Colour of the Year for Your Wedding Dress

The bride's dress


When Pantone chose both Rose Quartz and Serenity (dusky pink and blue) for its 2016 Colour(s) of the Year, there were oohs and aahs heard far and wide.

After all, Rose Quartz is another variation of blush or pale pink and it can make for a spectacular hue in a wedding dress. In very beautiful, eye-catching and adult ways, it can be the stuff of your little-girl dreams.

That’s right, girlfriend. White isn’t the only colour that shines at the altar. Pink packs a major wedding-style punch. If you’re a celebrity watcher at all, you know style icons Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway, Gwen Stafani and Jessica Biel all skipped vanilla white and opted for shades of pink.

You can too. However, there are some factors you should take into account:

  1. Don’t choose a Rose Quartz gown just because it’s trendy. Always let your colouring dictate the shade you wear. Put a gown up to your face at the mirror in the salon and take a look at whether it enhances your eyes, hair, skin, teeth and face. If it enriches your smile and attributes, put the blush number in the yes pile. If it accentuates your prominent nose or under-eye circles, ditch it.
  2. Consider the big picture. What will the bridesmaids wear? What about the groom and groomsmen? Pink hues are a little less versatile than white, in the matching and coordinating department. Definitely, you don’t want to get washed out by the gowns around you. If you’re wearing blush, gray bridesmaids dressed may work; another option is darker shades of the same pink/blush colour for the bridesmaids.
  3. How will this particular hue look in the setting and with the lighting you’ve chosen? It’s worth sweating the details to make sure your dress is truly the star of the day. You don’t just want to be pretty in pink, you want to be dazzling.

If you want to be on trend without making a major commitment, you can dress the bridesmaids in blush and opt for white-toned bridal gown.  It’s up to you!

Wedding day bridesmaids and flower


Keep Your Wedding Website G-Rated .. and Other Smart Advice

bride and groom computer

It’s no secret that wedding websites have become extremely popular. They are an easy and

inexpensive way to connect  with friends and family who will be sharing your big day.

According to CEO David Chen, thousands of couples make the following five wedding website blunders.

Mistake No. 1: A one-sided affair

What happens when just the bride or groom builds the website? The other person’s voice seems strangely absent from the site. Create the website as a team.

Mistake No. 2: Unusable on mobile

Lots of guests will use your website on their mobile phones; perhaps when they need directions to various event venues. Keep in mind that most wedding websites don’t optimize for mobile navigation and reduced clicking.

Mistake No. 3: Too much PDA

It’s cute to see a few kissing photos on a wedding website, but don’t litter it with pictures of you and your sweetheart getting up close and personal. Keep it G-rated.

Mistake No. 4: Failing to update the website

It’s exciting for your guests to see regular updates about the wedding and all of the fun they will be having. Try to update your site every few weeks.

Mistake No. 5: Taking down the website too soon

Once you’ve built the website, why get rid of it right after the wedding? Use the site to remember the day, gather guest photos, post honeymoon pictures, and let others share in what’s coming next.

To instantly upgrade your wedding website, David suggests using Strikingly (www.strikingly. com), a free tool he created that allows anyone to build a stylish and sophisticated personal website in mere minutes out of simple and fun templates. W

From the files of Ottawa Wedding Magazine.


Keep the PDA for IRL. ; )
Keep the PDA for IRL. ; )





Wedding Reception: Fab Food and Liquor Pairings

Wedding reception

When considering drinks to pair with foods, the ingredients should contrast or mirror each other. Everybody thinks about pairing wines when putting together a high-end reception, but not many people know how to pair spirits with their meals. You can make your wedding exceptional by serving a few well-paired, high-end cognacs and vodkas.


Cognac is a brandy produced in southwest France. While the spirit is typically associated with after dinner cigars and chocolate desserts, modern mixologists and foodies have proven that cognac can be served throughout the meal quite successfully. Items to consider pairing with cognac include seafood, soft cheeses and anything that is lightly smoked. The pairing may seem odd to your guests at first, but those doubts will be erased once they get a taste of what you have done.

  • Lobster Bisque: A cognac with a spicier flavor profile like D’ussé Cognac XO amps up seafood, such as a lobster bisque. The bold cognac enhances and mirrors the lobster and cream’s sweetness.
  • Salmon: Smoked salmon with capers is another starter that pairs well with cognac. Place the gastronomic masterpiece on a bagel chip or cucumber slice.
  • Brie: Pair a lighter cognac with a good-quality brie. While this may seem a bit unconventional, the brie’s salty finish contrasts nicely with the sweet flavors of the cognac. When served as a dessert, pair a frozen cognac with the room temperature cheese, so the thicker textures will match.


Don’t be afraid to serve vodka straight up at your reception. While it isn’t as customary in this part of the world, many countries serve the spirit in this manner. This will make your wedding feel different and special. Vodka pairs well with salty and smoky foods. However, if serving it straight is too much for your tastes, you can go with mixed drinks that have more flavor pairings. Here are some delicious vodka pairings what we suggest you try:

  • Caviar: You’ll impress your guests with this natural combination of salty caviar and smooth vodka. Although sturgeon (the fish that produces caviar) has been almost fished out of existence in Russia, you can buy Northern Divine, a Canadian caviar that uses Canadian salt. It’s delicious and the ecologically responsible thing to do.
  • Venison Tartare: Are you adventurous enough to serve tartare at your wedding reception? If so, you might as well serve it with vodka straight up. Ketel One Citroen adds another level of flavor with its citrus aftertaste that plays off the gamey venison tartare. If this pairing isn’t decadent enough for you, have your chef mix foie gras with the venison. Nobody will forget this brave pairing.

Cognac and vodka are more versatile than you may have previously thought. While you can pair wine, beer, champagne and other liqueurs just fine, dare to do something different to make your wedding reception stand out. Be creative and adventurous, and surprise your guests with something new for their palates.

Wedding Day Seating Arrangements

White wedding chairs decorated with purple bows

Stick To a Plan and Avoid Musical Chair Mayhem

Though it may seem like a daunting task, particularly if you are having a large wedding, creating your seating plan is relatively simple with a little forethought. Though you might be tempted to allow your guests to sit wherever they like without a seating plan, it is generally a bad idea. Guests will take longer to be seated, in turn delaying the reception events. People will rush for their preferred seats and typically it will be very disorganized. So instead, create a seating plan to make things easier on you and your guests.

Map things out

Before you start worrying about who is going to sit where, head to the reception facility and look at the actual space. Bring a pencil and sketch pad to map out the layout (hotels and other facilities may be able to provide a depiction of the layout). Keep in mind where the head table will be positioned, as well as the music, cake table, buffet tables and other factors.

The head table

The head table, also called the top table, normally is located in the front or other prime location at the reception site. This is where the bride and groom sit, along with the wedding party. It is traditionally a long table with seats down one side, facing out to the rest of the guests. The bride and groom sit in the centre of the table with the groom to the right side of the bride. To the bride’s left is the bride’s father, groom’s mother and then best man. To the groom’s right are the bride’s mother, groom’s father and then maid of honour. The dates or spouses of the best man and maid of honour are not seated at the head table.

Seating arrangements

There are no specific etiquette rules in terms of the rest of the guests. However there are some guidelines that will make your seating plan much easier.

  • Give the rest of the bridal party the table (or tables) closest to the head table.
  • Seat grandparents and older guests away from the music.
  • Keep general age groups together.
  • Seat loud groups of children, teens and 
boisterous adults away from seniors.
  • Balance tables with even numbers of 
males and females.
  • Don’t put “leftover” guests who don’t 
know anyone all at one table. Instead disperse them throughout.

Assigning seats or tables

Though you definitely should assign guests to particular tables, it may not be necessary to assign them to specific seats at each table. For a more casual feel, you can assign each guest to a table number and allow them to sit wherever they like at that table. This will also cut down on paper because you won’t need place cards.

impressive wedding set up

Seating chart

When your guests arrive at the reception hall, they can pick up their seating cards (which should be arranged in alphabetical order on a display table) and take their seats. In lieu or in addition to seating cards, you can have a large seating chart visible on the wall. This chart should be arranged in two lists. One list should have every guest, again in alphabetical order by last name, along with their corresponding table and seat number. The second list should be in order of table number. Under the heading “Table 1” you will list: 1. Ms. Donna Thompson; 2. Mr. Andy Marsh, etc. By having two lists, your guests will be able to easily identify their seat location.

The most important thing about making your seating arrangements is not to stress out. As long as you don’t seat people together who don’t get along, everything will be fine. To stay organized, there are many online software applications available that allow you to create your seating plan with ease.

Compiled by R. Legault from Ottawa Wedding Magazine files.


Put Your Wedding Budget Where It Matters

Table set for wedding

Splurge or Save?

The reception typically eats up 50 per cent of a couple’s wedding budget. With the average wedding costing $25,000 to $50,000, that can quickly add up to a huge bill. And paying off a pile of debt is not a good way to start a marriage.

By making smart food choices, you can have a wedding to remember without a debt you’d sooner forget. Here are some guidelines to help you decide when to spend or splurge when it comes to your reception.

Quality over quantity

Be smart. Don’t skimp on quality by buying cases of cheap champagne. Instead, splurge on good champagne, but keep costs down by limiting the number of bottles and serving it only during speeches.

Make smart choices

Arrange to have a cocktail reception instead of an elaborate sit-down dinner. This will save money without compromising quality.

Balancing act

Skip the elaborate dessert table and opt for a beautiful professionally-made cake instead.

Think seasonal/local

Take a pass on imported caviar and stick to seasonal and local produce. It will taste better and help keep the food costs down.

Skip the frivolities

Do you really need to have your butter carved into roses? People will hardly notice, but you will when you get the final bill.

Consider your options

Surprisingly, a plated dinner is typically less expensive than a dinner buffet. This is because when people serve themselves, they tend to take much more food than a waiter would serve, and the caterer has to keep restocking the food for a buffet.

Do your research

A brunch buffet is usually less expensive than a sit-down dinner or a served brunch. Mid-afternoon hors d’oeuvres can be a good money-saving option, particularly if you have waiters serving the appetizers rather than allowing guests to serve themselves.

Do it yourself drinks

Rather than waiting for the unknown bar bill at the end of the night, choose a place where you can bring in your own liquor and hire your own bartender. This way, everything is paid for in advance, and there’s no anxiety about being stuck with a huge bill at the end of the reception.

Be creative

Come up with a signature drink, such as a flavourful punch or a favourite cocktail that represents the happy couple. It’s a nice touch that’s more economical than providing a full bar.

Leave it to the professionals

Despite your best efforts, some things like a wedding cake is best left to the professionals.

Be flexible

Avoid peak wedding dates. By holding your reception on a Sunday rather than a Saturday, in August instead of July, you could save bundles without compromising on quality.

Some people have a cocktail reception instead of a dinner.
Some people have a cocktail reception instead of a dinner.

Alysha and Josh

Photographer: Brennan Schnell of Develop Negative


Real Ottawa Wedding | Alysha and Josh

Bride Name
Groom Name
Date of Wedding
Brennan Schnell of Develop Negative
Reception Held at
Code’s Mill on the Park
Ceremony Held at
Code’s Mill on the Park
Wedding Dress
Mori Lee from Sinder’s Bridal
Groom’s Fashions From
Morris Formalwear
Bridesmaids Fashions From
Sinder’s Bridal
Groomsmen’s Fashions From
Morris Formalwear
Bride’s Hair By
Parkside Hair Artistry
Bride’s Make-Up By
Parkside Spa
Cake By
Sunflower Bakery
Catering By
Code’s Mill on the Park
Flowers By
Kelly’s Flowers, centrepieces DIY
Invitations By
Favours By
DIY Candy Bar
Other Vendors
Rings: Goldform Jewellers
Ceremony Music: Duo d’Amore
Officiant: Exceptional Ceremonies
Henna: The Henna Lady
Dance: Dance With Us Ottawa
We planned a garden ceremony in Perth’s beautiful Stewart Park but just our luck we awoke to a miserable cold & rainy day. Thankfully we had an indoor backup plan that was quickly put into action and we couldn’t have imagined our day any other way.

Code’s Mill on the Park was the only venue we visited and it stole our hearts the second we saw the wood beams & twinkle lights. We had never been to Perth before and fell in love with the quaint town. We joked we were having a “destination wedding”

Accessories for Your Bridal Party

Beautiful bride getting ready for her wedding

Complete The Look with Perfect Finishing Touches

Most brides spend countless hours choosing the more significant aspects of their special day: their gown, the reception hall, entertainment, photographer, and transportation. These are, without doubt, some of the most important decisions a bride can make. What often happens, however, is that brides overlook their bridal accessories, leaving them little time to complete their look.

Bridal accessories fall into three main categories: heirloom pieces, store-bought items, and custom work. Heirloom pieces are items of jewellery passed on by a family member to a bride, often taking the form of an inheritance, a gift, or a borrowed piece. Heirloom pieces hold a great deal of family and sentimental value, but rarely reflect a bride’s taste or style. Store-bought items can be either genuine or cosmetic jewellery pieces. The greatest advantages of store-bought accessories are the ease of purchase and, depending on each store’s policy, the ability to change your mind and return an item. Custom work, which can be a more expensive option, depending on the artisan you select, allows for the greatest level of flexibility, choice and individual style. Depending on the complexity and size of your order, custom work should be initiated between eight and 12 weeks before your wedding date.

Accessories encompass three main groups: bridal accessories, attendants’ or bridesmaids’ accessories, and mother of the bride accessories.

Bridal accessories

As a bride, you are the centre of attention, and of course you want to look your best. Your dress, hair, and makeup are all aspects of your look that will benefit from accessories.


Brides have several choices when it comes to hair accessories. The least expensive option is the use of decorated hair pins. Most hair stylists will use plain or decorated hair pins when setting your up-do or other salon style. Hair pins can be purchased from a variety of accessory stores or can be custom made. They can be scattered throughout your hair or grouped together, depending on the look you and your stylist hope to attain. Hair pins range in price and brides usually require six to 10 pins depending on the style and thickness of hair.

A more expensive option is a fancy hair comb. Hair combs are usually used by stylists to finish the look of an up-do, or to replace a tiara. Hair combs can be store-bought or custom made and are usually decorated with a combination of crystals and pearls. Hair combs come in a variety of sizes and can also be used to secure your veil in place. The most expensive option is a tiara. Tiaras can be anything from simple wire and beads to gold and diamonds used by celebrities. Tiaras can be purchased at wedding gown stores, boutiques, jewellery stores, accessory stores, or can be custom made. Tiaras can be a very creative aspect of your look, from a traditional to a more whimsical style, and use a variety of materials, ranging from Austrian crystals to seashells.


Aside from your hair, jewellery is another major aspect of your look. From a necklace to earrings, bracelets to brooches, the most important aspect of choosing your jewellery is to make sure it matches and suits the style of your gown. Often times, if you first see your gown in a magazine or online, the photos include jewellery worn by the model. These designer pieces are perfect for your gown and can usually be reproduced by a retailer specializing in custom jewellery. As most brides wear a shade of white, crystal and pearls are the most common materials used to make bridal jewellery.

Fresh flower crown / tiara / wreath


After you’ve finished deciding on your accessories, why not consider outfitting your bridal party with a matching set? Brides spend hours of time and hundreds of dollars on their bridesmaids’ dresses, but often leave the jewellery up to their bridesmaids. Having a matching set gives your bridesmaids that completed look. Be sure to carry a swatch of the dress material and a picture or sketch of the design when shopping around or looking into custom work. You may not be able to find an exact match at a retail outlet, but most custom designers can order materials to match any swatch. For brides on a budget, a beaded set of necklaces and earrings will do the trick. A more expensive option can include coloured Austrian crystals and semi-precious stones. Jewellery for your bridesmaids is an excellent gift and gives your girls that finished look.

Mother of the bride

Last, but certainly not least, is the mother of the bride. Moms usually buy a new dress for their daughter’s big day, but will wear their traditional “good” jewellery. An increasingly popular option for mothers of the bride is to have custom jewellery made to match their new dress.

Overall, your bridal accessories are an easily overlooked but important finishing touch. You have many choices to make, and have a number of different avenues to explore. Bridal accessories will provide you with the final exclamation point on your special day. W

Compiled by R. Legault from Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

A Look Back at Bridal Hits

Looking for some wedding style inspiration and eye candy? In the spring ’15 print issue of Ottawa Wedding, Lindsay Ruck presented a captivating list of all things bridal making a splash. The calendar may have fast-forwarded a year, but the tips and details are still compelling and well worth the read! Check out 2015’s bridal hits.

Braut bei einem Brautausstatter

by Lindsay Ruck

Wedding season is once again upon us, and that means new bridal looks, seasonal colour palettes and fun DIY decor that is sure to impress. While rummaging through pic upon pic of all things bridal may be the best Saturday afternoon ever for some, there are those future weds that just don’t have the time, and that’s where we come in.

We’ve compiled a list of all things bridal that are hitting the top of the charts this season. We’ve fallen head over heels in love with these looks and we’re sure you will too.

Fashion first

No list would be complete without talking wedding gowns and this season there sure is a lot to talk about. We’ve elaborated on a few below, but check out a lengthier list in our honourable mentions.

Starting at the top, off-the-shoulder necklines were peppered all over the bridal runways for spring. This look is pretty, elegant, romantic and sexy all rolled into one. (Not a bad combo, ladies!) Opposite of that look is the comeback of collars for a more covered-up style.

The blush, rose, champagne and ivory of seasons past are taking a backseat to more dramatic hues of blue, grey and yes, even mint green. These are subtle shades that don’t drift too far away from the white gown, but just enough to be declared the fashion-forward look in bridal. Monique Lhuillier premiered a stunning strapless mint green ball gown with a tiered skirt along with a strapless blue silk gauze A-line wedding gown with a floral skirt. Other designers presenting subtle yet colourful hues are Jenny Packham, Naeem Khan and Hayley Paige.

Tulle is taking top spot for the fabric of spring, making appearances as soft overlays and floral skirts. Vera Wang created dramatic tulle designs this season, along with Amsale and Marchesa.

For an added touch of drama, capes also floated down this season’s runways. From a hooded beauty to a dainty cover up, a cape is a bonus accessory that adds a uniqueness to the bridal look. Theia, Carolina Herrera and Mira Zwillinger all featured capes as part of the 2015 spring line-up.

Here comes the bridesmaid

Bridesmaids are no longer taking a backseat in bridal fashion. The days of frumpy or puffy sleeves and bland satin dresses are long gone. This season’s bride wants her girls looking fun and fabulous. From hue, to fabric, to silhouette, bridesmaids’ dresses are taking a turn for the better.

Popular shades for the upcoming season include pastels, peach, pinks, greys, and yellows. These are all soft shades that really allow the woman in the dress to shine and not become overpowered by a bright block of colour or print.

Just like bridal gowns, off-the-shoulder dresses are sweeping bridesmaid dresses. The halter, asymmetrical and strapless gowns are also still in contention. More brides are leaning towards longer lengths and maxi styles.

Because of these longer gowns, many designers are adding a little touch of sexy with a slit (or two) in the skirt of the dress. Nothing too dramatic, but just enough to give the gown added movement.

For the men

The classic black tux is still alive and well, and fingers crossed that this look will never fade away. It’s clean, sharp and can turn your flip-flop wearing, sport short guy into the dapper gentleman waiting for you at the end of the aisle.

On the other end of the spectrum is the casual day suit, which may still be a huge step up from your man’s every day wear. This less-formal look still stays true to the classic structured jacket and straight-leg pant, but no tie required and most likely the first button of that crisp shirt is popped open. Guys have been having fun with this look and drifting away from perhaps the more serious black or grey. Navy, beige and softer greys are great colours for the suit. These lighter colours are usually associated with an earlier wedding start time and not so much for an evening celebration.

Colour wheel

Wedding colours really set the tone for the entire day and all other decisions are based off of those selected hues. This season, the du jour shades are soft and creamy. Think of your favourite fruity ice cream flavours and that’s what you’ll see dominating the colour wheel this season.

Think soft lemon paired beautifully with whites and light blues. A fun and flirty watermelon pink pops when surrounded by multiple shades of the rosy hue, not to mention greens, oranges and richer yellows. Leaf green is great for an earthy decor and complements pinks and browns beautifully.

Softer colour palettes really have a “pretty” effect on style and decor and add another touch of romance and whimsy to the day.

Floral fever

Couples are getting more and more creative with their florals this season. While certain colour palettes are dominating, no one style is reigning over the rest.

Floral colours are very reflective of what’s trending in attire. Peach, lemon and pink are sweeping the blooms being groomed for that special day.

The classic and clean look is still quite popular, as brides and maids hold bouquets of white or ivory roses and calla lilies. For a more organic style, couples are embracing the “just- picked-from-the-garden” look, an arrangement that was popular in 2014 and still going strong for 2015. The bouquet is not as compact and no one flower dominates the bunch. Gentle tones abound in this mix of florals, and the added touch of sprigs and twigs give it that wild garden look.

Non-floral materials, such as wool, burlap, lace and silk are also featured on arrangements this season. These earthy materials complement an arrangement such as the wild garden bouquet.

And flowers aren’t just for bouquets and centrepieces. Brides are opting for floral crowns to tie their entire look together. Beautiful blooms like gypsophila, roses and hydrangeas weaved together to make a bridal headpiece is a beautiful accessory to complement a softer, more whimsical, bridal style.

There’s lots to explore in the spring- summer bridal world of 2015, which means the options are endless. Find what styles and designs work best for you. As long as you’re happy, you’ll be #winning all the way down the aisle!

Lace white wedding dress with long sleeves

In Review

Here’s a recap of what was trending for the 2015 spring-summer wedding season.

Wedding gowns

Off-the-shoulder necklines, collars, 
capes and cover-ups;
Blues, greys, mint green

Honourable mentions

Oversized ruffles, slinky shift dresses, delicate sleeves


, halter
, strapless, 
longer gowns (some with slits)

peach, pinks, greys, yellows


Classic tux Casual day suit


Soft and creamy Soft lemon Watermelon pink Leaf green


Peach, lemon, pink; 
clean and classic: ivory or white roses and calla lilies, wild garden arrangements; non-floral materials; floral bridal crown.

Let’s Talk Wedding Finances


Ca-ching! In 2015, Canadians spent an average of $31,000 on a wedding, according to Weddingbells, and our friends in the United States spent slightly less. That’s a big  investment. Have you had a serious discussion about wedding finances and different options?
Planning a wedding can cost you in other ways, too. Over half of all brides spend more than 15 hours a week planning their wedding, and engagements typically, at a minimum, last three months. It’s like a part time job you have to pay to do. To lessen the financial burden of your big day, consider the following ideas:

Earn Extra Money

Starting a business can help take the sting out of a wedding’s price tag. Companies such as Amway, BeachBody and Mary Kay Cosmetics provide an option for busy brides since this work doesn’t require too much time. And, since none of the three companies require any prior knowledge — each company trains you to be successful — the learning curve isn’t steep. Another great feature is that these companies don’t have startup costs. Still, each has the potential to bring in enough money to help fund a decent portion of your wedding.

Bonus: All three companies have products you can use for your wedding, too.

Crowdfund Your Wedding

Crowdfunding sites, which were originally started for charities, have become go-to funding methods for some brides and grooms. While there are a few critics — see this article from The Knot — there are brides who have found success through crowdfunding sites. The Crowded Wedding is probably the best bet, if you decide to go this route. You simply have to sign up, set a campaign goal and publicize your page. It’s an efficient, albeit very public, way to raise cash as nothing else has to be done once the above steps have been completed.

The cost: The site takes three percent of the money you raise.

Spread the Word about Cash

Do you need three toasters? Probably not. Instead, you can let it be known you’d really appreciate cash in lieu of gifts. Cash gifts are common in many cultures, so don’t feel too bad about getting the word out. Be sure your nearest and dearest—the bridal party, close friends and family members—know that’s what you want so they can tell people when they ask. Although it won’t help you with any upfront costs, the money you do receive can be used to replenish what you spent. You can use this money to offset your wedding costs, and it will save your guests time from having to pick a gift out for you. It is a win-win, for sure.

One option is to Set up a PayPal account to make it is easy for family and friends to give to you.

Save Your Dollars

Finally, saving for your wedding is the best way to make sure you get exactly what you want without going into debt. To do this, take a percentage of your earnings and put it into a dedicated savings account. Only spend what you have saved, and, voila, you have a debt-free wedding.

There are different ways to fund a wedding. The rub is this: Nobody “deserves” an opulent wedding. If you can’t afford one, take the time to evaluate your plans and ask yourself what is really important. This is an opportunity to start your married life debt-free and financially responsibly. Don’t miss that opportunity.


Dog In Your Wedding Day?

bride and groom with dog Husky

Why Not?!

A howl of a special celebration is guaranteed!

Intending to include your beloved Fido or Kooper or Moxie in your wedding day? You certainly can. After all, there are tons of beautiful online images showing pugs in bowties, golden retrievers walking down the aisle and schnauzers posing with aplomb alongside a smitten bride and groom.

But, as dog lovers and been-there-done-that brides and grooms know, pictures seldom tell the whole story. If you want your special day to run smoothly—as opposed to you running after the dog who’d chasing a squirrel, mid-ceremony—planning and preparation are key.

bride and groom with dog Husky

These tips should help you get your doggie treats together for the big day:

  • Cover all the fire hydrants … err .. bases and make sure you’ve got approval from the venue, the reception site, the officiant and an other officials or people involved. You don’t want to have everything all set and then, on the day-of, discover the minister is allergic to dogs or the site is a no-dogs-allowed zone.
  • Designate a mature, go-to dog whisperer who will transport Pixie, take care of all of her needs on site, walk her, feed her and whisk her home when it’s time.
  • Give your dog whisperer the tools – leash, treats, a list of commands that are obeyed, water and food bowls—to be successful and be explicit about what to watch for. Dogs can be sneaky and the sweets table or half-eaten meals can be very tempting.
  • Determine what role your dog will play based on his needs and temperament. If he’s not good in crowds or with strangers, consider limiting his involvement to the picture-taking part of the festivities. If he’s not comfortable with loud noises and lots of activity (such as dancing), perhaps he can be a ring bearer and then head home after the pictures. If he’s laid back, very friendly, good with crowds and beloved by your wedding guests, well, it might be possible to include him for much of the day. That very much depends on the venue, the number of guests and the style of wedding.
  • While an outdoor venue may seem to be an ideal, dog-friendly option, be aware of potential distractions, such as squirrels, chipmunks, birds and scents. You don’t want a barkfest as you’re about to say, “I do.”
  • Take your dog to the venues a couple of times in the days before your wedding, so that he will know what to expect and be comfortable with the setting.
  • Enjoy a pawfectly fun day.

bride and groom with dog Husky