Wow it's been a long time since I've posted! That's not to say that things haven't been happening though. I have lots of updates, but where to begin?
Here is a good place to start. We have vendors! We booked some amazing vendors for our wedding. We attended a Bridal Expo in State College in January (I know, but there was no football that weekend, just the Pro Bowl) and met some amazing people. Within weeks, we had booked a photographer, a florist, and a DJ.
We booked the incredible Bob Lambert as our photographer. You can check out his work here. His work is so elegant and simple. He was able to meet with us before the expo and go over all the details of our wedding day and show us much of his work from previous weddings. We absolutely loved the shots he showed us. He does great work and makes great photo books from the photos that he takes during the event. We even get to keep the digital files, which is a huge plus for us. And we get all this for an extremely reasonable price. It was very clear to us after meeting with him that he was going to give us a very personal experience and that he was very dedicated to making our wedding incredible. We are very much looking forward to working with him.
Sezzy raved about this guy that was going to be at the bridal expo prior to us going and we ended up being able to book him. That guy is Daniel Vaughn. He has won "Best of The Knot" for the past couple of years, which is kind of a big deal I guess. We were able to meet Daniel at the expo and see some of his work. I don't know a whole lot about flowers, but his arrangements were quite unique and they all looked great. Once we told him we were interested, he got in contact with Sezzy to find out everything that she likes and everything that she doesn't like when picking out flowers. He took all this into consideration when writing up his proposal. While we can't see the arrangements until the week of the wedding, we know it will be worth it. He prides himself on making each and every event unique so that none of his arrangements are ever exactly the same. Needless to say, Sezzy is very much looking forward to working with him and seeing what he can come up with for our wedding. To see some of his brilliant work, hop on over to his website (but open it in Internet Explorer).
Our search for a DJ may have been the easiest. We went to the expo with a couple vendors in mind, but after speaking with Nittany Entertainment, it was pretty much a done deal. We talked to Eric, who was very helpful and informative. We knew that we wanted someone who would run the reception, doubling as an MC, but not going over the top. Eric assured us that their DJs are very experienced and very tasteful and that they do a great job MC'ing events. Some cool features that Nittany Entertainment also has are online contract and payment methods and a personalized song request system. Yep, it's exactly what it sounds like. They have a website setup where our guests can log in and request certain songs to be played during the reception. When someone requests a song, it gets sent to us and we can approve or reject the request. Pretty cool, huh? You can check out their website here.
In addition to that, we spoke with a couple of music vendors for the ceremony and a couple of party rental vendors from whom we can rent an arbor or some such for the ceremony. Plus, we stayed at The Penn Stater and sampled food from the pub and restaurant and all was to our liking. All in all, it was a successful trip.
We just got back from State College Sunday evening after a couple days up there to sample our menu. We finally met our wedding coordinator, Delyn, who was very helpful and went through all the details of our ceremony and reception with us. We were able to taste the three meals that we ended up choosing as our entrees, as well as some hors d'oeuvres, our appetizer, and our salad. Everything was absolutely delicious. Delyn then took us on a quick walkthrough of our venues, showing us how the courtyard would be set up, as well as showing us our backup space in case it rains (boo!). Our backup space is actually a lot nicer than Sezzy or I could have imagined. It's not just some dingy old conference room. It's a nice big room with big windows and fireplace. While I hope that it doesn't rain on our wedding day, I feel a lot more comfortable now if it does. She then walked us through the Senate Suites again, where the cocktail hour area will be held, showing us how it would be set up. We get a nice indoor lounge area, as well as an outdoor patio with two food service areas and two bars. She showed us the Dean's Hall again, which is where the reception will be held. It was set up for a conference so we had an idea of what it might look like with all our tables set up. Suffice to say, we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The part I am most looking forward to is now booked. St. Lucia it is. We are staying 7 days, 6 nights at the luxurious Ladera Resort. I mentioned this in my Honeymoon Stress post from way back when. It was between this resort and Stonefield Estate Villas, which I also mentioned in that post. After showing both to Sezzy, we decided that while both resorts look incredible, Ladera was where we wanted to stay. We debated going halfsies and spending 3 nights at one and 3 nights at the other, but we felt it would require too much running around. Anyway, if you want to check out more about Ladera Resort, here is their website. Upon revisiting their website, I see that they were one of only two St. Lucian properties named to the prestigious Conde Nast Gold List.
I had mentioned in a previous post that our plan was to have my older brother perform our wedding ceremony. Well, that didn't work out so well. His church elders and pastor would not give him permission to do so, since he is not an elder and isn't a member of the clergy. He could have circumvented them and gotten an online certification, but decided against that. Good thing Sezzy's mom had a backup plan already in place. She works with a pastor at the hospital that she really likes and had mentioned this to Sezzy a while back, just as a contingency. Well, we had to go to plan B, but it seems like it will be a pretty good plan B. We met Eric (I know, what's with all these Erics?) over dinner a few weeks back and had a nice long discussion with him about our wedding. We really liked him and immediately wanted him to perform the ceremony. Fun fact about Eric: he was an Army chaplain for many years and was the first chaplain on the scene at ground zero after the attacks of 9/11. Anyway, he told us that he was very dedicated to personalizing our ceremony and making it all about us. It's something he wants us to remember for the rest of our lives. The other great thing about Eric is his rate, which I won't post here. Let's just say it's more than reasonable.
Odds and Ends
Now that we have our menu set, we can order invitations. Sezzy and I narrowed our list down to two favorites and ordered samples of both, which are in the mail now. We are in the process of looking for gifts for our wedding party, for our parents, and for each other. We also have contacted our family friend that crafted Sarah's engagement ring to start discussions regarding wedding bands. Sezzy is tasked with doing photo booth recon. She had contacted a couple vendors a while back and needs to follow up with them. Other than that, Sezzy has to round up her bridesmaids for round 2 of dress shopping, while I'll be rounding up the guys for tux fittings. After that come the bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette parties. It's getting close.
So yeah, we have been quite busy. I think it's time to take a breather. We will be attending the last of our friends' wedding before ours this weekend. I feel like once this weekend is over, it will really feel real. Not that it doesn't already. We just have had a wedding to look forward to ever since we have been engaged. It's creeping closer and it's going to be here and gone before we know it. Deep breath…