I Wanna Eat It!

(image source)
mmm... donut...

I am a major stress eater. While generally speaking I am neither unhealthy nor overweight, I still really despise my dependency on food for comfort. Resistance has always proven futile in the past, and makes me crash that much harder when I give up. As the wedding draws closer, my stress level rises at what seems to be an exponential rate, which also means I'm eating that much more to 'balance' myself.

I am worried about gaining weight and not fitting into my dress (I was perfect size the last time I put it on) so in addition to putting all the crap into my body, I am also drinking Slimfast in the late morning to sub for what could probably be a better meal. I know this is horrible, I know I should snack on carrot sticks instead, but at this stage in the game carrot sticks do not do the trick people!

I'm starting to feel it though, you know that icky feeling you get when you eat too much crap? My junk food drawer is emptied in no time after each refill (please say I'm not the only one with a junk food drawer in the office). I have so much more to finish before the wedding, and I can't get through any of them without chips / cookies / candy next to me. It's serious countdown time for me now, and I must get to the finish line, August is... OMG IT'S HERE!

My usual response to anything pretty that I see (like Shortcake's invites) is 'I wanna eat it!' Though most people realize it's metaphoric, I can't help but think it's perhaps also subliminal...

And dang, all this typing is making me hungry...

DIY Boutonnieres

(Groom's bout I made to go with this bouquet,
Image by my brother)

Though it pains me that I can't arrange all the fresh flowers I'd like for my own wedding, I fully appreciate the benefit of having the floral items done ahead of time. I'm not a big lover of silk flowers so I picked mostly textured/miscellaneous elements over imitation floral. The following is a guide to make a simple boutonnière:

  • Floral stems
  • Floral tape
  • Wire cutter
  • Floral wire (optional)
  • Coordinating ribbon (optional)

1. Pull/cut a few small stems out and arrange to your liking. Once you decide on how it should look, begin forming the boutonnière by taping two of the main stems together with floral tape, then adding the other stems one or two at a time and secure with floral tape.

2. Optional: make ribbon stem by making multiple loops with the ribbon of your choice, then secure with wire at the bottom where the loops meet. Make sure the wire is tight (when in doubt, add a small dab of hot glue). The size and # of loops needed depends on the look you're going for and the ribbon you're using. Skinnier ribbons can usually use more loops and wider ones need less. 3. Optional: back the mini bouquet with an appropriate sized green (which you can buy or pull from the stems you bought). Though this is not required, often this helps give the boutonnière a more finished look, and provides a flatter surface for ease of pinning (plus less confusion for user when trying to figure out which side is the back). Add ribbon stem and leaf stem with floral tape.4. Back view looks something like this when everything is taped on. Now you can cut the stems where it's appropriate (judge by looking at the front). If the cut creates an ugly end, fix with additional floral tape. If you'd like, curl the thin end around a small rod to give you curlies (see next picture, and I apologize for the ugly example!). Additional notes:

  1. Floral tape is not that sticky, simply stretch and pull to adhere. If you've never worked with it before, it may take some getting used to.
  2. It may be quite tempting to try and tape everything together at step #2. More often then not, the stems move or the whole thing falls apart. Remember these are worn by people when in use, you want to make sure things stay where you want them!
  3. I use basically the same method when working with fresh flowers. With fresh flowers the stems are often thicker so you have to manage that better to not create a super bulky stub. Also fresh flowers don't twist, bend, take abuse quite like silk flowers. I highly recommend doing some test trials if you want to DIY your fresh floral boutonnière.
And, here are the final products for my own wedding (black tags are for ID purposes only, and I highly recommend you label them clearly so no one gets confused!):

(I may incorporate those fuzzy ball things in my bouquet and the groom's bout along with fresh florals)

Grandma and Parents'
(they aren't this blingy, it's just the flash...)
Best Man & Groomsmen's
(minor difference with curled wire on bottom and different leaf for the best man)

I know they look a tad Christmas-y, but it's rough to get around that with my colors of red and gold, plus my preference for non-floral stems. I think they won't stand out to be as holiday-esq at the wedding since they will match everything else. If you're making bouts, try to think ahead to what they will be set against before designing them. While these will be great against black tuxes, I should have designed the moms' differently since theirs will be lost on the red dresses.

Before making these, I had fantastic ideas that were a little too different for those who would have to wear them. Since our wedding is already weird by their standards, I dropped those ideas (like using funky feathers, or making bouts out of suckers... etc.)

Now, who else is subbing their wedding florals with alternatives? What are your unexpected elements? I'd love to live vicariously through you!


Dubbed Tables Addendums

So yesterday I showed you our table name cards that imitate my invites and also serve as ice breakers. Today I will share a couple extra tidbits also incorporated with this detail:

  1. Keepsake for the World Record Holder - bookmark made out of our invitation
  2. The Infamous Table 9
Let's start with the keepsake: I'm told that one of the mister's aunt is the record holder for being the biggest collector of bookmarks in the world. I've tried to verify this, but came up with nothing, so I'll just have to take the in-laws' words for it. To give her something to remember our wedding by, I made this bookmark out of our wedding invitation (the snippets inside can move around, I included a quick tutorial below):

This bookmark will be slipped into the table name sleeve behind the fun facts insert for this aunt's table. That particular fun fact insert will read:

Our Wedding Fun Facts #36 & 72:

  • Each table name card contains 2 fun facts about the wedding. This one contains a bonus bookmark for the world record holder for keepsake.
  • The aforementioned bookmark is crafted out of the wedding invitation.

Even if none of your guests collect bookmarks, I think this would be a thoughful gift for any book-loving honored guest. The construction is easy, here's the simple instructions:

DIY Bookmark made out of Wedding Invitation (Note - doesn't work with all invites, adjustments would have to be made depending on your invite design):

  1. Cut 2 identical strips out of invitation in a size that would be appropriate for a bookmark, preferrably out of card stock for the stiffness. I cut mine out of the sleeve part of my invite, approximate size 2"x5". (You can also cut out strips that include invite wording to add to the look, I just prefer mine with plain backing and frame).
  2. Take one of the strips and mark a frame area, the size again can vary, just make sure you have enough area to glue and secure a pocket in the middle. I left about 1/2" on the skinny sides and 3/4" for the top and bottom.
  3. Cut out the frame with x-acto/craft knife.
  4. Cut a piece of vellum the same size as the two strips.
  5. Cut out some keywords from your invitation, such as your names, dates, location, or any special design you want to include. Just make sure they easily fit within the frame you created.
  6. Glue the frame onto the vellum strip.
  7. Lay out the keywords on top of the backing strip within the would be framed area (leave a bit of clearnace to make sure they don't get glued down as well).
  8. Put glue now on the other side of the vellum where the frame covers, leaving the vellum window. Make sure you glue the back of the ENTIRE frame so the keywords don't get slipped/tucked into spaces behind it and stay visible in the vellum window. Carefully lay it on top of the backing with the keywords in the middle.
  9. Let dry, and cut/punch hole to add ribbon as desired.

Now the second tidbit - The Infamous Table 9

So as some of you quickly noted yesterday, this is a reference to the movie The Wedding Singer. The mister and his whole family are big movie people. He also has a few particular buddies who share this similar level of interest in movies. With so many of us getting married these past couple of years, quotes from the Wedding Singer were brought up often, this below is one of the favorites:

Robbie (Adam Sandler): "You know what's funny, some of us will never find true love. Like take for instance me, and I'm pretty sure that guy right there, and that lady with the sideburns, and basically everybody at table nine." (See movie clip here)

One particular close friend of the mister's, bless his soul, tried to put us at table 9 at his wedding. Unfortunately they had only seven tables. Among the movie-loving group of friends, we’ve discussed options of how to incorporate this idea. I was able to talk the mister out of naming EVERY table number nine due to potential mass confusion, but only with the agreement early on that we would put this group of friends at table nine regardless of the table naming scheme.

Their fun fact slip will read:

Our Wedding Fun Facts #9 & 99:
  • In coordination with the wedding theme, every table except for one is named after a Chinese tea.
  • The Chinese word for the number nine is often used in association with weddings as it sounds like the Chinese word for longevity.

And here is the centerpiece the mister wanted for the 'mutants at table 9', which I also had to talk him out of:


Table Dubbing

Our table naming scheme is both the origin and the almost-terminator of our theme. I wanted to name the tables after Chinese teas because there are so many unique names (Iron Goddess, Monkey King, Jade Dew, Red Robe, Dragon Well, Buddah's Hand... neat-o, right?) but the mister was insistent on doing something that relates to us like names of places we've traveled, as he has seen at other weddings. While I love that he cares for the personal touch, I really wanted something I can build a theme upon. After much hair pulling, I finally came up with a compromise that makes us both happy. Here are our table name cards:
Each insert include 2 fun facts about the wedding, which satisfies the 'more personal' requirement, and hopefully also serve as ice breakers for guests. The table name cards will sit next to the centerpieces like this:

Oh and, if they look familiar to you, it's because they take after our invites!

To minimize opportunities for damage during transport, the sleeves can be opened up and flattened:

A simple tuck & roll will get the sleeve to prop and hold (will be further secured by tape on site): If I attended a wedding with this set up, I'm sure my nosy self would find the insert. But just to make sure they're not ignored, we'll have the DJ mention it to guests when releasing tables to the buffet lines if they look untouched.

And that is not all, there's actually more to the table names! Coming up: the keepsake insert for a special guest, and the infamous table 9 (10 points if you know what I'm talking about)!


The Intervention That Ended With Champagne

Lit up champagne, no less:

So with the wedding drawing closer, I've been dealing with the cumulating stress by... ehh... ignoring our wedding. I get overwhelmed thinking about the to-do list, and I just want to curl up into a ball with a security blanket and watch re-runs on TV. Being the wise one between us two, the mister foresaw the horror to come if things continued on this course. So yesterday, the mister forced me to write down everything that is in my head in regards to wedding projects, made me dump a good chunk of the responsibilities on him and brother GT, and we began crossing them off the list.

First thing we attacked was the signature drink selection. Since I don't have the energy to organize a taste tests with friends as originally planned, we just did one ourselves with the help of broGT. I really wanted to try more options suggested by readers but the mister feels keeping it simple will help us maintain our sanity, and I just couldn't argue with that.

BroGT and I are not big drinkers, so there was a ton of that magnum bottle champagne left:

The Results:

SiggyDrink#1: Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale - mostly because it's a great substitute for champagne being so light & bubbly (and there are lots of pregnant / breast feeding women among our guests)

SiggyDrink#2: Champagne with Pomegranate Juice - we tried different concentrations of mix with pom and cranberry juice, we found 2:1 mix with pom to be the most tasty.

Non SiggyDrink: Arnold Palmer - this was one of the contenders for the non-alcoholic siggy drink, but we decided to just add this to the list of soft drinks we're offering since it's our favorite.

And as noted before, siggy drinks will come with light up ice cube after dark:

Anyone else needed to be forced into delegating, scratching, or downsizing wedding projects to keep from going crazy?


Project 'Pay It Forward'

Check out the contents of the package that totally cheered up my mopey, Nelly looking @$$ yesterday:

You may be saying to yourself, 'Hey! I've seen that adorable lantern stationary before!' Well, it's because you have (and I must say, is even prettier in person)! Since it's no secret that the lovely Mrs. Tulip is the ultimate bargain bee, I inquired about where she found the parasols used in her wedding because she probably found the best deal. Knowing my colors also include red, she offered to just send me hers all the way from the other side of the country, with no strings attached!

Like this wise little flower, I also believe goods are best recycled when placed directly in the hands of those who can get the most use out of them. In this case, I am on the recipient end of her generosity. Mrs. Tulip suggested that I could make a charity donation in return, and I did that here. I read about this fantastic $10,000 Wedding In Reverse and the story gave me a huge lump in my throat.

Now I'm starting to think, a month from now when my wedding is finally over, what am I going to do with all this STUFF? Now some of you may have noticed that reusability is a big factor in what wedding 'stuff' we buy. While I plan to keep many things, and give some away to friends and family, there will for sure be some more left over. But how can I pass on the pieces from my wedding to do good, and directly in the hands of another bride for reuse as Mrs. Tulip did me?

Here's the wedding crap taking over our guest room
(and I have an OOT guest this weekend!):

One way can be - a group sale! In my vision, NorCal brides can come together on a lovely afternoon, some to donate items, and some to shop. I shall have a little GT corner specializing in tea related items, and I'll even bring an enormous pitcher of Arnold Palmer to share. All proceeds can go to an organization like Brides Against Breast Cancer. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

For those who sees the logistical nightmare this can be, I'm right there with you. *sigh* Oh who am I kidding, I was just telling Miss Pom today about how I don't even have the energy to plan the small and simple siggy drink taste test get together like I wanted (to which her gracious self offered to host it for me! [Yeah I know, all kinds of angels are looking after me]) Anyway, it's a nice dream eh?

*wakes up from dream, goes to get a new band-aid 4 da face*

In Travis We Trust

... because he produces work like this:
(I was once a greasy assistant mechanic, this photo tugs at my heart strings)

And with a little over an hour time (include picture taking AND processing/editing!) the guy also gave us this FOR FREE:

By pure miracle, I found the fabulous Travis Hoehne (rhymes with PWN) waaay back in July of '07, and he is the best thing that came out of our long engagement. This ultra talented boy was barely starting to bloom, with only 6 weddings shot solo under his belt at the time of our meeting. It was also right around when I was beginning to give up hope in finding a photographer that fit both my beer budget and champagne taste. After seeing some pictures on his blog, I emailed him for rates with fingers, toes, and eyelashes all crossed. Long story short, we got in contact, set up a meeting, and we threw ourselves at... umm, I mean, booked him.

He is so young, but he seemed to have it so together! Professional yet friendly, he made us very comfortable (and made me want to just hug him!). I commented on his adorable son whom he shows off on his blog, and he just beamed proud-daddyness. I don't know about you but I prefer employing /working with people that are good people, and he gave me that vibe.

Because I found him before his fame and had no other references for him, I requested for a test shoot to prove that he is who he claims to be. He traveled from So Cal all the way to Sacramento (which happens to be his hometown) to meet with us, and he even scoped out the areas near our meeting spot prior to our meeting for this test shoot to happen. Here are some more from the session:
It was really bright, and Travis made sure we got a pic to remember it by...
This looks almost sophisticated, and I don't know how he squeezed that out of us:
The test shoot was always in my mind for preview purposes only, and we couldn't believe that Travis just gave us copies for free. Though I'm sure he would have done an even better job if we committed to a real engagement session, I cannot be more pleased with the bonus we ended up with. We never intended to have engagement photos taken, but we put these pictures up on our wedding website and received quite a few positive feedbacks from our guests!

With everything coming more and more together on these final days before our wedding, I feel rest assured that he will capture the emotions along with my gazillion details with due justice. From Optimus Prime to the twisted tea everything (not to mention much more weirdness I haven't even begun to blog about), my dear Travis, I've got serious work cut out for you. Oh and, I hope your photoshop skillz are just as top notch, coz imma need it.

Just about every married person I speak to tells me that the most important thing to have at your wedding is a good photographer. When it is all said and done, the photos and your own memories are all that remains to remind you of the day. How did you find 'the one' to perform this vital role?


The Negotiation

The mister and I attended a lovely wedding in Reno, NV this past weekend as single people for the very last time. Some of our other friends were there, and a conversation with one of the mister's friend's girlfriend (GF) went something like this:

GF: So are we having eggrolls as appetizers for your wedding?
As hors d'Oeuvres, yes.
GF: Good, I like those (with look of approval).
Us: Ehh... ok, that's great!
GF: Who are we sitting with?
Us: Not sure yet, we're still working out the seating.
GF: Do not sit me next to Bob.
Us: Umm... we're working on the seating chart.
GF: I will NOT sit next to Bob.
Us: (Speechless, halfway trying to laugh it off and looking at eachother hoping the other person has a good response. After short moment of awkward silence, we changed the subject)

Later on the evening...
GF: So, remember, don't sit me next to Bob.
Mister: She (pointing at me sitting a little ways away) says that if you cover it up (with his hands hovering his chest), we'll put Bob at a different table.
GF: Oh don't worry, I'm not wearing this to your wedding, I already have a dress for it.

As we were leaving the wedding and saying goodbye to everyone, she yells across the parking lot at the mister...
GF: SO SEND ME THE MEASUREMENTS, THE LENGTH AND THE HEIGHT! (pointing at her lower thigh and upper chest with her whole hand)
Me: (with a very confused look on my face as I turned to the mister) Huh??
Mister: Earlier when you stepped away, she asked me if she really should dress more conservatively to our wedding and I told her it's a good idea to do so if she doesn't want to sit next to Bob. Now she wants requirement specs.


So here I am wondering why I didn't employ this trick much much earlier in wedding planning. Folks, this here has potential. With a partner in crime (blaming each other for things in front of people can help avoid specific finger pointing, as long as the two of you have an understanding), you can do a lot of trade offs in place of just plain giving in! Imagine the possibilities! Let's face it, the inconsiderate requests are unavoidable, and sometimes they are as hard to turn down as they are to fulfill. So why not get something out of it? To avoid hearing her complaints later (or more likely on the day of the wedding), we'll have to add a table just to accommodate her request. But hey, that price is almost worthwhile for a minus 3 on the wedding day raunch scale.

And just because we like pictures at my camp, here are a few from this wedding I speak of! Even though the drive over the hill from CA to NV was quite smokey due to forest fires, the weather (with the exception of the wind) turned out perfect for this tented wedding on a gorgeous golf course!

The tent after dark:

Looking out from the tent is the Reno skyline (sorry my pic is crap but you get the idea)!


Do Yourself a Favor

Since our hot August outdoor wedding makes a candy buffet difficult to execute, we decided to carry the theme over to the favor (read: ova 2 da fava). Here is a look at our Tea Boo-fay:

Aerial View:
Front View
(Note:like last time, the sign is a stand-in mock-up):Back(ish) View:

The Jasmine is in a big jar because it's our favorite
(which will be noted on the sign), and I tied a ribbon to the spoon so guests won't have to dig for it:

I love these spoons! This project gave me an excuse to buy them, and after the wedding they will be our new tea & ice cream spoons :D :

There are six different Chinese Teas, each lid is labeled (with recycled RSVP envelopes) and are attached to tins with a gold ribbon to help with its opening, closing, and to keep from misplacing:

Guests are provided small bags to fill with loose tea. Inside each bag there is a twist tie with a corresponding label (little vellum strips with name of tea and monogram stapled to twist tie) to identify the teas. The jasmine bags are laid out in front of the sign (ribbon to keep bags from flying away):and the teas in cans have their bags stacked behind the tins:
Sample final product:

The half tubes that hold the baggies behind the tea tins are the sleeves of leftover invitations after slight modification:

I'm also considering getting some small takeout boxes so it's easier for guests to collect all the (up to 6) little bags of loose tea.

Special thanks goes out to Brother GT for helping me track down the teas, and to the MOH for assembling the ties/label/bag packages.

My day off yesterday was mostly spent on this project, and I'm not even loving how it turned out (even though it's exactly how I imagined). I'm not sure if it's because the wedding date is drawing close, or if it's a side effect from my new beauty mark, but my DIY motor seems to be running outta gas...