By: Michelle Boivin, Founder and Owner of Pop Up Weddings Manitoba

Long before I became an wedding and event planner, I was a bride. It’s been ages since then, but I can still vividly remember the stress that went into planning our special day.

It started out as a simple celebration. My father in law even offered to send us to away to elope. But before I knew it I was swept up by bridal magazines and the sweet words of Martha Stewart – “It’s a good thing,” she promised. And I believed her.

If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve hopped on that plane to Vegas.

We scrimped and saved for close to a year to make our wedding happen. Back then our entire wedding bill was $5,000 – which included the dress, the tux, the rings, the flowers, food, venue and décor. Depending on how you looked at it, it was either a really affordable DIY celebration, or in our case, a s*%t load of money that we actually needed for real life stuff – like BILLS.

The morning of my wedding, my sister-in law and I were onsite blowing up helium balloons and setting up my “bee-autiful” twinkle topiary trees for the reception (think towering, gaudy DIY projects made by me and my best girlfriends over lots and lots of wine!)

I had a blinding headache behind one eyeball, my four year old had just thrown an epic hair-pulling tantrum at the salon, and my hubby-to-be had lost my wedding band. True story.

Fast forward to our ceremony, where the real hilarity was about to ensue.

My baby sister and maid of honour was the first down the aisle, moving in epic speed-walker fashion (we had no rehearsals). I cried my face off during my processional (no, they weren’t happy tears – more like “holy crap my head is gonna explode” kinda tears). And our little “angel” got bored during the ceremony – cracking jokes with the audience, showing off her panties and bonking herself on the forehead while doing ballerina twirls.

Good times. Good times indeed.

In the end, the wedding didn’t turn out to be a total gong show. Our buddy officiated a short (thank god!) but heartfelt ceremony with some pretty awesome vows; my talented cousin serenaded us, and we all enjoyed a yummy buffet / loonie bar reception afterward. Cheap booze and down home eats – it doesn’t get much better than that (or maybe it does )

Sure, I can laugh about it all now. But if I had to do it all over again, I would give my younger self some much needed advice:

1) Consider Eloping. Seriously.

It’s your day. If you want a simple, beautifully styled ceremony or elopement, then do it! Host a fabulous after party reception at your favourite restaurant, or do a back yard BBQ if that’s your style! The people that truly matter will be happy to help celebrate your love with you regardless. (And the good news is that Pop Up Weddings is here to help!)

2) Delegate, delegate, delegate

If you can’t afford a wedding planner, let other people do stuff. It will be ok. It will even be “a good thing”. Doing everything yourself is not worth the blinding, one eyeballed headache – trust me.

3) Let go of your inner Martha

Unless you and your friends happen to be the “Queens of Pinterest”, think carefully about those DIY décor projects. Chances are you will end up having a complete melt down in the midst of your inspired creation, or your DIY touches will end up looking like you and your drunk BFF’s went crazy with a hot glue gun. Either way, it won’t end well.

4) Remember why you’re getting married

At the end of the day, it is really all about you and your beloved, committing to share this journey we call life. Weddings shouldn’t be a competition for who has the fanciest production! Just focus on you, your love and the life you are building together.

And that my friends, will be a good thing.