Bridesmaids Dresses of 2013

By Rev. Alan Viau

A bride chooses her bridesmaids‘ dresses with much care. The style and color are important considerations to the overall look of the bridal party. Let’s’ take a look at what brides chose in 2013.

Bridesmaids’ dresses add color and style to the wedding party. We accept that they bride will be in white, off-white, cream, champagne, eggshell and many other shades that my Sweetheart keeps educating me about. The bridesmaids’ dresses are an opportunity to add a punch of color that is compatible with your overall theme.

However, as with everything else in weddings these days, it is about personalizing your wedding. Here are some ideas that may inspire you in your choice.

All The Same

This is a popular way to approach the bridesmaids dresses. Have each gal wear the same style and color. It certainly adds a consistent look. Make sure that the color and style you choose is flattering to all your party.


Same Color Different Style

This is a nice way to keep the color feel consistent and have each bridesmaid wear a style that flatters her.

Different Color Same Style

A nice change up is to have the bridesmaids in the same style but different colors.

Dare to be Different

And if you really are daring, you can do what Kate Middleton did and have your bridesmaids in white as well.

Have fun with your bridesmaids in choosing which option to go for in 2014!

All Photos by Alan Viau except where noted.

Stonefields partners with Thyme & Again

Local wedding venue Stonefields Heritage Farm announced that they have created an exclusive partnership with Thyme & Again Creative Catering, a leader in event catering, food trends and customer service.

Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Ottawa, Thyme & Again is a long standing favourite in Ottawa for catering. The team’s collaboration and creativity, attention to detail and long-time expertise, promises to create innovative, colourful, balanced and beautiful food that will ensure each and every event is truly memorable.

National Gallery-Restaurant des Beaux Arts

Stonefields Heritage Farm is an exclusive outdoor wedding venue located a short drive from Ottawa in Carleton Place, Ontario. The historic homestead, built in 1816, features log buildings, rustic barns, country gardens and 120 acres of rolling farmland. The breathtaking setting serves as a popular backdrop for outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions.

  | |Christine Melenhorst - Love Bunny Photography|
Christine Melenhorst – Love Bunny Photography

“The partnership is an exciting venture and natural fit as our companies have successfully worked together for the past two seasons and share similar values.” says Stephanie Brown, owner of Stonefileds Heritage Farm.

 | |Melanie Rebane Photography|
Melanie Rebane Photography

“Starting out in 2012 as one of three catering options at Stonefields, Thyme & Again has proven to be a top choice for the discerning couple, delivering food that delights the senses time and time again. Both companies strive to deliver unforgettable experiences with exceptional service and distinguished cuisine for the sophisticated couple.”

Sheila Whyte, Owner of Thyme and Again Creative Catering and Take Home Food Shop couldn’t agree more,  “In two years of working together, we have been impressed with the professional operation at Stonefields and the beautiful location. We are very excited for this partnership, which will pair Thyme and Again’s commitment to exceptional food and service with the perfect wedding venue at Stonefields. After all, doesn’t local food taste better when you’re surrounded by a gorgeous country setting?”.

Stonefields offers all-inclusive Wedding Packages featuring Thyme & Again’s delectable menus, including a variety of options such as hors d’oeuvres, barbecue buffets, luxurious sit-down dinners and late night snacks.

For more information, visit the Stonefields website at

My Favorite Wedding Venues for 2013

By Rev. Alan Viau

Another busy wedding season has come and gone. I visited many wedding venues in the Ottawa area and here are my three favorites for the year.

I classify wedding venues into three categories; rustic/natural, modern/urban chic and romantic. You can see more on this in my FREE downloadable eBookLove in the Capital. 

Rustic/Natural – Le Belvedere near Maniwaki is stunning. The wedding ceremonies are performed on the edge of a cliff overlooking a valley. It is inspiring. The building is ‘green’ and the service impeccable.

Modern/ Urban Chic – Art Is In Bakery was perhaps the most unique venue for a wedding for me this year. I was privileged to be the first to perform a ceremony there. Awesome food and service make for a memorable event. See Renee and Michael’s wedding.

Romantic – Gezellig Dining proved to be an intimate venue. It has an upper floor for the ceremony and dancing later. The main floor makes it easy to see and chat with all your guests. And of course the food is excellent. See Amanda and Ali’s wedding.

Ceremony Decor. Photo by Alan Viau

My Favorite Wedding Dresses of 2013

By Rev. Alan Viau

As with many other people, the end of the year is a time of reflection on what was 2013. There were four wedding dresses worn by brides for whom I performed weddings that stood out in my mind. Each was a superb choice for the woman who wore them.

Disney Princess: Her dream was to be a Disney Princess. Stunning as she walked down the aisle, it even took my breath away. Yes, she married Prince Charming.

Naturally Her : The dress fit her unique personality – a yoga teacher who loves nature – flowers all around.

Perfect Fit: A dress that fit her perfectly and extremely romantic. Her groom was in joyful tears seeing her walk down the aisle in this McCaffrey Haute Couture dress.

Just Her: It can be a daunting challenge to find a wedding dress for your second marriage. This bride was gorgeous in her choice of gown. Elegant and beautiful.

I am looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

Wedding Reception Pastry Table Ideas

By: Diane Farquhar courtesy of I Just Said Yes

How many of you have attended a wedding and not had a piece of cake, let alone seen the cake?

Pastries can range from assorted squares, tortes, cheesecakes, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, fruit kebobs and the very popular candy or popcorn bar!  Head to your favorite discount store and purchase assorted vases and fill them up with Hershey’s kisses, gummy bears, m & m ‘s, twizzlers, jube jubes, and so much more. We all have a sweet tooth!

Pastry tables will be forever popular at weddings.  It can be opened up immediately following the meal.  If you choose to serve it at this time, you can cut down your menu cost by deleting a plated dessert and put that money into your own dessert table (if your venue allows it).

Today’s wedding cakes are beautiful in design and taste but remember if you are having a pastry table, order a cake that will only feed 1/2 your guest list.   

A nice added touch is to offer a cappuccino, espresso, regular coffee and latte along side the pastry table.  A side basket of biscotti is a crowd pleaser.  If you are a Canadian, as I am,  you know how long the line-ups are in the morning at Tim Horton’s!  Let’s hope the guests drink more coffee and less alcohol which can help bring down your bar bill a little.

How To: Select A Wedding Date

Contributed by:Kennedy Event Planning

‘Tis the season for romantic holiday engagements! Over 25% of dating couples get engaged during the holiday season that spans between Thanksgiving through New Years, making it the most romantic time of the bridal season!

Once all the tinsel and wrapping paper settles, newly engaged couples will be faced with a number of decisions to be made leading up to the big day. One of the first major decision is picking the wedding date. Selecting the date is a huge commitment and will set the timeline for the rest of your engagement; we suggest considering the following when picking the big day:

Time of year – You will want to consider the time of year for various reasons. Weather is a big factor for some, particularly when selecting a date during the unpredictable weather seasons like the Spring and Fall. Season-based professions should also be considered, for example school teachers, or if your profession may have any kind of schedule restrictions. Also consider the seasons that you and your fiance love the most and find inspiration from. Ask yourselves, are you a Winter ski bunny? Do you dream of being married under the Spring cherry blossoms? Do you love the sea and dream of a Summer beach party? Or are your inspired by the harvest flavours of the Fall?

Meaningful dates – Weddings are full of sentimental feelings and are very personal affairs. A great way to add more special meaning to your wedding is to select a date that holds particular significance. Review your calendar for meaningful dates as inspiration, including: dating anniversaries, birthdays, parents’ anniversaries, graduations, and holidays. Cultural influences may also impact your wedding date; some dates may be more auspicious than others and religious calendars and traditions should be taking into consideration.

Length of your engagement – The amount of time that you wish, or don’t wish, to be engaged should play a considerable part in choosing your wedding date. Some brides dream of long engagements full of pomp and circumstance while others shy away from it and look forward to a shorter engagement. The length of your engagement will also be influenced by the time of year you wish to have your wedding.

Availability – Once you and your fiance have evaluated and narrowed your potential wedding date, make sure to leave yourself some flexibility. The fate of your wedding date hangs in the balance of the availability of your preferred ceremony and reception venues. To avoid disappointment, prepare yourself with a range of dates while conducting your venue search; allowing yourself to choose the venue that you like best. If you’re set on a specific date, your venue selections may be more limited if you are planning a shorter engagement, a longer engagement will provide you with more options and flexibility. It is important to also remember that if you wish to work with a specific photographer or vendor, you may have to work within their availability as well.

Other things to consider – It is smart to think about your colour palette for your wedding and how it could coincide with a specific season. It helps to know what style of wedding you wish to have, particularly when selecting venues. Seasonal elements, such as exotic food and florals, should also be considered as they may only be available certain times of the year.

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting your wedding date. However, the most important things is to choose the date that feels right to you and your fiance. Remember, it is the date that you’ll remember for the rest of your lives!

*Images courtesy of Fotopastele, “Milda & Zilvinas” Vilnius, Lithuania.

Troublesome Devices at Weddings

By Rev. Alan Viau

Weddings have sure changed in the 10 years that I’ve been officiating. Technology  has advanced, and it is usually welcomed, but there are also downsides to it.

Technology is an amazing phenomenon. With time, better products are available at lower prices. For example, I bought a 26 inch flat screen TV a few years ago for $270. For the same price, I can purchase a 39 inch TV today. As prices decrease, the technology becomes more accessible to more people. It can quickly become pervasive and abundant in our lives.

However, all technological advances are good things. In the 10 years of officiating, three devices have become not only pervasive but maybe even invasive.

GPS – Global Positioning Systems help you navigate roads. However, they are only as good as the mapping software you are using and the information you input. GPS’s are great in the city but can spell disaster when trying to find a location in the countryside. There have been many times when people got lost because they put absolute trust in their GPS. At a recent wedding, a groomsman, bridesmaid and flower girl were all in the same car and arrived 30 minutes late. Please give your guests a map or proper GPS locations with the invitation.

DSLR Cameras – Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras are everywhere now. Ten years ago, some guests had small CCD cameras. It was no big deal. Now they all have DSLR cameras and think they are professional photographers. They get in the way. I’ve even had to ask a guest to get out from in front of me so the bride could come up! I now routinely ask guests to stay in their seats so that the professional photographer can capture the great memories.

Smart Devices – I lump all sorts of connected devices here, including phones and tablets. A wedding is an experience not a social media event. You don’t need to be taking pictures, posting on Facebook or Tweeting about the wedding. In fact, brides and grooms are now asking me to direct the audience not to do those things. They want to be the first to Facebook or Tweet about their wedding. I never see some guests’ faces because they are hidden behind a tablet the whole time. And Dad – really. Be in the moment! Yes, I’ve witnessed Dads being immersed in recording the event as an observer instead of being a participant in their son or daughter’s marriage.

You may believe I am anti-technology. I am not – just against the abuse of it.

One very useful technological device is the mobile phone. It is great for directing those people who got lost with bad GPS directions, to find out where the bride is on route to the venue and for me to call if I get bogged down in traffic on the way to the location. But please – turn it OFF for the duration of the wedding ceremony. OK, well, maybe it’s four troublesome devices.

Brides say “I do” to wedding gowns in colour

(NC) Whoever says that a bride must wear white isn’t aware that the most popular trend in wedding gowns this year is anything but traditional. While white, ivory and champagne gowns will always be a classic and popular choice among brides, coloured dresses are starting to take centre stage, as more celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel recently chose pink as their signature wedding colour.

Canadian brides who want to look equally pretty in pink have their share of options, such as bright splashes of hot pink found in sashes, soft and barely-there blush dresses, and stunning ball gowns that are drenched in rosy hues.

“As weddings continue to be a creative, personal expression of a bride’s special day, the desire to make her dress as unique as she is has never been more important. We are seeing more brides coming into our stores embracing stand-out gowns in subtle shades of beige and petal pink,” says Victoria Rucks at David’s Bridal Canada, a leading special occasion and wedding retailer.  “Personally, I love the idea of adding touches of pink, inspired by the tradition of a blushing bride.  It’s a colour that flatters a lot of skin tones as well.”

Another subtle shade that makes a daring statement is sterling grey, an emerging colour that lends itself particularly well to ‘winter wonderland’ themed ceremonies and receptions. In fact, says Rucks, the White by Vera Wang collection introduced a new sterling ball gown in the Fall 2013 collection that is sure to turn heads. Pair a coloured wedding gown with a neutral bridal party, and it will be an event to remember.

Canadian brides looking to add splashes of colour to their wedding days can visit for inspiration.