May 24, 2008
I got my invitations done in Hong Kong by Hanes Printer & Publisher--check them out at h2cards.com.hk. I find that their prices are fairly reasonable, especially considering the quality of their products. I did the wedding programs, place cards, and menu cards myself. For materials, I went to Paper Source in Santana Row in San Jose. They have a wonderful selection of paper, ribbons, and rubber stamps, as well as various tools for arts and crafts projects. I am addicted to that store, and I am trying to convince my sister to use them for her wedding next year.
I only had trials with two stylists, and ultimately picked Jira from WowPretty. The trial was fabulous--amazing make-up, great up-do, and great atmosphere. Jira really makes you feel comfortable, and she listens to and tries to achieve what you want as much as possible, without losing her expert opinion. I started my hair/make-up search pretty late in the planning process, so I'm really glad I was able to book her!
I waited till my mom came to visit to look for a dress because I wanted this to be a mother-daughter thing, but I forgot that my mom and I have very different styles. My mom wants beads--lots of beads--but I want a simple dress. I was OK with some beading though, and on our fourth salon visit (at The Unique Bride, in Burlingame), we found one by Christos that we both liked. It was definitely over my budget, but I love it!
I also have two other dresses: the "qi pao," traditional Chinese dress worn especially by those in Shanghai, and the "kwa," traditional Chinese wedding gown worn mainly by those in southern China, particularly by the Cantonese. I decided to wear both because one represents my Shanghainese heritage, and the other represents my upbringing in Hong Kong. I got the qi pao custom-made in Hong Kong, and the kwa from Ling's Bridal in Oakland.
I originally wanted to have a band at my reception because many of my family and friends are not the dancing type, but I couldn't quite find a band that played the type of music that I wanted. I started looking for DJs after my failed band search, but had trouble finding one who was low-key and flexible. Just when I was about to give up, I found Russ at Fog City. I knew that he would be a great DJ to have at the wedding as soon as we sat down and started talking about his work and my "vision."
I really had no idea where to start looking for anything, because 1) I had only been to one other wedding, and 2) I am the first in my extended family to get married. I spent a lot of time researching photographers, but I met with only one of them--James Sanders--and I booked him right away. His work is wonderful, his price is reasonable, and he is just an overall great person. More importantly, I felt very comfortable talking with him and his wife. I am hopeful that we will work well together.
I considered a Chinese wedding, but ultimately decided to go "western" because 1) I felt that our guest list is too small for a Chinese banquet, and 2) we have a number of vegetarian friends, and Chinese food is not necessarily the most vegetarian-friendly.
We knew that our ceremony will be held at a church because Caleb is Baptist, and so we chose Stanford Memorial Church. It is non-denominational, and so accommodates both of our belief systems, and it is just like how my mom had always imagined my "wedding church" to be--gorgeous, grand, and romantic.
After choosing this gigantic church for my ceremony, I wanted my reception to have a more intimate and casual feel. I booked Garden Court Hotel for that cozy atmosphere.