Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lucky Entertainment

It may be the year of the tiger, but the king of the jungle still rules. With pride, we'll watch our guests roar with amazement as talent sharpens it's claws and permanently marks our wedding day.

Okay. Maybe the "marking" went a little far, but bad-puns aside, we'll be having a lion dance at our reception!

Me: Mom, mom! We're having a lion dance okay?
Penga-Mom: What? A line dance? That's awesome, it'll make for good pictures!
Me: ... LION dance.
Penga-Mom: Line dance?
Penga-Mom: Ohhh. Lion dance. Okay. But I like the line dance idea.
Me: ...
(source) Lion, I say!

The whole thing came about rather unexpectedly, actually. As a child, I spent every Chinese New Year and Moon Festival in the back of my grandfather's Chinese community center, waiting to serve food in my cheongsam while the old folks did tai chi. He would often bring in a lion dance troupe to perform as well, so naturally all thoughts of lion dances bring back memories of being bored out of my mind and not being allowed to snack on the food before the program was finished.

So when Sak's aunt brought up the idea several months ago (she has a friend in the troupe club), I dismissed the idea rather quickly.

But for some reason or another, I kept going back to the thought. I saw great pictures from performances done at Mrs. Green Tea's and Mrs. Toucan's receptions. I started thinking that it would probably mean a lot to my grandfather, who cannot come due to his bedridden state of health. Performances are only 15-20 minutes long, anyway, what could it hurt to at least check the prices?
(source) I'm digging the team's purple lion.

Well, turns out it's a donation, and a suggested amount of $150 per lion. A lot cheaper than a San Franciscan lion, that's for sure. But I have no idea what the group is like, since (like many a friendor), all I have is a first name and a phone number rather than an informative website with pictures and videos. The best I could find are a few flickr photos, so blind faith it has to be. We booked anyway, since there is no up-front payment required. Apparently, we are to "feed" the lions their donation in lai see (red envelopes), after the performance. If anyone wants to elaborate on this custom, please do. My grandfather always got his lions for free, so I've only seen them "eat" food like oranges and lettuce.
feeding lion dance
(source) Hungry, hungry lion!

While my excitement for the idea is slowly growing on me, Sak's has been there since day one. He's never really seen a lion dance in person, so he's definitely looking forward to it.

One Chinese lion dance at our Japanese Cultural Center reception? Check.
lion dance
(source) Coming right at ya!

Are you bringing traditions from your past to your wedding? What do you think about lion dances - scary or cool?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just a Little Vent..

The first piece of wisdom my mother imparted to me at the start of my engagement was this - "There is no such thing as a drama-less wedding".

But at the start, it's hard to take off the rose-colored glasses. We were so in love, our families were supportive, our friends were so excited for us.

But now, around the five month mark, I'm realizing maybe Mom was right.

Hello, drama.

Now to be fair, this is a one-sided monologue of a drama, as the angst and anger and disappointment lies solely with the bride.

A destination wedding. You never know who is going to be able to make it. So I invited pretty much all of California, hoping at least a few could come. There was no slashing of our list.

But I don't think it quite hit me then. That some of my loved ones won't be there.

As we build and prepare to send out our invitations, I'm scared. I'm scared of the "not attendings" we'll get in the mail. I'm scared that I'll take every "no" personally, and that the irrational part of my mind will convince me that it is because they don't like me, or don't approve of my marriage. I'm scared that I'll be planning a party for people I hardly know (Sak's side), and that I'll be the stranger at my own wedding.

Now Penga, don't be silly, right? It's Hawaii, people would come in a heartbeat if they could. It's not a cheap vacation. I'd be wrong to expect those that are not financially secure.

But what if the "no" has nothing to do with finances?

What if it's someone you've offered to pay for?
What if it's someone you know can make it, but they say they don't want to "deal with the airport" or they "don't want to leave their dog"?
What if it's someone how at first said yes, but now changes their mind because they "miscalculated their vacation time"?

How do you not take things like that personally?

I've lost a lot of faith in my friends and family. People I had assumed that would be there for me. But I shouldn't have assumed in the first place. I shouldn't have created that mental picture of our wedding day, with those key people smiling happily around me.

I need a new mantra - a pessimistic belief that I should expect no one is going to come. Like when you convince yourself you flunked a test, simply so you will be overjoyed when you get that C. I don't want any more disappointment. I don't want to think that we're putting our heart and soul into planning a party that no one cares about. I just can't handle that thought.

I apologize for the negative post. But sometimes you just need to lay your problems out there in the open so they can evaporate away. So you can come back to them later and realize how silly you were being. When the rational mind returns to tell you that maybe the sad excuses you've been given were just masks for some deeper, unknown problem.

I think I need a cheer-up-cream-puff today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just a Few Words

So I took a stab at writing my own little "letter" to read to Sak at our ceremony. My thoughts are to read our heartfelt sentiments to each other, then commence with the rings and traditional vows. I always love it when couples say something personal to each other. There's something that just seems so special about it.

Anyway, I think I came up with a fairly good little piece. It conveys what I feel about as much as words can express, and I tried to keep the inside jokes and anything else that might be prone to "dating" out entirely. It's honest, light on froof, with a touch of my own quirky spirit. I think Sak would like it.

And speaking of Sak, as far as I know, he hasn't written two words. I know he's not entirely comfortable having his writing compared to mine, as he has always been strictly a numbers guy. But I know whatever he ends up writing will still be from his heart, whether it's eloquent or not.

I imagine he'd say something like this:

(Manga image from Hot Gimmick, by Miki Aihara)

*Sigh* So here's the options -

Do I:

1) Share what I have wrote and look over his to make sure they are roughly the same length and seriousness? I mean, I've been to a wedding where the groom wrote completely beautiful things, and the bride's was one big light-hearted inside joke. It didn't mesh to us confused guests - but then again, the guests don't really matter when it comes to one's personal statement towards the other, do they?

2) Keep everything completely hush-hush and be in for a surprise.

3) Give them to a 3rd party to evaluate for us.

As much as I want to express how much my future husband means to me, I don't want him to have anxiety over this. Bad things happen when Sak has anxiety.

Did you or will you write your own sentiments? Is it a secret or are you well rehearsed?

Monday, February 22, 2010

You Don't Need to See My Identification...

These aren't the droids you're looking for...move along!

Well, it looks like I won't be needing ol' Obi-Wan's help this time around. I can get past security after all! My passport came in the mail! Woo hoo!
I applied for this little booklet about one month ago, and let me tell you, it was a hassle! The passport window was only open certain times of the day, and only at certain post offices. Being a first-time applicant, I had to go in person. I brought my identification and the form I had filled out on my computer. All set, I turned in my paperwork, only to be told I was missing information!


Turns out I had left my parent's dates and places of birth out of the original form, along with info about my employer. I didn't fill them out online since it said optional! But apparently it wasn't optional for first-timers. Luckily, a frantic phone call to Penga-Dad yielded the missing information.

Also, I did not bring a check with me, and they only allowed check or money order. It's a good thing the post office could make a money order for me, otherwise I would have been out of luck.

All the stress certainly didn't do me any good either - my mug shot turned out horrible. I have a sleepy eye and a super sour face. Definitely not flattering, but like Sak says, "If you ever get questioned by authorities, you're not going to be smiling anyway". True that.

So now, armed with a passport and a sparkly beautiful plane ticket to both Hawaii and the honeymoon destination, I'm ready to goooo!

(source) I'd love to ride in a Pokemon plane! Kawaii!

Have you applied for a passport? Or do you count on those Jedi mind tricks to get you where you need to go?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Guest Canvas, Go!

As many a procrastinator can confirm, the pile of half-finished projects can grow rather quickly. Though spending time on a project already fully formulated in my mind held zero excitement, I trenched through and moved our "guest book" to project close out.

First, some supplies. White cardstock and some pretty red yuzen paper will do for a backing.
yuzen paper
After cutting up the supplies...

I glued the papers to the back of the canvas, with spray glue. While the glue worked extremely well for adhering the thin paper, I got a little sloppy with the application, and ended up spraying half my yoga mat in the sticky goop! If anyone know how I can easily get the sticky off, please let me know!

Then I put the dried canvas on the easel (this is an unpainted one we didn't take to Hawaii), and added a little sign!
creative guestbook
Each table will have one canvas, and 2 brush pens, one black and one red. I followed everyone's advice and added some drawing suggestions onto the back! Hopefully guests can find one or two flowers that are not too complicated!
alternative guestbook
(The flowers came from a combination of dingbat fonts and sakura brushes from here and here. )

All in all, it is nice to finally finish a project that's been sitting around for so long. Now I can box it up and make room for something else!

Do you have any projects that you've started long ago, but haven't had the energy/time/desire to finish?

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Second Venue

Like many a destination-bride, I'll be having an at-home reception once we come back from the honeymoon, to include those that can't make it to Hawaii in our celebration. From the looks of it, it could be just as big as the party on the island! Which is all fine and dandy, I'd love for everyone to come to both! But our budget might not agree.

So the at-home reception will be much more laid back, and hopefully much cheaper as well!

Here's our venue (pictures taken at the conclusion of a someone's wedding, chair covers not included):

gym wedding reception
gym wedding
That's right folks. A gym. A church gym.

Cringe all you want at the un-fanciness, the yellow lighting for bad pictures, etc. I'm going to view it as a challenge instead. How can I cheaply transform a gym into a beautiful reception hall?

For starters, I'm thinking it would be nice to erect some poles out of some sort of Home Depot-esque material, and hang some lanterns and lights:

I wish I had these crazy light-bulb shaped ones!

But some normal round ones would probably look a little more formal.

Sak and I have already started collecting some lanterns!

Though this is what I would do, if I had time and permission to scale the walls and ceilings...
Let's have some giant pinatas, full of candy! Guests can break them open with slingshots!

In any case, this reception will probably occur in the afternoon. We'll watch our wedding video and look at pictures to re-live the day, eat some delicious catered Filipino food, and have Sak's favorite tres leches cake for dessert!

How have you made the most of a venue not-exclusively-made-for-weddings? Any tips on how you would decorate a gymnasium?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

By the Power Vested

A while back, Sak realized he didn't fit any suits at the store. Sadly, we have yet to resume the search, due to his bruised ego and our mutual discomfort around pushy sales people. It's led the family to jokingly say, "Why don't you just make his suit then?"

Hmm. Why don't we? I think I can handle at least part of it, at least. So like the talented Miss Poodle, we set out to make a vest.

I picked out Vogue Pattern 8048, and we decided option C would be the best.

I found some awesome tropical plant overlay fabric for the outside, and Sak chose some crepe-backed satin for the inside lining.

First I cut out all the pieces. Unfortunately, Sak is smaller than the smallest size on the pattern, so of course I had to adjust for that.

Then Sak ironed on the lightweight fusible interfacing for me. This gives the vest a crisp look.

Next, I went through the somewhat arduous task of putting on pockets. In theory it was not so hard, but the drawing direction was vague and I ended up sewing the welts on upside down the first time around. This is why technical writers are oh-so-very important!
Cutting open the pocket was the best part!

Next came the back-waist-cinch-tie thing. I'll need to find a nice clasp for it I think.

We made sure to press the seams down as we went, so the vest would lay flat!

Time to sew the liner and the front together!

Once it was sewn, we flipped the whole thing inside out, and pressed down the edges!

Finally, I sewed the shoulders together, and voila!

One vest for Sak. (His shirt in the picture is a more of a light grey, which makes the vest look a little odd. The wedding shirt will be white.)

Instead of buttons on the front, I'm thinking of buying some frogs instead.

Or do would that be too much?

Sak also brought up the idea of maybe doing the outer layer of my corset in the tropical overlay fabric instead of the lace, so that we would match. Would this be a good idea? I really love the lace, but I love the idea of matching as well! Maybe we'll make two corsets for my indecision!

Will you match your groom in any way?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Victory Day!

a.k.a. Valentine's Day!

Also, Happy Year of the Tiger! It's Chinese New Year!

Hope you and yours have a wonderful day! Sak's going to take me out for cream puffs later tonight, woo-hoo!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

In Sickness and In Health...

Friends, Sak has a problem. Actually, he has two problems.

First, he gets sick when he travels. Every. Single. Time. For example, on our planning trip a couple months ago, he was sick upon arrival - fever, snot, the works. By the end of the week it had petered down to a cough, but he was still miserable for a while.

Secondly, he gets sick when he's nervous. Well, I think most people do, but he gets REALLY sick. He was sick for an entire month when we first started dating. I think it's really sweet now, but at for a while all I could remember is him throwing up on my roommate's rug and her being seriously mad. He even went to the Doctor, who (like any good college doctor) tested him for mono, and then sent him home with the pronouncement that there was nothing wrong with him. Uh, other than the fact that he was vomiting at least once a day. But eventually I stopped scaring him or something, because the stomach lurches luckily ended.

I think you can see the problem here. Wedding = travel & nerves.

The last thing I want is a sick husband the day-of. And we definitely don't need his illnesses keeping us from enjoying our limited honeymoon vacation.

So how can I keep him well?

First, we'll be pumping his immune system up as much as possible. Citrus will be his new best friend. And he'll do airborne shots. Regardless of it's errant miracle-cure claims, it's still a good way to get some vitamins.

Second, he'll keep the water intake high. We already do a pretty good job of getting enough water, thanks to my friend, Mr. Straw. Isn't it strange that it's so much easier to drink water when you have a straw? Maybe it's just me..

Third, I'll do my best to not stress him out on the trip. Though I think the airport and it's craziness will do more damage than I can ever hope to repair.
Our slightly overweight bag of bags at the airport...luckily we didn't have to pay extra!

What else can I do to keep his anxiety at bay and his body healthy? Should I beak out the swine flu masks? Calming herbs? Valium?

How do you keep healthy while traveling under high stress?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tangling with the Tunes

Wedding dilemmas and I are no strangers, that's for sure.

I have no idea what we're going to do about music. True, we won't really be dancing (I think...), but I can still use an IPOD for background noise, right?

At first, I tried the cop-out approach and told Sak he was in charge of the music. He shrugged, and promptly did nothing about it. I'm thinking now that his plan is to just play whatever he has on his IPOD at the current time.

No. Heck no I'll never listen to techno.

So I'm taking the musical reigns back, but I'm still somewhat at a loss. Music helps set the tone of the whole night, right? It's vitally important, right? I shouldn't royally screw this up, right?

Here's my current options:

A) Game orchestral music.

It's pretty, fancy, and sometimes downright epic. But am I having a pretty and fancy wedding? I don't know - sometimes it feels more like whacky and fun.

B) 80's music

Whacky and fun, most definitely. But part of me thinks it would be weird to have such danceable music at a no-dance reception. I mean, can you really play safety dance without dancing? No way. But I guess people can always dance if they want to, as we will have a dance floor.

C) Hawaiian music

Sak thinks this is super on the touristy side. But I really like island music. It's fun, but still laid back enough to not scream, "dance to me". The mainland guests would probably love it. Though I don't have very much island music, so maybe we'd have to get a DJ.

Now as much as I love all three, I don't think they'd work together very well? Switching from Tiny Bubbles to You Spin Me Right Round isn't exactly a seamless transition. (Just kidding! As if Sak would ever let Don Ho grace his wedding..)

What route should we take? Help me friends, you're my only hope.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Family Jewels

Perhaps strangely, I had absolutely no plans for jewelry as part of the wedding-day ensemble. I never even so much as thought about it. Which, luckily for me, didn't end up mattering at all.

My grandmother, ever the fashionista, has given her many female grandchildren jewelry for pretty much every gift-giving occassion. She gave me my first diamond ring, actually, since she wanted me to know at an early age that I didn't need a man to get my own diamonds. How's that for girl-power? I love it. I'd show you a picture of it, but since I received it as a child prone to losing things, it's been locked away in a safety box for quite some time. Instead, here are four other gorgeous rings she's given me over the years:

Sak actually "stole" the sapphire halo ring to show the jewelry my ring size when he picked out my engagement ring. It's a middle finger ring, but I still think he was pretty clever about the whole thing!

Anyway, I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised when she gifted me with my very own wedding day jewelry.
A beautiful pearl necklace.

And some gorgeous pearl earrings.

Looks like I'll be going traditional, folks! And I love it! I've written her more thank you notes than ever, lately, so I'm trying to think of other ways I can show my appreciation. Maybe some sweets or flowers!

Have you thought about what you will wear with your dress?