Go Inside Giuliana Rancic’s Assistant Sarah Knight’s Gorgeous Bel Air Wedding!

 Real Weddings, Sarah Knight  Comments Off on Go Inside Giuliana Rancic’s Assistant Sarah Knight’s Gorgeous Bel Air Wedding!
Feb 172015
 

When you've been together since since seventh grade, you'd think planning your wedding would be a cinch, since you know each other so well — right? Not exactly, especially if one of you plays for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and spends half the year 3,000 miles away! But even as they swapped cake flavors and color palettes from opposite coasts, our real bride blogger (and Giuliana Rancic's assistant!) Sarah Knight and her husband Bryce Stowell stayed in sync. The results? A classic, elegant Bel Air wedding full of personal details and plenty of room for fun. Check out John and Joseph Photography's photos of their affair below!

Bryce's proposal was picture-perfect: on a trip to Mexico last October, he asked Sarah to put their camera back in its case after snapping a few sunset pictures. When she opened the case, she found a ring box inside! Sarah shared every sweet detail with us right here.

For this fashion-savvy bride, dress shopping was the easiest part of planning her wedding. Her Vera Wang gown was the first one she tried on! "I tried on a few more, but none compared to the mermaid silhouette and full organza skirt. I just felt so incredible," Sarah says.

Sarah's bridesmaids wore black Jenny Yoo gowns and carried bouquets of white roses, while Sarah's bouquet was filled with fluffy white peonies. The bride's sister, the maid of honor, wore a crystal belt so she would stand out.

Instead of a doing a first look, the couple did a first touch. Before the ceremony, Bryce came down to Sarah's bridal suite and held her hand around the door while they talked for a few minutes. And their ceremony, with sweeping ocean views in the background, was officiated by the person who first brought the couple together: Their seventh-grade English teacher. "We met in his class," says Sarah.

As soon as Sarah and Bryce pulled up to the Bel Air Bay Club for the first time, they were so sure they'd found their wedding venue that Sarah teared up. The classic oceanside venue had gorgeous décor and views that speak for themselves, but Sarah and Bryce added extra elegance with plenty of lush white flowers.

Of course Giuliana was there to help the newlyweds celebrate. She was actually intimately involved! "Giuliana and Bill's son, Duke, was our ring bearer," says Sarah. "Giuliana picked out his outfit — a dark suit and an adorable pair of Ray Bans!"

The couple cut into a five-tier cake with alternating layers of marble cake with chocolate chip mousse and white cake with raspberry filling. And while Bryce and Sarah couldn't resist a little friendly cake-smashing, they followed it up with an extra-sweet kiss. Says Sarah, "Every moment went by so quickly, from fittings and floral meetings to dancing together surrounded by your friends. So make every moment count!"

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Bel Air Bay Club || Wedding Planner: Alicia Townsend of Details Details || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Jewelry: Forevermark || Hair: Melissa Brown || Makeup: Catalina Su || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Groom's and Groomsmen's Attire: Friar Tux || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Majestic Jeweler || Florist & Rentals: Bloom Box Designs || Invitations & Paper Goods: Studio Ephemera || Programs: Guesterly || Music: Jordan Music Entertainment || Cake: Hansen's Cakes || Favors: Diddy Riese || Videography: Video by Melissa || Photography: John and Joseph Photography

How to Spoil Your Bridesmaids on Any Budget

 Bridesmaids, Budget, Planning Tips, Real Brides, Sarah Knight  Comments Off on How to Spoil Your Bridesmaids on Any Budget
Oct 312014
 
Sarah Knight Spoil Bridesmaids On Budget

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Knight

Meet our latest real wedding blogger Sarah Knight, personal assistant to Giuliana Rancic at E! Entertainment. Sarah is in the midst of planning her Los Angeles wedding and she's sharing each step of the process. From guest list tips to how she balances her job, wedding planning and long distance relationship, Sarah has shared how she has navigated the dos and dont's of wedding planning! For her last installment, she talks about the importance of being good to your bridesmaids.

There are many lessons I have learned throughout my wedding planning process, but the most important thing I am going to come away with is that I could not have done it (and maintained my sanity all the while) without my amazing bridal party and my mom. I haven't been a crazy Bridezilla (I promise!), but I am sure I have probably bored my girls to death with wedding talk — yet they never once complained or told me to shut up! So, for that, I am so grateful and have made it a point to show them how much I love and value their support and friendship during this special time in my life. Here are a few ways you can thank your best gals on any budget — big or small:

Small Budget
Write your girls a heartfelt letter expressing your gratitude and love for them. Sometimes simple recognition is thank you enough! You can also have your favorite picture (perhaps from your wild bachelorette weekend or bridal shower) with each girl printed out and framed to go along with your note.

See more: 5 Tips for Throwing an Awesome Bachelorette Party

Medium Budget
Treat your girls to a mani-pedi day! This is a great way to pamper your besties before your wedding. Not only will they feel their best leading up to your big day, but they will look their best too! A total win-win! Plus, it's such a relaxing way to spend great quality time (without tying ribbon or stuffing welcome bags!) with the ladies who mean the most to you.

Big Budget
I love the look of matching robes in the "getting-ready" wedding photos. Is it completely necessary? No, probably not, but it is such a nice touch if you can splurge. I recommend decking your girls (and mom!) out in beautiful matching robes. I love the gorgeous silk robes from Mal Bon for a more sophisticated look and Plum Pretty Sugar has some adorable floral options, too. Want to kick it up a notch? Embroider each robe with the girls' initials. It's all about the details!

Catch up on Sarah's wedding-planning journey and read all of her previous blog posts here!

How One Bride Got Her Guy Excited About Wedding Planning

 Grooms, Planning Tips, Real Brides, Sarah Knight, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on How One Bride Got Her Guy Excited About Wedding Planning
Oct 242014
 
Sarah Knight on Getting Groom Involved with Wedding Planning Tasks

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Knight

Meet our latest real wedding blogger Sarah Knight, personal assistant to Giuliana Rancic at E! Entertainment. Sarah is in the midst of planning her Los Angeles wedding and she's sharing each step of the process. From guest list tips to how she balances her job, wedding planning and long distance relationship, follow Sarah's journey as she navigates the dos and dont's of wedding planning!

As so many of brides-to-be know, it's not hard to get carried away with planning and accidentally leave your groom behind in the dust. I especially have that problem since my fiancé Bryce was away working for the first seven months of our planning. What I recently realized, though, is that he actually wants to be involved in the planning process. Here are a few fun and creative ways to get your guy excited about prepping for your big day:

Food Tasting
This was my fiancé's favorite part of the entire planning process! Tasting samples upon samples of delicious food and wine is every guys dream right?! But, it's so important to make sure they actually have a say in the decisions. If your guy really hates salmon, don't put it on the menu.

Music
This is one of the most important parts of a wedding and it helps set the tone for the event. Ask your guy to make a list of all his favorite songs and make sure you sit down and plan your "special songs" (first dance, mother-son dance) together. Bryce and I had a really fun night of going through the song list from our band and playing them out loud to see how we felt about them.

See More: This Is What Happens When You Let a Guy Plan the Wedding

Plan a Co-Ed Celebration
When my two crazy-fun aunts approached us about hosting a co-ed "Stock the Bar" shower for us, Bryce and I were hesitant at first due to our busy schedules, but it turned out to be the BEST. NIGHT. EVER! We invited our closest family and friends over for cocktails and dinner and asked that they "stock our bar" rather than bring standard shower gifts. It was so much fun because people brought all the ingredients to their favorite cocktails, which will serve as such a great memory of that night every time we make them at home. We even had a special "Stoli" vodka bottle cake (seen above!) made in honor of my fiancé's nickname (short for his last name Stowell).

Give Your Groom a Chance
In truth, some guys may prefer to leave it up to their beautful brides to do the wedding planning. If that's the case, just accept it and take the challenge head on. But, you should still attempt to include him by asking if he wants to come to meetings, tastings or mock-ups with you. When I asked my fiancé if he wanted to attend our big floral design meeting, I thought for sure he would politely pass and send me on my way with my mom — but to my surprise, he came with us! He didn't say all that much in the meeting, but he gave his honest opinions. I was really glad that I asked him if he wanted to come, rather than just assume he didn't and leave him behind.

Remember: Your wedding is about you and your partner — so try to enjoy it together as much as possible!

Read Sarah's previous blog about going wedding cake tasting with Giuliana while her guy is away here!

Sarah Knight’s Latest Wedding-Planning Task: Cake Tasting with Giuliana Rancic While Her Fiancé Is Away

 Cakes, Real Brides, Sarah Knight, Wedding Cakes  Comments Off on Sarah Knight’s Latest Wedding-Planning Task: Cake Tasting with Giuliana Rancic While Her Fiancé Is Away
Oct 162014
 
Sarah Knight Cake Tasting with Giuliana Rancic

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Knight

Meet our latest real wedding blogger Sarah Knight, personal assistant to Giuliana Rancic at E! Entertainment. Sarah is in the midst of planning her Los Angeles wedding and she's sharing each step of the process. From guest list tips to how she balances her job, wedding planning and long distance relationship, follow Sarah's journey as she navigates the dos and dont's of wedding planning!

Planning our wedding has been bittersweet at times. While I've been having so much fun at dress fittings and checking various details off of our to-do list, it has been somewhat of a bummer doing all these things while my fiancé Bryce is away playing baseball.

Luckily, I have an amazing family and group of friends who have been here for me and helped me along the way, so when the time came to go cake tasting I knew I had to enlist my bestie/boss Giuliana Rancic to fill in for Bryce! Giuliana has a huge sweet tooth and she isn't shy about sharing her opinions so I knew she would be perfect for the task. In fact, she is the one who insisted we run — not walk! — to Hansen's Cakes for the ultimate cake-tasting experience. Hansen's has been around for seven generations and is widely known as the premiere bakery in Los Angeles.

Giuliana and I had the best time choosing my wedding cake, but I also learned a few things along the way.

Do you research before your tasting.
Walking into a bakery can be overwhelming. There are round cakes and square cakes. Sugar flowers and fresh flowers. Fondant and buttercream. What I'm trying to say is, there are a lot of options when it comes to selecting your wedding cake so it is very important that you do your homework before you go to your tasting. Bring print outs of some of your favorite cakes you have seen online (there's a fab gallery on Brides.com!) and make sure you show them to the bakery staff.

See More: 10 Wedding Cake Tips from Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro

Take notes with each bite.
Just like selecting the overall look of your cake is rather overwhelming, so is deciding on flavors! G and I sampled 10 different types of cakes, fillings and icings and after about the fifth, the sugar started getting to our heads! I was starting to forget the early flavors and was mixing up my mousses. If you take notes on each flavor, it will be much easier to go back and rank them at the end.

Have fun!
Cake tasting is probably one of the least stressful wedding to-dos so you might as well savor (literally and figuratively!) the moment. While I was sad not to have my fiancé there with me, I had the best time with my fun-loving girlfriend and that's what it's all about! In fact, we ended up feeding each other cake (good practice for the real thing!) by the end of the tasting. G really got into character!

And the best part? Hansen's will allow us to come back for another tasting once the baseball season ends! I hope Bryce likes my selections.

Oct 092014
 
Sarah Knight Bel Air Bay Club Wedding Venue

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Knight

Meet our latest real wedding blogger Sarah Knight, personal assistant to Giuliana Rancic at E! Entertainment. Sarah is in the midst of planning her Los Angeles wedding and she's going to share each step of the process. From guest list tips to cake tasting with G while her fiancé is away playing baseball, follow Sarah's journey as she navigates the dos and dont's of wedding planning!

For me, one of the hardest parts of the wedding planning process wasn't color schemes or floral arrangements, but rather the dreaded guest list. After Bryce and I got engaged in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico we had a two hour layover between flights back home. We took that opportunity to start throwing out names for our dream guest list. 45 minutes and two Cinnabons later, we had a list of 310 people. Yes, you read that right. Three. Hundred. And. Ten. People.

"How is that possible?!" you might ask? Well, when your fiancé has played baseball for 20 years and refuses to lose touch with anyone he has played with or been friends with, you find yourself here. It's wrong of me to place all the blame on him. I admit, I was responsible for quite a bit on that list, but certainly didn't feel like I was overdoing it. We knew we would have to make cuts, but didn't know where or how to start. We decided to keep that handwritten list in a drawer and revisit it a little later. A little later finally rolled around — as it always does — and we figured out a way to make our list a little more manageable and realistic. Here's how:

See More: How to Figure Out Your Guest List, Invitations and Plus-Ones!

Decide on the venue — sometimes it will make the decision for you: We got engaged at the end of October and Bryce was due to leave for spring training the following February, so we didn't waste much time when it came to finding the perfect venue. After countless hours of scouring the Internet and asking family and friends for recommendations, my aunt called me to tell me to check out Bel-Air Bay Club. I immediately went to the Club's website and fell in love. I called and booked a tour the following day! The minute we parked our car, it was love at first sight. I got teary eyed (no surprise to those who know me!) and knew it was the place for us. While going through the details with our fabulous guide Carrie, we learned that the maximum number of guests for the club is about 200 people tops. We knew our venue search was over which meant it was time to cut our list down. Way down.

Have a sit-down with your parents: It was very important for Bryce and I to include all of our closest friends on our wedding day and in order to do that, we had to ask our parents to keep their own guest lists on the shorter side. Luckily, our parents understood.

See More: 5 People You Shouldn't Invite to Your Wedding

If you haven't spoken to someone in over two years, cut them: Sad, but true. Weddings are special, intimate and meant to be shared with your nearest and dearest. People grow apart and that is totally natural. Plus, people who have lost touch with you won't expect to be invited anyway ... Or at least they shouldn't!

No Ring, No Bring: This is the most common tip for reducing guest lists. While it would be wonderful to extend a plus one to all guests, that could send your total through the roof! Unless the person is married or engaged, they're flying solo. Besides, maybe the wedding will start a new love connection!

Hopefully some of these tips will help my fellow brides who are going through the same guest list woes that I did! Take a deep breath! It will all work out, trust me!

Sarah Knight Reveals How She Balances Wedding Planning, Her Job as Assistant to Giuliana Rancic and a Long Distance Relationship

 Planning Tips, Real Brides, Real Weddings, Sarah Knight, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on Sarah Knight Reveals How She Balances Wedding Planning, Her Job as Assistant to Giuliana Rancic and a Long Distance Relationship
Oct 032014
 
Sarah Knight and Fiance

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Knight

Meet our latest real wedding blogger Sarah Knight, personal assistant to Giuliana Rancic at E! Entertainment. Sarah is in the midst of planning her Los Angeles wedding and she's going to share each step of the process. From guest list tips to cake tasting with G while her fiancé is away playing baseball, follow Sarah's journey as she navigates the dos and dont's of wedding planning!

Planning a wedding is no easy task. As many of us working brides know, balancing your career and relationships while organizing the biggest and best day of your life can drive you crazy!

I have a super busy (yet extremely fun!) job as the personal assistant to Giuliana Rancic from E! Entertainment. Plus, I am long distance with my fiancé for six months out of the year since he plays baseball. So the thought of planning the wedding of our dreams, while balancing all of this stressed me out just a little. I'm sure there are many career-focused brides out there who are experiencing these same feelings, so I'm sharing my tips on how to maintain your sanity, thrive in your relationship, and actually enjoy the wedding-planning process.

Take a deep breath and make a plan.
I am a list person so I immediately searched for the perfect notebook to keep me organized. Erin Condren makes the best organizers and it was an added bonus that she created one especially for the bride-to-be! And how cute is it that it can be personalized with your photo on the front cover?! (Check mine out above!) It comes fully equipped with a calendar, vendor checklist, lined paper for those never-ending lists and markers for color coding. This is the stuff I dream about at night ...

See More: A Groom Tells All: How You're (unintentionally) Annoying Your Fiancé While Wedding Planning

If possible, hire a wedding planner.
This was the best decision we made in the wedding planning process. I met our fabulous planner, Alicia Townsend from Details, Details, through a mutual friend prior to getting engaged. Not only is Alicia smart, professional and stylish, she is also so much fun! She's someone that I want to hang out with, which is so important when selecting your coordinator. And I know budget can stand in the way of hiring a wedding planner for many brides, but in my experience, hiring a pro has helped me save money. Professionals know the ins and outs of the industry and will make sure that you're not being taken advantage of by a vendor. Consider splurging on a planner instead of another big-ticket item if you can make it work.

Don't let "wedding talk" take over your relationship with your fiancé.
I admit it: I am guilty of talking about my wedding plans — a lot. But, when it comes to my day-to-day conversations with my fiancé, I have reeled in my flower arrangement and oh-so-important place cards chatter. While he loves giving input and receiving photos of the latest and greatest ideas for ribbon tying, he also wants to hear about how I am doing and what my day was like — especially since we're long distance. It's easy to get caught up in talking about wedding plans, so make it a priority to set aside a date night or even a full day (is it really possible?!) without talking about your wedding. Not only will you be proud of yourself for accomplishing such a seemingly impossible task, but your fiancé will thank you too!

Meet Our New Guest Blogger: Giuliana Rancic’s Assistant Sarah Knight Reveals How Her Junior High Sweetheart Proposed

 Engagement, Proposals, Real Brides, Real Weddings, Sarah Knight  Comments Off on Meet Our New Guest Blogger: Giuliana Rancic’s Assistant Sarah Knight Reveals How Her Junior High Sweetheart Proposed
Sep 252014
 
Giuliana Rancic's Assistant Sarah Knight and Fiance

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Knight

Meet our new real wedding blogger Sarah Knight, personal assistant to Giuliana Rancic at E! Entertainment. Sarah is in the midst of planning her Los Angeles wedding and she's going to share each step of the process. From guest list tips to cake tasting with G while her fiancé is away playing baseball, follow Sarah's journey as she navigates the dos and dont's of wedding planning! But first things first: Sarah is sharing her super-sweet proposal story.

We've all heard the term "high school sweethearts" at one point or another in our lives, but junior high sweethearts?! Not quite as common...

Meet Bryce and I! Two living, breathing junior high sweethearts! I'm not sure if the term technically counts because we didn't exactly consistently date over the past 14 years, but I still think it has a nice ring to it! Bryce and I met in the hallways of Heights Christian Junior High in Orange County, CA on the first day of seventh grade. He had an awesome flat top haircut and I had a mouth full of metal and that pesky baby fat that doesn't go away until about 15 (photographic evidence below). He says it was love at first sight, but I find that hard to believe.

Junior High Sweethearts Sarah Knight

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Knight

We became instant best friends. After giving dating a shot, we went our separate ways in high school. We kept in touch here and there throughout college, but never tried the relationship thing again until three years ago. We knew we had something special immediately. After all, timing is everything!

Since we had been friends for so long, everything came so naturally. Though we do have a bit of a geographical challenge in our relationship: Bryce is a professional baseball player and travels for six months out of the year, while I am based in Los Angeles working as Giuliana Rancic's assistant at E! Entertainment. But we've made it work.

Bryce and I got engaged on our vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico last October — a proposal he had been carefully planning for months. After a few close calls going through security at LAX, an extremely long line at customs and my overall need for information, Bryce managed to get the ring (which he custom designed) to Cabo.

See More: 8 Things To Do Right After You Get Engaged

After a fun first day at the pool, Bryce told me that he wanted to take some pictures on beach at sunset with our new camera, which we had just purchased the day before — little did I know that he hid the ring in the camera case. Once we finished taking photos, Bryce handed me the camera to put back into the case and I found the ring box when I opened it. I immediately burst into tears (not surprising to those who know me!) as Bryce got down on one knee. And of course, I said yes!

Bryce arranged to have a photographer on site to capture the moment. Then we sipped champagne and called our loved ones to share our exciting news while overlooking the Sea of Cortez. It was the greatest moment of our lives.

I am so excited to share my wedding planning journey! It's going to be so much fun. Until next time...

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