I want to start like everyone else and thank all the amazing brides on here who have shared their ideas and inspirations. My wedding wouldn't be what it is without this forum.
Here it goesâ€¦
How we met
We officially met at a party in high school. It was a brief meeting, but one we both remember. Flash forward two years and I got an MSN e-mail saying that Dave wanted to talk to talk to me on MSN. I thought, what the heck, and accepted. He was online as I accepted the invitation and we started talking. We were from the same small town and had common friends. We actually we both talking to the same person on MSN at that time as well. So I grilled my friend about him, found out he was a good guy and agreed to meet, a double date, me and my bff (former, but that's way too long of a story) and he and his bff. And the rest is history. We have been inseparable since that night. Moved in together two years later and bought our first house four years after that. And on July 3, 2010, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Algonquin Park has always been a special place to me. I have been going there since I was a child and my family has history there. So our first summer together, I took Dave on a camping trip to Algonquin and we have gone back at least once a year since then. We had gone to my parents house in Parry Sound for Canada Day, which was a Thursday. We watched the fireworks at the docks, went to the farmers' market the next day and had a great time. We decided to leave on Saturday and head to our favourite place with our dog (we now have two). First place we stopped was Track and Tower trail since one of our favourite things to do in the park is go on the trails. Somehow I did not notice the big box sticking out of his pocket.
We got to a waterfall with a bridge over it and I took out my camera to take some photos. While I am snapping away, he is working up the nerve to ask me something.
I put my camera away and look over at him. He is crouching down with the dog, then he shifts onto one knee and pulls out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen.
He tells me I am his soulmate and asks me to be his wife. And then the funny story â€¦ as Algonquin is a famous tourist spot, of course we weren't alone on the trail. So shortly after the proposal, we are hugging on the bridge and someone taps Dave on the shoulder and sticks a camera in his face, " take our picture". At least we have a funny story to tell.
Of course, I said yes and that begins our planning.
The planning beginsâ€¦
We already knew we wanted a destination wedding, it is something we had talked about. We both always wanted to go to Costa Rica, but it was out of the running because my sister and her husband had just honeymooned there and he likes to make things all about him so we didn't want our wedding to be all about him.
So we looked into other places but never could agree. I would suggest a place and he would have a reason to hate it, he would suggest something and I would have a problem with it.
Finally one day he just said, let's do Costa Rica. Who cares about him, it's our day and it should be what we want.
And so we started looking at Costa Rica. We found Escape Villas online and fell in love with Casa de las Brisas, a very unique nine-bedroom home with spectacular ocean views. Here's a few pics, can't wait to see this place in person.
First DIY, message in a bottle invites + Monogram
This forum has been a Godsend! Ever since I came across a thread on message in a bottle invites, I knew I had to do have them. I scoped out so many different ones on here and decided to do the bottles along with passport information books and boarding pass reply cards.
The guests were so impressed with them and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. Thanks to all the previous brides who inspired me.
Second mail out
We sent out the invitations in October and in February sent out an update to everyone with the payment plan and more information on Manuel Antonio, the wedding, travel requirements and a packing list.
We also included luggage tags for everyone. Each person got their own unique luggage tag with a different Costa Rica animal print.
FInal mail out
With payment deadlines approaching I decided to send out a final mail out in August. I had already done passports, boarding passes and brochures so I wanted something different. I had came across Katrina's Wedding Update Brochure (http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/forum/thread/22236/katrina-s-wedding-update-brochure) and loved the layout of her newsletter so I decided to do something similar. I had a blast laying out this newsletter. I am going to miss all of my crazy DIY projects once this is all over because I had so much fun doing them. The newsletter included information on flights, the villa, payment timeline reminders and information on the area. I sent this out with print-yourself Spanish booklets.
The dress etc.
I am surprised it took me so long but I finally went dress shopping in October. Me, my mom, my MOH and bridesmaid headed out for a day of dress shopping. I had heard from some brides prior to my own experience that it can be exhausting and not as fun as it sounds but I loved it. I tried on so many beautiful dresses it was hard to choose. I fell in love with a dress at the first store, it was the last one I tried on there. But I wasn't done yet. I couldn't just pick a dress after one store. Especially since I hadn't tried on any dresses that resembled the ones I most liked in magazines. There was another bridal shop up the street so we headed there. I still wasn't finding what I was looking for. There were a lot of beautiful dress but nothing that screamed the one. Then my bridesmaid, who I had spent hours with going through magazines, saw it. She knew I wanted something with one strap with a flower resemblance and she found it. My mom's reaction to it on the hanger was "are you really going to try that on?" I came out and my mom loved it. My MOH had cried over the dress I loved at the other store and not this one. I was conflicted but didn't want to take the dress off and that's how I knew. I was disappointed that I didn't cry. And then later on I had doubts that maybe I should have chose the other dress. But when I went in for my first fitting I knew I made the right decision and cannot wait to walk down the aisle in it.
Originally I had wanted aqua coloured shoes but on a fluke, while flip flop shopping with my FMIL I found them. They were perfect. Right height and would match my dress perfectly.
Picture of the shoes
Since my dress has one shoulder strap, I can't really wear a necklace so I decided instead to focus on earrings and bracelets.
My bridesmaid bought me one at her . It was similar to one I tried on at the bridal shop with the dress and it looked gorgeous.
And my mom bought me earrings and a bracelet as well
My mom took me to a dress shop where she bought her dress for our wedding and I found it. After searching in stores and online I finally stumbled across a hair flower I felt comfortable with. I wasn't sure about online shopping because sometimes what you see isn't what you get and you couldn't beat the price on this hair fascinator $17!!!!! I will be carrying calla lilies so this piece will go beautifully with the my dress and bouquet.
I had seen dresses in the Sears catalogue a few times and thought they were cute, but I was skeptical. Finally, my MOH was just like, let me order one and we will see how it is, if we don't like it, no big deal we send it back. I am glad she finally convinced me because they were perfect and cheap. The first pic is the style, the second is the colour.
For their gifts my mom found starfish necklaces at a craft show she was at and I bought them earrings to go with it. No pics yet sorry.
The fiance HATES shopping, I mean hates. So getting him to agree to go to a mall took forever and when he finally agreed to go, summer clothes were almost all gone. We came across these nice shorts at RW & Co. that were 60% off making them $20 but didn't find any shirts so we put the shorts on hold and kept looking. At Banana Republic we found perfect shirts for the guys, but nothing for the fiance. I wanted him to have ivory to match my dress but who knew finding an off-white dress shirt for men would prove so difficult. We ended up finding a shirt similar to the groomsmen's but a lighter shade of blue. Total cost for fiance's outfit $31.75 plus tax â€¦. not too bad.
As I said, we found the guy's shirts at Banana Republic for around $50 â€¦. I feel bad that my fiance's shirt was so much less but what can you doâ€¦. We also plan on getting them the leather Reef sandals with the bottle opener on the bottom as their gift for being in the wedding party, which they will wear to the wedding.
This is how our ceremony setup will look
This is my bouquet inspiration. Bridesmaid's will be smaller versions with ivory flowers. Fiance will have a green boutineer and the groomsmen's will be ivory. Since I wanted something that my mom and FMIL could keep, I had these corsages made back home for them
Cake inspiration - originally I wanted something beachy with shells and starfish but then I came across this design and we both loved it, beachy but unique. WE are doing two square tiers with this design and flavours are banana cake with caramel and chocolate ganache, and lime zest cake with passionfruit, coconut rum buttercream and mango (my choice). We are dealing with Chelsea Brandeau at Mariposa Pastry in Manuel Antonio. She has been great to deal with. Message me for contact info.
Fans and programs
I found fans in our colour while shopping at Michaels and they were perfect. I was going to order raffia fans online, but after shipping and everything, it seemed it wasn't worth the price. These were on sale plus I had a 40% off coupon so I think they worked out to around $20 or so. I printed out tags to go on the fans and they will placed on the benches we are having at the ceremony. They say:
and a gentle breeze
are blessings that
make our hearts sing
(stole that from someone on here ... can't remember who but thanks) Will post pics when we get back.
My bridesmaid came across Martha Stewart paper decorations while looking for decorations for my bridal shower. She loved them and then thought, hey, they are flat and perfect to travel with. So she called me, we went to check them out and stocked up. Will post pics after.
My mom and my wedding party threw me a shower on July 24. They had a beach theme given the theme of the wedding. Everyone had a great time. Because we have lived together for more than five years we didn't really need stuff. We registered at Sears for a few things but asked for gift cards, which we mostly got. We used our RONA and Home Depot cards to renovate the stairway in the house we just bought, which is a century-old farm house. The stairs were horrible but now, thanks to the generosity of our friends and family we no longer have to cringe when we see them.
Stag & Doe
A lot of planning went into this!! I was super stressed leading up to it, but it was a lot of fun and we raised a good chunk of money. My FI was fed a little too many shots though and we ended up taking him to emerge. Luckily he didn't have alcohol poisoning but because they pumped him so full of IV he didn't feel dead the next day.
Well that is all for now. Wish me luck and I can't wait to share our pics and experience when we return.