Every woman dreams to get married at one point in her life. I respect other people’s choices to stay single or other couples to stay as common-law, but given the opportunity at the right time with the right one, why not. Who doesn’t want to wear a wedding gown, walk in the aisle, publicly declare each other’s vows and unite family and friends together in one beautiful celebration?! I guess most women would say YES, we do want it at one point in our life. When I came here to Canada as an immigrant in 2013, I never thought I will marry a Canadian guy. I met him in 2014 when he was still a Geodetics student. We dated over 3 years before we decided to get married. The best time to find a good man/woman is to first find yourself, love yourself more and know what you want. It is better to have emotional, psychological, financial and career stability on your own before deciding to settle down. Love will always find you at the right time and place, irregardlesss of your age, race, past and failures.
I want to share the steps, guidelines and advises to consider, if you are planning to get married in Canada, specifically in Manitoba, based on my personal experience. It happens only once in a lifetime for most of us, and I believe everyone wants to make it as perfect as possible.
. 1) SETTING THE DATE AND DETERMINING THE TIMELINE. Some couples start planning one year after the engagement. I got my commitment ring in August 2017. Though we know we will get married soon after that, the actual date was not decided by that time. But since my parents came in to visit us on May, we decided it’s the best time to have the wedding set. We wanted it when the weather is still beautiful. It was set at a long weekend of September, just before the Fall begins. So our timeline is June-August 2018 for the preparation.
2) BUDGET. Getting married is expensive . The question starts to how much are you willing to spend. That will determine the type of wedding you will have. I suggest that couple should share on expenses. While some couples may have saved in advance, still they would like to have the maximum outcome at the least possible cost. If your partner wants a simple wedding with close family and friends , while you want it more extravagant, then you should meet at the middle. It’s possible to make it both simple and extravagant. Couple should wisely spend their budget . Always do research and compare prices and quality before jumping into any decision . Some online reviews can be helpful too. Joining some Facebook or online group chat for wedding topic will also help.
3) VENUE OF THE WEDDING CEREMONY. For the ceremony , you can choose either a church, a garden, an office or a hall wedding. We always wanted to have our wedding done in our cabin, so ours was a garden wedding. We didn’t have to pay the venue but we paid for the rentals of chairs, table cloth, wedding arch, sound system and we had to decorate the place.
4) VENUE OF THE RECEPTION AND CATERING SERVICES. This should be the first one to reserve, especially if you have limited options. Our wedding is outside Winnipeg so we have limited choices for reception and catering. Some catering needs to be book at least 3 months in advance. It’s also important to have an approximate number of guests, because that’s where the reservation depends and also the cost. Reception is where most of the budget will go. We first think of having the reception at the cabin but because the cost of food catering, canopy, tables, chairs, linen and other rentals for an outdoor is even more expensive than booking a ballroom, plus the extra work for the set-up and delivery, so we decided to have an indoor reception. Also, if the weather will not be favourable, the perfect plan might be ruin for outdoor. We choose South Beach Casino and Resort as the best spot close to our cabin and which we know with quality service and good reviews .
5) WEDDING INVITATION. When you have the date and venue confirmed , you should start with this, either do it yourself if you are creative or research for the company that will provide cheap but quality service. Take note of the number of invitations you want to make . You definitely will invite some guests through Facebook or digital copy. Not everyone will keep this as souvenir, most of them will just throw it. Ensure that you can distribute them at least in 2 months so the guests can find time to schedule your event and to receive the respond in a timely manner. Remember that the cost of the catering depends upon the number of guests who will confirm.
6) CHOOSING THE WEDDING ENTOURAGE . Family members are definitely included. But for friends as bridesmaids and groomsmen, let them know when giving the wedding invitation so they can prepare in advance. If you are including principal sponsors/God Parents , let them know too. This is something in Filipino tradition we called Ninang and Ninon.
7) CHOOSING A WEDDING ADMINISTRATOR. He/she can be a registered clergy or a marriage commisioner. For Manitoba , the list of marriage commissioners can be found on this link https://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca . Meet up with your clergy or wedding commissioner is a must. He/she will discuss and fill up the wedding forms. In Canada, the bride has an option to change her name or to retain her maiden last name.
8) GETTING WEDDING LICENSE. You have to get it 3 months at most to at least 24 hour before the wedding . It will only take about an hour to fill up the form and to process documents . Fee is 150$. List of license issuer can be found on https://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca.
9) FINDING WEDDING GOWN AND ACCESSORIES. Remember that the dress will be one of the most awaited part of the event. If you buy ready to made, be sure to have at least one month for the alteration. It’s your choice if you want to buy within the budget , or spend much as it’s only once in a lifetime. If you decide to choose the latter, deciding to shop now on a website that provides high end wedding dresses and gowns is completely up to you! It is your wedding at the end of the day. Either way, the important thing is you wear it with confidence.
10) CHOOSING A PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER. Pictures and/or video are very critical in the wedding because these will serve as the visual record of the special moment. Wedding is something you cannot redo so the shots should be wonderfully done to capture every highlight, from the preparation , walking down the aisle, the kiss, the dance to the closing of the event. When everything is done, you will only be left with memories. So choose and invest in a very good photographer.
11) BUYING WEDDING CAKE. Not everyone will actually eat the cake so don’t put too much money on it. Don’t make it so big , otherwise you will be left with a year supply of the cake. It should just look beautiful in the photos.
12) CHOOSING A MAKE-UP AND HAIR ARTIST. Ask someone you can comfortably work with and be open to tell them what you like. Your make-up should not cover the real you, it should just highlight your features and enhance your natural beauty.
13) CHOOSING SOUVENIR. It should be something that your guest can use or enjoy, and at the same time a reminder of the event. For ours, we have a wedding match as we use for the lighting of the candle and a photobooth.
14) CREATING THE PROGRAM. The program consist of the activities from the entrance to the closing remarks. You can ask your bridesmaids and friends for assist to complete them. My sister helped me with the program flow and our friends acted as Emcee, ushers/usherette , decorator, DJ and pianist. You can also google wedding songs and games. Don’t spend too much on the printing as this sometimes just go to the trash.
Wedding preparation is tiring and stressful . Although, it will be shared responsibilities between the groom and the bride , the organization of the whole event will mostly rely on the Bride’s side. A beautiful wedding requires a lot of hard work and dedication. But it happens once in a lifetime for most of us so give it the best shot and create not just an event but a MILESTONE to be remembered for the rest of your lives .
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