Friday, September 28, 2012

How to have a fabulous, zilla-free wedding

Remember when I said the wedding wouldn´t be stressful? And how I had some really good advice about delegating? Both were true - it was a really great day. No staying up until the wee hours decorating the church, and no running around trying to find a pen for the guest book. 

Below are my tips for a fabulous day (no guarantees it will be as fabulous as mine was... Are you married? I hope you feel the same way about your wedding!).

1. Spread it out. After we got engaged, we made "The Spanish-Canadian Wedding Merger Document". This crazy spreadsheet details cultural and family traditions and expectations. I would suggest doing this even if you´re from the same country. Or town. Knowing what the other was expecting helped the planning go smoothly: In Tall Guy´s case, I had no idea 30 canapes per person was the norm in Spain. He had no idea about programmes. (In the end, we went with nine canapes and bilingual programmes. Win-win).

2. You can plan a wedding without themes and colours. I didn´t choose either, and it was all ok, despite what the reception-planner implied - no, the world did not end because I didn´t know my "colours" seven months in advance. The bridesmaids choose their dresses (lavender), which gave me the colour scheme - lavender and ivory, and the theme (garden party) just sort of happened - we used a lot of flowers, lanterns, birds and bunting to decorate.

3. Make stuff, but not too much. 
  • I made the bunting. Twice, actually. It´s bilingual - on one side it says "congratulations" and on the other, "felicidades". The first time it said "congratulations" and "sedadicilef". Welcome to the family, Tall Guy - sedadicilef! Nice.
  • My mom and I made pew bows fascinators from Dollarama flowers and ribbon.
  • My mom made the cake topper. Isn´t it grand?
  • My mom, Sailor Girl (the best maid of honour in the world) and I made the favours - mini macaroons and brownies, my fave and Tall Guy´s fave.
  • Music Man designed the programmes, also bilingual. 
  • We made a seating chart using an old frame that was a steal at $2 from a Sally Ann shop.
  • I jazzed up my shoes. Sorry, boring white shoes are just not me. I needed some bling, and this post inspired me. 
That´s it. Don´t make too many things. Make enough things so you feel you participated in your own wedding, and added your own touch, but not too many that you go crazy the night before the wedding painting faces on tiny ceramic statues of the two of you that for some reason you thought would be a good favour.

4. Do not give out tiny ceramic statues of the two of you as a favour, even if you painted them yourself.

5. Go with your gut feeling. If you want something that is not on-trend, and you don´t want something everyone else is doing, do what you want! I wanted purple carnations for the bouquets and decorations. Carnations are the flower of Spain, and I like them. And I wanted purple. Do I care that all the girls who have purple dresses have green flowers? Not a whit. Somehow, I ended up ordering green flowers. And then I thought, no. I really do not want green flowers. So I went back and ordered purple. And as you can see, they were gorgeous, and they were the right choice for us. Tall Guy was touched that I knew carnations were the national flower of Spain (touched, and enlightened, as I am not sure he knew that before...) and Sailor Girl was touched because purple is her favourite colour.

6. Get to know your photographer. Obviously, we all don´t happen to have amazing photographer friends. I do, but if you don´t, meet with the photographer, take examples of things you like and don´t like, and make a list of photographs you´d like to have at the end of the day. If you and the groom are comfortable with the photographer, you´ll of course get better pictures.

7. Have lots of cake and eat it. We had cake after the service at the church (thanks Dad!). It was a great way for us to see people who were not coming to the reception. And then we had cake after dinner. Carrot cake, our favourite. Made by this amazing woman. People remember cake. This cake was so good I would fly back home for a slice.

8. Involve friends and family in the service. My Mom, Music Man, and Musica took care of the music. Why hire a soloist if your friend is extremely talented? Maybe your cousin plays the guitar, or the banjo, or your brother plays the ukulele. And Tall Guy´s school friend and Fairy God Sister read the scriptures, one in Spanish and one in English. We had a helpful, caring wedding party. And Tall Guy and I distributed the communion wine, none of which, miraculously, was spilt on my dress!

9. Eat something before the service. A wise woman I know suggested having a buffet available at home all morning to make sure everyone got something to eat before the service. This was a great idea - no one fainted. 

I´ve saved the best tip for last:

10. Savour it. This is the best piece of advice I received and the best I can give, and is also my word of the year. The day passed by quickly, but I was there in the moment the whole time, enjoying everything. A wedding is the start to a whole new chapter in life - a marriage. That´s something worth remembering.
credit: freedom photography


  1. You made me laugh at sewing the bunting twice. It sure wasn't funny when it happened. I almost didn't care that it said sedadicilef. But, of course we had to fix it and the second time sewing it was much faster and it turned out lovely.
    And number 11: Make it fun! So many people stayed so late because they were having a great time!

  2. And always make sure the mother of the bride is happy!

  3. You were a beautiful bride! <3 All of these are very good advice but I love your last piece of advice the most! I am glad you took it all in and enjoyed the journey! So happy to see you walk down that aisle & marry Miguel! :-)