renee & brad
sum-up of the wedding vibe: A day filled with love and joy in the most spectacular setting.
Planned Budget: We didn’t have a set budget, but rather wanted our money to go toward what mattered to us most.
Actual Budget: $18,000
Number of Guests: 11
Where We Allocated The Most Funds:
In order from greatest expense to least expense: the wedding planner and the all-inclusive ceremony package (ceremony site, celebrant, two-person orchestra, chairs, decor, transportation for the group as well as the bride and groom [twenty-passenger bus to the ceremony site, bride in a horse and carriage, then a sedan car for the photography session after the ceremony], minimal flowers (bouquet, boutonnière, and a few on the table at the reception dinner), as well as all planning and coordination), the photography, the reception hall and dinner, and the videography.
The rest of our expenses, in order from greatest to least, included our hotel, since we were a destination wedding; Renee’s dress; Brad’s suit; welcome baskets for guests; Renee and Brad’s shoes, Renee’s hair, and decor.
Where We Allocated the Least Funds:
Flowers and all “extras.” We went minimal, and didn’t have any gifted, donated, or discounted elements.
What Was Totally Worth It:
Everything! We took our time to decide what meant the most to us, and we ended up getting everything we wanted and needed out of our day.
A Few Things That Helped Us Along The Way:
Communication between one another. Often, Brad and I would have different opinions on how much to spend on each item. We often talked and always kept communication lines open to discuss why we wanted something and the reasoning behind it. In the end, we made it to where we are now by talking through all the hard decisions and getting exactly what we wanted out of our day.
Also, we are both believers of not going over the top. Remembering this along the way helped. You don’t have to have a wedding like the magazines. When we encompassed this in our planning, our spending fell into the right places.
My Best Practical Advice To My Planning Self:
Do what YOU want. It is often tough to please all your family and friends who want to be part of and share in your special day. We had several decisions to tackle along the way: where to have the wedding (home or Quebec City? Many wanted it home for convenience), who to invite to the wedding (we knew we wanted small), do we have a party back home for all those not invited (this we went back and forth on, ultimately deciding on no), and all the decisions on where to allocate money and spending. Our family had various opinions. In the end, we went with everything we wanted and it couldn’t have made us happier.
Favorite Thing About The Wedding:
The ceremony. Hands down. A day that started out with typical anxious, nerves and excitement turned into everything it should be right before I walked down the aisle. I stood there with my father and finally felt at peace, in the sense of all nerves disappearing. I wanted nothing more than to get started, see him, get to him, hold him, and be his wife.
I asked Brad after the ceremony what he felt in the moment I was walking down, and he responded, “Happiness.” Later he explained, “I couldn’t wait for you to get to me; I just wanted you to be near me.” The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and everything we wanted it to be: intimate, in a beautiful setting, and with our loved ones watching on as we declared our love for one another, joyous, pure, and true.
anything else to share:
Planning the wedding was not always easy. As many know, it’s difficult to please everyone. Well, when we stopped doing that, we ended up with exactly what we wanted—a small, intimate, romantic wedding in Quebec City, Quebec.
We fell in love with “Old Quebec” last year and we wanted to share that part of our journey with those closest to us. “Old Quebec” is a portion of Quebec City that draws you in. It is not only rich in history, but to us, one of the most romantic cities you could ever visit. We discovered a spot, on the Plains of Abraham, that is set up on a hill and overlooks the famous Chateau Frontenac as well as the St. Lawrence River. It has the most spectacular view! This was the spot Brad proposed to me, and it was the same spot we got married in, exactly one year from the day he proposed.
We wanted to do everything that encompassed us and who we are. All we needed was each other, the city, our closest loved ones, and a celebrant! Our love came so simply after so long of being just friends (we’ve know each other for years). It is natural and beautiful. It’s nothing you could fake. It’s captured within the way we live and how we treat each other.
We had thirteen people total, enjoying a gourmet dinner at the Chateau Frontenac’s Library Hall. Brad and I did a first dance off to the side, using our iPhone attached to speakers. Our guests also looked on as we cut a tiny, cute, white cake with a flower on it. It was lovely. Our ultimate decision on how and what we wanted our wedding to be came down to the meaning and circumstances behind who we are and what we were looking for.
It. Was. Perfect.