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Vancouver Budget Wedding:
Sharina + Jimmy

February 27th, 2012 by Jeannine

Vancouver Budget Wedding: Sharina + Jimmy

Sharina and Jimmy are proof that relationships can stand the test of distance. Both worked for the Government of Nunavut but Jimmy lived in Whale Cove while Sharina stayed in Iqaluit, a distance that spans the Hudson Bay and then some. They first met in 2008, but it wasn’t until a year after that they realized there was something special there. Jimmy arrived in Iqaluit for a training conference and one evening, at a local nightspot, they got to chatting and sparks instantly flew, so much so that Jimmy actually agreed to get on the dance floor with her! Obviously Sharina was a special girl!

Their long distance relationship started just a few days later. For months, they looked forward to each other’s phone calls and planned visits. Their love grew so much that in the fall of 2010, Sharina made a lifechanging decision to move to Coral Harbour, where Jimmy had transferred to. Later that year, Jimmy and Sharina decided to go on a trip to Costa Rica. As they were admiring the sunrise one morning, Jimmy decided to pop the question and the rest was history.

Their big day was on September 17, 2011 and they celebrated at the Bedford House Restaurant with 85 of their closest friends and family. Sharina planned the wedding herself, long distance. She had to rely on the power of the internet, which worked out great despite not being able to meet anyone in person, go to bridal shows or browse through samples.  Their $19,000 wedding was full of unique ideas and DIY elements. I was so impressed when Sharina told me she created her table runners out of Ikea curtains, and they turned out beautifully!

Her bridesmaids were her 2 sisters-in-law and 2 best friends, whom she had wearing different shades of plum and purple. That wasn’t the original plan, though. Sharina had a tough time deciding which shade matched her plum colour scheme the best so the ladies at Ivory Bridal came up with clever suggestion of dressing them up in different, yet complementing shades. It looked amazing in the end, plus Sharina didn’t have to worry about matching the rest of the colour scheme exactly.

Their centerpieces were actually edible. Instead of having a traditional wedding cake, each table had a mini cake as their centerpiece. The 2-tiered chocolate cakes with plum coloured flowers not only matched their colour scheme perfectly, they were also a hit with the guests! Who doesn’t want a sweet treat?

Each guest received 2 sachets of Nunavut tundra tea inside a brown tulle bag. It was an affordable and thoughtful way to share a piece of their home with their guests.

The couple also had an interesting kissing game. Sharina and Jimmy love goose hunting, so their emcees brought a stuffed goose toy that honked when you squeeze it. Guests were invited to squeeze the goose or if they’re brave enough, perform their own goose call to get them to kiss!

A Few Words With Sharina…

During the planning stages, how did you imagine your wedding?  Did the final result live up to expectations?
“We wanted a sort of ‘vintage rustic’ style, with the colours chocolate brown and plum, with hints of gold. Ideas sort of evolved and morphed as planning proceeded, but the most important things were having a laid back, enjoyable day with good friends and good food, and we certainly had that!”

What personal or unique touches did you have for your wedding?
“Our groomsmen wore brown tuxes instead of black. I wore bright violet/plum peep toe heels with my dress, and I had a plum coloured silk shrug that I put on at the reception. My brother just became a youth pastor at a local church and we had him co-officiate our ceremony. This was extra special for my family especially, and he gave a very touching ceremony and blessing. I knew from the very start that I wanted lots of CHOCOLATE… so we had a great candy bar and chocolate cakes on the tables as centerpieces.”

Did you make or do anything yourselves for the wedding?
“I made the table numbers lanterns out of vellum, using a photograph of Nunavut flowers (purple saxifrage) and tundra landscape that a friend had taken. This same photo was used on our wedding invitations. We put a candle on the inside of the box-shaped lanterns and it really made the photo come to life. I also sewed my own table runners out of sheer plum curtains I had purchased at Ikea. They were only $10 for a pair of curtains, and each curtain made one table runner. So it was very cost effective! With the leftover curtains and with an vintage gold frame I’d found in an antique shop near the wedding venue, I made a unique seating chart.

We also had a purple and brown themed candy bar. Each of the different types of candy (purple an brown saltwater taffy, rock candy, purple and brown candy corn, etc.) was displayed inside a different antique crystal punch bowl (some with brass stands) that we had borrowed from our co-officiant. He had been collecting them and lends them out (his name is Kevin Fatkin… he is simply AWESOME to work with). But I also saw many of these types of dishes in thrift stores or antique shops in Fort Langley. It’s also something that could probably be borrowed from friends and family.

I also printed out our programs (on recycled banana leaf paper we bought just after we were engaged in Costa Rica) and matching menu cards and tied all the ribbons.”

Which wedding traditions did you stick with and why? Which did you leave out and why?
“There was no way I wanted Jimmy to see me before I came down the aisle… it was the moment I was waiting for basically my whole life, so I wasn’t going to part with that. We didn’t do the garter/bouquet toss… I guess we forgot or it just wasn’t important to us. Everything else was pretty standard and traditional.”

What did your guests think about your wedding?
“I think they enjoyed themselves… I think the best part for the guests was the food. They also liked my brother’s touch on the ceremony, and I had lots of compliments on my dress and the décor.”

What did you splurge on and what did you save on and why?
“We splurged on the big tent on the outdoor deck. We needed it in case it rained (it was pouring the morning of the wedding). We could have had cheaper, flimsier tents that would join together, but I liked the look of one big tent better. It was quite expensive, but definitely worth it. We also had an open bar until 11:00pm, which was nice for our guests not to have to worry about buying drinks, but the time limit made sure it wouldn’t get too crazy expensive for us. I think my dress was a relative steal too… only $1,100. We also did not have a DJ: made our own ipod playlist. We saved on our photo package because we only had the photographers until just before the reception. I saved on décor items by making them myself.”

If you could’ve done something differently, what would it be?
“We saved quite a bit by not having our photographers at the reception, however I definitely would have liked to have had more good quality photos during the dancing/reception. If we could have appointed one or two people to take pictures, we would have had more from the reception. I was very disappointed with our hair stylist. For what she charged, it was really not great. I could have maybe done a bit more research and found one with more positive endorsements? We went through Lisa Gregory special events for the flowers. I never got to speak to the florist directly, and I think that may be why I didn’t get exactly what I had asked for and pictured. I would have confirmed several times with the florist to make sure they had the same vision as I had.”

How did you manage to keep everything below budget?
“We tried to keep track of everything as we went and returned items if they were too expensive or compromised here and there to make sure we didn’t go overboard. Even though I may have wanted the fancier chairs, or it would have been nice to cover 100% of the drinks… we tried to remember that those little details would not make or break the day!”

After planning a wedding, what one advice would you give to future brides?
“Don’t forget it’s you and your future husband’s day! Make it your own, and don’t be afraid to reinvent traditions. Pick a few things that you really want to splurge on and treat yourself. Also, remember that you will NEVER please everyone (i.e. family), so don’t go crazy trying.”

Sharina & Jimmy’s Vendors:

Ceremony venue: Bedford House Restaurant
Reception venue: Bedford House Restaurant
Ivory Bridal
Tux: Tip Top Tailors
Photographer: MacPhail Photography
Flowers: Lisa Gregory Special Events
Make-up: Laurie Leone
Wedding Paper Divas
Sugar Patisserie in Cloverdale
Decorations: DIY
Wedding Favors: Purchased tea in Nunavut, bags from Michaels
Music for ceremony/reception: Ipod playlist, we rented equipment from Magic Star.
Transportation: Elite limousine
Wedding planner/coordinator: n/a
Officiant: Sharina’s brother and Kevin Fatkin was the co-officiant
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Express in Walnut Grove

All photos courtesy MacPhail Photography

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  • March 2nd, 2012 at 9:58 am
    Julie says:

    Her hair may not be what she wanted but she was breathtaking!


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