Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How to say "Thank You"

You obviously owe a serious thank you to everyone, but who deserves a gift?

To our guest we found a useful wedding favor that we will give our at the reception. They also go with our theme :)

To our wedding party, we have found personal gifts that they all can use. The girls have something that compliments their beautiful dresses. The boys are being taken care of by my man. And he's a man. So, these have not been purchased yet...lol

To the parents.....still working on that. How do you thank all the late night phone calls, extra errands, and possibly monetary help?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flower Girls

We decided to chose some very experiences flower girls! They have been in both of their aunts' weddings, were so well behaved, and were the first on the dance floor!

They also already have dresses - double bonus! We chose beautiful sashes to match our wedding with some fancy beading and they are all set.

Just like the bridesmaids, you could choose dresses that they can easily wear again for another occasion. Either way I'm sure they will get a lot of use out the dresses for dress up!

A great gitf for your first time flower girl? I found beautiful books that would help the girls learn about their dutiesbe and be great keepsakes for the girls to remoise about the occasion. For my girls the treat of some makeup and lip gloss will tickle them silly!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mother of the Bride

What would you do without her...SCREAM! My mom has been my eyes and ears and wheels in the city I am getting married in.

I was curious what she would decide on as a dress for the wedding. Short, long, covered, sexy....

We got to enjoy an impromptu mother of the bride dress search after I tried on dresses. I was ecstatic to see my mom all dressed up in a floor length gown. And she is going strapless! She found a cute sheer bolero jacket to wear that will not make her hot but will cover her arms slightly. Boy are the guest in for a stunning mother of the bride!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Kind of Music

What says you? A DJ that can play whatever you want, a band that has the amazing live vibe or the ipod that plays with little help. There is no right answer. Just the choice that works for you.

We chose an experienced DJ that will help us choose the songs that work best with us. He will get detailed information about the wedding party and the pronunciation of all their names. He has the time line and is in charge of keeping everything flowing smoothly. He is the internal clock that works to make the whole thing go smoothly.

I had the benefit of also seeing him do two other wedding. I encourage you to go see your band or dj in action to see if that is the experience you want your guests to have.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Centerpieces

Flowers, candles, plants, colors, gifts, too much to decide! At this point I have found many great inspirations:

- Topiary in the shape of a hears: cute, easy, won't wilt like flowers
- Flowers are so sensitive to light and water and temperature after being cut. Do I want to deal with that?
- Candles are easy and give off great mood lighting.

Should we give away our centerpiece to the guests? We'll decide that when we decide what in the world we are doing.

Trying to save money? We are doing our flowers ourselves thanks to a college friend that is teaching us how to arrange flowers. She even offered to come by the day of the wedding to help if we need it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Veil of too many lengths

Who knew there were this many choices? I used my detective skills to snoop out the name and number of the $250 veil I tried on at a bridal salon. I then searched the internet for an alternative.

Are you a birdcage girl? Fingertip? Chapel? Cathedral? You'll soon learn these terms.

Ultimately I ordered 2 veils online and found the one that matched the one from the salon for $60 Yes, that is 1/4 the cost! Do your homework, look around and find the veil that looks good and fits in your budget.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bridal Expos, worth the time?

YES! I went to a few and found great ideas. There are also many that have super giveaways. I spent $7 for the raffle tickets and stuffed the boxes of the vendors. Some people won cookware, some dresses, some a full wedding! Well worth the time!

I won a second place prize to the American Laser Center. I rarely treat myself to a facial, so this was serious! Thanks to this award I got to try out the seriously girly treatments i only hear about on OC housewives and such.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Save the DATE everyone

Once we found our dream venue and set a date, we had to get the word out. We chose to create a wedding website with as much information as possible to make our guests planning as easy as possible. There are tons of free options for this and also very low cost options.

We sent out a save the date email today to inform our family and closest friends about our wedding date since our celebration is close to a holiday. We want people to have a lot of time to plan, find plane tickets, and maketravel arrangements.

We included our wedding website url on this so all the planning was in one easy location.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bridesmaids Dresses

After my cousins said yes it was all about their dress. I had been a bridesmaid enough times to know how it feels to be on that side. I decided that these girls were going to enjoy this wedding as much as I was and were going to look good!

I did start with the typical bridal party dress sites but thought they all looked TOO much like bridesmaid dresses. The problem with this is that usually they can't be died again to attempt to get another wear out of them. So, they ultimately take up space in the closet or just get left on the hotel floor.

We settled on a stunning White House Black Market dress that all the girls can wear again. Don't discount the regular retailers! WHBM totally worked around their regular return policy to ensure that if we had any issues before the wedding we had a way to exchange dresses.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cake vs Cupcake?

This is truly the place to show your style. Square vs circular, layers, fondant, flowers, fruit, flowers...where to begin? Start my getting quotes from local bakeries. My venue had some to recommend and i went from there.

I happened upon my baker on a craigslist search for flower vases and found what i wanted in the background of a picture. I contacted the seller and got the low down on her seriously delectable desserts! She shared with me what her and her guests thought. Now that is the right place at the right time!

My sweet decorator was nice enough to help me find the display items i needed on ebay to truly show off these desserts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dress DONE!

Item #2 checked off the list!

After visiting only 2 stores I saved my next dress outing for my mom. Since she does not live in my city, I made a point to have her at at least one wedding dress shopping excursion. We squeezed this in after swimming lessons with Hunter and before our venue shopping.

With my mom, soon to be sister in law, and my personal attendant in tow we ventured out for a few hours of girl time. In just 4 hours I found:

4 dress I liked,
2 I loved,
and 1 I could not live without!

Today the deposit is paid and the dress is ordered! No pictures here, this one is a surprise!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Venue SET!

Check 1 thing off the list!

Countless calls and 259 emails later (and those are only the saved ones).

When Carrie emailed me with her pricing a few weeks ago I was discouraged. I wrote a sorrowful thank you back explaining it was not in our budget. She immediately asked me my guest count and budget and said she would make it work. What? Yes, you heard me. She knocked $ off here and there and amended the package to get our business.

This amazing venue is ours for a quaint 30's chapel wedding and an art deco wedding reception with 180 degree views! Let the true planning begin!

Room block set! This is a great idea. You get a discounted rate for the guests (mine was $10 off) staying at the hotel for the wedding. We had to guarantee them 10 room, which was easy with family and the wedding party. They even extended the price for those staying days other than our wedding night!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dress Shopping

As I begin to write this i realized that a lot of this is similar to venue shopping:

1st - Envision your day. Is it inside? Outside? What season? What colors? What dresses fit this location?

2nd - Dive in and explore this amazing vast space we call the world wide web. There is so much to see and help and overwhelm you.

3rd - Do ask questions! You can learn a lot from the pros. They can help understand your vision and whether the dress fits best with the venue. They can help with cost saving ideas and alternatives to the traditional wedding dress.

4th - Talk $$$! The same dress worn once may be online for you to buy. The salon may knock off money as long as you use their tailor or buy bridesmaid dresses there.

5th - Shop around! Get as much information as possible before you visit. Go in with pictures to help the salon choose dresses that you think you'll like.

6th - Visit multiple shops to see what styles and prices are out there. Take pictures (if you can) so that after the overwhelming day is over you can organize your thoughts. I brought a friend that discretely wrote down information as i purposefully asked the consultant detailed questions about the dress. This really helped later when going through the dresses i tried on.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wedding Party Woes

The planning is in full swing and it is time to find the people who will stand behind you through the journey as a married couple. This is such a personal choice for every bride. Thanks to the advise of my cousin, I chose to have family in my wedding since they knew me the best and have always been there for me.

I chose my cousin's wife who i look up to as an amazing wife and mother. If I could be 1/2 her I would be happy. I chose my younger cousin that has been happily married for years to a man who flew to Honduras just to ask for his sweetie's hand in marriage. I asked another cousin because she is like my sister. We grew up spending a lot of holidays together since she lived a few hours away.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If I could do it again....

I began to question my friends and family about their weddings. I asked them if they could go back to that day, what would they have done differently?

1) "Chosen people to be in the wedding that I had more of a lifelong connection with. I'm not friends with many of the people in the wedding party anymore."

2) "Do it ALL! I didn't do a bachelorette party or shower and I really regret that."

3) "Don't try to be super woman! Assign people to help you pick up guest from the airport..."

4) "Cameras were a waste. Drunk people forget the flash or forget the camera is even there. There are also the obscene up the skirt or down the pants pics that we really didn't need."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Engagement Photos

We knew we were going to be sending out save the dates, so why not get some professional pictures done to celebrate the engagement? On a trip down the coast we asked my talented cousin to take some great shots to capture us, as a newly engaged couple.

We traveled through a gnarled group of trees and climbed up the ir trunks to find the sunlight. We posed under Spanish moss as it swayed in the breeze just above our heads. Climbed up the rocks to get the amazing beach as our background. And we ventured down the beach and talked as she snapped more candid pictures of us.

Engagement shots are a perfect way to get to know a photographer and their style. They will help you choose the person or studio that will capture your wedding the way you want them too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Officiating

You now know who you are marrying, but who is going to marry you?

This may be easily answered if you are a regular member at your local church or synagogue. But what if you aren't?

We had two close couples that we admired and we looked back at their weddings. They both had family or close friends officiate their weddings. This created a more intimate wedding with officiants that they truly knew and could confide in.

We chose to ask my cousin and her husband. A couple that had been together since high school and truly knew the definition of love. They represented to us what we looked forward to having together. They are people that will always be in our life as we start our journey as a married couple.

We chose to go with The Universal Life Church - themonastery.org - for their ordination. Once they are ordained, check with the county you are getting married in to see what paperwork your officiants need to provide

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Venue MUSTS!

1) Do ask questions! You can learn a lot from the pros. The coordinators at these sites have done more wedding that you and usually have great recommendations. They can help understand your vision and whether it fits best with their venue. They can help with cost saving ideas and alternatives to the traditional wedding.

2) Talk $$$! We booked our venue as a banquet and not as a wedding package and saved lots of money. Venues with a hotel attached were much more willing to lower per person cost because they would get $ from your hotel guest. Corkage fees, cake cutting fees, table cloth fees...these can be unexpected budget busters.

3) Shop around! Get as much information as possible before you visit. Websites, emails, referrals, reviews, and books can give you a lot of information.

4) Visit your top 4-6 venues to truly see if being there solidifies a big YES or NO. Being there can really help you picture your day in that space. It wasn't until I walked into my venue that i knew. I walked out, took a picture of it and sent it to my fiance with the words, "i think we found our place!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Photography

2 words: Shop around!

We got lucky that a cousin of mine is a seriously amazing artist (in all senses of the word). She was always creative and built on that in art school discovering new artistic outlets. We saw her true wedding potential when she did her sister's engagement shots and then their wedding.

By choosing someone that is working on building their portfolio we scored. She gets practice, she gets professional practice and pictures to add to her portfolio. We get someone we know already takes beautiful pictures, someone who is really willing to work with us to get the shots we want too, and we get a seriously discounted rate.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Want vs Need


Web Day 3 - I am seeing that this process will be less than easy and more work than I expected. Now it is time to prioritize. I began to make a list of the necessities; good food, good drinks, family, and friends. I also realized that there were plenty of things I didn't need. No doves being released, tuxedo clad servers, silver platters, string quartets...

Use this list as you talk to vendors. You can get a much better quote once you know what you want to price out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stickershock

Web Day 1 - And what a Day! I found many websites headlining stunning Orange County CA venues that I had no knowledge about. But they looked beautiful, so lets email them.

As the well designed pdf files began flowing into my inbox and out my printer i saw what i had only heard about; the exorbitant fees charged for renting a piece of grass or sipping out of their glasses.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What to do first?

Was 3 days enough to enjoy it?

I found myself sitting at the ford dealership waiting for who knows what to be done in twice the time you think it takes. I had free wifi and my laptop, let the games begin!

There are books and websites and blogs that can attempt to get you through this process, but honestly everyone's steps will be different.

1st - Envision your day. Is it inside? Outside? What season? What colors? Where can this occur?

2nd - Dive in and explore this amazing vast space we call the world wide web. There is so much to see and help and overwhelm you.

We decided with family mainly in Ca we wanted to try to stay here. Then we found many of our guests were in southern CA. So, if we married there we'd have the fewest gusts flying to our event. Wait, this is our day, aren't we supposed to choose where we want? Who wins?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What the ring really means

My better half told me multiple times that the ring was a promise for us to become a couple and as long as the day is what we wanted, it would be perfect.

We also talked about when? A year, 2 years, sooner, later... And I loved his response: "The ring means whenever you want, even tomorrow!" Free reign for me, score! This can definitely be difficult because we know it took serious guts to go out and get the ring and ask. Now you are adding the pressure of the planning.

This week I also began to share the exciting news with everyone and was blessed with so many amazing well wishes from family and friends.

Let the planning begin!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On One Knee

Once the joyous occasion of being proposed to occurs your brain goes into planning overdrive. But, do take the time to truly enjoy this time. It will be short as compared to the boyfriend or husband part.

My better half did an amazing job surprising me with this beautiful ring on my birthday. He gave me a beautiful necklace the day we celebrated my birthday to throw me of...and it did!

The ring was chosen by him and it makes me so happy that he took the time to look and choose the ring he loved and the ring he knew I would love.