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Newly Engaged: Planning Destination Wedding, Desperately Needs Help!

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Hi Everyone! 

I am totally new here and am excited to see if this site, the vendors, and all you awesome brides out there can help me out!

My Fiance is seriously the prince charming I always dreamed of finding as a kid, he and I met and it was love at first sight. He quickly became my best friend, and now we are planning our happily every after! The only catch? I am having to plan the wedding and I am pretty much horrible at this so far. I usually love coordinating events, and planning parties, yeah this is nothing like that and I am soooooo stressed out! 


First off, how we met... 

[We both were seeing other people, both of us had been dating our ex's for about three years at the time.] I'll never forget the date June 5th, 2012. I woke up very nervous as I was starting a new job. I had finally got the call I was praying for the previous Friday, to start Tuesday in a new industry and to shed the waitress apron! to finally work towards my career! yaaay!! So I put on my little suit jacket, and hit the road with a new found confidence. I started work early so I could get the paper work out of the way and my new manager gave me the tour of the company. It was then that he had introduced me to my future husband. I remember it like it was yesterday and I hope the memory will stay with me forever; he was there strong build, dark hair, tan from the summer, and sitting at his desk doing his work. His hazel eyes looked so dreamy and complemented by his light green shirt. He stood up to come shake my hand and introduce himself and my knees went weak. (I know cheesy right?) He gave looked at me and gave me a side smile that made my heart just jump into my throat. we just locked eyes and he forgot to introduce himself so the manager said this is Dave, Dave meet Gianna and I swear I couldn't talk to save my life. I felt my face flush and get red and I just smiled and said hi. He played it smooth and as the manager and I walked away I was filled with so much happiness it was indescribable. 

 fast forward a few weeks and started to talk to each other like normal people but were still very nervous around each other. Each of us having bf/gf that lived with us we just wanted this to be a friendship. It wasn't until he started saying that his gf was mean and almost abusive to him, that I opened up and let him know my home life was not so great either. My ex had actually started to abuse me, but as a child of abuse I thought I deserved it -- that it was ok to be held up by my throat against the wall and screamed at because I did something to make him mad--I've grown to know that no one deserves that treatment and have grown as a person. When things got bad at home for the both of us we would call each other and just talk out our frustrations. Then he realized he just didn't love the person he was with. He said so many times before that he never felt like he was in love. I had a particularly bad night with my bf and I called him crying saying how I was just beaten because I broke a jug of milk and I had had it, I wanted out of this relationship but had nowhere to go. He told me he broke up with his girlfriend and had been living at his brothers for a few days now. He came and picked me up that night and we never looked back on our old lives. He took me downtown (Chicago) to the Bean at around 1 am and asked me out in the park as a security guard tried to tell us to bugger off. we spent the night laughing and walking the streets finding secret places that I still have never found again to this very day. We watched the sunrise on lake Michigan by navy pier and just held each other. I felt like I was in a dream, that a real life fantasy was happening to me. I was in love with this man and he truly loved me in return. We had been dating four years when he finally asked me to be his wife. 


The Proposal....We were on vacation in Florida at his parent's beach house. We had been there since Saturday, the day was barely started yet but it was the following Friday. I had a slight idea that he might use this vacation to propose but then discredited it because we were this far in already. We were asleep in bed and he turned to me and gently shook me awake. He looked at me like a kid at Christmas and said honey get up, I wanna wake up and see the sunrise with you. Me being on vacation and loving the fact that I could sleep in replied, "that's ok honey I like my sleep" and rolled over. He laughed and said get ready and we'll go down [to the water] to hunt for sand dollars before all the old people nab em. I laughed and said alright. Since I was thinking I was only hunting for sand dollars I put my hair in a messy bun and threw on my new hoodie he had just bought me last night and grabbed a sandcastle bucket. (No makeup, no cute dress, definitely not how I thought I would have looked when he proposed to me!) So we walk down the boardwalk from our house to the beach and we see a little armadillo on the putting green of the golf course. Dave had been coming here since he was a kid and he had never seen one before. So we took pictures and went on our way. Once we were on the sand he and I started to walk alone to find the best shells and sand dollars. We got to be a few feet away from one another and he started to cry out, "sweetheart come here, come look what I found!!" I turned around and saw him bending over looking at the sand. Thinking he found some cool starfish or a crab or something, I came running up the beach back to him. "What is it babe?" I said and then he gave me that side smile that melted my heart from day one. He pulled a little brown leather box from his pocket and got down on one knee. The sun started to just break over the horizon and the sunrise was so bright red and beautiful. His eyes sparkling reflecting the ocean waves that were rolling in right next to us. He said, "I talked with your father and he gave me his blessing, Gianna ..... [my full name i don't want to put online] I have loved you since the very day I met you. You are my best friend, my partner, and now I want to ask you....Will you marry me? .....I swear to God I could not breathe.... I cried the happiest tears of my life, I hugged him and put on the gorgeous ring he slipped on to my finger and kissed him so hard we both fell over and just hugged and kissed passionately in the sand for a while. No one was around so it was very beautiful. (see what I mean, prince charming IRL!)


Ok so flash forward to three months of amazing engagement bliss...and now the stress and reality of planning this wedding is slapping me in the face. Turns out that just about everyone I know at my work got engaged too, oh and they all got engaged a week or so after I did, and they have everything planned already, and are just sitting back enjoying things. Me on the other hand. I am tearing my eyes and hair out trying to find something in budget, awesome, and in Maui or an all inclusive destination venue. I know, what you are thinking, well temper your expectations and just get married back home... Well to be honest it is more of a savings to do it there and have a small wedding then the cost of one in Chicago. Oh, and I probably didn't mention. We moved to Oregon two years ago and all of our family is in IL still so they/us will have to travel anyway to be together on our wedding day. Might as well have it where we would like, on the beach just like our engagement?!


Wedding stuff:

Budget, our max budget is 7000 for ceremony, reception, food, bev costs. at the most we are thinking 60 people and at the fewest 25. We don't mind getting married on a knoll since we would like to have chairs for our guests to watch the ceremony and the law doesn't allow for chairs in the sand, but we need to be able to see the ocean and have a stunning view. The reception; we would like to have an open bar, Dave also works in the wine industry so we could potentially have a good hook up to bring our own if the venue allows it. I have called multiple wedding coordinators for assistance and I have been referred to Gannon's and Mulligans so far. Gannon's seams pretty and we put a date on hold but they only allow dancing for one hour!!! Two hours at the max but the second hour is an additionally $500! YIKES! Mulligan's on the blue is pretty and allows for live entertainment and dancing into the night, but is not on the beach --at least from what I can tell in the pictures so correct me if I am wrong! The price per person for food looks to be in the 40 per person or less range and the 12 or less per person for drinks. If anyone has other suggestions please, please, please send info my way! 


Thank you so much to anyone willing to read my story and even more so anyone willing to help a girl out! 


Best to you and yours!

Gianna :wub:

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HI @GiannaM and welcome to the bestdestinationwedding.com community. It's an awesome place for information and help with your destination wedding to the beach destination you're hoping for. First of all, congratulations on your 2017 wedding and it was lovely to hear your story. HOW EXCITING this must be for you! Hopefully you're considering your destination wedding in the Riviera Maya, Mexico maybe? That is the areas  of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It's beautiful here and there are many all-inclusive options and also some smaller boutique hotels that offer wedding services for the smaller more intimate setting. We are a hair and makeup agency that has been here in biz since 2009 and are very experienced in weddings. We have also recently expanded to the Puerta Vallarta area, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Both areas are wonderful for destination weddings and if you consider one of these area, let us know if we can help you some more, with planning ideas, hair and makeup ideas, photographers and/or other vendors. We've worked with some of the best. In meantime, happy happy wedding planning and let us know if we can be of any assistance! 


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