Tips, Ideas and More from a newlywed San Diego Bride!

Why Trunk Shows are the BEST… July 13, 2008

Filed under: My Wedding Reviews — Bridal Inquirer @ 5:31 pm
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I was lucky enough to find my dream dress, but I also got to meet the designer of my dress at a trunk show! Here is a picture of Edric Woo and me. He is the designer for Tara Keely which is a division of Jim Hjelm. I also got 10% off of my dress for buying it at a trunk show. You can find a Tara Keely dress for you by visiting Happy trunk show shopping!


My Wedding Shoes… July 9, 2008

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 I got my wedding shoes from They were Charles David and they had only ONE pair and can you believe they were in my size??? 6 1/2!!! I ordered them with my fingers crossed that they would match and they were PERFECT! They were meant to be! is great because they do not charge for returns and UPS ground shipping is free! All pics are by my photog Sean Schofield. Happy Shoe shopping!


Wedding Day Hair Review!!! June 20, 2008

Filed under: My Wedding Reviews — Bridal Inquirer @ 4:43 am
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I had my trial and day of hair done by India at Utopia Salon in Encinitas. I was happy with the trial and VERY happy with the results day of. On the day of though, my appointment was scheduled for 10am and I did not get into the chair until approx 10:20am. As any bride knows, 20min is a BIG deal on your wedding day! Luckily I was really happy with how my hair turned out. I originally wanted feathers in my hair, but day I of I went with fresh flowers instead. I had bought the flowers last minute the day before from my florist. My hair held up nicely all day/night even in the heat…we got extremely lucky and had unseasonably warm weather for our wedding weekend. It was 85 degrees on the beach and not a cloud in the sky in April!!! It was perfect! Anyways, back to my hair 🙂 Trial was $85 and day of was $150.



My Wedding and Vendor Review… June 7, 2008

Filed under: My Wedding Reviews — Bridal Inquirer @ 6:57 am

I Do!

All Photos by Sean Schofield, my awesome photographer!


Sat, April 12th, 2008

Our colors: Granny Apple Green & Chocolate Brown

Guests: 65

Wedding Ceremony and Reception Location:

Pacifica Del Mar Breeze Cafe  (A+)

I fell in love with this location immediately. We were able to rent out the whole cafe and had both our ceremony and reception here. We had a private ceremony with only 10 people in attendance and then a reception with 65 people immediately following. We had the venue from 1pm-11pm. The prices are extremely reasonable and they dont charge you to rent the place, they just charge you a min food and beverage. We chose our custom menu and had a full bar available. I worked with Andrea from Pacifica, who is extremely helpful and was always quick to respond to my numerous emails/phone calls. The day of, we had four servers/bartenders and a manager (Her name was Kat) on hand who were FABULOUS. I did not have a coordinator so they were invaluable in making sure everything happened as planned on my itinerary. I was so pleased with the service from everyone at this venue from start to finish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for someone on a budget. Cost for heavy passed appetizers (crab cakes, tuna tartar, chicken satays and pizetta’s) as well as a buffet (olive bread, caesar salad, porcini pasta w/ artichoke hearts), champagne toast after ceremony, mini creme brulee and a two hour cocktail hour(s) as well as drinks for the wedding party & family all night totaled approx $5,500.




The Dress

Here comes the Bride-Tara Keely Gown (A-) and

I saw this dress in a magazine and again instantly fell in love. I found out that HCTB carried it and it just so happened that the designer was going to be in town the following weekend. It was meant to be. This was the second dress I tried on and I knew it was the one. I had no idea at the time that it can take months to get a wedding dress, but the designer promised me it could be made in time. I did make a few alterations to the dress after it came in (moved ribbon from waist to an empire waist and added a broach). You can see the original if you go to the Tara Keely website and look up dress number 2750. I did have one issue with HCTB when I received a notice in the mail that my dress would be arriving 2 weeks AFTER my wedding. Thankfully, Rebecca the manager pulled some strings and we got the dress in 2 weeks before the wedding so they comped all of my alterations (let out the waist, hem, took in the hips and moved ribbon). She also gave me the BEAUTIFUL broach you see in my photos. It REALLY made the dress even more gorgeous. The hem did get destroyed at the wedding and my jewlery snagged the skirt, BUT this makes it that much easier to consider a trash the dress photo session now! Dress was $2300.00.

The Photographer

A Candid Image-Sean Schofield (A+)

We found our photographer through A Candid Image. I first met with Barbi and went through several different photographers portfolios and chose Sean Schofield. His work is amazing and I absolutely LOVE our photos! He was so easy to work with! After I got the pictures, I was amazed because he got soooo many good pictures and we never even noticed him while he was taking them! I am hoping to do a trash the dress or boudoir session with him soon. I HIGHLY recommend Sean. All photos on this VR are from Sean unless specifies otherwise. The prices cannot be beat either! I got 8 full hours at two locations with Sean, 500 4×6 pictures (or you can get a magazine of them), they are posted on pictage, and a cd of all of the negatives. All for only $1724.00!!!

Here are some of my FAVORITES:





Vynce Pham, Music Phreek DJ Services (A+)

I met with Vynce and again immediately knew he would be perfect for our wedding. He has such a great personality and goes way above and beyond just playing good music. His prices are very reasonable as well. Vynce met with me twice in person before the wedding and one of those times he made a special trip to our venue just to see the set up beforehand. I dont know about other brides, but I know that I personally wanted to be in contact with my vendors often….maybe because of the reoccuring nightmares that none of my vendors would show up the day of the wedding! Vynce was always quick to respond to any of my questions/concerns. We booked him for the reception only as we had already booked live music for our ceremony, but Vynce showed up 3 hours before our scheduled start time to make sure he wasnt setting up during the ceremony and thank goodness because we had to use his microphone for our ceremony vows! We had Vynce from 4pm-10pm for $800! I HIGHLY recommend Vynce Pham. Tell him the bride that hates gloria estafan sent you…funny story!


 I dedicated New York, New York to my friends who flew in from NYC and are getting married on 10/04/08! Congrats to Carolyn and Anthony!

Two Violins

Magda & Justin O’Neill (A+) 

I found Two Violins on They were very easy to work with and also worked within my budget since I was having a very brief ceremony. I have always LOVED the opening music to “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve so I found the sheet music and Magda and Justin played this for the announcement of us as husband and wife. It was PERFECT! They also played several other songs which we got to choose, but this made our ceremony even more memorable. I would definitely recommend them. They were very professional and a sweet couple! They do respond faster to a phone call rather than e-mail, just fyi. Cost $300

 The rings (A)

We got all of our rings at My husband picked out my engagement ring and it was even more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed of! He was very happy with the service so we also got our wedding bands at blue nile as well. My diamond is GIA certified for anyone who may be concerned about ordering online. Cost $$$$, but a great price for what we got.

 The Flowers  (A)

Alyta of Jolie Fleur was a referral from Andrea, the group event coordinator at Pacifica. Alyta was very easy to work with and also worked within my budget. I did not have a big budget for flowers so we kept the arrangements small but with beautiful flowers such as orchids, hydrangea, roses and bells of ireland (all in green or ivory to match our color scheme). I loved our flowers and only wish I could have had a larger budget so we could have had even more. Alyta also let use borrow her cube vases with a credit card deposit and did not charge us since we returned them all after the wedding. Cost: $730.00


Vg’s Bakery  (A)

We chose Vg’s bakery after we found out that four of our friends had gotten their cakes at Vg’s also! I always knew their donuts were FABULOUS but the wedding cake was just as good! For the cake tasting, they give you two seven inch cakes and then you can buy additional flavored sample cakes for $5 each! The cake was very moist. They do not do fondant frosting and you have to get a large cake to get square shape which I originally wanted but after tasting the buttercream frosting, I changed my mind! We were very happy with the cake. Flowers were from Alyta at Jolie Fleur. Cake cutters and our toasting flutes were Vera Wang “love knots” style and were a gift from my parents. Cost for the cake was $270.00

Hotel (for block rooms)

Del Mar Hilton  (C+)

This is a tough one. I worked with Erika who is in charge of group sales/block room reservations. Erika was very helpful and always quick to respond. She went above and beyond the call of duty so I would give her an A rating. She upgraded our room and left champagne and strawberries in our room with a card. Very Sweet! Our problem was with the front desk. I put a huge amount of time and effort into making the perfect OOT welcome boxes and even brought them in with a list of our guests highlighting the different check in dates for our guests. The day after our wedding when we ran into guests of our wedding, we asked if they received their welcome box and eventually found out that four people never received them. I asked the front desk and was told that I had left a note to only distribute a few of them. WHY would I just give them extra boxes to keep in the back? I was very upset and to make matters worse, the girl (Naomi) at the front desk rolled her eyes at me and acted as if this was no big deal. I was very upset to say the least. After a conversation with the general manager we were offered a free night at the hotel and they didnt charge us for the delivery of the few that did go out. Needless to say we live in Encinitas so a night at the Hilton in Del Mar just didnt make me feel better We had breakfast at the hotel the morning after and the food was not good. Denny’s next door may have been a better choice. The best thing about the hotel was the location.

Bridesmaid Dress (A)

I only had a maid of honor and my husband only had a best man so for one of my gifts to my maid of honor, I bought her dress. (also made her a scrapbook and gave her a mani/pedi gc). We decided on this dress from jcrew. I ordered it for her online and was extremely happy with the quality of the dress. It is the Sophia silk dress and cost was approx $200. I am pretty sure I got free shipping using a code from, but I think the major dept stores have caught on and dont allow people to post codes anymore  worth a try though!

Tuxes for Husband and Best Man

Best Formal Wear (Ellies), in Encinitas (A)

Husband and Best Man’s tuxes were rented from Best Formal Wear in Encinitas. We chose this place over Mens Wearhouse because we did not like that you cannot actually try on the vests at Mens Wearhouse…you just get to see a little swatch of the fabric. We also did not care for the pushy salesmen at Mens Wearhouse. At Best Formal Wear, you can try on several different colored shirts and vests. The Best Man lived in Philadelphia so he just got his measurements and we rented it for him. Cost was $286.00 for both. (Husband rented his tux and also bought him a Sog bowie knife for his gift).







OOT Gift Boxes  (A)

I ordered custom boxes from and filled them myself. They were very helpful and will work with any theme or colors you have for your wedding. I did not get any professional pics so this picture doesnt do them justice but I was very happy with the result. We filled them with coffee, biscotti, peanuts, 2 water bottles, aspirin, mints, godiva chocolate and a note from the both of us. We also slipped in brochures from the Breeze Cafe and the Del Mar Plaza Shops. Cost $4.95/set. Set included the gable box, tissue paper, ribbon, two custom water bottle labels and 2 sheets of custom letterhead. This was easier than going out and purchasing everything individually for me. I would recommend them for sure.



Invitations  (A)

We got our invitations from They were easy to order and came promptly. We ordered 50 invitations, envelopes, directions cards and rsvp cards for approx $375. We liked them so much that we ordered the matching thank you cards after the fact for approx $60. You can usually find discount codes in the backs of bride magazines for their website for free shipping and/or discounts! I guess my reviews are not really in order but I am posting as I think of things!


Sunset Limo (A)

I got my limo from Sunset Limo (Thomas, owner). He was a referral from a friend of mine, but I am pretty sure he sold the business so I am not sure he is in business or the name may have changed. He gave me a great deal of three hours for only $180! Three days before the wedding, one of his drivers got in an accident and put a fairly large scratch/dent along the side of the limo. Thomas called me in a panic and let me know that he would cover the difference to get a limo from another company he worked with. He was going to try and fix it up before the wedding but wanted to give me the option. I decided to just use his since he fixed it up and I never even saw the damage to the limo. I wasnt too worried about it since it was basically just a ride to our venue! The day of, he did not charge me so I gave him a $100 tip. Very nice guy, would recommend him for sure…if he is still in business!







DIY project  (B)

We decided to make carmel/chocolate dipped apples for our favors. This was more time consuming than we thought. I got this idea from one of my bride magazines (cant remember which one) and thought it was a cute affordable idea! I got a custom made stamp from and bought the supplies at michaels, pineapple scrapbook store and albertsons for the apples! The granny apples tied in our color scheme! I love the way they looked, but did not love making 60 of them the day before the wedding! I wanted something edible since I think most people dont really want some trinket with our names and wedding date on it. We had at least 30 left over at the reception