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Tying the Knot

Whirlwind Wedding Weekend

Our digital content editor details her weekend full of wedding planning in a new blog documenting the journey to "I do."

Thanks to technology, long-distance wedding planning has become more convenient than ever before. You can attend a Skype demo with a DJ. Virtually try on dresses and share your “vision” with potential vendors via Pinterest.

But there’s one thing you can’t do online: a caterer’s tasting! So, with that in mind, Jeff and I left Chiberia…I mean, Chicago…and boarded a plane to Baltimore for a weekend full of wedding planning last week.

Aquarium atrium

Our first stop? Because our Thursday night flight was canceled, we took the first flight out Friday morning and immediately went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore for another walk-through of the venue with my family. We’d come up with a lot more questions since the first walk-through: What’s the floor plan for the reception? How many uplights would we need? What kind of music can we play in the Underwater Viewing Area (we don’t want to disturb Flipper and his friends)?

Up next? Trying on bridesmaids dresses with the local members of my bridal party. Before I knew what kind of gown I wanted for myself, I knew I wanted my bridesmaids to wear purple dresses. But not just any purple. I wanted that deep, dark, rich Baltimore Ravens purple. Thanks to Pinterest, I found what I was looking for with Donna Morgan’s gowns in Amethyst. My other requirement was that the dress cost less than $200.

Credit: Brooke Courtney Photography

Credit: Brooke Courtney Photography

Let’s be honest: every bride swears her bridesmaids can wear their gowns again, but that’s just not the case (at least not the way the dress is intended). I know of a couple of girls who’ve repurposed hideous bridesmaids gowns as Halloween costumes. And, to be entirely honest, I haven’t worn either of the two bridesmaids dresses I’ve had to wear. So, the least I could do was choose a stylish dress under $200. Even if they don’t wear it again, at least they won’t go bankrupt in the process!

We found a winner at Bella Bridesmaid, which, coincidentally, is where I purchased the bridesmaid gown for my friend’s wedding last summer. Talk about what goes around comes around…my friend referred to it as a circle of love! 🙂

Purple cupcakes

Credit: Colin Cowie Weddings

We took a break from wedding planning on Saturday and were back at it on Sunday, complete with a caterer’s tasting and floral consultation. Some venues, such as the Aquarium, require you choose a caterer from a pre-approved list. Well, we only had two to pick from and the other one never returned my messages, so…The Classic Catering People it is!

Ever the journalist, I took notes throughout the tasting based on everyone’s likes and dislikes. Jeff and I had spent quite some time poring over the caterer’s extensive menu beforehand, so we knew what we wanted to try at the tasting with my family. All in all, we sampled six hors’ d’oeuvres, salad, bread, three entrees and, last but not least, cupcakes, of course!

I only really cared about the cupcakes, to be perfectly honest. They’re my favorite dessert (as evident by my Instagram page) and seriously, you can’t be upset while eating a cupcake. Try it…it’s physically impossible! Part of the reason I wanted to get married in the fall (besides the fact it’s my favorite season) was so we could have my favorite cupcakes: pumpkin!

ALL of the food, including the cupcakes, was a hit! And just like that, we’d created the menu for our cocktail hour and reception.

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Everything was smooth sailing until we reached the floral consultation. I’ll be honest with you…I’ve never been big on flowers (for our first Valentine’s Day, I told Jeff I’d rather have a dozen cupcakes than a dozen roses. He listened, which is one of the reasons we’re getting married now), so floral arrangements have never been high on my list of priorities. I did, however, know I wanted a purple bouquet and for my girls to have orange flowers with purple accents. I didn’t want your standard dozen white roses that every bride has for her wedding…I wanted something different, something eclectic and whimsical, something that wasn’t boring.

Except…I didn’t really know how to explain that because my knowledge of floral varieties is very limited, so I showed the florist pictures of bouquets and centerpieces I liked on Pinterest. And I wanted to incorporate mini-pumpkins somehow, but then there was the question of logistics: Who would provide the pumpkins? How many would we need? How much would they cost?!

I was starting to get frustrated because I was having trouble expressing what I wanted when an orange bouquet in one of the books on the table caught my eye. “That,” I pointed and declared, “is what I want!” As it turns out, I wanted Gerbera daises, not sunflowers as I’d originally thought. Whoops!

Once we reached that breakthrough, the remainder of the consultation was productive and I feel confident that we’ll get what we want when the Big Day arrives.

We didn’t get much rest that weekend (6 a.m. flights will do that to you), but we accomplished a lot, so it was worth it! Hopefully, the rest of the planning process goes smoothly as well!

YOUR TURN: Have you ever planned a wedding from afar? How did you do it? Let us know in the comments!

About L’Oreal and Jeff

L'Oreal and Jeff

L’Oreal and Jeff met in May 2008, became friends and went on their first date at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium in May 2011. They currently reside in Chicago and are planning a fall 2014 wedding in Baltimore with a LOT of purple details. Despite rooting for rival NFL teams, they love laughing and having fun together and look forward to getting married!