Cake Strategy

The question was popped, you’ve told your family, the date was set with your officiate, and you have hand picked those who will stand there beside you. Now it is time to set about picking all of the little details that will make your wedding day come together. The hunt for the perfect dress is on. What colours will your bridesmaids wear? What flowers will match? What about the venue? The meal? The décor? And of course, ‘The Cake!’

All of the details mentioned above should be in place before you visit your cake baker. But don’t leave it too late or you may not get the designer you want on your special day. Booking the cake has become just as important as picking out your décor. It is not a detail you leave until 2 months before the wedding date or you may be very disappointed by hearing, “Sorry we are all booked up.” Schedule your cake appointment early, with all your other appointments.

Be prepared for when you meet. Look in magazines or on-line at cake pictures. Bring them with you or send them ahead of time. Knowing what inspires you about a particular cake, whether it is the shape, colours or decoration, can be very helpful in the design process. Think about how you might personalize a design with the invitation, embroidery from your dress or a piece of your grandmother’s jewellery. Just about anything can be incorporated into your cake, even your pets. Choose your flavours you would like to taste.

Then, leave the rest to your designer. A cake artist does their best work when they are able to create freely. Don’t over think it! If you plan every detail of the cake when you are not a cake maker, it’s sort of like working on your own vehicle and finding a few left over bolts after you have finished the job!

          The whole process should be a fascinating experience that is fun & yummy! Not something you fret about. If you're not getting that feeling from your baker, find another one. The end result should be that ‘ah ha’ moment when you enter your reception hall and see the cake – second only to cutting and eating your personalized creation.


Article Provided by: The Village Cake Lady

Music Planning

It’s a wonderful time to be engaged and plan a wedding. Thanks to all of today’s available choices for everything you see and hear, you are guaranteed to be able to find your perfect fit for your perfect day.

It all starts with the ceremony. Couples are now booking live music for the most important moment of the day – the moment when you said “I do”. It’s a romantic moment, and the highlight of the day that everyone has come from near and far to share with you; it is a special time and deserves to be memorable. From a classically trained pianist or a flamenco guitarist to a bagpiper, trio or quartet; the time when you meet to say your vows should be one that you spend the most time planning because it’s the moment that will change the rest of your lives.

As your guests arrive for the ceremony, they should enjoy music that sets the tone for the day. From the live music options, to classical music or upbeat songs chosen by your disc jockey; the music your guests hear before the ceremony is an expression of your personalities and should be chosen carefully. The minister’s words should be carefully selected, and the readings or performance throughout the ceremony should be properly amplified so everyone can experience the ceremony as you do. Without the proper microphones and sound, your guests will be sitting through a silent movie. It doesn’t take much for every guest in every row from the front to the back to hear clearly. A lapel microphone on the minister is strongly recommended, even when the minister says he or she will speak up, because the minister never speaks loudly enough for all the guests to hear when he or she is directly talking to you – which will be most of the time. A lapel microphone on the groom is also suggested to pick up both voices when it comes time to say your vows and a hand held microphone is recommended for your readers or singers.

Following the ceremony, it will be time for cocktails. Depending on the time of the ceremony, cocktails could be one hour, or even up to three hours. The longer the cocktail time, the more you should consider entertaining the guests since you will be off with your photographer to have your photos taken. You could have your disc jockey play toe tapping lounge style music featuring Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall and Michael Buble to pass the time or bring in the very popular photo booth.

Next, it’s time for dinner. In advance of the wedding day, you will need to decide who will be your master of ceremonies (MC). This is an important role, as a good MC should have people laughing and keep them entertained, and he or she will work with your venue or caterer to execute all the tasks that you have assigned to that person; including the fun kissing game. These days, the trend is to go with a professional MC rather than a family member. These individuals are entertaining people with experience on the microphone and they keep your reception fun and on schedule while allowing your family members and friends to enjoy your special day.

One of the first tasks of the MC will be to announce the bridal party into the room for their “grand entrance”. You will need to decide whether it’s something simple that your MC and DJ can do on the spot, or if it’s a more informative grand entrance that you will want pre-recorded with the music timed perfectly to the announcement of the names. With a pre-recorded grand entrance, which has become very popular, you can choose a song for every couple, give a brief description of the bridal party and pump the guests right up.

Next is the kissing game. Most venues don’t want you clanging their glasses anymore and it’s been done so many times that it’s no longer unique. There are so many ideas available to rent, from kissing dice and cubes, to putting greens and the highly popular wedding wheel. You can also always have your guests sing love songs.

Following the dinner, there will be speeches and a possibly a video. Will your speeches be performed at the hall’s standard podium or will you choose the more modern clear podium that many couples are choosing today? When it’s time to hit the dance floor, will it be the standard dance floor or will you choose a dance floor that is more unique – one that is white or one that lights up? For your video, will it play in the background during dinner or will it be the focal point to the evening? When it comes to video equipment, some couples choose to borrow the items from work or a friend. The equipment is very expensive and can sometimes be difficult to operate. It is recommended that you rent it rather than borrow it because the company you rent it from will see that it is set up properly and be working for you when you need it; and you will sleep easier knowing you are not responsible with bringing it to and from the venue. 

As for the room décor, we strongly recommend you rent lights for the walls and corners to spice up your room with colour and brighten up the dark areas. Now called “up-lighting”, lights along the floor that point up will change the entire look of the hall and transform the room. The colours can compliment your colours, or be a nice accent. Your name in lights is easy to do with a gobo. You purchase your gobo then provide it to the company to place in a fixture which shines your name in lights. This is highly recommended when you have a hall that has large carpeted walls. 

In the end, when it comes to your wedding, it all depends on your peace of mind and the overall experience you want yourselves and your guests to take away with you from that special day.

Article Provided by: Quality Entertainment

Monique Lhuillier: The Corset Connoisseur

Monique Lhuillier has quickly become one of the bridal world’s most renowned designers and has garnered a reputation for understanding a woman’s desire to look and feel her most beautiful and feminine on her wedding day. Lhuillier studied at FIDM and had a natural inclination towards bridal design leading  to what is now considered her niche. The pure fantasy and romance of special occasions; weddings in particular, inspire Monique’s creations.

Lhuillier’s bridal gowns capture the true essence of sophisticated luxury and glamour and have been worn by various A-list celebrities since her acclaimed 1996 debut.  Some recent recognizable Monique Lhuillier brides include;  Reece Witherspoon, Vanessa Manillo and  Carrie Underwood . One other thing these three women have in common is that their Monique Lhuillier wedding gowns came in two pieces.

One of the most characteristic aspects of Lhuillier’s couture bridal designs is that many of them consist of a corset bodice and a separate skirt. To the unassuming eye this may not be obvious but over half of the latest collection she debuted in New York came down the runway as a duo.

Many brides look to incorporate both elegance and sexiness into their wedding day look- and this can sometimes be a challenge. However, the pairing of a perfectly fitted beaded or lace corset with a satin ball gown pick up skirt, or a soft silk organza A-line, even a dramatic mermaid skirt, can do just that. Corset style bodices tend to have a ” lingerie style” feel to them – a comparison no groom would mind! When worn with a high impact skirt it can be that perfect combination of sexiness and bridal elegance that so many fashion savvy brides are after today.

One  huge advantage to having a two piece gown is that creating the highly popular cocktail length reception dress is just a skirt change away! Monique Lhuillier has a variety of fiercely fabulous cocktail length skirts that brides can switch into to dance the night away.  Not having to purchase an entire second gown can be cost effective and who would want to change out of that sexy corset top anyway?

Another option could be to get creative and reuse the corset after the wedding day! An ivory beaded corset could be worn with a black bubble skirt for a chic new years eve look or worn with jeans and a blazer for an anniversary dinner out- how’s that for sentimental!

Luckily for Ottawa brides Monique Lhuillier arrived here last fall at The White Dress Bridal Couture at 191 Preston St.  Ottawa recently gained access to other A-list bridal designers including the famous Vera Wang at The White Dress so if you have an eye for high fashion bridal couture you are in luck! This season the corset & skirt duo’s can be found hanging in the boutique (prices  from 4000.00)

By Appointment only 613.680.9024

Article By: Jasmine Craig , Owner The White Dress

Engagement Photos

The Engagement Session is one of my favourite sessions as a photographer.  It’s an important session and if given the opportunity as a couple you should take it!  As a bride could you imagine walking down the aisle without having a fitting for your wedding dress?  Its the opportunity to get to know your photographer,  capture some great photo’s that you can use on or before your wedding day,  and most importantly you become more comfortable in front of the camera before the big day.

Once you have decided on your photographer and have fallen in love with their style its time to set a date to make great images together.  As a photographer I always coach my couples. Wonderful images don’t just happen — and most of my clients aren’t models, nor do I expect them to be.  So as professionals it’s part of our job to educate, guide and direct, this enables us to capture those fabulous images that you want to see on your wedding day. Think of the engagement session as the dress rehearsal…

Have fun with your sessions — you are in total control of wardrobe, location and the season.  Most couple’s book their photographers about a year in advance, so choose your favourite season as part of the look.  Different seasons have different looks, Spring if full of lush greens with all the new leaves, fabulous blossoms on the tree’s and beautiful warm light late in the day. Summer you can have fun at the beach, bright blue skies, sandals and sundresses. I’ve been know to trek out to cottages for that personal touch.  Fall is fabulous with all the warm colours, you can layer up the clothes and get warm and cozy.

Wardrobe is also important — plan your outfits. I always suggest that couples coordinate and pull out your best street, going out on the town clothes, if you feel good in your clothes it will show in the photo’s. Also don’t be afraid to bring a change of wardrobe and props. It adds to the look of the session and if you are building a guest book you will have a larger variety of images to choose from.

As for locations Ottawa and its surrounding area is rich with beautiful sights. I like to choose a destination that within an hour of shooting we get a number of different settings which enables me to capture a large variety of images.  When choosing your location think of your favourite place to be…  an urban environment shooting amongst architecture, or get back to nature with all Ottawa’s pathways, parks and of course the Rideau Canal.  You may want to choose a spot that allows you to work with a combination of all the above.

Make sure you show off the images taken ~ Save the date cards, invitations, guest books, signing boards, wedding blogs and websites.  Ask to see samples from your photographer.  Enjoy your session and have fun with it!


Article and Photos provided by – Annemarie Gruden Photography                                                                                                                                       


Eco-Friendly Wedding Planning

backyard bash

This article is dedicated to leaving a smaller environmental footprint while planning your wedding.  Although in our opinion, this is something we should always be mindful of. We wanted to suggest some eco-friendly wedding tips. Now, don't get nervous, we are not suggesting wearing a hemp-wedding dress and have your wedding guests help clean up a local park during cocktail hour!  We are simply suggesting some ideas that could make your wedding even more unique and memorable all while leaving a reduced eco (yet very chic) footprint on our environment. 

Your flowers are a huge part of the decor of your wedding so we would never suggest not having them. But, ask your florist to buy locally grown flowers. Inquire with him/her about which flowers are in season: Spring welcome boronias, tulips, hyacinths and lily of the valley. You can even grow your own. We know of one bride whose sister grew 200 tulips in her large backyard for the reception centrepieces. Once your wedding is done, consider donating the flowers to a hospital or rest home.

Some of these ideas we have seen for years, they are nothing new but even more appreciated in this day and age. Consider giving your guests organic cookies (baked by you or a local bakery). Bestow them with seeds, plant bulbs or tree saplings ready to be planted when they arrive home. Not only are they helping the environment but they will always have a piece of your wedding day right in their backyard. Or if you prefer traditional favours just add an environmental twist on them like giving soy-based or beeswax candles, natural soaps or fair-trade coffee. Prefer to donate to charities instead of handing out favours? Consider the WWF or Friends of the Earth or let your guests know you have offset their travel costs to attend your wedding at

Look into using recycled, handmade, tree-free paper or plantable papers. Sometimes, you fall in love with a type of paper that may not be environmentally friendly- no worries, maybe just opt not to include the RSVP cards with your invitations and ask that your guests RSVP at an email address instead or a wedding website if you have one. Bonus? You save on the cost of postage stamps! 

If you are having Christmas white lights decorate your tables, trees or anything else, buy ones with LED lights. Be warned, we find them not as bright so maybe buy more than you think you need. Or if you want a softer look, think about using (beeswax) candles in mason jars.  Add a chic, eclectic look by mixing thrift store plates glasses, and serving ware (think vintage-inspired) for your reception. Donate them back when you're done. 

We understand that buying a brand new dress is something that every bride dreams of since she was a little girl. But consider donating your dress after your big day. The Breast Dress Project is a project Marry Me started with Groovy Linen (here in Ottawa) to raise money for breast cancer research from the sale of every gently used wedding dress.

Giving our environment 'the love' doesn't have to end after the wedding reception; check out which is a website that educates travelers on how to reduce their carbon footprint and travel eco-friendly. Or a quick way to search an eco-friendly hotel you want to honeymoon at is to visit


Article provided by Stacey Price from Marry Me Productions

Top Photo provided by – Sam & Marry Photography

Bottom Photo provided by – Studio 409

A Brunch Wedding

Marriage & Mimosas – The Perks to a Brunch Wedding

Here at Stanley`s Olde Maple Lane Farm, a sun-lit garden ceremony followed by a midday reception with family and friends is the perfect combination of elegance and comfort to put a unique stamp on your special day.

Imagine an intimate ceremony in front of a sparking fountain, a selection of your favourite songs playing in the background. Then you and your prince charming sip mimosas as you’re whisked a

way on a horse-drawn carriage ride through our picturesque grounds. Afterwards your guests enjoy the sunshine, while you mingle over delicious pastries, fresh fruit & coffee, before someone pops the cork on a bottle of bubbly to toast your new life together.


When guests arrive we often greet them with mimosas and finger foods like, warm cinnamon rolls, pain au chocolat, and bite sized gourmet quiche.

And of course we`re sure to have freshly brewed coffee, teas and pitchers of fresh fruit juices! While champagne is the first thing most of us think of when it comes to weddings toasts, we know from experience some of your guests may prefer non-alcoholic options.

We keep the mood light & fun by using bright spring colours & offering guests a country style buffet of Stanley`s family recipe pancakes, Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, sausages, & golden home fries. Or we can help you create a more elegant setting using crisp white linens, chique centre pieces & a plated meal, with fruit filled crepes, maple glazed ham, farm fresh eggs & fancy European pastries.

For those on a limited budget or a tighter schedule, a Brunch Wedding also gives you the freedom of a choosing an “off” day without feeling like you’re inconveniencing your guests. Sundays were made for brunch! Your guests can enjoy their weekend, spend a lovely day celebrating your marriage, and still get to enjoy a relaxing evening at home. While DJ’s, photographers, accommodations & limo services may be more likely to offer budget friendly rates for non-Saturdays.

With a few simple personalized touches like, hand-picked music, arrangements of your favourite seasonal fresh flowers, creative guest favours & the right menu, a Brunch Reception can be the perfect way to celebrate your happily ever after.


Article provided by – Stanley's Olde Maple Lane Farm

What’s an Uncle Bob?

Your wedding is a special day and each bride wants to capture and remember every second of it. This is why one hires professional photographers but sometimes extra photographers appear out of nowhere. Their names are Uncle Bob and Aunt Betty. I am all for guests capturing some moments of the day don't get me wrong, however not at the expense of your images being ruined. Regardless of your photography budget or style you are looking for, I urge you to consider having a "camera free" ceremony and let the professionals do their job. It is not that we think your Uncle Bob is competition, we just know from experience what can happen during ceremonies and some overzealous guests. I personally have been pushed into a pew so that a guest could "get the kiss", I couldn't capture a wide angle of the ring exchange because a guest went up into the alter to get his own shot and I have had countless images ruined and expressions lost because guests have stepped into the aisle to get the shot. Maybe they think they are doing you a favour or maybe they want to see if they can be the first one to tag you on Facebook. Regardless of their intention, it does not negate the fact that you cannot get those moments back.

Even when the minister announces to guests that there is no photography (only the professionals), some guests do not listen. Just recently, I was videotaping the processional for a fusion wedding piece and the guests were told that the couple did not want guests taking pictures during the ceremony. One guest ignored the request and stood up directly in front of my lens as the bridal party walked down the aisle. Your photographer cannot shout to have the guests sit down. As a result, that portion of the ceremony is ruined and the couple will not be seeing it. Even when guests are allowed to use their cameras and don't get in the way, I have had numerous images ruined because their flash went off as I was taking my image. The result was an overexposed shot that could not be recovered. Additionally, as a wedding photographer, I make it a point to get the parents' reactions during the ceremony. The emotion on their faces are amazing and touching. However, I can recall at least two weddings where I could not get the father's expression because their faces were behind a lens the entire time. I watched these fathers see their children get married through a viewfinder and not through their own eyes. I wish they would just be in the moment.


It really makes it difficult at times to do our jobs as professionals when we have to compete with guests for prime spots or worry about what a guest will do instead of focusing on you the couple. If at all possible, consider telling your guests that the ceremony is "unplugged" – That you as a couple do not want cameras during the ceremony. You will not miss shots or moments I can guarantee you! Kick it old school and let the guests enjoy the wedding and preserve the memory in their heads. You will not regret it!


Artcile provided by

Barbara Ann Studios

Every Last Detail

Anyone who has ever had a wedding, planned a wedding or been a apart of wedding understands the importance of every last detail…….. 

A-mist all the planning and all the final touches we tend to sit back and reflect on what we love about weddings, about what the important things are. There are special moments that are different for each attendee, each guest yet however there is one moment during all the weddings where everyone, opinions aside, can celebrate and create one of the fondest memory of all, on the dance floor. 

The dance floor has been around for years. It is not a fad, trend or a modernity that will soon be forgotten. The dance floor is traditional in every sense and has been bringing people together of all ages and religion for centuries. The dance floor is arguably one of the places during a wedding where many memories will be created. What could be better than offering your guests a customized dance floor that will maximize their ability to dance. You wouldn't want your guests stepping on a dance floor that was ill fitted or wasn't put together with specialty or care.  Ottawa Event Essentials provides a service that will give you the dance floor you have been dreaming of and one that your guests will never forget! 


Contact Jennifer Armstrong at and you will be providing yourself and your guests with priceless memories!

Article Provided by –

Men’s Wedding Fashion

If you think only women fuss about getting dressed up for weddings, think again! Now with widening choices in men’s wear, men too are not far behind in doing up themselves and looking their best at weddings, be it their own or someone else’s. The important rule to remember while dressing up to attend someone else’s wedding is that one must never steal the show from the groom himself. Suits in dark colors being the safest bet, should be opted for whenever in doubt as this classic look never fails to hit the mark. If it’s your own wedding however, get ready to be dressed to kill. Elegance and comfort are the key issues all grooms must look out for in their wedding attire. Wondering what your choices in men’s wedding attires are? Here are a few of your options:

  • Suits
  • Frocks Coats
  • Tuxedos
  • Tail coats

Suits: If you want to look crisp and classy, suits are definitely what you should zero in on. Suits that are slightly modified into the wedding versions are sure to make you look sizzling on your special day. Suits which are made of exquisite and often extraordinary materials may look delicate but are actually very tough and long lasting. Opt for lighter colours like light beige or sparkling white for ceremonies that are held in the morning while darker colours would be perfect for the ones at night.

Frock Coats: If you are not too tall or too big built, frock coats may be the optimal choice for you. Back in the days, fashionable and classy men were seen to wear frock coats everyday and not just on special evening occasions. Comparing wedding suits and frock coats, one notices that the jackets of frock coats are slightly longer then the former, even though both are usually made of the same material.

Tuxedos: Tuxedos are perfect for men who are on the well built side. So if you have a frail frame, remember to steer clear from tuxedos. Black tuxedos look the best and are teamed with satin clacks and striped pants. Wear this for ceremonies taking place at night or late evenings and add zing to your wedding day!

Tail Coats:
Though a slightly backdated style, tailcoats are yet another option to pick from for your wedding day dress. The defining feature of these tailcoats, are the prominently longer back parts of their jackets, resembling the look of the swallow bird and its tail, hence the name. Tailcoats like the frock coats look best in black teamed with striped pants.

Dressing According to the Climate:
Weddings that take place during summers or at warm locations must have the groom dressed in light colored suits. These suits must also preferably be made of linen or seersucker which is a light thin fabric. Saying `I do’ in colder climates however, requires the groom to be dressed in warmer clothes. This includes woolen suits, teaming a navy blazer with charcoal colored pants or even a blazer worn over a sweater and tie.

An important thing to note about in the context of men’s wedding attires is that wearing a tuxedo before 6 in the evening is a major faux pas. Make a style statement with your wedding attire keeping these technicalities in mind. Your wedding day is something you will look back upon forever, so make sure to look your stylish best!

Simon Johnnson is the director of content for Executive Gift Shoppe. They feature a large selection of men’s gifts like golf gifts, pocket watches and business card holders.

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Airbrush Makeup

The secret to flawless skin whether you are walking the red carpet or walking down the aisle!

Airbrush makeup has been one of Hollywood’s  hottest red carpet beauty secrets for years. Now with HDTV, which exaggerates every wrinkle, pore and imperfection, it is a must have for celebrity makeup experts. Luminess Air, the airbrush system used by top makeup pros on Desperate Housewives, The View and recently featured on The Doctors and eXTRA  is the number one seller worldwide for both professional and every day use. Developed to last for up to 40 hours and giving unparalleled coverage with just a few drops of product, it is the perfect answer for brides who want to look flawless all day, and night!

The application system is touchless, which is great for artists who are making up multiple faces, and for anyone who is concerned with the transfer of germs from dirty makeup utensils. Also, it doesn’t tug and pull on the skin like traditional makeup that is painted on with the fingers, brushes or sponges. But the best part is that only a few drops are required to give weightless, natural looking coverage.

Applied to the skin by an air compressor and precision stylus, the makeup doesn’t gather in lines and wrinkles so actually minimizes their appearance. It diminishes the look of enlarged pores, blemishes, acne, rosacea, sun spots and age spots. Even birthmarks and tattoos are easily covered. That’s why we don’t see tattoos on our favourite stars when they are playing a role.

Like the airbrush technology that is used by photographers to erase lines, wrinkles, pounds and other imperfections in glamour photos airbrush makeup gives the skin the most flawless, perfect and natural  radiance in real life and it feels as light as air!

Local artists at OttawaMakeupArtists.Com specialize in airbrush makeup application and are using the Luminess Air system because more and more brides are calling and insisting on it. “We resisted the trend towards airbrush makeup at first because it was new and we felt comfortable with our brushes. But it is the future of makeup and the results are incredible.” says Ottawa Makeup Artist Elissa Lahti. “Brides love the look and durability  and artists love the ease of the ultra hygienic touchless application.”

It’s true brides are now requesting the service made popular by celebrities on the red carpet. But make no mistake you don’t need a special occasion to get that flawless look. Luminess Air, manufacturers of the top selling airbrush makeup system in the world, has developed a professional grade system for everyday use. Fans of the product say “It’s fast, easy and addictive. Once you try airbrush you will never go back to your old makeup again.“ One thing is for sure, when it comes to good, better, best, Brides insist on the best so it looks like airbrush is the new gold standard for achieving that perfect makeup for your wedding day or everyday!

Featured Bride – August 27 bride Megan Ziemba. “Even with all of the crying my makeup held up so well!! It still looked great by the end of the night! So glad you glad you had the airbrush.” (Makeup by Elissa Lahti, OttawaMakupArtists.Com)

Photos: Barbara Ann Studios. Heather Boswell a professional makeup artist for OttawaMakeupArtists.Com and international Spokesperson for Luminess Air.