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Our April 2011 Moon Palace Wedding * Lots of Pictures on Pages 1, 3 & 5*

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We are getting ready to leave for our dream wedding in just over a week. Before we leave, I have decided to start posting my planning thread. Since I still have a lot to finish this weekend, there will be more posts and more pics. Now, let's start with the many thanks!


Most importantly, thank you to the wonderful Tammy Wright for allowing us to use her forum to maintain our sanity with other brides that are supportive through our sometimes difficult planning period. Although I didn't use a TA, if I even need one, I will contact Tammy for a referral.


Secondly, the most active people in my wedding planning were the amazing April 2011 Brides! I ran almost all my ideas past them and they always had great opinions and offered the best advice. We had a rough engagement, planning a wedding while you are 3000 miles apart from your FI and family is not something I ever planned and hope no one ever has to go through. I think the main reason I survived was with the April ladies. I really hope we can keep in touch throughout our AHR planning, and into the next phase of baby making. I know that I can't wait to exchange wedding photos with all of you.


Our Initial Meeting:

I was sent to a remote worksite to relieve a coworker for a week. We instantly became inseparable. Unfortunately, I was only there for a week. We decided to remain exclusive and maintained a long distance relationship over the next 8 months. We saw each other about once a month for either a long weekend, or if we were really lucky a whole week. When he finished his job posting I asked him to move to Niagara to live with me while he finished school. About 4 months later, we purchased a home together. The week before our wedding we will have been together 3 years.


Our Engagement:

FI surprised me with a hot air balloon ride for my birthday. I was so excited, but also a little sad because I was awaiting a proposal and figured there was no way he would propose after spending so much on the private balloon ride. I was wrong. He proposed at 3000 feet in the air with a beautiful Tacori e-ring that I had told him I loved. Even though we had to leave at 5 am that morning to get to the site before sunrise, for a moment I considered putting on makeup and wearing something nice. Of course, I was lazy and it was chilly. So I look horrible.


up in the air.jpg


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Our invitations:

I always knew that I would DIY our invitations and once I discovered passport invites I was sold. Here is the link to the thread with my finalized invites.






I got lots of great comments from our younger guests; the older ones didnâ€t seem to appreciate straying from the norm. I also have to comment that I wasted time and money on RSVPs. We only got back about 20% and I put stamps on 100! It really disappoints me that people couldnâ€t just be honest and say “no, weâ€re not going,†and send back the RSVP. Iâ€ve since decided that if they couldnâ€t send back an RSVP they wonâ€t receive an invite to the AHR.



This was one of our lucky things. I really wanted to get engagement pictures done but we were really constrained with time and money. I managed to find a Kijiji ad from a photographer looking to build her portfolio. Her husband was already a successful photographer and she was his assistant. At our session she asked if we were going to use the resort photographer and mentioned that they would do our wedding without any additional travel costs. We just had to book their 12-hour, 2 photographer package. The package included thank you cards, a hard cover album, a trash the dress session and a cd with all the edited images. After comparing the prices with the resort, we decided to sign a contract with them. Since we signed the contract, their pricing has significantly increased and doesnâ€t include any of the extras we are getting.




After being on this forum for a while, I also decided to have a surprise BD shoot done for FI. Again, I was limited for time, but managed to schedule a date with our photographers. It was a lot of fun and I think it should be done by all women at some point in their lives. Even if the photos are only for yourself to see. At first, FI was angry that I would let a stranger take pictures of me barely dressed, but now he loves the book. I received a coupon from David's Bridal for a free hard cover 8 x 8 photo book so I used that to order. It did not arrive within the expected dates, so I got worried and contacted Shutterfly. They agreed to send a replacement and of course the original one showed up a couple of days later. So now FI has two copies to enjoy!


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Because I was away from FI and away from home, I needed something to keep me busy. So I wound up spending a lot of time and money on DIY projects. Here are a few;


 All my DIY Projects:


Personalized Tank Tops: I purchased the tank tops from Old Navy during a sale and only paid $1.50 each. The iron-on rhinestones were purchased from Michaels for $1 each. They didnâ€t have any that said bride to be so I purchased an extra bridesmaid one and rearranged the stones. Some of the stones didnâ€t stick so I had to purchase different glue from Walmart specifically made to adhere stones to fabric.



Picture 211.jpg


Fuchsia Crinoline: After reading Vgirl's Moon Palace Wedding Review and seeing her dyed crinoline, I really wanted to have that pop of color and loved how it looked in other brides†pictures. I wasnâ€t too keen on dyeing the skirt and wanted mine to be a little fuller, so I just purchased fuchsia netting and used fusible webbing to attach a few more layers. I purchased the crinoline from a closed bridal shop for $30 and paid about $10 for the netting.


Picture 004.jpgPicture 005.jpg


Bridal Bikinis: Another iron-on purchased from Michaels. Be careful with the iron and swim suits. I actually melted another bikini on my second attempt and ended up with a huge hole in the bottom and the rest was stuck to the iron. I also slightly melted this one, but donâ€t think it was too noticeable. If I could find another identical iron-on I would probably buy another bottom and reattempt it. I am aiming to get a second bikini that I will put the word BRIDE onto.


Picture 208.jpg

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Brideâ€s Bouquet and Bridesmaid Bouquets: I purchased all the flowers from Afloral.com. I placed two separate orders and had 4 dozen small yellow callas, 3 dozen small orange callas, 2 dozen mini orange callas and 18 of the orchids. The callas were all real touch and looked great, I think. The orchids were a little less realistic, but I donâ€t think you can tell the difference in pictures. My bouquet was complete when I did my BD shoot, so we incorporated it and it looks fabulous in the pro pictures.


I used the mini callas for boutonnieres because they were much too small to use in bouquets. I originally had 3 bridesmaids when I made the bouquets, but one got pregnant so decided not to attend. They were pretty easy to assemble. I just made small bundles and kept building them up using floral tape to keep them together. My mom suggested adding stephanotis to the bouquets, so I have taken them apart and added that to them. I also plan on adding the roses from my free bouquet to mine.


My Bouquet


Picture 001.jpg


Bridesmaid's Bouquet


Picture 002.jpg


Boutonnieres - As you can see, I did make corsages for the mothers. But of course, FI's mom chose a dress that is completely out of our color scheme so I will be scrapping that.



Picture 213.jpg




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I could not find anything in any bridal store that I liked. I even went to a few where I didnâ€t try any on. After over 100 dresses, I knew time was running out. So I decided to take a leap and purchase a custom made gown from an online retailer in China. I purchased a ceremony gown and another dress from Monica Bridal, a seller on DH Gate. I was really pleased with the gown, but it required dramatic alterations because it was so large. After alterations, I decided I needed a crinoline to make the dress pouf.


Picture 004.jpgPicture 003.jpg


Before I started looking for dresses, I had always planned to have a separate dress for the reception so that I could be more comfortable. I ordered a second dress from Monica Bridal, this time with professional measurements, and got a perfect fit. By the way, never interrupt Call of Duty to ask your FI to take pictures, he wonâ€t give you time to pose nicely.


Picture 176b.jpg


For my something blue, I decided to incorporate a garter featuring FIâ€s favorite team. I purchased this set from an ebay seller, she also had an etsy listing for the same product, but at a higher price. I paid $24.99 for both garters.




I never loved my ceremony dress, so I kept looking, hoping to find something I loved, or even just really liked. Two months before the wedding, I decided to try another replica dress. This time I ordered from Babyonline another seller on DH Gate. I wanted the top from one dress, and the skirt from another. This is the overall look I wanted. The dress is supposed to arrive today, so I will post pictures after the weekend.


Here is the inspiration photo I sent to them


mix dress.jpg




For my wedding day jewelry, I will be borrowing diamond studs from my mom. For a couple of years, I have been admiring a Swarovski necklace at Costco which I always knew would be perfect for our wedding day.



BMâ€s Attire:

It was very difficult to choose a dress since my MoH couldnâ€t find any sample dresses in her size. Eventually, we made it to Davidâ€s Bridal and selected a dress. We ordered this dress in Tangerine.




I had one of my neighbors make custom jewelery and they turned out gorgeous. Again, pictures after the weekend.


FIâ€s Attire:

I wanted him to order a linen suit because I figured he would be more comfortable in the heat. He wanted a black suit, so eventually he was in the mood to go shopping and we found one he liked.


GMâ€s Attire:

In order to keep costs low for them, we decided they could wear black pants, white shirts and matching ties.


MoBâ€s Attire:

It almost seemed that the only thing my mom got excited about was buying herself a new dress. I was very worried that it would be too J Lo for my mom, but she looks great in it.




MoGâ€s Attire:

My FMIL never wears dresses and rarely even dresses up. She also hates shopping. We looked through several bridal magazines to help her decide on the type of dress she would like. My only comment to her was, no tiered skirt because I didnâ€t want her dress to resemble mine too closely. Of course the first day she went shopping she only picked out one dress that she wanted to try on. And it most definitely has tiers so she had to have it. Her buying this dress was the big thing that pushed me into ordering a second ceremony dress. It was easier for me to order another wedding gown?!?



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So that's it for what is currently complete. On Monday, I will come back and post the rest of what was "fingers crossed" finished over the weekend!

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YAY MOCHA!! So nice to actually see your face! What a great proposal! I got my Pistons Garter from the same seller!! I didn't get it off Etsy either, I found her on another website and paid the same thing you did.

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