Friend #1 - Mandy (October Wedding - Gibraltar, Spain)
Mandy is my best friend and when I found out she was getting married I was so excited. I knew that no matter what kind of a wedding, I would offer her whatever help she needed. I was anticipating helping her with some DIY projects, and helping her organize things as much as I could while living in another Province until her big day. Then she shared with me that she and her fiance Jeff were planning a different kind of wedding, kind of low key like mine and not a lot of guest. I thought perfect I already know how to plan a small wedding... then she said the only people at her wedding would be her and Jeff. Mandy and Jeff were planning on going on a trip to Europe and getting married in Spain, followed by a honeymoon in Paris! I was surprised but just the same excited and happy for them. I think it is great when couples stray from the typical traditions of a wedding, the last thing you want to do is have a wedding that pleases everyone else but not yourself. Mandy shared with me that her news wasn't initially well received by her family because they understandably envisioned being a part of that day. They all came around and Mandy and Jeff had an after the wedding reception to celebrate with everyone and they all lived happily ever after...
So, there was not a whole lot of planning or DIYing I could help Mandy with but here is the advice and support I was able to give her for a wedding abroad!
How to elope!:
Great links to find out how to get married in Europe:
Ideas about how to make your small wedding or elopement special... to the very last detail:
This may interest you:
So this was my contribution to Mandy's wedding and when she came back and had her reception, her cousin Tiffy surprised her by flying me to Ontario for the event when we all thought I wouldn't be able to go. Thanks again Tiffy!! xo
Speaking of Tiffy...
Friend #2 - Tiffy (February Wedding - Carolina Cellars Winery, Virgil, Ontario )
Tiffy is Mandy's cousin (considered a sister) and as long as I have been in Mandy's life I have been in Tiffy's. Although we never thought Tiffy would EVER settle down ;) I wasn't surprised when I heard she was engaged to be married... I knew she had it in her! Tiffy is a lot like me and when she gets something in her head she becomes fully submersed in it. I knew Tiffy wouldn't need a lot of help from me because she would have a lot of her own ideas and she would research the s@*t out of wedding ideas... so I offered and sent her a few links that might start her on her way...
Here is the message I sent to Tiffy:
I thought I would share with you some websites that occupied my time and satisfied my wedding planning hunger. Some of them I even got ideas from...
http://www.theknot.com/ <-----------I did my wedding budget, and website on here.
http://www.evergreenmemories.ca/index.php?main_page&zenid=720c7839a65218d67e412ff68f0e6a4f <------- This is what I was going to do for favors but changed my mind.
http://offbeatbride.com/ <-------- Just fun!
http://www.stylemepretty.com/wedding-diy/ <------ Where I found some DIY projects.
http://www.cudge.net/holders_detail5.html <----- A place to get cheap votive candles less than a $1.
http://www.bridalcanvas.com/ <----- A fun place to make a wedding vision board.
http://ruffledblog.com/diy-projects/ <------ Another great place for DIY ideas.
http://www.weddingstar.com/ <------ The Canadian Wedding Magazine, everything in it is in Canadian $$.
http://mydiyweddingday.com/ <----- And again DIY.
www.etsy.com <------- Where I bought anything else that I didn't DIY, that was handmade... You can literally find anything you can think of.
And finally, my wedding blog... still have to get on top of putting my DIY projects how-tos on there! http://everythingweddingdiy.blogspot.com/
Have fun, I did!
I attended Tiffy & Bill's wedding which was a Scrabble/Winter theme and helped with all of the craziness (your final moments will likely be craziness too!) of getting the last DIY projects finished and making sure all of the final touches were in place.
Friend #3 - Tara (July Wedding - The Links at Montague, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)
Tara and Spencer's wedding hasn't happened yet but they certainly have a great story of how Spencer (and Tara) got her engagement ring (<------ Click the link)!
Tara is a friend that I met through my husband Greg, as he had stumbled into a student teacher supervising position his first year teaching! That's how he met Tara's fiance Spencer... you can make the connections of how Tara and I met. So, knowing that I LOVE everything to do with wedding planning and DIYing Tara asked me for some advice. Here are some tips that I sent along her way to help save some time and money for her Traditional/Not So Traditional Wedding.
One of our first topics was wedding photography, this is one area that you don't want to skimp out on. You can definitely use a family member or friend if you KNOW they are good at what they do so you will be sure you will be happy with the photos you get capturing the moments of the day. I initially suggested Jeff Cooke Photography for Tara because he was local and amazing (I knew from my own photography session with him for mine and Greg's Anniversary). When I checked in with him for Tara's wedding date he was already booked - second piece of advice book your photographer early, the good ones get booked up fast. If you are dead set on a certain photographer have a back up plan but ask to be on a cancellation list for your date with the photographer you really want.
For those of you in Nova Scotia here is the Halifax Wedding Photographer Directory: http://www.wedimg.com/photographers/halifax_nova_scotia
If you would like to cut costs there are some areas you can do it in and still make a big impact with the look. For Tara I am making her bouquet, I had made one for another friend's wedding and it was exactly what Tara was looking for so one less thing she has to worry about. If you have the crafty gene or a friend or family member does ask them if they can put together a bouquet of your favourite flowers to walk down the aisle with and it can be part of your wedding gift from them.
Here is the bouquet I made for my friend Anya and will be making again for Tara, along with some DIY links for making your own wedding bouquet.
The next bit of advice I gave her was along the lines of a DIY bouquet... I found that at my wedding it was all of the handmade and unique details that my guests noticed. Make your wedding your own, don't be afraid to go outside of the traditional box of weddings. Weddings are no longer like our parent's wedding and although some of the older generation are not used to doing things differently in the end they are the ones that say, "Wow that was really nice!" Make your wedding the way you want it to be, don't get hung up on what other people want because in the end it will be a matter of you LOVING your wedding day or having regrets.
If you are looking to do a handmade wedding or just want some special touches that don't come from a mass produced supply of items from a store I would suggest going to Etsy and typing in a search for your wedding theme or anything else you are looking for. I bought a lot from sellers on Etsy for my own wedding. You can see some examples in my other blog posts.
One of the things Tara specifically asked for help with was ideas for centerpieces for her Summer wedding. This is one idea that I loved and she loved too! The variation she is making is using limes instead of lemons.
I've mentioned it before but The Knot is another site I used often when I was planning my Wedding and I recommend it to my friends when they are planning their weddings. The Knot also has a Youtube Channel that has all kinds of ideas and DIY videos. Here is one of my favourites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb6Tv6y-9pE&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL
Another area encountered by brides-to-be or grooms-to-be when planning their wedding outside of a church setting is who do I get to marry us and where do I go? For the Canadians here is one site to find an officiant: http://www.allseasonsweddings.com/wedding-officiants.cfm This is where I and Tara found ours! You will also need to go to your local town hall or the town hall in the area you are getting married to get a marriage license.
For wedding favours you can go to weddingstar for some great ideas or even buy your favours from them (it's a Canadian site so its great for shipping to Canada). I found another really sweet idea for a Summer wedding at candles and such, inc: http://www.candlesandsuch.com/hang-with-us-personalized-favor-card-with-seed-paper-love-birds.html
Another idea for favours could be to get the smallest paper bags from Michael's and a cute stamp to stamp on the outside, then fill the bags with yours and your groom's favourite candy!
To tie in the generations in your family include pieces of their wedding into your own. Use your parents' or your groom's parents' wedding cake knife and server at your wedding. You can up-cycle these things to tie them in to your own wedding theme and colours. Watch out for a future blog DIY of just that... Up-cycled Wedding Cake Knife.
Some more ideas I threw Tara's way were for Guest "Book" Ideas!
A fancy cover, lined book from the dollarstore and stencil on the front, "If you have one piece of marriage advice what would it be?" Your guests would write their advice and sign it. You could type a little piece of paper with the instructions so they know to sign the "guestbook" and put that in a small frame on a table.
One of my favourite Wedding Hairstyle looks lately is the waterfall braid, it looks great on people with longer hair and could be used during a wedding of any season.
And after overloading Tara with all of this information and I'm sure you, the final link I am going to give you is one to help you not to forget a thing!