Hi! My name's Cat. I got engaged in September to the greatest person ever! His name's Mark and I MUST love him because I'm willing to marry him even though I absolutely HATE his last name =). (Don't worry, he knows I hate it...)
Anyway, let's just say he's the first boy I brought home that my brother approved of, so that's pretty damn skippy to me.
I'm not much of a blogger or anything. I have little spurts of motivation to type out my thoughts...but, then, as quickly as these spurts come, they quickly fade away =). So I apologize in advance if I'm a bit sporadic!
The wedding is in California on August 15, 2008. The ceremony's at Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes and the reception is at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Right now I live on the east coast in DC (where I work and where Mark's originally from), so we're planning all of this from 3000 miles away.
Is this like myspace where I'm supposed to have friends?? If it is, be my FRIEND! =)
This is what started it all =). This Vera Bradley tie (Beakgaard Collection, Peacock) caught my eye in an issue of modern bride and I just fell in love. I immediately called every Vera Bradley store in the country (okay, 3 stores...) trying to
hunt down 5 of these ties! I also ended up getting silk squares in the pattern too. I'm not too sure if I'll let the guys wear the pocket squares, or use them to wrap the BM bouquets.
This picture is a little off...the areas that look almost yellow are acutally more of muted lime.
I bought a cloth wrap in the same print to wrap around my bouquet. It's long enough to hang down a little so the bright paisley will look awesome against the white of my dress and I love the fact I'll have something that matches what the hubby will be wearing =).
Okay, okay. I admit it. I'm one of those brides who ended up with two wedding gowns. Grrr...that drama has since passed; however, I must say it was a long arduous road of tears, regret, hope...and, of course, ebay! It started with this:
Sigh...I loved that dress! Anyway, call me an impulsive buyer. I found that sucker on ebay and snatched it up for an easy $800, about 4-5 hundred bucks off what it was selling for from the local bridal store. Keep in mind now, I NEVER even tried this dress on or saw it in person before buying it. I'm ridiculous, I know. The fiance was surprisingly very supportive though. Hah =).
Anyway, in my heart I knew the ebay purchase was wrong from the beginning! In fact, I was too afraid to even tell my mom I bought it so it remained cleverly hidden in my closet, never to be seen. About a week after I bought the ebay lacey number, my mom surprised me with a dress shopping trip. Of course I didn't have the heart to tell her about the one hanging in my closet, so I allowed her to drag me on yet another dress search (yes, that's sarcasm). Hehe. C'mon! Would you turn down an afternoon at Saks trying on wedding gowns??
So our dress search took us to 3 different socal shops and our last appointment brought us to Palos Verdes Bridal (which is going out of business and selling dresses dirt cheap right now!). I think I tried on about 5 dresses before the consultant brought one of those corset back numbers to my dressing room. After one quick look at the lace up back, I handed the dress back to her. "I hate corset backs. I don't want to try this one on."
I don't know what she said to convince me to rethink my choice, but it must have been good because next thing I know she was lacing me up! An hour later and 3 more times unlacing and relacing (I had to try it on a few times), I was walking out of Palos Verdes Bridal with my 2nd gown. When I protested that dress #2 was out of my budget, our consultant knocked off $400. I figured it was fate! God WANTED me to have this dress! Hello!! The mom was with me, the price was right and the dress made me feel so elegant! I loved it!
(Luckily, mom and pops foot the bill for the 2nd one so it didn't hurt my wallet too bad...)
For a while I toyed with the idea of wearing 2 gowns. The elegant one mom bought would be for the ceremony and the less formal, alencon lace for the reception. The fiance nixed that idea pretty quick when he pointed out we needed to find a thousand bucks somewhere to pay for the invitations.
Enter craigslist. I posted the dress on craigslist 3 times...each time I had offers from buyers who backed out last minute, even though I offered to let the dress go for $500. I figured ebay would be a better bet. At least then, I could set a minimum price. I knew I wouldn't get all my money back, but geesh, I wanted to get back as much as I could!
After a 7 day auction, the last 2 minutes yielded the first bid. With 7 bids between 2 buyers, the dress finally sold for $715. Woohoooo =). It was such a relief! Thank you ebay! Thank God the dress fiasco is over!
I didn't like the idea of a strapless gown, so I decided I'd get custom straps made for my dress. I chose the applique straps like the one pictured on the Pnina Tornai dress above. I brought that photo in and showed it to the tailor who was sewing the hem for me.
I purchased beautifully beaded, light ivory appliques on ebay for about 5 dollars and gave them to the tailor to attach. The straps turned out great!
Once I took the dress home and examined the straps, it turns out the straps were pretty easy to sew and I totally could have done it myself! Ugh. Call me crazy, but I detached and reattached the straps at one point because I wanted to move them over about half an inch just to be more comfortable.
After realizing how easy it was to do alterations, I felt a surge of motivation and creativity so I decided to change the neckline to my gown to make it sweetheart instead of straight. =). It took me about 3 hours, 2 quick tries on my sewing machine and a little bit of hand stitching. It turned out awesome, and it saved me about $200 bucks!
New Sweetheart Neckline!
the cutest shoes ever! i love them. they are nine west and were pretty cheap too =) only 45 bucks on sale!
Hi! So, I've been engaged a few months now =). Call me a little OCD, but I pretty much had the entire wedding planned in about a month. The only thing I have left to do is figure out the flowers and get bridal party gifts.
I don't know if it's possible to be OCD and simultaneously indecisive, but, yup. That's me. I consistently second guess myself. The dress, the cake, the photographer...ugh!
My most recent indecisive episode:
Mark and I chose our cake in November. Since we're planning our California wedding from DC, we made quite a few decisions via phone and internet. Anyway, we went with a bakery that was close to our venue and had decent online reviews. We went for a tasting while we were in town for Thanksgiving, we chose a cake and we paid a deposit on the spot.
About an hour after we left the bakery, I had regrets. To calm myself, I visited the bakery's website to see if the cake we chose was in their online portfolio. Needless to say, going to their website definitely didn't make me feel any better. It just all seemed wrong! Why didn't they let us sample the flavors they listed online? We made our choices based on the limited selection they chose for us. And when I brought the leftovers home for my mom to taste, she told me the cake was dry and the frosting too sweet. (Of course, I just wrote her off at first, but her comments started to really weigh on me after awhile...)
And then there was the design. It was just so...basic. It didn't have any part of Mark or Me in it at all! I mean, we chose it out of their portfolio and they wouldn't let us tweak it at all without charging us an additional $200. Ugh! And that leads me to the price! They made it seeeeeeeem affordable, but then I starting adding on the delivery fee, the cake stand rental, the extra charge for fondant, the extra charge for an additional tier...basically it's twice what I thought I'd spend! =(
Anyway, Mark and I decided to just cut our loss (a $60 deposit) and search for another cake maker. I found www.fortheloveofsugar.com here on project wedding. The baker/owner is named Sarah. I love, love, love her cupcake/cake combos! (Mark's actually allergic to cake...so cupcakes for him! yet another plus to ditching the last bakery) And so far Sarah's been awesome! All our interaction so far has only been through email, but it's just a good feeling to know I'm communicating with the person who's actually MAKING my cake...not just a consultant. And Sarah lets me send her pictures and ideas so I feel like the end product will actually reflect a little of Mark and me =).
We get to meet her at the end of March for a tasting and I can't wait!
mark and i had our cake tasting last weekend and it was awesome!
we met up with sarah witt of "for the love of sugar" (fortheloveofsugar.com) and she is utterly amazing!
we decided to stick with a cherry blossom theme on a 3 tier cake and about 30-40 additional cupcakes for the younger guests. i think the best part was how yummy her samples were! much, much, much better than torrance bakery, which is where we originally thought we'd get our cake. and her prices are AWESOME! $2.50 a person??!!! how does she do it? =) it was just great to meet with her and to have her genuinely excited to create my wedding cake!
i can't wait to see the end product!
**update** okay, the sad part is...i wish i could have eaten some cake on my wedding day other than the tiny taste i got while the hubby shoved it in my face =). i wish i would have had an appetite at the reception so i could have enjoyed all the food and dessert! sigh. you definitely get to enjoy much more of the evening as a guest...oh well.
I'm not much of a "flower person". In the beginning I told my mother and my coordinator that I didn't want any fresh flowers...at all. Needless to say, they wouldn't concede to that request. Ugh. So I gave in and basically told my mom that she could deal with the flower choices. As long as they were the right color, I was happy. The only thing about flowers that actually interest me are these flower pups! As of now, my only input on the flowers has been that the flower girls MUST hold baskets of flower pups! =)
**update** well i got my flower pups, but didn't use them in the wedding! oh well. instead, the flower girls held loose bouquets and the bride and bridesmaid bouquets consisted of daisies, tea roses, stephonitis, and rhinestone stems. the bridal bouquet was wrapped in the same vera bradley fabric as the men's ties. i used a cute vintage brooch as an accent.
one thing i never realized before the wedding: bridal bouquets are ridiculously heavy! no wonder they make a toss bouquet for you to throw, because throwing the real bouquet would have been a flying brick!
Oh what a pretty dress! The best part??? $40 bucks a piece! WoohooooO!
Downtown LA, baby! Head down to Santee Alley and find yourself a deal! You can look online too...they have plenty of cheap dresses that are knock offs of designer labels.
If everyone accepts that the Bridesmaid dress will never be worn again, why spend $100+ on something that will never see the light of day, post-wedding?? I'm not naive. I know my wedding color's green and it's not a color that everyone loves. By finding cheap dresses, I was able to buy all my BM dresses (5 of them) for about $200. I figure my BMs are all flying out to the wedding, the least I could do is pay for the dresses =)
**update** so, when i got the dresses, i thought they were adorable and loved them; unfortunately, my mom wanted them to be a lighter color green, and a couple of my bridesmaids were just too busty for the halter look. i put off finding dresses for as long as possible. since all my bridesmaids are from all over the country, i waited until the week of the wedding (scary, i know!) for all of them to get to california so we could buy dresses off the rack. the weekend before the bridesmaids arrived, i was shopping with my mom for last minute wedding stuff and i found four green dresses at tjmaxx! they were celebrations by ann taylor and i had actually considered the exact same dress earlier in the planning stage, but they were $200 and i was set on spending less than $100/dress. the best part?? they were in the clearance section and were marked down to $22!! how awesome is that?? they didn't have all the sizes i needed. i bought 2 dresses in larger sizes so we could alter them once the bridesmaids were in town. Two bridesmaids ended up having their dresses altered for $35 each. Even with alterations, these dresses were definitely a steal! i guess i got lucky! thank you, tjmaxx!
Here's the dress suits all the men are wearing. We're not much into the formal deal, so we decided on suits. We toyed with the idea of getting suits from target since we weren't all that interested in spending chingos of money on the boys'
attire. Why spend all that money on something neither I nor the future hubby can successfully identify as "cheap" or "designer"? I don't know. All suits look the same to me and Mark's everyday work attire consists of jeans and band t-shirts (what a lucky
I think looking good in a suit is all about the FIT, not necessarily the brand. If you wore toilet paper tailored right, you'd look hot. This 3 piece suit was a whopping $120 bucks (shipping included) on www.menswearecollection.com and after one quick trip to the tailor, they look awesome.
**update** okay, so the online suit idea didn't work out...mainly because trying to get 4 semi-grown men to do anything they're asked is virtually impossible. we ended up just telling all of them to buy a black suit. no rules on where to get them...just show up to the wedding with a black suit and black shoes. all of them ended up just heading to macy's during a suit sale and they all bought ralph lauren black suits. not bad. i guess, the lesson learned here is that if you give men specific instructions, you're bound for disappointment...=). stick to simple, easy instructions and men will amaze you!
the groom wore a black pinstripe hugo boss suit that we bought on sale at saks. each groomsman spent under $200 and the groom spent $400.
I love, love, love these dresses =). My flower girls are my two neices, ages 8 and 10. I chose not to have younger girls because I really can't stand little kids...hehehe. It sounds mean, but I don't really mean it that way! I just wanted the
older girls to have a chance to be in the wedding because I was always that kid that was too old to be a flower girl and too young to be a bridesmaid!
These dresses were from www.mygirldress.com. It's an awesome site with cheap dresses! No way was I going to choose flower girl dresses that cost upwards of $200! These dresses were about $60 each.
my mom actually took the lead on finding the kids' suits. she found everything on ebay! three piece suits and ties and each set only cost about $30. they were all so cute too. i thought it turned out awesome, especially the price!
Well, there's the ceremony location =). Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. It's an awesome glass chapel overlooking the Pacific Ocean that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Beautiful. That's all I can say. I had two different family
members who were married here when I was a baby. My mom told me about it and once I saw a picture of it, I called them and booked a date!
We're having a candle lit, sunset ceremony. I can't wait! Before booking, I checked my ol' trusty nautical almanac to make sure I reserved a time close to sunset. Assuming I time it right, they should be pronouncing us hubby and wifey right as the sun goes down =)
Our reception will be held at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. I can't wait! I was too afraid to consider the Aquarium at first because I thought it would be out of my price range, but it ended up being completely affordable!
It ends up being around $80 per person for catering (No outside catering, all food and drinks are provided by SMG Catering, same as the LB Convention Center). There are additional charges for use of certain areas of the Aquarium. For example, our cocktail hour is being held outside in the shark reef. It's a hands on area with open tanks where you can actually pet the sharks! Nothing better than an open bar and feeling sharks!
The event coordinator I've been working with is Janine Valenzuela. She is soooo effing awesome! She answers all my crazy questions, has provided multiple tours of the Aquarium for me, is a joy to deal with and always validates my parking! What else could you possibly ask for in an event coordinator??
I finally got all my invitation parts in!
I had my invites all picked out and ordered from this stationary/invitation store down the street from my work. I was so excited! I picked out these beautiful invitations by Mainio. By the time Mark and I went through all the details and placed our order it ended up being a LOT more than I expected! We had to cut back on the double envelopes and cut out the envelope design. I was a little disappointed, but I LOVED the design so I was still excited!
After 5 weeks, we heard nothing back from the store...no proofs were emailed like they promised. I know that printing sometimes takes awhile, but they promised a proof in 10-14 days! The store promised they'd look into it with the printing company. Anyway, Mark called the store every other day for two weeks and we just kept getting the run around! Their excuse was that the company is CA based and it was difficult to communicate with them due to the time difference. HELLO!!! The whole F-ing wedding is "CA based"! EVERY VENDOR WE HAVE IS IN CA! Needless to say, that excuse just wasn't cutting it. The last straw was when we realized the reason it was taking so long was because the store had lost our sales receipt! My guess was they never turned in our order and they were trying to cover it up. Oh well!
We cancelled that order and I ordered invitations from www.mygatsby.com instead! The invitations took exactly 1 week to order, process and ship. In 7 days, the invitations were at my front door! The best part, the total price for 100 invitations was only $600 dollars, compared to the $1100 the Mainio invites would have cost. AAAAAAND, for half the price, I got my double envelopes and since the mygatsby invites aren't square shaped, I'll save money on the postage =)
In case anyone's wondering, yes, those are custom stamps Mark and I made for our invites!
We designed them and bought them from www.zazzle.com
I thought they added a little character to our RSVPs and invites =). I love them!
So to sum it all up (I estimated all prices, because I'm too lazy to actually look it up on the receipts...):
-Cherry Blossom invites and folio from www.mygatsby.com (100/$600)
-Two toned satin ribbon and Rhinestone embellishments from Michael's (one roll of ribbon and 135 rhinestones <$5)
-Peel and stick wax stamps from www.waxent.com (115 for $78)
-Stamps custom designed on www.zazzle.com (100 @ $0.41 for $70)
Here's a sneak peek of the wedding week and the ceremony! I love my maid of honor for bringing her camera EVERYWHERE!
Welcome lunch for the family and half the bridal party at Grand Lux, Beverly Center
Rehearsal at Wayfarers Chapel
Rehearsal Dinner with my Maid of Honor at Bubba Gump in Long Beach
Mark's awesome Groom Cake from Cake and Art in Hollywood
The cutest pageboys ever! My nephews holding the banner
Girls getting ready in the chapel's bridal suite
Showing off the tatts =)
Kiss the bride!
Hubby and Wifey
Greatest freakin wedding cake EVER by Sarah Witt, For the Love of Sugar in Lakewood, CA
Candid shot at Wayfarers Chapel