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Alicia Menendez Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

How One Introverted Bride Set Her Own Rules for Creating a Guest List

 Alicia Menendez, Planning Tips, Real Brides, Wedding Planning, Wellness  Comments Off on How One Introverted Bride Set Her Own Rules for Creating a Guest List
Feb 032015
 

Meet our newest guest blogger, Alicia Menendez, a television host and 10+ years Brides subscriber. Alicia is taking us through the ups and downs of planning her wedding to her boyfriend of five years. If you love what you read, be sure to check out Alicia's show, Alicia Menendez Tonight, every weeknight on Fusion; and follow her on Twitter @aliciamenendez and on Instagram @aliciamenendezxo.

Plenty of brides relish the opportunity to be the center of attention. These tend to be the same women who eschew birthdays in favor of birthday weeks and birthday months. Meanwhile, I haven't celebrated the day of my birth since about 1989. I have a television show with my name on it. I get to be the center of attention for an hour every weekday. The rest of the time, I'd prefer to hide in a corner doing my work with minimal social interaction (unless you have amazing gossip, in which case please text or Gchat me).

Unfortunately, there is no hiding in a corner at your own wedding. My fiancé Carlos and I considered eloping, but after five years together, we wanted to say our vows out loud in front of the people who have borne witness to our relationship and will bear witness to our marriage. Instead, I lobbied to have the smallest wedding we possibly could in order to give myself the greatest possible shot at enjoying it.

I started by setting some ground rules.

Rule #1: At our wedding, I don't want to meet anyone for the first time.

Rule #2: At our wedding, I don't want to introduce anyone to Carlos for the first time.

Rule #3: At our wedding, I don't want to catch up with anyone on how things have been in the two to three years since we last saw one another.

My approach was great in theory. In practice, Carlos' dad is one of 10. All of those aunts and uncles are important to us. With just our families, our small wedding was already large. Then, there were people that neither Carlos nor I had ever met that were important to our families, and my dread over having too many people lost out to their disquiet over excluding people.

See more: Keep Calm and Marry On: How to Stay Focused When Planning Your Wedding

We controlled what we could. We didn't invite everyone who we would invite if we were people who did things like celebrate birthday weeks. We didn't invite everyone who we've ever considered a best friend but now mostly keep up with on Instagram. We invited the people who are close and in focus right now. And still, for me, the introverted bride, it's a lot of people and a lot of attention. The anxiety is only exacerbated by knowing how important it is to everyone that I am happy and the possibility of others reading my introversion as disinterest or ingratitude.

So yes, I will likely be hiding under the table at my own wedding, and yes, I will probably be the first person to leave, depleted by the reality of being "on" for five hours for 160 people. But then I will wake up the following day and be married to someone who lets me be alone as much as I need to be, who rarely asks me to socialize with more than two people at a time, and who will inevitably turn to me at some point during our goodbye brunch and suggest that we ghost. I may be too introverted for my wedding, but just enough for my marriage.

One Bride’s Stress-Free Way to Finding the Perfect Bridesmaid Dresses

 Alicia Menendez, Bridesmaid Dresses, Bridesmaids, Real Brides  Comments Off on One Bride’s Stress-Free Way to Finding the Perfect Bridesmaid Dresses
Jan 222015
 
Alicia Menendez Bridesmaid Dresses

Photo: Courtesy of Alicia Menendez

Meet our newest guest blogger, Alicia Menendez, a television host and 10-plus years BRIDES subscriber. Alicia is taking us through the ups and downs of planning her wedding to her boyfriend of five years. If you love what you read, be sure to check out Alicia's show, Alicia Menendez Tonight, every weeknight on Fusion; and follow her on Twitter @aliciamenendez and on Instagram @aliciamenendezxo.

Bridesmaids dresses. They are so universally loathed that there is an entire movie dedicated to the horror of owning 27 of them. So instead of asking my best friends to spend a few hundred dollars on a dress they'll probably never wear again, I asked them to rent one instead. If you're into this idea you have a few options including Weddington Way, Vow to be Chic and Rent the Runway.

My matron of honor is my high school BF, Leah (seen in the above photo that was taken eight years ago when we were roommates). She lives in Los Angeles, runs a catering business, and is a busy mom of two. So when we were both in New York for Thanksgiving we carved out one hour to hit the Rent the Runway showroom to try on some dresses. Our other bridesmaid, Carlos' sister Sarah, couldn't join us but sent along one request: avoid strapless. (More about how Rent the Runway works here.)

In advance of our appointment, I used Rent the Runway's website to select a few options that might work and the stylist had them waiting when we arrived. Leah tried on a few dresses, but as with my ex-boyfriends, we'll focus on a few and pretend the rest didn't happen. We narrowed our choices to a navy lace fit and flare (though later when we showed the photos to her husband and my fiancé they noted that she looked like a mob wife at a funeral, which wasn't really what we were going for); a navy jersey Badgley Mischka gown that didn't look like much on the hanger but looked sophisticated and effortless on Leah; and a black strapless dress that defied our "needs straps" rule.

Leah chose the navy Badgley Mischka — maybe because she loved it, maybe because she's the best BF ever and knew how much I loved it. We rented the designer dresses for about half or a third of the cost of most bridesmaids dresses I've been asked to buy. And because the dresses are available in three different lengths: short, regular and long, no extra alterations are needed. They'll wear them for the wedding and then they'll return them in the mail and never have to think about them again. Amazing.

A few caveats:
Both of the women in our bridal party, Leah and Carlos' sister, Sarah, couldn't have been more easy-going. I imagine this would have been harder if we'd had more bridesmaids, or even just one very opinionated bridesmaid.

They'd both look great in a paper bag.

Sarah hasn't tried on her dress (I tried it on in her place) so this could all be a disaster, in which case I will be writing an update to this post when she actually does end up walking down the aisle in a paper bag. Wish us luck!

One Bride Opens Up About Facing a Major Wedding-Planning Reality Check

 Alicia Menendez, Planning Tips, Real Brides, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on One Bride Opens Up About Facing a Major Wedding-Planning Reality Check
Jan 142015
 

Meet our newest guest blogger, Alicia Menendez, a television host and 10-plus years BRIDES subscriber. Alicia is taking us through the ups and downs of planning her wedding to her boyfriend of five years. If you love what you read, be sure to check out Alicia's show, Alicia Menendez Tonight, every weeknight on Fusion; and follow her on Twitter @aliciamenendez and on Instagram @aliciamenendezxo.

The summer after my freshman year of college I had an internship in which I learned A, that I'd never have a career in finance and B, that I loved weddings. You see, all of my cubicle neighbors were getting married, and they spent the summer retelling their "How We Met" stories and debating the merits of various teeth whiteners.

I was hooked, which is surprising given that I don't like parties or putting myself together. Instead, I fell for the idea that even if you're a mess your entire life, you can redeem yourself with one day of sheer perfection. I signed up for wedding websites that have welcomed Alicia & BLANK back to the site every day for the last 12 years. I became a devotee of Say Yes to the Dress long before it was a thing. I subscribed to BRIDES. So when I got engaged in September of 2013, I was ready. My fiancé Carlos and I have been together for five years. I work in television. He works in politics. We're accustomed to high-intensity situations. Plus, I spoke the language of weddings. This would be easy. Or so I thought.

See more: 12 Brides Reveal What They Would Have Done Differently On Their Big Day

Wedding porn focuses on centerpieces and dresses. Wedding planning is a lot of minutia: timelines, budgets, lists. Plus, it's a lot of compromise. In my wedding-day dreams, I was an unchallenged bridictator. In my wedding reality, there were other needs and wants that deserved to be acknowledged and addressed — dates that didn't work, people that had to be invited.

Don't get me wrong. There have been many highlights. I loved watching my brother teach Carlos how to tie a bowtie. I really enjoyed the cake tasting. And I will always remember the look on Carlos's face when our DJ asked if we wanted our guests to be shot with a Nitrous gun (I don't know — apparently it's a thing). But after spending 12 years hyping myself up on the idea that I would avoid the family drama that seems to plague every bride ever, walk down the aisle transformed into a supermodel, and pay for my wedding in Monopoly money, I realized loving weddings and loving planning your own wedding aren't necessarily the same thing.

Stay tuned to find out how Alicia figured out how to happily navigate the wedding-planning process.

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