Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rest easy funny man

(updated August 13, 2014)

The news of Robin Williams' death was received with heavy hearts this week. A name - or at least a voice - that everyone over the age of 10 around the world knows.

Today I stopped reading anything about this iconic soul. It ripped me a little. In some strange way I felt disrespectful for shutting it down; as if reading was my way of honouring him. But the exploitation or judging of the situation wore me down. Updates that included lines like "if you need help, talk to someone". Others called his act of suicide "selfish". This is where I would normally insert a string of obscenities but in an effort to remain professional, I refrain.

A man has died. In a time we should be celebrating his life and wrapping our hearts around his family and friends we choose to criticize his act and capitalize on this situation? Is this how we treat life? As disposable as the garbage that goes out on Monday? Again, refraining.

Here's an example (business name removed in hopes that an apology is issued by the time anyone reads this):

"As we mourn the loss of Robin Williams to depression, we must recognize it as an opportunity to engage in a national conversation... At [business name], we are in the business of helping our clients create or join public conversations."
Callous as one friend called this. And I agree.

The power of association can also be, well, a powerful thing. Asking others to seek help in the same context as Mr. William's death, leaves me questioning whether people will interrupt things the way I started to before looking into it and be left with the impression that he did not seek help. Perhaps I am being oversensitive to the situation but this is what I am reacting to. Not the intentions of people wanting to help but to putting Mr. Williams suicide in the same breath as asking others to get help.

Some will argue that this is a time to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. While normally I would agree with the importance of breaking the stigma associated with mental illness, I just believe more strongly that we should not be doing it on the back of a tragedy. Let the family grieve. Make whatever sense from this they can. This should be a year round conversation that never ends. Deep breath.

The part that has me cringing the most is the fact that Mr. William's was getting help. He was open about his journey having battled drug and alcohol addictions. He had been to rehab for these illnesses. Canadian statistics show that about 20% of people with a mental disorder have a co-occurring substance use problem according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. I would be shocked to find out his treatment plan was solely for his addiction. So please, to say "if you need help, talk to someone" is just a slap in the face to this situation.

And why we need to differentiate between mental or physical illness is beyond me. Last time I checked my brain (to think), my heart (to feel), my lips (to smile), etc. were all a part of my body.

Think about it. You break your arm. You're in excruciating pain. You likely yelped. Maybe even cried. By the time you got to the hospital you could tolerate it - at least until the doctor bent it in the opposite direction and said "oh, does that hurt" while you want to punch him in the face with your able arm. A cast is put on and you're given a few Tylenol 3 to manage the pain. You don't sleep very well that night and call in sick the next day. Two days later it's the cast that has you irritated as you shove a ruler down it to itch that spot.

In 6 - 8 weeks you're back at the doctor. Cast is removed. It didn't heal right. Surgery is required. It's day surgery so you're in and out. A few weeks later you start physio to help build the strength back in your arm but really, you're no worse than wear. Just a few battle scars. A few months after that you're joking about the ridiculousness that led to the break in the first place.

Now take that pain you felt in your arm the moment you broke your arm. Take that pain and feel it for 24 hours. After 24 hours it doesn't go away. You're already in torment, right? Wondering when you will feel better? After a week of this you're squirrely. Others can see your pain.

Only difference between breaking your arm and something in your brain hurting? People can see your arm. So why must we treat your broken arm differently than we treat a mental condition?

Living with depression

There is no question in anyone's mind that the man was one of the greatest geniuses that will ever walk this earth. Very few hold the ranks of an uncanny ability to captivate millions throwing them into uproarious states with edgy, run-on monologues. His comedic abilities were no doubt a result of his imagination, intelligence and compassion.

I believe we are the one's being selfish. Articles have described Mr. Williams' death as the "loss to the comedy world". Is this how we're seeing him? Again, as an object due to his profession who we gained from rather than a person? People have lost a husband. A father. A friend.

No one know will ever comprehend what Mr. Williams went through in that beautiful, complex brain of his. What I do know is how I have felt living with episodic depression and general anxiety disorder. I am not suggesting in any way that I am capable of understanding what  Mr. Williams felt suffering behind his mask. But I do know that it is not easy to describe. Jamie Flexman may have summarized it best last year when he wrote:

Depression is like trying to run through water and being told to get over it is akin to suddenly being able to move like you can on dry land. It's impossible. You can grit your teeth and attempt to get some momentum going but ultimately the density will prevent you from moving quickly.
When depression has its grip on you, life becomes water. The air around you becomes water, crushing you with its weight and even the simplest tasks become difficult. You feel sluggish, both mentally and physically and nothing can snap you out of it.

You have essentially become trapped inside your own prison and true access to your brain lies behind that locked door. Sometimes, briefly, you are allowed outside to stretch your legs but you know this is temporary. Eventually you will have to return to your cell and wait patiently for a time when you are given another opportunity to function like a normal member of society.

There is no choice in the matter. All we can do is take advantage of our good days and try to minimise the effect our bad days have on us.

Maybe Mr. Williams just didn't have any good days left.

Good night

"You have been fabulous audience! Tell you what, you're the best audience in the whole world. Take care of yourselves. Good night, Alice! Good night, Agrabah! Adios, Amigos!" ~Robin Williams as Genie in Aladdin

Good night Mr. Williams. May you rest easy now funny man.

And while posting this may seem contradictory to everything I just wrote about taking advantage of the situation, it is my outlet. This blog has always been my outlet as I have talked honestly in my posts wearing my heart on my sleeve. My release on these tragic events is so my profanities aren't my 5 minutes of fame.

As I have reflected on this post it has made me realize that maybe I am part of the problem. Have I really done all I can to be part of the solution to breaking down the stigma of mental health and making this a year round conversation?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Supermoon Chaser

Supermoon chaser: similar to a storm chaser minus the risk of dying.

They said it was going to be an "extra-special" moon. I'll let you decide.

supermoon 2014
Saturday, August 9 | 11:15 pm | Carp Highlands Court, Carp, ON

supermoon 2014
Saturday, August 9 | 11: 30 pm | Carp Highlands Court, Carp, ON

supermoon 2014
Sunday, August 10 | 3:30 am | Carp Highlands Court, Carp, ON

supermoon 2014
Sunday, August 10 | 4:15 am | Carp Highlands Court, Carp, ON

supermoon 2014
Sunday, August 10 | 8:35 pm | Carp Road, Carp ON

supermoon 2014
Sunday, August 10 | 8:40 pm | Carp Road, Carp ON

supermoon 2014
Sunday, August 10 | 8:55 pm | Craig Side Road, Carp, ON

supermoon 2014
Sunday, August 10 | 9:10 pm | Diefenbunker, Carp ON

I snapped these pics over my hometown, the centre of the universe, Carp, ON (rural Ottawa) with a Canon 70D.

Did you get some amazing shots of #supermoon2014? I would love to see them. Tweet them to me @MrsARob.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Itchy, scratchy furbabe: tips to help identify and control allergies in pets

While out walking Ms. Lois the Rescue yesterday, she chowed down on a pile of horse sh*t. Yes, horse poop. How does this happen you ask? When you live near the home of the best little fair in Canada where a horse show has taken place over the weekend and you turn to say hello to a stranger passing by and take your eyes off the beast for 2.8 seconds it happens.

There she was in all her glory devouring horse sh*t. For many this may not be a big deal other than the stinky breath. For Ms. Lois who suffers from severe food allergies it's a recipe for torment. We know she's having a reaction when she starts to shake her head uncontrollably, scratches her ears that deep down scratch, gets super red eyes and gnaws at her paws. She also rubs on, along, and over anything that will provide even the slightest relief from the itchiness.

dog food allergies; rescue dog

Needless to say it was a race home for Benadryl (consult with your vet to ensure this is OK for your pup). Along the way we ran into another pooch and their fur-rent. As Lois rolled on her back, sun shining on her lady bits, we got to chatting. This owner wasn't aware that dogs could suffer from allergies. It got me thinking about how many other fur-rents might be in the same boat so thought I would share some info.

Common signs of allergies in pets

One of the things with bringing home a rescue is you don't always know their medical history. When we first met Lois she had an ear infection. No big deal; our #suckhole had them all of the time. Generally after a few days of drops it would go away. With Lois though the head shaking, scratching her ears, red eyes and gnawing at her paws never stopped.
We discussed her habits with our vet and learned these are common allergy symptoms. I felt awful. She was crawling out of her skin itchy. Lolo is now on a special protein modified, hypoallergenic diet and is allowed nothing else. Jealous? I know you are.
Even though you feel like your pooch is the only one in agony, Lois' symptoms weren't unique. A month or so after Lo was diagnosed there was a campaign to raise awareness on pet allergies. I felt like Lo was the poster pooch for it. While it's focus is on seasonal allergies, these were the symptoms of Ms. Lois' food reactions.

dog food allergies; rescue dog


How to help control your pet's allergies

Food - the very first thing our vet recommended was switching up her food. Lois needed to detox and cleanse her system of whatever was irritating it. Different foods are available depending on whether your furbabe has seasonal or food allergies. I'm not going to deny it - specialty food is expensive so if you have the time & energy, consider making your own.
Clean paws - don't ask me the medical side of this but yeast can grow between the paws and in ears from allergies. Our vet prescribed a steroid drop to help clear it. As other things can get between a pooch's toes while out walking, we keep hypoallergenic antibacterial baby wipes at the door. When we come inside we do a quick swap of her paws to get things like pollen and dust off her feet. We also apply a topical conditioner when she needs extra relief.
Benadryl - this is a staple in our house now as she hate the bubble wrap we had her in. When the reaction is really bad like it was yesterday, we wrestle with Lois to squirt antihistamine down her throat. Please consult with your vet to ensure this is OK for your furbabe and to get the correct dosage. I don't want to me blamed for sending your furry friend into a stupor. 
Moral of the story? Don't let your dog eat horse sh*t.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Medieval Times: an unforgettable experience

Magnificent pageantry. Heart pounding battles. Spectacular horsemanship. A feast fit for a king. This was Medieval Times.

Hubs and I dedicated this summer to exploring new places and trying new things. So far we have taken day trips to explore nearby towns, rocked out at concerts, played detectives at a murder mystery dinner and vacationed in Baaahstin. When CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) invited us to check out the show with our two nephews we were thrilled. We only get to see the boys a few times of year so were very grateful to be able to include them in one of our adventures.

As you only live once, we decided to take things to a whole other level. We surprised the boys (age 5 & 8) with medieval costumes to wear to the show. That surprise also included hubs and I dressing up. The boys vibrated with excitement. And who knew a dirndl could be fashionable at something other than Oktoberfest. I did mention #yolo, right?

medieval times; toronto; caa

From the moment we opened the doors to the castle we were captivated; thrown back centuries. Greeters and ticket takers were dressed as peasants. Armour lined the walls. Horses grazed in their stalls. The boys were very proud to show Lord Chancellor, who guided us through the Tournament of Knights, that they were ready for battle should any knight go down.

medieval times; toronto; caa

The Royal Court

The show was a spectacle of glory, chivalry, strength and courage. The evening featured six brave knights who competed in medieval games of skill including authentic sword fights and thrilling jousting. The games were exhilarating. Sparks flew and lances splintered. It didn't feel like a cheesy choreographed show but rather a true competition.

One of the games challenged the knights to spear his lance through a ring. This pretty much blew my mind as I can't feed thread through a needle let alone do it while galloping on a horse.

medieval times; caa; toronto

Crowd Rousing

The tournament is designed for guests to feel a part of it. Knights battled for glory in jousting and hand-to-hand combat using an assortment of medieval weapons. Each section had a dedicated knight denoted by the colour of crown received upon entry to the castle. We cheered loud and proud for our red knight every time he was in action...

medieval times; toronto; caa

...or when evil was captured from trying to take reign. We also heckled the other knights. We were encouraged to. I promise.

A falconer showed off his skills. It was pretty cool to see the falcon swoop so low over the audience. My hands may have acted as a shield in case he had some business to do.

medieval times; toronto; caa

Brawn and Beauty

The Andalusian stallions were magnificent. We were all in awe of their beauty. They were powerful yet graceful, especially during the Versace performance. Bond between knight and horse was evident. Both oozed proudness having all eyes on them as they gaited around the stadium.

medieval times; caa; toronto


We were served in true medieval style: pre-silverware fashion. The boys were befuddled at using their hands as utensils. Eating like barbarians took a bit of getting used to.

The feast was absolutely fit for a king. Holy cow err, dragon was there a lot of food! Ok, maybe not real dragon but it was fun to pretend as the day started with slaying Uncle Aaron The Big Bad Dragon. On the menu was Dragon Scales (garlic bread) and Dragon Blood Soup (vegetable) to start followed by Dragon Toes (ribs), Baby Dragon (chicken) and Dragon Ears (potato).

The food was hot and fresh, plentiful and in itself worth the price of the ticket. Our man wench Corey dished out the fare over the course of the show.

medieval times; caa; toronto

After the tournament all guests were invited to meet Lord Chancellor, the Royal Falconer and the 6 knights who competed. Every person who was part of the games took time with each guest.We weren't herded out the door like you are after some shows.

medieval times; caa; toronto

The experience was well beyond my expectations. Everyone who was a part of the show lived Medieval Times. I went in thinking it would be geared to the littles but us bigs were just as enthralled. We all had a fantastic time. It was such an exciting show that the drive home was pretty quiet.

medieval times; toronto; caa

So, to all the lords and ladies, bigs and littles, should you wish to be treated like royalty, then check out Medieval Times. There are locations in Toronto, Chicago, Lyndhurst, Baltimore, Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Dallas, Orlando and Buena Park.

A huge thank you to CAA South Central Ontario for providing us with an unforgettable experience. Memories were created that will last a lifetime.

Did you know that CAA members not only save on ticket prices to Medieval Times and other great items but you also earn CAA Dollars? Click here to learn more about the perks of being a CAA member.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wrapped in Inspiration: more than just a scarf

Last week a colleague of hubs' emailed me knowing I love pretty things. What I discovered was the pretty things he was talking about also had a beautiful story of strength and courage wrapped around them.

Knitting wasn't just about the scarf for Holly; it was her outlet. Lost in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage, she credits knitting to saving her. The click of her needles and weaving of yarn allowed her to de-stress and think clearly.

A year ago Holly found the strength and courage to leave the tumultuous relationship behind. Since then she hasn't looked back. She has cleansed her body, mind and soul and rediscovered her passion for pretty things.

With the encouragement and support of her family and friends, Wrapped in Inspiration, was born. She has taken the traditional infinity scarf and turned it into a fashion piece. These trendy accessories are the easiest way to dress up an outfit and a staple for every woman's closest.

wrapped in inspiration; infinity scarf; fashion

What's even more moving about Holly's journey is Wrapped in Inspiration isn't just a business; it's her way of giving back. A portion of the proceeds from her sales will go to domestic violence charities. Not all women have the strength and courage to leave their abusive relationships like Holly did. She wants to ensure that all women have a place to turn and make a difference in their lives.

Sometimes we all need to be wrapped in a little inspiration.

You can find Wrapped in Inspiration on the web, Twitter, Facebook and Etsy. Best part? The store is open 24 hours a day and you can shop from the comfort of your own home. I've already bought a few for myself and gave my mom one for her forever 29th birthday.

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post. I believe in supporting local, especially when there is such beauty in a product and person.

Monday, July 21, 2014

2014 CIBC Run for the Cure: I'm running for my bestie

2014 CIBC Run for the Cure; breast cancer; i'm running for my best friend

On March 21, 2012 I received a text from my bestie: can you come over?

Me: is everything OK?

Bestie: no.

Moments later I sat in her kitchen still in my pjs with fur on my teeth and learned my best friend had been diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma. In layman's terms: breast cancer.

In the months that followed she lost both of her breast at the young age of 35 from this awful disease before facing chemotherapy and radiation. It turned her life upside down as well as her family's.

Just a few weeks ago, almost two years plus a day of her double mastectomy, she began the reconstruction process. An expander was placed under her skin and chest muscle. Over the coming months it will slowly filled with saline by her doctor. After the tissue has relaxed and healed enough, the expander will be removed and replaced with her new girls.

This is why I will be running in the 2014 Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure on Sunday, October 5th. Breast cancer is a cause that is near to me. I am proud to be contributing to Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s vision of creating a future without breast cancer.

There is a cure; we just need to find it. We need to end this ugly disease.

As every dollar counts, I am running a Twoonies for Tatas campaign. That's right, I am only asking for a $2 donation. For every person who supports my fundraising efforts, your name will go into a draw for tickets to see the battle of Ontario on Wednesday, September 24 at the Canandian Tire Centre. Together, we can help to create a future without breast cancer.

To make a donation, please click here.

Documented within my blog is the rollercoaster ride I took with my bestie as she kicked the sh*t out of cancer. Sadness. Shock. Frustration. Hurt. Guilt. Happiness. Fear. Excitement. Jealousy. Love. Panic. Pride. Relief. Pure, raw emotion. It's all there. Please scroll through to learn more about the journey we took together.

Much love,

ps - anyone want to be my training buddy? Do you have an app you would recommendation to get my butt in gear? Please let me know. I should probably start training.

pps - also need to start planning my outfit. Oh c'mon, you knew I would bring my shopping addiction into this somehow ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Life in Pleasantville: someone pinch me

Someone pinch me. I just need to see if this is really happening.

No, I'm not in Pleasantville, NJ. But I have started to live the Life in Pleasantville state of mind. That's right. I've joined Candace's amazing team of contributors. Lil'ole me is writing on the same page as some of the blogosphere's biggest supastars! Annnnnd, this is where you pinch me.

My first post is up and one that is near to my heart. It only seemed fitting to write about Ms. Lois and to share some tips on adopting a rescue pooch. So if you can spare a few minutes, I would love for you to check it out: Hopeful (again) Hearts - Rescue Dog Adoption Tips.

Much love,


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Happy Sensversary

5,475: the number of days hubs has been with the best hockey club in the NHL: the Ottawa Senators. Fifteen years ago he traded his love for the blue and white to follow his passion for sport.

Over his time he has brought smiles to the faces of thousands and thousands of kids. From taking the Bell Capital Cup into the Guinness Book of World Records to building the Rink of Dreams at City Hall, the first refrigerated ice surface of its kind in Ottawa, he has been committed to ensuring kids from all walks of life have a chance to play hockey.

Happy anniversary @TheEhRob. Beyond proud of you each and every day. Cheers to 15 more.

ottawa senators; aaron robinson; sens; bell capital cup; rink of dreams

I know I'm biased but other people think he's pretty incredible too:

Aaron Robinson earns Forty Under 40 honour

Bell Capital Cup general manager recognized by Ottawa Business Journal

Thursday, 25.06.2009

He’s the man who makes the Bell Capital Cup go.

For that and everything else he does on behalf of the Ottawa Senators organization, Aaron Robinson has been selected by Ottawa Business Journal as one of its Forty Under 40 for 2009. The paper annually honours a group of “successful, dynamic and community-minded business leaders” under the age of 40.

Robinson, the Senators’ director of fan and community development, is best known for his work with the Bell Capital Cup. As the event’s general manager for the past six years, he has been a driving force in an event that, in 2007, became the “world’s largest hockey tournament” in the esteemed eyes of the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Aaron has been a key contributor to Senators Sports & Entertainment for a number of years,” said Cyril Leeder, the chief operating officer of Senators Sports & Entertainment and founder of the Bell Capital Cup.

“He brings passion, professionalism and commitment to everything he does. Nowhere has that been more evident than in his work in developing the Bell Capital Cup into the world’s largest – and best – hockey tournament.”

It is truly a labour of love for the 35-year-old Robinson.

“Every facet of (the Bell Capital Cup) is demanding and very tough, but it’s also very rewarding when you see the kids at the end and their joy in winning a championship,” he said. “There’s also the charity end of it. We know we contribute more than $200,000 each year to minor hockey and local charities.

“To see the city come together and make it such a success is hugely rewarding.”

The tournament’s overall contribution to the capital region – and Robinson’s role in that success – impressed OBJ’s Forty Under 40 selection committee.

“There are two key things that stood out on Aaron’s nomination for Forty Under 40,” said Ottawa Business Journal publisher Michael Curran, who also chairs the awards selection committee. “First, the sheer accomplishment of organizing an event of the magnitude of the Bell Capital Cup and the economic impact it has on Ottawa. The logistics are mind-boggling with 485 teams and the economics of contributing $13.3 million to business is very significant.

“But beyond the numbers, the selection committee was very impressed with Aaron’s strong desire to leverage the Bell Capital Cup to help local charities and minor hockey. In a nutshell, that’s what Forty Under 40 is all about – bottom-line success and giving back. Aaron exemplifies that.”

"The selection committee was very impressed with Aaron's strong desire to leverage the Bell Capital Cup to help local charities and minor hockey. In a nutshell, that's what Forty Under 40 is all about – bottom-line success and giving back. Aaron exemplifies that." - Michael Curran
Robinson, who will hit the 10-year mark with the Senators organization next month, said he is “pretty honoured” to receive recognition from OBJ. But he quickly added, “from my own point of view, it’s an organizational distinction more than an individual award.”

“It demonstrates the support and commitment Senators management and staff has to giving back to our community,” said Robinson. “I’m fortunate to be in a position that I thoroughly enjoy, with an organization that has allowed me to grow professionally and assist in making our community a better place to live.

“It comes down to the kids. When you see the smiles on kids’ faces, you know you’re making an impact on the community and making the community a better place.”

Monday, July 14, 2014

My $10.50 wedding dress: tips to save you time and money on your big day

People never believe me when I tell them my entire outfit for our special day was $52.50. And that included my delicates. It's true. I wore my dream dress without breaking the bank.

I get asked all the time how I did it. So I've decided to share a few tips to help save you time and money on your wedding. As an event planner in a former life, I know first hand how to trim while still getting everything you want.

The Dress

Every girl wants to look perfect on their wedding day; no matter what the definition of perfect is to them. Start dressing shopping early. When you find a style you like, look online. Guaranteed you will find the dress, if not one very similar, at a fraction of the cost.

wedding planning; time and money saving tips; wedding budget; frugal wedding

Don't leave it to the last minute. When we're pressured to find something we always overspend. If you decide to order online make sure you leave enough time for delivery and alternations. Try on accessories when you're shopping in-store so you can buy these online too. I bought my dress for $10.50 and veil for $17, both from eBay. Picked up my shoes on a Boxing Day sale for $22 and my skivvies for $3 at Winners.

Other great options for frugal dress shopping are consignment stores (most bridal shops have a section tucked away in the store somewhere) or consider a less formal dress and purchase from a big box store.

Wedding party

Choosing who to stand in your wedding party can be stressful. One way to cut down on the stress and budget is to have only one or two people by your side. It was a no-brainer for me to choose my best friend. There was no trying to coordinate everyone to go dress shopping, managing the dynamics or chance of offending anyone.

By having only Dani stand for me I purchased her dress and earrings and gave her a custom hairpiece as the maid-of-honour gift. The dress and earrings came from Le Chateau and can easily be worn again to Christmas parties, etc. She picked up the shoes at what was Zellers (in Canada) and is now Target for under $30. The hairpiece was privately made.


The venue can often be where your budget starts to hemorrhage. First consider having your wedding on a day other than a Saturday and during the off season. We held ours on a Friday evening in the winter and had the pick of dates.

Look at facilities like a restaurant, local art gallery or museum where both your ceremony and reception can be hosted. This will save on transportation costs, especially if you're willing to take a cab at the end of the night or jump in with friends. These types of venues have great backdrops for your photos as well.

wedding planning; time and money saving tips; wedding budget; frugal wedding

Ask if you can use outside suppliers or bring in a candy bar. Many venues allow this. The candy bar was our dessert table and doubled as our thank you gifts. Hubs and I love candy apples so we had some made. I tagged them at home with a little note thanking guests for "sharing in our special day". People could make little loot bags with all of our favourite sweets.

Does the venue have a sound system? If so, ask a couple of your friends to put a playlist together as their wedding gift to you. This way you'll know you get the music you listen to and guaranteed people will be shaking it all night long. Same goes if you know anyone who's handy with a video camera.

Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate. A proposal is always provided for a reason: as a starting point. Ask for things like room & linen rentals to be included if you reach a certain food and beverage bill.

Guest list & stationary

Who to invite can be the hardest part of planning a wedding. From family pressures to not wanting to leave anyone out can bring unwanted stress and anxiety. Choosing a smaller venue forces you to keep the numbers light(er). Plus it gives you the perfect excuse when Great Aunt Molly twice removed on your mother's side asks about her invitation.

wedding planning; time and money saving tips; wedding budget; frugal wedding

We kept our guest list to immediate family, aunts & uncles (no cousins) and close friends. For every person and/or couple there is at minimum an invitation and thank you including postage, food and bevies. Even if you don't have a sit-down dinner or open bar, basic costs are inevitable.

All of our stationary was purchased online. You can save on delivery charges if you purchase all at once though. I made a coffee table book with pictures of us from over the years on one side and drew lines on the other for people to sign. Incorporating pictures from your wedding in your thank you cards gives your guests an extra little keepsake. I purchased this simple yet elegant box at Winners as a card box and it is now worked into the d├ęcor in my living room.

Getting ready

Your wedding is one of the most exciting times of your life. It can also be one of the most stressful. Consider staying in the comfort of your own home the night before your wedding and having services come to you. This is an easy way to help reduce the stress as you're in your own bed and don't have to worry about rushing anywhere in the morning.

wedding planning; time and money saving tips; wedding budget; frugal wedding

I had fruit on hand with some pastries, my bestie brought Tim Horton's and whoever wanted to spend the morning with us could. Many hairstylists and make-up artists travel. I do recommend paying for a trial before hand for both of these. Take lots of pictures so your stylists #nailit the day of.

Les fleurs

I'm a big believer in keeping things simple. The theme of my wedding was actually "simple elegance". This included the flowers.

"The centrepieces made that wedding" said no one ever. So don't over do it. I talked to the floral supplier at Costco well in advance of our wedding and ordered 18 bunches or roses (2 dozen roses per bunch). I did all of my centrepieces and two bouquets for under $400 including the thorn stripping tool from Lee Valley, ribbon & floral tape and 20 rectangular vases from the Dollar Store.

wedding planning; time and money saving tips; wedding budget; frugal wedding

My family and friends who spent the morning with me getting ready were asked in advance to help put the flowers together. Trust me, no one decided not to come because I was putting them to work. They were more than happy to help and it saved me from doing everything.


When I first scoped our budget photography was a priority for me. I knew that I wanted our entire day captured. Frugal me didn't want to pay for it all though.

I negotiated with our photographer for him to snap our wedding but I would do the editing. While it can be a bit time consuming it saved me thousands of dollars. Literally. Professionals are so good at what they do that generally very little editing is required. Those pictures that may need layering or major touch-ups? I asked friends to do those for me.

wedding planning; time and money saving tips; wedding budget; frugal wedding

Know what you want in a photographer. I knew I didn't want the traditional, posed wedding shots but more of a photojournalistic style. I was also willing to go off the beaten path or climb abandoned buildings to get that picture. Your photographer has the eye. While you've planned every little detail leading up to this moment, if you can just go with it and trust their eye, guaranteed you will have amazing photos that you will be proud to have on your mantle forever.

No stress

Want to skip the fuss of a formal wedding? Head down to City Hall for your I do's, out for a wicked dinner then host a kickass backyard party for your friends and family. Guaranteed you'll have a great time.

If you're planning a wedding or event and have questions, feel free to leave a comment below. I'd love to be a part of your special day.