Wedding wobbles

This has been a busy weekend for getting wedding-related stuff done!

The end of the save the date saga

I received the save the dates from Moo last week and P and I sat down and addressed a bunch of them on Saturday. I’m pleased to say that they came out fantastically – we were both impressed by the quality of the cardstock and how professional they looked.

I had a couple of wobbles over the guest list while doing the cards. It requires some mental juggling as we want to keep the English wedding small – family and close friends only – whereas I have been actively encouraged to come up with as many guests as possible for the Malaysian wedding. Confusing! Situation further complicated by the fact that certain relatives on my side who I’d assumed wouldn’t bother coming all the way to England to attend the church wedding have apparently decided that a UK holiday sounds quite good fun. Perhaps they might come!

I am like, you gotta let me know these things, relatives! The church has plenty of space, that’s not the problem. It just might be an issue if they want dinner afterwards …

Where there is any doubt I have decided not to send a save the date. This covers people I probably would invite to the Malaysian wedding – I figure when it’s closer to the time I can always just send them an invitation and if they can make it, good, and if they can’t, oh well.

Deedle deedle deedle

I’ve given my mom the go-ahead to book a three-person Chinese band. You get the erhu, the guzheng and that Chinese flute whose name I do not know. My mother warned me that if we didn’t specify we might get WOMEN MUSICIANS. “For wedding some people prefer all men because if women, they might outshine the bride.”

I said I felt OK about taking this risk! I also feel OK about the fact that a “pure” Chinese band will only play Chinese songs. (The service also provides an option of a “fusion” band which plays both Chinese and Western instruments, and does instrumental versions of popular Western songs.) I think I can live without hearing a rendition of “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” on the pipa.

I did have a wobble here, though a retrospective one. I’m having a wobble about cost – a live band, as nice as it is to have, is not necessary, and I’ve built up quite a cool playlist of retro Asian pop. Should I have told my mom not to bother? It was her idea, though, and she seems quite excited about it, and feels the cost is reasonable. I feel a bit guilty because IIRC my brother only had one musician at his wedding, playing the guzheng. But maybe it’s silly to compare.

My friend, fashion is danger

I bought a dress for the Malaysian wedding! Currently I’m thinking: 1 dress for the English wedding, 1 dress for the Malaysian ceremony and 1 outfit (possibly a kebaya) for the Malaysian reception. I don’t know if my mom or anyone else will think it necessary for me to have another outfit change during the dinner, as some brides do, but I hope not! I looove dresses but even I think 3 of them is quite enough for 2 weddings.

(I did initially consider having just 2 dresses – one for the English wedding and the Malaysian ceremony, and an outfit change for the Malaysian dinner, but I decided it would be too much faff to sort out cleaning etc. for the dress in time for the Malaysian wedding. And if I did that I’d probably have less fun at the English one because I’d be busy trying to make sure I didn’t spill anything on it or step on it.)

I’m gonna put the rest of this under a cut in the unlikely event that P reads this, as I wish to rabbit on about dress details!

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Wedding stationery is so much harder than you think

When I last posted about my save the dates saga, I was simmering with frustration over the problem peculiar to weddings of TOO MUCH HELPFULNESS. If only everyone could stop being helpful! I would tell them when they were required and precisely to what extent they were called upon to be helpful! At all other times, everyone needed to sit down and NOT DO ANYTHING.

So I had a set of save the dates with a design I really loved and implementation about which I was meh shading to very disappointed. There were a few different ways I could have gone from there, but I talked to P, whose two primary roles as my fiance and boyfriend are:

1) To like me best

2) To talk me off the ledge on a regular basis

Most of my friends think I’m pretty laidback. This is because they are neither my parents nor dating me.

My chat with P really helped. I decided that damn it, maybe save the dates are a stupid thing to get stressed about, but it was too late for me not to care about them. I already cared! I just had to accept I cared and get on with it.

So I decided to have the save the date design redone. To clarify — the Architect had produced a delightful ink drawing based on the vision I’d described to her. She’d modified it as a sop to my parents’ sensibilities.

(I’ve talked about my parents’ objection to its being in black & white, but their other, funnier objection was that the design displayed prominently the fact that I was born in the year of the Tiger and P is an Ox.

“Tiger will eat the ox!” said my mom.

Essentially she was worried people would think I was bossy and wore the trousers in the relationship, because the Ox is obviously a milder animal than the Tiger. Well, I am bossy and I do occasionally wear trousers, but neither of those things have anything to do with the year I was born in. I’d be bossy and occasionally-trouser-wearing if I was a Rabbit.)

The modification needed to deal with this concern was minor and quite cute, so that was fine. But then the drawing passed out of the Architect’s control. My mom, with the best of intentions, arranged for it to be coloured by somebody else, and printed off several sets of cards.

I think the somebody else did a good job, but it wasn’t quite what I’d been hoping for. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the cards my mom used for printing are pretty flimsy and probably wouldn’t survive being tossed about in a mail bag full of other post. So I had a perfectly practical excuse for having the design redone, and I went for it.

The long-suffering, ever-obliging Architect agreed to recolour the card. I gnawed on my fingernails and tried not to worry about timing. (P essentially thought there would be no point to sending out save the dates once Christmas came around, since the cards would be lost in the deluge of Christmas post.)

After some confusion the Architect sent her coloured version of the design through. And it is PERFECT. I’d say it is even better than I’d hoped for, but to be honest I know how good the Architect is and I hoped for a lot. And I got it!

We are almost there. THERE is so close I can almost smell it. @_@ I ordered a set of postcards from Moo after discussing the text with P — a surprisingly thorny issue, as we have two weddings and two overlapping but not identical sets of guests, and we need to keep numbers at the English wedding in particular under control.

So all that remains is for the cards to arrive and for us to address them and send them off. I’m crossing my fingers that the cards are OK. On the one hand, I feel an overly optimistic “woohoo, it’s all sorted now!” attitude might jinx it and the cards might not be quite as awesome as I envisage. OTOH, I don’t think I’m so super demanding — I mean, I totally was demanding here, but that was mostly because I was edged out of control with certain parts of the process. As long as it’s an imperfection that happened under my watch, I feel I can handle it.

I feel a bit guilty as — not counting the set I dumped which probably cost my parents nothing in real terms — the cards themselves, without counting postage etc., cost only £7 short of the budget P estimated for the wedding invitations including save the dates. But it’s not a huge amount of money and it will, I hope, be worth it. We shall see.

Here we go

I had a sudden violent fit of Wedding Irrationality today. A storm of vexation descended upon me over the save the date cards. Basically, they are great and they cost me nothing (and probably cost my parents very little, if anything), but they are not as good as they would have been if I and the artist had been left alone to sort it out.

So I sat there and felt BAD over stationery. But it wasn’t about stationery. I want to defend myself from any charges of bridezillariness. If you have a project that you’ve thought of and somebody else takes it over and disregards your express intentions in relation to that project, you’re liable to feel frustrated whether or not that project has anything to do with your wedding. That’s just a basic principle of peopleology.

My parents are great — generous, mostly accommodating — but they also suffer from the eternal affliction of parenthood, i.e. the conviction that they Know Better. (This is accompanied by an unfortunate conviction that they don’t really need to explain anything to the kids. I think a part of them is still convinced that we are about five and will get bored of any discussion that lasts longer than five minutes and doesn’t revolve around My Little Pony or the promise of chocolate.)

So it’s hard — and I guess it’s going to continue to be hard — to get through to them the fact that when it comes to aesthetic decisions they can’t really know better than me because those are all subjective, and also when they are going to make a decision about an event in which I will be intimately involved, they need to consult me first! Also it would be helpful if after consulting to me, they actually did what I said. That would be great. But I suspect this is the wedding HOLY GRAIL.

Anyway I feel better now. But I feel a bit bad about the whole thing because of the Architect having to rush the project, and then not getting to control the final look of the piece. That was one aspect that hadn’t occurred to me when I told my mom she could do what she liked about the save the date cards — of course as an artist you want to have a certain amount of artistic control over the end product.

I struggled with myself over the save the dates when I first realised they weren’t quite what I wanted: I should just use them, they are nice enough. NO THEY AREN’T THEY ARE TERRIBLE EVERYTHING HAS GONE WRONG. They are pretty nice. I can always ask the Architect to do me her own colour version just for me to keep if she has the time. Is pretty nice good enough? IS THIS THE THIN END OF THE WEDGE? If you let go on this point, will you end up with a troop of professional make-up artists and hairstylists and a gigantic white dress AND A HELICOPTER SHAPED LIKE A LIMOUSINE????

But I think I will just do the sensible thing and wait till P is here for the weekend and discuss it with him. There is actually a sensible objection to the cards, as well as the non-sensible “MY BEAUTIFUL PICTURE ;_;”-based objections, because it turns out they have been printed on very flimsy material and I’m not sure they’d survive the post. I did a spot of research and it would cost me less than £20 to get a sturdier set printed in the number I need, so it may actually be worth redoing.

But I will only make the decision once I have crested the waves of frustration and regained the plateau of rationality. Stress lah. Truly the Buddha was right when he said attachment is the cause of all suffering. If I didn’t give a shit about my nice picture, then I wouldn’t, you know, give a shit.

I see three potential ways forward.

1) Be Buddha-like in my lack of attachment, i.e. just let my parents do whatever they want and be chill about it.

2) Do stuff secretly, by myself, and don’t let anyone else know about it until it’s already done.

3) Constantly negotiate with my family and friends, be prepared to be ignored, overridden and occasionally mocked for my choices, win a few battles, lose others, watch stress level hit the roof and go to infinity and beyond.

I think I’m going to be #1 with most things and #2 with selected things, i.e. my dress and shoes. Let’s avoid #3. HAH! BITTER LAUGHTER!

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!