This is a guest post by fellow prairie girl, Jodi Gillich.
A fellow prairie girl, I also grew up in Saskatchewan and currently live in Regina. But being a child of a split upbringing, I’ve been lucky to spend much of my life in Vancouver, where my Mom, stepdad and sister live. A journalist by trade, I earned my degree in 2010 and am now trying my hand at freelance writing. I’m engaged to a lovely fellow named Ryan, and we’re planning our February 2012 wedding in beautiful Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I love writing (obviously), like wearing glasses (my Tiffany and Co. pair are my new favourite), enjoy collecting cats (not really – but I wish) and records (for reals – I think everything sounds better on vinyl). I think fashion should be comfortable and always classy. If I was a store, I would be J. Crew… with Bettie Page a close second. And if I had to choose, Stella McCartney would be my favourite designer (as much for her ethics as her style).
Long engagements are the worst. Well, that might be exaggerating just a tad. Running down the aisle two days after the proposal probably isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, either. But having been engaged since August 2010, I’m tired of waiting for the big day to arrive.
I’ve scoured enough websites, devoured enough bridal magazines and listened to enough advice to last a lifetime. But like the brave phoenix who rises from the ashes, I want to use my utter misery (again, a slight exaggeration) to help others. Below you’ll find my top 10 most helpful websites – filled withgreat style at good prices – for the prospective bride.
But I don’t want to be the gal (we all know – or have been – her) who can’t go two minutes without reminding people about how engaged she is! These sites (except #7, sorry!) can be just as useful for anyone planning a party, shindig or extravaganza. So whenever I mention anything to do with a wedding, please forgive me. I’ve been diagnosed with engagement, and it’s tough to shake.
- The handmade, vintage and crafter’s paradise Etsy.com. Etsy is like the friend everyone knows and loves: “Oh, Etsy! I LOVE her.” But just because she’s crafty doesn’t meanshe’s un-chic. You’ll find everything from custom cake toppers to fascinators to shrugs. Just search for “wedding ___” or “bridal ___” and see what comes up! For a mod alternative to a traditional bouquet, why not go with pinwheels? They’re cute, stylish and unique. See shop Rule42 – based in California, designerKellee’s work has been featured in Destination Wedding magazine and used in weddings as far away as Australia.Or how about a “Thank you” or “Just Married” parasol for those thank you card photos? The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Check out this parasol from shop Cycling4aCure:
- Looking for great quality customized items for your wedding
? Visit www.vistaprint.ca and create your own designs! Extremely user friendly, you can create or upload a custom design for a tiny fee and use it as many times as you want. Want to create an uncanny likeness of you and your fiancé, and even your pets? Use the caricature design tool and put your mugs on address labels, envelopes, t-shirts – anything you can think of! How about save-the-date magnets, pens or calendars? They have paper invitations, but why not try a mouse pad? I created caricature address labels and people loved them! Be sure to select the lowest priced shipping method – items always arrive much sooner than expected.
- Like it or not, wedding websites have become the norm these days, especially for those of us having destination weddings. After shopping around, the most user-friendly and best-looking option I found were the free sites offered from www.theknot.com. Click on “wedding website”at the top and select “free websites” (it’s really not worth splurging on the premium sites). You’ll have to sign up if you haven’t already, and then you’re off to the races. The Knot pre-enters page titles for you like “How we met” and “The proposal,” but feel free to change them up! You’ll really wow guests by making your site your own.
- Sometimes when I think about www.save-on-crafts.com, I thank my lucky stars. This site is chock-full of incredible decorations at even better prices. Yes, you can stick with the decorations (or lack thereof) provided by the venue or leave it all to your wedding planner, but why not source things yourself? It’s cheaper, and you’ll get exactly what you want. Click on “Wedding Decorations” and prepare to have your mind blown! Just a few items to be found include artificial ice, branches, bird cages, confetti, lanterns, preserved flowers, aisle runners and tons more! And since we all know lighting can make or break a room, try these LED candles (they never burn out, there’s no wax, they flicker like real candles and they’re 3 for $8.99 – what’s not to love?), bendable branches filled with tiny LED lights, LED spotlights or under-table lights – all battery-operated so there’s no cords to trip over. An idea I stole from save-on-crafts was to put a floralyte – 10 for $28! – in your centerpiece vase, add your flowers, then pour ColorFill vase filler ($2.89 for a 1 pound bag) down and around the flowers. It looks crazy good!
- Work around the venue and the wedding planner with another great option – buy your own linens! From chair sashes to table covers, www.weddinglinensdirect.com has an awesome selection of fabric. May I recommend the organza sashes and table overlays? They’re light and breezy with a gentle sheen, but the colours are still vibrant. Since many venues include basic white table linens for free, dress them up for a fraction of what you’d pay a professional with your chosen colours. I was blown away by the quality and the colour choices (they even had my very hard-to-find shades of blue)! Oh, and stave off commitment for a while longer by ordering samples for as little as $0.79 each!
- If save-on-crafts didn’t float your boat (insert appalled face here), try www.lunabazaar.com. It’s another great place to go for stylish favours and accessories. They’re famous for their lanterns, but there are also fans (great for outdoor ceremonies), parasols, lights, and more. And if you still need more accessories, try www.weddingthings.ca. This site ships items from Alberta, so it shouldn’t take long to get your stuff!
- Planning a destination wedding? You must visit www.bestdestinationwedding.com. From resort and vendor reviews to creative save-the-date and invitation ideas,and tons of other tips and tricks – this is the place to connect and vent with other gals (and guys!) suffering from engagement fever.
- Create the ultimate wedding registry at www.wishpot.com. You can add items from any website to your registry (including items from etsy.com or eBay) and you can also tastefully ask for cash or contributions towards your honeymoon or even a house. It’s truly one-stop-shopping for guests! Oh, and it’s free!
- Having trouble finding the perfect pair of earrings or necklace? Why not design your own?Visit www.kendrascott.comto browse designs by Kendra Scott – who’s been featured in tons of magazines like InStyle and People – and personalize your jewellery by picking your own coloured gemstones. Simply select the “Color Bar” option, choose a style of earring or necklace, click and drop gems where you want them, save your design and purchase it. I designed the Jeanine earring in silver with gems like London Blue Quartz, Iolite Quartz and Lapis for only $75, and it’s gorgeous. And I don’t have to worry about seeing my earrings on anyone else! Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-mail list; you could get 20% off.
- Finally, check out these retail sites for amazing wedding fashions that won’t cost you a fortune. Anthropologie and its sister store, hipster heaven Urban Outfitters, offer you wedding-related fashion and decor at www.bhldn.com.Click on “The Shop” to find beautifully crafted wedding gowns – starting at $600! –andmore.And while the décor selection comes up short, it’s very sweet; look for the paper bouquets in fun colours at reasonable prices, because after all, they’ll never wilt and die. Or check out White House Black Market for their wedding dresses, which are great for the non-traditional bride, starting at $348! White by Vera Wang, found at David’s Bridal, is also a cheaper – but still inventive – way to wear a great designer without going broke. Or check out a personal favourite,J.Crew, for fashions for the bride, groom and attendants. Wedding dresses start at $350!
Happy (hopefully shorter-term) planning! And please think of me when you’re getting compliments on your masterful wedding website or your “Where did you find those?!” decorations – because I still have eight months to go.