Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Venue that Beats Out Disney?!?

The other night, Andrew and I were going over the Disneyland menu selection, playing with numbers, and paring down our guest list to see how we could make a Disneyland wedding work. Andrew asked if we could really bring our guest list down so low, and would I be able to give up an upgrade at Disney. I paused. No, I don't think that's possible...but...there was another venue where we could have our 100 guests (give or take a few), and I could comfortably let go of Disney. Wha-wha-whaat?!? I KNOW!!!

Earlier that day, I discovered the most beautiful place! Larger grounds with a castle, tower, gazebo, a lake with swans...all within our budget! While I had emailed and texted Andrew about this venue earlier in the day, did we think he would look at it that very same evening? Nope! Not until I said I could possibly let go of Disney. THAT caught his attention. He looked at the website and was blown away by it, just as I was.

One small catch is that if we decide to have our wedding there, we will have to move up our wedding date to October, as that's when the venue closes its wedding season...and we had JUST decided on a very potential wedding date of Nov. 10, 2009 (descending numbers...11-10-9...yes, we're dorks :-)). Perhaps we could do October 10, 2009, which is also the same date as my friend, Kisha's birthday. :-) 10-10-09 isn't as cool as 11-10-09, and there's no way we're gonna wait till 10-10-10! LOL ~ yes, I know, I get it. We're dorks! :-)

Tomorrow, we will finally be heading out to the Queen Mary. All these venues have A LOT to compete with now...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let the Planning Begin!

Well, the day after our engagement, Andrew and I agreed that we would be taking it easy for the next week or two, settle into "engagement" mode, and retrain our mouths to say "my fiance," instead of "my boyfriend/girlfriend." Three weeks later, my mouth is STILL getting used to it!

Four days after the engagement, my mom sent me an article titled "Top 10 Mistakes Wedding Guests Make, and How to Avoid It." Hmm, interesting tid bits, I thought. And ooh! Another article that looks intriguing. One thing led to another, and I ended up clicking on The Knot badge that was in one of the articles. Something I swore not to do till another week or so! Thus began the planning.

The next day (5 days after the engagement), Andrew and I went to Barnes and Noble. I felt the need to buy my 3-ring Wedding Planning Binder with everything I should need and know in wedding planning. Along with that came books on wedding ideas, on bending the rules on traditional weddings, and 1,001 budeting ideas. There goes waiting a week or two!

Since then, I have read every one of those books, three magazines, and have torn The Knot and Brides websites apart, and not trying to overwhelm myself with *too much* information. ;-) I can only focus on what I need to be doing in the first month/month and a half, since we are looking at a November wedding and don't have the "suggested" one year of planning.

Three weeks of being engaged, and I have my wedding shoes (reminiscent of Cinderella's glass slipper, but an open toe stiletto!), and my wedding dress!!! Yes, I work FAST! It only took one week and four bridal salons. And I honestly found my dress at the second store, but I had to check out the last two stores for peace of mind.

We're now visiting ceremony/reception sites ~ appropriately starting at Disneyland this past Thursday morning! Oh, it's my number one choice! :-) Picturing the wedding there, we will have the ceremony in the Rose Court Garden, followed by cocktail hour in Neverland, and the reception in the Sleeping Beauty Pavillion, which - funny enough - looks more like the Beauty & The Beast ballroom. Our wedding consultant, Traci said it probably wasn't named Beauty & The Beast Pavillion because the grooms would be offended. ;-)

Sunday morning, we have an appointment with Malibou Lake Mountain Club (and yes, "Malibou" is spelled correctly). Also on our list of sites to see is the original Queen Mary docked in Long Beach. It's so classic, and with the cruises that my family and I have taken on the Cunard ships (Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Mary II...and my parents just took a cruise on the newest ship, Queen Victoria), it would be such an experience to be married on this legendary ship.

More to come...

Our Engagement

Charlene & Andrew are engaged!!!

The story is this. We spent New Year's at Disney. Yes, I had a suspicion that Andrew MIGHT propose that night since he had already talked to my dad, but I didn't know when or how.

We arrived at Disney only to find out that Disneyland was sold out. Andrew was quite determined to find a way to get us in there if it was at all possible! Even to the point of spending $500 to upgrade our annual pass to premium membership, granting access 365 days a year. Unfortunately, they weren't doing ANY of that! But they were granting access to Disney's California Adventure with a discounted annual passholder ticket. It is what it is, and we took it. We hadn't visited California Adventure in a while, and it was still Disney, so, why not?

Andrew had the idea to get professional pics taken for a photo montage to send to our families. "It would be a nice holiday momento," he said. Okay. Yes, it would be great to have shots of us once I have the ring on, I thought. We talked to the photographer at the entrance to inquire about nighttime shots, and she assured us that nighttime photographers would be out all night.

We strolled around the park, enjoyed some Robert Mondavi Chardonnay, and checked out an exhibit of renovations to come at California Adventure, and I must say, the renovations are going to be AWESOME! I cannot wait to see the new, old-time Hollywood entrance with trolley cars and a replica of the Carthay Circle Theatre, where "Snow White" premiered. The renovation plan is one that good ol' Walt will be proud of!

Continuing our stroll, we stopped by another photographer who stood by the California Zephyr Diner Train to ask of all the photographer locations. He and his photographer partner gave us the rundown and explained how the photo cards worked; that we could use the one photo card and get as many photos as we wanted put onto the one card. We thanked them and moseyed on our way.

Andrew seemed very smiley.

After watching the Bug's Life "It's Hard to Be a Bug" show, we took another lap around the park, and we kept visiting the New Year's area in the Hollywood section. Andrew really seemed to wish there was a professional photographer there. In fact, he talked to one of the Disney cast members just to double check. However, cast members were only working the area and taking pics with the guests' cameras.

We meandered our way towards the front of the park, and as we seemed to be heading OUT of the park, I asked him what we were doing. He asked me where I thought we should have our pictures taken. I was confused because the last photographer had explained to us that we can get our pictures taken anywhere. Why did I need to decide on "the best place"? We ran through the list of locations despite my confusion, and decided that the park entrance with the Golden Gate Bridge background would be the best spot.

Andrew talked to the photographer there and told her what we were looking for ~ multiple shots for a montage, and he wanted a vertical, full length shot, to our shoes. She said she could take the shot waist up, but Andrew said "No, I want it to our shoes." She said "no problem," and just as Andrew started to head in front of the camera, I said "WAIT!!! I need lip gloss!" He seemed thrown back, almost as if he was - in response - thinking 'we could do it later,' and I said "No, we can do it now; I just didn't know we were gonna do the pictures now. I just need a little lip gloss. :-)" We waited for another family to take a picture. Just as they were done, another photographer came in to relieve the photographer we spoke to. Andrew had to explain to him what we were looking for. The guy said "No problem!" We situated ourselves in front of the camera, and the guy asked us to move a little to the right or left, and as the guy instructed us, Andrew started to step towards him, as he asked "Do you have our feet? Do you have our feet?" The guy assured him he did. Smile and click. Okay, what are we doing for our next pose? I wondered. I turned to Andrew, and he was down on one knee, pulling out the box. He asked if I would marry him, I said "yes" (and was a bit teary eyed), he put the ring on, we kissed and hugged, and the photographer captured it all! We also went back to the photographer by the train, who gave us all the info on locations, and said "Guess what! We're ENGAGED!!!" We had a couple of shots there, as well, which turned out GREAT!!!

Yes, I really had no idea that this was his plan. A plan he came up with an hour before we arrived at the park. Like I said, I really thought we would be going to the photographer post-proposal. Silly me! It's better that way, anyway. ;-)

Ring Specs for those interested:
White gold band with a knife cut, 3 stone setting designed by Scott Kay, Echo diamond, round 0.71 carat, E/VS1.

*And to read about how Andrew's "talk" with my dad went, you can read all about it here!

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