Desiree: The Epic Toaster

If you want to give a good toast, take direction from this girl.  Desiree has been a bridesmaid at two of my recent weddings.  First as the Maid of Honor for her sister Dianna in 2013, then as a bridesmaid in her brother Kenny’s wedding in 2015.  Desiree reminds me that good toasts are completely within reach!  Stick to what you know.  If you like speaking in front of people, take your time and make it fun.  At the same time, if you’re not funny, don’t try to be funny.  Start with a little about how you know the couple, maybe tell one NON-EMBARRASSING story about the bride/groom, then end with something heartfelt.  Simplicity goes a long way.

Lastly, there is nothing wrong with writing down what you want to say!  This isn’t speech class.  No one cares if you’re reading from a paper.

If you would like to see a pro in action, take notes.

First there was this:

Then this:

Doesn’t get any better than that.  Thanks Desiree!!! ❤


How I Lost Two of My Best Friends From My Wedding

Yep you read that right.  Two of my best friends.  One was even my Maid of Honor.  I got married almost 3 years ago and never wanted to write this because I always had hope we could rekindle our friendships.  Just saying it out loud made me feel like a bridal failure 😛 Plus I was still furious about the whole situation.  Angry, sad.  All of the above.  It still hurts.  I had known these two friends individually for more than 8 years.  Met in college, grew our friendships, lived together, traveled with each other, played college sports together.  Yet all that history couldn’t save us.

We all seem pretty happy right? 😛

Lisa Hadley Studios Bridal Advice

Photo by Cary Pennington Photography

So where did we (or I) go wrong?!  It is of course a long story.  One I’m not proud of as I look back now.  Of course they say hindsight is 20/20 right?  Without airing ALL of our dirty laundry, I want to describe what I did wrong, in hopes of preventing other future brides from doing the same.

When my fiancé and I got engaged, I was like any other bride.  Excited to start planning (I had a guest list drafted day 2 after our engagement), share fun experiences with friends and enjoy the best time of our lives.  I never had a lot of close, long term friends growing up.  However, when I got to college, I felt like I found them.  I was excited to include them in my day, and hopefully share the rest of our lives with each other.

One danger I encountered was the problem with technology.  It is both a blessing and a curse.  I had the ability to chat with friends at a moments notice.  G-chat became my daily go-to for catching up with bridesmaids and talking about wedding plans.  This was the first problem.  While I was sure to ask how THEY were doing (I’m sure they would tell you otherwise), the discussion always moved to dresses, jewelry, hair and makeup, photographer decisions etc.  Any bride knows the list goes on and on!  I’m definitely an indecisive person so getting opinions helped a lot.  However after a few months of this, I’m sure my friends got sick of hearing about it all.  I almost wish I hadn’t been online all that time.  Maybe one day a week.  It seemed great at the time but I know it was only hindering our relationships.

When it comes to dresses, shoes, hair etc, I wish I hadn’t cared so much.  Imagine dressing 6 people exactly the same, and wanting them all to love their outfit equally.  Not gonna happen.  We all have a different style, and I know I’m not the trendiest person.   I also come from a pretty traditional family with moms wanting things to look pretty standard.  I am also a bit particular and sometimes when I have an idea in my head, it’s hard to change it.  Looking back, none of it mattered.

Next up, money.  Money is the root of all evil.  I had planned and saved for this day for years.  My husband and our families were all contributing to a special day that we would remember forever.  However our friends, were all at different places in their lives.  Some with student loans, others with great jobs, and a mix of people in between.

What’s funny is, my husband picked 6 of his best friends for his groomsmen.  And how many arguments did they have??  ZERO.  Men are completely different.

This is sad to say now, but I think it would have been so much simpler if I opted to not have any bridal party at all.  You can still have someone speak at your reception, take pictures with you afterwards, and throw your bachelorette party.  The only difference is they just won’t be standing up there with you during the ceremony.  And ultimately, a wedding is about you and your partner right?  So who cares!  Your friends should be there to support you whether they are standing by your side, or looking on from the second row.

Without getting into what I think my friends did wrong, let’s just say this…..

BRIDESMAIDS:  You were specifically picked by a friend who loves and cares for you.  While you may not agree with every decision she makes, or how she handles situations, she is doing her best to make a lot of people happy, not just herself.  Please be there for her.  She will live with these memories forever, while you will move on to the next big thing.  And one day, it will be your turn, and she will be there for you.

How to “DO YOU” on Your Wedding Day

I have seen weddings done 34,846,245,135 different ways.  Okay not really.  But you can literally do anything YOU want on YOUR wedding day!  Crazy huh?  We often get stuck with preconceived notions of what a wedding day is supposed to … Continue reading

Bridal Advice: Keep Calm….and Go Get Married!

The night before my wedding, I had 6 girls staying with me in my room….. to say it took a while to fall asleep would be an understatement.  But then when we all woke up, there was nowhere to get … Continue reading

Vendors We Love

I often get asked by my couple’s what vendors I recommend!  There are some great ones around so here’s a list!  FYI none of these people have paid me to be on this list…they are genuinely great vendors!  I also put an asterisk (*) next to the vendors I used for my own wedding!  I will keep this updated as I find new and fabulous people to work with in the wedding industry:

After the Engagement
Engaged Events

The Crossings at Carlsbad*
The Villa San Juan Capistrano
Marbella Country Club
L’Auberge Del Mar
Grand Tradition Estate

Cary Pennington Photography*
Limelife Photography
Adrian Jon Photography
Janet Wheeland Photography

My Splendid Sentiments*
Designs by Tricia
Three Petals Floral & Event Design

Positive Energy Productions*
San Diego DJ & Video
Sandeep Kumar

Hair and Makeup
Lindsey Jones Makeup Artistry (my childhood friend!)
Dolled Up by Lulu
Oscar Makeup
Ting 2 Beauty

Bridal Stores
Mary Me Bridal* (Orange, CA)
2000 Dreams Bridal Shop (San Diego, CA)