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!