Our $46K Colorful And Heartfelt Toronto Wedding

Tarah, Operations Coordinator for Trade Shows + Devin, Funeral Director
One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: A colorful and heartfelt all night dance party with our family and friends.
Planned Budget: 40,000 CAD
Actual Budget: 46, 000 CAD
Number of Guests: 90
Location: Eglinton West Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
Photographer: Olive Photography

Where we allocated the most funds: We allocated most of the funds towards the venue and catering as it was all in one.

It was important to us to find a venue where we could have the ceremony and reception all in one place, it just happened to be a bonus that they had onsite catering too. We knew we would be somewhat limited in our menu choices, but the catering knocked it out of the park! Everyone raved about the food and that made us very happy.

Eglinton West Gallery provided everything from the tables, chairs and bars to the plates and cutlery. From an event planning standpoint we didn’t want the logistical headache of having to order chairs and plates and cutlery in for the event and deal with having to return them later. Having everything in one place gave us peace of mind, and helped our budget too.

Where we allocated the least funds: We are very fortunate to have a lot of creative people in my (Tarah’s) family who gifted us their talents.

My dad created all the signage, including the table numbers and name tags for the tables. He also built the awesome sunburst backdrop and added LED lights as a fun surprise for us.

My brother is an art director and graphic designer, so we got all the stationery designed by him, and then printed by my dad.

My sister is a ceramicist, so she made all of our vases for our centerpieces and to hold our bouquets. She also has great handwriting so we got her to hand address all the envelopes for the invitations as well!

What was totally worth it: Just about everything! It was beautiful and fun and everyone kept telling us how much they loved it. It was really US. I did however splurge and book a Photo Booth the week before the wedding and it was totally worth it!

What was totally not worth it: We really wracked our brains for this one, and the only thing that wasn’t worth it in the end was the late night snack. We ordered pizza through the venue and it just wasn’t very good (surprising because dinner was FANTASTIC) and everyone was still full from dinner! But it’s the European in Tarah, she needed to be SURE everyone was being fed at all times.

A few things that helped us along the way: Really reminding ourselves of our wedding mission statement and going back to that every time we weren’t sure about something. Did it fit the type of wedding we wanted to have? If not, out the door it went.

It also helped to bounce things off of our Wedding Party, and have people who love and support us, just be honest about if we REALLY needed to do something or buy something.

My best practical advice for my planning self: After all the spreadsheets are organized, and to-do lists completed, you have to just let go and trust things will work out as planned.

You’ve prepared literally everything you could think of, and now it’s in someone else’s hands. You can’t be running the show and BE THE SHOW at the same time.

Favorite thing about the wedding:

Tarah: The pure love and joy on my partner’s face when he looked at me. That day his love felt absolutely tangible. Usually I am the crying blubbering mess, and he’s my rock. But he kept tearing up and I was the one wiping his tears for once. It was the sweetest feeling in the world.

Devin: A tie between Tarah’s vows, which were so heartfelt and our first dance, because everything just melted away and it felt like we were the only two people in the room.

Anything else: We did a really personalized unplugged wedding ceremony, that began with a land acknowledgment, used gender neutral language, included a reading of Scientific Romance by Tim Pratt and we both wrote our own vows, it was short, sweet and to the point!

We also opted out of doing a bouquet toss, garter toss, parent dances, a receiving line, a grand entrance or exit of any kind, and having a wedding cake. We did do a first look, and Devin walked down the aisle, Tarah was accompanied by her parents but was not given away.

Our wedding party was uneven (3/4) and consisted of mostly women/femmes. Everyone purchased their outfits separately due to distance and the pandemic hindering in person shopping for most of our engagement. We didn’t get to see the final looks until they day of the wedding!

We also chose a new last name as neither of us felt strong ties to our family names and wanted something new as we came together to start our own family unit. We settled on Everett, a family name, and Devin’s late father’s middle name.

Looking back, we realized a lovely coincidence about choosing that name and our wedding theme. The first time Tarah told Devin I love you, was when they were watching a movie together and the main character, named Everett was singing “You are my Sunshine.” Of course Tarah wasn’t saying I love you with words, but rather with nudges during the chorus of “You’ll never know dear, how much I love you”. Later that day, she verbalized her feelings. I (Tarah) couldn’t believe that the significance of that day had weaved into the wedding without us even trying, it was serendipitous.