Why it pays off to be demanding

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The wedding should be as close to perfection as humanly possible. If that meant being difficult, demanding, whiny at times- I had no problem being so. When you have a certain vision of the big day, it is much easier to relocate your resources to match up. Next to the hotel, the camera man gave us more trouble than we could handle. I initially had a DVD of our friend’s wedding for 3 months. I would watch it over and over again, to try and notice the little things that i disliked; like the camera man recording people next to unwanted scenery, such as the sound system or a bare wall. The food on the table was also given a lot of emphasis, as were hyper kids who ran around the wedding hall. Often there was footage of the bride chewing large chunks of food, or the guests dancing barefoot (and a zoom into their feet).
Watching that DVD also provided me with a template of what a wedding should consist of, and the chronological order of events. Typically in a Russian wedding the following occurs:

  1. The bride gets her hair and make up done early morning at her house/salon
  2. The groom gets ready with the help of his best man and other pals
  3. The groom’s party decorates the cars/motorbikes with baloons, ribbons and flowers
  4. The bride’s family prepares a light table with drinks and snacks
  5. The bride’s friends prepare traps and tricks for the groom to pass through
  6. The groom picks up the bride’s bouquette and arrives at her house
  7. The groom groes through the traps set up by answering questions, or paying money
  8. The groom successfully enters the house with flowers for the mother/grandmother or the bride
  9. After a few toasts, the party leaves for the city hall
  10. Rings and vows are exchange, marriage certificate acquired, usually parents do not come to this part of the ceremony
  11. The bride and the groom, followed by friends, visit monuments and historical sigths to lay flowers in respect
  12. During lunchtime, the church ceremony takes place, where the rings are blessed and the whole extended family usually attends
  13. There is time to take photographs at breath taking locations after church
  14. The bride and groom arrive at the hotel, while the organizers put the finishing touches to the banquet hall
  15. Make up is touched up, shoes are pollished, and guests begin to arrive
  16. Half an hour after all the guests have gathered, the bride and groom arrive at the hall
  17. Throughout the night, toasts and words of congratulations are exchanged, there is a lot of dancing and ultimately-drinking
  18. The bride and groom cut the cake, say words of thanks to their parents and leave to their suite.

Keeping in mind the casual order of events, the wedding video is typically over three hours long, and if not edited and shot properly can easily turn out to be a disaster. And after looking at the works of a number of cameraman, by sheer luck we stumbled upon one whose work took our breath away. The wedding he did previously was different, fun, loud, energetic, and atypicall. We decided to entrust him to make ours special as well. And considering that we have System of a Down as a soundtrack to our wedding video- I can se he did a great job!

The challenges of last minute deeds

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Finding a great photographer and a great camera man is the main challenge of any wedding. Most of the photographers whom we contacted were already booked for the date of our wedding, or were way out of our price league. There were a few extraordiary ones, who didn’t just shoot a scene-they captured emotions. Luckily, we found our photographer just three weeks away from the wedding. He did not work for a particular studio, neither did he charge a lot. But he was a genious. Kindly inviting us to his home, he shared his portfolio and his vision of our wedding. He was very excited to be involved in a biker wedding, and spontaneously blurted out idea for different scenes and themes we could endulge in. He made us excited about our wedding like no one before πŸ™‚ Ofcourse, my dear fiance tried to turn the photo shoot into something extraordinary with a sunrise in the mountains and a bride surrounded by 50 bikes. For better or for worse, we scaled it down. Alisher (the photographer) was quiet surprised that we tried to cram in one day, both city hall reception and church ceremony- that would mean he would be working a 16 hour day. Starting from 8:00 he would need to arrive at the groom’s house to take a few pictures of him with his parents, then come to my house to take pictures of my-still-white wedding dress, and then take it from then onwards until the wedding wrapped up around midnight.

Here are the pictures he won us over with:

The invitations

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Since the place was decided upon, we could safely choose and print the wedding invitations. We took our sweet time deciding on the place, so we lost of luxury of having custom made invitations, which i would love to have embedded with the Biker theme! We had to settle for what was already on the market. Typically wedding invations in Tashkent cost between $2 and $10 dollars. They do come in all shapes, sizes and colours and there are a few to choose from. Definetly some are outright ugly,and the golden colour is over abused. We decided to settle for something neutral, a white and light golden colour and focused on making the text unforgettable. There are a few custom shops for wedding invitation in Uzbekistan, most can be found in the local bazars or near post offices, and couples always have the luxury of designing at printing their own wedding invitation at the closest design studio. Most invitations are printed in Turkey or Syria and the chosen text is added later on in Tashkent. The text we chose to print came in a rhyme and lousely translated from Russian was something like:

“Having decided to unite our paths forever
We invite you to share our happiness this evening
To say words of congratulations/wisdom
To say “cheers” (and not once)
We would be unmeasurable happy
To see you at our wedding”

(Except in Russian, the above text rhymes beautifully and received a lot of “Awws” from the recipients).

Below the rhyme, there was the usual text of Dear_________ We invite you to our wedding which will take place on the 19th of September, at 19:00 hours, at the Sheraton hotel. We will be glad to see you, Alex and Olga

Another unusuall catch that was unique to our wedding invitation is the little tag, hanging from the envelope. Completely custom made. The idea behind the tag was simple- we did not want to receive pans,glasses, bedsheets,hoovers,plates,and clocks as gifts. We decided it would be a lot more usufull if everybody gave us money istead πŸ™‚ We were planning to move adbroad at some point after the wedding, and having some financial back up made sence to us at the time. So there was the rhyme “Don’t stree, make it easy, put your present in the envelope”. Attached by a golden ribbon, to the invitation it looked absolutely wonderfull. Those 10 words or text, politely conveyed the whole messege. And I am happy to say we only received 1 painting, 1 set of coffee cups and the rest came in bank notes πŸ™‚

Then we decided to have two weddings…

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We could not solve the problem of having a tradtional wedding and still making it fun for our friends. My husbands buddies are all life-loving-beer-drinking-rocking-never-stopping kind of people. And there are over 20 of them. See below:

Then there were friends of mine, well-mannered-non-smoking-future-presidents who I wanted by my side in this special day.

And ofcourse we wanted to keep the wedding simple and traditional. With this “mission-impossible” pressing on our shoulders we seeked for a way out! We wanted to have our cake and eat it too! There was only one solution-to have the “biker” wedding separetly from the “traditional” wedding. In a bar. Two days after our wedding. In a bar. The bar where we both hang out for a few years, yet never ran into each other. As hectic as getting one wedding ready was, we had another one around the corner. That meant, another dress, other invitation, other menus and other event programs. Only the brave and the insane can pull that off, I guess we were a little of both πŸ™‚ Thankfully, our best man was the director of that certain bar, VM bar it is called. But that bar deserves its own post all together.

I found them…

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A month ago, we moved to Oman. My husband has left the only home he was ever known, his parents, his hobbies, his job, his friends and his everything. We went on a quest for a better life, better career opportunities and to start a family of our own. But stories of that are yet to come.
During the move, I found a notebook that I have kept throughout the wedding preparations. And I came to discover it yesteday at a bottom of a drawer. So I now have the chance, to convey the evens exactly as they took place, I can provide detailed explanations of the choices we’ve made, and reveal the costs from limo to napkins πŸ™‚
Stay tuned…It will be good

Finding the perfect place

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About a month away from “the day” we have finally stopped fantasizing about finding a decent restaurant, where the cuisine,decor and AC availability would all blend into a magical location. Since Septembers were quite warm in Tashkent, we began considering having an outside wedding. As soon as that occured to us we realized we could have it all, the pool, the floating candles and the barefoot dancing. Two places were available which comprised a perfect blend of everything I wanted, and everything we could afford. The Dedeman Hotel and the Sheraton Hotel. Both places were located in the city center, and were reputable locations for weddings and other celebrations. We visited both, studied the menues, questioned the waiters, asked for photographs of previous weddings done there. At the end we decided to opt for Sheraton, it had a slightly better location than Dedeman, so that all the guest would be seated under a covered tent and not far from each other. Whereas Dedeman had a very spacious garden area that was not covered in case of rain. I went to check out Sheraton, at lunchtime, and called Alex straightaway gasping “I found it, its perfect”. He must have gotten very tired of all the wedding chaos by then, because he didnt even ask how much it cost, he said “if you love it, lets take it”. I wish he said that a month sooner when all the other places that “i loved” were found, that would have saved a lot of trouble. A few hours later both our moms (and a bag of cash) were on their way to Sheraton, to book it for the 19th of September. I could not believe we had finally found a place! That was definetly the hardest part of all, because precisely on the place depended the decor, and the music, and the whole these itself! And there we had it, a spaciou, open air, tented place that we could mold into perfection-exactly as we wanted it.

Lords of the rings

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I didnt need a big diamond ring to ensure that my husband loves me, and I made that clear from the very beginning. I could not care less if I wore a rubber band on that finger for the rest of my life. All I wanted was loyalty, a happy home and a soulmate who will stand by me as we grow old together. I am blessed, for I can assure you that I got what I asked for. I also got the ring I asked for. A simple, thin-band, classy, old school wedding ring. It is made of yellow gold with a white golden strap along the middle. Our rings are identical.
Buying rings in Tashkent, is quite a challenge. They are have just been introduced to the trend of matching rings for the bride and the groom, and most styles are heavy and far from European. My mom’s initiative was to have our rings ordered from Dubai, but that was one plan that went horribly wrong. To cut a long story short-we send 2 pairs of rings back. They were redicuously expensive and vertually took up half of our wedding budget! And although our parents encouraged us to splash out on something that would remain with us throughout like, we did not give in. We bough something we both liked, and those rings were special because they have a story-they were so hard to find. Two weeks before the wedding, amidst the panic and the chaos, there they were; simple and perfect. And although they arent designer and dont equal to the state budget of a small European city, they are the rings we are proud to wear as husband and wife.

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