Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Venue Visit: Carlton Oaks

Carlton Oaks is a golf course in Santee, CA. I wasn't really hanging my heart on this place, but it's incredible price made me take a second look. It's the only place I found so far that includes sales tax and tip in all of their prices. Their packages are very inclusive and if you're not looking to spend a ton of money, then this is your place. We were quoted about $7300 for 125 guests, and let me tell you, yes, this is inexpensive.

It's not much to look at from the front.

The overnight accommodations are not much to look at either, but the fact that there are overnight accommodations is a plus.

The ceremony site is very pretty and overlooks the golf course...

The cocktail hour can be held on the patio, but this firepit is technically not reserved for your private event. Apparently, the bar next door to the reception area gets pretty hopping on Friday and Saturday nights and this area is popular for smokers.

The reception area has it's own bar and the bartender is included in the package!

The reception area is pretty versatile as far as table placement. This is the configuration for a center dance floor and the buffet table is in the very back of the room. Some choose to keep all the tables towards the front of the room and put the dance floor in the very back.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony can also be held indoors, in the same space as the reception. This is the view which is typically behind the sweetheart table and would also be the view in case the ceremony has to be indoors.

Jeff and I were not completely in love with the venue, but I must admit, I'm kind of in love with Yvette, the event coordinator. She walked us through every single detail of a typical wedding and gave us all the different options that were available. I trust that, in her hands, all of her weddings go off without a hitch! Then again, every wedding probably feels exactly the same here. I can't help but feel that, if Jeff and I choose to get married here, we'd get the typical pre-packaged wedding. Yes, goal accomplished, we get married. Will the guests have fun? Most likely. Will it feel like us? Probably not. I'm not sure if this place is a contender, but the price is right :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

While You're Here... Hillcrest Sandwich Co. and Pappalecco

While Jeff and I were out and about today, we stopped by two of our favorite places to eat: The Hillcrest Sandwich Company and Pappalecco.

The Hillcrest Sandwich Company has the best sandwiches, in our opinion. We're big fans of avocados and sprouts, and this places just gets us. Today, we both ordered #41 - The Alpine Garden (avocado, jack cheese, alfalfa sprouts, spinach leaves, cucumber, red onion, lettuce, mayonnaise and tomatoes on stoneground wheat). I skipped the red onions.

Afterwards, I was craving something sweet. Conveniently located right down the street is Pappalecco. Their specialty? Gelato! I've also heard from some foreign friends that this place has the best coffee in all of San Diego, comparable to cafes in Italy and Spain. I can't say whether this is true or not because I only have Starbucks to compare. Jeff did enjoy their single espresso which was delicious with my dark chocolate gelato.
Dark chocolate and strawberry for me. Pistachio and lemon for Jeffrey.

So, yeah. When you come to San Diego, you should probably stop by at these places.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Venue Visit: Levyland Estates

Wow. This place is gorgeous. And it might be exactly what I am looking for. Levyland Estates is located in Carlsbad, CA, about 45 minutes north of San Diego. My pictures absolutely do not do it justice, but Jeff and I are going back next week, so I'll remember to bring my real camera with me!

This is the view of Levyland as you're coming down the driveway from the street. The property is very close to downtown Carlsbad, with very cute shops and tons of restaurants, but it's tucked away and surrounded by a nature preserve, giving it a very private feel.

The main driveway can be transformed into this. With the tables set up on the driveway, there's room for up to 200 guests. You can also set the tables up on the back lawn, but I think there's less space there, 80 maybe?

Here's a better view of the actual buildings on the property, although not a very good one. Excuse the mess as I tour you through the house. The bride and groom of the previous weekend were just packing up as I was walking through. They had very positive reviews of the venue and had the post wedding glow to the max :)

As you can see, there are two buildings, the main house sleeps 6 and the 'treehouse' sleeps 4. Both are very open, loft style, so not a lot of privacy... but excellent party homes!

The garage (where the cleaner is currently mopping) can be done up too. I was told a lot of people choose to hold their dance floor here, or inside the main living room. The garage opens up on both sides, but the doors are made of glass so in case of inclement weather, you still have yourself a nice view. There is also a wet bar in the garage, meeting Jeff's one requirement of having alcohol at the reception.

The beach is a short, short walk away, making it the perfect space for the ceremony. I love the idea of a beach wedding but I'd hate for my guests to have to find two different locations. With the beach and the venue literally a stone's throw away, there's not much of a chance of getting lost.

Another thing that I absolutely love about this place, is that it rents for the week. The whole week! No mandatory event ending by 10, no uncles trying to pay $500 for just one more hour of dancing, just one place for your family to find and hang. One place for the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, the reception, the farewell brunch. I can imagine my entire family hanging out together, decorating the place the day before, enjoying our time together and really taking in the whole experience.

With a full kitchen and lots of outdoor living space, it really feels like hanging out at grandma's house.
Except that Grandma's really rich, lives incredibly close to the beach, surrounded by lagoons and a nature preserve. Yeah. That's more like it.

Want to see how the pros do it? Other weddings at Levyland: here, here, here, here, and here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How it happened, according to Jenn

Like I said before, Jeff proposed to be on Feb 4, 2011. I wrote an email to a friend a few days later and this is what I told her:

Jeff and I are finally engaged! I have to admit, I was getting a little anxious, but wasn't quite expecting it because of the whole house buying situation. Last summer, we put a few offers out there and lost them all to cash investors and were pretty worn out with the process so decided to take a break. Since we knew we weren't going to buy a house for a little while, I was secretly hoping he'd propose sometime during the holidays. Then a few weeks ago, a home that we had seen last summer dropped their price from 315K to 250K and we immediately jumped on it. It turns out, the family HAD to move for job relocation reasons but, as is the case with all the homes out there, they owe more than they could sell it for. We put an offer out, the family accepted, but now we're just waiting for the bank to approve the price. (It's called a forced short sale since the home isn't in distress, just bad circumstances.) When we put the offer out, I called my mom and my brother letting them know that I was excited that we put an offer out, but was kind of bummed because that means that getting engaged would get pushed until at least next year. So when Jeff proposed, I was totally shocked because I had really already put it out of my mind.

So how it happened, we went out to dinner Friday night (at the Olive Garden, my fault, I guess he had somewhere else in mind, but I complained that all I REALLY wanted was soup, salad, and bread sticks!) and afterwards, stopped at this place called BevMo, which is like the walmart of liquor. I've been on a champagne kick lately (because I truly feel that it shouldn't be saved for a special occasion, that every day is a reason to celebrate, so why not?!) and picked out a few bottles just to have around. Jeff decided we needed to buy some cold ones and really, I didn't need any convincing to enjoy some bubbly on a regular Friday night, but what tipped me off was he wanted to buy some fancy schmancy champagne flutes too. (I should point out here that when you're not engaged and you really want to be, everything makes you think "tonight could be the night!" This is not the first time I had thought we might get engaged, but it most definitely will be one the few times I will admit to.) I usually just pour it into a wine glass because that's what we have, but he said if I was going to be drinking champagne regularly, we may as well do it right. We picked some out that had the perfect "ting," went home, popped open the bottle and just chilled on the couch. We were just catching up on day to day stuff when Jeff pointed out that he liked my necklace and had never seen it before. I told him that I was inspired by another friend who always wears really nice jewelry and was trying to remember to wear jewelry for every day in Feb so I could rediscover my own collection. He asked, "Oh, then where's that pearl ring that I bought you a while ago? Why aren't you wearing that?" I had taken it off so I could wash the champagne glasses and knew that it was on the counter, but he said that it wasn't there, and am I sure I didn't leave it in the bathroom at the restaurant? I got up to look, and lo and behold, it wasn't there. I panicked and looked in the bathroom and the bedroom and kind of freaked out because it would not be the first time I had lost this ring. When I walked out of the bedroom ready to admit defeat, Jeff was down on one knee, box in hand and said, it's okay, you can have this one instead! I was so shocked and may have told him to put it away and that I really wanted my other ring instead, but after he asked if I'd marry him, of course I said yes :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Venue Visit: 57 degrees

Planning a wedding is a big deal. Jeff proposed on Feb 4, 2011 and I've pretty much spent the last month thinking. To be fair, February was a short month. I have a few ideas on my mind, but they are mostly details that can be added to any sort of affair. Budget is our main concern. We could spend our entire savings on a grand wedding, but we have priorities. On average, couples in San Diego spend between $19,809 and $33, 015 total on their wedding. That's according to Boo! I really don't want to spend that, but I do want a big party! So I had this idea - having a cocktail reception on New Years Eve. Can we pull it off? Maybe?

Earlier today, Jeff and I visited a local wine bar called 57 degrees.

This is the view from the street. There is ample parking in the back, and obviously, lots of room here in the front of the building to hang out.

You can see downtown from the parking lot and apparently, fireworks if the occasion calls for it. (Like it would for NYE)

I love this center bar area...

The patio area is small, but could be a nice space for relaxing and cooling off after some serious dancing.

A large portion of the venue is actually retail space, but just think of all the wine we'll get to choose from if we decide to host our reception here!

This space would be ideal for a New Years Eve celebration because it has more of a casual party atmosphere and less of a formal, seated dinner/black tie affair. Our guests could feast on appetizers, beer, wine, and champagne, but also have access to a full bar, because who doesn't get a little tipsy on New Years Eve? It has it's pros and cons, but it's really the first venue we've visited, so the possibilities are endless. Which, for this indecisive gal, is kind of stressful. But I'm not complaining. I've been anxious for this stress for a hot second and I couldn't be happier :)

First post

Jeff and I got engaged. Did you know? Now you do :)

I'd like to tell you the whole story, but I'm going to upload some pictures first. I'm going to use this blog space to document the planning of our big event. It's mostly for me and maybe my family, too. I'm not really trying to get rich or famous or anything. But I do think it will be fun to look back and remember what this time was like.