Romantic Halloween Dinner for Two


It’s Halloween. Why not take a break from your wedding To Do list and celebrate the special occasion with a romantic dinner for two? It can be fun, playful, delectable and super romantic.

Candles are a must, as is low lighting. A crackling fire is ideal, if available. Seasonal decorations will add to the ambience. A bottle of wine is nice too. Costumes? That’s for you and your fiancé to decide.



Keep the menu easy. If you have a bag or two of good quality frozen shrimp in the freezer, thaw them under cold running water. While the water’s running, peel and crush a couple of  cloves of garlic, get out the olive oil and your favourite spices.

Drain and dry the shrimp with paper towel, and sauté with garlic in a bit of olive oil on medium high. Add spices to your taste.

The shrimp can be served with fresh baguette and some delicious pumpkin soup.


Pumpkin Soup

*This soup has been adapted from Epicurious.


2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)

1 tablespoon butter

2-3 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

pinch salt and 2 grindings of pepper

pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)

2 and a half cups pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk

Sauté onions, garlic and ginger in butter on medium low heat for about five minutes, until golden and soft.  Add cumin and coriander, stirring, and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, pumpkin, broth and coconut milk. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about a half an hour.  Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth, then return it to the pot. Keep it warm over low heat. When serving, garnish it with sour cream and parsley, cilantro or green onions.


Costumes are optional, but fun.



Lesbian Wedding Fashion and Style

lesbian wedding

lesbian wedding

She said Yes! So there’s going to be a wedding with all the trimmings — and then some. But what is a girl to wear when she’s marrying the most wonderful girl she’s ever met? How do you coordinate outfits so they reflect your one-of-a-kind tastes and styles, yet still leave an element of surprise if you want “the big reveal” to happen at the ceremony?

Certainly, there’s fun to be had in the decision making. After all, it’s your celebration; you can do what you want. You can even go shopping together, for dresses, tuxes, suits, shoes, whatevs. You can discuss what you like, help each other choose, but leave the final decisions until later so there will be a beautiful surprise waiting.

As for ideas, Pinterest is full of real-life images and couples that will get your really excited about the possibilities. If you want a formal tux, check out options at Vests, tuxedo shirtsbowtiessuspenders and other snazzy items can be found at

lesbian wedding fashion

If you’re planning a summer wedding and you want something that’s more feminine but isn’t a long white dress, you might want to consider suiting options such as a jacket with pants, shorts, a skirt or sleeveless dress to match. There are plenty of options. They can be found everywhere from Etsy to Ottawa’s bridal and fashion boutiques.

lesbian wedding

Do you both want to wear a long formal dress? Enjoy every minute of finding just the right ones. They don’t have to be the same style, but if you want your wedding to have a cohesive vibe, decide on colours and a look you want and figure out a way to tie things together via flowers or accessories. The same style guidelines apply for your wedding party. Forget gender roles. You want the people you’ve chosen to stand with you on your wedding day to feel good and look good, however they fit into your plans.
For instance, people who prefer to wear pants can have vests or suspenders and bowties in the same colour as the people wearing dresses. Even the dresses don’t have to be the same. They can be the same fabric and colour but different styles. There are lots of choices.

As as this Buzzfeed article points out, you can get creative with everything from the invitations to the cake. It’s all about you: your love and your day. Enjoy!

Wedding Planning: When A Crisis Happens


While wedding days are all about making dreams come true, planning them happens in real time. Wonderful, unforgettable nuptial celebrations don’t happen overnight. In fact, as the numbers show, most people are engaged for over a year before they actually meet at an altar and tie the knot.

And in that time, even if you are the most detail-oriented, meticulous planner and organizer, the unexpected can happen. Believe it or not, the unexpected often does happen.

– Someone from the venue you booked calls to tell you they’ve made an error. It was already booked for that date by somebody else.

– A member of your wedding party has an injury or an emergency and has to bow out.

– There’s a family tragedy. It happens. A grandparent dies. A parent is diagnosed with cancer. An accident happens. Hopefully, you can find comfort in your love for each other, show your support and caring for your significant others, and, depending on the timing and circumstances, still make it a point to celebrate your big day with all the bells and whistles. After all, a wedding is an affirmation of life and hope for the future.

– There are financial concerns. Your guest list might balloon … (parents and inlaws sometimes have their own mini guest lists), you may unexpectedly go over budget, or in some circumstances you may confront the thump of a job layoff or pay cut. Thankfully, you and your fiancé are in the position to make decisions and be assertive about your financial choices. A big budget doesn’t equal the best, most memorable wedding day. You decide what your priorities are and trim the extras — including extra guests on the list, if need be, unless the folks making the requests are willing to pitch in to help with the tab.

– You face a major disappointment. The celebrant flubs the ceremony, your dress rips, the weather doesn’t cooperate, a beloved bestie can’t make it, the cake underwhelms … Stuff happens. That’s okay. As this story reveals, sometimes confronting a hardship together can actually strengthen your relationship. And, always, how you choose to respond to anything dictates the memories you make. Make your wedding day memories full of laughter and joy.

Celebrate Your Wedding with Social Media

social media

Wedding selfies?


A wedding Facebook page?



Absolutely! If you love social media as much as everybody else you know, you can make it a fun and unique part of your wedding celebration. Although there has been plenty of wedding etiquette advice for guests about the dos and don’ts of using social media at a wedding — hello random Instagram pics and tweets — the truth is there’s no getting around the widespread love of recording and sharing life’s good times.

social media

Why not embrace it? Some brides start blogs to share all the magic and nail-biter moments and glorious details. Check out by Valerie Windsor  as a lovely example. But not everybody has the time and the skills to commit to doing a blog.

However, a wedding Facebook page can be easy and fun. It’s a way to share casual wedding pics with the world. Note: A Facebook page is public. If you want to share pics and deets with your invited guests and besties only, opt for a Facebook group. That way everybody can share their favourite images from the big day — as will as wedding shower pics and other related photos and comments — in privacy.

If you’d prefer, you can make things happen on Instagram. Create a hashtag — #JackandLindsayIDos  #ShelbyLovesMitch #KyleandSaraWed #JandTrHitched … whatever works for you — and get your guests to tag their pics. Sometimes, the spontaneous snapshots are really wonderful and treasured.

There are also apps, such as, that allow everybody to share pics and videos in an album you can curate. However, while it’s great to have photos of your special day from a hundred different perspectives, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to forgo a professional photographer. You definitely want a professional photographer. Always.

social media

Also, it’s wise to be clear — polite but assertive — about guidelines you want your guests to respect when sharing wedding-related captures on social media. For instance, you can say something like, “Please be kind when sharing pics and videos, and use the hashtag #________. Let’s not share anything that’s unflattering or hurtful. We want everybody to feel good on this wonderful day and remember it with joy.”




Your Wedding Dress and the Weather


What does the weather have to do with choosing a wedding dress? Experience tells us it is definitely something to consider, if you want to feel both confident and comfortable on your big day.

And if there’s one thing that’s predictable it’s the unpredictability of weather in the Ottawa area. However, we do know some things for sure.  Summers can be really hot, so strapless dresses work quite well. Winters can be really cold, so dresses with long sleeves or jackets are appropriate. In the spring and fall,the best bet is to have a wrap, shrug, capelet, jacket or shawl that coordinates with your dress and that you can put on or remove as you wish.

In any season, there are lots of choices, whether your style is boho, glamorous, traditional, retro, or uniquely your own. Area bridal shops offer a wide selection of both dresses and beautiful coverings that will make you feel like a million bucks–and warm enough at the same time.


Sleeves never ever have to be boring. Delicate and lovely, these sleeves match the pretty bodice and help to accentuate the bride’s beautiful curves.



The elbow-length sleeves of this cropped faux fur jacket are chic and the form-fitting cut of the jacket beautifully complements the style of the dress. And the luxe material ensures the bride is cozy even in chilly weather.



Some brides, whose wedding days are in the winter, opt for a romantic, princess-style cape look that is unabashedly generous in cut. Yes, you really can be Snow White in your very own fairytale day.



The voluminous bell bottom sleeves in this figure-hugging wedding dress make a style statement that’s very sophisticated and feminine. There’s nothing old fashioned or dull about this long-sleeved style.


If you hate to be cold, you plan to have outdoor photos and your wedding is anytime other than summer, consider optioning for a luxurious long-sleeved wedding jacket that will offer you great looks and the ultimate versatility.

Romance in the Vineyard



Simple elegance and vintage decor anchor this dreamy affair

photos by Phillipa Maitland
shot on location at the Jabulani Vineyard and Winery

The vision for this styled shoot was inspired by vintage vineyard romance. No matter the season, the ambiance, scents, and glory of a vineyard can still take your breath away. See how this feeling was captured by photographer, Phillipa Maitland, and the many vendors who shared their talents for this story.

When Jocelyn Burns of Pink Paisley Weddings & Events moved from Northern California, she thought she had left behind the romantic vineyards of Napa Valley. When she was told of a beautiful vineyard in the Ottawa region, she was instantly intrigued.

Wedding stationery

Wedding stationery – including a tasting menu featuring wines from Jabulani Vineyard and Winery – was comprised of wine glass stained paper and a cork-like texture. Whimsical elements included wine glass tags and unique signage.

Hair and makeup

Romance was carried through the makeup with natural hues reflecting shades of antique and rose gold, accented by dramatic smoky eyes. A boho ‘do’ was embellished with flowers and braids.

Sweet things

A simple and elegant white wedding cake was accented with bright flowers and deep red grapes.

The gown

We chose a vintage-inspired wedding dress from Essence of Australia. This open-back gown features a lace overdress with a V-neckline, lace shoulder straps and hand-sewn diamante crystal accents.


The florals

Pulling from a soft and elegant colour scheme, an array of pinks, ivory, soft greens and burgundy were chosen to accompany the lovely venue. Delicate spray roses, thryptomene and astrantia were used in contrast with a touch of exotic – bold king protea, scabiosa pods and agonis.

The jewellery

Among other accessories, an antique diamond ring was donated by Heart Deco, owned and operated by Grace Irving, an Ottawa-based dealer of vintage and antique jewellery. Heart Deco is carefully curated with an emphasis on authentic Victorian, Edwardian, art deco and retro jewellery. The collection marries the romance and craftsmanship from centuries past with modern sensibilities, offering a range of unique, ethical, and affordable pieces. Grace has amassed an extensive collection of vintage and antique ring boxes, popular for weddings and proposals, keepsakes, and displays.


The bride carried a mix of roses, blushing bride protea, astrantia, scabiosa pods, an assortment of greenery, and two lovely stems of king protea.

King proteas were the focal piece because of the spectacular structure and distinctiveness. Unbenownst to our floral designer, the owners of Jabulani Winery and our photographer, Phillipa Maitland, originate from Africa, where proteas are grown. To further embellish the bouquet, the stems were wrapped with a champagne satin ribbon overlaid with an antique ivory lace.

Boutonniere and hair flowers

The groom’s boutonniere displayed elements from the bride’s bouquet, including spray roses, blushing bride protea, thryptomene and greenery. A magnetic backing was used to fasten the boutonniere onto the lapel, keeping it secure throughout the day. Small clusters of light pink roses were used to amplify the bride’s gorgeous up- do, provided by Pina Cava.

Floral garland

A garland of assorted greenery, including eucalyptus leaves and Italian ruscus, gently outlined soft, sheer fabric for the focal point of the ceremony. White spray roses were used to decorate lovely antique guest chairs, and to embellish decorative garland.


A large centerpiece with punches of dark burgundy dahlias, black grapes and light pink florals adorned a rustic table.

Accent Arrangements

Clusters of light pink stocks and white spray roses were used to decorate the simple yet elegant white buttercream cake. Small, accent flowers in lovely antique vessels were scattered amongst the food table.

Added features

Several one-of-a-kind antique and vintage pieces contributed to our romantic theme.

Antique diamond ring: 18K yellow gold and platinum Edwardian panel ring with 1.25 combined carat weight old cut diamonds, circa 1910.

Band: art deco engraved platinum wedding band, circa 1920.
Box: antique Victorian leather ring box, circa 1890.

Stickpin in groom’s tie: 9K gold and silver stickpin set with 0.25 carat old mine cut diamond, circa 1890.
Necklace: Vintage rhinestone necklace, circa 1930.


About the location

Jabulani is the Zulu word for happiness or rejoice – which is exactly what the owners felt when they walked the property before buying it in 2006. The once fallow fields now produce eight different varieties of cold climate vines numbering just over 11,000. Located in rural Ottawa, Jabulani opened its doors in 2011. Today, there are three locations for couples to hold their special day. W

Compiled by R. Legault.

The Players

Venue: Jabulani Vineyard and Winery (
Models: Mia and Adam
Bride’s gown: Bridals by Al-Mor (
Jewellery: Heart Deco (
Groom’s apparel: Collin’s Formal Wear available at Bridals By Al-Mor (
Flowers: Trillium Floral Design (
Décor: Amy and Jen Décor (
Cake: Kakes by Judy (
Hair and makeup: Pina Cava (
Stationery: Michael Burns Design (
Photography: Phillipa Maitland Photography (
Wedding planner: Jocelyn Burns of Pink Paisley Weddings & Events (

Sarah and David


Falling in Love

October 13, 2012

compiled by Lindsay Ruck
photos by Sarah Rouleau Photography

Sarah and David Ryding met on the first day of classes at Ryerson University.

“We walked to our second class of the day together. We were both new to campus and didn’t know where we were going.”

They’ve been inseparable ever since.

Following a proposal in 2012, the pair began planning an intimate fall wedding that would include 50 of their closest friends and family members.

“Autumn is a beautiful and romantic time of year. We wanted to incorporate the vibrant fall colours and harvest theme into our decor.”

That combination of romance and beauty was the perfect inspiration for the theme of Sarah and David’s special day: Falling in Love.

The Waring House, a country inn in Picton, Ontario, ticked all of the boxes for the dream wedding venue, providing space for the ceremony, reception and guest accommodations.

“We wanted our guests to enjoy a pseudo- vacation while attending our wedding.”

A wedding and event coordinator was on-staff at The Waring House for assistance where needed, however the couple opted out of an official wedding planner, taking on the bulk of the preparations themselves.

“It was important to us that all of our guests be attendees; able to enjoy themselves without having a role in the planning and preparation of our special day. This was our gift to our friends and family for supporting us and our relationship.”

Another gift for guests from the couple was a pre-wedding pub night. Hosted in The Barley Room at The Waring House, those in attendance enjoyed food, spirits and music.

“It was a fun and casual night before the formal occasion.”

The following day, Sarah walked down the gravel path on her father’s arm donning a La Sposa gown purchased at Baroness Bridal  in Ottawa. Featuring a lace overlay and small train, the gown was the perfect complement to the romantic and intimate feel of the day. It was also a wonderful surprise for the groom, who admits he couldn’t take his eyes off of his beautiful bride.

Orange, brown and accent fall colours were found throughout the reception site. The couple carved pumpkins to cradle the beautiful floral centrepieces, arranged by Nancy Graham of Avenue Florist. Chrysanthemums and lanterns peppered the space and Sarah and David sourced old barn windows to display the seating plan.

The couple’s parents’ wedding photos were also prominently displayed as a tribute to their lasting love. “They are our relationship role models, as both couples have been married for over 40 years.”

In lieu of a cake, the newlyweds served an assortment of squares and tarts, which were anchored by Sarah’s grandmother’s wedding cake topper from 1946.

Sarah and David started and completed their university studies as a team; planned and executed a beautiful wedding as a team; and so it is no surprise that the inscription on their wedding bands read: “We are a good team.”

“This is our mantra. A reminder that we are in it together, for better or for worse. Always.”

Thank you for sharing your story – OWM.W

Weatherproof Wedding

weatherproof wedding

weatherproof wedding

When Kirsten married her beloved Paul, their special day was anything but typical. For one thing, it didn’t take place on a typical spring or summer or early fall day.

No outdoor venue, no worry about mosquitos or rain or wind, no concerns about perspiration stains due to 30+ C temperatures.

The ever-popular strapless wedding dress was atypically absent and not a picture was taken in a rustic or scenic rural setting. In fact, there were no outdoor images at all.

And the bride and groom didn’t have one minute of anxiety or grief over the weather forecast or the vagaries of Mother Nature. That’s because the wedding took place in late November. It was held in the evening.

And it was one that is still talked about as being particularly lovely.  The venue was historic and romantic, the crowd was ebullient and congenial and the whole event was full of charm and joy.

Key features in this Weatherproof Wedding

There was lots of candlelight — and people to look after those candles. They cast a warm glow and a sparkle that defined the ambience.

The music had been carefully selected to appeal to the guests, and the DJ was willing and happy to honour requests. The result? Everybody — young and old — got up on the dance floor and had a lot of fun.

The personal touches were wonderful. They included hand-crocheted lace hearts. Kirsten had asked the crocheter in the family to make the beautiful keepsakes and they were created with love and TLC.

Other family members and loved ones pitched in as well, whipping up tasty canapes and sweet treats — bite-sized squares, cookies and cupcakes — for the occasion. The homemade irish creme was also very much appreciated by the guests.

All in all, from start to finish, it was a unique wedding celebration that was full of love and that was in no way dependent on the weather. And that’s something to consider.

Add This to your Wedding Gift Registry

gift registry

Have you signed up for a wedding gift registry yet? There are many benefits to this popular option. For one thing, a registry makes it easy for guests to buy you a wedding gift. They can shop online, even. And there’s no guess work.

For another thing, it help ensure you won’t get hideous wall art, four toasters, or a lot of stuff you don’t want or need. How many candy dishes, champagne flutes or sheet sets can you cope with anyway?

If you’re already fairly well established in life, you’re living together or you’ve been a couple for a long time, odds are there are a lot of things you would prefer not to receive since you’re apt to already have them.

Saeco Moltio Carafe_HD8869-47

Here’s something you’ll want, if your day doesn’t really start before your morning coffee.

Put the Saeco Moltio espresso machine on the top of your gift list. That way you’ll be able to enjoy a perfect cup of espresso, just the way you want it, at the touch of a button. The Moltio’s memo function allows you to adjust coffee strength and temperature. This machine brews seven coffee varieties and features a one touch milk carafe along with a five-step adjustable grinder. See

Involve Loved Ones in Your Wedding


Are you and your fiancé from large and close families? You may want your celebration to be a family wedding and you may also want to involve loved ones in many aspects of your special day.

That’s wonderful. But there are some things to consider. The bad news? Not everybody can be a bridesmaid or a groomsman. The good news? There are ways to include just about everyone in helping to make it a very special, memorable day.

While you’re apt to not want to make your bridal party too unwieldy–after all dresses, shoes, hair, makeup and accommodations can be costly–it is fun to include flower girls and ring bearers. How many is up to you. Extend the invitation to their parents to have them involved, and don’t be offended if the offer is politely turned down. After all, they know better than anybody the capacity of their little ones to manage during social occasions.

Here are some other wedding roles that can be filled by your nearest and dearest:

Music: If you’ve got somebody in the clan who has a great voice or instrumental talent consider asking him or her to perform at the ceremony, cocktail reception or dinner.

Public speaking: Ask one sibling to do a reading and another to recite a passage at the ceremony. Ask yet another to be your master of ceremonies.

You can have a couple of people in charge of lighting and extinguishing candles and a couple of other trusted people in charge of gifts and cards.

Decor: If you’ve got crafty cousins or inlaws-to-be, round them up to make centrepieces or party favours with you. The get-together will be a fun celebration in itself.

Food: If you have aunts or other ones who love to bake or prepare special dishes, involve them in a gathering to make desserts or dishes for the rehearsal dinner. There are lots of options.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your loved ones want to help and be part of making your big day everything you want it to be.