Bunny & Oppa / 1st Timer plans a Disneymoon but cancels SBP Escape wedding pkg *06/11

Discussion in 'Planning our Happily Ever After' started by Disneymoon2013, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

    Joined:
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    Our story begins in May 2010 and continues to present. It has been a topsy-turvy wedding planning process, and I hope that sharing our tales, realizations, and trip-planning resources will be of use to other folks on DISBoards.

    As you'll see, we went from planning a local wedding to planning a SBP Escape Wedding to planning a local wedding again -- although a very different kind of wedding! We will be honeymooning in WDW from Dec. 2 - Dec. 7 at CR. It will be my first time to WDW! Then, we'll spend a couple days in Orlando Studios before returning home.

    I'm starting with the TOC, but I'll return with the posts.
    :goodvibes

    Update 3/1: I removed many entries in the TOC because I realized it might take away the anticipation! I'll update as I go!

    Table of Contents

    Beginnings
    About Us
    The Unofficial Proposal

    Wedding Planning - Pre SBP Escape
    Dreaming Big: Imagining My Wedding for the First Time
    Looking at Rings for the First Time: Some Lessons
    Aversions to the Wedding Industry & Helpful? Books
    In Which I Find the Dress, But the Shop Makes Me Walk to the Town Library to Print My Digital Coupon
    Oppa proposes in a most surprising way (& tips on finding a wedding photographer!)

    Wedding Planning - SBP Escape
    Wedding Planning Drama Llama (aka Things Every Bride Should Be Aware Of)
    WDW's Escape Wedding Package: Easy Pickin's
    Designing Our Invitations (And Etsy Scams to Watch Out For)
    Wedding Favors With a Disney Twist
    Disney's Wedding Registry Rip-Off and a More Frugal Approach
    Oppa Picks Out His Ring in No Time

    some links will no longer follow the order of posts in this section

    Disneymoon Planning (During & Post-SBP Escape Pkg)
    Booking Our Disney Resort & Resources That Helped Me

    DISNEYMOON: Our Trip Report!
    ... to come!
     
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  3. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

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    [​IMG]

    How We Met

    Oppa & I met at a crossing point in both of our lives. He had earned his bachelor's in physics but realized he didn't want to work in a research lab every day. Instead, he went to the local community college to get an associate's in nuclear engineering. He was fortunate to be recruited by a company that covered this expense.

    I had earned my double bachelor's in journalism and non-fiction writing but walked away from my flourishing career because I realized I wasn't happy in the newsroom. I loved teaching more. I moved across the country to be closer to family and was quickly hired as a professional writing tutor at the local college.

    Oppa and I met almost serendipitously; he was in his final year and had taken up peer tutoring (in physics & engineering). I had arrived in the state during fall semester. To say we quickly became friends would be a little bit of an understatement. We shared shifts and would walk together to the parking lot. Then, we would get "stuck". A few minutes would turn into 15, then 30, then an hour... and all out there in the cold! Every time one of us said, "Well, I should get going," we would both hesitate, linger, and start talking about something else. When I told Mama about this strange phenomenon, she (secretly) predicted I would marry this man.

    In spite of these obvious signs, it took some serious nudging from our mutual friend/coworker before either of us started to openly flirt. He posted this on Facebook:

    [​IMG]

    Needless to say, we were happily dating before long, and now we're planning our wedding & WDW honeymoon!

    About Us: Tidbits

    Bunny has been my nickname for a long time. I will be a first-timer at WDW! I've spent a grand total of 2 days in Disneyland (in middle school). My all-time favorite Disney film is "Pete's Dragon".

    [​IMG]

    "Oppa" is my nickname for my Dfi. It's pronounced "oh-pa". Yes, I picked it up from the "Gangnam Style" song and from watching too many Korean dramas! It's an endearment, and Dfi like its. Oppa has been to WDW 5-6 times. A couple years ago, his dad took the whole family on a comando-style, 10-day trip that included all the parks, parasailing, jet skiing, the racecar experience, horseback riding, carriage rides, etc. etc. etc. They also resort-hopped between five different hotels. It was a crazy-ton amount of stuff!! I think the trip left Oppa a little bit burnt out on WDW, but he told me to plan our honeymoon exactly how I'd like it. <3

    And finally, here is our fat, lazy cat snuggling with my foot. I'm sure he will switch loyalties when we're gone in WDW and someone else is feeding him. popcorn::

    [​IMG]

     
  4. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

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    [​IMG]

    The Unofficial Proposal

    Oppa and I are a lot like the princes and princesses in Disney films: We didn't know each other for long before we knew it was meant to be. Take a look at Cinderella and Prince Charming! They only spent an evening dancing together!

    Anyway, just a month and a couple weeks after we officially started dating, while we were out yard saling (a favorite hobby of mine), Oppa told me he had an agenda: He wanted to finish his degree, start working, move in together, marry me, live together for 2-4 years, then start a family. I already felt the same way, so I joyfully agreed.

    I have dated others before in my younger years, and I could tell this time was different. I had changed a lot as a person. Sometimes, you just know. I still don't believe in "love at first sight," but I think you can know something in your heart.

    Next up: Wedding Daydreaming for the First Time

     
  5. LittleKittyMarie

    LittleKittyMarie DIS Veteran

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    Congratulations and welcome! I'm really loving reading your journal already, needless to say you are a very good storyteller! :goodvibes And a pusheen and cat fan too! Your unofficial proposal sounds perfect and genuine and romantic.

    Very much looking forward to reading more!
     
  6. Summer Daydream

    Summer Daydream Mouseketeer

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    Welcome! I love the unofficial proposal! Can't wait to read more of your story :)
     
  7. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

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    I've been reading through your TRs, too! I hope I can snag some pictures with Marie just like you did. I'll admit I haven't seen the Aristocrats in years, but she is so freaking cute! I like looking at the Marie pictures from Disneyland Japan; they adore her there and Miss Bunny too!

    Thank you! :cloud9:
     
  8. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

    Joined:
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    Dreaming Big: Imagining My Wedding for the First Time

    As I explained to Oppa, I had never daydreamed about my wedding or had any set ideals. In fact, I didn’t think I would ever marry, as I was set against it in my youth. Mama often frowned on marriage; she didn’t believe in the institution. And as for me, I didn’t really believe in true love, much less marriage.

    When Oppa and I decided to marry, I was so excited; I threw myself into wedding Web sites and other images online. I started gathering them with Pinterest. Oppa is very laid back, quite laissez-faire, so he told me he honestly didn't care about the wedding theme, etc. as long as he was marrying me. He thus gave me carte blanche. After perusing Pinterest and the Web extensively, this resulted:

    For the overall theme, I wanted to do green and white with pink accents, but it soon became green and pink, à la Honeydukes style.

    [​IMG]
    source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/15098071@N00/4860699152/

    I also wanted a touch of pearls and bunnies because I love them, but I didn’t want it to feel too Easter-like because we had planned for an October wedding in 2012.

    [​IMG]
    source: Etsy sales post from shop Starinites
    (Yes, I did buy this vintage card for my personal collection!)

    [​IMG]
    source: uncertain

    I wanted my friends to visit the East Coast during its prime season: Fall. I figured we could have a bachelorette party-like day together in New York City, too.

    I hoped for a rustic barn-like venue for the ceremony and reception -- A rustic barn setting with lots of little white Christmas lights. I'm not sure why a barn appealed to me. I'm not an outdoorsy girl whatsoever, and I've never been into agriculture...

    [​IMG]
    source: http://www.cameroningalls.com/
    (Not the original inspiration photo though. Can't seem to find it.)
    DISers: Where in WDW would be a nice photo op similar to this barn/lights setting for our Disneymoon?

    As for food, we didn’t have many plans, although Oppa recommended getting puu-puu platters from our favorite Chinese take-out place. He would! I was hoping we could include mojitos, my favorite, and incorporate colorful striped straws.

    After looking at several bouquets online, I fell in love with simple cotton candy pink roses and these green leafy things.

    [​IMG]
    source: http://www.stylemepretty.com/gallery/photo/232725

    My big concern then became the guests -- how would they get along and know each other? What would help them to interact? And what would they do? Oppa and I don’t like the traditional wedding agenda; we didn’t want speeches nor dancing. We didn’t want lots of drinking. So what would everyone do?

    I really, REALLY wanted to have a photo booth set up that we could all take pictures in with fun props -- yard flamingos, masks, mustaches, and the like. It’s no surprise for me considering how much I loved the Pika Pika (photo) machines in Japantown when I lived in San Francisco. I love kooky, fun photos like that and how wonderful it would be to have it at our wedding. DIYing it looked like a royal pain in the you-know-what, but I had worked for a local photography company before and thought I could probably pay them a fee to set up a backdrop and take the photos -- no editing necessary as I would do that. Some photo booths online featured a hanging crescent moon that people seemed to be "sitting" on. That was sweet.

    [​IMG]
    source: Martha Stewart Weddings

    And I thought we could set up a candy buffet as our favors table.. Folks could scoop out candy and put them in their own Chinese containers -- Oppa and I used to eat Chinese takeout with the Council (nickname for our group of friends), so it would be a nod to our beginnings. And I love candy. We could have green and pink lollipops. Cotton candy, candy buttons, licorice pastels -- maybe Reeses Pieces if we broke the color scheme. When we were in our flirting stages, Oppa discovered I loved Reeses and started carrying a bag around in his sweatshirt pockets at work. (The student tutors could dress casually.) (Does this make me kind of like E.T.? LOL)

    [​IMG]
    source: unknown

    For the guest books, I wanted to have a fingerprint family/friends tree; each person would mark his/her thumb print and sign next to it, thus making "leaves" on the tree.. and my stepbrother, who's an artist, would draw the tree for me.

    [​IMG]
    source: Etsy shop idoityourself

    But, that’s not very sentimental, so I had also wanted to make mad lib guest book cards -- a nod to my love of words and grammar and a chance for people to be silly yet serious in wishing us well and giving us marital advice. I was hoping one of my bridesmaids, a graphic designer, would help me by designing that, but after more thought, I decided I would design this one myself. (Don't want to overwhelm the bridesmaids!)

    [​IMG]
    source: etsy shop myaugustpress

    For little kids, I considered making a wedding themed activity booklet. For the adults, I considered various ways to get them to know each other.. but tacky stuff.. human bingo, putting a little note on their placecards about the person next to them, etc. I also considered making a crossword about Oppa & me for the wedding programs or somewhere else, which might prompt conversations, too. Clearly, I feel bad for people who feel awkward in social situations.

    Mama and I debated seating cards and assigning tables. I had finally opted to let people sit wherever they want, like this quote says: "As two families are becoming one, we ask that you pick a seat and not a side."

    For the invitations, I hoped to sneak in bunnies somehow without making it feel like Easter. I especially loved the bunny artwork from Kit and Adam on Etsy, and I hoped my brother could mimic/alter the style. I considered adding flat-backed pearls or rounding the corners myself. My stepbro and bridesmaid could design it, and I could print two up per page at Staples for a minimal cost on my own cardstock.

    [​IMG]
    source: etsy shop trafalgarssquare

    In lieu of a wedding cake, we wanted to have cupcakes made by Auntie. She could do them in the chai flavor with buttercream frosting. I had hoped to get pearl sprinkles, too. If we could, we would find a cupcake tower to hold them.

    [​IMG]
    source: http://www.saucysprinkles.com/2010/09/rubber-duckies-on-red-velvet.html

    For a cake topper, I hoped to put a bunny couple at the top. A woman on Etsy makes the most beautiful pom-pom needled felted bunnies. I had also found a bride/groom set by Calico Critters, but nothing beats the beauty and handcrafting of those pom pom bunnies.

    [​IMG]
    source: etsy shop MykoBocekStudios

    For the gifts/cards table, I thought about a "present" box with a slit in the side for cards or maybe a vintage luggage with our Mickey & Minnie ears hats on little stands.. but what if someone sullied them before we even got to wear them to the parks! (Pictures of them to come with the TR!)

    And, finally, for the bridesmaids, I wanted them all to wear light pink dresses in various shades, creating a monochromatic effect. And I would make them each a welcome bag for their stay here. Oppa and I discussed paying for the hotel for them if we could since they have to travel so far (California & Arizona). And I considered honoring them each in a wedding program or else a sign.

    [​IMG]
    source: http://www.thesweetestoccasion.com/2011/03/a-rustic-pretty-winery-wedding/

    So far, it's not seeming too Disney-ish or Disney-bound, right? It's looking more like Easter Sunday, I know... Just how did we make the switcheroo? Carry on...
     
  9. CtinaDitty

    CtinaDitty Disney Fanatic

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    Oh, you're making me miss wedding planning! My boss commented on how I'm a very extensive planner. I told him, "Ever since the wedding was over, I've had nothing to plan!"

    I'm loving your report so far! You both sound so sweet together!

    I'm excited you'll be at Disney the same dates as my DH and me! Maybe we'll run into each other! :goodvibes

    Can't wait to hear more about your plans!
     
  10. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

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    [​IMG]

    Looking at Rings for the First Time: Some Lessons

    In early September 2011, I called Mama and told her I was getting married.

    "HE PROPOSED?!" she said. "You have a ring?!"

    "No, I have to pick one out."

    She proceeded to tease me, saying that my news was a "dud". She said it wasn't official until I had a ring! She had a good laugh but was genuinely supportive.

    Instead of picking out the ring himself, Oppa asked me to look around and find one I fancied.

    [​IMG]
    (I laughed so hard watching this mini Tangled film before seeing Beauty & the Beast in 3D.)

    So, the hunt for a ring began!

    Where does one go for rings? I knew online shopping wouldn't be too helpful; I needed to see it on my hand and know the feel of it. I wanted to browse many at once, so I headed to what seemed like an obvious place: the local mall. Ours has four major jewelry stores, including Kay Jewelers.

    It quickly became a blur of diamond rings. Brides be forewarned: It's kind of exhausting because they all seem the same. Finally, at the last of the four stores, a kind associate took the time to explain the 4Cs of diamonds: cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. (I was familiar with that last one, of course!) She held rings up side by side, showing me how one was more yellow than another. She also taught me how to look down into the diamond at different angles, watching for "feathers" and little black spots. The more clarity a diamond has, the more expensive it becomes. An online guide explains, "Inclusions include flaws such as air bubbles, cracks, and non-diamond minerals found in the diamond." (Google the 4Cs of Diamonds.) Many of the diamond pieces sold at department stores, such as Macy's and JCPenney, have diamonds w/ poor clarity.

    For both Disney-bound and off-site brides, it seems worthwhile to learn these basic characteristics so you know you're getting a good value for your money. It also helps train your eyes.

    Speaking of Macy's... I was passing by, so I quickly perused their jewelry. I did become quite fond of a fashion diamond ring: Gold bands encrusted with diamonds formed the outline of a rose. It was dainty and looked quite pretty on my small hand.

    [​IMG]
    source: random jewelry site online
    Similar to this, but not quite as large.

    [​IMG]
    source: Ben Bridge Jeweler
    Also similar to this, but no where near as beautiful or as well made.

    Oppa knew I had gone window shopping, so he asked for a report. When I told him about the flower ring, he wanted to see it. We returned together the next day. The sales associate took it out of the case, and I immediately noticed a diamond missing. I pointed to it.

    "Forever?!" Oppa said. "That didn't even last ONE DAY -- in the case, too!!"

    The sales associate quickly intervened. "We can order you a new one, of course," she said. We smiled kindly at her, asked for her business card out of politeness, then left.

    After a safe distance, we both started laughed so hard. He raised his eyebrow and said, "No."

    I said, "I'm thinking no, too."

    In lieu of the big corporate shops, I headed to a local mom-and-pop jeweler the following day. Auntie and Uncle purchased their wedding rings from this shop 25-30 years ago. Uncle was so impressed by them that he became a lifelong, loyal customer.

    I immediately noticed the difference, too: It was very quiet and relaxing, and the sales associate, Heidi, was kind and attentive. She asked if I knew about the 4Cs first, then inquired about my preferences. They had a beautiful selection of high-quality rings with a wide range of price points. They even had a case of antique estate rings from the early 1900s. As I examined different designs, she helped me understand timeless designs versus trendy pieces.

    [​IMG]

    I returned with Oppa in tow and showed him three rings at various price points, including an estate ring. He pushed and prodded to find out which one I favored, then took Heidi's business card.

    When would I wear one of those three rings? Let's carry on...

     
  11. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

    Joined:
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    :rotfl2: I love planning for the Disneymoon; in fact, I've spent almost all of my free time this past week obsessively reading DISBoards and anything else I can get my hands on. But wedding planning... :snooty: My life will be so much better once it's all over. :angel: You'll see...
     
  12. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

    Joined:
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    Aversions to the Wedding Industry & Helpful? Books

    There are two very important facts to know about me before moving forward because it explains a lot that will unfold in both the wedding and Disneymoon planning:


    1. On occasion, Oppa uses a Spanish accent, pretends he's a WWF announcer, and calls me "El Cheapo Grande, the Bulldozer." (He added on "the bulldozer" after he saw me navigate crowds at a very large casino.)
    2. I grew up in a family that pulled itself out of poverty and into the middle class due to strong roots in frugality and a boot-strap mentality.

    When Mama was in her very late teens/early 20s, she lived in a tent in the woods with my father. She was a friendly, hardworking waitress. She maintained a gym membership for the showers and walked to work or to the laundry mat. After she gave birth to me, she received welfare to subsidize her income. When I was 5, our annual income was $5,000. I discovered that recently when I came across some old paperwork from kindergarten.

    My mom and dad separated and Mama met my stepfather ("Papa"), who's a talented mechanic (and now a master technician). They both worked hard in their careers and, around the time I reached middle school, pushed past poverty level into the middle class. (Mama is a physical therapist assistant today.)

    I have never gone without, and I never felt poor as a child. We always had food, clothes (usually thrifted), and a roof over our heads. Our closest quarters were when the four of us (including my stepbro) stayed in a studio apartment, all sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags/blankets, but that was for a very brief time when I was in first grade. After that we always had at least three bedrooms. When I reached middle school, I quickly became a typical spoiled American child; I'm not ashamed to admit it.

    So, when Oppa and I first discussed wedding planning, I immediately told him that I didn't want to cave in to the wedding industry. In late high school / early college, I worked at a job where I helped couples select and order their wedding invitations. Some couples ordered Cinderella-themed invitations! Sometimes I helped them design custom inserts and maps. It was very enjoyable but also alarming seeing many people drop $500 or more on just paper.

    [​IMG]
    This is one Cinderella design we helped folks order. I think it was printed by Carlson Craft.

    As part of my training, I learned that the wedding industry had ballooned to $32 billion a year. That was in 2003/2004! About.com reports it is currently $72 billion, while other sources say it's more like $161 billion. The Library of Congress points out the difficulty gathering a total since the services and purchases are so varied. Regardless, I knew I wanted to apply my frugal ideals wherever I could.

    [​IMG]

    Like Belle would, I immediately turned to books: At the library, I reserved a copy of "Bridal Bargains" first.

    [​IMG]

    Then, because I read and think a lot about American consumption in my free time, I picked up "One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding."

    [​IMG]

    If the wedding industry bothered me before, this book only magnified it. I learned how most gowns, including designer and David's Bridal gowns, are made in Chinese factories for less than $1 each in labor. I'm sure the costs of the fabrics impact the total cost of design. Since many dresses sell for $300 - $5,000, there is still a significant mark up. I discovered that many gown shops trick customers by pretending to custom order the dress but secretly sold them the sample dress that many others had tried on and worn out. When they did order dresses, they required at least a month for shipment because the dress was coming directly from China. (The Bridal Bargains book also discusses some of these issues and has many tips for gown shopping.)

    To probably no one's surprise, the industry was largely developed by marketers, and it has changed the cultural expectations of a wedding. We even have TV shows that glamorize dress shopping and weddings now. Oppa and I saw some episodes of "Four Weddings," and we started pretending to rate our own wedding. "I'd give Bunny's wedding a twoooo out of teeeen," he'd say in a high-pitched voice, "because there wasn't any free booooooze..." (We had started to discuss cutting alcohol from the budget and including a cash bar.) Neither of us begrudge any bride or groom for how much they choose to spend on their weddings; we just think it's ridiculous for guests to "rank" the event based on their own preferences or desires for free food and booze. The purpose of a wedding is to celebrate the bride & groom's love and commitment to life together. This isn't the club.

    More importantly, though, the book shows how marketers manipulate brides' emotions. They call it "white blindness," and I didn't want any part of it. As the back of the book explains, the author "reads thousands of words in trade publications and industry websites to reveal how the industry thinks and talks about their clients when they are out of earshot-as "a drunken sailor"; "a slam dunk"; or more pointedly, "a marketer's dream."

    With these things in mind, I would head out for dress shopping...

     
  13. CtinaDitty

    CtinaDitty Disney Fanatic

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    I had that book too (Bridal Bargains)! Full of lots of great info! I can't wait to see which ring Oppa chose for you!!
     
  14. MiaBella05

    MiaBella05 DIS Veteran

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    popcorn:: joining in popcorn::
     
  15. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

    Joined:
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    In Which I Find the Dress, But the Shop Makes Me Walk to the Town Library to Print My Digital Coupon

    As you know from my previous post, I wanted to take a frugal approach to my wedding, and I didn't want to pay top dollar for a dress that cost the company $1 in labor to manufacture. I was also highly aware that I would only be wearing this dress for one day out of my entire life.

    I wouldn't be doing this part alone, however! Mama and Papa live in Florida, but Mama wanted to fly up in late October to see her grandfather and to visit me and go dress shopping. Unfortunately, Pop passed away on the third of October. It was not a surprise (he was 92 years old), but it was unnerving for me. I had never lost anyone I was rather close with. I had visited him once or twice a week in the nursing home since I arrived in the state in Fall 2010.

    On October 27, 2010, Pop asked me about the college guys. It was odd and random. I laughed and explained that most were students and too young for me! Then he said, "You'll know when it's the right one." He also mentioned that when that time came, he wanted to meet him.

    To be blunt, I thought he was a bit of an idealist or possibly out of it, but he ended up being right. After Oppa and I started dating in April 2011, I introduced him to Pop. Pop jerked his thumb toward him, looked at me, and said, "What did I tell ya?"

    I laughed and said, "I know. I remember."

    Oppa was at a loss and didn't understand, but I explained afterward.

    During one of my last few visits, in October 2011, Pop asked if I was happy and he asked me a bit about Oppa. Then he reached out and grasped my right forearm all of a sudden and told me, "Don't let go."

    Utterly confused, I said, "Of what?" He was having a hard time speaking, so I continued. "Him?"

    Pop nodded.

    I'm grateful they had a chance to meet each other and that I got my great-grandfather's blessing. Losing him put me in a bit of a tumble. The next day I wrote in my journal: "Back to work today. Feels weird how everything else keeps moving on. I want to tell everyone that Pop died. That it's not a normal day." And just a couple days later, I became sick with a cold that, after a week, turned into bronchitis, which then gave way to intense vertigo. Now the world was literally rocking beneath my feet; I couldn't even stand up.

    By the time mama arrived so that we could go gown shopping, it was hard to even get up from the couch. I had Googled a couple bridal consignment shops, but my top choice was not open on Mondays. We had to cross that off the list since I spent that Saturday and Sunday bedridden (or should I say couch-ridden?).

    That Monday, the 24th, with both Mama and MIL in tow, we headed to the second-choice consignment shop. While I had spent plenty of time on Pinterest oohing and aahing over gowns, I didn't seriously consider any because I'm the type of gal who has to try something on.

    I absolutely adored this dress but knew it was far outside my price point and would not complement my average womanly figure.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I still think it's the most beautiful dress I've ever seen.

    Before we went into the shop, both moms asked me if I would promise to try on anything they picked out. I assured them I was prepared for a full session of dress-up.

    While I did not expect I would find "the one" on my first time gown shopping, I actually lucked out! The sales lady, Becca, let us select as many dresses as we wanted to try. She was very friendly & attentive and not at all pushy. As I tried on more and more, we started developing a list of dress traits. Becca then asked us if we would wait while she checked the store's basement stock. She returned with five beautiful dresses that met all of our traits (champagne color, empire waist, sleeves/straps).

    One of them was absolutely perfect, and all of a sudden, it was like this happened:

    [​IMG]


    When I looked in the mirror, all I could think of was Princess Kate, and I couldn't speak.

    [​IMG]

    The dress doesn't look anything like Kate's -- It was more of the feeling it gave me. I felt like royalty, like I could have been walking down that red carpet, waving at the masses. And all of a sudden, it felt more real: I was getting married. I had been lucky enough to meet an amazing man who loved me, too. Someone who looked out at the world in the same way as me. Someone I could grow old with.

    In hindsight, this is the moment that bridal shops capitalize on; it's the moment when emotion becomes more powerful than reason, and cost is of little essence.

    In the original advertisement, I think the dress looks really dull, and I never would have chosen it online:
    [​IMG]

    on me:
    [​IMG]

    But my favorite part is the back of the dress.

    [​IMG]
    Please disregard that unsightly panty line! LOL

    I like that it shows my shoulder tattoo:

    [​IMG]

    My stepbrother is a professional tattoo artist, and he did this on my first-ever spring break vacation (post-college, oddly enough). I am a spiritual person, and the ocean reminds me of God -- unlimited possiblities. That sense of infinity when you gaze out at an endless ocean. I've also realized that the more grateful I am in life, the more things I have to be grateful for. It's an endless spiral, and I feel like that has been one of my biggest lessons from God. Without gratitude, I wouldn't be where I am today, and I wouldn't be marrying this amazing man. The tattoo has to show when I'm wearing my dress.

    Here is a picture from a different gal wearing the gown. She was reselling the dress online, something I also plan to do later on.

    [​IMG]

    From that same gal, here are close-up images of the detailing along the back.

    [​IMG]

    Needless to say, even at a consignment shop, this dress was more than I had wanted to spend (no more than $300). The shop was asking around $800. The owner of the shop had arrived by then, and she declared that the dress was a "Maggie Sottero" -- some name I had never heard of and (correctly) assumed was a designer.

    Using my iPhone, I found an online dress seller (direct from China) selling the same gown for just $399. I showed the owner and sales associate, and asked if they would lower their resale price to around $500. The owner wouldn't budge. MIL said we should get this dress because we knew it fit and was in good condition.

    Fortunately, I also knew about a discount from the consignment shop. On their web site, they had a 15% off coupon. I had forgotten to print it, but I pulled it up in my phone to show the owner. However, she refused to take it without a hard copy! This is a mom-and-pop style shop without any computers, so this was really surprising; it's not like she needed to turn in the coupons to corporate overheads.

    Seeing my dilemma, the owner and sales associate said I could go to the public library down the street and print it. It seems like bad business to turn away a customer and ask them to trek to the public library, register for local use, pay to print out one sheet of paper, then trek back to the store. It was a 15-minute ordeal. The librarians were annoyed and asked if I had come from "that consignment shop up the street". It seems I was not the first to trek there, and I will likely not be the last.

    As if the 15-minute ordeal wasn't enough, when we returned we found out that the owner would not accept the coupon if we wanted to do layaway payments. The 80-something-year-old owner was starting to seem like Scrooge. I tried to explain that these are financially difficult times for many people in our country, but she wasn't having it. She said that I should contact my other relatives and ask them to help pay for the dress. WOW. I would never do that. How rude!

    By now, mama was crestfallen because she wanted to get the dress for me but couldn't swing the high cost at the moment. MIL was fidgeting and looked vaguely uncomfortable; unlike mama and me, she is not used to haggling or negotiating for discounts. I was mentally debating walking out (due to the owner's less-than-friendly demeanor) but hesitant because I really loved how that dress fit me.

    I resolved the problem. I could use my $0-balance credit card for the dress. Oppa and I are savers, so I could cover the cost, and mama could pay me back (as if it was a layaway). If Oppa and I didn't have an extra savings, I wouldn't have been able to get this dress. It would have been a lost sale for the shop and a bummer for me.

    Even though I'm still happy with the dress, I get irritable recalling the experience at that consignment shop. That feeling only intensified when I went to my first-choice shop at a later date and discovered that most of the dresses were between $199 and $399. Go figure. When I complained to mama about this, she said, "Did you see your dress there?"

    I hadn't, and she said that it didn't matter then. Moreover, I'm reselling the dress, ideally for around $300, so in the end it won't have been too much of an expense. (Mind you, the original plan was to nullify the expense. Oh well.)

    What kind of bride gets her dress before she even has the ring?! Well, that wasn't the plan, but you can see how it happened. Up next... the official proposal!

     
  16. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Messages:
    89
    Yay! :banana:
     
  17. LittleKittyMarie

    LittleKittyMarie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Messages:
    903
    I am really enjoying the narrative of your journal! And I love the bunnies (as a university professor I had once proclaimed: bunnies are sacred.) Can't wait to see the ring!
     
  18. MrsSpratt

    MrsSpratt I've got a Bazooka full of Pixie Dust, and I'm not

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Messages:
    736
    I love your writing and I can't wait for more!
     
  19. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Messages:
    89


    Oppa proposes in a most surprising way (& tips on finding a wedding photographer!)

    I will be upfront and say there's nothing "Disney" about this proposal. There was no staged event, no flash mob singing, no elaborate scheme -- none of the things you'd find folks fawning over on YouTube. But it was still perfect for us.

    One day in early December 2011, Oppa said he was going to meet a friend for lunch at KFC. Of course I asked him to bring me some home afterward! I wasn't going to pass up that opportunity.

    He came home a short time later. I was on his computer in the living room and swung to face him. "You're back so early!" I said. "Did something go wrong?"

    He placed the KFC bag on the desk next to me and pulled a ring box out of his pocket. He got down on one knee, and I blurted, "You're proposing?! I get KFC AND a ring?!"

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Poor Oppa. He is never the type to be at a loss for words, and he's not normally shy. But as he stood there on one knee, his mouth opened and closed and no words came out. I kneeled down next to him and said, "Of course! You already know my answer is yes!"

    Shortly afterwards, he admitted that it had all been a ruse! He hadn't planned for lunch with his friend at all. He just needed an excuse to get to the ring shop without me knowing.

    When I told my mother, she thought it was hysterical. She calls it "The KFC Proposal," and said it was perfect for us. Now, don't be confused! We rarely eat fried chicken or go to fast-food places. They're more of a treat for us. We are definitely foodies though!

    Because I had already done the footwork, we had our engagement photo session a mere 10 days later.

    Here's my tip on finding a wedding photographer:
    One of my biggest pet peeves is people who claim to be professionals in their fields and charge an exorbitant amount of money. If someone is really talented and really knows her stuff, then by all means she should charge top dollar for her services. Unfortunately, many folks who claim to be "professionals" -- whether in photography, editing, or other fields -- are usually anything but.

    Instead of immediately turning to these "professionals," try to find local photojournalists. Many talented photojournalists work for newspapers around the country, and they're trained in not only capturing engaging spur-of-the-moment shots but also taking formal portrait shots. They will probably charge you significantly less for their services as well and offer you a full CD of your images rather than just 40 total prints, etc.

    So how do you find a local photojournalist? You can go to the National Press Photographers Association and click on the link "find a visual journalist". A list of people in your area will come up. Don't stop there. When you find someone who seems promising, copy his name and do a google search. See what newspaper photos come up by him and judge them for yourself.

    Alternatively (or additionally), you can look at which photojournalists in your area have won regional and national NPPA competitions. You can check the monthly clip contest winners archive: https://nppa.org/spotlight/20955 The only annoying thing is figuring out which region you're in because they're only mentioned by number (Region 1, Region 2, etc.).

    By doing this, we found a local photojournalist who has an impressive portfolio. She isn't charging us a pittance, but it's not a small fortune either. (I consider $1,600+ to be a small fortune, especially if you only end up with 50 prints.) As an added benefit, we had our engagement session as part of our package with her.

    [​IMG]

    Our photojournalist (PJ) did pictures around MIL's house and inside, too. She spent about two hours with us. FIL enjoys landscaping, so their backyard is phenomenal. I love the Christmas themed shots best, though. MIL really gets the home in the spirit.

    [​IMG]

    My favorite shot of all of them. It captures a very real moment in time for us and a common one at that!

    [​IMG]

    Bloopers too! Look at that long tongue!

    Up next... wedding drama llama and switching to a Disneymoon...

     
  20. Disneymoon2013

    Disneymoon2013 Dec 2013: 1st time to WDW, getting married, & Disn

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Messages:
    89
    I'm grateful that you let me know. :banana: I haven't had too many replies, so I was starting to wonder if it was worth my while. :confused3

    I'm also kind of wondering whether this should or shouldn't be in this section of the forums. I was planning a Disney wedding but canceled it, but we are planning the Disneymoon...
     
  21. pommiepup

    pommiepup Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Joining in... I feel like I'm reading a book, so amazing
     

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