Archive | March, 2014

Takin’ Love by the Horns: Meaty Goodness

31 Mar

[Warning: if you hate, hate, HATE grainy, low-quality photos, its best you skip this post. Also, I know, it’s not really “sheep” related, but I couldn’t resist the title.]

After I had a glorious half-hour massage, I hopped in the car with MC Chupacabra and we headed to the park in front of the Hunter Valley Gardens. It was dinner time! And what was for dinner? Well, this:

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The Don, cooking some meaty sate. You can see DoC Auto in the background there! Also, that little shelter back there is where we set up all the snacks, drinks, and plates.

You see, when I introduced Mr Big to my family, I told him he needed to try something called “sate” (said, ‘satay’, which is basically what it is). He told me that barbecues at his parents’ house usually resulted in burnt, unsavoury meat, so he tended to avoid barbecues like the plague. When he found out sate was basically barbecued (well, realistically, charcoaled) meat, he didn’t want to try it. I convinced him otherwise. The moment he ate the succulent meat off the skewer, he was hooked.

So it was no surprise that when I proposed that we have a big dinner on the Saturday before we get married, he suggested a sate dinner – it would be homage to my Indonesian heritage, and his Kiwi friends would be able to try it. I was aboard, but it all depended on my parents. They’re the “sate experts”. Mama Bighorn was uncomfortable with the idea. It’d be too much work before the day, and Mr Big and I could understand it. We told her it was no problem, and we could just go to a pub. Papa Bighorn was all aboard however, and managed to persuade her otherwise. Unfortunately, Papa Bighorn’s eyes are bigger than his stomach.

Guys, he made over 3000 skewers.

ALL THE MEAT

ALL THE MEAT. / Screenshots taken from a video by Family Friend T.

I love Papa Bighorn, but he tends to get over-excited. I was adamant that it would be WAAAYYY too much, but he was convinced that all the guests would eat at least 20 skewers each (spoiler alert: they didn’t). Needless to say, we didn’t end up cooking all of the skewers. So if anyone is planning on doing some barbecue thing for their wedding guests as a day-before dinner, please don’t do what we did and make too much.

(Plus side: if anyone wants to come over for a sate dinner, we have heaps of extras!)

The dinner started out relatively… well, disastrous. The sate hadn’t thawed, and by the time the guests started trickling in, nothing was cooked.

Thawing the meat

Papa Bighorn and Family Friend A thawing the meat out. / Photos taken by Family Friend T.

While I welcomed people, Mr Big was trying to get everything sorted with Papa Bighorn. Finally, when the meat did thaw, the thawed meat to cooked meat ratio was out of whack.

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Mama Bighorn and MoH M&Ms. You can see why the cooking would take so long! We had about three or four of those grills going at once.

Honestly, the whole dinner was logistically screwed from the beginning. When the meat did get cooking, though, we had so many people at the burners ready to grab some meat:

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Photos & screenshots taken by Family Friend T.

By the end, everyone was well-fed. There was a lot of mingling happening as well.

MINGLING

Photos & screenshots taken by Family Friend T.

Mr Big and I also took the time to give our parents their gifts. For Papa Bighorn, we got him a premium engraved barbecue knife set (including 2$ attached to the knife, you know… just because).

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Photos from Mr Big.

For Mama Bighorn we got her a bottle of Lancôme Trésor Midnight Rose:

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Via Lancôme Paris website.

Mumma Big got an Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea Gift Set:

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Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Gift Set. / Via.

And finally, De Papa Big got a wine gift box, with a wooden case to hold a wine bottle in and tools:

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Similar to this, but I couldn’t find the one we actually chose. / Via Dan Murphy’s.

We also cooked the meat off so that it would be easier to ship back without the fear of the meat going “off”. And we were met with a spectacular sundown.

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I can’t show you the sundown, because it was on my phone. But what I can show you is this awesome shot by The Don of the view from the ceremony location. Isn’t it wonderful?

At the end of the dinner, I packed up my bags from the villa Mr Big and I was sharing, kissed Mr Big goodbye and held him for what felt like the longest time, before settling in with my girls at my parents’ villa. But that’s for another post!

Anyone else met with an unexpected logistical nightmare?

[All photos taken by The Don, unless otherwise stated.] recap-logoMissed a recap post? Catch up here!

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Takin’ Love by the Horns: The Boys get Shorn and we Fake-Frolic down the Aisle

26 Mar

[Hi guys, I’m going to preface this post by apologising in advance. I know, excuses are poor, but the problem is I would really like to show photos in every post, and even though I have images to the wazoo from the actual day, I haven’t really got any leading up to it. My next post is clearly suffering from the lack of photos, so if I disappear again, I apologise. I’ll try to be better!]

Saturday started out pretty simply.

There was no more setting up to do at the reception hall, and that afternoon we would be having our rehearsal and the last dinner as an unmarried couple (it really wasn’t a “rehearsal” dinner, perse). We headed into the local town for breakfast, and afterwards Mr Big and his boys got all prettied up with a hot shave* at a local barber:

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Mr Big didn’t take pictures. But here’s the actual shop! Sorry for the iffy-lookin’ photo… / Photo from Tim’s Barber Shop.

After the boys had gotten themselves all prettied up (who says the boys can’t get pampered either!), we had a lunch consisting of leftover pizza from the Friday at our villa. Not glamorous, but we had a chance to catch up with a tonne of people. But not before Mr Big got the second woman in his life all cleaned up.

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Zoe, getting all cleaned up. (Yes, I’m referring to the car). / Photo by Mr Big.

At the same time I tried to organise with my family for the upcoming rehearsal. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say Papa and Mama Bighorn made it a little bit more complicated than it should have been.

When we finally got to the rehearsal site, we were late. Everyone else was waiting there in the approximately 40 degrees (Celsius) plus heat, except for my two bridesmaids, Cupcakes and Superhero (who got caught in traffic on the way up, darn traffic!), and De Papa and Mumma Big (who were unaware that they needed to attend). We walked up to the top of the Waterfall Outlook and were so happy to see shade – glorious shade!

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Basically what we saw upon our entry, minus those music stands (which we used to place signs for the wedding). / Photo by Mr Big.

After some time mingling, letting all the people there have a look around the ceremony site, and waiting for the arrival of De Papa and Mumma Big, we got underway! (Side note: BMs Superhero and Cupcakes later found out we were running late and they could’ve made it, but I didn’t want to pressure them. They did really well on the day though, so it was a-ok!)

We met up with our celebrant/officiant, Friend J, and she organised the boys up:

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In this picture: Friend/Officiant J, Mr Big, BMan Hunter, GM Iron, GM Not-British (NB), GM The Flash, and GM Xboy.

I wasn’t there when the boys got organised, but from what I can tell, they went through pre-ceremony dealings…

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Mr Big looks super focused!

And some questions were asked:

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I think he’s putting his hand up. That, or pointing. Also, notice the binder. GM Iron was more organised than I was.

Meanwhile, I was at the back (and when I say, back, I mean back) of the ceremony site, at the other end of our “aisle” (which is basically a loooong pathway under an arch). We had met up with our ceremony coordinator who was talking us through what would happen on the day, and what she’d be responsible for. We didn’t see much of our ceremony coordinator, and she wasn’t super responsive either, but I will admit that without her help on the day, our ceremony music would not have been timed so perfectly.

She wanted me to first demonstrate what I had in mind with the music, which ended up a disaster with a capital ‘D’. The bridesmaids were spaced much too together! Also, Groom’s Homie Oddball was a nervous, anxious, clueless and awkward mess (which was adorable, but at the same time, cringe-worthy).

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In black, BM Proper, and in white, Groom’s Homie Oddball. They’re spaced together too closely.

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You can just see the awkward oozing from her. That’s the expression of “WHAT DO I DO!?”

Our ceremony coordinator then told us she had an idea, and would signal when the bridesmaids would walk up. I don’t have any pictures of that, nor did I get any from De Papa Big (whose pictures I’m actually using, thankyou De Papa!). But her version of the whole thing was a success!

When I finally fake-walked up the aisle, we did a short run through the actual ceremony:

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Standing at the end of the aisle.

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Saying cheese to De Papa! And I think Mr Big is yelling at someone… I can’t remember who. Also, I love that hat!

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And finally, going through a quick rundown of the ceremony. Also, that combination of pink kaftan and dress is hideous. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME!?

And that was that!

After a brief conversation about placement of our signs…

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My dad’s guitar stand which we ‘turned inside out’ into a sign holder. Ingenious? Yes. Cheap? Yes! / Photo via Mr Big.

… We briefly checked out the Oriental Pagoda and then I headed off for my massage (Lady Luck and Mr Big basically demanded I go – I was more than happy to oblige!). After a glorious massage, it was then time to gorge ourselves on meat have our last dinner as an unmarried couple!

Who else had an insanely hot rehearsal day? Who else got strong-armed into a massage? Why didn’t anyone tell me I look hideous in that outfit!?

(All pictures courtesy of De Papa Big, unless otherwise stated.)

* A hot shave, or a “wet shave”, is usually done with a “straight razor”. For more information on this type of shaving, go here. According to what Mr Big told me (so don’t take my word for it), a hot shave means less regrowth the next day and less razor burn.

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Takin’ Love by the Horns: Making Sure the ‘Bleap’ Doesn’t Hit the Fan

18 Mar

[I know, hive, my titles are ridiculous.]

By the time Mr Big and I made it up to the Hunter Valley, we set about unloading all of the things into our villa at the hotel and then at the reception hall. I had pictures of all of these things, but unfortunately my phone decided to die and wipe all of it (and I hadn’t transferred all the photos over to my laptop, doh!). So instead of showing you photos of us lugging things around, looking relieved and freaking out at the same time, I’ll just quickly list down what we did so you get an idea how hectic it was.

On Thursday we:

  • Unloaded most of the décor into the reception hall for setup. This was included, but not limited to: our photobooth props, my dancing shoes (highly recommended to brides who are planning on changing to another pair of shoes; if you can, leave them at the reception hall!), the place cards, décor for the head table, and décor for the gift table.
  • Unloaded and setup the band equipment at the reception hall (so.much.stuff!)
  • Unloaded everything else at the hotel villa. Mostly ceremony stuff, since we weren’t allowed to keep these at the ceremony space.
  • FBIL Muso did a sound check at the reception hall (we weren’t there when it happened).
  • Finalised the seating chart and names with our reception coordinators.
  • Gave information to our event stylist on what and where we wanted certain pieces of décor, including, the rose in the bell jar, our Belle and Beast/Adam figurines, and the adorable bride and groom dolls that Cousin Fray made us.
  • Filled all of our wedding favours at the hotel villa with the assistance of my family from Indonesia (and found out we didn’t have enough Chocolate Rocks!).
  • Excitedly took pictures of the setup (which were then lost when my phone died).
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This was probably taken during the time we set up. / Photo via Affections Weddings and Events Hire, Facebook page.

On Friday we:

  • Bought more Chocolate Rocks, yay!
  • Finished off the wedding favours with the Chocolate Rocks and packed them up for transport to the reception hall.
  • Dropped off the wedding favours and place cards at the reception hall and instructed our reception coordinators to set up our favours on the morning-of the wedding.
  • Setup all of the reception décor, including place cards.
  • Practiced our dance at the reception hall and found out we didn’t have much space. Enter improvisation here.
  • Had a band rehearsal at the reception hall.
  • Took more excited pictures of the setup (which again, we lost when my phone died).

And finally, on Saturday we:

  • Technically didn’t do anything at the reception hall, however, DJ Jeeves did the DJ setup at the reception hall while we were out and about trying to do a bajillion-and-one other things.
  • Went through the Chinese tea ceremony with Lady Luck (our “good luck lady” and GM Xbox’s awesome wife)

Folks, we did a lot during those three days. I had put 1000 and 1 contingencies in place, but even then things were bound to go wrong (I had no lofty expectations otherwise). But there were some things which I should have done or made sure of prior to the day, so here’s some advice which I wish I had known during the lead-up to our wedding:

  • Make sure to emphasise times with people who are helping out. If I had been a little bit more assertive on this fact, all cars would have been available on Thursday morning and we would have been more organised than we were. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it clear that I wanted everything packed and ready to go by 10:30AM, and we were pushed for time.
  • Make sure you communicate what needs to be put out on the day. I didn’t tell my reception coordinators that we needed chalk for one of our props, so they hid it away because of two factors: (1) the presence of little kids, and (2) chalk + little kids = mess. So that meant we had no chalk for our Xbox Achievement sign (which sucked, but ah well).
  • Be fervent on getting the sizing of your dance floor. We were told 5 metres x 10 metres. We definitely did not get 5 metres x 10 metres. But luckily, we improvised (and were able to practice beforehand). This brings me to…
  • IF you can practice dancing at the venue beforehand, I highly recommend it. Mr Big and I were able to get the feel of the dance floor purely and simply because our reception coordinators let us have the room, all set up, prior to the day.
  • I cannot express to you how important that inventory list was! Unfortunately, me and DoC Auto were the only ones who had a copy of the inventory list (my printer really sucks) and so, only we really knew the elements of all. the. things. So, hive, if you are self-planning your wedding and getting friendors and friends to assist, print off several – and I mean, several – copies of the inventory list!

And that’s it. Even despite the 110% effort and work we put into planning the day, there were some mistakes, some things missing, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Who else had a hectic lead up to their day? Any other self-planners have tips and tricks to share? recap-logo Missed a recap post? Catch up here!

Takin’ Love by the Horns: ‘Ramming’ it all in

14 Mar

[That title sounds dirty. Snicker, snicker.]

Although we got married on a glorious Sunday in the Hunter Valley, guests started arriving on Wednesday. The first of these was FBIL Muso, Mr Big’s brother, who we picked up from the airport. Later that day, six members of my family from Indonesia arrived. That night was spent in relative quiet – I did some thank you cards for our attendants, bridal party members and parents…

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Screenshot from Photoshop. Obviously not the completed thank you cards, but the template.

Mr Big finished off some major projects…

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Mr Big’s status update when he completed said project. Also, he is a big fan of Will Ferrell.

And FBIL Muso got to know my family a little bit more. This included going through Papa Bighorn’s massive band equipment inventory and ensuring they had everything absolutely necessary for the wedding.

By this point, I had boxed up everything in containers to take up to the Hunter Valley…

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Case in point. Place cards boxed and ready to go!

And made myself an inventory list to ensure I remembered everything.

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A printscreen of the list. That list was 6 pages long. And for some reason my laptop has decided that it wants to keep an invisible box on the screen. Stupid laptop.

I felt calm and prepared. Mr Big was just finishing off another last-minute project (poor guy was swamped with work up until that point), so I helped him out. We finished off the project that night and then hit the hay.

It was Thursday when everything became a hectic blur.

Waking up early, Mr Big and I began zipping around like crazy people to ensure we had everything all packed up and ready. MoH M&Ms and her boyfie, The Don, were supposed to arrive early that day, before 10:30AM, but had slept in. That pushed back the departure time for my parents, and did sort of annoy me, but Mr Big and I made the executive decision that, to hell with it, we needed to be up in the Hunter relatively early to ensure that everything was packed away in the reception space and ready for go-time.

We had a lot to pack. I wish I could show you images, but hive, it was so hectic. We did, however, manage to fit about 85% of our crap in two cars – Mr Big’s second love-of-his-life, Zoe (his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution) and my father’s old Mazda. Between those two cars we managed to fit:

  • ALL of the band gear, including amps and two keyboards
  • Basically everything for the ceremony
  • About 90% of the reception stuff

My wedding dress and veil, and the card box and chocolates were to be brought up by my parents. In the meantime, FBIL Muso, Groom’s Homie Oddball, I and Mr Big headed up to the Hunter Valley to check into the hotel, head to the reception hall, and start setting up.

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Takin’ Love by the Horns: Rounding Up The Herd

13 Mar

Before I launch into the day’s festivities, I’d like to first talk about something that really, really, really helped Mr Big and I on the day.

Delegation.

Apart from the ceremony coordinator at the Hunter Valley Gardens (who I saw all of five seconds on the day) and the reception coordinators at Tamburlaine (who were really, really, really good), we didn’t have any day-of coordinators or wedding planners. We just didn’t feel we needed those two.

That is, until the lead-up to the wedding day.

Many bloggers have talked about feeling behind on their checklists, or feeling overwhelmed with things that need to be done, but let me tell ya’, on the lead-up to the day, those feelings are tenfold. While setting up the day-of timeline, talking to all of our vendors, friendors, and friends and family, and trying to organise a billion things, Mr Big and I realised we might just need some help. And so, we made an executive decision a week or so before the wedding that we wanted, nay, needed people to help us with our wedding tasks.

We were a little bit apprehensive to ask for help, especially since a lot of guests would be coming from overseas, interstate, and out-of-town, but during the three-day lead-up to the wedding, we were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people asking us if we needed their help. It was very, very touching that people would drop what they were doing to help us out.

There were a few players in the delegation network:

  • The Groomsmen: Specifically BMan Hunter, GM XBoy, GM Iron, GM Not-British (NB), and GM The Flash
  • Usher/Friends Bee, Tense, Española, and Anglais
  • FBIL Muso
  • DJ Jeeves
  • DoC Auto
  • MC Chupacabra
  • Friend OSM Dancer (or OSM, for short)
  • Friend Snowman

With that said, we delegated day-of coordination to a few people specifically. I’m going to break it down in roughly chronological order and hope that maybe I can help another bride out there, so first off…

Day-of Coordination

Mr Big and I didn’t hire a wedding planner, the reason being that we didn’t think it was worth the cost. We thought we’d be able to handle it in the months leading up to the date. We then realised we were sorely mistaken. After a serious conversation, we decided we would ask if one of our friends, DoC Auto, was willing to assist. DoC Auto was a financial planner, and therefore, he’s really good at planning. He’s BM Proper’s boyfriend, and is the friendliest, most likeable guy you ever did meet. He’s also the most organised.

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Friend/Usher Tense on the left, and DoC Auto on the right. / Guest photo.

When we asked him if he could help coordinate things the day-of (moving things around, making sure things are packed down or set-up and ready to go, etc.), there was no hesitation in his yes. We went through a brief rundown of what needed to be done on Saturday, and he did so well on Sunday I literally had no idea he was doing all of this running around. He also acted as our getaway driver at the end of the night and even dressed up Mr Big’s car Zoë with balloons! We were apprehensive about asking Auto to help out with such an enormous task but he was phenomenal!

What we didn’t know, however, was that Auto got some help from another of our friends.

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I present to you, MC Chupacabra (and me). / Photo via Chupacabra.

MC Chupacabra was only supposed to be just that – our Master of Ceremonies. He’s amiable, outgoing, really good at one-liners, and is pretty darn good at public speaking.

Aside: he said a hilarious one-liner the day before the wedding and I really wanted him to include it during his opening welcome speech at the reception, but it was sort of inappropriate (sadly).

But I digress. Unlike American weddings, Australian ceremonies cannot be officiated by friends or family unless they have a specific celebrant license, which you can only obtain through a specialised course. So, we knew that we wanted our reception to be MC’d by MC Chupacabra. Unbeknownst to us, he was also helping DoC Auto throughout the day, lugging things around and even checking us into the hotel (with 99% of our luggage! That 1% was my fault…). MC Chupacabra did an amazing job as MC as well. He spoke to the crowd, and was able to relay information to Mr Big and me regarding timetable shifts and whatnot.

Without these two, I don’t think the day would have been as successful as it was. They really stepped up to the plate and did a fantastic job.

The Ceremonies

Before I talk about who helped out with the ceremonies, let me just give you some background. Mr Big and I didn’t think about the decoration of the ceremonies, simply because we didn’t have any. The sheer beauty of the place we got married at didn’t need the additional décor – or so we thought.

The civil/secular ceremony was beautiful on its own – we believed that all we needed were rose petals scattered down the aisle, chairs for our guests, and a table to do the signing. And then we thought of the other things we were doing for the ceremony: the wine ceremony; the bubbles we would be giving guests for the recessional; and the fact that we wanted to place signs about the place.

And then there was the Chinese tea ceremony. We needed to decorate the Pagoda with lanterns, the double-happiness signs we had, dress up the table with the table cloth, place a sign out front to inform guests about the order of the tea ceremony, and bring in and setup the tea set and the teas.

All of these things could not be dropped off at the ceremony site until the morning of, and since we were having a morning ceremony, well… this proved difficult for either Mr Big or I. So what did we do? Well, panic (obvi) and then think long and hard about a solution.

It was then that Mr Big suggested we delegate a whole lot of tasks to people. Specifically, we had a whole bunch of people help out with the ceremonies, including:

  • DoC Auto & MC Chupacabra – these two lugged all the stuff to the ceremony sites, set them up, packed them down, and then lugged them to the reception site. There are no words to how epic these two are. None.
  • The Groomsmen – These guys did a phenomenal job setting up and packing down the Chinese tea ceremony. I literally gasped when I saw what they did. It was spectacular. ABSOLUTELY spectacular.
  • Friend OSM Dancer – OSM helped out with the ceremony décor on the day, and the day before, spent time with DoC Auto taking pictures of where to put potential décor. Bonus: both Auto and OSM are friends and photographers, so I knew they knew what they were doing.
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Left to right: Friends OSM Dancer, Chumballs, me and Mr Big. / Photo via OSM Dancer.

Guest Transportation

Guest transportation proved to be the trickiest part of the day for Mr Big and me, purely from the standpoint of we couldn’t at all make sure that it went smoothly since we’d be separated from our guests for most of the day. We decided pretty early on that we needed someone who was:

  • Trustworthy
  • Had good time management abilities
  • Was on all the transportation options for the day
  • Was also going on the wine tour
  • Is really, super friendly and awesome

Only one person came to mind: Friend Snowman.

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Chillin’ at the Snows in Kiwi-Land. / Photo via Mr Big.

From what Mr Big and I could tell, Friend Snowman did a legendary job organising the guests, whilst also talking to the Vineyard Shuttle Service (the shuttle service we hired for the day). There were a few hiccups, according to Snowman, but not enough that would cause disaster. Without Snowman, we would’ve been freaking out about the guests all day, but Snowman was able to give most of the guests an idea on what we were doing, and all the guests managed to get to the ceremony and reception in one piece. Those who went on the wine tour said that they really enjoyed themselves too.

I’m calling that a win!

The Reception

During the reception, we knew there’d be a gift box full of cash, and as such, we needed trustworthy, friendly ushers who would guard the card box with their life help our guests to their seats. We needed ushers for the reception, and pretty early on, we knew exactly who we wanted to ask: Friends/Ushers Bee & Tense, and Friends/Ushers Española and Anglais.

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Tense (left) and Bee (right).

Bee and Tense are friends of mine from way back (I’m talking, teenager, pre-Mr Big, Miss Big here). They’re a friendly, outgoing and keen couple, and I knew that they could handle the job of ushering guests in, especially as Bee is just super good with people and Tense is pretty respectable to older folk. They’re also knowledgeable on the whole ‘red envelope’ thing, so that was a definite plus!

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Anglais on the left, Española on the right. / Photo via Studio Something.

Española and Anglais were a shoe-in as our next ushers – both are friendly and outgoing, and I knew they’d be able to handle our guests. Anglais even greeted us when we first entered into the reception hall, liaising with MC Chupacabra to ensure that the bridal party entrance went off without a hitch (well, some hitches occurred, but they were hilarious hitches!).

The Music

I’ve recounted in a million posts that music was a big thing (ha, see what I did there) to Mr Big and I. We come from musical families, so we wanted the wedding to be this big party with good music. With that said, we decided to delegate the music to both FBIL Muso, Mr Big’s older brother and my now-brother-in-law(!), and DJ Jeeves, a very good friend of ours.

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FBIL Muso in the blue-striped shirt, De Papa Big, and Mumma Big in the fuchsia cardigan, at the ceremony. / Photo via Studio Something.

FBIL Muso would be setting up the band equipment, ensuring the sound check went ok, and then packing down once the night was done. DJ Jeeves would be mixing the music prior to the wedding to play during parts of the reception, and bringing in lights for the dance and whatnot.

What I didn’t know was that these two were actually communicating and organising things together to ensure that the DJ work would mesh well with the band. The end result? I was blown away with what they did to the reception space.

FBIL Muso was there from the Thursday all the way to the Monday the week of the wedding, setting-up, testing, and breaking-down all the equipment. He spent the entire time of the week of the wedding, making sure everything was as perfect as he could get it. He was so engrossed in his work that Mr Big and I didn’t get to take a picture with just him! 😦 Once the wedding was over, Papa Bighorn’s friends couldn’t stop raving on about the band (all of Mr Big and I’s friends were too busy with the photobooth…).

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DJ Jeeves with his DJ gear! / Photo via DJ Jeeves.

DJ Jeeves was only supposed to do the DJ’ing for the night, and bringing in a few lights here and there, but he ended up transforming the reception space with up lighting. I was so overwhelmed at the sheer hard work these two had put in to ensure that the music and the ambience at the reception space were perfect. I remember specifically seeking out DJ Jeeves and pulling him into a hug.

And unbeknownst to us, we had another friend who was helping out with the music – Friend OSM-Dancer! I told you guys earlier that OSM helped out with the ceremonies, but he was also given instructions from DJ Jeeves to ensure the sound system at the ceremony was perfect and spent the time during the rehearsal interrogating asking our ceremony coordinator about the music and the PA system. He also acted as primary comforter during the stress of the rehearsal (Mr Big would’ve done it, but he was probably more stressed than I was!).

And that’s all the delegation team!

With all of their help, their hard work, and their graciousness, the wedding day was a success! With all of these guys as the gears, the day worked like a well-oiled machine. We gifted every single one of them for their hard work, but (and I know this sounds cheesy), they gave us the gift of their help, and nothing can really be said or done to convey how much we appreciated their help.

So, hive, did anyone else ask or intends to ask friends and family to help with the wedding?

All photos personal, unless otherwise stated.

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Takin’ Love by the Horns: Let’s get ready to NUPTIAL!

11 Mar

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It’s that time of year, folks, our pro-pics are in!

Before I show you all the pretties though, I’d like to first show you our wedding video. Remember how I mentioned that our videographers were doing a Same Day Edit?

And remember how I showed you this picture of Mr Big at the first shoot we did with our videographers:

WP_20131117_13_09_13_Pro

Mr Big and the Camera!

Well, they took the footage from the day above, and the wedding day, and folks… they made a masterpiece. Redge and Marlon worked full slog to make the video, and showed it at about 9:30PM at the reception. They said we’d be getting the full documentary soon, and from the work they did on the day, it’s safe to say Mr Big and I are enormously excited!

So without further ado, here is our Same-Day Edit:

All photos personal. Video via Onsight Films.

Boozin’, Snoozin’, and Cruisin’

7 Mar

I’ve been hinting at a honeymoon post for a while, so I thought I’d finally tell you guys what we’re doing! Except, I won’t be telling you.  You see, hive, I didn’t plan the honeymoon – Mr Big did. So he has alllll the details. So without further ado, I introduce you, humble Hivemembers, to my husband, Mr Big:

G’day hive,

This is a special guest appearance from Mr Big, hijacking the blog of my beloved wife for just one post!

She asked me to write a bit about our honeymoon, and so I agreed to try my hand at this whole writing thing, it’s something I don’t normally do, but I’ll give it a go. In the words of Captain Hammer: Not my usual, but nice.

captain hammer_le douche

Captain Hammer, Corporate Tool. / Image from Ever On Word: The blog of author Danielle E. Shipley.

So when we first started talking about the honeymoon, I had this image in my head from a film starring one of this generations most underrated actors; Vin Diesel. The movie in question is called xXx and it’s not a porno, and while Vin Diesel may be underrated… this movie definitely isn’t. When this movie came out I decided to watch it because of: (a) Vin Diesel being awesome and (b) The bad guy is a Kiwi actor (Kiwi = ‘person from New Zealand’). Anyhow, the movie ends up with – SPOILER ALERT – Vin rescuing the girl and ending up in Bora Bora.

The ending of xXx, skip to 30 seconds to see Bora Bora, but please turn it off when Samuel L. Jackson starts talking, he’s normally good… I don’t know what went wrong here.

So anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, we were talking about honeymoons and not my incredibly poor taste in cinema! So when Mrs Big and I were talkin’ about places to go for a honeymoon, Bora Bora immediately came up. I love the idea of a bungalow over beautiful blue water, with a private pool, and perhaps with the possibility of me even getting some colour on my incredibly pale skin. Also having wife putting sun screen on me is a definite plus! (If you’ve watched that clip, you know what I mean.)

We were gradually creeping up on the wedding date, and so I got in touch with my favourite travel agent; my cousin!

Do we have a nickname for her Mrs Big? … OK, apparently we don’t have a nickname for her, I henceforth dub her “Cuz Travels Alot” (CTA for short, I work in the IT business, we need a 3 letter acronym for everything).

So I contact CTA with an itinerary of the things we’d like to do, and it’s basically like this:

  1. Go to Bora Bora
  2. Go to LA
  3. Go Home

Yep… not much in there to fill in the time, but we’d find some activities. I mean… what’s the point of going to Bora Bora if you’re not going to do the sunscreen thing, or going to LA without checking out Disneyland? (Yes, I’m aware there’s plenty more in LA, but really us folks from overseas just get most excited about seeing that, Universal, and – more recently – Legoland, as well as the possibility of running into <insert name of hot movie star here>)

CTA sent me back a quote including a few days in Bora Bora, and the flights, and it came to… a lot. Let’s just say that I could’ve bought a (decent, second hand) car for that kind of money! We hadn’t even factored in Disneyland, Universal, Legoland, or a Hollywood star tour that guarantees us to see <insert name of hot movie star here again>!

I called CTA and said that as awesome as she was, this was lookin’ pricey. Did she have any ideas for how we could cut it down and still get a reasonable length honeymoon? She said something to me that I hadn’t considered; “What about a cruise?” It was like the clouds had parted, light was shining down from heaven (I’m an Atheist, but let’s just go with the theme here), and destiny had struck me! It makes perfect sense; no luggage limit, no need to spring for hotels, and no paying for food!

Im-on-a-boat_lonely island

The wifey always breaks up her posts with lots of pictures, so I’m adding one too. I didn’t know what else to put, but because I love this song shamelessly, and I’m talking about a boat (ship) here… / Image from Wikipedia.

I began my investigation immediately, but it turns out that most of the cruises that come to Australia take you to – wait for it – other parts of Australia! Or even the incredibly exotic – wait for it – New Zealand. OK, a lot of the other cruises do visit Pacific islands that are nearby; New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Fiji are favourites. Now I know that to folks who ain’t been down this way, those are actually some awesome destinations, and I cannot encourage everyone enough to come and see them… but when you’ve lived in Australia and New Zealand for your whole life… you tend to dream of cruising to farther places.

Eventually my searching bore fruit and I found out that when our weather starts getting crappy, the cruise ships all want to leave and return to warmer climes (who knew?). I found a cruise that begins in April and takes 29 days from Sydney to Vancouver, stopping in a lot of places in between. The crazy thing? A stateroom with your own private balcony costs the same amount as one-way flights and hotel from Sydney to LA via Bora Bora staying for 8 days. So we get a honeymoon that’s at least 3 times longer, for the same price, and we never even have to move our luggage around!

honeymoon itinerary

Our cruise. If you’re really interested, there’s more details here, please don’t mug us when we get off the ship. / Image taken from the Holland America website.

We went to a cruise expo that was held in Sydney a short time after making our discovery, and we thought that we’d learn more about this cruising thing. It turns out that the cruise line we were looking at was quite luxurious, and was mostly targeted at an older audience.

The Oosterdam

The cruise ship we’ll be taking. You can’t repel fire… uh, ship, of that magnitude! / Photo taken by Mrs Big.

They weren’t really targeting the younger, party-going crowd… GREAT! We ain’t geriatric or anything, but Mrs Big and I aren’t really the partying type, 29 days of peace and quiet sounds awesome to us! We ended up booking just a few days later.

We’re excited, and in just over a month we’ll be boarding a ship bound for some of the most beautiful islands on earth, and then finishing up in gorgeous Canada. We haven’t really figured out what happens next though. We’ve got a friend or two in Canada that we’d love to catch up with, and we’re considering going on tour through the USA. We’re hoping to have all of the details worked out soon (sorting it out before we get on the boat seems like a good idea to me).

I know that Mrs Bighorn always ends up her posts with some questions… so here goes:

What do you think of our (partial) honeymoon plans? If all of the members of One Direction were drowning, and you could only save one, what cocktail would you order? Is orange really the new pink?

And that, hive, is my wonderful husband!

We’re both excited to be going on the cruise. Our ship is HUGE! Twenty-nine glorious days at sea among the Pacific Islands (and further!).

The One Dress to Please Them All

6 Mar

In my last post I was at a loss at what to do. The brick-and-mortar stores and local online stores were selling bridesmaid dresses at insane prices. And the only “legitimate” looking online store with reasonable prices had mixed reviews!

So what did Miss Big do?

Well, after some panicking, I decided to do a late-night Google Search. Mr Big was in Adelaide at the time, so I wasn’t able to sleep. I literally spent 3 hours searching for the “right site”. I searched high and low, and was just about to give up when I stumbled upon a post which directed me to another online store: For Her and For Him. It was 3AM by this point.

Curious, I clicked on the link and was met with stunning dresses. Not only that, but their website looked professional too!

Was I dreaming? Did I fall asleep while Googling? A pinch quickly told me that, nope. It was real. I scoured the website, looking at all the beautiful dresses.

And then I found this dress:

Dress in classic blue

The Multi-Wear Dress in Classic Blue. Taken via For Her and For Him.

Now, they look like standard dresses, yes? Well, they’re a little bit better than that.

Now, I know a lot of you know about the convertible dresses from Dessy, Two Birds Bridesmaids, and a multitude from Etsy sellers, but the problem with those dresses are the amount of ‘flesh’ that’s shown in the back and the price for some of ‘em!

convertible dresses

Beautiful on these girls… but a no-go. / Image via Polka Dot Bride, dresses from Two Birds Bridesmaids.

My girls are all pretty conservative and we’re extremely uncomfortable when the subject of ‘convertible’ dresses was brought up. However, when I showed them the dresses from For Her and For Him, I got a resounding ‘yes’ from all of them.

As an aside, when I asked for Mr Big’s opinion on convertible dresses, he replied: “Is that when the top comes down?” Oh Mr Big. How I love you.

Anyway, during October sales, I managed to get the dresses for $AU140 each, with no extra charge for custom sizes or shipping!

When they came in, I asked for my girls to come around to collect ‘em and they took a group shot:

group photo_trollface

From left to right: BM Proper, BM Superhero, BM Cupcakes, Groom’s Homie Oddball, and MoH M&Ms. And yes – I did put a troll face on Oddball. She insisted on it. / Personal photo.

And on the day, this is what the girls did to their dresses (excluding Oddball, who was attempting to get her contact lenses in somewhere in the villa):

bridesmaids dresses_wedding day

Instagram from BM Superhero.

I was quite happy with how the dresses turned out!

Did anyone else have trouble finding dresses in their budget? Did anyone else’s fiancé (or husband) say something that silly about women’s fashion?

Dressing the ‘Maids

4 Mar

(Original title is original.)

I know it’s been a while guys! I’ve been trying to get my thesis done for university and at the time of publication I have just received pro-pics! We’re still waiting on some images though, so hang tight.

Now, after reading all the newbee blogger blog posts, I realised something: I never talked to you about the bridesmaids dresses. To be 100% honest, this was the most difficult part of the wedding (that, and groomsmen shirts – detecting a theme here?). My dress – easy. Groom and groomsmen suits – check! But bridesmaids dresses? Gorramn, it was flipping difficult.

After some talks with the girls, we set some criteria:

  • We needed a colour that would suit all the girls and that they would feel comfortable in.
  • We would keep the dresses similar in colour and fabric, but different styles. All the girls have different body types and we all agreed that different styles might better flatter each type instead of sticking to one style.
  • We were keeping all the dresses “knee-length” (as in, either just over, under or on the knee)

And off we went in search of the perfect bridesmaids dress. Cue Indiana Jones music here.

Now, I expect fancy-shmancy dresses to be about the $AU100 to $AU200 range. It’s a given. The materials are supposed to be “luxe”, the design beautiful, and the tailoring at oftentimes difficult. However, the prices on some of the dresses I found would’ve given me a stroke had I had the inclination to have that sort of thing!

I wanted the mismatched look. To me, the mismatched, same-coloured bridesmaid dresses look gorgeous and they’d suit the different sizes of my bridal party. I have short, petite ‘maids; tall, athletically-built ‘maids; and broad-shouldered ‘maids. So I needed to find a happy medium, like this bride did:

grey bridesmaids dresses 2

Love their shoes. Love! / Photography by Jill Thomas Photography via The Brides Café.

Also, I love all their shoes. Love. But I digress.

Unfortunately, when I began to look at actual bridesmaids dresses, they were eeeexpensive. I don’t know about you girls in the Americas (or even the Europe or Asian brides), but in Australia, I’ve heard of bridesmaid dresses costing upwards of $1500.

Fifteen. Hundred. Dollars. That’s a lot of money on one dress. I almost fainted when I heard that!

I was paying for my girls’ dresses, and I don’t have that sort of cash lying around. So when it came time to look for a dress to purchase, I was desperately trying to find a place that sold pretty, well-tailored dresses for a fraction of the price. I tried the brick-and-mortar stores as well as online Australian stores, but the prices were over $AU200 at the very least. At most, I had seen a dress for over $AU500. My budget was under $AU200 for each dress.

After weeks upon weeks of looking for something within my price range, I was close to giving up. And then BM Superhero sent me this:

LITB_chiffon-dress

The “A-Line V-Neck Knee-length Chiffon and Stretch Satin Bridesmaid Dress” from Light in the Box.

Digression: BM Superhero really is a superhero. I think I’ve mentioned that… like, a million times.

Amazed, I quickly sent her back a reply. “Where did you get that,” I asked, “and how much is it?” Her reply was sending me the direct link and when I clicked it, my jaw dropped in astonishment. It was under $US100.

So with that, hive, I turned to the internet.

I know it’s controversial to some, especially as it takes the business away from the bridal stores, but I literally did not have any alternatives. I looked high and low for a dress that fit into my criteria and my budget and it was only through that one simple click of the link that I found it. And so, I looked through Light In the Box.

Admittedly, all the dresses were gorgeous. Here are just some examples:

example_LITB-dresses

Some of the Light in the Box dresses that fit into my criteria: (1), (2), (3), (4).

They were within my price range, gorgeous and came in a variety of colours. I stalked the site for a few months but before I could pull the trigger, I decided to look up reviews. As most of you might already assume or know, they weren’t exactly stellar. It was mixed. Some people received dresses with impeccable tailoring. Others did not.

I was, however, ordering five dresses, and I didn’t want to risk that type of mistake. So I did something which every (ok, not every) bride does in these situations.

I panicked.

Where would I get their dresses from if Light in the Box was a no-go-zone? Should I turn to the other online stores, even though they look significantly dodgier? What was a girl on a budget to do?

Up next, you find out what a panicked Miss Big did. Don’t worry, it’s not that bad!

Who else suffered a metaphorical stroke when you saw the price tags on bridesmaid dresses?