Be A Guest At Your Wedding – Toast Special Event’s Vision

A great wedding planner can make all the difference on your wedding day. They take care to ensure all goes right. And for Toast Special Event’s Elise Schmitz, founder and owner, she strives to have her brides be a guest at their own wedding because they are stress free and enjoy the day.

Photo Courtesy Union 11 Photography

I’ve worked with Elise as a wedding planner for over 5 years. I first met her at Orchardview for the many weddings I’ve officiated there. She also has her own events company, Toast Special Events.

When talking with Elise, three strengths emerge that make her stand out- strengths that are refined over the years in the business.

Real Wedding Experience. She has organized over 200 weddings and has the respect of the wedding industry. She knows what happens behind the scenes to make a successful wedding. For example, a delay in getting to the reception may require a quick message to the chef so that the dinner is not overdone. She has extensive experience with vendors and knows who the good reliable ones are.

Wedding Trends Watcher. Elise stays on top of what’s happening in the wedding industry for décor, dresses among other things. She says that the vintage look, which has been around for a while, is leaving. It is replaced with ghost chairs and centrepieces and ombre (shading) décor. Gwen Stephani’s wedding dress inspired the ombre look a few years ago.  Despite the trends, Elise states that weddings today are non-traditional and reflect who the couple are. She uses trends to help the couple develop their own wedding look. And she helps them avoid faux-pas like having the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses match the table linen.

Courtesy Finds.com

Prioritizing Your Budget. Elise also recommends where brides can prioritize their budget based on what she’s seen. These days she sees that guests are not eating as much cake and suggests to brides that they order a smaller wedding cake. Another handy tip – brides under-order appetizers during the cocktail hour. Having more helps limit alcohol consumption on an empty stomach before the dinner.

Courtesy Sheknowsweddings.com

Wow – my head was filling with useful advice when I was chatting with Elise. I don’t attend wedding receptions and easily imagined the many issues that she described.

One message that Elise stresses is that wedding planning should make your day stress-free. A bride and groom should have trust that their planner will take care of all the details. With trust they can relax and feel as if they are a guest at their own wedding.

Courtesy Union 11 Photography

The role of the Best Man and Groomsmen at the Wedding

One of the exciting parts of planning a wedding is choosing who will be part of the wedding party. The bride’s attendants are usually comprised of one main attendant (Maid or Matron of Honour) and other attendants are known as bridesmaids. The Groom has the same with the main attendant being known as the “Best Man” and the others as groomsmen.

Traditionally the groomsmen were not only part of the young groom’s circle of friends but were also ever ready to defend the groom or to help keep the intended bride for the groom safe should another suitor try to win over the fair maiden. Also in days of yore it was often assumed that evil forces would try to put the wedding asunder. Therefore if something should happen, the evil forces would be confused as to who was the groom and who was not as the groomsmen as all would dress alike very similar to the groom.

Some folklore stories are based on the bride being snatched away at the wedding ceremony before the wedding vows were officially conferred. The danger the best man was prepared to take on was from either another man trying to steal the bride or the bride’s own family who might try to capture her to prevent her from marrying someone whom the family had withheld their approval of. Actually the original name for the groomsmen was the bride’s knights and sometimes their role was to kidnap the bride from her parents to be sure that the wedding took place.

Another belief about the best man was that should anything untoward befall the groom (i.e. die while young or become extremely incapacitated) the Best Man’s job would be to care for the wife and protect her and look after her. Because this was such an honour it was reserved for the male friend or family member that the groom trusted the most in this world and would therefore take care and respect the bride in his friend’s absence.

Traditionally some of the duties the Best Man and the groomsmen attend to on behalf of the groom include ones that range from obtaining coordinating tuxedos to decorating the wedding car and ensuring that the wedding gifts end up at the Bride and Groom’s address post the wedding reception.

The Best Man and the Groomsmens’ duties can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Planning the Bachelor Party
  • Getting fitted for suits/tuxedos
  • Attending the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Attending to the needs of the groom while he gets ready for the wedding
  • Drive the Groom to the wedding location
  • Distribute the boutonnieres to the male attendants
  • Enter the wedding ceremony with the Groom
  • Hold the groom’s ring (s)
  • Sign the marriage licence
  • Escort the Maid of honour and bridesmaids out of the ceremony
  • Kick off the speeches at the reception with a toast to the Groom
  • Help with escorting key guests to their seats
  • Dance with bridesmaids
  • Decorate the getaway car
  • Deliver the fee envelope to the officiate and others

Article courtesy of the Ottawa Wedding Show

The Role of the Best Man and Groomsmen at the Wedding

One of the exciting parts of planning a wedding is choosing who will be part of the wedding party. The bride’s attendants are usually comprised of one main attendant (Maid or Matron of Honour) and other attendants are known as bridesmaids. The Groom has the same with the main attendant being known as the “Best Man” and the others as groomsmen.

Traditionally the groomsmen were not only part of the young groom’s circle of friends but were also ever ready to defend the groom or to help keep the intended bride for the groom safe should another suitor try to win over the fair maiden. Also in days of yore it was often assumed that evil forces would try to put the wedding asunder. Therefore if something should happen, the evil forces would be confused as to who was the groom and who was not as the groomsmen as all would dress alike very similar to the groom.

Some folklore stories are based on the bride being snatched away at the wedding ceremony before the wedding vows were officially conferred. The danger the best man was prepared to take on was from either another man trying to steal the bride or the bride’s own family who might try to capture her to prevent her from marrying someone whom the family had withheld their approval of. Actually the original name for the groomsmen was the bride’s knights and sometimes their role was to kidnap the bride from her parents to be sure that the wedding took place.

Another belief about the best man was that should anything untoward befall the groom (i.e. die while young or become extremely incapacitated) the Best Man’s job would be to care for the wife and protect her and look after her. Because this was such an honour it was reserved for the male friend or family member that the groom trusted the most in this world and would therefore take care and respect the bride in his friend’s absence.

Traditionally some of the duties the Best Man and the groomsmen attend to on behalf of the groom include ones that range from obtaining coordinating tuxedos to decorating the wedding car and ensuring that the wedding gifts end up at the Bride and Groom’s address post the wedding reception.

The Best Man and the Groomsmens’ duties can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Planning the Bachelor Party
  • Getting fitted for suits/tuxedos
  • Attending the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Attending to the needs of the groom while he gets ready for the wedding
  • Drive the Groom to the wedding location
  • Distribute the boutonnieres to the male attendants
  • Enter the wedding ceremony with the Groom
  • Hold the groom’s ring (s)
  • Sign the marriage licence
  • Escort the Maid of honour and bridesmaids out of the ceremony
  • Kick off the speeches at the reception with a toast to the Groom
  • Help with escorting key guests to their seats
  • Dance with bridesmaids
  • Decorate the getaway car
  • Deliver the fee envelope to the officiate and others

Article courtesy of the Ottawa Wedding Show

Wedding Favours That Last

Edible bonbonnières are always a popular wedding favour at receptions. In fact, sometimes that beautifully wrapped bag of candy coated almonds or chocolates are eaten on the spot, depending on what time dinner is served.

Meanwhile, bonbonnières of the non-edible variety sometimes consist of little trinkets and heart-shaped keychains that you never use. Instead, you add it to the collection you’ve accumulated on a dusty shelf, along with other items you never touch.

This time, it’s your turn to get hitched, and you and your spouse-to-be are wondering if wedding favours are really worth the cost.

Instead, as a meaningful gift that will show appreciation to your guests and have a lasting impact, consider making a charitable donation in their honour. For example, Organizations like Christian Children’s Fund of Canada have an online gift catalogue where you can purchase fruit trees, clean water wells, insecticide-treated malaria nets, and medical supplies for a clinic in developing countries. As you and your spouse-to-be happily start your lives together, take pride in making life a little easier for others around the world who are in need.

www.newscanada.com

Wedding favours that last

Edible bonbonnières are always a popular wedding favour at receptions. In fact, sometimes that beautifully wrapped bag of candy coated almonds or chocolates are eaten on the spot, depending on what time dinner is served.

Meanwhile, bonbonnières of the non-edible variety sometimes consist of little trinkets and heart-shaped keychains that you never use. Instead, you add it to the collection you've accumulated on a dusty shelf, along with other items you never touch.

This time, it's your turn to get hitched, and you and your spouse-to-be are wondering if wedding favours are really worth the cost.

Instead, as a meaningful gift that will show appreciation to your guests and have a lasting impact, consider making a charitable donation in their honour. For example, Organizations like Christian Children's Fund of Canada have an online gift catalogue where you can purchase fruit trees, clean water wells, insecticide-treated malaria nets, and medical supplies for a clinic in developing countries. As you and your spouse-to-be happily start your lives together, take pride in making life a little easier for others around the world who are in need.

www.newscanada.com

 

Personalize your wedding centrepieces

Extravagant centrepieces can be nice, but aren't necessary. You may have attended a wedding where the centrepiece impaired guests from talking with each other or from seeing what is happening on stage. Or perhaps it had so many elements that you wondered how the couple could afford them. If you're preparing for your wedding, consider creating centerpieces that reflect who you and your spouse-to-be really are, without breaking the bank.

For the eco-friendly couple: sticks and stones. Forgo the regular bouquet of flowers and arrange sticks, stones, and beeswax candles to create a calm, organic feel at the table.

For the do-gooder couple: promote your cause. In lieu of centrepieces, make a donation to a charity that you and your spouse-to-be support. Place cards at each table that explain why you support the charity and what the money will provide. Organizations like Christian Children's Fund of Canada (www.ccfcanada.ca) can give you some ideas on gift items that help impoverished children around the world.

For the “lovey-dovey” couple: poetry and photos. Showcase your favourite romantic quotes and poems with framed photos from your childhood, teenage years, and adulthood. You can put different photos at every table to get your guests to move around and mingle.

For the contemplative couple: books or DVDs. Select two books, documentaries, or DVDs that you and your spouse-to-be enjoy or that convey a certain message. Wrap the two items in a ribbon and give them away as a prize to guests at each table towards the end of the night.

www.newscanada.com

 

Personalize Your Wedding Centrepieces

Extravagant centrepieces can be nice, but aren’t necessary. You may have attended a wedding where the centrepiece impaired guests from talking with each other or from seeing what is happening on stage. Or perhaps it had so many elements that you wondered how the couple could afford them. If you’re preparing for your wedding, consider creating centerpieces that reflect who you and your spouse-to-be really are, without breaking the bank.

For the eco-friendly couple: sticks and stones. Forgo the regular bouquet of flowers and arrange sticks, stones, and beeswax candles to create a calm, organic feel at the table.

For the do-gooder couple: promote your cause. In lieu of centrepieces, make a donation to a charity that you and your spouse-to-be support. Place cards at each table that explain why you support the charity and what the money will provide. Organizations like Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (www.ccfcanada.ca) can give you some ideas on gift items that help impoverished children around the world.

For the “lovey-dovey” couple: poetry and photos. Showcase your favourite romantic quotes and poems with framed photos from your childhood, teenage years, and adulthood. You can put different photos at every table to get your guests to move around and mingle.

For the contemplative couple: books or DVDs. Select two books, documentaries, or DVDs that you and your spouse-to-be enjoy or that convey a certain message. Wrap the two items in a ribbon and give them away as a prize to guests at each table towards the end of the night.

www.newscanada.com

Ceremony Music: 5 Tips For Hitting The Right Notes

Music has become an integral part of the wedding ceremony, and couples invest lots of time choosing the perfect songs. When you are planning an on-location wedding, you will need to take into account many considerations in your choice of music. Here are some tips when using either live musicians or recorded music for your wedding ceremony.

Blistering heat or cold is also awful for keeping instruments tuned. The expansion or contraction of the strings is devastating to the music. Live musicians will typically  want to have a shaded area during a sunny day. So, if there is no natural shade, you may need to rent a small covering for them. I had a couple that had agreed to have the ceremony indoors if it was cold. However, when I arrived at the event, they had decided to hold it outside despite the cold. The jazz trio was not pleased about the change. The double bass player refused to take his $10,000 instrument outside. The guitar player’s strings immediate contracted and went out of tune. The bride was left with a cold saxophone playing her entrance music. Cold brass does not play well, either.

There is nothing that replaces live musicians. The great advantages of live music are its moving quality and that the musician(s) can keep playing or stop with the action happening on-location. There is no need to fade a piece when the bride arrives at the front. The musician(s) just stop at an appropriate place in the piece. They can also repeat sections if the entrance, signing or exit takes longer than anticipated.

There are special considerations when using live musicians. You need to accommodate the space for their performance. I had one couple at a local restaurant where the jazz trio was with us at the front of the room. Unfortunately, with the double bass, they occupied more of the space up at the front than the wedding trio of bride, groom and me.

For outdoor weddings, weather can wreak havoc on musical instruments. Wind is sure to ruffle the sheet music no matter how many clothespins they have on the stand. Many musicians have riders against playing in the rain. Many thousands of dollars worth of wood instruments with rain is not a good mix. Of course, playing electrically powered instruments in the rain is dangerous.

Recorded music is convenient, and you have a greater selection to choose from. You’ll need to make sure that there is a power outlet near you for either the DJ equipment or CD/iPod player you have brought on-location. If not, then you’ll need a battery-operated unit. Let your DJ know about the power situation beforehand, so that he is prepared. Again, rain and a DJ ‘s electrically powered equipment don’t go well together. Make sure you do a sound check well before the ceremony so that you know how loud the music needs to be in your space. Your CD/iPod players may not be powerful enough to fill the venue with music – especially if you are in an open space.

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing many uncles, cousins and friends play or sing for the bride and groom. They are sometimes not as polished as the professionals. However, the personal touch is wonderful. The ultimate prize goes to a groom who bravely played his acoustic guitar for his bride’s entrance. When I gave him the signal, he played Pachelbel’s Cannon as she walked down the aisle. This was his first look at her and… he missed a few notes. The feeling was awesome. We all cheered his courage and performance when he finished. The look of love in his bride’s eyes was priceless.

Behind the Dress: Joanna

Joanna; strapless mermaid gown with chiffon laddering and tumbled skirt

By: Vera Wang
Photographer: Dan Lecca

One of the themes of my collection this season is mystery: it’s always there for me when I’m working, because beauty itself is so mysterious. I love to design pieces that hide, that reveal, that stir our senses and our imaginations. With this collection, I wanted to invite my audience to experience the mysteries that lie beneath the surface. And of course, sometimes the best way to celebrate mystery is by reveling in lightness and frivolousness.

In this strapless mermaid gown – softly corseted that hugs and flatters the bride – you see this sense of movement and lightness most in the tumbled skirt. I wanted the skirt to be in constant motion. It’s airy and ethereal, and it sets off the classic silhouette of the mermaid gown very nicely: it’s quite a signature silhouette for me. The whole gown is enfolded with laddered fabric, which is a technique I love. It’s done in a pattern that swirls around and around the dress and then opens out as it descends – subtle but rapturous.

The skirt is a real confection. It’s got so many different tones playing together and shading in and out, and the textures are gorgeous. The crinkle tulle is also pleated in a leaf pattern, so it’s very textural. There’s something so delicate about it, that it almost takes your breath away. And at the same time it’s so full of free-flowing energies and just lots of frantic detail, racing away in every direction.

I love a frothy skirt paired with a more statuesque, classic bodice, because it’s a chance to marry the elegance of my more fashion-forward textures and patterns – like this laddered chiffon—with the lightness and whimsy of traditional bridal.

Content derived from the Vera Wang Blog, Vera Unveiled.

 

Preserving Your Wedding Gown…Or Not

by: Diane Lynn Thomas, I Just Said Yes

Trash it or treasure it, there are ways of making your dress last longer than your wedding day.

The biggest day of your life is over  but the memories will last a lifetime.  Your wedding dress was worn with such beauty and grace and now it’s time to put it away.  Many brides contemplate whether they should preserve their dress, give it away, save it for their daughter or sell it in the want ads.

This is a touchy subject for some. Right after the wedding most women want to keep the wedding dress as beautiful as the first day they wore it.  Unfortunately, as time goes by, its importance may start to decrease.

If you want to pass the dress down to your daughter you must be prepared to accept the fact that she may not want to wear it.  Styles and trends change so often that your dress may not be your daughter’s choice, plus depending on her figure it may not even fit.

What about selling it?  The cost of wedding dresses can be astronomical so why not get a little money back?  You can send it to a consignment shop or place an ad in your local paper.  There are even bridal shops online or places like eBay or Amazon that sell used dresses.

Have you ever thought of turning your dress into a Christening or First Communion dress?  Especially having your first-born daughter wear it…what a great way to pass it on.  And of course, she will be too small to tell you that “the wedding dress is not in style, mommy.”

What about this new trend of “trashing” your dress?  Jumping into the pool, playing on the beach, rolling around in mud or dirt… It would not be my first choice, but it is certainly becoming popular, and imagine the fun and conversations that will accompany the pictures.

One of my favourite ideas is to donate your dress to a charitable organization such as the Breast Cancer Foundation or Brides Across America.  Just knowing that YOU put a smile on someone’s face by helping out a less fortunate person can be more satisfaction than you’d imagine.

If none of these ideas work for you and you are a traditionalist, then have your dress cleaned immediately after the wedding, get it professionally preserved and place it in a box.  Who knows, one day you may need to open that box.

Diane Lynn Thomashas been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, specializing in event planning and delivering the perfect wedding for the last fifteen in Canada. Her blog can be found at:  I Just Said Yes