Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Passport - done!

Woohoo, Mr Mel will not be going on our Vanuatu Honeymoon solo, I just received an email from DFAT:

We are pleased to advise that your passport application has been processed and your passport has been produced, it is now being despatched by registered mail.

Yay, happy dance, and on a Hump Day Wednesday no less, excellent!  I should receive my passport in the mail shortly, oh and in your face Cessnock Post Office, who wouldn't accept my application because I didn't have my expired passport with me (expired in 2008), the Newcastle Post Office rocks, you suck!  :)  (apologies to regulars for my immature outburst!)
Soooo exciting, it's 53 days today till our wedding, and 58 days till our Honeymoon!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Car - didn't even consider it!

Oops, it's around 7 weeks till our big day, and it suddenly dawned on us, how are we getting to the hall?

I had initially sought out quotes from a variety of car places, Limos, old style cars, horse drawn carriage, but across the board I couldn't justify the cost, especially as we are having the ceremony at the same place as our reception, therefore the car will just be dropping us off.

We have a few friends with nice cars, but if we asked if we could borrow it for the day, guaranteed they would have guessed the reason. We could have used either of our cars at a stretch, but a station wagon and a hatchback aren't really what you'd consider wedding cars!  Altho if push came to shove, we'd use one of them.

So that's where the thinking cap was put on.

My parents (and all the rest of my extended family) are flying up from Victoria, we are picking up most of them from the airport, however my parents are going to hire a car so it's an extra car to ferry people around.

So I spoke to my sister (also known as Brides Slave), and asked if she could work it with our parents so that it was her job to book the car for them, luckily it's not that much of a stretch as my sister travels alot with work, and saying she could organise a discount through work was 100% believable.

After a few calls to sister, and discussions between Mr Mel and myself, we settled on a Ford XR6, either in Black or White. I'm no car nut and neither is Mr Mel, but we thought they looked smart, and not too over the top.

My sister just emailed to say that she had booked the XR6 and had requested black or white, yay!

So Mr Mel and I will be arriving together (Mr Mel driving, see entrance blog earlier), in either one of these fellas
Black Ford Falcon XR6 (photo source)
White Ford Falcon XR6 (photo source)
And the huge bonus is it's only costing us $50 (plus $5 for ribbon), as the car they'd chosen was only $50 cheaper for the 4 days, than this option, when you add my sisters work's discount into the bargain!  Compared to the $500 - $800+ we were quoted it's a huge saving. Woohoo, our budget is very happy about it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Photographer - update

We booked our Photographer a few months back, she is someone we've known informally for a few years, while not close, I think knowing her a bit will help us feel a bit more relaxed (here's hoping!)

Now our wedding is less than 2 months away we're meeting up with Katrina to show her the location so she can get an idea of shot angles/lighting etc, and to chat about the sort of photos we want.

We're meeting this Saturday out at the Hall, and she is going to take some test photos of us also, have I mentioned I HATE getting my photo taken?

We want our photos to be informal, relaxed, impromptu, not the normal posed shots, we want it more personal like family photos.

In our initial discussions back in Feb I sent Katrina a link to some great photos of another surprise wedding (http://www.polkadotbride.com/2010/11/how-to-throw-a-surprise-wedding/and I still really like the style of the photos, especially how well they have captured the emotion of the surprise.  I think this will be the main thing I want Katrina to focus on, and yes it's a sneaky way to get some of the focus off me!
I'm going to do little props like this for our wedding day (photo source)
Seeings as I hate HATE getting my photo taken, I would be extremely grateful for any words of advice from readers, ie

How do you relax for a photo?
What's the best way to stand? keeping in mind I'm no skinny minny!
What sort of photos/poses should we aim for, in this pre-wedding shoot?
Do you know of any websites with good pre-wedding photos?

Plus any other gems you may have :)

Update - as I hit 'publish post' an email came through from Katrina, she needs to reschedule (yay!!) so I get a few more weeks grace before we meet up for the pre-wedding shoot, but feel free to give any and all ideas!! :)


Sunday, May 22, 2011

OMG 2 Months Today!!!!!!!!!

That's right, 2 months from today I will be getting ready to marry my darling Mr Mel!

How on earth has it come around so quickly, we only got engaged yesterday (ok so Feb 14 but feels like yesterday!).

Things are happening, we're getting through the list, the weekend just gone ticked a few big items off:

  • Passport for Me! - I had a passport, however it expired 2 years ago, seeings as our honeymoon is in Vanuatu, would've sucked for Mr Mel to have headed off solo!
(photo source)
  • Suit for Mr Mel - we were going to hire a suit, but nowhere hired the colour we I wanted.

Originally we were going with a Taupe colour, something like this photo
However after going to 5 separate formal hire places in Newcastle it wasn't looking good, none of them had suits to hire in the colour, and what they did have to buy in the colour had a cream pinstripe, which we didn't like.

The next colour to have caught our eye was grey, so Mr Mel tried on a few different options and we ended up buying a 3 piece darkish grey suit, with an ivory shirt & tie.  The ivory will match my dress, and he can wear the tie if he wants, but probably won't.  I love the waistcoat look above, and when Mr Mel tried his suit on without the jacket & tie, I knew it was the one, he looked so handsome and swish!
This is similar to the suit we've purchased, however with the same colour waistcoat, ivory shirt & tie.
I was sick with cold/flu and spent most of Sat arvo (after shopping) to Sun night either in bed or on the couch dozing, but it was good to get some of the 'To Do's' done!

Last night we finalised our selections for vows and ceremony and emailed them to our celebrant.

Next weekend I'm going shopping for my shoes, Brideslave shoes, Bra & Suckitallin Underwear for me.  And hopefully getting onto the elusive DIY Bunting project!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Cake

As I've mentioned in an earlier entry, we aren't having the 'traditional' wedding cake so to speak.

With our wedding being quite non-traditional all the way round, ie:

  • Surprise wedding
  • We're driving to the ceremony together
  • Not having a sit down meal, canape & soup station instead so people will mingle

it's probably not a huge shock to read our cake isn't the 'norm'.

We are going with a cake table, where we will have 5-6 of our favourite cakes (cheesecake, pavlova, lemon meringue, chocolate ripple, mango cake), made by our mums, sisters, on cake stands, then in the middle we will have a taller stand with a 2 tier 'wedding cake.

The style of cake we wanted isn't the norm so to speak either, we didn't want a really formal wedding cake, with royal icing etc, we wanted something more informal.

So this is the style we've decided on:

Soft buttercream cake (photo source)
I am heading to the Sydney Flower Market with our florist (daughter of a friend) on the Wednesday before our wedding, and will pick out fresh flowers then to use on top and on the middle layer.  It won't be as many as this photo, but this is the inspiration.

Below is how we hope the table will look on the day, or there abouts!

The cake table look we're going with (photo source)
As with just about anything that includes the word wedding, the quotes I obtained from cake shops to make our cake were scary, ranging from $350 - $440, plus delivery, plus flowers!

As I've probably mentioned a few times, we're paying for our wedding 100% ourselves, so budget is definitely high on our agenda. $500 (cake plus flowers) for a cake just seemed ludicrous.

However this is where I've been lucky, or resourceful perhaps, I met with the lady who is helping us decorate the hall (a retired lady who does it as a hobby), she lives in the town next to us, and mentioned that one of her friends does cakes on the side, and gave me her contact details.

We were a tad sceptical, thinking that maybe it would be a fruitcake making lady who would baulk at the thought of a buttercream cake filled with 'weird' flavours.  So when I went to meet her last night I wasn't overly confident.

Well my lack of confidence was definitely misplaced, the lady bought out an album of cakes she has created, and there were some lovely ones, she's very talented.

She was a bit shocked with our surprise wedding concept (quote "I'd kill my daughter if she did that", oops!), but once I'd explained the relaxed style of wedding, she came round a bit, and was excited about our cake choice.

I was a bit nervous asking about using flavoured ganaches, but she said if I could get her the recipe she'd be fine.  Yay!

So our choices:

Bottom Tier (Mr Mel) - Chocolate cake with jaffa ganache
Top Tier (Me) - Vanilla (or maybe coconut or lemon) cake with rosewater ganache

The recipe I found for the rosewater ganache looks simple enough, I'm sure our cake lady will be fine:

White Chocolate and Rosewater Ganache (recipe source)

      • 150g White Chocolate
        • 100ml Thick Cream

    • 2-3 drops Rosewater essence
      1. Heat cream in small saucepan over medium heat. When close to boiling, remove from heat and let rest for 30 seconds or so before pouring over white chocolate.
      2. Mix well, making sure the chocolate is melted. Add the rosewater and stir well.
      3. Place mixture in a piping bag, seal and leave in fridge for 10 minutes to thicken.

      The recipe for the Jaffa ganache looks simple also:
  • Jaffa Ganache (recipe source)

    200g Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 200ml Thick Cream
    1 tsp grated orange rind1 tsp orange juice (we might swap in a splash of cointreau)
    1. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of water into a small saucepan and place a heatproof bowl on top.
    2. Place the chocolate in the bowl and continue to mix until almost completley melted then add the cream and stir until combined.
    3. Take bowl off the heat and stir in the orange juice and rind and set aside to cool stirring every few minutes until ganache is thick and spreadable.

And the best thing of all, the cost, would you believe $120 including delivery, plus whatever flowers I buy she'll put on for me, for free!!!!!!!!!!    


I sooooo love all the savings we've made through research and word of mouth, sure it would be so much easier to just order everything off the shelf so to speak, and be done with it.  But so far I think we've saved about 1/3rd costs across the board, from hiring the venue, through to dress, catering, cake, flowers etc, all through being willing to put in some hard work and not take the easy route.

Yay! Although I may be speaking to soon, as this Sunday is 'DIY Bunting Day' cue the Jaws, scary, full of dread music!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wedding Guestbook

So many things pop up when you're organising a wedding, things I hadn't even considered have somehow made it to my 'To Do List'.

One of those things is a Guestbook.  I hadn't even thought about it until my hairdresser asked what sort I was having, I must have given her a deer in headlights look, as she ran out the back and bought one out she'd just bought for her wedding in a few weeks.

While hers was lovely, ivory material cover, with a ribbon and blingy catchment thingo on it, it's not really us.

So I went Googling, good god why oh why did I put 'wedding guestbook' into Google!  The options are endless!
A tiny portion of the images when you Google 'wedding guestbook'!
I knew what we didn't want, white/flowery/lacy/blingy, nothing against it really, but it just wouldn't go with our informal style surprise wedding.

So I trawled Google into the wee hours for quite a few nights, yes Boss if you're reading this, that's why I had big bags under my eyes, well part of the reason!

We had thought maybe a photo board which people could sign, but then thought what would we do with it after the wedding, put it on a wall?  Nope most likely not, it would probably end up in the back of a cupboard, or under a bed or similar.

And then I stumbled upon Guestbookstore.com, definitely not the most cost effective option, but I thought we have cut costs/corners in so many places, why not spend a bit more than we were expecting on something that will be a keepsake for our special day.

We wanted something where our guests could leave comments/notes for us, not just a 'sign here' type thing.

On Guestbookstore, you select what style of book you want, in our case the 'One-Of-A-Kind Wedding Guestbook' then you select your cover style, we went with Asian Bloom:
Asian Bloom Guestbook cover
Then you select your page styles, Casual or Formal, we went with Formal.

We chose to have a title page, with our names & the date of our wedding.

Next choice is 'Wedding Memories Page Design' or 'Wedding Predictions Page Design', we went with Memories:
Guestbook pages
And we added a page to include our invitations:
A page to stick a copy of our invitations
So that's it, our guestbook, we're going to have a bucket of coloured markers for people to use, and I'm pretty sure this book won't be hidden away, after our wedding, the cover itself is a piece of art worthy of display, and the memories it will contain will be priceless!

Friday, May 13, 2011

DIY Decorations

With our big day just 10 weeks away today (eek), my to-do list is getting done, altho I still have a few DIY projects to get done.

I blogged earlier about the DIY Bunting I'll attempt, I invested in a new sewing machine (on sale at Spotlight, usually $249, got it for $149!), and next weekend I have blocked out Sunday to get bunting!

I have 5 metres of calico to practice with, and if it goes ok I will dye some of them different shades of green, and pick up some patterned material to use also.

My next DIY project will be Martha Stewart's Tissue Paper Pom Poms, the tutorial on Martha's website looks very easy (have I just mozzed myself??)
Martha Stewart Tissue Paper Pom Poms (photo source)
So I have just ordered about 300 sheets of tissue paper on Ebay, in 4 shades of green, and 2 shades of white.  Hopefully they will arrive this week, and I can knock them off next weekend also.

After next Sunday (23rd May) I will hopefully have photos of metres & metres of bunting, and a pile of pom-poms, wish me luck!!!!!!  :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Finetuning the Songs

When we met with our celebrant Victoria last Friday, she asked us what songs we were having for each part of the ceremony, while we had started to put together a list of songs, we hadn't really put alot of thought to what we'd play when.

So with that prompt from Victoria, we put our thinking caps on, so far we have it narrowed down to:

Arriving at the Hall - Going to The Chapel - DixieCups
Walking Down The AisleJessica's Theme - Man From Snowy River 
Signing Registry - Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version
Walk Back Down Aisle - Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
First Dance - Halo - Beyonce
Cutting cake - tba, maybe How Sweet It Is - James Taylor
Bouquet Toss - Single Ladies - Beyonce
Garter toss (if we do it) - tba
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - amazing voice (photo source)
Will update as we finetune!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How We'll Do It!

Since we first started thinking about having a surprise wedding, we had been tossing around different ways to do "it", to let everyone in on the surprise.
We had been thinking that we would tell both sets of parents on the morning of the wedding, then Mr Mel would go to the hall with everyone, saying that my sister (brides slave) & I were running late at the hairdresser, then about 1/2 hour later, then while we're on the way Mr Mel would announce what was happening. My Dad would then meet me at the car for walking down the aisle.

However that would mean I would miss out on most of the surprise, so we weren't 100% convinced.

On Friday night we met with our Celebrant (Victoria from A Beautiful Day), who we are very happy to say, is just lovely, phew, as neither of us had met her (I had been emailing her), and on the drive there we thought what happens if there's a personality clash, we'd left it a bit late to find a replacement, but very happy with Victoria, she's going to make our day even more special.

Victoria asked us how we were going to do the surprise, and we kind of looked at each other, saying Ummmmmm for a bit, then she said she'd been thinking about it, and after meeting us, and discussing what sort of a wedding we wanted, relaxed, informal, that she had an idea.

Everyone will go to the Hall for the 2.30pm start, Victoria will be there (with table/microphone hidden), she won't stick out as most of our family & friends haven't met so they'll just think she's a friend/family from the other side!

My sister will apologise to everyone, saying that Mel as usual is late, stuck at hairdresser, Mr Mel just rang to update or similar. Drinks and nibbles will be available, music on, to help with distraction.

Then at around 3pm, Mr Mel and I will drive to the Hall, together, in our wedding gear, and us getting out of the car will be the announcement! (bit of goosebumps happening thinking about it!)

This way both of us will get to experience the surprise of the day.

When we arrive, Mr Mel will head to the ceremony spot, and my sister will go get my Dad, and bring him over to walk me down the aisle (along with tissues, as Dad will cry!).  Mr Mel will ask his best mate to stand with us as witness and Best Man (we can't ask beforehand as his wife, Mr Mel's sister will give the game away!).

Then we'll have the ceremony from say 3-4pm, then myself, Mr Mel, Sister & Best Man will go for photos, around the Hall, and closeby, for about an hour, then we'll come back and it's party time! Mr Mel & Best Man won't be wearing same suit, but really does it matter?  They'll both look smart, but won't match, no big deal.

Yay, am so happy with the arrangement, and Mr Mel loves it too.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Celebrant Meeting Tonight!

We're meeting with our Celebrant tonight for the first time!

Victoria Langham from Beautiful Days is our celebrant, I've only spoken to her via phone & email so far, but she seems lovely, laid back and has done surprise weddings before, so seems a perfect fit!
Our celebrant - Victoria Langham
She sent us a folder full, I mean full to the brim, of versions of vows, readings, ceremony 'stuff' to read through, and on the weekend Mr Mel & I finally sat down (separately) and went through it all, noting down which ones we liked.

Mr Mel was very decisive, just selecting 1 of 6-10 options for each section, while I 'narrowed' mine down to 2-4 per section, happily Mr Mel's 1 was in my 2-4, so we're on the same page at least!

So tonight we'll meet with Victoria and find out how the day will run, as we're both a tad clueless!  It will be good to pin down the timing etc, so we can let the caterer/decorator know how the day will run, also will help me to get it all straight in my mind!

Shall report back after tonight's meeting!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bomboniere time

Over the last couple of months Mr Mel & I have had a few discussions on the bomboniere/favour front. Our discussions have included - Do we do it? Will people expect it? If we do, how much to spend?

After a bit of back and forth, we agreed that if we could do it for good value (not using the cheap word heehee), we'd probably (Mr Mel was still wavering) do it.

After scouring many websites, we've decided to go with:

  • Cadbury Chocolate Hearts - dimensions of 3.5cm x 3.5cm x 1cm - milk chocolate, individually foil wrapped in Green, Lime Green, Ice Green, Silver, White
Cadbury Chocolate Hearts - from Ebay
  • We're going to do them up in bags of 6 - 8 hearts, in Willow Green Organza Bags, with a hand written 'Thank You' tied round each one
Willow Green Organza Bags from Pink Frosting
The cost for the choccies & bag works out at about $2.25 per person, which is pretty good compared to what I found online and in shops!

IF I get time I'm considering making some homemade treats for guests to take home, either a bottle of liqueur or a jam or something, not sure yet. But will put more thought to it, once we get through the next week or so!

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