I am so in love with the setting of this gorgeous California wedding from Meagan Ramirez of the Collective Photographers. Pops of purple and orange paired with vintage details, such as mercury glass and burlap, add so much charm to the rustic locale. Add in whimsical touches (cotton candy and a cappuccino bar!) and you have one heck of a party! The bride, Melissa, is here to share her planning insight with us:
What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?
The person who helped me the most from the beginning was definitely my mom. She knows what kind of styles I like and she helped focused my ideas so it wouldn’t look so hodgepodge because I like so many different styles and the only for sure thing I knew is that I wanted the entire event to be held outdoors. Another big help was Pinterest. I was able to capture things I loved about other events and figured out a way to incorporate them into my wedding but trying to make them my own. From searching wedding blogs, Pinterest, magazines I had a list of must haves such as a vintage furniture seating area. My mom had so much fun finding furniture and refinishing it, as well as props that she is now starting her own vintage rental business called Weathered Nest. The other person who was a big help was my month of wedding coordinator. Alex was able to bring my vision to life on the big day – and she had a lot to set-up (a U-haul full of stuff! We did a lot ourselves, such as vintage rentals, decorations, flowers, center pieces etc…)
What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?
Referrals, location and then cost. I was lucky enough to know the two most important people in my opinion, the wedding coordinator, Alex Doudian, from Enchanted Events and Design: I met Alex through a board-gaming group. So you know if they are offering their services and you are going to see them again after the wedding they will be awesome, and she definitely was. I did the research and looked at her past events, started following her blog, and loved everything she did, so I knew I would be in good hands.
And the photographer: I was referred to Megan Ramirez from Megan Ramirez Photography through one of my best friends, whom I have known since Jr. High, Wendy Ramos- Gonzalez. Wendy is also a photographer and has worked with Megan previously and used Megan for her own wedding, so I knew I would be in good hands. She was awesome, easy to talk to and understood what it was I wanted.
For our Charter bus rental to shuttle guests from the hotel to the venue we went with our friend Kian’s family company, Starline Tours, and he was on top of it checking with the appropriate office to make sure everything was set and ready to go. For our bathroom rental, my uncle worked for the company and delivered them for us. It made things less stressful knowing a few of the people you were going to work with, and I booked my venue over a year in advance so I was able to get to know them. Most of the other vendors, I scoped out on my own, I read what I could, and just talked to them over the phone. I went off their vibe, and if I didn’t feel like this person was someone I would like to be friends with, I looked for others. Location was also a big factor. I found a few vendors who were willing to travel far, but with Southern CA traffic distance may be a problem, so I try to stay very local with my vendors.
What was your inspiration for your wedding details and/or design?
Mercury Glass! I love mercury glass, I love it so much. All my Christmas tree ornaments for the past five years have been Mercury Glass and I knew I wanted to have the look of it in my wedding. Lucky for me the reproduction stuff was popular and I was able to easily find vessels for my center pieces, and make clear glass look like Mercury glass with mirror paint. Burlap was another must have for the wedding, and I was able to find the stuff for cheap on Craigslist another great resource for DIY brides. I found table runners and an aisle runner already trimmed with lace for a steal from an ad on Craigslist. But do your research- I found it was cheaper to buy some items rather than rent but some things were cheaper to rent then buy. The same goes for DIY- most times you can find your DIY item already made and cheaper in cost than doing it yourself, so just keep factors like this in mind. It saves you money in the long run. Overall I knew I wanted my wedding to have a vintage feel and went with: mercury glass, burlap, lace, bird cages, vintage furniture and vintage sheet music.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding?
I had two favorites when it came to vendor provided details: The first had to have been the cappuccino bar. I love espresso I need it daily and for anyone who knows me well knows that I live for the stuff, and if they ever come over to my house they will always be offered a Latte. That was the one thing I knew I had to have at my wedding was an espresso bar, and it was a big hit. They were able to do all the fancy flavored drinks, like vanilla, white chocolate, caramel, etc.. and they had hot chocolate.
The second favorite thing, and I think it was a necessity was the late night tacos. My event started at 4 and ended at midnight with dinner being served at 6:30 so I knew with all the dancing and drinking (open bar) people were going to want more food later on. So we hired a Taco Man to come at 9pm and they stayed until 11:30. People loved it and even took goodie bags of tacos home.
My favorite DIY project was our table letters (instead of numbers). We covered bird shaped cutouts with vintage sheet music and used purple glittery sticker letters- it was so easy and fun to do, and I think it had a good impact on the overall theme.
What is your best piece of advice for other brides?
Have fun and use the resources you have. I’m a project manager so I created timelines, tasks lists, inventory lists, vendor contacts lists, vendor research lists showing pricing and services for the price, and whatever else I needed. For me this made sense and was easy to do, since I do it on a daily basis but I know for others this may sound tedious or like to much work. I suggest to find a system that works for you when it comes to organization or someone. It helps not letting things fall through the cracks (it also helps save money so you are not making purchases that are not necessary or you end up not using) and you will be less stress on the big day. I hired my coordinator for the month of since I had all the major things planned, and I was able to hand over everything to her so she could follow-up with vendors and make sure everything was on track and she helped me think of things I didn’t think of since I am not a wedding planner and she was able to procure those vendors or items for me. My photographer couldn’t believe how relaxed I was. I was also able to save a lot of money doing things myself (my mom is one crafty lady) and asking family and friends for help and discounts if they had a service I wanted to use.
Spreadsheets and timelines and lists…oh, my! Melissa sounds like one organized lady and it obviously paid off and allowed her to relax. Keeping plans in order – either by yourself or through a coordinator/planner – equals less stress for your wedding. How are you staying organized for your big day? I’d love to hear your tips!