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Sarah's better late than never planning journal

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I wrote most of this before our wedding, but since i can only post to bdw from my parents computer it took a while for me to post.  My fiance and I were married on June 29, 2011 at the Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana.  Here's our story:


How we met:

Billy and I met when I was 16.  I had just gotten over being really sick with mono and hadnâ€t been out of the house in over a month, even for school.  My best friend was spending the night and her boyfriend was going to come see her.  We decided that I needed to get out of the house too, so she had her man bring his friend along.  I should mention that this chance encounter was after midnight and we had to sneak out of my parentâ€s house to meet up with them.  I can remember the first time we made eye contact and I knew then something was different (probably just adrenaline from sneaking out for the first time, but it makes for a better story-lol).  Billy and I dated through college (long distance).  The distance made things difficult at times, but we never once questioned it. 




The Engagement:

At this point in time we had been dating for about 7 years (5 of them long distance).   We talked about getting married all the time, so I always thought I would see it coming a mile away when he was going to propose.  It was my 25th birthday and instead of being out celebrating I was stuck working a 12 hour shift.  After work I came home and just passed out on the couch.  I woke up around midnight with a sudden burst of energy and decided to do the laundry.  Around 3am, Iâ€m still washing clothes and I hear someone banging on my door.  I started freaking out and refused to come out of the laundry room.  I finally got the nerve and looked through the peep hole, but saw no one.  I live in a college town, so random 3am door knocking isnâ€t completely unheard of and I go back to the laundry.  I kept hearing the knocking and was starting to get mad.  I opened my door expecting random drunk guys  to be out there, but instead I saw my Prince!  He was standing there in full on dress pants, shirt and tie (it was 3am!).  He had a dozen of the prettiest roses Iâ€d ever seen!  He told me how he felt bad I had to spend my birthday working, so he drove into town after work to see me.  I was stunned that he would drive there in the middle of the night just to give me flowers!  I opened my birthday card standing in the kitchen.  I was still in shock from seeing him, while reading the birthday card and didnâ€t even realize he had gotten on one knee.  At the end of the card he signed it “love your fianc醠 I looked at him (still didnâ€t realize he was on one knee) and said “fiancé?† He then goes on to tell me how he couldnâ€t live another day without knowing he would be spending the rest of his life with me.  I didnâ€t even see the ring for about 10 minutes because I was doing the ugly cry.  It was perfect and we stayed up all night just talking about all the adventures life would take us on. 


He told me the next day that he had been saving to get the ring for a while, and when he finally got it that it burned a hole in his pocket and he couldnâ€t wait another minute to propose.  He had plans to ask my Dad first, but was too excited so he just drove to my house and asked me.  He told me that I wasnâ€t allowed to tell anyone until he got my Dadâ€s permission.  Well seeing as how Iâ€m a girl and was just engaged, I told everyone who was willing to listen!  Ends up we went to my parentâ€s house that weekend.  My Mom already knew (I tried not to tell, I really did-lol), so we had to leave the house to give Billy some alone time with Dad.  Mom and I end up sitting in Wendyâ€s parking lot while Billy and Dad chat it up- classy I know.   I then get a phone call from Billy telling me that my Dad went crazy on him!  He kept saying “please come home quick, youâ€re Dadâ€s going off!† I start freaking out thinking my fairy tale just turned into a nightmare.  Of course when we get to the house the two of them thought that was just the funniest thing in the entire world! 


Weâ€ve been engaged for 3 years now, because every time I would start to look at wedding stuff I would get so overwhelmed that I wouldnâ€t think of it for another 6 months.  We wanted to be married, but didnâ€t want to plan a big wedding at home (we both have big families and it was going to take a LOT of planning).  My mom suggested to us that we go away to get married and thatâ€s when the light bulb went off.  We started planning a DW the very next day and havenâ€t looked back since!


The Resort:

Choosing to have a DW was by far the best (and easiest decision).  Choosing the resort was BY FAR the hardest.  I scoured the internet for hours (hadnâ€t discovered bdw at this point).  I was completely clueless about what was out there and what I should be looking for.  I didnâ€t like that in some countries you had to be there for so many business days prior to the wedding.  I knew we couldnâ€t afford to stay for 2 weeks and I wanted to feel like I had a Honeymoon after the wedding, which led us to the Dominican Republic.  Once I had it narrowed down to the Dominican I went on the Apple website and looked at all of the AI resorts.  I had it down to Dreams Punta Cana, Excellence and Majestic Elegance.  I really wanted an adults only resort, but didnâ€t want people with children to be excluded.  Majestic Elegance was our best option.  Itâ€s relatively new and has a separate Adultâ€s Only section of the resort, while remaining kid friendly on the other half.  It seemed like it was made for us and our needs.  Once we made the decision to get married at ME, everything else seemed to just fall into place!



After setting the date and getting it confirmed with the resort we were only left with 6 months until wedding day.  We really needed to get STDâ€s out quick.  We decided to go with very simple DIY boarding passes.  My Mom and I did everything ourselves.  We got the embossing stuff at Michaels and created the passes in Word.  From start to finish it was about 3 hours.


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I can honestly say that my Mom took the headache on this one!  Sheâ€s been an amazing support through the planning process and I would not have these fabulous invitations without her.  She used the alyeebits template for the background and did the rest using Word.  I literally came home one day, filled in the blanks and she took care of the rest.  The paper was all purchased from paperandmore.com and the quality is unbeatable. The total cost for all of the invitations was around $35! We used elastic hair ties to bind the passports, but they all broke in the mail and arrived to guests unbound (if thatâ€s the worst that happens, Iâ€ll be a happy camper!).  The RSVP cards are postcards from Vista. 






The Dress:

I had gone to look at dresses before, but that was before the DW plans and they were all big ball gowns.  I went shopping again, now looking for a DW dress.  I had a clear idea of what I wanted and was set to find it.  Unfortunately, what I thought things would look like in my head and what they actually did look like were two completely different things.  I was almost ready to call it a day because everything was very overwhelming to me.  My mom had been snapping pictures of all the dresses I was trying on, so I looked at the pics.  This is where I was sold.  A dress that I really did like when I had it on was stunning in the pictures, I had the consultant pull the dress again and I was sold!  It was nothing like what I thought I wanted.  I grew up dreaming of a white ball gown and I ended up falling in love with an ivory mermaid gown!  I had to see it in the pictures to recognize how gorgeous it was.  I was worried I would have second thoughts about it once I got home, but I fall in love with it even more each day.

dress pic.jpg            Lots more to come...


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Welcome dinner Dress:

Found this gem at Macyâ€s.  Love love love it J

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Something borrowed, blue, old and new:

For my something borrowed I will wear my Momâ€s pearls.  My Mom is my best friend and an amazing role model.  I feel honored to wear her pearls when I marry my best friend, sort of like a hug that will last all day!


For my something blue I have a WVU garter belt (blue and gold)- Go Mountaineers! 


Iâ€m really excited about my something old.  Itâ€s a magic hankie that my Mom received at her baby shower for me.  I wore it home from the hospital when I was born.  You take a stitch out and the bonnet becomes a wedding day handkerchief.  Thereâ€s a really sweet poem that is with it and I canâ€t ever read it without crying.  This is one handkerchief that will be put to good use! 


There are way too many new things to mention, so Iâ€ll just go with my dress J



Cake Topper:

Our resort is pretty weird when it comes to their wedding cakes.  They base the size of it on the number of guests you have, but even if youâ€re willing to pay they wonâ€t upgrade it.  They will only do the basic vanilla or chocolate with either strawberry or banana filling.  Anyway, we are having less than 20 guests, so the cake will be small.  I couldnâ€t have some big topper taking over the entire cake so I was thrilled when I found this on etsy (seller: Garden4Arts)!  We chose the colors and they customized it with our theme and initials.

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OOT Bags:

I totally wasnâ€t going to do these.  I made brochures on vista and was just going to send those before everyone left.  That sort of snow balled in the past few weeks and now I have mini OOT Bags. All of my guests are arriving in PC before us, so I canâ€t have them waiting for them at the hotel.  I priced having them shipped there and that wasnâ€t going to happen, so I will send them out before we leave and guests can take them. 


Flip flop playing cards

Waterproof room key/money holder with led keychain

Beach ball

First aid kit (band aids, tums, immodium, Tylenol, alcohol wipes)

Hand sanitizer

Welcome brochure

DIY bookmarks


Pen and notepad



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I also gave my MOH a larger version of the OOT bags as her MOH present (also included a Coach clutch):

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Iâ€m wearing my Momâ€s pearl necklace as my something borrowed.  I got my earrings from ebay, they are pearl and larimar.  Larimar is found only in the Dominican, so I really wanted to incorporate it somewhere in my jewelry.  I also have a 3 strand pearl bracelet from JCPenny. 



My bouquet will be ivory and fuchsia roses, boutonnieres are ivory roses and MOH bouquet is a mini version of mine.


Our ceremony is at 1pm (booo) and we are having a cocktail hour at 2:30.  We are doing the included dinner at the steakhouse at 6:30.  We will go back to the gazebo after dinner for our first dance and the father/daughter dance. 



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For our centerpieces I found $1 bamboo placemats in the dollar bin at Michaels.  Vases are from Michaels and dollar tree.  Waterproof LED lights from Michaels and flowers from Michaels.  I found this stuff (no clue what its called) to fill the vases at Michaels that is basically dehydrated cracked ice looking stuff.  Itâ€s perfect for DW because it weighs a few grams.  It comes in a small packet and you pour hot water over them and it makes 2 ½ gallons worth of this ice looking stuff!  You can fill a vase with the ice stuff and then it will hold anything in place within the vase (so everything doesnâ€t fall to the bottom).  You pour some water over it and you canâ€t even see them, and it looks like things are suspended in the water.  I hope I didnâ€t completely confuse you there.  The ice looking stuff only cost $2-3, so itâ€s worth a try and saved me big on packing.


Still more to come...

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bdw 037.JPGbdw 044.JPGGot the fans and starfish from oriental trading and my mom made these for the ceremony.  Hanger is from an etsy seller, but i apologize i can't remember who...





Ceremony shoes, shoes for after ceremony (DIY'd by my mom), and WVU garter

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Honeymoon outfits and bathing suits:


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Well i believe that's about it!  THANK YOU sooo much to Tammy and everyone for this amazing site!  my wedding wouldn't have been half as amazing without you.  thank you to everyone on here for all of your awesome ideas and honest feedback.  i'm definately going to be in bdw withdrawal for a while :(  


I have all the templates from everything on here.  PM me if you would like anything.  you need to leave me your email address in the PM though because i cannot post on here unless i'm at my parents house.


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Can you share the prices on your vases and how you transported them there?  I will be getting married at the Majestic Colonial in February and am so please to have found a majestic brides planning thread! Looking forward to your other posts!

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How did your maid of honor like the Victoria's Secret beach line of the products you got her? I was thinking about giving my girls their tan extender as part of their gift!!

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Great planning thread!!! I am in love with your cake topper!!

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