The last few months have been so busy, I have not written at all about my wedding, online or offline. Planning a wedding from afar was pretty difficult, and I looked around the blogsphere quite a bit hoping to find brides posts on what photographer they used, who did their hair, who make their cake, etc. I did not find much success. So I am going to post information about my wedding vendors in case anyone who is trying to plan a wedding in Salt Lake City or Bountiful, Utah area is in search of some good ideas. I'm going to go through the list in the order that I dealt with them.
I knew I was getting married about 5.5 months ahead of the desired wedding date (I knew in the first week of January). Since 5 1/2 months is a longer engagement than most LDS couples, I knew I would have no problem getting a large sealing room at the Salt Lake temple on any day. DH and I didn't have a specific day in mind, just a 2-week window in which we wanted to get married.
Reception location: Eldredge Manor
I chose Eldredge Manor for several reasons. I liked the idea of having a reception at my parents house, but decided against it because of all the stress and preparation (and clean up) involved. Plus then I'd have to worry about decorations and catering, and I had enough to worry about without that. I was not interested in using a church building, and so I asked my mom what some of the reception centers were around the Bountiful, Utah area. I had been to most of them at some point from growing up in the area, so I was able to narrow it down to a couple of places without going to visit. Eldredge Manor had a website--which was a big plus. Websites are SO important when planning from a distance. It was easy to find out information. While home for christmas I visited Eldredge with my mom (even before I told the groom yes, since I knew it would be my only opportunity to visit). I chose my wedding date based on their availability schedule. Then I called the temple and reserved 11:40 am on that day.
Wedding Dress vendor: Bay Area Bridal
The dress. Aaahhhh! You try finding a modest wedding dress in California. My options were (1) fly to Utah at least twice, missing work, to find a dress and have fittings, or (2) buy a strapless dress in CA and have it modified. I decided on option (2)--mostly because it was cheaper. I wasn't particularly worried about finding a dress, and had no plans to look for one for a while. But, at my mother's urging the 3rd week of January to go and look, I took my one of my fashionable roommates and tried to go to David's Bridal (the only bridal shop I was semi-familiar with). We arrived only to discover that you are supposed to have an appointment to try on dresses. How was I supposed to know that? Of course, all their appointments were full and would we like to make an appointment for another day? No, we would not. Goodbye.
So, then we crossed the street and bought sandwiches. Rachel (the fashionable roommate) suggested we look in the phone book we'd just passed for nearby bridal shops. So we did, and there was, and we called them (or rather, SHE called them for me) and we had an appointment for 30 minutes later at Bay Area Bridal, just down the street! I never would have known about BA Bridal if not for this accidental discovery. We went in, looked through dress binders pulling out the pictures for those I wanted to try, and then got started. The first few looked awful. Then I discovered a certain cut looked really good (drop waist). So the girl helping us brought out several more dresses with that cut. I tried those on, loved 2 of them, tried each of them on a couple more times, then picked one. I marvel that it took me only 2 hours to pick a wedding dress when it took my sisters 2 days.
I discovered, to my surprise, that you cannot buy wedding dresses off the rack in California like you can in Utah. They are not on the rack. There is no rack. There is one dress in each style in a random size in the store. And that's all. You have to be measured and then order the dress of your choice in your size. Did you know it takes 3-4 months for a dress you order to arrive from the maker? I did not. If you go to a wedding dress shop and say your wedding is in 3 months, they will laugh. I am SO glad I listened to my mother and went dress shopping 5 months in advance.
Tip: Casablanca dresses can be ordered with the "temple-ready" or "modest" option. My dress was strapless, and a Casablanca brand dress, so if I had known about that option then I would not have had to worry about getting a jacket made. But, alas. I did not find out until it was too late. Several girls in my singles ward did that, but I was not in the loop until after I'd already ordered the dress.
Continued in part 2...