WEDDING WEEK

As I write this over a seven months after my wedding I can not believe it is here and gone in a flash. 
Everyone told me to soak it all in, it would go so quick.. I am glad I listened. 
I soaked it all in, I enjoyed every moment, and even when I was 'wedding stressing out' I had the best people around to remind me to enjoy the moment! Brides and/or Grooms to-be I tell you now SOAK IT ALL IN. Enjoy every moment

Our week started off on Friday, May 27th at our Church with our immediate families and grandparents to celebrate our marriage in the church. (This is not necessary for a destination wedding but we wanted our marriage recognized in the Catholic Church so 'technically' our wedding in Aruba was a renewal of vows). We 'got married' - I wore a basic dress with my grandma's wedding veil, we all went for sushi at our favorite go-to place followed by Ben and Jerrys and went home early to rest up because Nick and I were off to Aruba early the next morning. 

We woke up and both jumped out of bedding excited to get our wedding week started. I felt like such a celebrity bringing my wedding dress through the airport - everyone knew I was the bride!

Once we got on the plane the stewardess stored my dress in the captains closet (make sure to ask this during check in - there was no way my wedding dress was getting checked or stuffed in above storage areas!) I was corny and wore my bride hat. I heard moms telling their young daughters ' look hunny it's a bride ' and I felt so cool because I had been one of those little girls not so long ago. Nick and I wore our wedding bands because once we got them on we decided they were too cool to take off like we had origionally planned we would.

We arrived in Aruba and Arlette (our Aruba partner) picked us up and brought us to the Marriott. We checked in and got our gorgeous upgraded suite for the week. Arlette came up and champagne was delivered to our room. We popped the bottle and discussed some final wedding planning logistics. (For most brides this would all be taken care of prior but I insisted on being the 'planner' throughout the whole process because I am a control freak. Good thing Arlette knew me!) 

Arlette left and Nick and I walked around the Marriott property as we have many times before but this time in a matter of days it would be filled with 85 of our closest family and friends! We ate dinner and dreamed about how cool it would be and imagined how the week would unfold. 

The next day we enjoyed some time in the sun and was greeted in the late afternoon by our parents, siblings and some other family members who arrived on Sunday. We hung out by the beach and everyone who had not been to Aruba before enjoyed the beauty in amazement. I was so proud and excited to welcome our guests to MY ISLAND. 

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The next morning I had our family assist me in putting together our incredible welcome bags which included a custom bag we created, pool tubes, a 'for sickness and in health' baggy containing proper hangover tools, candies, snacks, customized wedding cuzies and squeeze bottles which everyone would use for our Wednesday island adventure.)

Over the next few days guests trickled in and each one was more exciting than the next. I wore my bride hat every day and by Tuesday everyone else vacationing was starting to know our group. 

On Wednesday about 95% of our guests had arrived so we decided to show everyone our island in a different light! Everyone rented ATVs and UTVs and we were joined by Jeffery (who was also our minister for our ceremony) leading 35 ATVs in the desert. We went all around the island, went to the natural pool, had a ton of laughs, got super super dirty and had THE TIME OF OUR LIVES. Besides the wedding - this was everyone's highlight of the entire trip. Never again in our lives could we duplicate something like this. 

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On Thursday night everyone joined us at our favorite restaurant Casa Tua for our 'rehearsal dinner' / 'welcome dinner'. We all ate and drank and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a nice chance for everyone to get together and to reflect on the trip thus far. 

Friday was THE BIG DAY! Nick and I woke up like two little kids on Christmas morning. We could not believe the day we had been waiting for was FINALLY here. Nick packed his things to bring over to his parents room being that I would not be seeing him the rest of the day and he walked me over to my mom and dad's room to say 'see you at the alter'. The walk over there was as if we weren't going to see each other for days.. we did not want to say good bye but at the same time we couldn't wait to skip through the day to get to 6:00 PM when I would walk down the isle. The butterflies were incredible. I got all of my crying out at our church ceremony the week before so now it was pure bliss - and no ugly tears! Nick left me and I hung out with my mom and dad.

Then my dad took me over to our room - I have an event sheet which would have everything done for any other bride but wedding planner for herself Ashley forgot to have my own dress steamed and remembered the night before! While we were in the room my dad noticed my manicure was not up to par for my wedding day (I had been in the sun and on adventures all week!) So he took me to the salon at the Marriott to get a fresh French Manicure for the big day. He took me back to my room and my mom and sister came because hair and makeup was about to start (this day was flying by already).

 

I had my sister deliver a note to Nick and his brother delivered a note to me.. here comes the crying! Before I knew it my mother in law and sister in law, cousins and grandma were in my room and it was 3:30 PM!

I wanted to do a first look with my dad (I strongly suggest this). We met on the bridge at the Marriott where he had walked with me many times before throughout the years. He was so over joyed this day and instead of giggles and jumping in puddles he was holding me and crying happy tears.

From there I went with our photographer to Arashi Beach where Nick was waiting for me for our first look. Another opportunity I would recommend for any bride - especially a destination bride is taking first look photos as well as family and bridal party group photos prior to the wedding so that you literally don't miss a beat at your wedding. 

Meeting Nick for our first look gave me literal butterflies. I felt like I was meeting him for a first date. Hoping he liked the outfit I chose, hoping he thought I was pretty, hoping his reaction was what I envisioned - lucky for me - it was. I tapped him on the shoulder and I said 'are you ready' he paused a second because I guess he was soaking in all the moment had as well. He turned around and his smile was so big it looked like he was at Disney World for the first time. He hugged me and held me and told me how pretty I looked. Then he moved away holding my hands to look at my dress and kept saying how perfect it was - I knew he would like it.. it only took what felt like 500 years to find! 

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Our family and bridal party then arrived on the bus for pictures. Another thing I would recommend is having an exact list of every picture you want and who in it. This allows for the photographer to call out names, not miss anyone and have every picture you want. Nick and I are not big picture takers so we wanted this quick, structured and out of the way. We agreed that any other photo not on our list would be candid at our wedding. Everyone has a different opinion but this really helped us. (It helped to see my prior brides and grooms and learn from their experiences as well! - Thank you all!)

Everyone then jumped on the bus and my dad and I jumped in a Mustang Convertible! We ran back to the hotel because I forgot something (now I can't remember) and drove to Eagle Beach.

My dad parked and got out of the car and my makeup artist jumped in the driver’s seat to touch up my face and put baby's breath in my hair -- then we were off. My day had started in a flash and now the next 6 hours were lighting speed. As I think about the following moments - my wedding - now, I literally can only explain it by telling you to picture a movie when they are telling a story and fast forward sun up, sun down, to move to the next part 15 years later - this is how quick my wedding went. 

The next moments were Arlette putting me between my mom and dad, walking down the aisle, crying over how beautiful my arch was (that was difficult for me to decide as well so I was beyond thrilled it looked how I imagined!), seeing Nick tear up because I was tearing up, saying our vows, thinking in my head 'is this real life'?, kissing my HUSBAND, and being pumped up walking down the aisle because the ceremony was just everything I could have ever wished for!

Nick and I then took a few pictures as 'real' husband and wife down the beach and walked right over to cocktail hour. During cocktail hour I had a steel drum band playing, a coconut man hacking coconuts (Nick and my FAVORITE), delicious passed hors d'oeuvres and two stations. Our guests were then asked to move over to the seating area. They found their place cards on a starfish shell and EVERYONE had a perfect seat because I made my layout so that every table was facing the dance floor. They bustled my dress and introductions began. At this point everyone was drinking for a bit already so some people were just running in (I didn't even know this until watching the video - I was having too much fun to notice! I guess my event planner brain turned off at this point good thing we had the perfect team in control.)

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Nick and I were introduced as husband and wife and we had our first dance. It all hit me here. As we danced our first dance as husband and wife as corny as I can sound - everyone else disappeared. The music, the people, even the beautiful decor around me was all drowned out and it was just Nick and I dancing on the beach. My prince, my dream, was all happening.. and just beginning. Next Nick danced with his mom (we switched up the regular order because my dad and I had a surprise in store for everyone). After their dance was done my dad and I got on the dance floor. We both cried. I saw how proud and happy he was. This was his dream too. At one point in our song we knew we had to wipe our tears and get ready because our SURPRISE FATHER DAUGHTER DANCE was about to start! Our song 'because you loved me' turned right into Hakuna Matata which then turned into We Go Together from Grease.. then my sister joined in.. then Nick joined in.. then my father in law and sister in law.. and finally my mom, mother in law and brother in law all joined in a completely choreographed dance which I had everyone practicing for weeks prior! Everyone was laughing and smiling and clapping. The thing I liked about the surprise dance was usually at weddings (for me at least) the first dance, mother son and father daughter dances are very emotional and then you are expected to dry your tears and continue. With a surprise choreographed dance we were able to enjoy the mushy stuff but end with happy and funny stuff to allow everyone to get the party started! 

Another awesome idea I had to make our destination wedding more personalized was to have a dance where all of our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents were called onto the dance floor. 'We are Family' played and our DJ called everyone up by name. I wanted our immediate families to know especially how much we appreciated them being there and making our wedding dream come true. 

We danced and had a blast. I had a playlist of just about every song I wanted played so every song meant something to me and Nick. One song in particular was 'check yes or no' by George Strait. I would play this song when I lived in Hoboken while I was getting ready to see Nick while we were just starting to date. I would be in my bathroom putting on my makeup or doing my hair while picturing dancing at our wedding. (Pathetic I know - but I knew he was the one!) So the night was just about over and 'Check Yes or No' comes on. Nick knows the story so he grabbed me. At this point my hair was in a ponytail because it was my wedding and I was doing it Ashley-style. We danced to the song with our family all around us and I cried the happiest tears i have ever cried.. because all of this was better than anything I had pictured while getting ready in my Hoboken apartment two years prior. 

I knew the night was almost over when the DJ announced for everyone to go by the water. I wanted to send up paper lanterns so badly... and the wind would have to be just right to do so and lucky for me.. we got the perfect moment and Arlette caught it! We chose to play the song from Disney fireworks and everyone attempted to get lanterns up. A lot went up.. people were really enjoying themselves by then so I am not sure of the exact outcome but I remember me and Nick being so excited it was even happening!

Then we all went back under my perfect gazebo - that was now lit with string lights.. for Cake by the Ocean! (I told you I was pretty clever and very specific about every detail!) Nick and I cut the cake - again - my hair is in a pony tail at this point so pictures are not that fabulous but if you know me or Nick.. they are perfect for us!

We all went back to the dance floor to dance some more! (By the way - we did eat a wonderful seated dinner of ceviche, then duo plate of red snapper and filet mignon - which was delicious but forgotten by me being that I was so consumed with everything else!) We are very blessed our staff in Aruba with the catering company we work with is THE SAME as Personal Touch Experience here in America. Our bridal attendant made sure I was eating - and of course drinking all night long! - eating definitely helped the next morning! We always do this for our brides and grooms and it was so nice to experience how it felt.

I heard the second to last song and could not believe it was almost over. We all danced and then.. it was done. Everyone left to get on the busses to an Aruba carnival song (I also chose) 'Aruba ta Hot'! It is an upbeat song I thought would be great to end the night with - and it was!

While everyone was grabbing their shoes from the shoe check to get on the busses Nick had an idea to go under our gazebo together one more time (he is so romantic sometimes).. I listened to him and we stood under the gazebo both in awe of the INCREDIBLE experience we just had beyond our wildest dreams. I think we cried a little.. we kissed and we had such gratitude to God for allowing us to begin our journey together this way. What an incredible blessing. 

We wrapped all of our crazy emotions up, got our shoes and got on the bus to Moomba Beach! At Moomba Beach everyone came to the after party where we drank some more and had pizza and fries. Moomba Beach closes at 1 and we just couldn't believe the night was over - but we were exhausted. We danced.. and jumped around ALL NIGHT LONG - which is EXACTLY how I wanted to experience my own wedding. All of the planning, all of the logistics, all of the anticipation was over.. it was all now just becoming a memory. 

The next morning we woke up and had breakfast and went to the beach. We all reflected with everyone how awesome the party was and everyone’s smiles and awe of the night showed me that all of my planning was worth every late night and being a complete control freak planning my own wedding!

The following day we had a Happy Hour on the beach where my mom and dad put out a huge spread of drinks and picking foods. We wanted to thank everyone as much as possible for coming out. 

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The following days everyone slowly left and our happy island got smaller and smaller. I cried when people were leaving because every single person that was there truly made my dream come true. In different ways they probably didn't even know it they helped shape the beginning of Nick and my life together so beautifully.

Our wedding week was filled with so much joy, abundance of laughter, eating, drinking, adventuring, discovering, reflecting, and pure enjoying. I wish this pure joy and happiness for every couple. Being a destination bride is so unique in the fact that you get to be with all of the people you invited for as long as your stay is.. so the wedding is just a bonus! I truly recommend the experience to all and would love to make your wedding dreams come true as well. 

the best wedding video that sums up our incredible destination wedding experience!

Flash forward 7 months later and we are still in pure bliss. Our wedding is still always brought up as the best wedding anyone has ever been to. We often reflect on how much fun we had and how different it will be the next time we return to the island. We would have returned to the island already but we have to put that on hold until next year. We have a little boy joining our family in early May and can not wait to show him and his future brothers and sisters where their mommy and daddy began their life together. 

I am so incredibly grateful for my destination wedding experience and all of the blessings 2016 had to offer for Nick and I. A beautiful ending to my destination wedding blog and beginning to Nick, our family's and my life!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Blessed 2017 and I look forward to working with you and planning your destination wedding in Aruba!

MERMAID BRIDAL SHOWER!

What better way to incorporate my child-like spirit, my beach, sea and travel wedding theme and my favorite Disney movie than to have a MERMAID UNDER THE SEA BRIDAL SHOWER!!!

First, check out my adorable invites!

Now let's talk about my delicious menu! I figured this was a perfect way to have a meatless menu and not have anyone ask 'where's the beaf?'. Guests were greeted at 12:00 on the dock with passed hors d'oeuvres. We had mini ahi tuna tacos, mini lump crab cakes, chic pea cake bites, and pickled tomato skewers. Guests enjoyed Mermaid Mimosas, Blowfish Bellini's and Under the Sea Sangria from our beautiful bar! They dropped their presents at the treasure trove and mingled with other guests.

We were then invited upstairs to enjoy our seated 'high tea'. I wanted a seated lunch. I had seen it a few times before and I feel like it adds an elegance to the event.

We started with a delicious kale and broccoli slaw salad. It had dried blueberries, cherries, slivered almonds and sunflower seeds with a slaw dressing that made you not want to be so lady like and lick the plate!

We were then served a cold cucumber and tomato gazpacho soup. It had chunks of avocado in it and it was topped with a gigantic grilled jumbo shrimp skewer.

We then had delicious tiered displays of tea sandwiches. They were all meatless but no-one even noticed the difference. 

We had:

Crab Salad on Croissant
Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella & Roasted Red Peppers on Italian Loaf
Goat Cheese and Watercress on Cinnamon Raison Bread
Deviled Egg Salad on Seven Grain Bread
Smoked Salmon, Red Onions, and Chive Cream Cheese on Pumpernickel Bread
Tuscan Tuna, Cannellini Beans, and Vine Ripe Tomatoes on a Rustic Italian Loaf

Sandwiches were followed by gift opening which was then followed by my favorite desserts!

Mini Double Fudge Brownies
Nutella Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Linzer Tarts

Rainbow Cookie Balls
Sand Dollar Cookies
Lemon Blossoms
Cream Puffs

THE DETAILS!

GAMES:

At each table were rolled adult coloring book pages and colored pencils for guests to color or draw.

First we played repeat the speech telephone. My Maid of honor whispered a short speech into someones ear and it was passed along the table until it came back to her. The last person said what the speech was interpreted as and it was hilarious to hear the results. 

Next we played a game that I saw at a bridal shower event I worked when I was about 18 and it stuck with me and I told my sister about it because I think this is a MUST at any bridal shower. My sister pre recorded Nick answering a bunch of questions some funny, some sweet some dates, some really sentimental. My sister had a tv hung high up and a microphone for me. She asked me questions and I would answer them and then 'Nick' would answer them from his pre recording on the TV. It was such a nice way to let the guests that don't get to see us together all the time learn a bit about us without it being corny or boring!

Finally while I was opening my presents guests played bridal bingo. Everyone had a bingo board to fill in with ideas they thought I would be getting. As I opened my presents guests yelled bingo and won a prize!

This decor is going to blow your mind!

I wanted a really long table. I love the grand look of a long table. It is so magical! I ordered an ivory 'crinkle' linen with white wash chiavari chairs. I ordered gold chargers and gold dinnerware with sea shells at the bottom. I ordered a turquoise dinner napkin and my mom purchased sea shells to go at every place setting. My mom bought just a million mermaid, under the sea things and my future brother in law made magic with it all! My future brother in law Matt - who you may recognize that does design for our events hand crafted for me sea weed as well as bubble balloons and my favorite jelly fish that literally made the whole entire event! We were blessed with a sunny day so the outside event I wanted happened! Being outside also made the event a different dynamic from most showers. The sun on everyones face while I was opening presents and the view of the lake while we were eating really made my under the sea fairy tail come true!

At the end of my gorgeous bridal shower I had another wonderful surprise my little girl puppy Bailey showed up with pink bows in her hair along with my dad, Nick's dad, my sister's boyfriend Jon and of course my handsome finance Nick.

Cheers

to a beautiful and incredible day 'under the sea' at my dream bridal shower.

I am so grateful for my beautiful family for all coming to gather and using each and every one of their talents to make my dream a reality. I am so blessed and the next stop now along this journey is ARUBA! Amazing how this adventure of engagement has made me grow, my relationship with Nick get better with each day and my family filled with more love than ever. 

I am over the moon from spending the day at Mermaid Lagoon!

 

Wedding Invitations

Wedding Invites - Complete!

After a lot of back and forth, up and down deciding what I wanted to do for my wedding invitations, we selected them, they came in, we sent them out and I am beyond thrilled!

We debated between a passport and a boarding pass for a long time and found this beautiful concept online of a boarding pass holder and postcard return and fell in love!

We went with a light green / ivory and brown concept - that Nick actually selected. Thank God for him and the way he has been in this process he has really been able to hone me in to help me figure out exactly what is best!

We have a classic elegant wedding invitation with a fun twist to make it the 'island' feel I wanted to incorporate into the invites.

Finding these invites were a bit difficult. It is hard to find the correct combination of class and casual! 

We found the greatest invitation company we could have possibly worked with

Inspirations by Amie Lee

I strongly suggest checking her out. She was so patient with me and my 500 ideas. Our invitations were delivered in gorgeous packaging so clean, crisp and perfect - they actually ended up better than I imagined!

For all brides/grooms getting ready to send out invites I suggest starting NOW! I did not think I 'cared' as much as I did about my invites. Gather your ideas, wants, and expectations and find someone that is able to create it! Inspirations by Amie Lee made my invitation dreams come true! 
 

Let me know what you think of her work and I look forward to seeing your awesome destination wedding invitation ideas!

129 Days .. where did the time go?

Hello fellow planning friends!

I apologize I haven't updated in a while. I have been busy.. planning!

Where am I right now?

- Invites .. still pending (I need to get these out soon)
- Welcome Bags... decided but not ordered! I am thinking towel chair clips, personalized lip balm, personalized wedding t shirts, pool tube, giant drink 'water' bottle and all in a personalized wedding tote.
- Bridesmaids' Dresses.. We have to wait until resort ware comes out. We are told it will all be out by Valentine's Day!
- Guy's Outfits ... I don't care - this is Nick's job.

Besides the above 'minor details' Arlette has everything else under control. I plan events and weddings as my job and passion. I have been in this industry my entire life and I am wonderful at what I do. Thank God for Arlette in this process for myself though. If it wasn't for her this blog would say [        ]. I am so focused planning and taking care of everyone else's celebrations and events.. that I keep forgetting about me. Oops!

Arlette brings everything back to life and keeps the experience positive, productive and moving. If you are planning any wedding I would suggest hiring a wedding planner. As much as you say 'I can do it all myself'.. you most likely won't be able to unless you are actually super girl. This is why as event planners we are so special.. we are super girl's fairy god mother. 

So this past week we visited Arlette to finalize some details that she has been taking care of while my head has been in the clouds with my own wedding. 

We arrived in Aruba on Tuesday. We had an early flight so I asked Arlette if it was possible to knock out all vendor meetings in one shot - of course she makes everything possible ALWAYS. 

4:30 PM- we meet with the florist. We discussed arch, bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, etc.
5:00 PM- we move along to Arlette's home. She and her family opened their home to us to meet with the rest of our wedding vendor A team! It was so lovely to feel so welcomed!
5:15 PM- Cake!Cake!Cake! Oh my goodness. I have never tasted a lighter cake. I tried six different flavors and could have just eaten them all up (but I remembered I had to wear a bikini the rest of the week so I resisted eating every single one in it's entirety!) We selected a chocolate cake with fresh strawberry filling and butter cream frosting. We will have a simple white cake with pearls around each layer and blush pink roses here and there to bring in my color theme. I love a simple cake that tastes AMAZING.
5:30 PM- We meet with our DJ. Oh my goodness he is too adorable. We have some favorite vendors in NJ/NY - he is definitely the most fun in Aruba. My only DJ request - Keep everyone dancing!!!
5:45 PM- Video time. He showed us some videos of past brides and grooms. I am not sure why or how I can cry watching complete strangers get married. Do any other brides/grooms do this too? I guess I just LOVE love. I have a favorite video I found on youtube that I have to send him. I want my flow to be just the same. The people in the video give the most beautiful speeches - that is probably what makes it. My family will just have to watch the video over and over and copy their speeches.. hopefully they remember to input Nick and my names where theirs are though! -- just kidding. 
6:00 PM- Hey Demian! We meet with our lovely photographer. There are many great photographers on the island. I feel like the photographer's personality needs to blend with yours. He or she is the one that will capture moments you will always want to remember. Your photographer should have the same vision as you. We spoke about my mood board and ideas. What we are looking for, etc. He totally gets it!
6:30 PM- My mouth is watering thinking about it. Ludwich. A culinary genius. I can't even begin to describe Ludwich and how awesome not only his food is.. but the man behind the food. He is a forward thinker that only serves the best of the best. We have had 'No Limit' food before but this time it was our menu selections. First.. we started with ceviche. Now I am a bit of a ceviche snob. Jorge in our kitchen at Personal Touch makes insane ceviche, Wacky Wahoo in Aruba's ceviche keeps me up at night because I miss it while I am home.. but Ludwich's ceviche - INCREDIBLE!!! The combination of flavors and the fresh catch fish made my taste buds explode like fireworks! The presentation made my belly rumble just looking at it! Ok I am getting carried away - I just LOVE food, well I love incredible food. So next we tried our dinner. We will be having a duel plate (this is very popular right now for seated dinners!) - Turkey bacon wrapped filet mignon, pinot noir reduction, forest mushrooms and local caught red snapper fillet, roasted garlic and yerba di hole cream, grilled corn and papa chutney, grilled sweet potato, cauliflower cakes, and asparagus. Can you say WOW?!? Please disregard Nick's poor photo taking skills! I do not eat meat so my plate was not as fun with both to show you so we let him take the photo.. we have since taken away his picture taking privileges lol! 

Day 2 - Moomba Beach meeting! We met in the morning with Arlette to speak with Moomba Beach's manager. We picked our after party open bar and menu of pizza and french fries.. who doesn't want pizza and french fries after a weeding!?

Nick and I also decided to not take Arlette's offer to get picked up to see one of the weddings happening down the beach that day.. Nick and I wanted to run..
note to self and all other Aruba brides and grooms - running does not work after spending the afternoon at Moomba Beach! 

Day 3 - I Feel Pretty, Oh so pretty Day. I felt so fancy getting my hair and makeup done in the room and photos captured of the process by Demian! So I trust Arlette but I will admit I was a bit worried about this. I do not wear much makeup. I am very picky about what makeup should and should not look like and my hair.. only myself and Michelle - my hairdresser since I was about 12 can touch my hair! But let's give this a try. My makeup was done first and then my hair. Somehow a combination of every vision I had. Again, amazed with the team Arlette put together for me. I felt like a princess. Nick was literally OBSESSED with how I looked. He kept mindlessly playing with my hair and staring at me- She should come do my hair and makeup every day! How adorable is Nick's smile Damien captured in the top right photo?

After a quick change out of my oh so fashionable 'zzz all day' shirt we go to an INCREDIBLE new find for us! How about Hollywood Smokehouse! We met with Tina the owner who is a doll. We spoke with her about our wedding experience thus far and sipped on the most incredible craft cocktails I have ever tasted! After the Aruba Aloe martini my life was officially changed. I MUST have this as a signature cocktail at our wedding. 

I decided to take a photo of the Aruba Aloe craft cocktail halfway through my second drink! I guess I can't make too much fun of Nick for his photography skills - but I couldn't help myself! Have you ever wondered what sunshine and nature's beauty taste like? This drink is what it tastes like! (I know - I make some weird tree hugger analogies sometimes!)

After I was going crazy over cocktails- dinner was served. Again, I do not eat meat so what do I have at a smokehouse? Smoked seafood of course - duh! I can't wait to go back to Aruba and munch down this meal again! I don't know if it was the perfectly smokey flavors in the fish or the best BBQ sauce I have ever tasted in my life but Oh my goodness! Who needs to go to the south to have amazing bbq when you can just go to Aruba?

So right when I think we are done we remember that we 'just have to try the key lime pie pound cake.' Again, not sure how I felt about it. I like key lime pie, but in pound cake? Well.. once again any doubts I had --> BOOM BOOM gone. I actually just remembered typing this that I have to beg Tina for her recipe - but oh my goodness - AMAZE. So this warm pound cake looking dessert comes out... sided with ice cream and whipped cream.. topped with a berry sauce and I'm like 'hmmm.. smells good.' Then my spoon hits the cake and then zooms into my mouth like the plane when I was younger and -- what the heck!!!! Probably top 5 desserts in my book of favorites ever! I say this as my favorite ice cream cherry garcia is sitting next to my laptop. Boy do I need to take a break with all this food talk. Making me too hungry!

The staff was incredible. Our waitress was a pleasure. I can not wait to go back. Again, as much as we joke and I hate to admit it.. kudos Arlette

So as Arlette knows.. brides sometimes get wedding'd out. I don't know about you.. but this wedding stuff (for myself) is pretty frustrating sometimes. It's a lot of opinions that are coming together about your special day that you have had pretty much planned in your head from the moment you watched Cinderella. I keep trying to remind myself that this day is because Nick and I love each other so very much - not about everyone and their mother's uncle's cousin's gyno's secretary's opinions! hahahaha

So it was time to take a break from wedding stuff the next day
and lucky for us it is Carnival in Aruba! I have a video I will try to upload of the awesome steel drum band! 

 

Thanks to the snow storm we had an extra day. We bought some friendship bracelets and took one last photo on the beach because next time we return it will be our wedding week. We had the best time finalizing our wedding.

This is why being a destination bride is so fabulous. What would be work and stressful is fun in the sun enjoyment with the nicest people. With help from a fairy god mother (Arlette) my major wedding planning is now complete! The tiny stuff will get done 'soon' (chime in to my mom and her awesome-ness throughout this process).. it is cake when you have the right team behind you!

Lucky for us the storm also gave us a day pit stop over in Florida too.....

I truly believe all great things come unplanned and unexpected. For me, I believe God has a better plan than we could ever imagine. The storm back home extended our trip a bit and we luckily found a flight to Miami so we got to visit my cutie pie grandma in Florida! How lucky am I? I am tearing up writing this because it was the most perfect ending to our wedding planning in Aruba and perfect start to Nick and my next steps in this journey together. I had not been to Florida in a while (where my grandma stays over the winter). Florida was my papa's favorite spot. He would collect shells and walk miles on the beach and regularly watch a sunrise. We got to Florida and grandma and her husband Armond picked us up. We went to lunch right away and walked around and watched the horse races. Grandma was so cute jumping up and down because a horse named 'flowers for Lisa' (which is my mom's name) was winning but then came in second - Lisa needs to get a little quicker!. We went back to her condo and hung out with her and Armond and toured around the changes at her condo. For dinner we went to an awesome vegan restaurant 'Sublime' that Armond suggested for me! It was so awesome! Armand surprised me with a vegan cook book from the restaurant - I was thrilled. We actually tried a recipe at home tonight and Nick and I demolished it all! Click here for the recipe - Nick is a meat eater and even he went crazy over it! After, we went to Jaxons which is an old fashion ice cream place - and boy do I love ice cream. (ps. I am just about finished with this cherry garcia ice cream! oh man!) My dad luckily found a flight for the next morning .. we had to get home back to work. But lucky for me it was not before a perfect grandpa sunrise. We woke up early. Grandma cut up some fruit for us and forced some Florida oranges, donuts and bananas into our carry on like a typical Italian grandmother. Then.. it was time. Papa's sunrise. Again, here comes the water works. Nick, grandma and I went down to the beach to watch a sunrise. Grandma said it was about 12 years (since he had passed) that she had seen one. While waiting for the perfect sunrise Nick and I each found a perfect sea shell.. just as papa would have. We said a prayer with grandma and she blessed both of us and our journey together in love. We took a selfie or two and watched the most beautiful sunrise at 7:07 AM. I was so lucky because grandma had just before we got there cleaned out the condo and found some treasures grandpa had bought while he was alive. I love them and will cherish the goofy penguin ice cream scoop and rolls royce magnet photo frame he probably found on one of his many shopping adventures forever.

 

so basically.. this was the most perfect way to end my major wedding planning and begin the next steps of Nick and my life together. I am so excited and grateful for my entire team of vendors in Aruba that I know are going to make my wedding day incredibly special. I am so so very grateful for Arlette.. my fairy god mother. I am so blessed that the snow storm led us to grandma's house to start the next steps of our journey with my angel watching from above. 

 

I will keep you all posted on the next minor steps. Invites, dresses, my bridal shower - which of course I stuck my two cents in to plan, our welcome bags, and everything else in between. I am happy to share my journey with you and hope it inspires and helps you along your destination wedding planning way. I look forward to being your fairy god mother and standing by your side during your wedding process! Thanks for reading about mine!

 

 

 

  

SAVE THE DATE

The date is booked for your destination wedding and now you have to share the news! What better way than to invite them with a luggage tag? This handcrafted one of a kind luggage tag was designed by our amazing design department. This is a cost effective way to share the date in a beautiful and unique way!

What to include on your save the date?
- Wedding website (guests need information as soon as possible)
- What is required (I included passport required so that guests know to update their passport)
- The DATE! Make sure the date is bold and stands out.

Let me know what you think about my save the date! Inquire to find out how to have our design team create yours as well!

How to ask your Bridal Party - GROOMSMEN

This may have taken a while but it turned out great. Nick took a while to figure out exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted it to be 'him', not TOO corny, and still thoughtful! So this is what he came up with one evening while I was working late!

He went by himself to Michaels. Yes, I received a snapchat of him rolling his basket at Michaels - Kaitlyn and I in the office laughed! He got small wood treasure chests, and paper to put inside. He went home and stained the treasure chests to look the way he wanted them to. I came home to a gross smell in my garage but realized his efforts and praised him. He also purchased cigars and miniature bottles of Jack Daniels (this seems to be everyone in our friend group's drink of choice.)

The next day I printed 'vintage' stickers of Aruba symbols at work as well as two cards for each. One card would go inside the box and the other would go inside a balloon. 

After work we went to Party City and purchased pearl black balloons (because this was his selection like a little kid) and put the card that says 'your service as a groomsman is requested'. We wrote in chalk paint 'POP' on the balloon and attached a safety pin to the string. We tied one balloon to each treasure chest and began our journey at 6:00 PM. With a ton of traffic we went to each of the groomsmen's houses dropped the present at their steps and 'ding dong ditched' - we had to make it a little entertaining!

Later, each guy called and thanked Nick and of course said yes! He is pumped he topped me in our bridal party asking efforts!

SHARE IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW YOUR BRIDAL PARTY ASKING IDEAS!

How to ask your Bridal Party - BRIDESMAIDS

I decided to ask just family to be on my side of the bridal party, as for a destination wedding usually the guest count is significantly smaller than a local wedding. So that being said I asked my three best friends: my sister as the maid of honor, and my cousin and future sister in law as my bridesmaids! I went to A.C Moore and purchased rustic sand buckets, the first letter of their name and a starfish - because they are my favorite. With a little hot glue they had customized packages.

Inside I included a message in the bottle for each. Each had it's own poem to ask. Every poem was personalized to the relationship we have!
For my Cousin:
" You have always been there, more than just a friend.
You know just who I am and everywhere I've been.
You're the one who I can turn to, any hour of the day.
Seems, I only have to think of you and you'll be on your way.
No matter where life takes me, no matter where I roam.
When I'm with you Brittany, my heart feels right at home.
So on my wedding day, I will need you more than ever.
Please say you'll be my bridesmaid now.... and my best friend forever"

Once I was past all of the mushy stuff I had to include some Aruba essentials!
- Aruba is known for it's Aloe so I included a travel sized aloe vera for after sun tanning!
- Every girl needs to look beautiful for the wedding so I put in a travel sized mirror
- I am pretty obsessed with ESOS eggs so I put a tropical flavor ESOS egg in each
- Finally, I found the perfect bridal samples from Essie at Harmon - colorful-e ever after. There were only three when I went so I thought it was meant to be!

I wrapped them all up in fish netting from Michaels and handed them to each girl.

After tears from the note and some hugs.. I was done propsing to my bridesmaids.. 

I thought I did a cute job but believe it or not my fiance blew me out of the water in creativity and cuteness! We are asking tonight. I will take photos and document is proposals to his groomsmen!

 

How to ask your Bridal Party - Flower Girl and Ring Bearer

Bridal Party Proposals are a VERY BIG DEAL for this generation!

It is no longer a simple dinner to ask your favorite group of people, it is now a PINTREST masterpiece to show how creative you can be!

I wanted to keep all aspects of my wedding in alignment with our TRAVEL / ARUBA BEACH theme.. so here is what we did!

 

RING BEARER / FLOWER GIRL PROPOSAL:

We asked these two cuties on one big adventure date!

We picked them each up at school (which was a treat for them in itself - kids love when their big cousins pick them up from school!)
We then took them to our house where they had to first put together a puzzle! It was a race to the finish which of course my sweet God son won! Once they completed the puzzle it said 'will you be our.. 'flower girl' / 'ring bearer'? NOW THEY ARE PUMPED! Jumping up and down / high fiving as if they won the jackpot!
Our next stop: BUILD A BEAR!
Build A Bear will never get old in my opinion! They really do a great job! We had each of them make a bear that will look like them on our wedding day.. so of course they needed sunglasses, flip flops, and passports. Why wouldn't they need the bag to bring them on vacation in too? SO CUTE! We even all got to make a wish when we put the hearts inside the bear for our wedding day wishes!
We then took our ring bearer and flower girl for lunch and then of course ice cream! It was a fun way to spend time with them, ask them and give them something to remember!

How did you ask your flower girl / ring bearer in a travel themed way? SHARE IN OUR COMMENT SECTION!