Planning a wedding with personality

(Photo:yellow formal dresses)

When I was planning my wedding last year, after getting engaged the year before, I was in uncharted territory. I had never spent much time thinking about what it would look like, and therefore I was starting from zero.

The few things my groom, Peak publisher/editor Jason Schreurs, and I wanted for our special day were for everyone to have a great time, to provide great food, and bring together all the people we love in one place. Another important matter was the event being affordable.

From what my married friends had told me, two of the most expensive parts of a wedding are location and food.

When my sister got married four years earlier, my dad mentioned at the time that my parents’ backyard in Victoria would be a great place to host a wedding.

When Jason popped the question, I asked my parents right away if we could have the event at their home the following August. My parents landscaped their backyard for the big day, which provided the perfect backdrop.

After landing the perfect venue, we were offered catering services by family friends. My dad had been helping out a couple who owned a farm in Cowichan Valley and regularly catered weddings. In addition to serving up great food, they also used produce from their farm and homemade pickles. It fit the comfortable and fun backyard wedding we were hoping to achieve.

Many brides choose a beautiful, multi-tiered, white wedding cake, but I wanted something a little different. I also knew I didn't want to spend money on an expensive cake.

After getting the name of a Victoria-based donut company, and sending Jason and my mom to sample its products, we placed an order for a bunch of delicious donuts to enjoy instead of a cake.

It was important for Jason and I that our food and drinks were not only delicious, but also reflected us. Having craft beer wasn't just preferred; for us it was necessary. We chose a brewery close to my parents house on the Saanich Peninsula, decided on a couple beer flavours, and bought three small kegs, the perfect amount.

As the parts of our wedding started coming together, so did our guest list, which was around 60 people. For our save the date, we made a Facebook event page, and told those who weren't on Facebook by phone or in-person.

When the time for sending out invitations came around, we mailed out invites designed by my sister and printed them at a copy shop.

Even before we invited our guests, we placed an order with a local party-rental business for tables, chairs, tablecloths, napkins, glasses and plates. After we had all of the necessary items ordered, we went about creating the decor we were looking for.

Creating an environment and a look that reflected us was challenging, but luckily I had some help. Even though I didn't buy one bridal magazine, I did use Pinterest. It was very useful to help me decide what I wanted in terms of hair, makeup, flowers and, a new word I learned during wedding planning, tablescapes.

Finding images of what I liked helped me shop for what I needed and gave me images to send to people such as the gardener, who sold us our flowers, and my sister, who did my hair and makeup.

The decor pieces were largely made by hand, bought at thrift stores or borrowed from friends and family.

The decor also included music, which is a big part of our lives. Instead of table numbers we had printed off album covers from some of our favourite bands and musicians. Being big music lovers, it was important for Jason and I to have a great dance party.

Rather than hire a band or DJ, we added music to an iPod for the ceremony, first dance and party. The music was a mix of the songs we loved and had everyone busting a move.

I went into wedding planning thinking that I wanted to do everything myself, but having my friends and family offer their help made the wedding even more amazing than I could have imagined.

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, and there is a lot of pressure on the bride and groom to keep everyone happy. While this is important, it is equally necessary to make sure the couple at the heart of the celebration is always the focus.Read more