Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Making the Playlist: Dancing with My Father

I am currently trying to determine the perfect song to have my father/daughter dance to. Unfortunately I am having a really hard time, as I really wanted the song to be from the daughter to the father and most are the reverse.

I like Carrie Underwood's Mama's Song but that really won't work unless I'm dancing with her!

Any ideas?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Choosing My Vendors: The Venue - Option #1

I've been searching online for over 2 year now (yes...prior to my engagement!) for venues in and around where I live, as I've decided that I will not be going back to my home town to get married as its a bit of a drive for the majority of people (approximately 6-8hours) and my sister already did a gorgeous wedding in my parents' yard. So unless I want to duplicate her wedding there isn't many options there. With that said I've found only a few options that I think are viable, both for capacity and cost, as well as, esthetically pleasing.

Option 1: The Peace Gardens at the ERRICK WILLIS PAVILION
Cost: $620 for the day
- Tables and Chairs provide, must provide your own linens, silverware, glassware, punch bowl, and dishes.
- Capacity 125 (I think I could squeeze more though)
- Campsites and Dorm rentals available for guests - very affordable.
My issues with this location:
- It site's on the boarder of Canada & the US, so although you don't require a passport to get in you will require one to leave. I think this will make some people shy away for the event.
- It is approximately 3 hours away from Winnipeg. Although it is close to a lot of MY relatives there will be travelling for most of our friends and his family. This also will limit who I can use for a caterer and possibly increase my costs if I need to transport things so far.
-Capacity is 125...although I would love to think I could squeeze more, my guest list is over 200 people and I don't want to run the risk of not being able to fit everyone.
Although there isn't the best option it is a beautiful one so I'm keeping it on the list.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Making the Playlist: Banana Pancakes

One of my favorite musicians that inspires the same feeling in me as eating comfort food like homemade mac and cheese or curling up with a warm cup of coffee and one of my favorite novels, is Jack Johnson.

This may have something to do with the fact that I had his "In Between Dreams" album on repeat when I was at my best friends cabin one summer...

Regardless Banana Pancakes might not be ideal for my wedding playlists but something from his discography will probably make to my Cocktail or Reception playlists. Like this...........

Monday, November 22, 2010

When to Honeymoon?

When we got engaged, the honeymoon destination was a no brainer for me - New Zealand.

At the time I didn't know a lot about the country, just that everyone that I talk to about it would say "It was amazing" or "I wish I could go there", and that the Lord of the Ring trilogy was filmed there (and as my Mr is a huge fan I figured this would be the lynch pin in convincing him to fly halfway around the world)..

I also knew that it would be an expensive trip that we would probably find a hundred excuses as to why we should go if it were just a normal holiday trip, where as a honeymoon is different. People are gifting you money to put towards your future (I am signing up for a honey fund account).

But now that I'm taking the time to research this trip the price tag is a lot higher then I was truly prepared for. Some may suggest that we should just pick a different location, something more affordable but I don't want to go on just any trip, I want it to be a dream vacation. I still think that its doable but we now need to make some decisions based on the following information:
  • Planning to leave between November and February is twice the cost of going in July or August as their seasons are the reverse of ours. We are talking thousands of dollars more

We agreed that we would rather travel in New Zealand's off season and save, as neither of us care for extreme heat and their winter temperatures sound more like our fall season here (Highs of 16C & Lows of 5C). It will still be beautiful.

  • It costs 50,000 aeroplan points to fly us from our home to Vancouver BC (where we could get a direct flight to Auckland), as I just redeemed points for my bachelorette trip, I need to collect 40,000 points before I can purchase the tickets or end up spending $500+/ticket.

I normally collect 2000 points a month but if we went this summer I would need to collect double that, and although the additional wedding costs will help I don't know if this is realistic. We might end up paying for at least one of our domestic flights if they need to be purchased in the next 6 months.

  • Leaving in August 2011 does not give us a lot of time to save since we will be paying for the wedding in June. Not to mention my Mr doesn't have the same flexibility on vacation time as I do so it will be harder for him to take off time the same summer as the wedding.

Looking at the facts, the smart and responsible thing to do would be to plan our honeymoon for the summer of 2012. Its just weird for me to postpone it for that long after it. I know other friends that had a mini honeymoon immediately after the wedding, like getting away to a cottage for a few days, and then leave on their international honeymoon one to two years later but I don't want a "mini' honeymoon prior. I think that would BE the honeymoon then and the other trip would just be a trip.

But if I skip the mini and still wait a year to go on the honeymoon is it still a honeymoon? Will it feel special or just a trip?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Looking After the Pennies: Table Wine

As the saying goes: "Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves" and since I would like to stay as close to my budget as possible throughout my wedding planning this is advice that I need to continually remind myself of.

Where I live alcohol is regulated, distributed and sold through a provincial liquor commission which means I don't have the option of going to a Costco or other wholesaler to purchase bulk quantities of alcohol to serve at my wedding. (And making my own wine is not a project I'm ready to tackle)

But something they do offer for the budget savvy is Bottle & Cork which is a bulk wine facility that is fully-equipped for bottling a selection of wines which are all priced at only $6.29/bottle. You need to purchase them in multiples of 12 but you can mix and match up to two types in one case.

For a case of 12 x 750ml Glass Bottles it would only cost $9.95 more per case, which means I wouldn't have to bother tracking do and cleaning dozens of bottles making it completely worth it.

As most inexpensive bottles of wine run at least $10/bottle, going this route will potentially save me $35/dozen.

And because these are going into labelless bottles, using them to identify table numbers seems like a perfect fit. I really like the simplicity of these...

{via The Bride's Cafe}

The next step is to decide what white and red taste the best. The choices are:

  1. Chardonnay
  2. Torrontes
  3. Shiraz
  4. Cabernet Sauvignon
  5. Merlot/Cabernet

I this is a perfect excuse for a wine tasting party!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Making the Playlist: Adding a little Metal


My mister and I are self proclaimed geeks, not that we need to tell you that, merely get us talking on our favorite obsessions and you will know.

My love falls more to romance novels, Joss Whedon's television shows, and EXCEL (I love me a good spreadsheet with IF statements). But my mister's heart falls for video games, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and....... Heavy Metal. He doesn't own one black t-shirt with a metal band on it, he owns close to 40 (in fact I just asked him and he said he'd have to count as he isn't sure if it's 30 or 40). He has an entire shelf dedicated in his dresser for these shirts.

With that said, Heavy Metal is not a typical wedding song music, regardless of the sub genre it isn't the type of music you expect to here on some one's wedding. But because this music means so much to him I really want to incorporate it in our day. So I decided to ask trusty Google for help and was pointed to forum threads similar to my question. Sadly, not being a fan myself most of the bands and titles are Greek to me.

This is definitely something that I will need to get him to research. I am thinking that our pre-ceremony music and possibly the bridal party and my procession down the aisle can be a playlist of Metal. And before everyone starts thinking I'm planning to head bang down the aisle here is an example of the type of metal I am referring to (although I would probably stick more to the instrumentals):

Monday, November 15, 2010

Choosing My Vendors: The Main Course

Originally...before my engagement even became a reality...I had thought that I would cater my own wedding, which I've written multiple posts on (like this one) but since I am having a potential 200 guests and the logistics of bringing all of the food to the venue, not to mention warming it, turned out to be a little daunting.

The first caterer that I contacted was the Tallest Poppy, a local restaurant that sources their locally and are just plain delicious. Unfortunately they only cater a maximum of 130 people due to their kitchen capacity.


After I got over my disappointment (well I don't think I'll ever be completely over it because I really do love them) I started my search for a caterer that:

  1. Could handle my guest list size
  2. Would travel 40 minutes outside of the city to my venue
  3. Serve delicious food
  4. Charge a reasonable price
  5. Most importantly, 'get' my vision for a family style meal.

Luckily my best friend is wonderful and tracked down a local BBQ caterer online and sent me their contact information.

Tailgators BBQ Pit are amazing. When I emailed them they got back to me quickly and were very responsive to all of my requests. They were very accommodating to all my ideas and are willing to adjust the menu for my vegetarian guests & kids. The only thing I needed to confirm was whether their food was delicious. Conveniently our office has catered lunches brought in every Friday for our staff of 25, so I arranged for them to prepare a 'sample' spread plus a few additional items for me to take home for my mister (who loved everything). On top of trying their food I was able to survey my coworkers on what they thought and everyone loved it.

Currently my main course menu goes like this:

  • BBQ Chicken & Smoked Ribs
  • Creamed Corn
  • Smashed Potatoes
  • Guinness Baked Beans
  • Cranberry Coleslaw
  • Buns

And the cherry on the top...they are very reasonably priced.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's Get Physical...

Like any bride, I want to look fantastic on my wedding day and in pictures. One of the most obvious areas I feel I need to work on is my weight.

(Let me note: I am only 20lbs overweight and my ideal weight is maybe another 15lbs less then that. I am healthy and don't have a huge complex about my body but I would like to eliminate the extra bits of fat that will gather around the bodice of my wedding dress and back, no double chin for me please!)

One of the many perks of working where I do, is that I attend a gym with personal trainers for free as this is one of the companies my employer owns. They tailor a workout program and diet plan for me specifically.

I actually started working out in October 2009, months before I was engaged, because I wanted to be healthy and fit for me not just my wedding day, and started to make a noticeable difference to my physical appearance, losing inches off my waist among other places. Unfortunately I am NOT great at maintaining weight lose. It's the DIET restrictions that do me in every time. (I had attempted the U Weight Loss program in October 2007 and lost 20lbs by January 2008...once I stopped following the diet though...)

I LOVE to eat and manage to talk myself out of eating healthy in lieu of donuts, pasta and pizza. I am quite aware that I'm an emotional eater and that when times of stress come up I grab something full of carbs.

This time though, I had stuck with my workouts even though I've been indulging in sweets. I've just eaten so poorly that I've gained back most of what I had lost. So when I look at my calendar and see that I have approximately 7 months to fit perfectly into my dress I figure I better start getting back in gear so that I lose the weight in a healthy way rather then rushing around 2 weeks prior to the wedding to find a quick fix diet that starves me and has me fainting while I walk down the aisle.

So here is too months of healthy eating and using you to keep me accountable!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Making the Playlist: At Last

Because of we would like to stay as close to budget as possible and cutting the guest list isn't an option with the size of my family, other costs need to be trimmed. One of those items is hiring a professional DJ. Although paying the extra money to have someone else look after everything is extremely tempting and I'll be honest...I may still cave and hirer one...the savings of doing it ourselves currently out weighs the other option.

My plan is to compile playlists for the entire event and have one of my close friends monitor the mp3 player & sound system for the night.

(Please note that this close friend does not enjoy socializing with what he terms 'parents' even though we are now old enough to have our own families, so he is more then happy to be responsible for this task - I will, though, have someone set up as a backup so it isn't too much like work for him!)

Currently I have broken the playlists down as such:
  1. Pre-ceremony - 1 hour
  2. Beginning of Ceremony
  3. "Here comes the Bride" - but something different
  4. End of Ceremony
  5. Cocktail Hour - 2.5 hours
  6. Announcing the "New Couple" Pre-Reception
  7. Reception - 3 hrs
  8. First Dance
  9. Father/Daughter
  10. Lets Dance the Night Away -5-6hours

I do not actually have any songs picked for these playlists though and that is what I need to start working on.

Quite a few years ago I was watching a Celebrity InStyle Wedding Specials on TV and they played Etta James's "At Last" while they showed the couple leaving the church. I don't know or more specifically, remember whether this was a song choice of the couple or if the producers just dubbed it over these shots but I do know that I have since thought that that would be a great song to walk out on at the end of the Ceremony.

It is also a possible first dance...and if all else fails...Cocktail hour music! What do you think?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Choosing My Vendors - Let's Eat Cake!

When deciding on my wedding cake I knew what I wanted. That was simple, delicious and NO FONDANT. I really don't like the stuff and think that 'messy' butter cream icing looks and tastes much better.

Then I saw these adorable mini cakes from Leslie & Jamie's wedding featured on Green Wedding Shoes and knew this is what I had to have.

{Via Green Wedding Shoes}

Because I am trying to stay as close to the $10,000 budget as I can (so much harder then I originally thought) having them professionally done was out of question. So I started to brain storm with my best friend on how we could logistically make this work as a DIY project. Not impossible but definitely a lot of work. Something I was willing to do though.

And then my sister generously offered to pay for the cost of professional cakes! Have I mentioned how awesome she is before?

So then I set out to find a delicious baker that wouldn't rob us blind. My first inquiry was a bust. I sent them pictures of the exact cakes, explaining that I wanted each cake to serve 2 people and how I wanted them decorated. They emailed back with what they did, which was a smaller cake in fondant, serving one person and costing twice what I wanted to spend. They didn't even comment on what I asked for, completely ignoring it. They were out. I was starting to doubt that I would find what I wanted and would have to make them myself when my future mother-in-law mentioned that she was talking to her vet about our wedding and she mentioned her friend that just opened a cake bakery called Cake-ology and I should contact her.

I sent her the same information as I did the previous companies and she responded with enthusiasm that she could definitely make what I wanted and what was even better was that she would charge me an extremely reasonable price. We met to go over details and do a taste test and were absolutely sold! She is wonderful and I can't wait to see the final product.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back from a blogging hiatus

Life has gotten busy but I didn't realise that I had been missing for more then 3 months now. Writing posts haven't been my only hiatus, I've also fallen behind on reading other people's posts. My Google reader has been sitting at 1000+ new items for months now.

As my wedding day gets closer I figured I need to get my thoughts organized so that I am not frazzled in my last month. What better way to sort out my plans then through my wedding blog. Funny that when I was waiting to become engaged I had more then enough time to write about my wedding and now that I actually am engaged I haven't written in months.

Time for a change!