A Wedding Show that’s an Experience

Feeling overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the big Ottawa bridal shows? Then you need to attend this new wedding event. The Ottawa Bridal Party is a new boutique bridal experience for both the bride and groom.


Courtesy Melanie Rebane Photography

Imagine tossing your keys to the complimentary valet, enjoying a glass of wine, hors d’ouvres, music, performers and an exclusive fashion show.  Become your best self at the Beauty Bar, have fun in the Couture Photo Booth, and receive a fabulous promo tote.

Leisurely meet with over 30 of the best wedding professionals Ottawa has to offer – from planners, photographers, venues and wedding dress suppliers.They are all urban, modern and local talent who are extremely passionate and professional.

The Bridal Party asks you to bring the men in your life to experience the Bespoke Lounge featuring a gourmet popcorn bar, luxury gifts, cars of his dreams and take home treats just for him.

A unique feature at this show is an educational series of 20-30 minute expert panel discussions where I will be moderating three topics:

Weddings 101 with Alan Viau

10 Things You Need to Know

Planning for Success

12:00 pm

Finding your Dream Dress


Documenting your Dream Day



In addition, the Ottawa Bridal Party is giving back to the community with 25% of all ticket sales going to Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region.

It is being held at the wonderful 6400 Celebration Centre in Stittsville. I’ve just performed a wedding there last weekend and can tell you it is stunning.

Here are the details for the show:

When: Sunday, February 3, 2013 11 AM to 5 PM

Where: Sixty Four Hundred Celebration Centre, 6400 Hazeldean Road, Stittsville [google-map-sc]

Admission: $10 at the door

Pre-register and be eligible for prizes

I’ll be there all day so please say hello. I’d love to chat with you!

Wedding Dresses: Vintage, Modern or Traditional 2012 2013

By Diane Farquhar, Courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Every girl dreams about her wedding day and what her perfect dress will be.  We all have a certain style about ourselves in our daily wear and this stays with us when we select our wedding gown.  When you see a bride for the first time, hopefully, most people will say that dress suits her perfectly.

What was in for 2012?  If you look at the amazing designer, Vera Wang , you will notice the 2012 collection is filled with off the shoulder and strapless dresses with straight line down the torso and then the bottom with beautiful ruffle.  Many dresses have a sachet tied around the waist and the colors are not all white.  You will see different shades of creams, ivory, grays that are so unique and interesting. High neck, tulle, lace and chiffon are hot on the runways.

Cost??? Unfortunately, the wedding dress can be extremely expensive especially if you choose a designer.  Look for the dress style and color you want and then start investigating on the Internet.  So many places offer dresses at discount prices or wholesale pricing.  If you can sew or have someone in the family that does, consider making your own dress.  I have seen some beautiful dresses that were made by a bride’s grandmother.  It is tailored and designed special for you and made with hands of love.  Plus, think of the savings!

Vintage dresses are coming back even stronger so don’t be afraid to check out vintage stores, re-sale shops or newspaper .. or even your mother!  You may be surprised of what you may find.    A wedding dress is just worn once and some people do not want to preserve the dress but prefer to sell it for half or less of the original price they paid.

Modern style dresses were  popular for 2012 with taffeta, satin or chiffon.  The style is the elegant yet sexy off the shoulder, one strap, scoop, strapless and v-neck with a slim straight or A-line look.  This will continue through this year.

What is ahead for 2013?  Wedding gowns are being centered around softness and romance.  Rich texture, wonderful colors, portrait backs, ruffles, tulle and lace are being seen everywhere.

Wedding dresses will always be influenced by the “hot trends of fashion”.  What is good for one may not work for another.  Take your time and see what you like.  Try different dresses on and see what fits your style, your figure and of course your budget.

Good luck!


Groom Roast

By: Kennedy Event Planning

Bridal showers, gift-giving parties held in the honour of a soon-to-be bride, have been an active tradition in Canada, United States, Australia and parts of western Europe since the early 19th century. Friends and family of soon-to-be brides gather together and “shower” her with gifts while, traditionally, men and would-be grooms stay away. In the age of equality, we have to ask, if brides have a bridal shower, should a groom have one too?

Enter the modern equivalent to a traditional bridal shower: the groom roast. Known as a man shower, bro bath, groom shower, or guy gathering; the groom roast is a “shower”-type event where the groom is surrounded by important men in his life, celebrating, and having a little fun. The traditional bachelor party may not always be appropriate for younger guys or older relatives to attend, so this is a great way to include them in a group ritual that can include sports, gaming, poker, plus comedic praise, outlandish true stories, and uplifting humour.

Planned by the groomsmen and/or father of the groom, the group can play poker, various sports, a team-building activity (think areal park), or video games. Ideally taking place on the same date as the bride is having her bridal shower, the event should take place in the afternoon or early evening. Much like a bridal shower, the groom can be “showered” in gifts from his guests that are practical, sporty, or home-improvement related. Light snacks and refreshments that reflect the groom’s tastes should be served; something grilled, deep fried, or roasted that are informal but tasty is always a good choice.

Hosted in the home of a groomsman or a third-party location, the program should include a “roast” of the groom. That is to say, the guests poke fun at the groom with true stories, tasteful jokes (suitable for all ages attending), and uplifting tributes. The true nature of a groom roast is to bring together the older and younger generations of both families and friends, so they can get to know each prior to the wedding and allow important family members like fathers, grandfathers and younger relatives to feel included, all while have a little fun at the groom’s expense!

To learn more about the groom roast and other groom-related resources, check out The Groom’s List.

The Most Unreliable Man at the Wedding

From my many conversations with brides and grooms, I have figured it out. I have identified the most unreliable man at your wedding. It is the groom.

I hold a wedding ceremony planning meeting with every couple. I go over all aspects of the ceremony from the time I get there until when I leave. The bride, groom and I discuss various options and ideas to make the ceremony special and unique to them. No detail is left out.

At some point in the ceremony, the marriage license and register are signed. In my jurisdiction, two witnesses are required as signatories to the event. Most often they are the Maid of Honor and the Best Man. I instruct the bride and groom that I will be giving the Record of Solemnization (or as I call it, the receipt) to the Best Man for safe keeping. I explain that this leaves the bride and groom free to do what they need to do.

With almost certainty, the bride gasps at this instruction and says, “But the Best Man is so unreliable!” It seems that every best man out there is unreliable. The poor slob is labelled ‘unreliable’ just being the “Best Man”. It doesn’t help that so often when I ask for the rings, the best man slaps his pockets in a mock search for the forgotten or lost rings. This display validates the “Best Man” reputation.

Let’s think about this for a second. Suppose that the Best Man is indeed unreliable. He was chosen to be the Best Man by the groom because they are close. The logic would be that therefore the groom is also unreliable since he made a terrible choice of a person. In fact, since he chose the Best Man – that would make the groom the most unreliable man in the wedding.

So the question is, my dear brides, why are you marrying an unreliable groom?

I know you don’t really think so. Otherwise you would not be marrying him. He is going to be your life long partner after all.

But let us suppose that there may be some doubt in your mind as to the grooms ability to handle the unpredictable. The most vulnerable point in the day is one hour before the ceremony. This is the time when you, the bride, are in final preparations for arrival, separated from the groom and may be hard to reach. It is up to the groom to handle things on his own. In my next post, I’ll describe some strategies to help with this.

Behind The Dress | Kaitlin

Content derived from the Vera Wang Blog, Vera Unveiled.

With Kaitlin, I’ve taken a very traditional, almost whimsical style, which is the Basque-waisted gown, and tailored it into quite an exciting look. The dress takes this fairy-tale Basque-waisted bodice, meaning the bodice dips down at the waist into a point, and transforms it with criss-crossed, draped tulle and a thrilling notch-front neckline. This is done to emphasize the bride’s torso and to give her a very elongated, contemporary contour. Then there’s the modesty piece: that’s the hint of tulle veiling peeking up along the top of the bodice. When you see it against the bride’s skin, it both looks and feels ravishing. It’s a bit of an unexpected twist, contrasting with the bold layered tones of the draped bodice – it’s very sultry.

One very delicate, but dramatic detail, is the crystal embroidery. You can see it nestled into the waist in an organic shape, and it weaves around the waist and back, scintillating in a bed of tulle flower petals. This is a subtle adornment but it’s very powerful. It’s another fairy-tale charm.

The low ‘V’ cut back zooms in on the bride’s bare shoulder blades. This is such a sensual part of the view. I love an exposed back for weddings: if you can make it work, it’s so tender and feminine. Then you have the honeycomb tulle of the ballgown skirt, tacked in the front to give it a little bit of a peplum shape. It gives the whole dress some flounce and airiness, instead of a smooth drape. All in all, Kaitlin is a very soft and sweet gown.

Dahlia strapless ballgown with notched neckline and lifted tulle skirt with crystal embroidered detail.
Photographer: Michael Beauplet

Engagement Bliss

By Geneviève St-Denis

He finally popped the question. Congratulations!

There are probably a million things running through your head. The dress, the flowers, the location, the food, the list goes on and on. With months of planning ahead of you, there is one important thing that you shouldn’t forget to do: insure your RING. This may seem like an insignificant step in your wedding planning process but rest assured, it will give you peace of mind.

All jewelry insurance is best purchased as an extension to your tenants, condominium or homeowners policy. You will need to provide an appraisal of the ring in order to schedule your ring. Usually the jeweler can provide this for you at the time of purchase.  The biggest reason to schedule your shinny rock is that if your diamond goes missing, it will be replaced and covered for the full appraised value. An added bonus is that the deductible does not apply to this type of claim.

Here are a few tips to keep your wedding jewelry and other items safe and in good condition:

1.  Store your jewelry in unlikely places to avoid it being noticed in the event of a break in. Having your jewelry box set out on your night stand in plain sight is an obvious place for thieves to look, so get creative. Hide your precious pieces in your closet, or perhaps in a different room altogether.

2.  Those beautiful pearls you plan on wearing around your neck on your special day need a little extra attention. Pearls are porous and can be easily damaged by various skin products or cosmetics. To avoid damaging your pearls, give your moisturizer or other beauty products time to sink into your skin before putting on your strand of pearls.

3. Have your jewelry appraised periodically to accommodate fluctuation in value and to protect your investment. Remember, it is of the utmost importance to call your insurance broker should the value of the ring increase.

Mother of Groom Wants to Help with Your Wedding Planning

By Diane Farquhar, I Just Said Yes

Mother of the Groom wants to help……what do you do when your future mother-in-law wants to help plan your wedding?

Weddings are a very stressful time for all involved and as difficult it can be between a bride and her own mother, there can be some tension when your future mother-in-law wants to participate.

Weddings are a joyous occasion and the mother of the bride will take part in many aspects of the wedding planning. You always hear “I’m the mother of the bride” as if it gives her the okay to take charge and yes she does have some say!.  If a disagreement should arise it is very easy for the bride to take her mom aside and have a heart to heart conversation.

When dealing with your future husbands mom you may have to tread a little lighter.   The wedding for her son is a very big deal for her as well and she wants to be part of his special day.  She will want to help out with whatever she can.  Do you make you feel wanted and comfortable?  Of course you do as you are now part of her family.  You may not want to give her too much to keep control on things but do pass on some smaller tasks such as making or boxing favours, helping with the invitations or perhaps baking some pastries for the reception.  She will be happy to help.

Your fiance will be also be happy that you included his mom and it will set a good tone for your future daughter-in-law / mother in law relationship.  Sure you may not agree with everything she does or says but if you have open communication you will be able to share your feelings.


Four Wedding Show Survival Tips

The winter wedding shows are upon us. Tramping through all the shows and exhibitors is exhausting even for seasoned people like me. However, by focusing on the few important items, you’ll move forward in your wedding planning.
Wedding dress by Carolina Herrera. Photo from Brazil . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is overwhelming. Wedding shows have booth after booth of vendors that can seem endless. With 170 exhibitors at the Ottawa Wedding Palace Bridal Show, how can you make sense of it all? Here are four survival tips to make it through.
Prepare for the day. You can be there for a long while. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear. Bring some water and a snack to keep hydrated and energetic. Carry with you a pad of paper and pen to take notes. Use a digital camera to capture something that really strikes you (be nice and ask first). The best time to talk to vendors is during the fashion show. Everyone is congregated at the show leaving the vendors idle. They’d love to talk with you.
Plan your visits. I advise brides that the most important decisions to make for your wedding are 1) the venue and reception 2) photographer 3) planner and 4) entertainment. Wedding shows let you scan each one as to whether they suit your style and budget. The venue and reception book up early and set the tone for your party. The photographer and planner are people you will personally interact with during your whole day. You need to be comfortable with them and their work. Finally, the entertainment can make or break your reception. Target these four categories of vendors for booth visits.
Look for the WOW. Wedding magazines are filled with weddings that have it all. Sometimes they are over the top and most are not realistic for people. Search out the one WOW item with which to highlight your wedding. Be on the lookout for something that really gives you a WOW feeling. It could be flowers, specialty food, a cake or decor. Smaller wedding shows have unique vendors where can find WOW items. Whatever it is, ask to take a photo for you to refer back to.
Forget the dress. There are many dress exhibitors at wedding shows. It is easy to get ambitious and want to try on wedding dresses. I say forget-about-it. It is good for you to note who they are, how they treat you and plan a visit with them. You will be able to try on dresses in a more comfortable setting and see how they really make you look beautiful. As mentioned earlier, skip the wedding dress fashion show and use that time to get the full attention of the vendors.
So load up with sneakers, water, power bars and cameras and have a great time!


La Maison D’Or Bridal Showcase

The question has been popped (or is about to be!) and now you need…well everything. But first you’ll need the perfect rings. Canada’s Largest Designer Engagement and Wedding Band Show and Sale is just the place to see spectacular designer collections from 8 major manufacturers. The Bridal Showcase at La Maison D’Or starts Wednesday, January 16 and runs until Sunday, January 27.

Are you a TACORI Girl? Known as the jeweller to the stars, TACORI jewellery has been featured on Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and is the choice of many Hollywood stars. Meet their representative in-store on January 19th, all the way from Los Angeles!

See the stunning Canadian Diamond Collection from Corona and meet their L.A. representative on January 18th. Of course there’s the beautiful FireMark Princess-Cut Diamond collection, the exquisite Atlantic Gravure Wedding Band collection and more. Meet designers like Jason Bellchamber and see some of his beautiful Celtic wedding bands.

Are you looking for a custom design? The 5-star Design Team at La Maison D’Hor can help create the ring of your dreams. Tammy Mood, Certified Sales Associate and Design Specialist says,

“I love my job. I can help you to take an idea, a picture, or even a memory and design a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery that will be treasured for a lifetime. We can even create beautiful matching wedding bands for the bride and groom, even if you’ve already purchased your engagement ring. We’ll guide you through our easy step-by-step process, from drawing to wax mold to gorgeous finished product.” And what show and sale is complete without prizes? From Taccori earings and sports bands, to a day at Nordik Spa to a beautiful pearl bridal suite, there something every newly engaged couple will covet. See store for prize with purchase details.

The Bridal Showcase runs from January 16th to the 27th at La Maison D’Or, Place d’Orleans Shopping Centre. Go to www.lamasondor.com for details.

A Guide to 2013 Ottawa Winter Wedding Shows

The start of a new year heralds four wedding shows in the Ottawa area. Here is a preview of what to expect for each of them.

If December is engagement month, then January and February are wedding show months. Zealous brides seek out wedding shows to scope out vendors for their big event. In the Ottawa area, there are four shows of note. Two are general shows that have numerous vendors while two others have a focus to their event.

Wedding Palace Bridal Show, January 12&13 from 11am – 5pm at the Ottawa Convention Centre. This is THE big bridal show in Ottawa. You will find over 170 vendors at the show. This is where most of Ottawa’s best vendors come to be seen. It encompasses the who’s-who of the Ottawa bridal market and is the largest of its kind in the Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec region. It also features two daily fashion shows with the latest fashions from Alliance Bridal Chez Ginette, Sinders Bridal House and Moores Clothing for Men, accessorized with fine jewellery from Jubilee Fine Jewellers and flowers from Voila! Weddings, Events & Flowers.

The Ottawa Bridal Party, February 3rd from 11am – 5pm at Sixty Four Hundred Celebration Centre in Stittsville. This is the inaugural show this year. The event is a boutique-inspired wedding show that focuses on creating an exciting but intimate experience for brides and their parties. They have a curated collection of exhibitors selected on their professionalism and creativity, whose services are complimentary to one another. The event is less of a trade show and more of an elegant soiree with valet, drinks, food, beauty consultations, photo booth a men’s lounge, a distinctive fashion show and incredible vendors. Their premise is that planning your wedding should be part of the celebration of getting married. The Ottawa Bridal Party’s focus is modern, elegant with a dash of glamour.

Wed by Hand, Ottawa’s Indie Wedding Show, February 10 from 11am – 4pm at the Glebe Community Centre. Wed By Hand is Ottawa’s DIY, handmade and eco-friendly wedding show. It is an awesome one stop shop for discovering unique wedding vendors, learning workshops on how to DIY your wedding and to sample tasty treats from small-batch food producers. They feature over 40 handmade, eco-friendly and local exhibitors, four *free* hands-on and informational workshops (including one from yours truly), free tastings from 15 bakeries, caterers & market bags stuffed with goodies for the first 300 attendees through the door! It is a popular event with line-ups at the door, so get there early.

The Ottawa Wedding Show, February 16 & 17 from 11am – 5pm at the CE Centre. A long running show that is now in the CE Centre. I counted over 50 vendors from their website. They run twice daily fashion shows produced by All That Glitters Bridal. They have a special gown area hosted by local bridal shops where you can buy bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, prom dresses, cocktail dresses, accessories new or from overstocked and discontinued lines at amazing savings.

Photograph by: Jana Chytilova, The Ottawa Citizen