Friday, May 29, 2015

The Narwhal Invitation - Part 2

When you decide to get married at your home, your to do list contains many things that a couple getting married at a venue wouldn't normally have to think about. You have to build a lot from scratch and it certainly eats up a significant chunk of your time available to take on other tasks. I haven't taken on too many labour intensive DIY's for this reason (I still have one big one I will share in the next couple of months).  

With our invitations, they weren't extremely time consuming per se, but a DIY that I definitely prioritized. I had so much fun creating them and seeing how they came together. And, while waiting out the Winter, I definitely had the time to take it on. 

I was actually kind of surprised how the math per invitation worked out on this one, because I really felt like this was a low-cost project because it was done over many months. Wedding planning at it's finest, you don't realize how much something is costing you until you add it all together! 

We ordered our invitations and RSVP cards from Vistaprint, and as a result we saved huge here. Because of our Save the Date credit, and a 40% off sale, we were able to order 100 of our invitation and RSVP cards for a fraction of the cost. Again, we also saved by ordering from the marketing side of Vistaprint versus the wedding side. Our invitation is a Vertical Medium postcard and RSVP cards are a regular 4 x 6 postcard. I also upgraded to recycled matte paper. While a thicker or nicer paper would have been nice to have, I feel better that we saved and used recycled paper on something that people will ultimately throw out. 

Details card - $42.48

Had our details been lined up at the same time I had ordered the other pieces, this could have been significantly cheaper; however we still saved 20% off with a Vistaprint coupon. I also upgraded the recycled matte paper, and a coloured back. This was also a 4 x 6 postacard. 

Mini Moo Cards - $20.99

Trust me when I say these cards are 10x cuter in person. They're just such a nice touch. I was able to save on our Mini Moo because of a referral credit (of $8.25).  I almost forgot to include these in the cost round up because I bought these way back in November. 

Envelopes - $68.11 

I ordered 100 A7 and A4 envelopes in Grocery Bag from After receiving the last piece of the invitation suite, I did a test run of how they would look. This is when I realized that Envelopes had accidentally mislabelled one of their packages and sent the wrong size for our RSVP cards. They were really great about shipping the correct envelopes within a few days. 

I ordered two vector files from the Etsy shop mchLgstudios. I spent a lot of time searching, and since these files basically set the tone for the suite, they were well worth the money. 

Heart Stickers - $18.57**

I will admit these were a bit of an impulse purchase. I stumbled across them on Etsy and bought them before I even gave it any thought. Sticker splurge? Yes. Cute? Absolutely. 

While we did order this stamp specifically for our invitations, this will last us for years to come. I love that I was able to design the stamp with our own wedding fonts. I think this really tied everything together. I will note this was a bit of a headache purchase, shipping was rather high to Canada (but the best I could find in my searching) and when I hadn't received the stamp in over a month, I emailed to check-in and they hadn't even made it yet due to a technical error. I was a little disappointed the company didn't offer anything in exchange for their mistake. Also - I would recommend that if you do buy a self-inking stamp to test it out on a piece of paper about 20+ times before committing to your envelopes. It takes a little while to work them in. 

Twine - $21.26

I actually ordered twine from the Etsy shop for our invitations. It's the twine you see in our photos. When I took a few sample invitations to be weighed at the Post Office, the twine was making them so thick that I was just at the point where our postage was oversized. I had some other crochet yarn in a very similar colour from Walmart ($5.00) that I used instead for the remaining invitations, which allowed us to mail our invitations at regular postage. The twine will be used in other wedding projects/crafting, so it wasn't a loss. For this purpose, I'm not including it in the total, and using the $5.00 yarn, as it was what was used on most of the invitations. 

Fonts - Free
I downloaded all of my fonts for free. We used arsenale white, Supernova and A Day Without Sun.

Postage - $149.40
Oversized/US postage - $16.80 ($1.20 x 14) 
Regular postage - $61.20 ($0.85 x 72)
RSVP postage - $71.40 ($0.85 x 84)

Postage is a tough one to swallow, but I don't feel so bad knowing we saved so much hand delivering most of our Save the Dates. We had to pay oversized on the pre-assembled invitation suites with the original twine, and we have one guest from the States. We hand delivered one invitation (to our neighbour, GM Coach) and didn't put RSVP stamps on a few of our invitations (my parents and a few that told us not to). Seriously though, why is postage so expensive in Canada?!

Invitation Total - $249.92
Invitation Total including postage - $399.32
Price per invitation (87***) - $2.87/$4.59

Overall, I'm pretty happy with what we spent on our invitations. We saved a significant amount in some areas by looking for sales and doing some research, which helped me justify some "splurges" in others (I'm looking at you completely unnecessary heart stickers). Ordering everything over a period of many months also made this a project where I didn't really feel the costs at all (even though it still added up to a decent amount of money). This project was a huge success for me. The feedback from our friends and family has been overwhelmingly positive and I really feel like we set the tone for our wedding. 

Were your invitations a save or a splurge?

*US Exchange Price difference estimate - I purchased this a really long time ago and did a guesstimate on the exchange rate at the time of purchase.
**An example of how a $13 purchase ends up costing you when the exchange rate is not in your favour. 
*** While we only mailed 87, we actually purchased 100 of everything. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Narwhal Invitations - Part 1

Now that a large majority of the invitations have been received and the RSVPs are rolling in, it's time to share our suite! :)

Fresh out of the Envelope
All of the suites were put together in the order of invitation, detail card, RSVP envelope and RSVP card held together twine and a mini moo card with our photo on one side, and our website information on the other. 

The Full Suite
When I was designing the suite, they originally had a kraft colour for a majority of the pieces. Something didn't feel quite right, so I switched the invitation and RSVP to white, and kept the details card kraft, and everything finally clicked and it felt complete. 

Mini Moo's 
Our mini moo cards were one of my favourite touches. We used four of our engagement photos, each with a different feel/backdrop. I loved selecting the picture for each of our guests. 

The Invitation
Largely drawn from our inspiration, the wording on our invitation is my most favourite part. Mr. Narwhal and I each came up with each others tag line, and spent a bit of time brainstorming how to phrase the celebrations. We wanted to keep it casual and fun, and I really think we achieved the perfect invitation for us and our wedding. 

Again, we wanted our RSVP to have a fun feel. We have given our guests the option of mailing their response, or responding on our website. It will be interesting to see the ratio of website responses versus paper. So far, we have a 2:1 ratio with the web responses winning (#notthinkingaboutthewastedstamps).

Detail Card
Our detail card was our opportunity to share some of the most important information with our guests. Since we have limited parking available, we would like to encourage most people to utilize our shuttle bus, and we also wanted to reiterate our cocktail style reception. At this point I think we have told everyone that we will not be having a formal dinner, but wanted to be clear within the details of our invitation suite. Everything on our detail card is given in more detail on our website. 

These were certainly a labour of love, and one of my most favourite wedding projects thus far. I'm very happy with how they came together. Nothing makes your wedding feel more real than sending off the official invitations. We have invited 156 people to our home, and we couldn't be more excited about it.

Next, I'll give a cost breakdown and source everything we used.

Did you design your invitation suite? 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Invitation Inspiration

Our invitations were the first big project I started when we began wedding planning. It wasn't too long after we got engaged that I sat down and designed a preliminary suite. After a solid draft, I closed the file and didn't open it up again until around February. The final pieces came together last month when I ordered our details card (after sorting out the details). Over a few weeks and small assembly sessions, things were mostly organized, and so on Victoria Day I finally sat down and finished assembling and addressing them in an eight hour time block (and Friends marathon).

Before I get to our actual invitations (I know, cruel), I wanted to back up to some inspiration. To be quite honest, I didn't really look at too many invitation suites to gather my inspiration. I was largely inspired by Mrs. Wallaby's suite, and a few different options on Etsy.

in love with the Wallaby suite //  Image by Mrs. Wallaby 

Tuscan Inspired Greenery Suite / Etsy Shop: ShannonKirsten

Floral and Fauna Suite / Etsy Shop: Splash of Silver

Shabby Chic Suite / Etsy Shop: Splash of Silver

It was actually the above invitation that set the tone for the entire thing to come together. We came up with our own spin on the wording and followed a soft watercolour vibe (our own spin on Mrs. Wallaby's and the third photo).

With some solid inspiration, I pulled together a suite I'm really pleased with (I use I in this, because Mr. Narwhal nodded his head in approval and helped with some return address stamping in the process).

Most of our guests have received our invitations, and we've received some rather colourful (positive) responses to them already. And, the best compliment of all (that we've received from many), "They're so you guys." You know you've always achieved success when you hear that.

So, next up - the grand reveal. Oh, how I've been looking forward to this post!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Planning a Marriage: Combining Finances

A little while back, I shared a post on our premarital talks, and mentioned I had several other posts lined up on how Mr. Narwhal and I are preparing ourselves for marriage.

This time, it's about finances. I actually referenced a lot of other Bee posts on combining finances when we got to this stage ourselves, and I found it really helpful. Specifically Mrs. CloverMrs. Wallaby, and Mrs. Blue Whale's posts. So, I'd like to talk about how it went down for us. By sharing this post, I am definitely not giving advice financially, or claiming to be "in the know", I am merely sharing our story of how we have taken on finances as a couple as we prepare for our marriage.

By the time we become husband and wife, we'll have been together for three years and living together for two and a half. We've gone through a lot of changes together and we continue to progress as a couple.

Roomie Renters
When we first started living together, we kept things pretty separate still. We were six months into dating and sharing a roof was a big (quick) step. We both felt that it was an important step before marriage, since living together was when you really get to know someone. Having both had previous live-in relationships we immediately felt a huge difference. The transition was smooth, and living together was simple, easy and fun. We actually jokingly referred to this stage of our lives as roommates. We never had an official talk (since we kind of just knew) about becoming a boyfriend and girlfriend, and then jumped into roommates, so we affectionately referred to one another as roomies.

We split our inclusive rent down the middle, and everything else was kind of a mish mash. I paid for Internet because Mr. Narwhal had never had it before (seriously) and I needed it for my job. I usually went grocery shopping, because I was the cook, meal planner and the one with time to shop. Mr. Narwhal tended to cover most other house like expenses and going out, etc. It just kind of worked for us. I already felt like we were a team, and didn't really care about things feeling "equal" or 50-50 when it came to money. We both just got whatever whenever. There were never any "it's your turn" feelings. If I needed Mr. Narwhal to cover groceries, he would, and if he needed me to pick up something for him, I would.

All photos personal

In front of our rental house 

Buying a House
When we bought our house, it kind of happened quickly. With a house came more bills, more responsibility and a lot more organization of finances. This is when we opened our joint checking account. Still, things were fairly separate. We each contributed equally to the mortgage payments, utilities and insurance, but continued our previous method for everything else. I would take care of paying the bills, and gave Mr. Narwhal a number (50% of the mortgage and bills) each month of what he needed to transfer into our joint account. I am the organizer and planner in the relationship, so I happily took on the role, but was also looking forward to the ease of us working from one pool of money versus figuring out what we each had to put into the account each month. This very well could have been an ideal time to combine, but I wanted to wait until we were engaged to move to that place.

Sold! And a Father Narwhal photo bomb

Engagement and Buying a Car
When we got engaged, we knew this was the stage of our relationship where we wanted to work towards combining finances. We didn't rush into it, and actually didn't end up taking the leap until a few months later when we got our car together (we traded my older car in). Mr. Narwhal got rid of his car when we first moved in together, and since I work from home and Mr. Narwhal gets picked up for work, being a one car family has worked well for us.  Before our first payment, we knew it was time to get the ball rolling on combining our finances.

Giggly car selfies

Things worked out pretty smoothly in this department and in hind sight, I think we definitely could have done it sooner.

First of all, I think things went smoothly for us process-wise because we both banked at the same bank and already had a joint account for our mortgage. The joint account at this point wasn't connected to our debit cards, so that was our first step.

This guys food requires a bit of budgeting!

I went into the bank and had our joint account adjusted to have unlimited transactions and linked to my debit card.  Mr. Narwhal went into the bank and had the joint account linked to his debit card. Easy peasy. It was really that simple for us, and shifting from his and hers, to ours.

Money can cause a lot of strain in a relationship, and so far, we've been really fortunate to be in agreement and working together through both the financial highs and lows (home ownership definitely can bring it's share of surprises!). I can say that overall, combining our finances has been really healthy for our relationship. It was a really simple process for us, and works well for who we are as a couple. We just feel even more like a team, and a family unit. Mr. Narwhal is more than happy that I take on the task of budgeting and paying bills, and I'm happy to have a job. I definitely tend to be the "spender" in  the relationship, and combining our income has really helped bring awareness to every purchase, because it's not just about me anymore.  We have open and frequent discussions about our status and what's being spent, and ensure that we are on the same page for spending (and saving) goals.

It can be a scary step, but, in our case it was just another part of getting ready for our marriage that made us feel even more strongly linked and prepared for the next step.

Was joining accounts a smooth process for you? Who handles the finances in your relationship?

After note: I initially drafted the majority of this post before the After the Wedding Series on finances began, which I highly recommend reading if you haven't already! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Suiting up the Beard

I mentioned in my last post that the tables have turned in wedding preparations, and Mr. Narwhal has taken over in many respects of making sure this whole wedding thing happens.

As planned, we had several loads of fill* delivered over the weekend. It was super hot on Friday and Saturday and Mr. Narwhal was busy up at the wedding spot working away (thanks to some help from GM D). On Sunday it was going to be a rainy day so we finally prioritized getting out of town to suit shop.

Stopping for cookies on the drive 

We decided to head north to North Bay and hit up the last day of one of Moore's infamous 2 for 1 suit sales. While Mr. Narwhal has his fair share of dress clothes, this was actually his first suit purchase. It worked out well being able to get two suits, since we will have many weddings to attend in the years to come (the life of a late 20-something).

While his suit cost more than my dress, and is the other most important outfit of the wedding day, there isn't a whole lot to discuss in this chapter of wedding planning. Mr. Narwhal chose a navy Calvin Klein suit, and we were out of the store within an hour (his second suit was a grey Alfred Sung). It fits perfectly, and only needs a hem in the pant (which we decided to wait on, since he still needs to find his shoes).

All the heart eyes. 
We still need to decide on his tie and shirt, but at this point we're ready to let all of the groomsmen know they can purchase some navy pants and a white shirt for their ensemble.

If only my dress shopping had been this easy!

Did you rent or buy your fiances suit?

*Basically this is random dirt from a pit, it includes a mix of sand, dirt and rocks. This is good for levelling out an area because the different sized dirt (and rocks) help ensure there will be good drainage. The more you know!

Friday, May 8, 2015

It's Go Time

The snow is gone, the leaves are finally coming out, and Mr. Narwhal has just been promoted from advisory wedding planning role to the guy that this whole wedding is dependent on. Up until this point, a lot of our planning has been... planning. Getting ready. Preparing.

Well now? It's go time. Particularly for Mr. Narwhal.

Spring clean-up is in full swing, and this includes the wedding spot, because a whole lot of stuff needs to happen in the next three and a half months.

Because right now, it's a blank brown slate.

I've shown pictures of our property before, but I thought it was a good idea to show you what we're facing currently. Three and a half months out. Anyone have a spare paper bag?

First let's start with a little diagram of where the whole thing is going down. Yes I got a little carried away in Photoshop.

The Ceremony Space
The ceremony space is in front of the old cabin on our property. Basically we're just going to clean this area up, make a bunch of benches, have candles everywhere and call it a day. Mr. Narwhal might gasp a bit by stating a drive by statement of "clean this area up" since there is a lot of work involved in that. The previous owner was a very old man that kind of believed in old school trash dumping, and there are a lot of mysterious garbage piles in this area. There are also quite a few trees that need to be pruned, and the space needs more levelling. We're pretty sure we're going to put wood chips down here, as grassing it will be difficult as it's quite shaded. So yes, "clean this area up" involves a lot more work than my stick picking duty.  

Walking up from our backyard (currently):

The current view from the back of the ceremony area:

The current view from the cabin perspective:

Walking towards the tent area (currently):

Nelson's favourite place to be

The Tent Area
This area needs the most work. First up, this weekend we are having four truck loads of fill delivered to level the area out (many thanks to GM Coach for coordinating that). Afterwards, we'll remeasure to ensure enough space for the tent, bring in some soil, and sod the area. We also need to do some planting to pretty up the area, and more clean up. Right now this area gives me a mix of stress (over all of the work to be done) and excitement when I look at it.

The current view walking down from the trail:

Note: the path in the distance is not our property. Our property line ends around the boulders at the back. 
 The current view looking down the second driveway:

The current view looking back towards the trail/ceremony space:

So, yup. Go time.

We've tried to set a budget of about $1000.00 in landscaping costs. We know a lot of people in the business, and have a ton of connections, so this is entirely doable and the fact that this money is going fully towards improving our property helps me sleep at night. I am so excited to see the progress we can make in the next couple of months.

Has your wedding planning involved any landscaping?

Final note: I wanted to add that this is a little bit of a hilly area, and we're looking into fixing up an old golf cart we have in the family to assist our older relatives to the ceremony space. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How the Stag and Doe Prepared us for the Wedding

Part I
Part II

I'm not quite ready to jump off the Stag and Doe topic yet. Having a party with 100+ people where we had the role of "bride and groom to be" taught us a few lessons that were very useful in preparing for our big day.

Since I'm sort of fresh out of photos from our Stag and Doe (bad blogger), I decided to just pull out some other favourites from our engagement session. All photos courtesy of Isos Photography

Spreading yourselves over 100+ people is not easy, but incredibly heartwarming.
I mentioned that Mr. Narwhal and I didn't take any working shifts, because we wanted to be able to circulate and visit with as many people as possible. It still moves me to tears when I think about how many people came to celebrate. It was so much fun visiting with friends and family, and meeting people that just came out to support us. We heard nothing but good things. Lots of people thanked us for such a great event, and many told us it was the best Stag and Doe they've ever attended! This means much more than the financial aspect of throwing the party.

Both Mr. Narwhal and I were a little surprised at how quickly the night went by and by how difficult it was to visit with everyone. I think there were approximately 100 people in attendance at a time (with some leaving early, some arriving later), and it was really hard to visit with everyone. Maybe I'm naive (okay I'm naive), but I thought that not having a formal dinner at our wedding would make it really easy to spend time with everyone. Well, we were wrong. I knew we wouldn't get to spend a lot of time with everyone, but now I know we need to come up with a strategy, given that our invite list is at 160 people.

We know our people.
Having a cocktail reception is what we're meant to do. With a similar timeframe as our wedding, and less food, we still had a ton of food leftover after our Stag and Doe. People will be coming about 1-2 hours earlier for our wedding, so we definitely need more food than we had at the Stag and Doe, but having finger foods out throughout the night kept everyone more than happy. We definitely learned that the revolving station of food worked really well for our crowd.

While we were setting up the afternoon of the Stag and Doe, we set up five tables of eight (about 40 seats) and were ready to call it a day. When my parents walked in, my dad's eyes nearly popped out of his head and he said we had to set up more seating. After a bit of negotiating, we settled on seating for about 70 people. Throughout the night, there were definitely people sitting, but I would venture a guess that there was only about 30-40 people that sat throughout the night. I've given seating for the wedding a ton of thought since my last post, and while we still aren't going to have seating for everyone, we have landed on seating for 100. Much like the Stag and Doe, I believe that the seating won't be fully used. I think seating for 100 will be the safe and err on the side of caution option, that will make everyone happy.

The lesson at the end of the day is that we know our guests, and I feel even more comfortable with the style of reception we're having.

Hard work on the details pays off.
I have described myself as a mix of a Phoebe and a Monica before. The Monica in me is a bit of a control-freak, and when it comes to the details of planning something, I obsess over making sure everything is planned. I put a lot of time and energy into planning the Stag and Doe to ensure that things went smoothly. I personally think that this effort is the reason why the night ran seamlessly. We didn't have any hiccups other than a run for more ice and juice. All of the work upfront meant for less disorganization and chaos when we were trying to host a party with 100+ people.

I just have a lot of relief in knowing that I'm doing the right thing, and even though less than four months doesn't seem like much left to plan for such a big event, it is enough, it will get done, and it will all work out.

We have the best family and friends. 
I just cannot say enough about the effort from our family and friends. The work they put into planning the Stag and Doe just showed us how truly blessed we are. There is nothing better than feeling like your best friends are family, and your family are best friends.

To our wedding party who gave so much time and energy before, during and after the event, to our family that did the same, and to everyone that came out to support us. We had some family drive many hours to be there, and it just meant the world to us. We have never felt so loved in our lives. It's a pretty amazing feeling. When I think about how it will feel on our wedding night, I get chills. I've had this long standing debate with myself whether or not I will cry on our wedding day, but I think it's safe to say I'll just be a crying machine. All the happy tears.

There are certainly other things we learned (like, Coke isn't actually that popular of a mix for drinks), but the bottom line is that while wedding planning is a lot of work, you definitely gain back what you put in. That isn't saying that the more you pay or the more you do, the more you gain ...quite the contrary. The more love you put into your commitment and bond, and marriage, the more love and positivity you will get back. Every time. Our Stag and Doe was just a small example of this. We had so much fun planning it, put so much love into the night, and it exceeded our expectations a million times over.

What kinds of things surprised you most about wedding planning?

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Stag and Doe: Part II

Part I

This post contains a lot of information, so my apologies if it seems a tad bit convoluted!

After a whole lot of planning, and attention to detail, we were suddenly on the eve of our Stag and Doe, with a house full of supplies and alcohol. We hosted a little get together with some of our bridal party and family making Jello shooters, preparing food, and getting the last of everything organized.

On Saturday morning, GM Coach met us at our house, we loaded up both of our vehicles, and headed to the Hall to set up. GM JB and BM Mel met us there, and we all got busy unloading and figuring out how to arrange everything. My parents also came with a load of things, and helped get everything mostly set up***. We all went home for a few hours to get ready and met back up at 5pm to go over the night and eat pizza.

All photos personal.

On route to the hall with GM Coach and Nelson (who made a short appearance)

The doors opened at 7pm, and we had to cover the night until the last shuttle bus**  at 1:30am. The wedding party, and some family members covered about 2-3 one hour shifts throughout the evening. We divided shifts by the bar, ticket sales and games. My mom acted as a floater taking care of food and helping where possible, and Mr. Narwhal and I also floated helping and mingling with our guests throughout the night.

My one regret from the night? I forgot our camera at home. Major sad face. I have a few photos to share; however all cell quality.

At 7:30pm our first bus arrived, and two people walked off. I would have panicked; however, I heard the same thing had happened at the Stag and Doe the weekend prior, when it was too late to change the schedule. The 8pm bus was packed full, and by that point we had a large portion of people that had drove, and the night was off to a start.

Family Jello Shooters - My aunt, BM Megs, Father Narwhal, BMan TLW and my cousin

People got all of their tickets at the entrance, and the only cash they spent inside the doors was on the games. We set up the room with games around the parameter, and the stage in the centre of the room surrounded by all of our prizes.

I mentioned in our last post that we had three full night games, with one 'event' game and the Penalty box. While I gave the boys a general schedule to follow in running the games, I'm almost certain they didn't follow it. They all stayed by the games a majority of the night circulating through who was running it and playing a fair share for themselves. At one point Mr. Narwhal even took on the role of Referee at the Penalty box.

Mr. Narwhal in the penalty box!

Cast Away
This game was a fishing game with targets set up with different point values (I forgot to take a picture of this station). People had one minute to cast into the targets with a goal to score as many points as they could. The leading score of the night won a bottle of Crown Royal Black, Southern Comfort sign*, a Jagermeister hoodie* and Jack Daniels hat*.

The Snipe Show
This game was a hockey net target game. Similar to Cast Away, players were given eight hockey pucks, and each target had a different value. The leading score of the night won a Calgary Flame jersey (gifted from GM Coach) and second place received a Jagermeister hoodie*. This was the biggest hit of the evening, with a line up all night.

Minnow Races
Don't ask me why this is oh so popular, but it is. One of the most common games at a Stag and Doe. Yes, racing minnows. My dad collected some minnows the morning of the party for us. Players would catch their minnow and place them in a container (which we rented) that had four race slots. Don't worry, the minnows weren't hurt, especially considering they're usually used as fishing bait. I'm pretty sure someone released them after the party (at least that's what I'm telling myself). The minnow that swam to the end fastest won. This was a 50:50 game, winners took half of the pool.

We were both quite disappointed by the "rental" minnow races - when we could have made something much nicer and better for the $20 we spent renting this thing!

Penalty Box
The Penalty box actually didn't end up being too big of a hit, other than people putting me in there. My mom paid for me to be in there at the beginning of the night, and not too long later, Joel's brother (GM Bro) was dragging me back in for another five minute penalty. Everyone was laughing and taking photos of me when the biggest surprise of the night walked in.

Backstory: BM Click and I have been looking forward to our Stag and Doe for a very long time. When Mr. Narwhal and I first started dating, something BM Click said very early on was that we would have the best Stag and Doe ever. She had been an incredible help in all of the planning, with many long phone conversations. The week before the event, there was a tragic death in her family, and she was unable to make it. I was really sad for her and her family's loss, and that she was unable to attend. MOH L was also on that list of being unable to come. Living in Ottawa (4 hour drive) her and her fiance both had to work on the Saturday and wouldn't be able to make it.

So, you can imagine how much of a surprise it was for me as I was sitting in the penalty box and MOH L walked in the door. Shock and instant tears. Many many tears. I had no idea, and it just meant the world to me that her and her fiance jumped in the car after work and drove over 4 hours to come to our Stag and Doe.

Is it just me, or are the late night blurry photos always a favourite?

Toonie Toss
The Toonie Toss was held at 10:30, and was a prize of $100 to the LCBO (liquor store) and a 1.5L bottle of Crown Royal (donated by a friend). The bottle is placed on the floor and everyone lines up for a turn tossing their toonies to try and get as close to the bottle as possible. I was pretty happy when MOH L had the closest toonie and won!

Door Prizes
We wanted to have a variety of prizes to give away for people attending the event. Throughout the night we pulled admission tickets from a jar, and let people pick out a door prize. We had probably 30+ door prizes including Jagermeister swag* (t-shirts, sunglasses, mugs, hats, etc.), Jack Daniels swag*, and a few other prizes.

Glass Turkey
This was a prize donated by the parents of the hockey team Mr. Narwhal coached. For $5, you could purchase a number, and at the end of the night, a number was drawn to win a large prize pack of a variety of bottles.

Dime Prizes
We had a huge variety of dime prizes, that were another huge hit from the night. A majority of these prizes were donated from local businesses or from the wedding party. They included:

  • A grass trimmer*
  • A car detail*
  • A prize pack from our local outdoors store*
  • A kitchen prize pack (mainly gifted from Momma Narwhal)
  • A candy prize pack
  • A restaurant prize pack with various local restaurant gift certificates*
  • A Bath and Body Works prize pack (gifted from BM Click)
  • A Montreal Canadiens Price jersey (gifted from GM Coach)
  • A BBQ prize pack with a M&M's gift certificate (gifted from my aunt)
  • 1L of fresh Maple syrup (gifted from GM D)
  • 3 bottles of wine*
  • 1 month gym membership*
  • Hair blowout and travel size skin care pack*
  • Two decorative pillows*
  • Local farm prize pack*
Grand Prizes
We purchased the two main grand prizes and the week prior to the Stag and Doe, a family friend that owns a car dealership donated a foursome of golf to a Deerhurst Highlands Golf (valued at $600+). Our other two grand prizes were a Go Pro prize pack and Vitamix blender. 

The prizes were raved about from guests, we announced all of them at about 11:30pm, followed by the pie in the face. 

Pie in the Face
Throughout the night I was in the lead for the Pie in the Face competition, my jar consistently had more money in it. My aunt, Father Narwhal and MOH Cass (thank-you!!) were bartending a majority of the evening, and were always trying to get people to save me from the pie. After we announced all of the prizes and thanked everyone for coming, we went to count the jars. I had raised around $84, and Mr. Narwhal about $68. Victory! Or...not so much. At the last minute, Mr. Narwhal's boss threw a crisp $20 in the jar, giving Mr. Narwhal the lead. I will let the terribly blurry photos tell the story from here.

I was not looking forward to being smashed in the face, as Mr. Narwhal was telling me he was going to try and get as much in my hair as possible. 

As I braced myself for the pie, Mr. Narwhal dropped the entire pie! 

In that moment, I picked it up and asked everyone if they think he now deserved a pie in the face for dropping the pie, and everyone cheered. A new pie was prepared, and I got to smash Mr. Narwhal instead. 

Much to my dismay, he felt kisses were necessary in that moment, and I think I ended up with more on me as a result.

Best moment of the night!

Now, the financial aspect of the event. We spent around $4000 for the event, and made just over $7000 (with a profit of about $3000). Between all of the tickets we sold, and the approximate 130 people that came through the doors, each person probably spent on average of $50 with their ticket purchase. 

Hall Rental, Insurance and Liquor License - $624.00
Shuttle Bus - $340.00
Prizes - $1050.00
Liquor and Beer - $1500.00
Mix and Food - approximately $300 (Momma Narwhal and BM Mel and GM JB also brought food) 
Miscellaneous (tickets, decorations, etc.) - approximately $300

Overall, this night will forever fill my heart with joy and positive memories. We have had countless people message us and thank us for such an amazing night, which is just crazy to Mr. Narwhal and I. We are so thankful for the people that spent an evening celebrating and supporting us and to our wedding party that worked so hard to help create such an amazing night. 

End of night clean up crew selfie with Mr. Narwhal's coaching friends, GM D and BMan TLW

*** You may notice that we didn't go above and beyond with decorating. This is fairly common practice, so set up doesn't include fancy linens, or flowers. So while in photos this not look the best, the point of the night isn't to be fancy with decorating, but to create a night of lots of fun. I promise this isn't an indicator of what the wedding will look like, or how much fun we had :)
**We hired the same company that we're using for our wedding, so this was a great test run. I did not go on the bus, but we heard nothing but wonderful things.
*This indicates a donated prize.