Less than 6 months out

Ok, I know everyone says it but seriously, time flies. One day you have 14 months to plan your wedding and then pow you're less than 6 months out. Crazy if you ask me. We're now at the planning stage where things could potentially get stressful, all the moving parts are coming together and we need to make sure it all blends well and makes for a great day. I am 100% a goal setter and I need goals/lists/checkboxes listed out in order for me to get things done. So with less than 6 months to go, I vow to:


How was the final 6 months of planning for you? What were some of your major accomplishments?

Best of {Trends}

I'm not sure how or when trends start but in the wedding industry, like fashion, there's definitely trends that come and go. There are some trends that are really "in" right now that I absolutely love (and some that just miss the boat). But the ones I especially love appear effortless but with class and sophistication oozing out of them. I've included some of my very favorite "trends" below from low maintenance succulents and herb boutonnieres and bouquets to dirty iced cakes that scream "dig in." Then there's tablescapes with lace for a dreamy romantic feel or chevron table runners with the perfect twist of spunk. And last but certainly not least, the neutral mis-matched bridesmaid dresses, perhaps my favorite trend of all. If I could, I might try squeezing each of these trends in somewhere in the day but I'll refrain. In the meantime, I'll narrow down which ones are the most appropriate for us and match the romantic and fun wedding we've been planning.

What are some of your favorite trends? Are you including any of these in your plans?

Deciding on Family Style

One of the first vendors we booked after securing our wedding venue, was our caterer. We knew that food would be a huge chunk out of the budget so we wanted to accomplish this early and have the chance to talk to and price multiple vendors. After speaking and receiving quotes from nine different caterers in the area we finally decided on our caterer. As you can imagine, lots of different suggestions were made and a large variety of menus were presented. My fiance and I have only been to weddings that had either a buffet or a plated dinner so we figured those would be our two options. Well much to our surprise, caterers started suggesting family style as a great balance between a buffet and plated dinner. Since many of them have been hired for weddings at our venue, they said it was one of their preferred ways to serve at our venue for logistical purposes. We were intrigued. After much consideration and speaking with people who have attended family style weddings, we decided to take a chance. We still haven't been to a wedding with service this way but we are excited to see it unfold on our big day.

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering

I found very few resources online on the benefits of family style versus plated or buffet so I thought I'd share a few pro and cons that were shared with me from the nine caterers we spoke to.


Family style dinners typically fall cost wise between plated and buffet

People eat at relatively the same time

It creates an atmosphere of sharing and friendliness

People can still choose what they'd like and how much of each


Pricier than the buffet option

Not always the chef's favorite way to plate

For guests with unique food restrictions, they still may need their own plate

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering

Saving Our Date

Ohh…the Save the Dates. Before getting engaged I always loved receiving couples' Save the Dates in the mail. I love stationary and seeing what other couples’ chose to represent themselves and their future wedding was so fun and exciting! Well then it was time for us to figure out Save the Dates and boy, did the fun kind of get lost in the shuffle. First finding the style was an issue in itself, my fiance and I just couldn’t agree. Then it was the guest list and finally the addressing, stamping, labeling, and sealing of 115 envelopes is where I almost lost it. Those cute, exciting announcements almost caused a mini meltdown. Especially when I was on my last page of labels and I accidentally printed the wrong addresses. Ugh anyways, enough with my rant. Since I love stationary, I looked at lots of options from Internet stores, brick and mortar, and DIY options. We ended up choosing something from PaperSource which we both agreed fit our style the best. Here are a few of my very favorites that we didn't end up choosing:

Source: Pretty Chic SF via Etsy

Source: Ladyfingers Letterpress

Source: Minted

Destined to be Destination

As soon as we got engaged, our planning began. I'm not talking a week later or even a few days, after the happy tears dried, I was off to the races. We started with thinking of where we wanted the wedding to take place. We both knew immediately that we wouldn't hold it in our hometown of San Jose or our current city of San Francisco. I'm not really sure why this was the case since both cities have beautiful wedding venues; we just knew we wanted to get away.

It was quickly narrowed down to three locations in California - Lake Tahoe, the San Luis Obispo area, or Sonoma which all have very special meanings to us.

The San Luis Obispo area quickly became the front runner. We went to college there, it holds special memories for us and a lot of our friends, and it's a beautiful area on the Central Coast that is sometimes overlooked. Once we nailed down the location, the venue was next. The area is known for some amazing ranches, wineries, and beach venues which gave us a lot to work with.

Holland Ranch

Source: Bailey Entertainment

Santa Margarita Ranch

 Source: Rustic Bride

Hammersky Vineyards

Source: Touring and Tasting

Stillwaters Vineyards

Source: I do Venues

Spanish Oaks Ranch

Source: Logan Cole Photography

We ended up choosing the very first venue we looked at (the one directly above this post). The outdoor space is beautiful, the entrance to the ranch is grand, had plenty of space our headcount, and the venue is 100% DIY (one of my favorite parts although is makes for much more time and work). I look forward to embracing the natural beauty while including our perfect wedding details too.

{Real Brides} Courtney: Romance and Fun

Hi Engaged and Inspired Readers! I am so excited to be here. I've been a long time reader and now that I'm planning my own wedding I knew I needed to share my planning journey with the blogging community.

I'll be here every Tuesday documenting the joys of being an engaged lady and planning a semi-destination wedding. I thought I would share a little bit about myself and my fiancé to get us acquainted..I hope you don't mind.
Bride: Courtney
Groom: Patrick (Pat)
Age: 26
Occupation: Online Community Manager
Wedding Date: June 22, 2013
Venue: Spanish Oaks Ranch
Planner: Bride and Davia Lee Events

About us:
Pat and I are both San Francisco Bay Area natives, growing up in San Jose. We met our freshman year of high school and continued to become close friends as the years went by. We started dating our junior year of high school and have been together ever since.

I'll be the first admit that I am one of those girls that has dreamed about their wedding from a young age. I've joined TheKnot.com when I was 19, saved wedding inspiration images, and started reading wedding blogs WAY before I was engaged. So sue me, it's true. We all have to have a hobby, right? ;)

Currently, Pat and I live in San Francisco and will be planning our wedding Santa Margarita as out-of-towners. We will be getting married and having our reception at the beautiful Spanish Oaks Ranch.

I look forward to being back next week when I share a little bit about why we chose to do a destination wedding  and why Santa Margarita, CA. And of course, in the meantime find me on Pinterest, I'd love to connect!

{E&I Bride} Courtney

Our readers really are the best. I mean come on, look at what one of our long time readers is putting together for her big wedding day! Good news is that she will be here each week blogging her journey to I Do! Introducing Courtney, our newest 2013 bride. She is tying the knot at the gorgeous Spanish Oaks Ranch on June 22,2013. Check out her Pinterest board for more inspiration from her bing day.

These two will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary 2 months before they tie the knot. How sweet is that?

Leave our girl some love and make sure to join us every Tuesday for her posts!