Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top 10 Wedding Decisions We Made

Now that you've all gotten a good idea of what my wedding day was like, I wanted to share the top ten decisions we made that helped make our wedding day exceptional.  

All photos by Sarelle Photos (unless otherwise noted).

1) Having a destination wedding.

 As I said before, this was the BEST decision we made for our wedding.  Not only did it helped initially cut down the guest list (which in turn saved us a ton of money), but it gave us a chance to spend even more time with our guests by extending the wedding festivities over a long weekend.

2) Choosing a boutique hotel for the wedding.

Ceremony + Reception decor / Personal Photos
The fact that we were able to have the ceremony, reception and room accommodations eliminated day-of transportation costs, thus saving us hundreds of dollars.  We looked at six different hotel venues initially, but ended up choosing the Hotel Nelligan (as opposed to the Hyatt or Westin) because of it's uniqueness to Old Montreal. 

3) Hiring a wedding planner for day-of coordination services.

Our wedding planner Rachel from An English Rose
 I can't stress enough how important it is to have someone running the show the day of the wedding.  Just having the weight of last minute dilemmas lifted off your shoulders is well worth the cost of hiring someone to make sure your day goes smoothly.

4) Creating a wedding website.

This was the perfect place for guests to get information about all things related to our wedding weekend, including travel info, FAQs and registry information.  Plus, it was also a place where some guests could learn a bit more about us (i.e. the specifics of how we met, the proposal story, etc.)

5) First look and bridal party photos before the ceremony.

We decided on this solely because we didn't want to miss cocktail hour (nor did we want our bridal party to miss it either), but even if we didn't have one, we would have done this to avoid a super long gap between the ceremony and reception. 

6) Hiring a DJ instead of a band.

BM M and BM K with DJ Yo-C / Personal Photo
 I think if you find the right wedding band, it could make the wedding a truly amazing and unique experience.  However, because of all the different types of music we knew we'd have to play at the wedding, it was no question that we needed a DJ to fulfill our crazy musical needs.  

7) Scheduling a seamless reception flow for an uninterrupted dance party.

 What I mean by this is that the reception entrances were immediately followed by the special dances (First, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, Anniversary dance), which were immediately followed by dinner with speeches sprinkled throughout.  AFTER all this was taken care of, the dance floor was officially opened for dancing and wasn't interrupted for the rest of the night--we even cut the cake on the side of the dance floor just so we didn't have to stop the party.

The takeaway here is that if having a packed dance floor is a priority, avoid interrupting the flow of the dance party as best you can.  Depending on your crowd, it can be hard enough getting people on the dance floor, but if guests keep being told they can dance, then 30 minutes later have to sit back down for this dance or that speech, I can pretty much guarantee that you will not have a packed dance floor by the end of the night.

8) Renting a photo booth.

When have you ever not had fun in a photo booth??  Whether you DIY your "faux-to" booth or rent a traditional one, you're guaranteed to get some awesome and silly shots of your guests.  Don't forget the props!

9) Using DIY technology to capture special wedding moments.

Photo via WeddingMix
 Instead of hiring a videographer, we saved thousands of dollars by renting flip cameras from WeddingMix and having a select group of trusted friends and family record specific moments of the day.  Afterwards, we mailed back the cameras to WeddingMix and in just a few short weeks, we got a full-length wedding DVD and a wedding trailer on YouTube.  It's genius!

Photo via Wedding Party App
We also told all our guests prior to the wedding to download Wedding Party App on their smartphones so they could share photos they take on our wedding day in real time.  We also put a note in the welcome bags AND had a printed sign at each table.  As a result, we had over 300 photos that guests added to the app.  It was so great seeing the different shots that people took throughout the wedding weekend and best of all--the app is FREE!

10) A keepsake "guestbook" idea. 

I am so thrilled with how our signed record albums came out and that we were able to use the albums afterwards as artwork in our living room.  The days of the old traditional guestbook are over.  Feel free to get creative or have guests sign something that's meaningful to YOU as a couple (whether that be puzzle pieces, fabric swatches, a photo poster board or record albums).

What were your top wedding decisions?  Were any of them on this list?
Monday, November 18, 2013

This Modern Love: Reliving the Memories through WeddingMix

Since we didn't have room in the budget to drop thousands of $$ on the videographer we wanted, we decided to work with WeddingMix instead.  With them, we were able to rent several flip cams which we entrusted to certain guests to capture certain footage throughout the wedding day.  While looking through the hundreds of photos from our photogs, I actually managed to find these pictures below that show our friends recording footage with cameras!

All photos by Sarelle Photos.

My bridesmaids took turns capturing footage of the girls getting ready.

 Mr. M's brother got him opening up my wedding morning gift and card.

 We had a friend and Mr. M's uncle capture the ceremony;

Another friend captured all the dances.

And another friend got footage of the speeches.

Now granted, if you are looking for the movie trailer cinematic quality of a professional videographer, then this option isn't for you.  But if you would love to capture the most beautiful day of your life on camera, with footage taken by your closest friends and family at a fraction of the cost to hire a videographer, then this is hands down the best option out there.

Not only do we have our short wedding trailer living on YouTube, but we also have a full-length video of the wedding day, with scenes chosen by me after combing through hours of footage (you can also pay a bit extra to have them choose the footage for you). WeddingMix's editing team then did their magic and turned the video into a keepsake DVD for us to have forever.  Photos are amazing and wedding-must have, but there is nothing like being able to watch your husband get emotional as he reads his vows or your dad's awesome moves on the dance floor!

Would you consider DIY videography or will you hire a videographer?

Missed a recap?  Catch up here;
Thursday, November 14, 2013

This Modern Love: Let's Dance the Last Dance

With the party raging on well past midnight, it was time for a little surprise for our guests who were still left standing.  We alluded to a "midnight surprise" on the menus, so now it was time to bring out the carbs!

Mini-poutine at midnight / Photo by Sarelle Photos
We treated our guests to mini-poutine, mini-smoked meat sandwiches and sliders.  It was just what the remaining partiers needed to refuel for a few more hours of dancing.  Right about this point was when our amazing photographers, Chris and Samara of Sarelle Photos wrapped up the pro photos.  They had been with us for over 14 hours that day, and by then most people would start looking like hot messes in the bright camera lights so it was best for them to call it a night.

Luckily, we still had some friends who were using our Wedding Party App, and were able to capture the remaining shots of the night.

All photos personal. 
Looks like some kind of line dance here--maybe "Cupid Shuffle"?
More dancing well past 1am
Mr. M and I leading another line dance
And then I remember that DJ Yo-C announced that it was finally time for the last dance.  He surprised us by playing our first dance song, "Turn Into" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, again.  Mr. M and I found each other on the dance floor for one last slow dance.

One last dance
And then this is a moment I'll never forget--the last remaining guests came up to dance with us.  All of a sudden, a love circle was formed...and I couldn't imagine a better way to end the night.  There was nothing like being surrounded by these friends and family (with glow necklaces on their heads mind you) for one last dance.

All you need is love
And with that, our fabulous wedding day was over.  Mr. M and I headed into the elevator to go up to the penthouse, and I FINALLY took of my beautiful four inch Kate Spades.  How I managed to wear them the entire night, I'll never know.

We partied HARD
Next up, reliving our wedding memories through video, courtesy of WeddingMix!

Missed a recap?  Catch up here;
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This Modern Love: We (Secretly) Cut the Cake

With the party raging on, we didn't dare want to slow down the momentum.  So when our wedding planner told us it was time to cut the cake (or cupcake I should say), we told her to let the DJ know to keep the party going, and that we'd just pull the photographers aside so they can take photos of us doing the honors.  If any of the guests happened to be watching, great, but we weren't going to stop the music for this.

All photos by Sarelle Photos (unless otherwise noted).

Feeding each other cupcakes

Our cupcake tower was from the fabulous cupcake shop Les Glaceurs in Old Montreal.  We discovered the shop on our very first trip to Montreal over three years ago and become obsessed, so we pretty much booked them in the beginning stages of our wedding planning.

After we got our cake photos, the DJ announced that the cupcakes were now ready to be (self)served, and people came in droves to enjoy the delicious treats!

There were 7 cupcake flavors including S'mores cupcakes--doesn't get better than that! / Personal photo
  A few minutes later, we snuck off with the photogs for some final couples' pictures of the night.

I haven't mentioned this before but I must say, the staff at the Hotel Nelligan were truly excellent.  They took care of everything we needed and were the friendliest, most accommodating people I've ever worked with.  Since the rain finally let up, we asked permission to go to the rooftop to take some nighttime shots and the hotel was more than willing to unlock the doors and let us go up for a few minutes.

One of the staff overheard me talking about how cold it probably was outside and out of nowhere, he brings me a towel to help keep me warm in between shots.  I'm telling you, these people went above and beyond our expectations. 

From the hotel rooftop, you can see the Notre Dame cathedral lit up in the background.  Even though we were freezing, it made for a beautiful photo op.

Next up, all good parties things must come to an end.

Missed a recap?  Catch up here;
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Modern Love: Photobooth Fun!

Photo booths are the best thing to happen to wedding receptions since the dance floor.  Nothing gets guests more in the mood to be silly than a photo booth (accompanied by awesome props of course).  In particular, I'm a huge fan of the ones that actually print out the photos--we decided to nix traditional favors (we didn't want to give people useless tchotchkes, plus it was another way to save some money) in "favor" of having guests take their printed photos home as a keepsake.

Grandpa checking out his photo booth pics
We rented the photo booth through DJ Yo-C, so luckily he was able to provide us with a CD of all the images captured throughout the night.  And let me tell you, our guests took the silliness and fun factor to a whole new level!  Apparently people's inhibitions seriously go out the window when it comes to a photo booth.  You could imagine my shock when after the wedding, I popped in the CD to look through the photos and saw some guests doing semi-naughty things in there!  Those photos will obviously NOT be posted here to protect said parties...but it was absolutely HILARIOUS.

Here are some less scandalous examples of how much our guests enjoyed the photobooth.  To jazz up the background (which came plain white), I bought a damask photo backdrop from Party City.  I love the way it looks and it was SO cheap (less than $5)!!

Everyone was loving their props!
This is actually me and my seven bridesmaids trying to squeeze into the booth
Our photographers luckily caught this moment from the outside!
And as the night went on, the photos got sillier and sillier.

My bridesmaids and their significant others
GM Z and his fiancee losing their footing on the left
Bringing in the reception props as well as the photo booth ones!
My cousin on the left making the most hilarious face ever

Even Mr. M's family got in on the fun!

Mr. M's dad, uncle and grandparents!
Mr. M's family portrait
Me and my MIL
And of course, Mr. M and I had to show the photo booth some love :)

Another great shot from our photos
But the photo that really takes the cake is my dad using a photo booth for the first time.  It was so amazing that I had to turn it into the animated gif below. 

Sipping his ginger ale like a BOSS
I love the fact that I have all these blackmail photos--it's one thing to have your professional pictures, but another thing to have a CD full of your guests being extra ridiculous :)

Next up, the party continues to have a life of it's own, so we decide to sneak off to the side to cut the cake.

Missed a recap?  Catch up here;