As we moved across the Pacific Ocean there was a song playing in my head: “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. I heard it over and over again while we were planning the wedding. So much that it became one of our wedding theme songs, as if “Getting Married on Catalina” was its unofficial name. The lyrics rang so true “I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend/Lucky we’re in love in every way.” Watch the music video below.
(sorry for the annoying ad, by the way)
While the lyrics are a little bit more about longing and rejoining each other than applies to us, here they are for a read.
Do you hear me,
I’m talking to you
Across the water across the deep blue ocean
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I’m trying
Boy I hear you in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart
You make it easier when life gets hard
I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Ooohh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
They don’t know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I’ll wait for you I promise you, I will
I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Lucky we’re in love in every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday
And so I’m sailing through the sea
To an island where we’ll meet
You’ll hear the music fill the air
I’ll put a flower in your hair
Though the breezes through trees
Move so pretty you’re all I see
As the world keeps spinning round
You hold me right here right now
I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
I’m lucky we’re in love in every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday
We caught a cab from Long Beach’s low key airport to the Catalina Express terminal. Mr. Pashmina and I went in the cab with the two pre-teens and it was so fun seeing their reaction to experiencing California for the first time. They were in awe of all the palm trees, how wide the freeways were–and that they were free!
We met my mom, sister, and nephew at the Catalina Lounge, ready to set board the Catalina Express all together. Waiting for the captain to call for us to get on the boat was something akin to waiting in line for Disneyland. We were so excited!
We began our Catalina Island adventure in New York City. The first “scene” was picking up the dress from the bridal shop just minutes before it closed. I ended up staying late at work to finish up a few details before our two week vacation-wedding.
My husband picked me up with our best man as our driver. He raced down NYC’s Amsterdam Avenue from the Upper West Side only to hit major Midtown traffic. Then after barely making the cutoff to get my wedding dress by a few minutes my co-worker called. We left my niece’s bridesmaid dress at work. I had picked up from the tailor during my lunch break earlier in the day. So we promptly made a U-turn! But the real excitement came the next morning.
Have you ever seen the getting-to-the-airport scene in the movie Home Alone? There are so many people to get ready that something–or someone–major is missed. That was how our morning was. Our driver overslept and did not pick us up. We were too busy getting ourselves ready to notice. All of us ended up on the curb late, then scratching our heads: “Wait, where is our van?” After a few too many phone calls we ended up on course, an hour and a half later than expected.
When we got to the airport we barely made the 1 hour until departure cut off. Then came getting everyone through security. The older generations didn’t understand why they need to take off their shoes, and why couldn’t they bring in an unopened water bottles when they would be thirsty and “you know how expensive buying at the airport is.” Then came the issue with the young one.
When all eleven of us finally got to the gate and were ready to board we hit our final road block. As each of us presented our ticket and boarded the plane, one board pass was not there. Some how my sister-in-law misplaced one of the tickets for the little ones. My sister-in-law franticly went to retrace her steps while the rest of us boarded the airplane without her. My last view of her was going down to ticketing with an airline staff member. And in the most dramatic moment, about five minutes after the last person boarded–she showed up!
Finally, all of us together, heading to our wedding across the country. From New York City’s crowded JFK airport to California’s beautiful and rustic Santa Catalina Island! As we set out for this experience of a lifetime we were nothing but smiles. We knew that this was going to be a super fun–yet not with out obstacles–family adventure. The Pashmina’s “Wrapped Up in Love” wedding recaps now begin!
On July 2, 2010 we found out we were pregnant with a Little Pashmina.
Surprised? We were! Well, a little bit.
The next thirty days leading up to the wedding were a whirlwind. They say that when you are pregnant you become forgetful–absentminded, as your body’s way to simplify your life and focus on growing a baby. That pretty much sums my experience up. I left so much to do close to the date. And pregnant amnesia, that pretty much applies to the wedding. It was really like a daydream!!
You probably have noticed that I have been putting off my wedding day recaps. We got married way over a year ago, almost two! I can’t believe it has been so long! But now you know main reason. I just couldn’t explain my wedding experience without including this major fact. So how could I write my recaps? I was preggers and no one knew.
But before you offer your congratulations let me say that it isn’t good news. It wasn’t a successful pregnancy. I was absolutely thrilled about starting a family. But one week before we flew out to Catalina Island for our wedding we had our first baby appointment at seven weeks along. There, we found out that our little sesame seed wasn’t the blueberry it should have been. It was one week smaller than it should be. Then three days before we left, at a high-risk sonogram, the doctor noticed that the little one had a faint heart beat.
We left for the wedding knowing that there was more than a 50% chance that during our wedding I would most likely miscarry. And away from home, away from my doctor. I prayed and prayed nothing would happen. Each day went by and I still had terrible morning sickness…and that was a good sign. I thought things were developing. The wedding week went and passed. Then the next, our honeymoon week. Still no blood, no spotting, no miscarriage. Two days after we returned from our honeymoon I had a follow-up appointment. I couldn’t wait to hear the great news: there was no need for concern and everything had worked itself out–the baby had caught up. But unfortunately, before the doctor spoke I read the news all over her face. There was no heartbeat. No more baby. It had died as thought, sometime two weeks before. Maybe even on our wedding day. I was ten weeks.
And so…Little Pashmina no longer.
I had something called a “missed miscarriage.” My body thought everything was fine and carried on thinking it was pregnant–there were no signs for me to tell that it stopped developing. This became problematic because something was dead inside me and wasn’t gotten rid of by itself. And it was for longer than the doctors would like. Within 24 hours after my appointment finding out the bad news I went into surgery. I had a D&C to remove the tissue that my body still hadn’t expelled. It took me a month to feel okay. Two months to feel back to my old self physically.
My world crumbled. I went from so excited about getting married and about the next phase our lives to sadness. Trying to process all this in the pre-wedding days in a new location with all our extended families knowing nothing. Then having surgery after I was sure things were fine. Then the bad news got compounded at post-surgery check up. They thought that something was wrong. I had an “unidentified mass.” Either due to complications due to the miscarriage or that led to the miscarriage. For four months my life was filled with dozens of office visits, two months of reproductive specialists, and a visit to an oncologist. Our first half a year as a married couple was overrun by procedures and a strong possibility of major surgery. This would not allow me to carry another baby for two years.
My mind kept on racing, “would I ever even be able to have a baby?” Witnessing all the women at the reproductive endocrinologist made me think that it really doesn’t happen as easily as you are lead to believe. We try to protect ourselves from the chance of it happening for so long. But then what is unspoken for so many people is that it is hard to get pregnant, and even harder to keep it. I didn’t realize. It is just not talked about.
But then my luck changed. All of a sudden my body worked everything out! All tests started coming out normal! No more mass. Everything was fine! It just took a couple of months!
Really, bodies are amazing.
So bear with me hive! It is my 2nd wedding anniversary on the 31st. Take my word for it. Yes, there are posts on the way. Posts showing our beautiful destination wedding on Catalina Island, really a magical isle. You must see how much fun we had. How beautiful it was. And how our planning really didn’t matter–what mattered was that we were getting married!
On a side note: I toyed with the idea of writing this post for a long time. Yeah, almost two years (so please be nice and don’t judge me). That is why I have really been dragging my feet. I finally decided that it would be better to write it then to pretend that everything has been okay.
In actuality we didn’t have the wedding we planned for 15 months. Things fell apart because I just couldn’t do it, because I didn’t feel well due to morning sickness, and because nothing was as important as what I was going through. Right at the time that I had to do the most for the wedding I couldn’t. So many projects got left undone. Then I was so depressed because of impending miscarriage during the wedding week. Then the scare of surgery after the wedding didn’t allow me really reflect on the experience of the wedding itself. But that is life. Really, that is how things go. All the prep you do never means that things will go as expected. Life is unexpected. Life is full of challenges.
But I don’t want to be too much of a downer. We did have a great time at the wedding!! We both tried our hardest to forget about it, and at times we really did. The wedding was a blast! Much more fun then I could have ever imagined. Really, besides being super forgetful and sick I felt okay. I did think things were progressing with the pregnancy. It was right after the wedding that things got super sad! This was result of the miscarriage, and on top of that the complications. I never knew anyone that miscarried. Or I didn’t think I did. But they say 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage so it is something that you need to be prepared for. It was a very scary and a very sad time in my life. Pretty much one of the lowest.
But what can you do? Life goes on, and so must The Pashminas. And for those of you who follow my Twitter, I am sure you know that things have really, really, looked up! We got pregnant 5 months after our wedding, just a month after getting the green light. On September 28th our baby boy was born. We call him our miracle baby, but it wasn’t a miracle–it was meant to happen.
A few months before we ordered our invitations we finalized our invite list. Initially you might think this would be a quick task since we were hoping to only have 75 people. But think again! It wasn’t at all.
We really had to pare down and limit the invites. This was fine with me and my groom since we really wanted a small, intimate wedding but the parents were a little tricky. Each of the parents had different ideas about who had to be invited. My parents are divorced and have small families on each side, while Mr. P’s parents are married and come from large families. Our unequal family size complicated things because it had to be “fair” in terms of number of invites, but it also had to be fair in the degree of the relationship. My parents couldn’t be inviting their co-workers while Mr. P’s family weren’t able to invite his aunts!
Basically, after Mr. P and I decided on our must-have people, we asked our parents who was on theirs. First I asked my mom. She was super easy and understanding saying whoever I wanted was fine with her. Phew! What a relief. My dad wanted to invite all of his friends was so sweet because he was so excited. But I had to explain that the venue could only seat 100 people, but really we only wanted 75. So he had to select only the most important. To that he replied “they all are important!” My in-laws really wanted to include all of Mr. Pashmina’s family and all of their extended network of acquaintances, but from the beginning we knew to be ready for this. So we had to explain that only immediate family members would be invited (meaning no second cousins and beyond) but if they really wanted someone outside that then let us know. We calculated that each set of our parents could invite up to six of their closest friends. Mr. P’s parents are constantly going out with about twenty people, alternating parties at each others houses. Initially they felt it would be rude only to invite a few of them but there was no way that 20 of their friends were going to make the list for our small wedding, so we had to stick firm. All of these guidelines made our parents happy enough. My mom invited her best friend (who was already on my list), my dad went over his six friends, while Mr. P’s parent ended up only inviting 4 people from their group–the two closest couples. Then they gave me all their addresses and I added them to my running Google Doc list.
The only thing left to do was decide on something I had been putting off. My co-workers, would I invite them or not? It is a cross-country wedding, should I not invite them because it is so far? Would it make them feel pressured to go and use their precious vacation time? Should I invite them because it would be very unlikely that any of them would actually go, but it would be nice ask to them? I finally decided that yes I should ask to be nice. But then should I invite only the people I hang out with outside of work? Or should it be democratic and invite everyone from the office–about 30? Or only people in my department? After lots of deliberation I decided to invite everyone in my department–close to me or not–and then the people that I hang out with outside of work. This felt right to me.
So how many people in all did we invite for our 75 person wedding? 138! They say that about 85% of the people you invite will attend. But this figure goes dramatically down if you are inviting people from out-of-town or if it is a destination wedding. About.com uses this calculation to estimate your actual attendance: (# of out of town guests * 65%) + (# of local guests * 90%) = total # estimated to attend. I figured that since we were in the middle of a recession, that the people we were inviting were spread out all over the country, and that it was a destination wedding on an island that we were not going to have a very high acceptance list. Hopefully enough people would be able to come to fill our 75 person payment to the venue! But we were doing what all the wedding websites say not to do: don’t invite more people than you can actually have!
So we crossed our fingers and hoped that the perfect number of people would come. Not too many that there wouldn’t be space, and not to few so we would be paying for unused meals!
How did you decide on your guest list? Was it tough? How many people did you invite compared to who actually attended?
Back when I was doing my Save the Dates I used Google Doc’s to get addresses from the people on my guest list. I used the “Form” feature to set this up. Here is how you do it:
You go to Google Docs (docs.google.com), sign in to your Gmail account, go to “Create New”, and select Form. Then type up questions you would like to be answered using their template. You can get fancy by selecting a theme. I chose a marine theme with red and blue fishes. Next you add the emails addresses of who you would like the form to be sent to. The questions are embedded into an email that is really easy to fill out.
I asked only very, very basic information. Actually three questions to be exact: 1.) Name, 2.) Current Address, and 3.) Phone Number. The best part about it is that when people fill out the form, Google automatically translates their answers into a spreadsheet. It is super cool and easy!
I used their answers as my initial guest list. I modified their responses to include everyone in the household, some people included their children and wives but not all of them.
I color coded any of thing that needed attention–like to check their latest girlfriend’s name or the crazy spelling of their children on Facebook. Surprisingly I Facebook-stalked quite a bit and it was really the easiest and fastest way to get this info! You’d be surprised at how long an email question can be answered by Facebooking them.
Once I had our invite list up-to-date I had to add the parents contacts. This would be a completely different task, with its own set of challenges…but more on this later.
How did you get and organize your guest list addresses? Were you surprised that you didn’t know your closest friends and family members’ mailing address?
Take a look at our Catalina Island-inspired wedding invitations!
This was one of the funnest projects of the wedding simply because it was in collaboration with one of my besties. But, really, who knew paper could be this creative and fun! This is how our invites came to be:
After sending out a huge lot of inspirations files to Alana Bailey Brand, I let her do her magic! She translated our wish for a whimsical and destination-themed invite into something prettier than I could have imagined.
The central design is based off of a wine bottle that I found with my mom on a trip to Sendona, Arizona. We were rummaging a wine market trying to find a special bottle for her birthday and it was there waiting for us. It was just days after we officially decided to have the wedding in Avalon so I thought it was fate! The wine company is called Avalon and had the most romantic little heart logo that reminded me of the famous Catalina Island’s tiles all over the island and at our venue. I’m not sure if the wine has anything to do with the town of Avalon or what the logo is supposed to be, but the image stayed with me and it sort of became the logo of our wedding in mind instantaneously.
Alana loved the idea too and transformed the simple heart design to a scrolling, wedding worthy vision with our initials monogramming the front. After a little back and forth about colors we finally found the hues that were on point with our wedding theme of peaches, pinks, corals and gold.
You can see the first three proofs where we are playing around with color. The next proof has different versions of our initials. Mr. P decided on which initials we would go with (you have to give your hubby decisions to make them feel involved…haha!) The last proof is with our wedding palette.
Next, were the map of Avalon and RSVP cards to do. My only direction for the Map was that I wanted it to have the major streets on the island, to make sure it incorporated where we were staying because it was in a remote location, to have a few hotels listed as accommodation ideas, and for it to include a few of the major tourist spots. I love the maps by Laura Hopper, and she was the inspiration for ours. She has very loose calligraphy and fun icons that are so sweet and adorable. Alana totally captured the feeling with her design. And the coolest thing for me: Alana took my very own drawings of the Country Club, Casino, Wrigley Botanical Garden and added them directly onto her map. So I literally helped make it! It was a really sweet gesture since I had been having so much fun art-ing and drafting up ideas!
The map felt so effortless to decide on, but that wasn’t the case for the RSVP cards. It was tough to figure out how to include everything we needed to on one card. We were trying to use it to capture the names and number of people that were attending the wedding as well as their food selection. We also were asking if the guests would be attending our rehearsal dinner (a.k.a beach party) and the day after brunch. That is a lot on a small card! In the end I think it was a little confusing, although no one mentioned anything to me. This is why: The cards were to cover an entire family but we had a check mark next to the food selection–instead of a blank spot for people to fill in the quantities of their entree selections. So how do they indicate who wants what when there are multiple people involved? The other thing was that the entree selection was underneath the Brunch option (it just had to be there because of space) so it seemed as if we were asking about that menu selection. But it all worked out! The RSVP cards worked enough because people made their food selection tableside so it didn’t really matter. I just needed to give the venue a rough estimate. And since it was a destination wedding, we sorta knew who was on the island during which dates and so who would be around for brunch. Live and learn! RSVP cards have to be really, really well planned out!! We should have done a trial run.
Alana suggested letterpress to execute the invites and had a printer in mind she wanted to work with called Dexterity Press. I was thrilled about the idea of letterpress and couldn’t believe it would be for my invites! I ordered the paper and envelopes from Papersource.com, and shipped it straight to the printer and we were ready to go! While I was waiting for the invites I got my stamps ready–I bought all the ones that were island themed, meaning Kelp & Dolphins.
One note: we decided that the design was perfect for a square shaped invitation, but I didn’t realize how much more it would cost (although I was warned that it would be more expensive). The size of the square is not actually the square option on the post office’s website, but it is a little bigger and because of it actually fits in to the large envelope category–making it much more than I calculated.
Then just a few short months later (which felt like eternity), a package came in the mail all bubble wrapped and beautiful. Even the packaging was inventive and customized (our initials printed on leftover paper)! I loved them. They were much more delicate then I imaged. I hadn’t seen many letterpress invitations and they were much more pressed than I thought they would be–I mean major indents!
So this project was part professional and part DIY. My end didn’t go so great. There were two things that I didn’t anticipate, both were related to how much my personal printer is pretty much useless. I thought I would run my outer envelopes through the printer instead of doing hand calligraphy. I spent hours organizing my invite list and making them spaced appropriately for this. I even bought a special font called Nelly on MyFonts that matched the whimsical calligraphy of the innards. This all proved useless because of my printer. The envelopes wouldn’t print correctly no matter how much I played with the setting! I was going to hand address all of them–EEK! I freaked out, yelled at my hubby-to-be (because he wasn’t helping at all) and tried to address 120 invitations in one night. I failed, and wasted way too many envelopes because I was doing it too tired.
The second thing I wasn’t expecting related to my printer (really it was my computer) was creating labels. In the same night I was trying to address all these invitations I was trying to print on the labels I bought from Papersource. These were going to go on the reply envelopes. It was the first time I tried to use Mac’s TextEdit program for labels and I couldn’t figure it without giving it more attention than I wanted to give. So I went down to the Kinkos in my neighborhood and used Microsoft Word to complete the project in less than 2 minutes. I should have gone there earlier and saved myself the headache.
What was your process of creating invitations? Did you make them yourself? Collaborate? Or order from a template? Did you run into any glitches? Did they turn out better than you expected?
Did you miss our Vintage Travel Save the Dates by Alana Bailey Brand? Check them out here.
*all images personal photos. Designed by Alana Bailey Brand. Letterpress by Dexterity Press.
One of my favorite parts of wedding planning has been looking at invitations online and in-person. I love, love, love invitations! You can go so many different ways and instantly give the opener an idea of what your wedding will be like. After coming across an article in Real Simple Magazine titled, “What is Your Invitation Style,” I decided to show Mr. Pashmina the pictures of the invites (without telling him what style was which) to see what he would like our style to be. According to the magazine there are four different styles: formal (traditional/sophisticated), semi-formal (modern/classic), thematic (reflecting a location or activity), and whimsical (quirky/creative). He couldn’t decided between two: thematic and whimsical. His reasoning for the two he chose: because they looked “fun” and “we are fun people” (yep, that is my man!). For thematic invitations we brainstormed that it could be island themed with palm trees, maps and charts; or nautical with ropes and anchors; cross-country themed with New York to California emblems. For whimsical ideas we mostly talked about how we could mix fonts and use something like the loose, curly one in the picture.
I was super lucky and knew from the get-go that my friend, and bridesmaid, would be able to help me create custom invites so I was pretty much free to come up with whatever I could imagine (how cool is this, right?!). Over the next few months whenever I came across an invitation I liked on the internet I added it to my folder titled “Invitation Ideas.” Then the time came to narrow down my favorites! I pretty much was in love with two companies that made invitations Rifle and Ceci New York (especially their Destination line). They were whimsical and thematic–perfect. I thought the best way to decide on our invitations was to draw a rough outline using these sites as inspiration but use our wording, our names, and our Catalina-inspired elements! Then we would really be able to imagine them, then we could send these to my friend and she could work something up with these things in mind.
Here are a few of the ideas I came up with (I’ve blocked out personal info for privacy):
How did you decide on your invitations? Did you have a fun time researching and coming up with ideas like I did?
After all of this, I haven’t even introduced you to our venue! Let me bring you up to speed.
After deciding on Catalina Island instead of a hometown wedding, we eagerly searched for a location. This took me months and months! Where…without visiting the island in person? I searched feverishly on the web. Googling, Flickring, and aimlessly searching photographer’s sites that contained images of other weddings on Catalina Island. Yep, I pretty much stalked Catalina Island trying to find out what locations were out there and what I would like best.
There was one thing guiding my search: I had my heart set on was that the ceremony was going to be outdoors. This is what I always imagined for myself. For the reception, I’d like it outdoors as well but that was slightly more open to what was out there.
There were two sites that had what I was looking for: Catalina Island Conservancy and Santa Catalina Island Company. From what I understand most of Catalina Island is actually administered by the Conservancy since it is protected land, while much of the city of Avalon was once owned by Wiley Rigley (yes, the chewing gum guy) and now his property is ran by The Santa Catalina Island Company. Hence, these two sites were the major players on the island.
Image from The Santa Catalina Island Company
The Conservancy offered 10 locations that consisted of beaches, gardens, and scenic bluffs. While The Company offered a Country Club, Beach Club, and a Ballroom. Mr. Pash wan’t that crazy about having a beach wedding since we had been to so many the year before. So that took away all the locations where you would need to stand on sand. My preference was either a garden or overlooking the ocean on the bluffs. So this is what I focused in on.
At first it seemed like the final contenders were going to be between the Summit Overlook and the Botanical Garden, both owned by The Conservancy. But then the Overlook would need a vehicle to transport people and all ceremony items rented, so it got canceled out after pricing and logistics got factored in to it. Then after talking to a coordinator about the Botanical Gardens that idea got canceled out. The Garden’s memorial building courtyard was a bit too small for 75 people and would be quite dusty that time of year.
So after researching a bit more that left one place we both loved: The Catalina Country Club. It had an outdoor courtyard (yes!!) and beautiful, historic architecture (super yes!!). I had a vision of an vintage California wedding so it seemed like a perfect match for us!
Actually most of the Catalina Island was build in the 1920’s and The Country Club was part of this boom. In fact, it was built in 1921 as the Chicago Cubs’s spring training facility by Mr. Wrigley–the Cubs’s owner. Now the place has been turned into a country club/restaurant.
Here are a few pics of the place. I absolutely love the Mediterranean feel of The Club. The red tile roofs, the heavy wooden doors, the white washed archways, and the black wrought iron lights. All of this combined with my most favorite element: the colorful tilework on the floor and in the fountain. These tiles were created in Catalina Island due to Wrigley’s building projects. The tiles are glazed in the most beautiful colors and depict amazing geometric designs and also pictures of native animals and oceanlife, not just at The Country Club but throughout the island.