- Aaron hired a professional photographer that, get this, he found on OnceWed! That's right. Aaron knew what OnceWed was before we were even engaged! Using their Vendor Guide, Aaron found Kristy at Volatile Photography who was a perfect fit for what he was looking for. She was on time (VERY crucial for a surprise party!), didn't leave until we did (which was 2 hours over our scheduled time), and she is super affordable. Kristy also had a great eye, capturing some of the most memorable & special moments of the night that I will cherish forever. She also respected our very intimate gathering - 99% of the time I didn't even know she was there! Take away tip? Use wedding blogs as resources. They usually know there stuff but always ask for references. Or, see a wedding you love? Look at the end for the photo credit. And remember, you don't have to pay thousands an hour for great photography. I would highly recommend Kristy to anyone in the future. She was such a dream to work with both before and after the event. Head on over to her blog for our full gallery of images!
- About 3 months prior to my birthday, Aaron created invitations by himself on Photoshop to send out to our friends & family. Okay. So. He cringes every time these are brought up. "Surprise" was spelled wrong (it read "surpise")! After showing the invitation to nearly 10 people during editing, no one ever noticed! And my man has a Master's Degree! Crazy right?? So if you're going to go the DIY route, double and triple typo checking is necessary. I didn't even notice and now its something we laugh about. I really loved how he incorporated the fonts from our venue, Local Mission Eatery, and my handwriting to make the invitations personal to the event. Oh yeah, and the restaurant.... AMAZING. This place only uses locally grown/sourced EVERYTHING. Chef Jacob is amazing & I highly recommend this intimate setting for everyone.
- The Wingman (Vince) : Aaron knows that I'm pretty nosey, so keeping secrets from me is no easy task. He says I "triangulate" - ask several different questions at various times to hone in on the correct answer. In hopes of avoiding any of my triangulating efforts, the invitations instructed guests to contact, his now Best Man, Vince with any questions regarding travel, timing, and their RSVPs. Vince literally coordinated the whole thing. He rocks! So ladies (or men), have a best friend? Let her do some of the work. It really paid off for Aaron and it totally made the surprise possible.
- The Ring : I mean, I don't want to brag or anything, but ... the boy did good! No? Everywhere I go, strangers will literally stop me on the street. At work, customers pretty much just reach out and grab my hand (awwwwkward). It still shocks even me sometimes! So, how did a young man of 26, working in a retail tech store, with tons of student loans afford such a ring? He'll tell you, "Simple". He made smart decisions and did his research. Aaron went in several jewelry stores, talked to several people, looked online, and compared diamonds on his free time. He wanted to know the difference and importance of the 4 C's to make an educated decision. He is also not the kind of guy who let's other people tell him whats best; he likes to know. Aaron will also tell you to buy the diamond separately, you'll get a much better deal. I think my ring looks amazing because I've compared the exact GIA rating stone at Tiffanys & Co. to my ring and there is like a 5 figure difference. Just for a name people! That wasn't important to me or Aaron so, he went to the Diamond Exchange of San Francisco. They worked with Aaron to create a unique and beautiful setting with the perfect diamond for me and his wallet. Maybe one day I'll have him stop by the blog to do some 4 C tutorials. Anyways, it is stunning and I am so grateful for his attention to detail. My hope is that one day I can see this ring passed on to my daughter or daughter-in-law in the future and watch her enjoy it as much as I have.
- Last but not least, my family. Having talked about getting engaged a few times, I had mentioned to Aaron that I wanted to get engaged during the holidays, when we go back East to be with my family. I never liked the idea of telling my family via phone call or Skype. I wanted that surprise feeling; I wanted the opportunity to witness their joy and excitement in person. Aaron remembered how important this was and flying my family out to San Francisco made come true for me. And for that experience and thought, I am very grateful. Having my family fly across the country also meant that all of our parents were given the opportunity to meet each other for the first time. With my family in Florida, his Dad & Step-Mom, Roxane, in New Jersey, and his Mom & her wife, Ronda, in San Mateo, it was looking like a wedding was going to be the only thing brining these three families together. It was such a blessing that they found the time to join us in celebration.
Thanks for taking the time to read all of this! Hopefully this gave you a little insight into me and my relationship with Aaron and you can walkaway with one helpful tip. I'd love to hear your feedback and comments! What do you think of the no Plus Ones? What are you looking for in a photographer?
I'll be back tomorrow with something totally non-wedding related so be sure to check back!