So the masses want to know how far I’ve gotten in my wedding planning. So let me introduce our special day… so far. I’m doing this in a brief list summary of our steps in chronological order with some insight inserted.
So Austin asked me to marry him on July 2nd, 2009 (you can read about it here) and we set about wedding planning…
- We let everyone know! And picked our wedding party.
- The date: 10.10.10. Why?
- Location: This was our primary concern since this is a popular date, and securing a location would secure the date. I’ll be honest we kinda went into it blind and probably could have saved money if we a) did it in our family’s hometown (Port St. Lucie) or b) done some research. We ended up just driving over to St. Petersburg two hours away, a location we have sentimental attachment to, going to a few places my mom found and choosing! We couldn’t make a decision between our two favorites so we chose both! Still they are affordable and fun, so no regrets here. Really Austin and I aren’t super outdoorsy but we wanted to design a wedding that would be very “Florida” since many of our guests will be out of towners taking their vacation. Austin and I would elope in a second our real goal is to have an intimate, fun and awesome excuse for everyone to get together and party.
- Rehearsal dinner at Ceviche – The small restaurant chain which is our absolute favorite and where we celebrated our engagement. This will be photo themed and we already are picking out some oldies but goodies from our albums. As per tradition we are keeping this to family and bridal party.
- Ceremony at Sunken Gardens -A hidden gem in St. Petersburg we will be exchanging vows under a 200 year old oak canopy. Below is my mama & Austin in the pavilion.
- Bus them all over to Honey Moon Island – The beach is ours after sunset as we party in an open air pavilion!
We are keeping decorations to a minimum, because why do we need it when we have the beach/jungle as our decoration? Also less stress and stuff to throw away afterwards… Luckily the reception location has a set tasty caterer which includes everything.. makes it simple. Also, shortly after our location trip we secured a block of rooms at a nearby hotel, VERY important for a destination wedding.
- Budget: We kind of started this before location shopping (and really should have finalized it before) but we definitely finalized it before signing the contracts! Just wanted to insert this to show how important it is although it may be awkward to sit down with your family discuss it. See what they can contribute and ensure no matter what you can cover it!
- Guest List: This was very very hard, in fact the hardest part for me so far in the process. I know a lot of people and want them there, but with us trying not blow our whole nest egg we decided to limit the event to close family and bridal party. Besides it will be more intimate and HOPEFULLY I can spend time with each guest. A few others slipped in, but I had to be as assertive as possible with ourselves and our family. LUCKILY Sunken Gardens’ Oak Pavilion can only accommodate 75, so that helps keep us on track. Before the wedding we are hoping to have a sendoff dance/party with the rest of our buds.
- Color Scheme: I first started with a pink and brown scheme but then switched over to a tropical peacock theme shortly after selecting our location. Brown in a jungle would be bad… I used Kuler by Adobe to create the color palette. I am a BIG proponent of getting this decided a.s.a.p. and just sticking with it (not that I’m great about staying on theme…), so that you can move forward with designing your wedding. Kuler makes it easy and it’s free!
Austin and I are peacock colors. Although I’ve never met a peacock I liked… but it’s pretty and tropical! Tee hee!
Bridal Party Color Scheme: Each of the ladies will be a different Florida Flower!
- Now we had a theme I designed us a logo. Branding is important to me… its the one piece of glue keeping this A.D.H.D. wedding together!
- Website – http://wedding.austinandsheila.com created! Very important for getting the information out quickly to all those needing to know information, especially if they are traveling far. We asked people to early r.s.v.p. and that’s been SEMI successful… not really. Hopefully they’ll be better when they get the invitation.
- Brides Maid’s Dresses – Coordinating via email we picked these out and ordered them. I’ll leave them as a surprise. I’m glad we did it so quickly because if you are going with traditional bridesmaids dresses IT TAKES SOOOO LONG for them to come in. We ordered them in January and they won’t be in until May… All my bridesmaids are out of state, in fact two are over seas! Thank god for gmail/googledocs and the internet.
- Save-the-Dates – We had soooo many different ideas on how to announce our date. We ended up throwing in another facet to our tropical wedding, a tourist/destination feel. So I came up with these magnets (ordered from vistaprint.com) that we attached postcard backs to:
I sent this to my maid of honor with no envelope to test if sending a big magnet in the mail as a postcard would work (sorry hard drives it came into contact with). But it showed up a little torn. So we ended up keeping the postcard back but mailing it in an envelope. Bummer but let me sleep at night.
- Engagement Photos – An engagement photo shoot is super fun and if your photographer offers it, go for it! Awesome to document this wonderful time of your life, as well as, great content to use in your invitations or website if you design them. Austin luckily is a big ham so we had a lot of fun, despite the cold, as our good friend and photographer Hilary Mercer took us on an all day shoot. Check out the results. Austin and I really only planned the first location (Lake Claire) and the two sets of outfits. From there we just roamed the city!
- Bride’s Attire: I did not want to spend a lot on a dress that I would never wear again and knowing my eccentric tastes neither would any daughter, that I may spawn, want to wear it either. I anticipate a “trash the dress” shoot… I found my best option was prom dresses! MANY of the dresses could be ordered in white, still very princessy, LIGHT & cheaper. When I tried on traditional gowns I felt heavy and hot. Plus, what else is a wedding but your dream prom that you spend a lot of money on? One where you most certainly are prom queen and king? I’m going to keep my dress a secret but it is most awesome. I saw it online, hunted it down, tried it on & fell in love. As for the veil that is being pieced together because I’m crafty, with the help of some accents I bought from etsy.com.
- Honey Moon/Registry: With little else to turn my attention to as most is planned or must wait until closer to the date, I started attacking our honey moon. Austin and I have it mostly set and at least purchased our initial tickets to Madrid. We have decided instead of asking for traditional home goods, we would like our guests to purchase us portions of our rockin’ honeymoon. We have been living together for four years so home goods… we got. But a rockin’ honeymoon? That’s new. Here’s a sneak peak at our registry set up through honeyfund.com. Our itinerary is ALMOST set, we might simplify it, but otherwise we are super excited. I’m sure I will in the future post a long diatribe about the dos and don’ts of planning this kind of trip.
- Cake Topper: Put down our deposit on one by Sophia’s Workshop on Etsy.com. She did one for a friend of mine and I can’t WAIT to start the design process. Check her out but keep in mind she has a waiting list.
- Rings: This we just finished yesterday! Austin bought me a very unique engagement ring that requires a customized interlocking band to not look all goofy. Horrible resolution picture of initial ring:
Sketch of new ring! Notice how they wrap together? That’s the original diamond in the center.
We decided to follow a Victorian tradition I read about in some book (really authoritative huh?) of using the stones to spell out a message/word. Mine will have either aquamarine tear drop stones standing for Austin, or if I can figure out a good blue “F” stone, an aquamarine, the diamond from my engagement ring and then the “F” stone making Austin David Flores. Suggestions? Austin’s ring will have two sapphires laid out mimicking my ring, standing for Sheila Suarez. I don’t have a picture of his ring (oops) but its a thinner lighter (good for dancing) matte white gold band with polished cut edge.
So… that’s basically it! Many are surprised at either the geekiness/nonswing orientatedness of our wedding (including myself on the latter) but it’s all about family and joy and I like it damn it. Plus very few of our guests swing dance. :/ Though they will in fact cut a rug. Any way we shall not be pigeonholed, we are a many faceted duo!
We are in the process now of finalizing Austin and his groom’s outfits, creating the overall structure of our ceremony which will be administered by my maid of honor, then on to program designing, invitation designing, losing weight, flowers, center pieces, dj set list (we are just running a MP3 player), favors & finally some tastings! Maybe I do have quite a bit to do in the next 6 months…
Now you know. – S