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Old 05-16-2007, 02:29 PM   #1
figmentfan814
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figmentfan814AAR~LivingSeas~French Is. *I'm back and married! Will start TR soon!*

Here is the start of my journal. I am going to try to figure out how to post pictures tonight when I get home.

I thought it was about time that I put together my planning journal since I have already gone down to Florida for my formal planning session. First, here is a little bit of info about me and my DF, Kris. I (Vanessa) work for our state’s version of C-SPAN and he works in marketing and planning for a hospital system down in Ohio. After graduate school last year, since the Michigan economy is really bad, he ended up having to take a job out of state.

Here is a little bit of background on how we met:

We met in a public speaking class during their freshmen year at the University of Michigan. He asked me out on a date and I promptly turned him down.

Later that week, when I went in for an interview for Student Government Council I was embarrassed to see him sitting at the table as a member who would be one of the people interviewing me. After two more attempts to ask me out, I finally agreed to go see the "Barber of Seville" opera at Whiting Auditorium and seven years later the rest is history.

Our engagement story is pretty unique. I have posted it before, but I will copy over the story again, so it is all in one place. I knew it was coming soon, but was pretty surprised by the entire scenario.

How We Got Engaged:

The day after Valentine's Day I received two envelopes in the mail. One had instructions on the outside not to open until 11:15 a.m. the next morning. When I opened the other envelope I found that Kris had cut out letters and numbers written out with instructions to arrive at a specific address the next morning at 8:55 a.m. Holding back my curiosity I went to bed without checking to see where I would be going the next morning.

When I arrived at the specified address I was excited to see that it was a spa. When I walked in I was asked what I was there for and I said that I had no idea! Once I gave them my name, I was told that my boyfriend had arranged for me to get a massage, facial, and to have my makeup done. I was also told that he had made special arrangements for someone to come in earlier, so I would be done at a specific time.

After two hours of exquisite pampering, I opened up the second envelope at the appointed time. The paper enclosed was a printout of the web site for Whiting Auditorium (a local theater which hosts Broadway shows, the area orchestra, and various concerts, etc.) The one difference was that instead of just having the regular web page it said “Now Showing” and had a picture of me along with our names listed for the upcoming shows. The page also read, "Go where it all began."

I then drove to the auditorium where we had first gone out seven years earlier to see the "Barber of Seville" opera. When I arrived, Kris was standing at the door and walked me into the lobby and down the stairs to the main floor of the theater. Once the doors opened I saw that all the lights were down except for one spotlight up on the stage. He then walked me down the main aisle and up on stage.

When we were under the spotlight he got on one knee and said that the last seven years were the best of his life and he could not imagine spending the rest of his life without me by his side. He then opened up a gold box that showcased a beautiful sapphire ring and asked me to marry him. Both of our moms were in the first balcony along with a few other friends and family members. Kris had also arranged for photos to be taken during the entire thing because he knows how important it is for me to capture memories in her scrapbook.

After I said, "Yes," they walked out where they were greeted by family and Kris gave me a huge bouquet of flowers. Apparently the theater, had urged Kris to come to an upcoming show where they would allow him to come on stage and ask me in front of the entire audience. He insisted that I would prefer to have privacy rather than having that moment shared with thousands of people and he was correct.

To top the entire experience off, he had made reservations at Redwood Lodge for the entire group. It's hard to imagine all the coordination that must have went into his plan when he is living nearly 300 miles away.

That is copied off our wedding web site that’s why it sounds kind of “scripted.”




After I started showing people my ring everyone said that it is like the one that Princess Diana had for her engagement. I looked up pictures of it and they are pretty close to each other. I love dark sapphires, so I was pretty impressed when Kris picked it out on his own.



The day after our engagement my parents took us out for breakfast and asked us what we were going to do for the wedding. Everyone in my family had known that I had dreamed about a Disney wedding (long before I met Kris), but they wanted to know if that was actually what we were going to do now that it was official. Kris and I had decided that we would go ahead and move forward with the idea. We are both only children and wanted a small wedding with our close family and friends. We knew if we had it up in Michigan since both of our extended families are large it would quickly grown out of hand. I have to be honest Kris is not super excited about the idea of a DFTW. He likes Disney, but is not fanatic like my family. He has gone on several trips with us to WDW, but he is not obsessed. We have family that lives in the Orlando area, so we typically visit every year or so.

From there we started doing some research online and I put in my first call to DFTW. I knew I wanted to have the wedding somewhere different and even though the wedding chapel is beautiful I knew that location wasn’t for us. On one of the videographer’s websites I came across a sample video that showed a wedding ceremony at the American Adventure Rotunda and instantly knew that I had to get married there. Kris and I are both political junkies. I have worked on campaigns and he has run for office, so the American Adventure was a perfect fit. Plus, Epcot is my family’s favorite park.




After everyone found out about our engagement we put together packets with information on travel and our first newsletter. Some of our friends and family will be making this a Disney vacation while others have no desire to go to the parks. We tried to include information on all the different options that were available for entertainment and tried to make everyone understand how easy Disney travel will be for them.




It's a weird angle, but here are pictures of the packets.


We originally wanted to get married on Leap Day 2008, which would have been the 8th anniversary of our first date. Unfortunately, after I made my initial contacts to Disney we realized that having a Friday wedding would be too expensive with the additional minimum expenditures plus since we wanted to plan events leading up to the wedding it would not be very practical for our guests. Most of our wedding party will be arriving a few days in advance, so we realized having the weekend leading up to the wedding itself was a better idea. I would have also liked to have gotten married on March 1 (my grandfather’s birthday), but it fell on a Saturday which was even worse. In the end we picked March 3, 2008 that following Monday.

Since we are doing a theme park wedding at Epcot our ceremony has to be at 9 a.m. After the ceremony we are having a brunch reception at the Living Seas (originally we were booked at the American Adventure Parlor- I will explain more later) with a dessert party at the French Island that evening.

My colors are pastels. I wanted to do an old-fashioned wedding similar to the color scheme from the 1950s. Each of my four girls are wearing the same dress, but in different colors. The colors are green, pink, purple, and blue- all in pastel hues. The dress that I am thinking about going with is by Mary’s Bridal. I want to have some tank sleeves added since all my girls vary a lot in size and shape. The great thing is that the dresses come with jackets which will be great for the dessert reception since it can get a little chilly at night in March.

As I mentioned we are having four girls, out of these I have both a maid and matron of honor. On the flip side, we are having five guys. I wanted one of my male cousins to stand up on my side, so one of the groomsmen is actually walking down my FMIL since my DF’s parents are divorced. I might have a flower girl; I am still trying to make up my mind. We originally wanted to keep our wedding under 50, but the guest count has continued to grow. Our most recent count is 62.

Needless to say, my FMIL is not happy about our wedding being out of state and she is especially not happy that we are having a DFTW. The funny thing is that Kris wanted us to go to Reno and get married with just our parents there, so having it at Disney actually allows us to include more people. A few weeks ago her and I had a phone conversation about how she is disappointed that so many people that Kris wants at his wedding can’t be there. I reminded her that this was a compromise that allowed us to have more people than Kris’ original idea, but also kept us from having the huge grand affair with 300 people that would have occurred if we had our ceremony in Michigan.

Even though our wedding is in Florida, Kris’ dad’s family (his parents are divorced) wanted to have a reception up here. So, we have party planned for June 1, 2008. His dad was able to get us a hall and we are going to do a more relaxed atmosphere. We’re doing a garden theme and are planning on keeping it pretty casual. This is something else that my FMIL is not happy about with the wedding. She told my DF that I am being greedy wanting to have a party up here too. He and I both reminded her that it is something his dad wants for us and that she doesn’t have to invite her family and friends to the party.

I went down to WDW May 9-11 and was able to get a lot of things done for the wedding. Originally I had scheduled the trip to do some site visits and to look at some locations for rehearsal dinner, etc. In the end, it become much more than I had anticipated. We had signed our contract Easter weekend and I was contacted by our coordinator a week later. I was assigned Marion Stewart and she is absolutely wonderful. She has been with Disney almost 20 years and she really knows the ins and outs of DFTW. I know some people have had bad experiences, so I feel lucky to have gotten such a great coordinator. Her assistant Linda and my consultant Bill have all also been great.

When she found out I was coming down in a few weeks she offered to let us do our planning session. I was a little worried because I was originally making the trip with my mom and my DF and I were planning on coming back in September to get more of the formal planning done. I called him trying to see if we could work something out for him to make the trip down from Ohio and meet us in Orlando. It turned out that he had a major meeting with all the executives at work that was scheduled for the same morning that Marion had offered to do our planning session. At this point, I was a little panicked and called Linda (Marion’s assistant) right away to tell her that Kris couldn’t make the trip, so I would probably have to reschedule. She told me that she would talk to Marion to see what she wanted to do about the situation. I told her if they still wanted to meet that was fine, since Kris really only cares about the food and cake.

In the end, Marion wanted me to go ahead and come to meet with her during my trip. I also scheduled a site visit with Bill the day I arrived, so I could find an alternate location since we wouldn’t fit in the American Adventure Parlor anymore. For our 3 day trip I had also scheduled meetings at Fresh – restaurant in the Dolphin, Wolfgang Puck – Downtown Disney, and Portobello Yacht Club – Downtown Disney as possible locations for our rehearsal dinner.

Our trip- May 9:

We left Flint (about 50 miles north of Detroit) on a 7:00 am nonstop flight to Orlando. There were pretty bad thunderstorms when we took off and once in the air lightning flashed right next to our plane. It was the scariest thing that I have ever had happen in the air. There was a loud explosion noise and the cabin was bright with orange and red light. After that, our trip was pretty uneventful. At the Orlando Airport we headed for the Magical Express, along the way I took a ton of pictures to use in my future newsletters for our guests that I have never been to Orlando.

We had reservations at Pop Century, so we hopped on the bus to check-in. I have to admit we usually stay at POR and it had been over four years since I have been at a value resort. The rooms were okay, but these resorts are definitely geared for people with kids. We had a great time wandering around looking at the buildings, but definitely missed the atmosphere of the moderate resorts.

Once at the resort we put our carry-on luggage with the bell-hop and checked in then headed out for our first appointment. Since we had arrived at 11 am our room was not available, so we hopped on a bus to MGM to catch the boat to the Swan and Dolphin. We made it to our destination within two hours of landing at the airport, we felt pretty efficient! The first place on our agenda was FRESH, the Mediterranean marketplace restaurant. FRESH is only open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 2 pm, but they had a great private area that would be perfect for a rehearsal luncheon. The manager there was helpful giving us a tour of the restaurant. They offered a wide array of group menus that we could select or we had the option to let our guests eat off of their daily buffet. I am not big on Mediterranean food, but the food looked great and it offered a lot of options even for picky eaters.

Fresh


After that we had to race off for our next appointment which was with Shelley from Impressions at Franck’s. We took the bus from the hotel to the Magic Kingdom then hopped on the monorail to the Grand Floridian. For those of you taking Disney transportation to the wedding pavilion here is a tip. Even though I have seen the wedding pavilion a thousand times I didn’t realize that when you’re walking it’s actually closer to take the monorail to the Polynesian and then cut back behind Franck’s following the path for the luau.

To be continued....
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Last edited by figmentfan814; 06-01-2009 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 05-16-2007, 02:41 PM   #2
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I'm looking forward to hearing more about your wedding plans! Do you have a picture of your ring? It sounds very beautiful and unique. I love sapphires myself.
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Old 05-16-2007, 02:42 PM   #3
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Looks great so far. Very informative. Love the detail!
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Old 05-16-2007, 02:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonandlisa View Post
I'm looking forward to hearing more about your wedding plans! Do you have a picture of your ring? It sounds very beautiful and unique. I love sapphires myself.
I do have some pics, so I will make sure to post them. I have never posted any pics, so I have to try it tonight
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Old 05-16-2007, 03:14 PM   #5
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wow....i really want to see those pictures...cant wait to hear more
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Old 05-16-2007, 03:50 PM   #6
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Yay, I'm excited to hear all that you have planned. I'll be at WDW on March 3 since my wedding is the 4th. I think we'll be there until the 11th, maybe we'll run into each other.
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Old 05-16-2007, 04:11 PM   #7
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Can't wait to see the pictures!!!

Great date by the way!!! My birthday is March 3rd!!!
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:02 AM   #8
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When we met with Shelley she brought a lot of Figment items since I mentioned that I wanted to try to incorporate him into my reception in some way. Some of her ideas were really cute, but others were not that fantastic. I have to admit looking through her options for invitations she was a lot more expensive than places I had checked out online and locally. These prices didn't included adding licensing fees for any Disney characters that we might want added. Basically she said that she would recreate any invitations I saw and then add any other elements including Disney characters to personalize them. After some discussion, I came to the conclusion that I would want to incorporate Figment for our evening dessert reception. For our brunch, I would use Disney couples to name the tables.

Anyway, here is a summary of what I thought about Shelley, she had some really great ideas, but she seemed pretty overpriced. I don't know if it's because I have planned some large events, but I thought a lot of the stuff she did would be simple to do on your own for a lot cheaper price. I am having her send me some pricing on a few things like printed napkins (since I want Figment at night) and some programs. I will talk about Shelley again later in my report.

We only had 1 hour until our next meeting, so we ran next store to the Polynesian and grabbed lunch at Kona Cafe. I have been here for breakfast (great Tonga Toast- I recommend getting it grilled), but had not tried any other meals. The lunch was great and we got done in plenty of time to make it back to meet up with Bill.
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:07 AM   #9
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I love all your pictures!! Thank you for posting them. Your ring is stunning!!!
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:24 AM   #10
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I love your PJ so far!! I cant wait to hear the rest
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:34 AM   #11
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Site Visits

After meeting with Shelley we met with Bill our consultant for some site visits. We went to the American Adventure Parlor (my original reception location), the Living Seas, the Marvin Gardens room at the Boardwalk Convention Center, and the Attic (my original second choice). If anyone wants pictures of these sites please let me know because I took a ton of them.

The Attic is fantastic. I would definitely do my reception here if I was only having around 30 people. The view overlooking Boardwalk is amazing and it is such a unique space. The one downside is that it is really far away from everything. It is not near an elevator, so you have to walk through several long, winding hallways. It is located directly above Jellyrolls.

The View



The Parlor is a great room, I was just concerned about space because it really does only hold 50 people. I will include some pictures anyway just to show everyone. The view overlooking the countries is great. One downside is that there nowhere to do dancing.

The View

The Cocktail Area

The Dining Area
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hisprincess View Post
Yay, I'm excited to hear all that you have planned. I'll be at WDW on March 3 since my wedding is the 4th. I think we'll be there until the 11th, maybe we'll run into each other.
That would be fun. Of course, since our Magic Kingdom pictures are right after each other that is a possibility.
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Old 05-17-2007, 08:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VistaLeigh'smommy View Post
Can't wait to see the pictures!!!

Great date by the way!!! My birthday is March 3rd!!!
Then it sounds like we did pick a good day.
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:51 AM   #14
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Hi.I love your journal so far. I am also getting married in March of 08. Our date is March 12,and we are gettinng married at Seabreeze Point.

How long are you going to be staying for?
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:38 PM   #15
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At this point we are planing on staying through the 8th or 9th. We have definitely decided yet. It sounds like several of us are going to be down there that week
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