15 Tips to Keep your Wedding on Budget

15 Tips to Keep your Wedding on Budget

Photo by Marnie Recker Photography

How to have an amazing, yet affordable day:

1. Get real
The first key is understanding how much you have to work with and then setting your expectations accordingly.

2. Rank your priorities
Decide what aspects of your wedding are most important to you. One of the best ways to keep your budget on track is to focus on what you and your partner want, not what you think you want or what others expect.

3. Trim your guest list
Small, intimate weddings ensure that you spend your special day with the people that matter most to you.

4. Recruit family and friends
Cost-free outsourcing! Gather your family and friends, play to their strengths and have fun. If they offer, using talented friends will make for a more personal celebration and build-up to the special day.

5. Location
Do some research, compare costs and venue offerings. Planning your wedding ceremony and reception at the same location will save on transport costs and dealing with two different vendors and contracts. You will also be able to use the same decor from the ceremony at the reception. By choosing an attractive venue and surroundings, all you have to do is to set the tables with linens, flowers and centre-pieces, as the location will already speak for itself.

6. Embrace the off-season
Weddings that don’t fall during peak months will certainly help to keep costs down.

7. Hire an expert
Although a wedding planner costs money, you will save in the end. Wedding planners have years of experience working within budgets, they will do the legwork of tracking down venue options and vendors and they may even find money-saving discounts as a result of established relationships with a wide range of suppliers.

8. Get crafty
Some couples throw a “pitch-in party” where you ask your family and friends to help you create invitations, decorations, centerpieces and other inexpensive touches. Have fun, get creative and let your friends know how thankful you are for their help!

9. Create your own wedding website
Save on paper, printing and postage by sharing your important wedding details online. Most online businesses only charge a small fee, if any, to use webpage templates.

10. Bargain and borrow
For half the price and twice the charm, you can find everything from wooden signs to fabric and trim to antique mason jars online or at your local flea market. Consider borrowing decor or buying second hand, rather than renting at a high cost.

11. Buy in-season
Use seasonal and local produce when possible, whether it be flowers, food or gifts.

12. Simple food
Generally, a large part of your wedding budget will go to food, so make sure it’s delicious! Go for simple, but well prepared and presented food. Just because it sounds fancy on a menu, does not mean it will be delicious. Rather choose a caterer that you that can trust and decide on a simple menu together. Reduce service costs by offering self-serve food stations, self-serve wine on the tables and a family-style dining concept.

13. Manage the bar
Bar costs can significantly add to a wedding budget, so skip the open bar. Instead, offer guests beer and wine along with a signature cocktail. Provide non-alcoholic drinks on each table, such as sparkling water or a homemade lemonade, which will keep your guests hydrated throughout the reception.

14. Homemade favours
Homemade gifts and goodies are an ideal way to thank your guests for coming. They are low cost, low fuss, yet highly satisfying!

15. Honeymoon
The fewer plans, the better. Simply slow down and enjoy your time together as a newly married couple. You don’t have to travel far or make any extravagant plans for the honeymoon to be memorable.

Now, even on a budget – you can still have that dream wedding! In the end, don’t lose sight of what you are truly celebrating. Your guests won’t remember every small detail, but they will remember how happy you two were and the fabulous time they had celebrating your marriage.

Surfing + Wedding = Tofino

Surfing + Wedding = Tofino

Tofino is well known as one of the top places to surf in Canada. It’s also one of the best places to learn to surf. Chesterman Beach and Cox Bay are two of the most popular beaches to learn and there are a ton of surf schools and camps that can show you how to catch your first wave.

Tofino is also well known for being an amazing destination for a wedding, so it’s no wonder that many couples bring surfing into their wedding plans. Sometimes this means surfboards as a photo session prop, or even getting on a surfboard during a trash the dress session. Quite often the groom and his men will hit the waves the morning of the wedding. And it’s also becoming really popular to book a group surf lesson the day before the wedding.

This is exactly what Dani and Chris did. They booked a surf lesson for 18 of their guests with Pacific Surf School and had an absolutely unforgettable experience. Not only did they catch waves, but their wedding guests were able to get to know each other and have fun before the big day. The 4 instructors were super motivating and hilariously fun.

“Pacific Surf School was perfect for our pre-wedding activity. They made the planning process easy and gave us excellent information for us to give to our guests prior to our lessons. The girls at the front desk were amazing and very accommodating to our last minute, morning of add-ins. The four instructors we had were good natured and enthusiastic, making it that much more fun! They were amazing coaches and have this amazing talent of making everyone feel as if they were born to surf. They were attentive and patient. They made sure no one left without riding at least one wave, including our 12 year old niece and 50 year old aunt. It was the perfect start to our Tofino wedding!” ~Dani & Chris

Here are some photos from wedding and portrait photographer Marnie Recker. Check out her Facebook page for a ton more photos!

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Tofino Wedding Day Survival Kit

Tofino Wedding Day Survival Kit

Photo by Marnie Recker Photography

Get hitched without a hitch on the West Coast!

It’s easy to put together a Wedding Day Survival Kit that will keep you looking and feeling your best on the BIG DAY! You will no doubt be thankful that you did, as you can be sure there will be unexpected moments and mishaps along the way. Shoes will rub blisters, buttons will pop off, zippers will snag and hair will go askew, not to mention the unpredictable weather out here on the wild West Coast!

What to include in your “Anything That Can Go Wrong, Will” Kit:

  • Hair Pins, Hairspray, Comb – for when coastal winds pick up and to control flyaways
  • Compact Mirror – for quick touch-ups and to keep an eye on things
  • Band-Aids – those strappy shoes are not meant to be comfortable
  • Needle and Thread – buttons will pop off, zippers will break
  • Scissors – something will always need a cut or trim
  • Safety Pins – tighten straps, keep bustles in place, perk up a limp boutonniere
  • Super Glue – reattach ribbons, quickly mend a veil tear, repair a broken heel
  • Fashion Tape – hold up a fallen hem, keep clothing in place
  • Tissues – for those inevitable tears
  • Nail File – prevent snags in case of a jagged nail
  • Aspirin, Antacid, Stomach Relief Medicine – banish any pre-wedding aches and nerves
  • Sunscreen – you don’t want to look like a lobster if the sun is shining all day
  • Mints – breath freshener
  • Water – stay hydrated
  • Eye Drops – quell redness
  • Lip Gloss – for all those kisses
  • Deodorant – smell and feel fresh
  • Small Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Dental Floss – keep those pearly whites sparkling
  • Clear Nail Polish – stop a run before it gets out of control
  • Stain Remover – for unexpected spills
  • Gumboots – a Tofino essential for beach weddings and splashing in the waves
  • Flip Flops – great for the beach and later in the evening when your feet need a break
  • Umbrellas – just in case those rain drops start falling

Now of course there are numerous other items you could add to the list, but this is a good starter kit to help get you through your special day with ease and possibly a little less scrambling when things start to go awry. Ideally, the best way to handle any mishap  that may present itself, is with a smile and a sense of humor, as in the end that is what matters the most. Remember to breathe, have fun and enjoy every minute of your special day!