Monday, August 19, 2013


August marks our ONE MONTH AHEAD, which means, we're almost there!!! Check out how close we are!!

July was such a busy month that even though I was able to update the blog, I never got around to posting about the Oh-So-Holy To-Do List from my wedding planning bible, The Bride's Year Ahead. July represented Chapter 11: Two Months Ahead, focusing on the Finishing Touches, and included a To-List of:

1. Finalize the ceremony.

2. Plan the rehearsal dinner.

3. Obtain blood tests.

4. Get a marriage license.

I finally completed #1 last week on one of my days off, and, like all wedding stuff, it took longer than I thought it would! We are having a traditional Catholic wedding ceremony, and boy do Catholic's like their tradition. There are specific readings you are allowed to choose from for certain parts of the ceremony, and it has to follow a certain flow. Luckily, I found this great website, giving step-by-step instructions on how to organize and plan a Catholic wedding ceremony. It gave me at least 5 options to choose from for each section of the ceremony, helping to keep our ceremony special. I was also able to choose certain readings that although similar in message, we worded more appropriately to our liking, excluding some such wording as how the women "obeys" the man, which is not what M and I want in our marriage. We chose readings that exhibited love and more equal partnership, which better reflects our relationship.

#2 is mostly planned, just have to type up itineraries for the weekend so our bridal party and family guests know what time which events are, and at what times they are expected to be where. By having it all written out makes for a much more organized weekend, and I'm crossing my fingers for less stress along with it as well! I am however looking forward to a relaxing BBQ with my closest family and friends for our rehearsal dinner, and cannot wait to be that much closer to marrying my best friend.

For #3 and #4, we luckily are not required to do a blood test for the state of California, but we DO need to obtain a marriage license! Because both M and I need to be present to obtain our license, we are going down to the Santa Cruz County Clerk's office the week before our wedding to obtain our license. Luckily, there is no wait time to receive our license, as it is effective immediately, and good for 90 days (thank goodness)!

And then we moved our way into August, the last month before our wedding!!!!!!! I started the month of August with a bang, flying to Las Vegas for my Bacehlorette Party, thrown by my MOH's and favorite girls. We had a blast staying at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and made our way around some of the hottest nightclubs and pool parties in Vegas!

August is not only the month in which I celebrated my Bachelorette Party, but our LAST AND FINAL CHAPTER of our Wedding Book!!!! Chapter 12: One Month Ahead, skillfully titled, Countdown to Bliss, and has a To-Do List to match what this month literally is; Cram Month!!:

1. Pick up your gown and make final alterations.

2. Confirm dates and details with service personnel.

3. Contact Newspaper.

4. Choose gifts for participants.

5. Finalize your guest list.

6. Make seating arrangements and obtain placecards.

7. Create a wedding day timetable, and distribute task cards to wedding party.

8. Your rehearsal dinner.

9. Wedding day itinerary.

Holy Moly!!!! I like how the book starts the chapter off with, "Congratulations -- you've made it this far!" Hahaha, and still so much left to do! This chapter is broken down by the final weeks leading up to The Big Day, and luckily I've already completed the list for Three Weeks in Advance. Most of the following next two weeks leading up to the "I Do's" are confirming services, drop off times, writing checks for the appropriate vendors, and reconfirming with services and wedding party members and guests. I'm not even going to go into detail about the list above, because all those things are works in progress right now, but will be completed upon the end of this month!! EKKK!! It's coming up too fast, and still SO much to do!!

To help break up some of the stress that has come along with the month, M and I took a short trip this past weekend to Mobile, AL to help celebrate his brother-in-law, Bobby, surprise 40th birthday party. As always, it was a fun time, but way too short! Somehow I was able to squeeze in time to get the girls to try on their flower girl dresses and absolutly love how they look on them, and can't wait for them to wear them at our ceremony! But the best part was being able to spend time with my baby. I relish time I get to spend with him and his amazing family. Soon enough they will be my family too ;)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July Updates

And the countdown continues through this hot, rainy month of July!

July held a lot of wedding related work for me, but some positive things as well, including a wedding shower thrown by M's family in Alabama, and my mom's visit for the event. July also meant our Pre Marital class for the Catholic Church, with the Pre Cana retreat being one of the last big items to check off our wedding To-Do List.

We received the cute invitations from M's mom a month ago, after having to reschedule due to Pre Cana dates. Keeping in tradition with what she had done for both of Michael's brothers during their engagements, she was throwing us a fabulous joint wedding shower at her gorgeous river house in Mobile. Check out the cute invites below.

My Father had planned many months ago that he was going to surprise my mother and I by sender her out to Mobile for our wedding shower. He spoke with M's mom, and she suggested he send her to Tampa instead, so she could spend more time with me instead of just the 2 days we were going to be in AL. M then suggested to him that he'd have to include me in the surprise so I could take the appropriate time off from work to hang out with her. When he broke the news to me, I cried with joy, as not only would it be my first family member out to Florida since moving here 2 years ago, but she would finally be able to meet M's family in person for the first time, and she could finally see my wedding dress during my first fitting, which I was going to specially schedule during her visit. It was hard keeping the secret from her, but when my dad broke the news to her a few days before she would be leaving, I could hear the joy and excitement in her voice. She finally arrived late Wednesday night, and early Thursday morning we were already hard at work on wedding stuff. And when I talk about wedding stuff, I specifically mean WEDDING INVITATIONS. These darn things had been the bane of my existence for the last couple of weeks, as I was making all of them by hand, and there were a lot of little details that had to be completed before they could be put together and mailed. First I had to cut all the scrap book paper and invitation paper to fit the folders I had cut to hold the invites, RSVPs, and map. Then I had to cut and fold the vintage dictionary paper for the envelopes. Check out the picture below showing my neat piles of a couple days of work of cutting.

I then had to print out the invitations, RSVP, and Map and Accommodations, all of which took me waaay longer than expected to even just type up, as I found I was very indecisive about wording, and had to do a little research on Pinterest. Once printed, I had to lay out all the invites on our guest bed so they could dry properly and not smudge. Quite an interesting site!

I then had to print the guest addresses on each envelope, as well as our own return address on the RSVP envelopes, and insert the vintage dictionary paper into the envelopes and glue in place. Check out my post on our Engagement Announcements for the step-by-step instructions on this process. During all this, I got laryngitis, and was supposed to have an invitation making party, but decided to cancel due to having no voice and a sore throat, but my sweet friend Shannon came through and with dinner in tow and helped anyways. She stayed for 4 hours gluing the invite folder pouches in place to hold the RSVP and Accommodation cards in place while I glued differently designed scrapbook paper in the middle of the folders (to be the backdrop to the actual invitation). I had already hole-punched two holes in the tops of each of the invitations and RSVPs for jute bows to be placed for decoration, which I had also spent time tying (fingers were sore after doing those!). I grabbed my glue gun, and sat on the floor next to Shannon gluing the Jute bows into place. She would grab the invites after the bows had dried, and glue them in place on top of the scrapbook paper. Once I finished with the invites, I moved onto gluing the jute bows onto the RSVP's. Poor M came home right before Shannon had to leave, and he got suckered into cutting curves into the edges of the invites, and gluing ivory card stock onto pre-cut scrap book paper to be stamped with our initial for the outside of the folders. I know all of this hard work must be confusing as to how it all goes together because there are no pictures to better show what I'm explaining, but not all of our guests have received their invites, so have to keep them secret until then!

I had wanted to have the invites sent out before my mother arrived, but due to my laryngitis, that didn't happen, and she arrived with crafting still needing to be done to complete them. The night she was to arrive, I sat from the time I got home from work (7:30 PM) till the time I had to pick her up from the airport (1 AM) putting our vintage stamps onto all the envelopes and RSVPs. The next morning, we worked tirelessly for 4 hours while she cut out our return address circles for the stickers on the back of our envelopes (once again, see my previous post on our Engagement Announcements for details), and glued them onto the recycled sticker circles. While she did this, I put the final touches on the invite folders by gluing and wrapping them in some beautiful lace-like ribbon, and attaching the "H" initial squares I had stamped a previous night onto the ivory card stock M had glued on top of scrap book paper. Once these had dried, I put the invites into envelopes, sealed them, and placed the return address stickers in place which my mom had finally completed. Luckily we passed the time by catching up, and chatting about wedding details. Here are some pictures of our ecstatic faces after completed all the invitations!!!

The weekend finally came, and we headed up to Alabama for our wedding shower, with my mother and M's fourth groomsmen, Warren, in tow. It was so exciting to introduce my mother to M's family, including his sweet Mama! We had a great time, and my mother LOVES M's fam!

We even got to have a little fun and all went out to a country bar the last night there. Aren't my man and I cute?!

Upon our return, we received our first RSVP's!

My momma left on Wednesday, and I felt so lucky to have had that week with her. This past Saturday, M and I checked another large item off of our To-Do list: our Pre Cana Class! It was a great day filled with interesting information on helpful communication skills, stages of marriage, children, and financial tips and tricks, all with questionnaires in between presentations. M and I had the opportunity to discuss privately between us our answers before moving onto the next section, which was really eye-opening. It was great seeing that we were on the same page about most of the items discussed, and the things that we weren't, we had the opportunity to discuss how we can work together towards our goals of becoming better together. We heard personal testimonies of the hardships of marriage, and how couples learned to work through them together. At the end of the day, we left with our certificate of completion, and our key to getting married in the Catholic Church!

Still have to complete a few more items off our July To-Do List from the Wedding Book, so will be having to update the blog again later this month with those items. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I'm So Excited, I just Can't Hide It

I will now be starting off my posts with a picture of our countdown I have on my phone, so you can all see how close we're getting to our BIG DAY!

This morning, I woke up early even though it was my day off, and rolled around sleeplessly as soon as the clock hit 8am. Damn internal clock and being conditioned to wake up early! I tried not to move around too much so as to not disturb the sleeping giant next to me, however, after a long thirty minutes of forcing my eyes to stay closed, I gave in and decided to wake up. What to do, what to do...ah hah! Wedding stuff of course! I pulled out my trusty lap top, and while still snuggled in bed, I started ticking items off my own personal Wedding-Planning To-Do List, (yes there ARE items that exist aside from the one that I've been following in our Wedding Book). First up on the list, commit and buy a veil already!! We are THREE MONTHS AHEAD, and I still hadn't committed to a veil, either because everything I found was waaay too expensive (we're talking over $200 for something I'm going to be wearing for less than two hours), or not what I was looking for. I had tried on gorgeous veils way last year when I tried on wedding dresses at that fancy boutique at International Mall, which is where I realized that my dream cathedral-length veil did not actually compliment my perferred dress the way I had imagined. The sales woman enlightened me with alternative possibilities, including the beautiful finger-length, chantilly lace-trimmed veil style (Google results HERE). The veil shown below is the right type of style, but the color is a litttle off ;)

This style of veil looked gorgeous with my gown, and wasn't over bearing like the cathedral-length veil, which stole the wedding dress's thunder. I knew I wasn't going to spend $500 on the veil, just like I wasn't going to spend $2400 on the gown I tried on, so I took to the internet to find it cheaper. Months have obviously gone by, and still no veil purchased. Fast forward to this morning, and my tired, morning self started getting frustrated with the fact that everything was so stinking expensive, even on my trusted used wedding sites like the one I bought my wedding dress from. I had read a few DIY tutorials and figured I could just make my couldn't be that hard right?? Well, this proved more difficult than I thought, as I then tried to find the perfect lace to trim said veil with, that wasn't over $10/yard, the right color, and not too wide, not too thin, and the right design that wouldn't clash with the lace detail on my dress. O.M.G.!! I gave myself one more chance to find this dream veil, and wah-lah, a simple google search for "used lace wedding veils" and a few minutes of browsing led me to my dream lace veil on etsy, the most awesome website for anything crafty or wedding related (anything not wedding related as well actually, as that whole site rocks my socks off!). The best part?! It was only $60, with shipping!!!! After my paypal purchase went through, I actually did a happy dance in my skivvies that M was privy to, as he was now awake and alert by this time, and laughing his butt off. If only he knew the joy that comes from finding and buying something you've been searching for for almost a year! Haha

Since I seemed to be on such a roll, I decided to keep going with it, and commit to buying the wedding shoes I had been eyeing for months. I'm not one for buying expensive things, as most of you know, and I have NEVER spent more than $100 on shoes, EVER, not even running shoes! I will wait for a sale, or look for it somewhere else for cheaper. Well, I happened to have fallen in love with a pair of Badgley Mischka's, which are a designer brand that usually ranges in the >$200 range (completely unrealistic for me!). I tried to convince myself that these were not THE shoes, and had also been looking for months for a different pair of shoes, only to keep coming back to this particular pair. Since I still felt great about my veil purchase, I decided to repeat the process, and look one more time to find these shoes for cheap, and wah-lah, a simple google search for them and a few minutes of browsing led me to another one of my favorite sites,, where I stumbled upon a cheap pair of my dream shoes, and decided right then and there that even though they were over the usual $100 budget (not by much though!), I was going to commit and buy them! After my purchase went through, M got to witness my happy dance again (twice in one day, now that's pretty big!).

Don't worry, those aren't my wedding shoes, but close in style, and just as fabulous, if not more! ;)

Now that I had accomplished two items off my to-do list, I was really on a roll, and decided to head back to to look for Vintage Postal Stamps, following the design of my all time favorite wedding invitations off my pinterest board. I had found the idea for envelope liners and vintage stamp collections while browsing through pinterest's wedding boards, and stumbled across this little gem. Check out these beautiful invitations!.

I found an awesome vendor 10 minutes into my search, with vintage stamps that pertained to both Michael and I, which was exactly what I had in mind. I sent him a message with my request and favorites of his available stamps, as well as our needed postage amount. Within a few minutes, he had messaged me back with a custom set of vintage stamps for our wedding invitation envelopes, which will be shipped to me in the next few weeks. Score, another item to check off my to-do if only I could make this wedding-invitation-making happen just as easy, I'd be set. Oh the life of being on a budget and loving to craft, things take time and I must have patience, although my deadline of before July will be here before I know it!! Still doing my happy dance though from all the things I accomplished today, and to add to that happy dance, Michael got his wedding tie in the mail as well, and was able to try on what his outfit may look for me! He looked so handsome, I can't wait to walk up the aisle towards him :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Four, Wait, THREE Months Ahead Already!

Wow, it's June already?!?! Where did May go?? Oh yea, spent May enjoying my California family so much, forgot to update on Oh-So-Holy To-Do List from my wedding planning bible, The Bride's Year Ahead. May skipped through Chapter 9: Fourth Months Ahead, focusing on Arrivals and Departures. The month of May included a To-List of:

1. Investigate accommondations for out-of-town guests.

2. Organize transportation.

3. Shop for a going-away outfit.

4. Assemble you trousseau.

5. Look for a place to live.

If you've been reading my blog, you know that I don't always follow the infamous To-Do List verbatim, especially if items do not apply to Michael and I, or our means/situation. With that being said, I was able to tackle a few of the items listed, such as #1 and #4, while I was home in California. During our visit to The Sequoia Retreat Center for our taste testing of our wedding food, my mother and I visited The Quality Inn-Ben Lomond, which is located a short distance from our reception site at The SRC.

Check out their website for booking details! My mother and I also had a chance to discuss #2, our wedding weekend transportation, and are still in the process of possibly having a family/friend transport guests from the SRC to our ceremony site, and back again for our reception. Cross your fingers someone agrees! We also have a vintage twist to our grand arrival and departure from our wedding in the works, one that ties into our vintage theme, and I can't wait for you to see it! Hint: Michael and I have a picture in front of this type of sweet vintage vehicle, it's totally California Hippie status, AND it's my dentist's ride! Since Michael and I won't be leaving for our honeymoon in our vintage, get-away car right away, I don't need to do #3, however I did find my Rehearsal Dinner outfit, if that counts for anything!

#4 was partially taken care of during my Bridal Shower, and for those of you who don't know what a "trousseau" is (don't worry, I didn't either!), it's "a French word meaning, "little bundle." Since the nineteenth century, it has been used to refer to the goods the bride brought with her into marriage", and "today...has become more associated with lingerie than anything else" (Marguerite Smolen, 2003). I received some beautiful lingerie items as Bridal Shower gifts...

I can't wait till the The Bachelorette Party to see what else I can add to my trousseau! The last item on our to-do list has already been completed, just out the sequence of The Book, as we bought our first house together a year and a half ago!

This month's Chapter 10: Three Months Ahead, focuses on Symbols of Commitment. I keep thinking, "OMG, OMG, it's THREE months ahead already?! Where did the last year go?!" The Book reiterates my personal thoughts by opening the chapter with the fact that "despite all your preparation, until now, the actual wedding might still have seemed like a distant dream"...umm yea!!! Totally!!! LOL. Now that I'm done freaking out, this month's To-Do List contains some hefty, important items, compared to previous ones listed.

1. Choose a wedding ring.

2. Select bridal jewelry.

3. Mail your invitations.

4. Pick out first dance song, and learn to dance.

Michael has tackled #1 for us, by contacting Silva, the designer who custom designed my engagement ring with Michael's original infinity style design. She has agreed to design a custom wedding band to go with my gorgeous engagement ring, and I couldn't be more excited to see what she comes up with! Michael also solved the issue of us going to pick out a wedding band for him, by being gifted with a snazzy wedding band from Silva herself when picking out my engagement ring. We couldn't be happier with our life rings, and send our deepest thanks to Michael's Aunt Pat and Terry for helping us with them, as well as Michael's mother, Miss Sue, who personally drove the rings down to Florida, hand delivering it to Michael shortly before he proposed last summer. For those of you who need a reminder of what my gorgeous ring looks like, here ya go!

I completed #2 last month during a random trip to the mall, finding the perfect wedding jewelry that complimented my wedding dress style and sash beadwork perfectly. Score!! If only #3 could be as easy/simple. Due to the fact that I have to hand make our invitations, and that it is socially acceptable to send your invitations out 2 months before your wedding, I intend to start making our wedding invitations this month, to mail out next month. But geez, there really is no rest during this wedding planning business, and I just got done with my Bridal Shower thank you cards! Oh well, at least we have #4 partially completed, having chosen our first dance song (unknowingly) when we first met! The fact that this special song has been with us our entire relationship, even being played during Michael's proposal, makes it so very special to Michael and I! We'll just have to work on (Michael's) dance moves! Haha

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Visiting CA Was a Blast!

Last month I was lucky enough to take a trip back to California for a multitude of events, including my older brother's graduation, my BRIDAL SHOWER, and my younger brother's graduation, as well as the joint grad party for Theo, Rachel, and Christopher. It was a great time, with many memories made.

My MOH, Margaret, and my other bridesmaids did an amazing job on planning and putting together a magical Bridal Shower, utilizing ideas from my "Wedding" Pinterest Board. I made many great memories that day, including: spending time with my loved ones, playing hilarious games and letting everyone get to know Michael and I better, reading everyone's cards, and the Recipe's for a Good Marriage were great! Here's some pictures capturing the wonderfully happy day.

Had a blast during my trip back to California, but going straight for twelve days took a toll on me, and I got sick right before I was to head back to Tampa. Once back in Florida, I took easy, and wrote all my thank you cards. Should be coming to ya'll shortly!

The last picture is of Theo & Rachel's Bridal Shower card; one of my favorite of the cards I received. It states I am the "Hawaiian Mermaid" on the left, and Michael was the "Buff Coast Guard Guy" LOL!

Will update on May and June's To-Do List from THE BOOK, my wedding planning bible. Stay tuned.