our wedding favors

September 29th, 2010

I’d like to say we had 6 favors given out at our wedding, maybe 7 or 8. A lot, huh? Not all our guests partook in all, but at least we know everyone got a bit of something as a thanks for attending our wedding. With that many favors to talk about, this is going to be a mega post so brace yourselves.

1 – silk folding fans

We purchased 50 ivory and 50 chocolate colored silk folding fans from CraftsNFavors. The colors matched our theme and were just a small gift to keep our guests cool. Thank goodness it wasn’t as warm as we feared it to be–100 fans wouldn’t have been enough for all 360 guests.

Stock image from the website.

We purchased a 100′ spool of purple satin ribbon from the Wedding Channel Store to tie onto the fans. Our names and wedding date were personalized in gold foil.

The fans were lined up in a wicker basket courtesy of Tdang. A sign was placed on the wicker basket’s flap to encourage guests to use the fans.

Detailed shot of the ribbon.

2 – silhouette artist

In late June I had blogged about our silhouette artist, Karl Johnson. Now you get to see him in action at our wedding.

I was the first to get my silhouette cut.

This was his set-up.

Karl at work–deep focus and concentration huh?

The final result! How awesome is that?!

Guests glued their silhouettes into a keepsake book that we get to keep.

Our rings with our silhouettes.

3 – placecard frames

We purchased antique gold placecard frames from Bellisimo Favors. These are available at a good number of online favor stores, but I found them to be cheapest here with free shipping, no tax, and a 5% off coupon code. Purchasing such a large number resulted in bulk discounting as well. Each guest took home their name frame as a keepsake.

Workshop for printing, cutting, and inserting in names. Anh, Quang, Nancy, Jen, Thanh, and Tony helped out.

The work in progress stack of frames.

My cousin, Quang, and his then gf now fiance, Nancy, helping out.

Here’s how they turned out at our sweetheart table.

Again, I think it went very well with our theme and colors.

My new name. In case you’re wondering, the cow means I’m having filet. We also had a mushroom icon for vegetarian and kids icon for kids meal.

You can only start to imagine how arduous this process was. With titles in the Vietnamese language varying for aunts and uncles according to their rank, we had to do a lot of reprinting and restuffing due to errors. Plus with the constant changes to the seating chart I kept having to go back and forth to restack the frames according to table assignment. Glad it’s over!

4 – candy station

Our good friend, Boumy, of Boomies Goodies set up our candy station. We gave her a budget and a short list of our favorite candies and she ran with it.

Bon bons were the must have candy at the station. It’s reminiscent of our high school days where we first started dating when the French Club would sell them as a fundraiser item. There were also egg shaped candies to go with the bird theme.

Reese’s pieces peanut butter cups are also favs of ours. Green and red moss were used to decorate the station along with 2 tree stumps that Nancy worked so hard to find, cut, and make perfect for us.

Boumy carefully chose these canvas sacks to hold the candies and personally made each tag incorporating our love birds theme.

Boumy also made the candy shop sign.

The candy station was such a big hit that neither of us had a chance to see it with our own eyes. I was busy changing into my “beyonce” outfit and rehearsing one last time before the live performance. It was wiped clean by the time I got to see it.

5 – photobooth

This photobooth belongs to Thao Vu Photography (me and Duy). It is our first and was used for the very first time at my wedding. After 4 months, Duy almost single handedly built this from scratch. I didn’t want to spend $1k+ to rent one; instead, we invested the money to build one so we can rent it out for future events.

Guests using the photobooth.

These birds look familiar? You must be sick of ’em by now! hahaha. Tony had also made the sticker with his vinyl cutting machine.

Huge hit! Check out the line!!

A fun one with the bridesmaids.

Me and my dancers and one with Rob.

6 – framed photos

This might be the craziest thing we did for the wedding b/c it was done so far in advance.

On Black Friday 2006 I saw in a Target ad these beautiful frames for sale. I playfully thought, “oh these would be perfect as favors for my wedding!” even though I was no where close to getting married. I suggested it to Rob thinking he’d flatly say, “no, you’re crazy.” In the end he supported my trip to several Targets in the area to pick up ~200 4″ x 6″ frames in gold, copper, brushed gold, brushed silver, and black. We stored them for over 3 years before finally getting to pass them out as favors.

At the time I had no idea what wedding color theme we were going with so we picked up all 5 colors. Going into it black didn’t work so I had given them out as favors at my bridal shower, keeping the other 4 colors for the wedding.

Funny coincidence: a couple days after I purchased these frames I attended my friend, Judy’s, bridal shower. She had these same frames in various colors and sizes as favors for her shower. What a small world! I didn’t peep up about it at the time.

Here are all 4 color frames.

Just so our guests never forget where they got these frames from, we embossed the word ‘thank you’ and our names with wedding date on the backside. Anh, Anne, Julie, Jen, and Huyen helped me during the various states of embossing, alternating the colors, and packing them up.

Anh and Anne helping me out back in April.

The frames newly embossed lying out to dry.

Stacked with protective backing.

Here I am setting the powder on and heating the powder.

We even embossed with 3 color powders of copper, gold, and silver to match the frame itself.

We ordered a custom rubber stamp for our names and wedding date online from RubberStamps. Very affordable and easy! Just submit your design.

Now, not only did guests get these frames to take home but they also got to take it home with a photo taken with us in it. During cocktail hour Duy took photos of us with each of our guests. They were printed on site (using our photobooth printer) and stuffed into the frames in time for guests to pick up on their way out. This is where I really needed the assistance of my coordinator, Kelly Duprat, and her staff to complete for us.

One of the actual photos with a couple of our guests: Mai & Michael.

A photo with my parents.

I would borderline say the #7 favor were the birdcage centerpieces that went to only a few lucky folks who won the drawing at each table. We had purchased mini billiards balls and kept only the #’s 1-10. Placecard frames at each table were numbered randomly from 1-10 on the backside. When we did our table greetings we had a mini lottery to see who would get to take the centerpiece home.

The number we pull out of the bag is the winner! Guests check the back of their name frames to see if they are the lucky winner. It was a lot of fun and guests looked forward to us visiting their table just for this drawing.

Another borderline favor were the table numbers. I totally did not expect people to take home these framed table numbers. We only got back 6 of 36! I really wanted to get back the #’s 7, 31, and 10 to represent our wedding date. Guess that didn’t work out!

These copper 4″ x 6″ frames were on sale at Target. The number design is pre-printed and sold in packs of a dozen numbers (1-12, 13-24, etc).

Now can you evidently see my love for frames and photos? It was all over the place and I couldn’t get enough of ’em so I had to give ’em out as favors and share my love. Our guests were definitely spoiled. That’s just our style though, we spoil the people we love. =)

Images from the wedding courtesy of Kim Le Photography.

newlyweds game

September 26th, 2010

You may be wondering, “what’s this newlyweds game all about?” Well, let me explain. Two chairs are set back to back in the middle of the dance floor where the bride and groom will be seated.  Each will have a pink (pink representing the bride) and blue flag (blue representing the groom). A series of questions is asked and they will raise the color flag that they believe is the best answer. Sometimes you’ll see some great hesitation expressions like they’re really not sure, or sometimes the bride will put up her flag first, and then the groom will put his up. It’s hilarious and gets everyone laughing.

As a wedding photographer I’ve watched this game played twice before and knew I wanted to play it at mine. Guests are on the edge of their seats waiting for the flags to rise and crack up real good from the agreements and disagreements between the couple. The problem was I knew most the typical questions that are asked so there’s no surprise element there for me. So, I asked one of my bridesmaids, Anh, to come up with some new questions for us to answer that day.

Here’s the list of questions that were asked of Robert and I.

  1. Who was the first to say “I LOVE YOU?”
  2. Who will be doing the cooking from now on?
  3. Who’s most likely to be running late?
  4. Who spends more time checking them self out in the mirror?
  5. Who spends more money?
  6. Who talks too much?
  7. Who’s the better kisser?
  8. Who’s the one that decides where to eat?
  9. Who is the water waster?
  10. Who’s the first one to make up and apologize after a fight?
  11. Who’s the one that started the fight in the first place?
  12. And finally…who is the better catch?

Our hot mama friend, Helen, was the fabulous, energetic MC for this game.

As explained above, Rob did seem confused on how to answer some questions, but also laughed at them.

We mostly agreed on the answers.

This was my response to the last question asked.

The last 3 images courtesy of Kim Le Photography.

our blog award

September 23rd, 2010

We were surprised to receive an unexpected weighty package in the mail today. Strange, I thought, I don’t remember ordering anything. Low and behold aisle dash delivered as promised–we got our Waterford crystal award! Keep in mind that it’s not your traditional award like a plaque, medal, or statue but it’s just as nice and fancy.

Here’s the box itself. Thick and sturdy!

The opening of the award box–feels just like Christmas!!

VOILA! Presenting our award, errr–bowl, if you may.

Yup, it’s an heirloom crystal bowl with an engraving on the side. In case you can’t read the tiny print it says:

Best Real Bride’s Blog
Thao & Robert – Our Wedding Blog

Here is a stock image of the bowl. It’s valued at about $300. Not too shabby for an amateur blogger’s award eh? Especially for doing something that was completely for fun.

ao dai

September 23rd, 2010

Back in early April I blogged about the details of the ao dai fabric choosing, making process. Now it’s time to show you how it all turned out on the wedding day.

The first is a fuchsia number with sequins in swirly lines all around. I wore this in the morning for the 2 tea ceremonies that took place at my parents’ home and then at Rob’s mother’s home.

Here’s Anh and Jen helping me get ready.

Detail shot of the headpiece.

My aunt, Paula, leading me out for the 1st tea ceremony. You can see that my sleeves were not double layered so its see-thru where as the rest of the gown is double layered underneath in red.

Here I am being presented as the bride to Rob’s side of the family.

Rob and I are like glued together all day!

Here’s a nice side shot of the entire outfit. Pants are pretty fuchsia too, huh? I was so PINK from head to toe. With it being almost floor length it makes me look even taller.

A couple of portraits with the man I’m about to be married off to.

I love this shot of me and my God daughter, Elise, who was a flowergirl.

My 2nd ao dai was a copper number that I wore during the reception. Unlike the first, this one had sequins in every square millimeter of fabric. It did have a lining layer of thin tulle but it did the trick to prevent it from being completely transparent. It’s fun how you can layer ao dai’s with different color fabrics and it ends up being a totally different piece.

Here I am right after changing, walking across the bridge to the reception area with 3 of my bridesmaids. Very sex and the city eh?

With the ever so beautiful Thy.

With 3 of my co-workers.

The gold earrings are from the line Nadri that I picked up from Nordstrom.

With the string lights at the reception I was a walking glitter machine.

Glad I got to wear a traditional gown b/c it’s probably the only time I will ever wear one in my life. Thanks, Momma, for all your help on it. I loved how they both turned out.

Photos courtesy of Kim Le Photography.

wooden signs

September 21st, 2010

As you can tell, many elements were DIY (do it yourself) projects including all these wooden signs featured on our wedding day. The first you already know about from my blog back in July regarding the road signs. Most made by my now future cousin-in-law, Nancy (my cousin, Quang, proposed just weeks ago!). There were just a few other wooden projects we threw into the mix. I found these projects to be challenging, fun, and stressful, but in the end very rewarding. It’s the pride I get in knowing sweat, love, and much care were put into making them.

Here are the 3 road signs that lead to our reception venue:

The 1st sign indicating up ahead.

The 2nd indicating left here.

The last indicating right here which was placed right outside the gates to Rancho Las Lomas.

My coordinator, Kelly Duprat, worked tirelessly to buy balloons and put them up all along the way leading up to the venue. She also posted up the wooden road signs you see above. That was only 1 very good reason I desperately needed an extra hired hand that day.

The second set of wooden signs we made were for the seating chart. It started off being a simpler cardboard with paper idea project which turned into something much more complicated, difficult, and elaborate than I had ever imagined. This ended up being the VERY last thing we finished the evening before the wedding.

The 1st of two 4′ x 2′ plywood boards that acted as the seating chart board. Every wood element was stained the same color; even the easels we purchased from Michael’s.

How they looked set-up at the reception check-in area.

Our crafty friend, Stephanie, handwrote all the numbers in gold paint.

Gold paper from Paper Source.

The paper was glued onto the 4″ x 6″ wood blocks with special glue spray. It was a bit messy but did the trick!

If you’ve gone thru a wedding before, you can only imagine why this was done last. With all the changes in seating and last min cancellations, we had to keep moving people around up to the very last minute! Thanks to Tony for cutting and staining the wood and helping Rob nail on the pieces. Like how the pieces are so perfectly lined up? That’s all Rob’s work. Very meticulous and precise.

This 3rd sign we made far in advance with the help of Tony once again. He created a stencil sticker that we stuck onto the wood in which we painted in the letters with brown paint. Stephanie hand drew in the vines in gold paint.

This sign hung at the top of the archway looking into our cake.

The 4th and last set of signs were made by our friend, Boumy, who had also set up the candy station for us. These were also done last minute and decorated thru out the reception where appropriate.

‘Just Married’ was displayed on the halfmoon ledge right next to our sweetheart table.

‘Photobooth’ leaned up against our photobooth station.

‘Candy Shop’ was front and center in front of our candy station.

What the heck are we gonna do with all these signs now that the wedding is over? There’s been talk of a bonfire to gather friends for a relaxing evening at the beach to put these signs to rest. I’m still very fond of ’em since so much care and work were put into them so I’m not sure when I can let ’em all go just yet; perhaps when I run out of storage space. Anyone want to reuse some of ’em?

Photos courtesy of Kim Le Photography.