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September 2013 Archive

Musings on Wedding Dress Shopping

Hello, hello! Today I'm going to talk a little bit about the search for my wedding dress…it's been, like most aspects of wedding planning, a surprise. I've been to a lot of bridal salons and I've helped numerous brides and friends hunt for their perfect gown. Now that it's my turn, I've been prepping for the shopping experience much like how I would advise my clients. 

I've been spending time on Pinterest and thumbing through a few magazines looking for gowns that catch my eye. To my surprise, I've been drawn to one style in particular! I was excited to try some of this style on. Prior to actually venturing out to the bridal salon, I recurited a small crew to assist me in shopping. In short, I asked my Mom, my sister, and my friend, Randi, who also happens to be a stylist. 

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Now, there are several schools of thought regarding the appropriate number of people to accomapny one to the bridal salon; for me, a smaller group was the best idea. However, I have some brides who bring their entire bridal party (sans groomsmen, of course) and other brides who have decided to shop solo prior to even showing anyone close to them. Other brides bring the groom–as with most decisions related to wedding planning–there's no right or wrong answer! 

When we arrived at the bridal salon I was SO EXCITED! As I browsed through the gowns (so many beautiful gowns!) I started to feel a little overwhelmed. I was finally in a bridal salon shopping for myself and overwhelmed that I was going have to pick a dress (eventually). 

Even though I knew it before I became engaged, it has become increasingly apparent how emotional and, sometimes stressful, wedding planning can be. It's a beautiful wonderful mess and I'm so happy, but it has definitely snuck up on me. It's a lot easier to plan someone else's wedding, you guys! Hah! 

Stepping into that first gown was surreal; it was definitely not my dress, but it was an amazing moment to step out in front my Mom and sister and Randi dressed as a bride. I was not in my black “wedding planner” atttire as I am at my weddings, but as the bride. I took a moment and many deep breaths. Much to my surprise, the style I thought I loved wasn't at all what I imagined on myself. I felt beautiful, but it didn't feel like me. I tried a few more in the same style on and finally, at the suggestion of the salon, I tried on a different style.

When dressing shopping, I remind my clients to be open minded to the process; what you think you want may not be what you end up with. Actually, that happens all the time! I also tell my brides to be open to the suggestion of the bridal consultant; they know their gowns and can easily place you in different styles because they know the general fit of the gowns they sell and various designers. 

When I tried on my first gown in the style I know will be “the one” I had my gown shopping “a-ha” moment. It was amazing! The dress didn't even fit me and I felt incredible in it! The shape and the fit of this style was so flattering on me and the shape was wholeheartedly endorsed by my dress shopping crew! 

I have not “said yes to the dress” yet and I doubt I will share my gown prior to my wedding (sorry! but no spoilers from this girl), but I have learned so much about who I am as a bride. And the vision I had in my head continues to evolve with each new planning experience and decision. 

Did you choose a gown that was just like the style you pictured yourself wearing or something totally different? How did dress shopping surprise you? Let me know in the comments!

Keep sparkling–

Wedding Planning: From Vision to Reality

Hello, friends! Long time, no blog…it's been a super busy week here at Katie O' Wedding and Events! Fall wedding season is in full swing and there's no sign of it slowing down. As much as I love it, it's a new experience for me this year as Nate and I are in the throws of our own wedding planning. To be honest, I'm so busy with my brides that planning our own wedding is almost an afterthought–I keep forgetting we need to make decisions!

Like a good planner, I suggested that the first thing Nate and I do (after taking some time to enjoy just being engaged) is make up our guest list. As we considered our families and friends, the list grew and grew. This is important because the size of your guest list often dictates, or at least informs, your venue decision. As I looked over our tentative guest list I was starting to realize that my top venue, the Canfield Casino (see amazing photo below), may not work for our wedding. I was starting to feel a lump in my throat, but didn't want to give up hope. I had a wedding at the Casino a few weeks ago and I asked Nate to come up during the reception to see the venue “in action” with a wedding.

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When I got home that night Nate and I discussed the Casino; Nate could tell I was so excited…but he tempered my excitement when he said, “It's an amazing space, but I don't think it's big enough.” Nate knew what I didn't want to (or wasn't prepared to) admit to myself, even though I knew he was totally right. After a day or two, the reality that the Casino would not be our wedding venue set in.  

As we travel down this road on our engagement journey, I'm starting to realize that the vision I had in my head might not be our reality…and that's totally OK. But I also realized that as much as the venue matters, what matters most is that I'm marrying my best friend and it's all going to work out just as it should. Once I had this “A-ha!” moment, my planner side kicked in and I became my own client–I love a challenge, you know! 

Did your wedding vision mesh with reality? What unexpected challenges did you encounter? Let me know in the comments!

Keep sparkling–

More of Katie's Favorite Etsy Finds!

Hey, friends! While this week's weather may have felt like summer, I have it on good authority that fall is on its way (hello 60 degrees today??)! We're so excited because fall is a super busy AND super awesome time for Katie O' Weddings and Events! So to help usher in the autumn, I've collected some of my favorite finds from around the handmade site, Etsy. The awesome thing about Etsy is that it's always changing and updating…I did an Etsy post in the spring and I'm always perusing the site for fun and unique ideas. Check out what I found below!

First, I came across this necklace and I immediately thought of Nate–he's my puzzle piece (yes a little cheesy but true). This necklace features your fingerprints, too, which makes it even more special and unique! I love it. It's from the shop rockmyworldinc and I think it's a great gift. This item can be engraved with your names or initials on the back, as well. 

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If you're looking for an awesome gift for a newly married or cohabitating couple, I LOVE the idea of a custom address stamp. Former KOWE bride, Briana, has her own Etsy shop, theyellownote, and offers several options for chic address stamps! I love how this one has a calligraphy feel to it. Awesome, job, Bri!

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Last, for the guys I really like these custom geography cufflinks! You can pick two cities of significance for the groom (or one city for the bride and one for the groom) and dlkdesigns will make these awesome map cufflinks. There are a lot of custom cufflinks on Etsy, too–if your groom is a sportsfan there were several sports teams available from other shops!

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 I could look FOREVER on Etsy–it's so easy to get sucked into that site because there is so much to look at! What have you ordered on Etsy? Let me know in the comments!

Keep sparkling–

Venue Spotlight: The Point in Albany

We're back with an awesome venue spotlight for anyone looking for a great spot for a shower, rehearsal dinner, or engagement party! I get inquires all the time from people looking for restaurants with good food, an amazing atmosphere, and enough space to hold a party. Without fail, I always recommend the The Point in Albany.

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The Point is the perfect restaurant to host your next event. It's a restaurant and bar with ample space, delicious food, and a convenient Albany location. Moreover, the owners–BM&T Management–have been in the restaurant business for over twenty years and let's just say they know how to run a good restaurant!

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In my opinion, the best aspect of the Point is that it has three separate locations within the restaurant for your event. Depending on the size of your party and your needs, odds are the Point will be able to accomodate you. Alternatively, if you're looking for a great place to go with a group of friends for dinner and you want a massive table to sit at, well, they have that, too (see above). Right up front near the bar–this table is so massive it looks like it should be in a grand hall! Sometimes it has these awesome candleabras on it with lots of candles, too.

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In addition to their creative and customizable menu, the Point has a terrific drink selection. In fact, the Blueberry Basiltini might be one of my most favorite concoctions (aside from my beloved Sparkltini, of course)–it's cruzan black cherry rum with basil simple syrup, white cranberry juice, muddled blueberries, and garnished with a basil leaf. SO. GOOD.

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They're menu is diverse with strong Italian ties; you can get filet mignon seared to perfection (see below) or their fresh ravioli of the day. I love their pizzas (especially since their bar menu is avialable till 11pm) and the seafood cakes are to die for. They have a local and always changing cheese board and awesome desserts made in-house.

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Oh, and if you're there, be sure to say hi to co-owner, Tony (a 2012 Katie O' Weddings and Events groom), and tell him I sent you!

Have you been to the Point? What do you like about it? Let me know in the comments! Oh, and a shout out to Casey Connell Photography for almost all of these amazing photos!

Keep sparkling!