On Sunday, we went back to the parish house for the second half of our precana. Each couple was asked to bring either a snack or dessert. The paranoid freak that I am, I read into it and told Mr. Snow Pea that I felt like this was a test of some kind. That we should make something together as a couple to demonstrate our....je ne sais quoi...union?
On Friday's session, there was another couple who is Polish like Mr. Snow Pea, so we got into this conversation about pierogies and dumplings. So I brought dumplings on Sunday. Actually Mr. Snow Pea cooked them because he lost a bet with me during the golf outing. Another bride-to-be made these delicious almond cookie things that tasted like an almond rocca. She printed up the recipe and gave me a copy. These are so easy and believe me, tasted phenomenal. A great MIL pleaser!
Graham Cracker Almond Bars
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 stick of margarine
- 1 stick of butter
- cinnamon/sugar graham crackers (1 box)
- sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum and spread broken graham crackers. Melt butter, margarine and sugar on stove. Do not boil. Pour mix over crackers and sprinkle almonds on top. Bake for 10 mins. Let cool and cut into bars.
Anyway, back to precana. The session was laid out the same as before with 3 different subjects. The one that stood out the most was when we were separated and all the brides had to list negatives and positive things when it comes to arguing and conflict. The grooms went into a different room with the husband leader to do the same. Oh dear! Some of the hot list items were Listening (or the lack of), walking away, bringing stuff up from the past. The guys had similar complaints such as silent treatment, bringing up the past, family involvement in arguments.
Now the funniest thing was that in some cases, when we listed a negative, the guys saw that as a posiitive. For example, I said that it just makes me more angry when you walk away during an argument. The guys said they walk away (as a positive) in order to let things cool down. It was the same act, but we had two different perspectives on it. Our group leader gave us another example about her husband and I thought to myself, Oh so there's no hope! Men are from Mars and women are from Venus!
Another activity we did was to list what was most important to us. The items were Children, Career, Money, Dinner Together, Clean House and Time to do what I want. I listed Children as first and Mr. Snow Pea listed Children LAST! Oh no, does this mean we're not compatible or we're not on the same wavelength? Funny thing is I looked at it from the point of view that without children, what would any of the other stuff matter. Mr. Snow Pea looked at it from the point of view that he should have all these things first in order to provide for children properly. Funny how things work out.
Afterwards, we all went into the church where Deacon M. held a little service. It was very cute. He had 5 couples walk down the aisle and bring gifts. I volunteered to do a reading which I really thought was beautiful. He spoke for a little while. Then he had all of us get up, face one another and give an engagement promise. Of course none of us could be mature about it and giggled the whole time. The Deacon got a little agitated and made us all do it over. Afterwards we got our certificate and we were all ready to get married!!!
We did make friends. It turns out that one of the couples lived around the block from us, so we later invited them over for drinks. It was really pleasant to talk to another couple getting married who wasn't family, a friend or anyone associated with our wedding. We were able to just chat, share wisdom and compare wedding plans/prices without "consequences".
We took alot away from it (including a recipe) and friends. I think it definately brought Mr. Snow Pea and I closer and we reached another level of Intimacy. Precana wasn't at all about "what to expect in marriage". It made us more aware of ourselves, each other and I learned what it meant to be really be married (spiritually). There is the act of getting married, picking the flowers, the dress, and so forth. Now I really feel like I know what I am doing and what marriage means.
After we were done with Pilar at 3 West, we hopped in a cab and sped down to Food Attitude (aka. Wedding Cakes Online) to meet with Varlene and Luciana. They are both incredibly sweet and helpful. I had so much fun with her the first time that I just had to bring Mr. Snow Pea and Mama Pea back with me for another tasting. Varlene was more than accomodating. Working with her has been a pleasure.
I already picked out the Pear Caramel cake and design #1 Love Story but just to appease Mother, I let her feel as though it was her choice and kept my fingers crossed. At my last visit, I requested to see a sample of the icing sprayed with gold. I just wanted to see if it was a true gold or a mustard looking color. Varlene had all these roses to show me this time. I thought the roses were better than the color cards which I felt didn't demonstrate the true colors.
Gold-4th row, bottom rose
Dark pink-4th row, 2nd rose down
Mama Pea insisted on placing them on the display cake to see if the colors look good. The dark pink is actually fuschia just like my peonies, but in this picture it looks very red. Mama Pea also brought my finished envelopes, so we were able to compare the gold in the fabric to the icing. I really like the contrast and it goes with my invitations perfectly.
This is the cake design we (I) chose. Yes, ladies. This is the man I am about to marry. Jealous, aren't you? Don't all go chasing him at once.
After that was settled, time to eat! Food Atttitude introduced some new flavors which were nice. My favorite is still the Caramel Pear and Tiramisu and the least favorite is the Tropical. Mr. Snow Pea's favorite is the carrot cake, but I dislike carrot cake in general.
Here we are posing to feed eachother cake "for practice" (I don't plan on having that whole cake smashing/song thing though. Yuck)
Mr. Snow Pea thought he was really funny by ramming a fork into my mouth. As soon as I had all that icing safely down, so he couldn't use it against me, I stabbed him in the nose with cake and icing. Ahh a wonderful marriage in the making.
My mom kept telling me to look sweet and demure. Uhh yeah, that's my sarcastically sweet and demure face!
Mama Pea tasting cake. My mother wasn't just tasting the cake. She was looking at each cake's overall presentation and how it fell apart when it was sliced. And I thought I was OCD! She said she went to my cousin's wedding and they just slap the cake on the plate side down. She didn't like that. She made a good point, but I doubt there is anything one can do about it. I'll mention that to Pilar, but I am not a stickler (about that). Perhaps there is a way to firm up the cake without compromising the moistness.
Final decision: Mama Pea decided all by herself without my nudging that the Caramel Pear was best because it wasn't overly sweet. The flavors were "clean" and not too rich. It had the best presentation even after slicing.
Wedding Fun continued: Three West Club
We went over to the 3 West Club to meet with event manager Pilar. By the way, I read some comments here and on The Knot from brides who have said that they didn't get a response from 3 West about their wedding inquiry. I addressed that with Pilar and she said to call her directly at (212) 582-5454 ext. 2175 and she would be happy to talk to anyone.
We went straight up to the Solarium (cocktail hour) and I was elated! They did some redecorating and this is what it looks like now. They added a patterned wall paper and lovely drapes which really warm the place up and completes the look.
This is the opposite end of the room. Last time we were here, it was boarded up so I had no idea that the room was so large. I was getting a little nervous before about the capacity. Between this and the balcony, it should be plenty of room and still be intimate.
I also have to correct my previous comment about the bathrooms. Yes, the bathrooms are on a different floor, but it's not as bad as I thought. The bathrooms are on the first floor lobby area. From the lobby area, walk up a short set of stairs, which open up to the Grand Ballroom for the reception. The flow and configuration is just fine. From my first visit, we took a tour of the whole place, which is why I was confused and thought the bathrooms were really far away downstairs.
Then we went down to the Grand Ballroom where I explained to Mama Pea that is where the dinner and dancing takes place. 10 tables were set up which was perfect for us to envision our own wedding. I snapped some more pictures because the last time I was here, I didn't get a good enough gauge if there was enough room for a band.
The kitchen is just through those doors. The bar will be set up on the left. The photo guestbook will be on the table on the right. I was thinking we can start the guestbook upstairs during cocktail hour.
Overall, Mama Pea was happy with my choices which I was really happy about. She only has my cousin's wedding to compare to anyway so anything would look nice to her. She asked me if we were getting band and who does the cake. We talked about the arrangment, where the band should be and where the sweetheart table will be. Next time we come back will be for a tasting. I hope I can get Mr. Snow pea's mom and dad to come too.
Language barriers and Miscommunication:
Mama Pea has never visited the reception site before and she was upset with me last week because she misunderstood reception and rehearsal dinner. These are all new words to her and the translation between Cantonese and English really messes things up. Not to mention that these are american events that she just doesn't understand. I don't blame her. Honestly, I don't see the need for an RD either, but..whatever..onto the next. So when we arrived at 3 West, she asked, why are we here? I said this is the reception site. What's that? Where we have the dinner and dancing. So what's the restaurant? That's the dinner before the rehearsal. Oh.
I am really glad I went to see the reception site again. I was beginning to doubt my choices. Maybe it's just nerves. Have you gone through that phase yet?
Mr. Snow Pea and I had a really long day, jam packed with wedding errands, appointments and opinions. First of all, it was raining cats and dogs and we were stuck at the Lincoln Tunnel for 1 hour. It took us over 2 hours to get into the city. That made us incredibly late for our first appointment to hand in our paperwork and completed precana certification.
We were nearly 2 hours late, so while Mr. Snow Pea ran to do that, Mama Pea and I went to meet videographer Wes Jones. Soaked to my calves in water, we went to Dean & Deluca to meet Wes. As we waited, I tried to organize myself. See my list of "To-Dos" on my pink heart paper. I always make a list of things I need to remember. I include all my vendor contact information as well in case my phone dies. Yes, I talk that much when I have wedding errands!
Our meeting with Wes went well. It was just as I expected. I was already familiar with his work from Mrs. Firefly and Mrs. Beetle's post on Super 8 options. This was more for Mr. Snow Pea who didn't see any of his work. Wes showed us a full 40 minute DVD of a wedding he shot and editted. Wes definately has a particular style which really appeals to me. One thing in particular is he includes "interludes" during the ceremony/vows. He moves around and gets all angles. I really like the "low" angles because I am short and I love how it seems like he's really getting in there and into the minds of the bride and groom. The major thing that Wes and I seem to be on the same page about is that I want the finished film to exude a feeling of transcendence. That was his word!
The DVD he showed us was of a Phillipino/Chinese American wedding. With Mama Pea not having much to do with my original wedding planning and no knowledge of American weddings, this was great for her to see. Not only could she see how the events unfold, but I was able to show her what we plan on doing. Since this was her first vendor meeting, poor Wes had to be subjected to what I will simply call "her wedding excitement". On one side we were trying to talk to Wes about our style and music options. On the other side, my mom kept yacking in my ear about all kinds of other wedding stuff in Cantonese. It's so hard balancing the two. Wes was really gracious and polite about it though, so I appreciate that. Mr. Snow Pea is used to it, so he just knodds and smiles.
Ding ding. Times up! Next!
What did you look for in a videographer?
Mr. Snow Pea and I had a really long day, jam packed with wedding errands, appointments and opinions. First of all, it was raining cats and dogs and we were stuck at the Lincoln Tunnel for 1 hour. That made us incredibly late for our first appointment with Deacon Art at Saint Patrick's Cathedral.
With all our paperwork in order and the precana certification, we were ready for our 3rd meeting with Deacon Art. We had 15 minutes before our 2nd appointment with videographer Wes Jones that Mr. Snow Pea literally just had to run in there, hand Deacon Art all our paperwork and grab the "next round of paperwork". I told Mr. Snow Pea, "Whatever you do, do not leave there without the wedding program/ceremony information!" Knottie JDangel sent me her MWord document of her wedding program and it's 10 pages long (20 pages folded). It has every line in it of who is to say what during the ceremony, so I needed ample time to type our own program up. It's changed since JDangel got married, so I couldn't just use hers. Deacon Art gave us a CD with the wedding music that we can select from. They have their own music that they outsource, along with a singer which is included in our fee. He also gave us the "Partners in LIfe and Love" book by Giandurco and Bonnici. We basically select which readings we want for each part of the ceremony. It's very detailed and I can type most of the wedding program from this book. All went well and the next time we visit him, we will have our PMI (premarital investigation) where he will speak to each of us separately to see if we're ready for marriage.
Everytime we visit, I like to take a walk down the main aisle. I like to say that it is "for practice". I took my mom inside, showed her where we line up, and how we will walk down the main aisle. Then I took her outside to the side of the cathedral to show her where the family photos will take place when I noticed something a little disturbing...
Looks like they are doing a little renovation or cleaning up. This is a bit of an eye sore and since the cathedral doesn't allow posed photos indoors, this is our only option. Oh dear.
Invitation ProofWait wait, strike that! Make it 3 for 3! I also received our invitation proof from Peggy. Sheesh, I go for days without anything to blog about to having a bazillion things happening all in one day. I want to post it so badly, but I shouldn't. I should build up the suspense. Alright alright, I'll show you a little leg.
It will be 3 weeks before they are finished. The suspense is killing me. I can't wait for everyone to receive their invitation. I guess I should be thinking about postage and how I am going to address the invitations. I have been brushing up on my calligraphy.
Cards and StampsTwo for one! Not only did I get my order from Close to my Heart today, but I received a pretty package from Miss Violet. It was like Christmas in the spring time!
We received our first wedding gift off our registry when it dawned onme that I didn't have any Thank You cards prepared for early gifts.Miss Violet was nice enough to offer to make them for me and I couldn'thave been more honored. Boy, what a relief too! I just requested, "Make itpink and put my monogram on it" and she made me some awesome handmadecards!
My bridesmaids will really appreciate these handmade cards.Since they are taking the time and effort to throw me a shower, Ireally wanted to show my appreciation even if it is "just" a card. Inormally put alot of effort into putting together a thoughtful gift.Since I can't with all the wedding craziness, atleast I know I can goto Miss Violet for something that is just as meaningful had it comefrom me.
Some of the cards. She made a variety of designs. I love my monogram. I don't want to change it.
My order from Close to my Heart. I really recommend the adhesive runnerfor just about anything. I plan on using it to keep ribbon in place onthe invitation. The glue dots are to adhere the invitation to thepocketfold. I love the stamps! I can't wait to start using them. I planon making all the placecards even before guests rsvp. If they don'tcome, I'll just toss it. I just don't want to wait around until 2 weeksbefore the wedding to do them.
Did you do anything special to thank your family or bridesmaids for your shower?
Precana Part I
We attended Part 1 of our Precana this evening. Mr. Snow Pea and I both really enjoyed it and would even describe it as FUN! We definately took something away from it and look forward to the next session.
It was a group with about 20 other couples and 3 married couples hosted. It was really great meeting other couples. Many of them were very much like us in both humor and experience in our relationship. I think we even made some friends. It was good to see that other people were so relaxed. I could see the love in everyone's eyes and their commitment was inspiring. Cheesey, I know. Our group leader was also very open in sharing her take on the subjects we read about and sharing her and her husband's experiences with us. It made us all at ease to hear, Hey, it's not always easy.
We read from a book called Before "I DO" with both prayers and information on marriage such as love, expectations, joining of persons, family and spirituality. I really enjoyed the prayers because it really expressed the love and commitment I felt for Mr. Snow Pea in a way that I can't always express verbally. I might even chose some for our ceremony. The information we read about marriage were all realistic and informative. I expected someone to preach to us for 3 hours about what they thought marriage should be about. It wasn't like that at all. We would alternate reading and activities. The activities were mostly related to what our expectations were and made us question or think about what is most important in our relationship. I think that was extremely effective.
One of our activities involved ranking from 1 to 12 what is most important to us in our relationship ie. love, physical affection, financial stability. In this activity, Mr. Snow Pea and I both ranked Commitment as number 1 and Loyalty another. The other categories we ranked all differently. This is why I say the acitivities were so effective. We were all on neutral ground expressing exactly what we thought and what our expectations were. Afterwards, we were able to compare notes. For example, I ranked Respect, Honesty and Trust as top contenders in all our activities whereas Mr. Snow Pea was more on the Sensitivity, Listening, Encouragement side of things. It was just an eye opener and made me more in tuned to his feelings, his expectations, and what he thinks. I already know what I am about. I want to know what he's about. I don't want to turn around 10 or 20 years later to find, wait, he felt that way and I didn't know?
There were also some questionaire type activities from the book. Mr. Snow Pea and I were right on target on our knowledge of one another and our families. The group leader also addressed subjects like stress, anger, and how that relates to us in our relationship.
Other observations: I know the "living together before marriage" topic is a common. I do not recommend anyone lying about their living situation. They don't live in a box. They know lots of couples live together. I don't feel they are judging you, but advising you and hoping for the best. I was surprised to hear how many couples were already living together including our group leader. We did however receive a pamphlet defining what cohabition was and why it's not recommended and so forth.
Natural Family Planning: I was interested and yet dreading this part. I was told that at the weekend retreat Engagement Encounter, the second half of the precana session would be alllll about NFP. We already got the talk from our Deacon and that was enough for me. Our group leader told us that we can read about it in the book which described it in detail. At this particular parish, they felt it was too intimate to talk about and should be shared with one another in the privacy of our own home, but that we're welcome to ask them any questions about it.
We're looking forward to our next and final session.
What was your experience like with premarital counseling? What did you take away from it?
Speed Wedding Planning
Another round of wedding appointments this weekend. The thought of all of them is making me exhausted already. As I mentioned before, this really is like speed dating. I feel bad for the vendors sometimes. I run in there, Hi, how are you? This is what I am looking for. What do you have to offer? Let me see your work. What are your prices? Wah!! Okay, nice to meet you. Thank you for your time. Call you soon.
Here are just a few of my weekend plans:
10 am: Meet officiant
12 pm: Meet videographer
1:00pm: Meet Mama Pea, Visit reception site (again)
2:30pm: Cake tasting (again), Get gold sample of icing.
3:30pm: Go to Macy's, Buy wedding related things.
5:00pm: Meet our newly married friends M&D for drinks.
6:00pm: Rehearsal dinner tasting, Meet Brother Pea, Pick up OOT box fillers ie. Playbills, Subway Maps, Site seeing guides.
Goodness, I hope it's not hot and humid this weekend. I'll have my camera charged for some goodie eye candy when I get back. Flip flops for my poor feet. Sun block for my delicate skin . And I'll wear the dress I bought last time. Okay, Snow Pea, ready to go.
Do you ever feel like wedding planning is taking over your life? For those of your planning out of state, how do you manage?
Alright Snow Pea, stop procrastinating. Get your photo guestbook done! If I tell myself that enough, I'll eventually get to it. Oh, who am I kidding. I am so dragging my feet. So it doesn't help that we have thisold ass scanner from like 2001. Gosshh! After an agonizing hour of putsing around with the scanner, Adobe Photoshop and redoing my french manicure while blogging, I decided to revert back to my original way ofscanning old photos.
It's what I have affectionatedly deemed 'Ghetto Scanning'. Simply taking a picture of the picture with my digital camera. It takes 2 seconds to do that and upload them all to my computer. In many cases, I find the picture even looks better when I do that.
Take my cutie pie Mr. Snow Pea for example.
Old Ass Scanner:
And here's another sneak peak at the photo guest book. I am having so much fun reminscing and going through all these photos.
Friends page - I am trying to include as many of our guests into the book as well.