They say everything good takes a village, don’t they? If they don’t, they should. I wouldn’t be where I am today with the village of people that have held me up throughout these past 26 years. On a less dramatic note, we’ve been married almost a month which feels like it calls for some sort of celebration and some serious THANK YOU’S to the village that made June 17th, 2017 an absolute fairy tale. Some day when I’m fully caffeinated and ready to write like the literal wind, I will blog about the entire wedding planning process, the wedding day, and everything I learned along the way. That day is not today. Blame my poor time management this morning, I only got to chug two cups of coffee before this. Anyways, back to my wedding village. Let me take you on a little journey.
When I was 15, I decided to sign up for a summer league basketball team at the local recreational center. Looking back, I literally have no idea why. My Dad volunteered to coach it, and instead of taking it on as a casual way to play some ball (is that even what they call it? Literally, again, no clue) I decided to draft the most intense basketball team outside of the NBA. I’m not even kidding you. I stacked that lineup like an motherf*er. Pardon my french, but it’s the truth. I went to a tiny private school in Huntington Beach (whats up Pegasus!) and had some insanely tall, insanely talented, insanely athletic girl friends at the time (still do, sup ladies!). I was not, nor ever will be, athletically gifted. That being said, you should see me build a team with a common goal in mind. If that was a skill set on LinkedIn, I would endorse myself all day for that. I built this basketball team like it was my job, and yes, I got called for traveling (dribbling and running at the same time makes zero sense to me) every game, but my girls brought the house down. We smacked that summer league for all it had, and I’m 90% sure broke a couple records. Long live the Sparks. Point being, when it comes to game time, you need to draft the best team possible. And so again, I did.
While basketball isn’t in my wheel house of skills, planning an event certainly is. I’ve been entertaining since I was old enough to cold call people out of the school directory and invite them over for some of Linda’s cookies and lemonade. I love it. The simple act of getting people together and enjoying their company over food and music is one that will always be dear to my heart. When we got engaged, I tried to position the wedding like that in my mind. We were essentially throwing the biggest, most expensive, most emotionally charged party of our lives. Simple. Ha. So, alongside the Linda (my mom and right hand at all times) I set out to do just that.
First came the planner, Ms. Amy of First Comes Love, San Diego. When we first met she casually mentioned ‘doing’ Tiger Wood’s wedding, to which I mercilessly joked that I hoped our marriage wouldn’t consist of me beating Keevin with a nine iron. I also quickly clarified that I was firmly Team Elin, and totally understood her comin’ out swinging, as Luda says. Anyways, after that quick crash course in “hi I’m Olivia” we were off and running. Amy was full of ideas, vendor recommendations, and a love of Excel. A good planner is the backbone to any wedding, and even though I consider myself the best planner in the world (and super humble, too) there is always, always, always room for a professional. Amy was calm, cool, collected, and did her best to keep us on budget. Eventually, she stopped trying to do that. Anyways, whether or not you decide to hire a planner for the entire length of your planning process, or for the tail end, I can’t stress how crucial Amy was to us during that last month. While she’d given us some wonderful tidbits throughout our engagement, it was clear that she was a game day player. She made sure that everything and everyone knew exactly what, when, where, and how they were going to make this wedding so special, and run so smoothly. She managed all vendor contracts and constantly kept me calm about the thousands upon thousands of little balls that seem to be up in the air until the very minute you say “I Do”.
Now Alyss. Oh Alyss. I cannot possibly squeeze enough good things about her onto this little page to do her work, her smile, her personality, or her dance moves justice. Literally every single professional picture on this blog, on my Instagram, and on every single wall of my house was captured by this wonder woman. From the moment we met and bonded over our shared appreciation (addiction?) of Beyonce, Whitney Houston classics, rap songs and caffeine, I knew she was the one. The one. As a bride, I felt this bizarre sense that second to finding “the one” I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, “the one” who would photograph that journey so you could plaster it all over the Internet was EVERYTHING. When you know, you know, and I just knew that our love story was safe in the hands of Alyss and her incredible Honey Photographs Team. Working with her was pure magic. We started with our engagement photos, and shocker – I had a pretty detailed vision of how I wanted our photographs to look. I’m not kidding you, I had an inspiration board. Alyss very professionally told me to shove that vision. Kidding. She took it all into consideration but expertly reminded me that while we can plan the dress, the flower crown, the location – we cannot plan the moments. The moments are those nuggets of pure gold. They’re the split second stuff that happen only once, and if captured, can last a lifetime. And sure as shit, we couldn’t plan the weather, either. San Diego let out a torrential down pour that actually broke some record the weekend of our engagement shoot. That wasn’t the plan. Instead of canceling the shoot I’d painstakingly planned out, we fully embraced it. Alyss had us laughing and dancing the entire time that we scaled cliffs barefoot and wouldn’t you know, the clouds opened up to give us the most gorgeous day. Those pictures turned out to be everything I could’ve possibly wanted and then some. But more than that, Keevin and I got to spend an afternoon kissing, cuddling, laughing and rapping to each other – while someone insanely talented was there to photograph it. Alyss was there to snag shots of our engagement photos, bridal shower, and best of all – our wedding. Every single photo is better than the last, and we literally squeal with delight every time we get to see her work. So clearly, we are die hard Alyss fans. Almost a year later, Alyss and I are fabulous friends who now get to chance to work together – I got to help her write content for her brand new site, and she will always, always, always be our photographer and friend. Long story short, finding a photographer that is insanely talented is important. Finding a photographer turned friend that reminds you that the magic isn’t in the photograph but in the fact that you found a once in a lifetime kind of love…that is crucial.
FLOWERS. To say that I’m a flower child, flower obsessed, flower lover would be the understatement of the day. I wish flower child didn’t mean hippie because in no way am I that relaxed, but I am that into flowers. I blame my Mom. She had me out gardening with her from the time I was old enough to use my little hands to yank weeds. That sounds like child labor but it wasn’t, because I loved it and was also paid in many ways. I love flowers so much that my entire wedding dress was covered in them. We knew from the minute we started planning this sucker that flowers would be the biggest part of the wedding, much to Keevin’s chagrin because flowers aren’t spelled b-a-r. I knew I wanted wild, shades of pink, messy, big, over the top, and fragrant. I knew I wanted people to come away thinking that our flowers were the most magical things they’d seen in quite some time. I knew that even Pinterest wasn’t ready for the visions I had for this one. So of course, I knew there was only one woman for the job. Annette Gomez. I couldn’t possibly ever put into words the beauty that were our wedding flowers. The minute I saw my bouquet I burst into tears. It was everything. I think an entire blog post should be dedicated to that thing. It was fifteen pounds of every shade of pink – from peonies to cascading orchids. I’m getting sweaty just talking about it. The ceremony flowers were just as insane – over the top, pink, and happy happy happy. Exactly what we wanted. Annette and I texted daily for the last three months of the planning process – exchanging ideas, snap shots, and jokes. We clicked instantly, and I won’t sit here saying every one should be on the texting level with their wedding florist. I will say it helps. Ha. All kidding aside, working with Annette and getting to experience her talent firsthand was pure perfection. From my floral crown at our engagement shoot, to our dogs floral collars, to every single petal at that wedding, Annette is an actual magician.
Every bride wants to feel beautiful on their wedding day, that’s a given. I however, wanted to feel most of all, like me. Just an elevated, had time to blow out my hair and also magically suddenly can do so well, kind of me. I was concerned because more often than not, when I’ve sat myself down in a make up artist’s chair, I felt looking like I was trying out for the Real Housewives of Daytona. Overly tan, overly lashed up, and overly lip lined. I’m serious. Nine tens out of ten, I would go home and wash my first immediately after. So you can’t blame me for being a little bit wary of the whole bridal glam squad idea. Then came Kissed by AML. Alma and Taylor were my dream team. Again, ended up as friends who texted almost daily throughout the entire process. Ok, I’m starting to see a pattern here. Alma was the master behind my mane for the entire year of our wedding events, and day of! Making my insanely thick, insanely blonde, insanely long blonde hair look amazing was no small feat, and Alma managed to pull off every single look I threw at her. She is freakishly talented, and not only made my hair dreams come true but had my entire bridal party and Mama looking TOP NOTCH (not hard to do because they’re stunners but you get my point). Taylor SLAYED my make up. Literally slayed. No other words. We bonded over our shared obsession of fighting our oily skin and finding the perfect primer. She fell for my ridiculous research skills and I fell for her ability to make me feel like the absolute best version of myself. I will forever cherish these two because they made me and all of the important women in my life feel like super models for my wedding.
Phew. So, that’s my village. Well, part of it, anyways. These vendors turned into friends of mine that I will always use, recommend, and vouch for. Planning this wedding was a dream come true and such a luxury – and while I jokingly called myself the Lebron James of the team and often shouted to Keevin I was “carrying the city on my back” during the process, I couldn’t and wouldn’t have been able to pull this off without everyone else. I should above all, be clear that my parents and Keevin made this wedding possible at all. My mom and dad gifted us the wedding of a lifetime, and it is a night and season of our lives that I will forever look back on with the biggest, most over the top smile on my face.