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June 18, 2008

The official Start of my Wedding Blog...

I'm calling it my official start of my wedding blog, but only b/c i know I'm going to blog about it, but i kinda want there to be some rhyme or reason to things. So i will start with a little bit of everything... from the beginning.
The run down... A quick summary to catch you up to where I am now, some topics will be revisited in a future blog.

Proposal date: 04/04/08

Planned wedding date : 03/06/2010

So as I've been trudging forward in this war of the weddings, this internal battle between wants and needs - what a bride wants, a bride doesn't technically need... I'm amazed at the premium that the label "wedding" has. I mean i knew it'd be an arm and a leg, but both my arms and legs, how will i walk down the aisle like that?

So with lots of great advice from all my friends, I of course started my research. Looking at venues online and various menus/prices and packages... Here are a few that stuck out in my mind.

Rancho Las Lomas
Pelican Hill
Laguna Cliffs Marriott
Adamson House

Cannons Restaurant

So simple right, find a venue, and then move on?!? NOT! Obviously a few of those venues above are way out of my budget, and even if i could fit it in my budget, it'd require a Friday wedding, which I personally am not opposed to - but my FFIL has asked us to consider just sticking to the traditional Saturday for our out of town guests. That being said. After months of exploring all my venue options, I've realized one thing... with my guest count (about 250) I can't afford a wedding.

So we started to look at our "budget" and looked for ways to trim costs... here's what we came up with!

1. No Party Favors (Thanks Cynthia - what a great idea! Nobody even notices if they are gone anyways)
2. No menus at each place setting
3. No champagne, people can toast with their drink in hand
4. Limit the wine (not everybody likes it)
5. Cut the guest list - NOT HAPPENING! So we've decided, a few of our single friends (not to punish them, but why should i pay for some person i don't know and most likely will never see again) will not be getting a "And Guest" on their invites.
6. Try to find my dress online or "cheaper" (We're thinking Filene's running of the brides y'all)
7. Try signature drinks instead of a full bar - FH nixed that idea. so no go
8. DIY center pieces or use flowers where you can

But ultimately, all those great ideas, and I'd probably save at most 2-3k total. So really it came down to this.

250 people at 100 per person for food/soda/wine/cake = 25,000
x 22% service fee = 5500
x 7.75% tax = 1937.50
For a grand total of 32437.50

NICE! SWEET! Let's see and we haven't even added in the dress, transportation, flowers, invites, photography, decorations... and most importantly ALCOHOL!

So back to square one, we had to really think about what we were going to do. Trimming the guest list was hard, who do we trim? As is, FH already has 1/2 the guests I have and most have a 50% chance of actually attending. So who could i cut out? My family alone (just America, no Korea) is 65 people. This includes second cousins, but they are like cousins to me. We're tight, aiight! Then we add in my friends, plus their hubbys... and then so on and so forth.

Long story short, we came up with one brilliant idea. The food is overly priced, the menus are rigid and inflexible, why not use our own caterer? DUH! Isn't one of my BFF's (to be referred to from here on as "Monkey") a restaurant owner and caterer? And when approached, Monkey was thrilled i even considered, more than willing to give me a great deal, and happy to be able to help me in any way. BRILLIANT!

What is not so brilliant is that most venues do NOT like outside caterers!!! Richard Nixon Library stated, "sure for ethnic, or religious purposes" but there is an "additional 40 pp" they tack on to the rental fee. So my search is on... find a nice venue that allows outside caterers. Then find a rental company to provide the chairs/linens/tables/china etc... even all that and I'm still saving on the whole deal...

So far, I have found one place... and i hope to look at it over July 4th weekend. The Red Horse Barn. They allow outside caterers and BYO alcohol, which would save even more moolah!

The biggest decision I've made as of most recent is the decision to get a wedding coordinator. I need one to help me with this long distance planning. Yes, i am trying to save money, but it has been said that what you pay for a wedding coordinator breaks even with what they can save you with the deals they can get, and then on top of that the headache that it saves you. I've also been told my friend Dr. CLR that she wishes she had done it sooner, etc. Upon that advice, and the pleas of FH, I am thinking it could be a good idea.

One girl i found who looked so sweet and Mrs. Jasmine on Weddingbee raved about was Angel Swanson. But after contacting her, she stated her policy is not to communicate about availability or price more than 12 months from the wedding date. I could see the logic of her policy, but i was still dismayed. I also received a quote from a few other places and one was $6000 for a full coordinator, and another one stated that my budget was too low to consider a full coordinator and quoted me prices for a semi full coordinator.

I was disheartened, but Mrs. Jasmine also suggested three other wedding coordinators. The first one that responded was Paola from Just Chic Events. When i googled her, i read reviews stating how wonderful she is. Then her email communication with me was awesome, she showed me pictures from her wedding. She looks fun, free spirited, creative, and most of all really passionate about weddings. She also doesn't seem to care if you want to DIY stuff and likes it more. Her prices were more than reasonable - less than the semi-full coordinator quote (aforementioned) - and everyone says she goes "above and beyond"

The decision hasn't been made yet... but if you want to check out her info, let me know what you think of her... we'll be making a decision very soon!

So i think for my first official wedding blog, I've got you up to date. Check back, b/c i want to follow this fun and adventurous journey for the next two years with detailed updates.

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