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Unfake brides. Unfake weddings. Go on, get inspired. You know you want to.

Are you a bride wanting to be featured? If so, go here and let me know! If you are a photographer, please hit me up via Two Bright Lights or send me an email.

 

Tuesday
Jan032012

{Unfake Wedding Feature} Liliana + Michelle: A Civil Union on the Chicago River

Okay, I’m SO excited about this Unfake Wedding! My first same-sex wedding feature! After all the Unfake Weddings, I finally have one! I am a full-on supporter of the gay marriage fight, so I’m uncommonly proud to present the wedding of Liliana and Michelle. In fact, when I opened the photographer’s email, I jumped up from the computer, did the family victory dance (think Elaine from Seinfeld) and with fists in the air, shouted at The Candyman, “I HAVE MY FIRST SAME SEX UNFAKE WEDDING!” I think he is just as proud, but wasn’t nearly as excited as he should have been. Pfft. Boys.

Please note this is a pic heavy post. I loved the photos so much, I didn’t do a very good job of editing…not that I ever do! Smile

So with much pride, I’d like to present…

The Unfake Wedding of Liliana & Michelle!

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The most important question: wedding night…did you or didn’t you?

LOL….

T30SB Commentary: Sigh. So it’s not just a heterosexual thing…

Please take the time to tell me all the vendors you used.

Photographer  Maggie Rife

DJ/Band  Provided by the Venue.

Reception Venue  Chicago Cruises

Flowers  Angel Gardens Florist

Dress  Casablanca Couture, B053 from Eva’s Bridals in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Hair/Make-Up Adriana & Lucy Carrasco from Carissima Salons

Tuxedos/Suits  Michelle’s suit was custom made by a private tailor who we would NOT recommend.

Catering   Harry Caray’s Catering in Chicago.

Cake   Provided by Caterer.

Hair Piece   Custom made on Etsy by Hanami Gallery.

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Who was your favorite vendor and why?

Our favorite vendors were Maggie Rife (photog) and Adriana Carrasco (makeup). These lovely ladies were at times more emotional than we were during the wedding planning. They were truly happy to see us getting married and were so honored to have been asked to be part of our day.

Was there a “method to your madness” in choosing your vendors?

Somewhat. The vendor we were most concerned with was our photographer. We wanted someone who was comfortable shooting a same-sex wedding and was not just in it for the money. We searched high and low until we found Maggie through word of mouth from other photographers who we had approached but were booked for our date (9/10/11).

Our other vendors (food, DJ) were recommended by the venue.

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How long did you take to plan your wedding?

We got engaged on 10/6/10 and wedding planning beginning the day after! So about a year.

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How many guests did you invite versus how many came?

We invited 60 and 50 were able to join us.

What was your budget ?

$20,000 for everything. Food, officiant, venue, DJ, liquor, photos, flowers, wedding rings, my dress, alterations, Michelle’s suit, invitations and hotel.

Did you include rings and/or the honeymoon in your budget?

Just rings. We are taking a honeymoon in the summer of 2012 to Europe and we are currently saving for that!

Were you over or under budget? By how much (you can give a percentage)? We were slightly over. $21,904.72

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T30SB Commentary: I simply adore these shots of the brides helping each other get ready. It’s not often you see this sort of pre-wedding intimacy!

How large was your bridal party?

Small. I had a maid of honor and so did Michelle.

Did you have favors for your guests? If so, what were they? How much did you spend?

We had a native American wedding vase ceremony. As part of the ceremony, the wedding vase contains a special potion that is custom blended and we both drink out of it. We used a special tea that we had blended for our personalities. We gave out samples of the tea to our guests in little packets as favors. Probably spent about $50 total.

Did you include any special family traditions?

None.

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What was your biggest day-of crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

The one thing that Michelle had stressed during our wedding planning was how important the wedding vase ceremony was to her as she is very spiritual. We had premade the tea that goes in the vase the morning of the wedding and we were supposed to bring it with us to the venue in a water bottle. We forgot it! So luckily, we had tons of tea that we were using as favors. At the venue, the catering manager quickly brewed a batch of tea from one of the favors. That was about the biggest drama of the day.

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What was your biggest wedding planning crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

The biggest planning crisis was the guest list. Most of my wife’s friends are from Michigan where she grew up and all of my friends are in Chicago. Only a few of her friends were able to come to Chicago for the wedding. The list was skewed towards most of my friends which she was not happy about. But there was nothing she could really do about it except realize that maybe the friends she thought were friends weren’t really her friends since everyone had ample notice and Michigan is only about 3 hours away. In the end, we all had a great time because through the course of our courtship my friends had also become hers.

Who was the biggest pain in the ass on your wedding day?

Dealing with everyone trying to get ready in our hotel suite and worrying about not being ready on time as a result.

What was the biggest waste of money that you loved?

My dress and Michelle’s suit.

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T30SB Commentary: In the above picture, look in the top left hand corner, on the bridge. There’s another bride cheering them on! How cool is that? In fact, I saw it and started blubbering on the spot. I. Am. A. Sap.

What was the biggest waste of money that you wish you’d passed on?

In hindsight, Michelle wishes she had gotten her suit elsewhere than where we did. It’s rather difficult to find a white pants suit for a woman who is petite.

What did you love that was also the cheapest?

I loved my hairpiece and my jewelry. The hairpiece was custom made and under $50 and I found my jewelry on eBay for under $25.

What was the most unexpected thing that happened (not necessarily a bad thing, just a surprise)?

We got married outside while the boat was docked on the Chicago River. The boat was right below a main Chicago street bridge. During the ceremony, we had a whole audience of random strangers and passerby’s. After the officiant pronounced us joined in civil union and we kissed, not only did our guests cheer, but so did everyone else on the bridge above watching our ceremony! I was worried that some idiot would come by and yell hateful stuff but it was the complete opposite.

What was the funniest thing that happened?

I am in a co-ed Latino fraternity (Alpha Psi Lambda) and one of my fraternity brothers decided to stage an impromptu flippy cup tournament on the deck of the boat. It was awesome since most of us have been out of college for almost ten years now!

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What was the most ooey-gooey, tear-jerking moment?

We each wrote our own vows and Michelle got especially emotional while I was reading my vows to her.

Did you DIY? What parts?

We made our own invitations. Each invite, including postage cost us $3.01.

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Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We will be going to Europe for 2 weeks in 2012. Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris and London.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

I would have liked to have spent more time with our guests. The whole night just flew by and I felt like I didn’t get to talk enough to everyone.

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Congratulations to Liliana & Michelle!

Tuesday
Dec202011

{Unfake Wedding Feature} A Private Virginian Home, Dianne + Kent

When you’ve got a venue staring you right in the face, say like, you’re future mother-in-law’s gorgeous home? Take it. I love the idea of opening up a home to friends and family to celebrate a marriage. In fact, what better way? People used to do it all the time. I think brides might get themselves worked into believing that there must be a special venue in order to properly celebrate. Well, I say what’s more special than a family home?

Welcome to the Unfake Wedding of Dianne & Kent!

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The most important question: wedding night…did you or didn’t you?

T30SB Commentary: Oh, for goodness sake. Really? How many in a row do we have to have before folks understand, it’s just in good fun? Whether you have sex on your wedding night or not is no indication of your love, commitment or your sex life for that matter. The point of the question is so that everyone understands this fact.

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Please take the time to tell me all the vendors you used.

Photographer  Robert Holley

DJ/Band DJ Elon

Reception Venue  My mother-in-law’s home.

Flowers  Flower Gallery of Manassas

Dress  Crystal Bridal Gallery (www.crystalbridalgallery.com) The dress Designer was Allure.

Hair/Make- Hair   Sharon King (of JC Penny’s Salon at Fairoaks Mall)/Makeup – one of my best
friends Jenny Lira did my makeup along with my mom’s and niece.

Tuxedos   Kent had his own tux
Catering    Maryland Country Caterers

Cake   Wanda’s Cakes

Ring Box   I used  Braggingbags on Etsy and had a wooden ring box (instead of the ring pillow)
engraved on the front “With this ring I thee wed.” She also made me a chalk board in
which we wrote “Thank You” and used for our pictures to make our own Thank You cards.

Allison Chamblee of Design Perks. She designed personalized labels for our
wedding favors/gifts as well as for our bottles of wine that we served at the wedding. A very
nice touch to the day!

Reverend Dan Thompson  We do not have our own church here, so I had to ask
around and search online for an officiant to marry us. I found Pastor Dan indirectly and he was just wonderful. I cannot say enough great things about him. His ceremony was perfect. He is
extremely kind and giving. He made us feel as if we’d known each other for a long time.

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Who was your favorite vendor and why?

We honestly loved them all. Everyone took such great care of us from start to finish!

Was there a “method to your madness” in choosing your vendors?

I was lucky in the fact that a couple of the vendors I used were based upon recommendations from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law (whose wedding was just the year before ours). I was also able to find my DJ from the recommendation of my photographer.

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How long did you take to plan your wedding?

We picked our date in February; I started planning about one or two months later, and we were married in September…so 6 to 7 months in all.

How many guests did you invite versus how many came?

We invited 85 people and had 70 in attendance.

What was your budget?

We were trying to keep it around $15,000, and we actually managed to spend $15,500…so I think we did pretty nicely!

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Did you include rings and/or the honeymoon in your budget?

No we did not include the rings or the honeymoon in our budget. Our honeymoon probably cost just about the same amount as our wedding did. It was fun to spend the money on just the two of us without any guilt or hesitation.

Were you over or under budget? By how much (you can give a percentage)?

Pretty much right on target.

How large was your bridal party?

We really didn’t want a large bridal party, so we had my niece as my junior bridesmaid and my two nephews – one as a junior groomsman and the other as the ring bearer.

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Did you have favors for your guests? If so, what were they? How much did you spend?

My mom and my aunt actually made homemade strawberry jam as favors to our guests. Allison
Chamblee created labels that coordinated with my colors and my invitations to put onto the
jars. We also had gift bags for our guests staying at the hotel which included bottles of wine, with personalized labels as well.

Did you include any special family traditions?

Nothing to speak of.

What was your biggest day-of crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

Everyone told me that there would be one issue of the day…and as much as I didn’t want to
believe what I was being told…WE HAD AN ISSUE!! I was having pictures taken, sipping on
a glass of wine and finally enjoying the moment when at about 4:40 (20 minutes prior to the
start of the wedding ceremony), I was told that the shuttle bus had not arrived at the hotel to
pick up my guests. Seriously?!?! I guess you could say that this was an issue that I DID NOT
handle all too well! My “enjoying the moment” quickly went to a “WTH moment”…not such an
elegant photo opportunity I must admit. J After several phone calls with the shuttle service
and the hotel, my guests were packed in like sardines into the small hotel buses…luckily they
only had to suffer a ten minute ride while “snuggled” up so closely to each other. We started
the ceremony about one hour late and a working shuttle bus finally arrived…only 3 hours late
I must say. On a good note, we had a terrific driver for the evening; he stayed as long as we
wanted him to; and we got a full refund for the shuttle service.

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T30SB Commentary: Holy cow, I love this giant ice tub!

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What was your biggest wedding planning crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

We didn’t really have any thankfully…our crisis just waited until the day of!

Who was the biggest pain in the ass on your wedding day (you can opt out of this if you’d like)?

Honestly everyone was on their best behavior and we had a really fun time J

What was the biggest waste of money that you loved?

Nothing…I loved it all and I don’t think anything was a waste of our money…truly.

What was the biggest waste of money that you wish you’d passed on?

Again, I can’t think of anything.

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What did you love that was also the cheapest?

I really loved the personalized labels…and they were extremely reasonable!!

What was the most unexpected thing that happened (not necessarily a bad thing, just a surprise)?

The shuttle bus fiasco for sure.

What was the funniest thing that happened?

This is actually cuter than funny, but… After the ceremony, we went with our photographer to a little park near the front of the neighborhood where we had some amazing pictures taken. On the way back to the car to return to the reception, I noticed an enormous amount of “prickly things” from the cattail grass that we walked through…these little things had just attached themselves to the lace on my dress. In a moment’s notice, I had my new husband and my photographer diligently picking out what appeared to be a hundred of these little “monsters!” I had earlier mentioned how great it would be to have a photo with us and Rob (our photographer) because we loved him so much…and hence I got my photo op!

There was one other funny moment during the ceremony. I didn’t think it was that funny, but
all of our guests certainly did. Our Pastor was having us say our vows. As Kent was reciting his vows to me, a stink bug landed on the lapel of his tuxedo. It would not go away! I tried
so hard to ignore it and concentrate on Kent, but I just couldn’t stop looking at it! So I tried
to quickly brush it off of him without it being so noticeable. Pastor Dan then made a funny
remark (which I wish I could remember) which caused everyone else to laugh out loud,
leaving me a tad bit embarrassed. But I was glad it was gone and I could focus on my soon-to-
be husband…and not a stink bug.

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T30SB Commentary: I just love this kind of photograph! Reminds me of my own family…

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What was the most ooey-gooey, tear-jerking moment?

Ironically we didn’t really have a tear- jerking moment. Crazy I know!

Did you DIY? What parts?

As mentioned earlier, my mom and aunt made the jam. I had labels done for the jam plus labels for our wine bottles. I love to bake, and I wanted more sweets than just our cake; so I made an assortment of cookies, brownies and bars that were displayed after everyone was done with dinner. We also did gift bags, which included: a bottle of wine with a wine opener, salty and sweet snacks, dried fruit, water, gum, etc. We wanted our guests to have something available when/if the munchies struck them.

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Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We had a two week vacation in which we visited Paris, Venice and Prague. One word – AMAZING. I kept a journal each day of our trip, so we will have not just the pictures but the actual words to “relive” our trip together.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

There is really not much I would change except I wish that I had had more time for pictures with just my family before the wedding. We just ran out of time so quickly!

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Congratulations to Dianne & Kent!

Monday
Dec122011

{Unfake Wedding Feature} Darienne & Joe Take Whistler by Canoe!

Darienne and Joe are outdoorsy folks.  Joe is an avid trathlete who had just finished the Boston Marathon a few weeks before is wedding (for the record, one must qualify for Boston, which means he runs really fast). Their Whistler destination wedding offered the perfect backdrop for the couple and their personal style. I mean,  Darienne arrived by canoe! Love it.

Welcome to the Unfake Wedding of Darienne & Joe!

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The most important question: wedding night…did you or didn’t you?

T30SB Commentary: Hm. Lack of responses to this question have me thinking I should a) not feature those who choose not to answer b) take the question out or c) continue to add in my own snarky comments regarding the unanswered question. Care to weigh in?

Please take the time to tell me all the vendors you used.

Photographer - Gadbois Photography, Pascale Gadbois

DJ/Band - Whistler DJs

Reception Venue - Edgewater Lodge

Ceremony Venue Planner (if you used one) - Sea to Sky Celebrations, Rachael Lythe

Flowers – Eleni Floral Design

Dress - Lisa’s Bridal/ Allure Bridal Style 2419

Hair/Make - Dolly Artistry

Tuxedos - Leading Man Tuxedo

Catering – Edgewater Lodge

Cake – Edgewater Lodge

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Who was your favorite vendor and why?

Gadbois Photography! The time they took to get to know us and to put that personalization into our photos was amazing.

Was there a “method to your madness” in choosing your vendors?

Not really, since Whistler is fairly small there weren’t too many options. However, we definitely tried to find good reviews of each vendor and meet with them personally to be sure they were right for us.

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How long did you take to plan your wedding?

We were engaged for about a year and a half, however most of the planning took place within the year. We found that many vendors started filling up spots about a year out, so we were glad to have the time we needed.

How many guests did you invite versus how many came?

We invited about 150 and about 65 ended up coming; however, the majority of people invited live in Ontario so travelling across the country just wasn’t possible for many people. We were very happy with the turn out!

What was your budget?

We tried to stay within 15-20k, most of that went to the big ticket items, the venue, food and photography.

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Did you include rings and/or the honeymoon in your budget?

Our rings were included but not the honey moon.

Were you over or under budget? By how much?

We were at the high end of our budget.

How large was your bridal party?

We had 4 Bridesmaids (including MOH), 3 Groomsmen (including BM) a flower girl and a ring bearer.

Did you have favors for your guests? If so, what were they? How much did you spend?

We kept it simple, personalized boxes of mints and bubbles for the ceremony, approx. $2

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Did you include any special family traditions?

Not particularly, although we were originally going to have a civil ceremony but instead were able to find a minister that could incorporate both of our backgrounds.

What was your biggest day-of crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

There were issues with the seating arrangement, which I had to try to settle with my hair half done. We were able to switch a few people around and it all worked out.

What was your biggest wedding planning crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

Not having a hair/make up person with just a few weeks to go. A friend did a search for me and I finally found the perfect person. She drove 2 hours and brought several helpers to make sure we were all done on time.

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Who was the biggest pain in the ass on your wedding day?

Everyone was great!

What was the biggest waste of money that you loved?

We tried very hard not spend too much on unnecessary things, but we’re glad we didn’t hold back on the photographer and the flowers.

What did you love that was also the cheapest?

We rented a canoe for my dad and I to arrive to the ceremony in, it was a complete surprise for most of the guests and made our ceremony very unique and very us!

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What was the most unexpected thing that happened (not necessarily a bad thing, just a surprise)?

When one of the groomsmen brought our dog out to where we were taking our couple photos. We got some really cute shots with her and it was totally unplanned.

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What was the funniest thing that happened?

Our friends made a trivia game for the reception, the responses were hilarious and  for every correct question our kissing got more and more x-rated!

What was the most ooey-gooey, tear-jerking moment?

The speech from my mother. She actually lost her written speech so it was all from her heart, but it started the crying all around the room.

Did you DIY? What parts?

We made the invitations, the programs and a few decorations.

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Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We did a simple trip to the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. We stayed at a few bed and breakfasts, and took a more rustic canoe trip. We’re hoping to do a slightly more exotic part two honeymoon to Peru to do the Inca Trail and Machu Pitchu.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

Other than trying to be a little more organized, everything went perfectly, so we wouldn’t change anything on the day!

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Congratulations to you both!

Thursday
Dec012011

{Unfake Wedding Feature} Mira & Jeremy in an Oregon Hayfield

Mira and Jeremy have know each other since middle school and though just friends for the majority of their lives (even attending each other's previous weddings), they some how came together. They brought with them a combined five (!) children to form an amazing family full of love. The wedding took place at Mira's family home in Corvallis, Oregon. They were on a budget; they created the center pieces and all the flowers except the bridal bouquet. They even did all the cooking! Mira’s family home backs up to a beautiful hayfield, freshly-cut for their wedding. The area also had great old trees that were used as a back drop for their first look and family photos.

I just love how cozy this wedding is!

Welcome to the Unfake Wedding of Mira & Jeremy!

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The most important question: wedding night…did you or didn’t you?

T30SB Commentary: No answer from the bride. Sheesh. Is it that weird of a question? I mean, it’s really the ONE time it is WAY fess up ! Smile

Please take the time to tell me all the vendors you used.

Photographer  Swoon Imagery

Flowers  Stargazer Premier Florist

Dress  David’s Bridal

Hair & Makeup  The Retreat Day Spa & Salon

Tuxedos  Men’s Wearhouse

Cake  Market of Choice

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Who was your favorite vendor and why?

My favorite vendor was my photographers!!! Swoon Imagery was AMAZING!! They met with us in a little coffee shop so we could get to know them and see their portfolio. It was so comfortable and relaxed. They really wanted to get to know us and capture what we wanted out of our wedding day. They gave us an opportunity to meet with them for engagement shots however, since this is our second marriage and we have five kids, they had no problem turning it into a “family” session instead. They were wonderful with our children and we got the best of both worlds. We got pictures to showcase our new family…but we also got some romantic shots of just me and my fiancé. Then when it came time for our wedding they were fabulous. They were organized and completely prepared. They worked with our rather LARGE family like it was nothing. Everyone complemented them on their professionalism and their fantastic personalities. During the wedding ceremony and reception we didn’t even notice they were there, yet they captured everything and more than we expected. It was a wonderful, perfect evening, but yet it went so fast. Both my husband and I were thrilled at the story that was told by looking at our pictures. A treasure we will cherish forever!

Was there a “method to your madness” in choosing your vendors?

There was no real method to my madness in choosing vendors. My husband and I knew we wanted to do a lot ourselves, but to spend money where it counted. We were paying for the wedding ourselves. Our attitude was that we wanted this to be a celebration of our love, but we also viewed it as a party for our friends and family and we were the hosts! I think that a key in our method was  to pay CASH, to have it represent who we are and to celebrate with friends and family.

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How long did you take to plan your wedding?

We were engaged on February 5, 2011, at Estes Park, Colorado. It took us a full 6 months to plan and prepare for the wedding. I believe we could have put it together in half the time, but we knew financially we needed those extra months.

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How many guests did you invite versus how many came?

We wanted to keep the guest list down around 100 people, but didn’t want to sacrifice true friends being invited either. The end count was around 135. That included about 60 kids!

What was your budget ?

Our budget was about $4500. This only included the wedding ceremony and reception. I believe we spent about $7000 when all was said and done!

Did you include rings and/or the honeymoon in your budget?

My husband I have both been married before and our first marriages were paid for by family. We have bought houses, had kids, got in debt, used credit and have gone through hardships and divorces. Our priorities are different now.  We could have financed an expensive diamond ring, but we didn’t. It was tempting, but the reality is, having matching titanium rings with a personal inscription on them is FAR BETTER! We paid cash for them, they are the strongest metal around, they match completely, and we personalized them with a saying we had fun picking out together: “Amor Noster Permanebit”….in Latin it means “Our love will last an eternity”.

We went on a road trip for the week after the wedding. Our “official honeymoon” was a 7 night stay in Mexico, which we just got back from last week. We waited for 3 months after the wedding to take the trip, not only to save up for it, but also to let the hurricane season in Mexico pass. It ended up being a great way to eliminate wedding planning stress too. We could focus on the wedding and know that we would tackle the honeymoon budget and plans after the wedding took place.

T30SB Commentary: Not a bad idea, folks. Planning a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time can be a little cray-cray.

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How large was your bridal party?

I loved what we did for our bridal party. My bridesmaids were my daughters Maggie (9) and Montana (4), and my stepdaughter Kawaiala (9). My husband’s groomsmen were my son Nolan (12) and my stepson Holoakea (15). We had bridesmaids dresses and tuxes for all the kids. We had a great time shopping and involving them that way.

Did you have favors for your guests? If so, what were they? How much did you spend?

We did not do favors.

Did you include any special family traditions?

A special family tradition was the fact that the reception was at my parent’s house. Both my older brother and sister had their receptions their too!

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What was your biggest day-of crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

The only real crisis we had was right before the ceremony began we realized the rings were missing! We had lots of little kids running around. The rings had been placed on a small table next to where we were reciting our vows. I have pictures of all the brothers looking in the grass around the table. I was told what was happing as I was sitting in the house waiting for the ceremony to begin. I took a deep breath and just relaxed. I knew they’d turn up. I just don’t let  those things don’t get to me. Sure enough…a few minutes later! Rings found!

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Who was the biggest pain in the ass on your wedding day?

You know, no one was really a pain in the ass! I had such an amazing amount of friends and family pulling this DO IT YOURSELFER wedding together…I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding, a better day, or a better group of people.

What was the biggest waste of money that you loved?

I’m not sure I’d say it was a waste of money, but I bought the “Brides Package” at the local salon. It included a month of services leading up to the wedding day. It was a massage, a facial, a practice hair and makeup. I also added waxing, tanning and a hair cut and color. I didn’t need to go to those expenses, but it was just a little treat for me during the month that made me take time out, pamper myself  a bit, and detox a little before the wedding.

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What was the biggest waste of money that you wish you’d passed on?

I don’t think I wasted any money on our wedding. I think we made ever dollar count!

What did you love that was also the cheapest?

I loved my flowers from the Saturday market. They were AMAZING! My husband and I went down the Saturday before the wedding and had one of the flower booths there make us up 18 random bouquets for each table at the reception. We gave her free reign. No particular color, no type, just whatever she felt like and nothing the same. They turned out to be absolutely gorgeous! We only paid $10 a bouquet! In a florist shop, we’d probably pay $100 per bouquet!

T30SB Commentary: $100 for a bouquet yes, but probably not quite that much for table arrangements.

What was the most unexpected thing that happened (not necessarily a bad thing, just a surprise)?

I think the most unexpected thing that happened was just the amount of friends and family that pulled together at the last minute to make it all work and look amazing. We had an idea of what we were looking for and up until the last 24 hours before the ceremony, we weren’t sure how it was all going to come together. All of us we worked side by side and I couldn’t have dreamed it would be so perfect!

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What was the most ooey-gooey, tear-jerking moment?

My ooey-gooey tear jerking moment was the family and personal vows. We had a white rose on each one of our children’s chairs. Before we exchanged spousal vows we had a vow for each child. The oldest one stood up, with rose in hand. Our officiant asked if he would support the marriage and to do his part in creating this family. My step son said yes, then he went up to our vase on the table, put the rose in it, kissed me, hugged his dad, then all three of us joined hands. One at a time from oldest to youngest this happened. At the end all seven of us were in a circle joining hands and a prayer was said. Then the kids sat back down and Jeremy and I exchanged our own vows. It was truly the most amazing part of the ceremony.

Did you DIY? What parts?

Besides the clothes and the wedding party bouquets, everything else was a DIY. The flowers, the décor, the invitations, the food. It was all done and put together by us, friends and family.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

I would get married to Jeremy over and over again and do nothing different. It truly was the most amazing wedding and the most perfect ceremony. It was my dream come true, from wedding ceremony, to reception, to guests, and of course…MY HUSBAND! Perfect and exactly what I had dreamed of!

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Congratulations to Mira & Jeremy!

Monday
Nov212011

{Unfake Wedding Feature} Meghan & Tim, In a British Columbia Forrest

Our Unfake Bride Meghan is a very fashion forward, all-girl kind of bride who pays attention to the details. She apparently had the biggest “Bride Book”  the photographer had ever seen! The book held copies of the invitations, swatches of her dress fabric and images of everything pertaining to her wedding. Her goal was to make Tim comfortable and celebrate his long ties to the forestry industry. How would she would fuse her fashion sense with the British Columbia coastal logging industry? Take a look at  her beautiful log reception hall to see that she, along with florist Karen of Petal and Kettle, did it beautifully.

Welcome to the Unfake Wedding of Meghan & Tim!

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The most important question: wedding night…did you or didn’t you?

T30SB Commentary: Answer denied. Bummer.

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

Please take the time to tell me all the vendors you used.

Photographer  Greg Howard Photography

Band  Johnny Inappropriate

Reception Venue  British Columbia Forest Discovery Centre

Guest Hotel  Best Western Cowichan Valley Inn

Flowers  Petal & Kettle

Dress   Blush BridalMaggie Sottero, Gatsby in Champagne and Gold

Hair/Make-up  Hair  Ann Nymark-Hansen of Nymark- Hansen Salon Make-Up: Chelsea Dawn Photography & Make-up Artistry

Tuxedos Custom made Groom’s suit and Best Man’s attire  Outlooks for Men

Catering  Steeples Restaurant

Cake Coastal Cakes

Rentals  Black & White Party Rentals

Invitations Hand-made by Bride and Friends at Scrapbookin’ Adventures. Eleven women made 60 invitations, 30 announcements and 60 thank-you cards in two hours!

Favours   Spruce Tree Seeds

Shoes Dance Shoes Online

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

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Who was your favorite vendor and why?

Really hard to choose just one, so I will pick a couple

Photographer Greg Howard: amazing service and attention to detail; made everyone feel at ease.

Blush Bridal Salon: incredible service; I felt like they truly cared about me as a person, not just another bride.

Outlooks for Men: honestly felt like friends by the time we were done with design, ordering, and fitting. Again, great service!

Petal and Kettle: so creative, flexible, and beautiful work (all with a newborn baby in tow!)

Coastal Cakes: gorgeous cake that was exactly what I asked for. It was a unique design that she executed perfectly, the custom flavour1 I asked for was spot-on and delicious. People RAVED about the cake: “This isn’t a cake it’s a chocolate miracle” was my favourite quote of the day!

Steeples Restaurant: Great service, creative menu, open to our suggestions, and seamless presentation and service on the day. People raved about the food, which is no easy task when you ask for an upscale-casual, gourmet, outdoor barbeque at a place with no running water or cooking facilities!

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

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The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

Was there a “method to your madness” in choosing your vendors?

I work in hospitality, so you hear a lot about who is good and who isn’t. I met with each personally and if I liked them, I used them. Without exception, I was happy with every vendor I chose. I had taken my husband on a tour of the Cowichan Valley for his birthday that included a trip to the Forestry Museum (he works in the forestry industry) and ended with dinner at Steeples Restaurant with a lot of wine and cider tastings and tours in between. It was such a great day and a great memory that I wanted to have the same kind of day for our wedding. I choose the location and caterer based on that day. It led to the tree/forest theme, and I went from there.

How long did you take to plan your wedding?

Six months.

How many guests did you invite versus how many came?

124 invited (many from out-of-town and out of the country). 76 attended

What was your budget?

Around $20,000.

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

Did you include rings and/or the honeymoon in your budget?

Not the honeymoon, no, but the rings, yes.

Were you over or under budget? By how much (you can give a percentage)?

No IDEA! Sad to say, I know. Since it was spread out and different people were paying for different aspects, it got a bit muddled and admittedly, although I am good with budgets and spreadsheets etc., not everyone reported back to me! I gave up at a certain point.

How large was your bridal party?

Bride, Groom, Best Man, Matron of Honour.

Did you have favors for your guests? If so, what were they? How much did you spend?

Yes, they were Spruce Tree Seeds in keeping with the tree/forest theme of the wedding. I bought them online for about $2 each including shipping.

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

Did you include any special family traditions?

No, we didn’t really have any. We did the something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, of course.

What was your biggest day-of crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

Our hair and make-up took about one hour longer than expected. We called and let everyone know we would be late so no one panicked. My thoughts were “well, they can’t start without me, so I’m not too worried!” Also, on the day-of I had a good friend be the go-to person / wedding coordinator and she handled everything! I never saw anything go wrong and never heard about it either. It was perfect and she (and her husband) were literally the best people you could ask for to be there that day. We could never repay them for all of their help!

What was your biggest wedding planning crisis and how did you handle it (or rather, not handle?)?

I am super organized, so there really weren’t any to be honest. I had a giant binder I took everywhere with me. Everyone laughed, but it WORKED!

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

Who was the biggest pain in the ass on your wedding day?

Honestly, no one! It was a perfect day and all behaved well. Thank goodness! At least, as far as I know ;-)

What was the biggest waste of money that you loved?

I think we were pretty frugal on most things. I think the dress was more than the original budget, although certainly not extravagant. But, it was worth every penny!

What was the biggest waste of money that you wish you’d passed on?

NOTHING! We didn’t waste anything, and we saved where we could by making things ourselves and using the talents and help of our friends and family. Without them, our day would not have worked as well and been as beautiful as it was.

What did you love that was also the cheapest?

Our hand-made items; specifically, I loved the candle holders (a guest favourite – many asked to take some home which we welcomed – what were we going to do with 80 log votive candle holders!?!?!) and my jewelry. I also loved my hair flower that was made from custom-dyed feathers and was exactly what I had been looking for. I “convo’d” an artisan on Etsy.com to make it, and it was PERFECT for around $20. By that time I had spent way more than that on other hair flowers or flower stems to make myself from various sources all over the place that were never quite right.

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

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The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

What was the most unexpected thing that happened (not necessarily a bad thing, just a surprise)?

The sun shone all day and the weather was warm and perfect! May had been a really wet month and it rained up to and after my wedding day, but not at all on the day! It was perfect!

What was the funniest thing that happened?

Being late (probably not so funny for the groom!). Anyone who knows me knows I am late for everything, so it was pretty typical. But, just this once, I can honestly say it was NOT MY FAULT! J Because I was late, the train that goes around the Forest ended up coming past us part way through our vows. It was a funny moment, and it helped to relax us and have a laugh at a part that is a little nerve-wracking.

What was the most ooey-gooey, tear-jerking moment?

When mom saw me all done up in my dress – for her. For me, I was so happy and full of joy, I didn’t feel tear-jerky. But, my photographer arranged for my husband and I to have some quiet time alone after the ceremony and photos were done and before the reception, and that was so special. To be able to spend a few moments alone and to reflect and talk on such a busy day was precious.

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

Did you DIY? What parts?

YES!

Invitations, announcement, thank you cards

Place cards (wooden discs)

Candle holders (log votive holders)

Cake stand (Log)

Table runners (burlap)

Wine and wine labels (same design as invitations)

Bride’s Jewelry

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We haven’t been yet. We hope to go to Spain in the upcoming year, probably close to our anniversary if we can get the time off of work.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?

Absolutely NOTHING, which is a great way to feel I think. I wouldn’t have been late I guess, but I think everything happens for a reason, so I can’t stress about it now.

The opening cerimonies for the Fortis BC Mount Hayes Natural Gas Storage Facility

Congratulations to Meghan & Tim!

1T30SB Commentary: I learned to spell when I lived in Japan and my teacher was British. For YEARS I spelled words in the British style, getting crap from U.S. teachers until I finally broke myself of the habit (though I still tend to write “grey” instead of “gray.”). There was no way I was going to listen to spell check on this one!