winter wedding (the details)

Just a word of a warning before you start reading this post… there are almost 2,000 words in it. And a heck of a lot of pictures. If you love weddings (or details about how a cheepy like me plans a detail filled wedding) read on! Otherwise, you might want to give this one a miss.

And before I go too far, here is a picture, to pique your interest on what comes AFTER the intro!

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Intro

(Yes, this post is that long. And I like headings, what can I say?)

Yesterday at Starbucks I got my first red cup of the year, and we all know what that means. The holiday season is upon us, yippee!! (Ok, maybe it isn’t really “upon” us quite yet since it is only the third of November, but it’s certainly creeping into our lives whether we are ready or not). So, where does that take me? Back to another wedding post, of course! (The segue is in the “winter”, in case you are new here and hadn’t yet learned that I got married in the dead of winter!) This post will be about all the awesome wintery details at the reception, when I stop rambling long enough to finally get there!

Before I get into the details (punny, right?), I want to tell you about some of the background noise to this post. The wedding industry (or at least the bloggers therein) has been all a flutter about details the last several weeks. It all started with a beautifully written post by Jonas Peterson. His message? Don’t get lost in the details. Jonas never said he didn’t like details, in fact, he clearly stated that he loves them. He just wants them to be YOUR details. The moral of the story: don’t lose sight of what’s really important. The love. Getting married. Spending the rest of your life with the person who makes you smile like no one else. That’s what is really important. The rest, well that my friends is merely details.

There have been all sorts of responses to the post, and this post isn’t intended to be one (seriously, it was actually just inspired by my Starbucks cup). But since a) you asked (ok, you didn’t), and b) I don’t want this to be misconstrued by anyone in the industry as a snarky response, because it’s not intended to be, it’s just a timing coincidence, I mean who knew Starbucks was going to remind me of my wintery details at the same time that the industry is in a flutter? Who knew? I’ll give you my two cents.

Allison’s $0.02: Obsess about the details as much as you want if it is fun for you, just make sure they are yours and they are meaningful to you. Please don’t design your wedding around getting featured on a blog. Trust me, the brief euphoria you feel when it does get featured is fleeting.

Full disclosure: Our wedding was actually featured on Elizabeth Anne Designs without our knowing. Our photographer submit it without mentioning it to us, and then she forgot to tell us we were featured (she was in the middle of a move, and she totally apologized). Had my cousin not stumbled upon it, we probably never would have known we were featured! So I know about the euphoria. And I know you feel really awesome for a couple of days, and then your wedding gets buried somewhere deep below all the other pretty weddings and then it just turns into a pleasant memory.

Ok, so. This post sort of got hijacked by the wedding industry background noise. Where it came from (might I remind you… again) was my wintery holiday-y Starbucks cup yesterday morning. And, with that in mind, let’s talk details!

Ceremony

First up the only real detail from the ceremony….

Candles!

It gets dark EARLY in Edmonton in January. The sun set at 4:26pm on the day of the wedding. So, we planned our ceremony at the Winspear Centre for 5:00, when it would be totally dark (I’m sure our photographers hated us for that one…). Rather than pew bows, we had aisle candles. The vases for the aisle candles were $2 each from Dollarama. Those crystals on the vase were on clearance at IKEA. I was able to sell them on a break-even basis!

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We also had beautiful open-flame candles all along the bar behind where the ceremony took place. (Good luck getting any venue to allow you open flame candles, ours was the last wedding at the Winspear where they were allowed). In total I spent about $150 on candles from IKEA (the ivory colour matched our ivory décor). I was then able to gift some candles to family and friends and sell the rest of $30.

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The pretty bokeh in the background of the image is the lights from downtown Edmonton – the Winspear Centre has a huge wall of glass facing out towards downtown.

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Love (The most important detail of all)

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Is that euphoria or what?

Reception

After the ceremony we head over to the Wedgwood Room in the Hotel MacDonald for the reception. I honestly don’t think there is a more beautiful ballroom than this in the entire country. Go Edmonton Go!

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Tables

I spent hours on the internet searching out inspiration for beautiful and wintery table settings. Then I tried to diy the ones that spoke to me (since we splurged, at least by Edmonton standards, on our venue). (Aside: I think my brain might have exploded if pinterest had been around for our wedding. You pinterest brides don’t know how good you have it!)

A piece of advice: I had a mock up table in my mom and dad’s basement, starting in July, so I could see whether I needed to add another layer of texture to the wedding. It really helped me. Here is what the finished product looked like:

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Linens

We used the standard white linens from the hotel with silver organza overlays (which were totally see-through and not necessary), silver satin chair sashes and white chair covers. I bought both the overlays and the chair sashes online (it was cheaper than renting), but paid the chair cover company $0.50 per chair for them to tie on the sashes. I was able to sell both the overlays and the sashes after the wedding, so the net cost at the end of the day was about $1.50 per guest. Rather than pay to rent fancy napkins, I figured out a way to use the standard white hotel napkins, but really make them pop, more on that below!

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We also tucked a pinecone (that I collected from my friend Michelle’s cabin in the Kwartha’s) into the back of each chair. The extra pinecones were placed on the head table, the cake table, and other “public” places!

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Centrepieces

The focal point of the tables were floral centerpieces (made by me the morning of the wedding with ivory roses from Costco and ribbon from the internet). For just over $10 per table, we had fresh flowers on every table. The summer before the wedding I also made the icy twigs that were sticking out of the bouquets. Each centrepiece including 1.5 bags of clear marbles from Michael’s (on clearance for 60% off when I bought them) to add some depth (these were sold to another bride after the wedding). The 6” cube vases were found on Kijiji for $5 each, then sold on Kijiji for $5 each for a net cost of $5 (no, I’m not bad at math… one broke so we couldn’t sell it.)

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Each table also had a table “number”. Really, it was a place from our travels with a picture of us from our travels. These were insanely cheap, the developing cost $4.00 and the clear plastic dollarama frames were $1 per table (now, these things were brutal, and we broke about 5 in the process, so it really was $5more). However, we were able to resell the frames for $0.50 each.

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We also reused the aisle candles as candle on each table. I really like how the centerpieces weren’t perfectly symmetrical.

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Place Settings

Black Chargers ($2 per setting). This was a late addition to the table, and one expense I was really glad I took undertook. I think the black added a pop to the table that otherwise would have been missing. And for $160 I had an awesome gift for my mom, my cousins and my aunts (a dozen chargers each) who did an insane amount of work in helping set up while the wedding party was getting our portraits done. This was what made the white hotel napkins pop. They were so worth it. A program for the reception tucked into a napkin pocket along with some little beady things I bought for a couple of dollars.

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And the most serious labour of love from the wedding: our snowflake ornament favours! Like real snowflakes, each one was different! (Sadly, the snowflake above was my least favourite snowflake, and it happened to be the one most beautifully captured by our photographers! The one below is my most favourite!)

These were inspired by Martha Stewart (always dangerous) and hand made by me and some of the bridesmaids and Katie, my MC. It was hard work, but oh so worth it! A few guests (several, in fact) forgot theirs. So, now the hubs and I have about 30 for our own tree every year! Best memory ever!

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We bought frames for $0.75 each for our escort cards and gave the lot away to one winner at each table, that way, they would have a full set for their own dinner parties!

Extra Depth
I realized that the table needed some depth. So I added eight to ten tealights in square tealight holders per table. These were pretty cheap (maybe $0.50 or $1.00 each) and I was able to sell them, almost at cost, after the wedding.

But, we were still missing something. So, I went to Dollarama and came back with the most perfect wedding décor item EVER. “Ice”. It could represent diamonds, or ice, or just sparkly. These little acrylic pieces cost $1 for a pack at dollarama and I bought two packs per table. There were leftovers for the gift table and the cake table and all sorts of other good places! They also come in blue and pink, if that jives better for your wedding. And. I was also able to sell these for $8. So good. I also got some fake snow (bags full are super cheap) and we scattered that on the tables.

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Head Table

I don’t really love the idea of head tables, they are kind of lonely. But… having a head table let us not have to strike a table from the dance floor, which was more important to me; we did our first dance before the reception. I’ll tell you all about our head table problems in a future post, but for now, just the pretty.

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Our head table was “China”, and had three table “numbers” from around china. I bought Dollarama vases (surprise, surprise) for the bridesmaid and my bouquets, and otherwise – the tables were pretty much exactly the same as the other tables!

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Cake Table

Oh our cake. I loved it. So much. If I were to have another wedding, I’d actually have a macaron tower (because macarons are the best thing in life), so I’m sort of glad I didn’t know about them 2 years ago. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had this pretty cake. Cakes, however, are not cheap. We had ours made by an up and coming baker (who is not so up and coming anymore, sadly she’s had to leave the business due to arthritis) but still, it was not cheap. The sugar paste flowers looked awesome though!

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You can also see a fancy snowflake in this image. I bought three of those at the last minute in after-Christmas sales at Zellers. I think they cost $5 each at the crazy reduced rate. Pretty right?

Card Box

I made it. Out of wrapping paper from Michael’s and the dollar store and old shoe boxes I found in my mom’s basement. The ribbon was culled from the stash of ribbon I bought for super cheap online. These card boxes often cost $200. Mine cost about $5.

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Escort Cards / Guest Book

I already told you about our escort cards, but what about our guestbook? Well.. it was an excel spreadsheet! If you only know us from the blog, you probably think that is really bizarre. If you know us in real life, you know that is oh so perfect.

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And that – my friends – is the details! Love em? Hate em? Don’t really care either way?

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