of December 2010. There were a TON of couples in attendance. We were assigned separate dorms from our betrothed(s). I had a nice roommate and it was a bit difficult getting to sleep since the building walls were SO thin. We had 6:45am wake up calls all three days of the weekend, which was definitely painful, but there was just SO much to do (including enjoying all the yummy meals). I have to note that we attended Mass twice, but each time was only half an hour! Amazing!
Our days consisted of writing and discussion exercises. We were given journals that had different sections that covered self-analysis, family influence, future goals and priorities, intimacy, etc. It became routine to listen to speakers sharing their experiences, writing down our points of view separately and sharing them with our significant others. I have to say, it got very emotional quite often! I felt like the only person crying sometimes (but so was he!) mostly brought forth by emotions and the great love you feel from the other person. None of the topics were completely new to us, but what was great about this experience was getting to dive deeper into these topics. We really got to establish our goals, discuss what we want from and for each other, and yet hear new things from the other person.
It was a very touching experience and we definitely felt closer after. I even kinda missed it. On a daily basis, you spend all your time worrying about other people - this weekend was just for us. It wasn't the ideal setting, but we enjoyed our time together and I would definitely recommend something like it to other engaged couples.
We're winding down to the 6 month mark! SO exciting - yet also a little daunting. All the ideas and planning I've been doing for something that used to be 2 years away, should be coming to fruition soon! A 50% deposit was put down for the caterer, we'll be finalizing paper work with the church in a couple of weeks, and Save the Dates will be sent this week! It's barely March and 2011 truly feels like our year! Our offer on a condo finally pulled through and we've spent the past month renovating, hoping to move in in a couple of months (so grateful for family help!). Our lives are busy and changing in the best ways possible!
After a couple trips to Downtown's garment district, my mother and I picked our dress materials and dropped them off to the seamstress to start working on! We also picked up yards and yards of fabric in light gray, purple and yellow for the table napkins. In another month or so, we'll return to buy fabric for the flowers girl dresses, which my mom and fiancé's aunt have so graciously agreed to sewing themselves! Here's my inspiration:
I'm all about the tiers! So fun and cute and not too simple. The top left pink dress would be great for my Jr. Bridesmaid, except I'd have it in a pretty blue. My mom suggested having the other girls in different colors - purple, yellow, and silver (although I'm debating whether or not to have pink instead of silver, because what little girl would wear silver?). It'll be so great seeing them run around in these pretty little numbers - I hope they don't grow too much over the summer!
We are so lucky and grateful for my Aunt Rose. The minute we got engaged she offered to give us our honeymoon through her timeshare! We've gone to the timeshare website and picked out our top three places: Big Island, Kauai, Fiji. While the thought of going somewhere international (Greece? Italy?) sounded fantastic, we thought it'd be easier to just take it easy somewhere a little closer to home.
There was a lot of back and forth and mind-changing, and due to the type of "lottery system" the timeshare has, my aunt just used her credit card points to book our honeymoon at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort in Hawaii's Big Island!
For the past few weeks I've kept my eye on airfare. I saw it at a decent price, then I saw it go up. I checked yesterday and jumped at the lowest price I've seen through American Express! So we are BOOKED! We are so excited and cannot wait to set up the Honeyfund.com registry! I see some hiking, dining and other fun activities on that Hawaiian horizon :)
On another note: SAVE THE DATES WERE MAILED OUT THIS MORNING! WATCH OUT, WORLD!
As a graphic designer, it is imperative that I'm behind all the design projects for the wedding! That also means that I unfortunately put too much pressure on myself to make these things look perfect ;)
My first task was to design our monogram. It wasn't TOO difficult and I'm really happy with the result:
If you've seen Disney Pixar's "Wall-E" you'd recognize the BnL logo. Our initials match up, so we thought it'd be cute to mimic that, but of course in a more decorative/whimsical tone. It'll be on EVERYTHING!
Our save the dates were sent a couple weeks ago! Of course, I designed them and by designed I mean obsessed and nitpicked over. I was lucky to have my wonderful FI (and my mother too) help with putting them together! They were inspired by a few things: I wanted something that can stand out and that's unique. I wanted something that had some sort of function. I don't know what sparked the idea of a door hanger, but it definitely fits well with our reception at Castle Green, an historic hotel. So here they are in all their glory!
I only needed about 100, but the printer's minimum is 250. The extras are all over my parents' place!
Another closeup :) I went for a vintage/modern feel.
FI and I
Front of the label
Back of the label/envelope
All 100 save the dates ready for mailing!
And off they go! I was suprised that people received them the next day! Good job, USPS!
Had a hair appointment yesterday - I went in for a trim and left with a gorgeous 'do! That's right, I had my hair trial! This image of Anna Paquin was my inspiration:
My hair is pin-straight and kills a curl by the end of any event. So I decided to go with what God gave me and stick to a straight style. So here's the magic my hairdresser conjured up:
Looooove it!!! And there's my hair flower! She decided to curl it, knowing that it wouldn't stay curly later on. And yes, I'm gonna keep the panels of color - I'll have them done again some time during the summer. It was also a pleasant surprise knowing that a bumpit was not needed :) FI got to see it after - but without the flower. Next beauty-related step: jewelry!
The big day is coming up in less than 3 weeks! Can you believe it? I can't.
I get more and more stuff done each day/week yet more little stuff keeps being tacked onto my to-do list. My rollercoaster of emotions go from accomplishment and excitement to stress and frustration. An issue that has mostly caused the latter feelings is the lack of courtesy from invited guests:
• RSVP-ing. How hard is it to send back a pre-stamped postcard, write your name on it, and check "yes" or "no"? Apparently very hard for some people.
• Adding onto that, how hard is it to see that you have been given two seats at our reception - not seven? If I had not have called to confirm certain RSVPs, we might end up with a few extra uninvited guests.
• If you haven't received an invitation by now, you'd think you weren't invited, right? Wrong for one guest. We initially couldn't invite this couple due to lack of space. Luckily we do have room for them to attend, but it was BEYOND awkward when we were asked "Can we still come?" a week after the RSVP's were due. We pretended their invite got lost in the mail. So. Embarrassing.
• The ceremony procession will consist of bridal party members, family, and family-like friends. Sorry, if we asked you to walk in our procession, you can't have your significant other of a year walk with you.
*sigh* I've been able to deal with all of this and I'm very glad that this has been the extent of "drama." And hey - it comes with the territory. But I'm glad the majority of our players have been great!