Tag Archives: love

Etsy deserves it’s own post.

I have bragged and talked on and on about finding random things on Etsy.com and how amazing their vendors are. But SERIOUSLY, I’m dedicating an entire post to the website and each individual vendor that I have worked with on my journey to April 9th, 2011.

I was referred to this fabulous “store” by T. — turns out it is a plethora of people who want to make something special for someone else — and let me tell you what I’m buying there: invitations (well, ALL of my paper goods), a hairpiece I’ll wear to the rehearsal dinner, a necklace (for fun, but WORTHY for a story here), a suitcase, decoration for the venue (O.M.G.), and I’m sure a million more things. Literally.

So, I will start my bragging (and you can click on the names of the shops — I’ve attached the links to their pages!)… first with something not wedding-oriented.

One of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

A friend from work has a necklace that is bent wire/metal that is her name written out, completely. M. and I have been trying to find something comparable for a few months now, and I have found JUST the thing. I found a vendor on Etsy, PianoBenchDesigns, by way of a random search on the website … and I literally couldn’t be happier. This woman is the definition of amazing customer service, and she was a gem to work with! I messaged her asking if she took custom orders and I was so lucky to receive a “yes” reply. She originally made my necklace with a capital “E” and I wasn’t too keen on the way it looked. I asked her to try it with a lower case and that I would pay for the wire that she had originally used. She changed it up, I LOVED it, and she didn’t charge me extra for the wire she didn’t use!! It was sent promptly and the minute I opened it I couldn’t get over how perfect it was. I would recommend this amazing lady to ANYONE who was looking for a custom piece of jewelry …

An example, not mine.

Next: BurlapAndBlue. Now … here is another one that was excited for a custom order and loved every minute of the brainstorming! This shop was amazing as well … very helpful and never pushy. I found a couple of vintage plates in this shop that I adored, and noticed that she attaches candlesticks to the bottom and the piece functions as an antique stand for anything. I asked if she could coordinate to my wedding colors and she immediately went and bought the right colored paint. :] They’ve shipped to my father’s house so I haven’t seen them in person yet (but I have seen pictures!) — I swear it’ll be the first box I open when I’m there again.

Not ours ... but still beautiful.

Another:ModernMuseum. I literally can’t explain how much of a pain I have been when it comes to the design of the paper goods. Z. and I have picked and manipulated every aspect of these things, including RSVP cards and envelopes and address labels, and this woman is outstanding. I am NOT exaggerating … my email count back and forth with her is currently at 46 in the span of 1 month. Outrageous, especially because she hasn’t bitten my head off yet!!  But she has worked so hard to ensure that the tiniest of details match the vibe of the wedding, the color scheme we have chosen, and everything in between. We still aren’t finished, but we are damn close.

What a gorgeous color. hehe 🙂

To close out this post, one of my most favorites: funkiefinds. I can’t spoil one of my most favorite things about the entire wedding, but trust me — it’s incredible. This woman went out of her way to find “things” just for me and my order, customized them just for me, and all for what I would call an extremely reasonable price. Simply amazing to work with.

Needless to say, I’ve had more than a positive experience with all of the vendors that I have worked with on Etsy — rather than an online shopping tool, I view it as a community of people who really are doing what they love and really want to help you find the perfect item for any event. I’m sold. :]

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Wedding Planning

it’s ALL about “About Love.” today.

If you take a look at this photography company and you aren’t thinking “These are the people that MUST photograph every important moment of my life!”, then you probably don’t follow their work as closely as some. :] And once you check them out, you’ll be chanting the aforementioned line at the top of your lungs.

I am so lucky to have met one of the photographers in high school: T. has changed my life and I’m not sure even SHE understands how much she means to me as a friend, as a newly-wedded wife and role model, as a pseudo-wedding planner/best advice giver, and now (OFFICIALLY!!!!) as a my wedding photographer.

T. has become involved and enveloped in everything she has been passionate about since I’ve known her — I know she has impacted the lives of everyone she has touched, and I’m honored that we were close friends for the time that we were. There is not one person that has met T. that wishes they hadn’t — she is pure genius, full of love and ideas and never one to turn away a friend.

Looking at the photography work she has done with her sister and business partner K., I feel so lucky to have them officially be a part of our wedding day. Nothing else matters to me other than capturing the most perfect moments in the form of pictures, because that is ultimately what lasts the lifetime. I began the photography conversation with my father with this line: “Dad, I would pay any price out of my OWN pocket to have T. and her sister shoot the wedding. To me, photography is non-negotiable and something that shouldn’t be compromised. It is THE most important thing to me, hands down.” I’m not sure if at that moment he was comfortable with the situation or understood my stance on the subject, but he knew I wasn’t budging. :] And he will not regret a penny of the cost when we receive the final product.

Every shoot that I have seen via their BLOG has made me irritated that Z. and I haven’t gone to Arizona yet for our engagement shoot! :] I know, all in good time we’ll begin the capturing of our experience in photos … a media worth a million words. Check out some of my favorite photos of theirs — I’ve linked the blog entries to the pictures if you’d like to see more:

Grad. Shoot -- But could totally be an Engagement Pic.

Straight beautiful.

Recent wedding, with the same color scheme. Must have good taste. 🙂

Ad. Enough said. 🙂

I really can’t say enough good things about T. and I’m absolutely sure her sister is equally as kind and loving. If you are getting married, or want a fun collection of photographs with a best friend or pictures of your newborn,  there is no one else I would recommend for photography. The proof is right before your eyes — About Love is the epitome of pure artistry.

Leave a comment

Filed under Wedding Planning

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. :]

2 Comments

Filed under Wedding Planning

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). ;]

2 Comments

Filed under Wedding Planning

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.

3 Comments

Filed under Wedding Planning

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!! ❤

1 Comment

Filed under Wedding Planning

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.

9 Comments

Filed under Wedding Planning