Giving hope, one dress at a time

By Chloé Taylor-Blais

Brides Against Breast Cancer is on tour! If you’re looking for your perfect dress and want your purchase to really count, why not take a trip down to upstate NY and help cancer patients, their families and caregivers?

Brides Against Breast Cancer run over 100 yearly bridal shows. Brides to be will find gowns of all sizes and styles, from the gently worn to the new designer gowns donated  directly from designers, manufacturers and bridal retailers. In fact more than half the gowns at the show are new, and the average price is around $600.They even sell accesories including tiaras and veils, beach wedding appropriate gowns and all the hot trends are represented in sizes 4 to 18. Most gown prices range from $99 to $799 with designers gowns valued up to $3,900.

The Tour of Gowns will contribute over $2 million (US) in 2014 and provides free support programs and services for those impacted by cancer. Some of those programs include distributing over 10,000 breast self-exam cards, and education, nutrition, exercise and therapy for cancer patients and their families and caregivers.

If you have already said “I Do,” you can consider donating your gown to BABC, and your donation is tax deductible. Brides Against Breast Cancer is an affiliate of the Center for Building Hope, operating within The Health Support Network.

The nearest event for Ottawa Brides will be this weekend, January 31 and February 1st at 4 Syracuse Street, Baldwinsville NY (scroll below the event poster to see a map – it’s only about 3 hours drive from Ottawa).  Tickets are required, so go to www.bridesabc.org to register and for more information.

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HOT HOT HOT the Beauty of Pink & Black

By: Diane Farquhar, courtesy of I Just Said Yes

When there is a birth of a child and it’s a girl, everyone buys a gift that is usually what color…..you got it PINK.  This starts at a very young age and stays with us as one of our very favorite colors.  So when you get married, the first color that comes to many brides is pink. Should you choose the elegant soft petal pink or the daring and bold hot pink?   Either way this color looks amazing with black.  It just seems to fit so nicely together because it’s elegant yet bold, modern and makes a statement.

Now, you don’t want to put pink absolutely everywhere.  If you go with a black and pink theme, do the tablecloths in black and the napkins in pink. Make sure the napkins are set as a flat fold on the table.  Stuffing napkins in glasses or coffee cups is old school.  Keep the seat covers plain black and put a splash of pink in the table centerpiece.  If you have a favor that is set at each place-setting then you can wrap it in pink tissue paper or put a pink ribbon around it.  The table numbers or menu cards could be pink in color with beautiful script black writing.  For your flowers and the bridal party your flowers can be a mixture of pink and white with some greenery (no black in the flowers).  Don’t forget the wedding cake too.  You can have some fun with this one!

Did you know the meaning of the word pink is ”universal love” and if you get a pink carnation it means “I will never forget you”.  The symbolic meaning of pink is joy and happiness.  No wonder women love this color.  It all makes sense!  For the record, I even used pink in my blog.

It’s A Nice Day For A Not-White Wedding:

By Lori Miller

He asked and you said yes, and you’re sporting the big glittering rock to prove it. But every time you think about your upcoming nuptials, you break out in hives and a cold sweat. You’re thrilled to become a Mrs. and delighted to be marrying him, so it must be wedding that has you on edge. If the thought of a traditional wedding, complete with a big white dress, an unfamiliar minister and a frosted white cake isn’t igniting your sense of wedding wonder, maybe it’s time to put aside expectation, and create some new wedding traditions.

Brides wear delicate white ensembles

Pristine white dresses featuring long, full skirts, lace overlays and sparkling with crystal beading are wedding staples. However, lace can be itchy, white isn’t flattering for every skin tone and full skirts don’t work for every body shape. The good news is, modern brides can choose to wear whatever dress makes them feel beautiful. For brides that don’t want to float down the aisle on a fluffy cloud of white, designer Maggie Sottero offers sheath gowns in body-skimming satin, many of which are available in soft champagne and blush hues. For a bit more impact, and a slightly larger departure from tradition, turn to designer Alfred Angelo for gowns featuring bodices topped with eye-catching black embroidered lace. The same designer offers several leg-revealing knee-length dresses as well as a few bridal pantsuits. For brides that dare, David’s Bridal stocks the Vera Wang collection, including the line’s on-trend black and red wedding frocks.

If you are worried about seeing an out-of-style gown staring back from your wedding photos 20 years down the line, or if you don’t want to shock grandma with a short or colorful dress, consider sticking with a demure look on top and having some fun underneath. Skip the traditional rigid foundation garments and don colorful, frilly and fun lingerie under an otherwise innocent ensemble. Be sure to pack a little extra in your honeymoon suitcase; your dress will be the talk of the reception, but what’s underneath is your little secret.

Religious leaders preform ceremonies

While tradition-steeped ceremonies usually feature scripture readings and prayers led by robed priests or ministers, many couples are looking elsewhere for someone to administer their vows. Getting married in a private, civil service in advance of your actual wedding ceremony can open up new options for brides seeking a customized ceremony. Visit http://www.ontario.ca/government/who-can-perform-marriages to find out what your options are. Consider turning to a trusted friend, grandparent or a mentor to officiate the ceremony. Or, look to someone whose marriage you admire, or the person who introduced you to your finance. Whoever you select, work closely with them to personalize your ceremony. Rather than staying stoic, ask your officiant to interject some humor. Or, have them share meaningful stories from your childhood or dating days.

Dessert must be wedding cake

Tiered cakes, with white frosting, cream fillings and piped details are practically wedding icons. However, cake isn’t everyone’s favorite sweet, and since they are a bridal industry staple, traditional wedding cakes can eat away at the budget. If you aren’t craving cake, think outside the bakery box and opt for another dessert. Candy buffets allow guests to serve themselves, and they can be put together easily. Grab some clear, glass containers and scoops from a party supply store and a variety of sweet treats in your color scheme. Select an assortment of gummies, lollipops, sours, and chocolates and provide cellophane bags so that attendees can take a treat home. If you like the buffet approach, but aren’t drawn to candy, opt for a ice cream sundae bar with premium ice cream, frozen yogurt and all the toppings.

Lori Miller

When Lori’s career as a fashion designer didn’t quite pan out, she started blogging about fashion and the retail industry.

The Best Las Vegas Wedding Venues

By Rev. Alan Viau,

One of my favorite places to visit is Las Vegas, Nevada. Sun, margaritas and lots of weddings. It is the number one destination wedding location in the USA. There are fabulous wedding venues to fit your theme wedding.

Sweetheart and I went to Las Vegas to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in 2006. We immediately fell in love with the place. It is not the gambling that attracts us but the dry hot weather (hey, we’re from Canada), shows, food and attractions.

Like every tourist, we visited the various hotels on the strip. Of course, I visit the chapels.

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Las Vegas statistics show that Clark County, where the “Strip” is found, performed over 86,000 weddings in 2012. That is more weddings than either Los Angeles County or the Province of Ontario.

Yet, I found that Ottawa and Las Vegas share something in common with regards to weddings. I wrote in Love in the Capital that weddings can be themed as Rustic, Romantic and Urban Chic. Ottawa has all these themed wedding locations within easy reach. It turns out that Las Vegas hotels have these as well – some have all three themes at their location!

I took some time to look at a look at the best Las Vegas hotels and compiled a new eBook called Love in Las Vegas – a free download to check out what the top hotels offer as themed wedding venues. Please enjoy and let me know what you think and feel about it.

I am definitely due for another trip to Las Vegas…soon!

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A Free eBook for Your Dream Wedding Ceremony

By Rev. Alan Viau

See how you can get a Free eBook on planning your dream wedding ceremony. As part of marking 1o years of celebrating love in the capital, I am offering a giveaway of 10 of my eBooks, “From the Heart, Wedding Ceremonies that Work!”

I starting writing my blog for on-location wedding ceremonies in January 2010, six years after starting hitching up couples. A little while ago, I released a book and eBook that compiled all my advice on planning a successful on-location indoor or outdoor wedding ceremony.

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You’ll get lots of tips and advice in my eBook. But essentially, it comes down to three main things.

Have a Dream and Plan the Dream.

It used to be that you needed to conform to your religious institution’s demands for your wedding. When I was married 33 years ago, Sweetheart and I only had the choice of a few Bible readings.

Now you can have your dream wedding ceremony. It takes planning and careful execution. This eBook gives you tips on things you never thought of.

Plan It Together

Often I’ve heard the groom say, “Whatever she wants…” The most successful weddings have been those where both the bride and groom are intimately involved. It is a team effort to have the wedding of your dreams. You balance each other and stand together in the face of family pressures.

This is YOUR wedding. Focus on your love for each other and how this wedding is an expression of your relationship – from your heart.

Stick to the Script

Your wedding ceremony will be the most stressful part of your day. This is because you probably haven’t planned a wedding ceremony before. It is all new to you. In contrast, you have had parties previously and a receptions is just an elaborate one.

This may be your first wedding and you need to give it your best. Once you’ve agreed to a plan, stick to it. Don’t second guess yourself the day of. I had a groom, Mark, who offered up his right hand for the ring instead of his left – as a joke. It back fired. The bride was so flustered that she called him Mike instead. Stick to the plan and all will go well.

Here’s how you get the eBook.

Send me a message briefly describing your dream wedding. The 10 best entries by February 14, 2014 will receive my eBook. I’ll post the stories for all to share as inspirations.

Wishing you all the best and many blessings.

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The Summer Wedding

Picture a summertime scene: rich green foliage all around, the gardens in bloom, the flower beds bursting with colours.

So we’re having a wedding.  What colours to use?

To start with, I recommend lots of white and cool colours, like blues, yellows — provided, of course, that members of the wedding party are wearing colours that blues and yellows would go with.

Let’s say the attendants are wearing green and the bride is wearing white or ivory. If the bride is wearing ivory, match with ivory roses; if she’s in pure white, match with pure white roses.  The attendants carry bouquets of white daisies. To make them more exciting, maybe add some yellow garden roses and a few blue cornflowers.

A word about daisies.  There are several different types of daisies. If you are looking to use daisy chrysanthemums, several blooms on a stiff stem, in a hand-tied bouquet, you must strip most of the blooms off, leaving only the top few, and put them in the centre because the stem does not bend.  If you want most of the bouquet to be daisies, a bouquet holder is recommended.

Another type of daisy is the gerbera daisy, with a single bloom on the stem.  They can easily be made into a hand-tied bouquet; the stems are actually too thick and soft to be used in a bouquet holder. People sometimes get the two mixed up.

To carry on with the daisy theme, follow through with white daisies from the ceremony setting to the reception.  As an accent, add lots of Baby’s Breath.  Follow through with white daisy and Baby’s Breath centrepieces.

Again, if you want to get more exciting and create a “garden” look with some colour, use yellow snapdragons, white daisies, yellow garden roses, baby’s breath, and maybe some blue statice for the ceremony setting.

Follow the theme through to the reception, with centrepieces of daisies, garden roses, cornflowers, baby’s breath and statice on a bed of leather fern, lots of it.  The dish doesn’t really matter since you won’t see it anyway.

A suggestion, if you’re having a long head table, I suggest a garland looped across the front of the table made with asparagus fern and maybe some ivy, daisies and again lots of Baby’s Breath and statice. If you’re not into having a garland, consider long low centre pieces with daisies, garden roses, babies breath and statice.

These suggestions are for a garden themed wedding, indoors or outdoors.

Says, Bunches Bob

10 years of celebrating love in the Capital

By Rev. Alan Viau

This year marks 10 years of performing wedding ceremonies in our nation’s capital region. It has been a journey towards 1000 weddings and I’ve witnessed couples express their deepest love, highest hopes and searches for happiness. It has also been an adventure where every wedding was special and different. I’ve had to be nimble and quick sometimes and ad lib through unforeseen events.

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Pink Floyd’s song Time quips, “And then one day you find ten years have got behind you”. It certainly feels that way – ten years of performing weddings has whizzed by. Unlike the song, I have enjoyed the journey; a journey that will bring me through 1000 weddings this year. In this post, I thought I’d share answers to some of the most common questions couples ask me.

How did you get into officiating weddings?

It started as a paid acting gig. I was doing a lot of stage theatre and someone mentioned that wedding officiating is good weekend work. When you think about it, weddings are a bit of a show. There is a script, stage, costumes, props, lighting, and sound – all elements of a stage production. So every wedding I do takes into consideration all of the production elements. But then I fell in love with doing weddings. Weddings are a positive affirmation of love, life, and community…and, wow, I contribute to that.

Can you tell if the couple will make it?

I never judge. Life will write the couple’s history. Challenges to a marriage will come – there is no doubt about that. It is up to them whether they can ride out the storms. When challenges occur, the couple must ask themselves if love still exists between them. If not, then they may decide to go their own ways. I am grateful that today, people can make these decisions, permitting them to find love again.

What is the weirdest wedding you’ve performed?

All weddings are special and unique. Each depends on the couple and their ideas and circumstances. I am there to help translate their dream into reality. One of my favorite quotes from Robert Fulghum is “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”

You must have some good stories?

Yes lots of stories – most of which I describe in my blog. I figured out that performing weddings was going to be an interesting ride. I had a wedding on the shores of Big Rideau Lake in my first year. The bride and her party were to arrive at the dock by house boat. The groom and I and 80 guests could see the house boat in the middle of the lake… drifting away because the engine died. They managed to wave down a passing outboard boat and convinced the owner to ferry them to shore. Imagine a small boat filled with bride and bridesmaids standing in gowns arriving at the dock. Someone threw me the rope to moor them. I realized then that performing weddings was going to be an adventure.

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Getting Married the Second Time Around

By: Diane Farquhar, courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Every bride hopes that when she marries for the first time, it will last forever.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case due to unforeseen circumstances or things just not working out as planned.  But the big question after a failed marriage is… can you fall in love again?  Absolutely! And for some, the second time around may be even better than the first.

When it’s time to plan that second marriage, many couples decide on simplicity and elegance.  They are more mature at this point and likely know exactly what they want.  For many, the guest list is usually smaller, with only close family and friends.  I have met with several brides marrying for the second time who have remarked that their first wedding was large and lavish – something they do not want a second time around, you know the saying “been there done that”.

Couples will choose a small venue perhaps a little more quaint and quiet.  Most will do a ceremony on site followed by dinner and dancing.   Some couples are even choosing to do a late-night candle ceremony at around 8:00pm, followed by fruit and pastries or a Sunday morning brunch.   They really want to keep it scaled down but yet very elegant.

If you feel uncomfortable with guests purchasing a gift because they attended your first wedding, then choose to note “no gifts please” on your invitations.  It is a thoughtful gesture on your part, but you will find most people will not walk in empty-handed anyways.  Another fantastic idea would be to list your favourite charity for guests to make a donation to, in lieu of a gift.   If this is not an issue for your particular wedding then of course you will be accepting gifts.  You will find that many of these couples do not set up a wedding registry because they both have so many items already in their homes.  This is where a honeymoon registry  would come in handy.

In terms of a wedding dress, some brides may again choose to purchase a traditional wedding dress while others will decide on an evening or cocktail gown.  Just be aware that you can toss that “don’t wear white the second time around” rule right out the window. Hubby may choose to rent a tuxedo or just wear a dark suit.  Instead of a large bridal party you will likely see only one or two attendants maximum.  The floral bouquets can be made more simple and cost-efficient, for example by carrying a classy long stem rose instead of an entire elaborate bouquet.

If there are younger children involved from a previous marriage, do your best to include them in the planning stages.  Depending on their ages, they may take on the role of flower girl, ring bearer, or can perhaps do a reading at the ceremony. This will certainly help them to adjust with the new change in their lives and make them feel part of the family.

A wedding the second time around should be considered as a new beginning so don’t try to plan the wedding exactly like your first.  Don’t wear the same dress, choose a different location, and write your own new vows.  Ensure both families are part of the celebration and create a joyous atmosphere as you enter a new life with your significant other.

A joint credit card is a joint responsibility

(NC) Do you know that if you apply for a joint credit card with another person you are responsible for the transactions and debts connected to that account? Before signing anything, make sure you know your rights and responsibilities as a joint borrower, as follows:

Who is liable?

When you co-sign a credit card, you are taking on a serious commitment. The credit card issuer considers you, as the joint borrower, responsible for both the debt and the payments that need to be made to pay it back. If a borrower does not pay back the debt, the bank or financial institution may require the other borrower whose name is on the credit agreement to pay back the full amount.

Note: The conditions on certain credit cards may state that authorized users (secondary cardholders) can be held responsible for any outstanding balances, even if they didn’t sign the credit card application. Be sure to read the credit agreement carefully and get a clear understanding of who is responsible. In case of doubt, contact your credit card issuer.

What you are entitled to receive:

When a federally regulated financial institution agrees to issue you a credit card jointly with one or more other people, each borrower is entitled to receive the information documents. All joint borrowers must receive copies of the credit agreement and the monthly statements unless they consent either verbally or in writing (on paper or electronically) to waive this right.

To find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a joint borrower, visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website at itpaystoknow.gc.ca.

Charitable Weddings: A Wedding That Gives Back to the World

By Megan Emerson

Weddings are a time of joy, but they can also be a time of intense pressure. With the Canadian wedding industry topping $4 billion annually, the mantra of “more” and “bigger” has become commonplace. Some stressed-out brides- and grooms-to-be have committed to using their wedding to help make the world a better place. These are the couples that bring down their own stress levels by amping up their charity efforts.

Focus Outward

Two facts: Planning a wedding is stressful, and how we deal with stress is personal. Focusing outward when worry begins to take its toll takes your mind off your own troubles. By placing your focus on helping others, you shift your mind’s focus from your own anxiety. This little shift in perspective can ease much of the premarital stress. Look at the world as a whole, and suddenly the color of your cake-topper does not seem so important.

Photo by fhwrdh via Flickr

Make It Your Theme

If you really believe in your cause and want to do a charity-focused wedding, then make it your overall theme. The Knot features dozens of themed wedding ideas ranging from traditional to offbeat. You can have a traditional wedding with a charitable wraparound by incorporating benevolent giving into your bridal shower and registry using the I Do Foundation. They make it easy for guests to give to a charity in your name.

Pick your charity and build your theme around it. For example, the African elephant is listed as vulnerable by the AWF wildlife conservation. If saving wildlife is your thing, then do an elephant-themed wedding and promote donations to the AWF. YouTube features a beautiful wedding video with an elephant theme. It is inspired by Indian weddings and is elegant and unique. Check out the clip below:

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A heart-themed wedding works well for the Canadian Red Cross, and pink ribbons are beautiful representations of breast cancer awareness.

Envision a Better World

A charitable wedding does not need to solve all world’s problems. The goal is to integrate the couple’s dedication to a particular cause into the joy of the ceremony and reception. Consider asking your guests to join you in envisioning a world of peace, and then remind them that there are donation cards available. This is a time to introduce yourselves as advocates and leaders.

Photo by Skakerman via Flickr

Remember that this is your wedding, and the people attending have been chosen by you to help you celebrate your love. You can encourage them to do something good for the world. After all, in a little while you will have them doing the chicken dance. The most important part of a charitable wedding is that you make it your own. Make it a memory that, like your love, will last forever.

Megan Emerson

A New Jersey native, Megan got a degree in English literature, then married a military man and had three kids. She holds down the fort at home and blogs for fun.