Grey Likes Weddings Rockin' a new rock?!

Here’s what I didn’t expect: dress shopping was more emotional and exhausting than I had anticipated. I was unprepared to feel so tired after every appointment. I mean, the whole process of finding “the one” is high stakes, so it’s natural for there to be a little drama. But for me it was tougher than that–it was impossible to find the combination of the fit and feel that I was looking for. I now know to tell brides to take a deep breath before going in. You ready for my story?

Wedding Blog I said yes to the dress!
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One of the issues I had during my dress search (which is something I’m guessing many brides experience–or am I the only crazy one?) was this disconnect between FIT and FEEL. I needed something that looked great on me, while still evoking the bridal, romantic feel I wanted to experience. I was fighting trends too and looking for a silhouette that designers just AREN’T creating. Sounds dramatic, but it sure was exhausting trying to track down something that just doesn’t exist! Throw in a tiny thing called a budget, plus my aversion for certain fabrics and detailing, and oh my! I get tired just thinking about it–totally not what I expected! I tried dresses on all over the place–including wonderful salons, like The White Dress in Corona del Mar and Gabriella Bridal Salon in New York. (If you live in CA or NY–these places are a MUST visit!) There were soooo many lovely dresses, but “the one” availed me.

Wedding Blog I said yes to the dress!

At this point, I had figured out exactly what type of cut/look I wanted. I wasn’t the kind of bride that just couldn’t decide–rather, I just couldn’t find the elusive dream! So I hit the web, started looking around, and asked some friends. My wedding guru girlfriend, Leila, from Be Inspired, recommended I go in to Kirstie Kelly. And that’s when things changed. Because rather than go into a bridal salon and try on tons of dresses by different designers, I went straight to the designer.

Wedding Blog I said yes to the dress!

I actually got to meet Kirstie during our appointment. We talked. I told her about my dad’s fight with cancer and my sister moving states away. We cried together. I told her about our wedding and how I wanted to feel and what I wasn’t finding. I told her how exhausted I felt. And then I tried on dresses. And then I tried on pieces of dresses–and that’s when the magic happened. Kirstie was able to get my vision and understood what I wasn’t finding. And suddenly the solution seemed so simple. She’s making me a custom dress. Which sounds absurdly expensive, but it really wasn’t. She’s just combining pieces of her line into one dress, just for me.

Wedding Blog I said yes to the dress!

Custom is NOT for the faint of heart. You’ve got to be able to envision the final product, and commit to a gown only by viewing her in bits and pieces. But for me, it was exactly what I needed–someone who could give that perfect combination of fit and feel. This isn’t something you can do in a normal bridal shop where you are working with consultants who know how to adjust simple things like the neckline. Working directly with the designer means she can actually tell you–yes that’s possible! Kirstie let me pick and choose fabrics, hold each one up, we discussed the difference between ivory and almond, we talked about heel height–the whole thing was so personal and totally what I needed.

Wedding Blog I said yes to the dress!

So I’ve said yes to the dress. You’ll have to wait until after the wedding to see pics (I mean–we can’t risk Bryan getting any hints!). Not that I could show you pictures anyway–I mean, my lady dress is being sewn as we speak. But I will say this–every time I close my eyes and imagine our wedding day, the first thing that comes to mind is me in the dress–walking to see Bryan. And that’s what I’m most excited about.

Gowns above all by Kirstie Kelly with images by Elizabeth Messina.

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Before diving deep into wedding planning, Bryan and I were so blessed to be able to celebrate our engagement with close friends and family. I had always dreamed of having an engagement party with champagne and toasts, so we decided the fall was a perfect time to host a soiree. My sister (and lovely photographer behind T&H Photography) was on hand to capture the entire night!

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party
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Rather than wear white, I figured a red dress would be a great way to stand out as the bride at a fall engagement party! Bryan is styled up in a Ralph Lauren shirt and general cuteness that makes him so adorable. How lucky am I?

My sweet friend Melina Ruiz came to do my makeup and my good friend Dianna Lopez did my hair. I know I keep saying this, but I feel so blessed to have such sweet and talented friends.

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party

My dear friend, Lauryl Lane, is a Botanical Stylist and she caught my vision of one HUGE magnolia leaf centerpiece. We draped the table with a vintage plaid Pendleton blanket, and served champagne in coupes! She also dripped all sorts of other elements with magnolia garland, and finished off our cocktail tables with jewel toned centerpieces. All of the gorgeous linens are from the ladies at Napa Valley Linens. Stuns, right?

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party

Found Vintage Rentals brought some perfect pieces to compliment our rustic plaid Ralph Lauren inspired look.

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party
Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party
Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party
Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party
Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party
Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party

Our dear friends from Room Forty killed it with crazy good catering. We had a fromage station (pic below) with tons of varieties of cheeses and fun accompaniments. Each person was served the perfect morsel matched to his or her tastes. Room Forty also served: pumpkin agnolotti with buerre fondue, smoked chestnut bisque soup shooters, porcini risotto croquettes with mascarpone and preserved meyer lemon, miniature philly cheesesteak with poached onion and provolone, and for dessert butterscotch pudding with thyme panna cotta and sweet potato brittle. 

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party
Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party

Plus, Steve (the owner of Room Forty) surprised us with s’mores–these little guys are served under a conche shell with smoke trapped in the glass. You get the full effect of having s’mores because you have the chance to smell the smoke before diving in. Delicious!

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party

As favors, we let our guests fill linen bags with caramel and apples for a fall treat. We stamped our wedding date on the bags, but ended up having to change the date! So much for being prepared, right? Oh well!

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party
Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party

Bryan’s youngest sister moved to Hawaii last year, so she surprised us by flying in for the party. We were so surprised and I totally cried! Here is a picture with his entire extended family–cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmother an all!

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party

My dad has spent the last several months fighting (and beating) a rare form of cancer. I asked him to give a toast but he was hesitant at first because he knew it would be emotional. I’m so glad he had some time to prepare because he ended up making my night with his speech.

Wedding Blog Summer and Bryans Engagement Party

There are more wedding adventures coming! Later this week I’ll be revealing which designer I picked for my wedding dress! AHHH!!!

Now that our Blogstress Maven section is set, I’m excited to start blogging all the details about our wedding planning process. I have a lot to catch you up on–our engagement party, dress shopping, vendor selection (that I’m still in the process of!), and all other sorts of crazy decisions. My wedding Pinterest board is a little out of control–which I guess is a good thing. We’re starting off with TONS of fun ideas, and then working on narrowing down our favorites and look for a sense of continuity between everything. I love too many colors and ideas–it’s the plight of the modern bride, isn’t it?

But before we dive in, I thought I’d share a proper picture of my ring and tell you a little about it, since that’s where it all started. You may remember that a while back, I wrote a post called “Hunting for Diamonds” that asked your advice on whether or not you were involved in picking out the ring. Your comments definitely helped me realize there is no right or wrong to go about it! Bryan and I had been dating for five years at that point, so naturally marriage was a part of our conversations. Ultimately, that meant I wasn’t in for a total surprise. Bryan let me choose between being surprised or picking out the ring. I chose the latter and ended up loving the experience (though I had a few exasperated overwhelmed moments!).

My initial choice was an art deco ring, but all my faves were waaaaaay over our budget. I ended up discovering champagne diamonds (which really is just a fancy marketing term for brown diamonds) and learned that they come in really soft colors! The color ended up being the part I love most about my ring–just a little something different. The cool part is, champagne diamonds are waaaaaay more affordable. So kind of a win-win, right?

Wedding Blog It Started with a Ring

What I learned most about the ring shopping process is how important the setting is. I thought that would be the easy part, but as it turns out, the setting makes a heck of a lot of difference. We felt a little overwhelmed at first after trying tons of options. I narrowed my favorite down to a cushion cut halo (yes, you can put a round diamond in a cushion halo–love that shape!). That’s when we found Kwiat. Even though they are based in New York, I was able to chat with the owner, Russell, over email and skype to describe the perfect ring. He understood when I talked about soft edges, delicate diamonds, and other weird descriptors. He recommended my favorite part about the ring: a “floating basket” which is a profile that allows me to have a flush wedding band. Genius!

I didn’t get to see the ring in person until Bryan proposed and it was beyond overwhelming. I sobbed. The perfect ring and the perfect guy–so much better than I could have hoped for! The setting is just as sparkly as the diamond, and it’s crazy how much a difference a quality setting makes. All that to say, everyone’s story is so unique, so I’m definitely a supporter of helping pick the ring if that’s your style.

Wedding Blog It Started with a Ring

Next up, I’ll be sharing with you our engagement party! I’ve also put together a fun DIY that I used to ask my bridesmaids to be in the wedding! Plus, I’m going to need your advice on picking out the right shoes. There’s some serious dramz headed your way.

Wedding Blog Calling All Brides

Lady Grey is looking for a few extraordinary gems to share their wedding planning with our society. If you are engaged and planning a wedding in the next year, you are invited to apply to become a Blogstress Maven! If chosen, you’ll be asked to blog twice weekly about everything from finding the perfect shoe to unpacking from your honeymoon! We’re looking for style savvy brides with a knack for quick wit. Writing prowess is a must! We have only five slots available, so head here to knock our socks off with your application. We can’t wait to meet you!

Wedding Blog Lady Grey Is Engaged
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If you follow Grey on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, then you already know, but I am so beyond excited to share with you all that Bryan proposed last Thursday evening! We took a hike to celebrate my birthday and we brought along some wine, popcorn, and a blanket, in order to enjoy the sunset. I’ve known we were pretty close to engagement for a while, so of course, like the sneaky girl I am, I was HOPING that it would happen. Well, as we overlooked an incredible view of Crystal Cove, we sat there for over an hour just talking and soaking in the moment. It was so romantic but all I could think was, “Why isn’t he proposing??? Come on!” (Pic above, he hasn’t proposed as the sun dips further and further beyond the horizon!)

Wedding Blog Lady Grey Is Engaged

Well, after we finished our wine, finished our snack, and the sun was almost completely set, we finally starting prepping to leave. I gave up hoping it would happen and began mentally preparing myself to wait even longer. I leaned forward to take one last picture of the sunset and I heard him move to start packing. Instead, he was getting on his knee! He told me he had one more birthday surprise and when I turned around, there he was proposing! He actually managed to catch me completely off guard so, of course I immediately broke out into tears, and we sat there laughing and crying (me) and taking tons of pictures! (Pic above is the last shot of the sunset! Pic below is me absolutely in tears!)

Wedding Blog Lady Grey Is Engaged

It was completely our style–romantic, intimate, and beautiful!

Wedding Blog Lady Grey Is Engaged

Afterward, we walked down the trail in the dark while I called family and friends. Our night ended in old town Orange, where we met up with two of my three sisters, brothers-in-law, and some close friends for a bottle of champagne and celebration! We’ve spent all weekend celebrating, and I’ve been collecting our champagne corks for a really fun DIY project that I plan on sharing with you. (Dark pic below of my two sisters, although it’s not really official until we’re all together in a pic!)

Wedding Blog Lady Grey Is Engaged

Speaking of, one of the things I’m most excited about is the chance to share with you our wedding journey! There’s something special about being able to relate on such a personal level, so I’m beyond excited to walk the journey with you!