A gem of a deal – for charity

James Allen , the largest online global retailer of diamonds, engagement rings and fine jewelry is donating 10 percent of proceeds from the sale of pink sapphires and pink diamonds during the month of October to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. This donation encompasses loose stones, set engagement rings, pendants, earrings, etc. – anything that utilizes the pink stones.



Are Weddings Too Expensive for Guests to Attend?



By  Diane Farquhar courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Over the last year I have been hearing numerous guests say how expensive weddings are. Some just prefer to send a token gift and not attend the wedding due to their personal financial situation.  This is an interesting topic that has come up many times and inspired me to write about it.

When first meeting with a couple for their wedding, they usually have a pretty good idea of how many guests will be invited, but within the last few years I am seeing many meal counts coming in much lower than the original guest attendance.  Some of this may be attributed to out-of-town guests not being able to make it or others that are simply busy.  Invitations are received weeks before the wedding, so guests should have plenty of time to mark their calendars.

When you see a wedding invitation, do you base your decision to attend on whether you are close to the couple or not, or does the expense affect your decision as well?

We all know how expensive weddings are to plan… but are they becoming too expensive to attend as well?  A boxed gift or gift of money needs to be given, and transportation or travel accommodations may be required as well.  Do you need a new dress?  New shoes?  Perhaps get your hair and nails done?  If you have young children, a babysitter might be necessary.  When you start to add all these costs, for some it can be out of their reach.  Is the time of the Year  of the wedding also contribute to your decision.  For example, if it’s in December, are you strapped financially because you have purchased your Christmas gifts?

So, my questions is… do you send in your RSVP with a “no” because of the expense?  Is sending a small token gift with a congratulations card a better option for you?  Maybe you can attend the ceremony (which is the most important part anyways) but not the reception.  You won’t have to worry about covering your food and beverage costs.

Currently, times are very tough for many people with many companies closing and the unemployment rate high.  This could be why a percentage of guests reply with “not attending” is happening more often.  There are ways to avoid some of the costs of attending a wedding, though.  For instance, there is no ‘magic amount’ that you are suppose to give as a wedding gift.  It really is up to you whether you purchase a gift or give a cheque.  A wedding gift does not have to be extravagant. If you really want to attend the wedding but your finances are lacking, then give only what you can.

If you are close with the couple, they will surely understand.  The thought is what’s really important, and that you made the effort to be there no matter what you give.

A Must for Weddings at Public Locations

The local park may seem like an attractive place for your wedding ceremony. There is nothing better than being out in nature to celebrate your union. However, a public venue is full of surprises. You just need to be flexible about it.

You have seen in many of my posts and pictures that the Rockcliffe Park Pavilion is a popular place.  I’ve performed scores of weddings there over the years. This venue is a public space. You never quite know what will be there when you arrive. Although the couple will have booked the pavilion with the National Capital Commission, they can’t control what else is going on in the park.

Let’s take as an example, Corinne and Stewart’s wedding.  It was a beautiful Friday morning. The wedding was scheduled for 11am and it was perfect weather.


Photo by Alan VIau

They reserved the pavilion through the National Capital Commission for three hours. Unfortunately, there is no posting at the pavilion to let the public know about the bookings. When Stewart arrived he had to ask an ad hoc yoga practice of senior ladies to leave the space so he could set up the chairs.

While getting ready to start, a tour bus went by and loud motor boats could be heard in the Ottawa River below.


Photo by Alan Viau

A Mom & Tot exercise class was in progress near the pavilion. I could hear “4 more… 3 more… 2 more…”


Photo by Alan Viau

Parking can be an issue. With all the goings on at the park, your guests are not guaranteed to find parking near your event. The guests were dropped off. Additional parking at the pavilion is a good five minute walk away.


Photo by Alan Viau

Corinne arrived. Her parents wanted a few pictures. In public, a bride is something special to behold and you need to be prepared for people to gawk at you.


Photo by Alan Viau

When you have a wedding in a public space, you must be prepared to be relaxed about distractions. I can tell you that with all these distractions, the wedding went off with out a hitch. Well there was one, Corinne and Stewart did get hitched.

Fall Colour Inspirations

By Chloé Taylor

For fall weddings, colour choice can be a special challenge. With the change in seasons comes a change in colours, and your wedding colours may be influenced by fashion, flower availability and personal taste.

Local Ottawa bride Kathleen is planning a late September wedding and while she easily picked her colours (yellow and grey), she is now finding it difficult to choose her flowers. Kathleen wants local fresh flowers, but isn’t sure if there will be any yellow flowers available for her bouquet and centerpieces.

While Kathleen knew what colours she wanted, other brides may still be deciding. One useful tool is the Pantone Colour Report, available for download at pantone.com.The Fall Pantone Color Report for 2013 includes some perfect wedding colours. From the romantic Samba to the delicate Mykonos Blue, there’s sure to be a colour palette that suits every bride. The Deep Lichen Ggreen would be gorgeous for bridesmaids and Emerald has been the most fashionable colour for 2013.

What has influenced your wedding colour choices?


The Wedding Flower Girl

Courtesy of The Ottawa Wedding Show Blog

The history of flower girls being part of the wedding party dates as far back as the Greek and Roman times. In those days brides were quite young just having walked through childhood and stepped into young adulthood (or what was considered adulthood at the time as these brides were as young as 12 years old). In these times it was customary that some of the bride’s younger childhood friends and relatives be part of the ceremony as symbols of purity, youth and life. Some cultures thought that including young girls sprinkling flowers/grains was a way to ward off evil spirits that might try to ruin the wedding or bring bad luck to the young couple.

The tradition of sprinkling flower petals in the path of the bride was first not even about flowers. The original child attendants would throw grain and herbs (sometimes rice) as a gesture of bestowing fertility on the wedding couple. Later in history this tradition evolved in to less harvest focused items being strewn (although many weddings throwing rice is still popular) and more flowers and rose petals in particular. At this point the meaning was to symbolize the ending of purity and the start of a life of passionate love and fertility.

In the Queen Victoria era the flower girl as we know today was born. The classic white dress, often not just one little girl but many and the flowers became mostly rose petals. The meaning of the rose colours also plays a significant role in whether that colour of rose is allowed. Often the preferred colour is red indicating love and passion but many times pink (meaning sweetness) or orange, peach or the peace rose. Colours that are not usually used by flower girls include white (as it is a symbol of purity) yellow as though it is known as the friendship rose (has also been associated with jealousy) and of course black (learned about this when I researched this article…it was news to me that black rose petals were even available).

In recent years children in the wedding party not only strew flowers and/or petals, sometimes they just walk holding flowers with a more recent custom being one where the little ones blow bubbles around and near the bride. Actually many weddings have replaced rice and confetti thrown by the guests with bubbles and balloons.

Many modern weddings no longer include young children and the presence of flower girls is not as common a practice as it once was. The British royal wedding from a few years ago (Prince William and Princess Kate) was most traditional as this wedding included several young children as bridal attendants with wreaths of flowers in their hair and carrying floral bouquets.

There is a growing trend to have one’s wedding as an adult only event. In these situations flower girls are difficult to incorporate into the wedding party when children in general are barred.

Good & Bad Behavior: Wedding Etiquette For The Bridal Party

By Tammy Winslow

Not only is a wedding a celebration of two people’s love for one another, a wedding can also be a reunion — a ridiculous reunion of old college friends and long-distance family members who come together to, well, party. Every bride and groom wants their guests to have a good time, but what constitutes a good time can be subjective. And in other words, what constitutes an appropriate time, can also be subjective.

Sure, this wedding is an event for dressing up, indulging in good food, drinking champagne and dancing. But it’s not spring break. This is a party with grandmas and aunts — not drunk college girls in bikinis with beads around their neck. Ladies, also remember that you don’t want to be known as the two drunken bridesmaids who passed out in the bathroom with your dresses over your heads. Approach the event with grace and poise so you’re not desperately employing Reputation.com after you see embarrassing photos and videos of yourself scattered across social media. Avoid regretfully ruining your loved one’s wedding by following this etiquette guide of do’s and don’ts.

Do: Mingle

So you’re the one childhood friend who lives out of town and feeling like a bit of an outsider. The rest of the girls are laughing over college stories, and they all seem like long-lost soul sisters. Try to channel your social discomfort into positive energy and remember that you’re supporting your friend who’s getting married. Do you best to avoid being a recluse and make an effort to get along with everyone.

Don’t: Steal Focus

At minimum, you’ve got a rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception to attend. Though you may usually be the life of the party, this day is not about you. Let the bride shine in her designer duds and stick with a more sedate dress — something appropriate but not over-the-top. Have fun on the dance floor, but don’t be the one to break up the first dance to get the party started.

Do: Drink Moderately

Dear groomsman, please wait until you get that green light during the reception to hit the bar hard. That green light varies from wedding to wedding, but you shouldn’t be slurring your words before the sun sets. Even if shots were served during pictures post-ceremony or bottles were popped in the limo, do try to keep your composure on your way to the hall for cocktail hour. Make sure you’re still in the sober zone during important wedding moments like toasts, the first dance, and cutting the cake. You’ll know it’s time to stroll over to the bar when the DJ starts playing, for instance.

Don’t: Hook Up

The phrase “hooking up” is loosely defined, but in this context, hooking up includes anything related to heavily hitting on the too-young second cousin, dancing with a groomsman like you’re in a club in Mexico, or making out with a bridesmaid in the lobby outside the restrooms. Yes, a wedding may just be the romantic event that brings two soulmates together, and if you’re a single girl who meets a nice guy, then sure, go for it. Just remember that table in the corner topped with wedding gifts isn’t a mechanical bull. That cake and dessert table isn’t a pole. This is a wedding. Not a bar or strip club.

As a wedding rule of thumb, don’t make up your own rules. If you know this is a crowd to let loose with, then okay, take advantage of the bar and break it down on the dance floor. If it’s a more intimate, outdoor ceremony, don’t go wild or insist on doing the Harlem Shake. Most importantly, let the bride and groom shine by not stealing the spotlight with unruly or eyebrow-raising behavior.

Cover photo from Flickr user reegmo.

Tammy Winslow is a mom and freelance writer happily living in Phoenix.

Herbal Aromatic Wedding Bouquets

By Rev. Alan Viau

Floral arrangements bring the theme of your wedding to life. From the bride’s walk down the aisle to centerpieces in the dining room, bouquets are a must in a wedding. Why not use aromatic herbs in your floral arrangement as a welcome scent to your day?


Courtesy The Little Glass Slipper

I’ve seen many beautiful bridal bouquets – from traditional roses to feathers, brooches and even egg carton craft made bouquets. 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 creating arrangements that are both beautiful and aromatically beneficial.


Courtesy The Little Glass Slipper

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.


Courtesy The Little Glass Slipper

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!


Courtesy The Little Glass Slipper


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.


Courtesy The Little Glass Slipper

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.

The FairyDust Collection by Freya Rose

‘Fairy Dust’ is an exclusive addition to the Freya Rose Mother of Pearl Collection. This beautifully delicate peep toe sling back is made from the very finest French Chantilly Lace, and is exquisitely finished with a dainty silk lace flower and feather embellishment on the toe.

The skilled Freya Rose team hand embellish each shoe in house, with tiny swarovski crystals, creating the most beautiful subtle sparkle.

Each client has the luxury to decide how much detail is added to the shoe, giving a truly bespoke piece.

Visit www.freyarose.com for details.

Wedding Dress Styles

Contributed by: Kennedy Event Planning

The most exciting part about a wedding for most brides starts with picking out their wedding dress. For those of you who don’t know what you’re looking for, here are some tips and finding your dream dress. Dresses, just like all types of clothes, are suited to your shape and size; by knowing your body type finding a dress style or shape will be easy. Don’t worry if you’re looking at yourself right now and can’t decide what type of dress would best suit your body and highlight your assets, there are many professional bridal boutiques who can help you, don’t be afraid to seek a professional opinion if you need it.

Let’s start with the basics, there are five main dress styles or shapes: mermaid, a-line, sheath, ball gown, and empire.

The Mermaid or Trumpet: The mermaid dress, the sexiest style there is because it tends  to show off all your curves in a style that is fitted all the way down to your knee and then flares out at the bottom. Due to its body hugging style, this dress is recommended to those who are confident in their skin. Curvy, or skinny, either body type can pull off this style.

The A-Line or Princess: For those brides who love the princess look, this is the way to go because it flatters any shape and size as it is fitted at the top and flows down to the ground. It covers the lower section of the body and can balance out those who are a little heavier on the top. The full skirt creates the illusion of curves for those of us who don’t have any and it can.

The Sheath or Column: Just like it’s name, this dress is shaped to flow straight down and not flow out. Recommended for lean brides with a balanced figure as it does tend to hug the body and show off your curves. It is a timeless style and helps elongate the body for those who are quite petite. Keep in mind ladies, this dress is quite tight and might restrict any vigorous.

The Ball Gown: Right out of a fairytale, The ‘Cinderella’ dress. Your guests will actually see you ‘floating on a cloud’ even though you already are on the inside. The dress is made up of a bodice and very full skirt that can flow into a train. It helps accentuate or create a waist line and hides the lower body. However, a large skirt can overpower a slender, petite frame.

The Empire: The most flattering of all dresses with a seam right under the bust and the rest flowing down to the floor. This dress suits any shape and size, it helps those with a small or large bust because it helps accentuate or helps support; those who are pregnant because it is comfortable and flattering; finally, if you’re self conscious about your hips and legs this dress flows down to the ground smoothly.

Necklines can change for nearly every style dress, so don’t worry if you want to have a sweet heart neckline and add or take away straps; speak with a professional tailor, they will be able to direct you in the proper changes to make without losing the integrity of the design. The right dress is out there, we promise, once it is “the one” – you will know!

*photos courtesy of Vera Wang, Bridal Collections (spring & fall 2012-2014).

Top Tips for Buying Your Wedding Shoes

By: Diane Farquhar courtesy of I Just Said Yes

In terms of wedding couture, we all know that the dress steals the spotlight.  But you can’t forget that essential factor to complete the look – the shoes!

You would think with long wedding dresses that shoes wouldn’t be an important focus, but think again!  So many images are including, and even showcasing the bride’s shoes.  Short dresses  and high slits are also increasingly popular, giving all the more reason to find some amazing shoes for your big day.  You may think finding your dream shoes will be easy, but there are many things to consider – style, comfort, value…so here are a few tips to get you started.

First, think of the date of your wedding, ceremony location, and venue.  What type of shoes would be most comfortable?  Are you spending most of the day outdoors walking on grass or stone?  Very high heels may not be the appropriate choice.  Think about what height you are normally used to, and try not to go for something way out of your comfort range, especially on a day when you will be constantly on your feet.

Match your wedding colors and theme.  If your decor features an accent colour, that would be perfect for your shoe choice.  Your wedding bouquet colors would look fab with a similar color in your wedding shoe – it makes everything blend and go together nicely.  For themed weddings, there are countless shoe ideas.  You could have a lot of fun with this one.  You can find amazing shoes to match a vintage, beach, or bohemian wedding theme to name a few.

What season are you getting married in?  Many brides may not consider this, but in the middle of winter the last thing you want to walk around in are slingbacks or slip-ons. Your feet get can very cold, so find a shoe with a bit more coverage.  Perhaps a popular wedding boot for your pics, and then you could change into a pair of sexy shoes for the reception.

An important tip when trying on shoes is to remember that your feet will swell by the end of the day.  Shop for your shoes in advance and remember to wear them around the house every so often to break them in.  The last thing you want is to take your shoes out of the box for the first time and encounter blisters along the way.

One last tip, probably the most important, is to bring a second pair of shoes with you as you near the end of the night, preferably a flat, slipper or one you have worn for years.  Just like an outdoor wedding, you always need a back up plan.

Shoe image courtesy of Freya Rose Shoes