Bridal Accessory Craze for 2013

By: Diane Farquhar courtesy of I Just Said Yes

In today’s wedding world, accessories are just as essential as the wedding dress. Earrings, head bands, jewellery cuffs, necklaces, lace gloves — that’s right, it’s all about accessorizing. What up-and-coming trends should you watch out for this year?

Bejewelled sashes, crystal belts, scarves, shawls and lace hairnets are popular for 2013.  They can be used to modernize your wedding dress or create an art deco, vintage or 1920s look.  Bouquets have evolved over the years to include buttons, flowers, paper, handbags, umbrellas or fans.  Do-It-Yourself projects are available all over the Internet, and there’s certainly no shortage of unique ideas.  Just be sure that your accessories do not “over-do” it or take away from the wedding dress.

Hair styles, from flowing to up-do’s, usually have some type of accessory to bring the whole outfit together.  A soft clip, a touch of flowers, or perhaps a simple band will do the trick.  And don’t forget about the shoes –  a huge purchase for many brides.  You may not always see the shoes, but a bride will show them off, especially for photos.  The shoes matching the bouquet and all around decor theme is a growing trend.  Another recent trend we are seeing is having the happy couple’s names, wedding date, and other special items hand-painted onto the shoes to perfectly represent the big day.

Decor is also a major factor when deciding on accessories. Many brides use the theme or colours to compliment what they wear, but you can also add accessorize to other components.  For example, jazz up your centerpieces or wedding cake with pearls, diamonds, lace, or ribbon.

No matter what type of wedding you have in mind — vintage, modern, traditional, art deco, classic…anything goes.  Sometimes it’s the little details that make all the difference!

Amanda & Ali’s Romantic Wedding

By Rev. Alan Viau

The new Gezellig Dining restaurant was host to Amanda and Ali‘s wedding ceremony and reception. The decor transformed this modern restaurant into a romantic setting for their wedding.

We were all waiting for Ali’s bride, Amanda. It was a rainy Sunday afternoon. But that didn’t matter because we were all inside at the restaurant. Amanda arrived in style in a 1930’s Excalibur limosine.

 Amanda arriving. Photo by Alan Viau

Amanda arriving. Photo by Alan Viau

 Photo by Alan Viau

Photo by Alan Viau

Her maid of honor and all the bridesmaids were in stunning dresses as well.

 Photo by Alan Viau

Photo by Alan Viau

The guests were all ready for her entrance on the second floor of the restaurant. The tables were arranged to accommodate the look they wanted and allow for people to mingle.

 Gezellig Dining. Photo by Alan Viau

Gezellig Dining. Photo by Alan Viau

 Head Table. Photo by Alan Viau

Head Table. Photo by Alan Viau

 Table Decor. Photo by Alan Viau

Table Decor. Photo by Alan Viau

Amanda was ready to go with her father in arms.

 Amanda with her father. Photo by Alan Viau

Amanda with her father. Photo by Alan Viau

She walked up the stairs to join her groom Ali for the ceremony. One of the readings was my favorite Dr. Seuss; “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. They exchanged their own vows where they shared some humorous bits about each other. We had a bit of a fun moment with signing the register and license. The area was too small to have a table. So Amanda signed with the register on Ali’s back. Ali signed the register on his best man‘s back. It was the ultimate depiction of the saying “I got your back!”.

 Ceremony Decor. Photo by Alan Viau

Ceremony Decor. Photo by Alan Viau

 Close up of decor. Photo by Alan Viau

Close up of decor. Photo by Alan Viau

With great applause I declared them married. They made their way downstairs where sparkling wine was served and the party began. Congrats Amanda and Ali!

Finally married. Photo by Alan Viau

Finally married. Photo by Alan Viau

 Table Decor detail. Photo by Alan Viau

Table Decor detail. Photo by Alan Viau

Getting the Bridal Couple to Kiss~Wedding Games

Courtesy of The Ottawa Wedding Show Blog


Okay we have all been at weddings when the clinking of glasses start sometimes followed by shouts of “Kiss the bride” or “Kiss-Kiss” and then sometimes whistles or hollers. Other than looking around and picturing your fellow guests at the event and wondering which ones were on the schoolyard years before shouting “Shame, Shame, Double shame…” the two of you comply with a “kiss” to the oohs and aahhs of the faithful assembled at your reception.

Many couples plan games and special rules to eliminate the noise and clatter of guests constantly clinking glasses all trying to goad the couple into kissing. Often just on the end of one kiss is only just separated by moments till the next mandated kiss is expected. There are many ways to get your guests involved in a creative team building exercise table by table to pre-qualify the table as eligible to propose the “kiss the bride” routine. Some different ideas are listed here.

Sing a song

This can be fun as you can set whatever parameters (rules) you want for each table to comply. Ideas of those rules could be the song must have the word “love” or “marriage” in the lyrics. Another one would be the words “true love” or “mine” or “adore” …I am sure you get the idea.

Funny Games

Another idea is to write silly actions on individual pieces of paper. An example might be to act like monkey (sound effects and all), recite schoolyard skipping rope songs, act out a nursery rhyme or sing some of them aloud (like “Ol McDonald had a farm). Take pieces of paper, write down what the required task is and put one in each of several dozen balloons, then fill the balloons with helium and tie a couple of balloons to each of the tables at your reception. When the guests want to see the wedding couple smooch again they have to pop a balloon and then carry out the instructions on the little paper inside the balloon. You can have a lot of fun with this. Another example would be that all the guests at that table have to stand up, link arms and do a dance (like the “can-can” or line dancing…or Gangnam style).

A game with a twist

This idea is basically the kissing game but in reverse. The bride and groom have a container with the names of all the couples attending the wedding reception as per the guest list. Each time a table requests the newlyweds kiss they must do a draw of the names of a wedding guest couple who must kiss each other passionately first. Then the newlyweds will imitate the kiss (!!).

Other Variations

Something that seems to be catching on in many locales is to have the guest pledge a donation to the couple’s favourite charity before the wedding couple deliver the kiss. Other ways to administrate this would be to have a donation container that is passed around and only after a donation is made can a guest request smooching from the head table.

Another idea is to have a microphone available at the head table and the guest table requesting the public display of affection must vote one of its members to tell a joke. Depending on the reaction from the guests (lots of clapping as opposed to minimal) so goes the temperature of the requested kissing!

Depending on the traditions and/or background of the couple kissing in public may be considered unacceptable. In this case, the Master of Ceremonies should indicate that this is the case and formally request the guests to refrain from trying to have the couple kiss. Usually a warning is enough, however at weddings were the alcohol is flowing freely this may become more difficult to regulate as the reception continues.

Katrina & Torin celebrate with an intimate ceremony

A semi-circle of seven chairs faced the wedding arch. Katrina and Torin celebrated their wedding with their immediate family. It was an intimate and touching ceremony.

The Kiss on a Stool. Photo by Alan Viau

The Monterey Inn is a small hotel located on the banks of the Rideau River. It has a small patio where wedding ceremonies can be performed. On an overcast day, it was the perfect location for an intimate wedding for Katrina and Torin. They planned to have only their immediate family witness their event. It was a welcome surprise when Katrina’s brother made the trip from Albuquerque!

View of the Rideau River from their room. Photo by Alan Viau

I greeted Torin on the patio and then checked in with Katrina. She was getting ready in her colorful dress. She was buoyant and ready to go!

Ready to go. Photo by Alan Viau

Katrina walk down from the hotel room accompanied by her brother. They walked to the entrance of the patio where she met her father who walked with her the rest of the way. There was no need for recorded music – just the sounds of nature around us.

Walking in. Photo by Alan Viau

I made my introductory remarks for the ceremony. The reading consisted of The Art of Marriage. It was really heartwarming that each family member was given a few lines to say. It seemed as if they were giving their blessing and a little advice. Their two fathers signed the register and license.

The handfasting ritual was used for their vows. Katrina made the two pieces of fabric. Torin wanted to have denim and she crafted a lace ribbon. It was a very personal addition reflecting their personalities.

Denim and Lace. Photo by Alan Viau

I retrieved the three rings from a pillow that Katrina made – again reflecting the denim and lace theme. Torin placed both the engagement and wedding rings on her finger.

Finally, I declared them married. They were about to kiss … when, unexpectedly, out came a small stool for her to stand on. It made for a very poignant moment. Congratulations to our newly married couple!

Blustery Wedding Day for Jessica & Nic

May is an unpredictable month for outdoor weddings in Ottawa. It can be hot one day and freezing the next. For Jessica and Nic, they were going ahead despite the blustery conditions.

On the heels of my performing a wedding in 27C weather last week, this weekend saw bone chilling 14C with high winds. The Britannia Yacht Club is on the shores of the Ottawa River and the wind was coming straight off the cold water. This called for some last minute modifications. A wall was put up on the windy side of the tent to protect everyone from its effects. This meant that there was virtually no room for the signing table. So we changed the ceremony so that the signing of the license and register occurred indoors, prior to the ceremony. The bride and groom  with their witnesses signed separately – preserving the “first look”.

I love the first look moment. The built up anticipation has become a reality. As one groom put it “It’s finally happening!” It is when the groom becomes overwhelmed. Emotions come to the surface. I hear a sniffle and see a tear as he gazes upon his bride coming down the aisle. Nic did exactly that in seeing Jessica.

Jessica and Nic exchanged their own vows to each other. This seems to be a trend with brides and grooms. Saying personal vows to each other instead of a repeat after me format. I love this trend because you witness the love that they share and get a flavor for their relationship. We discovered that Jessica and Nic affectionately call each other “boo-boo”.

The wine box ritual was part of the ceremony. A bottle of wine, letters to each other and their vows are placed in a box that is sealed. It becomes a time capsule to be opened on their fifth anniversary – celebrating their successful marriage. Nic works in the renovation business and constructed the box. He drove in the first two nails. Jessica pounded in the last two to great cheers from the guests!

 Wine Box

Wine Box. Photo by Alan Viau

After the ceremony a group shot was taken during a brief sunny period.

 Group Shot

Group shot. Photo by Alan Viau

The reception was held in the yacht club and merriment followed. Congrats Jessica and Nic!


Decorated reception hall. Photo by Alan Viau

 Family Weddings

Love the display of family weddings. Photo by Alan Viau


Congrats. Photo by Alan Viau


Can You Book a Wedding in Six Months or Less?

By: Diane Farquhar courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Most commonly, couples get married around one year from the time of their engagement.  Lately, however, there seems to be a trend of couples deciding to hold their ceremony and reception within six months of their engagement.  Since the average age for getting married is between 25-30, usually there has been a long period of dating, and the couple may be living together or is at least financially secure.  When it’s time to say “I do” they are opting to just get right to it.  Can you get married within six months or less?  Absolutely you can, but it will take a little organization and a whole lot of patience.

There are so many vendors, florists and decorators to choose from that finding one on short notice should not be that difficult.  Linens and seat covers won’t be hard to find and most vendors will be happy to take a last-minute booking.  One area you may run into an issue with is flowers. Should you select something exotic that needs a special order, make sure you confirm the delivery time frame before you make your decision.  Immediately book your disc jockey/band, limo, photographer, wedding cake baker, and your ceremony and reception site.

If you have a very busy schedule, and your budget allows, hire a wedding planner who can do all the leg work on your behalf.  This will free up plenty of time to shop for wedding dresses!!  Don’t be scared that you won’t find a wedding dress either.  Visit large chain stores and check with your local bridal boutiques as well.  There is an abundance of bridal dresses you can buy online but watch for how long delivery will take and reliability.  The girls’ dresses will be an easy find too, as many of the chain stores, local boutiques, or online shops are at your disposal.

One area that may be disappointing is your preferred facility to host your reception.  If you have had your heart set on a certain venue be aware that they may not be available.  Before tossing the idea out of the window, call and see if a Friday evening is available or possibly a Sunday.  Friday and Sunday weddings are becoming very popular now and it is okay to book these days too.  Consider holding your ceremony and reception in the same place, this way, you can work with one venue to organize everything and save yourself time.

The wedding invitations don’t have to go out until six weeks before the wedding so you have plenty of time to meet with your printing company.  You can even do them yourself which is a nice personal touch, or send out digital invitations via email.

To book your wedding in a shorter time frame means organization on your part, and knowing exactly what you want.  You will need to make contact quickly with vendors and book your items as soon as possible.  Remember you don’t have the leisurely year for “I will keep checking around”.  Just be prepared to be flexible as you may not be able to get everything you want.

Probably one of the biggest bonuses to booking your wedding quickly is you won’t have to worry about constantly changing your mind.  You won’t have a year or two to ponder and go through magazine after magazine looking at different things.  This is a good thing though.  The stress level may seem a little high at first but that’s because you are working so hard to get everything in place.

This may not be for everyone especially if finances or schooling are an issue.  Should you decide though to take this route, ask for a helping hand from family, friends and your bridal party.  They will all be eager to help!

Trim Your Wedding Budget

Contributed by: Kennedy Event Planning

Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life, however, with the average wedding in Canada costing between $25,000 to $35,000 according to Weddingbells Magazine, it will also be one of the most expensive! Whether you are hosting a wedding celebration that’s simple but elegant or an over-the-top blowout, every couple has a budget and every element of the wedding comes with a price tag.

Here are six ways to save on your wedding day, regardless if you have champagne taste and caviar dreams or a ramen noodle and soda budget:

Create a guest list, but be ruthless!
When creating a guest list consider omitting children and co-workers, they are easily the two social groups that are least likely to be offended if they are not included in your festivities. Plus-ones can be tricky so consider only including significant others (defined as relationships that are over 6 months, live-in partners, and spouses) but exclude casual dates. It may be difficult, but try to keep your wedding party small, this will instantly save you from extra expenses on gifts, bouquets, hair and make up, and accessories.

Establish what you can actually afford:
Never – and we mean never – go into debt to pay for a wedding! When setting your budget be honest and realistic with your fiancé, it might be tough but it is important to host an event that is within your means. Another tip, don’t charge your wedding bills to a credit card unless you’re able to pay off the balance as soon as the statement comes in. Interest rates and charges can seriously add to the over expense of the wedding. If you have to carry a balance, try to do so for only a month or two.
Manage your expectations:
Do your research and educate yourself! In the early stages of setting your budget it will be very useful to price shop and do some fact-finding on your local vendors. Not only will this make you a savvy bride but it will also give you a more accurate estimate of costs of your “dream” wedding. Once you have a better idea of what things actually cost, sit down with your fiancé and identify your “must haves” & “nice to haves”. Be prepared for your priorities to be different from your fiancé’s  but know that a successful wedding should include: good food, fun entertainment, and professional photography.

Be flexible and make compromises:
Huge savings can be had by hosting your wedding during the “off” season (in Ontario: November through April) or on an alternative day of the week (Sundays thru Thursdays). Many venues will offer discounts to couples who are flexible to alternative dates, in many cases offering savings of 10-25%! If you must host your wedding on a Saturday, consider having a morning ceremony followed by brunch. Not only will you save on overall food costs, think of how much you will save on the bar bill!

Maximize your registry:
With more and more modern couples choosing to live with one another for a period of time before getting married the need for toasters, towels, and tea sets is becoming less and less. Forgoing a traditional registry, couples are choosing to sign up for honeymoon, photography, or cash registries, allowing their guests and family members to contribute to their lives in new, more useful ways.

Find ways to be creative with your budget:

  • Select a venue that has a lot of character and offers inclusions such as linens, ceremony on-site, and simple decor elements; you won’t need as much decor, saving you money.
  • Have your cake and eat it too! Consider cutting dessert from your menu and serve wedding cake or have a sweets table instead.
  • Simplify invitations and save on postage by using email or a wedding website to collect RSVPs and provide guests with hotel and map information.
  • Repurpose your ceremony florals and decor: use the alter arrangements at the reception and place the wedding party’s bouquets on head table.
  • Offer a reduced bar (wine, beer, signature drink) instead of full open bar, guests will be able to enjoy themselves but won’t stick you with the premium liquor bill!

Setting a realistic budget, making smart choices, managing your expectations, and keeping track of your purchases will ensure that you have a beautiful and memorable wedding, without breaking the bank!

*Photos courtesy of Polly Alexandre Photography, “Julie & Zac”, Paris, France.

Stonefields Annual Open House

Stonefields is opening its grounds to usher in a new season and present their exclusive wedding experience at the annual Open House on Tuesday June 18th from 4-8pm. This drop in event will include self-guided tours of the property and feature offerings from Stonefields and their partners. Please RSVP by June 1, 2013 to Don’t miss it! Visit

Photos by Melanie Rebane

Annalisa and Brian – First Outdoor Wedding of this Season

My first outdoor wedding of this season was basking in bright sunshine. It was a perfect day for Annalisa and Brian at Strathmere Inn.

The bright sky was very deceptive. It also meant that the UV index was high. I was concerned that the bride would get a sunburn. Turns out that the talented pianist/singer Kimberley Dunn did!

Annalisa walked down the aisle with her father who presented her. I interspersed some Italian in the ceremony to honor her side of the family. Annalisa got all excited and displayed a huge smile when Brian during his vows said he took her as his wife. I love moments like those. Moments when their emotions for each other remind us why we are there as witnesses. To remind us that life is about love, hope and happiness.

Annalisa and Brian sealed a bottle of wine with love letters to each other as part of the wine box ritual. This ritual is gaining momentum in weddings.

My favorite part is always declaring a couple married… which is followed by a kiss. And on this bright day, it just seemed to make them glow.

As I noted in a previous post, using draping at the ceremony can add a Wow factor. You can see that they did exactly that for their wedding. It coordinated with the decor on the inside as well. It made for an integrated theme that was carried through from the beginning to the end.