Thursday, November 19, 2009

If only I could be a T&CO

If I could be a bee, I would be miss taco!

I've been checking my email every day, anxiously awaiting that one special email. So many things need to line up for my dream to come true! I'm guessing whoever is assigned to my blog (Mrs. Penguin?) has to like me, like my writing. And then the committee needs to like me. And if in the smallest chances I get accepted, I'm hoping the taco icon is still available!

Why taco? The first weekend that kyzen8 visited me after we became official, we were chilling on my green futon. He noticed I was wearing a necklace with a solid heart and reached out to look at it. When he flipped it around, he was like "Taco?" I was all confused what he meant, until I noticed it spelled T&CO (Tiffany & Co)! I would have taken a picture of the back of the necklace, but I have since lost it at a massage parlor in Shanghai which was so so sad (we even got the police involved because it had such high sentimental value for me). Here's the front of the necklace:

Also, one of my favorite foods in the world is the Taco Bell chalupa! I saw this cute taco pouch at a crafts store the other day:

Oh please let me bee! What would you want to bee?

Eiffel-inspired invitation cover

I feel like a little girl in Disneyland. It's so exciting to be buying and expecting packages for my DIY invitation project. So far, I have a rotary trimmer, cutting/perforating/scoring blades, a stack of trial paper, and an unopened printer that just arrived today.

Unfortunately, I discovered that the #105 metallic cardstock was too thick as a standalone for my complicated pocketfold; the edges were peeling along the folds. Fortunately, I found that the #29 white translucent vellum paper works well as a pocketfold overlayed on metallic lavender card stock (any peeling would be hidden behind vellum). Oh how I love paper and even moreso their customer service (prompt, helpful emails)!

My brain started churning. At first I wanted to print a picture of a purple daisy with yellow center (like the invitation I was previously inspired by).

But it seemed a bit lonesome on its own, yet a bit random to incorporate with text. The latest thought is to buy a big eiffel tower rubber stamp and overlay (or underlay) it with a poem. Here's a rough draft that I just came up with telling our proposal story:

It all started with a promise
In the eiffel park of paris
On bicycles, the two of us
A homeless man, a pair of ducks
Tower lit up for all to see
And kyzen got down on one knee
Took out a heart ring, words galore
"Love more, learn more, and travel more"
That's what it means, the hole in heart
Strengthens our bond, never apart
Please join us, the tenth of july
Witness our vows under the sky

Now imagine it overlayed on top of this:

Though more realistically, it will be a stamp like this (because the #105 cardstock is advertised as not compatible with home printers):

Do you have suggestions for what color ink, what color stamp, and what to print on the white (slightly gray) vellum top, vellum back, or metallic lavender card stock top?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Color palette

Growing up, I've always loved bright, screaming pinks like magenta and fuschia. Pink is such a versatile wedding color because flowers come in many different shades of it. But after wearing my 2nd pink bridesmaid dress in a wedding, I was thinking maybe I would do something different for my own wedding. And after my 4th pink bridesmaid dress, I decided no pink for sure! Although, pink would be a convenient color if I wanted to have my 4 bridesmaids each wear one of my existing dresses.

So what color was next? Purple. Specifically, lavender. It's always been up there as one of my favorite colors next to magenta and fuschia. I've always loved the look of lavender fields. Aren't these pretty?

Green looks pretty nice with the lavender. But I've never really liked green clothes nor flowers. So green was out. I do love silver though. So I knew for sure silver and lavender would be part of my wedding colors. I also added white to balance out some of the purples.

Still, in the back of my mind was my friend's warning that lavender and silver would look too prom-ish. Was lavender overwhelming my wedding? Especially with lavender linens and lighting and flowers, I did at one point feel like the room would be over-saturated with purples. So then I decided to have alternating purple and blue uplights to vary the mood. Brown was also a color I couldn't avoid because the barebone reception room is basically a brown palette with brown furniture, brown staircase, brown chiavari chairs, and dark patterned carpet. I was intially worried that brown wouldn't go well with purple, but now I'm thinking they might look okay. As for linens, the guest tables will all have silver table linens with lavender napkins. Only the sweetheart table will have lavender table linens with silver napkins. That way there would be more silver than lavender, and the lights would also reflect better. And my latest thought is to add some blue to all the flowers. Actually, part of me is thinking yellow flowers for the bridesmaid bouquets. But I have my doubts about the yellow so for now flowers will be a mix of white, lavender, and blue.

Here's my latest wedding color palette:

Does brown clash with all the other colors? What colors should my bridesmaids' bouquets be if their dresses are lavender?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hush *mush* dilemma

(Title change -- I gave kyzen8 strict instructions not to read my blog though I send him links to individual posts sometimes. Don't want "Mushroom" to show up in the list of titles on the bottom!)

My kyzen8 is really cute sometimes. How many other guys out there would request 1-up mushroom cupcakes for a wedding cake? I had my heart set on another wedding cake (to be discussed later), but decided to surprise him with a 1up grooms cake! Prior to getting engaged, I had never even heard of a grooms cake. I actually think it's a silly idea to have a whole separate cake that takes attention away from the main wedding cake. But kyzen8 deserves to have something he can call his own!

So I discussed our options with Misty at Briarmist Cakes. She can do a 1-up mushroom cake that roughly has the following dimensions:
Base diameter: 7-8"
Mushroom cap diameter: 11-12"
Height: 9-10"

The grooms cake will sit atop a baby grand piano that is next to our sweetheart table (the wedding cake will be on a separate table flanking the other side). The dilemma is I think a singular 1up mushroom will look dinky on the ~5 foot wide piano top. So then I thought maybe I can pair it up with a red super mushroom for a boy-and-girl look, or have a bunch of mini super mushrooms surrounding it. They're both so cute that I'm having a hard time deciding!

Super mushroom (girl) and 1-up mushroom (boy):

1-up mushroom flanked by mini super mushrooms:

Which do you like better?

Dress B

Contrary to what you might think, this post is not about my dress (which will be secret for now!). I'm happy to announce that I will be buying Dress B (the one in which I had my "this is it!" moment) for all my girls. Dress B was by far the favorite for 2 of the bridesmaids and would have also been the favorite for the 3rd bridesmaid had it not been for the "troublesome" corset back. I think "trouble" is a small price to pay for beauty though! It turns out that Sophi Tolli used to work for Maggie Sottero (the maker of my dress), which makes sense now because they both specialize in corset backs. Too bad my 4th bridesmaid lives all the way in Hong Kong and won't be able to try it on. I even checked the Sophia Tolli site to see if they have stores there but no luck. But we already have plenty of data points to go by and I'm sure she'll look fabulous in it as well.

Here is the official website and picture of this dress:

Sophia Tolli BY2991T

My MOH (ironically also the tallest) pointed out that we should definitely shorten the lengths because otherwise it makes you look shorter. I'm thinking middle of knee cap (like official picture above) might be the best look. Still plenty of time to decide though.

For color, I am picking lavender. Here's another dress by Sophia Tolli just to see the lavender color:

I think we're going to just keep the neckline as is with the small scoop. Others have successfully convinced me that having a slight contrast from my dress (which has a sweetheart neckline) is not a bad idea.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mockup invitations

Over a hearty meal of butter chicken, lamb saag, garlic naan, and basmati rice, my ex-roommate (who happens to be one of my best friends) commented "There you go again!" She was referring to wedding invites, which I previously was very "whatever" about, and which was now my latest obsession. I had decided early on to eliminate married women from my wedding party, otherwise she would be right up there with me on my wedding day. Though a bit sad, I think it's a good thing I made that decision because since then, 2 of the candidates (including her) have gotten pregnant, and 1 may very well get pregnant between now and the wedding.

So last weekend, I had a wedding invitation appointment in LA at JC Printing. I was expecting to be blown away by creativity and uniqueness. Instead, as I flipped through 3 8-inch thick sample albums of invitations, it seemed like I was mostly just seeing the same invitations over and over again, each a different variation of paper, color, text. And gosh, how the prices add up. Every single set of inserts, envelopes, etc, was yet another add-on with its own price point. Since my venue has a strict capacity limit and I am planning on sending invites in waves, having different printed RSVP dates would also cost me more (for example, 2 batches of 75 is more expensive than 1 batch of 150). A little bit disappointed, I left the store, promising to return with my parents on a future date (but knowing I probably wouldn't).

Later that afternoon, I happened upon Paper Source in Pasadena. That store is a gem for someone in my shoes. They too had albums of wedding invites, but I still felt like the invitations weren't unique or me enough. The store had rows and columns of all sorts of different papers and materials; so much eye candy everywhere! And so was born the thought of DIY (which said friend above did for her own weddings and who is a great source of inspiration for me).

For some reason, I was fixated with the idea of a booklet of tearout paper, much like a boarding pass, checkbook, or coupon book. I thought it would be fun. Upon researching it online, I was disappointed to find out that the boarding pass had already been done before ( On the positive side, it meant I could use other people's existing templates instead of starting completely from scratch.

I also decided I liked vellum. To be fair, at JC Printing I did find a really cute and unique vellum invitation (but it's probably a little too small for my parents' tastes):

I'm not sure yet if and how I will incorporate vellum into my DIY invitations, but I love that see-through envelope with a picture of a flower!

The 3rd thing I really wanted to include was our original idea for save-the-dates, which we ended up not doing because we didn't want to commit to inviting everyone early on (due to capacity issue), and didn't want to only send to select people. The idea was a magnet of our favorite recipe! Instead of just taking up fridge space, we wanted the save-the-date to be useful for guests (if they want to try our recipe).

This mockup invitation includes the boarding pass and magnet save-the-dates, but due to the particular size of A9 envelopes I'm thinking of using, not sure if I'll be able to find the right colored vellum envelope. I'm thinking of using vellum for the map though, which would probably be placed right behind the magnet. In the images below, imagine the white pocketfold cover in silver, and the RSVP envelope in lavender. I would consider purchasing pocketfolds instead of creating my own especially since they're cheap to begin with, but I really want that extra slit pocket for the boarding pass which ready-made ones don't have. I'm thinking of using the small tearout portion of the boarding pass as RSVPs. There would be 1 boarding pass per invited guest (hence a couple would receive 2 boarding passes, tailored with their names).

Here is my mockup (credit for boarding pass goes to Aylee Bits):

Yes, boarding pass and recipe magnet do seem kind of random for a wedding invitation. I want to write something on there to tie them together. Note sure what I'll write yet, but a boarding pass really does represent the relationship of kyzen8 and silverbuggy, who have been together for 6.5+ years, all long distance of flying back and forth 2-3 weekends a month. Doesn't hurt that we both love to travel as well. And recipe? Well that one is easy. We love to eat!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Eat-at-home boy

After an 8am start to a long 12 hour day (6 hours driving) visiting 1 linen company, 2 dress stores, and 2 wedding cake bakeries, my MOH and I were both completely exhausted. But she decided to come in to my fiance's apartment while I showed her pictures of cake toppers and dresses online. My fiance called at 8pm after his equally exhausting 13 hour work shift and asked what we should do about dinner. Feeling slightly distracted and secretive because I was showing MOH THE dress, I hurriedly said "I don't know, just come home first." Knowing me well, fiance smelled something fishy and said "What are you hiding? Awww, you cooked dinner didn't you? You cooked for me!" with this really giddy, hopeful voice, to which I felt bad and got incredibly defensive, scolding him for not realizing that we had an extremely long day and just got home ourselves!

The next day, fiance was working another 13 hour shift. I had a couple wedding appointments, including one in which I bought THE dress! I also visited a couple wedding invitation stores and did some clothes shopping. Feeling pretty tired at 5pm, yet knowing how disappointed my fiance was the previous day, I decided to go shopping for groceries. Around 8pm, the food was almost ready when fiance called and asked what to do about dinner. He suggested going for dumplings to which I said okay. I purposely made myself sound more tired and annoyed than I actually was, and he kept asking why I sounded so tired, and my repeated response was "just come home!" (and leave me alone so I can finish cooking!). When he was close to home, he called me and exclaimed "Come on out!". Panicked, I told him I needed him to come in because I clogged the toilet (his toilet clogs pretty frequently). And when he came in--SURPRISE!

I had prepared marinated cucumber, a spare ribs + special potato + squid balls + fish tofu soup, chicken oil rice, and drunken chicken. It was my first time making my aunt's yummy recipe for drunken chicken and I thought it turned out pretty well. Unfortunately, my fiance hates anything with alcohol in it and didn't enjoy it as much at all. He wanted me to make sober chicken instead of drunken chicken in the future! He was telling me that growing up, he rejected any of his mom's dishes that contained alcohol. We joked about how our future kids would probably also hate this dish, and he broke out in a wicked laugh! Sigh. Here's the dish that I *love* and would like to perfect, but sadly I won't get to cook it too often unless I want to eat it all by myself:

The take home of this story is that my fiance loves to eat home cooked meals. And while I admit I go through lazy phases when I just want to eat out all the time, I did and do get a nice gush of lovey-dovey feelings whenever I see his reaction to my cooking. He loves when I exhibit the more domesticated side of myself. And I like that he likes me to be domestic, because that says a lot about what kind of husband and father he will be in the future too! It's moments like these that I really love my kyzen8.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dainty bling bling

Early on in my ring search, I fell in love with the look of the Tiffany Novo:

Problem #1: For the size and quality diamond I wanted, this was out of kyzen8's budget. Problem #2: I wanted a 6-prong round brilliant cut instead of their cushion cut. Tiffany custom route? Try 6+ month wait and $$$ which we already didn't have to begin with.

I then fell in love with Blue Nile Sweetheart:

Unfortunately, our diamond was too big for this setting which can carry a max of 1.15 carats.

Next up was Blue Nile Nouveau which seemed like a pretty good copy of the Tiffany Novo:

We actually ended up ordering this ring and matching band without the center diamond being set. I was planning on sending it back with my center diamond if it was a good match. I even planned on "settling" for the 4-prong instead of the 6-prong that I wanted. The rings looked nice separately and had just the right amount of bling, but together they were too chunky on my short fingers. :( The engagement ring was 2.2mm and the wedding band was 2.3mm. This is when I started examining the Tiffany Novo closer and decided it too was a tad too thick at 2.0mm.

My next love was the Gabriel Novo which was advertised as 1.8mm wide:

Gosh, this ring looked so nice on pricescope, but I went to a local store that had it in white gold and it looked dull. The camera flash brings out the bling in the pictures above, but in person the diamonds (sized at 0.05 pointers) covered too little of the width and just didn't look good.

Next in line were various rings from Excel Diamonds and James Allen, which I paid to have samples shipped to me. Here's an example:

Maybe it's the nature of how samples are, but the quality just wasn't that good. Those were quickly crossed off the list. I was very interested in the petite cathedral from White Flash and Brian Gavin:

I wanted the head to be replaced by 6-prongs. But then I saw more closeup pictures and got turned off by how the prongs looked irrespective of how many there were. I also decided I didn't really like the cathedral look where the sides of the shank taper up and end in thin air.

At this point, I pretty much gave up hope of finding any ready-made settings. Here's when I entered the realm of custom rings: Maytal Hannah, Bridget Durnell, Mark Morrell, and Leon Mege. I interviewed Maytal Hannah in LA and she was very personable. But the work she showed me was very antique with lots of intricate details, whereas I wanted simple and elegant. She also wasn't able to pull up any 6-prongs of previous work so I wasn't confident she would be able to pull that off with the dainty look I wanted. I also met up with Bridget Durnell (also in LA) but was not that impressed by her pave settings.

The final 2 contenders were Mark Morrell and Leon Mege. Let me just say they are both highly respected on pricescope forums. I absolutely ADORE Mark's fancy torchiere:

I am still in love with it!! In fact, I'm trying to convince my mom to let me reset one of her diamonds in it. I didn't pick Mark for 2 reasons: 1) While he does do custom work and could make the ring thinner, he is not comfortable making it any thinner than 2.0mm due to his technique of making rings. 2) His schedule was fully booked through end of July when I talked to him in May, and I really didn't want to wait that much longer for the engagement ring to complete since engagement was in March!

That's how we decided to go with Leon Mege, THE God of micropave and really all things pave. Here was our inspiration from his site, though I knew I wanted the brightcut pave changed:

Before meeting with Leon in NYC during Memorial weekend, I studied his mushroom pave, brightcut pave, v-cut pave, millegraine, etc. The one thing that clouded my mind was he seemed offended when I asked him to "copy" the Tiffany Novo. In fact, he claimed to hate that design which scared me since it was my inspiration. It's funny how much the guy seems to dislike Tiffany's based on his description of his tulip prongs for the ring above: "For those of you who are fans of "Tiffany" style six prongs setting. The difference is - our version looks elegant and done by hand."

Leon was also quite rude and abrupt on the phone. But I decided to swallow my pride because I trusted fellow pricescopers' advice. kyzen8 and I flew to NYC and carried the diamond all over town with us and then had a 2-hour chat with Leon in person about all the details of the ring, emphasizing on the thinness and the fact that we wanted the engagement ring and wedding band to sit flush next to each other. Leon was the perfect man for thin bands as he regularly makes 1.6mm wide rings for people. We ended up with a platinum 6-prong tulip with a slightly flattened gallery (to allow flushness) on a 1.6mm-wide band with melee diamonds 3/4 down on each side set as a cross between mushroom pave and v-cut pave. We also got a matching eternity diamond band. We liked the look of mushroom pave where the diamonds go all the way to the edge. But since I plan on wearing the e-ring and w-band together, I didn't want the diamonds to scratch metal. I didn't like the side look of v-cut pave though which has more protection on the sides. So that's why Leon recommended something in between. We wanted 3/4 way for e-ring so that diamonds would show if ring spins partially but it would be resizeable. The wedding band needed to be eternity (not resizeable) because it doesn't have a diamond to stop it from spinning 360 degrees. As for the size of the melee diamonds, I kept thinking bigger was better and even considered increasing the width to 1.8mm, but Leon said with micropave the cost of labor is much higher than the cost of diamonds, and smaller is actually more labor intensive. The most important thing to him was to create a ring that looks good, and he recommended 1.6mm. For a while there we seemed to be speaking different languages because I was trying to emphasize a minimum diamond weight (i.e. 1.5 pointers) whereas Leon just cared about the width of the ring which in essence is the width of the diamond since he likes to have very little metal show.

Here is our baby, which I received from kyzen8 on July 30 (4+ months after original proposal) with another proposal. This time it was caught on video by my mommy! :)

Leon is actually a really sweet and charismatic guy in person and I would totally do business with him again. For micropave/pave work, I would go with Leon hands down. But if you like the more romantic, fluid look, I say Mark! Actually, you can't go wrong with either.

Would you rather have a say in your setting or leave the decision to your fiance?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ugly hot dog shoe

MOH and I went dress shopping today and bumped into my beloved Amanda shoe.

My heart sunk when I saw this super-sized flat hot dog looking excuse for a shoe. And as if it couldn't hurt any more, MOH drove a deep knife through my already broken heart. Sigh. She *hated* the shoe. And I did too, but I tried to spin it in a positive light. Maybe it will look better in your size instead of this sample size 10. Maybe it will look better once dyed. Well, maybe it just ain't the right shoe! I didn't notice this before, but if you compare with the taller version of the shoe, you'll see that this flat version has a much wider open area for the toes. It's so deep in fact that her toes only went halfway through.

Just imagine this:

Disappointed and heartbroken, I went back to the drawing board. Let's call ugly Amanda and the prettier twin (ironically named Pretty) shoe set #1. Below are my other frontrunners. Personally, I am leaning towards shoe set #2 because it comes in silver which is a good color for the lavender BM dresses, and I don't have to go through the hassle of getting them dyed in a color which may not end up looking good. With set #3, I feel the heel heights are slightly too large and the differential between the 2 pairs is not enough. With set #4, the peep and peek a boo holes vary slightly from shoe to shoe so they may not match up exactly. But it might be nice to have each girl wear a different shoe from the same family.

Shoe Set #2

This shoe would be in silver and would not be dyable.

1/2 inch heel height named Palace:

2 1/4 inches heel height named Flamingo:

Shoe Set #3

This shoe would be dyed to match the bridesmaids dress colors.

1 inch heel height named Andie:

2 1/2 inches heel height named Tori:

Shoe Set #4

These shoes all have "peep toe" or "peek a boo toe"--I think they mean the same thing. They would also be dyed to match the bridesmaids dress colors.

1/2 inch heel height named Kara:

3/4 inch heel height named Dance:

2 inches heel height named Carmen:

2 5/8 inches heel height named Olivia:

Will any of these shoes pass the scrutiny of my MOH, bridesmaids, and our in-person tests? Do any of them pass *your* test?

Friday, November 6, 2009

In search of perfection

Before I got engaged, I told friends that I didn't want an engagement ring. I was not a ring wearer and hated the thought of having to wear a ring every day for the rest of my life. It was enough that I have to wear retainers every night! But as you know, when the search for the perfect ring started, that obsession went on and on for months.

Then when I got engaged, I told my friends how much I dreaded wedding planning and how I just wanted to elope. As I had already mentioned in a previous post, I thought weddings were all the same and boring. Why waste money to throw an event that no one will even treasure or remember? Then, as I delved into the details, I fell in love. I've always been a planner. And so it was fitting that I would love to plan my own wedding. I still think it's true that people may not care nor remember the details of our wedding. But I definitely will and that's what matters most.

But what did I really dread? The dress. In fact, I put it off for a good 7 months. As each month slipped by, I repeated to my friends, I am so not looking forward to dress shopping. #1: I am too fat right now. #2: Why would anybody spend so much money on a dress they're only going to wear once? Well, now that I'm near the end of the dress quest, I must say I was wrong once again. I loved dress shopping. I was driven by the need to find THE dress. It may not be the prettiest nor the most expensive, but it has to be the one and only. And the moment I laid eyes on it on the front page of a wedding store website, I fell in love. I emailed the owner asking which dress that was, but she was smart and asked me to come in for an appointment instead. Since the store was too far away, I ended up browsing through all 8 websites of the brands listed on her website, before I found out the maker and style. Later on, I even went so far as to personally contact 20 or so real-life brides who bought the same dress. Luckily, I loved it in person too.

But alas, I am one of those picky people that even after finding the perfect dress, still needs to try on a hundred other dresses just to be sure. So to this day, I still have 2 more stores to visit before making the final plunge. The same thing happened with the ring, the venue, and just about everything wedding-related. It's ironic that I am actually marrying my FIRST boyfriend!

Is there anyone else out there who's in love with obsession?

Playing dressup for my bridesmaids

Though I definitely have some bridezilla tendencies, I like to think I'm a considerate bride. And hence instead of dragging my bridesmaids all over town with me, I decided to go try on some dresses myself first to narrow down the choices.

And the result? Voila! (please pardon my ugly shoes)

I even went so far as to edit the pics next to my future wedding dress. I won't show the actual wedding dress here because I don't want kyzen8 (or guests) to see it, but imagine one of these pics for each of the dresses above (the actual wedding dress I pick will probably have a sweetheart neckline instead):

Furthermore, I wanted to see what the bridesmaid dress would look like in THE color. Here's a picture of the correct color (lavender) and material (satin) from the same maker (Sophia Tolli):

And so now I have a pretty good idea what the day-of pictures would look like if I pick dress B in that color. :)

In fact, I sent the pictures to my bridesmaids and B was among their top 2 choices. Actually, I have to say, I had my "OMG THIS IS IT" moment with dress B. It was definitely my favorite of the bunch. The corsette lace back (which matches top contender wedding dress) made me look so skinny. I remember telling the sales lady "This is like THE dress, except for the bridesmaid instead of the bride!" Heck, I'm a little jealous of my bridesmaids.

So in all likelihood, B (Sophia Tolli BY2991T) might end up being it. The only thing I wish it had was a real sweetheart neckline (because my future wedding dress will have it unless I change my mind). I entertained the idea of adding a sweetheart to all the dresses, but due to varying boob sizes and logistics of BMs living all over, I've decided to keep the original if we go with it. Only thing that needs alteration is the length which will probably be knee-length or right below the knee.

I'm going to take my bridesmaids to a couple shops before making a final decision. Hopefully they will all look good in B or whatever dress we decide on.

By the way, my mom is so cute. When I sent her the pictures, she forwarded them to my dad and wrote: "look at your daughter, she is so cute!" I'm glad my mom likes the dresses.

Did you have a "this is it" moment with your bridesmaid dresses?

Balancing heights with shoes

Is it borderline or outright bridezilla behavior to want everyone in my bridal party to be a similar height? The dilemma is I'm 5'1", my MOH is 5'5", and the remaining 3 bridesmaids are 5'2", 5'2.25", and 5'2.5". Well, I don't need everyone to be the *exact* same height, but for pretty pictures I'd like us to at least be similar, say +/- 2 inches.

Since MOH is so much taller than the 3 other bridesmaids and myself, I wanted her to wear flats. But I didn't want her to feel too left out from the crowd. So began my internet search for the perfect bridesmaids shoes.

I tried googling "bridesmaids heels different heights" and variations of that search. Turns out some companies make very similar shoes in different heights, but I had to play my own game of memory by scouring hundreds of images in different heel categories and then playing matchup. There were a few friendlier shoe sites that recommended similar shoes that sometimes matched my needs. Finally, I found 2 pairs that might work:

This one here is a 5/8" heel height. But because Colorful Creations measures their heel height differently, in reality it will increase the girl's height by about 1".

And this one here is the corresponding shoe with 2 1/4" heels (in reality, more like 2.5"):

I am still not 100% satisfied especially with the flat version of the shoe, but there really isn't that much variety for flats unless I want to venture into flip flops or ballet shoes. With these shoes, my MOH would be 5'6" and the other girls would be 5'4.5", 5'4.75", and 5'5". I would probably wear around 3-3.5" heels, putting me between 5'4" and 5'4.5". This meets my +/- 2 inches criteria.

My shoe dilemma brought to mind an interesting revenue idea. Could this be an opportunity to create a specialized bridesmaids shoe company that has various styles with customizable heel heights? Then bridesmaids could potentially end up being the *exact* same height (if they weren't more than 4" difference to begin with!). Would there be enough demand?

Side Note: If I do end up going with these dyable shoes, I'll probably have them custom dyed to match the bridesmaid dresses. But haven't decided for sure yet.

What were your criteria for bridesmaid shoes?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My dream wedding

The benefit of getting married late is having lots of experience under my belt. From college onwards, I've been to 17 weddings in all, was a bridesmaid in 3 and MOH in 2. The pitfall of this much experience though is you can feel jaded when it is your turn. Some weddings were definitely more fun and memorable than others, but in the end, they all had the same elements. To tell you the truth, mine may for the most part fall into the same bucket as all the other weddings. But in order for this planning experience to be fun for me, I desperately wanted something different, something more me.

And so was born this drawing of my perfect wedding ceremony:

I showed it to my close friends and family and they had a good laugh. I really was determined to have a body of water, floating planks for the guests to sit on either side, and for my dad to row me down the aisle in a canoe like this:

I searched literally every single venue in and near bay area and los angeles. Every venue that listed a lake or pond was contacted by phone or email to ask if they had a body of water in which I could have my dream ceremony. I started researching what would be feasible for the planks. I discovered the world of "floating docks" which are used to anchor boats and often times appear in movies:

There were a couple promising companies that quoted me on the order of $5000+ just to rent these babies. I went into talks with a couple venues regarding where the truck could load off these dock pieces. Each single piece is SOOO heavy that the weight of the truck might crush the pathway. But the truck has to be able to drive up right next to the water or else it's just too much lifting work for the guys. The water needs to be the right depth and have the right flooring to be able to anchor the docks. These docks can't be lopsided when guests walk around. We need to be able to place rows of chairs without the legs getting caught. The main issue was liability--whose responsibility would it be if a guest slips and falls into the water?

What is your dream wedding like?

The proposal story backwards

kyzen8 started creating our wedding website which is currently just a picture of the eiffel tower with the words "it started with a promise..." at the bottom and some piano tunes of our favorite songs playing in the background. He spent a lot of time making sure the picture resizes automatically if you change the window size! When I sent the link out, my cousin commented that the website captivated him like a korean drama. What promise, he asked? I thought kyzen8 made up some cheesy words as filler space. But when I asked kyzen8 about it last night, it turns out there is a deeper meaning...

Let me backtrack to the beginning of 2009. As I told you guys already, the proposal was not expected to be a surprise. I did however tell kyzen8 to keep the destination of our March trip a surprise. Of all places, he chose Paris! :) We had the loose diamond but no setting because I couldn't make up my mind. His parents advised him against bringing a loose diamond into Paris for various reasons.

On the night of March 19 (technically March 20), we were riding bikes in the park right in front of the Eiffel tower when we noticed a patch of grass with 2 ducks wandering around. Ducks have a special meaning in our relationship because we fed them bread on my first trip to Atlanta. And seeing a pair is like seeing the 2 of us. So he suggested stopping to check out the ducks and admire the eiffel tower. We saw the light show that happens every night at 1am. And then immediately afterwards, he started talking about how many different countries we've traveled to together. Smelling something fishy, I exclaimed "Are you going to p now??" (<-- way to ruin the moment!). He said "maybe" with a smile, got down on one knee, and proposed to me with--surprise!--a heart ring from Tiffany's. :)

I was thinking to myself, "How come there's a hole in the heart?" But he quickly explained, "The hole signifies we need to travel more, learn more, and love more." Sigh, I'm sad he didn't replace one of those with "eat more."

And alas, I found out last night that he calls this the promise ring. We had a slight disagreement because I thought promise ring was what a boyfriend gave a girlfriend if he wasn't ready to propose yet but wanted her to know he would in the future. So then wouldn't it mean he didn't actually propose to me in Paris? (Just like he didn't actually ask me to be his girlfriend on 3/16/03?). Now I'm left wondering whether that was the day we actually got engaged! I think so though because he did ask "Will you marry me?" to which I shyly squeeled "yes" with a slight intonation at the end, almost as if asking a question. Oh by the way, we also disagree about whether the man who witnessed our proposal from a bench in the park was homeless or not.

What does a promise ring mean to you?

Monday, November 2, 2009

The diamond

My parents had long ago prepared 3 diamonds for each of the 3 kids. When I told my mom the P was near, she offered the diamond to kyzen8, but he gracefully declined because he wanted to buy it himself. Not wanting to disappoint, kyzen8 showed me some choices on the blue nile site and asked for my input. At that point, I was more of a newbie than he was. He already knew the 4 Cs and more. We started narrowing down our choices. Pink diamond? Too expensive. Side diamonds? Too gaudy. And then I found, the weddingbee equivalent of the diamond world. Unfortunately for kyzen8, I got a little carried away (aka obsessed). But at this point, he already got me involved and there was no turning back. I was going to pick out the perfect diamond with the perfect setting.

My criteria were 1.5+ size, hearts&arrows cut, D color, VS2+ clarity. Medium blue fluorescence was acceptable. After scouring blue nile, goodoldgold, exceldiamonds, and numerous other sites for weeks, it came down to 2 diamonds from blue nile. They both looked excellent on paper. How would I pick? Heck, just buy both of them! And that's what we did. The only major difference between these two is the size (1.61 on the left vs 1.69 on the right) and price. Armed with a new hearts and arrows viewer and a complete diamond toolkit, I set out to take pictures of both diamonds to show the pricescoper experts and compare:

Actual image top down. You can see the arrows:

Hearts from the H&A viewer:

Arrows from the H&A viewer:

Asset/ideal scope image:

Honestly, I couldn't tell much of a difference with my bare naked eye when the diamonds were side by side. I took the babies inside, outside, bright sunlight, shadows, home depot (<-- crazy girl walking around with diamonds), you name it. They both shined like crazy!

I felt emotionally attached to the 1.61 because it had lots of 1s and 8s in its price (I was born on the 18th in 81, and 18 is a good number in Chinese culture). Also, 1.61 had a mirrored inclusion that reflected all the way around when you look into the diamond at a specific angle with a magnifier. In the diamond world, this was a bad quality to have. But it reminded me of the mole I have to the left of my mouth. It also didn't hurt that it was slightly cheaper. So yes, 1.61 seemed like the reasonable choice.

But then we took the 2 diamonds to an appraisor in Los Angeles. Within the first 15 minutes, he compared the diamonds side by side. The 1.69 won out with respect to clarity (though both graded at VS2, he said the 1.69 was more like a VS1, and that reflector inclusion was confirmed to be "bad"). 1.69 also won out in color and had less fluorescence (medium blue is actually not a bad quality at all but on paper, less is better).

Since we were paying a lot of money for these diamonds, I wanted the best bang for the buck. I figured I wouldn't be admiring the inclusion every day anyway, and it's not like I needed that special birthmark for identity purposes. Both diamonds have blue nile inscriptions and their numbers etched into the girdle anyway.

And so we picked the 1.69!