Monday, March 26, 2012

Another Deposit...

So we met with Ken Paradise from Paradise Entertainment yesterday morning. We have officially secured him for our wedding, so yay to getting first choice vendors!

We were supposed to meet with him a few months ago, but on the Saturday morning we were supposed to meet, the radio station we planned our meeting for was locked and no amount of knocking got anyone to let us in. So when we bumped into him at the Geneva Bridal Expo last month, we brought it up. He immediately apologized profusely and offered us a discount rate if we chose to use him.

We went with a package that's normally $750 for four hours of DJ service. He gave us five hours for $795 (instead of charging us the extra hour at the rate $125, which it normally costs), we also got 10 uplights for $199 (instead of $350) and he gave $150 off the overall price. So what should have been well over $1200 we got for a grand total of $845, and I am happy about it! He's the most sought after DJ in the Finger Lakes region and I really wanted to make sure we got him. And we did!

From here, things should calm down. I may even hit a lull in planning to some degree. The remaining vendors we need aren't the kind who need to be there for the whole event, such as a florist and a baker, so they can wait. My bank account would appreciate it I'm sure.

And, only 432 more days til we get hitched. The days are dwindling!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Oh, I'm terrible. It's been a few weeks.

I haven't done too much. I started a new job two weeks ago and have been busy. 

We finally settled on a photographer. I met up with Sonia from Sonia Maria Photography the other day, put down the deposit and signed the contract. So that's exciting.

I also sent Ken Paradise an email, but I sent it through his website and haven't heard back yet. I'll call him Monday. After standing us up a few months ago, he has graciously offered us $150 off a package or free uplighting (if I remember correctly. It was hard to hear him in the busy bridal expo show room). But I do want uplighting, and he's the best of the best in the Finger Lakes area, so I want to snatch him up. I've heard he books up quick. And a good DJ is something we're willing to pay for. 

Oh, and it's only 435 more days until our wedding!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Vendor Hunting

Even though our wedding is still 449 days away (but who's counting, right) I have every intention of locking down vendors as quickly as possible. I know I'm not the only 2013 bride sniffing out vendors already and I want to make sure we get who we want, at the price we want, for the date we're very much tied to now. 

Making a deposit on our venue was huge. With one deposit we secured a ceremony, cocktail hour and reception site, a caterer for food and drinks, tables, chair, linens and china/serve ware. That's a lot of coordinating we no longer have to deal with. That deposit also includes the cost of the venue wedding planner, so we also have her. Which means I don't have to do any set up, break down, constant vendor coordination contacting, etc. She handles everything. As we collect vendors, we just send her the names and numbers of them and she does the rest. I love it. 

I've also secured a hairdresser. But this wasn't really because I sought a local one out. Our family friend Tina is a licensed cosmetologist and has done my hair for every formal occasion I've gone to pretty much since we moved to New York. We're going to pay for her room at the hotel in return for her to do both my hair and the bridal party's hair for the wedding. 

I spoke with a photographer yesterday. This is something I'm quite adamant about settling on as soon as possible. I have every intention of paying under $1500 all said and done as far as photos go, preferably including albums. But I still intend to get a good, experienced photographer who takes photos we both like and someone we jive with. I spoke with Sonia from Sonia Maria Photography yesterday and she seems wonderful. She was very nice, easy to talk to, and very sweet. I like her work and her prices are very good. I'm having a hard time getting Rob to give me a straight answer about what he likes as far as the photographers we've been looking at. I'm sure my onslaught of persistence is mostly to blame. But I don't want us to over pay for someone who we got stuck with because we waited too long to make a decision, as opposed to someone we actually like and want to work with. I'm hoping to be able to make a deposit on a photographer within the next week or two, at the most. Then after that, it's DJ time.

We were supposed to meet with Ken Paradise a month or so ago. He's the best of the best in the Finger Lakes region and comes so incredibly highly acclaimed. We had made an appointment to meet him on a Saturday morning at the radio station he works at. But we got there and the place was locked and no one answered our knocking. So when we found him at the bridal expo in Geneva a few weeks ago, he apologized profusely for "blowing us off" and promptly offered us a $150 discount off any of his packages. Now I definitely hope to use him. Originally, we were just going to snag him to DJ, but with the discount I want to upgrade to the package that includes up-lighting. We're having our reception in a relatively generic hotel ballroom, so up-lighting would be a big help to make it feel nicer, more romantic, less generic, more fancy, whatever. 

We're going to Syracuse this weekend to watch the Big East Championship game with our friends then staying the night at my parents house. I'm sure they'll want to talk wedding, so hopefully that'll help us settle on a photographer. I really want Rob's honest input, I want us both to be happy with the choices we make for this. This is our wedding, not my wedding, and the last thing I want is to start a marriage following a wedding where we didn't compromise and one of us was unhappy with aspects of it because of that. I want us both to be happy. After all, we're getting married!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A wedding, a wedding

Oh my gosh, a wedding blog. Original, right, haha.

Anyways, Rob proposed to me back in December, the 17th to be exact. He was kind enough to not propose on Christmas. He also proposed to me at camp. It makes our entire relationship come full circle. He's so good.

Anyways, we settled for a long engagement. Our wedding date isn't until June 1, 2013. That gives us a year and half. But now it's three months in and the planning has begun. We've settled on colors (after much disagreeing, what a point of contention that was), a venue for everything (ceremony, reception, hotel block), caterer (in house through our venue) and other small details. Things like the possible cake topper we plan on ordering, possible wedding party gifts, the color of the bridesmaids dresses and suits/ties/shoes, etc.

We still have a lot to do, and as much as I just want to go crazy and do everything NOW, I'm not letting myself because I'm going to want to have things to do when the times gets closer. I mean, we're still about a year and three months out, so no need to go planning crazy just yet.

One thing we did jump on quickly was save the dates. Now, I like to occasionally chat on The Knot CNY board and on the "Wedding Wednesday" update a week or so ago, I mentioned I sent out my save the dates already. Someone curiously  asked me "why so soon?" To be honest, I've seen those list of "what you should do when" like how during the sixth month out from your wedding day is when you SHOULD send out save the dates. Honestly, I'm going to do things in any order I please. I understand some things are contingent on others, like I should buy a dress first before picking out jewelry and have a final guest count before deciding on how many centerpieces to make. But sending out save the dates this early was done out of courtesy for our families. I'd say about 98% of our family is from out of town, 95% from out of state with the potential of one from out of the country. Rob's family, the most of them anyway, will be coming from Chattanooga and Biloxi and bringing enough small children to man an army. And traveling with kids is never easy. It's just polite to give guests who need to make so many travel and vacation accommodations as much time to figure it out as possible. I've never understood why six months is "the time" to send out save the dates. I mean, wedding season is also prime vacation season, and if you want people to not go "oh, sorry we already have a vacation planned for that weekend", giving them a wide time frame is beneficial to you, the ones getting married. And because we sent them early, we did magnets to avoid having people toss them out or lose them between now and invitations in about a year, or whenever a billion bridal time lines tell me I'm supposed to send them. 

I'm currently on the hunt for a photographer. We were going to use Lauren Spinelli because she worked at camp with us for a few years and we were very comfortable with her. But now she's moving to Florida and we just can't afford those travel expenses. So photographer hunting is my main prerogative right now.

I did have a lot of fun going bridesmaids dress shopping with four of my  five ladies last weekend. Going into bridal boutiques and making decisions makes me feel like a bride. Being engaged was surreal at first, but now it feels like nothing's really changed. Rob and I still live together, as we have for a while now and our relationship hasn't really changed. We just have a lot of new things to talk about with all this planning.

I think I can manage to update this mostly regularly, more so as the day gets closer. I'm supposed to start a new job on Monday, but I have yet to go fill out the paperwork to make it official. I'm the first hired person to be subjected to their new background check policy and it's taking longer than anticipated. I also have grad school still. But I'm on par to get a 4.0 again this semester, so I'm not sweating that.