I was right

I like being right. It's almost as good a feeling as winning at something, anything really. So I had a moment of joy when Sezzy IM'ed me this morning and just said "uh oh". When I asked her what was wrong she said she was making an inspiration board and that she was having too much fun with it. And that it proves that I'm right. I still wasn't quite sure what she meant, but then she elaborated:

Sezzy: the red. with the teal...
Me: what
Sezzy: the colors
Me: what about them?
Sezzy: they look good together
Me: ah ha!

Sezzy likes the idea of teal as one of our colors. Not the primary color because too much teal can be overwhelming. But touches of teal. I don't really get involved in all this stuff because I don't really care all that much what colors we have at our wedding as long as it's not ridiculously gaudy. I let her handle these things because the bride is supposed to (I think). So rewind about 2 months. I was considering having my youngest brother be the ring bearer and I was trying to figure out a way to distinguish him from the other groomsmen. I thought having him wear a different color tie or something would do the trick. When I suggested red, Sezzy made a face and said "red clashes with teal" and basically passed my suggestion off as stupid.

So now, she put out an inspiration board on her blog and I get to brag because she adores it. Check it out here. It's full of win.

I love being right.


Honeymoon stress

So don't ask me why, but I'm already planning the honeymoon. I know I don't have to worry about this at least for another few months, but once you start looking at destinations and resorts... well, it's hard to stop. I guess I'm just dreaming of an amazing vacation since Sezzy and I haven't been on one since Hawaii in 2007. It was expensive and we really couldn't afford it, but it was incredible. It was the first time either of us had been to Hawaii so we were awe-struck with the beautiful views of the mountains and the gorgeous beaches. We snorkeled with sea turtles, went on a waterfall hike and found the location where ABC films "Lost". So how do you top that?

Yup, that's us in front of a piece of the fuselage from Oceanic 815, being used as a tent by one of the survivors (Sawyer, we think)

Well, let me tell you. It's not easy. Hawaii is one of those places where, when you get home you immediately want to go back. I can't remember the exact number, but the one tour guide told us that well over half of the people that come to Hawaii return at some point in their lives (I think it's something like 70%).

I, of course, want to try to find a place like Hawaii, a place that takes our breath away. At the same time, though, we are trying to find a place where we can sit around and be pampered for the entirety of our vacation. When we went to Hawaii, we tried to cram everything into our 5 days there. We snorkeled, went to three luaus, went on two hikes, drove around the entire island of Oahu taking pictures, went on the historic tour of the Pearl Harbor and the city of Honolulu, and went to a Polynesian theme park-type-thingy (kind of Polynesian Epcot without the actual rides -- it's more fun than it sounds). We barely had any time to actually go on the beach. Not that the beach where we stayed was particularly impressive, but it was a few notches above all of the other beaches I've been to. Basically, we had no time to relax. For our honeymoon, we want a place to relax for 5-7 days since we will be running around so much prior to the wedding.

So my first thought is... Caribbean. Neither Sezzy or I have ever been to the Caribbean and I have already heard that it's incredible. My boss tells me that St. John and Tortola are awesome. Sezzy's mom dreams of Turks and Caicos. My grandma loves St. Thomas. My boss' friend thought Jamaica was great. So how do I choose? Well, the first thing I did was perform a Google search on "best honeymoon destinations". I found an about.com article listing the "50 best honeymoon destinations." Of course, #1 was Hawaii. Dammit. I guess if we hadn't gone to Hawaii two years ago, this would be easy. Number 5 was Fiji. I had never even thought of Fiji or any of the French Polynesian islands before but I've heard they are amazing.

This place will cost you between $2000-3000 per night. At least it's all-inclusive...

I soon learned that Fiji is only a great destination if you have lots of cash to spend. Most of the places I looked at cost a minimum of $5000 for 5-7 nights, all-inclusive. I think that most of the all-inclusives in Fiji included only meals and no alcoholic beverages. Well, ok... I guess Fiji might be a location to consider for an anniversary... maybe our 25th, since that's probably when I'll actually have enough money to book a vacation there. That pretty much exhausted the options for a Pacific vacation, so it was time to look at Caribbean destinations. (I also looked at Tahiti, but the prices were comparable).

I looked at the top 50 list some more and didn't see too much that I liked. Italy was #2, but we decided that we didn't want to do Europe because we felt like we would be wasting a chance to sightsee if we just lounged around for a whole week. Anguilla was #4, St. Lucia #6, followed by Mexico, St. Bart's, Jamaica, and France. I've heard Anguilla was nice, but after further examination I learned that it's also expensive. Most of the accomodations there are privately-owned villas that, of course, are not all-inclusive (which is another thing we are looking for). We don't want to do Mexico, especially since it's going to be in summertime, when all the teens and college students vacation there. St. Bart's is the same story as Anguilla and it's even more expensive. Jamaica seems nice but the island itself seems a little crazy for a honeymoon. Jamaica is home to the Hedonist resorts (look it up but beware: some of the sights are NSFW), which kind of bothered both of us. I somehow stumbled across a link for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

This place looked amazing. The Grenadines, for those that don't know, are the southernmost islands in the Caribbean. St. Vincent is located just west of Barbados and the island chain stretches south, almost to Trinidad and Tobago. I searched a little deeper and found the perfect resort: Palm Island Resort on Palm Island. Palm Island is just one island in the Grenadines, but the entire island only has one resort. The island itself is only 135 acres and 5 beaches. It's literally located in the middle of nowhere. Palm Island Resort is an all-inclusive resort that looks just spectacular.

That's the whole island, all 135 acres of it

One of the rooms at the Palm Island Resort

In a word, it looks... relaxing. Of course, it's pricey, and for two reasons: 1) it's all-inclusive, and 2) it's a pretty swanky place. The quote I got from the sales rep was $4060 for the "Palmview" room, and that includes air transfer to and from the island, accomodations, all meals and beverages (including alcoholic), and non-motorized water sports. Not a bad deal, I guess. All we would need to pay for is the flight to Barbados, which runs about $580 per person. It's still expensive, though. I asked the rep if maybe a 5-night would be cheaper. Turns out, it's actually more expensive because the all-inclusive price includes air transfer from Barbados. See, you can't fly directly to Palm Island. You have to fly to Barbados, then take a puddle-jumper to Union Island, where you are "whisked away by golf cart to the nearby dock to meet the Palm Two for the 5 minute boat ride to Palm Island." I can safely say that I've never been whisked away by a golf cart, but anyway... the problem is that the puddle jumper that takes you from Barbados to Union Island, that flight costs $412 per person! That's right, it's almost as much as the flight from Philly to Barbados. What a rip! This, of course, turned me off to the idea of Palm Island somewhat.

So I kept looking, knowing that I at least had a quote from a destination. I looked at other islands in the Grenadines, but it turns out that it's hard to find an all-inclusive resort on most of the other islands. It seems like there are a few resorts that dominate this location and the rest of the accomodations are private villas which are way expensive. The other island that I looked at, Canouan Island, is a little bit bigger and a little more industrious than Palm Island. This island has a golf course and casino to go along with its two resorts. The prices at the resorts, though, are astronomical (no surprise, since one of them is Trump-owned). Oh and neither of the resorts are all-inclusive. So I kept looking. Sezzy sent me a link to someone's blog on weddingbee that showed pics of possible resorts in St. Lucia where the blogger and her fiance would be staying. I was floored.

I never realized St. Lucia was so breathtaking. The one resort (which is out of our price range), features astounding views of the Piton Mountains and the ocean. The resort is incredible. Each unit is called a "sanctuary" and every unit in the resort has it's own private infinity pool. Take a look:

Oh yeah, it's open air too. The beds come with mosquito nets, but this one doesn't have one for some reason

There are no TVs in any of the units at Jade Mountain and cell phones must be on silent while in the resort. The resort is all-inclusive, but... it costs between $850-1000 per night for the cheapest room. They had deals where you would get your 5th night free or your 7th night free, but even then the total came out to between $4000-6000, depending on what type of room and if we wanted the "Romance Package" or not. It was tabled for a future trip. I also looked at Anse Chastanet Resort, which is owned by the same company. It was... just ok, I guess. I wasn't blown away by it, especially for how much it costs.

Not really feelin' the odd art and the feel of this room

We pretty much ruled this resort out. Another resort listed in the blog was Ladera Suites. This one is pretty nice and not too overly expensive, while still giving off a high-class feel. Check it out:

Mosquito nets required!

Each unit comes with its own private plunge pool and they have affordable all-inclusive packages as well. We like this place and it's still on our list. The last place that the blog post mentioned was Stonefield Estate Villas...

Every unit is a private villa with a...

Private plunge pool!

Wow. This place is awesome. Not only do the rooms resemble the previous two resorts I listed, but they are their own private villas and they're cheaper! The resort offers a couple all-inclusive packages, including one that only includes lunch and dinner and one that included premium beverages instead of non-premium. And it's pretty reasonable, from what I've seen. The AI Meal plan, which includes 3 meals per day and all beverages by the glass is $165 per person. If you figured that dinner would probably cost at least $50-75 per person if you got a full dinner, and that drinks average about $10 per drink, this is a good deal. We had to cut back on the drinking a little in Hawaii because we didn't have an AI plan. With this, we could just drink all day and not have to worry about running up a tab. The rates were fair, with the cheapest room coming in at $230 a night. They also offer a honeymoon package, which includes: private in-room dining (awesome); basket of local fruit and bottle of champagne; $150 anniversary coupon, a sunset cruise (eh); tour of the botanical gardens (sounds cool); tour of Sulphur Springs, the world's only drive-in volcano; Soufriere Waterfall experience (rainforest hike); $100 resort credit; full hour body massage for two; complimentary airport transfers; and all taxes and government charges. At 7 nights, it's a pricey $5958, but it can also be customized for a 5-night stay. If you go just by the nightly rate, it would be about $4250 for 5 nights, but everything would be paid for. Everything except the flight. The thing with Hawaii was that, while we paid much less than that for the actual trip, we spent the difference on food and drink and excursions.

So while we are still deciding, we have a couple of places in mind. We have plenty of time to make reservations and it's not even possible to book a flight that far in advance at this point. I really shouldn't have started this whole process so early because now I'm going to be neurotic about it for the next 15 months but oh well, what can you do? I'm sure I'll have a follow-up to this post in another couple of months when I find a different place that I want to go.



Hey all. So I realize it's been a while since my last post. There are many reasons for this, but the main reason is that nothing has really happened regarding the wedding planning since my last post. We have now exactly 16 months until the wedding and to be honest, there isn't much planning happening these days. We have our venue and our wedding party, and now it's time to relax a little. Plus, I've been ultra-busy at work and now I'm sick (thanks to my lovely fiancee), so that doesn't help. But I'll give a quick update on how things have been going since my last post.

Wedding Party
Technically, this didn't happen since my last post, but I haven't really posted anything on this yet so I will here. We finalized our wedding party about a month ago. After much deliberation, I decided to include my brothers as groomsmen instead of ushers (my other brother is working on getting ordained by his church so he can officiate the ceremony). It expanded the wedding party by one person on each side, but who cares? We have 6 groomsmen and 6 bridesmaids, with 2 ushers. The final wedding party is:

Best Man: Kyle
Groomsmen: Matt (college friend), Joe (brother), Matt (brother), Hicks, and Nick (both college friends who I also went to high school with)
Ushers: Hags and R-Dot

I don't think the wedding party is too big at 6 apiece either. All the guys were excited to be in the wedding, which is good. Beyond asking them and giving them minor details, I haven't contacted them or set up any outings (guys generally don't do that) but I hung out with my best man for the Super Bowl and he said he already had my bachelor party planned. We are planning a wedding party box race as a meet-and-greet for any members that don't know one another. This should be interesting, because my two brothers aren't "of age" yet. So the question is... do I include them in this or not? My one brother is already in college and the other is entering this Fall. I want to include them since it's wedding party-related, but I have a moral dilemma in knowingly letting them participate in drunken debauchery.

So we put our names down for The Penn Stater in good old State College, PA for July 3, 2010. We liked it enough to at least be put on the "wait list" which really isn't a wait list at all. All you actually wait for is the day when they can officially book the room for you, since they can't book more than a year in advance. Either way, we are excited about the possibilities of a State College wedding with all our friends. We are planning a downtown bar tour on the Thursday before the wedding, with the rehearsal dinner at the Nittany Lion Inn the next day, and the wedding Saturday at the Penn Stater. That Sunday, July 4, there is something called 4th Fest, which we basically discerned as being just fireworks. But hey, who doesn't like fireworks? Also on the 4th will be a brunch at the Penn Stater for anyone that wants to hang around. We are mucho excited and there is a food tasting event coming up sometime in April that we may make the trip up for.

Wedding Bands
We are starting to look at wedding bands at this point. Sezzy wants a channel-set band to match her engagement ring, which makes sense. A channel-set band would look good with the engagement ring. Something like this:
As for me, I'm liking the titanium and tungsten bands. Both are strong metals, but the titanium will scratch, whereas the tungsten will not. I would probably go with the tungsten over titanium in this case because they look very similar and I would want one that didn't scratch. Either way, they are uber-cheap. Here's a titanium band:

And here are four different flavors of tungsten bands:

I don't think I'm crazy about the real dark variety of these bands, but I like the top 3 ones above. They look so cool and there's so many different ways that they can be made. And the best part? All of these rings are under $300, which leaves more money for things like the...

Initial planning has begun and I think I know where I want to go for the honeymoon, but I will post this separately because I have lots to say about this.

So I guess there were updates to give. I just didn't give much thought to it since we haven't really been focusing on it recently. Our two friends are getting married in May so they are entering the stretch run. The groom's bachelor party is coming up in early May and their wedding is Memorial Day weekend, so we are getting ready for that. Which brought up a funny point... so far, everyone in our circle of friends has been picking holiday weekends to get married. Our one couple got married on Labor Day last year, our other couple is doing Memorial Day this year, and now we are doing July 4 weekend.

Hey, it's easy to remember, ok?