Sunday, March 27, 2005


Does anyone have a conflict with May 13, 2006? Is this Trinity's graduation? I can't find anything on the website but we won't have it this day, if so. Second choice is May 6, 2006 if necessary. Please post a comment and let us know!!

Wedding & Reception Site Visits

Yesterday, Phil and I went to four potential wedding/reception locations in the San Antonio area: Tapatio Springs, Providence Hills, Granberry Hills, & The Vineyards. See below for descriptions of each.

Be sure to visit our photo album (link to the right) for many more photos of each site (our blog only lets you post one photo at a time so I picked one for each).

We still need to visit the following sites: La Escondida Ranch Retreat Center, San Antonio Museum of Art, Nolte Farms, Guadalupe River Ranch & Oasis at Medina Lake. And any other locations you might know of and think we should check out, please let us know before we make our decision!

Tapatio Springs ( was one of the sites my mom & aunt Carol visited last week, so even though the catering department was closed, I figured since I already had the information I just needed to take a look for myself. We left the house around 9:20 and drove up to Boerne to visit the site. They were holding a collegiate golf tournament on that day so Phil stopped to watch the golf for a few minutes, though I could not care less about that part. We walked up to the indoor reception area first, and were not at all impressed. The view overlooked the greens but was not enough to compensate for the unimpressive ballroom. This site would be good in the fact that it has accommodations on site for guests, plus greens and other activities, but still none of this was enough to convince me to have my wedding here. I think we'll cross this one off the list.

Our FAVORITE site was Providence Hills (, located in Helotes off of Scenic Loop Rd. The drive to the location is beatiful through the hill country and is quite scenic. You enter through the gate and guests would park along the hillside driving up towards the house, and would be picked up by the valet parking staff and shuttled to the circle drive facing the outdoor wedding location. The photo you see above is the bridal exit to the wedding location. I would walk through this arch (you would all gasp at my beauty, of course) and I walk down the rock patio, down two sets of stairs, down my aisle between the folding chairs and to the twinkling archway along the rock wall you see in the distance (can you picture it?). You can get a better idea of the archway in photo #13. It wasn't the sunniest of days and it was early in the morning so the arch tends to blend in with the surrounding foliage, but check out the website for a better idea. Typically I am not impressed with reception sites since they are just an indoor room, but I would not even mind if it rained on my wedding day here, as the interior of the house is so beautiful and the stained glass window would make a beautiful backdrop for a wedding ceremony if necessary. The house was originally built in the 1930s by a Texas oil man and held for 7 years, then sold to become a convent, which it was until only a few years ago. It's very cool because in the dining room you can open the closet door and see how it used to be a confessional! We would have access to the whole bottom floor of the house, which includes a lovely living/sitting room which would be filled with tables for the reception (photo #1), the entry way (photo #2), another area to be filled with tables, and the cake (photo #3), a room set off of the previous room where we would set up the serving tables (photo #4), another room set off of the sitting room to be filled with tables for the reception (photo #7), and a kitchen (photo #8). There is also an upstairs bridal dressing room and an outdoor 750 sq. ft. cabin for the groom and groomsmen to get ready in. We would have the dance floor be on the rock patio (photo #9) with more tables set up on the grassy area below it (photo #11). Everything about the site is absolutely what we are looking for - the perfect combination of elegance and laid-back. The only potential downfall could be the catering situation. They only allow us to use one caterer, so we need to meet with the caterer to sample the menu and discuss options for alcohol (can we bring our own or must the caterer provide?). We are required to have a TABC bartender and security during the reception. I hope to make an appointment next Saturday evening while Dana is in town if they do not have a wedding planned, so that I can see the place at dusk and meet the caterer all at once. More photos to come after that meeting, but this site is definitely at the top of our list. Susie, the daughter of the owner, was extremely helpful, even offering items from her own daughter's wedding such as lanterns, linens, & vases for ours.

Our third appointment was at 12:30 at Granberry Hills ( Driving up to the location was the worst part about it, as it's located off I-35 & Weidner Rd. and you have to drive through some not-so-nice areas to get to the location. This was the biggest downfall about this place and weighs heavily in our decision. However, once you drive up the hill and arrive at the facilities, you would never know that you weren't in the middle of the beautiful Texas hill country. They are currently building a larger facility that will be more fancy and will be ready next year, but the existing "Gardens" area seems more laid back and more of our cup of tea. The wedding would take place in the arbor (see photo from website above - it was pouring down rain while we toured, so I didn't get any photos here... the website photos are pretty accurate though). After your wedding, your guests would proceed to the pavillion area where the buffet would be, and the bathrooms are located (see photo #3). The actual tables, dance floor, and reception area would take place in the area shown in photo #4. The staff is very willing to do whatever it takes to releive any stress from the bride, such as setting up your centerpieces, having a manager on site during your wedding in case of any surprises, having the set-up for the reception complete early in the day, and a beautiful bride's dressing room - see photo #5 (groom would come ready). They have a list of approved caterers you must select from, and you can select the china package to have your guests eat on china instead of plastic for $3 extra per guest. They provide white folding chairs for the wedding and reception included in the price. Their caterers are required to stay the entire ceremony to further releive bridal stress. This site seems very much like what we are looking for, but just can't beat Providence Hills when it comes to the beauty factor.

At 2:00 we had our final appointment at The Vineyard ( It's located off of Natural Bridge Caverns road, less than a mile from the caverns. They actually make their own wine but do serve wines on site that they do not make as well. As you can see, the vineyards are picturesque right behind the wedding location. The view in this photo is what you'd see as a guest, with the wedding taking place right at the edge of the covered area. Since the Vineyards is a restaurant, you are required to use their food/beverage for the reception. The restaurant would close that evening if the wedding party is large enough, so for our size, we would have the place to ourselves. The arbor the bride walks down under is to be covered with white and red roses in a month or so, and the vines will start to bloom. So for a ceremony/reception in April or May, everything should be blooming beautifully. The reception area would be indoors for a sit-down dinner on three levels of the restaurant. This kind of breaks up your party but since the dance floor would likely be outdoors under the covered wedding area, most of the guests would likely not be indoors much of the time. They suggested we could come on the evening of an upcoming wedding of our size to see how everything was set up and looked, so that could be an option, but Phil was not that impressed with the location... just wasn't "the one" so we probably won't pursue it.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Here's the link. For some reason it didn't upload?

After I sent the girls at work the following link
requesting this cake for my birthday at work, they provided me their version (see photo). Isn't it fabulous??? It was a huge surprise... I'm a lucky girl. :)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Last night, Lexi, Amanda, Ropes & Jennelle met Dana and I at Cheesecake Factory for a wonderful birthday dinner. It was so great to see everyone and for Dana to meet them all, too! Thanks!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Wedding/Weekend Update

Today... I BOUGHT MY WEDDING DRESS. It is hanging in the clost not more than 10 ft. away from me as I type this post.

So here's the story. I started shopping for dresses yesterday with my mom and three of my four bridesmaids, Dana, Lena, and Amanda. We had breakfast at Le Peep and then headed to our 11:00am appointment at Bridal Galleria. I had seen a Pronovias dress there that I liked and wanted to check it out, along with the bridesmaid dresses they carried. We arrived right on time at this swanky new location (they just moved) and were taken back into a back room behind closed doors with maybe 50-75 designer dresses to look through. We were the only group there and had the place all to ourselves. We looked through the dresses and ended up with about 6 gowns for me to try on. We were subtly reminded that I was only allowed one hour since Saturday is a busy day so we got started. The Pronovias dress I came for was my favorite of the bunch so I tried it on first, and it was a huge hit. Every dress after was compared to this dress because it was everyone's favorite. The only downside was the price : $1,395.00. Our budget only allows for $1,000.00 including alterations (which are typically about $200 from what I understand)... so that posed a problem. I had to think about whether a dress I'll wear for one night is worth it. I also tried on another dress there that I loved, by Essence. The Essense dress was $999.00 and I thought Phil would like this one much more since it was more simple, but still above our price range once you factor in alterations. Now I absolutely LOVE trying on bridal dresses (soooo fun!) so this was a great start, finding two dresses I loved!

Then Dana & Lena tried on a bunch of bridesmaid dresses. We ended up only really liking one Bill Levkoff dress on everyone. The one shown in that photo is not the right length or color but gives an idea of style. The dress I would choose would be tea length and pink. I am looking at light pink dresses with a darker pink flower maybe, to match a darker pink ribbon on the dress.

When we left there, we went to Bridal Connection, across town, to see a dress I would not be able to try on but could take a look at. I had called looking for a specific dress and they told me another bride had purchased it but I could come take a look, just not try it on. But the bride picked it up that morning before I arrived so that was the end of that!

From there we killed some time shopping at DSW Shoe Warehouse before our 2:00pm appointment at Brides Mart. I had seen an Alfred Angelo dress there that I wanted to try on but did not bring my paperwork so just decided to look through the racks for what looked good. Since they are cutting down to only carrying Alfred Angelo dresses, they are having great sales on all other lines, plus some discontinued dresses. I picked out about 4 dresses to try on and they brought one from back as well that was my size and what I was looking for. I tried on a Maggie Sotterro dress first that was really nice with a corset-lace up back, gathered front, and very nice beadwork. It fit well and looked great. Then I tried on a second dress very simple and elegant with a very unique aspect that made it extremely classy/sophisticated (the dress I bought, sorry for lack of detail here). This dress was originally $699 on sale for $399 if bought off the rack. Fit me perfectly in the top and just needed to be hemmed for length. I liked it but was not sure it was "the one" at this point. The next dress was very "princess"-y and quite beautiful, and I really was taken by it. This dress was originally $999 and was 50% off. The other dresses I tried were not really "me" so I was deciding between two dresses (eliminated the Maggie dress after seeing the other two).

I was stressed that I had to make this decision quickly but our lovely sales rep was nice enough to hold the dresses while I deliberated over a now much-needed lunch. We went to Jason's Deli and discussed all the pros and cons of buying a dress on the first day I looked, a year before the wedding. Would I still love the dress a year from now? Where would I store it? Did I fell I had a good idea of all that was out there? Could I find just as nice of a dress at just as good of a price if I keep looking? Was I buying just because of price?

We went back to Brides Mart after lunch and I was sure I liked the "princess" dress more, so I wanted to try the other dress on first so that the "princess" dress would be the last I ever tried on. But when I put this other dress on, I completely changed my mind. So did my mom and bridesmaids. They checked the dress out carefully to be sure everything would hang properly when I walk down the aisle, stand with my back to the guests, and throughout the reception. I then tried on the "princess" dress and just knew the other one was "the one" for me. I put back on "the one" and everyone said how they loved the dress more and more each time I put it on. I met with a seamstress to discuss all my ideas and she reassured me that everything I wanted could be easily done, and that if the price of doing alterations through Brides Mart was too high, I could go to her house and have her do it cheaper.

By this time it was almost 6:00 and Brides Mart was closing, so I decided to come back first thing when they opened the next day (12:00) so I could sleep on it and look at the digital photos we had taken.

I thought about it all through a lovely dinner at Piatti with my family and friends, and was dead set on getting this dress. Then I came home and looked at the photos of the dress. I then became concerned that the dress would not photograph well because the veil covered some of the dress' detail. I slept on it and decided I would make my decision today no matter what.

Dana and I met Lena at BridesMart at 12:30ish and I put on both dresses. We were able to determine that the veil would not be getting in the way since it would be behind me at the wedding and reception, and I just had been wearing it weird the day before. By this point, I was trying to find reasons to get the dress, and reasons not to like the other. At this point I knew I would regret if I didn't get the dress, but I wanted my other bridesmaid's opinion before making my purchase. Jennelle was driving back from Houston and would not arrive until 4:00 so I had them hold the dress one more time. We shopped and had lunch then returned with Jennelle a bit before 4:00 to try on the dresses again. I did not tell her which one I loved and tried on both for her. Maybe she could tell by the way I spoke and looked in the dress, or maybe she just liked it better, but she chose the dress as well. Great minds think alike, I think. :)

So I decided to buy this dress! Since it was a buy-off-the-rack dress, I had to bring it home with me, unless I decide to pay to have it stored or ask someone to store it for me. I decided I'd just bring it home where I could keep an eye on it... I had them place it in a white garment bag and made Phil swear that he will not peek. He assured me he won't and he really doesn't feel tempted, so I believe him. It will be his loss if he does; he won't get the "gasp" feeling seeing me in it the first time on my wedding day!

I will update more later-- that was a pretty detailed entry and it's late! But I had to share the news with you all; this was a huge step for me! I am really excited about the dress and my only regret is not being able to play dress-up any more, trying on more dresses. But I get to watch my bridesmaids do it so that will be something fun to look forward to... as if there isn't SO much fun ahead!

Friday, March 18, 2005

I don't like Cats.

Phil and I went to dinner last night at a fancy-schmancy restaurant called Citrus in the Hotel Valencia. Very moden and cool decor, and pretty good, but also fancy food. We met my aunt Carol and my mom and some friends Harry and Joe, and had a nice time visiting.

We then walked a block to the Majestic Theatre to see Cats. We had great seats in aisle F - left center, so we were very close to the stage! We were all very excited to see another Broadway musical and knew Cats has been a long-running show on Broadway, though none of us had any idea what the show was about.

By intermission, we still had no idea what the show was about! Although the customes were impressive, we could not understand the words much of the time and of the four of us sitting togehter, nobody knew what was going on. Carol mentioned she could leave right now and be fine, and we all basically agreed. The only thing keeping us would be the fact that we paid lots for these great seats, and we realized that was not a good enough reason to stay when none of us were interested in seeing the remainder of the show. So we left during intermission, parted ways, and went home. Such a dissapointment -- I cannot believe a show like that has had such a long run on Broadway... it really did not have much of a plot!?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Broadway Show

Tonight Phil and I are meeting my mom and aunt Carol to go see the Broadway musical CATS! We have had tickets for quite a while and the day is finally here! I forgot to bring my camera, though, so if you were hoping for some lovely shots of Phil, me, & some cats, you're out of luck.

Speaking of luck, Happy St. Patrick's Day! I am wearing a very green sweater and accompanying with my cute bag w/ green stripes (see photo below). Plus I organized a luncheon at the office where everyone brought a green dish! I can't wait to have green cake & lots of guacamole!

Phil, on the other hand, feels that his green eyes will suffice as "wearing green", and has decided not to wear any green garment. We'll just see how many times he gets pinched...

Monday, March 14, 2005

Wedding Dresses!

So I have been looking around for wedding & bridesmaid's dresses already, and plan to go try on dresses next Saturday when my mom is in town. I'm really excited-- I think this will be my favorite part of the whole planning process!

So here are some wedding dresses I like so far (of course I have not tried them on yet):

And here are some of the bridesmaids dresses I like:

Of course I don't know which I'll pick yet so that's why it's okay for me to post these and Phil see them. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I got the cutest purse today! The sister of a friend at work has started making cute purses of all sizes and I'm probably her biggest fan! Visit her website... she is constantly getting new fabrics too. I can't wait to plan my outfit tomorrow around my new bag! :)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Weren't they cute?
Posted by Lauren&Phil

Posted by Lauren

The ring and the beach... both are so gorgeous! This pretty much sums up our trip. :)
Posted by Lauren

Dinner @ Margaritavilla the evening Phil proposed. Notice how I'm making sure the ring makes it in the photo. :)
Posted by Lauren&Phil

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Here we are on the beach in Cabo right before he proposed... can you see the ring box in his pocket? I didn't!
Posted by Lauren

We're Engaged

As you may know by now, Phil proposed to Lauren on a surprise vacation to Cabo San Lucas, MX on March 5th, 2005. More photos and info to follow after we've rested a bit...