Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Or they could go very bad.
Keep the wine on deck, I may need it! I'll keep you posted.
Have a great day!
Monday, August 30, 2010
"For real...they're going to feed us? Like, real food?"
No, they're going to feed us fake food.
Since we're on a budget, we're exploring as many options as possible so as to get the most mouth-watering bang for our buck. Our venue has a list of approved caterers that we cannot stray from. So the day after we signed on the dotted line at The Witte, I picked up my phone and started to make my way down the list. After about the 3rd conversation - that was identical to the first two - I realized I might be better off - and save some time - if I just drafted a generic email explaining what I wanted and shot it off to the remaining caterers.
And you would not believe the giddiness I experienced once the initial proposals started rolling in. So exciting!
One of the first to respond was Jessica with Spice of Life catering. She was super nice and, compared to the other proposals we received, theirs was the most unique. Not only would we get our main dish, steak and chicken fajitas, but they had also included an action station option, something we had both wanted but were pretty sure wouldn't fit into the budget. The bottom line was within the budget parameters so after the super fun task of finding room in the Mr.'s 80-hour work week schedule (mad props to them because they stayed late just for us!), we had scheduled our first tasting!
Having never done a catering tasting before, we weren't too sure what to expect. Would we just get a bite or two or get to hoss out completely? I can (happily!) say now with experience that it was definitely the latter!
When we arrived, we were shown to a nice table and served this *heavenly* citrus iced tea. I mean it was AMAZING! We each went through about 6 glasses of the stuff and neither of us are tea drinkers.
Prior to our tasting, Jessica had asked me to select a couple appetizers to taste. I chose the Chorizo and Queso Stuffed Mushroom and the Blue Crab Topped Blue Corn Chip. Unfortunately, I'm a lot better at eating said appetizers than taking pictures of them.
But, they were both absolutely delicious and we were huge fans!!
Our original proposal including us selecting two salads from a group of choices. None of them really tickled my fancy so I asked instead if we could do a Southwest-ish Caesar Salad. They made my idea come to life better than I could have expected!The salad had mixed greens with sun-dried tomatoes and masa croutons with a zesty Caesar dressing with just the right amount of kick!
Next up came the main event...the FAJITAS! We were so surprised when they brought out a giant platter of chicken, steak and all the fixins!(This was after we had already dug in. Told you...this is purely C+ work). We were served moist, delicious chicken and steak plus sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and salsa for garnishes. On the side were (definitely homemade) spanish rice and AMAZING refried beans. Yeah these were not from an Old El Paso can.
We then got to sample one of the action station items - the Baja Fish Tacos with Grilled Mahi Mahi, Pickled Red Onions and a Cabbage Slaw. Again, I was so in love with these I forgot to take a picture. This is almost exactly what they looked like:
These were great as well. We would really love to be able to give a variety of TexMex foods, not just the stereotypical tacos and fajitas.
All in all, we were so impressed. And not just I was impressed, the Mr. was too. We really liked that Jessica and Mike, the chef and owner, brought the food out to us and then let us be so we could enjoy it (or not enjoy it!) alone. But not only that, we really felt like we clicked with them (which is actually something I felt almost immediately after the first email). We all talked about our different options after the meal was over. We let them know that we were just beginning our search and wanted to at least explore our other options but that we would stay in touch and let them know what we decide. And then we rolled ourselves out of there.
As this was almost two weeks ago, where does that leave us now?
Well, the Mr. just left to go up to another hospital about 2.5 hours away, where he'll remain for the next 4 weeks. Unless we can find another caterer willing to work with us on a weekend (not easy so far) we'll have to put our search on hold til October.
But really, I'm okay with that, seriously, no problem at all, I promise, I really mean it.
(Note: all photos the result of my
Saturday, August 28, 2010
But as luck would have it, we can come close. Since our goal is to cram as much San Antonio down our guests' throats as we possibly can in a single weekend, we can design our reception menu around one of our town's specialties - TexMex!
This is a win pretty much across the board...
- Most people like TexMex
- TexMex is usually pretty cost-effective, which will help us stay on budget
- It's kinda hard to mess up (knock on wood!)
- The Mr. and I both love it!
- I get to semi live out my dream of having Taco Bell at my wedding
Our venue has a list of approved caterers that we can't stray from. We plan on meeting with a wide variety of them to make sure we get not only delicious food but also a great presentation to wow our wonderful guests. The main dish we want to serve is pretty traditional but our ideal caterer will have some unique ideas as well.
Sadly, knowing my luck, I'll end up with a giant smear of salsa down the front of my dress within 20 minutes but I'll take one for the team.
Did you/would you plan your menu around one of your favorite foods or a food your area is known for?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I felt like I had tirelessly gone over the list of possibilities. None of them made the cut - kinda like me and all school sports teams growing up. People would ask me where we were having the wedding and I would tell them that we'd exhausted every option and had no luck. The general response was, "Have you tried The _____ yet?" Well...no, I hadn't. Most couldn't believe it and some practically forced the phone in my hands. But I wouldn't call.
The ______. Oh The ________ how I loved it so. This was the place I would drive by, wondering “Which organ would garner more cash on the Black Market so I can have my wedding here – kidney or lung?” I just knew it wouldn't fit within our budget. But I was at the end of my rope. So I did what I should have done a long time ago and…wait for it…are you ready? I…picked up the phone, called and ASKED! Talk about tons of effort, right? (Well, at least the mistakes I make now will save me lots of time the next time I get married. Kidding!)
I talked to the Director of Sales and Catering who quoted me prices that made my jaw drop - in a good way. I was so mad at myself for assuming the place was out of the question budget-wise before even checking to make sure. (Does this make me a “glass half empty” kinda girl?) She sent over a copy of their Rental Package which I perused during my lunch break. I wasn’t even 5 minutes into said break before I had already flooded the Mr.’s inbox with texts that may have resembled OMFGICANTBELIEVEITWTFWHYAMIANIDIOT OHMYGAHHHHH!!!$%$%^!!!!! Might as well throw in a few voicemails of just me squealing for good measure.
It turns out they were just what we were looking for and they were within our budget. As luck would have it, our date was open! My parents just happened to be coming into town for a visit the next week so I asked the Sales Manager to put a two week hold on the date for us until we came to check it out.
That’s right. I put a hold. On a venue. For
When the parentals got to the land of salsa, we went and met with one of the Event Planners who showed us around the entire place. It was even better than in pictures! The four of us knew it was THE place for our wedding!
So where is this magical venue that I have made seem like it’s dripping with gumdrops and candy icicles and lollipop trees? Without further adieu, I present to you – our wedding venue!
The Witte Museum is San Antonio's premier museum focusing on South Texas history, science and water resources. It has so many awesome features and we plan to take advantage of each one!
Our ceremony will be held here in the Native Plant Garden:
Guests will then make their way to the cocktail hour will be held along the banks of the San Antonio River, intermingled with the Log Cabin Exhibit in the background (one of the Mr's only requests...I had to oblige even though log cabins just...well...they aren't my thing). To give you an idea of the layout, the Native Plant Garden is on the other side of the building on the right.
And dinner, dancing and grubbin' will take place here (dinner under the tree, dancing and grub on the surrounding covered patios):
The Witte is without a doubt the right place for us. It's so unique and has TONS of spaces separated into sections so we can have the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner & dancing all at the same place, without our guests feeling like they are being shuffled from one identical space to the next. It's also located on the river (the same river that feeds the Riverwalk) so, if we're lucky, maybe a groomsman or two will fall in after a few too many beers and give us all some added entertainment - free of charge! SCORE!
Since our wedding is 100% outdoors, one thing the venue needed to have was a rain plan that didn't blow. It's not going to rain so we aren't going to use it BUT just in case we maybe perhaps had an instance where we needed to use a rain plan, we have one. And the Mr and I both agreed...if it rains, we're doing our ceremony right in front of this homeboy:
That's right...if it rains, we're gonna say "Eff it!" and get married in front of a dinosaur. For the win! But, it's not going to rain.
The pictures absolutely do NOT do it justice! I have some pictures of the venue all set up for a wedding and I'll save those for a rainy day since this has obviously been a ridiculously long post.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
When we moved to San Antonio from Virginia back in June'08, we knew our Oct'09 wedding would be taking place in our new city. Due to the high demands of the Mr.'s job, he wasn't able to take a ton of time off to go back to the motherland for our nuptials. Plus, San Antonio is a rad city and it would give me an excuse to have a wedding featuring margaritas and queso, two of my favorite things on the planet. We knew it was asking a lot to have our friends and family come all over the country for our wedding but we promised ourselves we'd throw an awesome party to make the trip well worth their while!
Together, we made a list of "wants" for our perfect venue: (1) Downtown location so it would be convenient for our out-of-town guests, (2) Enough outdoor space for at least some if not all of the event, (3) Ability to have ceremony & reception in same location and (4) It had to have character! We've been to lots of beautiful weddings at country clubs and in hotel ballrooms, but we knew those venues weren't right for us. We wanted something we could transform into our wedding, not something that was already ready to go. (Basically I wanted to make things as difficult as possible for myself.)
When my mom came to visit us in Jul'08, a-venue hunting we went. One afternoon, we came across Sunset Station, a large special event facility that had tons of history and lots of unique spaces we could make our own.
It met every requirement on our list! We kept it in the back of our minds over the past two years and when the time finally came to go visit with vendors, they were the first place I called. Unfortunately, in the time between then and now, the facility hired one of the larger catering firms here in town to manage their Special Events division. And prices went up. Not just up, but UP. And UP = out of our budget.
So the search that I thought was finished was really just beginning.
Luckily, one of my bridesmaids just so happens to be a Wedding/Event Planner here in town (I know, major score, right?!). She sent me a massive list of venues she recommended and I started making my way down it, one by one.
The Bushnell is actually an apartment building with rooftop event space that boasts uncomparable views of Downtown San Antonio. We ended up not selecting it because the cost of renting it was high (to us) and came bare bones so we would have to have everything brought in. Plus, with it being on the rooftop meant the only way to get there was to go up! I'm sure this could make for a madhouse for vendors sharing the elevators with the building's residents.
Now this place shocked the hell out of me. It was inside! Totally, completely different than what I had been envisioning for the past two years. But it was unique and really, just, cool. I was in love with this venue and knew it was just right. The only problem was a convention group had a hold on our date and the evening before and were having a difficult time picking the night for their event. I was on pins and needles waiting to find out which date they picked. And then the even coordinator called and told me they had selected our date. Of course they did.
Back to Square Zero (we hadn't even made enough progress to get to Square "One" yet...). But, eventually we did get to Square "YAYYYY WE FOUND OUR VENUE!"
Stay tuned to find out who the lucky winner was!
So now you know the inspiration for our wedding! We've been busy booking vendors so it's time to bring you up to date on those we've secured for the Big Day so far! Photography is a very important element to me, as it is to many brides. I can't wait for the day when I get a CD full of thousands of images!
Being the non-selfcentered bride that I'm working really hard at being, I wanted to include the Mr.'s perspective in our photographer search. One afternoon I asked him what he wanted. His response? "I don't care about it. I don't even need it. I'll remember how wonderful and perfect the day was for the rest of my life by re-living it in my head." Aw, how sweet. And then I went back to the photographer's website I was currently looking at, reminding myself to limit the things I ask his input on.
Since photography is one of the things we'll be paying for ourselves, I kept price in mind when beginning my search. I was hoping to be able to find a photographer who would basically allow us to create our own package which would hopefully help keep the cost down.
Things I Wanted:
- Two shooters
- At least 10 hours of shooting time. Some of my most favorite pictures of weddings are the ones of the bridal parties getting ready and the ones of the bride and groom exiting the reception. I knew we'd get all the goodies in the middle but wanted to make sure the day was perfectly captured from start to finish
- An engagement session (still haven't broken the news to the Mr. about these yet...he isn't the biggest fan of pictures.)
- Full rights to the photos. I plan on making our own album to both save money and have a finished product that represents us
- Someone I connected with that had a great sense of style and enthusiasm. Since the Mr. hates taking pictures, I needed someone he could have fun with and let loose for in order to get those great shots
Things That Weren't As Important
- A Bridal Session. I spill things. All things. Put me in my wedding gown for two hours a month before the wedding and I guarantee you it'll end up with lipstick and coffee down the front of it before we're fifteen minutes into the session
- A professional album (see above)
- Rehearsal dinner photography. I have quite a few girlfriends who are bloggers themselves so I know cameras will be out and snapping away happily throughout the evening.
The search became frustrating when it seemed like I wouldn't be able to find the photojournalistic style I was looking for at a price we could afford. I thought I had clicked on every single San Antonio photographer's website until I came across Nachyelli Photography. Her style was unique, pictures were great and prices were just what we were looking for. I immediately emailed her to see if she had our date open and, if she did, if we could set up a meeting. She responded super fast and she had our date available! We scheduled a meeting and I became giddy with excitement as it seemed we were getting close to booking our first vendor!
Nachyelli and I met one morning at a local Starbuck's and we instantly connected! We chatted for about 30 minutes before even getting to the photography nitty gritty. She's planning her own November wedding so it was fun to trade ideas. She ended up pointing me in the right direction for quite a few vendors. When we got down to business, she ended up letting us create our own customized package that included exactly what we wanted for a price that literally made my jaw drop. I knew then and there that we'd found our first vendor!
I left our meeting with a contract in hand to take home to the Mr. He saw that I had done my research and I was really excited so we signed the contract and sent it off! Booking our first vendor has made it seem so real and made the excitement meter soar! In less than 9 months, hopefully we'll have pictures like this to look forward to:
We both wanted an outdoor wedding, if possible. We were hoping to find a venue with lots of greenery and maybe stone walls or walkways. We wanted the venue to be the focal point and have our theme circle around the mood and atmosphere it set off.
So what colors would go well with this mood we were trying to set? We each claim green as our favorite color so we knew we wanted to incorporate it in there somehow. Plus, it would go well with the greenery our ideal venue would have. Because of what I had in mind for my bridesmaids' dresses (oooh! foreshadowing!!), I knew black had to be thrown in there somewhere as well. I came across a picture similar to the one below and really liked the combination of the green with the damask print.
Green? Check. Black? Check! There, that was easy! This wedding planning stuff isn't so hard...
But after a few weeks went by, I grew tired of the damask. I liked the print a lot but it kinda started to remind me of a bedspread and I didn't want our wedding to resemble the master bedroom of a model home. So I nixed the print and just went with black and green.
This was the point where I brought my ideas to the Mr. to get his take on it. His general thought on the wedding was truly, "Whatever you like, within reason (read: no pink and orange [I may or may not have brought that color scheme up to him after few glasses of wine one night. He was not a fan, to say the least.]) Don't make me look stupid." He liked the green and black together but asked, "I thought weddings were supposed to be all white?"
Ugh! No! Don't you know ANYTH...Wait a minute.
I think I like it...
Wow...I really do need to keep him around!
I thought about what we could do with a mostly white wedding and really liked it! I had visions of flowing fabric and tons of white candles EVERYWHERE! It would especially look amazing if we found the perfect venue. So, in came the white and into the background went the green. We would still keep black around as a very minor accent color since I didn't want to change the plans I had for my bridesmaids' dresses. I was a bit worried as to how well a mostly white wedding would fit in at the end of October but since we weren't planning on making it "summery" I squashed those fears almost immediately.
Fast forward to the present and nothing has changed since the last draft of our inspiration except the date being moved from October to the end of April. And we did end up finding that perfect venue, which I'll share in just a bit!
So without further adieu, I present to you our inspiration board!From Top to Bottom, Left to Right:
Isa's Little World,Julie Mikos,The Knot
Hasel Bride,Seduction Meals, The Knot,Sweet and Saucy Shop
The green will be an accent color and will appear in my shoes, the groomsmen's ties and on all things paper. The Mr. likes it, I l-o-v-e it and all is good in the world!
What do you think!?
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I'm pretty sure my mom will be the only one excited but oh well! Why am I back? Well, you see we've set a date!
Let's rewind, shall we?
In June 2008, we realized that the lovely combination of moving halfway across the country (away from my hometown, parents and friends for the first time), starting two new jobs (one of which being the intern year of medical residency, considered by some to be one of the toughest jobs in the world), and living together for the first time ("I don't care if you like your towel on the floor, that isn't where it goes!") didn't exactly make for the perfect circumstances under which to begin planning our wedding, which was originally scheduled for October 24, 2009. We decided to take some time to ourselves, get adjusted and settled into our new life and wait until the time was right for us.
And we've decided that right time has arrived! Back in May, we had snagged some awesome first class seats on a flight to D.C. for our friends' engagement party. I guess the
My Spring will be a bit hectic, to say the least:
- In March we find out where we will be stationed post-residency (everyone join with me, "Please not Alaska, please not Alaska, please not Alaska...")
- In April, in front of our treasured friends and family, we'll profess our love for one another and agree to the notion that the only way out of our relationship is through lawyers and several thousand dollars (kidding, kidding...)
- In May, we receive the orders to go along with our station placement that will tell us when to show up and if there is any deployment in the near future. (I'll probably be found pacing in front of the mailbox with a bottle of Xanax in hand until we get the orders.)
- In June, Justin graduates residency and
we pack up our thingsthe lovely military movers come to pack and take our belongings way too far in advance, leaving us to sleep on blankets on the living room floor and eating whatever can be cooked in a toaster oven for our remaining weeks in Texas.
- In July, we toast farewell to San Antonio with giant margaritas and vats of salsa and queso and say "wassup" to our new home, whereever that may be.
Sounds like a blast, eh? Oh and somewhere in the middle of all of that I'll find time to send out Thank You cards.
When one of my sweet Bridesmaids called to accept the position (Hey Haley!), she asked if I would be keeping everyone up-to-date by reviving the wedding blog I began during Round One of planning. I hadn't thought about it until she said something and, before I could stop myself, I heard the words "SURE!" come out of my mouth. So here I am!
We kinda hit the ground running with the wedding plans so we already have some details in place. Before I tell you everything we're working on currently, I'll bring everyone up to date on what we've done so far. I will say that we're so excited to finally be married and continue on the crazy and fun path of our life together! Thanks for coming along on the ride with us...it's gonna be wild!