Monday, February 21, 2011


I have been feeling lucky about this wedding planning business and all the contests I have entered are paying off!  It was just announced that I won a free copy of the book How I Planned Your Wedding as well as a $50 American Express gift card from the amazing Bridalhood!  Hurry on over to check out this great bridal blog!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Around the Web: Contests this Week

I admit that one thing I love about wedding planning is entering contests/giveaways!  As you can see by my second post here, I already won a beautiful pair of wedding shoes.  I hope to win even more things that can help us keep costs down.  Periodically, I will share with you open contests.  Some are open to friends and family of the bride to enter so if that is the case, please enter for me!  Who knows, it could be something that helps you out! Thus, without further ado, contests open this week...

Borrowed & Bleu is giving away a beautiful hand-beaded floral lace garter from 28Pshop.  There are 12 different ways to enter!

Borrowed & Bleu also posted about a free honeymoon/vacation from Just Luxe.

Emmaline Bride is giving away a fancy bowtie from Something's Hiding in Here.

The Broke-Ass Bride has giveaways every week that you are automatically signed up for if you receive the newsletter.  This week it is a cool DIY wedding invitation package.

Bride's Buddy is giving away 50 Save-the-Date cards from Etsy seller CDK Designs.

You also have the opportunity to win free wedding photography from the amazing Cengiz at Adagion Studios!

I am sure that there are more contests going on out there so feel free to share more in the comments!  And good luck if you are entering!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Location: Part 3 - Historically Important Venue Options

I've read posts by several Flagstaff area brides that claim that there aren't that many venues in the area but I beg to differ.  That is why I am posting about all sorts of venues that we have looked at, even if they are out of our price range or have already been eliminated from our list for one reason or another.  For this post, I want to highlight two venues that I really like but just won't do for us.  The first is Riordan Mansion State Historic Park.
Image Credit: Riordan Mansion

I spoke with a Park Ranger at the Northern Arizona Wedding Expo and then went and visited the facility the same day.  It is a gorgeous space and comes at an incredible price!  $200 for four hours per area (both the Veranda pictured above and the Visitor Center are available) plus $2 per person!  You are probably asking yourself right now how we could possibly say that we don't think the facility is right for us if we are trying to do this on a tight budget!  To be honest, Riordan Mansion is still in the running since it is so close to downtown Flagstaff and thus hotels.  The problem is that you can't have live music (it isn't even possible as there are only two low-power power outlets on the Veranda).  The other thing is that you have to be out by 9 PM and by out, they said that meant that everything had to be cleaned up and off the premises.  Initially, I thought this would be fine since a lot of people would be traveling from earlier time zones.  Being completely cleaned up by 9 means being done with the reception probably by 8 though and that is just too early for us to be done celebrating!  This venue would be perfect for a morning or early afternoon ceremony!

One other thing that I wanted to note with the Riordan Mansion is that I did discuss with the Park Rangers the possibility that the park would be closed due to state budget cuts.  The Arizona State Park system has already been through quite an ordeal but there is still a large deficit that needs to be dealt with.  The Rangers said that with the Arizona Centennial in 2012, they do not expect to lose funding before then.  After that, they can't say but they are advocating to keep someone on staff to do private events (such as a wedding) should the Park close to the public.

The other venue I wanted to address is the Museum of Northern Arizona.  This is a privately run facility so it is not reliant on the state government but is still susceptible to the economic issues of the state.  I would love to be able to give my money to this venue instead of to some other corporation as I really support the work that MNA does!
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Lobby of the Reception Area

I also visited this venue on the day of the Northern Arizona Wedding Expo and it is a wonderful space.  Unfortunately, they don't allow dogs anywhere on the grounds which would eliminate Mortimer as our ring bearer!  The price of the facility is more than we were hoping for as well.  It is a flat rate of $1000 for ceremony and reception on site with an charge of $25 per person.  There is also no lodging near the Museum so we would either have to provide shuttle services or make people drive themselves.  Too bad MNA won't work since they have awesome archaeological collections and dinosaurs (though it costs extra to have the museum open during the reception)!!!!!
A life-size skeletal model of Dilophosaurus

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Location: Part 2 - Venues we probably can't afford

We are determined to limit the costs of this wedding.  My goal is to do both receptions and the ceremony for under $10,000!  We'll see if we can stick to it.  Keeping the budget in mind, some venues just seem out of our price range.  One is a place that was initially my dream location: Foxboro Ranch Estates.

Image credit: Foxboro Ranch Estates

I initially found Foxboro Ranch Estates through Offbeat Bride and did some searching to find some other brides who had used the facility and blogged about it.  A few weeks ago my friends Laura and Hannah went with me to the Northern Arizona Wedding Expo and we stopped at Foxboro Ranch Estates on the way home.  A very lovely lady named Lynn showed us around and also gave us the prices.
Reservation Fee: $500
Event Fee: $1500
Cleaning/Damage Deposit: $500
Security: $250

These prices are just for the space and do not include any other vendors or discounts with other vendors. It really isn't all that much comparatively but it is a bit out of our price range.  What I loved about it was the ability to have all that space.  For the price, you can have the ceremony outside on the grounds (most people use one of the bridges) as well as an indoor and outdoor reception space (the lodge seen in the photos).  You can use the facility until midnight and because there is nothing else around, there is no sound limit.  This would be great for us as we hope to have live music (courtesy of James's friends).  The location has few flaws but I have managed to talk myself out of disappointment by noting that we would really like to have a venue with lodging on site.  This is important as everyone would have to travel to the wedding venue and we will be serving alcohol and we don't want to worry about anyone driving.  I am also concerned that much of the land is set to be built on and I am worried that there will be construction equipment when we are there or that the landscape will look different than what I can now see and imagine.

A similarly priced venue that we also considered was The Arboretum at Flagstaff.  I have not actually been to this location but the pictures are beautiful!

Rental of the garden space for a ceremony and the Walter Reichardt House for the reception starts at $2400.  The problem with this venue however is that you must be done by 9 PM and there is no lodging close by.  These two things combined with the price make it a beautiful location, but not the one for us.  We are still searching though!!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Location: Part 1 - An Arizona Wedding

James and I are planning on getting married in the summer of 2012 in northern Arizona (think Flagstaff area).  Since we are both from the midwest (Ohio/Michigan area) this may seem strange.  It wasn't my idea actually but was something that James came up with all on his own.  And I heard about it secondhand.  As far as I know, it goes back to August of 2008 when we returned to Ohio for my college roommate (and now bridemaid!) Tara's wedding.  I was a bridesmaid in her wedding (sidenote: thank you for that honor, Tara and AJ!) which meant that James spent most of the day of the wedding hanging out with our friend Liz.  It was to Liz that he mentioned having a destination type wedding in Northern Arizona.  She told me what he said and then James and I talked about it (though in broad terms since we still weren't ready to actually plan a wedding) and the idea has sort of stuck.  Having gone back to Ohio for 2 other college friend's weddings since (one being my other college roommate and now bridesmaid Jilko!), the concept became more appealing.  James and I are both opinionated and stubborn people and we both have strong ideas about what we want out of the wedding.  Also, while we often complain about not liking Phoenix, we love the scenery around Arizona, especially the beautiful forests around Flagstaff.  Arizona is also where James and I adopted Mortimer (our dachshund and ring bearer) and where we became a family.  We've been together almost 7 years and more than half of that has now been in Arizona and by the time of the wedding, it will be closer to 2/3 of our relationship spent here.  

Logistically we know that an Arizona wedding will be inconvenient for some people.  However, most of our friends have spread out across the country and while most of my family lives in Ohio, James' family lives in Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina, Georgia, California, and Arizona.  A lot of people we want to have at the wedding would have to travel no matter where it was located.  We've also established a wonderful network of people here in Arizona.  Two of my girlfriends from grad school (shout out to Andrea and Laura) will also be serving as bridesmaids and I have a number of other friends that I will be calling on to help with planning details.  James has also become involved in the local music scene which means cheap (and possibly free) wedding entertainment!

We are planning on hosting a second reception in central Ohio for family and friends that cannot make it to the Arizona wedding.  I love this idea because I can wear my dress more than once and I don't have to only pick one invitation or one favor...we can have different ones for the different receptions!  What more could a girl want!  

So that's all for now.  The next few posts will focus on our hunt for a wedding venue!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I was going to orient the first real post around our location options but things are a bit crazy right now and this came up first!  I have entered a ton of bridal giveaways and I won one!  This one was from Last Minute Bride, a wedding shop based in Los Angeles.  I won an awesome pair of shoes from Jen + Kim for Coloriffics.

Check out Last Minute Bride's post announcing my win here!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Thank you for joining us in our wedding journey!  Here we will be posting our wedding ideas as well as sharing ideas that we can't incorporate but love!  Enjoy!