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Saying "Yes, Yes, Yes, Oh Yesh!" to the Dress

Feburary 4, 2012


I know everyone woman waits for that moment where she finds “thee dress†I canâ€t even begin to explain to you my excitment when I found m dress. I discovered these dresses while googling before I knew they were designed Jim Hjelm and my thought process went a little like this: 

8763_x1.jpg?w=640 Classy /Jim Hjelm 8763 Source 8011.jpg?w=640

Pretty / Jim Hjelm 8011 Source 8859_x1.jpg?w=640&h=426

Yes /Jim Hjelm 8859  Source


Yes/Jim Hjelm 8800  Source


Oh, Oh /Jim Hjelm 8801   Source


Oh, Yesh! / Jim Hjelm 8904 Source

I know, Iâ€m so inappropriate. But it really was climactic experience! It did a good job meeting the requirments on my list: 1. It was modest from the front and daring in the back  2. It had the lace I had fallen for, but did not look cheap or old lady-like 3. I would have to have it hemmed so it didnâ€t drag in the sand, but otherwise it wasnâ€t big and poufy so I could wear it all day 4. affordable…uh…well I have to do a lot of searching to find the designer and when I did there are no prices on the website. That usually means expensive. After some more googling (Isnâ€t google the best thing ever) I found out itâ€s about $3,500 for the dress. Used. Ouch.

I looked some more for a less expensive alternative and didnâ€t find anything I could be happy with. Then I found a Dessy bridesmaids dress that had the feel of the other dress and I didnâ€t have to worry about the sand.



I ended up deciding it was better suited as a reception dress because I was determined to have that dress. I showed everyone who would look that dress and they agreed it was beautiful as well. Because Iâ€m so persistent I didnâ€t give up. I searched for a used dress. The ones I found had been sold, I even searched outside my size. Then I discovered the online chinese wedding dress frenzy. I could get a replica made for a lot less. It wouldnâ€t look exact and thatâ€s ok, I was just concerned about the quality of the lace but I could get a sample. The dresses that I saw ladies getting for $100 – $300 excited me but did not apply. It turns out they wanted about $1,000 to make this beauty. Thatâ€s a lot for something I donâ€t see before buying and isnâ€t exactly what I want.

So with other pretty things for me to focus on, I put the great dress hunt on the shelf.  Have you gotten frustrated you canâ€t afford something and didnâ€t want to choose an alternative?

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Wedding Dreams Crushed (and Diverted)

February 9, 2012



Iâ€m sure youâ€ve heard “I canâ€t afford my own taste†or “Champagne taste, Beer Budget†Iâ€m that girl. I really consider myself thrifty and I donâ€t believe I have expensive taste. Iâ€m the girl who wonâ€t buy an article of clothing for more than $60 or jewelry for more than $15. But when it comes to weddings, I have expensive taste. Iâ€ve had this conversation with Raoul many times, him trying to tell me Iâ€m asking for a lot right now and Iâ€m trying to say itâ€s my first and only wedding and I deserve it and him saying he wants me to have my dream wedding but I have to decide if I want to marry him or impress everyone. The conversation always ends with me get my feelings hurt and feeling like an awful person. I was willing to budge on almost everything.

 That Jim Heljm dress Iâ€ve had on my desktop for ever so I could show everyone – I can live without.



A big, fresh bouquets of sweet smelling peonies and lush centerpieces that make the place smell like a fairy land. I can live without.



Fireworks at the end of the night and us making our exit in a hot air balloon inspired by a scene on Mont Cristo I saw when I was 12? Ok, I knew this was a stretch but I can live without it too.



There are seriously a ton of things Iâ€ve lusted after thanks to wedding porn but I will live without. Thatâ€s why I felt I was being fair in asking for one thing. My perfect venue. As a designer itâ€s very difficult for me to find a space I absolutely love. Even my own home gets criticized, although mainly because I canâ€t afford to do it the way it should be done.  When R and I first started talking about marriage I knew it would be in Bahamas even though he was willing to have his family come to the states for the sake of my families†budget. But being the beach girl that I am, I knew the yucky beach in Virginia would be nothing compared to the beautiful beach is Bahamas. After my first cruise I refuse to let water thatâ€s not clear go higher than my calves so I couldnâ€t imagine having a trash the dress session there. So since I knew it would be Bahamas and I was stuck in Virginia for a long time, this impatient girl took to the internet so I could have a picture to go with my wedding day dreams. I discovered a destination wedding blog that I became addicted to and by way of a few ladies weddings started seeing venues but none that interested me. I really donâ€t remember how I stumbled across it but one day I found “itâ€

The perfect venue. Beach Club Café.


The outside patio in the evening / Source


The view walking in / Source


The view from the water / Source


The indoor dining area / Source


Another view of the indoor dining area / Source

I mentioned it to R but secretly obsessed over it for the next few months. On my next visit to Bahamas I stayed with friends of Râ€s who lived in Sandyport, directly across the street from – you guessed it Beach Club. I was pretty excited to see it from the outside as we went to the beach and disappointed to find out that because I had gone during Easter and the surrounding holidays, it was closed most of the time. On Monday before leaving I convinced R to stop by even though they were closed and the gentleman let us take a look around. I was able to take some pictures and fall even more in love. This place reflects my personal style so much. Itâ€s neutral, with rustic décor and has beach chic accents. Having a wedding here would mean no need for décor. Itâ€s absolutely perfect. The gentleman told us it would be $6,000 to rent the place out and we could use them as a caterer or bring in our own to save money. I hung my head because I knew the possibilities but you donâ€t turn your back on your first love. At least you shouldnâ€t.


Outside Patio Source



The covered patio, you can see Raoul looking around (Personal Photo)


The view of the water and pier from the patio (Personal Photo)

A few weeks later my mother visited the island and R took her to have lunch at Beach Club, while impressed with the atmosphere they werenâ€t impressed by the overpriced food. They spent $40 for two beers and a small pizza they split. But my mother talked to the owner who remembered me and told her we could also rent the restaurant out for half a day for $3,500. R said it was a possibility and I had my dream once again.

Fast forward to months later when weâ€re getting serious about this wedding talk. I realized with R just coming out of the off season and me just starting a job after being unemployed for most of the year that were a long way off from saving for this wedding. Especially since my car died and Iâ€m looking at getting a car payment which I havenâ€t had in years and I still would like to have a reception in Virginia. So I put on my big girl panties and realized Iâ€d rather end this long distance relationship and marry him sooner than wait until we save enough money for my dream wedding. The daydreams of seeing him when I get off work, us having dinner together and waking up next to each other were far more important than that gorgeous perfect dream wedding. We would still have a beautiful wedding because I would still put my heart into it and we would be surrounded by our family and friends celebrating whatâ€s most important –us uniting our lives. I accepted I donâ€t get everything I want and the hunt for a venue began. Again.

Did you have a hard time giving up something for your wedding day?

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Thanks so much! I appreciate that other BDW brides like them with all the amazing things we see around here.

Originally Posted by Islander88 View Post

wow i loooove your ideas! congrats and god luck with all your planning. i look forward to seeing your creations!


Makes me feel very good coming from you! I can't believe you had the energy to do a project every night after work!


Originally Posted by futuremrstgun View Post

Your thread is sooooo much fun!!! Very well put together!!! Love the STDs and the goodies!!! Bravo!!! Bravo!!! BRAVO!!! Happy planning!!! R~


Thank-you for taking the time to read and commenting to let me know you liked it!


Originally Posted by JustNoelle View Post

Love your BLOG!! Congratulations & Happy Planning!!!!



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A place to call Our Own

February 10, 2012


I believe the spot where you are married becomes a part of you for the rest of your life. Iâ€m all for making memories and I really wanted a memorable place that we could go back and visit and remember where we became husband and wife in front of our family and friends. I had continued with the online search after Beach Blub Cafe was out of the question. Many of the women I found online had been married at hotels like Atlantis, Wyndham, Sheraton, Breezes and RIU Palace (to name a few). Atlantis was out for sure because I was not a fan of their overpriced Las Vegas style resort. It was grand but to me it was not beautiful and tranquil. As far as the other hotels they had beautiful views but the beaches were crowded and I was not a fan of being surrounded by the people and the pool. Raoul and I attended an indoor wedding in the Sheraton which was pretty. That couple was from Nassau so they saw the beach all the time but I knew if I was getting married in the Bahamas it HAD to be outdoors.

Right next door to the Beach Club I remembered another restaurant I had visited in April called The Poop Deck. poop20deck1.jpg?w=640


I had heard about this place before on a forum where other woman talked about how they had to call it something else because they didnâ€t want that on their invitations. Because there were two locations they just called it by where it is, Sandyport on the Beach. I on the other hand am entertained by the word poop and since I love contrast, what better contrast than the word poop with elegant lacey invitations! I contacted the restaurant through their website and was put in touch with their wedding planner Anna Marie. She and her assistant were very sweet and helpful and promptly sent me their menus. The least expensive option was about $30 per person and cheaper than the $40 plate at Beach Club. I shared them with Raoul and he was excited about it. His friends had showed me around there and they talked about how they will often have baby showers and what not there because they liked the food. I was told the menu was more American than Bahamian but heard nothing but good things about the place.


The outiside patio / Source

I tried hard to find pictures of weddings there because I remembered I was not crazy about the interior décor but was told we could have everything outside. Since I only peeked outside I couldnâ€t picture it and there was not much insight on their website.









I managed to find one wedding and while you couldnâ€t see much I knew I was not a fan of the umbrellas with Heineken plastered on them.









I was anxious but I had no choice but to wait until I went to Nassau in December to see it again with a brideâ€s perspective. If you remember Raoul took me venue shopping before he put a ring on it. This was one of the first places we visited. The staff was friendly and the owner showed us some pictures of weddings on his laptop. I really hated the green plastic chairs they had outside so I knew I would have to rent chairs for sure.  The beach was nice and the patio area large. When I came back outside to take pictures after talking to the owner, it had started raining and the guests had to move their tables as close as they could to the wall to keep from getting wet. I took a few pictures.


I snapped this picture inside the dining room / Personal Photo


Outside Patio. See the green plastic chairs? / Personal Photo



This area was around the corner on the patio, I liked that there was a lot of covered space / Personal Photo


At the corner of the patio and that open space is the outside bar / Personal Photo


View from the patio to the open area which is commonly used for the dance floor / Personal Photo


There is a large enough area for dancing or for setting up outdoor seating / Personal Photo


From the patio you go over that little bridge to get to the beach/ Personal Photo

When we left we were pretty sure that this was our least expensive option and where we would probably have the wedding. Deep down it really hurt me that I would have a nice view of Beach Club where I really wanted to be and Raoul made it better by suggesting we still have dinner there with our close family. I love that man. I had looked up a few more places online so we were off to do some more site visits.

Did you find your venue right away or was it a journey?



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That Ugly Horrible Word

February 16, 2012


Iâ€ve talked about not being able to afford the dress I want or the venu I fell in love with but I havenâ€t talked about the budget yet.I was really hoping to get through this whole process without bring it up. I hate talking about budgets, especially when I donâ€t have the money I would like to. I think itâ€s an ugly, horrible word that shouldnâ€t be spoken but I donâ€t think Iâ€ll have a choice. A wedding revolves around the budget. Raoul and I managed to avoid wedding stress and arguing until the budget came into discussion.

Since I was laid off from my high paying job early on in our relationship I knew our wedding would be a “budget weddingâ€. Iâ€m not one to be concerned with my own budget and during my research I just searched for best prices as Iâ€m a thrifty shopper. I never thought to start saving or make a plan how to pay for all of this. When we started getting serious about wedding talk I played around with a budget in wedding wire adding the things that were most important to me, like pictures, videography and favors. I was at $9,000. Ouch. The numbers were higher than expected mainly because I had to have Super 8 video and I wanted to spend money on the guests transportation to and from the wedding site (since they were going all the way to The Bahamas). Raoul took one look and dismissed it as I was not really serious.

We didnâ€t talk much about the budget till I had come home with the ring and I persisted. Once I got into his mind I discovered he wanted a $2,000 wedding. I understood his reasons for wanting to focus on the marriage and not the wedding. He had no idea I had spent about $1,000 on things I had been collecting, but it was important to me to be able to pay the rent when we got home. We also had to consider we would be paying a couple thousand to move him to the states and get him residency. I tried tweaking the budget to $4,000 to compromise. I was unhappy. I felt like I was losing my dreams. After three weeks of arguing discussing how much we would spend we settled on $3,000 for the wedding (I added another $1,000 to that because I knew my mother and grandmother would help out). I still wasnâ€t happy with this number but I was determined to make it work. I was still able to have my beloved shopping trips to the thrift stores to get goodies to use for the wedding and splurge on supplies for DIY ideas I found online. Then it came time to start making car payments for the first time in my adult life. Ouch. I was depressed for a few days because I knew this was life changing (aka killing my shopping sprees)



Once again Raoul helped adjust my thinking. He helped me to appreciate that as a designer I was used to dealing with 8 and 10 million dollar budgets and I also had budgets that were $100,000 and for my clients I learned to make it appear it was million dollar project. He showed me the opportunity to do it again.  I donâ€t plan for my wedding to look like it was thrown together with little money and I hope by doing that I can help other women feel they can have a beautiful dream wedding even if they donâ€t have the finances. I was one of those women who got frustrated seeing everything she canâ€t have and feels like their wedding isnâ€t “good enoughâ€. The “good enough†is relative. If it wasnâ€t for all the wedding porn Iâ€ve filled my head with over the past year I think I would be a much happier and less stressed girl right now.  Like real porn, it starts with a little viewing and then youâ€re addicted looking at images any chance you can get, neglecting responsibilities. And like real porn once those images get in your head, the damage is already done because you canâ€t get them out – and your reality is not good enough.

Another bad influence in my poor little head is: my family. They want the best for me and want me to marry someone who can give me my dream wedding. Iâ€ve learned to be careful what I share with Ra what they say because it only causes big problems in our relationship. I know they mean well but I fell in love with a guy that doesnâ€t have much money and thatâ€s ok for me. I donâ€t think it means our marriage is doomed I think it means we will have problems like everyone else. They donâ€t want me to go into the situation knowing that itâ€s going to be hard. With him moving here and having to get a green card, then find a job I know that itâ€s going to be stressful. Do they expect me to sit around and wait for a sugar daddy? Iâ€m honestly envious of people who can afford to have a $10,000 wedding right now, but I donâ€t think they will have better weddings or marriages than the couple with the $100 wedding.

I found this wonderful website called The Budget Savvy Bride and after a Saturday afternoon of browsing (positive and realistic wedding porn) I felt much better. I saw beautiful weddings for $6,000 and less and I was ready to tackle this challenge. You can search by the budget and find great inspiration. So two events for $4,000, and I feel if I focus on our love and not glitz itâ€s possible. I want an event that feels like family and friends supporting and celebrating the love we have between us. So the goal is to simplify and rely on the people who love us to be friendors to help make our wedding meaningful and memorable. Did talking about the budget cause arguments between you and your fiancé or you and your family?



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