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Tag Archives: weddingplanning

It’s the end of August, and I’m finally blogging about what happened in July. Oops. I hope I have a good memory? July was basically busy busy busy. The first half was filled with moving my cruft into down to my car, driving across the city, and then moving stuff up. Rinse & repeat. When I was tired of that, I went down to Ikea and moved some pieces of wood into my car, drove back home, moved it upstairs, and then constructed it. Well that’s not entirely true, I have one piece of furniture that’s not from Ikea (yay!).

That took about 2 weeks. Then I spent the next two weeks striking off the items in my wedding planning list such as mixing the music and so forth. After that, I spent the last week driving around picking up relatives and doing that family stuff. Oh yeah, I also spent 1 weekend in Montreal, another Sat night at a hotel downtown and finished up my work to hand off to some people at work since I was going on v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n!

I think that adds up to about a month, I’m don’t recall what happened in the world though.

We registered for our wedding at The Bay, not really because we wanted to, but because there really wasn’t a better option. The Bay, for all its faults, has a wide variety of stuff which is better than if we registered at 10 different stores. But it was a horrible experience having to go through The Bay’s gift registry. Here are a couple of my peeves:

  • You can’t add/remove items online, you had to actually go into the store to scan items (and you “remove” by saying you want 0 of an item).
  • The in-store scanning is kind of neat, you’re given what looks like a wifi-enabled PDA barcode scanner running Windows Mobile. Except it crashed often and you would have to go back to the registry office and get a new one configured to your registry number etc. Oh yeah, you couldn’t remove items that you scanned in on the device either.
  • The selections is crap, there’s a lot of stuff I realized we needed, but they don’t sell.
  • The prices are crap. It’s better to just ask for gift cards and then hunt for you own deals
  • I couldn’t find a link on the online view of the registry, to link directly to the registry. This seems like a very basic thing that a customer would want to do – maybe they want to email it to their friends. But there’s no link and the only way to access the registry is if you typed in the registry owner’s name. Eventually I did find a direct link, but through googling and finding someone else’s Wedding page.
  • Why does the online list not have a full text description of each item and/or a picture? I don’t even remember what each of the entries refer to now

Basically I want a registry site that works online. You would think that The Bay would want to reach out to clientele like us considering they are not doing a lot of business with our demographic. I did look for an online option for a registry, one which you can integrate multiple stores, but they don’t work that well (and keep spamming you with other garbage). So really, in Canada, there is no good option – just ask for red pockets!

I saw the Go! Team last year, but when I heard that they were coming to town again a few months ago, I bought tickets for them right away. It wasn’t so much that there concert last year was really great, but because their support was CSS! Two of the bands I’ve been listening to lately on the same bill? I’m so there. The only problem was that the date was August 5th, which is kind of when I was supposed to be on honeymoon. Fortunately, we hadn’t booked any flights yet, so we were able to delay going on our honeymoon until after the concert!

The concert was tonight, and it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. There were actually 4 bands that night, but we arrived just in time to see CSS get on stage. I was a bit disappointed in their set for two reasons: 1) the sound wasn’t that great (it seemed too loud), and 2) they played every other good song except Patins!!

The Go! Team was also a bit of a disappointment (although it would be hard to top the previous concert). They had sound problems in the first half of the set, so the balance between the instruments were off to a point where I didn’t recognize some of the songs until their hooks. There also wasn’t enough energy on the part of the crowd to really get the place jumping. There was vibration but no standing wave effect.

It’s been a hectic little while, and as you can tell I haven’t been blogging. I’m on holiday now, because today is a flex today (4-day weekend) at work; but before this, I had to charge ahead and finish up my deliverables and delegate my tasks to other people. I’m gone for 17 work days in a row!

Aside from work, I’ve been at the airport a lot and driving people around as my family has been arriving the last few days. The last two or three days have been committed entirely to dealing with family issues, so it’s fortunate that the wedding planning has been falling into place. I guess I have a lot I could write about, and maybe I’ll get around to blogging about it – but probably not, since I’m leaving for Japan soon.

We went to get our marriage license before work this morning. There is apparently a time limit on the license (so you can’t have second thoughts) which prevented us from getting it earlier. The process is pretty simple; you specify your and your parents’ information, whether you have been previously married, and whether you follow any religion. You verify your identity, pay your fee and you’re all ready to be married.

We saw another couple while we were there and they didn’t seem as prepared as we were. They did bring their passports and had filled out the marriage license application, but then the clerk asked them whether they had a chapel or not (they didn’t) and asked them about an officiant (a who??). They seemed really young, maybe 16 or 17 (but I’m not the greatest at judging ages) and decided to book the chapel for the coming Friday at 5PM! I wonder if they also bought a wedding planning kit at Walmart??

I have a big list of things, scheduled by month, to do before the big day in the summer. Of course, as with all big projects; things slip. So I’m still working on stuff that’s on my agenda for April. The last week I’ve been working aggressively on catching up to the schedule, although I STILL have April items left to do, but I have been making progress on some May and June items.

  • On Sunday, Pauline and her sister, Kitty, Mana and I went down to Buffalo to pick up the bridesmaid dresses, and I bought my vest and tie. So my clothing is finally done, except it needs to get altered (and I possibly need shoes). We expected to get tax, bringing in over $600 even with creative dressing habits. But when we declared the full amount (and said we were only across the border for 8 hours), we were still let go without taxes!
  • Pauline and I started the process of designing our wedding bands. I originally wanted something minimalistic, but it seems as though that might be too plain. I’ve started looking around online for some ideas, boy there are a lot of ideas.
  • We bought our wedding favors online, although we had to pay ridiculous shipping because we had to ship across the border. It was tough really because we had to estimate the number of guests. We had sent out the invitations awhile ago, and have been receiving some responses; but we’re nowhere near a concrete count.
  • We had our menu tasting on Friday and finalized some of the details for the reception. I took some photos of the food, maybe I should put them up on the Facebook event for everyone to salivate 🙂

So that’s the update so far. It sure felt like I got more done than this list.

Before work today, I headed over to what I guess was the Richmond Hill city hall to book a permit for wedding photography. Since I don’t live in Richmond Hill and previously never had to deal with the city, I’ve never visited their city offices. But I have visited the Scarborough ones (in Civic Centre), the North York one (around Mel Lastman Square — North York Civic Centre?), and the Markham one (at Markham Civic Centre). The difference with Richmond Hill was that the offices are in a normal high rise. In fact, I drove past it the first time because I didn’t expect it to be a generic office tower!

Surprisingly, the non-descript office tower houses the various city deparments and the council chambers! It must be depressing to be mayor, and work in a typical office building. The Parks & Rec offices are the best though, they’re on the top (8th floor) and have a nice view over the area, which mainly consists of Times Square, the various eateries on East Beaver Creek and some AMD buildings in the distance.

March came in like a lamb this year, which was a refreshing change from winter-y February. I spent a lot of this month dealing with Rain. The rain started falling in place of snow in the middle of the month (Hello Spring!) and I had to deal with it (and wind) while walking around Paris.

The highlight of the month was the (less than a) week that Pauline and I spent in Paris. I had visited previously but this was Pauline’s first time. We visited a bunch of places, did a lot of stuff, and I am continuing to blog about it.

In addition to the vacation expenditure, I spent a lot of money on other stuff. We made a trip to Buffalo and bought various Wedding-related things, I bought a tuxedo, and paid (received delivery finally) for our wedding invitations (which is really only half the battle since I still had to assemble, label, and mail them). I also bought an iPod Shuffle, went to the TSO and went to a couple of parties.

The big news this month was former NY Attorney General and now former Governor Eliot Spitzer being caught soliciting a prostitute, JPMorganChase buying a near-bankrupt Bear Stearns for $2/share with foreshadowing of further US financial market collapses, and the civil unrest in Tibet.

After a long process that started in January, we finally received delivery of our wedding invitations this week. But even that is only halfway there, since we need to actually deliver the invitations to all of you, which involves collecting and organizing your names and addresses. On Good Friday, we tried to do some of that effort, but because everything was closed we weren’t able to head over to Staples and buy labels. Friday night I headed over to Horace’s house to play some board games with Rishi and Aaron.

On Saturday, I bought some labels and then met up with Peter, Nelson and Victor to look at formal wear. There’s a convenient stretch of street at Yonge/Steeles that has a Moore’s, Syd Silver and Freeman’s within walking distance. In a little two hours, we visited all three and got all our business sorted out! After dinner, we headed over to Adrienne’s place for her keg party. Someone brought over Rock Band, and I tried it for the first time. I got stuck singing most of the time because my revolving-door band mates didn’t like singing, although I did end up trying the guitar too. I never tried the drums, but it seems to be pretty hard because you also have to use your foot in time with your hands. Originally, I was impressed by the selection of songs, as in they had songs that I would have wanted to play if I started a cover band; but after awhile the selection did feel limited (I guess that’s why there’s downloadable content). There was also a foosball table, and I played too/so much foos that my arms were sore the next day (I haven’t played in a few years).

Sunday, the day of rest, involved a lot of work. Since I finally had labels, I started printing and sticking labels and (carefully) stuffing envelopes. It’s not as easy as it sounds because it’s actually quite difficult to get the labels centered (horizontally AND vertically) and straight. The extra ~$1.5 per invitation it would’ve cost to print the destination and return addresses on the envelope doesn’t sound like such a bad idea anymore!

Last Saturday, I went down to Buffalo with Pauline, Ida, Kitty and Joe to take a look at bridesmaid dresses and other adventures. It was the march break weekend so we were worried that there would be a lot of traffic from other cross-border shoppers, but surprisingly we were able to cross at Queenston-Lewiston in about half an hour.

Our other adventures included eating at Cheeburger Cheeburger for lunch (at 3 in the afternoon) because I had a craving for hamburgers. I got a “The Serious” with mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, 2 onion rings and BBQ sauce and it was very filling greasy. I also got a ChocoCola made from Coca Cola and Chocolate syrup. It’s not as bad as it sounds!

After “lunch” we did the usual cross-border shopping. Dinner was again at the Cheesecake Factory, however this time we were smarter about it. We arrived at 7ish and got a place in line, walked around the mall for two hours, and our table was finally ready! I was still full from “lunch” so I just ordered a Big Five but unfortunately forgot to take a picture of it.

On the way back, we tried to pass through with $410 and no exemption limit, so we got called in to pay taxes, which was the first time for me!

Our dance class is done this week; I hope there’s no graduation because we can’t even BS our way through a dancexam. By all accounts, we’ve learned a couple of styles including Tango, Cha-Cha, Rhumba, (English?) Waltz, and Jive; but learning is not the same as doing. Something I’ve realized though is that learning to dance is a lot like learning music (which I guess makes somewhat sense since they’re both arts). You first learn the pattern of steps (i.e., the melody), then you figure out how to make your muscles do what you want them to do, and then finally you work on the finer points like phrasing and positioning. But then what do I know, I’m not a dance instructor.

Pauline and I signed up for a ballroom dancing class for the fall as part of our wedding preparations. There are a lot of places that offer classes, although some seem a bit sketchy as they don’t seem to a big enough business to do it properly; something that reminds me of Asian tutorial places but I digress.
We registered with the Toronto Parks and Rec’s classes because they were cheaper (yay for services subsidized by taxes, yay for classes not being scheduled on Mondays); and well as beginners, it wouldn’t make much of a difference right? Well I can’t speak for the other more expensive “schools”, but I find the instruction for our course lacking.

The first day I showed up (Pauline was running late), realistically on time but literally maybe 5 minutes late. The “class” was already in session and everyone was already repeating various steps around “position 3”. I doubt that the instructors were able to introduce themselves, outline what we would learn in class, and teach position 3 (what about positions 1 and 2?) in 5 minutes.

That was not a good start, and the lack of pedagogy would continue. We “learned” by example, trying to move our uncoordinated feet and bodies in the same manner. Although it wasn’t all bad, the instructors came around sparingly and gave some 1-on-1 help to struggling students, but mostly by example again. I say sparingly because the class was huge. The course was only for beginners, but that didn’t stop intermediate dancers from signing up, which lead to a disparate group of skill levels mostly practicing and learning things at the wrong level.

I suppose the course is a first step in the right direction, but we’re going to need some better direction and choreography to pull this off!

Last Friday, Pauline and I went into the studio to take our wedding pictures as part of the photography package we had purchased earlier. We had booked the date 2 months earlier, but the actual day itself seemed to have crept up unexpectedly. It basically appeared on our radar within the last week, and manifested itself in a couple of ways. First, we had to make sure we didn’t get sunburnt in the 24/7 sunny days of Quebec. Then, we had to figure out where we wanted our outdoor pictures to be taken. The latter ended up being a pretty long process because it turns out that you need a permit for formal photography anywhere. There was also a lot of things that we were supposed to do, but unfortunately all the instructions were in chinese writing so we had to rely on our memory. The only one that affected me was that I couldn’t drink a lot of water (and look bloated), but Pauline had a lot of esoteric cosmetic things to follow.

On the day itself, we showed up at 11 in the morning. We were lucky that we were the only couple taking photos that day, so we were able to arrive an hour later than usual. The makeup lady was late, but once she arrived, she spent an hour to doing Pauline’s hair and makeup. I also got some sort of makeup, no idea what it was though. After getting changed, we headed into the studio. It was pretty plain; a darkish room with a changeable backdrop. For the camera geeks (i.e., me), they used a D200 with a 17-55mm f/2.8 ($1800 lens!), a wireless commander and 4 light slaves. The process of getting the photos taken was an experience. The photographer spent a few minutes posing us and then took a picture; rinse and repeat for 20 or so photos per outfit.

In the studio, Pauline had 4 outfits (including a bonus one because the makeup lady was late), and I had 3. We were in the studio for almost 5 hours before we headed out to do our outdoor shots. I won’t spill where we went, you can try and guess when you see the photos; but it wasn’t a traditional location (i.e., not Edward Gardens, Main Street Unionville, etc). The photographer was taking everything in RAW, which I realized after he kept focusing on the sun. In retrospect, it’s obvious that pros would be taking in RAW; but I guess it didn’t occur to me because I’m not one.

We spent another 2 hours or so taking another 20-30 pictures before heading back and ending our 8 hour day! I was wearing white (and Pauline’s dress was also white), but we did some messy stuff that we wouldn’t dare to if we owned the clothes (e.g., sat/laid on wet grass, walked around bird doo, sat on rocks). I guess that’s why we end up paying the money. It seemed worth it, but we’ll need to see the pictures to be sure.

Taking a page from the Marginal Revolution school of blogging; the most interesting thing I’ve read today:

In a long term relationship, I think of there being at least five legs to the table:

safety: financial and physical, can you meet your needs together, are you healthy for each other?

sexual: well, you know what that is.

friendship: do you entertain and interest each other when you are not having sex?

social: do you make a unit that reinforces your standing in the context of work, family, friends?

domestic: is daily life more pleasant, do you enjoy and provide each other with food, comfortable bedding, other everyday human comforts and considerations?

With all five legs you can dance on the table like a crazy fool, and it will still stand. It will stand even with three legs, but then you will have to be more careful not to tip it over.

Nothing to blog about today, so let me tell you about my weekend.

On Friday, we decided to meet up and see some more Luminato events. We went down to BCE Place to see the floating artworks and to have dinner at Richtree. I met up with Joe and Peter on time, but everyone else was an hour late so we wasted time by taking lots of random pictures, mostly of Peter as a male model. Afterwards, we headed off to the TD Centre for some more floating art. The best piece, which consisted of floating balloons was still in the process of being setup so we couldn’t actually see it. Overall however, the floating artworks were a deflating experience.

Afterwards we went off to the Harbourfront to check out Pulse Front. It wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be, but it was art produced by the public, so I guess it is good in away. I tried to take some pictures here, but it was just too dark (couldn’t see the settings on my camera). Also, no one brought a tripod so I couldn’t do long exposures properly. We made a half-hearted attempt to look through the Carnivalissima but it was kind of boring. I went home after this, passing the last floating artworks exhibit at Union Station which consisted of four huge horses suspended from the ceiling.

On Saturday, I went to Mandarin but I was tired from the night before so my pronunciation was pretty far out. Afterwards I worked on Pauline’s marking backlog. On Sunday, Pauline went to pick her photo shoot dresses with Kitty and Ida and I tagged along for the trip. I felt liberated because for once I didn’t have to lug my camera around. In any case, that day can be summed up as: “Now I know how Kitty feels when we talk about Warcraft”.

This weekend, Pauline and I dropped almost 6 grand on our wedding. I guess you could say committed, because we really only dropped like $2.5k. I wish I had a detailed itemized checklist of what needs to be done and bought, so that I can check things off, but no such luck. But here is what we now have planned:

  • Wedding day photography
  • Wedding day videography
  • Wedding photo album
  • Studio/glamour pictures
  • Pauline’s various dresses for the reception
  • Wedding day makeup and hair
  • Maybe a wedding dress
  • That big portrait that you hang outside your wedding reception, and then relegate to the basement (unless you’re really vain)

Doesn’t seem like a lot of bang for your (well, mine) buck does it? The competition charges around the same amount so there’s not much difference anyways. Why did we pick the one we did? Aside from the fact that it doesn’t have a website, it seemed as if they were ok. They touch-up their photos to give everyone a magazine look, and their photographers seemed to have some knowledge of photography. Another place we went to had a huge picture of a bride, but her face was out-of-focus while her hands/arms were in focus, and no it wasn’t an artistic shot. Gah.

The National Bridal Show wasn’t too bad. Here are some notes:

  • Lots of draws and places you have to fill in your information, good bet to invest in stickers or something
  • Lots of those thick wedding magazines and planners for free, but you have to fill in stuff (see above point) to get one
  • Also a lot of volumous bags, many of them shoulder-able, which is great when you’re carrying around a couple of textbooks worth of magazines. Ashley also had a neat Warhol-esque bag which is fashionable
  • Free cake was the best freebie, but aside from bags and magazines, there wasn’t much else
  • The vendors basically have no good icebreakers, so they just ask you when’s your wedding over and over again
  • 400 exhibitors isn’t a lot, and it only takes 2 or 3 hours to go through
  • Brides-to-bes can get in free with an email printout, and I got a $5-off coupon, so $10 for us both — pretty affordable
  • There was a greeter dressed up in a bridal dress decorated in the style of the Yellow Pages website
  • These shows are horrible for the environment, I threw out so much paper

Last weekend, Pauline and I went to the Markham Bridal Show at the Angus Glen Golf Club. This was a small bridal show, featuring only 40 exhibitors and most of them were local (as in Markham/Unionville businesses). It was also much cheaper than the Total Wedding Show (which was also on last weekend), $2 compared to $15 or $20 or whatever it was.

This was the first bridal show we’ve been to, and I guess it was an opportunity to see what these types of shows were like. The types of businesses were pretty clear cut. You had your makeup and cosmetics, flowers, dresses, honeymoon destinations, chocolates, cakes, invitations and other paperwork, photography and videography, wedding consulting, and sound.

For us, because our wedding date is so far in the future, it was mostly an opportunity to pick up business cards for future reference. We ended up with one of those Holt Renfrew style bags full of stuff! And this was only 40 exhibitors, I wonder what’s going to happen this weekend when we visit the 350ish exhibitors at the National Wedding Show??

Ideally, I would have wanted to maximize the time spent in Calgary and would have stayed for the weekend, but being back on a Friday meant that I had the chance to unpack and unwind (or wind up I guess) before Monday. So I did that. Then Nelson calls me and asks if I was at the Wedding show. Oops! I forgot all about the fact that my January weekends would be filled by wedding shows. Fortunately, there is one this weekend; Canada’s Wedding Expo at the Rogers Centre features over 450 exhibitors. The noteworthy event for this show is that they’re trying to get a Guiness World Record by having 7000 couples hold a 10 second kiss at the same time, but I don’t know if that is worth a $20 (each) admission fee!

Anyways, Pauline and I have been spending some cycles shopping for a condo. Not serious shopping (I think…) but visiting several sales offices to see the lay of the land so to speak. Hmm what else to say about this? Well it seems that roof-top lounges are now very popular, which means that you will be able to spend your evenings peeping into the roof-top lounges of your neighbours’ building as they peep into yours. Gotta love the view.

Pauline and I have been trying for a couple of weeks to setup a joint account to no avail. We tried to goto a couple of banks on Saturday afternoon but we were too late for all of them; including TD Canada Trust who you may recall runs the advertisement where that really slow walking guy can bank at his own pace. Yeah, apparently we’re slower than that.

We also spent some time thinking about where to hold our reception, but that’s not getting very far. What we do know is that most places can hold in the range of 15-25 tables of 10 people each. Pauline’s initial reaction was that we couldn’t fill up 15 tables, but that didn’t turn out to be accurate. Later, we started listing who we must invite, and with the help of the collaborative features of Google Docs, I think we’re already up to 18 tables. That’s $20k right there. I wish I was a hermit, then I would only need to invite the people who read my blog. Or … I could invite only the people that read my blog, so consider yourself lucky that you’re invited. RSVP via comments.

I’ve been trying to find another niche topic to start a blog about and earn some more AdSense revenue. Unfortunately, nothing comes to mind that is a engaging topic, easy to do, and something I’m interested in. The closest thing to those requirements would be a Toronto-centric wedding blog.

For sure, I want to capture my thought process and activities during wedding planning so I can look back and read about it later; and a blog would be perfect for something like this. However, I was thinking that a wiki would be a better medium for collecting wedding-related information. But if I were to use a wiki, I can’t figure out where to put ads on (you can just edit them out again!). Then there is also the whole thing about not putting your private life online, which would take a lot of useful and interesting information out of the wedding wiki/blog.