Tuesday, March 6, 2012

day-of coordination!

i think i have a day-of coordinator lined up.  she is AWESOME, but a bit new to the industry, and thus appropriately cheap - $600.  that $600 includes unlimited calls/questions leading up to the wedding, as well as everything day-of i'll need - and the rehearsal the night before.

i haven't totally decided/signed anything, but we connected really well and (i think?) $600 is a great price.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

another venue lead

box eight.

looks awesome, right?  it's a bit pricey though - according to their wedding packet, $3500 for a saturday plus some extras including $300 for security (for 100 people), and unlisted 'extra' for parking lot rental.

it's outside my budget, but i think it's likely negotiable.  at least worth a visit?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

barn weddings

i just. don't. get. the barn wedding thing.  i don't mean to single out this lovely couple, but it was their photos that finally made me write this post.

- inexpensive
- nature
- cute rustic details

- dirty
- smelly
- bugs
you're getting married in a god damn barn


Sunday, February 26, 2012

more venue madness!

yesterday we checked out the armory center for the arts.  it had some really neat features, like a big engraved 'CALIFORNIA NATIONAL GUARD' above the door, high ceilings, and a weird little 'bunker'-style thing in the floor under glass near the entryway, complete with a robot drinking a bunch of beer, and cool old typewriters and other mechanical things.  i didn't get a good photo of that (too much glare) but here are some of the outside as well as the studio space that we would rent:

it's located in the middle of pasadena, just a couple blocks from colorado blvd, which is lovely.  across the street there's a park that MIGHT work as a ceremony place, but i wasn't able to walk around it and see.  it's also quite close to pasdadena city hall, which is GORGEOUS.  so gorgeous, i wouldn't mind a ceremony in their parking lot...a quick, standing-only, unauthorized wedding.  then we would escape...to the armory.  how cool does that sound.

the price is right - rental of the studio is only $200/hr.  plus some extra stuff, as always, but still - not pricey.

i'm also still totally in love with the idea of armory-themed things - save the dates, invitations, menus, etc.  that would be soooo cool.

now, on to some problems with it.  first, there's no reserved parking.  there's a public structure nearly adjacent to it, but it was full when we visited on saturday afternoon, so i'm not sure if it would be helpful.

second, the galleries themselves would be closed unless we pay to keep them open, at various rates.  i wouldn't necessarily need them open i suppose - actually this brings me to my next downside:

the art that was featured was TRULY terrible.  case in point: a 3d exhibit, of a bunch of ducks in military uniforms, with breasts for eyes, which shoot colored paint at each other through little metal penises.  the coup de grĂ¢ce?  one duck, shooting paint INSIDE another duck, from behind.  yeesh. 'the absurdity of combat' indeed.

but, if i want a gallery wedding, awful art is kind of a given - galleries with really nice art are probably outside my budget, tbh.  plus i need to reserve so far in advance, i won't know what art will be on display.

finally, the studio looks...unfinished.  that's something i can talk to the events lady about, though, to see how well we could make it reception-appropriate.

WHEW that was a lot.  i really like the armory theme, but i like the eagle rock a bit more i think.  of course, these are the only 2 places i've actually seen, sooo...i have some research to do.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

art galleries as reception venues?

we're checking out the armory this weekend.  how cool would a weapons-themed wedding be?  i also emailed a bunch of galleries on gallery row downtown, but i think most will be too small.

i find it strange how long it takes people to reply to emails.  even in the general workforce (before coming back to school), i would always reply within 24 hours to EVERYTHING - even if it's just to say 'this will take me a few days.'  obviously weekends aren't included in that 24 hours.  ha.

i've noticed lots of venues - who really want my business! - are hard to get hold of.  is it so hard to get a form email with details and rates attached?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

selecting a wedding party

i had a bitch of a time picking my wedding party.  i had this feeling that i needed to pick the BEST POSSIBLE PEOPLE for the job, people i had known a long time (which is very few), people i thought were just exactly the 'right' people from my life (whatever that means).  i've since realized that that was silly and misguided.  i totally changed my attitude about it and just expanded to include a lot of the people closest to me - 6 on my side, 5 on the fiance's.  almost all of these people are my closest friends, including his side.

one person may be removed from my side eventually.  it's an uncomfortable situation.  we had sort of been drifting apart when i got engaged, but i still considered her one of my closest friends.  in the 6 intervening months, i've made serious efforts to see her and talk to her, but i haven't seen much in return, and although it's great when we see each other, i'm not sure i can rely on her to be a bm.  then again, i love her, even if we're no longer as close as i'd like, and the last thing i want to do is make her feel like shit by taking her out of the wedding party.  it's also a very...political decision.  and i hate personal politics.

the fiance recently decided to remove a groomsman because he expressed some bigoted thoughts on facebook.  i think it was the right choice.  my bm doesn't share any offensive opinions like the groomsman did.  really, she's great.  she just hasn't been a good friend to me for about the past year (we've been friends for about 3).  is that enough?  since we've never really fought or spent time apart like this before, it feels like a permanent separation.  telling her she's out would definitely be a 'permanent' move though, and a harsh one.

i've been thinking about it a lot lately.  i would love your thoughts!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


i think it's weird that people say 'wedsites.'  is 'wedding sites' really too long?

they seem like a pretty practical idea.  i've been meaning to set one up for a while, but since i don't have a venue, i don't really have a set 'style' yet.  and i think the wedding site should reflect the style of the wedding.

i found some neat templates on mywedding.com, which i found through offbeat bride.  most have links to vistaprint and minted to make your own matching invitations, save the dates, etc.  some of them are pretty cute.  i'm not sure if they'll be high quality, though.  etsy has some pretty cute invitations as well, but they tend to be more expensive.  and they aren't designed to exactly match the wedding site templates i was looking at, either.

how important are cool invitations?  and save the dates?  i was thinking of doing a cute photo postcard for the save the dates.  the fiancee and me doing something important to us, like drinking wine or high-fiving.  or posing with a sign that says 'save the date!' in front of our (yet undecided) venue.  wouldn't that be cute?  and informative.

back to the topic at hand.  what kind of stuff goes on wedding sites?  i've only seen one (i know, right?!  INVITE ME TO SOCAL WEDDINGS PLEASE), and it had a really cute 'our story' section.  it didn't seem cheesy or out of place at all, but do others find that kind of thing...too much?  we don't have any engagement photos to share.  i was thinking of getting them once we find a photographer for the wedding.  which i haven't made any progress toward doing.  le sigh!

is there even a point to setting up such a site until we have more information, like ceremony/reception sites, a set date (lol), etc?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

cheap (knockoff?) dresses

how do you feel about sites like madeinchina.com?  they make extremely, EXTREMELY cheap dresses.  for example:


this thing is beautiful, obviously.  although i don't recognize the dress, the photos look professional, which makes me think they weren't done by this seller.  what are the odds they're just replicating this design, which they found elsewhere?  the chinese are REALLY good at knockoffs.

there's some line in fashion between finding inspiration and stealing.  it's not 'stealing' to make a one-strap, knotted, ruched dress with sweet buttons down the back after seeing this one.  but, is it stealing to try to make EXACTLY the same dress?  i don't mean legally.  there are some fashion laws, but they're hard to interpret and enforce.  the true question is whether it's morally ok, not legally ok.  if you don't often think about that distinction, you should!

consumers are sort of stuck in the middle of it.  we're faced with a serious choice - drop a couple grand on a dress, or spend $150 or less on one of these (and another couple hundred in alterations most likely).  a cheap one won't be as high quality, and may not last long.  but it really only needs to last one night.

what do you think?

Monday, February 13, 2012

colLAboration contest!

local brides, if you haven't been to a colLAboration event, you're missing out.  there's a ton of awesome beer, a great atmosphere and some really cool people.

i was excited to see this on broke-ass bride today: {Win This} Listen Up, L.A. Beer Lovers! Win A Ticket To ColLAboration’s “Winterfest” & FREE BEER

everyone should enter, and even if you don't win, GO TO COLLABORATION!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

debt, and appreciation

have you ever seen the episode of how i met your mother in which lily reveals that she has thousands of dollars in credit card debt?  i saw it recently and it really got me thinking, about the things i'm really grateful for that aren't as obvious as 'he always knows what to say when i'm sad' and 'he always does the dishes.'

i grew up without a lot of money, but because my mom's credit was so bad, she never used credit cards (funny story: she used to make up random social security numbers to put on apartment applications and hope they just came up unassigned).  i got my first credit card when i turned 18, and i've used credit responsibly ever since (i'm 25 now).  i'm not exactly sure where i learned money management - certainly not at home.  i remember reading articles about how to save and what was good/bad for credit.  who knows why such things intensely interested me back then, but i'm certainly thankful now.

but, not everyone stayed up late reading personal finance blogs when they were teenagers (i swear i did fun stuff too).  i know SO many people that have struggled with debt already.  so i know how fortunate i am that my fiance is also debt-free.

we already combined our finances (after all, we split nearly all expenses anyway).  i remember right when we were doing so, he owed me about $60 for...something or other.  that was my only objection to combining.  'but...that $60...?'  ha.  now i don't think of cash as mine or his.  it's really helped me cut down on spending, since i think 'do WE really need this?' instead of 'do I really need this?'

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

diy wedding hair??

this post over at broke-ass bride left me mouth-agape.  it's possible to do your OWN hair like that?

it led me to youtube 'diy wedding hair,' and boy have i chanced upon a treasure trove.  check out this one (ignore the makeup part in the middle, which isn't my style at all):

isn't that amazing?  she goes so fast!  and makes it look so easy!  i had assumed that i'd pay someone or have a talented friend do my hair, since most days i don't even comb it (i swear i don't look like a hobo, it just kinda...goes somewhere ok).

the style in this particular video doesn't really mesh with mine.  which is part of the problem.  i checked around youtube for a while and didn't find one that really spoke to me.  my hair will be relatively short by wedding standards, about shoulder length.  which sadly means no cascading curls.

so how do i find youtube videos that could actually work for me?!

Monday, February 6, 2012


sometimes wedding planning is just too much to add to an already long day.

progress can be slow.

how do people do it?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

insane dress at snippit & ink

wowee wow wow.  can you believe the dress on this bombshell?

Temperley London: http://www.temperleylondon.com/

featured as part of a lovely wedding at  http://www.snippetandink.com/photo-features/real-weddings/diy-portland-garden-wedding/.

i love how i feel like i know something about her personality just from seeing it.  that's definitely what i want others think when they see my dress.

why do i have so many dress posts when there are so many other things to do?!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

which 'dress style' fits you?

i saw this over at martha stewart weddings: wedding dresses by style

the linked one is 'glamorous.'  i think that is closest to the style i'm seeking.  classic is good too.  i mostly love the buttons going all the way down, SO GOOD.

what's yours?

Friday, February 3, 2012

how essential are pro flowers?

my #1 goal for my wedding is to have fun.  so i'm torn on day-of or day-before tasks that could detract from that.

professional flowers are just absurdly expensive.  can i really justify spending more on flowers than on renting the entire venue?!  this place:  http://www.bloomsbythebox.com/ seems really neat.  order your flowers, they arrive that day (or the day before), put together your own bouquet and centerpieces and BAM.  you just saved like a grand.  maybe.  i have no idea how much it would save actually.

i know my bms would be happy to help with that stuff.  but i'd have to make sure we had the same ideas on how they should look.  and, i want THEM to have lots of stress-free fun at my wedding too.

a lot of weddings have a cool diy/natural vibe with lots of little 'off' details that all just sort of work, so that 'imperfect' flowers look just right.  but that isn't the look i'm going for with my wedding.  i'm definitely going for more of an 'elegant' look...with some quirky details.

would arrangements we put together be passable?  or is it necessary to get a pro to do them?  

more venue madness

a wonderful girl from my toastmasters club (gotta promote toasties!) gave me her venue spreadsheet!  it had a lot of the venues i'd checked out, plus some cool new ones that i plan to look into now.  and a bunch of gorgeous ones that are like $8000 and up.

there are a TON of lovely places which are affordable that come with their own catering.  it's making me reconsider the byo requirement.  but the only way to know if their food is good enough/creative enough is to try it, and i just don't have time or cash to try that many places!

i'm looking at this place now:  http://www.northranchcenter.com/index.htm.  it has some nice photos, but looks kinda...ehhh.  it doesn't help that their website is straight out of 1997.

in the next few weeks i'm doing some more traveling (:D / D:), which means no site visits.  hopefully the last weekend in feb i can see at least 2 more places.

Friday, January 27, 2012

eagle rock update

we did a site visit at the center for the arts (http://www.centerartseaglerock.org/index.php/rental).  it was smaller than i expected based on the photos, and the price is actually $1500 (not $1250 per the website), plus $100 cleaning fee and mandatory $15/hr to have someone from the site there.  still totally cheaper than anywhere else i've found and liked.  it includes some ugly chairs i wouldn't likely use, and nothing else (no tables etc).

it's really quite lovely.  i don't know if i should try to negotiate down.  i guess there's no harm in trying, especially since their website says $1250 and the wedding is in jan.

right now, this is still my top choice.  the problem now is that i'm unmotivated to find more places.  but i want to make a list and some appointments for next weekend.

lace overload

did you see this post over at broke-ass bride? http://www.thebrokeassbride.com/2011/12/cant-afford-itget-over-it-lace-overload/

i had already seen a few of these, but WOWZA, this one really caught my eye:
Tadashi Shoji Lace & Chiffon Gown: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/tadashi-shoji-lace-chiffon-gown/3105854
$548?!  ok!  there's only one size left right now though.  and i'm nowhere near ready to buy a dress.  gah.  when should i be ready?  it takes something like 4-5 months from ordering til it's totally ready.

i firmly believe that losing a bunch of weight for your wedding is stupid.  i don't want to look like a thinner me, i like me.  that said, i've put on some weight over the last few months (a lot of traveling, which leads to a lot of eating and drinking and not a lot of exercising), which i expect to come off in the coming months now that i'm back to a healthier lifestyle (:D).  so i feel like buying a dress now would be extra silly.

Friday, January 20, 2012

the worst of lhuillier 2012

not all that glitters in the spring and fall collections is gold.  obviously, these are my own (humble) opinions.

"Flutter" Spring 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/
i really don't know what's up with the 'petal' theme i've been seeing everywhere.  this dress is not doing the model any favors, either - the sash makes her look weird and puffy.

  "Amber" Spring 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/  
this is a horrible 80s prom dress gone awry.  and 'awry' for an 80s prom dress is REALLY bad.

  "Rosie" Spring 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/  
is wrinkly cool?  i really hope not.  it could be a good selling point - 'save stress on your wedding day by sleeping in this dress the night before!'

  "Moment" Spring 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/ 
i know full, busy skirts are big right now.  i often think they look silly.  did someone give a small child a pair of shears and tell them to make 'art' with the bottom of this skirt?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

the best of lhuillier 2012

i love love love monique lhuillier.  she is mostly outside my dress budget, of course, but i can't help ogling:

  "Lina" Spring 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/
i love this dress.  especially the back.  this is a sheath, right?  i love sheaths but i'm a bit too curvy for them.

  "Candy" Spring 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/ 
i'm digging the blush trend right now.  i even tried on a dress that was slightly blue!  it was...not flattering.  but so cool.  maybe not as cool as this beauty though.

  "Peony" Spring 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/  
such gorgeous modern lines.  i like the low profile.  when i see women in wedding dresses, i like to imagine them standing next to their grooms.  this couple would be very sleek.

  "Sahara" Spring 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/  
who ISN'T in love with that lace?

  "Monroe" Fall 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/ 
sexy and sophisticated.  my kind of gal.

    "Mila" Fall 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/  
digging the open leg slit.  this dress is beautiful like another milla we know...

    "Emma" Fall 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/  
i'd want something covering the shoulders a bit (why does everyone like strapless so much??).

    "Sentimental" Fall 2012: http://moniquelhuillier.com/ 
actually, this one is so lovely i think i like it without straps.  check out that lace overlay, yeahhh!

looking through the entire 2012 collection made me realize that i 'love love love' SOME lhuillier.  there's also a lot that i hate hate hate.  next post: the worst of lhuillier 2012.

happy anniversary!

my anniversary with the fiancee is in just a few days.  our wedding date will be pretty close to our dating anniversary.  but i kinda want to celebrate both, even after we're married.

is that crazy?  or awesome?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

thinking about food

i love food.  i know, who doesn't.  i sometimes think i love it more than other people.  i once took a supertaster test.  i failed it.  so i guess i don't love it more than other people.

a huge portion of our budget is going to food and alcohol.  the fiancee and i love weird food.  food from all over the world!  weird vegetables i've never heard of!  weird animal parts!  one of our favorite LA restaurants is animal.  there, we've tried brains, sweetbreads, ears, tails...a lot of stuff.  naturally, there was a lot of foie gras as well.

the fiancee contacted them to find out about catering - they wanted $100 a head (!) and the menu wasn't even very impressive.  we were pretty disappointed.

now we need to make a list of other places to contact!  i'm excited about that.  i don't really know how tastings work.  will caterers provide tastings for free if we haven't been to their restaurant?  what if we have?

right now i'm going craaazy with the food i want to have.  ethiopian!  indian!  korean!  french!  modern californian!  ALL OF THE ABOVE.  yes.  i'm thinking small plates on every table.  this will work if we do round tables i think, though the centerpieces may get in the way?  on long tables it might be too hard to reach everything.  hmmmm.

i'm not sure about how healthy the food should be.  i loveeee vegetables, and meat, and fresh veggies + protein + fat is basically my diet and the diet i think is healthiest.  it's not hard to think of amaaazing foods that are healthy.

at the same timeeeee there are lots of unhealthy things i love love love.  like gougeres!  and potatoes!  and perfectly soft and crusty bread!  so at my wedding shouldn't i have those things?  plus other people seem to like the starchy stuff a lot.  i think with small plates it would be easier to have a healthy menu.  plated dinners feel 'incomplete' to most people without a starch element.

i don't know where to start!


ooo.  yes:

Watters Lasara:  http://watters.com/Product/WattersBrides/6079B/
imagine it with little sleeves added on.  actually, a lot of this collection is fantastic.

i love grecian styles like this one from pronovias, but they don't work for my short frame at all:
Pronovias:  http://www.pronovias.us/

this is also flowy but more in my style.  i would do it long though, and with a sash or beaded belt:
Saja HB6722:  http://sajawedding.com/collection_permanent.html
soooo many choices.  saja is relatively cheap which is lovely.  my dress budget: $1000.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

finding a venue

i made a spreadsheet to keep track of venues, but i haven't really updated it.  it's been hard finding venues, because we have 2 solid requirements:
1. allows outside catering
2. allows outside booze
and one strongish preference:
1. indoors (since it'll be in Jan)
and one budget:
1. $2000

these 3 things have combined to make finding a venue in southern california nearly impossible.  i have some good leads right now though.

my frontrunner: http://www.centerartseaglerock.org/index.php/rental
i love it because it's beautiful, cheap, fits our 2 requirements, and goes until 1am instead of midnight like a lot of other venues i've checked out.  they aren't super responsive to email.  i left a message for the events guy on friday but he hasn't called me back.  i want to do a site visit asap!

i also just found this site, which has some great cheap options, especially art galleries: http://www.nomattertheoccasion.com/venues/
but i sent them and email and haven't gotten a response.

some others i've been investigating:
looks cute but it's a bit pricey ($3500).  i think they will negotiate though since it's off-season.
also pricey at $4000.  but it looks awesome.
just a bit over budget at $2400.  but it's outdoors and the event must end by 10pm.  plus it's in santa barbara, which is a bit far for me.
- a friend's family mansion
the photos are lovely.  it would also have to be outdoors, but they've done weddings there and it's got beautiful views.

i haven't done any site visits yet.  that makes me anxious.  once i have the venue i think the rest will be easier to start on.

getting started

i have a lot to do.

i got engaged this july, and i haven't done any wedding planning. oops. the (tentative) date is nearly exactly one year from today.

you know what that means. it's time. it's time to plan this wedding.

step 1a: find a venue.