our planning bio :) 



Chad and I met in college.  We started dating shortly after we met, and got engaged about 2 and a half years later.  Our wedding is May 30, 2010, which is our four and a half year anniversary :)  

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THE PROPOSAL

Chad proposed March 19, 2008.  He had a big, elaborate plan and it was cute and romantic.  I knew it was coming because we had gone ring shopping, but I did not know when.  He was acting suspicious that day and I remember texting my best friends while I was at work talking about it. :)  His best friend taped it so my out of state family could see it.

The ring:

Chad's ring (titanium, ordered 4/29/09 from etsy seller zoeanddoyle).  I am debating between the two bands below that.  I love the shape but cannot decide if I want the sapphires or not.



WEDDING PARTY 

Jen's attendants:

James, Catherine, & Suzanne

Chad's attendants:

Reid, Luke, & Joe

INSPIRATION/THEME

We're going for sort of a shabby chic meets sophisticated country feel.  The colors are chocolate brown, chartreuse, and a light blue.

THE VENUE

The Lodge at Cathedral Springs - Colorado Springs, CO

It's a beautiful mountain lodge in the springs.  Lots of gorgeous scenery and it is secluded and quiet. 

PLANNING STUFF

Flowers:

 I want big, soft, romantic blooms. We met with and booked our florist in August, and this is the breakdown:

my bouquet: light blue hydrangea, white peonies, dendrobium orchids, lime green hypericum berries, and chocolate cosmos.

bridesmaid bouquets: light blue hydrangea, green hypericum berries, and chocolate cosmos.

chad's boutonniere: dendrobium orchid, hypericum berries, and blue delphinium.

groomsmen, man of honor, and father/grandfather bouts: blue delphinium, hypericum berries.

mother/grandmother corsages: blue delphinium, hypericum berries, and chocolate cosmos.

 

Hair Ideas:

 I absolutely love the loose updo in the middle there.  I would like to go that route with some kind of floral hairpiece like this one (etsy seller twigsnhoney).


Hair trial (November, 2009):

I showed my normal hair lady the picture of Emma Stone (above center) that I like so much.  This is what she did, quickly.  We both agreed it needed to be more curly/have more texture, but otherwise I'm happy.  Best part is, she didn't even charge me for a trial!  She just cut my hair as I requested, and instead of blow drying it, she did the trial instead.  If you are a local gal, I highly recommend her (Betsy with Aveda salon on 16th St.)

 




 DIY:

I got this idea from the ever crafty MS.  It's just faux pearls on a wire bent into the appropriate initial, but I would like to do a "C" and a "J" to put on the doors of the lodge. 

 My mom and I are going to make the centerpieces.  We've been slowly buying vintage vases from antique stores and flea markets and are going to use green hydrangeas, a small blue bloom (not sure what it is, actually), and some decorative twigs.

 I am going to make the escort cards as well.  We plan to have assigned tables, not seats, just to avoid our closest friends and family getting pushed furthest away from us by eager guests at the reception.  We've purchased votives and tea lights, and I'm going to print names and table numbers on vellum similar to picture 1.  We've also purchased little rustic twig wreaths to set the votive inside of like picture 2.  We will probably go with ivory tablecloths since the lodge is cozy and dark from the wood, and there will be a lot of color on the table anyway.


STATIONERY

I am going to DIY our invitations because I cannot really find anything that is exactly what I want without paying a TON. I found these on the Style Me Pretty blog, and Austin knottie somethingsweeting made something similar.  I fell in love with them, and will start making them as soon as I purchase the paper goods.

UPDATE: I purchased a few paper samples (paperandmore.com), and we've settled on what we're using.  I made a trial version and it came out great.  I also purchased ivory paper flowers from etsy seller mcfunk90 (highly recommend) as an embellishment.  I asked her to make them slightly flat, so they would fit into the envelope adequately.  With all embellishments and DIY pocketfolds, these come out to about $1.20 each.

flowers purchased from mcfunk90:



I designed our STDs in Publisher and printed them thru Vistaprint (free!).  They came out fabulous.  The picture is a magnet (also free thru Vistaprint) I attached with glue dots. I really like them.

 

I also ordered these picture share cards for the reception thru vistaprint.  I created a shutterfly account and log in, and this way our guests can upload their pictures after the wedding.


ATTIRE

I thought I found "the dress" last August on an unplanned shopping trip with my mom, but never ended up ordering it.  I still love the dress, but I found one that I love even more and I think matches the wedding style better, so I am going to go with it instead.

This is the original dress, Jim Hjelm Couture.

This is the dress I fell in love with, Alvina Valenta.  I think it is just gorgeous and I love the subtle amount of lace and the detailed bodice.  It has a button closure back.  Here's the dress on someone else, and on me (without a crinoline, hence the flat-lying bottom of the dress).  I found my $3000 designer dress on ebay for $189 bucks.  I took a chance by buying it without officially getting to try it on, and luckily, I love it soo much!

 My shoes are ivory leather peep-toe heels, I got them on clearance for $19 at Famous Footwear.  I'll have to find a picture.



I would like an elbow length veil, but I'm not sure what kind yet.


This is the dress the girls chose.  We (well, I haha) are going to make sashes for the waist, one chartreuse and one blue.  The best part is it looks just like the $300 watters dress I loved, but was only $39 from Target!  I think they'll look great :)


Chad will be wearing a class black notch lapel tux with a chocolate brown vest and this Geoffrey Beene paisley tie.

The groomsmen and James will wear the same tux and chocolate brown vest, but will alternate blue and green ties (depending on where they will stand so they coordinate with the girls' sashes).


CAKE

We are going to go with cupcakes.  I am so excited for this!  I love cupcakes and Nomelie has the BEST flavors.  Selah also completely winged it for the decorations at the tasting, and they were perfect!

Snickerdoodle, red velvet, cherry vanilla, and mexican hot chocolate.  For the wedding we will be going with an assortment of snickerdoodle, mexican hot chocolate, red velvet, and strawberry.  We will be making cake stands for the cupcakes similar to these I found on etsy:





VENDORS

Ceremony & Reception: The Lodge at Cathedral Pines

Officiant: Mike, close friend

Ceremony Musician: Michael Lancaster, acoustic guitarist

Caterer: Shannon Dixon, Creative Cuisine

Rehearsal Dinner: Backyard BBQ at my parents'

Cake: cupcakes from Nomelie Cupcakes in Parker

Florist: DIY centerpieces (my mom), Dawn with Hillside Consultants for bouquets and bouts.

Photographer: The Tattered Veil (engagement pics), Traci and Nic with Real Photography (wedding).

Videographer: not sure if we will do this or not...

DJ: Mike, good friend who is a pro DJ in Houston (TMAC Sound)

Invitations/STDs: DIY - paperandmore.com for paper and envelopes

Rentals: the Lodge provides tables/chairs/etc. Linens from linentablecloth.com and ebay.

Favors: DIY

Hair: Betsy with Aveda (16th St. Mall)

Makeup: nestie Layla1704 (Beauty by Bernadette)

Dress: Alvina Valenta, won on ebay! $189 for my $3000 dress, new!

Tuxes: Al's Formal Wear

Bridesmaid Dresses: Target, sashes are fabric from JoAnn's

Jeweler: Zales (engagement ring), Etsy sellers ZoeandDoyle and Adzia (both wedding bands). Bridal jewelry is from etsy seller MiaBeads.

Honeymoon: Hawaii!  Oahu and Maui for 8 days. We are staying at the Best Western Coconut Waikiki Aqua Boutique (tripadvisor.com #1!) in Honolulu, and at the Aston Mahana at Kaanapali (also tripadvisor.com #1!) in Lahaina on Maui. We are planning excursions for a luau, swimming with dolphins, snorkel cruise, pineapple plantation, parasailing, and more!


VENDOR REVIEWS

The Lodge at Cathedral Pines - A++++: This venue was beyond perfect for us.  The grounds are absolutely beautiful, the building itself is gorgeous, and the coordinator, Lori, is seriously the most helpful person ever.  She was always super quick to respond to any stupid little question I had, worked with us on the deposit/payments, and saved our wedding day when issues came up (more on that later).  I can't say enough nice things about Lori or the venue, but if you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask me!

Acoustic guitarist, Michael Lancaster - A++:  Very accommodating with song requests, and I have heard nothing but good things from other brides who have used him.  The ceremony music was beautiful, and he even learned a song last minute for a surprise Chad planned for the ceremony.  Super nice guy, and very talented.  Would definitely recommend!

Nomelie Cupcakes - A++: the owner, Selah, was very patient with all my questions and requests, and has a great eye for decorating.  The flavors here are unique and SO DELICIOUS that even Chad was impressed (he is generally not impressed with desserts other than cookie cake).  Our cupcakes were exactly what I wanted (each flavor decorated differently to distinguish them, and they were beautiful!) and our cutting cake/decor was awesome as well.  Selah is great to work with and her attention to detail really shows.  Parker is out of the way for us but it was totally worth it for Nomelie's wonderful cake!

Dawn with Hillside Consultants (florist) - A+++++:  she was great in our consultation meeting, had wonderful ideas for the look we were going for, and is absolutely the most reasonably priced florist I've ever heard of.  She is also very personable and willing to accommodate any and all of our requests.  I have heard nothing but good things about her and her work.  She accommodated last minute requests by my mom, and the day of the wedding she delivered the bouquets and bouts to my make-up artist's house so we could take them with us to the venue for the before pics.  Everything was GORGEOUS and exactly what I imagined.  I was insistent on lots of little details and Dawn was great about my requests and always quick to reply to me when I had questions.  She is a fabulous person and the best florist in this area. I love Dawn! :)

The Tattered Veil (engagement pics) - C: we won a blog contest and got our engagement pictures for free from them.  It took forever to schedule the session, which was not a huge deal to us, but then the day we were scheduled to meet them downtown, they were about 40 minutes late and only one of them came.  They both had my phone number and I tried to call them more than once while we waited, but they didn't bother to tell us anything.  The lady who did not show up to the session had some kind of personal situation come up, which is understandable, but I would have appreciated notice, and we won a session with both photogs - we could have rescheduled.  The session went okay, but it was kind of uncomfortable, and it took forever to get our pictures after the session (longer than most weddings take to get back).  The worst part of this was that the photog who did take our session would email me weekly and say she was going to have them ready the next day, and then I wouldn't hear anything from her until I would email roughly a week after that and ask what was up.  Then we would get another email saying she would have them up the next day, etc.  It was about 50 pictures, I really feel like especially since they weren't edited, this was a ridiculous run around.  When we finally got them, we were allowed to choose 10 to get the proofs of on a disc - choosing 10 was hard.  Not because we had to narrow them down, because it was hard to pick 10 we really liked.  They aren't really bad pictures, just most of them are at awkward angles or completely unflattering.  They are really very nice people, but I feel like they have way too much on their plate (private businesses) to properly work for their clients.  I wouldn't recommend.

Real Photography (wedding) - A+++: Traci and Nic are very talented and we had full faith in their abilities for the wedding.  We don't have all of our proofs back, but they have blogged a few shots, and we LOVED them (click here to see).  They actually posted a sneak peek pic on facebook a couple of days after the wedding, and it was absolutely amazing.  We cannot wait to see the rest, and they were wonderful the day of - tons of creative shots, understood our personalities (and fit well with them), and were everywhere taking shots without being intrusive at all.  Would highly recommend!

Shannon with Creative Cuisine (caterer) - F (is there anything lower than F?): This is a hard review to write, because up until the wedding day, she was great to work with and even the day of, the food itself was great.  However, the day of was almost a complete catastrophe, and her behavior then and since has been absolutely shocking.  When we met with her and her husband, I told them what the venue had (according to their brochure, a catering kitchen which includes warming ovens, fridge/freezer, etc.).  Apparently they misheard me (even though it was in our email correspondence that it had that equipment and they acknowledged it), and showed up to the venue 10 minutes before the ceremony with raw chicken, expecting to cook it in the ovens we never told them existed (they also never called the venue, did a site check, anything). 

10 minutes before the ceremony (!!), Shannon approached me (who does this?) and told me what happened.  I was really in too much shock/too excited and happy for the wedding to fully comprehend it, but I got my dad's attention and basically backed away from the situation - I was about to get married and honestly wasn't going to spoil it with this.  Luckily, my grandparents live about 2 miles from the venue, so we made arrangements for them to go there and cook the chicken.  I was completely calm about the whole thing, even though my dad had to escort them to my grandparents' home and back before the ceremony started, and my uncle had to stay at the house with them because (understandably) they didn't want strangers in their house unattended. 

This would have been bad enough, but then it came out that they brought the wrong plates (because the company she ordered them through sent the wrong ones and because she had waited so long to order them, this was 2 days before the wedding) and NO SILVERWARE even though that was in our contract (plus, why would a caterer be responsible for plates, but not silverware?!).  I didn't find out about that until later, and Shannon just said "I don't know what to tell you, that wasn't our responsibility!" and argued with my mom about it.  The venue coordinator, Lori, went to the nearest store and got some and it all worked out, but this was ridiculous.  Eventually, we ate dinner, and yes, the food was very delicious and exactly what we asked for, but the headache was just beginning.  Even throughout everything, we were all so happy that we really couldn't have cared less and were just enjoying ourselves.  None of us ever said a rude word to her and we just rolled with it.

Later, when we were getting ready to do our getaway, we noticed they were gone (they had been for quite some time, but we weren't hanging out in the kitchen).  We figured my parents must have given them a check, because neither of us had, and no vendor leaves without payment, right?  We did our getaway, went to our hotel room and crashed, and didn't give the whole thing a second thought - our wedding was still fabulous and we had the time of our lives.  The next day, we headed back to Denver and went to my parents' house to meet up with my MOH and our officiant/DJ (one of my best friends since middle school) to go have lunch together.  As we were heading out the door, I got an outraged email from Shannon about how the entire thing was OUR fault, we lied to them about equipment, everyone was so rude to them and they were so embarrassed they had to leave, etc. (all lies) She also demanded payment for the disposable plastic plates (even though it was in our agreement they would provide them) because she "had to run out at the last minute and buy them" due to the order mishap and they needed to charge us an inconvenience/travel fee for having to go to my grandparents' and cook the chicken.  We all got a laugh out of it because of the ridiculousness, and since we were leaving for our honeymoon at 6AM, I did not reply (plus, she had started her email with "I know you're on your honeymoon and will not reply...").

She emailed me 3 more times while we were on the honeymoon, each time becoming more ridiculous.  She insulted us, our guests, my parents, and then started complaining that they were not paid that night.  They are the ONLY vendor who left without talking to us/getting payment, and not only that, but the only time I saw them was right before the ceremony when they told me the situation - my husband NEVER saw them and they never said a word to him.  Every time we got an email from her, there were new, ridiculous fees added for something that wasn't our fault/wasn't in our contract.

When we returned from the honeymoon (a week later...not like this was 6 weeks or something), I sent her a professional email telling her we would not be paying her all of these extra fees for things they were responsible for, recopied the original email with my explanation of the venue's kitchen and her acknowledgment, and asked for a concession for the inconvenience and error on their part.  She then sent a series of angry and insulting emails with more demands.  We eventually settled it when I completely refused to pay anything other than our original agreement, minus the cost of the silverware since they were responsible for it anyway.  She finally accepted this, after sending more emails complaining about her family's economic situation/bank overdraft fees/who know what else - completely unprofessional!

I know this is a really long review, and believe it or not, I've actually left quite a bit out.  Bottom line here is that they gave us a fabulous deal on the price per person, and the food really was great, but I would rather have paid twice what we were quoted to avoid the hassle and headache the day of/after the fact.  I beg you to use anyone except them - and can actually recommend the caterer we almost used - Oinks BBQ.

Betsy with Aveda salon (16th st mall location) - A++: Betsy is a wonderful person and a fabulous hair stylist.  She is the only person I've ever gone to for my hair (seriously, a lot of people) to get everything right, every time, no matter what I ask for.  She is also awesome because she doesn't charge you to do a trial or anything, she will just try things on you when you come in for a cut or whatever and if you like it, great, if not, she'll fix it.  She ended up driving down to Colorado Springs to meet us at Bernadette's house (make up artist) to make it easier on me - I didn't even ask her to!  I LOVED my hair (after my quick trial, we both agreed on a few small changes) and it was exactly what I wanted.  Even with my veil trying to take flight in the wind, my hair held until we got to the hotel that night (it was starting to fall then).  She also did a wonderful job on both bridesmaids (they looked gorgeous!) and she is really just a super sweet, awesome person.  I'd highly recommend her for hair cuts, updos, and really any hair need you could have!

Invitations/Save the Dates/Favors/etc: I did all the design/assembly/etc. for our stationery projects.  I bought paper from paperandmore.com and the rest of my supplies from Hobby Lobby/Michaels.  I LOVE making stuff and would be happy to help anybody with theirs - just contact me :)

Officiant/DJ - A+++++: Our officiant was one of our good friends/one of my best friends since middle school.  He did a seriously awesome job - everyone was raving about it.  He is a pro DJ/TV newsreporter (I know, what a combo) in Texas, so I'm not going to put his info on here, but he was wonderful.

Al's Formal Wear (Flatirons Mall location) - B: typical tux shop.  We won $50 off every tux and a free groom's tux at a bridal show, so we went with them.  The consultant was helpful and they had suits that Chad liked.  They did seem to mess up a few of the measurements (they lost my MOH's jacket size...somehow...), but they fixed things quickly, and everything was right when they were picked up.  Like I said, typical tux shop - if they have the colors/suit you like, no reason not to use them.

Bridesmaid dresses, Target (online) - A+: I didn't feel like making my friends spend $300 on a dress they will probably wear once.  I found lots of pictures of stuff I liked in the appropriate color, and sent them to them.  They both liked the one from Target, which was great because it was only $40.  The girls both said they fit fine and they look great in them!  Works for me.

Zales (engagement ring) - A: They gave Chad a great deal on my ring, and I haven't had any problems.  Typical chain jewelry store, no complaints.  They also are happy to clean and polish my ring in just a couple minutes any time I happen to pass by a store.  I like that.

Etsy seller ZoeandDoyle - A+: Chad hated pretty much every wedding band we saw in stores/online.  I happened across ZoeandDoyle's etsy shop one day, showed him their color anodized titanium bands, and he was really impressed.  He picked a color and we ordered it.  The price was great, the quality/workmanship is great.  I would highly recommend. 

Etsy seller MiaBeads - A+: Her jewelry is gorgeous and very reasonably priced.  She is also way more accommodating and awesome then she needs to be for internet strangers.  Most of her jewelry is bronze and silver, and I just asked if she could make it in gold - she went to the trouble to order supplies for the pieces I liked in gold and made up samples for me (I ended up ordering the bronze).  She is super receptive to any customization you might want, and very nice.  Highly recommend.

Etsy seller Adziasatelier - A: She makes beautiful jewelry, and I LOVE my wedding ring, but the communication/design process was kind of bumpy.  The end result was great, so I'd recommend.