Friday, January 29, 2010

THE CAKE... a very important detail: Part II

I'm sure you remember my post on a Wedding Cake Verses Wedding Cupcakes.

Six lovely words.

Fluffy Thoughts Cakes by Lara Stuckey

All her cakes are about 4-5 inches high, with 4 rows of cake, and three rows of buttercream. Between each layer of buttercream and cake, she also applies a thin layer of "spread," be it ganache, curd, or jam. Below is a slice shot from her website of marble cake, with 2 rows of vanilla and 1 row of chocolate filling, and a facebook shot of her white cake w/ raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries:

Um.. YUM!

I went to a cake tasting in early January. What did i think? Her cakes taste amazing!

And the fact that she was a fine arts minor, and I was a Fine Arts Major, and she specialized in sculpture really makes me confident that my cake will look awesome!


Presentation was impressive, ultra chic, lovely, and the cakes taste WONDERFUL! I wish i brought a camera because the layout was soo cute with the tiny cakes and the baby scoops of fillings!

She makes amazingly moist, dense cakes, which we were able to sample with different buttercream fillings and spreads.

The process:

  • You dip your fork into a spread.
  • You scoop a bit of buttercream onto your fork
  • You cut the cake w/ your fork
  • You place it in your mouth and experience something magical


From what i could recall...

Flavor of mini cakes she had us try (all lined up in a row) were: Mocha Chocolate (Devil's Food), Red Velvet, Marble, White Chocolate (with bits of white choc), Yellow Cake, White Cake

Buttercreams: Vanilla, Chocolate, Hazelnut (w/ crushed caramelized hazelnuts), Raspberry, Blackberry, Lemon, Orange, Coconut (w/ shredded coconut pieces), Cream Cheese, Cookies and Cream (Crushed Oreos), Coffee

Spreads: Passion Fruit Curd (my favorite), Raspberry Jam, Milk Chocolate Ganache, Dark Chocolate Ganache

Other Fillings: Volrhona Crunchies, Fresh Strawberries


I went with her. In fact, I gave her my deposit at the tasting.

Here are my design/flavor decisions:

Five Tier design - The cake would be covered in an Ivory Fondant with light orange lace and orange and gold gilded swirls on each tier (she’s going to copy the swirls on my invite). A gold Sugar ribbon would be added to the base. She'll draw, scan, and email me a final sketch when it gets closer. I am eager to see the results.

A dilemma... mom was hoping for a huge cake on a dime-like budget. I brought this up to Lara and she came up with a solution:

The top 4 tiers will be decorated styrophoam, bottom tier will be real cake, and I’ll have 2 sheet cakes in the back (all to save money).

Flavor Choices:

  • 1st flavor (bottom tier, 100 servings) - “My Great Passion” White cake w/ Passion Fruit curd and Blackberry Buttecream

  • 2nd flavor (Sheet cake #1, 50 servings) – “Mine oh Mine” Red Velvet with Dark Ganache, 2 layers of cream cheese filling and one layer of cookies and cream (oreo) filling
  • 3rd flavor (Sheet cake #2, 50 servings) – “Starbucks on Steroids”White Chocolate Cake, Milk Chocolate Ganache, 2 layers of Hazelnut Buttercream and one layer of Coffee buttercream

Suffice to say that if a month after your tasting you're still dreaming about the cake you ordered, I'd say you made a great decision!

Is it bad that aside from marrying Mr Smallville, this is the one thing I'm looking most forward to?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Accommodations, Check

My cousin/bridesmaid was awesome, and set up my room block for the wedding, calling for quotes. Basically all I had to do was walk in for a tour, and sign the paper work.

The Hampton Inn Gainesville is right at 66 and 29, in the big shopping center there called Atlas Walk. Pretty cool.

The convenience of this.. its about 2 miles from the venue. Great for Mr. Smallville and his friends and family from Smallville, huh?

Oh! and I got the only King Sized Studio Suite there!

The rooms are very nice, I'd rate it a good 3.5 to 4 stars myself. They serve hot breakfast free from 6-10am, and they have a laundry facility, indoor pool, and gym on site. Pretty neat!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

For the love of good Photography...

More than anything, I knew that this was going to be where I'd invest most of my wedding funds.

Shoes? They don't last but a couple years.

Flowers? they die in a few days.


Well... they last forever.

I have a very good friend, who I'm very close to who is a wedding photographer. Her work is beautiful, and I'd hire her in a heartbeat, but i want her to actually be a GUEST at my wedding, rather than a vendor.

I know someone else who does a wonderful job with photography--my parent's friend's son. I love his work. I've admired it for well over a year. Sadly, when I called him days after I got engaged, he had to break the news that he signed a contract with another client for that very day.

Disappointed? Yes. I was pretty heartbroken, but like he told me, I had to move forward.

I did some digging.

On his website, I read his second shooters names. On his Facebook, I saw that one of his second shooters had his website.

I checked out the site, and it turns out a good 25-33% of the photos i loved on Studio Saldana's site belonged to Hino Banzon.

I met up with him within a week, and i loved his work, and thought he was a great guy. So I hired Hino B Photography to do my wedding.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Precious

So you maybe wondering what the ring looks like. Well, about a year ago, my aunt came to visit from Manila, like she does every year. She mentioned something I never realized was available...
My late grandmother's ring.

Ok so I really didn't remember what it looked like. She and my mom had to describe it to me. I was happy to know it was a round diamond. Not sure if i would've liked a pear shape or a marquis... which isn't really my taste.

Anyway it was an offer to Mr. Smallville that he could have the stone as long as he bought a setting for it (since [filipino] culturally it was believed that at least some part of the engagement ring should come from him). This thoroughly confused him because before any mention of this ring, he knew i wanted a very clean, three stone princess cut ring. Now with the possibility with an antique stone, i was telling him I also wanted an antique setting. I think it frustrated him, lol

So he asked me to marry him with the ring on the left (shown as the full set with matching wedding band), and the right ring is my grandmother's, which my aunt flew here with this past fall.

The original ring is a art deco setting that my grandmother had gotten made herself, circa the 1930s. The stone itself is actually from a generation before her, and possibly older, suspected to be from the early 1900s or super late 1890s!

The bridal set on the left (above) is Mike's loving purchase from Jared (yes, he went to jared). I'd dragged him there a few weeks before he bought it, and gave him a few options to choose from. (No, I didnt know he was gonna buy so soon, i was just eager, and hopeful.) I decided to go with an antique pave setting to keep with the antique stone.

The image below shows both rings side by side, with the empty setting. Mike proposed on a Saturday with an empty setting, which was still sweet. However, it felt wierd to be engaged without a real ring to show off when i went to work Monday, so I had to hold it in as much as I could before it I could get it back.

Anyway, after a long two days, I got it back that Wednesday.. and boy was I NOT disappointed!

Meet Remy, my precious!
(I named her after my grandmother)

I like staring at her all the time, especially when sunlight or lovely lighting bounces off of it in shards of rainbow colored beams. I have been Gollum ever since.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ceremony Music: The Harp...

The Harp

It makes a beautiful sound.

In fact when I was in high school, my priest would play the harp during mass, and I found it enchanting.

So now...

I hired a harpist to play my ceremony music. Her name is Diana Marie Gibbs.

She has a large repertoire, and she will also learn music if she can find the legal sheet music to it, which helps a ton.

which is great because here are my music choices:

Bridal March: Michae Buble - Home (it was our first song)

Recessional: Edwin McCain - I'll Be (it was our 2nd song)

Another thing you might not know about me: I am a Twilight fan.

Yes I hear all of you rolling your eyes right now (I have superhuman hearing). Frankly, I dont care, and really, this will be my ONLY nod to the fandom in which I belong.

Selections from Twilight:
Procession of my Bridal Party:

Prelude (played in the 30 min before I walk down the aisle) I wanted a mix of classics and contemporary music, as well as:
  • Carter Burwell's "Bella's Lullaby"
  • Alexandre Despat's "New Moon (The Meadow)"
  • And whatever Musical theme from Eclipse, due out this June 30th.

One thing great with Diana? She said yes to playing it all!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Venue

So one thing I found out about my town:

Weddings. Are. Expensive.

That's just it. You just have to deal with it. Of course, there are ways around it.

I could follow in my cousin's footsteps who married into Vietnamese families and go with a chinese restaurant, with the per-head costs being half of what a standard american reception would cost here. Thing is, Mr. Smallville and his family aren't even Asian, and they're partial to American food. Not really an option there.

Then there is another option. I could always rent a community center or a moose lodge, have Aunt Mary and Cousin Jamie's family make a few dishes, buy some plastic cups and paper plates and be done with it in a couple thousand for the whole thing? Right?


I do consider myself somewhat of a bridey-bride. I've known (since I met him) how this day would go. In fact i did some "preliminary research" about weddings wayyy before we were engaged (like say beginning late 2007). Yes, I know I was jumping the gun but when you know.. you just... well.. KNOW.


  • In Virginia - Though it's up here in the DC area, and all of the groom's family will be travellng for the festivities, i wanted to be respectful enough to my In-Law's side that its not blatantly have it in DC or Maryland. Somehow psychologically, I think keeping it in "Virginia" looks better.
  • No/Minimal Rental Fee - Gorgeous places here have a price tag from $5,000-$12,000 JUST FOR THE SPACE! That is NOT within my budget!
  • Reasonable Food & Beverage per head cost for: cocktail hour, seated dinner, and drinks
  • Outdoor ceremony space - garden weddings are so lovely
  • Great back-up plan for ceremony in case of Inclement Weather - because you just never know
  • Seats 180-200 folks comfortably with a sizeable dance floor. - because i'm filipino, and we have big families, and we love to party and dance the night away

Anyway, after countless research into venues with rental pricetags in the thousands, and caterers with per head costs that would send you to the hospital... I found my venue.

Wait for it...

Wait for it

oh .. here it is!

The Heritage Hunt Golf and Country Club in Gainesville, VA offers a beautiful setting and lovely/elegant facilities with full service catering at a reasonable price (for the area).

It has a small fee for the site rental if you're not a member or a resident of Heritage Hunt. There is also an additional fee for an outdoor wedding set up, but nothing too outrageous compared to others.

I loved their ballroom. It was newly renovated this past spring!

Below you see the picture of a ceremony that takes place in their courtyard. Weather permitting, that is where we will have ours! If it rains, the ceremony will be held in the ballroom.

Monday, January 11, 2010

To Cupcake or to Cake? That is the question

For the longest time, I've obsessed over the new cupcake fad that has hit DC.

In fact it's been 2 years, and i'm still hooked.

Considering i joined Weight Watchers last month, well I cant exactly indulge anymore.

But yes, I do love cupcakes.

My favorite spot: Georgetown Cupcake

So they deliver, but their delivery range is like, what, within the Beltway, (immediate DC metro Area). Problem? I live outside the Beltway. My wedding IS WAY outside of the beltway.

Because of this, I had this weird assumption that they wont cater weddings as far as the beltway.

I also have another dream:

A Stacked Tier Wedding Cake.... with fondant lace and a ribbon trim.

I also wanted a cake with several rows of filling (because i like the opportunity to make combo flavored [busy] desserts), whos cake was as dense and moist as Georgetown cupcake.

About two years ago, in all my "advanced wedding research" I stumbled a cross a wedding cake site called Fluffy Thoughts (FL).

She lives in McLean, and operates her business from her home. She is a pastry chef who worked for CakeLove in College, and studied the business there. Her major was Psych, and minor in, get this, FINE ARTS.

I was a fine arts major myself, but I went into the computer part of it with Graphic Design, Multimedia, Video, and Animation. However, i have a deep appreciation for fine artists, and the fact that she uses her sculpture and artistic background in making her cakes totally intrigues me.

So for the last year or so, I'd been following her site, and her blog. I kept telling myself that once i get engaged, i'm calling her!

So i was set on that, completely set.

but hmm... $5+ per slice of cake vs $2.4o-ish for a Gtwon cupcake.

I started to think about budget, and decided to actually email Gtown Cupcake... just to see what was up.

Turns out they deliver (but don't set up) anywhere they can drive! of course there is a delivery fee, but they do deliver to places such as Gainesville, VA, where I'm having my wedding, for about $75.

Well crap.

So what am I to do?

It shouldn't have been a second thought, but considering the year or so I obsessed on FL's site, I really owed it to myself to consider all the options

Clearly, I don't need to taste Gtown's Cupcakes, because i know they're BLISS in the palm of my hand...

So I had to call Lara Stuckey of FL, and set up an appointment with her.

I knew I'd do Georgetown in a heartbeat if I didn't LOVE her and her product when I met her.

We'll see about that.

To be continued...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Engaged and Ready!

He's a field technician for a cable company in a southeastern VA Middle Peninsula rural area.

I'm a Multimedia Artist/Graphic Designer in Washington DC.

How we met: MATCH.COM (yes, it does work for some)

When did we meet: May 18, 2006

He popped the question the day after christmas (12/26/09). Was I surprised? Very!

Private Religious Ceremony: Saturday, August 21, 2010

Big Wedding Date: Saturday, September 18, 2010

Colors: Burnt Orange, Antique Gold, Chocolate, Ivory

Wedding Style: Traditional, Elegant

A bit about me: I love well executed graphic design and everything that comes with it... sophisticated graphics with a purpose, gorgeous paper, and great use of typography. I actually design wedding invitations on the side. However, I'm not really taking on anymore clients until after my wedding.

Why did I start this Blog: Well, I wanted a chance to share my wedding planning experience with those interested. I also aspire to be a blogger for the Wedding Bee.