Sunday, May 30, 2010

Getting our Paper Crane On

When Brandon and I were planning our wedding, we thought it was important to incorporate our cultures to some degree. Being that we are both of mixed descent, we started looking into our backgrounds and finding traditions that were both unique and meaningful. While the money dance was out of the question, Brandon's mom told us we should fold 1001 paper cranes.

This was especially meaningful because Brandon's late grandmother would spend time with Brandon and his older sister folding origami cranes just for fun.

In Japanese tradition, you were granted one wish if you folded 1000 origami paper cranes. Brides in feudal Japan (according to, would fold these cranes in hopes that they would have a long and prosperous marriage.

While excited about this tradition, we put the idea on the back burner until we smoothed some other wedding details out (like firing our invitation artist two weeks before our invitations were supposed to go out). Nonetheless, when we stopped into a local Japanese store to purchase paper we were informed that not only were we supposed to fold 1001 paper cranes but we were also supposed to display them at the wedding and in our home for the rest of our marriage.

Whoa! Now how exactly do you not only fold 1001 paper cranes, but then display it after??

Mr. Toguri, the shopowner, recommended that we find a paper crane artist who takes the cranes and then folds them into a flat work of art. The artwork is then framed and easily displayed. We had never heard of such a thing!

During my search for 3 inch blue foil paper, I came across a lovely artist in San Francisco who just happened to be an origami artist herself. Since we just happened to be visiting an aunt in the city the following week, Brandon and I decided to meet with Linda Mihara in person. She's as beautiful as her artwork and we cannot wait to see the finished piece.

After 2+ months of folding cranes out of 3 inch foil paper, I would do it all over in a second. It's such a beautiful tradition, and it was amazing to have all of our friends and family come together and be a part of this gorgeous piece of art that Brandon and I will cherish forever. As soon as it's done I will post pictures!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Perfect Wedding Dress

Every little girl dreams of The Perfect White Wedding Dress that she'll walk down the aisle in. From fairy tales to movies, women never looked as beautiful and as graceful as they did in their wedding gown.

Even all grown up, women fantasize about The Dress whether they are actually engaged or not. If you flip through any given wedding magazine, you will undoubtedly flip past hundreds of models all dressed in wedding couture's finest.

While The Wedding Dress is probably the most important outfit a woman could wear, no one (the wedding industry, family and friends) shies away from emphasizing this One Dress' importance.

When I went dress shopping, I was so intent on finding The Dress—so intent that i stressed out about it. People tell you that you will just know when you find it; that tears will immediately commence and fireworks will go off. But twenty gowns later, I still hadn't found it.

As a bride-to-be, your so conflicted. You have this preconceived notion that immediately upon finding The Dress, something will happen but then you wait and wait...and then you begin to wonder what if nothing ever does.

After trying on 20+ wedding gowns, I was growing frustrated. Frustrated with myself for being so picky and frustrated with the gowns that were out there. I thought I wanted a giant poofy dress but i kept trying them on and nothing was clicking inside. A smile never graced my face. Nothing excited me.

I visited an Ines Di Santo trunk sale at Bella Bianca (fabulous shop, fabulous girls), and after 5 or so gowns Candyce zipped up a beautiful silk mikado gown with ruffle and lace detailing at the hemline. A smile peeked. And then she took a Romona Keveza belt from another gown and wrapped it around my waist. My stomach dropped and my face turned red. Tears ran down my face just like everyone had said.

But was it really the one?

Under pressure that my dress was to leave with the rest of the trunk sale collection the very next morning, I left the store and came back to try it on again that evening. I bought it.

For the next six months, I freaked. I cried because I thought I picked the wrong dress. I was haunted by the canceled appointments I had at other dress stores. Maybe my dress was really there or there or maybe even there.

Every time I saw a picture of a bride, I immediately decided that her dress was prettier than mine. I was driving myself crazy.

I think a lot of the problem stems from the impression that there is only One dress, but what nobody ever tells you is that there could feasibly be more than one dress. There's so much pressure on brides to find That Dress, that you make rash decisions.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my dress. The minute it came back in my size it felt perfect. But I only wish that I would've slept on it and not felt pressured to buy it because it was leaving. Then I would've known I was making the right decision.

In the end, you just have to be sure that The One Dress you end up picking is right for you and only you. And no matter what, don't buy a dress if you feel pressured in any way. Ideally, this is the only wedding dress you get to wear and you want to make sure you feel right about it.

My wedding is only two weeks away and my final fitting is in a few days. I can't wait to see it one last time before the big day. For now I'll be fantasizing about Brandon's face when I step before him for the very first time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My dream invitation...

Every bride has a wishlist of beautiful things that they want for their wedding. While my wishlist is compiled of things cut out of wedding magazines and Web site printouts, Brandon has the reality list—compiled of credit card bills and our wedding expense sheet. Needless to say his list usually trumps mine, but a girl can still dream right?

At the top of my wishlist (next to crystal chandeliers and lucite tables filled with strands of pearls), are these invitations designed by Gourmet Invitations.

The portfolio is made from a silk damask, fastened with a sash made from strings of mini pearls and a cameo brooch. You can't get any more regal than this. 


Monday, March 29, 2010

Finding the right mix of centerpieces for the wedding...

When it came to centerpieces, I wanted to keep things sparse since i like the look of manzanita branches on their own. Pam, from Jordan's Food of Distinction, recommended I switch things up for the centerpieces. With 15 tables, we will incorporate three different designs of varying heights. 

Using Dessy's styleboard feature, I created a few inspiration boards for my centerpieces.

Here are a few ideas:

Some tall centerpiece ideas....
(click on image to see full size)

Some shorter ones....
(click on image to see full size)

The perfect bridal bouquet...

I just got off the phone with Pam from Jordan's Food of Distinction, who was inquiring about my thoughts on flowers for the wedding day. Since they are a full-service event planning company, they will be handling all of our floral needs including bouquets and centerpieces. 

Since Pam asked for more styleboards, I did not want to disappoint. I logged onto to Dessy's styleboard creator and got busy. Since my wedding has a vintage-glam theme, I centered my floral inspirations around peonies, big roses and stephanotis with pearl/crystal detailing. 

Here are the styleboards I came up with:

For my bouquet....
(click on image to see full)

For the bridesmaids....
(click on image to see full)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March of the Penguins

 When it comes to wedding planning, so much thought goes into what the bride and the bridesmaids will wear. Hours are spent agonizing over the perfect shade of white, trumpet skirt vs. ball gown, sweetheart or capped sleeve...(you get the idea). 

But when it came to tuxedos for the groomsmen, we walked into a Men's Wearhouse location and told the associate we wanted a three button tuxedo. He then asked us the color of the bridesmaids dresses. That was it. There was no thought about tuxedo styles before we walked in, and not much thought after.

In fact, I did a few random Google searches and it turns out not much has changed in the realm of tuxedos over the past few decades.

          1950s                                                                  1980s             

present day      

The beauty of the tuxedo is that you can't really go wrong with it. It's classic and elegant (maybe minus the pink ruffled shirt), and looks good on everyone. If only bridesmaids dresses were this simple....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our amazing bakery!

Brandon and I had a plan. We were going to seek out THE best bakery in Chicago to make our dream wedding cake. So before we began our quest, we researched various bakeries on Yelp and through referrals. We then called around to set up tastings with the ones we had a good feeling about. But neither of us knew that our quest would end before it really began.

On Saturday, Jordan and Pam (our caterers from Jordan's Food of Distinction) surprised us with a sampling of Naomi Levine's (of Tipsy Cake in Humboldt Park) great work. We were left licking up the crumbs. Coincidentally, our first cake tasting was scheduled for the following Tuesday (yesterday) with none other than Naomi herself. 

We walked into our first cake tasting adamant that we were going to find the best baker in Chicago....and we did! Naomi's cakes were light and airy and her choices of fillings were absolutely amazing (try the peanut butter mousse, the raspberry infused chocolate mousse, the passionfruit...just try them all!) And her cakes look as good as they taste. She truly is an artist!

We had so much fun with her, that our tasting lasted almost two hours! She brought us out everything that we wanted, and after showing her my inspiration boards she came up with some really great ideas (our inspiration above). And best of all—her work is incredibly priced! 

If you're looking for a custom bakery to make the cake of your dreams (and believe me I dream of cake A LOT) be sure to give Naomi a call—just don't forget to tell her I sent you!