the beach bride

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Well I suppose since the wedding is EXACTLY ONE YEAR FROM TODAY (technically yesterday since it’s now after midnight!) I’m long overdue for an update . . . a very, very long update. And since it’s so late, a very random update!

Let’s see. Last time I blogged, we had just booked the Jack and Jill for next May and were about to book the hall for our at-home reception in October. That’s all done. I thought I had been slacking from planning over the summer. I had planned on it, anyway. Now that I look back, I guess I have (unintentionally) accomplished a lot in the last few months!

So, the J&J and the AHR are booked. We’ve also obviously booked the date and venue – Sept. 14, 2012 in Punta Cana! I designed our Save the Dates and had them printed. I plan on sending those out within the next few weeks, so once they’re sent I’ll post a photo of them. I am so pleased with how they turned out! (Note: Vistaprint = amazing!)

In August, three of my four bridesmaids and I went to my first wedding show as a bride. What an eventful day. It started out with registration – we all had to fill out a form, and at the bottom, there was a spot to sign up for the Cupcake Dive (for brides only). I don’t know about you, but I immediately pictured a bobbing-for-apples style game and I was NOT keen on that! Luckily for me, my fantastic bridesmaids all signed me up, and lo-and-behold, out of countless brides, I was one of the five girls chosen to participate.

When they ambushed me (literally!) and pulled me backstage, I was given a tulle veil and fake tiara and a t-shirt to go over my clothes. We were told there was a fake diamond ring baked into one of at least 100 cupcakes and we had to squeeze them (almost a waste of delicious cupcakes!) to find it. I didn’t even know what we were playing for – they told us we would all receive six cupcakes from the sponsor of the contest (which I still haven’t received!) and I honestly thought that was the prize.

You can probably guess where this story is going. I won – found the ring in about seven squeezes! Little did I know, the prize would be amazing. Two wedding bands – valued at $1000!!! – from a jewelry store nearby! They were gorgeous. I already had a matching band that came with my engagement ring, so my right hand is enjoying a little extra bling these days! The ring that I won for Alex was also stunning, but not his style. The store was gracious enough to trade it in for us and he was able to pick a ring that suited his tastes. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

A couple of weeks ago, Alex and I decided on a fabulous photographer to shoot our engagement photos and cover our AHR for us ( – check her out!). She customized a perfect package to suit our needs. The day that we planned to drop our deposit off, Katie announced a fantastic contest in honour of the second anniversary of launching her business. The contest was simple: the person who sent the most new fans to her Facebook fan page won a free photography package. I think it was a pretty close race. We didn’t win, but thanks to our amazing family and friends who voted for us, we came in second and Katie is giving us an amazing gift certificate to put toward our wedding photography package!

Needless to say, I’ve been on an (unintentional!) roll with contests and wedding planning! What really threw a wrench into our summer wedding planning was what I’m most excited about: we bought our first house! We get it in 16 more sleeps – I’m just a little bit excited! It’s been a long wait, and we’re very anxious! Definitely a scary process, this whole growing up thing. I can’t wait to get into the house and get settled. Packing sucks!

Since we have a year to go, it’s time to get serious. My mom and I are going dress shopping on Saturday (yay!!), and in the next few weeks, we have to get engagement photos done, finalize the guest list and mail out the Save the Dates, book the photographer/videographer who will shoot our wedding in Punta Cana, shop for bridesmaids dresses, register . . . and so many more things that I can’t think of right now. My mom and I have also started planning my shower (well, one of three showers . . . that’s a whole different story!) and there are lots of fun projects involved. I’ve been doing a lot of DIY/creative projects and I’m loving it. I still feel really laid back and I hope this feeling lasts, because this is super fun!


progress. . .

Posted on: May 6, 2011

Things are (very, very slowly) starting to come together! A year from this weekend (yesterday, to be exact!) is our Jack and Jill! I’m far too excited for that! We’ve got the caterer locked in for our at-home reception, and we are booking the hall for it tomorrow morning. Once that is done, I will feel so much better. I went to a travel agent last night and got a few magazines, but unfortunately, we won’t be able to book anything for quite a while because we’re still early – the packages won’t come out until August/September of this year most likely. However, I’m going to start emailing resorts to find out about wedding packages. Once that done, I’ll start working on Save the Date cards and invitations. The fun part will come in the summer/fall when I start looking for dresses . . . 🙂

A destination wedding means some people (many who are very important to us, like our grandparents) may not come. Alex and I have both accepted that, but we know we have to have a reception when we get home for everyone else. I originally wanted to keep this reception fairly small and intimate. I don’t want a sit-down, plated meal. I want a cocktail party with hors-d’oeuvres early on in the night, around 6:30, and a buffet around 9:30. We don’t want a full second wedding; this reception was just intended to be a night to celebrate with the people who couldn’t make it to our destination wedding. I wanted to try and keep the guest list under 200 people.

That’s not going to happen.

My first draft of the guestlist – a rough version that didnt even include much of Alex’s side – had more than 260 people on it. I have a huge family. And besides that, I have a very blended family. Between my mom’s side, my dad’s side and my stepdad’s side, my list of family guests topped in at more than 120. Alex’s mom came up with a guestlist of almost 80 people. Add a few friends, our wedding party and us – and it’s not going to be very intimate!

But what can we do? There are only so many cuts we can make. Family is so important, and we both want to have friends there. Although money is an issue, we’re more worried that we won’t be able to get a chance to visit with everyone – or, we’ll be talking to everyone and not have a chance to enjoy the night.

Sigh . . .

We met with the people at the hall tonight and booked our Jack and Jill (stag and doe) for May 5, 2012. It feels so good to finally cross something off our (what seems like) never-ending to-do list! Next up is the hall for our reception.. and possibly try and figure out where we’re actually going to get married. The first travel agent I had been in touch with was absolutely useless, so I guess it’s time to look for another option. In the meantime, I’m heading to bed. Early start tomorrow – and not because of the Royal Wedding (Although I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch a bit of it when I’m up.)!

Although I’m super anxious to get everything planned for the wedding, I’m actually not upset that we have a bit of a long(er) engagement. I’m sure I’d be able to get everything planned in a year or less if I had to, but a year-and-a-half gives me time to do things exactly the way I want to. I love design, arts and crafts and being creative, so I want to be able to add a lot of creative touches to the wedding, for example, designing my own invitations etc. My first DIY project (which wasn’t even really much of a project!) was finding a creative way to ask our wedding party to be part of our special day. Since we’re doing a destination wedding, I thought about buying everyone luggage tags and inserting little cards in the opening that says “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

I liked the thought of it, but it wasn’t enough. So, I decided to buy everyone a pair of inexpensive flip-flops from Old Navy and loop the luggage tag through the shoes. However, when it came down to buying the luggage tags, I couldn’t find any fun ones! They were all boring ones. I put on my thinking cap and ended up buying clear vinyl ID card holders and used tear-apart business cards to make my own luggage tags. On one side, I wrote “Alex + Stef – September 2012” (since we don’t have an exact date yet) and on the other I wrote the girl/guy’s name and “will you be my bridesmaid/groomsman?” I decorated the tags with 3-D scrapbook stickers and used some pretty silver ribbon to loop them through the sandal strap. I love the way they turned out and they were a hit with our wedding party!! (the Spiderman tag and the little sandals are for Alex’s nephew!)

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It’s been almost two weeks since we got engaged and my head has been spinning ever since!! I’ve always wanted to be dedicated to a blog and have never been able to do it. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to keep on top of this blog. I want to be able to remember every single detail!!

Alex and I are planning a destination wedding in 2012 and we are both so excited – but I don’t think either of us (well, I certainly didn’t!) realized how much work will go into to. We’re essentially planning two weddings – well, one and a half! We’ll do a beach wedding in the Caribbean (island TBD!) in September, and have a cocktail-style party/reception when we return (likely in October). The money part of it all scares me, so I’m obsessed with watching shows like Wedding SOS and Rich Bride Poor Bride to help keep us on track. Definitely a wake-up call!

I’m going to try to update this a couple times a week with any plans and progress – although there will be some things that will definitely be kept secret!

For now… one of our first (decent pictures) as an engaged couple.. to fill the frame my cousin gave me, saying “Bling bling.. I got the ring!”

bling bling.. i got the ring!


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