- Keep your guest list small
- Choose flowers that are in season
- Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding
- Create & print your own invites- here’s a discount code for Minted
- Get married on off-peak season (November-April)
- Skip the plated meal and do a buffet
- Have more comfort food and snacks vs formal food options
- Rent certain items vs buying them
- Choose a non-traditional wedding venue: municipal park or beach
- Google local sample sales and trunk shows for your wedding gown
- Shop local outlet stores for bridesmaids’ dresses
- Purchase handmade items directly from the seller e.g. Etsy
- Ditch favors or limit them to 1 per couple
- Keep the ceremony and reception at the same place to cut down rentals, transportation and décor
- Rent your wedding dress
- YouTube makeup tutorials or go to Sephora for a makeup lesson then do your own makeup
- Swap in a sweet table instead of a dessert course
- Buy your own booze for the wedding
- Only serve appetizers during the cocktail hour
- Find a music student(s) to entertain during cocktail hour or for the ceremony (have them audition first!)
- Find a newer cake artist to make your cake
- Swap your cake for smaller cupcakes or tarts
- Limit the bar hours or have an alcohol-free wedding
- Instead of multiple shooters, only have 1 photographer
- Use wildflowers as fillers in your centerpieces
- Opt for sparkling wine over champagne
- Use a credit card to pay for vendors etc that has points or rewards so you get something back
- Google local wedding shows to get deals on potential vendors
- Use coupons or Facebook Marketplace to score deals on accessories or décor items
- Hire a wedding planner; what you pay them to do will end up being made up in savings because they can negotiate contracts and save you time
- Schedule to do cake cutting and first dance earlier in the evening to cut down on photography hours
- More than 3 courses for dinner might be excessive, guests should be fed but don’t overdo it
- Have a smaller cake created for display and cutting and have a larger slab cake in the back that gets served to guests
- Have a smaller bridal party to cut down costs and possibly hassle
- Ditch the bridal party altogether and just have a flower girl and ring bearer to save on gifts
- Use a playlist for the cocktail hour and dinner and a DJ for the reception party
- Cocktails and mixed drinks are usually more expensive at the bar so limit the options to beer and wine
- See if the venue has larger tables so you cut back on the amount of centerpieces
- Use something other than flowers for your centerpieces such as candles, picture frames, lanterns
- Elope or do a pop-up wedding
- Consider emailing your “Save the Dates”
- Only invite people you are close to you (you’ve seen and hung out with them in the last 5 years)
- Stick to the house wines offered instead of specialty ones
- DIY certain wedding items
- If one of your friends recently got married and kept some of their décor, ask to borrow it
- Buy things like candles and favors in bulk, the price is usually less (buy more than 50 pieces)
- Have your shower or rehearsal at home instead of a restaurant
- Naked cakes look lovely or instead choose buttercream icing over fondant
- Kids meals are cheaper so be sure to ask for a kids menu if you plan to have kids at the wedding or have no kids at all
- Only have 1 or 2 options for vegetarian or vegan meals, the more choices the more money
- Borrow accessories from friends or a family member instead of buying them
- Have the wine at dinner served rather than sitting on the table so consumption is staggered during the evening
- Don’t forget tips, shipping fees and taxes and gratuity to be factored into your budget
- Decide if you are allowing +1’s or not, additional guests can impact your budget greatly
- Negotiate pricing on some contracts
- Read over contract carefully and ask questions, it’s very easy to misunderstand something and then get overcharged
- Enable people to RSVP on a website instead of traditional paper RSVP’s, plus it’s easier to track
- See if your venue has a list of preferred vendors, sometimes they want you to use them but it might cost you. Ask if you are permitted to use outside vendors. They may require approval
- Find a venue that needs minimal décor
- Get married in a backyard garden to save on venue and décor costs
- Price shop for vendors to before booking anything to see if there are comparable prices available
- Avoid getting married on a Saturday or a long weekend, it’s the most expensive day to get married
- Keep appetizers between 2-3 pieces per person and keep in mind the caterer will likely try to up sell you
- If you are wearing a longer dress, no one will see you shoes so why splurge?
- Go through each item on your budget to see if there are ways to trim it down
- Everyone loves a good wedding trend but they are usually pricey because they are in high demand
- Hand write your place cards/escort cards or design them on Minted
- Research various wedding budgets and revise yours based on what your research finds
- Thank you’s to the bridal party are lovely but don’t have to break the bank
- Consider one big single bloom for the bouquets
- Don’t let vendors rope you into more than you want too (a planner can help with this) you can politely decline any add-ons
- Florists typically charge more for labor so buy your own flowers in bulk to save
- Stick to a signature cocktail during the cocktail hour and have it passed around. It will not only save on alcohol but will add a nice personal touch as well.
- Can we say: “Free wedding stationary printables” We said it.
- Instead of renting a nice car, can you borrow one from someone you know?
- Keep all of your receipts so you can monitor what you’ve spent
- Ask guests to email their RSVPs to you directly and keep an email file folder of them
- Choose a venue outside of a major city. Costs of downtown venues and parking can make sticking to your budget difficult
- Wait for a good deal to take your honeymoon instead of right afterwards. Check out Skyscanner or Next Vacay
- Get a dress that actually fits instead of off the rack and needing expensive alterations
- When in doubt, don’t buy a dress a size or two too small, it’s easier to make a larger dress smaller than the opposite
- For any out of town guests, ask hotels close by the wedding venue for reduced rates based on rooms booked
- Instead of expensive centerpieces, have empty vases on the tables and use the bridesmaid’s bouquets as centerpieces
- Troll Instagram and wedding websites for contests and giveaways
- Go to Wedding Wire and see if any vendors you need are offering discounts on their services
- Buy as much as you can in bulk (food, flowers, candy) rather than specialty stores that will have higher prices
- Shorten your planning time, you will be much more decisive with a strict timeline
- Only have the photographer and videographer cover just the ceremony
- See if videography can be added to your photography package instead of hiring 2 separate vendors
- Any leftover wedding items you have, sell them online
- Use the word “wedding” only when necessary (like with venues and photographers) sometimes there’s an up charge
- Only splurge on ONE thing like good food or music
- Find out if there is a minimum spend at the venue if they have in house catering. Usually if you make the minimum spend, they waive the venue rental fee
- Keep your invites to a singe sheet, pretty but simple. It will save on postage
- Ask friends to help where they can, as ushers, officiant, MC, DJ
- Sew your own table runners with fabric you purchase yourself
- Silk and paper flowers go a long way
- Skip the traditional wedding dress shops and go to major retailers like Le Chateau or Etsy for your dress
- Consider a different time of day: Morning or afternoon so you save on dinner food
- Make sure you and your partner are both on the same page on where to splurge and where to cutback!
It doesn’t take long after your acceptance of the proposal for you to realize there is piles of work to do! It can seem daunting but one of the wisest things you could consider doing is hiring a planner. If it’s not a full planning, day of coordination can take so much weight off your shoulders.
When you start your search for a planner here are some questions you need to be prepared to answer:
- “What is your wedding date?” Seems like it shouldn’t be a big deal if you don’t have that figured out just yet, but the reality is that planners live by schedules. So, in order for us to even know if we are available to help you- we need to know your wedding date!
- “What is your total wedding budget?” Having this discussion with your partner before you book a consultation is important. Most potential clients want to know how much planning costs, but we can’t give proper quotes for services unless we know what your max budget is.
- “How many guests do you plan to have?” This is another important question that helps planners determine their fee. To put into perspective: If you plan to have 300 guests, it’s common sense that a planner would then need an assistant. Paying an assistant will be factored into whatever quote is given.
- “Do you have a venue yet?” If you do then let us know, we have already done a wedding there and have connections we can utilize. On the flip side, if we haven’t done a wedding there, then a site visit will be necessary, so we can meet the coordinator and see the space.
- “What is your vision?” WHAT DO YOU SEE??! When you think of your wedding day, what do you envision it to be like? Rustic chic with pastels and copper accents? Modern minimalist with greenery and crisp white linens? When you know your “couple style” it makes it easier to create a “inspiration/mood” board. We need to see and feel what you do!
- “Are there any “absolutely no ways” for your wedding day?” Certain family members, colors, number of dresses…as planners coming up with ideas is part of the job, but we don’t want to come up with suggestions that are a no go on your list. So be clear about what you do not want…ever.
- “What service are you interested in?” This can be discussed at the consultation but to have a general idea is helpful for us. If you are a super busy couple, always on the go and worry about not having time- full planning might be the best option. If your wedding is a few months away and you’ve done a portion of the planning, then partial planning might work better. Day of coordination is for couples who want to undertake the planning aspects but have a planner manage the day of execution, so they can enjoy the day.
- “What do you want in a planner?” Not all planners will ask you this, but I will. Do you want someone who leaves most of the decision making up to you? Or is trusting someone to take charge and take the lead more what you want?
If you are prepared to answer these key questions, you will have a very productive first consult with your potential planner!
A sample sale is not the same as a trunk show so let’s get that out of way! Trunk shows are special events where a bridal boutique will invite a designer (usually not located in the area) to show off their collection. It could be anywhere from a weekend or several days long. It’s a fantastic opportunity for brides to try on gowns from a visiting designer and appointments usually book up fast!
Samples sales however are first come, first serve for anyone who wants to get a designer dress at a large discount. The boutique allows you to try them on in the store and typically you don’t have a stylist who’s there assisting you. Sizes will range, and the dresses are usually well taken care of but you may not get something perfect since many women might be trying on the same dress. If it’s your first time trying on gowns it might not be a good idea to make a sample sale your first stop since you must decide to buy on the spot.
- Wear nude underwear…preferably a thong and a good strapless bra. You want to have as realistic idea as you can when you try each dress on.
- Know what your budget is. Usually the gowns will be organized by price range and this will help you stay within price range. Prices might be reduced from 20-80% but if you choose a newer style it may cost more.
- Bring a friend but not your entire crew. Too many opinions and different tastes will become overwhelming and won’t help you.
- Have an idea as to what style of dress you want. Keep in mind your body shape, areas you may or may not want to hide or accentuate. Knowing this in advance will help you sift through the dress styles you don’t want and save you time.
- Be sure to research the designer to make sure the styles they may offer will suit what you are looking for.
- Keep in mind that sample sale dresses can always be altered. Frays and lace can be trimmed and fixed up.
- Bring a pair of shoes as close to the height you plan to wear on your wedding day. Hems can be shortened not lengthened.
- Be aware of your timeline, while sample sale dresses are there and available, anything you may decide to order can take up to 8 months to be made and shipped
- Have cash ready, unlike regular wedding gowns where a deposit is made and the rest settled later- sample sale dresses are expected to be paid for up front.
- Have fun and be open to assorted styles of gowns. You may have your heart set on a certain style, but another might suit you just as well. I always say, never judge how a dress looks on the hanger, sometimes once you put it on it surprises you!
Ask your planner to keep an eye out on any sample sales in the area and to let you know so you can get prepped, primed and ready!
2017 is coming to a close and if I might say…good riddance! We want to share some of our biggest highlights from this year!
She Said Yes!
So as with most of us girl squads, mine has a Whatsapp chat called “Le Crew”. This picture message in our chat pops up after midnight on NYE Dec 31st 2016 from our bestie in Ottawa and her giant sparkling ring…announcing her amazing beau of 5 years popped the question! These two gorgeous specimens had their engagement party in October of 2017- Next stop…Dubai 2019 wedding!
I was so thrilled that I was able to sit down with my graphic designer and make the changes I wanted. I needed a different way to showcase some of my work rather than a boring gallery. I wanted to tell a story and make it distinctive to each couple. We added in an “as seen” section that notes all the publications we’ve been in as well as updated our available services.
So I moved…again. (Sigh…) Not one of the more enjoyable things I had to do this year but it had to be done. I was previously tucked away in between York Mills and Sheppard on the Yonge line and as of October this year, I am right back down in the mouth of the beast- Yonge and Bloor. The noise, smells and wind tunnels are more than enough for me to wish I was back where I was. Our place is cute and homey but the downtown insanity is exhausting to look at let alone live in. Oh well…here’s to Starbucks meetings and shopping in Yorkville?
Prince Charming proposes
By Prince we mean Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (the amazing Rachel Zane from Suits) got engaged and are to marry on May 19th 2018 at Windsor Castle…I can’t WAIT to see who designs her dress! Nothing like a Royal wedding to get us excited for a new year right? For more details see my previous blog post!
Oh Elegant Wedding Magazine family, how I love you all! Some of the most hard working, talented and incredible vendors contributed to the styled shoot for the Winter/Spring 2018 issue that JUST hit the stands on December 18th 2017! Soooo go grab a copy and stay tuned for my next post that will give all the details of the shoot! Don’t forget to follow us on instagram: @avpevents
I was asked recently, “Why are wedding florists so expensive?” I was shocked for a moment at the question! Why wouldn’t they be expensive?? Well then I had to stop for a moment and realize that most couples getting married really have no idea what happens behind the scenes so here’s a post to fill you in. Costs for wedding flowers can sound over the top but once you understand what takes place behind the scenes it makes more sense.
- Prep/Order time
There are multiple steps to this and it typically starts with the couple completing a fact sheet and a consultation. Then the florist takes your ideas and breaks them all down. Size of vases, how many, what foliage, when to pick up and drop off the flowers. The six to seven weeks before your wedding is crucial in the planning stages for florists. They need to be sure materials aren’t on back order and that all supplies are ready. Florals need be chosen to coincide with your wedding vision (tough if the blooms the couple wants aren’t in season).
- Bought from suppliers
Most floral companies buy their flowers from other supplies and they are usually abroad. Flowers must be grown either in special conditions or abroad in climate conducive to their growth. Then they are imported by plane or come by boat and delivered to wholesalers. All the while they’ve been in air-controlled containers, so they get delivered in the right state of growth. Then consider rising fuel costs…it all adds up!
- Production & Art
It takes a lot to preserve your florals once they come in. The stems need to be trimmed and cleaned. There are solutions they need to keep in, sometimes in or out of coolers to maintain the bloom size. Then it takes hours to assemble, arrange according to the design desired- this includes boutonniere’s, bouquets, centerpieces and aisle décor. Every stem needs to be freshly cut again, and preserved during the design and assembly process. Then vases need to be cleaned and packaged and everything else in their toolkit needs to be prepped for delivery.
This is an “ugly truth” moment. Yes…$800.00 delivery fees exist. Flowers don’t deliver themselves and the reality is, the more you have the more expensive it is. You can’t just toss them into the back of a four by four and call it a day if you want your installations to still look beautiful for the wedding. Plus, each design needs to be properly packaged for transport, misted with water and placed into an air-conditioned truck.
Now it’s time to unload the truck, store the blooms and designs in the coolest spot and then set up completely at your venue. This takes time, accuracy and attention to the details outlined in the paperwork. This typically can’t be done with just one person; likely a few other team members are required since set up time can be constrained to the venue’s requirements. Therefore, the cost of more bodies to set up is likely included in the pricing as well.
We love them but florals aren’t cheap, they are truly a luxury item that most couples want to incorporate. So if you have the budget to splurge go for it, you certainly won’t regret it. On the other hand, if the prices are too far out of your budget, wait for our next post and we will tell you how you can save!
It’s everywhere and it shows no sign of slowing down (wahoo!!) I can’t say that I don’t completely love almost every style of greenery décor that I have see thus far this year, it’s all stunning. From table runners, centerpieces, garland draped on seating charts or chairs, archways or ceiling décor- greenery has taken over. Here are a few examples of how décor and florist companies are incorporating the greenery trend for 2017 couples getting hitched!
One of the most memorable moments of the beginning stages of planning your wedding is asking the question to your besties “will you be my bridesmaid?” Choosing our bridal party is a big deal for so many reasons but you can and will experience some challenges in the coming months. Even though its your wedding, some bridesmaids tend to make it about them, here are some issues you may encounter and suggestions on how to handle them.
You may not realize how expensive it is to be a bridesmaid but the lower end cost is just shy of $2000. Consider the expense of dresses, hair and makeup, accessories, gifts, travel and accommodations, engagement parties and showers and bachelorette parties. Some bridesmaids may have a problem with the amount of money they may have to spend depending on the “taste” of the bride but may suffer in silence, or they will complain about costs.
Before you choose your bridal party, do your best to analyze their lifestyles, it’s a good indicator as to if they will be able to comfortably afford to really be a part of the wedding. If they have kids, or work part time it may not be feasible for them. It still doesn’t hurt to ask but perhaps when you do, let them know that if they need to decline, they can and that it won’t affect your friendship. The last thing you want is to have your friends resent you because they spent outside of their means.
Or we also call this “planet me” syndrome. You may end up with a bridesmaid who has something to say about every little thing you ask of them to do…or wear. If you are a bride that intends to have all your party wear the same dress, she will be the one to say the color is bad on her, or it doesn’t suit her body type.
The reality is this, it is your wedding and you may have to have a conversation with her about this. Her opinion is valued but if it’s not in sync with the plans you have, part of her job is to do things she doesn’t like. If I asked my bridesmaids to wear a paper bag with a plaid design finger painted by my 5-year-old nephew- they would wear them! You want people in your party who support you, not fight you on everything during the planning process.
Its amazing that you have incredible friends who want to help you plan your big day but taking over when they haven’t been asked or assigned to anything will be stressful. They may start telling you what to do or how to do it or even what you will want to do! This can get overwhelming quickly if you don’t handle it right away.
Calmly thank them for all their suggestions and eagerness to help but then let them know, you would prefer not to get ahead of yourself and still need to time to discuss with your fiancé certain elements of the wedding. You may even tell her you haven’t had the opportunity to think about those aspects yet and would like to wait until you have a clearer idea as to what you want.
Feature image via etsy
Blog images via @robynsrussell www.robynsrussell.com Sasha & Jared 2017
A service becoming more popular these days due the fact that it’s millennial’s who are getting hitched is partial planning. Why? Well, simply put, they like to be involved! They don’t necessarily want someone to do everything they prefer to be able to really infuse their own couple style into aspects of their wedding day. Couples who are looking for a planner to do a full coordination should read the article I posted last week discussing full coordination. Partial planning can also include the benefits of hiring for Day of Coordination and other planners have it just as its own service.
When you hire a planner for a partial planning, you sit down together and discuss anywhere from 4 to possibly 6 areas you would like your planner to assist in. Once you’ve decided which areas they will manage, everyone gets to work. Different planners will go about this service differently so it’s good to have clear communication and ensure they understand exactly what it is you expect of them.
- Creating/organizing a wedding budget
- Coordinate meetings
- Venue outsourcing
- Vendor visits
- Vendor recommendations
- Email reminders per month to keep couple on track
- Décor and rentals
These are just a few areas that couples may opt to have their planner manage for a partial planning.
Day of Coordination doesn’t entail your planner handling anything besides what is directly related to the day of the wedding- as the service suggests! Couples who want to leave all the stress and hiccups on the day of the wedding but want to plan the entire thing themselves will choose this option. 1-2 months before your wedding day is typically when your planner would step in to tie up loose ends, follow up with vendors and then execute your wedding day so you can completely enjoy it and not have to look after anything.
Whether you choose partial planning or day of coordination, be sure that the service you have selected best suits your needs as a couple. Take into consideration factors like your jobs, family and other obligations you have and when in doubt, ask your planner during the consultation for their insight and opinion.
Let’s just clarify from the start we are NOT wedding coordinators at the venue, don’t get us confused and if you are confused read my article I wrote awhile back
So what do wedding planners really do you ask? Well I guess it depends: we mediate, negotiate, police, teach you how to dance, and might even use nail polish remover to un-super glue a piece of statue from your palm…okay maybe I am getting a bit dramatic here but let’s focus on the full-planning service they provide .
Full scale planning is a lot of work, which is likely why you have hired someone to do it because you lack the time (or patience?) to be able to do all on your own. The moment you are engaged and hire a planner, we are there with you every step of the planning process. Here are some of the things we do for a full planning:
- Help you create a budget
- Outsource potential venues and set up viewings based on the number of guests you are looking to have attend and your budget limitations
- Research officiants based on ceremony style and language
- Aid you in developing your wedding theme and vision
Wait, before I continue, let me just say that we research EVERYTHING. Just because you don’t see work being done in front of your eyes, doesn’t mean it’s not taking hours of our time. Research is tedious and details must be acquired for every single vendor needed for the wedding.
- Research and outsource: DJ’s or bands for the reception, décor/rentals and florists, hair and makeup artists, suiting/tuxedo companies, bridal boutiques and trunk shows, transportation and hotel accommodations, cakes and sweets, photographers and videographers, invitations, catering companies (if the venue doesn’t have an in-house caterer) and in most cases, planners will also go with you to meet these potential vendors.
- Help negotiate and manage your contracts and develop a record tracking system for your payments
- Coordinate your fittings and wedding rehearsal
- Be there the day of the wedding to organize your vendors, ensure they show up on time, oversee set up and tear down- we leave after you leave.
Reading this it doesn’t look like much but when you realize the endless hours of work it entails to be glued to a computer coming up with multiple quotes from multiple vendors- you will understand why you’ve hired a planner…or at least why you should!
Part 2 will discuss how a Partial Planning works and why some couples opt for it instead!
Not every guy out there has a creative mind so the act of proposing ends up being that much more petrifying! The good news is, whatever you decide to do, she will love it because she loves you so have confidence. In the meantime, we found 6 proposals that any girl would remember forever!
Create a custom jigsaw puzzle (or have one made) with a picture of you and the words “Marry me?” on quiet night when you’re spending time together, suggest the puzzle. Once you’ve both put it together, you can propose!
While your soon-to-be-fiance is asleep, slip the ring on her finger and finish with breakfast in bed.
In true Canadian fashion, before your lady leave for work, offer to heat up her car and scratch your proposal in the ice on the windshield and the ring on the dash board.
Pick a spot that is sentimental to you both (where you went on your first date) and have a hired photographer hiding somewhere close but discreetly taking pictures of your proposal as she says “yes!”.
Tie a ribbon from one spot in your home to another with notes of inside jokes or your relationship milestones. As she follows them, you will be at the end of the ribbon with the ring to put on her hand!
The night before a beach day, write a poem or your proposal on a piece of parchment paper. Roll it into a bottle with a cork and bury it in a well-marked spot in the sand where you will remember. Make sure she finds the bottle and be ready with the ring!