September 12, 2012

9.17.11

With my one year wedding anniversary less than a week away, I figured it's about time I review all the vendors I used for my big day:

First and foremost is of course, *the dress*.  Here's the background story with my dress- let me just say that I definitely was not one of those girls that "just knew" that I had found my dress the moment I put it on; I was quite the opposite.  My dress was actually one of the first few that I tried on the first time I went dress shopping.  I thought it was beautiful, and so did my entourage.  But that wasn't enough for me to commit- I had it in my mind that I had to see EVERYTHING out there before I made my final decision.  Boy was that a mistake.  Let's just say that four months and 100 dresses later, I came back to this dress and finally decided that it was "the one."  What's funny is that within those four months of dress searching, I kept going back to this dress and even tried it on a few times.  But stubborn me had to search all of Southern California until I exhausted all my options.

Anyway, I ended up going with a modified mermaid Enzoani lace dress.  It had a strapless sweetheart neckline, organza layered ruched bust with a Swarovski crystal applique and a cathedral train.  What I love about lace is that it is beautiful, elegant and timeless- which is exactly how I wanted to look on my wedding day.

I bought my dress at Pebbles Bridal and while I did get a good deal on the dress, I wasn't thrilled by the customer service.



Next and just as important are the shoes.  I wore open-toe pumps by Badgley Mischkia in a dark silver satin with a rhinestone brooch to match the Swarovski crystal applique on my dress.  While they were rather comfortable, I only wore them for the ceremony and changed into a more comfortable (i.e., ugly) pair of shoes for the reception.


Bridesmaids:  I had my bridesmaids in a long taupe chiffon dress by Belsoie.  I was nervous about the color because I had only seen it in the swatch sample, which isn't very helpful.  I remember freaking out when my sister first picked up her dress and told me that it looked gold.  Yes, gold.  I absolutely hate gold and my heart dropped.  Thankfully, it was far from gold.  The color is fairly unique because even though it's "taupe," it tends to change depending on the lighting.  All in all, the color and material of the dress were soft and romantic, which is what I wanted to compliment my lace dress.  Check out my beautiful bridesmaids:


The Ceremony: We got married at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Northridge, California.  The church is bright and vibrant and photographs beautifully.  Here are a couple pictures of its dome and altar:




The Reception: Our reception was at The Sheraton Universal in the Grand Ballroom.  What I really liked about this ballroom was its oversized chandelier.  Also, the wedding coordinator was great to work with and she gave us a pretty good deal on the food package (and the food and service were GREAT, which is hit or miss with some hotels).  Below are pictures of the area just outside the ballroom and an overview of the ballroom itself.



Photography: The photography was definitely something that we were willing to allocate more money towards within our budget.  This is basically how you're going to recount the moments of your wedding day because trust me, you won't remember much!  I remember waking up the morning of my wedding and telling myself, "it's here, remember to soak in every minute because it's going to fly by."  And guess what- it still flew by and I can barely remember the details of the day!  Also remember that you're going to spend all day with your photographer, who will also watch you get dressed the day of your wedding, so choose someone that you're comfortable with.  We chose BWright Photography and I loved them.  They're twin brothers, Brandon and Brian, who are down to earth and incredibly talented.  They captured many candid moments, which are the moments you want captured from your day.  They also hosted our photo booth, which was a hit, and they have a sweet Polaroid camera from World War II (I think) that prints awesome, vintage-esk pictures.  Here are a couple from our cake cutting:




Videography: Some people don't think that videography is a priority.  And while it's true that you're not going to be watching your video everyday, you definitely want your day captured on video.  While photos are important, they don't tell the same story as a video.  Like I said before, you hardly remember your day, so having it documented on video is a good idea.  I remember watching my video and thinking, "oh, yeah!  I forgot that happened!"  It's a great way to re-live the day in "real time."  Our videographer was Wind Productions.  While I know I overpaid, I loved his product.  I didn't want something super cheesy, even though all wedding videos are cheesy to some extent.  But not with Wind Productions- he's truly talented at what he does.  So we booked him for our day and also did a "trash the dress" session with him after we came back from our honeymoon.  Here's a link to our "thank you" video, which I honestly like more than the actual edited version!  **Password is 1234**


Invitations: I had my wedding invites made at Paper Pushers.  I got a great quality product and the invitations were beautiful, but I think I overpaid.  While invites are important in the sense that they set the tone for your wedding, remember that people end up throwing them away...

Cake: My favorite part.  I'm all about dessert so for me, the cake was a big deal.  We got our cake from Cake Studio and all I can say is that they have a customer for life.  Sonia, the owner, was so wonderful to work with and everyone absolutely loved our cake; in fact, people wanted seconds!  We went with her tiramisu which is perfectly moist and absolutely divine.  Sonia also worked with me in designing the cake based on my dress, particularly the ruching, crystal applique and the buttons on the back of my dress.  She did a fantastic job.



Flowers/Decor: Another biggie.  We went with Spring Flowers where we got the most bang for our buck.  We got a whole package for flowers, chiavary chairs, overlays, white dance floor, draping and lighting throughout the entire ballroom.  I highly recommend them.  Here are some shots of their work:



Entertainment: No Egyptian wedding is complete without belly dancers.  While I honestly didn't care one way or another whether I had belly dancers, they're a good way to get the party started.  We went with Jillina's dancers which our guests enjoyed.



Hair and Make-up: My hair was in a low up-do and was done by my hairstylist who I've been going to since I was 15.  For make-up, that was a mission.  I probably spent more money on make-up trials trying to find the right artist than I spent on my actual wedding day.  I had many trials that never worked out- either the make-up was too light or I looked like I had gallons of make-up on.  But luckily, I found the perfect artist.  I booked with Robyn Fisher who was AMAZING. I got so many compliments on my make-up and I've referred many brides-to-be to her.  Robyn did my make-up for my bridal shower, engagement photos and wedding day (for me and my entire bridal party) and did not disappoint a single time.  Highly, highly recommend her.

If you're contemplating any of these vendors and have any questions, please feel free to ask!
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