Friday, April 21, 2017

Spotlight Venue: Aria

Last night I attended an event at Aria in Minneapolis. It was an open house with several different wedding vendors. I've always wanted to see this venue, from what I've heard and seen online, the place is amazing! And it didn't disappoint.

Immediately walking into Aria I noticed the extremely high ceilings, exposed brick and beautiful chandeliers everywhere. The place is basically a warehouse turned into a bride's dream. Stunning! And even bigger than I imagined.

There are several separate areas throughout the building. Including multiple levels where guests can mingle while looking over the lower level. And a separate area which can be blocked off by curtains to break the venue up... last night there were several sections, including a sitting area with large white couches, a canoe filled with beer and swings hanging from the steep ceilings, where guests can literally swing while enjoying the reception.

I saw so much potential in this venue. I could go on, and on about how amazing brides could make it look. The possibilities are endless. It honestly could be one of my favorite venues in Minnesota.

 aria.com (laura ivanova photography)

The open house gave guests an idea of what Aria could look like on your wedding night. We were able to sample food and get to the know vendors that could also be a part of a bride's day at Aria. Of course we spent the entire night trying all the food, drinking the signature cocktails and enjoying the photo booths. 

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Timeintopixels Photobooth- A photo booth that can turn a video into slow motion and has hilarious props. We literally laughed so hard while making our slow-mo video. I'll share it with you when I get it. www.tipbooth.com
  • Angel Food Bakery & Donut Bar- I almost died. So, so, so good! Although the company is known for their cakes and dessert bars. Last night they tried something new: A Pretzel Bar. "Create your own cinnamon pretzel by dipping it in different flavors of chocolate and then covering it in toppings." We chose white chocolate and fruity pebbles. It melted in my mouth. www.angelfoodmn.com

  • North Mallow- a S'more Bar Catering company. Create your own s'more with a variety of flavors of all-natural mallows and assorted chocolates. www.northmallow.com 
  • Brasa- A catering company that serves up to 300 people. We tried corn bread muffins and an appetizer that consisted of cheese, pepper and yams. It was to-die-for. events@brasa.us
  • Glam Donuts- You guys, can you imagine a donut bar at your wedding?! They make all sorts of amazing donuts! I took a short video of their setup last night. 
  • Maddy & Maize- A popcorn bar! If you know me, you know I love popcorn and this company did not disappoint. They serve all natural flavored popcorn. I highly recommend the Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake flavor. MaddyandMaize.com
  • The Original Traveling Photo Booth- Not your average photo booth. They have several different back drops to choose from, guest books and very friendly attendants. Guests get their images in real time and are instantly text their photos. Info@travelingpb.com
  • Authentic Pimento Jamaican Kitchen- A catering company that will wow you! They serve appetizers and main course meals. Some options include Fire Grilled Chicken Breasts, Coconut Curried Veggies, Slow Roasted Jerk Pork and Jerk Slaw. We got to try these yummy jerk chicken bites on plantain crackers. www.pimentokitchen.com

Over all, the night was amazing and a ton of fun! I would highly recommend Aria and all the vendors I listed above. I can't wait to be invited to another event like this.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Bright Summer Wedding aka MY WEDDING

I've been trying to find time to "interview" myself and do a blog about my wedding and today is the day! It'll be a little weird but I think the best way to describe my day to my readers is to do a blog like I do for everyone else.. a little Q & A.

The Day
June 18th, 2016

The Rings
My rings are from Wedding Day Diamonds
Biago's is from an online store called Stonebrook Jewelry

Ceremony and Reception
Both took place at the Minnesota Boat Club in St. Paul

The Dress
My dress was a strapless sweetheart neck, empire waste, horsehair ballgown with a lace sequin bodice.
From the Wedding Shoppe in St. Paul.
(I should work at Kleinfeld, shouldn't I?)
*I got my sash on Etsy and I was obsessed with it*
One thing I want to note: I absolutely loved my dress. I wanted a dress that was obnoxious. I wanted people to remember it and I wanted to feel like a princess. One thing I didn't think about, the alterations. They were very expensive. Because of the detail throughout the skirt, it was very hard to hem and because the top was so stiff and had so much boning it was hard to bring it in, which ultimately made my alterations very expensive. So think about that when you buy a dress.
Here's another little tidbit- I didn't allow my dad to see my dress 'til the day of. That was very special. If you know my dad, you know he loves me and my sister more than anything and me getting married was HUGE to him... at times I thought he was more excited than me. Seeing the look on his face when he saw me for the first time in my dress was seriously a tear jerking.

The Bridesmaids Dresses
Jasmine Bridal from The Wedding Shoppe
The personal attendants got their dresses at two completely different places and somehow they totally matched, I told them royal blue and it worked out perfectly.

From Savvi Formalwear
The boys' were grey, Biago's was a deep navy blue.

Hair and Makeup
Chanda from The Beehive Salon in Excelsior did my hair (she's married to my cousin) and did an amazing job, I absolutely loved my hair!
My Makeup was done by Makeup by Dawn, whom I found on Facebook.

Carver Flowers, Carver, MN 
I originally started with fake flowers because I cannot fathom spending hundreds of dollars on something that is going to die... but then my mom didn't like the fake flowers and stepped up and paid for my real flowers. The budget was still really, really low for flowers and I ultimately wish I could have gotten something much better... but you get what you pay for.  

 I never really dreamed of my cake, didn't really care about it until I discovered naked cakes. I am in love with strawberry shortcake so I wanted my cake to be berry flavored and let me tell you, it was amazing. We continuously got compliments on how good our cake was.
Our cute cake topper was from Chick Design Boutique on Etsy.

Studio U Photography and Design, Carver, MN
Megan is seriously amazing! She was so sweet, a pleasure to work with and the photos really show it, she's so good! If there's one thing I'm happy I spent money on it was our photographer.

Good Times Bus Lines

Shawn Vougeot

Big Island Band
 One of the grooms speculations was that we had to have a band... we looked for months and months and finally came across the Big Island Band and agreed. We loved them! They were so much fun, everyone was dancing all night, I highly recommend getting a band over a DJ.

What's one thing you had to have on your big day?
We had to have an indoor-outdoor venue. We both have been to so many weddings where it felt stuffy and that's the last thing we wanted. We wanted our guests to be able to go outside and inside while still staying together. The Boat Club was literally perfect. The view of the city overlooking the water, it reminded us of Tuscany. 

What is one memory you wont forget about your big day?
 So many! 

But the one that pops into my mind is almost having a full-blow-pass-out-panic-attack before I saw my groom. I have never had a panic attack before or passed out before, but I imagine this is what it would have felt like... my maid of honor and bridesmaid were getting me dressed in a tight bathroom, they were tugging, and pulling, and pinching at me to get my dress on and suddenly I felt like I needed to breathe, sit down, throw up, scream, pass out, put on a sweater and lie down all at the same time. It was terrifying. I didn't feel nervous. I just felt overwhelmed and needed a fricken minute!
 If that makes sense?

But then, on my way down to him, to our "first look", literally it was like every single emotion melted away. I have never felt more at peace and happy in my entire life. For the rest of the day I was fine. I didn't feel nervous walking down the aisle or tying the knot or kissing in front of everyone. 
Seeing him made everything better.

If you could do one thing differently what would you do?
Because I'm a "wedding whore" and I notice things others probably don't, so I have a lot of things I would do differently, to name a few:

 *I would have invited only people I know would have came (if that's possible). Over 18 guests didn't show, even though they RSVP'd, only 2 of them had a good excuse. There were literally empty tables... as I was sitting there at the head table I was like, "where is everyone?!" It was very frustrating to know hundreds of dollars were spent on those people. I know it sounds petty but, I will never look at those people the same again.

My advice to guests: do not RSVP and then not show up, and if its out of your control, send a gift or money in replace of what the bride and groom probably spent on your meal.

* I would have spent more money on my flowers, even though they die, the pictures last forever.

*I would have did my makeup differently. 

*And I would have spent more on the food, although my guests liked it, I wasn't even really a fan.

Advice for brides on their day?
Take several moments throughout the day to soak it in. Everyone always says, "the day flies by!" and it truly does. I took several times throughout the day to just look around and breathe and remember everything happening at that time and I would definitely recommend that to other brides.
It really feels like the whole day was a dream.


Friday, June 3, 2016

15 Days Away...

I decided today I really wanted to write about how I'm feeling, as we are about 2 weeks away from the big day. I want to remember how I felt so I can describe it to brides... because honestly, it's way different being the bride, rather than the planner.

As a planner, I encourage the brides that this is an exciting time and there's nothing to worry about and nothing to be nervous over, but now I totally understand where they were coming from when they start to freak a little.

I'm not worried to be married or that I've chosen the wrong guy.. it's just the anticipation of everything coming together and knowing that the big day is just lingering in front of us. Seeing everything I've planned for, wished for, dreamed of, finally come true... that's scary. I'm not worried something will go wrong, 'cause at this point I don't really even care. I'm nervous to walk down the aisle, stand in front of 128 people, hold back tears, try not to faint, or throw up. I'm anxious about dancing in front of people and kissing in front of people because if anyone knows us, we are not about the PDA. I'm worried we wont have enough time to talk to everyone. I'm worried it'll all be a blur.

I'm also excited. So excited to see my friends and family all in one place. I keep telling myself, "It's just like hosting a big party for everyone you love!", hoping that'll help calm the nerves. I'm excited to wear my dress. I'm excited to smell the flowers. I'm excited to eat our yummy cake. I'm excited to see the venue glowing in candlelight and decorated with everything we picked out. I'm excited to see my mom dressed up with hair and makeup done. My dad in a tux. Our wedding party in everything we've picked for them. My nephews in ties! These are the things I cannot wait for.

I know it's just a day, and I know when it's all done I'll look back and wonder why I was so anxious. Everything will be fine.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Dreaded RSVP

You guys! We're coming up on a month away from the wedding and the RSVP deadline date for guests is TOMORROW and I'm still waiting on over 30 RSVP's! It's driving me crazy. I have emailed guests and told my mom and dad to let their family know to send the RSVP, but still, people are slacking.

I've heard of these horror stories before where guests don't RSVP and then show up and another table is needed... well in my case, that is NOT an option. Our venue only seats 150.. we invited 156, knowing that at least 10 couldn't make it, but now I have about 30 that haven't even replied and 1 random guest that wasn't invited who decided they're coming (which is a whole other topic). And I'm stumped, I'm not sure what to do. Not to mention if we do add randoms who haven't RSVP'd that's $26 a person, and then what if they don't show... we could be out a lot of money.

I've been reading some blogs.. and some people say just to add a few extra place cards for randoms that show up. Some others say "F them! If they can't send a pre-stamped RSVP then they don't deserve a seat or a meal for that matter!" I just don't know what to do... but I do know from here on out, when I'm invited to a wedding I'm for surely sending that RSVP as soon as possible.

Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 Wedding Colors

I've been so busy planning my own wedding, I haven't had time to show you guys my favorite color combos for weddings this year.

So here we go...

1. Cobalt Blue and Fuchsia.
I have to start with my colors of course! I really wanted more of a hot pink and aqua blue but my fiance' and I agreed on this one more AND it's a lot easier to find fuchsia bridesmaids dresses rather than "hot pink". Surprising, right? These colors are bright, fun and very summery.

2. Mint Green and Grey (or cream).
A friend of mine is getting married in July and these are her colors, awesome right? I never think to put a bright color with a soft color, but it looks so good! Use lots of burlap, baby's breath, mason jars and moss for accents. Use purple as an accent color as well.

3. Deep Red and Moss Green.
Sounds like Christmas... but it's not! Perfect for a fall, winter or a Valentine's wedding. It's very romantic.

4.  Emerald and Gold.
This looks rich and classy to me. I'm obsessed.

5. Tiffany Blue and Tan. 
Another friend of mine is getting married the same day we are and these are her colors. So pretty! You could go two ways with this.. beachy or rustic. For beachy, I picture: seashells, sand, no shoes. For rustic: I like mason jars, baby's breath, tin buckets, etc. Try Tiffany blue dresses with cream shoes and white flowers!

6. Sage Blue and Light Pink (or peach). 
If I could go back and change my colors, this is probably what I'd pick. It's so soft and sweet. Perfect for a spring wedding. With accents of rose gold it would look amazing.

7. Navy Blue and Eggplant. 
When you think of these two colors in your head they totally don't go, or at least they don't in my mind. But then I saw them and loved it! It's dark and sort of sexy. Perfect for fall! Accent this with gold.

8. Slate Grey and Cream.
Can you say Fifty Shades of Grey? With lace? This is a very trendy color pallet.

9. Sequin. 
That's a color right? I think so! Sequin and sparkle is all the rage right now. I love it too but I think it's very hard to distinguish the difference between classy sequin and sparkle and Vegas showgirl. If you randomly pop in sparkle and have really hot bridesmaids, it's easy! If you put sparkle on everything, be careful, your guests might feel like they're in Las Vegas. Add sparkles to either your table cloths, bridesmaids dresses, vases, or candles but maybe not all of them.

10. Orange.
There are so many pretty shades of orange and you can put them with so many different accent colors, it's very unique. Cadmium orange is very pleasing with grey. Burnt orange and red for fall, coral orange and mint for summer, there are many different ways to use orange in your wedding pallet. 

*Images from Pinterest.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

158 Days Away...

Just realized I haven't wrote since July, clearly I've been busy! Hope everyone had a good Christmas and new years, I just wanted to write a give a little heads up on the wedding planning, since were about 150 days out from the big day.

Last time I wrote I was looking for an officiant, booking my hotel rooms and searching for a dress. I'm excited that all stuff is done, and more. I also got the bridesmaids dresses picked out so I wanted to talk about that a little bit and give some helpful hints for other brides searching for bridesmaids dresses.

1. Making every bridesmaid feel comfortable and pretty should be your priority. 
Although you're the bride and you want what you want, ultimately, these girls are your friends/family and you want them to feel special too. I have been a bridesmaids far too many times so I know how uncomfortable it can be to try on dresses, especially when you're not really happy about your body. So, do your best as a bride to make sure they not only look good, but feel good too.

2. Understand your girls' body types. 
I've seen so many Pinterest photos of girls in sparkly, long, skinny dresses, but then I'm like, "these girls are clearly models, cause whose bridesmaids have perfect bodies like that?!" Pick a dress that flatters all their body types and if it doesn't, let them choose their style, just pick a color or fabric for them. It's okay if they don't match perfectly.

3. Explore all your options. 
As hard as it is getting all your girls together to go shopping, don't settle. During my bridesmaids shopping experience we were originally told by the consultant that a limited amount of dresses came in the color I chose, but when I looked further and found some swatches, I found out there was a plethora of dresses in a similar colors. I'm so glad I didn't settle on the first couple we liked, they were expensive and none of use were crazy about them.

Ultimately, we all agreed on this dress, but in the color Cerise, which is basically a hot coral pink. I love it and I hope they look as good when they come in April. Still working on finding my sister a floral dress, I'd like for her to stand out from the other girls.

 They are Jasmine Bridesmaids P156052.

Up Next:

*Finalizing menu on Saturday.
*Florist next Saturday.
*Pick a cake, find a baker.
*Reserve hotel room for night of wedding.
*Find ceremony music. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wedding Update!

Thought I'd check in and give you guys a heads up on my wedding planning!

So far were right on track, I could probably start doing a little more but my fiance's brother is getting married at the end of August and their wedding is our priority right now. So, after August, I'll start getting down to business!

We did get our photographer though, which is super exciting! I looked and looked and pinned photographers that I loved... but ultimately, I wanted someone within budget and someone who had done a wedding of a relative or friend. Referrals are always better in my opinion.

We went with Studio U Photography and Design. She had done my cousins wedding and a few people from high school's wedding too, so I know she's legit. Plus, I like her style! Our engagement photos are in October... will post when they're done.

Check out our photographer here!

Up Next:
*Book an officiant
*Reserve hotel room and blocks
*Start dress shopping!!!
*Research florist or decide if I want to make my own bouquets or do paper flowers