So it is officially my turn to do my planning thread, where has the time gone? It seems like it was just yesterday and I had a year to go! I am currently on our first flight to Miami, so I am having issues trying to attach pictures, I will go back and add them later, but you can ready about the details and ask questions. Sorry about the lack of photos, the wi-fi on the plane isn't that strong. Anyway, here goes nothing.
Ben and I met in 2003 at work through a friend we had in common, it was a quick hello in passing. It was a chance meeting, nothing more nothing less. Fast forward to 2010, and we crossed paths again at work through a different mutual friend. Ben lives in my hometown, DC, and I live in NY so I was home for a visit. This time the three of us went out to lunch, but I had just gotten out of a pretty bad break-up situation so I wasnâ€™t looking for a guy in my life at all! A week after lunch Ben started emailing me very randomly. I didnâ€™t think anything of it and went with the flow. Over time he grew on me and before I knew it, we were making plans to go on a date the next time I went home to visit. Our first date was nice and everything took off from there. Fast forward again to March 31st, 2012 and I was home again for the weekend. He was especially annoying that morning, I was down there for a laundry list of items that I needed to take care of that weekend and he was just being so clingy. As we are laying in bed and I was going over my To Do list that morning, he taps me on the shoulder and shoves the ring in my face. I proceeded to smack his hand away from my face, luckily the ring didnâ€™t go flying across the room! He said some stuff that I really donâ€™t remember and I said Yes!
A few months prior to his proposal, he asked me what types of rings I liked. I sent him a few pictures and gave him an idea, but said that Iâ€™m not picky as long as I donâ€™t need a magnifying glass to see the diamond! He did very well! He purchased the main diamond in my ring on a trip to Africa, and the surrounding diamonds came from his motherâ€™s ring that was given to her by her mother. He worked with a jeweler and they designed the ring and I was totally surprised and pleased! I had the date of our engagement engraved on the inside of the ring as well. We of course had to go back to the jeweler and design a band to coordinate with the ring.
DECIDING ON A DESTINATION WEDDING
We quickly decided to have a destination wedding due to a number of reasons. The main reason being cost! We are paying for the wedding ourselves and needed to be cost effective. After much deliberation about where to have the wedding, we settled on Turks & Caicos. Benâ€™s requirements were â€œNo Spanish speaking countryâ€ because he doesnâ€™t speak Spanish at all! My requirement was that we picked a place that we had either been together, or neither of us had ever been. Weâ€™ve been to some pretty exotic places due to work, so that was cost prohibitive and we didnâ€™t want to go to Hawaii. Turks & Caicos was a place I had always dreamed about going and knew would be beautiful, so he said letâ€™s do it. We needed to choose a family friendly resort, as he has a 9 year old son and we could not imagine going someplace without him or where he would be bored. Beaches was the best of both worlds for us! The website and all of the reviews for Beaches T&C sealed the deal.
Iâ€™m kind of a preppy meets athletic meets secretly wanting to be a vixen girl! I had to figure out a way to incorporate all of those things into the wedding colors. I didnâ€™t want to choose all girly type colors because thatâ€™s just not me. I have come to accept and admit the fact that I really like the color pink! (How girly is that?) So I allowed him one color choice and he said blue. I settled on navy blue and a fuschia/hot pink type of color combination.
This has been the worst part of this entire DW experience. Initially I could not find a travel agent and was asking around to everyone that I knew. No one had recommendations. I tried going to Liberty Travel and inquired with them, but I was told that it was too soon for them to organize anything and put together packages for potential guests since airfare wasnâ€™t available for June 2013 yet. This was the month of April 2012! I gave up on them. Then my mom got a recommendation from a friend of a friend. She and I spoke and I just went along with her because she seemed pretty knowledgeable at the time. By nature, I still always do my own research so when I ask questions, I like to feel confident that I am getting an honest answer. Well I should have seen the warning flags from the very beginning. There have been many problems with this agent, but I will save that for a different post.
So my husband to be came to me like a week after being engaged and informed me that he had 3 groomsmen! I had not even thought about bridesmaids so I had to get busy! I wanted to keep things small, since he and I are both only children and have been adopted by so many friends who are like family. So we settled on 3 groomsmen, 3 bridesmaids, 1 ring bearer (his son) and a flower girl. It was at that point that I discovered Etsy! I started seeing the â€œWill you be my Bridesmaidâ€ cards, passport invitations, etc. I was searching google and found Allurements by Rebecca. She was the best thing that could have happened to me. Rebecca introduced me to BDW and the whole wealth of information contained here! I ordered my â€œWill You be My Bridesmaid/Flower Girlâ€ cards from her. When I saw the cards, I also found a link to Bridesmaid Wines. All of my girls are wine drinkers so I ordered a bottle of wine to go with each card (except the flower girl of course!)
SAVE THE DATES
I knew that I wanted to do something cute, but out of the ordinary for the save the dates. I had a ton of save the date magnets from other people, and I really didnâ€™t want to do that. I decided that we would have Passport Save the Dates. Rebecca was great to work with, and it was nice because sheâ€™s based in NYC just like me. We met a couple of times during lunch to go over details, and we went through a lot of emails back and forth. The Save the dates came back and they were AMAZING! Rebecca even gave me a great presentation idea for them. The travel agent that we used created a flyer for the wedding guests and I wanted to mail that out with each passport, so we packaged everything very nicely in coordinating envelopes and ribbon. All of our family and friends that received them were so impressed and excited! In the end we ordered about 150 passports from Rebecca! Everyone kept them on their refrigerators and liked the passport because it reminded them to take care of that.
Once again, Rebecca saved the day! I was trying to design our monogram myself because I figured it was easy and cheaper. Well, there were many late nights and long days at work spent on this. I gave up and went with Rebecca. She saved the day and really came through. We both loved it and I vowed that I would slap that sucker on everything that I could! I have made cards, stickers, books, etc with the monogram so that we would get our moneyâ€™s worth!
So after browsing, perusing, and flat out stalking other peopleâ€™s wedding websites, I went with www.weddingwindow.com for our website. It was very customizable and offered great options. I did pay the additional fee to have more functionality, but I think it was worth it. I t took me about a week of working midnight shifts to get the website complete, but it was fun! Our website is www.future-mr-and-mrs-blocker.com if you want to check it out.
This was my one area that I knew would be a total splurge. Iâ€™ve been a fan of Ross Oscar Knight Photography for years. Heâ€™s based in Atlanta, therefore Iâ€™ve followed his work online forever. I always told myself that when it was my turn to get married, he would be the photographer. Well I relayed this to the fianc©e and he agreed. Although it has cost us a good bit of our budget to book Ross and pay for his accommodations, heâ€™s so worth it! He happened to have a business trip to NYC last June so we were able to do our engagement photos in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. We had a blast and Ross was so cool! There were so many nice shots to choose from after that we had a really hard time deciding. I canâ€™t wait for the wedding!
His website is www.rossoscarknight.com
Many of the Sandals/Beaches brides know that they have the Martha Stewart weddings packages. Initially we were going to do the Seaside Serenade package because I really like the seashell theme for the beach. Well as things moved along and we got more RSVPâ€™s, I decided that the package was not cost effective! We are going with the Beautiful Beginnings package and customizing some aspects. Namely, we will be bringing our own table d©cor, creating our own menuâ€™s and escort cards, and upgrading my bouquet.
DRESS AND SHOE SHOPPING
Sooooo, my dear mother really wanted to go to Kleinfeldâ€™s because of Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. I am the anti-dress girl so it was a struggle to get me to buy and browse through bridal magazines. They are all so overwhelming! Anyway, I made an appointment at Kleinfeldâ€™s, and 3 other bridal salons all on the same day. I was determined to find a dress that day, namely because at the time work was so busy and I was traveling an insane amount of time last year. I never expected to find a dress in the very first store we went to, but I found a lovely Pnina Tornae in Kleinfeldâ€™s that morning and I said yes! We did keep the other appointments that day, just in case I found something else, but I knew that it was the one. I canâ€™t post a picture of the dress yet, he may stumble across this on my computer! Sorry ladies.
I told you that I secretly want to be a vixen, so my shoes had to be hot! I love shoes, although I NEVER get to wear heels. I was on a mission to find a nice pair of heels that would be my splurge, and I found them. They are Giuseppe Zannotti and I got them on clearance on Zappos Coutoure, although the clearance price is still the price I would pay for 5 pairs of my regular shoes! I ordered them in ivory (the only color they come in) and took them to a shoe store recommended on Park Avenue to get them dyed. I thought I would walk in ask them to dye the shoes navy, who knew there were so many shades and variations of navy blue? I had no color swatches so I took a deep breath and picked a shade. They came out PERFECT!
I have some really great friends, and they have been painting seashells for me for the past couple of months! They are attending the wedding and will be transporting the seashells to T&C as well for me. They have sent me photos of the work in progress, and I have had one opportunity to see them in person and they are great! In addition, every table will have navy blue table runners and hot pink personalized votive holders. Iâ€™m still working on the table numbers, but I think they will be simple. That is still TBD at this point.
Everything will be held outside so I donâ€™t think we need lots of d©cor. We will not be getting married on the sand, I need to wear my million dollar shoes as much as possible and the sand makes that impossible. We will have the ceremony on a gazebo overlooking the ocean, and the reception will be outdoors as well.
These were a true labor of love involving many, many, many long nights. I drew a lot of inspiration from here and Etsy and came up with something in the middle. We wanted a more traditional invitation so that our parents would have something that they could keep. I didnâ€™t want to use a starfish as a main theme since it seems so common and Iâ€™m always trying to be slightly different. We went with a sand dollar and I ordered bulk from an eBay seller, I will have to check that name. But they all cam well packaged and none were broke. I ordered 150! I also sat and wrote on all 150 with a silver sharpie, talk about tired hands! I designed our inserts with Ecrandal Studios on Etsy (they were very nice to work with), bought the enclosures from, and had the printing done by Paper Presentation. The sand dollars were purchased on eBay and the shipping boxes were purchased from ULine. All of the backings for the invitation inserts were measured and cut by me and my paper cutter. The filler in the invitation boxes was purchased from Paper Presentation and Michaels. The custom stamps were purchased on www.zazzle.com. Shipping on these invites were over the budget that I mentally set, caught me by surprise for sure! I got lucky because a good friend of mine got married 2 years ago and still had a TON of postage left over from her wedding, she just gave me all of her stamps. Said she wasnâ€™t going to use them for anything, she pays everything online anyway. It was a tremendous help and I am eternally grateful to her for that. The post office clerks were on a first name basis with me by the time I got through mailing all of those bad boys.
So as soon as we settled on a location and a date, I started shopping for OOT bags and items. I kind of forgot/lost track of what I purchased at one point. However, I created a spreadsheet that showed me exactly how much I was spending. I immediately started guessing on the number of people that would attend the wedding, we sent 150 Save the Dates and formal Invitations. I estimated 75 people and we have 82 total! Not too bad, and I always bought extra of everything. We will have 15 children and 67 adults. I had a lot of fun purchasing things, I must admit!
I will just list out everything that is associated with the bags, itâ€™s just easier.
Pink jute tote bags â€“ Women (www.discountmugs.com)
Blue drawstring backpacks â€“ Men and Children (www.4allpromos.com)
Character drawstring backpacks for the young children (local discount store in NYC)
Pashminas â€“ local retailer in NYC, canâ€™t remember where exactly as it was a random purchase
Journals â€“ for the ladies (Michaels Dollar Bin)
Note Pads & Pens â€“ Vistaprint
Acrylic Tumblers â€“ Dollar Tree (special ordered from the store directly)
Foldable Water bottles â€“ www.4allpromos.com
Pencil Cases, Pencils, Journals, Crayons & Coloring pencils â€“ for the kids depending on their age (Staples & Target during the back to school sales in August) most items purchased for $0.25/each!
Coloring Rolls â€“ various characters for boys & girls (Michaels)
Sunglasses â€“ for the little kids (Target)
Gatorade Packets â€“ clearance section (Target)
Hangover Shots â€“ Groupon deal!
Advil/Alka Seltzer/Trident Gum/Antihistamine Tablets/Anti-Diarrhea Tablets/Breath Strips/Antibiotic Cream â€“ Dollar Tree
Hand Sanitizer & Carrier/Candles â€“ Bath & Body Works end of season clearance sale
Personalized Matches â€“ www.theknot.com
First-Aid Kits/Nail Clippers/Sunscreen/Childrenâ€™s body wash/Nail Files/Nail Polish Remover Wipes/Glasses Wipes/Emergen-C/Peptobismol â€“Walmart
Personalized Lip Balm â€“ blank lip balm from www.bulkapothecary.com
Bug Repellant Wipes â€“ REI
Welcome Folder â€“ folder purchased at Paper Presentation (www.paperpresentation.com) but I went to the store and found them on clearance
Welcome Letter â€“ Vistaprint
All other info letters â€“ designed based on info received from other BDW brides and printed at home and at work
Groomsmen T-Shirts â€“ Vistaprint
I will pick back up when I have downloaded the pictures! I forgot to take pics of the womenâ€™s bags before be packed everything up.
More to comeâ€¦.