I’ve been a bride-to-be for a year and a half now and we finally got our engagement photos done. I must say that it was totally worth the wait. These came out amazing, but the shoot almost didn’t turn out like this. I’d originally planned to do my engagement shoot in another park in Florida. But, I found out two days before the shoot that the park would be overrun by kids as Florida’s schools would be out that week and they probably wouldn’t be letting anyone in after 10 a.m. Needless to say, this park was a no go for my engagement photos.
At this point I was freaking out. So I went to my fiance Ian for help and he sent me a link to the Top 15 Engagement Shoot Locations in Orlando. “I already know which one you’re going to pick,” he said. And his prediction was right. I chose Lake Runnymede Conservation Area and it was one of the most magical places I’ve ever visited. It’s the real life version of an enchanted forest. I also couldn’t have asked for a more talented photographer to shoot our photos. Emily Prada was with me all the way as I changed the location a million times and every photo was seriously the best photo. I had a tough time deciding which to use in my wedding invites and bridal shower invites. I’m thrilled that she’ll be shooting my wedding too!
Earlier this month I got invited to a women’s golf event with Lexus and the Metropolitan Golf Association. I didn’t even have to leave Manhattan to go to it. It all took place on high definition golf simulators at the Golf and Body NYC.
Lexus partnered with the Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA) to host an Introduction for Women’s Golf event for young professional women. The goal of the event was to help level the playing field in business networking, as many important business decisions still occur on the golf course. I personally always loved the cultural aspects of golf. I love the clothes, the social scene, parties at the clubhouse and of course driving around in the golf cart. But, when it comes to actually playing golf, I’m clueless.
So when people at the event asked if I played golf, I said that I loved the cultural aspect, but the act of actually playing golf is a little foreign to me. I’m really more of a yoga person. But, I guess there a are ton of people who love the cultural aspects of yoga too and wear Lululemon yoga pants everywhere, but never actually go to a class. So I decided to take this opportunity to dive in and see what playing golf is all about. It’s a lot harder than it looks. It really takes a lot of patience and skill. Sometimes I even missed the ball completely. But, I kept at it and already saw some improvements in my swing. It turned out to be a great way of getting some aggression out. As for putting, that’s a delicate art that I have yet to perfect.
LPGA Tour Player, Tara Fleming, made a super inspiring speech at the event on how golf is similar to your corporate career. She said once you’ve gotten somewhere it’s because you’ve earned it. So always own your successes. She also said that the golf course is a great place for business because after you’ve played 18 holes with someone you know if you want to do business with them or not.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll take up golf. I wouldn’t mind driving a Lexus either.
In case you didn’t already know, I’m getting married in September in the Pocono Mountains. So wedding planning is now in full swing. I’ve finalized the menu, hired the DJ and found an amazing photographer. While I’m sure this is going to be the most beautiful day of my life, there are things I nailed during the planning process and some things I wish I’d done a little differently. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
Wedding Cake Tasting: Can you guess which flavor we got?
Don’t look at anything until you have a budget
This is by far the best wedding planning advice I have ever gotten and I’m so glad I listened. There is no point in wasting your time researching and interviewing venues, bands, photographers and more if you don’t know exactly what you can afford. You also run the risk of falling in love with a wedding venue or wedding that’s absolutely out of your budget.
Instead take the time to have those tough conversations about who is contributing, how much they are willing to contribute and to what right after you get engaged. It might not sound fun or romantic because it’s not. But, it will make your wedding planning process a lot more seamless and drama-free. Romance may not be based in reality, but your wedding budget absolutely is. So address it right away and then start planning.
Spend your time and money on things you actually care about
If don’t look at anything until you have your wedding budget was the best piece of advice I got, then spend your time and money on what you actually care about is a close second. This advice I got from Bridesmaid for Hire Jen Glantz and it really set me free. When I go to weddings, the only things I remember are was it open bar or not and who I sat with. At the end of the day, no one is going to care if you had embroidered napkins with everyone’s initials on them. If it means the world to you to have them then do it. But, if it doesn’t it’s just another thing that’s going to drive you insane and cost you an insane amount of money.
Every bride is different and cares about different things. I personally couldn’t care less about flowers or decorations, but having beautiful photos is the top priority for me. I did not upgrade any of my tablecloths, dinner wear or napkins. The basic ones offered by the venue are fine with me. I also plan on having pretty simple centerpieces. But, I am spending time and money on getting baller photos of me, my future husband and our bridal party because that’s what’s most exciting to me.
Pro Tip: One great tip I got on Minted when ordering my Save the Dates was not to use abbreviations when addressing the envelopes. Write out everything. Put Street instead of St. and New York instead of NY. It really looks a million times better in print. They do not currently sponsor my blog, but I highly recommend Minted to anyone getting married. They print the addresses on all of your envelopes at no additional cost and allow you to have a wedding website that perfectly matches your invitations. It’s pretty sweet!
Don’t make shotgun decisions
Emotions run high during the wedding planning process. Even if you’re a pretty level headed person, it’s impossible to plan a wedding and not feel somewhat emotional. That’s why everything for a wedding is so darn expensive. People just aren’t thinking logically.
Do yourself a favor and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Take your time to find venders and make decisions that you’re really happy with. You’re not having a shotgun wedding or maybe you are – I don’t judge, but either way no one has a gun to your head when it comes to wedding planning decisions. At one point I got scared when I started finding that so many photographers and DJs were already booked. So I quickly booked both. The DJ I booked seems like it’s going to work out, but I ended up falling in love with another photographer who did my engagement photos after I’d already booked one for the wedding. Not only was my engagement photo photographer amazing, she was also available for the wedding. I ended up switching photographers and it worked out, but I shouldn’t have been so quick to book someone because I ended up finding the perfect person later.
You don’t have to spend a boatload of money to get your dream dress
Wedding dress shopping can be stressful. Sometimes you can’t find anything that looks good on you. Sometimes you can’t choose between two or three dresses. And sometimes you fall in love with a dress that’s way outside your price range – see my first piece of advice to make sure this one doesn’t happen to you. I got lucky and found the perfect dress in under two hours.
Before you splurge on a designer dress at a fancy bridal boutique first look at other options. Chances are the dresses at the fancy boutique will always be there if you don’t find anything else. But, since this is something you’re only going to wear once, it’s a good idea to give cheaper and equally beautiful options a chance first. I’m lucky enough to live in New York City where there are tons of sample dresses available. I found my dress at The Bridal Garden where top designers including Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa and more donate their sample dresses when they are done with them. They can then be purchased for under $1000 and all of the profits go to a school in Brooklyn. There are other places in New York such as Our Story Bridal that do the sample thing. If you don’t have a sample dress shop near you, Nordstorm and BHLDN have beautiful dresses for a number of budgets. Had I not found a beautiful Anna Maier at The Bridal Garden, those would have been my next stops.
Don’t worry about things that may never happen
When I first started planning my wedding, I spent way too much time worrying about rain, getting a stain on my dress, etc. You can’t spend time worrying about things that may never happen or that you can’t control. According to Bridesmaid for Hire Jen Glantz, the more you worry about something the more likely you are to make it happen. So spend your energy picturing the wedding you want and it will happen.
Last year I went to visit my friend Kristi from Currentlycrushing.com in Los Angeles. Well, this year I came back for round two and it was just as fabulous if not more. I am so grateful for all of the travel I’ve already done this year. So far I’ve seen New Orleans, spent a weekend in D.C. and got my engagement photos done in Orlando. In addition to planning my September wedding in the Poconos, this continues to be a year of adventures. Here is my most recent L.A. adventure. Some of the highlights not pictured were lunch at Gracias Madre and a mini hike up Runyon Canyon. Next time remind me to hike all of Runyon Canyon and check out Pink Taco.
One of my favorite things about L.A. is that you’re always poolside or close to being poolside. This particular pool is in Brentwood.
I’ll never forget getting off the plane, driving to Venice Beach and sticking my feet in the Pacific Ocean. Just six hours ago I’d been in New York and then there I was on the other coast with my feet in the ocean. I was surreal.
Kristi recommended an amazing bakery on Melrose Avenue called La Chouquette. Their cream puffs were one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever tasted. Be sure to add it to your L.A. to-do list. | Photo by: JusePix