You might already be familiar with today’s Bride on the Brink! Not only does Heather Warren chronicle her walk down the wedding-planning aisle in her own Bicoastal Bride blog, she’s also a featured blogger for Get Married, Weddzilla and WedAlert. Clearly, she has a lot to say about the whole wedding thing, so let’s get right to it!

 

NAME: Heather Warren

LOCATION: Los Robles Greens Golf Course, Thousand Oaks, CA

DATE: June 4, 2010

THEME: “California Romance”

COLORS: Grape, white and silver

GUESTS: 80-100

Q. Before we get into the particulars, please tell us a little about your overall wedding plans.

I call my wedding-planning blog Bicoastal Bride because that’s exactly what I am. Over the past year, I’ve been planning my Southern California wedding from across the country in Washington, D.C. And let me tell you, when we picked June 4, 2010, as our wedding date last May, I felt like I had all the time in the world to navigate the new, crazy world of long-distance wedding planning. Today, with fewer than three months to go, the planning is in full swing, and I couldn’t be having more fun!

Our “California Romance” wedding will be classic yet highly personalized. The 80-100 guest celebration will begin with a Catholic ceremony at my childhood church, and will be followed by a reception at the beautiful Los Robles Greens Golf Course in Thousand Oaks, California. My grape, white and silver color scheme reflects our love of California’s lush wineries, which we’ll also tie in by using wine corks as escort-card holders, California postcards as table names, and wine bottles as décor. As fun touches, we’ll even be serving a Mexican buffet and dancing the night away to our favorite California-themed songs. A

Q. When did your wedding planning begin?

A. We started reaching out to vendors last April following our engagement, but really got started during a Memorial Day trip to California. During that whirlwind week, we booked our venues and photographer, plus celebrated at engagement parties with my family in Southern California, and his in Sacramento. Since then, we’ve traveled back to California two other times, and have also worked with vendors by phone and online. All I can say is, thank goodness for email!

Q. That must have been one crazy week! What’s the most important thing on your mind right now?

A. I’m eagerly waiting for my Alfred Angelo wedding gown to come in so that I can go to my first fitting. Why am I doing this so late in the game, you ask? Well, as of February, I joined the ranks of brides who have changed their minds about their gowns. My original gown was a discount pick I bought off the rack way back in August. But there was something about it that just didn’t feel right, so I followed my heart and selected a new gown. Now, I’m truly excited to wear my dream romantic dress on my wedding day!

Q. What’s been your approach to handling stress?

A. As a writer, my biggest stress-reliever has been sharing my story with other brides through my personal blog, and also as a featured blogger for Get Married, Weddzilla and WedAlert. The support and encouragement from the amazing brides I’ve connected with keeps me focused on what’s really important. I’ve also been inspired by ideas about fun details to enhance our day, such as creating welcome bags for out-of-town guests and handing out personalized tissue packets at the ceremony. I’ve even had the opportunity to interview top experts in the wedding industry and win some fabulous prizes.

Q. Where’s the source of most of your stress?

A. Though planning our wedding has been one of the most enjoyable times of my life, handling the details long-distance has certainly not been without its challenges. Each time we head out to the West Coast, it’s always a struggle to work out our schedule to accommodate all of the vendor meetings we need to squeeze in. And when I selected my new wedding gown after changing my mind about the first one, my mom and sister, who both live in Southern California, couldn’t be with me.

Q. What about your wedding planning would you change if you could?

A. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. Every part of this process, even the occasionally stressful moments, has been a great learning experience. Though momentary frustrations are definitely not fun, I try to look back and find something positive about everything that happens.

Q. What a wonderful attitude! So what’s been the most rewarding part of the process for you?

A. Getting in shape for the wedding has truly transformed my health and my life. While I used to be a couch potato in the truest sense of the word, our upcoming wedding has inspired me to take up running, dance, aerobics, and to start eating healthily. This March, I was even featured in SELF for having lost 21 pounds through one of their programs! I love being healthy and fit, so I plan to stick with it long after the big day.

Q. You seem to have it all together. Did you hire a wedding planner?

A. We’re excited about working with an amazing month-and-day-of coordinator, Cari Izaguirre of All Occasions Event Planning, to help wrap everything up at the end. But since I truly love everything about weddings and planning them, I’ve had a great time working out the details up to this point!

Q. Wow! So is your planning complete?

A. The major aspects are all in place, but we still have lots of details to work out once we get our final guest count, such as ordering favors, creating DIY photo-sharing cards, and working out our seating chart. I’m also super excited about going in for my hair and makeup trial!

Q. What effect, if any, did the economy have on your wedding plans?

A. By making money-saving tweaks here and there, such as having our wedding on a Friday, serving a buffet instead of a sit-down meal, limiting our guest list to no more than 100 people, and really doing our research to find the best deals, I’m thrilled to say that we’re including absolutely everything we dreamed of including on our wedding day. However, I will admit that since we’re having our wedding in an expensive part of Southern California, we did double our budget after learning just how expensive certain things are. But we feel the total cost is well within our means, and that we’ll have absolutely no regrets looking back on our day.

Q. You sound so upbeat and positive! What life lessons has wedding planning taught you?

A. There’s really no right or wrong way to plan a wedding, or do just about anything in life, as long as it makes you happy and truly reflects what you desire. Throughout this amazing journey, I’ve learned to listen to myself, rather than allowing others’ thoughts and opinions to constantly influence me.

I’ve also leaned on Stephen in times of stress, and I know that he will always be there for me as my partner and best friend. Planning our wedding has been an incredible opportunity to see how well we work together as a team when making big decisions about finances, as well as deciding which unified messages we want to send to others about our beliefs, values and dreams.

Q. It sounds like you’ve been doing this already for hundreds of brides, but what’s the best advice you’d give your best friend who was planning her wedding?

A. It’s your day, and it’s important to do exactly what you want to do! Focus on what works for you and your fiance, and if you want to splurge on something other people think is silly, or break with tradition to personalize your day, do it. Take this opportunity to let the wedding reflect you, your fiance and your relationship. The planning process is so much more fun when you’re happy and excited, rather than worried about pleasing others or trying to make sure everything fits someone else’s vision of what a “perfect” wedding should be.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAThanks, Heather! And Best Wishes!

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