Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fish Frenzy

We have always had a thing for fish. My fiance grows his own marine tanks complete with corals and fish. He loves to eat fish (and sometimes I cook sea bass for him!). When growing up, I learned how to fold ribbon fish so I folded a bunch for him one valentine's day. We have decided to decorate our gazebo with lots of fish due to these 4 reasons:

1) Our history of fish
2) Fish means "plentiful" (good fortune) in Chinese cultures
3) The idea of flowers on our gazebo just never fully appealed to me
4) I found a fabulous origami cranes inspiration picture that could be replaced by fish

Here is our inspiration (we would only copy the pink/purple/blue due to our wedding colors):

Here was my original sketch (please ignore the orange!):

which quickly got shot down by mom who replied to my email with 1 word: "Ugly!"

Sadness. I later learned that it was the big fish that she thought were horrendously ugly. So our latest idea is to only hang strands of small fish on 7 panels of the gazebo (basically everything but the front panel).

We bought a TON of ribbons but in the end, decided to eliminate all the dark blues and dark purples. We're going for a more pastel look. Here are some results from folding fish last weekend:

If you blow up the top picture, you'll see some *tiny* fish as well. We bought 3/8" ribbons for the *tiny* fish but then realized they would be way too small. So we went out and bought 6/8" ribbons for the slightly bigger but still *small* fish. We'll still use the *tiny* fish to hang a few on our tall centerpieces. I have my florist to thank for that idea!

Here is what 1 panel of the gazebo might look like:

The panels in our gazebo are 50" high and 53" wide. We still haven't figured out how many strands of fish to hang in each panel yet. The fish above are mostly still missing tails!

Here is a close up of a fish with a tail. :) Though...we haven't decided 100% on the type of tail we want yet either.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


So much to do, so little time! Just a warning that this post may be all over the place as that is my current state of mind. After having 5 consecutive nights of wedding nightmares last week, I'm happy to report that I am temporarily free of nightmares (or at least not any that I remember after waking up). But the work and daytime stress has not subsided. This past week has been a whirlwind of projects and ideas. The following is a list of projects we need to complete (or scratch) by July 10!

1) Finish invitations. It seems like we'll never stop inviting more people! This is a major time sink...I will post about the full invitation suite later.

2) First Dance: We are planning on a Foxtrot dance routine to "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. My fiance and I are *not* dancers. We're very close to having 2 left feet. And yet we told our dance instructor to give us fancy moves please! At 4:19 long, we want lots and lots of variety to keep guests entertained. One bit that is really stressing me out though is not only are we having our band play this song, but we're also have 2 friends sing it, and none of us will be able to practice together beforehand! My fiance and I will be practicing to the original soundtrack and crossing our fingers that the band will play it to the dot, that our friends will be able to sing along, and that our feet, bodies, and mind will cooperate and not get thrown off.

3) Program Fans: Not only do I have to finish designing them, but I also need to learn how to use my crop-a-dile to connect the papers and make sure they can fan out! I received some sample eyelets and washers in the mail, and the sweet lady Ann at even included a little trial with 10 sheets of paper to show me the concept!

4) Table menus: We had wanted to go fancy with cutouts using our silhouette machine, but this might be toned down for time's sake.

5) Table pictures: We are ordering transparent crystal picture frames (you can see through the picture, how cool is that?). Going to have all the letters of the alphabet each represent something special in our relationship. 24 letters for 24 tables, and the remaining V and Y (our initials) for our sweetheart table. I've chosen most of the pictures already but need to finalize and order.

6) Table favors: We're giving away Kate Aspen mini photo albums with a cover. We'll put a picture representing the table letter in each album and place them on the napkin linens.

7) Placecard holders: We're using tinkerbells with a holder for a card. Might emboss little cow/fish/leaf to represent each person's meal choice, or might forego the embossing and just print if we run out of time.

8) Personalize my bridesmaids presents! I'm staying hush hush about this for now.

9) Ordering fiance's wedding band. We're thinking the fingerprint ring!

10) Folding a ton of ribbon fish to decorate our gazebo with strands of 3D fish! Details later.

11) I want to copy the photo album idea posted by Miss Buttons. Like this:

12) Finalize wedding schedule

13) Finalize mothers' gifts. This is mostly done. Also staying hush about this for now.

14) Finalize father daughter song lyrics. This is a surprise for my daddy!

15) Custom vows!!

16) 36" long sparklers for grand exit. I've already ordered these, just waiting for them to arrive. We better not forget them!

17) Plaque for table seating showing guests where the A-Z tables are

18) Plaque explaining photobooth and photo albums

19) Sample scrapbook sheets to show guests that we want their photos and messages

20) Wedding slideshow/video! (Fiance probably gets full reign of this one)

21) Table assignments

22) Facials. Went for my first one last weekend and spent $850 for a full package and some more. Need to go every 2 weeks or so.

23) I took my girls for dress alterations. Need to make sure everything works out fine.

24) Need to make jewelry for my girls using Swarovski crystal hearts that I bought. First, need to learn!

25) Dress alterations for myself. Went in for my first appointment this past weekend. Need to go back 3 more times.

26) Apply for marriage license.

I keep re-editing this post and adding more items! Is it normal to feel so overwhelmed less than 3 months before the wedding?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sigh of relief

My lovely maid of honor came to visit this weekend and we had a blast!! But the downside to all the wedding talk and hype is that I've now had 3 consecutive nights of wedding nightmares. I can't quite recall the first 2 nights anymore, but last night was the worst.

To give you some context, I have been worrying for the past couple weeks that my cousin in Hong Kong may not fit into her dress, because 3 girls were borderline 6 and 8 and I ordered 2 8's and 1 6. The other 2 bridesmaids both tried on the 6 and did not fit in it. That, and I freaked out when comparing my cousin's measurements to the actual dress measurements that I took manually. I was originally going to mail her the dress, but decided to have a relative bring it to HK for me. I thought it would be safer and faster than USPS, but I also had a lingering fear that the baggage carrying it would get lost!

Since my relative was scheduled to fly on April 10, it had actually already arrived last night but my cousin left me a voicemail saying she'd have to try it on when she got home from work (which would be morning here). So I went to bed expecting some sort of answer this morning.

In my nightmare, I was panicking because my cousin could not fit into her dress, and she was quiet but visibly upset at me (I was probably acting like a bridezilla). I woke up in a panic with my heart racing this morning, and I quickly reached over to check my gmail on the phone. No email from her. I was really scared that my nightmare would come true and that I would have to rush order a new dress for her. Not only would it cost me more money, but we run the risk of the dress being in a different shade of lavender. Finally, at 3:34pm this afternoon (6:34am in Hong Kong!), I got the long-awaited email from my cousin. Not only does she fit in it, but it's even a bit loose!

I hope this answer breaks my string of nightmares!

edit: make that *4* consecutive nights of wedding nightmares...wonder what tonight will bring!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The generation gap

Lesson learned: Never assume your elders will just accept everything you plan.

My fiance's parents were actually the first folks who received the invitations back in mid February, about 2 months ago. I was just the slight bit disappointed that they didn't jump-on-chair rave about the invitations, but it was positive feedback nonetheless and that was fine by me.

Fastforward 1.5 months to April 2, exactly 99 days before the big day. I get a call from FMIL while at work asking if I could chitchat. I said sure, and she went from one wedding topic to another, making me wonder if she was just bored and needed company. She chatted about the invitations and how many more I had to make. I told her I had finished almost everything already. And then she asked me the oddest question: Are we going to have a red carpet for our ceremony entrance? I said no, red is not in our wedding colors which are lavender, silver, and white. She asked, will we at least have red flower petals? I said no, for the same reason. And then slowly but surely, she started explaining that my FFIL was borderline shocked when he got our lavender invitations, because the color was so weird and un-wedding. At first, I thought it was due to the white/grayish vellum wrap. But no, it was the lavender.

the offending lavender

Then he jumped on speakerphone as well and they proceeded to tell me that all their relatives in Taiwan pretty much disapproved of this unhappy color. And of course, all my dreams of having white bouquets and centerpieces? Out the window. I understand about Chinese people not liking ALL WHITE bouquets because it represents death. But since when did lavender become a criminal color?!?! They have also told me no black, no yellow. And blue lighting? Too cold and sad. Seriously?!?!

I was absolutely peeved. So peeved that at 6pm in my office, I started raising my voice in frustration, explaining to them that I don't want red, that red clashes with the lavender I've chosen, that even my qi pao (Chinese outfit for tea ceremony) is purple! They said that if not red, then at least a really really dark pink, like magenta. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE magenta/fuschia and love flowers that come in that color. But I just didn't think it would go well with the current color scheme because both lavender and magneta are strong. Not to mention we hired a ridiculously expensive photographer who is perfect with soft, romantic, pastel colors. I totally freaked and asked them whether they wanted me to change the entire color scheme and to rush order new pink bridesmaids dresses for $1000 more. And to my dismay, my FMIL actually said yes, they would happily pay for the difference.

Suffice to say my weekend absolutely sucked. Imagine trying to plan a whole new wedding 3 months out, after planning EVERYTHING around lavender and silver for 1 whole year already. Good news is that my fiance is on my side and thought his parents were out of line. My parents, also Chinese but apparently a lot more modernized, LOVE my invitations and say all their friends and relatives (including my grandfather) also love them and the color choice. Two of my bridesmaids tried to calm me down and sway me from ordering new pink dresses. The current plan is to compromise and sort of meet in the middle. We'll keep the lavender bridesmaids dresses and the purple lighting and silver/lilac linens. Instead of a white/blush bouquet, mine will be all pink. And instead of white bouquets, the bridesmaids will have white/pink. As for the aisle and reception flowers, I originally was thinking a combination of lavender and white, but since my FFIL seems to hate lavender, we're thinking maybe pink/white. I know they hate white, but I need to put my feet down somewhere.

Is this something that a lot of brides go through?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Am I not makeupable?

I don't get it. I don't think I'm ugly. I go about my daily business with no makeup (too lazy!) and I think I look fine. I'm a "go natural" girl, and with the right camera angle and lighting, I can even look cute sometimes. On the rare occasion when I do apply my own makeup, I usually look better than without.

So why is it that it took me 6.5 makeup trials (the 0.5 was a repeat to give one of them a second chance) to finally decide on a MUA? More importantly, why did I come out of a bunch of those trials feeling ugly and bloated and generally like a colorful clown? Granted, I am pickier than most about a lot of things. But makeup is one thing I thought I'd be low key about. After all, I was just going for a natural look. Is it really that hard to apply less makeup? Or maybe it's because after accepting ~$100 from a customer (for just a trial, mind you), the MUA somehow feels like she owes it to the bride to use lots of product (i.e. cake on the makeup)? I know I know, they say that for a wedding, you need more makeup than normal so that it shows up in photographs. I had one MUA tell me that I would look too pale and lifeless without a lot of blush (i.e. rosy pink cheeks). Does that mean I should go delete all the gazillions of pictures of me without ANY makeup on? Can't there be some sort of compromise between natural and just enough makeup for the camera?

At one point, I considered that maybe I'm just not makeupable. Some girls are naturally pretty or have nice features and look hot no matter what MUA you put them through. Other girls may have features that are harder to work with. And maybe I belong in that group. I started wondering which of my features were problematic for the makeup realm. Maybe it's my Asian single eyelids. They're big, but they don't have that natural fold that some lucky folks have. Or it's my hard to curl downward-pointing eyelashes. A couple trials, my eyelashes separated from the fake ones making my side profile look really funny. Or is it my pale skin? I had a couple trials where my face just looked too yellow or cakey or dark. In one trial, I looked so bloated I felt like I had gained 10 pounds. Who knows, maybe I had too much water to drink the night before.

Well the good news is, I finally found a MUA that was able to achieve my natural look. At the end of the trial, I still looked like myself--but just a prettier version. But, I still haven't figured out why it's been such a bumpy road for me, and I'm super anxious how the wedding day makeup will turn out!

I ended up picking Fu-Yi from Beauty Creator. Ignore the hair, as I probably won't be going with this style. Here a picture of how the trial turned out:

And I leave you with some pictures of my makeup trial diasters:

Bloated, cakey, and yellow

Too heavy on the eyes

One eye was darker than the other eye (I think this is after she already tried to fix it)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I finally figured it out

When I applied to be a bee, one of the questions was why I want to be a bee.

I thought about the kind of answer the committee might want to hear--that I was a very giving person and sincerely wanted to help everyone along with wedding planning. Part of that is true. When I have friends who are getting married, regardless of how close I am to them, I am very eager to share tips and advice and anything that could help them along. I've volunteered to be a DOC for several friends already! So in that sense, I do like to give. But is my main motivation for writing on weddingbee to give back to an audience full of to-be brides? The honest answer is if I could only give one answer, that wouldn't be it.

Then I thought about the intellectual answer that the committee might also like--that I am a journalist or scholarly type who loves words. But as anyone who may stumble across my blog knows, I am not even close to being a great writer. I do have a particular writing style though which is me! But in SATs, vocabulary was not my forte. I am more the geeky math type.

So then, what is it? I was really afraid to consider that maybe I'm an attention seeking whore. Maybe I just want the fame that comes with being an online weddingbee celebrity. Maybe I just love myself so much that I love everyone loving my words. Yes, a lot of that is probably true. But hey, I'm not a narcissist at heart!

Tonight, as I was driving to a Macy's wedding registry event, it finally came to me. Here I am, writing to the void because I don't want any of my wedding guests to read about my wedding, less I ruin any surprises for them. I even  created this brand new blog to avoid writing in my existing xanga blog. But, I desperately want to share my lofty ideas and dreams with friends, strangers, anyone who will listen really, even if they're not my real life everyday friends. would be the perfect outlet for that. I would have a group of friends who understand and can relate to what I'm going through, and yet I don't have to worry about ruining surprises for my wedding guests. I simply wouldn't mention that I write on there. And for the few that find out, hey, they're probably just as crazy as me and it's okay to let them in on any surprises. :)

I wonder if anyone has been in my shoes? Is there a way for me to attract an audience without exposing myself to wedding guests?

Disclaimer: I did leak this new blog site to a few close friends in the beginning, and because of that, there are some entries that I'm still afraid to write about. I'm guessing no one follows anymore though because after the 4-month hiatus, I didn't make any announcements about coming back.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Evolution of our DIY pocketfold

Warning: Details overload! Don't bother reading the last 6 paragraphs unless you really care about the history of how our DIY pocketfold came to be.

You may have recalled from a previous post that there were several elements I really wanted in our wedding invitations: 1) vellum overlay on cardstock, 2) boarding pass, 3) magnet recipe, 4) personal touch!
The reason I'm dedicating a whole post to our DIY pocketfold is because it has become the backbone of our invitation suite. Here it is:

I will dedicate another post on DIY steps on making the pocketfold above. But for those who might be interested, below are the nitty gritty details of how this pocketfold came to be!

Choosing a size:
I used Mrs. Cupcake's 3rd and 4th tips on DIY invitations as the basis ("when designing, START WITH YOUR ENVELOPES!!!!!" and "Work backwards with dimensions."). Since I really wanted boarding passes (which should be about 8" tall to look good), my invitations were going to be pretty big. A search on envelope sizes at led to A9 (5.75"x8.75")as the outer envelope. From there it was easy to work backwards. The pocketfold would have to be 5.5"x8.5", which luckily is a standard 8.5"x11" folded in half.

Choosing material:
Pocketfolds don't come in that size, nor do pocketfolds have special pockets for boarding passes. I designed my own template starting with a 11"x17" sheet. I originally wanted to make the main pocketfold using the lavender metallic cardstock from, but the paper didn't do so well on the multiple folds (too voluminous and slight tearing on the outer folds). Disappointed at first, I soon realized also carries their #29 vellum in the 11"x17" size (score!!). So I decided to use that instead. But because it's too flimsy on its own, I had the idea of still incorporating the lavender metallic cardstock but on the inside instead. I figured any tears resulting from the single fold down the middle would be hidden by the outer vellum.

Vellum overlay:
With the translucency that comes with vellum and the lavender cardstock underneath, I knew I was one step closer to my vision of "copying" the overlay flower on pink cardstock invitation. On our preliminary wedding website, my fiance had put the words "It started with a promise" on the bottom of the page with an eiffel tower picture. I guess he was referring to the "promise" engagement ring he gave me when proposing in the Eiffel park of Paris. The webpage totally inspired me to write that poem about our engagement. Put 2 and 2 together, and I knew I wanted some sort of overlay -- either poem on Eiffel, Eiffel on poem, or Eiffel and poem on blank cardstock. Unfortunately, the cardstock I wanted was too thick to print on, so I started researching different ways to achieve my goal. I even visited a demonstrator from to get some ideas. The wonderful lady introduced me to the world of heat embossing! I ordered a huge eiffel tower from (to fill the 5.5"x8.5" as much as possible) and decided to print the poem on the vellum overlay. Originally, I was just trying to test out which shade of purple looked nicest by printing a different shade on each line of the poem. My mom really liked the look of the rainbow colors, so with some tweaking, I used that inspiration as the basis for the final product -- a vertical gradient from light purple to blue for the poem text.

Eiffel tower:
I bought a ton of embossing powders for the eiffel tower. White was too white and some silvers were too dark. I finally decided on a mix of sparkly whites and silvers, which is actually what the eiffel tower really did look like during the white light show that took place right before the proposal. Usually at nights it basks in a soft yellow light, but apparently around 1am every night (or at least when we were there), it has a beautiful sparkly white light show that lasts a few minutes. One of the questions I had during this process was, should we glue the vellum and cardstock together? The obvious answer was NO! We want guests to know the poem overlay and the eiffel tower are separate. We WANT them to lift the vellum and enjoy the beauty of the eiffel on its own, maybe even touch that raised embossing!

Boarding pass slot:
I knew from the get go that I wanted a slit/slot somewhere in the invitation suite. My original idea was to have it on the inside of the invitation, with the boarding pass in the very back. But after showing some friends the draft, they said the boarding pass should bask in its own solo glory. Otherwise people won't even notice the hard work I put into making the slot! And so I moved it to the back of the pocketfold, so that it's the first thing guests see when opening it. As for making the slot itself, I need to thank a wonderful lady at Cranberry Hills for suggesting that I punch 2 holes and use an X-acto knife to cut parallel lines. I bought a long reach 1/8" hold punch which was perfect for my use.

ViviYian heart logo:
Early on while brainstorming wedding logos, I doodled a bunch of designs on an 8.5"x11" blank paper. My fiance and I settled on the scribble heart with a V and Y (our initials) drawn at the top and bottom. Since the initials weren't in-your-face obvious (my brother thought it was just part of the heart design), and since we had blank space on the back of the invitation, I decided to write "vivi" and "yian" on either side to reinforce the initials and remind guests of our website name. And then a flash of brilliance came across me -- this horizontal logo could fit into the invitation edge that peeks out of the envelope, so that it's the first thing guests see when they open it! (unless they use an envelope cutter boohoo).