Monday, September 27, 2010

Wedding Vendor Reviews

Heritage Hunt, Venue, Catering/Food and Beverage: A-
Leah Stewart was a hoot and a joy to work with! When I met with her for a tasting, she did a great job assuring me that her and her staff would take care of set up and decorations. For a bride who doesn’t have a planner, that meant a lot to me! The food was good, and the place is lovely! Brandon and Susan were great at running the rehearsal, and Susan had some great tips on calming yourself before the wedding that I took to heart.
There were some small things they missed: They forgot to serve the very sauces I requested for one of my dishes, and my ceremony flowers ended up on the stage of my reception rather than the ceremony itself. These two things are such small issues within the big picture, and didn’t overshadow the overall satisfaction I have with them. Aside from that, they did awesome!

Diana Marie Gibbs, Harpist: A+++
No words can express how much I love this woman and her harp. She was able to accommodate all of my music requests, whether it was me and my husband’s two songs, or the score music from the Twilight Saga that I wanted playing during the prelude. It was because of her music that I kept tearing up during our ceremony, and I think it added a special touch. She is also quite responsive to emails. I regret not being able to greet her because I in confinement before the ceremony, and busy taking pictures after. Diana, if you’re reading this, I hope you know I loved your music. Thanks so for making our big day even more special!

Fluffy Thoughts Cakes, Wedding Cake: A+
I’ve been stalking Fluffy Thought’s website for close to 2 years before getting engaged. I was intrigued by her artistic background in sculpture as well as her abundant amount of flavors! Within a week of being proposed to, I had already booked a tasting with Lara Stuckey, which she was still holding out of her condo in Mclean at the time. The tasting was amazing with 5 different cake flavors, an array of fillings, and spreads for you to try diverse combinations of. Um… YUM! My sister, who doesn’t normally like “busy” desserts, couldn’t get enough and wanted to try more combinations! Not only did I love Lara’s personality, but I loved the design and taste of work as well! Lara and her team did a phenomenal job on my cake! She did a 9 inch cake for my private church wedding in August that tasted phenomenal (white choc cake, raspberry butter cream, cream cheese frosting, and passion fruit curd). For my larger reception, she helped me keep costs low by suggesting a decorated 5-tier-stacked cake, with where 4 tiers where foam. I ordered two more sheet cakes and served the slices buffet style. I had 3 different flavors: My Passion, Red Velvet, and White Chocolate/Hazelnut. The cake was GORGEOUS and I still dream about the passion fruit curd, and the hazelnut butter cream three weeks later! I also ordered two grooms cakes, a mustang cake and cupcakes for the rehearsal, and a 9 inch round with superman emblem for my wedding (we had slight smallville theme). Guests raved about the cakes from all of my events! I still get requests for leftovers! I look forward to my anniversary cake in a year. Please don’t delay, and hire Lara and Fluffy Thoughts for your next (wedding) event!

Hino Banzon, Photographer: A
Having studied Hino’s portfolio against others, I’d always had full confidence that I won’t be disappointed in his photos. Hino is the sweetest person ever, and working with him was a joy. When I first met him in the winter, he was so quiet and nice that it seemed timid. I only had a small concern that he might not be as assertive enough to battle my large family and long list of formals. However, on the day itself, he totally proved me wrong and rocked it! And because he was so sweet and non-abrasive in personality, my family and friends really took to him, which was just SO great. I really, sincerely enjoyed working with him. He even called me the morning of the wedding just to congratulate me, and I appreciate his professionalism and not losing sight of the fact that it was a very big day for me as the bride, as some vendors in the wedding industry have sadly begun to do. Brian, his second shooter, was also really sweet and easy to work with! The photos were gorgeous, and very quick in delivery of the high definition images, as well as my awesome three 8x12 prints. I am totally happy with Hino and Bryan’s work, and would definitely recommend going with Hino B Photography.
Dolce Studios, Videographer: A
I’ll update this when I get the video back, but knowing their portfolio, I know that I won’t be disappointed. Natasha was my shooter, and she was great. She had an easy going personality and was just as sweet as my photographers. In fact, they worked together only a couple weeks before my wedding, so they knew each other. That helped out a lot because they were able to assist each other in getting the shots they wanted. Hanyall was also a joy to speak with over the phone, and she was helpful in giving me tips, not only about video, but about wedding vendors in general.

Special Occasions, Chairs and Napkins: A
Lovely gold chaivari chairs and chocolate napkins. Thanks for a classy looking reception!

Ace Party Rental, Ceremony Staging : A
Staging was great and set the way we wanted. Thanks!

Steve Hessing, DJ : B+
Overall a great DJ with a low price tag (bonus!). He kept the crowd dancing, and I enjoyed much of his music. He played most of my requests, but because I had a list that was 70 songs long, I understand that there just weren’t enough hours in the night to play them all! However, he didn’t have our song for the first dance, and kept asking me about the program, even though I had provided him with the timeline prior to the wedding. He seemed to feel out the crowd when he played the music, and I appreciate that very much. Would’ve loved to have him be more organized and prepared, but all in all guest still tons of fun on the dance floor and so did we!

Lance Orndorff, Officiant: D
Mr. Lance was a joy to meet on a snowy day at Starbucks. My fiancé and I thought he seemed great and we really like him. We had high hopes and zero worries when we hired him. However, things changed as we got closer to the wedding date.
Mr. Lance needs to consider the tone he takes with his clients. He seems more preoccupied by the number of weddings he performs than the fact that it’s someone’s special day. Any questions I had for him prior to the wedding and rehearsal was met with attitude, justified by the vast number of weddings he has performed and a condescending tone which he justified by his "experience".
When my father ran late for the wedding itself, Lance was more concerned about his schedule than helping make an already stressful situation less stressful. He was the major cause of any stress rather than a source of relief. He burst into the bridal waiting room literally yelling at me, my mother, and my bridal party about my father. This is not a professional or kind way to treat a client at such a special moment in her life. He seems to book weddings much too close together, not allowing for the wiggle room that other officiant would know you need to have. We were met with a lot of un-needed stress, negativity, and unprofessional behavior on his part, that my wedding party tried to locate another officiant mere minutes before the ceremony.
I will give him one big thing: The ceremony went better than expected. Though it was cut short due to my father’s late arrival, Lance actually did a good job condensing the ceremony. He entertained the crowd, keeping it light and funny. The ceremony was a success, regardless of his irritated manner behind the scenes. If you weren’t aware of his negative attitude or stress-inducing outburst towards me and my bridal party regarding my father’s tardiness (mere moments before the ceremony), you would probably think he was awesome.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rehearsal Dessert: A mustang Roush?

There aren't many things in this life that Mr Smallville loves more than me.

His parents are a given.

But there is one other love of his that he can never deny.

Mr Smallville loves his car.

It's a 429 Roush 2009 Mustang.

Special Edition. He even got Jack Roush to sign it.

Here's my SURPRISE GROOM'S GIFT idea for Mr. S (I trust if you know him, that you'd keep this to yourself)...

So I got a quote from Fluffy thoughts on doing a Roush Cake for the rehearsal dinner... just 40 servings (to cut down on cost) and then maybe order 3 dozen cupcakes (they're priced much mor reasonably.

The quote... well it was $500... for 40 servings. While i do understand design charge, as well as all the work put into it, I dont think i could justify $500 for 40 servings of cake.

So i came up with an alternative:

Yes, that's my own design. It has the roushe logo on top, with the mustang in the front, and the two trademark stripes across the cake to sort of drive it all home. Its basically his car translated into one cake. I quoted for 70 servings... 30 yellow cake/vanilla butter cream/fresh strawberries, and 40 marble cake/milk chocoloate ganache/vanilla buttecream/valrhona choc crunchies.

Quote price? $375.

More then the 30 servings of the original $500 car cake!

Yes its still a bit steep but at least it serves 70 this time... about $5/serving.

Hmm.. i wasnt too impressed with the price so i talked it down YET AGAIN. The rehearsal dinenr guest list is growing since out of town guests are invited as well as those involved with the wedding. So we're looking at 80-90 servings now.

What i ended up with is a 1 layer 6 inch cake with the roush logo on top, and mustang logo on the side (on top of the double stripe). I'll post a pic of it later. And then, i'll serve cupcakes with the matching grey colored icing as the cake.

It's now at $375 for teh 6 inch wich serves 12, and another 72 cupcakes with filling.
Flavor of the 6 inch cake for the fruity lovers: Yellow Cake, Vanilla Buttercream, Fresh Strawberries

Cupcake Flavor for the chocolate lover: Milk Chocolate Ganache filled Marble cupcakes, Vanilla buttercream w/ chocolate crunchies.

I think the guests will enjoy the dessert, and i hope that he will appreciate the gesture.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Programs: Another Labor of Love

Long ago, I saw a post by fellow bee, Miss Plumeria, on her great wedding programs. This is totally inspired by her work!

They're the size of a letter size piece of paper folded in half... twice. Remember my invitation's sash and envelope liner? well i also got a spread printed of two of our engagement photos.
They make for great surprises for the guests, dont you think?
It was several pages long, with a few dedications, 2 pages for the bridal party, 4 for the ceremony, an acknowlegements page, a thank you, and a quick list of the reception's program as well.
Bound with gold thread, just like Miss Plumeria's was!

Answering a Bridesmaid's 911!

My cousin did emergency kits for her BM's for her wedding in 2006. I thought i could do it with my own flare. Above was my unique packaging idea. Tissue paper and gift bag from

Here are the items each of my BM's got:

Old Navy Gold Flipfolps, Hair spray, Facial Cleansing wipes, nail polish removing wipes, cotton swabs, cotton pads, tampons, toothbrush, toothpaste floss things, magic tape, crazy glue, static guard, lint roller, tide pen/stick, first aid kit, comb, antibacterial hand wipes, lotion, tissues, razor, safety pins, bobby pins, hair ties, tweezers, granola bar battled water, lip balm, lip gloss, COACH pocket mirror, and much much more!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Groom's Cake Idea

The password to our wedding web site is Smallville.

It was the first subject we ever discussed while on Instant Messenger, before we met, of course. We debated on whether or not Lana Lang was good enough for Clarke. I was adamant to say no. He's meant not for silly little her, but for sophisticated, spicy Lois Lane.

For those of you who don't know, Lois calls Clarke Smallville. Why? Because he's kinda dorky, small-town, and the town he's from is called Smallville.

Being from the big city, I'd always assumed I'd meet city guy. Little did I know where I'd find love... and it was the absolute unexpected place ever! But, he's GREAT! With my humble, kind, small town boyfriend of southern VA, I also call him Smallville... sometimes.

So what I am planning to do is have just a few TASTEFUL things give a nod to our very first bonding experience with Smallville.
  1. The website password, again, is smallville.
  2. The table numbers, will also have names that have to do with Smallville, Superman, and all the DC Comics places/locations/cities.
  3. The Groom's Cake

Well the above is an idea, anyway.

I have concerns that my original wedding cake will turn his father off, who likes very simple and straight to the point vanilla cake with vanilla frosting: No chocolote, no fruit, no nuts. Too bad that qualifies in all 3 of my wedding cake flavors!

So, here's a way to provide "simple" to his father, and to other guests who like vanilla. Though i couldn't resist putting one of Lara's irresistible fruit curds in there, so i went with a lemon curd, since i know he and his dad like eating cake with a bit of lemon in it (as long as its not too strong).

I have put in an order with Fluffy Thoughts for a 9-inch blue cake with the superman emblem on it! It will be yellow cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting and the lemon curd. It should serve something like 25-30 people. Yum!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Menus, and Placecards, and Thank you's OH MY!

Here is the outcome for all of my prints:

Menus, Place Cards, Table Numbers, and Thank You Cards! Yep, you know I designed them!!

Name tents that double as escort cards and place cards, complete w/ table number and meal choice.
7x7 inch table numbers, to be held by stanchions!
Menus! They're half a letter size page cut the long way:

and to show my gratitude to countless guests and vendors:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last Minute Idea: Late Night Bites

Today I met up with my event coordinator at Heritage Hunt to finalize numbers and give my final payment. We were down to 141 paid guest meals, 14 of which were kid's meals. Not bad considering i was expecting more like 160-170 to make it. It was a real budget saver!

However, I couldn't help but wonder where all this extra money would go? Do I save it for a new dining set? A rainy day? Or do I treat my guests with more food?

My mom has attended 2 weddings in toronto that had this great late night snack portion of the evening, much like italians do at their weddings. I was at one wedding with her. I thought that was great, and we thought well... wouldnt it be nice to do that for our guests as well?

Well, I had previously posted about cookie favors as Late Night snacks, since HH won't let us "bring food," yet we're allowed to bring favors. Would've been clever, but my mom urged me not to, in an effort to save money (and time spent packaging). However, during my 1.5 hour meeting with the catering manager/coordinator at HH, I decided I should at least check into getting something like mini pizzas served later in the evening, during the dance portion of the night.

The price wasnt too bad, so i went with 120 Mini Cheeseburgers and Mini Cheese Pizzas to be served at 9:30pm! They'll be served in chaffing dishes by the door, in case people dip out early and want to grab a snack to go, and then others that are dancing the night away can grab a snack as well!

Late night bites, CHECK!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sand, Glorious Sand!

So i blogged about unity sand ceremony in lieu of a candle since wind is an issue during outdoor ceremonies. Here is how I did it!

A curvy vase

plus 2 identical fat bottles w/ small necks

plus 2 corks (that have to be shaved down to fit in the small bottles)

Plus Sand From Michaels equals:

A unity sand set for hardly any money!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Final Beauty Trials

So i did my final hair trial with Tracy (Oriental Oasis Salon and Spa, DC) on Friday, and Make up Trial with Liza (MAC Cosmetics, Fair Oaks Mall). Here are the results:

Friday, 8/24, 6pm: Tracy Duong, Oriental Oasis Salon and Spa, Washington, DC

I chose a classic all up bun, with a sideswept bang. The bun is accented with the jeweled headpiece I asked Edward Teng's team to create for me!

Saturday, 8/25, 5pm: Liza Panlaqui, MAC Cosmetics, Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA

I chose creamy white/gold daytime smokey eye, peach on the cheeks, and a bronzy lip. She originally had me w/ a peach lip, which took some getting used to. I guess my face wore a "i dont know if i like this" look so she went and changed it to bronze. I love fake lashes, esp when they're put on correctly and you dont feel them!

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

08.21.2010 - A Small Gathering, A Big Day

On Saturday,
I walked down the aisle
on my fathers arm
towards my best friend
so that we could take our vows
and promise our lives to each other
for better and for worse.

Photos by Trang Dam Photography

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

M&M Favors, Part Deux

In a previous post, I had blogged about utilizing my Gocco Machine, as well as my time stuck in the house during DC's Snowpocalypse 2010, for a wedding project. That was to print little 1oz glassine bags with the graphic flourish that I will use throughout my wedding.

Well, with the help of my skillful mom, I was able to complete the task. Here's what you'll need...

Materials Needed: Glassine bags, M&Ms (or your choice of candy), precut fancy tags w/ your monogram, colored thread, and an awesome sewing machine.

What I used: 1oz White Glassine Bags purchased from gocco'd with my flourish, Orange and Pearlized white M&Ms, Precut Tags that say M&M and the date on it, and gold embroidery thread.

You then have to stuff the bags with M&Ms. My mom was extra anal and decided to count the M&Ms so that everyone gets an even amount, but you don't have to do that. You jsut have to make sure you don't put too much in that you cant fold it to sew it later. We did 27 M&Ms per bag.

Another tip, because the orange was so strong, i decided to double bag them. I am actually using 2 bags, one printed and and the inside "liner bag" plain white, so that you can actually see the design i goccoed without too much interference from the orange M&M color.

And then you just fold, add the tag (which is also folded over), and sew them with your trusty singer machine. I won't lie, my mom did the sewing. If i did it, it would be all kinds of crooked.

Here's a tip from my Mom... To save yourself from re-setting up the thread on teh machine, keep the sewing at a continuous loop, and don't snip off the thread of the bags until the next one is sewn. (not sure if i said that right, but it worked out for me)

Here is the finished product!

Hope you like it! I happen to love it!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Unity Sand vs The Unity Candle

Back in January my fiance and I went to meet up with Lance Orndorff, our celebrant for the big wedding. He laughed when he foudn out that i was trying to do a candle ceremony at an outdoor wedding. I was adamant, and i shot down his idea for a sand ceremony or to forgo it all together. why did i shoot the sand ceremony down? well, I didn't know much about it, and i couldnt see what a sand sponsor would do, verses a candle sponsor, who's got a clear role of lighting candles. So then Lance said if i was gonna do it, i should look into oil filled candles.

Yesterday, my oil filled unity candle set came in. They’re supposedly less likely to blow out than regular candles during the outdoor ceremony. However, the candles can still blow out, even if "less likely." Red flag #1. Which I was willing to look over, because i wanted all the filipino traditions, including the candle. Plus i'd already appointed my candle sponsors.

And when i got them yesterday, i realized are made of a very fine, fragile glass. As i tested the main unity candle in the stand, i realized that if i even touched it, it was going to tip over. Red Flag #2: I'm a clumsy girl with no grace what so ever. this cannot be good.

Each glass candle has this funnel, and the wick, and a 3rd piece of a long, thin glass tube to hold the wick in place in the oil. Um... Red Flag #3: Assembly is not going to be easy.

Needless to say, i wasn't impressed.

So I started to google and consider my options...

I found out yesterday that they have hurricane globe unity candle sets. Too late, since I paid $135 for the oil set, which i cant return b/c our names are etched onto the glass!

And hten there was the Sand Ceremony.

Here is what i've found:

Unity ceremonies have been a special part of wedding vows since time immemorial. Couples from cultures around the world have used the unity ceremony as a powerful way to symbolize their love and commitment to one another in marriage. Until recently ,it’s always been the Unity Candle Ceremony that has received the majority of the spotlight. That all changed, however.

The Unity Sand Ceremony, a celebration that is usually two to three minutes in length, is a meaningful symbolic joining of two lives. In this timeless ritual of marriage, the couple ceremoniously pours various colors of sand from separate containers into one special container, the unity vase, symbolizing their coming together as one.

It provides a way for couples during their wedding ceremony to brilliantly show the joining of the flow of their two lives into a single stream with their individually colored sands joining as one in the Unity Vase.

The Unity Sand holds a few advantages over a Unity Candle. The shortcoming of the unity candle is that it leaves no permanent memento or reminder of the union. Once the candle has been blown out, the significance of the ceremony is left only as a fleeting memory. It offers a great alternative for the unity candle to beach weddings and other ceremonies held outdoors. Plus, because it can be displayed privately or for all to see for years to come, the symbol of the couple’s love is always present, always a reminder, and always a touchstone of truth. As such, the Unity Sand Ceremony and the unity vase can be treasured forever.

And why did I shoot it down again?

I'd finally found a solution for my candle sponsors, now my sand sponsors', roles.

In place of lighting the candle in the beginning of the ceremony, the sand sponsors can “Present the stand” by walking with the sand vases to the table by the stage.

We can pour them into the unity vase after the exchanging rings and coins, just like we would light the unity candle with teh candles that were lit in the beginning of the ceremony. Brilliant!

So last night, I stopped by Michaels, because i read on wedding bee that they sell colored sand. I bought the off white and cocoa colored sand on clearance for just $1.97 per bag of 1 lb of sand! Great bargain! now I'll just look at Wallmart, Target, or the Dollar Tree for the corresponding Vases!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Ceramic Candle Holder Favors

Another labor of love... Packaging the Candle Holder Favors!

My mom and I were a little busy this weekend...

We started off with the ceramic cut out candle holders that my aunt so generously bought me, made in the Philippines... Cavite to be exact.

We had to package them special with lots of newspaper and bubble wrap before stuffing it into our luggage back to the US. It wasn't the smartest choice given how heavy and bulky they were.

In fact, we had to ask two of my mom's friends to put it in to their suit cases as well.

As you know from my one post about ideas, that I was going to get 4x4 tucktop boxes from papermart to hold them. I also got chocolate tissue paper from the same web site for a little contrast when you open it up.

Afterwards, we finished it off with a similar sash and ribbon that was on the invitation, only this one was 16.5 inches long while the sash on the invite was only 12 inches long.

My mom came up with a great idea of sealing the chocolate tissue wrapped candle holder with a gold sticker that we bought from Staples. It added a nice, classy touch when you open it inside.

How does it look? DO you like it? i happen to love it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Readings Finalized... and a Lazy Bride

I know I went on a big brainstorm for readings... but after all of that, guess what? I'm going the safe, uninteresting, traditional route of bible readings.

In choosing a few readings for my private church ceremony next month, I decided just to go with them for the larger "renewal of vows to the public" ceremony. Mr. Smallville agreed, since he was really out of ideas about the pop culture readings. (He wanted readings from movies like Alien and Predator, and, well, no... Just.. no.)

So our readings go:

First Reading, from the Old testement Sirach

Catholic Wedding Reading #7: Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16

A reading from the book of Sirach

Happy the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days;
a worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life.
A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the LORD;
be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face.
A gracious wife delights her husband, her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones;
a gift from the LORD is her governed speech, and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth.
Choicest of blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste person.
Like the sun rising in the LORD’S heaven, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.

The word of the Lord.

Second reading, From the New Testament, Corinthians

Catholic Wedding Reading #4: 1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:1- 8a

If I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Corinthians

Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.

It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

Love never fails.

The word of the Lord.

Gospel Reading:
Catholic Wedding Reading #20: John 15:12-16

Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

I think they're excellent choices, even though it wasnt a quote from Luke Skywalker, Jane Austen, or Austen Powers.

Readings, Check!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Are you FOCCUSed?

Small hurdle with the church and the small (but real) wedding ceremony, as our parochial vicor was in for the 10-year transfer to another church within our diocese. His replacement is to take over 33 weddings that the former head priest had lined up for the upcoming year. Since we only found out about this in June, and the transition was made in July, we really only had few opportunities to actually meet the new head priest and get to know him. When he called the meeting, it was a weekend that I was down with Mr. Smallville in Gloucester, so we actually drove up together on Sunday and met with him on Monday morning. Afterwards, I went to work and Mr. Smallville went back to Gloucester.

During our meeting, we were asked to take the FOCCUS test. FOCCUS stands for Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study. It was somewhat a compatibility test, but more to see what aspects of life your partner has and has not discussed. It gives the priest/church an idea of what you need to discuss in the future, in hopes that you come to some sort of agreement or compromise.

It’s not a short test either. It is comprised of 200 questions, where the first 150-60 everyone would answer. And then I believe the last 40 are divided into two: 20 for inter-faith couples, and 20 for re-married couples. They ask everything from the way you raise your children, to your relationship, to finances, to family, in-laws, and friends, to your future sex life with your partner.
I especially felt bad for Mr. Smallville, because he was just in DC last weekend, so coming up yet again is a struggle in itself. And then, he was already nervous about meeting the first priest, who I adored. Mr. Smallville’s anxiety wasn’t pleasantly unfounded, because first was so welcoming and sweet when he met Mr. Smallville. He was nervous regardless, so for him to go through that again, I can’t even imagine it. And then have him say “oh by the way, you need to take this test.” I love Mr. Smallville, and he was a good sport about it in the end.
He's been a good sport about everything. There were many requirements for us to get married in a Catholic Church (called PreCana).
We were supposed to take a series of three 2.5-hour classes for Natural Family Planning, where you learn about your cycle, which would really be my ovulation cycle and when i'm "Most Fertile," since the church doesnt believe in contraception, and that we should work with our own biological nature and its signs to determine when was the "appropriate time" to either avoid or try to have a baby.
Another requirement was a 9 am to 4 pm Marriage Seminar with the church and ten other couples who are about to get married discussing everything from relationships, to children and family, to finances, to faith.
Also a certain number of meetings with the marrying priest were required, but we really only got to 2 meetings with the first priest, and a third with teh new one. And then there was the FOCCUS test. I appreciate Mr. Smallville for his efforts towards a wedding officiated in my faith.

Mr. Smallville and I answered as best as we could, taking the test at a table in the priest’s office while the priest checked his email. We’re supposed to wait to hear back from the priest if anything in the test stood out, should we need more discussion. Fingers crossed that we wont!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Invitations: A Labor of Love...

As you all know, I'm professionally a graphic designer who loves a great layout and lovely typography. I also do wedding invitations and reception print items as a side business, so it was only natural to go the DIY route for my own invitations.

Here are the results:

They're offset printed with 2 pantone inks.. one was a metallic burnt orange, and the other was a very deep dark chocolate. I used a gocco to add another color to the main invitation, a leafy branch in gold. It was printed on Textured ESSE Latte paper.

I chose a 6x9 inch gatefold pocket style invitation from my gatsby (Classic Metallic Ecru), with a main invitation card and the center, and the pocket filled with 3 enclosure cards of succeeding heights, and a bonus map on vellum paper of the area that I drew myself in illustrator. The invite cards were made using Esse Textured cardstock in Latte. I didnt go with the metallic version b/c i wanted there to be a contrast in the paper type since the colors were the same. The vellum was a white vellum that my printer found cheap for me.

The enclosure cards consisted of the RSVP, Directions, and an Info card that contains nearby attractions, Airports, hotels, and registry details.

Some added superfluous touches are the sash made of vellum, ribbon, and cardstock, and a lined envelope (liner printed on vellum). I went ahead and had the return address labels offset printed on the back flap of the invitation, as well as the front side of the response envelope. I also got mailing labels done for the addressing. I got them printed on natural white writing weight paper and then ran them through a xyron to make them into labels.

It was a lot of work because I'd chosen so many different components. I certainly kept people busy one sunday afternoon when we all gathered to put this together.

What do you think?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tasting at Heritage Hunt

I booked heritage hunt with blind faith that the food would be good. They don't offer tastings before you book. It's a risk. I was nervous.

Mr Smallville was working, and their tasting schedule didn't work with his work schedule, so i brought my sister (who is my maid of honor) and parents to try the food. Below are the entrees we were able to try at the tasting:

clock wise from the top left: Pan seared chicken filet with a madeira cream sauce, mashed potatoes, and sugar snap peas; Rosemary Grilled Chicken breast with wild rice pilaf and buttered cauliflower; Lemon Grilled Chicken and Jumbo Lump crabcake with oven roasted redskinned potatoes and a cherry tomato/zuchini medley; Flounder stuffed with Crabmeat with steamed asparagus and Sweet Potato Mash.
The food was delicious, and put my nerves to rest, THANK GOD! Can you guess my favorites? It'll shock you, but my absolute favorite thing on those 4 dishes was the Buttered Cauliflower? I know! So strange? I hate cauliflower, but anything in that crack-like butter sauce would take my breath away. I admitted that i liekd the rosemary chicken better then the lemon chicken (which goes with the crabcake combo) so we decided to switch it. I loved the flounder stuffed with crab. I kinda wish it was a bigger piece, though. The sweet potato mash was amazing and sweet and interesting, but we found nothing that it could go with on our final menu.
We made a few edits and switched around some side dishes. I couldn't get enough of that butter sauce so I requested it for the combination choice. We basically moved the flounder over to the plate the rosemary chicken was on. I also switched out the chickens for the combo platter since i didnt liek the super citric flavor of the lemon chicken.

Here are our final menu choices:
Meat Only Choice:
  • Seared Chicken Filet with Madeira Cream Sauce
  • Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
  • Steamed Green Beans
Fish Only Choice:
  • Flounder Stuffed with Crabmeat
  • Buttered Cauliflower
  • Wild Rice Pilaf
Combination Choice:
  • Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breast
  • Jumbo Lump Crabcake
  • Oven-Roasted Red Skinned Potatoes
  • Buttered Broccoli
There will also be a children's meal of chicken tenders, french fries, and a fruit cup.
I was nervous to find out that the Event Manager, Katie Simmons, was leaving, but after meeting her stand-in, Leah Stewart, my nerves were also put to rest. Leah was very comforting and reassuring that they had most everything covered. I didn't realize they'd be setting up the room to my standards without needing help from my bridal party. That makes me so happy! Hopefully she delivers on what she says!
Food choices, check! Now onto the invitations next...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

With HIS Ring, he thee weds...

We went to Springfield Mall (Yes i know, a ghetto mall, but its 5 minutes from home) to look for a wedding band for Mr. Smallville.

Since Mr. Smallville works as a cable internet and phone field technician, many accidents can happen to him. One of his coworkers got his hadn smashed, and the gold wedding band bent INTO his finger! So Mr. Smallville took that coworker's advice and chose a "Tungsten Cabide" ring. Tungsten Carbide is this really strong metal that never breaks. In fact you'd need to use a special tool that only hospitals have to cut it. Mike thought it was perfect (though we are also forewarned that if his hadn ever swells up, that we couldnt get the ring off unless we went to the hospital)

we ended up with this one:

I like that its nice and simple yet unique in its material and all. the color is darker than most wedding rings you see out there. I loved the brushed metal, he likes the shiny, so its a great compromise! Yey!

Groom's wedding band, CHECK!

I am awaiting pictures from my tasting of the food so i'll post about the tasting and final menu decisons later!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


So we finally decided on a tux accent color for the guys. Let me introduce you to "Cognac"
It's actually not as  bright as the picture. Its more of a warm/brighter chocolate.  This will be worn by the groomsmen, coin bearer, and ring bearer. 

Meanwhile, I chose a tie and vest for my dad in chocolate.

For those of you wondering why HIS dad doesn't get his own color, its because his dad is the best man, and therefore will have the same color as the groomsmen!

and of course we have Mr. Smallville in Ivory:

We chose very traditional one button black tuxedos with ivory shirts, and black patent leather round toe shoes. For cuff links, we chose black on gold for the guys, and black on silver for Mr. Smallville!

A review about Mens Wearhouse in Springfield, VA... though they were helpful, the reception was quite cold and because I didn't answer the gentleman's questions right away (I had to think of answers) he looked at me like i was stupid. And then he left us to work with others who walked in, and the girl he left us with didnt know how to smile. It was very awkward and after a while I just wanted to leave. I enjoyed talking to the bride that sat next to me than the sales people! If MW wasn't such a convenient chain that has locations everywhere (most of the guys in the bridal party dont live near by) I would've left! 

Otherwise, we can check off TUXEDOS from our list!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Busy Weekend Coming!

This Saturday, 12 noon: Tasting at Heritage Hunt

I will be sampling the dish options I will be providing my guests. My sister is coming with me.

I knew I have a few issues considering Mr. Smallville and his family are finicky eaters. They don't like seafood, most vegetables, and many other things. I didn't want to serve them things they wouldn't enjoy, so I had to come up with a meat option.

I have a few friends who are pescatarians (they love fish and other things from the sea) and will only eat that much, so i have to provide a fish option.

The Filipinos would probably want a crack at both.

Here are the options:
Pan Seared Chicken Filet on Garlic Mashed potatoeswith a light Madeira cream sauce, caramalized shallots
Jumbo Lump Crab Cake and Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken Breast served with Roasted Tomato Coulis
Flounder Stuffed with Crabmeat nested on Julienne seasoned vegetables with a lemon-chive butter sauce

Starters will be:
Ceasar Starter Salad (Romaine Lettuce is the only vegetable the groom will eat)
Hot Rolls and Butter

For sides I'm choosing the same two for all three dishes:
Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans (The only vegetable other than Lettuce that the Groom's parents will eat).

The tasting will help me solidify these choices so I can finally send my invitations to print!

This Sunday, 12 Noon: Choosing Tuxedos at Men's Wearhouse

Mr. Smallville will be in town this weekend, so we will be choosing our tuxedos and colors.

I know you saw my post about choosing colors for the Euro Tie and the vest for the tuxedos.

We'll be ironing those details this weekend, so wish us luck!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Graphic Designer Bride

In case any of you don't know this by now, I'm a motion graphics artist and a graphic designer by day. I have a lot of training on things such as layout, and typography. I know trade secrets liek "the grid," and the all important "white space."


And incase you haven't figured it out... i also love weddings.

About six years ago I offered to do my cousin's wedding invitations and reception print items. I designed them, printed them, etc. I found it to be stressful (what design job isn't) but fun at the same time! To do design work that doesn't have a department of defense theme or a higher education accounting concept is WONDERFUL!

I've done about seven weddings since my cousin's in 2006. I am even in the middle of another wedding reception design right now!

As you all know, with the work I’m trying to get into with print design for weddings, I have a bunch of ideas for my own event. It’s my way to showcase what I can do, so a lot of what I’ve planned is a bit involved. Since I’ve got my tasting this Saturday, I’ll be able to secure the entrée choices and schedule. Printing for invites will go out a week from today, so after the weekend of 4th , it’ll be go time!

Just to give you an idea of what I’m gonna do, here are some ideas revealed:


  • So that's the format, but with a much better design and layout than the rotating gif above (which to me is a little too generic. sorry mygatsby, but its the truth).
  • the cards that are actually printed will be from a real print house in Maryland. They’re using something called “offset” printing. I’m using a great uncoated (Nonmetallic) textured ivory paper and a dark orange metallic ink, and an uncoated chocolate ink. I’m using my gocco to add a gold swirl to the main invite card (to save money b/c a new color means an extra $200).
  • The cards in the pocket will be taller than what you see in the picture. Some people will have 4 cards for the rehearsal dinner invite. There will be an extra vellum sheet behind the directions which is the map of the area.
  • The metallic ivory gatefolds will be wrapped in a vellum/ribbon sleeve with the swirly design. The sleeve a little monogram of our first names as a seal on top (see picture below, but without the cheesy bow) and then stuffed w/ a metallic ivory envelope which is lined w/ the same swirly designed vellum.

Yes, I just reread that and it sounds just as confusing to me as you might feel right now. But it will be awesome. I promise! lol


  • I have the gold thread to sew them together and all, just like Mrs. Plumeria did (who happens to be a graphic designer too. I got the idea of sew-binding a book from my bookmaking class in graduate school


  • The cover won’t be vellum like the example online. It will be a hard cover (same paper as my invites), but there will be a vellum page utilizing 2 of the awesome engagement photos that Trang did for me in march.

Ceramic Favors (to be done by one of my witnesses/godmothers/primary sponsors):

  • They will be stuffed in this box with chocolate colored tissue paper:

  • They’ll then have a vellum sleeve that matches the one that wraps around the invite, just to bring in some continuity… kinda like this, but without the cheesy bows:


M&M Favors:

  • These are my very bags, of course w/ my swirly design:

  • and then im ordering orange and cream M&Ms (and since they’ve already got M on them, I don’t need to do any special printing.
  • these are what I plan on doing with the bags, but with gold thread:

The favors will alternate on the tables between place settings (ie you get M&Ms and the people on either side of you get candle holder.

Other items that we’ll have that im doing myself are:

  • Table Numbers/Names
  • Menu cards per place setting
  • Escort Cards/Place Cards
  • Welcome Bags for Hotel
  • Cookie Favor Bags