*REPOST: Original blog from June 2011*
This is Marineh and I am one of the co-founders of Harsanik.com. In 2010, I was so blessed to get married to the most amazing man. We had a beautiful Armenian wedding at Taglyan and it turned out to be a magical day!
Throughout the past year, I shared my wedding planning adventures in my blog called A Bride's Story, including picking the venue, the dress, the food and cake tastings, and other fun wedding stories. Now, a few months after the wedding, I am excited to share with you all the photo and video highlights from our wedding day over a series of blogs!
Hi everyone - my name is Marineh and I am one of the co-founders of Harsanik.com. After working on Harsanik.com for over 3 years, it's finally my turn to plan my own "harsanik"!
On December 23, 2009, Shant, my now fiancé, proposed to me. It was one of the most exciting days of my life, and since then, I've been in full wedding planning mode.
I have decided to blog about all my wedding planning. adventures. I plan to share all my wedding planning highlights with Harsanik.com readers - the good, the bad, and the ugly! I plan to blog about everything from the ring, the proposal, the engagement party, the wedding dress, and much more!
I hope you find this blog interesting and hopefully you are able to learn a few new things about the whole wedding planning process.
Come back often as I plan to post something on a regular basis. For now, here is a picture of me & Shant from New Years Eve!
Generally the first thing that you have to plan for a wedding is the ring! Well it really depends on the couple. Some guys completely surprise the girl so she has no chance to pick out her ring. Other couples mutually decide to not have the girl involved with the picking of the ring. And other couples agree to have the girl be involved with the process. What you choose is completely up to the couple.
In my case, Shant and I had talked about getting married at some point, so I knew he was planning on proposing in the near future. Shant asked me if I wanted to be involved with the ring selection and I said yes. I figured it's a piece of jewelry that I'll be wearing for the rest of my life, so I would like to have a say in what it looks like.
The first step was to go ring shopping just to get an idea of what's out there. We ended up going to a few jewelry stores and educating ourselves on the 4 C's - Cuts, Carats, Clarity, and Colors. (For more information on the 4 C's and other guidance about rings, visit the Vanna K site).
I decided that I liked the round cut best, and I liked the pave style (when you have diamonds around the band).
About a month after our first outing, Shant called me and told me he wanted me to get my ring finger sized. He also told me where he was planning to get the ring from - Vanna K Bridal!!! I was so excited! Vanna K is a leading bridal and fashion jewelry designer and was one of the Platinum Sponsors of our bridal show. Vanna K Bridal is known for its extraordinary quality, beautiful designs and one of a kind jewels. I was absolutely in love with all their jewelry.
So I made an appointment with Vanna K Bridal and took 2 of my closest friends for a private and exclusive viewing of the Vanna K Bridal Collection (of course I wasn't going to go to a jewelry designers office alone!) Not only did I get my finger sized, but Arch and Nareg of Vanna K Bridal gave us a private tour of its facility and let us into their vault where we got to try on over a 100 rings! It was surreal! So many diamonds!
Overall, Vanna K Bridal was so great to work with. They not only educated me about rings and the different settings, but they made the whole process a whole lot of fun!
After a few hours, I ended up selecting about 10 rings that I really liked, and as Arch said, the rest was up to Shant.
Next up, the proposal...
It was December 23. I had driven back from San Diego to my parent's house in LA to spend the next several days with family. Around 8:30pm, I got a call from Shant and he declared:
"The game has started. Here is Clue #1. Be at the location where we had out first date and I gave you the Play-doh in 15 minutes".
Shant & I at the Creme De La Crepe restaurant in Pasadena - Clue #1
Shant and I spent December 24th surrounded by family. First we visited his family for a Christmas lunch, and then went over to my parent's house for a Christmas dinner.
Everyone was asking us when and where we were planning on getting married, and I responded summer 2010. I've always liked summer weddings. And I knew I could plan a wedding in less than 1 year, thanks to all the wonderful vendors I've gotten to know over the years! As for location, I knew I wanted an Armenian hall, and my favorite one is Taglyan, specifically because of its gorgeous ceiling.
So the next day, December 25th, I started texting with Christine from Fancy That! Event Design & Coordination to start planning. Christine is also the Marketing Director for Taglyan, so I knew she would be able to help me find a date and help out with all the details that come with booking the venue. Luckily, we were able to find a Saturday that was available. Thanks to Christine's help, in less than 2 days, I had pretty much selected my hall and set a date! I scheduled a meeting at Taglyan for the next day so both Shant and I could see the hall for the first time.
- Hall/caterer - appointment set for viewing Taglyan Cultural Complex
- Coordinator - already talking with Christine from Fancy That! (no surprise!)
Next Up: Picking the hall...
This is Marineh, co-founder of Harsanik.com with another update on my wedding planning adventures!
On Saturday December 26th, Shant and I drove to the Taglyan Cultural Complex to meet with their venue and bookings manager, Aram, and finally see the banquet hall for the first time. Both Shant and I had a good feeling about the hall since we loved all the pictures we had seen of Taglyan, we really liked the location (close for both families), and it would mean we would get to work closer with Christine from Fancy That! Events since she is the Marketing Director at Taglyan!
When we got to Taglyan, we parked our car and walked outside through the pretty gardens before walking into the hall. We were already in a great mood since we both loved the garden area and we knew it would be perfect to have our cocktail hour outside since we were planning on having a summer wedding. I could just imagine all my guests mingling there after the valet takes their car. Maybe we can even have a bar in the garden serving our signature drink?
When we walked in, we were immediately greeted by Aram. Aram was extremely nice and he showed us around. First, we saw the foyer area which was very elegant and well designed. Aram also showed us the garden and explained that all the outdoor lighting could be customized to match your wedding colors. They also had speakers in the garden area in case you wanted to play the music outside as well. At that point, Shant & I decided our cocktail hour would be both indoors & outdoors (garden & foyer).
Next, Aram showed us the gorgeous banquet hall. I had seen many beautiful photos of the inside of Taglyan, but seeing it in person was even more beautiful. Aram gave us a preview of what the lights could look like and explained that we could decide what color to display at what time – eg. blue for the main entrance, pink for the first dance, etc. Aram also explained that all the speakers were built into the ceiling so there would be no need to have large speakers on the stage. We both loved that aspect because we know nobody likes to sit at the table that’s closest to the loud speakers! Overall Shant was very impressed by how technologically advanced Taglyan was since everything seemed to be controlled electronically and appeared ready to go. Shant has an engineering background so of course he was most impressed by the electronics while I was wowed by the beautiful ceiling lights!
The last few stops of the tour were the bathrooms and the private bridal room. The bathrooms were not only impeccably clean, but also very nicely designed. We also liked how we would be given our private bridal room that we could share with our bridal party and have a place to lock all of our things.
At the end of the tour, we said bye to Aram, and Christine from Fancy That! called me and walked us through more details. She clarified that the hall fee includes the room rental, the garden, all catering by Divine & Food Catering, which is their exclusive in-house catering department (I’ve heard great things about their food), all tables, chairs, and linens. We really liked that pretty much everything was included, and Taglyan felt like a complete solution. This was a better option for us versus renting a hall but then needing to worry about every little detail from draping to tables to silverware.
After a few more details from Christine, Shant and I were sold and we agreed to sign a contract and give our deposit to lock in Taglyan for our August wedding!
Note: I know I’m really behind with my blog – I have over 2 months of wedding planning to catch up on! As you can tell, wedding planning is a lot of work and it’s keeping me super busy! But I promise I’ll get caught up over the next few weeks so look out for more regular updates…
Next Up: Start working on the guest list...
Hey there - it's Marineh from Harsanik.com. As you can see, I'm trying to blog more often so I can finally catch up!
Once we picked our venue, Shant and I got into full wedding planning mode and started working on everything from guest list, budgets, and vendor selection.
The guest list is definitely the hardest part. We originally thought we were going to have a 300 person wedding to keep it “small” (of course only an Armenian would consider 300 people a small wedding!). However, after we started adding all the names of our family members and our friends, we were already looking at going over that mark. We agreed we were going to try to stick to 350 to accommodate our long list of families and friends.
As for budget, we listed all the categories of vendors we would need (photographer, bridal shops, invitations, etc) and estimated how much we would be willing to spend for each category. While we knew this was a rough estimate, it was helpful to have a rough idea of what our total wedding budget was going to look like. Also, it allowed us to mark which categories we would be willing to spend more on because they were very important to both of us, and which categories we would be willing to try to minimize our cost.
Tip: Shant and I created a Google Docs account and have been storing all of our wedding related documents there. Google Docs is a great tool that allows you to keep track of everything from wedding lists, budgets, list of names & addresses, menu selections, and everything else online and all in one place!
- Banquet Hall - Taglyan Cultural Complex
- Caterer - Divine Food & Catering
- Guest List - In Progress...
Next Up: Picking my engagement party location...
Hi - this is Marineh and I am one of the co-founders of Harsanik.com! I am excited to announce that I am engaged and I'm in the middle of planning my own "harsanik"! I have decided to blog all about my wedding planning adventures to help other brides with the planning process and provide some fun content for our website visitors. My new blog series is called "A Bride's Story" and you can read all about my wedding planning experience in the Marineh's Story section.
If you're a bride and you'd like to share your wedding planning experience with our users, contact us!
Hi - this is Marineh, co-founder of Harsanik.com, with another update on my wedding planning process...
Before we started getting into the details of the wedding planning, my mom asked me what we wanted to do with our engagement party. I was a little surprised because I hadn't really thought much about the engagement party! While we already had the venue picked for our wedding, we had no idea where and how we wanted to celebrate our engagement party.
Both Shant and I agreed that we wanted to keep the engagement party intimate and have just our closest family & friends. The purpose of the engagement party would be to allow the two families to get to know each other and celebrate before the wedding.
Shant and I decided we wanted a day time event - so more of a lunch gathering than a nighttime event. Our goal was to have our engagement be different than the wedding. So we started looking at possible venue options. At first, we thought about having the engagement party in San Diego since it would allow our families to get to see where we lived. However, after thinking about it a bit more, we didn't think it would be fair to have all of our guests drive 2 hours to our event, so we crossed out the idea. We looked into a few halls and restaurants but hadn't quite agreed on a place.
And then Christine from Fancy That! Events suggested we look into the Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. We checked out their website and a few pictures Christine sent me and we were both very impressed. The location was perfect. The hotel is located right on the water. The hotel itself is gorgeous and the ballroom is very picturesque. Overall, we felt that it's a classy location to set the stage for a classy event. Plus, one of the major highlights of Casa Del Mar is that their ballroom has an outdoor patio and a view of the ocean. So we felt that it was the ideal location for a daytime event because our guest could have a view of Santa Monica Beach. And it's something different since we knew most of our guests had never even been to Casa Del Mar so it would be a nice place for them to see.
I contacted the Director of Catering Sales at Casa Del Mar and she was extremely helpful with providing all the information I needed and answering all my questions. So after just a few days, Shant and I were convinced that Casa Del Mar was going to be the right choice for our engagement celebration!
- Wedding Venue - Taglyan Cultural Complex
- Caterer - Divine Food & Catering
- Engagement Venue - Hotel Casa Del Mar
Next Up: Picking out my wedding dress...
Immediately after setting the date and selecting my venue for the wedding and engagement, the next thing I focused on was the wedding dress. Since wedding dresses can take 6 months or more to be ready, I knew that I had to put in my order for my wedding dress ASAP.
I decided to ask some of my close friends to come with me for my first dress shopping experience. I was thinking that it would take me a few weeks before I could narrow down and select my wedding dress. So I figured I would go with my friends the first few times and once I narrowed it down, I would then ask my mother and soon to be mother-in-law to join.
The first store I made an appointment with was Jobyna’s Bridal located in Glendale. I had already worked with Angie and Isabel during the Harsanik.com bridal show planning, so I already had a great relationship with them. Plus, I'd heard they have a very wide selection of gorgeous dresses, both from friends and according to their positive reviews on Harsanik.com.
My girlfriends and I met at the Jobyna’s Bridal store. The ladies at Jobyna’s were extremely helpful with the whole process. First they asked me if I had any specific styles that I preferred. I did but since Shant is also going to be reading this blog, I will not be revealing any details about my preferences!
For those who don’t already have a specific style in mind, here’s a quick breakdown of the most popular styles:
- Ballgown – This is the classic "poofy" wedding dress. It's perfect for anyone who wants to feel like a princess on their big day.
- A-Line – Just like its name, the dress starts narrow at the top and widens at the bottom.
- Mermaid – This dress is tight all the way from the top to your hips, and then flares out.
- Empire – This style has a high waist just below the bust.
While I did have one style in mind, the Jobyna’s team encouraged me to try on at least one dress from each style just so I could get a better sense of what the dress looked like on me. Next, my girlfriends and I started going through the store and picking out dresses that I liked. I ended up with over 10 dresses, and then went into a fitting room.
I tried on the first dress… and let’s just say everything felt soo right! I fell in love with the dress right away, and as soon as I walked out of the dressing room, all of my friends agreed that this was THE DRESS for me! They said the dress screamed my name! It was beautiful, it was fun, it was classy, and it just felt right! After admiring the dress for a few more minutes, I went back and tried on the rest of my dresses. Nothing else made me feel the same way as the first dress.
While the first dress seemed to be the one, I decided to still look at some more dresses. I ended up trying on another dozen dresses that day, but nothing else made me smile the way the first dress did. So I arranged to have my mom and my mother-in-law come down to Jobyna’s Bridal by Ines Di Santo at the Americana store the next day to try on a few more dresses and finalize my decision. Luckily, both my mom and my soon to be mother-in-law loved the first dress so it made my purchase decision very simple. I ended up buying the first dress that I ever tried on! I guess it was love at first try!
I'll post pictures of my dress on this blog after the wedding so you all can see what it looks it!
A Few Tips When Shopping for Your Wedding Dress: Make sure to make an appointment in advance. Bridal shops are busy, especially on the weekends, and most of them are by appointment only. Plus you get a lot more attention if you have an appointment than if you just show up.
Wedding dresses are HEAVY! So make sure to be ready for some heavy lifting, especially when you pick out 3-4 dresses at a time from the rack.
When selecting your dress, make sure to consider how comfortable you feel and whether you can move and dance around easily.
Wear appropriate undergarments. Enough said.
- Wedding Venue - Taglyan Cultural Complex
- Caterer - Divine Food & Catering
- Engagement Venue - Hotel Casa Del Mar
- Wedding Dress – Jobyna’s Bridal
Next Up: Officially asking my bridesmaids...
UPDATE: Jobyna's Bridal is now operating under the business name Lovella Bridal.