Tag Archives: mike brown

Wedding Honeymoon: New York, New York + New England/Canada Cruise!

We’ve officially chosen our honeymoon destination!! :)

After we get married, Mike and I will be heading off to …

New York! New York!  Photo Credit: www.usedyorkcity.com
New York! New York!
Photo Credit: www.usedyorkcity.com

New York, New York! :) We’ll be in New York for a few nights, staying right on Time Square, taking in the sights, shows, shopping, & food before getting on board…

The Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship!
New England/Canada Cruise Ship!

A cruise ship for a 7-day New England/Canada cruise! :) Yay!! The cruise hits Halifax, Saint John/Bay of Fundy, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, and then back to New York. We’re super excited because it combines our original idea of wanting to go on a cruise – to an idea we had of wanting to go to the East Coast – to my personal preference of going to a destination where you can go see things and do things as opposed to just majority-of-the-time lazing around on the beach or by the pool (I get bored FAST in those types of trips).

It combines the all-inclusive food aspect of tropical destinations to the lovely, romantic cobblestone, lighthouse, old buildings and ocean aspect of an East Coast destination and throw in the New York aspect… you can’t go wrong. :) We’re especially excited to try our hand at going to an episode taping of The Colbert Report!!! (one of our favourite shows).

We love Stephen Colbert!!
We love Stephen Colbert!!

We have signed up with Farlie Travel for a Honeymoon Gift Registry. (Our profile/page hasn’t been added to their website just yet though).

Farlie Travel Honeymoon Registry
Farlie Travel Honeymoon Registry

And as stated in previous blog posts, we’ll be encouraging guests to contribute to the honeymoon registry in lieu of physical gifts . :)

Overall we are excited our honeymoon plans have been finalized. There was a period of time where I was slightly stressing because I just didn’t know where we were going to go or what we were going to do and was also concerned about the cost. But I’m very happy with this honeymoon plan and I’m excited it’s another to-do that we can cross off the Wedding To-Do List now! Yay!

So have you been to New York? On a cruise? On a specific New England cruise? What did you think?!

– Linda

Wedding Decorations: Do-it-Yourself: Wooden Centrepieces, Twigs & More!

We are going full-steam ahead with our wooden/burlap/rustic theme and I must thank Pinterest & Etsy for all of my ideas!

The key thing is that Pinterest & Etsy has provided me with a ton of great ideas – but I plan on DIY-ing most of it. The vision – a lot of burlap and a lot of wooden slices/wooden slabs/wooden holders.

I am looking at sliced wood pieces for bases for both the table centrepieces as well as the cake stand.

Rustic wooden centrepieces!

These rustic wooden centrepieces (above) are listed at $59.95 for a set of 5 on Etsy. Talk about expensive!! My first thought is that, come on, how hard can it be to cut down a tree somewhere in the country and make our own slices? I did get some skeptical, questionable remarks when I suggested this to a few people, but when I told Mike – he said it would be no problem!!!

“We’ll cut down a tree out by mom and dad’s place in the summer,” he said. “It’ll be easy.”


Rustic Wooden Cake Stand

The above image is a bit thicker and taller a wooden cake stand than I’d prefer but you get the idea. This one (below) is also very nice, and featuring the more thinly-sliced wood pieces that I prefer.

Rustic Wooden Cake Stand

Mike & I don’t consider the cake part of our wedding to be a big deal. We would be okay with a very tiny cake maybe on top of a piece or two of fake cake for presentation purposes. I honestly care more about the cake stand at this point than the cake itself, lol.

We haven’t decided what exactly we want on top of our wooden sliced centrepiece yet, but I know I want TWIGS! just some green flowers, and perhaps this smaller wooden slice with our initials burned in like in the image below:

Rustic Wooden Centrepiece

I love the look and feel of twigs as a centrepiece though:


There may be a candle or two on the centrepiece itself, but the plan for candles is actually to spread out a number of candles across the table. Our tables at the Old Timers’ Cabin are rectangular and long, not circular and round. So we’ll be placing candles down the table. It will likely be tealight candles, and they will be put in another wooden piece – wooden tealight candle holders!

Similar to the below image, but not as tall:

Wooden Tealight Candle Holders

Now those ones are $29.95 for a set of 12 on Etsy. Which isn’t too bad I suppose, but Mike assures me that we can make these wooden holders ourselves too. I think the sliced wooden centrepieces will be a lot easier, but the candlelight holders will be doable!

Our table runner will be BURLAP! Similar to this image (below). You’ll also notice in the below image there are wooden log pieces as centrepieces as well. I am not sure if we will be going with different shape/heights yet but it’s not an idea we’re turning down at this time – as I think the below picture looks great. (Notice there are also TWIGS!)

Rustic Burlap Table Runner, Twigs and Log Centrepiece

And last (for now) are the burlap chair ties! I am in love with this burlap chair tie look (below) but it may not look exactly the same for us because the chairs at the Old Timers’ Cabin aren’t wooden and aren’t shaped like the image below which means we may have to get white chair covers first and then tie it with burlap.

Rustic Burlap Chair Tie

Love the look!!!!

I really am in love with the rustic, wooden look. This would have been the style I wanted had we done an outdoorsy backyard-like wedding but I think it works even better now in the Old Timers’ Cabin which obviously will work with wooden and rustic since it’s literally a wooden cabin! Add lots and lots and lots of twinkly lights and I think our reception space is going to look beautiful.

We’ll be using these lights (in the below image), just your typical Christmas kind of lights. We won’t be laying it out like this image, I just wanted to include a lights picture to tie all the wood and burlap together. The way the Old Timers’ Cabin is set up, there are wooden logs all over the ceiling so we intend on WRAPPING the lights around the wooden logs. :)


Just lovely. I am really excited. I LOVE the wood, the burlap, the twigs, the candles, the lights. And I love that we’ll be attempting all the wood decorations Do-it-Yourself style. (That will also provide fodder for future wedding blog posts! Ha).

So what do you think of all this wood? Twigs? Tealight candles?

Do you have any suggestions? Tweaks? Have you been a wedding with a similar style? Did you love it?

ALSO I think at this point I should be changing this blog to read ‘Mike & Linda’s Rustic Wedding’ not ‘Royal’ Wedding, although I guess royals could still do rustic weddings, lol.

P.S. You can always follow along with what ideas I’m interested in on my PINTEREST Wedding Board! 

– Linda

Our Engagement Party!

This is an extremely delayed blog post but now that we’ve nearly reached the one year mark until the wedding, I’d like to start being more consistent with wedding-related blog posts so to do that, I need to catch up!

We had our engagement party on May 26, 2012.

Happy Engagement Party!

 It was lovely! My aunt and uncle flew in from the U.S. to attend the party. We had immediate family, bridal party members and some close friends attend. There was the traditional Vietnamese ceremony in the morning followed by mingling, opening of gifts/cards and eating light snacks before we headed to CHA for Tea Palace to indulge in a ten-course meal.

It was a beautiful day and extra thanks to my mother for organizing!!

– Linda

The Engagement Party: Do’s, Don’ts, Guest List, Etcetera.

It’s been awhile since my last wedding blog post but I wanted to do something before our Engagement Party next weekend!

I thought throwing it in May when our wedding isn’t until next July was a bit too early but according to various webpages that came up in my engagement party Google search, throwing an engagement party a year in advance is the norm for a long engagement! :) Prior to my Google research, I also didn’t know what the do’s and don’ts of engagement parties were. Throw in the Vietnamese tradition aspect of it all and you’ve got a pretty clueless bride and groom. Lucky for us my mom is planning our engagement party and she’s basically got it all planned out for the most part.

First we’ve got the more traditional ceremony to do in the morning.

What I vaguely know of this is that it will include a presentation of “gifts,” speeches and introductions of family members and what we’re all here that day to celebrate, a re-enactment of putting the engagement ring on my finger (sounds kind of awkward, probably will be), and then general social niceties that may or may not include tea. (I think the actual tea drinking may be reserved for the wedding day ceremony). Then we will all go for an early dinner (or late lunch?) at a pre-determined restaurant (in this case it will be a Chinese restaurant where we’ve booked five tables, each table will be served a 10 course Asian-style meal).

Traditional Vietnamese Engagement Party Gifts! (Image shown is from my brother's engagement party in 2009).

That’s basically the plan. I am going to be wearing a traditional Vietnamese dress that was put together by a seamstress (my mom bought the material when she went on a trip to San Jose awhile back). Everyone else will just be wearing nice, formal clothes. My mother has commissioned one of our good friends John to film. I have also asked one of my bridesmaids to film to have some secondary shots (I’ll be putting together the clips for an engagement party video that my mom really wants to send over to our Vietnam relatives). My mother has also asked our good friend Jesse to emcee the event (which might be awkward because we don’t really know what he needs to emcee, lol).

The guest list is basically my immediate family (plus an aunt and uncle who are flying in for the occasion) and Mike’s immediate family, plus the bridal party (their respective girlfriend + boyfriends), and a couple of other close friends. It’s a very limited guest list, which is what actually prompted me to do the Google research on engagement parties in the first place.

We feel really bad excluding some of our friends (and extended family), but if it wasn’t a small gathering then we might as well be paying for a wedding dinner you know? Obviously not everyone is going to get invited to the engagement party and my thoughts of this were confirmed by a few wedding advice websites which said typically engagement parties are just for immediate family and the bridal party.

Here are a few other tips I’ve gathered from various websites on the topic of engagement parties:

  • Everyone who is invited to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding.
    Which is why if you’re unsure about your overall wedding guest list (and obviously things can change if your wedding is not for another year and some!) then it’s best to keep it small/just family.
  • Remember there’s still a wedding to throw, you don’t want to upstage the wedding – try for a different mood or style.
    Which is why we’re doing the reception of the engagement party at a Chinese restaurant. It’s the style my dad wants for our wedding but we’re compromising by doing it for the engagement party because we’d like our wedding to be at a hotel.
  • Come up with a budget and stick to it.
    Thankfully my mom is paying for the engagement party but it’s still quite a hefty price for five tables of 10-course meals, which is also a big reason why you should try and keep the engagement party guest list down to a minimum.
  • Think about specifying whether gifts are welcome or encouraged.
    I personally don’t really want or expect gifts at our engagement party, it feels like too much! The few people who have told us they are getting us gifts we’ve told it’s not necessary, but they still insist so that’s the most pushing we’ll do on that topic. Whatever people want to do! According to Google, you shouldn’t ask people for engagement party gifts but people will typically give you one.
But basically this post was just my way of saying sorry if anyone’s feelings are hurt if they weren’t invited to the engagement party – that’s what the actual wedding is for! :) So have you been to an engagement party before? Any do’s, dont’s, other tips or things to tell me? Reassure me it’s okay that we didn’t invite everyone because obviously that’s what the wedding is for? Lol.

– Linda

Wedding Favours: Two Peas in a Pod!

Since my last post about how important wedding favours are, I’ve been convinced that we should be providing them at our wedding.

That being said I still didn’t want to spend that much money on the favours so I’ve been browsing different do-it-yourself favour ideas and finally came across one that would be extremely inexpensive and oh so cute!

Introducing the “two peas in a pod” wedding favour!

I got the idea off of Martha Stewart Weddings.

The photos they provide on the site are so small it’s hard to see the details but I can picture it perfectly! Basically you would put two round candies (mints or chocolates) together wrapped in green tissue paper and glued to a small piece of cardboard that would be the base. Then you take more green tissue paper and wrap it around the peas and cardboard and twist it at the ends. You attach it to a card with a custom design/lettering/etc. and you’ve got your cute peas in a pod favours! The images pictured show more yellow-y tissue paper than I’d prefer. Imagine it green for our wedding purposes.

We could buy the round mints/candies/chocolates in bulk which wouldn’t cost much at all. Tissue paper and cardboard would be extremely cheap and then I could photoshop the design of the cards and print like eight per page on card stock from Staples or somewhere at a low cost as well. I’d have my bridesmaids sit with me and put it all together one night and then we’ve got ourselves really cute, really cheap wedding favours!!

I love the idea!!

Obviously there’s still a long time to go till the wedding so I may stumble upon other (better?) ideas but so far this is the winner. I may also put extra mints/chocolates on the table so that people can eat those and leave the “peas” alone because if they wanted to keep it as a memory of our wedding it’d be kind of sad looking without the peas, lol.

So what do you think??? :)

– Linda

Wedding Invitations: Custom Photo Postage Stamps!

 Did you know Canada Post offers custom photo stamps?

I didn’t, until Mike’s mama saw it was on an envelope she had received. She looked into it online and found that you can upload a custom photo onto Canada Post’s Picture Postage website and then order them for your use. Seems unnecessary for day-to-day postage but it’s a really cute idea for using on wedding invitations!

Canada Post's Picture Postage

You get the choice of four different styles. It’s a really simple process – upload and crop. I did a test run to see what it would look like:

Testing out Canada Post's Picture Postage

And I have to say it looks really, really cute!

 Pricing-wise you can get a full sheet of 40 stamps for about $40. I put in that we’d need 3 sheets that came out to a total of $120.90 but in reality we’d probably need more than 3 sheets because some of the envelopes we’d be mailing out would require at least two stamps. At 5 sheets it’s about $201.50.

(Click here to see the price list.)

If we’re trying to cut costs, custom photo stamps would definitely be one of the first things cut. While we look adorable in postage stamp form (hehe), $200 is about the max that I’m hoping to spend doing up the actual invitations so to spend that much on stamps alone would be quite the frivolous expense.

Still it is definitely worth noting and definitely worth blogging about! For those without major wedding budget constraints this would be a really great touch to add to your invites.

So have you ever received a wedding invitation (or any piece of mail) with a custom photo stamp? What’d you think? And would you want to have these on the wedding invitations you mail out?

Let me know what you think! :)

– Linda

Wedding Favours: How important are they, really?

 My mind has been on wedding favours lately.

The main train of thought being, how important are they, really?

Usually wedding favours are very small, very simple things, that quite honestly end up being tossed out or tucked away never to be seen or used again. Am I right? In the case of candy or chocolate favours, they get gobbled up and then they’re gone. I don’t think people will base their thoughts on your wedding around what the wedding favours were and I’ve been wondering how expendable they are.

Wedding Favour Candies.Photo courtesy: www.alittlefavor.com

For such a small take-away item, the cost for wedding favours adds up. At $5 a favour, which I believe would be on the more costly side, you’d be dropping $1,000 on the favours for a wedding of 200 (which is our maximum number of guests we’d like to have at our wedding). A thousand bucks for candy or an ornament no one will use seems a bit silly to me! And yes, you can get like 30 cent, 50 cent, etc. favours, but then it’s like, how crappy or tacky would they be at that price?

Wedding favour shot glasses. Photo Courtesy: orchid2011.blogspot.com

I did an unofficial control room poll at work on Saturday featuring three men of varying age ranges lol, who all asked “What are wedding favours?” in response to my “do you guys think wedding favours are important?” question. See. Unnecessary expense that no one really cares about! (based on 3 people’s opinions lol).

The way I also figure it is that we’re renting a photobooth for sure. Therefore our guests will be able to take unlimited photobooth photos home with them! That in itself I feel counts as wedding favours! And wedding favours that people will actually enjoy and actually keep – because who doesn’t like looking at, showing others, and keeping photos of themselves? Especially in cute photobooth form.

Photobooth Wedding Favours! Photo courtesy: www.flashworksphotobooth.com

So fun right? :) I’m leaning towards scrapping random wedding favours and just making the photobooth pictures everyone can take home the wedding favours. Fair? I think so! It would save us up to $1,000!!! That’s huge…

But Mike says we have to at least leave some chocolates on the table for guests, which in that case I would opt for Hershey’s Hugs & Kisses. I am not a huge fan of chocolate but Hershey’s Hugs & Kisses are one of my favourites. And I think we would be able to get them in bulk for a pretty reasonable price.

Hershey's Hugs & Kisses. Photo Courtesy: kaboodle.com

But then can you just leave the kisses scattered on the table like that? Or would we need to put it in some pretty wedding-type of packaging? In that case while the chocolates might be cheap, we’d have to shell out a bit more for the packaging which would bring us back to that $1,000 for wedding favours number…

Fancy wedding packaging for Hersheys Favours. Photo courtesy: weddingbycolor.com

But what do you think? Do you even care about wedding favours? Have you kept any you’ve gotten at weddings you’ve been to? Would having favours or not (or having bad ones) make or break a wedding? Would you be unimpressed?! Would you consider photobooth pictures a decent wedding favour?

Do you think I’m being cheap? We’re going to have to find areas to cut costs in this wedding and I just feel like the favours could be one of those areas.

Let me know what you think! :)

– Linda

Happy Valentines Day!

This is our first Valentines Day as an engaged couple! :) We don’t have a huge Valentines Day planned this year – mostly in part because I’m working a late shift on what would have normally been a day off, lol. But also because we feel there are enough occasions throughout the year where we celebrate and get each other gifts, that it’s really not the end of the world if we don’t do anything crazy on Feb. 14. Also because we’re really, really broke this month, lol. But lastly because there isn’t just one day that we show each other we love one another! :)

I Choo Choo Choose You!

Normally on anniversary/love-type occasions we eat at Mt. Fuji, one of our favourite Japanese restaurants and also the restaurant we went to on our first date. Since I am working on the south side (and Mt. Fuji is north side) and we didn’t want to spend any money, we are planning on going to The Mongolie Grill because we had bought a Groupon to there awhile back that we’d yet to use! (We also think Mongolie Grill is yummy, hence our purchase of the Groupon lol).

This morning Mike surprised me with a balloon and tulips in a flower pot!

The Only One For Me!!

I always tell him I don’t like flowers because they just die anyway (waste of money!) but secretly still like to get some occasionally, lol. He went the I-can-take-care-of-this-one-and-keep-it-alive-for-awhile route, which I love! We also spent yesterday night baking Valentines-y themed Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting from scratch! :)

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting!

I thought they turned out pretty good but then again I don’t eat a lot of red velvet so I’m not sure how exactly it’s supposed to taste in comparison, lol. But we always have a great time baking together and ever since we got a Mixmaster for Christmas we’ve been baking a lot more. hehe.

It really doesn’t matter what we’re doing on what day, we always have the best time together. And honestly, 95% of the time we’re just at home, eating and watching TV. My favourite time.  ♥

To wrap up, I just to wanted to say, as I say every day, I love you Michael!

Photo Courtesy: GETTY IMAGES


Here’s to a zillion more Valentines Days.

I hope everyone has a great day. Give lots of hugs and kisses to all of your loved ones!

– Linda

Wedding Theme: An Elegant, Green Wedding!

Mike and I are pretty sure on where we’d like to do our wedding ceremony and reception now (yay!) The thing is now I’m not sure if the reception venue will go well with the“rustic” wooden look we had originally been very keen on because the reception venue is basically a ballroom that gives off a very regal, elegant, glamorous feel. Throwing wood in there may make it kind of odd. So this post is my alternative wedding theme (which we will likely be going with over the rustic now) – an “elegant” and green-coloured, royal wedding. I mean we figure since the “royal wedding” is already included in this blog’s name and the hashtag we’ve been using for wedding related tweets is #royalwedding2013 – the elegant, royal look just fits right in! :)

We’re still loving green and white as our main colours and I think it should work beautifully with the elegant look as well as it would have with the rustic look. For example, green bridesmaids dresses still works splendidly in this elegant royal theme! It will also still look glorious outdoors with bridal party photos!!

Photo courtesy: weddings.theknot.com

I’m also looking at a white bouquet with green and perhaps light yellow tones.
So pretty!

Photo courtesy: weddingbee.com

We’ll likely be going for this kind of chair look (below). White chair covers with a light green sash on the back. White table clothes are included with our reception venue so we’ll probably keep that white for the sake of keeping down decoration costs. The shade of green in the chair sashes below isn’t exactly the shade I’m thinking of though but you get the idea. :)

Photo courtesy: soletsparty.co.uk

I also really love the idea of having green lights pointed to the ceiling of the reception venue to give off this look (plus also having the ceiling drapes! Gorgeous!!) This ballroom image I just found off Google but it’s basically what our reception venue will look like. Elegant and classy, right? There are chandeliers too!

Photo Courtesy: yourweddingcompany.com

Now add balloons to that ballroom floor! I really want to have balloons at the reception. I’m picturing them scattered all over the floor, with some grouped/stringed balloons floating together in various parts of the room.  Makes for a really cute setting and imagine how cute the photos will be. I’m also thinking white and green balloons :)

Photo courtesy: LS Lam on Flickr

As for centrepieces I still really want to keep the chalkboard table numbers, but I’m not sure how it will look in this new elegant, glamorous setting. Either way, the table number will pop out on top of flowers in a vase, or be set in front of it. And the vase will include greeny fruits!!! Think of the possibilities… apples, pears, limes!!! :) Makes it feel fresh too! I’m not really loving the flower look in the image below, but I wanted to showcase it because it features the cut up limes and lemons. So cute. I’ve also seen images of just whole, uncut limes and lemons stuffed in vases, which I think may be better because you don’t want the cut pieces to start looking gross…

Photo courtesy: bridesmaidtrade.com

The point is – we are still absolutely in love with green for our wedding! And I think it works just as well as any other colour with a sleek, glam wedding venue. Although purple was/is a close contender and is a worthy alternative main colour. ;) Mike and I also made a stop at the Bridal Fantasy show over the weekend and there was a lot of green there!! I believe it’s the colour of the year – though that doesn’t mean much since our wedding isn’t until next year, lol. But it does show green is a great wedding colour! I don’t really think I need to convince anyone of that but I did see a lot of green at the bridal conference.

So far – nothing booked yet and nothing set in stone. Our venue doesn’t even take official bookings/deposits until one year before the date so right now we’re only tentatively booked for our date. Which is fine because that means we get first dibs! There are only 4 Saturdays in July so having rights to one of them is pretty important!!

So yay/nay on the green??

(Obviously yay :))

More fun wedding posts soon!

– Linda

Wedding Theme: A Rustic, Outdoors Wedding – held Indoors!

 The more I’ve been browsing wedding decorations, the more I find myself absolutely in love with the whole rustic, burlap, wooden look!! I talked to Mike about it and he is all for my idea of having our wedding theme be *ahem* –

A Rustic, Outdoors Wedding, held Indoors!

Since we’re not planning on holding our wedding ceremony or reception outdoors anymore (for various reasons) – I want to bring the outdoors inside!

Photo courtesy: braggingbags on Etsy.

I’m eyeing a lot of wooden and burlap-y decorations, a lot of light biege, brown, white colours. I’m envisioning the bridesmaids dresses to be potentially a light green.

I’m also loving everything chalkboard!

Photo Courtesy braggingbags on Etsy.

I love these chalkboard/wooden frames for table number centrepieces.
Mix those with again lightly coloured flowers and the table will just be beauuutiful! :)

Photo Courtesy rosebudlipsbridal on Etsy.

And burlap, burlap, burlap. How beautiful is this burlap wedding bouquet wrap?!
As well as this “shabby” vintage burlap suitcase to hold wedding cards!

Photo Courtesy YesMoreFunk on Etsy.

You can also expect to see these outdoorsy wooden signs at my wedding!!
(Despite being indoors ;))

Photo Courtesy TRUECONNECTION on Etsy.

I am super excited about this theme! As you can see all of the above images are courtesy of various shops on Etsy. That’s definitely going to play a role in where we purchase our decorations – there is a ton of wedding stuff on Etsy!!! I could browse thr0ugh them all day, every day! A lot of these rustic, vintage-y wedding decorations are also very do-it-yourself! So expect DIY-posts in the future!

What do you think of the wooden, vintage, rustic look?! And what do you think of having it all indoors? I think this way it would be beautiful, the style we like, and we won’t have to worry about unpredictable weather ruining the event! :)

Wedding browsing is so fun!

– Linda