Archive | November, 2013

An Exit Strategy: Wedding High Five

27 Nov

Hive, on May 30, 2013, early in the planning process, I found out something that made me a little sad: our reception space cannot do a sparkler exit. I know it’s sort of pathetic to get so upset over something so little, but I had fallen in love with photos like this:

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#forevergushing / Photography by the fabulous StudioSomething.

Unfortunately, our reception coordinators had run into some trouble the last time they had allowed a sparkler exit. Previous guests had left the sparklers lying on the lawns, scorched the deck, and made a general mess of things. So, for good reason, they had banned the use of sparklers on the grounds

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

Over the course of the next two months, Mr Big and I deliberate what to do. A glow stick exit was proposed, but didn’t match our general wedding ‘theme’; bubbles don’t photograph well at night; and 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).

And then I stumbled upon this post during a jaunt over at Offbeat Bride.

Mr Big and I are perpetual high-fivers. The first thing we do when either of us has succeeded in something, be it in my academic work or Mr Big’s job, we high-five each other. The same applies to others. For example, my little sister/junior bridesmaid/Groom’s Homie got a good mark in her exams, she gets a high-five; my older sister and maid-of-honour got a job, she gets a high-five, etc.

send off high five

Image via Offbeat Bride, photography by Kate Crafton.

I suggested the idea to Mr Big and he was so there. We think it’s an awesome example of us as a couple. We’re constantly high-fiving each other and everyone else. What’s even more is, when others found out they were all for it. We even got one of Mr Big’s groomsmen giving us a thumbs-up for it.

What this means, however, is that the send-off will have to happen indoors. Guests will have to line up, similar to the “archway” where guests form an arch with their arms. Instead of holding hands above and running underneath them, which will be extremely difficult for my 6’0″ husband-to-be, they’ll put their arm up, palm facing towards us. We then run through them, high-fiving each and every one of our guests!

So all of our guests (who survive to the end of the night) will be getting high fives (and possibly even hugs) from us before we leave! ❤

What do you think hive? Good idea or great idea? 😉

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Hair-spire Me Hive!

27 Nov

G’day Hive!

I’ve shown you the trial and now I’ll be showing you the inspiration. I know that’s not typically how it goes, but that’s cause I need your help! What on earth do I do with my hair?

During the wedding, I’ll be using an MUA and hair stylist who’ll be coming to us the morning-of. They’ll be dolling up a whopping 8 women that day, so it’ll be a busy morning!

Now, the most I’ve done to my hair is tie it up and call it a day. I’ve never straightened it, curled it, or have done anything remotely fancy to it. In fact, these are photos from our engagement photo shoot and pre-wedding videography session respectively:

I am a poser

Left: engagement photo shoot, in Christchurch. Right: pre-wedding videography session (you can see one of our videographers in the background!). My hair is basically just swept back with no styling, whatsoever. / Personal images.

As you can see, no styling. At all. So, when it came time for the wedding, my first thought was: where do I start?

When I had a look at wedding day hairstyles, I was blown away by the zillions (I may be exaggerating) of hairstyles in existence. The waterfall braid, the half-up-do, the chignon, the ballerina bun, the boho braid, etcetera. I had no idea where to start.

So as usual, I turned to an inspiration board:

bridal hair inspiration

All the hair-spiration! // Images from (1) treasuresandtravels / (2) bellethemagazine.com via Scarlett / (3) Hair & Makeup by Steph / (4) bridalmusings.com, photography by Love Life Studios / (5) beautifulbridalmakeup.blogspot / (6) bridal musings, photography by Jessica Janae Photography

As per usual, I went through a lot of uhming-and-ahing about the hair I wanted for the wedding.

First, I wanted a ‘half-up-half-down’ look. The main reason for this was because I didn’t want to look too dissimilar to my ‘everyday’ look. But then, I got to thinking that I should maybe have a low updo – because it’s more ‘bridal’ and I don’t have to pile it ON TOP of my head (which is what I hated most about updos). I could wear it low, messy and still look like me, especially as I’ve been wearing my hair up more lately.

And then finally, I thought that maybe I should attempt to compromise between the two. After perusing through my Pinterest board, I thought about using a 2-for-1 hairstyle. What’s a 2-for-1 hairstyle? Well, it’s something like this:

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Two-for-One – going from up and polished in the morning, to down and relaxed in the evening. / Image from Hair & Makeup by Steph, photography by Ciara Richardson Photography.

The reason I could have this, I thought, was because I’d be having a “touch-up” session during the midday of our wedding since our wedding will run basically all day and my skin is far from good. So with that in mind, I began to look at different “up” styles, and “down” styles.

The “up” styles I was drawn to were, as previously mentioned, low buns. I don’t think a ballerina bun would look particularly appeasing on my head. So a low bun it was, like these beauties:

low_buns_weddingbee

From left to right, top row: Every Last Detail via Lover.ly, photography by Rustic White Photography; Southern Weddings , photography by Christian Oth; Hair & Makeup by Steph, photography by Ciara Richardson Photography. Bottom row: Image & photography via Closer To Love Photography; Wedding Chicks, photography via Erich Mcvey Photography; Bridal Musings, photography by Ed Osborn Photography.

As for the “down” styles, I found myself drawn to such beauties as this:

However, after going through my trial, I decided that the touch-up session was a no-go. There were a few reasons for this, but the main ones were, (1) the touch-up session added extra costs, (2) the timing of the touch-up session was difficult to pinpoint, and (3) Mr Big seemed quite anxious about taking an hour from the day.

So now, hive, I have to decide on the kind of hair and makeup I want! It’ll be hot, so I’m leaning more towards a low bun.

But honestly, do you think this face would do well with all of that hair pulled to the back?

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It’s’a me! Hair down, hair pulled back, hair with hat. Maybe I should just wear a hat… / Personal images.

So, what do you think hive? Should I go up, down, sideways? Can anyone give me pointers? I know a lot of you ladies are way more fashionable than I am. HAAALP!

To Program, or Not to Program

21 Nov

Alternative Title: I NEED HELP.

Hey guys!

I’ve been agonising over this for a while, and I know it’s silly, but guys –

Do I make wedding programs for guests?

Seriously, guys!

I know I want people to know who our bridal party is, and I’d like to give some information to our guests, especially as there will be some things that aren’t ‘standard’ at both ceremonies (heck, one ceremony is beyond standard for half of the wedding guests), but… I don’t want to waste the money and time designing and printing programs with the knowledge that it’s going to be thrown away.

I guess the same can be said about our invitations.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about programs is the fact that you have to be succinct about the information you give, but we’ll have a lot happening, and I don’t know if it’s entirely possible.

Granted, I’ve seen some gorgeous wedding programs, and they make me think I should do programs, but I don’t know, hive.

The two I’ve been tossing up are the double sided rack card wedding programs:

double-sided rack card_wedding program

From etsy shop, How Lovely Paper.

And the wedding program in the form of a sign:

wedding program sign

From etsy shop, beth and borrow.

I love the sign idea because –

  • it won’t get thrown away
  • we can have it at the front so that guests can have a gander if they really need the information, and
  • it’ll look pretty.

Mr Big is a goer for this idea and suggested it especially for the Chinese Tea Ceremony. Only problem is, DIY’ing it may be a breathtaking failure, simply because my skills on a chalkboard aren’t fantastic, as evidenced earlier. I could always do it digitally, but I’d need to print it out through a printing website or a brick-and-mortar printing place.

And then somehow frame it.

Buying a pre-made sign may be even harder considering the difficulty in procuring those kinds of goods in Australia.

As for the rack cards, I know I can digitally design something good enough, but then we have to pay for the cost per rack card from a site like Vistaprint. And then there’s the delivery of said rack cards. Vistaprint does awesome deals, but still… that’s some money we’re using which can go towards other things.

So, I’m letting you weigh in.

Do I make wedding programs for my guests? If I do, should I choose the program-per-guest route, or the sign-at-the-front route?

Pictures of Me, Pictures of You.

19 Nov

Photography rated high on Mr Big and my list of “things we wanted” for the wedding. As every bride, blog, and bee has said before me, once all the décor is packed down and the guests slowly drag themselves home, all that’s left are the memories and the pictures.

And Mr Big and I have pretty shoddy memories!

For us, our search to find just the right photographer was a hard one. We wanted to find a photographer who took photos that were able to not just capture the moment and the people, but understood our personalities and provided everything we needed. This was emphasised further by the fact that Mr Big and I aren’t very photographic (we like being spazzes).

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Case in point. / Personal photo.

The ‘sane’ thing to do would’ve been to look locally.

I’ve posted numerous photographers on the ‘Bee who are Hunter Valley/Central Coast locals. Photographers like Something Blue Photography, Cavanagh Photography, the quirky Popcorn Photography (careful, has music which plays when you click!), and my personal favourite, Photography on Hermitage, all made it on to my “should possibly contact” list. But the reason I didn’t pull the trigger?

Price.

You see, Mr Big and I didn’t really want an album. Just digital prints and unlimited access to said prints. “Paper” prints would be great, but weren’t ‘necessary’. You would’ve thought that would lessen the price at least a little bit, but it wasn’t the case. The search for our photographer frustrated us to no end. Mr Big was suffering from sticker shock and I was attempting to find anyone who could provide us with all we wanted without the excessive price tag.

What made it even more frustrating?

We wanted a photobooth and a videographer as well. That meant we had to pocket away some money to afford a photobooth, a photographer, and a videographer. Mr Big and I tried to get ourselves to stop. Loving. The photobooth. But it was too hard. We wanted it.

We wanted it bad.

And we weren’t willing to sacrifice a videographer either. I remember watching my parents’ wedding video as a kid, my uncle’s wedding video as a pre-teen, and thinking it would be awesome to have a wedding video when I were to get married. Mr Big also has a saying for this wedding, “we’ll only do it once… let’s make it the best thing ever!”

So what could we do?

Well, hive, we gave up. For about a week at least. We just didn’t touch or even poke at the subject of the wedding. We enjoyed being engaged, we stayed in and watched movies, and cuddled on the couch. We just didn’t, want, to handle it.

And then one day, after stumbling across a particular post on Polka Dot Bride, I found StudioSomething. Curious, I clicked on their link and flicked through their photos. Impressed, I went to their information page.

The first line of this page?

studiosomething_info_page

It’s a little small, but it reads: “You’ve heard we’re awesome, right?” / Taken via Studiosomething’s information page.

Now, if you know me, or if you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll probably have realised I use the word ‘awesome’ a lot. Like, a terrible amount of lot. I am “awesome”-addicted.

Barney knows where it’s at.

To see those five word emblazoned on the information page was enough to make me turn to Mr Big and pronounce, with wide eyes:

“I WANT THESE PHOTOGRAPHERS.”

(I kid you not, hive. Mr Big was alarmed at my enthusiasm.)

What’s more than their spectacular use of the word ‘awesome’? They take amazing photographs and the team are quirky, intelligent, and amazingly skilled at their work.

They’re not just amazing, but they understood our personalities. They know we’re not really the typical couple. They tailor their shooting styles to the personalities of their clients, they collaborate with the couple, and most of all, they have fun! Their photographs capture more than just the couple and the wedding. They capture the love, laughter, tears, and sheer beauty of the moment!

Our first meeting with them was at a café in Bondi where we bonded over coffee and the traditions attached to our wedding. They asked us what we wanted, what we liked, why we wanted to do the wedding in the Hunter, and basically just got to know Mr Big and myself.

We emailed back and forth a lot after that. Despite the fact that we loved StudioSomething, however, we knew we needed to do some shopping around. Mr Big is all about ‘choice’, so he and I wanted to see what else was out there.

However, after finding another photographic outfit that seemed like a good fit, meeting up with them, and falling into the Venus Flytrap Effect (dubbed by the wonderful Mrs Waterfall), we hurried back to StudioSomething. No other photographer made us feel as comfortable as StudioSomething’s Ellen and Phu, the two we had met up with that day in Bondi. They treated us like people, not like customers, and we definitely didn’t feel like we were being swindled simply because the word ‘wedding’ was attached to our particular event. They were still professional with us, but friendly and conversational as well!

And their photos are. Absolutely. Magical.

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I love the way they shoot in black and white, as well as colour, and put so much emotion into their photographs. They’re extremely talented and bonus –

They do photo booths and stop motion.

Check it out for yourself:

Love it!

So with all of that, we were a complete and total goer for StudioSomething.

What do you guys think? Did we make the right choice?

(All photos and video copyright to StudioSomething unless otherwise stated.)

The Original Plan

13 Nov

Hey hive!

Let me indulge you in on a little something. This issue had, for the first 6 months of Mr Big and I’s engagement, been discussed heatedly. We went back and forth on this issue a lot, and sometimes, there’d be tears of frustration. I won’t lie and I’m certainly not the first bride to say so: wedding planning is stressful.

So what was this issue, you ask?

Well, hive, here’s my confession:

Mr Big and I didn’t want a wedding in the Hunter Valley.

It’s strange for me to say that, especially as my wedding is fast approaching now. Also, with stunning pictures like this, why wouldn’t you want a wedding there?

hvg_something blue

Taken at the Hunter Valley Gardens. / Image via Something Blue Photography.

So where did we want our wedding?

Well, we wanted it here:

chch botanical_rebecca bijl

Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Also, the bride wears a claddagh wedding ring! / Photography & Image via Rebecca Bijl Photography.

And here:

chch_trents

Trent’s Vineyard, Christchurch, New Zealand / Photography & Image via Jo Grams, Moda Fotografica.

So, in short, we wanted our wedding in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We had it all worked out, to the point that Mr Big and I were all ready to phone places and ask about packages and prices.

However, while waiting on our “auspicious” wedding date, days passed, then weeks, then months, and before long, Christchurch became a distant memory. We didn’t have enough time, we thought, to book the places we wanted, especially as the February 2011 earthquake had struck and a lot of the buildings which commonly accommodated weddings were either under repair or completely destroyed.

This meant places that were open, like Trent’s, booked up fast.

By the time we had our date, there were barely any spots left for Mr Big and I.

We weighed in on our options and, I won’t lie, hive, there were some choice words said between us. It became incredibly stressful for both of us. Mr Big was really looking forward to celebrating in Christchurch, especially as he thought that a wedding in Australia meant less of his friends and family being able to attend. Plus, weddings are expensive.

Australian weddings are even more expensive.

The average cost of a wedding in Australia is approximately between $36,200 and $48,296. That’s a lot of money. We were hoping a wedding in Christchurch would be more within our budget. And it would’ve been, had we had it there.

Luckily, as Mr Big and I tried to figure out what the heck to do for our wedding, Papa Bighorn came to the rescue. He offered to help us pay for our wedding.

The catch?

We had to do it in Australia.

You see, in Chinese culture, it’s customary for the parents of a bride and groom to invite family friends to their children’s weddings. This is considered polite and pays respects to the friends of the family. If we were to have the wedding in Christchurch, my parents wouldn’t be able to invite their family friends as they would not be able to travel over. Hence, a wedding in Australia was my parents’ preference.

With the offer, Mr Big and I reluctantly agreed, but we offered up another suggestion: we have the wedding in the Hunter Valley.

The Hunter Valley was a personal place for both Mr Big and I. Not to mention, just two hours away from Sydney and guests could use it as a mini-holiday.

So it was settled – Hunter Valley was our location.

It took Mr Big and me some time to adjust, but once we began to see the beauty of the Hunter Valley, our regret for not being able to go have our one-perfect Christchurch wedding faded. Plus, Mr Big was extraordinarily grateful and touched that his friends were willing to do the distance and travel over the ditch to celebrate with us. In fact, about 90% of Mr Big’s friends will be flying in from New Zealand to party with us in the Hunter Valley!

Despite the happy ending, I still wanted to have a part of our wedding in Christchurch.

But how? What could we do? I remember suggesting an engagement photo shoot in Christchurch. Mr Big looked at me like I was crazy and said, “then we have to fly the photographers over”.

Oh, right. Darn. I scrapped that idea and life went on. Until, we hit a lucky break. What was this lucky break, you ask? You’ll find out soon!

Did anyone else have initial plans that fell through?

A Quick Update!

6 Nov

Hey guys!

I know I haven’t posted any “new” posts lately, but honestly, we’re in the middle of confirming RSVPs, getting things assembled for the wedding, and emailing out to vendors. I’m writing my thesis (I’ve got two new participants!) and Mr Big/GP’s been super busy with work! November looked empty on the blog though (everyone say “aww”) so I’m posting this now!

The RSVPs are going well. Some people have either lost or misplaced the invitation so we’re getting the “when’s this on again?” questions. Which makes me think that I should at the very least make an information pamphlet for everyone, ‘else everyone forgets! I’ll try to churn that out while attempting to juggle my thesis (eep).

What else guys? Oh yeah – I’ve been ‘updating’ my posts, so that’s been fun. My writing style has definitely improved (as well as my typing) and I’m happy to say that I’m quite happy with my “blogging voice”.

So far, that’s it! Hopefully this weekend I can buy some glitter spray paint, or at least a jar of glitter and some clear gum. I’ve got a DIY project in the works.

Wish us luck!