Thursday, March 28, 2013

Do You Dateline?

When it comes to relationships, you know you have been in one too long when you start plotting the others death. But that's what I love about ours. We can openly talk about the smartest way to kill each other over Chinese takeout. It's the little things right?

As you can see, Kyle and I have an unhealthy relationship with the show "Dateline." Nothing beats scrolling through the DVR and seeing that Keith Morrison is tonight's correspondent. Ahh, that alabaster hair and sweet, sweet voice with the perfect mix of storyteller and senile.

I googled Keith Morrison this morning to read the most mind blowing piece of information since finding out Pita Pit delivered. Keith Morrison's stepson is Matthew Perry - the one and only Chandler Bing. Can you imagine those family Thanksgivings? And I thought I was the only one who had to drink 10 bottles of wine to get me through.

If you are wondering how this post is related to weddings, it's not. But if I just made you feel a little more secure about how normal your relationship is, my work here is done.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Jill & Thomas : Linczak Photography

Meet Jill & Thomas. Two of my favorite people on planet earth. Jill was the most laid back bride I had ever met and inspired me to have that attitude toward my own wedding. Their I Guess I Do moments include a dress dilemma and a rainy day. Enjoy Jill's story in her own words below.

There I was, going in for my first wedding dress fitting. I was marrying Thomas in June, and we were so excited to share our big day with all of our closest family and friends.

The process of selecting the dress up until this point had gone very smooth. I picked a day and went to a few bridal shops with my mom, grandmother, and a few bridesmaids. While I looked at many dresses, I ultimately picked the third dress I tried on. I felt confident in my choice and everyone else agreed. That was easy enough!

I proceeded to complete all the fitting requirements…measurements, veil, jewelry, shoes, etc.

(Note: because the bottom of the dress had a scalloped hem and could not be shortened, they also had to order a specific length.) When taking my measurements, I was told that I was between two sizes. If you’ve ever been fitted for a bridal gown or a bridesmaids dress before, you know the words I heard next…“We HIGHLY recommend that you order the larger size…just to be safe. It’s always better to have a dress taken than to have it be too tight.”

I had a decision to make… Option A: order the smaller size, the same size as the sample dress I actually tried on. It was a little tight, but I could probably lose another 5 pounds and pull it off. Or, Option B: Listen to the sales rep and seamstress and go with the larger size, knowing that they would make sure it fit perfectly for the wedding. I selected option B, placed my order and waited 5 months for the call telling me the dress had arrived!


My mom and I went in for my first fitting. The dress was definitely too big. It was so big, I remember being able to pull it completely up and down while wearing it. But I wasn’t worried. I knew what to expect, which was why I was there for the fitting. I came out to the mirrored area just as the seamstress was walking up…the same seamstress that recommended I order the larger sized dress.

We talked for a few minutes about how pretty the dress was and how nice the length looked with my shoes. Then, my mom and I started to ask where she would be taking the dress in…I assumed under the arms and completely down the sides. It was at this point, the seamstress told us that she could not alter my dress. WHAT?????? “The dress is all lace” she said. “I’m afraid I’d ruin its integrity.”

I turned to look at my mom, not even knowing how to respond to that statement. I’ve never see her look so angry…I thought steam was going to start coming out of her ears. These were the people who recommended we order the larger size, and ensured us that they would handle all the alterations. My mom basically went off on them, and I’m glad she was there because I’m not sure I would have known what to do. We tried to think of options, called a few other people who might be able to do the alterations. Then, my mom remembered the sample dress from 5 months earlier. “Do you still have that one here?” she asked…and they did!

It was still a little tight, and way too long, but we all agreed it was the best option. We bought taller shoes and they gave me a free pair of spanx to wear under the dress…I was going to need them!

On the day of the wedding, when I finally put the dress on, I was nervous and a little paranoid about how it was going to look. I could find all kinds of reasons why it didn’t look perfect, but at the end of the day, it worked and I was not going to let anything ruin this experience. Thomas and I had worked hard to put together an awesome party, and we were ready to celebrate our marriage!


People tell me I was a good sport about a lot of things that day (it also rained and we had to move a planned outdoor ceremony inside). But I still remember the advice my brother-in-law shared prior to our wedding. He said, “It’s pretty much a guarantee that not everything will go perfectly on the day of your wedding. But you cannot let that stop you from enjoying the moment. People get so hung up on what doesn’t go right, that they forget why they’re there.”

It may sound silly, but you know it happens, and I’m so glad I took his advice. Thomas and I still talk about the great memories from our wedding day!

Photographer: Linczak Photography Venue: Raintree Country Club Flowers: Country Flowers & Herbs Cake: All Occasions Bakery Dress: Casablanca

Thursday, March 21, 2013

5 Things Every Girl Should Know Before Getting Married

You're engaged. 131 Likes & 21 Facebook comments later, everyone has built you up to think you are about to embark on the most magical, exciting time of your life. How did you get so lucky? Man, people should be really jealous of you.

Cut to 3 months later.

You're beginning to realize this process isn't all its chalked up to be. You start scrolling through your iPhone to find people you can vent to. Somehow the 131 people on Facebook have all disappeared. No one is answering ... which leads me to the first thing every girl should know before getting married ...

Nope, not your bridesmaids, not your mom, not even your fiance. Yes. It's that plain and simple. I know it's harsh, but it's true. If you can wrap your head around this little factoid from the beginning you will be better prepared for some major letdowns to come.

You are the only person who is constantly thinking about your wedding. Everyone else has their own lives to worry about. They have jobs, families, and work as well. So while the wedding is at the forefront of your mind, it's in the back of theirs.

Expect to be let down. Expect people to not call you back. Expect people to not show up when they say they will. If you go in with this mindset, the letdowns will feel a little less major and a little more minor. You'll realize it's not you, it's just the nature of the beast. They have lives too. And you can't fault them for that - which leads me to ...

We've all watched the show 'Bridezillas' on TV and thought, "What a bunch of whack jobs, thank God I'm so normal." Cut to me three weeks before my wedding crying on the phone and ranting about what's wrong with our healthcare system to a dental hygienist after receiving an outrageous dental bill in the mail. I already felt like I was hemorrhaging money and this was the last thing I needed. Crap. I'm not so 'normal' after all. Or am I?

It's like the world knows you are planning a wedding and really likes to kick you when you're down. It's easy to take your aggression out on other people. But try not to.

It's not just your day. It's your fiance's day too. And don't forget about your parents, friends, and family who've shelled out a lot of cash to be there and make this day possible.

So when you feel like you are about to snap, just picture a film crew around you, smile on the outside and cuss on the inside.

Yes I did. I just quoted Ice Cube. Even though we are taught to never talk about money, get ready to talk about it every day of your wedding planning life. It's awkward. It's not fun. No one prepares you for it, but it's something inevitably everyone has to do.

First and foremost, before you make any plans, take a long hard look at the kind of person you are financially. Are you the type of person who is okay with spending your savings of the past three years on a party? Or are you the type who will look back and wish you would have just put that money toward a house?

Be honest with yourself. I'm the type of person who was fine putting my own hard-earned savings toward the wedding. I knew it was one night, but it was a night that meant a lot to me and a memory that my family would cherish forever.

But some people aren't like that. And that's completely okay. Don't be influenced by what other people say you should do or be pressured to have a wedding you don't want to have. Go to the courthouse and take a once-in-a-lifetime trip instead. Be real and upfront with yourself from the beginning. You'll be left without a major bill, and most importantly, regrets.

This is crucial to your mental and financial well-being, even if it is derived from a rap song.

I hate when I hear brides say, "Well I didn't really get that drunk or have that much fun. I was too busy saying hello to everyone throughout the night."

This is the one night of your life where you are given a gift to travel back in time and get wasted with all of your friends on your parents tab. Basically it's going back to college, which is the greatest gift one can ever give.

Take advantage of it. Be in the moment. Forget about the part where the cake didn't turn out right and the napkins were peach and not rose. Have a drink. And then have another. Let loose and have fun with your new husband. You guys set the tone. If you guys are having a blast, then everyone else is sure to have one as well. And lastly ...

It's easy to get caught up in the budgets, programs, and seating charts. But don't forget what it's all about. You've found someone to kick it with for the rest of your life. And that isn't a simple feat.

Lots of people get caught up in the wedding which lasts a day, not the marriage which lasts a lifetime. Even though every other person on Facebook is posting pictures of weddings and babies, don't get caught up in the hype. And most importantly never settle. This isn't something to enter into lightly.

But if you think you're ready to take the leap, then do it. Drink, dance your ass off, and pause for 3 seconds that night to just take everything in. Time can stop if you let it.

Well hopefully I haven't scared you, but made you more aware of what you're getting yourself into. Because all of those fairy tales we've read have caused us to build castles that only crumble. But if you go into any situation with a more realistic Un-Bride perspective, you can say forget the fairy tale - I'll write my own story.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lynnea & Ryan : Nicola Bisgoni Photography

Meet Ryan & Lynnea. Their wedding story is the epitome of my blog - 'the stories behind the pretty pictures.' As you can see, Lynnea is stunningly gorgeous (I want to come back looking like her in my next life). But as you read, you'll find there's much more than meets the eye. Their I Guess I Do moments include a pre-nuptial knockout and a makeup meltdown. Enjoy Lynnea's story in her own words below.
Ryan and I decided to have our wedding where we took our first vacation together – Punta Cana. It wasn’t a difficult decision since getting married on the beach was my dream, and Ryan wanted a very casual, relaxed setting. Instead of having one amazing day, we would have an entire week of good conversation, late nights and delicious meals with our family and friends to remember forever.

Having an on-site wedding coordinator and limited selections made planning a breeze. All decisions were made through a chain of emails detailed with pictures of our choices. We selected our wedding cake without tasting a bite (it turned out to be the most delicious cake ever). We chose our ceremony site from low-res photos of another couple’s wedding. And flowers were contingent on the island’s availability. Some brides may have hated the lack of unlimited options. I, on the other hand, found everything about it pleasant and as stress-free as wedding planning could be. I never felt overwhelmed and was happy to have the guidance.

That feeling was great --- while it lasted. Unfortunately, there were some unexpected setbacks along the way that turned my easy breezy planning into a bride-to-be’s worst nightmare.

Back up to the Christmas before our spring wedding. The family was in town and we went out to enjoy some holiday festivities. My husband and his cousin were roughhousing while the rest of us waited to cross the street. In a quick second, Ryan ducked his head to dodge a playful punch. I was the innocent and unfortunate bystander right behind him, aka shit out of luck. SMACK – the Rocky Balboa-packed punch made contact with my face and everything went black.

After a trip to the emergency room, I was told I would need reconstructive surgery. With our wedding only four months away, this situation added a multitude of stress to our planning and limited budget. Timing was of the essence and insurance only covered so much. It felt like a nightmare – something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Fortunately, surgery went well and I was back to myself in about a month. Before we knew it, it was time to fly to the Dominican for our beach wedding. Paradise, at last!

When we got to Punta Cana, everything was going according to plan. Our family and friends all arrived safely and we were taking full advantage of the unlimited food and fun the island had to offer. After a late night walking the resort, we returned to our condo to find the maids cleaning our bathroom. I thought it was odd they were working so late, but I was too much in bliss to question them. It wasn’t until the next evening that I noticed my expensive WEDDING DAY makeup was missing. The makeup I had several trials to perfect and purchase for my desired beach bride glow. Needless to say, emotions were high and things got ugly.

A security team was sent to our room to search up and down in case I misplaced any of the items in my neatly organized makeup bag. Nothing turned up except a flow of tears and one stressed out bride. They proceeded to drive me across the island in a golf cart to every beauty salon and store on the resort. This proved to be a big waste of time, as the resort didn’t carry anything comparable.

There was no real resolution, but the resort did reimburse me for the cost of everything stolen. The money meant nothing to me at that time. They also threw in a couples massage to nullify the added stress this caused me -- and my husband -- who was amazingly calm and comforting through the whole ordeal. My bridesmaids saved the day with their makeup and helped me achieve the perfect blushing-bride-look.

Despite the unexpected mishaps, our wedding was the happiest and most perfect day of my life. The setting was intimate and picturesque. The comfortable weather and soft Caribbean breeze was dreamlike. I was all-smiles as I walked down the sandy aisle to my handsome groom. The ocean’s soft waves were so relaxing as we exchanged vows. I married the man of my dreams – my best friend, soul mate, and voice of reason when I flip out about stuff like missing makeup. It was everything I ever dreamed of.

After the wedding, our family and friends flew back to the states. We took a cab to another resort 45 minutes across the island to continue our stay in paradise for our honeymoon. Elated and in love, we had one amazing adventure that we will always cherish.

Venue: Iberostar Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Dress: Maggie Sottero Photographer: Nicola Bisgoni

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Hate To Say It, But Sometimes They're Right

At least he cared right? Luckily Kyle didn't care about much, which made my life a bit easier. Admittedly he would come to the wedding planning meetings because our planners would feed him chips and salsa and he got to play with their dogs. Most of the time he spaced out, but when he did speak, it was always something worth listening to.

I am definitely a creative minded person. I'm not good with details and can no longer do simple math. A job in TV has lead me to be dumber than my 8th grade self. No lie. Kyle on the other hand is very logical.

So even though I'm very stubborn and get caught up in my own way of thinking, it was important for me to make a mental note of stopping to ask Kyle what he thinks. Most of the time he would be watching Duke and could care less, but other times he would have a come to Jesus moment and find a solution to my problem. (It was usually cheaper as well, that's how it always seems to roll in our household.)

I was talking with a co-worker this week who is in full swing with her wedding planning and she brought up a good idea. Her constant wedding talk was getting a bit stressful and causing fights in her relationship. Now they set aside "meeting" times, which are the only times they talk about the wedding. 

How genius. I'm sure you're partner and everyone else would agree. No one wants to be around the 'All I Talk About Is My Wedding' Girl. Worried that might be you? If you are questioning it, it probably is.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wedding Day Arm Workout

After reading my previous posts you probably won't find it hard to believe that I define being successful as making the most amount of money while doing the least amount of work possible. Unfortunately, I take this approach to my workouts as well.

Kyle partakes in a workout called Crossfit. Basically he lifts a bunch of heavy weights and works out really hard - aka - not my cup of tea. His focus is on strength. Mine is looking skinny. And let's be honest, I don't enjoy things that require that much effort.

So when it came to the wedding, I knew the body part I wanted to work the most was arms. Last May, I took my out-of-shape self to Fit On Studios in Manhattan Beach which was a Spinning, TRX, and Barre Physique Studio. It was a combination of all the workouts I enjoyed so I knew I was off to a good start.

Angela, the owner of Fit On Studios, said all I needed was 4 minutes a day and a set of 2 lb. weights and my arms would be wedding ready by September. Sounded right up my alley. I was sold.

Below is the arm workout I did 5 days a week to my favorite song from May to September leading up to the wedding. I really felt a difference in my arms and was able to achieve the lean, toned look I wanted. And if you think I looked like crap, well then don't do the workout. But to me, it met my definition of a success.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Colleen & Eric : New Image Photography

Colleen and Eric had a gorgeous traditional wedding. But like any over-the-top affair, there are always some mishaps. Their I Guess I Do moments include one hell of a hangover, a bullshit band, and a dress that left the bride hugging an air conditioner. Enjoy Colleen's story in her own words below.
Hello brides-to-be! My name is Colleen and my husband Eric and I had a year and a half engagement filled with a spectrum of different feelings. One minute would be filled with love and butterflies and the next minute it would be tears and yelling. No one ever tells you getting engaged would be the most exhausting thing you’ll ever do! 

Our wedding day was absolutely beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky and a perfect 72 degrees. Of course, I wake up with the world’s largest hangover. Way to go, Colleen. I had a house full of makeup artists, hair dresser, party planner, bridesmaids and parents and I’d rather die than get out of bed. My mom dragged me out of bed, popped some Tylenol into my mouth and sent me straight to the shower. I took a hot shower and got out feeling refreshed and ready to go. Let’s get married!

My hair dresser put my hair up to perfection. Next was makeup and boy was that going to be a job because I broke out just in time for the big day. Finally, my absolutely fabulous photographer came and captured the rest of the morning. I put my wedding dress on and felt amazing. It was a princess dress and I was in love. It was HUGE and HOT, but I didn’t care. I looked good! Things were going wonderfully, right?? Wrong….

The limo was late. There were way too many people at the house that shouldn’t be there (soon to be in-laws, friends, family, etc). No one was listening and following my perfectly set out plan. I was going to freak out! Keep calm.. Keep calm… I finally have had it and start yelling at people to get into the limo and of course everyone looks at me like I have 10 heads. Why is she yelling? What the hell is wrong with her?

We get to the church and the florist was just getting there at the same time we were. He was hung over. Totally awesome. He is handing out the wrong flowers to the wrong person and could barely stand up straight. Do I scream or just tell him I’ll do it myself? My twin sister sees my face and takes charge. Thanks, Sis. (I later found out he was fired and my sister used them for her wedding with no problems). Blah, blah blah… I’m married! Stunning mass filled with violinists and an opera singer with the most beautiful voice. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Did I mention… I’m married!

Our reception was held at The Old Courthouse in Cleveland. It was breathtaking. Marble floors, street lamps, marble staircases. Just absolutely stunning and I loved it. The food was great. The bar was top notch. Dinner was a little late being served, but I did have 345 guests. Who wants cold food? I was okay with a little longer of a wait on dinner and no one noticed so that was bonus. We had an ice cream bar and late night snacks as well. It was a rockin' party!

My major I Guess I Do moment was with our stupid band that my husband HAD to have. I couldn’t have made it any easier for these assholes. I gave them a timeline, a list of music and free booze. They were supposed to be ready to announce the bridal party and they weren’t. I had to give them a new list and rush the intro of everyone. They forgot the father/daughter dance and son/mother dance so I had to remind them. The caterer made enough food for my vendors to feed 30 people (which was way more food than we needed) and those fuck heads ate it ALL and didn’t save any for anyone else. My poor photographer and wedding planner didn’t eat until way later because of it. I couldn’t believe it. They double fisted top shelf liquor all night and THEN, they played the wrong music!!! Not one song did they play that I asked them to. At the end of the evening I finally asked them what the hell and their excuse… Oh sorry, we had the wrong play list for another wedding. UGH!!!!!!!!!! They played old people music all night. They are so lucky that the bar was so awesome that no one even noticed, but believe me.. I did. I will never recommend those assholes to anyone ever! They were terrible.

My wedding day was the best day of my life. With that being said, there were a million different things that happened that made me nuts. I look back at them and I just laugh at them now. My biggest suggestion to brides to be would be to not sweat the small stuff. Your wedding is not going to be perfect. There are going to be bumps along the way and you just need to work around them and continue on your way. I let too many things bother me that I wish I would have just let go. My second suggestion is to make sure you eat! I was so freaking hungry and hot and crabby I could have died. Eat and relax ladies!

The things that you think are going to ruin your wedding end up being your favorite memories!

Monday, March 4, 2013

St. Pucchi Flagship Store & Runway Show

This past week I had the pleasure of meeting with the amazing Designer and President of St. Pucchi - Rani Totman at her new flagship store in West Hollywood. It is located in the heart of Sunset Boulevard by all the trendiest shops and eateries.

After being sold in selective salons across the country, this marks St. Pucchi's first flagship boutique.

Now we're talking about the designer I have worshiped since high school. I adored her unique wedding designs and would have died to visit this salon during my own dress search.

But you know when you build someone up so much in your head and only hope they can be that amazing in real life? Well Rani was. She was so down to earth. We talked about everything from brides to The Bachelor. (Anyone who will humor me with some Bachelor gossip is a A-OK in my book.)

Rani broke into the business in 1985 when she designed a show stopping blush gown at a Dallas fashion show. This came at a time in 80's fashion when everything was white, large, and in charge - so a blush gown was a huge fashion risk. She was asked to create her own line and the rest is history. She has continued to play with shape and texture and is still a constant risk taker in the wedding industry.

I was invited to the St Pucchi show at the Bel Air Bay Club yesterday where I saw lots of intricate lace and billowing tulle. Lots of unique and non-traditional looks I think you un-brides would enjoy.

Here are some snapshots from the show:
So to all of my California un-brides who are looking for their dream dress, plan a visit to the St. Pucchi Store, 8649 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, 310-601-7604.

And to my out of state un-brides, visit to see the wide variety of St. Pucchi's collections and salons that carry them throughout the country.

Rehearsal Dinner - Tour of Italy?

This quote pretty much sums up my Dad and our wedding planning experience together. I'd liken him to Chandler Bing from Friends, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't joking about this Olive Garden thing. 

Often the Rehearsal Dinner is left until the end of planning, but with it comes its own set of drama and politics. Luckily, Kyle's mom offered to pay for ours and was super easy going about it. She let us choose the place and every other aspect. And no - endless pasta bowls and breadsticks were not on the menu.

But lots of times the Rehearsal Dinner can be yet another headache. Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is just for the Bridal Party and their guests. We stuck to this rule and I recommend doing so because once you add one person, three more are soon to follow, and before you know it you're planning your second wedding. 

We ended up choosing Ocean Bar in Hermosa Beach as our venue. It was right down the street from where we lived and wasn't traditional and stuffy. We had our dinner on the third floor roof top lounge. 

We ended up just having our parents, grandparents, bridal party, and their significant others. Our total for the rehearsal was 29. But we did let our out of town guests know where we were having the party so they could meet up with us afterwards. It ended up working out perfectly.

But here's something that didn't work out perfectly - everything leading up to the Rehearsal. All of Kyle's family and my brother were flying out from Cleveland together Thursday morning. Their flight was supposed to get in at 10:30am. Their flight landed at LAX at 5:30pm. Guess what time we were supposed to leave for rehearsal at the church? 5:30pm.

Needless to say Kyle and my dad were frantically driving around Los Angeles trying to get everyone checked in, changed, and to the chapel. I spent the first 45 minutes of my wedding rehearsal with my planner acting as the groom. 

But with 15 minutes to spare everyone showed up and we were able to do one final run through. 

Then I drank a huge glass of Reisling (as I often do), and the night went swimmingly.