December 31, 2008

State Room

should match the level of 74 State
Hotel. 74 State says Crown Plaza is older and not as nice as the State Room.

December 28, 2008

Albany Bridal Show

Anyone interested in going?

Albany Marriott
Convention Center
Sunday Jan. 4th 1-5pm

Wolf Road, Albany NY
24th Annual Bridal Show
Complimentary Admission & Refreshments
Exhibits - Prizes - Entertainment

Another Bridal Show
Jan. 18th.
11am-3pm. $5 admission.

Glen Sanders Mansion
1 Glen Avenue
Scotia, NY 12302

And Another Bridal Show
Jan. 25th. 11am-3pm. $5 admission.

Hall of Springs need to call 518 374 4141 for info.

Other bridal shows

December 25, 2008

Universal Preservation Hall

Universal Preservation Hall

Hall of Springs

Saratoga Springs, NY

Desmond Hotel

Desmond Hotel
Colonie, NY

Edison Club

Rexford, NY

Menu selections
$45.95 - $72.95 per person + 7% tax + 19% service fee

Picture gallery

Venues in Albany area

Downtown Albany:

74 State Hotel - 518 434 7410
updated 12/31. Seat 50+20 people in two rooms, has table and white linen. Sarah the sales associate sent menu details to Paul's email. For Friday rehearsal dinner all Fridays are open in June and July. Menu looks like restaurant menu for plate dinner service, but different from if we went to the restaurant.

Crown Plaza Albany Hotel - 518 462 6611
updated 12/31. Jennifer the event coordinator 518 427 3022. 5 hr reception package from $81 - $142. Has June 6, 13, 20, July 4. Include cake, center pieces, flower, has french vanilla linen. Includes shuttle service to and from Albany Airport, Amtrak station, and self parking on-site. Includes room stay at the hotel for the couple. min. 75 ppl. package details sent to Paul's email.

State Room - 518 432 7773
updated 12/31. has June 13 and all of July. 3000 sq. ft. ballroom with 20'x40' dance floor. Package include food, floral center pieces, cake, bride-groom suit at the Crown Plaza. $113.34, $151.14, $188.94. Detailed information sent to Paul's email.

Fort Orange Club - 518 434 2101
updated 12/30. Need to be a member of the club or find someone to sponsor us.

Wolfert's Roost Country Club - 518 449 3223 x104
updated 12/30. Need to be a member of the club or find someone to sponsor us. min. 150 ppl (not sure). Has July 18. Need to talk to club house manager Don.

New York State Museum

Albany Center Gallery (Art gallery)

(new) Yono's 518 436 4474 - Donna

Albany Wedding resources

Stockade Inn - 518 346 3400
updated 12/30. scheduled a visit on Jan. 3rd 5pm. Has June 6, 27, July 25. 5 Hr. Ask for Corey.

Edison Club - 518 399 2393 Sandi Linder
updated 12/30. Has June 20, 27, July 4, 18, 25. 5 Hr. 3 Packages to choose from ($57.90-$91.91). Table linen included. Chair linen $3 each. We provide flowers and decoration and cake.

Mohawk River Country Club - 518 399 1920
updated 12/30. Has June 20,27, July 4, 18, 25. $118.75/person. Room cap. 240. 150 people min. (seems negotiable). We provide cake.

Riverstone Manor - 518 382 8322
updated 12/31. Has 11/7, 14, 21 for evening. Has 6/13, 20, 7/4, 11, 18 for 12-5pm. Sent package details to Paul's email. min. 50 ppl. Can also do customized package. $74.34, $46.56, $55.76, $42.53+entree, $66.78+entree, $90.66+entree, $122.85+entree. Entree about $46.62.

Saratoga Springs area:
Batcheller Mansion Inn - 518 584 7012 left a message
The Washington Inn - 518 584 9807 left a message

Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs - 518 584 4550
updated 12/31. Has June 13, 27, July 4, 18, 25. Details on packages sent to Paul's email. Packages from $68-$78. includes 1 night stay at hotel for the couple. includes cake.

Fox n Hound B&B - 518 584 5959 left a message
Saratoga Farmstead B&B - 518 587 2074 left a message
Union Gables B&B - 518 584 1558 need to send an email to Thomas

Glen Sanders Mansion - 518 374 7262
updated 12/30. Maria the wedding coordinator at 688 2122. She will send a wedding information packet to 60 Marc Pl. They have a special package for promotion?

Saratoga Mansion - 518 885 1607
updated 12/30. Scheduled a visit Jan. 3rd 3pm. Has June 6, 20, July 11, 18.

Saratoga National Golf Club - 518 583 4653
updated 12/31. $2000 deposit. $147.20-$211.2 per person. $22000 minimum. Susan Baker 518 583 4653 x635. 6/27 available.

Gldeon Putnam Resort and Spa - 518 226 4700
updated 12/30. press 3 then 7. no one answer.

Ballston Spa Country Club - 518 602 9995
updated 12/30. Event held at the Villaggio Green by Home Style Catering. Contact Antony at 518 701 4501. Has June 20.

Universal Preservation Hall - 518 584 2627 left a message
updated 12/30. office closed. Will open tomorrow and then after new year.

Canfield Casino - 518 587 3550 x471
updated 12/30. $2900 to rent, $500 deposit due 4 mo. before event. 5 hr not to exceed midnight. $350 kitchen fee for caterers to use. Has a list of approved caterers. Need to get liability insurance for approx. $200. Room cap. 210. Has 9/12, 11/28, 12/26 (none earlier).

Hall of Springs - 518 583 3003
updated 1/2. Kevin the event coordinator. No openings on Saturdays for June or July.

Saratoga Music Hall - 518 587 3550 (goes to Public Works?)
Saratoga Springs Train Station - 518 580 1715

National Museum of Dance - 518 584 2225 x3003 left a message
updated 12/30. no one answered. open Wed. to Fri.

National Muesum of Racing - 518 584 0400 x101
Jennifer Reckman. $2500 for 4 hr, $500/hr extra. Includes muesum exhibit for the first hour. Hall of Fame holds 150 people, has a list of approved caterers, who will take care of furniture rental. Has a courtyard not immediately adjacent to the room available for food and drinks. Has June 20, 27, July all open.

Saratoga Auto Muesum - 518 587 1935 x22 left a message
The Children Museum of Saratoga - 518 584 5540
Saratoga Arts Center - 518 584 4132
Saratoga Race Track - 518 584 6200
Saratoga Spa State Park - 518 584 2535
Saratoga City Center - 518 584 0027
Saratoga Visitor Center - 518 587 3241
Ripe Tomato - 518 581 1530

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce Wedding Guide

Holiday Inn Albany on Wolf Road - 518 458 7250
Updated 12/30. Maria event coordinator. left a message.

The Loudon Room - 518 785 6626

Siver Hills in Pine Haven Country Club in Guilderland - 518 701 4501
updated 12/30. Has June 20, 27, July 18.

Desmond Hotel - 518 452 0707
updated 12/30. scheduled visit Jan 5th 6pm. Has June 13, 20, 27, July all open. Ask for Amanda on the day of visit 518 640 6178. packages from $123.19-$144.78

Albany Marriott - 518 458 8444
$104.52 for wedding buffet. $84.36-$104.52 depending on the entree selection.

Buca di Beppo - 518 459 2822

East of Troy:
Crystal Cove - 518 674 0703

Other stuff:
Details Wedding Planning
Ceremony Sites from "upstate wedding at"
Ceremony Sites from

December 24, 2008

Pandas in Taiwan

On December 23rd, two Chinese pandas arrived in Taipei as a gift of goodwill. The Panda's names are "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan", which means renunion in Chinese. The Pandas will be on display on the Eve of Chinese New year, Jan 25th 2009.

Check out BBC's video and article.

China Daily article and more pictures.

Taiwan News article.

Parents Visit Success!

Paul: Yay! I drove from Albany to Ithaca to Cleveland to Ithaca to Albany. Our parents met for the first time and it went smoothly. We all seem to have a good time.

Jenn: Although we've both met each other's parents before, this was the first time that the parents met each other. We made a list of do and don'ts for topics to talk about, although I don't think they followed it, they seem to enjoy each other's company and had a lot to talk about. Paul's dad gave us two books: "
Letters to Karen" and "Letters to Philip" by Charlie Shedd, a Christian pastor's advice to his children on a successful marriage. Amy (Paul's sister) gave us a very sweet gift, a hand made glass candle holder with sand, and a cool luggage shaped card. My parents got towels, bath and body products, and macadamia nuts. We took pictures of the two families, we'll post them soon. On Monday Paul and I took his Dad to the airport to go back to Hawaii, and Paul's dad talked about quiting smoking (we pray that he can be successful!). Lili (Paul's mom), Amy, Paul, and I went for Thai food on Coventry Rd. and antique shopping, then try to go to the Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, but unfortunately discovered that they were both closed on Mondays. We also had Pastor Chou, (from our Cleveland church) come to our home to pray for us. We even cut Paul's hair (I think it was a 4 person job!). All in all it was a fun and fruitful time.

December 22, 2008

Sheraton at Eatontown NJ

Catering Info
Wedding Package Info

Lowest $135 per person, + bar, service fee, tax, ceremony

This location is good because it will be close to most of Paul's family members, especially his grandma who may not be able to travel long distances.

Another color scheme idea from The Knot

Catering companies

Black Diamond


Downtown Albany NY:

St. Peter's Episcopal Church- grand, since 1796, 0.2 mi from 74 State, (518) 434-3502 Jenn's Pick
updated 12/30. sent email.

First Church in Albany - since 1642, 0.3 mi from 74 State, (518) 463-4449 Jenn's Pick
updated 12/31. They do not allow wedding for non-members.

St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church - grand, since 1838, 1.1 mi from 74 State, (518) 463-0571 new*
updated 12/30. website gone?

St. John Lutheran Church - grand, since 1857 1.2 mi from 74 State, (518) 465-7545
updated 12/31. Has 6/6, 20, 27, 7/4, 11, 18, 25. Usually St. John's pastor will officiate, but can ask to have an outside pastor.

Ten Broeck Mansion 518 436-9826 Jenn's Pick give me creepy feeling

St. Mary's Church - Catholic, 0.2 mi from 74 State

Our Savior's Lutheran Church - looks good (modern look)
First Lutheran Church - 1649, nice windows
Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit
Calvary Baptist Church
Christ Lutheran Church - modern (no pictures)
Chinese Christian Church of Greater Albany
Albany Baptist Church - Slingerlands

more attractions

Niskayuna NY:
Grace Lutheran Church - (grand)
Trinity Baptist Church -

Schenectady NY:
St. George's Episcopal Church - 0.2 mi from Stockade Inn, (518) 374 3163 Jenn's Pick
updated 12/30. looks Catholic?

First Presbyterian Church - 0.2 mi from Stockade Inn, (518) 374 4546 (beautiful inside, also has a brownstone building with facilities for Sunday school and worship hall) Jenn's Pick
updated 12/30. reserved for church members and regular attenders.

First Reformed Church of Schenectady - 79 ft from Stockade Inn, (518) 377 2201 (grand, beautiful, $1000 for wedding ceremony rental fee click for more info,) also has ideas for wedding readings Jenn's Pick
updated 12/30. Submitted the online inquiry form.

Faith United Methodist Church - 1.9 mi from Stockade Inn, (518) 393 2520 (grand, pipe organ and stained glass) Jenn's Pick
Updated 12/31. Office hours 8-1pm. Need to call Pastor Doizer to schedule an appointment. 518 393 2520. They can also hold reception on-site.

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church - 2.5 mi from Stockade Inn, (518) 346 6241 (grand, stained glass) Jenn's Pick

Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Messiah - (large)
Friendship Baptist Church - (looks like African American, nice windows)
Bellevue Reformed Church - (no pictures)
St. Anthony's Church - (beautiful, Catholic)
First Baptist Church of Rotterdam

N.Green Bush NY:
St. Timothy's Evangelical Lutheran Church - N. Greenbush

Latham/Loudonvill/Troy NY:
Loudonville Community Church - (518) 436 9601 (has facilities map, including sanctuary holding 360 people) Jenn's Pick
updated 12/30. Sent email.

Christ Church United Methodist - Troy, grand, high-tech new*
updated 1/2. Got the detailed policy from pastor. There are many restrictions. $375 for wedding and $125 for reception. No alcoholic beverages. No photography in Sanctuary.

Loudonville Presbyterian Church
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church - next to Woodlands
Faith Lutheran Church - Troy
First Baptist Church of Troy (grand)
Latham Bible Baptist Church - Latham
St. Mathew's Episcopal Church - Latham new*
Calvary United Methodist Church - Latham new*
First United Presbyterian Church - Troy, large new*
Oakwood Presbyterian Church - Troy new*
St. Paul's Church - Troy, grand new*
St. John's Episcopal Church - Troy new*
Trinity Church - Watervliet new*
Jermain Memorial Presbyterian Church - Watervliet new*
Bethany Presbyterian Church - Menands new*
Grace Fellowship - Halfmoon new*

Clifton Park NY:
King of Kings Evangelical Lutheran Church - (modern)
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church - (large)
Clifton Park Center Baptist Church

Guilderland NY:
Lighthouse Baptist Church - (no picture)

Ballston Spa NY:
First Baptist Church (grand) Jenn's Pick
updated 1/2. Can hold wedding. Need to fill out a request form on paper.

United Methodist Church (grand) Jenn's Pick
updated 12/30. Sent email.

Christ Episcopal Church - has pre-marriage class (grand) Jenn's Pick
Presbyterian Church (no picture)

Galway, NY chapel (near Saratoga Mansion):
A wedding in the country - has helpful information for the ceremony

Eatontown NJ:
Calvary Chapel Coastland
Fisk Chapel
Hope Presbyterian Church
Grace Christian Church - non-denominational
Monmouth Grace United Methodists Church - Korean

Oahu HI:
Central Union Church (Paul's been there for high school graduation)
Kawaiaha'o Church
St. Andrew's Cathedral
Chinese Lutheran Church of Honolulu (Paul's Mom's Church)

Aloha Bridal Gallery (wedding planner all-in-one service with prices and lots of package choices)
Bridal Dream Hawaii (another wedding package company)
Watabe wedding (they do weddings for foreigners)

December 21, 2008

Make your own corsage

Floral Design:How To Make A Corsage

Isn't this amazing? Not sure if I can actually do this though...

December 17, 2008

Making a bouquet - large variety selection, starting $1.50 per stem 20cm Rose
Ranunclus 150 stems at 6-12" for $179.99 + free shipping, mixed colors
Grower's - starting ~$1 per stem at 100 stems or more, 20cm Rose
The Flower - starting at $0.93 per stem, 20cm Rose - Ranunculus 130 stems at 19" for $189 + free shipping, mixed colors - Ranunculus 250 stems for $176.74 - buyer's choice roses $199 for 200 stems

Bulbs (getting even more adventurous) - Ranunclus bulbs ~$0.80 per bulb, 4in flowers
Spring Hill - $12 for 24 bulbs, 5cm+ flowers
Easy to grow bulbs - $7.95 for 10 mixed color bulbs, 4in flowers

Venue near Ithaca

Fontainebleau Inn & Lawrence Chapel

Cornell Sage or Anabel Taylor Chapel

Spring Flowers

Ranunculus (Buttercup)

December 16, 2008

More dresses

Here are some more that Dee found. I'm thinking about having a mix of colors, but the same style. I stitched some pictures together, let me know what you think!

Spider Mum

I like these flowers called Spider Mum (Chrysanthemum). I think they make a good choice as table centerpiece. You don't need a million of them to look good.

Some more dresses for your thoughts

Bridesmaid Dresses Inspiration

Talked to Jenn last night and since she wants a Spring themed wedding, I had some inspirations of the type of dresses we can consider. Think a silk chiffon material that flows with the wind would go very well with the spring theme. Here are some examples: (Let me know your thoughts!)

Inspirational images on theme of lavender

Globe Thistle

Michaelmas Daisy


Dalmatian Bellflower

December 14, 2008

On a separate note... China-Taiwan

On December 15th, China and Taiwan will open 54 direct flights per week. Isn't it cool that China and Taiwan are being more friendly to each other also around the same time as our engagement? Maybe we can take some credit for this... =) In any case, this might also save time for us on our honeymoon if we choose to visit both China and Taiwan.

Wedding Reception Time and Place

Status: Tentative
Date: June 6, 2009
Time: 5 pm
Venue: Saratoga Springs Mansion
Contact: Event planner - Shannon Rose (518) 885-1607 or 378-9539

Capacity: 50 inside, 150 on deck

  • Renting the mansion for 2 nights & breakfast for guests staying at the mansion -$4130 (required, 12 rooms sleeps 24)
  • Reception - $65 / person (depending on customizable menu)
  • 5 hr. Open bar - $27 / person
  • Ceremony can be added for $15 / person ($1500 min.)
  • Need to rent tables, chairs, and linen.
  • $1500 deposit to secure the date
Vendor referals:

Wedding To Do List (4-6 Months)

Jenn's comments in red
  • DONE: Schedule fittings for custom made bridesmaids gowns - bridesmaids gowns have been bought from J Crew
  • DONE: Arrange marriage prep-courses, if necessary - meeting with pastor Rick and read book and do exercises, now on chapter 2: Saving your marriage before it starts by Les and Leslie Parrott
  • Reserve rental items - need to contact party supply vendor for tables, chairs, linen, etc., NO NEED, Stockade Inn package will cover this
  • Select and book decorator - we will do this ourselves, with help from bridal party. Specificts to be determined
  • Finalize an A and B list of guests - Current potential guest list is about 200
  • DONE: Select and order invitations and other wedding stationary - invitation from Simply Elegant
  • Set date, time and location for rehearsal dinner - Date will be June 5th around 6pm. Paul will book this.
  • Select and book honeymoon night suite - not sure if we need this?
  • Arrange accommodations for out-of-town guests - 18 rooms at the Stockade Inn are blocked, other area hotels available, Hampton Inn and Parker Inn all within 10min walking distance.
  • Start planning your honeymoon - oh really? (yeah, really!!), Paul will do this
  • Shop for your wedding gifts to each other -
  • Shop for your wedding gifts to your wedding party -
  • Shop for your wedding gifts to your parents -
  • Buy shoes, lingerie and accessories for the bride - Shoes is done
  • Buy shoes and accessories for the bridesmaids -
  • Select and order wedding bands -
  • Take dance lessons - ballroom dance lessons start at GE gym on Jan 26th, for 8 weeks, need to pick song and start choreographing and learning first dance
  • Take some photos of Paul and Jenn together - need to do more...

Wedding To Do List (6-9 Months)

Jenn's comments in red
  • Select and book caterer, if needed - need to decide on Catering for the Church reception, Paul will lead this
  • DONE: Select and book photographer - Imagine Portrait Studio
  • Select wedding party - in progress
  • Bridesmaids: Diane Chang, Dee Hu, Grace Lai, Maggie So, Rita Shulman
    Groomsmen: Jonathan, Ming, ...
  • Give wedding party a list of their responsibilities - need to do this
  • Select attire or bridesmaids & flower girl - Bridesmaids done, need to find flower girl still
  • Select attire for mothers of the bride and groom - Bride's mom is doing this
  • Select and book ceremony musicians - need to contact Charlie Moose, the church organist. Thinking about strings quartet or harpist. Maybe Caroline will sing something, if she can come.
  • Select and book live band or DJ for reception - live band would be cool, or we can make a mix of MP3's, Ting Yu will be our volunteer DJ friend.
  • IN Progress: Select and book videography - probably only for ceremony
  • Select and book florist - Pricechopper, Felthousen, in progress
  • Register for your wedding gifts (this can be done sooner) We are tentatively decide against wedding gifts for now, we'll opt for gifts towards several funds, currently undecided. I'm also thinking of an option to donate a portion of the funds to a charity. So far thinking 10% to church.

Wedding To Do List (9-12 Months)

Jenn's comments in red
  • Announce Engagement - 60% - in progress
  • DONE: Select Wedding Date - 6.6.09
  • Hire wedding consultant/coordinator - not sure if we need a coordinator
  • DONE: Determine wedding type - mainly western/Christian (with some Asian details in the decor, not decided yet)
  • DONE: Determine wedding location - Schenectady, NY
  • DONE: Determine # of guests - 80-100 for formal reception, 200+ for ceremony and church reception
  • DONE: Determine wedding formality - formal (with a quirky flaire, more to come...)
  • DONE: Determine wedding time of day - 3pm ceremony, 3:45 church reception, 5pm formal reception, 6pm dinner
  • Determine budget & how expenses will be shared - Aim for half/half between Paul and Jenn's parents. Jenn's parents will pay for dinner reception and ceremony. Paul will pay for Church reception and rehearsal dinner and honeymoon.
  • Develop a record keeping system for payments - need to do this
  • DONE: Create an approximate # guest list - preliminary list of names compiled
  • DONE: Decide if you will be inviting children or not - Children over 10 yrs. old
  • DONE: Select and reserve ceremony site - First Reformed Church, Schenectady
  • DONE: Select and book Officiant/Priest/Minister/Rabbi - Most likely Pastor Rick from Vineyard Church in Albany
  • DONE: Select and book reception location - The Stockade Inn
  • DONE: Select and order bridal gown - still need to be altered though
  • DONE: Determine color scheme - Coral with bright yellow, orange, red, hot pink
  • Obtain, passports, visas, birth certificates, any documents need for travel and/or marriage licenses - we are both naturalized US citizens, need to find out about requirement for marriage license.

Jenn's Ring

I have deJonghe Original Jewelry in Saratoga Springs make the ring according to a design that Jenn likes. It looks beautiful on her hand.

We are Engaged

Jenn and I have been together since 2003. Recently we celebrated our 5th anniversary. We are now engaged and we start this blog to help us plan for our wedding.

The first thing we accomplished was deciding on a subdomain name. The names Jenn came up with were better than mine. After some debate we decided to go with pcjz (for Paul Chen Jenn Zhao). Thus the domain name for this blog is This is a short name that is easy to remember. Hopefully it will be easy for our friends to remember as well.

Some names I came up with were like pjaeunln, bonyu, and cyuzzbo.
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