Friday, September 30, 2011

Crazy Wedding Dream

I had another wedding dream this week. It was much longer and more detailed than the last one I had several months ago. I can't call it a nightmare because it wasn't frightening per se but it was definitely confusing and left me confused most of the morning. So here are some details I remember (may or may not be in chronological order):

1. We were on some odd transportation mechanism (monorail-like) with a bunch of tourists on our way to our venue when my front tooth popped out. Like it was never in my gum just attached to my other teeth and just came unglued or something. Very bizarre. Even weirder, later in the dream I look in a mirror and my gum had like closed together and brought my teeth closer so that it doesn't really look like there is a tooth missing. So I go with it.

2. On our wedding day we (us and our guests) went from some full resort event straight to our ceremony. I had to run and get ready for the ceremony while the guests were being arranged into some sort of order to form an aisle.

3. This left me alone to do my hair and make-up and get fully ready. My foundation was orange and I got it on my veil (which is really weird because I don't want a veil).

4. Apparently, we hadn't rehearsed our ceremony at all and no one knew what to do. Our bridal party (that we aren't having) didn't know who to walk with or in what order and a couple of random guests jumped in to walk down our "aisle". At this point in the dream, I'm half ready but in my dress and run out of the room that I'm getting ready in and tell everyone to get their act together.

5. It's not until I'm walking down the aisle that I realize our ceremony is against some ugly building with no views of the ocean or scenery surrounding our tropical locale.

6. No one, including the resort, knows what to do when the ceremony is over.

This maybe a new dream, I'm not sure but it happened the same night...

7. Then we went to find a new ceremony location on the resort property. The site suggested by the resort had no ocean views. All of the beautiful sites I was suggesting were off limits for lame reasons. We walked and walked around the HUGE property and finally found a site that was available and as we were investigating the bridge farther, other guests broke it.

It was somewhere around here when my alarm finally went off. It was a VERY weird and confusing dream for many, many reasons, mainly because NOTHING was similar to what we have decided and imagined.

Monday, September 26, 2011

RSVP deadline approaching

So out of the 22 invitations we sent out 12 have been returned to us. That's 10 outstanding RSVPs with less than a week from the deadline. That's 21 of 41 people who we can't account for yet! I should subtract 1 invite/2 people from this as we JUST found out their invite got lost in the mail! Needless to say I feel like I'm going to end up spending the coming weeks tracking down friends and family to figure out how many more people we need to invite to fill our resort.
Guests - if you're reading this please put a check on the line and drop the postcard in the mailbox! THANKS!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Photographer Peril (AGAIN)

So we have resolution! On Monday, I sent a friendly reminder of what we discussed on the phone and on Thursday I received an e-mail with detailed pricing information for what elements we wanted in photography & videography.

We are getting 4 hours of photography, 1.5 hours for trash the dress the following day, and video of the ceremony & first 2 hours of the reception (before things get sloppy). All from one vendor for one reasonable price.

I happily introduce you to our photographer: True Colors Photography.

(All photos by True Colors Photography from their blog)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Real Conversations

As I mentioned, my BFF just got engaged and last night I got a chance to talk to her for the first time after the initial OMG you're engaged convo. She's just starting her wedding planning process and I honestly told her, unlike most other people, that (SHOCKER!) wedding planning isn't the funnest thing in the world. Seriously, most of the time I have to mentally psych myself up for planning/researching/etc. before I can immerse myself in the task. I know our wedding weekend will be hella awesome but the act of actually researching choices and making decisions takes some mental preparation and normally an adult beverage or 2. Yes folks, you read that right, a lot of our decisions have been made after a drink or 2.
She's on her way to her first bridal show this weekend and I refuse to go to one. Early on I registered for one but ended up not going because the thought of it was terrifying. Totally overwhelming. I hope they enjoy their foray into the Wedding Industrial Complex and I am happy to have my BFF to understand what I'm going through during this exciting and stressful time!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Honeymoon Possibilities

To be honest, in the beginning we talked more about our honeymoon than our wedding. We were really excited about the opportunity/excuse to take an awesome vacation. Ben and I have traveled a fair amount together and really enjoy exploring new places together. Its also been awhile since we've taken a proper vacation (Summer of 2009). Our only true criteria was getting a new stamp in our passport. We each came up with a list of a few choices and luckily there was some overlap...

Our list of possibilities that we came up with early on:

1. Stay in Jamaica

This by far was the most logical and cheapest of the options. There are tons of all inclusive resorts that we could switch to all over the island if we wanted a change. Jamaica has wonderful mountains to explore and rivers to raft with waterfalls to climb. There are rum factories and various water activities to partake in. It is a very popular destination, but neither one of us were too excited about this option as it is very close and easy to get to from the States and thought we could easily take another vacation to and explore more.

2. South Africa
A safari has always been on my bucket list and more and more of our friends were returning from South Africa with amazing experiences. South Africa has beaches to relax on, sharks to dive with, wineries to explore, and of course safaris. We have some close connections to South Africa that could easily help us plan a great trip. Luckily, there are direct flights from NYC to SA but its a very long (about 15 hours) flight! Can we afford an upgrade to economy plus or first class?!

3. Thailand

Thailand was Ben's idea. We have a few friends who have gone and loved it. The scenery there is beautiful, I will admit that. I didn't do much research into this because I was never that jazzed about the idea. I'm not a fan of asian food or many aspects of their political and social culture don't match up with my ideas and comfort level. Another very far away destination as well.

4. Costa Rica
Costa Rica has been on my travel list for a very long time. Like Jamaica and South Africa there are many varied landscapes and activities to do. There's whitewater rafting, ziplining, hiking, and water sports. It is a relatively cheap destination and many, many friends have had wonderful experiences. This destination is also very close to home and easy to get to. It is very popular for American tourists as well.

5. Bora Bora (or some other faraway Pacific Island)

This was purely my idea. Water. And lots of it in its secluded glory is available in Oceania. This tends to me more of the relaxing vacation with lounging and massages. Because of the abundance of water, there are of course water sports to do as well. Once again, very far away.

So as you can see, we like water and its related activities. We also like to do active things and explore our surroundings when we vacation. We definitely wanted a mix of relaxation and adventure in our honeymoon destination.
After we each came up with our list, we let the topic settle a little bit and talked to our friends and families about the ideas. Here and there we would talk through the pros and cons of each destination. We eventually came to a very easy choice of our destination that I will reveal in another post (when its more planned)!

(all photos were obtained from a quick google search of [destination] honeymoon)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Photographer Peril

On Monday, I received a phone call from our best photographer option. She received my e-mail with my questions and wants and also said they posted photos from Tensing Pen on their blog behind a password. She asked if I had any other questions and apologized for taking so long to get back to me. I was ELATED. She said I will receive an e-mail with a password and pricing for all of the elements I asked for. PROGRESS - so I thought. It is now Sunday and I haven't heard anything. I've been away all week at a conference with no time to call or e-mail. I have to say once again I'm more than disappointed in their customer service...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Other ways to capture our wedding weekend

I've written about our photographer/videographer situation and nothing has changed in that department unfortunately but from the beginning I also wanted to find an easy way to capture the photos from our guests in one easy place we can all upload and download from. We have some seriously talented friends and there is no way we can have a pro at every event all weekend long.
I first thought about Flickr but that requires an account so it's not quite ideal. Early on I came across Wedding Turtle. They allow you to create a unique url and e-mail address. Guests can upload or email their photos as attachements and they all appear on the website. We can categorize and organize all of the guest photos as well. They even send you cards to tell your guests about the service! So far this is the frontrunner for the photo aspect of the weekend.
A few days ago, I also came across WedIt. They send you 5 HD cameras to give to guests and then you send them back and they edit the footage into a wedding video to a song of your choice. That would be a perfect way to capture all of the special moments from the entire weekend. The sample videos are absolutely adorable. When I started looking at the price though, I realized that the video cameras are WAYY cheaper than what they charge. So Ben and I decided we'll just buy 5-6 HD flip cameras so our guests can pass them around all weekend and then we'll take them home and edit them. Ben is seriously amazing at these things (he made a great videos from Langerado music festival, our clearwater beach vacation, and animal enrichment at the zoo). So now the goal is to find these cameras for under $100. We figure we can resell them after the wedding and will probably only end up costing us about $50 for camera. Our amazing friends will be great videographers. We also get to see EVERY SINGLE minute those cameras catch and relive it all.
We're still going to enlist a photographer and videographer to capture the ceremony and usual elements of the reception but also want to capture moments from the entire weekend. We're very excited about these & this way hopefully no unflattering photos of me will end up on Facebook!
So listen up wedding guests - we're counting on you!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Officially Officiating

Because we are already legally married, we don't have any of those pesky legal requirements to meet when we have our wedding ceremony. The most glaring of those requirements is the person that marries you. (There actually are some wording requirements as well as that piece of paper.) Now we don't have to have a complete stranger marry us, anyone can! As soon as we realized this we put our heads together to identify the perfect person. We wanted someone that has known both of us for as long as possible (obviously) and was married. We wanted someone who has gone through this and knows how it feels to commit to someone else for life.
First, we thought of our parents - they've known one of us since birth and the other from very early on in our relationship. However, we thought this may be unfair. Only one parent can have that privilege of marrying us. So we decided we could honor and highlight our parents in other ways (another post for another day).
With our parents out of the running we looked to our guest list to our married friends. There actually aren't that many of them (we are the first of our group of college friends - except him - to get married) so it became quite clear. Our dearest friend Kevin!

Kevin and I in Feb 2009

Kevin at his rehearsal dinner June 2011

Kevin, Rachel (his wifey), and his family at his rehearsal dinner June 2011

Now comes the fun part of writing our own ceremony. I've found some elements that I do like, for example a ring warming ceremony & a wine box ceremony, but for the most part I have no idea what this is going to look like. Luckily, we have a while to work together to create the perfect ceremony for us.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Congrats Erin & Jon!

Somewhere in San Francisco, my best friend got engaged last night! They have been together as long as Ben and I have and he is a great man! Erin and I have known each other since freshman year of high school and I'm not going to embarrass us both by posting pictures of our friendship but here's the beautiful couple during their trip to NYC last summer. Congrats you guys I love you both!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Photographer Peril

Once we had a venue, next on my list was to book our other big vendors - photography & videography. Tensing Pen requires that we use their preferred vendors and the coordinator quickly sent me 2. After checking out both of their websites, I had a favorite but decided to e-mail both for information. The runner-up was unavailable and sent me the information for one of their associates that was and I was NOT impressed with his photography. So my decision should be easy right?!? WRONG!

When I first contacted our favorite photographer they were available, had reasonable prices, and mentioned that they were shooting 2 weddings at Tensing Pen in the coming weeks and would send me a link to the photos when they were done. GREAT! This was back in June. Come July, still nothing so I e-mailed to check-in. A little while later I get a reply that they are still being edited but should be up soon. A couple of weeks go by and still nothing. This time I'm told that the couples didn't want their photos posted on the blog but some of them would be posted on a private site and a password would be sent to me by the end of the week. Well it is now September and I haven't seen any photos from Tensing Pen like I was told I would.

At this point I decided to e-mail Tensing Pen's coordinator about our situation. She immediately followed up with both photographers. Runner-up claimed to have never heard from us and the favorites just told her to remind me that not all couples want to share their photos but they were still working on photos done at Tensing Pen. I thanked the coordinator and set her straight about our runner-up contacting us and giving us an associate that we were NOT thrilled with. I e-mailed the favorite for more detailed information about the packages to see if they can accomplish what we (I) want.

It costs $500 to book a vendor outside of Tensing Pen. If I start doing research now and contacting new photographers on Jamaica I'l run into plenty that aren't available on our date. Flying in photographers from elsewhere is out of the question because of budget. I'm close to booking the favorite because I'm afraid I'll end up without a photographer if I don't book soon. Their work on their website and blog is beautiful and they offer a trash the dress session. So what would you do?

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Cousin's Wedding

We just returned from a quick trip to Arkansas during the long weekend to attend my cousin's beautiful wedding. They planned a beautiful wedding at the Stables on the Hill and definitely took advantage of the beauty of Northwest Arkansas. Here's a few of our photos from the evening!
The Stables at Sunset

The couple during their vows

Husband & Wife!

Seasonal flowers were on the tables, in the bouquets, and boutonnieres

The sun was setting and the party was starting