Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Inspiration #46: Giving Thanks

I had brunch with a couple friends over the weekend who told me the best wedding they'd ever attended was not the $1-million dollar wedding but the $1-Dollar Store wedding. Why?

The bride and groom expressed gratitude and radiated authenticity and sincerity!

Friends and family flocked to the seaside to witness this couple's vows, and then partied at a nearby ranch (fulfilling this Indian groom's childhood dreams of being a cowboy). True, they ate off of paper plates with plastic utensils and the decor was minimal. They had a friend cook, not a fancy caterer. However, what set this wedding apart was their commitment to their heritage (South Asian and Eastern European). And more importantly, the bride and groom personally walked up to each and every guest and thanked them from the heart -- not the usual let's take a photo and move on. My friends were touched and honored to be part of something so intimate and meaningful.

I know we brides can get caught up with the details -- what color are my linens, are my bridesmaids getting the same hair and makeup, did we hire the right caterer, etc? But, as always, let's not forget why we're doing this in the first place -- to share and celebrate the commitment of our union to our significant other with our friends and family.

This Thanksgiving, let's remember to practice the principle of this holiday each and every day! Be true to yourself and always remember to give thanks without expecting anything in return.

If you're hungry to read more on giving thanks, check out these posts:

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Inspiration #45: Project Runway Bridesmaid Dresses

Boo. Carol Hannah didn't win Project Runway, but at least we can still count on her bright, colorful designs (unlike Irina's somber all-black fashion)! Although they aren't on a $10,000 wedding budget, I thought you might want to check out these fun bridesmaid dresses by the Southern belle turned New Yorker for a bit of inspiration in your search. My favorite is the pink one because it's flirty like the dresses I got for my bridesmaids.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Two for Two Cakes: Part 2 - Real Cake!

Last week, I introduced you to Alison O. of Two for Two Cakes. Here's a real wedding she was happy to share with us:

The cake was for a couple who were having a very traditional but fun ceremony.  They are young and wanted their cake to represent that, but also to be a little bit elegant.  This is why they went with a muted color palette of ivory, pearl, gold and a light terracotta. Surrounding the cake on the table were favors that Alison made for the guests.  Each box contained a miniature sized cupcake in one of the four flavors that the cake consisted of: Aunt Chickie's Red Velvet, Bea's Banana, Aunt Jean's Chocolate Chip, and Traditional Wedding Cake with Organic Strawberries.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sneak peek: Campbell Hall & Garden, Sausalito CA

Guitar Fred and I met on an outing to Love Farms in Healdsburg, CA (Sonoma wine country) and I dreamt of getting married on a farm or ranch until I started shopping around (one place cost $85,000 -eeks!).

Three weeks into our engagement, we found the Christchurch's Campbell Hall and Garden atop a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the sleepy seaside town of Sausalito, CA.  The Hall is not a very popular venue, compared to the oft-booked Sausalito Presbyterian Church, but we got it for a great price ($1,800 all day including  BYO caterer, chairs and tables).

So here's the plan:
1) Take photos in downtown Sausalito by the San Francisco Bay and elephant statues
2) Get married in the garden (the trees overhead will be a natural arch)
3) Hold the cocktail "carnival/fair" hour in the patio
4) Boogie and feast in the reception hall (adorn the exposed wooden beams with paper lanterns or garlands)

What do you love most about the venue you've picked (or are looking at)? For me, it's the stunning red doors at the Hall's chapel across the street. (The photos below were taken with my cell phone, so I apologize for the quality.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Breaking news! iDIY contest

Paper's been on my mind today. I just got our kraft paper envelopes for our Save-the-dates from, and I'm meeting up with Judith of Paper Sweet later tonight. And just 30 minutes ago, I got an email from an old colleague, Bethany, congratulating me on winning the iDIY Letterpress Combo Giveaway. Whoa. What? There were 1,560 entries and I won? Crazy.

My friend, Evan, teased me that I'm the girl who's going to win her whole life. I guess I better buy some lotto tickets. Apparently, My $10,000 Wedding could potentially turn into my $10,000,000 wedding with my strange luck.

{{Doing the happy dance}}

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two for Two Cakes: Part 1

We've started our search for our wedding cake and our ideal price point is $8 and under. Alison O. of Two for Two Cakes is a wedding vendor we found via Yelp and I'm totally excited to meet her at our tasting on December 6. The three cakes we're sampling from her menu of 9 signature flavors are the Aunt Chickie's Red Velvet (Red Velvet with Cinnamon & Cocoa, Toasted Pecans and Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting), Bea's Banana (Banana Cake, Heath Bar Toffee Bits, Vanilla or Chocolate Buttercream) and German Chocolate (Fudgy Chocolate Cake, Coconut-Pecan Custard, Dark Chocolate Ganache).

I asked her to share a little bit about herself and she was happy to oblige. (P.S. You can follow her on Twitter @242cakes.) I'll also share a recent Two for Two Cake creation later this week! Stay tuned.

1) How did you get started?  
I started Two for Two Cakes while I was in culinary school because I realized that what I truly loved about baking was that when I did it, I always felt like I was making something for someone else and it was going to make them happy. It was a very different feeling than when I cooked. And a wedding is the ultimate expression of happiness so I was really drawn to creating them for others. The creative outlet was something that I have always needed in my life and this business allows me to express that energy.  

2) What do you love most about making wedding cakes?
Two Things: I love meeting couples, learning about them and coming up with a cake design to reflect their personalities and their reception. Having spent years working in education and with families, I really do value making personal connections.  Weddings, by nature, are very personal so getting to know the couple and allowing them to get to know me is a highlight. My favorite part of the actual cake creation is when the cake is "naked" or unadorned and I get to sit down and put the final touches on it and see it become what I had envisioned it would be.  

3) What's your fave part (or moment) about weddings? 

 I love to see how all the elements come together: the flowers, the room, lighting, fabrics.  Setting that cake up on the table and stepping back to look at it is incredible.  

4) Sky's the limit, what would be your dream creation?
My dream is to have creative control over an entire cake table. There would be a couple of tiered cakes, different from one another, but complimentary. There would be mini cupcakes and French macarons, candies and pastries, flowers and petit fours, all displayed on beautiful vintage glassware. Very fanciful, very whimsical.  

5) What sets you apart from others? 

I believe strongly that what I am creating is food. Both taste and design are equally important in making a wedding cake, or any other type of special occasion cake.  For this reason, I make sure that our cakes are made using only high quality ingredients and organic fruits, never frozen, and made with only pure butter (no shortening). But what really sets us apart is customer service. Since we are small and I am hands on in every aspect, I really believe in ensuring that clients are heard and that their vision is realized, and that they can call, email, or text me directly with any questions or concerns they have.  I meet with customers for additional consultations and tastings to ensure they get exactly what they want. And I offer resources when they are having trouble finding vendors for other aspects of their event.  

{Above: Wedding cakes from Two for Two Cakes - San Francisco}

 {Special occasion cake from Two for Two Cakes - San Francisco


{Special occasion cake (remember Steel Magnolias) from Two for Two Cakes - San Francisco}

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bought the Bridesmaid Dresses!


I just bought dresses for my bridesmaids and I'm very happy with them, especially because the color is just right, the style is flirty and can be worn again, and they were very affordable ($170 for all four). I don't have a good photo of the actual dresses (they are Double Zero label) but the one above is a good representation in terms of color and the ruffle on one shoulder. The dresses I bought have 3 tiers of ruffles, which make them super fun. Can't wait to show you the real thing! I will adorn them with either a vintage brooch or sash to make it more formal.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Real Wedding: San Diego

I've worked with San Francisco Bay Area photographer, Dorothy Hatchel, a number of times and she's one of the sweetest people I know. She's got a great eye and she shared this real wedding she just shot in San Diego with me -- and now you! Love the groom's shoes and use of green mums in this wedding!

From personalized sneakers for the groom and groomsmen to the traditional Filipino money dance, this was a unique wedding set in the sunny wine country of San Diego. With the ceremony set perfectly with sunset light, we're chasing the sun for the couple's shots afterwords. - Dorothy Hatchel

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Inspiration #44: Peacock + Succulents

As part of my requests for floral design, I've been asking the designer to incorporate succulents, coleus/foliage (like kale) and peacock feathers in the design. And then I stumbled across the Mason Jar Bride's wedding on Wiley Valentine, and again on Jessi Haack 's blog, where my vision has been brought to life. I hope my designers come up with a fresh twist on this. It's so lovely! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Guest Post on Lollipop Events & Design

Woo-hoo! The gals at Lollipop Events & Design asked me to write about the design process for the save-the-dates they designed for us. Click here to read it!

And stay tuned, we're getting the STD's in the mail next week. Can't wait to share the entire package! It's going to be AWESOME!

Here's the post on kraft paper ideas for the envelopes we'll be mailing them in.

Inspiration #43: Stumptown Printers CD Covers

Our save-the-dates by Lollipop Event and Designs are printing this week, and we've decided to go with inexpensive kraft A7 envelopes ($12 for 100 pcs) to mail them to our guests. I headed to Michael's to buy some embossing ink, glitter embossing powder in teal, and alphabet and themed stamps for less than $20 so I can jazz up the envelopes (I'll share these in a future post!). 

{By the way, iDIY is hosting a contest where you can win a L Letterpress Tool Kit (worth $150); details on how to enter here}

This is a test run for possible wedding favors (CDs of course). We like Stumptown Printers in Portland, OR and the kraft CD covers are affordable ($20/50 pcs). I envisioned a stamped image on the cover, and here are some real CDs reflecting my ideas:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Casa Real Winery - Wedding 11.07.09

Here are photos from the wedding I was a part of this past weekend (bridesmaid!). More photos to come when they're available from Ann Hamilton!

Venue: Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery, Pleasanton CA
Makeup: Sherrie Long (bride and mothers); A-List Makeup (bridesmaids)
Photographer: Ann Hamilton (primary), Gene Higa (2nd shooter)
Bride's dress: Amy Kuschel, San Francisco
Bridesmaids' dresses:, JS label 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inspiration #42: Pride & Prejudice's Regency Era

Currently jetsetting in Europe, Kate Harrison, is a San Francisco based photographer whose work I adore. Check out the wedding she just shot of Anita + Phil. Kate's shot of Anita's favors wrapped in a "Pride and Prejudice" page inspired me for this post. (Note: Jane Austen wrote "Pride and Prejudice" in the Regency era, between 1811-1818, not the restrained Victorian era as many mistakenly assume. Fashion of the time included empire waist dresses and the Regency design style moved from strict symmetry to asymmetry. The aesthetic was more relaxed and informal than Georgian style.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Diamonds are (not the only ones) "forever"

Last April, my honey proposed to me at Disneyland with a modern diamond solitaire "for now." We finally got my "forever" ring tonight and it's not a diamond! 

You might remember I reported on Turtle Love Committee as an alternative for the traditional diamond solitaire. Their philosophy is "We think that the decision to spend a lifetime together should be about love and commitment, not about expensive cookie-cutter jewelry." 

Keeping that in mind, we were excited to find my vintage style ring (a 4-karat cushion cut amethyst set in rose gold encrusted with diamonds) at a local jeweler's. And it's only 1/20 of our budget. Woo hoo!

When you were picking out rings, did you ever consider anything other than a diamond (e.g. sapphire)?

Inspiration #41: Traditions

My little sister is getting married this Saturday and it'll be my first time participating firsthand in a Chinese tea ceremony (her husband-to-be is Chinese American and we are Filipino-American).

Unfamiliar with the tradition and meaning behind it, I found these interesting facts from the Chinese Historical and Cultural Society: Tea is probably used because it is China’s national drink and serving it is a sign of respect. Lotus seeds and two red dates are used in the tea for two reasons. First, the words “lotus” and “year,” “seed” and “child,” and “date” and “early,” are homophones, i.e. they have the same sound but different meanings in Chinese. Secondly, the ancient Chinese believed that putting these items in the tea would help the newlyweds produce children early in their marriage and every year, which would ensure many grandchildren for their parents. Also, the sweetness of the special tea is a wish for sweet relations between the bride and her new family. 

{If you're thinking about conducting a Chinese tea ceremony and don't know the specifics, you can read the how-to here.}

My fiance is a good old Southern boy, raised Episcopalian and I'm Filipino-American. We're not having a Catholic or a Episcopalian ceremony although the garden we're getting married is owned by a historic Episcopalian church. Other than having food representing our cultural background for our reception dinner, we have yet to decide how to incorporate traditions from our heritage into our big day. We're a little stumped on what our tradition will be.

To get an idea of what's out there, I enjoyed Davina + Daniel's illustrative overview of various cultural wedding traditions here.

And I'd love to hear what you're planning. Thank you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Martha Stewart Craft Night: Recap

Tonight, Becca of Birthday Girl Blog, Judith of Paper Sweet and my friend, Alice, came over to play with the crafty things I got in the mail from House Party last week.

After viewing a tutorial on how to use the paper punches to make birthday cards, we set to work. And here's how we did (and we didn't follow Martha's instructions to a tee) -- we were pretty pleased with our results:

{Applying metallic foil to transfer with boning knife}

 {Judith's awesome card above, and a box I made}

{All of our creations! Check out Alice's fabric & paper gift box in the foreground.}

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Inspiration #40: Bows!

I've been obsessing over bows lately. I recently bought a silver metallic bow headband at J. Crew (on sale for $9), a metallic pleather metallic bow purse at Payless (thank you for the 50% off, Oprah --only $9) and a white bow button-up top at H&M (only $12 with a 50% off coupon). How's that for going bow-crazy on a dime?

Here's what else has caught my fancy although they are well beyond my budget:

{Giorgio Armani-White & Black Pinstriped Bow-Tie Dress-’09 Fashion Fall/Winter Forecast}


{Ted Baker Bow Detail Leather Tote}


{Anthropologie Alcee Dress}

Monday, November 2, 2009

Meet the ladies behind IdeaL

{Above is a mock-up of a design they did for me using my own vintage white milk glass vase.}

Here are a couple ladies you should meet: Imogene and Luzelle of IdeaL {floral art and design} based in the East Bay. I've met with them a few times to see if they're a good fit for our wedding floral design, and I sure do like 'em...and their pricing is affordable since they are still building their portfolio -- as I am with Va de Vie Events. I asked them to share a little about themselves:

1. How did you get started? How did you meet?
We are cousins! We grew up together...and are best friends too! We both have always had a creative itch....we helped with friends'/families' weddings and parties, and even did my own wedding (Luzelle). After a couple years we realized that we should just start our company and go for it! We always had it in the back of our minds but never really did anything about it. One day I asked Imo if she wanted to start the business...when she said,"yeah!" Then we took off from there! We were official in May 2009! Yay!

2. What's your favorite moment in a wedding?
Watching the couple do their first see so much love and emotion between the newlyweds! A lot of times it is so sweet it makes you melt!

3. What's your inspiration?
Our inspiration is the client's personality and the style that she/he's so much fun to explore different ideas and pick at the clients' brains! So our inspiration truly differs every time.

4. What should brides look for when selecting a floral designer?
Brides should make sure they are working with someone who is personable and easy to deal with. We think that it's important that you have a good connection with your florist, as well as with every other vendor you decide on. You want to work with someone who can suggest different ideas but and also cater to the style that you want. You also have to feel like you trust your florist. Flowers are an important aspect of a wedding and will set the tone of the event so you want to make sure they know what they are doing. We also believe it is important to work within a client's ideal budget. We understand the value of money and if there is something that a client truly has to have, we do our best to make that happen by helping them choose other options that will allow them to.

5. What's your favorite flower?
We really love dahlias and peonies! They are fun and can bring a lot of life to an arrangement. We also love how romantic they are.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My $10,000 Wedding Has a New Look!

{My fiance and I returned to Healdsburg, where we met, for wine-tasting today. Here I am with Munch.}

Upon recommendation by Style Unveiled San Francisco, I decided to go with Rainy Day Design to refresh the look of my blog, "My $10,000 Wedding." I'm most excited about the easy-to-navigate sidebars and navigation bar at top -- featuring links that pull up all the "Inspiration" and "Budget" posts. 

A former classmate and fellow wedding vendor, Judith of Paper Sweet, also nudged me to finally start a Facebook page for "My $10,000 Wedding." I'd love to see you become a fan here

Thanks so much for all your support to date! And please do let me know if you think I can do anything to improve the layout of the blog. Cheers!
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