Hey guys! I’m super excited to share what we’ve been up to on the wedding planning front since my last update! If you follow me on my YouTube channel, you probably already saw my update video that went live yesterday.
You guys, I get so excited about these videos I’ve been filming that I just can’t wait to publish them so I can get the post written in time. I have just been diving whole heartedly into YouTube, and it is quickly becoming my favorite platform! I can see this pattern of videos being published before blog posts continuing, so if you want to be the first to see new content as it’s available, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
I hope you don’t mind accompanying blog posts being available a day or two later than the videos ;). But I do still love having these blog posts to add in anything I may have forgotten to talk about in the video. Also this blog is like my home on the internet, so I always want things to be available through here! I don’t foresee forgoing blog posts any time soon, so if that’s your preferred method of following along, don’t worry!
Anyways! Back to the post at hand! Melissa and I have really started to dive into real planning for the wedding over the last couple months, and I’m super excited to tell you guys all about the decisions we’ve been making, and planning we’ve done!
Last time I shared an update, we were mostly just in the day dreaming phase. So we were mostly surfing Pinterest, and talking about our general ideas for what we wanted our wedding to look like. Over the last couple months we’ve really started to look into making real plans, and seeing how we can turn our dreams and our vision into reality!
If you’re having trouble viewing the embedded video player, click here to be taken directly to the video on YouTube.
Our main priority over the last couple of months has been to find our venue. Since we literally can’t book or plan anything else before we get a venue and a date, this has been numero uno on our wedding to do list.
Like I mentioned in my previous update, we are planning on having the ceremony and reception in the same location, with an outdoor ceremony and an indoor (or tented) reception. I have always been a huge lover of historic mansions, and so that was always kind of a no brainer that we would be leaning in that direction for our wedding setting.
I mentioned in the video that we have narrowed down our top 5 venues. While I don’t plan to share the names of any of these locations, I am planning on sharing some pictures and descriptions of the venues as we tour them and such. But so far our top 5 list includes:
A southern plantation style manor with tons of white porch railing and a beautiful huge lawn. This venue is located on the bay, and so it has a gorgeous view of the water and some docks we’d like to take some pictures on. Melissa grew up sailing so she would really love a venue on the water. The exterior of the house is absolutely by far my favorite thing in the entire world.
This venue is our favorite. At the time of filming this video, we were waiting to see if we could bring in our own caterer, which would fit the venue rental nicely into our budget. We have since found out that they do not allow outside caterers, but we’re still hoping to talk to them and see if their catering is flexible and can work around our budget.
This city owned arboretum is home to a beautiful Civil War era mansion. With an abundance of stunning outdoor landscapes, it would be an excellent location for an outdoor ceremony. Since this is a public space, the rental rates are very reasonable, which would allow us to expand our budget in other areas.
The Country Club
This location is most definitely our ‘reach’ venue. The southern plantation style mansion is absolutely breathe taking, and the grounds are stunning as well. While we added this location to our list, we both knew it was definitely a stretch, and it will most likely be out of our price range.
Again, this place does not allow outside catering, which I have found to be the majority of costs associated with a venue. The actual venue rental will be reasonable, but then their catering costs are astronomical, which will completely rule out a venue as a possibility if they don’t allow outside caterers.
So while I love this place, I’m really not getting my hopes up on this one.
The Event Venue
This is the only dedicated event venue we’re considering. It is another mansion, and while the front exterior is nothing to write home about, the back and the outdoor ceremony location is quite nice. It has these beautiful white pillars forming an ‘alter’, and there is a lovely raised pond leading up to it that I can just imagine floating candles or flower petals or something in.
The interior of this place is also beautiful, with a ton of large windows surrounding it, which is exactly what I want. So while this place is neither of our favorite, it is definitely a solid contender, and we certainly want to visit it in person to get a better feel for it.
This is the one venue I have actually previously visited for a mother’s day brunch a couple years ago. I remember it being very nice, and the food was really good. The restaurant is a large brick mansion, but I believe the reception would need to be tented if we hosted here. The perk about this place is since they are a restaurant, they really emphasize their flexibility to work with you, both on menu and budget.
So those are the top 5 we have put together over the last couple months! But funnily enough, the day after filming this video, Melissa and I were doing another search for venues just because, and actually stumbled on two additional possibilities. One of which may be our new #1 pick!
The Stone Mansion
This venue skyrocketed to #1 for us almost immediately after stumbling across it. Melissa found it while searching for LGBT friendly venues, and I’m honestly shocked we’ve never come across it before. The exterior of this mansion is absolutely jaw dropping, and it just gets better on the inside!
The one thing we have found while looking for historic-type mansions, is that while the exterior might be perfect, the inside seriously reflects the ‘historic’ attribute which generally tends towards dark decorations, which is not the style Melissa and I prefer. This mansion however has a beautiful fresh and clean interior design, with just touches of historic feel – like beautiful elegant molding and such.
And oh. my. goodness. the glass windows and french doors in this place. They literally make my heart skip a beat. And there are beautiful sprawling lawns, and tons of cherry blossom trees and I literally can’t even stand it with this place! We are both so in love, and are planning to set up a tour ASAP!
The Brick Mansion
Another definite possibility we found during our recent search is a beautiful brick estate that seems to me would fit right into a Jane Austin novel. The lawns and ceremony location are beautiful. The exterior features are definitely our favorites for this venue. The interior is less amazing (again with the dark and ornate ‘historical’ decoration) and would, I believe, require us to split up the reception among several rooms.
But again, tenting the reception could be an option, so we definitely still want to check this venue out and keep it for consideration.
Phew, that’s it for venues! Was not expecting to have that much to say hehe. I will definitely keep you guys updated as this decision progresses. I am seriously so excited to book a venue, I feel like things will start to feel super real wedding planning wise once that happens. And then we can get down to business with everything else!
Wedding Dress Shopping
The next big project I’ve started tackling is my wedding dress!! I’m not going to lie, I am going straight up basic girl on this one, and totally want to look and feel like a princess on my big day.
While I’ve had no problems starting to pick out pieces and what I want for accessories, I realized I really have no actual idea what I wanted my wedding dress to look like. I had a few things I knew I didn’t want (no mermaid style for me) and a few styles I knew I really liked (love fabric covered button closures) but when it came to really picturing my ideal wedding dress, I really had almost no real idea.
So when it came time to decide if I would attend the David’s Bridal appointment that I was all but strong-armed into making at the wedding expo, I decided to give it a shot and to use it as a jumping off point. I figured a mass wedding dress producer like David’s Bridal would be a great place to see as many different styles as possible all in one go, so I could try and narrow down what I really wanted The Dress to be.
So I went to my appointment with David’s Bridal, which was my first ever experience with wedding dress shopping, and it was definitely an experience. When my mom, sister and I arrived, it was very busy, and we weren’t able to meet with out consultant right away.
This actually worked out to our advantage however, beacuse in the 30-45 minutes while we were waiting, we were able to wander the aisles of wedding dresses and essentially look at every single one to see if I liked it or not. If I found a dress I liked and wanted to try on, I took a picture of the dress as well as the tag (to help the consultant identify the dress). By the time my consultant was ready to see me, I had the 5 dresses that I wanted to try on all ready and picked out.
I thought this was a much better way for me to do that. Since I didn’t have a concrete idea of what I wanted heading in to the appointment, I wouldn’t have had much to tell the consultant for her to go off of and pull dresses for me. It was a lot easier looking as specific dresses, and saying ‘yes I like that’ or ‘no I don’t like that.
I ended up picking a nice selection of dresses in a variety of styles to initially try on. And I was happy to try on all of them, because each and every dress taught me a little bit more about what I want in my final dress. So by the end of the appointment, I had a much clearer idea of what I want to look for in my wedding dress.
As of now, I am looking at moderate ballgown designs, with the skirt pleated to attach to the bodice. I’d like a natural waste, and some sort of sash or belt going around the waste. I want a pretty plain skirt, but a decorative bodice (lace/beading). I definitely want a train, but not something to crazy long (no cathedral trains).
I really love the fabric covered button closures of the backs, and I also like a lower back over a higher back (thought not down to the butt low). I am still undecided about the neckline and sleeve style, but I know I want to stay away from v-cut necklines and strapless dresses (so I don’t have to worry about hiking up my dress through my entire wedding).
Going forward, I plan to check out a couple of local bridal boutiques and try on more dresses. My friend was sweet enough to put together a list of a bunch of places for us to make appointments. I would also love to look more into the possibility of getting a custom wedding dress made.
I previously reached out to a local custom wedding dress maker, but after finding out their dresses start at $4,000 that place was quickly ruled out. I haven’t given up hope yet though, and still want to do a little more research to see if that would be a possibility. Because how absolutely amazing would that be?!
So that is where I am currently at with picking out my wedding dress. I again really want to start this process early so I have as much time until the wedding as possible, so the decision doesn’t become rushed.
Ok, so here’s the deal. I just finished writing this post and it is over 3,200 words long. SO! I have decided to go ahead and split this into two separate posts. So stay tuned later this week for the second half of this wedding update post :). Thanks for following along!