Tag Archives: Canada


Wedding on a budget

I was just flicking through my wedding photos (procrastination FTW) and the photos of the food inspired me to share with you the secrets of my super cheap, but not trashy, wedding. I’ve been asked by a few people how I did it, so here it is…

Small back story: we got married in Canada as I was denied an extension on my work visa and I was madly in love with a Canadian. A week before I was due to leave the country to return back to NZ, we decided the best way to speed up the process of me returning to Canada, would be to get married. Naturally… Crazy? Yes. Dumb? No.

Because it was a quick decision (I planned a wedding in four days – high five!) neither of our families could make it and my friends in New Zealand couldn’t either. Bit of an ask to get people to pay over $2k for flights at short notice ūüôā¬†Due to the snappy turnaround of the nuptials, it was always the plan to have a less hectic, more carefully planned wedding, in New Zealand.

Neither of us had a job that was bringing in super amounts of income, plus we were still catching up on the debt from setting me back up in New Zealand at short notice. And after not working for almost three months, by the time we did have money to burn (or just gently smolder and then pat out and put back in our wallets) there was only about three and a half months until the wedding. As well as that, we’d decided to move back to the North Island (we were in Queenstown) to be closer to my friends and family and to live by the beach. Knowing we might not have jobs for a little while, we needed to plan for that as well, financially. Needless to say, money was leaking into nooks and crannies everywhere we turned.

SO…to save money on the wedding, Scott came up with the idea of a pot luck wedding. At first I was like “no way are we getting our guests to bring the food! That’s one of the best parts of a wedding!” but I slowly warmed to the idea, the more I thought about how much money we actually needed in order to get the dress, the suit, the shoes, the booze, the decorations, the cake, the food, the hair, the make up, the photos….the everything! Since it was already going to be a relaxed beachy wedding, with dressy casual attire and no formal ceremony (as we were technically already married), why not make it even¬†more¬†Kiwi, and turn it into a pot luck?

Most of the peeps I know are quite into food anyway, so I figured they’d enjoy the fact it was something they could get involved in as well.

We saved up enough money for booze (too much booze in the end, not a bad thing!), the dress (not an expensive one, but also not my fave. If I had a do-over, I’d not buy my dress online), the alteration for the dress, decorations, invitations and little bits and pieces that cropped up along the way. All in all, I would say our total spend was just over $2k.

It helped that my Dad took care of the meat which my step-mum roasted at home before carting it to the location and the lady that made the cake/cupcakes said it would be our wedding gift. Both of these people, we offered to pay and they wouldn’t have a bar of it! Bonus.

The photos were taken by my brother in law. Phil, and one of my besties boyfriends. Both of which we said we couldn’t afford to pay but we offered up booze instead. For the most part they were both just happy to help as they appreciated the fact that weddings are expensive and stressful and they are both just bloody good blokes. Will, the besties bf, in particular did a spectacular job and we couldn’t be more thankful for the amazing job he did – he assists for Natalie Morgan Photography¬†and you can learn more about him here.

The following photos are of the food and the cake/cupcakes – all Will’s handy work. Just looking at them still makes my mouth water AND we got so many comments on how amazing the food was compared to some of the catered weddings people had been too. Yay, go team!

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The biggest thing I learned from planning my wedding was that it was OUR day and we could do it whichever way we bloody well liked! And that people are only too happy to pitch and be involved on your special day. You may think that everything has to be perfect, and for the most part it does, but as long as you and your significant other are relaxed and happy, people are fed and watered – regardless of whether they made some of the food, then nothing else matters.

There’s something in the air – Hockey night in Canada

If you know a Canadian, you will probably have heard them mention hockey once or twice. If they haven’t, they’re not authentic and you have cause to be very suspicious. To be more specific, “hockey” = ice hockey. Here in NZ we know hockey as field hockey so I want to be clear. The game I am referring to is a game played on ice, by feisty men who glide like ballerinas despite being covered from head to toe with padding. Men, burly in stature, armed with sticks, who crave blood and victory. It sends shivers up the spine!

Some of my fondest memories of being in Vancouver were the warm twilight times I spent walking home from work, feeling the electricity in the air when it was “hockey night in Canada”. The buses have it on their overhead destination signs, cars sport flags, a sea of blue and green shirts adorn the masses and if you work in hospitality (like I did), you KNOW it’s hockey night in Canada because you’re slammed just before the game starts and the phones are silent when they’re playing. If you’re not watching the game, or you are but you’re watching it on cable and someone else is watching it not on cable, you can hear the delayed yells of the fans, through the walls, the floors and from across the road, every time something major happens. The energy is infectious and it’s exciting!

There is a real sense of comradery and you can feel it. Unless the Canucks lose the Stanley Cup Final and then there’s riots… but that aside, it’s something special to be a part of.

I learned to appreciate the sport after being subjected to watching it in the early stages of being with Scott. I found it hard to follow because they moved too fast! I lost sight of the puck pretty much the whole time. I would find my mind wandering because I couldn’t concentrate on the game – I was getting dizzy trying to follow them. What just happened? Why did that guy just get sent off? Why are they fighting, are they allowed to do that? Why isn’t the ref doing anything? Woah! is that legal?! What is icing? Nope, it’s not something on a cake. There were too many questions and I was in danger of being on the verge of “annoying questions from the girlfriend when watching hockey”. Luckily, I kept my questions in check and any questions I did have, were answered politely (because he’s Canadian). We were early enough in the relationship that Scott probably didn’t want to piss me off by getting annoyed at me for being so sweet and innocent when it came to his favourite game ūüôā Plus he likes to know the answers to stuff.

I eventually began to concentrate on the game and tried my hardest to follow that little black circle as it darted back and forth. I started to really appreciate the level of skill these guys actually have in order to be able to switch direction at a moments notice, to keep an eye on that puck when I had no idea where it was half the time, to be covered in all that gear and still be able to glide gracefully like big bulky, sweaty, swans on water. And to get the puck past that giant, lithe goalie and several other players in front of that tiny net?! Pretty impressive stuff.

I may not know the rules, I have kind of forgotten what icing actually is and I still have to ask for clarification on the “power play“, but I really like watching it. It’s something Scott and I can do together and when it gets down to the nitty gritty games, it brings a really good bunch of pals together to yahoo, or commiserate, in unison.

If you’re Canadian, or you’ve been in Canada during the hockey season, you’ll know what I’m talking aboot. If you aren’t and you haven’t been to Canada you’ll never quite understand.

I leave you with this video which epitomizes the excitement and intensity that I’m trying to get across:


Nice things for Husbands

This blog is supposed to be a forum. So, I want to put it out there to all the ladies in the world (or just the 3 I know read this): what do you do for your husband?

I don’t mean the domestic/household type things like laundry and¬†vacuuming¬†and cooking and sex. Is that last one a chore? It shouldn’t be…it just slipped in there.

I mean, we secretly wish that they would do wonderful, creative, and over the top things for us spontaneously. But do we do this for them?

I ask because this weekend, tonight actually, I am surprising¬†Mr¬†Jenna (Scott) by taking him to a 4.5 star hotel I booked a couple of weeks ago. I’m packing a bag with a change of clothes incl. his¬†pj’s¬†and some board shorts for quality time in the spa pool at the hotel. I’m picking up some beer for him and treats for watching a movie in the KING SIZE BED and splashing out on room service for dinner. And I’m leaving him to it. Haha! No… I will be there too.

He is none the wiser (and¬†doesn’t¬†read this blog). The reason I’m doing it is to say¬†congratulations¬†on three months of not smoking and thank you for coming to NZ and leaving everything you knew as well as working a shitty job for the first three months after you got here. He went cold turkey on the smoking the day he arrived in the country and was a car groomer up until two weeks ago which he HATED. Back story: he’s Canadian. We met in Canada while I was travelling, we fell in love and I couldn’t get an extension on my visa so we got married and then a week later I had to leave. Five months apart before he could get to NZ and was almost a pack a day smoker before arriving.

As well as the night in the hotel, the soak in the spa and the room servicey goodness, I have a lunch booked at a little tavern in wine country near where we live for the day after – also a surprise.

In a way I am reinforcing his will to give up smoking by rewarding him for the massive feat, but at the same time, I really love to treat my husband and show my appreciation that he is in my life. And, for me, getting excited about planning surprises for Scott and having someone in my life to do this for makes me really happy.

But enough about me…I just wanted to put it out there – to ask what you, the wives/girlfriends/life partners are doing for your male significant other? Tell me, I’m ever so curious.