Tag Archives: Phoenix

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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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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Day 6

I have now been engaged for 6 days, and my head is already spinning from the blogs and venues and color palettes and potential DIY projects. I wish I could clone myself, solely so one of me could sit at home all day, every day, and plan this wedding as quickly as I did a friend’s a couple of years ago.

Stereotypical is my name: have been dreaming of the day that I would say “I Do” for years. I have DV-R’d the series Say Yes to the Dress even before I was engaged. I creep on Facebook profiles of people I don’t know if their profile picture is from a wedding (it takes some humility to say that). There is nothing more in the world that I want than a most perfect wedding with no flaws — but my problem is that I don’t trust anyone else with making any of my decisions, and I am indecisive myself.

So I will post some things that I have flagged and bookmarked to key you in a little on what I am thinking. My initial plan was a home-made day, nice and low-key with neutral tones on a bright, crisp spring day in the greater Phoenix area. My most favorite color in the world is mustard yellow (you should see my kitchen and my Williams-Sonoma apron), and what would compliment that more than a soft grey suit and some light khaki tones? Nothing, is hopefully your answer. Below is a picture that is a little more “done-up” than I am imagining, but it has the yellow (i’m aiming for a little darker) and grey tones.

I have many DIY-projects scribbled in my handy notepad that hasn’t left my side, but I’ll post about those in the future.

There are a few venue options that I am considering, and am trying to set appointments with for my visit next weekend. The Farm at South Mountain (http://www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com/) may have the ambiance that would most perfectly fit my vision, so I’m hoping to make a stop there next Saturday. If that doesn’t work out, there is another venue that has an extremely different vibe, MonOrchid in downtown Phoenix (http://www.monorchid.com/). It’s modern and chic, but I’m not 100% sure I could pull off DIY projects to match.

In terms of places that would be uber special for my fiance and I — it’s either Arizona State University (somewhere on campus or perhaps Tempe Beach Park or Tempe Center of the Arts) or Chase Field, the home to our beloved Diamondbacks. Unfortunately I’ve contacted them and they are not giving tours on Memorial Day weekend :(. But it is where Z.’s heart lies, until we exchange “I Do’s”. 😉 And it is also the site of our first date …

So as you may conclude, hours and hours of my future will be dedicated to one event that may last 6 (?!?!!?!?!??). Which venue do you like the best?


Any suggestions to spice up the color scheme??

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