Gift Registries and Great News

June 30th, 2012 by Julia

Thank you all for being patient with us.

We have received many gift registry related questions that we could not answer, because it took us a while to register.  The first good news is that we have finally done it.  If you have misplaced the password for our website (i.e., the one on the invitation) and cannot access the information, then you can just visit Macy’s or Target.  These registries contain the large bulk of the gifts for which we registered.


The second GREAT news that we want to share is that we are buying a house (that’s why it took us so long to register) and are getting ready to move at the end of July.  Hopefully, we can get the house in order before the wedding, so we can throw pre-wedding parties there – we’ll keep you posted.

Vendor Hunt and Contract Battles

April 14th, 2012 by Julia

Picking vendors for our wedding was the worrisome part.  Can they really be trusted?  Are they any good?  Are they even going to show up to the wedding?  Unfortunately, although we’ve already picked our vendors and signed the contracts, none of these questions will get answered until the day of the wedding.  With all of the scary stories we’ve heard from people, we cannot help but wonder if we’ve made good choices here.

In our search, we did, of course, ask everyone we could for recommendations, but, in the end, we relied on on-line reviews the most.  I was so grateful for the  This site is amazing, and the availability of reviews was very helpful.  Then there are also these good sites: and

Dealing with vendor contracts was a completely unexpected twist to this story.  There was not a single contract that we did not ask to tweak to make it more customer-friendly.  Most of the vendors really try to guard themselves, and the contracts are often more about protecting the vendor than the consumer.  For example, one photographer made his contract to say that if the photographs are lost (e.g., due to hardware damage or other disaster), he is not responsible and still gets paid the full amount.  Seriously?!  Yet, this same vendor had a huge paragraph on how he needs to be fed at specific times, describing this in a lot of detail. While some vendors were willing to work with us, others would not back down. Needless to say, we did not hire such vendors.

It did not take us too long to pick our photographer, DJ, and the florist. Finding an officiant, however, was surprisingly difficult. Most of the officiants who had good reviews and looked likable were already booked! After a rather long search, we did manage to find one with good reviews, whom we both liked. But, guess what… In his entire career as an officiant, he has never used a contract. So, he was a bit surprised (and maybe even slightly offended) when we insisted on having one. I did have to write it myself, though.

Here is the list of our main vendors. If you know any of them, please let us know what you think:
Photography – Maxine Toh (this is the only one we picked because of a friend’s recommendation)
DJ – Jonathan with Elation Entertainment
Officiant – Pastor Martin West

Picking the venue for our wedding.

January 21st, 2012 by Julia

The beauty of having a smaller wedding (i.e., 60 to 80 guests) is having a wider range of places to consider.  Even the more expensive locations still end up being within the budget.  So much choice; lots of choice.

Choice is also the downside of having a smaller wedding.  Nikolai and I visited over a dozen places (that is after we sorted through dozens on the web).  From the more expensive locations, such as the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Hotel 100, and the Salish Lodge and Spa at Snoqualmie Falls, to the less expensive ones, such as the Plateau Club and the Apulent Beach Club, we’ve considered them all.  Our experience has been great at each one of them, with wonderful customer service and willingness to provide as much information as we needed.

Given that we set our wedding for August, we did not want to take too long to pick a venue.  As a result, over a two-week period, we had a mad dash through venues, with a goal to pick one as soon as possible.

In the end, considering the availability, the “interest” factor, and the convenience of the space, we picked the Space Needle.  Oh, and another reason was their food.  It is catered from the Sky City restaurant (at the top of the Space Needle), and everything we tried there was delicious.the Space Needle

This venue just felt right and so appropriate for Seattle.  Given the large number of out-of-town guests that we are expecting, we could not think of a better location.  Well, we did consider Salish Lodge, but it felt a little too small for our party.

So far, our experience with their event planners has been great, and we are really looking forward to working with them.

How many venues did you look at before selecting one?

The story of our engagement

September 18th, 2011 by Julia

While we discussed getting engaged in detail during the summer of 2011, the proposal itself came as a big surprise.  I was not expecting it, and even told my friend Rebekah (who, as it turns out, knew about it and helped Nikolai pick the ring) that I did not think he was going to do it any time soon.  As she later shared, it took her a lot of willpower not to spoil my surprise.  Thanks, Rebekah!
During our 2+ week trip through Germany and Austria, we stopped at the village of Hohenschwangau to see the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.  On our first morning there, Nikolai set me down on a chair on our balcony, overlooking the castle, making sure that I have a great view, and got down on one knee.  His speech was concise but beautiful.  I wish I had written it down right away, as the end did not stick in my memory; thankfully, most of it did stay with me.

Our cozy B&B - that is THE balconyTo those of you who know me, you’ll laugh if you find out that I actually cried a bit.  Yes. I – the sceptical, guarded Julia actually could not help crying.  I then cried again when I broke the news to my parents…and again when we talked to his parents…and again at some other point, which I don’t remember.

Now, I am curious, who else cried during the proposal, and if you did, were you expecting to cry at such a moment?

Julia and Nikolai get engaged

September 18th, 2011 by Julia and Nikolai

Julia and Nikolai meet for the first time

February 8th, 2003 by Julia and Nikolai