Vendors


Last night, D. and I met with Nicole from Events of Excellence to finalize the last few details. We picked out linens, china, and flatware.

This linen is called Tatsu Dragon Celadon. The caterer showed us the reverse of this fabric as the right side, and we liked it. The background will be celadon, and the dragon and swirl details will be in gold. All of our guest tables will be covered with this linen. We’re pairing ivory cloth napkins with these linens. The food tables will be covered in a solid celadon linens with either ivory or gold accents.

This linen is for our cake table. We figured with the blue “Such Great Heights” themed cake we should have a blue, whimsical tablecloth to match.

We decided on the square plates instead of standard rounds. For some reason, the square plates work better with the asian fusion theme. Plus, they were only 5 cents more per plate.

We decided on the Torino flatware because the squared handles pair well with the square plates and remind us of chopsticks.

But the best news of all? Nicole will most likely be there at the setup and the beginning of the reception to supervise. Yay! She’s great.

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We’ve ordered our invitations!

I was searching for some unique Japanese themed invitations, when I ran across these cherry blossom invitations on Etsy.

Cherry Blossom

We liked them a lot, but on a whim, I emailed Sandy at Lani Blue Stationery and asked if she could design a koi themed invitation. Not only was she extremely responsive, she actually had been working on a koi design already. I ordered a paper sample kit, and her papers were very nice. If you buy a paper sample kit and then place an order, she will deduct the cost of the sample kit from your purchase. (I think I forgot to mention that I bought a sample kit when I paid. Oops.) We fell in love with the linen paper, but her budget cardstock is nice too.

koi

I sent emails with questions about fonts, textures, wording, etc. , and she was really pleasant. (You have no idea how much I appreciate a kind-hearted vendor right now.) We changed the layout a bit and the one of the fonts. I’ll post a follow up when our invitations are in hand. If they turn out as I expect them to, I’ll be definitely be ordering thank you cards and possibly place cards as well.

So, go poke around on Etsy, you never know what you’ll find.

I don’t want to do this anymore. This whole bridal industrial complex driven process is overwhelming, and the results are underwhelming. If I survive this, you better believe I’m going to post all my negative experiences with vendors here and any where else I can review vendors.  I’m calling you out. There is no reason to be condescending. There is no reason to take advantage of your customers just because the event is a “wedding.”

Vendors, you’d ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

I got a call today from Trudy’s informing me that my dress arrived. What?!? I thought these stupid dresses were supposed to take 4 – 6 months to arrive, and I was given grief by the saleswomen because I hadn’t started looking yet. I went down to the store to make sure everything was okay. I checked the seams, the zipper, buttons, beads… everything. When I tried it on though, I was really disheartened. I really think they put me in the wrong size. I talked with the manager, and she assured me that it would be an easy alteration. I knew that the dress would be a little big and would require alterations, but I just felt so disappointed. I’m not sure why. (and no, Madam Saleslady, putting a veil on my head is not going to make me feel more like a bride.)

It’s a madhouse in there. Trudy’s is crammed with brides and their entourages. I felt out of place, and I started second guessing my selection. It’s not dripping with sequins or rhinestones; it’s not draped in lace. It looks beautiful and elegant, but a touch plain… yet it’s absolutely appropriate and I disliked all the princess-y dresses that I tried on. I came home all sad and close to tears because it wasn’t the experience I imagined it would be. (Lame.)

…at least I have the dress in my possession, and I’ll schedule my first alteration for the last week in April / first week in May.

Oh thank God!

We have less than 6 months to go, and I *think* we’ve found our new location. The Hakone Gardens are the “oldest surviving Japanese-style residential gardens in the Western Hemisphere.

If everything goes as planned, we will have our ceremony in the Hill and Pond Garden on the Moon Bridge and our reception on the back deck of their Cultural Exchange Center.
D. and I visited the location this past Saturday, and we were very excited about it.

Hakone Gardens - Front Gate
Front gate

Hakone Gardens - Hill and Pond Garden
Hill and Pond Garden (Moon Bridge)

Hakone Gardens - Turtle Island
Island connected by Moon Bridge. The island is in the shape of a tortoise.

Hakone Gardens - Moon Bridge
D. on the Moon Bridge standing where we will take our vows.

Hakone Gardens - Koi
Fish!

Hakone Gardens - Waterfall
Waterfall in the Hill and and Pond Garden

Hakone Gardens - Rear
Rear of Cultural Exchange Center on the deck.

Hakone Gardens - Deck view
View from the deck.

So, what do you think?

Below are some pictures of the Ainsley House in Campbell, CA. We decided against the Ainsley House because it doesn’t have a rain plan, and they don’t provide tables and chairs. (Plus, the woman on duty at the Ainsley House gift shop/office was not very nice when we asked for the rental information packet.)

Ainsley House
Front of the Ainsley House.

Ainsley House - gate
Side gate entrance to the garden.

Ainsley House - Garden
Both the wedding ceremony and reception would be held here. Usually, the bride and groom stand under the four-post canopy.

Ainsley House - Tree
A tree and bench in the garden yard.

It’s nice, but we weren’t feeling it.

Nope, I’m very much alive. Unfortunately, I’ve been very very busy and stressed for the last several weeks, so wedding planning was placed on the back burner.

Last week, D. and I went back to Amphora Catering for our second tasting. After our first tasting, we wanted to tweak the menu a bit and try different flavors. I expressed all of my concerns and ideas to Jade via email, and after a few weeks of no response, I called Amphora to speak with her. The reason why I hadn’t heard from her was because she left the company to go back to school. It’s admirable to pursue higher learning, but jeez, an email or a courtesy phone call to tell who my new event coordinator will be would have been nice.

Anyways, I was a bit leery after that snafu, but all my fears were allayed by the great service and food at the second tasting.

I brought the camera with the intention of taking pictures, but I was so focused on the food that I forgot to take pictures until halfway through the tasting.

Chicken Skewer and Grilled Vegetables

As you can see, I decimated the Pineapple Chicken Skewer once again. It wasn’t as flavorful and juicy as the Pineapple Skewers from the first tasting, but I still liked it. Also in this picture are the grilled vegetables. D. and I weren’t pleased with our vegetable option at our first tasting, so the chef at Amphora prepared three different options for this tasting: grilled vegetables with zucchini, squash, and roasted red peppers; traditional steamed vegetables with carrots, broccoli, and turnips; and something we’re calling Asian vegetable slaw (pictured below).

Asian vegetable slaw

The marinated Asian vegetable slaw, I believe, is comprised of red cabbage, carrots, and zucchini. It was delicious.

Chimichurri steak

This is Amphora’s take on a flank steak with chimichurri sauce. It tasted good, much better than the Asian flank steak from the previous tasting. Unfortunately, I despise onions, and this chimichurri sauce seems onion heavy.

Rice salad

The chef wanted to give a rice salad another go. I still wasn’t a fan. It looked really pretty with the blackberries, strawberries, and mango, but I didn’t like the texture or flavor.

Jicama Salad - Southwestern

We sent Amphora a jicama salad recipe to reproduce, and the chef came up with the above southwestern version and the fruit version below. D. and I preferred the southwestern version. The only adjustment would be to eliminate the red onion from the black bean/corn relish.

Jicama - Fruit

The fruit version wasn’t bad; it was different. I’m not a fan of the cilantro and scallions.

Balsamic pasta salad.

Not only did the chef prepare this balsamic vinaigrette version of the pasta salad, he also made a sherry vinaigrette version (not pictured). I still prefer the first version of this pasta salad from the first tasting, but I’m afraid it doesn’t go with the other food we’ve picked.

After tasting all this food, Bobby, the head of catering, came out to brainstorm menu ideas with us. He was great. We really want to figure out a way to serve duck in some form at the reception, but we don’t know how. He said he was going to toy around with some ideas and get back with me. Of course, all the brainstorming led to D. and I rethinking the entire menu. I need to discuss this with Bobby, but we’re now pondering a mini surf and turf entree with angus beef sliders and some kind of grilled fish. Craziness. Hopefully, we’ll have our menu nailed down sometime this year.

(BTW, if you’re in D.C. and desire amazing sliders, forget Silver Diner, go to Matchbox. Trust me.)

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