diy flowers

March 31, 2010

Don’t worry. I have definitely not decided to do my own flowers :)

There is, however, an interesting discussion going on in the comments section of a post over at 100 Layer Cake. The post itself is a “how to DIY a bouquet of flowers” but the comments have turned into a discussion about the pros and cons of DIY’ing flowers in the first place.

Most brides will agree that flowers are “expensive” and can be a big chunk of the budget, but a lot of the points made in defense of florists resonate with me more. I’ve read other posts about the cost of flowers (like this one and this one) and additional more big-picture feedback from consultants like Sean Low.

A few big names in weddings have chimed in, including Summer from Grey Likes Weddings and Nancy Liu Chin (with some more comments on her own blog). It would be a valuable read for anyone trying to stay relevant and up-to-date in the wedding industry.

My two cents? Honestly, I don’t know enough about the floral world to really give an opinion from the perspective of a vendor. However, as a bride and as a friend/coordinator to many other brides, I can say that flowers are a beautiful, inspiring part of any event–especially one as significant as a wedding. Foliage and floral arrangements add texture, color, and life to venues, outfits, entourages, and photos. I wish I could have allocated thousands more to flowers — but I restrained myself from doing so.

I’ve read (more than a few times) that the best way to control the budget is by reducing the number of invitees and guests. Don’t get me wrong, that’s totally true. The number of people at the wedding can dramatically increase the cost of … well, everything from finding a bigger venue, increased food & beverage costs, needing more centerpieces, invitations, save the dates, favors…

Although I know the principle to be true, I know me, and I know that I want my wedding to be about surrounding myself with people that I know and love — even at the cost of gorgeous flowers or creamy, letterpressed programs and menu cards. I often find myself drooling over those luxuries, but I wouldn’t trade 20 of my guests for bigger, more elaborate floral centerpieces. Nor would I trade another 20 of my guests to letterpress all of my wedding stationery. I just wouldn’t.

With that in mind, I can empathize with brides who try to DIY their flowers and/or ask their amateur friends to step in simply because they can’t afford to hire a florist. It’s a sticky situation, but setting priorities in the very beginning can be a huge help later on, as decisions like this are being made.

my dad’s request

March 26, 2010

My dad has been asking me a lot of questions about what he should wear on the wedding day – a tux or a suit? a bowtie or a tie? Honestly, I didn’t really know what was best. We’re doing everything outdoors so I know that makes things less formal, but I wasn’t sure if all the dads had to discuss and confer and agree on a degree of formality or colors. Anyway, I asked Angel and then did a little big of blog research.

Surprisingly, it was really hard to find pictures of the bride being walked down the aisle. I assumed I could just look through one photographer’s archives in Google Reader, but my archives for Caroline Tran and Bonnie Tsang proved to be less helpful than I had hoped.

Here’s what I found – a few of the nontraditional escorts~

Caroline shot a wedding where the bride was escorted by the mom

A wedding shot in Hawaii by Bonnie where the bride was escorted by her mom

A wedding Caroline shot where the bride walked herself down the aisle

Then here are a few of the traditional dad-walking-bride shots:

From a wedding Caroline shot

From a wedding Bonnie shot

From another wedding Bonnie shot

Unfortunately, a simple size of 3 weddings wasn’t enough. I was hoping for dozens! Hm, hm, hm. I wasn’t sure which over photographers blogs to dig through, but then, I clicked “All Items” for Orange Turtle Photography and BOOM! Jackpot!

Orange Turtle shot my friend Sara’s wedding last fall, and they (and we!) loved them so much that they’ve been roped into shooting another wedding for my friend Kim this year.

When I say jackpot, I mean, JACKPOT. Feast your eyes on TEN beautiful pictures of brides and dads… plenty for my dad to observe and compare with. Thanks Cindy & Dan!

Note: I’m not sure why, but I can’t seem to access any of the actual wedding blog posts! Hopefully they’ll be up and running soon

Final tally: 4 bowties, 8 ties.

Maybe since Cindy & Dan always shoot together, they’re able to capture this moment, while maybe Caroline and Bonnie shoot alone most of the time and then aren’t in the position to get these shots? I have no idea… but either way, thankful for Google Reader and blog archives!

NAMW: wedding trends

March 24, 2010

*NAMW = Not At My Wedding

Trends obviously become trends because when they’re discovered, they’re extraordinary, unique, creative, and generally wonderful ideas. No one sets out to do something “because everyone else is doing it”… but sometimes, being a regular reader of wedding blogs makes me think that there must be some kind of unawareness or contentment with doing what other people are doing.

No, I don’t mean having floral centerpieces or a video save the date or even custom water bottle/wine bottle labels (all of which are “trends” to a degree, but have been around for a long time). I’m referring more to:

Vintage Books (often as centerpieces)

from a shoot by Simply Bloom photography posted on Elizabeth Anne designs

from a real wedding shot by One Love Photo posted on Snippet & Ink

from a recent wedding posted on Ruffled

Birds & Owls

from a shoot by Simply Bloom photography posted on Elizabeth Anne designs

from a recent wedding posted on Ruffled

Birdcages (often used at the guestbook/welcoming table)

from a recent wedding shot by Joshua Caine on Green Wedding Shoes

from a wedding shot by Amelia Lyon, featured all over the place, including Green Wedding Shoes

from a recent wedding shot by Blink Photography on Ruffled

Mason Jars

from a recent wedding shot by Blink Photography on Ruffled

from a wedding featured on Once Wed and in Martha Stewart Weddings

Vintage Typewriters

from a real wedding shot by One Love Photo posted on Snippet & Ink

from a recent wedding shot by Blink Photography on Ruffled

from a wedding posted on Once Wed

And mind you, there are tons of other wedding trends: mustaches (on a stick), vintage suitcases (popular in engagement sessions), library card files (ever since they were beautifully used at Jessica Claire’s wedding), homemade jam favors, pinwheels… and more.

I have absolutely nothing against these trends individually. In fact, I loved the way that Angel used vintage books and a typewriter at my friend Veronica’s wedding a few years ago. I just don’t like that everyone seems to be copying everyone else instead of doing something that’s more about THEM. Even though books and birds start with B, I’m pretty sure that we won’t be using them at our wedding.

*Note: I didn’t have to look very hard for the images above. I found most of them in blog posts from the past month and only from a few blogs. If I had tried to, I think I could have easily found 10+ examples of each trend across multiple blogs and sites.

uh hello, this is us

March 23, 2010

The lovely, fabulous, amazing Jerry Yoon & Ingrid sent me an email this afternoon while I was out at lunch (the ONE day I’m not eating lunch at my desk!!!) and it contained a zip file full our engagement pictures. I think my heart stopped beating temporarily as I nervously waited for it to download and then extract… and then even after it was extracted, I was a little terrified of seeing myself (ourselves) on camera.

But, why should I be nervous? I trust Jerry! I beyond trust Jerry. I recommend him blindly to my friends and their friends and have seen everything he’s posted on his blog for years.

Pictures were taken out in Livermore near… who knows where. I really don’t know- 3G and EDGE both died on us while driving around and so I just gave up trying to figure out where we were.

I love them :) I think there Jerry took a lot more (I can remember posing in weird ways or certain spots that we stood… whatever) but I’m so happy to see these and … yeah, I’m just happy right now :)

We’re probably going to blow up 2-3 of them to display at the wedding… any favorites?

real wood save the dates

March 23, 2010

I scroll and browse through so many blogs on a daily basis that most of the images just kind of blur past me… but this save the date featured on Elizabeth Anne not only caused me to pause, but to admire, email it to Janet, and post about it myself!

SO COOL, right?! Bryan and I didn’t really have time for save the dates (engagement to wedding is just over 3 months) but I know that my practicality would have prevented me from even dreaming up something like this. Beautiful textures, I love the fabric and stitching… just… love.

my bouquet

March 22, 2010

My lovely friend Hannah is going to come out of semi-florist-retirement to help me with my wedding flowers. I sent her TONS of images and random commentary about what I did or didn’t like but it turns out that my directions are not very cohesive. Darn!

So, these days, I’ve been skimming through/browsing through weddings to find purple bouquets and to send them to Hannah with my commentary. Here are some of the ones I’ve sent her:

from Heidi & Michael’s wedding, shot by Boutwell Studio

I didn’t like this bouquet very much and Hannah pinpointed why- too much variety (shades, textures, flowers) and not enough uniformity.

from a recent wedding shot by [b]ecker

I also didn’t love this bouquet. I think the color disparity between the two blooms is a little too distinct and if anything, I already knew I didn’t love roses or hydrangeas enough to have them be the primary flowers in my bouquet.

from Nhu & Luv’s wedding, shot by Caroline Tran

This was actually a bridesmaids’ bouquet but what I did like about it was the tulips! Bryan recently sent me flowers at work for our anniversary and he thoughtfully asked them to make it a purple/green arrangement to match our wedding colors. It provoked a lot of thought about which purple flowers I liked, and despite the poor quality of my Blackberry’s camera, I think you can see the pretty, dainty tulips, right?

from a recent wedding featured on Style Me Pretty

I unfortunately can’t see most of this bouquet (this was the best picture I could find even when scouring the websites of the photographer/florist/planner/etc)… but I liked it! I don’t like that maroon flower in the middle (Hannah, is it an orchid??) but I liked the colors of the other flowers that I could see. And if I’m not mistaken, are those carnations? I know carnations… they’re cheap!! (Now watch, I’m completely wrong and purple carnations are incredibly expensive. I should just stop now.)

I am now realizing that I really lack an eye for floral arrangements and decor. I can look at pictures and say that I like or don’t like them, but I’m horrible at articulating why! Maybe I’ll make it a point to learn some more about flowers after the wedding…

bridal salon visit #5

March 20, 2010

Destination #5: Bella Wedding Bridal, Los Angeles (Yelp)

This post ends the bridal salon visit series… woohoo!!! So now you know the ending to my story :)

I had planned a day full of Koreatown wedding salon visits and Bella Wedding was my first stop (which ended up being my last!). A couple of good friends had raved about the owner of the salon (Mrs. Yang) and reviewers on Yelp always said that Bella had the best selection and price… so needless to say, I had pretty high expectations and hopes for Bella Wedding!

For those who aren’t familiar with dress rentals, what typically happens is that they have dresses in the store for you to try on and choose from, and then the salon will order a new dress, alter it, rent it to you, and then either re-rent it or sell it later. Interesting business model, no?

Bella Wedding had a pretty good selection, based on the other places I had seen. It was definitely nowhere near the size of Bay Area Bridal or Trudy’s, but it felt like there was a better selection there than at Glamour Closet, for example. I knew which section of the store I would like (cleaner, a-line, etc) and noticed a few that I liked. I showed Mrs. Yang the ones I had liked and she pulled a couple for me to try on.

Unlike the previous bridal salon visits, because I was in SoCal, I asked some more people to join in on the fun- this time it involved my mom, my aunt, my 10 year old cousin, and Lena, my MOH. Thankfully having more opinions didn’t drive me nuts (as I hear it sometimes can) but what basically happened was I tried on a couple of the dresses I had liked and although I liked the first one a lot, neither one was an overwhelming “Yes!”.

Then, Mrs. Yang brought out a different dress- one that I hadn’t pulled and one that I probably wouldn’t have chosen for myself. It was lacey and had a lot of beading, but because I had learned my lesson before, I tried it on. And… well, it was the dress! Everyone I came with liked it and just to make sure, I re-tried on the first two dresses that I had liked… which reinforced how much everyone had liked the lace dress.

It was at this point that Mrs. Yang brought up budget (whoops!) and I didn’t realize that lace type dresses always came with a higher pricetag! We talked about it and went back and forth, and I ended up getting the dress for a good price (which was at the very high end of what I wanted to spend). Yay! My mom and I loved Mrs. Yang- she was so kind, honest, and knew dresses really well. I’ve called and stopped by the salon since choosing the dress to get the alterations fitted and to make random requests or ask questions and I’ve never had any regrets about choosing to rent from Mrs. Yang & Bella (and therefore cancelling all my other appointments… aha).

I have reservations about posting the dress here, but I’ll say that it’s a Pronovias brand and it’s a couple of years older. In fact, a week or so after finding the dress, I found out that a friend who got married in 08 actually wore the same dress! What a small world! I didn’t realize it was the same dress because she had altered/modified it a little more (neckline, beading, etc) but I don’t mind one bit :)

Wedding dress, check!

b’maids part 2

March 19, 2010

Apologies, dear readers, as this post is long overdue! When I have time to blog, I’m always torn between catching up on older decisions/purchases and blogging whatever’s currently on my mind. In theory a disciplined blogger wouldn’t have this problem… so, hopefully/eventually, I’ll become a more disciplined blogger and keep you all up to date with everything that’s going on.

I had last mentioned the Target dresses and shoes I had liked, but then alluded to how I ended up not needing them. The dresses arrived and looked a little more casual than I had liked, so when I went down to LA a few weeks back, I considered renting bridesmaid dresses from the same salon that I rented my dress.

I don’t think I’ve really talked about Bella Wedding and how it was the last stop on my wedding-dress-search, but I will… I promise! Anyway, I was early to my appointment and took time to browse through the racks of dresses- both for me and my b’maids. There were a handful of purple dresses, maybe 2 long and 2 short? I only really liked one style, but thankfully, I only needed to choose one! An added bonus, I had wanted to do long dresses (they just look nicer, I think) but was hesitant since two of my bridesmaids are on the shorter side. BUT!! Rentals include alterations! Woohoo!

Here’s what I chose:

Say hello to the chiffon Bari Jay style #641 in raspberry! I think it looks a little more purple and less pink in person, but regardless, this is it! Bella Wedding had 3 of the dresses in stock but because of the way the sizes worked out, we had to “super-rush-order” one more.

For me, renting bridesmaid dresses seemed to be the best option given the look I wanted and all of the inventory I’d already looked through. It ended up costing less to rent than to buy bridesmaid dresses from David’s Bridal (or any store like that) but more than it would have cost to buy dresses from Target or places like that. Fair, no?

Unfortunately Bella Wedding’s in SoCal and my bridesmaids are not (two in NorCal and one in Taiwan) so they won’t get to try on their altered dresses until the right before the wedding. I’m not too worried because I’ve been getting updated measurements from the b’maids, so trusting that all will be well.

For shoes, I loved the purple Target pumps but because the colors were slightly off, I was deeeeelighted to find the same shoe in ivory (or champagne, as Target calls it):

All in all very happy with my purchases/rentals and hopefully the bridesmaids will look beeeeeeeeyootiful in them!

White House Black Market

March 18, 2010

The other day, the ladies over at TwoBrightLights tipped me off to the official launch of AOL’s new wedding venture: Aisle Dash. Then, today, I was pleasantly surprised to see an interesting post about the White House Black Market‘s new wedding boutique. Took a quick look and they have sections for bridesmaid dresses, a gorgeous bridal gown, accessories, and more. It looks like they’re going to roll it out gradually, but their first dress (super reasonably priced at $498) is worth drawing attention to.

I immediately of the press release from URBN and Anthropologie from the other day and am becoming more and more interested in how the wedding extensions of typically non-wedding apparel companies will affect the wedding industry. As a bride, I love it! I love being able to find wearable bridesmaid dresses and getting a variety of options. From a business point of view, it’s always worth noting new trends and especially when established brands begin expanding and experimenting with new things.

If anything, I can NOT wait for these retailers to give David’s Bridal a run for it’s money.

Sage Wedding Pros

March 18, 2010

I recently stumbled upon the Sage Wedding Pros blog and they were doing a series of posts on lessons for new wedding vendors:

Totally helpful and relevant. Some of the lessons overlap, like those related to networking and being yourself/finding your voice, but others were more nuanced like finding a reliable printer (for invitation designers) and the pricing-balancing-act (for planners).

The Sage Wedding Pros blog also regularly feature easy-to-read, to-the-point “Insider to Insider” interviews with some of the top vendors in the wedding world, like Nancy Liu Chinfloral extraordinaire, Stephanie Frazier Grimm of Couture Parties who I met briefly at Wedding 360 earlier this week, Jasmine Star the brilliant photographer, Jaimi Brooks of Fiore Beauty, and more!

I love, love the business side of weddings and pouring over a year’s worth of Sage Wedding Pros archives has been educational and thought-provoking. There is so much to learn… exciting!!

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