First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone that wrote in commenting on our engagement photos. We put a lot of thought and creativeness into them, so we thank you!! We're glad you enjoyed them. I also want to thank everyone that has written such kind notes about the blog just in general. I'm really happy that this decision of making an honest, no filter, life of an event planner who is planning her own wedding is helping so many people and even entertaining them. This is why I do what I do :)
So let's start off with this blog talking about what we did with the photos after my last post.....
As you know, we wanted to make a timeline table at our wedding where people who may not know much about us and/or our love story, they would be able to SEE it through the photos on our big day. For example, our first date, our first brewery, where we fell in love, well, you get the idea. I delegated that responsibility to the fiance ;) I told him what significant moments we should look at photos for and he would pick his top 2. Then I would go through and approve the winning photo. He even snuck in original photos like the one we took when we were making a snow angel which we just so happened to BOTH fall in love with each other at that very moment (I must say out of all the professional photos we have taken for our "firsts", that one is still my fav 💑) along with us holding our "sold" sign when we bought our house. Loved it, so we're doing it! Thanks babe for the idea!!
On a side note: I do have to admit that I am super impressed that he is helping with the planning. I mean, he loves to plan things too, but he loves being a part of it. Most grooms don't really help with anything, but maybe that's because the girls have a set way of how they envision their wedding so they just take the reigns. Either way, it's just another reason why I am marrying this man. Since being engaged, I've definitely seen another side of him; his sensitive side. Gotta love him even more now!
So he crossed that task off and now, guess who has been procrastinating and hasn't looked at the photos he chose? Haha! I'll just blame it on the "I own 2 growing businesses" card. No, but in all honesty, I really haven't had time. Running 2 GROWING businesses, booking clients, rebuilding your clientele in a new market, hiring and training interns is super hard! I love what I do, but man oh man, no free time sometimes. The good thing is that when it comes to planning my own wedding not only is it beneficial because I can use it towards the business and it's advertising, but my interns can also learn about wedding planning first hand.
One BIG thing that has been helping in all this planning, is setting deadlines for myself in Google calendar and sharing it with the fiance (because, again, he loves being a part of it). Plus, getting the big stuff out of the way first really helped. I mean we were engaged in August and had everything basically planned by January; caterer, venue. entertainment, bare bones of decor theme, etc. For people who are planning their own weddings without a planner, I HIGHLY recommend that you plan your wedding a year and a half out. It used to be where they would get married in less than a year, then it went to a year, which obviously I have dealt with first hand being an event/wedding planner, but actually LIVING it now I would say a year and a half is perfect! We wanted to enjoy the engagement, enjoy our new house, still go on adventures because that's what we love to do. We didn't want to jump right in and start planning a wedding, because next thing you know you're busy every weekend and can't do anything, you can't travel, you are so stressed that y'all fight and bicker, then the wedding day comes then kids!! Where is that time where you enjoyed being an engaged couple? It came and gone without you even knowing it. It's like jumping into an engagement when you first meet and you miss out on the dating, all those butterflies, and everything that comes with it. It all comes down to the stress and what a bride and groom can handle - ask yourself that when you get engaged. Either way, that's why wedding planners exist. Just sayin ;)
However, in all honestly (again), it really doesn't feel like work. I will admit though, I finally made the decision to make myself unavailable, event planning-wise, end of August through mid-November. I have my bachelorette party August 18th weekend then September is going to be super busy because we will be dealing with the wedding and he has his bachelor party September 8th weekend. As a planner, we have to be available 1 month before the wedding/event so when you think about it, I will be dealing with my own wedding in September then I'll be having my wedding and going straight on to our honeymoon so early-mid November events/weddings wouldn't have me around. I'll still take events here and there, but no weddings. It wouldn't be fair to them. Plus, it goes back to me saying that it all depends on how much stress a bride and groom can handle.
Another big task, our next milestone, an important one, was our invitations. So as you know, we had all the big things planned by January; we knew our venue, what type of food we were going to have, time of the ceremony, hotel information, parking information, etc. I'm a pretty simple bride where I really think about the production side of things and budget. I thought about it and I asked myself, "If we already know the details about the wedding, what's the point of sending Save the Dates?" So, we decided to send out the invitations about 5-6 months ahead of the wedding with an RSVP due date of August 28th. I may not care about certain things which one of them was the invites, but that soon changed.
Hint: Couples have their details meeting with their venue 1 month before their wedding. At this meeting they go over guest count, how many tables they will have to set up, etc. It's best to have your RSVP's due 2 weeks before that details meeting. Why? Because people will send them late so by the time you follow up with them, they send their RSVP card back, you recount, it's time for your details meeting. No figuring out the guest count a few weeks before your wedding and having to do the place cards and table layout last minute.
We wanted our invites to be fun and really show who we were. So although our theme for our wedding is vintage romantic, we went the complete opposite. Remember the photos in front of the US Bank Stadium with our Vikings t-shirts? Well, that made the cut. We chose the photo where we are facing the stadium with the Minneapolis skyline reflecting into the glass and we're holding hands. As a photo shoot director and wardrobe stylist, I notice the smallest things in a photo (hence that's why I offer it as an actual service with my fashion business, MH Style Consulting) and my shirt was really bugging me. It had wrinkles in it and it just didn't look right. I chose another picture (which we had to have a horizontal picture because we liked that layout better when it came to the actual invite) which was the one where we are doing the same thing, but because my hubby-to-be is SO MUCH taller than me, he had his arm on top of my head. He didn't like it. He was looking for a more serious photo. Although I am the bride, things have to be equal so I agreed and we went with the original pick (or pic? No pun intended, haha!). Got the invites a week later, opened up the box, and I cried. I hated them!! I looked so frumpy and no, I'm not just saying it because I'm a girl. I had multiple people say, "That doesn't look like you." I emailed my photographer, Andrew, and asked him if he would please photo shop (yes, I'm about to get into a "no filter, I say anything" mode) it, just smooth out the shirt a little bit. Within 2 days, he did! I know he wanted to kill me. But Andrew, if you are reading this, you made this bride SUPER happy and I thank you kind sir!
Anyways the company we got the invites from, I explained how I wasn't happy and you know what they did? They gave us the new invites FOR FREE!! I couldn't believe it. It was our fault, but they still gave them to us for free. You know who that company was? Vistaprint.com! Some people may think that's trashy, but to be honest I didn't care that much about the invites. In my mind, I thought people are going to read the invite, RSVP, and that's it. The envelope? That would be ripped open immediately and thrown away. That's how I looked at it. But remember in one of my first posts, I said that it's important to look at what is important TO YOU. I have given my opinion to all my brides when it came to their invites and I have recommended them to several professional, nice invite vendors including Wedding Paper Divas, but that just wasn't me. Shoot, I even helped them design their invites. But again, we were the couple that cared about the venue, music, booze, and the food. Anyways, I'm guessing some of you are wondering, so how much did your invites come to? I'm open and I'm honest, so they came to about $350. We did do the upgrade to the Linen material, which if you have my business card that is the Linen material. One thing I wish we would have done, which would have made them even cheaper, was to do RSVP's online through a website. We did postcard RSVP's. Oh well :/
Hint: There are going to be things you think about after it's done and you say to yourself, "Shoot! I should have done this instead." It's the way of the game and that's just life. Only you think that, not the several 100 people you are inviting to your wedding - they have no clue.
So I am about to get real personal and really open up about my life, because that's what a blog is about, right? So my mom isn't in the greatest health state to the point where I barely ever talk to her because she's so stubborn when it comes to taking care of herself. We just watch her get worse and worse and she is the only one that can help herself which she won't. Yes, it's affecting our relationship that much. When a mother and her daughter should be planning their wedding together, we're not. She sleeps through the day so I always have to do things on my own - but of course my fiance is there and I have my interns, but still..it's not the same. I am really trying to include her, not because she wants to be included, but because I feel like it's the right thing to do so we BOTH don't regret it later. So with that being said, I have been thinking for months on how I am going to include her. One of my bridesmaids mentioned while we were talking about my mom's handwriting and how it's like a 1st grade teacher's, you know where it's all bubbly and perfect? My bridesmaid then said, "Why don't you have your mom address the envelopes?" Brilliant idea!! I asked my mom on Mother's Day and she said she would. Now it was the challenge to have her actually do them. We gave her the list of the addresses and the guests names. When we called before our trip to Arizona over Memorial Day weekend, they weren't done! She had them for a week already! I really stressed that I wanted to get them out before we left. You know what? She must have really listened to me that time and she got them done! So although I can't rely on my mom nor do I rarely get along with her, she really made me proud. We stuffed those envelopes and got them out that night. Thanks mom!!!
So as you know, we're pretty much doing the centerpieces ourselves - wine bottles and other shaped glass bottles spray painted different shades of gold. Some will have single stem flowers and some with have flowers with greenery in it. As I mentioned in one of my past posts, I am a visual person so trying to figure out what everything looks like has been super tough. We went to the consignment store and bought an ivory linen and we went to every store you could possibly think of to look at runners. I kept finding these cute Aztec, Mexican print ones (because if you remember we are doing mini cactus' as accents on the tables in spray painted terracotta pots), but it didn't fit the venue or our vintage romantic theme.
My future mother-in-law and sister-in-law saw how stressed I was getting with the decor so they kept bringing up to go to a decor company to look around. Being stubborn as I am, trying to stay on budget, and trying to do everything DIY, I finally gave in. DIY can be for some people, but in the end it's all about time. With us wanting to explore the town and enjoy our engagement, travel, and running 2 growing businesses it gets to the point where I just can't. So I made an appointment to go this coming week. I'm sure I'll take some photos and share them with y'all ;) Wish me luck!! Hopefully all the stress goes away after that meeting.
Ending on a good note.....we figured out our dessert!!! As you know we wanted to do Grandma Betty's Pies which are made up in Brainerd. However, we would have no one to go get them and transport them, safely, down to St. Paul. So we thought of other types of foods we like. I mean, yeah we love Hispanic food, but the dessert selection not so much. The only thing I like is the fried ice cream, but that melts and could get messy. Plus you need to eat that right away. So anyways, we LOVE Italian food which we love all Italian desserts. We thought of Cossetta's which just so happens to be not even 5 minutes away from our venue. We set up a meeting with them and they came out with this:
OMG!!! Everything was soooooooooooo good. I can't even tell you, you just gotta go and try them. Those tortes look like they would taste like your normal torte and be somewhat of a harder texture, but they definitely weren't! So soft that they melted in your mouth. We wanted everything, which I really wanted the key lime torte, but not everyone loves key lime - lame! So we ended up with: mini cheesecakes (that again, melt in your mouth), mini raspberry tortes which has a raspberry jam in the middle topped with fresh raspberries sprinkled with powdered sugar, and then we got mini chocolate dipped cannoli's (which we went with that option as the only chocolate option because it's SO rich) along with regular cannoli's. We got 150 cannoli's (75 chocolate and 75 regular), 45 raspberry tortes, and 45 mini cheesecakes = about $600. Boom!
Well, that's it guys and gals. Once again, thank you so much for following my blog and writing in such sweet comments. It makes my day and y'all are what keep me going. Till next time!
A lot of people write in asking me my opinion on who to go with for vendors. I do have a public tab on my website where you can visit my top picks. Although I'm updating it frequently, you can check in whenever you want. Click here to view them.