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Vancouver Budget Wedding:
Sarah + Chris

March 20th, 2013 by Jeannine

Vancouver Budget Wedding: Sarah + Chris

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography Sarah was being a supportive friend when she agreed to create a Lavalife profile alongside her friend, but she didn’t expect that doing so would change her life forever. Her profile caught Chris’ eye and he sent her a smile. After 3 weeks of chatting online and on the phone, they went out on a most memorable, never ending first date, to which Sarah told her friend that she was on her last first date. Fast forward 6 years… Chris took Sarah out to Locarno Beach, to the same area they went on their first date. He wrote “I love you” on the sand, Sarah smiled and decided to take some photos of it as well as the scenery around them. When she looked down again, Chris had written “Will you marry me?”, got down on one knee and proposed with Sarah’s late mother’s wedding ring, to which she enthusiastically shouted “Yes!”

Sarah and Chris planned their $12,000 wedding themselves and were wed in front of 95 guests on a sunny September 16, 2012. If you can’t already tell by the photos, Sarah and Chris are both gamers so they decided to design their wedding based on their favourite pastimes. If you ask me, I think they did quite a great job within their budget and I loved all the unique details they had. It truly reflected their nerdiness! They used elements from Super Mario Brothers (Sarah’s favourite game), Lego, and even had boardgames and card games available at each table. Pictures speak a thousand words so let me show you everything they made and bought to bring their video game wedding to life.

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

Table Games & Centerpieces: They decided to keep their centerpieces minimalistic because their venue already looked stunning and felt that they didn’t need anything over the top. They focused on “gamer” centerpieces by putting toys and games on the table so that guests were able to play and pass the time until the couple arrived. They had different kinds including Barrel of Monkeys, Angry Birds, Jenga, and Magic the Gathering decks. They also added a gerbera daisy (from Whole Foods) in a vase filled with a certain type of water beads and suspended D &D dice and Lego pieces in it so it looked like they were floating.

Fire Flower Bouquets: Sarah is a huge Super Mario fan so naturally, her bouquet had to include Fire Flowers. She found a guide on Google and decided to make them on her own. She used silk gerbera stems, leaves, adhesive foam sheets, floral tape, decorative ribbon, pearl studded pins, and feathers for a $1 feather boa to create her one of a kind bouquets.

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

Lego Boutonnieres: This idea was a product of Pinterest. Would you believe the groom himself made his groomsmen’s boutonnieres? Each of them got their own unique figurine (special ordered from Ebay) and Chris attached them to some greenery and wire bought at Michaels. It’s so great to see grooms taking part in the DIY aspect of the wedding. These little Lego bouts were a hit with the groomsmen and some even have them displayed at their homes. They’re so cute, I wouldn’t want to throw them away! Definitely something they’ll treasure for a very long time.

Groomsmen’s 8-bit Ties: What’s a video game wedding without some 8-bit love? The couple ordered the 8-bit ties for the groomsmen and bowtie for the groom from ThinkGeek.com. What they didn’t realize was that the ties were clip-on! To fix this, they decided to add a black satin ribbon and double sided velcro squares so they looked like regular neckties. These ties really added to the nerd factor of the wedding.

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

Invitations: Sarah and Chris had 2 kinds of wedding invitations – a classy black and white damask style invitation set bought from Winners, and for friends and the younger cousins, they created a fun Mario inspired invitation. They included game references on their wording, which I thought was quite clever. If you’ve played the Mario series, you’ll be glad to know that at last, the Princess is NOT in another castle :P

Sarah & Chris

Sarah & Chris

Treasure Box Wedding Favours: Again, sticking to the Mario theme, they gave each guest a gold treasure box to take home, but instead of coins, mushrooms or fire flowers, guests received chocolate. Sarah found a tutorial online and made these boxes herself.

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

Mad Libs Guestbook: They decided to go for an unconventional guestbook: Wedding Mad Libs. Each guest was given a list to fill out with random words. After filling in the list, they opened an envelope with the wedding advice story that Sarah and Chris created.  Guests then substituted their words where the blanks were in the story. Sarah and Chris thoroughly enjoyed each mad lib they read and will definitely enjoy them for years to come.

Mushroom Manicure: Sarah’s manicure technician painted her nails to look like the Mario mushrooms… and they even lasted through their 3 1/2 week European honeymoon! Money well spent and needless to say, the bride was very happy with it!

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

Wedding Party Gifts: In addition to the boutonnieres and the 8-bit ties, Chris bought silver flasks filled with Honey Jack Daniels for his groomsmen and had their gamer tags engraved on them. The ladies received personalized wine glasses from the bride, as they all enjoy the occasional glass.

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

Are you a geek chic bride looking for ideas? Sarah would love to help you out – if you need some nerdy wedding help, email her at nerdynuptials@gmail.com and she’ll gladly give you her two cents!

A Few Words With Sarah…

During the planning stages, how did you imagine your wedding?  Did the final result live up to expectations? 
“Chris and I only knew that we didn’t want a formal wedding.  Being avid gamers, we envisioned something fun and nerdy without being so over the top that we alienate a large portion of our non-gamer guests.    We were really pleased with the final result and joke that it was the best wedding we have ever attended.  It felt like the perfect representation of who we are as a twosome and it satisfied the more traditional members of our family who waited (somewhat) patiently for us to level up as husband and wife.”

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

Why did you choose to have a video game/board game theme?
“Games are a huge part of our life as a couple and as a family, and we embrace it (it’s the Age of the Nerd, after all).   Our core group of friends are all various levels of gamer nerd and a lot of our social gatherings involve interactive games we can play together as a group.  Chris works in the video game industry as a Game Director, and we both have played various forms of games since we were young tots.  I’m a die-hard Super Mario Bros fan and I was dead-set on having something Mario related in our wedding.  It just grew from there.”

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

What did your guests think about your wedding?
“We are still receiving calls and emails from guests telling us it was the most fun wedding that they have attended.  They said it captured our personality perfectly and that some of the games or gamer references made them feel very nostalgic. Achievement unlocked!”

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

What did you splurge on and what did you save on? Why?
“We splurged on the food and the photographer.  Our biggest budget saver was deciding to do a morning ceremony and a late morning brunch reception (mmm bacon).

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

The venue allowed us to bring our own Champagne for the toast and we didn’t need to worry about a bar tab because no one drank that early in the day.

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

The photographer gave us a great deal on our wedding package because Chris and I are both adept with Photoshop, so we got a dvd of the raw photo files to touch up ourselves.  They did edit the best jpgs for us as an added bonus.  We saved money on the ceremony décor by booking it at the Rose Garden at Burnaby Mountain (where we went on our first date).  The weather was gorgeous and bright and the roses were so beautiful nothing else was necessary.

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

We found the dresses for my bridesmaids ($55 each) and the dress for my flower girl ($35) on e-bay.  The dresses were from a reputable vendor and we were so impressed with their high quality that I ended up ordering one in a different colour to wear for a fancy dinner on our honeymoon. I wanted to help keep costs down for my bridesmaids so I suggested they wear their own red shoes and jewelry and made hair and makeup optional (they always look beautiful and polished, so I had no doubts they would look gorgeous for the wedding whatever they chose to do).  My bridesman wore the same attire as the other groomsmen (my Dad thought it would detract from the bride and groom if my bridesman wore a bridesmaid dress instead of a tux).”

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

If you could’ve done something differently, what would it be?
“Start the smaller tasks a little bit earlier so that we weren’t as rushed near the end.  We were really stressed about not getting some of the smaller décor details done.  After the wedding, Chris and I realized that we were the only ones who knew what didn’t get finished in time, and nobody noticed what we thought was missing.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, no one will miss it.”

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography After planning a wedding, what one advice would you give to future brides?
“Elope (just kidding).  Don’t be afraid to buck tradition.  During the planning process, several people told us the marriage is for the couple, the wedding is for the family.  I also had several recent brides tell me it’s YOUR wedding, do what YOU want. Neither Chris or I agreed with either idea, and we tried hard to find a way to merge the traditional ideals from our family with our less-than-traditional ideas to create a fun wedding that wouldn’t get either of us kicked out of the wills.

The more memorable weddings are the ones that aren’t traditional and cookie cutter.  For instance, I have never been a fan of waiting around for several hours between the ceremony and reception while the wedding party goes off to take group photos.  We decided to do our wedding party photos before the ceremony so that everyone could go straight to the Reception post-ceremony.  It gave us a chance to loosen up with some goofy photos, we saved a few hours of additional photographer hourly fees, our makeup and hair were still fresh, and our attire remained wrinkle and sweat stain free.”

Sarah & Chris’ Wedding Vendors:

Sarah & Chris - Photo courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography Ceremony venue: Burnaby Mountain Rose Garden
Reception venue & Catering: Riverway Clubhouse
Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal (Dress price: $799)
Bridesmaid Dress: Ebay ($55 each including shipping from England)
Tuxedo: Moore’s, 8-bit ties from ThinkGeek
Centerpieces: DIY
Bouquets: DIY
Make-up: Lisa at Blush Works Design
Bloom Essentials (Mario Mushroom Gel Manicure)
Mother’s jewelry
Invitations and Programs: DIY
Wedding Favors: DIY – Super Mario Bros question mark box with two chocolates from Rubens Chocolates (Port Moody).
Music for ceremony/reception: iPod
Transportation: Ritz Limos
Photographer: Teresa Corsie Photography
Cake: Cupcakes by Heather and Lori
Registry: Wedding Republic

All photos courtesy Teresa Corsie Photography

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  • March 21st, 2013 at 4:24 am
    Inspire Me Heather says:

    It looks like it was a fun wedding!

  • March 24th, 2013 at 10:57 am
    Laurie @ Vin'yet Etc. says:

    What an adorable wedding! I love, love how they aren’t “sheepeople” and are not conforming to the over the top expensive weddings like the whole world seems to be… they really did an amazing job at showing everyone at their wedding who they are. Cute adorable and original, just like them I’d imagine! Nicely done!

    Laurie @ Vin’yet Etc.

  • January 22nd, 2015 at 8:53 am
    Christine Olivo says:


    Would it be okay if I used images from this wedding for a themed wedding post for BuzzFeed.com?


  • July 6th, 2015 at 5:35 pm
    Lexie@D Liche says:

    Wow i love supermario combine with the wedding theme omg!
    it`s so awesome!!!


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