Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wedding Dreams, Part II

Remember those checklists I mentioned in my last post?  Well, I'm happy to say that we've managed to check off two major items in the last week!

Photographic Dreams

First, and most important to me, was to secure an excellent photographer at an excellent price.  Some photographers were quite expensive in my mind; others didn't offer exactly what I was looking for; and some are very stingy with the pictures they would be taking of "us" at "our" wedding, meaning they won't give us "rights" or even digital copies of pictures of us without first taking a limb.
This decision was a bit challenging because, between the two of us, Matthew and I know probably a dozen very talented photographers.  Matthew's good friend David took some pics of us for our Save the Date cards, and I debated using someone we know for our wedding.  In the end, we found an awesome photographer that my cousin recommended to us, and I'm thrilled to have this woman shoot our wedding!  Our first conversation lasted nearly an hour and we clicked right away.  I enjoyed "talking shop" with her about her equipment, style, etc...even details like in which format she shoots her pictures (I'm very happy to say that she shoots in RAW :) ).  If you'd like to see her work, you can see some of it here.  We will receive digital copies of every photo, including printing rights, and I thought she was quite reasonably priced! Yay!  After we confirmed her,  I was bouncing off the walls, having difficulty focusing on anything else. :)  Her work is amazing, and I'm really looking forward to working with her.

I'm dreaming of a Yummy Reception Dinner

Next on the list was booking the caterer, which we did the very next day!  I received referrals from two recent bride friends for the same caterer they used for their weddings, which were held at the same venue we're having our reception, and both of these women raved about two things: the company works hard to stay within your budget and they can do EVERYTHING (meaning: food, decorations, linens, china, silverware, glasses, bar, and CAKE!)  I've since found out these guys have been around for YEARS and have an excellent reputation in town....Ranch Catering.
After a couple of conversations with Ramon, we scheduled a complimentary tasting for Saturday afternoon, and he said "Come hungry."  We invited our good friends Bob & Betty to come enjoy some free food with us, and by the end of the almost two hours, we settled on a price and paid the deposit.  The food was super yummy from the appetizers to the cake (especially the cake!!), and we are very pleased with the price. 
Here are a couple of pics I took at the tasting:

First salad we tried. I think this one was the winner!

Grand Finale: The CAKE!

Grand Finale: The CAKE!
Can you tell we liked the cake?  We really had a hard time choosing between all of the delicious flavors!  The big winner was the Chocolate Truffle, then either the raspberry or strawberry, and (of course) the Red Velvet.  Mmmmmmmm!  They're even going to make a "Groom's Cake," which I'd never heard of...but when Ramon said "It's for the groom and you can put whatever logo you want on it..." Matthew replied, "Logo?! Well, that's easy!" If you know Matthew, you can probably guess which logo he chose ;)

Feeling quite relieved (to check another box!) and satiated, the four of us headed down to Petco Park to watch the Padres beat the Diamondbacks...and there was even a cool fireworks show after the game!

Check out our awesome seats - third base line, field level!
Courtesy of Bob & Betty (and their friends who gave them the tix)
Next on the vendor list:  Videographer, and hair and makeup for Laticia :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wedding Dreams, Part I

This week, Matthew & I will have been engaged for two months, and it's been a fun ride so far :) 
Here's my take on our first 60 days:

We're Engaged!!

I never knew getting engaged could be so fun and fill up our social calendars so quickly!  We've already received some great gifts from friends and family, and my personal favorite was being treated to English High Tea at Keys Creek Lavender Farm by our friends Margaret and Peter.  The guys were troopers while us girls oohed and aahed at all the pretty lavender stuff; although they were up to their eyeballs in "cute" and tolerated us as much as they possibly could without vomitting, if either of them go the rest of their lives without seeing another "cute" thing, they most certainly will not complain!

L-R: Margaret, Me, Matthew & Peter at "High Tea"

Our yummy dessert tray :)

We also received some lovely flowers from my future in-laws, Frank & Mea:

Let the wedding planning commence...

As promised, I refrained from planning for at least the first two weeks.  Admittedly, I was chomping at the bit, although it was also kinda nice to just enjoy being engaged...and I spent quite a bit of that time enjoying the new sparkly BLING on my left hand and sending pictures of it to Matthew as I sat outside in the sunlight at lunchtime :)  Okay, so I still kinda do that (hee hee).  Many times, if I'm in a yucky mood, Matthew will actually say "Look at your left hand," and instantly it will make me smile (of course, it's not all about the's truly about what the bling represents!).

Perhaps unlike most women, while I certainly daydreamed as a little girl about getting married one day to my Prince Charming in my best Cinderella dress, I never really spent time "planning" my wedding years before I'd even met said Prince.  Fortunately/unfortunately, I didn't have a 12-inch thick binder like Monica from Friends.  Therefore, when I finally did start to think about it, I didn't really know where to begin!  And I continue to be surprised daily by some other element of detail that needs to be decided upon.

Books, Binders, and Pinterest

If you know me well, you may know that I like to study up on things before just diving right in.  So, I went straight to Amazon and bought three books about wedding planning (ALL of which are useful, by the way).  On a trip to Vons that same week, we picked up a couple of bridal mags from the magazine rack.

Since then, I've downloaded countless "checklists" from various websites, bookmarked a few dozen web pages, shopped at Staples to assemble my "wedding planning" binder (with enough sticky notes to cover the planet! (Thank you to my wonderful fiance for picking up the binder tab!)), and pinned nearly 250 "things" on Pinterest! 

Pinterest CAN serve a useful purpose

A word about Pinterest:  I'd always avoided it because of it's notoriety for being addictive, and I joined recently entirely for wedding inspiration.  So far, this focused approach has already paid off:  On Memorial Day Monday, I found my wedding gown!  Because I'd been browsing Pinterest boards and other websites, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted when my MOH Heather and my good "mom" friend Betty walked into Alfred Angelo that day. Plus, I had an awesome, I mean AWESOME, bridal consultant! 

I said "Yes" to the Dress...even though I've never seen the show!

Having never stepped ten feet NEAR a bridal store, much less walked inside one, I feared this was but one of many bridal stores we'd visit on this "Hunt for the Perfect Gown."  I was very pleasantly surprised to find my gown at my FIRST appointment, and it was only the fourth gown I tried on!  I played Princess in about 8 or 9 gowns that day, but this particular one was definitely "the one."  And talk about a FUN day!  I cannot believe how much fun we had!  As I told the girls, the only thing missing was champagne and strawberries.  And I was a little disappointed to realize that my gown "playtime" was over, cuz it was just so much fun trying on all those pretty gowns!  However, it was pretty awesome to be able to check off an item on my checklists! :)  Bonus: I also found my accessories and decided on a great bridesmaid dress for the bridal party.

The "Fair"est of them all...

The weekend prior to finding my gown, Heather and I attended a boutique bridal fair.  The fair was at a local hotel, so it was pretty small and actually quite manageable. I have no interest in attending a large affair at the convention center downtown, so this was perfect!  After walking around for a little while, Heather and I sat in the hotel lobby chatting for over an hour before giving it one more quick walk through.  Oddly enough, I suppose thanks to the books, mags and Pinterest, Heather pointed out that I already seem to have a pretty good idea of what I want.  Overall, the fair was fun, especially the cake tasting!,  and I'm glad we went...and Matthew was SO grateful that I didn't drag him along! 

Check, Check, and Checks!

The planning ball has officially begun rolling, and the checks have begun flying out of my checkbook as well!  We've set our date, confirmed our venue, written a couple of "deposit" checks, begun our marriage prep, and just last night we took photos for our Save the Date cards. 

I'm having a lot more fun with the planning than I anticipated, yet between all of the wedding stuff clogging my brain, I have been making an effort to take time to stop and simply enjoy this exciting time being engaged to my Prince Charming.  I'm sure these next few months are going to fly by, and while I'm looking forward to the day we say our "I do's" and commit ourselves before God and our closest family and friends, I want us to cherish this Prelude and create lasting memories along the way.  Thank you to all of you who have congratulated, encouraged and supported us so far! (Especially if you've read this entire post LOL)