Friday, July 30, 2010

Wed Recap: More money to spend?

So about 2 weeks ago BiCoastal Bride posted about her research and decisions on tipping her vendors.  I was truly surprised at what she came up with.  The info I seemed to recall finding online and in wedding mags seemed to disagree with what she found. 

For instance, there were several vendors (photog, videographer, florist, etc) that she said you don't really need to tip where I pretty much have always thought you tip them all.

Of course, this all depends on your satisfaction with their service.  So since she did it, I thought I'd share a recap of how we made our tipping decisions:

Photographer:  Since we were really disappointed with the images he delivered and mostly upset about all the ones he did NOT deliver, we didn't tip him anything.  We paid him close to $2,000 for his services already for a 10 hour day and a second shooter.  I got a great deal.  His web site said his packages started at $2,500 for 8 hours for minimum coverage.

By Amber Marquez

Videographer:  Though we haven't tipped him yet, he gave me a phenomenal deal on the package I wanted and went above and beyond bringing along an extra photographer who gave us some great shots our main photog didn't, an extra videographer with a second camera and a third videographer with a special 'jib' camera for some of the coolest shots in our footage.  Though we haven't tipped him yet, I fully intend to send him at least another $50 with a thank you card.

By Yan Freedline

Florist:  She did a phenomenal job.  She included set up fees in her total charges and since she worked with my coordinator and they arranged for the coordinator to deliver everything back to her the next day (all the vases she let me use for free and such), there were no delivery charges.  Though I am still on the fence about whether to send a tip or not.  But she totally did a great job.

Baker:  This was a family friend.  We paid a heck of a lot less than most bakeries would have charged us for a cake.  Since it was a friend who gave us a set cost, we didn't offer any additional tip.

DJ:  I think Mr Fix It tipped him $50 at the end of the night...not sure though.  I need to follow up and ask him about that.

Caterer:  We loved our caterer through the whole planning process.  Tax and gratuity were included in our total charges from him but he did such a good job that Mr Fix It gave the owner an extra $100 at the end of the night.

Coordinator:  She was fabulous and had a team of 4 assistants.  They set everything up, took all the free vase rentals back to the florist the next day and then stored all of my wedding goods until we got back from the honeymoon.  Mr Fix It didn't think we needed a DOC but was so impressed with all they did and how hard they worked that he gave her $100 at the end of the night.  When he realized there were 5 of them total, he felt like he should have given her more.  But I told him that was plenty!

Stylist:  She did a good job and I think you should tip them between 10 and 20% but I honestly think I forgot to tip her.  Oh well.  She must not have minded because she felt so bad about our photog situation and the fact that one of my false eyelashes was coming off after the ceremony that she offered to do my hair and makeup for free if we did a post-wedding shoot.  :)

Officiant:  He was a long time friend and pastor of a local church.  He told us that the church accepts donations for his services typically around $500.  We didn't pay him that much at all though (and that was for pre-marital counseling as well).  Since this was a donation, we didn't offer a 'tip.'

Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Robert Mullins Photography

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wed Recap: I like these people!

This has been a busy week. Which is strange since I've been rather lonely the past several weeks. Have I mentioned that Mr Fix It went up north for 3 weeks to work on his parent's home? He left his newlywed wife all alone in a new house. Turns out, my daughter, Little Miss has also been gone spending a lot of time with her dad since he had some time off and she had practices going on down at his house. Easier commute.

But since I was surprised at 4 am yesterday morning by my sweet husband kissing me and coming home 2 days earlier than expected, I plan on keeping today's post a little short so I don't have to be at the computer too long.  I did put together this little video clip which was one of my very favorite parts of our ceremony (Do I say that a lot? Are they all my favorites?).

Anyway, this was a little tidbit that our pastor shared about how he knows us and it gives you some great insight into who we are as individuals. I absolutely had no idea he was going to share the little detail he did near the end of the clip about my 'planning skills.' Enjoy!

Share time: Was there any part of your ceremony or wedding planning process that you took control of planning that is typically handled by someone else like a vendor or the officiant? :)

TODAY'S WEDDING TIP:  Ask your officiant if they will incorporate specific things about who each of you are as individuals and as a couple.  If they don't know you personally, perhaps they can have you fill out a little biography to include as part of their introduction or message?  This is one reason why I truly love pre-marital counseling :)  It gives you an opportunity to bond with your officiant which makes the ceremony that much more special.

Raw video footage courtesy of Video Keepsakes of Beverly Hills

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wed Recap: Not your typical vows

As you will see in tomorrow's post, I had a big part in writing out our ceremony and especially our vows.  I truly wanted our vows to blend the traditional with the unique.  Instead of writing our own vows, we wrote personal messages to each other which were read at a different point in the ceremony.  But I still tweaked the 'traditional' wedding vows you hear at ceremonies to make them a little unique and unexpected (the mantra of our wedding day). 

I also loved the idea I had found on another bride's blog to invite your guests to renew their vows along with you so I wrote in a little bit about having married couples hold hands and just give a little squeeze to affirm their commitment to their vows along with ours.  So here is the video of us saying our vows to one another:

Again, true to ourselves, Mr Fix It couldn't help but interrupt me during my vows when he thought I made a mistake.  I love my response to him and the guests laughs.  :)

To make it a little faster and ensure we didn't really mess up much trying to repeat after the pastor, I wrote the vows out on a computer, printed them out and created these little 'vow cards' that our pastor handed us when it was our time to say them.  Each card had our name on it (Stacey's Vows, John's Vows) because they were slightly different since Mr Fix It's vows included a promise involving my daughter. 

Funny thing was, Mr Fix It did not read or know anything about these vows until the moment Lyle handed him the card to read.  In my defense, he didn't ask to see them before the ceremony and didn't ask what we were going to say as vows.   As things went on during the planning process, I began to realize that it was easier to not involve Mr Fix It in anything unless he specifically asked about it or wanted to be included in the decisions.  :)

Did any of you find that there were aspects of the wedding that you either didn't want your fiance involved in or he didn't care to inquire about?

Photos by Robert Mullins Photography
Raw video footage courtesy of Video Keepsakes of Beverly Hills

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wed Recap: I feel like I am suffocating!

If you don't remember, I shared in this post about my fear pre-wedding that I would pass out on my wedding day or even worse, at the altar!  Then in this post I did a recap of what the morning of the wedding was like for me and how whenever there was 'down time' during the day of the wedding where I was just sitting with nothing to do, I would truly feel nauseous and like I was going to pass out.

Please understand, this was not a feeling of being anxious or nervous.  No, I think what was really causing me to feel this way was that I was lacking oxygen! 

I truly did love this gorgeous little number:

(The one above is my FAVORITE photo of me in my dress that day because it is just fanned out so perfectly.  If only my bouquet wasn't so high and huge blocking this beautiful bustline below.)

The more I look at the pictures and video from our wedding, the more I fall in love with it. 

Yes, Maggie Sottero made a great gown when she came up with the SaBelle.  And one of the main reasons I chose this dress was because it had a corset back:

I have always been pretty thin my whole life but once in a great while my weight fluctuates up or down.  I didn't want to take the chance of a strapless gown falling off of me if I lost weight right before the wedding so I wanted a corset that could be adjusted to allow some freedom for my body.  And I really loved the style and embellishments around it, too.

Unfortunately, the problem with a corset is that they are extremely constricting.  Remember that scene in Titanic where Kate Winslet's character is having her corset dress tied up by her mother and she pulls the thing so tight she can barely breathe?  Well, that's what a corset does, DUH!  I don't know why women ever used to put themselves through the torture back in the day! 

Being that I don't boast much of a chest, I needed the gown to be pretty tight because there was nothing else to hold it up.  Add that in with a gown that my seamstress referred to as 'the heaviest wedding dress I've ever worked on' and you have a pretty bad combination for a bride who is prone to passing out.

Thus, I give you one of my favorite video clips of the raw footage from my wedding.  Since my friend, Charlie is singing at the time me and Mr Fix It are having this little conversation, I added in some captions to assist with what we are saying to one another, but you may want to turn the volume up pretty loud to hear our conversations.  (I also love this because we are having full on random conversations during this moment of the ceremony and in addition Mr Fix It felt the need to point out that my false eyelash was coming off.) 

Basically, what it comes down to is that I was so freaking glad that I had planned on changing into a second dress to dance in. Originally, I wanted to wear my ball gown through the cocktail hour, grand entrance, toasts, and dinner.  Then I was going to change into my second dress when they reintroduced us for our first dance.  But after the cocktail hour I was done!  So I went in and changed into my second dress just before our Grand Entrance.  As we were standing behind the fireplace hiding from our guests until it was our turn to be introduced, I asked Mr Fix It what he thought of my new dress I had just put on.  He looked me up and down and said one word:  "Hot."

These are some of the best shots I found of me in the reception dress.  It would have looked a hell of a lot sexier had I worn the gold heels I bought to go with it, but by this point of the day (like 7 hours after having been in my gown and other heels) I was too tired and had sore feet that were thanking me for grabbing a pair of the flip flop favors out of the basket you see right behind our cake table.

Look at the leg that this dress shows off!

And here's that stupid frown/smile again - UGH!

I absolutely loved the one sided strap and the bust of the dress.

Courtesy of Yan Freedline

Share time:  Did/Will you change into a second dress during your wedding events?  If not, were you comfortable in your one dress for the whole day?

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by Robert Mullins
Raw video footage courtesy of Video Keepsakes of Beverly Hills

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wed Recap: What are we really here for?

Okay, okay.  So the flowers were amazing (post to follow).

The favors were all a huge hit with the guests.  The video made everyone laugh and was executed just as I had hoped for. 

Photo by Yan Freedline

The food was good.  The guests kept the dance floor alive and we heard nothing but compliments and thank you's for how amazing the wedding was and how much fun everyone had.  But what was the real reason we were supposed to be there all about?  Wasn't this whole day, this whole event really about the 30 minutes that we spent standing on an altar holding hands with our closest family and friends flanked on either side of us or lovingly gazing upon us with their approval?

Ah yes, the ceremony is indeed what this day was about.  For it was Mr Fix It's desire to make me his wife and love me forever that brought us to this point.  It was the holy desire of our Creator that we live together under an eternal vow of monogamy and respect and hard work and commitment that brought us to this mutual decision to become husband and wife. 

Photo by Yan Freedline

And so the next several recaps I give you will be all about our ceremony.  I promise they won't be mundane...because our ceremony was pretty funny at some points.  I already shared about our ring bearer carrying the sign that said "Run, John, Run" last week.  And when I finally made it to the top of the stairs on the altar I was anything but timid and shy and 'proper.'  I interrupted our officiant, my old high school pastor, Lyle right before he could really even say anything.

And Lyle did a wonderful job of making our ceremony very personal and unique to us.  Unfortunately, I did not remember any of it!  I swear!  The next days and weeks on our honeymoon were a blur to me when I tried to remember what was said and done at our ceremony.  So thank goodness we have the video!  Because as fabulous as the photos are to look at, they don't remind you of what your first kiss was really like or how long it lasted.  They don't remind you of how you threatened the guests who RSVP'd and then didn't show up on the wedding day like I did :)  They certainly won't help translate how you tried to show your groom how to put together your unity cross when he couldn't make it work.  Oh yes, our ceremony was definitely us to a tee.  Right down to the random conversations we had with each other while the soloist was singing and the way we interacted as we walked out of the ceremony into our private room. 

So stay tuned because I have some of my favorite little posts this week filled with strange and fun videos and photos.  For today, I'll share the very beginning of our ceremony with a few pieced together clips of our first words to each other at the end of the aisle and our pastor's introduction:

Yes, I wanted to take it all in for sure.  So I tried to turn around and look out at everyone who was there...even if for just a brief moment.  I mean, all of my bridesmaids and family and friends had been mingling together before the ceremony began.  I was the only one who didn't get to greet them or say hi.  So I tried to scan their faces.  You can see here that I waved at a few of them.  I specifically remember my friend, Kristin waving back at me.

And I have to admit, I really didn't like how the bridesmaids were staggered on the altar stairs...I wish I would have looked at that better during our rehearsal and told my coordinator I wanted them in a straight line as I had originally intended.  But I just wasn't thinking straight.  I really was not myself for my own wedding day as you'll see.  You'll notice in this little video clip during our getting ready time that I had truly 'checked out' at different points during the day:

But oh well.  It is what it is.  And what it was, was a wonderful day and a great ceremony thanks to my hubby and our pastor, Lyle. 

Share time:  If you are already married, what do you remember (or not remember) about your ceremony?  If you are still engaged, what are you excited about for your ceremony?

TODAY'S WEDDING TIP:  You most likely won't see any of your guests before your wedding ceremony.  As you saw in the video clip, my pastor had already incorporated having us take a moment to turn and look out at our guests at the very beginning.  I had already planned on doing this well before our wedding day (great minds think alike).  I highly encourage you to ask your officiant to do the same...though I don't remember very much visually in my memory from our ceremony, the one thing I do remember is taking that brief moment to look out at the faces of our friends and family.  It's probably the only time you'll do it during the ceremony.  And it really was a good way to calm me down, too.  Seeing the faces of those I knew so well helped me realize I wasn't expected to put on a 'performance' for them while I was up there.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by Robert Mullins Photography
Raw video footage courtesy of Video Keepsakes of Beverly Hills

Friday, July 23, 2010

My friend's country wedding in Cayucos - the video

Remember how I shared some great pictures of one of my girlfriend's wedding in Cayucos last month?  Well, her ever so amazing videographer just posted a recap video of the big day which is just too good for me not to share with all of you!  It was such an amazing day, we had a wonderful time - so fun!  The weather was amazing and though it was only about 4 1/2 hours north of us near Monterey in Central California, it was the perfect distance for the destination wedding she dreamed of:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wed Recap: The party's over

We didn't get a grand exit.**  There were no sparklers waving, no bubbles being blown, no leis being placed around our neck or loud cheers and clapping as we made our way out of the room and out into a cool car to speed away in.  In fact, there was no car there to be decorated or anything.  But we knew this was going to be the case.  I had told Mr Fix It all along that if I was spending all this money and I was planning all these things, that there was no way I was going to miss out on anything.  I wanted to party with my guests until the last one left the building.  And that's just what we did.

It was just about midnight and the only people left in the reception room were me, my mom, my sister, my daughter and my now husband, Mr Fix It.  The coordinators and catering company were scampering around trying to pack things up.  The tables were almost bare and the DJ was packing up so no music was playing.

We went ahead and headed over to the bridal cottage area and started packing up my gown, bouquet and all the other little things I had brought with me.  Mr Fix It and I had each arrived at different times during the day.  I got to the venue at 8 am and was there until midnight that night.  I had to drive my own car because I had my gown, gifts and lots of other little things to bring with me.  Mr Fix It arrived around 2 pm by himself (all his family and groomsmen had to be there an hour earlier for pictures).  So we had each come in our own cars.  And we didn't want to spend the money to rent a getaway car because we knew it would not really be driven at all...our hotel was literally 5 minutes from the venue.

So after we packed everything into my car, we stood there just confirming what time everyone was going to be at our house the next day for the lunch.  I hugged my mom and sister and daughter good-bye, told them I'd see them in the morning, and jumped in my car.  Mr Fix It jumped in his car and we followed each other out of the venue past the tigers and onto the street until we reached the hotel. 

We checked in (Mr Fix It was supposed to do this on his way to the venue but of course it didn't get done).  It was after midnight and the lady at the counter was so sweet.  We got into a full on conversation with her about marriage and our wedding and our faith and turns out she was a Christian who just wanted to chat it up with us.  She was really nice but we were so exhausted.

We got into our room and jumped out of our clothes.  We were both so tired but Mr Fix It said there was no way we were going to sleep on our wedding night without gettin' busy briefly :) 

When we woke up in the morning we headed down to the hotel restaurant for our buffet breakfast.  Several of our wedding guests (actually our neighbors who had rented rooms because they didn't want to make the 30 minute drive home drunk) were checking out and said hello.  Some friends who had come to the wedding from San Jose stopped to say goodbye on their way out.  And then we ran into one of Mr Fix It's oldest friends and his girlfriend.  They were getting breakfast, too so we invited them to sit with us.  We sat there for a good two hours just chatting with them and having so much fun talking about lots of stuff.  His friend even offered to stay at our place while we were on our honeymoon so our dog would not have to be by himself.  And then we said our goodbyes and headed home to a house full of people and food!

It was a great day before, a wonderful night and a fabulous breakfast with friends.  But it seriously did just go by way too stinkin' fast!  :( 

Our videographer ends his wedding videos with a message from the bride and groom to their guests...we didn't really know about this so when he pulled us aside, I just gave the mic to Mr Fix It.  So here is our final goodbye from the end of our reception:

Share time:  What was your grand exit experience like?  Did you even have one?  Or what will it be like if you are planning one?

**  I told you I was going to jump around and just blog about whatever video clips I came across or whatever was fresh in my memory during my recaps.  So don't think just because this post is about the very end of the night that the recaps are over...far from it.  There's still a lot more to come :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wed Recap: It takes an army (tons of pics & video!)

I totally realized that I hadn't scheduled a post about my team of wonderful ladies who helped beautify and dress me on the day of the wedding.  I can't believe I forgot this normal recap because even though I was irritated by all the photos our photographer didn't get, the 'getting ready' shots are truly some of the most beautiful and my favorite shots of the day.  But before you check out the photos, here's a couple minutes of several pieced together videos of my friends and family getting me dressed :)

This is Natalie Buketov.  Natalie did my hair and makeup as well as hair and makeup for four of my bridemaids and my mom.  She showed up at 7:30 in the morning and left just after our first look when we were about to start pictures which was probably at about 2 pm.  My girls looked GORGEOUS!

Yes, I have false eyelashes on here for sure

Getting ready some more.  I was the second to last one to get styled. 
Mom was the last one while my girls were getting me into my gown, shoes, jewelry, etc.

I don't know why, but I love this shot:

And so it begins.  It took an army of mostly my sister and my cousin A who handled the dress part and then my cousin E, bestie L and friend D handled putting on my garter, shoes and jewelry.

Took a while to get that corset laced up but it sure was pretty.

Bridesmaids L & D help me get my bracelet and necklace on.  BM L gave me the earrings I wore that day as my gift when I served as the Maid of Honor in her wedding about 9 years earlier.

Ok, funny story.  I had my designer Jeanette make my bracelet out of a clip on earring I bought at a vintage swap meet.  So you know what a clip on earring looks like on the back?  She added a ring that slipped over the little 'clip' part.  But there was kind of this big space between the two sides of the pearls where the earring was attached.  So Mr Fix It had a great idea to use fishing line to tie together the two rings next to the pearls to pull them under the earring.  He's so resourceful, that man!

This is what my cousin A calls her 'happy clap.'  I'd be happy too if I was almost done trying to get me in this monstrous dress with it's ridculous corset.

Cousin E holds up my gown while friend D places my garter on. 

Photo by Yan Freedline

Once we were all dressed, they asked me to spin around a couple times in my gown.  But I was in the middle of a not so big room with all 6 of my BM's around me.  Wasn't easy but I still love this shot with my reflection in the mirror behind me. 
Photo by Yan Freedline

The girls are tending to my hair and placing my veil in just before our ceremony is about to begin.

And once we were all finished, these are the results we got of some bride shots while walking around the grounds at the venue.  I love this one because of the colors and the sun and shade coming through the trellis.

This one is kind of cool because it shows the cafe in the background.  That deck to the right is where the cocktail hour was held and I am standing down in the back of the ceremony area.

Um, hello bright green trees! 
Photo by Yan Freedline

This next pic was one of those ones I was telling you about that I was pissed about from our photog.  I remember telling him I wanted a shot like this on this blue bench and we posed for it but he didn't deliver it to me at all.  Then my videographer sent me the photos that his wife took and I got this one! 
Thank goodness because I absolutely love it. 

Photo by Yan Freedline

As a matter of fact, here's 2 more favorites I got only from our videographer's wife, Yan
Photo by Yan Freedline

Photo by Yan Freedline

TODAY'S WEDDING TIP:  I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  Be sure to have your bridesmaid or mom or whoever is going to be assisting you with getting into your dress and jewelry practice at least once before the wedding.  It's best for them to go with you to your fittings to practice there but at the very least to give you an idea of how long it's going to take you to get fully dressed so you can plan your wedding day schedule accordingly and not be running late!

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by Robert Mullins
Raw video footage courtesy of Video Keepsakes of Beverly Hills

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