Fall Engagement Photos with Boho Style

engagement photos

Newly engaged? Planning a boho wedding? Why not book one of the Ottawa area’s many excellent photographers for a photo shoot to mark the occasion and celebrate your future.

As R. Legault notes in an Ottawa Wedding article entitled Announcing Your News to the World, “Let’s face it: one of best parts of getting married is all the attention you receive. You should be the star. But not everyone feels that way. A great way to practise is through an engagement photo shoot. It’s a great way to give you a dry run for the big day. It gives you a chance to get to know your photographer and the photos can be used to announce your engagement news to the world.”

engagement photos

Not only does this give you a chance to get to know your photographer and get more comfortable in front of the camera, it also allows you to get creative and establish your style.

“Your engagement photos should be memorable and fun, as well as have significance to both you and your partner,” writes Kora Burnham in an Ottawa Wedding story called Fun Engagement Ideas.  “Taking ideas from shared interests and activities, or dates you’ve had along the way, is a great way to create fun, unique photos that will help you remember your journey as a couple for years to come. You and your partner are unique—why shouldn’t your photos be?”

engagement photos

As Kora points out, “Many couples choose locations that are important to them. But why stop there? You and your partner are sure to have many fun, memorable experiences to choose from that showcase your journey from first date to engagement.”

Since it’s fall and the gorgeous seasonal colours are at their peak, why not head to Ottawa’s legendary green space and take advantage of the spectacular setting? You can take along a pumpkin or two as props and scoop up some bright leaves for a whimsical bouquet. And savour this special time. It’s all part of the magic of your wedding celebration.

engagement photos

Marriage Proposal … #taketheknee ?

Wedding proposal concept. Young couple have dating at sun set. Man in love is kneeling on knees and giving wedding ring to surprised woman.

Our neighbours to the south are up in arms over NFL players who #taketheknee during the national anthem. Odds are, though, if you #taketheknee, present a sparkly ring, and ask the big question, the reception will be much more uniformly favourable.  But what does getting down on one knee have to do with proposing marriage? And where did the idea come from? Now is as good a time as any to find out.

As Wikipedia notes, “Genuflection (or genuflexion), bending at least one knee to the ground, was from early times a gesture of deep respect for a superior. … The Latin word genuflectio, from which the English word is derived, originally meant kneeling. … The custom of genuflecting, as a sign of respect and even of service, arose out of the honor given to medieval kings.”

In matters of the heart as well, genuflection is a sign of respect and of honouring someone. As event planner  states at Love to Know, “… the idea of asking for a loved one’s hand in marriage while partially kneeling is a highly symbolic gesture embodying the very essence of committing one’s life to another. The ideas of goodwill, honor, and trust in that one person is [embodied in] opening themselves completely to another without shame or any physical defenses.”

And while getting down on one knee is an old tradition, it still has legs today. In fact a few years ago, Men’s Health and  The Knot.com conducted a survey asking about 1,500 engaged or married men and women what makes a great proposal. Over three quarters of the guys gave the bended-knee gesture a big thumbs up.  “76% of men believe they should go down to one knee to propose.”

Females agree. Marriage Proposal Do’s and Don’ts, an article on The Spruce by Nina Callaway, recommends you make the bended knee part of your proposal.  “Do drop to one knee,” she advises. “Again, times have changed, but there is something so charming and romantic about a man on one knee asking the love of his life to marry him. Even if you’re not a traditional guy, it will make the proposal more momentous.”



Will You Marry Me — Forever!

Marry Me

Marry Me

Surprise proposal on Parliament Hill sets the wheels
in motion for planning a lifetime together


Cristina Marisa Pasqua

Hans Paredes

Proposal date:
September 5th, 2015

Play Food & Wine

Carriage ride services:
Cundell John Stables

Glacier Fire from Charm Diamond Centres

Dress & shoes:
Le Chateau

Rosamaria at Hair Motion

Future wedding date:
September 9th, 2017

Marry Me

“We are here at the eternal flame because my love for you is eternal, and I want to be with you forever. Will you marry me?”

Those were the words that Cristina Pasqua heard from her groom- to-be, Hans Paredes, last year as they strolled along the Centennial Flame on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill on September 5, 2015.

It was the day that sparked a year of planning for the wedding almost 12 months later to the day.

Cristina and Hans met at St. Patrick’s High School in Ottawa, and had been together for 6 years. He proposed to me on his birthday, which came as an even bigger surprise as I had made plans for his own celebration.

The day began with us eating lunch at Play Food & Wine in the Byward Market to celebrate Hans’ 24th birthday. After a delicious lunch, a beautiful horse-drawn carriage awaited us in front of the restaurant. It felt like a scene out of a fairytale. The carriage took us around the small streets of the market and eventually dropped us off in front of Parliament Hill.

As we exited the carriage, Hans suggested we walk towards the Centennial flame. As we got closer, I could see some familiar faces waiting for us there. It turns out that our families and close friends were also in on the surprise. At that moment, I knew something special was about to happen. I could feel my heart beating faster as we approached them.

Then came the moment I had been waiting for: Hans asked me to marry him in front of everyone on the Hill—even tourists started to gather around us to listen. I immediately started crying when he pulled out the ring on bended knee. I yelled and replied, “A MILLION TIMES YES!”

As we embraced, a photographer appeared. Unknowingly to me, Hans had hired the photographer to secretly capture special moments throughout the day. Words are not enough to describe how happy and special I felt in that instant, but perhaps these photos will do. W

Marry Me

Holiday Season a Special Time to get Engaged



Have you found “the one” you want to spend your future with? The one with whom you want to tackle all of life’s ups and downs, challenges and joys?
Maybe it’s time to pop the question and utter the four words that will alter the course of your future: “Will you marry me?”

If you’re ready to make the commitment, the holiday season is a lovely, meaningful time to get engaged.

For one thing, it’s super romantic. You can cuddle by the fire, and bask in the glow and sparkle of the holiday lights. In fact, the 32nd edition of Christmas Lights Across Canada is taking place from December 7 to January 7, 2017. Some 400,000 dazzling Christmas lights will be glowing throughout downtown — and you can add another sparkler!

There are also practical benefits to a holiday engagement. For one thing, if you want to share your great news with your nearest and dearest, this is the perfect time to do it. Get-togethers with family members and friends are a  part of the different celebrations, from Hanukkah to Christmas to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

-> There are lots of different fun and creative ways to propose at Christmas. You can wrap the ring and place it in a not-easy-to-guess package under the tree.

-> How about putting it in a special, sentimental ornament?

Here are some other great ideas, courtesy of Senate House.

-> Go outdoor skating, hopefully on the Rideau Canal if it’s open, and pop the question over hot chocolate and beavertails.

-> If you have or share a dog, attach the ring to the dog’s collar.

-> Use mistletoe! You can dangle the mistletoe and dangle the ring too!

-> Put the ring in December 24 of an Advent Calendar.

-> If you or she are Jewish, propose during a game of dreidel.

-> Give a love note for each day of Hanukkah, leading up to a proposal on the eighth day.

Engagement ring in cafe

About The Engagement Ring


A Cut Above

When selecting an engagement ring, there are several components to consider. Before you pop the question, check out our simple bauble breakdown.

What’s the difference?

Asscher cut
This style – first cut by the Asscher brothers in Amsterdam in 1902 – features facets which are parallel to one another. The Asscher cut appears glassy rather than brilliant.

Cushion cut
The cushion cut is an antique cut which most often resembles a cross between the old mine cut (a deep cut with large facets which was common in the late-19th and early-20th centuries) and a modern oval cut. This shape is also sometimes referred to as the pillow cut or the candlelight diamond (a reference to cuts designed before electric lights when diamonds sparkled in the light provided by candles).

Emerald cut
Originally developed for cutting emeralds, the long lines of the emerald-cut diamond tend to make it less fiery than a round brilliant cut, but the style also tends to have more dramatic flashes of light. The trim lines of emerald-cut diamonds lend an elegant, sophisticated air to the simplest and most elaborate ring settings.

Radiant cut
The radiant-cut diamond is often rectangular or square with cropped corners. The radiant-cut diamond is faceted for fire and tends to be more forgiving of diamond flaws and weaknesses than other cuts.

Round brilliant cut
Developed around 1900, the round brilliant diamond has become the most popular diamond shape for the engagement ring, either as a solitaire or with accent stones. Diamond cutters now use advanced theories of light behaviour and precise mathematical calculations to optimize the fire of a round diamond.

The ideal diamond cut has 58 facets. Fewer or more facets have been shown to detract from a diamond’s brilliance. W

Gorgeous Emerald Cut Diamond Ring with Double Halo Diamonds

What’s Trending in Engagement Rings?

The classic solitaire.

Coloured gems (pink diamonds, sapphires, rubies, etc.).

Smaller diamonds surrounding a central gem.

Unusual settings (elaborate, lofty and twisted).

Vintage styles.

Eco-friendly rings which use recycled gold and diamonds from conflict-free areas.

The four Cs of diamonds:

Cut (facets and proportion)



Carat Weight (size)

Buying a Ring for Less

Keep these tips in mind when shopping for your ideal jewel:

Understand the four Cs
– Learn the importance of the four Cs and the quality that is most affordable for your budget.

Find the right jeweller
– Whether you’re looking online or keeping it local, read reviews from previous purchasers to guarantee quality. Ottawa holds a wide range of specialty jewellery boutiques.

Navigate the salesman
– It’s important to ask the right questions to determine if a salesperson has any wiggle room.

Save in the right places
– You can save about $2,000 by purchasing a 0.5 carat less (and they look almost identical). Splurge on quality instead.

From the files of Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

Celebrate Love with the #WineoftheWeek



Each Friday, sommelier and Wine Travel Specialist Monique Sosa introduces us to a new wine worth savouring and sharing. We call it the Wine of the Week: #wineoftheweek and #wotw

by Monique Sosa
Photo Credit: 13th Street Wine Corp.

It’s finally here, our first long weekend to kick off the summer season! Let’s offer our regal salute to this Victoria Day weekend the best way we know how, with a bevy in hand!

Here are five reasons why 13th Street NV Cuvee is our #wineoftheweek

LCBO Vintages #147504 | $24.95

1 – It’s brilliant, it’s pink, it sort of tastes pink too …. but most importantly, it’s delicious! Dominant notes are tart cherry, strawberry, pink grapefruit and rhubarb. It’s light, mouthwatering, dry, and one sip just begs for another.

2 – It’s Canadian and it’s great! Fireworks are not the only thing we may hear popping this weekend. Popping this bubbly is a fine way to showcase our national pride over such an iconic Canadian weekend.

3 – It’s traditional method sparkling wine, made in the similar style to Champagne, but at a fraction of the cost. The value for quality is unbeatable!

4 – It’s classically refreshing making it a perfect patio wine. What is it about sunshine that craves refreshing summer sippers? They naturally fit, and this one definitely fits the bill.

5 – It’s a versatile wine that pairs well with light dishes including: leafy green salads, smoked salmon, light cheeses, charcuterie and antipasti platters.





Perfect Proposal



photos by Petronella Lugemwa

What happens when a woman in love gets the proposal of her dreams? Meet Elena Yammine and her fiancé, Johnny Azzi, an Ottawa-based couple who have been together for five years. The magical story of their proposal is as unique as they are. Johnny proposed to Elena in the middle of New York City in beautiful Central Park. This is their story.

After four years in a committed relationship, Johnny asked my father for my hand in marriage. He invited my father to lunch and began the conversation with an odd statement. “I don’t want to date Elena anymore.” My dad looked puzzled and replied, “Does she know yet?” With anger engraved on his face, Johnny knew he couldn’t keep it in anymore. “I don’t want to date your daughter anymore because I want to marry her.” And that’s when Johnny began planning our perfect proposal.

It all started one weekend when Johnny’s sisters asked me to join them on a girl’s trip to New York to celebrate the end of summer. I was most definitely on-board! We spent the entire month planning our trip, but little did I know what was in store. On August 21, 2014 Johnny travelled to New York to make sure everything was perfect before we arrived.

I arrived the following day with the plan to catch a cab to Times Square to meet the girls (who were supposed to arrive a day before me). I approached the door and there was Johnny all dressed up. I knew right there and then the day was going to be special.

We made our way to the door to be picked up by a limo. We walked all over Times Square. This was my first trip to the city and I was in complete awe. Johnny suggested we go to Central Park. As we walked through the park, we reached a pathway filled with pink roses. At first, I had no idea it was for us. But as we approached the end of the path, I saw a lovely picnic set up for two.

Johnny proceeded to describe the highlights of each year we had been together – the good and the bad – and then it happened. He got down on one knee and asked, “Elena, will you marry me?”

I was speechless. When I saw the ring (it was the exact ring I wanted) I leaned in to give him a kiss, and he asked, “Is that a yes?”

To that I replied, “That’s a thousand times yes.” W

Event coordinator: The Heart Bandits
Photographer: Petronella Photography
Engagement ring: Verragio from Jubilee Fine Jewellers
Dress: Marciano
Hair: Elee Hitti of Ottawa

Newly Engaged? Top 10 to-do list once the question is popped

to-do list


by R. Legault

You are about to embark on two amazing adventures. The first, of course, being your life as a married couple, and the second being the exciting, yet often overwhelming process of planning a wedding. A wedding will probably be the biggest and most involved party or ritual either of you have ever put together. Before you get overwhelmed, take a deep breath, then do these 10 things.

To-Do List

  1. Enjoy being engaged

    Kiss each other a thousand times. Stare at the engagement ring. Write down in detail the moment when you got engaged. Contemplate the wonderful things ahead of you. Take pictures of yourselves with the engagement ring. Kiss each other a thousand more times.

  2. Tell your loved ones

    You should tell your parents of your impending nuptials before anyone else. Both of you should be present and ideally you will tell them in person – they’ll have a chance to see your happiness up close, look at the rock, and start talking about the wedding. Traditionally, the bride’s parents are told before the groom’s, but any order is fine. Then share the news with a few close family members and friends – the ones who are likely candidates for maid/matron of honour and best man, or definite attendants in some capacity.

  3. Purchase a journal

    This will be a time of 10,000 moments you won’t want to forget, as well as some frustrating times that you’ll need to vent about, and not necessarily to your partner. The journal you keep while planning your wedding will not only help you through this time, but it will be something you cherish for the rest of your life. If you’re Internet savvy, you may also consider journaling online at a site such as Livejournal.

  4. Announce your engagement

    Tell everyone the good news! There are many ways of doing this, and no way is better than another.


    • Announcing your engagement in print publications. • Mailing announcements to your family and friends. • Creating a wedding website.

  5. Set the date

    This is one of the most important decisions you will make as you plan your wedding. Not only will it be the first question everyone will ask, but you’d be surprised how difficult it will be to make any progress on planning your wedding without knowing the date.

  6. Set the tone

    Decide if you’re having a formal wedding, a casual affair, or a theme wedding. A good way to begin is to sit down with your partner and jot down ideas about your ideal wedding. Look at the adjectives each of you write and use them as a starting point.

7. Set the budget

Start off by using a printable wedding budget worksheet. Look at your finances and figure out how much you already have in savings and how much you can save each month. Talk to each of your parents and ask them if they’d like to contribute to your wedding, and either how much they’d like to give you, or what specific things they’d like to pay for. Lastly, decide how much you feel comfortable going into debt. I strongly advise couples to avoid debt as much as possible. Since married couples fight about money more than anything else, why start marriage with debt on your backs? At this time you may consider opening a new credit card just for the wedding that will earn you airline miles, cash back, or other incentives. It’s a good way to keep track of wedding expenses, and can help pay for your honeymoon. Just try to pay it off in full each month.

8. Choose your wedding party

As your attendants do a lot more than just stand next to you on the day of the wedding, now is the time to get them involved. While some couples opt not to have any attendants at all, especially if they’re having a casual event, most choose between two and 12 members of the bridal party. Look over these lists of responsibilities for bridesmaids and groomsmen before you make your final choices. If they live nearby, it’s nice to ask someone in person, but a phone call is fine for those who live far away.

9. Start looking for venues

Many venues are booked a year in advance, so the further in advance you start looking, the more likely you are to get the time, date, and cost you’ve planned for.

10. Get support

The successful bride and groom do not plan their wedding alone – they get help! This may be from professionals, respected publications, or trusted friends who’ve planned their own weddings.

• Consider hiring a wedding consultant. If you are a busy person, or just feel a little lost, a professional can be invaluable in putting together your ideal day, and can often save you money.

• Use online checklists. They’re free, and especially helpful if you’re planning with your mother or future spouse in another province. The most important of these forms is the overall wedding checklist, which will help you stay on top of all of your important to-dos.

• If you’re like most couples,you’ll come home from the bookstore with a few thousand pounds of wedding magazines – why not throw in a wedding planning book as well? While the Internet offers many useful tools, a book is portable when you visit vendors and can accommodate the many brochures, swatches and other items you’ll be collecting. If you are budget conscious, purchase a three ring binder, and build your own planner with printouts from the Internet.

Now that you’ve made all these decisions, you have a solid foundation for your wedding! It’s now time for the fun stuff: dresses, tuxes, flowers, music, favours and more! Remember to use a checklist to help stay organized and on top of it all. W

8 Things to Know Before Popping the Question Over the Holidays

8 Things to Know Before Popping the Question Over the Holidays

For those guys who are so in love that they just can’t wait to pop the Big Question — about marriage, that is — know this: a diamond engagement ring definitely counts as her Christmas or Hannukah present.

“If a guy’s gonna pop the question eventually, he might as well use the opportunity to avoid shopping for a holiday gift and kill two birds with — ahem — one stone,” the Washington Post declared.

And you won’t be alone: While 39 percent of all marriage proposals occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, what man wants to be the one who waited until February to give his girlfriend a ring she was expecting in December?

To make the process easier, the following myths and facts can help you with buying the ultimate engagement ring. (For those not quite ready to propose — or, for that matter, who have other diamond jewelry lovers on their list to buy for — we’ve also got you covered.)

HolidayProposalsCMYTH: You need to be prepared to spend two months’ salary on a ring.

FACT: That’s just a rule of thumb. Your financial circumstances — and your girlfriend or fiancee’s taste — ultimately win out.

MYTH: There’s no way of telling whether a diamond has been produced “ethically” or not.

FACT: This is an important issue for some couples, so know that the Diavik mine in Canada’s North West Territories, for one, has done its utmost to provide buyers with proof that it’s adhering to international standards of labor, health, safety and environmental practices in producing the nicely sized diamonds of good color and gem quality it’s famous for.

“Each certified gem is laser-etched with a unique number that indicates the date mined, and each gem’s unique optical fingerprint is recorded in an international database so that it can be positively identified,” says an expert in the field, noting that many insurance companies offer discounted rates in such cases.

MYTH: Most women want a pear-shaped or princess-cut diamond engagement ring.

FACT: Round is the most popular.

MYTH: You must pick the ring out yourself to maximize the effect.

FACT: Thankfully, this is not always the case. But if you prefer shopping solo, at least keep your girlfriend’s hints in mind.

Finally, about those other diamond jewelry gift-giving tips we promised.

“Classic diamond stud earrings will never go out of fashion,” says jewelry and style ex-pert Michael O’Connor, “and diamond line bracelets can be worn with any outfit.”

3 Ways Engaged Couples Can Share Their Memories With Loved Ones

3 Ways Engaged Couples Can Share Their Memories With Loved Ones

After dating for some time, you finally have a fabulous fiance, a beautiful ring and a memorable wedding to plan. While your close friends and family know all the details, it can be harder to share special memories with loved ones who live out of town. Fortunately, thanks to a little creativity and technology, it’s easy and fun to keep everyone up to date on your personal love story.

3 ways engaged couples can share their memories

Start a Wedding Website and Blog

A wedding website is a perfect way to share stories about you and your fiance. Include important information like the date, time and place of your upcoming nuptials as well as a blog filled with posts about you as a couple. Describe where and how you met, how long you dated, some of your fun adventures together and, of course, your proposal. This is also a wonderful place to post a timeline of photos that tell your love story, ranging from that shaky selfie you took during your first coffee date to pictures of your gorgeous ring and wedding venue.

Create a Digital Photo Album

You probably have dozens of photos of the two of you stored on your phone or laptop. Share some of these pictures with friends and loved ones who live far away with an online photo album. Once you select which photos you want to include, visit a website like Snapfish to create a digital photo album. And if you have printed photos that you want to include, iMemories can turn them into a digital format so they can be added to your scrapbook.

One word of advice, though — as you relive your memories, ensure they will never be lost by saving everything to the cloud. You don’t want to run the risk of losing irreplaceable photos if your hard drive crashes or your phone is stolen. If you are not sure which cloud provider to use, Top10CloudStorage offers helpful reviews of some of the best cloud servers. As a bonus, once your library of photos is safely stored in the cloud, you can easily share them with your wedding guests.

Give Your Guests a Personalized DVD

Another wonderful way to share your story with your friends and family members is to give them a DVD that includes a slideshow of your love story. Times of Your Life DVDs can take your printed and digital photos, videos and other memorabilia and transform them into a customized DVD slideshow. The company can add captions and music to truly personalize your story as well. In the DVD, you can re-enact your first date, revisit some of the places you went while you were dating and then act out the romantic proposal in a humorous way. The DVD can even be played at your reception, and everyone can take a copy home.

Your friends and family are excited for you and your fiance and want to be kept in the loop as much as possible. From learning about your journey together to getting wedding details, these three ideas will make them feel included in your big day.