Archive for the ‘GTA Wedding Dresses’ Category

Toronto Wedding Trends of 2010

Feb 8, 2010 Author: John | Filed under: GTA Wedding Dresses, GTA Wedding Tips

It’s important to know the latest wedding trends to ensure that you’ll well dressed for the occasion.  If you’re getting married, it’s you should already be well aware of the trends.  As a new bride to be, I’m assuming that you’ve already attending some wedding shows, checked out various wedding stores, etc.  Every year, designers introduce fresh designs and concepts.  Here are some trends of 2010: 

White & Soft Green – With the new trend toward green and ecofriendly weddings, these colors will look very trendy and perfect for 2010.  Some tones of purple and lilac may also be among the trendy colors.

Black accessories – With trendy light colors, contrasting accessories will create a sharp, modern, and trendy look.  Items such as black roses, decorations, or any other accessories will give a sophisticated and well designed/dressed look.

Pink dresses – One of the top choices of 2010 are pink dresses.  Wedding dressses in paste/classic pink will look great. Flapper dresses along with a mid-calf fitted length style will give a trendy new look to the traditional pink.

Red wedding gowns – Red is sharp, viabrant, and the right choice for the spring of 2010.  Red with classic and pastel white will add color and romantic look and feel.

Mini wedding dress – The fresh trend of spring 2010 is short dresses. You can pair your look with some ankle tied flip-flops or sandals to give a dramatic look.

Bright orange color scheme – Bright orange color will work marvelously if combined with soft peach tones. Use orange petals and camera for the maximum effect around the reception table. You can tie the peach gift boxes with orange ribbons. Also add tiger lilies and orange gerberas into the bridal bouquets

Bright Yellow and Turquoise Shades – If you are looking for a big tropical scheme in the spring of 2010, you can focus around Bright yellow and Turquoise shades. You can mix these colors in the spring of 2010 with the hot wedding theme. Bold boxes can be tied with blue and yellow ribbons. You can order the florist to introduce the slash of the same colors in the bride’s bouquet. This even will be more coordinated with the wedding cake cuts.

10 Things Not To Say At Wedding

Jan 22, 2010 Author: John | Filed under: GTA Wedding Dresses, GTA Wedding Tips

A wedding is an auspicious event that not only celebrates a union of two people, but joins two families together as well. On this happy occasion, a wrong comment, even if its said as a joke, can have a lasting impact on the whole marriage, turning it into an eternal tiff rather than eternal bliss. So make sure you’re not the one responsible for a spat or an uncomfortable atmosphere by avoiding these ten remarks, because when it comes to a wedding, silence is surely the best policy!

1. Never make any mention of past marriages

Past is past and it should remain that way. The couple is starting a new life and therefore, reminding them of a previous marriage in any way is the last thing you would want to do. Even funny comments like, “This one is way better than your last one” or “I hope this one lasts longer than the previous one”, are a big NO.

2. Don’t pass a negative comment about the bride’s dress

The bride’s dress should not bother you because you’re not the one who’s wearing it, and obviously she wouldn’t be wearing it if she thought it were bad! So comments like, “Wasn’t it available in a different color?” or “I think this should have been a little longer/shorter” or “Why didn’t you go to that designer I told you about?”, should be avoided. You don’t want to make a bride loose her confidence on her special day!

3. Don’t criticize the menu

It’s their wedding, therefore they decide the menu. So whatever comes your way should be appreciated. Still if you feel that you can’t have the food over there, then a polite comment like, “My stomach is upset”, or something similar is a better option than actually criticizing the food.

4. Never compare the bride and the groom

Never compare the bride and the groom even if the bride is downright ugly or the groom has the looks of a Greek god and vice versa. As long the couple is happy with each other, you should be happy for them as well. Some people even have the audacity to whisper in the bride or the groom’s ear that they could have done so much better. This is plain rude and a comment like this deserves nothing but tight slap on the speaker’s face.

5. Check before mentioning a deceased family member

A wedding is a happy occasion and the mention of someone who has passed away can give the event a sad atmosphere, especially if that person was close to the bride or groom and their families. Hence it is always better to play it safe and avoid mentioning such a person because you never know who you might end up upsetting.

6. Keep the secrets about bridge and groom to yourself

Everyone has secrets and everyone has done crazy things in the past, and just because someone is getting married doesn’t mean he/she would want their spouse to know, especially on their wedding day. However, relating a funny incident is completely harmless, but besides that, all the wild crazy stuff should go with you to your grave.

7. Don’t tell mother-in-law jokes

Mother-in-law jokes are no doubt very funny but a wedding is not the best place to share them, especially when two newly made mother-in-laws are on the loose. You never know how they or other people might take them, that is why its better to save them for another occasion.

8. If you had/have other plans don’t make any mention of them

People invite you to their wedding because they want you to be a part of their special day and want to share their happiness with you. Saying that you have to go somewhere else or had to be somewhere else gives the impression that rather than being a part of their joy, you were actually doing them a favor by attending the event, and this could even hurt their feelings.

9. Don’t predict the future of the marriage

As a joke, many people, especially the bride and groom’s friends, actually make bets guessing how long would it take for the couple to break the marriage bond. Believe me its not funny, on the contrary its rude and offensive and I shouldn’t even be telling you to keep away from such games, you should be sensible enough to know that yourself!

10. Stop bragging about your gift to the couple

Ok, just because you gave a great expensive gift or a fat cheque to the newly wed couple doesn’t mean that you start bragging about it. Not everyone can afford it and your showing off can make people feel inferior and uncomfortable with their gift or money.


Sharon Naylor, author of over 30 wedding planning books, has just published the perfect book for brides and groom looking to save money on their wedding expenses. “1001 Ways to Save Money … and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding” is filled with expert advice and insider tricks to show you where you can make cuts to your wedding budgets, and how to make them. We asked Sharon to give us her top tips on creating a wedding budget and where you can really save some money. Here’s what she had to say:

How does one create a wedding budget?
The best plan for creating a wedding budget is taking a series of important steps before making your first plan or purchase. You can’t create a realistic budget, one that will allow you to choose most of the elements you want for your big day, without knowing approximately what things cost in your area. For instance, you don’t want to create a budget and then get stunned when you find out that photography packages start at $5,000 in your area when you only budgeted $1,000 for that. Do plenty of research, invest your time in meeting with all kinds of experts, getting printed price lists, and really knowing the ballparks of what everything costs. Then sit down and look at your available funds to figure out what kind of wedding you will have.

Now there are two more steps here:

  1. Talking with parents to see if they will be willing and able to help pay for the wedding. (Not all parents can split the bill or foot the bill these days. Many offer to pay for the flowers or the bar or the honeymoon, etc.)
  2. Make a Priority List of which wedding elements are important to you (catering, entertainment, gown, and photos) and doing the math to decide you’ll spend, say, 75% of your budget on those things, while spending less on (or doing without) the others. It may take a few steps and some extra time, but it’s so worth it to create a good, flexible budget that keeps you reined in, yet still able to spend a little more than you planned for here and there without a ton of guilt. The best budgets are just there to guide you, not make you feel guilty or stressed … they’re designed to keep you from losing control.


Is there a time of year when you can really save money?
Absolutely! January through April is the new Hot Season when it comes to looking for lower-priced packages in every area of the wedding industry. Mid to late-April is my own favorite time of year for a low-cost wedding, since you get the start of gorgeous spring weather for one-third the cost of a September or October wedding (which are now two of the priciest times of year). November is also a well-priced month, but keep in mind that many families have their vacations already planned, or would never dream of missing a family Thanksgiving elsewhere. Just be cautious about planning your wedding during your region’s rainy, stormy, icy, snowy or hurricane seasons just to save a buck; it’s not worth grabbing an insanely low price package when there’s so much weather threat to your day and to your guests’ traveling safety.

What’s your number one wedding dress budget-shopping tip?
Get on the mailing lists of several bridal gown shops, so that you get advance, VIP notice of upcoming and last-second-planned designer trunk shows and sample sales. At these events, you can find gowns for up to 75% off, as well as shoes, veils, headpieces and accessories for up to 70% off! You should also sign up at your favorite designers’ Web sites as well, since they sometimes plan last-minute trips through your area and their staff will e-mail you to invite you to the sale.

Are there any items a bride should splurge on?
Really good shoes. Just like with the gown, it’s all about how you feel as well as how you look, and you’re going to be in those shoes all day and all night. Comfort is key. One of the new trends is for the groom to buy the bride a fabulous pair of designer heels as a wedding gift, because she may already have jewelry or wish to borrow from her mom. Grooms say their brides swoon over a great pair of Louboutins or Jimmy Choos. Wearing a pair of phenomenal designer shoes will make you feel like a true VIP on your wedding day.

Are there any items a bride should not cut from her budget or not look for a cheaper alternative?
The food, the food, the food! While there are lots of ways to get more catering for your budget dollar, it’s never a good idea to underfeed your guests. Guests get very angry when you cheap out on the catering, especially since they have gone to so much effort to be there with you on your big day. The true gift you’re getting is your guests’ presence at your wedding, so feed them well, be extravagant, devote a larger portion of your wedding budget to unique and delicious food stations, passed hors d’oeuvres, a fantastic sit-down meal and desserts.

The second item to invest well in, and not attempt to replace with a cheaper alternative, is your photographer. Yes, they’re expensive, but the good ones are truly worth it. Those gorgeous photos get more valuable over time, and this is not a day to trust to an amateur or the cheapest “expert” you find. Research well, ask friends who they hired, and invest in the best package possible. It’s worth every penny to get such masterful images of your day.

Is there a tactful way to ask mom and dad to help out?
Most parents expect to play a role in contributing to the wedding, so the best way to initiate this particular conversation is to make diplomacy your number one goal. Plan a get-together such as brunch or dinner at your place, if possible, with each set of parents separately. Here’s the ideal approach: “Mom, Dad, we’re so excited to share the wedding plans with you! We’d love to have you join us to tour potential reception sites and taste wedding cakes, and we definitely want to hear how you’d like to contribute, what you have in mind, what you’d like to work on.”

Mom and Dad should be told your initial wishes about the wedding, such as the number of guests, time of year and formality, so that they know the scale of the wedding (and also so that they don’t try to pressure you into having the wedding of their dreams!). With open communication, parents can tell you how much they were planning to contribute, or they can ask you to help them figure out what a wedding costs in your area. You’ll get much better results when you invite parents to participate and allow them to state what they’re comfortable with, show them your priority list and share your excitement about the wedding planning process than if you just tell them what your dream wedding is going to cost or try to guilt-trip them into contributing more than they can afford. (NEVER say your future in-laws are giving $X,000 — keep all donations discreet.)

Now if you initially told your parents that you’re paying for the wedding but time has passed, expenses have piled up, and you now need parental help, it’s fine to be direct: “We really wanted to foot the bill ourselves, but even with our modest plans things have mushroomed to greater expense than we expected. So if your offer to help with a financial contribution is still on the table, we’d love to take you up on it.” Being direct like this is always going to improve your odds of success.

Check out some more of Sharon’s books (and her blog) at her Web site,


LOCATION:  Carnival Glory  |  DATE:  August 22   GUESTS:  About 20

Our first Bride On The Brink for July will set sail August 22 for a Caribbean cruise with her groom-to-be, a few wedding guests—and it’s also her groom’s family reunion! Talk about a family affair!

Q. When did you start your wedding planning?

A. I became engaged in March 2008. We had already planned since last March to go on a cruise for my fiance’s family reunion in August 2009. I wasn’t sure when I was going to set a wedding date, what type of wedding I wanted to have, and whether it would be in Mississippi, where I’ve lived for the past 12 years, or New York, where my sisters and I grew up, or North Carolina, where my parents live. I actually started planning in May 2009. (Wow! Talk about waiting until the last minute! S) Once we decided the cruise would be a great place to have the wedding, it was a matter of [making arrangements.] We’ll set sail for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise to Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize and the Bahamas.

Q. So what’s the most important thing on your mind right now?

A. Right now, I’m just hoping we have good weather and no hurricane. Oh, and I hope the H1N1 flu doesn’t strike.

Q. What’s been the most stressful or difficult part of preparing for your wedding.

A. I like to think I’m “too blessed to be stressed.” Fortunately, the stress is minimal since the [cruise line] is taking care of all the details. The most difficult part was trying to coordinate with my fiance’s family members who had been booked on the cruise for months, since it’s their family reunion. I’ve had to work with the airlines to rearrange [our] flights, which we booked in January. Luckily, I got a sympathetic airline representative in customer service who was happy to help.

Q. Would you have done anything differently?

A. I would have booked [the cruise] earlier.

Q. What’s been the best part of your wedding planning?

A. My fiance is a stickler for being on time and setting deadlines. And he’s great with finances. With that in mind, I knew I had to set a budget and stick to it to keep the harmony. I’m happy that my fiance was okay with having a wedding during his family’s cruise.

Q. You really waited until the last minute to start your wedding planning. Do you have any last-minute details to take care of?

A. My sisters and I are still shopping for bridesmaids dresses. I ordered my own cute cake topper…and plan to order some gifts for the wedding party, like personalized candle keepsakes and mints. I’ll also want to order personalized napkins and a few other favors.

Q. How has the current economy affected your wedding plans?

A. The economy has had an impact on my wedding in a number of ways. This is the second wedding for both of us. We both lost our spouses several years ago to cancer. As far as the wedding, neither one of us was trying to recreate our first wedding experience. So we’ve saved a lot of money by not having a traditional wedding with dozens of guests. Originally, I wanted to go to Hawaii for my honeymoon. But, I’m happy we get to turn a family cruise into our honeymoon. By deciding to have a shipboard wedding, we’ve been able to pay cash for everything in advance and won’t have any credit-card debt when we come back from our honeymoon. I’ll still have a few more bells and whistles, like a limo to take us to our ship. My parents and 13 of my fiance’s family members will go on the cruise, but because of the tough economic times, my sisters and aunt will not be able to come on the cruise. But I’m happy they will be part of the wedding ceremony and reception. I still plan to have an informal celebration/reception when we return for other friends and family who weren’t able to attend. I am having a knock-off designer wedding dress made for under $300, but I won’t know if I’ve made a good choice or not until I receive it. (I’ve secretly fantasized that, as a back-up plan, first-lady Michelle Obama will let me borrow her inauguration gown.)

Q. Any words of wedding-planning wisdom for your best friend?

A. I would tell my friend that, at the end of the day, it’s YOUR WEDDING. If you can afford to have the wedding of your dreams, go for it. If money is a concern, there are always less-expensive options to make your wedding a memorable one without breaking the bank.

Watch for the next edition of Brides On the Brink…30 Days and Counting! It’s for brides, it’s about brides, and most importantly, it’s by Brides On the Brink who are one month away from walking down the aisle.

Become One of our Brides On The Brink!

If you’re about one, two or three months from tying the knot and would like to be a featured bride, please click here to e-mail your contact information and wedding date. I’ll send you the questionnaire to fill out and return. For passing on your wedding wisdom, featured brides will receive a $25 gift certificate* for, where you’ll find fabulous wedding favors, wedding accessories, bridesmaids’ gifts and so much more!

* For shipping only within the US and Canada.


Cheap wedding dress bargains are available to brides who start early and do their research.

As a bride-to-be actively avoiding many decisions about my own pending nuptials (despite the many excellent cheap and frugal wedding tips shared by Consuming Interests readers months ago), let’s talk about how an organized non-procrastinator should search for a gown.

First, consider what you’re paying for. Check out what the authors of the Bridal Bargains book had to say about wedding dresses — given the price range, you’d expect things like high-quality fabric and materials such as lace, right?

At the very least, you’d want properly sewn seams. A good friend of mine recently ordered a dress from a popular retailer and found multiple problems: an exposed metal zipper instead of the covered, hidden one pictured in the catalog, poorly stitched seams that bunched in the back and even an unevenly cut hem.

Next, think about how long you’ll wear this dress. I like to justify expensive purchases by dividing the price by the number of times I’ll wear an item. That won’t work for wedding gowns.

Wedding dresses are also cumbersome heirlooms. Some people may preserve their gowns in acid-free boxes, which is a nice tradition if you live in a home with lots of storage, that you never plan to leave. Otherwise, it will be one more thing to carry around as you move through life. And forget about saving it for your kids. Your offspring may not fit into yours or may prefer a different style for their gown.

Finally, don’t get pressured into making a deal. With all the pressure to find the "perfect" dress, it’s not uncommon for women to find themselves buying more than one, because the style of the dress doesn’t match their venue or because they make a hasty decision at a sale that they regret later.

With that in mind, here’s some great options for purchasing an inexpensive wedding dress that you will love:

Start early.  (And be more decisive than I am). If you’re ordering from a store, they often require more than four months to get the dress, and then at least two months alterations. Order with less time to spare and you may get hit with rush charges even though your event is still months away.

And if you’re considering alternative sources I’m suggesting below, the hunt may take more time.

Pick your venue and wedding date BEFORE you buy a dress. You might have to alter any Cinderella fantasies depending on your wedding location. For a beach wedding on a Caribbean island, you might not want something with a cathedral-length train. Or, if you’re getting married in the winter, you might consider a down quilted dress or one lined in fleece (kidding, kidding). P.S. No matter where you’re getting married, don’t pack a wedding dress in your checked luggage, as one bride learned the hard way.

I’ve also heard some ceremony sites place restrictions on what is appropriate attire for a wedding (for the bride and groom, at least). I don’t know of any that do that, but it’s worth checking before you plunk down a deposit on anything risque.

Consider some alternative sources of wedding attire, including:

* Sales in retail shops. Most bridal salons only carry a few samples of the dresses from the lines they carry. If you have at least a vague concept of the style of dress you want, check for trunk shows, where designers come to a store with more examples that you can often purchase at a discount on that day.

Sometimes stores also sell the samples themselves, which is fine if the dress is within alteration-range of a perfect fit. Check for stains, rips or other wear-and-tear problems — if it’s something minor it might still be worth it.

* Check department stores and other unexpected sources. A good tip for destination wedding dresses that can travel well, or others looking for more modern or non-traditional styles: check out special occasion dresses at department stores such as Bloomingdale’s or Neiman Marcus. Also, some bridesmaid’s dresses can be ordered in wedding colors such as white or off-white, but designers might charge a special fee for that privilege. Rrr!

Unfortunately, Isaac Mizrahi no longer designs wedding dresses for Target. Ann Taylor sells bridesmaid dresses and accessories, but a spokeswoman told me they may offer "wedding dress alternatives" in the future.

* Consider "pre-owned" dresses. The Wall Street Journal had a recent story about bargain-hunting brides buying their gowns from Now, "pre-owned" is a big category, which includes not only dresses that have made it down the aisle at least once, but also some brand new dresses that are new-with-tags (NWT).

Take advantage of others’ indecision. Classifieds at sites such as, Encore Bridal or are full of stories from "two-dress brides" (and even three-dress brides) who changed their minds and found a different dress. You can also buy wedding dresses on Craigslist and bid on wedding dresses on eBay. (Remember how we showed you how to set up an RSS feed for a Craigslist search?)

I recently talked to a woman who purchased a dress at the Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides, where dresses cost between $250 and $699. She ended up buying a different dress that she felt was more appropriate for her reception location — and is now looking to unload her lovely ballgown before she moves.

Goodwill stores were a good wedding dress source for one Boston Globe reporter. I checked out a number of local Goodwills and was impressed by the extent of the formal wear selection, although there were fewer recent wedding dresses than I had hoped. I’m guessing it’s luck of the draw — the best dresses probably sell quickly.

The savvy shopper at Good Morning America also recommended going to thrift stores and consignment shops for wedding dresses. The Surprise Shop in Towson, which raises money for Trinity Episcopal Church, now has a number of wedding dress samples available on consignment for a third of their original price, as well as accessories such as gloves and veils. Newbury and Smith in Mount Washington had two wedding dresses when I visited, and Regal Rags in Annapolis had a few, too.

Other options: Anyone with experience ordering direct from manufacturers in China, renting a dress or having a dress made, please share advice below. You could also look at wedding gowns on Etsy. One bonus: if you have a dress made to your measurements, then hopefully you save on alterations down the road.

(photo: Patrick Smith/Baltimore Sun)

‘Even if I had loads of money, I’d come here. I actually believe in recycling and using stuff that has been used before,’ says bride-to-be Dorothy Fletcher as she is helped by shop assistant Kayoko Yanagisawa to try on a cut-price bridal gown at Oxfam, George’s Street, Dublin

Saying ‘I do’ needn’t cost you a fortune – there are plenty of ways you can save money while still having a truly memorable day, writes FIONA McCANN

‘I’M A TYPICAL recession bride,” laughs Dorothy Fletcher as she twirls in front of the large gilt mirror in Oxfam Ireland’s bridal shop, stunning in a beaded dress with a €50 price tag.

Fletcher, who recently returned from the US and has just started up her own business, says she can’t afford a lavish wedding, but that hasn’t stopped her from making her dream come true. The budget for her wedding to her Scottish fiance Colin, is set at €7,000, and so far the two have managed to keep things more or less within their set budget.

It’s a far cry from the 1.5 million tag on the boom-time wedding of developer Seán Dunne and columnist Gayle Killilea, but Fletcher has no interest in ostentation, or indeed in little extras like hiring out Aristotle Onassis’s yacht, the Cristina.

“Even if I had loads of money, I’d come here,” she says as she flicks through the rails and rails of cut-price dresses in Oxfam. “I actually believe in recycling and using stuff that has been used before.”

This may be her intention, but over 75 per cent of the dresses before her, which range in size from an eight to a 30 and from €50 to €450 in price, have never even been worn before, having been donated from boutiques and shops around the country.

Fletcher’s one of a new breed of budget brides finding ways to tie the knot without yoking themselves to a lifetime of debt in the process.

According to Solene Rapinel, manager at the Oxfam store in George’s Street, Dublin, which stocks their bridal range, the numbers of brides-to-be finding their way to its trove of white taffeta have been increasing in recent months. “People are definitely not willing to pay as much as they did before for their wedding dresses.”

Oxfam has some 150 dresses to choose from, and new frocks are added every month to keep the collection current. And while donations continue to come in, from boutiques, bridal shops and former brides giving their one-day-only dresses away for a good cause, the supply barely meets the boom in demand. “We really need more stock because they fly out,” says Rapinel.

Viewing is by appointment only, but the bridal shop is booked up until May for weekend appointments, and already boasts a lengthy waiting list of bargain-hunting brides. As well as the obvious benefits to their bank balances, those who shop there also get a clean conscience into the bargain.

“If you buy your wedding dress here at the average price of €250 to €300, it means two families get a goat for the father, a vegetable garden for the mother, and school books and musical instruments for the children,” explains Rapinel. “So you make your family happy and two other families happy too.” Even putting the dress on hold for a mere €10 provides water to three families.

Tiaras, veils, shoes and shawls are also available, with a selection of bridesmaid’s dresses in varying styles, sizes and colours ensuring the full wedding party can be kitted out for bargain prices.

Except, alas, for the menfolk involved. “If we had donations for the grooms, we’d be very happy to sell them.”

THERE’S NO NEED to stop at the dress. Costs can be cut in all manner of ways that will remain largely invisible to guests, and canny couples are taking note. For example, venues are often the biggest outlay for a wedding party.

“People are reducing certain aspects that would have been considered discretionary in recent years,” points out Richie Huggard, conference and events sales manager at Dublin’s Burlington Hotel. According to Huggard, add-ons like chair covers and centrepieces can easily be lopped off the list and have an immediate effect on the potential outlay.

“There is a notable drop in expenditure,” says Huggard, who recalls the days when bridezillas roamed the earth. Having also worked on weddings in Slane Castle, Huggard recalls one flathulach fiancee requesting that the walls of the castle be repainted in the colours of her bridesmaid dress to ensure they blended in with the surroundings, allowing her to stand out.

Such days – and such demands – are well and truly a thing of the past, and venues are now offering more basic wedding packages that exclude such extras as matching walls or Onassis yachts.

“There’s your basic package, plus all the other options, like the rose petals flying from the ceiling and the balloons and lavish centrepieces on the tables,” Huggard points out, adding that choosing the simpler option doesn’t have to affect the festivities.

“At the end of the day the guests don’t leave a wedding saying ‘We had a great time, but they didn’t have any chair covers or ‘We had a great time but did you see the state of the centrepieces?’”

Besides, the new breed of bride is cannier than her Celtic Tiger counterpart, according to wedding planner Rosemary Muleady of

“Nobody wants a budget wedding,” says Muleady. “They still want the wedding that they’ve always dreamed of, but brides are more savvy nowadays and are looking for more for their buck.”

The tightening bridal belts are taking their toll on the wedding industry, however. “A lot of suppliers with bookings this summer were already booked from last year,” explains Muleady. “It has gone very quiet this year for bookings.”

Yet lack of lolly need not stand in the way of love, and Muleady has plenty of advice for those who long for the big day without the big spend.

“Set a budget and shop around,” she says. “Find a photographer who offers disc-only packages and then you can do the album yourself. Choose flowers that are in season rather than out of season, because they cost a lot more to import.”

Fletcher, who still has a year to go before her big day, has her own ideas about how to keep within budget. “I’m going to get hair extensions and try and do my own hair: we’ll just practice as the year goes on,” she says.

“And I already have sandals so I’m not going to spend money on shoes. If I’m in a long dress that’s flowing, they won’t even be seen.”

AS WELL AS the various other “dos” recommended by planners and brides – like hiring bridesmaid dresses, or setting up a website instead of sending out invitations – Muleady has plenty of “don’ts” for those setting out on the path to nuptial bliss.

“Don’t take out loans,” she cautions, advising couples to save for their weddings in credit crunching times. And don’t expect to get your outlay back in presents either. “Don’t rely on money gifts to pay for your wedding, because you can still get your five toasters, especially with people cutting back due to the recession.”

Finally, worried wedders should not be confused by the dos and the don’ts. Don’t forget that the big day is less about the fancy do and more about the “I do”.

Buying the knot: Six ways to cut costs on your big day

  1. Venues Shop around for venues, and bargain hard. The days when the word “wedding” would add 20 per cent to the cost of a party are gone. Bookings are down, and it’s a bride’s market out there.
  2. Dresses Try charity shops for bargain dresses, and consider hiring the bridesmaid dresses. But don’t think you’re saving by buying online – you’ll still be charged duty if the dresses are spotted by customs officials.
  3. Stationery The cost of invitations can really add up, and aren’t that ecologically sound after all. Websites are one way to go, with instructions, details, and RSVPs all available at the click of a mouse.
  4. Flowers Choose flowers that are in season to avoid the heavy cost of importing. If you feel enterprising, you can even make your own bouquets, though getting out of bed early to visit flower markets as they open is required.
  5. Photographs/videos Choose a disc-only package to save on a wedding album, or get your friends to take snaps of the day and send them on.
  6. Rings Go directly to suppliers, says Fletcher. “I can get an 18 carat white gold ring for €159 at the supplier, and they’re €300 at the shops.”

Plan Your 2009 Wedding with These Key Themes and Trends in Mind

While June is traditionally the wedding season of the year, you may be foregoing a summer wedding this year in favor of a fresh Spring wedding next year. Spring weddings can be the perfect way to celebrate the season and enjoy another event after the holidays. Bridal fashions for Spring continue to center around romantic, goddess-inspired looks, but 2009 calls for a grand slimdown with the tighter, fitted styles of the 1920’s flapper era.

If you’ve recently gotten engaged or have already booked your Spring 2009 wedding date, keep your wedding plans on the right track with these top trends:

Spring 2009 Wedding Trend: Flower Embroidery
Milan Fashion Week showcased several awe-inspiring gowns and runways across Europe quickly followed suit. Flower embroidery in contrasting thread colors on the classic white gown include burgundy, black, navy and dark green. Look for elegant Victorian designs that give this trend a fresh romantic twist.

Spring 2009 Wedding Trend: Empire Waist Goddess Gowns
Continuing on with the Grecian-inspired looks of Fall 2008, Spring 2009 takes on some inspiration from muses of yesteryear with a long, loose-fitting and flowing gown. These dresses are ideal for tall and slender women who want to accentuate the shoulders, collar bone and neck area.

Spring 2009: Pink and Blue Bridesmaid Dresses
While some adventurous brides can get away with a pink and blue-hued dress, others can still make the most of this trend by adding a splash of innocent pastels to the crowd of bridesmaids. Baby blue and pink combination dresses and accessories are a top trend for Spring 2009, and can easily freshen up your theme for the year.

Spring 2009 Wedding Trend: The Miniskirt Wedding Gown
If you’ve been working on those gams all Fall and winter, ’tis the season to show off yoru legs with a miniskirt wedding gown. If you prefer a more modest look the knee-length dress is plenty appropriate for Spring 2009; take the cue from Oscar de La Rent and other wedding dress designers who led the runway at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2008.


Getting engaged can be one of the most memorable and exciting moments in your life. For the first few weeks after the proposal, you both feel dizzy with happiness and are bursting with anticipation. As well you both should be! You’ve met the man or woman of your dreams, you’ve decided to get married, and now it’s time to plan the wedding — the official celebration of your love and commitment.

As you plan this wonderful day, you both will continue to feel great joy, but may also experience a few butterflies and a little confusion. After all, organizing a ceremony and reception is a big undertaking.

There will be questions about anything and everything: from the meal (fish, chicken, or beef?) to the wedding gown (low-cut, fitted, or empire-waisted?) to the reception music (live band, small orchestra, or DJ?). There will be issues about budgets, guest lists, and styles.

But in the end, just remember what this day is really about — a celebration of love. Stay focused, and keep organized. This is where this article comes in handy. It’s packed with helpful information and useful worksheets that you both can click on and print out to help you stay on top of your wedding planning. You’ll find:

  • checklists for keeping track of what needs to be done
  • useful charts for organizing the many little wedding-related details
  • worksheets for wading through vendor candidates and potential site possibilities
  • hint boxes loaded with valuable tips and other information

Plus, this article features special Stress-Busters and Budget Extenders tips that help you both tackle the tough problems and really stretch the wedding dollars.

Designed to help the engaged couple plan an entire wedding, from announcing the engagement and buying the rings to cutting your cake and planning the honeymoon, this article will help you both create a truly memorable day — without driving yourselves crazy in the process.

Every wedding is different so there might be worksheets that you both will have to reprint to have enough to cover all of your guests or all of your vendor candidates. Conversely, there might be some worksheets that you won’t need at all or that you might have to tweak to fit your needs.

Get started on the right track by beginning a list of important phone numbers — from wedding party members to the florist and musicians. Then take a look at the next page to help you establish a budget and a timetable. You both also will find information about announcing your engagement and how to choose a ring — that is, if you don’t have your rings already!


Here are some money saving tips that FB would like to share with you. Use a couple of tips to save a few bucks or use more and save $1000+.

The Most Important Money Saving Tips

  • You will save yourself an enormous amount of money if you get married during the off-season months of January, February, March and November.
  • Getting married on any other of the week other than Saturday.
  • There is no official name for this disease but many brides get it.
    • 1st Symptom – around 3 months before your wedding, you’ll begin to second-guess your decisions.
    • 2nd Symptom – You’ll get scared and think about what you can do to make your wedding better or more unique.
    • 3rd Symptom – Then you’ll ask friends, family, co-workers and anyone that will listen to you, about what they think of your new ideas.
    • 4th Symptom – and most dangerous…you make a few phone calls and start up-grading a few of your packages.
    • The Cure – stick to your original budget. As the wedding draws near, your emotions take over…ignore them.
  • Vendors are well aware of the disease. That’s why every contract allows for you to upgrade a package at any time but there are rarely loopholes for downgrading.

The Wedding Attire Search

  • If finances don’t allow you to purchase a designer wedding dress, consider renting. Look at it this way, if you’re the type who wouldn’t even consider wearing your mother’s dress, why do you need one collecting dust in the closet.
  • Never mind buying an expensive silk gown. Stick to polyester blends. They’re cheaper, don’t wrinkle as much and are easier to clean.
  • The more beading and detail on the gown, the more expensive.
  • Most of the big bridal shops have huge sales once a year, usually held at hotels or other big venues.
  • To take care of the something old-new-borrowed-blue, look to family and friends for items you can use.
  • Go shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses during prom season and after New Years. There’s nothing written in stone that says you have to buy your bridesmaids dresses at a wedding shop, and generally your prices will be a bit cheaper elsewhere.
  • Shop for those pretty little wedding shoes in the summer, when white shoes are on the shelves of every shoe and department store, or you’ll have to buy them in a bridal shop and pay their prices. Shop in the afternoon, your feet swell during the day and they’ll also be swollen on your wedding day. FB prime advice … try “Payless”.
  • Men’s Tuxedo rentals are pretty much all the same price no matter where you go. The thing to check on is the condition of the suits and accessories.

Flower Power

  • Unless you plan on keeping your bouquet on display in your home, don’t bother with a duplicate to toss.
  • Instead of tossing your whole bouquet, just pick one flower to throw. We all know what condition the bride’s bouquet is in after 30 women (or more) start clawing at it.
  • Silk flowers save you a lot of money and they’re already preserved. The Bride can have fresh flowers, but there really isn’t any need for everyone else to go fresh.
  • If you’re using flowers in your centrepieces, decorations or large altar arrangements, go with silk. Would be nice if your guests could actually use the centrepieces that they just won again. You could re-use the decorations and larger arrangements at home, party accents or resell them on the Babbling Brides Board to another FB.

I Have No Idea How To Decorate!

  • To decorate the head table and save money buy vases, line them up and place the bouquets in them on the table and place votives in between.
  • Before shopping for candles and candleholders anywhere else, be sure to check out a couple of dollar stores.
  • Dollar stores and chains like Wal-Mart and Zeller’s also carry many items that can be used to decorate your ceremony or reception locations.
  • When decorating the church or reception venue use silk flowers.
  • Check with your florist or garden centre to see if you can rent plants, some places do.
  • Kill 2 birds with one stone and use your guest favours/bomboniere as your centrepieces. Buy a raised cake plate and display the favours on each table. Your MC can make an announcement explaining.

How Can I Cut Corners on the Invitations?

  • To make your invitations more personal and less expensive, do them yourself. There are a number of paper stores and websites availabile where you can find original ideas and ways to make your own invitations.
  • Order your invitations over the Internet instead of a printing shop (it’s a little cheaper). Mail order is another possibility.
  • Order a plain invitation from a company and decorate it yourself. All you need is a hole-puncher and some ribbon and/or parchment paper.

I Don’t Want to Spend a Fortune on Favours/Bomboniere

  • Please, go to a DOLLAR STORE first and check out their selection of party favours.
  • Some bomboniere stores decorate the gift for free and some don’t, so make sure you ask.
  • Instead of buying a trinket that will be tossed into a drawer, make a donation to a charity. This is a new trend that many brides are choosing. Pick a cause that means something to you. Your MC can say something like: “Instead of favours, the couple has decided to make a donation in their name to the Lung Cancer Society. The bride’s grandfather passed 3 years ago from this disease.” Donations always get a round of applause…ever see anyone clap for a candy dish?

Wedding Cakes too expensive? No Problem!

  • Buying a cake made with different flavoured tiers will save you money as you wouldn’t necessarily require a dessert table.
  • To get away with not paying a cake cutting fee at your venue, purchase their sweet table but serve your wedding cake for dessert. This means you’ll have to do your cake cutting as soon as your wedding party does their entrance. The staff will take the cake away and have it cut and plated in time for dessert.
  • If you’re having a dessert table, you really don’t need to buy an elaborate wedding cake, try renting.
  • Buy a plain wedding cake and decorate it yourself with silk or fresh flowers.

What about my Hair & Makeup?

  • Try to hire one person or company that does both hair and makeup.
  • Only the bride needs a trial.
  • You can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $100 for hair and $30 to $85 for makeup. Know that the more women you have that need these services, the cheaper the cost per person.
  • If hair accessories are going to be put in anyone’s hair, make sure you buy them yourself. If you leave this up to the hair stylist it’ll cost more.
  • If you have sensitive skin, we suggest that you do not go for a facial the week before your wedding. You don’t want to be all broke out for the big day.
  • Please get your nails done and make sure the groom’s hands are also manicured. More than likely you’ll be getting a picture that shows your hands and the wedding bands. People will be constantly asking to see your rings.
  • Lastly, try to find a makeup and hair vendor that will do a trial a few months before the wedding. It gives you time to work out any areas you are not happy with and makes the wedding day process much quicker

Using a Caterer & choosing a Reception Venue

  • Hire a caterer that supplies everything you need, plates, glassware, table cloths, etc.
  • Make sure you’re only charged for the services that you need. Some caterers have packages that include decorating and other items. If your venue is decorated already you won’t need the extras. Extras should be deducted from the bill or replaced with something else you want.
  • Pick fruits and vegetables that are in season.
  • Stick to serving food that everyone is familiar with. Fancy food is expensive.
  • Buffets generally cost a good deal less and give your guests the opportunity to get up and mingle with the other guests, and they can pick exactly what they would like to eat.
  • Make sure to read your contract and check to see if the gratuity is included. This goes for all services.
  • Booking a venue that allows you to buy your own liquor is more work but saves you money.
  • Depending on your culture and where you live in Canada, having a cash bar is totally acceptable. This can be a huge money saver.
  • Consider only serving wine and domestic beers.
  • Liquor (vodka, rum, rye, scotch) plus all the different mixes you’ll need adds to your expenses.
  • Liqueurs like Grand Marnier, Sambucca, etc. can put a real strain on the liquor budget.
  • Do you really need that Champagne toast?
  • Common sense tip – the more guests the more cash you’re going to put out.
  • Holding your reception in a hotel has a lot of good points. They usually decorate, have professional services, i.e. DJ, can cater well to large groups, and most likely will include the honeymoon suite, with discounted rooms for out-of-town guests.
  • If you’re having a wedding with 75 guests or under, consider having your reception at your favourite restaurant. You will already know the staff and how the food is.
  • Order child meals for kids under 11.
  • Order a teen meal (same as adults but no liquor) for ages 12 to 17.
  • Your reception is the biggest expense. It’s also where you can save the most money if you shop around and plan well!

Photographers charge too much!

Photographers equipment and development costs alone are huge. Then there are batteries, film, an assistant and the hours of work on and after the wedding. You can save money on enlargements and albums but don’t penny pinch when it comes to the photographer. After your wedding day, the only things you have left are your pictures and your video. These are the only 2 services that last a lifetime and can be passed down to the next generation.

  • Biggest tip – hire a photographer that gives you your negatives, that way you can make as many copies of pictures from your wedding day as you want without having to order them from your photographer.
  • If you choose a photographer that does not give you your negatives, always find out how long they keep your negatives on file and if you can obtain them when they are ready to discard them. Most photographers in general don’t keep negatives past a couple of years. If your photographer still won’t give you the negatives after that point without charging you money, I would question the ethics of the vendor.
  • $1000.00 for a photographer is a great price but if they charge $40.00 for an 8 X 10, where’s the savings. Don’t just look at the photo packages or wedding day shoot costs, ask how much their enlargements are.
  • If a package includes a couple’s album and 2 parent albums, ask how much that same package would cost without any albums. Sometimes it’s worth the savings to buy your own albums elsewhere and sometimes it’s better to take the albums offered by your photographer.
  • Unless you’re doing a formal shoot at the bride or groom’s house, you don’t need a photographer there. Your wedding party and family will have their cameras out anyway.
  • A great idea and one that many are using now is, putting a disposable camera on every table at the reception. Then you’ll only need to book your photographer for the church, photo location and maybe to take a few detailed shots at the reception venue.
  • You don’t need your photographer to stay until 1am. Once the bouquet and garter tosses have taken place, there are no more major events to shoot. Your 1st & last dances look the same on film.

I think I’ll just forget about a Video

Some couples think that having a video is a waste of money. How many times will we actually watch it? As necessary as still pictures are they can not capture the mood, movement and sounds of your wedding day like a movie can. One of the biggest misconceptions is that you have a great memory and you’ll remember everything about your day. You won’t, you can’t, there are too many things going on and you’re on cloud 9. Keep this in mind.

  • Go for packages with one camera coverage
  • Pick a package with limited editing or none at all.
  • If you can’t afford a professional video, ask a friend or 2 that own their own video cameras to shoot the day for you. Putting an unfamiliar camera in someone else’s hands is useless. Professionals know what to shoot and how to shoot it. So, give your friend a list of events that you want footage of and how you want each shot, for the entire day. Example:
    • Pre-Ceremony: Close-up footage for 10-seconds of the different decorations.(altar arrangements, pew bows, wreath outside and unity candle)
    • The guys waiting. Ask the groom what he’s thinking about.
    • The guests arriving (especially immediate family)

Do I Have To Pay a Fortune for Transportation?

  • Shop around, there are so many limousine companies out there. Prices do vary.
  • There is no rule anywhere that says, “You have to have a stretch limousine.” The smaller the car the cheaper.
  • Other than the car and uniformed chauffeur, you really don’t need any other extras.
  • You can also save money by renting your vehicles from Budget, Hertz, etc. They all have new model luxury cars, sports cars and SUVs.
  • You really don’t need the limousine to take you home after the reception. Late-night pick-ups cost $100.00+
  • Before the ceremony, have the limo pick up the bride and her bridesmaids. The groom, groomsmen and parents can take their own vehicles to the church. After the ceremony, the bride and groom can take the limo and the bridesmaids can hop in the groomsmen’s cars.
  • You may already know someone that owns a Cadillac or Lincoln, a fancy sports car or for fun a Beetle or an antique car. Give this person a call.
  • Some couples need more then one limo. If this is the case for you, compare the cost of 2 to 3 limos vs. the cost of 1 limo bus or Chartered Bus.

Choosing Your Music Service

  • Common sense, the least amount of people providing a service, the cheaper.
    • Ceremony – An organist is cheaper than a string duo, which is cheaper than a trio
    • Reception – A DJ is cheaper than a band
  • The least amount of extras the cheaper. Lighting, smoke & bubble machines, other props, costumes, give-aways, fireworks, the list is endless, all cost money. It’s up to you.
  • A really expensive package doesn’t mean that your party will last longer or that your non-dancing guests will feel the need to shake their booty for the first time in their life. But a crappy DJ or band will ruin your reception.

Do I really need a Wedding Coordinator or Planner?

Let’s face it, the ONLY service you need to get married is an officiant.

  • Most wedding coordinators can save you money because they know…
    • about all the tips mentioned above plus more
    • what to say to and ask your vendors
    • They have connections in the industry.
  • You really don’t need a coordinator at your reception once the dance floor is open to your guests. That usually happens between 9-10pm.
  • You could hire a wedding consultant to help with the final stages of your wedding; creating a detailed wedding day itinerary, making up a checklist for items at the ceremony & reception locations, and confirming with your vendors. While she won’t be in attendance at your wedding, she has planned the day smoothly on paper. As long as you follow the times closely (not exactly) and do the events in the same order as the itinerary states, you’ll be fine.
  • You can appoint a friend or family member to be your honorary coordinator. Give her an itinerary, checklists (ceremony & reception items, photo and music list) and phone numbers for all your vendors. The honorary coordinator should be someone that’s organized, the more obsessive-compulsive the better and not scared to open her mouth when something goes wrong.