Hey there - it's Marineh, co-founder of Harsanik.com! After getting the wedding dress, Shant and I started making some decisions about our bridal party.
The first discussion was whether we wanted the best man and the maid of honor to be husband & wife. In traditional Armenian culture, you pick the best man, and his wife becomes the maid of honor (“kavor & kavorakeen”). We agreed that we did not want to do that since we both wanted to pick one of our best friends as the best man & maid of honor.
Next, we decided we wanted to have a smaller bridal party. So while there were lots of people we would have loved to be part of the bridal party, we decided to keep it intimate and have our closest family members and friends. So we ended up with 4 groomsmen and 4 bridesmaids.
Once we agreed on the size of the party, I decided I wanted to “officially” ask each of my bridesmaids. I also wanted to give each of them a small gift when I asked them. A couple options that came to mind were custom cookies and picture frames. Then Shant gave me the great idea to ask Cake Studio to make individual cakes!
I have worked with Sonia from Cake Studio multiple times and she not only makes the most delicious cakes, but she also makes the most creative and beautiful cakes! For my birthday, she had made a cake in the shape of a giant cupcake (click here to see my previous blog with pictures of the cake) and for Shant’s birthday, I had her make a cake shaped like a tiki!
So I called Sonia and asked her if she could make flower bouquet cakes for my bridesmaids and maid of honor. I also wanted something that everyone could keep, so Sonia designed the flowers out of sugar so they could last for a very long time!
When Sonia from Cake Studio delivered the cakes to me, I was speechless! They were the cutest things in the world!! It was like a little garden!
I also made little signs for each one with the phrase “Will you be my bridesmaid/maid of honor?”. I placed the sign on top of the cake and hand delivered each cake to my bridesmaid/maid of honor. They absolutely loved their individual cakes, and luckily they all accepted!
- Wedding Venue - Taglyan Cultural Complex
- Caterer - Divine Food & Catering
- Engagement Venue - Hotel Casa Del Mar
- Wedding Dress - Jobyna's Bridal
- Choosing our Bridal Party - DONE
Next Up: Our engagement party...
A few months ago, Shant and I had an engagement party to celebrate with our close family our official engagement. Our most important goal for the party was to allow our 2 families to meet and get to know each other. While Shant’s and my parents had met a few times in the past, our extended families had not met and we really wanted our 2 families to have a chance to interact with each other before the wedding.
Shant & I selected Hotel Casa Del Mar as our location for the engagement party. See my previous blog post for more details on why we picked Casa Del Mar.
I chose Tic-Tock Couture Florals to do all the centerpieces and engagement flowers. I knew I could trust Eddie so I told him what color scheme I wanted, and I was pleasantly surprised on my engagement day when I walked in and saw the beautiful centerpieces!
My beautiful bridal party – I’m so lucky to have such amazing friends who share my joy!
One of the Armenian traditions of an engagement party is to have the groom’s family enter the hall (or house) with flowers, a bottle of cognac, and a box of chocolates. Eddie from Tic-Tock Florals helped arrange everything, which made it extremely convenient to have one florist handle everything , including the centerpieces , the floral arrangements and even decorating the “gift table”.
The families then circle the soon to be bride & groom and dance around us. The entrance and the initial dancing was my favorite part of the engagement!
To help facilitate the interaction between the 2 families, I decided to make name tags for everyone. I bought the name tags from Michaels and wrote down the name and the relation to either the bride or groom (mother, uncle, cousin, etc). I also bought pink & blue stickers from Michaels and added a pink sticker to everyone on my side, and a blue sticker to everyone on Shant’s side.
Here’s a picture of Shant & I with my grandpa! The nametags read – Bride – Grandpa – Groom!
Heartbeat DJ was fantastic! He truly is an entertainer! He not only played a great variety of music, but he added a lot of small touches that made a big difference! Although all good DJs do a great job playing good music to keep everyone dancing, truly exceptional DJs can fulfill the duties of being a Master of Ceremony (MC) for your event and entertaining your guests, and Heatbeat DJ did exactly that!
One of the best traditions about Armenian engagements is that the primary gift is jewelry for the bride! I received a lot of beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
My parents gave Shant a watch so he didn’t feel too left out! If you're looking for a place to buy nice watches from, I recommend Dejaun Jewelers. They have a great selection of fine watches and jewelry.
After the gift giving ceremony and the toast, we all sat down to eat. The food at Casa Del Mar was amazing. Their salmon was off the charts, and their molten chocolate cake dessert was finger licking good!
After lunch, we danced a whole lot!
I got my hair done by Edward Jacob. I showed him a small picture of a style I liked and he did a great job with my hair. Linh Tran did my makeup. Both did a fabulous job and I got lots of compliments!
At the end of the day, my brother Garen took some photos of just Shant & I in the outside deck area at Casa Del Mar. These are some of my favorite pictures of Shant & I. Special thanks to Garen for taking such amazing photos of the entire event. Every picture in this blog is taken by Garen.
We had such an amazing time at our engagement! We really enjoyed every minute of the event. Everyone had a great time and there was a lot of mingling between the families. We all enjoyed the great music, the great food, and best of all, the great company! The engagement party was a perfect preview of how much fun we were all going to have at the upcoming wedding!!!
I can’t wait…
Hi there - it's Marineh from Harsanik.com. For my engagement party at Casa Del Mar, I decided to have a fruit table. There are so many advantages to having a fruit table - it adds beautiful decor to your event, it offers healthy and delicious food, and it's very popular amongst guests!
I contacted Hasmik's Party Services for my engagement, and Hasmik and her team did a great job! The fruit table arrangement was beautiful. The quality of the fruit was amazing. And they had a staff member stay throughout the whole event to stock up on the fruit and keep the fruit table clean & tidy.
Overall, I highly recommend having a fruit table at your next event! It really adds a nice touch. Hasmik's Party Services was great to work with! Just don't forgot to request extra chocolate covered strawberries. They were by far the most popular item at the event!
It's Marineh again, from Harsanik.com. Shant & I recently did our tasting at Taglyan Cultural Complex in Los Angeles, and I have to share what a great experience it was. I had heard from multiple people that the food at Taglyan, exclusively catered by Divine Food & Catering, is one of the best so I was excited to actually try it out.
Here is a 5 step guide for all bride and groom-to-be's on how to have a successful and enjoyable tasting experience:
1) Schedule in Advance - The Taglyan team was very easy to work and accommodating when it came to scheduling our tasting.
2) Request for a Copy of The Menu For Review - Taglyan has a standard menu available in PDF format that they emailed out to me. Note that the chefs at Taglyan can make pretty much anything from any country, so just because an item is not on the menu it doesn't mean they don't have it! So don't worry when you first see the menu and don't see one of your favorite dishes listed. I promise you they can make it for you.
3) Choose Family Style, Plated, or Buffet Style - This was a big decision for Shant & I. We debated between the options and decided to go with family style appetizers, and buffet style for the entrees and sides. We both preferred family style for appetizers because we wanted food on the table when our guests walked into the hall. And we agreed on buffet style for the entrees because it allows people to have their food when they want, avoiding having food get cold because they stayed on the dance floor too long! (I bet many of you have experienced eating cold meat because you insisted on dancing a few extra songs!)
4) Choose Items To Taste - Before I had my tasting, I wasn't sure how many items a couple gets to taste at a tasting. So I asked Gary, one of the owners of Taglyan Cultural Complex, and he explained to me a bit of background about tastings.
Traditionally, tastings used to be an experience where the bride & groom-to-be would come to the hall after booking, and the chef would present different plates based on the chef's preference. So there was no choosing process.
However, in modern times, the bride & groom get to choose different items from the menu to taste. Generally, you should follow the rule: 3 appetizers, 3 side dishes, and 3 entrees.
5) Enjoy! - This is the fun part! And I have to say the team at Taglyan made it extremely fun for us! Once we were seated at one of the set-up tables, they first brought out the appetizers. The two most delicious items were the sarma and the boreg! The side dishes were fantastic - our favorite being the rice with the toasted pine nuts, almonds, and cranberries. And last they brought out the entrees. The beef & chicken kabob was delicious. They also had prime aged Fillet Mignon with red wine reduction that was amazing. I also had made a special request for "fesenjoon', which is a Persian dish made with chicken, pomegranate juice, and crushed walnuts. And I was surprised how great that turned out!
Overall our tasting experience at Taglyan was fabulous! The food, the service, and the atmosphere were all perfect. Even the chefs came out and talked to us and asked us what we liked and if there were any changes that we would like to make.
After the tasting, we decided our menu for the wedding. At that point, we were even more excited about our upcoming wedding and we were both so glad we had picked Taglyan Cultural Complex as our wedding venue!
One of the first major tasks to complete in the wedding planning process is ordering your invitations. Invitations are very important since they are the very first thing that your guests get to see about your wedding, and which leads to forming an impression. We decided that we wanted to have a classy invitation, but something that was also fun and personal.
Shant and I decided to work with Sherry from Creative Works Design, and we both had a great experience through the whole invitation selection process! We scheduled an appointment with Creative Works Design, and when we met with Sherry, she started off by asking us what we were looking for. She then showed us several albums filled with examples of invitations so we could get an idea of the different options.
First, we made a decision about the shape & the size. Shant & I were deciding between the square invitation (6x6), and the rectangular invitation (5x7). Next, we had to decide if we were going to include inserts, and if so, how many. We decided to go with 3 inserts - one for the RSVP, one for the Maps & Directions, and another for General Information. Once that was decided, Sherry then walked us through all the different design options, including color of the paper, ribbon or no ribbon, color of ribbon, color of font, raised ink or flat ink, etc. We also had to decide if we wanted to include an Armenian version of the invitation. The options felt endless, but Sherry guided us through each choice and we felt really great about all of our invitation decisions!
We were also able to make our invitation unique. We explained to Sherry that we wanted to incorporate the idea of puzzle pieces into our wedding invitations. Sherry listened to our idea and began sketching a few concepts, and we were able to come up with a design that matched exactly what we were looking for!
Overall, we had a great time working with Sherry from Creative Works Designs. Once we got the invitations, we were both extremely happy with the result! Our invitations turned out beautiful and we got a lot of compliments from all of our family & friends!
- The general rule is that you should send out your invitations about 3 months before the wedding date.
- It can take 3-4 weeks from the day you meet with a vendor to when you actually get your invitations. So make sure to schedule your appointment at least 4 months before the wedding.
- The response date on the RSVP card should be dated for a month before the wedding.
- The general rule is that you should add a stamp to the RSVP card so your guests don't have to look for a stamp in order to RSVP.
This is Marineh again, from Harsanik..com. One of the most important things that Shant and I cared most about was the pictures. Everyone had told us that pictures are the only thing left from your wedding, and that they help you remember all the little details. So Shant and I took some time making this important decision. After much research, we ended up picking Jared from Bauman Photographers as our wedding photographer. He is located in San Diego, which is where Shant and I live, so it made it really convenient for us to work with him, especially since we wanted our engagement photo shoot to be in San Diego. I had actually gotten to know Jared four years ago when I first started Harsanik.com. A friend of mine had introduced me to him, and I fell in love with his work. Plus, Jared was super excited about photographing an Armenian wedding, so we decided to work with Jared from Bauman Photographers as our wedding photographer.
The first chance we got to work with Jared was for our engagement photo shoot. Picking a location was tough, and the Bauman team gave us some advice to make picking a location easier. “Think of it as a date. Where do you want to go for a date?” Shant and I decided on Del Mar, a beautiful beach town in San Diego since we had spent many weekends at the beach and at nearby restaurants in Del Mar. We met Jared and his assistant in Del Mar at around 5pm. Jared did a great job making us feel relaxed and allowing us to just be ourselves. While he did give us ideas for poses for a few of the shots, he made sure that we were comfortable throughout the whole process and that we were acting natural.
We took photos in several locations including the park, the beach, and the town where the shops and restaurants are. I was most worried about the weather. The day was completely overcast and I didn’t have high expectations for the pictures. But in just a few days/weeks, we got the pictures and we were surprised at how nice they all came out! We were excited to use some of these pictures as part of our wedding. We had a great time working with Jared from Bauman Photography and we look forward to having him be part of our wedding!
Hi - this is Marineh from Harsanik.com. Soon after our engagement, my mom asked what type of event I wanted for my bridal shower. Since I had just had the engagement in a banquet hall with a DJ, I knew I wanted to do something different and unique. I wanted a very fun and girly event for my bridal shower.
After coming up with a few ideas (including cooking classes), I decided to have my bridal shower at a nail salon where my guests and I could enjoy mani's and pedi's. I picked NailPolish as the location. They are a relatively new nail salon that opened less than a year ago, and the salon is super trendy and cute. The salon is spacious with lots of spa chairs, 4 mani stations and can easily accommodate 30 to 40 guests. The owner, Lilit, was great to work with. She agreed to close the salon for my event and allowed me to bring in my own catering into the salon.
I picked Hamov Catering to provide all the catering for my bridal shower, and they did a great job! They brought a variety of finger foods and they did an amazing job with not only the delicious food, but also the beautiful presentation.
I even had Cake Studio make me a cake shaped like an OPI nail polish bottle! The cake was the talk of the event!
The event ended up being a hit! My guests loved getting pampered and it was a great way for everyone to mingle while getting their nails done. We even played games for a few hours. Everyone left with a big smile and beautiful nails!
Here the last picture I took at the bridal shower with me, Shant, and our bridal party.
Music is such an important part of any wedding. It can really make or break your event. Shant and I wanted to have great entertainment to make sure that our guests stayed on the dance floor the whole night. The first decision was whether we wanted to have a DJ only, a band only, or both. We decided to have both. We knew the DJ would do a great job bringing a variety of music, including popular hits. And we wanted a live band to play Armenian music. Shant and I both love live music, and we really felt that a band would bring a lot more energy to the wedding.
Once we decided to have both a DJ and a band, we started choosing our vendors. The DJ we went with was DJ International. I had worked with Hrach and Arsen as part of Harsanik.com for a long time and they are both such great guys! They are very professional and really fun people to work with. Plus, both Shant and I heard them playing at The Premier Bridal Event in November 2009, and we both liked their style. So it was an easy decision to use DJ International for our wedding!
As for the band, Shant and I knew that we wanted someone with a lot of energy. We had heard Sako perform at The 2009 Premier Bridal Event as well, and we both liked his voice, style and demeanor. So we worked with Sako’s manager and booked Sako for our wedding!
Once we had finalized our DJ & band, we decided to get a "sazandar" to play the traditional Armenian music both at the bride's house and for the entrance for the wedding reception. I've always personally loved having the sazandar play the Armenian music as the groom's family enters the bride's house, as the bride & groom leave the bride's house, and as the bride & groom enter their wedding reception hall! So I knew I wanted to have a sazandar, and I also knew I wanted to have Mamikon be our "sazandar"! I had the pleasure of seeing Mamikon and his band perform at The 2009 Premier Bridal Event and I was so impressed by not only their music, their attire, but also the energy they brought into the hall with their entrance. So it was an easy decision to book Mamikon to be a part of wedding!
Choosing a cake vendor was one of the easiest tasks for Shant and I. I have been using Cake Studio for a few years for birthday and other special occasion cakes. I even had Cake Studio create mini-cakes for my bridal party (see previous blog for pictures). Cake Studio not only makes delicious cakes, but they are also so creative – they can make any design you can think of! So I knew Cake Studio was the right choice for us when it came time for our wedding cake.
Shant and I made an appointment with Sonia from Cake Studio, and before meeting with her, Sonia asked us to do some research and collect a few pictures of cake designs we liked. This was going to help her understand our style to make sure we designed a cake we absolutely loved. Shant and I went through a few websites and quickly realized that we liked 3-4 tier cakes, round, with flowers between each tier, and alternating designs on each tier. Since we already decided to use puzzle pieces as our logo, we wanted to integrate our puzzle design into our cake.
When we met with Sonia at Cake Studio, we told her our preferences, and she quickly sketched out our wedding cake. Then came the most fun part. Sonia laid out a large platter with 8 cake flavors, 8 fillings, and two ganaches (Sonia had sent us a menu of options that we had narrowed to these “few” options). Sonia gave us tips on how to mix and match, and gave us some of her most popular combinations. We were in love with nearly all of the flavors and we had a very hard time making a decision. But after stuffing our faces with delicious cake, we decided to go with dark chocolate cake with mocha filling and dark chocolate truffle ganache for two of the tiers, and mocha cake with cookies and cream filling and dark chocolate ganache for the other tiers.
We loved working with Sonia from Cake Studio – she made the whole process simple and fun. We cannot wait to taste our cake on our wedding day!
Note: Cake Studio has just started a Cake School! They are offering cake making and decorations classes. So make sure to contact Cake Studio for more info!
The time has come!!! After all of the blogs about the planning of a wedding, I'm so excited to start sharing photos and videos from the BIG DAY with all of you!
First up is our wedding trailer produced by BGS Productions! Shant & I chose to work with Brian from BGS Production because we both loved his style of videography and editing and we also loved his personality! If you want a timeless video that you are going to love, and a videographer who is so fun to work with and be around, then BGS Productions is the right choice for you!
So for now, enjoy this short wedding trailer. I'm warning you - it's just a teaser! And there will be more to come soon! :)