Now what?

It’s only natural to start dreaming and making plans for the big day right after getting that ring on your finger – but where to begin? So many decisions to make and so many opinions to dodge in order to keep your wildest dreams at the forefront. Then there’s this little thing called a budget – which can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Time to figure out what money you’ve got and how much weddings (in general) actually cost. REALITY.

This definitely caused a bit of frustration for me at first. I had a big imagination and not enough funds. Or so I thought. I was picturing an evening ceremony atop a high rise in downtown Los Angeles. Twinkling city lights and the night sky would make such a romantic background (swoon!). Then I remembered, it’s not just my wedding. Justin has a say in this, too. I decided to share my ideas with him only to find he was, shall we say, less than thrilled about what I came up with. Back to the drawing board. I wanted a small private event and he was hoping to invite his five hundred closest friends. Being that we were worlds apart on this whole wedding thing, we decided it would be best to start by figuring out our budget and then plan accordingly. With fingers crossed, very tightly, in hopes that what we wanted and what we could afford could somehow get along.

To our surprise, both sets of parents offered to contribute funds toward our budget. Trust me, I know that not everyone, in this day and age, is fortunate enough to have such a luxury. If it weren’t for them, we’d be heading to the local Justice of the Peace or road trippin’ it to Vegas on the few dollars we have saved up. Anyway, they each had a set dollar amount in mind and so anything above and beyond that would be up to us. So with that, Justin and I figured out our magic number. Sharing the weight of the finances is definitely the way to go. I’m all for a team effort. Especially when working on something this big!

Next, we began the hunt for a venue. This was a challenge at first because..well…because of me. I’m very particular about EVERYTHING (in life) but I was especially particular about our wedding venue. Big surprise, I know. It’s just that I’ve worked in the wedding industry for years which means I’ve seen or at least heard of just about everything. I’ve been overly exposed to our local venues and I wanted something different. A place I’ve never been to before. Thanks to my fiance’s sister, we found the perfect place! She recommended we take a look at Marvimon in Los Angeles. Yes, the fact that it was in my dream city gave it some automatic appeal. It was a car showroom in the 1920’s and later became a private residence but has now turned into a very unique venue for weddings and events. Justin and I both fell in love with it right away and from that moment on we couldn’t picture having our wedding anywhere else. Lucky for us, it just so happens they were running a special rate. It was meant to be. Here’s a sneak peek:

After that big decision, things really started to fall into place – finally! Our next task was to find a caterer that was not only familiar with Marvimon but could also provide a custom menu, oh, and one more thing – extremely affordable! I had heard about a caterer via The Knot, so I contacted him and then Justin took over from there. He and Steve with La Finestra emailed back and forth a bunch of times and together they created what sounded like a delicious meal. He invited us to come do a tasting and we were sold. In fact, I still think about that food every now and then and just can’t wait to eat it again. One more thing to check off our list – phew!

The only thing I knew, for sure, when it came to selecting vendors was who I wanted my photographers to be. Several years ago, I befriended a gal named Erin. The lovely She behind He & She Photography. Ever since she and her dashing husband, Randy, started doing what they do best, I’ve been just waiting for the day I could hire them to do my wedding. We’re really excited to do our engagement shoot with them hopefully sometime next month. Stay tuned for some amazing pics.

So, considering the fact that our wedding is still seven months away, I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start, wouldn’t you? It’s been a lot of work but it’s really paid off. We haven’t even had to make any major sacrifices because the people we’ve chosen to work with have been so great about offering good prices and working with our budget. Such a blessing! For those of you out there who are working on a wedding of your own (or plan to get married someday), get ready for a little personal advice from yours truly: vendors are almost always willing to work with what you’ve got, so just ask them! It’s as simple as that. It really doesn’t hurt to ask and, 99% of the time, people will at least meet you half way. It’s the trick to making the most with what you’ve got. Justin and I have been pleasantly surprised every step of the way thus far. Here’s to more checks on that list! xo Alanna