Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Real Frugal but Fancy Wedding

Yes your wedding can be really frugal and fancy at the same time! You just need to spend the $$ in the right place and know the tricks to find ways to save on big items. The following are the 5 big items that probably added up to 90% of your wedding cost. If you follow the advice below and find ways to save in the 5 areas you will be golden.

1. Food - negotiate a deal
If possible get all the food at one place. You might have different types of food to consider and different reception parties, try to get them from one main food vendor. In this way you can negotiate the price for the whole package and will most likely get a better deal because of the scale. But definitely remember to label your food carefully to avoid awkward situation like hungry wedding party guests.

When talking to your wedding party food vendor candidates, don't mention it is a wedding in the beginning...Just say that you have a big party to cater, the time, the estimated number, and the type of food. In this way you can get their "normal quotation" first. You know many food vendors "mark up" prices for wedding reception. The mark up doesn't necessarily mean higher quality or any special service. They just know that you are more cautious and more willing to pay. If you get your normal quotation first and they will not be able to mark up in front of you so easily just because you are a wedding.

2. Wine - get your own
Most wedding venues allow you to prepare your own wine for your wedding reception. It is easy to get very good wine these days at marginal cost. Did you know that most people in the world don't care and cannot really tell the difference between a 1948 chateau from Bordeaux and a 2014 pinot from Napa? Directly call up a winery to get a bulk order and avoid the many intermediate distributors that add to the price. Or you can check with your grandpa or uncle to see if they have some secretly stored wine to donate to your wedding.

3. Venue - have you considered barn style? 
Borrow your dad's summer house, lakehouse or your grandparents' barn. They will be willing to contribute to your wedding that way. It is going to have special vintage style like all these beautiful pictures here. And of course, the best thing is, it cost $0. :) You are welcome.

4. Dress, did you know you can rent one?
Beautiful designer dresses can be very expensive indeed. But did you know that you can rent one for only 30% of the retail price? This can cut your wedding cost by $1000 like immediately. I know culturally people want to buy a wedding dress. But think about it, are you really going to spend thousands of dollars on a dress that you will wear only several hours? Also you can save the fun to your future daughter to find a wedding dress herself.  If you are still not convinced, check out this video.

5. Wedding favor - little price difference matters
The wedding favors tend to be inexpensive individually but the quantity of order is usually huge. So even small price difference matters. Definitely spend some time researching on ways to get cheaper price for the same item. Try google shopping for comparison and ebay. Order some sample if you want to make sure the quality if what you want. Or you can make your own wedding favor...haha, they are more personalized and special anyways, right?

If you can get 30% reduction on the above 5 items' costs, your wedding can be as fancy as you wanted with significantly lower cost.

Image sources:

Monday, February 16, 2015

What happened after getting engaged?

Got proposed on Valentine's Day? Congratulations on getting engaged! I know you must be too excited to know what to do next. Here are some organized ideas about what you might want to do after engagement.

1. Announce the engagement on Facebook

Showcase your ring and his magic proposal on Facebook. Unfortunately announcing your engagement on Facebook is no longer optional in this digital age. Be ready to answer some key questions from your friends such as when is the big day. Read through the list to get prepared for those questions. Express thanks to everyone who've witnessed your love journey. 

2. Email your important friends
I am sure there are special people you want to thank as a couple for your engagement. Later you may want to engage them as MC, as food coordinator, as bridesmaids, as bachelor party companions, etc. It is probably a good idea to email them slightly before you "announce" it on Facebook so that they would feel special. 

3. Pick a date for your wedding
Pick a date. It can be a rough date but this will set the state and make a lot of conversation easier. Most people like summer weddings when the weather is nicer. But the expenses on summer can be slightly high to due to the fact that it is the hot season for wedding. If you are considering a destination wedding, it might be easier to pick a date that fit most people's vacation schedule. The most important thing is to pick a date that you and your fiance are most comfortable with. The wedding planning can be exhausting and at least one of you need to work. So we need to make sure the time of the wedding is not right before a huge project deadline.

4. Think of a wedding theme
This will help make a lot of conversations easier. It can be rustic style, fairy tale style, or even harry potter style. This is a special day and the theme needs to be something you like and what you can enjoy the most. You will feel very awkward if the theme is not who you are. 

5. Think about your wedding dress
It is never too early to think about the dress. If you make a decision early, you may be able to find a good deal about the dress or find a place that provide rental service for much lower price. Your mother or mother=in-lay may push you to use the dress from them.  But you have a perfect reason to say no to them when you've already paid for the dress rental. 

6. Confirm a budget for your wedding  

The most important thing here is to be realistic. It is possible that you want to throw all your money onto your wedding day but after calculating the budget you will be more sober minded. A wedding can cost as much as a house and a honey moon. Weighing everything together will help you make a decision that you will not regret later. 


Friday, February 6, 2015

高贵灵魂的另一半 - 何以笙箫默剧评

何以剧集完满收宫,看完很震撼。思来想去总结一下这种震撼:“It is possible.” 七年之痒是许多情侣的诅咒?看何以能让你相信七年专一等候是可能的;男人有钱就变坏?好男人已经绝种了?看何以能让你相信不愿将就的爱是可能的;这个世界已经不相信善良?老人摔倒都没人扶了人的原始纯真更是不值钱了?看何以能让你相信善良的人老天还是眷顾的,#亿年修得何以琛# 还有许多许多看似已经过时美好的价值观在何以这部剧里被放大和推崇。这部剧在我的心里不仅是爱情不仅是初恋不仅是怀念青春,更是追求高贵追求理想的乐章。




再说何以琛这个人本身。国产言情的角色还是很有国外名著里的影子。何以琛的高傲像傲慢与偏见里的Mr. Darcy,霸气不废话像又像简爱里的罗彻斯特。几乎像是又一个”霸道总裁爱上我“的男神角色。但是电视剧加的剧情的一个大亮点是何以琛后来选择的原谅和宽容。电视剧让他很晚才知道赵默笙和男二是假结婚的,他有很长一段矛盾挣扎的心情,但是他选择了接受默笙的“过去”原谅默笙的“背叛”。即便最后他知道真相了去美国和男二正面开战最后一击也是留有余地,“到现在为止因为照顾默笙的情绪所做的都只是防守,请务必好聚好散,不要逼我。”这样的大气和宽容已经超出了一步言情小说的男主性格所需,他对默笙的爱也已经超过了爱情的本身。所以钟汉良会在访谈里说何以琛"太神圣了”。这一点让我觉得顾漫的剧本让何以琛这个角色甚至超越了一些世界名著的男主角。


还有一个亮点是主角不是一成不变的有成熟成长也有性格的转变,情节推动也颇具匠心。顾漫不愧是中国的简奥斯丁,自然不造作,让童话也能够make sense,他们后期的甜蜜美好是有代价也是有原因的。 而钟汉良和赵默笙的演绎我也认为是成功的。他们的成功在于他们真实地理解了这两个角色,极大程度的还原了原著,并且收放自如让人物形象立体丰满。不完美的地方就是主角尤其是男主角性格设置过于完美,真实人物不会如此完美。


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How To Use Pinterest To Plan Your Wedding

We all know that Pinterest is a very powerful tool to plan your wedding. Actually the two co-founders got the idea when one of them is planning for the wedding. However Pinterest is fairly new tool to many brides. Also there are a lot of tips to help you explore Pinterest's potential in helping you plan your wedding.

1. Start your own boards, don't be overwhelmed
It is very easy to get overwhelmed on Pinterest because there are just too many beautiful stuff. Don't panic. You have your own style and your own preferences. You don't have to follow every beautiful pictures or every DIY idea. Many of the photos on Pinterest have been "modified" by Photoshop anyways. The rule of thumb is just be yourself and curate stuff that "represent" your style best. Start your own boards, pin things both from Pinterest and from other websites. This website is just a tool to help you get control over your wedding stuff, not let you get fashioned according to this age.

2. Treat your boards like a letter to your future self
Study says that "free writing" is a good way to express yourself and destress yourself. Wedding planning and preparation can be very stressful. Whenever you have some ideas, instead of keeping it to yourself and add to the chaos, just pin it to your Pinterest boards. Did you know that you can have secrete boards too? Keep some boards secret just to yourself and just write to your future self. This is probably a modern way of "blogging". It can be a journey of self-discovery too. I always get some insight about myself when journalling. You may get the same delights when "pinteresting".

3. Don't buy anything until you are approaching the date
May brides start buying stuff immediately after they start buying. One month later they discover something much better but had to stick to their original choice because it passed the return date. Unless there is a special discount with limited time offering, leave all the purchasing at the end. Take your time to choose, discover, curate and discuss. Also remember the wedding party is a whole package, all the details need to come together well. So don't buy a bunch of stuff and only discovered later the whole wedding color scheme needs to be changed because of the dress.

4. Search in Pinterest, let the algorithm learn you
Yes Pinterest is another website that gets better and better as you uses it. It will learn your taste gradually and recommend similar things to you. One way to help it learn your taste better is to search in pinterest. For example, if you are interested in learning how to keep your wedding under a budget try search "thrifty wedding" or "wedding DIY" in Pinterest. If you like glittering things just search "glitter wedding shoes". Later, maybe 1-2 days later, Pinterest algorithm will pick up your search terms and recommend related pins to you. It is almost like having a "personal shopper" by your side. It feels great, seriously.

5. Discover by following some people and brand
Of course it is not enough to just rely on Pinterest's learning algorithm to discover all your wedding stuff. You can also proactively follow some people or brands you know. For example, MemorableWedding has curated a wedding dress rental board and Martha Stewart wedding magazine has a pinterest account. Following them would give you many interesting ideas real time.
6. Use the Contributor function to let people contribute
Did you know that you can invite multiple contributors to your Pinterest board? This can be powerful because many details in a wedding is a "group" decision. Get your husband, girlfriends or even mother in law to contribute to some boards. This can get them engaged and serve as a "shared platform" for your relationship. It can also be very helpful to get support from them. It is always good to know that you have a group when you are in the middle of such a big project.

7. It can be used to coordinate bridemaid stuff too
Coordinate bridemaid stuff can be a headache. Different people, different opinions and different sizes! One quick way to solve all these is to create a bridemaid board and let them coordinate among themselves. Eventually they will "vote" out a color that everyone loves and seals the deal.

8. If you find some image on Pinterest and don't know where to buy it, use Google "search by image"
The biggest complaint people have about Pinterest is probably seeing some amazingly beautiful images but don't know where to buy/get it. Many people leave comments like "Anyone knows where to get this dress?" on Pinterest like this one. One trick you can do is to use Google "search by image" function. It is now pretty powerful these days and can help you identify the original source of the image pretty quickly.