The Top 9 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

The Top 9 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner (And Why She is Basically Your New Best Friend)

By Anastasia Marie, CEO and Creative Director of Anastasia Marie Wedding and Lifestyle PR

Top 9 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

Think that wedding planners are reserved for the privilege few? WRONG! For today’s modern couples set to tie the knot, wedding planners have become a vital part of the wedding planning process. Full-time jobs, school, children and the overall hectic pace of our lives today has made wedding planning a stressful venture for many couples who  simply do not have the time to invest in full-time planning.

Today, wedding planners are seen as an investment in wedding planning sanity. Here are a few reasons why wedding planners have become a “go-to” vendor, and why your wedding planner will basically become your new best friend!

1.     She wants you to have the perfect day

Let’s be honest, there are only so many times that you can bring up your love of marsala with your best friend, before she starts to question your sanity. Luckily, your wedding planner totally gets your obsession, and even encourages it! A wedding planner put your needs first. After all, it’s her full-time job to make your dreams a reality. With a wedding planner, every last wedding detail is taken care of. From finding a ceremony and reception venue, to signing your wedding vendors and finding the perfect shade of crimson lipstick, your wedding planner has your back like no other. A wedding planner is only happy if you’re happy. Your perfect day is her perfect day.

2.     She is tough when it comes to staying on budget

Weddings can be expensive. Unfortunately, with so many beautiful wedding options out there, it’s all too easy to say “bye-bye” to a budget, no matter how strict you are with your finances. A wedding planner makes budgeting a breeze. Contractually obligated to stay under a certain price point that you have set out in advance, your wedding planner will have a much easier time saying “no way” to that pair of Louboutins than you will. What’s more, your wedding planner’s knowledge of the wedding industry and its vendors will allow her to have more negotiating power when it comes to wedding vendor price lists, and who doesn’t like a deal?

3.     She is great at settling family drama

No wedding is complete without a little bit of family drama. All families are different, and whether it’s your crazy uncle or your sister-in-law who is bound to be late, your wedding planner has the ability to deal with interruptions, rowdy guests and late-comers so that you can concentrate on getting married. Your wedding planner’s ability to create a smooth, seamless and stress-free family occasion is paramount in making sure that your wedding memories are positive ones.

4.     She takes the stress out of wedding planning

Wedding planning is a stressful venture. Financial pressure, guest lists, vendor negotiations, and all of the nuptial celebrations in between, can have a negative impact on couples. Hiring a wedding planner allows you to keep stress to a minimum. No matter what stage of the wedding planning process you are in, a wedding planner has the ability to take on some, or all, of the wedding coordination and planning so that you can concentrate on what matters most, the love you have for your partner.

5.     She knows which wedding vendors to trust – and which ones to avoid

Not all wedding vendors are created equal. While most have the best intentions, some are just bad eggs. A good wedding planner works closely with local vendors and is well acquainted with those that are professional, courteous and fair. Plus, when it comes down to signing, your wedding planner knows the ropes. She can help you make sure that you are getting the best bang for your dollar, that you are receiving quality products, and aren’t being swindled.

6.     She understands the time crunch

Wedding planners, by nature, are hyper-organized. Detail-oriented and fiercely loyal to their clients, good wedding planners make you a priority and understand that all weddings operate on a timeline. Wedding planners know that, in “wedding time”, one year of planning flies by. Your wedding planner makes sure that you have accounted for all of your vendors, that your vendors are signed in a timely fashion and that they are paid on time. In addition, you wedding planner understands how to orchestrate a wedding from start to finish. Not interested in having your ceremony time run into cocktail hour? Your wedding planner help you avoid scheduling errors that can make your wedding fall off the rails.

7.     She understands your vision, and can make it a reality

Every love story is different and it is the little touches, those little hints of who you are as a couple, that make your wedding unique and special. Almost everyone has an idea of what they want their wedding to look like. Unfortunately, not everyone has the artistic flair or creative design skills to make it a reality. Many good wedding planners have a background in design and have the ability to articulate your dreams and ideas. Are you looking to have a vintage chic wedding but don’t know where to start? Maybe you love riding horses and want there to be a riding theme to the celebration. Whatever the look you are going for, wedding planners can set a mood through event design that is sure to make your day memorable and unique.

8.     She can make your destination wedding manageable

Thinking of going down south to say “I do”? Though unquestionably beautiful, destination weddings carry their own unique set of challenges including weather forecasting, travel arrangements and hotel accommodations in addition to the regular wedding planning process. A good wedding planner has connections to travel planners and, together, both of these professionals can help you navigate the world of destination weddings in stride while making sure that, once you arrive at your destination, your wedding is exactly how you planned it.

9.     She is a great friend

When hiring a wedding planner, it is essential that you find someone who you get along with. More than just a wedding coordinator, a good wedding planner understands that her job doesn’t stop at organizing. For the duration of your wedding planning process, your wedding planner will be your friend and confidant. She will be there to celebrate with you and will be there to lean on. The best wedding planners understand that it is a privilege to be involved in what often amounts to be one of the most important occasions in their client’s lives. At the end of the day, your wedding planner finds happiness and fulfillment in seeing your dreams come true with the one you love, and who could ask for a better friend then that?

Anastasia Marie is the CEO and Creative Director of Anastasia Marie Wedding and Lifestyle PR, a full-service wedding planning firm in the Ottawa area. Anastasia is obsessed with all things wedding related and is proud to be a “best friend for hire”!

Winners of the 2nd Ottawa Wedding Awards‏

By Rev. Alan Viau
Photos by: S&C Photography

The Ottawa wedding industry vendors gathered for a night of celebration and friendship at the 2015 Ottawa Wedding Awards. The packed house at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre was a testament to the vibrant community of businesses who provided brides and grooms all the supplies and services for their wedding.

More than 360 people were on hand for this year’s version of the Ottawa Wedding Awards. Conceived by Brian Henry, co-owner of Quality Entertainment, the awards gala is a fabulous way for vendors to connect and network. It seems to be the un-official kick-off to the Ottawa wedding season. The usual parting words are, “See you out there.”

Ottawa Wedding Awards Opening CeremonyOpening remarks by hosts Brian Henry and Alison Hunter

It is extra-ordinary that Ottawa has a collegiality among its wedding vendor community. People meet for the first time, are introduced or re-kindle an acquaintance.

In the lead up to the handing out of the awards, vendors were nominated and voted upon. Over 15,000 single votes were cast per category. The gala had folks out in their finery to an elegant room conceived by Nicole Ouellette of Piper Avenue along with Sophie Branchaud of Sage Designs and Jennifer McAndrew of Mastermind Events. Janice Lewis of Project J Events was valuable in her work behind the scenes keeping everything organized and the website up to date. The dinner was delicious. In between courses, we praised out fellow vendors who won in their categories.

Ottawa Wedding Awards Gala

And the winners of the 2nd Ottawa Wedding Awards are:


Tripp Photography

DJ Service

Quality Entertainment

Wedding Planner

Kennedy Event Planning


Tulips and Maple

Photo Booth

Ottawa-Gatineau Photo Booth


All Seasons Weddings

Live Music

Kimberley Dunn


Bryan Jones Photography and Videography

Stylist – Make Up

Blush by Jackie Grant


Groovy Linen


Petals and Paint

Sweets, Treats and Cakes

Sarah J’s Cupcakes


Sizzle With Décor

Women’s Bridal Fashion – Women’s

Dominique Levesque Bridal

Men’s Formal Wear

Morris Formal Wear

Reception Venue – Hotel

Hilton Lac-Leamy

Unique Reception Venue

Museum of History

Reception Venue – Beyond Ottawa

Temples Sugar Bush

Reception Venue – Outdoor

Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm


Tsirmpa Award for Community Service


Jennifer McAndrew Mastermind Events

Wedding of the Year

The Mixing Bowl

 Ottawa Wedding Awards Winners


Perth | A One-stop Wedding Town

By Molly Hanzidiakou

A one-stop town for all wedding necessities can be hard to find, until you’ve traveled outside of Ottawa to a small town called Perth, Ontario.  Since 2012, Perth has branded themselves as the wedding capital of Eastern Ontario.  Perth is the venue for hundreds of weddings each year.  With different venues to choose from, places for your guests to stay and local shops that check off everything you have on your wedding to-do list, Perth is a beautiful area to design and host a wedding.

street in perth, Ontario

Located mid-way between Kingston and Ottawa, Perth is the small town home to around 6,000 people.  In the summer months, and especially during the wedding season, Perth is visited by many out-of-towners.  There are a number of wedding venues scattered around Perth, each one different than the other and available close to all year round.  With the summer months being very busy in Perth, other times always have availability and are just as beautiful.  In the downtown area sits the Crystal Palace.  What used to be a bus shelter, the Crystal Palace is now a location for special events.  The glass building is meant to give a different feel to a wedding.  It is very accommodating to any style a couple has as it is rented out as an empty space.

Then you have Stewart Park.  This park is simply beautiful.  Stewart Park is large enough to accommodate three wedding parties at once.  The tall trees, rock wall gardens and rolling grounds create the perfect areas for a wedding ceremony.  Certain areas are more secluded, intimate and meant for smaller gatherings, while others offer large spaces for those wedding parties where the chairs seem to go on and on.  Stewart Park is really something to see.

There are many more venues in Perth if the if Stewart Park and the Crystal Palace aren’t for you. Hotels such as the Best Western Plus and the Perth Manor can hold the ceremony and also be a place where guests can stay the night.  The great thing about Perth is that everything is a short car ride or walk away.  Guests can attend the ceremony in the Park and after, walk to where the reception is held.  A bridal party can spend the night before the wedding in the Best Western Plus and in that same building take a trip down to their spa to get ready for the wedding.

There is one key factor in making this whole planning process easier.  The people that work for Perth understand that couples who don’t know the area can be overwhelmed with the planning process.  This is where the Special Events Coordinator comes in.  Couples are given a folder with everything they would need to know about Perth and a pamphlet with every single contact one would need, with locations of shops to check out.  For such a small town, there are many such places to explore.  In a way, the Special Event Coordinators in Perth are your special wedding planners and have the best insight into the area.

Perth is an area to have a look at when planning a wedding.  Any month would work, any time of year.  Local businesses, beautiful historic buildings and modern venues make up this town.  And with help along the way, Perth would make a lovely place to hold your wedding.

The Busy Bride’s Guide for Mother’s Day Brunch

The Busy Bride’s Guide for Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which means now is the time to take a break from wedding planning to celebrate the woman making it all possible — mom. Plan a chic Mother’s Day brunch without blowing your budget or adding stress to your already-busy schedule. This no-stress guide to hosting the perfect brunch will help you plan a thoughtful event in just a few easy steps.

mother's day brunch for busy brides

Include Pre-made Menu Items

To make a truly effortless Mother’s Day brunch, prepare the main dishes the night before. Martha Stewart’s recipe for Spinach and Gruyere quiche is a classy and filling brunch option, and it can be made a day in advance. Indulge your mother with Food and Wine Magazine’s Pecan-Maple Sticky Rolls, which could be reheated in a warm oven a few minutes before brunch. Or, for a less-sweet option, make a tart and luscious Orange Flower Water Cake.

Use Decorations That Double as Gifts

Floral bouquets not only make excellent centerpieces, but they’re a gift your mom can take home with her after the festivities. Save time by ordering an elegant floral arrangement that comes ready to place on the table, complete with vase. An assorted tulip bouquet or long-stemmed roses are classic options, or look to lilies, irises or daisies for a modern twist.

Make Store-Bought Appetizers Look Elegant

Save time and impress your mom by serving store-bought pastries on your grandmother’s formal china. Choose an assortment of lemon tarts, croissants, palmiers and brioche. Try Macarons et Madeleines in downtown Ottawa, which offers a variety of decadent bakery items to choose from. Arrange them in circles or rows on a platter, and infuse a “too-brown” display with color by adding a strawberry fan or lime rose garnish. For added interest, try displaying the pastries on an elevated glass cake platter or on a three-tier serving platter.

Set Up a Self-Serve Beverage Station

If you have the space, set up a small table in the corner of the dining area for self-served beverages. Include a pot or French press of coffee, a bowl of sugar cubes, a small pitcher of cream, and a large glass pitcher of chilled lemon or cucumber water. For a more festive take on the classic mimosa, serve chilled champagne or Prosecco with fresh grapefruit juice (squeezed the night before) or strawberry puree.

Create an Intimate Atmosphere

Make your mother feel special by creating a simple, intimate atmosphere for her brunch. Light tea lights in mason jars and sprinkle them down the center of the table, or nestle the candles in a tray filled with coffee beans. Start music playing in the background before the first guest arrives to set the mood.

Keep It Thoughtful

Despite your worst fears, your mother probably doesn’t care that much about how much money you spend on her or what gift she gets. She just wants to feel loved. Let her know how much you care by saying a few thoughtful words in her honor before everyone starts eating. Dig up childhood photo albums and look through them together after the meal. Pay her the compliment of asking for her marriage advice or talk about your favorite memories with her when you were a child. This time spent bonding with you will be a great asset as she prepares to send you off into the next big phase of your life.

No Rules to the Wedding Registry: Give Your Wishlist a Modern Twist

No Rules to the Wedding Registry: Give Your Wishlist a Modern Twist

wedding registryJust because your parents registered for five crystal picture frames and 12 identical sets of fine china doesn’t mean you have to. In fact, who eats on fine china anymore, anyway?

Put generic gift giving to a halt by registering for items and experiences that interest you and your soon-to-be spouse. It won’t only be more enjoyable for you guys, but the gift giver will get greater satisfaction, as well.

Wedding Registry Inspiration:

Concert/Event Tickets

Experience gifts are the rage. Everyone loves music and there’s sure to be a show coming to town in the next six months that will have you itching for tickets. Whether it’s the ballet at the National Arts Centre or an intimate blues show at Centrepoint Theater, there is a concert on the horizon that will make you both giddy. Add tickets to your wishlist and you will get the best seats in the house.

Local Brewery Tour

If you and your honey are connoisseurs of craft beer, ask for passes to the local brewery tour. This exploding industry has opened the doors for everyone to come out and play. Brew Donkey offers tasting tours of award-winning beers on a brewery and brew pub bar crawl that picks you up, takes you to three locations for samplings and education, and then drops you home. The five-hour experience gives you a safe way to tour the local breweries you’ve been eager to experience.

Cheese of the Month Club

You love cheese and cheese loves you. If you could’ve married cheese, you would have, but you settled for your beau instead. You now have the opportunity to get three hand-crafted artisan cheeses shipped right to your doorstep each month. Cheesemongers across Ottawa are just waiting for you to bite into this deal. There’s no better time than now and no better person that a wedding guest to get you this golden nugget of a gift.


It’s the digital age so why wouldn’t you register for something new to the market that you’ve had your eye on? For the guests that aren’t into buying experience gifts, electronics are the perfect complement to your registry.

The GoPro Hero3+ is ideal for taking action video. The waterproof housing allows for you to go anywhere with it, even cliff diving on your Hawaiian honeymoon.

For a gift that keeps on giving, a new cell phone will bring tears to your eyes. Choose a new smartphone like the redesigned Samsung Galaxy S6 with a large display you can use for all of your web browsing, texting and photo opportunities.

Mix & Match Dinnerware

Mix-and-match dinnerware is the leader in the table decorating movement at the moment. Whether you prefer vintage-inspired delicate patterns or simple solid hues, ask your guests to buy from a selection of mismatched sets you chose at a local boutique. This is a great gift because the wedding guests get to personally select their favorite pieces and you can think of that person every time you decorate your table.

Home Cleaning Service

Coming home to a clean house after the wedding chaos had calmed would be heavenly. The last thing you want to do is clean up after the messy house guests have gone. Register for a gift certificate to a cleaning service that allows you to kick back with your feet up and enjoy being newlyweds… in your clean home.

Do you have any unique wedding registry ideas? Comment below!

I’m Engaged, Now What? 8 Simple Steps to Start Your Wedding Journey

I’m Engaged, Now What? 8 Simple Steps to Start Your Wedding Journey

By: Anastasia Marie of Anastasia Marie Wedding and Lifestyle PR

Congratulations, you’re beginning a journey with your best friend! You’ve told your family and friends, have taken a bunch of celebratory selfies and have shamelessly admired your sparkler in the mirror more times than you can count. But now what? When the engagement rush is over, here are the first 8 steps in planning for the perfect wedding day.

wedding planning

Step One: Plan a Date With Your Partner

You may have talked about getting married before, but it’s likely that you didn’t spend time getting into all of the details surrounding the big day. Do you know what your partner likes and doesn’t like when it comes to the number of guests, location, colours and themes of your wedding? Sitting down with your partner will help you both come to terms with what it is you both want from your special day. Remember to write everything down; you will need this information throughout your wedding planning journey.

Step Two: Set A Date (But Be Flexible)

The next step in realizing your wedding dream is settling on a date. Perhaps it’s your anniversary date, or the birthday of a cherished loved one. Then again, perhaps it’s the only date you have off of work. Whatever your circumstances are, deciding on a date is crucial. Not only is this step a reminder that your wedding is actually going to happen (yay!), but it will also allow you to determine what kind of wedding you will have. Do you want your wedding to be outdoors in the sunshine? Better not book your wedding for April when showers are possible. Do you want your wedding to fall on a long weekend so that your family and friends can make a getaway of it? Perhaps you want to choose a date when a tropical destination flight is at its cheapest.  Choosing your date will help you determine all of the little details.

Your date will also determine the availability of your vendors. After all, you may want your favourite cupcakes to be featured at your wedding, but the store may be booked on your big day. Settling on a date makes booking your vendors a lot easier, especially when it comes time to book them. But be wary, however, of setting the date in stone. As a rule, have two dates in mind, that way, should a vendor be unavailable or a venue go bankrupt, you won’t have to worry about your own availability.

Step Three: Set a Timeline

A year is tons of time, right? Wrong! When I got married, I budgeted a year and a half to planning. I figured, since I was still in school, I would need the extra time to get everything organized. What a mistake! After seeing a wedding venue go bankrupt and having a DJ and a photographer fall by the wayside, I learned my lesson: a year and a half, in wedding time, is not much time. In fact, a year of planning for a wedding flies by much faster than you can ever imagine.

With parties, vendor appointments and meetings, your year will be booked solid. That’s why it is so important to decide on a timeline as soon as possible. Decide what types of wedding related business you need to accomplish each month and stick to it. There are lots of books with built-in timelines available at your local bookstore that can help you with this. Then, solicit help, because let’s face it, you’re going to need it!

Step Four: Set a Budget

Weddings are expensive and are full of hidden costs. It’s important to settle on a budget with your partner right away in order to make sure that your finances are manageable and financial stress is kept to a minimum. My rule of thumb? Decide on a budget that is comfortable for you and then add $5000. This extra cash will allow you to budget for any surprise costs that you may not have considered before.  When you find out that the dress you ordered no longer fits and you have to make a last-minute trip to the seamstress, you will be happy that you budgeted for emergencies.

Step Five: Decide Upon Your Wedding Party

Wedding parties come in all shapes and sizes but one thing remains true to all of them: they all consist of the closest family and friends of the bride and groom. Choosing your wedding party is pretty simple. When you are deciding who will be in your wedding party, make sure that you choose individuals who are important to you and whom you know will be in your life for years to come. After you have chosen your party, it’s time to ask them. Make sure they are available and willing.  Chances are, they will be jumping at the chance to be featured in your wedding.

Step Six: Choose Your Guest List

Let’s get real here, weddings are about families. Often this means that your parents have already thought of exactly who they want to invite to your wedding (and they may or may not want to budge on this decision). First, decide on the number of guests you would like to invite. Then make a date with your parents to discuss VIPs and those that can be cut from the list. Stick to your guns and be ruthless. You may love your fourth cousin whom you haven’t seen in fifteen years, but does he really warrant a $150 plate?

Step Seven: Choose a Wedding Planner

No matter how small, weddings can be a huge orchestration. From booking venues to booking vendors, while dealing with financial and family stress, weddings can take a toll on the best of us. That’s why hiring a wedding planner is essential. Reputable wedding planners will provide a myriad of options to suit your budget and to best reflect where you are in the planning process. So, whether you are looking for a wedding planner to orchestrate your wedding from beginning to end, or if you are just looking for “day-of” management, you will be able to find a planner who suites your unique needs.

More than just a wedding organizer, a wedding planner can help you choose a wedding theme, settle on the best vendors to suit your unique style and be a shoulder to cry on when things get stressful. When selecting a wedding planner, make sure to choose someone whose personality you enjoy. You will be working very closely with this person until the big day.

Step Eight: Chill Out!

No matter how you slice it, weddings are stressful. With so many decisions to make, financial stress and the crunch of tight timelines, weddings can take their toll on relationships. In fact,  it can be difficult to remember why you decided to get married in the first place.

Take some time to chill out. Read a book. Go for a run. Watch a good movie. Talk to your partner. Take a step back and see your wedding planning as the amazing journey that it is. Because no matter how beautiful or how neatly planned your wedding day is, it is just the first day of a lifetime filled with happy days spent with the one you love. Happy planning!

How to Make a Wedding Day Survival Kit

Wedding Day Survival Kit

You’ve spent countless hours preparing for this special day, down to the last detail. However, there’s always a chance that not everything will go exactly as planned. This is why you need a wedding day survival kit to remedy the little surprises that could come up at the most inconvenient time.

Here are some items to pack:

Wedding day survival kit

1. Health

  • Pain reliever. Ward off stress — or hangover — headaches.
  • Eye drops. To keep your eyes from getting red if you get teary-eyed.
  • Emergen-C. The perfect way to flood your system with Vitamin C and rapidly amp up your immune system that may have taken a hit from stress or lack of sleep.
  • Hand sanitizer. With so many people and germs, keep a miniature bottle in your stash.
  • Band-aids. For blisters or minor cuts.

2. Hygiene

  • Spray-on deodorant. More discreet than stick deodorant and can be shared with others.
  • Mouthwash. You’ll be doing a lot of talking, so keep your breath fresh.
  • Baby wipes. You never know when a small spill will need to be rapidly eradicated.
  • Tissues. Emotions are running high, so don’t forget the tissues.
  • Tampons and sanitary napkins. Don’t let an unexpected leak catch you off guard.

3. Beauty

  • Comb/brush. Things may get a little wild both before and during the festivities.
  • Mirror. Bring a compact along just in case you want to do a makeup or hair check and there are no mirrors within close proximity.
  • Hairspray and pins. You never know if your fragile up-do may need to be rescued.
  • Earring backs. Wouldn’t it be a bit wacky if you were forced to walk down the aisle with one-earring?
  • Coffee filters. As the sweat begins to pour, grabbing a napkin and wiping it off isn’t going to preserve your makeup. Use coffee filters to blot the sweat away, instead.

4. Attire

  • Miniature sewing kit. It should contain safety pins, a needle and thread, buttons and anything else you need to make a small repair.
  • Pantyhose. Pack an extra pair of these in case you get a stubborn run that can’t be saved with clear nail polish.
  • Chalk. If the bride spills something on her wedding dress moments before walking down the aisle, chalk can cover up the problem.
  • Stain remover. A portable stick is ideal for quickly removing wine, food or makeup stains.

5. Footwear

  • Fold-up ballet slippers or flip-flops. Heels aren’t always as comfortable as you may have anticipated, so bring along a pair of folding ballet flats that fold up to fit in a small purse.
  • Blister protection spray. Should you forget to pack your slippers or band-aids, blister protection spray will minimize the aftermath of being in heels all day.

6. Miscellaneous

  • Shades. If you’re having an outdoor affair, don’t forget to pack backup shades and sunglass lenses for the wedding party.
  • Sunblock. This is also a must for outdoor weddings if you want to ward off sunburn.
  • Phone chargers. The surplus of phone calls, social media posts and impromptu photo shoots are sure to drain your battery.
  • Disposable cameras. In case the digital camera taps out or your cell phone dies, a disposable camera will come in handy to capture special moments.

3 Rules for Lighting Up Your Wedding

by Rev. Alan Viau

Lighting is one element of the wedding that is often overlooked – especially for the ceremony. Ensuring that lighting is incorporated in your wedding planning is essential. For an incremental small price, lighting has a bigger impact on the success of your wedding than most realize.

In the 11 years that I have been performing weddings in all sorts of locations, without a doubt lighting is one element that is consistently overlooked. Perhaps it may be that brides and grooms have an outdated impression about lighting. It is true that 11 years ago, lighting was still about big lights that got hot and needed lots of power. However, the introduction of LED lighting has changed the game.

Lighting is as important, and as important to plan, as sound amplification. In theatre, there are three rules about planning and designing a lighting scheme.

1. To illuminate the space. An audience needs to see an actor’s eyes. That’s when your audience connects with emotions. So you must have sufficient lighting to see the love that the bride and groom have for each other. Having sufficient lighting also make the photographer’s job so much easier.

A good example of the impact of lighting is seen below. In November, 2014, I participated in a Best Day Ever. We compared two weddings in one room at the Canadian Museum of Nature. As you can see, both ceremonies had a back-lighting effect. However, I insisted on front lighting for our ceremony (the one on the left). You can immediately see the impact. Faces are lit up, little shadow and all is visible.

lighting | glam vs rustic | Wedding

2. To set mood. The combination of color and shadow set the emotional tone of the scene. With LEDs, you can program any variety of colors. The lighting can be set to match or complement your theme colors. In the photo below, I designed the Rainbow Flag as a lighting effect for the end of La Cage aux Folles.

lighting | wedding

A combination of LED lights with gobo specials can have a spectacular effect on your reception. To achieve this mood requires planning. It also means that your DJ provider must have the equipment and expertise to execute your vision.

lighting | Starry Night | Wedding

3. To provide focus. General lighting is great. One other function is to provide an area of focus for the audience. You can see in the ceremony photo above that my bride and groom were highlighted from the surrounding decor. One of the techniques that I use in theatre is to have the area of focus in a “white” light while the rest of the background is in color.

Many weddings could benefit from extra lighting to ensure that the bride and groom are always highlighted. It also will guarantee that important areas, such as around the MC, are also in focus. Lighting makes a show through illumination, mood setting and focus. Planning for lighting will add dazzle to your event that will impress.

If the suit almost fits don’t wear it

suit feature

If the suit almost fits don’t wear it

suit featureAs fashion becomes more daring this spring and business suits get slimmer, men are challenged with finding the perfect style and fit for their body. Just because something is in style doesn’t mean it is for everyone. With that said, you can still dress stylishly when you know what works for your body shape. Most of the time it comes down to tailoring, as very few off-the-rack purchases fit everyone perfectly. Tailoring is what gives you the desired look, without looking like your suit has been painted on, or is falling off. Keep in mind that tailoring has its limits. Adjustments should be your way of fine-tuning a suit to compliment your shape, not changing its shape. Here is some helpful advice on what to look for in a suit:

The Style: Finding the right fit starts with finding the perfect style for your body. For a traditional look, try a classic fit – typically a good option for most body types, it offers wider cut shoulders and provides extra room through the chest and back. If you’re looking for a more contemporary fit, try what we call the modern cut, which combines slim styling with classic comfort, and is typically narrower in the shoulders and trousers than a classic fit. The slim fit suit is best suited for men who are looking for a modern, trimmed-down fit, as they feature narrow shoulders, higher button stance and higher armholes with slim sleeves, ideal for those with a slimmer build.

The Trouser Break: The horizontal dimple on your trouser cuff should ideally rest on the top of your shoe without pooling on the shoe.

The Jacket Sleeve: Try to have at least half an inch of shirt cuff visible at the base of your wrist, making sure that your jacket does not rise above the shirt seam.

The Jacket Length: A well fitted suit jacket will fall just past your waist. You can measure this by making sure your jacket hem hits right around the middle of your hand. An extra-long jacket will give the illusion of being shorter, something no man wants.

The Jacket Collar: The collar should rest against your shirt collar without any significant gaps between. Remember, you should wear your suit, not the other way around. Sacrificing fit for fashion doesn’t work. It’s important to dress your body so you will always be in style.

Joseph Abboud is chief creative director of Men’s Wearhouse, parent company of Moores Clothing for Men, Canada’s leading national retailer of men’s business attire and tuxedo rentals, with more than 125 stores nationwide.

Digital or Electronic Wedding Invitations

Courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Digital or electronic wedding invitations; is this going to be the new trend for brides?  The use of personal electronics and social media is rapidly increasing with smart phones, tablets and laptops, all streaming to Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Google + (maybe) and MySpace (maybe just a few old aunts and uncles).   It is uncommon these days to find many people,  from young to old, that have not been actively participating in a social network or at the very least have an email address.

Let’s explore the idea of digital wedding invitations.  There are pro’s and con’s to everything so let’s take a look at both.


You will probably save time and money.  Invitation and postage costs can be outrageous and the time it takes to hand-write addresses are extreme without help.

All those things you used to photocopy and insert in traditional invitations (maps, hotel information) can be included, even by providing links.

You can be as creative as you want instead of just picking an invitation style and color of ink.

You may just save a tree or two.

 electronic wedding invitation


Are you the traditionalist type of person and wants to send out the elegant wedding invitation?  There really is no substitute for a beautiful paper invitation.

wedding invitation

Is it important for you and grandma to keep this invitation in a scrapbook to remember?  May sound silly, but are you really going to sit down with your daughters 10 or 20 years from now and pull out your memories on your iPhone?

What about compiling the email list.  You need to find out everyone’s email address and that may be a daunting task in itself.  As you start to compile your list you are faced with some guests who do not have email or even a computer?  What do you do then?

There is no doubt, an e-invitation would be spectacular!  You can personalize your own on-line wedding invitation with music,  pictures or video and give your itinerary for the day.  How impressive would it be to Google map the church, reception hall and hotels?  Provide links to the reception hall and maybe a link to Trip advisor for the hotels.  Create a wedding email account to manage RSVP’s just as if you were mailing out a paper invitation.

Ultimately, it is your decision on what type of invitation you want to provide.  As this digital idea may seem a little strange at first, I think times are a changing and it will become very popular in the years to come and more accepted.