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The Blushing Frugal Bride

June 6th, 2011 by Jeannine

Leanne Liakos Photography

Love was in the air for Tamara Slobogean and Jeff Coates… literally! A Christmas flight to Montreal turned a regular holiday into the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. Midway into the flight, Jeff discreetly popped the question, a fitting proposal because the first time they met was also on an airplane. It was a short engagement, Tamara and Jeff were married a year and 3 months later, on March 18, 2011, in front of 80 of their closest family and friends.

Budget was a big deal to the couple, so it’s a good thing that Tamara is the Blushing Frugal Bride! A natural at smart shopping, she pulled off a beautiful wedding for just under $8,600! Here’s a breakdown:

  • Dress, shoes, veil, jewelry – $440
  • Hair styling for the entire bridal party – $400
  • Chair rentals – $360
  • Marriage Commissioner – $150
  • Flowers – $260
  • Cocktail Reception for 80 guests – $6,000 (includes champagne toast, open beer and wine service)
  • Cake – $0, a gift from her sister, a pastry chef

To keep the costs down she had to hunt for all the bargains in consignment stores, thrift stores, even dollar stores! Making the most of what they had helped too, they didn’t spend on a tux for her husband nor buy bridesmaid dresses, they all just wore what they had in the closet. As for wedding photography, her sister-in-law took some photos at the ceremony and reception, but they hired a professional photographer to do a post-wedding portrait session. Doing it this way was considerably cheaper than hiring a pro to cover the entire wedding day. They even lucked out and got a promotional rate so even more money was saved! It was also a good reason to get dolled up and wear the wedding dress a second time :)  Of course, she couldn’t have done it without a little generosity from the rest her friends and family, without them, there wouldn’t be a live band, nor a delicious wedding cake.

Tamara blogged about her thrifty wedding planning journey, and continues to share her money-saving secrets. She’s definitely an inspiration to other frugal brides out there.

A Few Words With Tamara…

What personal or unique touches did you have for your wedding?
“My sister Amelia is a chef and a musician.  So it was very special that she played the violin as Dad walked me down the aisle.  She also made an exquisite carrot cake.  And her band, the Red Boot Quartet played funky gypsy jazz and some polkas and traditional Ukrainian circle dances all night!  She and my Mom also made a traditional Ukrainian wedding bread which sat by the guest book all evening.  Jeff’s sister took the pictures.”

What did your guests think about your wedding?
“We got rave reviews…people love the food, the entertainment, the cocktail reception style that allowed for tons of mingling, the ceremony was outside at sunset, on a covered patio surrounded by heat lamps – with a beautiful water view in the background.”

What did you splurge on and what did you save on?
“I am the Blushing Frugal Bride, so I was interested in saving the whole way.  I saved on flowers by picking a colour scheme and letting the floral team choose the varieties day of, my bouquet came in at $35 and was spectacular! It was probably smaller than most bridal bouquets, but I don’t think anyone noticed.  Jeff wore his black suit, so no new suit for him (just new shoes!).  My dress was $400 from a Hastings Street consignment shop, my shoes were $11 from Army and Navy shoe sale. Bridesmaids wore their own black cocktail dresses which they loved and I loved.  They looked like themselves, and we all saved a ton of cash. We did pick a nice venue, and had an open beer and wine bar, with fabulous food like baron of beef, a carved smoked salmon, a chicken flambé station.  We also had a champagne toast.”

How did you manage to keep everything below budget?
“With a very upfront, frugal attitude the whole way.  I told every supplier I wanted to do everything possible to honour my budget.  Every played ball.  Even the venue catering manager suggested we stick with domestic microbrew beer, rather than offering import (which we had been willing to do!)”

Do you feel like you sacrificed style for being frugal?
“We had the night of our lives.  It was a very classy affair – and no one thought we skimped on anything.  As I look back, I am so glad I didn’t give in and spend $200 on the rhinestone headpiece I fell in love with days before the wedding (the one I wore had the sentimental factor and was more than lovely).”

After planning a wedding, what one advice would you give to future brides?
“You don’t need to spend a ton to throw a fabulous party. Big or small, honour your budget. There are many ways to creatively save.”

Jeff and Tamara’s Vendors:

Ceremony venue: Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club
Reception venue: Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club
Dress: Tiffany New York Bridal
Tux: Jeff’s own good suit!
Photographer: Jeff’s sister, post-wedding portraits by Leanne Liakos Photography
Flowers: Whole Foods
Hair and Make-up: Blo and MAC
Invitations: Jake Moyer
Cake: Amelia Slobogean
Decorations: None
Wedding Favors: None
Music for ceremony/reception: Red Boot Quartet and homemade CD’s
Transportation: Tamara’s Dad and taxis
Wedding planner/coordinator: None, Tamara & Jeff planned their wedding

Professional Portraits Courtesy Leanne Liakos Photography,
others from The Blushing Frugal Bride website

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