Sunday, May 16, 2010

Photos, makeup, and invitation - details and decisions

Somehow, the last few months have flown by and now my wedding website countdown clock is reminding me that it’s less than two months away from the big day. Yikes! Perhaps it snuck up on me because I am fortunate to have my family handling most of heavy lifting. But now all of the decisions regarding the details are coming out of the woodwork. I thought it might be helpful to recount a few things that are going on at this stage.

Engagement photos – we took them about a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco. Overall, I was very pleased with the photos but did learn some useful things regarding hair and makeup which I had professionally done for the shoot. It’s good to have a very specific idea about what look you are going for. In retrospect, I would have asked the makeup artist (at the MAC counter) for more natural eye makeup with a focus on having a flawless face. Also, for any Bay Area locals out there, make note that it can be extremely windy in lots of prime SF locations so my hair was whipping around. We took photos in two different outfits at The Marina (super windy, fun beach shots), Presidio (cool, stylish backdrop), and downtown (classy, urban) to get a good variety.

Photography by: Elle Jae Weddings

Skincare – I’ve been listening to these great podcasts on iTunes called You Look Marvelous. The podcasts are not terribly recent but they are still really helpful. Each one features a different beauty expert giving advice for the wedding day (e.g. use a highlighter, waterproof mascara, blotting papers) and more importantly, getting your face ready the weeks and months leading up to the wedding (e.g. get regular facials, do trials). Celeb makeup artist Shalini Vedhera of Global Goddess Beauty gave some wonderful tips from her global travels on one particularly informative podcast. I’m curious to check out her book Passport to Beauty.

Shalini vadhera

Invitations – Yes, that’s right. It’s less than two months from the wedding and we still don’t have our invitations! One of the biggest learning experiences from this whole process is that you don’t screw around with Save the Dates or Invitations. I completely underestimated how important it is to have all of the guest information organized in one place. Also, you can’t finalize your invitations until you have your schedule of events locked down. But probably the silliest issue I ran into is that my parents really wanted to put “No boxed gifts” on the invitation. Apparently some people in their social circle feel it’s ok to regift. After much assuaging, I think we finally convinced them that it would be tacky. Whew.

Next up is finalizing our first song, scheduling a dance lesson, and buying my bridal shoes. I’m considering splurging for a pair of Louboutins. My lehenga is super long and heavy so I’m worried I will trip and fall during the first dance if I don’t have a pair of sturdy high heels. And hey, it’s the one day when you want to be absolutely fabulous right? On that note, here’s a crazy cute pair that would be a knockout.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Our e-session is just around the corner

I’m a sucker for e-session photos. Silly smiles. Charming coordinated outfits. Cute props. I’m always intrigued and often find myself getting lost in photographer blogs. The fiancĂ© and I are getting ours done in 3 weeks and I am super excited. There’s even a small piece of me that’s more excited about the engagement photos than the wedding photos. (gasp!) E-sessions allow couples to capture intimate moments of a very special time without oodles of guests swarming around them. Our wedding day is going to be amazing, no doubt. But the truth is, everyday feels a little amazing when you’re getting ready to spend the rest of your life with someone, right?

We’re going to get ours done in San Francisco – so much charm and character packed into one little city. Since we’re generally pretty casual and easygoing, I’d like to get some taken in a rustic, natural environment like Golden Gate Park where we can stroll around in our jeans and be relaxed. I hope to follow these up with some city shots wearing dressier clothes to get that cool, urban vibe. It will be nice to have some photos taken in our normal everyday Western attire since all of the wedding pix will be in Indian clothes.

These are some of my favorite images.

Casually chic and coordinated, in the Marina District

Dressed to the nines, on a SF pier

How stylish and clever are these shots!

Wish I could rock that white strapless dress - check out all of the photos on the photographer's site, really great shots

Source: Tyler Vu Photography

That settles it. I need to go shopping!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

India shopping trip prep - last minute shenanigans

So far, I think I’ve been a fairly calm bride. Frankly, things have gone relatively smoothly, especially the big decisions. The venue, date, and the photographer were actually quite easy decisions to make after the initial research and meetings. But as of a week ago, I officially started to freak out. And it’s all my fault you see, because I kind of made a boo-boo – I let my passport expire, months ago. This wouldn’t have been a huge deal if I just needed it for my yet-to-be planned honeymoon. However, several weeks ago, I decided to go to India for a pre-wedding shopping trip with my Mom. Super fun right? I wasn’t planning on it but my Mom convinced me “You’ll have an amazing selection of sari’s and lehengas and it will be SO much cheaper, we have to go!” And yes, I am now really excited to be going – in fact I leave this upcoming Saturday. Woohoo!

But back to the passport issue… because if any of you brides are in my same situation, I hope you will not make the same mistakes I did. I have a crazy stressful job and I tend to put off annoying things like paperwork and bureaucracy. Also, I live in LA (this will become relevant very soon). By the time I figure out how to renew my passport (about 4 weeks prior to my trip – plenty of time, right?), I discover that it takes 4-6 weeks to process a passport renewal via mail under normal processing times. Clearly this won’t work for my situation. Then I see that it can be expedited via mail – for a charge – to 2-3 weeks. That’s cutting it close and I’m really nervous about sending in my passport in the mail. What if it gets lost, then I’m screwed! Ok, so I hear that you can renew in person. Perfect. The website repeatedly insists that you cannot book an appointment until 2 weeks prior to your trip. I keep reading this and getting really anxious. What I should have done was actually call the office and talk to someone about my situation because then I might have found out that you can book earlier IF you also need a Visa. Long story short, I went in for the passport renewal last Thursday – 9 days before my trip. I pleaded my case and they said I could pick it up the very next day. Yay! Then I got the bad news… the woman at the Passport office said that all of the Indian people she had encountered at the office said they needed to get the Visa in San Francisco. Yikes! I assumed LA would have an office where I could do this, but they just mail it to SF. Oh, and the Visa office is only open Mon-Fri. So I booked a last minute trip to SF this weekend to go in tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.

Brides, make sure your travel documents are in order. Get your photos taken asap. Call and talk to a live person whenever you can. Bring your itinerary. For the visa, you need a copy of your birth certificate and proof of address. Fill out your forms online ahead of time (the Indian visa app in particular was very detailed – I had to list the dates of my last trip to India from my old passport and the address of where I will be staying in India.)

Can’t wait to share the spoils of my India shopping trip when I return!

**Update on the nitty-gritty details**

Show up early at the SF Visa office! It opens at 9:00. I showed up around 9:05-9:10 with an appointment at 11:20 but the manager allowed me to check in b/c there weren't that many people there. (Maybe 15-20 minutes later, she told my brother that he would have to wait till his appointment time.) You need to go through the process by 11:00 am for same day delivery. Then you stand in another line to get your ticket number. There is a one final main line where the application is processed. One one person was at each station. They say no cell phones or backpacks - the no cell phone usage is heavily enforced. Fill out everything online first to make sure it's a smooth process, but there are laptops there if necessary.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Vintage Inspiration

I love the idea of incorporating vintage postcards and images into the reception decor. Perhaps in a collage type photo wall or a twist on the guest book, where guests could write a congratulatory note the back of postcards and they would be displayed afterwards. These are from Images of Asia. What is it that everyone is saying now... what's old is new? They really illustrate the diversity of the Indian landscape - picturesque natural beauty, man-made artistic splendor, and quaint village life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Big Book Comes to the Rescue

Planning a wedding without a wedding planner feels a little daunting at times, especially because I live hundreds of miles from my wedding location. Lucky for me, my mother and my sister (the maid of honor) are taking the reigns and doing lots of research and legwork. But since I am a type-A personality (no snarky remarks Mr. Fiance!), I was beginning to feel a little nervous... not because I doubt their diligence but simply because I am a details person. So I went down to my local bookstore and picked up a copy of The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day. And at 485 pages, boy is it BIG. The book is by Mindy Weiss, a celebrity wedding planner that I heard interviewed on the Wedding Podcast Network (a fabulous resource, more on that later).

As expected from a book this size, every major and minor topic associated with engagement and wedding planning is covered in exhaustive detail. Yet despite its heft, the book is not at all daunting for a couple of reasons. One, the book is written a very conversation style so that you feel like a real person is sharing their experience with you. Two, the recommendations are never presented with the expectation of making everything "perfect." And let's face it, it's easy to feel that pressure at times, especially for a big wedding. Normally I gravitate towards books with lots of pictures. This one has no pictures, just sketches. I'm ok with this because there are plenty of other resources on the Internet to help with visuals.

The information is presented in short easy-to-grasp "chunks" so you don't get overwhelmed at any one sitting. It's chock full of useful ideas and options to help you personalize your wedding. So far, I have just been randomly flipping through it and stopping on whatever catches my eye. Every once in a while something pops in my head and sure enough, the topic is covered. For the modest price, it's more than worth the peace of mind. I highly recommend checking it out.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Clever Ideas for the Escort Card Table

From the beginning, the fiance and I have bonded over food (good and bad) so it has started to work its way into the wedding theme in a subtle way. This escort card idea is pure genius! Not to mention budget friendly and EASY. I never would have thought of using common Indian food staples like kidney beans, lentils and rice in a display like this. It's colorful and quirky.

See more pictures of this wedding on Daughter of Design.

I also really like the idea of using fruit as an escort card because it's simple, rustic and charming. You see pears commonly used. For an Indian wedding, I would be more inclined to use fruits such as pomegranates or oranges (from Martha Stewart Weddings).

A custom designed tea bag (courtesy of The Knot) would also be a fun way to tie into the theme.

An Indian Summer: Inspired Ideas

I'm always excited to see new ideas for East meets West fusion stylings. An Indian Summer delightfully showcases a wealth of concepts on how Indian and Asian fabrics, colors, and imagery can marry beautifully with Western/European design. I saw a lot of big punches of color next to stark and rustic elements. While the site primarily focuses on interior design (something to think about AFTER the wedding), there is at least one blog post dedicated to styling an Indian wedding. I have included just a few select images but you can see more on the India Inspired Wedding blog post.