- 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!
Happy Summer everyone! AVPEvents is super excited to launch and share our new service menu with you all!
It’s taken us some time to re-create our services to give more options to brides with different needs. All 4 services are unique and are designed to cover various aspects of the planning process.
Just as the name suggests! One of the most daunting aspects of wedding planning is at the very end when you have the paper details to complete. So, we sit down for a 3-hour session and complete the day of timeline, reception timeline, ceremony layout and contact list. Once we’ve finalized this with you, we then email it out to all the vendors who need it and voila!
Should a wedding ceremony be anything less? Well our job for this package is to give you the “Short & Sweet” package and then coordinate the rehearsal of the ceremony run through twice! The day of the wedding, we show up an hour before the ceremony to check over last minute details, line up your processional, fluff your dress and send you off down the aisle.
This package comes with 6 additional hours of planning on-top of the benefits of both the Short & Sweet package as well as the Smooth & Flawless. We also finalize the details of the reception set up. Once the reception has been executed according to the timeline, our last task is to ensure your personal belongings are packed and ready to go!
Your equivalent of partial planning is this service! The previous 3 packages are included and in addition, couples receive 15 planning hours allocated to whatever areas they like!
Of course, we offer full planning for those couples who want assistance through every aspect of planning. A sit-down consultation is required for this service so each couples needs and vision can be properly assessed.
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!
Nothing beats a romantic-comedy about a wedding, a wedding disaster you name it. We’ve listed our top 10 wedding movies of all time. See how many you’ve yet to see and have the girls over and break out the wine!
My Best Friend’s Wedding
As children, Julianne and Michael made a vow to marry one another if they were still single at 28. Four days before her birthday, Michael announces he’s getting married to 20 year old Kimberly. Suddenly realizing she’s in love with Michael, Julianne vows to halt the wedding no matter the cost- that is until she’s asked to be Maid of Honor…awkward much?
The Best Man
Committed bachelor Harper, just wrote a soon to be best selling novel that is for the most part based on the lives and loves of his group of tight-knit friends. With his entire crew to be present, Harper is to be the best man in his friend Lance’s wedding. To his dismay, an advance copy of the book ends up in the hands of an ex flame and he struggles to keep it under wraps- til he can’t.
Maggie Carpenter is no stranger to a wedding day since she’s left 3 men at the altar thus far. Ike Graham a reporter from the big city branded her “the runaway bride” and after his facts are questioned, he heads to her hometown to report on her upcoming fourth wedding- and to save his rep; til he falls for her.
The Wedding Planner
The wedding of Internet tycoon Fran Donelly is the biggest and most ostentatious of Mary’s wedding planning career. After being rescued from a near-fatal collision with a runaway dumpster by Steve Edison and spending the most enchanting evening of their lives together, Mary thinks she’s finally found a reason to believe in love. Until she realizes that cupid and her career are about to collide head-on.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The entire Portokalos family worries about Toula who’s still unmarried at 30 years old. she works at the Greek family restaurant Dancing Zorba’s, owned by her parents, Gus and Maria. After taking a job at her aunt’s travel agency, she falls in love with Ian Miller, a handsome teacher who is tall, and definitely not Greek. Toula isn’t sure which will be more upsetting to her father, that Ian is a foreigner or that he’s a vegetarian.
Jeremy and John are divorce mediators who spend their free time crashing wedding receptions. So when Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary announces the wedding of his eldest daughter, they make it their mission to crash the high-profile event. But their game hits a bump in the road when John locks eyes with bridesmaid Claire taking them on a hilarious journey with a family that’s less than functional.
Monster In Law
Charlotte meets and falls for Dr. Kevin Fields, it’s a whirlwind romance. When Kevin pops the question so soon after they start dating, Charlotte happily accepts. She soon realizes that Kevin’s mom, Viola is anything but thrilled to have a new family member. Viola, a newscaster, has just lost her job and is feeling rather possessive of Kevin, so Charlotte is sheer competition.
Forever bridesmaid Jane is the go-to gal whenever someone needs help with wedding plans since she can’t say no. So when Jane’s younger sister Tess hooks the man Jane is secretly in love with, Jane finds herself questioning her role as a wedding junkie for the first time. Meanwhile, a handsome reporter is on Jane’s unusual story.
As little girls, best friends Liv and Emma started planning every detail of their future weddings, including choosing the same venue: New York’s famed Plaza Hotel. But when a clerical error causes a dilemma in wedding dates, a war begins that reveals and unravels Liv and Kate discover their inner demons which may end their lifelong friendship.
Annie is a single woman whose life is a hot mess, but when her lifelong best friend, Lillian, gets engaged, she has no choice but to serve as the maid of honor. Though loveless and almost broke, Annie, nevertheless, fights her way through the awkward and expensive rituals associated with her job as the bride’s go-to gal. That is, until things start to unravel and Annie takes everyone down with her.
I am so excited to spill the details of this particular venue, I will admit I am a little biased since my couple who got married there on a New Year’s Eve a few years back fell in love with the space. Located at 639 Queen St. West and Bathurst St, this location is eclectic and has quite the history!
The F.C. Burroughes Furniture Company erected the building in 1907 as its flagship retail department store. King Sol, a well known sporting and camping gear retailer called it home for 53 years, ending in 2002. Finally, the Queen Street Partners redeveloped the building. It’s beautiful exposed brick, hardwood floors and rustic essence minimizes the need for excessive décor. Another feature worth highlighting are the two 100 plus year old restored elevators which brings to life the historical relevance to the venue.
This hidden gem has actually hosted some of the city’s high profile events such as TIFF events, Holt Renfrew and Phillip Sparks fashion shows. It has also been chosen for fashion designer and bridal magazine photo shoots.
Since we are discussing venues in the 6ix, it makes sense that I highlight that the 6th floor is the most popular location to hold a wedding or event. This floor give you access to the rooftop terrace, I might add that this “View from the 6ix” is unobstructed and absolutely gorgeous and has a bar and heaters (for those planning winter weddings!).
For those attending you wedding or event who are from out of town, this venue is located close to six (notice a theme here?) beautiful 4-5 star hotels including the Fairmont Royal York, The Thompson Hotel and the Shangri-La. Parking won’t be an issue either as there are several lots in the area that can be utilized.
Something to take note of is that The Burroughes requires outside catering but to make life easy, their venue coordinators (not to be confused with wedding planners) have preferred vendor lists that you can use to contact.
All in all this is a terrific and very unique space to host your event or wedding and is absolutely worth a tour!
During some intense outsourcing I was conducting for some clients, I came across this intriguing and equally beautiful venue located at 1000 Finch Ave West (Finch and Dufferin) in the northwest area of the city- National Event Venue. When you first walk in, all I can say is – black and gold. Accents of gorgeous Baroque style furniture, dramatic velvet curtains held together by thick ropes, chandeliers…have I sold you yet? I’m not finished though!
There are so many eloquent features of this diamond in the rough that as a planner, get you so excited for your clients. The lobby/cocktail area has a stylish bar where you can order your Cosmopolitan or scotch and has plenty of space for mingling. The European reception room is open concept with two stunning chandeliers at each end, a visible dance floor in the center and then a stage at the front. Mind you this isn’t just any stage, if the bride and groom so choose they can stand on a platform that is below the stage that will rise to the top of the stage for a surprise entrance!
In addition to all of this, there are massive LED TV screens with 360 projection mapping that allows you to share videos and photos with all of your guests. As of recently they provide limousine services for pick up and drop offs as well. They have an incredible team that boasts stunning entertainment, whether it is professional dancers, live musicians, acrobatics or eek…snakes and fire!
Shall we talk gourmet cuisine? They have 3 menus or you can choose essentially any national cuisine you like, from Russian, Portuguese, Italian and more. Their chefs create beautiful and artistic presentations with each dish and will not disappoint your palate by any means. I accompanied my clients to a Saturday night tasting and they left full and completely impressed.
Alex and his staff are truly lovely people, so easy and kind to work with and are ready to cater to whatever your needs are. I am grateful to have such a fantastic working relationship with them and would recommend National Event Venue to everyone who is looking for a superior, first class experience for their wedding day! If you are a couple would like to book a viewing please contact me at Ashley@ashleyvictoriaproductions.com and I will be happy to take you or contact the venue directly at 416-650-0019
Photos taken from: http://www.nationaleventvenue.com; IsaacImage.com
Nothing gets us into the festive fall season like these delicious fall cocktails from Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot. These are perfect for a fall themed engagement party or wedding and will be sure to impress your guests and get them into the spirit!
Fall Manhattan- Martha Stewart Weddings Fall 2007
- 1 1/2 ounces applejack
- 1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- A few dashes orange bitters
- About 2 ounces Champagne
- Blood-orange rind cut into strips for garnish
- Combine applejack, whiskey, maple syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker, and shake over ice. Strain into a 6-ounce martini glass, and top with Champagne. Garnish with orange rind, and serve.
Orange Maple Whiskey Cocktail- The Knot
- Maple syrup
- Orange bitters
- Orange wedge
- Splash of club soda
Step 1: Measure out 2 tablespoons of syrup and add it to a lowball glass along with 2 dashes of orange bitters. Squeeze an orange wedge to the mix and muddle slightly before adding a handful of ice.
Step 2: Add 2 ounces of whiskey to the cocktail and top with a splash of club soda before stirring.
Step 3: Top with fresh orange zest and serve.
Rob Rose-Martha Stewart Weddings Fall 2015
- Rose water (Fee Brothers Rose Water, $7, kegworks.com)
- 1⁄2 ounce Amaro CioCiaro liqueur
- 2 ounces Compass Box Spice Tree malt scotch whiskey
- Rose petal, for garnish
- Fill an atomizer with rose water and spray an old-fashioned glass with four sprays.
- Add liqueur, scotch, and ice. Stir and garnish with rose petal.
Sidenote: (Rose water is the scented secret to this wedding-worthy scotch concoction by New York City mixologist Tom Richter.)
- How many weddings have you shot in your career? Always good to know
- Are you shooting more than one wedding on my wedding day? If yes, ensure there is significant time in between both
- What is your preferred style of photography? There are several: Photo journalism, Artistic, Natural Light, Traditional and Illustrative
- Have you shot at my venue before? If they have then they will be familiar with sight lines etc, if not, it might be a good idea to invite them to go to the site with you.
- Do you work from a “shot list”? If yes then ask to see it and if not, a great follow up would be to ask if you are to provide one for them
- Can I request certain images are taken at the wedding? Be sure to ask how they will ensure they get these shots if the answer is yes.
- Do you bring your own lighting? This should almost always be a yes…if not, there should be a long, detailed answer as to why not!
- How many hours are included in your wedding package? It’s customary for photography to start at least 2 hours before the ceremony itself.
- How much is an additional hour(s) of your time? Always good to be clear on exactly how long you will require them to be there and how much overtime may cost.
- Will you use any images for advertising? This may not always be mentioned up front or stated in the contract so it’s good to know and this way if you aren’t comfortable with you, you can come to an agreement.