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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Say Yes to the Dress

I posted here about THE dress, which I found back at the end of September (while I was home for our engagement party).  I realized though that I never posted about my dress shopping experience.  So, here it goes.

  After getting engaged, I pictured my dress shopping experience as many future brides probably do.   I imagined my mom, my sisters and my bridesmaids there with me.  Then when I stopped daydreaming about going dress shopping and really thought about it, I was pretty bummed out.  Just over a year ago we moved out to Michigan for my fiancé's work, which meant leaving all of our friends and family.  What that meant for me now?  Nobody to go dress shopping with.  

However, my awesome Maid of Honor pointed out that we were all going to be in Maryland for a few days for the engagement party and we could do shopping then.  I don't know how I didn't think of that.  Well I guess that's why she's my Maid of Honor.  I immediately began working out a schedule with my family and bridesmaids immediately and calling around to places in the area.  

After making some appointments I realized that I was going to have a very limited amount of time for dress shopping (I'd only be in town for 2 days and one day was dedicated to the engagement party).  With that in mind I got onto Pinterest, printed out a few pictures of dresses that I liked, and headed over to David's Bridal.  I decided to take a solo trip while in Michigan to get a better idea of what was out there, what I liked, etc.  I figured that would make things easier when I went along with everyone else.  I didn't like most of the dresses that I tried on that day.  Here's one that I did like and I have the saleswoman take a picture of.  In fact, at this point I was even considering that this was THE one.  So glad that I moved past that!

After this trip the dress shopping was put on hold until I was back in Maryland about 3 weeks later.  As I said in my previous post I had 2 appointments - the first was at David's Bridal and the second was at Alfred Angelo's (I had discovered their Disney Princess collection).  

And so the adventure at David's Bridal begins......

 I tried on somewhere between 15 and 20 dresses there.  I found many myself that I wanted to try on and the saleswoman was also extremely helpful in picking out some dresses based on pictures that I had brought in.  Without further ado, here are a few of the highlights.

 Dress #1:  I liked the general idea of this dress, but it jut wan't quite right.

Dress #2: This dress was similar to the dress that I found at the David's Bridal dress back in Michigan.  I did not like this dress at all.  Somehow in just 3 weeks I had done a complete 180 in regards to what I wanted in my wedding dress.

Dress #3:  I really liked this one for some reason.  I think it was because it was so different.  

Dress #4: I hated this one, I couldn't get out of it fast enough.  My MOH insisted she get a picture.  You can't tell in this picture, but the skirt is very.....interesting.  There are feathers and sequins on it.

 More of dress #3.  I had to try it on again.  Everyone really liked it.  This was again possibly THE dress, but still not sure.  Again, I'm glad this is not where it ended.

After 2 hours at David's Bridal we went across the street to Alfred Angelos.  The saleswoman there (who we later found out was the manager of the store) was not so great at, well, sales.  I showed her pictures of the dresses that I had brought with me and she told me that I wouldn't like any of their dresses.  Nobody knew what to say, we all just stared at each other confirming that none of us could believe she had said that.  I finally convinced her to get me a few dresses to try on, explaining that I wouldn't know if I liked it until I tried them on.  In particular, I was interested in their Disney collection.  Here it is....

 The first 3 didn't work out so well.  I believe that they were Jasmine, Ariel, and Rapunzel.  The worst was Ariel (the second row), the skirt actually looked like pieces of seaweed.

But then, I tried on the Belle Platinum dress and I knew right away that I had found it!

 I'm so happy to have found the dress.  I haven't ordered it yet, but plan to soon.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Franklin Plaza Rave

In my post yesterday, I talked a little bit about the history of the Franklin Plaza, but I wanted to add to my reception hall rant.  Aside from the building itself, the people at the plaza are phenomenal.  We have been closely working with Joe before signing our contract.  As I said earlier, our wedding will be on a Sunday and we are planning on having 110 guests.  Our all inclusive price (tax, tip, etc.) is $11,000, coming out to exactly $100 per person.  And, since we are not 100% on the number of guests, if we go under the planned 110 guests, Joe has offered to throw in something extra.

I guess I should explain what we get for $11,000.  First, that includes our ceremony costs (we will be having our ceremony there as well).  That means the set-up and break-down of the ceremony, flowers for the ceremony, the podium, stands for the unity candles - all included.  Next, after our ceremony downstairs, we will head upstairs to a selection of 15 horderves (8 of our own selection and 7 of the houses picks).  Also, the house will provide music for the 1 1/2 hour long cocktail hour (that means less money on a DJ).  Oh, and of course, full open bar.

After cocktail hour then its time for dinner.  We start with a champagne toast, followed by a choice of appetizer, choice of salad,  and a choice of 3 entrée selections.  Aside from the 3 entrée selections there is awesome a fantastic selection for vegetarians and vegans.  We just have them call and talk to Joe and they will have a choice of 4 vegetarian and/or vegan entrées.  I don't think we even have any vegetarian or vegan friend or family, but I love that they aren't limited to just one dish, they get a variety just like everyone else and at no extra cost.  Also, the Franklin Plaza provides a wide range of options for their horderves, appetizers, salads, and entrees.  However, if we want something off the list they can do it, again at no extra charge.  How awesome is that?

Also, they will do speciality meals for our immediate family members (bride, groom, and our parents).  If one of use wants a special appetizer, salad, entree, etc. they will make it just for us!  Of course, you guessed it, this is all done at no extra charge.  Oh an did I mention that they feed all of your wedding professionals for free?

Back to the reception, following our entrees there will be our choice of dessert served with coffee and tea.  And if we want our guests to have a choice of two deserts, we can.  They will make their desert selection when they select their entree.  Finally, because I love hot chocolate, I asked Joe if we could add that in with dessert.  Of course, Joe said it was no problem.  In fact, he is now throwing in hot chocolate, cappuccino  espresso  and cordials all at no extra cost.  Oh, we are also have open bar the whole time.

OK.  I promise the rant is almost over.  At our fist meeting, Joe repeatedly told us to make sure that we ask him before we buy anything because they might have it.  For example, we our doing a cupcake "cake" - well they have the stands for it.  We are considering a candy bar - they have the variety of containers for it.  Toiletry baskets for the bathrooms - they have the baskets.  Centrepieces   They have gorgeous candelabras already included.  And for any of those extras Joe said all we have to do is bring what we want added (i.e. the cupcakes, candy, toiletries, etc.) and they will set all of it up for us at no extra cost.  Oh, it also turns out that they have dark purple napkins that perfectly match our wedding color!

Well, if you haven't already figured it out, I am obsessed with our venue.  I couldn't be happier with our decision.  We were able to get everything that we wanted and much, much more for less than we had budgeted.  If you have any questions about the Franklin Plaza please feel free to ask.

So, what about any of you ladies?  What do you love about your venue?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reception Hall

We finalized our reception hall decision today.  We visited the Franklin Plaza to meet with Joe, ask our final questions, and SIGN OUR CONTRACT!  It's finally official.  We will be getting married at the Franklin Plaza on September 29, 2013.  Just 314 days to go.

When we first started venue hunting and called the Franklin Plaza (one of our top picks prior to visiting) we were upset to hear that there was a 200 person minimum and that they didn't have any more Saturdays available in September.  However, we decided to visit anyway and we   are both very glad that we did.

Fortunately, things just worked themselves out.  We decided to go with a Sunday in September.  This meant a much lower minimum and more freedom to do exactly what we want.  Since we will be there on a Sunday, we will be the only wedding that day so we can choose any time of day that we want.  That also means that we can be there whenever we want for pictures that day!

Now, to talk a little bit about the Franklin Plaza.   First, the building is absolutely gorgeous, both inside and out.  This beautiful building, built in 1833 and restored in 1992, was a great financial institution located right in down-town Troy, NY.  Now known as the Franklin Plaza Ballroom, this building has been the site of wedding receptions and ceremonies for the past 30 years.  For a quick history lesson, the original Monitor Room (now used as the gift room) has been preserved because of its unique history.  In that very room the plans and financing for the Civil War ship, the "Monitor", were carried out. The original bank vault now serves as a coat check (and a great spot to grab some pictures) and the pink marble bank teller's counter serves an elegant bar.