Thursday, May 29, 2008

Creative ways of using your engagement photos

Your engagement photos certainly don't need to be in your photo album, they can be used in so many different ways.... there are endless options....
1) personalized guest book
2) save the date or invitation

Photo credit: Jun Shien (He's another amazing photographer my assistant found... you must check out his blog!! I love photographers blogs because they seriously tell a story with their photos and I get the latest inspirations & ideas from their sites)
3) table numbers

such a cute idea, huh? Ms. Tiramisu over at weddingbee chose 20 of their favorite engagement photos as their table numbers
4) even on your cake- this one was the groom's ice cream cake!
photo credit: Jessica Claire
Sarah sent me a picture of her wedding cake designed by Kayla from Kayla's Kakes. She graduated USC with piano major and I believe the groom is in film industry. What a cute way to express what they both love and treasure in a cake design? She also incorporated her engagement photos as well!

Your relationship with the wedding coordinator

Not only do I enjoy the process of planning a wedding together with the couple, but I also really appreciate and love getting to know them throughout the process. If I were to narrow down two types of brides, they would be: an opinionated bride, who knows what she wants and is very specific with her needs; and a clueless bride who is totally lost in the planning and is indecisive in decision making. (Well, there are some who are clueless at first, but get pretty demanding later on in the process, and there are others who are opinionated at first but later end up not caring as the day approaches.) Anyways, it's always fun to get to know them, and some of them literally end up being my close friends even after the wedding.

So, which type do I prefer to work with? ha ha...well.. sort of in between the two.. but more than their personality, there needs to be a definite connection with the coordinator and the bride. And most importantly, they both need to be on the same page in terms of their expectations. If you hire a DOC(day of coordinator), then the bride can't expect a full service package and the coordinator cannot be solely responsible for the unexpected things from the vendors. 'You get what you paid for'. This applies to all the vendors, even the coordinator. As for the coordinator, you NEVER want to promise too much as if you're THE person who can make their weddings happen. You can never take all the credit after the wedding is over. It's teamwork between the couple, vendors, family & friends and the coordinator.

There also needs to be a complete trust between the coordinator and the bride, to be sure that the coordinator will take care of any sticky issue that may arise during the planning process. This will also mean that she will have to be quick, discerning, frank, and somewhat courageous to step up, even when her reputation is on the line. However, she also needs to be wise as to what to say and how to say when they hear all sorts of complaints about their in-laws, future husband to-be, parents, friends, MOH, and not to mention, some of their vendors. For this reason, you want to find someone not only resourceful but someone who knows how to deal with real life issues. As you can see, being a coordinator is more than making things pretty or being organized; she needs to handle real life crisis with poise and professionalism.
Bottom line is, whoever you choose as your coordinator, ask yourself, "Does she know my taste? Is she on the same page or ahead of me to guide me through the process?"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Art of Same Day Edit

Same Day Edit- It's a huge hit nowadays showing highlights during dinner reception of pre-ceremony and ceremony footage edited with your favorite song. I can't imagine all the stress that the videographers need to go through, but it will definitely make an impact. People are used to seeing a photo montage when they enter the wedding reception, but a same day edit- not only it will WOW your guests but will leave the room with memories to remember. Mark Von Lanken from Picture This Productions says,"The client actually pays you to show your work to hundreds of their closest family and friends. Remember, most people didn't get to see close shots of the bride and groom as they saw each other, the emotion in their faces as they exchanged their vows, the ring slipping on the finger,but a wedding-day edit—that's truly breathtaking."

here's sample SDE video from Truvision Media
Elysium Productions is one of the top-notch videographers and is known for SDE. You gotta check out their blog if you haven't already.

Hot Tips & Sound ideas from the experts

from "Ceremony" magazine, Orange County 2007 issue
Fabulous Trends
• Small bridal parties! It makes for a more intimate experience for you and your chosen attendants. ~ Mary Dann
• Color, living décor, creative dance floors and personalized menus! ~Ava Carroll-Brown
• Midnight snacks! It is great to serve your guests a midnight snack
such as warm cookies and shots of cold milk. ~
Kimberly Bradford
• Lounges! Many rental companies and event design studios now provide lounge furniture in all shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. Have fun with it! ~
Carolyn Chen
• Add color to the tables with specialty linens.Whether they are dark chocolate brown or bright orange or pink linens, it really gives the event some extra flair. ~ Erin Bacon
Toss The Trend
• When couples decide to see one another before the ceremony! The expression on the groom’s face is priceless as his beautiful bride makes her way down the aisle. If couples must see one another beforehand, I always suggest a “private moment” for them to see one another privately for the first time. It is not only romantic and a great photo opportunity, but a moment you will treasure forever.
Kimberly Bradford
• A trend of the past that still lingers - table cameras! Many brides spend a lot of money developing the film only to find that they have fifty pictures of the same couple, pictures of the ceiling and floor, photos that are too dark & only a few that end up being usable. ~
Erin Bacon
• Too many sweets at the end of the night…dessert, cake, chocolate fountain, candy bar, etc. Rather than over-loading your guests with sugar, choose one or two sweet options and introduce a late night array of mini comfort foods. ~ Mary Dann
In Planning A Budget, Never Skimp On….
• Most coordinators agreed - never skimp on photography! Other popular answers included wedding coordinator, entertainment, catering and videography.
Grand Reception Ideas
• Photo booth guest books! Rent a photo booth where guests take their picture inside and the strip gets glued into a custom book where each guest signs a personal message to the couple. ~MaryDann
• Custom invitations! They set the tone for your wedding. ~
• Hire a videographer who can provide same-day editing services and show highlights during the dinner reception of pre-ceremony& ceremony footage edited to your favorite song. ~
Carolyn Chen
• A themed event that reflects your passions and interests! For example, a 40’s or 50’s themed wedding set in a location that fits that era, incorporating the theme all the way from the stationery to an Elvis performer. ~ Erin Bacon
• Graduate from one space to another using elements of surprise
and décor. ~ Ava Carroll-Brown
• Incorporate family traditions, your spirituality, your culture and all the things that are important to you. You should be wined and dined with your favorite cuisine, surrounded in a garden of your favorite floral, and serenaded by your favorite musical entertainment.
Kimberly Bradford
Overlooked Details
• In today’s world, the importance of the actual wedding ceremony gets overlooked. Everyone is so involved in ‘getting to the party’ that they forget what the wedding day is all about. ~
Ava Carroll-Brown
• Sweetheart table! You will be photographed quite a bit here, be sure to have it decorated beautifully. ~ Nicole Hirsty
• The comfort of your guests should be a priority. Be sure to provide market umbrellas, tents, parasols or fans and water or punch on a warm day. For cooler outdoor weddings, make sure heaters provided. ~ Carolyn Chen
• Providing welcome gift bags for out of town guests…a weekend itinerary, local maps, area attraction and restaurant guides, bottled water, snacks and a scented candle. ~
Mary Dann
• Lighting! It can really change the whole look of your wedding. ~
Nicole Hirsty
Additional Advice
• Don’t ask everyone’s opinion. It will only make the decisions harder to make since you don’t want to offend anyone. If you ask, just let them know you think it’s a great idea and you will take it into consideration. ~ Nicole Hirsty
• Don’t forget about the groom, it’s his day too! Get the groom involved and allow him to make decisions and have some say in the planning of this day that is for both of you. ~
Kimberly Bradford
• Have you and your groom write each other a quick note on the event day and have your coordinator exchange the two…it’s a great way to calm your nerves and remember what the day is really all about. ~ Mary Dann
• Establish a ‘reasonable’ budget. ~
Ava Carroll-Brown
• Take your time in choosing your vendors. See at least three vendors in each category, starting with your highest priority, so that you can make the best selection for your style and budget.
~ Erin Bacon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Real Wedding- Sarah & Nick


I saw Sarah's wedding photos from The Brides Cafe and I immediately asked her to send me couple images from her wedding to share with our readers. Sarah is the owner of Truly Smitten, a couture wedding paper company and her wedding was truly beautiful and full of little details. Do check out Sarah's blog!
Another excellent example of using yellow, white & black! Well done Sarah!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's inside of Esther's Emergency Kit??

As I'm swamped preparing for this weekend's & next week's weddings, I purchased a new emergency kit and I have no reservations in sharing what's in my box of tricks. If you're a bride, you probably won't need all of these items, so I listed them out separately. There's a difference between Bride's EK with wedding planner's EK and I promise you these items will come very handy.
Bridal EK essentials
Sewing Kit, including safety pins and small scissors
Clear nail polish (helpful for stocking runs)
Nail file
Blotting paper (Clean & Clear- blue one works best)
Brush and comb
Bobbypins and hair elastics
Hand lotion
Earring backs
Baby powder (also useful for getting out last-minute spills on a white dress)
Eye-drops (look for redness reducing)
Acid relief,Antacid, Mints,
Tampons and pads
Headache medicine

Cotton swabs and etc...
Esther's EK essentials Just in case if you're curious :D
including all those items listed above... I also carry
2 pair of scissors
2 lighters (absolutely needed for lighting candles)
Packaging tape, duck tape, double sided tape ( you name it, I need them all)
Glue gun , super glue, rubber cement
Wire clips, wire(different sizes), fishing wire ( to hang paper lanterns)
Push pins, staples, sharpies (different colors)
Straws (for drinking without messing up lipstick)
Tape measure
Extra cell phone charger( Yes!!)
Thank you cards for vendors' & extra envelopes for tips
Extra lables ( just in case if we need to change escort cards)

Lint Remover

By the way,I purchased mine at Target! :) Oh, how I love Target...
Have a wonderful weekend and stay tuned for a beautiful wedding in Napa this Sunday~

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Re-defining the meaning of a perfect wedding

Dear Brides,

Without a doubt, the media’s portrayal of beauty has a significant influence on our definition of beauty. I believe the influence of media’s definition of beauty is directly correlated to weddings as well. The world tells us, "You’re the bride! You can do whatever you want, and spend as much as you want!" Or perhaps some of us don’t even need media to relay that message to us, since it has already been engraved in our minds and hearts; most of us have been dreaming of our “perfect wedding” ever since we were little girls.

However, glancing through bridal magazines, you cannot help but feel that weddings are, and should be, nothing less than an extravagant affair. All the beautiful photos you find in magazines such as Modern Bride, InStyle Weddings, Elegant Bride, and Martha Stewart Weddings can sometimes be a little discouraging if you don't have the budget to go all out. (Let me tell you right off the bat that those extravagant weddings can easily cost up to $100K or more, depending on the venue they work with.) We all start off by browsing through those bridal magazines in order to gain inspirations and ideas for our own weddings, but sometimes that pure intent can transform into comparison or even envy. It seems as if those brides in the photos look so happy wearing their Vera Wang wedding gowns and Jimmy Choo shoes, and all of a sudden your preparations seems shabby and you cannot help but get stressed about your tight budget.

My purpose for this entry is NOT to criticize those women who are fortunate enough to have such grand weddings. Rather, my purpose today is to address the issue of the need to redefine the meaning of a perfect wedding- an issue that has been tugging in my heart for a long time.

As a wedding planner, I have experienced both ends- I’ve worked with brides who have $20K for their wedding budget and brides who are fortunate enough to spend $70-80K. Do I turn down my clients because they have lesser budget? Of course NOT! Do I think brides who spend more money have better weddings? No way! I have coordinated weddings that have touched my heart and left a big impact on each guests’ lives, regardless of how much was spent on flowers or wedding gowns. Of course, spending more money will definitely help your wedding look more beautiful, but it does not necessarily mean that the wedding will be "PERFECT."

There is no doubt that we are all being disillusioned about what a perfect wedding should look like. I myself have been caught busy with preparations for the wedding, and forgetting the real essence of the ceremony through which I was to marry the man I love and respect. Having a “perfect wedding” NEVER guarantees a lasting marriage. I believe that if we examine our hearts deeply, there is a competitive nature within all of us, or in other words, an "I can do it better" mentality than the weddings we have attended previously. If not, we have this “perfect” picture in our head about what will make us a happy bride.

So, what is a perfect wedding then?

My belief is that your wedding is a time in which you should make a statement of heartfelt gratitude to your parents and guests for being there for you. Also, it is a time for you to team up with your fiancée to work together and make decisions together, something you will be doing together for years to come even after the wedding day. I know that many grooms don't care too much about all the small details, but I think it is important to communicate with them and let them get involved as much as they can, allowing them to have a sense of ownership for the wedding.

Three major questions to ask yourself everyday before you start planning your wedding and as the day approaches:
1) What kind of message do I want my guests to take home after our wedding?
2) Am I doing a good job of appreciating my future husband, in-laws, and parents?
3) How can I personalize my wedding to make it more unique?

As long as you remind yourself of these three questions, the look and feel you desire for your “perfect wedding” can easily be achieved in various ways by you and your wedding coordinator. In other words, you do not need to break your bank account in hopes of achieving the perfect wedding! Instead, you should rather try to focus on having a wedding that is truly meaningful,memorable, and fun to you and your loved ones.

To end, I would like to encourage and challenge all the brides out there to remember this simple question, "Who Am I getting married to and what does wedding/marriage mean to me?" After all, a wedding is ultimately a sacred ceremony between you and your husband to-be, surrounded by the people you love most!

Good luck planning your weddings and let's all redefine the meaning of a perfect wedding

Hanna & Ken tie the knot 5/3/08

My dearest Hanna got married last weekend and as I spent the last days with her before the wedding day, I couldn't be happier and more proud of who she has become. Hanna is my first soon won in college that I mentored and I still remember the first bible study we had back in college. I don't think she was really interested in the beginning, but seeing her change so drastically over the years made me realize once again God's grace and mercy. She has also seen my ups and downs, my failures & mistakes, but I'm so thankful that she didn't judge me for my inadequacies and loved me for who I was.
My eyes were teary when she walked down the aisle, just reminiscing about all those times we laughed and cried, years of having bible study with her, and even the difficulties we had in terms of preparing for this wedding(we literally stayed up until 1am at the church).
I truly love her from the bottom of my heart and Ken is so lucky to have such a diligent, faithful, and loving wife as Hanna. Btw, Hanna was such a DIY bride! She made her own garter, flower girl basket, ring boy pillow, save the date card, invitation, program sheet, you name it! I will get those pictures for you later from the photographer but for now, enjoy some sneak peek photos from studio 104. Once again, Congratulations Hanna & Ken!


this is my favorite shot! look at Ken's expression! All photos: courtesy of Jenny Park

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

SoCal, here I come!

Dear Readers,
I haven't updated in a while not because I ran out of things to write, ^^but there were many decisions that my husband and I had to make in terms of our future plans. So, I was very busy traveling to the east coast to going back to LA & with upcoming summer weddings.

Now with full confidence that God will lead our family, we are moving back to LA by end of this month. We still haven't found a place to live and there are so many things going on in May that I'm not too sure if I can handle all the stress..however, I'm excited and nervous to go back down to LA to start a new chapter of our lives. Although moving up to Berkeley was such a hard transition for me, I've grown to love this area and our first home. All the relationships that God has placed in our lives, new opportunities & "relearning" of what the gospel means in my life, I cannot thank God for his perfect provision and sovereignty. Moving down to Socal will also mean that I will be accepting more weddings upcoming fall & next year. So all you So Cal brides, Esther will be on your way to help you ease your wedding day! :D

Hanbok Trends

I wrote a post on fusion hanbok previously and it's time to look at more hanboks! One of our KCCC staff in NY, Young Hae is getting married in August and when I saw her hanbok pictures, I couldn't resist but to post up these amazing photos taken at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens! These look like Korean drama posters!!
photo credit: Wayne Yuan
I love this shot! Cherry blossom tree as the background for this shot is just perfect! Isn't Young Hae such a pretty bride?
Do you see her little hair clip? that is just way too cute!!
collage 2
Check out Britney Spears and Paris Hilton wearing Hanbok(I'm not too sure with this look, a fusion hanbok that has gone a little too far..)

Wedding hair styles

Having a bad hair day can definitely ruin your mood on your wedding day and sometimes all the pictures you scrap for different hair styles might not match with what you're going for. Those models you see on bridal magazines that have crazy hair and may look sexy & chic but dealing with Asian hair can be a totally different story. So today, I have collected couple images for all you Asian brides out there who are dreaming of having a perfect hair day, whether is an up do, half hair up, or long curly hair, make sure you choose a style that will match your dress and your facial shape~

collage 1collage
Sarah K. Chen is a wedding photographer based in OC and she looked stunning when she got married! I love the simplicity of her hair, very clean & classic
Photo Credit: Jose Villa

Photo Credit: Jose Villa

Photo Credit: Sarah K Chen You must check out her blog! Her work is amazing! I love this look but I don't remember where I got this photo from

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wedding Graffiti

"Wonderful Graffiti" is a company that makes graffiti art for your wedding and other various interior typography. The entire design comes on a very thin sheet of vinyl transfer which can be applied to any smooth surface and gives the appearance of being printed right on (and then comes right off when you are ready to remove it) I think it is such a unique & stylish idea! Don't you think?