Elegant Eats for your Wedding Day



Charm guests with the ultimate winter wedding menu

If you’re planning a winter wedding, check out our fresh takes on comforting favourites, restaurant-style presentation, and fresh-from-the-hearth menu ideas. Elegant eats? Absolutely.

Cocktail-hour bites

During the colder months, hearty classics are in demand. Caterers can fulfill that desire with whimsical takes on childhood favourites. For your cocktail hour, consider passed trays of bite-sized breadcrumb-coated mac and cheese; demi forks of spaghetti and meatballs (penne pasta with a mini meatball and a drizzle of Bolognese sauce); or Panini lollipops (Panini on a stick). Another top-ranking winter hors d’oeuvre: shot glasses of hot soup, such as tomato bisque, garnished with grilled triangular cheese bites.

Soups and salads

Soup is a no-brainer for the first course of a winter wedding meal. Some of today’s favourites include butternut squash with pumpernickel croutons; potato-leek with amaretto crème fraiche; or rich cheddar potato. A winter salad calls for extra seasonal additions, such as cranberries, pears, and walnuts. Can’t decide whether to do soup or salad? Go with one of the season’s newest menu trends: soup-and-salad combo plates. Have your caterer place a small bowl of soup on one end of a rectangular plate and a cluster of salad on the other. Another option is to place soup in the centre of a round plate and surround it with salad.

Main entrées

Especially appropriate for winter, top wedding planners are transforming the wedding meal into something more inventive and gourmet, à la what you’d find in a four- star eatery. Come entrée time, classic filet mignon continues to be a favourite, but in place of roasted spuds on the side, consider a risotto cake, a purple potato pancake, or wasabi whipped potatoes. Or opt out of the traditional steak and potatoes and serve a tasting menu – or “degustation” – of six or seven small courses. For example, you might start with a pumpkin soup served with an Asiago-truffle mac and cheese muffin; followed by a fish course, such as lemon- baked salmon; and then a meat course, such as horseradish- crusted lamb chops.

Veggie entrées

Vegetarian and low-meat diets have begun to take centre stage, and many brides and grooms are offering a veggie entrée for guests. Whereas vegetarian options may once have been an unexciting afterthought (like a plate of mushy roasted eggplant, mushrooms, and peppers), caterers are now putting equal effort into making these dishes amazing. Two winter-appropriate, meat-free ideas are a jumbo Portobello stuffed with cornbread, wild mushrooms and truffle essence, or a trio of peppers filled with three different types of risotto. Pasta dishes are back in a big way, either as a second course or a vegetarian entrée. Instead of plain pasta, go for whole wheat, spelt, or spinach.


Sweet things

Self-service candy bars (which can serve as both dessert and party favours) have been popular for many years, but there’s a new take on this trend that’s perfect for winter weddings: an all-white candy spread. Think white yogourt- covered pretzels, white chocolate-covered cranberries, white- coated chocolate mints, nonpareils covered in white sprinkles, and various white jelly bean flavours. Let your guests gather their favourites into clear Chinese take-out boxes bearing a custom label. Another big menu trend that’s infiltrated the wedding scene: flights, a.k.a. three or more flavour variations served on one plate. This is a clever idea for a late-night chocolate dessert comprised of mini chocolate cheesecake lollipops and a shot of Baileys Irish Cream in a chocolate cup. It’s a sweet and stylish way to celebrate the season—and the perfect ending to a beautiful affair. W

Compiled by R. Legault.

Writing Your Own Wedding Vows



by Diane Lynn Thomas

Exchanging your wedding vows will be one of the most remembered moments of your ceremony.  That is when you say true words from your heart to each other.  Very few couples can come up with a last minute vow on the day of the wedding so take some time over the  weeks leading up to the wedding.  Do make sure that you discuss this with your officiant to ensure they will allow you to write them.  Many prefer that you used the traditional scripts.

What to say?  You and your fiance know each other best so speak from your heart.  Do you want to make it very traditional, create your own words or perhaps add a little humour?  Don’t make your vows sound as if you are doing a comedy show though.  This is a serious time so ensure to share your love and feelings for one another.  Perhaps you  want to write your vows together.  For some couples, they prefer to write them separately and share them for the first time at the altar.  Do your best to keep it short and no longer than a minute or two.  Remember, there is still plenty of time at the reception during the bride/groom speech to say a few more words.

Once you have it completed take sometime to practice it and memorize what you wrote.  If you feel comfortable then feel free to share with a family member or close friend.

The ceremony is truly the most meaningful part of a wedding.  Many times we forget this and concentrate so much time and energy on the reception, glitz and glamour and overlook on what is really important.

This article is courtesy of I Just Said Yes.

Candice and Denis


Sparks Fly

August 30, 2014

compiled by Lindsay Ruck
photos by Chantal Benoit Photography

Denis and Candice first met as teenagers when they were both working at their local movie theatre.

“Once we stopped working at the theatre we remained in contact, but it wasn’t until a few years later until we decided to meet up for drinks.”

A made-for-movie proposal would follow in one of the most romantic destinations in the world.

“I have been mesmerized with the Eiffel Tower forever. For my birthday, Denis planned a vacation in London and Paris.”

The trip of a lifetime was made all the more memorable when Denis asked Candice for forever under the Eiffel Tower.

“A photographer was present to capture everything. It was a complete surprise. It was perfect!”

On the high of a picture-perfect proposal, Denis and Candice planned an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception at Orchardview Events and Conference Centre in Greely, Ontario. The couple worked with Wendy Leung of Beyond Events to create a day filled with “wow” moments and personal touches.

“[Wendy] was absolutely amazing! She provided lots of tips and advice leading up to the event and made it so the day of the wedding was completely stress-free.”

Candice chose an A-line satin gown from Juliannah’s Bridal in Moose Creek, Ontario. The dress featured a small train and oh-so-chic pockets.

With her mother and father by her side, the bride walked down a personalized aisle runner holding a dreamy white rose bouquet arranged by That Wedding Girl.

Their 100 guests were given programs created from a fan template and personalized water bottles to stay hydrated under the summer sun.

A tented cocktail hour followed the ‘I dos’ by the lake. Prior to the sit-down reception, guests were challenged to a handmade giant Jenga game to pass the time. Other DIY touches were found in the card box, photo booth, and baskets full of toiletries for guests to use as needed.

With a colour palette of purple, white and silver, Candice and Denis filled their venue with shots of sparkle and twinkling lights. Arranged by Ottawa Flowers, centrepieces featured various white and purple blooms in pearl-draped vases.

The pair went traditional when selecting their four-tiered cake. Thanks to Sweet Song Cake, the delicious stunner consisted of white and silver embellishments and a large bow.

Fireworks lit up the night sky as the pair took their first turn around the dancefloor as man and wife.

“It really was a celebration that brought everyone together,” says the bride. “It was an overwhelming day and we tried to savour every moment.” W

Your Engagement: How Long Should It Be?



Has the question been asked? Down on one knee? Are you wearing a ring or have you slipped the ring on your beloved’s finger that lets the world know you’re engaged?

It’s a wonderfully exciting time in life if this has happened.
You are officially a fiance. Betrothed. This means your relationship is exclusive and you’re committed to a lifetime with each other.
But have you set a date? Have you sat down with each other and a calendar (and perhaps, your parents) to pick the day you want to sign the marriage certificate and celebrate your legal union with the world?

There are advantages to having a longer engagement:
You have more time to plan, organize and save money for the things you want, such as the deluxe wedding celebration of your dreams or a luxurious honeymoon.
You also have time to discuss — and sometimes hash out — what you want in your life together. Do you want kids? Where and how do you want to live? Where and how do you see yourselves ten or 15 years from now?

There are perks to have a brief engagement too:
It’s exciting and fun. You don’t get frustrated because the process seems to be dragging on. You can enjoy the big day and then get on with living your life together as a married couple.

Although the average time of an engagement is a little over a year, some couples stay engaged for years, while others tie the knot in a month or less. And “social experiment” reality TV shows such as Married At First Sight. “Based on a Danish series of the same name titled Gift Ved Første Blik … the series features three couples, paired up by relationship experts, who agree to marry when they first meet,” according to Wikipedia.

That option is not recommended. As we all know or are coming to realize, marriage comes with responsibilities and it involves commitment. While your wedding day will be amazing and the stuff of fantasies, your future is real and yours to get serious about. Whether you choose to make your engagement six weeks or 36 months, make it work for you.

Your Wedding, Your Wedding Photos




Readers of Ottawa Wedding Magazine have come to expect interesting, fun and smart information, stunning photography and wildly happy stories of newly wedded couples. If you recently tied the knot and want us to profile your story in our magazine, send us a few lines about your wedding, telling us what made it special. Also send two images that capture you and your new spouse on your wedding day. For each issue we pick the best stories and pictures and profile them in our “Happily Ever After” feature.

Submission guidelines

All entries must include the name of the couple, wedding date, wedding location and photographer. Coyle Publishing understands that when we accept your entry you have already received approval and copyright permission from your photographer to use the images in our magazine. Send your entry to editor@coylepublishing.com. Hope to hear from you!

Calling all photographers

We are always on the lookout for the most perfect shot that represents a seasonal Ottawa wedding. We are now on the search for images for our spring-summer 2017 cover. Please send your entry to us no later than, November 30, 2016 using these instructions.


Full-colour, vertical images must be 9” (W) X 10.875” (H) trim size
(add .25 mm per side for full bleed) at 300 dpi for a single page.
RGB files in TIFF, EPS or JPG with minimal compression are preferred. Submissions should be framed in such a way that there is room at the top to allow for the magazine masthead.

Photographer’s responsibility:

As a professional photographer, you are responsible for obtaining any model releases or permissions from your clients prior to submitting a photo. If chosen, your clients’ names will be published, along with full credit to you.

Cynthia and Chris


Celebration of Love

Compiled by Lindsay Ruck
Photos by Melanie Rebane Photography

August 30, 2014

The first time Chris brought Cynthia to Ottawa’s Aviation Parkway, he asked her to be his prom date. He would bring his bride-to-be back to the Parkway to pop the big question.

Upon reaching the edge of the lookout, Cynthia discovered a peppering of roses and a small box. “He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Chris had asked one of my closest friends to capture the moment and I’m so glad he did.”

With the help of her groom, friends, and family, Cynthia (an interior decorator) brought her “detailed vision” to life with several DIY elements and personal, sentimental touches.

Surrounded by 110 of their closest friends and family members, Cynthia married the love of her life at Knox Presbyterian Church in downtown Ottawa.

“The way the piano and singing fills the room; the sun gleaming through the stained glass windows; and the architectural details – it was more than we could have ever dreamed of.”

The beautiful bride donned a strapless Reem Acra Heavenly Lace A-line gown featuring hand-sewn Alençon lace appliqués over whimsical tulle.

“One of my favourite memories was knowing all of our guests and my husband were behind the church doors waiting for them to open. I treasure that last, quiet moment with my dad before I walked down the aisle.”

Tears of joy filled Chris’ eyes upon seeing his bride. Cynthia’s mother joined the procession halfway down the aisle as both parents proudly gave their daughter away.

“Our ceremony was the most important part of the day to us. We picked all of our music used in the ceremony and our worship team and pianist played the songs. We selected unique vows and personalized them to reflect our relationship.”

A cocktail hour and sit-down reception followed at the Museum of Nature.

The breathtaking views of Queen’s Lantern, which stands on the original 100-year-old mosaic floor at the base of a 65-foot high glass tower, proved to be the perfect venue for the newlyweds to share an intimate toast with their guests before heading to the Barrick Salon for dinner.

With oak-panelled walls and a restored historic maple floor, the natural setting overlooking downtown Ottawa complemented Cynthia’s vision perfectly.

Personal touches included a hand- painted floral photo booth backdrop, a seating chart hand-written on a large, ornate mirror, fresh plums holding placecards, and a dessert table featuring homemade goodies baked by loved ones.

The Girl with the Most Cakes created a three-tiered stunner complete with buttercream icing, the couple’s monogram, and floral details.

“Our colour scheme was created around our favourite colour: navy. We liked how the deep navy bridesmaid dresses emphasized the soft shades of white used throughout the wedding. To create visual interest, we balanced the deep navy with berry-toned flowers.”

Stone Blossom Floral Gallery arranged beautiful gatherings of white garden roses with shots of berry hues and dusty miller.

“We wanted to make our wedding day very personal and have it not only reflect us, but our guests as well.”

The couple enjoyed an evening that not only celebrated their love, but also those nearest and dearest. W

Down the Aisle with Dad and Mom


by Diane Lynn Thomas

Are you walking down the aisle with your dad, mom or both?
Some traditions may never change, but the idea of a bride walking down the aisle with her dad has taken a different direction.   Usually, the mother of the bride is walked in by the best man or the groom himself which means the bride and her father are next.  Yes, you are daddy’s girl and always will be, but how about all the nurturing you have received from your mom over the years?

Many brides are now considering or deciding to ask their mom and dad to walk them down the aisle on their big day.  They feel both parents have played an equally important role in their life and are both deserving of this special moment.

There are still a few questions they may have, because the role is so traditional. If you are worried then there are always other options.  You can walk with your dad to start and then your mom meets you half way or all three of you can walk down the aisle, your mom takes a seat and your dad brings you to your future husband.  I have heard some critics say that if a mother walks with the bride it will take the focus away from the bride.  I can’t agree with this statement because a bride will definitely be the centre of the attention all day, no matter what.

There is no right or wrong answer here.  If you want both your mom and dad to walk you down that aisle then go for it.  Your father will certainly not be disappointed and your mom will be very touched.  Remember, you always have that very special father and daughter dance!

This article is courtesy of I Just Said Yes.


Books for the bride … and groom



Color Me Married: The Stress-Free Way to the Big Day

By Maggie Lord
Little, Brown And Company

Adult colouring books are the hottest trend these days, promoted as an ideal way to de-stress. And when do you need de-stressing more than during the wedding planning process, which can bring some seriously stressful moments? Color Me Married combines the romance and beauty of weddings and the joy of colouring together into a fun activity. It’s a great engagement party or bridal shower gift for a bride-to-be, or for anyone who loves all things weddings. From floral bouquets and rings to centrepieces and cakes, you can now bring to life the wedding you dreamed of as a little girl. Break out your coloured pencils and start colouring your wedding stresses away!



The Wedding Expert: 400 Things You Need to Know to Plan Your Big Day

By Bettie Bradley Appetite by Random House

Bettie Bradley knows a thing or two about weddings, having spent 35 years as editor of Today’s Bride. The Wedding Expert: 400 Things You Need to Know to Plan Your Big Day takes the reader step-by-step through the entire wedding process. Peppered with signature “Bettiequette” tips, this book is a helpful handbook for any bride-to-be who is feeling overwhelmed. The chapter, “How to Avoid the 10 Most Common Mistakes” highlights some of the most important things about planning a wedding, like not losing sight of why you’re getting married in the first place! Trust the wedding expert; she knows what she’s talking about.


Weddings in Color: 500 Creative Ideas for Designing a Modern Wedding

By Vané Broussard and Minhee Cho Chronicle Books

Not all brides want to be traditional. Weddings in Color: 500 Creative Ideas for Designing a Modern Wedding is a Pinterest lover’s dream, presenting imaginative suggestions that will guarantee an Instagram-worthy wedding, including floral crowns, die-cut invitations, and altars made of balloons. Authors Vané Broussard and Minhee Cho subscribe to the maxim that the most defining aspect of a wedding, especially a modern wedding, is colour. To that end, the pair have created a visually-appealing book filled with hundreds of ideas on how to put a trendy twist on classics. The book offers fun and creative DIY suggestions, and industry experts give tips and insider information on all aspects of wedding planning. With eight chapters, each devoted to a colour and featuring dazzling palettes, this book is quite literally eye candy.


Wedding Flowers

By Karen Tran Stichting Kunstboak

If you’re in need of floral inspiration for your wedding, look no further than this stylish new book by Karen Tran, a celebrated American wedding and event designer. Wedding Flowers draws on Karen’s 20 years of experience as an event planner and walks the reader through the wedding design and planning process. Created as an inspirational guide, the book offers advice on choosing the right theme and creating an ideal and unforgettable mood and ambience for your event. Karen is known for planning spectacular events, and it is showcased here with gorgeous photography of her stunning and creative floral arrangements. This gem is guaranteed to give you fresh floral inspiration for your wedding celebration. W

To source or purchase any of the books we have listed in this column; simply take the ISBN number and author’s name to any bookstore for a special order. Libraries may not carry all books listed on this page.

Compiled by Ariel Arnon.

Bridal Fashion Finds for the Season

Simply Stunning



by Lindsay Ruck

A variety of silhouettes and design trends graced the runways in anticipation for fall 2016, giving this season’s bride an abundance of choices when selecting the dress of her dreams. While there were many swoon- worthy over-the-top designs for those well-heeled weddings, we’ve opted to highlight the simpler of silhouettes that were taken to the next level with a little extra something special. From high slits and detachable skirts to off-the-shoulder and fluttery sleeves, this season, less is most definitely more.

Detachable skirts

Detachable skirts are designed from the school of thought that two is always better than one. If you’re a bride who would like two separate looks on her day, then the detachable skirt was designed for you. Instead of buying two gowns, a more demure look for the ceremony is dramatically taken up a notch for the reception once the top layer is released.

Detachable skirts come in a variety of styles and colours and brides can have fun customizing their ultimate look. J. Mendel presented a striking elongated detachable skirt this season which floated softly over an equally-long form-fitting beaded gown. More daring designs came from Monique Lhuillier and Vera Wang, as both fashion moguls created full-length detachable skirts draped over a shorter, sexier under-skirt.

This two-in-one design trend takes a simple and classic style to the next level, allowing brides to showcase the best of both worlds on their special day. An extra benefit of the convertible gown: no need to bustle for the reception!


High slits

Ever since Angelina Jolie popped her right leg out of her black velvet Atelier Versace gown at the 2012 Academy Awards, designers have included the high slit into several of their most coveted creations, and this season, bridal is no exception.

Similar to the detachable skirt, a gown featuring a high slit can look quite simple and demure upon first glance, but a little movement will reveal a sexier side to your bridal style. Slits on the side or the centre are apparent not only for the bride, but also the bridesmaid.

Ines di Santo and Inbal Dror both featured the thigh-high slits in their collections, turning what would be simple bridal gowns into sexy haute couture styles.

While the high slit adds extra movement to what would otherwise be a structured dress, keep in mind it could also showcase a little more than perhaps desired. If you’re tying the knot in a generally windy climate and plan on having the ceremony or photos taken outdoors, then the high slit may not be for you. No bride wants to have to keep her hands by her sides the entire day to avoid an embarrassing flash following an unexpected gust of wind.



Flutter sleeves

This design trend harks back to the retro days of all things flowing and free. Flutter sleeves are a whimsical bridal element which fits in nicely with a simple silhouette.

Lightweight fabrics, including lace and gossamer, are key to creating this flirty flutter. Intricate details in the sleeves kick the look up a notch and create a Secret Garden vibe to an otherwise dull detail.

US-based designer, Sarah Seven, and North American bridal retailer, David’s Bridal, featured flutter sleeves in their designs. The fairy-like gowns attract the casual yet contemporary bride who desire a simple yet stylish and romantic alternative to the traditional plain gown.

Several designers, including Claire Pettibone and Alon Livne, pair the flutter sleeve with a deep-V neckline to include a sensual element to what would otherwise be a more covered-up bridal look.



Off-the-shoulder gowns are once again sweeping the bridal fashion world and we are big fans of this sexy yet sophisticated style. This trend dates back to the Victorian era when bridal royalty would enter the large cathedral hallows donning a shoulder- bearing, elegant, one-of-a-kind gown.

Fast-forward to modern day as top designers of 2016, including Anne Barge, Monique Lhuillier and Lela Rose, all wowed the runways in off-the- shoulder styles. From the classic princess ball gown to a simple A-line style, off-the-shoulder works on a number of silhouettes and adds an element of timeless elegance.

Necklines also vary with off-the- shoulder gowns, and this season we’re loving the plunging-V and the contrasting straight-across structured styles.

Simple is no longer boring and there’s something for everyone in this season’s most swoon-worthy designs. Daring yet demure top our bridal charts and we’re loving the added elements to once simple silhouettes. Explore your options to find the gown that is simply sexy, simply sophisticated, and, most importantly, simply “you.” W

Bridal Lingerie You’ll Love


by Lindsay Ruck

There’s no question the wedding gown trumps all other fashion decisions for the big day. But there are other selections to be made. From simple and structured to silky and sultry, bridal lingerie is a fun element to the day and the options are endless.

We’ve highlighted a few of our lingerie loves and are sharing what works when and who should wear what. So let’s talk lingerie!


The getting ready outfit for you and your maids has become almost as important as your other bridal wardrobe selections (almost!).

Online and storefront boutiques such as Plum Pretty Sugar and curated and customized Etsy shops offer several options for the now-essential bridal robe. From bold floral prints to crisp white robes with “Bride” etched on the back, these soft and silky cover- ups make getting ready for that walk down the aisle feel even more special. Morning robes are also a great gift for your girls and it’s something they can wear again and again. Anyone can rock this fun and flirty look and slipping out of the robe and into the dress will be a breeze.

Depending on your gown, the undergarments worn to prep the morning of your wedding may be just as important as your full day lingerie. If your dress features a low back, keep in mind the unsightly lines a bra can leave if worn for just a few hours. If you know you require support 24-7 and going bra-less is just not an option, consider a loose, cloth bandeau which won’t push into your skin as much as a regular wired or elastic bra.


Your dress determines which undergarments will work best for you, and your body will tell you which areas need a little more nip and tuck than others.

Shapewear has come a long way, and the once one-note, structured garments have evolved into sexy underthings that not only feel great, but look fantastic.

If you’re opting for a strapless gown, brides with a larger bust will need to ensure they’re well supported to avoid spillage. Those brides who may not be as well- endowed will need to ensure they can actually fill the bust area. Some bridal gowns come with cups already sewn into the fabric. If this is not the case, there are skilled tailors who will sew cups directly into the dress, therefore eliminating the need for a separate bra.

Seamless underwear is the best option when wearing a more form-fitting gown. Smooth and sheer dresses tend to show everything, so the less lines, the better.

A full corset or one piece leotard are also options. But keep in mind, wearing a leotard without any detachments throughout the ceremony and reception will make going to the washroom even more of a task than it already is while wearing a full-length gown.

The ideal lingerie to complement any body type is a strapless, smooth body shaper – there are no lines to worry about and the structure adds shape and creates a visible waistline. With a wide variety of shapewear available, select the best form for the gown. Cut outs or sheer sides will require a little more creativity and a one-piece may not be your best option. Separates are ideal for the more elaborately-cut gowns.


Depending on what works best with the gown, brides may choose a separate lingerie look post- reception. Simple seamless underwear and a nude strapless bra may not be exactly what you had in mind. Now is the time to get creative and have fun choosing pieces you may not necessarily wear on a regular basis.

From sweet and sexy babydoll slips to lace-up corsets with garters, stockings, and hold-ups, your evening bridal lingerie should make you feel over- the-top gorgeous. Creative doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable. If you’re pulling and tugging, then you won’t feel sexy. Select items that look and feel amazing and give you the confidence to strut your stuff.

Ottawa holds a handful of lingerie gems backed by undergarment experts who are ready and willing to find your perfect match. Check out these local retailers for your perfect bridal underthings. W

Amanda May Lingerie

203 Dalhousie Street (ByWard Market) amandamay.ca

Victoria’s Secret

Bayshore Shopping Centre Rideau Centre victoriassecret.com


Rideau Centre Nordstrom.com