None of us (bridesmaids and myself) got a good night’s sleep the night before. It’s likely because of the anticipation for the day we waited for so long! All of us woke up before the alarms went off. We were never so awake at 4:50 am before, haha.
The day started off great. Our videographer, makeup artists, and hair stylists all arrived on time at 6am. I made some coffee to share, and found some food to eat for breakfast. Everything went even better than we had planned. It was calm and quite relaxing.
With the hair and makeup teams working hard and fast to make everybody look beautiful, 2 and a half hours passed by in just a blink of an eye. Here’s what’s important to do after you’re all done up:
EAT. PEE. HUG.
Even with a breakfast in your tummy before the “getting ready time,” you will get hungry. Before the rest of the festivities begin, prepare your body for what’s to come. Eat. I had Honey Nut Cheerios.
And after sitting for so long, you will probably want to make a trip to the washroom before you get into your dress. Even if you don’t feel like it, go pee anyways. It is way easier to be able to pee on your own than to require the generous help of your girls to hold your dress up and sing while you go later!
Lastly, while you have a moment, give your parents a hug. The rest of the day would go by so fast that you may not get these precious moments to hold them close, and tell them you love them. I found that it was calming, too, because I felt like their little girl again :)
For my wedding helpers, I wanted them to have boutonnieres that would last the day. Many fresh flower boutonnieres will be wilty in the middle of the whole celebration, or they would lose shape because the helpers have been moving around and helping out. Fresh flower boutonnieres also cost $8-12 per piece.
While I was looking for centerpiece ideas, I came across this cool blog entry. But instead of using them as centerpieces (because they would be too bold and crazy for us, haha), I thought I’d give it a try and see if they would look good as small flowers too. It was convenient because the templates were letter sized!
After making a trial on scrap paper, I was so happy with it that I immediately went out to buy purple cardstock ($4.99), one green sheet for the leaves ($0.89), and some medium sized safety pins ($4.99). I already had some green wire and floral tape in my crafts box. It took me about 5-6 hours to make all 20 of the boutonnieres. This was one of the more enjoyable things I got to do for the wedding because it was simple and it involved no drama. And they just looked so good!!! Here’s them, as modelled by my MCs.
The total cost for 20 paper boutonnieres came to $7.99 (30% off entire purchase coupon from Michaels). Fresh flower boutonnieres are at least $8-12 for one piece, which means my total savings come to a whopping $152-228! How awesome is that! :)
Things definitely went crazy the week before the big day. My stress levels shot up really high really quickly, especially with family in town and family dinners, and with a school year-end concert to prep for. Here, I’m sharing with you some of the things I’ve left til the last minute to do (and wish I didn’t!), or things I wish I would have done differently. Hopefully this will be of help to Brides-To-Be!
Clean your house If your house is the location where you, your bridesmaids, and the Mother of the Bride will get hair and makeup done, it is ideal if your house is clutter free. For me, I did not commit to cleaning my house until the last week. Obviously the priority is to clean up the spaces that are going to be photographed, but it was still a lot of work! I would suggest starting to de-clutter 3 or 4 weeks before the wedding so you can slowly work on one room at a time. At my wedding I needed 3 areas: kitchen for hair and makeup, room for putting on wedding dress, and living room for tea-ceremony.
Give 4 months for alterations for your dress, and bring at least 1 person to the fittings to make sure everything looks right I had my first fitting 3 months to the wedding, but I went alone. At my second fitting, I brought my maid of honor, and she brought up some issues with the dress at the back that I was not able to see before on my own. At my final fitting, there were still issues with the dress that they still had to fix! In the end they had actually not fixed the jewel applique at the back. To be safe, start 4 months prior, and bring somebody to be your second pair of eyes!
Have your RSVP date 2 months before the wedding Our RSVP date was 1 month before the wedding, and it left us with very little time to go after guests who haven’t RSVP-ed, to finalize the seating plan and seating chart, and to get the final numbers to the venue and caterers. This is especially important if your seating chart is DIY. Give yourself (and your helpers) more time so there’s less stress at the end.
Try to keep family members off the helpers list You can always make new friends, but you’re stuck with family forever. Haha - just kidding! In all seriousness, wedding planning is inevitably stressful. Instead of trying to respect the elderly’s opinions and trying not to tip off the delicate family dynamic while planning the wedding of your dreams, you’ll find it easier to work with professionals who would listen to you and do exactly what you want. The only exception would be if your family member is a professional. Otherwise, trust me on this: paying a professional is more worth it than having to deal with the drama and stress!
Wedding Day Manager is a super important person. For some people, this person might be their wedding planner, or Best Man, or their parents. For us, we decided to ask a couple who is not part of our families, and not part of the wedding party to help us out. This is a couple with a healthy car, great organizational skills, and professional communication skills. The idea is to have somebody who knows everything I have planned and want, and make sure it all happens (or makes it all happen!)
Some of the things our wedding day managers helped with are: - greet and liaise with vendors on the day - keep all helpers organized and ready to go - help finalize the timeline of the day - make sure all wedding events are happening on time - troubleshoot any issues/problems on the day - help set up and clean up the venue
We couldn’t have been more stress-free with the help of our awesome wedding managers. Before the wedding they really helped us take care of all the minute details. On the day, when I took my wedding dress out and was about to put it on, I realized the bridal store forgot to give me my crinoline. Our wedding managers were able to go to the store and get it for me, just in time for the ceremony! During the reception they helped us pack up our decor items and leftover favors and things like that. They really made the day enjoyable for us because we did not have to worry about anything! I highly recommend that every bride has a wedding day manager!
Here is our wedding video put together by the talented team at JDSM Studios! It is my N-th time watching the video because I love it to pieces, and it still brings me to tears. I am so happily married :) And our wedding was awesome!
For those of you who remember, I posed a question on this blog a while back, about when I would shed my first tear on my wedding day. I was prepared to be crying all day because I am such a sap.
Sure enough, there were many touching moments from the start of the day to the end. In the morning when it was my turn to get my makeup done, I distinctly remember having a moment to myself where time stood still, and it finally hit me that everything was really happening. Even my makeup artist noticed it, and asked, “How are you doing? Are you doing alright?”
During the tea ceremony, I came close to crying when my relatives gave us kind words of wisdom. I could see their happiness for us on their faces and I could hear the sincerity in their voices that all they wanted was for us to know that they loved us, and that they wanted us to be happy.
The moment I finally broke was when I was standing in front of my husband (then fiance), when it was time to share my vows. I did not even make it through the first sentence! I also lost my place on the page soon after, and had to wait for our officiator to point at where I left off to continue on. What helped me through was seeing my husband’s face when I paused to look at him throughout my vows. He was trying to keep smiling while trying to hold it together!
Other than that, I did not end up using much of the kleenex packages we put in the emergency kit, haha. I did pretty good for being an emotional person. The entire day was filled with so much joy and love that it kept me smiling and laughing! :)
A part of our catering contract includes corkage, meaning the caterers will be providing unlimited juice and pop for our guests. For all of you who are our wedding guests, as much as possible, please drink up! You would have to drink about 8 litres’ worth of juice and pop to break even haha. Keep in mind that on top of the juice & pop, there is the entire buffet for you to dig into!
In terms of alcohol, that is a different story. We are providing our own, so there will definitely be a limit. This is one way to control the amount of alcohol consumption in general, and it is also more economic because we have a chance to do some shopping and buy from stores with better prices. Some stores may even take unopened bottles back, and keep a small(ish) restocking fee. Guests, please drink responsibly!
Little things add up. And they seem to all pop up as the wedding day draws closer and closer! As I sat at my desk to think about the little things I still have to do, one thing linked to another, and before I knew it, a list of 15 items was born. (Another 5 items came up as I wrote this entry!!) Taking a closer look at the list, I first wondered why I haven’t already dealt with them, then I realized they were not on any of my checklists.
I love how there are so many checklists out there for brides who decide to plan their own wedding, but no list would ever tell you exactly what you need to do. Every wedding is unique, especially ones involving different cultures. There is no generic list that would be thorough enough to address all the customs you have to adhere to.
It is now about 2 months to the wedding. Some people say there will come a point when you throw your hands up in the air and let whatever happens happen. I think I’m already there. Maybe there is a reason why these “little things” are left out. Maybe some weddings could do without them. It all depends on the type of wedding and the couple. Anyhow. Here are some of the things that came from my mind that are probably not on your checklist. You may want to add them in! They are NOT chronological or in order of importance.
Get a cake topper
Get a cake knife & server set
Get ring pillow
Get a fancy pen for registry signing
Pick your wines/champagne (aka go to a wine/champagne tasting)
Prepare “Reserved” seating signs
Prepare “Thank You” sign at the reception table/exit
Prepare activities for kids at the reception
Decide how you will collect wedding cards AND buy/borrow it
Compile a contact list of all helpers and vendors
Make a “Media Itinerary” for your sound tech/DJ
Purchase wedding/special event insurance
Purchase liquor license
Decide on escort cards AND write/print them out
Clean engagement ring (1-2 days before the wedding)
Steam dresses and suits (day before)
<For Chinese Tea Ceremony>
Buy/Borrow tea sets
Get quality teas to serve
Find helpers to help with bringing trays of tea and washing cups to be reused
Decide on the layout and decorations for the tea ceremony location (usually the bride’s/groom’s homes)
We are going minimalistic with our decorations. When we think back on the weddings we’ve had the honor of attending, neither of us could really remember how the venue looked. That is the main reason there is not going to be a lot of decor at our own wedding - why put so much effort on it when no one will remember it?
This is something that took shape on its own. I have always dreamed of a super fancy wedding with flowers everywhere, decorations on all surfaces, over the top wedding cake, invitations…basically everything in the wedding was to be extremely overloaded with every inch of surface accounted for. Much to my (our) relief, everything that we have chosen for the wedding adds a graceful touch to our beautiful celebration. We were naturally drawn to the more simplistic and subtle kinds of beauty. Not only does this reflect our personalities and our relationship, people can focus more on us and our love story because there are less things around to distract them :)
I wish the people we really wanted to be at our wedding could all attend. The RSVPs are slowly coming through and we are sad to learn that some people will only be able to celebrate with us from afar :( At the same time, we are so excited to celebrate with those who have accepted our invitation. The biggest party of our lives is coming up in less than 3 months!!!
Knowing a local bridal store had a 30% off all in-stock accessories promotion going on, I walked in with hopes that I’d get some hairpins, a hairpiece, and a veil. When I saw that all the pins and hairpieces were still out of my price range, I went to check out the veils. A bridal consultant came to see if I needed help, and suggested that I pick out a few favourites to try on with my wedding gown.
I picked out my very first favourite, the new favourite, and one I just saw that day. I was glad my two favourites were still there!
Trying on the dress again was wonderful. It has been about 5 months since I last saw it. I missed it. I tried on the veils with the dress, and made sure the blusher did not look funny over my face, and made sure it did not take away from the dress. My first favourite did not look good over my face because it was too heavy - my nose was poking at the blusher! The new favourite did not have a blusher, and had too much bling. The last one…
It’s plain and lets the dress shine. The colour is right. The length is right. It has a blusher. And…it’s new! It’s handmade. The in-store seamstress made this simple veil a couple days ago because they did not have anything like that in their inventory. And to top everything off, because the veil was not attached to a designer label, the veil was $70 original price, and cut down to $50 with the promotion!
As you may already know from a previous post, the inspiration for makeup and hair is simple and natural. So when I looked at Makeup Artists’ (MUA) portfolios, I looked for ones that
showed me a lot of natural faces
had at least a few asian/chinese clients
had reasonable prices
had consistency of great client makeup
showed their passion of makeup artistry
And after picking a couple favourite portfolios, I had to make sure they were easy to contact, easy to discuss options, and easy to look at—JUST KIDDING! But I had to make sure they appeared to be organized. The last thing I would want is to have people scrambling and panicking around me!
And my decision is to go with Edmonton Makeup Artists. They will be taking care of my own, my mother’s, and my bridesmdaids’ makeup, and I can’t be more excited :) They have a fairly diverse portfolio, and that’s what got my attention - all of their clients looked great!
For hairstylists, I was a little more hesitant to go with commercial stylists because my inspiration look was simple and relaxed. Many portfolios out there had super fancy hairdos that were nice, but were not what I was looking for. This was when I thought of people who styled their own hair in a simple and relaxed way. I asked a friend of mine and my sister-in-law, who both loved to style hair as a hobby, and guess what…they agreed to help! This is one of the perks of having amazing and talented people around you :) Besides, I think that since they know me and my bridesmaids personally, they would be able to style their hair in a way that suits their personality.
The reason why I looked at MUA & Hairstylists separately is because it was recommended to me. People who are more specialized in one thing tend to be better at what they do! It worked out that EMA only offers makeup services, and I knew people who were talented with hair styling! :)
You MUST go! My maid of honor and I went just this past Sunday, and it was so much fun for us even at this stage of the wedding planning. Whether you are newly engaged or getting married in a few months, there were two exhibition halls full of great vendors offering a wide variety of useful information, ideas, FREE FOOD, swag, discounts, and special offers if you book/purchase at the show. And I thought these bridal shows were only for those who just started planning their wedding - I was totally wrong!
I decided to go to the show because one of my friends who works at a bridal store told me there would be great deals on all things wedding, including veils and accessories. Still in the search for the perfect veil and hair accessories, I thought it might be a good idea to check it out. I mean, I haven’t been to a bridal show of this magnitude before!
We came out of the show with some great bridal shower/bachelorette party ideas, just for fun keepsakes (photobooth pictures!!), and a pretty satisfied stomach. Mmmmm chocolate dipped apples. Hummusssss. Mmmmmmmm. I also got a bunch of honeymoon info and I found a pretty hairpiece! See - these are things I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to if I had gone to a bridal show in the earlier stages of the engagement. There really is something for everyone! I highly recommend this :)
Some quick thoughts to pass on: 1. Buy your tickets early!! You can buy tickets online and have the tickets mailed to you, or be picked up at the show. This will save you from the longggg lines to purchase tickets at the show that day. The “tickets pick-up” line was empty!! I enjoyed breezing by the crowd to find my tickets ready for me & my MOH :)
2. Grab EVERYTHING they give you!! There are often special discounts on them for the show, or even after the show. And if not, you will at least have a bunch of information from different vendors for you to compare, contrast, and choose.
3. Look through EVERYTHING after the show. This includes the magazines (at least flip it through) and all those loose sheets of papers you grabbed or were stuffed with. This is where you’ll start your collection of COUPONS and contacts. You’ll be glad you have those coupons to save, save, and save!
On a cold Saturday afternoon, my fiance and I went to a local bakery for our wedding cake consultation. The bakery is quite well-known for its delicious baked goods, and is always packed in the mornings as the early birds file in to get the freshest baked goods. This bakery only bakes healthy; they only use natural ingredients in their baking, so there are no preservatives or artificial flavours. They are…Bee Bell Health Bakery!
The cake tasting was so much fun. We got to look at 3 big albums full of pictures of wedding cakes they’ve done in the past, choose something we like, and customize the cake however we want. As our baker started preparing a sketch of what our cake would look like with all of the details drawn in, we got to eat cake! YUMMM :)
Here are some tips for you before going to a wedding cake consultation:
1. Research around to get the best price for what you’re looking for. Surprisingly, the quote that I received from Bee Bell was one of the cheapest quotes I got; some amateur bakers I found on Kijiji were more expensive than professional bakers!
2. Bring a bottle of water. You can cleanse your palette in between trying the cakes to get the best flavour out of each.
3. Their portfolio should impress you! Be prepared to fall in love with other beautiful cakes they’ve done, even if you already know what you want.
4. Don’t feel pressured to book them right away. You can always think about it and schedule another appointment to book them once you’re sure of your decision after you’ve tasted their cakes and seen more of their portfolio.
5. Bring colour swatches of your wedding colours. They may ask for them so they can match it with food colouring, ribbons, gum paste flowers, etc. (If you don’t have colour swatches, visit your local home improvement warehouses such as Rona or Home Depot, and spend some time at the paint chips area to pick them out. You might want to take a few extras for other vendors or when shopping around for decorations or accessories!)
6. Buttercream cakes can only be out for display for maximum 2 hours before it starts to sag and lose shape! If the wedding cake is to be displayed throughout dinner and the speeches, fondant might be a better idea.
Now this is something that I have given very little thought. The reason being I am not a person who wears makeup all the time, and definitely not a person who does fancy hair. I don’t even blow dry my hair. I am lazy. I would rather have an extra half an hour of sweet sleep than to use that time to put on powders or pin up my hair that probably doesn’t look all that good or natural.
So when it comes to thinking about how I want to look for my wedding day, well, I want to look like me. I am not looking for anything overly dramatic that would make me look like a totally different person. Simple and relaxed would be just fine. BUT, I wouldn’t go so far to say I wouldn’t wear any makeup or do anything with my hair - that’s a little too simple! Even though it would be the most accurate representation of me, on my own wedding day there should be at least something done to make sure I look the best out of the ordinary days.
Some people say that the hair and makeup budget should be generous, because you really wouldn’t want a bad hair day or a badly caked up face to be documented forever in your wedding pictures. My budget for hair and makeup isn’t very generous in the least. In the same way I got a super awesome deal with my wedding photographers whose style matches so well with ours, though, I am confident I will be able to find someone to take care of my wedding hair and makeup at an affordable price point.
Anyways…here are my inspirations. Simple. Natural. And so effortlessly beautiful.
I have been going back and forth deciding whether or not I will go ahead and purchase a formal evening gown to wear during the reception. A part of me wanted to wear my wedding dress all day, because it was a big purchase, and because our wedding timeline is rather short compared to most others. Then there was a part of me thinking that I can maybe wear my tea ceremony dress during the reception, because that is what some people do - they wear a gown that shows off their culture. (After some more thought, wearing my tea-ceremony dress was a silly idea considering I am not a traditional person to begin with, the dress itself doesn’t really reflect any part of my cultural heritage, and also how the red or pink colors are so not me.) Still, there was a part of me that wanted to buy another gown altogether, because it is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so why not go all out?
I have not personally experienced it myself, but I have heard and have read about how it is tiring to wear your wedding dress all day, especially if your dress is a heavy one. And so, my initial thought for a reception dress was a short and sweet white cocktail dress. When I went out on the search for it, though, it just appeared too casual to be wearing a short dress. And it didn’t look special enough.
Then I thought of getting a poofy and sparkly ballgown, because I fell in love with this dress when I saw it on Pinterest! But going out to find a sparkly dress like this, or any sparkly dress for that matter, was disappointing due to the fact that most dresses are either in sequins or cheap looking beads. I can most definitely not afford a dress with real crystals, so this kind of dress was out of the question.
So it came down finding a dress that simply gives me a different look than that of my wedding gown. I came across a dress on Pinterest…
At first, it was just a really gorgeous dress that I saw on Pinterest. It then became a dress which I could identify its designer by, and whose dresses are orderable in certain stores in town. Then it became a dress that I tried on and loved even more. Then it became a dress I thought I would never have. Then, it became a dress that no other reception dress could even compare to. And lastly, it became a dress that I couldn’t resist to order. It has become my reception dress :)
Wheeeeee pretty dresses I get to wear all in one day! How fun is that!!
The layout and style of the invitation was picked out back in June. Scrolling through many, many pages of google images as well as many, many different invitation company websites, we have decided on a simple and clean design. Visually and aesthetically it looked more formal, and just looked better. Less is more! It should also be easier to put together.
When my bridesmaids and I went to take a look at some local stationery stores, we were able to scout out who has better designs, quality, and prices. We had to be really picky on this one because the invitation will be the first thing our guests receive in their hands about our wedding - it will set the tone and formality of our wedding.
It was pretty exciting for me and my fiance to go and look at a sample of our wedding invitation. Similar to the food tasting we went to, this was something that made the wedding that much more real. It made me want the wedding to be sooner, haha. The week after we approved the sample (with a minor change), our invitations were printed, cut, and all ready for us to assemble!
My brother and my sister-in-law came over yesterday with a pair of amazing scissors that cut the ribbon very nicely. They also helped assemble all of the invites. How amazing are they!!! :)
Now to compile addresses and address those blank envelopes! The to do-list never ends…
Last month, my fiance and I headed to Spruce Grove to taste a potential catering company’s menu items. It was a dinner inside their kitchen where they could prepare food for up to 2,000 people in one day! They set the mood with dim lighting, some simple decor, and some fairly entertaining staff.
It was a buffet style meal. We quickly filled our plates and started to eat a little bit of everything, and were quite pleased with the food in general. We were able to try some menu items that we originally picked, but did not taste as amazing as they looked on paper; and there were some items we did not originally pick, but turned out tasting really good!! Our consultant conveniently printed out a copy of what our originally choices were, so we made some notes on it to help us finalize our menu choices (later that evening).
The night was very enjoyable for us. We had good food (as we lovingly fed each other sometimes), shared our thoughts on what we should include in our own menu, and just really enjoyed spending that time together! :)
1. Will the husband and wife have heart-to-heart conversations everyday?
Since we will be spending time together every single day, I wonder how often we would have times where we could talk all day and night if we wanted to.
I believe that for me and my fiancé, we will most likely talk a lot. That is an interesting to say, first of all. Because there was a point in our dating relationship when I strongly felt that we were not having enough conversations! But lately, in the past few months, we had amazing impromptu long talks about whatever was on our minds. At the end of the second time it happened, I said, “I like talking to you.” Haha. I know it sounds funny, but I am glad I am able to say that.