Newly Married & Splitting Up the Holidays?

Courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Newly Married & Splitting Up the Holidays?

The holidays are just around the corner and the family gatherings and social functions are soon to begin.  But here comes the big question: as an engaged or newly married couple, how do you split your time between both families?



You both probably have traditions that have taken place for years that you don’t want to miss.  How does one decide which family to spend it with?

First and foremost, communication between the two of you is the most important thing.  Try not to involve your family members in this at first, because that is likely to cause more stress in making a decision.  Try to reach a common ground between the two of you and stick to it.

You must consider some factors when making your decision on where you will be for the holidays, such as where both families are located.  If they are all within the same city, then splitting your time should not be a huge issue.  You can do Christmas Eve at one home and Christmas Day at another.  If your family traditionally does Christmas Day but your fiance’s family does as well, then the decision becomes more difficult.  A second consideration is your ethnic background… I’m thinking My Big Fat Greek Wedding here.  Come on, you’ve all seen it! Family size and traditions play a huge part in holiday decision making.

Perhaps you can plan a daytime event such as a Christmas breakfast with one side of the family, so you can attend other festivities in the evening.  You could also try drinks and appetizers at one party, then head to the other for dinner and dessert.  It’s all about compromise and you certainly can make that happen.  Both sets of families will be understanding, even if mom may be a little sad to see her baby grow up.  I promise, true family will not be offended with your decision!

Another great solution is offering to host a Christmas Day party for the first time as a married couple and try to invite both sides of the family (assuming they all get along).  This will certainly help to avoid who you are choosing and is nice to bring both sides together.  Now, for the following year it may not be as difficult splitting the holidays.

If both of your families live far away from each other, then you need to discuss who you will spend your time with.  Of course, if the cost is astronomical to do both then you must pick one.  If there is a way to travel to both sets of parents, then choose one to spend Christmas with, and the other for New Year’s.

There are many holidays in a year, so don’t forget about events such as birthdays, Easter, or Thanksgiving, which you can alternate between families as well.  The most important thing is to share these special days with both sides of the family, because they are just as instrumental to the relationship as the couple themselves.

As they say….when you marry, you marry the family!  So make these little moments count.

Tips to Plan a Socially Conscious Wedding

Tips to Plan a Socially Conscious Wedding

The selfish bridezilla might soon face extinction – many blushing brides now plan weddings that benefit others. From donating leftover food to renting “green” venues, couples are finding creative ways to improve lives as they start new lives together.

CharityChoice, a nonprofit organization that promotes charitable giving, offers the following tips for couples hoping to give back even as they celebrate their union:

• Put charities on your wedding registry. Instead of listing KitchenAid stand mixers and new cutlery on your registry, ask guests to donate to charitable causes that are meaningful to you as their wedding gift. For example, their Web site,, allows couples to create wedding gift registries that name the organizations that they want to benefit. A pair of animal lovers might name the American Humane Society, while tree-huggers might ask guests to donate to Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. You may select your favorites from CharityChoice’s broad list of organizations. You can also have a personalized Web page and e-invitations and download graphic themes for your printer.

• Waste not, want not. Find ways to reduce the amount of waste generated by your big day. For example, print invitations on recycled paper or donate any leftover food to a local food rescue. Encourage bridesmaids to donate their dresses, perhaps to an organization that provides prom dresses to impoverished high-school students. You can even donate your wedding flowers to hospitals or nursing homes, where they’ll be sure to brighten someone’s day.

• Give donations as wedding favors. Instead of providing standard wedding favors, give your guests a charity gift card. You can pre-select a list of causes that are especially meaningful to you or allow recipients to choose from a larger list of over a hundred major charities. The charities are organized into 13 different categories, including children’s charities, causes for health and disease and environmental and disaster-relief organizations, so every recipient will be able to find a cause that is close to their heart.

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Always the Bridesmaid? You Can Wear the Dresses Again

Always the Bridesmaid? You Can Wear the Dresses AgainAlways the Bridesmaid? You Can Wear the Dresses Again (349)

(NewsUSA) – “And you’ll be able to wear it again!” is a phrase often used around bridesmaids’ dresses. Because a ridiculously expensive lime-green taffeta shepherdess gown is appropriate for almost any occasion, and the Peter Pan collar is poised to make a comeback any century now.

If you’re one of the many women who has piles of Pepto-Bismol-colored ruffles stuffed in the back of her closet, never fear -; you will be able to wear that dress again. Host an old bridesmaids’ dress party, and the good times may even blot out the embarrassment of having had to wear that dress in the first place.

Where to start? The concept is simple — invite all of your girlfriends over, and tell them to wear their most hideous bridesmaid dress. Not only will you get to rewear the bridesmaids’ dresses of weddings past, you’ll also get to laugh at some of the more hideous outfits. Note: if you were a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding, either don’t invite her or try not to wear the dress she chose, even if it does include a tutu and puffed sleeves.

Adding an inexpensive spin to classic elegance is the way to go. Skip the chips and dip in favor of a fruit-and-cheese platter. For a refreshing twist on champagne, the traditional wedding libation, pick up a few bottles of a fruit-flavored sparkling wine. Arbor Mist (, which is known for fruit and wine combinations like Strawberry White Zinfandel and Blackberry Merlot, has recently released a line of sparkling wines. Both the Peach Sparkle and the Raspberry Sparkle combine light and crisp sparkling wine with natural fruit, creating the perfect refreshment for a get-together with your girlfriends.

For entertainment, ask each woman to tell the story behind her bridesmaid dress. You can also have fun playing a wedding-themed round of Pictionary or charades. You can also hold a vote to find out, for once and for all, which one of you had to endure the wearing the worst bridesmaid dress.

For more information about Arbor Mist wines, visit

Mother of the Groom Wants to Help with Your Wedding Planning

Courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Mother of the Groom wants to help……what do you do when your future mother-in-law wants to help plan your wedding?

Weddings are a very stressful time for all involved and as difficult it can be between a bride and her own mother, there can be some tension when your future mother-in-law wants to participate.

Weddings are a joyous occasion and the mother of the bride will take part in many aspects of the wedding planning. You always hear “I’m the mother of the bride” as if it gives her the okay to take charge and yes she does have some say! If a disagreement should arise it is very easy for the bride to take her mom aside and have a heart to heart conversation.

When dealing with your future husbands mom you may have to tread a little lighter.   The wedding for her son is a very big deal for her as well and she wants to be part of his special day.  She will want to help out with whatever she can.  Do you make you feel wanted and comfortable?  Of course you do as you are now part of her family.  You may not want to give her too much to keep control on things but do pass on some smaller tasks such as making or boxing favours, helping with the invitations or perhaps baking some pastries for the reception.  She will be happy to help.

Your fiance will be also be happy that you included his mom and it will set a good tone for your future daughter-in-law / mother in law relationship.  Sure you may not agree with everything she does or says but if you have open communication you will be able to share your feelings.

Best Day Ever – Best Glamour Ever

By Rev. Alan Viau

The Best Day Ever wedding show was a sparkling event that had everyone thrilled. The events was organized by Meaghan at the Handmade Bride  and I was part of the stupendous team headed by wedding planner, Elise, of Toast Special Events. The result was that a new standard was set for glamour and romantic weddings in Ottawa.

The idea of the Best Day Ever was to showcase side by side two wedding themes in one venue:  glamour and rustic. Brides and grooms at the event could see what a fully implemented wedding would look like and how it would be experienced. The event included a ceremony, cocktails, full reception and dance party at the fabulous Museum of Nature.

A a couple who was chosen for us. Mike and Andrea have been together for 10 years and have two wonderful girls, Leah and Charlotte.

I put together a vow renewal ceremony just for them. At their wedding, they didn’t get to repeat the standard vows and only affirmed “I Do.” Their one request was to be able to re-do that part of their wedding. I also included the girls as part of this family event.

Elise put together a stunning reception decor that took everyone’s breath away. Multi-level tables, glitter, soft colors and beautiful accents and flowers made the room shine with glam and bling.

The guests were treated to mouth-watering and visually appealing food that had Twitter and Instagram all alight.

After the meal, the traditional first dance and ensuing dance party revved up the evening to cap off the event.

We couldn’t have done it without the superb vendors for this event:

  • Toast Special Events
  • Barbara Ann Studios
  • AllSeasonsWeddings
  • Ania Hejnar, Soprano
  • Flowers Talk Tivoli
  • Mastermind Events
  • Party Time Rental
  • Marco Ferri Entertainment
  • Paperstudio
  • Top Knot Hair
  • Catherinescakery
  • Sparklingexpressions
  • Graziegifts
  • Mdrnphotoboothcompany
  • Petite Event Co
  • Natalie Peachy Makeup
  • Letsgoupnorth

“Day Of” Wedding Coordinator Can Help Ease the Stress

Courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Many couples will select a family member or close friend to head to the venue site on the day of the wedding.  However, think about is this person in the wedding party or not (usually they are).  Do they really have time for last minute running around?

Wedding coordinator

The venue you have selected most likely has a catering manager who can act as an event coordinator, but he or she will not be YOURS personally.  Many hotels and venues often have more than one wedding running at the same time.  It is very unlikely that the on-site event catering manager can take care of smaller details such as placement of favours, the cake knife, etc…  Their main concern is that the food and beverage and floor plan has been been provided as per your specifications.

Many companies or individuals offer a “day-of-wedding coordinator”.  They will be with you from the early morning making sure the girls and guys are getting ready and the vendors are on time with their services.  They will head over to the venue site and ensure all details have been met.  Floor pan will be checked, favours will be placed out, seating cards and table numbers are arranged, cake knife, guest book, pen and bride and groom glasses in place.

They will ensure the wedding cake and band or DJ have arrived and are set up in a timely manner.  The day-of coordinator will remain at the reception site to ensure all details have been met and trouble shoot any issues that may arise.  They can work as the liaison on the night of the reception with the floor manager on timing of receiving line, dinner, speeches and late night sweet table.  They will remain with you until the end of the night helping you pack up your items.

How to apply true Holiday glam on-the-go

How to apply true Holiday glam on-the-go

We know you’re busy planning your wedding, but what about those holiday parties? Don’t fret, here’s some quick tips for make-up on the fly.

holiday makeup tips

During the Holiday season, are you one of those people running from the office to a party with only enough time to quickly swipe on lipstick – often without the benefit of a mirror?  With a few simple tricks, taking your look from desk to dancing is as easy as it is gorgeous, as follows:


Start with a neutral colour across the eyelid, plus a sweep of shimmer under the arch of the brow and the inside corner of the eye for a naturally highlighted look.


As the sun sets take a more vibrant shade and blend it close to the lash line. Lightly dust the deeper colour through the crease of the eyelid to create a glamorous, eye popping look. Reach for bold hues of green, purple, orange and blue, blended with touches of metallic.  These colours define the looks seen all over the winter runway.

A great combination shadow set that takes the guesswork out of matching colours is Estee Lauder’s Pure Colour Envy with five shades in each palette. Its convenient size is also perfect for those busy days to nights on the go.

Matte red lips are also having a big impact proving that less is more when it comes to shine factor. Brands such as Clinique and Lancôme from a leading cosmetics retailer like Sears, come in all the season’s best colours and are great investments in your Holiday make-up kit.

When applying (or re-applying) lipstick, a matching lip pencil in a shade slightly lighter than your lip colour acts as a base, helping to define your lips and keep the colour from bleeding – no matter how late your night.

More information on Holiday glam and special seasonal offers are available at

The Crucial 30 Minutes Before the Wedding

By Rev. Alan Viau

There is a lot of excitement building up to the wedding day. The frenetic pace and stress of planning are about to culminate. The wedding ceremony is the beginning of the festivities. The 30 minutes before the ceremony begins is when it all comes together or… needs adjustments.

Wedding planners tell me that it takes about 250 hours to plan a wedding. That is like having a part-time job for a year. There are lists and choices to be made. Discussions and perhaps heated ones about those choices. Planning a wedding tries the metal of a relationship.

I find that couples feel that the ceremony is the most stressful part of their big day. It is understandable. Most people have organized a party before. A reception is just a bigger party. However, they have not planned a wedding ceremony. If they come to me, the ceremony is usually at the same location as the reception. Therefore the wedding ceremony is a pre-reception event that takes planning as well. There is additional stress because much of the planning falls on the couple’s shoulders instead of showing up at a church and doing what they say.

All this to say that when I meet up with the bride and groom about 30 minutes before the ceremony – they are at the height of their stress. In that time, I see all sorts of behavior – from calm/cool/collected to the ultimate bridezilla (and sometimes groomzilla too).

The brides and grooms who are calm are the ones who have everything planned out and implemented. Often they have a person designated for the day to take care of the details. This could be a wedding planner or a friend. Another characteristic of these couples is that they ‘let go’ of the little things – they also ‘let go’ of themselves to enjoy the day. You find these brides and grooms really being in the moment with their bridesmaids and grooms just before the ceremony – perhaps have a last toast with friends.

Sometimes the events get off the rails. One poor bride this summer, got to the Wakefield venue, Le Belevedere, only to realize that her wedding dress had been left behind at home in Orleans – a one hour drive away. She was very upset, of course. The dress arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the ceremony.

At this point, what the bride needs is flexibility and understanding from her vendors. All of us – the venue, photographer and me – told her to take the time she needed to settle and get ready. The ceremony started 1 hour and 15 minutes past the scheduled time. But that didn’t matter because she was now able to enjoy her day. I received a nice note from her later acknowledging and appreciating this indulgence.

The 30 minutes before the ceremony begins is the crucial time for the unfolding of the day’s events. Planning and ‘letting go’ are great ways to ensure you have a great time. However, sometimes flexibility is needed to put events back on track when they are derailed.

5 Steps Towards Planning your Wedding

By Genevieve Pelletier

So you just got engaged, and are excited to start your journey?  Congratulations and welcome to the crazy world of wedding planning! You may feel overwhelmed with all the information flowing rapidly towards you, but let us help you narrow down where to start.

1. Create a mood board

When someone first recommended this to me I thought they were crazy. I didn’t understand why I would need to collect pictures of colours, flowers and ideas. I had them all in my head, and I thought that was good enough. I don’t like admitting this, but I was wrong. Way wrong. It’s an excellent way to help narrow down all those ideas you have running wild in your head. So when you go to the florist or your venue, you will be able to give them exact descriptions of what you want.

2. Decide big or small

This step will guide everything you do in the planning. Before you book anything you need to sit down with your soon-to-be-spouse and decide. Do you want a grand luxurious affair, or a small intimate affair? Your friends and family will have their opinions on this, but if you have already decided, it will be easier to stay true to what you really want.

3. Home or away

This one is simple. Where do you want to get married? Do you want to get married in your home town, where you live or in a tropical destination? There are pros and cons with all the choices. Having your wedding in your home town will be easiest for your family, but might mean your friends from college can’t attend. A destination wedding can be exotic and exciting, but too expensive for many guests to attend. This may be one of the hardest decisions to make, but important.

4. Wedding season

What time of year would you like to get married? This will influence the atmosphere and style of your special day. Would you like a winter wonderland wedding, or a summer garden party? This one decision will dictate most of your decor ideas you will have to make. The season chosen will also affect your clothing choices, food choices, and transportation. Many things depend on the weather, and season your wedding falls on.

5. Pick the big day

Are guests coming from afar ? Want a certain time of year, venue or ceremony space ? You may have to give people time to plan, or your reception space may be booked up years in advance. Picking a date will help you start booking the places you want, and will help your guests plan to attend.

These five steps are a great starting point, and will help you focus where to begin. Now get out there and plan.