Grey Likes Weddings Rockin' a new rock?!

I planned my wedding on a single-salary, grad-school budget. As a compromise with my husband (he hates paper stationery), and because I am forever traditional-but-not, I used a combination of paper and electronic wedding stationery for my summer wedding this year.

Here’s how I made it all work under $200.

budget wedding stationery

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Since our wedding was a two-day affair, it was easy to draw the paper/electronic line: We went paper for the ceremony and electronic for the party. This was a decision made easier because we already had the mailing addresses of our ceremony invitees (our immediate family members) and electronic stationery is easier to track, which was great for our big party invite list.

gold wedding stationery

I made my own paper wedding stationery using our printer at home, a $20 paper cutter, basic card stock, regular pink envelopes, a gold diamond stamp and stamp pad I bought on Etsygold heart stickers I bought on Etsy, and confetti and fasteners from the dollar (well, Euro) store. It was so easy to make these that if I published a DIY-tutorial here you would roll your eyes: Design on Photoshop/InDesign, print on card stock, cut with the paper cutter, punch a hole in the top corner, and fasten with a brass fastener.


I sent our electronic wedding stationery through Paperless Post (we used the Kate Spade templates). We sent our electronic invites before Paperless Post launched their new paper cards (ironic). So, for our guests who didn’t have email access (like our grandparents) I printed out our Paperless Post cards, trimmed them with my paper cutter, and mailed them out.

paperless post wedding stationery

our paperless post stationery, via Instagram

The grand total for our 350+ paper and electronic save-the-dates, ceremony, and party invitations, and international postage (about $0.75 a stamp) was $200. My grad school bank account was happy. My husband and I were happy. Win-win-win!

Tell me,

are you a paper or electronic stationery girl? 


Have any stationery saving tips?

Leave them for other brides below!

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This past weekend I was blessed to have attended my first bridal shower hosted by my very talented aunts. As noted in this post, I had a Pampered Chef Bridal Shower. It’s safe to say I am set on kitchen and cookware from here on out. As someone who is a self-proclaimed ‘non-cook’, I’m excited to put all of our new kitchen additions to good use!

For the decor, my aunts were stumped until I granted them access to my private wedding Pinterest board. Some could consider it a bit Persian Chic inspired. Pink and gold details, a cocktail entitled Little Pink Dress, a DIY tassel garland and large pink paper flowers.  As for the food, salted caramel macaroons and red velvet mini cupcakes, Watermelon Sour Patch Kids, and of course, a personal request for my grandma’s homemade chex mix {I’m addicted}.

After all of my guests arrived, I partnered up with our Pampered Chef host and created a tasty fruit salsa that I had to create in front my audience, talk about pressure. Using a few items that I ended up receiving in my gift haul, I managed to create a delicious appetizer that I can’t wait to recreate! Followed up with the opening of all my Pampered Chef goodies, we played two bridal shower games – Name That Movie, a quiz matching up romantic quotes to their namesake movie {I got 100%, the only bridal shower attendee to do so, man I love RomComs}, and the Purse game. It’s official, women carry their entire lives in their handbags.

I was very happy with how my shower turned out, it was exactly what I had envisioned and was so me. But most of all, I was happy to be celebrating our upcoming wedding {it finally felt real} with my closest friends and family.

Images: Samantha Peterson, The Brunette One

I’m a writer by trade, so I thought writing my own secular, civil wedding ceremony would be a piece of cake.

It wasn’t (but it was worth it).

There aren’t many blueprints for how to write a ceremony that still feels traditional, but isn’t traditional. I’m sharing mine in the hopes that it makes your ceremony writing journey smoother.

To set the scene for you, our wedding ceremony was small, with 16 attendees and no bridal party. It took place in a public park in the middle of Halifax, Canada, where people don’t normally have weddings. It was a pop-up ceremony, so the only equipment we had with us was 16 shiny gold chairs, some giant white balloons, an iPhone, a portable Bluetooth speaker, and a small table (for signing paperwork on) that we piled into the back of a van.

Everyone wore sequin heart pins because I love that scene in the Julia Childs movie where everyone is wearing big red hearts on their lapels on Valentine’s Day (you know the one, Meryl Streep looks perfectly adorable in it).

Since there weren’t that many guests, we arranged the chairs in a semi circle, so there was no aisle per say for a processional and recessional.

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There’s no rules for how a secular ceremony should look, which is both liberating and terrifying. I wrote mine by following the outline normally followed in a traditional ceremony, but changing it to make it more relaxed and comfortable for us.


Since my favourite part of weddings is seeing the groom see the bride for the first time during the processional, I kept that part. Our ceremony was in a wide-open field, so to make sure my husband didn’t get a peek too soon, we had him face away from me as I made the long-ish walk towards our ceremony set up. I hid behind a lone tree while my processional song was cued up (Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap) and when the music began I walked towards him as he turned around. It was perfect.

We DIY DJ’ed our wedding ceremony and used the My Wedding DJ app for iPhone and a little portable Bluetooth speaker. It worked wonderfully. The app cues up all your ceremony songs and arranges them in an easy to play format, so you can hand it off to a helper, and fades the songs in and out, too.


We were married by a Justice of the Peace, who was gracious enough to allow me to write the ceremony and choose its direction. Our Justice of the Peace said a few welcoming words thanking us for asking her to be there, and then we had her say:

Before we begin, the bride and groom have requested that you do not use your cameras or phones during the ceremony and are instead fully present during this happy occasion. 

N.B.: Some family members ignored this request (you know who you are!) but it turned out we were thrilled to have the candid shots discreetly caught on our loved ones’ iPhones anyway. Sometimes family knows best!


Our Justice of the Peace provided me with sample ceremonies, which provided a good starting point for deciding what should be said aloud on my wedding day. Normally during this part of a traditional ceremony, prayers and readings would be said. Instead, we had our Justice of the Peace speak about the institution of marriage and what it meant to us. Here’s a sample of what was said:

This is a solemn and important occasion for each of you.  In marriage, you not only acquire legal obligations and legal rights with respect to each other, but you each entrust your whole future to the other and join his or her life, with all its joys and all its burdens, to your own.  By giving yourselves in marriage, you undertake to live together as married partners to comfort and support each other, and to be faithful to each other until death parts you.

It is, therefore, a decision not to be entered into lightly but rather with great consideration and respect for both the other person and oneself. The bride and groom have invited us to share in this celebration as they affirm their love before us, pledge themselves to one another and enter into the joys and privilege of marriage.  Love is one of the highest experiences we can have and it can add depth of meaning to our lives. The day-to-day companionship, the pleasure in doing things together or in doing separate things but exchanging experiences, is a continuous and central part of what a married couple who love each other can share.

Marriage symbolizes the intimate sharing of two lives, yet this sharing must not diminish but enhance the individuality of each partner.  A happy marriage is one that is continually developing while growing in understanding of the other person. By growing together in love, it is possible to share not only the joys of life but the burden of sorrow as well.

In every marriage, there are strains and sorrows. It takes courage and generosity to withstand the troubles and trials of married life, but, if you will love each other patiently and generously, you will be able to bear them and you will even find happiness through them. Indeed, generous, unselfish love is happiness and you will attain it in no lesser way. 


Since we had such a small wedding, we didn’t want to pick favourites and have only one mother or one sister do a reading for us. So we chose a poem we loved, one that we felt reflected our relationship, and printed it on our program instead.

Our Union, by Hafiz

Our union is like this: You feel cold, so I reach for a blanket to cover our shivering feet.

A hunger comes into your body, so I run to my garden and start digging potatoes.

You asked for a few words of comfort and guidance, and I quickly kneel by your side offering you a whole book as a gift.

You ache with loneliness one night so much you weep, and I say here is a rope, tie it around me, I will be your companion for life.



I really wanted to write my own vows, and my husband didn’t. Not because he didn’t want to publicly declare his love, but because he worried he would choose the wrong words (I’m a trained writer, he’s a trained accountant). To compromise, we settled on a format: Less than 500 words and each statement starting with “I promise to…” Since our vows are quite personal and dear to me, I don’t want to share them in their entirety on the Internet, but our “I promise to” statements included things like:

I promise to be financially responsible

I promise to support you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help

I promise to face sickness with you, hand in hand

I promise to love you completely, and let you love me completely

Our vows were perfect. I cried, he cried, everyone cried.  And then we smiled. All day.



We opted to intermingle the legal words that had to be spoken during our ceremony with our own vows. These included things like “I do solemnly declare I know of no lawful impediment why I may not be joined in matrimony to…” and of course, the I do’s! (But you could also say ‘I will,’ or ‘Yes,’ or whatever else you want to.) In the province we were married in, these have to follow a particular legal script. Your officiant can tell you if the same applies in your province or state, too.


During this part of the ceremony we leaned more towards tradition, because I’ve always loved how these words sound (and I’m a former history student, and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to use the word ‘thee’ in a legitimate setting).

Justice of the Peace: This ring is a symbol of your marriage and a symbol of your life together.  Please place it on the fourth finger of your partner’s left hand, repeating after me:

Us: “With this ring, I thee wed. I shall love, honour and cherish you, and this ring shall be the symbol of my love.”


After the ring exchange we were pronounced husband and wife! And we kissed, just like they do in the movies. Twice, because I forgot you’re only supposed to do it once.


Where most people would have a recessional, we queued up our recessional song (Sexual Healing by the Hot 8 Brass Band – it’s amazing and so fun!) and signed our marriage certificate and paperwork in front of our wedding guests. Afterwards we mingled in that beautiful grassy field, and had group photos taken. It was perfect.

So to recap our secular, civil wedding ceremony outline was:


WELCOMING WORDS (Justice of the Peace)

WORDS OF WISDOM (Justice of the Peace)

VOWS (Bride and Groom)

LEGAL STATEMENTS (Bride and Groom, repeating after Justice of the Peace)

RING EXCHANGE (Bride and Groom, repeating after Justice of the Peace)

PRONOUNCEMENT (Justice of the Peace)



Questions? You can find me on Twitter!

Also, I’d love to know, what did you include in your ceremony? A special reading? A new-to-you ritual? A fun song? I find wedding ceremonies endlessly fascinating. Comment below and tell me all about yours!

// Images by Halifax photographer Evan McMaster //

Knowing you’re going to be a wife in short order is a wondrous feeling.

Leading up to the big day, I imagined that nerves would be running through me, but the closer you get to sharing your commitment, the more confident you feel. That is a truth most brides might not believe – but it’s not only possible, it’s probable.


The final steps I’ve been following from my family, friends and wedding planners have helped me catch my breath over the past month:

– Allow for last minute expenses and changes: Odds and ends will surface that weren’t in the “master plan”; it’s an inevitable truth. Know in advance that you’ll have to part with some extra funds (and add-in a little extra stress) in your final weeks.

– Go with your gut: Looking back on the stylistic, logistical and emotional decisions I made, one trend was clear – gut ruled almost all of them. A few times Tim and I went with our third, fourth or fifth thought, but overwhelmingly, the first choice you’re drawn toward is that one that you will choose.

– Let it go: Your wedding may be your vision, but you can only enjoy the process and the time right before if you let go of things not in your control (like the weather, how your family or guests feel, and – in general – every, single “what if”).

– Always pack water and salt: Through your final fittings, vendor visits, and being constantly on to go, you might get a little faint at times (or at least I did). I always pack a small water bottle and pretzels with me just in case, and it encourages me to drink more H2O throughout the day. I’ve also stopped locking my knees…

– Consider emergency essentials: Heel protectors for grass and friction paste by Band-Aid will be saving the day in small but quite worthy ways. Video your bustle being done and opt for airbrush makeup, too!

I’m looking forward to being a wife and joining several of my fellow Blogstress Mavens very shortly.


Engagement image via Maria Vicencio Photography // Bride and groom image via Top of Blogs

It’s been a few weeks ladies, and I do hope you’ll pardon my absence. I jetted to the other side of the world and back, got a new name (!!), soaked in a geothermal pool in Iceland, cruised Amsterdam’s canals, and then added a few new letters after my name (I finished my thesis!). It’s been a wonderful, glittery, whirlwind. But I’m happy to be back at my keyboard.



Also, weddings are just plain fun. And that’s me at mine. (Yes, it’s pink.)

In the coming weeks I’m delighted to be sharing some details about my wedding, DIY projects, and honeymoons. But first, I’d love to know if you have questions for someone who’s just been there, done that. I DIY’ed every aspect of our wedding: The decorations, the stationery, the food, the bar, my veil, my hair and make up. I wrote and designed our ceremony and was also the DJ at our wedding party. And I’m an open book! Ask me anything, no matter how strange or small you think it may be.