10 Ways To Save On Your Wedding Day

10 Ways To Save On Your Wedding Day

I’m pumped you showed up because this post is something that’s been on my mind for a while. Let me start by saying that this will not be boring. If you know me you know that I’m a very frugal, live below your means, save 30% invest 30% spend 30% kinda girl and I love helping other people learn and practice good financial habits. That’s why I’m here giving you the non-lame tips to saving that makes this experience fun. As I go through the 10 ways to save on your wedding day we will cover, money saving tips, setting your wedding budget, what to leave out and more. I know there are lots of budgeting posts out there but this post is going to be 10x more valuable because:

1. I saved $10,000 in ONE YEAR on a very conservative salary and I’m going to show you my tricks.

2. I’m a NO B.S. Canadian wedding photographer and feel the need to tell you exactly what parts of your wedding you need to stop fussing over because no one cares.

10 ways to save on your wedding daY



I have been using the same expense sheet to budget for a year now and I don’t plan on changing. An expense sheet this detailed requires you to get real with yourself and how much you make and spend. The numbers don’t lie in the end. This worksheet is for you to calculate all your expenses and see them against your income. It was made in Google Sheets and is completely responsive so when I add numbers my totals also change and tell me if I’m over or under my budget.

2. Choose your budget & start saving early.

As soon as you get engaged do this step. Your budget should be a compilation of you and your partners savings, forseeable income, and any helpful amounts from parents. When projecting for your income, the general rule to follow is try put away 30% of what you make every month. I understand this might not be possible and may require you to adjust your spending elsewhere to accommodate but if you’re trying to save $10,000 in one year, that’s what you must do. Saving takes major discipline and the 30% rule usually gets people enough to pay for all the necessary parts of their wedding. Weddings cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 or more so as a general reference I’ve tailored this post to the bride that has around a $10,000 budget!


3. Consider a destination wedding.

Hear me out here. I always thought destination weddings were so been there, done that. I thought they weren’t unique and frankly tacky but then I actually attended one at Sandos Finisterra in Cabo San Lucas. Not only was it drop dead GORGEOUS but there was significantly less stress on the bride and groom financially. Most people say their wedding day goes by so fast in traditional settings but with a destination wedding, you get to spend multiple days celebrating and actually connecting with family members. Not to mention, everything is taken care of by the planners at your resort and everything is packaged so destination weddings are CHEAPER than traditional weddings and not one person said they regretted spending the $1600 for a full week in paradise with a bomb party to kick it off. One more thing, at destination weddings the landscape speaks for itself so there’s little to no decor or extra spend and you can just focus on the details that matter to YOU.

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4. BOok your photographer for 6-8 hours not the full day

I might be biased but honestly your photographer is the most important vendor to get right because we see you in all your most vulnerable states, the nerves, the tears, and the looks of infatuation you give your partner. You want a photographer that has a nurturing personality willing to swoop at any moment to help pick up your dress or make sure grandma looks good too. But you don’t have to have us there from 9am till the sun comes up the next day. If you want to save on your photographer, opt for less hours of coverage, no engagement shoot or choose an up and coming photographer. The risk there is that up and comings have less experience but that doesn’t mean your photos will be terrible. 

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If you’re going to cut anything, cut your stationary. You can save a few hundred bucks and some trees by going with paperless post or building your own wedding website that people can RSVP through. In the end, you won’t be saying that you really wish you sent out physical invitations to your guests and they won’t remember it either. 


Should you do an open bar or not? That is the question. I love an open bar but they can be insanely expensive depending on your friends and family. If you go with a destination wedding you can absolutely do an open bar on a budget because their packages are usually discounted if you guarantee a minimum number of guests. If you’re having a traditional wedding with over 40 guests I highly recommend a toonie bar that way its affordable for your guests and offsets the cost for you.

 7. Invite less people

This is generally something people don’t want to budge on but like I said earlier, if you’re on a budget you need to be honest with yourself and your bank account. More people means more cost for you unless you’re considering a destination wedding in which case you could actually benefit financially from more people attending. Elopements and intimate weddings are just as beautiful if not more memorable for the bride and groom because you can get married wherever you dream of without fear of judgement or fear of performing. The trade off is that not all your friends will likely attend but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw a low budget party when you get back anyways!

8. SKIP THE favours, the band and the boutiniere.

Favours are usually overkill and unless they’re REALLY unique, are an unnecessary addition to your wedding. If you want to give something for people on the way out, opt for a snack to-go like popcorn or comfort food. A band can easily add 5-10K to your budget, although it would be nice, a Spotify playlist just as well can get people moving. Skip the boutiniere and get a pocket square, EASY.


Who pays for your bridesmaids dresses? You or them? Regardless, no one wants to pay for a dress they’ll wear once so I highly recommend NOT going to a bridal store and instead looking online at lulus or show me your mumu which have just as nice gowns for a fraction of the price. 

10. Opt for a small cake & creative desserts

Traditional wedding cakes are either something you dream about as a child or something that can be completely omitted. I’ve been to lots of weddings where the wedding cake was a total waste, there either too much or no one eats it. I guess not a lot of people like cake anymore! If you’re really wanting a cake cutting tradition you can easily get a small one, ask for a naked cake or choose some other creative desserts. I’ve seen tim hortons donut walls, gorgeous decorated cookies or cupcakes instead!

10 ways to save on your wedding day


I’m ready to help you plan the elopement or intimate wedding of your dreams. Take it from the girl who has been around the country and knows all the best spots. You deserve to have the best adventure guide & photographer for your wedding or elopement!

8 Gorgeous Places to Elope in 2021

8 Gorgeous Places to Elope in 2021

There’s definitely a trend lately and it has couples opting for adventure elopements  in place of big weddings and I’m all for it! Eloping does not mean you run off just the two of you and get married without thinking anything through and it definitely doesn’t mean your vow exchange will be any less meaningful. Elopements can be the most romantic, well planned, and adventurous ways you can get married. Think about the space you create in your heart and mind when you strip away all of the stress of performing for a big crowd and the constant checklists of centerpieces and place cards. Think about filling that space with the things that are meaningful to you and your partner and just experience the day together. Phew I don’t know about you but I just let out a massive sigh of relief.

I encourage all the couples who come to me looking for recommendations to treat their elopement with the same care and attention that they would a traditional wedding. Stop catering to everyone else and just do what feels right for the two of you. Choosing to elope can be softer on your budget, deeply represent the two of you, and be more drop dead gorgeous than what any venue can offer. Here are my top 8 gorgeous places to elope in 2021!

8 Gorgeous Places to Elope in 2021

Banff, Alberta

Alberta you beautiful thang! I lost my heart to Alberta in 2015 and I’ve never gotten it back. The rockies are one of my favourite settings in the whole world and I want all of my couples to experience it once in their lives so why not have that be on your wedding day. I have frequented Alberta almost 10 times and it never gets old. I highly recommend Moraine lake, Consolation lakes, Kananaskis, Spray Lakes, Edge of the world and the list goes on and on. If you’re already feeling the butterflies in your tummy about mountain views like this, get in touch with me! There’s more where that came from.

Whistler, British Columbia

I like to call Whistler, Banff’s hipper sis. They’re both rocky mountains but Whistler has a more laidback style. It’s only 2 hours away from the thriving city of Vancouver and is home to both the ski bunnies and the beach bums. There are few places in the world where you can go skiing and hit the beach in the same day. If you’re looking for a real adventure and want to fill your schedule with activities then BC is for you. You can hike deep into the Rockies, drive 20 min from the city to a secluded beach, or ferry over to Vancouver Island where you’ll find ancient rainforests and surfers for days. Some spots in BC worth checking out for your elopement are Cheakamus Lake, Buntzen Lake, Jones lake, Lindeman Lake, or better yet choose a heli elopement on a remote peak.

Georgian Bay, Ontario

Ontario is my hometown and it always strikes me when people talk about Ontario and only mention Toronto. Ontario is home to some of the most gorgeous lakes in the world and most of them look like oceans. Georgian Bay is a section of Lake Huron that is surrounded by the Canadian shield, the escarpment, lichen covered rocks and windswept trees which make the most beautiful backdrops. Georgian Bay stretches from Tobermory all the way up to Parry Sound and is nicknamed 30,000 Islands so you can imagine how many secluded spots you have to choose from. 

Wanaka, New Zealand

In the Wanaka Region of the South Island in New Zealand is a 5-6 hour hike that leads couples to Roy’s Peak. Spoken from every source I know, the view is worth the hike. However if you’re embarking on this adventure there are heli tours that will help you get from point A to point B without walking 16km roundtrip in a wedding dress.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Image by Keegan Cronin

The Isle of Skye was a place I came across only recently. Scotland is low-key gorgeous but be prepared for rainy rainy days. The rain makes for the best moody images but you have to be a certain type of couple who can weather the damp cold, similar to Iceland or the Faroe Islands. It still makes my top 8 places to elope because of it’s wicked landscape and that it offers a plethora of secluded places for you and your partner to do your thang. 

Bali, Indonesia

Choose to elope in Bali and be prepared for everyone to leave saying, “that was magical”. Seriously, Bali is one of the most beautiful and diverse places on this earth. Canyons, rice terraces, waterfalls, rainforests, and the sweetest locals. The culture in Bali is something to revel in. They mainly practice Hinduism so you’ll see temples and altars are everywhere for making offerings and prayers. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience. I’m dreaming about eloping here personally and this location is definitely on my bucketlist so if YOU decide to elope here I’ll travel to photograph it for FREE.

The Alps, Austria

Image by Maggie Grace Photography

Salzburg, Austria is next up. I’ve been to Salzburg before and its a lot like the west coast of Canada with a touch more green, so naturally I loved it. The mountains have a way of speaking to you and its truly a spiritual boost when you see the sun set behind them. The best part about Austria is you can actually drive pretty close to a lot of scenic spots that aren’t touristy. It’s also easy to avoid crowds because there are just so many views.

The Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites are fairly well known now a days. It is a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. This in particular path to the three peaks is called Tre Cime Di Lavaredo. It’s been on my bucket list for years and I can’t wait to walk the path that leads through the green pastures and 360 degree views. The best part, since it is on my bucketlist I will travel here and shoot your wedding for FREE if you choose to elope here. 

Planning to elope?

I’m here to help bring your dream wedding to life. I offer small wedding and elopement photography around the world for couples who crave adventure and unbelievable experiences.

Let’s chat!

Where to Elope on Georgian Bay

Where to Elope on Georgian Bay

Let me start off by saying that I’m so glad you’re considering Georgian Bay for your elopement. It is truly one of the most beautiful places in Ontario with a plethora of private and secluded spots that will allow you to find the perfect spot for you and your partner to say your vows. If you’re here you probably just started your search and are looking for the best places or generally where to elope on Georgian Bay.


Trying to find small wedding venues in Ontario or spots that are off the beaten path is overwhelming. You’re probably thinking “I know there are hundreds of wedding venues in Ontario but I don’t know where to start looking!“. It can be hard to find any venues that aren’t listed on the main wedding vendor directories like Wedding Wire and you probably have specific criteria that Google just fails at fulfilling.

That’s why you’ve got me! I’m Marie, an intimate wedding and elopement photographer with an honest approach to documenting your most meaningful moments (no dumb poses).

For years I’ve been searching for, finding and shooting a lot of hidden gems in Ontario so I want to help you with your search for your perfect Georgian Bay wedding venue. Here’s my list of favourite venues for where to elope on Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay Small Wedding Venues

It’s no surprise that you’re considering opting out of a big, traditional wedding and seeking a more adventurous style wedding. Lots of couples these days are doing the same. When you opt for an adventure elopement you can spend your money on what’s actually important to you and do your day in your own unique way. As a photographer I am the one who is with you during your most intimate moments and I know from experience that fussing over the little details takes away from the big picture. Seating charts, centrepieces and RSVPS? blah. Your energy is better spent on a shorter more meaningful list of expenses like you wedding dress, your bouquet, your travel and your photographer. Here’s my list of favourite Ontario intimate wedding venues.

Coffin Ridge Winery
Serenity Cottage
Living Water Resort
Northbrook Farm
Killarney Provincial Park
Killbear Provincial Park
Ridge at Manitou
Aisling Lakehouse
Georgian Hills Winery
Severn Lodge
Collingwood Terminals
Tiffin Conservation Area
Spring Creek Gavel Farm 

If you’re thinking about eloping at one of Canada’s Provincial Parks check out this list for helpful tips about photo permits.

Georgian Bay Airbnbs To Elope At

If you decide that an adventure elopement in a secret location is exactly what you envision for your day you probably need a place to stay. I’ve researched a ton of rentals that could be perfect for your ceremony and after-party or just the after-party. These ones stuck out to me based on the surrounding area, uniqueness, luxuriousness and the views. They range from modern contemporary to totally rustic so you’ll be able to find at least one you love. Here are some of my favourites Airbnbs around Georgian Bay to elope at.

Hudson’s Rock

Georgian Bay Beach Club 

The Barn

The Hatch

The Homestead Farm

Contemporary Vibes

Lake Muskoka

Stewart Lake Retreat

Charming Charles


The Treehouse


Planning to elope on Georgian Bay?

I’m here to help bring your dream wedding to life. I offer small wedding and elopement photography in Ontario for couples who crave adventure and unbelievable experiences.

Let’s chat! 


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