Outty 5000, G(T)

So this is it, kiddies! We're getting married tomorrow and things are already crazy over here! If the mister finds out I'm up here talking to you all I'm dead meat so I gotta keep this one short!

I thought I'd at least say goodbye in person, sorry the video is crap and the sound super sucks but hey, it's the thought that counts right? Here's us at the rehearsal a couple hours ago:

We'll report back in a week and a half or so, until then, you all behave!

G2daT ... and I'm out!


Tree of Love

I'm happy to announce the near completion of one of my favorite wedding projects - the Marriage Celebration Tree!

We requested (and sometimes begged) for wedding pictures from our married guest, along with their wedding date and a quote of their choice. Here is how we're displaying them (a few more are still in the works, and please excuse our messy garage!):
The cards are hung with mini clothespins tied to the trees with red strings. Here up front and center is a picture I adore of my FMIL and FFIL:
On the back of the picture there is the name of the couple, their wedding date, and their quote if they provided one:
As you can kinda see, some provided short and sweet notes, others gave us whole paragraphs!
For our parents and grandparents only, I want to add some kind of indicator sorta like this lil' hanging strip:Our idea is that our wedding is one shared with our guests. It is really important to us that it is a celebration of love and marriage, rather than just the joining of just us two. I hope this helps convey the message!


Sparklers Celebration

I really wanted to incorporate sparklers into the wedding, but not for the typical exit routine since we want to stick around til the very end. So instead, we're setting a time and a song for a 'Sparklers Celebration' when guests will be encouraged to slow dance along side us with a sparkler in hand.

For display, we'll put them in a vase and it'll serve as a centerpiece for our escort card table:
We bought 96 of these 36" sparklers which last for 4 minutes so it'd be long enough for a song, and dang, they were enormous (well... 36")! I asked the mister to pose with it like it's a lightsaber, though he refuse now, I have a feeling a lit one will bring out a Jedi move or two on the day of.I hope it'll make some fun pictures. If nothing else, the kids (ok, and I) will have a blast with them!


Along our wedding planning process, we've tried to put ourselves in the guests' shoes. After all, this will be as much a day for them as it is for us! Here are some of the things we've put together to optimize their wedding guest experience:

1. Taxi Tags - we've already informed guests via our wedding website that the venue allows overnight parking if they need to take a cab home and advised them to carpool. A sober helper will be in charge of passing these out to guests who look like they can use a ride home after the wedding.

2. Map/Schedule/Program/Menu - I've blogged about this when it was still in early draft phase, but now it's finally done! We hope providing more information will keep guests from missing out on anything.

3. 'Dancing Shoes' for the ladies in pretty heels on tired feet.
4. Bathroom Basket to take care of emergencies that may arise.
5. I had wanted sandalwood fans but my family bought these for me and though I'm not loving the very random colors, they will be no less practical than color coordinating ones. We'll spread these out among the ceremony seating.

6. Self Serve Hot Bar - I'm often cold and it's not always easy to get a hot drink at weddings for whatever reason. Since our venue is by the river and it can get chilly at night, we're having this hot bar station so people can get a warm cup of tea, coffee, cocoa whenever they want. I've arranged for the caterer to provide cups, condiments, and 10 gallons of hot water in a couple dispensers. Next to it will be this set up:

We really hope our guests will enjoy themselves!



I'm a thoughts over fancies kind of girl, so this DIY postcard STD really impressed me: A perfect illustration of the couple's shared love for books and coffee shops, this photo was taken at the cafe table where they met and they even photoshopped their kitty on the paper!

Simple+ chic+ personal = elegance in my mind, and this is a great example of what I wish my own diy projects convey. I can't deny that there's a bit of a perfectionist in me and I sometimes focus a little too much on the details. But at the end of the wedding, I just hope our guests walk away with a feeling that the celebration was fun, personal, and that they are special to us. This has been our reason for making many of our wedding decisions, and a big part of why I put so much effort into so many of my own diy projects.

**Good job Aimee & Minh, and congratulations on your wedding this weekend! I wish you the just this kind of sweet success on your special day!**

Why do you DIY?


Showcase Showdown

So our teabag escort cards are all done, but now I gotta figure out how to showcase them!

The original plan was to display the escorts on the granite slab, with the teabags standing and lined up along the ribbon with labels identifying 'His Family', 'Her Family', and 'Like Family':

Unfortunately, practicality doesn't allow this for several reasons:
  1. Set up takes entirely too long since teabags aren't made to stand
  2. Spacing doesn't work out well with the size of our granite slab
  3. There are 2 people attending the wedding that we did not invite, one of them we have never met, so calling them 'Like Family' would discount the meaning
  4. Our wedding is outdoors, it will be windy
  5. They have a tendency to domino (this happened 3 times just during the photo-op!)
So instead, we tried just laying them all down, which is rather boring:
We considered doing the his/her/like family grouping this way as well but the numbers in each group doesn't work out to fit full rows, so the least confusing way would just be alphabetizing all of them.

And then I tried doing the grouping on charger plates:
Since I need at least 4 plates to hold all the teabags, I was thinking of adding a group called 'Friends & Guest'. But because we're having such an intimate wedding, most friends who are invited are like family to us so I'd hate to stick them in this category out of convenience.

What would you do?
  • Use the granite slab - forget the groups and alphabetize them all
  • Do 3 groups (his/her/like-familyx2) and don't think too much
  • Do 4 groups (his/her/like-family, and 'friends & guest'), people won't care if they end up on the last plate
  • Use the plates but with alphabetical groups instead (A-F, G-M... etc)
  • Something completely different coz these options suck


Dang It!

I seriously considered buying a little Chinese dress for my newest future niece to match her older sister, but decided against it because she's probably most comfortable in her soft and breathable baby clothes. Then today the mister emailed me this picture of us he had on his phone, and my heart sunk a tiny bit at the slipped opportunity to dress up the prettiest baby in the world as a little China Doll!

Quick search for a red infant Chinese dress did not yield good results. I only found this one, but only size 1 is available (I guess that means for age 1?), boo!

It's too close to the wedding to change my mind now. It's best not to put more on my plate. I should stick to the original plan.

Right?? Right!! ..... right?

Straightening Things Out

I bought the fabric steamer recommended by Mrs. Canary to take out the wrinkles on my dress. I purchased it from Amazon, and for whatever reason the item came without that important instructions pamphlet that was rated as a must read! Yesterday the MOH came over to help me 'wing it', and here are the results!

Unsteamed Dress
Half Steamed Dress
Steamed Dress!

I had lots of questions before deciding on the steam route (over the $75 alternative to get it professionally pressed), with worries that it would ruin it somehow. Since I'm not too attached to my dress, I took the risk, and I think it paid off! I saved a few bucks, and I have a steamer to use for steaming the veil and any last minute touch ups on the day of.

Special shout out to the MOH - I really couldn't have done this one without her, especially the product showcase pictures part.


Personal Escorts

This is the DIY project that taught me the hard lesson of 'letting go'. You know, the one that makes you realize perfection was never in the cards? Let me introduce to you - our escort teabags.

Front of teabag has each guest's name, and front side of tag has our monogram.
To make it a little more personal, we came up with a unique nickname for each of our guest and wrote it on the back of the teabag in quotes. The back of the tag has the name of their respective table.
Sorting, checking and assembling:

To distinguish these tags from the faux-teabag tags from the wish bowl (yes I fully realize no one will notice), the corners were quarter punched with a single-hole punch.

There are all kinds of inconsistencies in the end products, but hey, they'll work. So my handwriting isn't great, nothing seems to be in alignment, the tags vary in size, and I even somehow managed randomized capitalization! At the end of the wedding, no one will remember their imperfections. And at the end of my craft day, though I had to settle for less than my vision, it was fun turning my idea into reality. As a bonus, our office now smell like yummy tea. What more could a DIY bridie ask for? :)


Are You Nervous?

I'm pretty sure I get asked this question everyday, sometimes multiple times a day (sometimes by the same people, on the same day :/ ). I also get asked this more and more as the wedding gets closer. I think I should get this big @$$ button and sport it on da daily.

Fittin' the Gals

The whole BM dress situation was a huge headache I brought onto myself. Let's just say we were working with a long list of criteria and the perfect dress was impossible to find. The mister and I seriously considered just selecting a fabric so the girls can pick their own dresses, but since we're limited to choosing an online Chinese dress vendor (each girl live in a different city), we decided it would be easier for everyone to just pick out one dress. We settled for a black dress for $110, which has beautiful embroidery on it. The dress is well made, but the piping turned out FREAKING MAROON INSTEAD OF RED LIKE THE PICTURE! I was upset for awhile, but having each girl return it and repurchase seemed too much to ask, so we're living with it.

Here's the MOH modeling the whole 'fit':
I bought the pale gold shoes for each girl as a courtesy, and they are welcome to wear something else if they'd prefer. In lieu of bouquets, they will each be given one of these Chinese silk fans to hold (and use while standing there in the heat!). I made these earrings for them as well:
I aimed for everything to be re-wearable, and the MOH swears she'll wear them all again (and she has already worn the shoes to work). It's really hard to find a 'uniform' for 4 people of different size, shape, taste, personality, and flare! I probably fell short in making everyone 100% happy in this case, but I tried my best, and fortunately the girls seem to be supportive about the end result.

I must admit, I felt a bit like a Nazi requiring everyone to buy and wear a specific dress just because I'm getting married. I realize most people expect it when they agree to be a bridesmaid, but it doesn't make me feel much better. Most people I tell this to, including the wedding party themselves, just think I'm nuts.


Blister in the Sun

It's gonna be hot at our outdoor August wedding, no doubt about it. We usually deal any adverse situations with practicality and then sprinkle it with humor, and this one will be no exception. We'll make sure drinks are plenty cold by the time guests arrive, we're having Jamba Juice catered, and setting up market umbrellas to provide shade for dinner. Since there isn't much more we can do to keep things cool, we decided to make light of the hot mess by playing songs with heat/fire/sun references either pre-ceremony or during the cocktail hour. Finding songs is actually a rather tough task because we need the songs to be at least somewhat well known, upbeat, with a relatively positive message, and make pretty prominent reference to the hotness. We wonder how many people will get it, but much like table 9, it'll be worth the few chuckles regardless. Here's what we have so far (which I'm not yet satisfied with), and we'd love to hear your suggestions!


P.S. I dare you to listen through the entire first song while picturing yourself all dressed up at a wedding in the heat without cracking up. "People in the party - hot hot hot! How you feeling? Hot hot hot!" !


The GTs - Making Dreams Come True Since 2006

When my future niece first realized there will be a wedding for the mister and I, her eyes lit up and she immediately asked me, "Aunt GT, do I get to be the... the... the..." as she motions the taking out of imaginary flower petals and dropping them onto the ground.

"The Flower Girl?" I helped.

"YEAH!" she exclaimed.

"Of course, honey." I kissed her on the forehead.

She lets out a grateful little sigh and said to herself as she leaned back in her chair, "It's like... my dream come true..."

Here she is in her FG dress!

Check out the hair stick she has on for the photo-op, it cracks me up:

She is very much a 'princess', and I was worried that she would not love the Chinese dress since it's not of the poofy Disney princess variety she is used to. Fortunately, she feels like a princess in any dress and she loves this one! Phew...

Here is the Barbie she is getting as a gift from us: (source)

And here is my Chinese dress (same fabric as the FG's dress):

Despite my total camera shyness, I super look forward to posing with her for pictures in our matching dresses!

Child Free, Not Guilt Free

Wow. In our circles we do not have any friends our age who are married (or getting there) and do not want children. Imagine my surprise to find so many of you who were able to relate to my post yesterday!

You guys came up with fantastic and hilarious ways to combat negative comments regarding the childfree life we're choosing. I must say that while it's hard to embrace those comments, they don't actually hurt our feelings too much since they usually stem from good intentions, with fear that we may miss out on the kiddie goodness. We know that it is unimaginable to some, and we try to be understanding about it.

What is rough, is how our decision affects all the stakeholders. Us not being parents = our parents not being grandparents = our brothers not being uncles = our nieces and nephew not being cousins. Of course we understand we must base our decision on what is best for us and the life we would/would not bring into this world, but no matter how many great reasons we have, choosing to remain childfree is not as easy as it may seem!

The other day my sweet future nephew was giggling about us having a baby after the wedding (8 year olds find the subject hilarious), and I had to explain to him that we are not planning to have one. He looked up at me with those puppies eyes and said "but aunt GT, then I wouldn't have a baby cousin!"

A straight shot of guilt went from the hand I had on his shoulder directly to my heart and pierced it.

He would make a wonderful older cousin, as would all his siblings. His grandparents would be as great to our kids as they are to them. The mister, without a doubt, would absolutely be the most fantastic father on this planet. And I have deprived them of it all because, as my FMIL once told me, I am selfish.

I wish oh so very desperately that I longed for kids of my own! I wish I was not horrified by the enormous baby head genes that run in the mister's family! I wish the idea of babyproofing my home is not revolting to me! I wish I believe I would work hard enough to get back my current body after giving birth! I wish the law with all its safety regulations would be laxed enough for me to just pile any number of children in the backseat of any car without annoying carseats! I wish babies came with manuals (and 24 hour phone support)! I wish babies never turn into teenagers!

Obviously, I am not suited to be a mother for the above (and so so much more). While I can't help with the family associated guilt, I do at least take comfort in knowing that we are making the best decision for us, and in turn for our families. Maybe by some miracle one day my biological alarm will start blasting out of nowhere, but we're not counting on it, and we are prepared to live our lives to their fullest without children.

Now, dare I ask, can any of you relate to this kind of guilt or feel bullied into the baby making corner?


First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

Over lunch with my family yesterday, the topic of babies came up. When I told my grandma about us not planning on having children, she replied with a mix of surprise and disapproval in her voice, "then why do you bother getting married?!"

The no-win situation:
  • When you're dating they say you should get married
  • When you're married they say you should have a kid
  • When you have a kid they say you should have more
  • When you want no kids they ask why you bother with marriage
I don't want kids. This shouldn't be a difficult concept to grasp but I'm met with shock and awe each time someone finds that out for the first time, as if it's some heinous crime I plan to commit. I've actually known this for a long time, but no one took me seriously at age 16. I thought the dismissals would die down as I got older, but instead folks are now rushing to save me from myself before my eggs fossilize. I have many logical reasons why I do not want to be a mother that I used to defend my decision with. But now more than ever, at the half-past-ripe age of 30, I am not only tired of giving justifications that never seem to suffice, I am a little irritated for constantly being told that this very personal decision I (and now we) have made is the wrong one. There is even talk of a pool amongst my co-workers to bet on when I will be pregnant. I wish I could get in on it, but 'never' is apparently not a betting option.

I actually LOVE babies, but much prefer OPBs (other people's babies). You know, the kind you can just play with for a couple of hours and then return to their parents for the diaper change? We are surrounded by OPBs and we visit them as much as we can. With all our friends having babies and us getting married, the question of "When are you having yours?" often comes up and is usually followed by the "Oh you'll change your mind" after our response. I understand that most people find procreation a necessary part of life (and I'm glad they do since that results in adorable OPBs!), but I am having a difficult time with people's innate judgment against our decision. No one knows better than ourselves whether parenting life is right for us. This choice (of whether to have / when to have / how many to have) should not only be up to us, but I feel it is one that also deserve support and respect! Am I alone?