Centerpieces!

September 16, 2010

I have been swamped with work and wedding planning. The posts may have to be reduced to picture bytes, but I’m sure no one will mind. So without further ado …

We picked the leftmost two designs. White LEDs in both, the large vase with the white orchid and small with the pink. The aqua beads sounded great in theory but just looks like too much stuffed into a vase.

Did I mention renting this cost under $400? Puts my flower negotiations to shame.

My planner tells me that fancy florists mark up flower prices 3x for their labor.  That means if it takes $100 of roses to make your bouquet, it will cost you $300.  Unlucky for me, my florist, who is affiliated with my planner, is the cheapest around and only marks up her prices 2.3x or so.  After much reluctance and dodging on her part, and a call of complaint to the planner, the florist has finally given me a breakdown of what her wholesale costs are and what I am paying.

For example: Garden roses wholesale $87 + labor cost $113

That’s only one of five items on the list, plus supplies.  It boggles my mind how I told the florist I am not that into flowers, only want bouquets for myself and 3 bridesmaids, 2 small ones for the mothers, and 3 boutonnieres… and her first quote to me was $1000.  W T  F.  After much unnecessary correspondence and overall shadiness on her part, I think we are going to compromise at $600.  I’m only sticking with her because in this crazy wedding world, she probably is the cheapest.  Also, I really don’t have the time or energy to deal with another one.

One option is to find good quality silk flowers and rent those.  To tell you the truth, I don’t like flowers.  H2B may protest but that’s because he sent me a dozen one time and I loved them because he sent them.  But really, I don’t like flowers.  I like a flower, like a single rose.  Maybe a nice slim vase with two or three flowers.  But the whole giant arrangements – not so much.  It’s a waste of money and then they die and you have to deal with the dried dead pieces that fall all over your carpet.  Perhaps I have a bad habit of leaving dead plants where they are for too long.

Anyway, if I had the time I would make my own bouquets.  It really is not that hard.  You just tie a bunch of flowers together in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing.  Just take a look at the e-How instructions here.  Easy peasy and 35% of what I’m paying for now if you order your flowers from Costco.  I’ve read the reviews on them, quite good.  But, time is money I suppose.

The plan is to look something like this:

Super cute!

Wedding Cake

August 19, 2010

H2B and I went wedding cake tasting last weekend and OD-ed on sugar, frosting, and fondant (more frosting).  Saturday appointments are hard to come by (FYI) because most bakeries deliver cakes on that day, so we only managed to get one actual tasting appointment.  The second place made us a box to-go.  I really should have taken pictures, but in my sinful gluttony, I forgot.

At the sit-in place we tried: (1) chocolate with strawberry mousse, (2) red velvet with irish cream, and (3) italian cream with apricot mousse.  The chocolate cake was too dry, the mousses were more like sugar and cream, and the italian cream cake had *shock* coconut shavings.  H2B and I share a mutual hatred of coconut shavings.  It’s not so much the flavor, as we both enjoy coconut milk (how can I not, I’m asian), but it’s the texture.  It’s just so… inappropriately crunchy and bitsy, like bits of wood shavings.  Anyway, the red velvet was good but nothing to write home about.

I feel a little bad because the lady had just opened the bakery last November and they are a family business.  She spent a decent amount of time with us designing a cake and teaching us about the different types of frostings.  Unfortunately, she wanted to charge us $800 for the bridal cake and $200 for the grooms.  H2B isn’t even that picky.  He just wants a black forest cherry torte with chocolate shavings on top.  It sounds like something Costco could whip up for $40 to me…

We picked up our to-go samples at noon and proceeded to drive around in the mid-day sun for 5 hours (the sun does not set in the south in August), so the cakes didn’t look so great by the time we got home.  At one point, two of the cakes toppled over and the icing melted through the box.  We got to trying them after dinner and they were DELICIOUS.  Even semi-dried out, melted icing and laying on its side.  Possibly the best cakes I have ever tried.  We tasted (1) french vanilla, (2) andes mint with coffee, (3) red velvet with cream, and (4) pink champagne with pistachio.  Holy canolli – they were all delicious and the first tasting could not compare.  Our favorites were of course numbers (2) and (4), so we are going with those for the cake.

This is what I’d like for it to look like:

Except ours will be 4 tiers, have purple ribbon, no beading, and a different topper.  Probably the same type of purple fresh orchids.  I am so excited!  According to my coordinator (yes, I booked her and haven’t looked back since), this should run between $650-$700.  No brainer.

Disclaimer:  Know that the tasting samples are ginormous.  Bigger than substantial cupcake.  H2B gave up eating the dried out and melted take-out samples after a bite of each.  Not I.  I ate it for dessert on Saturday night, breakfast on Sunday morning, and lunch on Sunday.  If I didn’t have to drive home Sunday night, I would’ve polished it off.  THAT GOOD, people.  Get excited with me.

How much do these people run for one day of work?  I got quoted $1000 for three of them.  Apparently I need one coordinator for every 50 guests.  Unruly guests need alot of hearding around.  Maybe so, but I don’t think there will be enough work to do for three of them.  I’m trying to come up with a list of things that will need coordinating:

  • Make sure everyone gets on the bus to get to the wedding
  • Setting up my centerpieces
  • Letting the DJ in
  • Make sure the photography time doesn’t run too long
  • Ceremony – timing the walks, arch of sabres, etc.
  • Carting the gifts off somewhere
  • Taking care of any incidentals (drunk people)
  • Ending the wedding on time
  • Handing out sparklers for the exit

Am I missing anything?  This really doesn’t sound like hard work.  One person can handle it.  Maybe two at most.  The third one will just be sitting around enjoying the food.

H2B and I went to a consultation for our centerpieces.  He didn’t really enjoy the process but I thought it was fun.  The centerpiece lady operates out of her home and she comes up with creative ideas based on our input and rents it to us at a price per component level.  For example, a large vase is $28, the aqua beads are $5, LED lights are $11, and so forth.  Here’s a very rough version of what we came up with.

Small and large vases filled with aqua beads and purple LED lights.  Silk orchids will flow out of the small vase and a pomander ball (giant ball of flowers) will top the large vase.  Another idea we had was to fill the vases up with water and submerge a silk orchid with an LED buried under some glass rocks.  We’ll get to see demonstrations of both concepts at the showing in a couple weeks.

The aqua beads must be the coolest thing I’ve come across that’s wedding related.  They are moist and slippery like a sea cucumber (remember those?) and really fun to play with.  I dropped them all over the floor at the consultation.

Anyway, the centerpiece rental business is an excellent idea.  It beats buying 15 vases and a gallon of rocks that I’ll stick in my garage for the rest of time.  It’s not so much about the price as it is about just having a bunch of what will become clutter (sooner than later) taking up space.  The minimalism in me is leaping for joy.

I am slowly checking more and more to-dos off my list.  Next step – cakes and flowers.

My custom made dress is perfectly made to the measurements we gave them. Unfortunately, my height got lost in the translation. My mom had some difficulty with the conversion between inches and cm’s so instead of adding 3 inches for shoes, we added 5.

I found a local mom and pop tailor who has done quite a few wedding dresses and somehow still dropped $250 on alterations. Picking up the hem is $120 and putting in 6 bustles is $90. Granted, there are 3 layers that must be hemmed and I have to bustle 2 layers of train. They are also making me a veil. Remember the dress maker gave me the veil for free but there was no comb attached so it was just a giant mesh sheet. That costs $15. The tailor also sold me a garment bag that said Alfred Angelo on it to put the dress in for $10. Hm…

Now for the point of this post. Hot pink satin shoes in all it’s gorgeous glory. H2B is not a fan of non-white shoes but I am sure he will warm up to the idea before October 16th. Plus, the bridesmaids will be wearing white satin shoes so I have to be different. It is going to be an opposites day! Surprise, surprise. Now, how much do you love these?

Engagement photos

July 10, 2010

Step One: Get a BFF of 10 years who is your MoH and an excellent photographer.

Step Two: Wait a month for her to play with the photos and upload them ;)

We had grand plans spanning from 10am till dark and at least 3 exotic locations to shoot. H2B lasted for about 2 hours and we made it to one place on our list. Being photographed is like your sideview mirrors. Much harder work than it appears. It is tough pretending to look natural and takes extraordinary talent to exude joy in the Texas midday sun. H2B was a champ for channeling his love for me in a full suit.

About 1pm, we more or less gave up on the awkwardness and changed into our regular people clothes. Surprisingly, some of my favorite shots were in my back yard. And can’t end without a visual insight into our relationship – gluttonous and gluttonous maximus.

This should be aptly named “Greatest B*tchfight ever.”  For the last 2 weeks, I have been in negotiations with a hotel to reserve a block of rooms for the 2 days of my wedding.  Here is what I have learned you should always ask for:

1) A complimentary hospitality suite

2) An upgrade for the bride & groom

This is my story:  The asking price for a block of 20 rooms for 2 nights was $129/night + tax.  Parking is either valet (mucho dinero) or parking garage $7/night.  I first asked for free parking and a free hospitality suite (thanks to the suggestion from M2B because it totally didn’t occur to me).  They agreed to a free hospitality suite and a reduction to $125/night + tax instead of free parking.  Okay, not so bad.  We will also get the deluxe room connected to the boardroom (hosp. suite) that is a suite with 2 double beds for the group rate.  Even better – this will be great for my parents and brother, or more likely, the bridesmaids/groomsmen to man the booze.

Then, since one room was upgraded to a suite that could only contain doubles and not a king, I asked for an upgrade for the bride and groom.  To which the hotel replied – “we only do upgrades if you have a reception here.  we think the rate quoted is already a good deal for a four diamond property. etc. etc.”  To which I replied, I am sure you can manage to upgrade 1 room for the newlyweds who will be bringing our entire entourage/guests who will be using your amenities.  This one issue went back and forth for A WEEK.  Wow, they are a tough nut to crack for 1 upgrade.  Who would’ve thought.  Anyway, needless to say, I got it.  And I changed the reservation to 12 for Friday night and 28 for Saturday night, just to be safe.

Then today, just as we were about to seal the deal, they say the free airport shuttle service has been discontinued.  It was a test run for 6 months and it just didn’t work out.  They tossed it last week.

Um… all of my guests are out of town and need this service.  It was pretty much the basis of the bargain.  So for the first time since going to law school, I pulled out the attorney card.  Hello – our negotiations begun 2 weeks ago, before the service was pulled, and even though I didn’t accept the contract until today does not mean they can take out a significant clause after my acceptance.  A quick lesson on contracts:

  • If their offer is accepted, they may no longer revoke
  • Until their offer is accepted, they can probably revoke (unless they promise to hold it open for X amount of time)
  • A counteroffer is a rejection plus a new offer

What happened here is they made me an offer, I rejected and counter-offered, repeat, repeat… they made a final offer, I accepted.  They did not tell me about the change in terms until after my acceptance.  It doesn’t matter that the terms changed, but they didn’t notify me until afterwards.  Therefore, they are bound to the terms of our negotiation and here we have it – complimentary airport shuttle service just for my guests! (However – I can only guarantee this for those who manage to reserve the 12 rooms Fri night or 28 rooms Sat night.)

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, do not take it as legal advice, but just good natured fun and frantic wedding planning.

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