Herb Florist Creates Beautiful, Aromatic Bouquets & Arrangements

From the bride’s walk down the aisle showcasing her bouquet, to the centerpieces as the focal point of the dining room and to the extra venue decorations, floral arrangements can bring the theme of a wedding to life. Adding aromatic herbs to your floral arrangement will be a welcome scent to your day.

I’ve seen many beautiful bridal bouquets – from traditional roses to feathers, brooches and even egg carton craft made ones. Cary Pereyra, owner of The Little Glass Slipper in Brooklyn, NY, is a master at creating beautiful and unique arrangements that include unexpected and eye-catching herbs.

Cary transitioned from being a counselor to an herb florist, opening her studio in 2010. She gets her interest in decorating from her mother. She discovered her passion is about creating arrangements that are both beautiful and aromatically beneficial.

All types of herbs are used in the floral creations by Cary. On a seasonal basis she will add herbs to accent the time of year. Eucalyptus is one she likes to use in any season because it changes over the year. For fall-winter weddings, she adds rosehips and rosemary. In spring-summer weddings, Cary prefers mint, lavender, geraniums and roses.

Cary likes to include sage in bridal bouquets because it is a traditional spiritual herb for women. Men, she says, enjoy the look and woody scent of rosemary for their boutonnieres.

I was pleasantly surprised that Cary includes fruits and fruit bearing plants in her arrangements. She will routinely use kumquats… and oranges.

When she told me this, I was immediately struck with the answer for late August weddings. That is the time when bees and wasps are active and love to buzz around the bride during an outdoor ceremony attracted to the sweet floral scents. By having a herbal and citrus bouquet, you can naturally detract these nasty pests. No more awkward swatting at bugs during the ceremony!

Cary finds that brides continue to love purple as a wedding color. The other two popular colors she gets requests for are orange and the traditional pink.

The Little Glass Slipper delivers in Brooklyn and its immediate surrounding area including Manhattan and into upstate New York. Typical lead time for ordering is two months.

If you are wanting a little something extra special, you might want to consider including as Cary does, herbs and fruits in your wedding arrangements. Their sight and scents will no doubt be a pleasant surprise.

Happy Hallowedding?!

It might be paranormal to concoct a wedding formula with inspiration from the cobwebbed cupboard of all hallow’s eve, but adding some elegant and edgy elements to your nuptial cauldron could be just the sprinkling of magic you were looking for. Read on for some tricks to help to make your big day a treat!

Perfect Pumpkins

Your fairy godmother can’t turn one into a carriage for you Cinderella, but don’t underestimate the pumpkin’s bibbity bobbity boo.  Not only are most parts of the pumpkin edible, but these versatile flame-coloured gourds can be roasted, mashed, creamed, stewed, stuffed, seeded, souffléd, souped, spiced and/or sweetened  to fire up a fall menu. Speak to your chef to see what sort of wizardry he can whip up, or find some pumpkinspiration online!

Kooky Colour Schemes

Looking at Halloweeny colour schemes doesn’t mean you’re creating a monster’s ball.  Its seasonal setting is perfect for harnessing the low light and leafy wonderland of the fall, making for sensational backdrops and kaleidoscopic photos. Why not take a leaf out of fall’s book and add golds, bronzes, rich reds and burnt oranges to your colour scheme to create a wonderland of your own?

Darken the Dress Code

When you asked for the “off-white” option for your dress, you probably weren’t thinking as off-white as black. Nevertheless, black dresses have been popular amongst top designers and celebrity clients with names such as Vera Wang, Alexander McQueen and Oscar de la Renta showcasing some impressive designs. Flattering, sleek and a little bit wicked, black wedding dresses actually have a much older history than their white counterparts. Before Queen Victoria sparked the trend for white gowns after her marriage in 1840, black dresses were considered the norm and in Spanish cultures, symbolized the bride’s devotion to her husband until death.  Though less common in the 21st century, there are some chillingly gorgeous collections out there and if Sarah Jessica Parker did it…just sayin’…

Devilish Drinks

Why not put a spell on the room with a selection of sinfully spirited signature cocktails. You can have fun experimenting with bases and mixers yourself, consult a professional or find some ideas online such as this one from hostesswiththemostest.com:

Black Widow Martini

  • 2 oz black vodka
  • 0.5 oz Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
  • 2 oz blackberry or grape juice
  • black liquorice and sugar for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a sugar-rimmed martini glass. Garnish with black liquorice.

Candy & Cupcakes

Cupcakes have hit the wedding circuit pretty hard, so why not up the stakes and add a candy buffet too.  Lollipops, liquorice and lip smacking sweets can put you and your guests on a sumptuous sugar high as you head to the dance floor.  Just don’t book a visit to the dentist too soon afterwards.

So, there are ways that you can add hints of Halloween to your big day without having to bob apples and entertain ghosts and vampires (although, if it was Edward Cullen…).  And even if you keep the two occasions completely separate, have a Happy Halloween Ottawa Wedding Magazine readers!

Ottawa’s Rockcliffe Park Pavilion Reopens for Weddings

One of the most popular outdoor weddings spots in OttawaRockcliffe Park Pavilion, has reopened. The renovations not only make it handicap accessible, it offers a new path for the bridal procession.

The Rockcliffe Park Pavilion remains an Ottawa icon for outdoor wedding ceremonies. The heritage Pavilion was built in 1918 along the Rockcliffe Parkway and looks out over the Ottawa River.

I’ve performed many weddings there in all seasons. Brides and grooms flock there because of the park site, river view and sheltered roof.  One bride wanted to have her wedding there because she had  family picnics in the park and always dreamed of having her wedding there.

Over the last year, the Pavilion was closed for renovations. I performed a wedding ceremony there a few weeks ago and liked the improvements.

One of the biggest issues with the Pavilion was that it was not handicap accessible from the curb. You could only get to the Pavilion by scaling several steep steps. This made it impossible for those needing accessibility and difficult for a bride – having her hike up her skirt to process in from the limousine.

Now there is a beautiful at grade path that gently rises on one side of the Pavilion. The accessibility option is solved. It also allows for a much nicer procession for the bride. She and her party can now appear coming around the Pavilion.

You can see the bride and her father relaxed just before the entrance procession.

The Dachshund ringbearerFrodo,  was well outfitted in his tux.

Instead of performing the wedding inside the Pavilion, it was done on the south steps to take advantage of the sunshine in October and because of the large number of people present. The Pavilion only holds up to 150 guests.

Despite some of the shortcomings of the Pavilion such as one electrical plug, limited parking and occasional tour buses, it is still a stunning location – especially with the fall colors.

Autumn Is My Favorite Time For Weddings

After a hot and dry summer, the fresh cool air and colors of the season are extraordinary for outdoor weddings. It lasts only a short while but is stunning.

Wow it was a hot and dry summer this year. Usually, summer outdoor weddings are surrounded with lush greenery and wonderful flowers. This year there was a drought that pretty well devastated lawns and stunted flowers. Trees were turning brown from the lack of water. There were several times when I sweat through not only my shirt but my suit jacket as well. It made for many uncomfortable weddings.

I certainly welcome the arrival of autumn with its cooler temperatures, explosion of color and lack of bugs. I just finished a wedding at the Kanata Lakes Golf and Country Club. You can see what a difference the season makes to the pallet of the wedding.


The bride and groom absolutely enjoyed the comfortable weather for the outdoor wedding ceremony. They hoped that the autumn colors would be there for them.  It made for a breathtaking picture.

The main consideration when planning your wedding at that time of year is to be mindful of the time for sunset. You tend to lose light with the air becomes cooler quicker at this time of year. I find that in Ottawa, by mid-October late afternoon outdoor weddings are getting chilly and dark. Other than that autumn weddings are fabulous.

Punch Up Your Wedding with Jorge Perez – Part 2: Heritage & Heart Decor

This is the second of three posts of an Canadian exclusive interview with Jorge Perez, Bridal Director for Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood China and Royal Doulton. Jorge talks about using decor and activities to punch up your wedding, making it a unique experience for your guests.

I was really ecstatic in having the opportunity to chat with Jorge PerezWedding & Red Carpet Gown Designer, On-Air Personality for Shop NBC and Bridal Director for Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood China and Royal Doulton. The interview was graciously made possible by the Linen Chest, a Montreal based company. Part 1 was on using the 1,2,3 Rule.

Whether you are a Do-It-Yourself bride or organizing your wedding through an all-inclusive venue, you want to make your wedding memorable for your guests. Your wedding is not a copy from a wedding magazine or a one-upmanship competition with a friends wedding. You want a wedding that is unique to you.

Jorge recommends that you focus on two aspects to personalize for your event: heritage and heart. 

Look into your heritage for ideas and speaking what’s in your heart are the best ways to connect with your guests and keep them engaged. I agree with him totally. I give the same advice in crafting a wedding ceremony. If you keep those two ideas throughout your day, then you will have your wedding.

Jorge brims with ideas in personalizing your wedding.

  • Have all the center pieces different. One couple really loves camping and had each table set up with a sprig from a tree. They also had a gift table with a tent and a really humorous candy table.


  • Get a variety of dishes and stemware. Have each table set up with their own set.

  • Make place-mats or table runners that are a collage of photos from all members of both families. You take all the photos and make one 8 x 14 image. Go to the nearest photocopier vendor and have them copied as place-mats or tape them together as a table runner.
  • Hire actors to present the story of how you met during cocktails or between courses.
  • For favors, take one of your favorite recipes, for example grandma’s apple pie. Print a card with the recipe and give a bag of apples.
  • Put games on the tables so that your guests can interact immediately. Trivial Pursuit works well.
  • Have fun with the guest register. I had a couple who used a two handed saw because he build barns.

Jorge implores that you don’t lose sight of the event. It is a celebrate of you. By focusing on your heritage and heart you can be assured that you won’t get lost in the hype from magazines and media. You will have YOUR wedding.
Part 3 will be on Gift Registry advice where I will also be offering a giveaway prize from Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood China and Royal Doulton that will be available in Ottawa’s two Linen Chest locations.

Punch Up Your Wedding with Jorge Perez – Part 1: Using the 1,2 3 Rule

This is the first of three posts of a Canadian exclusive interview with Jorge Perez, Bridal Director for Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood China and Royal Doulton. Jorge talks about using the 1,2,3 Rule to punch up your wedding, making it a unique experience for your guests.

I was really ecstatic in having the opportunity to chat with Jorge PerezWedding & Red Carpet Gown Designer, On-Air Personality for Shop NBC and Bridal Director for Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood China and Royal Doulton. The interview was graciously made possible by the Linen Chest.

Jorge Perez de la Habana/photo by Lisa M. Barr

I caught up with Jorge as he waited to board a plane from New York to California. An engaging person, Jorge confided that his grandfather visited Ottawa from Havana many years ago because he could play hockey. We chatted for close to an hour and this is the first of three posts on the advice he gives to brides who want to punch up their wedding without spending gobs of money.

Jorge maintains that to punch up your wedding you need to do one to three unexpected things. Everyone reads the latest bridal magazines and has attended many weddings. Everyone expects the usual and traditional layouts and fare. However, with a little creativity, you can spice it up. Out of our conversation came the 1,2,3 Rule.

One. Do one thing that is outrageous. Some people go for a signature drink. Your one thing could be serving a greasy burger on a fine china plate. Or, if you are a little crafty, why not have paper plates with your monogram on it. Jorge has seen this done at million dollar weddings. Do one thing really out of the ordinary and splurge on it.

Two. Have two wardrobe changes. Go from your formal wedding attire to a casual one. Once the party starts you can be more relaxed. You don’t need to drag around that huge train of a dress all evening. It gives you more freedom to move around and visit with your guests. Bridal dresses are available where they can be converted into a party dress.

This McCaffrey Haute Couture wedding dress converts into a party dress.

Three. Have three different spaces in which to celebrate. This lets people move from one area to another. Changing the scene and decor from room to room increases interest. This fits in perfectly with on-location weddings that I perform. You can have the ceremony in one space, move to a bar area for cocktails and apps and then finish in the dining room for the party.

With this 1,2,3 Rule as a guide you can quickly add touches to your wedding that will make it memorable. As Jorge tells me, you don’t have to splurge on everything – just focus on doing a few things right.

Jorge Perez

In Part 2, I will focus on other aspects of decor and activities to punch up your wedding. Part 3 will be on Gift Registry advice. All suggestions are available in Ottawa’s two Linen Chest locations.

Handling Divorced Parent Seating

Your parents want to be at your wedding ceremony – but they’re divorced and don’t get along too well. Finding a seating plan at your wedding ceremony without them declaring World War III can prove to be a challenge.

I raise the subject delicately during our wedding ceremony planning meeting. “Who will walk you down the aisle?” I ask. It is at that point that the bride and groom will bring up their family situation. “Well… my (our) parents are divorced and … they don’t get along…” It is sad that parents can’t put aside their personal issues for 20 minutes for your wedding ceremony. However, that is today’s reality and it must be handled with sensitivity.

I’ve been able to steer through this diplomatic landmine of finding appropriate seating three ways:

Theatre Style Seating: The bride said to me that her parents were divorced and didn’t get along. “You see Mom left Dad for another man.” The groom pipes up that his are divorced but do get along. “You see Mom left Dad for another woman.” Yes this is 2012 folks!  With the standard theatre style seating your only choice is to have them seated separated on one side and the other. In this case the two dads sat together and the four moms were on the other side.

Cabaret Seating: If you room will allow it, you can have a cabaret seating arrangement. This uses small round tables where they can place their drinks and accessories. Each parent pair can have their own table. The set-up is also great for a cocktail wedding.

Diamond Seating: Set you seats up in a diamond shape. The ceremony is performed in the middle so that everyone has a view. There are four side – one for each parent if needed. It is also super for a larger wedding as it allows everyone closer in to the action. The wedding party is tucked into the aisles of the seats.

One final word of advice. If you really feel awkward about having one of your parents there – you can choose to not have them come. There is no need to have a tinder box ready to ignite at your celebration. My Sweetheart did not have her father there – which was fine with me. I’ve chatted with other couples who in retrospect regret that they did invite them. You may feel like you are negotiating a peace treaty – and you may be right. With these seating options, you can hopefully have a DMZ for 20 minutes.

Trend Alert! Wedding Dress Trends

In 2012, we have seen a lot of bling on wedding dresses as well as big skirts. These ornately embellished skirts sport ruffles, beaded belts, flowers and/or lace. Many of the most striking wedding gowns shown at New York bridal shows featured skirts that were not only voluminous, but also had very heavy embellishments.

Here are the top six trends in bridal wear for fall:

1. Ruffles. Ruffled wedding gowns are still huge. From ball gowns to trumpet gowns, there is every kind of ruffle you can imagine — horizontal, vertical and torn-looking, even some that look like tumbleweed. These can be great for every body type, with some terrific styles for curvy brides!

2. Flowers. Oversized three-dimensional flowers are one of the most impressive accents in the fall 2012 and spring 2013 wedding dress collections. While the concept has been shown in previous years in a few haute couture lines, the detail will be much more widely available in wedding gowns across all price points.

A gown with huge flowers on the skirt would be stunning for a spring or summer bride. For brides who want an embellished skirt that is a bit less exuberant, look for gowns that are accented with delicate flower petals. The petals are usually created from lightweight organza and flutter gracefully all over the skirt. This is a delightful effect for a garden wedding. The slightly more subdued effect of the three-dimensional petals will be sweet for a petite bride who might find herself overwhelmed by one of the oversized flower appliquéd skirts. After all, it is always more important to find a wedding gown that suits the individual bride than it is to adhere slavishly to trends.

 3. Beaded belts. Look for more gowns with beaded belts and accents at the natural waist. This is a great detail to have on a plus size wedding gown because it helps to create structure and a focal point on the body.


4. Lace. What you’ll see mostly are fantastic lace trumpet wedding gowns. They are fitted through the bodice and thighs, have a generous skirt and are covered in lace.

5. Pleated organza. Another take on the oversized embellishment trend is large concentric circles of pleated organza. Brides who know their wedding history will be reminded of the famous bridal gown worn by legendary bride, Jacqueline Bouvier, when she wed John F. Kennedy. The design is updated with light organza, which helps to keep the gown from being too heavy. The three-dimensional design on the skirt is usually balanced with a simple strapless bodice with shirring. The shirring is just enough interest to hold up to the eye-catching design of the skirt without competing. A strapless neckline looks best when it is enhanced with dramatic handmade wedding jewelry.


6. Tiered skirts. Tiered skirts with plenty of volume are also a key trend. The tiers are often done over very full skirts, and can be used with either a natural waistline or a mermaid cut gown. Further accents in the form of appliqués and beading on the tiers are also part of the look. Truly, there is no such thing as “too busy” for the upcoming season of wedding dresses. Crystal beading is particularly favoured with the tiered skirt gowns, and lends itself to being paired with handmade crystal bridal jewelry for the wedding day.

There will be plenty of other fabulous new wedding gown trends on the horizon for spring 2013. Watch for them.

Couple Ditch Their Wedding Plans

After running into lots of planning stress, Darren and Michelinne decided to have a private elopement ceremony. Instead of getting married in September 2013,I performed a romantic ceremony on September 2012.

September is becoming a popular month for weddings in Ottawa. It is a gorgeous time of year with cooler temperatures and the tinge of autumn colors appearing. Darren and Michelinne confirmed a wedding with me for September 7, 2013 at the Courtyard Restaurant in April, 2012.

In May, I received an email from Michelinne. It started with “After weeks of much deliberation, Darren and I have had a change of heart. ” Oh No – I thought they are calling it all off!!

I was relieved to read…” We have decided that we would like to elope. We have in mind a very small, intimate, romantic ceremony for just the two of us. We would still love for you to marry us. That being said, we are looking to move up the ceremony to the end of August or beginning of September of this year.” And so we agreed to September 6, 2012.

I met them in the rooftop suite at the Westin Hotel. There were 5 of us present; Darren, Michelinne, Blair Gable (Photographer), Tia Ward (Westin Hotel Coordinator) and me. We signed the license & register before the ceremony with Blair and Tia co-opted as witnesses for the ceremony.

I helped Darren with his tie and straighten his suit and we were ready to go.

Their personal and touching ceremony included a Rose Ceremony and Handfasting. They exchanged beautiful love filled vows that had all of us crying.

It was a perfect intimate wedding ceremony – on the rooftop overlooking Ottawa’s Parliament Hill in the setting sun. Tia organized an equally stunning private dinner for them on a picnic table on the terrace.

Three weeks later, they got their parents together who met for the first time… and announced their marriage. Darren and Michelinne re-enacted the wedding for them and Blair tells me that they were just as emotional in saying their vows the second time.   This was a touching elopement wedding for all of us.

Walking Down The Aisle – Wedding Shoes

How to choose the shoes (or do the shoes choose you?)

Courtesy of the Ottawa Wedding Show Blog

Though with a long dress, veil and train almost no one will ever really see your footwear it is important to consider what shoes make the best choice for a bride to wear on her wedding day. Never select the shoes to wear on your wedding day until you have chosen a wedding dress. The shoes should be in keeping with the style of your wedding dress, i.e. if your dress is traditional or formal your shoes should be also. If you are being married on a beach then perhaps more of a fancy sandal look might be appropriate.

The height of your shoes is very important. If your wedding dress is floor length then you want to be sure that whatever the height of your shoes is your dress still touches the floor. Once you have selected your wedding dress it is a good idea to try your shoes on with your dress while you can still have alterations made to the dress. If the shoes make the dress too high then you may have to reconsider your selection of footwear. If your shoes end up being more flat and the dress is dragging on the floor then your dress can be altered and likely hemmed up.

The biggest consideration when picking out shoes to wear for the big day is comfort. If your wedding is in the morning or early afternoon, followed by photos, cocktails, reception and dance you could be standing on your feet for more than 12 hours. That is why comfort has to be the biggest consideration but you can still find very comfortable shoes that are still fashionable. Depending on the material of your shoes some will naturally be more forgiving and comfortable than others. Many bridal shoes are fashioned out of a plastic base with silk and lace attributes to coordinate with the dress. Real leather is by far the best choice as not only does it breathe but it will stretch and accommodate your feet if they swell later in the day.

The height of your heel will also contribute to how comfortable you are feeling by the time the dancing starts. Many a tall bride has to consider the height of her shoes if she is as tall (or taller) than the groom. One of the most comfortable shoes in this case is white ballet slippers. The trick to having really comfy ballet slippers (more so than with other shoes) is to buy them ahead of time them and wear them often inside while doing things that won’t scuff or mark them (like watching TV). Over several weeks the ballet shoes will become like slippers and your feet will feel great for the big day even into the evening and dancing.
Some brides want their shoes to match the shoes of their attendants. Something to consider when choosing shoes would be if these will be “one use” shoes. Your attendants may want shoes that are leather-like (as opposed to silk/satin) and classic styling allowing them to use them on other occasions.

When selecting your shoes to wear on your wedding day, go shopping late in the day when your legs are tired and your feet a little swollen. Shoes selected at the end of the day are a much better fit than shoes selected in the morning when your feet are the least swollen. The right shoes will mean that you will enjoy your wedding day because when your feet are tired and/or hurt it wrecks everything even the most perfectly planned day.