Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finalised Invitations and Wishing Well

We were really happy to get the invitations in the mail a few days ago. Nicole from Delightful Occasions is really great! I only just gave the approval for the words and wishing well text a couple of weeks ago and she got on with the job to get them done really quickly!

Thankfully there were lots of invitation card examples that we could get ideas from online and we just picked and merged a few here and there. Not to forget, the future mother-in-law contributed her fair share of the text where is says 'to grace and witness the exchange of marriage vows of their children...' :D
The invitation cards came nicely bundled up in plastic and a red ribbon.
Invitation card on the left and the wishing well card on the right
Since the FH and I have been already staying together for a few years,we've already got all the household stuff and kitchen items needed and so we decided to go with the western way of asking for monetary donations by creating a wishing well from, an online gift registry.

The website is really good, it allows your yo create a wishlist of items that people can contribute to; for example your honeymoon, car, house or anything else that you want. You can also upload personalise photos and the amount of the item.
We're hoping that guests who are not comfortable giving money on the day will use this website. They can also leave us messages and well-wishes which we will be able to keep always. In the Chinese culture, a wedding gift almost always consist of money given in a red packet and so we decided to add a red packet in each invitation pack too, so that guests can use them should they prefer that option.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Actual day wedding gown and evening gown shoe dilemmas

Mum has informed me that my tailor made wedding gown is finally ready. I'm actually a little impatient to wait for her to bring it when she comes in early October and so decided that she will post it to me first. The box will probably be really big as she will send it together with the 3-hoop petticoat, which even when folded is pretty bulky and not to mention how much space and weight the actual gown itself with the, embellishment, beads and long train will be!

Here's a sneak peak of my wedding gown. Now I had previously put a $200 deposit for a wedding gown at Nifi Bridal in Oakleigh, but I made sure to tell them NOT to order the gown first in case I changed my mind. And true enough I did! So luckily I managed to go back and exchange the deposit, added on extra $85 for 2 sets of bridal veil. One will be a 2-tier short one with a tear-drop crystal at the end and the other will be a long one to match the length of my train.

Now that the gown was sorted, I couldn't help but somehow have second thoughts about my shoes. Initially I was adamant that my wedding gown was definitely going to be white in colour but after trying on countless gowns, I realised ivory was the way to go.

Since my gown and veils were all ivory, I started to wonder if I needed ivory shoes as well because the impulse buy I did last year in Nov was a white one. I found this online shoe shoe in New York with reasonable prices and they ship free to Australia - ShopNewYork. Here are some of my picks:
Romance Alfani High Heels
Milan Rampage High Heels
Ginnie Nina High Heel Sandals
Nina Annora High Heel Sandals
I browsed for silver heels as well because I needed a pair to match my dark blue evening gown with silver embroidery. I emailed these shoes to mum to have a look to get her opinion. She mentioned that my shoes were gonna be hidden under the gown most of the time and it didn't really matter if they were white, they would still match anyway.

Mum made a fair and logical point and suggested that maybe I should just wear the white one I bought last year and not waste it. Well I guess I'll have to ponder about that and stick with the one I have if I just can't find another suitable one. Though I really do need to get a pair of silver heel sandals. ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pre-Wedding Photoshoot Album and checking out Wedding Favours / Bonbonaires

There was a recent deal from SPREETS that was offering a discount on hard cover photo books from Eastmon Digital and so I jumped on it to get the photos for our pre-wedding photo-shoot in Melbourne printed. For $29.95, you get a 40-page, 12 x 12 inches hard cover photo book and you can even personalise the layouts and choose from a variety of album designs from their online software.

And here's the finished work. It wasn't actually a very thick book as expected and for some reason, the colours weren't really vibrant. I was quite sure that I sent them all the high resolution photos but somehow some of the photos were a little blurry too. But anyway for that price, we can't complain too much. This will be displayed at the reception on our wedding day.

I was also checking out on possible choices for wedding favours and I found those below from:
  1. Wedding Favors Shop:
  2. Favors Plus:
I just went on Google and type in "cheap wedding favours" and a whole list of websites came up. Okay it isn't that we are cheapskate or anything but there's a whole lot to buy and so of course we wanted something that was useful yet affordable. :p
Min magnet aluminum heart-shape frames
Disposable wedding camera
Hugs & Kisses scented soap
Apple salt and pepper shakers
White chair bonbonaire boxes / place card holders
Darling like the idea of the disposable cameras; we were thinking maybe we can have one per table and people can snap random shots. I also particularly like the apple salt and pepper shakers because they go well with our theme of "red & white". The chair boxes / place card holders were also a good idea as they serve a 2-in-1 purpose and we can fill them with chocolates or lollies.

Luckily we still have a fair bit of time to think about it and so I might spend some time looking at other websites as well. Pink Frosting and The Knot Shop also have some really pretty and unique wedding favours, but they are little more expensive.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meeting up with our Celebrant / Church Minister

We finally met our Celebrant for the first time last Thursday. He is Reverend Graham Bradbeer from Scotch College. As we are holding our wedding there and he's the school's Chaplain, it's one of the terms that he will need to be leading the ceremony in accords with the Christian wedding service. We are really happy about that anyway as he's got quite a lot of experience and he's also warm and friendly.

Being a catholic, I would also like some sort of involvement from the catholic church and so Fr. Paul Gurry from St. Peter's Bentleigh will be our supporting celebrant. Our wedding might not actually be considered valid under the catholic church, but I'm not too sure about that so have to check with Father. But we have plans to renew our marriage vows in a catholic church anyway sometimes next year and so it should all work out alright.
Rev. Bradbeer explaining to us the readings and hymns that we can choose from.
After talking to us and reinforcing to us the purpose of a marriage, he said a prayer for us at the end.
Rev Bradbeer is a knowledgeable and wise person and he's been with the school for over 20 years. He has this huge board on the right of his office, and when you walk in you can see lots of photos, notes and other stuff on it. Of course I couldn't help but noticed the different wedding photos and thank-you notes from couples he had married before.

He actually had a copy of Darling's year book and took it out to show me Darling's photo. Tubbs looked so geeky in high school, but it was a warm fuzzy feeling to see the photo though; to know that little boy has all grown up now and is my hubby-to-be.

The session was a little stressful but fruitful. Rev Bradbeer told us all about the marriage sacrament and wanted to make sure that we were not wanting to get married for the wrong reasons. He also asked us questions that were never dawned on us before like:

1) How did we get to know each other and why did we choose each other
2) Why did we decide to get married and if we shared the same thoughts and values
3) How many kids we want in future and so on...

It was much like what a pre-marriage counsellor would ask a couple. But there were certainly some questions that got us(or me at least) dumbfounded for awhile. I wasn't someone who could answer something spontaneously and under pressure and so I think I beat around the bush for a couple of questions and didn't really get to the point. (^.^)

It was all good as it made us ponder about things that we have never thought about and we got some help with past samples of the order of ceremony. He also gave us a list of suggested hymns, readings and wedding vows that we can choose from. He encouraged us to do a pre-marriage DVD course with booklets to fill-in so we didn't actually have to go out and attend a session.

We'll be seeing him again in August and so hope we've at least got some things sorted out then.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ceremony decos, Flowers and Invitations

We finally made an appointment to drop by the events company last week. As mentioned before, we have engaged the services of Your Knight Events / Delightful Occasions. They are two different companies but owned by the same owner, Nicole who has more than 10 years experience in the events planning and organisation industry

They recently moved to their new warehouse in Carrum Downs and welcomed us to pop by and have a look. Also it was much easier to discuss wedding decorations and other plans face to face rather than through email or on the phone. It took us about 40 minutes to get there and they had quite a few different wedding set-ups for couples to view.

Flowers and floral arrangements
They also do wedding cakes
Beach theme set-up
Formal red/black theme set-up
Simple pink / black theme set-up
Tree topiaries which are used as decos
Our wedding invite design - red paper
And a flower-like pattern page overlay
Darling and I were really happy in what we managed to sort out in the short one hour plus we were there. We decided on the following items:
  1. Decorations for the ceremony
  2. Flower bouquet for myself and the bridesmaids, corsages for the mums, button holes for the groomsmen and flower head garlands for the two flower girls
  3. Invitation Card designs
  4. Wishing Well Rental
All of the above for just over $1000. For us, that was real good value and certainly a tick on our budget. I realised a couple of days later that I forgot to add on the flowers for car deco as well and that just added an extra $50+ on. We opted not to go with them for the cake as we've already made a decision on Three Sweeties and we figured it was better to some things spread out between different suppliers.

Nicole was really helpful and friendly though, she offered quite a bit of help and advice. And so that was a few more items ticked off the list. For now, the next hardest part will be to get the guest list sorted out and compiled. She said she'll bug us in a few weeks time as invitations should be sent out only about 2 months to the wedding anyway. So yeah, that's it for the decisions for now! :p

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cake deposit and Wedding Wish Factory Outlet Sale.

We confirmed our wedding cake supplier as Three Sweeties and gave the a deposit a few of weeks ago. If you recall from the previous post on visiting cake suppliers, we only visited two of them and just decided to pick one from there. I had contacted a few other suppliers through email, but their prices were just more expensive. So Three Sweeties it was; reasonable prices, pretty tasty cupcakes and over 20 years of experience, I think that should set our minds as ease. :)

Anyway I found the Wedding Wish Factory Outlet through facebook one day. They sell wedding accessories, gifts, jewellery etc. and they are situated in Mentone. I found out about them having a warehouse sale on Fri 20 May and so Dar and I decided to check out what they might have since we're still looking for wedding favours for guests and gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Here are some pics from their warehouse:

They had quite a lot of things: toasting glasses, cupcake stands, ring pillows, guest books, bonbonaire boxes etc, you name it, they have it. They also had some practical gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen and stuff for Hen's and Buck's Night. Most items were for display only and they didn't have much stock on hand. So the items I bought that night had to be delivered the next week. I got a silver crystal bling key-rings for my girls and mum, a handbag holder for the future MIL and a wedding certificate holder for us.

The prices were quite reasonable and they also hire out wishing wells should you need them for collecting monetary gifts on your wedding day. You can choose items from different themes on their website and they even have some Asian style stuff. But as we still haven't decided on the wedding favours, I might just need to look more varieties online before we make a decision. But salt and pepper shakers are definitely on the list. ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Actual day wedding gown dilemmas and my evening gown.

I have finally decided on my actual day wedding gown but it wasn't an easy path to get there. When we first got engaged in March last year, I went for quite a few gown try-outs at different bridal stores with darling and girlfriends Ammie and Daisy. But I just didn't find one that felt right and now I'm glad I didn't buy on impulse because I'm really happy with the final decision that I made.

My initial dream gown was a princess-like, ball gown type of style, which is similar to the one I tried on the right. But I couldn't find many of those styles in Melbourne, either that or it was too expensive and way over budget. There was definitely more choices when I went back to Malaysia. So we came to a conclusion that maybe it's an Asian thing for liking "pong-pong" (a.k.a poofy) gowns! Ha-ha...

The gown I tried on the right is from Venus Bridal, the shop in Malaysia which I did my pre-wedding photoshoot. It was a rental (pre-loved) gown and the shop assistant quoted me RM2500 which is about AUD$840, to buy it.

That was within my budget and I was really close to getting it, but the put-off was that I couldn't take it back with me to Melbourne until after June because they already have two other brides who are renting it for their wedding.

And so after the dress measurements at Aunty Margaret's (Mum's friend) place that day, we went to check out the other bridal shops across the road from Venus Bridal. We chanced upon Miosa Couture and the girls were really friendly and nice. They don't have a website but the link shows you a photo of the shop.

After trying out countless gowns, I settled for this ivory/white poofy gown with organza fluffs on the right. It was also a rental gown but as the shop wasn't as high end as Venus Bridal, the price quoted was quite a difference; RM1200 for it.

Among the gowns, the shop assistant picked out a newly made, ivory coloured gown with very beautiful embroidery at the train and it was really suitable to walk down the aisle with it. Mum, Aunty Margaret, Len and the shop assistants all swooned over it, but I didn't take a fancy then because it wasn't "poofy" and was too simple for me.

After settling on the wedding gown, I decided I want an evening gown too since the prices were within budget. I tried a few in different colours but didn't take any fancy. Then I was shown another of their new designs; this blue and loose flowing evening gown with silver embroidery. Darling's favourite colour is blue and it was really gorgeous when I tried it on; so I went with it.

I happily paid for the ivory "poofy" gown (centre right) and the blue evening gown on the right - for a total of RM2700. That's equivalent to about AUD$900; for two gowns I'd say that was quite a steal! The price included dry clean and alterations. I collected them the day before I flew back to Melbourne.

Thinking back now, I was annoyed that I didn't check the wedding gown properly while packing it for the flight. It wasn't only until I got back to Melbourne did I realise that a crystal bead on the wedding gown was missing! It was quite a prominent one, positioned on the right hand side near the waist. That kinda devastated me because the wedding gown is one of the highlights for the day and it was truly one thing that I wanted to be perfect. And though the gown was dry-cleaned, it somehow still looked a little old and faded.

The shop assistant apologized for it and were really helpful in trying to resolve the matter. But that wasn't the only reason why I don't want the wedding gown any more. I showed it to friends and even the future mother-in-law and all they did was manage a small smile and say "ah okay..."; trying not to sound offensive. I knew deep down that they didn't like it. My colleagues were more honest in telling me up-front that the elegant ivory a-line gown (with the embroidery at the train) was definitely more gorgeous and I should go for it.

So I had two choices:
1) The shop assistant would find the missing crystal / get me a new one and post it over to me or
2) I can post the "poofy" gown with the missing crystal back and for an additional RM1000, they will tailor make a brand new one of the ivory a-line gown for me.

I think you know which choice I went for because I wouldn't have posted the "poofy" ivory gown in the first place if that was really my wedding gown. ;) Having a tailor made gown meant I could add in a special request; like asking the dressmaker to make the chest area a little more heart-shape styled. The gown will take about a month to be ready and mum will bring it over for me when she comes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bridesmaids meet-up, sorting their dresses and our wedding bands

Meeting up with my bridesmaids on the Easter trip back to Malaysia and Singapore was one of my main priorities and I was so glad I managed to catch up with all of them - even though not all of them at once. ;) Luckily there is emails and sms to communicate with one another when I'm back here and then there's the private facebook group which we use to discuss stuff as well. Here are the special ladies for my big day:

The arrangement was that I will provide their dress; just a small token for their effort of flying all the way over to Melbourne for me. We all came to an agreement on the dresses before I went back; that we will settle with 1 colour choice and 4 different dress designs. The colour chosen was sort of orange/red colour, quite similar to the colours of the first two dresses. And here are dress designs that they have chosen:

Aunty Margaret, a friend of mum's had a very good tailor who made really nice dresses and so she recommended her to me. The tailor's prices were also quite reasonable and she will organise everything including getting the material for me. There will be 3 satin dresses and 1 chiffon one. On the last photo with the 2 models, Denise chose the one on the right with the flower at the neck and that's the chiffon one.

Darling and I also managed to tick off a few more items off the list by getting our wedding bands, ring pillow and guest book all in one go.

Darling got a Lee Hwa Jewellery Member card when he bought the engagement ring about a year ago. And the member card entitles the user a 10% off any jewellery purchased from the store. What was better, was that they had a sale going on that time and there was a further 20% on top of that. And so we got 30% our wedding bands!

Darling chose something simple, just a plain band with a border on each side, while I went for a single row of diamonds on the top half of the ring (also with a border on each side) to compliment my engagement ring, which was a solitaire.

We also knew we wanted white gold as we are both not a fan of yellow gold and so agreeing on that was easy. The shop also gave us a complimentary ring pillow and guest book. They were white and looked elegant which we can and will use anyway, and so that was two less items we had to get ourselves.

I think white colour goes with almost every theme and so I think a combination of our orange/red colour should go okay with either white or black. Well we are honestly not too fussed about it anyway, simple and elegant is the key thing we want for our wedding. ;)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Malaysia Pre-Wedding Photoshoot: Thu 21 Apr 2011

We booked our Malaysia pre-wedding photoshoot since last year. I think that was one of the first things that I did when we first got engaged. I always admired all the beautiful albums of friends and relatives in the past. And so a studio photoshoot was a "must-have" for me; plus this was a norm in the Asian culture because you have the album ready for viewing at the reception place on the wedding day.

We chose Venus Bridal because it was recommended on forums and also one of the top two bridal photography studios in town. Thanks to my dear "Maid-of-Honour" Len who came down from Ipoh to spend 2 days with me and do some girly and wedding stuff together. She and mum came with me to choose my gowns a couple of days before the photoshoot. Below are some of the more boombastic gowns that I didn't pick. They were just way too much for me. The last one really looked like some sort of coral.

The photoshoot took us the whole day from 10.30am to around 7pm in the evening (with an hour's break in the arvo for lunch)! Thanks to darling who had quite a bit of patience though he was quite grumpy already towards the end. But we made it through make-up, 7 gowns, 7 hair styles and countless poses; not to forget the numb cheeks after all the smiling to get some really great shots!

Some shots below that darling took for me on our own camera. I wanted some of my own photos so I had more photos to keep and also to look back on in the future. Two girls from make-up schools who were there to learn that day also took some snaps for me.
1st gown: A white and really long one with black beads and embroidery on the chest area.
2nd gown: A red satin-like number with black embroidery. Tradional with modern touch
Su Lee, the fantastic make-up and hair stylist for the day doing my hair for the 3rd gown.
3rd gown: Another white one with silver embroidery but this was a two piece corset type.
4th gown: Old Victoria English green gown with black corset top and gold embroidery.
5th gown: Mum suggested a Cheong Sam and so I picked this which was quite revealing on the right side!
Su Lee at the back again changing my hairstyle for the 6th gown. This was not my fav one.
6th gown: A fully black number, quite popular nowdaysas  people are no longer so superstitious
Su Lee again doing the hairstyle for my last gown. This has got to be my fav gown and hairstyle
7th gown: White silky gown which I only got to pick on that day for outdoor shoot.
The photos were ready for selection the next day. We had to select 30 poses (photos) out of the few hundred odd photos that we took the day before! Some were easy to pass on but mostly it was no easy feat. His royal tubbyness had to leave and go back to Singapore that arvo and so Mum and I landed up going back to the shop again after church to continue choosing.

Here are some of the shots that day. Apart from the last one, these were all poses that we didn't choose. Because the ones we chose were cut off and given to the designers who will be doing some photoshop editing and album design. Mum and I figured it was such a waste as they will probably throw away the rest of the wallet size preview photos anyway and so we cut them out and took them instead.

Vertical poses above with the horizontal poses below. Darling's gonna "killed me" for posting up this cheesy, playful one below. But I don't care, it was all for the fun of it! :p Majority of the photoshoot was done indoor. The studio had quite a few different backdrops and decorations. We were a little skeptical about the outdoor shoot because of the heat and humidity and so we only went out for a bit in the evening.

Even though I was bitten like hell from so many mosquitos at the garden, I've gotta say some of the favourite shots were from the outdoor shoot. Plus like I've said, the outdoor gown was the favourite for the day. It had just finished raining around 5pm-ish in the evening and that's why the garden / park was swarming with mozzis! We had to force out a smile even though I was itching and scratching all over.

But the long and tiring day ended with a yummy dinner treat from dad, together with mum. And we were quite happy with the photos; that are going to be special keepsafe with us forever, so all the "pain" and effort was worth it, not to forget the experience.