- 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!
Black Friday is here and it’s not just about scoring a new tv or bed, this is the time of year to knock a few things of your wedding to do list…and maybe save while you’re at it? Yes!
This is one of the best times to buy in bulk if possible. Department stores like Target, Walmart will have non-perishable favors like sunglasses (beach), tea cups/mugs (winter), passport holders (destination). Once you have them all you can customize them with tags or pretty packaging.
Who doesn’t love a good shoe deal? Have a style and height in mind, comfort will be key so don’t impulse purchase. Trying them on and doing a walk through of the store is important, make sure nothing pinches or is too tight. Be sure to ask about the store return policy if exchanges are permitted and keep your receipt and original packaging!
This might require a bit of digging but start off with your local bridal shop and see if they have any trunk shows to clear out older inventory. If you’ve been checking the price tag of one particular dress; you won’t get it at a lower price before it gets redistributed. This could be the opportunity to fine “the dress”.
Another no brainer. As with shoes, there is always a hygiene issue with earrings so before you buy, get the return policy information. If you scored shoes then look for hair pieces, necklaces and earrings that will compliment them. If you ended up with a dress or already have one, be sure to consider the neckline and how you will wear your hair. Generally, if you have a higher neckline, a necklace might be too much but some longer earrings could work.
Bridal Party Attire
Welp! Black Friday bridesmaid dresses won’t get better than this! What more could you want? Girls day, shopping, saving money and ticking this off your to do list! Be sure to have everyone’s measurements and be ready to buy if the right opportunity comes along that fits the criteria you are looking for! One last time…check the return/exchange policy and make sure you keep those receipts!
With a bit of advance research, this year’s Black Friday can be unbelievably productive for any soon to be bride!
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!
If you are planning your wedding yourself, it’s crucial that you know a few very important things when it comes to your budget and how it will be broken down. This information isn’t common knowledge so if you find yourself struggling or are weary of making a mistake, hire a planner! Deposits and final payments for your vendors are very important and the key to ensuring how much is for what and when is to read the post I wrote last week about reading your vendor contract!
Deposits are what you and your partner put down to essentially “reserve” the vendor, all of your vendors will require a deposit. (Side note: Some planners require a retainer; it’s a fancier word for an advance.) It will be written in the contract exactly how much of a deposit is required to secure their services for your wedding. Most wedding bands require up to 20%, some photographers require half up front, it really depends so again to reiterate, read your contract!
If you don’t quite understand the contract, set up a meeting with them and have them thoroughly explain so there are absolutely no miscommunications. Once you sign that contract, you agree to everything in it whether you read it or not! In most cases, deposits and retainers are non-refundable. Once you put down your deposit, your vendor has then reserved their services for your wedding date.
One other important thing to keep in mind is when you are meeting your vendors to discuss their services and whether or not you will hire them, be in a position to put down a deposit at the meeting. You have no idea what their booking schedule is like and if they are photographer, some are booked up to a year and a half in advance!
Similarly, the contract should stipulate when your vendor expects their final payment. The amounts will vary and the due dates can be anywhere from two weeks before the wedding day up to the day of the wedding. Discussing this and making changes before you sign the contract is essential. Most vendors can be flexible; others not as much so it’s important that you keep track on a calendar the date final payments are due. For example, most venues will request a deposit up to 20% and then final payment will be the entire lump sum of what is left over due roughly a week before the wedding. You can arrange to make payments so it’s not one large chunk gone at once so be sure to inquire about that.
If any payments are due on the day of the wedding, have someone like a planner, parent or another relative who will ensure the payments are to given to the vendors. You will be busy getting married and celebrating and it’s easy to become distracted since it’s your big day.
In both cases whether it’s a deposit or a final payment, request an invoice or a receipt that stipulates the date you paid and the amount. It’s good to keep a record of these payments for your own security.
No wedding day is completely perfect (unless it is) and there are bound to be some flubs or forgotten details. Here are 10 common mistakes brides make leading up to and on their wedding day:
- Don’t carve out enough time for hair and makeup
It is imperative that you consider how large your bridal party is, this should include your mother and mother in law and any flower girls you may have. If you have more than 4 ladies to do hair and makeup for, you should consider hiring two makeup artists and two hair stylists. Make sure they have both met, have pictures of the makeup and hair looks so they can get everyone done on time!
- Drink the night before
Try to refrain from excessive drinking the night before the wedding. Alcohol can make you puffy the next day, if you are sensitive you may even get a mild headache. Trade in a cocktail or glass of wine with some sparkling water and lemon, you’ll thank us.
- Rule out a wedding planner
Even if you have managed to plan everything yourself, the week before your wedding is the most stressful. If you had hired a planner for the week of you could have been spending time with your family and friends. Instead, you are left running around keeping track of final payments to vendors, confirming floral deliveries, giving directions…need I continue? Hire a planner.
- Don’t account for hidden costs
This is a big one that gets overlooked far too often. Tipping your vendors is a must unless it’s already included in their contract. Also ensuring they are fed at dinner time if they are present is also important. Marriage license is another hidden cost, postage for “Thank you” cards, meals on wedding day and then there is the “other” category. This is for when the power goes out and you have to buy 200 candles, or the groom forgets to pack his shoes and needs to hail a cab!
- Take time with parents
The day of your wedding you are the center of attention and everyone wants to say a word or give a hug. Don’t forget to take a few quiet moments with your parents outside of pictures. It will be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle and it will give you some one on one time with them, they will appreciate it.
6. You forget to eat
Yes, we know you need to fit into your wedding dress as snug as a bug the day of, however, we don’t need a dramatic Scarlett O’Hara fainting moment because you didn’t eat anything. A light breakfast with a few carbs for energy is suffice, lots of water and some snacks while getting ready and during pictures.
- Sunless tanning
Have some practice sessions please! I can’t stress this enough. Sunless tanning can work if you find the right place to go. Be sure to go for a shade that isn’t so far off your natural skin tone, aim for a pre- wedding glow. If you overdo it or go too dark…you will be in your bathroom 2 days before your wedding with half a cup of lemon juice, a quarter cup of sugar…and a loofah sponge.
- Don’t feed vendors
Your vendors work hard and rightly so; this is what they do! However, if you have hired a band to entertain your guests, a planner running around behind the scenes, a photographer or videographer- they need to eat. This is customary and likely in the contract you signed when you hired them. Perhaps not what the guests are eating but feed them with something!
- Skimp on bridal party gifts
Take into consideration your bridal party (guys too) have spend a ton of money over the past year or so helping you plan your wedding. From wedding gifts, bachelor/bachelorette parties, outfits, dinners, to helping you solve problems, they’ve done so much. Be sure to budget a decent amount (consider how large your bridal party is) so they can feel the love and appreciation you have for all they have done.
- Mistreat Single friends
I’ve been one of the single gals at a table, where I don’t know anyone and most of the people I am sitting with are couples. Thankfully I have an outgoing personality and I can talk to anyone but not all your guests are going to find this situation ideal. To ease the pressure or even nerves, try to put them with at least one person at the same table that they know. Please, please have mercy!
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!
I thought this would be an interesting blog post because most of us would expect our friends and loved ones to give us some helpful marriage counsel. Recently I asked a handful of my married friends, what was the absolute worst marriage advice they ever got.
At first I was shocked at some of it but then I realized it shouldn’t be so surprising since we live in a society that hardly values the sanctity of marriage. Here is what some of them said:
“To walk away when things get tough…but we made vows for a reason!”– Mariah & LeRon
“I’ve had some rough go’s and hard times but have also had some great times, worst thing I was ever told was to suck it up for the kids.” Jake & Ashley
“My husband got the advice: Tell your wife her cooking is good, even when it isn’t! I don’t know how many stir fry and quiches my husband choked down before he told me he didn’t like them. So frustrating, I want to make meals we like and improve on them!”– Jennifer & Andrew
“Have babies, they will solve your problems and make your marriage happier…shouldn’t the marriage be happy first?” Leigha & Greg
“Happy wife, happy life. What about my husbands needs?! I want him to talk to me and tell me what makes him happy or what bothers him.”– Megan & Dustin
“Don’t get fat…”– Sarah & Zach
Hopefully that person got a big 2000 piece of cake in the face!
“Everything is 50/50…no its 100/100! If you are only putting in half the work then expect a half-assed marriage.”– Erica & Scott
Here is our personal favorite:
“Don’t compromise most marriages end in divorce anyway.”– Pamela & Adam
Moral of the story: marriage is what you decide to make it, good or bad advice no one is in the relationship but you. It’s a good idea to keep as much of your marriage between just the two of you to ensure less people are involved in giving their opinion. While we appreciate our friends and family, we also want to remain keenly aware that their own experiences can bias the advice they give. Keep those who support your marriage close to you and remember to consider one another always.
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