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danimal View Drop Down
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    Posted: 1/09/2006 at 3:52pm
Well, Justin and I got really serious about all of the wedding planning this weekend, so I thought I would get really serious with posting a journal. Looking through BI has been very helpful with finding information on what has and hasn't worked for you guys, I want to help others in return. I'm just going to start with my post I already did on the engagement and about site searching this weekend, then I'll get back into info about the two of us and all that good stuff later when I have more time.
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The engagement
I have been a lurker here for awhile, and this is the first post I've started, and I'm just too excited! I love weddings and have been collecting magazines forever and I always surf all the web pages (I always thought I'd be a wedding coordinator if I wasn't an engineer) so I'm happy I get to plan a wedding with the man of my dreams!

Justin's family lives in Chicago, and we were back there for Christmas. We flew back to Long Beach on Christmas day and arrived at the appartment at about 11pm, luggage in tow to find ~100 white votive candles and pink and white rosepetals everywhere. (Our friends had helped with the surprise). I asked him what was going on and he said that since we spent Christmas with his fam, that he wanted to do something romantic for just the two of us. I bought it because he always does amazing romantic things, and I was 100% convinced that he wouldn't propose until after I graduate from grad school in May. I actually got a little mad at him in my head becuase I thought it looked like a proposal and I was mad he was tricking me into thinking it was one when there was no way it could be. Sneaky guy.

Our song (Fly me to the moon by Sinatra) was playing on repeat in the background, and we danced in the living room and then drank some fancy champagne in the good champagne glasses. He had his computer connected to the TV and showed me a Powerpoint slideshow (what an engineer! ) with cute pics of the two of us together. Then he told me to stand up, and I thought he wanted to dance some more, but then he got down on one knee! I don't quite remember what he said because I was crying like crazy, but I told him YES about thirty times and huged and kissed him lots!

Here is what the ring looks like - he worked with a jewler in SD to design it (Art in 18k?)


Afterwards we were so hungry, we luckily found a diner that was open on Christmas evening and went and got some food. One of the busboys took our picture, and I love the way the light reflects off the ring! (Ignore us being scruffy, we traveled all day!)
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FutureMrsONeal View Drop Down
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Welcome to journaling!  Can't wait to hear about your plans! 

 

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danimal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote danimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 1/09/2006 at 4:22pm
The site search
Justin and I live up in Long Beach, but I grew up in San Diego, so we came down this past weekend to visit my mom and go to a lot of sites in San Diego and check them out. Here are my thoughts on some of them. I'll give thoughts on pricing later... we're engineers so we have to put everything in a spreadsheet to asses our choices financially.

Hilton Gaslamp - the hotel was super cool, very boutique-ey, and I would love to stay there, but I couldn't picture my wedding there. I want something more ballroom, and their ceremony/reception site was a little more alternative

San Diego Aerospace Museum (Balboa Park) - Justin and I are both Aerospace Engineers and pilots, so we stopped by Aero museum to look at the space and try to figure out how we could incorporate it with our wedding weekend. It is very cool with this great big atrium. We are thinking maybe having a caterer come in and do the rehearsal dinner, or doing the cocktail hour there. The cocktail hour sounds more appealing because then more of our guests would be able to go than if we did the rehearsal dinner there, and it is just so us it would be great. We are very big nerds, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to have the ceremony or reception there. It has to be elegant!

The Prado (Balboa Park) - Justin's stepmom came and visited us over hte summer, and my mom and I took them out for dinner at the Prado and some Shakespeare at the Old Globe and we had a great time. We saw that another wedding was going on and that's when I got the idea in my head to get married here. We are having a lot of OOT guests, and wanted to do something either on the water or at Balboa park so it would be very San Diego, and this is just so beautiful and elegant on top of it. I loved the grand ballroom (we are having 200 - 250 guests) but I'm not so sure about the ceremony site. We don't like how the majority of the guests are so far away from the ceremony, and the topiaries up by the front might get in the way of the pictures. Anyone that has gotten married here and can give me an idea of how it worked out would be greatly appreciated.

Manchester Hyatt - This is a beautiful hotel. I absolutely love it, and I would love to incorporate the Top of the Hyatt into the wedding weekend somehow. But my FH nailed it when he said that the hotel felt more "convention-ey" than "wedding-ey." Plus, we didn't like the outdoor ceremony terrace very much.

Marriott - I don't know what the name of the Marriott down there is off the top of my head. We liked their terrace where you can get married a lot, but the place seemed a little expensive and also convention-ey. There wasn't anyone from catering there to talk to, and the Concierge chick didn't have a lot of info and didn't seem too keen to show us around.

The Bristol - What everyone has said is true, Lisa is totally awesome and the best. I would consider getting married there just to work with her. She is the only one who gave us a detailed estimate of what having our wedding there would cost, and she was so knowledgable and friendly. But the space felt a little cramped for us, and the hotel seemed a little too modern for the idea we had in our heads. Loved the retractable ceiling, but we also didn't like the view the best either.

Lomas Santa Fe Country Club - Dude, is this place a steal! This is near my mom's house and I used to take swimming lessons there. They have a great deal where you can pick the Silver, Gold or platinum package. For platinum, you get your booze included, and it is way affordable compared to the other places we looked. The feel of the place was somewhat similar to a lode somewhere, which would be cool since FH and I met when we were skiing, but we still liked the Prado better.

Coronado Marriott - Dude. They have flamingos in their fountain and they drove us around on a golf cart. How fun is that!?!? They have a great view - I think it's better to look across the bay at the skyline than the other way around. I wasn't wowed by the ceremony site (I'm noticing a trend) and I just liked the Prado better.

Loews (sp?) Coronado - We didn't really talk to anyone there, just poked our heads around and got some brochures. Seemed like it would be the coolest place to stay, but it's farther south on Coronado, so we couldn't see the skyline.

So it looks like the Prado it is! Tory is going to call me tomorrow to confirm some stuff so we can get our date all set, and I'm so excited!

I am worried though because one of my good friends is getting married in Michigan two weeks after our wedding, and I'd be worried about scheduling the honeymoon so I could get back for that, and I don't want to steal any of her thunder.
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danimal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote danimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 1/09/2006 at 4:26pm
Also, we looked at the Hilton Torrey Pines the weekend after we got engaged, as it had always been my dream spot of where to get married. I thought the guys could go have fun and golf while the girls were at the spa, the view is not to be beat, and the room and everything are so pretty, but they charge way more for booze (hosted bar all night is v. important to us) than anywhere else. I mean, maybe we calculated it wrong or something. I could rationalize spending the extra money for the great site and great view, but this way I feel like they'd be taking advantage, and I don't like the feeling, you know? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ilaust Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 1/09/2006 at 11:55pm

Hi Danimal,

Welcome to BI journaling!!  BTW, I love your ring. its so much more special when your FI designed it himself.

Reception: The Double Tree Hotel Mission Valley.
My Journal
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote danimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 1/17/2006 at 12:59pm
Ok, now I think it's probably time to start from the beginning and tell y'all a little bit about us.

Justin and I are both engineers for the same big company. There are many "campuses" or whatever you call them around Southern Calfornia, and he works in one in Huntington Beach, and I'm in downtown Long Beach. There is a group called REACH: Regional Events and Activities for College Hires that gets everyone together for social events, seminars, networking, and other fun stuff. There was a huge ski trip two years ago that everyone went on, and my FH and I were both helping get the charter bus going. Actually, my friend Rob was the big planner, and he said my job was to find Justin, who is a major in-depth planner, and to take his clipboard away for ten minutes and make him go get a beer and relax. Well I did and it was love at first sight for both of us! We were really amazed at how much we have in common, very similar families with troubled younger siblings, huge love of football, and we're both really silly and have a lot of fun together. Plus we both have our pilots licenses. The one thing is that he went to U of Illinois and I went to U of Michigan. If you don't know, Illini hate Wolverines with all of their being because we always beat them in football, and Wolverines could really care less about Illini. When my FH was in college he swore he'd never even be friends with a Wolverine because we are "evil and have no soul" so I guess it's a testament to how much he loves me that he's willing to put up with that!

We dated for about 22 months before getting engaged, and it's been really amazing. We have the best communication out of any of the other couples I know, which I think is why we hardly ever fight.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote danimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 1/17/2006 at 1:09pm
As for wedding planning stuff, we are definitely going with the Prado! Yay! They only had one Saturday opening for the rest of the year, so we are getting married on Sept 16th. I originally turned down the date because that's the day of the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game. I hate it when people plan their weddings to go up against college football games, and I swore I'd never do that, but then I realized that we're on the west coast, and our games are usually on at 9 or noon, so we'll be fine. I told my FH if the game goes into OT, I'll be a little late to the ceremony.

Anyway, we're both really excited about the Prado, even though I'm not too jazzed about the way that the ceremony site is layed out. But it's really pretty and I'll get over it.

We are 99% sure that we're going with Joe Stein from Studio Paris for our photography. He is a friend of my mom's, and he does really great work, so I probably won't even go with another quote. I know that's bad, but planning from Long Beach makes visiting tons of vendors a little difficult, especially since FH is taking a temporary assignment up in Seattle for a few months starting Thursday!

Plus I"m really excited to have met my Prado date twin on BI, we are looking into a great deal to share some flower costs, and I'm so excited to have someone to talk to about all the fun wedding planning stuff!

As for dresses, I am super excited, but super anxious about finally having to narrow it down to one dress after being in love with about a million wedding dresses since I started buying wedding magazines when I was 12. My mom and I went to Mon Amie right after we got engaged. We found some nice dresses, but I'm not sure we found "the one." I am going to The White Dress with a friend of mine today and I am super excited about trying on more dresses! I have been kicking my butt with a personal trainer in the gym lately, so hopefully everythng will look pretty good. :)
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danimal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote danimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 1/20/2006 at 4:59pm

Yay! FH and I just booked our honeymoon! We did it through Costco travel, and I feel like we got a pretty good deal. We are going for eight nights, so that's exciting. I'd like to be there longer, but one of my good friends is getting married on 9/30 (our wedding is 9/16) so I want to make sure that we get back in time for it! We are flying into Papeete, then we are spending four nights in the Kia Ora hotel on Rangiroa, the four nights in Moorea. Yay! I can't wait to be in our overwater bungalow!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote danimal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 1/20/2006 at 5:20pm

Dress shopping! I am so excited, my friend Gail and I went dress shopping at The White Dress in Corona Del Mar. I know it's far away for y'all down in SD, but I had such a good time there, Marlis was so nice, and I think it's definitely worth a road trip with your mom and some girlfriends! Here are the top three dresses I liked that I tried on.

Jenny Lee 509

Melissa Sweet Lia

Melissa Sweet Sadie

I tried on Sadie, and the pink was a lot brighter than it looks in the picture. But it was very very pretty, but I think I'd get it with a white sash. With the Jenny Lee one, it has a very cool back, I wish I could find a picture of it, so if anyone has one, I'd looove to get a copy of it!

I am very excited about the GTG coming up. But we are coming down to SD that weekend to meet with a ton of vendors and take our engagement pictures at sunset, so I'll probably be a little late.

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