December 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Our Wedding Music

Merry merry Christmas! I can't believe time went by so fast, and just now that I finished showing you all the pictures from our wedding in Catalonia, our Hong Kong wedding reception is coming up THIS Sunday, December 29th!!! Super excited!

You've seen the pictures from our wedding and by now you probably have a good idea how everything was. But there is a very important part of a wedding pictures can't show, the music, which has the power of making moments truly magical. Both J and I are not music junkies, but we really did enjoy choosing the music for our special day. Here is the list of songs we chose for the most special moments of our big day. I hope this list can help you if you're planning your wedding and looking for some music advice!

Wedding ceremony:

Groom's march in: Trumpet Voluntary - Bach

Flower Boy & Girls, Bridesmaids & Groomsmen march in: Only Time - Orchestra

Bride's march in: Canon in D major - Bach

End of ceremony: Recessional Finale from Water and Music suite

Rice and rose petals: A moment like this - Kelly Clarkson

Balloons: I do - Colbie Caillat

Wedding banquet:

Entrance of bride & groom to banquet hall: (I've had) the time of my life

Entrance of first dish: This will be (an everlasting love) - Natalie Cole

Entrance of digestive: Celebration - Kool and the gang

Entrance of second dish: Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and the waves

Entrance of wedding cake: All you need is love - The Beatles

Toast: How sweet it is (to be loved by you) - Marvin Gaye

Entrance of dessert: Shout - The Isley Brothers

First Dance: (Everything I do) I do it for you - Bryan Adams

Now every single time I hear any of these songs I'm immediately transported to our wedding day. Each of the songs is deep within my memory of that perfect day, and they will always be. Wish me luck for this coming Sunday, hoping everything goes as smooth as in our wedding in Catalonia!

December 18, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Our wedding banquet

Our wedding banquet had 10 tables for the 100 guests, including our presidential table of 6: J and I, and our parents. They were decorated with Baby's breath (Gypsophila Paniculata), as the rest of our wedding. All the floral arrangements, including my bridal bouquet, were made by La Flor, in Manresa, Catalonia. We chose pink napkins and pink candles for the occasion to match the whole thing: my wedding bouquet, my belt, my bridesmaids dresses... It was a white and pink wedding, my perfect combo! 

Our sitting plan was hanging from the wall on a rope :)

We used a heart-shaped sugar cookie to let the guests know where to sit. The ones for the boys were written in blue and the ones for the girls in pink.

We started eating really late taking into account that this was a lunch. If I remember correctly, we weren't seated until 5pm, and we finished around 9pm. There were several surprises during the lunch: we prepared some videos with our pre-wedding pictures, and also a video with pictures of when we were kids, and then another one of pictures with our friends. 

There were also some surprises FOR US, as my friends from college gave me a huge box with... the marriage recipe! A box full of little gifts and notes on how to achieve a happy ever after marriage, and... lots of coins on the bottom too, some made out of chocolate and some real ones, which made the box so heavy! I loved everything from this amazing box that my friends so gorgeously DIY-ed with so much effort!  

Details! The sitting plan for table 2, the floral arrangements for the guests tables, and the floral arrangements at the presidential table

After the dinner and before the dance, it was time to cut the wedding cake! I designed the cake myself, all of it, by drawing it and then working on it with our cake artist. The layer under the flower ball was made of red velvet, and we ate it for breakfast the following day! You can also see the custom-made bride and groom we ordered, which looked exactly like us, I loved it!

Then it was time for our first dance {I'll let you know which song we chose next week when I tell you all about the music in our wedding...}, and after that it was party, party and party until midnight!

I told you I didn't cry in the whole wedding. Well, I kinda lied. I did shed some tears at midnight, when I gave my wedding bouquet to one of my bridesmaids and BFF, Lea, wishing her a wedding proposal real soon! It was a very touching moment, too bad the photographer wasn't there anymore to take a pic!

December 17, 2013

Homemade Croissants and Pains au Chocolat

Baking croissants

I made it! I accomplished the most difficult pastry I've ever attempted to bake: croissants and pains au chocolat. The result was delicious!

After making the lemon tart, one of my all-time favorite desserts, I decided I wanted to attempt one of my favorite viennoiseries, one of my top choices for breakfast: pains au chocolat, which is just like a chocolate croissant, except with a roll shape. The dough for the pains au chocolat and the croissants is prepared in the exact same way, so I finally decided to bake some croissants as well, just because their shape is cuter :) I used this video recipe from Baking with Julia (prominent Julia Child that is). For these kind of really elaborated recipes, I think a video recipe is the way to go, because it leaves no room for doubts as sometimes happens with written recipes.

Homemade croissant

Homemade pain au chocolat

It took me a total of almost 2 days from the very first step to the very last, so you'll understand after so much effort how bad I wanted these pastries to come out great!!! Well, they did. Once again, I'm proud of myself! Thanks to my lovely husband who helped me shape the croissants and pains au chocolat. And special thanks as well to Maison Eric Kayser, one of my favorite bakeries in town, who agreed to sell me some special chocolate bars for the pains au chocolat.

The layered dough is a sign of work well done!

This recipe yielded 8 pains au chocolat and 6 croissants, most of them slightly smaller than the ones you'd find in a bakery. I baked some of them and froze the rest, and now we can have fresh croissants every morning! :) Will you give it a try?

December 15, 2013

Ladurée afternoon tea at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental

Laduree is partnering up with The Landmark Mandarin Oriental for afternoon tea on this month of December, and the whole city is raving about it. After having been, I don't really get what the fuss is all about. The only thing from Laduree in the whole set are the macarons (2 per person), the individual paper tablecloth (similar to the one you get at Laduree in Paris), and the big macaron pyramid (for decoration only) at the entrance of the restaurant. 

This afternoon tea set is good yet really overpriced. The Landmark Mandarin Oriental cannot be compared to the much more splendorous Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental located at 5 minutes walking distance, which happens to offer one of the best afternoon teas in town for way way cheaper!!! I really felt I was ripped off by this Laduree nonsense. The set is not worth the price.

The first bad impression was when I went to look at the tea selection. There were just 4 really common teas (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Jasmine and Peppermint) and then oolong, white tea or green tea, for which you had to add $25! Excuse me?! First of all, in a so called Laduree afternoon tea, it is not acceptable that the only thing from Laduree are two macarons. The least would be some other petit four, or Laduree tea. 

The clotted cream and the jams were very good, but the scones were not really scones. Others may not realize, but for a connoisseur like myself, these were not the real deal. And it's a shame seeing how its brother, the Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental, has the best scones in Hong Kong. These scones had yellow cake consistency. And by the fact that the edges were not toasted, you could realize they had actually just been cut with a round mold after being baked. What kind of a scone is that?!

Don't think the set was just laid on our table like this. You know how I dislike not having a tiered stand for afternoon tea! We actually had a 2-tier stand right next to us, I just forgot to snap a picture of it.

The food was overall good. My review may seem a bit negative but the truth is the food was tasty. It was just overpriced and with not enough Laduree goodies, that's it. 

The best part were obviously the macarons. The silver one was really beautiful. It was mandarine and orange, and the pink one was my all-time fave: rose macaron! Woohoo!!! The other best thing, that I accidentally left for the very end (lucky again!) was this peanut and chocolate tart in the picture below. It was SO good, I inspected every part carefully to try to replicate it at home!

Think twice before heading for this high tea. All everyone is excited about is Laduree, and then there's just too miserable macarons! 

If you call to make a reservation, they'll tell you it has been completely booked. I don't know booked by whom, since I went there and was perfectly able to walk in even though there was a huge line in front of me, which I'm assuming didn't have a reservation either! Is this some sort of marketing technique? 

Visited on: December 12th, 2013
Overall Rating: 3.5* Even though this set was overpriced, most of the food was of high quality, and the service was excellent.
Price: HK$634 for two (CRAZY)
Value for Money: Negative! 0*
Would I recommend it? Let's face it. We all go here attracted by Laduree. Now when you know that all you get from Laduree are two macarons, and that this tea set is one of the most expensive in town, would you still want to go? Probably not.


December 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Our wedding: Cocktail party

While the bride, the groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen were in the woods taking pictures, the other guests headed over to the covered terrace, where we had prepared a cocktail party before the banquet, with around 15 different appetizers {including a whole mouthwatering jamón ibérico ham} and several refreshments that the waiters kept passing around.

The most special part of the terrace was the photocall we prepared with real-size cardboards of J and I, dressed in the suit and wedding dress from our pre-wedding pictures. We bought some funny messages and masks for our guests to take pics with "us". We also DIY-ed the background, with around 20 pom poms we patiently set up on the days before our big day.

This last photocall picture is the one my friends uploaded on Instagram, and is definitely my very favorite!!! Super sweet!

Another great thing going on in the terrace was the live music. We hired Marta Trujillo, a very talented local artist, to sing for us during the cocktail. It was lovely to have her singing there, I think it made a huge difference and everyone was amazed by her powerful yet delicate voice.

As I told you on last week's Wedding Wednesday post, my dress ended up full of pine needles in the woods, but my flower girls worked wonders and just like little fairies got everything out while I socialized around the terrace! Here's the proof!

Next week I'll show you our wedding banquet! SO looking forward to share it with all of you!