Wedding: Beginning the planning!

My official first wedding-related post!

You may have noticed, I have added a new tab to the menu called “WEDDING”
On this page I will be sharing everything related to our wedding held at the

Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC on May 14, 2016❤

I hope you enjoy reading about our journey preparing leading up to the big day!

In addition, I hope some of my posts may help another bride-to-be in her research and planning for her wedding! Please feel free to message if you have any questions!


Michael and I were engaged after 3 years together on March 12, 2014.

Did we start planning our wedding right away? Definitely not!

But here were a few things we knew for sure:

  1. We wanted to graduate first and start working before getting married.
  2. That very likely our wedding would be back in Ottawa, Canada (most convenient location for the majority of our family and friends) – even though an elopement or destination wedding would’ve less stressful! 😉
  3. As international medical students studying in Australia – we were each in debt by $250+K. That meant we couldn’t actually have a real ‘budget.’ All the money we spent would be money that a) We could’ve used to pay back our debt or b) Put us in further debt.

Needless to say, the stress of school and the thought of spending quite a bit of money on a wedding was enough to keep us from any serious planning for a while!

I remember it being quite stressful, for the both of us, to discuss or even think about what we wanted for a wedding. Being international graduates, we weren’t guaranteed a job after graduating, and it was an even slimmer chance of getting a job at the same hospital, in the same city.

But our stars were aligned and when we both got offered positions together at Rockhampton Hospital beginning January 2015 – we breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we would actually be making an income and be able to even pay for a wedding!

The key: Don’t rush into planning a wedding if you are not mentally/physically/financially ready to do so!

We finally started discussing and researching our wedding options. Here are some of our topics that I’ll eventually be sharing in more detail…

  • Venue
  • Ceremony (I’m Catholic and Michael is Protestant)
  • Food (our main priority)
  • Music (self/band/DJ, etc)
  • Photographer (Sandra’s must have)
  • Videographer
  • Bridal party
  • Incorporating cultural aspects
  • Number of guests
  • Officiant
  • Wedding dress
  • Tuxedo/suit
  • Accessories
  • Decor/theme
  • Flowers
  • Cake
  • Hair/makeup
  • Stationary (RSVPs/invites/programs/menus, etc)
  • Gifts for parents/bridal party, etc
  • Wedding favours

Before looking into anything specific, I started my ‘planning’ by spending quite a bit of time browsing wedding boards on Pinterest, saving everything from colour palettes, hair/makeup looks, wedding dresses, etc. It was so easy and such a great platform for me to quickly get ideas and see related looks.

I also read a lot on wedding boards/websites like Wedding Bee and The Knot. I had no experience with wedding planning and I had yet to attend any weddings – there were many things I needed to learn! Questions to ask vendors before hiring them, etiquette for invite wording, ideas for bridesmaid gifts, order of procession, etc! Of course, there is no definite right or wrong way to do anything, as a wedding is your own, but it’s always good to get the general idea of how things are usually done!

I definitely recommend doing the above to get started on your wedding planning! And don’t forget to ask your family and friends for ideas/advice – they are a wealth of information sometimes. But always be careful of the strong personalities!

I also highly suggest discussing with your partner in advance what your priorities are when it comes to the wedding. Gives you a rough breakdown of where the biggest chunks of your money will be going towards. For example:

  • Michael and I both agreed that our venue, food, and photographer were most important to us.
  • I couldn’t care less about spending tons of money on a designer wedding gown I’ll only wear once.
  • We were both easy going with music options.
  • Videography would be nice to have but not essential if we wanted to save money.
  • We both felt it was wasteful to spend a lot of money on fresh flowers for bouquets/decor and were keen to look for cheaper options and fake flowers

Then came the real planning… when we started communicating with actual people about what we wanted for the big day. 🙂

Will share more with individual posts – stay tuned! And thanks for reading! 🙂

Back in Ottawa!

May 03, 2016

You know you’re back in Canada when…

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Bagels, timbits, and Tim Horton’s coffee – who doesn’t make a pit stop as soon as your plane lands? We certainly did once we arrived in Toronto! Landed in Ottawa and was so incredibly happy to be greeted not only by my mom and brother, but also my grandparents and my Uncle 2 (Cau Hai)! Despite how late it was (midnight!) they insisted on a meal – so we ended up at Pho Ba Ga La in Chinatown!

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I’ve never been out so late with my grandparents! 😉

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It was a good time with the family, but you know me, no Vietnamese restaurant beats homemade food and I still stand by it!

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Thank you to my wonderful family – so happy to be back in Canada!

In case you were wondering where Michael’s family was – they live in Kingston so it’s a drive to Ottawa! Since Michael was planning on staying in Ottawa for the coming couple of weeks for wedding planning, it made sense for them not to drive up but we would see them soon!

Off to Brisbane!

May 02-03, 2016

Finally, 5 weeks of night ward call are over for the both of us! On to 5 weeks of holiday! Including getting married! Can you imagine how excited we were to embark on this adventure?!

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Thank you Yoni for picking us up when we landed in Brisbane, obviously so good to see you again! 😀

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We were so excited to enjoy a delicious Japanese lunch at our collective favourite – Wagaya – in Chinatown. Unfortunately, it was closed! Not sure why, but perhaps it was a holiday (May Day)?

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Instead, we had lunch at Thai Wi-Rat, with very cheap options off their lunch menu!

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Both Yoni and I got rice with roasted pork (approx $10). Rather than succulent pork with crispy skin, Thai Wi-Rat appears to further fry/bake their pork after chopping – which made it quite tough and dry 😦 I have also never liked the bland cooked vegetables that often accompany such meals – I would much prefer a dressed salad or a bit of stirfry, but I suppose it’s standard! My Thai iced tea was good though!

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Mike quite enjoyed his rice with roasted duck 🙂

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We then checked into our serviced apartment at the Meriton on Herschel Street. Beautiful view and a good value for the space – which is also perfect for entertaining some friends!

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Our amazing view – we missed Brisbane!

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I asked the Meriton to leave a note from me to Michael in our hotel prior to checking in. It wasn’t a problem and a welcomed surprise for him!

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Cheers to our holiday!!

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Night view was just as nice!

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In the evening, we caught up with one of our favourite gals – Fiona! Had some delicious Korean food including crispy chicken wings and bulgogi at another favourite – Maru!

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So good to see this one!

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Yoni dropped by after his evening shift to hang out with us some more – and he drove us to their airport the following morning, you’re the best!

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Gloomy morning before checking out!

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No problems with checking in for our flight and soon we were on our way to North America! First, Brisbane to Los Angeles with Qantas. Then, Los Angeles to Toronto to Ottawa with Air Canada!

I’ve always liked the better quality of food with Qantas airline!

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SOON… HOME SWEET HOME!

Crab a la Jin’s

April 29, 2016

Nothing better than delicious homemade food with good friends.

Actually, there is one thing better. When someone is making the food for you – thanks chef Jin!

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Jess & Jin invited us over for some pretty tasty Chinese crab dishes!

Saucy crab with noodles

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And chili crab!

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Thanks for having us over and feeding us such tastiness guys! 🙂

Breakfast at Giddy Goat

April 27, 2016

I’m sure by now you are sick of my breakfast posts – but, but, that’s all we’ve been doing! At least you’ll have a few options to choose from if you’re thinking of breakfast options!

We haven’t been to the Giddy Goat Cafe & Bar since it was renovated and were pleased with the results!

Still spacious with plenty of varied seating both indoors and outdoors, good service, quick food, and an inexpensive menu to choose from.

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Mr good looking!

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Can you guess what Michael ordered? You know it! Eggs Benedict with toasted English muffin, ham, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce ($13.00).

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I quite enjoyed the Brekkie Hash – sweet potato, onion, mushroom, capsicum, topped with a poached egg, asparagus and avocado ($13.00, and vegan!).

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As you can guess from the previous photo, my avocado was gorgeous and perfect! My poached egg, however, was a little overdone 😦

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During another visit, I ordered the Rustic omelette with chorizo, onion, cherry tomatoes, grilled capsicum, eggs, parsley, and melted goats cheese with thick toast ($14.50) – yum!

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For an easy going and tasty breakfast – don’t forget to check out the Giddy Goat!

A WEDDING DRESS & OUTLOOK CAFE

April 23, 2016

Many would say I’m crazy for cutting it so close, but ONE WEEK before flying back to Canada for our wedding, I finally picked up my wedding dress! Hurray! As previously mentioned, I will be posting a wedding blog series to document our adventures of wedding planning and the big day itself!

After the final fitting and carefully packing my dress away in the car, we decided to stop for breakfast before driving 1.5hours back to Rockhampton.

We have been meaning to try The Outlook Cafe – glad we finally did! Located on the hill by Auckland Point Lookout with great views!

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Very simple set up and modest decor, with areas of seating protected from the elements.

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Can get a little stifling protected from the breeze!

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I quite enjoyed a very filling Brekky Wrap – 2 Bacon Rashers, Egg, 2 Hash Browns, Cheese, Hollandaise sauce & BBQ sauce in a tortilla ($13.90) plus a side of sweet potato chips ($3.10). Chips were crispy and sweet – really enjoyed it!

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Michael, of course, had his Eggs Benedict – English muffin with 2 poached eggs, shaved ham, and Hollandaise sauce ($18.50).

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And while Michael orders his usual flat white, I couldn’t help but get a refreshingly cold Real fruit mango smoothie ($7.50).

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Worth a visit if you’re in Gladstone! We had a great breakfast with much excitement for our upcoming trip back to Canada – getting married soon!

Degani @ Rockhampton Post Office

April 16, 2016

After a LONG night at work, Michael picked me up in the morning and took me out for a much needed meal. Our first visit to Degani at the Rockhampton Post Office – and certainly won’t be our last!

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It was 8am in the morning, but I had not had anything to eat all shift and was ravenous. Luckily, the staff were great – they didn’t blink an eye when I requested a burger and fries for breakfast – and it was also not a problem for the kitchen!

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I chose the Works Burger with hamburger patty, salad, egg, bacon, pineapple & cheese ($15.80). Everything was fresh and the burger was so big, I had to use a knife and fork to slowly hack away at it 😉 Chips were nice as well!

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And of course… I got this. Because who doesn’t need chocolate first thing in the morning?

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Mike was much more breakfast-appropriate, having Eggs Benedict Degani Style with two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, shaved ham and toast ($15.40).

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We finished everything, had a great morning catching up, and a good night’s sleep once we got home – thanks Degani! See you again in the future!

Workshop Cafe

April 12, 2016

I previously mentioned that working night shifts gave us an opportunity to enjoy many more breakfast dates!

One of the more unique places for breakfast (or anytime snack) in town is the Workshop Rockhampton Coffee & Crêpe Bar on East St! I have previously mentioned East St Markets at The Workshop, which is also definitely worth checking out!

The Tokyo-styled cafe is partnered with Coffee Roasters and serve their signature Samurai Blend. Apparently, the coffee is always good. Food wise – a delicious selection of sweet and savory crepes! They also serve galettes (buckwheat crepes), waffles, toasties, baked treats and soups of the day – yum!

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Both their cold and hot matcha drinks come unsweetened – so you’ll have to add some sugar if you prefer it sweeter like me!

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My tired date 🙂

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Not on the current menu, Mike got the Fancy Pants with crisp apples, prosciutto, double brie, baby spinach, Moscato glaze ($11.70)

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I quite enjoyed my Protein Hit with a 2 egg omelette, truffle salt, Otafuku sauce, and cheddar cheese ($8.70). The combination of Otafuku sauce, truffle and mayo flavours was a win!

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I have also tried one of the galettes – Fun Guy with mushrooms, cauliflower cream and spinach. I absolutely love mushrooms but unfortunately found the galette to be overall very bland. It was also an odd texture due to the grainy cauliflower cream that also made the galette very mushy. I would definitely recommend trying one of the others on the menu!

During one of our visits, the soup of the day was Pumpkin Soup – creamy and delicious with chunks of ham – definitely try it if you have the chance! Hearty and soul warming 🙂

Looking forward to another visit for the sweet crepes and waffles. Happy visiting!