This is my one regret. My fiancé/husband’s sister offered to make the bouquets and boutonnières. She had me convinced that she would just order one big bouquet and then make a bunch of small bouquets and boutionnieres from that. She worked in a florist store, so I thought that she knew best. In the end my bouquet was weak, and I didn’t like holding it. In retrospect, I think it would have been easier to have had my own bouquet made and then I would have had something I liked. Although DIY may be good for some parts of the wedding, this is one case in which DIY did not work out so well.
Bloomington, MN 55425
This was a beautiful location. Even thought this is not the new Hilton, it has a charm and classic beauty that I think newer hotels lack. The ballroom was perfect, there was more than enough room for our guests, and the menu was wonderful! We went ahead and ordered the chairs with the skirts, and the room looked like a winter wonderland. I think the best part is that the wedding planning staff at the Hilton already have a working contract with Buttercream Wedding Cake (which was what I wanted), and I didn’t have to worry about ordering a cake, making sure the linen was there, or setting tables. It was like having a wedding coordinator the day of. I have so many beautiful pictures of me in my wedding dress coming down the spiraling staircase at the hotel, and of the waterfall in the main lobby. The best part about having the reception at the hotel was that once people were done, they could go to their rooms and rest. Also, the younger nephews and nieces were able to enjoy the pool and the Mall of America the next day.
As we had the reception in the hotel, we were given a fair rate on the hotel rooms, which averaged out to about one room free out of ten. We estimated how many rooms we would need, and blocked off 80% of that figure (this was suggested by several people). I do not think it is the bride or the groom’s responsibility to book rooms for all the guests, and many people lived in Minneapolis, so they just went home. But for family and friends that were coming out of town, this was a great option. Also, because of the proximity of the airport, we knew that if the hotel had booked up, our guests would have other accommodations nearby. We also did a quick pricing search for our guest who would claim that the Hilton would be too expensive, and the truth is that all hotels run about the same price.
I got this idea through facebook, after I saw a co-workers wedding photos. I thought that it was a really sweet idea. When my fiancé/husband and I first started dating, we would often go to one of those photo booths in the mall. My girlfriends and I also used to see how many of us could fit in a booth for a photo. I thought that by adding a photo booth to our party, it would make it more fun and jovial. It was about the same price as a photographer (which we opted out of, because we have friends who are talented photographers) and we had to book them enough ahead of time. In the end, I loved all the photos. I have great photos of my mom laughing, my husband’s friends, of my friends, of everyone having a good time. Also, you can kind of see the progression of the party, and it gives people something to do between waiting and food and then the cake. I loved it. A must.
The news of our engagement was not a surprise. My fiancé/husband (I guess boyfriend at the time before he proposed) and I had talked about marriage, and we had even gone to Scheherazade to look at rings (at his suggestion, not mine). I found out later that he had bought the ring that I had chosen and had kept it on him for almost three months, waiting for the perfect time to propose. I always felt that Scheherazade is ‘the place’ to get your engagement ring, just because they have a wonderful collection of excellent designer rings, like Mark Schneider rings. I’ve known since I was sixteen exactly the style of ring I wanted (the Mark Schneider brilliance ring, and not because of the name, because it is beautiful), and once when I was twenty-five I went there with a friend just so I could try it on! I love my engagement ring.
I made my invitation! I didn’t do this to save money, rather because lots of friends have held invitation making parties in the past, and all the bridesmaids and mothers get together and print and glue and sprinkle sparkles! It’s a great way to plan for the party, too, and to get ideas on themes and stuff. We went to the Paper Depot in Minneapolis, which is a wonderful place. I felt good about supporting a local business. They have an amazing selection, much, much better than what you would find in a Michael’s craft store. I was able to make the save the date cards, invitations, and seating cards. They also have some DIY party favors to choose from, but I opted out of that option. Even with six people helping, it took two days to get everything done.
Ocho Rios, St. Ann
Jamaica, West Indies,
We had made plans to go away on our honeymoon right after the wedding, and decided to go somewhere warm. We have both traveled extensively, but neither of us has been to Jamaica, and we decided that it sounded wonderful. We wanted a place that was somewhat secluded and a nice balance between nature and luxury. The web site does the place no justice! The Inn is just stunning. We arrived and I thought I was going to cry, it was that beautiful. We could see the ocean from our room, our room was so peaceful, and there was so much natural beauty to be appreciated at the Inn. The air was so clean. We loved taking the kayaks out, and really appreciated the secluded quality of the place. I wish we could have been there longer than a week.
We decided that a nice souvenir that was somewhat practical (because it was edible) was the personalized chocolate kisses. We opted for the kisses because a friend of ours had already done the small chocolate bits. Wedding Favors had a large selection of prints with our names on to choose from, and because we were having the winter wedding, I choose the mittens with the hearts on them. We had them scattered on the dining tables at the Hilton in between each place set. They were cute, and delicious, and I did see lots of people unwrapping them and eating them before the meals were served. At the end of the night, there were hundreds of uneaten kisses left of the tables. In retrospect, when I consider how much each kiss cost, I think I would have scattered plain kisses and then invested the money in something else, or at least placed them in a bag for the guests to bring home.
St. Paul, MN 55105
I had been taken dance lessons since I was a little girl, and my fiancé/husband was a very good dancer. It seemed almost obvious that we would have an amazing first dance in front of our friends and family. We took the private wedding lessons that Cinema offered, and we were able to request an instructor who could teach us the tango! We could put together the basic movement but we wanted to know the actual steps! The instructor was able to show us the basic steps, build from there, and helped us come up with an easy enough choreography. We were able to do this in three private lessons. My big, big recommendation is to sign up for lessons eight weeks ahead of time if you are only going to take the three lesson deal, because you will get really, really busy as the day approaches!
Minneapolis, MN 55423
Once you turn thirty, it seems that almost everyone you know is getting married. In 2007, I went to 14 weddings, and I was in three. Bridesmaid dresses can be expensive, and being a part of the bridal party can be very expensive. Seeing that my bridesmaids (three in total) offered to pay for their bridesmaid gowns, and seeing as they would probably never wear these dresses again, and seeing as I wanted to be the most beautiful woman at my wedding, we opted for very simple bridesmaids styles at David’s Bridal. The best thing about David’s is that there are a dozen location across town, and the girls were able to go to the one closet to them once the dress style was picked. We were able to view the dresses online and debate a little about color and style, and we were able to choose one rather quickly. After lots of experience, I would say that a strapless a-line is the best fit for most bodies. Also, the dresses we decided on were $145, which is about average.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
My friends and family decided to hold a spa day for the immediate bridal party as part of a joint bachelorette/bridal shower. This wasn’t the spa that I normally go to, but it was wonderful because they were set up to accommodate all ten of us. We were pampered by the spa for over three hours, and they were wonderful in the planning to ensure no one was left sitting behind waiting. Because my skin is so sensitive, I opted for the hand and foot message, ate some chocolate, and then had a soothing back massage. It was two weeks before the wedding, and I didn’t want anyone to tough my face (didn’t want to risk a break out). We all left there feeling so relaxed, I think it was a great way to ease out the stress of planning.