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Njbride2014 Planning Thread Leblanc Spa Resort 9/13/14 Pic Heavy

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Well I'm now under 2 months until the big day and I thought that starting a planning journal will keep me organized and hopefully help some girls with wedding ideas.  I have tackled a lot of DIY projects, ordered a lot from Etsy and have used a lot of ideas from BDW past/future brides in the last 17 months since I got engaged and started my destination wedding journey.  This hasn't always been a fun experience but I know in the end it will all be worth it and we will have the wedding we dreamed of and worked so hard for.  



First let me start with how my fiance and I met.



My fiance and I met in the 4th grade, he was a new student who came from a private catholic school and sat right next me.  We became fast friends and were even in a play together.  After 4th grade he left public school I guess it wasn't for him lol and he went back to private catholic school for 5th grade.  Then in 6th grade he came back but we weren't friends anymore we had grown apart, we had new friends and drifted away. haha I like to tease him and say I wasn't cool enough for him anymore. We continued to go to school together throughout elementary school, middle school and high school as acquaintances but never really became close like in 4th grade.  We had totally different set of friends I was super involved with school, sports and after school activities and he was the total opposite only hanging out with his cool older brothers friends and very focused on cars and racing.  Funny story is that we actually went to the prom together in the same car his best friend was my date and we all went in my dates car to the prom so those prom pictures are hilarious I'm with my date and hes' right next to me with his date.  Fast forward to Junior year of college we both went to different school in different states he went to Penn State in PA and I went to Pace U in NYC.  This was the era of the aim instant message and I guess we were friends on aim and he messages me randomly asking me how I was doing and if I would be home for summer break, we are from NJ.  We spoke a couple of times and had planned to meet up at a local bar sometime during the summer.  When we were both back from school for summer break we ran into eachother at a bar and he made his move which was a shock to me because he is a very shy and quiet guy but that day he had courage, or maybe a couple drinks in him.  We became real close that summer talking everyday and hanging out all the time.  Then we had to go back to college for our senior year we still kept in contact throughout the whole year becoming closer and closer through instant message and seeing each other during holiday breaks.  We never said we were exclusive since he was in PA and I was in NYC but we knew that when we were home it was just us no one else.  After graduation we both moved back home and started our new jobs and that's when we made it official on my 22nd birthday.  We have been together ever since and can't believe we have known each other as long as we have.  We have now been together almost 8 years, have lived together 4 years and have 1 dog Linus together and I can't wait to marry my best friend.


I'm in the middle with my date and he's to the left of me with his date.....this is circa 2002 the girl next to me I also met in 4th grade and she is my best friend/bridesmaid. haha


Our Engagement

We got engaged on 12/20/2012      

Every year we try to go to NYC during the holidays to see all the lights and to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.  We have a picture from 6 years ago right in front of the tree and David thought it would be a good idea to take that same picture again.  I wasn't very excited about waiting on line to take another professional picture in front of the tree since we already had one.  When he suggested it I really didn't want to do it but I finally went along anyway and waited on the line.  The wait seemed to go on forever as the family in front of us took the opportunity to take about 100 pictures when you are only supposed to take a couple.  I didn't notice it at the time but David was definitely sweating it out waiting for the family to finally finish with their photo shoot.  It was finally our turn to go up for our picture and as the photographer is putting us in our positions I look down and David is on one knee.  Not realizing he was proposing I ask him what he is doing as he opened up the box.  I immediately start blushing and bawling like a baby as I'm am surprised/shocked and can't believe what's going on.  The photographer also didn't know what David had planned and started documenting the proposal and snapped us some good pictures.  Everyone around also realized what was going on and they started cheering and clapping for us.  After I said "yes" David tried to put the ring on my finger but being that it was winter time I had gloves on and didn't realize I still had them on and he couldn't put the ring on.  It was definitely a funny and romantic moment.  To celebrate we walked to Central Park and looked at all the christmas lights and we ended our night by having dinner and dessert at Serendipity.  It was a perfect night.    





Deciding On a Destination Wedding

My fiance and I are not really all about the big wedding and all the attention so we always knew we wanted a small intimate wedding with just our family and closest friends.  We chose our resort for many reasons, our wedding is at the All Inclusive Adults Only Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun, Mexico.  We fell in love with the resort back in 2009 when we went there on vacation, the service is impeccable, the decor is beautiful, the beach is very private, the food amazing and it just felt right.  It wasn't easy for everyone in the family to agree to come but after months of planning and giving people more information they came around and now we have 36 people booked and all staying at LeBlanc Spa.  LeBlanc was a great choice for us especially with the benefits you get if you book 75 nights.  We did reach the nights and now we are getting unlimited free events which helps with our welcome cocktail party, private rehearsal dinner and cocktail hour/2 hours of reception.  







Edited by NJBride2014

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Our Bridal Party

I have 5 bridesmaids my 3 sisters, my best friend and my aunt who I'm very close with (she's my moms youngest sister).

I originally had asked another friend who i've known since we were babies but she couldn't do it because she was planning on getting pregnant and now she is about a month away from giving birth.  It was sad and she definitely handled everything the wrong way by completely ignoring me and the card/gift I sent her but I'm over it now and we are ok I guess.  I'm not mad about her planning on getting pregnant it was just the way she ignored me for months and this was months before she even got pregnant.  But anyway it all worked out in the end. 


My fiance has 5 groomsmen his brother, and 4 really good friends.  He also originally asked his cousin to be in the wedding and he accepted but just a month ago told us he would not be able to take the time off so he had to drop out.  In the end my fiance asked another friend to fill in and to be honest he should have asked this friend from the beginning.  So again it all worked out in the end.   


We asked our bridal party to be in the wedding last July with personalized cards and I gave my girls a nice personalized bottle of wine. 

I found the template for my fiance's card I think on weddingchicks.com and my template on etsy and just personalized it to my colors.  I then printed them on snapfish.com and did the labels myself on wine label paper.  I think we spent around $60 bucks for everything that's including the wine bottles.





Edited by NJBride2014

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Bridal Party Continued

I also gave my bridesmaids this cute coin purse for Christmas to get them excited for the wedding and I also got myself one.  I found them on Amazon on sale for I think $40 each.  



For the bridesmaids dresses I found a great deal on Donna Morgan's website.  I went with my girls to the nearest Nordstrom to try on the dresses so we could pick styles and sizes and then ordered from Donna Morgan's website.  I ended up just buying the dresses for them and it will be part of their gift.  I got 5 dresses for $250.00 the girls will take care of their alterations.  At first I wanted to do coral dresses but couldn't find one's I liked so I changed my colors to champagne and then will have coral or turquoise jewelry to play up my wedding colors. 

These are the dresses they went with



2 Girls will wear this style.




I also bought these earrings on Etsy for the bridesmaids to wear for the wedding.  This is part of their gift that I will give them on that day.  I got 5 for $95.00 including shipping.




For the guys this is my inspiration except my groom will wear a tie.


My fiance found nice Kenneth Cole pants for the guys at Century 21 for $40 each and bought their pants again we are gifting them their outfit.  Now we are just on the hunt a nice affordable white button down shirts.


Edited by NJBride2014

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Your back story w your fiancé is sooo cute and the prom picture is hilarious!!


I can't wait to see how your wedding turns out! Love the bm dresses and I'm going to check out those earrings - my bm would really like the style.


Looking fwd to the rest of your planning journal :)

Edited by tygrrlily
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Such a great story!  So cute that you have known each other for so long, congrats!

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Congratulations, really good read.

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My Engagement Celebration

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These are pics after we got engaged and went home.  My grandpa serenaded my fiance and I with a nice spanish song.  He will also be playing us a song in Mexico.  I can't wait for him to perform and have it all on film.


Booking My Resort and Group Rates/Block

Picking the resort was easy since we always had LeBlanc in mind for our wedding but trying to get infomriton about how to go about booking and getting prices did take some work. I first contacted the resort in May of 2013 and inquired about their prices and wedding packages and that's when we decided we would like to visit the resort to meet with our planner and see things in person again.  We booked our site visit for Oct. 2013 and the we got a reduced price for our stay and the money we spent for the 3 day weekend will be credited back to our wedding fund.  I was happy I did my site visit as I got to meet my onsite wedding planner and really got to make some decisions about locations and decor.  We also got to do a food and cake tasting which was great for picking our dinner menu for our reception.  I didn't end up getting a room block through the resort as they were a little higher than I wanted my guests to spend.  At the same time I was becoming familiar with BDW and found they had travel agents that came highly recommended and reached out to Wendy Hicks from The Wright Tavel Agency.  She got me much better quotes than booking directly through the resort and with her my guests could pay over a year in payments.  She has been great to work with and definitely made the booking process for me and all my guests super easy.  I recommend booking through a travel agent you don't want to have to deal with booking all of your guests directly through the resort.  I still get all of my free events and perks even though I went through a travel agent.  My booking deadline has passed now and we have 40 confirmed guests which is the perfect number for me.


Booking Flights

I booked my flights about 10 months in advance and we are flying first class we got really great prices on our flight it came out to $700 each person.  We also get 2 check in bags each at 70 pounds which will come in handy for all our decor. We got a really good price since we booked it so far in advanced.  I highly recommend booking as early as possible to get the best price.  Also sign up for Kayak alerts to keep your guests in the know when prices drop, I would get alerts every morning and would tell my guests when the price went down and then they would buy their flights.  They really appreciated me letting them know.  


Money saving tips  

Ways I've been saving money here and there has been to 1. do a lot of DIY 2.  Long engagement to pay things throughout the year 3. Use a coupon whenever possible  4.  Open up an airline credit card, we have been using our United card for everything wedding related and have racked up so many points that we have enough for our honeymoon flight and hotel. 5.  I also do some surveys online and get amazon gift cards and get paid through pay pal (nice way to make extra cash for wedding)  6.  I also cleaned out my closet by selling clothes on Tradesy.com I've made over $1,000.00 in less than 8 months just selling clothes that have been sitting in my closet not being worn plus I get rid of clutter.  7.  Working a lot of overtime.  All these have helped me save for our wedding and helped us get everything we want and dreamed of without going into debt.  Its tough paying for a wedding with no help but you can make it happen just have to be smart.


Save the Dates

After securing the wedding date and room rates we sent out our save the dates in July of 2013.  I bought our STD on Magnetstreet.com and they came out really cute.  They were magnet save the dates and we sent them out about 14 months before the wedding.  They were about $110 with a coupon for 75 STD.




Wedding Invitations
Our invitations were also from magnetstreet.com and they were free we actually won a contest for free invitations and we saved about $400 on 75 invitations.  We don't really have a theme of the wedding but I really like the classic mexican tile look so that's what we went with and our wedding colors of turquoise, coral and champagne with touches of gold. The wedding invites were sent out in Feb. of 2014, 7 months before the wedding and right around tax time which helped a lot with people booking. lol  ;)








DIY Welcome Bags

For my welcome bags I wanted something that was nice and useful but not too expensive.  I was going to buy them on Etsy at first but knew I could get the same kind of bag I was looking at for much cheaper.  I ended up buying canvas bags from bagiva.com I bought 40 bags for $50 and my graphic artist brother in law made a design for me.  I bought iron on paper from Michaels with coupons for $30 and ironed on the design to the canvas bags.  The bags cost me $80 for 40 and now all my guests get a bag. 



For the hangover kits I bought most of my stuff from Sally's beauty supply in their travel section and used coupons for everything, they take bed bath and beyond coupons.  I also bought stuff at the dollar store and at target.


In the hangover kits I included gum, sunblock, aloe vera, shout wipes, band aids, tissues, moist napkins and advil.  I bought clear bags from the dollar store and used card stock to make the hangover tags and got the template from BDW and tweaked it a bit. Total for all the hangover kits it came out to $100 for all 40 kits. 


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I'm also putting door hangers that I made with extra cardstock in each bag, welcome letters and sunglasses.


Gifts for Bridal Party

For my bridesmaids I wanted to do the cool hangers with each person name on it but it was more than I wanted to spend for a hanger that was only going to be used for my wedding.  So I bought wood hangers from walmart for about $10 and then bought stickers for names and my wedding date from Etsy for about $30.  

I also wanted to do bridal party shirts but again they were more than I wanted to spend so I bought the shirts and then got iron on appliques from Etsy and made my own shirts. 

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I also bought my girls flip flops, emergency kits, etched shot glasses and jewelry boxes with their initials. The flip flops I bought on Amazon with my amazon gift card that I got from my surveys, emergency kits I bought over the blackfriday weekend with a coupon and the jewelry boxes I bought on sale from pottery barn and I used a gift card I also earned from my surveys.  All the gifts for the bridal party will be put in the welcome bags.  

pinch provisions

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For the guys my fiance got them leather catchalls with their initials also from pottery barn and on sale and we used a gift card I earned through my surveys.  In the catchalls we are putting shot glasses that I etched, nice razors and monogrammed cigar holders.  We are also putting flip flops in their welcome bags.


groomsmen gift



Edited by NJBride2014
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Engagement Photos 

When we went to on our site visit back in Oct. 2013 we decided we would also have an engagement session with the photographers we hired for our wedding.  Del Sol Photography was one of the vendors we fell in love with from the beginning and we knew we had to book them for our wedding.  It was great to do the engagement pictures and get comfortable together in front of the camera.  I'm super happy with how the photos came out and can't wait for them to do my wedding. 












Wedding Dress and Accessories

I have 3 dresses, yes 3 dresses but let me first say that I'm have two ceremonies.  I'm getting married at home first in the church my fiance and I both grew up in.  I didn't want to use the same dress that I'm using in Cancun so I bought a dress for the church ceremony.  I also have a 2nd dress for my Cancun wedding for the after party which is more of a fun short dress. 


The dress for the church ceremony was a good deal and perfect for what I wanted.  A nice simple dress that was still bridal.  It's an Adriana Papell dress that I found at Macy's randomly and it just happened to be my size.  With a coupon it came out to $140.00.

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My Wedding Dress I bought at my local bridal shop and fell in love with it when I tried it on.  I just knew it was the one.  I got lucky I only went to one store and only tried on 4 dresses.  It was meant to be.  I bought the dress at a trunk show so I did get a little bit of a discount.  My dress is a Pronovias 2014 Land and was about $1,500.00, my budget was under $2,000.00 so I was glad I stayed under. I also bought a belt that reminded me of seashells and the beach. My veil and headpiece also came from the same bridal shop. 


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The party dress I bought at a grab the gown event at Loheman's and it was actually the first dress I bought.  It was on sale for $200.00 and I'll probably sell it afterwards.  It was fun and flirty and cute and just reminded me of Mexico.  My fiance has no idea I bought it. 




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