Tag Archives: stories

February 21

Groom’s Diary: The Craziness Before the Storm

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff grooms- and brides-to-be who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this fun feature! Kevin proposed to his girlfriend over the holidays, and he can’t wait to share a guy’s perspective on wedding planning:

I know that they say the truly stressful part is still to come, but I feel like the last few months have been a whirlwind of activity.

It all started in November. Even though I’ve known for years that Tex (that’s what I call her) was the one I wanted to marry, I kept getting cold feet every time I thought about proposing. Ring shopping? Planning the actual proposal? Who has time for that in this busy world?

Well in November, I overcame my excuses and went for it. I did an abundant amount of ring shopping—reading blogs and visiting stores. I proposed on Christmas morning, while we were visiting her family in Houston. It was honestly the happiest moments of my life seeing her face light up and a smile from ear to ear.You can see the video we made of our proposal here.

What a huge relief…or so I thought. We had about 30 seconds of pure joy before her brother asked, “So when’s the wedding going to be?” Yikes, pure panic, I hadn’t thought that far out…

You see, I’m looking to pursue an MBA, and we aren’t entirely certain where we’ll be this fall. So later that night, we talked it through and decided to plan a summer 2011 wedding in Sunnyvale, CA (where we live). That left us just seven months to plan the entire wedding, in the busiest month, in an extremely busy area of the country.

When we got back from our trip, we hit the ground running. We knew that priority number one was getting a date and a venue. We put together a rough guest list using an online spreadsheet so that we could figure out the appropriate venue size, then began our search. We considered any venue that could meet our budget: ranches, vineyards, beaches, hotels, golf courses, sports clubs and restaurants. After looking through every online resource, we hit three wedding fairs and began contacting venues. We visited about 10 different venues.

After so much research, you don’t really expect to be surprised by any location. But when we walked into our future reception hall (at a restaurant down the street from our house), our jaws dropped and we immediately knew. After being frustrated with other venues, we walked into an amazing space with good food, beautiful décor, an outdoor patio, a reasonable price and the date that we wanted.

With the reception hall and church booked, I finally feel like we’re getting a handle on this wedding. And thankfully the future in-laws are coming thisweek to help us choose some of the vendors. Is this the calm before the storm, or is there more craziness to come? You tell me!


Meet Kevin
Kevin and Christina (Tex) met their freshman year of college in Colorado. She lived on the third floor while he lived on the first of Andrews Hall. The two became best friends and fell madly in love. They live with their crazy, hyper, marathon-running dog Kiah, and plan on getting married July 9th in Sunnyvale, CA.

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September 15

A Bride’s Diary: 10 More Days!

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this fun feature! Here’s Kari’s post for this week:

So, in 10 days, I will be waking up in a hotel room surrounded by all my BFFs and preparing for my WEDDING DAY! I think I might still be in denial. And to think, I STILL have not reached that coveted “Bridezilla” level (and let’s hope it stays that way). All in all, this entire wedding process has been such an enjoyable and fun experience. Not once have I uttered the phrases, “I can’t do this anymore,” “I can’t wait for this to be over” or “We should have eloped.” In fact, I am already preparing myself for the let down that I’m sure will follow once all the festivities are over.

With that said, I am BEYOND excited. I am excited for the pampering, I am excited for the anticipation, I am excited for the food and I am excited for the party. But, as cheesy as this may sound, the thing I am most excited about is seeing him for the first time and I walk down the aisle. I am excited to call him my husband and start our new lives together. So many brides lose sight of what this day really means and what people are actually there for. After the party is over, it’s just you and him. I can’t wait.

Final preparations are underway and last minute details are being handled. 14 months ago, this was all only a dream. And in 10 days, it will actually be my reality.

Signing off for the last time as Miss Hovik…and returning next month as Mrs. Stickel!

About Kari

According to Marvin, he met Kari at a college football game. Kari says the actual story is that they met at a mutual friends house. Wherever the love connection may have taken place, the two ended up becoming best friends and the rest is history. Four years after their meeting (or “meetings”), the two plan to marry on September 25, 2010 in San Ramon, California.

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July 21

Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Mania

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this fun feature!

As I blogged last month, my best friend and I are getting married just one month apart. Every bride knows that with the wedding also comes along the joys of bridal showers and bachelorette parties. The past two weeks have brought both these events to my best friend, Angela. It has been such a nice break from my own wedding planning to focus on throwing her the best shower and bachelorette parties ever.  And boy, did we succeed. The theme for the bridal shower was Moroccan/Hot Summer Nights. Here are a few images from the day:

As for the bachelorette party, we all went on a 3 day cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. We can honestly say it was one of the best trips of our lives. It wasn’t just the cruise that made it fun, it was the company of best friends.

Planning a wedding is probably one of the most stressful times of your life, but it is also one of the best. There are so many activities and events that you will never get to experience again, so I advise all of the brides out there to try not to take this time for granted. It is once in a lifetime.

Two months to go!

About Kari

According to Marvin, he met Kari at a college football game. Kari says the actual story is that they met at a mutual friends house. Wherever the love connection may have taken place, the two ended up becoming best friends and the rest is history. Four years after their meeting (or “meetings”), the two plan to marry on September 25, 2010 in San Ramon, California.

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June 9

A Bride’s Diary: Planning My Bridal Shower

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this new feature!

Planning a bridal shower can be a lot of fun. I know it’s more traditional to be surprised for your shower, but I wanted to help out. We are planning the bridal shower along the lines of a princess bride shower with soft pinks and blues. I originally wanted to have a tea party, but tea in the middle of July in Fresno is not a good idea for an outdoor party. Instead, I want to make sun tea and ice cold punch for refreshments. For snacks, we will have fruit, veggies and finger foods, like cucumber sandwiches. Lastly, for dessert, I’d like to have a simple cake with the darling cake topper I found of a princess kissing a frog. My wedding cake topper is a monogram, so I think it will be nice to have the more traditional cake topper for the shower.

We are using the Glass Slippers bridal shower invitation by Wedding Paper Divas. It’s simple, elegant, and has the fairy tale charm I love—but most importantly it was designed by me! Being a designer for Wedding Paper Divas is really something special.

To add to the theme, I found some cute clear pink table decorations to use as centerpieces or accents. I also have some diamond confetti I saved from my brother’s engagement party to use on the tables. Additionally, I have been looking for fun party games that everyone can have a good time playing. Some ideas include: the toilet paper wedding dress game (my favorite), guessing how many diamonds are in a container, finishing the lines of popular quotes and Disney quotes, and some more surprises! Some of the games will have handouts, so I want to design them so they look more finished and get everyone in the mood to play games.

The bridal shower sounds like a great way to have some fun before the wedding and an excuse to get together with everyone. I still have a lot of planning to do for it, along with my wedding planning. August seems to be fast approaching and it just can’t get here faster!

Meet Brittany

Brittany B. is marrying her best friend, Jared, on August 28, 2010. The couple met at Brittany’s older brother’s wedding, where he was a groomsmen and she was a bridesmaid. It was love at first sight, and the couple now plans to marry at the same location as where they first met.

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June 2

A Bride’s Diary: Mr. & Mrs. Johnson…and Baby?

Wedding Paper Divas is full of staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this new feature!

My fiancé and I recently went to one of our friend’s wedding. It was a nice, small wedding ceremony with their friends and family. Then, in the middle of the ceremony, a baby cried. The parents tried to clam the baby down with no success. Minutes later, another baby cried. The ceremony was inside a museum too, so you can imagine the echo in there. I was no longer paying attention to my friends’ vows . I had lost my focus, and all I could think about during the ceremony while glaring at the parents was, “Why aren’t you taking your baby outside?”

After the ceremony, the first thing my fiancé said to me was, “No babies at our wedding.” I couldn’t blame him. I was pretty annoyed myself. I couldn’t hear anything over the screaming babies. It’s a justified and rational reason to not want a baby at a wedding. Can you imagine watching your wedding video 10 years later and hearing a crying baby while you and your fiancé are exchanging vows? But is it fair for me to not invite my friends’ babies? What about my cousins’ babies? I ran this by my mom just to see what my parents’ generation thought.

“How can you tell people not to bring their kids to a wedding? Who’s going to watch their kids?” she asked.

“They can always hire a babysitter, Mom,” I said.

“If you’re telling them not to bring their kids to the wedding, you’re basically telling them not to come. Period,” was her reply.

I don’t quite agree with my mom’s opinion, but she does have a point. What if my friends don’t trust their baby to a sitter yet? That probably means they won’t come. Then I thought back to the parents at my friends’ weddings. Maybe they didn’t want to miss the wedding either…

Sure, your wedding is about you and your fiancé and the wonderful life you are going to start together, but you also want your family and friends to be there to enjoy the special day, too. So you really need to consider all the pros and cons. What’s worse—a screaming baby or not seeing your close friends and family at your wedding?

Whatever you plan to do, baby or no baby, it’s something to think about. If you do go with the no baby route, be sure to talk to your friends or family members who have babies early on in the game. You can’t assume that your guests will know what you’re hinting at when the invitation says “Mr. & Mrs. Johnson.” It won’t be pretty when your guest enters a “3″ in the “People Attending” line of your RSVP cards when you only wanted them to write “2″.

Plus, there are etiquette rules out there on how to handle these kinds of situations, including how to word it nicely on your wedding invitations so no feelings get hurt). If you’re concerned, you can always call us here at Wedding Paper Divas for free etiquette advice. Remember that you’re not alone… just be sure to do your research!

When did planning a wedding get so complicated?

Meet Becky

Becky and Erick met eight years ago through their parents. Both of their parents were into performing Chinese Opera along with Erick, and all three of them were in the same opera association. During the summer of 2001, Becky volunteered to help out backstage during a performance where she first saw Erick, but he didn’t notice her at first (he claims she was never there!). The two eventually started to hang out more during the summer of 2002. They started out as friends, and then started dating when Becky joined Erick in Southern California for school. Seven years later, they’re engaged!

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May 26

A Bride’s Diary: The Look…Decisions, Decisions!

Wedding Paper Divas is full of staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this fun feature!

Your wedding day is your ONE shot to get it exactly right. From the dress, to the hair, to the makeup, to the shoes, everything must be absolutely perfect. While dreaming of your wedding day, so many ideas and visions run through your head. But then reality sinks in. How do you know what perfect is?

While investigating different looks, I have found a lot of fun accessories, beautiful makeup and amazing hairstyles. But how do you know the one you choose is going to be the one you will look back and love forever? You won’t. That is why you need to just stick to the basics and do what feels right to YOU.

Here are a few things I have come to terms with:

  • If you NEVER wear your hair up, odds are you won’t want to wear it up on the most important day of your life. You won’t feel like yourself.
  • If you don’t wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, don’t go all glamazon on the big day. It will feel unnatural.
  • Just because other girls like to sparkle doesn’t mean you have to. Again, this is the one day that will be perfect for YOU. You don’t have to be covered in sequins and bling because your latest bridal magazines tell you it’s “in”
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY—be yourself!! A super dolled up version of yourself, that is.

As of today (this could change at any moment), here is the look I’m going for:

Hair & Makeup

Accessories

*Note: I have opted to leave the dress out for fear that my fiancé may actually read this. Hi Marv!!

4 MONTHS TO GO!

About Kari

According to Marvin, he met Kari at a college football game. Kari says the actual story is that they met at a mutual friends house. Wherever the love connection may have taken place, the two ended up becoming best friends and the rest is history. Four years after their meeting (or “meetings”), the two plan to marry on September 25, 2010 in San Ramon, California.

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May 19

A Bride’s Diary: The Perfect Party Favors

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this fun feature!

I’m knee-deep in the wedding planning process, with only two months left until my big day! Lately I’ve been struggling with sticking to my budget while making sure I incorporate all the details I envision for the celebration.

Since my venue lent itself as a wonderful backdrop for my wedding, I decided to pick a few items that I’d focus on to help convey our personalities—like the party favors. They are a small token of appreciation from both of us to our guests, but favors also provide an opportunity to create a nice personal touch.

We had a couple of initial ideas and hoped that we could create two sets of favors, one to represent myself and the other to represent my fiancé. Alex is a chocoholic and I’m a lavender tea lover, so naturally we wanted to make our gifts edible. We decided to go with handmade chocolate dipped spoons and lavender tea bags, but we decided to scrap the idea of the handmade chocolate dipped spoons simply because we didn’t have enough time to make them.

It was difficult coming up with our next idea, but we were extremely happy with it once it was completed. We wanted to create something a bit more practical for our guests without compromising our style, so we decided to use our favor as a place card too. My fiancé is infamous for taking detailed notes, so we decided to play up with this idea. We bought little 3 x 5 inch paperback notebooks and hand wrote our guest names on each one. We then stamped them with our own design on the back, which included our names and the date of our wedding.

We thought this might be a thoughtful, affordable and very practical gift. It ended up perfectly matching with our vintage theme, and I threw in my lavender tea bags as well. Because I bought the tea at wholesale prices, we averaged about $2.50 a person per favor, and I know that it will all sit beautifully on our reception tables.

Now, our guests can sip on some tea while they write in their journals!

Here are a few sweet ideas from our partner, Beau-coup, for other tea and chocolate lovers out there:

Meet Joyce

Joyce met Alex six years ago at a church event, and the pair have been laughing together ever since! She was enamored by his Australian accent and warm demeanor, and he fell in love with her sense of humor. They got engaged in May 2009 and have been planning their perfect wedding ever since!

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May 12

A Bride’s Diary: Cakes, Bouquets and the Finishing Touches

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this new feature!

By now I have a theme down for my wedding—if you can count dark fairytale romance with diamonds and damask as a theme—but I think it all works. My fiancé, Jared, has been wonderful with wedding planning. He offers great opinions and indulges all of the wedding fantasies I am trying to make into reality. As something special for him, I wanted him to pick the flavor of our wedding cake.

I was really surprised when I asked him to choose a flavor he already knew exactly what cake he wanted and also what bakery the cake had to come from. This was going to make one thing on my to-do list much easier! The flavor of the cake will be french vanilla with chocolate mousse, butter cream and raspberry filling. It is AMAZING. No wonder it’s called “The Supreme”!

Plus, I found out though a friend getting married that the bakery also offers a special deal on flowers when you order them together. That’s two things I can scratch off the top of my list…

I made our appointment with my fiancé, parents and mother-in-law-to-be so everyone could enjoy the cake tasting. We sampled several cakes, including carrot cake, rum cake, chocolate cake and, last but not least, our supreme cake. All of the cakes were delicious but we all agreed the supreme cake was just..well..so supreme! The raspberry filling even matches our wedding colors.

For the design of the cake, we went with a round four tired cake that will feed our 150 guest and allow for some second trips. I found exactly how I wanted my cake to look in a photo in The Knot. The top and third tier will have sugar diamonds, and the second and fourth tier will have a stenciled damask pattern with a red ribbon wrapped around the base. The second tier will also have a Swarovski brooch as a gift from the baker, and we’re featuring a simple monogram on the top. I am so excited to see our finished product!

For my bouquet I decided to match my colors and go with a dozen black magic roses, which are a deep red. Every rose will have a diamond in the middle, with three diamond pins in an ivory ribbon wrapped around the stem. My bridesmaids will carry six white roses and white hydrangeas wrapped in black ribbon with three diamond pins. My fiancé will have a  black magic rose boutonniere and his groomsmen will have white roses to match the girls. We aren’t having many flowers, but there will be a flower arrangement over the arbor where we will be married.

I am very excited to see all these beautiful things the day of our wedding. It truly is going to feel like a fairytale come true!

Meet Brittany

Brittany B. is marrying her best friend, Jared, on August 28, 2010. The couple met at Brittany’s older brother’s wedding, where he was a groomsmen and she was a bridesmaid. It was love at first sight, and the couple now plans to marry at the same location as where they first met.

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April 21

A Bride’s Diary: The Perfect Wedding Venue

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this new feature!

Once I got engaged and started my wedding planning, I faced the dilemma of blending together the vibrant, vintage and elegant look I wanted as my theme. All of these styles were specific enough to stand on their own, but I really wanted to meld them together since I knew they were an accurate reflection of who I am. I did a lot of research about what type of venue would go best with my themes, and I was determined to have either a vineyard or beach style wedding for two reasons: first, to entertain my out-of-town guests, and second to incorporate my style requirements.

After one and a half months of scouring different venues in Napa and Carmel, I realized that driving four hours round trip was just too taxing and unrealistic for everyone involved. I wanted to be a part of the most intimate details of the wedding planning process, so I took into account that I would have to visit the venue three or four more times to make sure that every detail was perfect—right down to the cake and entrees I was dreaming up.

Taking all of this into account, my fiancé and I decided to forget about having a destination wedding and began to focus more on the venues closer to home. It was an internal struggle for me, since I felt most of the venues here were way too formal for my preferences, but I lined up appointments anyway. I drove up to a local winery, but found it too hard to navigate for my out-of-town guests. I drove all over town and couldn’t find anything I liked.

All my visits left me feeling discouraged until I chanced across Villa Montalvo, a venue that I ruled out even before visiting since it seemed unoriginal. It had the elegance that I was looking for, and also a very natural environment that I could use to incorporate vintage details. It’s perfect!

From my own experience, I advise all brides out there to keep an open mind when selecting their wedding venues. You can always find a way to include different elements that speak to who you are as long as the venue is versatile enough. Remember that distance can be a strain when you want to personally tie the elements of your wedding together, so keep in mind that places that might have initially been completely out of the question may just turn out to be perfect for you.

Meet Joyce

Joyce met Alex six years ago at a church event, and the pair have been laughing together ever since! She was enamored by his Australian accent and warm demeanor, and he fell in love with her sense of humor. They got engaged in May 2009 and have been planning their perfect wedding ever since!

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April 14

A Bride’s Diary: The Quest for the Dress

Wedding Paper Divas is bursting with staff brides who are currently planning their weddings. We’re happy to share their stories with you as a part of this brand new feature!

Meet Brittany

Brittany B. is marrying her best friend, Jared, on August 28, 2010. The couple met at Brittany’s older brother’s wedding, where he was a groomsmen and she was a bridesmaid. It was love at first sight, and the couple now plans to marry at the same location as where they first met.

For my very first blog entry I thought I’d share my experience finding THE dress. Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be married in a princess dress, have a fairy tale wedding and live happily ever after. I knew what I wanted, the quest was just to find it—and it wasn’t easy!

I must have looked at hundreds of dresses online and in magazines, but once I found the dress, I knew it was perfect. It is called Monalisa by Maggie Sottero (I love the name just as much as I love the dress!). It suits me and (thankfully) it was in my price range. The dress has a sweetheart neckline, a corset backing, a stunning long train, little pickups and is covered in beading.

I made my appointment after confirming the local dress shop had the design I wanted. I took with me my mom and dad so they could be there for support and to share this experience. The appointment went very smoothly. I tried on the Monalisa dress and my parents were WOWed! Our assistant pulled two more dresses for me to try on, one in diamond white and one in ivory. I knew after trying them on that nothing could compare to the Monalisa.

That’s when I ran into my first dress shopping snag—picking a size. I fell between a 1 and a 3, and 2 just didn’t exist. I ended up going with the 1 and crossing my fingers that the corset backing would give me some extra space. Plus, I’d much rather lose a little weight than pay more to alter the dress! I bought my dress and veil that day, and was told both would come in—four months later.

While I waited for my dress to come in, I did what any girl would do. Accessorize! I found the perfect shoes and a gorgeous tiara. My dad is a jeweler, so my wedding ring has a rose gold outer setting that perfectly matches the dress, veil and tiara. I even found a beautiful necklace to match everything else, but I could never afford it. Fortunately, as a wedding gift, my dad is planning to make it for me! Oh the perks of being a jeweler’s daughter…

Once the four months had passed, I went with my parents-in-law to be to pick up the dress and do my fitting. I tried my dress on, looked in the mirror and was so thankful that it fit! Then I started to look over the dress and hit the next snag on my quest. I just about fainted. There was a black spot on the front of my dress!

I tried and hold back the bridezilla emerging within me. The alternations staff tried to get the spot out, but later said it was something embedded in the fabric and that it couldn’t be removed. They said I could keep it and get a measly 10% off, or return it to the manufacturer and get a brand new dress after another four month wait. I ended up sending the dress back (even though I would be cutting it dangerously close to the deadline). I left without my dress feeling sorely disappointed.

Thankfully, the very next day I received a call from the dress shop saying that my dress would actually come in only two weeks. When I tried it on this time, it was perfect—the ideal happy ending to my wedding dress quest!

If you run into any hiccups on your own hunt for the perfect dress, don’t get discouraged. It’s your day, so don’t be afraid to ask that everything be perfectly flawless. After all, you deserve a happy ending too!

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