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April 14, 2015

How To Shop For Your Wedding-Gown-Body-Shape…

 { Get to know your wedding gown body type }

Authored by: Angela Kerry

Wedding Gown Body Shape StrictlyBridal.com

So, you’ve fallen in love with a specific wedding dress that you saw on a Size Zero model posed in an awkwardly uncomfortable angle. You know the one –  hands on hips, awkwardly hunched over, legs crossed like she has to pee. Sure, her eyes are a little sunken in and her cheeks are a bit bony… but, god! that dress is incredible!

Weird model pose aside, you love the gown she’s rocking and you’re totally certain it’s the one for you.

… until you try it on.

That’s when the love stops.

So now you’re disappointed, left to start again from pages of those teeny tiny models… and you’re struggling to figure out where your bridal plans went so horribly wrong.

The truth is, my love… it’s not you… it’s them.

For real.

The step you’re missing in your bridal gown dreams is figuring out which design of dress actually flatters your body shape!

Sure, that perfect dress looks great on the seriously underfed model…. but, if you’re anything like me, and you enjoy chocolate cake for dessert once in a while – I’d rather that dress not fit me anyway!

———-

It’s not that your body isn’t perfect for the dress….. it’s actually the exact other way around.

Don’t you worry your pretty little bridal head – I promise you that there is an amazing dress out there for you… and it’s not anything like needles in haystacks – you just need to know your tastes, know your shape, and flatter your assets (wherever they may be).

 

{ Wedding Gown, meet Body Shape … }

Experts say there are anywhere from 6 to 12 body-type categories in the world.

They say that every person fits into one of those categories.

A quick search of Google images will result in so many versions and namings of body types that it’s no surprise that us girls get confused! Do yourself a favour and check out ShopYourShape.com. These body shape guides are totally self-explanatory and super realistic:

 

ShopYourShape.com screenshot

 

Keep in mind that body type charts and guidelines are generalizations.  They only take into account ratios between shoulders or chest, waist, and hips – without accounting for height and overall size of each individual person.

Are you short or long-waisted?

Is your torso longer than your legs or vice-versa?

Do you have a large or small bust-line?

So many factors come together to influence how a wedding gown looks and sits on women’s bodies.

Wedding Dress Body Shape Style Guide WeddingGirl.ca

As a tried, tested, and true wedding dress-connoisseur, I don’t tell brides to avoid shopping for specific silhouettes based on body type…. ever.

My advice is always to try on everything that catches your eye. I pinky-swear, you won’t know how it looks until you try it on!

Sure, we know that certain silhouettes flatter some body-types more than others, but don’t stick yourself into one silhouette category because of what body-type guidelines tell you.

 

{ Dresses aren’t created equal }

So, one strapless gown was way too revealing for you…. but that doesn’t mean that all of them will be!

One waistline might dig into your side and picker at your hip bone, yet the next one we pull of the rack could fit your waist-to-hip proportions just right.

It’s kind of like playing Little Red Riding Hood with wedding gowns.

While the straps on one dress might make you look bulky and broad, others might give you the right amount of delicate detailing to take your shoulders to a gorgeous feminine shape. While some trumpet-style gowns are tight around the thighs, the very next one might have a higher flare – making it totally comfy to dance around in!

 

{ Dress Dictionary }

Here’s a quick intro to wedding dress lingo that you should probably peruse:

A-line

- easy to wear and flatters almost every body-type

- fitted bodice, defining the waistline, and gradually flares out right around the mid-hipline.

A modified A-line is a bit more fitted around the hip and bum, with a slimmer skirt. A modified A-line may be too tight around the hips of a Pear body-type, and may accentuate the midsection of an Oval/Diamond body-type. However, those brides could simply go up in size and alter the top to fit if they find a dress they love.


MiaSolano1225

 

Ballgown

- the classic princess look – cinched at the waist with a large bell-like skirt.

Ballgowns vary in their bodice styling, with fit options including the natural waistline, basque waistline (just at top of hipline), or dropped waistline (mid-hipline).

I wouldn’t say that any one body type should avoid a ballgown, however, if you are on the shorter side, short-waisted, and full figured, sometimes a ballgown with a natural waistline can make you look stocky.

MoriLee 1970

Trumpet

- Surprise, surprise.. this gown is shaped like.. well, a trumpet!

- fitted from the bust-line through to the thigh

- trumpet-shaped skirt starts to gradually flare out around the mid-thigh area.

Oval/Diamond body-types often avoid this shape as it can define their mid-section. Pear body-types can certainly wear this silhouette, particularly when they love to flaunt their hip and thigh assets, but if they have a much smaller upper body, they will have to get a dress in a size that fits their largest parts and alter the rest of the dress to fit.

MaggieSotteroVeronica

Mermaid

- a mermaid is not a trumpet

- while quite similar, the fitted part of the skirt of a mermaid is tight right down to the knee then flares out into a trumpet skirt.

A true mermaid is much harder to walk in because you have less material and space to move your legs. Because this silhouette is so fitted, it accentuates your curves, and for some women it can tend to make them look more hippy than they are. Pear and Oval/Diamond body-types generally try to avoid this silhouette.

MoriLee 1653

Fit-And-Flare

- often similar to the trumpet silhouette

- defined by a fitted bodice with a dropped waistline ending at the top of thigh, below the bum, or to the mid-thigh. The skirt often flares out from a defined line rather than a gradual continuation into the skirt.

LaSposaSortija

Sheath

-  often referred to as a column dress

- usually has little to no structure built into the dress.

The fabric on a sheath gown is often cut on the bias, and drapes over the body for a close fit. The sheath silhouette typically hugs every curve, so it can be a trickier style to pull off for those who are more self-conscious about their body. Because it lacks in the structure that often helps to define the waistline, this silhouette can often create a boxy look.

MaggieSotteroGianna

 

So here’s to you, pretty girl:

  • If you are shorter in the neckline – avoid heavy straps or illusion necklines! Opt for sweetheart or deep V-necks instead.
  • If you have a longer neckline – a strapless dress that starts at your bust-line often sits quite low, appearing as though it needs to be pulled up. Opt for V-neck with straps, halter, or off-the-shoulder styles instead.
  • If you have a rectangular or athletic boyish body-type, a fitted trumpet style will really define your waist and give you the illusion of an hourglass figure – that va-va-voom you never knew you had!
  • Stuck in a boxy dress? Adding a sash to any dress will instantly define your waistline!
  • If you have a pear or inverted-triangle body-type (larger on the top or bottom) and you love to flaunt your curves, don’t feel like you need to hide them. Simply look for a dress that fits your largest parts, then alter the rest of the dress to fit everywhere else.
  • If you’re trying to camouflage a fuller tummy, avoid dresses that tighten up under the belly button and around the hip, bum and thighs. Choose a dress that has a gradual flare from your widest part.
  • Short? Sometimes the fit & flare and dropped waist styles can appear to cut you in half. Although they may elongate your bodice, they may make your legs look short. When you’re looking at a dress on you, don’t forget to step off the pedestal to see how your actual height affects how the proportion of the design looks.
  • Well endowed? If you have a larger bust-line you don’t have to wear straps to hold everything up. Straps can often make you look bustier if you have a shorter neckline, especially if the straps are too substantial. If you are going for a strapless fit, make sure that the top of your dress comes up and over the top of your bust – tou don’t want the top of the strapless to sit too low (leaving your dress looking too small, giving you bust overflow, and potentially resulting in a clothing malfunction that nobody wants on their wedding day!)
  • Some dresses are better suited for taller girls. If you’re shopping consignment and fall in love with a mermaid gown that was worn by a 6′ bride while you’re used to rocking a solid 5’5, the proportions of that gown won’t fit you properly. Don’t be disappointed – at least you know what you love and are that much closer to finding it!
  • If you’re ordering a dress new, most dresses can be ordered in 3 different lengths – i.e. petite fitting around a height of 5′-5’2″, regular 5’7″ and tall 5’11”. For even taller girls, extra length can be ordered as well.

 ———-

Stressed about finding your perfect dress? Contact Angela@GownAndGlory.ca for some love and support along the way. Schedule an appointment at Gown And Glory Bridal Boutique to get to know your body shape and learn how to shop-for-your-shape in a private, intimate, bridal boutique atmosphere.

www.GownAndGlory.ca

Gown and Glory Consignment Boutique Logo

 

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February 26, 2015

Satisfying Your Inner Green Goddess

{ Going green with your wedding invitations }

Authored by: Bayley Sarrasin

The date has been set. You’ve chosen the most perfect eco-friendly venue you could find, and you’ve been successfully ticking off the boxes on your wedding to-do list.

You’ve got almost all of your details sorted out except for one last piece – designing the perfect “green” wedding invitation.

Inner Green Goddess Invitation

You’ve spent the last 20 minutes staring at a design, and are starting to question everything about it. Is it too colourful? Is the font legible? Is it really cute as you first thought, or is it just tacky?

Invitations are seen as the gateway into your wedding. They give your guests a feel for the theme and formality of your big day. The more elegant your invitation, the more formal the affair. After spending countless hours trying to figure out how to make your wedding as eco-friendly as you are, you now need to communicate your eco-chic style through your invitation.

Traditional wedding invitations tend to produce a lot of waste more often than not. As soon as the wedding is complete, all of the guests go home and throw away their invitations. Here at WeddingGirl x Green, we have come up with a few suggestions that should satisfy your inner Green-Goddess.

While using recycled paper is a good alternative, and a great first step towards going green, a good way to satisfy your inner Green-Goddess is to go with plantable seed invitations! These invitations allow your guests to plant the invitation once the wedding is done, and a variety of flowers will grow as a result! Unique and oh-so-eco-friendly!  There are several companies that can provide these plantable invitations, but one of our favorites is Invitation Twist. They offer DIY options for the creative types as well as a variety of pre-set themes we think you will fall in love with.

Inner Green Goddess Invitation 2

Online wedding invitations, or evites, are becoming more and more common for less formal weddings. You can design your own website (satsifying your inner techie maybe?) or use one of many free template sites out there to provide your wedding and RSVP information to your guests. Simply send an email with a link, and you’re set to go!

If you’re planning a more formal event, or just want the traditional invitation feel, there are still green options out there for you! Using a postcard for an RSVP avoids the need for an envelope for the RSVP card. Alternatively, you can ask your guests to RSVP through email alone. Also consider waterless printing and plant based inks to green up a traditional invitation package.

We hope these tips have helped inspire your inner Green-Goddess.  Not only will going green help the environment, it will share the eco-love with your family and friends.

—–

Bayley is a WeddingGirl Intern.

You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 Bayley 2

 

{Blog Love}

Photography Credits: Dan Osadtsuk Photography / Emily Christine Photography

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March 18, 2014

The Rules of Planning a Budget Wedding

{ wedding planning on a budget }

By: Carmelina Karas

#WGx

Jennifer Roper Photography

When you are planning your dream wedding as a little girl, the cost of that perfect day never plays a factor. When the time comes to actually fulfill that reality, some brides are wondering what they can do on their own to help cut costs.

How can you have that dream wedding without the nightmare of the price?

We’re going to walk you through the step-by-step process that can help you have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.  After all, WG is all about luxe… on a budget!

{ DIY Weddings }

Brides want a fabulous wedding, unique from all others, which people will remember and discuss for years to come. What a better way to do that then to create a wedding, Do It Yourself-style, with your own two hands?

Live View Studio Photography

How about a new spin on a traditional place card?

Use a photo of the guest to show them where to sit. Every wedding guest will feel super special and their photo card will be something they can take home and display. WalMart Photo Center prints photos for $0.20 a print, allowing a bride on a budget to spend $20 for 100 prints. You can create a special picture frame by grabbing some craft supplies and a frame, (dollar stores carry a variety of art supplies – markers and picture frames for around $2) and writing the name of the guest and a special message to them on the back of the photo or the frame. Up to 100 guests can take home a personalized memento from your wedding for under $30!

guest-photo-escort-seating-cards

Whether you are having in indoor or outdoor wedding, if the venue permits, you can use Christmas lights to light up your special day. No matter the colour scheme, you can find Christmas lights to match. These strings of festive lights can be bought at Canadian Tire for as low as $8, or found in your family’s Christmas decoration stash. For an outdoor wedding, string the lights up trees and down the aisle. For indoor weddings, string the lights around the room like streamers, creating a magical, romantic venue. When hanging lights both indoors and outdoors, make sure you abide by all fire and safety regulations.

christmas-string-lights-wedding

A quick design note from an expert: skip the tulle! Bare Christmas lights can be oh-so-twinkly and beautiful, but swagging them in tulle is outdated and tacky. Also, a fire hazard!

For a more chic, bistro-inspired look, consider patio lights!

Silverlight_KylaJames87_MG_9957

{ have your cake }

Niagara Budget Wedding Cake Stoney Ridge Winery

It’s easier than most realize to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a beautifully elaborate wedding cake. Sure, lavish edible pieces of art are a gorgeous way to accent any reception space, but if you don’t have room in your budget for grandiose designs, chat with your wedding planner and cake stylist about more affordable options.

A word to the wise in Wedding-Planning-Land… do NOT attempt to bake your own cake! First-time brides often don’t realize the kind of time constraints they’ll be facing leading up to their big day. Regardless of how organized their plans might be, how seamlessly arranged all the details are, wedding days bring with them unforeseen responsibilities: out of town guests, last minute adjustments, spending time with family. The last thing a Bride should be worried about the night before her big day is whether or not her first-time fondant work will crease or bubble, or whether the cream cheese icing on her DIY red velvet cupcakes will go sour if the power goes out overnight.

{ DIY Decor }

Kortright Conservation Wedding Forest Path Vintage Rustic Eco Green Apple Baby's Breath Vintage Centerpiece Design WeddingGirl.ca planner 3

Another great money-saving idea is to create your own unique centerpieces. They’re what everyone sees, what everyone wants to take home, and what everyone talks about while sitting at the table. For many brides, the centerpiece is just as important as her dress, so make your centerpieces a reflection of your character, your personality, and your love story.

Wedding planner tip: Stay away from the Dollar Store! While it might seem alluring to pick up oodles of stones, feathers, shells, faux flowers and beads to launch in to a bedazzling frenzy, centerpieces should be stylistic and carefully designed. Going crazy at A Buck Or Two often leaves DIY decor looking messy and jumbled, and, dare we say it… cheap. Your money can go further by purchasing from online retailers who don’t pay the overhead of brick-and-mortar shops with warehouses ful of inventory. Shops like those at WeddingGirl let you DIY to your heart’s content but also hook you up with an experienced event designer when you’re placing your order. This guarantees an honest opinion on where to splurge, when to save, and what to skip all together.

One more thing: Flowers don’t have to be as hairy|scary|expensive as you might think! Chat with your planner about affordable options for beautiful blooms and consult with affordable design studios like our very own fraîche Floral

{ ask for help }

If you find yourself pressed for time to do all the things you need to do, ask for help. Your wedding planner, your wedding party, and your friends and family are eager to make things easier for you… take advantage of their ambition to help you make things gorgeous!

Note: Be careful not to leave tasks requiring meticulous detail to others. The last thing you want to be dealing with is a crying Mother-In-Law when you tell her that all those escort cards she staying up all night stencilling are crooked (and you then have to re-do them yourself anyways).

There are so many ways to save money when planning a wedding but there’s something to be said for making really, really smart spending choices. Invest in a planner – they’ll help you determine priorities for budget expenses and offer suggestions for affordable alternatives to lofty wishes. Be reasonable with DIY projects and don’t take on the world – you’ll have your hands full… believe us! And do your research. Just because Pinterest makes it look easy doesn’t mean it is.

If DIY is still coursing through your wedding-planning veins, be sure to check out Lisa’s really awesome blog about the Perks and Perils of DIY for additional tips and tricks.

Carmelina is the Co-Editor for the WeddingGirl.ca Magazine, Founder of The Wedding Planner Magazine, and an event stylist with WeddingGirl.ca. For wedding planning inquiries or magazine media inquiries, email her at Carmelina@WeddingGirl.ca. Follow Carm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too!

Carmelina Karas WeddingGirl.ca

{{ Blog Love }}

Photog Credit: Jennifer Roper Photography | Live View Studios | Silverlight Photography | Charity Swords Photography

Guest Photo Board: featured on the oh-so-lovely Ruffled Blog

Christmas Light Inspiration: featured on It’s A Bride’s Life.com

 

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October 17, 2009

Flair share …. how to ‘jazz up’ a wedding reception!

I met with a couple last night that’s trying to decide how to add some creativity and uniqueness to their elegant, classic, beautiful wedding reception (being held at a lovely local winery). The bride wishes for flair bartenders and acrobats, while the groom is having a difficult time agreeing to a caricature artist. Together we weighed out the pros and cons of each idea, and hopefully will come to a decision soon… but it got me thinking….what’s with the flair?

Last night’s couple isn’t the only one lately who has been inquiring about something really modern and trendy to incorporate into their wedding reception. I have a ‘mismatched’ bride who dreams of a colour-soaked reception hall complete with flair bartenders and a live jazz trio and oldies band. A “tropical elegance” bride is looking into steel drums and maybe some hula dancers! I’ve heard everything from live animal shows to comedy skits… and certain trends like interactive dessert options like chocolate fountains and on-site crepe/waffle stations, as well as live marble slab ice-cream mixing, are popping up more and more frequently!

It seems to be that every couple is looking to be different now. We’ve all received the same, boring DIY invites. We’ve all been to the same, boring, monotone weddings. We’ve all left with the same, boring useless wedding favours… and now brides want to be the “wedding the guests remember!”. From drenching the ceremony and reception in tropical coloured orchids, to renting a red carpet with red velvet ropes to usher guests into the hall, brides want to be original… though typically, originality comes with a hefty price tag.

There are some budget-friendly ways to spruce up your wedding day:

Pre-Wedding:

- choose mismatched and bold colours instead of traditional and subdued ones

- use common elements to create a wedding party rather than identical uniformity (i.e. bridesmaids wearing only identical jewellery instead of identical dresses, carrying various styles of flowers within a certain colour range)

Ceremony:

- change up the traditional music options and walk down the aisle to a contemporary love song instead of Canon in D or the Wedding March…. hire a soloist or guitar player rather than a traditional organist
- if you’re having a non-denominational service, write your own script to include elements of your character (or at least write your own vows)
Reception:

- create a feel rather than just a look – use elements of decor and colour to create an atmosphere in a room (you can give stunning impact with tall centerpieces alternated with short centerpieces to offset the cost)
- hire some entertainment (i.e. a live band, a flair bartender or a caricature artist) – but take into consideration the hall’s regulations of these, and think about elements like wait times due to guest count, etc.
Side note:… I once went to a wedding where the father of the bride had hired scantily-clad flamenco dancers as surprise entertainment… and it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen live! (minus when one of the dancers slipped and broke her knee)
- research creative favour options – for example…. give a lottery ticket with a tag commenting on being “lucky in love” rather than a shot glass with the wedding date engraved on it
- as the bride, change into a bold-coloured evening gown part way through the dancing for a new look and added style!
It’s impossible to write out all the most unique wedding ideas I’ve ever come across, so I’ve created a Message Board in the WeddingGirl.ca Forum specifically for this! – share your ideas and influences on creating the wedding of the year!
Happy personalizing!!
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October 12, 2009

Silent Vows … introducing a new WeddingGirl.ca bride!

A few days ago I had the privilege of meeting a new WeddingGirl.ca bride under very unique circumstances. As usual, bride and groom and I met at Starbucks for our initial consultation, only this time – we had a fourth…. an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. Julie came along for our meeting because the bride and groom are deaf. She sat beside me while the bride and groom sat across from me, and my entire spiel about WeddingGirl.ca and how hiring a wedding planner works, was translated! What a great feeling it was to see the bride and groom smiling at my ideas and nodding in agreeance to my statements, despite the fact that “typical”  communication between us is hindered.

When I returned home from our meeting, I found an email from the couple, re-introducing themselves as ‘the deaf couple’ – and I made sure that in my response, both bride and groom knew that they were so much more to me than the deaf couple. As I said to them, they are a young man and woman who sat across from me in Starbucks so in love with eachother. The bride was a typical bride, excited about sharing ideas and creating a vision (on a budget), while the groom nodded his head in either approval or disapproval, and sometimes just shrugged his shoulders or rolled his eyes (how typical :). Despite being unable to communicate audibly, both bride and groom have painted a beautiful picture for me about how they see their wedding day unfolding, and now, together – we’re going to make it happen!!

Between now and November 6, 2010, together we are creating a chocolate brown and ice blue wedding.

brown-blue-wedding-accessories1

The ceremony will be held at a beautiful old church in downtown St. Catharines, and we are just starting to research some options for a reception on a budget.

st-thomas-church-st-catharines

The inspirational planning photos on the WeddingGirl.ca group on Facebook, as well as the albums under the WeddingGirl Dot Ca profile on Facebook have helped to determine that the bride wants her day to be full of special details, like an “In Loving Memory” locket on her bouquet.

inmemoriam-wedding1

… and the bride dreams of her Happily Ever After beginning in a classic horse and buggy.wedding-horse-carriage

With unique details like mandatory short centerpieces (to allow for signing across the table) and both audio and visual displays of the wedding ceremony, planning this event is creativity at its finest. But, WeddingGirl.ca’s true test will be to help plan all the details of this beautiful event, for under $10,000!

It is such an honour to have met a bride and groom…. and it will be an even bigger one to be a part of putting together their beautiful Silent Vows wedding!

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August 23, 2009

WeddingGirl.ca’s $3000 bride tied the knot!!

Filed under: Bridal Blog — Tags: , , — WeddingGirl @ 9:31 am

Amidst some torrential downpours and some beautiful sunshine yesterday, WeddingGirl.ca’s $3000 bride was married! With the most limiting budget of all WeddingGirl.ca brides to date, a guest list of 130 for the ceremony and a standing reception, and 80 for a sit-down dinner, every ounce of creativity was utilized to pull off this event… and in the end, bride and groom are happy newlyweds – which is all that matters!!

Sarah began planning her wedding when Greg proposed a while back – but knew she was on a limited budget, so began to set her priorities. In Sarah’s case, it was more important to have a big(ger) guest list than alcohol, so she opted for a non-alcoholic reception. She didn’t care to have multiple entrees, so selected one simple course with a few appetizing salads, and with the help of WeddingGirl.ca found an amazing caterer, RJD Catering, who managed to pull it all off within her budget limits. The 130 guests in attendance at the ceremony were treated to punch and some hors d’oeuvres immediately after, while 80 guests took part in the sit-down dinner reception.

Sarah’s flowers were artificial, purchased at wholesale, as well as were her centerpieces – square vases filled with clear gel beads, illuminated with a purple submersible LED light and with a single (artificial) orchid floating on top. Sarah’s veil, guest book, garter, and favour accessories were all purchased directly from a wholesaler to save costs as well. Her dress was one that the bridal shoppe gave to her at half price because another bride hadn’t picked it up after ordering it, and her ceremony decor was made up of simple pew bows and a feather plume signing pen. Sarah prioritized renting linens above renting tableware, so she chose to add a splash of purple colour to her tables with disposable purple plates instead. She purchased wholesale lavender rose petals that were sprinkled on each table, and across the head table that displayed the beautiful DIY wedding cake made by her mother. Instead of purchasing a signing pen and money box, Sarah decided to use the ones available through the WeddingGirl.ca Bridal Marketplace.

Sarah chose not to have a DJ but engaged her guests in a more intimate affair with an interactive slide show. The reception ended at 9 p.m., at which time the bride and groom left for their weekend getaway honeymoon!

For photos of Sarah and Greg’s $3000 wedding, check out the Dollars & $ense section of WeddingGirl.ca – HERE!sarahgreg

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August 14, 2009

Thinking outside of the Wedding Decor box

Filed under: Bridal Blog — Tags: , , — WeddingGirl @ 7:40 am

When planning the decor of your event, it’s easy to get caught up in the stereotypically “traditional” wedding decor of tulle, twinkle lights, and flowers as far as the eye can see. But did you know that some retailers, knowing that brides are starting to use creative DIY options to decorate their weddings, are in turn pricing particular colours of items (i.e. white) higher than others? I was at a shoe store the other day and the white version of the cute little flat ballet slipper was $15 more than the red, gold, and silver version – and when I asked why, the sales clerk said it’s a “Bridal” item! What is it with this industry wanting us to spend more than we ever would under non-wedding circumstances??

In the last few months of being unique and creative when it comes to planning my own wedding and the weddings of others, I’ve come across a variety of original ideas that brides can use to save money and still end up with the elegant final product.

So here it goes….

The WeddingGirl.ca

Top 10 Ways to Decorate a Wedding On a Budget

1. Choose an attractive venue – it doesn’t have to be a 5 diamond hotel – but in considering the savings of hosting your wedding reception at a union hall, think about the additional decor costs you may incur.

2. Cut your guest list. With 100 guests in attendance, you will need approximately 13-14 centerpieces. You can easily double your expenses or cut them in half just by having a much larger or much smaller guest count. With less guests, not only will your entire reception expense go down, you can spend more on having more striking centerpieces and decor (instead of having to cut corners just to have enough)

3. Buy wholesale! The average glass vase at Michael’s Craft Store is approximately $15. The same vase might be available at Wal-Mart for $2 to $3 less. At wholesale, the same vase might cost you HALF, if not less!!

4. Add flair with vase filler. Some of the wholesalers I work with sell acrylic gems (that resemble crushed ice) in various colours to fill vases. At wholesale, this is a great option to add some flair on a budget! But you can also purchase gel beads and use a submersible LED light to light up the vase! This allows the vase itself to be the focal point of the centerpiece, instead of whatever rests on top – so place a single (artificial) orchid on the top of the gel beads and save hundreds of dollars on flowers!!

Some brides are even using fruit, coffee beans, split peas, and crumpled cellophane to fill their vases!

5. Don’t rule out artificial flowers…. and I don’t mean silk flowers from the dollar store! The artificial flower industry has boomed with incredibly life-like flowers made from amazingly advanced plastics and foams to replicate real, exotic, expensive blooms at a fraction of the cost. For example, a stem of 10 white/pink orchids might cost $10 at wholesale, vs. $30 retail. This is a good alternative to paying for expensive flowers such as stephanotis in the bridal bouquet as well.

6. Shop around. If you are renting table linens or chair covers, do your research on who offers what for what price in your area. Sometimes it is less expensive to pay for shipping of a rental than getting it locally. If you are renting in large quantities, don’t be afraid to ask for a break! You’d be surprised at how many vendors are willing to consider it.

7. Double-dip. Consider what you are using to decorate your ceremony, and then ask a guest (or your wedding day coordinator) to move those items from the ceremony venue to the reception hall. This works particularly well with showcase floral arrangements, or decorative tulle. Re-use the pomanders (kissing balls) initially hung from your pews / chairs lining the aisle by removing their ribbon, and placing them atop centerpiece vases.

This can also be done with guest escort cards that double-over as their favour or centerpieces that serve as the dessert! (see the WeddingGirl.ca group on Facebook for ideas!)

8. Borrow! Talk to your recently-wed friends and ask what they have left over from their wedding. Visit the WeddingGirl.ca Bridal Marketplace and check out what’s being sold that might spark your imagination and save you money in the process!

9. Hire a professional to do larger-scale decorating such as a backdrop or uplighting. Angelica from Simply Beautiful Decor is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing decorating professionals I’ve ever come across, and her work speaks for itself with respect to its quality, ingenuity, and sheer elegance. Don’t try to skip on the large-scale decor pieces, because you may end up losing more money in the end!

10. Sharesies!! – share the cost of more expensive decor with an upcoming bride, and let her take all your items after your big day so she can use them for her own! Some things can’t be shared (i.e. real flowers, candles), but anything else – vases, mirrors, vase filler, can usually be re-used! (consider it Going Green? :)

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July 30, 2009

A beautiful wedding ceremony “extra”

Filed under: Bridal Blog — Tags: , , — WeddingGirl @ 7:46 am

My dear friends over at Studio67 have some incredible wedding moments captured, both through their creative photography and cutting edge cinematography. Their cinema work is the kind of work I could sit and watch over, and over, regardless of the fact that I’ve already seen it dozens of time. The other day, while perusing Wanda and Brian’s Blog, I came across the Same-Day-Edited wedding video of Corina and Dan (found about 5 entries down from the top). They had the most beautifully unique concept at their ceremony and I had to share it with all of you!! (but you should really go watch the video for yourself!)

At the entrance to their ceremony, guests were offered a rock… just a plain, simple, river rock. At the beginning of the ceremony itself, the officiant explained to the guests that it is believed that thoughts possess energy, and that throughout the wedding ceremony, guests were asked to infuse their thoughts of health, happiness, and well-being, into the rocks they held. While exiting the ceremony, guests returned the rocks to a basket, allowing the newlywed couple to take them and place them (as decor?) around their home. How lovely!!!

Better yet, if you buy the river rocks wholesale, you end up with extras you can use as escort cards at the reception! Now that’s creativity on a budget!!!

budgetescortcardrocks

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July 18, 2009

For budget’s sake… do your research!!! – How to save on wedding dresses

My Future-Mother-In-Law (FMIL) has been pouring over mother-of-the-bride (groom) dresses online for months. She’s found hundreds of different styles, dozens of amazing dresses she’s really liked, and today, she mentioned that she found what she thinks is the one! Ironically, after searching the internet all around the world, she found a dress she absolutely loved in a local wedding boutique! Right away I went online to see the dress (it really is beautiful!) and as soon as she mentioned how this particular store is notorious for being very pricey, I began to search for the dress online. In the meantime, I put in a phone call to the store itself to find out the retail price.

It didn’t take me more than two minutes to find the dress online. It was listed for $159.99. Within a few seconds, I received a phone call back from the sales associate at the store… informing me that the dress was …. $650 + tax!!!!!!! Are you kidding me?!? Especially considering that the $159.99 retail price is STILL generating a profit!!

All I can say based on this experience is… DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! While many, many skeptics maintain that you should never buy a dress online, most of these skeptics are store owners who clearly don’t want to be missing out on their $500+ profit!

I am currently working with a bride who found her dream wedding dress at a local store. She was told that the dress was an Italian designer’s import, valued at $2800. In the change room, she wrote down the name of the designer on the label, as well as the style number, and hopped online. She found that the dress was actually designed and manufactured in Montreal, not Italy, and could be purchased for $1800. Still not satisfied, the bride contacted a dress maker in China, sent photos of the dress (both marketing photos from the websites as well as the pictures of her wearing the dress), and she ordered the dress for $200 (taking a chance that she might lose this money).

Well… It arrived.. about 2 months later… and it was PERFECT! The bride’s certain it isn’t made of the same amounts of expensive materials, and it’s not as heavy as the original (which might be a good thing!) but it saved her over $2000!!!

There are many, *many* ways to save money on wedding dresses… and apparently Mother-Of-The-Bride dresses as well! Don’t settle for a single quote… do your research and share your findings with other brides on the WeddingGirl.ca FORUM

Happy saving!!

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July 5, 2009

Bridal Shower invitations on a budget

I don’t have much experience with bridal showers, but the experience I do have points to the fact that I’m not a big fan. I’ve only ever been to one or two showers, I’ve never planned one… but I suppose, in theory, it’s a tradition that most brides take part in.

My mom approached me the other day, stressed out to the hills about my bridal shower. She doesn’t know how to plan one, she’s afraid it won’t be good enough, and since I don’t really have an official “bridal party” because of our destination wedding, she doesn’t know who to turn to for help. So, WeddingGirl to the rescue! and I started to plan my own bridal shower…. which has been pretty much nails on a chalkboard since I think they’re hokey… but that’s just me.

Initially, we were looking at catering a tented event in my mom’s backyard. I have an amazing caterer, but the tent and party rental prices weren’t quite so amazing. For approximately 40-50 guests, we were looking at almost $1200 in rentals. Then, I looked into hotel functions… a catered brunch/lunch at a local hotel was costing approximately $25 per person, plus taxes an gratuities (an additional 28.5%)… so we were looking at well over $1500. I decided this was insane, and in venting to my future mother-in-law, she suggested a beautiful local mansion that serves afternoon tea instead of a full meal. Perfect!

So, an afternoon tea it is. AND the venue we chose has a maximum capacity of 40 guests per dining room… so a great way to keep the guest count low!

The next step? invitations. I wasn’t able to afford $4-$5 an invite for beautifully, hand-crafted invitations, so I needed to be creative. I found beautiful pink, polka-dotted paper at Michael’s, that I could make 4 invites out of, but it was $1.00 per sheet. I needed 10 pieces of this paper, 10 sheets of vellum paper, and ribbon to tie the two together.

I’m a big fan of Wal-Mart, and the savings Wal-Mart offers since they buy in such gargantuan quantities. I ended up finding a book of scrap paper (24 pages, all in a pink/white/purple/green colour motif), for $13. Not all the designs were identical, but I had to prioritize: savings? or uniformity? – I chose the savings. The pages were 12×12″, and the envelopes I bought on clearance at Michael’s were 5.5″x5.5″. So I could make 4 invites per sheet of paper. I couldn’t find vellum at Wal-Mart, so back to Michael’s I went.

I ended up using 12 sheets of my 24 ($6.00), 11 sheets of vellum with one to test-print ($11.00), and 25 yards of ribbon ($5). Aside from the 2 hours it took me to do it (with the help of my mom, future mom-in-law, future-aunt-in-law, and 5-year old flower girl), my invites ended up costing about $0.50 each. The largest investment made? the guillotine paper cutter I had to buy at Michael’s  (using my 40% off coupon that I found online).

… which brings me to an interesting point…. if they can afford to CONSTANTLY have 40% or 50% off coupons in circulation, exactly how much are their products marked up?

I tested this theory. Michael’s sells beautiful Martha Stewart tissue PomPom decor sets… 5 pink tissue paper pompoms for $29.97. The EXACT same set… $15.00 at Wal-Mart.

Just some food for bridal thought.

Bridal Shower Invitations on a BUDGET!

Bridal Shower Invitations on a BUDGET!

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