Although it doesn’t happen often, I love getting to the movies on time so I can see the previews...glossy excerpts showcasing the best and most exciting scenes from upcoming films. That's what I wanted for our engagement parties; two distinct previews into our wedding where people from both our worlds would blend with the help of food, booze and some well-placed florals. Now that it's all said and done I'm going to spill (and possibly pour) the tea, giving you the complete rundown on our second party — everything we learned, who we worked with and what we’re doing next. If you missed the write up from our first party you can read it here.

We initially planned to have one engagement party. Although things changed when it became apparent that several of our loved ones couldn’t travel to Arizona for it. So we decided to do something unconventional, bring the party to them by hosting a second party in LA. We instantly knew where we wanted to have it: Hotel Figueroa. For those of you who don’t know our engagement story, it’s a very special place to us. Erik actually proposed to me under a beautiful canopy (shown above) that guests had to walk through to get to the event space...talk about a photo opp...KABLAM! In contrast to the ultra modern style of our first party, Hotel Figueroa is a magnificently restored mid-century masterpiece. We brought in The Velvet Garden to personalize the decor with bold colorful bouquets which complemented the existing design eleements. We chose quality over quantity, opting for fewer bouquets stuffed with more extraordinary flowers. By placing arrangements on every other table we were able to make our money go much further. The fresh flowers really highlighted the indoor/outdoor vibe. The space is open to the elements with no eastern wall and the second level has a partially exposed roof allowing you to enjoy the Los Angeles skyline. I couldn’t think of a better place to have hosted our guests.

We served guests some of our favorite comfort foods from Love Baked Wings and our guests could hardly handle it! Their boneless wings and chicken sliders will change your life. All the crunchy splendor of fried chicken, but they’re baked!! It was awesome to serve food that got people so excited... We even had a vegetarian option, serving “boneless wings” that are made with chik-peas instead of meat... DELISH! Did I mention everything low-key gluten-free? Chef Mike Shand, the company’s founder, has been a private chef to Beyoncé for years. Yes, you heard me correctly. HRH. The Queen...It should come as no surprise that she has excellent taste! Everyone was living, especially when they found out they were eating some of her favorites! In addition to these savory bites we decided to finish the party with something sweet, but we didn’t want cake. Instead we opted for three macaroon towers from Bottega Louie. The presentation is stunning and the sumptuous array of flavors (pistachio, salted caramel, coconut) ensured that we had something for every palate.

We loved working with First Leaf Wine Club on our last party and decided to collaborate again. To account for the longer guest list we featured four wines instead of three. In addition to those served at the first party (a red, a white and a rosé), we added an extravagant Pinot Noir. But this time we gave guests even more options. They could enjoy complimentary wine or purchase their drink from a full cash bar. Our guests seemed to appreciate the options, and enjoyed the wine! This was an excellent trick to cut down on liquor costs; keep in mind the party lasted for more than 4 hours.

A lot of work went into these parties, much more than I anticipated. Remember that planning your wedding and the events around it can easily swing from exciting to daunting. We genuinely want it all to feel perfect because it’s so important to us, but there’s also so much pressure. Don’t let it get to you. Make it about what you and your fiancé want, not what you think everyone else wants. Nothing is perfect. There, you can breathe now...again, nothing is perfect, so give yourself some credit!! Trust there will be plenty of time leading up to your actual wedding to deal with what everyone else wants.

As I reflect back on the past couple months and all the planning that went into both parties at times I don’t know how I pulled it off. I am so grateful for all the help and support I received along the way. I learned so much, most importantly that it’s OK to allocate more time to plan the wedding. I want to enjoy the process and be involved from start to finish. As we begin talking to venues, we are doing it without pressure or early deadlines. Everyone tells me that being engaged should be one of the best times of your life. I intend to relish in it as much as possible. Seriously though, the best part of this experience was that these parties got me so excited for our wedding. They really did end up acting as a preview and I can’t wait to share this experience with Erik and ultimately everyone we love.