Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bridesmaid Dresses? Check!

Today we went bridesmaid dress shopping!  I have been so excited all week since I heard that all of my girls were gonna be able to go shopping today (with the exception of my sis who is out of state, boo).  

It was such a super fun day!  I have to tell you that I LOVE my bridesmaids!  These amazing women come from all areas of my life.  None of them have really spent any time together but they all got along from first sight!  I am so happy that this wedding will also serve as an opportunity for the women I most love to learn more about each other.  

We went to the White House Black Market Outlet at Ellenton.  One of my favorite stores of all time is WHBM.  Their look is just so timeless (enter laughter from my girls, who heard me use this word numerous times throughout the day).  My colors are black, red, white or cream, and possibly some gold accents.  I thought this was the perfect place for us to start.  The dresses are all so reasonable and everything they have falls within our color scheme.

My girls were worried about the likeliness of them finding matching/coordinating dresses but I wasn't swayed.  I told them that all black dresses probably would be best at this time since I haven't picked my gown, but I was open.  They asked me whether they should wear the same material?  I told them don't worry about it, we would see what they picked and if they worked together.  

My gut was right on!  They picked out gorgeous dresses and almost all of them matched even before they tried them on.  All 5 of us (3 girls, plus me and mom) worked together to find two extremely similar styles that really compliment each other!  The girls tried them on and they all looked stunning!  

Amazing!  This could not have been much easier.  We found perfect dresses for all of my girls within a half an hour.  Who has even heard of such a thing?

The best thing about the dresses, besides that my knockout bridesmaids will rock them is that 
they can wear the time and time again!  These are perfect for so many occassions from weddings, to cocktail parties, to just nights on the town with their sweeties.  All this came with a price tag that kept them smiling.  

I can't express how excited I am to have my these ladies stand by my side at my wedding but to boot, I know they are going to look spectacular in dresses they love too!  

This is one of the dresses..  The other one isn't listed online at this time.  

Find this at

Share your story about finding your bridesmaid dresses!  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A call for advice - on the dress

The biggest news of the day is that my mom came down to visit!!! This highly anticipated arrival almost didn't occur (mom forgot her id at home and had to run back!). Alas, she arrived on time and we were on to our day of wedding planning!

Our first stop was to meet the planner at the ceremony/reception location. It was as beautiful as I remembered it. A bonus was that people were getting ready for an event taking place tonight. The benefit was that there were several tables dotting the floor plan that really helped me visualize our set up.

Mom and I then went off dress shopping! The history of dress shopping is that I have fallen in love with the first dress I tried on. Of course, a future bride can't buy the first one she tries on! She needs to test the waters. When else will you have an entire shop cooing over you? However, future brides beware, I now have 3 dresses I am in love with. The pathetic thing is that they are all different styles. I have found some very basic commonalities but for the most part the are drastically different.

Here is a random dress I found, just to catch your eye.. This gives no indication of what I am leaning towards, sorry Groomzilla!!

Find this dress at

So does anyone have any advice on dress shopping? I am stuck!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Something Old?

Even though I don't have a proper picture to accompany this post, I had to share the story. Today my mom called me and told me that my grandmother gave her my 1st Holy Communion dress I wore in the second grade. My grandmother said that it was for my flower girl to wear at my wedding.

This means so much to me, I can't even express it. You see, my grandmother has never been on a plane. She has a hard time getting along these days and will not be able to travel from Ohio to Florida for the wedding. My grandparents mean so much to me and knowing that they will not be there for my wedding hurts. But this thoughtfulness from my grandmother will remain in my mind through my wedding day. I didn't know that dress was still around, much less that my grandmother was planning on pulling it out for such an occassion.

We haven't planned on having a flower girl but now with my mom bringing my old dress down from Ohio next week, I am resolute in finding a proper place for it on my wedding day. You see, that dress will serve as a visual reminder that my grandparents are there with me and they love and support me that day and forever.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My First Redaction

It has come to my attention, (sorry dad, lol) that I misstated my dad's classic car year. You see, I had the year as a 1956 and his is actually a 1957. As you can see from the picture, this year is way cooler! I should have totally recognized the back of the car was totally different, but alas, it has been some time since I saw that beauty. Nevertheless, this is my blogs first redaction. Check out this classic automobile! Dang it is a beauty...

Before my dad corrects me again, I must advise that this also may not be exactly like his car. Ford made a retractable roof convertible which was far more popular than my dad's hard top. The cool thing about classic cars is that if they were less popular in their day, they are likely more popular now because there are fewer of them. Gotta love the revenge of the nerd!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rockin the Night Before Away!

One of my biggest fears of being an out of town bride was finding a rehearsal dinner location. When we headed down to Sarasota last Friday, this fear was on the forefront of my mind. I fear no longer! We found the most fun place to have our rehearsal dinner and we will certainly be rockin the night before away..

Drum roll!!! Or rather, Honk your Horn! The rehearsal dinner will be at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum! This place is cool!

So here is how it happened...

Groom and I were driving to scope out the wedding location (once again) when I got a novel idea. Wouldn't some of our guests love to stop in the Sarasota Classic Car Museum on their down time? Groom and I had been to a classic car museum in my hometown and had a really great time. Both Groom's dad and mine are both avid classic car guys. My dad has a Ford Fairlane and I have a 1965 Morris Minor (a lesser known fact about me, Dad graciously stores it in his garage).

Here's a pic of a 1965 Morris Minor (look a lot like mine)...

And here is a picture of a Ford Fairlane...

One of my most memorable moments growing up was when my dad took me on the back of his motorcycle (also a classic now) to a classic car show in a neighboring town. Dad and I checked out all of the classic cars and had a great time. Then dad and I joined a pancake breakfast that was being held as part of the show. Man it was cool! When dad and I sped off on his Norton bike, I knew I'd always remember that day. Growing up, there were plenty other swap meets and car shows for dad and I, but there was something memorable about that day. I don't think I will ever forget it.

Ok back to the story about the rehearsal dinner location. So we decided to stop in the museum and check it out. It has this certain old 1950's Florida appeal as you drive up. We were greeted by an adorable lady who answered all of our questions.

My first question was the most important. Can you bring in your own food? You see, Groom's brother actually graduated from culinary school and we really wanted him to cook for our rehearsal dinner. The lady was so cute when she told of "that is an option, I had a potluck here for my birthday". This was quickly becoming our favorite option.

Groom and I checked out the whole museum looking at notable cars owned by the Beetles and Ringlings. We loved the place! We chatted with the catering manager and were sold. Groom's parents graciously decided to fuel our little drive down memory lane, to which we are extremely greatful! Everyone was on board with our plan. Now I can't wait for our classic rehearsal dinner!

To check out the museum go to...

Here are some great shots of events within the space.

This is the outside space.
We found a great place that really grasps one of our shared loves.
Is anyone else having their rehearsal dinner at a unique location?

A Fantastic Weekend!

Well we are back from Sarasota, too soon at that! I must say, it was rather productive and we certainly had a great time.

The Hyatt Regency was great! Modern, fun, ecclectic. A very fun atmosphere. We met with a representative from sales and caterering who was really great. She showed us the different room set up and went over our room block options. We are working on our contract for room blocks now! They were even so thoughtful to send us strawberries and champagne, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I can't wait to go back and enjoy the pool, marina, and this cool little lounge area called the "library" that is great fun!

I think this picture shows part of the library..

One thing that was brought up was whether we would want to stay at the same hotel as some of our guests. I am pretty ok with it, since I suspect that when it is time for "we" time, our guests will be ok with that. What do you think? Will guests let the newly weds be, even if they are in the same hotel??

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Test Run

Kareem and I have decided to give visiting Sarasota a test run tomorrow. Anna, our planner, has given us some really great ideas on rehersal dinner locations, hotels, and the like in the area. We figure that heading down there is the only way to really get acquainted with the area. So tomorrow night, we will head down to Sarasota for the night to see what we can see. Of course, some dining out, beach time, and just plain ol' relaxing are in order as well.

There are two really prime hotels in the Sarasota area. The Ritz Carlton and the Hyatt Regency. Of course, our first inclination was to stay at the Ritz for our wedding night. However, Anna told us that the Hyatt Regency is really hip and that alot of brides prefer it because they have large suites, some with two floors. When Kareem suggested heading down there for a night, the idea of test running this hotel seemed perfect! So tomorrow we will stay at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. Here are some pictures!

Check out more great photos and information about this hotel on
If you know me at all, then you know I love to travel. Not only do I love to travel but I love to find great deals. Priceline has always been one of my favorite tools for travel planning. I used to work in a hotel and got an awesome employee discount. Ever since, I HATE paying full price for hotel rooms. It is just one of those things. : )
Priceline didn't fail me for tomorrow's Sarasota trip. Rooms were being listed at $199. My priceline deal?? $99.00!!! Pretty cool huh? Of course, Priceline is not always an option. It works best for areas that have a lot of competition. For instance, I almost always stay at 4 star hotels in the Orlando area. The reason? There is so much competition, even on the 4 star level in Orlando. From my memory (I haven't worked at a hotel in 5 or 6 years), the hotels take a certain percentage of their inventory and offer it to Priceline for them to sell at no lower than a certain rate. When you go on Priceline, you bid on a room within a specific area of town and certain star level. For instance if you bid for a 3 star in the downtown area, Priceline looks at all the arrangements they have with 3 star hotels within that area and evaluate if they can honor your price. There are several catches for you as the purchaser; 1) you don't select you exact hotel - you just narrow it down by star level, location, and price 2) once you purchase, you are pretty much stuck, with some exceptions 3) you might have gotten a better deal if you bid lower - there is no way to know. So say you bid $69.00 on that 3 star in the downtown area; you might have gotten it at "Hotel A". But maybe you wanted "Hotel B" or maybe "Hotel A" would have accepted $59.00. Your stuck with "Hotel A" at $69.00.
I have made some tried and true rules for using Priceline. 1) I always do research on the hotels within the location I want to stay at first, noting their prices 2) I never bid on a star level lower than 3, this is really just because I am particular about hotels and usually can find a good deal without going any lower 3) I take into consideration the likeliness of them accepting my bid. This third rule relates to another drawback of Priceline. If your bid is denied, you must modify your search to another star level or location before being able to bid again. If you want to present the exact same bid but for more money, you have to wait 24 hours. If I don't have time to wait, I may be more incline to make at 60% - 70% the first time.
So those are my thoughts on Priceline. If you want to check it out visit
Ok, so how does all that relate to the wedding blog?? Well, you might just want to use it when visiting Sarasota for our wedding. We are currently working on room blocks and will have that information soon. However, you might be interested in staying near the beach or up in St. Pete or Tampa areas.
So tomorrow we are off to our test run of Sarasota. I suspect I will have updates on the hotel and Sarasota in general. Check back next week!!