Lady in Red

8 Nov

I think I’ve mentioned before that my fiance, Sweets, is ethnically Chinese – his family emigrated from Taiwan when he was six years old. His parents speak some English, though their community in New York is primarily a Chinese-speaking community. Sweets doesn’t identify very much with the Chinese traditions – he goes by his English name, and that’s what appeared on our wedding invitations. But he said to me once, and I didn’t take it lightly, that he thought I’d be beautiful in a red dress at our wedding.

Well, I’m enough of a traditional girl that I really couldn’t see myself getting married in anything other than a white wedding dress. And there’s no way I could wear the traditional Chinese qipao – I’d be like a sausage stuffed inside the long column silk damask.

chinese wedding dressimage source: http://www.cheongsamwholesale.com/custom-made-short-sleeves-qipao-pc-260.html

The dresses are beautiful, and I admire them, but the tight and shiny are not my friends. They readily admit it, too.

As the wedding approaches (just about 50 days now!) we’re talking more about the ceremony, what music and readings, our vows, etc. And I find that my family traditions are the dominant ones. After all, my father, the minister, is marrying us. Sweets is happy with all of our choices so far, and he hasn’t asked to have more Chinese culture involved, so there’s not a lot about our wedding that is very Chinese, except for about 30% of our guests! I began to think recently about what little ways we could add to the familiarity and tradition for the Sweets’ family and their friends. I don’t want to pander, have anything feel insincere or inauthentic. And I don’t want the Chinese ladies at my wedding clucking and shaking their heads at the silly white girl who’s trying too hard.

Some things we’re doing that are “Chinese”:

  • Our rehearsal dinner will be like a traditional Chinese wedding banquet. Sweets’ parents are picking a favorite restaurant in Flushing, where we’ll gather our families (and some extended Sweets family members) for a family style dinner of traditional Chinese dishes.
  • We had a special piece of art made in the style of traditional Chinese paper cut art. It’s top-secret under wraps at the moment, because we want to surprise our families with it. We’ll incorporate that art into our paper goods, favors, and have it on display at the wedding.

I’m still hoping we’ll find more ways to celebrate his family’s culture.

The other thought I had recently was a not an entirely selfless one. I’m worried about spending eight hours in my voluminous, strapless, white wedding gown. I can’t see how I’ll be comfortable, and I’m worried about how I’ll maneuver in tight spaces. And what about when I have to pee? I really don’t want to have to ask anyone to help me in the bathroom. (Do all brides worry about this?) And then I remembered Sweets’ comment about the red dress…  I did a little more research and found that modern Chinese brides often get married in the western style – in white wedding gowns like mine. Sweets’ mother wore white, too! And then change at the banquet into the traditional red dress. As I said before, the qipao is out (I’m sure the Chinese ladies would cluck over that), but maybe I can do it in my own way. So I talked to Sweets about it again this weekend, and he seemed genuinely pleased at the idea: I’m currently on the hunt for a beautiful red party dress to change into after the ceremony. Something fun to dance in, something easy to move in. Something I can handle myself in the bathroom!

I’ll keep you posted on my red party dress search. Let me know if you know any great places to look!

Cake tasted, Bride and Groom Approved

11 Oct

We went cake tasting this weekend. I’m sure you know I was looking forward to this — to getting to the actual sweets of our wedding. And it was so worth the wait.

We went to Baked, a fabulous little bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. For our tasting, we were given 10 amazing cupcakes to try their vast array of amazing cake and buttercream combinations. I can’t even begin to gush enough about the goods. You have to try the Coconut Cream, Passion Fruit, and Aunt Sassy’s Pistachio Surprise cakes.

We thought going in that we would want a red velvet cake at our wedding, and of course that was one of the reasons we wanted to try Baked — they have a fantastic one: the Red Hook Red Hot.

Red Velvet Cake

The Red Hook Red Hot from Baked, photo from Bakednyc.com

This is a red velvet cake with a hint of valrhona cocoa, layered and topped with cinnamon buttercream. And the little red hot candies add such a spicy touch! We’re going to have  three tiers of this at our wedding, with a gorgeous red berry branch design running up it — and the berries will be red hots!

But it doesn’t end there! We fell in love with another amazing cake at the tasting: the Sweet & Salty. I took one bit and just about swooned. The Sweets did, too.

Sweet & Salty chocolate cake, Baked NYC

Sweet & Salty, Baked. Photo from Bakednyc.com

As Baked says: “This cake has won many awards and many hearts. Dark chocolate cake infused with a salty caramel, caramel chocolate ganache and topped with fleur de sel.”  Seriously the most grown-up and delicious and special cake I’ve ever eaten. We’ll have one of these at the wedding, too. Couldn’t resist. They sent us home with an extra cupcake of this one, which I plan to savor for dessert tonight. (If the Sweets doesn’t get it first.)

So, New Yorkers, I send you to Baked. Go and get the goodies. Or if you can’t go to them, they’ll come to you: http://bakedshop.com/

Seating booklets?

6 Oct

Oh, Martha Stewart Weddings, you’ve done it to me again. Found this lovely and creative seating card display today, from a real wedding. See here, and make sure to link through to Liezel and Christopher’s wedding.

seating card booklets

tiny books!

I think this could be a DIY for me. It’s wonderfully within the themes of our wedding, and selecting quotes to include could also be a great way to share a little more of ourselves with our guests. Thinking cap on for ways to make it my own.

The addressing has begun

5 Oct

I’m hand writing the address on all of my wedding invitations. No, I’m not a great calligrapher. You all have seen my attempts at mastering the elusive ampersands. I’m not even using a fancy fountain or calligraphy pen. Just a new Sharpie brand pen, fine point, which I’m very fond of and which writes a nice strong (but not marker-thick) and smooth line. Also, it’s PERMANENT, smear-resistant, water proof… qualities we all need in planning for a wedding and for a marriage, I think.

And sure, it would probably be pretty easy to Mail Merge our guest list Excel file into some neat labels. But nevertheless, I like the idea of putting my hand on every invitation. I hand wrote our save the dates on those New York postcards, and no one said a word against them. They were homemade-looking, and I liked it that way. It feels like I’m putting my personal signature on the things I send out, even if we are sending the very same set of invitation, response card, and insert to all of our invited guests. The invitation is coming from us, and not a machine.

Last night I did 45 envelopes, and on some of them I even spelled out Massachusetts and Pennsylvania (even though the Sweets said the Post Office doesn’t like that). I think I spelled them all correctly. I’ll be double-checking my work tonight!

And also, the future in-laws are coming over for dinner and to help us make sure I got all the Chinese names right. Maybe they’ll help us make an insert for our non-English-speaking guests’ invitations? Or use my Sharpie on our inserts to hand-write a note in Chinese?

Pictures and details will be posted soon.

More postage…

2 Oct

With the invitations coming on Monday, and our plan to get them OUT to our guest list as soon as possible, I realized I needed to order more stamps. Somehow I forgot about reply envelopes…

But — oh, no! — when I went to order more stamps, I found that the great ones I bought in July are NO MORE. What up, USPS? So, I’ve selected a second stamp:

Celebrate stamp

festive enough...

I like it just fine, but it definitely doesn’t feel of a piece with my other stamps. So, the question for me is, split the invitations between this and that, or the art stamps on the invites and the Celebrate! stamps on the reply envelopes? Sweets and I are divided on the question (because of course he has an opinion!). Thoughts?

Sweet favor idea

1 Oct

I fell a little bit in love with this idea from Martha Stewart Weddings today. 

A Lollipop tree — and it looks very Christmas appropriate, no? A few color changes for our wedding, some kind of a star topper instead of the pendant, and PERFECTION. 

DIY wedding favor sweets

Sweetness.

 

I may just have to do it. Now to find all the supplies! The tutorial is here.

Where Anne says yes.

29 Sep

 

I knew I liked that other Sarah over at My San Francisco Budget Wedding, but she cemented my admiration for her when she posted this bit of loveliness over the weekend. Anne forever!

http://mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/the-one-when-anne-says-yes/

No marble halls for me, either.🙂

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.