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A Woodside Wedding: What Went Wrong

  • September 1, 2010 at 11:32 pm

You already heard about the panic of getting everyone on the boat ride the Thursday before our wedding, my mini freak out with not being able to start setting up for the rehearsal dinner on time, and how my dress got dirty before the ceremony, but before I begin the actual wedding day recaps, let’s talk about what went awry on our big day, so the rest of my recaps can focus on the things that went right! No wedding goes 100% perfectly, ours included, no matter what we all see on TV or read about on blogs.

What went wrong: Running about 20 minutes late all day, starting with 2 of our 3 our hair and makeup artists showing up late, and made worse by our limo driver taking a wrong turn up the mountain on the way to our venue (he quickly figured it out, but turning around on a narrow and curvy mountain road wasn’t quick or easy, especially with one of our photogs following in his own car).

Plus, we’d sent 2 groomsmen up early with the U-Haul truck full of all the decorations, to arrive at our venue about a half hour before we could actually start setting up, so the truck could be unloaded and décor ready for the second we were allowed on site. But there was a wreck on the curvy road (which I heard about from a bridesmaid, who heard from a groomsman, who heard from another groomsman who was in the U-Haul), delaying them about 20-25 minutes as well. Luckily we found out about the wreck just before all the rest of the wedding party was about to head up to the venue and Mr. C and I were leaving for our first look, so I was able to tell them to take an alternate route (which I, of course, already had pre-printed out maps for).

My thoughts/the fix: I was worried, but resigned to the fact that when we got to the venue at 4:20 (we were supposed to be there at 4:00) things wouldn’t be quite set up, and we would have to start the ceremony later than my goal of 5:04pm (starting late was one of my #1 things I didn’t want to do; I hate making people wait, and all the guests would obviously assume it was because the I wasn’t ready), but when we got there things were mostly in place, and everything looked great! After the rush to get my dress clean, our DOC got us all lined up, with it showing exactly 5:03 PM on her iPhone. I could have hugged her right then and there if I hadn’t been asking the bartender for a last minute glass of water. It was so freakin’ hot in that tiny bridal room with everyone in there cleaning my dress, and I was parched!

Note to future brides: You might run late on your wedding day, but it’s OK. They won’t start anything without you, so just go with the flow and remain calm. If you spend too much time stressing about the timeline, that means you’re not spending time savoring and enjoying every moment of your wedding day, which is way more important than everything else!

What went wrong: My dress getting dirty during our first look (which I already went over in this post)

My thoughts/the fix: Fixed by having an emergency cleaning kit on hand.

Note to future brides: If you haven’t already, go back and read the post I wrote on my emergency kit, and then add it to your own list. It’s a must, and so much better to be prepared!

What went wrong: One of the bridesmaid purse bouquet straps broke about 2 minutes before the ceremony started, spilling water and pearl beads everywhere

My thoughts/the fix: This was fixed by our DOC taking charge right away, saying it was OK, she would clean it up, and everyone would just carry the purses cradled in one arm! The show must go on, and although the purses hanging from a pearl strap would have been cuter, I bet not a single person noticed the difference.

Note to future brides: Even with a crazy-long contingency plan list, there is always going to be something you didn’t think of that can go wrong. But again, it’s OK, little mishaps aren’t the end of the world, and actually, I think they make the day more memorable, and give you something to laugh about later.

What went wrong: The bathroom basket that I’d provided for the men’s restroom was too big. I never actually looked in the men’s room while planning, just assumed it would have a little table in the corner like the women’s restroom did. But when we were unpacking the U-Haul on the Sunday after the wedding, I found the guys’ basket supplies in another, smaller basket, with my cute little sign on it.

My thoughts/the fix: I actually have no idea where this smaller basket came from (Does it belong to our venue? Our DOC? Does anyone want to claim it?), but no doubt this oversight on my part was quickly corrected by our DOC.

Note to future brides: If you’re planning any décor for the bathrooms, be sure to look in the guys’ bathroom, in case it has a different layout than the women’s.

What went wrong: One of the large centerpiece vases broke in transit to the venue.

My thoughts/the fix:Thank goodness we had extra vases!

Note to future brides: Have at least one backup of anything that’s breakable.

What went wrong: Family pictures took way. too. long. Like, to the point where we were ready to just walk away, head to the bar, and just forget them all! Thank goodness that we’d done our first look before the ceremony, or we would have been screwed, because as it was we only had time for just a few pictures of Mr. Cola and me alone after the ceremony at our venue. And sadly, we only got to try 1 appetizer from our cocktail hour (we both tried one of the bite-sized crab cakes, and only got to because a waiter actually walked his tray across the meadow to where we were taking pictures) and 2 sips of a drink (because my friends brought us them towards the end). We never actually got to try anything from our giant cheese table, or see any of the cocktail hour up close. :(

My thoughts/the fix: A way this could have been fixed would have been for me to take charge. But I’d told my mother well in advance that if she wanted certain pictures, she was in charge of getting everyone together; neither I nor our photographers were going to be in charge of that. Well, it took FOREVER, I have no idea why. Mr. Cola’s family was easy, they all got in place, called me over, and a few minutes later, we were done! My family…not so much. Yes, my family is bigger than his, and there were some slow-moving handicapped members, but it was done in an extremely inefficient manner. We even had to interrupt dinner to go pose again with them.

Note to future brides: My advice is, if your parents want specific pictures with specific people, make sure THEY take charge, and have them tell the family in advance that they’re expected to be in pictures immediately after the ceremony. ‘Cause once people see the food and drinks, they’re outta there, and getting them back for pictures is a huge time suck.

You can see my impatient face in this guest photo….I’m all by myself waiting for people to get their act together so I can just take a dang picture with them!

A Woodside Wedding: What Went Wrong :  wedding mountain view pictures recap Recepti01

What went wrong: The music playlists got out of order. You know, the playlists that I’d spent countless hours perfecting and downloading, and then about 4 hours re-arranging into the perfect order for the best transitions and mood throughout the night? And then spent ANOTHER 4 hours re-arranging again in a different program, when I found out my first program didn’t retain the custom song ordering? Yeah. Additionally, the venue kept making our DJ friend turn the sound down, even though it was very quiet. Our venue, The Mountain Terrace, doesn’t allow amplified music outside, but never specified any restrictions inside (in fact, we were specifically told when signing our contract that it would be fine to have the music loud enough to trickle outside), so I was quite annoyed by this, but will save the details for when I do my vendor reviews.

My thoughts/the fix: The playlist getting out of order really wasn’t a very big deal, I’m only listing it here because it’s something that went wrong that I noticed. And I didn’t even notice if the cocktail hour or dinner playlists were out of order (probably because I could hardly hear the music), and our first dance song came on when it was supposed to, which was all that really mattered. I’m guessing the last playlist with all the dance music just got put on shuffle mode, because a song or two after our first dance, when we were standing by the bar talking to friends, Ignition by R. Kelly came on. This is “our” song, because it was the first song we ever danced to back when we were first dating. I’d originally planned the playlist out so that Ignition would play at about 9:20pm, and would be our cue that we were a few minutes away from sneaking out of the reception at 9:30, to go set up for the after party. But no worries, our DOC came to the rescue again, and gave us our cue that it was almost time to leave. Plus, a lot of our guests (including both of us) aren’t really much into dancing, so the song order/transitions didn’t matter, and nobody even noticed, I’m sure.

Note to future brides: To iPod/laptop DJ brides, if something gets messed up, just go with the flow. Nobody else will notice. But DO have backups if something really goes wrong. We didn’t need it, but had our MP3 player on hand in case the laptop died, or would have sacrificed the other laptop running the fauxtobooth if needed.

What went wrong: For some reason, our venue only provided 1 bartender. For 91 people! All along we had worked with our venue to provide the best party for our ~100 person guest list, and 2 bartenders were on our paperwork. I’m not sure if maybe they dropped one because our final guest count was a little less than 100?

My thoughts/the fix: I think if they intentionally only scheduled one bartender for this many people, we should have been informed, and been given a decision, because we would have definitely paid for one more!  All in all, I only have a few complaints about our venue, this being one of them, but I will be doing full Wedding Wire vendor reviews at some point with all the details, so I’ll leave it at this for now.

What went wrong: A couple of guests showed up late and missed part or all of the ceremony.

My thoughts/the fix: My thought is “whatever, their loss!” I gave everyone ample notice about the time it took to drive to the venue and the 5PM sharp ceremony start time, on both the invitations and our website.

What went wrong: At dinner, everyone got champagne poured at their table for the toasts.

My thoughts/the fix: Now, this isn’t really something that went wrong, it was much appreciated actually! However, the venue usually charges $2 per person for a champagne toast, so we’d decided just to let everyone drink whatever they were already drinking to not add another $200 to our bill. But the table-side champagne service happened anyway, not according to plan, so score!

All in all, these are the bigger things I can think of that didn’t go according to plan on our wedding day, although there were a few little things that I didn’t mention because they were so small that only my anal self noticed (like the entire ceremony wasn’t exactly lined up at the same precise angle as the wood box and plant behind the arbor, so everything wasn’t quite as turned to the bay view through the trees as I would have liked).

A Woodside Wedding: What Went Wrong :  wedding mountain view pictures recap P61203201  (guest photo)

I’m sure there were more big things that went wrong—maybe a lot more, but if I didn’t notice them, I’m not going to care! And all of these things were really more minor annoyances than huge catastrophes, and none of them really got me down (except the wasted time during the cocktail hour).

Amazing, isn’t it? A crazy, type-A, planner to the max was able to let things go, and lived to tell the tale! Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can. Enjoying your big day is way more important (and fun!) than agonizing over the little disruptions.

Now, lets start the big day off with getting ready in our hotel suite, up next!

Miss any wedding week details? Catch up here:

(All pictures in this post are personal photos, taken by our wedding guests)

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

To Favor or Not to Favor…

  • August 31, 2010 at 11:39 pm

I have been going back and forth on the idea of a wedding favor. The way I see it is that we are not having a traditional wedding, so why should we follow all the traditions of a wedding?


  • They are can be so cute


  • How will I get them there along with everything else?
  • What would we have as a favor?
  • Who would actually like/use them?
  • Is this even in our tiny budget?

I would be really, really upset if I spent all that money to pick them, purchase them, and get them there, only for no one to even notice them or use them. I would probably cry. True story.

I have seen some really cute favors, but none that really fit our theme. Every time I type in “destination wedding favor” things like luggage tags, and little candies come up—nothing really strikes my fancy. I was thinking of buying Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee in bulk and putting a few ounces in little monogrammed bags, but that turned out to be way out of my budget, and not everyone we know drinks coffee.

To Favor or Not to Favor... :  wedding favors jamaica Ground Ground_

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

Then I was thinking of getting Jamaica’s national flower seeds and putting them in little packets for everyone to plant when they return home, but the northeast coast weather is extremely unpredictable, and the flowers will not grow at all here.

To Favor or Not to Favor... :  wedding favors jamaica Jamaica jamaica

National flower

I was also thinking of getting sugar cane and putting it in a little bottle (we are getting married on an old sugar plantation), but what would our guests even do with that?

To Favor or Not to Favor... :  wedding favors jamaica Message message


I really cant come up with anything unique or exciting enough. So, for now I am going to put this on the back burner. If we don’t come up with anything, then I am not going to worry about it.

Every guest will be receiving an OOT bag in their hotel room with lots of goodies, which in many senses can count as a good and useful favor that will be delivered before the wedding.

Destination wedding brides, did you manage to give out favors on your wedding day? Can you think of any destination wedding favors that are useful and unique?

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar…

  • August 11, 2010 at 12:24 am

Miss Lobster here!

A couple weekends ago my bridesmaids threw me a bridal shower. It was on the exact anniversary of Mr. Lobster’s and my engagement. So while I was being showered with gifts and treats, Mr. Lobster was living it up Austin for his bachelor party shenanigans. Hm, it was quite different than the day he proposed. There were so many lovely details, I’ll let the party planners (my sisters / Maids of Honor) do the talking:


My sister and I planned Lobster’s bridal shower on the anniversary of their engagement. While it just happened that way, I took it as a sign from the bridal shower fairies. :)

We wanted the bridal shower to be P-E-R-F-E-C-T, but with a bit of a late start, we needed to catch up fast. Lobster had sent us a link from Amy Adams for inspiration for a shower theme – love birds peppered with red and pink polka dots. It was lovely.

Lobster’s friend, 4fifteen (who also did her save-the-date and wedding suite), did another amazing job designing the bridal shower invitations to fit our lovebird theme. We incorporated his design throughout the bridal shower, which really tied everything together. We couldn’t have been more grateful for his help!

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 17 1

Pass me the scissors!

We got our decoration materials from four places: Paper Source, Michaels, Wal-Mart, and Jo-Ann Fabrics. Paper Source has these great red circles and scalloped ovals which were perfect for making the banners. They also have Microsoft Word templates so it’s easy to print on the adhesive labels.

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 22 2

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 32 3

All pics by bridesmaid S unless otherwise noted

We also used these cute flower kits with colors that perfectly matched our theme.

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn Amybridalshower 5 AmyBridalShower-5

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 52 5

Michaels was a great place to find polka dotted ribbon, which we used throughout the party (remember to bring your Michaels coupon!). We used these to decorate the photo ribbons.

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 62

Last but not least, the Jo-Ann Fabrics was by far a GREAT source for materials. They had the cutest scrapbook paper, favor boxes, and various crafty materials for reasonable prices.

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 71 7 also served as a source as a creative source of inspiration. We used both her DIY paper flowers for the favors, and these paper flowers to decorate the room. Martha always makes it look so pretty.

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 91 9

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 101 10

Let the games begin!

One of the bridesmaids has a lot of experience organizing bridal showers and she recommended two games. In the first game “scrapbooking for lobsters”, we divided the guests into teams to design scrapbook pages and then Lobster chose her favorite. Each team had scrapbook paper, ribbon, scissors, and tape from a large Martha Stewart scrapbooking kit. The groups developed some very pretty and touching scrapbook pages:

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 111 11

The second game was “how well do the lobsters know each other”, where we wrote 10 trivia questions about the bride to compare to recorded responses from Mr. Lobster. First the guests jotted down their answers then we watched Mr. Lobster’s response on TV and Lobster would answer the opposite of what he said (haha). This game was so much fun because everyone got to learn a little more about the bride and we all got to see the Mr. Lobster during the bridal shower (when in reality he was floating on a pontoon in Austin for his bachelor party).

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 121 12

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 131 13

Chow down!

By far, the hardest part about organizing the shower was the menu. We didn’t have a good grasp on how much food to serve so we used former shower menus from the other bridesmaids as our guide. There was more than enough food leftover so I’m sure we could have cut out a few more items. For 20 guests we had:

  • 1 salsa dip and chips
  • 1 platter of cheese and crackers,
  • 3-4 mains (various Asian noodles and other good eats)
  • 1 large Cosi salad
  • 2 other finger foods
  • alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • LOTS of desserts: cupcakes, chocolate strawberries, Chinese pastries, and a colorful and juicy fruit platter.

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 141 14

just a sampling of the eats (pic by guest M)

After weeks of many runs to the craft store, a zillion emails, and innumerable late nights, the shower day finally came. Things came together in the very VERY last minute, but Lobster and our guests couldn’t have been more appreciative of all the work the bridesmaids put into the shower. Here are a few more snippets from the bridal shower. Enjoy!

More details (pics by bridesmaids S & J)

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 151 15

Clockwise from Top Left: choco cupcakes, homemade choco strawberries, berry-infused water, favors and poofs, gifts, Paper Source signs, photo ribbons, gifts signs, center: handmade felt owls by MOH J

More importantly, the peeps:

Two Lovebirds Walk Into A Bar... :  wedding bridal shower brooklyn 161 16

Friends & Family – center pic Mom, Lobster, Sisters

Where did you find your bridal shower inspiration? Did you go online for DIY help?

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

Swan Tips Revisited

  • August 3, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Hey, all!

Mrs. Swan here! Remember me? I dipped out for a bit, but I just wanted to begin to bring some full closure on my time on Weddingbee. Can you believe that Sunday will be my 1st Anniversary? I can’t!

I know that a reader or two had asked about a post with my Swan Tips for the day of your wedding all in one place. I thought I would just lay them out here. I’ve linked them to the related recap post just in case you are wondering what the heck I’m talkin’ about. Also just in case you’ve forgotten what my wedding looks like (or have never read any of my posts), I’ve interspersed some of my favorite pictures from the recaps throughout the tips.

So here are my Swan Tips just in case you might want them:

Swan Tip #1 - If you can steal a few moments for yourself (or with others who have a calming effect on you) to have some quiet time to read, reflect, do some yoga, deep breathing, or whatever relaxes you, definitely do it!

Swan Tip #2 – Sometimes choosing a vendor shouldn’t come down solely to cost. I valued not only being able share a good working relationship with vendors/wedding elves that I hired, but also being able to work with people that I truly liked. Plus, if you’re going to be around someone that’s not family or friends on your wedding day, why not have someone you think is pretty cool too?

Swan Tip #3

a) Don’t be afraid to accept help on your wedding day (and not just to get ready), even if you think you can do it by yourself. Allow yourself to be helped and even pampered a bit. You don’t get married everyday (at least I hope you don’t:)).

b) – Know when to step in and take charge if you need to, but also remember Swan Tip #3a.

Swan Tip #4 – As if you have enough things to think about as you’re getting married, I’d like you to consider the environment that you want for getting ready prior to the wedding. For some of you, it will mean having a large wedding party with lots of family around you. For others, it will mean just a small select group of people that will be by your side. I encourage everyone to figure out what will be best for them because that preparation period really can be fun and special.

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 0073011

Swan Tip #5 – I know it’s generally a point of debate in the wedding world, but I am an advocate of the pre-ceremony look. We still had a very emotional ceremony even though we saw each other beforehand. We spent a lot of time with our guests, and so having the time together to greet each other, to hold each others’ hands and to walk together was priceless.

Swan Tip #6 – Our wedding photo shoot was fun. While I agree it’s important to have pictures of the two of you, your bridal party, etc., just make sure that you use your time wisely with your photographer as well as make sure that you stick to a timeline to keep the events of the day moving.

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 1001

Swan Tip #7 – Everything is not going to go smoothly on your wedding day. If you have to break down, it’s okay. When that starts, just listen to Mrs. Swan’s voice in your head, “There’s no wallowing at weddings!” (There’s no crying in baseball either, just in case you were wondering.) :)

Swan Tip #8 – There will be traditions that actually might end up a part of your ceremony and reception that you’re not going to like. Know when to push back and when to let go.

Swan Tip #9 – Everybody loves a wedding. There are going to be people you don’t expect who will love yours too.

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 501

Swan Tip #10 – For me, the ceremony is really the meaning of it all. Without the bond between you and your partner, there really is no wedding. Pick readings that fit well with the tone of your ceremony and what you want your marriage (and maybe your life) to embody. For some of you it may be a religious text. For others of you it may be cool passages like Mrs. Mouse’s Alice Walker poem or Mrs. Star’s excerpt from Madeleine L’Engel’s work. Words have meaning and power. I hope your ceremony will reflect your future hopes for your marriage.

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 1101

Swan Tip #11 – This is most definitely a personal choice, but I really love the fact that Mr. Swan and I were able to write vows to each other in addition to traditional vows. Even if you can’t include this in your ceremony, I think it’s great to be able to share how you feel about each other in your own words at some point in the day.

Swan Tip #12Another one of the most highly debated wedding issues: cocktail hour attendance. Attending was a great option for us. We got to spend even more time with our guests, enjoy the beautiful weather we were having that day, and eat. Who doesn’t like eating? :) If you can find a way to attend even a small part of the cocktail hour, I highly recommend it.

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 601

Swan Tip #13 – While you might want everything to turn out a certain way during your wedding, be open to the fun surprises that may be in store.

Swan Tip #13 – More Mrs. Swan Tough Love: Definitely include personal details if you’d like to, but if you’re tearing your hair out about them, they’re just not worth it.

(That’s not a typo above, by the way. The numbering gets fuzzy now because: (1) I’m getting old and senile and screwed it up during my recaps, and (2) I can’t count. Carry on….)

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 0457

Swan Tip #15 – Be prepared for your emotions to hit you when you least expect it.

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Swan Tip #16 – Be careful if you give a toast at someone’s wedding. It might come back to haunt you! :)

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 0583

Swan Tip #17 – Savor the unplanned and spontaneous moments of the wedding!

Swan Tip #18 – If you’re sourpuss, then everyone else will be a sourpuss. The focus, whether you want it to or not, will be on you that day, and YOU will set the tone of your reception. Get out there and enjoy yourself! Your guests will follow suit.

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 1002

Swan Tip #19 – Think about how your reception will be experienced from your guests’ perspective.

Swan Tip #20 – You know, there never was a Swan Tip # 20, so I’ll just say this: Regardless of what goes wrong, the people who don’t show up or the ones that act like a dang fool on your wedding day, you’re going to get something out of the wedding that you’ll have for a very long time: someone who loves you just as much you love them. There are no tips that I could ever give you that will prepare you for what that truly feels like. Seriously, it’s the greatness thing ever.

Swan Tips Revisited :  wedding emotional nyc pro pics 602

All Images by Dante Williams

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

Pre-wedding “Pampering” or Waxing Before Your Wedding

  • June 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm

For Christmas, Mr. Snow gave me a gift certificate to a local spa. Being the thrifty person, I decided to save it for “pre-wedding pampering” (at least, that’s what Martha Stewart told me to call it in her suggested budget). I imagined an Aveda facial, Caribbean pedicure, or deep tissue massage a few days before the wedding. Ahhhh….

Yeah. That didn’t happen.

While my “pampering” took place in a serene room like this:


The treatment itself was anything but serene.

Yes, fellow pampering comrades, three days before the wedding, I “pampered” myself with my first leg+bikini+arm wax.

And I (barely) lived to tell the tale.

No, no. I’m making it sound so horrific for dramatic blogging effect. Honestly, while no Caribbean pedicure, it wasn’t *that* bad.

I will also say that I’m not a total waxing novice. I have had facial and bikini waxes before. I’d always been intrigued by the idea of not having to shave for weeks and even attempted it at home in ninth grade to disastrous results.

I decided the wedding was a good enough excuse to torture pamper myself with the full waxing adventure (minus the excursion to Brazil… I’m brave, but not that brave!).

Now, I’m too much of weenie blogger to ask to take pictures during a waxing appointment (creeeeepy…), but I can tell you all what I learned and offer some information and tips if you too decide to wax yourself into oblivion a few days before your wedding.

1. You have to grow out your hair for AT LEAST three weeks. Longer if you can stand it. Not such a big deal for arms or areas generally covered by clothing, but, because I’m regular leg-shaver, this was a challenge for me (especially when, while attending a BBQ a few days before the waxing appointment, a friend’s one-year-old niece hovered around my legs most of the night, petting my downy leg fuzz… kids keep you honest!).

2. The appointment takes about an hour. Yep. Mentally prepare yourself for having hair stripped from your body for. an. hour.

3. It hurts. But not as bad as you anticipate. The only place that brought tears to my eyes/made me have to stop chatting with my esthetician was the lower half of the calf. Honestly, by the end of the appointment, my endorphins were in such overdrive, I hardly even feel any of it (which is why I can say that arm waxing was the easiest… it came at the end)

4. It isn’t cheap, but it isn’t unreasonable either. I paid around 100 dollars at a very chichi salon for everything.

5. Wear something that covers the waxed area if you’re going anywhere other than home after the appointment. You will look a little like you’ve broken out in the pox for a few hours after the appointment. I forgot this important detail and had to walk around a rather busy section of downtown looking afflicted.

6. Everyone says to take a couple of ibuprofen prior to the appointment, but I didn’t (b/c I forgot). I was fine, but I can’t see it hurting anything.

7. Go to a nice place for your waxing appointment. Not only do you get to have hair ripped from your body while you lounge on a comfy spa bed and serene music plays, but you see the difference in hygiene practices. Hot wax + intimate body parts = not a place you want compromise on safety or hygiene (you can literally lose the top layer of your skin if the wax is too hot).

8. Go to an experienced waxer. I paid a few extra to have an “experienced” esthetician. They know the best directions to pull hair, how to keep the conversation rolling, and how to wax fast. Speed and lots of talking are key in this kind of “pampering”.

9. Exfoliate before and after the appointments. Use a somewhat intense (ie. salt scrub) exfoliant a few days before the waxing appointment (not the day before or the day of… it can irritate your skin too much). Use a gentle exfoliant afterward to help with avoiding ingrown hairs during regrowth (I just use a washcloth, but my hair’s pretty fine and straight).

What do you get after this hour of, uh, intimacy with a stranger and endorphin-producing pain?

Well, I didn’t have to think about shaving during my wedding or my honeymoon. Actually, at three weeks post-appointment, I can still get away with not thinking about shaving because only the teeny tiniest fine hairs have started to grow back. If I could afford it, I think I could become a full-on waxing convert.

Anyone else have waxing tips or tricks?

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

Look Ma, I Designed It Myself!

  • June 28, 2010 at 12:00 am

Yes, dear readers. I designed our Welcome Dinner/Farewell Brunch invitation insert all by myself. And by “designed”, I mean stole an idea straight out of Mindy Weiss’ amazing book The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day (aka the best wedding book ever. Ever.) Here is the page I got the idea from:

Look Ma, I Designed It Myself! :  wedding diy invitations pleasanton rehearsal stationery 1

Photo taken by me, buy the book here.

Since I have zero computer design experience, I was at a loss on how to even begin to design this. I ended up just using my good old frienemy, Microsoft Word. And I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the result! Are you ready to see the fruits of my labor?

Brace yourselves, people.

And please, don’t laugh.

Look Ma, I Designed It Myself! :  wedding diy invitations pleasanton rehearsal stationery 2

On my ‘puter screen.

Look Ma, I Designed It Myself! :  wedding diy invitations pleasanton rehearsal stationery 3

And the finished product! I printed them onto ivory cardstock, and they will be tucked inside next to our main invitations. Not too shabby, eh?

The reverse side of our Welcome Dinner/Farewell Brunch invites will feature a wedding map. That, my friends, I did get some help with. But more on that later.

Did you design any wedding-related stuff on your computer? What program did you use?

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

Cometa Ribbon

  • June 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a little organza bag that was out of stock. Well, it miraculously repopulated, and I snatched some up! Thanks to you readers, I learned that they are of Italian origin, called cometa ribbons.


But then I needed some sort of candy to put in the bags. They were made for Jordan almonds, but due to their jaw-breaking quality, I didn’t really want to go for the hard sugar coated rocks. I tried all sorts of different candies – Mike and Ike, M&M’s, mints – pretty much anything round and small. But nothing worked.

It just didn’t look like a flower. So I went back and ordered the almonds. Oh well. They may be a little cliche, but they do make for a very pretty flower. And the taste isn’t that bad either, if you don’t mind the crunch.

So here we go, let’s stuff the cometa ribbon!

We started with five almonds and a ribbon. The actual ribbon itself doesn’t seem so hard to make, but as the price wasn’t bad (and I don’t have time anymore), buying seem justifiable. There was also a silly little tag on each bag, which we removed.

Next, we shoved an almond into every other pocket. It helps if they are all roughly the same sized almonds, since it makes the flower “petals” look more even.

Now, we cinch up the strings!

And finally, we tie up the ends.


cometa ribbon flower

Since the plan is to place one flower at each table setting, we had about 125 flowers to make. My grandmother took half, and Mr. Sew and I finished the other half. We knocked our half out in only a couple evenings, so I’d say it was a pretty easy little project!

Ready for shipping!

wedding candy flowers

Jordan almonds. Love them or hate them? And do they really last forever?

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

Week Before the Wedding: Guinea Pig Programs

  • May 27, 2010 at 11:22 pm

It all started with these programs:



I loved the simplicity, the rounded corners and the sewn detail.

When I first got obsessed with programs, I wasn’t quite sure what the design was going to look like (because Mr. GP and I couldn’t agree on it :D ). Once we got down to the wire of a few weeks before the wedding, we made up our minds quickly and set to work getting it done using elements from a bunch of our other wedding stuff.

For example: our cake had a ribbon around the base of each tier. Since I got 60 feet of that ribbon for $4 on eBay, and our baker only needed 20 feet, I had 40 feet left over… hmm… what to do with that? Use it on the programs!

I also decided I wanted to use the heart vector I’d bought from istockphoto (for the luminaries – more on those later) on the cover to keep things tied together, and we’d use the ribbon as a colorful backing for our names. So I got started cutting out 100 hearts. Fun times and sore fingers were ahead of me.


(104 hearts, freehand cut out)

BM D helped me by cutting 8.5×11 yellow cardstock sheets in half, then folding them to make 4.25 x 5.5 program covers, and rounded the corners. Allie supervised and did quality control.


(slave labor)

Then she came back the next weekend (did I mention I love BM D?) and helped me make even more progress! She cut ribbon just wide enough for the front of the program.


(Offray Island Blue grosgrain ribbon)

Once those were cut, we drew a line across the programs so we could keep the ribbon straight and at a consistent height, and then I used a spray adhesive to glue ’em on! I decided on spray adhesive because when I tried hot glue, I ended up with this:


(a bumpy mess)


(spraying the ribbons on newspaper outside, gluing to the programs. It was sunny and 90 degrees out, and I wore all black. Great idea.)

I repeated the spray adhesive set up with the hearts, spraying and adhering three at a time to all the beribboned programs, aligning them with the two dots I had measured and marked for top and bottom of the heart so they would all be centered. Then I printed and cut a bajillion (OK it was only 100) little cards with our name and wedding date on them and glued those on top of the blue ribbon with even more spray adhesive.

Next came the hard part – writing the program! Who knew I would stress over it so much?! I spent forever and a day Googling ceremony programs to see what other people put in them – how much detail is too much? Whose names get mentioned? What do I call all these sections of the ceremony? So here’s the Guinea Pig attempt at a ceremony program, which seemed to work just fine at informing people what was happening when :)


(click to enlarge!)

The only mistake I know was made is that we (okay, I) completely forgot to find a way to put Mr. Guinea Pig’s sisters in the program. :( They escorted my mom down the aisle and I only realized they weren’t in there after I had already printed all the programs and we’d started putting them together. Mr. GP and I were both upset we hadn’t thought of it before, but unfortunately it was too late to remedy the issue so we carried on – his sisters know we love them! I printed the pages at home on nice printer paper when my helper team (aka my family) arrived the week before the wedding, then we cut them out and assembled the programs!


(Aunt M happily cutting out 100 program innards)


(Mom Guinea Pig folding the insides to fit into the yellow cover)


(Friend DB sewing it all together as a binding!)

I loved the way the stitching looked when you opened the program up to the center page (which of course was the page with all the names to blur… sigh):


(with a matching yellow thread, leftover from making the ties)

And lastly, a more clear shot of the finished program!


These weren’t exactly quick to make because there were so many separate elements that needed printing, cutting, and assembling, but I think they turned out pretty cute! The only problem I had with assembly was getting the name to stick to the ribbon. The white cardstock I printed on had a hard time catching hold on the grosgrain ribbon backing, so they tended to peel off. I attempted to solve this by stacking them under really heavy physics textbooks and cookbooks I had in the house, but I think if I’d had more time I would have found a better adhesive (rubber cement) than spray glue.

I definitely could not have done this without the help of my family (you’ll see that theme a lot in the upcoming last-minute project posts!) and I loved the way these turned out. :) Oh! And in terms of numbers: we had 134 guests attend the wedding, and we made 100 programs. At the end of the day we had about 10 programs left, so I’d say that was a pretty good number!

How much work did you put into your programs? Are you combining elements from other wedding projects to make something new?

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

DIY Tears of Joy Tissues

  • May 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I have a fascination with Tears of Joy tissues, so I’m going to show you how I made my own.

First, let’s talk about the materials that I used…

Small glassine envelopes: glassine is a very thin and translucent type of paper which is similar to vellum, except glassine is water resistant (as well as air and grease resistant). If you have bought postage stamps from the post office before, that is what they put your stamps in.

They are relatively cheap and can be purchased from a paper store. I purchased my glassine envelopes from eBay in the #3 size, which measures 4¼” x 2½”.

Then I bought some personalized rectangle labels from


The kind that I bought is called Summer Garden and measures 2½” x 1¼”. I ordered my labels in pale pink.


My package from beaucoup arrived quickly. Hmm… I wonder what is inside?

Can you guess?

My labels, of course!!

I was pleased with how they turned out.

Equipped with some coupons, I went to Jo-Ann’s and scored some pretty pink & green ribbon.

I just used regular ol’ pocket Kleenex. They fit in the envelopes perfectly.

I figured that 2 sheets of tissue per envelope was enough to wipe away some happy tears. :)

Bridesmaid N happened to be in town one weekend so I immediately put her to work stuffing the envelopes. :) We were being neat freaks and taking our time so it took a lot longer than it should have, but it’s nice to have some help because it cuts the workload in half. After Bridesmaid N left, I finished up the envelopes with the labels and ribbon. Here are the six easy steps:

1) Cut the ribbon into 7″ strips and set them aside.

2) Turn the stuffed envelope over and stick a label to the flap.

3) Flip it back over and affix a ribbon to one end of the label.

4) Close the flap and press down the right side of the label while leaving the left side of the label up.

5) Pull the ribbon around the back of the envelope and bring it around to the left side of the raised label.

6) Tuck it under the label and press down. Voila! All done.

This is what the other side of the finished tissue packets look like.

And there you have it. Simple and neat.

If you decide to make your own, please show me! I would love to see how great yours turn out.

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.

Nailed It

  • May 17, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Since people started looking at my hands (er, hand) more often, I’ve been getting manicures more regularly. Me, my appendages, and the Fancy Fingers salon by my office are all pleased as punch over this development.

I usually pick a nail color that goes with my outfit for the wedding, weekend getaway, vacation, or whatever. But I was stumped over what to do for wedding day. French manicure seems to be a standard, right? Well…

In addition to the photos-as-decor fiasco and playlist-related snark, the Tacos also have a not-the-end-of-the-world disagreement on French manicures. I don’t love ‘em, nor do I hate them. It’s not a bad look for brides, bridesmaids, or anyone going out on the town, if you ask me.

Mr. Taco hates them. Like, really hates them.


But since I didn’t want to distract my groom, the French manicure was out.

I didn’t want too much color to upstage more important objects like his hands, my flowers, rings, or dark shoes. I didn’t want opal digits, either; too white and too iridescent against a very white-ish outfit, veil, and hairpiece.

Fret, fret, fret. One first-world problem after another. Until today, after I picked OPI’s Catch the Garter, a pale pink, for May Bride S’s nuptials:

Personal BlackBerry photo; excuse the hideous lighting

Yes to:

  • The name. Can I get a hell yeah?
  • The fact that I picked it over another pale pink solely for the wedding-oriented nature of said name.
  • Looking good! I love it. Gals with darker complexions may pull off a pale pink better, but it seems like this could go a long way for many opting out of the Frenchie.
  • The fact that it provides color, but does not distract.

What are you doing with your nails, aside from not biting them or smashing them in anything? Any non-Frenchie suggestions?

This article was originally posted onWeddingbee.