Category Archives: wedding

One Year Down, many more to go

One year ago today, I married the best husband a girl could ask for.  He is patient and kind, silly and sweet, thoughtful and genuine. He builds me chicken coops and garden beds. Washes the dishes after I make a mess of the kitchen. Takes me on great adventures and spends weekends at home watching silly movies with me.  I don’t have enough words to tell you what a lucky girl I am, how blessed my life is, how amazed I am to get to share this life with such a loving man.

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Easy Canvas Prints

Recently, I was contacted by Easy Canvas Prints with the request for a link ad, in exchange for an 8×10 canvas print. Because we had just gotten our professional wedding photos back, I thought it would be a good way to see how we (and by “we” I mean Travis) liked a photo on canvas print before we spent money on a really large one.

If you managed to get through my lengthy Kodak Gallery Photobook post, you may have noted that my process is fairly simple, yet the time it takes to make decisions almost doubles once I get my sweet husband involved. I think I’m supposed to be happy he has an opinion and wants to share it, but sometimes it would be easier if he just let me do what I want. [note: He actually does let me get away with an awful lot of things, so maybe I should just be grateful for that and let him have his opinions about things like, say, our wedding photos.]

Read on for gratuitous wedding photos and see which one we chose…

Kodak Gallery Photobook

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a standard Medium Hardcover Kodak Gallery Photobook. However, we opted to upgrade to a Large photobook with extra pages and paid the difference ourselves.

Almost five months ago, I married the most amazing man.  Five months may not seem like a long time, and I’d agree with you.  It’s flown by so fast, I feel like we’ve been time traveling.  We finally received the pictures from our photographer and I figured they would sit in their beautiful case for ages before I actually got around to arranging them in a photo album.

Serendipitously (totally a word, I say so), right after we got our photo disk, I got an e-mail from Foodbuzz offering a free Kodak Gallery photobook to review, as long as I got a post up by a certain date.  Photos in hand, free photobook, AND a deadline?  The universe wanted me to get this done.

I had actually been dreading making a photobook because there are so many places you can build one, it can get pretty expensive, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing in terms of page layout and design.  I am an engineer.  We deal in straight lines and numbers. No artsy photo arrangement skills.

Continue reading to see how Kodak compensated for my left-brainness…

Wedding Recaps – Personal Touch Dining

[photos to come…]

As I mentioned, all Mount Woodson Castle events are catered by Personal Touch Dining.  One of our original thoughts when planning our wedding was to choose a venue that would allow us to bring in any caterer we wanted (we wanted Cavaillon to cater it, since we love their food and Luc’s Bistro AND they were super affordable), but this proved to be nearly impossible.  I wasn’t willing to compromise  enough on venue location and overall “feel” just to be able to bring in my own catering.  I didn’t want to have to decorate a community center rec room and I certainly wasn’t going to get married in Marina Village where it smelled like, well, a marina when you walked outside.

Please note: I completely admit to being a snob about my venue “wants” and if we had serious budget limitations for choosing a venue, I probably would have been more open. We attended a nice party in Marina Village before our wedding and, while it did smell vaguely of fish outside, the room was well-decorated and we had a lot of fun.  But I’m glad we didn’t get married there.  If YOU got married there, I’m sure it was lovely and that you also had more patience and creativity than I do about decorating a space.  We are not decorators.  We’re two engineers living together.  My improvement on Travis’ “design” of our backyard was to throw in curves and round patio areas because he had drawn everything with straight angles.  That was about all the creative input we really have.

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Happy Father’s Day

As a little girl, I may not have been planning my perfect wedding and storing ideas in my head for later, but I always knew I wanted my dad to walk me down the aisle.  I knew I wanted to get married so there would be an occasion to walk down the aisle on the arm of my dad.

My dad is my hero.  He’s also a saint.  My dad taught me how to ride a bike and how to drive a car.  He was so patient with me as I tried to parallel park, even after I caused the car battery to die (how, I’m still not sure)!  He bought me my first car and I’ve been the happy recipient of each Prius “hand-me-down”.  He sent me to college and told me he was proud of me on graduation day.

My dad lives in a house with upteen dogs and umpteen+1 cats.  But, I think he likes the cats a little – he has little containers of kitty treats within arms reach of his recliner and has been known to hunt a cat down from under a bed if I’ve been looking for one and couldn’t find it.  He has put up with years of living with me, my mom, and my sister and whatever woman drama we come with.

My dad has watched over the years as I explored boyfriend after boyfriend and he’s always been nice and polite to all of them.  Even the poor choices of mine.  He’s happy to see Travis and show him whatever new airplane/helicopter/flying thing he’s bought.

As our wedding day approached, my dad logged into our honeymoon registry and “bought” the remaining excursions and fun things we hadn’t gotten yet.  I’m actually really glad he did, because the spa massage was heavenly and the gondola ride in Venice was so fun!

On our wedding day, my dad was full of smiles.  More smiles and laughs than I’ve ever seen in my entire life, which warmed my heart and made me even happier than I was to start with.  We practiced walking down stairs, walking in step, but not our dance.  As we took the first step into the aisle, I may have been nervous enough to actually lean on his arm.  But, we made it to the end and I was handed off to my handsome groom.

We danced to Natalie Grant’s “Always be Your Baby”, a shortened version that still felt so long!  And then the rest of the night is just a whirlwind.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!  You are amazing and generous and loving, and I love you so much!

(photos by Mandi, Melissa McClure Photography)

Wedding Recaps – Mount Woodson Castle

One of the first things we did after we came back from New Zealand (which I STILL haven’t posted about, how terrible am I?) was start looking at venues.  Okay, one of the first things we did was pick a date, but 1) we technically did this on the plane ride home, 2) we later changed the date, and 3) date-picking doesn’t make for a good post.  So, we had originally picked an October 2011 date back in September 2010, giving us a little more than a year to plan a wedding.  I knew nothing of wedding planning, really, but I knew we had to get on the ball figuring out where we wanted to get married because if we wanted a popular spot it could get booked up really quickly.

Do you know how many places you can get married in San Diego?  There are, like, thousands of spots and that’s not even counting churches (and other religious institutions).  We knew we wouldn’t be getting married in a church and we knew we wanted a location where we could have the ceremony and reception. We pretty quickly ruled out a beach wedding and locations along the coast.  I know – San Diego is an ideal beach wedding city.  But, we’re just not beach people, so it wouldn’t have felt very “us”.  After I’d looked into hotels, downtown, Balboa Park, the Wild Animal Park, and wineries in Temecula, we decided to focus our search to North County Inland – mainly, close to our home in Poway.

Our initial list consisted of Rancho Bernardo Inn and Maderas Golf Club.  It wasn’t until later than I even found out about Mount Woodson Castle, and what I did find (on Bridal Insider) was not promising (cancelled contracts, lost deposits, last-minute wedding venue scrambles, etc).  But, Travis heard we could get married in a “castle” and was all over it – at the very least we had to schedule a site visit to go look.

To sum up: Rancho Bernardo Inn was actually our top contender and we got close to putting down a deposit, until we really looked at their quote.  It was just so much money!  Beautiful space, but expensive, especially when we were looking at just 75 people (and that was mainly to meet their room minimum!)  Maderas Golf Club had a slightly lower room minimum, but it was still a lot of money.  Plus, due to some scheduling snafu (on their end) our preferred wedding date had already been booked.  We went back to Mount Woodson, asked them some critical questions, braved a bridal fair to get our “coupon”, moved our wedding up 6 months, and then booked the site.

Mount Woodson was not my first choice, but it turned out to be perfect.  I’ll tell you about the catering later; Personal Touch Dining does all the catering for Mount Woodson events, since Tracy is also the property manager.  

The photo at the top of the post is one of the main reasons I ended up loving the site.  Once we made the decision to hold the ceremony inside, I was looking forward to photos with the light framed by the windows and doors. 

Our ceremony was inside (much cooler, too) and the bar was set up on this little patio right outside.  Dinner tables were set up on the lawn in front of the castle and we had patio heaters all over the place to keep people warm, but I don’t think we even needed them that night.  There’s a refurbished kids room with tables and books and toys, which I also don’t think we used (we only had 3 kids at our wedding).  We had the photobooth set up in one room and the mini donuts were stationed outside where the dinner buffet had been.  The dj was set up on this little balcony over the dance floor (which was where the ceremony was held).

Just around the corner from the castle was all this greenery – it made for beautiful pictures.

We held an early rehearsal, in case some event got booked for the Friday evening before our wedding, but it worked out well so that we had an early rehearsal dinner, which led into dessert back at our house and then an early bedtime.  

We never had any problems dealing with Mount Woodson, Tracy, or anything else having to do with the venue.  

The wood and stone were just rustic enough to give us the casual feel we were looking for, but the space lit up beautifully with all the candles our coordinator spread around.  We extended our reception an extra 2 hours and I still think I could have stayed there all night.

With the new management and all the renovations being done to the castle, I think Mount Woodson is an amazing wedding location.  It’s definitely off the beaten path from San Diego proper, but it’s not as far as Temecula.  The closest hotel is off Scripps Poway Parkway, by SR-67, but there are also hotel/motels in Poway.  I think I would also recommend having a shuttle or bus system set up for evening weddings, since the 67 can get a little tricky to drive in the dark and you want people to be safe!

Wedding Recaps – intro

In my head, I envision a nice, orderly progression of posts where I  lay out all our wedding details and vendors and writeups.  In reality, I just want to start shouting things as they enter my brain because I still feel scatterbrained.  I also want to wait until I have “real” photos to show you, because I know they are going to be amazing and beautiful and I might as well show them along with the pieces of our wedding I want to talk about.

So, here’s how I think it’s going to play out.  Long ago, I gave up writing about our wedding planning process as we went, realizing that I just didn’t have the time to sit down and do it properly.  I think now I’ll go through the main aspects as we found them/booked them/did something with them.  I’m also not going to talk about our wedding straight through (although, I could!) so there will probably be random posts sprinkled here and there.  I know – totally disorganized – just go with it.

Have I mentioned how much I loved our wedding and the days surrounding it?  It was just amazing and awesome and totally fun.