Saturday, January 28, 2006

Another Productive Weekend!

Things are going pretty well from the wedding planning front. Hooray!

My paper order came today, and I'm very pleased. The pale blue cardstock is perfect - cheery, smooth, shimmery, and thick. I love it! And the regular paper is a gorgeous shimmery pearl color. It's not too thick, but thicker than regular computer paper. I've got translucent vellum sheets for various applications (invitation overlays, bellybands, placecards...) and pale blue envelopes to boot. Awesome. Envelope Mall is the greatest!

I've also finished designing the majority of our invitations. I'm really very happy with how the design turned out. They're so pretty! The only thing left to do is design the cover page, and figure out the layout in Microsoft Word. I ended up making the pages all the same size, and I don't think I want to mess with the designs I've already created, so I may scrap my original idea. (I feel like I've changed my mind a million billion times with everything - especially for the invitations! Why can't I make up my mind about what I want?) My newest idea is to make the invitations into mini-booklets, since it seems like we'll be having a slightly book-themed reception. I really have no idea what's going on with this wedding sometimes.

This weekend has been pretty productive, and yet far more relaxing than my past 3 weekends. I might play with the layout tomorrow, and then try a few test runs with cheapo paper. I'm still deciding whether to get my paper cut at Kinko's, since I have to go there to have a sign printed for Sam's work anyway. I have my own paper cutter, but I'm a little nervous about cutting my beautiful new paper myself...

Finally, I updated our Knot wedding website. It actually has stuff on it now! I just need to update the guestlist, the RSVP option, and the registry information. You can find it at or

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Online Shenanigans and Other Stuff

I've been very busy this week, ordering things for the wedding and all. On Monday, I placed my paper order with, which strangely had to be done over the phone. I'm expecting it to come probably by the beginning of next week, but I'm hoping they come a little sooner. I ordered a LOT of paper, and I think I'll probably have some left over.

I also bought a Giant Magnolia Kit from, which I'm planning to use for our church pew and reception decorations. I had considered actually using paper flowers for the bouquet flowers... They're beautiful, really inexpensive, and just so unique and impressive. A girl over on The Knot used all paper flowers, and they looked awesome. But I'm thinking I'd miss having real flowers... I do love roses. Once again, my head and heart are battling each other out. My head's going, "Paper flowers!! That's so COOL! And look how practical!" and my heart's going, "Aww... roses! So sentimental and sweet and lovely and traditional. Look how romantic they are!" And then all the rest of me chimes in with, "Yarg!! Stop it! Just decide on something already!" ...I have a fun life. o.O;;

Ebay has been really cool for finding great deals on expensive stuff. I decided to scrap the making homemade lanterns idea cuz it's not as cost-effective as I thought and I don't think I have time anymore to experiment with the etching cream. (My perfectionist tendencies got the better of me and thought, "AAAHH!! What if I screw up and they're ugly?") So I bought these cool metal lanterns on Ebay. They have kanji on the sides for Love, Joy, Peace, and Harmony. They're technically supposed to be Chinese, but they pass well enough for Japanese. (The kanji for Love is the same, so that's good enough for me) I figure that gives the personalized feel I want without the stress of making them in amongst all the other things I need to take care of before the wedding.

Finally, I think I've decided on a dress. The seller of the Ebay dresses from a few posts down also sells a copy of one of the dresses I really liked, the Maggie Sottero Courtney. It's almost exactly the same. And I can save myself from getting alterations because it'll be custom sewn according to my measurements. Admittedly, though I have my heart set on having a dress with color, I'm a little nervous about changing the embroidery color... I hope it looks good with blue.

I also found this dress, modeled after the Mori Lee 3609 style that I liked, but I think it doesn't look like the quality is as good as the Courtney dress. They also replaced the crystals on the bodice with pearls, which isn't as cool. It's still pretty, though...

I've been so busy lately! And it's just gonna keep getting busier! All my weekends are just one wedding event after another. Yikes! That reminds me - we still need to arrange for our cake!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dress Shopping (con't) - Camarillo Bridal

The dress saga continues! o.O;;

We stopped by Ciara's house for a snack, but it ended up that Ciara had to leave cuz her sister had a track meet. So Nimalee and I arrived at Camarillo Bridal about 25 minutes late for my 3pm appointment. The shop was very small, but they still had a lot of bridal gowns to choose from. It was hard selecting dresses, though, because you basically had to sort through smooshed dresses in clear garment bags and try to imagine if it looked good on you or not. (With David's Bridal, they gave you a catalog so you could see what it would look like on an actual person, which was nice) Anyway, I picked out some dresses and went to the dressing room to put on the strapless bra thing and crinoline.

Remember that dress that I really liked from my second post? Well, I found it at the bridal shop! It was the first dress I tried on (Maggie Sottero, called Vidal, or something like that). But, funnily enough, I didn't like it a whole lot when it was on me. I thought it looked okay, but I wasn't crazy about it. And there were so many beads! It was too sparkly and too scratchy. A little too ornamented for wearing in a somewhat casual wedding. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring the camera when I walked out to the mirror. I would've liked to use the color for reference to see how the blue looks on me. Ah well.

So the first dress I have a picture of is a very pretty Mori Lee dress. The more I look at the pictures, the more I like it. Here, take a look!

I like that it's simple but unique at the front and it gives me a slight hourglassy shape. Nice! (I was a little disappointed that they didn't give me a veil to try on with it. I think the veil really makes the dress look "complete".)

When you get to the back, it just gets even more unique! I bet it looks great trailing down the aisle...

I think the bottom of the train looks a little awkward, but I bet it would look super cool bustled.

Next was another Maggie Sottero dress, style Courtney. I really like this one too. I never really liked the drape thing across the waist when I was looking at dresses online, but it makes my stomach look AWESOME. I was really surprised by how much I liked it. Oh, and I love the embroidery on this dress.

Please excuse the dumb expression on my face. Nimalee took the picture while I was looking away. (I thought she took it already!)

Detail of the front panel. It's nice you get to see the actual color of the dress here. (The store lighting makes the other ones look gold/yellow) Would you believe I was standing on a pedestal when this picture was taken? It was still dragging on the floor. I'm so short!

I LOVE the embroidery on the back. But look at the crazy way I'm laced up! Silly bridal shop lady!

Next was a discontinued dress, Maggie Sottero's Katherine. I think this was the dress I liked the least out of everything I tried on that day, but I have a lot of pictures of it for some odd reason. I'll only post a few, though.

The back had these really weird flaps that you tied behind you. And there were little peach roses all over the front and back of the dress that looked a little weird too.

Here's the front, with a big puff of my hair obscuring my face. (My head's kinda cut off too! Thanks Nim! =P) I liked the embroidery on the bottom panels and the train.

Last was another Maggie Sottero (I like her dresses!), dress style Bethani. This one was possibly my favorite, just because it made me look really damn good. (With a really damn expensive price tag, but I'll ignore that for a moment)

Excuse another weird expression on my face. =P I really like the combination of the satin and then the fluffiness at the side and top. It's got that drape thing that I like too. (Aren't technical terms fun?) The embroidery was a gold-like color.

The back is lovely too. I LOVE the subtle curve it gives me.

Back detail. I really like the embroidery. And the girl did a pretty good job lacing me up too!

And the front detail. I just love how that drape thing makes my stomach look!

I could've tried on more dresses, but I was getting a little tired of dress shopping, and it took about 10 minutes to get me into each lace-up dress. Nimalee tried on a few bridesmaid dresses, but the selection was pretty limited. After a few pictures, Nimalee and I left the store and went to Target. Exciting!

So my favorites out of the whole dress shopping extravaganza turned out to be all at the Camarillo Bridal store. In order, I liked the Bethani, the Courtney, and the Mori Lee dresses. Thankfully, I know where to get the last two made online. But more on that later...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dress Shopping - David's Bridal

Yesterday was a very busy day, involving a whole day full of dress shopping! Nimalee drove down and met me at the apartment at around 11:40am, then we went to pick up Ciara from her house. First was David's Bridal.

We got to David's Bridal a little late for my noon appointment, but it was okay. They took down some information, I picked out some dresses from their catalog, and our helper (Abigael) went hunting for some of the dresses I had chosen while I picked some shoes. It took me all of 5 minutes to choose shoes from their small collection, so Nimalee and Ciara and I observed all the other brides and bridesmaids. Some of them were kinda dolled up for just trying on dresses, which I thought was funny. The dressing room area took up about half the store. It was this U-shaped structure of mirrored dressing rooms, with platforms so people could see themselves in the mirrors a little better. I then picked out a veil to try on with the dress.

Abigael came back with a strapless bridal bustier thing and a crinoline slip. Nimalee had to literally shove me into the bustier thing, but after it was on, it didn't feel too tight. Abigael had to keep coming back with new crinoline slips until the third one just barely fit. It was a size 10! And all the dresses that fit me well were size 10 too! (Which seems like a big deal to little me, who's never worn anything above a size 6 before) They aren't kidding when they say that bridal sizes run small.

I quite literally dived into the first dress, was zipped up, put on the veil, and stood in front of the mirror. It was so funny because Nimalee and Ciara took one look at me in the wedding dress and veil and went "AWW!!!". They got all choked up too! It was cute. Here's the first dress I tried on:

I really like this dress, but it's about $500... Sam doesn't think that's a bad price for a wedding dress, but I think that's a little too much for anything that's still gonna need alterations.

I look silly giddy in this picture. ^^

Close-up of detail.

The second dress was one that I had liked online. They didn't have it in the color I wanted (I don't like red...) but it looked surprisingly good on me.

Here's the back.

Back detail. To save time, Abigael laced up every other one.

And the front. I liked the way it looked on me, but the plainness of the front bothers me a little.

The next dress was another one I had kind of liked on the website, mostly because of the sash option. Abigael tied a cloth (a bridesmaid wrap, I think) around me so I could get a sense of how the color I like would look on me. (I know, I'm being very roundabout. I suppose Sam wouldn't be able to get a mental image of the dress even if I were specific...) Anyway, here I am in it.

Here's the back, with the cloth over it.

Just cuz I was feeling silly. :)

We removed the cloth to see how it would look at the back. Here it is, tied very simply and loosely.

And here, tied with a bow.

Finally, I tried on a non-poofy sheath dress to see if I liked it better. I didn't. It's a nice dress, but not "bridal" enough for me. Still, here it is.

Nimalee and Ciara tried on bridesmaid dresses too, but I think I'll wait till they say it's okay to post the pictures I took of them. I also got my measurements taken by the seamstress they have onsite, so I'm ready for any custom gowns I may come across online.

Out of the ones at David's Bridal, I liked the first one the most, because it had color, lots of detail, and it looked pretty damn good on me. It's also the most expensive, and I have a feeling it'll be hard to find online. Nimalee and Ciara seemed to like the two other poofy ones, but I'm just not liking how plain they are. I'd also have to rush order anything that I get from there because the normal wait time for a dress is 10-16 weeks, and that's just too close to the wedding for comfort.

But that's it for David's Bridal! This is a long post already, and I have a migraine (again...), so I'll end it here. I'll probably update with the next store's findings tomorrow. Let me know what you think so far, though!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Paper Stuffs

It's a fairly slow day at work, so I've been calculating invitation costs. Looks like there's about 90 people we're definitely inviting. Even though that's only about 55 invitations (since families and couples only need one each), making them ourselves will be no easy task. And that doesn't include programs, placecards, and thank-you notes which all have to be made as well.

I'll be getting all my materials from I found this Gateway style pre-cut template that's a lot like the ones I liked from Craftster, but they're too expensive. I'd need to buy at least 75 pieces, and that's a little over $50 already!
Image hosted by

So I figure it shouldn't be too hard to make them myself. I already have a paper cutter and an X-acto knife. So I plan on just making a template out of thin cardboard, then cutting out the top corners of a regular 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of cardstock. Then I score it so the newly-made flaps fold in, punch holes at the top for ribbon, and assemble. Granted, it's probably a lot harder than it sounds, so I plan on practicing with some of the icky yellow cardstock I have already. If it's too much of a pain, I'll ditch that idea and go for something simpler. I have to keep reminding myself that people are just going to throw away the invitations eventually, so I shouldn't obsess over it. I think the gateway style is really cute, though.

So if I make it that way, I calculate that my total costs - including envelopes, pretty paper, pretty cardstock, and vellum for bellybands - will come out to $66.15. I'll probably have paper to spare too. But I also have to buy a hole puncher. I don't imagine they'll be too expensive, right? *goes hunting online for hole punchers*

For the programs, I think we'll use the same cardstock as the invitations, just folded in half for the cover. And I don't think we'll be using any fancy paper - just regular ol' computer paper. I figure that'll save us quite a bit of money. So, programs will come out to be just under $20. I just have to figure out how I'll keep it all together. I don't wanna buy an extra long stapler if I don't have to. I think I'll either tie it together with ribbon (but then I'd need an extra long hole puncher) or sew up the middle using my sewing machine. (I could use different color threads!)

I can use leftover paper for thank-you cards (I'll buy more if necessary), and I plan on using the cheaper cardstock I already have for dinner placecards. I was thinking of color coding them according to what the guest wants for dinner. So it'd go something like:
Purple = Steak
Pink = Chicken
Blue = Fish
Green = Vegetarian
I had considered shape coding them (flowers for steak, butterflies for chicken, etc.) But I figured that would be too much work. And I'd get all anal about cutting them out perfectly, and you just can't be that anal about potentially 90 placecards.

I've learned a lot about designing, printing, and cutting all this paper stuff from tutorials online. Other brides have said that if you're cutting lots of paper into specific sizes (5x7, 4x6, etc.), you're better off taking it to a copy place like Kinko's that'll cut an entire stack of papers for really cheap. They can get it really exact, which is cool for my perfectionist tendencies. They also said that if you're looking for simple pictures to put onto your invitations, you can use dingbat fonts (like Wingdings and all those other ones only nerds know how to read). So I can download a rose-themed set of fonts, and each letter corresponds to a different rose picture. What's even cooler is that I can change the color and size of the picture very easily (which is harder using clip art, I think). I'll be using fonts either from DaFont or FontGarden, cuz they have some really beautiful free fonts there. I'm definitely gonna play around on Photoshop this week to see if I can design something cool.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Photography, Guest List, and Other Ramblings...

I feel like Sam and I have finally gotten into the swing of our wedding planning. Yesterday, we went to go see our photographer at Universal Citywalk and, after a casual meeting, we booked her! Yay! Her photos are fantastic, and she's a very nice and sensible person. The best part is that her prices are so reasonable! For $650, we're getting 6 hours of photography (with 2 photographers), 500+ prints, digital effects (black & white, sepia, dual-tone), and a CD with all our pictures on it (probably around 1000). I'm very pleased.

In other news, I just finished making a simple spreadsheet for our guestlist, since invitations should go out by the end of next month. I still have to ask Sam about his side because I don't know if he's inviting some aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I put the ones I know of on there, though. So far, including people who may be invited, I've got 66 on the list. And - other than the 11 maybes and a couple people involved in family feuds - I'd be really surprised if any of those people didn't show up. But I really hate working on the guestlist. So many people think that weddings are "bring a date" occasions, but I don't want complete strangers at my wedding. I don't even understand why strangers would want to be there. So I've developed a rule regarding who I invite (on my side). If I haven't seen or talked to them more than twice in the past 5 years, they're not invited - unless the person is a spouse or fiance of someone I know and love. I might make an exception for live-in boyfriends/girlfriends too. I haven't decided yet. But I don't want to start making distinctions between people's relationships. For example, I can't say Lola Jo's boyfriend of 2 years is more important and therefore more worthy of an invitation than Bertha Mae's boyfriend of 2 months, especially if I haven't met either of the boyfriends. What if Bertha Mae is really serious about her new boyfriend? What if Lola Jo's relationship is on thin ice? (Not real names of friends) And I don't want to start adding "And Guest" to every invitation sent to a single person. I think it's very impersonal, for one, and I don't want my guests to just bring random people. Why do people do it?? It's weird! And I won't be inviting coworkers or bosses either, because we're not friends and I don't intend on staying at the company any longer than I have to after I'm married anyway. Besides, even if I wanted to, I couldn't invite any of them without another 15 coworkers (who I work with every day) wanting to be invited too. Anyway, enough about that.

I'm making appointments with bridal salons for next Saturday. I think 2 should be enough: David's Bridal and Camarillo Bridal. I figure we'll spend about 2 hours at each place and then I'll definitely know what style and sizes look good on me. I also bought some tulle to make my veil. I think I bought a little too much, but I guess it's better to be able to make it smaller than try to make it bigger. So I might start working on it this week.

I guess that's it for this wedding update. It's a lame ending to an entry, but whatcha gonna do?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Finally! - Reception Location

We finally found our reception location! Hooray! It still doesn't feel quite real yet, mostly because we came upon it so fast, but I'm really very pleased.

It's called the Sportsman Restaurant and Lounge. It doesn't sound very impressive, but it's a nice restaurant that's not too fancy and not too casual. The space we'll be renting is adjustable depending on what size of a room we think would be appropriate for dinner, dancing, and activities. (They have a moveable partition to set off the space.) The walls are wood, and I think there will be some pictures on the walls. I think it'll be a little difficult to decorate, especially since we can't really attach things to the walls (except with tape), but I have a couple ideas already. I want to go over there again at some point to take some pictures of the space, so we can figure out how to decorate it. (And so I can post them here!)

The entrance has pretty wooden doors with oval glass paneling. The entrance has stone floors, a fish tank, and an Asian-inspired fountain. The bar is all wood, and our space is adjacent to it. They'll be providing a dance floor too. What's nice is that there was a party of 60 going on at the time, which is about how many people we'll be having, so we got to see how we'll be using the space. What's best is that it's pretty inexpensive. All we have to pay for is dinner, drinks, cake cutting fees, and any extras we want to add on. But there's no charge for the actual space, and the dinners aren't very expensive at all.

We decided on it pretty quickly, partly because almost every place we've called has been booked for our date, or they've been giving us the run around. (I don't really like it that we could never get a hold of the people in charge of banquets at other places. I mean, don't they want business? Even if we did get a hold of them, how're they gonna take care of us and our event if they're never there?) We definitely like it better than Casa Sirena - the building is newer, the room is bigger, and the place as a whole is nicer. It's even a little cheaper too. And the manager that we met with was very nice and on top of things.

So it's not the garden reception I had originally wanted, but it sounds like it'll still be very nice. I'm just glad the search for a location is finally over! Now I can concentrate on the fun wedding stuff, like designing invitations and making centerpieces. Yay!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dress Dilemma - Reprise

So I think I found the Ebay seller I want to buy my dress from. And I know I haven't tried on any dresses yet (like I said I would), but I already know what style I like. And I'm a little afraid that the dresses won't be available anymore if I don't get it by the end of the auction. (Even though it seems like they often relist styles, I apparently like the unpopular ones...)

The Ebay seller has 100% Feedback, and all the comments say they're high quality and beautiful. They're also copies of designer dresses for about $600 less than the real thing. So for a little over $200 (including shipping) I could get an amazing brand new dress! I can even customize the colors and measurements. And the dress would be here by next month! (Bridal shop orders take at least 3 months)

But I'm not sure which to choose and how to go about this. First of all, I really, really like the style of these dresses, but since they don't have my changes on the sample pictures, I don't love them, you know? And I took my own measurements, but I don't really trust them. (Can my waist really be 30 inches??) And I'm feeling kinda bad cuz I know Nimalee and Ciara were really looking forward to going to bridal shops. I'd be totally ready to say "Let's go on Saturday!", but I don't think Nimalee can make it out here in that short of notice... I think I'll give her a call.

I have a few days to make a decision before the auction closes (there's 5 available, so I'm not worried about someone getting there before me). In the meantime, I'll think about it and stare at it in my bored time at work. ^^ I'll also call the dry cleaners across the street to see if they'll take my measurements for free. And I'll talk to my bridesmaids to see what they think.

I like several of the styles this seller has for auction, so if I miss these, I guess it won't be a total loss. But here are the two current frontrunners. Click the style names to see the auction and more pictures.

"Cindy Milly" style, modeled after Maggie Sottero's Cindy - $189 + $55 shipping

"Avril Milly" style, modeled after Maggie Sottero's Avril - $189 + $55

I'll post details about what I want to do with them in the comments. (Sam, no peeking! Don't go looking at the Ebay listings either!)

Let me know what you think of these! Which do you like better?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Padre Serra

Happy New Year! ^_^

Sam and I went to see the deacon again on Tuesday, and we got to talk to him about our backgrounds and our plans for the future. I really like Deacon John because he's like our personal guide through the marriage process. He's so understanding of younger people, especially for an older man, and he's been very supportive. Some slightly uncomfortable conversations aside (due to a sexual nature...), it was a great meeting.

Also, Nimalee will be checking into some people she knows who might do our photography and maybe even our cake. Yay! Hopefully, we'll be able to get some really nice discounts. If not, it's worth looking into. Hooray for connections!

We're still working on a reception site, but I think we picked a bad time to be calling around. People are either busy with holiday parties or on vacation, and can't be reached until I'm back at work. Dang. We're looking into some restaurants with banquet facilities, which seem to be a little cheaper, but we've still been getting the run around. We'll keep at it, though.

Anyway, other than that, no further developments. But I took a LOT of pictures while I was at Padre Serra, so you'll at least see where we're having the ceremony. The lights weren't on in the church and it was kinda cloudy that day, so sorry if they're a little dark.

Here's the outside, with the steps leading up to the courtyard and church.

And here's the fountain in the courtyard.

This is a little garden area off to the left of the church. I'm really looking forward to taking pictures here.

Really awesome picture of the church belltower. I love the clouds.

A picture of the inside. I tried to get some of the beautiful ceiling in this picture, but it doesn't really do it justice. The ceiling is an intricate pattern of wooden beams with a large skylight in the middle, right over the altar. It's magnificent when the church is lit up.

Here's the baptismal fountain with poinsettias around it. They really go all out for holiday decorations, and our wedding will be right after Easter, so I bet there'll be some fantastic decorations then too! (Less I have to spend on them!)
The altar. I've never gone up there, but it looks like it's made out of real granite.Creepy Jesus. When Padre Serra first opened, a lot of people really didn't like this crucifix because it scared them a little. It was the artist's decision to portray him in a painful way, which I think gives it more depth than the usual reverant depiction. Good for Padre Serra for not caving to the public.

As you can see, the church is in a round configuration, so it's a little weird for a wedding since there's not one specific aisle to walk up. But I'll have everyone seated at the front, so Jesus will be behind them a little. I do love the roundness of the church, though. It seems to show equality, like the Arthurian Round Table. I think more churches should be like Padre Serra. It doesn't really put on airs.