My Big Ol’ Wide Feet

Sometimes living in Japan really sucks.

Why, you ask? Because I do my best to love my body, but living in Japan has made me wish that there was a certain part of my body that was a little smaller– my feet. I’m a size 10- Wide and Japanese shoe stores don’t usually sell anything over a size 7 (maybe an 8 if you’re lucky). This means that I can’t buy shoes (except men’s athletic shoes) which is awful because Japan has some seriously cute shoes.

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A selection of adorable Japanese shoes

As I said before, I’m a 10- Wide, which limits the places where I can buy shoes even in America. I usually buy shoes online from Easy Spirit or Zappos, both of which have a big wide- shoe selection. Of course buying shoes online has its downfalls and there is a chance they may not fit well or the quality isn’t up to par. I usually end up reselling a few of the shoes I buy online that don’t fit to drag queens here in Japan.

Yes, this lucky guy gets a few of my shoes.

One of the lucky guys who gets a few of my shoes.

When it came to planning my wedding I was very nervous about buying shoes. I knew I would never be able to get some of the gorgeous wedding shoes that I had been drooling over unless I wanted to be in intense pain throughout my weddings.

Image via toryburch.com

So elegant! Image via toryburch.com

Image via stylemepretty.com Photography by Lukas VanDyke Photography Event by Orange Blossom Special Events

I want these shoes so badly! Image via stylemepretty.com Photography by Lukas VanDyke Photography Event by Orange Blossom Special Events

I went on Zappos and browsed through a few pairs of shoes. Like Mrs. Lyre, I noticed the shoe selection for wide shoes is not that great. I decided that I could always wear a pair of old shoes that wouldn’t be seen under the skirt of my dress if I couldn’t find anything worth buying. This idea was practical, but a bit sad because I really didn’t want to hide my wedding shoes, but flaunt them. Luckily, I found a pair that I liked: the Bouquets Mona in royal blue. (They aren’t in stock at Zappos anymore, but you can find them here.). I crossed my fingers and hoped they would fit.

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Image via 6pm.com

They arrived at my home and wow! These are seriously one of the most comfortable pairs of dress shoes I have ever worn. They are a truly wide shoe with a comfortable heel. They could also be my something blue for my weddings. I wasn’t going to be reselling these!
Most brides and/or grooms face a few hurdles when planning their wedding- your budget restricts you from getting the flowers you want or the wedding dress you’ve been dreaming of gets discontinued or you’re like me and thought your shoe size would stop you from having comfortable and stylish wedding shoes.  I’m glad to know that there are ways you can get what you want if you do a little research and take a chance.
Are there any hurdles you faced in your wedding planning, but it all worked out in the end?
Are there any brides with wide feet? Where did you buy your wedding shoes?

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D’oh!

Have you ever felt as high as kite and then everything came crashing down a few seconds later? Well that happened to me a few days ago. I came home, checked my mail box, and was thrilled to see a wedding RSVP card.  I was disappointed to see it was a “NO,” but it was from Mr. G’s uncle who is a doctor and couldn’t take the time off. I happily walked up the stairs in wedding planning bliss when I turned over the RSVP card to see a very strange stamp. It was not one of the floral stamps we used for the invitations, but a stamp of a cat. A stamp I had never seen before. My stomach dropped and I had an awful realization: I had forgotten to put stamps on our RSVP cards. Granted, I made only six RSVP cards for our older guests, but still I forgot to put stamps on six cards which means six of Mr. G’s relatives would have to go and buy stamps. My eyes started to get watery.  I told Mr. G and he immediately calmed me down, but a few minutes later I realized that this one particular invite was from Mr. G’s uncle whose wife is, I hate to say it, quite a snob. She would look at my mistake of forgetting a stamp as a major faux- pas. I imagined her sneering at me the next time she saw me and I would forever be known as the niece-in-law who forgot to put a 50 cent stamp on the RSVP card.  I ended up lying on the couch and crying for a few minutes.

The stamp that brought on tears. And yes, Japanese stamps are really that cute.

The stamp that brought on tears. And yes, Japanese stamps are really that cute.

I’m a very organized person and I have a Type A personality that compels me to color coordinate my closet and write a to-do list everyday. When it came to wedding planning I was determined to be as organized as possible, but even with all of my organizational skills I’m sad to say that I’ve made so many mistakes in the process. In just making my invitations alone I forgot to add the RSVP deadline and the price of the after -party. I also forgot to stamp our Japanese invitations with our return address stamp which meant that we had to leave the post office, go home, stamp them, and then go back to the post office.

To most people, these mistakes sound trivial, but when you’re planning your wedding these mistakes can sometimes seem huge.  You usually only get one chance to do your wedding and it’s easy to feel that these mistakes will last forever.  I would live in fear that when people thought of my wedding they would only remember the mistakes, but through this planning process I have learned to just let go of the mistakes. I’m human and mistakes are inevitable.

If I were to give advice about how to avoid mistakes it would be:

1) Don’t isolate yourself in your planning and reach out to friends and family for help. This is quite difficult for me as I live in Japan and there is a 13 hour time difference between me and my family, but fortunately I have the hive for lots of support.

2) Get professional help if you can.  I’m very glad that I will have day- of -coordinators for both weddings. I can leave all the planning and inevitable mishaps and mistakes to the professionals.

How do you come to term with the fact that you made a mistake in your wedding planning?  For me it has been cardio and wine…lots of wine.

in making all of these mistakes I’ve also learned patience. If my fiancé made a mistake like forgetting to pay a bill, or picking up his wedding shoes I’d get extremely upset, but not anymore. I understand what it is like to have lot on your plate and forget a few things no matter how organized you are.

Did you make any mistakes while planning your wedding? Please tell me that I’m not the only one.

For those of you who are married, did you have any mistakes or mishaps at your wedding? How did you handle it afterwards?

Why My Fiancee is Crying

Do you remember the “Why My Son is Crying” meme that went around a few months ago?

Image via reasonsmysoniscrying.com/

Image via tumblr.com/

There should be a bridal addition and I could be the star. Picture me with tears and a caption underneath with something like:

crying

  • She saw a picture of her friend in a wedding dress.
  • She got her first RSVP
  • She found out that the bakery where she had a horrible cake tasting is going out of business and canceled her wedding cake order. Yes, hive, you were all right about my awful baker. Don’t worry I cried tears of joy and I got a new  baker (more on that later)!

Hive, I am ashamed to say that I have cried almost everyday this week. I have been so jacked- up on emotions that the slightest thing sets me off. Don’t worry, these aren’t full on water -works, just a little bit of water welling up in my eye, but for someone who rarely gets emotional this is a complete 180 degree turn in my personality.

I’m happy to say that, like Mrs. Rucksack, most of these are tears of joy, and none have been tears of stress. However, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve had a quite a few tears of jealousy.  Bathroom baskets are not a trend in Japan so I was excited to be the first one among my friends to have  them.  Well you can probably guess what happened. I went to a wedding few weeks ago and another bride had them. I wanted to shout “Nooo!  Bathroom baskets were going to be my thing!! I didn’t shout it out, but I’m ashamed to say my eyes got a bit watery.

I’ve also had to stop looking at wedding related pins on Pinterest because I always get a case of jealousy tears.  Most of my wedding plans are finalized so I get a stab in my heart whenever I see an amazing idea online that I wished I had incorporated, but its too late.

Image via inspiringpretty.com Photography by Matt Whytsell Photography

I wish I had done this STD! Image via inspiringpretty.com Photography by Matt Whytsell Photography

If only there was a way I could make this bookshelf altar and ship it to America! Image and Photography via jessicaclaire.net/

If only there was a way I could make this bookshelf altar and ship it to America!   Image and Photography via jessicaclaire.net/

Besides having tears of joy and jealously, I’ve also had “Oh-my-gosh- I’ve- forgotten something” tears. These usually happen when I’m sitting on the couch and watching TV.  I’ll suddenly start to panic and get a paralyzing fear that I’ve forgotten something big. My eyes start to well up and I go look at one of my wedding checklist. These tears also happen at night after I wake up from a nightmare that involves my wedding and me forgetting my dress or marriage license. Fortunately, my fears have no justification. I think I’m just getting overly excited for the wedding.

Anyone else out there emotional lately? My emotions have been all over the place ever since I sent out the invitations.

Anyone else getting jealous over other weddings?

Japanese Invites: Part 2

Once the main invitations were done, I moved on to designing our RSVP cards. Mr. G was against having any sort of RSVP card since the bulk of our guests are our coworkers whom we see every day and could verbally tell us if they were able to go (this is common practice in Japan). Our other guests were friends who lived overseas in the States, Australia, and the UK and would either have to pay their own postage on the RSVP card or RSVP digitally. In the end I decided to skip the RSVP card and have our guest RSVP online at our website. I was a bit sad that our invitations would not be as formal, but it was the easier and more efficient option for us.  I included a RSVP/Website card in our invitation suite that informed our guests that they could RSVP on our website or speak to us directly .

Our RSVP website card. It basically says that you can get wedding information and RSVP at our website.

Our RSVP/ Website card. It basically says that you can get wedding information and RSVP at our website.

We have a few non-computer savvy older guests and I made about 10 simple RSVP cards especially for them.

The last card I designed  was our After- Party info card with a map of the location in relation to our reception venue and the time.

Our after party info card

Our after party info card

I designed both of the cards in Photoshop and had them printed by Vistaprint as business cards. I had a coupon from Vistaprint that made business card printing for free so we only paid for the upload fee and the shipping. Yay!

I received all of the paper goods for the invitation suite and then realized something awful.  I had unfortunately made a few mistakes. One, I forgot to write the RSVP deadline on the RSVP/Website card.  Two, I forgot to write the price of the after party (guests pay their own way at the after party) on the after party card.  I wanted to bash my head in the wall once I had realized this. To remedy the situation, Mr. G and I decided to put labels on the back on the cards instead of paying to have the cards redone. I hate those labels! My advice, make a list of everything you plan to include on the invitation so you don’t forget it like me.

I love the trend of using twine rather than belly bands to bind everything together so I punched holes in the bottom corner of the cards and tied them all together with twine.  The process of binding the invitation suite went surprisingly fast. I cut out all the string and set up an assembly line. It took Mr. G and I about 90 minutes to get 70 invitations bound and stuffed into envelopes.

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Before

I also included a handwritten note with all of the the information written in English for our English- only guests.

I love the “country” feel that the twine gives the invites. I think our guest will be very surprised by our “American” invitations. It was also much cheaper to make our own invitations rather than purchasing them from our venue.

Price Breakdown

Floral Heart Design from iStockphoto: $21

Printing and Shipping from Vistaprint for invitations and two sets of business cards: $56

Envelopes: Free from Vistaprint

Twine: $2

Labels: $1

Grand Total: $80

So our 70 invitations were about $1.14 per person.  That is almost half the price of our venue’s invitations!

What extras did you add in your invitation suite? Did you make any mistakes like me?

Japanese Invites: Part 1

The invites for the Japanese wedding are finally complete! As Mr. G and I were stuffing the envelopes I went through a cycle of thinking “These are adorable! I wish I could see the look on everyone’s faces when they open them up.” to “What was I thinking? These are awful. People are going to remember my invitations for being ugly.” to “These are adorable!” again. I’ve finally decided that I definitely like them and I’m hoping our guest will as well.

As I mentioned in a  previous post, DIYing your invites in Japan is unheard of as most brides get their invites from their venue. When Mr. G and I toured wedding venues we got a look at their invites and none of them were very “us.” Japanese invites are either very formal or very feminine with very little variation in between.

I decided to design my own invites for two reasons. One, I wanted to save money as Japanese invites are about 2 to 3 dollars apiece. Two, I wanted to make our invites as American as possible and give our guests something they had never seen before. I first started by going on iStockphoto and looked for a floral design that fit our theme and color palette. I was able to find a design that was very floral, but didn’t fit our color palette.

The motif we decided upon

The motif I instantly fell in love with.

I kept looking for other motifs that would fit our color palette to no avail. In the end, I decided that I would change our color palate to match the design and went ahead and purchased the image.

As I said before, Japanese invites are very formal and the language used for invitations is extremely formal. I knew that neither my Japanese nor Mr. G’s Japanese would be able to correctly convey the level of formality needed for our invitations so we decided to write part of it in English. Japanese designers and artists put English on anything to make it look “cool” and “exotic”- even when the English doesn’t make sense.

Image via

Image via engrish.com

Image via

Image via engrish.com

We figured that our guests would enjoy seeing English on the invitation and that it would make it very “American” and prepare our guests for the American styled reception.  I googled “invitation wording” and found the quote ”Today I Marry My Best Friend, The One I Laugh With, Live For, Dream With, Love.” which I liked very much. I wrote that and then added  essential information such as date and time in Japanese and voila! Our main invitations were complete. I uploaded the design to Vistaprint and had them printed and shipped to my home.

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Our completed invitation

In my next post I will go over the other paper goods that went with the invitation.

How did you go about making your invitations? How did you figure out the wording?

100 Times Worse, 1000 Times Better

My sister got engaged and married about 10 years before me. During her engagement and after her wedding people would often ask her “So when will you be starting your family ?” or “When are you going to be giving your parents some grandchildren?” My sister would always roll her eyes and get extremely annoyed at these questions as she didn’t plan to have children anytime soon. “Why don’t people ask me ‘When are you going to take a trip Europe?’ or ‘ When are you going to go skydiving?’ Why does everyone expect me to have kids right away?” Seeing the pressure she faced to have children just because she was getting married was disheartening.

Now I’m engaged, and I have noticed a huge change. No one has asked me “When are you going to have kids?” The question has been “Are you going to have kids?” In the past ten years, there seems to have been shift from people expecting women to have children to it not being a “given” anymore. I’m thankful for all of those who have made this shift possible such as the Childfree Movement, and the countless women who decided to wait sometime after their marriage to have children.

Before Mr. G and I became in engaged, but were in the talks about marriage, I found an article online that was titled something to the effect of 10 Things to Ask Before You Get Engaged (Here is a similar article in case you’re interested). One of the questions was “Will you have kids?” When it came to that question I genuinely didn’t know. I’m a nursery school teacher which means that I’m surrounded by 1 to 3 -year-olds all day. My job has given me a pretty good idea of what raising a child would be like, and let me tell you, it is not easy. I also see internet memes like this which make me even more terrified of having kids. When discussing it with Mr. G I would say, “Think about it, we could take all that money that we would put toward children and put it toward traveling instead. ” Mr. G always leaned toward having kids, but said he would be fine not having them as well so the bulk of the decision would fall on me. “Kids or no kids?” is a difficult question to answer. I personally, loved the idea of having freedom, but I love my job and I love being around my students even when its crazy. I also had the very common worry that I would regret not having kids somewhere down the line.

My sister gave birth to her first child two years ago and I often asked her “Is having a kid as bad as they it is? Is your life miserable?” She said no. She has lots of help from relatives and even though her life is sometimes hectic she loves being a mom.

After hearing that, I would go on parenting blogs to try and get more answers. From what I’ve gathered, being a parent is hard and you’re going to have some really bad days, but it’s worth it. I remember hearing a quote from a radio show that summed up all of the articles and feedback from friends I had heard, “Parenting is 100 times worse than you ever imagined, but 1000 times better than you ever imagined.

After a lot of soul searching Mr. G and I have decided to have kids if possible, though it won’t be anytime soon. Are there any hive members out there who are debating on whether or not you will have kids. What made you make your final decision?

Mr. Gondola Shares His Story

Mr. G has been a pretty great fiance. He planned an amazing proposal and has pretty helpful during the wedding planning process.  When people ask about our proposal story or about wedding planning, Mr. G is surprisingly vocal so I thought I would hand over the reigns and let Mr. G share his side of his story hear with the hive.

Hello I’m the lucky man who gets to marry Ms. Gondola, Mr. Gondola. From the proposal to all of the wedding planning that has occurred, life has been fun and exciting for the past year. In case you were interested, here is a guy’s prospective on all things wedding so far: getting the ring, planning the proposal, and helping with the wedding planning.  

Choosing the ring was kind of an easy process. We had previously talked about getting engaged so I knew she wanted a conflict-free diamond for her engagement ring. My sister had gotten a conflict -free diamond for her engagement ring a few months back so I decided to call her and ask where she had gotten hers. The place, Joseph Schubach, luckily had an online store. I choose a three-stoned ring because I thought Ms. G would like it and I thought it would look good on her. After finally choosing the ring, I wired my sister the money and had the ring sent to her house so I could propose on our trip to California. Ms. Gondola LOVES wine; so I decided to make a reservation at a winery for a night near my sister’s house where we were staying. I thought it would be a great to incorporate what she loves to drink while I professed my love to her.

Before I proposed I decided to ask Ms. Gondola’s father and mother for their blessing. This was going to be tricky. One, we live in Japan so there is a 14 hour time difference. Two, we share a computer so had to get in contact with Ms. Gondola’s father (from here on out I’ll call him Gondola Sr.) via Skype when she wasn’t around. I worked out a time when Ms. G had a doctor’s appointment. On the day of I was nervous and as the time came closer and closer I started to sweat out of my palms. Then, the sound of an incoming call on Skype rang. I answered and there was Gondola Sr. dressed in a tuxedo. My first reaction was “Kinda over-kill don’t ya think?” and immediately followed by “Oh crap! Was I supposed to wear a tuxedo too?” Gondola Sr. explained he was in Las Vegas to accept an award for accomplished financial planners. Slightly relieved I explained that I wanted to take Ms. Gondola’s hand in marriage. Gondola Sr. said he appreciated that I took the time to ask him and that he gave us his blessing. “YES!!!!!” After that I constantly had Beyonce’s song in my head “If you liked it then ya shoulda put a ring on it…”Every time answering with “I WILL put a ring on it.”

On the night of the proposal I put the ring in the right chest pocket of my sports coat. The whole time I tried to keep to her right so she wouldn’t feel the ring in my pocket just in case she brushed up against it. She has a tendency to hold my right hand so it was hard to always swerve around to the other side whenever she reached to hold my hand. After dinner, we went for a walk and as if god had answered my prayers we come across a quaint little gazebo. I suggested we stop by and enjoy the night sky. After a little chit-chat I dropped to one knee and then said this speech I had prepared in my head. During the actual proposal I was really nervous. You’ve all read what happened afterward with Ms. G’s freak out. It was interesting to be there, even more to be the one that caused it.

The day after the proposal

The day after the proposal

It’s been a year since our engagement and our weddings are coming up in a few months. The whole process hasn’t been too stressful for me. My job has been choosing the food and taking care of the honeymoon. I have no knowledge of color palettes or flowers or anything like that. I leave that all to Ms. Gondola and I rub her back when she’s tired and pour her some wine when she’s thirsty.  I’m grateful that she lets me know what tasks she wants me to do ahead of time. I am also glad that she gives me options. If I have any advice for brides dealing with their fiancés, it would be don’t demand things. Ask for help when needed and just understand that most men don’t envision aspects of the wedding as vividly as women do. It would be best if you just give him a task to do and thank him after he’s done. Also starting things early is a really good idea so neither of you is stressed when it gets down to crunch time.

How did your fiance go about picking out the ring? Did anyone’s fiance ask their parents for their hand in marriage? Personally, I was a little miffed that Mr. G asked my father as I am an independent woman and not my father’s property,  but Mr. G felt very strongly about this and said it showed respect.

Is your fiance vocal when people ask about your proposal story?