Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Wedding planning fun!

They say that getting married is one of the most stressful events in anyone’s life. But I look at two of my best friends (who are also in my wedding party), and they both seemed pretty calm and collected when it came to planning their own weddings. Or maybe they just didn’t reveal just how stressed they were. :)

As we start to seriously plan for our wedding, I’m excited! It’s actually a lot of fun, but I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed by all of the choices and potential expectations that come with a wedding. In reading the paperwork from our officiant, as well as countless online wedding forums and websites, I’m beginning to realize that 1) I’ve already done stuff that is considered a faux pas, and 2) I don’t actually know much about weddings. Like what is a candle ceremony? A sand ceremony? I have no idea. I didn’t know that mothers got corsages, or that a post-wedding brunch was a thing. And I didn’tĀ even think about ceremony music or first dance songs or having a microphone so people could make speeches, or a guestbook, or a slideshow at the wedding?

Related: We’re Engaged!

Some of these things are important, and I’m glad I learned about them, but a lot of it? It’s just not us, so we’re either not going to do them, or we’re going to do it in our own way. And while our wedding budget is by no means skimpy, $20,000 does not go a long way when you’re planning two separate out-of-town receptions that will likely end up totaling well over 125 guests combined!

Here are a few details that I can share right now! :)

  • All communication will be sent via e-mail. The only thing we’re actually mailing out will be our thank-you cards. Both the save-the-dates and invitations will be sent digitally. I subscribed to a service that will handle our guest lists and invitations for multiple events, and will give us a beautifully designed website that will host all of our important details. This saves us a lot of money for sure, but mostly I’m happy for a system that will keep my guest lists organized for both receptions. I also bought a custom domain name for $1.00, and that’s that!
  • We axed the engagement party and bridal shower. Neither of us were interested in having an engagement party and I didn’t want a bridal shower, so those things will not be happening.
  • Along with two receptions, we’ll both have two outfits. That means two wedding dresses and two suits. I’ve always thought it would be so special to be able to wear a traditional Chinese wedding dress to the banquet, so that’s what I’m going to do. And RD will also be wearing a traditional Chinese suit which I’m really excited about. This is definitely something that is important to us, so we’re going to make it happen. But…
  • I’m getting both wedding dresses custom made. At first I was going to make all these appointments to try on dresses so that I could have some sort of special bridal experience. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered what the point was. After doing a lot of research, the dresses that I liked the most were way out of my price range, and besides, the dress isn’t a super important element to our wedding anyway. So I started researching online dress makers, and found an amazing resource of people with gorgeous dresses and really great reviews from other brides. Since what I want isn’t super complicated or fussy and I know what dress shapes flatter my body best, I’m just going to go for it.
  • Our decorations will be minimal. RD is DIYing the ceremony decorations, and my sister and I are going to make some centre pieces for the reception. But other than that? We don’t have anything else planned. Ok, maybe I’ll buy a cute “Just Married” banner to hang on the table at the reception.
  • I’m going to make our wedding favours. At first I was going to buy them, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to actually put in effort to thank people for coming. So I’m to attempt to DIY this task for both receptions. It shouldn’t cost much, but it’s not something I’ve ever done before … so if it fails in the test run, then don’t worry! I’ve got a back-up plan.
  • Vendors are getting booked! We have booked our cake, photographer, salon appointments (hair and makeup), our hotel accommodation, seating for the ceremony, officiant, and 1 of 2 reception venues. I’m also in talks with the florist and waiting for a quote. Once the other venue gets booked, I’ll feel a lot better, but until then I’ll be a little ball of anxiety. :)

That’s where we are so far! I won’t be revealing too much more about the actual wedding details, as I know a lot of friends and family read this blog and I want to keep some of it a surprise! :) For those interested, I’m using WeddingWire for my budgeting and task list, and AppyCouple to manage the guest list, invitations, and website. I feel pretty proud that we’ve gotten this all done in just a few weeks, but at the same time I know we’re missing a lot of details (big and small) that should be sorted out ASAP.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. This is so exiting! I know planning for a wedding can get really stressful.

    Hubby and I had two weddings: one in Vietnam and one in China. Our parents planned everything for us since we were in the US. But it was also exhausting for them.

  2. KC says:

    As a relatively newly married person, the best thing I can tell you is get as much done as you can now, particularly the must-haves which you seem to have gotten. I also do about an hour on wedding every few days to keep it management.

    Last but not least, whatever happens, let it go. You’ve done all you can and enjoy the planning! :) Congratulations!

  3. Geekymath says:

    If you’re using an email program for invitations, make sure that important people know about it. My own sister (that I don’t talk to often) never told me she was getting married and the invitation got lost in my spam folder I guess. Didn’t end up going to the wedding.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yikes I’m sorry you ended up missing your sister’s wedding! :( But good call on making sure people know about it. I’ve personally asked most people for their email address so hopefully they will be on the lookout. :)

  4. Congratulations! Sounds like you’re off to a great start. If I can lend any advice, be really careful before your start any DIY projects lol. We tried a few things to save money in the beginning and one major one was DIY favours. It ended up being almost as expensive as buying something ourselves! Good luck

  5. Steph says:

    If you’re not sure what you want to do for wedding favours and you’re looking for something a little unconventional, you could consider donating a small amount of money to your favourite charity on behalf of each guest! Many Canadian charities offer beautiful donor cards they will send to you that can be placed on the guest’s plates to inform them of the donation.
    My Dad is a cancer survivor so we are doing this for the Canadian Cancer Society, but I know most of the healthcare foundations, animal shelters and homeless shelters in my city also provide this service, and we are just in tiny little Winnipeg! I bet there are some great options in B.C. I am sure whatever you decide to make/do will be lovely, and I’m looking forward to following your wedding content as we are planning our own.

    Here is a link to the Cancer Society cards just to give you an idea of what I am (badly) explaining:

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