Sep 20, 2008

  • Last updated on December 23, 2008 at 4:41 am
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Some good things and huge mistakes I made with beauty right before my wedding:

(1) DON'T - cut your hair for at least 5 months before the wedding.  i really had high hopes for having a down-do for my wedding, but my hair was not nearly long enough.  i thought it would grow in the 3 months after i cut it, but it only grew about 1" if that.  but i did end up loving my updo.

(2) DON'T - wax a fews days before the wedding.  i got a brazilian bikini, brow, arm, underarm and upper lip wax three days before the big day.  mainly because i was procrastinating.  huge mistake!  GINORMOUS mistake!  the waxer was very experienced in a salon down in the OC, but she still burned my face!  my sister gave me the advice to put on vaseline to heal it.  it helped a little.  on my wedding day i also applied visine to get rid of the red color.  a trick i used for pimples.  also my make up artist blended my foundation pretty well, but boy it made me worried the days leading up to the big day.

(3) DO - try out teeth whitening.  white teeth does a lot to make you look youthful and fresh.  i used brite smile in irvine.  i did it a week before my wedding.  it was hard to eat only white things for one day, and my teeth were a little sensitive the day  of my treatment, but it was pretty effective.  i got it as a xmas gift 2 years go w/ a 4 touch up package.  i lined up the last 3 touch ups to fall right before my wedding.  it worked out wonderfully.

(4) DO - try out different make up products that have received good reviews on PW and  i absolutely loved Lash Blast by Cover Girl.  it worked really well on my wedding day.  my lashes stood up all day and was very thick.  you don't have rely on only the products your makeup artist provides.  plus you can keep the products for touch ups throughout the day.

(5) DO - use oil blotters.  it was all i really needed besides lip stick to touch up my makeup.  i think i also just had an amazing make up artist to boot.

(6) DO - look into false eyelashes.  i highly recommend using shu uemera lashes.  some brides maybe hesitant that it looks too unnatural, but i have not seen one person regret it yet.  i really believe it makes everyone look really good.

(7) DO - try out spray tanning at least 2 months before the wedding if you had the farmer's tan like me.  i think for ppl with fairer skin you make look orange, but for ladies with dark skin like me and just need to even should definitely try it out.  do a test run to find a good vendor than do the actually spray tan maybe 4 days in advance of your wedding.  it's super risky but it turned out well for me.

(8) DO - try out SPANDEX.  i didn't end up using mine, but have only heard good things about.

(9) DON'T - crash diet!!  start your workout routine and healthy eating habits as early as possible.  i recommended watermelon and slimfast in conjunction with you regular healthy meals.  it'll make you feel fuller longer and is very healthy.

(10) DON'T - this is a big one..don't do anything crazy with your skin care.  i used proactiv 2 weeks before my wedding and it completely dried it out.  with advice from other PW ladies i switched back to my regular skin care products.  proactiv worked really well for me in the past but i guess my skin changed and it reacted badly.  keep it basic if you can.  if you try something new do it much earlier on.

  • Last updated on November 17, 2008 at 2:12 pm
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Our tea ceremony took place a week before our legal and western style wedding at our respective family homes.  In vietnamese tradition the bride wears a traditional dress called Ao Dai.  These days they are pretty elaborate with shiny beads and very detailed embroidery, but I chose to honor my parent's wedding and wore my mother's much simpler Ao Dai from her wedding day instead.  It turned out to be a big hit and mentioned several times during the family speeches.  The bride also typically wears a hat called Khan Dong.  I must warn you the darn thing weighed nearly 5 lbs on my head!  If you could get away with wearing a tiara I absolutely recommend doing that instead.  There's also an Ao Dai the groom could wear, but these days they usually opt for a suit and it isn't seen as disrespectful in any way.

Receiving the Bride at her Family Home - My groom's family and friends brought 6 to 8 (I can't remember exactly the number, but it was important that it was an even number) boxes of traditional gifts in red tins rented from Van's Bakery in Little Saigon.  The tins were filled with traditional candles, cakes, fruit, tea, alcohol (it has to be top notched for show :( --we used Remy Martin XO's), a bridal bouquet, a huge pig, and finally jewelry.  Luckily my MIL was already planning to remake her engagement and other jewelry as gifts for me, so it wasn't too awkward telling her that this was part of our traditional ceremony.  After receiving the gifts and welcoming the groom's party the candle ceremony takes place, followed by a tea/alcohol ceremony and speeches.  Because my family is partly Buddhist we kneeled down and prayed for well wishes from our ancestors as well.

The vietnamese ceremony took less than 20 to 30 min.  The prep work was the hard part.  My mom worried for weeks about the food that was served for our small reception afterwards.  The subtle differences between vietnamese and chinese cultures are immeasurable.  At the outset I thought it would be so simple, but it turned out to be an emotionally charged event.  Luckily everything went mostly smoothly on the day of. 

Groom's House - After the ceremony, the bride is considered to be apart of the Groom's family.  At my groom's house we followed the traditional chinese tea ceremony.  The bride along with the groom serves tea to each older, immediate family member beginning with the eldest.  The bride typically hands over the tea.  After serving each person or couple they offer red envelopes filled with money gifts.   The chinese tea ceremony was so much easier!

Both ceremonies took about 3 hours combined mostly due to the eating (asian ppl love to eat many courses) and traveling from the bride's house to the groom's.

If you have any questions on either ceremonies please feel free to PM me.  Good luck! 

Our Vietnamese Chinese Tea Ceremony photo 1Our Vietnamese Chinese Tea Ceremony photo 2

My parent's wedding.. beehives and all :)

Our Vietnamese Chinese Tea Ceremony photo 3Our Vietnamese Chinese Tea Ceremony photo 4

  • Last updated on October 16, 2008 at 10:42 am
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(1) Personalizing table numbers:  We asked our awesome photographer--Nataly Lemus, to take pictures of our hands to use as table numbers during our engagement session.  To be extra cautious we also backed it with nice metallic stationary with numerical numbers on it too, in case it was still confusing.  

Creative ideas that worked for us photo 1

(2) Non-cheesy Slideshow:  We used to streamline our photos to the Jack Johnson song "Better Together"..and we made sure to put in not only baby pictures, but pictures of our parents' wedding, drunk photos, Party Boy photos (if you ever watched Jackass you'd understand), photos of friends/guests from the wedding, classic Lan & Jack photo poses (which are two thumbs up--my DH just loves doing it) was a big hit, and probably my favorite part of the reception events.

(3) Flip Flop Baskets:  They are really popular right now for good reason.  All the girls really appreciated getting off their heels after the ceremony, cocktail hour, etc..  A huge plus that it is really easy to make.  I waited for the Old Navy $1 sale to buy them and purchased my baskets for about $5 a piece from Cost Plus World Market.

Creative ideas that worked for us photo 2 

(4) Ceremony Music:  We hired Fiddlestick String Quartet for our ceremony musicians and they played the Beatles' All You Need Is Love for our recessional.  The Beatles are one of favorite bands and it was a great way to personalize all the traditional ceremony stuff.

(5) Something Borrowed:  I wrapped my mom's pearl necklace three times around my wrist to use as a bracelet. 

Creative ideas that worked for us photo 3

(6) Reusing Flowers:  We recycled our ceremony flowers for our reception hall.  In particular we used our pomander balls to line up our grand entrance.  We used our large manzanita trees as the background for our sweetheat table.  It looked beautiful!

(7) Reserve seating signs:  We had reserve seating signs for the wedding party.  It made everyone feel extra special.  I never saw my parents so happy.  I highly recommend doing it!

Creative ideas that worked for us photo 4

(8) 'Thank' 'You' signs for our thank you cards to our guests!

Creative ideas that worked for us photo 5

(9) Kiss in the Middle of the Aisle:  My DH and I made sure to kiss in the middle of the aisle during the recessional.  It was one of the many planned photography shots we wanted after searching through photographer blogs over the planning months. 

Creative ideas that worked for us photo 6

(10) B-Pics:  If you do a budoir photobook for your husband, give it to him on the wedding day, so it gives him something to think about the entire day ;)  Also, make sure your 2nd photographer get photos of him opening it.  Those were some of my favorite photos!

Creative ideas that worked for us photo 7

(11) Survival Kits for Vendors:  I made a few wedding survival kits for my vendors who would work ALL DAY, like my photographer and planner.  I purchased a set of 10-12 gift bags from Target's wedding section and filled it with Red Bull, Smart Water, emergency chocolate, snack size trail mix, Goldfish and asian trail mix.  They really appreciated it and it only cost a few dollars per bag to make. 

Creative ideas that worked for us photo 8

  • Last updated on September 23, 2008 at 5:13 am
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We got married on September 20, 2008 at Pacific Hills in Laguna Hills, CA.  Everything was amazing!  All the planning, hours spent on the PW forum, reading other bride's bios, looking through photos and blogs for ideas etc. paid off in a big way. 

Pro-teasers by Nataly Lemus!!!

The Big Day photo 1The Big Day photo 2

The Big Day photo 3The Big Day photo 4

The Big Day photo 5The Big Day photo 6

The Big Day photo 7The Big Day photo 8

The Big Day photo 9The Big Day photo 10

Some non-pro pictures...

Getting ready w/ my beautiful mom and MOH:

The Big Day photo 11The Big Day photo 12

The Big Day photo 13The Big Day photo 14

The ceremony:

The Big Day photo 15The Big Day photo 16

Our first dance and sweetheart table:

The Big Day photo 17The Big Day photo 18

The Big Day photo 19The Big Day photo 20

The Big Day photo 21The Big Day photo 22

  • Last updated on August 2, 2008 at 7:56 am
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Just because he's so adorable:

Our dog JoJo photo 1

  • Last updated on March 18, 2008 at 5:04 am
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  • Venue/Food - Pacific Hills in Laguna Hills, CA - Review posted
  • Dress - Monique Lhuillier Nadia Gown                                                                 
  • Officiant - Tie The Knot Ceremonies- Review posted
  • String Quartet - Fiddlestix
  • Photographer - Nataly Lemus - Review posted
  • Day Before Hotel - Hyatt in Irvine 
  • Makeup/Hair Artist - Natalie Buketov - Review posted                                                              
  • Florist - City of Commerce Flowers- Review posted
  • DJ/MC - High Resolution Productions- Review posted
  • Uplights - Pacific Hills
  • Alterations for Dress - Mahtab                                                                         
  • Save the Dates - Shutterfly
  • Invitations - Wedding Paper Divas
  • Favors - Caramel apples- Review posted
  • Honeymoon Suite - The Island Hotel in Newport Beach
  • Honeymoon - Booked Sheraton in Maui for one week
  • Tuxes - Friars
  • BM Dresses - JCrew
  • Wedding Rings - Robbins Brothers
  • Stationary - Serendipity Design
  • Garter - The Garter Maker