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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).
tamburlaine setup

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: 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.


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.

Andrew, Troy

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.

blair and me

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.
harls_xt steampunk reception

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.


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.


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!


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.


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…).


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.

recap-logoMissed a recap post? Catch up here!

I Programmed (and Signed)

3 Feb

You may recall in a last post I was whining inquiring on whether or not I should do a program for the ceremony. Well, after some mulling, talks with Mr Big, and a quick assemblage of text types in Photoshop, I decided that the program was a goer.

So what did I choose?

Well, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

censored_ceremony sign

Personal image. Names blurred to protect the innocent.


Personal image.

That’s right, guys.

We chose the program poster in canvas. Initially I was unsure about using canvas due to the expense. A typical 20”x30” canvas poster runs to about $100 in Australia. It was then that I realised I had another friendor in my life who owned his own camera shop.

After I called Friend T, he agreed to do the canvas printouts at a far cheaper rate than normal. He printed them out, giving me proofs on the way, and then had Usher/Friend Cap drop them off at my house.

I’m happy to say they were perfect.

The actual design of the programs was done in conjunction with me and MoH M&Ms, who’s a whiz on Photoshop. She designed the cherry blossoms around the edges and it looked stunning on canvas.

Finally, Papa Bighorn came up with the idea of using different music stands to sit the signs on at the ceremony. The big signs (top) would sit on an altered guitar stand and the little signs (bottom) would sit on a music book stand.

As you can see, I was so excited I took pictures.

All up we had four signs – two big and two little – at the wedding; two of them were programs, and the other two were signs. They worked effectively, looked beautiful, and I love how they turned out. And most of all, when Mr Big and I finally get a house, we can display these somewhere as a keepsake from the wedding!

Did anyone else use canvas program/signs at their wedding?

A Spot of Tea

28 Jan

Hi Hive!

Can you believe it’s already been more than a week since Mr Big and I got married? ‘Cause I certainly can’t. So far, married life is treating both Mr Big and I pretty darn good. We spent most of the post-wedding week catching up with friends and family, New Zealand, Indonesian and Australian-alike. (We may have also gorged ourselves on a little too much food).

I can’t launch into my recaps yet since I’m still waiting on my pro photos, but let me show you a picture of Mr Big and me with some Bighorn Sheep relatives:


Mr Big and I with some Bighorn Sheep relatives! You can barely see them, but they’re there! / Personal Image.

Now, I did mention in my last post that I had a few more things to talk about. So Hive, let’s talk tea.

In a previous post, I talked about the Chinese tea ceremony and the significance of this cultural event in a Chinese wedding. Mr Big and I were happy to have it in our wedding, and ultimately decided that we would be having it at the Oriental Pagoda in the Hunter Valley Gardens.

However, the one task that proved difficult for Mr Big and I was selecting the tea. I mentioned previously that the type of tea often used for a Chinese tea ceremony is either a sweet tea, such as longan tea, or a standard Chinese tea such as green or jasmine.

lotus and date tea

Tea served with lotus seeds and red dates, symbolic of the newlyweds bearing children quickly and often. The sweetness of the tea is also supposed to invoke “sweet relations” between the families. / Image via Are You Gonna Eat That?. Photography via Pelaez Photography (out of business).

Mr Big and I however, ever the non-traditional, decided we’d go with something else.

You see, Hive, in Australia there’s a tea shop called T2 which sells a whole heap of different tea, from green to black, jasmine to tisane. During our first few months together, Mr Big decided he wanted to “try more Asian things” (he’s adorable), so he bought a container of tea called “Geisha Green”. Essentially, it was green tea infused with dried strawberries and cream.

That container was finished within a month.

And so it was decided by Mr Big and me that we would be using the Geisha Green for our Chinese tea ceremony (for obvious reasons). However, about 6 months away from the wedding, we got my parents to try it. My dad took one sip and reeled backwards.

He absolutely hated it.

That was when Mr Big and I realised that, if my dad hated it, his brothers would really hate it and my aunts and uncles from Indonesia would despise it.


So what’s a bride and groom to do?

Sit on it for 3 more months, that’s what.

It was in October that we decided to get off our asses and pull the trigger on the tea conundrum. We needed to get this tea thing sorted. Our choices were either:

  1. Go the traditional! That meant either choosing a traditional green or jasmine tea (boooo-ring) or going the sweet tea route (and we had never tried the sweet tea, so we were wary about that).
  2. Find more non-traditional options. Our local T2 was about a 20-minute drive from us and we loved shopping there anyway!

It’s pretty obvious from the two choices above which one we chose (its 2, guys).

So on a Sunday morning, we dragged Groom’s Homie Oddball, MoH M&Ms, and The Don – M&M’s boyfie – out to Parramatta mall. The first shop we hit was T2!

Upon entering, we checked out all of the options and made mental notes on what would work best. The things we needed to consider were:

  • The elder folk and their tastebuds. Papa and Mama Bighorn are used to, and enjoy drinking, traditional tea. So to them, and probably the rest of my aunts and uncles, green and jasmine tea would prove the most enjoyable. On the other hand, Mr Big’s side of the family is used to the “typical cuppa” – tea with milk and sugar. Traditional Chinese tea can be pretty darn strong, so I worried they wouldn’t be able to drink the traditional teas. Therefore, the tea for the Chinese tea ceremony needed to be traditional enough for my side, but light enough for Mr Big’s side.
  • The quantity of the tea. Leading up to the wedding, we had relatives state that they weren’t going to make it to the Chinese tea ceremony. However, Mr Big and I had contingencies in place (read: extra tea and an über jug to brew said tea) just in case they decided to change their mind and make an appearance on the day without telling us (they did).
  • The quality of the tea. It was important for Mr Big and I that the tea not only tasted and looked good, but we also knew was of great quality. We’d heard a horror story of two friends who shopped at a local (and popular) spice mart and had weevils in the spice. This place also sold tea. This was one of the top reasons why we chose to shop with T2.
  • And finally, how we’d serve the tea. We wanted to make it easy for my bridesmaids and our Good Luck Lady Lucky to brew and pour the tea, therefore making it significantly easier for us to get through each of the elders.

So with that, our search commenced. After some faffing around, we decided – ultimately – that the best port of call for us would be to get the helpful suggestions of the ladies at T2. One in particular was extremely helpful, having done tea ceremonies herself.

She suggested Snow Dragon Jasmine as the “base notes” for the tea.


Tea leaves of the Snow Dragon Jasmine. / Image taken from the T2 website.

This tea combines both green and jasmine tea together. It’s a light tea, good for the palettes of Mr Big’s family, but traditional (and so tasty), which is good for my side. She suggested we brew two to three teaspoons before serving. It’s also “re-brew-able”, which means the flavour lasts for longer.

We thought that was it, but she then brought out a tea from their “Just” range – Just Rose.

just rose

‘Just Rose’ rose buds. / Image taken from the T2 website.

Like the picture implies, the ‘Just Rose’ tea consists of dried rose buds only. To brew this tisane, they recommend grabbing 3-4 of them per 200mls and brewing them in water for 5-7 minutes. It’s also high in Vitamin C and the scent you get from it as you sip is amazing.

Our assistant that day told us to pop just one rose bud in per cup of tea during the Chinese tea ceremony to infuse the flavour and give it a unique taste and aroma. We took her word for it and decided to buy them both. It also helped that I have a thing for roses. We also bought two pretty containers for them in green and red.

t2 green container

Pretty green container for our green-jasmine tea! / Image taken from the T2 website.

Once we got back home, we brewed ourselves a cup or two (or three) and shared them around. Papa Bighorn’s reaction was what sold us on the idea. He absolutely loved it and went back for another cup. Mama Bighorn was pleased with our choice as well.

And finally, that meant Mr Big and I had crossed off an important to-do on our list!

Who else had trouble pulling the trigger on a particular wedding-related task? Anyone else have to change the direction on something because someone important didn’t like it?

Down to the Last Minute

12 Jan

At the time of this post, I was filling 143 photo frames with place names.

The end product is gorgeous.

Getting to the end product is another thing. My index finger and thumb have never been in this much pain in, like, well.


After practically whining at my parents to help (since my previous helper, Groom’s Homie Oddball was still sleeping), Papa Bighorn suggested a screwdriver. I had my doubts. Previously, Mr Big had suggested the same thing, but because the metallic flat bits (I’m so technical) that fasten the back of the frame like completely flush against the frame; I didn’t believe a screwdriver would work.

However, Mama Bighorn decided to prove me wrong and grabbed the tiniest screwdriver in the world.


The screwdriver, relative to my mouse and a normal-sized pen.

She then proceeded to unfasten those metallic flat bits with precision and ease.

And now my index finger and thumb hate me.

Lesson to learn in this whole thing? Listen to suggestions, no matter how doubtful you seem. So a shout out to Mr Big if he’s reading this – you rock, I love you, and I wish you could share in the laborious task of place card assemblage.

Now, on to the post at hand.

Last minute DIY projects! As Mr Big always says, who I think got it from his own De Papa, “if it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done!”.

I’ve been hinting at a whole number of these projects from day one, and by the time this goes up, most of these will be done. This post is basically just going through the relatively easy ones.

First off, the Xbox Achievement Sign.

You guys might remember this sign from this photo:


I’m still in love with this photo. Even despite the shoddy paint job! / Photography by StudioSomething.

Now, back then, I had made a huge mistake with the chalk paint. The edges turned out jagged and well, the chalk marker we used was cheap and craptacular. I decided to leave that project on the back burner for a while.

However, as the months ticked down to weeks, I knew I had to get cracking.

With that, I set about making the Xbox sign with a new plan in mind. First things first, I painted over the entire sign, sans the Xbox sign on the left.


This was taken after I had primed it, but you get the general idea.

I then primed it, which basically means grabbing some good ol’ chalk and scribbling all over it. Well, technically, Oddball primed it. She was excited to play with chalk.


All primed. You can still sort of see where the old shoddy paint job is from the engagement photo shoot.

After it was all primed, I left it for a little bit.

You see, originally, Mr Big wanted to stencil on the words “Achievement unlocked, 100G”, but… that didn’t go as planned. The words were too thin and we couldn’t find suitable stencilling materials.

Also, I suck at stencilling.

And then I remembered Hive member, CakeyP, giving me a link to a tutorial on how to write on chalkboard without the added difficulty of free-handing. Fellow Bee, Mrs Orchard, also wrote about this method in this post.

Determined to get this sh*t sorted, I printed out the words “Achievement”, “unlocked”, and “100 G –” and cut them into strips. I then haphazardly scribbled white chalk on the back of the words, slapped ‘em on the sign, and with a blunt lead pencil, traced over the words.

With that step done, I lifted the paper and was quite pleased with the results. I don’t have any pictures, because I was in the zone and my phone wasn’t with me at the time, but the words looked pretty much bang on.

With my white permanent marker, I then traced over the words and was left with this:


The final sign!

When I took this picture, I hadn’t fixed that dodgy looking ‘m’ in ‘Achievement’. It’s now all fixed up and presentable! The words are a little high, but that means more room for people to write whatevs they want!

And here it is when I fixed the sign a tidbit:


The sign and my cheesy self. I sent this over to Mr Big whilst he was in Melbourne on business.

Moving on now to the gratuitous Wedding Hangers,

Like most brides out there, I decided I needed a hanger.

Thing is, I’m cheap, and don’t live in America. The cheapest bridal hanger I could find was $25 and I am not paying $25 for a hanger I’ll only use once. The cheaper ones are all in America, and add to that the cost of shipping, and it ain’t cheap no more!

So what did I do then?

I grabbed a pack of 20 hangers for $10 at the local supermarket, a sharp lead pencil and eraser, a black Sharpie, some nice coloured ribbon, hairspray, a small thing of sand paper, and then DIY’d that sh*t!

I did a total of 14 hangers, 15 if you include my very dodgy test run (I basically just scribbled all over my first prototype to get a feel of how the Sharpie would work on the wood).

The result is this:


Mr Big’s hanger – the boys just got their monograms on their hangers because it’s ‘manly’!


My hanger! The girls hangers are all basically like this, but different coloured ribbon.

It was relatively simple to make these and I’m super proud of ‘em!

Next up to the plate we have the Bell Jar.

Mr Big and I bought a bell jar for 18 bucks, Mama Bighorn got a bouquet of roses, and we went about making a bell jar similar to the one from Beauty and the Beast.

First off, we got the base and we drilled a hole into it in order to keep the rose in the middle. I then grabbed two rose stems, one for placement and another for petals.


The goods!

As a warning to those who want to try this one at home, be careful when disassembling the fake roses. I cut myself pretty darn badly on the wire at the base of the stem. Use pliers (like the ones pictured above) to ensure a clean cut.

Once the rose was placed in the centre, we then scattered petals in the base.



We’ll be displaying this on the gift table at the front. I’d like to add some tealights around the table to give it some ambience! I’ve asked our event decorator what her suggestion would be, so we’ll see what she comes back with!

And that’s it!

I’d show you guys the place cards, but I stupidly packed ‘em all away in preparation for the wedding. Let me just tell you guys, stuffing 143 place cards in 143 photo frames is hard work and I thank my stars that I have a wonderful mother and little sister for lending a hand!

Who else is doing or did last-minute projects?

(All images personal unless otherwise noted.)


DIY SKILLZ: Making Kaylee’s Parasol

30 Dec

Hello all!

First off, I’d like to wish the entire Hive a belated Happy New Year! It’s now 2014. The Bighorns are counting down the days to the wedding!

Over the Chrissy break, I decided to start (and finish) a DIY project I’ve been dying to do since Mr Big showed me a particular parasol. This particular project is very much connected to the “geeky” aspect of the wedding.

I documented it in the last post, but just as a reminder – folks, I wanted to make Kaylee’s Parasol:

kaylee and her parasol

Kaylee, the mechanic from the cult TV show Firefly, and her colourful parasol. / Image via The Verse – The Firefly/Serenity Costuming Club.

For those who aren’t in the know, Kaylee is a character from Mr Big’s Favourite.TV show.EVER. This TV show is called Firefly and was actually written by Joss Whedon, the guy who made the biggest superhero film of all time, The Avengers.

As documented in my last post, I could not find anyone who sold Kaylee’s parasol in Australia or was willing to ship it over from America for cheapsies. And so, with that, I turned to the DIY route. Before I begin, let me all just refresh your memories.

The parasol looked like this:

kaylee's parasol

Taken from When Geeks Wed.

First off, I purchased a relatively cheap plain white paper parasol.

plain white paper parasol

A plain white paper parasol purchased from Lantern Shop.

After I received it, I didn’t do anything with it for a little bit because I was scared I would fail and ruin it. During the Xmas break (NB: Merry belated Xmas from the Bighorns!), I sat down and began planning out what to do.

I won’t lie. I didn’t do this project on my own (everyone knows how much I fail at arts and crafts, right?). I got most of my advice from When Geeks Wed, but adjusted it to suit what I needed.

For example, I found that overlaying construction or scrap paper over the parasol and fastening it with scotch tape was much easier than putting it underneath the parasol. I would then trace around the paper to make the swirl needed.

I didn’t take pictures of this part of the DIY process because I had to adjust the swirl a lot before I was happy with it. I found it easier to do the swirl roughly and then just eyeball it until it looked just right.

DIY_kaylee_step 1

The crafting corner I had set up! At this point, I was ready to start painting. Unfortunately, I did the swirl lightly with a blunt pencil, so you can’t really see it unless you look closely.

I then began painting!

I started off as the tutorial instructed – the green swirl.

DIY_kaylee_step 2

As you can see in the picture, it looked rough! I had only put on one coat of green paint by that point. If you do intend on doing this project, I highly recommend a few coats of paint. After I was relatively happy with the green swirl, I moved on to the yellow one:

DIY_kaylee_step 3

Can you see the thickened green paint? Also, you can see the beginnings of the final red swirl!

I forgot to take a picture of the yellow swirl being painted, but it’s all the same anyway! J After the yellow one was done, I started with the red (as you can see above).

Like I said before, a few coats of paint really does do wonders!

Once I was happy enough with the coats of paint, I went over the edges with an “angular shader” brush (basically, a brush with angled bristles). You could probably do the edges with a fine-tipped brush, but I highly recommend the angular shader if you want a smooth finish.

This is what I ended up with:

DIY_kaylee_step 4

The finished product!

I’m quite proud of it! I’ve been getting tonnes of compliments on it and I can’t wait to use it on the day. Mr Big says that I did a very, very good job on it too. So smiles all around!

One thing to note though, when I closed the parasol I had to be careful to make sure it folded properly (don’t worry guys, it did!). The paint makes it a little bit bigger than it was originally when folded, but overall, not much change (other than the nice coat of paint, of course).

What do you guys think? Does anyone else intend on DIY’ing some of their own painted parasols?

(All images personal unless otherwise stated.)

One More ‘Til the Shindig

19 Dec

Ah, the one-month mark.

You see, I was hoping to put this sign up, and tell the Hive that the one-month mark isn’t as crazy as most almost-weds make it out to be:

keep calm_one month

Image taken from The Keep Calm-O-Matic.

Then I would be talking about the fact that we’ve got most things done, with only the bare minimum to go, and we’ll see soon be “project free”, with nothing but the days to worry us. And I’ll mention that I’m looking forward to the month going by quickly just so I can get married to the most amazing man in the world.

But, to be honest Hive, I’m freaking out (well, I was).

Mr Big has had work dump a whole lot of stuff on him (he’ll unfortunately have to work over the Christmas period) and we have a lot to do on the DIY front. We also need to hand our song list over to DJ Jeeves (our awesome DJ) and figure out how to place the posters for our ceremony (my coordinator unfortunately hasn’t gotten back to us). We’re still trying to figure out how to schlepp all the band equipment and wedding décor up there with three full cars of people (yes, guys, three full cars of people).

So instead, I’ll put this sign up:

panic_one month

Image taken from Sahil Patma’s Weblog.

However, apart from the logistical and DIY project stress, most of the other details have been sorted!

We’ve basically nailed down the major points on our day-of timeline; all of our official RSVPs have come in; I’ve assembled a contact list for all of the important people (vendors, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ourselves, parents, etc.); we’ve purchased basically all the décor and goods that we need for this shindig; I’ve either already confirmed or are in the midst of confirming times with our vendors; accommodation for all the guests have basically been booked; we’ve bought all the gifts; have all the suits and dresses in order (a part from one or two loose ends); and it’s all looking good.

Now it’s just the payments (which we’ve started on), getting the finer details on the timeline, polishing off the DIY projects, printing out all the place cards and posters, and finally.getting.married! (to the most amazing man in the world! <3)


Wish the Bighorns luck guys!

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:


#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? 😉

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) via Scarlett / (3) Hair & Makeup by Steph / (4), 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:

two for one_hair

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:


From left to right, top row: Every Last Detail via, 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?


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?