It Gets Better

I've been trying to get this whole wedding on a budget thing down for the past couple months - I've made sure that no matter how much of a deal I think I'm getting, or how excited I get, not to sign any contracts until I've exhausted all of my options. Now that we've decided to not do Our Big Fat Jamaican Wedding at this point and have a more intimate event, I pretty much had to start from stratch. Along the way I learned that as far as catering is concerned it's sooooo much cheaper to have an afternoon reception than an evening one. Through starting my venue search all over again I decided to re-visit one of our first places which we loved from the beginning but couldn't afford an evening dinner recepton for all 73848448 members of our families. I've called around and set up appointments to view some other venues, but something kept telling me to email the coordinator at this particular place to ask if there was a major difference in price for an afternoon reception. She emailed me and I couldn't believe my eyes - I could afford it! It's so much affordable that I'm comfortable with a guest list of 50 instead of 30 - we can actually do this comfortably! I was so excited to share the news with my family...the afternoon menu was HALF of the prices of the evening menu - I thanked Jesus so many times day! She also informed me that the children dishes were only $9.95. Oh yes! It's amazing the things that can happen if you don't give up - things just some how fall into place, this is venue we wanted from the beginning! Say hello...

(here's a picture I took when I went there)
In addition to that, I've found a videographer for $850! I work in a bridal shop and he always comes in to give us his new business cards when we run out and always brings photos for us to see (he also does photography). I was talking to him today and that was the quote he gave me - I need to visit his website though to make sure he's worthy, but for $850..lol...I'll you all know how that goes, lol.

"SEX" AT YOUR WEDDING

I have a confession to make: I am a total Sex & The City stan (stalker/fan)! Apart of me died when the series came to an end but happily came back to life at the announcement that there would be a movie - I probably passed out 15 times during the movie (I had such a great time). So being completly obsessed, a fashion student and bridal sales associate I completly lost my mind at the wedding scene in the movie...tears came out my eyes...my mouth fell to the floor...passed out...woke up...had to slap myself in the face when Carrie shot her Vogue Magazine spread in the Vivienne Westwood gown:

::drooling...::



...what I would do to wear a couture wedding gown...

If you've had this same thought Sarah Danielle is making it possible to have it - well...a copy of it without the couture price tag...






The dress will retail for somewhere under $1,750

Sarah Danielle is one of the lines that we carry at my workplace and has fabulous quality for great prices. Now as much as I love this dress - I could never wear it...I'm 4'11 with Double D's - how crazy would I look, lol...

...all I can do is dream...


I Need To Know...

The venue I'm hoping to use has an on-site coordinator, is it still neccessary for me to hire a "day of coordinator". Now that I'm having a more intimate wedding I don't feel the need to contract out another service (which would be an added cost). I was just thinking of having a family friend or maid of honor kind of play that role since we'll be taken care of once we get the venue. I could be wrong...what do you suggest?
SIDEBAR: The cheapest day of coordinator I've found so far is $800 - is that too much or just about right? I have no idea - help me out here

09 or DIE!

This wedding is definently going down in 2009!

Before we had even gotten engaged, we spoke about getting married in November of 09 for our 5 year anniversary - which is why I've had my heart and mind set on this date from the beginning. However, with our large family, ridiculous costs of weddings and the plunge of the economy it seems that our weddings date is moving further and further away...

Seriously...all we want is to be married - we don't need "the show". I love my family and friends to death but I'm not going to stress over and go into debt paying for one day so that they can come and eat.

We've decided we're getting married for our 5 year anniversary just as we've planned. The guest list has been cut from 100 to about 30...if there are any complaints we're going to The Bahamas with our parents as our witnesses (that way no one can complain that such and such person got invited and they didn't). I can't say that it was easy for me to cut down the list but the plan is to perhaps have a bigger wedding to celebrate our 5th or 10 year wedding anniversary when we can afford to give "the show" - right now we're ready to just get on with our lives.

We've decided to host the event at one of the first venues we visited and loved. B/c the guest list has drastically been cut we can now afford a venue that we're required to pay per head (the price includes the ceremony, cocktail hour, 3 or 4 course meal and my cake). I'll be able to have a small yet quality event with some of my closest family and childhood friends - and spend about a quater of my original budget :)
...now that's what I'm talking about!

Obama Rally, Miami 10.21.08

Yesterday on my way to dropping my sister off to school, I heard someone say something on the radio about Obama being in Miami later on that day - my first instinct was "Man, I gotta get out of Miami before that traffic hits"...then I thought "I really want to go!". How many chances in my life would I get to see the first Black man who might actually win the 2008 presidency? However, it was in park, and I knew there would be thousands of people going and didn't think it would be safe for me to go by myself.

Once I got to class, the girl sitting beside began telling me that she wanted to see Barack Obama at his rally but she had no one to go with. I told her those were my thoughts exactly and that we should go together. The rally was down the street from my school and she happened to live just five blocks away from the park. We recruited one more person (lol) and raced out the building as soon as class was over.

Biscayne Blvd was jam packed! Honking horns - police - horses - thousands of people lined up outside the park to get in. We finally made to my classmates apartment and turned on CNN to see what was going on over there. They said it was going to be extremely hard to get it and that a crowd of thousands had already made their way inside. We started getting worried but decided we should at least try.
We walked the couple blocks over to the park and jumped in the line. It was a beautiful day out and I couldn't believe the energy in the air. Vendors sold their Barack memorabilia, people held up signs they'd made and politics was on the tips of everyones tongues.




I looked at the crowd and into the face of America - men & women - the young & old - the variety of skin tones - the different textures of hair - all coming together - all who saw this one man as their glimpse of hope - we were all the same.

We made it up to security, got searched and made our way into the sea of people. It was funny, I felt like I was at a family reunion - they were selling hot dogs, music was playing and everyone was just having a great time.
We spotted the stage and tried to get as close as possible - I wish my 6''2 fiance was there for me to sit on his shoulders because I couldn't see anything. Everyone around me thought it was pretty funny that I was only 5 feet tall (on a good day) and by making small talk with them I slowly kept easing my way to the further and further to the front.
Finally, different representatives from throughout Miami came on stage to make speeches. My adrenaline started pumping and I just wanted them all to finish and introduced Barack's wife Michelle (who I think is just phenomenal). After tons of people finished up they finally introduced her and the crowd went crazy - but I still couldn't see anything! I could hear her loud and clear but I had no visual what so ever. My friend has a fantastic Nikon, and there happened to be a really tall man next to us who happened to be a photographer (how great was our luck) so she gave him the camera to take pictures for us (he was really nice).

Then the moment of truth...she introduced her husband Barack Obama - the crowd went crazy - I thought I was at a concert. There was no way in hell that I'd been standing in the crowd for hours and would go home without seeing this man. I got on my tipped toes and started snapping away with my camera to see exactly where he was standing...still nothing.

Then I finally got him...


Finally the crowd began to shift and little bitty me had the perfect view of him, just when I went to snap another pictures...

MY CAMERA DIES!!!!!!!!!!!

Thankfully our personal photographer was snapping away with the Nikon and I'll be getting those shots off my friends Facebook page.

Out of commission I finally began to focus on the speech and not so much being able to see him - but I couldn't believe that I was actually seeing him. We've all seen him on television countless times before, but he became real to me yesterday. He touched on topics that all hit close to home, I felt like he knew all my problems and that he was speaking to me and only me through that crowd - I started tearing up - it was like, finally someone understands! I felt hopeful, I felt as though I would actually have a future, that I'd actually be able to find a job when I graduate, that I'd be able to start my own business, that I'd be able to own my own home, that my children will be able to have it a little easier than I did. For me, it was equivalent to watching Dr.King speak - I was looking at a legend and would be able to tell my future children that I was there...it was such a major moment for me - I left that rally feeling as though I could do anything!

No matter who you choose to vote for - please vote b/c it does make a difference. I can't afford to live the same way I have for the past 8 years for even another 8 months...

I'm so glad that I went.

AAhhh - but that black thing was in my way!

Wedding Planner Woes

So after much debate between me, myself and I, I decided to start checking out wedding planners. I love wedding shows and there's this one particular planner I love (who is local) and I always told my fiance (boyfriend at the time) that when we decided to get married she was going to be my planner. So I stared with her first - I sent her an email and seriously not even 15 minutes later she called me back - I couldn't believe I was talking to "her".We talked on the phone for a while and had a great conversation. This was me...

Then she gave me her prices...& this was me...

They weren't horrible and I'm confident she would be well worth it but I'm broke so it was goodbye to my wedding planning idol and on to the next...

Another random day I was browsing the knot message boards and began reading a thread about a wedding planner in Miami, what caught my eye was that apart of the company name had "On A Budget" - sounded like my kind of party! Her and I emailed each other back and forth for a couple days and then finally spoke on the phone - she sounded super duper nice, and I loved the work she did which I saw online. After about a half an hour conversation she told me she would contact me in a day or two with a quote (which would include her services in addition to all the vendors except the locations - one price!). Sounded great to me, I had a figure in my head but I wanted to see what she would come up with.

Then as luck would have it one of my classmates told me that her sister was awedding planner - when she told me her name it turned out I'd been on her site before and everything. Her work was amazing! I gave her a call and we talked for about a half an hour - I still don't know what happened. She was really nice and extremly knowledgable but she didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know (being a bride on a budget I've done an extensive amount of research and know all about cutting costs where I can honey). Um, so I pretty much got from her that I couldn't afford her and that the best thing would be for me to hire her as a day of coordinator (she didn't say that, but that was my interpretation). She told me a story about one of her brides on a budget who saved money by ordering her invitation templates online on some website and then embellishing it herself and adding something and that she ended up spending only $500 on invitations. I don't know what kind of bride on a budget she is, but I'd like to have her budget, because that still sounds pretty high to me. She was extremly nice and did give me a couple references for all inclusive catering and told me that I could call her at anytime to ask her questions or email her - but ummm...yea...
So then two days later (I counted b/c I hate when people break their promises to me) I check my email and received my quote from the second
planner...

$5000 over what I calculated!
Her price wasn't bad especially since she included all the vendors except for the location but she needs 40% of her quote to get started - that's a couple thousand dollars. I could have done my calculations under budget, I'm sure she's more knowledgable than I am but jeez!
I'm starting to wonder if we can even afford this whole thing or if we should just take a trip to the local Justice of The Peace - but I love a challenge and will not accept defeat!!!!!!
On different blogs I see girls planning weddings on $10,000 budgets and stuff...what am I doing wrong here?

just SOME of my favorite looks from Spring 09 Bridal Fashion Week

Melissa Sweet (detail)
Melissa Sweet
Melissa Sweet
Melissa Sweet
Monique Lhuillier
Priscilla of Boston
(front detail)
Kenneth Pool Kenneth Pool Kenneth PoolKenneth Pool Vera Wang...oh there are so many more...


SUPERHUMAN

I love this song...

Chris Brown Ft. Keri Hilson - Superhuman

Jamaica's Premiere Wedding: Jamie & Mark

I was visiting one of my favorite websites (marthstewart.com/weddings) when I stumbled across this wedding and fell in love with it. This wedding was held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Jamie is actually the daughter of the hotel genius "Butch" Stewart (Sandals Resorts, Beaches, etc.) so as you can imagine it was absolutly exquisite.


**TEXTS AND PHOTOS ALL FROM MARTHSTEWART.COM/WEDDINGS**
You might say that Jaime and Mark's first date was more of a play date. Their parents were old friends, and the two had been buddies since childhood, growing up together on the island of Jamaica. You can probably guess the rest of the story. These two eventually fell in love and married among coconut palms and a gaggle of mutual friends.
Ceremony Decorations:The rose-petal-lined aisle was shaded by an orchid-studded arbor.
Bridesmaids:
A bridesmaid carries a posy of phalaenopsis and cymbidium orchids, ranunculus, and roses.
Canopy of Orchids:
Attendants wore Saeyoung Vu Couture dresses in the wedding's theme colors, fuchsia and celadon, and necklaces Jaime helped a jeweler design with each woman in mind.
Flower Girl
Jaime's sister Sabrina, in a flower-girl dress by Saeyoung Vu Couture, holds the bride's bouquet of nerines, orchids, and roses.
Sentimental CeremonyThe bride, in an embroidered Lazaro gown accented with handmade silk flowers, and her groom exchange vows at Rio Chico, her family's estate in northern Jamaica; the site has sentimental meaning for Jaime, as several of her family members are buried there.
Groomsmen:
Mark (third from left) stands with his attendants, including his best man, brother Toby (second from left).
Groom's Boutonniere:
The groom's boutonniere is a tiny Swarovski crystal frog on a lily pad of miniature orchids.
Jamie's parents: PJ and Gordon "Butch" Stewart





















Cake:
A cake by Selena Wong is topped with a midsummer's-eve mix of flowers, dragonflies, and frogs, all made of sugar.
Flowers by Preston Bailey (I love him, he's such a talented man)



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