Pre-marriage classes end, bridal attire search begins
By Connie Soga and Bret Moore
Wedding Diary is a column by Nu'uanu residents Connie Soga, 30, and Bret Moore, 27. The periodic column is tracking the couple's progress as they near their Nov. 3 wedding, with approximately 300 guests, at the Sheraton Waikiki.
So far, the month of June has been one of planning and preparation, getting together all the blueprints for our wedding.
Accomplishments: The Sheraton Waikiki's wedding coordinator, Lee Ann Ichimura, has been working on our basic wedding plans. We've been able to come up with a good layout of our ceremony site and reception room. The Sheraton Waikiki also had a bridal fair last Sunday that Bret and I attended. For us it was a chance to scope out the Sheraton grounds; a lot of the areas were set up similar to what we could expect to see on our big day.
Our pastor gave us an overview of how the ceremony is supposed to go. Our wedding photographer also had an outline for where everyone in the wedding party is supposed to be at every hour of the day. I guess if anything goes wrong with our wedding, it won't be because of poor planning!
This month, Bret selected a tasteful platinum ring with some small stone settings. I had been worried that he would want some big, obnoxious ring because he is always teasing that he thinks the man's ring should cost as much as the woman's ring. (Whatever!)
Bret likes to tease me that nobody ever wins those "enter to win" contests, so why bother entering? Well, I finally won something a gift certificate to the Marsha Nadalin Salon. I was really excited that Marsha herself could meet with me and help me with my hair.
June also marked the end of our pre-marriage classes. It was a nine-week course that taught us a lot about what we can do before and after the wedding to have a good marriage. And in the end, we made 24 new friends.
Things to do: Other than my wedding dress, I don't have the rest of my bridal attire yet. I've been warned that to really know that you are picking the right accessories, you have to try them all on with the dress. My gown has a five-foot train on it, and just getting it in and out of the garment bag is a chore. One day I will pack up my dress and spend the entire day getting the accessories all at once. One trip, one nightmare.
Our search last month for a videographer pulled in some referrals (17 companies total! Who knew so many people did video here?). We wanted really creative edits and graphics. We also wanted someone who could edit video right there at the wedding. So we're sending our business to Elegant Creations.
Finds and flops: I'm convinced that there are only two kinds of bridal shoes out there. The first kind is the very pretty and dainty (and expensive) shoe, but it's not going to be comfortable. The other kind of shoe is the big, ugly pump with the big, square heel. Comfortable, but when your feet are a size 8à like mine are, they look like big white Cadillacs on your feet. My search continues for a cute, dainty, inexpensive and comfortable wedding shoe. Does it exist?
We've used a magazine's wedding budget worksheet and planning outline, and it's helped us estimate our costs and plan a realistic budget. We have been able to beat most typical wedding costs by shopping around, using coupons and waiting for show specials. The planning timeline helped us out by suggesting where we should be in the planning stages each month.
Lessons learned: I have learned that as soon as you know that you are having a wedding, you should start putting together the guest list. It helps you decide such things as your food budget and other costs per head. One of my fears is that we will forget some people. So back in January, Bret and I sat down one day and wrote the names of the people we wanted to invite. Still, our list has changed a lot since then.
Accomplishments: This month, I finally got off my butt and decided I should do something that has to do with the groom's side of the wedding. I finally got the hotel reservations confirmed and the deposits put down on all the rooms for my family.
At the bridal fair, I talked to Tuxedo Junction and decided to rent all my tuxedos from them. They offered a good deal that is available only at the expos, and I only needed to put down a small deposit.
This month, we have made another payment to our cake artist and our wedding photographer. So, we have made one more notch in our payment belt. So far we are happy. Things are kind of hectic but falling neatly into place.
Things to do: I really have no idea what I am going to get the groomsmen (I thought I did earlier but I changed my mind again). I have, however, decided what I am getting the fathers. I wanted the gifts for the parents to be a bit more on the personal side, something that says "Hey, I'm your son!"
It is very hard trying to find the type of emcee that will compliment our wedding guests. With my family being from the Mainland, and Connie's relatives predominantly from Japan, a lot of the local humor would be hard for them to understand. The search continues.
The rehearsal dinner that is a big question mark. With the bridal party and the family expected to top about 35 people, it is going to be hard to find a location that will meet all the expectations at a reasonable price.
Finds and flops: One thing I have found to be very important is getting your event's hotel, church or location to let you view the grounds and support items (chairs, arches, landscape, etc.). The Sheraton Waikiki did a great job at their wedding expo in satisfying our curiosity. We were fortunate to meet the director of banquets and catering, the wedding coordinator, and the banquets and catering staff all in one day. I am very pleased and appreciative of the great effort they have made for our day.
The biggest flop was my waiting about four months to start doing the "groom" part of the wedding. I've helped Connie with the "us" things, but I haven't really started on the "me" things and the things that I am supposed to take care of. Luckily for me, most of the wedding things revolve around what the bride wants and her dress. So guys, don't sweat it if you wait a few days (or months!) to start your engines. It happens. But the sooner you get it done, the less stress you have toward the end.
Lessons learned: We have finally completed that pre-marriage class offered through our church, New Hope. It was very interesting and rewarding. Connie and I are very happy with all the things that were taught by Pastor Larry Gillis. We learned the many ways in which Connie and I can do right by the church and keep our marriage strong, even before it starts.
One of the great things about getting married is the wealth of knowledge that everyone is giving us. Everyone has been so supportive and inquisitive about our plans.
The best piece of advice I can give anyone is to attend all the expos you can and talk to as many people as you can. The way I envisioned our wedding has drastically changed over the course of all the exhibits and information that Connie and I have received. Every time we see something unique, we end up planning a way to integrate it into our wedding.