The Budget Savvy Bride » LeahS. helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Sat, 28 Mar 2015 20:01:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Post-wedding budget breakdown Fri, 03 Aug 2012 15:30:03 +0000 Well, all the planning is finished, the wedding is over, and married life has begun. It’s crazy to think that all of that hard work is finally complete, and there is nothing left on my to-do list. The day was truly amazing, more than I could have imagined or planned.

We got married on April 28, 2012 in the small rural town of Orangeville, Ontario (Canada), at a golf & ski resort tucked in the hills of Hockley Valley at Hockley Valley Resort and Spa.

We had 190 Guests. With a lot of Sam’s family coming from overseas, it was a truly special day for Sam to see how far they all had come for us.

We tried to make our wedding as personal as possible, and allow our guests to see who we are individually and as a couple. I included some DIY projects and my mom and sisters were a big part of pulling it all together. One of my favourite details was the floral archway that my mom made for our ceremony. We brainstormed long and hard to try and figure out the best option for the trellace, and I think it turned out beautiful. (The wedding after ours actually asked to use it as well!) I don’t know how I can just pick one most memorable moment of our day, so I will share a few with you…

During the small Indian portion of our ceremony, our dad’s picked each other up (as is part of the Indian tradition)! I was shocked and everyone had a good laugh.

Seeing my 9 yr. nephew cry during our ceremony. So precious.

Sam and his mom doing their “Jai Ho” dance!

Here is the final breakdown of our $20,000 budget:

Stationary $400

Beauty & Attire $1,400
(Second outfit was a gift from groom’s parents)

Rentals & Decor $1,200

Photography $2,000

Flowers (Gift from my parents)


Food & Bar service $12,000

Band/ Entertainment $1,700

Our biggest splurge was the entertainment. We really wanted our guests to be wowed and enjoy the night with us. Going with a band was definitely a budget breaker, but we have heard so many people raving over them still a month later.

Cake/ Rings/ Gifts/ Misc $1,300

One of the ways we saved money was by using friends and family as vendors. My mom did the flowers, cousin did the decorating, friends did makeup and photography, and Sam’s dad was the officiant.


My advice for those of you who are in the middle of planning, is to go with your heart. There are so many decisions to make and so many different options to choose from, so when you know that you love something, don’t second guess it. Make decisions as quickly as possible to avoid getting over worked and stressed about every minor detail. In the end, you will be married, and no one else will remember the colour or amount of tea lights you had on the table.

To see more photos of our wedding day, you can check out some recent posts on my blog.

All photos credited to Erin Leydon Photography.

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Our Honeymoon – St. Lucia Thu, 14 Jun 2012 16:30:57 +0000 I just wanted to share a little bit of our honeymoon with you, since it’s always fun to see where people decide to spend their first week or two as a married couple.

I know that many people struggle with picking “the perfect honeymoon destination”, so here are some tips I wanted to share with the Bride-to-be’s to help you in your honeymoon search.

Tip #1: Give yourself a day to recuperate before leaving for your honeymoon.
Depending on how much time you are able to take off work, you may want to go somewhere far or stay close to home. We only had a week so we decided to leave the morning after our wedding. Mistake #1.
Since we had to leave at 6am, we only had about 4 hours of sleep. (I also only got 3 hours the night before.) I have never been that tired in my entire life, but knowing that I had a week to relax made it all worth while. We knew we wanted to go to St. Lucia and there were only flights leaving on Sundays, which was why we ended up having to do this.

Tip#2: Stay in the same time zone
Again, it all depends on where you want to go, and on each person. Some people have always dreamed of cruising the Mediterranean, or a week sipping wine in Tuscany, but go somewhere that you know both you and your husband will enjoy together. My husband really wanted to take me to an all inclusive in the Caribbean, since I had never been there before. St. Lucia was only a 5 hour flight for us and it was really nice not having to adjust to a time change (both going there and coming home). I found that we got to spend all of time enjoying the week, rather than trying to adjust to a new schedule.

Tip #3: Look for adventure
No matter who you are, or what you like to do, look for a place that offers activities that you can enjoy together. St. Lucia offers many different types of activities and some that even came as part of our all-inclusive package. We went zip-lining as an all day tour of the town along the way which was really cool. It was great to learn more about the culture and see the ‘real’ country. Other days we went snorkeling and para sailing as well.

 The most important thing is that you enjoy spending time with each other as a new married couple. It was fun to say on our trip that we had just gotten married, and celebrate with other newlyweds as well! It is the one and only time you will be on your honeymoon, so relish in it! Love each other unconditionally, and celebrate your marriage daily.

Happy Honeymooning!

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I’m back as a Mrs. Mon, 14 May 2012 15:30:27 +0000 Hello everyone,
Sorry for my disappearance over the last few weeks. The weeks leading up to the wedding were crazy and tiring to say the least. I thought I would say a quick hello and leave you with a few photos from my pre-wedding shoot to enjoy as a tease to our wedding photos.

Since I was spending the money on hair and makeup trials already, I decided to do a mini bridal portraits photoshoot with my photographer in my Indian outfit. I was only wearing it for a short time at our reception, so I wanted to have some photos in it still to have. So without further adieu…


All Images credited to Erin Leydon Photography

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{LeahV} DIY: Seating ‘chart’ Thu, 26 Apr 2012 13:00:39 +0000 I wanted to do something out of the box from your typical seating chart and do something a little more creative. I showed you an inspiration picture in my last post, so I thought I’d give you an update as to where I can going with this idea.

My biggest challenge when figuring out how to make this idea work, was finding something sturdy enough for all of the frames to hang from. I didn’t want it to be very labor intensive because I didn’t know how much setup time would be allowed before guests started arriving in the foyer. I looked at a couple options but didn’t want to compromise the overall look of it. So, I decided to splurge a little (since every other aspect of this project was DIY’d) and rent an extra backdrop. The nice thing about this is that the decorator will be able to setup the whole thing, and I don’t need to worry about assigning this to a family member. I want everyone to be able to enjoy the day without worry about setup and takedown.

I started collecting gold frames from the thrift store over the past 6 months or so, some 8 1/2 x 11″ to fit a regular sheet of paper for the guest seating lists, and some smaller 5 x 7″ frames for a few of our engagement photos. I bought wooden letters and a basic tray from Michael’s Arts and crafts and just painted them black and gold to fit with our theme. I think it will stand out nicely and will grab the guest’s attention. What do you think?

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{LeahV} Entertainment Thu, 12 Apr 2012 13:12:34 +0000 Entertainment turned out to be the main focus for our reception. Nobody likes to go to a predictable ‘been-there, seen-that’ wedding, and I didn’t want that for our guests either. We went with a jazz-funk band instead of DJ, and are having a few choreographed dances to keep the party going. Since these are not your standard wedding must-haves, I found it difficult to commit and make decisions for the entertainment.

First, finding the right band was a challenge (they are ridiculously expensive), but with a little help from the parents, we booked a fabulous 6 piece band.


Second, my mother-in-law-to-be gave Sam and I dance lessons as our birthdays gifts, so we will be doing a choreographed first dance. I have never taken dance lessons, so it was a bit nerve racking, but I know it will pay off in the end.

{via Style Me Pretty}

Third, we asked some family friends to do a bollywood style dance for us, and they asked me to join them for the last half of the song as a surprise for our guests! I am so excited and have loved learning the art of bollywood dancing!


Needless to say, we’re hoping it’s a party full of fun and dancing! Are you becoming part of the entertainment on your wedding day or leaving it up to the pros?

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{Leah} DIY project list Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 For those of you on Pinterest, you know the hours spent searching through various wedding ideas can be endless. I have found some really great DIY’s that I am currently working on and hope to accomplish before the end of the month, but we’ll see if that will happen.
Here’s a few of the projects. I’ll show you my progress in the next post (and hopefully they’ll be done by then).
Using this idea for hanging the escort cards and some of our engagement photos
This $68.00 Bride and Groom set from BHLDN can be made for $0!
We are adding some cute tags on the card box, and some other fun DIY stationery
Images (1, 2, 3)
Do you have any projects on your list to tackle?
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Budget Update : Save vs Splurge Fri, 30 Mar 2012 13:00:03 +0000 As you go through the planning process, you realize how much things actually cost, and you have to re-evaluate your wants vs. needs. Since I have a mere 6 weeks left until my wedding day, the total cost is adding up, and I have had to take a step back and see where we can still save and where we can splurge! I will be giving you the final breakdown after the wedding, but sometimes it’s good to see where fellow brides stand during crunch time and see what money they have left. (if any at all) :)

Here’s a little Save vs. Splurge list from my perspective


Save: Invitations/ Programs

Splurge: Thank you card

There are so many great DIY ideas out there for invitations and programs that save you a lot of time and money. Thank you cards are something that people may keep on their fridge for years to come, so here’s where I think hiring someone to design something unique is well worth it.


Save: Pre-wedding pampering

Splurge: Day of Hair and Makeup

Instead of going out to a spa with your bridesmaids, why not set up a day of pampering in your own home. You can take turns doing each others nails and facials. Spend that money on a good hair stylist and make up artist instead. You will be looking at your wedding pictures for the rest of your life, so make your beauty a priority.

AttireSave: Shoes & Accessories

Splurge: Dress

Depending on what’s important to you, you may want to spend your money on a pair of Louboutin shoes for your wedding, but since we’re all Savvy brides, I doubt that’s the case. I say go for it all when it comes to your dress. You want to look back and remember your wedding day being the most beautiful you ever felt.


Save: Location

Splurge: Flowers/ Decor

This is a tricky one because you could switch it around and the ceremony could be as equally beautiful. It’s all a matter of opinion, so since I am a lover of beautiful things, I wanted to spend my money on the flowers and decor. We do have a beautiful ceremony location as well though, so I really didn’t have to sacrifice anything (Thanks Mom and Dad).

ReceptionSave: Linens/ Decor

Splurge: Venue/ Food/ Entertainment

The reception is the biggest expense for the entire wedding, so picking certain aspects that you really want to wow your guests with is key. If we all had a $50,000 budget, of course we could splurge on everything, but that’s unrealistic. Decide what you feel is most important and do as much research to find the best prices.


Save: Engagement photos

Splurge: Wedding day photography

If you really want engagement photos (like I did), ask around and find an amateur photographer that is working on building up their portfolio. You can get great photos at a great price. The photography is a huge part of the wedding day because those are the memories that you will keep forever. Don’t get sucked into thinking that you have to spend thousands on a good photographer, but don’t go cheap. You get what you pay for.

Images: {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6}

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{Leah V} Cardbox DIY Thu, 22 Mar 2012 13:00:52 +0000 One of my DIY’s was our cardbox. It’s very simple, but it’s just something that adds a little personal touch, rather than using the one that the hall offers (that you know hundreds of bride’s have already used).

My mom had an old decorative birdcage hanging in our living room that she was going to get rid of, so I quickly claimed it and added a little bit of ribbon to match our colour scheme.

wedding birdcage

I removed the ‘door’ from the front and cut some of the wooden spokes to make the hole wide enough to fit a large card. I used the leftover ribbon from other projects to add some decorative interest.

birdcage cardbox


Birdcage – Free

Ribbon – leftovers from other projects

Total cost: $0.00

Now I’d say that a budget savvy DIY!

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{LeahV} The Honeymoon Tue, 13 Mar 2012 15:00:55 +0000 The honeymoon is booked, and I am already dreaming of days on the beach with a cold drink!

I have never been to the Caribbean, let alone traveled much at all, so the honeymoon was a big decision and we wanted to make the ‘perfect’ choice. We both had ideas of what we wanted and once we put them together, decided that a Caribbean vacation on a white sand beach with lots of activities would be it. We looked at some different options on our own to decide on a practical budget, and then worked with a travel agent who could get us the biggest bang for our buck. She was such a great help and will be able to handle anything that comes up to alleviate any stress from us.

So, the final decision was Sandals St. Lucia – Halcyon Resort!!! I can’t wait!

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{LeahV} Guest List Drama from your Mama Mon, 05 Mar 2012 14:00:46 +0000 When envisioning our wedding days as a young girl, I’m sure we have all pictured different things. From the decorations to the location, but no matter what you decide, the size of the guest list will have the biggest impact on your budget.

I knew having a big wedding was inevitable for me because I have a large family, and my fiance’s family has many close friends. Big to me meant 150 people. Well of course when discussing the guest list with both of our parents, the numbers kept increasing, so I agreed to 175 max! Then there’s a few people here and there that you may have forgotten, or your cousin wants to bring his girlfriend, now increasing the list to 200. That’s right, we went from 150 to 200 and it took much frustration and anxiety for me to finally accept this number. Now that we are nearly 2 months away from our wedding day, we are starting to get RSVP’s. I’ve read that approximately 20% of the guest list will say no, so I was happy expecting 180 yes’s. WELL, we’ve had 15 people say no so far, and this has opened up the floodgates yet again for the opportunity to invite more people. (Or so they think) Not only do you have a vision for your wedding, but so do your parents, and when the parents want a big wedding, there will be a fight to the end to invite as many people as possible.

Let me share a with you a few scenarios we’ve had regarding the guest list.

Scenario 1:
Aunt + Uncle respond Yes but did not include my cousin in the reply. I email my Aunt to ask if said cousin will be coming. Aunt says he was going to talk to me personally and ask me something. (I know what this is about) Cousin text messages me to ask if he can bring his girlfriend (whom I have never met and he has only been dating 2 months). I say yes.

Scenario 2:
MIL gets a text message from a friend who asks if her daughter and son-in-law can come along to the wedding because they think it would be so fun. I laugh because I think she’s kidding. She’s not kidding. I say no.

Scenario 3:
I get an email asking if we can invite three more people who have been great customers of the business for over 20 years. So and so already said no, so could we just replace them with these guests? This one has been lingering for almost a week now…I’m undecided. I’ll probably cave and say yes because I’m sick of dealing with it.

Let’s just say that it’s going to be a never ending battle until the actual wedding day. Even then, people may just decide to show up if they feel like it. (Another response we got from one guest. Like are you kidding me?)

Sometimes I wish we could just elope.

Image via Style Me Pretty

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