Please bear with me, my procrastination, and my mess as I re-do my bio! Since I'm no longer planning (thank goodness!), I'd better update this page with more recent events.
I'm exhausted, breaking out profusely, and sore all over, but I've jumped that final hurdle (well, second to last...thank yous are the final hurdle, and a large one at that) and Ryan and I have said our "I do's."
Some of you guys know about our little mishap which will inevitably end up as something we'll all laugh about in a few years, I'm sure. But for now, the stress from the last minute venue change is STILL try to make its way out of my body. -_____- It'll be a while....
But after an entire week of scrambling to find a new venue, calling and negotiating with vendors, and notifying all of our family and friends about the change TWO days before the wedding, it turned out wonderfully! Now that I think back on it, it was probably because everyone's expectations hit rock bottom, including Ryan and mine. >.< Shame on us.
I didn't take a camera with me, so I literally had NOTHING when I came home except for the blur of memories that I reaped that day. It was enough to hold me over for a night, but one of my bridesmaids managed to hound all my guests into posting their pics on facebook. It's after the wedding, and they're STILL doing their job. ;) How lucky am I??
So now goes the run-through:
Ryan and I actually booked a hotel for the two of us the night before (everything was turned upside down, no need to stay proper and traditional now, eh? ;D) and we had a semi-relaxing night just chatting and setting up for the next day. We got to bed by 12am, which was about 3 hours earlier than what we've been sleeping every night.
The NEXT day started off at 8:00am, when the ever wonderful GIAO and THAI (love them!) showed up on the dot to start doing makeup and photos with us. Giao started on my makeup as Ryan made calls to the bridal party to find out their whereabouts.
The bridesmaids came at around 8:30am to get ready, and my sisters were none to happy about starting the day early... :)
Only a couple of groomsmen showed up fully dressed as requested, and the rest were waiting for the bridesmaids to free up the bathroom (you know how we ladies love the bathroom). We were scheduled to shoot at around 10am with Thai, but we were only about 45 minutes behind schedule. We still got some pretty fun shots around the hotel before we had to meet the other photographers back at the hotel room at 1:30pm.
So the other photographers requested that we RE-get ready, which some of the groomsmen as well as the groom begrudgingly obliged with. From 1:30pm to about 3pm, we shot at the hotel and then it was off to San Francisco for some more pictures. We were still running behind schedule, and got stuck in some SF Giants vs Philly's traffic (did some of you girls end up going?) but we still managed to get some pretty cool shots with cable cars and fun murals. :)
Then, it was off to the ceremony, where I tucked into the bridal suite with our bridal party. This was the ONLY time I regretted having such a large bridal party because they kept disappearing from the room with only 5 minutes to go. Once I rounded up all my bridesmaids, the groomsmen would be gone. Once they came back, my dad would be nowhere to be seen. And then my mom popped out for "a little bit" which ended up being 10 minutes. Miraculously, we only started 15 minutes behind schedule. ;D
After a ceremony filled with reverberating echoes in the atrium of the venue (I heard none of the guests could hear what we were saying...oops), it was formal portraits time (CHAOS), and into the restaurant. We had a brief tea ceremony, and it was a nice intimate time with my family.
Afterwards, we did out grand entrance into the restaurant and sat down to eat our first course, where Ryan and I were promptly informed that all our red wine was cleaned out. :( All 15 bottles. Whoops.
The dinner was a blast! It was filled with a night of laughter, good company, good food and drink, GAMES, singing, cake, and dancing. Ryan managed to let loose and have lots of fun too!
Overall, even with the last minute chaos, everything turned out really well! Many of my friends and family said this was the best wedding they've attended and it was was very well put together. I'm just glad everything worked out, and my guests had a good time. I have to admit, though, I was waiting for the whole thing to explode in my face once I sat down for dinner. But at the end of the day, I found that it doesn't really matter WHERE I got married, as long as I DID get married and everyone had a good time and memories to last a lifetime. :)
I also wanted to say that I was so lucky to have Ryan by my side throughout this whole thing. I knew he was always supportive and patient with me, but I never knew the extent of it until we ran into this dilemma. He was pretty much
the one that kept me sane the whole time and I'm lucky that I have him locked up for life. >:D Hehehehe.
So yes, I had to make the hard decision to let go of beautiful Ruby Hill, but I'm so glad that it all turned out well in the end.
The both of us kind of agreed mutually that we would be getting married, and we started planning before any official engagement or ring really happened. I even coerced him into presenting the ring to me for our engagement shoot with Thai. :) HOWEVER...being one that never wants to get shafted of her surprises, I insisted that he follow through with whatever plan he had.
After much snooping and deducing, I figured out on my own that the weekend before Thanksgiving was when it was going to happen. Oh, I was cool...I played dumb. But who did he think he was trying to fool? I'm a super sleuth.
We were going to drive down to San Luis Obispo, home of our alumni Cal Poly and consequently our budding relationship, and also where my sister happened to be going to college. And we happened to be driving down to pick her up and drive back home. 2 and 2 together does equal four, after all. But even for all my snooping and sleuthing, I was in for a surprise. VERY hard to do, so kudos to him. :)
So here goes the (kind of long, but bear with me if you'd like) chronicle of the weekend:
After a long three hour drive, we pull into Pismo Beach Sea Crest Resort and Motel. Lots of construction, dim lighting, and very shady looking office. I was not impressed. But after blindfolding me, he led me into this:
And later that night, with this dinner and dessert. :)
The proposal was coming for sure. But 11pm rolled around, then 12am, then 1am. We went to bed and I was left ringless. :/
New day, new hopes. :D He had a trip to the beach planned out and I was certain that this would be it. Nothing. But we had our fun regardless...
Last day, last chance. D:< I was giddy all day and I knew that it was going to be this day that it all culminated. But as evening rolled around, and dinner was eaten, I was beginning to believe that every inkling of romance and sentiment had left the boy. He was a now a dud. D:
But true to form, he threw me a curve ball.
After dinner, he drove me back to the hotel and told me to wait while he picked up some drinks and snacks. He was gone for a full hour before he came zooming back to me and told me to hop in the car. This. Was. It. Bingo. And I have to say, that it was that good. Good enough that I was blubbering the whole way, nonstop as he toured through the small town.
He drove to the place that we spent every year of our years in San Luis Obispo together: the dorms, the on-campus apartments, the off-campus housing, and our first official apartment together. And at each stop, he gave me something that reminded him of our time together at that place: a box of sushi, Sour Patch Kids, a teddy bear, chocolate covered strawberries; and a sweet sentimental speech.
We ended up at beautiful Avila Beach (though it was dark at the time), and that's when he re-presented the ring to me.
And I said "Yes, I'll marry you" for probably the millionth time. :D
We were lucky enough to get plenty of practice in front of the big, scary camera lens with not one, not two, but THREE photos sessions with three very talented photographers. It was incredible how I managed to look more and more awkward with each session, but I was still ecstatic with all the pictures we received.
The first session was with Thai Mai of Thai Mai Photography. It a long session (almost 8 hours!) in Stanford University and downtown Palo Alto but we spent every minute of it getting to know this awesome couple that much better. Totally worth it.
The second session was with Tressa LeFevre. Her scenic, artsy style was absolutely breathtaking and made hiking down the steep, rocky slope down to the Sutro Baths in my bare feet a small price to pay.
The third and final session was with our hired photographers Stanley and Jamie of SJ Photo Creation. We had a blast trying to capture the schools of fish and glimpses of shark in the infinite water tunnel of the Aquarium of the Bay. Running through Chinatown in high heeled pumps was also an interesting experience. :)
After spending months of visiting bridal boutiques and getting stuffed into dresses of all different shapes, sizes, materials, and lengths, I realized that I wasn't willing to spending $2000 (or more!) on a dress that I would only be wearing for a few hours.
After I caught wind of a company in China called Milly Bridal which allows you to design your own dress and have them make it, I decided that I would create a dress that (hopefully) I would love. It was a huge risk, not being able to try on a wedding dress until after I purchased it, but it was a risk I was completely worth taking.
I did become the dreaded two dress bride, but it was due to me mistaking my style instead of the dress workmanship being not up to par.
I was convinced that I looked best in tons of lace, sparkles, and pearls, much to the delight of the two mothers. However, I never felt right in it, so this one went out the window. Figuratively. In actuality, it was folded nicely into a garment bag.
The Finished Product:
For my second (and final) dress, I opted for something that I originally wanted to go with: sleek, satiny, and simple. No more beady mess for me. Milly broke through for me and did EXACTLY that. I was ecstatic with the images they sent me and I couldn't wait to try it on.
The Finished Product:
It took a little squeezing and stuffing, but I finally got myself in it in the end. :)
I knew for a fact that I would not be able to comfortably tuck into my meal if I stayed in the wedding dress (it wrapped me like a burrito), so I decided on the BCBG Strapless Applique Dress that JDWeddingday inspired me to wear. It was a perfect dress that embodied a little bit of sass!
The extremely talented and sweet Giao Nguyen was in charge of my hair and makeup the day of the wedding. I had no idea how she dealt with how indecisive I was since I changed everything completely from the many trials I had with her ON the wedding day itself. Thinking back on it, I must have driven her crazy. D:
I did love what I ended up with, though. :D
My hair was also let down later during the reception for a more casual, fun look. I would have never had enough creativity or daring to think of this on my own; again, this was Giao's magic at work again!
Every girl loves her accessories, so of course I need to dedicate a section just for that purpose. :)
The day started out with the ever-popular J. Crew Carmen in a peachy-champagne color.
Boys' shoes need love too :D, but more importantly I'm using this section to showcase the second shoe I wore that night, Naturalizer Prissy (fitting name, no?). I couldnt find a better picture of it so you're just going to have to imagine what's behind that enormous clunker.
All of these were made by Giao Nguyen, my hairdresser, and each piece was just in-CRE-DIBLE.
I LOVE the soft and elegant look of pearls, so it was obvious that I would be springing for a lustrous look on the wedding day. I ended up wearing earrings and a bracelet from jurgitahandmade of etsy, and a single pearl pendant necklace belonging to my mom.
Because of the endless possibility of beautiful veil shots, I knew I had to opt for at least a chapel length veil. What I didn't know was that with the addition of the matching lace hem, it became incredible heavy and threatened to rip a bald spot right in the back of my head. Thankfully, it didn't happen. :)
Last, but not least. :)
The bridesmaid dresses were made by Milly Bridal as well, and after months of agonizing over securing the right shade of teal (which is impossibly hard to find when you need it, unfortunately), I found a swatch of deep teal taffeta that was just perfect!
The skirt for the all of the girls was the same: a simple knee-length, pleated A-line. Each of the necklines was different according to what the girls liked though, so it was personalized to each of them. :)
And of course, obligatory shots of the guys who are not nearly as lovely as my ladies. :)
Annnd, the whole picture: even better than I had imagined it in my mind.
Here is just a sampling of the fun shots that we got from our talented photographers, Thai Mai and S&J Photo Creation. The group of about a dozen people had a blast traipsing through Sofitel Hotel and San Francisco. We were even lucky enough to find a parked cable car right in front of the docks (complete with a sleeping operator who got quite the surprise when he woke up to a gaggle of matching couples).
From Thai Mai:
From S&J Photo Creation:
By some strange twist of fate (read: we booked a hotel room together the night before the wedding...tres taboo!), we ended up getting ready in the same room, at the same time. I would NOT ever recommend this, since a dozen people fighting for the bathroom was not a pretty sight. It was completely chaotic, and I do remember at one point I asked my husband to zip me into my wedding dress (which he refused D:). Yup, completely ignoring the customs here.
Despite the non-traditional wedding morning, we all had fun, which made it great in the end. :)
Since the girls had dire need of the restroom, the guys were shunted outside the room.
After seeing me getting airbrushed, the groom couldn't help but want a little touch-up as well.
And finally, me needing the help of 5 girls to squeeze me into the dress. It did finally zip...Phew!
The ceremony was held right outside the reception restaurant, in the Rincon Center of San Francisco. I was a little bit skeptical since it was the atrium of an office building, but it turned out beautifully. The only problem with the area was that it was so large and echo-y so the guests sitting near the back could not hear the message or the vows clearly.
I honestly did not remember much of the ceremony, save the vows, since I was just concentrating on getting through the day without (more) unexpected surprises, but Ryan's vows were very sweet. However, I did not cry, probably beacause I was feeling more blissfully happy and relieved than anything. :D
After the wedding ceremony and before the start of dinner, we held a short Chinese tea ceremony in the bridal room for our family. The Chinese dress was an off-the-rack impulse buy by none other than my mother-in-law while she was in Canada. Thankfully and luckily, it fit me! I have a knack for getting a hold of dresses that I've never tried on before buying. ;D
The bridal party and the two of us entered to Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feelin'" which was, looking back on it, a great song for the occassion since I was crossing my fingers and toes for nothing to go wrong. After a brief boogy on the dancefloor, we segweyed straight into our first dance. Since we didn't take lessons for it, we were forced to do the dreaded, awkward 8th grade sway. Luckily, it didn't turn out too badly on the camera.
After a couple of toasts from the best man and the maid of honor (his brother and my sister), the night's program really began. We had a couple of games, a duet by the two of us (Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours"), and a wonderful slideshow that was put together by dad who was also, consequentially, the videographer of the wedding.
And after a brief cake cutting...
And what's a wedding without without a dance party at the end (aided and abetted by alcohol)?
The bridal bouquets and boutonnieres and sweetheart table arranement were by Christine Le of bluume, and I'm sorry to say that they were not up to par. The bridal bouquet was misshapen and the wrong shade of peach (so wrong, in fact, that it was orange) and the bouts were just a single rosehead. The bridesmaids bouquets were quite nice, but overall, I was expecting something a little less substandard.
Instead of a traditional 3 tiered cake, we opted for a myriad of cupcakes instead. We figured that it was a fresher take to wedding cake and much easier to serve (and cuter, to boot!). Bev Tanaka of Bev's Cake Creations was absolutely amazing and she even threw in a little cutting cake for us so we wouldn't have to cut into a miniscule cupcake. :) The cake as well as the cupcakes, were delicious, of course.
Odd and ends I couldn't really find a place for elsewhere. :)
I call her...Pika: the Black Demon.
Nothing is safe from her wrath.
Tally so far
1 favorite sweater of FI
1 second favorite sweater of FI
1 not-so-favorite but still wears it sweater of FI
4 T shirts of FI (notice a trend here?)
1 corduroy pants (I didn't like them anyway D:)
3 phone chargers
1 DS charger
5 nibbles out of my purse
1 square foot of carpet
1/2 wooden bedframe
1 door jamb
1 laptop strap of FBIL
1 laptop outlet wire (still salvageable)
48297428795 important papers/documents/homework