Wedding Cupcakes are here to stay

The wedding cake is a traditional element of the couple’s big day. Over the last few years, wedding cupcakes have emerged as a more casual alternative. And being as tasty as they are, they are here to stay.

I make it a point to see what kind of wedding cake the bride and groom have for their reception. Since my ceremonies are mostly at the same location as the reception this is easy to do. Unfortunately, I don’t get to eat any because I never stay after the ceremony is finished. I’m usually off to perform another wedding.

Wedding cakes can be very formal or fancifully decorated depending on the couples style. My wedding cake, over 30 years ago, was a fruitcake made by my Sweetheart’s grandmother. Today, you usually find a cake decorated with fondant. I consistently hear that the fondant used to decorate the cake is considered inedible and often the cake itself must be denser to support the fondant.

Cupcakes on the other hand, offer a casual style to the traditional cake and are delicious to eat. I met up with Sarah Corbett owner of Sarah J’s Cupcakes for a sampling.


Photo by Alan Viau

Her cupcakes are all made with basic wholesome ingredients. They are artistically decorated with icing and rice paper butterflies or flowers. In response to brides and grooms wanting something for a “Cutting the Cake” during the reception, she offers a six inch cake that matches the cupcakes.


Photo by Alan Viau

My challenge is that I must eat gluten-free. It can be difficult to have the gluten-free desert be as good as the regular recipe. Well, Sarah certainly accomplished that! Her gluten-free chocolate cupcake with raspberry icing was moist, perfect in sweetness and above all delicious. I was in heaven.


Photo by Alan Viau

Sarah was inspired to create cupcakes after tasting Mrs. Beasley’s in Los Angeles. Since that visit, she has been working to perfect her recipes.

Despite only being in business for over a year, Sarah J’ Cupcakes is already very popular. She was distinguished with Wedding Bells Magazine’s Canada’s Coolest Cupcakes 2012 award. Hurry if you want to have her deserts at your wedding. Sarah J’s Cupcakes is almost totally committed for the 2013 wedding season.


Photo by Alan Viau

As I’ve seen with so many top wedding vendors, it is not just the mastery of their craft that makes them successful. It is the passion and love that they have for their craft. I swear I could taste that special ingredient in my Sarah J’s cupcake.

St. Elias Centre

750 Ridgewood Avenue, Ottawa, ON
P.613 737 4997
F.613 737 6493

Our recently renovated facilities located just off Riverside Drive across from Mooney’s Bay is centrally located and offers over 400 free onsite parking spots.

Your guests will be welcomed by our well appointed lobby, decor and soaring high ceilings hung with large shimmering chandeliers. From grand occasions to intimate gatherings, The St. Elias Centre is an ideal venue to host weddings, corporate and social events, suitable for events of all sizes . From the smallest company seminar to a dazzling wedding, let our catering and banquet staff take care of your every wish.

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Ottawa Wedding Chapels for a Romantic Affair

Want to get married right now but the thought of having it done at City Hall turns you off? Ottawa has four wedding chapels that cater to small ‘right-now’ weddings.

When you think Wedding Chapelthe city of Las Vegas with its over 50 locations comes to mind. Las Vegas hosts over 100,000 weddings per year and is one of the most popular spots to get married. In Las Vegas style, you can choose from just about any theme for a chapel. They even have a traveling wedding chapel where you get married on the tailgate of a van.

In contrast, Ottawa has about 5000 weddings performed per year. Couples who want to elope or have a quick weekday wedding can go to City Hall. City Hall may seem a little impersonal for some brides and grooms. For something more romantic, there are four wedding chapels within city limits which offer  a variety of settings and can even have a little champagne pouring for your moment. All four have on-location officiants to legally marry you.

All Seasons Weddings Chapel, 3249 Yorks Corners Rd, Kenmore (Ottawa)

In a restored 18th century church that holds from 2 to 100 people seated with 50 more on chairs at the rear. There is also a special parents gallery at the front. The warm and welcoming wedding space features red carpeted aisles and beautiful restored hardwood floors and pews. The romantic feel is completed with sunlight streaming through the original stained glass windows.

At The Schoolhouse, 2876 Munster Road, Ottawa

A one-stop venue with 3 wedding ceremony locations to choose from.  You can have your wedding in our gorgeous, chic schoolhouse, lovely outdoor courtyard or in the century old church.  At the Schoolhouse you can relax and enjoy being the guests of honour at your wedding, whether that is an intimate ceremony for 2 or a celebration with up to 70 of your closest friends and family.

From This Day Forward, 311B O’Connor St.,Ottawa

The venue is in the heart of Ottawa’s downtown core and is an ideal setting for weddings of 2-48 people. It features gorgeous stone work, beautiful lighting, a luxurious and spacious bridal suite, rare and exclusive photo opportunities, and contemporary furniture (including the popular Chiavari chairs).

Weddings In Style, 107 Murray Street, Ottawa

Nestled in the historic Byward Market in downtown Ottawa, Weddings In Style can accommodate 2-90 people. You are surrounded by natural light, exposed brick, hardwood floors in a New York-style Loft feel. You can relax and enjoy your festivities with a professionally kitchen and modern AV system.

Bra Guru Gives Advice on Fitting Your Wedding Dress

Gwyneth Paltrow recently announced on her website Goop that she wishes in previous years at the Oscars she’d worn a bra. Having personally seen some costume malfunctions, I asked Bra Guru, Jené Luciani, advice on fitting for your big day.

Jené Luciani. Photo by

I’ve witnessed one of the most embarrassing moments a bride could have. The bride had a large bust in a strapless wedding dress. She leaned over the table to sign the register… and the ladies fell out! The laws of gravity cannot be denied.

Jené Luciani is known as the “bra guru” and has a bestselling book to all things breasts, The Bra Book. I asked her expert advice on how Brides and the Bridal party can avoid having their own bra-paus at their upcoming Wedding!

1- Most wedding gowns are strapless. What is your advice on foundation garments?

Traditionally, a ‘long-line’ bra is used which not only keeps the girls in place, but sort of acts like a corset, cinching you in and keeping everything smooth under your dress. This is best for a dress with some structure, and you can even have yours sewn in. Or, if you have a dress with a complicated top and don’t need a lot of support, you can purchase some foam cups at a fabric store and have the seamstress sew those in.

2- What are special considerations for large and small breasted women?

A huge pet peeve of mine is when I see a very large busted woman in a strapless dress and boobage is literally BURSTING out of the top. This sometimes happens from the corset effect of the long-line bra, or women often use chicken cutlets to give a boost but sometimes they go a little overboard. I always hear women say they want to look sexy on their wedding day but there is a fine line between sexy and appropriate. A small amount of cleavage is classy and appropriate, but looking like Sofia Vergara on the red carpet is not what you might want to look back on 20 years later on the most special day of your life. Keep it classic and classy – remember these pictures will be around forever! Plus you want people looking at your face, not your boobs.

With smaller boobs, I say, use some cutlets if you want to add a little lift but don’t try to make yourself 2 cup sizes bigger or anything – again – these pics will live on forever, just be a more pretty, polished version of yourself – this is not the day for fashion risks. Also if you are small and often don’t wear a bra at all, this is the NOT one of those days where it’s OK to NOT wear a bra. God forbid it’s cold in the church!

3- What are some shopping tips you can give brides for foundation garments on their big day?

*Always ask what the bridal consultant recommends as far as bras for underneath your specific dress.

*Don’t go bra shopping without your dress, or if you don’t have the dress yet, pick up a few different bras and bring to the bridal shop and try on to see what works best!

*Don’t forget about the bottom half – you may need spanx or shapewear too –

*Remember to try sitting down (make sure your spanx don’t show etc), dancing (to see if your boobs stay in the bra), and anything else you think may happen on your wedding day.

Hailed as a “Brilliant Bra Guru” by BRAVO-TV, a “stylist extraordinaire” and “bra fit guru” by the New York Daily News, Jené Luciani is a nationally acclaimed fashion journalist, style expert, TV personality, spokesperson and bestselling author. She appears regularly on NBC¹s TODAY Show and has appeared on NBC’S New York Live, The Style Network, Better TV, CNN Money, ABC News, Fox News Channel and Good Day NY, to name a few.

Luciani recently became a “Bravo-lebrity” when she guest starred on an episode of the hit show Mad Fashion, wearing a Chris March-created dress made out of 200 bras. Aside from the national and local news outlets Jene is regularly on, her TV credits also include the The Nate Berkus Show, Access Hollywood, The Wendy Williams Show, The Dr. Oz Show, The Style Network’s Look for Less and How Do I Look?, Oxygen’s Jersey Couture and Discovery Channel’s Go Ahead, Make My Dinner.

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Wedding Ceremonies and Reception at Same Location

By: Diane Farquhar courtesy of I Just Said Yes

The ceremony is without a doubt, the most important part of the wedding.  This is where the two of you become one in front of your family and friends.

There are so many ceremony sites to choose from; church, outside park, winery, historical museum, backyard or at the reception venue itself.  If your pastor or clergy will do it outside of the church, or you choose to do a non-denominational service, I would strongly suggest to have the ceremony at the same place as your reception.  You can offer the service in the late afternoon, around 4:00pm – 4:30pm which usually lasts about a half hour max and then immediately follow with appetizers and drinks – nothing is worst than a long wait for a long receiving line followed by a long wait for a drink!  The bride/groom can sneak away for pictures and then return for a quick mix and mingle with guests and then dinner.

You can choose to set up some chairs on the dance floor while the remaining guests can stand around you or can have all guests be seated at their tables and watch the service from there.  If the venue offers a separate room or has outdoor facilities then you can book that strictly for the service.

Guests love having to go to only one destination for both service and reception.  This is also great help to the immediate family because they don’t have to worry about out-of-town guests and what to do with them when one books a ceremony earlier in the day.

The other consideration is the added cost.  Some things you may want to consider is the cost of “entertaining” your out-of-town guests during the break, the cost of renting the limo all day versus a few hours (or not at all) and don’t forget many photographers charge by the hour as well.

Having both ceremony and reception in the same location is a wonderful idea and best way to avoid the drawbacks of an early service and a long wait until the reception.  A big plus is the turnout at the ceremony.  To be honest, the longer the wait between ceremony and the reception, the fewer people will usually come.  When doing both at the same location, I found almost all guests will attend.

So, if you are thinking of doing both back to back, then go for it.  It is a growing trend and by doing the ceremony later in the day, allows you and your families to take your time to get ready.  You  want to remain fresh well into the night so you can be the last ones to leave your own party!

Winter Wonderland Wedding at Fairmont Chateau Montebello

The weather was perfect for a sleigh ride after the wedding ceremony. Light snow and mild temperatures made for a glorious celebratory ride.


Ready for a sleigh ride. Photo by Alan Viau

The Fairmont Le Château Montebello hotel is one of eastern Canada‘s leading destinations. This exceptional Quebec resort is famous for its rustic yet luxurious accommodations. I perform weddings among the beautiful surroundings. The hotel is reknown for its year-round activities including horseback riding, championship golf, outdoor tennis, swimming, cross-country skiing, curling, dogsledding, tubing, Canada’s only Land Rover Experience Driving School, and its Spa. The newly completed highway 50 from Gatineau makes it easier and quicker to get there from the Ottawa area.


Heritage Room with its red Cedar logs. Photo by Alan Viau

I married Ashley and Corey in the Heritage Room which had been decorated for the event. An aisle runner was lined by white rose petals and candles. Rose arrangements on pedestals were on either side of the drape to add a romantic look.


Heritage Room decor. Photo by Alan Viau

Ashley wore a gorgeous dress from McCaffrey Haute Couture. It fit her perfectly as she walked down the aisle with her father to the music from a live jazz trio.


Ashley in her McCaffrey wedding dress. Photo by Alan Viau


A live jazz trio provided ceremony music. Photo by Alan Viau

The wedding ceremony itself was highlighted with a handfasting and wine box rituals. They exchanged their own vows which I always find to be a very personal touch. It allows them to show their emotions for each other. Although the bride and groom include a letter to each other in the wine box, I add the vows that they’ve just said to each other. That way they can review them when the wine box is opened.


Wine Box used in the ceremony. Photo by Alan Viau

Finally with a cheerful declaration of marriage, Ashley and Corey mounted a sleigh for a ride around the resort before their reception. Congratualtions and watch out for the dogsleds!


Newly married. Photo by Alan Viau


Dogsled crossing. Photo by Alan Viau

Eco-Couture Gowns Featured at Luxe Bridal Boutique Trunk Show

Luxe Bridal Boutique is bringing Eco‐Couture bridal gowns to Ottawa. They will be hosting a trunk show at their store March 7th, 8th and 9th 2013 featuring dresses by Vancouver‐based designer Pure Magnolia.

This show presents an exclusive chance for Ottawa brides‐to‐be to check out one of the city’s premier bridal boutiques, and get a taste of high‐end, eco‐friendly bridal. Pure Magnolia will be presenting not only their entire 2013 collection, but also bespoke and Limited Edition dresses that will not be available in stores. In addition, the designer will be on hand to design your custom dream dress right in the store!


Store hours are Thursday 12pm‐7pm, Friday 11am‐5pm, and Saturday 10am‐5pm. Luxe Bridal is owned by partners Lisa and Madeleine and has been bringing Ottawa brides the best of bridal trends and traditions since its inception in 2010. Located in trendy By-Ward Market, the boutique provides a sophisticated yet relaxed environment where brides can fully enjoy the process of finding their perfect dress.



Pure Magnolia creates unique, vintage inspired, wedding dresses that are handmade in North Vancouver from high quality, sustainable materials. Only a limited number of dresses are produced every year, and this is the first time that these sought-after creations will be available in Ottawa.

To Book an appointment to shop the collection contact: Luxe Bridal Boutique (613) 241‐LUXE (5893) Or Patty Nagel 778‐552-6174

About Patty Nagel and Pure Magnolia

Pure Magnolia was founded in 2009 by Kwantlen Polytechnic grad Patty Nayel. Patty saw a gap in the emerging eco-fashion market. Weddings, as with any large‐scale, one-day event can be extremely wasteful, but Patty had a vision of countless women, who are actively involved with the world around them, aware of issues with garment production, and looking for an alternative.

Pure Magnolia uses sustainable and ethically sourced fabrics; silk from a family farm in India, re‐constituted fabrics make from discarded scraps, and vintage fabrics that with a little creativity can be a new favorite dress instead of rotting in a landfill. Pure Magnolia’s production is based entirely in Vancouver eliminating shipping emissions, and the company employs a local cottage industry workforce.