The Budget Savvy Bride » Danielle helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Sat, 28 Mar 2015 20:01:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Making a DIY List and Checking it Twice! Thu, 18 Apr 2013 18:30:57 +0000 Just like Laura, I started my wedding planning process with a hefty DIY list. Being less than a week away from the wedding, I thought I’d let you guys know how I did on my list!

I must preface this post with a bit of a disclaimer. I firmly believe the only reason why I was able to get through so many projects was careful planning, the amazing support of my fiance–who participated in almost every single project–and being a teacher, which means summer vacation. The past three weeks have been HUGE in terms of getting this stuff done.

So, here it is, the original (ambitious) list! Let’s see how I fared, and give you ladies all the links that assisted with my crafty-ness!

  • Our wedding website : CHECK. I made it with Google sites. Super easy and FREE!
  • Pinwheel boutonnieres: CHECK
  • Photo booth back drop: SEMI-CHECK –> The supplies have been bought, but me and the girls will be putting it together while we’re at the cottage (read: venue) the days before the event.
  • Photo booth props: CHECK, thanks to the lovely Poptastic Bride!
  • Burlap table runners: CHECK. One of my amazing MOHs helped me complete them. I used this tutorial.
  • Heart garlands/bunting: DROPPED. I saw this adorable pic of it years ago. However, I was just going to make it with scrapbook paper and twine. We have to setup everything in our outdoor tent the night before, and I’m worried with the morning dew it might not hold up. Plus, we’ve managed to acquire a ton of white xmas lights for the tent. I ended up replacing the bunting with the ever-so-Pinterest-famous hula-hoop chandelier (which, is a SEMI-CHECK, as supplies have been purchased, but not assembled).
  • Old-wood looking signage: CHECK. Dan’s cousin was tearing down an old barn. We took the wood and made signs that look something like this.
  • Tree guest-book/canvas: DROPPED. Dan didn’t love the idea because guests didn’t really get to leave us a message. We opted for this approach instead. We loved that the thumb-prints were still a part of it, but guests could also leave a message! Notably, I did end up making the guest book out of a simple spiral sketch book! So, I guess I can still say CHECK!
  • Yarn lanterns: completely DROPPED. This wasn’t a matter of time, but a matter of transport. My prototype turned out great, but with the venue being two hours away, I wasn’t sure amongst all the other stuff we were hauling up that they would survive. Also, I like them, but didn’t really have a specific place to put them.
  • Scrabble cake topper: The letters L, O, V, and E, hot glued to giant tooth picks. CHECK!
  • Mason jar lanterns: CHECK
  • Giant tomato cans being converted into wine-chilling buckets that will act as centerpieces! CHECK!
  • Writing a bilingual ceremony (French and English): CHECK (post to come!)
  • Seating Chart: CHECK. I made it in PhotoShop, had a civil engineering friend print on his plotter at work (36″x24″) and attached it to a foam-core board from Micheal’s!
  • Reserved signs: CHECK
  • Table thank yous: CHECK
  • Yarn LOVE sign: CHECK
  • Wine labels: CHECK
  • Programs: CHECK (post to come!)
  • Tiny origami stars: CHECK. I must credit Dan with this. He has been away on business the past three weeks, and while staying at the hotel in the evenings, he has folded a ton of these. We are sprinkling them on the tables!
  • Limoncello: CHECK.

On top of this list, I took on one other project which was a little bit crazy. For place settings, we decided to use slices of poplar and burn each guest’s name on it.


It took FOREVER. However, it did result in fun visits and wine with various friends who came over to assist on a few different occasions. It was nice to visit with friends, and reflect on each guest as I burned their name into wood. Please note though, with 140 of these to do, this did end up being a 10-ish hour project. The only reason I managed to get through it was by doing it in small doses and with good company!

I am so excited that so many details at our wedding are “us”. We’ve poured our heart into this event and I am so pumped to see it all come together! :)

Are you doing lots of DIY? How are you managing it all? Good luck!

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Bride Share: Day of Coordination Mon, 23 Jul 2012 13:00:48 +0000 As a former event planner, I know the importance of day-of-coordination (DOC). While I always loved running events, I know I do not want to experience all the stress and running-around of orchestrating an event on my wedding day. It’s very important to me that I, and my family and closest friends, get to soak in the day and not feel like we’re running around with our heads cut off.

Wedding Day Stress Comic

Initially, I was looking into hiring a day of coordinator. At first, I looked into professionals. I quickly ruled that out as too expensive. My next approach was to look for an old university friend who was a fellow social programmer for a different faculty and see if they were interested in DOCing for a cheap rate. However, given that our wedding is two hours away from Ottawa, making this worth someone’s while was kind of tricky.

I was at a complete loss of what to do until something wonderful happened.

A mutual friend of ours, Maxime, got engaged. Not only that, she and her lovely man decided they were going to plan their wedding in just 6 months so that they could also get married during summer 2012. They were also planning a rustic budget DIY wedding. In fact, you can check out Max’s wedding planning and budget-savvyness on her blog: Saving Some Money. She pulled off her 120 person wedding for just over $7000!

Now don’t get me wrong–we love Max. But she probably wouldn’t have made the cut for our guest list. She played improv with Dan in university and was a 101 guide for me when I ran 101 (Frosh) week for the Faculty of Arts. We always had fun when we hung out, but were not terribly close. In the same manner, we would not likely have made her wedding guest list either.

We were two brides, very interested in running rustic DIY weddings but both knew we wouldn’t be able to tackle the logistics of our event on the big day. I proposed a bride share of day of coordination service. In other words, you run my wedding if I run yours! We agreed to take care of the accommodations and food for each other, but each would be responsible for their own travel.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “This is one of the biggest days of my life. I can’t possibly just hand it over to a distant friend.” While I understand your initial concern, I think there are a few key factors to consider if you decide to go this route:

  1. In what capacity do you know this person? I knew Max was a great reliable volunteer from working with her on 101 week.
  2. Does this person have any experience with running events? I had seen Max coordinate improv weekends from 30-40 people.
  3. Does this person have the same mentality as you? I knew Max’s wedding-approach was budget-savvy (even more so than us!) and she has a similar vision

All of these questions helped me decide it would be a good match!

Two weeks ago, we had the joyous experience of coordinating Max’s wedding. We ran her cabin check-in (the event was at a campground), decorated the venue, ran errands during the day, set-up two ceremony sites (weather dependent!), coordinated the timing and music for the ceremony, liaised with catering staff and DJ, ran the bar, and cleaned up. While we were exhausted by the end of the weekend, it was a blast and it felt wonderful to make the bride and groom’s day go smoothly!

Max and Teaville
Photo Credit: Photographer Mitchel Benovoy

Max and her hubby (Teaville) will be executing all of these tasks at our wedding! It is such a relief to know we have such fantastic people to depend on for our big day!

How do you plan to handle day-of-coordination for your wedding?

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Toast: Booze, not bread! Tue, 17 Jul 2012 13:00:14 +0000 As I’ve mentioned before, Dan and I are trying to be budget savvy while still having flair at our wedding. We don’t want to sacrifice the “wow-factor” just because we’re making economical decisions.

One thing that was really important to Dan was to be able to toast his new bride (i.e. me) during his speech. I thought that was terribly sweet. However, after quickly calculating the cost of sparkling wine for all of our guests  — around $350– I was ready to throw the entire concept out the window.

Instead, we decided to brainstorm other ideas and decided we’d have a limoncello toast!


For those of you who aren’t familiar with this delicious beverage, it’s a traditional Italian after-dinner digestif made primarily of alcohol and lemons. While neither I nor Dan has any Italian in our family, it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate limoncello’s delicious-ness!

We decided to take this route because:

  1. It’s delicious
  2. It’s comparatively inexpensive (compared to sparkling wine/champagne)
  3. It makes for another fun DIY project.

We turned to our old friend Alton Brown from Good Eats on the Food Network. He has a delicious limoncello recipe that can be found here.

Dan and one of our fantastic friends spent a Saturday rasping 12 pounds of organic lemons. We mixed the zest with three 60 oz bottles of vodka.

We calculated that sparkling wine was going to cost us around $350 if we bought it ourselves (not from the caterer). We spent $30 on the organic lemons and $148 on the vodka at the SAQ Depot in Quebec. For $178, we are going to have a delicious after dinner toast for each of our 140 guests. That works out to $1.27 per guest! Not too shabby when you consider sparkling wine would have cost us $2.50 per guest!

It is currently in our closet, happily infusing. I will let you all know how it turns out when we add the simple syrup! :)

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DIY: Pinwheel Boutonnières Mon, 09 Jul 2012 13:00:20 +0000 Like many budget savvy brides, I am not having flowers at my wedding. Well, that’s not totally true. My bouquet will be made of real flowers, but that’s it. No flowers on the tables, none for the bridesmaids, none for the groomsmen, none for the decor. Oh, the shock and the horror!

I’m actually really excited about it. Flowers are fickle and need to be cared for.  My goal is the replace all the would-be-flowers of a wedding with things I can make ahead of time that won’t parish AND will be more cost effective. I also think this is a great way to make our wedding “ours” by coming up with our own approaches/solutions/ideas to each of these traditional items.

With this in mind, I present to you my pinwheel boutonnières! These are not totally novel and are all over Pinterest right now, so they’re on there way to being standard wedding fare. Here’s how I went about making mine.

Supplies for each boutonnière:

  • Two 3.5″x3.5″ squares of scrapbook paper
  • glue stick
  • hot glue
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • craft knife (I like this one)
  • scrapbook glue dot (optional, but makes it easier)
  • pin back
  • white button

Pinwheel Supplies

Step 1: Glue the two squares of scrapbook paper back to back so that you have double-sided paper. I suppose you could use double-sided scrapbook paper, but all the double-sided paper I found was either too thin (so it was flimsy) or too thick (so it creased when I tried to fold it). Two pieces of standard paper seemed to work just perfectly.

Step 2: Find the center of your square and mark a dot. Draw diagonal lines from corner to corner to guide your pinwheel cuts.

Step 3: With the precision slicer, cut 1.75 inches into each diagonal line.

Step 4: Place a glue dot in the middle. Lift every other corner of your diagonal cuts and bend them in them in towards the middle so that the tip touches the dot in the middle. I suppose you could do this with the hot glue if you don’t have glue dots, but I feel the glue dots saved me from burning my fingers.

Step 5: Put hot glue in the middle of your pinwheel. Press a button into the hot glue. Only touch the side of the button as you press down. This will allow the glue to go through the holes in the button and you’ll get pretty clear “beads” of glue in the middle. If you push in the middle (as I did when I made my first one) you will have a mess of hot glue “strings) and a burnt finger.

Step 6: Put a line of hot glue down the back. Attach the pin backing.

Tah dah! You have a beautiful pinwheel boutonnière! I can’t really give you a cost breakdown because other than the pinbacks, this is all stuff I had laying around in my craft stuff. However, I think I can safely say it is more cost effective than flowers!

For our wedding, the groom, groomsmen, and fathers are wearing them.

I also have a replacement for the corsages for the moms, which I will share with you at a later date!

Happy pinwheel making! :)

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Stag and Doe: D + D’s Recess Revival Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Given we want to be as budget savvy as possible, we decided to have a Stag and Doe to help with the cost of our wedding!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, a Stag and Doe (aka a Jack and Jill, a Stag and Hen, a Buck and Doe) is a wedding fundraiser. These are super popular in small towns in Ontario, but some of my friends from other parts of the country hadn’t heard of the concept. Some people also find Stag and Does to be controversial. Sometimes you get snarky comments about etiquette/why-should-I-pay-for-your-wedding and such. If you feel that way, then don’t have a Stag and Doe or don’t attend one. Simple.

We decided to have a Stag and Doe for a few reasons:

1) We’re paying for the wedding ourselves. While my parents have offered some money, we don’t want to have to use it. They need it as much as we do.

2) We held it around our birthdays (which are just nine days apart). We figured we would have organized a b-day party anyways, and rather than some random business/bar reaping all the benefits, why not us?

3) Dan and I were university event planners–pub night fundraisers are kind of our specialty.

While it used to be customary for  others (i.e.: wedding party, parents, etc.) to throw the Stag and Doe for the couple, we were involved in the planning and execution of our Stag and Doe. My parents found this to be odd, and it caused a bit of further controversy. The way we saw it, we didn’t feel it was fair to ask our wedding party to just do everything while we sat around. It was very much a team effort! We organized the core logistics, and the wedding party sold tickets in advance and ran games/stations that night. Call us tacky if you want–I think it’ 2012 and people need to move on and realize weddings are very different than fifty years ago.

I think the reason Stag and Does can be controversial is that sometimes they really do feel like a cash grab. Sometimes tickets are over-priced and once you get there, you can feel a bit bombarded to play games and spend, spend, spend. I’ve been to some that are held in a big community center, where there is an MC leading games that all cost money to enter, and that’s kind of all there is to do other than drink and chat with people. We did not want our guests to feel this way.

Our mission was simple: throw a fun party where people are entertained and feel like they’re getting value for their contribution.


Here’s how we did it:

The venue was nostalgic. I spent my university days tending the bar at our local uOttawa campus bar, 1848. I was blessed enough to work the busiest night of the week, formerly known as Wednesday Night Recess. It was the place to be, and our university friends spent tons of time there. We dubbed our Stag and Doe “D & D’s Recess Revival Stag and Doe”. People were psyched to return to our old university stomping-grounds and have a mini-reunion! Since the academic semester is over, we had the bar to ourselves. Also, the venue was FREE since the business took in the bar sales.

We got tons of door prizes for free. We contacted all the local radio stations for free swag, and every single one of them gave us something–CDs, t-shirts, water bottles, etc. We also contacted the local beer reps, who gave us glassware, t-shirts, hats, coasters, and general beer swag. We also had a few friends who got donations from friends of theirs and businesses they work at. We even managed to get an XBOX Live Starter kit from a friend of mine who reps for Microsoft. I couldn’t believe how generous and amazing people were!

– We charged $5 for tickets, but made sure people felt like they were getting something for the entry cost. The $5 ticket included the chance to win a ton of sweet door prizes (listed above) and live entertainment. Two of our amazing friends, Gabriel Bouchard and Leif Vollebekk played live music for us. $5 is nothing to see these two fabulous Canadian musicians perform!

- We set-up non-game oriented fundraising. The bar gave us a $1 kick back on all draught beer sales. They also gave us all the money from the Foosball table. Also, we supplied all the food and took in the profits from that. We kept it simple with chips and salsa, hummus and veggies, and grilled cheese since it was just late-night food. This way, people were “donating” without feeling like they were being harassed for money.

We kept the games to a minimum and the prizes big. We only ran three games: classic 50/50, Ping Pong Poker, and Messy Dan.

  • 50/50 is self-explanatory and we sold tickets at $2 for one, $3 for five, or an arm length for $5, and the winner took half the pot.
  • The groomsmen setup Ping Pong Poker at a station people could go to if they wanted, but didn’t have to. 52 red Solo cups were stapled to a piece of foam insulation and 5 ping pong balls were thrown at the cups. All of these supplies were things the groomsmen already had around their homes. People had to throw the ping pong balls into cups and try to get the best poker-hand possible. The winner got a $50 LCBO gift card that one of our friends donated.
  • The last game was Messy Dan. At uOttawa, the engineers have a tradition of initiating new engineers by having a Messy Day. The first-years (who are willing and sign-up–not hazing) spend an afternoon getting pummeled with food and are then marched through campus as a rite of passage. Dan was the Social Event Programmer for engineering and later on the President of his engineering student-body. He felt it was appropriate to offer up the chance to cover him with food. Throughout the evening, people could add items to Messy Dan’s slop bucket for a fee. Water was $1 and you received one chance to dump it on Dan. A handful of Cheerios (which we had in our cupboard and were stale) was $2 and you received two chances, and so forth. This scale went up to include, eggs, marinara sauce, and birthday cake. People LOVED it. At the end of the night, we pulled a winner, who got to dump it on Dan’s head. The winner was extra-epic: one of Dan’s former first-years won and got to dump the bucket on Dan. It felt very full-circle and like a touch of poetic justice. If you’re curious (and have an iron stomach) you can watch my poor fiance get dumped on. Warning: There is a bit of choice-language as it was late in the evening and many beers had been consumed!


The Bottom Line:

We spent about $250 to prepare the event. This was mostly on food (chips, salsa, hummus, grilled cheese makings, etc.), Messy Dan supplies, and small supplies (raffle tickets, balloons, etc.). We made $1250 that night. Therefore, for one night of partying, we made $1000! This is a huge help towards our budget and so many people told us what a great night they had. My advice is, if you choose to have a Stag and Doe, focus on the entertainment/fun of the event, and the funds will come in naturally.

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Tea for Twelve: My Bridal Shower Thu, 07 Jun 2012 13:00:44 +0000 You know what’s great? When your bridesmaids are of the same mentality as you. Not only am I budget savvy, but so are my awesome  Co-Maids of Honour, S. and V.

I must pre-face this post with the fact that I am one of those blessed brides who just couldn’t narrow it down to one MOH, so I have two. BEST DECISION EVER. S. and V. make an awesome team and have been nothing short of fabulous.

Proof of their fabulous-ness? They recently threw me a SURPRISE bridal shower that was super budget savvy.

Here’s how they made my day:

1) It was a luncheon tea party! This was basically the perfect “theme” for my shower. It was pretty, but very laid back. Also, the girls rented vintage tea-cups from The Otesha Project, a local Ottawa not-for-profit organization that seeks to mobilize and equip Canadians to create local and global change through their individual and collective choices. So not only was this a budget savvy choice, but also a charitable choice!

The Otesha Project has a large stock of teacups and saucers, small plates, spoons, forks and freshly laundered table cloths! They can be borrowed for settings up to 400 people. Individuals that seek to borrow Otesha’s event items are encouraged to make a project contribution to The Otesha Project. For more details please email: or call: (613) 237-6065

 2) The luncheon was a pot-luck! Everyone contributed a delicious dish. This took some of the work load (and cost) off my wonderful MOHs. However, they did contribute the cutest gluten-free cupcakes in the entire world. Although Dan wasn’t present, they made them gluten-free assuming he would end up getting some of the left-overs. :)

Tiny gluten-free cupcakes with cute flags made from toothpicks and scrapbook paper!

3) In lieu of gifts, everyone was asked to bring a recipe to contribute to a scrapbook for me. I really loved this idea because I didn’t want people to feel pressured to “shower” me with gifts.  Dan and I have been living together for awhile and we have a tiny one bedroom apartment; we don’t need more stuff. Also, as mentioned before, most of our friends are recent-university grads, and I didn’t want anyone to feel like they had to spend money.

4) The MOHs DIYed the favors. The favors were homemade chocolate chip cookies and a sachet of pomegranate and blueberry tea wrapped up in fabric and twine with a candy stick. The fabric/twine was something S. had laying around her house and the contents are all super affordable at any local grocery store.

Extremely cute and thrifty favors!

5) On top of the typical cheesy bridal shower games–clothespins for banned words, TP dresses, guessing my age in childhood photos–the girls interviewed Dan and made a video. They asked him a bunch of questions about himself, me, and our history as a couple. They played it at the shower and paused it just before he gave his answers. I had to guess what he was going to respond. It was very cute, touching, and cost nothing to make (assuming you have a video recording device, which with smartphone technology, most of us do!)

It was a special day I’ll never forget! Thanks S. and V.!

* Please note: I, my maids, nor BSB received any compensation for mentioning The Otesha Project or any of the products in this post.
Just thought you’d all love to know the exact sources! *

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DIY: Decorative Yarn Letters Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Ladies, I am happy to report that one of my first DIY projects for my wedding cost me a total of twenty-five cents!

DIY Yarn Letters
Check out my yarn letters... and my toes!



– cardboard

– yarn

– stapler

This was a super easy and fun project to do. I think I am going to put them on the head table right in front of me and fiance.

Step one: Draw your letters on the cardboard. The more square you can make your letters, the better. My first prototype was very curvy, and it turns out, very hard to wrap with yarn. I abandoned them for this design.

DIY Project cardboard yarn letters

Step two: cut out your letters.

Step three: Take one of the letters and staple a piece of yarn to it. Don’t get too hung up on where you start. You’ll end up going every-which-way no matter what.

Step four: Start wrapping! I learned quickly that you can’t be too neurotic about this. While you should be wrapping the yarn tightly right beside itself each time for maximum coverage, you will have to double-back over places you’ve wrapped before to make it cover every part of the cardboard. For example, on the “L” I wrapped the bottom of the letter vertically first, then doubled-back over the bottom horizontally, then made my way up the tall part of the letter horizontally, then I wrapped the tall part of the letter vertically. It’s the only way you can get the yarn to cover all the edges and give you that fully-covered look. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the “L” wrapping, but the “O” will give you a sense of how all over the place you will be.

DIY project yarn wrapped cardboard letters


Step five: When you’re done wrapping everything tightly, wrap it a few more times chaotically. Not only does this look rustic and cute, it also covers up any randomness/errors/differences in your coverage-wrapping.

Step six: When you’re done, tie the end of your string to whatever other strings you can.

Step seven: repeat!


A few tips:

  • If you’re spelling a four-letter word, use the cardboard from the bottom of 24 cans of pop. It makes it easy to divide and all your letters will be to scale.
  • Make your letters as square as possible. Wrapping curves is tricky because the yarn doesn’t have anything to stay taut on. I could only wrap the curves of the “O” at the end because it had other yarn to grip to.
  • If you’re spelling LOVE, wrap your “O” last, or when you have a small ball of yarn. You will have to pass the ball of yarn through the middle. The “O” took the same amount of time to wrap as the “L”, “V”, and “E” combined.
  • If you wrap too tight and/or your cardboard is weak, the cardboard may begin to buckle once you have a good amount on it. This sucks because it looks like you have to undo everything–you don’t. I found this can be rectified by slipping a wooden BBQ skewer (basically a giant toothpick) under the yarn you’ve already wrapped for reinforcement.

Wrapping the letters took only one ball of yarn and the cardboard came from the recycling dumpster behind our apartment. I bought “mill-ends” yarn from Wal-Mart. I got 4 balls for $1.00, therefore making the word LOVE a total of $0.25! BAM!

I plan on setting the letters on tiny decorative plate stands on the head table . The link says they’re $3.00 each, but our local Dollarama has them 2/$1.00. And, I may not even need to buy them, as my Grandma says she thinks she has some. SCORE!

I have other crafty plans for the remaining three balls of yarn that I will share with you at a later date.

Happy yarn wrapping! <3

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The (Canadian) David’s Bridal Saga Thu, 17 May 2012 12:00:47 +0000 When me and my ladies (hereafter referred to as S. V. and J.) started bridesmaid dress hunting, there were a few factors to consider that are common for most wedding parties:

1) All three of my girls have very different styles when it comes to clothes

2) We all wanted to keep costs low as all of us are still recovering from student debt

3) One of my girls (J.)  is a doctor in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She can barely get time off to come to the wedding let alone go dress shopping with us girls in Ontario

Plan A: Mismatched Dresses


I love the pics of bridesmaids in different dresses, but my girls (and my mom especially) weren’t too keen on the idea. Everyone was worried about clashing, and hues not matching, and miss-matched fabrics not photographing right, and having it look “unplanned”. Turns out, despite the big push in the wedding-blogosphere for unmatched dress, my girls wanted to match. Who knew!

Plan B: twobirds Dresses

Anyone who has cruised wedding blogs knows about these. Actually, I attended a wedding in January 2011 where the bridesmaids wore these in navy and they looked amaze-balls. What’s more, the bridal salon I bought my dress from is one of the few Canadian distributors of twobirds, so V. and S. even had the chance to try them on.


While these dresses do have great potential, we ruled them out on a few factors:

1) Price: while they sell themselves as “no-alternations needed”, the cost is as much if not more than a standard bridesmaid dress with alterations.

2) Colour: none of the stock colours really matched what we wanted. You can order custom colours, but for an extra fee.

3) Fit/Shape: we didn’t find these dresses to be very forgiving and kind of looked unfinished in lighter-colours (something I hadn’t noticed when I saw them in navy). Furthermore, one of my girls would have needed the bandeau insert, as she is rather busty and cannot go without a bra, and that would have been another extra fee.

Plan C: David’s Bridal

Imagine my amazement when I discovered a David’s Bridal was opening up in Ottawa the year of my wedding. Initially I wasn’t keen on even going to look at DB, but me and V. went on a whim one evening–more for entertainment than serious shopping.

We went a few days after it opened on a rainy Tuesday night. After a simple hello when we walked in, we didn’t get any service as two of the sales associates were huddled around the front desk and one was stocking the accessories shelf. No matter, V. and I are pretty self-sufficient, so we helped ourselves to samples to try on. To our amazement, we found one we liked!

V. modeling the DB sample dress!

When we walked over to the colour swatches, we found “guava” which was close enough to what we were looking for. While looking at the colour swatches, a sales associate finally came over. V. mentioned how cute the dress she had on would be in “guava” and the sales associate replied “Oh, absolutely!”. We chatted a little and I decided to bring S.–my other Ontario bridesmaid–to DB that week to try it on and see what she thought.

I brought S. to DB. She loved the dress way more than she thought she was going to. J., in Saskatoon, had already given it the go ahead by online review, and we figured it was settled! The dress had pockets, it was cute, would work well for all body-types, and the girls could go bra or no bra–their choice! Whew. I breathed a sigh of relief.


But not for long…

Once again, S. and I were getting minimal service. I tracked down a sales associate and told her we were interested in starting the process of ordering these dresses. Finally, she seemed to exhibit some degree of interest, and went to go get the paperwork. As we’re going through stuff, I listed off the girls sizes and mentioned we’d like to order them in guava.

“I’m sorry, these dresses don’t come in guava.”

We’re standing next to the colour swatches. I grabbed the swatch. I said, “Isn’t this the same material (cotton-sateen) as this dress? Isn’t this guava?”

“Yes, but this dress is a ’10-Colour-Dress’. If you’d like a dress in guava, you need to pick a ’21-colour-dress’.”

I had her reference the David’s Bridal website, which clearly states in can be order in guava. She replied, “Not in Canada,” which isn’t stipulated anywhere in writing.

What ensued was further questioning and ridiculous vague answers such as “That’s just the way it is.” I wasn’t actually so much upset about the dress as I was about the the awful customer service we had received. S. and I left and I thought that was that. I had decided if it was this complicated, it wasn’t the dress. End of story.

However, S. and V. were crafty. They both really liked the dress and weren’t ready to give up on it as quickly as me. We decided to call the David’s Bridal in Syracuse, NY and see about this whole guava-debacle.

The phone call took less than 10 minutes, the sales lady was lovely, and we got the exact dresses we wanted. She offered to ship them to Ogdensburg, NY, which is closer to the border than Syracuse, NY. My mom and I decided to make a shopping trip out of it, and drove down to Syracuse to pick them up when they were ready. They were exactly as ordered. Not only that, but they were $50 cheaper in the States, even though our dollar is about par right now. Even better, when we came back, we had receipts in hand ready to claim taxes/duty. When we mentioned they were for the wedding, the border guard waved us through without any charges.

Although the process was a bit of a saga, the girls are happy and we ended up with bridesmaid dresses for about $150 each. S.’s fits perfectly, V.’s needs minor alterations and J.’s is in the mail on its way to Saskatoon to see if she needs any adjustments. S. already has plans to wear her dress to another wedding after ours.

Moral of the story: Canadian Brides, be aware of the crazy David’s Bridal colour availability. Know that if you or your girls have your heart set on a specific colour, if you head to the States, you can get what you want, and possibly for less than in Canada.

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Hello new friends! :D Fri, 04 May 2012 13:50:35 +0000 Hi there! My name is Danielle and I’m excited to be a part of BSB!

5 fun facts about me:

  • I’m a middle-school and high-school English teacher. My life revolves around lessons planning, teaching, and grading papers/tests for 125 students between grades six and eleven. This means I am constantly on the go and usually drowning under a pile of marking.
  • In university, I was an event planner for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ottawa. I had the pleasure of planning everything from Frosh (101) Week to fancy dinner galas.
  • I am Canadian! I grew up in a small town called Gananoque in Ontario, Canada, then moved to the nation’s capital (Ottawa) for university. While my parents are Francophone, I grew up in the 1000 islands region of Ontario, so I didn’t pick up French as well as I should have. In recent years, I have been unable to escape my French roots–I teach at a French school and am marrying a French guy! :)
  • I love designing stuff in Photoshop, but have never been taught how to use it. Back in my event planning days, a few crunch-time situations caused me to dive into Photoshop head-first even though I had no idea what I was doing. I’m sure graphic designers would cringe when they saw my process and way of doing things, but I get it done! This is also how I approach a lot of situations: try and fail, but do not fail to try!
  • When I was five years old, I announced to my kindergarten class that I wanted to be an elephant when I grew up. When the teacher said I couldn’t, I was devastated. While this may seem random, I think it speaks well to my desire to think outside the box. :)

5 fun facts about my fantastic fiancé, Dan:

  • He is an engineer. I mention this not just because it is his job, but he lives and breathes it. Everything is about efficiency and maximizing results. He also loves numbers. He is most happy when calculating something. :)
  • He is also a comedian. Dan has been involved in improvisational comedy for over ten years. He has played competitively in the university improv circuit and is a member of one of Ottawa’s most successful improv troupes, Insensitivity Training. He makes me laugh everyday.
  • He was on a reality TV show. If Dan looks familiar to you, it’s because you may have seen him before! He was on the Discovery Channel for Canada’s Greatest Know-it-All. It was a crazy experience that allowed him to cross a few things off his bucket list.
  • He is Franco-Ontarian. Dan grew up in Ontario, but in one of the little pockets that is predominately French. Dan is bilingual through and through and this will play a big part in our wedding!
  • He has a gluten allergy. This has been a recent revelation for us, and we’re currently in the process of getting a full diagnoses to determine how severe it is (i.e.: gluten-intolerance or full-blown Celiac disease). This means we’ve been on a bit of an adventure lately in terms of food and reworking things, especially when eating out.


So, how did we meet? I met  Dan in university. We were both event planners, but for rival faculties. I was the social programmer for Arts, while he was the social programmer for Engineering. While there was undeniable attraction, we always seemed to each be dating someone while the other was single. Nonetheless, we were great friends and spent many evenings partying and laughing. We even worked together on a campaign to save the university bookstore and succeeded. Finally, after undergrad, the stars aligned and we were both single at the same time. We agreed we should finally give the whole dating-each-other-thing a try, and from there, things just kind of fell into place!

Dan and Danielle

But let’s face it ladies, you’re here for the wedding stuff! We’re getting married in just 3 months on July 28th, 2012. Here is the run-down.

Budget: $15,000 — Originally we were shooting for a $10,000 budget and a 100-110 person wedding. When we started making a guest list, we realized just by inviting our huge French Canadian families, we were already sitting at just under 100 guests. So, now it is a $15,000 budget and a 160 person wedding.

$15,000 is an absolute max. This is also the amount of money we are willing to put out, but not necessarily the cost of the wedding. What I mean is, we have a few cost recovery strategies for the wedding, so in a sense we’re hoping this won’t be the bottom line. Also, our wedding budget spreadsheet has EVERYTHING in it. I find a lot of people don’t put things in their budget by justifying they’ll use it later. This is not the case for us.

Location: We’re getting married and having the reception at my Godparents’ lakeside house. It’s also where we’ve spent our summers for the past five years and where we got engaged (story to come)! It’s in the backwoods cottage country of Quebec. We’ve decided to go the outdoor wedding route, which is risky, but since the venue means so much to us, we’re risking it! Fear not, we have a giant tent, but are really hoping to be out in the sunshine!


  • Feel: Rustic, but pretty, cottage party
  • Colors: Coral, periwinkle, and white with a touch of grey and burlap

 DIY Projects We Plan to Tackle or Have Tackled:

  • Our wedding website (which I made from scratch)
  • Photoshopping our save the date and invitations
  • Pinwheel boutonnieres
  • Photo booth back drop
  • Burlap table runners
  • Heart garlands/bunting
  • Old-wood looking signage
  • Guest-book/canvas
  • Cake topper
  • Wedding Cake
  • Centerpieces
  • Writing a bilingual ceremony (French and English)
  • … and the list goes on!

You guys are getting to know me right during crunch-time: 3 months until the wedding and wrapping up my teaching year at the same time! No worries though, I’m excited to blog about my experience and share everything with you! Looking forward to it! <3


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