Setting up House

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 0 comments

As a newlywed to be, I’m always looking at items to decorate our new home. The things I’m gazing longingly at? Right now, bathroom and toiletry items. I always love a beautiful, nicely organized bathroom. Especially a gorgeous vanity.

I’ve been logging onto CSN Stores a lot recently because they seem to have everything for your new home. Like these vanity items:

This white neo classic look is lovely!

I am digging the glass bowl contemporary look.

The his and hers vanity set

Stay tuned for more from CSN Stores!

Birdcage "Cardbox" Transformation

This was the $9 bird/butterfly cage I bought on Ebay before...

This is our birdcage "cardbox" after a bottle of $3 gold spraypaint. I attached a purple ribbon and made a little sign using leftover cardstock from our invitation kits. Not bad, eh?

The Name Game

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: | 1 comments

One other thing about applying for your marriage license in California is that you can determine your new last name right when you apply. (be sure you're certain about the name you list down because I've heard it's a hefty fee to change it again!)

I debated for awhile what I wanted to do with my last name once I got married. I've had my maiden name all my life. I'm proud of it, and it will always be a part of me. I can't really bring myself to fully let it go. But at the same time, I want to recognize the new union I'm entering into. My husband and his family are now part of my family. And I want that union to be a part of my new identity. So, what to do?

Someone suggested having two last names. Like, I would go by my married name in public but my maiden name would exist just on paper...just another name like my middle name. That didn't seem right for me either.

Enter the hyphen. In fact, I've told people this is what I wanted to do for years. They're reaction? Oh but your names will sound wierd together! Your name is long, his is hard to pronounce, it's just going to confuse people!

I have to admit, a hyphenated last name comprising of our two names will be a challenge for most. All my life, people always had trouble prounouncing my Filipino (actually Italian sounding) last name...the same for my fiance's Samoan name (man, those apostrophes!). Put the two together...I can see the look of horror of folks trying to figure it out! Does it bother me? me, it won't be any different -- it will just another hard-to-prounounce-ethnic-name to other people (just as my maiden name was). To me? It's a name I'm truly proud of!

Almost there!

Photo via source

Almost a month away...OMG! It's sending chills up my spine saying that! We picked up our marriage license at the Orange County Recorder today and now we're a step closer to saying our vows and "inking the deal."

Crazy, huh?

I was a little nervous about picking up our license after all the horror stories I heard about couples waiting for at least an hour in a crowded office. Nope, not the case. We headed to the small downtown Fullerton branch, went right up to the counter where we signed, raised our hands in oath, and handed over our $61.50 check. Easy peasy!

If you're getting married in California, no blood test is needed and you can get your marriage license at any county branch in the state. There are different fee ranges and in Southern California, Los Angeles is the most expensive (the fee hiked up to $90!) Even though we're getting married in Los Angeles County, we drove over to Orange County office to get the same license for much less. You can even start the application process online. For folks used to driving here in LA, it's worth the 30-minute-drive!

Freebie Friday

Friday, June 25, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 0 comments

* Win a handcrafted wedding veil of your choice at Brenda's Wedding Blog
* Souris Marriage is giving away a gorgeous feather headband
* I love this store! The Snyder 5 Reviews is giving away a dress from Shabby Apple!

* Once Wed is giving away 50 save the dates + envelopes + mailing labels from Wiley Valentine
* Oh, My Darling and Pear Tree Greetings are giving away custom address labels
* Win free brochures from Upstate Ramblings and Digital Room. Great for ceremony programs!

* Extreme Personal Measures is giving away a $20 GC!
* Win a $15 Walmart GC from Get Along Home
* Win 3 bars of handmade soap from Sheri's Soap Opera and Sampler Village
* Lather up with free handmade soap from Sweet Sally's Soaps
* Harriet and Friends is giving away a $50 Target GC
* Win a $25 GC to Marshall's/TJ Maxx from Freebies and Much More
* Win a $25 Visa GC from Momma Told Me...
* Tight Wad in Utah is giving away a $10 GC

Get there early

If I learned anything from standing in line at the last Monique Lhuillier sample sale in Los Angeles, it's to get there camping out, lawn chair "no-I'm-not-a-homeless-woman" early. I got there 30 minutes early, yet waited in line for two hours while I watched lucky brides walk out with their gorgeous finds. When I finally got to the showroom, all was left were way too expensive damaged goods. Tomorrow, So Cal brides have another chance at finding a Monique Lhuillier dress at up to 90% off! So rise and shine early for your place in line!

You've been warned

Thursday, June 24, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: | 2 comments

Up to this point, I never considered myself a bridezilla. I've been pretty mellow, calm and patient about a lot of things. If something doesn't work out, I let it go...what's done is done, no need to waste precious time worrying about it, right?

But if you renege on a signed, written and legally-binding contract, fail to own up to any wrongdoing or refuse to assume responsibility for your own actions, I will go mad, crazy, fuming, you'll-be-sorry bridezilla on yo ass! For realz....

Pretty parasols and more!

We visited Chinatown in LA and scored some pretty parasols for our bridesmaids and myself! Check them out!
These were sold for 3 for $10 and we purchased 5

We also bought these cute little parasols for our flower girls for just 4 for $10

We also purchase 20 purple and gold paper lanterns for $30


We also found this ready-made manzanita branch centerpiece for $18 in the nearby Flower Mart!

I'm decorating the branches with purple orchids where I'll also hang photos of our parents and grandparents -- our very own family tree to display at the reception!

Graphic design for beginners

I'm fairly familiar with graphic design programs like Photoshop and InDesign (I can make pretty basic but decent looking files), but I do not own any of the programs nor would I call myself a graphic no means.

The programs I do own for graphic design purposes are elementary compared to what's out there. Yep, I have trusty old Microsoft Word and Paint. So how do I create decent stationery with the limited software I have?

Luckily for me, I was able to score some free printing for rehearsal dinner invites, donation/favor cards and ceremony programs. The problem is, I didn't have anyone readily available to design them for me. Finding free, high resolution clipart can be difficult. So what to do?

There are a few good sites out there that offer free design templates for your stationery needs, like Download & Print where I nabbed this simple, yet cool bamboo design for my rehearsal dinner invites:

The designs come in Microsoft Word and can be easily resized (I had to resize the design for my 4X6 postcards).

Then I came across One Heart Weddings. You do have to pay for a year subscription for unlimited access to all designs, but sign up for a free trial and you can download two free clipart designs (just be sure to cancel before the 7-day trial ends or you'll get charged). I designed our donation cards which will also double up as our name cards using this background:

With just a little tweaking on Word and Paint, I came up with a design that matched our wedding colors.

I also created our ceremony programs using a free background on One Heart Weddings:

Not bad for a graphic design novice!

You can also find free downloadable photos/graphics at and free downloadable fonts at

Go Lakers!!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

Awww, yeeeahh! Our Lakers are the NBA champs! Just basking in the afterglow of victory!!! As you might know, our wedding colors are Lakers-inspired - purple and gold. But I thought the actual Laker shades were, well, not exactly what I had in mind for wedding colors, so we decided to go with a plum purple and a more subtle gold than yellow. But when I saw photos of this wedding at the Turnip Rose in Orange County, CA, I, these colors might actually work! BTW, loving her shoes!!!!

Freebie Friday

Friday, June 18, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 0 comments

Well, it's been a very busy week in wedding planning, but I do have a batch of very awesome giveaways for you this Friday! Good Luck!

* Enter for $50 of cute swimwear for your honeymoon from Pink Doll Boutique at Blissful Bee blog

*Win a $75 GC to Clutch That! from Mint Green With Envy!
* Win a $75 GC toward a bag of your choice from Twisted Orchid at Star Impulse

* Busy Working Mama is giving away a lovely coin pearl necklace

* Photos from guests are always fun to look at. Win 10 disposable cameras for your guest tables!
* Midday Escapades and Inspired Gifts is giving away a 12X30 photo banner

* Win a $40 GC to CSN Stores at Oh, My Darling!
* Wow you know us brides can make use of gift cards! My Life with Rats is giving away a $100 GC of your choice!
* Holiday Inn is giving away home items, and one lucky winner can win an entire gift registry!
* Win a set of Claus Porto Gift Box of 5 Classico Soaps from Busy Working Mama!
* Engineer for a Debt Free Life is giving away a $50 GC
* Get a $50 Sears GC from Engineer for a Debt Free Life!

* Major OMG for book nerd like me...Two of a Kind Working on a Full House is giving away 2 $100 GC's to Borders! I love Borders!
* Get along Home is giving away a $40 GC to CSN Stores!
*Sensible Shoppers is giving away a $20 GC!

Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Custom Printables

Friday, June 11, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , , , | 65 comments

At some point in your wedding planning you're going to come across these...and yes, I admit, they're irresistable. They're the wedding monogram, the lovely designs that make you and your future hubby's names look so darn cute together! Put them on your wedding invitations, address labels, wedding programs, favors...just anything you can think of! But having your own custom monogram can be a pretty penny if you don't have the graphic design skillz to pull it off. But don't fret, Valerie from Custom Printables offers an array of monograms to choose from all for an affordable price! Choose from contemporary and classic, traditional and unique designs to fit your budget-savvy, yet stylish tastes. Instead of paying for the design and the print, Custom Printables sends a custom design directly to you so you can print on your paper. Imagine my delight when Valerie made us our own monogram:
Adorable ain't it? And yes, some of you might recall, we used the design to make our own monogram rubber stamp for our invitations. The result? These embossed cuties on our envelope!

Not only does Custom Printables also offers custom wedding programs and water bottle labels! Go to their site, and you can even download free, yes free, invitation and place card templates!

So here she is, Valerie from Custom Printables!

Why did you start making wedding designs
I picked up an interest in graphic design at a young age, but actualized it mainly through school art projects and posters. A few years ago when I started a new job, my office computer came with the entire Adobe Creative Suite and so I just started playing around. I took a few classes in Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator through the local community college, and got great feedback from my classmates. When I discovered Etsy and some wedding blogs that I read regularly (including I Do Budget Weddings!), I decided there might be a niche market for folks who want great wedding stationery and artwork, lots of choices, and the option to be able to use the designs however they choose. In particular, I found that couples want someone else to create an elegant, unique wedding program but be able to print it themselves to save money.

Your custom work are great for the couple looking for a personalized touch at an affordable price. Which of your designs are the most popular?

The monograms and wedding programs for Jewish couples are quite popular. I offer a variety of designs with Hebrew phrases that come from Jewish texts and traditions, such as "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" and "I have found the one in whom my soul delights." Additionally, I can include the Hebrew text of the seven blessings said at a Jewish wedding, and for all weddings, depending on the length of the program, I can include descriptions of the traditions and rituals. Of course, any design offered with Hebrew can be made with English text and vice versa! My most popular monograms are Erin, Renee, Amelia, and Ellisha, and the most popular invitation is based off the New Orleans Save-the-Date found on Zazzle.

Besides invitations and programs, what are some of the unique ways you've seen couples use your designs?

One couple asked for the word "Love" in a swirly frame that matched their monogram and wedding stationery. This was given to their baker, who printed out the image onto a sheet of edible paper and placed it on one of the cake tiers! The cake was then decorated to match the swirls.

What was the most unique detail you've seen at a wedding?
When my best friend got married, on the morning of her wedding she found that her soon-to-be husband had written love notes all over the bottom of her shoes. I thought it was such a cute and unexpected surprise! At another wedding I attended, the entire event was vintage-themed with mint green, black, and white. The bridesmaids wore these lovely vintage dresses that evoked the 20s and 30s, and their hair was coiffed to match the era. The bride, instead of a full-length gown, wore a sailor-inspired white dress that was not at all costume-y. It was an elegant theme wedding that strayed far from kitsch!

Anything else you'd like to share about your shop?
I don't just do weddings! I have created designs for baby showers and birthday parties, military homecomings and retirement celebrations. Additionally, I offer candy wrappers and water bottle labels. Finally, I'm beginning to delve into the world of printing myself - I have found a remarkably reliable and inexpensive vendor - so I am able to offer the complete package for my clients.

Links where we can find more info. on your shop:


Now onto our GIVEAWAY!

Valerie is giving one lucky winner five catalog monograms and a custom two-page wedding program (or, if the couple wants more than two pages, the price of a multiple page program minus the cost of a two-page program, or $20).

The Rules
Go to Custom Printables Online Shop and comment on your favorite monogram or design for one entry. This is mandatory! Contestants who do not do this will be disqualified. Remember to leave your email address or some way to contact you with each entry!

Additional entries (remember to leave separate comments for each additional entry)

2) Become a new follower of this blog. You must follow publicly (1 entry)
3) Are currently a follower of my blog (2 entries)
4) Like “I Do” Budget Weddings on Facebook (2 entries)
5) Like Custom Printables on Facebook (2 entries)
6) Blog about the contest and include a link to the giveaway. Each entrant must also include a link to Custom Printables in their post (3 entries) Please include a direct link to your blog post in your comment.
7) Buy anything from Custom Printables (5 entries)
8) Follow “I Do” Budget Weddings on Twitter (1 entry)
9) Follow Custom Printables on Twitter (2 entries)
10) Tweet on this giveaway and include a link to this giveaway in your tweet (1 entry)
11) Grab my button and place it on your blog (1 entry)
12) Subscribe to "I Do" Budget Weddings emails (1 entry)
13) Become a follower on Networked Blogs (1 entry)
The deadline to enter this contest is 11:59 p.m., Saturday, June 26, 2010 (PST). A winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck!

Freebie Friday

* Need swimwear for that poolside/tropical honeymoon? Win an $85 GC to Hapari Swimwear at Ladybug Mama of 2!
* Mom Living the Life of Riley is giving away a $50 GC to Oh Cheri!

* Audrey's Giveaways is giving away a beautiful Sterling Silver Tear Drop Pendant with Natural Paua Shell from Aimee Klee Handmade Jewelry!
* Win a a custom pair of earrings or necklace from Etsy shop Graycat Designs
* Win a $50 GC to Novica from Slice of Heaven... I LOVE browsing all the great jewelry from around the world on this site!
* Win a $100 voucher at Portobello Jewelry!

* Tell me why you think you and your future hubby make a great pair and you can win a free engagement photo session from Bliss Imagery!

* Win a silk clutch from Designer Apparel at Manolo for the Brides!
* Brenda's Wedding Blog is giving away a Wedding Guest Book Box with Lid and a Monogram!
* Win your choice of a personalized toasting glass set or a personalized 25 oz. sports mug at Everything Up Close!

* For the Love of 2 Cents is giving away a Kodak PlaySport Pocket Video Camera!
* Piece of ME is giving away a Personalized BBQ Set from Things Remembered
* Audrey's Giveaways is giving one lucky winner winner's choice of handmade Goat Milk soaps!
* Get a $10 Starbucks GC from Coupons are Great!
* Baby Loving Mama is giving away a BBQ Grill Set with choice of engraving from Things Remembered!
* For the Love of 2 Cents and Virgin Mobile is giving away a Broadband2Go device
* A Few Shortcuts is giving away a $25 Sam's Club GC plus some Pillsbury Brownie baking items...who doesn't like brownies?
* Making time for Mommy is giving away a $25 Target GC!
* Sage and Savvy  and Simon Graham and the Extraordinary Timepiece is giving away a $10 itunes GC!

* Want to win a couples massage for you and your honey? Enter your love story and win a couples massage at the Robert Andrew Spa in Gambrills, MD

The best DIY list. ever.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

Look no further, DIY brides! Austin Wedding Blog's got you covered!

When I saw this tutorial for a DIY Cathedral-length veil at Rock My Wedding, I just about squealed. Yes, I did. Thank goodness no one was in the room!

 BTW, in other money-saving news, Snapfish is offering free shipping on any order today. Just type in the code DADSAVINGS!

dum, dum, da-dum....

Monday, June 7, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , | 3 comments

dum, dum, da-dum....Don't act like you don't know what that is! Ok, that's Wagner's "Bridal Chorus," or for those less familiar with classical pieces, the very popular "Here Comes the Bride."

I do not want to this played as I walked down the aisle with my father. It's a great dramatic opener, but I just don't feel it for my own ceremony. For one thing, our church does not have an organ, just a piano and I thought the piece wouldn't sound as great on piano. Our pianist suggested the other often-used piece Mendelssohn's "Wedding March," but as stately and regal as it is, I didn't feel that either.

After scouring classical pieces on Youtube, I decided on Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" for the rest of the wedding party's entrance (sponsors, parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.) and then switching to the ever-lovely "Cannon in D" by Pachelbel for my father and I. No, it's not as grand and dramatic as the other pieces, but I have always loved the piece. I love the exquisite build up in the first few bars. I think it's a gorgeous piece as I come walking toward my new husband-to-be!

This past week, aside from trying to find the great soundtrack to my "dramatic entrance," I had been trying to come up with a music program for our ceremony. My sister's choir and pianist have so graciously agreed to perform for our ceremony. I did, however, need to provide them the music selections (which, according to our church's rules, must be Christian hymns or classical pieces).

While I am familiar with a lot of hymns sung during mass, I couldn't think of any songs that were appropriate. I wanted the songs to reflect our readings as well (Song of Songs 2:8-10,14,16a;8:6-7a, 1 Corinthians:12-31-13-8a, and Mark 10:6-9). There are several resources on the Web (and good ole Youtube) that helped me narrow down my choices. Here's what we came up with for our Catholic ceremony (without communion):

"Where there is Love"
"I Have Loved You"
"Set me as a Seal"

"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Johann Sebastian Bach
"Canon in D" - Pachelbel

Psalm 145: The Lord is Compassionate (sung by cantor)

Lighting of the Unity Candle
"When Love is Found"

“Ode to Joy” by Beethoven

Yay! Our musical program is onto the reception!

Freebie Friday

Friday, June 4, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

* Thank you to Bridal Gown Blog who told me about this great giveaway! Bonny Bridal blog is giving a very lucky bride a free bridal gown from their Bonny Collection!
* Need swimwear for that tropical honeymoon? Get an $85 GC to Hapari at TAOPN
* Win a $50 GC to Eden Fantasys at Review Retreat! Oooh la la! Sexy lingerie for the after-wedding celebration ;)

* Win a pair of Guy and Eva earrings at One Savvy Mom
* Enter to win your choice of lovely jewelry at Wild and Precious
* Win a freshwater pearl necklace from Be Adorned Jewelry
* Bees Go Buzz is giving away a piece of jewelry from A Room of Your Own
* Win a $75 GC to Novica at Go Graham Go...lots of gorgeous jewelry and gifts from around the world!
*(un)paint is giving away a $20 GC to Pacific Jewelry Designs

* Katie's Nesting Spot is giving on lucky winner a 12X12 photobook from Vistaprint
* Hope's Cafe is giving away $30 credit to Picaboo Photobooks
* Win a set of monogram cards from Too Much of a Good Thing at Heavenly Savings!
* These make a great alternative to the traditional photo album -- enter for a free 12X12 photobook at The Coupon "High"

* Win a bar of Orange and Ginger Milk Soap at On the Search for Hidden Treasures
* Win a pack from High Sierra Sport at One Savvy Mom!
* Win a $25 GC to WalMart at Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls
* Tatum's Family Review is giving away a $25 Walmart GC
* Making Lemonade is also giving away a $25 GC to Walmart
* Win a $25 GC to Amazon via Look What Mom Found...and Dad too!
*Enter for a $25 GC to Costco from Spice and All That's Nice
* Nice! Win a Canon Digital Camera at Unexpected Bliss!
* Savvy Housewife is giving away a compact photo printer!
* Get a $100 American Express GC from My Life with Rats!

Nice! Our engagement portrait print

Thursday, June 3, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , | 0 comments

Thanks to a win in a recent giveaway, the FH and I received a free 18X24 poster print from Uprinting. We decided to use the print for an enlarged portrait to display at our reception. The process was relatively easy. Just upload your design and voila! You have your own print ready to go! Thanks to our graphic designer friend, she put together a simple but very nice layout for our photo.

Word to the wise, whenever you do a print job, always opt for a copy of the proof, whether it's electronic or hard. And then really check it. Go through it with a fine tooth comb! The last thing you want to see is a glaring mistake after you get the final copy in your hands! Luckily, Uprinting offers many chances for you to view a proof before you send the job to the press. Their pre-press team even sends you an evaluation of the initial proof to check for resolution and other image quality concerns! Great, because there were a bunch of things I missed after I sent in my first file!

After just three days, here's what waited for me on my doorstep:

We're going to frame it and place it on an easel for display at our reception. I'm really pleased with how the print turned out! Not bad for a free print!

Just a thought

I read an interesting post over at Wedding Bee. A bride-to-be and her groom-to-be enters a tuxedo shop looking for a suit. The groom wants to wear a white shirt, but when the bride discloses that she will be wearing an ivory gown, the salesman is clearly disturbed. He insists an ivory dress and white shirt will look "dirty" in pictures. His is so strong in his reaction (and in my opinion, I find it overreacting) that it's no wonder people tend to have such poor confidence in their choices. There are folks out there, with no real say-so in your wedding plans, filling your head with total paranoia. Really, did the salesman have to call the look "dirty"?

The thing is, no one who really cares about your wedding will care about white vs. ivory. My sister wore a white wedding gown while her groom wore a traditional Filipino barong which is decidedly more ivory. Did I notice? Not really, not even 7 years later until I read this post. All I remember was what a great-looking  couple they were! Maybe it's because I truly cared about the couple getting married, that their happiness transcended anything they wore that day and that I was emotionally connected to the wedding. For those who aren't, I can see how an ivory dress vs. a white shirt would be such a big deal....well, maybe not a big deal, but I can see how they would maybe notice.

I read a post about a person who attended a wedding and rolled their eyes to high heavens when the father of the bride read his speech from a piece of paper. How tacky, they declared!

But my father read his speech off a piece of paper at my sister's wedding. It brought tears to my eyes because knowing my father, he rarely gets emotional. He hates speaking in public and is very shy. With English being his third language, he wanted to be sure he said his speech with perfect English, so he wrote it out and I helped him correct his grammar. But the speech was heartfelt and genuine, and I was really proud of him. I don't think I cared for a second he read off of a paper, and it touched a lot of people, and most of all, my sister.

Look, it's not a crime to care about these things...the little details that might matter to you. But don't let other people's ideas of what you should worry about get to you. And don't let the little details get in the way of things that truly do matter.

Free Invitation Downloads!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , , | 0 comments

Found this on Etsy It Up! and I just had to share: Head over to Download & Print and you have yourself a great selection of invitation templates to choose from!

All you need is Microsoft Word, or you can pdf the doc to have it professionally printed! I scored 100 free postcard prints in a blog giveaway and I'd loved to use them for rehearsal dinner invites. Having access to free design templates is a great timesaver for us, as we're pretty limited in graphic design skills and we don't really have the money to hire anyone for the design.

So if you haven't already done so, browse all the cute templates! You might find one perfect for your Bridal Shower, Wedding or Rehearsal Dinner!

Winner of the Dazzling Jewelry and Pearls Giveaway

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! And, yes, we do have a winner of our $15 Gift Certificate to Dazzling Jewelry and Pearls! And the winner is....

Leela! I will be emailing you soon on how to claim your prize! You have three days to respond or I will have to pick another winner. Leela has a fabulous blog so do check her out!

There are more giveaways lined up, so stay tuned!!!