Archive | May, 2013

An Exit Strategy

31 May

Boy, do I have a lot to say.

Unfortunately, it’ll be MUCH too long to say it all in one post. So I’ll start with a more recent disappointment.

Our reception space cannot do a sparkler exit.

I know, “/sarcasm/ OH BOO HOO, YOU POOR THING”. But… but… I was really eager for pictures like this:

By the way, do you remember how I was gushing about how wonderful my photographers are? This is one of their’s. I KNOW RIGHT, AREN’T THEY AWESOME #forevergushing (Image (c) StudioSomething)

But… we can’t have pictures like that… because our reception space doesn’t allow it. For good reason too, the last time they did a sparkler exit, the guests left the sparklers lying around everywhere, charred the wooden deck, and made a general mess of things. :\ It is because of that wedding that all other wedding have promptly suffered.

So… what else can we do? What will work for an evening exit?

I’ve had ideas, but GP didn’t really like them – glow stick exit doesn’t match our general wedding ‘theme’, bubbles don’t photograph well at night, confetti is usually out of the question because of the mess factor (and I don’t really like confetti). The reception space usually has a goodbye circle or an archway, but a goodbye circle involves the bride and groom saying goodbye to EVERYONE (and we have over 100 guests) and the archway was used by my cousin for her wedding (and I’m trying not to do the same thing as her).

So what do we do!? Anyone have any ideas? :\

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The First Not-Look

29 May

Otherwise known as the “Anti First-Look”.

Mr Big and I aren’t really ‘traditional’, but we both really like the idea of not seeing each other the day-of the wedding until we meet each other at opposite ends of the aisle! (Digression, we have a bet going on whether or not Mr Big will cry when he first sees me. I’m really hoping he does, but he’s fervent he won’t!).

This means that, the night before the wedding, we’ll wish each other adieu and we’ll be staying in different villas. We still haven’t figured out what we’re going to do, but we’re still trying to figure out if we should grab our own room or bunk with other people (although the second option is looking more and more like a reality).

The fact of the matter is we won’t be doing a “First Look”, where the bride and groom see each other before the aisle-walk. A lot of brides state that it’s special either way, and that’s completely understandable, but given the tradition already infused in our wedding, as well as the timing of the entire affair, the first look just didn’t really fit.

Also, I like the idea that Mr Big will not have seen me all day until we’re ready to be joined as husband and wife.

Unfortunately, I also like images like this:

ADORBS. Image via Pinterest, photography by Coati Photography.

So a part of me really wants pictures like this.

Or this:

Image via Pinterest, photography by Gabri J. Photography.

Or maybe these:

Isn’t it just so frakking adorable? Photography byK. Holly Studios.

I’ve asked Mr Big if he liked them, and he actually does.

What’s more is because we’ll be getting ready at the same hotel, it works out that we can choose a spot that’s picturesque but keeps me hidden. I honestly think it’s unfair that I get to see Mr Big before he sees me, but as he has to lead me out of the door (remember that Chinese tradition folks?), it’s just inevitable that I have to have all eyes on that door frame (no tripping for me!).

The overall concept is just so cute to me, and I really want to be able to hold his hand and talk to him before we officially become husband and wife. It’s just such a nice sentiment! ❤

And also, the exchanging of letters the day-of?

I’d love to do that too. I love writing letters and to be able to read a letter from Mr Big before we’re husband and wife (and then frame it to hang up in the house somewhere) would be so cute. Also, we’re not really doing a gift-exchange since we’re already giving heaps of other gifts to other people, so a letter would be a nice touch.

So Mr Big, if you see this post, give me your honest opinion? Pictures like this? A letter the morning-of? ❤

On the Weight Game…

27 May

Hive, it’s time to get a little bit serious…

I’m a small girl, height-wise. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m only 5’0″. My fiancé towers over me at 6’0″. He loves how short I am (and generally just… loves me ❤ ). I quite like my height – having gotten used to it over the years. Although being short can be a little bit annoying when you’re trying to watch a concert (“Oh look, all I see is… the head of the taller person in front of me…”), it’s been pretty good being short.

Unfortunately, I’m short and quite big (read: fat… I’m not going to pull my punches here). The thinnest I’ve been was during my karate days, and because those were the days of “DON’T YOU DARE TAKE A PICTURE OF ME WITH THAT CAMERA”, I don’t have any photos of me when I was that thin. I do have some photos of me during a thinner stage of my life, but as I was overly conscious about my body size, most of them have me SWATHED in big jumpers and 2-sizes-too-big pants.

Yeah… I wasn’t very happy with my fashion choices back then.

Anyway, I’ve struggled with my weight over the years, and being Asian, the idea is that you need to be THIN to be beautiful. I’m not talking Jennifer-Lawrence-healthy-thin nor am I talking J-Lo/Beyoncé-curves-thin. I’m talking wow-you-look-like-a-popsicle-stick thin.

typical asian girl

An example of typical Asian fashion and thin-ness. I guarantee that if you go to Hong Kong or any other Asian country, the size “Large” will actually be a size “Small” in Anglo sizing. / Image via We Heart It.

But you see, I’m not ‘typically Asian-sized’. Yes, I am short, but I have curves. My body size is basically petite – short and curvy. I love that I have curves, I love that my natural body size is petite, but unfortunately, 99.99999% of my family does not.

I’ve been pestered to lose weight by so many relatives. For example, one of my uncles told me to eat cabbage soup for a month because his daughter did it and lost so much weight (I didn’t – I just stared at him like he was crazy). Another example, at a party a family friend stared at me ashamedly as I plucked up a piece of cake. He shook his head and was visibly offended that I was eating a piece of cake.

Well, buddy, you weren’t so thin yourself.

Now that I’m engaged, one of the first port-of-calls from a number of people when talking to me about the wedding was, “Are you going to lose some weight?”. Though it annoyed me, they had a point. Ever since dating Mr Big, I had gained a lot of weight and I was at my heaviest. I hated my body, felt like crap, and wanted to lose weight. Unfortunately, I found it hard to motivate myself on my own and basically stayed at that weight for the first 6 months of our engagement.

Milford Sound Walk

On the Milford Track, c. January 2013. God that track was a bitch to walk… / Personal Photo.

Finally, the year 2013 struck and I was determined to do some weight loss.

Mr Big also wanted to lose some weight and we started a regime. It first involved lots and lots of walks, which were fun, but as time wore on, the weight loss (for me, anyway) stopped. So we had to switch it up. We searched for a gym and found a reasonably priced one. A gym membership later, we were doing cardio work for the majority of it. However, our gym was AWESOME and gave us a free gym program. After two months, I’d lost about 8kgs.

And it kept decreasing.

evolution of eileen

The evolution of a big Miss Big to a littler Miss Big. From left to right, top row: At Marlborough, New Zealand, visiting the wineries, c. January 2013; in front of the Wentworth Falls (or a section of it), c. March 2013; posing in our Steampunk duds for GM Cthulu’s wedding reception, c. June 2013. Bottom Row: posing in the Christchurch Cathedral Square, New Zealand, c. July 2013; drinking a delicious Cabrito coffee at Circular Quay just before a trip to Melbourne, c. August 2013; making a stupid face at Mama Bighorn’s birthday dinner in Cocklebay Wharf, Darling Harbour, c. November 2013.

I don’t think I’m going to get to my primary weight goal, but hopefully, I’ll get to my secondary weight goal.

And no, I don’t intend to get popsicle-thin!

As for Mr Big, he’s lost a whopping 20 kilograms since we started this venture. He looks significantly different to what he did in the beginning of the year. Let me show you a three-picture-progression:

evolution of grant

The evolution of a big Mr Big to a smaller Mr Big. From left to right: Mr Big in front of the Auckland Museum, c. January 2013; Mr Big and I during our engagement photo shoot, photography by Studio Something; Mr Big, looking cute, at my Mama Bighorn’s birthday dinner, c. November 2013.

We hope to continue losing weight after the wedding is done and dusted through both regular exercise and just eating the right foods. We’re happy with our progress so far and we’re looking forward to more progress in the future!

Did anyone else struggle with weight before the wedding? Who else has used their wedding as a catalyst to lead a better lifestyle?

(All images personal unless otherwise stated.)

 

Finding “The One”…

26 May

The One Cake Topper, that is!

I know, I’m so mean with all these oblique wedding dress references.

Recently, GP and I went and saw our now-booked cake decorator/baker, Melissa Rose, or Melrose Cakes. We loved her personality, thought her son was ADORABLE, and finally booked her. We can’t wait to om-nom on her cakes at the wedding and just KNOW our guests will love what she does. She has 21 flavours!

Yes, TWENTY-ONE flavours!!

They all sound DELICIOUS and, since we’ll be having cupcakes, we can choose up to about 8 flavours. But… we’ll be limiting it to five because we know 8 is a little bit excessive… We also get a top cake for cutting and we both already know what flavour we want for that one. Anyway, on to the point of the whole post. During out chit-chat session with Mel, she asked us about our cake topper. I’m sure I mentioned our idea for our cake topper in this post. We wanted a quirky cake topper and INITIALLY wanted us fighting ZOMBIES, a la this cake topper, right here:

Killing zombies with the love of your life. If this isn’t true love, I dunno what is! (Image (c) Garden Ninja Studios)

However, BM Superhero pointed us to this cake topper, called “A Kiss and We’re Off”, stating that it reminded her of GP and I:

Aww! So cute! (Image (c) http://www.weddingstar.com.au

Now, GP is about 6’0″ tall, which is apparently considered “average” for a man. However, I’m ONE FOOT SHORTER THAN HIM. Yes, folks, I am 5’0″. And so this cake topper… it just FITS us. I LOVE smooching my man, he loves my height, and the cake topper has just got so much love and personality oozing out of it. Unfortunately, it’s so very ‘generic’ for us.

We wanted to inject more of OUR personality into it. That’s what I suggested having the bride on a Companion Cube.

Now, what’s a Companion Cube, I hear you asking. Well, folks it is this:

Isn’t it CUTE!? (Image (c) Portal and the meme maker)

The Companion Cube has it’s roots from the game Portal, which is basically a FPS (first-person shooter, for those non-gaming folks), but without the S. More correctly, Portal is a FPP, a first-person puzzler. You see, in the game you play as the silent Chell, a girl trapped in Aperture Science Laboratories. She’s given a Portal gun which, coincidently, makes portals. The goal is to make you way through the puzzles thrown at you using the Portal gun. During your trials you come across the Companion Cube, a cube which assists you during your puzzles because it can be used as a counterweight to ensure buttons are pressed.

I loved watching games being played when I was younger (and still do, to this day) but my first game that I PLAYED was Portal, which was introduced to me by the one-and-the-only GP.

I LOVE Portal, and I love that GP introduced me to it, so it’s a SIGNIFICANT part of our relationship. And so, having the Companion Cube as part of the cake topper was PERFECT.

Unfortunately, we have to FIND a person who can make it.

Enter Garden Ninja Studios.

Drew Olds makes geeky cake toppers, including the zombie one from above. After much hemming and hawing, GP and I both decided we should ask for his assistance on our Portal idea. I gave him the details and he responded the next day. The news wasn’t entirely bad, but it wasn’t really good either. You see, because the “A Kiss and We’re Off” cake topper was made of porcelain, we wouldn’t be able to change the hair and clothes. The colours would be fine to change though. I ran this by GP and he was a little hesitant on the whole thing because he wants the topper to be ‘us’.

So after some back-and-forthing with Drew, I’ve since found another cake topper which may just fit. This is the cake topper:

I’m really hoping Drew comes back with a positive, but we shall have to wait and see since it’s Saturday in America and he probably won’t check his email until Tuesday Australian-time. Wish us both luck on that front!

Accommodating ourselves!

20 May

So, I recall mentioning we were quite happy with the accommodation we procured for our guests.

Now I’m going to talk about accommodating ourselves. On the follow-up to the wedding, we’ll be staying with our guests at the Crowne and spending as much time as we can with our friends and family. We’ve got a few things planned, but we’re still unsure, so we’ll see how it goes! However, after the wedding, Mr Big and I want to spend our first night together as husband and wife in private seclusion. So we’ve been trying to find a place to stay – just the two of us.

Enter the Château Élan.

The Château Élan is located on a HUGE block of land called The Vintage. It’s basically resort living for the retired up in the Hunter Valley and you can even buy a house or a block of land there. Mr Big saw the place and was immediately IN LOVE. He wants to buy a house up there, which I’m all for, but we both know that won’t be in the books until much later in our lives.

At the end of the long driveway of The Vintage is Château Élan, which calls itself the “Luxury Hunter Valley Hotel”. It has four types of accommodation: the Spa King, Spa Suite, 1-Bed Spa Villa, and 2-Bed Spa Villa.

I perused through the website and upon seeing the Spa Suite, was instantly hooked.

The Spa Suite offers so much, including an open plan living space, a spa and a king bed. You’ve also got easy access to the spa onsite (which I probably won’t use, since we’ll be there for one night).

spa suite_chateau elan

Open-plan living space. / Image taken from the Château Élan website.

On Saturday 18 May, we went to Château Élan to take a look around.

When we arrived we were shocked by how big the place was. The drive down to the actual hotel took about 2-3 minutes (maybe even 5!) but when we finally arrived and parked we were in awe. Just outside on the hotel grounds we saw wallabies grazing.

wallabies_chateau elan

Wallabies right out front! / Image taken from the Château Élan website.

The hotel itself was beautiful.

chateau elan

Image taken from the Château Élan website.

When we walked up to the front we were greeted by one of the hotel staff who quickly sorted out what we wanted and kept us comfortable. Meanwhile, I was feeling horrible because I was holding a cup of coffee from another winery in their café. In a few moments time, our guide – Christina – came out to show us around.

We were taken to the Spa Suite.

the spa_chateau elan

The Spa – I can’t wait to use this… / Image taken from the Château Élan website.

We had a tour around one of the ground floor Spa Suite rooms and were given tips when booking, like mentioning we wanted one of the first floor rooms (and she even mentioned the room numbers!) and the view towards the golf course (the other side is the view of the car park – not as pretty!).

view golf course_chateau elan

The view of the golf course / Image taken from the Château Élan website.

We were able to have a good look around and a good chat with Christina, and by the end, Mr Big and I were pretty sure that would be the place to stay.

It’s also located right next to one of our favourite wineries – Bimbadgen Estate – and it’s only 5 minutes from Tamburlaine, where we’ll be having our reception. All-in-all, we’re both über happy with the choice and can’t wait to spend the night there!

Also, bonus for my coffee-loving self. They have this som’bitch:

nespresso_chateau elan

Yes please! / Image taken from the Château Élan website.

A Nespresso machine!

I love coffee, so this is perfect, especially after a day of smiling, excitement and being wed! Mr Big and I are both super excited to end the night in this fabulous place, and I can’t wait to make myself a coffee (I’m sad, I know).

Who else is excited about something that’s probably completely unnecessary? Do you think Mr Big and I made a good choice?

Accommodating the guests!

18 May

Hey Hive!

On 18 May, Mr Big and I took a nice morning jaunt up to the Hunter Valley. It was an awesome and very fulfilling trip. We managed to get a lot done in the time we were up there. Among these things we have found our baker for the wedding (more on that soon!), bought A LOT of bottles of moscato (and also found out that a few vineyards up there recognise us by face!), picked up more empty wine bottles for our DIY project, and most importantly, looked at accommodation for our guests.

When we first started planning a vineyard wedding in the Hunter Valley, the first and foremost issue that was constantly brought up to us was ”where will the guests stay?”. Good question, Mr Big and I would say, we’ll try to find something. I searched high and low for a hotel that would fit our guests comfortably and also provide nice furnishings. It had to be affordable, it had to be in the Hunter Valley Wine Area, and it had to be nice.

The reasons we needed these properties were simple:

  • we have overseas guests coming and so we needed an affordable price point for these guests
  • we didn’t want our guests having to drive more than an hour to get to our ceremony and reception – ten minutes tops was our cap
  • we wanted our guests to enjoy their time staying at the Hunter

I’ll be honest, guys. I had no idea where to look. I had never stayed in the Hunter at that point and I knew of the hotels but had never stayed there before. So I was stumped people. I threw around a lot of suggestions to Mr Big: Mercure Resort, Cam-Way Estate, Sebel Kirkton.

All of my suggestions was taken with a “hmm… maybe…” by the fiancé and so it got to a point where – it being too early to really do much about the guest-accommodation problem – I let it go and put it on the backburner.

However, in August of 2012, Mr Big’s parents came to stay. De Papa and Mumma Big had previously come over to Australia in July of 2010, ironically a week after I had met Mr Big. They travelled up to the Hunter Valley, and during that time, they stayed in a two-bedroom villa at the Crowne Plaza Resort. All three of them loved it there, but when it came time to plan guest accommodation during our wedding in 2014, he had totally forgotten the Crowne could do group bookings. Luckily MIL/Mumma Big was savvy enough to tell us about it:

“We’re going to stay at the Crowne Plaza. It was lovely there when we stayed before,” said MIL/Mumma Big.

And I was sold.

Mr Big’s mumma is a lovely woman and has good taste in these sorts of things, so I trusted her judgment. A month or so later, Mr Big called the hotel and got a group booking! So, is this the end of the guest accommodation saga? Well, not quite.

When 12 months to the wedding tricked down to 9 months to the wedding, I asked Mr Big if we could potentially take a look at the hotel rooms at the Crowne. You see, the Crowne has both hotel rooms (deluxe rooms, king rooms, spa suites, etc.) and villas (two- and three-bedroom). So I wanted to ensure that, 1) the hotel would take your breath away, 2) the rooms would do the same thing. Unfortunately, April passed without us heading up to the Hunter (shame on us) but come May, I was eager for another trip up.

When we got to the Crowne Plaza, I immediately told myself that (1) had been fulfilled. It is a stunning hotel with absolutely HUGE grounds and a lake out the front. When we went for a tour around (in a buggy, booyah!) there were black swans floating serenely on the lake.

There are also heaps of things to do at the hotel itself like taking a trip down to the spa, hanging out in the leisure room (Xbox, the PlayStation, arcade games), playing on the various outdoors-y sports type equipment, playing giant chess and jenga (yes – you read that right) and swimming in their HUGE freaking pool.

crowne_chess and jenga

On the left, Mr Big and giant Jenga; on the right, giant chess in the balcony courtyard. / Personal images.

They also assist in guest transport, wine tours, and drinks (you can request the bar to be open earlier for your guests – yes you can).

We didn’t get to go inside the rooms, purely because there was a special event on (the Lovedale Long Lunch, which Mr Big and I want to do one of these days), but they gave us information and contact details of someone to contact who will give us a tour around these rooms.

We went away a happy future-bridegroom-and-bride and can’t wait to see our guests’ reactions to the sheer awesome of the hotel. We also can’t wait on the wedding day when Mr Big can get some amazing photos around the Crowne with his groomsmen!

Did anyone else inspect their accommodation prior to the Big Day? Who’s just as excited about giant Jenga? 🙂

Let’s start this over…

13 May

Hello everyone 🙂

I have vowed to be a more regular writer. It’s good to just sit, write and escape everything you don’t want to be doing at the current moment (i.e. assignments, blah!). So, what can I tell you guys that I haven’t already?

Well, in July, GP is turning the big 3-0, so we’ll be going to New Zealand. It’ll be major fun, and we’ll get to see GP’s friends (and groomsmen!) while we’re there. Also, our very awesome photographers of StudioSomething will be in Christchurch when we are, so we’ve lined up our engagement photo shoot in New Zealand. SO EXCITING.

If you want to check them out – which I VERY MUCH RECOMMEND – go here and here.

In other news, GP and I have been thinking of things we need to buy (the little things – bubbles for the ceremony, chocolates for the reception) and I think we need to make a list. I’ll do that in my spare time (read: when I get bored of my assignment/my brain can’t think of my assignment anymore) so we can keep track of everything. Some of the things on this list are:

– Photo frames for the reception

– Scrap book for the guest book

– Nice pretty sticky tape for the guest book

– Gel or archival pens for the guest book (I don’t want the ink to fade…)

– Props for the photobooth (provided by StudioSomething – didn’t I tell you they were awesome?)

– Bubbles for the ceremony

– Parasols for my girls

 

… I’m sure I’ve missed only 1000 other things…

A lot of people tell us we’re WAY ahead of the ball game but we haven’t finalised (or… started) our cake, gotten all the important little knickknacks that’ll make our wedding special, and been fitted for our clothing (as in – I haven’t been fitted for my dress yet [I haven’t even got my dress yet…], GP hasn’t bought his suit yet [though men get more time than women], etc.). It’s getting into the 8-month mark, which is an exciting time for us, but at the same time, the closer we get, the more I realise we haven’t really done much!

So it’s time to get everything into gear I guess.

And also a question – cake or cupcake? Like seriously… what should we get!?

So, like, whaddup people?

11 May

Yeahhhhh…

I know. I’m a slacker. I should post more on here, be more diligent, but I’ve honestly run out of things to say. I can now say that I finally have all the accessories I need. I said in my last post that my momma offered to let me borrow her silver necklace, which is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t currently have a picture of it, but it’s basically a v-shaped necklace which sits just about the collar bone. Also mentioned in the last post, I managed to find a pair of earrings and a hair comb to match said necklace.

All I was missing was a bracelet.

So the other day, while out and about with the family, I went and bought a bracelet.

It’s gorgeous and absolutely fits with the necklace.

I’m so excited to finally have my ensemble picked out and ready to go!!

In other news, I’ve been following the bloggers here: http://www.weddingbee.com/

These guys are dedicated – unlike yours truly – and they’re posts are enlightening, funny, inspirational, and full of heaps of wedding hints and tips. I want to join, since they’re currently taking in people whose wedding is in January 2014, but you have to dedicate to blogging 3-4 times a week. I love writing, I do, but… I am a lazy mofo. It does give me more stuff to do, I guess, but… we’ll see. I’ll have a look at the submission guidelines before I actually commit to this…

Shopping with my mum!

4 May

Hey guys!

So last weekend we went to the city, and I showed GP around 🙂 We went to the Sydney Centrepoint (or as it’s called now, the “Sydney Eye”) after a deeelicious lunch at Jones the Grocer (I do recommend it, wholly). This was then followed by a trip to the Sydney Aquarium and a jaunt through Madame Tussaud’s Sydney (I have no idea how to spell that – oh hey, apparently I spelt it correctly!). All-in-all it was a fantastic day, and I’m glad I could show GP some of the awesome parts of Sydney 🙂

I also managed to find bridal accessories!

If you recall in the last post, I’ve been trying to find things to wear for the wedding. Well, on the way back from dinner (at Grill’d – also recommended) we decided to look at a little shop called Lovisa (http://www.lovisa.com.au/). They were having a sale – “Buy 3, For 2” – which hilariously my dad read as “Buy 3 products for $2”. I remember doing that during a sale at a similar store, so I’m not surprised my dad thought that, but it was funny nonetheless.

Anyway, my ma and I browsed the shelves as my pa, my fiancé and my little sister lingered outside. My ma and I found a few things that looked very bridal-y, but as I was intending on wearing ruby earrings and a ruby pendant necklace, I refrained from buying anything (at first). The I spotted a gorgeous hair comb. I can’t find it on the website, but it was PERFECT. A motif throughout the wedding is the cherry blossom, and this comb was basically that – a crystal cherry blossom. I fell in loooooooooove.

It was that comb that also made my ma remember that she had a silver necklace – which she could let me borrow. That did change my ruby idea, but it gave me an excuse to look for earrings. I bought crystal drop chandelier earrings and my ma bought herself a very nice looking vanilla enamel cuff bracelet.

Happy with our purchases, we exited and went back home.

My ma showed me the necklace she was talking about and we compared the accessories. They looked so awesomely coordinated and pretty.

Guys, I am super excited to wear these! I’m just wondering if I should get a bracelet to go with, or forego it.

What do you think?