Monthly Archives: May 2010

Your Very Own Tour…

Here is an uber long post — your very own “Self-Guided Tour” to my weekend in the greater Phoenix area, in search for the perfect venue … Enjoy.

As this weekend has crept closer and closer, I started to sit back and truly think about what type of venue will capture the right essence that Z. and I are aiming for on our special day. In all reality, I won’t be totally sold on a theme until there is a venue — so if the venue encourages a different decor style, then so be it. I have come to terms with modifying everything that I have thought of to make sure that the tiniest details compliment the space we will be filling. I will try my best to be calm this weekend, and it will be made a little easier (I hope) by having some close friends and family there with us.

With 9 of the 10 venues that we wanted to visit booked for appointments between this afternoon and Sunday evening, we will have our weekend cut out for us — especially since the SUNS won Tuesday night and will be in PHX tomorrow evening (awesome that they made it, even more awesome that my venue appointments will be complete in downtown Phoenix before the game starts).

I’ll give you the down-low, since I won’t be posting at all while in Arizona (I know, please please PLEASE stay excited for Tuesday’s post, and don’t stop following!!). Below I will list all venues, in the order that we will be seeing them. If you’d like to visit the websites, all you have to do is click on the first picture for each venue. :]

1. Chase Field, formally known as The BOB. I’ve seen a few blogs on baseball-themed weddings that are pretty spectacular, and it’s a fresh idea that has true meaning to my relationship with Z. We have watched some games here together, not as many as we wish … But this was where our official First Date took place, tickets purchased by Z. We still have our stubs kept in a cozy drawer, so it would be extra special if the details worked out.

Chase Field

One of the MANY areas you can rent.

2. MonOrchid. Pure beauty, and a blank canvas. Anything would go at this venue — it’s clean and simple and just gorgeous. This is probably one of the venues that I am most excited to see. I just hope that I don’t fall in love with it with 7 more appointments to go.

MonOrchid. OMGosh, did I mention my love for the staircase?

Another great shot.

3. Bentley Projects. This venue is owned by the same people that own/manage MonOrchid. The tall ceilings with wooden beams gives the rustic feel (of maybe a barn?!?) that we may be looking for, matching many of the pictures that I have saved.

Bentley Projects

Ceremony Aisle

4. Tempe Center for the Arts. Tempe is where my heart still lies, and in a banquet room that is literally Lakeside, we would have a breathtaking view (maybe minus the 202 and traffic, haha). This would also allow for pictures prior to the wedding to be taken in Tempe, perhaps on campus, which was something that I’m really interested in since Z. and I have history @ ASU (if the event isn’t in Tempe or near campus, I’m going to maybe ask the photographer for a “day after” session and go to ASU for pictures, pending pricing). I think that this venue will have more potential than I’ve given it thus far.

Tempe Center for the Arts

Sorry about the quality -- from the website.

5. Arizona Grand Resort. Realistically, I think this will be too “in the box” for us — with all of the other amazing venues that we have appointments with, I think that this matches our style the least … but we’ve still left it on the list just in case. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be gorgeous, but it’s one of the venues that is not really “low-key” and casual.

Arizona Grand Resort

One of the ballrooms.

6. The Farm at South Mountain. Unfortunately there will be weddings going on at the site this weekend so we will be giving ourselves the “Self-Guided Tour”, complete with a package of details and a read-as-you-walk description of the venue. This is another top contender for me as of right now, so I’m hoping that despite how busy it will be there this weekend, that we will still be able to see everything we need to in order to make a decision.

The Farm at South Mountain (sorry about the logo, didn't want to crop too much of the photo)

The trees are gorgeous.

7. Phoenix Art Museum. I cannot wait to be here — some of the pictures for weddings that I have seen here are beautiful, and (I know I’ve said this a lot) this may be up on the list as well :]. Again, with many people going on vacation for the holiday weekend we won’t be given a guided tour, but the Events Coordinator has been so pleasant and will be leaving complimentary tickets for us to tour ourselves.

Phoenix Art Museum

One of the rooms for rent.

8. Arizona Science Center. This would be fun and fresh, and the building outside would be stunning as a background for many of the pictures — the clean lines and amazing architecture would be b-e-a-uuuutiful. This is the placement (in terms of order of venues) that I have set aside for this venue and have talked to the Events Coordinator about a tour, but we’re been playing phone tag and have semi-solidified plans, so I really hope this works out.

Arizona Science Center

One of the areas to rent.

9. Tre Bella. This is a venue that was built in Mesa solely for events such as weddings. With 7 venues already lined up, I’d love to fall in love before we got this far into the list, but we’ll still visit. It is really pretty, but maybe for a more formal wedding.

Tre Bella

(I can’t find a picture of the outside of the building … so I’ll be sure to take some and post later.) This is absolutely stunning, though.

And there you have it: the list, pictures and websites of all the venues that are scheduled for this weekend. I’m hoping I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew. :] Ciao!

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Enough Teasing … Let’s talk Bridal Gowns

Now, there is no denying that I have been searching online and fallen in love with maybe 100+ gowns, but it is a totally different story when the dress isn’t placed on a 6 foot model who you could probably see through.

As stated before, a whopping 5’2″ won’t carry the length of the sample dress well but I am prepared to drag the excess fabric along the floor to any platform (lol, must be a platform) in front of a floor-length mirror. I have been reading plenty of articles and blogs in regards to “what dresses fit your body type?” and have developed favor for a specific type that is “supposed” to make me look a certain way. Despite the blogs that say drop-waists may elongate my ever-so-short torso and will shorten my legs and send me back to square one, it is still my top contender. Who really knows until you try some on, right? I swore that a ball gown would be too much … but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll reconsider since it will be my last chance to be a princess for a day.

**Please note: These are not dresses that I am considering — Z. will be reading the blog, so I can’t spoil anything. These are pictures that I quickly found online.

#1

My inkling is: drop-waist with a trumpet bottom, strapless … okay, maybe this picture isn’t the best, the bottom lacks the more defined structure that I’m searching for, but you get the point. I think the drop waist would help to elongate my short torso, but again, it may shorten my legs and I may look like a Munchkin. I’ve also been told that with curvy (nice way to say “wide”) hips that this drop waist accentuates that, haha. I’m not sure what I’d rather opt for — because of my height I’ve been told that a flowy dress would be more appropriate and would make me look taller in general, but it’s just not my style (and I’m not pregnant) :].

A-line

This gown is more of an A-line, which is flattering on almost any bride, so I guess it has to be a contender. I’m going for simple and elegant, so this is a match.

Ball Gown

If I do Ball Gown, I’m going all out and doing ball gown. Obviously this example isn’t a good one if you are going for a casual, low-key outdoor ceremony, but there are some indoor options that are still in the running. I love the idea of looking glamorous and more regal, but I also want to be sure to be different and unique and ME. Ugh, pictures don’t do any of these gowns justice, nor do they help me make any sort of decision.

Ultimately when the time comes, I will walk into a boutique and let the designer go wild, allowing her to first put me in anything she thinks would look best, and then we’ll go from there. Obviously, I’ll ask to try on my number one gown that I have fallen in love with online, and I just pray that it is flattering and is THE dress (my mother is pretty excited to play “Say Yes to the Dress” … adorable). I want to savor the moment and not fall in love with the first dress that I try on because it’s my time to be a bride, to have that bridal experience … but I’m 99% sure that if I tried on the dress that I am in love with FIRST, that I’d walk out with the dress of my dreams after only trying on one.

Are there any brides out there that are uber short and have any advice??!!?!? Any fashion-forward females up on the UP about this sort of thing that could steer me in A direction???

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The Unknown — The Z.

The relationship between Z. and I has been quite the mystery to some of you due to my subtle-ness and ways of not advertising all details so blatantly. Well, here is a post that will tell all — including the utmost perfect proposal.

I met Z. in April/May of 2007; he was slated to be my Co-Community Assistant in PV West at Arizona State University. I have never been bashful when it comes to giving hugs, so that’s what he got instead of a formal hand shake. He had come to the building to check out the room and to see what he was getting himself into, when in all reality he had no idea. I was one of the CAs that went all out — I absolutely, without a doubt, and PROUDLY loved being a Community Assistant. I was convinced that I could make this kid love it just as much.

The year went by and Z. and I had built a strong friendship — from the baseball-themed posters and door decs, to our playing of Guitar Hero on his mini TV and wrapping him in TP for Halloween. I believed that I could talk to him about anything and really valued our friendship. At the time, I was in a committed relationship, so nothing romantic came up between the two of us.

A famous door dec.

The next year I was placed in a residence hall on a different side of campus for yr. 2008-2009 and we split. Unfortunately, so did our friendship. We would try to schedule lunch at the one and only Manzy Dining Hall or the Student Union, but we were not hanging out as much or seeing too much of each other; the friendship dissolved to the point where we were acquaintances.

By December I had been given a couple of job offers and was in the midst of trying to decide where my calling was. I had been attending church with my father a little more than usual and I remember one Sunday rather clearly. I had just received the Holy Communion and had gone back to my pew and knelt down to pray, something that I did and still do every single day, even if I’m not attending church as much as I would like. I wasn’t praying for myself or anyone in particular, rather, I was speaking with God as if he were my best friend from grade school. And I realized at that moment that leaving Arizona was going to be one of the hardest things I would ever do — leaving my friends and family and loved ones and my life at ASU, I was leaving everything I knew. And I admitted then that there were some valuable relationships (yes, plural) that I let go by the wayside, that I didn’t focus on as much as I would have liked, and that I would have one more semester to correct that. And that’s what I did.

One relationship being my friendship with Z. I had let a 10 minute walk weaken our friendship, and that was unacceptable. Z. and I started hanging out more often and he sat me down one night and explicitly told me that all he ever wanted for me was happiness. There was no romanticism, no motives — just pure care for an individual.

And from there, the relationship became more than just a friendship. Next came first date, first kiss, graduation, etc. etc; all the goofy, newness of relationships took hold and never let go. He left shortly after this to go back to Virginia for the summer of 2009, and I couldn’t let that be the last time I saw him before I packed two cars and moved to California (yes, I only took two cars worth of crap to CA). I planned a week-long trip to Virginia to see him and meet his mother and then headed right back, only to turn around 2 or 3 days later and move. I wanted to move on my own and prove to myself that I could survive here all by my lonesome, and I did just that. Luckily, Z. was able to plan a few trips to CA during the summer and he was graduating in December. We made it extremely clear to each other that there should be no stress and expectations of our long-distance relationship, for we didn’t know what the future held for us.

August 2009 – December 2009 was probably one of the hardest times for me, Z., and our relationship. The distance put us to the test, along with other personal issues, and although we struggled and sometimes thought we wouldn’t make it, we endured. I can honestly say, and Z. would agree, that those months will hopefully be the worst that we have to deal with, because they were the worst. We are so much stronger because of them, we have learned so much about one another and were forced to do it with 500 miles separating us and in only 5 months. We were forced to grow up and mature in our relationship, but it has all been worth the while. And it has all worked out beautifully.

Mid-December 2009 Z. moved out to Bakersfield to live with me, promising that though he didn’t know what he wanted to do professionally, that he would work and strive to support me and our relationship in any way possible. His kind heart and giving nature has led him to realize that his calling is to help people, in any way. And for that I admire him. Even with as young as he is and the times he’s been doubted, he has succeeded and grown and I am so honored that he has chosen to marry me.

Haha, so NOW what you all have been waiting for … the proposal. As you can probably tell, we are not a flashy couple whatsoever, so Z. knew that popping the question on the Big Screen at Dodger’s Stadium would not be my idea of the perfect proposal (no offense … but I really don’t like the Dodgers :] ).

I am recently a new mother of a Yorkie Terrier, Sergeant.

My little boy, Sergeant.

On May 14th after work, Z. had suggested that we take Sergeant to a park that he had spotted on his way to work. Of course, I didn’t think twice about it — bright, sunny day in California at a park? Nothing could be better. We loaded the car with nothing but ourselves and a leash and went and just walked around. I laid in the grass with the puppy, constantly grabbing twigs and clumps of dirt out of his mouth. I stood up and Z. came over and wrapped his arms around me rather tightly, and I just stood there and soaked in the moment, quickly realizing how heavily he was breathing. I asked, and I quote: “Why are you breathing like a creeper?”. The laughter quickly consumed the both of us, and he shakily reached into his pocket, pulling out something wrapped in a small piece of cloth, and got down on one knee (yes, don’t worry … I haven’t let go of the leash). And Z. asked:

I was actually kinda wondering if you might be into the idea of marrying me?“, showing me the most simple and perfect engagement ring — the ring that I’ve always wanted — solely symbolizing how unique and simple and clean and perfect our relationship is and always will be: a solitaire round-cut diamond perched on a white gold band.

I always thought that I’d bawl hysterically when proposed to, but a sense of calmness and comfort overwhelmed me. I didn’t hear the puppy, the cars driving by on the highway, nothing. There was a man sitting on a picnic table reading a book who didn’t look up, wasn’t disturbed, and that was it. I said of course and hugged him ever so tightly, not even the slightest bit worried about fitting the ring on my tiny finger (ring size of 4.25, and my infatuation with how sparkly the ring is started once we were in the car). It was all about me and Z. in that moment, committing our lives in front of no one but the Lord, to each other for, ever.

My most perfect ring.

Through all the hustle and bustle of 1 1/2 weeks of wedding planning, I have reminded myself and Z. that this is about us, celebrating our relationship and what is to come. And although I am going nuts and blogging every day and already collecting decorations, there is a sense of true love at home and a sense of sanity in the fact that ultimately, if all my DIY projects don’t pull through and it rains and we are outside and the bridesmaids look like jelly beans and all that turns out are gorgeous photographs (oh, you just wait for that post), then that celebration with our family and closest friends has been a success.

With that said — ahhhhh, breathe — Z. has humbled me and made me realize what really matters in a relationship, thus my lack of advertisement (esp. on Facebook because Z. has a particular vendetta against it :] ).

But here is the long-winded version, the love story, and the soon-to-be most perfectly imperfect wedding.

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Helloooooooooo Dresses.

For those of you who thought I meant the dress for ME, I’m sorry and hope you aren’t disappointed (a post with regards to the dress shopping experience will surface in the future, but no spilling the beans on dress details! Z. reads my blog!!). This post is dedicated to my ladies, who have not been named officially yet; to those ladies that will help with all my little details to make sure that the wedding goes off without a hitch; to those ladies who have been the best of friends through different stages of my life; to those ladies who I could never thank enough. And for that, here is a post to you:

I have been referred to the Dessy website by a friend, and another told me today that she bought a bridesmaid’s dress by the same designer just a few months ago. Luckily, they have a zillion different styles, as well as a couple of yellows that may match my color palette perfectly. I am thinking that I may just pick the color and allow the bridesmaids to pick their own styles, one that will flatter their own figure so they feel like a million bucks. And if they all end up picking the same style, well then I’ll have the girls all lookin’ fabulous in the same dress.

One thing is for certain: I will encourage all the girls to shoot for the same length dress, that being cocktail-length. Being that the wedding will be in the Spring, I want the girls to be comfortable and look “spring-y”, so that’s almost a definite, unless one of them persuades me.

I included a couple of the dresses on my own inspirational board, so some of them may look familiar:

Strapless with pockets.

This strapless is pretty simple, possibly allowing the bridesmaid to wear it again for either a cocktail party or on a cruise. One amazing detail: the POCKETS. I love the idea of being able to carry lip gloss or chapstick, but I think that anything too heavy may create a “pulled” look, so that is something to consider.

Scoop neck and back.

This is another look that is clean and crisp, and the scoop on both the neck and the back is stunning. The straps have obvious benefits — no pulling at the top of the dress all night.

Flower.

Now, I love this option, mainly because one can customize the outline of the flower, of which I could do a grey or a taupe. I can’t decide if the flower is too big or just right, so this is a sample that the bridesmaid would have to try on herself to see if it was flattering or if it attracted too much attention.

One shoulder.

Here is an option that is very different, and not your traditional bridesmaid dress, but I’m adoring this one. It is classy and sophisticated, yet one may think it is too formal for such an easy-going, relaxed event.

Halter top.

Another simple and clean look — and a style that could be worn again.

My one and only wish for my bridesmaids is that they are comfortable and they feel good — I don’t want them to be worrying about the way a dress fits for the duration of the ceremony and the reception. I hope that eventually, when it comes time to pick and order the dresses, the bridesmaids will have found something that they like … so if any of you out there have other websites to be looking at for bridesmaid dresses, please let me know! These are not my final decisions whatsoever … just want to start some conversation about styles and shapes and designers.

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A girl can never have too many shoes, right?

Calling ALL girls!! Especially those of you who LOVE shoes! I am most satisfied with a broken-in pair of Rainbows, so shoes are not my forte.

Now, I feel as though this is almost as important as choosing a dress. I’ve been back and forth on what type and color would be best for the venue that Z. and I choose, and if it’s outdoors, I’d hate to be sinking into the grass and hobbling around. In that case, a flat or a wedge sounds like the perfect solution, with a possibility of a cowboy boot (don’t cringe, look at how cute this is).

Yellow, Grey AND Boots?? What could be better?

However, a friend has noted that as I am from a small town and have a more “country” nature, my fiance Z. is not. It may fit the feeling of the venue, but perhaps not His character (Z. did say it was okay, for the record). If boots were to be a realistic option, I would have chosen grey for the sole purpose of carrying on the color palette, but these browns look more the part. I, of course, would be in a nice pair of mustard yellow or cream ones, of which I haven’t found a picture yet. Hehe :]

There is still the chance that a venue will make sense and will be indoors, thus allowing for heels. I’ve been referred to MyGlassSlipper’s gorgeous footwear. Here are a couple that I may be considering:

BM Raquel

I like the strap and the buckle around the back of the heel, giving me a stronger sense of security in terms of the heel slipping at all. The small flower on the front is feminine and shouldn’t take any of the focus off of the dress itself.

BM Xango

Because I am not graceful in heels, the back of this one makes me a little nervous, but I do believe that the open side of the shoe is gorgeous. The bow on the end of this heel looks slightly larger, so I’d have to try them on with the gown.

I’ve seen quite a few photos of bride’s that didn’t compromise comfort and sided with the Slipper/Ballet Shoe or a flip-flop — an ideal situation, for I am weary about a heel. I think that this look is perfectly paired with a ball gown, a dress that covers your feet; though, at a whopping 5’2″ I may drown in a huge, poofy ball gown … haha so many things to think about.

Any suggestions? More websites where I could find the perfect shoe??

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The boys can have some attention … :]

As the planning comes along, more and more questions arise. Z. asked me where my favor lies in regards to bow ties or neckties. I have no particular one that strikes me as better than the other but I can’t seem to make up my mind. I’m guilty for having concentrated on all of the “girly” details, so in all honesty I haven’t given the groomsmen any thought, yet. Oops!! Hopefully this entire post about the tie issue will buy me some forgiveness. :]

Yellow Necktie

This yellow necktie is fun, yet still more on the formal side. It looks clean and sophisticated, and I’m adoring the look. Z. has a couple of fair-skinned groomsmen that he had particularly been concerned about in regards to the yellow — will they look washed out? This option definitely keeps more of the yellow tucked away from the face. What fashionista came up with that color palette?? :]

Yellow and grey-striped bow tie.

On the fabulous board that M. created for me, she included a yellow and grey striped bow tie, which I ADORE. This would help to keep the atmosphere light and fun, which is exactly what I want. As I would be concerned with a solid yellow bow tie bringing more yellow closer to the face, this almost dilutes the yellow. This is a contender.

Without a doubt, the groomsmen will be in yellow suspenders, so I’m trying to picture which tie would look best — I think that the bow tie would almost be comical, and that’s a little too laid-back than what I’m aiming for.

Well, after this weekend Z. and I have appointments with 6 out of our 9 venue choices for Memorial Day weekend, where we will make our trek to the great state of Arizona in search for the perfect place to get married. After that I will then 100% confirm the feel and the color scheme and the style because who knows? I may show up somewhere and fall in love with a venue that strikes a different fancy, and everything may be flopped (then I’d really go nuts)! Once we return from Phoenix I will definitely let you in on all of my pictures and ideas and blog about each venue, but until then all I have to do is dream about more little details … I HAVE to keep busy. :]

If you have any blog requests, feel free to leave comments!! I have no doubt that I will eventually be out of crazy details and brilliant ideas …

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I’m Dreamin’ BIG.

Z. did not care much for the coral, as I suspected — I even tried to explain that it would add dimension and pop and that it was NOT pink, but it just didn’t click. I felt the urge to then make a grey, yellow, and peach inspiration board. Yes, even after I swore it off like a bad habit. Here is what I have come up with:

Oh, Peach.

I doubt it will still catch, but at least it gave me something to do on this fine Saturday. I think I may sneak some peach flowers into the girl’s bouquets, so we’ll see. :]

As most of you who have built these inspiration boards know, it involves patience, especially thumbing through thousands … literally thousands, of photos and clips that may just fit your board just right (I hate to admit, but I was on Project Wedding last night searching, and I literally searched through all 7000+ images, off and on probably between the hours of 6pm and 11pm). I mean, I truly flip through every picture, never jumping pages, because there is no way I would chance skipping a whirlwind of yellow with some great ideas. As you can imagine, with as much WebSurfing I have done in the last 7 days, I’ve seen probably close to 20,000 images that have all been inspirational — my Mac desktop is flooded with saved pictures, and same goes for my work laptop. I’m going to pray that the farm venue (The Farm at South Mountain) works out, because it truly lends itself the best to my ideas and theme, being low-key and focusing on the people that have traveled to celebrate my relationship with Z. With that said, I imagine that there will be a ceremony space outdoors that will need to be transformed into an intimate setting. I’ve found a handful of ideas that seem like they enclose the guests and break up the horizon, so I will share with you my thoughts and ideas. PLEASE, if you are familiar with any of these weddings or have used the same ideas yourself, SHARE SHARE SHARE! If I can’t find these pieces to purchase (at a Bride-Friendly cost 🙂 ), then I will be forced to turn it into a DIY project.

The Ultimate.

This is actually an outdoor setting that the bride’s mother built when the couple chose to have their wedding in her backyard. It was yet more inspiration to me, hence why it is my header for this blog (only cropped and slightly stretched). It is BRILLIANT, stunning … and now I am on the search for broken and trashed doors and windows to put my own twist on this. There is another photograph that I had found that will be more of what I am looking for — the couple hinged together three or four doors, accordion-style, and stood them up front to be a backdrop for the ceremony. It was creative and fun and (hopefully) cheap, so if any of you know someone who is changing out their doors either in Bakersfield, CA or the greater Phoenix or Cottonwood areas, GRAB THE DOORS! They’ll probably just want to throw them away anyway … If they still have the windows in tact, I will (or you can, if you need to release some anger) bust them out. It would be AWESOME to be able to see some of the scenery through the door. Ahhhhh, where do people take their old doors????? Below are some examples:

Perfect example.

Old doors that are perfect, too.

Any pieces of furniture that are bright yellow — I may ask to borrow or even rent. The yellow dresser that served as an altar in the picture above stands out and would be a great find.

Perfect for a table at the reception, with some hidden goodies inside.

And last, but not least … there is one piece that I will search for high and low not only because it may be comfortable for my guests after an hour of dancin’, but because it would make for some great pictures of the bridal party, as well as me and my groom.

Exceptional.

It is the glue for all of my random ideas. I may have to print this picture out and actually paste it into my soon-to-be Wedding Planning Moleskine (the trusty notepad is dwindling and may not be sturdy enough or have enough pages to last 10 months). A  couch out in the middle of a farm screams UNIQUE and FUN and free. In other words, too perfect. Keep your eyes peeled!!

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