What To Do about Wedding Crashers

wedding crashers

wedding crashers

Wedding Crashers? For real?

Yes. While the 2005 box-office hit starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson was a laughathon that rated a 75 per cent on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer … (despite its raunchiness), in real life wedding crashers are not nearly so funny.

That’s not to say there are tricksters roaming around Ottawa area wedding venues on Saturday nights looking for free drinks and people to chat up. Odds are that’s not the case. In those sorts of situations, security or the venue manager can be alerted and interlopers can be removed from the premises.

However, that doesn’t mean unexpected guests won’t show up. Despite the most meticulous organizing and budgeting and planning, sometimes there’s an unexpected Plus One, or Plus Two or Plus Three. Good manners and traditional rules of etiquette occasionally fall by the wayside and people you know … who did not receive dinner invitations … somehow manage to arrive and sit down  at assigned tables with mutual friends or family members.

What the what? It might be the case that a single relative or colleague is newly part of a couple and misread your invitation to welcome an escort. Whatever the dynamic or background story, you’ve got more bodies in the room than place cards and place settings.

What do you do? Here’s what Jaimie Mackey has to say, in part, at Brides.com: “If someone does show up with an uninvited guest, put your planner to work. Squeeze in another chair, and let the caterer know that one of those back-up dishes will be headed to the out-of-place seat at table 12.”

Folks in the hospitality business, including those at wedding venues, are used to handling the unexpected, so should be well able to accommodate an extra guest or three. If it’s someone you don’t want at your celebration, for instance an ex or a problematic relative, get your planner or a trusted member of your entourage to diplomatically usher the intruder to the door. Always delegate.

And if any of these sorts of situations come about, don’t let them dampen your joy. The extra dinner charges for a few Plus Ones will be insignificant in the long run. It’s far better to be gracious and welcoming and to handle wedding crashers diplomatically. That way you’ll have happy memories and something to laugh about during an anniversary celebration many years from now.



The New Wedding Etiquette

wedding etiquette

Have your day your way

Wedding traditions can and do change. So says Peggy Post, the great-granddaughter-in-law of Emily Post, today’s leading authority on etiquette and the author of a dozen books. Peggy provides enlightened solutions to wedding etiquette questions. Here are a few established wedding traditions that have taken on a fresh twist in recent years.

Old: The bride’s family pays for the wedding.

New: Today, just 27 per cent of weddings are paid for by the bride’s family. Even a simple affair can be a significant cost, so it’s not surprising that families attack this in different ways. The bride’s family may pay. The couple themselves may pay, or the groom’s family, the bride’s family and the couple may share expenses.

Old: There should be no more than six bridesmaids and six groomsmen.

New: You can have as many attendants as you want. There is no maximum and minimum. Even at a big, formal wedding, just one or two attendants on each side are acceptable. Because groomsmen/ushers have the responsibility of seating guests at the ceremony, the rule of thumb is one usher for every 50 guests; and it’s fine to have more ushers than bridesmaids.

Old: The bridal bouquet must be white or, at the very least, subdued.

New: Bouquets can be as beautiful and varied as the brides who carry them. Vibrant wildflowers, lavender roses that match the bridesmaids’ dresses ,the groom’s favourite flower — all are acceptable and wonderful. Brides, however, should consider guests who might have allergies to certain flowers.

Old: The mother of the groom shouldn’t choose her dress until the mother of the bride has chosen hers.

New: Traditionally, the mother of the bride chooses her dress and then notifies the mother of the groom of its style and shade so that she can purchase a dress that complements but doesn’t exactly match the bride’s mother and attendants. Today, the mother of the groom should select an outfit that she feels beautiful and comfortable in and that is appropriate for the time of day and formality of the wedding. And if the bride’s mom hasn’t contacted the groom’s mom, it is perfectly fine for mom ‘o the groom to initiate that phone call to discuss dress details.

Old: Traditional household appliances and linens are the best wedding presents.

New: Any gift is fine, just choose thoughtfully. Some couples today have already combined households and may not need another blender, compact toaster oven or set of bath towels. Gift registries are now the norm, and they are handy for guests who may not know the couple as well as they might like. And don’t be surprised by a registry that may contain non-traditional items like chipping in on vacations and mortgage payments.

Old: Guests shouldn’t wear white or black to a wedding.

New: You can wear white as long as it doesn’t look like a wedding dress; it’s the bride’s day. If you wear black, it should look like you are attending a wedding, not a funeral. Also, consider time of day, location and any rules of attire specified by religion (for example, bare shoulders or too much cleavage or leg showing.)

Old: All guests should receive handwritten thank-you notes for their gifts.

New: Sorry, there’s no changing this one. All guests should receive handwritten thank-you notes for their gifts. Save the emails for lunch dates and business-related thank-yous.

Source: Courtesy of ARA Content, www.womensweb.ca.

*This article originally appeared in a print issue of Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

Selecting Your Wedding Venue

wedding venue

What to consider when choosing your wedding location

Location, location, location. Think that mantra applies only to a house purchase? Think again. The average couple spends approximately 45 to 50 per cent of their wedding budget on their wedding venue and catering, so you want to make sure that you get it right.

In launching your search for the perfect wedding location you need to address a number of key questions:

Ask yourselves how far the most important people in your life will have to travel to attend your wedding and whether the location you want will work for them.

Are you looking at a small intimate wedding or do you need a location large enough to accommodate 300 people?

Do you want an indoor or outdoor ceremony and reception — or both? What about time of day? An evening outdoor ceremony may not work if there is not sufficient lighting available.

Does the venue provide sufficient accessibility for all your wedding guests?

Keep in mind that some venues that look great in winter do not look quite so stunning in summer. Which location will look great for your wedding season?

Is there some place that is not a traditional wedding venue but that holds a special place in your heart? If so, weigh the cost and time demands of holding your wedding in a unique locale against one that focuses on weddings. It might be well worth the extra bit of planning!

Answering these questions will automatically help to narrow your list of appropriate venues.

Quality, quantity or both?

Take a look at your budget to determine how much you can spend on a venue. Be sure to consider what each location provides. A seemingly inexpensive venue option may not be quite so cost efficient if you have to provide food, servers, tables, linens, etc., when compared to a venue with a higher fee but that provides such items as part of its package. If you want the high-end reception venue but you have a low-end budget, you will need to keep the numbers on your guest list in check.

The ceremony

If you want to have your ceremony at the same place as your reception, make sure this is permitted and that any licenses are arranged will in advance of the wedding day.

The food

Find out whether the venue provides food or whether you need to bring in a caterer. If the meals must be provided by the venue, make sure they can accommodate any special food requirements your guests may have, including those who are diabetic, vegetarian vegan or who adhere to a particular diet due to their religious affiliations. Be sure to make an appointment to sample the menu so you know the quality of the food you are paying for.

Room ready

Find out if there are accommodations available in the facility or nearby for out-of-town guests and reserve a block of rooms. This will help to ensure your guests are able to get a room. Be sure to negotiate a reduced rate for your guests; after all, the hotel will be benefitting from multiple reservations thanks to your wedding.


Most venues suggest booking at least a year and a half in advance, especially for Saturdays in the summer, and long weekends. A deposit is usually required at the time of booking with the remainder of fees paid before the wedding, save for any day-of costs such as a bar tab or dinner for unexpected guests. Keep in mind that venues often offer a discount for bookings that occur on non high-demand days, so you may want to consider booking a weekday wedding reception.


Be sure to carefully read your contract regarding decorating your venue. The use of such things as nails and thumbtacks or anything that can damage walls or ceilings, can often result in a steep damage fee on your final bill.

Visiting day

Be sure to visit all the venues that make it onto your shortlist. Some venues even offer wedding planners, so if you are thinking of using the help of an in-house planner, be sure to meet up with them on your scheduled visiting day to find out  what services they and the venue provide.

Point of contact

If you don’t have a wedding planner, make sure you have a designated contact for the venue and find out if they will be available the day of the event. If they are not available that day, ensure that you will instead have an experienced event coordinator assigned to you for the duration.

Back up plans

Be sure to plan for the unexpected. Is there an indoor location for the ceremony and reception if the weather does not cooperate, or are arrangements for tents possible? Try to think of some worst case scenarios and plan accordingly.

The fine print

Always read the fine print with any venue you are considering. Some venues will not allow you to bring in your own photographer, audiovisual equipment, entertainment, etc. Instead, you must choose from its list of approved vendors.

Many couples do not realize there are many extra fees charged at venues. Be aware that most locations charge service or gratuity fees, corkage fees for your homemade wines, and plating fees for the serving of your wedding cake , even if you have provided it.

Get everything in writing and track all telephone calls and emails so you can refer back to them at any given time. Be sure to read and rerread and sign the necessary contracts in good time to ensure that your big day will be all that you want it to be.

Have a great day!

Take your time, ask a lot of questions, budget accordingly, and read the fine print. Oh, and have a wonderful wedding!

Source: Ottawa Wedding Magazine files.

  • This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2013 edition of Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

The Urban Element




424 Parkdale Avenue  K1Y1H1
613.722.0885, ext. 103

Nothing brings people together like good food! Ottawa’s premier culinary team now provides their unique brand of handcrafted food, and warm, personable service in venues across the city including: Adelina in Val des Mont, the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park, Orange Gallery and Cube Gallery in Hintonburg and Wellington West. We provide full service wedding planning & coordination, customized menus, wine pairing services, and signature cocktails. Whether we host you in our urban-heritage venue on Parkdale Avenue, historic fire station No. 11, in one of our other partner venues…or your backyard, we bring the inspiration and expertise to ensure a flawless celebration.

A Toast for your Wedding Day



To the Newlyweds!
A new adventure deserves a toast to match your day

Choosing wine for your wedding can seem like an easy task, but not a task that should be left to the last minute. Since choosing the wine can be a challenge for some couples, here are some tips to help you make the right selections for your special day.

Choose What You Love

The most important rule any time you are planning to add wine to an event is to drink and serve what you like. Remember this is your day and people are there to celebrate the two of you, so if there’s a wine you both enjoy and would like to share with others, this is a wonderful time to serve it. It can also be fun to share the story of why a certain wine is your favourite wine or how it works into the story of your relationship.

Champagne Alternatives

If you’re planning to use a sparkling wine for your toast, there are many options that will fit any budget. A few favourites are Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain and Cremant from France. Cremant is made with the same method as Champagne but it cannot use the name as it is not made within the Champagne region. All of these bubbles are excellent values and will be delicious in your glass.

Corkage Fees

Corkage is a term that describes an additional cost per bottle that a reception location may charge if you opt to bring your own wine rather than use a wine from their list. It’s important to understand how the fee will be charged. Will it be on all bottles purchased for the event or just those that are opened. If it’s on bottles opened then it’s important to make sure that your caterer and serving staff know not to open additional bottles until needed.

Wine Selections

One white and one red are really all you need. If you’d like to pair a different wine with every course for your wedding, it can most definitely be done, but offering one red and one white wine option is definitely the standard. Also, remember that just like your cake and your meal, you should make time to try the wine before you serve it on your wedding day.

Buying Guidelines

A general rule of thumb when purchasing wine in large quantities is to buy one 750 ml bottle each of red and white for every 10 guests. Note: A bottle of wine pours four to six glasses.

Find a quiet moment somewhere in your day to share a glass of wine together to celebrate the new adventure.

April and Chuck



Summer Magic

images by Cindy Lottes Photography

One night after their adorable daughter was snug in bed, Chuck got down on his knee and asked for April’s hand in marriage. She said yes! And so began their one-of-a-kind journey to a lovely and love-filled summer wedding day.

They chose Calabogie Peaks Resort in the Ottawa Valley as their venue and it was a gorgeous spot for an outdoor, July celebration in 2016.
Water, sky, grass and trees served as a magnificent backdrop for the lakeside ceremony.
The bridesmaids wore long, one-shoulder dresses with lace bodies and the bride looked gorgeous in a sleeveless, figure flattering gown with a low back. She matched its sleek style with a sophisticated updo.

The couple’s wee daughter wore a white lace dress like her mom’s, and a royal blue headband in the same colour as the bridesmaids’ dresses. The colour scheme, royal blue and strawberry, was seen in all the pretty details, from the striking bouquets and table settings to the cupcakes and wedding cake. Even the chalkboard sign for dancing shoes (flipflops) “for tired feet” featured pink and blue chalk.
The impact was captivating and, judging by the stunning photos by Cindy Lottes Photography, a wonderful time was had by all.

Invalid Displayed Gallery

Here’s a list of some of the vendors who contributed to this amazing day:

Calabogie Peaks Resort

Renewed With Love Bridal Outlet

David’s Bridal

Star-Set Jewellers Arnprior

Peoples Jewellers


Melissa Faye Hair

Lindsay’s Nails & Aesthetics

With Love Bridal Boutique

Laplante Men’s Wear

Mel’s Flowers and Decorating

Rustic Rentals

Lawrence Lepack

Willow & Lace Custom Designs

Casey Snyder Design

Man Gifts for your Groomsmen


Show Your Thanks with Gifts as Unique as the Guys in your Wedding Party

From the traditional to the quirky and unique, there is a wide selection of gifts available for grooms to give their wedding party. Often given at the rehearsal dinner, these gifts should take into account the personality and interests of the groomsmen, as well as the couple’s budget. Here are a few ideas that will help grooms get started with their shopping.

For the wedding day

Groomsmen often have to contend with tuxedo or suit rentals, as well as travel and a hotel room at the wedding location. Grooms can ease some of the party’s financial strain by covering some of the expenses of being a groomsman.
– payment for the tuxedo or suit rental
– cuff links, or other accessories for the wedding day
– custom-made dress short

Personalized groomsmen gifts

Personalized or engraved gifts are traditional and classic. Here are some of the most popular options.
– monogrammed cooler chairs
– personalized beer steins
– engraved hip flasks for the groom’s party
– monogrammed money clip
– personalized tote bag or gym bag
– engraved fountain pen
– personalized shot glasses
– personalized coasters
– key chain
– pocket watch
– monogrammed desk valet
– business card case
– monogrammed briefcase

Sports and leisure gifts

These gifts will keep the recipient thinking of their friendship with the groom long after the wedding is over.
– barbecue kit
– multifunction pocket knife
– poker set
– travelling bar set
– game tickets for the groom’s party
– concert tickets for the groom’s party
– personalized golf putter
– universal remote control
– personalized bar signs
– sports memorabilia
– grilling apron
– engraved baseball bat
– lighter and cigar cutter set, with cigars
– humidor

Gifts of food and drink

Gifts of consumables are always a great idea. Grooms can personalize the gift by finding out their wedding party’s favourite brands and foods.
– groomsman’s favourite liquor
– membership to a wine of the month club or a gift basket of an assortment of beers
– home brewing kit
– gift basket of unusual hot sauces
– cocktail set with a book of drink recipes

Groomsmen travelling to the wedding

When the wedding party is travelling to a destination wedding, these gifts will come in handy not only during their trip but for future travels.
– toiletry bag
– travel alarm clock
– travel mug or aluminum water bottle
– gift certificates for activities and attractions at a destination wedding

Personal and grooming gifts

Personal pampering isn’t just for brides anymore! Here are some ideas to indulge the men.
– manicure and shave set
– framed photo of the groom and groomsmen
– grooming products
– a day at the barbershop or men’s spa
– shoe polishing kit
– wallet

Unique and unusual gifts

These are definitely gifts with a sense of humour, and this is a great way for the groom to show how well he knows his friends.
– the gift of an experience, like a helicopter ride, driving a race car, bagpipe lesson or skydiving
– collectibles like comic books, action figures or movie memorabilia
– humorous USB flash drives
– gadgets: anything from a remote-control key finder to a digital camera mounted on a swim mask

The wedding party is a vital source of support for the bride and groom, both during the planning process and on the day itself. The groomsmen gifts should reflect and honour the groom’s relationship with the friends he has asked to stand up with him at his wedding.

*This story originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2013 print issue of Ottawa Wedding Magazine

How to Store a Wedding Gown

wedding gown

Follow these easy instructions to pack and store your wedding gown in an acid-free box, just like museums store their precious textiles and costumes.

Step 1

An acid-free box is used to store textiles such as wedding gowns, quilts and coverlets. Purchase an acid-free box and acid-free tissue from an archival supply company. Purchase at least 20 sheets of acid-free tissue.

Step 2

Line the box with tissue. Depending on the height of the wedding gown, you may have to fold it several times.Calculate how many times you will have to fold it so that in the end the front of the dress will be facing up.

Step 3

For a dress without a train, begin by placing the hemline of the dress face down at the far end of the box. Lay the skirt face down until you reach the other end of the box. You will only need to fold it once, approximately at the waist. A long train will require multiple folds for it to come out correctly. Place one sheet of tissue between each layer so that any decorations, such as beading or sequins, do not come in contact with another area of the wedding gown.

Step 4

Take one or two pieces of tissue and make a long tubelike shape to soften and pad the areas where the dress will be folded. Repeat this step as you lay the dress into the box, making sure that no part of the dress will be sharply folded in a crease. Sharp folds can create weakened fibres over time and can eventually result in a spot that will be more likely to rip or tear.

Step 5

Once the bodice is laid on top, use acid-free tissue to pad out various areas of the wedding gown, including the chest, sleeves and collar. Be generous with the amount of tissue.

Step 6

Place a layer of acid-free tissue over the top. Lay the veil on top of the tissue. Veils are fragile and should not be stored underneath the dress, to minimize stress on the tulle.

Step 7

Close the box. You may want to label the outside of the bos with your name and any details about your wedding, including the date and location.

Step 8

You may want to purchase additional acid-free boxes of various sizes to store your shoes, headpiece, floral arrangement and other mementoes. Polypropylene bags can also be purchased in a variety of sizes to safely store jewelry. These bags look like Ziploc bags but are made of inert materials that will not degrade over time.

Step 9

The general rule of thumb for storing textiles is to keep them where you are comfortable. You should avoid extreme heat or cold , as well as exposure to moisture. A good place is under the bed in a guest room.

Step 10

Keep the memory alive by regularly viewing your dress. There is no need to keep it packed away forever in a box. Even try it on once a year — maybe around your anniversary.

Compiled from source files from Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

This article originally appearing in the Fall/Winter 2013 print edition of Ottawa Wedding Magazine. 

Katelan and William



Bride Name
Katelan Jackson
Groom Name
William Jackson
Date of Wedding
Tracey Jazmin 
Reception Held at
The Herb Garden 
Ceremony Held at
The Herb Garden 
Wedding Dress
Poipu Dress by Katie May
Groom’s Fashions From
Tip Top Tailors
Bridesmaids Fashions From
Assorted Mismatches
Groomsmen’s Fashions From
Tip Top Tailors
Bride’s Hair By
Showpony Hair 
Bride’s Make-Up By
Taryn Miller Makeup
Cake By
DIY – The Bride
Catering By
AJ’s Catering
Flowers By
In Bloom 
Invitations By
DIY – The Bride
Favours By
DIY – The Bride
Other Vendors
There were no other vendors, everything else that was done was “do it yourself” by myself with help from my amazing mother and my bridal party.

This was a budget friendly, revamped and repurposed use of items, hand crafted, do it yourself kind of wedding.

* Foot Jewelry – DIY: The Bride
* Guest Favours – Burnt CDs of the songs meaningful to the Bride and Groom’s relationship – DIY: The Bride
* Décor – candlesticks, frames, vases, centerpieces, etc. revamped and repurposed from stores such as Value Village, antique stores, garage sales, the dollar bin and through using 50% off coupons at Michaels. DIY: The Bride

When I think back to our wedding, what stands out the most is not the delicate hand crafted intricacies like the romantic gold painted candlesticks, the rustic signs or the ivory coloured flowers tucked beneath beds of lush greenery. It isn’t the hand brushed gold branches or the wispy fabric draped from the ceiling beams. What I remember most about our wedding is a feeling. The feeling of pure bliss knowing that everything was as it should be and that I was marrying the love of my life.

Make Your Outdoor Wedding Sun Smart


Are you having an outdoor wedding? Properly planned and organized — please, do sweat the details! — it can be truly extraordinary and memorable.

Part of that planning involves arranging for weather contingencies. For instance, you always need to have a Plan B (or at least a tent) in case of rain. But what’s often forgotten is that you have to plan for sun too.

When the forecast calls for, and delivers, a sunny spring or summer or fall wedding day, you have certainly hit Mother Nature’s Canadian jackpot.  Bright blue skies mean there’s no need for jackets or racing to and from cars or  moisture-induced hair anxiety.

At the same time, heed the power of the sun.  The Canadian Cancer Society recommends reducing time spent in the sun when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, typically between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from April to September, or any time of the day when the UV index is 3 or more.

There’s no exception for a wedding day. Even when you’re wearing a wedding dress or a bridesmaid’s dress, you can still get a sunburn. Especially if your dresses are sleeveless. That being the case, see if you can schedule your outdoor ceremony for after 3 p.m.

And definitely wear a moisturizer with a broad spectrum SPF of 30 or more. You can find moisturizers with sunscreen that are suitable for wearing under makeup.

And if your outdoor venue is short on shade, equip yourself and your wedding party with sun umbrellas. (Hand fans are nice to have too, although they won’t protect you or anybody from UV rays.)


As for guests, if your invitees include children or older people, have a few sun umbrellas on hand, bottled water, plenty of sunscreen and a few pairs of sunglasses. Depending on your wedding and style, you can consider providing everything from cheap sunglasses to flip flops as part of the fun of the day.

Shade options or an outdoor tent always come in handy.