Diane and Rory are married!
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Click Here to See Our Italy Honeymoon Pictures
Click Here To Visit My Planning Bio
You can find details about our honeymoon and a link to our trip report at the bottom of my bio.
Professional Pictures ~ By Tia Gavin Photography!!
Tables Being Set-Up
Little Flower Girls
Guys In the Car
Our First Dance
Having Some Fun!!
Our Big Exit
Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
Wedding Re-Cap, Thoughts and Advice
I plan events for a living and when I got engaged I was so excited to plan an event that is so meaningful and I set forth to plan a romantic, elegant and fun event that really reflected our personalities. I thought since I do this all the time it would be a breeze. It wasnt. I got really consumed in crazy details of the wedding. I had a lot of anxiety about everything. Even the night before the wedding I was up until 1am worrying if perhaps the napkins that I chose clashed with the linens (they didnt) and I stressed that no body would dance.
What I realized the day of our wedding was that some of it was worth it (the cutting out of programs, assembling the passports, making crazy detailed lists) and the majority of the anxiety and worries were not. Everyone danced, the napkins were fine and I had an absolute blast!
Even though I got bogged down with worries and negativity at certain points of the planning process all of those memories are now replaced by the beautiful memories from our wedding day. I cant begin to explain what a high it is to be at YOUR wedding and the love you feel for not only your husband but for your wedding party, family and friends who have all gathered from all over the country to be there to celebrate such an important moment.
The night before our wedding all my bridesmaids came to my room to watch Valley Girl with me and hang out. I was completely calm and said goodnight to them around 9pm, ready to go to sleep. As soon as I turned out the lights I went into a complete panic about the napkins. I think what this sudden attack of nerves was all about was the fact that I had put so much time and thought and effort into one thing for a year and I just wanted it to be fantastic. I called Rory and he cheered me up. I wish I had brought some Tylenol PM. I woke up on the day of the wedding exhausted and totally excited. One by one the girls and moms showed up to get their hair and make-up done. I sat back on my bed and watched them all. They all started to change into their dresses and I was so blown away by how stunning they all looked. That was my first moment of being brought to tears.All the girls and I headed over to the church in the classic car. It was so fun driving in the car and getting pumped up for the ceremony. I was so excited at this point and couldnt wait to see Rory!! .As I walked to the front of the church I had to hold back tears, I was so nervous that I was going to sob the entire way down the aisle! When it was time to walk down I felt unbelievably calm. I looked at Rory the entire walk down the aisle and tried to keep my hands from shaking. .The ceremony was funny, touching, romantic and if I say so myself one of the best I have ever attended!! .Once the ceremony was done I just felt excited. I was so eager to get to the reception! Rory and I walked out of the church to all our guests waving the colorful hankies that we passed out. It was awesome. .We joined our guests at cocktail hour after taking some pictures. I was so overwhelmed. Not just with the amount of people that I had to say hi to but in the way everything looked. Every single one of my ideas was pulled of flawlessly. It was so much better than I had ever imagined it would be. It was great to look around and see people writing on the postcards, wine tasting and playing liars dice. All the work was worth it in that very moment. One of my moms friends husband came up to me and said all of the details and personal touches were amazing. I couldnt believe that a man in his late 50s would even notice. It felt great! .We were announced at dinner and we were actually able to sit and enjoy dinner because we had talked to everyone during cocktail hour. It felt great to relax! .Our first dance was so romantic. We did it outside on the bridge and it felt like we were the only ones there. After the first dance we all moved inside for the dance party and after that the night was a blur of drinks, dancing and laughing. I admit I got a little tipsy, ripped my dress to shreds by dancing all over it and shook my butt to baby got back but I had an absolute blast. I didnt want it to end.
Now for my words of wisdom1. Pack some Tylenol PM2. I know everyone says this but try to really take in each moment it goes by in a flash3. Know that all your hard work will pay off on the day of the wedding and try not to stress. 4. Give really detailed set-up and clean up instructions to your coordinator, it pays off!!5. Watch out for people who crash weddings. I had two of the rudest women who resembled the wicked stepsisters from Cinderella crash our wedding. We had to ask them to leave 4 times.6. Try to let it all go the day of your wedding. Make your attitude be whatever happens, happens.7. If you are on the fence about inviting someone, dont invite them! It is those people who will cause you the most stress- inviting uninvited guests and who will most likely cancel at the last minute or not show up at all!!8. If you send out save the dates make sure you only send them to people you are certain you will want at your wedding a year from that point. 9. Use the cocktail time to say hi to all your guests. If you do this you wont spend the entire dinner going around and saying hi at guests tables and you will be able to eat and relax and enjoy yourself!!
Reception Venue- Harvest Inn A+++++++++++++++++
The Harvest Inn was an incredible place to have a wedding. It sounds cheesy but it was like a fairy tale, the place it truly magical. My friend Shana became the coordinator there a few months before my wedding and she was such a pleasure to work with. The coordinator that was there before was good but I didnt feel like she was forthcoming with a lot of assistance or information so when Shana took over I was thrilled.
Ceremony- St. Helena Catholic Church, A for the church and D- for the Coordinator
The church itself is really charming and beautiful and romantic. It really fit the mood for the day. The wedding coordinator Deborah is an absolute flake. She was the only vendor I didnt select, I had to hire her if I got married at the church and was the only person I was disappointed in.
My first interaction with her was when I scheduled a meeting to do a walk through of the church. She cancelled as I was walking out the door and rescheduled for the next day. By this point I had already driven to my parents house in Marin and my sister had driven over from the East Bay so we had to spend the night at my parents house. The next day she was over an hour late and when she arrived the mass had just begun so we couldnt walk through the church.
Then on the wedding day when my husband arrived at the church he noticed our alter arrangements in the back of the church. He told her that they needed to be put out. She told him that they werent our arrangements and that ours were already out. He looked out and saw these two huge blue and yellow sunflower arrangements and told her they werent ours. She insisted that they were (they werent). So all of our wedding pictures will have these horrendous arrangements in them. Not the end of the world in the grand scheme of things but annoying.
Wedding Coordinator- Crystal Uken A+++++++++++++++++
I used to work with Crystal and I hired her just because the at the Harvest Inn it is mandatory to have a coordinator. I am so happy it was! She was incredible. She carried out all of my crazy lists and notes and instructions to a T. It was great to walk in and see that everything I had prepared for was set exactly as I had imagined. She worked so hard all night and was so fantastic.
Cake- Torino Bakery A
The cake was different than I had imagined but still very beautiful. It was an interesting twist on the cake that I had envisioned and it was delicious! Even the fondant, which I usually hate, was wonderful.
Flowers- Cherries Flowers A+++++++++++++++++
Wow, I loved, loved, loved my flowers! Katherine at Cherries completely got my vision and carried it out incredibly. I worked with Katherine at my previous job and I just love her and her work. She also hung my lanterns on the dining patio.
Transportation- Convertible Packard, Antique Tours Limo Service B+
Really cool classy car. I had such a blast riding to the church with the girls in this car listening to classic music. We were in it such a short amount of time for the money we spent but I wouldnt have had it any other way.
The driver was a nice woman but was a little difficult when I told her that I would need the top up for the ride to the church. She insisted that I didnt need it up and my hair wouldnt get messed up. It definitely would have!
Dress- Melissa Sweet Hallie A++++++++++++++
This was my dream dress. I have been cutting out pictures of it for the past few years. It is such an amazing dress. It is so romantic looking. I actually bought the dress used from a bride on the knot and ended up saving $1,500 by doing it this way. It needed to be altered in the waist and length but other than that it was perfect. I really recommend doing this. I felt a little funny about buying a used dress at first but when I started thinking about it, it made sense. It was only worn one day!
I felt so beautiful in this dress, the moment I put it on I felt like a bride.
Veil- Jennifer Leigh Lady Day (from Haute Bride in SF) B+
I never thought I wanted a veil. Then I went to try on my dress and tried on this veil and knew I had to have it! It is so beautiful and delicate. It worked perfectly with my dress. However the veil was sewn on incorrectly to the comb and I had to have it fixed by my seamstress.
Videographer- Thomas Hughes A+
I love Thomas Hughes! Their videos are beautiful. I am embarrassed to admit it but I have cried watching every one of their sample videos. I cant grade the final product but the cameramen that day were fantastic, unobtrusive and I forgot they were there. Cant wait to see it!!
Photographer- Tia Gavin B+
I love Tias work and personality. For the most part I am very happy with our pictures. She captured some really great moments, expressions and there are so many pictures that I absolutely love. I think her strongest photos were in the vineyard, cocktail hour, the toasts and our first dance. The lighting was fantastic and I love almost every picture she took during that time.
However there were a few areas that I was slightly disappointed with. I felt that a lot of our church pictures looked really flat. Hard to explain other than saying that we looked like card board cut outs with no dimension in some of the lower light situations. I also felt that the colors were a bit off in some of the pictures. For instance the girls flowers looked almost maroon in some of the photos and the table cloths looked really brown when in reality the flowers were a lot more purple and the linens were more champagne. I also felt that some things werenâ€™t captured as thoroughly as I would have liked. When we left the church and everyone was waving the hankies, it was so amazing. I donâ€™t have any pictures that captured that scene very well. I am also missing artsy pictures with different angles and perspectives.
I feel very lucky to have gotten so many pictures of things that I do love and there are so many pictures that I will treasure forever. I love photography and taking pictures so I am very critical. I was just hoping to be blown away by our pictures and when I was only happy it was kind of a let down.
Rentals- Classic Party Rentals A+++++++++++
We got our chairs, glasses and napkins from them and all were great quality.
Classic is based in Burlingame and if I didnâ€™t work with them in my job I probably wouldnâ€™t have used them just because they are really far away from my site. If your site is closer to their warehouse they are a great, professional and organized company to work with. Their inventory is really high quality.
The glasses we used, the retro glasses, were incredible. They looked awesome on the tables. I debated the chivaris to save some money and I am so glad the illogical side of me won out. We used the Carmel Bistro Chairs for cocktail hour. I thought they looked great and they were a lot cheaper than the chivaris.
I used AGS for our linens because Classic didnâ€™t have exactly what I was looking for. I really wanted Pntuck linens and Classic only had them in Bronze. I loved the linens. They look a little darker in our Pro pictures than they actually were (better representation in non-pro pics). We used Pintuck Wheat for the dining tables, Pintuck Ivory for the cake table and some of the cocktail rounds and Pintuck Gold for the Favor Table, Wine Tasting Table, Passport Table and Postcard Table. I loved how it looked. It was perfect with the colors of the Harvest Inn.
AGS is not the best company to work with. They are a bit disorganized but they are less expensive than Classic and the linens were beautiful.
Caterer- Wine Valley Catering, Best Beverage Catering B-
I really love WVCs food and presentation. Up until the time I booked I really liked the service. After that the response time and service dropped off a bit. I think it is just another case of a company that is stretched to thin.
One the day of the wedding for the most part I was really pleased with their work. A few things worth mentioning
1. They ran out of rum for the mojitos within the first hour of the cocktail hour (this was one of our specialty drinks being passed) and it was not restocked until almost an hour later. They ran out again a couple hours later and never restocked.
2. They never served wine at my parents table
3. I had asked them to hold one of each hors d oeuvres aside for Rory and myself so we could have them after taking pictures. They told me this wasnt necessary because we would have a waiter assigned specifically to us that would make sure we had everything we needed all night. I never met this waiter and I only got to try 1 of the hors d oeuvres because they were out of everything else by the time we got to cocktail hour.
4. They had told us that they would put a goodie bag in our room so that we could have some things to eat at the end of the night. I thought at the time they told me this that this was such a nice touch. It never materialized. That all said that was the worst of it and it in no way impacted any part of the wedding for me. I think overall they did a really good job just a few things fell through the cracks.
Hair/Make-Up- Sherrie Long A++++++++++++++, www.sherrielong.com
Awesome. I felt so beautiful and I am so thrilled with Sherries work. I didnâ€™t know how to explain to Sherrie exactly the look I was going for. I had it in my head and tried to piece the vision together with several pictures. The day of the wedding she totally got it and my hair was exactly what I had in my head.
Her team also did a great job with the momâ€™s and bridesmaids. They all decided on their own the styles that they wanted and she made them all look so gorgeous!
Guitarist-Didier Bouvet A
Didier was really great to work with. The music during the ceremony was such a blur but I do remember hearing Canon in D played beautifully as I walked down the aisle and I also remember hearing a song from Broke back Mountain played that he learned because I really wanted it played. It sounded great. He is a very nice man and very talented.
I do remember the cocktail hour a little clearer; he also played during this time. He played really fun lively music and it was exactly what I had wanted.
DJ- Premier Productions A
Dave is really thorough and professional. He has really helped us plan out the timeline for our wedding and has had some great suggestions. Sometimes I felt like it was a little hard for him to get off the wedding formula that he goes by, but his professionalism, organization and his great deejaying the day of our wedding totally out ways any of those issues. He was fantastic and I am very happy with the decision to have him as our DJ.
Rehearsal Dinner-Tra Vigne Restaurant A
I loved our rehearsal dinner. We had wine and hors d oeuvres under the trees in their courtyard and dinner in their library. It was such a great venue, intimate, romantic and elegant.
Day before wedding bridal party activities- Massages and lunch at Napa Valley Health Spa C+
My initial experience was not so great. They are really close to the Harvest Inn and I liked the services that they offer that is why I booked with them. The group sales guy was really unresponsive. I was paying for 9 ppl. to get massages and he wouldnt respond to my e-mails or voicemails. I am pretty forgiving to because I work in events and I know how hard it is when you get busy, I just didnâ€™t feel I should have to wait a month or send 5 e-mails in order to get a written confirmation.
The day of was nice. The girls and moms really enjoyed themselves and that was the point so I was happy. They are near a train track so be prepared to hear the wine train pass by a few times during a massage.
Airbrush Tanning- Brown Sugar in San Francisco A
I love brown sugar! It is by far the best spray tan I have ever had. It is really even, a really great shade (very natural you can see in my hair/make-up trial pictures) and my hands and feet are perfect. I have done mystic tan many times before and have always had a spot or two that I have to try hard to cover up because it came out too dark or light. This tan is perfectly even.
I didnâ€™t use a spray tan for the day of the wedding. I developed a rash that broke out all over my back in the months leading up to the wedding. It looked like acne but wasnâ€™t. So I cut out all products including self tanners. I went for indoor tanning instead (I know very bad) and was really pleased with the results.
Teeth Whitening- Brite Smile A for the results F for the pain
I got a great deal on Brite Smile otherwise I donâ€™t think I would have done it (normally $600). The results were great however it was one of the most painful days of my life. Every one of my teeth hurt. It was awful. Not everyone has this reaction, but of course I did.
Mother of the Bride Dress- Trudys Bridal A
I had a really good experience with my mom buying her dress from Trudys. The salesperson was really helpful, nice and professional. However my experience trying to get bridesmaid dresses there was HORRIBLE. The staff was rude, unhelpful and pretty useless.
Bridesmaid Dresses- Jasmine Dresses, B2, color: New Shell Pink Style #B3308- Netbride A+++++++++++++
I hope this doesnâ€™t sound snotty but I didnâ€™t even look at Jasmine dresses online. I did not like the pictures on their website. They have all these girls with these dresses on sticking out their chests with a fan blowing the dresses and their hair. I thought they looked so cheesy so I didnâ€™t take it seriously. When we went to try on the dresses, the Jasmine dresses were all the ones I really liked! They all fit great, looked fantastic and the dress we selected looked so incredible on all the girls.
As far as Netbride goes, I received perfect service from them, it was a completely pain free process and the dresses came in two months!! I purchased the dresses for about $110 which was almost $70 cheaper than Trudyâ€™s, which is where the girlâ€™s tried them on.
Alterations- Kirsten Tucker B+
Kirsten was great, my dress fit perfectly, it looked so beautiful. My only issue was that my bustle broke right after I started dancing. I think that the dress was just to heavy for the attachment. So I ended up holding my dress for the entire dancing part of the night, but I for some reason didnâ€™t mind at all. Glamour and elegance had kind of left me by that point :).
Overall my experience with Kirsten was very good. I did have some issues during the process. At my second fitting my dress fit very strangely and I had to point out the problems and I felt like she didnâ€™t really notice. She was also very distracted during the fitting. When I left I was really upset about my dress and I was at the point that I wanted to pick it up and get it altered somewhere else. Kirsten called me the next day and we made an appointment to come back in. After this visit I was totally reassured and it came out beautifully.
Menus, Passport and Program Paper- Paper Source A
I think I could spend an entire week in paper source. I absolutely love it! I get so inspired to become a very crafty person whenever I enter the store. It is definitely on the pricey side.
Invitations- Direct from Carlson Craft C
I DETEST working with Carlson Craft! They are so difficult to work with. To get my invitations done I had to call them 10 different times. It was agonizing.
Lanterns- Shoji Decor A
Really, really easy to work with! They are also based in SF. I realized this when I paid $15 to have it shipped and then decided on a different shaped lantern. I brought them directly to the warehouse and avoided paying the shipping charges.
Paper Parasols- Oriental Trading Company A
Nice simple umbrellas, very fast shipping and the least expensive ones that I could find. However nobody really used them because it turned out that the cocktail hour lawn was very shady and it was such a perfect day weather wise that they werenâ€™t needed.
Hanging Votive Holders- Crate and Barrel Outlet A
These votive holders were very plain and I used ribbon to hang them. They looked beautiful in the trees. I also supplemented a few from Illuminations which are really beautiful and vintage looking to spice things up at bit.
I probably could have done without the hanging votives. They were really difficult to hang and they kept blowing out.
Engagement Party- Hornblower Cruises A++++++++++++++++++
I worked at Hornblower when we had the engagement party so I thought having the party on the boat was going to a little ho hum for me but I absolutely loved it! It was perfect. It was a really nice day so that was a bonus but it was also really nice for our guest because it was an experience for them too. It was a great length of time (2 hours).
Wedding Shower- Glen Ellen Inn A+++++++++++++++
This restaurant is so adorable and the food is really fantastic! The garden in back is so beautiful and really perfect for a shower.
Flower Girl Dresses- Briar Patch (online store) B-
The dresses were so darling! They looked adorable on the girls. They were fairly inexpensive as well. However the day of the wedding we had to hot glue gun the flowers back on my nieces dress because they kept falling off.
Shoes- Nina Ettora B+
Not that comfortable but pretty. I wore them until dinner and then kicked them off. Nobody knew and I am really a barefoot girl anyways.
Engagement Party Dress- BCBG bought at Macys A+++++++++++
I loved this dress! It was so fun. I even got some whistles when I was walking down the street
Shower Dress - BCBG bought on eBay A+++++++++++++++++
I have had such great luck with eBay! The dress was brand new, in perfect condition, authentic with tags still on.
Cute Little Purse Clara Kasavina ~ Fabby A++++++++++++++
I saw this little purse on a couple other peoples bios and had to have it. My mom had a very similar purse when I was little and I always that it was so elegant. I love the vintage look. The beading is all done by hand and is so delicate. The crystals on the top are so sparkly. It is probably one of my most favorite of all my wedding purchases. I misplaced it right after cocktail hour so it wasnt that useful but I am looking forward to using it many more times in the future!
Do It Yourself Projects- Passports, Menus, Fan Programs, Postcard Guest Book, Table Signage, Drink Stirrers, Stamped Napkins, Luminaries, Wooden Signs, Wine Tasting and Favors
Well, this is a hard one to grade. The process of making these things were stressful, probably the most stressful part of the planning process. Thinking of the idea was really fun and making the prototype was fun, but mass producing was not. When I first started planning I came on the Knot and read all about these girls weddings who all made this and that and their weddings looked amazing! I thought it sounded really fun and I thought thats just what you do when you are a bride. Looking back I think I got in a little over my head. In the end however it is all these things that made my wedding so special to me. So it gets an A+++++++++++ for the results and a D- for the actually process!
Passports- This was one of my favorite parts of the reception. It really tied in the whole travel theme if thats what you want to call it. Our tables were named after places we have been and each passport had a guests name and the table they would be sitting at. Inside the passport was instructions for the wine tasting and places to stamp each passport after you have tried a wine. However very, very labor intensive!
Programs- They looked absolutely amazing but still even when I look at them each one represents hours of cutting. I loved how they looked but might not choose to do them if I could go back. It was a very labor intensive project!
Menus- Loved them, looked great and they werenâ€™t that hard to make
Postcard Guest Book- I bought about 200 vintage postcards on ebay. I spread them all out on a table with pens. I had a sign that asked the guests to sign the front of the postcards. We plan on framing all of them. It was such a hit! People totally got into it!
Drink Stirers- These were so fun! It really brought a lot of color into the cocktail hour. It was really fun to see everyones drink with a little stirer sticking out of the top!
Napkins- Again really, really fun and fun to make! I really liked the patterns on the stamps and it was a good way to bring in the colors of the wedding.
Wooden Signs- My dad made the signs and I painted and stenciled them. Pretty easy project, I am not sure if they were helpful to guests but it was a nice way to let people know that this was where our wedding was!
Table Signs- I think they looked great! I searched google images for hours finding vintage postcards of places we have been. They turned out fantastic.
Favors- The biscotti was delicious and I loved the rustic look of the burlap bags. It looked great with the surroundings. Again I made this project a little harder than it had to be by hot glue gunning the ribbon and a little label on each one, but it looked great!
Honeymoon, Italy- We made all of the arrangements ourselves (with a lot of help from the reviews and pictures on tripadvisor.com). We had an amazing trip, the trip of a lifetime. We spent three weeks traveling from Rome to Venice. A lot of people have been asking me specifics so I am going to put everything in here.
We traveled to: Rome (4 nights)- Stayed at Il Palazzetto/International Wine Academy, Montalcino in Tuscany (1 night) Stayed at- Hotel Vecchia Oliviera , Siena in Tuscany (2 nights) Stayed at- Palazzo Ravizza, Florence (3 nights) Stayed at- Antica Torre di via Tornabuoni, Cinque Terre (2 nights) Stayed at- Hotel Villa Steno, Lake Como (4 nights) Stayed at- Hotel du Lac and Venice (2 nights) Stayed at Locanda Orseolo-. Out of all those places I really enjoyed Tuscany, Florence and Venice the best but it really depends on what you like to do.
Rome is fantastic because there is so much history there, to see the Coliseum and the Vatican is pretty amazing. Tuscany is relaxed and beautiful and great if you like wine and wine tasting, Florence is a great city, it is charming and fun and there are so many things to see, Cinque Terre is on the coast and is really a unique place, the towns are built on cliffs overlooking the ocean, there is also a great hike that you can take with amazing views, Lake Como is absolutely beautiful, it looks Italian and French and has a very small town feel to it and finally Venice is so amazing because it is a city stuck in time. The building are all old and beautiful, it is such a romantic place. It is really busy during the day but at night most of the day trippers leave and you have the city all to yourself.
We rented a car to drive from Rome to Florence. This way we were able to drive through Tuscany (which I really recommend doing) this way we were able to take our own path and get lost and discover new things. The rest of the trip we took the train which was really easy.
I have made a trip report on Trip Advisor, click here if you want to read it. I am still working on it but I hope it helps!!