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Kirsten and Aaron’s Happy Happy Happy Wedding


I really love this wedding for a million reasons, but one of the things I think is *really* smart about it is that (drum roll please) they didn’t have a budget. What? Yes.

They spent what they thought was reasonable, as they had it, and never counted it up. I know this isn’t for everyone, but I thought I’d draw your attention to it. The closer I got to our wedding, the more I realized that it’s easy to get unreasonably attached to the *magic number* you’ve set for your budget… and funny enough, that can pull you away from what’s important and what’s right for you in the same way that million dollar flowers can. It can make you lose the plot. Because, really really really, money (no matter how much or how little you have) is not what is important about your wedding. It. Is. Not. What. Matters. And with that, I give you the super-smart Kirsten writing about their wonderful wedding:Kirsten and Aarons Happy Happy Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingWhere your wedding was held
On my neighbour’s property on St. Joseph Island, Ontario. I originally wanted to hold it on my family’s property, but there were too many trees and it was not easily accessible for those with health issues. I approached my neighbour Janet, and she graciously agreed to allow us to use her lawn for the ceremony and reception. She spent months in advance, along with her son Jeremy, sprucing it up to a level of unbelievable gorgeous-ness. It was so home-y, but beautiful, and I am still so grateful she let us take her place over for a weekend.Kirsten and Aarons Happy Happy Happy Wedding | A Practical Wedding
What made your wedding creative
Where Aaron and I grew up, weddings were typically very cookie cutter. Church, pictures, reception in a hall, done. We really took a step away from that, and thankfully our guests weren’t too terrified or out of their element. We wrote our own vows, much of which was lovingly borrowed from Peonies and Polaroids blog postings about her own wedding. My sister Kari and her boyfriend Duncan hand crafted three boxes of origami flowers for our head table and the food tables. The wedding wasn’t really “creative” in the artsy sense of the word, it just really reflected us, and our attitudes towards our families and loved ones.
Kirsten and Aarons Happy Happy Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingWhat made your wedding thrifty (whatever that meant for you)
As I mentioned, my sister and her boyfriend slaved over the origami. My mother hand sewed all of the table runners so they were exactly what I had pictured in my head. I designed the menu cards and various paper items for the reception myself, and had them printed at Staples. Aaron’s mom, my mom, and various family members made ALL of the desserts for the wedding. Aaron’s mom made 42 miniature pies. 42!!! Kirsten and Aarons Happy Happy Happy Wedding | A Practical Wedding
I also decided to act as my own wedding coordinator, which worked pretty well for our smaller, 60ish person wedding. Oh, and Aaron was fiercely thrifty by reusing his own suit, but updating it with a new tie and pocket square, and dressing it down by wearing Purcell’s as his shoes.
What saved me a TON of money and deserves to be noted on it’s own was me hiring my cousin Ian as our photographer. I use the word hired loosely, as we really didn’t pay him… although he may have drank some beer. Having never photographed a wedding before, he graciously stepped up to the plate, and in my opinion, did an amazing job. I just wanted to tell all the other practical brides who may not be able to afford “pro” photography to have a little faith in alternative methods of photography, it turned out wonderfully for us!
Kirsten and Aarons Happy Happy Happy Wedding | A Practical WeddingWhat made your wedding sane
My cousin Ian, as noted above.
Our friends and family, who all stepped up to help us out when we needed it. Our extended families helped organize, prep food, and did anything else you could throw at them. Specifically though, our friends Natalie and Mark really stepped up to the plate. Mark ran around for me and took my stress in stride, and when I needed someone to help me get ready, Nat was right there up for the job, and she was an absolute doll about it. I will never be able to thank her enough for keeping me sane.Kirsten and Aarons Happy Happy Happy Wedding | A Practical Wedding
Not having a budget also kept me sane. That’s right. No. Budget. I got an influx of cash in December, so we started planning around that. From that point, we spent money on the wedding whenever we had extra out of our pay cheques, and from gifts from our parents and grandparents. I honestly to this day have no idea what we spent. I have an approximate idea, but in the end the system that worked best for us was to just continually move forward.
I was kept sane most of the time by my new husband, my long-time partner in crime and my love, Aaron. No matter how horrible or confused I occasionally felt, he always saw the bigger picture, and I thank him for that.
Kirsten and Aarons Happy Happy Happy Wedding | A Practical Wedding
How did “A Practical Wedding” shape your planning?
First off, I am in debt to Meg. I think a lot of us read her blog and go “FINALLY. Someone who thinks like me in this crazy process.” Every time I started to stress out about a wedding based decision, I would go read APW on said stressful subject, or I would literally think to myself – What would Meg do? Lastly, I based my bouquet on one that was posted on the blog awhile back. Wasn’t exactly the same, but it my ode to the influence this blog had on my little wedding in Northern Ontario.Kirsten! I’m blushing! (And side note: I made tons to stupid stupid wedding decisions, and got confused and cranky by this whole process. I mean, you guys do too right?) May you two have many many years of happiness together… and may you still grab each others butts when you are 80!
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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11268259116470796202 susie Q

    this is lovely. really lovely! i'm two months away from my own wedding & find a lot of inspiration in this. hope you don't mind me "borrowing" the post, by which i mean, i'm putting a link to it on my own, very new blog. it's nice to spread the word about sane, down to earth people planning sane down to earth weddings! congratulations all! xx

  • http://accordionsandlace.wordpress.com/ accordionsandlace

    Love this! Congratulations to you both. Also my dirty secret is that we did our "budgeting" the exact same way! It worked out fine. (And we actually spent less than we expected.)

  • Desaray

    those pictures are totally awesome.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12977525202055990615 MaryKate

    This is so beautiful. The dress and the location is great. I'm glad to hear about the "no budget" thing…that's usually how I work, too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08842191847941847564 Bride in Exile

    I feel like I want to rewind time and make friends with Kristin and Aaron so I could attend their wedding! It looks like so much fun — and I can't believe Aaron's mom made 42 individual pies!! Love it.

  • Anonymous

    Yay! I'm so glad to read this. I hope my wedding turns out like this. It sounds like there was much love and community to be had. I too am spending as I go along–it works better for me. People want to know my budget number, so I end up giving an arbitrary one. But I'm kinda glad to hear I'm not alone doing the "no budget" budget.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05775224719230389364 Kelly

    Glad to see that the "pay what seems sensible as you go" method has worked for others. Coming up with "the magic number" and then breaking it down by percentages is about the second thing on every wedding checklist I've found, and it's just not for us. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04229456115818198176 A Fortunate Bride

    Oh I think the "no budget" budget is going to save many of us some sanity. We're approaching it kind of the same way – we have a rough idea of a maximum we would want to spend, but are not saving receipts for every paper clip. We evaluate each expense, as it comes along.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09526722516550185150 Meg

    Girrrlllsss, yes.
    I think one of my least sane moments of weddding planning was when I decided we needed to add everything up. It was a little more than I expected and I freaked… even though, as David pointed out, we'd paid what we thought we could afford and felt comfortable with on every item, so what was the big deal?

  • Anonymous

    This is fantastic! And yes, Meg, I absolutely read everyday and feel so relieved that someone else gets it. When I get stressed about budgeting, I remind myself of a vacation trip I took to California a few years ago (I live in the midwest) where I was majorly stressing about airfare. I ended up taking a connecting flight at 6am with a five hour layover because it was $50 cheaper. If I had thought ahead, I would've realized that my time, and sanity, would've been TOTALLY worth that $50.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02363757619601724418 Brandy

    Love it! Especially love seeing Canadian weddings!

    Does anyone happen to know where her dress is from?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14855730181425859876 KirstLouise

    Hi Ladies!

    Thanks for the love! I wish I could have invited you all to come partay with us.

    Oh, and I should just mention not having a budget can be stressful too! Sometimes it is hard to let go of that control…

    And Brandy, my dress was Amsale, from their little white dress collection. Specifically, I bought it at Mia Bridal Co in Ottawa.

    And we all know there is some serious Canadian love on this blog!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00901177853918418064 qasiaraine

    How lovely!

    We didn't really have a budget either. We tried to at first…I mean you NEED a budget right? But it just didn't work with how we think about things and make decisions. We did track what we spent at first, mostly out of curiousity. That pretty much broke down too, though, as most of the money was actually spent in the week before the wedding when I wasn't going to spend my time tracking things!

  • Anonymous

    This is very lovely. :)

    I wish I could go without a budget. But, I can't. I have to budget. I have about 9 other expenses that require my attention so it's not practical for me to just spend and not count it up.

    I admire anyone who is in a place in their life where they can do this. One day that will be me!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09731426268019406064 Ten Thousand Only

    loves the butt grab.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07087533583082622860 bobbie-sue

    Yesssss… I have never bothered with budgeting for anything. I just have an internal feedback look that reacts to the contents of my wallet/bank account/visa statement and feeds that into my spending the next month. And I get a healthy does of cheapness from my mother and REFUSE to pay THAT for x. Glad to see that other people operate on a similar level and that it's recognized as sane by at least some. I was starting to feel ashamed.

  • Catherine

    We started out with a budget and break down of where we anticipated spending that money. BUT…

    My partner owns his own small business and lost a couple of big contracts at the start of the year. He has gone back to school part time and our household income has dropped significantly. We now use the nausea test: if the cost of something makes me feel sick, it's out. We also apply the laughter test and the eye rolling test.

  • Nat

    Ahh, I love this no budget thing. It's def how we'll be going, but I had never really thought about how to articulate it before. The way I see it my partner and I have an amount of desposable income each month which we spend on a range of crap that I neither could nor would want to track. I envisage we'll simply funnel much of this towards wedding-crap. I can't see a need to beat myself up over spending $100 on some stupid thing for my wedding when I would otherwise be spending it on something stupid anyway;)

    I appreciate many couples, either through choice or necessity track every $ and I say props to you! Honestly I wish I were better, but we live with our limitations…