How We Planned our Dream Weddings

What made me decide to finally start the blog I've been telling myself I would start for about 6 year now? Well, currently we are all struggling through the effects of 2020, and the Covid-19 crisis. Almost all of our weddings for the year have been postponed to 2021, and i'm sitting here reminiscing on weddings and all their glory. I wish we could be together this year, but I know the time will come when it is safer for everyone!

In the meantime, I will share a bit about myself and my own wedding experience. I started my wedding planning company in 2014 and have always really embraced individuality. There is nothing I love more than when a couple truly knows themselves, and wants their wedding to absolutely SCREAM "them." Little touches and big decisions alike, there are so many ways to make a wedding feel like you.

I got married after i'd been in the biz for 5 years and i'd been with my now husband for 10 years at the time. So not only did we know ourselves deeply, but we had a great grasp on how to make our wedding exactly what we wanted.

Family stress can be tough. My family lives all over the US, but a good handful of them live here in San Diego. Marko's family is from a traditional Serbian household, where weddings are events where EVERYONE is invited. Even people you may not have ever met. It's a cultural thing. And since Marko and I had been together for 9 years when we got engaged, we had mutual friends from so many stages of life who felt excited to attend our wedding, and felt entitled to an invite. One thing that you will learn VERY early in the wedding planning process is that everyone has an opinion. In fact, the opinions start rolling in before you even start planning, it can be confusing and overwhelming. Prepare for that mentally and be cautious to only let the things that connect with you through. Don't let your wedding get hijacked! It is YOUR day, after all.

Marko and I started preparing our families for what we would want before we were ever ever engaged. We knew we didn't want to do a big wedding. We knew we wanted to get married in Europe. And we knew we wanted our guestlist to be only our immediate family and our best friends. We didn't want all the fluff. We wanted to have an out of this world experience for the tiny group of people that have supported us most.

Of course, this is NOT want the aunts, uncles, and grandparents want to hear. So we decided to have our legal wedding ceremony here in San Diego on our 10 year anniversary. This was a family only celebration, with only 1 friend each, the lifelong friends who have been with us since we were babies. 20 guests in total.

It was important to us that our weddings feel different. Our legal wedding was in December on our anniversary, and our wedding celebration would be the following July in Montenegro. So other than the fact that my first dress was green and my second was white, we also wanted to make sure both ceremonies would be special without feeling as though we were doing the same thing twice. So for our legal ceremony we decided it would be funny to write silly vows for each other, and not tell each other what we were writing. We planned to have 3 silly vows and then end with 1 heartfelt one. Our officiant read: "Kristana, Do you promise to not be frustrated when Marko comes to give you kisses right when you are doing your eye makeup, but only when you are doing your eye makeup?" and "Marko, Do you promise to forgive, and continue to love Kristana even if your children end up having her toes?" There was endless laughter from us and our guests as we heard each other's silly vows read to each other for the first time. It was certainly not traditional, but it was very, VERY us.


Afterwards we had a dinner with everyone at Fogo De Chao, very intimate, lots of candles, and it was the perfect way to end our wedding day with our family. Since our friends weren't invited to this ceremony, and many of them were not invited to Europe. We headed to Vin De Syrah for an afterparty to celebrate with all of our friends. It was perfect.

Fast forward to next summer! We head to beautiful Budva, Montenegro. We had traveled here together in 2012 and knew it was the perfect spot for our wedding. Marko's dad lives in Montenegro as well so he acted as liaison between us the the venue, Dukley Gardens, until we arrived. It was so fun watching all of our friends start to arrive, as we relaxed together in the days leading up to our wedding day. Dukely is a magical property and we chose to get married at their private waterfront spot called Key West.

For Marko and I, we are both MAJOR foodies. We knew we wanted to have exceptional food and wine. We wanted that to be the main focus of the wedding. We had an out of this world menu: Sushi & Oysters at cocktail hour, Foie Gras, Truffle Risotto, Octopus, Ribeye, Adriatic Seabass for dinner, with wine pairings for every course. It was our dream come true.

We knew with only having 20 guests, we NEEDED to have an exceptional dj. Someone who could make 20 people feel like 200. Being a wedding planner, I know that not everyone has that ability, so we decided to bring a dj I work with often, and fly him out to Montenegro to be our Dj! Drew from Songstruck Dj absolutely killed it and we all had the best time dancing all night long.

Marko and I are both not big dessert people, we are much more savory. We didn't care about the tradition of cutting the cake. However, this was very important to Marko's dad so we decided to go ahead and get a cake. We let him pick the baker and gave general design preferences, but ultimately we just let him run with it. This was a moment where conceding to someone else's wants really didn't matter to us either way. If we felt passionately about not cutting the cake, maybe we would have had a different conversation. But it honestly just wasn't something that mattered to us either way so we were happy to do it if it was important to him. We did ask that we also have interesting small desserts, because those are more the direction we would lean. Our desserts were INCREDIBLE. Our baker, Darko, was truly a master. After our meal where I was completely full, I tried EVERY SINGLE ONE of the different desserts and cake. This is a huge testament to how amazing it was, given that my sweet tooth is basically non-existent.

Since our guest count was so small and we had a destination wedding, it was important to us to have lots of fun with everyone through out the entire stay. We brainstormed about what we could do with 20 people, and ultimately we decided the absolute best thing we could do would be to charter a catamaran for 2 days and really show everyone the beauty of Montenegro. We spent 2 days sailing along the adriatic, with our DJ Drew spinning, our photographers Shane & Lauren capturing the moments, and all of our friends and family just living the life. We visited multiple different areas like Sveti Stefan, Plave Spila, Kotor. We would stop and swim for a while, then would continue on our way, we had lunch catered with traditional Montenegrin foods and we explored