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Hi everyone!  After months of lurking on here (and a few random posts) I'm officially ready to start my planning thread!  We're at T MINUS 10 MONTHS!

 

It looks like these things usually start with some background of us, so here it goes!

 

The Build Up:

 

Mr. and I met in college at a house party.  We're both very sarcastic people and we essentially gave each other shit the entire night...making fun of each others' majors, etc.  There was just something about the cute boy with the surfer hair, though, so I used what little info I had to facebook stalk him a couple days later.  It was easier back then when it was limited to college students!  We exchanged phone numbers and met up the next weekend.  Unfortunately, the next weekend happened to be my 21st birthday, which means I made a complete drunken fool of myself!  We count the dinner AFTER that as our official first date anniversary, haha!  That was 9 wonderful years ago.  We've been through so much--living across the country from each other, moving across the country together, graduate school, jobs, apartments, pets, SKYDIVING, etc..  I wouldn't change a thing. He is by far my favorite person, and we make each other better.

 

The Proposal:

 

There's no big story here, but it just wouldn't have been "him" if he had done something big and elaborate. I had actually found the ring box many months earlier and had been driving myself crazy about it!  (and no, I didn't open it!)  Every time we would go out to dinner, or go on a hike, or do anything remotely romantic, I expected that damn ring.  Once, he even surprised me with a gift in a small box before I left on a work trip.....it was earrings!  Such a sweet gesture, but I'm sure my jaw was just hanging.  Anyway, we had family visiting us for Xmas/Mr.'s birthday, so I figured it would happen then.  Nope.  Then I thought maybe on New Year's Eve.  Nope.  On January 2nd, we had a group skype call with a bunch of friends, then settled in to eat dinner.  As I'm carrying dirty dishes to the kitchen, he goes into the bedroom and grabs the box.  He proposed kneeling on our kitchen floor.  I SOBBED.  I don't really remember what he said, but I just remember him being so sweet.  He had to ask me a couple times because I forgot to say yes!  

 

The Ring:

 

I mean, come on, it's gorgeous!

Ring 2

Ring 1

 
 
(actual planning things in next post....)

 

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Very General Location Planning:

 

We always knew that we wanted a destination wedding, both for the fact that we didn't want to spend a ton of money, and just the amazing experience of having several days to hang out with all of our close friends and family.  After speaking to our immediate family to confirm they would be willing to travel and to figure out any major plans we needed to work around, we set a tentative date of April 2, 2016.   

 

We wanted to pick somewhere that was fairly easy to travel to for our guests, so no crazy remote locations.  We looked pretty seriously at jamaica, dominican republic, and mexico, but we were so overwhelmed with all the options that we decided to use a travel agent to help us narrow it down.  

 

We sat down together and made a very tentative guest list, and decided what we thought was a realistic price to ask people to pay.  I reached out to a travel agent that came recommended by another woman in my office, and we sent her the following list:

 

Ceremony:
April 2, 2016
$10-12K budget including ALL fees and taxes for 50-60 people (approx. 66 currently on the invite list)
Includes ceremony and reception, preferably also included cocktail hour
(I can give you more detail on what I'm looking for in this category if that would be helpful to you)
 
Resort:
No specific country in mind, but somewhere that will have reasonable flights
Approx. $400 per night (double occupancy) 
All-inclusive resorts only
24 hour room service
Multiple restaurants 
On the beach
No kids OR multiple pools/adults-only areas 
Newer/updated rooms and facilities
Swim-up bar(s)
Reasonable distance from the airport
On site salon for wedding hair and makeup
 
Other considerations:
Optional or included excursions
Room upgrades or free nights for bride/groom
Free/discounted transport to and from airport
 
Our travel agent did a great job of providing us a list of resorts that met most of our critera.  From there, huge shout out to my amazing Mr. who spent a lot of time scouring the internet, photos, and reviews and created a list ranking the various resorts based on his preferences.  (My job is fairly demanding, and I just didn't have the time).  Based on his top rankings, I then looked into the wedding packages that the top 5 or so offered, and fell in love with El Dorado Seaside Suites.  It had everything on our list, plus it was a smaller resort and Karisma resorts seem to have lovely weddings.
 
From there, we found out that, if we moved our wedding back by only a week, we would be just past the busy season and our guests would save significant money.  April 9th, it is!  (as a lovely aside, my dad told me that April 9 is the anniversary of a failed marriage in my family.  thanks, dad!)
Edited by LeighC
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Wedding Events:

 

After much debate, we decided to keep it very simple and didn't plan any welcome events.  Our ceremony will be at 4:00 pm on a long pier over the water.....

 

pier photo 1

Resort

 

 

We love that it will be private (i.e., no random people in bathing suits in our photos) and somewhat shaded for our guests.

 

For budget purposes, we decided to skip the cocktail hour and just have people hang out in a specified bar while we do photos. 

 

Reception will be under a large open palapa near the beach.

 

palapa

 
 
Many, many decor posts to come later on!  
Edited by LeighC
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@@LeighC I am getting married 2 days before you! We are on the other side of Playa. I love the pier! That looks amazing. None of the resorts I looked at had that. If they had, I probably would have that resort. Looking forward to hearing more about your planning. P.S. I also forgot to say yes :)

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@@vancouverpetunia  Congrats!  We can officially commiserate with each other, then!  I feel like we've gotten most of the easy things out of the way, now comes the little details.  I'll keep a close eye on your planning thread!

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Last post of the night  (so I say now :) )

 

Color Scheme:

 

I really love all the bright, tropical colors that people are using in their weddings!  for some reason, though, i just prefer lighter colors.  So I came across this beauty on pinterest, and it just seemed to fit me and the look i'm going for with my wedding.  I'm probably going to have to tweak the lighter pink/purple color slightly because it will be easier to find light pink flowers, but the blues are fantastic:

 

Palette

 

Save the Dates:

 

I'm not particularly crafty, so I decided just to order them online (obviously names are redacted).  I loved how fun these were, which will hopefully set the tone for a relaxed week/end.  We sent them out at the beginning of April, approximately 1 year out.  

 

Save The Date

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Now that I've gotten going on this, I don't want to stop getting this all down!

 

Dress Shopping:

 

I actually went dress shopping on Valentine's Day!  I took my mom, sister, and one of my bridesmaids.  I fell in love with a dress at the very first store....well, kind of.  I fell in love with the top of one dress and the skirt of another, which I was told the designer could easily combine for me.  I had a really hard time committing to something I couldn't actually see, so I kept shopping.  We went to 3 different stores that day, and i tried on everything my group suggested.  I went into it with certain criteria (lightweight for beach, straps, deep v neck, flowy bottom, interesting back), but I tried on strapless, mermaid, sheath you name it.  The weird thing about wedding dresses is that they all look fantastic! It makes it very hard to stay true to what you want. There were definitely some contenders, but I kept going back to that first frankenstein dress.  So i didn't commit that day, and flew back home.  I ended up going to three more stores over the month, and probably tried on around 100 dresses, though a lot of them were immediate an immediate "no."

 

At BHLDN, while flipping through the racks, my future SIL pulled out a dress that seemed to match my criteria.  I said "eww.  no.  the beading looks so cheap!" and didn't even try it on.  Several weeks and two stores later, I happened to try on a dress that my consultant recommended...."it will look better on you than on the hanger."  I really liked it, but just couldn't make the final decision between that and the frankenstein dress.  Back home, I searched for pictures of this new option online, and low and behold, it was the same dress that I had passed over at BHLDN!  And it was several hundred dollars cheaper there!  

 

So i bit the bullet and ordered the dress.  Every time I put it on, i love it.  but when i look at it on the hanger....blech!  haha.  I didn't think I was going to be one of those women who had a "moment," but I'm very happy with my choice.   

 

It still needs some tailoring (i'm pretty small chested, so it's got some extra fabric up top).  I plan to lower the "v" at the base of the front neckline so there isn't so much netting without any beading on it.  I also plan to switch out the sash, but I haven't quite decided on the color yet.  The back is my favorite part (i couldn't do up the buttons on my own for the photos, but you get the idea--there's only a few of them)....and please ignore the mess in the background!:

 

Dress 1

Dress 2

Dress 3

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@@LeighC Ummm, are you me? After reading this thread so far, I'm pretty sure that you're my doppelganger!

 

My FI and I have been together for 9 years, we met in University at a party when we were 20, he proposed over the Christmas break in a very laid-back way (after all the festivities with family and friends were done), we're getting married in Riviera Maya, and our wedding date is April 9, 2016! 

 

I'm so excited to follow your planning thread and see the decisions you make re: decorations and other little details since we're also going for a relaxed/laid back wedding. Looks like you've done a great job so far - and I love the dress!

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