How to Marry a Guy in 98 Days: The Planning

by Amanda Bedgood

Locations, invite lists and a lotta cake

In late May Liz Webb, 30, convention sales manager at the Cajundome, and Aaron Hebert, 32, president of Reliant Payroll and brand developer at Russo, were engaged. The couple has been dating for 3.5 years and will wed Aug. 31. Read the first installment of "How to Marry a Guy in 98 Days" here.

Choosing a venue was easy. Napa. I had always dreamed of being married in Napa. The hard part was the guest list. I am sure many of you can understand the problem of narrowing down your guest list. I am lucky enough to have friends in different social groups, a large family and great in-laws. I am not just saying this because I know that they are actually reading the blog, but I really did hit the in-law jackpot.

So how do you decide when to stop adding to the invite list? Especially when my personal mantra is "The more, the merrier". Everyone handles this process differently. The way Aaron and I handled it was asking ourselves these two questions "Are we close enough to ask this person to hop on a plane to watch us say our vows?" and "Has this person met Aaron or myself in the last three and a  half years?" If the answers was no' or maybe' we didn't add them to the list. It was tough to do but this helped us from going overboard and keeping it fair.

Once we had a better idea of a guest list and headcount , my mother and I decided to take a quick trip to Napa and scout out possible wedding locations. I have visited the area of Napa Sonoma and Yountville on multiple occasions and loved the area. The beauty of the vineyards, rolling hills and the perfect weather are hard to beat, not to mention the great wineries! I researched all of the possible wedding locations in the area and narrowed it down to six possible sites.

Merryvale Winery

Vintage Inn

Villago Inn and Spa

Calistoga Ranch

Auberge Sol

Brix Restaurant

The Carneros Inn

When we arrived at the airport mom was smart enough to rent a convertible. I have to say the way to go in Napa is to drive around with the top down to really get the feel of the hills and vineyards. (Pro Tip: Wear sunscreen. You do not want to burn, and by day 3 we had the top back up. Lesson learned.) All of the vineyards and venues we visited were beautiful in their own way, but I had certain "must have" details.  The place we chose had everything that I wanted in a wedding venue - it was private, had beautiful surroundings, a great food selection and it had a space that wasn't too big for having so few guests.  As for where we picked, you will find out in my next article.

The Details

The actual wedding was almost too easy to plan; all of my vendors were selected from their "preferred vendors list". As a bride, you could really spin your wheels looking at all of the wedding professionals that are out there in the industry but in my mind, if they met the locations high standards they were good enough for me. I just narrowed down the list with the help of the sales manager at the venue and luckily they were all available on such short notice. I was even able to schedule meetings with most of the vendors will we were in town. My favorite part was the cake tasting.

We met with the bakery owners and were able to try more than 20 different flavors of cake. While the planning process has gone smoothly, I will say that one of the biggest differences between vendors in Napa and in Lafayette is that the people in this industry in Lafayette are willing to go above and beyond for a client. Even if it is not in the job description most people from Lafayette will do anything to make sure the client is happy. This makes me appreciate everyone in my industry more and reinforces my work mentality of keeping the client happy and helping out anyway I can to make their event a success.

The only local vendor that I was able to work with was my friend Rita Goodrich with Inkling Design Studios who helped me with invitations, name place cards and a few other special surprises for my guests. She was so easy to work with and produced such great products. Thanks to websites like Pintrest and Etsy I was able narrow down colors and styles of the wedding so I could email the vendors pictures of what look I wanted for flowers, cake, decoration etc. I can see how easy it is to obsess over every little detail and how hard it can be to narrow it down to one theme or style of wedding. This is another perk of a short engagement - there is no time to stress about the details, you just have to trust your gut and make a decision.