Monday, January 30, 2012

Asking for Money

Along with the invite design, Lil Boa worked on a card that would inform our guests about the dress code, the reception, the website and gifts.Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I know what you're thinking. Putting registry information on the invitation is tacky and  rude and just plain wrong.

It wasn't until I entered the wedding blososphere that I learned this was an etiquette no-no. Even more of a no-no is asking fro money on the invitation, which is exactly what we will be doing. I should explain that in my 22+ years of attending weddings (more than 30 so far) I have never NOT seen a request for money on a wedding invitation. Most of them had a message stating that gifts were not neccesary but if the guest insists it would be preferable to recieve money.

Imagine my surprise when I learned some people could be offended by such a statement, to the extent of not attending the wedding! Further Internet research revealed that the "Don't ask for money" rule is mainly part of American wedding etiquette. Wedding gifts in some European and Asian countries are expected to be monetary and in those cultures it is perfectly acceptable to state it on the invite. I guess you can add Puerto Rico to that list, since as far as I know asking for money on the invitation is the norm.

On the other hand, if a bride ask for gifts from a registry, all hell will be upon her. There is only one Macys's, one Bed, Bath and Beyond and one Pottery Barn for the 3 million inhabitants on the island. These stores are all close to the capital, San Juan, 3 hours from my hometown. I don't think anybody would be particularly happy to drive hours to buy a place setting or a blender from one of these chain stores and Internet shopping is not popular with the older generation.

What cultural differences have you learned about during the wedding planning? Would you ask for money on your wedding invitation? How would you react you received an invitation specifying money as a gift?

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Dress Made Just for Me

Though my wedding dress shopping trips (here and here) were wonderful, none of the dresses I tried on felt like "the One". When looking back at pictures of myself in wedding gowns, I could plainly see my face all lit up when I was swathed in big poufy skirts. I had become drawn to the ballgown silhouette I swore never to wear. A new Internet search, this time focused on finding floaty ballgowns was commenced. It was during this new search that I found HER.

Who is she, you may ask? She is the most gorgeous wedding dress that has ever existed, the perfect combination of romance, poof and sexiness. I present to you…Isabel (I don’t like calling her Tara Keely #TK2210, seems too impersonal. I might add, I tend to name inanimate objects like cars, shoes and kitchen appliances)

* Picture from JLM Couture
* Pictures from JLM Couture

As wonderful as she is, I couldn't justify spending thousands on a dress I will wear for only a couple of hours. I had fallen in love with Isabel’s lace, tulle and the her versatility as convertible dress. In slides Mami Boa to save the day, when I whined to her about my love for Isabel, her response was simple; call Jose Braulio. Jose Braulio is a local designer whom we have known for 10+ years. Over the years, he has designed:

My QuinceaƱera dress

My Prom Dress

Lil Boa's Prom Dress

and a couple of other special ocassion gowns. As you can see we have quite a history with him  and having him custom design a wedding gown for me was a brilliant idea! (Cant' believe I didn't think of it myself) I could have the things about Isabel that I loved combined with his unique aesthetic but without a hefty pricetag. 

Last weekend I drove with Mami Boa to his design studio for an initial meeting. I showed him pictures of Isabel and he agreed that it was a beautiful dress which would work perfectly for the style/feel of my wedding and with my body shape.

After a couple of minutes conversation about the wedding and my dress preferences, he came up with a preliminary sketch.On my wedding day, I will wear a all-over lace mini dress with off the shoulder sleeves and a tulle overskirt tied on with a satin ribbon.

Swoon! I love what he came up with on the first try. He took a gazillion measurements and said he would call in a month for my first fitting. I'm so happy to finally say yes to a dress (even though I won't actually have it until a couple of weeks before the wedding eek!), even more so to one I absolutely adore.

Did you consider getting a custom gown?

* All picture personal unless noted otherwise

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Engagement Ring or Lack Thereof

In my proposal story, I mentioned that Mr.Boa popped the question with his mother’s ring. In an incredibly sweet gesture, FMIL Boa offered him her ring so he could be able to make the proposal a surprise while still allowing me to pick my own ring. Mr. Boa left for a summer internship a couple of days after the proposal, postponing ring shopping until he returned at the end of summer.

FMIL Boa's Ring on my chubby little hands :) It fit perfectly

Fast forward to August, Mr. Boa is back and I’m neck deep into wedding planning. All the productive planning I did during the summer made me aware of the gap that existed between our small budget and our big ambitions. Having a wedding and a European honeymoon is costly, making it important to save every penny.

My ring making it's first photo appearance
Having thought this through, when Mr. Boa brought up the topic of ring shopping, I expressed my concerns about an engagement ring not fitting into our budget. My idea of not buying an e-ring was met with hesitation by Mr. Boa but after further discussion he agreed it was the smartest financial decision for us. We decided I would continue to wear FMIL Boa’s ring (now mine) during our yearlong engagement but come wedding day I would exchange it for my soon-to-be bought wedding band.

Close up the uncleaned, unpolished heirloom engagement
ring I will be wearing until the wedding.

Not having an engagement ring of my very own was a bit of a disappointment, being it was something I was really looking forward to, but I managed to channel my ring enthusiasm onto wedding band shopping! Ultimately, fulfilling our wedding and honeymoon plans was more important to us than the ring and sacrifices had to be made.

What sacrifices did you have to make for the sake of your wedding budget?

* All picture personal 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Let There Be Cake... Cupcakes That Is !

I have a HUMONGOUS sweet tooth, I would probably be happiest if my diet consisted of flan or chocolate anything, so you can bet wedding cake was high up on my to do list.

There was no debate on what type of cake we wanted for our wedding. Even before being "officially" engaged I was enamored with the idea of doing cupcakes. It might be a popular in the wedding blogosphere but its very uncommon in weddings in my hometown.

Fad or not, I like the idea of having cupcakes for one very important reason....getting to have so many yummy flavors! Mr. Boa and I, love tasting new sweets together and I wanted incorporate that sense of culinary adventure into our wedding cake selection. Having cupcakes allows us to choose as many flavors as we want rather than limiting ourselves to the number of tiers or sheet cakes.

Cake flavor being the highlight, in my search for inspiration I stuck to cakes with minimal embellishment, a happy medium between the quirkiness of a cupcake and the formality of a traditional wedding cake.

How can you not love these?

Classic White

Love the cute butterflies!

In my wedding colors yay!

Are you having a tiered wedding cake or are you riding the cupcake fad train like me?