Monday, November 29, 2010

Me Heart Decor

A few decor ideas:

First off: I FOUND THEM! My #1 centerpiece idea:

{ source }

You know how bloody hard it is to find that kind of style in lanterns?! Honestly!

Basically a bride on weddingbee used them in her wedding and I contacted her about selling them - so now I'm just crossing my fingers that it doesn't cost a zillion dollars to ship them from the US. Once I get them I'll be spray-painting them silver to fit our colours; hopefully it works out.

And I've decided to go with the chair sashes & pompom napkin rings, and to purchase them in January. (I just made up a month-to-month payment schedule in order to figure out what cost goes into which month. Barring any unforeseen calamities, it should work.)

Now that I have the general idea for the reception decor figured out, it's time to brainstorm about ceremony decor ....(can you tell that this category is fast becoming my favourite part about wedding planning?) A few ideas:

  • Monogrammed aisle runner (we need one anyway & we're having monogrammed invites)
  • Free-standing (since we're most likely having an indoor ceremony and even if we aren't, our outdoor space is a deck, not grass) shepherd's hooks with mini lanterns on them (can I even find them?)
  • Ceremony ritual accessories (can't forget to add those to the budget, damnit)
  • Something up front, maybe, but not sure exactly what.

Total budget for this stuff is 180$, so we'll see if all my ideas come to fruition.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Venue: Check!

We did it! Told ya I'd have the venue chosen/paid for by the end of November!
Introducing the place where all the magic will happen:

(photos taken from here)

Top: Outside ceremony area, bar/cocktail hour & dance floor.
Bottom: two views of banquet room.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Picture this


filled completely with these:

Elegant. Simple. Clean. Gorgeous.

And now for a little math:

10 tifle bowls @ 12$ each = 120$
Candles (projected budget) = between 100-150$
Total cost of 10 centerpieces: between 220$ and 270$.

Also on the table would be these napkin-ring pompoms in orange, as an alternative to having to price out, hunt down, and rent orange napkins (can you say $$?). Aren't they ADORABLE?

(Found here)

Two other things: our venue includes chair covers with its rental fee, so I'm in the middle of deciding if the cost of chair sashes (orange, duh) is worth it for that extra added "pop" AND I found a great deal on weddingbee. Another thing I'm currently deciding is if I want a silver pin-tuck overlay, (also found on weddingbee), but is that just too much? Will anybody really notice?

Plus, then we're wandering into slightly-more-expensive-but-definitely-getting-sick-about-that-amount-of-money territory; a conservative estimate puts all the decor for the reception (excluding the overlays) around the 400$ mark, and I still have to price out chinese lanterns for over the dance floor. My estimated budget (given to me by the lovely Martha Stewart) puts centerpieces & decor for the reception at 600$, and I really, really want to be under that.

So. What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Not your style?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Four months out - a visual representation

Yes, I realize there is no 2 month. I was despairing that I would never lose anymore weight, wah wah wah. So I skipped the picture.

And please click to enlarge. I have no idea why it's so effing small.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

On Alcohol

Quick poll here:

1) Full cash bar
2) Full "toonie" (2$) bar
3) Full bar, but anything that's not wine, signature cocktail, or domestic beer are full price, while the aforementioned items are charged 2$.
4) Modified bar - only serves wine/signature cocktail/domestic beer, and charged 2$.

Which of these is
a) the least rude
b) the least confusing

Friday, November 19, 2010

Centerpiece Idea

A stack of books, individually wrapped in alternating colours with opposite ribbon, complemented with a small vase with a single orange Gerber daisy inside.

The best part about this idea is that I have a quite embarrassing amount of books I've only ever read once and really don't care about never seeing again.

What do you think? Tacky? Unique? Really cool idea? Abort abort abort?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Even more venue searching...

This weekend was full of venue searching - we went and saw St. Elias on Friday, Orchard View on Saturday, and Kanata Golf & Country Club on Sunday.

St. Elias started off rocky, as the guy didn't remember the meeting we had set up and then informed me that the dates he had previously said were available were booked! But, unlike the jerk from St. Anthony's, he apologized profusely and at one point even joked, "I can't believe you're still interested in having your wedding here!"

The space itself was a gorgeous banquet hall, complete with massive chandelier in the center of the room - and they were about to start renovations in January to update the whole space (new carpet/window coverings/paint job).

The potential deal breakers about the location were chiefly that we'd have to change our date to November 4th, and there isn't a space to have a ceremony onsite.

Orchard View
Is beautiful. However, we'd (again!) have to change our date to November 5th in order to afford it. And I'm just not ready to do that, especially when we have a perfectly acceptable venue that we both agree on (Camp Fortune) being able to give us our preferred date. Also, they want a 25% deposit, which we would have a hard time coming up with.

Kanata Golf & Country Club
Perfectly acceptable space, except I totally forgot to ask about rental space fee and deposit schedule and Keith thinks the room is a little claustrophobic. And again, it just pales in comparison to Camp Fortune.

We have two more venues to see over the next week, but it's looking more and more like Camp Fortune is going to win out. I will say this though: I wish we could be able to afford Stanley's. It's an amazing, beautiful, gorgeous venue and we are both in love with it. Both Keith and I fully agree that if our budget was the typical size a couple spends on a wedding, we would have already signed on the dotted line. I guess you know where we'll be if we win the lottery!

And yes, it makes me sad that we can't afford our dream venue, but I knew sacrifices and adjustments would have to be made because our budget is so small. I'm happy with Camp Fortune, don't get me wrong. I just need to wallow for a few days, and then I'll be over it. Promise.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thank you. Really.

I just wanted to post a quick note to thank Heather for her totally amazing, incredibly generous gift:

Our cake toppers!

Aren't they just the most adorable thing you've ever seen? The colour of the accessories (and the accessories themselves) are fully customizable. I may not have my cake yet - but damnit, I have my cake toppers! And of course, you know the reason behind choosing elephants.

I can't wait to order them. Thank you Heather. Thank you so, so much.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More Venue Searching

Thank goodness, we can cross not one, but two venues off our list.

Cartier Place Suite Hotel - this meeting didn't even happen. I made the mistake at looking at 'reception' instead of 'banquet' when I enquired about availability, and the only room they had big enough for our guests had no availability on the dates we wanted. So regretfully I had to call off the meeting..

But I didn't take a day off - I scheduled a meeting with St. Anthony's Banquet Hall instead.

Jesus. Bad. So bad. We didn't even stick around for the costs discussion. The guy we met didn't even reach to shake my hand, he forgot that we were coming for a meeting, and he passed us off almost immediately to someone else to show us the room. Plus the room was run-down, with dark red carpets (can you say clash?) and just...not very good. Keith was not impressed.

Capone's Catering will have to be rescheduled because of Remembrance Day - I'm hoping to reschedule for sometime this weekend so we can get this process over with. This is NOT the fun part of wedding planning, let me tell you.

We have St. Elias on Friday & Orchard View on Saturday, and I'm waiting to hear back from Capone's Catering and then there's 2 more golf clubs to arrange meetings with. AND THEN, BY GOD, I AM DONE.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Inspiration Board

Why yes, our colours are silver/pewter and orange. How did you guess?
Made with Mosaic Maker

Budget bride

I used to think I needed a big wedding. Then I went to the opposite end, because wedding planning stresses me out and I really didn't think we could have a nice, classy wedding on our budget.

Which, by the way, is ridiculously small. And since we're not using credit or a loan, we simply cannot pay for something with money we don't have.

And yes. We are pretty much funding this wedding by ourselves. Keith's dad will help out if/when he can, and my dad will probably give us a nominal amount, but 95% of the total cost will be us.

What's that? You want to know what we've decided on so far? WHY CERTAINLY!
  • I found a photographer. She's amazing, I love her work, and her rates are beyond reasonable. We're hoping to book her by Christmas.

  • I asked my brother to DJ for the reception. He's a professional who makes his living in the music industry, and he was very happy to be asked. Other than the cost of renting the equipment, he'll do it for free, which translates into significant savings.

  • I asked my maid of honour's sister - who recently graduated from Graphic Design - to design our wedding stationary (invitations, programs, menus, thank yous, etc). She said whatever we can afford to pay her will be fine, and will leave the printing up to me. We also aren't sending Save-The-Dates.

  • We've changed our date from a Saturday to a Friday, because most venues offer discounts for weekday weddings. And while the idea of having an off-season wedding (early November or late March are the only times I would consider) is attractive, budget-wise, I just really want a fall wedding.

  • No kids. By not inviting whole families, our guest list goes down by 13 people. That's huge.

  • Our budget does NOT allow us to have an open bar, all night long. We just can't. Right now we're thinking of providing wine for dinner and having a wine/beer/signature cocktail bar. We're also floating the idea of charging a nominal amount per drink, which covers about half the actual cost, instead of a full-on cash bar. Here in Ontario, they have to charge on a per-consumption basis. No exceptions.

  • Small guest list. I'm trying to keep it under 80, but Keith keeps adding people. Still debating this; I really hope we can cap it at 80, or even under.
  • If I can get a reasonable quote for flowers - and we aren't having floral centerpieces, or boutonnieres, so it's just bouquets/corsages then we'll go with a florist. If not? There are tons of video of how to DIY bouquets, and since I'm just having gerberas & roses, it's not that big of a deal.
  • I'm going to do my own hair and makeup. Or if I decide to go "professional" the makeup counter at Sears will do just fine.
  • The favours are going to be a help-yourself candy bar. Ta-DA! Kill two birds with one stone there.
  • We can wait to take our honeymoon for a few months. That's not a huge deal to us at ALL. Besides, Keith will most likely be starting a new job around that time, and probably couldn't take the time off anyways. Not to mention I'll still be in school.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Venue searching

We've started the wedding planning process.

Now, please excuse me while I go bang my head against a wall. Repeatedly.

We're venue hunting. Oh my ever-loving freaking God. We've seen 3, and have another 3 meetings lined up this week, and I'm waiting to hear back from another 5 to see if they have the date available/set up meetings. So yes, I might have gone a little crazy, because that's 11 in total.

The reason we have so many is because we aren't firm on if we want ceremony + reception together, or just a reception space. I'm still deciding if the added stress and money needed to have a ceremony site separate from reception space is worth it. We also have very different tastes when it comes to wedding venues; Keith wants golf club-type of feel, and I want classy rustic. We both don't want it to look cheap or tacky (aka no Legion halls, thanks), but I'm more laid-back as to what classifies as acceptable, whereas Keith? Not so much.

So we're looking. We've looked at The Ark, Stanley's Maple Lane Farms, and Camp Fortune so far.

The Ark is completely out. It's 50 minutes from Ottawa on the Quebec side and it was just horrible. When we went for our meeting the guy was rude to me and the actual space looks like somebody's basement. Not to mention the price: 2,000$ for ceremony + reception + officiant. Catering is done by an outside party, decor is extra, bar is byob.

Maple Lanes is by far our favourite so far, but we can't agree on a specific venue within the farm. I like the Stonehouse, Keith likes their main lodge. Both are completely beautiful, just different. It's about 20 minutes outside of Ottawa on the Ontario side, in Metcalfe. The price gives me heart palpitations, but its a very comprehensive package that I'm sure can be tweaked. Plus he quoted me on 100 guests, and we won't have that many. Still, for just over 11.5k we get ceremony + reception + audio system + officiant + reception decor + linen's/chairs/tables + catering + cocktail hour + serving staff, plus a bridal attendant for the whole day. If we went with the Stonehouse, it's about 2,000$ less. The stuff I don't like is the guy we dealt with was kind of an asshole, and I'm sure I can get the reception decor for less than the price we've been quoted, but they don't allow outside vendors. Deposits are 1,000$ to reserve the space, 1,000$ both 6 and 3 months before, 65% of the remaining balance due 3 weeks before and the remaining 1 week before the wedding.

Camp Fortune is squarely in the middle. It's a gorgeous lovely ski lodge on the Quebec side, about 20 minutes from downtown Ottawa. We would get the entire lodge (2 huge spaces) for ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. They have an exclusive in-house caterer, and we'd have to bring in our own decor. The deposit system is amazing; 500$ to reserve the space with 50% of the catering bill due 3 weeks before and the other 50% due within 30 days after the wedding. Plus I just liked dealing with the event coordinator; very friendly, easy to talk to, down to earth, informative, etc.

This week we're going to see 3 reception sites: Cartier Place Suite Hotel on Tuesday, Capone's Catering on Thursday, and St. Elias Centre on Friday. The biggest disadvantage to these ones is that I would probably have to find a separate ceremony site, and to be honest, I'm not sure I'm up for the added cost and stress. We'll see though.

And yes, in case you're wondering, I have made Keith promise that we'll power through the remaining venue meetings, and make our decision by the end of November.