Events Manager, Lauren Matunin talks wedding planning.  She’s been to over 100 weddings! Well not exactly…she’s coordinated that many during her tenure at Mariposa Cruises; plus many more special occasions on the water–so it sure feels that way! Lauren makes wedding dreams come true; and with so many happy nuptials behind her–and her own wedding to plan this year– she’s got plenty of insights & good advice to impart.

Create  your wedding blueprint: the foundation of a stress-free wedding plan

It may seem obvious, but after the wedding day is set, the most important thing to start with is the guest list and the budget. That’s going to be crucial to selecting a wedding venue.  Not many couples have an unlimited budget, and it’s even harder to stick to one because guest lists and costs can get out of hand very easily.

There are online wedding planner tools that can do everything for you.  Some wedding sites (like The Knot) offer some for free, or you can purchase them online.  Key in your desired budget and the planner does all the thinking for you, down to the last detail; plus there are check lists, budget trackers and calendars that simplify the whole wedding planning process for you.

A common rule of thumb is to allocate 50% of your budget to the venue, and the other 50% to everything else—wedding dress, cake, photographer, etc.  It’s a rule I stuck to for planning my own wedding.

Traditional vs Non-Traditional Weddings: What’s your style? 

The key things to consider when you set out to choose your venue are the location,  proximity to family and guests, and the theme and style of your wedding. I’ve seen a lot of non-traditional weddings at Mariposa Cruises.  I think it’s in keeping with the trend now, which is moving away from the standard hotel ballroom or banquet hall to more unique, nontraditional spaces. Many couples are choosing to go with rustic, outdoor areas, like a vineyard or a botanical garden.They’re also seeking out unique places, like museums, libraries—or a boat! These tend to be smaller, more intimate wedding parties, which lend themselves to more unconventional spaces, and the couples’ priority a lot of the time is not to spend a great deal on their wedding.

Traditional –style weddings tend to be larger, which is why the grand ballrooms or banquet halls suit them perfectly; these venues are also better for couples who want to offer their guests a traditional  sit-down dining experience , with plated service.

Many couples who opt for non-traditional weddings are open to other menu styles, like creative food stations and passed appetizers, or a grand buffet, which fit a more casual-style reception, freeing couples from timelines around meal services so that they spend more time dancing or mingling with their guests.

Some couples want the best of both worlds, and just blend the traditional and non-traditional by having their wedding ceremony in a park, for example, and then a wedding reception in a more traditional space.  The Toronto Islands or the Music Garden are great waterfront areas to hold a small marriage ceremony, for instance — and then all invited guests can hop on a Mariposa Cruise for the wedding reception.

There are so many options! Couples really need to give thought to how they want to enjoy their day and the experience they want to offer their guests.

Wedding Décor on a budget 

Wedding décor can get quite expensive.  Fresh flowers, for one, are very costly. Many couples save by getting really creative with their centre-pieces, opting for something like vases on mirrored platforms filled  with decorative stones, candles and petals, or just one flower , which can look just as impressive as full decorative bouquet.

Linens are another costly item.  When choosing a venue, make sure to ask about linens. It’s common for a venue to include standard white or ivory linens so that  you don’t need to bring them in yourself.  This way you can enhance the décor in less expensive ways, with just a decorative table runner, for example. Another tip is to work with the décor of the venue rather than trying to transform the entire space.  There are some things you just can’t change about the venue—like the carpeting or the wallpaper. Choosing color themes that work with the room rather than clash with it can help you save a lot of time, money and effort trying to alter the existing space.

Wedding Planners: to hire or not to hire?  

It really depends on the complexity and size of the wedding, the budget and how much time couples can devote to planning. Sometimes getting a wedding planner makes sense, but plenty of couples manage just fine on their own.  One alternative is to hire a day-of wedding planner to manage all the details of the wedding day, from fluffing the bride’s wedding dress to seeing that the venue is set up to specification. They cost a fraction what a wedding planner would charge, and couples can just enjoy their day while someone else looks after the logistics.

Our wedding cruise services include a Sales Manager who assists with choosing the right vessel for your budget and style of wedding; a dedicated Event Manager to guide you through the food, beverage, floor plan and décor details; and a Cruise Manager to assist on the day of your wedding. Find out what services are available to you from the venue. You may have all the support you need without needing to hire a planner.

Save money on the Invitations

Simplify the process and save on the invitations.  Manage them online. Many couples choose to go with  e-vites; they are quick and easy and all the information is handled online, including RSVPs, special dietary requests and menu selection. If you like the idea of paper invitations, consider sending the invitations by snail mail, but save on the return postage and RSVP card by having you guests RSVP  online.

Weddings last a day. Memories are forever. Hire a professional photographer.

In this digital age, there is no shortage of selfie and photo sharing opportunities, and many of your guests will be snapping great photos and even sharing them on social media; but don’t make the mistake of putting your memories in the hands of your guests or amateurs. A professional photographer is there to capture all the beautiful moments you and your spouse worked so hard to create.  Your photos are your memories, and when the wedding is over, they are all you get to keep from your day. Make sure they are spectacular!





Mariposa Cruises offers Engagement & Wedding Photography packages that include a professional photographer. What’s more, when book your wedding with us, you receive the photo package for half price. Planning a wedding? Learn more about our wedding cruise services.