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Decisions, Decisions, Done! October 7, 2010

Posted by missalid in I Want What I Want!, Wedding Planning and More.
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Don’t get it twisted, I have been planning and getting things in place. Yeah I’ve been to Disneyland and California Adventure where I was a VIP at Gay Days Disney, but I have been on the job!

I can’t lie though, I was dragging my feet a bit – hence I lost our original wedding date of May 14. However, it’s now an even better day, May 21 – not only an auspicious date on the Chinese calendar but also Judgment Day. Yes, Jesus will return just in time for my wedding. At least that’s what Google tells me.

I decided I wanted a quintessential San Francisco wedding. The Don is originally from Philadelphia, and my family and friends are spread from California to the east coast as well. I hated to think about having scads of people fly into one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and have a wedding in Redwood City or Mountain View. I wanted San Francisco, darn it (something I had to actually say during a family dinner were I was called a Bridezilla). And a view of my beloved City by the Bay (queue Journey!)

And that’s what I shall have.

I searched HereComestheGuide.com and found many venues – some great, and some not so great. It’s amazing how hard it is to find a venue with a view. I did a lot of site checks, first up on my wish list, the Flood Mansion. Perhaps you don’t know me very well, but those who do, would know the word “mansion” on my wedding invitation would have me sold. In the tony Pacific Heights neighborhood of the City, the Flood Mansion is the spot to hold a party. But the joint is booked up months in advance – through July of next year when I inquired way back in August. And I would have to provide valet parking for my guests, to the tune of at least $2400 (a budget line item I wasn’t ready for), and the venue fee is $8500. Yes, just to open the doors and tune on the lights for you.

So I passed.

But I did go right down the street to the other manse, the Hamlin Mansion. A girl’s day school during the week, wedding and party venue on the weekends – it looked like the set of a Harry Potter movie when I looked around. Plus I didn’t like the idea of my guests sipping cocktails, looking out the windows at the Golden Gate Bridge and then seeing a playground and jungle gym down below.

I passed on that one too.

Then I took The Don to the City Club (his first site visit – I doled them out appropriately so not to overwhelm him) in the financial district. Loved the art deco interior, the grand staircase and the lush two-story fresco by Diego Rivera. But the photos online of “the view” were deceiving. The City Club’s set up would have us marrying on the 10th floor, upstairs to the 11th for dinner, then back down stairs to the 10th for cake and dancing. Did I mention a lot of my guests and family fall into that geriatric league? I could totally foresee my mother never seeing me cut the cake, or not folks not enjoying the dance floor, because they were upstairs. I know my crowd.

So I moved on. I looked into the Fairmont Hotel (booked beyond belief) and other venues here and there. Who knew it was more than $10K to use Grace Cathedral up on Nob Hill. It was booked too, but I could use the side chapels for upwards of $7500. Who knew…? I just wondered. I guess now I know.

Actually I picked the first venue I looked at, shortly after getting engaged.

My father was retired military. Growing up each and every Saturday afternoon, after my dance lessons my mother, grandmother and I would venture to the Presidio (and other bay area bases) to do our shopping and have lunch. Sometimes my dad would come with us and take me to feed the ducks while my mother finished up her errands. I was even born at the base hospital. Tax-free benefits. I suppose the post is close to my heart in some ways. The Presidio is now a national recreation center and most of the base facilities and buildings are used for non-profits, businesses, museums and other historical sites. Did I mention the Don worked in one of the Presidio buildings up until 2009?

I always dreamed my father would walk me down the aisle. Since he’s passed on, I thought what better way to pay tribute to my Dad by have my wedding and reception in a place that symbolizes so much about him to me.

And even better, I’m getting my wish to have the ceremony and reception in one place – remembering my geriatric crew in wheelchairs and walkers. No need to move your car – park once, party all night long.

The Don and I will marry at Presidio Main Post Chapel, and then our guests will walk down the hill to the Golden Gate Club for the reception festivities.

I got the view I wanted. Parking is free. I get to pay homage to Vernon. The Don likes it.

I am delighted!



Been so busy, so busy, so busy! September 1, 2010

Posted by missalid in Wedding Planning and More.
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Hello September! Where did the summer go? The Don and I are headed to Las Vegas this weekend for a much needed getaway and for his birthday. Happy Birthday to my Sweetie!

So what have I been doing? I’ve been busy scouting out wedding and reception venues and trying to get our budget in some semblance of order. I think I’m just about ready to pull the trigger and sign some contracts.

We decided to stay the course and work towards our initial date decision of May 14, 2011 and have a San Francisco wedding.  When I went back through some emails (I like to go back and read our initial emails to one another and gush), I realized The Don first contacted me on May 15, 2009 – so the month is timely and special.

As well, The Don and I have been looking for a place to live. We intend on waiting until we’re married to live together, so finding a new home for the two of us is in order. His condo is rented and my townhouse I believe won’t give us amble room to live nor grow as a couple. We simply have a lot to do between now and then.

I need to get down to business!

My 1st Bridal Event as a Bride August 5, 2010

Posted by missalid in Uncategorized, Wedding Inspirations, Wedding Planning and More.
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Sunday afternoon, my mother and I attended the most elegant of events at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown San Francisco. The champagne flowed and the food was plentiful. If only I wasn’t driving and Sunday dinner not cooking at home, I would have bathed myself in the delights.

The bridal event was presented by San Francisco Brides Magazine and featured some of the City’s top-notch bridal vendors, including photographers, cake designers, dress shops and more. The highlight of the day was the Spring 2011 Vera Wang fashion show. I took a few photos of the gowns that were previewed…

The List July 27, 2010

Posted by missalid in Martha Martha Martha Stewart!, Organization 1-2-3, Wedding Planning and More.
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One of the first things I thought about when The Don and I got engaged was who I wanted at our wedding and who I did not (no need for a Vesta-type situation). In my mind I saw our relatives and closest friends, perhaps 80 to 100 people. Intimate. Sorta.

While bored in a meeting during week one post-engagement, I scribbled down some names of my friends and their plus ones, and in some instances plus three or four, if they had children, their parents were close to me, etc. Suddenly my list was 100 people alone. Just my little handwritten list formulated while in an hour-long afternoon meeting.

Fear set in. I asked The Don to begin scribbling out a list. I may as well have asked him to fly to the moon. I started a list for him in Excel, but found my dementia would set in. “What in the hell is Fly G’s real name?” and “Is it Uncle Danny or Denny?” and “Why don’t I know Parker’s first name?” And why must men address each other by their last name or funny nicknames? And damn it, why haven’t I been taking notes throughout our courtship?! I should have had everyone’s name, nicknames and such on individual index cards! I should have been on top of this!

Then I found the most perfect online solution via my hero, Martha Stewart.

With the Martha Stewart Weddings Guest List Planning Tool powered by WeddingWire, I used the Contact Importer tool which allowed me to import my friend’s and family’s contact names and email addresses. Then with the ease of clicking whom I wanted info from, the Address Collector tool sent a customized email to each contact with a request to update their mailing address for our upcoming nuptials. The address information was then automatically updated into our guest list. Voila! No more guessing if Aunt Marlene lives on Oak Street, Avenue or Drive. She can confirm it for me!

Plus I can keep track of future information, such as who is attending the wedding and reception, rehearsal dinner, special food requirements, who is on the bride’s or groom’s side, gifts received, if they’re invited to any showers, and so much more.

Did I mention it’s totally FREE! Yay, no additional line item in the wedding budget!

It was easy as pie. I had The Don import his email contacts and off I went. In a snap I had a list, had emails out and addresses coming in, and could keep track of those replied and not. Within 30 minutes of having The Don upload his people, I had a pristine list downloaded to Excel.

That’s all I really wanted. Names on paper, sorted and organized.

However, our list now stands at 260 and continues to climb. Yeah, I know…

Next up, to trim, trim, trim!