- 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!
Category: Toronto Wedding Venues
Style Shoot: Woodland Escape
I had the privilege of being able to do outdoor shoots last year for Elegant Wedding Magazine. I shared the first one with you all, Spring Garden at the Toronto Botanical Gardens in Toronto.
This shoot was very different and I loved it for that reason. It was paramount that as many natural elements were included to maintain an organic feel. It’s not often an outdoor wedding can utilize most of the natural elements outside to contribute to the overall tone of the event style. But it can be done!
Here are some of our favorite shots of this simply stunning shoot!
To see more head on over to the Elegant Wedding Magazine blog post Moody Woodland Forest Wedding
Venue: Fantasy Farms
Photographer: The Butterfly Photography
Florals: Divine Flowers Toronto
Dresses: Mona Lisa Bridal Gallery
Table Top Decor: Plate Occasions
Rentals: Chairman Mills
Decor and Props: Cre8ive Studios
Stationary: GM Calligraphy
Cake and Confections: Dolce Vita Cakes by Albina
HMUA: Makeup Couture/ Hair Couture
How to rock a venue open house
If you are recently engaged, living in the big TO and still shopping for the perfect venue, this blog post is for you! January-March are the months when venues host an event called an “open house” to showcase the venue’s potential for a wedding. They hire wedding vendors such as a DJ, catering company and sometimes an entertainment company for the evening. You will get to enjoy wine, finger foods, a band or a DJ while getting to check out a venue that might work for your wedding day.
What to look for
When you look around the room, do you see any large pillars that disrupt a clear line of vision? This is one of the most important things you need to look for when searching for a venue. When you imagine the set up, will anything block the guests view of the ceremony or honor table during the reception? Will photographs look strange? If the room is open concept you are good to go but if it’s a venue with a bit more of a rustic/industrial look, its not a “all bets are off” scenario but careful consideration of the setup will be required.
Besides cold food, nothing is worse than a 200 plus wedding guest count and a one stall washroom…that the bride can barely fit in. Washrooms are a big deal ladies; are they properly cleaned and well stocked (yes snoop those cupboards!!) Does anything look like it’s in need of maintenance? Do the toilet’s flush properly, is there hot water to wash hands, are the soap dispensers full? How many washroom stalls are there and is it wheelchair accessible?
Another great thing to peep is aspects of the venue that are unique and special. Some venues have an outdoor patio which is great for when you need to get some air. What a about a rooftop patio, who doesn’t love a view? Is there any natural lighting that you love which will translate into beautiful city lights at night and add to the ambience the evening? If you have a summer wedding, do they have a garden area you could gain access too? Parking anyone?!
Whether it’s when you first walk in, or are walking out, someone should be handing you a cute little gift bag with a cookie, business cards, gift cards and a wedding package from the venue. It will give a very detailed outlining of what they offer, what’s included and not included in their packages and pricing.
So, call up a few of your girlfriends or bridal party for that matter, when you RSVP include how many will be accompanying you. Don’t eat a heavy dinner since there will be plenty for you to munch on when you get there. Enjoy the entertainment, music and wine and look out for these 4 things I mentioned. It’s a great way to have a nice free little girls’ night out while searching for your wedding venue.
Below are a couple of upcoming venue open houses this month and next, so if you haven’t chosen a venue yet, now’s your chance to see it completely done up and at it’s full potential!
Style Shoot: Spring Garden
Wedding season is right around the corner so here is some Spring Garden inspo my team and I created at the Toronto Botanical Gardens.
Planning: AVP Weddings & Events | Photography: White Lotus Wedding Studios | Flowers: CA Flowers | Makeup & Hair: Miss Thani | Dress: Vera Wang Toronto | Decor: Glamourous Affairs Inc. | Rentals: Chair-man Mills | Linens: Linen Closet | Stationery: GM Calligraphy | Cake & Desserts: Fruitilicious Cakes | Popsicles: Happy Pops | Engagement Ring: Michael Hill | Model: ICON Models (Diana) | Venue: Toronto Botanical Gardens
How to prepare for your wedding planning consult
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!
Elegant Wedding Magazine: Berry Bombshell Style Shoot
I was so excited to be offered a style shoot in the 2018 Winter/Spring issue of Elegant Wedding Magazine. Of course, with something this exciting- everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Everything up until and even the day of the shoot- everything went wrong.
Incredibly and thankfully I survived and so did the shoot. I had an incredible team and they pulled through for me and put so much talent and work into making it what it is-amazing!
Flavor and Flair was the magazine theme so I chose to work with a bold, very rich color scheme consisting of deep plum, mulberry, cotton candy pink, chartreuse and gold. I was hoping to create a very “regal” feel to the shoot and everything down to the gowns and jewelry reflected drama and majesty.
Planning & Concept Creator// Ashley Victoria Productions|Photography// MPSG Weddings| Dresses// Mona Lisa Bridal Gallery//Naama & Anat|Rentals// Event Rental Group| Props// Glamourous Affairs| Hair & Make Up// Blushing Beauty Inc|Cake//Fruitilicious Cakes|Suiting & Shoes// 4 Men United| Florals// Dream Creations|Jewelry & Crown// The Loved One| Stationary// Polkadot Paper Shop| Sweets & Hand Painted BonBons// Succulent Chocolates| Venue// The Great Hall
AVP Blog Series-Wedding Venues in The 6ix: The Burroughes Building
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!
Photo credits: www.derekcampbell.net; www.ashleyvictoriaproductions.com; www.theburroughes.com
Wedding Venues in The 6ix: National Event Venue
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
Wedding Venues in The 6ix: The Avenue Banquet Hall
The Avenue is a fantastic little spot in Vaughan Ontario and one of the not so obvious but convenient aspects of it is that it’s close to all major highways (401, 407 and the Allen). We love the fact that parking is free, and if you have out of town guests, the hotels close by have reduced rates for those who choose to have their event at The Avenue.
One thing that I can say I absolutely appreciated about this venue is that it’s literally one venue, so you don’t have to worry about multiple events taking place simultaneously to yours! This is a great selling point for brides who want to ensure there are no mix-ups or distractions on their big day. As a planner, even though we are used to it, it’s a relief to know there are no “hidden fees” that you will have to dig to find and explain to your clients. Many venues have so many additional fees and truthfully it can add up quickly. The Avenue is an exception, everything is up front and visible so there are absolutely no surprises!
Another convenient aspect of this little gem is it has the main hall that it has lovely high ceilings and can hold up to 400 guests. There is also separate ceremony room and a private bridal suite and a variety of catering menus to choose from including Mediterranean, Portuguese, West Indian, Italian and more!
Whether you are hosting an event or a wedding, the most comforting aspect of this venue for some will be the many 5 star reviews it has received from clients. There are rave reviews about the food, the service as well as working with Marla Kay and her pleasant and valuable experience. As I have met with Marla myself, it’s refreshing to say that she is one of the most open and candid venue coordinators I’ve met thus far and she loves what she does.
All in all, The Avenue is a venue to consider for any event or wedding so please contact them and book a time to view this banquet hall, you won’t have any regrets!
1600 Steeles Ave, Vaughan ON 905 669 0777 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wedding Venues in the 6ix: An Introduction
In light of the new year, I thought we would start off with a blog series surrounding wedding venues in the 6ix a.k.a Toronto, Ontario.
One of the things I personally love about this city is the undeniable degree of diversity in everything. From food, fashion, music and language, Toronto has so much to offer to those who want to experience life to the fullest. This is also true when it comes to wedding venues in the city. To put it bluntly, to get married in Toronto on a budget can be a challenge since it’s an expensive city to live in altogether. However, with constant changing trends with regard to the size of weddings, destination weddings etc, smaller venues are now emerging to cater to those couples who have a modest budget or prefer a more intimate wedding.
This series will take a look at several different wedding venues located in the 6ix for different budgets, couple styles and wedding size. It’s important to note that before you even start to look for a venue that you have a number of guests you plan to attend. Venue coordinators will need to know how many people you are planning to have attend for several reasons:
- The size of the guest list may determine whether or not you can fit that many sitting down and or standing up. If there are too many people then you may have to search for another venue that can hold the amount of guests you want.
- There is most likely a minimum spend of food and drink plus the rental fee and if you have a smaller guest list you may not meet the minimum requirements.
- The number of guests you want to have at your wedding has a direct affect on your budget since in most cases the couples covers the cost of dinner and the bar. Generally, the more guests, the more money you spend.
As we examine each venue, we will highlight the benefits of each venue and what makes them unique and a few other things. I hope you enjoy this upcoming series and that it helps you on your search to find your dream wedding venue here in the 6ix!