By the time this post is up, it'll be WEDDING WEEK! Months, weeks, and endless days of planning have all lead up to this. I can hardly believe how fast it went! I've heard countless brides say that after the wedding, and honeymoon, it's almost a letdown to realize your wedding planning days are over. Currently, I can't imagine being that disappointed about not receiving daily emails, calls, and texts from all of my wonderful vendors. Wedding planning is not for the disorganized bride. Especially these last couple of weeks! I can't imagine wading through all the details without the help of my planners. Shauna Brick from Simply Loves, Brooke from Pinstripes, Lindsay from the Arboretum, and Samantha from Oak Ridge. They have all been so incredibly helpful keeping me organized and on-track. A lot of my decisions have been based on great referrals. So to all of you brides out there just starting your wedding planning, I thought I would share my experiences with some of my vendor choices. Reception: Oak Ridge Conference Center Choosing our reception location was our first wedding decision. We had several different venues we wanted to explore with Oak Ridge being our first stop. After just a couple hours of contemplation, we were ready to let the planning begin! Oak Ridge prides itself on having the best customer service. To me, that's a really big deal. Working in retail at Wixon Jewelers, I know how important it is to make sure your clients are well taken care of and their expectations are met and exceeded. I love the idea that Oak Ridge is trying to accomplish the same thing. Additionally, they put together several pretty irresistible packages for the bride who wants to plan with ease. Included in the package are options such as a gourmet (beautifully decorated) wedding cake, butlered cocktail hour, a three course meal, a champagne toast, and the option for guests to shuffle straight to their rooms after having (hopefully) way too much fun. We were also given our own wedding planner and decorator. I'm so happy to know that we don't have to spend the days before the wedding stressing about assembling our decorations or making sure that everything arrives and is set-up just perfectly. Heather from Festivites (Oak Ridge's partner decorator), has exceeded my expectations. She has gone way above and beyond to make sure my 'Winter Wonderland' vision comes true. (Now if only she could help us get just the right amount of snow...) I know that when I step into our reception everything will be flawless. Oak Ridge and Festivities wouldn't have it any other way.
Ceremony: The Arboretum, Chaska When it came time to think about the ceremony, we had already signed our contract at Oak Ridge. In retrospect, it probably would have been wise to plan them out together. Since we have so many out-of-town guests, we really wanted to make shuffling back and forth as easy as possible. Nate and I knew we didn't want to get married in a traditional church, and honestly had no idea where to begin looking. Thankfully, we stumbled across the Arboretum! We set up our tour and crossed our fingers. The Arboretum is visually stunning. We both knew it was the perfect place to bring our guests. Lindsay at the Arboretum has been the sweetest, most generous, and caring planner ever. She has such an awesome laid-back personality that helps to alleviate any stress. The Arb is a crazy value, and a perfect location for almost any budget. Guests can arrive early and explore the grounds for free, so it's also a really cool built-in activity. Wedding Planner/Decorator: Shauna Brick, Simply Loves Wedding & Design Some of you might be thinking how much help does this girl need. To be honest, I thought I had all of my helpers already enlisted till Shauna convinced me otherwise. I couldn't be more grateful that she did! Oak Ridge decorations are already taken care of, but I still had a vision in mind for transforming Pinstripes (our rehearsal dinner location) and embellishing our ceremony location. Shauna is one of the most detail-oriented, organized, and creative people I've ever met. As a recent newlywed herself, she stressed the importance of really being able to let Nate and I enjoy our time and let her worry about the details. I'm so happy knowing that I won't have to spend the day before my wedding assembling decorations, worrying about who will light the candles at the ceremony or assigning someone to clean up the sparkle mess after we have left. Shauna at Simply Loves has been simply amazing!
Rehearsal Dinner: Pinstripes Nate and I are super excited to host our rehearsal dinner at Pinstripes. We can't wait to see our traveling guests. Getting to spend more time with them feels like such a gift. For those of you who haven't been to Pinstripes in Edina, I highly recommend it. They have AMAZING (not your typical bowling alley) food, not to mention a killer cherry margarita. The ambiance, even without our winter wedding decorations, is inviting and warm. It's the perfect place to relax, bowl a round or two, and de-stress before our big day. Brooke (our event coordinator) has been wonderful to work with, and has helped us put together a fabulous spread for our guests to enjoy between rounds at the lane. Pinstripes is the ideal venue for big parties, get-togethers and special events. We were able to rent out most of the second floor, which includes eight lanes of bowling, three lanes of bocce, and a private bar for our guests.
I could ramble on and on for days about all of the extraordinary people who are helping make our day possible. (Bridal Accent Couture, Imagen, Wixon Jewelers (for helping me wear some of the best diamonds in town) Lynn O'Brien for music, Tina Beaupre for make-up, Shayna at Cole's Salon Eagan (THE BEST hair girl in the world), Molly at Office Max in Eden Prairie (my savior for invites and any other fabulous print work), and of course Emily from Mpls.St.Paul Magazine for giving me such a cool opportunity to blog about my experience. I'm SO beyond excited for our wedding, and I know how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing people planning our big day! Wedding week has arrived!!!! :)