Wedding Dress: RSVP Bridal, San Diego, CA
I purchased my Pronovias Olga dress through Karen at RSVP Bridal in San Diego. She quoted me almost $500 off of the price of the dress shop that I had tried on in. I paid additional $100 as a rush fee so that I would be assured of the dress arriving on time. It was due in by May 10th, but it arrived on April 2nd. Of course the dress was brand new and in pristine condition. I was super excited and highly recommend RSVP.
Total Price: $1100
My Veils: Private Sellers
I purchased my cathedral length drop veil from another Knottie. It was originally purchased at Saks 5th Avenue and worn by Knottie Mrs.Nash. I payed $50 for it.
My birdcage veil came from Artikal.com originally, but I purchased it from a bride on eBay for $25.
MyHair Flower: Twigs & Honey
Twigs and Honey is also known as Etsy seller, MyraKim. She makes custom hair accessories using vintage materials. My flower was made out of satin and silk pieces, and antique lace and buttons. I simply adored it!
Total Price: $45
Invitations: EvenStar Paperie
Tessa at EvenStar is such a creative and wonderful individual. She designed our invites based on my specifications; she actually worked up several different designs before I chose our final one. The quality of the invitations was great. I received multiple compliments on how beautiful and unique they were. She also made me up another 10 invitations on the spur of the moment when my parents came up with a few extra people that they wanted to invite. And her fees are reasonable when compared to getting mass produced invites. We are now listed as the 'Caroline and Timothy' invite in her portfolio. How cool is that?
Total Price: $275
The programs were good quality and were nicely priced. There was a mix-up with UPS and I never received the 1st shipment of programs. But after contacting customer service at Southwest Announcements, they sent out a second shipment.
Total Price: $30
Venue: Rockhouse Vineyards, Tryon, NC
I just loved this place, and we got so many compliments on it. Everyone said that our wedding was the most unique and laidback wedding that they had ever been to. I think that the venue contributed to this. I loved the owners of the vineyard, they were super nice and helpful. And I highly recommend the wine (of course!)...especially the Meritage. They do ask that you use their wine if you serve it.
Total Price: $750
Cake: Cakes du Jour, Hendersonville, NC
The cake was awesome! We had chocolate cake infused with Bailey's Irish Cream with chocolate ganache filling. We couldn't taste the Bailey's in the actual cake, but the cake itself was incredibly moist and tasted wonderful. It was devoured by our guests. The design turned out right, so I was very happy in the end.
Total Price: $300
Catering: Chelsea's Catering, Greer, SC
The food was great, the service was wonderful. We didn't have any problems at all. I thought that there was a little too much cracked pepper in the salad, but I heard multiple comments on how great the food was, so I guess it didn't bother too many people. The owner came be a little on the forthright side, but if you hold your ground with her, you'll be fine. The price is excellent too.
Total Price: $1150
Flowers: Carolina Roses, Kings Mountain, NC
I loved my flowers! They turned out excellent, and the price was unbelieveable. Patty will work well within your budget and she is super energetic and has fabulous ideas.
Total Price: $500
The guys were responsible for wearing their own suits. We purchased matching ties for them from Burlington Coat Factory.
His Ring: DeBebians
Great price and quality. The free shipping was definitely nice. We ordered the wrong size, and they gladed traded us for the right size.
Total Price: $99
Bridesmaids Jewelry: Lisa's Beads
Lisa lives in my town and does custom jewelry. She designed a necklace and earring set for my bridesmaids using freshwater pearls and blue crystal beads. The result was gorgeous, and the price was excellent. I highly recommend her services!
Total Price: $50
Photography: Weddings by Tuesday's Frog
I love Joanna and Mark! There is definitely a reason that they have won national awards for their photography. I cannot recommend them enough. They did our engagement pics and our wedding day pics. And I was beyond pleased each time. They are definitely detailed-oriented...even down to the packaging that they send your pictures in. Plus, they sent us a copy of the children's book that is the namesake of their company. It was a super neat touch!
Total Price: $1000 (Their price has gone up since I booked them in 2007 because they have won national awards. But they are definitely worth the extra if you have the budget)
Boudoir Pics: Evoke Photography
What can I say about April? She is enormously talented and so fun to work with. Like a lot of girls, I was super nervous about prancing around, scantily clad, but it only a few minutes for me to get used to it. April put me at ease from the start, and I was so incredibly pleased with the photos. I actually walked away more confident in myself, so that's saying something!
Total Price: $150 (I do believe she has gone up since; I was a test subject, but she is still reasonable for what she offered!)
Okay, here are my thoughts and advice on this whole wedding shindig....
1. Get a day of coordinator. Either hire one or find someone you trust absolutely. I was running around (as well as my mom) doing last minute things and just generally being crazy. There are a lot of things that went undone or went wrong. I planned for some things to go wrong, but seriously, I did not plan on some of the things that went wrong to go wrong. If there had been someone in control of the situation, a lot of the stuff probably would have gone better. Just some examples of what went wrong:
I walked down the aisle to NOTHING! There was a flub-up with the music. If you are using pre-recorded stuff, make sure that you brief the operator.
My little brother (who is 5) walked down the aisle without his ring pillow.
My stepmom walked down the aisle without her flowers.
My tablecards (which I DIYed and was very proud of) did not make it out on all of the tables.
I planned to line the aisle with rosepetals...they didn't make it out.
2. Seating charts are over-rated. Very few of our guests paid attention to it. I thought it would help some of our guests but in the end everyone sat where they wanted. I hate that I stressed out about it now.
3. Get a professional to do the music...not your 16 year old cousin who for all intents and purposes is very mature, but still unable to hit the play button correctly.
4. BE A BRIDE! I didn't do this. I was running around, insisting that I do things. I hate to delegate and therefore I didn't. If you do, make sure you trust the person. I did delegate to a few people and what I wanted done, didn't get done. Also, I was so caught up in the being the laid back bride, that I wasn't demanding enough. I know you're thinking, I don't want to be the demanding bridezilla. Well people take you more seriously when you are, so do it. People don't pay attention to you when you are nice.
5. Check your timing. I printed out a whole timeline for the wedding. People laughed at me, but I wanted to make sure people knew what to do. Interestingly enough, my time challenged DH was the one who did everything correctly, and I was the one who was running late and off the timeline. Also, once again, have someone enforce the timeline. Everyone was wandering around aimlessly before the ceremony...it made for barely contained chaos.
A few other things that I didn't do that traditional brides do:
DH and I were not glued at the hip for the reception. I went my way and he went his way. A few people thought it was odd, but it just reinforced our whole laid backed vibe.
Don't be afraid to allow a little laidbackness at the reception. I had tons of comments on how beautiful everything was and how much people enjoyed themselves because the whole thing was formal without being stuffy.
Enjoy yourself. I did eat a little, but not a lot. I wasn't hungry. I did get out on the dancefloor with a few others and made a fool of myself. But that's just me. I also kicked off my shoes half way through and went barefoot.
I helped to break down the event site. I know, I know...its crazy. But I felt that I should.
We didn't have the whole out in a blaze of glory type of exit. Most people have left by the time we were ready to go, so we staged the whole petal toss for the pictures, and then hung out with people some more.
And that's all, folks.
Do I wish that I could change things? Yep. But the most important thing is that people left with an impression of a great wedding, and they had fun, which was important. Also, I AM MARRIED. Mission accomplished.