BFBB: Bona Fide Budget Bride
AKA a real life Budget Bride who is sharing all her money-saving hacks and expensive mistakes (whoops!) to help you plan your perfect and on-budget wedding. Get inspired!
Carrie and Brett first met on a ski trip arranged in partnership between his church and her campus ministry. A month after that ski trip, Brett took Carrie to a Canucks game that she still isn’t quite sure was a first date. From there they dated for two years until their love took them on a helicopter ride to a mountaintop proposal. Their love is the story of two cultures coming together, of a circle of support from their friends, family and church, and of two of the biggest and brightest smiles I have ever seen.
The couple: Carrie & Brett
When: March 12, 2016
Where: Vancouver, BC
# Guests: 120
What one word would you use to sum up your wedding?
Okay, and in a few more words?
Carrie: We really wanted our wedding to resemble us, but not just be about us. We wanted it to be about our friends and our family – how often do you have everyone you know and love in one place? So we had games, like Giant Jenga, dedicated a lot of time for dancing, skipped the parent speeches and had a sundae bar for dessert.
What shocked you most about wedding planning?
Carrie: What shocked me most was that there were so many decisions to make regardless of whether you care about something or not. So even if you don’t care about table cloth colours, you still have to decide. It could get overwhelming at times.
Where did you save the most money?
Carrie: We definitely saved the most money on our venue. We held our reception at the Musqueam Cultural Pavilion. We only visited a few places when picking our venue but this was our best option because we were able to get a great discount thanks to Brett’s First Nations heritage. The venue also took care of all of the catering, liquor license, etc. It saved us a ton of money.
Tell me about your dress!
Carrie: Another place I saved a lot of money was on my dress. I had tried on dresses at a few bridal shops to figure out my style so I could then go online. I ended up finding a dress in the style I liked on Craigslist. So I went to the woman’s house after work to try on the dress. I went by myself so there was no big group or lots of tears. I took some photos to send to my mom and we both agreed that it was my dress. And it only cost me $300!
Where did you spend the most?
Carrie: We spent the most on food. Unfortunately, there’s really no way around it unless you invite fewer people. We also ended up paying a bit more for our alcohol because there was a bit of a mix up. We decided to do a By Donation Bar instead of an open bar or cash bar. The idea was that there would be a dance off between me and my bridesmaids and Brett and his groomsmen, and people would put money in the jar for whichever team they thought won. We even had jars made with our faces on them! Unfortunately, while the girls prepared something, the boys did not. So us girls just did our performance in place of a first dance.
What was the best budget decision you made?
Carrie: I think the decision we made on our photography was definitely helpful for our budget, but it was something we disagreed on at the start. Originally, photography was the most important aspect to me but Brett didn’t want to spend as much on it. And then partway through the planning, we switched sides and Brett wanted to spend more money on photography than I did. It was something we had to come together on. We eventually went with a friend from my high school youth group who runs a photography business, Megan Benger Photography. Megan was very generous with her services.
What is the one budget decision you regret?
Carrie: Our food. We didn’t do a tasting beforehand and were actually a bit disappointed with it on the day. It wasn’t what we envisioned so we wish we had put some more time into figuring out the menu. But everyone else at our wedding loved the food! People were still raving about it months later.
What traditions did you incorporate?
Carrie: In the morning before our wedding, we did the traditional Chinese tea ceremony. We actually did it for both my side of the family and for Brett’s, so it was really nice to have everyone together taking part in that. Another way we honoured our families and backgrounds was with a trip to Hong Kong for a second wedding reception with my family and friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding. It was Brett’s first visit to Hong Kong; it was really important for me to be able to introduce him to my family and see my culture. We even had a chance to do a bit of a photo shoot with my cousin while we were in Hong Kong, which was lots of fun.
What was your favourite part of your wedding?
Carrie: I loved being surrounded by family and friends and, of course, being with Brett and sharing the whole day together.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you change?
Carrie: I wouldn’t do it all over again – once was enough! But honestly, there isn’t much I would do differently. Everything worked out really well.
And finally, what is your advice for future Budget Brides?
Carrie: 1) No one else will see the details. People can go really overboard with DIY projects so don’t worry about all the little things.
2) Delegate tasks! I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family.
3) Allocate enough time for dancing if that is important to you. Maybe even the whole time? 🙂 But make sure you schedule it in because I went to a wedding once where they had to skip the dancing because the rest of the reception was running late.
Thank you so much to my wonderful friend Carrie for sharing all of the details of her wedding. I am so inspired by how you melded two cultures together and kept the focus on fun during your wedding day. I’m sure your marriage is going to be just as family focused and full of smiles!
Thank you as well to Megan Benger Photography for allowing me to share the beautiful photos you captured of Carrie and Brett’s special day.