Monday, July 26, 2010

Here We Go

For the past six years, it's always been just Sak and I. Sure, there's been family and friends along the way, but it is Sak that I come home to at night. It is Sak that helps decide what we eat for dinner, where we go on weekends, and what TV show we marathon next. It is Sak I see under the couch, re-wiring some part of the house, and it is Sak who follows me on his scooter when I go jogging late at night.

Introverted as I am, Sak fits right into my tightly wrapped personal shell, like an extension of myself. I can tell him what I'm thinking, no matter how strange the thought. I can switch my train of thought on a dime; he'll never miss a beat. I can get angry with him for something he said in a dream, and he'll just give me a hug and remind me that I'm crazy. He can't be held responsible for dream-Sak, after all.

Sak is my soul mate. My genius. My loyal companion.

He doesn't laugh at my odd-ball ideas. In fact, he's my biggest fan. And he can say things that only I will find funny. He encourages my creativity, but also keeps me grounded to reality. That way I won't fly away.

Sak is a robot, but he has a deep faith too. He lives to solve problems, but knows who to turn to when things are beyond human control. He prays for me every time I have to drive the car, because he knows driving is my biggest fear after spiders and killer whales. He'll take care of the spiders if I give him a napkin or tissue. And he'll change the channel if Discovery decides to do an orca special.

We dream together. We dream of having a home of our own, of round little babies, of laser etchers, of future conventions, and of seeing the world. We scheme together too - and like good engineers, go through various alternatives to see what might work the best. We fail together too, sometimes.

We are a team. Especially when we don't want to do something on our own. We are a team that does the laundry together. A team that debates what to say in response to difficult emails. A team that empathizes with each other after a less-than-ideal workday. A team that explores new things with equal amounts of awkwardness.

There are never adequate words for such strong feelings, are there? And for me, there is no adequate coherency either. Only know that marrying Sak is not a difficult decision for me. It's simply right.

So it is without trepidation that I board the plane today. It is with excitement that I leave the San Francisco fog. And it is with a deep breath and a prayer of thanksgiving that I'll greet the beautiful island of Oahu with the one I love the most. Come what may, I know who will join me in the next levels of this life-long adventure.
So until I come back with a sparkly new husband (but still the same treasured old friend) - this is Penga, signing off!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ducks in a Row

No, not Mrs. Pug's ducks.

I'm talking of that super un-fun stuff called paperwork.


Regardless of the boring-factor however, the paperwork is pretty important. And since I'm in the mood for pretending to be organized, I thought I'd share my arsenal for conquering the wedding week.

In the Kogepan folder -
- Vendor contracts
- Vendor receipts
- Misc. vendor emails

In the Squall folder -
- Hotel confirmations
- Flight confirmations
- Honeymoon Itinerary
- Japan Rail Pass receipts
- Re-Pack List for honeymoon

In the Daisuke/Dark folder:
- Week-of Timeline
- Day-of Timeline
- Vendor contact list
- Marriage license application
- Seating Chart (I used Martha's freebie tool.)
- Decoration Inventory List
- List of things to buy in Hawaii
- List of when OOT guests show up, and where they are staying
- Notes for the emcee
- Copy of wedding vows
- Beat-up-on-sight list for the bouncer

And in a mailing folder, I also have some copies of the timeline, seating chart, and inventory lists for our decorator/coordinator.

I'm wondering why I waited until the last minute to put all this together. It really does give one peace of mind to know that everything is there, ready to go.

On the other hand, I've had to re-do the seating chart like 20 times since last week alone. So starting early does have drawbacks as well.

Am I forgetting anything? We plan to bring the laptop with us too, so if I really forgot anything important, I should be able to find it still. Having the hard copies in hand is a bit more comforting though.

What's in your essential wedding paperwork?

And I kid about the bouncer. It wasn't in the budget, unfortunately. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ship Tips

A common question, and one I asked myself many times throughout this engagement, is how does one get all those decorations and DIY projects to her destination wedding?

First, the post office. Here's my tips and thoughts on the United State's Postal Service:

-Don't feel like you need to send everything all at once. We sent a total of 5 boxes to Hawaii over different intervals, based on whatever was finished and ready to go at the time. The sooner you get it out the door, the more time you'll have to track down a box in case it gets lost or delayed.

-Write down what you put in each box. Both on the box itself (like a packing slip) and also in your notes. I don't know how many times I've wondered where something went, only to remember (via list) that I had already sent it out.

-Use tape. One of the lighter boxes was not quite full, so instead of using messy packing peanuts, I simply taped the objects down to the bottom and sides of the box. That way if the box was tossed around, the objects would not smash against each other.

-Place paper goods in plastic Zip-Lock bags. That way, if the package gets wet, your programs and place cards won't be ruined.

-Send the boxes somewhere reliable. For example, our mail-person tends to just throw the box on our doorstop, completely out in the open if we're not home. Or he/she will throw it on our back patio, and forget to tell us. Or he/she will drop it off at our leasing office, which has failed to find our packages on numerous occasions. In comparison, we sent all our boxes to Sak's grandmother's house, since she is home often enough to receive the mail as soon as it is delivered.

-Take advantage of flat rate boxes. If you've got heavy decorations, sending it at one fixed price could cost you less in the long run.

-Take advantage of media-shipping rates. We could have sent our programs as media-mail, and it would have been dirt cheap to ship! But unfortunately I received them too late in the game for media-shipping, which tends to take longer than first class mail.

-Insure if you're scared. Although my stomach flipped over at the thought of any of our boxes getting lost, the only box we ended up insuring was the one with my brother's suit in it. Better safe than sorry, at least for items that have a tangible (and not just emotional) value.

Second - sending ordered items straight to the destination. Bypass the "middleman" (yourself!) and have items you order online sent straight to the wedding site. You will only pay one shipping fee that way, rather than two.

Unfortunately, however - we didn't use this option very much. I'm too neurotic, and needed to see EVERYTHING first, before sending it over to Hawaii. My mom did order a big poster print of her favorite engagement shot to stick near the welcome sign though. Since I already know what our faces look like, that was one we could send straight to Grandma-Saka's. Hopefully it doesn't scare her.

Third - take the stuff with you on the plane.

I really wanted to minimize this route, since I need my precious and very-limited luggage space for stuff like clothes. But we will be carting the wedding dress, kimono, cheong sam and Sak's suit on as carry-ons.
And uh, it's going to need a good long steam bath when it gets there...

And now, drum roll please..What's the cost for the five shipped boxes?

$30.40 + $38.95 + $10.70 + $14.50 + $25.67 = $120.22

Ouch. That seems like a lot. But I think for the sheer amount of stuff we sent - projects, suits, shoes, etc. - it's worth the cost of not having to bring it on the plane with us.

Now, bringing things back home with us? Ohohoho. Yeah, I haven't given that two seconds worth of thought. I suppose my family can ship it back to me? Or keep it there? Or both?

Anyway, how are you getting the party to the venue? Plane, train or automobile? Or better yet - keeping the party at home? No shipping required!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vacation Survival Kits

Last time, I talked about what should belong in our out-of-town bags, and several of you responded that Advil or Tylenol might be a good idea.
So I took your advice, and promptly had way too much fun in the travel-sized section of Target, REI and Walgreens.

It's okay though - we'll put all this fancy stuff in cute little hibiscus bags.

And then we'll staple it up with a little list of "ingredients".

Don't ask.

Anyway, if my bad-attempt at being clever left you confused, our "survival kits" include sunscreen, shout wipes, lens wipes, Tylenol, Tums, and a little packet for first aid.

The leftover glassine envelopes from our tissue packets hold three bandages and two little alcohol wipes. Though I hope no one has need of the little guys, I did throw in one surprise per trio of band-aids.
Sparkles, in case there happen to be any "cold ones" in our crowd.

I think it's quite obvious that we need to just get married already. I feel like each pet-project is getting more and more absurd. But at least this one was fun and stress free. If only you could have seen the look on Sak's face when he saw Darth Jellyfish.

Is this our version of pre-wedding peace?

It very well may be.

Will you have emergency kits for your guests?

Monday, July 19, 2010

DIY Tissue Packets

Sometimes, I feel like I'll really miss this wedding planning business. I've had so many amazing conversations with Sak during the process. Sure, some of them involved fighting, but there were also plenty with riotous laughing and victory dances around the living room.

Take, for instance, this super cute "tears of joy" project by the talented Mrs. Sunrise:

I was instantly smitten, and wrote "tissue packets" up on my pet-project list.

As soon as all our "required" projects were completed, I followed Mrs. Sunrise's tutorial, and gathered my supplies.

I won't rehash her step-by-step process, but I added some red ribbon and a little image to about 40 packets of Target brand tissue.

Now, what does this have to do with Sak? Well, see for yourself:
The importance of tissue packets as told by Sak. True conversation.

The funny thing is, Sak probably has a point. I will be one surprised Penga if anyone starts crying. We come from rather unemotional families. But there are more than enough people with chronic allergies. So it's not too far-fetched.

Anyway, just another sweet, cute idea - ruined by a couple of nerds with too much pre-wedding time on their hands. I love it, and even better - Sak loves it.

Are your guests more likely to sneeze from flower pollen, or from flowery sentiments of love?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Matchy, Matchy!

Confession time. Sak and I..we like to match.

Okay, maybe it's not that weird compared to other things we do, like wearing costumes on days that are not Halloween. But we are that couple - the kind that love to show off their "coupleness" with matching colors, patterns, etc. And yes, I give you full permission to gag all you want.

Anyway, I was rummaging around the internet one day and I found this picture:

And I had to have it.

Double happiness matching honeymoon shirts?! Sign me up right now.

I grabbed an image from Wikipedia Commons...

Battlestar Galactica'ed each corner, and printed it out on iron-on transfer paper.

I feel like a cheater for using transfers, since we own a YUDU and all. But Sak convinced me that it would be a waste to burn a whole screen just for two shirts. And transfers aren't all that bad. I still have T-shirts I made in high school, and the transferred image is still in good shape. So I hope you'll forgive me for taking the easy route this time.

The trick to a good iron-on, in my opinion, is cutting it as close to the image as possible. That way it doesn't look like a big square of shiny when you transfer it. I left about a 1/4 inch allowance around the image to keep the image edges looking clean.

Sak pressed the image on with an iron for about three minutes. This was supposed to be just my project, since he had other things to do, but I seriously don't know how to use an iron. Homemaking 101, fail.

Instant shirts!

Yes, those are water stains. While trying to dump the water out of the iron, I accidentally splashed the ink of one of the characters. (See? Irons and I do not mix.) I went to reprint the whole thing, only to find out I had used all the red ink. Lovely. However, Sak said he really didn't care about the water marks, as he didn't think he'd be wearing the shirt that often anyway. So there it stays.

But I couldn't stop there, on the back, I decided we needed some booty-reading. We put the Japanese Kanji for "husband" on Sak's shirt. The word for husband is "otto". Apparently, the character can also be called "shujin", which means something like "master". For obvious reasons, this term is losing popularity.

My shirt says quite literally, in Katakana, "wifu". Obviously this is not the Japanese word for wife. Rather, it is the Japanese version of the English word, wife. The Japanese word is "tsuma", but I think I look more like a future wifu than a future tsuma. Sak agrees.

I also printed out the words "just married", in English, but I don't know if I want to use them or not. It seems a bit like overkill. What do you think?

The plan is to wear these the morning after our wedding, as we travel to Japan. Since they are nice, big T-shirts, they should be comfortable enough for the 9 hour flight. And we'll match! How fun!

Will you and your future spouse have "just married" shirts? Does anyone else like to play "the matching couple"?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Parent Gifts

I'm one of those people that give absolutely terrible gifts - unless I know you. If I do happen to know you well, odds are that you'll get something fantastic. Like a pair of pants with the words "hot legz" YUDU'ed onto the butt. You know you want some.

But sometimes, crazy gifts aren't the most practical - like this super-awesome find I was *this close* to buying for my dad:

A snorkel camera! He would have both hands to swim with instead of having to carry the underwater camera around! It would be perfect for Hawaii!

...But not for many other places. Especially not our cold Northern Californian waters. So out went the snorkel camera.

Now, Sak suggested we go the tried-n-true route for thanking our parents for being our parents: the wedding album. Sounds good, we'll do it! But that kind of gift doesn't come until after the wedding, obviously. And Peng-Mom says she doesn't need no stinkin' album when she can just look at a digital album. She's so high-tech.

So then I had a thought - let's do something completely unlike us, and get gift certificates! To a fairly fancy restaurant called Roy's.

Okay - I know. Giftcards at first glance = lame and unthoughtful. But you have to understand our parents. They don't (as far as I know) do date nights. They are always too busy worrying about their hapless children or friends instead. So I think giftcards, in this case - might be a good idea.

Roy's is a Hawaiian fusion restaurant, and both parents have been before and loved it. Though they are probably more well-known for their seafood, here's some shots of desserts Penga-Mom tried when she went for a graduation party:


I've never actually been to Roy's, even though there's one right here in San Francisco. Sak and I tried fine dining once before, and have been too scared to try again since. But that's a story for a different day.

Anyway, with Roy's gift certificates they can have romantic dinners with just the two of them! Weddings kindle romance, right? Okay, maybe not our wedding, but humor me, please.

However, Sak says, "You know, my parents will just try and bring my grandma along with them. And your parents will just invite their foodie buddies."

I can see that happening (they are chronic non-date-nighters, afterall), but what can I do to stop it? I'll write a strongly-worded letter, saying it's for a romantic dinner for two. And only two! If they choose to ignore my attempts at creating a date-night, well, they can. It's their gift, after all. I'll just sit in a corner and pout a bit.

So did I do the right thing? Or should I have gone with the scuba camera?

Did you give your parents a "thank you" gift? What did you find for them? Do they still have date-nights now and then?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ring Box

We don't have a ring bearer, due to lack of cute little children or fuzzy pets. Sak's brother will simply carry them in his pocket.

And trivial as it may be, I wasn't satisfied with the box our rings came in.

It's grey and boring, but more substantially - it's really big. I didn't think it would fit comfortably in Saka-bro's pocket.

Instead, I thought of how fun it would be to put our rings in a capsule ball - like the kind you get $1.00 Pokemon toys from.

Though unfortunately, Sak wasn't having any of that. Here's what he sent me in response to my e-mailed idea:

"The problem with capsules:

Setting: outside in the parking lot
1)Saka-bro gets out of the car and the ring capsule falls out of his pocket.
2)said capsule begins to roll in the lot picking up speed
3)rings falls into storm drain, never to be seen again. I'd say go with a box"

I emailed back, "Can I at least decorate the box?"

To which he replied:

"This falls into the category of details that will cause penga to forget the more important things. She will end up doing everything even more last minute, and then she'll find some way to blame me."

Who, me?

Undeterred - I decided that if I couldn't use a capsule, and I couldn't decorate my own box, I would at least find an interesting pre-decorated box. Like these:

The brocade-covered boxes were not only super-cute, but cheap too, at 6 boxes for about $5. The only problem was the fact that they came in randomly-assorted packages. Of course I wanted the red box, but there would be no guarantee I'd get one.

I forked over my electronic $5 anyway, and begged in the comments for a red box.

And lo and behold, the seller was sweet enough to give me not one, but TWO red boxes!

They are really small though, so our rings will have to snuggle.

Cute, small enough for a pocket, no precious DIY time used up - check!

What are you holding your rings in during the ceremony?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Program Power! Part 3

Although I love just about every detail we have incorporated into this wedding so far, our program would have to be my favorite-child. It really did take a good chunk of time and creative-juice to complete. You've already seen a little of it, here and here.

After completing my 6 page comic "book", I really wanted the programs professionally printed. After checking around the web and other print stores though, I realized that booklets were costly! Up to $500, just for a hundred or so programs! There was no way I could do that.

Sak had already started making plans for how we'd print them at home, when I stumbled upon a little site called Smartpress. First, they didn't make me purchase in quantities of 100, so I could get the exact 110 programs I needed. Second, they were fully customizable, allowing price reductions if I printed the inside in black and white, or if I chose not to have them bound together. And third, booklets were on sale for 25% off!

For 110 programs, with a color-printed cover and 14 black and white pages, it cost $67.45. A total of $81.21 with shipping included.

Seriously, I don't think I could have found a better price if we had printed them ourselves, if the cost of ink and card stock paper was factored in. I was pretty proud of myself, and Sak was happy too. Especially since we didn't have to do all the printing ourselves!

Figuring out how to correctly size everything was a little difficult, but eventually I got everything into a .pdf form and sent it off. Jill from Smartpress was really helpful in getting everything tweaked to just the right size, and in a week or so I had a big box of shiny new programs!

Want to see?

And on the bottom of the back cover:

Seriously, the quality is good and the price is even better. It makes me want to make more mini-books!

Aside from the comic and the puzzle page, here are the more "programmy" pages we included - (And I'm sure there are grammar/spelling mistakes somewhere. But at this point it's too late. Errors, if any, are here to stay.)

When I ordered them, I thought it would be nice to hand sign each program, in the "Mahalo" box. Now, however, I'm thinking that probably wasn't the best decision. Oh well!

Oddly, I asked them not to saddle-stitch (a.k.a. staple) the books together, since it was cheaper that way. Yet when they arrived -

They were stapled. Oh well, at least they didn't charge me for it! But I was a little bummed out that I couldn't sew up the books with gold thread, as I had planned.

I guess I could always take the staples out, but seriously - if they're already bound, why mess with a good thing?

Though, Penga-mom still wanted to cover the staples by tying some ribbon down the spine. Let's face it, staples aren't that pretty and cute. But Sak would rather we didn't. He likes the "manly staples" the way they are. So I think he can have his staples. I'm sure we can find something more productive to do with the time we budgeted, anyway. Like figure out what music we're using in the ceremony. Yep, still not done.

I know programs aren't necessary, but they are a lot of fun to make and receive. Are you having programs? Will you add any personal touches to them?