A New Beginning

Over the weekend, Justin and I "upgraded" our way of living by moving into a house built in the 1970's across the street from my alma mater. It is just a rental house that costs approximately $100 more to live in per month, but it was an exciting upgrade for us none-the-less.

In order to make the move, Justin and I have had to find new and exciting ways to consolidate what we have to fit into smaller storage spaces. (i.e. We have larger rooms, but only 2 closets.) We won't even begin to go into the fact that we have my stuff now mixed in with Justin's. (Up until the move, I had kept most of my "stuff" at my parent's home, but now that we are living together in the new home a lot of it will be coming to join us at the new house.)

Over the weekend, Justin and I were able to get rid of over 9 large garbage bags full of trash. Justin also had a number of items we will either be donating to Goodwill or selling online. We may even have a garage sale, but that is yet to be determined. I am just sooo proud of the fact that we are condensing our junk, so that we have more legitimate, nice things rather than filling our lives with stuff we just don't need.

We have found many ways of incorporating leftover wedding supplies into everyday use including the couch, silverware, flowers, and guestbook. :) All of a sudden, the huge cost of paying for a wedding seems like less of a burden. We are also excited to use newfound skills when decorating our home (re-making lights, sewing skills to make ... anything!) Other plans include growing some vegetables and getting photos enlarged to be used as decorative art! Yay!

Keep on the lookout, because I will probably be posting photos of the new house soon! :)

WHCC review

Ever since Justin and I got engaged over a year and a few months ago, I have been desperately seeking an awesome photo printing site. I am sooo picky that it has been really hard for me to find exactly what I want. I discovered White House Custom Color when searching via google. I was pretty surprised and excited by the results of my first order with them.

I ordered 3 shots that were taken during Justin's and my engagement shoot by Kelly L. Photography, 1 shot that was taken at the wedding by Darwin Young and my fifth image was a shot taken by Justin using black and white film photography in 2007.

The first shot I saw when I opened the package, which arrived three days after ordering, was the one shot by Darwin Young. It was brilliant... BEAUTIFUL! My only complaint is in the actual photography, which I (and they) had no control over. I can't stand the glare on Justin's glasses. Ahh... well. It is what it is. :)

Next up were the 3 shots taken by Kelly L. Photography. They also were printed beautifully... perhaps a bit too yellow which I can correct in Photoshop and get my color right on my monitor. It's okay. It happens. I'm just shocked at the difference between photographers. Darwin's picture is crisp, clean, and everyone in the shot is in focus. This is not the case with Kelly L.'s photography. :( I thought, as did Justin, that my huge crop is what caused the picture to be blurry when printed, but upon closer inspection none of the engagement shots I had printed are nearly as crisp and clean as the single shot by Darwin. *shrugs* I'm not an amazing photographer either, but I also don't really get paid for my work. I can correct the yellow, but the only way to change the sharpness of the photo is to go back and retake it. :/

I'm not even sure what to think about the film image that Justin had taken. It could be anything that makes this image not "pristine". I don't know about Justin, but I knew far less about cameras in 2007 than I do now. The image is not cleanly in focus, but it could be because Justin did not focus correctly, CVS did a terrible job putting it on CD or the printer screwed up at WHCC. I will not blame WHCC though since the black and white image is truly a black and white image. It has no crazy tinting to it and no weird colors. Yay!!!

I think the thing that most excited me about ordering images from WHCC was the packet of image samples that came with my images. There were samples of every type of paper that WHCC had for you to get your images printed on. I can't even begin to explain how in love I became with the textured papers, the thick, the thin, the shiny, the matte... *le sigh* I am in loveeeee with the metallic and the lustre! simply. AMAZING.

After seeing a comparison between MPix, Bay Photo, and WHCC, I will probably shoot Bay Photo an image or two for comparison. Let me just say, though, that I am in love with the options available to me from WHCC. I would definitely consider ordering from them again!

Floral Preservation

Over the weekend, Justin and I went to pick up the flowers we had preserved by the florist. I must admit I was a bit worried when we dropped them off over a month ago. I was worried that my beautiful flowers were about to be destroyed and I would never be able to see their "pretty" again. I was so excited this weekend when we picked them up and they actually looked pretty in their "not quite new" state. I look forward to displaying them in our new home. :)

I don't yet have pictures because the flowers are boxed up so that we can move them and not destroy them. Also, I believe we are sharing them with family as gifts, so I have to hold off until they are given.

If you are in the states, I would definitely recommend using "Suspended In Time" to preserve your florals. They can't do everything, but I really like what they did with mine. :)

Special Excited Blog Post

Kelly L Photography

How exciting is it that Justin and I were in today's newspaper!!! :)

Unfortunately, I feel so bad that one of our bridesmaids names was crucified. My apologies to Thuong Ho who has since become a Hu. :(

I also am trying a new company for printing photos. (This is also very exciting.) I will let you know if they end up being amazing... or awful. :)

A Little Bit of Excitement

Last night Justin and I started moving things into our new rental house.

I have to admit when we first signed the lease I was a bit concerned that the house looked so old in the inside. A wood paneled room? That is so 1970s... (or earlier). However now that we have moved our vintage couch in the living room, I am so very excited. I have visions of blue that will bring the room together in a very "Mandy way".

We had the most fun looking through kitchen supplies. We haven't really seen them since after the wedding.

Seeing the kitchen supplies gave me incentive to get our thank you notes out asap. We had special things we were sending with a few of the thank you notes slowing us down, but hopefully the majority of those will go out over the weekend so that the more traditional notes can get written and go out more quickly. We are so thankful for everything everyone has done, whether merely coming to the wedding, helping do the "art" for the reception, or even just flying in from another state (or country).

We look forward to sharing pictures of how the gifts are being used and the way we decorate the house.

Pt. 3: Reception!

When we got to the reception site, we did a few preliminary shots before I changed into my reception dress.

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

While everybody was drinking, snacking on appetizers, and mingling, I was getting my hair done for the reception.

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

We were sent this "Chinese marriage knot" from Justin's cousins who are currently in China.

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

The reception was a lot of fun. There were a lot of things planned that did not happen, but it all worked out. Justin and I were able to enjoy our time at the reception without feeling rushed. I would definitely suggest that future brides simply not stress about whether or not everything you plan happens.

Pt. 2 (Ceremony)

Finally it was time to walk down the aisle...

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

Darwin Young Photography

Day of: Pt. 2 (Prep)

It's taken me long enough, hasn't it!

Darwin Young Photography

This was what seemed like the shortest part of the day. We had spent so much time preparing for the ceremony...  and then it was over!

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong except that Justin and I did officially get married. Woo! Okay... maybe I am exaggerating. I will let you judge for yourself.

Thuong, Marion, and I had an awesome time riding in the old cadillac that my dad rented for the day. Unfortunately, within seconds of leaving the reception site, it occurred to me that none of my bridal party had their flowers. On top of that, I remembered that the rings and garter were still in the bridal preparation room. I didn't have a cell phone, but I was relieved to discover my maid of honor had her cell phone with her. I called Justin praying he would answer and he did! One thing led to another, one person after another was called and the flowers finally made it to the church!

Darwin Young Photography

Upon entrance to the church, I was immediately hounded by everyone wanting to talk to me. The coordinators shooed me away from family and friends that I desperately wanted to hug and see. Talking apparently keeps me from being too nervous. However, I was informed that I was the "cupcake" and I should be hidden away until it was time to walk down the aisle. *sadness* (Note to future brides: do what you want. You get one day. Have fun with it.)

THEN! We were informed that the rings never made it to the church! I was fine with it, but I knew Justin would be sooo upset. Quick thinking and a few calls later, our magnificent coordinator was on her way to meet with our hair person to obtain the rings which arrived prior to the end of the ceremony. Thank goodness!

Darwin Young Photography

We didn't have too many decorations at the church, but I was so very happy with the beautiful memorial that was stationed at the front of the church recognizing beloved family and friends that are no longer here with us.

I'm sure Justin and I aren't the first to have quite a bit go wrong... and we won't be the last. Thank goodness for the wonderful family and friends that made everything possible for the preparation of the ceremony to go as smoothly as possible. Phew!

Day of: Kids ... Or not?

I've heard of quite a few weddings where kids either were not invited or had a babysitter for the duration of the wedding. My opinion until the wedding day was that kids are family and thus should be allowed to attend. I was of the opinion that anybody that wanted to come should be allowed to come.

Luckily, my reception venue was quite accommodating to children -- both little and big.

Darwin Young Photography

The one big thing I noticed at my wedding was that babies, in particular, were not able to sit through the wedding ceremony. Usually the adult had to leave the room in order to care for their crying baby. This was saddening since it meant that not everyone was available for pictures and parents could not always enjoy the ceremony. It might have been a good idea for us to provide a babysitter to watch these children for these purposes.

Darwin Young Photography

Parents and kids alike enjoyed our reception site though since it was very kid friendly. The reception site had a playground with a swingset, a tree house, and we provided the kids with lots of sugar (candy). I even made sure we got an awesome shot of us with a few of the kids.

So my suggestion is... keep in mind who you are inviting and how they feel about children. I had no problem with children since I watch and play with a lot of them (even including 3 in the bridal party), but I think some parents would have enjoyed the peace of not having children with them during the ceremony.