Tag Archives: florist

How to prevent wedding expo disasters. Part 2 of 2: survival guide

7 Jan

One of the fun parts of the bridal expo: The fashion show with all these gorgeous wedding dresses

After the overwhelming response from part 1 (how to use wedding shows to save money), here’s part 2 on how to physically survive an exhausting bridal show full of lots of standing, talking, lugging around brochures, and sugar overdosing. Bridal shows are great because you can talk to wedding vendors in person and avoid hours and hours and hours of Google search and phonecall time, all in one place. We tasted cakes at the wedding show and one was so good that we decided then and there that it would be our bakery. Took one thing off our list right away! When we went to buy was a pleasant experience.

  •  The most important tip: Go with your fiance!!! I can’t stress this enough. Number one, it’s his/her wedding too so they should have input. Number two, at Canada’s Bridal Show they called up the grooms on stage to do silly dances and the winner got a $5,000 diamond ring! A second set of eyes is great, and your fiance will be able to help you cut down on which vendors are a definite no so you can cut down on the number of heavy brochures you’ll have to lug around the rest of the day. You two are marrying to become a team, start practicing teamwork now!
  • Wedding expos are usually held at ginormous convention centers. This means don’t wear stilettos and don’t wear thick jackets. You will do lots of walking. You will get hot and bothered (literally, not figuratively). Today is time to put away the Louboutins and stick to the Nikes.
  •  The first items you will see when you walk in are the wedding magazines. Make these the LAST items you pick up.  Some of these are as thick as these ancient devices of the 80s called catalogues and phonebooks. I know you’re trying to get in shape for the wedding but you will get tired, fast if you pick them up first.
  • Figure out your nourishment strategy. You will need lots of energy to carry around all those brochures. Remember, convention centers often equal quality food like hot dogs or greasy pizza for $7 per slice. I personally went on a half-full stomach because I knew there would be cake samples. You don’t want to feel sick by stuffing your stomach full o’cake on top of a regular meal. I am also happy to say I did have a few lunches that consisted solely of cake :). Take this knowledge my child and do what is best for you.
  • In the last post we discussed how to get discounts at the wedding shows, but don’t assume everything is a bargain! Make SURE you shop around.  I’ve bitched and moaned about wedding price gouging on this blog over and over and over again. Just remember that you can get a lot of stuff you need from vendors that are not in the wedding show circuit, and don’t charge you your first born child as payment. The florist down the street from my parents’ house offered a MUCH better deal than the “wedding specialist florists.” They were still gorgeous, cheaper, and our florist knew the local church so there were no issues with deliveries. You can find much cheaper prices online even, on stuff like wedding invitations.

Sure this looks great, but talented florists can be found away from the wedding show circuit too.

  • Take the organizers.  These are agenda books with checklists and schedule on what order you should do your wedding-related tasks. These are full of ads, but very, very good in helping you plan the long list of things you’ll have to do and will point out things you may never have even thought of.
  • DON’T buy a clearance wedding dress at a bridal show! This will probably be your first exposure to wedding gowns and you will be so starry eyed about your new engagement, you will find every dress gorgeous. Don’t fall into the trap! You should look at photos of gowns in those magazines, and then go to a place where you can try on those dresses with good lighting and proper mirrors. That way you won’t be stuck with a clearance dress from two years ago that may be damaged (the lighting sucks! It might be damaged and not even the vendor knows it). Because you know as soon as you drop the cash you’ll see one in a magazine that you like better. You want to go to a place where you will have recourse in case there’s issues with your dress. I mean if you’re spending, $1,000 do you really want to get it at what is basically sidewalk sale? Seriously, it may be tough, but I promise you will have a better experience if you wait it out and go to a store. I will be posting about Toronto’s best bridal shops soon.
  •   Watch out for contests. There will be hundreds of vendors offering hundreds of contests. Some of these we’ve found weren’t actually “contests.” The vendors will call you back 2 weeks later saying you’ve “won” something, but in fact, everyone who entered “won.” And it often involves stuff like “winning $500 worth of stuff if you spend $2,000” or buy only their most expensive package.  Just be aware of which contests you’re actually interested in and how reputable the vendor is. . And added incentive to be careful. Blogger Rogue Bride found out her information was sold to scammers! If you do end up entering contests, some people suggest printing out stickers or business cards with your contact info in advance, so you don’t have to fill out endless forms all day. We didn’t do that, so it helped us cut down on the number entered.
  •  Focus on the owners to avoid “wedding vendor factories.” We found some photographers, for example, that have a pool of 20 photographers and you get some random one at your wedding. That means the one you get could have a completely different style from the one whose album you’re looking at. Focus on the places where the owners are the only photographers available and you know you’ll be getting what you paid for.

So hopefully you’ll have planned this out so the wedding show will be a fun experience. They can be overwhelming, but are worth it alone for the fashion shows. They bring out some fun DJs, and you can drool over wedding dresses in action on the catwalk. I hope you have fun at your shows and come out ahead and congrats on your engagement!

A bridesmaid dress on sale at the bridal show for just $30! I wouldn’t make the bridesmaids buy on the spot with no colour selection, but you can wear this at your rehearsal dinner, or bachelorette. Look great, and it’s cheap.

Some wedding shows in the Toronto area: Canada’s Bridal Show. The Total Wedding Show. The Wedding Co. Show. The Wedluxe Wedding show, the National Bridal Show.


It’s bridal show season! Part 1 of 2. How to score bargains

6 Jan
Canada's Bridal Show

A model shows off a wedding dress on the catwalk at Canada’s Bridal Show in Toronto in January 2011.

Hunting season has begun! With the holidays being a hot time for people to get engaged, it’s no wonder wedding shows use January as their prime season to target those sparkly-eyed brides excited about planning their upcoming nuptials.

We went to about 6 shows all over the Greater Toronto Area so we became veterans of this exhausting circuit. Seriously, you will be overwhelmed and tired, but it’s well worth going to score some money-saving deals.  Sure, you walk around meeting endless vendors, picking up heavy brochures, filling out prize ballots, watching fashion shows, and testing out limos. Everything will start looking the same.  But you do at least get a sweet reward when you go to the bakery booths and get to taste wedding cakes!

Here is the first of a two part series: How to find deals at the bridal show. Next instalment will be a survival guide!

  • Some wedding shows are free. Others make you pay. Some are free for brides only, but since they don’t ask you to prove whether you’re getting married, if all your friends and even your mom are conveniently brides too *wink wink* they will also get in for free. Your fiance will have to pay, unfortunately (ridiculous)
  • Paying to get into a wedding show sounds dumb, but going can help you save HOURS of Googling and phone time by exposing you to hundreds of vendors all at once. You can get a general idea about pricing, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you can snag some deals there too.

Here’s how to save money through the wedding expos:

  • Be an early bird. Look at the bridal show websites in advance. They often have a $5 off discount or 2 for 1 admission coupons. I have seen Canada’s Bridal Show in Toronto do this several times.  If you buy online, you can skip the lines which can be brutal. (We once waited 1 hour just to get in!)
  • Wait until the show to open a wedding registry. The big department stores give you some kind of incentive for signing up for a registry at the show. When we signed up, The Bay, Home Outfitters and Sears were offering $10 gift cards and entering couples into draws for thousands of dollars in appliances. If you’re going to sign up for a registry anyway, you might as well wait for the show, and get $10 bucks for it, right? And bonus if you win a food processor!
  •  Don’t spend a dime on bridal magazines or planners. You will get about 4 issues of popular ones for free at these shows. In Canada you usually get the fall and winter issues of both ‘Today’s Bride” and “Weddingbells” and “Wedluxe,” not to mention wedding magazines specifically for your region.  These can go for as much as $7 each.  Collecting these on your way out of the show can potentially save you up to $45.
  • Look for the wedding show specials. If you find vendors you like, check if they offer a “wedding show special.” We were very close to booking a particular photographer, but we saw that they had a “wedding show special” of a free photo album. We were going to book with them anyway, so it was nice to get a little bonus for signing up within a few weeks of the wedding show. This bonus was worth $600!
  • Look for cheap accessories: If you know exactly what kind of accessories you want, buy them at the show. Shoe and jewelry vendors often do clearance sales at wedding shows. We saw bride and bridesmaid shoes for $20 and bridesmaid dresses on for $30 (these can cost $200). So if you don’t care if you get last season’s shoes, and your bridesmaids don’t want identical dresses, you can snag a great deal.
  • Look for freebies. I got a free garter, some feather boas for the bachelorette party, and bridal organizers that totally saved my butt a few times. These organizers are gold. They’re like day planners, and they have handy checklists and give you tips on what you should do, and when, when planning a traditional wedding. You can buy them for $20 at the bookstore, but why should you when you can get it for free at the show?

Anyway ladies, I wish you luck at the wedding conventions! They can be exhausting but they’re a great way to save money.

Models at the fashion shows show off everything from gowns, hair and makeup vendors, shoes, and even bouquets like this one.

Some wedding shows in the Toronto area: Canada’s Bridal Show. The Total Wedding Show. The Wedding Co. Show. The Wedluxe Wedding show, the National Bridal Show.

Next instalment: a wedding show survival guide

One month to go until the wedding! A ton of stuff to do

9 Jun

Our wedding is officially one month away!

Here’s a list of things we still have to do:

  • Put first and last month’s rent down for apartment
  • Book videographer
  • Figure out photo permits
  • Go to Catholic marriage camp 
  • Choose between violin/harp or organ for ceremony
  • Call chair cover place
  • Decoration times: find out from hall
  • Decoration times: find out from church
  • Order centrepieces
  • Bbook salon test
  • Choose music and readings
  • Write speeches and ask others to do it too
  • Find shoes/veil/bridesmaids shoes
  • Make cards for wishing tree and get branches
  • Make schedule for day of
  • Print menus
  • Make placecards
  • Buy candles
  • Buy more twinkle lights
  • Book honeymoon
  • Hold bachelorette

Fabulous flowers! Forget peonies. Roses + Freesias win

2 Jun

We ordered our wedding flowers and I am very happy. I had originally planned on a peony bouquet, but was doing some googling and came across the most beautiful bouquet I have ever seen. It’s this mass assembly of gorgeousness made of roses and freesias. Fiance’s got competition for my affections.

I took this picture to my florist and I am going to get cream and pink coloured roses with freesias for a little green. I’m really excited.

The bridesmaids are getting carnations and freesias but I can’t find a picture of that combo on the Internets. The dudes are getting cream coloured roses. The moms are getting these cream coloured orchids.

The moms are getting corsages that look like this

Anyway, if you live in Auckland, New Zealand check out this florist’s offerings because she is mega talented. Too bad I don’t live in New Zealand (for more reasons than one, its a great place to visit!) but hopefully my Canadian florist can give me the same glamorous bouquet!

Dear wedding people: get yourselves together!!!!

6 May

Sometimes I feel like I am taking crazy pills. Why can’t people pick up the damn phone when it is their job to do it?! If I don’t pick up the phone at work, I get fired. Why haven’t you?

Dear lady who has to set up our wedding rehearsal:

It was really nice talking to you two weeks ago. Too bad it took me a month to get a hold of you. When we talked, you said you’d get back to me confirming the church was available for the time we wanted. Two weeks later and I have to basically harass you once a day in hopes you’ll give me a simple answer.

How hard is this? We can’t finalize stuff because you won’t call us. You are holding up:

  • Decorations
  • Rehearsal dinner booking and invitations
  • Readings and Music choices (it’s Catholic so we need permission)
  • Hiring of musicians
  • Dress code questions

You are causing us mega stress and I can’t put down the cookies because of you. Thanks for calling my voicemail today and clogging it up with your endless message ranting about flower delivery times. That would be great, if we were having any. BUT WE’RE NOT.  You still didn’t answer my questions.


And I hate nothing more than email conversations with wedding vendors that make no sense: Here’s the “I ignore your question” tactic:

Unhappy Bride: Will you work at my wedding and how much do you cost?

Vendor: We will work and it will be fabulous!

Unhappy Bride: Sure, but how much do you cost? What is the minimum time we’d need to book you for?

Vendor: “We will arrive early.”  Then he gives a big long answer justifying why they need to get there early but won’t say how early they”ll arrive or how much they’ll charge us.


OR there’s the “I don’t bother offering you another suggestion even though you’re paying me to do so:”

Unhappy Bride: I really don’t want to take pictures in place X you recommended because it:

a) looks like a dungeon,

b) it is literally around the corner from my workplace. 30 seconds away. I really can’t spend the limited time we have for photos talking to coworkers on their way back from the pizza or burrito joint holding a greasy bag.

c) You think it will be easy taking pictures at the subway station nearby at 4 p.m. on a Friday. Are you insane?  The subway is already a sardine can when I take it at 6: 30 a.m. You clearly don’t live in the same city I do.

Vendor: You should really get your pictures taken in place X. If you don’t like that suggestion, google some ideas.

*Unhappy Bride had already googled, but googles again, then asks whether vendor would have any issues with the new ideas.*

Vendor: These are bad locations. Have you thought about having your pictures in place X (the same place as before)?

Unhappy Bride *Insert screams here*  I am starting to identify with bridezillas. How can you not scream when you have to deal with this circle of crazy?

How do I handle this?

Peony Problems: will florist leave me at the altar?

5 May

I would like some peonies and roses in my bouquet for my July wedding.

I love the fluffy texture!

So I’ve gone to six florists to ask about Peonies. Most of them said they won’t be able to buy them in July (out of season) or will have to have them shipped from the Nethlerands for some undisclosed amount of money that is so large, only my firstborn child would suffice as payment. 

But one florist says ordering them is no problem and says she’d charge about $130 for a whole bouquet of them, which is the same as other florists are charging for cheaper flowers. I think she might be too good to be true and will leave me flowerless at the altar. Has anyone bought Peonies out of season? What is the likelihood of actually getting them and how much did they cost?

I don’t know anything about this florist except she is in our city’s “florist row.” About two blocks with at least eight different flower shops.

Peonies and roses mixed together!


I bet these roses would look great with the peonies

I love the peachy colours in this bouquet