A few people have asked for an update on wedding planning and since it’s been about six months since my last wedding planning post, I think I’m due! I can’t believe the big days in in LESS THAN TWO MONTHS!
It seems crazy to me. We’re gonna be married!
I do have some wedding things to talk about, however we’re not having the typical wedding wedding so the planning process has been sort of…I almost don’t want to say it because I don’t want to jinx it…but it’s been fairly simple. I think what is really helpful is we don’t have a lot of vendors or details. Which is exactly how I like it. I have planned several large galas and I know all about the pesky little details that go into a big event like that and I just don’t want to deal with it at our wedding. I don’t care about what’s trendy right now, I want to do what makes sense for us. I do not want a Pinterest explosion. I want to have a fun day with our family and friends and I don’t really care about the little details that no one is going to notice or remember.
I mean, it’s important to remember that is the main point of all of this.
I think it’s also due to the types of weddings we’re having, though. Neither requires a ton of details. We’re essentially having two small, casual weddings with less than 35 guests each — one close family and family friends ceremony and brunch reception here in Toronto (we’re not even having the bridal party at that one), and then a symbolic ceremony and dinner reception with mostly close friends and a few family members in Cuba.
I guess I’ll break this update up into areas so it’s better organized. Sorry if this is long and boring.
Cuba is easy. We chose the same resort we got engaged at last April, the Starfish Cuatro Palmas, a boutique resort in Varadero, Cuba.
A bunch of us are going for a week and I’m so excited. We love it there. However, it’s not a typical Varadero wedding resort… There are many bigger and fancier resorts on the peninsula that seem to be the wedding hotspots. I actually don’t even think our resort has ever hosted a wedding. To me this means our wedding can go in one of two ways: the staff may not know how to handle an event of that nature or just not care and it could be a total disaster, or the staff might be excited they’re hosting a wedding and treat it like a super special event and go above and beyond to make everything fantastic. I’m hoping for the latter. But if it’s the former, oh well! We’ll still have a week in paradise with some of our favourite people. The best thing is, we don’t have to do much for it but show up. We can’t be lugging a bunch of crap to Cuba so the resort basically takes care of everything. That is wonderful.
We knew we wanted to be officially married before we go off to Cuba (I’m not sure if I trust them with all the paperwork), and a lot of our family members can’t make it to Cuba, so the plan was to have a small family-only wedding here first. Initially we were planning on just going to City Hall and then taking our family out for lunch, which sounded easy-peasy but the logistics ended up being annoying. City Hall can only hold so many people, and then we’d have to worry about how everyone was getting from City Hall to the reception location.
So, we started searching intimate wedding venues in the city and one that kept popping up was Globe Bistro, a restaurant on the Danforth that used to be a theatre. Evan and I went there for brunch to check it out and the food was DELICIOUS (very important) and they have space to accommodate both the ceremony and reception so our guests don’t have to move anywhere. Perfect! We knew right away, that’s our venue! We didn’t even look at any others.
We’re also having a brunch wedding because we love brunch and I just think it’s a really cute, low-key idea. And since it’s a restaurant they take care of a lot of details that we would otherwise need to look at (catering, decor), which is fine with me.
I actually have two. I tend to be a messy eater in general, usually even more messy when I’m trying really hard not to be messy, so I could see myself spilling something on my dress at our Toronto wedding and then we leave for Cuba two days later. Disaster.
I found a simple Morilee Madeline Gardner dress that is going to look so good on the beach! I feel like a Greek Goddess in it. So that’s the Cuba wedding dress (no I didn’t link to the exact one). I love it so much. I mentioned in my last wedding planning post that it was the second dress I tried on and though I tried on several others afterwards, that one was always the favourite. It happened to be a lot less expensive than I had budgeted for, so then I purchased a second long bridesmaid dress in cream that I will wear to the Toronto wedding. I love that dress too and I scored both for about half of my original dress budget so I feel pretty good about that. I know I really lucked out.
Can’t show ya yet though!
I have my first dress fitting this week, so that’s exciting. The last time I tried them on they both fit me nearly perfectly (not sure how that happened but they were both exactly my size) so I think I only need slight alterations — mainly bringing the length up a bit on both. In Cuba I’m wearing barefoot sandals for the beach ceremony and then probably just simple sandals at the reception. And these are my Toronto wedding shoes:
Evan’s Suit and Groomsmen Attire
Evan ordered his suit for the Toronto wedding from The Bay when they were having a 60% off Calvin Klein suit sale, so that was lucky. Cuba is super casual so he’s just wearing khakis from the Gap, a white button-up, brown belt, brown sandals, possibly a vest/jacket but we haven’t decided on that yet. The groomsmen are wearing basically the same thing in Cuba, minus the vest/jacket. Evan’s brother (the best man) is wearing a suit he already owns to the Toronto wedding.
The girls got their dresses for the Cuba wedding from RW&Co. They were inexpensive and the style and colour I was looking for and they look great on everyone so, hurrah.
We just got our wedding bands and I’m so in love with them! We ordered both mine and Evan’s online from James Allen while they were having a Valentine’s Day sale recently.
This is Evan’s:
He loooves the wood detail.
(neither are engraved as they appear to be in the pictures, though we may end up getting them engraved…we shall see)
I wanted a simple sparkly band that wouldn’t take away from my lovely engagement ring, and I didn’t want infinity diamonds all the way around (because they get dirty at the back and I don’t think you can ever get them resized), so this was perfect. Here’s how my combo looks together:
I can’t believe how well that band matches my engagement ring (engagement ring is from Diamonds For Less in Toronto, not James Allen). Ah, I can’t wait to wear it for real. We were both so impressed with James Allen!
In Varadero we’re going with AV Smile, a Cuban wedding photographer and videographer. A guy I dated back in my early 20s also got married in Varadero last year, he used AV Smile and then posted his fantastic wedding photos on Facebook, so that’s how I found them. We’re also having them do a video (we figure it will probably be the only time we’re in paradise with our family and best friends so we should do it, and I know I’m going to cherish it), as well as bridal shots with just Evan and I in the streets of nearby Matanzas (a Cuban city). Our Cuban wedding photography package is the one thing we’re really splurging on, but I think it’s worth it. Having great photos is really important to me. Also if this happens I think it’s important someone captures it:
Maybe I’ll embarrass myself at my own wedding and get to be on Ellen again!
We couldn’t do a big photography package twice though, so finding a Toronto photographer on a tiny budget was a bit trickier. A friend of mine referred us to a photographer who is building her portfolio and will do our entire day in Toronto for an unheard of SUPER good price. I’ve seen some shots she’s done and think she’s great so I feel very lucky we found her! I met her for lunch at our venue on Friday and I just loved her. I’m so happy she’s our photographer! What’s kind of crazy is she has the same first and last name as our travel agent for our Cuba wedding. I keep mixing their emails up.
A friend of mine from high school, Ashley, has her own faux flower arranging business called From The Stem Up and she is doing our flowers. They’re not silk flowers though, they’re almost like a latex material, and they look so real! This is not my bouquet or our colours, but just so you get an idea.
She does beautiful work!
Our resort in Varadero would have provided me with a bouquet for the wedding, but just me, not the bridal party. Ashley is making bouquets for me, my MOH and the bridesmaids, corsages for our moms/stepmoms, and bouttonieres for our dads, best man, emcee and groomsmen. Then we’ll just pack all the flowers in our suitcases to bring to Cuba. The best part is I can use my bouquet for both the Toronto wedding and the Cuba wedding! It does have a slightly tropical theme but that’s alright. You can have a semi-sort-of tropical wedding in the city in the spring, right? See, these are the details I just don’t really care about.
A wedding cake is included in our wedding package from the resort in Cuba, so that’s taken care of. I don’t know how great it will be, honestly, because I’ve had cake in Cuba and was not overly impressed. But, no biggie. For the Toronto wedding my friend and former coworker (the one who is a really great baker) is doing our cake. I’m really excited for that one! Evan has one request and that is NO. FONDANT. But all the buttercream. We’re thinking something like this (but with different flowers/colours):
Another thing I feel like we really lucked out on is our officiant. She is a blog reader (and a Baptist minister) and she reached out to me a few months ago offering us her officiating services. Evan and I met her for lunch and really, really liked her so we could not be more happy with how that turned out. I love blogging for bringing so many wonderful people into my life! Right now we’re working on the ceremony with her. I think we’ll end up taking bits and pieces from a bunch of different ideas we’ve found online and then add our own personal touches, and we still don’t know if we’re going to write our own vows. If you have any ceremony ideas I’d love to hear them!
Hair and Makeup
We’re doing our own hair and makeup in Cuba. The bridal party and I are having a sleepover this month to have a practice session on each other, so that will be fun. For Toronto I have a professional doing my hair and makeup, as well as my mom’s and Evan’s mom’s. I actually met her through a blogging event last year and she did a fantastic job on my hair. She more does hair/makeup for magazine-type things (she is fancy and has an agent!) but I reached out to her just to ask and she said she’d do it and she brought her price wayyy down to our budget, so, YAY! I’m gonna look so goooood, hopefully people recognize me.
I think that’s it for vendors. I’m making a playlist for both weddings (Toronto we’re not having dancing since it’s mainly family) so we don’t need a DJ. And anything else is going to be DIY (possibly centrepieces for the Toronto wedding). We have our ceremony music and our first dance (in Cuba) song picked out, but I don’t want to give too many details out on that yet…
So the next big event will be THE big event!
I think the biggest challenge will be making our guests at each wedding feel special. I don’t want people attending the Cuba wedding to feel like we don’t care about it, like it’s not a big deal because we’re already married. And I don’t want our guests at the Toronto wedding to feel like it’s not the real wedding. We are so excited for both weddings and I’m so glad we’re doing it this way and not trying to have one giant wedding here (it would be VERY difficult for us to have a small wedding here if we opened it up to more than family). So, I hope everyone has a great time and we don’t have any major disasters.
But in the end we’ll be married and that’s the most important thing.