I think we’re going to have accept that my wedding theme

is gonna be “corny old things”.

While I’m mourning the death of any possibility of coolness*, click over to Questing Bandstand and enjoy some old pop classics from the Far East:

http://questing.wordpress.com

*Not really. Corny old things are awesome!

Advertisements

Save YOUR date

With dizzying efficiency, my mother has indeed extracted the inked version of our save the date design from my cousin the Architect and had them printed on postcards. The postcards look pretty good!

I asked for them to be done in black & white, figuring b&w would be easier, cheaper, and have a certain indie comic cool. My mother said colour would be nicer and promptly got her company’s artist to colour it. (/o\ so embarrassing!)

As it turned out I didn’t like any of the colour versions as much as the black & white version, but when I told my mom she said:

“Pantang lah black and white.”

I’d known of course that you wouldn’t wear black and white to a Chinese wedding, or have that colour scheme in your decorations, but with PAPER? Paper is just white! Ink is often black!

“Yah,” said my mom.

She explained that for my brother’s wedding he had designed the invitations himself and sent them out to the various guests in white envelopes. One of my dad’s friends was so incensed at receiving a wedding invitation in a white envelope that he saved the envelope and instead of giving angpow at the dinner, gave his money in the white envelope.

“After Dad realised he was so hurt by this, Dad went out and bought pink envelopes,” said my mom.

Wah lau!

Chalk up another notch on the list of “pantangs my parents never told me about until I ran headfirst into them”.

My mom had gone ahead and printed off a selection of the different versions anyway (being my mom, she’d done up 3 different versions of the design in varying colour schemes) so I guess we’ll just use those. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally pleased with the cards, and very grateful to my mom for her briskness in getting it done. Am just kind of dazed by how quickly everything has happened!

Venue sorted!

We’ve booked the Malaysian venue! Pretty much. It’s a Chinese restaurant (hah!*) in a country club, and we’re also planning to book up a section of the club — sort of a verandah/deck area — for hanging around and nomming on mocktails/finger food before dinner, plus coffee and nyonya kuih after dinner. My parents have paid the deposit for the Chinese restaurant since the date is geomantically approved and therefore very popular. I’m told we don’t need to pay a deposit for the verandah/deck till January, when I’ll be back home and able to have a look in person.

So that is good! My mom has all sorts of ideas for the dinner — she’s really taken up my tentative nyonya theme and is totally running with it — so I guess I’ll just sit back and let her do what she wants. The thing is with my mom you do have to push for restraint if you want it — she is a bit of a force of nature once unleashed, and she loves being creative and design flourishes and all that sort of thing. And I’m sure she’ll do a good job of stuff, and we’re more or less at the same place with the sort of aesthetic I would prefer — we agreed that we ought to have local flowers, orchids and the like (but only if they weren’t too expensive, I added).

So I’m going to keep my powder dry for pushing back on the things that really matter to me. We had the following discussion, f’rex:

Mom: And I’m looking for a professional make-up artist and hairstylist for you —
Me: Do I have to have a professional make-up artist?
Mom: Everybody has for their wedding! So you’ll look nice mah!
Me: I’m OK with having a hairstylist, but I don’t want a professional make-up artist.**
Mom: But who ever heard of somebody getting married and not having a professional make-up artist?
Me: We could be pioneers! 😀
Mom: They’re very clever one. You can just ask them to do natural style if you want to look natural.
Me: How about I don’t wear make-up at all? That’s the most natural!
Mom: Let’s discuss this when you’re back in January. (Read: “I’m sure you’ll come around by then!”)

Then, of course, there was also the discussion about money …

Me: How much will it cost then?
Mom: All together, less than hotel.
Me: Good! But how much will it cost? I want to pay!
Dad: We won’t know how much it costs until we finish opening all the ang pow.
Me: But don’t you have a ballpark estimate of the total upfront costs?
Dad: Don’t worry about all that. We can talk about it in January.

HMM. This may be an explosive January!

I can tell I’m going to have to do some amount of fighting er I mean negotiating if I want this to be a laidback, fuss-free affair. Hah!

Pictures of the just-booked venue below. I actually really like the look of the verandah/deck — it’s open air and looks laidback — but my dad doesn’t like the idea of having a meal basically in the corridor. Fair enough, Dad!

*I was pushing for a Chinese restaurant all along on the principle that the food is better and less expensive than that provided by the usual (for my family’s socioeconomic milieu) hotel ballroom. I got a surprising amount of pushback on this — I think people felt it wouldn’t be romantic/glamorous/special enough.

**I have realised that hair makes a huge difference to looking nice. I look pretty cute on good hair days and just kind of funny on bad hair days. But I very rarely wear make-up and don’t always find it makes people more attractive — it gives people a certain kind of look, but it’s just different from an unmade-up look, IMO. It’s not always prettier.

Update from Weddingland

I’m going to start writing more personal stuff here! That was the whole point of starting this (besides diverting the stream of pretty dresses I stare at on the Internet out of my head, that is). So — how things are going now.

Venue

The English venues are sorted. The Catholic ceremony will be in the church P’s family go to — easy enough. (We have to meet the priest and flower arrangers and organist at some point. I find this daunting. P finds it funny that I find it daunting.)

The reception venue has also been booked. P’s favourite description of it is “It’s a 300-year-old building but it only looks 30” and my line is “it’s retro chic without the chic”. Nevertheless we both liked it best out of all the venues we saw when we went venue-hunting — it has the informality and friendliness we were looking for. The surroundings are pretty, the owner is nice, and we’re not paying anything for rental — only for the food and drink. When I consider how much some of the other venues were charging just for renting the place — not even counting catering or decorations — I’m pretty chuffed.

My only real concern with the place is lighting, since we saw it on a gorgeous sunny Saturday afternoon. Note to self: check out lighting. I got some good ideas for boosting lighting from a wedding blog! I will put it here for my own reference: Wedding Decor for Dummies.

It might not be necessary, but you never know. I remember one of the things that just stunned me when I first came to the UK was how dimly lit houses were. I guess the white fluorescent tubes of my childhood homes are not very nice either, but at least they’re better than a single orange bulb hung in the middle of the room about a million miles away from your desk!

The Malaysian venue is a bit up in the air at the moment. I’m fairly sure we’re going to go with one place and I’m feeling pretty good about it, though I’d like to a) see pictures (I’m going completely on my mom’s descriptions, and my mom has an artistic eye and I trust her, but it would still be nice to see it before booking it!) and b) just confirm the booking so it’s out of the way.

It’s still not my ~dream venue~ (sigh! my lovely hutan house!) but it will hopefully work well. Like the English venue, we wouldn’t be paying to rent the venue — only a per-head price for the food and drinks. Anyway with the ~dream venue~ in practical terms we’d probably have had to have the tea ceremony, ragging etc. at the hutan house and I want to do all that at my own actual home.

My main concern with the Malaysian venue at the moment is that my family actually went to see Bankers Club recently and even though I’ve shot down that idea several times, I’m worried actually seeing it in the flesh — or rather, in the wood panelling! — will stoke their passion for it. Oh god it is just so pompous. Just the name itself — !

Invitations

I’m very grateful to my mom, who has appointed herself my (Malaysian) wedding planner and has set to it with her usual gusto. But unfortunately this has totally blown up my invitation plans!

I’d come up with what I thought was a pretty cute idea for the save the date cards — a picture of me and P each riding our zodiac animals (mine is a tiger and his is an ox) and high-fiving in mid-air!!! I asked my talented cousin the Architect to execute the idea (I requested a “lo-fi hipster cute” aesthetic /o\ I know I know. What can I say?). I thought once she’d drawn it out and sent me the picture, I’d slap on some text, print it off in black and white on postcards, and send them out to various friends and family.

Simple, right? Except:

1) My mom saw the sketch and described it as “real cute”. But she hinted darkly at “some implications” from “some traditional old sayings”.

“But we r modern & we r christians, or about to be, so they dont matter if u consciously make your stand,” she added airily.

“I’m not Christian! >:(” I replied.

It turned out the pantang was that the design emphasised the fact that I’m a tiger and P is an ox, and tigers are obviously somewhat fiercer characters than oxen. “The tiger eats the ox so maybe people will joke you will bully P,” said my mom.

I’m not averse to respecting pantang — like, I wouldn’t wear black to my wedding, or for Chinese New Year — but I felt I could go with this one. After all, I pointed out to my mom, NOT using the design wouldn’t change the fact that I am a tiger and P is an ox. Also, I figure any risk that I will bully P really arises more from the kind of people we each are than from our zodiac signs.

We ended up agreeing that I’d only send the save the dates to P’s side of the family (who don’t get the implication and wouldn’t care if they did) and to my friends (who are the younger generation and so won’t worry about pantang so much). You don’t do save the dates in Malaysia anyway — the proper way to do it, said my mom, is to visit your relatives with biscuits and invite them in person.

I s’pose we’ll have a different design for the wedding invitations proper — I don’t much mind what they are. I just liked the idea of having a special design of me and P that I could hang onto as a souvenir, sort of thing.

My dad had a look at the sketch and said he didn’t mind the design, but suggested that it ought to have more of a “partnership feeling”, rather than portraying one party as being more dominant. (Keep in mind that in this picture P is taller than me — because he actually is — and the tiger and ox are perfectly level. It’s not even like the tiger is showing any teeth!) Apparently they resolved this by having the tiger and ox also high-five, which I am fine with. High-fives for everybody!

However I think it’s an interesting question whether my parents would have been so concerned about the appearance of equality if P had been the tiger and me the milder animal. Or rather, I don’t think it’s an interesting question because I know what the answer is.

2) Having resolved all that, my mom is now trying to sort out printing these cards in Malaysia before my sister comes back to England, so my sister can bring them back with her. Keep in mind that as of Saturday, when we discussed this, the Architect had not yet finished inking the design, and my sister was in Malaysia for all of a week.

/o\

And now my mother is talking about doing it in colour, and embossed paper, and inserts, and oh we should incorporate your wedding colours somehow! And I’m just like — all too complicated! I have a printer and some photo print paper, all you guys need to do is email me the picture and I can sort it out from there!

This wedding is going to be an exercise in holding people’s horses and keeping their shirts on.

Dress

Progress has been made. But is it illusory progress? Only time will tell …

Blog

I realise a lot of what I talk about here is about stuff rather than my relationship with P. I guess, hm, while I do want the weddings to represent us in that I don’t want it to be some over-the-top super glam affair, they’re also something that — they’re fun, they’re something we’re gonna do together and they will have a lot of meaning when they happen. But they are basically just big parties, right? And the planning itself doesn’t have anything more to do with the core of our relationship than us going to a museum or cooking dinner together does.

I don’t know, though. Maybe I will feel different when it gets closer and it all starts feeling more real.

Mostly something old

A random Google of “The Sound of Music” brought me to this treasure trove of antique wedding dresses: Bolton Museums – Something old, something new, an exhibition run in 2007. The dresses featured are mostly Victorian and mid-20th century.

Deep blue Victorian wedding dressBut what I like even better than the pictures is the stories. The dresses were all made by a Mrs Heaton who seems by all accounts to have been a fine craftswoman and designer, much in demand, and also kind of bossy:

I would like to get married in Smithills chapel.” “Oh no,” she said, “no no. It’s too small.” You see you couldn’t exhibit your dress, you couldn’t show your dress off properly there.

I don’t remember having a choice really in what I wore.

You have to admit it's a dress worth showing off.

The bride who wanted to look like Maria from The Sound of Music is this one:

I hadn’t even remembered that there was a wedding scene in The Sound of Music. But she actually even looks a bit like Julie Andrews, I think! Maybe all old-timey people look the same, though, because of the quality of the photos.

I should do more personal posts! This isn’t so much a record of my year in Weddingland so far; more like “random sort-of-wedding-related things I have found on the Internet”.

Paperself eyelashes

I’d heard of Paperself before via some fashion blog or other, but interested to see they’ve now set up a proper online store and expanded their offering.

While the lace garden set are beautiful and the clown eyelashes are muy cute (click on the images to get to the site):

Clown design eyelashesLace garden design eyelashes

I still like the Chinese themed ones the best. Horses for success, peonies for happiness and peach blossoms for love.

Horse design eyelashesPeony design eyelashesPeach blossom design eyelashes

Though I have to say however hard I look, the peach blossom ones just look like happy animal heads to me.

Would I wear these to my wedding? I like the symbolism, but I’m really really not a make-up person. I don’t even like the feel of mascara weighing down my eyelashes; having fake eyelashes would probably be worse!

They do wee individual eyelashes, though, so that’s something I’d consider.

Woman wearing a fake eyelash at the end of each eye

They have a theatricality teenage!me would have found very appealing, and grown-up!me still kinda likes.

Wedding dresses under £150

Click on pictures to get to the source.

Satin/gauze halter neck dressI think this is so sexy and glamorous, but the gauze over the satiny material also gives it a quality of romance. 60 quid including shipping!

Less glamour, more boho. I think the shoes are wrong in this picture, though. Gold Grecian sandals might do the trick.

Handmade ivory silk dress. Very Jane Austen, with some pretty details at the bust and hem.

50s party dress. I love that it has both a fun tulle skirt and silver sequins on the bodice. And the sequins are in the shape of CLOVERS!

50s style, but less loaded with tulle.

A more restrained option. I like the ladylike silhouette and the helpful flaps.