Mike and I met back in the summer of 2003 at the gym. I saw him a few weeks earlier and mentioned to my personal trainer at the time that I thought he was pretty cute with the exception of his socks (he was in full work out gear but had on socks that belonged in loafers, not in gym shoes.) We had a good laugh but then went on with our workout. A few weeks later I was back at the gym working out with the free weights and Mike was working out behind me. I must have had a scowl on my face because he totally called me out and asked "Are you always that serious?" That little comment led to a nice conversation and exchange of numbers. He called me that very night and asked if I would like to get together for the 4th of July, which was the next night. I let him know that I already had plans (to go out on a date with someone else- but he didn't need to know that) so we made plans for the following week. We even had a big laugh when we were sitting down at the outdoor concert because I totally checked out his feet to make sure he was wearing appropriate socks for the occasion. It has been an amazing 7 years since then filled with love and a lot of hard work and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with him.
Mike and I had been dating for almost 7 years when he finally asked me to marry him. I will admit that I knew it would be coming soon and I had also already seen the ring on one occassion 8 months before he asked (it was a family friend's ring that he wanted to make sure I loved before buying). We had been planning a vacation for about 6 months to go to my family reunion in NY and his family reunion in MD (we are both from FL). It was a 10 day long road trip that would take us through 9 states with various stops along the way. I had assumed that it would happen on either our hiking day at the Shenandoah National Forrest or at one of the reunions. I was completely surprised when he asked me at 5am in the driveway right before we hit the road. We had just finished packing up the car and gave each other a long hug and kiss to start our journey when he got a huge smile on his face and asked me "Will you... go on an adventure with me?" At first I thought it was a joke and said "Of course." Then he was a little more serious and asked it again. At this point I was thinking maybe he was pulling my chain and would keep asking me "Will you..." type questions without the important part at the end but he immediately got on bended knee and then said "I know I should have done this years ago, and I am sorry that it has taken me this long to do this, but will you marry me?" We were both crying at this point and I said "Yes" and then we hugged and giggled like little school children. The 15-hour car ride that followed felt like seconds because we were both so happy and excited. I stared at my ring all day long the first day and I swear that my cheeks still hurt from smiling so much.
There are some things I'd like to keep a little more private. I'm more than happy to add you to my friends list but I do prefer that you have a bio and are active on the boards. :)
It is the most beautiful ring I could have ever dreamed of wearing. It is a true antique and probabaly around 100 years old according to the jewler. My FI bought it from a family friend who did not have any children of his own but always thought of my FI as a son- it is very special to us as the family friend ended up passing away a week after Mike proposed. The center stone is an Old European cut diamond and there are 4 french-cut diamonds flanking the sides of the band.
Here it is on me:
The theme of my wedding can be summed up in 2 words: timeless elegance. I want our wedding to be something that we can look back and still love years down the line, so I am trying my best not to get too trendy. I know that it will not be entirely possible but I am still hoping to get it generally that way. So pardon me if my dress, decor, flowers, cake, etc isn't the coolest, hippest, newest thing on the block, but it's just not me. And don't mistake my timelessness as being traditional either, because I fully intend on making it unique to us. Although I do love and appreciate every-body's tastes for what their dreams are, these are mine and I LOVE everything that my FI and I have done. :)
I was trying to figure out a cute way to ask my bridesmaids if they would be in my wedding and I came across a post by BlairBear. She had an adorable tea party at her home and I thought it would so wonderful to do that for my friends. So to keep it a surprise, I sent out invitations to my "Birthday Tea Party." I had 2 friends come in from out of town (one even flew in- I have AWESOME friends) and a couple who were local. One was not able to make it due to a work trip but I will make sure to do something special for her once she returns.
We all met at the tea house at 11:30. I came a little early with one of my friends who was staying the night with me and put the little bags and envelopes at their place settings. Each of them got nail polish and a small box of Godiva chocolates with a "Will you be my bridesmaid" card that I got from zazzle. Here is what it all was:
and with this from zazzle: http://www.zazzle.com/will_you_be_my_bridesmaid_card-137182130779447318
Here is what the table looked like with all of the packages, etc:
Once everyone arrived, we ordered champagne and I finally spilled the beans and let them know that this was actually a party in honor of them asking if they will give me the pleasure of being my bridesmaids. They were so surprised and excited. The best part is that they all knew each other (most of us went to high school together) so we had a lot of great catching up to do.
Here is a group of the lovely bridesmaids (minus 2). I'm the second one from the right wearing teal:
And here is our yummy grub:
I feel so blessed to be able to do this for my friends. I love them so much and I know that they will be there for me throughout the next year!
So before I even got engaged I came up with an idea that I think is brilliant. My married last name will be Couch, so I thought it would be so much fun to skip the traditional bride & groom on the top of the cake and instead put a beautiful white Victorian style couch to symbolize me and then an ultra modern black leather couch to symbolize Mike.
These are my inspiration pieces, but it is getting harder to find exactly what I want:
I've bought a couple of things of e-bay, but they aren't perfect quite yet. Once I get it right, I'll make sure to post them :) So excited, and I'm trying really hard to keep this a surprise!
After one unsuccessfull attempt, I finally found the perfect one! A friend at work suggested that I finish it off by getting wooden letters to paint/place on top that say "Mr." and "Mrs." on their respective couches...that can be done in due time though, because I haven't even decided on colors yet :) I am so excited and here is the what I got :
*********UPDATE TO THE UPDATE**********
So after meeting with the baker, it was determined that both of the toppers will not actually fit on the cake. So I've scaled it down to only include 1 cake topper and put a "Mr&Mrs" sign created by Crafty Eddy on there.
So- here is the FINAL product after painting it all to match the theme :)
I've never really put that much thought into this before planning my wedding. The wedding cake was never a HUGE thing for me and I never dreamed of having something over-the-top elaborate. Now that I am actually looking at ideas, there are so many fun things out there. Although I don't want to go crazy, and want to stick with something more traditional, here are some of them that I LOVE!
If you see something that isn't marked where it was "stolen" from, I am sorry. I stalked this site for a long time before creating a profile and saved a ton of pics to my computer. If you know the owner or photog, please let me know and I will gladly credit them :)
This is by far my current favorite cake. Simple yet still classy and elegant. I would use gold piping instead of silver for my color palate:
Same cake style, only this time in round (cheaper than square):
But I just saw this one and it is super pretty too:
I think these ones are sooo elegant, but now I don't know that I love it them much as the first:
These are just FUN! I would love these, but I am still not sold on the idea... who knows though, we've got lots of time:
And these, are cute ideas as well:
OH, How will I ever choose? lol!
So I finally said yes to the cake! The baker, Cakes by Nomeda, we met with is amazing and had the most delicious cakes! She had about 15 flavors to try and was very reasonably priced and came with rave reviews from my planner and the net. Here is our final choice:
Here is my venue- Avila Golf & County Club. I could not be any happier that this place- it is AMAZING! Photos are courtesy of the website: http://www.avilagolf.com/
From the front:
The dining area:
The dancefloor/ ceremony area:
Where my FI and his men will be getting ready:
From the backside at night- in the middle is the outside area for cocktails while they are moving the chairs from the ceremony area to the tables:
I'm one of those "less is more" types. I prefer clean lines and simplicity to something that is overly done up and trendy. My dream is to look back on all of my special touches and see them as beautiful 10-20 years from now instead of something that was "so 2011." I like the look of mahogany chiavari chairs (a must for me) and the white on white of everything else with a small splash of color in the lighting and vases. I think I will be going with smaller centerpieces in lieu of the towering ones.
Right now, these are some of my favorite tablescapes:
I love the look of the long tables, and this is how I think it would look as a round (luckily I can mix and match if I want):
Now, the complete opposite of these would be this opulent table scape which i simply ADORE, but I don't know if I can afford or really do with as many people as I intend to invite. I see it as a beautiful centerpiece for a small affair, but not the larger one that I am planning:
I love the look of a white bouquet for the bride and colorful bouquets for the bridesmaids. I also think I am leaning more towards all white centerpieces as well (with beautiful blue vases).
My Bouquet loves:
Because the ladies will be in a dark purple , I would love to have them hold bold purple flowers similar to these:
And for the men, I love the look of these boutonnieres:
I cannot wait to wear all of this on my wedding day. I know Mike will love all that I have picked out and I cannot wait to show him :)
The funny thing is that everything I was initially drawn to was body hugging or full of luscious lace. So when I picked this out at a dress shopping experience, I was totally not thinking it could be the one. But boy was I wrong!!! I put on this beauty and I felt GLAMOROUS and BEAUTIFUL and my FMIL got out of her chair to get a better look and started to cry, which then made me cry! I wanted to wait a little bit before purchasing because I had to give measurements at the time of purchase and wasn't ready for that. One Dec 27th, I finally made her mine and I am going with Sottero & Midgley's "Linda." Although the model has extra crinoline to make it more into a ballgown shape, I will be wearing it in more of the A-line fit.
Here it is on the model:
And here it is on me:
I will also do a veil with a blusher. More than likely I will have the dress shop make a custom one for me as I have a gift certificate from them that I cannot use towards the purchase price of my dress.
I bought these on Etsy from seller lolasjewlery and I could not be happier. She sent them quickly and the photos do not do them any justice. They are gorgeous! ***EDIT. Although these are super beautiful, there were a little too much for the total look I was going after and way too heavy. So I bought something a little daintier but still gorgeous!
I found the most beautiful bracelet from a friend's jewelry party. One of my friends actually bought it and is letting me borrow it until my big day to use as my "something borrowed" :) Super excited! Here it is:
I found this from the classifieds section off PW from another bride who happened to be in Tampa. I was able to meet up with her and I was STUNNED by how pretty this was in person. I mean bling doesn't even start to describe how sparkly this is. I love it!!
So I have NEVER been one to look at brands, ever. I don't wear anything that has the stores logo on it, and I typically could care less. But for some reason, I have been drawn to Badgely Mischka shoes. I love the romantic styles and really really really wanted to get a pair for the wedding, I just really really really didn't want to pay the $200+ price for them. So after much searching, I finally found these beautiful shoes on Amazon for only $80 and bought them. They are very tall and very hard to walk in, but I have a whole year to figure that part out.
So without further ado, my new Rosalies:
I have come up with about a million ideas for favors. Really, about a million. I was struggling with trying to decide if I wanted something useful, something edible, something glamorous, something charitable but finally I just settled on something edible (and hopefully cost effective!)
TAGS:And these labels that I will more than likely put on the lids from etsy seller katleminvitations. They come out to around $.26 each, which includes the price for the custom design.
NEW PLAN:So my FI never really liked my original idea. As a matter of fact, he never really saw the need for favors in the first place. And I will be honest, I was kinda sneaky in this and although I had come up with this idea months ago, I totally made him think that he came up with it and "saved the day." So FI and I have finally decided to use jars of honey as our wedding favors as that is the term of endearment that we use for eachother. We have contacted a local beekeeper and he has offered to sell us jars in an upgraded 6 ox size (the small ones were too small IMO) for $3 each. My planner & I decided that since it is a larger jar, I will only get enough for 1 per couple, but just in case some people want more, I will get 100 jars. The jars will be unpersonalized from the vendor, so I can still use my favor tags, which I will just stick to the lids, and then I will make the top pretty with some sort of fabric & ribbon combo. All for right around $325 or so. YAY!!
Funny story about why and when I started looking for wedding bands. Out of the blue I called my FI to see what he was up to and he tells me, "Sorry, hun, I can't talk. I'm the in jewelry store looking at wedding bands." After I picked my jaw off the floor because 1) we never discussed looking for rings and 2) I typically have to drag him to anything that is "wedding-related.
So he calls me back once he leaves the jewelry store and I can literally hear him smiling and very excited. He proceeds to tell me that he has found "his" ring and really loves it. I ask him to describe it and he says it's really very simple, just a plain gold band with a little bit of engraving on the inside of the band. He said it was made by Tacori (and I silently swallow my tongue knowing how expensive Tacori rings are) and he then tells me that it's not that expensive, it was only $2,000, well actually only $1,900. Floored, I start to laugh a little and tell him that if it is what he really wants, then of course I will get it for him, but I would appreciate it if he could at least look at a few more stores to see if there is anything else that he might like a little better.
After several months of shopping, he finally "settled" on an 18k yellow gold Tiffany & Co ring. Here "he" is:
I don't mind spending the money on him, he after-all has spent money on me for all of my goodies. I was just surprised by his expensive taste. :)
My ring took many, many, many trips to various jewelry stores to find the perfect fit. The issue is that the antique look of the ring, combined with the fact that french-cute diamonds are no longer produced made it very difficult to make it look "right." I found several that were just OK, and then I saw this one. It was GORGEOUS. The diamonds are so very sparkly and I love it. There are 5 round diamonds and it is a full carat total weight, so it wasn't cheap, but we got an amazing deal as we purchased it right before Christmas. So without further ado, here is my beauty :)
In the antique box that the e-ring came in
Here it is all together on my hand. I still need to get the band sized, but I figured I might as well wait until we were a little closer to the wedding so I wouldn't need to do it twice :)
I had a wonderful friend offer to take engagement photos for us. She is a hobby photographer who would love to get in the business and I needed to get some photos done to send out my Save the Dates. Here is the first teaser she sent us and I can't wait to see the rest! It was so much fun!
I would say that this task was where I was the most anal. Photography to me was one of the THE most important aspects of my big day and I really wanted to make sure that I hired the right one. I researched probably 25+ photographers and interviewed 10. When I met the right person for the job, I knew then and there that she was the one. It was actually the 9th person I had met with and I as I was leaving the interview I called my FI and told him that I was pretty sure that I had just met "the one" (well, the one photographer whose photos I loved best and whose price only slightly put me over budget.)
Tina Sargeant of Tina Sargeant Photography will be doing both my engagement shoot and wedding photos. Here is a link to her website: http://www.sargeantstudios.com/
A few of my favorite photos of hers:
I love my friends! This is why I decided to let them choose their own style BM dresses as long as they fit this criteria: Bill Levkoff, floor length, chiffon.
So after taking each of them on mini adventures in BM dress shopping by themselves so that their choice was not altered in any way, 3 of them ended up loving 1 dress, and the other 3 ended up loving another dress. The JRBM was allowed to pick between 1 of 2 dresses, and this is only because there were limited options when taking into account my 3 criteria.
So 3 of them will be in this dress, Bill Levkoff, Style 537:
and 3 of them will be in this one, Bill Levkoff, Style 676:
The junior bridemaid will be in this lovely dress (same color as the 2 above), Bill Levkoff, style 537002:
The flower girl's dress was already purchased online and I love it. This is what she will be wearing:
I love my hair and make-up trials for the big day. I wanted something beautiful and timeless, and the antithesis of "2011" because I didn't want to look back and be able to date myself based off my wedding hair or make-up.
My inspiration for makeup was another PW bride (who I cannot remember right now, so if you know, please make sure to comment so that she can get credit!).So here is the inspiration and the reality from the trial for the make-up. All products used on my face were Bobbi Brown cosmetics, done by Annelis Diaz who has personally worked with Bobbi Brown:
On the wedding day, I will more than likely find more "natural" looking flase eyelashes as these puppies were a little too fake for my tastes.
My reality for the trial:
When I first started planning, I really didn't care too much about the invitations thinking that in the end- people just toss them in the garbage. As I was looking for them, I saw soooo many beautiful designs out there and was very tempted to spend a LOT of money. In the end, I went with a very simple design and couldn't be happier with the results. Through much searching, I was able to find the perfect invite with all of the bells and whistles for an unbelievable price. $220 for 100 invites which included 2 inserts, inner & outer envelopes, lined inner envelopes, thermography, 2 ink colors, 2 font choices, etc. I got them from www.exclusivelyweddings.com with a 20% off coupon.
I keep thinking I need to be doing more for these ladies. They are my best friends and are shelling out a lot of cash for the dress, shoes, bachelorette, shower, etc. I tried to get most of this on super sale or clearance, so I think I did pretty good.
In additon to everything below, I am also treating everyone to lunch the day before followed by pedicures. Should be a wonderful treat!!
DIY Tote Bags ($1 per bag, and probably another $1 for paint & doily):
Ivory Pashminas ($10):
NY & Co Gold Rosette Clutches (super sale for only $7.44)
J.Crew Blingy Flip Flops ($12.95- again on super sale)
They all got different bracelets & earrings ($7 for the earrings & $20 for the bracelet). Mine are way cuter, but this is the general idea:
The other thing that I am thinking of doing is to make a mustache glasses (only with champagne glasses) like these for the girls. I've bought the glasses from IKEA for less than $1 each, now I just need to paint them. I think I may save these for the wedding day for fun photo-ops during the getting ready portion :)
Not to leave out the guys... Mike had a hard time trying to decide what to get them. He didn't want to give them another engraved flask as I think most men have those... we actually stole this idea from another friend whose wedding Mike was a GM in. Each of our guys are pretty diverse, but we are pretty sure that almost all of them would enjoy a nice poker set. They came with an engraved case, 2 card sets, 300 clay poker sets & dice. Each of them was around $50 once you included shipping and the discount I got my checking out retailmenot.com. We were very happy with the store, they shipped the items quickly and everything looks great. Here is the website's photo of the set: