Monday, August 28, 2006

The third dress

Last Friday, BM and I headed out bright and early to 34th Street to find me an evening gown (for the final dress-changing portion of the evening), since the one that I had originally intended to wear is really plain and not exactly flattering. My co-worker had told me about the inexpensive evening gowns that you can buy in the Garment District. I had checked out some places before, but it was difficult to make a decision w/o a second set of eyes and w/o being able to try anything on. So I dragged BM with me to this particular store that actually has a fitting room (ghetto as it may be) and after trying on many a dress, I found something!

At first, I was really afraid that I would make the wrong decision (you can't return stuff, just exchange, and only within 24 hours) so I asked the woman to hold the dress for me (she only holds it for a few hours) while we went to look elsewhere. Since we were in the area, we went to Macy's. Interestingly, I saw at least two styles of dresses that were in the ghetto store, just in different colors. The big difference? About $50 (if not more -- numbers escape me for the moment)! Oh and at Macy's, they have fancier tags attached. After I realized that my budget prevented me from buying anything nice or undamaged from Macy's (I've bought enough evening gowns in the past year for quite a few formal events), I came to the conclusion that the dress from the ghetto store was the one for me.

It is a halter dress with an empire waist and A-line skirt. There is a weird fold of fabric in the front that looks a bit like ruffles, but not really. I'm thinking of cutting that part off. It comes with a thin shawl/scarf thingy and and it's green! Recently I've become enamored with the color green, especially bright greens like apple and lime. I've also noticed that this color is nice on Asian skin so I knew it'd be in my best interest to get something green. Even though many people would have preferred that I wear yet another red dress (besides the qi pao), I decided to go for the green and I think I have a winner! I will finally have a fabulous dress in my repertoire for the day!

And just to check that I'm not colorblind, here's a swatch of the color. The two mothers said it's not "bright" enough -- are they crazy? It's sooo bright (I was concerned it may be too bright). [I'd post a pic of the full dress but I'm too lazy and it's complicated to put it on, etc.]

Today, I tried on the dress with my silver 3" heels and the length is perfect! Now I just have to iron it and perhaps look for the right undergarment. Yay! Something went right for a change!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Preliminary timeline

We sorta hammered out our timeline for the actual wedding day. A major complication is how far out in Brooklyn I live, and how all the vendors and locations are in lower Manhattan. If I stayed in Brooklyn the night before, the schedule would be a lot tighter (it's pretty tight staying in Manhattan too). So, assuming we (meaning, me, BMs, and my parents) stay in a hotel downtown the night before, the timeline would be something like:

8:30 wake up
9:30 - 10:00 Bride & 1 BM leave to go to hair salon, while rest of BMs stay at hotel to get makeup done
10:00 - 11:00 Bride & 1 BM get hair done
11:00 - 11:30 Bride & BM return to hotel to get makeup done while other two BMs go to hair salon
11:30 - 12:30 Bride's makeup
12:30 - 1:30 everyone get dressed
1:00 photographer show up at hotel to take some getting ready pictures
1:30 cab picks up bride at hotel, w/ parents & photographer to church
1:30 trio/quartet begins playing prelude stuff
2:00 ceremony begins (we're thinking of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring for the processional and Canon in D for bride's entrance)
2:30 ceremony ends
2:30 - 3:00 brief picture time at church for those who are interested
3:00 - 5:30 pictures throughout lower Manhattan and Brooklyn (still have to decide where to take pics)
5:30 - 6:00 travel to restaurant (may have to get additional car to bring us since cab's rate is for 4 hours)
6:00 - 7:00 tea ceremony during cocktail hour
7:00 banquet begins (and I mean 7pm on the dot, not any later!) -- bride and groom introduced
7:15 first dance
11:00 banquet ends

Still have to work out time of dress changes, cake cutting, speeches, table toasts....

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Finally, all the invitations are in the mail and I can brag about them online. I'm really proud of them -- they've been the highlight of planning so far (from designing, to creating, to assembling, to getting feedback) but ever since then, everything has been downhill and nothing else has gone right. So don't expect much after this....

invite inside fully addressed vellum envelope (we chose vellum b/c it was on sale from

full invite (in poor light) with stamp (I was dissatisfied with the Post Office's selection of wedding stamps, but this was the best choice among their 63 cent selection)

pocket-fold invite wrapped with sheer Asiana ribbon (in ivory but looks silverish), closed with a seal of an embossed double happiness symbol on ivory cardstock, with vellum backing (again, poor lighting, but it really is ivory cardstock, not yellow!)

inside of invite; Chinese in red text above the English in black (there is a minor typo in Chinese, which we rectified by punchiing out various heart shapes but I'm too embarrassed to show a picture, plus we gave all those out before I had a chance to take a pic)

the various enclosures: map and directions card, RSVP, and card with web info (actually printed on the blank perforated business cards from Staples, which fit perfectly on the side pocket b/c it is 3.5"x2" & the enclosures are supposed to be 3.5" tall; best part is no cutting, just ripping apart)

close-up of the direction card; I really enjoyed creating the map (I used Google Earth to get a 3-D view of everything, traced the important parts, like landmarks, by hand, scanned the image, and traced it all over in Illustrator so as to have perfectly straight lines)

the RSVP card with a maple leaf punched out in the corner (to give just a hint of a fall wedding); all the English wording is screwed up (mix of formal and informal b/c of the huge problems FFIL had with it, even though I barely understand his English sometimes)

I ordered the postage stamps online and they come very neatly packaged in plastic with a cardboard to support it. It's very convenient -- no waiting on line, dealing with incompetent ppl, or tracking down about 300 of the exact same type of stamps. It just costs $1 extra for shipping, which I think is well worth it. And it was delivered fairly quickly.

  • Hammermill ivory 60lb. and 80 lb. cardstock from Staples: about $40 (we also bought extra to make other stuff too_
  • 300 "firecracker red" (love the color!) pocket-fold invites from Paper Presentation: about $355
  • 400 vellum outer envelopes: about $39 (on clearance, for 75% off)
  • Heavyweight tracing paper from high school drafting class: basically free
  • Glue & other adhesive: about $33 (we originally used the cheapass Avery glue pens from Staples for gluing the cardstock to the invite but they wouldn't really hold, then we went with the Scotch tape roller which is actually permanent; also used Glue Dots to stick ribbon and seal on)
  • Ribbon: about $7.50
  • 250 4-Bar RSVP envelopes from Paper Presentation: $37.50
  • Custom-made stamps (double happiness and two other ones that we ended up not using) from Simon's Stamps: $21
  • Embossing powder: $3
  • Stamp pads: $8
  • Maple leaf punch: $3.51
  • Ivory blank business cards from Staples: $0.25
GRAND TOTAL: $547.76, or $1.83 per invite (really less, if you count all the stuff that can be reused)

I think I made out pretty well, considering nice invites cost upwards of $2 nowadays. I think for a similar style it would have cost at least $5/invite.

And postage stamps cost about $70 (but not part of "making the invitation" so I didn't include it above).

Lastly, there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears when discussing the layout and wording, and hardly anyone has noticed that (insert befuddled, hardly amused, mostly aggravated face here).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cash cow and other farm animals

I've always been aware of the tension/conflict between the Old World thinking/traditions of recent immigrants and their first-generation American children. But I've never felt it more acutely than now, when seemingly ridiculous cultural traditions are being shoved down my throat and I'm demanded to follow them.

The most recent round of arguments have involved this pig delivery (dowry) thing. At first I thought this was a cute and fun idea and a good way to honor the Chinese history but it has gotten completely out of hand. Besides the pig, fiance is expected to bring over wedding pastries (not to be confused with the bakery cards that we bought to give out to the bride's side), two pairs of chickens, shark fin, dried mushrooms, dried scallops, plus various other dried delicacies, and one pair of coconuts. And of course, don't forget the packet of money that must include a lucky number (either 8 or 9), meaning about $1000 or more. To make matters worse, I'm told that neither me nor fiance can be present -- it will just be some ppl that he chooses to represent him (there must be at least a married couple with their children), including his parents, who show up at my parents' house (who, as of now, are complete strangers to the deliverers). These ppl only stay long enough to drop off all the stuff, receive half of it back (except for the coconuts for some bizarre reason), and then leave. Unlike other ppl who've gone through this, my parents want this ultra-traditional and are not going to invite the deliverers to stay and eat with them (heck I won't even be there to see the spectacle). To make things easier, fiance was given the option of giving the cold, hard cash equivalent of the miscellaneous goods. The trouble with all this, as FFIL pointed out, is which brand do they want? Because as you know, there's the top-notch fungus and there's the low-grade variety, which can be as expensive as $100/lb or as cheap as $1/lb. As it stands, I last heard that FILs found all this stupid and refuse to go to this delivery thing b/c it's not part of their custom.

Fiance was quite peeved about all this b/c it seems like he's buying me off (I agree), like a piece of property. My mother gave the explanation that all this needs to be done b/c I'm leaving home; note that no notice or care is given about the male leaving the home. As fiance said, if we were to do this the completely traditional way and to follow through on the idea of me leaving home completely, I would never ever see them again. So if you put that idea up against my parents wanting all this rigamarole, which is the better way to go? It's not fair that they get the best of both worlds and use the excuse of following tradition for only the parts that they like. I didn't bring that up but that didn't stop my mother from giving me the full-on guilt trip of how she raised me, all the hard work that went into that, and how I'm so ungrateful. Maybe I am, but like I told her, I have no problem giving her money or giving my parents a gift as a show of my appreciation for raising me, I just don't see the point of having to do all this stuff, and me being treated like property that is exchanged from family to husband. This is America -- we made the decision to get married and we don't really need permission or extra obstacles in our way.

With all these arguments, my mother has been reluctant to discuss these issues further with me. She gave me another guilt trip about how this is a happy occasion and she just wants it to be easy and without conflict but that every time we begin to discuss I get all mad. Well I think anyone would be mad if they had to go through all this. Maybe I'd be less confrontational about it all if we were told in advance. But no, we're finding out about all these excess demands now (our friends have never had to go through so much). We never thought we needed a married couple with kids to deliver stuff -- I believe all his cousins (who are married and have kids) are busy on the agreed upon w/e. His groomsmen (who we originally asked to help out) married non-Asian women so they will definitely not bring their wives. And I'd feel terrible to have to impose on ppl to do these tasks (which are most likely meaningless to them) for ppl who are strangers to them.

After our latest fight and my protestations of being treated like chattel, I think my mother started to see my side of things. So she started telling me about all the things she's supposed to give me, like sheets and comforters (more on that later). And she tried to make plans with me to go to the safe deposit box to pick out some bracelet and she said she'd give me her diamond earrings (which, though probably nice, I don't really need -- I'm just a simple girl so I don't need all this stuff!). She also brought up how she could give me this f'ugly wedding cake knife (more like a bread knife with a cheap blue bow glued to it) that she once bought from a store going out of business.

Regarding the bed linens, I told her it's pretty difficult to pick those out when you don't exactly have a bed yet (we don't know if we should get queen size or king), nor a bedroom. So she said it's of utmost importance to get a new bed b/c as a couple starting a new life together you must have all new things. I told her the impossibility of buying a new bed to put in a place we don't have yet and she got pretty fed up with me b/c I said I have no problem sleeping on an old bed and I'd prefer to wait to buy a new one (how to buy furniture for a nonexistent apartment? how to buy only a new bed w/o taking into consideration the rest of the pieces in the room?).

8/24 UPDATE: Yesterday we went to TJ Maxx and bought a comforter, two sets of queen-size 300+ thread count sheets, and two pillows for $162.50.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


I've seen quite a few inquiries on websites about premarital counseling, so I'm going to describe my experience so far. But before I go into that, I want to add that we had always wanted a pastor that we've had a close relationship with to marry us. Unfortunately, the person that fiance is close with will be traveling overseas and won't even be able to attend our wedding (we also had some reservations about asking him b/c that would mean we'd have to fly him out to NYC from CA, plus pay for his hotel). And even more unfortunately, the pastor that I'm relatively close with is unable to do anything in the church we're getting married in b/c of political reasons (we would have chosen another location but they were all cost-prohibitive).

So we ended up asking the temporary pastor at the church b/c we really don't know anyone else, and she is very nice too. We had our first premarital counseling session with Rev. C a few weeks ago. She started off by expressing her views on love and marriage (how both are a gift from God) and then she described her own relationship and marriage b/c she says when we get married it will be a very intimate moment among the three of us, as we face each other, and she wanted us to get to know each other more.

She described her loving and supportive marriage even though they come from different faith backgrounds. It's funny/interesting how things do and don't change. She explained that it was a huge thing (25 years ago) for her, a Protestant, to marry a Catholic. I don't think she had to convert (as some ppl I know have) but as they served communion during the service, none of her family members were offered the elements. Oddly, they gave it to her though. I think it was also considered a mixed marriage b/c he is Italian and she is German (I think?). Now, thankfully I think there are fewer issues with race and religion nowadays. However, it seems there are more cultural issues to tend with. Back then (and now also, to some degree, from what I understand), Italians would have huge affairs similar to Chinese weddings with nth degree relatives. (She, however, had a pretty small wedding.) But like us, there were cultural traditions that families wanted but she or her husband didn't want. For Rev. C, she didn't want to abide by the tacky tradition of a bride going from table to table while holding out a white bag for guests to stuff gifts into (though that may not be a bad idea as a reminder for some ppl) and was adamant about not doing that.

Then she turned the tables on us and we had to each describe when we knew we wanted to marry the other person and why we chose the other person to marry. She said she would ask us this at the beginning so while she told us her story, I was trying to put into words what I feel (I hate speaking in public too). So I made Dear go first. I could tell it was an awkward situation for him to tell someone else how he felt about me and I was lovin' it! :D He didn't know where to begin so Rev. C asked how we met. It was good to hear his perspective on things b/c I don't think I ever heard it in such detail (he would just say "we met in church" to his friends). I also realize that I am quite dense b/c I really didn't think he was asking me out on a date when we first went to dinner. Finally he said when he realized that if he were to wake up and know that I wouldn't be a part of his life anymore, he knew/understood that I was the one. He also said it was like he had a hole in his life and I fit it. Awww... I had a huge grin on my face at that point, maybe even blushing. Then it was my turn. Throughout my pondering, I remembered this one time that he was driving me back to school (before we even started 'dating') and I felt so comfortable talking to him. I remember as I looked out the windows at all the lights going up Broadway, I knew I would marry him. Ick, cheesy, I know. I guess I fall into that cliche of knowing almost immediately.

After all this gushy mushy stuff, the reverend asked us how we're dealing with our families. We gave a brief explanation of the potential issues we may have with cultural traditions that our parents (more like my parents) may cause but (at that point) we didn't have anything to really report. Of course, later that day and throughout the week, both our parents have been driving us crazy with the guest list(!!!!!).

Then we went over the order of the ceremony; She wanted to go through the ceremony during this first meeting b/c she knows that ppl need time to print and put programs together. She lent us this very heavy book that the service is based on so that we can finalize things, type stuff up, etc. on our own time before our next meeting. I love that she has done so many weddings before that she knows what to expect and is able to help us along. She also said that she would take care of the rehearsal time and logistics and reminded us that the rehearsal dinner is a time for our close friends and family to get to know each other and for us to be with our inner circle of friends and family, who we may not get a chance to spend much time with on the actual day.

Throughout I think the reverend was also watching our interaction to see how we act towards each other (she was trained as a social worker previously so she can tell, I guess), whether we need to watch out for anything or if we need help. She emphasized again how studies show counseling before really doesn't make much difference; it's when you run into problems that you will get the help you need before it's too late. She said often ppl seek help too late -- when one person has already given up on the relationship so you have to do it while the desire to fix things is still there. So while all relationships are not easy and will come across problems, you need to recognize and fix the problem before it gets worse.

I've heard other ppl have much more detailed and drawn-out counseling experiences, ranging from multi-day meetings -- we're only going to have two -- to things like having dinner with an older, married couple from the church. Some ppl have also had to take compatibility tests but I wonder if all pastors tell couples that they are the 'most compatible I've ever met' as I've heard from two different ppl going to two different pastors.

We have one more meeting left -- let's see what else is covered then.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nightmares, awake and not

I have mild interest in hearing/reading about other ppl's dreams (they're usually too obtuse, boring, and meaningless to me) so indulge me for this entry as I have to report that this past week I had my first wedding-related nightmare. I think this is important b/c it seems to me that ppl start to have these nightmares as the day draws close, as it is for me.

So my dream was basically about not having a dress (though that seems to be more realistic than ever before). I showed up at the church and the dress was supposed to be delivered there but instead the morons decided to deliver it to the restaurant (even though I had never given them that address). It turns out to be too late to retrieve it from the restaurant and everyone decides that I'll just attend the ceremony in my regular clothes and change into the dress at the reception. So I get married in jeans, sneakers, and a blazer (odd b/c I don't own a blazer).

Thankfully I've forgotten all the other details to the dream. But onto real-life nightmares: I walked past the restaurant today and it was still boarded shut. This time the disco-style overhang was completely ripped off. And the guest list continues to grow, like a bad cancer.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Christmastime in August

This past Saturday, instead of making favors as I had planned, I was surprised with a shower. I was caught completely off-guard so in all the pictures I am wearing this unphotogenic t-shirt and old shorts (and just when I was thinking about buying an outfit that's not so dressy so as to not seem as if I had been planning it all along b/c I never get dressed up unless I have to, but not so casual so as to be a slob, as I was that day). I won't share details about how I really was not prepared to be in the public eye that day, the least embarassing of which was how I didn't have face lotion (I stayed in Queens the night before at fiance's urging of getting as much work done as possible) so I used some free sample I got from Missha and it wasn't very good for me.

Time has really been sliding past me b/c I still thought that I had plenty of time before the time for the shower (I was also contemplating guest list changes b/c I should have invited some other ppl). I didn't get to cheat by checking the registry for fulfilled gifts though there were some clues that should have tipped me off:
-fiance insisting that I stay over even though I had done so two weeks before to take care of the invites and this time around, I don't think the favors are as urgent
-BM (whom I don't see very often) said to bring out her invitation b/c she said I may see her Friday or Saturday, even though we hadn't made any formal plans to do anything
-fiance said his cousin was coming out from NJ and could bring out the rest of the glasses for the favors that we had left at her place; when asked why he quickly said she was going to a friend's birthday party, which was also true
-MOH said she couldn't meet us earlier than 11am to do the favors b/c she had to help her sister buy groceries at BJ's (like she buys groceries!)
-we were supposed to swing by to pick MOH up and when I reminded her to bring out the tent that her sister borrowed, she said to come in and that she'd leave the door unlocked for me b/c she had to go to the bathroom (like anyone would just leave their door unlocked in NYC!!)

But all these things slipped my mind b/c I was really too stressed and busy to pay much attention. So before we got to where we needed to go, I told fiance that I was dressed like crap (I just threw the t-shirt and shorts in a bag b/c I was rushing to work the day before and I wanted to pack light) and I didn't want to leave the car but he used the same old excuse he always uses -- he has to stay in the car b/c I'm a sucky driver. I noticed the silhouette of a motorcycle (really a Vespa but I couldn't tell) in the driveway (behind the gate) and I made a mental note to ask MOH who in her family bought one. As I approached her door, I found it odd that it was not pulled shut and when I slowly pushed it open, I saw a familiar face (actually the person who owns the Vespa) and in my mind, I wondered why this person was sitting on the floor and why she was at my friend's house. Then all these ppl yelled "SURPRISE!" and it started to sink in... the terror... of interacting w/ ppl... especially when I'm totally unprepared and dressed like a bum.... I remember thinking no, it's too early! I'm not ready! I want to go home and change! I want a do-over!! But it was too late, all these ppl had their cameras and camera phones, snapping pictures as I stood there dumbfounded in all my bummish glory. I had to yell for them to stop taking pictures (which they didn't listen to anyway) but it soon became OK when I saw the all ppl who came just for me! One by one they came up to me, said congratulations or some mushy wish, and hugged me. I was really touched that all these ppl would suffer the agony of my grumpy company and the atmosphere of a shower (often horrible to all but the honored showeree).

I was really impressed -- there was a huge spread of brunch goodies that MOH's good friend prepared as a gift to me. She also contributed a bunch of stuff for prizes, including a Kate Spade bag (which I won in a raffle!), and various other kinds of Asian-inspired bags and pouches. And another good friend (who just recently got married), planned a bunch of games, as well as arranging some flowers for the buffet table. She also packed cute little favor boxes with Hershey's Kisses and closed each one w/ a very pretty ribbon-esque tie that she printed out in various colors.
from left to right: salad with mandarin oranges and roast pork (she couldn't find duck breast) in radicchio bowls, potato hash thingy (in middle), broiled eggplant and tomato topped with cheese and basil, banana nut mini muffins, shrimp salad on croissant, smoked salmon (hidden behind the croissants), spicy mango salsa, garlic bruschetta to go with a salmon spread. Not shown are the delicious mimosas mixed with a cheap (but very tasty) wine and sparkling cider.

Unfortunately, I was really stuffed from the huge breakfast that fiance made for me (fruit salad with double egg, ham and cheese sandwich) so I couldn't try everything (gotta lose the poundage!!) but what I did try was delicious!! Looking at the picture actually makes me want to try everything I couldn't before!

Before all the chowing down, there were a few games, the first one being to say your name (I think a lot of strangers to each other there), how you know me, any unknown facts, and marriage advice. It was good to reminisce about old times w/ ppl (I forgot how far back I know some of them) and I enjoyed hearing such pleasant things about myself. :) Some advice I got include:
-keep dating
-have low expectations so that you're not disappointed :P

We also played Scattergories with the first three letters of my name (so hard!), Present Bingo, and the purse game (also embarrasing b/c my bag is so junky and full of crap). Besides the various bags, prizes also included Coach keychains in the shape of a dogbone (very cute!).
the favors

Maid of mischief

Is it vain to list the gifts that I got? OK, maybe, so I'll just say the FUNNIEST gift was a gag gift about writing prenuptial agreements. She had borrowed it from the library so she promptly took it back and gave the real present: a book called Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex? and another called Why Do Men Have Nipples? But all the presents are appreciated -- thank you all for your wonderful gifts and kind generosity! Thank you notes still need to be written and stuff, so don't hate me if it takes a bit. But I must ask, how come no one got the $1000 coffee table? hehe

I think I was still reeling from the surprise and unpreparedness of everything at night (I had trouble sleeping and I'd have random memories of the events of the day). But it could have been worse -- I could have had a zit, my worst fear (which came to fruition later that night). So on that note, I leave you with these zit-zapping remedies.

A dab of toothpaste overnight usually shrinks zits for me. A glob of Mario Badescu drying cream works well too (it stinks of sulfur though).

And lastly, here's a recipe I got from Daily Candy (but haven't yet tried), which featured a make-at-home zit cream from Karen Axmaker, a facialist at Sally Hershberger Face Place.

cotton swab
hydrogen peroxide
1/2 oz. powered oatmeal
1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. egg whites
3 drops honey

1. Dab cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and cleanse the infected area. (This will keep the infection from spreading.)

2. Mix everything else in a small bowl.

3. Cover blemish with mixture and leave on for twenty minutes.

4. Rinse with warm water.

5. Store leftovers in fridge for up to one week. (Do not eat.) Apply twice daily until pimple disappears.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tip kit

Yay! I participated in some contest and won Paper Bride's Wedding Tip Kit. It consists of 10 lavender envelopes with the word "thank you" printed on the front in a cute font and the intention is to use them to give tips to vendors. Though this will not be very useful for most of the vendors that we'll be dealing with b/c we'll most likely be using the Chinese red envelopes (besides there are only 10 in the pack), I found the little guide in the back very helpful.
According to the guide, the suggested/going rates are:
  • hair/make-up -- 15-20%
  • delivery ppl -- $5-10 each
  • officiant -- $100-200 (or donation)
  • parking/coat check -- $1 per car/guest
  • waitstaff -- $20-30 per staff member (nt sure how this works w/ Chinese restaurants w/ the massive tipping and alcohol delivery the day before; I think the Chinese way is to also tip the head chef)
  • manager/head waiter -- $100-200
  • bartender -- $20 per staff member
  • band musicians -- $25+ each (how does this apply to DJs?)
  • limo driver -- 15-20%
  • photographer/videographer -- $50+
Supposedly you don't have to tip the bridal salon (good, those blood suckers!!!), cake baker (but what if she delivers the cake for you too?), florist, stationery designer (myself?), or "those vendors who own their own companies" (I have no idea what that means b/c my photographer, for instance, runs his own business -- does that mean he shouldn't be tipped?).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Guest list woes

We're feverishly addressing and giving out invites in batches (b/c we're delivering some by hand and some ppl we're not sure when and where we'll run into them), while arguing at about every tenth guest who should and should not be invited. We've mostly accounted for all the ppl we really want there (friends and family) but FFIL is going crazy with his list and driving Dear, and consequently me, mad. At the last check, our anticipated guest list was 390 (from what I recall the restaurant holds 350). If all our overseas relatives were to come, the number would be around 450 so we're probably going to end up giving out close to 250 invites.

Actually I'm not so much mad now as amused. You have to be able to find humor in the guests that FFIL wants to invite. Aside from the nameless ppl from the village who also, apparently, do not have addresses, he wanted to invite:
- their contractor
- their optometrist
- his staff (I find less humor about this than a little bit of tackiness b/c I think it really imposes on your staff if the boss invites you to something b/c you almost have to go)

I won't go into how he feels like he has to invite everyone who's ever invited him to a wedding and how he just has to invite every person in church who holds any sort of position (political, imaginary, or otherwise) regardless of the differences they may have (i.e. they dislike each other). And of course, in a church that goes through pastors like they're disposable, they all need to be invited as well. And of course, from that entire list of ppl I would rather he not invite, he is only cutting the first two. So we've whittled down some; somehow 40 ppl will have to disappear (I'm ignoring the 10-15%[?] discount rule that ppl say you should apply for the declines b/c these ppl a] have no lives, b] will probably bring more guests than those allotted, and c] we've accounted for all the declines from the overseas folk). *sigh*

My mother, on the other hand, if she had made her list of guests months ago like I had asked, would not be giving me agita with her pleas of not having enough invites. And I am still peeved about how we have to give her back all the gifts that her guests give us, despite the fact that she doesn't have to chip in one dime. Her justification is that it's 'payback' for raising me (which I can understand and am OK with) but also b/c "that's what everyone else does." Well, if you talk to Americans what "they all do" is not only pay for the wedding but allow the couple to keep the gifts b/c starting a new life together is not easy w/ the huge expense of a wedding and all that other stuff (getting a place to live, furnishing the place, etc.). hrmph!

On the lighter side, I am thrilled that the ppl who've received our invitation find it "too pretty to mess up," unique, and a whole slew of adjectives that I can't recall at the moment. If you haven't gotten yours yet, be patient -- our hands are falling off from all the addressing!! (It only took me 45 minutes to hand-calligraph four invites so Dear is doing most of it.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Wardrobe malfunctions

OK I think I've finally gotten over the events of this weekend to write about it (plus there's new stuff to add to my agita and distract me now). I was angry and in denial (at about the same time!), depressed, I've grieved and now I've accepted it (sort of). Months ago, I finally made the decision on which tailor I would entrust my cursed dress with. (Yes my dress is cursed and I almost hate it for what it is and what it represents.) I felt this one particular woman on the UES was confident in her work, she came recommended by a friend's co-worker who was thrilled with her work, and I liked the fact that she used to work at the company where my gown is from. When I dropped off the dress back in April, I felt this huge relief that I made a good decision. But this past Friday, when I finally went in for a fitting (note how it is a full month after when she first said I could come in b/c prior to my calling to confirm, I'm sure no work was done at all until I reminded them), I was dismayed (to say the least) with the results. This woman must have no sense of style or she must live a crooked life (no pun intended) b/c the way she tried to remedy my problem was just moronic.

Some may remember that the issues with my dress include a 1.5 inch rip in the organza overlay in the back and a smaller rip on the side of the dress. When I initially showed the woman what needed to be fixed she explained how she would add beading taken from the bottom of the dress and add it over the rips. It was too early to tell, but I should have specified exactly how the beading should go b/c she just stuck beading over the rip w/o paying attention to symmetry so that while there is this cashew nut-shaped swath of beading covering the rip on one side, there is nothing on the other side so that this 'cashew' is just hanging alone. Dammit it needs a partner! However this woman continued to insist that nothing on the dress is symmetrical, so why should this be? Um... NO!!! All the beading is symmetrical from the center. I wouldn't have bought an off-kilter dress! I was tired, had another appointment to get to, frustrated, and sweaty and I just didn't want to deal w/ this dumb woman. At first, I let her convince me that it would look OK with these strange beading patterns tacked on in random places but after I stewed over this on my walk to the train station, I walked back and told her that's not what I wanted. I asked her if she could get more beading (b/c she said there was no more), to which she said no, plus it wouldn't match up. Finally, she arranged it so that there is a somewhat matching 'cashew' and less stuff covering the side rip (good, I didn't want to draw that much attention to the side anyway!!!) but who knows if that's what she'll complete. I've been resigned to the fact that I don't give a damn anymore, this is just one stupid dress and I'll just be insanely happy once I don't have to deal w/ this crap and can eBay the sucker. Aside from this, I need to lose a few pounds b/c the dress is tight again. I've also come to the conclusion that I pretty much hate my dress. It's dirty and needs a cleaning very badly, I'm no longer awed by how the dress looks or how it looks on me, and it's just marred by all this headache. Did I mention how I just don't care anymore?

Similarly, I am unhappy with the third dress. I tried it on the other day and I think it looks quite ordinary. It's very plain and more like something I'd wear to someone else's (more formal) wedding. I also don't think the color is particularly flattering on me, nor the shape. In fact my mother thinks it makes me look flat (perhaps if I got a better strapless bra) but I'm just not thrilled. I haven't looked at the second dress lately and I'm almost afraid to, lest I find something wrong with it too. Considering how the white dress is tight, dress #2 may not fit at all!!

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Our two-ring circus

Today was a very busy day. We started by seeing nine (count them nine!) apartments. A few were promising but we have to really sit down, compare, and crunch some numbers. Oh yeah, and before that we dropped off a bunch of completed invitations with a friend who would give them out at church on our behalf (for some reason fiance thought that we shouldn't give them out ourselves b/c not everyone is invited, not that we had time to go today). So after driving and walking all throughout Forest Hills, we headed to Ctown to finally pick out our rings. Me being a plain gal, I just opted for a plain band slightly thicker than my e-ring with a tiny, round, single diamond in the middle. That way it's not very flashy nor very plain. Originally I was thinking of jazzing it up a little by having parts of the metal with the brushed look but I ended up not liking it. Instead, the band is just plain white gold (or at least I think it's white gold -- I totally forgot to discuss metals with her), very similar to fiance's, but his is slighter wider and w/o a diamond. I figure if I want something flashier later on, we can upgrade in ten years or so. Maybe (hopefully) by then we won't have all these crazy expenses all at once. So, with engraving (we have to decide what to engrave too) and the comfort fit, our rings total $380. (I felt a compulsion to share the price for ppl who need an idea of how much to set aside.) I'm not sure if this is a deal or not (I'm guessing it is b/c fiance is somewhat related to them and that's where he got my e-ring), but I'm greatly relieved b/c I thought the rings would be much more expensive. Oh and for those who don't know about comfort fit, I think it will make for a happy groom (or at least the ones I've talked to couldn't stop raving about it) b/c the extra roundedness on the inside of the band makes less contact with your skin so that it's more comfortable.

With the rings checked off our list, we walked around the corner to get something to eat. That's when we passed by the restaurant that we're having the banquet at and it was totally gutted inside and boarded up outside (this is the "circus" I refer to in the title, but not as fun, if you find circuses fun). It looked like what a restaurant in Beirut would look like, minus the one Chinese guy sitting inside guarding the place. The new carpet that they had just installed a few months ago was unrecognizable (probably not even there -- too dark to see) with all the debris everywhere. The only things left that I could see were the pillars (which I wouldn't mind if they were replaced/removed). Even the lights were gone so that the only light source was this one construction lamp and the daylight streaming in from outside. Supposedly they will be done by the middle of next month which throws a wrench into my plans (they had originally said the beginning of the month and you know how there are always delays with construction) b/c I want to set the menu (so that I can print the menu cards!!!) and I also want to see how the place will finally look like in case I need to get anything to decorate the place. Grrr!!! Everyone who reads this blog, say a daily prayer as you read that the restaurant will be back open in time!!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

A Renaissance wedding on GG

To make the hours between 9-5 less boring, I decided to recap another wedding from Gilmore Girls. This one took place two seasons before Lane's, was much less cooler, had an even more annoying groom, and a pretty darn annoying bride as well (though not a bridezilla).

The wedding is between Luke's sister, Liz, and TJ, who met on the Renaissance Fair circuit. So naturally their wedding is all Renaissance, medieval stuff.

Preparations include children practicing Maypole dancing for the wedding (no footage of them at the actual wedding though, I think). I have no idea whether or not Maypole dancing is period-appropriate but it is kinda nice.

Luke makes turkey legs in his diner b/c the caterer canceled. Btw, why is eating a huge piece of poultry often associated with medieval times? It sure looks tasty though. Too bad it's turkey.

Then there is a surprise bachelorette party in Luke's Diner. (ick! Aren't there health codes to abide by? Where's anal Doose
when you need him? And would you want the public to see all that -- the windows are not tinted glass?!)

The musicians -- you can hear the flute/recorder most clearly, resonating from the town center.

Here are some guests in period dress

Bride gets some last minute dress-fixing.

Everyone awaits the start of the ceremony -- it does look quite festive.

Instead of a flower girl, two women dance down the aisle tossing roses. (I remember this scene was quite pretty but unfortunately I don't have an image.) Then a jester does somersaults down the aisle.

The goofy (and annoying) groom walks down the aisle talking about how great his tights are and thanks Luke for keeping his pits dry (he borrowed Luke's deodorant w/o asking).

The bride arrives in a cart pushed by two men.

Then she is escorted by her son Jess (I think she needs to hold her flowers better).

The groom waits for his bride w/ his brother, the best man (also very irritating).

After Jess gives his mother away, the minister begins by singing a weird/silly song about sharing board games as kids and now love is the greatest toy to share. The audience (more like L&L) try not to break out laughing.

There is a sword ceremony, where the couple plunges a sword into a tree stump. No explanation is given about the reason for this, but it reminds me of King Arthur's sword, like their love will last so long as the sword is not removed. Or is it like the saying, turning weapons into plowshares -- putting away the sword for love? Eh, whatever. After this, the couple exchanges sappy vows.

There is a reception in the town center, complete with the turkey legs and other food (that ppl eat without utensils).

Check out the decor -- down to the tin cups ppl used to drink out of.

B&G greet guests

The town all pretty, lit up

Kirk, the DJ

My favorite scene in the episode (that, is until they actually get together and just become a boring couple) -- Luke & Lorelai dance closer and closer (see the decorations in the background -- is that a pair of knights?).
I liked how the Renaissance theme was carried throughout this (fake) wedding though it's probably too over the top (and totally not my style) for me. Now let me stop wasting time and do something productive....

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The scarlet cloth

At Chinese weddings (specifically the banquet portion), the tradition is to have a red cloth for guests to sign instead of a guestbook. This also serves as a keepsake for the couple, who can choose to frame it in the future. Before the days of Sharpies and ballpoint pens, ppl would use brush and ink to sign in (a tradition that I'm trying to bring back!). Now with all sorts of permanent markers out there, what I find most annoying about using the cloth is that it's difficult to sign while the cloth moves with the pen. The newer tradition that I've seen at some weddings is to use a large poster, created by the photo studio, with the couple's engagement photo on it. This is a lot easier to sign but since we didn't go with a studio and I like the look of the cloth (kinda like a scroll, in my mind), we're eschewing the airbrushed look for the embroidered look.

Our sign-in cloth, nothing at all like I had requested, was recently brought back by Dear's aunt who was vacationing in HK. I wanted something very different from the usual rectangle with the phoenix and dragon embroidered in gold and various colors on top and instead wanted a square piece of cloth with the double happiness character entwined within a fancy phoenix and dragon in the shape of a circle, embroidered in red thread in the center. Alas, this aunt did not abide by my wishes and just brought back the generic kind, customized with our names and date embroidered on the side.
needs to be ironed, of course

Though I may sound ungrateful, I really wish that she would have spent just a little more money on it (we should have given her money beforehand instead of waiting to pay her back, not that she would tell us how much it is *sigh*). It's not the best quality out there (very inexpensive edging -- they couldn't even fold over the ends to sew a smooth edge -- I may just finish it myself with a ribbon) but what worries me is that it's a bit small. It is a mere 34"x27" and would take up less than half a small table (there's even less empty space for signers b/c a significant chunk is taken up by our names/date and the stock embroidery on top). I've never seen one this small b/c even someone who had a 100-person wedding had a larger one than this (his was flopping off the table, whereas ours will sit comfortably with room to spare). With three times that many ppl expected, I don't know what ppl will do when they run out of room. We joked, will they start to sign on the back side (so that when we get it framed, it'd have to be in a see-through frame to view both sides)? I just hope ppl will have the sense not to sign over our names or something. My mother suggested sewing extra fabric around it to make it bigger but I'm sure that will look tacky and piecemeal.

The other dilemma is if we don't use the cloth, will the aunt be insulted (though FFMIL did a good job of telling her it was small right to her face instead of thanking her for her trouble -- gotta love Chinese bluntness!). So is it too small? Can I have two cloths side by side? How about taping off sections for VIPs to sign only? Or giving pens with ink that dry invisible to ppl I don't like?