For Valentine's Day, I gave Mr. HC a Blurb book, entitled The Hot Cocoas: The First Fifteen Years.  But lest you get the misimpression that I'm such the loving fiancee, devoting endless hours to doing romantic gestures for Mr. HC, I should tell you that the book is actually our guestbook.  (I'm all about 2-for-1 deals.)

I scanned in ephemera from our relationship, including notes we wrote to each other in high school -- my favorite is the one Mr. HC wrote in calculus class, which includes a "Graph of Missing You Versus Time," followed by a derivative of that graph.  Young love between nerds . . . there really isn't anything as embarrassing.

And no retrospective of our relationship would be complete without our prom photos.

Interspersed through out the book are Leigh Miller's fabulous photos from our engagement shoot.

Over all, I was really pleased with Blurb's quality.  I chose the large format landscape size, which is 13 x 11 inches.  The cover is the hardcover with imagewrap, and the paper is their premium paper.  The whole thing came out to around $65 -- a pretty good deal given the end product.

What will you be doing for your guest book?


Bustle and Flow

I hadn't planned on displaying my bee-hind to you so early; I thought you'd at least take me out to dinner first.  But since yesterday's Weddingbee Wiki post was on bustles, I figured I'd be topical and show you the photos of my bustle from my second fitting yesterday.

My seamstress, Anahit (who, incidentally, is quite possibly the best bridal seamstress in New England -- thanks, Mrs. Toucan, for the recommendation!)  put in a one-point French bustle -- simple, classic, perfect.  And she blew my mind by showing us that you can wear a French bustle two ways.  First, she created a mermaid's tail look:

But with a simple flick of the wrist and some magic, Anahit changed the bustle to a more drapey look: 

I prefer the second on my dress, since it's a bit more fluid and dynamic.  The first bustle is more sculptural -- perfect for a dress with a more architectural aesthetic, like a Romona Keveza; a stiffer fabric, like a silk mikado; or a bride with a naturally smaller tail.

Does your dress have a bustle?  What type?  And are you still taking me to dinner, now that I've already put out?


Look, Ma, no propellers!

What's fun about planning a Chewish wedding is that our families get to learn about wedding customs from another culture.  My uncle, for example, recently asked me whether all of the men were going to wear "yamahas" at the wedding.  The image of Mr. HC with a piano on his head made me laugh so hard I almost choked. 

He meant yarmulkes.

It's customary for Jewish men (and, in the conservative and reform movements, sometimes women) to cover one's head with a yarmulke (also called kippah) at a wedding, regardless of whether the ceremony is taking place within a synagogue.  Usually imprinted with the couple's name and wedding date, a wedding kippah makes for a lovely keepsake.  

Mr. HC and I have quite a collection of kippot of all colors from our friends' weddings.  But I've never seen him rewear them, since wedding kippot tend to be made out of filmsy fabric that makes them pop up really high, like beanies.  The resulting conehead effect is not cute.

So I was determined to find kippot that lay flat on the head.

It turns out that unless one is willing to go with suede kippot, there aren't that many options. But quite frankly, we weren't so into the idea of suede. Crochet kippot were another option -- Ethiopia Judaica, for example, carries crochet kippot, which are handmade by Ethiopian Jews.

But since we need about 150 for our wedding, crochet kippot, at $10 each, weren't really in our budget.

I was excited about the silk kippot I found at Jessy Judaica.  They come in elegant fabrics, such as brocade and shantung.  How great would the middle one be for a Chewish wedding?!

But around $40 a dozen, these were a bit too upscale for our wallets.

Thankfully, I found Mazeltops, a mom-and-pop operation that sells "new style satin" kippot. Their kippot are an affordable $24 per dozen, with free imprinting for orders of 5 dozen or more, and best of all, the new-style satins lay flat!  No beanie effect!  They also come in our wedding colors, violet and silver:

And Chaykah, the owner of Mazeltops, just couldn't be nicer.

Hope this post helps others of you looking to avoid the beanie look! 

What funny wedding questions have you fielded from your families?


Hello! Pretty

Being an overly optimistic DIY-loving bride, I assumed I was going to Gocco the invitations for our welcome dinner and farewell brunch.  But you know what they say about assuming . . . . Thank goodness I have generous future parents-in-law who came to my rescue when I realized that I had far too much on my plate.   Because of them, instead of smoke signals, we'll be sending these beauties this week:

Aren't they sweet?  These are the digital invitations from Hello! Lucky that Mrs. Bee coincidentally blogged about yesterday.  They come in a variety of chic designs (we picked the orchid to honor my birthplace, Singapore), are printed on high quality cotton paper, and, at around $2.50 each, are pretty affordable.  Best of all, they have a fabulous website that allows you to design the invitation and see on screen exactly what the end product will look like (very important for type-A editors like me).  Finally, if you are in a rush (like me), the turnaround time can't be beat: the invitations ship 5 business days after you approve the proof.*

I took a close up of the invitation to show you what the digital printing looks like on the paper. As you can see, it's definitely not as schmancy pants as letterpress, but the paper is luxe, the ink is vivid, and the overall invitation looks far more expensive than its price.  

What will you be doing for invitations to your other wedding-related events?

* Ours actually came a few days late because they got lost in transit.  Jessica at Hello! Lucky quickly remedied the situation by printing a new set and sending it to us by overnight mail.


Me Likey the Nike

Don't tell my wedding shoes, but I think I've fallen in love with someone -- er, something -- else: 

Behold: Cole Haan's Ceci Air Rose.  I lust after those delicate, perfect rosettes.  That sexy 4 in. heel.   And that cushy, oh so comfy Nike Air sole.  

I swore I wouldn't get white shoes, since it's hard to wear them again post-wedding.  But these make my heart pitter patter.

Anyone else having second thoughts about their wedding accessories?


Laser Cut Invitations

Wanna see our invitations?!  If you're a little wedding voyeur like me, of course you do!  Well, they are finally out to our guests, so I can show you:

When looking for invitations, I wanted to find a design that would be representative of both Mr. HC's and my heritages and give our guests a taste of the Chewish goodness that was in store for them at our wedding.  After some deliberation, I zoned in on papercutting, which is, as Miss Perfume pointed out in an earlier post, an art form that is shared by both the Jewish and Chinese cultures.  Luckily, last summer, when Hot Mama Cocoa and I were in Hong Kong, we happened upon Wedding Image, a printer that produced beautiful lasercut invitations that mimicked the look of hand-crafted papercuts.

For the cover, we chose a design that incorporates the Chinese motifs of cherry blossoms and love birds and features a traditional Chinese wedding aphorism, which means something like "two hearts coming together."  The saying is a bit thick on the Velveeta scale for my taste, but I love how it looks on the cover.  The papercut design has so much dimension; I dig the shadow that it casts on the lavender paper underneath it in the above photo.

As you might remember from a previous post, we spent a lot of time putting together the inside text, which is a trifold invitation that has panels in Hebrew, English, and Chinese.  Even though the silver thermography is a bit hard to read on the lavender stock, I am really pleased with how the trifold came out.  Mr. HC had to push hard for having all three languages, but -- Mr. HC, if you're reading, I will only ever write this once, so relish this moment -- he was right; it really is the perfect expression of our relationship and wedding.

For a bargainphiliac bride like me, the highlight of the invitation is something you don't see: its cost.  For around $3 per invitation, we got the invitation, an RSVP card, an RSVP envelope with preprinted return address, and an outside envelope with preprinted return address.  Sssweeeet!

If you are interested in using Wedding Image, they have no website, limited English skills (we gave them Adobe Illustrator files of all of the text), and are half the world away.  But if that's not enough to deter you, you can contact them at, or call them at 852-3116-2608.  If you're visiting Hong Kong, they have shops in Wan Chai and in the Wedding Mall.

Did you integrate different cultures into your invitations?  Or order your invitations from an international vendor?



Later this week, I'll be posting photos of our invitations.  But first I thought I'd start by posting about all the things we forgot to think about when creating our invitations.  May our foibles bring your laughter or wisdom . . . or both.

Mistake #1: Don't forget to ask someone to help proofread your text . . . especially if you can't read the language that the text is in.  In law school, I served as what was basically a glorified copy editor for my law journal, and as an English Ph.D. student, I teach writing for a living. So when it came to the text of our invitations, I was feeling pretty confident.  Silly Hot Cocoa.

We had a trifold invitation with a Hebrew panel, an English panel, and a Chinese panel, and I'm only literate in English. Yeah, you can see where this is going . . . .  We had a company that specializes in Jewish wedding invitations throw together the Hebrew text for us, and for some reason I got so delighted with the aesthetics of the Hebrew that I completely neglected to proofread it. Thank goodness at the eleventh hour I recovered enough sense to ask one of our groomsmen who knows Hebrew to look over the text for us, because I got this delightful email from him: "Your guests who know neither English or Chinese might wind up a bit confused, as your wedding hotel is identified both as being in Tucson, AZ, and Marina del BEY, CA."  D'oh.

And all that confidence I had about the English text?  I had a mistake there too.  A small mistake that very few people would have noticed, but something that someone as anal as I am would have been mortified about.  D'oh.

Mistake #2: Don't forget that your invitations will have to be legible to friends and family of all ages and visual acuity.  When deciding on the color of our paper and ink, I naively thought: "Our colors are purple and silver.  Surely, we should use those colors!"  Of course, our visually challenged guests have now gone blind from attempting to read silver ink on lavender stardream paper.  D'oh.

Mistake #3: Don't forget that the size -- and not just the weight -- of an invitation influences how much it costs to send it.  When our invitations came in, I take it to the post office to confirm the postage cost.  I think to myself: "Surely, this can't cost very much to send; after all, we have only one insert!"  Pshaw.  The post office clerk tells me the envelope extends about a half inch past the guideline for a conventional envelope, which means that the envelope counts as a "large envelope" in post office parlance, which means that each will cost $1 to send, thus doubling our anticipated postage costs.  D'oh.

Also, this meant that I couldn't use the Lunar New Year stamps I had already ordered from, which looked oh so beautiful with our purple, Asian-influenced invitations.
Purchase this stamp here.

Instead, the Lunar New Year stamps had to be relegated to our RSVP envelopes, and we had to use this tres ironic Wisdom stamp for the invitations themselves.  They are lovely for an art deco wedding, but looked so very random on our invitations.  Boo.
What do you wish you had known before deciding on your invitations?


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