Champion December 2017

Earias' Pro BAM: a Christmas Wedding in Sonoma (Pic and Advice Heavy - VENDORS AND COST BREAKDOWN IN COMMENTS)

earias, on March 17, 2018 at 9:02 PM

Posted in Community Conversations 71

DESCRIPTION OF THE WEEKEND AND GENERAL ADVICE Friday, the day before the wedding, I woke up with a cold. Fortunately my excitement for the wedding helped me keep my energy up, but my throat was pretty sore and my nose was a little stuffy. We arrived in Sonoma at the Fairmont around 2:30 p.m. and...


Friday, the day before the wedding, I woke up with a cold. Fortunately my excitement for the wedding helped me keep my energy up, but my throat was pretty sore and my nose was a little stuffy. We arrived in Sonoma at the Fairmont around 2:30 p.m. and were pleasantly surprised to be given the honeymoon suite for both nights. I had initially thought that I wanted to sleep in separate rooms the night before the wedding, but after reading about other couples here on WW spending the night together, I really liked that idea and am glad we did it. ADVICE: if you are staying in a hotel for your wedding, I recommend sleeping in the same room as your FH. It not only helps save money, but you can use this time to calm each other down and enjoy spending this alone time together, especially if your guests are also staying at the hotel.

We had our rehearsal Friday evening at the church with the wedding party, and then met everyone else at the hotel lobby to walk over to the BBQ place next to the hotel for our welcome dinner. We had a casual, relaxed dinner because I wanted something different from the formal dinner we had planned for the wedding. ADVICE: the rehearsal/welcome dinner doesn’t need to be expensive or formal, but it is nice to kickstart the weekend with good food and booze. There were a lot of people who didn’t know other people and seemed a bit awkward/tongue-tied initially, but as the night got later, people began relaxing and having a good time which carried over into the wedding reception the next night. For a small guest list of 40, this really was noticeable.

Saturday morning: WEDDING DAY! The Fairmont had a bridal suite where my girls and I got ready. It had salon chairs and lots of natural light for makeup. We were given our own food server who prepared a beautiful breakfast spread with coffees, teas, juices and mimosas. Later we were served a tray of sandwiches and champagne for lunch. The suite had a private patio that had a grassy area and pathway that was perfect for the pictures we took with the wedding party and VIPs. ADVICE: Make sure your wedding party has plenty of food and drinks while getting ready. My DH and his GM didn’t get the same spread as me, so I had my DOC take food and beverages to their room.

FIRST LOOK: We initially weren’t going to do a first look because my DH wanted his first time to see me as I walked down the aisle. But as we discussed the timeline and our desire that we really wanted to join cocktail hour, we thought it made sense. Plus, my DH has extreme social anxiety so was really worried how he would handle being in front of people during the ceremony. Seeing each other beforehand helped alleviate some of his anxiety and calmed his nerves, and didn’t take away from the special moment of seeing me walk down the aisle. He still teared up when I came down the aisle. ADVICE: I highly recommend having a first look for the reasons described above, especially if either of you have anxiety.

The day exceeded my expectations. Even though my cold was worse, I was so happy and excited that it didn’t get me down. I drank hot tea and took Advil during the day so that also helped. The only real bummer was that I couldn’t really enjoy the open bar. I had a little wine and some champagne but that was about it. The rest of my guests really enjoyed themselves so that was all that mattered.

When we planned this wedding, our number one priority was our guests’ experience. We already knew that we were asking a lot of our guests to spend Christmas weekend with us in a location 1.5-2 hours away. As a result, we wanted to pay for their accommodations for Friday and Saturday night, give them an amazing dinner, top shelf open bar, live music, lots of food all weekend including a big brunch the morning after the wedding, and make them feel like their every need was considered.

Some extra touches to make our guests feel pampered: More apps at cocktail hour than our venue usually served: 4 different passed apps and 3 different cheese/charcuterie stations for cocktail hour; a firepit with Adirondack chairs and lumbar pillows; S’mores, hot chocolate and cider bar, grilled cheese sandwiches as a late night snack, a photo booth, and personalized ornaments that served as escort cards. ADVICE: Along the way, I would ask myself what I would want to see or experience as a guest.

FIRST DANCE: My DH has extreme social anxiety and wasn’t sure he felt comfortable doing a first dance where everyone watched him. We decided to leave this decision until after dinner was over to see how he felt and had the DOC and bandleader on standby regarding this decision. We did it and came up with a compromise where we danced the first 30 seconds and then had the bandleader invite everyone to join us. This was one of my favorite memories from the wedding. ADVICE: If either of you have anxiety about everyone watching you dance, only dance 30 seconds alone and then have everyone join you.

LAST DANCE: I requested the last song of the night be “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and just like the First Dance, we had everyone join us on the dance floor where it was a perfect way to end a beautiful day with lots of love. There weren’t many dry eyes when it was over.

GENERAL ADVICE: Even though this wedding was as close to perfect as possible, things still went wrong. I was sick. I ran behind with getting ready but fortunately had given my photographer a detailed “must have” shot list so she was able to get all the required shots in the time allotted. I forgot to get my ring bearer a boutonniere. My flower girls were supposed to wear ivory but their grandmother made their dresses in white. When I gave my “welcome toast” I forgot to actually offer a “toast.” My bustle ripped and we had to use the safety pins I put in the ladies’ bathroom basket to pin the train, but I still shredded the hem of my train by the end of the night. As seen, something will go wrong, but don’t even think twice about these things. Let the love and happiness from your new spouse and loved ones be your focus and nothing else will matter. Also: I learned this from another bride on WW, you and your girls should carry your bouquets “bush to bush.” This way the bouquets don’t cover your dresses and make for better pictures.

BEST ADVICE: Hire a wedding planner/DOC. For me, this was all about how much my peace of mind was worth. We all want to have the perfect, stress-free wedding day, but without having a DOC to make that happen for you that vision probably won’t become a reality. My DH and I made sure to take care of all our guests, and she made sure to take care of us.



Bridal Clutch - Etsy shop LeelaPursecfb_912484.jpgBenjamin Adams "Princess Catherine" Wedding Shoescfb_912486.jpgCustom Made Ring Box - Etsy shop FullFramescfb_912488.jpgThe wedding bands from Jaredcfb_912490.jpgCustom Designed Invitation Suite - Etsy shop PrettyLilNotescfb_912492.jpgCustom Made Wedding Dress by Old Country Tailor and wedding hanger from Etsy shop hangersbymaecfb_912494.jpgWedding jewelry: Bracelet from JC Penney; Earrings from Nordstomcfb_912496.jpgCustom Made Wedding Veil by Old Country Tailorcfb_912498.jpgGetting readycfb_912500.jpgVictoria's Secret Christmas Plaid PJscfb_912502.jpg.....cfb_912504.jpgHelp with the dresscfb_912506.jpg.....cfb_912508.jpgPutting on the earringscfb_912510.jpgPutting on the braceletcfb_912512.jpgPutting on the shoescfb_912514.jpg.....cfb_912516.jpgPutting on the veilcfb_912518.jpg.....cfb_912520.jpgThe full bridal lookcfb_912522.jpg

Walking to meet DH for the First Lookcfb_912528.jpg.....cfb_912530.jpg.....cfb_912532.jpgI loved his reaction!cfb_912534.jpg.....cfb_912536.jpg.....cfb_912538.jpg.....cfb_912540.jpg.....cfb_912542.jpgOn our way to meet the Wedding Party and his familycfb_912544.jpg.....cfb_912546.jpg

DH's mom pinning his boutonnierecfb_912548.jpg.....cfb_912550.jpgCorsage for his daughtercfb_912552.jpg.....cfb_912554.jpgMy new parentscfb_912556.jpgDH's brothercfb_912558.jpgI just advised the girls to keep their bouquets "bush to bush" - got quite the laugh!cfb_912560.jpg.....cfb_912562.jpgMy biological father's locket he had of my brother and me when he died. I was 6 last time we saw each other.cfb_912564.jpgMy bridesmaidscfb_912566.jpg.....cfb_912568.jpgMy adorable flower girls and ring bearercfb_912570.jpgTime to drive to the church for the ceremonycfb_912572.jpg

The church before the ceremonycfb_912588.jpgThe garland that served 2 purposes: ceremony decor and reception centerpiecescfb_912590.jpgChristmas tissues for those happy tearscfb_912592.jpgYoungest flower girl escorted ring bearer carrying sign "Here Comes the Bride"cfb_912594.jpgEven though we did a First Look, DH still cried when he saw me walk down the aislecfb_912596.jpgHere Comes the Bridecfb_912598.jpg.....cfb_912600.jpgOur minister was very interactive with the guestscfb_912602.jpgThe Blessing of the Rings - Violin/Cello Duet of The Prayercfb_912604.jpg.....cfb_912606.jpgWe began the reverse unity candle lighting - Cello solo of O Holy Nightcfb_912608.jpg.....cfb_912610.jpg.....cfb_912612.jpgGroup shot of all our guests after the ceremony outside the churchcfb_912614.jpgTime to drive back to the Fairmont to join our guests for the reception. We loved this '47 Packard and enjoyed a little alone time as Mr. and Mrs. with some champagne on the drive back.cfb_912616.jpg

Vintage stole from Etsy shop LaModeVoguecfb_912628.jpg.....cfb_912630.jpgOne of my favoritescfb_912632.jpgReady to join cocktail hourcfb_912634.jpgAttendants greeted our guests with champagne as they arrived for the cocktail hour/receptioncfb_912636.jpgAdirondack chairs and blankets around the firepitcfb_912638.jpgYummy appscfb_912640.jpgPassed champagnecfb_912642.jpgOur Welcome Sign - Etsy shop TheRusticEarthcfb_912644.jpgSelfie!cfb_912646.jpgCool pic of friend taking a pic of me with my coworkerscfb_912648.jpgI met these girls here on WW!cfb_912650.jpg

Personalized Ornaments that served as favors and escort cards - Etsy shop TpcDesignStudiocfb_912656.jpgPlace settingcfb_912658.jpg"Day of" paper custom designed - Etsy shop PrettyLilNotescfb_912660.jpgCandy bags - Etsy shop MyCosyShopcfb_912662.jpg.....cfb_912664.jpg.....cfb_912666.jpg.....cfb_912668.jpg.....cfb_912670.jpgHot Chocolate and Cider Barcfb_912672.jpgVintage reindeer cake topper - Etsy shop MoonFacescfb_912674.jpgBlankets (Purchased from Walmart after Christmas last year - on clearance!)cfb_912676.jpgOur card box - exact replica of our house - Etsy shop mulberrylanefolkartcfb_912678.jpg.....cfb_912680.jpgGuest Tree - Etsy shop bleudetoi (DH DIY'ed the frame)cfb_912682.jpgA small memorial to my mom who passed away last January and one of our e-picscfb_912684.jpgOur ringscfb_912686.jpg

The beautiful Christmas treecfb_912688.jpgOverview of the roomcfb_912690.jpgSweetheart tablecfb_912692.jpgGingerbread sponge cake with eggnog buttercream icing - semi-nakedcfb_912694.jpgGarlands from the ceremonycfb_912696.jpg.....cfb_912698.jpgCustom reindeer used as table number/sign holders - Etsy shop TinyTaxidermyDesignscfb_912700.jpgEscort "card" display - ornaments arranged alphabeticallycfb_912702.jpgNo grand entrancecfb_912704.jpgDinner band performed Rat Pack and jazz tunescfb_912706.jpgMy welcome toast on behalf of DH and me - I forgot my champagne glass and forgot to actually "toast"cfb_912708.jpgCutting the cakecfb_912710.jpgCandy Bar - a variety of chocolates, gummies, and hard candycfb_912712.jpgChristmas pillows around the firepitcfb_912714.jpgFirst Dance - Can't Help Falling In Lovecfb_912716.jpgWe invited everyone to join our First Dance after 30 secondscfb_912718.jpgOne of my favorite memories of how our First Dance ended - look at his mom and dad!cfb_912720.jpgThe dance party kicked off with this amazing lady - she was a hit! We had them perform swing, 50's, motown/funk and a few fun holiday songs.cfb_912724.jpg.....cfb_912726.jpgWe only had 40 guests but they really enjoyed themselves and the ambience was fun and festive.cfb_912728.jpg


  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Yay, another Christmas wedding! Thank you for your kind words. Best wishes on your wedding day!
  • magnolia5
    VIP June 2019
    magnolia5 ·
    Absolutely beautiful! I loved your detail and breakdown. Amazing photographer! You looked amazing and you and your husband looked so happy!
  • Kim
    Devoted September 2018
    Kim ·

    This is just so beautiful! I love all the thoughtful touches and advice. Kind of makes me want a winter wedding! You look so beautiful!

  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    View Quoted Comment

    Thank you so much! Best wishes on your wedding!

  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    View Quoted Comment

    Thank you! Planning a winter wedding was a lot of fun, especially since that meant I could indulge with a hot chocolate and cider bar and smores and blankets around a firepit! Best wishes on your wedding!

  • Malwen107
    VIP October 2018
    Malwen107 ·

    What a fairytale! Your cake sounds delicious. I love all of this!!!!!

  • Orchids
    Master March 2018
    Orchids ·

    Oh wow, your day looks so romantic and ethereal! Every detail is beautiful and your photographer captured them perfectly!

  • Kristen
    Devoted May 2018
    Kristen ·
    This is my absolute DREAM wedding. I am in tears! I love the attention to detail, commitment to the your guest's experience, & delicate Christmas details. There is nothing you didn't think of! How long did it take you to plan?
  • plangalCG
    VIP May 2018
    plangalCG ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Seriously! 😀 It is memorable for sure! And thanks for putting the cost breakdown. I always find the numbers interesting, especially to compare vendor and costs by area!
  • Kaylyn
    Super May 2019
    Kaylyn ·
    Gorgeous! Your pictures came out amazing, I especially love the ones of you and all your guests dancing.
  • Erica
    VIP August 2018
    Erica ·
    Congratulations!! I absolutely LOVE and appreciate your BAM! Beautiful pictures!! I love the decorations and personal touches everything looked beautiful and well planned.
  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Thank you so much for saying this! We got engaged Christmas Eve the year before and got married a year later on December 23rd, so we had a year to plan.
  • Liana
    VIP March 2017
    Liana ·

    Such a beautiful wedding. Everything looked perfect. Your photographer also did a great job capturing your beautiful wedding. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kiwibride
    Super November 2018
    Kiwibride ·
    Possibly my favourite BAM I've seen. Thank you for being so detailed, there is some fantastic advice in there.

    I love everything about your wedding. You did an amazing job, everything is gorgeous and it sounds like you were a fantastic host to your guests
  • kelly
    Super June 2017
    kelly ·
    This was beautiful! Congratulations!
  • The Nuptials
    VIP July 2018
    The Nuptials ·
    Talk about a cohesive theme, fabulous! I would have thought the florals and paper were double!
  • Carol
    Super September 2018
    Carol ·
    This makes me wish I was having a Christmas wedding 💕💕💕 it’s my absolute favorite holiday!! My name is even Carol!!
  • ap2al
    VIP October 2018
    ap2al ·
    Wow gorgeous photos! You and your husband look so in love

    thank you for the advice! I totally laughed out loud with the bush to bush advice; I think it’s great and will totally use that!
  • LaraLouM
    Super May 2019
    LaraLouM ·
    Absolutely gorgeous!
  • earias
    Champion December 2017
    earias ·
    View Quoted Comment
    Wow, thank you so much for saying that! Best wishes on your wedding day!

Comment on this discussion