Category: Decor

Christmas Savings

This is my first year in a very long time where I haven’t been in school over the Christmas season.  A year when I should actually have money to spend.  Well, Royce and I are newlyweds, fairly new entrepreneurs, and working hard to invest back into our businesses so this year I wanted to be a bit more thrifty.  Here’s how we did it.

1. Shop Early- We started looking for Christmas presents while we were on our honeymoon on the Oregon Coast.  We had a bit of wedding gift cash so we used that to buy some gifts and then also purchased our flights home for Christmas right away.  We saved money on booking early and we also didn’t feel broke come December since the flights were paid for 2 months ago.

2. Reuse old decorations- We moved this summer… in peak wedding season… which means I literally have no idea where half of our stuff is since it’s still in boxes. Don’t judge me.  So the decorations I did find were minimal.  Instead of going out to buy more, I used the ones I could find though many were missing the wire hooks.  I used the “hookless” ones across our mantle on fresh tree branches with mercury votives I had in my wedding decor stock.  And then came our tree.  We really wanted our first Christmas tree as a Sihlis Family to be a real one.  We didn’t save money there, but I decorated it with a bunch of photos we had in a box from our wedding from when we were kids and our past 4 years together.  Our star became one of our wedding photos.

3. Wrapping- I’m smitten with kraft paper and ribbon so naturally we had a lot laying around our place.  I took a gold sharpie and chose a series of Christmas themed words to handwrite all over the paper.  And then I wrapped each gift with it and tied it with a satin gold or silver bow.  I wrote the name for the gift on the bottom so I could keep them straight.

4. Secret Santa- My family is growing quite large now that my one sister and I are married, and the other has a long term boyfriend.  And “That’s a lotta gifts!!” (I’ve been watching too much Cake Boss).  So this year we did a Secret Santa instead and then each sibling & other has to put a $25 gift into each of my parent’s stockings.  We used the Draw Names website for it and it was amazing! I highly recommend it.

5. Spouse Gifts- Instead of buying each other presents this year, Royce and I decided to use gift cards we got as wedding gifts and a bit of our own money to spend two nights at Sparking Hill Resort.  We decided we’d rather spend some quality time together than exchange gifts since we really don’t “need” anything.

6. Making Gifts- My mom has made caramel popcorn for years as gifts for friends/coworkers/etc. instead of actually buying presents for each person.  This is something I’ve really grown to appreciate and something I’d like to start doing myself.  But I suck at making caramel popcorn, mainly because I’ve never tried. So I’ve made little bags of nuts & bolts instead and mini mason jars of hot chocolate and marshmallows.  A small gesture is still a kind gesture!

And there you have it! Those are my easy tricks to saving a bit of money during the holidays.



Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset



Why Robes Rock

I was in the midst of a pretty in depth blog about why I became a wedding planner and then I thought… you know what?  I love robes.  And I think people should know why.  So here goes my completely random rant on why every bridal party should wear robes.

1. Reason #1- Photography

When you look at getting ready photos on blogs and magazines 99.9% of those photos are of all the girls in matching robes or outfits.  So when you convince your fiance that it’s an absolute necessity that you add on those extra photography hours even though you’re already way over budget and promised you’d stop doing that but really had your fingers crossed, then it’s important that you look at Why you love those getting ready photos.  Because everyone looks so cute! Robes are also great for photographers because even if your make-up isn’t done yet and your photographer is in a rush for time, he/she can take pictures of you from behind or the side that will still look really pretty. Also, you know how many times Royce has walked into the rooms with girls getting ready and they are all half naked… for my sake can you wear a robe?

2. Reason #2- Gifts

Robes are the perfect gift for your bridesmaids because their moderately priced ($45-$85), can be paired with you paying for their hair or make-up or another small gift (jewellery, lipgloss, or a clutch), and ensure that all of your girls will be dressed appropriately in the morning for photos.

I ordered mine online (floral robes in photos below) from Plum Pretty Sugar and absolutely loved them.  My bridesmaids looked so cute! I put them in custom canvas bags from Wedding Chicks and included their earrings and a lipgloss. The bags doubled as purses for the day to carry a second pair of shoes, make-up, and some snacks.

Many other brides order from Victoria Secret or Etsy!

3. Reason #3- Cuteness Factor

So you already bought your bridesmaid gift and you aren’t paying for getting ready photos, I still think you need them.  I’ve never met a bridal party that didn’t love getting up in the morning and having robes to put on to make the morning feel that much more exciting and special.  It’s all a part of it and I really think you need to just go buy them.

2013-10-31_0019 2013-10-31_0018 2013-10-31_0002 2013-10-31_0020 View More: View More: More:

P.S. If you read my blog from last week, tonight is Happy Camper night, which means Royce is baking cookies with me!  Since it’s Halloween we’re making monster cookies.  You know the kind with smarties?  He’ll be a baker in no time.  And I might even wear my robe.

Happy Halloween!!


10 Planning Tips Not to be Overlooked

Before I start, can I just say that that was the best summer ever!  Yes, it was summer up until this past Sunday since my last wedding didn’t end until then and I can’t bear the thought that I missed the awesome start of fall with pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, boots, and crisp mornings.  I also missed an entire summer but I dealt with that yesterday by purchasing a new pair of boots.  Seemed fair.  Moving on.

So I decided to compile a blog of 10 crucial planning tips that I unfortunately have experienced through weddings I’ve attended and assisted with (I’m avoiding including saying one’s I’ve planned because it hurts my ego too much when things go wrong). Alright.  Here goes:

1. Ceremony Music

The most awkward weddings I attend are the one’s that have forgotten to plan out ceremony music.  Do not, and I repeat do NOT have your groom or groomsmen walk down the aisle to nothing.  Music sets the entire tone for the ceremony.  Make sure you have music playing 1/2 hour before the ceremony, a song for the entire bridal party walking down, a song for the signing of the registry, a song for the first kiss & exit, and music for about ten minutes afterward.

2. Ceremony Mic

A ceremony without a microphone is like a ceremony without guests.  But truly, they have no reason to be there if they can’t hear any of it.  Do not forget to confirm with your DJ that you need a mic for the ceremony.  If you don’t have a DJ, don’t forget to rent a mic with your sound system.

3. Bridal Party Snacks

A hungry bridal party is a cranky bridal party.  Pack a cooler of snacks and drinks for your bridal party during photos.  My favourite items are bottled water, granola bars, chips, Kleenex hand wipes, and champagne or beer.

4. Family Photo List

If you forget every other tip, do not forget to make a family photo list.  Your photographer should ask you for one but if they don’t make sure you make one before hand.  My rule of thumb is no more than 15 minutes for family photos, which is approximately 12-15 photos total.  Stick to immediate family and grandparents.  Avoid aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. as too many photos really kill the excitement after the ceremony.  More on this in a future blog post.

5. Ceremony Rehearsal

Without your ceremony you aren’t married. And when your ceremony goes badly, everyone notices because it feels awkward.  When it goes well, everyone raves about how great and nice your ceremony was.  Make sure you plan a ceremony rehearsal and run through it 2-3 times.  Make sure your officiant/pastor/etc. is in attendance, as well as your bridal party, parents, and wedding planner.

6. Seating Chart

I went to a wedding this summer with open seating.  This is a terrible idea.  Please avoid this at all costs and take the time to plan out your seating chart.  Rule of thumb is that your guests should know at least 1 couple/person at the table they’re seated.  If they don’t know anyone, put them at a table with someone they’ll get along with.  It’s a long evening to be sitting at an awkward table.

7. Cash Bar

Can’t afford an open bar?  No problem!  But make the gesture to put wine on the tables or offer complimentary non-alcoholic beverages.  Non-drinkers shouldn’t have to pay $3.50 for a pop when often they have a reason why they aren’t enjoying a cocktail such as they’re the DD, pregnant, a vendor, or just don’t want to.  At the end of the day it’ll only add about $100.00 to your final bill and it’s a nice thing to do.

8. Thank-You Speech

One of the most overlooked planning details is forgetting to write out your thank-you speech before hand.  I can’t even tell you how often this happens and how many crucial people get forgotten.  Write it out and read it at least 3 times before your wedding day.  There’s nothing worse than having someone really deserve a public thank-you at your wedding and not get one.  You’ll feel terrible the next day and that person may feel grossly unappreciated.

9.  Thank-You Cards

Believe it or not, there are people out there that don’t send thank-you cards.  I know, it’s true.  If this is you and you’re feeling guilty… that’s probably fair because you should.  Half kidding… Sending out thank-you cards should be your top priority after returning from your honeymoon.  Make sure you get those out as quickly as possible and write a genuine hand written note in each one.

10. Relax

Last but not least, you really need to just calm down.  The day before your wedding you’re going to feel a thousand emotions all at once, that only escalate up until you walk down the aisle.  Take a deep breath, remember that it’ll all be over in less than 48 hours and you’ll wish it could all happen again when you wake up the day after your wedding.  So plan to enjoy it.  Plan to have someone else take care of all the behind the scene details that day (ideally a planner) so you don’t have to think about anything but enjoying it all (and making that thank-you speech).  Remind yourself that this is one of the best days of your life and it will be perfect. Flaws and all.



Elegant Romance Styled Shoot

Here is how our second shoot turned out! I’m so in love with the dress in this shoot never mind all the other soft touches.
2013-03-04_0017 2013-03-04_0015 2013-03-04_0011 2013-03-04_0012 2013-03-04_0013 2013-03-04_0010 2013-03-04_0019 2013-03-04_0020 2013-03-04_0018 2013-03-04_0009

Stationary: Susanna, Modern Invitations (

Wedding Gown, Flowers, Rentals: Anthony Salituro & Viva Bridal Boutique

Hair & Make-Up: Beauty Code Boutique (

Photography: Royce Sihlis Photography (

Styling: Nicole, Created Lovely Events & Anthony Salituro

Model: Alicia Glaicar

Kamloops Styled Shoot

I had the opportunity to work with some of my favourite local Kamloops vendors this past weekend on two styled shoots.  Here’s how our rustic shoot turned out.

2013-03-03_0001 2013-03-04_0004 2013-03-04_0002 2013-03-03_0002 2013-03-04_0001 2013-03-04_0005 2013-03-04_0006 2013-03-04_0007 2013-03-04_0003

untitled-5328 2013-03-04_0008

Stationary: Susanna, Modern Invitations (

Wedding Gown, Flowers, Rentals: Anthony Salituro & Viva Bridal Boutique

Hair & Make-Up: Beauty Code Boutique (

Photography: Royce Sihlis Photography (

Styling: Nicole, Created Lovely Events & Anthony Salituro

Model: Sarah Collins