Monday, June 29, 2009

Getting My Bearings

I've been putting off dealing with wedding plans lately, mostly out of fear that it might not happen (nothing to do with our relationship!). But one way or another, it's going to happen, and we're quickly approaching the four-months-out date, and I have a ton of things that need to get done. So I'm regrouping, trying to get my bearings and focus on the many little tasks at hand.

Speaking of "bearing," when we first got engaged, I didn't think we would have a ring bearer. I thought we'd have one male attendant, one female, and that would be it. We still have a relatively small wedding party, but it's expended to two men, two women, three girls and one boy. And boy = ring bearer. And ring bearer = adorable pillows!

Heart Felted makes adorable pillows.

For our garden/bohemian wedding, one of these nest pillows would fit in nicely.

The one above is from Mackensley Designs. The one below is from Yandebridal.

And I've never been a super duper DIYer (I try, but I'm by no means at the top of the game), but this DIY pillow from Once Wed is so cute, I just might have to bite the bullet.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Great Engagement Ring with a Great Story

I was super excited to learn yesterday that my good friend Laura, who helped me with the layout and header design for this blog, just got engaged! Her engagement ring is so remarkable that I just had to share it.

This gorgeous ring was designed by Bario Neal, a Philadelphia-based designer that makes handcrafted jewelry using reclaimed metals and ethically mined stones, so their work is not only beautiful and creative but eco-friendly.

Laura's super thoughtful fiance had the ring customized to include a diamond that has been in his family for generations and a pearl, because the two of them met through diving. Talk about a non-traditional and completely perfect ring! I can't wait to see how their wedding will come together (and I'm hoping they'll be interested in sharing it on this blog!).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Joy of Planning

Tomorrow is my birthday. Since it falls on a Thursday, I wasn't planning anything big to celebrate until the weekend. Several weeks back, JT and I decided that we would celebrate by spending the weekend in LA relaxing, eating and shopping. Recently, upon learning that this was how we were going to celebrate my birthday, a friend of mine asked "And you won't do any wedding related stuff, right?"

A month ago, I would have said "exactly." Those wedding related details seemed so daunting, at times even draining to figure out. But given the recent barrage of tragedy, wedding planning has taken on a whole new focus. It's a breath of fresh air, a joy in each day.

At the very beginning of the planning process, I had a bit of a breakdown. I was totally stressed that vendors I had approached were either too expensive or not at all interested in working with us. I began to think that we could never have the type of wedding that we wanted in San Diego (which led me to start this blog). But gradually, things began to fall into place. And with bad news after bad news descending on us in the month of June, wedding planning to a back seat to dealing with overwhelming feelings of sadness and fear. At first, I felt extremely guilty wanting to do anything wedding related. Part of me still does and always will.

But another part of me is grateful for the reminder of why this wedding is important. And for putting into perspective why obsessing about details is not. And for reminding me that wedding planning should be joyous, should be relished and enjoyed, not filled with stress and anxiety and animosity. I truly hope that every bride from here on out will remember that.

I know, I post got a little personal today. I guess that's what birthdays will do to you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Engagement Shoot Recap

This weekend, we had our engagement photo shoot with Aaron Thompson. After being submerged in a fog of depression for the last two weeks, it felt pretty great to shake off everything that has been happening, put on cute outfits, and just have a good time together.

We did the shoot in our neighborhood. Not only cool because our neighborhood is just so darn awesome, but also because we 1. felt comfortable and 2. will now have great photos to remember our hood when we eventually move away. Noteworthy highlights of the day included climbing over logs while in a short skirt, laying on the ground in front of our local bar hangout, and getting in a confetti fight. Yup, that last one is gonna look SO cool.

A few tips worth sharing: Anthropologie is your best friend. I wore one of many dresses I have purchased there for the pictures. Just about every time I see an engagement photo with a girl in a super cute outfit, it's from Anthro. Aaron even said that he's just going to send out a link to their website the next time he gets a question from a bride asking what to wear for the engagement photos. Another tip that Aaron endorses is the idea of having a drink (which JT and I did) before the shoot to help loosen up. But the important part is to keep it to ONE drink!

It will be a few weeks before we have the finished products to share with you, but from the couple of shots that Aaron showed us, they are going to look amazing! I can't wait to share his work with everyone! In the meantime, enjoy this photo of Aaron's adorable dog, Barley:

You can also enjoy this photo from an engagement shoot by another set of photographers, He & She Photography. They are based in Orange County and charge very reasonable rates for the gorgeous work that they do, so they would be a great choice for SD brides.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

If I Had a Photograph of You

JT and I are lucky to have the families that we have. Granted, both of our families have really been put through the ringer lately, but seeing how they have been coping with having everyone's world turned upside down just reminds me of what amazing people our families truly are.

From the beginning, we've been trying to find small ways of honoring our families. Neither of us is religious, but we decided to include a reading from Corinthians to pay respect to those members of our family that are still active in the Catholic church. Recently, we decided against having a travel registry in favor of a donation-based Stand Up 2 Cancer registry to honor not only my sister but also the other family members that have battled the disease.

At JT's brother's wedding, he and his wife honored their families by placing family photos throughout the reception. The photos were a wonderful tribute (and it seems a popular one, as suggested in the above real wedding photo by Twin Lens via Style Me Pretty), but we'd like to find a way to honor the family without copying that idea exactly...and so far, I have no ideas. Other than photos, what would be a great way to show those people closest to you how much they mean to you?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Am a New Tie Wearing

San Diego is not a necktie-friendly city. When JT started working at an office that required wearing a tie every day, we had to go shopping. And we found...nothing. Seriously. Well, I guess that's not entirely true -- we did find a few ties, but they looked like they should be worn by 45-year-old real estate brokers. Not indie rock, 20-something journalists with good fashion sense.

So where do you turn when you need cool accessories you can't find in your hometown? Etsy, of course.

I bought JT a tie from Cyberoptix TieLab a few Christmases ago, and it became his one (and only) "special occasion" tie. Then he supplemented it with a couple more for the office. I'm loving this one for JT and our two best men on the big day.

Cyberoptix does custom group orders for weddings, too. How perfect!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Once again, my originality has totally been called into question. Here I am thinking I'm so unique for coming up with all these cool details, only to see this awesome wedding as shot by Beulah Anne featured on Once Wed:

The crespedia, the mason jars, the hair accessory by Portobello...apparently I'm totally on trend! Or way behind, considering this wedding already occurred and ours is in November.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In the News

I'm slowly recovering from the mental fog of this week. The crazy thing about timing is that while JT and I have been putting aside a lot of wedding related discussion to focus on what is going on with our families, our wedding plans have been getting much attention online.

I was thrilled to see that our save-the-date cards designed by Inkfancy were featured on Brooklyn Bride this past week!

And I was really touched to see Fight the Fondant discussed on our florist's blog as well.

These little bits of internet appreciation helped with what was a very difficult week, which is why I'm making an effort to return to regular posting more quickly than I thought I would. My posts here are a tiny way of grounding myself each day. I never intended for this blog to be personal*...I meant for it to be a helpful guide for other brides, a demonstration that you can navigate the beach-ceremony-hotel-ballroom-wedding scene that is San Diego in your own unique way.

But over the coming months, you may begin to see more personal aspects creeping in. Particularly about reconciling weddings with difficult family times, trying balance joy and fear, hope and despair. I'll try not to get too off topic and keep up the fun wedding planning tips and stories, but I hope you'll indulge me the occasional philosophical discussion on how to plan a wedding in the midst of pain and turmoil.

Thanks to everyone for the support! More fun things to come soon, I promise.

*If you want to see a truly personal blog about what my family is going through, please visit my sister's blog: bits of myself.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Temporary Hiatus

Hi friends,

I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm going to be taking a temporary hiatus (I'm guessing at least a week or two) from this blog. Our families need us right now, so I won't have much time for posting.

Thanks for reading...I hope I won't be away for long.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Send Me Your Jars!

That's right, it's more than a blog post -- it's a call to action. I need to collect as many mason jars as possible for the floral arrangements. I'll continue to troll Ebay, Craigslist, thrift shops and garage sales, but if you happen to be reading this and thinking "hey, I've got a bunch of old jars that I don't need," I'd be happy to put them to good use.

They don't even need to be mason jars, per se. Any cool, old-looking clear glass vessel will do. And it doesn't matter if it has writing on it either, so long as the writing is either in green, brown or yellow. If you happen to have anything to contribute to the cause, please drop me a line!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Feathers Win

In the great flowers v. feathers debate, feathers have won.

I have ordered a semi-custom made hair piece from Portobello on Etsy. I say "semi" custom because I'm basically asking her to replicate this item that was previously sold in her store but isn't currently:

Because each one is handmade, I'm sure it won't look exactly like this. But that's part of the beauty of it. I'm also very excited about another custom designed accessory that I'm ordering through an Etsy designer...but I'm not going to tell you about it. Like my dress, I'm trying to keep some secrets about my ensemble for the big day!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cool Photog Coming to San Diego

Our engagement photo shoot is just around the corner, so I've been spending a lot of time checking out great couple photos for inspiration.

You may have seen Jill Thomas' work on some of the major wedding blogs already (Once Wed and Green Wedding Shoes for starters). But after checking out her website, I noticed one very important fact: she is relocating to San Diego this summer!

Obviously we have already found a photographer that we love (yay, Aaron!), but if you are looking for a cool photog for your event, she seems like a great bet (and reasonable priced, too!).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


That's the name of the bakery that we ended up booking: simply CAKE. We went to a tasting appointment with them over the weekend and were impressed by how the execute the basics of quality cake so flawlessly. We tried four of their most requested flavor combinations -- an almond cake with berries and vanilla cream, an excellently done vanilla and strawberry combo, a decadent chocolate with chocolate mousse and truffle filling, and one of their most popular, the banana truffle.

Their system is that they have several types of cake and several types of fillings that you can mix and match. The cake options include apple and pear spice, cheesecake, espresso, banana, poppyseed, excellent chocolates and vanillas, and more. The filling options include a wide variety of chocolate mousses and truffle, mocha, hazelnut, custards, and fruit fillings. Between all the options, you could create exactly what you want.

We'll probably do some combo of decadent chocolate and a sweet, simple vanilla and fruit (they don't charge any extra to do different flavors on the different tiers!). The banana truffle was delicious, but I'm not sure it compliments our menu.

Design-wise, you know my distaste for fondant, both in taste and appearance. CAKE does amazing buttercream designs. Again, simple, but expertly executed. Ours will feature a clean, art deco-style dot pattern like on this cake:

It will also include some natural elements from our florist as well as our awesome cake topper.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Run Into Flowers*

We met with Che Bella again this weekend to go over some more details. I love selecting vendors that have an artistic vision, especially when it comes to areas that I know nothing about, like flowers. Our floral landscape will include:


Ladies Mantle

Chocolate Dahlias (I'm told that these are technically black dahlias, but because of the whole murder connection, most florists don't call them that anymore)

Yellow Yarrow

Scabiosa Pods (I had never seen them before, but I LOVE them!)

*Yes, M83's "Run into Flowers" is indeed on our wedding playlist.