Tag Archives: flashback friday

Flashback Friday: Planning a Honeymoon

29 Jul

Happy Friday! After skipping out on Flashback Friday last week due to some unexpected (but very awesome company) – I’m back with more wedding planning shenanigans!

I received a comment asking me to share my honeymoon planning experience – so I figured that’s what I’d talk about today. I’m not going to review my honeymoon yet… I want to save that for a different post – or multiple posts ūüôā But I will share a little about our thoughts in terms of planning it all.

Here are some of the biggest issues we dealt with when planning our Honeymoon –

1. Cruise vs Resort

Cruise: When we first started talking about our honeymoon, I was 100% opposed to a cruise. First of all, I had never been on a cruise – but the idea of being locked away in a tiny room and not being able to take walks along the beach at night really made me upset. Plus, cruises have specific schedules – like dinner times, and excursion times, and I didn’t want to be on a schedule. On the other hand, Steve only wanted a cruise. He loved the idea of seeing multiple sites and the idea of an unlimited buffet.

Resorts: We looked into resorts for comparison – and they were just obnoxiously over-priced in my opinion. Sure, you got unlimited golf, but for two non-golfers, that’s not something I wanted to pay for. Some other resorts also offered free drinks, but I’m not a big drinker, so again I didn’t want to have to pay for that. But most of all, I’m not a big romantic. A lot of those all-inclusive resorts cater to the romantic couples envisioning candle-lit dinners and plenty of alone time. No thank you. Not my thing.

Our Choice: 3 days on land + 7 days on a cruise. Compromise. I got to walk on the beach at night like I wanted – and we both got to see multiple destinations, which was amazing. Plus our cruise was based on “Freestyle Cruising” so there wasn’t a strict schedule at all.

2. Location Location Location

Caribbean: We initially looked at the Caribbean because… well – it’s CHEAP. The flight to Florida (where we’d board our cruise) wasn’t very expensive, and we wouldn’t have to spend much time in a plane. There’s no shortage of options in the Caribbean either. Pretty much every major cruise line cruises the Caribbean – west, south, east, ranging from 3 days to a month… lots of options. Plus I saw some special on the Travel channel about a Caribbean cruise & it looked bad-ass.

Hawaii: Steve’s dream location. He was dead-set on Hawaii the entire time. He had been there before and loved it – and he wanted to go back in the worst way. Having never been, I obviously wanted to go to Hawaii – it’s freaking paradise! I was just terrified of how expensive it was going to be. The flights alone were quite pricey. But it’s Hawaii (plus since its in the US, we didn’t have to worry about passports and all that jazz)

Fiji: MY dream location. I’m obsessed with Fiji and it’s been a life-goal of mine to get there – so I obviously looked into it. Once you’re actually in Fiji, it’s not very expensive. However, getting to Fiji is a whole different monster. It’s about a 24-hour flight from the East Coast – so we’d spend 2 days of our honeymoon in an airplane… and that’s assuming we didn’t get delayed anywhere. I’d rather spend my honeymoon on a beach than in a plane. Plus, the airfare was much more than we were prepared to spend. So we had to rule out Fiji (Note: I am going to Fiji in 2012 – so my dream will come true eventually!)

Our Choice: Funny story. We booked a western Caribbean cruise that hit Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Belize, and Costa Maya… and then I got a much higher-paying job, and Steve talked to a travel agent behind my back about Hawaii… long story short – we ended up changing our plans & choosing Hawaii!!!

3. Money

Everyone kept telling us “You’ll get enough money at your wedding to go on a honeymoon anywhere you want!” True. We did. (Thanks everyone!) Unfortunately, you need to pay for your honeymoon in advance. We were really worried about having to pay for both the cruise and the flights so far in advance. We had just started working, so we were making money, we just didn’t have a lot saved up. We ended up applying for a credit card – which was the perfect choice for us. Neither of us have ever had a credit card before, but for 0% APR for the first year, we knew we could pay for our flights and other expenses up front and pay off our debt over the course of the next year without paying any interest. Capital One, you’re in my wallet.¬†

Looking Back

I’m so glad we ended up choosing Hawaii over the Caribbean. I’m sure the Caribbean is beautiful and one day I’ll get there – but we wanted to go to Hawaii, and we made it happen. You’ll always remember your honeymoon, so if you have the opportunity to make it to your DREAM location – DO IT! You really will make enough money at your wedding to choose your dream location.

Perhaps I should have consulted a travel agent instead of trying to plan it all on my own. Steve ended up finding a travel agency that made our lives incredibly easy. They picked us up at the airport and transported us to our hotel that they booked for us – they set up a tour of Pearl Harbor for us – and they provided transportation to our ship on the day we departed. It was great not to have to worry about anything once we landed.

Cruises are not intimate. I didn’t mind this at all. I actually enjoyed talking to other guests, other couples, making new friends, etc. But if you’re looking for privacy & seclusion, don’t pick a cruise. I don’t regret the cruise at all though. Not one bit.

Flash Forward

Tomorrow Steve is taking me out for a Birthday surprise!! And tonight he gave me my gift! I don’t know what to call it – but it’s the contraption that I can set my road bike on to make it a stationary bike indoors. (Does this make sense?) Anyways – I’ve been wanting one so I can cross-train in the winter / rainy days. I’m pumped to set it up & to see what Steve has in store for tomorrow ūüôā

On Sunday, I’m biking 65 miles from Philadelphia to Atlantic City as part of Tour de Shore. Wish me luck!!

Monday, I turn 24. Woohoo!

Flashback Friday: Wedding Flowers

15 Jul

Happy Friday! Even though I didn’t go see Harry Potter, and I’m not going up to Penn State for Arts Fest, and I’m not going to a beach (like every other person I know) – I’m still pumped about the weekend. I’ll get to kayak, run a midnight race, look at some awesome classic cars at the car show, and relax. Sounds wonderful. But before that all starts, it’s time for my weekly wedding flashback.

I figured I’d talk about all the decorative details of the day – including my flowers & centerpieces. As dumb as it sounds, I honestly might have taken a longer time decided on centerpieces than anything else. I had a very particular look in mind and I wasn’t settling for anything less.

1. Flowers!

  • So my middle name is Rose. My new last name means “Rose” in Italian. I love roses. Obviously, there were going to be roses in my bouquet. Easy enough.
  • My wedding colors were blue, white, and silver. Now think about it – have you seen many blue flowers? There’s a lot of purple-blue flowers, but not many that are truly blue. And I wasn’t all about dipping flowers in blue paint. No thank you. So I was set on finding some kind of blue flowers.
  • I don’t like nosegay bouquets. I wanted something more elegant and unique.
  • Pretty much, I saw this picture & I wanted to copy it.
  • I LOVED how the bridal bouquet was like an “explosion” of flowers. I loved the way the flowers cascaded down in front of her.
  • I also loved the bridesmaids very simple, very elegant cala lillies.
  • With that said, I didn’t want any flowers in my wedding aside from the bouquets and corsages. It’s January. There’s no point in having flower-y centerpieces for a wedding with a snowflake theme.
I met with 3 different florists to get ideas and test out pricing. Everyone warned me how expensive the cala lillies would be, but I didn’t much care. It was my wedding and I wanted cala lillies. My mother also said she felt that cala lillies reminded her of funeral flowers. Thanks, Mom. Anyways – I was dead set on white roses and white cala lillies, but I let the florists introduce me to some other beautiful blue flowers.

  • Blue Delphinium – Perfect for the “explosion” bouquet I wanted

  • Blue Dendrobium Orchids – the world’s most beautiful flowers. I saw one picture and knew I had to have them. I’m obsessed.
I thought the hard part was over, but who knew how many options there were for grandparents & parents & readers & everyone else you can think of. I pretty much left that all up to the florist – but made sure that the mothers just had a single white rose to carry. Wrist corsages can get annoying really fast when you’re hugging people all day. And I didn’t want them to have to pin their dresses. God forbid something should snag.

Here’s how it all worked out!



I was amazed at how beautifully everything turned out. Michelle at Brides & Butterflies did an amazing job – and I would highly recommend her services to any bride in the Pittsburgh area. Not only did she design the bouquets and give me a great price, but her company also made a seating chart and helped out with some of the hall decorations. I was a very happy bride when it came to all things flowers.

My advice on flowers:

  • Be as specific as possible when you are meeting with your florist. You aren’t going to see the bouquets (or the centerpieces if you have a florist design them) until the day of your wedding. If you don’t like them, it’s already too late. Be very, very specific. Bring pictures.
  • Be open to your florist’s suggestions. Chances are if you love a flower that’s really expensive, she can find something very similar for half the cost.
  • If you have your heart set on a certain flower, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. I could have easily been talked out of the cala lillies, but I’m so glad I stuck with them because they turned out exactly how I wanted.
  • If you like the idea of my “explosion” bouquet over a nosegay – be prepared for it to weigh about 50 pounds. ha Don’t get me wrong, I loved my bouquet, but I was shocked at how heavy it was.
  • A lot of florists put the bouquets in water to keep them fresh for when you walk down the aisle. Take them out of the water way before you walk down the aisle. You don’t want them to drip or possibly stain anything with dye from the ribbon of the flowers themselves.
  • If you’re looking for an easy way to make your MOH stand out at the wedding, make her bouquet different.

I was going to also write about my decorations / centerpieces today – but this was really long without it… so I’ll save that for another Friday!

Today’s Workout: Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 SKIPS [200 each of Swim, Kick, IM, Pull, Swim]
  • 100 Fast on 1:30 (Touch between 1:10 and 1:15)
  • 200 Swim on 3:00
  • 300 Pull on 4:30
  • 4 x 200 on 3:00 [1st 200 – 4th 50 sprint. 2nd 200 – 3rd 50 sprint. 3rd 200 – 2nd 50 sprint. 4th 200 – 1st 50 sprint.]
  • 300 Pull on 4:30
  • 200 Kick on 4:00
  • 100 Cool-down easy
  • Total: 3,000 yards

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Flashback Friday: Winter Weddings

1 Jul

Happy 4th of July weekend! I’m going to do my Flashback Friday Wedding post this afternoon.. and then I’m not sure when I’ll get to post again because I’m heading to the beach all weekend and won’t have much internet access. (Darn.)

It seems like choosing a wedding venue / date is the biggest decision in the whole wedding planning process. Luckily, I had a year and a half to plan my wedding, so there was no rush. Unluckily, I planned my Pittsburgh wedding from State College and it required a 2-hour trip home anytime I wanted to be useful.

Choosing a date


  • To break it down, Steve and I got engaged in July 2009. He graduated in December 2009. I graduated May 2010. ¬†I guess normally, we would have chosen to be married the following summer (2010)… but I felt stressed out even thinking about finishing classes, finding a job, finding a place to live, and planning a wedding all at the same time. So summer 2010 was out. Fall 2010 was out because Steve’s brother was studying abroad. So… winter 2010-2011? Random. I hate cold. I hate snow. I hate winter. But I also didn’t feel like waiting 2 years to get married. So – a winter wedding it was.
  • Alright so we narrowed it down to winter. I figured I’d try to pick a date over the holiday break so not to interfere with anyone’s finals, etc. Well – in 2010-2011, both Christmas and New Years Day fell on a Saturday. Fail. Apparently people were a little busy the Saturday before Christmas as well. How about New Years Eve? Sounds awesome, right? Until you figure that the reception should go through midnight, which means it wouldn’t start until 8 or 9 with a typical 5-hour reception. That’s just weird to plan. Plus, places were already booked.
  • Magical Date: January 8. If you would have told me when we were first engaged that I’d be getting married on January 8, I would have laughed. I wanted a summer day that ended in a 7. Fail again.

Positives to a Winter Wedding:


  • Cost. If you want to save some serious money on your wedding day – get married in the winter. It’s such a slow season that pretty much every vendor will give you a crazy discount just so that they get some business. My reception hall gave us a¬†30% discounton our whole package because we chose January. That’s HUGE.
  • People aren’t very busy in January. As nice as summer weddings are, it can get crazy / expensive / cumbersome to travel to a wedding every other weekend in the summer. Plus, in the summer you’re competing with family vacations so guests might have previous plans. We found that most of our guests were excited to have something to do in January other than tear down Christmas decorations.
  • Availability. Chances are you’ll have your top choice of vendors available in winter. You’ll also have your choice of date. There’s no competition. You get what you want. Personally, it helped that no one else had booked my venue at any point the whole weekend, so my mom was able to go in and set up decorations (DIY) on the Wednesday before the wedding. She made sure everything looked perfect in advance so there were no surprises on the big day
  • Christmas Decorations. If you get married close enough to Christmas, a lot of places still have their twinkle lights and other decorations up – so you get them for free. Free decorations = good decorations.
  • Escape the cold on your Honeymoon. We could not have been more happy to arrive in Hawaii after a winter in Pennsylvania. I mean, Hawaii is going to be amazing no matter when you go – but it just makes you feel good knowing that you escaped winter.

Negatives to a Winter Wedding:


  • Weather. This is obvious. We got married in January in Pennsylvania. It was effingcold. It was always a small fear that we could get a blizzard and flights could get cancelled / delayed or that our limo wouldn’t be able to drive in the snow.We were so lucky. It snowed a solid 2 inches. Just enough to give an even white coating without causing any travel delays. However, our bridal party wasn’t too thrilled about my idea for snowy outdoor pictures in the freezing cold. Oh well, the pictures look AMAZING.
  • Indoors. There were some venues that could only¬†accommodate¬†a small number of guests indoors. Most of these offered an outdoor tent or outdoor areas, but we obviously couldn’t use them in the winter.
  • It gets dark really early. We had to make sure that we could take pictures before the sun went down – which is crazy early in the winter. Not only would it look weird to be in the dark, but it also got even colder. No one wants to be cold.
  • Flowers aren’t in season. I digress on cost when it comes to flowers. Flowers aren’t really in season in January. You’ll pay extra. I wanted cala lillies. They’re tropical. The cost reflected that. But I didn’t have any flowers for decorations /centerpieces – I only used flowers in the bouquets so it didn’t matter to me.

In the end, the date isn’t nearly as important as ¬†you might think. Either way, you get to marry your best friend – and celebrate with friends & family. So even though I got married on probably the most random date I could think of, everything worked out beautifully.


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