How to be a Rocking Bride

This past weekend the mister and I attended our first wedding as married guests in lovely Reno, NV. Here Mr.GT's 'little sis' will show you how to be a bride who ROCKS:

1) First, you gotta make all your brothers (pseudo and blood) look like wimps standing next to you at all times (Mr.GT on far left, BIL GT on far right):
2) Be walked down the aisle by not just one, but TWO handsome boys who love you to death:
3) Make it clear to the hubs early on who will be calling the shots in your marriage, in front of witnesses:
4) Take off from your wedding ceremony in the driver's seat:
5) Add your style of simple, fun, and colorful details to the event (who can not love the classic fall theme?):
6) Serve irresistable signature drinks like Chocolate Martini's and Chocolate Milk!

7) Include sweet touches such as a guest book with plenty of pictures of childhood and with friends (this pic shows brother-in-law-GT showing the bride some love as kiddies):
8) Recruit only adorable children to be in your wedding party. Make sure at least one ringbearer have hair that matches your wedding colors and assign him to flirt with all the lady guests:
9) Invite the coolest guests (1st pic is Mr.GT & I, 2nd pic of our groomsmaid with her playful hubs):
10) Pick a song to dedicate a dance with your brother that makes him cry uncontrollable tears for at least one whole minute:
11) Get yourself some priceless hilarious friends to give fabulous toasts in your honor that include embarassing childhood stories:
12) Start off karaoke right with 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T' and the Rockband Mic Tap: 13) If step #12 is properly executed, it should lead to the following:
(Sweeeeet Caroline...)

(Ba, Ba, Ba!)

14) Of course, keep the wine flowing all night to keep up the high (illustrated by the tipsy Mr.GT here)!
Congratulations Heather and Chris! Thank you for letting us be part of this day that is truly as fun and charming as you, we love you!


Our Happy Wedding Website

If there is one thing I do well, it is to use the crap out of any free resources. We got a ton of good feedback on our website so I'm sharing some snapshots. We're not web or graphics savvy folks but I think we left a good impression with visitors by keeping it real. (see readable versions via the 'biggerize!' links)

The Welcome Page - To keep it casual, we chose a photo we took of our goofy selves rather than using one of our e-pics. The text invites them to explore with our choice songs playing in the background (more detail on the music below):

Our Story Page - We wrote about eachother here so that those who haven't met us can get to know us a bit before the wedding. We also included a couple funnies on the proposal and how we met. Turns out, this was a very popular page and most of our guests enjoyed the stories whether they know us well or otherwise. Here is a snapshot that includes what I said about the mister:

Wedding Party Page - I gave each girl a spice name accordingly (Chef Spice, Sugar n' Spice, Dr. Spice, Picky Spice, Princess Spice). Oh and of course we had to include Optimus Prime:

Wedding Events Page - Here I threatened to embarass any late comers, which is something I couldn't pull off if we didn't have an easy tone throughout the website (but they knew d@mn well I wasn't playin'!). In addition, I included a few pictures of the venue so people have an idea what they're getting into. Especially with outdoor weddings, guests aren't necessarily prepared for the conditions, so I wanted to give everyone a clear headsup on what to expect.

We included some info on things to do for the OOT guests while in town. Some of our guests didn't realize the State Fair was going on the same weekend and/or that it was close by, so this turned out quite helpful. I also included a pic of the mister at the fair a few years back, on one of our 'first dates':

No matter how many times I told people that we're not having a Chinese wedding, no one from the mister's side seemed to truly comprehend it. Since many of them are not that familiar with being around different cultures, I included information on what they can expect that day. Unfortunately, having spring rolls as hor d'oeurves automatically makes it a Chinese wedding to some. Grr...

Anyway, you can also see we suggested red attire (emphasizing OPTIONAL), and a lot of guests indeed showed up in red. In fact, quite a few ladies told me prior to the wedding how they were looking forward to wearing some special red dress that day since they so rarely get the occasion to do so!

We didn't find much use for our e-pics, but people love pictures and this was a great place to share them:

Just for fun, we included an excerpt from one of Mr. Monkey's blog entry:

I love-love-loved that we were able to put music on the site, which automatically played when guests arrived at the welcome page! I think it contributed big time in delivering the fun-quirky-personal feel that we were going for with our song selections:

The website is also how we solicitied wedding photos from our guests for the Marriage Celebration Tree which turned out quite well! Other boring pages included Accomodations, Registries, Guest Book, and Contact Us. Actually the guest book / contact page is quite fun, where multiple people we either did not know or did not invite to our wedding left us notes telling us how they enjoyed the site and sent us well wishes! Apparently some of our guests decided to share our website with others, one guest even told us how she showed it to everyone she works with!

For a freebie, the website really worked well for us, but it did take a lot of time to put together. For the record, it is from http://www.mywedding.com/, which we found easy to use and navigate, without making us or our guests feel bombarded with ads.

Did you bother doing a website? If so, what worked well for you? Share your tips here!


No Frosting Neccessary

Happiness is...
... a chocolate cake he baked, on the perfect cake plate he bought, all for me.


Small Gifts, Big Heart

I've already told you about the thoughtful wedding present from the hubs. Since he had to give it to me a week prior to the wedding so I can enjoy them before the honeymoon, I gave him one of his wedding presents at the same time in exchange:

We have a little tradition to get a Christmas ornament that marks each year. I love that this teapot ornament is shaped much like our monogram, a subtle way to pay our wedding year a little tribute, and that it's something we will keep and use for the years to come.

Our Monogram

The second part of his present is a calendar I made on Shutterfly with pictures of our years past and captions that are inside jokes of sorts.

I was suppose to have it delivered to him at the vineyard so our photog can capture his reaction on film. Well I totally forgot about it, but this turned out to be a fortunate event. I gave it to him myself on our wedding night, and I'm so glad that I got to see his reaction in person instead! While it is a simple gift, I knew he would appreciate how personal the gift was.

I must admit, I had my doubts (turns out, he did too) about not spending enough on the wedding gifts. Next to any fancy watches or custom cufflinks, a dinky ornament and paper calendar can surely pale in comparison. Why can't he be one of those guys who has drooled over some expensive timepiece forever?!

While we didn't mind spending a few extra bucks on the wedding presents, buying expensive gifts solely for the sake of the occasion simply isn't us. I'm really glad we discussed about wedding presents prior to the wedding, agreed to buy each other nothing unless it was meaningful, and that the cost of the items were irrelevant. Much like the wedding, the amount of money thrown at it doesn't determine the real value. :)

Are you exchanging wedding presents and where will you do it? What were your criteria and did you set a budget?


Sentiments (or my lack there of)

A year ago today (I think it's today, maybe it's tomorrow...) I came home from work and these Casablanca Lilies, my favorite bloom, were waiting for me. Coincidently, there was a trail of ants in the kitchen, which I got right to cleaning up after.

He came home after work with a big smile: Hi babe!
Me: hey
Him: you like the flowers?
Me: yeah...
Him: what's wrong?
Me: well... I love the flowers. But next time if you leave food out and track ants, just clean it up. You don't have to get me flowers because of it.
Me: ehh... yeah... you didn't know?
Him: there were no ants when I left for work this morning
Me: oh... what are the flowers for then?

So that was for our date-a-versary last year. To my total surprise, a week before our wedding, I received this below (personalized with our names and wedding date) filled once again with my gorgeous lillies:Back when I was blogging anonymously, I posted an entry showing this vase which I thought would make a cute wish bowl. By the time I shared my blog with the mister, I had long forgotten about the post. My wedding present was this handmade crock with the commitment to an anniversary bouquet for each year to come.

I love that the hubs is so thoughtful, but truth be told, I am (as illustrated above) not big on celebrating anniversaries (or my own birthday for that matter). I don't need a special occasion to go out to a nice dinner or to get him a present, and find it much more convenient to do so whenever I please. Everyday is worth celebrating, don't you agree? In any event, I'm so glad that the date-a-versary is behind us!

I know people who note anniversaries of all kinds including their first date or first kiss, and some continue to celebrate their date-a-versary after marriage. How important are anniversaries to you and which ones are on your list to remember?

Second image from here


2-in-1 GT Honeymoon

Now that the mister has explained the planning of our 2-part honeymoon, it is time to show you the results. Despite our worries, the weather was great (no sign of hurricanes!) and labor day crowds were thin. I know honeymoon posts aren't super exciting to read unless you're interested in visiting the same places, so I'll just overload you with pictures and include some key tips for the 'moon planners out there who may benefit from it.

Ready? Go!

We started out cruising, on the Norwegian Sky:

First stop was the Grand Bahamas Island where we swam with, hugged, kissed (on the lips!) dolphins... and instructed them to do tricks!
The next day we went to Nassau where we visited the enormous Atlantis Resort:
We checked out the gorgeous grounds and aquariums...

and enjoyed a splashing good time at their waterpark, the Aquaventure, where there are awesome waterslides including ones that goes through a clear tunnel underwater so you can get upclose and personal with the sharks and other marine life:

Final stop before heading back to Miami was the cruise line's private island where we enjoyed some sun and snorkel (pic below is of us on our balcony with the island as backdrop):

Cruise Notes:

  • The excursions were great. Approximately $250 per person for the dolphin swim of probably less than an hour of actual swim time, and $150 per person for the waterpark, are marked up significantly by the cruiseline. You can save a lot of money buying tickets directly when you get there, but because the cruise business get priority and you cannot buy tickets in advance, we paid the extra anyway to make sure we won't miss out on the fun.
  • It may have been better if we went on a bigger ship, but the bigger ships are all for longer trips and we didn't want to be stuck on a ship for any longer!
  • There were tons and tons of not very good food. We even paid extra to try their top restaurant on the boat, and it was still rather unimpressive.
  • Sadly, the mister was sick so we missed out on some of the parties. If the few shows that we were able to attend are indicators for the quality of entertainment, we didn't miss much.
  • Paying extra for the balcony room was sooo worth it! Being able to relax and enjoy the ocean view in the privacy of our own room makes it feel like a real vacation, even though room service was gross.
  • There was a lot of Bingo, and a lot of Elton John.
  • Verdict: It was good to experience it and we thoroughly enjoyed the activities at the stops, but we can now say for certain that we are NOT cruise people :)

Then we were off to Disneyworld!

We stayed at one of the Disney deluxe resorts - The Wilderness Lodge, and got the best room in the whole place! Check out our view: We visited all four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios)We couldn't rock the ears fo' realz, but we did fake it for a sec in the store. Actually we wouldn't even have thought about it if not for one of the mister's favorite post:

Below circled in red, we have the 'Dream Fastpass', which is part of Disney's Year of a Million Dream promo. We each got one just for being at the right place at the right time! It's a single use fastpass for each major ride at that park without time restriction (valid that day only).

In the blue is the 'Just Married Button' the resort gave us when we checked in. The staff are trained to look for these and people congratulated us everywhere we went. The attention took some getting used to (we were stopped one time by a couple staff members with big-o bells announcing our newlywed status for all to hear), but we kept the buttons on since we also got special treatment here and there like free cookies with our meals or special Mickey sprinkles with our dessert. Hee.

We dined at the California Grill one night. We made reservations months and months prior so that we could see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom over dinner: Finally, here's a pic we took just for you :)

Disney Notes:
  • The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World was the best travel purchase ever! The mister used it to do a lot of planning, and we followed its suggestions to maximize our time usage, found best spots for show viewings, select dinning options, etc. We would have missed out on sooo much if not for the book!
  • Allow yourselves at least a full day for each park!
  • Disney provide bus, ferry, monorail transportation to and from each park and their resort.
  • Go to the California Grill for dinner or drinks during fireworks time. They even stream the sound inside the restaurant!
  • There were water fountains around but our hydration backpack saved us from wasting time looking for them, and from fountain-tasting water, without having to buy drinks all day.
  • The fastpasses for the new Toy Story Mania ride at Hollywood Studios were ALL GONE before noon. Holy crap, we almost didn't make it in because we had to leave for our flight home! Thank goodness we did though because that turned out to be my favorite ride :)
  • For those who have been to Disneyland, Disney World is still worth the visit! Magic Kingdom is the park most similar to Disneyland but there are still quite a few rides and sites that distinguish the two, plus it's much newer. The Electrical Parade at DLand was getting really old for me but the one at DWorld is much much better!
Whew! Ok, so anyone else combining vacations for the honeymoon?