Certified Coordinated Bride Phylicia

Journal Entry #2

Feeling Accomplished

Hello again TCB Family! It has been a several weeks since I wrote my first blog post and so many more things have been accomplished and crossed off our to-do list! Our wedding date is fast approaching and things are starting to feel oh so very REAL. It’s like reality is finally setting in that we are really getting married in just a few short weeks (Omg)! My how time flies when you’re wedding planning. But still, again – I feel like there’s still so much to do, even though they are mostly minor tasks.

So what is that we’ve accomplished over these last few weeks you ask? Of course you want the details, right!? Here’s a quick rundown of the list and I’ll share more details later in the post.

  • We completed our tasting and signed our catering contract – Major accomplishment!
  • My wedding dress officially arrived AND I did my first dress fitting (AHHHHH! So exciting!)
  • We finalized our guest list, FINALLY (well for the most part).  Ya’ll this may have been one of the hardest accomplishments yet!
  • Last but not least, we had a super cool engagement session with an amazing photographer that is basically now our BFF. 

Caterer Selection & “The Tasting”

The decision to narrow down and select our caterer was actually pretty tough in the beginning but I must say Jewell Events Catering, who I’m pleased to say is our official wedding caterer was an immediate standout among the crowd (though all of our options were wonderful and among the top caterers in Chicago). Jewell was beyond accommodating and pleasant to work with from the very beginning and was willing to work within our budget to help us create a custom menu that we, and our guests, would enjoy.

As for the tasting, it was truly an experience – in a great way! I went into the tasting with much anticipation and high expectations, and we were not disappointed. Everyone I’d spoken with who has gotten married recently raved about how important the tasting is since we’d get to experience the food in a more personal and enjoyable way. They stressed this because we most likely will not get to experience the food in that same way on our actual wedding day with all the hustle and bustle of the day and being pulled aside for what will be 100’s of photos by the end of the night.

Jewell provided us with top notch personalized service, from being greeted with a delicious glass of raspberry infused champagne to having our own personal server and mini menus to go through and make notes of what we liked, and more importantly, loved about the potential menu. Jewell was also so kind as to accommodate an “at home” sample tasting for Darryl since he unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the tasting in-person due to a work conflict. It was such a nice touch and allowed him to get some of the experience and to still give his official blessing over the menu selections. Not to mention, the fact that he still thought everything was delicious the next day speaks volumes. We are very much looking forward to Jewell helping to make our wedding day perfect!

The Dress & First Fitting

My dress arrived a little over 3 months before our wedding date, just before Thanksgiving (insert choir singing a harmonious “AMEN”). I was so excited to get the call from Wolsfelt’s Bridal yet must admit I was a little nervous at the same time, as I haven’t yet hit my fitness goal, though I’ve surely made noteworthy progress. I scheduled my first fitting for the week after Thanksgiving purposely – so I could get a few extra workouts in and rebound from the meal lol.

I must say – seeing your dress in person for the first time is a bit surreal. It’s so different from trying on the sample dress because this one is actually yours, it was made special just for you! For me, since we ordered the dress a little big, it was awkward trying it on for the first time and not really being able to see the true shape of the dress (and how it would look once tailored to fit). However, after getting it pinned and adjusted a bit, the shape started to come to life and I could truly envision myself walking down the aisle in this dress. I don’t think people speak as candidly as they should about the wedding dress process (if you’re not able to buy something that fits right off the rack). We all usually only see the beautifully fitted final result – but there are many phases before you get to that point as a real life bride who needs the intervention of a seamstress to get things fitting just-right in all the right places.

So my advice is to be patient with this process and gentle with yourself – it will fit beautifully on your wedding day but it won’t look like a magazine shoot at your first fitting. But if you use your imagination you can most definitely picture how it will all come together in the end. Also, I must say if you don’t shed tears at the first fitting (which I did not), that’s OK as well! I have always seen people cry on TV shows when they find the dress and then get fitted but it wasn’t natural for me to do any of that – though I know the tears will come… especially as I’m walking down the aisle. But don’t feel like something’s wrong if you don’t have the same emotional reactions as the scripted wedding TV series that we all love to binge from time to time lol. I will admit I did cry after I found my dress and kept sneaking and looking at pictures of it online (so Darryl wouldn’t see me). Those are the moments where I was more emotional- when I was alone and allowed myself to live in the moment and get truly excited.  I’m very much looking forward to fitting number two in a few weeks – stay tuned for updates!

The Infamous Guest List

Ahhh where do I begin, I swear we have been contemplating and brainstorming our guest list for some time now. But the day of reckoning came a couple weeks ago when we had to finally draw the line and lock in our list for a final count check and to start ordering our formal invites.

Our wonderful venue, Chez, limits the number of guests we can have to 170, which is a generous number if you ask me. I’ve always wanted a smaller/more intimate wedding with around 100 guests or less. However, this has become challenging since after further discussion we realized our combined guest list can easily reach 200 with just family alone. We both have large families and there have been numerous times when Darryl and I have had conversations with our parents and they remind us yet again about “uncle/aunt so-and-so and cousin so-and-so” that should be on our list. And usually, they are right – they really should be on the list but unfortunately we have to cut it off somewhere.

With the guest list, it seems you have to figure out what works best for you and your fiancé and honestly your parents as well (especially if they are helping with your wedding expenses). The method we went with to help narrow things down was to start with our closest family and friends, give them the courtesy of an invite and if certain people are unable to make we will continue to extend invites to others in their place. We feel this is the path of least disappointment (pretty sure I made that concept up – haha).

So now I’m curious if other couples have used the same or a similar method? If not, what method have you used or plan to use for your guest list? Did you/will you have a wait list? How did/will you decide who makes the cut? Please share your experiences, we would love to hear suggestions and any lessons learned.

Engagement Session with our new BFF

Our wedding planner Kia of Kia Marie Events, actually put us in contact with a photographer friend of hers, Kendra since we hadn’t yet taken any official engagement photos since getting engaged in Paris last September. We of course were super excited at the opportunity to take some cool photos and after speaking with Kendra on the phone to schedule our session, we were super excited to meet her in-person. We immediately hit it off with her and had soo much fun that we didn’t want the session to end (even though it was a chilly rainy Chicago afternoon), and neither did she! She has such an infectious personality and smile and not to mention is so very talented at photography. She made us feel comfortable with being ourselves and we literally laughed non-stop the entire session. I think the photos speak for themselves (we’ve included some of our favs in this post).

If you are ever in need of a photographer for any purpose –please check her out. She’s truly an awesome and wonderful person to work with, inside and out and you can tell she truly loves her craft. We truly feel like we’ve gained a new friend in her and will for sure be hitting her up in the near future for future sessions. Note that we booked our wedding photographers early on- they are also friends of ours and we are super-duper excited to be working with them real soon as well). But Kendra is awesome, can’t say enough good things about her! 

All in all, we are super excited to be getting closer and closer to the big day. As I mentioned, we still have some minor ends to tie up before February – like actually getting married on paper in the new year (sort of an important detail), locking in a photo booth company (feel free to offer up any recommendations in the Chicagoland area), bridal shower and bachelor/bachelorette planning seems to be in full effect – which my mom and maid-of-honor are so graciously taking the lead on. Lots of exciting things to come and we’ll be sure to keep you all posted along the way. Until next time, Happy Planning and Happy Holidays to all my fellow Coordinated Brides, family, and friends!

XO, Phylicia