She Wed Her Knight in (Not) Shining Armor

When I asked Barry and Debbie to recall that “first glance of acquaintance” this is what they had to say. Picture this: 6 am on a Sunday morning, 40 below zero, and some lady next door trying over and over again to start her van.  After about the 8th try, the lady looks up and what does she see…. Why…her knight in shining armor of course!

OK…well maybe not quite… he was a neighbor she’d yet to meet, standing there giving her time the out sign. He wore what appeared to be nothing more than a bathrobe and work boots!

His balding head and skinny bare legs would never be forgotten. They got the van started and it barely made it out of the driveway – it died in the middle of the road – just far enough block it off in both directions. A tow truck was called to rescue the van.

A couple of days later, Barry and his son Michael received some home baked muffins. And Debbie and Barry’s  love story continued from there.

Their wedding was held at Strathmere Inn – a venue where I often perform weddings.

Debbie was walked down the aisle by her father. When they were in front of me, I asked their kids to come forward – Debbie’s triplets and Greg’s son. I asked who presented the bride today and the kids answered “We do.”

A reading was chosen that certainly spoke to their meeting, from Hugh Walpole.

The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.




It was a beautiful service proving that love can show up at any time… even at -40 degrees!



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We Love Peonies! Do you?

By Dominique Levesque, The Dress Expert

Summer flowers gardens are in full bloom. What’s your favourite flower? Do you get inspired by nature? I sure do. This week on The Dress Expert it’s all about the peony, one very popular wedding flower.


The peony is a very beautiful and delicate flower that comes in a variety of color from soft pastels to bright and vivid tones. Perfect for spring and early summer weddings. Many bridal designers get inspired from the luxurious delicate layered petals to create breathtaking gowns.


Peonies are also great as a theme for the wedding. It’s easy to add peonies as an accent on your cake, centerpieces, invitations, etc. And because so many colours are available you still have a lot of flexibility with your color scheme.


For more inspiration, check out our “Love Peonies” board on Pinterest.

4 things not to overlook when planning a wedding

You found the perfect venue, booked the DJ, supervised the menu, and laboured over the seating chart, and you’re finally ready for your wedding day — or are you? With all of the details that go into planning nuptials, certain things can fall through the cracks. To help you out with the process – and let you focus on making this the greatest day of your life – keep the following in mind:



1. Protect Your Gifts
You went to a lot of effort to register for gifts, sifting through near countless choices to find things you truly want and your friends and family narrowed that list down even further. And while you’re appreciative, you probably won’t spend the day watching the gift table. However, there is a certain risk involved.

“In the past several years, we have seen a marked increase in the amount of insurance claims made on stolen wedding gifts,” says Shirley Parchoma with Western Financial Group. “While most people don’t realize it, these are insurable beforehand, so it’s worth contacting your provider to make sure theft doesn’t spoil your big day.”

2. Take Care of Your Home
Typically, weddings are a tale of two venues – the official and the personal. Likely, at least some of the occasion will take place at your home, whether it be a meal beforehand, an after-party, or simply out-of-town guests staying over.

Undoubtedly, you have prepared for this by stocking the fridge, laying out the linens, and cutting a few extra keys. But have you thought of everything? For instance, as with any event you are legally responsible for your guests and their behaviour, so you want to seek out a specialty insurance package, which will safeguard you against any unforeseen accidents or mishaps.

3. Wedding Rings are a Bigger Investment than You Think
With the high cost of engagement rings and wedding bands, the thought of losing either is a justified fear. Sure, you will always take extra care of them, but a lot can happen on your honeymoon or in your home. Though you will never be able to avoid the high emotional cost of losing a ring, you can protect yourself from financial vulnerability by adding them to your contents and travel insurance so, should anything go wrong, you can replace them expediently.

4. Prepare for the Unexpected
Even the simplest plans face difficulties, and a wedding presents a different scenario entirely. What if something goes awry, such as a sudden emergency, a travel interruption, or any other incident or occurrence that will cause you to cancel at the last minute? Will you lose everything you’ve already invested?

“Any major undertaking comes with its own set of risks, yet there are many steps you can take to protect yourself,” Parchoma points out. “And one of those is talking to an insurance broker.”

With all of the thought, planning, and emotion that goes into a wedding, you want to know that you are fully protected against unwanted surprises. By following this advice, you can concentrate on the thing that really matters: having an unforgettable day. Additional information on insurance for your wedding day is available at

Shona & Bharath’s Secret Wedding

Rev. Alan Viau

“Alan, would you please marry us secretly?” my friends, Shona and Bharath, asked me discreetly. They wanted to announce it to his parents in India after they were married. So we arranged a small private wedding at their home on a Sunday morning before I had to be at Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat rehearsals.

The wedding was held with Bharath, Shona, their three kids, Rori, Katie, and TJ, and about six close friends. At 10 am, Shona and party came down the stairs to a cleared dining room. You can tell from the photo how  happy they are to be there and the love there is between them.

Rori, the eldest, did an excellent job with her reading.

Everyone got to sign the register. Especially little TJ.

And there was a really special moment when all of them repeated vows as a family unit. I asked them to please repeat after me:

“Together, we promise to love and respect the newly created family, brought together in love. Poor or rich, sick or healthy, happy or sad, we commit ourselves to each other today. let us rejoice in the happiness we have found and be strong for one another so that our family will not be broken.”

They were excited when I declared them married.

and then wild dancing broke out in the house…a la Bollywood!

I made my way to the rehearsal feeling all mushy inside. I had difficulty not telling all our common music theatre friends what had happened.

It was especially heartwarming when I saw the family attend one of the shows a week later. All the kids came and gave me a big hug… and I was mush again.

How to Ask Your Family to Help with Wedding Costs

Courtesy of I Just Said Yes

How do you ask your family to help out with some of the wedding bills?  By the time you add up the dress, limo,  venue and caterer, flowers, music, photographer, wedding cake, and so much more,  you will be amazed at your final tally.

First and most important rule is don’t spend more than you can afford.  A very nice and elegant wedding can be done on a budget.

In the past, parents of the bride would traditionally pay for the wedding while the groom’s parents took care of the rehearsal dinner.  Boy, has this changed.  More and more couples are paying for the wedding on their own and finding it very difficult to stay within their budget.  What can you do for help?

Obviously both sets of parents are going to contribute some type of monetary gift to the wedding.  The best thing you can do is set out a budget, put down all the items you would like to have and attach a cost associated with it.   Once this has been completed then set up a night with both sets of parents to let me know where you stand and areas you may need assistance in.  “Old school” parents want to see everything on paper and know exactly what you are spending.  See what their reactions are like because they may come out and say they are going to contribute a certain dollar amount.  If they don’ t say anything at all then you should approach the topic carefully and ask if they would help with a couple of things.

Costumed Wedding at a Public Park

By Rev. Alan Viau

This was my second guerrilla wedding of the year. Everyone was to show up at Hog’s Back Falls… in costume. Gerry and Monique, both in their 50’s, wanted something special for their day.

It was a thrill to meet Gerry and Monique at our planning meeting. I really am encouraged when I see people fall in love for the second time. Gerry is divorced and Monique is a widow. When their life handed them these difficult experiences, it was inspiring that they have moved beyond them and found themselves totally in love.

With this sense of renewed love and perhaps a little of childish giddiness, they decided that they were dressing in a Lord of the Rings theme. Gerry was a King and Monique a Fairie. I went along dressed as a Hobbit. They invited their guests to arrive in any costume they had and to join in the fun.

That Sunday, Hog’s Back Park was packed with people enjoying the sunny day. The Society for Creative Anachronism, who were also partially in costume, were practicing. Other people were in garb for the Pirates Adventures.  It didn’t seem strange for about 30 people to show up in various costumes for a wedding.

We gathered at the look-out point where there is a low rise stone wall among trees. Gerry and Monique said their own vows to each other. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.

I performed a handfasting which seemed really fitting to the costumes. And of course the kiss seemed magical.

Afterwards we dispersed… disappearing among all the other costumed people in the park. Congratulations Gerry and Monique!


Behid the Dress – Mae

Content derived from the Vera Wang Blog, Vera Unveiled.

Light ivory strapless stretch mikado mermaid gown with hand draped bodice and sculptural floral and pleated silk organza skirt with raffia accents

In Mae, sleek stretch Mikado and a beautiful bouquet of rosettes make this one of the most romantic gowns in the collection this season. From the soft curves in the body, to the lush contrast of textures, every part of this dress comes together in a way that creates a totally glamorous picture of the bride.

Every season I do a stretch Mikado dress, because it’s a fabric that instantly makes you feel comfortable and confident. It moves with your body, and eases up throughout the day as you wear it. Here, I’ve used it in the bodice, with a very delicate sweetheart neckline leads that into a sweep of very light, asymmetrical draping. It creates an incredibly flattering silhouette!

The skirt is where the dress really becomes quite spectacular, with all the exaggerated rose petals, tight pleating, and dense variations in texture that I love to incorporate in some way each season. It all starts with geometric rose petals. First, geometric rose petals—rosettes—start at the top as really small, tight clusters. They suddenly get larger and more dramatic as you get towards the hem.

I’ve also incorporated organic, highly textured flowers made from raffia, a very crispy material—it reminds me of something very organic, like straw, or papier mâché. When you weave the raffia in between all these floating, airy layers of transparent pleated organza and circular rosettes, a very interesting tension starts to happen between soft and hard textures. In the end, the skirt incorporates all the different textures that flowers naturally have, and really turns them into sculpture.

Mae is a complete celebration of life and movement. Whimsical and organic, she’s the bride-as-bouquet!


Weddings with Special Needs Take Planning

By Rev. Alan Viau

Love knows no boundaries. People fall in love with each other despite challenges. For some, that challenge is more than just a personality quirk, it is a physical issue. It takes a little extra planning to ensure that your wedding can accommodate your physical needs. As a result you will have the wedding of your dreams.

I met Eloise and Peter and it was evident how much they love each other. Both in their early forties, they were as cuddly and tender with each other as any younger couples I’ve met. We became very comfortable with each other quickly and they said, “You’re the extrovert we’ve been looking for to do our wedding!”

We started delving into the details of their wedding ceremony. Eloise explained that she couldn’t stand very long because of her rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. We planned a very short ceremony where they would sit for most of it. Eloise and Peter would only stand for their vows.

Both medical conditions that Eloise has can vary from day to day. The day of the wedding was a good day. She was feeling good.

Nonetheless, we went through with the plan. It was a lovely ceremony with lots of love.

This is not the first time where I’ve needed to accommodate the special needs of either the bride or groom. I’ve officiated for a hearing impaired bride, a groom in a wheelchair and even a groom with a full leg cast. With a little planning any wedding can occur while taking into consideration special needs.


Why Your Marriage Deserves Joint Accounts



After the wedding excitement is over and the honeymoon has come to an end, it’s back to the real world. With so many decisions to make as husband and wife, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, especially when it comes to financial matters. If you’ve been avoiding the dreaded budget and finance conversation, you’re not alone.

Many couples opt to keep finances separate in hopes of evading money arguments. But a recent study featured in the New York Post reports couples who pool 80 percent of their finances are much happier than those who pool 70 per cent or less. The study adds that people who keep all their income to themselves in a relationship are the least happy. Take charge of your financial future and streamline your accounts for a lifetime of wedded bliss.


More than complete and total trust, having joint finances instills confidence in each other’s financial capabilities. You’re proving your commitment to your financial future as a couple, not individuals. When money becomes a shared responsibility, both parties feel an instant responsibility toward each other’s monetary well-being.

To get the conversation going, financial guru Dave Ramsey suggests that couples should openly discuss how different views on money can complement one another. Rather than looking at transparency from an independence-losing stand point, consider it a form of empowerment. The added accountability creates a positive exchange in communication and enables amicable decision making based on common ground. Meaning you won’t need written permission from your spouse for financial matters as you’ll both be in the know and on the same page.

Team Work

Now that you’ve tied the knot, you are a team. That doesn’t mean losing your individuality but it does mean becoming selfless about your future hopes and dreams. The best part of it is, as a unit, you’ll help each other achieve those goals, push each other to work harder and eventually celebrate those achievements together. This requires letting go of labels like “my money,” or “your money” because now everything that’s yours is “ours.” Changing your mindset is the toughest hurdle, but once you commit to shared goals, you’ll feel better equipped to handle the monetary roller coaster as a unified force rather than as two individuals.

Not sure how to get organized? Use apps like Mint, both parties can have mobile access to accounts so you can work hand-in-hand toward common goals from anywhere. The adjustment period may seem tough, but in the long run, successful shared banking translates into a stronger union of equals. As long as you work together, you shouldn’t face any surprises when it comes to your finances.


Think of your partner as the pinch hitter of your team. By combining all of your accounts and providing each other with full access, you can back each other up when one is down. Bundle all financials including phone plans, Internet, insurance and of course, the mortgage. What’s more, by combining all of your accounts and utilities, you’ll likely qualify for bundled savings. If this translates into left-over cash from your established budget you can both decide on the best way of making use of it. Treat yourselves to a fine dining experience, a romantic getaway or a relaxing couples massage. Reward yourselves for your hard work and use it as motivation for continued success.

Wedding Napkins: Fold and Colour

Courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Napkins may not be something that immediately comes to mind when you begin your wedding planning, but always know that the right fold or colour at your reception can add that perfect pizzazz to your decor.  Many brides might not consider the amount of selection they have in choosing their napkins. Let’s look at colour first:

Some brides choose napkins in bold colours that compliment their decor while others prefer to keep the things simple and neutral.  If you have a splash of color in your centerpieces you, may want to keep the napkins a simple white or ivory.  Should you choose a candelabra or candles with no distinct colour, then choosing a napkin that compliments the colour of the table settings is your best option.  To make your napkins stand out on the table, highlight them by placing them in a wine or coffee cup at each place.  Remember, do not put the napkin in a water glass if the venue’s staff pours the water just prior to guest arrival.  Also, keep in mind a bold coloured napkin (scarlett, tangerine, purple) will be very noticeable in the room, especially if elevated in a glass.  Ask yourself: do you want to look at a sea of red when you walk into the venue?

You may not think twice about the napkin fold and some venues place them the same way for each event.  There are a variety of  folds and designs that can be created such as a fan, bird of paradise, pocket, flat, or tuxedo to name a few.  If you are planning to set out a menu card at each place, then slide it into the napkin’s tuxedo or pocket fold.  This looks extremely elegant.  If you don’t have a menu but are using assigned seating, take the name card and slip into the top of the napkin pocket fold so the guest can see their name before they take their seat.  If you are setting out a favour/wedding gift, you could place half the folded napkin on the table with the other end hanging over the table’s edge.  Simply place your favor on top of the center of the napkin.

Ask your catering manager to go over the colours and folds available to you.  Use the multitude of resources the Internet offers for some unique ideas – try a Google search or even check out some YouTube videos. Remember, try to be creative and have fun with your ideas.  All these ‘little touches’ do make a huge difference in the final setting of the table, so don’t overlook them!