Monday, January 31, 2011

The Social: Food

Although food is required at wedding social, and some people do provide a full course meal if they have large families that want to do the cooking for them, usually the 'meal' is a midnight snack of deli meats, cheeses, pickles and buns.


As I don't have the resources to cook a full course meal for 300 people, nor do I want to pay to have it catered...remember people pay $10/ticket which is not nearly enough to cover a catered meal...I am going the deli meat platter route.

MOH K did the research, I have no idea where she found all the prices to compare, and determined that Winnipeg Old Country Sausage Ltd would be the best bang for our limited bucks, at $1.39/person we will be supplied with a selection of meats, cheeses, pickles & bread plus chips and pretzels to put out on the tables. It might not be classy but it will taste great and do the job, so I stopped by their location and put down the deposit of $40.

Additionally, the social lands on my birthday so I plan on serving some sort of sheet cake as well. Happy Birthday to Me:)

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Wedding Party: Deciding to have TWO MOHs

I realize that traditional one selects a maid/matron of honor and then additionally has bridesmaids. I had known for as long as I cared about weddings that my sister would have this role as I consider her my oldest friend, being only two years my junior.

Of course there was the additional benefit of picking her meant I didn't have to choose between other friends.

But these were ideas I had in high school and as my previous post should have point out, I make snap decisions sometimes without allowing for future changes.

Now that I'm engaged, my sister no longer lives in the same city as me and can only assist from a distance but my BF K is with me at every vendor I check out, has helped me pick out material and is the one I obsessively email wedding ideas. If that isn't a MOH I don't know what is.

So now I am stuck, you are only suppose to have ONE MOH but I want TWO! So rather then sit around worrying about whether I ask my sister if she's okay with being a bridesmaid or letting K know that she's awesome but 'sister's first', I've decided that I'm having TWO MOHs.

Technically my sister is a matron of honor as she already married, which leaves K as the maid of honor. It works for me and it is away that I can let others know that these are two very important women in my life.

After making this decision I found out that another friend of mine that is getting married this year is ALSO having 2 MOHs. What do you think about multiple MOHs?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making the Playlist: The Night Starts Here

The Night Starts Here - by Stars, sounds like a perfect song to start off a night of dancing, based solely on the title but although I love Stars I'm not sure the lyrics of this song sound as up beat as I would like...

...I should probably look for something a little more pop.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Social: Finding a DJ

Unlike my wedding, where I am considering DJing the entire event with my iPod and a sound system that the venue has, it is pretty important to provide a professional DJ for a social.

The way I see it is people are paying to attend and I should be providing them with an entertaining night, like they would find if they went out to a club to dance.

But to do that I didn't want to just book any DJ. I especially didn't want the typical music that is played at weddings and socials.

Can we say The Chicken Dance?

So I went to my music savvy friends, asked who they knew and was able to find a local DJ named Mama Cutsworth. She was very reasonable at $500 for the night and seems to understand my desire to move away from the traditional music choices of country line dancing and classic rock ballads.

Here's to a night of dancing and fun!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Wedding Party: Picking Who Will Stand Up with You


They say hindsight is 20/20 and I couldn’t agree more. When it came to picking our wedding party this was no exception. I can only hope that at least one person learns from me.

Since high school I had already assigned the role of bridesmaid to two of my closest friends and maid of honour to my sister, and because I’ve been planning my wedding before I had even met my mister, this was mentioned to them and others multiple times.

When I moved away from my hometown, to the ‘big city’ to go to university I met K after a year living here and we have been best friends for ten years now, so it went without saying that she would be my fourth bridesmaid.

Now that I had already decided on four, I actually started to stress out when my brother dated a girl that I got close to or when I start hanging out with another female on a regular basis, that I didn’t have ROOM for another bridesmaid! It never occurred to me that I should have waited to ask people to stand up for me until AFTER I got engaged. Nor did I think that I had the option of NOT asking any of the previously ‘assigned’ women.

So when the day came that my mister finally asked me to marry him, I quickly phoned my four bridesmaids and asked them to be my bridesmaids, leaving very little room for them to say no.

To be fair, my two high school friends no longer live in the same city as me and have their own commitments in life. Because of that, it came to pass that one of them chose to step down from this position. So now I’m down to 3 bridesmaids and my mister has 4 groomsmen.

We have decided NOT to replace my bridesmaid and will go with the uneven party, mainly because if I were to ask another girl to step in it would be just to make it symmetrical and I don’t think that is a good enough reason to ask someone.

I realize now that we should have waited to ask everyone. Our wedding was over a year away, we had time. If we had I might have realized that asking someone just because they were your best friend through high school or because you stood up for their wedding, didn’t mean that you HAD to ask them to be in yours. Nor did that mean they WANTED to be in yours.

We should have taken the time to figure out what we expected from our wedding party and then asked people accordingly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Making the Playlist: Finding our First Dance...

I love dancing...

{Personal Photo: A night in Vegas...}

But my mister does not feel the same. I think I might have him gotten on the dance floor 4 times in our three and a half years together, and even then it was to the last slow dance of the evening and we swayed back and forth like you do at a high school dance.

So creating an entrance like this...

... is not going the happen. Nor am I going to be able to pull off a first dance like this...

But I kept persisting that I wanted to do something other then swaying back and worth, so one day my mister came home with an announcement. He had thought it over and wanted to offer a compromise. He would agree to take dance lessons with me, IF I promised that we would not have to do a surprise dance at the ceremony or reception. And the dance had to be classic.

Sold! To fully appreciate this offer you need to understand how much he really hates to dance. He has absolutely NO interest in it. This was a definite "I love you" moment and I quickly shook on it, tossing away any fleeting ideas of boogieing down the aisle.

So now before I can figure out what our First Dance Song will be I have to determine what our first DANCE will be. I'm currently leaning towards a fox trot but we will probably end up with a waltz. I suppose it we will figure it out once I find us a dance studio to take our private lessons.

This might be a wedding expense but I feel it will be something we can use for the rest our lives. No more swaying back and forth for us!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Social: Making the Tickets

Once I had secured the location and date for the social, the next step was making the tickets. I'm not going to lie, I'm obsessed with stationary and manage to convince myself that it is very integral to the perfect wedding/event. So not only did I want my save-the-dates to match my invitations that would follow in 4 months, I really wanted my social tickets to look like they were part of the set.

Unfortunately not everyone is a graphic designer (specifically me) or has connections in the print industry to print beautiful tickets.

My tickets will NOT look as amazing as these ones:


Rather I decided to shelf my obsession in favor of saving money on miscellaneous expenses, thus resulting in a higher profit at the end of the social.

I opted to go the route. I had signed up approximately a month prior to me actually ordering the tickets (which are actually business cards) as I knew that they send you an obscene amount of spam for free and discounted items. Meaning that I managed to get 500 tickets (way more then I need but they only come in 250 increments) for less then $20, including shipping.

This is what my tickets ended up looking like...(please excuse the white out areas!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Putting Together My Look: The Hair

I have naturally curly hair. I currently wear it short and the only times I straighten it is when I have a professional do it.

As I believe that I should look like 'ME' in my wedding pictures I do not want to grow my hair out just so I can have an up do and then turn around and cut it off after the wedding.

This seems like a lot of work. Curly hair, at least mine, doesn't grow fast...or doesn't appear to as the longer it is the tighter the curls seem to be so it always drys above my shoulders.

But the main reason is, I do NOT look good in up dos! I think the main reason for this is I have a round face. When I where my hair down the curls frame my face and give the illusion of elongating it.

{Personal Photo: Taken in the Fall of 2009 by Sunshine Photography}

Whereas, during the 4 times that I was a bridesmaid my ONLY request of the hairstylist was "Just don't make me look fat". For some reason this is a humorous request because they always laugh and brush it off with comments like "You aren't fat". I didn't say I was, I said don't make me LOOK fat! But 3 out of the 4 times I was left in an up do that pulled my hair tightly away from my face.

{Personal Photo: Taken in 2003, First Bridesmaid Experience}

So I refuse to risk an up do for my wedding when I will inevitably look back on my photos and think..."I think my face looks fat". Instead I plan on sporting a hairstyle similar to this...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Making the Playlist: I Was Made For You

Another one of my favorite bands is Zooey Deschanel's She & Him, although the majority of their songs are more along the lines of lost love and broken hearts they do have a few more happy romantic songs.

This would probably be something I will include during the cocktail hour time frame, not too mellow but not exactly dancing music either.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Social: Booking the Venue

I feel like planning my social is the warm up for planning my wedding day, as I have very similar tasks although the main objective is to MAKE money at the social so my budget is greatly reduced and my guest list is increased.

The first thing I did, with the assistance of my MOH K, was search for the perfect venue. What does perfect mean for a social? Well ballrooms or outdoor venues they are not. I was looking for a hall that was reasonably prized, had a capacity of 350+ people and allowed you to keep the revenues from the bar.

There are alot of places that had 2 out of the 3 but finding one that had all three and was AVAILABLE in any of the months that were on my list was a little harder.

Although I was engaged in the spring of 2010, our wedding wasn't until June 2011 so we didn't want to have our social during the summer, too many people would be busy on family vacations or at someones wedding, or during the winter when people's plans and finances revolved around the Christmas holidays. So we decided to look for a hall that had an availability in November 2010 or March/April 2011, as May was getting to close to the actual wedding.

Since I was making my calls in the early summer I didn't expect to hear "Sorry we are booked" as much as I did. The venue that we had used for my sister's social was at the top of my list but after a month of phone tag with the manager I only had a January, February or May option...not what I wanted so I had to let that one go.

By the way that venue was perfect, it even had a room divider so that you could reduce you size if you weren't going to fill capacity and they wouldn't charge you for the entire place. The patio was licensed which increased the capacity and gave the smokers a place to go. And it already had white lights strung from the ceiling so you didn't have to do alot of decorating. But I had decided which months would work for me and held firm.


I finally settled on the community center that was conveniently located a few blocks from my house. I had originally hesitated because the actual hall was the community centers gym so there are basketball nets hanging from the ceiling and lines painted on the floor but soon saw reason. This was NOT my wedding. The nets would be raised and the tables would cover most of the lines. Not to mention when the lights are dimmed you hardly notice.

Things that were important to me when I chose this place:

  1. The capacity was 375
  2. The price includes their staff to assist in the set up and take down of the event, plus two bartenders and one security person. (Many places offer a lower rental fee but charge additionally for their mandatory bartenders and security by the hour)
  3. They also provide a portable bar with 7 canisters of pre mix (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and Ginger Ale) in the fee. Additional canisters are available @ $40 each. - This reduces our miscellaneous charges as we will only have to purchase ice and juices for mix.

The cost came to $1500 + tax

Friday, January 7, 2011

A picture says a thousand words: My Vision

Before I jump into the whats and hows on our wedding details I want to give an overview of what I'm hoping to accomplish. Granted there will be some adjustments along the way but this is generally what I have in mind.

I can't begin to sum it up in a few words, so I'm going to go with the trusty inspiration board.

{Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13}

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Making the Playlist: Getting the Party Started

I know that I should be working on songs for our first dance and what I'll be walking down the aisle to but I'm currently at a stale mate.

I do know, however, that I love Janelle MonĂ e. Especially her TightRope song, and would definitely want this on our playlist for the dance portion of the night.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Social: Is it worth it?

We are throwing a wedding social in March to raise money for our wedding, specifically I would like to cover the cost of our open bar. If you are wondering what a social is then you haven't been reading my posts!

Five years ago we threw a social in my sister and her soon to be husbands honor. If you ask her it was a lot of work for a small profit. So why should I bother?

From my experience with helping people throw their socials and listening to others, I have come up with a short list of things that are needed to make it worth 'bothering':

  1. Be honest with yourself. - Do either you or your FI have enough family, friends and acquaintances that want to pay to attend a party in your honor?
  2. Do you have a wedding party that is willing to help sell tickets and find prizes?
  3. Do you or your friends have connections with retail companies to get free prizes? Or do your friends and family want to donate prizes?
  4. Are you willing to put in the energy to plan this, on top of your wedding?

In my case, I can answer yes to all of these questions. When we threw my sister's social the answers were more unsure maybes. We were young, university students that weren't living in their home town nor had we lived in this city long enough to develop enough connections. The majority of people we thought would attend were students like us, from our home town. And then we decided on a long weekend date as that was a very popular time back home to have socials, as everyone was back visiting family and liked the opportunity to attend a social and catch up with friends. Big mistake. The social was in the city and our friends were back in our home town.

Luckily my sister and her husband were still able to make a profit because of their hard work but I've heard stories of couples that had their friends stand out side of the venue the night of and pull people in as it was dead.

That would be a nightmare for me.

To break even you will need to cover the rental of the venue (usually between $1000 - $1500), the DJ ($500 - 1000), & miscellaneous costs (at least $500). Approximate costs $2500. If you can cover this with your tickets sales, everything else you make that night, on alcohol, silent auctions, etc, will be profits.

As this is definitely an uniquely Manitoba tradition I have never read other wedding blogger's experiences. I would love to hear about other's do's and don'ts.