Hello, future brides! My name is Brittany, and I am 25 years old from Southern California. I am recently married and now livin with my husband, Donovan, and our one-year-old french bulldog, Lily. Outside of wedding planning and honeymooning, I am a court reporter (stenographer), and my husband is a firefighter. When I’m not at the courthouse hearing wild stories, I enjoy exercising to clear my mind, i.e., working out at the gym, hiking, hot yoga, pilates; anything that keeps me active and young. I am a summer gal, so I love anything that inovolves the sun and Vitamin D! I enjoy taking my french bulldog to the dog beach, dog park, and on walks around the neighborhood. She is my little pride and joy! I don’t have a specific hobby anymore because of how busy work can be, but when there is time, I love to travel, DIY craft, and shop ’til I drop!
Our Love Story
I was working as a waitress at a local bar when Donovan came in with a few friends. The moment I saw him walking in, all I could think was “I need to serve this guy.” So, I did what I wanted, and I served him. After talking very minimally, he paid for his food and on his receipt he wrote, “call me. Texting is overrated.” I’ll never forget those words because in that moment all I could think was “he’s crazy. I’m not calling him. I’ll text him,” haha! Anyway. I remembered his name on his receipt and one day mentioned his name to a friend of mine, and I couldn’t believe it, but she knew him! We had a few friends in common but had no idea and somehow had never met each other before. I eventually texted him obviously, and we went on our first date after that. That was truly the best text I ever sent and I’m so happy I listened to my heart. Because here we are now, married and living our happily ever after.
For as long as I can remember, I had always wanted to go wine tasting with my friends. One day us girls were in a group chat texting back and forth and discussed going wine tasting in Temecula for fun. We had planned on a day, and we mentioned bringing our boyfriends along with us. I thought nothing of it! It just seemed like an ordinary day hanging with our friends, because that’s what we always did!
Leading up to that day, I had seen that it was going to rain on Sunday. The weather was fluctuating day by day, so I had told Donovan that I actually didn’t want to go wine tasting if it was going to rain. He thought I was crazy and said, no, that we already made plans with our friends to go. So, I said, fine, we’ll go.
That morning, March 5, 2017, I woke up and I had gone out to the kitchen of my parents’ house and my parents were making me breakfast. I had explained to them that I didn’t feel like going because it was raining and how awful that sounds to wine taste when it’s raining. They knew all along what was going to happen that day, but of course I had no idea. My mom told me, Brittany, just go get ready, I’m sure it will still be a lot of fun. I didn’t want to go wine tasting this day so much that I ended up getting ready 20 minutes before I had to leave.
Donovan showed up, picked me up, and we headed down to Temecula. We parked at Wilson Creek Winery and walked in. All of our friends were sitting by a fire waiting for us as we were the last ones to show up. We started our wine tastings and caught up with everyone. After winetasting for a bit, us girls decided we needed pictures in the vineyards. We all took our men and headed up to the vineyards. A couple of the other couples took pictures first and then it was mine and Donovan’s turn. I asked one of my friends to take a picture for us. I remember so clearly Donovan asking me, “why don’t you put down your wine glass for the picture?” and I responded, “why would I put down my wine glass for the picture? We’re at a winery and I want it in the picture.” (I should’ve listened to him.)
Right as we started to take the picture, Donovan started talking. I had no idea what he was saying because I was so caught off guard by it. Then I started to listen. I can’t remember exactly what words he was saying, but all I remember him saying is that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I think in that moment, my whole body went numb. I think I actually blacked out. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I remember freaking out so much inside that I didn’t even say yes right away. I was at a loss for words! I eventually said yes. The best part was that everyone was right behind their cameras watching it all happen. We all ended up celebrating afterwards and going out to lunch after. We met with both of our families for dinner that night and celebrated too. It was the best day of my life!
Let’s Talk Wedding Planning
Wedding Date, Geographical Location, Venue
Our wedding was held on August 4, 2018. The reason behind picking that specific date was simply because we both love summer. Personally, we share so many interests in the season of summer; We love going to the river, the lake, beach, etc. Although the weather can be scorching at times, there’s nothing that beats a warm summer day, tan lines, a beer in your hand, sitting in the water, with your best friend! We both enjoy outdoors; hiking, jet skiing, wakeboarding, traveling, and just being adventureous. All those factors played into the reason we picked an outdoor venue.
We got engaged March 5th, 2017. I immediately started looking at venues online. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to get married in Temecula at one of the wineries because of how beautiful the scenerey is, so that narrowed it down for me. But before we started looking, we did bring up the option of a destination wedding. As lovely as that sounds, our main concern was getting all of our family, especially grandparents there. We wanted all of our family to be able to make it to our wedding, so keeping our wedding location in California was a MUST. We looked all week online, and as we were looking, we kept going back to the same venue. I was very picky and started to notice that I was comparing the other venues to this exact venue.
So, I booked a tour with them the next weekend. For me personally, I didn’t want to spend months looking for a venue. That was time wasted that I could use for planning. Plus, nowadays, venues are booked out a year or more, and considering we got engaged in March of 2017 and we wanted a summer wedding, it was either we plan a wedding in 6 months or we have a year and a half engagement and get married in the summer of 2018. We ended up having a tour at Lake Oak Meadows Vitagliano & Vineyards and we fell in love to say the least. We were taken by surprise at how gorgeous this venue was. We knew we wanted a Saturday wedding because we wanted our reception to be a party and for everyone to celebrate and enjoy the night with us, even if it was a little more pricey. Before we left, we went over some dates with the venue and they had two options in August; the 25th or the 4th. Well, August 25th is my birthday, so that was a no-go! At the time, there was no true meaning behind why we picked the 4th to be our wedding date, but that was okay with us. It was now going to mean something and be OUR day, so we actually gave them a down payment that day before leaving! I can say that venue shopping was easy for us. We were one and done, and it made things so much easier and less stressful!
Lake Oak Meadows Vitagliano & Vineyards is an all outdoor 10-acre property that a family owns, and it’s located in the heart of Temecula. There wasn’t one thing we didn’t love about our venue when we visited the first time. The ceremony was full of lush vineyards, draping trees, with a pond surrounding the guest seating. There were cobble stone walkways with a grand entrance of stairs. The reception was magical including a fire waterfall, lounge seating with personal firepits and misters for a summer day. This might sound crazy, but the bathrooms were spectacular. They were so beautifully put together. The bridal suite and groomsman suite were to die for. The bridal suite was so thought out and dreamy. I walked in and felt like I was in the Ritz Carlton. The groomsman suite had a pool table, a full bar and kitchen, lounge seating, and more. Everything about the venue just made my heart flutter. The details of the venue were what drew our attention, and we didn’t feel we needed to look elsewhere. The last touch that made us seal the deal was the staff. From the very first time we met the staff up until the day of our wedding, they were amazing. They took care of us every step of the way and were very attentive to our needs, and we couldn’t have been more grateful for that.
Originally when booking our venue, we contracted for 125 guests because that was the minimum guest count allowed for a Saturday wedding at our venue. Little did we know, we underestimated how much family and friends we have. In our minds, we wanted our count to not exceed 125, but as we started jotting down names off the top of our head, our families combined took up 95 spots approximately. My husband is a firefighter, so we couldn’t leave out our fire family either. Amongst all of our family, fire family, and friends, we ended up having 165 guests at our wedding. I’m going to be honest, I never realized how stressful it was going to be and how much more money it was going to be for that many people in the long run. I wouldn’t necessarily want to change who came to our wedding, but looking back, I definitely would have drawn a line and not exceeded that count. The more people you have attending your wedding, the more names for the seating chart, the more dinner plates, the more seats, the more RSVP’s, the more wedding invitations, the more drinks, etc. You don’t realize that all of that starts to add up until you get hit with huge bills the month of your wedding. So, if I had to give advice as to guest count, I would say limit it and don’t exceed your set number. Small intimate weddings are just as beautiful and fun as a large wedding too!
What was your wedding budget?
I went into the wedding planning process blind. I had no sense of how much wedding venues, florists, videographers, photographers, planners, dresses, rental companies, catering, DJ’s, cakes, linens, etc, costed. Since my heart was set on getting married in Temecula, all the venues I looked up were all within the same price range, so I didn’t think our venue was out of the ordinary price range. My parents never gave me a set budget, but the day we visited the venue, they fell in love and wanted the wedding to be there just as much as we did. One thing that we loved about where we got married was that they offered a payment plan. As I learned, most venues require 3 huge payments which can be a bit stressful. My parents were able to put down a Save the Date payment, a down payment, and then make monthly payments up until the month before the wedding. It was SO convenient! The payment plan ended up being affordable for my parents, and we were grateful for that. However, that was all they could pay for. So, my husband and I split a lot of the costs, and fortunately, his parents were kind enough to help us with some vendors as well.
Go to multiple appointments with different florists if you have to. It won’t hurt their feelings. I researched a lot of vendors before even meeting up with them just to save myself some time since I was working. Because of that, we booked our venue, our florist, and our cake all on the first meeting. If you have a budget, though, and the first vendor you meet up with is out of your range; e-mail, call, make multiple appointments with other vendors, to get an idea of who is a better fit for you. Once you find the vendor that works, write them down and keep track of your payments, or any communications you have with them.
How did you prioritize your budget, what factors were most important to you?
I was able to prioritize my budget by using the wedding planner binder my MOH had bought me. It was so helpful in reminding me when things were due, what month, to who, etc. I also made my own spreadsheet keeping track of how much we spent on certain things, the balance due, and when we made a payment, etc. I tried to spread payments out evenly so that we could pay a little each month instead of everything being due at one time. Something that was so clear to me was keeping in mind what’s important and what isn’t. A wedding is such a special moment in your life, but don’t let it drain your savings or all of your money. At the end of the day, it’s about you marrying your best friend, not impressing your guests. It’s a one day event, and you don’t want your wedding to be the reason why you are in debt. You are already paying for guests to attend, so they should be thankful that they are there to witness your day with you.
One thing that we really had to think about was the way the food was served at our wedding. Of course I would love for all 165 guests to be served by servers. However, it was going to be an extra $1,500 for that option. It was a chunk of money that could be used for something like your dress or photographer, videographer, etc. Those things were more important to us than impressing our guests with someone who brought them their food, so we decided to do our dinner buffet style! After the wedding, I had heard from multiple people how amazing the food was, and how happy they were to be able to get seconds as they pleased!
How did you ask your besties to be your bridesmaids?
Donovan and I had hosted an engagement party about 5 months after we got engaged. We knew how difficult it was for everyone to get time off of work or have a weekend available, so we decided that we wanted to ask our friends to be in the wedding when they were all together. Towards the end of our engagement party, we both handed out our gifts to them and asked them all to be in the wedding.
I had put together a tin box with each girl’s name on the front. Included was a flannel that said “Bridesmaid” and “Maid of Honor” on the back, so that we could sleep in them the night before the wedding, a champagne flute with their names printed on them, soap, a champagne bottle with the proposal, “Will you be my bridesmaid/MOH?” and Sugarfina champagne bubbles (luxury candy).
Donovan had gotten wooden boxes with their names engraved, and included in it was a tiny Jack Daniels bottle with a leather tag on it that said, “Your service as a Groomsman/Best Man has been requested”, and a cigar an engraved flask for the day of the wedding.
We had our photographer at our engagement party as well so she captured all of it!
How was your dress shopping experience?
Dress shopping is the best part about wedding planning by far! You get to spend the day trying on beautiful dress with your closest friends and family, and drink champagne all day! I had brought with me my mom, my mother-in-law, my MOH, and all of my bridesmaids.
Originally, I had a few styles in mind from looking at Pinterest. A lot of the dresses I fell in love with were unfortunately too much money for me to spend personally. I had told my parents that I would pay for my dress since they helped so much with the venue, so I knew I couldn’t overdue it. After searching and searching online, I found one designer I absolutely loved, but they were based out of Australia. I had to keep researching to find out if any boutiques in California carried the brand, and fortunately enough, ONE boutique in OC carried it! Hallelujah! The brand is called Made With Love.
I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, so I booked appointments at 3 different boutiques in Orange County; Love and Lace (they carried Made With Love), Blush Bridal, and Mon Amie. My original thought was that I wanted an all lace dress, something mermaid style, with lots of beading, strapless, and sexy. Well, I went to the first boutique and tried on many different styles from Made With Love. For some reason, every dress I tried on with lots of lace or beading, made me feel like the attention was on my dress and not my face or hair. It was too overpowering for me. The assistant had pulled out a dress “just so I had more options”, and the minute I put it on I felt elegant, but sexy, and still classy with just a touch of beading and lace. It wasn’t overpowering, and still made me feel sheek and beautiful. I didn’t want to get out of the dress, but knew there were others to try on and we were on a time limit. So, I ended up trying on the rest, and didn’t like the others as much. I ended up trying on that ONE dress again before we left because I loved it so much!
We next went to Blush Bridal and I tried on some more dresses that were beautiful. The assistant made me step out of my element and I did try on a cinderella-type dress, and I felt like I was drowning in the dress. It was too much for me, so I knew that was out of the works. I tried on a few more sleek dresses and ended up really liking one that was very similar to the dress I fell in love with at the previous salon. I got a quote on it, and had to think about it since I had one more stop that day.
We next went to Mon Amie Bridal. At this point I knew I wanted a sleek fitting dress for sure, and everything that I was trying on in my budget just wasn’t cutting it. Half way through my appointment I noticed I started comparing everything to this ONE dress at the first boutique, Love and Lace, so we ended that appointment early.
At the end of the day, my mom gave me some advice and told me just to think about it. Go home, let it all soak in, and think about what you want. Don’t just buy on impulse because this is something you can’t change your mind about. So, I went home and I thought about it. I looked for more brands in my budget, looked at more dresses, and just wasn’t finding anything I loved more than this one dress. I eventually made another appointment to go back and try this very exact dress on once again.
A month later, we all went back to Love and Lace Bridal Boutique in Irvine, CA. I specifically went to try on this one dress named “Sienna” made by Made With Love. It was the dress I tried on last month that I fell in love with and I couldn’t stop thinking about and couldn’t stop looking at pictures of. When I put it on, the feelings started to rush, and I got teary eyed. It made me feel beautiful. It was so simple in my eyes, yet enough to make me feel sexy and classy all in one. It had a low back (which I LOVED for a summer wedding), a lot of pretty pearl beading up top, and was so classy and simple down below. It had very thin straps with pearl beading along the straps, a low V cut in the front (which made me feel sexy when I don’t have boobs). You know the phrase, “Less is more”? That’s what I felt when I put it on. I didn’t need all the lace, the poofyness, the beading top to bottom, or the most expensive designer to make me feel beautiful.
What was your overall vision or theme?
We didn’t necessarily have a theme for our wedding beforehand. However, as we started planning, our vision was leaning to be more rustic, simple, with a touch of glam. Obviously before wedding planning all you do is look at weddings on Pinterest; THAT IS NOT REALISTIC. Haha! At least for me, the wedding I originally envisioned was going to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Overall, our wedding turned out exactly how we both envisioned it! It was pure magic and everything looked beautiful. I planned the whole wedding myself, and was shocked at how everything came together so smoothly. I think part of the reason everything did come together so smooth was because I wasn’t expecting perfection. The venue we chose had amazing staff, and all of my brothers (I have 4) contributed that day and helped with making it all come together.
If you had to describe your wedding style in one word what would it be?
How did you find your vendors?
I think about every single vendor I had was found through social media, Instagram to be specific. The only vendors that we used that our venue recommended was Madam Palooza, Good Time Entertainment, and Temecula Catering. Madam Palooza is a rental company, so that’s where we got our sweetheart table, our candles, chandelier, seating chart mirror, etc. Good Time Entertainment was who provided our DJ, Mike Shroyer (who was AMAZING by the way!) Temecula Catering was our catering company and their food was OUTSTANDING! We had Tri tip, chicken, brussel sprouts, potatoes, Other than that, I found our florist, makeup artist, hair stylist, cake vendors all on Instagram from previous weddings!
When booking our photographer (Madison Rylee) and our Videographer (Hoo Films), we had no idea how much wedding photography and videography cost. However, our photographer had done our engagement pictures prior; we loved how they turned out, we felt comfortable with her, and she knew our style, so we got lucky that since she did our engagement session, we recieved $300 off our wedding day package which was awesome! We booked her without hesitation and without feeling the need to research other photographers. Donovan and I did have a lengthy conversation about our thoughts on booking a videographer. We knew they were really expensive, we just didn’t know how much. From talking to other married couples, they couldn’t stress enough how important it was to have something to look back on. I had heard from multiple people that if you’re going to drop money on your wedding, let it be a good photographer and videographer, because at the end of the day, your dress and suit are back in the closet, your heels and veil are tucked away, and the only thing you have to remember that day is photos and a video. People will tell you that it’s a waste of money and that “you’ll never watch your video” or “don’t pay a lot for a photographer”, but to tell you the truth, I have friends that watch their videos all the time because they want to relive that moment. It is such a magical and special day, that who wouldn’t want to watch it over and over again?! I also have friends who have cheaped out on a photographer, and never recieved their pictures at all, or there was only two photos they loved, or they had to beg their photographer for their pictures a year later.
We could have gone with a cheaper videographer, but the company, Hoo Films, always brought tears to my eyes with their videos. Every video of theirs that I watched brought so much emotion, and we felt that that was important (not to mention they do drone footage too which won us over.) They also offered different packages based on your price range. Their lowest package started at about $4,000 and went up to $10,000 depending on how much footage time you wanted, what you wanted included, etc. We recieved our trailer a month after our wedding, and it brought back so many feelings from that day, hence why I think it’s so important to have footage from your special day.
Budget-wise, I don’t feel we went over. We never really had a set budget in place from the start, but there was nothing we regret paying for or doing. We just were reasonable with ourselves and what we could afford, and it all worked out. But if you are trying to stay within a certain budget, I would recommend researching and not just settling for what you want. You have to be reasonable with yourself. Of course all of us woman plan our weddings based around Pinterest, and that’s not realistic for most.
How did you design your table layout & decor?
Our venue provided round tables, so there was about 10-12 people at each table. Our color scheme was gray, champagne, white, and gold. I did look at pinterest for ideas, and found that I was really obsessed with tall centerpieces/greenery/candles/table overlays. We ended up keeping it really simple and just did white tablecloths through our venue. We found light gray table overlays at BBJ Linen so that the tables weren’t sooo plain. We did white napkins and then to add a touch, I had dinner menus made from the same person that did our invitations. For the centerpieces, the stands were all gold and had white, blush, champagne tone flowers with cascading greenery. Surrounding the flowers were small gold candles to add a touch of glam.
For our sweetheart table, I did decide to go a little more over the top. We rented a sweetheart table and a white couch chair from Madam Palooza. We had tall candles, a gray sheath table runner, chargers for our plates, and floral arrangements surrounding our table. It was a dream dinner to say the least!
How involved was your fiancé in the planning process?
My fiancé was more involved than I thought he would be. I didn’t expect him to obviously pick out floral arrangements or design in any type of way; however, to keep him involved and informed of what decisions we were making, he attended almost everything! He went with my parents and I to go venue shopping, he went to cake tasting and gave his input about what he liked and didn’t like, he went to our catering appointment and did the food tasting.
As far as things we planned together, we agreed on a lot and never ran into any issues. We both have the same taste, so when talking about the season we were getting married, where we were getting married at, outside or inside, what colors we wanted, we agreed on it ALL. There were some things I had to pick out and present him with options, and he would pick from there, i.e. what sweetheart table, what couch chair, what table overlays, what cake design, what arch shape, etc. I realized if I narrowed down the options to two things that I liked, he would pick one, and it was easy for us to make decisions. So I would say overall, he helped tremendously!
Things that I was in charge with solely would have been the designing of the save the dates, the invitations, the signage for the wedding, the floral arrangements, and all the behind the scenes e-mails, appointments, phone calls, etc. Reasons why I was in charge of those things specifically was because men don’t know wedding style or etiquette when it comes to specific details. Since I planned all those small things, he decided to help monitry-wise, which I appreciated!
How was your wedding planning experience?
NOW ON A REAL NOTE:
Planning the wedding was a breeze. However, when it comes to crunch time the last month, IT GETS REAL. I’m talking about the stress. Last minute things, you’re waiting on packages, you’re packing clothes for the weekend, making hair appointments, nail appointments, getting all the wedding decor together, finding a place for animals, finalizing payments to vendors, contacting vendors for last minute touches/details, people are texting you about anything and everything. You have the rehearsal practice, the rehearsal dinner. You are figuring out transportation from here to there. Your wedding decor is in someone’s car that isn’t with you. You’re relying on family to help, when they want to have a good time as well (almost too much fun sometimes.) You’re tranporting gifts from point A to point B. Just typing this I can feel my blood pressure rising, LOL. If I knew this is how the month, weeks leading up to the wedding were going to be, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT I would have hired a wedding coordinator. Because you know what? It doesn’t stop. This is just the weeks leading up the wedding. You still have the stress of your rehearsal dinner and then the next morning. I wasn’t able to fully 100% relax until I was at the venue in the bridal suite drinking some champagne and getting my hair and makeup done. I was then that I flipped a switch and told myself “Whatever happens, happens. We’ve waited a year and a half for this day. Expect something to go wrong, and don’t be mad if it does. You are marrying your best friend, and that won’t go wrong.” And to be honest with you, nothing went wrong. I think having that mentality and not hoping for everything to be perfect was in my favor.
Did you guys do a “First Look”, or did your fiancé see you for the first time walking down to aisle?
We did not do a first look session. We talked about it since so many people recommend it now, and personally, I didn’t want him to see me, and he didn’t want to see me until I walked down the aisle. We both agreed that’s what WE wanted.
Of course it saves some time and you get pictures out of the way, but realistically, I feel like the first time a man sees his bride should be the first time everyone else sees her. That day is about you two. If you don’t get to spend 30 minutes with your guests because you didn’t do a first look, it’s not a big deal. They are drinking and eating appetizers and listening to music all for free. You have the rest of the night to spend time with them.
On another note, since we didn’t do a first “look”, we did a first “touch”. To me, it still relieved some of the nervous butterflies as a “first look” would, but it also kept that special first look for the aisle. Our first touch consisted of Donovan (groom), Matt (My uncle & officiant), and I (the bride).
My father had passed away 11 years ago and couldn’t be with us physically on our wedding day, so to have him there in spirit, close to us, was so important to me. I mean, this whole day is supposed to be when a father gives away his daughter. My mother and step-father had my dad’s ashes put into a small blue urn, and that was my “something blue“. While we did our first touch, my uncle held the urn. Donovan and I held hands back to back, and we prayed. It was the most powerful moment that was full of emotions, but I instantly felt a sense of relief afterwards. I went back to my bridal suite and the ceremony started shortly thereafter.
What would you recommend as “must have pictures” for future brides?
Photographs that I would recommend in taking the time to capture are sunset pictures. This typically will happen after cake cutting, so you do have to leave your guests for about 30 minutes or so, but is SOOO worth it. The lighting is phenominal, you two are in the moment feeling so happy you’re now Mr. & Mrs., and most of all, it’s so intimate. Other photographs I highly suggest setting up for your photographer is the details shot. I think it’s so important to get those tiny details — your rings, invitation, veil, maybe a special box or something that means a lot to you, your heels, any jewlery you plan to wear, etc.
Did you have a videographer?
YES, of course we had a videographer!!! That and a photographer were the two main things we were willing to spend our money on and make sure that we had. Yes, it is expensive. Is it worth the money? ABSOLUTELY, 100%! For as long as I can remember, I loved watching wedding videos. There’s something about them that put a smile on my face, make my heart race, gives me chills, and even tears that run down my face. There is nothing better than watcing your wedding video and being able to relive that day over and over and over, as many times as you want. Unfortunately, that day will never come back. It’s a memory now. But being able to watch your wedding through a bird’s eye view is pretty breath taking! Your wedding day FLIES by. There’s details you don’t notice. There’s people you don’t get to see or talk to as much as you’d want. There’s things you miss because your mind is in a million places, but this film gives you the joy of being able to relive that moment and see it ALL.
The videographer company we went with is called Hoo Films, based out of Orange County, CA. They were amazing to say the least. They offered plenty of options based on your price point; they reached out months ahead of time for me to fill out a questionnaire so that they knew what our vision was. The day of the wedding they showed up, and WOW, they were the nicest, patient, most generous people we have ever met! they made us feel so comfortable when filming. Sometimes I didn’t even know where they were or if they were filming or not. They were so sufficient with their time and got us our sneak peak trailer to us a month after the wedding. And today I got an e-mail that the full video is almost ready to be shipped out, and to expect it any day now!
What song did you choose for your first dance?
We went through so many options of first dance songs, it was unreal. We’ve never been the couple that had that “one song” for eachother, and that is fine! We went through a few country songs, as we both love country, and nothing was feeling ‘right’. It wasn’t giving us chills or making us cry….until the week of the wedding. We had already given our whole song list to our DJ, and we certainly threw a curve ball at him. I want to say it was 3 days before the wedding, and we came across this song. I had heard the song in its original style, but not acoustic or slow. The moment I played “Born To Love You” by LANCO (RISE Recording version) was when all the feelings you are supposed to get came. I immediately got teary eyed, choking up, chills, and the heart rate was going up. I knew this was the perfect song for us because it explained our story in the perfect words. I showed it to Donovan that day and even he fell in love with it, so I knew that was the one. It now holds a special meaning between the two of us now, and ’til this day makes me cry everytime.
Why it explains our story so perfectly: We were both in long-term relationships before each other. I never thought in a million years I would meet someone else in my lifetime. I thought my dating days were over. But somehow, in this huge universe with billions of people, we found eachother and we fell HARD. I truly feel that God chose him for me, and chose me for him, and we were born to love eachother and be together. The main chorus of the song sings:
I could search the world from south to north
But I’ve already found what I’m looking for
Wherever I go and whatever I do
I was born to love you, I was born to love you
Looking in your eyes, yeah it’s all so clear
Every time you smile, I know why I’m here
Wherever I go and whatever I do
I was born to love you, I was born to love you
Cake or Desserts?
We did just one big red velvet cake! We thought about doing desserts, but we’ve been to weddings where nobody eats dessert because they are mainly focused on drinking, dancing, and partying the night away! I found my baker through Instagram. She is known for doing lots of wedding cakes in Temecula. We had our first appointment with her about 9 months ahead of time to ensure we would be able to book her, and good thing we did! She makes all her wedding cakes from scratch. All of her ingredients are organic and naturally made by hand, even her cream cheese frosting! She offers a variety of yummy flavors, but we didn’t want to do to heavy of a flavor considering it was a summer wedding. We also didn’t want to do something so plain like Vanilla. So after having our first cake tasting with her, the red velvet was the winner! It was amazing and a huge hit! Thank you Laura, from Laura Marie’s Cakes
Top 3 most memorable moments of your wedding day?
Our first touch
Reading his vows
Sister/Brother dance in remembrance of my father
One thing that made your wedding unique or something special and personal you added to your day that stands out from other weddings.
My something “blue” was a urn of my father who couldn’t physically be with us that day.
Lace ribbon that was wrapped around my bouqet was a piece of my mom’s wedding dress.
We had a Cigar Bar. Reason for this was because Donovan LOVES cigars. We ordered personalized matches and had boxes of cigars put out. It was a huge hit for all the guys and even some women too!
We had rented a mirror and had someone handwrite names in calligraphy for our seating chart. Even though both mirrors look similar, one mirror was not rented. It was a mirror that hung in Donovan’s grandmother’s house for many years.
At cocktail hour, we had our DJ play country music. Violin music/piano music was too formal for our liking. We love country music, so that was something we tweaked to make it personalized to us.
Total months planning?
We booked our venue right after we got engaged, which was March 5, 2017. Then we didn’t start planning the wedding until about August or September. I would say total months in planning would be approximately 9. There were times wedding planning would be really busy, and other months where it would slow down. I would say my craziest months were November/December of 2017, because that’s when I was busy booking all my vendors – Dress, Florist, Cake, Videographer, Photographer, etc. Once all those were booked and had a down payment, planning slowed down in the beginning months of 2018. Then around June-August it got crazy again. The last few months leading up to the wedding are hectic. You are gathering last minute ideas, tying together all the loose ends, paying off all your vendors, getting e-mails daily from vendors, dress fittings, last minute appointments, etc. For me personally, the wedding planning process was actually enjoyable. I didn’t find myself stress about anything too much actually. I just took it one thing at a time and made small payments monthly to vendors so that the month of the wedding, there wasn’t huge bills due. It was really enjoyable having a longer engagement! It gave us time to enjoy being engaged and save money as well since we were helping to pay for a lot.
One thing you wish you knew when you were planning your wedding?
One thing I wish I knew or did different when planning my wedding was really set a budget and not settle with vendors so quickly. I think I could’ve talked some down in price and haggled with some vendors to lower their prices. There’s a lot of unique vendors out there that aren’t well known, but have reasonable prices or will work with your budget, so keep researching and go to as many consultations as you can!
One thing that helped you stay stress free throughout your planning and on your wedding day?
One thing that helped me stay stress free throughout my planning was my Wedding Planner book that my Maid of Honor got me. It is so detailed and really keeps you organized and on track for what needs to be done each week, month, and what to start thinking about next. On my wedding day, I actually wasn’t stressed at all. My Maid of Honor was amazing on my wedding day from the very start of the morning to the end of the night. She made a Starbucks run right when we woke up, she drove me to the venue and we laughed the whole way there, she made sure I had everything I needed. Just having all of my girls with me, my mom, my frenchie, made me feel so relieved. I can’t leave out champagne either, because champagne always keeps you relaxed! I told myself the month of the wedding though not to stress about anything going wrong on our wedding day, and to expect that it wouldn’t be perfect. I think having that mindset really was a benefit to me on our actual day.
I know most people have horror stories for their wedding day or have a story where something went absolutely wrong. Either I never was told what went wrong and still until this day have no idea, but our wedding day went so smooth and perfect. I think the only thing I noticed I didn’t like at our wedding was how the silverware was placed, and the only reason it was placed where it was and how it was, was so that the wind didn’t blow the menus off the table. Other than that, nothing went wrong. Everything came together we were only 3-5 minutes behind schedule the entire night, the wedding party looked beautiful, the groomsmen were on time and ready to go, the wedding started on time, the flowers were exactly how I imagined, all the vendors showed up on time, the music was on point, the dinner was delicious, the bar was poppin. It really was our dream wedding and I couldn’t have asked for it to be any more magical. And to add the cherry on top, I MARRIED MY DREAM MAN!
Did you go on a honeymoon? If so, where to? Did you go right after the wedding or wait?
We did go on a honeymoon! We didn’t go right after our wedding because we wanted to spend time with family, work a little bit so we could take some spending money on our honeymoon, etc. I wanted to also order some bathing suits and outfiits and feel prepared when leaving. There was no way I would be able to fly out of the U.S. the night of our wedding or even the next day. So instead, we waited a month. We got married August 4, 2018, and left on our honeymoon September 7, 2018. We spent a whole 12 days in the French Polynesia. We visited the islands of Moorea, Le Taha’a, and Bora Bora.
I had told my husband that since I planned the whole wedding myself, that I wanted him to plan the honeymoon. We both agreed that we wanted to go somewhere tropical, and Bora Bora was always our dream, and he made it happen!
Last but not least if you could give ONE piece of advice to a bride-to-be planning her wedding what would it be??
Not to sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, you’re marrying your bestfriend and that’s ALL that matters!
Brittany & Donovan’s Happily Ever After
We are truly LIVING our Happily Ever After! We just celebrated our 5 months being married. Time flies! We now live together (I didn’t move in with him until marriage), and we are under constructing/remodeling our home. We also added a new fur baby to our family!
Venue: Lake Oak Meadows Vitagliano & Vineyards // Catering: Temecula Catering // Rentals: Madam Palooza //Wedding Dress: Made With Love from Love and Lace Bridal Boutique // Bridesmaid Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu // Hair Stylist: Sara Vanderstelt // Makeup Artist: Makeup By Shelby // Photography: Madison Rylee // Videography: Hoo Films // DJ: Good Time Entertainment // Florals: Foxtail Florals // Cake: Laura Marie’s Cakes
Keep Scrolling for more stunning photos of Brittany’s romantic rustic wedding day!
Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Hall, here’s to the beginning of a lifetime of happiness and adventures together!