wedding day

Wedding Day Advice! by Vanessa Larkey

Hiya folks! It's been almost a MONTH since my last blog post. Christmas, New Years, and life got in the way. But! I'm back, and ready to share some wedding day dos and don'ts that I learned from our big day, which happened 8 WEEKS (!!!) ago. There are two categories - 'The Great' and 'Not so Good'. I wouldn't categorize anything as 'bad', because our wedding day still takes top spot in my list of Best Days Ever. There's just a couple of things where if I had to go back and do 'em differently, I would. 

THE GREAT! 

HAVING THE CEREMONY AND RECEPTION IN ONE PLACE

I get it. You have a religious obligation to get married in a church. Or, you know of a really cute barn that would be perfect for the ceremony. But, if you can swing it, having the ceremony and reception in one venue saves on your most precious wedding day commodity - time. It's true what people say, your wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye. The less locations, the more time you have to savour the moment. 

While we were 'savouring the moment', we also had unintentionally set up a home base for our wedding party and family to meet, get ready, and decorate the venue. Everyone in one location also meant that we could get ready there, including hair and makeup. Our makeup artist, Nikki, and hair stylist, Mandee, were able to take their time and the beautification process (I don't care how that sounds, I'm using it!) was stress free and relaxed.  

Budget wise, having everyone (and thing!) in one location cut down on costs. There was no need to order a limo or Uber for wedding day transportation. And, bonus points! Because our wedding was in the winter, our venue waived the ceremony fee.* 

As for our guests, I heard from multiple people they appreciated the later ceremony, and single location. 

*When we were venue hunting, I found the average ceremony fee was about $800. Before you book a location, make sure to ask if they have a ceremony fee, and whether they can waive it if you get married off season. 

WEDDING PHOTOS PRE-CEREMONY

If you're comfortable with doing a first look, taking wedding photos before the ceremony is another time saver. 

As I mentioned above, our ceremony was at 5 p.m., which gave us lots of time to take photos during the day. It also gave us something to do, instead of milling around nervously. I think our photographer appreciated it, as he had ample time to get the shots he needed, instead of rushing things between the ceremony and reception. 

I also heard from a few guests that they appreciated this - they didn't have to entertain themselves for a few hours while the bridal party took photos. 

DELEGATING ALL OF THE WEDDING DAY RESPONSIBILITIES 

Before the wedding we assigned members of the bridal party different tasks including: 

- General venue decorating 

- Helping the DJ, officiant, and photographer set up

- Lunch and coffee pickup 

- Moving the envelope box to a secure location (along with the gifts) 

- Party favour set up 

This helped out BIG TIME, especially during the ceremony and reception. When it's your wedding day, you're pulled in a million different directions and really don't have time to hammer out logistical issues. Having a few friends (or if you can afford it, a wedding day coordinator) makes sure you enjoy the day without getting bogged down with issues. 

NO PHOTOs POLICY DURING THE CEREMONY 

Peter and I decided to have a strict 'No Photos' policy during the ceremony. Our officiant made the announcement before we walked down the aisle and luckily, everyone obliged. I'm really, really, happy we did this for a few reasons: 

- Our guests were forced to live in the moment and enjoy the ceremony 

- People trying to take photos during wedding ceremonies are distracting to other guests and to the bridal party themselves 

- Guests trying to take photos can get in the way of the photographer, who is THERE TO TAKE PHOTOS! LET THE PHOTOGRAPHER DO THEIR JOB! 

We did, however, have a sign letting guests know our hashtag (it was #hamkey2016). The morning after the wedding it was super fun to scroll thru Instagram and see all of the snaps people took throughout the night. 

PHOTO BOOTH 

Peter and I hemmed and hawed over whether to have a photo booth for weeks. Was it worth the extra money? Would we appreciate it? At the end of the day, we are happy that we shelled out the extra dough. If you can afford it, I'd recommend you do it too. It was so much fun to look at the photo booth pics the day after the wedding. Our guests really appreciated it too - who doesn't love a photo booth???  

THE NOT SO GOOD 

RECEIVING LINE

I thought that a receiving line was old fashion. Awkward. Unnecessary. But, in hindsight, it's something we should've done. While we did try to say hi to everyone, we were pulled in so many directions we didn't get to give everyone a quick hello. A receiving line would have easily solved this problem. 

CLEANING UP AT THE END OF THE NIGHT

While our bridal party definitely helped us clean up at the end of the night, there were a few items (tea lights on the table for example) that I wish we gathered. I think in hindsight I would've made a list of stuff that I wanted to take home, and stuff I didn't care about. 

Going Off Script During Speeches 

As I mentioned in a previous post, we went off script during the speeches and I ended up missing a paragraph I had written about my bridesmaid, Carly. For you future brides and grooms, DO NOT go off script! 

More wedding pics are coming - this is just a taste of the day! Photo courtesy of  Tim Wadleigh

More wedding pics are coming - this is just a taste of the day! Photo courtesy of Tim Wadleigh

Just Married! by Vanessa Larkey

Just one of the many incredible photo booth pics courtesy of Tim Wadleigh  www.timwadleigh.com 

Just one of the many incredible photo booth pics courtesy of Tim Wadleigh  www.timwadleigh.com 

We did it! 

After a year and a half engagement, we are finally husband and wife. We spent the last week basking in our newlywedom (not a real word but I'm using it anyway). Over the past few days people have said to us, "Does it feel any different? You two already lived together." 

To be perfectly honest, it does feel different. It feels more permanent. More secure. Like we really are family.

So! Enough with that gushy stuff. How'd the big day go? A recap is below. 


7:30 a.m. 

There was no need for me to be up that early... it just happened. Well, my nerves made it happen. I made coffee and attempted to eat something. The attempt proved futile. I promised myself I would eat later (no one wants to be white girl wasted at their own wedding) and started cleaning the house.

Our ceremony wasn't until 5 p.m., which meant I had ALL DAY to dwell on whether I would trip while walking down the aisle. Luckily, the cleaning helped ease my mind, and before I knew it my ride (my sister and her boyfriend) arrived to take me to Fantasy Farm. It was about 10:15 a.m. The plan was to decorate the venue and get ready. In what felt like the blink of an eye, the hair and makeup process started and we were off. 

I'll touch on this in another post wedding blog entry, but my bridesmaids were instrumental in making sure everything on the day of ran smoothly. Each was in charge of a wedding element (putting out the grandparent wedding photos, watching the envelope box) and they all did a fantastic job. I didn't have to think about anything - it was all taken care of. All I had to think about was not falling during my aisle walk. Great. 

Peter and I took our photos before the ceremony (something I would recommend) which ate up a couple of hours. Tim, our photographer, did a great job of making us feel at ease. It definitely helped that he is an old colleague from my days at MTV Canada. Tim suggested we take 15 minutes with one another before the ceremony to decompress and bask in the day. It was great advice. We held each other and really took it in - we were getting married in LESS THAN AN HOUR. 

The time between my embrace with Peter to the actual ceremony is a blur. I vaguely recall talking to the officiant, Rita Harrison, who explained the ceremony process once more. I remember consciously avoiding my Dad - he also gets nervous and watching him deal with nerves makes me MORE anxious. I recall our wedding venue consultant, Brian, suggesting we start the ceremony a tad early as all of our guests had arrived. 

Before I knew it I was linking arms with my parents and holding back tears while my friend, Vanessa Wynn-Williams, serenaded the crowd with her rendition of "Sea of Love". Out of all the experiences of that night, I found walking down the aisle to be the most surreal. I've watched a lot of brides walk the walk, but never really thought that one day that would be me. I looked around the room and realized that everyone that we love was there, ready to watch us make the biggest commitment of our lives. It was absolutely overwhelming. 

Our ceremony was beautiful. Rita did a fabulous job, and our family and friends who performed readings knocked 'em out of the park. We said our "I dos" and signed the paperwork. I've touched on my bad penmanship before, but my signature on our wedding license really takes the cake. My hands were shaking, and I could barely hold the pen. My apologies to the bureaucrat who has to authentic that. 

After the ceremony Peter and I quickly embraced and a wave of euphoria took over. It was done! We did it! We walked around the room, greeting our guests. I couldn't stop smiling - I must've looked like a deranged Cheshire cat. We took a few more family photos and dinner started.

Instead of the standard glass clink to get us to kiss, we had a wheel (pictures coming). Guests were encouraged to tempt fate and give the ol' wheel a spin. Sometimes it would land on kiss and we would happily oblige. Other times it landed on "Story" and the poor soul who spun was required to tell a story about the bride and groom. There was also a toast and dance option. I loved having the wheel - it was an interactive and fun way to incorporate our guests into the dinner portion of the night. And for those Bunz members out there - stay tuned, because we are ready to trade that puppy. 

At 8 p.m. I was pretty proud of myself. I managed to hold back my tears and keep my makeup intact. All of that went out the window during my Dad's speech. Just logistically speaking, he had his entire 15 minute long toast MEMORIZED. Do you know how long that that would take?!? That in itself was impressive. 

His words are what really struck me, though. He weaved a tale of the life lessons that I had taught him over the years. What really unleashed the water works was when he apologized for not allowing me to spend the night at the hotel during prom. He said that he realized at that point he had to stop being my father and start to become my friend. Cue the tears! 

After my Dad's emotional rollercoaster of a speech, it was time for Peter and I to say our thanks. Sucker punched by my emotions, I started to go off script. I thought I did a great job, until immediately after our first dance. I realized that I forgot to thank someone who has been a key figure in my childhood, and an instrumental part of my life over the past 20 years - I forgot to thank my best friend and bridesmaid, Carly.

In going off script, I skipped the paragraph I had written about her, and my heart sank. I asked the DJ to cut the music and went back on the mic to make an impromptu toast. Missing that paragraph during our thank-you's will go down as one of my biggest mistakes of not just the wedding, but my life. Carly, you are an incredible friend and did so much to help make sure our wedding day was absolutely perfect. AND you did it with two young children! You're an incredible human being, and I love you so much.

Carly, being the awesome friend that she is, said she understood my awful gaff and encouraged me to go back out onto the dance floor and enjoy the night. I did, and we had an amazing time dancing until the wee hours of the morning. 


It's been a week since the big day and I'm in our basement, sitting beside my new husband. Life is pretty great - we both feel pretty lucky. What's left to do blog wise? Reveal my final budget, of course. I'll also share some wedding day tips, and what I've learned throughout this entire process. But those things can wait... I'm just enjoying sitting beside my husband and just....being.