the groomsmen

February 25th, 2010

It was a long and difficult decision for us to narrow down our many guy friends into a short list of 5. Check out who we had chosen to be our groomsmen in the Wedding Party page. Read their profile (written by Rob); get to know them.

my real gown

February 21st, 2010

Before I say anything, take a good look at this photo:

Doesn’t it just take your breath away?

Now let me get into the long story of the last few weeks’ roller coaster of emotions. Remember my blog from January describing the Ines di Santo dream gown I fell for but had a hefty $5k+ price tag? (I found out that it’s actually about $7,500) First of all, it is the one pictured above. I know I had a really crappy photo of it in my previous post, but the image above just sums up all my emotions for this story…

In a matter of 2 weeks I went from a state of:

  • being set with my Blue by Enzoani Aspen gown (even taking it to the tailor)
  • to seeing my dream gown on another bride which made me yearn for it even more
  • to finding it 2nd hand online in a size a tad bit too big with a $4k price tag attached
  • to being able to bargain it down to half of the asking price
  • to stressing over if I am really out of my mind crazy in buying a 2nd gown
  • to hurriedly halting the tailor on making any changes to my 1st gown
  • to putting all my trust in Laura to pick up the new gown and paying for it
  • to rushing to get it over to Cali from NY to find a few imperfections
  • to now playing the waiting game to see what magic the tailor can do to bring it in and hem it up to fit me.

The last gal who wore it was 5′ 8″ tall and I’m about 4″ shorter than that so let’s see what she can do…more on that once I get the gown back on March 1st.

I could not resist myself after seeing the image above and neither could any of my other girlfriends who all encouraged me to get the gown I really wanted. You only get married once they keep saying and the price of the gown was not bad at all. Now I could only hope the tailor will work her magic and also hope to look even as close to gorgeous as this bride pictured below who re-ignited my love for the gown, forcing me in the first place to search for it online to see if anyone was selling it 2nd hand. Sometimes I think it was meant to be, like fate would have it. KimChi found the blog of this gal’s wedding, her showing me the photos, me falling madly in love with it, wanting it so badly–I don’t remember the last time feeling so passionately about wanting something this badly, finding it, seeing the high price tag, asking for half the price and the gal agreeing to it. It seemed all too easy, but in a way it had to be fate. The dress and I were meant to be together.

As you can see, I am stuck with 2 wedding gowns. I need to sell the Enzoani Aspen gown ASAP. There aren’t that many girls out there who would first of all like the gown and also be a bridal size 2. So what I’m asking is if you know anyone getting married soon that is my size, please pass along the word that I am willing to sell my brand new, never been worn Enzoani Aspen gown for less than what I paid. I still love that gown very much as well, but I truly cannot have 2 gowns. I had to choose my 1st love.

if you want to see more photos of the gal above in the gown, click here. She had her fairy tale wedding in Italy. Also note that I did not buy this exact same gown from the gal pictured above. Her photos inspired me to look for it 2nd hand online. I did get the same color but from a different girl who was selling it.

Oh’s my dearest Laura at Chealsea Piers with the gown. She was going to be late to Rosalia’s ice skating competition if she dropped it off at home first so she had to lug it around for a few hours. Thanks so much my dear!! I owe you!

my shoes

February 17th, 2010

For the perfect dress you need the perfect shoes. I’m sure most brides out there carefully choose their shoes as much as they do their gown. It’s probably one of the top 3 accessories a bride will take extra care in selecting (after the ring and the groom).

When I first laid eyes on these Giuseppe Zanotti heels (almost a year ago) they were selling at Neiman Marcus for over $1,000! Although I had not chosen a gown yet,  I knew I had to have these as my wedding day shoes.  I was of course discouraged from the price tag, but about 6 months later I was fortunate enough to find them on at a discount in a half size smaller than what I normally wear. I figured they are open, strappy sandals so a half size smaller wouldn’t hurt.  On top of it being discounted I found a coupon code for an additional 30% off. Needless to say I got them at about 70% off retail pricing. This goes to show that patience certainly does pay off. Even with the discount they are still the most expensive shoes I own (probably ever will!).

Description:  slim light gold leather straps, gorgeous Swarovski crystals, and a gold metallic stiletto heel.

don’t you love ’em? I certainly do! Everything about it is perfect. (just hope I can wear them for hours on end that day)

engaged encounter retreat

February 5th, 2010

Robert and I spent this past weekend at a retreat called Engaged Encounter held at the Marywood Pastoral Center in Orange. It’s a Catholic based retreat meant to prepare engaged couples for marriage. Their slogan says it all:

A Wedding is a Day. A Marriage is a Lifetime.

I couldn’t agree more! We tend to get wrapped up in the planning of the wedding day itself that we forget to plan and talk thru all the important things that will make for a life-long happy marriage. We showed up to it not expecting much at all, but actually dreading it to be such a long, isolated weekend away from our normal life. Now words can’t express how thankful we are to have gone thru and experienced this weekend for one another. It has really brought us even closer than I thought possible, to a deeper understanding of one another, and to an unconditional love I’ve never felt before.

a recap of the entire weekend…the good, the bad, and the really good! Continue on for a close-up insider look of an engaged encounter weekend.

The weekend started off with check-in at 7pm on Friday evening. Upon check-in we were given cute name tags with each other’s names on them. There were 2 Thao’s and like 4 Robert’s there that weekend. Can you imagine how confusing it would have been without our significant other’s names on the tags as well?

I was mostly nervous as to who I would be sharing a dormitory style room with. Will she be a sleep talker? Can I trust her with my things? Turns out I got to dorm with a nice young Vietnamese girl named Kathy who will be marrying Peter in May. She gave us a referral to a great cake vendor which we hope will work out.

Here’s an exterior shot of our dorm building.

Here are shots of the dorm room.

The bed was ok and I was cold most the night. I kept tossing and turning both nights waking up at least 20 times. Rob though, slept like a baby. He was lucky enough to get his own room since his roomie didn’t show.

Showers and bathrooms are also dormitory–down the hall and shared. We weren’t very happy with the shower heads AT ALL! First, they were about my height so still too short for me but can you imagine how short for Rob? He had to crouch down pretty low to wash his hair. The worst part was they hurt SO BAD! It’s like a pressure washer spraying at your naked body. TMI, but I had to cover a few sensitive body parts for protection. Good thing was, there was plenty of hot water.

I also wasn’t too fond of the tight schedule. Wake up call at 6:45AM?? OMG. I need my full 8 hours to be happy, but with it being so cold, bed not being so great, and discussions until at least 10~11pm I thought I wouldn’t be able to give my 100% to the topics at hand.

To the 2nd most important part of the weekend: the food. It was not bad at all. My favorite meal was breakfast probably because I rarely ever get to have a full on breakfast in my normal every day life. Pancakes on Saturday morning were my favorite. A few dishes are pictured below.

love me some bread and butter!

Our first meeting started at 8pm right after check-in. We each got notebooks that contain the general agenda for the weekend and the outline of topics with sections to take notes and write our thoughts in. Little did I know that these notebooks will become a very important, huge source of reference for our marriage life.

Each topic had an art work and saying attached to it; just for inspiration or a lack of a better visual. All the topics required active listening so it could get a little hard to concentrate. Topics start off with the real life couple, who would lead us thru our weekend, share with us their experiences, thoughts, and feelings on the topic while Father Mark chimed in on how it relates to religious life and the Church. We would then break away from our fiance for 20 minutes to reflect and answer a few questions related to the topic. Afterwards we’d find one another to exchange notebooks and read each others responses.

Photo of some of the artwork boards.

Some of the sayings: (click on the image for a larger view to read them)

This was my favorite saying of the weekend:

Having to actually write versus type answers was a bit of a change. We’re so used to typing these days with the ease of editing on a screen that we had to think hard before putting ink to paper. Getting to read each others responses on the same subject without any prior mutual discussion on it is a rarity. It really opens up our minds to each others thoughts and opinions without being critical or judgmental; we’re actually being truthful to one another. Below is a recap of some of the subjects we touched upon:

  • Openness in Communication
  • Signs of a Closed Relationship
  • Decisions in Marriage
  • Intimacy (into me see)
  • Family
  • Betrothal
  • Forgiveness
  • Sharing a Vision

Just from the list of topics above, you can already tell that it gets pretty deep and pretty personal. I had to hold back tears at least a dozen times from the real life stories the couples shared with us and especially when I read Robert’s responses on some the topics.

Betrothal was a biggie. What does betrothal mean anyway? A public pledge of love and commitment to take practical, concrete steps to prepare for marriage. After we wrote our betrothal to one another, Rob came looking for me with a red rose in hand. I gave him a looong, huge hug. We then exchanged notebooks and read and re-read each others betrothal in silence. It was so amazing to see written words of a pledge of love made to me. *tear*

My favorite part of our couples discussion was getting to make a list of our priorities/values for our future marriage life together. We got to rank in what priority we would spend our money (clothing, food, savings, home, entertainment, etc), how we would spend our time (together, work, sleep, tv, hobbies, parents, etc), and the people in our lives (friends, family, one another, children, etc). Of course this list would change as our marriage grows and our priorities change, but it was such a relief to be able to decide on these very important topics together. It was really a great first step (exercise) in making major decisions together as one unit, one family.

On Saturday evening we got a little bit of a treat from the lead couple who have a co-op at an Oregon vineyard. They grow and ferment their own wine labeling it Fermenting Friends Winery. We got to try several different red and white wines along with some cheese, crackers, and grapes. Such a nice surprise for a long weekend.

Here’s our view of OC that Saturday night.

Of course we passed the course with flying colors. I’m so proud of Rob for going thru the entire weekend with me. I love him with all my heart and am so happy to be spending the rest of my life with him. Can’t wait for our journey as husband and wife to begin.

Rob with our certificate.