Disney Fairytale Weddings Showcase

This Monday we were lucky enough to attend the Disneyland Wedding Showcase at the Grand Californian Hotel. When I found out this event was coming up I asked my contact with the Disneyland wedding team if we would be able to come and she was very happy to provide us with an invitation. We planned the trip frugally, meaning I was able to trade a client for frequent flyer miles, and get one free park ticket from another friend. We stayed two nights at a good neighbor hotel and rented a car to get around… All in all I think we spent about $500 for the trip not including a moderately priced meal in downtown disney and a few small souvenirs. Not inexpensive but I think we had an amazing, but short trip. We gained a lot of insight into venues and we enjoyed meeting vendors and planners.

While we were in Disneyland we had a magic moment with a photo pass photographer who noticed our “I’m celebrating – We’re Engaged!” buttons and offered to take some photos for us. He did 2 different photo sets and we got a few really cute pictures.

We spent the day very efficiently traveling between the two parks utilizing the max pass and waiting no more than 30 minutes in line. We got to go on the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and also another new one for both of us Grizzly River Run- which I have never done because I generally never go to the park during the summer. We didn’t get to do everything, but we got to do enough on our list that we were happy. One day is not nearly enough at Disneyland Resort.

We spent a little time on sunday visiting our venue options at both Disneyland Hotel and at the Grand Californian. Prior to this trip we had been pretty decided on our ceremony venue… now not as sure. More on that in a future post!

So Monday evening we arrived at the Grand Californian and found our way to the Sequoia Room which is the largest convention/ball room in the GCH. We checked in and got cute name tags color coded for which planner we were associated with. Currently we are just working with the sales coordinator so we had pink for the lovely Sue R. They also gave us a nice tote embroidered with the Disney Fairytale Honeymoons logo which contained info on dj’s and some new venue choices including the train station in Disneyland Park! Unfortunately an in-park wedding is not really in the budget for us but it was still cool to see. We were welcomed into the venue and several vendors had tables set up so we could see what services they provided and get to know them. There were a few photographers I had already been checking out online there and it was really nice to get to meet them in person. We also spoke with some dj’s and officiants. It was a great opportunity to see who we would click with and get contact info.

They had some lovely floral and table displays set up and it seemed like the theme of the event was Tangled. Lots of pink, purple, lanterns, and sunbursts. It was very pretty. They had four custom cakes on display and some adorable mickey mouse macaroons available at the cake table – not vegan of course… Amanda had to take one for the team and sample all the food and cake offerings. She loved the Churo cake but was less excited about the dole whip cake (which I would have loved) since she isn’t a huge pineapple person. They had some food action stations set up and were passing appetizers. One happened to be vegan, a cucumber strip rolled up with hummus, sprouts and carrots in it… Since I don’t like hummus it was kinda bland and not that great, but at least I got to try something!!

We were able to meet Sue in person and a few really nice guys who work with Disney Events but not specifically in Weddings. We also met some of the planners and really loved Michiel who came right up to us to say hi and helped us find our way to Sue. We really hope that when we are assigned a planner we get her!

Here are some of the photos from the planning session

Overall we had a great trip and I am really glad we spent the time and money to attend the planning session. Viewing the venue options in person was really the most helpful part but I think face time with the planners and vendors was also very valuable!

The wait is on…

What do you do when you are over a year and a half out from your wedding and you are just so excited to be doing something but there isn’t a lot you can do??

Spend hours a day on the internet learning everything you can about wedding planning, I guess. So this week not a lot has happened.

We have gone to 3 different Ben Bridge locations, a Tiffany’s retailer, Kay Jewelers, and Zales. I really never thought I would want to have a big central stone or a set. I was thinking a medium width white gold band with some inset diamonds. After a few trips to the jeweler I have surprised myself by falling in love with giant rings and rose gold. I may need to get a second job with a jeweler to pay for this new love for sparkly rings. The first time we went Amanda found a ring she liked right away, and she has been looking at the same ring every time we go to a different Ben Bridge. I found a rose gold band with morganite stones halo’d in diamonds that I really liked but the width of the stones is a little too wide for me and it rubs against the inside of my fingers… not the end of the world but maybe not the ring even though I thought it was really pretty. I tried on several bands while we were there and of course LOVED the $5000 radiant cut diamond 5 stone platinum band, but it is way out of our first ring budget. So I tried some other styles as well and learned that I do actually love all the sparkly big rings. Here are a few I have tried on so far…

And here are some Amanda has tried… This first is the one she likes very best!

We did go try on some more rings last week and I found one I really love. The jeweler was kinda putting some pressure on us- which is the first time this has happened… just warning that this ring might not be around if we try to wait until closer to the wedding to buy it and that rose gold and morganite is not a super common combination for wedding sets so we might not be able to find something I like as much if it sells out. One of the previous Ben Bridge jewelers we tried on rings with had told us that if we saw anything online that we liked we could let her know and she would get it in to the store for us to try on. We both really liked her so I emailed her and asked if she would be able to get that ring and one other for me to try. I feel like she would be more honest with me about the likelihood of this ring disappearing and I know if she is holding it in a store for me to try on it buys me a little more time at least.

I felt like with my dress I had to make a snap decision. I don’t regret buying it but it felt like a now or never kind of situation and I don’t want our rings to feel that way. I want to feel like we have time to really think about what we want and try on a lot of rings and styles. Amanda is still pretty sold on her ring right now but I think she still wants to browse a bit and I don’t think her ring is at risk of being discontinued. Hopefully we get a chance to go to a few more jewelers and try on more styles before I need to make a decision. One major plus is that if I get a set like this I can start wearing the engagement ring part as soon as we get it, instead of having to wait until after we get married like I would if I just get a band. I can’t wait to wear that pretty pink ring!

So that is ring shopping so far… Even if you are not engaged or in the market for a ring I would recommend going and trying on some rings for fun! You never know, you may realize that you love sparkly things too.

Also a final note on this- we have really liked the staff and experience with Ben Bridge so far- minus the one pushy sales person who may very well have been looking out for me… They haven’t turned up their noses at our smallish budget, instead they have been finding rings that work in our price range and offering options like lay-away and financing. They have a great upgrade program for diamond rings where you can bring your ring (you purchased from them) in and get the value you paid for it towards a ring of 2x the value or more when you are ready to upgrade. I don’t think I would part with my ring I was married with but it is a nice option for someone who isn’t as sentimental. They have also been very friendly and welcoming to two brides ❤

Update: I got the ring!! I decided on the rose gold with the pink morganite tear shaped stone. Best part is that I get to wear the engagement ring portion immediately. I am very pink and sparkly.

This week in wedding planning: I bought a dress!

Some other stuff happened too…

  • we went to the hardware store and grabbed paint swatches so we could get an idea of colors we like
  • put together some potential color sets to show our BM’s and MOH’s and get their feedback
  • we tried on a few more rings- I am falling for rose gold and starting to think I want a wedding set rather than just a band
  • I was able to give one of my bridesmaids her proposal and she said “yes!”

The big news is the dress though really. It is super surreal to know my wedding dress is in the closet in our room. Amanda and I decided we wanted to have each others opinions on our attire so I showed her my dress via photo along with the dresses I did not chose. When I told her it was now here in the closet she got excited- it was very cute… and when I got it out and showed her the top so she could see the beading and the shade/tone of white we needed to match she was suitably gushy about how beautiful it was ❤ I couldn’t have hoped for a better reaction (thanks love, if you read this). We wear it in front of each other until our wedding day but I think it was really nice to be able share the excitement. I am a terrible secret keeper.

I was not planning on buying a dress so soon, and not from a store most likely. My plan was to get one used, likely online… but I had no idea what size I was or what would look nice on me. I read all these online articles that mostly convinced me that because I am short and I have a booty that nothing would look ok on me. My (confirmed) bridesmaid Shea convinced me to try some on even if I just went alone. She said when she was trying on dresses she found that most of the stuff she read online about her body type didn’t hold true.

I am a take action kind of person so I pretty much immediately made an appointment for the next day. I have big gaps of free time mid day, and other than Shea none of my party live in town, so I figured I could just go alone and try some stuff on to get some ideas- I wasn’t going to find my dress for a while…

I decided to go to Alfred Angelo because I wanted to try on the Disney collection (why not, right??) and I knew that it was possibly not going to be continued so I wanted to see it in person. I went in and they were pretty slow so all the really nice girls working helped me to pick some dresses. They were very knowledgable about what they had and helpful, which was good because I came in basically saying “dress me!”

I told them I liked the idea of a ball gown but didn’t know if I was too short to wear one and that I was open to ANYTHING that looked good on me. I was probably a pain because I wouldn’t narrow anything down… lace? sure! beading? why not? color? whatever! They set aside 4 dresses for me including the Disney Cinderella dress they had. This store sells only off the rack, but they were having a sale of 50% off all samples, so everything I tried on was half price!

The first dress was terrible- I didn’t even take a picture… it was almost a nude champaign color and it blended in with my skin too much. The next was a mermaid, which was pretty actually- would have needed some alterations around the waist and hips, but was very hard to walk in. The next was my beautiful dress! The Alfred Angelo Signature Ballgown. I knew when I stepped in front of the mirror that it was special. It just felt so good on and it made me feel like a princess, but like a sophisticated princess. I told her it would be hard for her to find something I liked better… I tried on the Cinderella dress next, which was also very pretty but just didn’t do as much for me. I learned I really like trying on fancy princess dresses.

It was really hard to leave my dress in the store that day. My MIL convinced me to sleep on it and go try on dresses somewhere else and I think she was right because it made me very certain that I was making the right decision when I went back in the next day and bought it!

On my MIL’s advice I also went to David’s Bridal to try on a few dresses and see how solid my conviction about the other dress was. I told them my budget was the same price or less than the AA dress. I tried on 4 dresses there, 3 in my budget and one Vera Wang ballgown that was a little over double. I found one $600 dress that I liked but the material just felt cheap… it fit well but it was very little girl princess-y and it felt a little scratchy. The VW dress was pretty but wasn’t any more special than my AA dress and was more expensive.

I went back to Alfred Angelo, all the girls laughed when I walked back in not more than 24 hours later. They asked if I wanted to try on my dress again and I did. It was just as beautiful as I remembered and I didn’t want to leave without it again. Upon the advice of a girl from the DISbride Facebook Group I checked all the beadwork and stitching carefully since it had been a sample. There were about 5 spots with loose beads or beads that had come off so the girls gave me a whole bunch of matching replacement beads. My mom, who is a talented tapestry beadworker, had offered to embellish a veil for me, but since I don’t want a veil she is going to fix up my dress top instead!

It will be an expensive alteration to hem it, but I just love the bottom and I think it is worth it especially considering I saved almost $700 on it! Here are some photos of the dresses I tried on.

And here is the dress I got, with a close up of the skirting. Even with 5 inch heels I will have to have about a half foot of fabric removed. Hopefully it doesn’t change the look of the layering in the skirt.

This week in wedding planning: 20 months and 2 weeks?

Since we don’t have an exact date for our wedding yet I am just going for a best guess… This week:

  • Started a Wedding Binder
  • Window shopped for rings
  • Decided on our wedding party
  • Made some priority lists
  • Created fun Bridesmaid proposal gifts

So I guess in this post I will cover how I went about creating a wedding binder. I know our wedding is a long way out but when I think of the HUGE amount of planning that needs to be done it’s hard to do nothing and wait for the “appropriate time” to start planning.

I am an over planner maybe? Or at least an enthusiastic planner, and I am excited so I need to be doing something. I thought it would be good to start a physical planner… Pinterest is great for pooling ideas but it isn’t as organized as an actual journal or book. I looked to pinterest and google for advice and found some ideas and free printables… not a ton that worked for me but I stole bits and pieces from a bunch of spots and then created my own when I couldn’t find anything I liked.

A great resource for planning a wedding at disneyland is This Fairy Tale Life. That site has some planning lists and “what you need to know”‘s specifically for a DL wedding. I grabbed the checklist from there and started making a list of the tabs I would need in my binder… Took a few revisions but I think I have the set-up the way I want it. Hopefully this is helpful for anyone making a wedding binder for a Disney wedding or any other wedding.

My categories are

General Information

  • Planning (schedules and calendars)
  • Vibes (colors, themes, atmosphere)
  • Misc

Serious Business

  • Budget
  • Vendors
  • Contracts

Guests

  • Guest List (contact info and rsvp)
  • Invitations (ideas and drafts)
  • Guest Experience (enhancement ideas, favors, etc)

Wedding

  • Venues (ideas and photos of possible venues for both ceremony and reception)
  • Ceremony (schedule, decor, rehearsal info, music)
  • Reception (decor, ideas, timeline, music)
  • Catering (food, cake, booze)

Attire

  • Clothes (for both of us)
  • Rings
  • Wedding Party Attire

 

I found that for our wedding this was the best way for me to break down and organize ideas and information in a format that was easy for my to find and utilize. Here are some photos as well…

Two engagement rings…

After some thought and a few days of engagement bliss Amanda and I decided that I should have an engagement ring as well… I mean we are both the bride, and the bride should get to wear an engagement ring, right?? Who knows… we just both wanted to have a visible token of our engagement, and since we can do whatever we want we did. I got a matching smaller width tungsten ring to go with hers. I returned the two previously purchased rings that did not fit her and ordered my ring. I know I mentioned before, but the ring company we purchased from (EMBR) was really helpful and easy to work with. The rings are inexpensive, the company is great with communication, and they deliver quickly. When we got my ring Amanda wanted to put it on me, so she took her turn proposing, and of course I said yes 😉

Here are our two rings together and I like mine so much I will probably just switch it to my right hand when I get my wedding ring.

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She said YES!!!

After a week of not sleeping well, having no appetite, and probably making Amanda think I was crazy because I was being so sensitive it was FINALLY Sunday morning. I am a horrible secret keeper and I just like to tell her everything and it was really hard to omit something so exciting and big from our interaction.

We got a little bit of a late start down to the parade which was probably good because I was so anxious waiting to propose. We had two good friends from portland in town with us as well as my two co-conspiritors (her mom and one of my best friends, Shea- whose proposal at Disneyland we were present for). When she went to use the bathroom one of our friends went after her to keep her distracted (brilliant work Christina!) while I went to talk to the announcers at the stage. I got them on board with my plan, they were excited too, and they said they would call us up to the stage right before the parade started.

The announcers began warming up the crowd and said that pride was all about love and that they had some friends who wanted to give us a real life demonstration of love and could Sara and Amanda come up to the stage. I pulled her up there- she definitely knew what was going on at that point.

I had about 5 different variations of my proposal planned out but I told myself not to overthink it and just go with the flow once it was happening. I told a little story of how we first came together, only stumbling over my words a little bit and taking her wrong hand, then asked her if she would marry me. I had more to say but I was afraid I would start rambling and I didn’t want to keep her up there forever. My beautiful princess said yes, and I felt so relieved that I had pulled it off and had given her a proposal that I thought was worthy of her love.

We got to walk back to our friends and her mom (my future mom too!!) and get hugs and pictures. Her mom had gotten us “bride to be” sashes to wear for the day and she put them on us. I asked if we could have a quick little walk so I could have a minute to decompress with her. I let her try on the second ring I had brought with me that day but it seemed like the size 6 fit best. I got to hug her and cry for a few minutes and apologize for being difficult that week. She said she had no idea I measured her finger (not that I recommend that as an accurate technique).

We got to spend the rest of the day with our people and lots of little moments hugging and kissing and being excited together. It was a pretty great day ❤

Thank you to our dear friends Shea, Adrian, Trish, and Christina, and of course MOM for helping make this day so memorable and special. We love you.

 

If at first you don’t succeed buy a few more rings and hope for the best…

So after ordering Amanda (aka sleeping beauty)’s ring I was sent a shipping confirmation and eagerly awaited delivery. When it arrived on Tuesday I was so excited I ran upstairs to the mailbox to get it and barely made it in the door before opening the mailer envelope. I loved the interior envelope it came in so I did make sure to stop and catch my breath long enough to grab my camera and grab some photos.


I love the ring and the packaging, not to mention the speedy service and I would definitely recommend this company (EMBR) to anyone looking for a tungsten steel ring. Unfortunately after trying it on my finger I knew it would be too big for Amanda’s delicate alien fingers and I was going to either have to propose knowing the ring was too big or try to get a smaller size before Sunday.

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Here is the ring perfectly fitting my child sized sausage-like fingers

So I contacted 2 people- My future brides mom, and the company (via Facebook) and they both replied within the hour. Mom was on top of it by helping me reassess ring size by measuring her own ring since their hands are similar sizes and agreed that having a ring that fit her that day so she could wear it immediately would be ideal.

I started to think I would be safer having two more sizes of ring when I proposed, so if the first didn’t fit I could have a second option and hopefully at least one of the THREE RINGS I will have in my possession will fit her perfectly. The Company representatives at EMBR were really nice and said that any ring that didn’t fit could be returned for a full refund, so I felt really safe placing an order for another two rings. Hopefully they will arrive by tomorrow to ease my anxiety about having the right ring in time.  Note to self and other sneaky proposers- string is not the most accurate way to measure someones finger, especially if you are trying to do it without them noticing!

Cross your fingers that she says yes and all my frantic measuring and ordering pays off!

 

Celebrate our happily ever after at the happiest place on earth