Writing your own wedding vows is an ideal way to express your love and devotion to your partner. However, it can seem daunting trying to capture your romantic journey in a short speech while also making promises for your future together. Vows are also often said in front of your entire family. So where to begin?
Here are some tips that can help you write your own heartfelt vows and as stress-free as possible.
Consult with your partner
While many couples wish to keep their vows a surprise, it can be a good idea to ask your partner how you both want your vows to be structured, or even just the overall tone. Do you want more traditional vows? Maybe you want to tell a story with a bit of humour throughout. Knowing what you both want will allow your ceremony to flow perfectly. You can keep the content secret while making sure you’re both on the same page!
Start writing your rough draft in advance
Do not wait until the last minute. Start writing your vows a minimum of a month before your actual wedding day. Stressful writing can cause you to accidentally omit precious memories or leave you feeling unsatisfied with your result. Even if you start by jotting down a few ideas or sentences, starting early is always best. You can also ask a trusted friend or family member for ideas, input, or even to listen while you practice reading your vows aloud.
Vow format options
Not sure what format or tone you want to go with? Here are some popular formats:
Humorous vows: these often include funny stories you love telling, jokes, anecdotes, or movie quotes. Humorous vows can feel very lighthearted yet equally romantic. People listening can get a better sense of your relationship and can laugh along with you. This format is especially good if you’re nervous and want to lighten the mood.
Romantic vows: these are more traditional in nature and are a great way to really tell your love story. You can start from the beginning of your journey together, all the way to your wedding day. Romantic vows are great for couples who want to really be heartfelt and tell each other how they feel.
Traditional vows: these are often the ones you see in movies and are usually said when a couple chooses not to customize their vows. Traditional vows can be just as meaningful and represent a couple’s religion or family. These vows often start with ‘I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward…’. You can add a little extra to personalize traditional vows while keeping that familiar feeling.
Step-by-step vow writing
Begin by stating who your partner is to you. If you often say they are your best friend, address them as such.
No matter what format you choose, you can start by saying what you love about your partner, your favourite things about them, why you fell in love, and how you feel when they aren’t around. Tell a story about them that you adore; this can be a funny story or a very romantic story, or both!
Make promises that you vow to keep; these can be traditional, like: ‘I promise to love and cherish you, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, and to be faithful to you until death do us part.’ You can choose some more humorous vows like: ‘I vow to love you unconditionally, even if you’re a Habs fan,’ or romantic vows like: ‘I vow to love the person you will become, just as I love the person you are now’.
Conclude your vows by either reiterating the most important parts of your speech or by making one final poignant vow to wrap it up.
Remember, your vows should be as unique as you are and personalized however you want. Have fun with them!
Some people think the ceremony is the boring part of a wedding day. They anticipate it will be long or dry or overly religious or full of legal-type details. They would rather fast-forward to the party.
Those people are missing out.
The legal requirements for a ceremony are short and simple – a question of intent for each partner, signing of the documents, pronouncing the couple as married (Quebec has some additional required text.) There is lots of room for creativity and meaningful connection. Your ceremony can be the highlight of your day, if you put in some effort. Personalizing the script, music, and vibe will result in a ceremony that has personality and will provide lasting memories for you and your guests.
Guests may be expecting classical music and a serene bride or groom gliding down the aisle. But it can be so many other things. We’ve seen flower men, flower grandmas, a choreographed dance up the aisle, pets carrying rings, a ring bear (in a bear costume), ring security guards, and more. One officiant we work with once introduced a wedding party as they came down the aisle as if they were taking part in a WWE wrestling match. From sweet to silly, why not get things started in a way that will set the tone for the ceremony and the party to come? Don’t be afraid to showcase your personalities.
Do not feel bound by tradition. Your wedding music does not have to be classical or instrumental. It can be anything you want, so make it meaningful to you. Make it memorable for your guests. Make it fun. It’s the best when the first few bars of a song hit and the guests look at each other and say, “this is so them!” Pick songs that mean something to you. The one that you sing to each other while dancing around in the kitchen, or one that represents a departed family member, or one that your kids love. Pick a song that bops, or one that croons. A love song or a party anthem, you get to decide. Finish your ceremony with a dance party and invite everyone to take part.
Words matter. Your wedding script can tell your story. If you are having a lot of people at your ceremony, they may not all be familiar with the way you met and how your relationship progressed. Sharing some details will help catch them up and give them an appreciation for why you are standing in front of them. Your script and vows can highlight all the things you love about your partner and your relationship. Tone can vary from formal to downright goofy. Your vows are your promises to each other for your life ahead. They should sound like you, not some one-size-fits-all script.
Include the people who are important to you. While a friend or family member can do a reading during the ceremony, there are lots of other ways to incorporate folks. If you have someone with musical ability, they can sing or play during the ceremony. Recognize your mothers (or parents) by giving each a rose at the beginning of the ceremony. Include kids by giving them a gift, making vows to them, or having them sign a document (Record of Solemnization in Ontario or temporary certificate in other provinces). Bring together a blended family with a sand ceremony where each family member gets a different colour of sand and takes a turn pouring it into a clear jar, a symbol of unity that becomes a permanent fixture in your home. If you want to get everyone involved, pass your rings around from guest to guest in a ring warming. Or give everyone a smooth stone and ask them to hold it during the ceremony and infuse it with their best wishes, then collect them afterward in a jar or box and keep them on display.
The attitude of the couple can have a big impact on the vibe of the ceremony as well. If you are just wishing it would be over, your guests will also probably feel that way. If you embrace the ceremony as a celebration and a key component of your day, then that positive energy will filter through to your guests. It’s a one-time event, so make it something you will enjoy!
The legal bits: When are you planning on getting your marriage licence? (In QC it’s the officiant who acts as the licensing agent). Your officiant will appreciate it if you can send them a clear photo or scan of the licence in advance so they can prep some of their paperwork.
The ceremony language/script: The legal requirements for a wedding ceremony are simple and minimal (question of intent for each partner, sign the paperwork, pronounce you as married, and in Quebec the Civil Code must be read). The rest is up to you. Bring your officiant your favourite poems or readings to include in the script. (They may have suggestions as well if you don’t know where to start.) Talk about any anecdotes or shared experiences or hobbies that you’d like to be mentioned in the ceremony. Discuss ways to honour loved ones who have passed. Talk about cultural traditions you’d like to include.
Tone: Lighthearted and relaxed? Formal and distinguished? Let your officiant know what tone you are hoping to strike, and they will do their best to accommodate.
Colour and theme: Officiants are often happy to dress to complement a couple’s chosen colours or theme. Is it a Western and denim theme? Black tie with a touch of purple? Hawaiian shirts? Feel free to talk about how the officiant should dress.
Mechanics and logistics of the day: Tell your officiant who is responsible for music and/or microphones. How many are in the wedding party? Who will have the rings? Who are the witnesses?
Rehearsal (if you are planning one): Do you need your officiant there? Do you need them to run the rehearsal? What dates/times are you considering?
Additional questions: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Your officiant probably has a great deal of experience and may be able to suggest ways to handle potentially difficult situations. For example, divorced parents who don’t get along, blended families, multifaith unions, an uncle with a drinking problem who may make a fuss, etc. You can also talk to your officiant about your feelings or fears. If they know you are anxious about speaking in front of a crowd, they can help.
Your wedding officiant will try to make your day everything you want it to be. They are more than just the person who “signs the papers,” they are a great asset to your wedding planning, your personal cheerleader, and an understanding ear.
Last year was a banner year for weddings. The pent up demand that built through two years of Covid was released in a flood of nuptials. Wedding vendors were booked up, venues were in short supply, and couples were squeezing their ceremonies into unconventional dates and locations. So what does 2023 hold?
Sustainability and live plants
Couples continue to become more eco-conscious. People are skipping the extraneous stuff – no programs, no welcome bags, no cheap plastic flip flops for the reception, and no takeaways or thank you gifts unless they are edible, plantable, or at least compostable. Fireworks are also losing their appeal as they are pollutants and can have negative effects on animals. Live plants are always a beautiful table centerpiece and you can give them out at the end of the event (think something vibrant and lush, not so much the succulents from past years). Live plants may also feature in the ceremony backdrop or aisle decor, giving the couple the opportunity to use those shrubs and flowers to spruce up their yard afterwards.
There continues to be a lot of variation, but this year there is an influx of inspiration from the 1960s, including the minidress. You will continue to see fringe, but less bohemian and more luxe. More high necklines as well, in both lace and fabric.
Whether they are pool-side for the ceremony or hitting the pool for the reception, couples will be embracing summer. It can be kept classy and modern, but the pool party prefers to live in the land of retro vibes, bold décor, and over the top umbrella drinks. The couple making a splash for the camera in their wedding garb? Maybe! (Just be careful a water logged dress or suit doesn’t drag you under.) The only sticking point for pool-side fun is the weather.
Beyond charcuterie boards
We’ve seen the idea of grazing nibbles expanded for receptions. Cocktail style receptions offer the flexibility for everyone to get face to face with the wedding couple and guests aren’t stuck chatting with only the folks at their dinner table. While charcuterie boards are still popular, we’re now seeing breakfast boards, dessert boards, butter boards (a trend which spiked on social media last fall), pizza boards, poutine boards, and themed boards for holidays. For folks who aren’t yet ready to go back to buffet-style dining for fear of germ spreading, individually portioned charcuterie boxes or cups may be just the thing.
Couples doing whatever the flip they want
Since Covid, there has been an ‘anything goes’ approach to weddings. Couples are emboldened to make their day all about what they want, not what people expect. Weekday weddings, morning weddings, backyard weddings, tiny weddings, these are all choices that are here to stay. Couples are continuing to select traditions that are meaningful to them and reject the rest. And we’re here for it!
These days, most anything goes when choosing a date for your wedding. Traditional Saturday event? Thursday evening? Halloween? Sunrise ceremony on a Monday? Whatever you want, you can make it happen. When picking a date, you may want to consider the following:
Take a look at your guest list. Will some be travelling from out of town or even out of the country? Try to be sensitive to people coming from farther away. They may have to take extra days off work and/or spend hours driving/flying. If everyone is local, a Thursday evening may work just fine.
One thing to keep in mind is that your date will affect your wedding costs. Check with vendors to see. Long weekends and holidays may have premiums. Saturday afternoons in the summer and fall are prime wedding days so you can expect to pay full price for everything. If you have the flexibility to choose another day of the week or a morning ceremony, you may pay less as vendors try to fill their schedules on less busy dates. It’s not just prices to think about. Availability can be an issue. A top venue or photographer may be booked years in advance for prime dates, but if you have flexibility with your wedding date you might just be able to snag your dream location.
Potential for conflict
Choosing a date on Thanksgiving weekend or New Year’s Eve could make sense as people will normally be gathering anyway. But keep in mind that friends may have their own family traditions and celebrations they are not willing to give up to attend your wedding. Big events in your wedding city/town should be considered as well, whether a festival, a convention, or something else. These big events can affect venue and hotel availability. Also, remember that July to Thanksgiving are prime wedding weekends. If you are choosing a date in that window, make sure you check with your friend group to ensure nobody else is planning their wedding for your date. Get your invitations (or at least a “Save the Date” card or email) out early so everyone knows when your big day is!
Many couples like to select a date that has additional special meaning, like the anniversary of their first date or another milestone in their relationship. Some also look at wedding dates of parents or grandparents as a nod to family history. On the flip side, try to make sure your wedding doesn’t coincide with a sad or painful memory anniversary for any of the major players – like the death of a parent or sibling. You might also consider world events. It took quite a few years before couples wanted to get married on 9/11 again.
By the numbers
Aligning or repeating numbers is appealing to some folks. Maybe it looks cool on an invitation. 2/22/2022 was a big one, for example. Some people like 4/20 and its association with cannabis culture. Many people believe in lucky or unlucky numbers. The Chinese community thinks 4 is unlucky, while 3, 6, and 8 are lucky. 9 is unlucky in Japan. Some people think Friday the 13 is unlucky. Several cultures think of 7 as lucky. And some people are into numerology and have their own personal lucky numbers.
If you have enough time to plan your wedding, go ahead and pick whatever date you want. You can try to be respectful of others, but you’ll probably never be able to please everyone. As long as the people who are important to you will be there, go for it!
Getting married can be stressful and getting married in the time of Covid-19 has amped that stress level way up. We’ve put together some tips to help keep you focused and avoid spiraling off into the stress abyss.
Decide what is important to you
What do you want to remember about your wedding day? What do you want your guests to remember? Set some end goals and then work backwards. When questions come up and you feel pressured to make decisions, go back to those goals and use them to give yourself permission to let some things go. If you’ve decided dancing to boppin’ tunes with your friends and a killer dessert are at the top of your priority list, you can get the cheaper napkins or pass on buying fancy shoes/wedding favours/fresh flower centrepieces and not give it a second thought.
Covid Caveat:In a landscape of changing regulations for social interactions, decide what is a deal breaker. Do you require dancing? Drinking? Can you be happy with 20 guests or will you hold out for 200? Talking about it in advance can make it easier if the time comes and you have to decide to move forward or postpone. Take it a step further and make a tiny wedding back-up plan. You can’t control the Covid situation. You can be prepared to manage your wedding to fit regulations.
Keeping things smaller to start with
A smaller wedding can end up being easier to plan and less expensive as well, so it might be less stressful to start with. We have certainly seen couples with small Covid weddings say it was a blessing in disguise – they had a ready-made excuse for not inviting far flung cousins and work acquaintances and it kept them focused on what was really important to them. Keeping your wedding party tiny can also prevent drama and keep the day-of logistics simpler.
Manage family expectations
Pleasing family can be a huge stressor. As much as possible, try to be firm with your wishes and let family know from the very beginning of planning what they can expect. If parents are paying, negotiate the areas where they will have a say. Be upfront and honest about what is important to you – and what stresses you out.
Build in time to your wedding day schedule to relax
Space out appointment times, taking into consideration that hair or make-up can take longer than anticipated. Plan for lunch. Sitting down and eating something will give you time to breathe and enjoy the company of your wedding entourage. Not to mention that food will help keep you fueled for the big event to come.
Some couples like to remove themselves from the hubbub right after the ceremony and find a quiet place where they can spend a few moments in just each other’s company. See what options there are at your venue. Some venues have a suite for your use where you can sneak away and chill out for 15 mins in the middle of your reception with nobody trying to take your picture.
Take a break
Make sure planning doesn’t take over your life. You need time to take care of yourself and time to spend with your partner not talking about your wedding. Schedule date nights where wedding talk is off limits. Lunch with friends and tell them ahead of time that you don’t want to talk about the wedding. Schedule a relaxation massage in the week before your wedding.
Get help and delegate
You are only one person. Even if your future spouse is on-board to plan and organize by your side, you are still only two people. Face the fact that maybe you can’t do it all and get help. You can hire a planner (even a consultation for couple of hours with a professional might help you get a better handle on your to-do list and give you a solid plan for moving forward) or enlist family and friends to help. When delegating to someone, be specific in your requests and budget, and then try to let go of the need to control that task.
Stay organized and don’t leave things until the last minute
Whether it’s with lists or charts, on paper or an app, checking things off is a great way to make sure that nothing gets missed. Knowing you are organized can also help keep stress at bay. If the idea of a list makes you break out into hives, maybe you have an organizationally inclined friend who would be happy to act as your coordinator, or hire a pro.
Roll with whatever happens on the day of
Keep your focus on the positives. There is a good chance that something won’t go exactly right on your wedding day. You can’t control all the external factors (weather, vendors messing up, accidents), but you can control how you respond. Remember that the guests don’t know how things are supposed to go. If there was no wedding cake they would assume it was by design rather than you forgot to pick it up. If something goes amiss, look at your partner and remember the purpose of the day. Everything else is secondary, so you might as well try to laugh at any hiccups along the way.
More and more, we’re spending time thinking about the effects of our life choices on the environment. Why should your wedding be any different? As a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime event, weddings can get crazy and extravagant and wasteful. Even if you aren’t willing to commit to everything on this list, we hope you will at least think about the impact of your wedding and try to take some steps to make it greener.
Keep it small: A trimmed down guest list means less of everything – less travelling, less waste, less energy used.
Travel: Travel has the biggest impact on your carbon footprint. It makes sense to host the wedding in the location where the fewest number of people have to travel long distances. Skip the destination wedding. Keep your ceremony and reception close together to limit travel or consider supplying group travel (party bus anyone?). Also think about your honeymoon. A local getaway, cycling adventure, train travel or sailing are all greener options.
Vendors that match your sensibilities: There are some who specialize in green weddings. At the very least ask questions of your vendors and let them know low-waste and sustainability are important to you. That’s how we change the status quo, making our preferences known and deciding with our dollars!
Wedding favours: Consider skipping them altogether or having something compostable like fancy cookies, flower seeds, tree seedlings, locally made maple syrup in a glass container, etc. Buy from a local business or DIY. Or in lieu of favours, let guests know that you are making a donation to an eco charity.
Décor: Rent or buy second-hand and resell when you are finished. Look for natural materials instead of plastic. Avoid balloons, especially balloon releases where you are sending pieces of plastic into the air with no knowledge of where they will come down or who/what may find them.
Rings: Buy ethically sourced gemstones, and if possible, consider a creation from a local jeweler. Some jewelers will reuse gold or stones you already have to make something new. A vintage family ring can be a lovely idea as well and can be resized if needed.
Flowers: Focus on blooms that are locally grown and in-season to cut down on shipping. Or go for a boho wildflower bouquet you gather yourself.
Clothing: For the happy couple, think about rentals, second-hand/consignment, or consider sustainable fabrics from local/national designers. Let wedding party members wear something they already own or at least let them select the outfit if you want them to purchase something new so they will be more likely to keep it and wear it for years to come. Princess Beatrice recently got married in a gown that was pre-owned by Queen Elizabeth II. Even the royals are embracing second-hand!
Dinner: Ask your caterer if they use local products and what they do with food waste. Consider local wines and beer. A plated meal produces less waste than a buffet.
Tablescape: Potted plants or succulents can make for stunning tables, and guests can take them home at the end of the night. Think about locally available flowers and greenery and other natural materials like woodcuts, pinecones, apples, etc.
So, get your thinking cap on and spend this winter imagining all the green and sustainable options you have for your wedding day.
Small, intimate weddings are a developing trend forced upon us by the Covid-19 pandemic as it has become impossible to stage large events where all your friends and family can mingle together and celebrate. However, many couples have found the silver lining to these small events, with some even saying it was a relief to be able to step away from planning a big wedding.
Planning a large event is stressful and while a smaller event also requires planning, it gives you the opportunity to be more flexible and perhaps enjoy the journey even more.
Loving all your guests
One of the best things about a small wedding is the freedom to invite only those you actually wish to attend. No need to debate inviting the layers of cousins or friends of your parents. A small wedding lets you focus on the ones you know and love. Knowing you will be surrounded by only your closest friends and family relieves the pressure of doing things conventionally or “properly” or living up to certain expectations. You can be yourselves as your guests already know your quirks, likes, sense of humour and personalities.
A smaller guest list equals a smaller budget. Have a lovely wedding and still have cash in the bank for future travel or a down payment on a home or a car? What a great idea!
Focusing on a few luxury details
If you love flowers, make them a focus. If you are a foodie, make that your priority. Or live music. If you couldn’t care less about the wedding cake, opt for another dessert and your guests will never miss it. Forgo anything that isn’t meaningful to you. Photo booths, save the date cards, formal invitations, a DJ, or first dances can all be skipped. Bottom line: focus on the elements that are important to you as a couple and that will help create lasting memories.
Treating your guests well
A smaller guest list may give you the funds to step up the catering — spring for the extra course or the more expensive entrees. You can employ a private chef to prepare a custom menu of all your favourites. Shine a light on creative mixology with some signature cocktails. Leave a handwritten note at each place setting to let the guests know what they mean to you. Consider a car service to get everyone home so no one has to be the designated driver.
Flexibility of venue
With a smaller group you can get creative with the venue. Talk to your favourite restaurant, small gallery or museum, or consider locations that your own families may have access to like cottages or ski chalets. Think about your favourite outdoor spots. Transform your backyard. A small group has the mobility to shift to a plan B at the last moment if there is rain. You have the chance to select a ceremony location that means something to you.
Take the opportunity to DIY and give things a personal touch. Baking heart-shaped cookies or making strawberry jam as a takeaway for 150 guests seems overwhelming, but you could probably do it for 15 people. Your table(s) will only need a few centrepieces rather than dozens, so it’s a great way to give your table a personal stamp without a huge time commitment. Or design your own focal point for the ceremony (an archway or backdrop).
A small wedding gives you the ability to take advantage of pop-up wedding opportunities. During the Covid-19 pandemic many wedding venues and planners have pivoted to provide luxury wedding packages for small groups at a reasonable price. If you had dreams of a swanky venue or top-notch planner that were just out of reach financially, a package deal like this may be just the thing.
Focus on the ceremony
A smaller guest list doesn’t necessarily mean a quick, get ‘er done ceremony. Every aspect of your day should get the royal treatment. You might want to include a sand ceremony, candle lighting, handfasting, or wine or rose ceremony. You can have some important guests participate by reading a poem or other special reading. Don’t forget to live stream for guests who can’t make it.
Small weddings are now a trend and we’d love to see them stick around. By embracing your own wee wedding, you’ll soon realize there’s a lot to love about going small. And if you must, throw a big bash in a year or two when large parties are once again allowed. It will be both less expensive and less stressful!
Wedding costs have a way of ballooning out of control. Few couples plan a wedding without a budget, but creating a budget isn’t simply knowing you have a set amount to spend then maxing it out. Here are some helpful suggestions for managing your budget and getting the most for your money.
Decide what is important to you Sure, you’d like to have it all…but if you can’t, you need to decide what areas are most important to you. Is it the wedding gown? An abundance of flowers? A top-notch photographer? On the other side of the equation, what are you willing to let go of?
Pass on some things altogether If a fancy wedding cake isn’t high on your list of priorities, just don’t do it. Serve cookies instead. You can also pass on bouquets, a photo booth for the reception, and a limo or vintage car rental. Keep in mind that a “wedding dress” doesn’t have to come from a bridal boutique.
Research Once you’ve decided how much you have to spend, start researching. Get a real sense for how much things cost. You may want to play high end, low end. What’s the cost of your dream venue? What is a low-cost alternative? With some real numbers in front of you, it is easier to make decisions. It also saves you from getting mid-way through your planning and realizing that you haven’t earmarked nearly enough for a particular category.
Trim your guest list You may think you want every single person you know at your wedding, but a more intimate wedding can be really lovely. Ask yourself, “Will this person be in my life in five years?” And “When was the last time I saw them or had a real conversation with them?”
It’s totally fine to keep the ceremony and dinner to a more manageable number and then open the doors for the reception.
Be flexible If you can be flexible with your date, you can save on the venue, catering and other vendors as well. Stay away from Saturdays. Considering a venue that is not right downtown can save you cash too. There are many great venues within a reasonable drive and wedding vendors located in the suburbs or rural areas may be willing to beat the price you’ll pay right in the city.
Host at home Booking a wedding venue can cost a lot. See if you have an appropriate space within your circle of friends and family. It could be the party room at your condo, or the home of a relative. If you are looking at a venue, consider an all-in-one location that can accommodate your ceremony and reception.
Use recycled décor There are a plethora of wedding groups on social media where couples are reselling their décor and other wedding items. If you’re flexible in your design and creative in your thinking, you can set yourself up with centrepieces, seating charts, signs, and other decorations for much less than you would spend buying new.
Flowers Recently we hosted a wedding where the bride forgot her bouquet. We ran outside and cut a bunch of flowers from our yard. With a little ribbon, she had the perfect, free bouquet – no one realized.
Research can also pay off when it comes to flowers. See what is in season and locally grown for the date of your wedding. Talk budget with your florist and let them know that you are open to their recommendations to get the most bloom for your buck.
Go with non-floral centrepieces/décor and incorporate candles/twigs/greenery instead. Keep the blossoms in the bouquets. Forgo boutonnieres all together.
We’ve seen some great faux bouquets too, which gives you the option to re-use someone else’s flowers or create your own bouquet out of paper or fabric flowers, vintage brooches, buttons, etc.
DIY With some advance planning and elbow grease, you can do a lot of things yourself from invitations to wedding favours and decorations. Just be cautious about tackling more than you can reasonably handle.
Less expensive alternatives Try contacting the local university for music students to play during your ceremony or dinner. Vendors just starting out will often offer a lower price as they attempt to build their reputation and portfolio. If the venue has a built-in sound system, you can pass on the DJ and prepare your own dance-a-thon playlist. Use your judgement though……if photos are at the top of your priority list, it makes sense to book a professional photographer with solid reviews whose work you can view beforehand.
Swap a sit-down dinner for a cocktail reception with finger food You’ll pay less and have the added bonus of getting more face time with your guests. Also shrink the bar menu down to a couple of options to save further.
Leave ‘wedding’ out of your requests When contacting a caterer or other service provider, try not to mention the word ‘wedding’ as often there is a markup for weddings. For example, when ordering a cake, say you need a cake for 100 people, not a wedding cake.
Build in a buffer Building a little extra into your budget for unexpected costs will save you stress if an additional expenditure comes up.
Plan and plan some more Last-minute decisions don’t allow for space or time to think. A longer lead time gives you a chance to find sales and work on discounts.
When you get married it can feel like there are a million things to do…and it can feel like a million people want to help. There will be certain people that will expect to be included in the preparations – bridesmaids/men, best men/women, and perhaps parents or siblings. There may be other special people that won’t be central figures, but you’d still like to give them a little job or carve out some time for them on the big day. What follows is a list of tasks and activities that you can delegate or offer to make everyone feel involved. Just remember to keep tabs on who is doing what!
In the months, weeks, days before:
Creating ceremony programs (great for techie youth or grownups).
Crafting table centrepieces.
Creating or packaging wedding favours.
Wedding dress shopping. A grandmother or godmother would be thrilled to be invited along.
Making “goodie bags” for children attending the reception (going to the dollar store and selecting crafts/toys/trinkets, creating a special colouring page, etc).
Creating a photo collage to display at the reception.
Creating a slideshow or video with photos/video clips of the couple through the years to play at the reception. Great for a tech savvy teen.
Addressing invitations (or if you know someone paper crafty , making invitations from scratch).
Choreographing a dance for the reception. A great way for either partner (or both) to spend time with some special people. Kids will love this.
Airport pick-ups for out-of-town guest arrivals.
Before and during the ceremony
Picking up flowers/bouquets from florist
Placing some decorations at the ceremony location and/or reception venue.
Help the bride get dressed/hair done/make-up. Grandma might love to be part of the action
Place reserved signs for seats at the ceremony location
Ushering – it may have fallen a little out of fashion, but showing people to a seat is often appreciated by guests who don’t know where to sit at the ceremony.
Handing out programs at the ceremony or bubbles for afterwards.
Carry the rings (caution that small children may be unpredictable in this regard)
Being part of the wedding procession (ring security, flower girl, maid/men of honour and best men/maids)
Delivering a reading or poem during the ceremony.
Singing or playing an instrument during the signing portion of the ceremony.
Making announcements before the ceremony (couple have asked that guests not take photos during the ceremony. Join us for a group picture after the ceremony. Remember to turn off your phone.)
MC at reception.
Making a speech/toast.
Unofficial reception photographers (great for kids who will be on their phones all evening anyway) You can even make them a badge or card on a lanyard to display.
Responsible person to take care of gifts and cards.
Delivering bride and groom a safe ride to where they are spending the night.