I wouldn’t exactly have called myself a “bridezilla,” during the time I was planning my wedding, but do have to admit I was a bit of a control freak and had a difficult time letting go of the reins. My then fiance and now husband and I searched for the perfect wedding planner, first in Hawaii (as we planned on marrying there originally) and then in California. To be perfectly honest, we must have met with over a DOZEN planners both here in California and in Hawaii. We found Chara of Open Box Designs through Wedding Wire, did some research and decided to send her an e-mail. When we first met up with her, we knew we found our planner! She was super friendly, easy to get along with and genuinely cared about the vision we had for our wedding. I remember her diligently taking notes as we spoke about the many ideas we had envisioned for our special day. It was because of Chara, we were able to make our dream of having a FABULOUS wedding into a reality.

We hired Chara, May of 2009 and she helped us throughout each step of the planning process. We spent numerous hours with her driving up and down Southern California looking for the perfect venues for our wedding and reception. On one particular trip, she had suggested we check out this place called, Casa Romantica in San Clemente. I had heard of it before, but thought it would be out of our price range and was hesitant to even see it. She suggested we check it out anyway since we were in the neighborhood. When my husband and I first saw the place, we KNEW this was the place to have our reception! It was beautiful. A lovely estate sitting on top of bluff looking over the ocean and San Clemente Pier. I would never in my life have dreamed of having our reception at such an awesome place, but because of Chara we did! She helped us find awesome vendors too and made the whole process of planning a wedding fun and less stressful. I can honestly say that my hubby and I looked forward to days we would meet up with Chara as she was so fun to work with!! 🙂

One of the things I loved about Chara was that she wanted to make sure we as a couple were happy. When meeting with vendors or talking about ideas, she would always ask us if we “Loved it? Liked it? Gotta have it ? Or is it just mehh?” This is very important as often times, couples will just settle on things just for the sake of not having to deal with a certain subject anymore. But for Chara, this was not acceptable. She wants to make sure you are getting what you want and are happy and sure of your decision. If things were not to our liking, Chara always wanted to know, so she could make things right. I always felt comfortable being able to share my thoughts or concerns with her, knowing that she would come up with solutions or ideas to fix any issues that came up. One of the things I noticed about Chara was that she was always good at reading her client’s facial expressions or vibes. She always knew when I was uncomfortable or unhappy with something, even if I never verbalized anything. I guess you can say that she can add mind reading as one of her talents. 🙂

Another thing that I loved about Chara was that she used a program called Basecamp to help the communication process between her and her clients. With Basecamp, you as a client can log on and share pictures, ideas, messages and sooo more. Basecamp helped keep us on track with our budget and meeting deadlines and overall kept everything ORGANIZED!!! I loved Basecamp so much, I can honestly say, I think I was addicted. 🙂 🙂 I must have sent Chara over a THOUSAND messages (and I am being completely serious here!) between e-mail and Basecamp and drove her insane. LOL! LOL! 🙂

As for the actual wedding day, everything went off quite smoothly. There were a few glitches, but nothing major and nothing that Chara couldn’t handle. It was comforting to know that we had her and her assistants at our side and making sure we were comfortable and happy. It was an amazing thing to see how everything we had planned, envisioned, worked so hard for was playing out before our very own eyes. Every little detail from the decor, to the martini bar, Polynesian dancers, lighting, music, food, dessert/coffee station, wedding cake and bubble machine in the end was fabulous! Many of our guests told us that this was probably one of the best weddings they had ever attended as it seemed like there were always surprises for them throughout the evening. One of our guests commented, “This was the best wedding ever! We had so much fun!! It was the wedding of the century!”

If my husband and I were ever to get married again, we would hire Chara in a heartbeat. Hiring Chara was probably one of the best decisions we made when we were planning our special day. I can honestly say, that my husband and I are blessed as not only did we have an awesome and memorable wedding, but also gained a wonderful friend in the process.

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Marc & Amy