The details, the fun, the organizing and the thoughts behind my wedding choices. My new husband, Greg and I, wanted our wedding day to be intimate and extremely personal. We tossed around a few ideas about what we wanted to do and settled on a very non-traditional approach. I wanted EVERYTHING to mean something, to us and to our families. It was important that the people we love and appreciate were part of the festivites. It was a family affair. The kids were an essential part of that, after all, Greg was marrying the lot of us. (More on this in the wedding blog. )
So, in the end, we decided that what better way to end off our wonderful life at our old house was with a celebration, a wedding celebration. Our ceremony was held in our beautiful backyard at the home we spent the last 12 years in, it was bittersweet and it was a great send off, a goodbye and the sweetest of hellos.
Then...in one of my creative moments, I had a thought. What better way to start off our new life in our new home but with a celebration THERE with all of our loved ones. The house would be completely empty as we literally would get possession two days before the wedding. It was brilliant!
This blog is not only a detail by detail narrative of the event but great information for anyone planning a wedding. The best of the best worked to create this day and the good and the bad of it all, is all in here, you know me, speaking my truth. At the end of the day all was fabulous and every wedding has a few trials and tribulations in the organization of it. Customer service is still what counts in the end and what inevitably brings people in the door. The wedding industry here is huge and it seems to be getting bigger all of the time. Like everything else, know your product, know your prices and rock on!
Our invite...lucky for me I spend a lot of time creating social media pieces and was already used to working with a program I enjoy and it's easy. I use Canva for most of my creations. We just wanted simple, no fuss, no muss, I created it and emailed or texted the invite to the few people that we invited. Truthfully, I loved this invite...I included our hashtag for the event so that any pictures that were taken could be traced make to our hashtag. It was a simple yet heartfelt ceremony that was carefully planned by my children and a small dinner party afterwards. These photos are the collection of preparations and the end results of all of our hard work and appreciating all of those that helped make this day so magical.
Getting Dolled up
I could not have found a more perfect dress and have Bliss Bridal to thank for helping me get it enough time, alter it and make it beautiful. Lore and Frances, the owners of the boutique, made this process so easy. I never planned on a "wedding dress" truthfully, all I knew is that I wanted creme, it had to be classic and elegant and whatever that turned out to be, I was fine with it. On a whim, and the first stop, I found Nicole Miller at Bliss, exactly what I had chosen but thought I would have to fly to Vancouver to find it. But...alas... they had the dress I wanted.
The trick was, getting it in time, I wanted it in four weeks. Unheard of in the wedding industry or any custom dress ordering at all. As with all other things in my life, I figured if it was meant to be, it would happen. That same day, Lore called Nicole Miller and the planets were aligned, they had one dress and it was in my size AND they could have it shipped to Winnipeg from New York in two weeks. I nearly fainted and died of happiness all at the same time. At that time, we thought we were going to get married in Vancouver , so timing was imperative. Needless to say, we ordered in the dress.
Once it arrived, their fantastic and talented seamstress took it in and cut off the train so that it was exactly what I wanted, then they kept it there until a couple of days before the wedding. It was SOOOOOO easy.
Everyone else...The groom and the Kids
Greg had his suit custom made in Vancouver and as a true modern bride, and trusting his taste...I let him look after this part. I'm not even sure where he ordered it from, all I told him was black and then I bought the shirt and tie. Pretty damn dapper I'd say. Glad to say this one is mine!
My girls...yes I had Steph my daughter, and Brittany, my son's partner, stand up for me. I couldn't think of a better choice than these two beauties! Britt and I went shopping one Sunday afternoon and came home with three adorable dresses, from two different stores altough they truly match. One came from Out of Blue and the other from Tharnzie both in Osborne village. I told them to wear whatever they wanted on their feet as long as they were comfortable.
The boys stood up for Greg, and my son-in-law performed the ceremony. We truly wanted this to be all about family and it was. The guys were equally as easy to find outfits for...printed English Laundry Shirts and dress pants. Funny thing is, yet again...different patterns, but same colorways. Seriously...I didn't plan any of it, it just happened, the kids liked them, so I bought them. SOOOOO easy. Look how handsome these devils are!
The Hair and MakeUp
Lucky for me...I get to use consummate professionals in this business all day long for my own clients. And well, I like using the most creative, the most talented and the most fun to be around. Hair of course was done by Randi Bakker and makeup by Sarah Brooker of Two Chics and a Bag of Make-Up. I think the results were beautiful and I can't thank them enough for carving time out of their crazy schedules to fit us in!
The Ceremony Details
The ceremony...more details about the actual event in the Wedding Extravaganza Blog. It was beautiful, that's all I can say. We didn't go crazy with prepartion or fuss, all we wanted was good weather and a toast with our friends and immediate family afterwards. It was a tight schedule so we were done and off to take photos right on time. A quick toast of champagne, congratulation hugs and off we went.
I planted some large pots of annuals for color and made a backdrop of vines and hanging geraniums and made use of te divider exactly where it stood. In reality I couldn't move it as the vines were actually growing in the ground, again, we made do and loved every minute of it.
Let's face it ... your photographer can make or break your wedding day, your memories, your sanity.
Thank goodness I didn't have to worry about any of that because I had Tracey Kiansky of Prairie Blossom Photography standing beside me taking in all of the delicious memories and capturing the beauty of each one. I simply cannot say enough about how amazing this very talented gal is. Better yet, she's a friend. We worked together years ago and I knew of her passion for photography and felt so blessed that she wanted to be part of your wedding. And, hey, those of you that are chosing a photographer, pay heed to this.
Your photographer should get you, get your vision, see what you see. It's not always a good personality match, or vision match, make sure you are chosing someone that understands what you are looking for.
I think the greatest thing about working together with Tracey, is that I trusted her implicitly...and I just said to take pictures, lots of candid, fun, out of the ordinary. I didn't want ordinary. I know, big shock. I didn't interfere with her creative process and let her do her thing. I think sometimes brides in particular get a bit bridezilla-ish about the photographs, and truthfully a bit bat-shit crazy which is why many photographers chose not to do weddings. So the key is, I made the right choice, she knew what I was about, and I trusted her .. then let her do her magic.
You'll see in the next blog exactly what I mean. The pictures tured out better than I had even imagined ... they were breath-taking. Even made this old-bag bride look not too bad, and that is a felt in itself!
The best thing is, Tracey and her partner captured the most important thing over and over again, the overwhelming love everywhere and the all consuming happiness that surrounded everyone. Magic, yes indeed.
Well...you can't get married without the rings...I'm not a traditional kind of jewelry kind of gal, never have been. I've designed most of my own pieces and am now delving into doing more of it because I love it so much. I guess the next title will be CharisOnJewelry. Those of you that know me well will be saying...no surprise there! Ha!
Greg was a hard one to chose a ring for, he doesn't wear any kind of jewelry except a watch or his fitbit. I wanted to create something that I thought was a bit edgy, a bit different than the run of the mill wedding bands. That's why I went to Bijou, if you haven't been to visit with Ashiq and Lindsey over there, then take the time to do so. Ashiq and I scoured over different designs until I found what I wanted. I'm sure we spent an hour trying to find just the right design.
What I loved the most, he didn't rush me, didn't make me feel like I was taking too much time or didn't mind giving me ideas of what might be the best option. We talked stones, we talked personality, we really took the time to figure out what encapsulated who Greg was. To me, jewelry does that. It has to be special, it has to be indicative of who that person is. I guess that's why I enjoy the designing part, it makes you dig deep.
In the end, after several cups of coffee and some quality time, we chose a white gold and black diamonds, simple, classic, edgy and a bit industrial looking. It was a custom design and I didn't really give him much time to get it made, but they did and it turned out perfectly.
Like everything else, those that understand the importance of exceptional customer service are the ones that get the repeat business. It's all about the relationships you build and the trust that you create with your customers. Those are the people I continue to do business with. The exceptional ones, I would say the folks at Bijou seriously fall into that category and I am now happy to have them in my fold.
My rings...well, Greg can be a bit of a traditionalist. The opposite of his new wife ... but I guess that's why we work so well together. Looooong story short, he wanted to chose the engagement ring. I was having a heart attack. I had no choice in a ring I would wear every day. Did I mention I was having a heart attack?
I've always designed or chosen any of my own jewelry. I'm not really a romantic believe it or not, not when it comes to matters like this. Some gals might like this, some guys might be romantic about it, like Greg but this is dicey ground.
Engagement rings are one of the biggest investments a couple can make, and so I practically think that it should be a mutual choice, especially if you have to wear it every day. Again, I'm practical. I believe that time an effort should be put into knowing about stones and their quality. I believe that you should know about prices and appraisal values...and so it goes. I believe full-heartedly that buying an engagement ring should be well thought out, researched and carefully chosen. If there are any couples out there looking to get engaged, think about what I'm saying.
That is why I always deal with reputable jewelers. The ones that I know, know their stuff, that help you understand what you're buying and that back up their product. Chain store engagment rings aren't always the choice, be careful in what you're buying. That is why I also stay away from chain store jewelery...and that doesn't mean I'm paying more money, but it does mean that I know what I getting for my money.
Another jeweler I use is Simon Imports, Simon always makes time to say hello, he looks out for pieces that he knows I will like and I always feel confident walking out of there with a great choice. I chose my own wedding bands from Simon because of the quality and his life time guarantee on lost diamonds. Greg picked out my engagement ring, I told him there was no way in hell he was picking out my wedding bands. Ha! He laughed because he knows me so well and had no issue in agreeing with his jewelry loving fiance. There realy wasn't a question in that, good thing he knew that too!
Simon supplies an appraisal and he has great staff working with him. Dee helped me out this time with the bands, she's been there as long as I can remember and is both knowledgeable and great to work with. Again, exceptional customer service is everything. Simon and his folks have known this for ages, I do believe it's paramount in their business and it is why I continue to do business with them.
Now, at the end of the day, I chose my own weddings bands to match my engagement ring because yes ... Greg did surprise me with my ring. THANK GOODNESS...he pulled it off and his choice was nothing less than beautiful. he did REAL good and I truly love his choice. Heart attack averted. Phew!
The Celebration Dinner
Just some of the decorations, my daughter Steph of "The Girl In Glasses" fame, used her talents in scripting to create these place cards for the dinner table. If you notice the tree behind the place cards, I called this our family "Tree of Life". The idea was each place card would be hung on the tree once dinner was complete to create our family tree of life. I figured that for everyone that comes into our family will be added to the tree. It was a lovely concept...but by the end of dinner, several glasses of champagne...well, I completely forgot about it. It now stands in our living room reminding us of our new family and the wonderful evening that came with it.
I cannot say enough about this man, Dale Yuel, from The Gates on Roblin catering, was my partner in this creation and helped me conjure the most incredible meal, service and atmosphere. Not only is he incredibly talented, creative and a true collaborator with the same vision as I do, he made sure that every detail on his end was impeccably orchestrated. You know me, attention to detail is everything. The chef and serving personnel, were so amazing, they fit in just perfectly. They took over our new kitchen in our new home and created the most delicious feast.
I called Dale and asked him what he thought and if he thought if he and his team could pull off a reception at our new house. Of course, because he is a rock star, he said...that would be amazing!!!! Let's Do it! He didn't even hesitate.
Dale and I worked on the perfect menu for the evening, several tastings later and a little tweeking here and there, we came up with the most incredible meal. It included served hor d'oeuvres that literally melted in your mouth, a beet salad and main course dishes of a Tarragon Champagne Chicken and a filet of beef. IT WAS OUTSTANDING! Kudos to the chef! They took over the kitchen in perfect harmony and 'Operation Yuel' went off without a hitch.
Kylee Houlahan of Planned Perfectly...delivered our perfect chairs for our perfect table and had already sent the linens with Dale as The Gates of course works with them all the time.
I rented the linens, the gold charger plates and the gold Chivari chairs from them.The linens were tricky when trying to find exactly what I wanted as the picture in my head was drama...something that said WOW, something with punch. I didn't want anything that was boring or run of the mill or that screamed 'wedding'. I wanted to create an experience that went well beyond that. I wanted elegance, I wanted class and beauty. I guess that's the bonus of having a very small wedding, we could do what we wanted and added the little extras. I spoke with all of the rental company's and found very few had the "cutting edge" kind of linens, but I totally get that, they have to stock for the masses. We made do with the 3 table cloths that they had in this selection and chose something fun and glittery for the bar area. The one thing that I found surprising, creme was not a popular color at any of the rental places...and seriously...creme is in.
Big thanks to Planned Perfectly for having exactly what I wanted and squeezing my little wedding in amongst the rest of the chaos that weekend. They were fabulous for pulling off the delivery, as they had quite the weekend as their delivery truck had been stolen. bless them, they still showed up smiling and agreed to a picture with the bride to be and off they went on several more deliveries that day... I don't think they had much sleep that weekend. Thanks Girls!
The Cake. Well, there was never any question as to what the cake was going to be.
Red Velvet Cake from Chocolate Zen Bakery. The ONLY place to get red velvet cake on the planet. It's truthfully the only place I order special cakes from, because they are so delish. And...I'm a foodie, and a red velvet cake lover. I did do a Zen food review on them a ways back, but we will chat about them some more.
I'm very specific about my red velvet cake and I order it the same way every time from there...if you're going to order it, I suggest you do the same.
I never get the coconut covered cake, that's the standard there, it's just too sweet. The cake is also always best like it's shown, with the cream cheese icing. No here is the trick, order it, but let it sit for one day. The cake is just that much more moist and fabulous.
I had a bit of an issue when ordering the cake I have to admit, even though I've ordered the same thing a dozen times. I was very specific, went into the bakery to order it so there would not be any problems. I guess I didn't feel confident that the gal that took the order completely understood what I wanted so I called back to confirm the directions. Different gal this time, it all seemed great. They didn't really like that I wanted the cake made one day ahead, iced, so that it would sit, then I would pick it up the next day. So yes, the bride went to pick up the cake on the specified date.
Much to my dismay, when I picked it up, the directions had not been followed and the cake was only half decorated with rosettes. As time was tight, I panicked slightly, spoke to the nice young lad that was serving me, and politely stated the order was wrong. I asked him to please fix the cake and have them add the rosettes on the top as well. If you've been there, you'll know that the bakery is small, much to our surprise ( my Brittany was with me) the lady baker at the back was freaking out and saying they wouldn't do it, they would charge me more, like I wasn't standing right there. Gotta say I was a bit embarrassed for her, it was just poor form.
Thank goodness the owner Douglas Krahn, he stepped up and very nicely took the cake himself, and offered to fix it and apologized. I truly loved him at that moment. Although it was small wedding, issues are issues and I didn't need the stress. So...he took it away. When he had finished decorating it, it was beautiful, thanked him from the botton of my heart and went on our way.
So... if you're ordering this cake here's what you ask for:
Red velvet cake in the size you need
Rosettes COVERING the cake
Have it ready for the day prior to your function
Eat...Enjoy the fabulousness of it, it really is a religious experience.
My kids...and the flower delivery truck. Thanks to the kids, they delivered flowers form one location to the next, cut flowers, arranged flowers, then did it all over again. All of the kidlets helped out and with their Mama C given gifts, they knew exactly what to do. They are amazing.
Creating the atmosphere for this reception was really important to me, seriously, it had to be perfect. I wanted to create something we would all remember for a long time. I think that was the joy of having a small wedding, I could spend the time and energy on the small details. We all know that being a designer and decorating guru, that I would make sure that every detail was PERFECT.
The flowers came from Academy Florist, my requests was simple, I just wanted a simple bouquet of a varitey of flowers in a small square vase. I had gone in one day, picked out the flowers that I wanted and they put them in some pretty wrapping and I took them home. This was an important lesson. I chose 3 hydrangeas, 3 white spider mums, 5 white roses, 3 sprigs of white pom poms and I think the small white filler flowers were a white wax flower. I had them quote the same bouquet and the price came back substantially higher with less flowers.
I was more than a little surprised. The reason being, "it's wedding season", "the price of the flowers went up", "the extra price is for us handling and arranging the flowers" and so on. I went back to them, with my reciept from the bouquet I just had walked out of the store with that actually had more flowers in it for almost 30 dollars less. Granted they had also include a small square vase but seriously, I can get those at Ikea for cheap and they were just rented.
I just wanted what I walked out with a week before, for my own bouquet, for the table, no fuss no muss. So...I came back with, you can't tell me that the flowers went up that much in a week, not only that, you won't be spending any more time arranging these bouquets than you did for the one I bought the week before. In the end, the manager supplied the exact bouquets for almost the same price and I was very thankful. It was the first of my tribulations on my little wedding. What would I say about this? Know your prices and don't get sucked in by "wedding pricing".
I bought my own vases which I can use time and time again at Pier One on sale, we cut the bouquets to fit and saved money on delivery too. My kids lived so close to the store they went and picked them up on the way over to the house. Yes, it was a little extra work on our part, but I will always side with saving money.
At the end of the day, Academy Florists is still one of the best when it comes to design and service, I would recommend them any day as their flowers, and selection of flowers are seriously amazing. Bonus points for them, they were right on the ball when it came to my initial contact and set up a consult right away. There were many others that didn't even bother to return my phonecalls. To me customer service is everything and really at the end of the day, I really wanted to work with Academy and luck had it, it worked out perfectly. (Academy provided the flowers for Steph's wedding as well, and they rocked that as well. Check out the Viking Wedding for more pics.)
Operation Yuel taking over the new kitchen...they so rocked it. I could not be more appreciative to this bunch. Dale really made the entire event seamless and worry-free, everything a bride wants.
And that my friends really is the nitty gritty of the planning process and what turned out to be a night to remember forever. I send thanks to everyone that played a part in creating this day. I hope that it helps some of you in making your wedding choices. If you have any questions or need some CharisOnWeddings advice, just contact me. I do love a good wedding!
Lifestyle blog, detailing life experiences, coaching tips, how-to's with lifestyle product recommendations and reviews. Health, beauty, travel, home and family!
Let me not be judged by what I have and have not accomplished but by the remarkable children I have raised. Mother, Business Consultant, Entrepreneur, Designer, Artist.
You are your best billboard! Create the lifestyle you want by putting in some effort, make sure your best foot is forward, have discriminating taste, financial smarts, plan your lifestyle! This Lifestyle blog has lifestyle and product recommendations, coaching and services.
CharisOnLife is on Instagram! Check out @CharisOnLife today.
There are portions of this blog and the following blog pages that may recommend, or showcase different services and products. It will state explicitly if I have used the products personally. This is a professional review blog which gets compensated for the products reviewed by the companies who produce them. I am an independent blogger and the reviews are done based on my own experiences and opinions. As an affliate publisher, I may generate a commission for any sales generated from the links on any page of this website. Please understand that as an a small business entrepreneur, I appreciate any interest and sales that you make from my site that supports us. A million thanks.