The Budget Savvy Bride » Canada Wedding helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:28:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Retro Inspired Wedding Wed, 11 Feb 2015 13:00:56 +0000

It’s not that often we get to feature Canada weddings so I’m thrilled to share this sweet one with you today! This lovely wedding had 72 guests and tons of handmade details to make the day unique. The bride got a designer gown at a sample sale (score!) and was very intentional about deciding between wedding “wants” and “needs.” I absolutely love the retro vibe that the wedding party attire invokes, too! I know you’ll love these gorgeous photos! xoxo Jessica

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Rebecca + Bryan

August 2nd, 2014

Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

St.Mark’s Anglican Church | Eagle Crest Golf Course


What was your budget?

Budget: $10,000 CAD; We spent $10,185 CAD


  • Bride
    • Dress: £450 ($811 CAD)
    • Alterations: £150 ($265 CAD)
    • Shoes: £18.99 ($34 CAD)
    • Head piece: £160 ($278 CAD)
    • Bridal bouquet: $100.80 CAD
    • Hairstylist: $80 CAD
  • 3 Bridesmaid bouquets: $218.40 CAD
  • Flower girl outfit: $30 CAD
  • Grooms Tux: £185 CAD
  • Mother of the Groom Corsage: $21 CAD
  • Father of the Groom Boutineer: $11 CAD
  • Venue: $2100 CAD
  • Church: $250 CAD
  • Organist: $150 CAD
  • Invitations & Reply card : £49 ($89 CAD)
  • Bunting: £229 ($430 CAD)
  • Wedding favours – personalised coasters: $184 CAD
  • Photography: $3,559 CAD (incl. usb with all the pictures)
  • Appy Couple Wedding Website/App: $30 CAD
  • Her Ring: £270 ($494 CAD)
  • His Ring: $800 CAD
  • Other stationery (maps, puzzles, order of service, colouring sheets): $52


How many guests did you have?

We had 72 guests.


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

  • 250 ft of hand made fabric bunting
  • Designed the coasters which were our wedding favours. Identified a Chinese supplier through Was very happy with the process and helped make our wedding even more personalised. Since we’ve lived in Europe, I collect coasters in every country I’ve visited — making our own coasters helped us share the love coasters as mementos
  • Friend Karli made the Wedding cake
  • Friend Gwen made the peg people cake toppers — I was going to make them myself, however my friend Gwen wanted to make them for us since she wouldn’t be able to travel over for the wedding.
  • My Matron of Honour, Laura made the UK Post box style card box
  • An unorthodox walk down the aisle: Bryan walked up to meet me half way, and we walked up to the alter together
  • Created a clue based word search for our guests to keep them entertained ahead of the ceremony


What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?

I don’t believe we made any major sacrifices, however we stayed realistic and and approached every decision with the following question “Do we need this or do we just want it?”


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

  • Made the fabric bunting ourselves.
  • Bought wedding dress at a wedding show sample sale
  • Friend made the wedding cake
  • Mother of the Groom created the lovely centre pieces
  • Designed out own double sided ‘post card’ styled invitations, and since the template wasn’t from the wedding section the price was considerable lower.
  • Decided that there was not need to decorate the church — it looked lovely as it was
  • Chose not to order boutonnieres for the groomsman
  • Wedding website to register the majority of the RSVPs


What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

For a long distance wedding (bride and groom in different countries) communication and delegation is very important. Since I was living in the UK for the length of our engagement, and Bryan in Canada, we determined what was important to each of us: I wanted to choose the photographer and Bryan wanted to ensure we had a good meal. I took the responsibility of vetting photographers, and Bryan chose the venue and menu — I didn’t even know what our menu was, and trusted him that our venue was up to par and able to accommodate bunting.

I feel having kids there really made the wedding. To ensure that they didn’t get bored at the reception we placed crayons and wedding themed colouring sheets (free images downloaded from google image search) at the tabled they’d be sitting.


What was your biggest splurge?

Our photographers — I profiled each photographer I came across, rated their portfolio and then decided on my top three choices. We were very happy with the couple we went with!


What was your favourite detail?

The bunting — it added character to our reception!


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our walk down the aisle as husband and wife!



Photography: Julien Photography   •   Church: St.Marks Anglican Church   •   Reception Venue: Eagle Crest Golf Course   •   Flowers: Qualicum Beach Florist   •   Invitations:   •   Coasters: Fuzuo Goldensun Promotions  •  Bridesmaids Dresses: DaisyBridalHouse   •   Bridal Head Piece: HF Couture  •   Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander    •   Website + Wedding App: Appy Couple


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Wedding with Handcrafted Details Wed, 04 Feb 2015 13:00:35 +0000

I’m thrilled to share this sweet wedding with you today! This lovely wedding had tons of handmade details to make the day unique. The bride got a designer gown at a sample sale (score!) and was very intentional about deciding between wedding “wants” and “needs.” I absolutely love the bunting and the bandana table decor — so sweet and inexpensive too! I know you’ll love these gorgeous photos! xoxo Jessica

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 Rob + Kate

September 13, 2014

 Wall Township, NJ, Pat’s 30 Acres


What was your wedding budget?


Venue and food: $6,700

Rentals: $400

Rings: $350

Jewelry for bride: $25.00 (earrings only, all else was borrowed or already owned)

Hair: free (salon does bride free with certain size bridal party)

Make up: free (wedding gift from close friend who is makeup artist)

Dress: $450

Shoes: $30.00 (2nd hand, ebay)

Day of Coordinator: $500

Photogra pher: $1050

DJ: $300

Flowers (bulk for DIY): $700

Flowers from florist (brides bouquet and mothers corsages): $200

Favors: $300

Invitations: $325

Cake: $225

Cupcakes: gifted, made by one of my fantastic bridesmaids!!

Beach house for weekend: $750

Gifts for Bridal Party and parents: $700

Liquor and wine: $500

Crafts and décor (table squares, thrift store vases, etc) : $1500

How many guests did you have?

185 invited

160 in attendance

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Our ceremony was very personal. Rob’s sister did a reading, my oldest sister officiated, and my other sister and her husband played a ukulele rendition of “Moon River” as I walked down the aisle, which was actually THEIR wedding song years ago. It made the whole thing incredibly special.

Our décor was pretty special to me because I spent a year gathering vases, ceramic animals, and other odds and ends from second hand stores, and actually became sort of known at some of the local thrift shops. A lot of the volunteers knew me and what I was there for, and would even occasionally hold things behind the counter for me if something came in that they suspected I might like. They always wanted to chat about how planning was going. It became a little ritual, and to see them all out on the tables the day of made me feel a whole lot of feels.

We also had a piñata at our reception. A GIANT one that I made over the course of a week and filled with salt water taffy. We generally aren’t very serious people,, so we wanted something to drive home that this was a laid back and very un-stuffy event. I think my bridesmaids in their formal wear beating a big paper mache ball did the trick. Also, who doesn’t want a taffy shower?!

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Had a BBQ menu. The BBQ menu was much more affordable then most plated dinners would be, and suited our laid back style anyway. The venue was really great at working with us. We gave them a budget and an idea of what we wanted, and they worked with us on creating a menu with a little more personality then burgers and potato salad while staying inside of our budget. We wanted to stay under $40.00 per person with tax, gratuity, etc. and they got us incredibly close, and produced delicious ribs, brisket, corn bread, salad, baked beans, etc.. It was very “southern style”. They also included two beers on tap of our choosing (Guinness and Blue Moon, which brings a third option, the ever popular Black and Blue!!!), but let us bring in all of the other spirits, so that gave us room to bargain shop for the wine and liquor, which saved us additional on the per head cost.

What was the biggest sacrifice you made to stay on budget?

We did a LOT of things ourselves. It was very time consuming to spend my weekends scouring thrift stores and flea markets, making banners, etc. We also set everything up the day before, including making centerpieces and bridesmaids bouquets from fresh cut flowers we had ordered in bulk. It was a ton of work, but FUN work.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Stick to what YOU want. Don’t let other people tell you what you’re SUPPOSED to, or what is EXPECTED, or TRADITIONAL. We kept some traditions, and tossed some that didn’t feel like they fit us out the window. So many people had their opinions, and ultimately on our wedding day when everything was exactly what we wanted, it didn’t matter what they thought. We knew this was everything we wanted it to be.

I would also suggest getting ultra prepared in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Make your to do lists, time lines, etc.. Then once you’re at your rehearsal dinner (if you’re having one) just let go, let it all play out, and whole heartedly enjoy every moment from then on. Even if it turns out it isn’t exactly what you planned. Things will go awry, but all of those moments will either work themselves out, or become interesting stories you laugh about in the future. You only get to do this once, so don’t waste a single second fretting.

What was your biggest splurge?

One: Our day of coordinator seemed like such a luxury when we booked her, but she was the glue that held our entire wedding together. I can’t recommend this splurge for DIY brides enough. On your wedding day there will be a thousand little issues: where does this go, when does that happen.. Those things multiply ten-fold if your wedding is heavy with DIY elements. Our day of coordinator made it her business to make sure we weren’t bothered with any of that. She also made sure that we ate and made sure that our cups were full all night. I truly believe that without her we would have spent our wedding day ring mastering a circus instead of enjoying it.

Two: We decided sort of last minute to rent a house two blocks from the beach in a town about fifteen minutes from our venue instead of getting hotel rooms for the weekend. It was really amazing to have a central location where we could just relax and drink wine on the porch, visit with family, eat snacks with members of our bridal party who popped in and out, for the entire weekend. It created a sense of community that I don’t think we would have had if we had simply booked a room.

What was your favorite detail?

Doilies! They are so light and airy, I just love them. So I bought a box of 1000 for twenty five dollars, and used them for everything. They got wrapped around our invitations, strung up all over our venue, plastered to our piñata.. I still have several hundred of them in my garage.. I feel like it’s the farthest twenty five dollars has ever gotten me.

I also really loved my necklace. It belongs to my grandmother. My grandfather had given it to her as a gift when they were young. He is no longer with us, so it was a nice way to have a part of him with me. Bonus points that it was also super gorgeous.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our first dance was really special. It was a song that rang very true not only for us as a couple, but for our tight knit group of friends, so halfway through we invited everyone to join us on the dance floor. Everyone was singing and really happy. It was sort of magic.



Venue: Pat’s 30 Acres  •  Photographer: DB Photography  •  Day of Coordinator: Pearl Event Planning   •  Bridal bouquet and mothers corsages: Mister Allen’s Florist  •  Cake: Mueller’s Bakery  •  Hair: Salon Du Monde  •  All other florals: Sam’s Club  •  Wedding Dress and Bridesmaids: David’s Bridal  • Invitations: VistaPrint


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Simple Crafty Wedding Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:00:21 +0000

This very simple crafty wedding is a great example of how to focus on what’s most important to you. This couple created a great day that they were totally happy with at a budget they were comfortable with as well. The super casual vibe and the fact that they included their honeymoon in their budget makes this wedding extra special. I love the handcrafted paper flowers, too — you know how much I love alternative flower options for a wedding! Okay — on with the feature… hope you enjoy this laid-back, simple wedding!  xoxo, Jessica

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Jenna + David

August 2, 2014

Udora Community Hall  |  Udora, Ontario, Canada


What was your budget?

No Budget-As little as possible
Total Cost: $7733.04

Dress & Attire – $907.27
Make Up- $29.32
Dress- $55
Shoes- $70
Groom’s Attire- $100
Groomsmen Attire- $500 (paid by Groom)
Bridesmen Attire- $152.95 (paid by Bride)

Venue Costs & Rentals – $1041.03
Marriage License- $100
Rental of venue from FridaySaturday– $762.75
Wedding Insurance- $215
Wine Glass Rental- $63.28

Decor and Bouquets – $422.92
70 Paper flowers- $20
Table Cloths & Napkins- $81.08
Floral wire & glue- $27.72
Confetti Supplies- $25.96
16 Baskets- $47.52
Crayons- $16.95
Kraft Paper- $14.68
Signs- $25
Fruit- $64
Miscellaneous- $100

Invitations – $76.39
Invites- $33.89
Postage- $42.50

Jewelry – $47.43
Brides wedding band- $22.60
Grooms wedding band- $24.83

Gifts – $250

Food – $2786.90
Catering- $2,591.65
Pop- $55.30
Water- $19.95
Ingredients for wedding pie- $100
Coffee & Tea- $20

Alcohol – $1401.10
Bartenders- $200
Liquor License- $25
Beer- $815.90
Wine- $360.20

Honeymoon – $800
3 nights hotel- $400
9 nights camping- $400

Paid by Parents of the Bride: $4185.63

Paid by Bride: $1466.31

Paid by Mother of the Groom: $1000

Paid by Groom: $1081.10



How many guests did you have?

In total there were 140 individuals invited to the wedding.  In the end 113 showed up (80%).


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

I made the bouquets out of floral supplies and origami flowers.
Our guestbook was an oar that had hung on the siding of our first house when we bought it.
I painted reserved seating signs for special people for the ceremony.
I painted our order-of-events and seating signs.
Our officiant was my husbands Grandad.
Our photographer was my husbands cousin.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We made an effort in every aspect of the wedding to save money, while not sacrificing on things that we really wanted.

In Ontario alcohol sales are strictly regulated, which also results in it being rather expensive. However we knew we wanted to serve alcohol, so we made sure to find a venue that would allow us to provide our own servers and beverages. We also opted to have a beer and wine reception, which cut a lot of costs both with purchasing the actual liquor and with not having to hire very experienced bartenders. I estimate that we saved about $700 by not serving mixed drinks. Also, while we only had to pay our bartenders $200 total, if we had wanted mixed drinks we would have had to go with more experienced servers which would have been $1000 total, saving us $800.

Catering is also a costly item. We opted for BBQ catering, as the cost was only $15 per head for a double portion, plus a travel fee (the venue was a ways out of the city). Also, I had some aunties eager to help and the volunteered to purchase and serve the hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour. My parents also purchased a bunch of Filipino food for our after party (which we held on our property, so no rental fees).

We also went with non-traditional dress. I wore a cocktail dress, my brides men were in jeans and dress shirts, my bridesmaids wore jersey dresses, and the groomsmen were in slacks and plaid shirts.

Rather than having an all night dance party, we opted for a lunch reception and then brought the guests to our house (conveniently less than a kilometre away from the venue) for an after party. We had lawn games, brought over the leftover beer & wine, and just hung out. It was a great way to spend some extra time with our loved ones without having to add much cost. Not having a DJ was also a money saver (thank you to a stereo and iPod).

Finally, having family perform the ceremony and take the photos also were a lifesaver. To be fair Grandad is a minister and Michelle is a budding photographer, so we were lucky with that.



What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Rather than focusing on the numbers, focus on what’s important and figure out how to get what you want in an affordable way. Be confident in your decisions and don’t let others make you feel bad or wrong for making the decisions that are best for you. Every wedding is different and every wedding should be a reflection of the couple. Do the things that you want (while being respectful of others) and you won’t regret a thing.



What was your biggest splurge?

I’d say the honeymoon. While there are certain areas that I wish I could have spent less in, I’m confident that I did the best that I could to keep all costs down. While $800 may not be a lot for a 12 night honeymoon, it was more that I had originally planned to spend. Also spending a full two weeks after the wedding on vacation was such a wonderful thing! We had originally been unsure about whether or not we’d be able to take a honeymoon, so the time and money was well spent!



What was your favorite detail?

To be honest it’s difficult to think of a favourite detail. I think that the best thing was just the feel of the wedding. Everyone was so relaxed and the wedding was just laid back and enjoyable for all.


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Again, I don’t think there was one moment. I think it was just the combination of having our loved ones all together.



Caterer: Simply BBQ  •  Bartenders: Bottoms Up!  •  Venue: Udora Community Hall  •  Invitations: VistaPrint  •  Dress: SheCloth  •  Shoes: ModCloth   •  Photographer: Michelle Pugsley

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Lovely Backyard Wedding Sun, 27 Oct 2013 18:30:13 +0000 simplysavvysunday

Back with another gorgeous wedding this week that you are sure to enjoy! This lovely backyard wedding captured by Lindsay Nickel is full of sweet and crafty details. The bride, Lauren kept a thorough tally of their wedding spending and did tons of things herself to keep costs down. The end result is a fabulously frugal wedding! I absolutely love the table decor with the flower pots and wine bottles- fashionable and functional! :) Hope you enjoy this lovely wedding as much as I did! xoxo- Jessica

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Lauren + Joe

August 24, 2012

Red Deer, Alberta, Canada


What was your budget? 

Dress– $ 350  The dress I fell in love with was actually an ivory bridesmaid dress. This was a huge budget saver!

Alterations– $100

Fascinator– $20

Groom’s Suit- $400 We decided to buy a suit so that my husband could get more use out of it, especially since we were way under budget on my dress!

Hair & Make-Up $200 The Worx, Red Deer

Bride’s Bouquet- $150 

Food- $1500 My husband and I are in love with the Chinese Food from Monsieur Wong’s and had them create a Chinese buffet for us that was filled with our favourite dishes!

Desserts- $0 We asked our Aunts to bake some of our childhood favourites and had a dessert bar for our guests.

Kettle Corn- $0  This was donated to us by a friend. K &J’s Kettle Corn

Open bar- $ 1500 We bought all of our alcohol from Costco and set it up in the “drink gazebo”

Gazebo- $150 from Totem

Tent- $1100

Chairs/Tables/ Linnen rentals- $500

Decor-(DIY) $300 I ordered all of the burlap table runners from Etsy and made all of the vases. I found a lot of the other touches from Michaels, Winners and the Dollar Store

Flowers- (DIY$200 We bought our flowers from Costco and a friend generously offered to make our arrangements for us.

Photography- $500 We were lucky enough to have the amazingly talented photographer Lindsay Nickel capture all of our wedding day moments!

Wedding Favours/ Place Setting (DIY$ 200 Succulents and terracotta  pots

Invitations- $50 Evite. 

Music/ DJ-$0  Our friend is a DJ and made us a playlist.

Officiant- $200

Limo take-home service -$300

TOTAL: $7720


How many guests did you have?

85 guests


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Our main goal with our wedding was to have it reflect us as a couple. I didn’t worry about planning a “traditional” wedding and it ended up being carefree, elegant, fun and very personal. We planned our own ceremony and said our personal vows and commitments to one another in front of our family and friends. To conclude our vows we turned lemons into lemonade and toasted each other.


What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Having the wedding ceremony and reception in my parents’ backyard eliminated the venue cost. I did a lot of the decor myself with vases found at the dollar store or mason jars. Not having a traditional wedding cake and a DJ also helped us save money.


What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Don’t lose sight about what is important! The reason you are planning this huge celebration is because you get to spend the rest of your life married to the person you love. It is so easy to get caught up in details. Most importantly, have fun and make every detail about you! If you are looking to save money plan some DIY projects!


What was your biggest splurge?

I didn’t think that I needed a bouquet that was professionally done. I am VERY happy that I splurged! Stems did an amazing job capturing the rustic elegance feel I was looking for. 


What was your favorite detail?

Honestly, I don’t think I could even narrow it down to a few favorite details. The whole day was like a dream. 


What is the most memorable moment of your day?

Our photographer set up a “first look” before our ceremony and it was amazing to have that moment just between the two of us. It gave us a chance to really be in the moment.




Catering: Monsieur Wong’s  //  Photographer: Lindsay Nickel   //   Hair & Make Up: The Worx Red Deer, AB   //  Hair- Connie Burton   //   Bouquet: Stems   //  Rentals: Parkland Party and Equipment Rentals LTD.  //  Invitations: My Invitation Link


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My Wedding Recap Tue, 27 Aug 2013 13:04:01 +0000 I’m baaaaaack!!!


So, here we are… at the end of the wedding marathon. Well, almost, anyway. I am good and married; we have had our destination wedding and our at-home reception. So now to wrap it all up! I have included it ALL here, but I will try to specify what was the at-home reception (which was a smaller, but otherwise typical, version of a regular wedding reception in my hometown) and what was the destination wedding.


The Wedding:


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From the Alberta Reception
(fewer pictures of this one, and not professional; a friend took some decor pictures I have not gotten from her yet):

Hanna Reception 034 Hanna Reception 048 Hanna Reception 102 Hanna Reception 179


I’m baaaaaack!!!

What was your budget?

Apparel: $425 (this includes our wedding rings, and my dress alterations, but not my dress itself, which was a gift and cost about $900)
Gifts: $832 (we went a little overboard here; we kind of spoiled our guests who came to the Dominican)
Music: free (the band for our at-home reception was $2000 I believe; it was also a gift)
Resort wedding package: $850
Officiants: $450 (we had two, one for the legal and one for our Dominican wedding)
Decor: $78
Flowers and Parasols: $145
Photography & Videography: $1729 (we went over on this one – we also paid a travel expense and their room for two nights)


At-Home Reception (including hall fees, drinks, food, etc.): $3532 (we went over on this one; this includes alcohol, which is actually a gift from my dad)

Stationery, Invitations, Postage: $262

Transportation: $300

Destination Travel, Room, etc: $2592 (we only paid the $150 deposit – when we went in to pay the rest, we found out Brandon’s parents had already paid it!)

Other (including fuel, etc. to shower, stagette, salon appointments at resort and at-home reception): $2045

TOTAL: $9950

We were very fortunate to have some things gifted to us. My parents bought my wedding dress, and his parents bought our plane tickets to our destination. For our at-home reception, my parents also paid for a band (since they wanted one most; but it turned out well!), which they got a good deal on, really, since one of my brothers plays in the band. Also, my sister works for a local flower shop, so we got a pretty good deal on the few flowers we did get for our at home reception.

If I were to include the items that were gifts, the total cost of the wedding would have been: $14,632. Some items were gifted because someone insisted on something specific; we would have gone for cheaper items on our own.



How many guests did you have?

For our destination wedding, us plus 12. It was a really good size. For our at home reception, we had about 70 to supper, then maybe 40 more came for the open house in addition to that.



What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Everything!!!!  If I COULD make it, I did. I made ALL of the invitations, save the dates, programs, welcome booklets, many of the gifts, all of the decorations, boutonniers (except the one that was included for the groom at the resort), corsages, table numbers, music playlists, etc.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We tried to do as much ourselves as humanly and practically possible. We also did not stick to regular stores for what we did buy. My shoes and the bridesmaid dresses at a clothing store in the mall, and our rings came from ebay. And finally, we had a long engagement, so we were able to search out and find deals and coupons and sales. And we lucked out by using vendors connected to my family or small town for our at-home reception. (A local hair dresser came in on her day off, did my hair, my two bridesmaid’s, and only charged us $40… total!)


What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Take a deep breath. Take your time and look around. Enjoy the process. And look at your spouse-to-be and remember the reason why you are doing all of this.


What was your biggest splurge?

Well, the most expensive thing was definitely our location, but that was our first priority. After that, our photography package, which was our second priority. And we both agreed that we were completely okay spending the most on these two aspects. Definitely worth it.


What was your favorite detail?

Hmmm…. this is a good question. Of course I loved my dress, and I loved seeing all those personal touches I had worked on for two years coming together.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

There were a whole lot! I woke up in the morning (my sister stayed with me the night before) and went to breakfast by myself, where I saw my soon-to-be hubby and his best man. I got to eat breakfast with them, and then we jumped in a pool and his best man brought me a mimosa before I went to get ready. I liked having that time.

My fiance and I had agreed to exchange notes before the wedding. I loved reading his to me, all alone in the room.

When my little golf-cart-esque shuttle dropped me off and I saw Brandon at the end of the aisle.

Dancing in the sand with our guests at the wedding.

Seeing how happy it made our extended family to have our at-home reception when we got back (especially the grandparents and close friends).

The day after the wedding, Brandon and I got breakfast in bed, and then we went to take our trash the dress pictures with our photographer and videographer. That was so much fun! We really enjoyed it and I am sure it was a top highlight!

The speeches. My sister’s made me cry. And at the resort people had to sing Disney songs to get us to kiss. To see our family members get up and sing and dance was so awesome. Brandon’s best man sang “Under The Sea” with an accent while one table got up and danced behind him. And my dad did the robot while singing “It’s a Small World”.

Spending a whole week with both of our families and some family friends. Everyone getting along, making memories, and having a really good time.

Getting to marry my best friend, of course!!!



Travel Agent: Flair Travel Planners  //  Resort: Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado  //   Photography/Videography: Caribbean Emotions  //  Flowers: Included at the resort, but for the at home reception, Country Charms Flowers and Gifts  At Home Reception Location: Hanna, Alberta Community Centre  //  Food: Included at the resort; for the at-home reception, Trina Hernden (a local caterer) Desserts were done by myself, moms and grandmas  //   Decor: DIY, largely with help from Michaels supplies!  //  Music: iPod and resort included for the wedding. For the at-home reception: Chris LeBlanc and fellow musicians 

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Alberta, Canada Wedding by Random Eyesight Studio: Mike + Kacey Wed, 21 Nov 2012 14:00:30 +0000 So excited to share this sweet Canadian wedding with you all today! It’s easy, breezy and beautiful… and the bride looks like a Cover Girl. Okay wow, that was cheesy… even for me :) This wedding seems so laid back and casual that it makes me feel right at home. I love all the eclectic elements, wildflowers, and the southwest-y vibe, the whole thing just feels effortlessly cool, don’t you think? Even better, Mike and Kacey pulled off their wedding for around $10,000! Overall I’d say their it-takes-a-village approach worked in their favor. :) Read more from Kacey below about their big day. xoxo-Jessica















Mike + Kacey 

July 7, 2012
Bezanson, Alberta

Where did you get married?

Adam’s Ranch – a buffalo ranch that Kacey grew up on. It’s located 5 minutes from Bezanson, Alberta – the largest center close to it would be Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada – aprox 20 minutes away.

What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.

Our family is that rare family that actually is all creatives. Lorraine (Kacey’s mom) did all the flowers and decorating. The flowers were found at a store that was selling all of their silk flowers for 60 to 80 % off. Lorraine arranged them into the vases as well as the bouquets. She also did all the ceremony/reception arrangements. The paper lanterns have been used for several family weddings – and we just reuse them. Usually someone in the family will pick them up cheap when they see them so we always have a supply. The vases were found in thrift stores – prices ranging from 25 cents to a dollar. The paint was on sale at Home Hardware – they were getting rid of the craft paint, so it was picked up for under a dollar a bottle. The vases were then painted on the inside. The burlap table cloths were bought and sewn. The lace overlays were found in thrift stores (ranging in price from 1 to 5 dollars) and cut and hemmed to fit the tables. The cloth napkins were found at liquidation world for a dollar per dozen. The tent for the reception belongs to Adam’s Ranch and there was no charge for it. The logs used for the ‘pews’ in the outdoor ceremony were cut and smoothed by Kacey and her dad. The chairs Kacey and Mike sat on were made by her dad – Les. The tables for the food were also made by Les. The photography was done by Tara Funk (sister to the bride). The groom’s family has a organic farmer’s market – they brought all the fruit for the wedding. The guest thank yous were home made jars of apple crisp. Tara and Brittany (bride’s sisters) covered the tops of the jars with lace and twine and the sayings. The crisp was created by the caterer who was a friend of the family – Jeffery’s Cafe. Total Budget was $10,000

How many guests did you have?


What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

We tried to make the entire day a reflection of us as a couple…country/boho, no one thing in particular.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

Fortunately we have a lot of creative types in our family and close family friends, so many of our friends offered their talents and services to help us keep costs down.

What was your biggest splurge?

The dress was a custom dress by Ellebay Bridal and probably was one of the bigger costs.

What was your favorite detail?

Every detail was pretty much perfect in the fact that we loved how all of it came together exactly the way we pictured it. There are so many to choose from! At our ceremony, the guests all sat on these massive square timber log benches that were so rustic and gorgeous. The bridesmaids dresses were all such a good reflection of the individuals because they picked them out themselves, but they all went together so beautifully. Our food was absolutely to die for, and our caterer (a friend of the family) surprised us with buffalo prime rib. Then there was the band….Blake and his band were so amazing, singing all the old country hits, surprising us with a set list that was everything we wanted and more!

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

 Getting married, haha! That first kiss as a married couple is pretty special.  A good friend of ours sang “Amazing Grace” during the processional, and it was incredibly moving.



Photographer: Random Eyesight Studio – Tara Funk  :  Ceremony + Reception location: Adam’s Ranch (private property)  :  Bridal gown (designer/boutique name and contact info): Ellebay Bridal  :  Bridal party attire: Gowns purchased from Mod Cloth  :  Cake: Homemade Brownies – recipe is from Lepp Farms  :   Caterer: Jeffrey’s Café  :  Favours: Homemade Apple Crisp – jars prepared by bride and her sisters. Apple crisp made by Jeffrey’s Cafe  :  Wedding planners: Bride’s family  :  Music: Blake Berglund (Live Band)  :  Hair + Makeup: Stephanie Martens – Fusion   :  Flowers: Mother of the Bride  :  Stationery: Bride and family made invites.

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Meet Julie of Port Hardy Tue, 17 May 2011 16:00:39 +0000 Well, hello! I’m Julie. I’m engaged to a seriously great guy named Adam. I’m 27, he’s 28. We live in the Canadian Rockies. I grew up on the Alberta prairies just outside the tiny little village of Erskine, right smack in the middle of the province. He grew up on the West Coast in the very small town of Port Hardy on the northern-most part of Vancouver Island.

Somehow, by a stroke of luck and no thanks to our geographical upbringing, we both fell in love with the mountains at a very young age. After finishing high school each of us set off to the hills to seek employment in the ski industry – myself in Banff, and Adam in Vernon. After a few years, the Kootenays were calling each of our names. Much to our parents’ delight, their very promising, yet very devoted ski bum children finally enrolled in some post-secondary education. We both moved to Nelson, BC in September of 2005 to buckle down at school. Conveniently for us, Selkirk College is located in Canada’s coolest ski town.

Once the winter season kicked off at Whitewater we became great ski hill friends…and not long after we became more than just ski hill friends. A little more than four years later, Adam tracked down a wee little mountain top while on a spring getaway to Montreal. While on the wee little mountain top, he popped the all-important question over a picnic of wine, scrumptious pate and the best mango I have ever tasted. I was [very happily!] caught off guard with the whole thing. You can read the whole story here.

Throughout our relationship, our careers have veered off quite dramatically from the ski hill roots that brought us together. We moved to Victoria, BC in the fall 2007 for some more schooling. I studied at the Western Academy of Photography and now I have a little photo biz. Adam earned his Red Seal for cooking and quickly became the sous chef at an incredible waterfront restaurant. In 2009 we relocated to Canmore, AB and we love it here! Adam has recently returned to the snow biz after landing a millwright apprenticeship at a local ski resort, Nakiska. I am just thrilled that my chef now has a 9-5ish gig and we get to eat dinner together once again.

We’ve had a long [& incredibly awesome] engagement – we’ve been planning this shindig since May 2010. We have decided to host our wedding close to home…at a campsite in the Kananaskis Valley. Ultimately, it will be a really stylish  bushparty in the woods like none other. We’ve sent out about 60 invites meaning there could be around 120 people in attendance for the festivities and we are hoping to keep the budget around $12000.

photo credit:

photo credit

photo credit: Judge Roy Bean – Jackson Hole, WY. He’s a keeper, can you believe I was actually able to convince him to do these horrendously tacky, but awesome portraits?

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Erin + Troy by Emma Poliquin Thu, 05 May 2011 01:30:29 +0000

Love this sunny, personal beach wedding! Can’t believe they pulled it off for $5,000! I thought the ‘shoecheck’ at the beach wedding ceremony was very clever and cute! This wedding looks cheerful and oh-so-fun as captured by Emma Poliquin! Thanks to Erin & Troy for sharing their special day with us!! :)

Erin and Troy McNutt

June 12, 2010

Clam Bay, Nova Scotia

What was your budget? If you are able, give us a rough breakdown of how you spent your budget.

Our budget was $5000, we had just recently purchased a house and are in the midst of renovation and we didn’t want to have to get a loan to get married.

Venue and Linen Rentals: $370

Food and Wine: $1100

Bride Attire: Wedding dress $500, alteration $90 and DIY Fascinator $8

Groom Attire: Rented vest $24, khakis, dress shirt and sandals from Old Navy $60 and tie $25

Photographer: $1700.

Officiant: $125 for ceremony and $25 for rehearsal

License: $120

Rings: $445

Flowers: 75 stems of spider mums at $1 each and 16 potted Gerber Daisies for $3 each = $125

Wedding Cake: $70

Favors: $60, $.75 per sapling wrapped in burlap with “from Mr.  & Mrs.” Ribbon

Decorations: $155, this was mostly paint for all the different DIY’s, lanterns,  burlap for tables, BBQ kit supplies, Frames for Thank you Poem, round place mats, cake toppers.

Invitations: $12 for postage, I designed invitations and save the dates

Vintage car rental: $35

How many guests did you have?

We were blessed with 56 of our closets family and friends.

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

We did our very best to make sure that the whole weekend a reflection of us as a couple. Our theme was planting our roots as a new family so there was a lot of focus on family. The ceremony was on the beach and we asked the guests to all go barefoot (including Troy and I) and bring blankets for sitting on the beach. So we had a shoe check on the beach. During the ceremony we had the members of our bridal party as well as our mothers read a line from a hand fasting ceremony. It was an amazing moment, having the most important people in our lives remind us why we are together.

At the reception our guest book was a fingerprint tree that a friend drew for us. It is our modern version of a family tree and a constant reminder of our family’s support. Our favors were saplings, I wrote a poem saying thank you to all our guests and asking them to plant this tree and watch it grow and thrive as we will. Our desert table was a selection of homemade desserts that family and friends offered to bring. The photo booth was the biggest hit; it was just a funky sheet that I picked up, a large frame I painted white and some fun props. Everyone got into it, even my ninety year old great aunt. After the reception we had a fire back at the cottage laughed and cried until the wee hours of the morning.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We did as much as we could ourselves. We put the biggest amount of money on the food and the photographer. All the other aspects we either reused things we already had or kept an eye out for sales and we were not afraid of asking people to donate or lend. All the invitations and save the dates were free, I designed them myself and a printing company that I use all the time through work printed them as a gift. The vases on the tables were all given to use and I spray painted them white. The table numbers were free from a wood pile and we painted the numbers on them. The seating chart was free, it was a window my mother had and we traced the names on with a white paint pen. All the signs; for the photo booth, shoe check etc were painted on the old wood from our cottage, the flags were scraps of fabric attached to fallen birch trees. The flowers were fairly cheap we ordered spider mums from Costco for a dollar a stem and then picked up potted Gerbera daisies for $3.00 each on sale at a local grocery store. The biggest cost saver was that we worked with the existing décor, the venue had blue tablecloths and white and blue dinnerware, it was cheaper to work with that then try to change it and have to rent linens and dinnerware. The list goes on and on, but we also didn’t want to go ever board with decorations we wanted people to enjoy their surroundings that helped keep costs down.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Please don’t be afraid to ask for help and stick to your plan. I realized very late in the planning game that I needed help, my DIY list was growing and my time line was shrinking. Once I asked for help people started showing up at the house to help, it made the planning more of a family affair. Once you and your husband decide how you want your day to be, don’t hum and ha too much, you will drive yourselves crazy and stress yourselves out. Take all the advice you can get but don’t be afraid to say no, this will be your day and you should be able to create it and remember it the way you both had dreamed.

What was your biggest splurge?

We put the biggest amount of money on the food and the photographer. Lets be honest food keeps everyone happy and the photos are your memories frozen in time.

What was your favorite detail?

I loved all the details. It was gratifying to my husband and I to look around and see our hands in everything around us as well as our guests enjoying it all. But our favorites were the fingerprint tree, the dessert table, the photo booth and the BBQ survival kits. We had traditional BBQ food, so ribs pulled pork and chicken, very messy. The kits had bibs, wet naps, mints and tooth picks.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

I have two favorites; the first was when Troy and I saw each other for the first time. We decided to do our photos before the ceremony. It would help with the nerves and it is also when you look your best. Troy was standing with his back to me and I walked up behind him, with a huge grin from ear to ear. Once he turned around the photographer just disappeared and it was just the two of us. The next 45 minutes was just us, we had time to talk, laugh and cry, and it was perfect. It was the only time that day that we were totally alone. The other one was after the ceremony, while we were waiting for the witnesses to sign the certificate I asked my new husband to walk with me for a minute and we walked down the beach away from everyone, stopped and turned to each other and just started to laugh. To this day we don’t know why we both laughed, that’s just us I guess.


Venue: Heritage Village Memory Lane
Photographer: Emma Poliquin
Bridesmaid Dresses: Sears
Favors: Seedlings from the trail shop

{all photos by Emma Poliquin}

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Janine + Colin Wed, 09 Feb 2011 13:00:16 +0000

This adorable wedding from A&D Photography, submitted via Two Bright Lights just makes me smile from ear to ear! Janine and Colin chose to have an intimate wedding at their home for only their closest family and friends. By keeping it small, they were able to save alot of money- but chose to have a big fun Pub Party to include all their friends in a more casual setting. They really focused on what was important to them, and the result is oh-so-special! I love that they used their family’s china instead of renting dishes, and that they decided against a formal wedding party but gave boutonnieres to each of their guests to let them know how special they were to them. Such a sweet gesture! I hope you enjoy this edition of the Budget Savvy Wedding of the Week!

What was your budget? Give a rough breakdown of what you spent if possible.

We didn’t have a starting budget – just a principle to get the wedding we wanted without wasting money or time on things that weren’t important to us. We were lucky that our parents were very supportive and footed the bill but we didn’t want to spend their money in a way we wouldn’t spend our own.

Our wedding (ceremony, lunch reception and pub party) ended up costing about $6,600.00


Gown (sample sale, free alterations by Mom) – $660.00

Accessories – $135.00

Hair and Makeup (including purchased makeup) – $200.00

Tuxedo Rental – $175.00


Officiant fee (discounted) – $200.00

Marriage licence – $75.00

Decorations – $70.00

Flowers (including boutonnieres for all guests) – $690.00

Lunch Reception

Food (family friend hobby caterer) – $750.00

Wine (our favorite red, white and sparkling) – $165.00

Wine glasses – $30.00

Cake – $20.00


Pub Party Tab (finger food buffet and 2 hour open bar) – $1715.00

Invitations (emailed pdf postcard designed by me) – $0.00

Programs/Place Cards/Favour Tags/etc. (didn’t have them) – $0.00

Limo/Car Rental (got rides from friends) – $0.00

Photography (friend discount, including engagement shoot) – $1,400.00

Hotel Room – $315.00

How many guests did you have?

25 at the ceremony and lunch reception. About 100 at the Pub Party to celebrate our marriage as well as our move to Amsterdam.

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Our wedding was all about creative and personal aspects so I’ll pick a few to share:

– we decorated our house with pictures of us throughout our relationship as well as one picture from my parents wedding and one picture from his parents wedding

– instead of renting dishes and cutlery, we used our parents’ china and silver

– we got boutonnieres for all of our ceremony guests to represent that we considered all of them our wedding party

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

The biggest thing we did to save time and stress with the bi-product of saving money was having the ceremony and lunch reception in our home with only our closest family and friends. To include all our other family and friends without breaking the bank, we made the Pub Party very casual and simple (no decorations, dj, speeches, etc.). By having the party at a big pub we didn’t have to pay for the venue, just the food and drinks we chose to include on our tab – if people hadn’t shown up or fewer than we’d booked for, they would’ve simply released some of our tables.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Planning our wedding in less than 2 months forced us to choose what was important to us because we just didn’t have the time to do everything that was “expected”. My advice would be to think about what you really want vs. what your parents might expect or what you’ve seen at other weddings. If you really want a first dance and conga line – make sure it happens, it’s your day and it’s worth it! If you’ve never really understood why people would spend money (or time) on flowers, don’t have flowers! It’s your wedding and you need to drop things that aren’t important to you so you can concentrate on the things that are.

One big thing we were glad we cut was a formal wedding party – we didn’t have to deal with bridesmaid drama, worrying about matching sets of male and female friends, added costs, thinking of the perfect personalized gifts or getting everyone ready on time.

What was your biggest splurge?

We didn’t need a hotel room on the night of the wedding – we had a perfectly good house sitting empty but it was it was great to have a chance to really step back and absorb the day and what it meant to us. It’s also nice to have breakfast brought to your room :) Another bonus was that by the time we got home the next day the house fairies (our caterer and parents) had the whole house spotless!

What was your favorite detail?

When we chose to have the wedding in our home, it seemed like a practical decision to avoid the stress and cost of finding a venue – but it ended up being a very good emotional choice. It was so special to have an intimate group at our ceremony in the house we’d carefully chosen based on our plans for our future together.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

When my dad sang a personalised version of “I loved her first” by Heartland and made everyone cry.


Venue: Our Home

Dress: Cameo and Cufflinks

Tux: Moore’s

Flowers: Pushing Petals

Hair: Angles Salon

Tiara: French Twist

Makeup: Laura @ Bobbi Brown in Holt Renfrew

Photography: A&D Photography

Marriage Commissioner: Tamara Jones

Hotel: Sheraton Eau Claire

Rings: Jewels by Maxime’s

Cake: Amato Gelato

Shoes: Aldo

Pub: The Kilkenny Irish Pub

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Mountain Lodge Wedding Thu, 08 Oct 2009 01:12:14 +0000 BSWOWI 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! :)

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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

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