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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in International Weddings (7)


Quack! And Other Wedding Fortunes…

Last night, after a lovely weekend with The Candyman (we saw the last Harry Potter movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed and we found a decent sushi place, right by our house!) I was thumbing through the August Brides magazine whilst lounging on the couch. You know how every magazine has one little snippet article on the very last page? Well this month it was a list. Come to find out it, it was an eye opening lesson in fortune and duck bills….

After The Candyman and I got married, I received several very thoughtful gifts from my Asian vendors. Celebrating marriage and weddings in general are BIG time in Asia. There is no “Should we invite….?” because the answer is always yes. Have you passed them on the street on the way to work every day for the last 5 years? Then you invite them to your wedding. Period. And expect them to bring friends. And family. I remember one of my vendors inviting several of us to her eldest brother’s wedding the week of the wedding. I remember tentatively asking her if that would be allowed, or appropriate – something along those lines. With a flip of her hand, she brushed away my comment like it was an annoying gnat. “Of course you come. I invite. You come. You be in Hong Kong on Friday?” Sadly, I was not to be in Hong Kong on Friday and would not make the wedding. I actually felt some relief thinking to myself, “One less place setting the bride need not worry about.”

If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you’ll remember several posts I’d written while overseas. I played the ultimate wedding crasher on several occasions, taking pictures of the weddings that were a nearly daily event in my Hong Kong hotel (weddings are planned on dates that are auspicious for the bride and groom and are not just a weekend ordeal). You can see some of the posts here, here, here and here, if you’re interested.

So anyway, one of the presents I got was from a Korean vendor. I had only met with him on one occasion, though had worked via email together for a little over a year. To be honest, I was a little shocked when the package arrived! I certainly wasn’t expecting the beautiful, red damask silk box with black frog closures and tassels. It was gorgeous! I opened the box to find two carved wooden ducks nestled together in folks of red silk. One duck had red and blue silk cords tied around the bill and the other was plain. I figured it was a a boy duck and a girl duck. Cute! I wrote the vendor a thank you email and a question about the ducks and what they represented, if anything. He responded with a message that I didn’t really understand. I think it was something like, “Marriage is good luck with ducks.” I figured it was a Korean good luck symbol and thought nothing more of it.

So fast forward to Sunday and I’m sitting on the couch, reading the last page article in Brides, “15 ways to get lucky on your big day. Cement your good fortune with these quirky wedding traditions from around the world.” The picture in the article showed two carved wooden ducks, one with a red silk cord tied around his bill and the other with blue. The blurb read:

Korea: Display wooden ducks at the vows. Not only do they represent you and your guy, they also promise a union marked by togetherness. At the wedding display two wooden ducks bill-to-bill – it means you have an awesome relationship.

Please note that those words are not mine. I would never say the word “awesome” in reference my relationship with The Candyman. I left that particular vernacular in 1986.

I currently have the ducks displayed on a shelf. Their heads are on little wooden pegs so you can actually turn them to look in any direction. I had the duck’s bodies facing one another, but with their heads turned away, because that’s how they came in the box.  I realize now that it was just to save box space (which I totally should have considered seeing that my job often required me to be a bit of a packaging engineer). I made an exclamation to The Candyman and jumped up and turned the little duck heads so that they were bill-to-bill. I wonder-worried to myself, “Did having the bills turned away from each other bring us bad luck? Did I unknowingly bring ‘unawesomeness’ into the marriage? Eeeeps!” While not superstitious per se, I‘m not one to take chances with Fate, Mother Nature or ancient Asian cultures. I know better than to fuck with that stuff. Karma is a bitch and you really don’t want to mess with her.

So now, our little wooden ducks look like this:


Smoochy-smoochy duckies!

So just in case you want to know about the other 14 countries and their good luck stuffs, here are the other bits from the article:

Bulgaria: Step into the church right foot first and your marriage will be blessed.

Cambodia: Bring a sword to the I do’s. The blade confers harmony and strength – and helps make your wishes come true.

China: Light firecrackers after the ceremony to  chase away evil spirits.

Egypt: Let the women at your celebration give you a pinch. (What’s a little pain for good juju?)

England: Carry a beribboned horseshoe during your ceremony, then hang it above your doorway. (Make sure the ends are pointing up!)

Germany: Smash dishes the night before you get hitched and nothing will be broken in your haus.

Holland: Plant Lilies of the Valley around your home and your love with renew every spring.

India: Have an artist paint your hands and feet with intricate henna designs. The darker the ink, the more luck you will have.

Ireland: Add some lavender, a harbinger of happiness, to your bouquet.

Nigeria: Wash your feet with cold water before crossing your threshold. According to Yoruba custom, you’ll start marriage with a clean slate.

Poland: Feel free to cry during the ceremony. A few tears now mean none in the years to come.

Romania: Share braided bread baked by the bride’s godmother. Eat a piece and fortune will smile on you all year long.

Thailand: Ask guests to tie a white string, or sal sin, around each of your wrists. Want maximum luck?  Wear them for at least three days.

Interesting and fun, right? What, if any, good luck customs did you or will you incorporate into your wedding and marriage?


The Irish Unfake Wedding of Lorraine + Paul!

I just love European weddings, don't you? All those castle and manor locations? I mean, come ON! Who wouldn't want to get married in a freakin' castle. Talk about the Princess Complex! It doesn't get any beTTer than that. Our bride Lorraine is no nonsense and didn't bother mincing her words. I just love a direct bride.  

Welcome to the Unfake Wedding of Lorraine and Paul!

The most important question: wedding night…did you or didn’t you? 

Oh! We fell right into bed and fell asleep !!!!

Please take the time to tell me all the vendors you used.

Photographer  Lisa O'Dwyer

DJ/Band  Hard to Touch, Singers for Hire

Reception Venue  Killashee House Hotel , Ireland

Ceremony Venue  St. Conleth's Parish 

Transportation  Absolute Limousines

Guest Hotel  Killashee House Hotel, Ireland

Dress Irish Bridal Boutique

Accessories  Stacey Hannan Designs

Tuxedos  Fairbrothers

Catering  Killashee House Hotel, Ireland 

Cake  Cakes by Norma


 Who was your favorite vendor and why?

Our singing waiters! They were a hit!

Was there a “method to your madness” in choosing your vendors?

To have something different and surprise everyone...which we did.

How long did you take to plan your wedding?

Just under a year.

How many guests did you invite versus how many came?

We invited 130 and 124 came.

T30S Commentary - That blows the invitation/RSVP "average" right out of the water.


What was your budget?

20,000 – 25,000 Euros

T30SB Commentary: That's equivalent to $27K-$34K, give or take a few Benjamins.

Did you include rings and/or the honeymoon in your budget?



Were you over or under budget? By how much?

A little under as the grooms parents paid for our honeymoon.

How large was your bridal party?

We had a total of 10.


Did you have favors for your guests? If so, what were they? How much did you spend?

I made up a “Hangover Bag “ for all the guests. In it, we included an energy drink, a breakfast bar, headache tablets, chewing gum, tissues, sanitary wipes and vouchers for McDonald's!

T30SB - The McD's vouchers? Brilliant. Nothing helps a hangover like a Big Mac, fries and giant Coke.

Did you include any special family traditions?

Nothing particularly special, no.  

What was your biggest day-of crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

The day before my wedding my diamond fell out of my ring and I had to use my sisters ring !!!!

T30SB Commentary: Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

 What was you biggest wedding planning crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

My Mother In Law.

T30SB Commentary: See, I told you she didn't mince her words.

Who was the biggest pain in the ass on your wedding day?

My Mother in Law.

T30SB Commentary: Kinda hope the MIL doesn't get wind of this.....

 What was the biggest waste of money that you loved?

My dress! It's just sitting in the wardrobe now!!!!

What did you love that was also the cheapest?

Hangover Bags

What was the most unexpected thing that happened (not necessarily a bad thing, just a surprise)?

The Singing Chef! The guests loved it, which made us really happy!

What was the funniest thing that happened?

Me doing a Tina Turner song with the band . 

What was the most ooey-gooey, tear-jerking moment?

The toast I gave.

Did you DIY? What parts?

Just the Hangover Bag favors.

Where did you go no your honeymoon?

Las Vegas

If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

I wouldn't change a single thing my day was perfect! 



Big Big Present

I was planning on posting a blog about how much I hate China -the cold, the dirty, my total jet-lag exhaustion after a 12 hour work day, having woken at 2:30am with the total inability to fall back asleep. I was going to talk about how much I hate the wait staff at this hotel. Why? Here's the deal: I do not like corn. Their house salad has a ton of corn on it. I asked the waitress for no corn. I got a blank stare. I do not know how to say "corn" in Mandarin. I do know how to say "I don't want" and I know how to say "little" and I know how to say "yellow." I don't know the word for corn. I have asked for the word "corn" in Mandarin and have been taught. I cannot remember it to save my life. I've written it down and yet, I still can't remember how to correctly pronounce it. So I point and try to ask for my salad with "no little yellow." Blank stare and she walks away. About 4 seconds later a young man approaches me and in quite plain English asks my request. I tell him about my corn abhorrence. He smiles and says, "no problem" and repeats my request back to me. I'm going to bet you can guess what happened. I basically got a corn salad. I'm wondering if it was purposeful.

But I have decided that I would not write a nasty blog about hating where I am. Why? Because I received the below email from one of my Chinese vendors upon arrival back to my hotel this evening. Try as I might, I simply could not hold onto my sour mood.

Hello Louise,
I hope you have a woderful day in China today!
I will come to pick you up from Park View at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow!
Casa Collections is promoting a Wedding Chapter Program recently, this program is inviting all the best and True Love Wedding Pictures from the whole world! This reminds me you are one of the Best in this program, please please resend me the wedding pictures again! I am sorry I lost all the emails due to overload of the in box of email!
For the Winners of this program, will receive a Big Big Present from our company and will be the Star to Represent Casa Collections. Attached is my colleage Mr. Mawson Ding's wedding pictures, he is also invited to this program, if possible, please send me again your wedding pictures by tonight! It's our honour to have you in this program, you are very possible to be the Winner of this worldwide program.
Thank you and good luck! See you tomorrow!

Here are Mr. Mawson Ding's lovely photos.


This one is titled "A New Life."

"The Garden of Eden"

"Oriental Beauty"


My personal favorite, "Sweet Mawson."

Please forgive me for the short post, but I need to go enter the worldwide program so that I may win the big big present. Wish me luck!!



Hong Kong - Wedding Centeral Part III

Are you sick of Hong Kong weddings yet? I might be. I swear, it's every day at my hotel! Why did I never notice this before? I mean, I'm sure I did, but I never ran around like a crazy woman snapping photos of total strangers! Here's another wedding from last weekend.

The grand staircase, again festooned with fake flowers!

The busy-busy bridesmaids, all in white. So weird.

A rare glimpse of the bride herself! I stepped in front of three photographers for these shots. Like I'm going to listen to a bunch of men yapping at me in Cantonese, right? I have a very important blog to post these pictures on people! A few catty comments - her dress really didn't fit. She was swimming in it. Look how long it is! Her Madonna-style lace gloves, circa 1983, were an odd choice. The color of lace of her gloves, dress and veil were all different, and not in a good way.

And because I'm feeling particularly bitchy this evening, I'll also say that her hair looked dirty, it had so much product in it. It really did.

No shirking of the bridesmaid responsibilities though. Check out her weird hair!

Awesome photo op, I must admit!

The banquet hall all set up. Not as fancy as the previous weddings.

Again with the fake flower center pieces! Clearly, these folks have no idea how to DIY a fabulous centerpiece, sans flowers. I don't think the candle/mason jar look is big here. :)

I spoke with The Candyman this morning. Twice, actually. I had about 5 minutes with him on Skype and then I called him on my cell because I had yet another irritating China moment involving late vendors and poor communication. Like the good soul that he is, he listened to me vent. Are you anticipating his next blog post? I know I am!

More later, when I can! I know what I'll be doing when I'm wide awake at 3am when I get home, suffering from jet lag. I'll be catching up on all the blogs I love and have no time to read!! Miss you all!


Hong Kong - Wedding Central, Part II and a Half

"Let's Enjoy Gel Magic" Happy Wedding stickies at Jusco - Hong Kong's version of Target. I found this little wedding nugget in the HK$10 (US$1.40) section. What a deal! I'm particularly found of the candle on the cake. Is this a fluke or some other weird tradition I need to investigate?

OK, I had along discussion today with a Hong Kong woman about her wedding and got some interesting scoop.

The men do not carry bouquets. The groom actually goes and gets the bride to take her to marry him. I know Indians do this too (on horseback, no less!). The guys brings the woman her bouquet, which is sort of sweet. He is sort of in charge of it throughout the ceremony, which is why the guy is holding it in the photo I took of the couple in the car. So, that mystery is cleared up.

Now get this....most brides don't buy their wedding day garb, they rent it! One of my agent's told me this interesting little factoid. Only the very rich buy their gowns. Most people go to a store and pay around HK$5000, or US$700 to rent up to 6 ensembles. These 6 outfits can be anything from the Western style white wedding gown and traditional red Chinese dress to the groom's tuxedo, to bridesmaid dresses to Mother of the Bride dresses. How strange is that? I showed my agent the freaky green and black dress from my shopping excursion on Sunday and she explained that it wasn't a bridesmaid's dress, but one of many dresses that the bride could change into during the reception! Apparently, brides change gowns a few times during the course of the evening.

There is yet another wedding in my hotel tonight (it's Tuesday here now). My camera was up in my room and I was just too exhausted to go get it and take pictures (how sad is that?). The party had already started, so I would have had to totally crash the wedding. Hmmmm. On second thought, maybe it's not too late. Wedding crashing - that would be a new experience! Or maybe not. I'm a huge believer in karma. What goes around comes around, right? I seriously don't need any Chinese tourists crashing the day of The Big Show.

I'm off to bed now. I have an early flight to Xiamen (pronounced SHA-MEN), China, in the morning. More updates later. Keep the comment love coming. I've only been gone a week and I'm starting to feel lonely over here.....