Red is the Color of my Sole.

No, that’s not a typo.

This is a post about my wedding shoes.  They’re the kind of shoes that deserve a post all their own.

A couple of years ago I took a new job – a significant boost in my career type of job.  To celebrate, I checked an item off my bucket list.  I bought a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.

Black patent Biancas to be exact.

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Image via Christian Louboutin

I knew then that I’d likely never buy another pair, so I went with the classic, formal style.  After all, I’m a mid-western girl who works in technology – jeans and casual wear are my norm.

Aside from wearing them to see a show on Broadway, I’ve not had a reason to get them out of their pretty tan box.  My wedding seems like the best occasion yet!

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Personal Images

I’m pretty jazzed to have a reason to get these beauties out of their box for a day!

Our Venue ‘Hunt’

Las Vegas is a smorgasbord of wedding venue options.  If you can’t find a place to get married in Vegas that fits your needs, you’re not looking hard enough.

I knew that we’d have venue overload if we did much hunting.  Mr. PC’s step-mom had gone to a conference in Vegas and I remembered the photographs she’d sent from her trip.  I loved the glitz and atmosphere of the hotel she stayed in.

That hotel, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, is where we will be getting married.

I contacted the hotel via their contact form on their website, and within a day or so, I’d received an email from Ashley, the hotel’s wedding manager.

After a chat on the phone with Ashley I had a really good picture of what the Cosmopolitan offered for a wedding like ours, what it would cost, and how it would happen.

The property isn’t a popular Las Vegas choice for getting married, at least not compared to other venues.  This is one of the selling points for me – it’s not like every other Las Vegas venue or experience.

It bears mentioning early, and often, that Ashley is really great.  I’ve enjoyed every conversation I’ve had with her and I really feel like she not only understands me and my vision for the wedding, but she’s also genuinely committed to making this experience a memorable one.

The Cosmopolitan offers a sort of “all-inclusive” wedding package.  Because our guest list is really small (another post coming about that), we’ll be getting married in our hotel room.

The video below shows an example of the wraparound suite that we’ll be getting married in.

Video via The Cosmopolitan’s website.

The wedding package includes Ashley’s services as our planner, the minister (and custom wedding ceremony), photography, cake, a champagne toast, flowers, and limo service to go get our marriage license.

Selecting the Cosmopolitan as our wedding venue has made wedding planning far more simple.  We have a point of contact to help us with the details and execution, and it’s a wedding we can afford.

We are so excited to have our wedding at the Cosmopolitan!

Selecting the date.

One of the early stages of wedding planning is choosing a date – sometimes your venue or other wedding checklist items push you to select a certain date.

In our case, we had no restrictions.  Since my dress was off the rack and we all know it’s pretty easy to get married in Vegas anytime you want, we weren’t sure what date to choose.

I can’t remember what drove us toward February, but it was one of those “well, why not?” moments, so we decided – February 2016.

February

Image via this site

Not only will our wedding be in February, we’re getting married on my parent’s wedding anniversary!  I’m really looking forward to surprising them with a celebration of their own during our ceremony.

How did you choose your wedding date?  Is it a significant day?

This Wedding is For Us.

Many of us who have traveled the wedding planning path have encountered the multitude of questions that follow an engagement – when? where? how? with whom? what cake flavors? why that color? why wear a white dress, you’ve done this before? but what about Mary’s mother’s cousin’s best friend from third grade?

You see where I’m going with this?

The line of questioning can get invasive.  Quickly.

So, for a few months Mr. PC and I mulled the ideas – from a backyard shindig with a cake and an ice sculpture and family galore to getting married on a family vacation we’re going on this summer.  We (mostly I) even considered the merits of just going to the courthouse a la MaryJane style.

Ultimately we decided a few things – we wanted to celebrate our relationship and start our marriage with a wedding.  We decided on a small, intimate, elopement-esque wedding in Las Vegas.

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Image via lasvegas.com

We only recently started sharing our wedding plans with friends and family.  This is a very personal event for us.  It’s for US.  We’re getting married, and doing it our way.  So far we’ve been really well received.

I’m wearing a pretty white dress because I want to.  Mr. PC is wearing a tuxedo because he wants to.  We’re having a wedding ceremony because we want to.  We’re going to Vegas because we want to.

I’m very excited about our decisions for this celebration.  It’s exactly what we both have in mind for continuing our journey together.  I’ve planned a number of weddings, including 1.5 of my own, and one lesson I learned the hardest way is to make sure our choices for our wedding are ours alone.

With that, the highlight reel: we’ve invited 8 people, we’ve booked our venue and our flights, the flowers and photography are selected, and we’re two months from making this shindig the best beginning ever!!

I’ll be Mrs. Tiara, Not Mrs. Charming.

This is a topic that Mr. Prince Charming and I have discussed beyond measure.

See, Mr. PC has arguably one of the most awesome last names in history.  It’s an adjective.  It’s a word that, in English, is used as a descriptor.

Here’s a list of words that I think would be fun last names (none of which are Mr. PC’s surname, for the record)..

Bitter
Fierce
Diligent
Proud
Plain
Wild

Despite how much I love Mr. PC’s surname, I won’t be legally adopting it after we get married.

Three years ago, I received official notification that my last name had legally been changed to the name I now have.  I went through the legal process to change my last name to a name of my choosing.  It’s a name that I hold in the highest regard, and that I am quite proud to assume.

Mr. PC is pretty traditional and he is not a fan of my decision to carry on professionally with my chosen name.  We’ve reached a compromise – informally I’ll adopt his name (think social media), but with regard to my legal, professional life, I will keep the name I selected years ago.

This is a very personal decision that predates our relationship, and it’s one topic I’m not willing to budge on.  Mr. PC is understanding, but still disappointed.

Was the name change decision tough for you?  How did you decide to keep or change your surname?

The Ring Upgrade

You might remember the custom engagement ring from my past.  That ring along with every other piece of jewelry I owned was robbed from my home about 2 years ago.  We never recovered any of the items from my collection.

I have very bittersweet feelings about that day, and the absence of my jewelry collection.  I can’t adequately describe the feeling of loss I experienced – I had heirloom jewelry that cannot be replaced.  The sweet part is that every piece of jewelry I have now is something that Mr. PC picked out for me.

When we got engaged, Mr. PC wanted me to have a ring to wear.  After conversations of “Well, let’s be engaged, but wait on the ring!”, Mr. PC insisted that there be a ring – any ring.

Just a short while ago, we were able to build my ‘forever’ ring!  Not that my first ring was just thrown to the wayside – I assure you it was not.  I wear it on my right hand now.  When we selected my initial ring, we did so because it was affordable, and we knew I would wear it even after we upgraded my ring.

This time the custom process was short-lived, and worked out far differently than I could’ve imagined.

I took these two pictures to a local jeweler:

Images via Sundari Gems

I initially contacted Prang at Sundari Gems because her settings are impeccable.  She was incredibly helpful and quick to respond.  We ended up going another direction because of the stone we purchased.

Since the robbery, I’ve been very hesitant to invest in jewelry.  I adore jewelry, and losing everything just put a damper on it for me.  I didn’t want a diamond, mostly out of fear of wearing a costly piece of jewelry that could be stolen from me at any point.  I realize the likelihood is slim, but it’s how I feel about it even still.

I wanted a ring that made me feel giddy to look at, but that didn’t cause me to have a single negative feeling.

I suggested moissanite or morganite to Mr. PC, and he preferred the more traditional look of moissanite.  Mr. PC and I decided that a moissanite would be the best option.  So, we started trying to find a store that carried them so we could see a stone in person to make sure it’s what we wanted.

 We visited a local jeweler, and when we asked if they had a moissanite in the store, they said no.  They did, however, carry a new stone called a Lustour.  After consulting with a few of the bees, and doing some research, Mr. PC and I decided to pull the trigger and order a 1.5 carat lustour to add to a custom setting similar to the ones Sundari Gems makes.

This picture shows the stone, held over the band we were planning to alter. Also holographic nail polish is so awesome!

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The setting building process was a huge flop.  The concept just wasn’t working right with the size of the stone we ordered.  As we were going back to the drawing board, I decided to look through the store’s inventory one more time.

As luck would have it, they’d just received the perfect setting the day before!  It had a slim, diamond encrusted band with a charming little detail along the girdle of the setting – 3 little diamonds in a row along the front and back.  The opening for the setting was even just the right size for the stone, so I was able to see what it would look like once the stone was set!

A couple of days later, we got to take her home!!

I’ve only had the ring for a little while, so I can’t attest to the durability of the lustour stone, but I can tell you that it is exquisite.

There’s not a single thing I would change about this ring.  Each time I look at it, I’m reminded of Mr. PC and our relationship.  It’s the happiest reminder.

What was your engagement ring journey?  Did your fiance pick it out or did he include you in the process?  Do you have a diamond alternative stone?

*all photos personal unless noted

A Convenient Stop.

On a random Wednesday afternoon I stopped at a store called Dress Gallery.

I didn’t have an appointment, I just wanted to get an idea of what their inventory included.  Data gathering.

April, the store owner, convinced me to try a few on just to see what I might like.  I tried on about 8 dresses.  One of which had the previously coveted illusion neckline and was my absolute least favorite.  I tried on a mermaid cut.  No-go on that one, too.

The store owner, April, and I narrowed the playing field to 4 dresses (I neglected to get brand info, and have pictures of just 3 of them).  They were all fairly similar.  Simple, ethereal, strapless with a sweetheart neckline.

Here are a couple of terrible cell phone pictures of the rejects.

I really liked the one on the left because it came in a soft shade of pink.  It was also super light and easy to wear.

The one on the right was about 8 sizes too big, and though I liked it, it just wasn’t the dress I saw myself wearing.

April could tell I wasn’t “sold”.  So, she asked me to wait a second, and she consulted with one of the bridal consultants in the store.  I heard her say, “We can try it, but no one likes that one.”

What a preface, right?!

She walked in with a pure white, fluffy dress.  If you’ve been in a dressing room with a wedding dress or two and two adults, you know there’s not typically tons of room to move around, so I had very little idea of what this dress looked like.  I knew it was a color I wasn’t super into, and that no one else liked it.

The dress was Maggie Sottero’s Florence.

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Image via Maggie Sottero.

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Image via Maggie Sottero.

Apparently this dress fits many women oddly in the torso – the pleating doesn’t sit flat enough, and ruins the look.  Miraculously, this was not an issue on my body.

not this belt 2

This dress had major potential.  It fit my body well, and even though I didn’t think I wanted that color, I realized that the color was far less important than how I felt wearing the gown.  I sent Mr. PC a text and told him that I’d likely found my dress, but that I’d sleep on it, and drag my best friend to see it the next day.

no belt

So, the next day my best friend and I went back to Dress Gallery, and hung out with April again.  We confirmed that Florence was the dress for me!  I tried on the other rejects, too, for perspective, and my BFF confirmed that Florence had it going on.  As you can see in the picture above, she’s a little plain without a belt, so the next mission was finding a bedazzled belt to up the ante a bit.