Review: Alice Fururun, and Where to Buy Online

Since I started Lolita in 2007, it's become increasingly easier to purchase Lolita clothing online. Gone are the days where only Baby and Metamorphose shipped abroad, and most Lolitas on a budget had to sew clothing themselves or painstakingly search it out online. These days, there's a myriad of shopping choices out there for you to get your frill on; whether you want to order brand-direct, or bargain hunt from the second-hand shops.

Today I'll be focusing on Japanese second-hand shops, and the ones I normally frequent. All of them are good, but may have varying degrees of difficulty to navigate the site, communicate with staff, and place an order.

I'll start for my most recent order, from Alice Fururun.

Ease of navigating site and ordering: 3/5
Accepts Paypal?: Yes
Staff Communication: 3.5/5
Condition of items: 4/5
Shipping/Packaging: 5/5

Alice Fururun has been around since I first started Lolita, and their site hasn't changed much over the years. Most if not all of it is in Japanese, with enough English pointers for you to scrape by and make an order. It helps to be able to read katakana, as most of the brand names are written in katakana. (Or, use Google Translate if you like.)

That being said, navigating the site can be a little difficult. One glitch I found was that when I shop, and am looking at several items, I like to open them in new tabs with the main search results still open. This is mostly because I am lazy and don't want to hit the back button a million times. However, I noticed when I added items into my cart in a new tab, then closed it and went back to the main search, it would empty my cart from that tab. So in other words, all of the items I added to my cart in a separate tab disappeared as soon as I closed that tab. Needless to say, I was very confused, but as soon as I figured out I'd need to do all of my shopping in one window, it was fine. 

I checked out using the shopping cart method, but if you don't speak/read Japanese, or don't feel like running it through a translator, you can also use an e-mail order method.

Personally, I prefer the shopping cart because it partially ensures that my items will not sell out (However, I can also read Japanese so it wasn't a setback for me to use it). As soon as I check out, the items were marked 'sold out' on the site. By using the e-mail order method, you will have to wait for staff to confirm your item is in stock and mark it 'out of stock' on the site for you. 

It took a couple of days for staff to email me back to confirm my order. I had to send them an email to confirm my order and payment through and that everything was okay. But then again, I did place my order pretty close to New Year's holidays, so that could explain the delay.

My items were shipped by EMS (staff provided the tracking number) and arrived quickly. Everything was very well packaged. Boleros were separately wrapped in plastic, and my purse was stored in a cardboard box to prevent denting or damages.

Everything was in decent condition considering the awesome prices. There was a black hair on the pink cardigan I ordered, but that's not that big of a deal to me. There was a dent on the front of the heart enamel purse, but that was clearly pointed out on the site, so I was expecting that. (They are very good about noting all flaws in the item descriptions, so again, Google translate is your friend if you can't read Japanese.) 

The price was awesome for everything I got. The cardigans were 1,500 and 2,500 yen, I got a Baby plastic headband for 1,000 yen, and the heart enamel purse with strap was only 3,000 yen. Including shipping, all four items were right around $100. 

So that was my first experience with Alice Fururun, and I was fairly pleased! 

There are plenty of other places to shop online and get a great bargain, though. Out of the Japanese online retailers, these are some of my favourite to buy from:

I have orders coming in from Wunderwelt and Fairy-Angel, so maybe when they come in I will write up a joint review similar to this one. This was my first time ordering from Wunderwelt and I like them so far; as for Fairy-Angel, they've been around about as long as Alice Fururun and I have ordered from them before. They were very sweet and great to work with, and I am expecting the same this time around.

Well I hope that this was useful, and now you have two shiny new reviews to look forward to! If you have any questions about navigating Alice Fururun or the above sites, leave me a comment and I'll try to help you out.


Darkly Darling at Kawaiikon 2015

Waiting outside to meet Akira!
To me, Sundays are "me" time- a time to cook a nice meal, catch up on work, do some exercise, and maybe even take a nice, relaxing bath. After a fulfilling Sunday of reflection and relaxation, I feel refreshed, grounded and ready to face the next week ahead.

When it comes to my blog, I would like to keep that feeling, and also use it as my day to write about events that passed- after all, I missed coverage of many events when I took a hiatus from my blog, last year!

For today's reflection, I would like to share my experience at Kawaiikon last year, 2015. I ran two panels at this Kawaiikon: An informative J-fashion panel on Shironuri, as well as an independent fashion show for my own aspiring Lolita brand, Darkly Darling.

The convention began on a hectic note, and did not set a good tone for the rest of the weekend. We rushed to our hotel with our room mates as soon as I got home from work, Friday. I knew that the next morning, I would have to wake up at 4am to rush to the windward side of Oahu, in order to run an event for work, so I was already in a stressed-out mood.

The next morning went exactly as you'd expect, trying desperately not to awake my husband and room mates as I got ready for work. I knew that as soon as I left work, I'd have to rush in order to make the Akira tea party, so I did everything I could before hand- I even applied most of my Lolita makeup, including contacts, at 4 am.

I was very tired at work, and felt silly in such extreme makeup. On top of that, it was raining on the windward side, like it always does, so my false lashes were starting to come off and my hair was a wreck!

Finally, when the event started to wind down, I was allowed to leave- only to run head-on into horrible traffic trying to get into town! I had paid a lot of extra money in order to attend the Akira tea party, and was scared I wouldn't make it at all.

I finally made it back to my hotel room, with barely thirty minutes to spare. I threw on my outfit and wig, and ran across the street to the convention center. I looked barely put together, incredibly tired, and most of my foundation had worn away already, but I was just happy to make it to the tea party.

At least the tea party was a pleasure! Akira sat at each table, making pleasant conversation and making everyone smile. She even noticed that not everyone could reach the food in the middle of the tables, so she helped to serve girls who were far away or had bell sleeves and couldn't reach! We played games too, and many of us got to take selfies with Akira.

At the end of the teaparty, she gave out autographed photos, cheki, and small pieces of sakura incense to each guest. I was walking on clouds, I was so happy that I actually made it.

But come Saturday evening, I cloud-walked right back into another rough patch.

I was scheduled to host a Shironuri panel, which I had been spending all of my free-time on for months! I put hours of work into the presentation, spending my lunch breaks at work working on it, and staying late after work to wait out traffic working on it. But it was late at night for a panel, almost midnight; and a rather obscure topic at that, so I was expecting barely a couple of friends to show up. I wasn't that worried.

So I was shocked to see so many people in attendance!

I had everything set to go- a detailed power-point on the history of Shironuri, different sub-styles of it and related media, and pictures donated from Shironuri practitioners around the world.

As part of my day job, I did presentations for a living; I had also organized events in these convention rooms the year before. That being said, I wasn't expecting any surprises with the presentation, or the technology. So of course, I was mortified to set up my laptop, and found that my entire Powerpoint was corrupted!! I couldn't even open it, from my laptop or my external hard drive!

I had my crack tech friend come up and help me, trying to retrieve or backup the Powerpoint, but nothing was working.

I was absolutely panicked, since I also had a room full of people in front of me, expecting a presentation. I picked up the microphone, and explained what had happened- I also told the guests that since Shironuri is such a visual and abstract style, it would be really difficult to explain without the accompanying images. I decided to call off the panel.

A lot of the attendees were rather angry, and asked, why don't I just pull up some pictures and talk about it? I was already about to cry, and the frustrated voices were making me panic more. I told them I had a very detailed history and lots of notes in my presentation, and it would be hard to do without it. Not to mention, the convention center did not have free Wifi, so just googling images and pulling up different blogs would have been another hurdle! But I didn't mention that.

Of course, I was sick to my stomach after this had happened. I basically apologized, and walked off stage. A few of my friends comforted me as people started to leave.

At least as people were trickling out, a mother and daughter came up to me and said they wanted to thank me for hosting a fashion-related late night panel. They said that there is usually not a lot of family-friendly content offered later at night, and the fashion was interesting, so they were looking forward to it.

They asked about the makeup I use, so I took out my supplies and showed them the basics of applying a white foundation, and setting it. By then, a small crowd had formed, and I was very comfortable just talking with them on the side.

If I could re-do that night, I would have checked my presentation earlier in my hotel room. (I would have taken a nap in the room, too!) Given, it had been a very long day for me, but even so, I should have been more professional about my panel and double-checked the presentation.

Even if I had checked it, and it had been corrupted, I would have had time to whip up something, or contact the panel coordinator so the guests wouldn't have been so upset.

Or even if I hadn't done all that- I wish I had the bravery to stand up on stage and just talk about the fashion I loved! I was dressed in it, make up done and all- why was I so upset, that I couldn't just wing it?

After all, giving presentations was part of what I did for a living. But I think it is different, when you give the same presentation every day for your job, instead of one long, intense presentation about something you love. But even so, I wish I could re-do that panel.

Hopefully, at another convention in the future, I could take a crack at this panel again. I learned a lot from that night, and feel like I could do an even better presentation this time around!

When I had that smaller crowd watching me demonstrate makeup application, I told them about my fashion show panel the next day- where I would be showing fashions for my aspiring Lolita brand, Darkly Darling. I told them which conference room it was in, and the time, and they all said they would come!

The next morning, unfortunately, was off to a rough start as well. (I couldn't catch a break at all!) I had a bad feeling since the Shironuri panel last night, and on top of that, one of my models called out sick. I got to the convention center, only to find that neither my hair nor makeup artists had showed up! I called and called and called them, and messaged them on Facebook, with no response.

Panicked again, I called my husband and asked him to bring over all of my wigs and makeup from the hotel room. I was going to make this work, no matter what. Not only did I dress my models, set up my audio equipment, and do a sound check with staff- I also did all of their hair and makeup, in about an hour!

There were still issues- my boy style model couldn't have his hair done, since I was counting on a hair stylist to work with his long, red hair. I also forgot to grab pants and accessories for him, in my hurry to get all of my outfits and do makeup. With models who didn't show up, I had to rearrange and re-prioritize my looks, which clashed with what some models brought to wear.

However, at that point in the final minutes before the show, doing a quick walk-through, I was just happy to have mostly everyone there, dressed, and ready to go.

I received a text from the event coordinator saying, "I don't want to make you nervous- but you have a line outside the conference room!" One of my friends came in and said the line was really long. I couldn't believe it!

I texted the coordinator the okay, saying we were ready and the doors could be opened. I waited back stage, watching the room fill to near capacity- and looked with awe and gratitude at my models.

The music started, and the show began!

 Even Deadpools were watching on in the audience.

After the show, we received a round of applause! We stayed on stage for a very long Q&A, with all kinds of questions from the audience! I had my models stay on stage too, so they could be part of the Q&A.

Overall, it was a very long, stressful weekend, which taught me anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. But it also taught me to rely on myself, and not rely too heavily on others. Though of course, there are many wonderful people out there, like my models, not everyone is reliable.

It also taught me responsibility. I should have had the foresight to check my presentation in the hours before the panel. If I had noticed sooner, that the entire presentation was inaccessible, it might have been easier to minimize damage or come up with something on the spot.

Last but not least, that weekend taught me to look for silver linings. The world was all but falling apart, when I stood up on stage by myself and announced that I couldn't do the Shironuri panel. But when I spoke with the mother and daughter about the makeup after, they were so kind and supportive, and interested in what I had to say, so I feel like I can try that panel again in the future.

And yes, I did have to work, and dash around the island desperately in order to juggle work and my passions- but I still got to meet one of my idols, Akira.

And sure, I had models and makeup and hair artists become no-shows: but instead of panicking like the night before, I worked with the wonderful people who did come, and we used everything at our disposal to deliver a show.

I had done smaller fashion shows at bars before, where people didn't really understand or appreciate Lolita- but I think I am most proud of the Kawaiikon Fashion Show. If I could choose a benchmark from where I really started to grow and understand, it was that show. I count it as my first real fashion show!

All in all, Kawaiikon 2015 was more stress for me than anything. Much of it had to do with overbooking myself, especially since I had to work all morning on Saturday. It taught me a lot though, and helped me grow as a person. After this, I had a bit of a hiatus from sewing, and being involved in the event circuit. But now in 2016, I feel ready to move forward again, and strive to be even better!

Just remember, readers, if you ever encounter something similar, there is nothing you cannot handle; and even if you think you cannot fix it, there is always plenty to be learned. I hope that sharing this experience either helps you in the future, or maybe you've gone through something similar!

I'd actually love to know if you've ever had a Con Catastrophe like this, and what you did to handle it. Feel free to let me know in the comments- which should be much easier to use, since I switched back to the Blogger commenting system!

Happy Sunday!


LBC: Predict 5 Trends for 2016

Hello, Darlings! Here, you join me on another exciting installment of Lolita Blog Carnival!

In this exciting episode, we will review "Trend Predictions for 2016". Not to toot my own horn, but in the past when I've written about Prints I'd Like to See (again here), or Trends I'd like to See, I saw quite a few blip on the radar. I'm not saying I'm psychic or anything, but I like to believe my predictions are pretty well based!

So without further ado, here are the trends I see continuing or growing in 2016.

1. Old School Revival

Be it "maxipad" rectangular headdresses, solid black and white coords, chunky platforms and RHS, or repetitive, understated sweet prints, I think this trend is on it's way back in. In the past few months I have seen a lot more blogs dedicated to the "Oldschool" aesthetic, and have seen a number of coords popping up on Coordinate Communities as well.

It is true that recently, I've been drawn back to the Oldschool aesthetic myself; so it's hard to say if the trend has really increased or if I've just noticed it more. But either way, I enjoy the understated elegance of "traditional" Lolita looks, and wouldn't mind if it made a comeback.

If you think about it logically, religious themes were very big in 2015, and many "new" dresses drew inspiration from old ones, such as lace cross appliques. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to backpedal further into the trends that set the tone for the rest of the world over a decade ago.

2. Punk Lolita 

This goes hand-in-hand with the prediction above. At about the same time "Oldschool Lolita" was just Lolita, Punk Lolita had begun to get very popular through publications such as Kera. Musicians such as Nana Kitade and Moon Kana wore a lot of Punk Lolita, in music videos, to lives, and also modelling for Kera and the Gothic Lolita Bible.

Talking to some other Lolitas who have been in the fashion as long as me, I hear many say, "I love Punk Loli, but I feel like it's so hard to pull off!" Or, they couldn't afford the brand items "back then", or the brands who manufactured them were inaccessible.

Now that brands like Putumayo, Hellcat Punks and SexPot Revenge are well known and easy to buy, and the interest has survived, I think it'd be neat to see these Lolis act on their word and bring Punk Lolita back. I think the appeal is there, since the items are easy to wear, and the accessories are easy to buy in the US- but all we need are a few more individuals ready to face the dreaded "concrit" of CoF. Maybe in the future, I'll write a post about Punk Lolita, and some ideas to style it correctly.

3. Bonnets

2015 was the year of religiously-inspired veils and head circlets. But throughout all this, I saw an increasingly large fan base for one of my favourite designers, Triple Fortune; particularly their gorgeous bonnets.

This may be because of their convention circuits over the years, which has made their brand more accessible than ever before. Triple Fortune used to be a pain and a half to order from, but these days the brand has come to Lolitas all over the world. Where I used to see a lot of Lolitas scoff at bonnets, I'm happy to see an increasingly large group of people wearing them. I think it's well-earned, because so many hard brimmed bonnets are beautifully crafted with excruciating detail!

Other brands began producing more over-the-top bonnets as well, such as Innocent World's collaboration with Ali project vocalist, Arika Takarano. Could it be 2016 would be the year of the bonnet? I certainly hope so, as I am a die-hard fan!

4. Handmade and Indie Items

As a designer myself (albeit one just trying to get serious recently), I'm happy to report that the popularity and quality of handmade items has spiked in the West. There are many designers vying for notoriety, including accessory designers such as Voodoo Dolly, Moss Marchen and Moss Badger, to seamstresses such as I Do Declare (I have been a long-time fan!).

I believe this spike in popularity in recent years is largely accredited to Rufflecon, which has helped get Indie Lolita designer names out there, and put them on the same scale as visiting Eastern brands such as Haneuli.

The appeal of handmade items is that they are one of a kind; not just any Lolita has them. They are truly unique, and made with a labor of love. I foresee handmade and Indie brand items continuing to grow in 2016.

5. Unusual colours- such as Grey, Green, Light Brown, Tiffany Blue, Coral, etc.

Pantone has predicted that the on-trend colours for 2016 will be rather unusual, describing their forecast as "A Transporting and Transformative Canvas; Colors this season transcend cultural and gender norms. Vivid brights give way to excitement and optimism, though quiet stability prevails in this season’s palette." In other words, there are a lot of dusty rose-pinks, greys, and neutrals, along side unusual brights such as yellow, coral, green, and ultramarine.

I dare say that Lolita, like any fashion, is ready for a breath of fresh air come new season- and these colours are rather underplayed in the realm of Lolita products. A couple years ago, I wrote about some of these colours as "The Most Underrated Colours in Lolita". I would love to see these unusual colours rise up and give us something new to ogle in the fashion!

It is fascinating to study how fashions shift and change over the years, don't you think? I am sure that no matter what 2016 has in store, there will certainly be movers, shakers, and trend-setters who emerge from the wood work, and forge a new path for others to follow. I am enthralled to be a part of this fashion and watch it evolve, year after year.

Without further ado, let us go under the tent and examine other Lolita's predictions for 2016!

How to Host an At-Home Meet-up

An intimate Lolita Dinner meet my friend hosted at their home.

Most Lolitas will agree that Meet-ups are an important part of Lolita culture. Whether you're a lifestyle Lolita who dresses up every day, or someone who just enjoys it among other hobbies, all Lolitas like to dress up in their best coord to "meet up" with friends.

However, if you're part of an active comm, meet-ups can start to get expensive between museum trips, fancy tea or dinners, tickets to local events or fairs, or other miscellaneous outings. 

That's why I've been thinking, wouldn't it be nice to have a low-key meet-up at home once in a while?

The only thing about having meet-ups in your own home, is that not everyone is willing to open their home to the comm. Of course everyone will have varying viewpoints on that- perhaps they live in an apartment with limited space and parking, or with relatives, or on a college campus, and it's just not doable. 

If this is the case, you can always consider looking for the following cheap or free locations for a DIY meet-up:
  • Community Center, sometimes found in neighbourhoods or apartment clusters
  • A local park, with a covered seating area
  • If you attend a church, perhaps they have a room that can be used for 'meetings'
  • I even attended a potluck party in a karate dojo, which the owner let us use after hours!
So, do you have a location in mind, if not your own abode? Then without further ado, let's check out some pointers about hosting your own "at-home" meet-up.

1. Decide your theme, possible time frame, and menu. These are all necessary before inviting others over. Will it be potluck-style? Afternoon tea? Will it be an evening event, with alcohol? All of these things will effect the wording of your invitations, and preparations you will need to make.

2. Invitations. They do not have to be physical snail mail invitations, but if you have the time and inspiration, it wouldn't hurt! Of course, most comms are connected on Facebook these days, and creating a simple event page would do. I would think of a date in advance, and check with your local mods to make sure it doesn't conflict with an event they are planning. 

You can also ask your mods' help in creating the event page for you; they may be able to set it up so only members of your Facebook group can view the event. Doing this can ensure privacy, especially while holding a meet at your own home or nearby. 

You don't necessarily need to release your address on the event page. At a recent potluck meet, a mod required that you RSVP and state what you'd be bringing, in order to receive her address in a private message. 

3. Shopping. Once I have an idea for a meet in my head, I start casually shopping up to two months in advance. That way, if I see something cute and cheap for decorations or favours, I just pick it up! 

I'm currently planning an at-home meet myself; and now that Valentine's Day is around the corner, there's tons of cute cellophane bags, decorations, and little favours on sale for as little as $1 right now. And I am sure there will be plenty of cute things left over on clearance, after Valentine's Day! So what a better time to save these things, instead of scrambling when I need them?

While shopping for food, keep in mind any information garnered from your RSVPs. Does anyone have food allergies? If doing a pot-luck, what things have people already said they're bringing? 

Don't forget the essentials, if having people over at your house- paper towels, TP, hand soap, anything you would normally need to have! 

4. If you're doing a tea party, brush up on tea etiquette. This isn't necessarily a need-to-know thing, but it may inspire you for a trivia game (more on that later), give you ideas on how to set the table and what dishes you need, and even aid you in which kinds of foods should be served when.

5. Day-of Prepations. Be sure to do these things the morning of, or night before:

  • Prep any food items you can, to help save time.
  • Make a little extra room in the fridge, in case a guest brings something they must keep chilled.
  • Be prepared to welcome people into your home. I like to pretend they will be there for the first time- make sure the space is tidy, clutter is put away, and the kitchen and bathrooms are stocked with all essentials.
  • Make your home easy to get around- no large obstacles or things blocking the way. Try placing chairs against the wall instead of crowding them all around a table. Creating a "flow" through your home will also make the space seem larger, even if there's several people coming over. 
  • If you have any valuables or personal items, such as jewelry, medications, or portable electronics, move them to your bedroom or private space. 
  • Decorate, if necessary. Even a simple tablecloth can go a long way to dress up a table! 
  • It may also be a good idea to prepare a side room or front closet for coats and bags, in case your guests need to set anything down. 
  • Don't forget to check your event page in the hours before your event! People may be lost, running late, asking if you need anything, or cancel at the last minute. 
6. Once your guests start arriving...
  • Have light music playing in the background. I recommend using Pandora to create a custom music station ahead of time. Some ideas for a Lolita station can be Classical and Malice Mizer; Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Hatsune Miku, and K-pop; or even Disney and other movie soundtracks, if that strikes your fancy.
  • Have something for guests to do right away. Maybe have a finger food available for snacking and socializing, or a DIY photo booth. Stock a photo booth with a selfie stick or Polaroid camera, and any funny props you like!
  • Be prepared to help people park if necessary; know your street and surrounding areas in case you need overflow parking. 
7. To keep parties from getting stale, or to break the ice, it might be good to have some games in mind. You can have board games available, a video game console set-up, or, prepare your own Lolita-themed game for when all of your guests arrive!

Some Lolitas have created their own versions of popular games, such as "Lolitas Against Humanity" (based on "Cards Against Humanity", of course.) It is pretty easy to get creative and come up with your own Lolita versions of popular games, such as, "Never Ever Have I Ever", Charades, Pictionary, or "Who am I?"

While trying to think of some games, I made up my own Lolita version of "Scattergories". I created a few, and decided to share with you for your own use! (If you think of more Scattergories, I would love to hear them in the comments!)

And this one may be a little more difficult, but I tried to make a Gothic-Specific one as well:

Scattergories is a great game for a bigger group, because people can play by teams as well as individually. Plus, it's a pretty off-the-top-of-your-head game, so people are bound to get laughing and having a good time with the responses!

Also, if you found some interesting information while researching tea etiquette, it might be fun to play Tea Trivia! Look up different tea practices from around the world, and interesting facts about different teas. 

Feel free to come up with your own games as well! Do you have a favourite you like to play at meets?

8. Before your guests leave, thank them for coming! Offer up left overs to anyone who would like to take them home. If you prepared party favours, make sure you don't forget them, and that everyone gets one on their way out. 

And of course, everything after that is easy! If you make sure to pick up trash throughout the meet as you see it, clean up should not be too difficult at all.

Have you ever hosted a meet-up in your home before? What did you do, and how did it go? I would love to hear all about it! 

How to Have a Lolita Wedding


Every once in a blue moon, you'll see a post about a Lolita-styled wedding. It comes in all shapes and forms, from intimate backyard garden affairs, to grand convention ballrooms packed with friends and fans of Lolita fashion alike.

When I got married a year ago, I was planning to have a Lolita wedding. However, my family personally disagreed with it. "You'll have a wedding-themed wedding!" my parents protested; and I can see where they were coming from. A Lolita themed wedding could potentially alienate and put off respected family members, or maybe even look tacky a few years later.

Last month however, I flew to San Antonio, Texas to attend my brother in law's wedding; which was pretty heavily Lolita themed. The bride wore a Lolita wedding dress from Atelier Pierrot, the tables were decorated with just a  hint of EGA flair, the groomsmen wore swallow-tailed jackets, and Lolitas from their home comm of San Antonio were invited to join in on the festivities.

I helped style that arch!

Possibly the cutest cake I've ever seen.

The bride and groom during their first dance.

Attending this wedding got me thinking about all the stress I went through trying to plan my own wedding, trying to crowd please everyone while still keeping a bit of me and my husband's personality. Both my brother-in-law, as well as my husband (obviously) married Lolitas, yet our weddings were completely different!

I thought to help through the confusion for brides and husbands to be, it would be nice to write a guide for creating your own dream wedding, which you can do on any budget- whether your family is more accepting of Lolita or not.

Route A: The Ideal Scenario

For all intents and purposes, let's assume that you are lucky enough to throw a Lolita themed wedding fete. You can wear Lolita, guests can wear Lolita and J-fashion, and you have full creative reign with the decorations, festivities, etc.

Step One: Confirmation. If family members will be attending your wedding, it is important to talk to them and ask if they are comfortable with the theme- whether you are paying for your own wedding or not. Regardless of who is footing the bill, I feel weddings are more about relationships with your family and friends, old and new- and if they feel out of place or uncomfortable, it may be better to have a pre-wedding Mini Meet or Bridal Shower with your comm, instead.

 However, if your most respected attendees don't have a problem with it, then that's a definite green light to get creative! Remember, it may be important to double check with your significant other as well, if he/she is not a Lolita!

Step Two: Venue, venue, venue. Before you go crazy at the craft stores and ordering three white brand dresses to try, make sure your venue is booked! Sit down with your significant other and choose your three "ideal" dates. Keep in mind, Fridays and Saturdays are usually the busiest days for most venues, and may be booked well in advance- so if you're going for one of those days, be prepared to be flexible.

Catering goes hand in hand with this one as well, as the two are often booked together, if your reception and ceremony are at the same place. So while initially booking your big day, it may be good to have a list about Catering questions as well.

Some location ideas for full-on Lolita wedding:

  • A botanical garden, with an outdoor ceremony and reception
  • A winery
  • A local historical site, with period-appropriate backdrops for photos
  • A historical church, with a reception nearby at your favourite restaurant
  • A hotel which offers afternoon tea service for the reception
  • ... or somewhere else important to you. My brother in law (and new sister!) got married at the hotel where they first met!

Step Three: Pinning! For everything from wedding favours to decorations, Pinterest can be a cornucopia of inspiration. I created a board for my own wedding, where I pinned colour schemes I liked, dress cuts, DIY centrepiece ideas, and even infographics about wedding processions, wedding etiquette, and ideas for vow-writing. 

Some ideas for Lolita Decorating DIY:

Step Four: Cake! A Lolita's favourite thing, right?

Cakes are probably the most fun for a Lolita wedding, because whether you are ordering one or making it yourself, you can't go wrong. Either you can talk to your cake maker and come up with a design together, or you can make the cake yourself at home, and decorate it with fresh roses. There is no wrong way to do cake!

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Your reception venue may have an additional cost to bring in cake from the outside (or any other outside catering company). Be sure to ask if they do. 
  • If using a Patisserie or Cake Maker, be sure to call ahead and schedule an appointment for cake tasting. There is normally a small fee for the cake, but it's quite insightful and valuable to speak with the person who will be designing your cake for you. 
  • If using a Patisserie or Cake Maker, you might also want to look into mini-cupcakes or macarons as favours for your guests! 
  • Remember, you don't have to go too big! This is your own special wedding, after all. Even if you are hosting a cute wedding in your backyard with a garden backdrop, handmade mug cakes in cute tea cups served with tea would be absolutely charming for your guests. 

Step Five: Flowers. Some Lolitas take an interest in the "language of flowers", and what their meanings are, so to speak. The Gothic Lolita Bible even devoted an issue to this topic, including floral recipes, Flower Fairies Illustrations, and more:

So if that strikes your interest, it might be a good time to be inspired by flowers and let that lead you in your choices. (It also seems like a lifestyle-friendly hobby.) 

Or, maybe you would just like to pick certain flowers because they look pretty, or the colours match the colour palette for your wedding. But aside from the obvious roses, what are some more creative choices?

You may want to to try:
  • Peonies
  • Snow Drop / Lily of the Valley
  • Ranunculus
  • Gebera Daisy
  • Snap Dragon
  • Calla Lily
  • Delphimium
  • Hydrangea 
  • Tulip
  • Dahlia 
  • Iris
  • Poppy
  • Anemone 
And of course, each of these has its own prime season, and sometimes of the year it is "cheaper" than others. I had a smaller budget, and saved myself a bit of money by choosing cheaper flowers, such as vibrant Daisies, berries, roses and greens. I also bought and provided the florist with my own ribbons to cut further cost.

Since I made my own table runners, chair sashes, as well as centrepieces out of picture frames and glittered wine bottles, I decided not to get flowers for every table. I focused on my own bouquet, bouquets for my bridesmaids, and corsages for the family and groomsmen. I'll be honest and say not a single person asked why there were no flowers on the table; and it saved so much money!

Step Six: Shop! But it's not like I need to twist your arm to do that, right?

Now is a time to:

  • Shop for craft supplies. Schedule a night with your wedding party to get together and work on decorations and such. Make it fun- make it a pot-luck, or a movie night!
  • Shop around for your wedding dress. Since shopping for Lolita is, dare I say, easier than shopping for a wedding dress, you can start scouring the Internet for your dream piece. Be sure to allow enough time for shipping, and possibly alteration, if you plan to have that done. But the great thing about Lolita is, it's plenty extravagant for a wedding, and the measurements are usually straight-forward enough you'll know if it fits or not.
  • Your bridesmaids can start shopping for outfits as well. If they are already Lolitas, then they may have a fancy dress they can wear already, or maybe they'd like to shop with you for your approval. Or if they've never worn Lolita before, it may be your chance to help them discover the style. Make sure you get started early so you can bargain hunt, since not all newbies will want to fully invest in the fashion.
  • For grooms and groomsmen, Ouji, Aristocrat, and Dandy is usually acceptable. But if your groomsmen aren't ready to don "Pumpkin Pants", most tuxedo rental companies offer something EGA-able, such as swallow tailed tuxedo jackets. 
  • Check out ideas for party favours, whether you can buy them in bulk, or make them yourself.
The rest of the wedding planning process can include whatever steps or formalities you like; you can have a Wedding Shower or Bachelorette Party, a rehearsal dinner, or even a laid-back Afternoon tea with your local comm to celebrate. 

Some extra thoughts for a Lolita-themed wedding:

  • If you expect the guests to wear Lolita, provide a brief primer, or even a couple of places to shop. For my brother's wedding, they included a blurb about Lolita Fashion and where to shop for it on their Facebook Event Page.
  • If you are on a tight budget, this is the perfect community to pull off a great event at a lower cost. There's many makeup artists, photographers, and videographers in the fashion. Maybe ask that instead of a gift, friends with such talents would like to donate their help instead. For my wedding, I didn't have to pay for a photographer, DJ, or videographer- my friends came forward and volunteered to help. Of course, you can always provide a hashtag for your wedding, and ask friends to share photos, too!
  • Just like your favourite brand dresses, the beauty is in the details. Try to add a bit of you and your partner's style and personality into everything. For my brother's wedding, they included rabbits on the programs, menus, and even on their cake- in honour of their pet white Dwarf rabbit, who was also in attendance.
Of course, everyone plans events in their own logic and fashion, but that was the logical order I took when preparing from my own wedding. It helps me to categorize things and take it step-by-step, so I hope it helps create a map for you as well!

Now that we've covered the basics, I would like to add a few pointers for those who do not have the blessing for a Lolita wedding, but would like to incorporate their own flair anyway:
  • Add little hints of your fashion sense everywhere, from details on the cake, in the decorations, and even your shoes. if you are wearing a more traditional long dress, no one will see your shoes anyway- so maybe wear a beautiful pair from your favourite brand, or go DIY and OTT them out! Paint something Loli on the sole or bling it out; or decorate the tops of your shoes with Hime-gyaru roses. 
  • If you were asked to wear a traditional wedding dress or suit, ask if you could change into Lolita for the reception. If not, then pick something traditional, with the same romantic elements you love- lace, an a-line skirt with a fit and flare waist, maybe even a 50s style tea-length dress would be mutually agreeable. 
  • Making decorations yourself allows more flexibility to add in your own taste. 
  • Even if you cannot wear Lolita to your wedding, there are plenty of ways to have that atmosphere. Pick a romantic or aesthetically pleasing location. Include something Loli-esque as favours, such as macarons, a handmade item, etc. I gave away tumblers with a custom monogram, topped with a bow tied to the straw; my brother gave away little soaps with roses set inside. 
  • Try not to stress. This is your day, and basically, a party! If it is not Lolita, it will not affect the rest of your life together with your new partner. What matters is celebrating with those closest to you. And trust me, considering all of the planning that I put into my wedding, it sure went by in the blink of an eye!
I feel like this is a very short guide, and could be made much more comprehensive and precise, but for now, those are the basic pointers that I have. There's so many ways you can make your wedding your own; there is no set cookie-cutter way to do it!

I hope that you enjoyed this little blurb, and as always, feel free to ask questions- about my own Kate Spade inspired wedding, my brother's Lolita wedding, or advice in general.

Good luck to you, and happy planning!