Friday, January 21, 2011

1st vendor down....5gagillion@%*!xx to go!

On Wednesday night we signed our first vendor contract for our wedding. We met with Glenn Currie and his wife, Bev. They were funny, engaging, and very accommodating.

We had seen his work displayed at the small wedding expo we attended at the beginning of the month. Cheryll gelled well with him and this was important. He reminds us of Crocodile Dundee hahaha and yes, he is from Australia. He met his wife on-line as well some 15+ years ago and decided to come to the US to be with her. Enters Bev. Bev provided me some great advice as a fellow mom. She has three adult children and it was nice to see how proud of them she is.

We ended up chatting with them for over an hour and a half. Saw tons of albums and their artistic interpretations. Heard countless stories of the numerous weddings they've photographed.

So it was a no brainer after reviewing the generous packages and options. We are getting 8 hours of coverage by Glenn himself, a 2nd photographer, a leather binded 10x10 album of 70 pictures from our wedding, a 15-20 minute fusion dvd montage of stills and video they take at throughout the 8 hours, an engagement session, a CD of 50 high-res engagement photos with release to print, a CD of approx 350 high-res photos from the wedding with release to print, 100 engagement photo cards for the reception (leave on the table letting the guests know when/where to go to see all the wedding photos online), and we never have to pay sitting/booking fees for any other photo session with them ever!

We are very happy and excited to work with them. They are very professional and fun!

Next...meeting with the wedding planner, our friend Heather, in March to sign a contract with her and get the ball rolling with the venue!  YAY!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

To Plan or Not to Plan? THAT is the question!

Had a semi-meltdown last Tuesday when I took it upon myself to call about an estate home I fell in love with in pictures. This home is perfect...but the price I was quoted was ASTRO-F'IN-NOMICAL!!  hahaha MORE than having it at my beloved L'Auberge. Here started the tears....

I was so overwhelmed with variables of how to make this work, do we need to "stay" overnight, who are we trying to "help" with this arrangement, it's my f'in wedding - rent a hotel if you wanna come, yada yada yada. I can totally see how easy it is to become a bridezilla lol

I reached out to several of which had the time to talk and calm me down - thank you :-)!  I also sent a text to my friends Justin and Heather of O.C.D. Experience and O.C.D. Events based out of LA. Heather called me back and just in our brief conversation was able to offer up some great advice/alternatives.

I got home and Cheryll had the "what's up with you?" look on her face so I sat down and told her that I was beginning to really stress out about the IDEA of ALL that needs to get done with the wedding planning. I know...I have time everyone says...but with everyone that tells me that there are equally as many people that are screaming "Get the ball rolling as soon as possible!"  What's a girl to do?

Cheryll is the most amazing woman!  Within reason, all she wants is to make me happy and help make my dreams come true. I received an official quote from my friends on what it would take to have them plan our wedding start to finish and all the services they provide. Wow! It's really involved! And when I ran down the list there were things I didn't even think of! Like ushers?? like holy crap this is A LOT of planning and appointments! My head wanted to explode.

I see this just as I see paying to get your house cleaned. It affords me the luxury of time and piece of mind. Time being with my family vs. cleaning the toilet, etc. If i'm not broke and can afford to pay the $$, why not?? Also the lady that helps us once in a while with the house really works hard, does a better job in 4 hours that I could ever, and really needs the money.

So planner, no planner? Someone I trust and the freedom not to carry the burden of every piece along the way?  A chance to help a friend too...more exposure for their new company, networking for them in the San Diego area and the opportunity for them to grow their business? The answer is simple for us. Cheryll said yes, as long as I remember that she is the planner and I'm supposed to be stress free in this process lol!

So I'm gonna call Heather this week and we're gonna go with her!  YAY!  I'm super excited!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our Fabulous First Adventures in Hetero-Bridal-Land

On Saturday, January 8th, we attended the Kiss the Bride bridal expo at Pala Casino (about 35 minutes north of where we live).  I've heard some horror stories about LGBT couples attending hetero bridal events so I braced myself for the worst. I prepared myself by outlining what areas we really wanted to focus on such as photography, dresses, caterers, and photobooths. If we really liked a vendor, then I would engaged in the "we're a same-sex couple, got a problem with that?" schpeal. I prepped Cheryll by promising that I would not drag her to hundreds of these events, just one or two, to get the "experience" and see what deals we could get.

This was, from what I learned, one of the smallest bridal events in the area. Good place to start!  There were about 80 various vendors booked but when we arrived (around 11am, it was slated to start at 10) there were still many empty tables. 

We all registered as brides (Michelle my BFF included lol) and when asked about our wedding dates and grooms I always chimed in "we have no grooms, this is MY bride" and pointed to Cheryll. This was kinda one gasped. We got a few ok's. Is it terrible that I sometimes love to put people on the spot? hahaha

While we're not stuck on gay owned/operated vendors one vendor in which I feel compelled to book gay only is our officiant. We met an officiant, a pastor, who when I asked how he felt about officiating a same-sex wedding replied with "hey, I have my beliefs, and you have yours, I don't have a problem with it." Ok buddy...not gonna cut it for me...sorry. Is it too much to ask to have someone marry us who TRULY believes in our union?  I want our officiants beliefs to align with ours...that we are equal and deserve the same rights. I have someone in mind actually and she too is a lesbian so we'll see.

There were no caterers! We stopped at the only two bakers represented and I have to tell you...unimpressive! While one had samples with what looked like pretty innovative selections; I rather enjoyed the mango cake, they failed to deliver on aesthetics.  Their portfolio had cakes I could bake and decorate. The other had images in a portfolio book that looked great, but what they displayed in way of cupcake arrangements on their table was less than perfect. The decorated boxes in between each layer of cupcakes was tattered and sloppy, their cupcakes - dry.

Only one florist was represented. They were part of an all encompassing outfit of event planner, venue, florist, etc. Not my thing but I did like one of their bouquets.

Of the three photobooth vendors, one in particular stood out. All Star Photobooth of Anaheim, owned and operated by Josh & Monica Johnson. They call themselves "the Fun Makers". Very personable and easy to talk to. We visited the other booths and there was just no competition. I was very happy with the quality of the photos and all the options Josh walked us through. He & his wife come to your event, one mans the booth and props while the other helps with the scrapbooking table. You can choose color or b/w photos and the options of 3, 5, or 8 picture montages. Their prices were not bad and they provide you a scrapbook for one of the two copies of pics each session spits out. This way, your guests can paste a copy of the pic they took and write a little something to to you. Loved the idea of having this be our guest book! They can also personalize the border of the pictures for your event and showed us samples where they used the same graphics/font from wedding invitations.

All Star Photobooth #1

All Star Photobooth #2

The non-competition photo.
We look confused because you couldn't see your image on the screen!

Only one photographer displayed engagement photos and wedding photos of same-sex couples. Glenn Currie Photography of Escondido. Again, very personable and knowledgeable. He reminded Cheryll of crocodile dundee hahaha He took time to speak with us and went out of his way to make us feel comfortable. None of the other photographers came across this way. His pictures were stunning! Also, he has some amazing deals going on if you book him by January 21st! I'm talking 8 hrs of coverage, 2 attendants, engagement shoot, engagement cards, 11x14 signature mat, leather formal album...for UNDER 2k!!!  I'm kinda feeling it! lol  He showed us an album of a same-sex wedding he just photographed in Palm Springs and the shots were creative and looked so special.

Me looking at hairstyle photos

The only dress shop there was Isis Bridal from San Diego. I did a little research on them before the show but was excited to see some design books from Maggie Sottero at their table. Maggie Sottero is one of my favorite wedding dress designers. The ladies at the table were WAY too engaged in their own conversation and no one said a word to me! This was a complete turnoff! There were at least 5-7 women behind the table; one would think someone would've said hello!  I'm not writing them off completely, because they do have some very eclectic designers featured in their shop and I'm looking for something different. 

Before the fashion show presented by Isis, the MC asked for 4 couple volunteers to participate in a kissing contest. I was like...Heck! Let's give 'em a run for their money! hahaha but it's just not Cheryll's thing to be THAT public. Here is a pic from the contest....typical!!

Me and Michelle waiting for the show

There were a few dresses I really liked. But OMG...the models sucked! Well, all but one really! Looked like something they threw together at the last minute and no one was paid for their time hahaha This one girl couldn't even smile...she looked miserable...she was even chewing gum! How crass! Also, they ALL held the dress as they walked which really annoyed me and looked so unprofessional. You could tell that many of them were too short for the dress they were wearing and/or their shoes were too big causing them to stumble! Here are the dresses I liked...please excuse the quality...a) the girls walked WAY too quickly, b) our camera is crappy :-/

I did NOT like this dress but HAD to show you this chick.
This is the fabisina punim! lol
(sour face for those of you who don't know any yiddish)

This was the only girl who walked and presented as a model

THIS is a dress I am definitely checking out!
Carmella by Maggie Sottero

This is what the dress is supposed to look like

Cheryll liked this dress!

I really liked something along the lines of the next few dresses
for our summer 2011 nuptials 

This bitch! lol I did not like this dress but
had to put this pic up here because of her expression.
Girl must've known I was talkin' shit hahaha

All in all it wasn't a complete bust. I found a photobooth vendor and photographer we both agree on. Next will be the BIG bridal event at the Del Mar fairgrounds later in the year...something like 300+ vendors! WHOA!  We want to bring Jordan with us so that she feel like part of the planning.

We ended the day by hitting up the buffet and losing some money in the slots lol It was an exhausting day!

Michelle didn't want anyone to see her food lol

This is why I love her hahaha

I DID NOT put them up to this hahaha

During the holiday break, because I get the week between Christmas and New Year's off from work, we had Jo's BFF Aimee come spend some time with us.

I'm in the kitchen cooking and I hear "Mom...get the camera ready and close your eyes."

THIS is what they did!  They got into my fedora stash and painted their faces to look like men!

Jo & Aimee dragged out hahaha

Some pictures from Christmas...late late late ;-)

I didn't remember us taking any pictures but low and behold...Cheryll came through!

Christmas morning was spent opening gifts at home then we visited Cheryll's family.

Proud of her new cap

Jo and her makeup

Zoe trying to lick me haha

Yes we got Zo gifts too

She could care less that we tied this ribbon around her body lol

 Jo getting her new Uggs

Later that day at Auntie Gigi's house

Cheryll's Inay making veggie lumpia...YUM I overdosed on this!

Cheryll and Jeter-Claus...this is her family dog! He smiles in every picture lol

That big dog is Spartan. He loves Jeter and tries to hump him haha
we think he's gay too! lol  he seems to like Cheryll too!

This is Drew. Cheryll's 28 y/o grown ass brother lol 

Jo with the little cousins, Madison & Meagan

We also took the kids to SeaWorld during the holiday break

Jo, Jade & Elijah

Jade is Cheryll's goddaughter...she is the sweetest thing ever!
Me & bug

Elijah & his LaLa (that's my mom!)

This is the only New Year's pic.
Cheryll & I stood home in PJ's and had couch time all day.
There are NO pics of us :-)
We sent Jo to Michelle' she is.