Tag Archives: wedding gift registry

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

Crazy cheap Vera Wang Wedgwood china deal at The Bay this weekend

2 Dec

A place setting from our Vera Wang Wedgwood Lace Gold fine china set

Attention all of you who have a Vera Wang Wedgwood china pattern on your gift registries at The Bay in Canada!

The Vera Wang patterns are 25% off at The Bay this week! And if you go this weekend and use your store credit card, you get ANOTHER 20% off! The only catch is that you can’t use your 10% off registry completion discount, but take what you can get because these NEVER go on sale!

All those discounts mean one place setting that normally costs $179.99 will actually cost you $107 plus taxes. We bought all the outstanding place settings we needed to complete our registry!  And if you use a points card along with your credit card, you almost get enough points to claim a $10 gift card too. Better than buying from Amazon U.S. and being stuck with a surprise expensive duty charge when it crosses the border. Those can add up. Husband once sent me a $50 gift when he lived in the U.S.   The UPS guy held it for ransom until I paid $50 more in duty on it.

Back to the Vera Wang: The lady that served us was super nice and patient with us. The store didn’t have enough in stock, so you can still get this deal if you pay now and have them ship it to the store in a few weeks.

Now is the time for you to buy these at The Bay if you didn’t get them as wedding gifts (or if you still haven’t had your wedding yet, point your family and friends in the right direction so they can save money on your gift). These never, EVER go on sale. Trust me, I’ve checked. The Vera Wang is always listed as the only exclusion when the other china patterns are on sale. So seriously, go and take care of business this weekend on a once in a lifetime sale. Leave a comment if you buy them!

BTW: Our pattern is Lace Gold

More travel agent honeymoon fail: safety issues

27 Jul

Dear travel agent

I told you I wanted to book a honeymoon. You suggest a bus tour. Being crammed on a non-air conditioned bus driving through back roads all night along with 50 other people is definitely my idea of romance. Especially when their aroma (rea: body odor) begins wafting through the circulating air.

But you know, maybe your idea of a relaxing honeymoon is different from mine, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. What I won’t put up with is a travel agent that doesn’t know there’s political trouble in Greece. Have you never turned on the TV/Radio/Internet/Newspaper for the last 4 months?!?!

I don’t care if you accept the gift cards we were given and have no other way of spending. We’re still not booking with you, until you get a clue.

People are complaning about our gift registry

29 May

So I’m hearing that people are complaining there isn’t enough selection on our wedding gift registries. Remember, I don’t like them, and the ONLY reason we signed up is because people DEMANDED we do so.

We’ve gone to stores about six times to add things and it was very hard and took a long time. It’s hard to sign up for things you already have, or don’t want, or don’t know you need yet because you  haven’t found a place to live yet with one month left to go.

We’ve already signed up for stuff we don’t need, and really don’t have time to go back and sign up for a melon baller. Considering the smell of melon makes me want to throw up, (literally) and fiance doesn’t like them, its probably not a good idea.

There’s a total of 46 items on one registry, and 45 on the other.

Prices range from $2.95 to $329 and there’s lots of different price ranges in between.

I know they are just trying to get us something nice that we want, but I don’t understand how people can say there isn’t enough selection.

Especially when the #1 reason they shouldn’t complain is: only THREE things have been bought.

There’s still 88 other items to choose from.

Registry completion discount conundrum? Or just greedy?

18 May

A screenshot of the greedy gift registry. The red dots are just some of the TVs!

So was looking for one of our registries and accidentally clicked on someone else’s. Was about to close window but saw they had something for $4,000 on it and I was shocked. I thought wow, who would put something that expensive on their registry? I mean, a lot of people would have to contribute to that gift. Then I kept scrolling to see what else this couple put on their list:

  • 6 TVs
  • 4 mattresses
  • 2 stoves
  • 2 dishwashers
  • 4 washer/dryers
  • 2 refrigerators
  • 4 sofas

They had a total of 204 items!  About 80 % had been purchased and about half of them were worth $500 or more. Crazy.

Seems to me that someone is taking advantage of the 10% registry completion discount to buy stuff for everyone they know? At least, I hope that’s what explains the greediness. Or is it just a bridezilla or groomzilla?

A tale of two registries- Crate and Barrel vs. The Bay

18 May

So we signed up for two gift registries. Here’s a handy breakdown showing the pros and cons of each in case you’re thinking of signing up at the same places we did.

Crate & Barrel is an American housewares chain with 2 stores in Toronto and one in Calgary. The Hudson’s Bay Company is a department store chain that has hundreds of stores across Canada and is owned by Lord & Taylor of the USA. It’s pretty much Macy’s. Same brands/layouts, etc. (Fun fact, it’s the oldest company in the world, 325+ years old).  Here’s our comparison.

Ease of signing up

The Bay- 30 minutes of paperwork and judgmental comments on the fact that we don’t live together before getting married and eye rolling at fiance because he dares to own 3 cheese graters.

Crate & Barrel – in-store computer screen. No snotty human interaction required, but the dude that gave us the scanny gun was friendly

Ease of adding and deleting items

Crate & Barrel scanning gun is much lighter, and both have same functionality except for one key thing: You can delete items right on your scanner at Crate & Barrel. Or call them. You can even call in additions!

The Bay – MUST go in person to registry department on eighth floor with paper printout and tell them which item you don’t want anymore

Website layout 

The Bay – has a vague, sometimes incomplete description of the thing you’ve signed up for.  Most stuff is good, but who can deciper what a “HHI FE SYNERGY 13PC BLOCK” is? Or how about a “NRDICWR COMPCT OVN 5 PIEC?”

For the record, that’s a block of knives and a muffin/cookie pan set. It also has no direct link to each person’s registry so you have to search every time

What the Hudson Bay Company's registry looks like

Crate & Barrel – has pictures of what you registered for!  People who don’t live near one of the 3 Canadian stores can order online or by phone. Couples also get their own permalink for their registry. Canadian and U.S. databases are not interconnected.

What a Canadian Crate & Barrel registry looks like

Amount of items to choose from:

The Bay- Department store with every type of category, from clothing, to housewares, to bathroom, to cosmetics, to jewelry

Crate & Barrel – Housewares

Ultimately I think The Bay wins solely for this reason:

You can order online and have the gift shipped to the store of the couple’s choice. Because there are only 3 Crate & Barrel stores in Canada, people either have to go to a store, or call a phone number.