The Wedding Run-Down: Vendors, Tutorials, Finery, & More

This post is not for the faint of heart. I am way too busy with work to split the vendors into two posts so this encyclopedia of a read will have to do. We had such an incredible day and we are forever grateful to the vendors who made the wedding so wonderfully memorable. I really wanted to highlight some of these dear people and the work they do; it is added bonus that 1) wedding posts spread like wildfire in the blogging community and 2) I get the chance to try some fun WordPress finnicky “tricks”. Finnicky in my mind, anyway. Here goes!

The Photography

I couldn’t highlight features of our wedding without drawing insane amounts of attention to our photographer, Adrian from Adrian Michael Photography. He and his wife, Sarah, were absolutely wonderful to work with and went above and beyond the stipulations of our contract. They arrived at the bridal suite early and left the wedding reception late without so much as batting an eyelash. They captured the memories, moments, traditions, and the spiritual undercurrents that we requested in such thoughtful ways, even braving the perilous task of photographing our extended families – which, in the case of my family, is something akin to subduing an army.

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Adrian is a fine art film photographer, meaning each photograph is carefully planned and executed. That said, hundreds of beautifully candid photos speak to his ability to respond to moments spontaneously as well. Jesse has informed me that to shoot in film requires immense skill with lighting and framing. The result is a photograph that achieves the effect that many digital photographers attempt to achieve through editing and filters. Honestly, I can’t rave enough. We were thrilled with the digital files and the developed film. Cost-wise, we prioritized photography above most other elements and were willing to drop a chunk of the budget for that cause. That said, we feel that Adrian is very reasonably priced, flexible, and of course, worth every penny.

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The Finery

My dress was a stunning blush pink beaded and lace mermaid creation. Mum, Mollie, and I spent hours combing the racks at Bliss Consignment Bridal and finally stumbled upon this beauty. The seamstress removed a mesh décolletage overlay, lowered the neckline, and swapped a corset for a zipper and handmade blush satin buttons to create a truly one-of-a-kind gown. The blush hue was romantic, feminine, and brought a unique characteristic to my dress – something I was determined to achieve while remaining within a conservative budget.

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My dream has always been to have a cathedral length veil falling whimsically about my shoulders but I was dismayed to find that such a piece boasts prices upwards of $250-$300. Mum combed the internet and YouTube, learning veil construction. She ended up buying a few metres of tulle at Fabricana for $20 (the staff are usually very knowledgeable and can recommend the type of tulle to suit your needs), a hair comb from the dollar store, and a wee bit of satin to cover the gatherings and set about making my veil!We found this tutorial and the writer’s discussion of fabric choice very helpful! When my dear “Auntie” Abi arrived from England for the wedding, she hand stitched some lovely little beads to the comb. She also came armed with a handmade lace and beaded headpiece inspired by this draped pearl hairpiece I had a love affair with. I will treasure that handmade, delicate hair piece for my entire life. It was so stunning.

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The bridesmaid’s Be Merry Textured Dresses were ordered from Shop Ruche. They had plenty of promotions and “bulk” order deals to choose from and I think we ended up with $40 dresses! The ladies shoes were ordered from Francescas and from what I’ve heard, ended up being comfortable and blister free! I am definitely an online shopping aficionado – the selection is so much wider and there is greater opportunity for sales. The trick is to have your girls take their measurements and choose their sizes according to the charts available on individual websites.

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The men were so incredibly handsome and trim in their Zara MAN Navy Coated Cotton Suits. Jesse swears by his Super Slim Fit Zara shirt in white. This cut of suit is certainly not for every guy but with a few alterations, it can be fairly flattering on most builds. Our guys looked incredible. And no, I did not plan to have a red, white, and blue palette on the Fourth of July. I am Canadian through and through and the holiday didn’t enter my mind even once 😉

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The lit’lins stole the show in their Gap shorts and button ups. My bridesmaid and cousin, Heidi, (mother to these three angels), waited patiently for news of a sale to reach her inbox and then ordered pairs for all four boys. The Gap and Old Navy usually offer discounts when you purchase a greater number of items at one time. The items we chose are now out of season but the same basic styles hit the racks again every summer. And of course, the suspender and bow tie sets we chose are available year round over at Sweet N Swag on Etsy. I believe the owner of this shop, Shannon, has launched her own website as well. The sets came within a week or two and quite obviously, were adorable. While the sets themselves are totally customizable, they range from $20 – $26, depending on the type of suspender you choose. Avery was delightful and lovely in her Burlington Coat Factory pink polka dot tulle frock! That’s right. Try TJ Maxx, Winners, Ross, Burlington Coat Factory, etc. around Easter time and enjoy a completely expanded selection of girls frocks in summer shades. We paid $20 for a dress she could get plenty more wear out of (in fact, according to Heidi, she’s chosen to wear her flower girl dress to church almost every Sunday since. hehe).

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The Blooms

Kari at Confetti Floral Design had arguably the toughest job of the wedding – translating my lavish floral dreams to a stunning reality! I dedicated a substantial part of our wedding budget to fresh flower centrepieces, elaborate bouquets, and a romantic and statement making wooden arch design. Some may choose not to be as “wasteful” but flowers make my heart happy and complemented the venue’s beautifully kept grounds. My vision was of an English Garden Party, complete with wild and romantic greenery and fresh bright blooms. I wanted the flowers to take centre stage. Jesse is a minimalist and could get behind this idea wholeheartedly. The result was attention-grabbing centrepieces that required the help of very few trendy “bits and bobs” to decorate the spaces.

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My mum’s carefully selected and tended potted plants contributed a substantial amount of colour and beauty to the whole venue. This strategy is quite economical and probably achieves more bang for your buck. If you, your mum, your Grandma, etc. are the type to fill up your patios with potted plants every spring, try selecting blooms within your colour scheme and finding some galvanized metal pots or tubs to plant them in. You’ll have blooms all summer – the pretty pink geraniums marking the aisle are still going strong nearly two months later! The galvanized metal pitchers, cans, and tubs were either already in the garden (my mum hunts for them in the Winthrop vintage shops) or purchased when Target put all their stock on sale. Most Facebook Buy/Sell/Swap wedding groups have these available but some other hunting grounds include vintage markets (such as the one in Albion every year), craigslist, and thrift stores. I also picked up about half of our white centrepiece vessels at thrift stores or registered for them at Bed Bath and Beyond (guests gave them to me at bridal showers and I put them to use in the wedding) and Kari supplied the rest.

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Essentially, I showed Kari some photos (okay, a LOT of photos – if you think my timeline was detailed, you should have seen the novel I gave her!), told her the colours I wanted, described my “vision” and asked that all blooms be affordable, in season, and able to stand up to the heat as best as possible. The result is all attributed her skill and creativity! Her pricing is very fair and she’s a great resource for vase rentals as well. Kari did florals for my sister in laws wedding where the style was very woodsy and rustic – in other words, she has a diverse portfolio! 

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A word of caution for brides: when you walk into your reception, LOOK at your centrepieces. I spent so much time beforehand obsessing about the flowers and forgot to so much as glance at my centrepieces! Thankfully, they were almost the exact same composition as my bouquet so I don’t feel too regretful.

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The Candles and Things

We really didn’t have a whole load of decor. The venue provided so much natural beauty and the flowers were so striking that very little was needed.

My bridesmaid, Megan, and I picked up these glass votives for $1.99/4 pack and some unscented floating candles for $5.99/24 pack from IKEA. I didn’t want the little tin wrapping on standard tea lights to show through the glass and the floating candles melted gently into the glass after a bit. We bought Michael’s Creatology Gold Glitter, a can of modge podge, and a couple little sponge brushes and set to work creating romantic sparkly gold votives to dot the tables. Click here for the tutorial we used. Beware: you will need stacks and stacks of newspaper to keep this project contained. But it’s well worth it! I don’t have any shots of the candles lit but I assure you, they sparkled and flickered and glowed all golden and warm.

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I always love the meaningfulness that individual name cards invoke so Jesse and I trekked off to Opus to measure and cut huge sheets of berry coloured cardstock into little rectangles. I used one of his fancy gold pens to handwrite each guests name and then we hole punched them and wound them through the gold and cream coloured ribbon wrapped napkins. I scored several hundred meters of delicate gold trim ribbon from Fabricana for less than $30. The paper was a whopping $5, I think? The wrapping and bow tying was quite a fete – the boys complained, Jesse spent more time trying to find an ergonomic and efficient way of weaving and tying the ribbon than he did actually completing napkins, and Nan couldn’t seem to find a way to lay the name cards face up in the ribbon but somehow, we finished 150 of these little ones. Tedious, but worth the money you save.

All the other stationary and signage was designed and executed by Jesse. He opted for a very simple, clean look with colour requests from me. The invitations were ordered from Jukebox Print and the seating chart table lists from Staples. Both companies did a great job, Jukebox in particular. They have consultants who inform you if the colours you’ve selected tend to look different once printed and advise you on how to achieve the same effect with a colour that prints more true to form. We were thrilled with the quality of our invitations. The table lists were tacked on to a wooden board painted white by Jesse. He also hand painted our “Jesse & Olivia” logo onto the signage and seating chart. He did a fantastic job. If you know what you’re looking for in terms of wedding stationary, he can probably realize your vision for a reasonable price. Chat with me if you’re interested! I hear he’s newly married and could use some extra cash for his wife’s upcoming birthday present.

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The Eats

I have two statements to make regarding the food at our wedding. 1) It was stupendous. 2) It was raved about by every single person we talked to after the wedding. That salmon? Out of this world. I felt far too self-conscious going back for seconds of the cedar plank salmon before any other table was even dismissed for dinner so I begged my cousin to take extra helpings on her plate and sneak it back to me. She did and I scarfed it down. Mmm. Karen Bergen, our caterer, was so flexible and easy to work with. Everything was made from scratch and we truly got everything we wanted for a price and taste factor you can’t compete with. Including fresh baked pies from scratch!! Come on now. We have enjoyed Karen’s catering three times now and I therefore feel I am the authority on her food. Book her!

I wish I could link readers to her website but its nonexistent. She’s a tricky one to get in touch with but chat with me for her contact information!

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One of my bridesmaids and best friends designed, baked, and decorated our chocolatey cake of floral delight. My one bite of it was delicious but rest assured, I am waiting anxiously for that one year anniversary so I can yard the top tier out of my freezer and truly dig in. She’s a newlywed, professionally trained pastry chef and she makes some seriously decadent desserts (the wedding was not the first time I’ve sampled her repertoire). Leave a comment if you want to get in touch with Liz for your own wedding or event.

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The Absolute Necessary

And finally, I have to brag about our wedding coordinator, Jodi, from Jodi Marie Events, who ran around accomplishing any number of large and small tasks throughout the entire day. We are so grateful for her flexibility in providing services, her expertise and suggestions, and for the way she completely took over and allowed me, the ultimate control freak, the peace of a stress-free day. I would highly recommend finding a day-of coordinator and I would highly recommend Jodi! Plus, it’s always a bonus to be arguing with your mum about this or that aspect of the wedding and have someone agree with you, to your mama’s face, no matter what. She embraced the bride-rules mentality even when my mum didn’t 😉 The mark of a truly great coordinator. Sorry mum, that’s my only dig of the post – promise!

And there you have it. There are so many aspects of wedding planning I could never get to writing about – the details are vast and well, detailed! My number one piece of advice for any bride would be to write lists about lists and then stick to said lists! Oh, and calm the heck down at all times. There is absolutely NO good and honest reason to be a monster about a wedding and that’s wisdom coming from someone who has been known to bite a head or two off in her time. I could thoroughly enjoy our wedding day and step forward into new families knowing that no one felt mistreated, unheard, or disrespected. Including my new husband. Even though both my mothers were understandably stressed leading up to the wedding, it was all so much more lovely and special because I wasn’t the cause of that stress. If you read my post a few months ago, you know my thoughts on brides behaving horrendously. It shouldn’t happen.

So ladies, hold it together. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

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