What Brides are Thinking Walking Down the Aisle

By Molly Hanzidiakou

After months of preparation, the moment is here and,  lined up with her wedding party, the bride is flooded with emotions as she approaches her groom.  Have you ever wondered what brides are thinking as they are about to walk the aisle into their future?

Here are some quotes from women, some who took their walk down the aisle a few years ago, to tell us what thoughts were going through their minds.

bridal thoughts

“Don’t cry. Keep eye contact with Matt, my husband!”

“I know this sounds vain but I think every bride thinks, “Is everything perfect?”  I double checked my train, hair and flowers right before.” –April, 2010

“I thought to myself, “It wasn’t a big deal and my Dad looked so handsome.”  I was fine lining up.  I put my arm with my Dad’s, turned the corner and lost my breath because I saw all the people.  It hit me then what was about to happen.  My dad said, “Breath. It’s just another day.”  I was fine after that”. –Jo-Ann, 2003

“I felt a lot of different emotions.  It was a very overwhelming moment.  I was thinking how everyone would be looking at me and I hoped I looked good.  I was also thinking how the burn on the side of my head hurt where the hair dresser burnt me with the curling iron”. –Laurel, 1998

“My whole life I was a very anxious child.  I missed my First Communion because I got sick to my stomach.  When my dad’s company had Christmas parties, I could never go because I always got sick.  I’d have lost my mind if my kids were like that.  So when I was planning the wedding, I was worried I’d be terribly nervous.  However, when the day arrived I was as calm as could be.  I guess I was so sure of who I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with, I had no qualms.  I was just at peace and very happy to walk down the aisle on my Dad’s arm and join Mike to begin our life together”. –Catherine, 1987

“Oh my gosh I’m late!  I was all worried with being 15 minutes late.  And my father-in-law to be was not impressed”. –Stacey, 1992

“This is the next chapter in my life.  Scary, but exciting” –Mary, 1977

“I got married at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.  The Hunt Club has this long staircase that my Dad and I had to walk down as part of our aisle.  My biggest fear was falling down the stairs, so I held onto my Dad and the stair rail for dear life.  I don’t think I thought of much else until I got to the last step. I was so relieved.  The rest was easy!” –Jennifer, 2012.

Weddings with Special Needs Take Planning

By Rev. Alan Viau

Love knows no boundaries. People fall in love with each other despite challenges. For some, that challenge is more than just a personality quirk, it is a physical issue. It takes a little extra planning to ensure that your wedding can accommodate your physical needs. As a result you will have the wedding of your dreams.

I met Eloise and Peter and it was evident how much they love each other. Both in their early forties, they were as cuddly and tender with each other as any younger couples I’ve met. We became very comfortable with each other quickly and they said, “You’re the extrovert we’ve been looking for to do our wedding!”


We started delving into the details of their wedding ceremony. Eloise explained that she couldn’t stand very long because of her rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. We planned a very short ceremony where they would sit for most of it. Eloise and Peter would only stand for their vows.

Both medical conditions that Eloise has can vary from day to day. The day of the wedding was a good day. She was feeling good.

Nonetheless, we went through with the plan. It was a lovely ceremony with lots of love.


This is not the first time where I’ve needed to accommodate the special needs of either the bride or groom. I’ve officiated for a hearing impaired bride, a groom in a wheelchair and even a groom with a full leg cast. With a little planning any wedding can occur while taking into consideration special needs.


The Dress Expert – One Dress or Two?

By Dominique Levesque

What’s your favorite style of dress?  Ball gown, mermaid, A-line? Maybe you like more than one dress? Every week I sit down with my staff to find out what my brides are asking for.  It’s important to me to have what you are looking for. One of the emerging trends we noticed is the bride choosing to have two dresses. You don’t have to compromise anymore.


In many religions and cultures, the change of clothing and accessories during a wedding celebration symbolizes the beginning of a new phase of life for that couple. For many of the brides we see it’s simply an extension of their vision.  They want to enjoy every minute on their terms with no compromise.  It’s a small luxury they will cherish for a lifetime.


Questions from readers:

Lindsay asked:

“When you buy your dress a year in advance or more, where is the best place to store the dress and in what conditions? In a bag for the whole year or air it out once in a while?”

That’s an awesome question because so many brides ask me the same thing.  Here are my guidelines for storage and why:

  1. It should be kept in a dark place like the back of a closet. Over time, the light can affect the color of the fabric and the embellishments
  2. It should be kept in a proper garment bag to ensure it remains free of dust
  3. It should be kept in a non-smoking home. Even though no one will be smoking in the bedroom closet, smoke gets in everything.  And the only way to get rid of that smell before the wedding is to have it dry cleaned. Over time, smoke can also alter the color of the dress. Many seamstresses will not want to work on the dress and the smell will transfer on the other dresses they are working on

For storing the gown after the wedding, it’s important to have your dress professionally cleaned by a cleaner who offers gown preservation services soon after the wedding.  Even if you see no apparent stains, residues of white wine or oil based salad dressing may not show immediately on your dress but over time your dress will have yellow spots and even holes, as oil can eat through the fabric.

Francine asked:

“Why is the size of my wedding dress different than what I normally buy?”

I love that question, because I understand your frustration.  In the garment industry there are a large number of standard sizing systems for various garments: tops, dresses, suits… Each manufacturer decides what will work best for them and the segment of the market they serve, which makes it really confusing for customers.

It is a common occurrence in main stream clothing brands and chain stores to vanity size their garments to create loyalty from their customer.  Who can blame them? I certainly would buy from a store where I fit in a smaller size.  I wish the bridal designers would adopt that practice.

Our bodies are also not standard, and often our top is not the same size as our hips or waist.  For example you can have a top size 8 a middle size 10 and a bottom size 12; our professional stylist will be able to show you the best size to take and how to alter the dress to fit perfectly.

About Dominique:

The Dress Expert

Dominique Levesque followed her dream to be a designer. Now she’s one of Ottawa and Gatineau’s biggest wedding and prom dress purveyors, and owns and operates Dominique Levesque Bridal Salons.

“Fashion is my life, and helping women find their outer beauty and inner confidence for their special day is my life’s work” – Dominique Levesque.

Do you have a question for Dominique? Please submit your question by email at info@dominiquebridal.ca or call one of the locations below for more information:
Ottawa: 1300 Carling, Ave. 613-321-1136
Gatineau: 319  rue Notre-Dame 819-643-1166

Let it Loose!

By Kora Burnham

A summer wedding is a great opportunity to take advantage of the warm weather and sunny skies. However, with the humidity and stress, your hair might not always want to cooperate. Thankfully, a more relaxed hairstyle can make your summer wedding a breeze, and may help keep you cool. Here are some fun, trendy hairstyles that are all about letting loose and having fun!


Braids are great for keeping your hair together, tidy, and out of your face—perfect for when it’s time to hit the dance floor. A loose braid does all of this while giving off a slight devil-may-care attitude. It’s stylish, works for all hair types, and is great for keeping your neck and back cool in the summer heat.



Flowing, loose curls look amazing with any colour and any style, from a quiet country girl vibe to a hard-rocking rocker babe. Loose curls are a fun way to give your hair some bounce, and can work well for just about any length of hair. When it’s time for dinner, photos, or dancing, all that’s needed is a stylish hairclip, broach, or pin to keep your bangs out of your face.


“Wild Child”

For brides with shorter hair, a choppy, wild child look is easy to create, maintain, and best of all, it’s fun. A short hairstyle is perfect for an outdoor wedding, as it’ll keep your back, neck, and head cool. A sharp, punk-esque hairstyle, or a cute pixie cut, will add some tasteful edge to a traditional or classic wedding, and will fit right in with a more off-beat or quirky one.

Accessories – Flowers

To top off your summer wedding hairstyle, flowers make an excellent addition and can only add to the relaxed and carefree vibe. Find flowers that best suit your wedding colour scheme and go along with your bouquet. They’ll make your hairstyle pop just a little bit more.

For braids, weaving flowers into your hair directly creates a subtle, natural look without being over-the-top. For more than one flower, use larger flowers for the top and gradually add smaller ones the further down your braid you go.

For curls, a flower clip, or even a flower headband, is an excellent way to keep your hair out of your face. For something a bit more quirky, use a flower broach on the side of your hairstyle.

For shorter hair, a classic flower-tucked-behind-the-ear look works wonderfully, or a flower broach or pin placed off to the side. Flowers of any shape or size work well.

For all hairstyles, the flower crown is quickly growing  in popularity. Flower crowns are essentially flower chains used as headbands. They’re crafted by hand, and are created by tying several flowers together in a ringlet. They can work in any size, shape, or colour, all depending on you and your hairstyle. They make excellent additions to a fun summer hairstyle.



These styles look great for any wedding theme and hair type. Best of all, they’re easy to do, to maintain, and to accessorize, giving you more time to have fun with your friends, family, and partner. A summer wedding should be relaxing and care-free, so let loose and have fun!

Support Your Favorites in the First Ottawa Wedding Awards

By Rev. Alan Viau

The Ottawa Wedding Awards recognizes the leaders in the industry who have demonstrated the very best creativity, imagination, and service throughout the year. As voted upon by their peers and those whose lives they have touched, the winners in each category will be selected because they have taken their business to the highest level. With your vote, the companies that have established themselves as the best in the city will be determined.


A notice came out recently that Brian Henry, President and Co-Owner of Quality Entertainment, was announcing a big event – one that has never happened in Ottawa. The Ottawa Wedding Awards were launched in collaboration with Ottawa Wedding Magazine and Ottawa Conference and Event Centre.


Brian Henry

I asked Brian why he started the awards.

“It is an opportunity for couples to recognize those vendors that made their day special – a way of saying thank you. The best vendors make a big difference in people’s lives and we need to appreciate that as a community and an industry.”

In addition, Brian hopes to promote a forum for vendors to socialize and network so that as a collective we can improve the business we are in and generate ideas for the future. Brian is a tireless, positive influence on the Ottawa wedding scene. He never misses a social or business event.

About 100 vendors were nominated for the awards. Vendor voting started April 22 and ends May 13. So far there have been over 5,000 votes cast with many categories in tight contention. So now is your chance to make a difference by voting for those who made a difference in your wedding.  The system permits only one vote per IP address to minimize multiple duplicate entries.

The Ottawa Wedding Awards also announced its highest award,  Wedding of the Year, which will be judged by a panel of industry experts. Submissions will be accepted until May 9th at 12pm. Every individual submitting their wedding must be in attendance on the awards night. The winning wedding will be featured in Ottawa Wedding Magazine.

On May 28th, 2014 at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre, all the winning vendors will be announced. As a supporter of this event, I will be there at the door greeting attendees. This is an exciting time for the Ottawa wedding scene, one that can plant seeds for a vibrant future.

Wow guests with original wedding reception touches

Most brides have a vision of a beautifully decorated and themed wedding reception. Luckily, it is easy to achieve the wedding décor you see in your mind’s eye with a few easy and inexpensive do-it-yourself projects.

Tables They’ll Talk About

You don’t have to settle for the same old table settings and centrepieces when it comes to putting your mark on your reception. Find knick-knacks or trinkets that mean something special to you and then use spray paint to turn them into a coordinated collection perfect for sparking dinner conversation. For example, turn little lovebird figures into one-of-a kind table place card holders with Krylon ColorMaster spray paint in your wedding colours. By attaching a memo pin to the top, you can guide your guests to their seats in style. And, when the reception is over, these can even double as photo holders and be given away as wedding favours.

Novel Napkin Rings

Napkins are a necessary dinner table accessory, so what do you do to make them stylish and add another personalized touch? Custom-made napkin rings are just the right detail. Wood or metal rings are often available at your local craft store. Then make them your own by gluing on personalized tokens, such as small decorations ornaments or initials, and spray painting to coordinate with your other table decorations for a completely classy look.

Table Numbers

Numbering the tables at your reception is an easy way to direct guests to their seats. It’s simple to add an elegant touch by creating your own table numbers using inexpensive photo frames. Whether you purchase frames from a store, garage sale or by collecting them from around your own home, you can create a cohesive and classy collection in no time.

Once you have your frames, purchase house numbers (like those used to show an address) that will fit within the glass area of your picture frames. Remove the glass and wipe all surfaces with alcohol to achieve a clean surface. Spray paint the frame and numbers the colour of your choice. Metallic paints create a classy look that complements your main wedding colours. Once all the pieces are dry, reassemble the frames and use an adhesive to bond the number to the front of the glass. When setting up for your reception, nest these numbers among your other table decorations for an exquisite presentation.

With a bit of inspiration and spray paint, you’ll have a wedding table to wow you guests. For information on these and other Krylon products and projects visit www.krylon.ca.


Tanya and Andrew Marry at the NAC

By Rev. Alan Viau
Photos by Trending Media

Ottawa’s National Arts Centre is another gem location in which to get married. Tanya and Andrew held a wedding in the round during a blustery winter day. No matter the weather, it was a perfect day for them.



Winterlude is Ottawa’s festival celebrating winter. There are many activities and things to do; skate on the Rideau Canal, eat a Beaver Tail, admire the ice sculptures. Certainly, one advantage for me was that I parked at the Ottawa Convention Centre and walked on the canal to the National Arts Centre for the wedding.  I thought it was pretty neat to do that.

But no matter, February 1st is winter and getting from the limo to the entrance was a challenge that just  can’t be accomplished gracefully. After all you must keep the wedding dress looking perfect!


Le Salon is a perfect venue in which to perform a wedding in-the-round. I’ve officiated many weddings there in this format. In-the-round is a wonderful configuration because it brings everyone closer to you for a more intimate feeling.


Tanya and Andrew selected a wedding  that underscored their religious beliefs. Like many who choose to have a wedding in a non-faith venue, there are still strong ties to the past. So I performed the candle-lighting ritual and a recital of the Lord’s Prayer for them.


They certainly looked happy! Congratulations to you both. I left soon after the ceremony to head down to the Courtyard Restaurant for another wedding (next week’ story). But from what I can tell – it looks like they had an awesome party!




Wedding Open House at the RA Centre/Rideau Tennis Club

Saturday, March 1st 1:00 p.m. to  3:00 p.m.

Location: RA Centre- 2451 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON

RA Centre/Rideau Tennis Club – Wedding Open House

Please join us on Saturday, March 1st in the Clark Hall ballroom for delectable hors d’oeuvres and desserts prepared by our Executive Chef. View our reception rooms and have your wedding planning questions answered by our experienced Wedding Coordinators. Draw for a fabulous “Let’s Celebrate!” couples package.

RSVP required: Please call Terri-Lee at (613) 736-6221 or e-mail: eandc@racentre.com to reserve your place today!

For more information please visit us on-line at: http://www.racentre.com/index.php/weddings.

Religious Elements in Your Wedding Ceremony

By Rev. Alan Viau
Photos by: Andrew VanBeek

We all come from different places and backgrounds. I often get asked if religious elements can be added to a ceremony. My answer is … of course!


It may be a difficult decision to have your wedding ceremony outside a church setting. There are various reasons for choosing a non-religious location for your vows. Perhaps your fiance is of a different cultural or religious background than you are. You may not feel comfortable with the doctrines of your birth religion but still feel the need for religious representation. Your church may have you facing a wall of requirements which you don’t feel comfortable with, or don’t ring true with you. Or maybe you are feeling pressure from your families for not holding your wedding in a church.

I talk to couples about this dilemma often, and try to arrive at a solution that makes them feel comfortable. Personally, I will accommodate any religious inclusion in wedding ceremonies I perform. I’ve performed weddings with B’hai, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Wiccan and Buddhist elements – because that’s where the couple’s spirituality is.


Brides and grooms need to speak openly about spiritual beliefs to a potential officiant. They need to find out if the officiant is willing and able to add the desired religious elements to their ceremony. For example, Humanist officiants can only have secular references in the wedding ceremony. Other officiants may have a personal preference whether to include or exclude some religious traditions. This is perfectly allowable under the Ontario Human Rights Code under freedom of religion, so be open about your desires.

As I said earlier, I go with whatever the couple wants – because it is their wedding and their beliefs. Last weekend, I officiated two weddings where the couples wanted specific Christian references. In those cases, I usually find that a prayer and the inclusion of the Lord’s Prayer satisfies most needs. If they want more, then why not?


I was particularly touched with Jennifer and Michael’s wedding at the Courtyard Restaurant. I was teamed up with photographer, Andrew Van Beek,  and pianist, Kimberley Dunn, both with whom I’ve worked many weddings. This was a bilingual wedding, and I switched from English to French in various sections. One reading was read directly from Jennifer’s birth Bible. Kimberley sang and played an inspiring Ave Maria between readings. The audience was invited to recite the Lord’s Prayer in the language of their choice.

What really touched me was when Jennifer asked me to sign her birth Bible on this special occasion. I tell folks that after 10 years and almost 1000 weddings, I still come across things that are new and hit me in the heart, as this one did. “Best Wishes on Your New Journey and Adventures In Married Life”… Amen


Birth Bible on the Signing Table. Photo by Alan Viau

Wedding Day Beauty Prep

5 steps to your most beautiful bridal self

Two words: wedding photos. As well as the romance and laughter of your special day, photographs will capture your glowing happiness, too. So six months before the wedding, Beauty expert Janine Falcon shares how to get started on the following five steps to your best hair, skin and smile.

1) Get hair into shape. Save dry, damaged and brittle hair with a regimen of reparative shampoo, conditioner and hair masks, starting now. Try weekly treatments with coconut oil, which hair absorbs easily for improved shine and resilience.

2) Take skincare seriously. Breakout issues? See a dermatologist for specialized help. Or maybe a nutritionist or naturopath can assist — what you eat shows up on your face, especially if you have certain food sensitivities, such as dairy or gluten.

Makeup glides flawlessly onto skin that has recently had a good facial. Book one ASAP to see how your skin likes it; if skin says yes! book another for a week before your wedding.

3) Lash out. Grow a thicker fringe in time for “I Do” with a lash-enhancing prescription such as Latisse (latisse.ca), which has proven dramatic results. Or stock up on fluttery lash clusters such as Quo Indivdual Lashes #811 ($7.50 at Shoppers Drug Mart) for your wedding day.

4) Whiten your smile. Whiter teeth=brighter complexion. Ask your dentist about Zoom! WhiteSpeed (price varies, select dental offices), a treatment proven to whiten up to eight shades in 45 minutes. Or try an at-home professional whitening formula such as Zoom! DayWhite or Zoom! NiteWhite (price varies, select dental offices), which offer custom-fit trays and sensitive-teeth options. For instant touch-ups, slip a Zoom! Whitening Pen (price varies, select dental offices) into your wedding-day beauty kit.

5) Choose the right lip colour. Blue-based hues, such as Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Sheer Candy Glossy Balm in 04 Succulent Pomegranate ($39, sephora.ca), will make teeth look even whiter and brighter.

Now smile and say “happily ever after!”