I'm having commitment issues and cold feet...

... not about getting married, but about having a wedding.

Now that deposits are being made and contracts are being signed, I'm starting to realize how much this shing dig is actually going to cost. Although I'm way below the national average, I still feel like I'm spending a million dollars.
I feel selfish for having this wedding...am I the only person to ever feel this way?
At this point it's early enough to get out and still make my way down to City Hall, lol.
I'm also scared that the day is going to sneak up on me and I won't have enough money to pay off any of the balances.
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO (UPDATE): So I ended up putting a small deposit down for the photo/video company that I had my heart set on from the beginning. I haven't signed the contract yet, but my date is being held with that deposit. I was dead set on them and was really excited about my decision to work with them. The excitement wore off, reality is kicking in and I'm starting to wonder if I made the right decision. I'm wondering if I went overboard with my choice. I knew I wanted to "splurge" on photo and video, but I'm not feeling too good about it anymore.
DRAMA WITH THE DJ: Originally I planned on hiring the DJ that played at my aunts wedding and other functions that she's hosted. He plays great music and is EXTREMLY AFFORDABLE. The problem with him was that he wasn't licensed, so I had to move on and find someone who had the proper documentation. I found a reputable company that I decided to go with, we had great chemistry and he has played at my venue on several occassions. Perfect! I put my deposit down and crossed booking the DJ off my list.
The other night I get a call from my aunt telling me that the (original) DJ went ahead and got his insurance so that he could play at the wedding. She also told me his price (which is HALF of what he other guy was charging me) and said that she would pay for it. My first thought..."^%*@!". I had already given the DJ company a $100 deposit and signed a contract. I was planning on also having them do my uplighting so I thought that perhaps I could put my $100 deposit towards that instead- nope, I have to get something of equal or greater value. More "@#$%"!
My aunt is offering to pay for the other guy, so obviously I'm going to go with that option, instead of paying for the more expensive guy out of my own pocket. I know $100 may not seem like a lot, but to me it's kind of a big deal. I know the man conducts his business a certain way and I can respect that but .... jeez! Help a sista out man! lol
FLOWERS: Yesterday I stopped by the florist shop next my job - I went in, introduced myself, told her I worked next door and that I would be needing her services. Sidebar: This company is the best in Fort Lauderdale, but I figured I could get a deal on the price since I work next door and she is friends with my boss. I made sure to tell her that I'm on a budget! Now that I've met with a couple vendors I feel the need to say that upfront so that they don't waste their time telling me about things I can't afford. They always ask me what kind of budget, my response is always "I'm a college student and my fiance has been laid off his job" - they always get the picture - honesty is the best policy right? No shame in my game.
We sat down and got down to cost effective options, this is what I showed her for my color inspiration:

For the quality flowers that they use I'm getting a great deal. The florist was really nice and very understanding of my needs. The prices that she gave didn't make me cringe at all since I'm going to do something simple for the ceremony and most of the reception stuff I can do by myself. What I mostly need her for are the bouquets, the boutenierres (I know I spelt that wrong, I'll make a correction before I turn 50) and I little set up for the alter. I might be able to wheel and deal a little more once I make my official appointment and final decisions.
Uuuuhhh - City Hall would save my sanity!
{photo credit: THE KNOT}

UPDATES: Bridesmaids & Weight Loss

BRIDESMAIDS:
Originally, I told all my bridesmaids that the deposit for their dresses as well as their measurements had to be completed by March 1st. All my Florida girls have given me their measurements but no deposits while the New York girls and my cousin in Jamaica haven't done either one. Feb is going to be over in two seconds and one of the girls is just getting message that I sent on Facebook to all the girls and doesn't think she can meet the deadline. One of my cousins is pregnant and hasn't had her baby yet, so I can't order anyway.
The reason for me having the dresses ordered so early is that it usually takes 3 months for them to be delievered to me at the shop and I was hoping to have them by the summer so that I could bring them to the girls in New York when I go up there in July or August. By getting it to them that early, they have more than enough time to get any alterations that they may need.
WEIGHT LOSS: HHHmmm, how do I begin? Well...I lost 8 lbs last month but this month...lol. I've fallen off the wagon. Hard. Not only have I fallen off the wagon, but I found a match, lit it, set the wagon on fire, and watched it burn while I laughed at a safe distance. My Jenny Craig meals were on that wagon by the way. It was going great, but it's just too expensive with all this wedding and life madness going on right now. My fiance has yet to find a job since getting laid off, so I pretty much guilty and stupid giving away some of my paycheck to Jenny Craig so that I can loose weight while I have real problems going on. Once he starts working again I should be good to go, but at the moment I've hung up the phone on Jenny.
The good news: I haven't had any junk food
The bad news: I'm hardly eating anything, because I'm always on the go between work, school & wedding stuff and as stupid as it sounds, sometimes I forget to eat. It'll be 4pm and I'm like "Wow, I haven't eaten all day!"... that's not good for me at all - I have to work that :/
WORK: I'm very excited to have two dates lined up with the makeup studio this weekend and the following Saturday. In addition, my boss recently launched an event planning company and I get to work as her assistant doing Day of Coordination for a wedding. I can't put into words how excited I am. I really like working in the bridal industry and eventually I plan on launching a company of my own within the field. Except for the occassional crazy bride that I have to deal with at the bridal dress shop, I love doing makeup for weddings and I'm looking forward to getting my feet wet with event planning. I have two jobs in the bridal field and I can't get enough of it - I think I've found my calling, I just have to be patient to find my own little niche...skys the limit!
RELATIONSHIP: The fiance and I are doing great - it's finally just starting to hit us that we're getting married, lol. We're still arguing about laundry, but I really don't think that's going to change anytime soon (unless we win the lottery and I hire a laundry lady) I'm sorry but, laundry is just not my thing - well the folding and putting away part at least.

Second Dress...yes?


{photos by BCBG}
These pictures do the dress no justice - it's prettier in person and is very soft to the touch.

If I am able to afford a second dress, I'll probably wear something short...we'll see what happens...

So What If I'm Only 4'11...

I want to wear flats on my wedding day...

{photo credit: Phindy Studio via The Brides Cafe}
I actually want blue flats!
You would think that because I'm ::ahem:: "virtically challenged" that I live in 4 inch heels or have some sort of hang up of being the same height of a 4th grader - but I'm quite alright with the way God made me.
If I did wear heels, I can see myself slipping them off midway through the ceremony or thinking of kicking them off before The First Dance...I'm gonna stick with my flats!
The search is on...


Photographer, check! Videographer, check!

I must say that I had one heck of a wedding planning spree this weekend - not only did I book my DJ, but yesterday I also reserved my photography and video - go me!

From the beginning, I made it clear to my fiance and family that photo and video were the most important aspects of this wedding - it's all we're going to have left after all is said and done. These were my spurlge items. I've interviewed and been in contact with quite a few photographers and videographers - they were all really nice but just didn't have what I was looking for. I think I was starting to get on everyones nerves, but I know what I wanted and I wasn't going to settle for anything less.
The most frustrating part was finding great photo and video in my price range. Just photos alone was the total of my photo and video budget combined. I wasn't getting anywhere and wanted to give uP. What I did find in my price range was...well...let's just say, my 8 year old sister is way more artistic than they are (SIDEBAR: My sister has offered to be the photographer at my wedding and she also would like to play the keyboard, say a poem and do an African dance routine during the reception, lol).
Yesterday I had an interview with a photography company that I've had my eye on since getting engaged. On the way there I had a .... shall we say... minor Bridezilla moment (lol) because my mom and fiance said we were wasting our time since we "couldn't afford them"... by the way, the meeting was at 9:30 am so we were all in a bad mood, lol.
We arrived at a local Panera Bread to meet a photography consultant (who was awesome) from the company and sat down to discuss the various packages that they offer. Naturally I went for the most affordable package - it doesn't come with an album, but I can always take care of that later. She did however show us a series of albums (that I can purchase at a later time) to show me different styles of photography offered by the various photographers in order to get an idea of what I wanted.
She also let us know that the company has recently began to shoot video as well and played us a few samples on her laptop.
As she started to wrap things up, it was obvious to everyone that I had made up my mind. Mom excused us for a minute and we stepped outside. She pretty much told me that she knows that this is what I want, so it doesn't make sense to keep looking around. She laughed, shook her head and told me that she would go ahead and put the deposit down for me. Sweet!
We decided to have them do both the photos and video. She was going to offer me a discount for the photography, but since we decided to do both with them, she took an additional percentage off photography and also gave us a discount on video - we saved about $500 - but I did end up going over my initial budget for photo and video (by about $200) - ooops! I mean, it was my spurgle item :)
I have to say the good thing about this company is that I only needed to put down $100 to reserve my date and then they offer 4 different payment options - where 90% of the other companies that I considered usually needed a 50% deposit or some other large sum of money.
Yay, I'm so happy! I'm almost at the 8 month mark aready - yikes! I think it's hilarious that a few weeks ago I didn't even know if we were going to be able to even afford to have a wedding and now things just seem to be rolling along. Faith is one heck of a thing!
After the meeting we all went home for some much needed sleep and then headed over to Chuck E. Cheese for our niece's 6th birthday party. Confession: I LOVE CHUCK E. CHEESE. As long as any young family member or child of a friend, or some random person I met is going to Chuck E Cheese, I'm soooo there! Also, most of the time we go to Chuck E Cheese, my mom gets in an arguement with little kids who either try to steal her tickets or distract her - she's a bigger kid than anyone else. Here are some pictures we took on the photobooth/skecth booth thingy:
Here are my mommy, my baby sis and me.... & myself and my fiance...
after Chuck E Cheese, we headed over to the beach where we saw a random fish washed up on the shore...
I must say that between classes, jobs and wedding planning, I'm starting to feel burnt out. I know that I definently didn't get any rest this weekend. I'm staying home from school today to get some rest and I don't have class again until Wednesday morning. I have a few assignments to do but I should be able to knock those out pretty quickly - I'm off to bed!
I hope that everyone had a wonderful and productive weekend...
ZZZZZzzzzzzz

Why My DJ Is So Important

I love music - all types of music! From reggae to electronic, hip hop to alternative, Beyonce to Beck - as long as I can vibe to it- I'M THERE! I needed to make sure that the DJ that I selected had a wide selection of music and that he did. Of course we had to make sure to his reggae, calypso and soca collections were up to par since my family likes to party...HARD.

Case in point...
The above photo was taken last summer during our annual family vacation in Virginia Beach. There was about 30 of us on that trip, and during a stroll on the board walk we heard music - and it was over! INSTANT PARTY ON THE BOARDWALK! Why? B/C we're typical Jamaicans who can't help but to start a party anytime, anywhere, any place - as long as there's some sort of beat - PARTY!
I found this picture on my computer and couldn't help but to laugh...it's a snapshot of what my reception will be like - I can't wait. Is it November 14th yet?
Speaking of all types of music - my new thing is French Hip Hop. Here are some pictures from a concert I attended a little while back by a French artist named Yelle. The amazing thing about the show was everyone singing all the words to her songs in French although probably only 2% of the audience spoke French. Music really brings people together. The only thing I know in French is to say "Hello my name is__________", "How are you?" and "I love you (thank you to my 8th grade French teacher), yet I didn't miss a word, lol...oh yea, I can also say "I'm doing good", "I'm doing bad" or "I'm doing so-so" - you know, the important stuff :)











NOTE TO SELF: Learn (a lot ) more French



{ALL PHOTOS BY J.BRIDE}



GO DJ!

Something else to cross off my list - I booked my DJ!
Originally I'd planned on using the DJ that played at my aunts wedding and also at her husbands 50th birthday party - his price was only $300. However, my venue requires that all outside vendors have liability insurance and he didn't have any. Oh how great it would be to have only paid $300...
Just this week I figured that I might as well start the hunt for another DJ and headed over to THE KNOT. I sorted by those dollar signs and found someone in the affordable category. I clicked on a vendor, liked what I saw and sent in my information in order to be contacted. Seriously, I don't even think an hour went by before the owner of the company called me. He seemed very nice and extremly professional. When I told him the name of my venue he immediately told me the name of my banquet manager and could even describe the room to me. He has done events on my venue many times!
We spoke on the phone for about half an hour, the entire time I was terrified about how much he was going to tell me the price was. Turns out his price was pretty reasonable especially for everything I was getting - DJ/MC and specialty lighting for my dance floor. I pretty much made up my mind about him before I got off the phone, but I didn't need him to know that.
After I got off the phone with him, I realized that I had actually gotten one of his cards from the banquet manager and I now remember her highly recommending him. I spoke to my fiance and mom about it and we decided to go ahead and book him. We made the necessary arrangements to meet him at his office today and when I got there, it only re-affirmed my choice. He's great! But we were disappointed to learn that he has a prior engagement for that day so it will be someone else at my wedding - he actually have a staff of 7 DJ's. But it's ok, I'm just glad that I found a great company and I'm confident that everything is going to work out great.
He also offers uplighting with the basic package starting at $395 for 16 lights. That's the cheapest I've seen so far - if I have money at the end I would definently like to add that element to my reception.
Is anyone else having uplighting? What are the price ranges that you're seeing out there?
{PHOTO CREDIT: Hypebeast.com}

One More Bridesmaid Added

It's official, my bridal party is officially a circus - I HAVE 10 BRIDESMAIDS! I had to add my little cuzzo Anna-Kay. The thought of being at the alter and seeing her sitting down instead of standing up there with the rest of the girls I love broke my heart. The only reason I didn't originally add her is because she's in Jamaica, and studying heavily as she is preparing to go to university later this year. But my uncle (her dad) was here this week, I spoke to him about it and he said that it should be ok. Since she wasn't in the original line up, I had planned on asking her to read a passage from The Bible during the ceremony - she agreed and now she'll be doing that in addition to being my bridesmaid.
Anna is my original little sister since my biological little sis wasn't born until I was a teenager. I even lived with her and her family for a while, while I was away from my mom who was here in the U.S. getting the proper qualifications for us to uproot from Jamaica.
The horried photo above was taken of us at her home in Kingston in October 2007 - we were both rocking moo-moo's for some strange reason. I can't think of an excuse to make up for that :/

I Heart Karen Tran

Through my now unhealthy obsession with the internet (since I began planning my wedding), I pretty much waste most of my life surfing from one wedding blog to another trying to get inspiration. At some point I came across a wedding where the decor was done by Karen Tran (San Diego Event Designer Wedding Florist Decorator Servicing San Diego Orange County Brides Destination Weddings in San Diego Coronado San Diego Wedding planner Coordinator ) - it was stunning! I stopped by her blog and now I must say that I'm officially hooked...

Not only does she provide her clients with exceptional decor, but she also designed her very own wedding - talk about a Do It Yourself Bride! Her wedding was featured on the WeTV special "Beach Weddings" which documented her process. In case you missed it, here is the video:


If you'd like to see some photographs from her wedding, go here.

My Centerpiece Inspiration?

Ever since I began conjuring up the decor for the wedding reception, I've been having dreams of these...
...oooh yes - cylinder vases

At first I was thinking of just have one at each table with a single stem submerged in water, which I knew that I could do myself as I don't have a large budget for flowers...or anything else for that matter. I've since been on the hunt for cheap cylinder vases and seemed to have found the best deals over at ebay. One day I was in Target with my mom and decided to show her my idea: ...yea, something like that. Then I began to think that perhaps this look will be a bit boring and that it would look a bit more interesting if I did three vases per table at different levels, like this:

{photo borrowed from Events On A Budget}

I then also came up with the idea that the arrangements would be even more interesting if every container contained an arrangement that was slightly different. Of course I had to run this by my right hand man Sonia (one of my bridesmaids) who loved the idea and then drew up this little sketch for me while we were at work:

(sidebar: Sonia is currently paying back a $40,000 loan from art school - here we can see that money was well spent, lol)
We wanted a better idea of how it would look on the table, so I pulled up pictures from my venues website and we did this:


...yes...I can see it now...lol


Ok Scratch That, NO NEW BLOG...but new blog name

So this weekend I thought it would be a great idea to delete this blog and start fresh with a new one to blog ONLY about my wedding plannng process. It seemed like a good idea, but the thought of starting over made me want to throw up...it's like throwing away your first kid after giving birth to the second one - I couldn't do it.

I'd like to blame my moment of insanity on my frustrations of a bowling game on Saturday night, the Chris Brown & Rihanna saga and dieting.

I did however give my blog a new and improved name and look - that's enough excitement for me!

& speaking of bowling this weekend, can you guess who I am...

My cousin was in charge of entering the names on the screen and came up with random names for everyone (sidebar: I am not a Bridezilla).

Hope everyone had a great Valentines Day and weekend :)



M.I.A in the M.I.A: Weight Loss, Makeup & More

It's been just over a week since my last blog post - it seems like longer, and it seems as though I've lived 10 lives since then. I don't know, it seems as though there are way more important things in the world for me to be doing than planning my wedding - I've been extremly unfocused as of late.

First off, my weight loss journey - Month 1 is officially over and here are the results ::drumroll please:: I've lost 8 lbs and 3 inches total. Go me! My goal was to loose 10 lbs for the month, but I can't complain. I'm even starting to fit into some of my jeans again. I might have to retire the one jean that I was wearing at my heaviest, lol. They've gone a long way but I think I've pushed them to the limit. I actually bought them at Forever 21 for $12.00, and they were a stretch denim so they grew with me, but I think they're officially done. That was the best $12.00 I ever spent.

Last night I had the opportunity to work with my boss Nikol at a cosmetics seminar that she was hosting at her boutque. It was so much fun and all the women were really sweet...check out this awesome spread of "healthy bites" that Nikol's mom put together for the event... Everything was so good especially these - "caprese on a stick" as I like to call it, lol:
For the event, Nikol chose two products lines from her boutique and explained why she loves them and how to use them. Last night it was all about Susan Posnick (the finest mineral makeup) and Mama Mio. In attendance were representatives from each company that basically gave a background of the products and explained it's significant in the market place. All the guests were able to play with the product and were then able to purchase them at the conclusion of the demonstartion as well as have cocktails and socialize.






It was truly a fabulous event...
As far as my wedding goes...the deposit has been made on the venue but nothing has been done since them. I found the dress that I want at my workplace but I haven't ordered it yet because...well I don't know. All my Florida bridesmaids have gotten their measurements to me, but the girls in New York have yet to visit any bridal shops (I think it's because I'm not there to harass them about it, lol). My fiance has yet to have found work since being laid off (DAMN YOU BUSH) so not much else has been able to get done.
Oh yea! My fiance and I met with a photographer last weekend. She has an awesome personality and the price of her packages are great - but I can't say that I'm completly in love with her work. But if all else fails...I guess I have to go with her. Her work is good, but it's not incredible and as artistic as I would like my wedding photos to be. I'm having a hard time trying to find photographers and videographers in my price range. So God knows how long it's going to be until I find someone who meets my criteria that I can actually afford.
Not much else has been going on as far as the wedding. I feel like time is running out on me and I'm gonna end up doing a mad dash at the end that I was trying to avoid. Hopefully things will all work out.

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