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Category Archives: Bridal Features

This is our second  Q & A with real brides. We will be trying to have a Q & A as often as possible.  As brides plan their wedding, they go through similar situations. We will try to answer some of the questions you as a future bride to be may have.  Thank you Catherine for taking the time to be one of our  amazing featured Brides!

Catherine And Dondino were married on August 8 2009.  They committed to one another at the San Gabriel Mission in front of a packed house of close family and friends. Catherine wore a beautifully custom designed Oliver Tolentino Gown. Be sure to leave some love for Catherine and Don by leaving a comment below!  Or, if you have a wedding planning question for Catherine Feel free to ask it in the comment section below.  I’m sure catherine would love to answer any questions.

San Gabriel Mission Wedding Photos | Miguel Pola Photographers

San Gabriel Mission Wedding Photos | Miguel Pola Photographers

How long did you and your husband date before getting engaged? …

  • Dondino and I dated for 6 years before getting engaged. The 6 years included many ups and downs but we definitely got to know each other before getting engaged and married.

How did he propose?

  • He proposed after a Christmas party I hosted in 2007 at my house. Before Christmas of 07 Don and I agreed not to buy any extravagant gifts for each other. We agreed to make the gifts meaningful and from the heart. Two weeks before the party he had already placed the medium size box under the tree with my name on it. I was always curious on what my gift was so every day, I would pick it up and shake it to get a clue on what it was. It was well wrapped so I could not peek thru the wrapper to find out but I had a feeling it was a picture frame with us on it. I tried to bug him to give me any clues on what the gift was but Dondino just kept saying “it’s a gift from the heart baby”.  So after the Christmas party I asked him if I can open it since it’s a Christmas party anyway and it was only 2 days before the real Christmas arrived. Surprisingly he agreed to let me open the gift. Lo and behold it was a gift with a picture of us. Instead of a frame it was a snow globe and in the center was a picture, I guess he took me seriously when I said I don’t want anything “cool” for a Christmas gift. I joked around with him and asked “is that it?” He gave a sincere smile and said “yes that’s your gift, do you like it?” I thought to myself, wow this dude is serious, oh well maybe I have the real gift waiting to be opened on the real Christmas day. There was hope! After a few seconds passed by he asked me to get something by the living room and by the time I came back he was on his two knees and with his outstretched hands holding the snow globe. He said “baby, take a close look at the picture and tell me”, before he can finish the sentence, I grabbed the snow globe and I said. “That’s a picture of us in Hong Kong” and he interrupted, “Look at the other picture in the back.”  When I finally looked at the picture I was shocked. In the back of the picture a question was written for me, ‘Will you Marry Me?’ By the time I finished looking at the message in the back, he was on one knee with a small box in his left hand and he said. “This ring is the most meaningful gift I can ever give you, well are you going to answer the question?” Obviously I said yes and here we are 3 months into our marriage.

How long was your Engagement? …

  • Our Engagement lasted 20 months. Wedding is expensive and this allowed us to save money.

What was the first thing you planned once you were engaged?

  • In exact order: The date, the church, the venue and photographer

How did you figure out what your wedding budget would be?

  • We first had to get a good idea on how many people we would invite and we took an avg of 6 different vendor pricing. Base on those averages we calculated how much the wedding would cost and we added 20% on top of that for unexpected expenses.

How did you find your vendors?

  • Magazines and my husband did plenty of research on Google.

What do you think is most important when considering your wedding design?

  • Tradition, elegance, fun factor and a good photographer to record this special day.

How important is a good wedding venue

  • Very important. You have to consider your guests comfort and to make sure the drive between the ceremony and the venue is not too far. Hilton Pasadena was great and Shalom Tinsley the catering manager did an amazing job. The staff was great and attentive.

What was your favorite part of planning your wedding day?

  • A combination of everything including anticipation and watching the event unfold before your eyes on the day of the wedding.

What was the most fun part of your wedding day?

  • I would say the delayed first dance. We had rehearsed a dance but were unable to perform the dance during the “first dance” because of technical difficulties with my dress but once that was fixed we got to the dance floor and had fun. I think it was more relaxed and the nervousness was out of the way.

What was the one thing you remember most of your wedding day?

  • It was seeing my husband in the altar waiting for me and seeing tears in his eyes. Until now he claims allergies caused him to tear up.

If you would do one thing different, what would it be?

  • I would have to say, don’t procrastinate on the little details/choirs of the wedding day. It caused unnecessary stress.

If you could give a newly engaged bride to be any advice, what would it be?

  • It’s never too early to start planning. Try to finish everything 1 month before the wedding because no matter how well planned you are there are little things that comes up that will need some attention. Procrastination causes stress and stress causes unwanted blemishes in your skin. But overall enjoy the planning stages and try to get your groom involved so he will better appreciate the wedding.

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Our New blog is up and running.  One of the new things that we will be doing is hosting a Q & A with real brides. We will be trying to have a Q & A on a bi weekly basis.  As brides plan their wedding, they go through similar situations. We will try to answer some of the questions you as a future bride to be may have.  Thank you Natalie for taking the time to be my foist feature Bride! Today is Natalie & Joe’s 1 Year Wedding anniversary.  Happy Anniversary you two.  Be sure to wish Natalie & Joe a happy anniversary by leaving a comment below!

Nixon Library Wedding Photos | Miguel Pola Photographers

Nixon Library Wedding Photos | Miguel Pola Photographers

Nixon Library Wedding Photos | Miguel Pola Photographers

Q: How long did you and your husband date before getting engaged?
  • Joe and I had somewhat of a unique situation. We started dating in High School. So by the time we were getting engaged, we were together for 11 years!! It was well worth the wait.

Q: How did he propose? (Details)

  • Joe completely threw me for a loop. I was getting ready to go to a friends Christmas block party. Joe called me to see if I was ready, and to his surprise I was. So he came down to my house to pick me up. When I answered the door he was holding a wrapped T-Shirt box. Since it was December 21st, it was cold outside and he said, “I got something for you that I thought you might want to wear it.” I didn’t think anything of it, I thought maybe it was a scarf, or gloves or a sweater. To my surprise, I opened the box and there was a T-Shirt in there with the letters “WILL U MARRY ME” screen printed on the front. I turned around and he was down on his knee, right in my mom’s kitchen with a BEAUTIFUL ring!! I was so happy, we both cried and laughed and hugged. I had NO idea he was going to propose!!!

Q: How long was your Engagement?

  • Our engagement lasted about 9 months. We got engaged on December 21st and we got married on October 11th. I felt like it was the perfect amount of time.

Q: What was the first thing you planned once you were engaged?

  • The first thing I began to plan was our venue! It’s hard to start booking anything else before you have your venue! Oh, and setting the date of course!!

Q: How did you figure out what your wedding budget would be?

  • I did a lot of research when working on a budget. The 3 most important things for me was venue, florist & photographer, so I knew that a big chunk of my budget was going to go into those three vendors.

Q: How did you find your vendors?

  • I found some of my vendors thought researching different websites like, The Knot, Project Wedding, DIY Bride, and using google to the extreme. Some I also found through referrals. Since I had been dating my husband for so long, I was one of the last of my friends to get married. So I got referrals from their weddings, and their experiences, ECT.

Q: What do you think is most important when considering your wedding design?

  • The most important thing when considering your wedding design is, are you ever going to look back at your pictures and think “what was I thinking?” Keep it classic and simple, yet elegant!!

Q: How important is a good wedding venue

  • I think the venue is one of the most important decisions you will make. You have to keep several things in mind. Is it “you”, how accommodating is the place – meaning, how late can you stay there, how many people does it accommodate and what is included in your pricing. You also want to consider your guests, meaning distance. You don’t really want to pick a place that could possibly hold people up in traffic.

Q: What was your favorite part of planning your wedding day?

  • The favorite part of planning my wedding day was being able to be creative and put my own personal touches on everything. Seeing all of your hard work and organization come together is so rewarding! It’s an amazing feeling.

Q: What was the most fun part of your wedding day?

  • There were so many fun parts of my wedding (just ask Miguel) but walking into that reception with your husband while all of your friends and family are standing and cheering for you – it’s indescribable.

Q: What was the one thing you remember most of your wedding day?

  • There are sooooo many things that I remember, one thing in particular thing I will always remember about my wedding day was my fathers toast. It was amazing, emotional and sooo special.

Q: If you would do one thing different, what would it be?

  • I think saying after the wedding is over “if I could change one thing, it would have been…” is unavoidable. One think you always have to face is that NOTHING is going to be 100% perfect, but when your in the moment, the little things do not matter. If I had to change something it would have been to have a videographer. No matter what, I will always tell people to save a little aside for this one thing. I will never hear my live string cortet play again, I will never hear my fathers speech, or see the live reaction of my husbands face as I walked down the isle because I didn’t think I “needed” it. It is my BIGGEST regret not to have one!

Q: If you could give a newly engaged bride to be any advice, what would it be?

  • My advice to a newly engaged bride would be to have fun! This is one of the most important days of your life and the time flies by. It is all over before you know it! I loved every minute of my planning process, as stressed out as I may have been, I would do it all over again in a heat beat. Think of the things that matter the most to you and plan your budget around them. The little things can be added in if permitted but if you have your heart set on one specific thing, cut somewhere else in order to get it. Stay organized and really research. I found so much great advice and so many great ideas just from talking to people. This is your day, and you only get one!

Miguel Pola Photographers | Miguel Pola Photographers Blog | Orange County Wedding Photography | Los Angeles Wedding Photography | Wedding Photographers | Orange County Family Photographer | Los Angeles Family Photographer

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