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Songs to Celebrate to!

1 Jul

Hello guys!

On a rainy Saturday, GP and I decided to go out to investigate shirt options. I’ll go into more detail on that later, when GP gets a better idea on what he wants, but that day we met up with our friend and DJ, Jeeves. We watched “The Five-Year Engagement” and laughed the ENTIRE way through it, especially at this bit right here:

HI-LAAARIOUS! Emily Blunt ftw!

Anyway, afterwards we got to talking shop wedding, and Jeeves gave us a rundown on what he’d need to do the DJ-ing work for us. We’d been compiling a wedding list, both for dancing and other times (quiet music during dinner, for example). The list is over 100 songs, and counting, and we’re uber excited about our choices. Although, a part of me is thinking of adding in more ‘generic’ songs (like Bruno Mars, for example).

Anyway, Jeeves needs all the music in audio file format so that he can mix it up and burn it to a CD for us to listen to. We have a majority of the songs on Audio CDs, but there are just some which we don’t. And most of the ones ON Audio CDs needed to be ripped into our laptop and stored on the local server. So that weekend, after returning from Jeeves’ house, we spent moving files around and ripping CDs. We successfully were able to grab about 40% (give or take) of the songs we need, and just need to get about 72 downloaded through appropriate means.

Which means we’re getting our songs all ordered! Yay for marking that off the list!!

Another thing we need to do is figure out the ‘important songs’: the signing of the marriage certificate and the cake cutting. We’re still not 100% sure we’ll be having an over-the-top bridal party entrance or an equally-as-over-the-top bridal couple exit from the reception, so we’re still deliberating whether we’ll NEED songs for those. It’s safe to say that we have the processional, recessional, first dance, and a spicy, sexy second dance!

GP also wants to perform up to three songs at the reception with his father, my father, and his brother (all musos, this family!). So I’m uber excited to see what they come up with!

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Finding “The One”…

26 May

The One Cake Topper, that is!

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

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

Yes, TWENTY-ONE flavours!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter Garden Ninja Studios.

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

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

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

Accommodating the guests!

18 May

Hey Hive!

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

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

The reasons we needed these properties were simple:

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

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

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

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

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

And I was sold.

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

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

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

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

crowne_chess and jenga

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

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

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

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

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

First DIY Project!

2 Apr

Hello all!

I mentioned in an earlier post how I was planning a whole bunch of DIY-ish projects. Well, we started one yesterday!

This project is for the reception, and involves us cutting wine bottles using a bottle cutter specially designed for cutting bottles (it’s got knobs to adjust for heights and everything!). We bought  it for $40 from an Australian website (http://www.etchingindustries.com.au/g2-bottle-cutter/ – the G2 bottle cutter!). The bottle themselves were provided by the lovely Lou from Tamburlaine, our wedding reception coordinator. She’s been so awesome throughout the process, and providing us with bottles has saved us SO much time!

As for the project itself, we’d been putting it off for some time, but because Monday was our “stay at home and be lazy mofos” day, I got restless.

Seriously restless!

I asked if GP wanted to try cutting a few bottles to make sure our DIY project would work. So we started with two bottles – the Sparkling Scarlett Bubbles bottle and Verdelho bottles from Tamburlaine Organic Wines.

It was a failure.

Let me explain…

A few weeks prior, I had removed the labels by soaking the bottles in a bucket for a few hours and then carefully peeling. The Scarlett Bubbles’ labels were difficult to peel (I had to use a scraper to get it all off), but the Verdelho bottle just peeled right off beautifully. I was happy and thought that this might not be as hard as I initially thought.

Now skip ahead a few weeks to yesterday night.

After the labels were soaked, peeled and gone, we used the bottle cutter to etch a line over the base of the bottle where we wanted it to detach. This is a lot easier then it sounds. All it requires is some gentle pressure and a steady hand. GP was able to etch two relatively thin lines in the bottle (although he made the lines slightly thick because of “re-etching” – i.e. going over the already etched lines. We later learnt that a thinner line makes it a lot easier to detach).

After we etched the lines we got two big bowls – a bowl filled with boiling water from the kettle, and a bowl filled with iced water. We then began dunking each into the water baths, making sure to keep them in there for 5-10 seconds each dunk. Our first effort was a complete disaster. The Verdelho broke off but was crooked, and the Scarlett Bubbles didn’t even budge.

Disappointed, we decided we’d try again, but this time only with the Verdelho bottles.

This time I did most of the etch (one solid, thin line from start to finish, except for one bottle which I thought I hadn’t etched) and GP did the dunking into the water baths. This time we used a pot over a stove fire on a low simmer to keep the water at boiling point. We kept the ice water bowl.

And it was perfect!

Let me show you a picture! 🙂

wine bottle centrepiece candle holder

It’s a little hard to see on the image, but the glass was smooth all the way around. We’re going to sand down the glass just in case because we don’t want any unwanted little fragments ruining our night and our project. But overall, the bottle were perfectly detached!

All in all, we’re both super stoked that it worked! I’ve soaked and de-labelled four more Verdelho bottles and we also want to attempt the Bubbles bottle again with our new technique.

Wish us luck!

E x

Apologies.

1 Mar

Hey guys,

I apologise for the post last night. I had actually typed out an ENTIRE post, but WordPress decided it didn’t like that idea. Hence it posted only three words and hadn’t saved ANYTHING I had previously typed. I swear if it does it again, I will KILL it.

Moving on, last night I couldn’t sleep and typed up an entire post explaining why.

Basically, GP and I had met our soon-to-be celebrant, Jenny Egan. She was awesome, and so super friendly! She gave us a lowdown of what we would expect leading up to the wedding in terms of legal papers and stuff, and also gave us a HUGE book for us to look through so we could tailor package our own ceremony. She also got to know us more as a couple and two individuals, which was just so nice of her.

My excitement on finding a celebrant for our wedding was also coupled with the fact that I had DIY ideas for the wedding. I’m not too sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but we have a couple of DIY ideas in mind. These are:

a) Making a wooden (less-than-three) [<3] stand for the front to sit between the letters G and E (or E and G, depending on where we’re sitting). This project has somewhat stalled and, once we’ve moved in with my parents, might get a little bit harder to do because they don’t have a shed to work in.

2) Making our own wine bottle candleholders for the wedding. We’ve tried it using just a glass cutter with no clamping attachment for the bottle and we found it rolled. A lot. So we’re thinking of getting a professional wine-bottle cutter (which is only about $AU40). We intend on cutting about 70 (that’s right, 70) bottles. They’ll be relatively smooth so we won’t need to sand them down. To make sure there’s no burn hazard from hot glass, we’ll be using LED tealight candles for the ambient lighting

d) DIY coathangers. This project is all mine, because GP has no interest on making special coathangers for his guys. I’ve got three ideas in mind regarding this project which are:

(i) binding ribbon of certain colours to the top of the hanger depending on the role the owner of said hanger plays (i.e. white for the bride, blue for the bridesmaids, darker blue for the maid-of-honour, red for my ma, and pink for my [future] ma-in-law)
(ii) putting initials on the surface of the hanger with hot glue and pretty fabric/paper/something-which-will-stick-to-wood
(iii) covering the hangers in ribbon ala http://www.ehow.com/how_2177593_padded-ribbon-coat-hangers.html

SO… those are the DIY projects. We haven’t really started on any of them. The only DIY project we’ve completed are the invitations, and that was more a half-DIY project. I’ll talk more on the invitations soon 🙂

For now, I go!

E

Vendors – Update 1.0

12 Feb

Hey guys!

I thought I’d update the vendor list and classify them as booked or not. It makes it much easier for my little brain.

The first vendor list is here – http://wp.me/s1pZ8b-vendors

Booked/Completed:

  • Invitations and Stationary: DIY’d (awaiting printing)
  • Ceremony Location: Hunter Valley Gardens (both civil and tea ceremonies)
  • Reception Location: Tamburlaine Organic Wines
  • Hair & Makeup: Doubletake Makeup Artistry
  • Pre-Wedding Beauty (manicure, pedicure, facials, etc): Pretty Women Nails (manicure and pedicure)
  • Wedding Dress: Mandy Heng Designs (Consultation: Feb 15)
  • Bridesmaid Dresses: For Her and For Him
  • Suits: Hallenstein Bros. (much easier for the Kiwi fellas)
  • Groomsuit: Mandy Heng Designs (possibly – awaiting quote – Consultation: Feb 15)
  • Accommodation: Crowne Plaza Resort Hunter Valley
  • Photography and Photobooth: Studiosomething
  • Videography: Onsight Films
  • Entertainment: The Johnny Paro Band and DJ Sanjiv

Not booked/bought:

  • Car Hire: Morpeth Limousines
  • Celebrant: Jennifer Egan (haven’t booked)
  • Flowers: Yeng Tan Floral Designs (Consultation: March 9)
  • Event Hire and Decorating: Affections (Need to book)
  • Cake: I Do… Wedding Cakes (Consultation: March 9)

So I’m sitting here…

15 Dec

…in my parents’ house, listening to my dad’s band playing outside (yes, my dad has a band) and thinking, “hm, what can I do?”. Then I realised, “hey, I haven’t written in my blog for a few!”

So here I am.

Not really that exciting, but there you have it. Anyway…

HELLO ALL!

I’ll start off with some exciting news. I recently signed up and was accepted into a blog called “Polka Dot Bride”. It’s not HUGE news, because it’s basically a blog that anyone can sign up for, but it’s been rather successful! My first (and so far, only) post can be found here:

http://www.polkadotbride.com/2012/12/and-we-open-the-door-and-step-inside/

So, yay for me! I know what you’re all thinking, “that’s a HORRIBLE picture of you!” but… it was the only picture I found where I didn’t look: a) horrible, and b) like I had an eternal wedgie. I will write more in Polka Dot, but it’s a minimum 750 words, so I thought I’d wait until I had substantial news which I could waffle on about. (Edit: Was just told that it’s not 750 min. YAY! I can write more without waffling)

I DO, however, have substantial news which I can post into this blog!

The other day, GP and I had a meeting with the fabulous Marlon and Redge of Onsight Films. We’ve seen their work and knew they did SDEs – or Same Day Edits. We loved what they did, and after meeting them, were even more set on having them as videographers for the wedding! GP’s so excited that he spent most of yesterday mulling over music to send the guys to potentially play during the SDE. Needless to say, after the excruciatingly long search to find an awesome, well-priced videographer who did SDEs, we are extremely happy with our choice!

Now all’s we need to do is book both the photographers and videographers in and we’re DONE! (with those components anyway)

In other wedding-related news, we’ve been thinking about a place for a rehearsal dinner. I’m not 100% sure if the Hunter Valley Gardens will let us do a ceremony rehearsal at the location, so I’ll have to check. However, the celebrant we intend on using includes the rehearsal into her fee and GP’s excited to have a rehearsal dinner at a particular place he’s been telling me about since we first went up to the Hunter Valley together. The rehearsal dinner will be vastly smaller than the actual wedding reception, but we’re excited to have one.

I’ve also had a sudden fascination with hydrangeas. They’re beautiful, big flowers and would cheapen bouquets a lot while still looking lush and awesome. I’ve decided I want to use them, though I still don’t even know if I want to give my bridesmaids bouquets. Ah well – I still have a little over a year, so here’s hoping I make up my mind!

I’m going to sign off now!

Ta-ta for now 🙂

– Eileen

The Obligatory Dress Post

11 Nov

Hi hive!

I’ve basically yammered on about the venue, traditions, and The Bighorn couple (I’m really not that vain, I swear).

Well, here’s the “obligatory dress post”.

So before we continue, I love you Mr Big, but…

you shall not pass

Image via AllPosters.com.

Now, where were we?

Oh yes, dresses!

Like all girls, when I got engaged, I started thinking about the kind of dress I wanted to wear. Unfortunately, unlike most girls, I had no idea what I liked!

I had never dreamt about, fantasised, or even thought about my engagement and consequent marriage up until Mr Big put a ring on it. I was never the ‘wear a dress’ girl, and had only really begun to wear dresses when I was with Mr Big (he made me feel more feminine, if that’s even possible!).

As such, when I decided to go looking for dresses, I was effectively overwhelmed by choice.

Empire, A-line, Princess, Mermaid, Ballgown, Trumpet, Lace Overlay, Satin, Chiffon, Floor length, Brush length, Chapel Train, Strapless, Halter-

You understand, hive, I was suffering dress overload.

I stopped looking for a little bit and started from the basics, like length. I knew I wanted it to be down to the floor. Did I want a train? Yes, a short one. How about the shape? Apparently, the A-Line was the most flattering.

Embellishments? Sure! I just don’t want it to cost an arm and a leg. How about lace? I love lace, why not!

By asking myself little questions and then researching all the things I managed to narrow down my choices. I loved lace, wanted a bit of embellishment, believed A-line would look the most flattering on me, wanted a small-ish train, and didn’t want my dress to be strapless.

So then what? Well, pictures are always nice!

I turned to Pinterest and the Internet at large.

In my search for the dress, I came across these beauties:

Annie_Red Doll

Annie, by Etsy shop Red Doll.

daphne_wedding dress

Daphne, by the wonderful Shop Ruche.

olivia wilde_reem acra

Olivia Wilde in that stunning Reem Acra dress! Image via Elizabeth Ashleigh.

So it seems my fondness for loose, flowy, gorgeous dresses outweighed the thought that the A-line would be better for my more curvaceous figure. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, I went and tried on dresses!

And, didn’t get any pictures.* (Sorry guys!)

I wasn’t able to try on these dresses specifically but I did get to try on the Katie. The drop waist absolutely flattered my figure. I had hips people! And my girls were feeling fantastic! I also loved the lace overlay and the chiffon fabric! But it was much more than I was willing to pay, so I didn’t end up purchasing the dress. Plus, I wanted to shop around a little bit before dumping a whole lotta moola on a dress.

I did get the details of the nice sales consultant and Mama Bighorn, MoH M&Ms, and Groom’s Homie Oddball and I decided to head home.

As I agonised over whether or not to pull the trigger on the Katie, Mama Bighorn recommended a local dressmaker, Mandy Heng. Now Mandy is not just a dressmaker, but she’s also a family friends’ daughter. I didn’t want to feel like I was swindling money from her because of that fact though, so when I contacted her, I made no mention of that connection.

We chatted over the email, I sent her some inspiration pictures and gave her some ideas, and we set up a consultation. At the same time, I decided I wanted to try on more dresses to really make sure that what I really wanted was what I really wanted. I also wanted to know what kinds of dresses my bridesmaids would be wearing because, (a) they’re all different heights and sizes, and (b) I want them to look as beautiful as I do on the day!

So with that, my bridesmaids, myself, and Friend N planned an outing before my first initial consultation with Mandy. Next up, a day of changing dresses, eating Pho, and finding a dress that completely blew my mind.

Was anyone else drawn to different dresses that you had completely no idea you would like?

*I was about 15kgs/33lbs (perhaps more!) heavier back then, so I hated pictures of myself, especially in beautiful white dresses.

Things seem to be on the up & up…

31 Aug

GP and I recently got in contact with a vendor, StudioSomething (www.studiosomething.com), who do wedding photography (including photobooths and stop motion video). They’re an awesome trio of people who take awesome photographs and are generally… Awesome.

We’re in the middle of discussing through things, so nothing completely settled yet. But so far, things seem to be going pretty smoothly! Wish us luck that they’re available once we finally get a date!

*ZOMBIE GROAN*

29 Aug

My brain hurts.

I have a test to study for, an assignment (which I haven’t started) due in two weeks from now, and I’ve been wracking my brain on wedding stuff. What wedding stuff? Two to be exact:

Photography and Videography.

The main problem is money, that oh-so-important thing when it comes to weddings. Weddings are expensive. And I’m not going to lie, GP and I have had our fair share of arguments over the extremely sensitive issue. I’m a Masters student, focusing on my studies. I work once a week at my old university. I don’t make a hell of a lot of money. I wish I was the career woman, but I probably wouldn’t have met my fiance if I were the career woman type, so I’m kind of glad I’m not. I do wish I had a full-time, even a part-time job, but even that comes with issues. He’s the money-maker between the two of us, but a wedding in Sydney is IMPOSSIBLE to have under our budget. Especially when you don’t want to have it in Sydney.

You see, we’re having the wedding in the Hunter Valley, which gives us two options: get a photographer and videographer from Sydney and get them to travel down to the Hunter for wedding photography, or get a photographer and videographer from the Hunter. Both options are expensive.

We’re hoping to pay a combination of $5000 on both, which means $2500 allocated to one, and $2500 allocated to another. I’ve found wedding videographers who are within out price range (and pretty good to boot), but I cannot for the life of me find a photographer who is within our price range. GP has said that it might be hiring out a photographer and videographer from the same company, but… well… even they’re expensive.

I’m at the point where I’ve given the fiance all responsibility over these two options, because obviously he knows what the price range is and what he wants. I have no fracking idea…

Why did I agree to have an all-out wedding?