Hunker down everyone, this is gonna be a big’un!
So, for those of you who haven’t been involved in planning a wedding… there’s kind of a “lull” in the middle… You get engaged, it’s about a year out, and you panic and get all the early stuff figured out like venues and vendors, but then suddenly there isn’t really a lot to do until a few months before the wedding. That’s kind of what happened with me, I got my venues, my dress, my photographer, and then I kind of took a couple month hiatus from the whole wedding planning thing over the holidays. The downside of that is that January hit, and suddenly it dawned on me… oh shit, I have like 3 and a half months until the wedding!! Eep! So I kicked it into high gear and (combined with looking for a new job) have been a very busy girl these past few weeks.
So, I’ll do my best to keep this post as organized as possible, even though it’s really going to be all over the place!
The Wedding Show… I do? I don’t.
I’ll start with the big fancy wedding show I went to. Every year, Vancouver has a big ass wedding fair in January, but unfortunately last January I had only just became engaged, and hadn’t really jumped on board with the whole planning things out yet, so I missed out. This year, it turned out to be kind of the opposite story. Jason and I went to the show, and basically skipped over 75% of the booths because we already had planned out those parts of the wedding.
So I’m talking about The Wedding Fair that took place on January 12th, at the Westin Bayshore. It’s pretty much the biggest wedding show in the Vancouver area, I even remember hearing ads for it on the radio when I was in elementary school.
To be honest, I don’t know how any bride-to-be could go to that show without their groom-to-be… the swag bag was absolutely massive, and when I got home I threw it on my bathroom scale and it came out to about 15lbs! Poor Jason had to lug that thing around the whole time… and to be honest, it was a very disappointing swag bag. At the little wedding show I went to last year out in Coquitlam, there were chocolates, candles, y’know… actual swag. But the wedding fair… their “swag” consisted of quite literally, just paper. I got a few free magazines, which is about as close to swag as you’re going to get there, but I haven’t even bothered to read them because I am really just so done with bridal magazines. They’re all the same, wedding dress after wedding dress that I don’t need (because I already have mine) and couldn’t afford even if I wanted them, and diamond engagement rings… because people who are engaged somehow need to buy engagement rings? I kind of thought that was the whole… husband-to-be’s job to buy you an engagement ring before he asked you to marry him? I’d understand if they were wedding bands but… 9 times out of 10, nope.
He could sell me anything!
All in all, while it did get my wedding excitement going and I had a fun time out with my hubby, I was relatively disappointed in the wedding fair itself. If I had to guess, I’d say it was 50% travel agencies, 15% venues, 15% photographers, 10% DJ companies, and 10% other stuff. Considering we’re planning to hold off on honeymoon planning until after the wedding, and we already have our venues, photographer, and DJ figured out… it wasn’t worth the time nor money. Although, one vendor brought their adorable dog with them to the show (best. sales. strategy. ever), so maybe meeting that little guy made it worth it.
Limousines and Weddingful… my new favourite go-to- wedding site!
I did get a couple of good things out of that show however, one is my new favourite wedding resource, weddingful.com. Basically they list all the nearby wedding vendors by category, they include reviews, ratings, prices, discounts, and availability for your wedding day. The weddingful booth had a little wheel you could spin for prizes and discounts, I actually managed to spin the wheel and get the best prize, 15% off anything booked through weddingful!
So, my awesome maid of honour did some phoning and research and I managed to get my limousines all booked, and took advantage of not only the 15% off I received at the wedding fair, but also a 20% discount they had through their site as well! All in all, I booked 2 limousines for 4 hours with King Limousine Service for only about $665.
The other big thing I got out of the wedding show was a business card from Making Memories Scrapbooking. They do wonderful custom invitations, and I was very impressed with the sample invitation they included with their pamphlet. So, the best man and I went over there last week and over a few hours I went through countless invitation samples they had, picked out 10-15 of them that each had an aspect that I liked (font, colour, embossing, etc). By the time we left, I had put together a design that I really liked, and they should be ready to pick up this week. I saved a little money by ordering them not assembled, with the plan that between my parents, Jason, the best man, and maid of honour, we could get them all put together in a night. I also saved some money by buying the paper to make my own RSVP cards, and managed to get the design finished and all the cards printed up last night. All in all, it came to about $573 for 60 invitations, along with enough stamps to send them all out and to pre-stamp the RSVP envelopes.
One Ring to Rule Them All… (Yep, I went there.)
The final good thing I got out of the wedding fair, is that I spoke to Michael Hill Jewelers. Some time ago, one of the diamonds had fallen out of my engagement ring (I was so devastated!). So I stopped by the Michael Hill booth at the show and asked if I brought the ring in, if they’d be able to replace the diamond and for how much. I spoke to the store manager from the Metrotown location and he was so nice, and said they would do it for $30, no problem.
So, a couple weeks back, the best man and I ran over to Metrotown to get the ring fixed, and well… everything was just so shiny and pretty… long story short, I saw a wedding band that I immediately fell in love with. It’s an enhancer style wedding band, meaning it takes the place of both the wedding band and the anniversary band, so in my eyes I felt that it was definitely worth the price because I’m getting two rings for one! 0.5ct, blue and white diamonds, white gold, and matches my engagement ring perfectly. It was even already the right size! Unfortunately, my engagement ring was not made for it… and didn’t quite fit, but they told me that they could send it in with my engagement ring and ask the goldsmith to adjust the band so that the engagement ring fits nicely within the band.
The ring was regular $1500, and they offered it to me for $1200, plus free rhodium plating for my engagement ring so the metal would match a little better to the wedding band. It was a lot of money, and I was originally planning to buy a ring I had seen online for only about $300, so we went off to think about it, grabbed a coffee, and walked around the mall looking in other jewellery stores. None of the other stores even had the enhancer style wedding bands, let alone ones with blue diamonds… until we went to People’s Jewelers. They not only had an enhancer style wedding band with blue and white diamonds… they had the same wedding band that Michael Hill had. They were selling theirs for $999, and had a deal on for zero tax. Since Michael Hill already had my engagement ring, and since the manager was so nice at the show, I went back to Michaels to give them the opportunity to keep my business. I told them I could get the exact same ring at People’s for $999 after tax, they not only honoured that price they also included the complimentary rhodium plating for the engagement ring! So I went and picked up the rings last week, and they’re perfect! The engagement ring looks like it was made for the wedding band, and fits perfectly. The only downside is that Jason won’t let me wear the wedding band until we’re married! 😦
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue!
Over the past few months I have been slowly gathering my wedding accessories… I stopped in at a little shop just about a block away sometime before Christmas, and found a necklace I absolutely loved. It was a little difficult to decide whether I should get it as my wedding colours are black, white, and pink, and the necklace is silver and blue, but I opted to go with it because it would match my rings. My good friend, neighbour, and bridesmaid gave me two pairs of earrings (I have 2 holes in my ears) for Christmas that I mentioned I would love to wear for the wedding. And I managed to find my wedding shoes on sale at Shoe Warehouse. Unfortunately the shoes are a little too white compared to my dress which is just off-white, but they are dyeable so I will be hesitantly experimenting with that in the near future…
While that pretty well covers my something new, my Mom has helped me out with finding my something old, something borrowed, and something blue by not only letting me pick out a purse from her vintage and antique purse collection, but also by lending me a beautiful blue handkerchief that was hand-sewn by Austrian nuns. I picked out a black and pink beaded purse (to match my wedding colours) from the 1940’s. There were many other purses I liked but they were either not quite the right colours, or not quite big enough to fit my cell phone.
I am currently working on the veil, the mother of a mutual friend of my maid of honour and I is a seamstress and agreed to make my veil for me (I have specific tastes). All I need to do is go out and get the material, and she is going make it for the reasonable price of $12/hr with an estimate of about 3 hours.
I also happened to pick up some flip-flops for the honeymoon (when we get to that) while I was out this past weekend… they write “Just Married” in the sand when you walk!
A Few Major’s
There are a few important, but… scattered things that we worked out over the past couple months as well. Firstly, we hired our DJ for the reception. My maid of honour recommended a friend of hers, DJ Zavarella, and the price was pretty awesome! $475 for a wedding DJ? I’m sold!
Another major, was well… the wedding party. It was a little up in the air because we weren’t sure who would be able to make it out to the wedding from Wales to be there for Jason. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like many will be able to come, but on the positive I have some wonderful friends and family who are more than willing to stand up there beside the both of us. My best friend, Craig, will be best man, my best girl-friend (aka my wifey), Jess, will be my maid of honour. Jason’s sister, Michelle, as well as my neighbour and good friend, Valerie, being bridesmaids. My brothers, Brad and Grant, will both be groomsmen, with Brad hesitantly agreeing to MC as well. Michelle’s kids, Daniel and Bethan, will be ringbearer and flowergirl respectively 🙂
So of course, once we figured out the wedding party, the next step was to get our tuxedos sorted. I’m really more of a fan of the “suit-style” tuxedo, not really fond of shiny lapels… so we went for black Vera Wang suit-style tuxedos, white shirts (no ruffles!), black ties, with pink vests for the groomsmen, and a white vest for Jason. I think it looks pretty good!
We’re planning on heading out this weekend to get the bridesmaids dresses picked out, then the pressure will be much lighter!
Getting Into My Wedding Bod…
Some of you may be following my other blog, focused on my dieting and weight loss progress, but for those who aren’t, here’s a small progress update. I started my wedding diet back in September and am proud to say that I am coming along very well! I am officially more than half way to my goal weight, and while I don’t think that I will reach that by the wedding, I am already more than happy with the progress I have made. I am officially down 43lbs since September 16th, and my wedding dress is fitting better and better all the time.
Bits and Pieces (Mostly Decor)
Finally… (yes, this is coming to an end!) there are a lot of little bits and pieces that we’ve gathered, mostly decorations. Craig, Jess, Jason, my parents, and I went over to the reception site a couple weeks ago and took measurements of practically everything. I found out that the hotel will put vases with floating candles in the many wall sconces around the reception site at no cost… score! One less expense on decorations, and one less thing to worry about. I also found out that the tentative lunch meeting that was to be scheduled at the reception site for earlier in the day on my wedding day fell through, which means we can decorate the site ourselves and don’t have to put out money on a decorator!
I’ve found that Christmas has provided me with a few decorations to save some money, I set aside some silver birds I had on my tree, and my parents have set aside several boxes of clear Christmas lights. There are a lot of windows at the reception site, with gold rails along most of them. I’m thinking of wrapping the bars with tulle and Christmas lights… so when we go to find fabric for my veil, we’ll also pick out some bolts of tulle.
I picked up four vases (one extra just in case) at the dollar store as well as three white rose rings to go around the bottoms, I plan to use those as the centerpieces for the head table and place the LED roses we bought last summer in each. I also found some pink butterfly lights at the dollar store for $2 per string, so I cleared out all that they had. They look really pretty on the box, but after getting them home and turning them on, it turns out the lights are red and not clear (as it shows on the box). I think I’ll probably still use them, but they don’t look quite as nice as I expected.
I found some pink and white rose petals at Wal-Mart for $5, a garland of vines and pink roses at Michaels ($14 after a 40% off coupon) to decorate the top of the archway that my Dad made by hand, and wedding bubbles (instead of rice) at Michael’s for $22 (on sale, plus 40% off coupon). The bubbles are a little plain, but with adding a pinch of pink glitter that I picked up at the dollar store, they look better already. I plan to order some custom ribbon in the next couple of weeks to tie on to the bubbles which should add a nice finishing touch.
Lastly, I found a perfect set of toasting glasses over at a store on west 4th in Kits. They were only $43, and absolutely awesome… Yep, the glass comes out and the stems are joined together as a stand.
We have a lot more ideas for decorations that are in the works, and I have to say that my best man and maid of honour are being absolutely amazing at helping me get organized and helping me to get out there and get things done! Unfortunately Jason has been working crazy long hours lately as the project he is working on is coming to a close (as much as 20 hour work days), so I know I would not be able to do all of this without them!
Phew! Okay! That’s all for now 🙂 Thanks for reading everyone!
Days Until the Wedding: 2 months, 27 days
Total Cost So Far: $11,556.57