I loved these dreamy images so much that I decided to bump this lodge wedding up a few weeks in the queue. Tiffany from Bride-On-Purpose has been a faithful reader of mine for quite some time so I was so excited that she wanted to share her wedding with the rest of you! The photos from her mountain top wedding are stunning, gorgeous- all of the above! I love the plums and purples in her color scheme, and her bridesmaids outfits could not be anymore chic. Plus, Tiffany was one smokin’ bride, right? Tiffany said in her submission, “I hope the answers (if you make it to the end!!) will provide some useful info for your readers, and most of all, I hope they will inspire even one reader to be confident in her decisions as a bride, and to really identify what makes her and her husbands day unique and special and precious!!” That’s what this feature is all about- you said it perfectly, Tiffany! Thanks again for sharing your wedding, and congrats to you and your new hubby!
What was your budget?
$20,000 (not including honeymoon); we did really well staying on budget!
What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
Because our budget was quite tight (who’s isn’t right?!), all creative and personal touches were done by myself, and believe it or not, my husband! I am a computer girl, so most of the details involved graphics, stationary, color, and yes, text! I am definitely not a crafter by nature, although I love to dabble in all things creative! My strength (I think!) is in the vision, but I often find I do not have the skill to bring my vision to life. As an example, I knew I wanted a really unique, fun, and casual seating chart, and I knew I wanted to play off a trail hiking map since we were getting married in the mountains. I wanted the tables to be represented by different mountain-inspired graphics (think animals, rocks, trail markers, etc.), but I am definitely not an artist. So, I found (through blogging brides of course… the infamous Dana of Broke-Ass-Bride) a non-wedding artist on etsy, and she crafted the most perfect ‘trail map’ seating chart, all for $30!!
Admittedly, there were times when I simply did not have enough hours in the day (i.e. I was finishing my PhD thesis in time for my defense which was 10 days before the wedding!) to dream up how our wedding would be unique, and I quite honestly, copied ideas from other brides… this is of course the best form of flattery right?! You will see in the pictures some details that were born directly from images that came sent from heaven (i.e. Google Reader!), including the banners for the dessert buffet and signing table, the family photo wall, even the glitter letters on the bottom of my shoes (from BSB of course!!). In the end, I felt like I was honouring all the brides that helped me through the process, and these ended up being some of my favourite details of the day… thanks blogging-brides!!
I think, overall, the most creative AND personal aspect of our wedding was the SOUL!! The whole process was carried out with one goal in mind… to create a truly personal day that reflected not necessarily our hobbies/interests (i.e. no golf tees cause Ian likes to golf, or salt and pepper shakers cause I like to cook), but our LOVE OF FAMILY! We had a small venue that necessitated CLOSE seating with family-style service, we served ribs and cornbread so people would use their hands to eat like they would in their own homes, we had our whole wedding weekend (including a welcome BBQ the day before and a brunch the day after) in a huge house in the mountains, so we could all hang out like a big family. By the end of our wedding weekend, our guests truly felt comfortable chilling out on a couch, or out on the deck with a beer, and I truly believe this resulted in one of the most WARM weddings I have ever been to. It’s crazy to see my family and close friends now adding Ian’s family as friends on facebook and chatting with them and making plans to get together… this is testament to how well people got to know eachother at our wedding… exactly what our goal was!!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
I am sure most brides will have the same answer to this… we got our hands dirty!! We did a LOT ourselves, but even more importantly, we asked for and got a lot of help from our friends and family!! Backing up though, the first very integral decision we made in order to save money, was to have our wedding at a large house. We found an awesome house (it was built as a single family residence, but at 11,000 sqft, it is definitely a lodge!!) that we rented for 4 nights. We were able to not only have our entire bridal party and immediate family stay with us (the house had room for 30 heads!), but were also able to have ALL of our wedding events here. We started with a Friday night games night, then a Saturday welcome BBQ (lunch… my mom and step-dad cooked the most amazing steaks, homemade baked beans and buns, and salad for ~90 guests), the wedding ceremony AND reception for 115 people, and a day after brunch (my new in-laws honoured their Danish heritage with a feast of open-faced sandwiches for ~80 guests!). We were able to bring in our wine (vinted by my grandparents) and booze, food for cocktail hour, desserts (we asked our moms, grandmas, and aunties to bake something for our dessert table, so this was of no cost to us, and was the most amazing dessert buffet I have ever seen… our guests LOVED it!!), etc. Although the lodge was a big up-front cost, we recovered ½ of the cost from our guests staying there and at some of the additional houses we borrowed from our friends in the area (since we distributed the cost of the lodge and a couple other houses we got free of charge, we were able to make the accommodation very affordable for all of our guests… only $80/person for the entire weekend!).Another big one was flowers. I had my bouquet and those for my girls made by a lady I found on craigslist. She was a very experienced florist, but was just getting back into the business after a couple of years off, so the cost was about ½ of the quotes I had got from other flower shops. For ALL other flowers, I asked my mom and step-mom to grow wildflowers and herbs. I was using the simple and rustic mason-jar/wildflower theme, and honestly would have been happy with a couple of sprigs of rosemary in each mason jar. I can NOT describe to you the lengths these two women went to to make our tables SPECTACULAR. They went beyond what I could ever have dreamt up myself, and it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about the work they put into it! We spent a total of $400 on flowers!!
I know I am rambling here, but the simple fact is this: the people in our lives made this day happen for us! For music, my father-in-law and brother-in-law played guitar during the ceremony… in fact, Ian’s dad wrote us a song that he played while I walked down the aisle!! Ian’s brother played Patience (Guns n Roses) for our first dance, and my sister’s husband DJ’d for us using Ian’s uncle’s DJ equipment (see what I’m saying?!). My mom made the burlap table runners and with my step-dad made the logs for the aisle decorations, my sister loaned me all of her candles from her wedding for table and room decoration, my cousin photographed all of our family photo wall pictures, another cousin played videographer for the day, my friend’s daughters were our babysitters, my brother, cousins, and friends that were staying at the house all worked TIRELESSLY at setting up, rearranging chairs and tables, and decorating, my bridesmaids made baskets for the bathroom… OK, I am stopping myself here because I could go on forever about all the help we had!!
I have to mention one last bit though… I bought my dress on ebay, sight unseen. I took a gamble on a Nicole Miller dress that I LOVED, and really trusted would work on my body, and after NEVER stepping foot in a bridal salon, and $500 later, I had the most perfect wedding dress!! EBAY saved the day many times, as did etsy!! Bargain hunting is a past time, and I wouldn’t have been able to put on the wedding we did without it!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
STOP… you know, stop pouring over inspiration, stop second guessing yourself, stop worrying about what other people will think… STOP! I have to say this was relatively easy for me, since I really did not have time to agonize over decisions. I saw a dress on ebay and bid on it… it wasn’t an impulse buy though. No, it was definitely a rational one, and I never looked back. I never felt bad that I didn’t try on 100 dresses. I can definitely appreciate how many beautiful gowns there are out there, but once I made a decision, I never looked back. I see so many brides agonizing, and maybe I am doing that now, post wedding, as I still read many wedding blogs, but at the end of the day, most of us will still see thousands of ideas we LOVE (yes, even AFTER the wedding), but it is what we chose for our ONE day that will end up being perfect. Be comfortable with your decisions, try not to look back, and give yourself the “ok” to reader your Google Reader, and say, “wow, that’s beautiful”. Period. End of statement. Beautiful for them, doesn’t mean you need to change your mind, cause your choice is already beautiful!!
Another tip I have… write up a DIY “dream list”. This helps to organize what projects are on the forefront, but more importantly, it will help you prioritize. I scratched a handful or two of projects with about 10 days left, because I started to realize that they really weren’t necessary, and no one would miss them. Give yourself the freedom to use a SHARPIE… cross them off with really dark ink, so they can’t even haunt you from under there!!
ASK FOR HELP. You will hear it from tons of people, and I even got nagged to get more help… in a really nice way of course, from people like my bridesmaids that really did want to help more! But, you will reach a point where you realize just how important it is to relieve yourself of some of the pressures, but also to include your special people… they want to be a part of your day!Identify the SOUL of your wedding. For us, it was family. Simple. Every decision we made centered around our family… not meeting their needs, but creating an atmosphere that would bring family together in a way that was as special for them as it was for us! If you want elegance, fun, party, casual, or formal as the soul of your wedding, keep that in mind throughout the process. At the end of our weekend, I knew that it was family that made our day a reality and truly spectacular!
I am by no means an expert in the subject, but I know one thing for sure, and that’s that I had to keep ‘me’ feeling protected at all times. Weddings are a time of judgement. A lot of people don’t like to talk about it, but when you host a party for 100+ people, all the emotions are heightened, your choices are on display for all to critique/evaluate, and you are the centre of attention. That can breed insecurity (yep, I just said it!). It is evidence on wedding blogs (in a good way too… we support each other; but in a difficult way in that now strangers are even weighing in on our decisions!), and in most brides I know. We want everyone to have a great time, appreciate our efforts, even compliment our style etc. etc. etc. I found it really important to not ask for too many opinions. I lived in a different city than most of my family, including my mom and all of my bridesmaids, so most wedding decisions were made between myself and then-fiance. We presented the options to eachother, weighed the pros and cons (our biggest factors were budget, time management, and how the decision affected the SOUL of the wedding). From there, we informed other people about our decisions, and tried not to seek approval. Of course, this didn’t happen every time, and I definitely hoped (and yes, sometimes even asked) for approval on some items/decisions, but usually looked only to my sister (and MOH) for this approval… the more opinions you ask for, the more you will get… leading of course to AGONIZING over decisions!! And the end of the weekend, Ian and I really felt that we had succeeded in creating a wedding weekend that was fun (non-stop laughter, seriously!!), family focused, on budget, and we were both really quite confident in most of the decisions we had made ?
What was your biggest splurge?
Hands down, photography was our biggest splurge. We swooned over the work of 6:8 photography, and at 20% of our total budget, we knew it was a big decision. But, there is absolutely nothing I feel better about spending the money on than Kevan and Duane. Not only did they provide us with the most beautiful ART from our wedding day, they are people we feel honoured to support. They are the epitome of professionals, but more importantly, they are friends. Kevan was with me and my bridesmaids the whole day, and witnessed a bit of family drama, nakedness ;), and when I was stressing about the rain, it was him that put all my worries to rest. We had an amazing time shooting with them before the ceremony, and the memories and emotion they captured are truly invaluable!!
The second splurge that comes to mind was our hairpieces, corsages, and boutonnieres. Myself, my bridesmaids, and my mom all had custom Myra Kim (twigs n honey) hair pieces, as did my groom and his boys, and our VIPs (parents and grandparents) received beautiful corsages and bouts. I absolutely LOVED my veil and headpiece, and I really hope everyone else cherishes their pieces too! Other than that, we really do not have any other detail that cost us a lot of money… budget budget budget!!
What was your favorite detail?
Can a venue be a detail?! I really think that the venue was the most spectacular detail of them all. It really did create the intimate, casual, rustic feel that set the tone for the entire weekend. I have so many memories from spending the weekend there, that that is what pops into my head first!\n\nI would never have guessed I would ever say this, but the rain was almost a favourite detail. I came close to letting it affect my mood on the morning of the wedding, but the amazing photography resulted… umbrellas, rain boots, and later, the most dramatic clouds I have seen in wedding photos! It really was memorable!
If I go a bit deeper, I really did LOVE my veil… it made me feel glamorous and beautiful. I also really loved our seating chart… silly, I know, but it was just so fun and cute. I could seriously go on and on, cause there were so many great parts to the day, and things like the flowers, that were totally due to the LOVE of my mom and step-mom… again, I am tearing up just thinking about how beautiful the flowers were!!
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
I have two: I had walked down the aisle, truly focusing on my man waiting for me at the end, and since I had had some issues with my parents stepping on my dress (tight venue=tight aisle!), I hadn’t taken ANY time to soak in all the people around me. When Ian and I were finally standing hand in hand, and the officiant had started the ceremony, I stopped, and SLOWLY looked around the room, making eye contact and smiling at so many of our special guests. Some of the most random people pop into my head when I remember it, but it really was the moment that I thought to myself, “wow, these are the people I love the most, and they are here to witness me marry the man I love most!”… it is a moment I will never forget! The second one was as I was rushing to finish getting ready (I was about 25 minutes late for our 1st look), and my mom gave me the gift Ian sent over. In the note, he wrote that he was so excited to see me, and in his words… “you are so beautiful today, more beautiful than yesterday, and not quite as beautiful as you will be tomorrow”. This hit me hard, because so much energy is invested by brides into looking their absolute BEST on their wedding day… the workouts, the teeth whitenening, the body wraps, the hair and makeup, the dress, but really, your husband loves you for YOU. And my man truly loves ME. He thinks I am beautiful for my heart, not for how many inches I lost to look great in a slinky white silk dress! His words really helped bring me back to what the wedding was all about. YES, I had just spent ~4hrs getting ready for our day, YES, I had just done a final check in the mirror to see how I looked, YES, I had just tightened my abs to remind myself to keep my posture all day… but it was ME he was marrying, and he really did believe I would be even more beautiful the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that… we were here to get married, to commit to love eachother forever! It was going to be a fantastic day!!
Photography: Kevan and Duane from 6:8 Photography // Venue: Elk View Lodge in Fernie, BC // Catering: DonnaMarie @ Fernie Fine Foods // Dress: Nicole Miller // Hairpieces, corsages, boutteniers: Twigs n Honey // The boys ties were from Cyberoptix // Save the Dates/Invites: Sarah in Wonderland