Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Love Actually....

After the dance floor closes and the last tips are paid to the vendors, I finally get a chance to breathe and think about all the things that happened throughout the day. A LOT of thoughts, emotions, and feelings flood my mind as I drive home. Feelings of relief while feeling exhausted from a day of running around and yet a complete sense of satisfaction.

Lately, I’ve been interacting with a lot of parents of the bride and groom. During our meetings I get to hear about their family background and history. As I meet with them, I’ve come to the conclusion that all parents, seriously, ALL parents want what is best for their children. However, I noticed that the way people/families show and express their love is often misinterpreted.

Motherhood is constantly teaching me valuable lessons. I think I can now get a glimpse of how each parent might feel as they watch their child tie the knot. I’m beginning to see things from a new perspective. In the past when it came to planning weddings, I was always preoccupied with flowers, stationary, timelines, linens, tables, favors, vendors, and etc.

But now, I’ve been noticing mothers quietly sobbing as their daughters/sons exchange their vows..

Fathers proudly looking at his child and thinking about all their child’s accomplishments in life.


I see LOVE..


but also see disappointments and pain.

Behind the laughter, I can also see the tears, heartaches, doubts and regrets.

Oftentimes their facial expressions, the emotions and feelings I observe are ones that I can somehow relate to and understand.

There is no such thing as a perfect family, but that is what makes life more challenging, unique and beautiful.

Life/Family is not always as we dreamed it would be. Just because you are getting married and starting a new family does not necessarily mean you are starting on a clean slate. Yes it is a new chapter, but when two families come together, oftentimes it comes with baggage and family issues that need to be dealt with.

One thing is becoming clearer to me, life is complex, but LOVE seems to simplify all things.


And at the end of the day, I realize once again how precious life is.

This entry is dedicated to Jaclyn and Oren who just tied the knot this past weekend; who declared their love to each other in from of all the people who love and cherish them. Let’s LOVE, even the non-rsvp guests who showed up randomly too! I love you, Jaclyn & Oren!


On a sidenote: Our poor little guy got sick for the first time. It wasn’t easy watching him cough all night. He was cranky for a couple of days and has become more clingy. At one point, I lost my patience and yelled at him to stop crying. I don’t know what came over me, but I guess I’m not used to having someone who needs me constantly. I still regret raising my voice and promised myself that I would never raise my voice again. But, even while I’m typing this I know that I will most likely repeat the same mistake over and over. I have to remind myself that I am just as weak and fragile as my son is. I realized that I need to treasure these moments that I have, because they will never come back again.. love you, Grant!

- mommy is a bit emotional today...

Photo credits: Leigh Miller, Varland Photography, Sarah K. Chen, Jennifer Skog, Michael Norwood

Friday, September 18, 2009

NS & Jung tie the knot!

Yay! The pictures are finally out! Wish I could share some of the shots of Namsil & Jung, but they didn't want their photos to be shared to the public so I'll just share the detailed images.
Here's the overview of the ceremony set up. Simple ivory chiffon drape with orange circle petals in the front for intimacy. At the end of the wooden benches are plates of white rose petals to be thrown during the recessional.
Love it!
Jung’s nephew, Maxim and niece, Jianna! They're half Italian & half Korean and they seriously should do cover ads for Gap! Maxim wore Chucks instead of traditional dress shoes. LOVE IT!
Here's the picture of our entire set up of the sign in table. The items found during the Great Finds are used in this wedding!
We took Polaroid pictures of the guests as they walk in, and hung them along the table with the extra programs.
My creation
After searching for the right vintage typewriter for about a month, I finally found a seller from Craigslist in my area. We also had the guests write a message to the bride and groom using a customized chalkboard (the black frame we purchased from IKEA. The guest took Polaroid pictures while holding the frame.
My creation
The bride's bouquet and the grooms boutonniere.
The escort card table: was made up of a variety of props from old fashion soda pop to a handmade vintage suitcase.
The dessert bar was a hit that night. I had to keep an eye on it so the children and guests didn’t skip dinner and go straight to dessert. The dessert bar was made up of macaroons, biscotti, meringues, personalized cookies, chocolate chip cookies, mini cupcakes, dark chocolate pieces. Kaylas Kakes did an amazing job incorporating props that complimented the theme of the wedding. All props seen in the picture were purchased from Pottery Barn, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx.
Kayla and I went to World Market and found this rustic shelf with drawers. This was such a good idea, utilizing the drawers as a place to put the macaroons and other desserts.
Kayla went the an extra mile with the dessert bar- she made a special treat for the kids who came to the wedding. Kettle corn and a personalized lollipop were waiting to be devoured by the kids. The kids were so excited!
My creation
The close up shot. I love how she carefully placed these moss balls and used them to keep the dessert tags in place.
My creation
My creation
The napkins were purchased from For Your Party.com (150 for $45) and the chalkboard frame stand that was placed on the bar was from one of the craiglists sellers.
My creation
“All Because Two People Fell In Love…” was the perfect phrase that described the evening. We incorporate it into a lot of the wedding details. I asked Jason from Cloud 9 to come up with a screenshot that we could display throughout the wedding, and he came up with an image that complimented the Marvimon space perfectly!
MIKE ISBERTO! If you are looking for a person to sing indie, soul, folk songs at your wedding I highly recommend you visit his Myspace, you can listen to all his songs there. I randomly discovered Mike when I went to Brea’s farmers market with my hubby and Grant about a month ago and had no idea how popular he was! We had him sing his original songs during cocktail hour. I love his voice and stage presence when he sings. Thanks Mike for making creating an personal and intimate atmosphere!
A peek at the reception set-up

My creation
We transformed the ceremony area into a lounge area for the guests to enjoy throughout the reception. Marvimon and Elm Concierge brought out their couches, cocktail tables and chairs for the guests to enjoy the light summer breeze at night. The weather was perfect!
My creation
Tacos for midnight snack! This was probably the guys' favorite part of the wedding and one of the highlights of the reception. While dancing the night away, guests enjoyed freshly grilled marinated chicken, beef, and pork tacos. Call Mobile Tacos if you ever want to serve tacos at your parties, weddings, corporate events, their tacos are legit! YUM! I personally think they are way better than KingTacoor El Taurino in LA. 2263_IMG_0990

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Q & A Church Receptions

After reading the e-mail that Joyce sent me about her concerns about her upcoming church wedding I thought a lot of brides out there are concerned about the same things. Yes accommodating 300 guests on a tight budget is hard, but it does not mean you can’t be creative. Don’t let your space discourage you, in the end your guests are there to bless your marriage, not to check and tally up how you spent on your wedding right?
My name is Joyce and boy am I glad to have found you!
Firstly, thank you for your dedication. I am learning so much!
I do have a burning desire to get your advice on church weddings. If you don't mind, can I ask you for your opinion?
I will be having my wedding at my church fellowship hall. Not my dream wedding but because of the amount of people and our budget, its pretty much our only choice. Needless to say, I still battle with the choice being that it's far from what I ever dreamed of for my wedding.

Here are the problems:
There is this horrid carpet (orange). Its a gym. Luckily it's a big enough space to host 300 people.
We are planning on covering the walls with some sort of organza draping and accentuate it with lighting. This idea in itself will cost us an arm and leg. We would love to cover the orange carpet with some sort of flooring but covering the entire space will cost $$.
Basically we're going to spend mucho amount of money to transform the space from something other than a typical church gym. I do not want a typical church reception.

So my question is.... considering the budget roughly 25K with 300 people. How much of our budget for transforming the gym be too much?
I really really really am struggling with having a church reception... as much as I can, I want to transform that space so it doesnt feel like one. I just don't know how much is too much.. or if its even worth it.
I'm trying to find the balance between nice wedding and church wedding....
Please, can you blog more about church receptions??
Thank you thank you thank you....!!!

Savvy but confused,


To all the brides and to be brides who are planning a church reception, it’s not as bad as you think it is. I wanted to take some time and touch upon some concerns and hesitations people have when planning a church wedding and reception.

The carpet, yes, it may be an ugly orange or have a hideous pattern that doesn’t match your color scheme; but don’t worry when all of your tables and chairs are set up no one will notice the carpet. To accommodate a large church wedding guest list of 300 people you are going to need at least 28-30 tables, 1 large bridal party table or a sweet heart table, and about 8-10 6ft tables for the buffet line (assuming you are going to have a buffet). These table alone will fill the entire fellowship hall, no one will even notice the color of the carpet. Trust me.

However, here are some options that you may want to consider when you are thinking about “transforming” your church’s fellowship hall/gym into your reception site.

1. Linens- I think linens make a world of a difference in setting the tone and ambiance at your reception site. Satin linens will probably be the most cost efficient, they can run anywhere from $15- $20 (depending on your local rental company). You can accent the colors of your table linens with satin napkins as well. Napkins are about $.60 to $1.00 per napkin. For example, if you are having a deep purple and silver wedding, I would recommend using an eggplant table linen with silver/champagne/grey napkins.

2. Chairs- It is rare that a church can provide enough samsonite chairs for all of you guests; and renting chair covers with organza ribbons can look a little tacky too, so here are a couple suggestions. I would contact your local rental company and ask them for their rate on chairs. Chavari chairs can be costly(**UPDATE: they're now $5 dollars!!), so I would suggest renting white folding chairs (most of the time they will come in natural wood, black, or brown. They can cost about $2-$2.50 per chair.

3. Lighting- Uplights around the wall (of course, the color of your choice) and pin spot lighting to highlight the centerpieces on your tables can make a big difference. Lighting will also help create an atmosphere that will move away from your typical church wedding reception.

4. Design (GOBO) projection- This is basically a filter that is put in a light structure to make an image or shape. You have the option of personalizing these images and/or you can cover the wall OR ceiling with a pattern.

If you add lighting to your reception, it will definitely help create an ambiance for your guests to enjoy. I do think lighting is a better option than going crazy with flowers. But lighting alone can add $1K-$2K depending on how elaborate you want. I would get an estimate from a local vendor and see how much they would charge you first. Lighting isn’t the cheapest alternate.

One helpful tip, when you are looking around for vendors, look for a rental company that is capable of covering everything! From linens, chairs, to lighting, this way you can avoid being charged twice for set up and delivery fee.

Now with that said, how much is too much?

On average you should expect to spend about 10-15% of your overall wedding budget on the flowers. This will include the bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, and any ceremony and reception decor. While this is a good estimate, you can always DIY your own centerpieces and be creative. If you were to throw in lighting & linens, this will add another 10% of your total budget so make sure you sit down and calculate the total cost before you start looking for vendors.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sneak Preview- NS & Jung

From the moment the bride and groom signed the contract with Marvimon two months ago I had to stepped up my “A” game. Full wedding design in two months!?!?

The past two months were like an adventure yet incredibly stressful managing all the other upcoming weddings while trying to design for this wedding. Most of the time was spent searching for props to fit the rustic, vintage (with a modern twist), and succulent inspired wedding. After countless visits to etsy sellers, craigslist, Home Goods, T.J Maxx, Pier One, etc. we packed up my car and headed to Marvimon. I was given the opportunity to collaborate with some of my favorite vendors (I will reveal them SOON), everything was so beautiful! This wedding can be described as labor of love, and now that it is over a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I can breathe a little easier. But seriously, September 5th was the BEST wedding I've had up to now. The night was flawless, simply P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

I received so many compliments throughout the night, however; I cannot take all the credit. OK.. I'll take a little ! :) I’ll post up the wedding detailed photos when I get the professional shots from the photographer, but I HAD to share these images that were taken by the talented, generous, and super creative florist, Kristine. She acted as my fairy God mother who saved my butt throughout the planning process. Not only her, but all the vendors KICKED ASS!! This wedding was worth pulling my hair out and spending countless hours of researching but it was totally worth it! Here is a sneak preview of some of the things we put together for the wedding. I promise to share more pictures once I get more images. There's gonna be tons of eye candy images!!!


This dessert bar alone deserves one full page of my blog entry. I'll share them with you later but a huge shout out to my favorite unni, Kayla for going all out! Thank you, Thank you!
My creation
Make sure to check back in few weeks!
Another exciting cultural wedding stored up for me in two weeks- Philippino, Japanese & Korean infused wedding! I know... I'm so lucky to be experiencing so many different cultural weddings that I LOVE it!