Monthly Archives: June 2010

Update: Wedding!!

Since it has been a while since I have posted about anything, I thought a little update for those of you who are curious is in order.

Not many things have changed — the biggie was the date, announced in the last post (Official date is now April 9th, 2011). Since then, not too many big things have been happening. I, of course, have managed to save about one hundred more pictures for ideas to both the desktops of my Mac at home and my Dell at work, and as much as I would love to share them all with you, I’d like there to be some element of surprise when you walk into Bentley on that fine, Saturday evening.

Slowly, but surely, everything is coming together. I am in contact with someone on Etsy.com (OMG … if you are not a fan and do not have an account, watch out. It’s addicting) with regards to some stunning and simple wedding invitation sets, which is my next big one to tackle. I’ve requested paper samples from a few vendors and have asked my bridesmaids what they like and believe captures the vision that I am yearning for, and with everyone’s feedback — it would be like me to fall in love, I mean L.O.V.E. with one that not very many of the ladies picked out. :] But it’s my day, right??

Another biggie is photography — in the process of knocking out the kinks, but my next post (hopefully we’ll have deposits down by then) will be all about one of the most amazing women I know and how her passion will capture every little detail of my wedding day. Although we have drifted apart over the last few years, the proof is in the pudding; there is no one else that I trust with such an important day in my life. Literally. I can’t say enough good … you just wait.

Flower proposals have been discussed and we are pretty much a “go” on that, other than the deposit — just needs to be run by Papa Hayes. I have had a recommendation for cupcakes, so hopefully my next weekend in Arizona I will be able to schedule the tasting, along with two caterers that I have been talking with. DJ is still in the air (hey, if you have any suggestions or referrals, please leave contact information!!), along with makeup, hair, bridesmaid dresses, as well as the possibility of a videographer.

Another fun detail — the officiant. I have been back and forth about who I would love to perform the ceremony, particularly between the priest from my hometown church that had been with us for a couple of years before I left for college, and a GREAT friend that I have made here in Bakersfield at work that is actually ordained and has just left Dreyer’s to move and preach at his very own church. To go with the theme and the feel that I want — fun, laid-back, celebrating all the family and friends that have been such an amazing part of our lives — my heart says that my friend is the key, the icing on the cake. As my officemate, he has been hilarious, passionate, and truly a friend that cares about my well being and happiness. I mean, I was engaged for a month before he left us — so he got a month full of wedding questions thrown at him :] . I’ll be asking him for a quote tomorrow.

The details are coming together, even from 500 miles away. But more importantly, I have been astounded by the amount of help that family and friends have offered to us. I feel so blessed to have so many people that are willing to spend their time and hard-earned cash to help me with such little things that in the end, won’t really matter. But it’s the love that is being shared, and their willingness to help make this the utmost perfect day for Z and me literally brings tears to my eyes. I am so thankful for being born into my most perfectly imperfect family that is full of love and faith, my friends that have been there for me every step of the way, and as equally important = the amazing family that I will soon be marrying into. H. (Z’s brother) was the most excited to be Z’s best man, more excited than anyone else in the wedding party. Z’s mother and father have graciously offered their help with my dream of some sort of yellow furniture “alter” for the ceremony — a vintage piece that they want to restore and give to us to keep as a part of our home thereafter.

As much as I was stressed in the beginning about everything being perfect, I know that it won’t be. And that is okay. :]

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Venue is Booked. Date is set.

It is official: the deposit has been placed on Bentley Projects for April 9th, 2011. No turning back now. :]

Exterior -- Click for Website

Inside!!

I had a sense of relief when I purchased my gown, but nothing like this.  I used to sit and watch tv with Z. and say to myself “Emma, there are so many little things you could be doing right now in regards to wedding planning” and feel guilty for not committing 100% and spending time not planning the day I’ve been dreaming about for years.

I am now ready to sit and relax and enjoy this planning with no enormous deadlines looming overhead (photographer has been unofficially booked, awaiting deposit time line). I can sit during our weekly “Hell’s Kitchen” episode and tie ribbon around jars and feel as though I am working on the little details that will make it so unique and whatnot — brainstorm new and fresh ideas and love doing it.

Tuesday I had one of my bridesmaids, Ji., visit both MonOrchid and Bentley Projects for another opinion. Let me tell you — she may have been more excited than I was. :] She completely fell in love and agrees that it captures everything that I told her I want April 9th to be — and it’s exactly what I wanted to hear, and Z. is probably glad that we’ve come to a decision. The reaffirmation was overwhelming as I drove home from work and held back tears, listening to her and her vision and ideas come to life after seeing the space.

I’ve let the photographer know that the date is set, so those ideas and contracts and details are in the works — be ready for a post about one of the most amazing females that I know and her photography business with her sister. There is no one else in the world that I’d rather have photograph my wedding.

I’m stoked. Right now, I wish April 9th was tomorrow (okay, maybe not literally). ;]

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Bridesmaids, Anyone?

I am awaiting cards to formally ask my ladies to be my bridesmaids — I cannot help but to update my opinion on their dresses.

For the sake of slightly/sort of matching aspects of my dress and the groomsmen, I’ve taken a liking to grey dresses. I know, grey isn’t necessarily your typical color for a bridesmaid dress … but check out some of the pictures below.

3-Toned in the top-right corner.

I am TOTALLY digging the 3-toned dress at the top of the inspiration board. The cream at the top should compliment the skin tones of all of my bridesmaids and would lessen the stress about specific shades being too harsh. The yellow at the waist will not only emphasize the natural waists of the girls, but also tie beautifully into the yellow accents that the boys will be sporting — and the grey is beautiful. The dress is elegant and sophisticated. And a bright yellow shoe would match perfectly.

Patterns and textures.

New idea: patterns. I LOVE the pictures and the way that the wedding party almost looks like a quilt — hand-sewn and just “patched” together. The different yellows and patterns create great contrast and would compliment any shade or texture used in decoration. And there would be less stress on all the ladies finding one dress that compliments all of their body types and personal styles, although I’d still prefer to have one thing that ties everyone together so we don’t look too hodge podge-y.

All grey.

This all-grey dress is gorgeous. I’m not too sure how I feel about the seams on the chest, and I was thinking of something a little less poofy.

I’m still loving my yellow picks from Dessy.com and C.  and the troops found some of the styles at a bridal boutique that we were at last weekend, but we aren’t too sure about the shades of yellow and what fabric options are available. Any suggestions??

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DIY Projects

And the DIY projects begin.

I am going to try my best to avoid flower centerpieces at all costs – I’ve never been too into flowers anyway, and usually would request chocolate from a boyfriend. I just can’t ever seem to justify spending so much money on something that dies rather quickly. Friends have been saving baby food jars and I have been soaking the labels off and will be wrapping them in lace and ribbon and twine this weekend to see if it will be perfect for holding tealights. Hopefully it doesn’t look too cheesy … :]

I’ve bookmarked so many websites and saved so many pictures of DIY projects that I want to try and replicate, so many that I think it’s a little much. Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to have an excuse for my creativity because my Bako friends know how crazy I get (wine bottles, garden signs?!? Really?!?).

But it’s an outlet, and what better time to really make something your own. And what better time for YOU to give some input – any DIY projects that you’ve seen that are new and fresh?? I need some guidance!!

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The Purpose

As Z. and I have busted budgets and worksheets and scribbled ideas down on notebook paper, I stop to think about what this wedding truly means to me.

We have mentioned the idea of a destination wedding, foregoing all the planning and the stresses of prepping for such an important event, a day that will be mine for forever. And I have come to realize that the food and the venue and the decorations are not what matters when it comes to planning a wedding — it’s about having the people that you love around you, celebrating the joining of two lives. And maybe throwing back a few in the process.

For me, the destination wedding kind of defeats that purpose. Yes, the people that are closest to us would still be there, we’d still be celebrating such a wonderful relationship, but it may be limiting on some guests that would be invited. And that is not something that I want to be concerned with. We have kept our guest list pretty light — family and the closest of friends — but I do think that leaving the state or country would knock our guest list considerably.

We’ve ex’d out the idea of favors; we’d rather donate that money to a great cause rather than buy all of you something that would probably be eaten or tossed after sitting on a shelf and collecting dust at home … and that’s assuming it makes it out of your car the night of the wedding. I’ve been contacting some of the caterers in regards to customizing a menu and making it more “home-y”, more comfort foods that we had when we were growing up to help emphasize our laid-back, enjoyable atmosphere (no Mom, I won’t ask if they will make Pokemon Macaroni & Cheese). We want to zero in on creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable, at home, and with the people that they love — rather than a stereotypical wedding with flower centerpieces and a plated dinner where butlers are placing napkins on your lap because you haven’t taken it out from under your silverware in a timely fashion.

So, maybe I should relax a little more and know that other things are a little more important: a venue that matches your ambiance, a photographer that will promise and deliver the utmost perfect memories captured on a day that can’t be matched or re-lived, and a memory that lays in the minds of every guest that won’t be forgotten as a wedding that highlighted the true meaning of the gathering, rather than worrying about minor details that do not matter in the end.

I still like black chairs better than white.

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Venues Unveiled.

The trip to Phoenix in search of the most perfect place to get married was much simpler than expected and what the previous venue post may have had you believe. No, we actually didn’t end up seeing every venue — schedule conflicts, lack of interest, pure tiredness.

Z. and I were non-stop; I worked Thursday night from 10:45pm until 3am, and when I got home I woke Z. up and said “We’re out”. The good things about this: I had caught my second wind and could drive while he woke up, he could then drive while I slept, we would for sure miss any and all traffic in the LA area, and we were sure we’d have enough time to drop the puppy off at my daddy’s and catch a nap before our appointment at Chase Field. I ended up with two hours of sleep in the car and one hour at my dad’s, so needless to say we were pooped.

Chase Field is an amazing venue — totally unique and inspirational, you are forced to make it your own because weddings there are SO rare and it is not set up to host that type of event. A few of the suites were out of this world with fabulous views of the field that would lend to some one-and-only photographs. Biggest downside and the closer for us: the Diamondback’s schedule isn’t finalized until October/November of this year and if a game falls on the day of your event, you MUST reschedule. Mind you, that would be only 4 months before our wedding. Bummer.

One of the suites.

View from the suite.

Tempe Center for the Arts — one of the biggest disappointments. My contact said that the venue would be open at 11am on Saturday for preparation for another wedding. Z. and I walked around and tried every door for about 25 minutes and had to leave to stay on schedule for our other obligations. The outside is astounding and funky and may have lent itself well to our vision, but Pops isn’t too keen on poor service.

The back of the building that faces Tempe Town Lake.

The room for rent: Lakeside.

Arizona Grand Resort, much too formal for our vision. It is a beautiful site, but reminded me slightly of the hotel that I helped host our 2004 High School Prom in.

You can rent the green for the ceremony.

Ballroom -- excuse the blurriness.

The Farm at South Mountain — looked quite lovely online, but the layout is pretty spread out and maybe a little too casual. I’m also hesitant on an outdoor venue even though our pending dates are during a promising time of the year. I’d rather be safe than sorry on this one. [Didn’t even snap a photo here … dang, that says something.]

Phoenix Art Museum. Beautiful, but I’m afraid the ballroom is a little too big for the number of guests that I am planning on inviting and expecting to show up. It’s definitely not as cozy as I would like, and I’m looking for more of an intimate space. If I were inviting more people, this would be a favorite … but I’m not, so it’s not.

Cool ball of lights at the entrance.

Right outside the gallery we'd rent -- supposedly I could walk down those stairs, but I think that's a little dramatic.

We canceled on Arizona Science Center and Tre Bella. AZ SC for the same reason as Phx Art Museum — I assumed their amenities would be similar and I know some friends that held their Senior Proms there. Tre Bella — it’s in Mesa, and we think that with our guests flying into Phoenix for the wedding, that it would be the easiest and most convenient to have the wedding in a more central location that is close to the airport and near hotels.

That leaves us with the contenders: MonOrchid and Bentley Projects. Both are amazing in their own ways and both have some unique characteristics that me and Z. both love. MonOrchid has a more modern vibe which doesn’t aligned with our vision as well as Bentley does, but Bentley is more expensive … so there will be plenty of number crunching and decisions to make this week.

Bentley:

The front door.

The largest gallery.

Back side of the previous picture, original brick work.

Here is MonOrchid:

To the left -- where the ceremony would take place.

To the right of the last picture -- where the reception tables would be set up.

The choices, the choices. :]

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What We Came Away With.

Because of my lack of blogging this weekend, I’m sure most of you are ready for some report about what Z. and I left Phoenix with and without. Luckily, some large stresses have been laid to rest, so I’m venturing to say that the rest of this wedding planning will be much more pleasant for both me and my groom.

We saw most of our venues this weekend, with the exception of a couple. My camera is loaded with pictures, so as soon as I am able to download them this evening, a post revealing our favorites will be written. Until then, I will let you know that we have driven away from the Valley with two favorites that stand apart from the rest, which allows my brain to relax just a little bit.

Phoenix, Arizona -- the city I miss.

Most importantly, I left with one of the most stressful pieces all figured out — and paid for. As some of you know, I did have two dress appointments scheduled, one at I Do! I Do! Bridal in Phoenix and another at Destiny’s Bride in Scottsdale. I must criticize, especially for all of you ladies who may be in the market for a wedding gown. I Do! I Do! Bridal had some fabulous designers and some fabulous prices, but the service was only mediocre (yes, I had been referred to Destiny’s by THREE brides, but I had to have some “trial runs” before I jumped into paradise). They gave me a quick tour of the facility, attached my information sheet to a rack and told me to start pulling dresses that I wanted to try on. I had invited the troops: the sister/MOH, my mother, my father, my aunt and one of my fabulous bridesmaids, C. We waded through what seemed like thousands of dresses, and I was rather unsure about what I really wanted. I had looked at pictures and what not, but I didn’t know what would look best on my shorter stature. I asked an employee, and she actually had no advice and just told me to keep pulling.

Once I had pulled approximately 8 dresses, they tossed me into a dressing room with a curtain and told me they’d hand me a dress through the crack when I was ready. Once the dress had been stepped into, I walked out onto a pedestal and they clamped me into the dress with construction-orange industrial strength clamps — no one could really tell what the back of the dress would really look like. I walked out to present the options to my friends and family, and there wasn’t one dress that I actually said that I “loved”, nor that I think any of them liked. I left with two favorites documented, and no true intention to return.

Sunday was a day that was jam-packed — five appointments for venues; another bridesmaid (Ja.) and her husband and my Godson drove down from Cottonwood to spend the day with my family. We toured two venues, grabbed lunch, saw one more and then ended up canceling the last two; by this point in time there were still two that really stood out and were favorites for myself and Z., so there was no point exhausting our guests. Instead, I knew that Ja. really had wished she’d be able to experience looking for a dress with me, so in desperation I called a David’s Bridal in Peoria and managed to squeeze my way in. The help was much more valuable, and I truly believed that the employees wanted to help me find the dress of my dreams (and I think she also realized when I hadn’t loved one that I tried on). It was fun and I managed to narrow my ideas of what I wanted even more, preparing myself for Monday’s appointment.

Destiny's Bride -- Click for website.

I went to Destiny’s Bride yesterday with my mom, one of her friends from home, C., and my MOH. I knew the moment that I walked in, aside from the wonderful referrals, that the service there would be outstanding and more personal, which is what I was looking for after being so discouraged. I know, maybe I had been overreacting because I had only been to two other stores, but I was hoping that I would find the dress that I would buy with my family — and I’m sure that my mom wanted the exact same thing.

We started by talking with Linda about what exactly I had been looking for, but that I wasn’t even 100% sure about that and would be willing to try on anything she wanted me to. We started by pulling some dresses off of the racks and running them back and forth between the floor and the dressing rooms. I’m tellin’ you what: LINDA is the bomb. She is sweet, honest, and you can truly tell that she loves what she is doing and that she cares about each woman that walks into that store. AND she calls her dresses by name … adorable. We slipped into a more simple one with some of the details that I had mentioned, and I knew immediately that it wasn’t the dress that I would wear, but that there was no doubt that Linda would find the ONE.

Off. Gown number two was just perfect — maybe a little too busy, but it was a beautiful shape and it felt so good. We definitely marked it as a favorite. Number three was unique and what I really wanted to love, but we ended up eliminating it because even though I wanted to love it, I just didn’t; it wasn’t me. I returned to the dressing room and Linda said, “Okay. I know this isn’t exactly what you have asked for, and she doesn’t get pulled out a lot because she is a newer dress, but just try her on.”

Gown number four. I walked out and stood on the raised pedestal and she fluffed the back of the dress. I saw my mom start to well up, and that was it. I lost it. I loved it. It was nothing that I ever dreamed I’d be getting married in, but there was a presence that I felt not only within the dress, but within the way it made me feel. I was asked if I loved it, and I said yes. I was asked if I loved it more than #2, and I said I wasn’t sure. So we went back into the dressing room and put #2 back on to see them back-to-back. I returned to show my family, and we just knew that it wasn’t it. It didn’t hold a candle to #4 … AT ALL. I actually couldn’t wait to put #4 back on.

When I returned is when it got real. Linda pulled my hair up and grabbed some jewelry and what not, and it just came together. She attempted to pin the back so we could see what it would look like bustled, and every person in the room knew that that was the dress. My mom kept crying … she said “In every other store we didn’t have this moment” — she was ecstatic. Geez, I even tear up now just thinking about how happy she looked. It was emotional and exhausting, but Destiny’s Bride (particularly Linda) made the experience worth the while and I found my dress, a dress that I wouldn’t have given a second glance online or in a magazine. The entire way home was spent dreaming about my gown.

Relief … in the fact that the dress is purchased and the venues are narrowed. All there is to do now before we sign with one of the favorites is to sit down and really work out the budget to see which one, if either, would be the better pick. Both compliment our style and personal view of where we want to commit ourselves to each other, so it’s just a matter of finally making a decision.

Be excited for photos and the venue blog — I’m so excited to be back!! ❤

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