Launching a new series on the blog where you get to follow one of our very own brides through the wedding planning process. Our very first blogging bride for KLE is none other than our very own Associate Planner, Cait McRea. That’s right, she just got engaged! I’ll let her kick things off by telling you the story of her proposal and how they found the perfect venue for the big day.
xo Kaella Lynn
Oh my stars, we’re engaged! Hey y’all – Cait here, and today I couldn’t be more excited to kick off my ‘Blogger Bride’ series for Kaella Lynn Events. Working in the wedding industry as a planner has given me a fantastic perspective into the lives and weddings of my clients, mentors, and friends – and now it’s my turn to run the gambit, book the vendors, and enjoy the dress fittings and cake tastings. I’ll be checking in right here along the way to share my experiences: from choosing a planner and selecting a venue all the way to the big day, and I hope you’ll follow along – it’s going to be a wild ride, and we’re going to learn a lot together!
Now that we’re engaged, I’ll be the very first to tell you that the old adage about “when you know – you KNOW…” could not be more true. My fiancé Ned and I met at work and were friends first, dated later, and made this thing official last month in a garden on the waterfront in Brooklyn (10/8/2015). I knew the whole time that he was going to be my husband someday – there’s a calm certainty in our relationship that was there from the very beginning. No one is smarter, kinder, sweeter, or a better care-taker than him: and that’s before you take his dashing good looks and killer personality/outlook on partnership into consideration. After surprising me with a walk across the Brooklyn bridge at sunset and magnificent dinner at the River Café on the waterfront, Ned got down on one knee in a twinkle-lit private garden outside of the restaurant, and asked me to marry him with the prettiest ring I’ve ever seen. Of course I said yes!
As a creative (and wedding aficionado) I have high hopes for surprises, and was blown away by how surreal and magical our surroundings were in that garden – it was the perfect setting for the proposal, and I couldn’t have picked a better spot if I tried! Ned and I both love good food, great drinks, and being outside. We’re also both romantically inclined and into perfect proposals, as it turns out, and the whole evening was more than I could have ever hoped for. The VERY next day, I started thinking about our wedding venue. After all, you can take a girl out of the office on vacation to New York – and propose to her – but you can’t take the wedding planner out of the girl!
In a wedding venue, Ned and I had previously agreed upon three necessities: it needed to be outdoors in an area with good weather, it needed to be in Los Angeles (my hometown), and it needed to be capable of providing a spectacular guest experience. Our family and friends are flung far and wide – from Rochester to DC, California to Australia and in between – and we needed a central location that could boast convenient travel, ample accommodations, and a variety of family and visitor friendly activities in the surrounding areas. I had always been interested in a ranch property I saw featured prominently online, and was pretty certain that my favorite hotel in Westlake Village would provide exactly what we needed in terms of a hotel. I booked walkthrough appointments two weeks out at the ranch + three additional venue locations, all in the Westlake Village/Agoura hills area (near the hotel).
When the day of the walkthroughs arrived, I was a big ball of nervous energy, grilling the onsite coordinators at every stop, and referencing my giant binder of information I had assembled on each location. Not that I intended to be a bride-zilla, but I wanted to be CERTAIN that we had all of the information we needed to make an informed decision, and I couldn’t help putting my ‘industry professional’ hat on. We walked through some venues that were awful (but boasted really great farm animals), and one that felt like a wedding factory, hosting more than 5 events each weekend – no thank you. When we got to Triunfo Creek Vineyards, Ned was the first to offer praise of the landscape – he liked the trees, and the shade they provided (since it can be hot during the Indian summer in LA). We both loved the hills of grape vines and the green space outdoors, and agreed that the French-revival farmhouse on property would set an excellent backdrop for our event. We also thought the vibe of the space would fit well with our shared aesthetic, and what we wanted in a wedding day. Most importantly (and brides, take note, because this is key), we LOVED our onsite coordinator, and got an extraordinary feeling from meeting with her. No question was too detailed, no request was too arduous: she was calm, prepared, flexible, and pleasant to work with – and that is exactly what you want in a venue representative for one of the most important days of your adult life.
Within a week, we had put down our deposit and booked our date: a perfect year + 1 week from the date of our engagement, Saturday October 15th, 2016. We opted to host our ceremony and reception in the same location – it was just too pretty not to! With this huge hurdle out of the way, the very next item on my bridal to-do list was choosing a wedding planner – and I had a great feeling about one in particular that I knew really well…
Stick with us – I’ll be sharing more on choosing our planner in my very next post!
xoxo until then – Cait