When I had the luxury of blogging regularly, I thought it was silly for authors to apologize for their absence when they go missing for awhile. I think I understand how they feel now.

I'm going through a big transition at work, which is also impacting my personal life in a huge way (moving away alone). I meant to blog from the hotel, but I've just been too drained.

I have quite a few DIY projects half started back home. It's hard to work on them when all my tools are 2 hours away. I've been working on getting that invitation template up since I keep getting requests for it. I want to make it easy to use, and my dear brother is helping me develop a method. I don't know if we can get it to work, but we're trying.

I'm also really tired of looking at my own wedding pics, but I had promised myself that I would finish the recap, and I am not one to break promises.

In short, I'll be back. I just need things to settle down a bit. I miss you guys.

Image is one of the views from my new 'office' (da 'office' stretches approximately 6 miles).


Happy Earth Day

One of my favorite Chinese sayings translates directly as 'Drink Water Think Fountain', reminding us to consider and be grateful for sources we take / benefit from. Sometimes it's hard to believe I have such smarties as ancestors...


The Tea Party: Da Get Down

Previously: 1. Prelude , 2. Tea Ceremony , 3. Getting Ready, 4. The Kids, 5. Wedding Party, 6. Down the Aisle, 7. Ceremony, 8. Group Shots , 9. Couple Shots, 10. Jump Shots, , 11. House Shots, 12. Cocktails & Dinner, 13. First Dance, 14. Parents Dance, 15. Toasts , 16. Cake , 17. Lion Dance, 18. Sweet Fountain

A lot of thought was put into the dancing portion. I know that while I put effort to get on the dance floor at weddings, I don't often stay out for long. But when I do, watch-out y'all, we got a hot one in here!

From the dj to the music to the set up to the timing of events+++, we considered as much as we could and made decisions based on what would keep guests around and dance through the night. Well, our hard work paid off, because every single guest was on the dance floor at some point and most of them boogied til the end!

Here's us showing 'em how itz done:

We actually cleared the dance floor several times for planned activities, but with our lead (plus a few strategies) the shaking booties always came right on back:
I told you da MIL was having a good time!
This one just cracks me up. Apparently there was a need to direct the dance traffic:
I'm pretty sure this is the first time I have EVAH seen my parents dance with each other!
And our ring bearer was cutting a rug like it was nobody's business:

Even my super shy little cousin got a piece of the action!
And I don't gotta tell you what song was playing in these two pics right?

I think what makes a hot dance party depends a lot on your crowd. With our small wedding (94 guests) that include folks of all ages and very few dance prone bodies, we did the following with the dance focus in mind:

1. We sacrificed our favorite songs. While we obviously stamped our personalities everywhere in the wedding, we left most of it out of the guest dance portion (supplemented by a very 'us' first dance). I've been to too many weddings where it was obvious that the couple handpicked the reception songs (or paid no attention to the playlist), and very few guests appreciated them. In my wedding attendance during our engagement (10!), I took notes of songs that seemed to always get people to dance and we played mostly those. We got so many compliments on the music selections!

2. We paid the MC/DJ. While my stingy behind DIYed and shopped deals like crazy, I knew not to skimp in this department. Dead air, awkward transitions, bad timing... etc. can drop the dance mood like *snap* THIS!

3. We kept things centralized. I noticed the venues that break up the reception tables areas (e.g. some in main room, some on patio or the next room) often make 'the other room' guests feel left out of the main event. We picked a venue capable of accommodating all tables in one area adjacent to the dance floor. We also arranged for most happenings at the reception to take place right on the dance floor (even the chocolate fountain line) so guests don't get distracted or have many reasons to venture off.

4. We made sure there was space. I went to a big wedding once where the tiny dance floor was packed. I wanted to get in on the action but there was simply no room! I think from that bride and groom's POV it was a hopping party, not that it wasn't, but the majority of the guests were actually sitting out or leaving early (which we did).

Are you having a dance reception? What do you think contributes to one done right?

Images by Travis Hoehne and my friend Rob


I'll Miss You, Silver Shoes

Off the office carpet and onto the dirt road I go as my summer field assignment begins tomorrow. It has been a stressful week prepping for it since I gotta move out there. I'm looking forward to the experience but I'm sad to be away from da hubs and da haus.

I'll hopefully be blogging from my hotel room for the next couple of weeks. Argh, I hate living out of a suitcase.


The Tea Party: Chocolatey Goodness

Previously: 1. Prelude , 2. Tea Ceremony , 3. Getting Ready, 4. The Kids, 5. Wedding Party, 6. Down the Aisle, 7. Ceremony, 8. Group Shots , 9. Couple Shots, 10. Jump Shots, , 11. House Shots, 12. Cocktails & Dinner, 13. First Dance, 14. Parents Dance, 15. Toasts , 16. Cake , 17. Lion Dance

Da Hubs thinks it's funny that Chinese people eat fruit as dessert, but it'd be noooo funny business if I ever left my family hanging at the end of the meal without it. Since fruit was a must have anyway, we upgraded to a chocolate fountain. 8 dipping items included 5 different fruits plus pretzels, marshmallows, and rice krispy treats. Nommm.

There was a line for the fountain the whole time, and the location made it so the line was on part of the big dance floor. This way, folks in line were not kept away from anything that was going on, and most of them boogied while in line.

We got tons of thumbs up from our guests, but what we didn't get was any dippers for ourselves! Neither da hubs nor I ever made it to the chocolate fountain that night (and while my face had its share I actually didn't get to eat any cake either), but it was worthwhile just seeing everyone enjoy it so much.

And I wish you could see these kids when they reminisce over that tower of flowing chocolate!

The third and the last images by my friend Rob, the rest by Travis Hoenhe


DIY Mini 'Laundry' Calendar

I love a useful / thoughtful favor as much as I despise little pieces of crap that ends up in the landfill right after a wedding. This idea spawned from my panic after hearing about yet another wasteful one in the works.

You can Download This Calendar for April 2009 through December 2010. I made a sample favor here by adding the circle design from MOH-Ho's invites on her wedding date.

Below are instructions to make the lil' calendar:

1. Cut an 8" long piece of wire (most wires would work, I used 26 ga. wire which was really thin):
2. Bend at 2 1/4" and 5 1/4" like this:
3. Pull wire through the springs of two mini 1" clothespins:
4. Bend, twist, and bend some mo' to make hanger shape:
5. Download Calendar and print (I recommend printing on linen paper for the texture. If you're making them in bulk, I suggest using recycled linen paper like this one.)
6. Cut or tear out each month, they need not be exactly the same size (I like to score then tear to give me torn edges that don't get too crazy.)
7. I've included little tags for the hanger which you can add as desired (see first or last pic), of course you can also make your own.
8. Clip 'em suckas with the clothespins and you've got yourself a wee hanging calendar!

It costs less than a shiny quarter and takes less than 5 minutes to make, so I made MOH-Ho a countdown calendar :)

Happy Crafting!


The Tea Party: Pole Dancing

Previously: 1. Prelude , 2. Tea Ceremony , 3. Getting Ready, 4. The Kids, 5. Wedding Party, 6. Down the Aisle, 7. Ceremony, 8. Group Shots , 9. Couple Shots, 10. Jump Shots, , 11. House Shots, 12. Cocktails & Dinner, 13. First Dance, 14. Parents Dance, 15. Toasts , 16. Cake

One of the few things I knew I wanted for our wedding was a Chinese Lion Dance. When done right, the loud and festive performances always light up faces in a crowd.

When I first introduced da hubs to it by way of a sad little YouTube video, he couldn't have been less impressed. As much as I tried to explain, it is just one of those things you don't truly understand until you experience it in person. Fortunately, our friends got married earlier in the year and DH was able to witness the awesomeness live from our front and centered seats (thx R&E!), after that he couldn't imagine our wedding without one!
The kids' expressions when they saw the lions were absolutely priceless.

I did quite a bit of research looking for the right team, and my picky self refused to settle for the unskilled (which I found everywhere, because most people can't tell the difference!). I came real close to scrapping the idea several times since this was a splurge for us in the first place and quality was hard to find, but the newly converted hubs was having none of it. We. Must. Have. Lions.

Finally, I hired a team to come in from the Bay Area. What gave me confidence in this one over the others? One, they have videos of their performances and they were good! And two...

They.Dance.On.Poles. !!
I can't complain about the happy pics of us, though I wish I had photos of the guest faces. People still tell us how fantastic it was to see that at our wedding. Too bad I can't get the non-Asian folks to stop calling the lions, dragons :/
They mostly use the jongs (the poles) for competitions because the space and height clearance required often keep them out of private events. Fortunately our outdoor venue with the big dance floor was set up perfectly for it!
I would have put Vegas style flashing big links here recommending my Lion Dance vendor if they had fulfilled our agreement. Unfortunately, after paying for and verbally agreeing multiple times that there would be a firecracker finale at the end of the performance, we were simply left without. The contact person had insisted that for insurance purpose or whatever (even after I explained that we already purchased insurance to cover the event) they couldn't give us a written agreement including the firecrackers. After verbally confirming it 3 times, I trusted them like the naive girl that I am. I even put a firecracker illustration in our program and warned guests of the super loud excitment to (not) come!

I would have still hired them in a heartbeat had they been honest with me about there being no firecrackers available, despite how much I wanted them. More than anything, I just really dislike being lied to. They took our payment and left with no explanation. I emailed the contact person about it and the response completely ignored the firecracker issue.

Now I don't wanna end on a yucky note because everyone was having a great time, even my impossible-to-impress parents (gasp) approved! I'm sure the guests will remember the great performance over the mysterious missing firecrackers, just as we will remember those happy faces at our wedding over the hiccups on that day.

Life doesn't always go according to plan, but that's what keeps life exciting. Why should our wedding day be any less exciting, right? ;)

Images by Travis Hoehne