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Vancouver Budget Wedding:
Olivia + Ryan

March 26th, 2012 by Jeannine

Vancouver Budget Wedding: Olivia + Ryan

Olivia was just visiting the mainland from Nanaimo when she first met Ryan, at a punk show of all places! They became good friends and years later, they started dating… Of course it helped that Olivia had moved to White Rock by then! In 2009, they hit the road through the Rockies to get away from the city. Ryan popped the question during the last leg of their trip… how could Olivia say no? :) The end of this journey was just the beginning of another!

Ryan and Olivia tied the knot 2 years later, on June 25, 2011. They decided to have a long engagement because Olivia was still in school full time, a wise decision. Their wedding was attended by 135 friends and family at Heritage Hall on Main Street, 30 others joined in the party later on. In addition to the beauty of the Hall, they chose this venue because East Van has been their home for the last 7 years. It was special for them to be married on their stomping grounds.

Olivia looked stunning in her grandmother’s wedding dress, while her bridesmaids wore different styles of navy blue dresses.

For photos, the couple and their bridal party headed to Queen Elizabeth Park. It was a convenient location for the shoot, but the park also had sentimental value to the couple. Ryan’s parents had their wedding photos done at QE Park 34 years ago!

Olivia planned most of their $15,000 wedding herself, which included a lot of DIY projects, but she had lots of help from friends and family, too! Ryan’s aunt is also the owner of Shaughnessy Weddings and Events, which provided most of their decor rentals and floral arrangements. The decor reflected a summery and relaxed theme, with the baby blue patterned table runners, origami lillies, and grass centerpieces.

Music plays a big part in the couple’s lives so they chose music that really suited their personalities. For Olivia’s ceremony entrance, her brother, cousin and the officiant (who is also a family friend) all played “Girl” by The Beatles on ukuleles. How neat! Ryan’s mother is a classically trained musician and she played the guitar and sang as the couple signed their registry papers. For their first dance, the couple swayed to “Baby I Love You” by the Ramones. They met at a punk show so it was only fitting that they played a song by a band considered to be one of the pioneers of punk music. Plus, they didn’t want anything sappy or serious!

A Few Words With Olivia…

During the planning stages, how did you imagine your wedding? Did the final result live up to expectations?
“While planning the wedding, our main goal was for us and our guests to have a great time. We just wanted it to be a fun and happy day. That meant good food and great music. We stayed away from anything that felt formal and stuffy. I think it turned out exactly how we wanted it to be.”

What personal or unique touches did you have for your wedding?
“At our guestbook table, we had all of our parents‘ and grandparents‘ wedding photos. I also had the honour of wearing my grandmother’s wedding dress that she wore in 1954 or 1955.”

Did you make or do anything yourselves for the wedding? Which ones and why did you decide to DIY?
My bridesmaid Bryn and I handmade all of the place cards with stamps, like actually stamped each letter of every name. I thought it was a nice way to show all our guests that it meant a lot to us that each of them were coming. I also made origami flowers for each of the place settings. Ryan actually learned how to make them too and made quite a few :) For our centerpieces, Ryan’s dad built cedar boxes which I planted grass in. That was almost a disaster because one night a squirrel dug a bunch of dirt out of a few of them……grrr. We also made our own invitations. Ryan’s nickname has been Goat since he was in grade 7, and my name’s Olivia, so Ryan drew a picture of a goat and an olive branch, and I added in the text on the computer and we printed, trimmed, glued and stuffed the envelopes ourselves. They were pretty funny, I loved them. I guess you could say our dance music was DIY because I made an iPod playlist to save money on a DJ. This was a difficult task and I don’t think it worked as well as a DJ because an iPod can’t read the crowd. I think a real DJ would have made the dancing more fun….but it did the trick and things got messy by the end of the night, just how we wanted it to be! We decided to do things DIY mostly because it kept things unique and original, and gave us total creative freedom. We don’t like anything cookie cutter. Saving money was just a bonus!”

Which wedding traditions did you stick with and why? Which did you leave out and why?
“We really didn’t want to do a first dance….neither of us are good dancers so it was pretty uncomfortable. We just did it because we didn’t know how else to kick off the dance party. We didn’t do the garter and bouquet toss, and we avoided cutting a cake by having cupcakes instead. I don’t like being the center of attention so all of those things kinda stressed me out. We did have speeches, not very many though. Just the best man, both of our dads and my good friend Sara. And Ryan gave our thank you speech. Our mom’s collaborated and made a really nice video of photos and footage of us growing up and played it for everyone. Kind of embarrassing but really sweet. I did see Ryan before the ceremony, because we both helped set up the hall. He didn’t see me all dressed though.”

What did you splurge on and what did you save on and why?
“We spent a huge chunk (almost 2/3 of our budget) on food. We really wanted our guests to have a good time, and it’s hard to have a good time on a empty stomach. As soon as the ceremony was over, we had servers coming around with canapes and had an open bar (which later turned into a toonie bar). We went with a buffet for dinner and everyone said the food was great. I think we saved a lot of money on the bar by doing it ourselves. Our dad’s picked up all the booze (most of it from the duty free over the months leading up to the wedding), we shopped for all the mix, and we hired a couple of our brother’s friends to bar tend. I don’t think we could have afforded an open bar if we didn’t do it that way.”

After planning a wedding, what one advice would you give to future brides?
“Don’t be afraid to hit up your friends. If your as lucky as me, people will be honored to be asked for their help on your day and contribute their time and talents.”

Olivia & Ryan’s Vendors:

Ceremony & Reception venue: Heritage Hall
Catering: The Butler Did It Catering
Dress: Olivia’s grandmother
Tux: Ryan wore a suit he bought from Moores
Photographer: Callaghan Photography
Flowers: Bouquets made by my bridesmaid Tessa
Hair and Make-up: Hair by Michelle at East Vanity Parlour, and Make-up by my bridesmaid Rajanne
Invitations: DIY
Cupcakes: La’vish Cake Design
Decorations: DIY by the bride + friends and family, also Shaughnessy Weddings and Events
Wedding Favors: Little pouches containing candy made by Ryan’s mom
Music for ceremony/reception: Friends and family
Transportation: Borrowed Ryan’s Dad’s 57 chevy, and hired a limo for a few hours.
Wedding planner/coordinator: Michelle Jinn at Shaughnessy Weddings and Events

All photos courtesy Callaghan Photography

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