Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Dangers of Wedding Blogging and eWeddings

Some people have asked, “why did you blog about your wedding?” There are many reasons:

  1. I was inspired by the likes of Style Me Pretty and Snippet and Ink and I wanted an outlet to share my creative ideas and wedding details.
  2. People would often ask me, how is the wedding planning going? To which I could refer them to the blog.
  3. At heart, I’m a writer. I love to write (granted, maybe I’m not the best at it), but it’s something I’m passionate about. For years I’ve written stories, kept journals, and done scrapbooking. I enjoy documenting my life and reflecting back on it.
  4. I wanted to help others. I hoped there were other turquoise brides, and San Diego brides, and just brides in general who could benefit from my ideas and wisdom from going through it. Because, to be honest, without passing on the knowledge I gained from the hundreds of hours I spent planning, the whole thing felt a little meaningless and selfish.

I decided that since I wanted my blog to be a place where family and friends could see what I was up to, I would not blog anonymously. I’d use my real name, real wedding date, real everything and would not use a pen-name like the ladies over at WeddingBee.

But as a result, several times the blog came back to bite in my butt:

  • First it was the Workers Union that found my blog via Google and intentionally targeted my Wedding because they were able to see the exact date, time, and location of the Wedding and knew they could hurt the Hilton by targeting a big wedding weekend (the worst thing that happend as a result of the blog)
  • Next a bridesmaid asked me to remove references to her on the blog/website because associates of hers were finding her via google and she didn’t like the attention
  • Finally a vendor contacted me a regarding a vendor review, one that wasn’t even negative, saying that they were misrepresented

I hope that my story can be a bit of a cautionary tale to Brides before they broadcast the details of their wedding and life for the world to see on websites and blog. So that they know that potentially, bad things can happen because of it.

Part of me thinks maybe it was stupid to blog so personally and honestly. But you know what? I had the balls to blog under my real name as opposed to writinng anonymous reviews or post on TheKnot or Bridal Insider. And I’m proud of myself for that.

I’ve had an absolute blast writing this blog. It’s been fun, cathartic, and encouraging. I’m getting my posts made into a Blurb Book so I will have it for years to come.

To my friends and readers, thank you for reading and cheering me on. Sadly this will be my last post because:

  1. The wedding is over. I don’t want to go on talking/blogging about my Wedding forever (cue song “Glory Days”)
  2. I’m a bit discouraged by the negative things that have happened as a result of my blogging and want a break

Fear not, I know I’ll be reincarnated in the blog world with a brand new topic (but this time likely under a pseudonym). Because, let’s be honest, I’m addicted. Until then, good night and God bless. Xoxo.

Monday, October 27, 2008

San Diego Wedding Vendors Review

Vendors are huge part of planning and executing a perfect Wedding and overall I had a great team a vendors. So without further ado here is our review of our wedding vendors:

(Quick note: the vendors are graded like a college class from A to F with no A+s or A++s. I tried to not have "grade inflation", either, so a B is a OK grade)

Item: Wedding Cake
Vendor: Grove Pastry Shop
Grade: A
Rationale: Great little bakery with great prices. Made a beautiful cake based on my design in delicious flavors. Was easy to work with and I loved the cake.
Would hire again: Yes

Item: Ceremony Music
Vendor: Camelot Strings
Grade: B+
Rationale: Played great music for the ceremony. Were a little hard to work with prior to the wedding which its what took them down from an A to B+.
Would hire again: Yes

Item: Flowers
Vendor: Flowers by Erin
Grade: A
Rationale: Erin is a total sweetheart and made gorgeous arrangements for a great price. She even added on some ceremony flowers when our arch changed at the last minute.
Would hire again: Yes

Item: Invitations
Vendor: DayDreams
Grade: B
Rationale: Daydreams did my invitations which were beautiful but expensive (as are many wedding stationary items). When I went back for Menus/ Programs the prices were even more outrageous. They make great stuff, but given what I realized a person can do at Kinkos, I’m not sure if it’s worth it.
Would hire again: Maybe -- knowing what I know now, I may have done DIY invitation

Item: Photography
Vendor: Kim Irons Photography
Grade: A
Rationale: Kim is fantastic! She has great prices, does amazing work, and is so fun to work with. My only wish (and my Mom's wish) is that we'd gotten more "traditional wedding” shots -- but that's not really what I wanted anyway when I hired Kim because I think a lot of traditional shots are boring and Kim does not do boring shots. We got some really cool candid photos and lots super interesting shots of Jonathan and me. But my favorite thing she did was our engagement pictures. So beautiful and natural.
Would hire again: Yes. When we decide to start a family, I'd definitely have her do our family photos. :-)

Item: Reception Music
Vendor: The Ultratones
Grade: A
Rationale: The Ultratones are a fantastic Wedding Dance Band. They played great music and kept people dancing all night long.
Would hire again: Yes

Item: Rehearsal Dinner Catering
Vendor: Gerardos Catering
Grade: A
Rationale: Delicious catering at amazing prices. Authentic Mexican cuisine.
Would hire again: Yes

Item: Tuxedos and Wedding Dress
Vendor: Bridal and Tuxedo Galleria
Grade: D
Rationale: The only reason I did not give them an F is that did my Wedding Dress and the Groom's/Groomen's Tuxes, and the Wedding Dress experience was OK. The Tuxes were horrible. They were totally disorganized, tried to overcharge us, and tuxes were ill fitting.
Would hire again: No

Item: Wedding Ceremony and Reception Venue (including catering)
Vendor: Hilton San Diego Resort on Mission Bay
Grade: C-
Rationale: I can't summarize my feelings about the Hilton in one post only. I could write pages. The venue is beautiful. The food is good. The rooms are lovely. Their Banquet Coordinator/Wedding Planner is awful. He's unresponsive, uncreative, and handled the Union situation horribly. At the end of the day I feel ripped off by the Hilton because we paid for this beautiful, expensive ceremony site and didn't really get to use it because the Hilton was in the midst of Labor Dispute (that apparently they had known about for months which would have given us ample time to think of contingency scenarios).
Would hire again: No

Item: Videography
Vendor: Jason Johnson of Bandini Productions
Grade: B+
Rationale: Jason did a good video at a great price. He doesn’t do HD or any kind of cinematography but does a great Wedding Video for the price he charges. While the angles he shot were not incredible, the editing was really good -- some really neat montages.
Would hire again: Yes

Item: Wedding Coordination
Vendor: Carlee Jiminez from Events by La Bella
Grade: A
Rationale: Carlee ROCKS! She pulled off a flawless wedding and is total sweetheart. Some major drama occurred the week before the wedding and Carlee handled it amazingly! I'm a huge stickler for details and Carlee covered every detail for the big day. She threw in a bunch of "extras" as well that made the day even better.
Would hire again: Yes

Item: Morning-after Brunch Catering
Vendor: Bekkers Catering
Grade: B+
Rationale: Very good brunch, but nothing earth-shatterng. A bit expensive, but oh well, all caterers are expensive.

Item: Bridesmaid Dresses
Grade: A
Rationale: Ordered the $98 Maggie London dresses online. had plenty of sizes and the dresses came promptly. And they looked fantastic on the day of.
Would hire again: Yes
(All images are from Kim Irons or my personal camera)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wedding Horror Story: What's a Wedding Without a Union Protest?

It seem that everyone has their Wedding horror story. Rain. Cakes falling over. Pastors not showing up. Or worse. Well here is mine:

The Monday before our Wedding I get a call from the Hilton San Diego Resort on Mission Bay -- The Local 30, Unite Here Service Workers Union is staging a protest on the Beach and Boardwalk the day of my Wedding to protest the Hilton not signing a contract with them. In fact, they may have targeted that day because they like to disrupt weddings because it puts the maximum hurt on the hotel. They were planning for upwards of 30 protestors with mega-phones, drums, and other noise-makers.

Complete hysteria and rage pretty much summed up my feelings at the time. I could not believe that the Union would use my wedding as pawn in their labor dispute. AND more over they were likely targeting me after finding my website/blog.

The protest threatened to totally disrupt my Wedding Ceremony, Cocktail hour, our pictures, and the enjoyment of our guests at the hotel. But was I was most worried about was our beautiful Ceremony planned at the “Garden on the Bay” right on the Mission Bay Beach and Boardwalk (where the protestors planned to be).

This is a picture of another wedding at the Hilton San Diego Resort's beautiful “Garden on the Bay"... Our ceremony site that never was:

What makes matters worse is that my Hilton Banquet Coordinator was rather unsympathetic and inattentive about the whole thing. He acted like it was NOT a big deal – like we can just move all of it in doors. Our answer? “NO freaking way! We didn’t pay for a beachside venue to not be on the dang beach.”

My parents got a meeting with the Hilton General Manager who was nice and came up with some more viable contingency scenarios – moving the site back a bit, having extra speakers, etc.
This is the site we ended up with:

My Dad also put in calls to some of his Democratic political friends to put some heat on the Union. And he ended up talking to the head of the union who was kind enough (and politically savvy enough) to leave the wedding alone. Thank goodness! They did protest on the property all day long away from our Wedding site and as a result many of guests got money off of their rooms.

In the end the only drawback was having to move our Ceremony site back to a less-attractive, more sunny site (and I think the pictures would have been a lot prettier at the other site). The Hilton rented us another Arbor as some compensation – but in my opinion our Ceremony site was not worth the money we paid for it. However, the emotional trauma was far reaching...

I can honestly say the week before the wedding was one of the most stressful and unhappy weeks of my life. I can only liken it to the week before my Grandma died or the week after my uncle had a heart attack/stroke. My Mom was physically ill. I had a resting heart rate of over 100 bpm. Every time I thought of all my hard work and beautiful plans being ruined my protestors, I just felt incredibly sad. All that time and money wasted. Stressing about the protestors is one of the reason I didn’t get ready earlier or get any pictures with my Bridesmaids on the Boardwalk.

This is what some of the many protestors looked like on the day of (this is 100 yards away from our Wedding site):

It definitely could have been worse. Does anyone else have any real-life wedding horror stories?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wedding Pictures Posted

I posted my favorite Wedding Pictures to Facebook -- I need to post the rest to Picasa. I'm lazy.

Another photo collage:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Top 5 Things I Loved Most About Our Wedding

Like I said a couple of posts ago, I got our Wedding Pictures. I'm still going through them trying to pick out the ones I like best to post and share. But looking at them really helped to remind me what I loved most about our wedding. Here are the top 5:

1. The guy I married

Duh. What kind of wife would I be if I didn't say that? But really, he is the best. When he said his vows to me, it was one of the best moments of my life.

2. Our Ceremony

I loved the whole thing. I loved the readings, the music, the Pastor, the message, our attendants, our vows, the view, the San Diego summer air. I loved how we involved our faith and our families in the ceremony.

I loved All. Of. It.

(I promise to write a whole post about it later)

3. My Dress

I LOVE that dress. Can I please please wear it again? For anything?

4. The Band and Danceing the Night Away

I wanted a dance party and I got a dance party. The Ultratones rocked and I literally danced until the last song.

5. The UpLighting in the Ballroom

I know this is a random thing to love. But just $400 turned an ordinary ballroom into a spectacular tangerine and turquoise paradise. The uplighting was the most ambiance-changing decor item we did.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wedding Retrospective: What I'm Glad I Did and Wish I'd done Differently

This post beings my "Wedding Retrospective" series on the wedding. This post is the full list of "Things I’m glad I did", "Things I wish I’d done differently", and "Things I have mixed feeling about" now that I'm looking back on our Wedding. You have to tell me which one(s) from each category you want to hear more about and I will do another post about the top ones and explain them in detail...

Things I’m glad I did:

  • Had a Day Of Coordinator (with a detailed agenda/checklist)
  • Had a Videographer
  • Saw each other before hand and did pictures
  • Had a girlfriend stay at my parent’s house with me nights before the wedding
  • Had live music and danced until the end of the reception
  • Hired a photographer that let me own my digital negatives
  • Did DIY stationary for all of the wedding ceremony/reception itesm
  • Did not do chair covers/ chair upgrades (because the stock chairs were fine)
  • Had a Smashed Potato Bar at Midnight (so fun!)
  • Involved our faith and families in our wedding ceremony
  • Had beautiful turquoise and tangerine uplighting in the ball room
  • Had a day-after brunch (did not leave for our Honeymoon right away)
  • Did charity favors for wedding favors
  • Had simple elegant centerpieces
  • Had bouquets without a lot of greenery
  • Gave each other wedding gifts (besides rings)
  • Made out-of-town gift bags/buckets for the guests
  • Did dance lessons for our first dance
  • Did our own vows
  • Actually ate our food at the wedding
  • Had a Sweetheart table (let attendants sit with their family/boyfriends/wives/etc.)
  • Created a "Play" and "Do Not Play" list for the Band
  • Changed into sandals for the reception
  • Put out pictures of us and our families
  • Gave the band an iPod to play at breaks
  • Had my dad make me a big omelet the AM of the wedding
  • Had beautiful bright bridesmaid dresses and flowers
  • Did a Bridesmaid Brunch and Mani/Pedi the day before
  • Did the Rehearsal Dinner at my parents house
  • Did assinged seats/escort cards

Things I wish I’d done differently. I wish I’d:

  • Got ready earlier
  • Had them box the cake to take it to go
  • Had more group pictures – USC people, HS people, me with each bridesmaid, etc. and more photos of guests
  • Bought a professional makeup mirror to check my makeup in
  • Not ordered cake for every guest
  • Reapplied makeup before the reception after being out in the sun/wind for hours
  • Paid more attention to the guys tuxes and not gotten the ugly cheap ones
  • Not stressed out so much morning of the wedding
  • Told my bridesmaids/groomsmen exactly how to enter the ballroom
  • Instructed the cake servers of how to serve the 3 flavors of cake
  • Gotten a few more “traditional” photography shots to add to all the creative ones we have

Things I have mixed feeling about:

  • Getting married at a hotel
  • Doing my own makeup
  • Not doing a receiving line, instead doing table rounds
  • Doing a big, expensive wedding
  • Wedding blogging

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Did I Pull it Off?

As you likely know, I poured over wedding website after wedding website to find the wedding details to build my inspiration boards.

I just got my photos back from my photographer (I'll post more later). Since I have my photos now, knew my first order of business was to build a "real wedding" inspiration board of my ACTUAL turquoise and tangerine wedding details. Without further ado, my wedding:

Here was my final inspiration board a few months before the big day:

So what do you think? Did I pull it off?

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