A BRIDE'S STORY: DECORATING WITH A FRUIT TABLE

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!

Hasmik's Party Service
Hasmik's Party Service
Hasmik's Party Service

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

A BRIDE'S STORY: 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.

Our Engagement Party!


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!

Our Engagement Party!


My beautiful bridal party – I’m so lucky to have such amazing friends who share my joy!
 

Our Engagement Party!


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!

Our Engagement Party!


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!

Our Engagement Party!


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!

Our Engagement Party!


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.

Our Engagement Party!


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.

Our Engagement Party!


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!

Our Engagement Party!


After lunch, we danced a whole lot!

Our Engagement Party!


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!

Our Engagement Party!


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.

Our Engagement Party!


Our Engagement Party!


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…

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

A BRIDE'S STORY: CHOOSING & TREATING THE BRIDAL PARTY

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!

Cake Studio Cup Cakes


Cake Studio Cup Cakes Cake Studio Cup Cakes


Planning Status:

Next Up: Our engagement party...

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

A BRIDE'S STORY: SELECTING A 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.

Planning Status:

Next Up: Officially asking my bridesmaids...

UPDATE: Jobyna's Bridal is now operating under the business name Lovella Bridal.

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

A BRIDE'S STORY: PLANNING AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY

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!

Planning Status:

Next Up: Picking out my wedding dress...

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

ANNOUNCING NEW BLOG SERIES - A BRIDE'S STORY

Hi - thiA Bride's Storys 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!

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

A BRIDE'S STORY: LET THE PLANNING BEGIN!

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! Smile

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.

arrow  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!

Planning Status:

Next Up: Picking my engagement party location...

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

A BRIDE'S STORY: SELECTING OUR VENUE - TAGLYAN CULTURAL COMPLEX

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…

Planning Status:

Next Up: Start working on the guest list...

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

A BRIDE'S STORY: SETTING THE DATE, ALREADY???

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.

Planning Status:


Next Up: Picking the hall...

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story

A BRIDE'S STORY: A SCAVENGER HUNT ENDING WITH DIAMONDS!

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

Continue Reading

Posted by: Marineh K | | Comments: (0) | Marineh's Story