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Vancouver Budget Wedding:
Marjolyn + David

June 27th, 2012 by Jeannine

Vancouver Budget Wedding: Marjolyn + Dave

When Marjolyn and David first started dating, they enjoyed setting off fireworks at Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park. It was only fitting that David wanted to propose that same way, while doing something so meaningful to the both of them. Things didn’t work out that way though. As David was lighting the fireworks, Marjolyn stayed away, fearing she’ll be in the way of the sparks. That wasn’t the reaction David was looking for at all so he immediately nixed the idea and just got down on one knee and said “this is for you…” Marjolyn, shocked and surprised, said yes.

Marjolyn and David were married on Saturday, August 20th, 2011 and partied with over 200 guests. They had a traditional Catholic ceremony at St. Edmund’s Parish in North Vancouver, but what happened after was another story. They are one of the few couples who can say that they walked amongst zombies and had a flash mob with an interpretive dance at their wedding… ok maybe they’re the ONLY couple who can say that!

The wedding was planned by the couple themselves. A collaborative effort, Marjolyn says, because it represented both of them & their ideas, which added more sentiment to the whole wedding. There were lots of DIY elements in this wedding too, that made it more personal. Marjolyn collected glass bottles and used them for their centerpieces. The wedding menu, place cards, and favour labels were all made by Marjolyn using this template she found online. The guestbook was made by the couple using Blurb (for more info on photobook guestbooks, click here).

A lot of the credit goes to the couple’s friends and family too. Melissa, one of her 9 bridesmaids, made Marjolyn’s veil using supplies found on Etsy and Dressew, and she even made their cake topper! A friend of David’s made a photoframe backdrop for their photobooth. David’s family marinated BBQ skewers to serve at the reception (I just want to point out that Filipino BBQ is amazing… from personal experience). Their wedding favors were coffee beans from David’s family plantation in the Philippines. David’s cousins even provided live music for the occasion! Thanks to everyone’s help, the couple only spent just under $15k on their wedding – not bad for an over 200 guest affair. None of this would’ve been possible without them.

A Few Words With Marjolyn…

During the planning stages, how did you imagine your wedding?  Did the final result live up to expectations?
“I knew that I wanted to get married, but never gave it any thought as to what kind of dress I wanted, what decor I wanted or any of those details. When the planning stage came, we knew that we just wanted it simple and with enough personal touches where people could say, Yeah, this is totally an MJ and Dave wedding… We also wanted to make sure that people would have a great time. The final result surpassed our expectations, for sure.”

Who was in your bridal party and why did you choose to have a big one?
“We had 9 bridesmaids and 9 groomsmen in our bridal party. It just made sense to have that many, given that we wanted to include as many of our friends as possible. We probably would have added more if we wanted to, but I think a party of 20 including the bride and groom is big enough. When I told people that I had 9 bridesmaids, the first thing they told warned me about was how stressful the makeup/hair prep would be during the wedding-day morning. It was the complete opposite! We were lounging around, super calm and cool, taking pictures, having breakfast – getting our hair and makeup done. It was a great morning!”

What personal or unique touches did you have for your wedding?
“I know that Flash Mobs in weddings are usually meant to surprise the Bride & Groom, but we wanted to surprise our guests with the Flash Mob.

We had it set up so that people would think that Dave’s friend Alan really WAS drunk and WAS making up a speech on the spot (my uncles and some of the groomsmen who didn’t know, were THIS CLOSE to kicking him out of the reception!), and then after that was over, we had our guests believe that it was time to dance (which, they totally fell for!) and then groups would come in and do the Flash Mob routine, which my bridesmaid Danielle choreographed for us. I think the only surprise that we had, was that the interpretive dance that our friend VJ did for us. We knew he was going to do one, we just didn’t know what it would look like or that it would go to THAT extreme!”

What did you think when you realized there was a zombie walk going on?
“My best friend/maid of honour Victoria found out that the Zombie Walk fell on the same day as our wedding so we thought it would be a fun and creative touch to our wedding photos. We made a stop at the Art Gallery (where the Zombie walk begins) and literally herded a whole bunch of zombies to be a part of the photos! It was so hot that day but it was so much fun!”

Why did give away as favors? Was there a reason you picked it?
“Dave’s family has a coffee plantation in the Philippines and my dad is in the coffee business including coffee roasting experience so we thought that giving away coffee beans from the coffee plantation, roasted by my dad was a creative way of celebrating both of our families coming together.”

Which wedding traditions did you stick with and why? Which did you leave out and why?
“Our church ceremony was pretty traditional. It was in a Catholic church and we had the veil, rings and gifts presentation.  I was a bit traditional and I didn’t want Dave to see my dress, or see me before the ceremony.

Our reception was much less traditional. Of course we wanted some sentiment and to celebrate our new lives together, but we also just wanted to get down and dance the night away!

Dave sang a song in memory of his father, and we had our siblings and parents, our best man and maid of honour do a speech for us. We let them write whatever they wanted in their speeches and needless to say, there were some happy tears and great laughs. I was wearing a garter under my dress, but everyone was having such a great time on the dance floor, I didn’t want to stop it just to throw a garter and a bouquet. It was awesome enough to see our guests bustin’ moves on the dance floor! We had cupcakes for our guests and we did a small cake cutting ceremony.”

What did your guests think about your wedding?
“Our guests are still talking about how much fun they had at our wedding, so I’m pretty sure they had a great time!”

What did you splurge on and what did you save on? Why?
“I wouldn’t necessarily say we “splurged” but we paid “full price” for our venue, (which was still even worth the investment) and also on our table/chair rentals. All around, we were fortunate to have found really great prices for everything related to our wedding. Since the venue allowed us to bring our own alcohol, we spent the year stocking up on alcohol from across the border. Anytime we or our friends would cross the border for a weekend or longer, we would ask them to bring back liquor for us. We saved a significant amount of money by doing this and still had so much alcohol left over. I found my dress at David’s Bridal for $500 and it didn’t even need alterations. My bridesmaids all found their dresses under $50. The barongs we got for our groomsmen were about $10 each. Elle3 did a fantastic job on our engagement and wedding photography. It was their first Wedding gig and they did a tremendously awesome job.”

If you could’ve done something differently, what would it be?
“We probably would have hired a set-up and clean-up/take-down crew. Our families, bridesmaids and groomsmen and even our guests helped us out HUGE in the preparation, set-up, take-down and clean up of the wedding. We really couldn’t have done it without all of them and to this day, we are still humbled and indebted to each of them. We were grateful to have such kind friends that took initiative in cleaning the place up without us even asking them or them asking us, but it would have been worth it to hire a crew to clean up instead so they wouldn’t have had to deal with it! They shoo’ed us out of there before they could finish, but we found out the next day that they stayed at the venue until 2am cleaning up and putting things away for us. We also would have hired a different transportation company. They ended up leaving us at the Art Gallery after the Zombie Walk photoshoot because the driver needed to get to another client. It was frustrating and we felt it was a waste of our transportation cost, but it was nothing that a few taxi’s couldn’t fix!”

After planning a wedding, what one advice would you give to future brides?
“I have more than one.

  • Don’t buy too many wedding magazines and once you know what you want, don’t keep looking for more inspirations. You’ll get too overwhelmed and forget what you initially wanted your wedding to look like. Keep it as simple as possible.
  • DIY doesn’t mean it’s cheaper, but still a great idea if you want to add personal touches.
  • If you’re looking to plan a budget-friendly wedding you have to be willing to bend the rules and be flexible and open-minded. If you only want to spend $10k on your wedding and your venue costs are $5K, you need to re-evaluate whether your budget or your venue is realistic. I think being on a budget encourages you to think outside the box and get creative with your planning.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We were surprised how many people wanted to help us out with the wedding. If you’re doing alot of things on your own to cut costs, asking for an extra hand or two, really helps.
  • People were surprised at how calm I was on the morning of the wedding. Dave and I already concluded that if anything wrong were to happen on the big day, that it really wasn’t worth the stress. Everyone is ultimately there to just celebrate with you and they shouldn’t care whether the cake was big enough or if there was sugar for the tea. If they did care, then they aren’t there for the right reasons. I would advise to just RELAX and let the day unfold itself. Don’t be super controlling and just roll with the punches.”

Marjolyn & David’s Wedding Vendors:

Ceremony venue: St.Edmund’s Parish (North Vancouver)
Reception venue: Performance Works (Granville Island)
Dress: David’s Bridal
Shoes: Charlotte Russe
Tux: H&M
Photographer: Elle3 Studio
Flowers: Queensberry Flowers
Hair: Samantha Manuntag
Makeup: Michelle Aguasin-Ustaris and Natalia Sirakov
Invitations: Lish Rebman
Cake: Candice Mui
Decorations: Used glass bottles, Queensberry Flowers
Chair covers, table & chair rentals: Rose Chair Decor, A&B Partytime Rentals
Wedding Favors: Glassine Bags from Etsy, Coffee from Dimapilis Family
Music for ceremony/reception: DJ Tropik
Wedding Planner: The bride and groom
Day-of coordinator: Tina Edgar
Day-of Assistants: Vinelli and Kim Rumbaua, Christy Ng

All photos courtesy Elle3 Studio

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  • November 20th, 2016 at 8:02 pm
    Aaron says:

    Hi. Where did they get the barongs?

  • January 25th, 2017 at 1:34 am
    Greg says:

    I also would like to know where they got the barongs. I’m getting married summer of 2017 in Vancouver and would love to get some affordable barongs for it.

  • February 6th, 2017 at 1:34 pm
    Rebekah says:

    Yes I have the same question about the barongs!


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