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.

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!


My Favorite Wedding Dresses of 2013

By Rev. Alan Viau

As with many other people, the end of the year is a time of reflection on what was 2013. There were four wedding dresses worn by brides for whom I performed weddings that stood out in my mind. Each was a superb choice for the woman who wore them.

Disney Princess: Her dream was to be a Disney Princess. Stunning as she walked down the aisle, it even took my breath away. Yes, she married Prince Charming.

Naturally Her : The dress fit her unique personality – a yoga teacher who loves nature – flowers all around.

Perfect Fit: A dress that fit her perfectly and extremely romantic. Her groom was in joyful tears seeing her walk down the aisle in this McCaffrey Haute Couture dress.

Just Her: It can be a daunting challenge to find a wedding dress for your second marriage. This bride was gorgeous in her choice of gown. Elegant and beautiful.

I am looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

Brides say “I do” to wedding gowns in colour

(NC) Whoever says that a bride must wear white isn’t aware that the most popular trend in wedding gowns this year is anything but traditional. While white, ivory and champagne gowns will always be a classic and popular choice among brides, coloured dresses are starting to take centre stage, as more celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel recently chose pink as their signature wedding colour.

Canadian brides who want to look equally pretty in pink have their share of options, such as bright splashes of hot pink found in sashes, soft and barely-there blush dresses, and stunning ball gowns that are drenched in rosy hues.

“As weddings continue to be a creative, personal expression of a bride’s special day, the desire to make her dress as unique as she is has never been more important. We are seeing more brides coming into our stores embracing stand-out gowns in subtle shades of beige and petal pink,” says Victoria Rucks at David’s Bridal Canada, a leading special occasion and wedding retailer.  “Personally, I love the idea of adding touches of pink, inspired by the tradition of a blushing bride.  It’s a colour that flatters a lot of skin tones as well.”

Another subtle shade that makes a daring statement is sterling grey, an emerging colour that lends itself particularly well to ‘winter wonderland’ themed ceremonies and receptions. In fact, says Rucks, the White by Vera Wang collection introduced a new sterling ball gown in the Fall 2013 collection that is sure to turn heads. Pair a coloured wedding gown with a neutral bridal party, and it will be an event to remember.

Canadian brides looking to add splashes of colour to their wedding days can visit for inspiration.

Wedding Dress Styles

Contributed by: Kennedy Event Planning

The most exciting part about a wedding for most brides starts with picking out their wedding dress. For those of you who don’t know what you’re looking for, here are some tips and finding your dream dress. Dresses, just like all types of clothes, are suited to your shape and size; by knowing your body type finding a dress style or shape will be easy. Don’t worry if you’re looking at yourself right now and can’t decide what type of dress would best suit your body and highlight your assets, there are many professional bridal boutiques who can help you, don’t be afraid to seek a professional opinion if you need it.

Let’s start with the basics, there are five main dress styles or shapes: mermaid, a-line, sheath, ball gown, and empire.

The Mermaid or Trumpet: The mermaid dress, the sexiest style there is because it tends  to show off all your curves in a style that is fitted all the way down to your knee and then flares out at the bottom. Due to its body hugging style, this dress is recommended to those who are confident in their skin. Curvy, or skinny, either body type can pull off this style.

The A-Line or Princess: For those brides who love the princess look, this is the way to go because it flatters any shape and size as it is fitted at the top and flows down to the ground. It covers the lower section of the body and can balance out those who are a little heavier on the top. The full skirt creates the illusion of curves for those of us who don’t have any and it can.

The Sheath or Column: Just like it’s name, this dress is shaped to flow straight down and not flow out. Recommended for lean brides with a balanced figure as it does tend to hug the body and show off your curves. It is a timeless style and helps elongate the body for those who are quite petite. Keep in mind ladies, this dress is quite tight and might restrict any vigorous.

The Ball Gown: Right out of a fairytale, The ‘Cinderella’ dress. Your guests will actually see you ‘floating on a cloud’ even though you already are on the inside. The dress is made up of a bodice and very full skirt that can flow into a train. It helps accentuate or create a waist line and hides the lower body. However, a large skirt can overpower a slender, petite frame.

The Empire: The most flattering of all dresses with a seam right under the bust and the rest flowing down to the floor. This dress suits any shape and size, it helps those with a small or large bust because it helps accentuate or helps support; those who are pregnant because it is comfortable and flattering; finally, if you’re self conscious about your hips and legs this dress flows down to the ground smoothly.

Necklines can change for nearly every style dress, so don’t worry if you want to have a sweet heart neckline and add or take away straps; speak with a professional tailor, they will be able to direct you in the proper changes to make without losing the integrity of the design. The right dress is out there, we promise, once it is “the one” – you will know!

*photos courtesy of Vera Wang, Bridal Collections (spring & fall 2012-2014).

Behind the Dress – Lisbeth

Content derived from the Vera Wang Blog, Vera Unveiled.

Strapless floating tulip and rose lace ball gown with open back and classic corset detailing.

Lisbeth is the pinnacle of fairy-tale romance. Imagine Marie Antoinette’s voluminous yet structured ball gowns in the court of Versailles. Lisbeth possesses exactly the same kind of regal elegance.

At the heart of this Luxe gown, as with the other dresses in this collection, is an applique of tulip and rose lace, one of my boldest lace patterns yet. Oversized tulip and rose blossoms are cut apart and fused together to create the ultimate floral symbol of love. The combination of the two types of flowers gives the lace a rich, tonal pattern.

When I set out to design this collection, I wanted to re-examine lace, such a traditional, quintessential fabric, but I also wanted to reinvent it with a pattern that really popped. So I love the extreme size of these flowers. There’s a kind of drama you don’t get from more traditional lace patterns, and it’s very different from the more spidery, delicate laces I’ve used in the past. I didn’t completely abandon tradition, however. I still love the delicacy that a really fine Chantilly lace adds, so there are flashes of that appliquéd onto the gown, too. It’s subtle, and so sophisticated.

Covered with dense, tonal lace appliqué, Lisbeth’s classic corseted bodice delicately nips and sculpts the waist with boning into a V-shape, really drawing the eye to the center. The hourglass shape of the bodice is a beautiful contrast to the airy, frothy layers of tulle in the skirt. The open keyhole back is especially alluring. I have always felt that just a hint of skin adds such a modern touch.

Then there’s that dramatic, classic ball gown skirt, a voluminous explosion of tulle layers. The front of the skirt is blank, while the front and back sides have an applique of lace blossoms tossed onto both sides of the skirt. The negative space on the front of the skirt gives you such a nice contrast to the textures of the lace. It makes the lace on the sides feel more special, because you get little flashes of it, instead of it being so bold

Dreamy and diaphanous, Lisbeth effortlessly embodies everything about my return to romance, a thoroughly contemporary take on classicism.

Eco-Couture Gowns Featured at Luxe Bridal Boutique Trunk Show

Luxe Bridal Boutique is bringing Eco‐Couture bridal gowns to Ottawa. They will be hosting a trunk show at their store March 7th, 8th and 9th 2013 featuring dresses by Vancouver‐based designer Pure Magnolia.

This show presents an exclusive chance for Ottawa brides‐to‐be to check out one of the city’s premier bridal boutiques, and get a taste of high‐end, eco‐friendly bridal. Pure Magnolia will be presenting not only their entire 2013 collection, but also bespoke and Limited Edition dresses that will not be available in stores. In addition, the designer will be on hand to design your custom dream dress right in the store!


Store hours are Thursday 12pm‐7pm, Friday 11am‐5pm, and Saturday 10am‐5pm. Luxe Bridal is owned by partners Lisa and Madeleine and has been bringing Ottawa brides the best of bridal trends and traditions since its inception in 2010. Located in trendy By-Ward Market, the boutique provides a sophisticated yet relaxed environment where brides can fully enjoy the process of finding their perfect dress.



Pure Magnolia creates unique, vintage inspired, wedding dresses that are handmade in North Vancouver from high quality, sustainable materials. Only a limited number of dresses are produced every year, and this is the first time that these sought-after creations will be available in Ottawa.

To Book an appointment to shop the collection contact: Luxe Bridal Boutique (613) 241‐LUXE (5893) Or Patty Nagel 778‐552-6174

About Patty Nagel and Pure Magnolia

Pure Magnolia was founded in 2009 by Kwantlen Polytechnic grad Patty Nayel. Patty saw a gap in the emerging eco-fashion market. Weddings, as with any large‐scale, one-day event can be extremely wasteful, but Patty had a vision of countless women, who are actively involved with the world around them, aware of issues with garment production, and looking for an alternative.

Pure Magnolia uses sustainable and ethically sourced fabrics; silk from a family farm in India, re‐constituted fabrics make from discarded scraps, and vintage fabrics that with a little creativity can be a new favorite dress instead of rotting in a landfill. Pure Magnolia’s production is based entirely in Vancouver eliminating shipping emissions, and the company employs a local cottage industry workforce.


Behind The dress | Kimberly

Kimberly is a modern princess dress. There’s the grandeur of a really full, lush ballgown, but it still allows you to show off your body. Design-wise, it makes a very bold statement with all the different uses of textures from top to bottom. These gorgeous textures start right at the neckline, with hand-cut Chantilly lace applique placed so that the edges of the lace sit against your skin like semi-transparent wisps of flower petals, or springtime leaf buds. It’s just a subtle touch of lace, but it’s very significant.

The body of the gown builds on that dynamic sensibility, with a construction that is all about continuous movement. From the bodice to the base of the dress, there are full-length, bias tiers of organza. The layers are uninterrupted, with no seam between the skirt and bodice, giving it this perfect fluidity. Everything about it is perfectly engineered to have diversity and movement. For instance, each horizontal layer of tulle and organza has been asymmetrically placed. No two pieces of bias strips on this dress are the same width, or the same size, or follow any type of pattern. They’re executed to flatter the body in all the right places, from the bust, which looks rounder and fuller, to the waist, which nips in and looks like it’s just melting away into narrowed hips.

There’s also this ruffled, cascading effect in the bottom of the skirt, where you can really see the light coming through, and where those different transparencies of the tissue organza hit. An almost-obscured, big, abstract flower floats in the base of the skirt – just a little burst of pleated tulle and eyelash tissue organza that is so lighthearted and joyous. Then on the back of gown, you have this beautiful, voluminous train that I’ve tacked and bustled, with floating pieces of lace applique inserted into the organza layers, so they pop. There’s a sense of controlled chaos that I love – it’s very effortless, even though all the elements have been very deliberately and carefully balanced.

Kimberly is a study in precision of the body, but at the heart of this dress, it’s all about a sense of playfulness. You’ll just want to twirl in it!

Content derived from the Vera Wang Blog, Vera Unveiled.

Wedding Dresses: Vintage, Modern or Traditional 2012 2013

By Diane Farquhar, Courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Every girl dreams about her wedding day and what her perfect dress will be.  We all have a certain style about ourselves in our daily wear and this stays with us when we select our wedding gown.  When you see a bride for the first time, hopefully, most people will say that dress suits her perfectly.

What was in for 2012?  If you look at the amazing designer, Vera Wang , you will notice the 2012 collection is filled with off the shoulder and strapless dresses with straight line down the torso and then the bottom with beautiful ruffle.  Many dresses have a sachet tied around the waist and the colors are not all white.  You will see different shades of creams, ivory, grays that are so unique and interesting. High neck, tulle, lace and chiffon are hot on the runways.

Cost??? Unfortunately, the wedding dress can be extremely expensive especially if you choose a designer.  Look for the dress style and color you want and then start investigating on the Internet.  So many places offer dresses at discount prices or wholesale pricing.  If you can sew or have someone in the family that does, consider making your own dress.  I have seen some beautiful dresses that were made by a bride’s grandmother.  It is tailored and designed special for you and made with hands of love.  Plus, think of the savings!

Vintage dresses are coming back even stronger so don’t be afraid to check out vintage stores, re-sale shops or newspaper .. or even your mother!  You may be surprised of what you may find.    A wedding dress is just worn once and some people do not want to preserve the dress but prefer to sell it for half or less of the original price they paid.

Modern style dresses were  popular for 2012 with taffeta, satin or chiffon.  The style is the elegant yet sexy off the shoulder, one strap, scoop, strapless and v-neck with a slim straight or A-line look.  This will continue through this year.

What is ahead for 2013?  Wedding gowns are being centered around softness and romance.  Rich texture, wonderful colors, portrait backs, ruffles, tulle and lace are being seen everywhere.

Wedding dresses will always be influenced by the “hot trends of fashion”.  What is good for one may not work for another.  Take your time and see what you like.  Try different dresses on and see what fits your style, your figure and of course your budget.

Good luck!


Four Wedding Show Survival Tips

The winter wedding shows are upon us. Tramping through all the shows and exhibitors is exhausting even for seasoned people like me. However, by focusing on the few important items, you’ll move forward in your wedding planning.
Wedding dress by Carolina Herrera. Photo from Brazil . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is overwhelming. Wedding shows have booth after booth of vendors that can seem endless. With 170 exhibitors at the Ottawa Wedding Palace Bridal Show, how can you make sense of it all? Here are four survival tips to make it through.
Prepare for the day. You can be there for a long while. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear. Bring some water and a snack to keep hydrated and energetic. Carry with you a pad of paper and pen to take notes. Use a digital camera to capture something that really strikes you (be nice and ask first). The best time to talk to vendors is during the fashion show. Everyone is congregated at the show leaving the vendors idle. They’d love to talk with you.
Plan your visits. I advise brides that the most important decisions to make for your wedding are 1) the venue and reception 2) photographer 3) planner and 4) entertainment. Wedding shows let you scan each one as to whether they suit your style and budget. The venue and reception book up early and set the tone for your party. The photographer and planner are people you will personally interact with during your whole day. You need to be comfortable with them and their work. Finally, the entertainment can make or break your reception. Target these four categories of vendors for booth visits.
Look for the WOW. Wedding magazines are filled with weddings that have it all. Sometimes they are over the top and most are not realistic for people. Search out the one WOW item with which to highlight your wedding. Be on the lookout for something that really gives you a WOW feeling. It could be flowers, specialty food, a cake or decor. Smaller wedding shows have unique vendors where can find WOW items. Whatever it is, ask to take a photo for you to refer back to.
Forget the dress. There are many dress exhibitors at wedding shows. It is easy to get ambitious and want to try on wedding dresses. I say forget-about-it. It is good for you to note who they are, how they treat you and plan a visit with them. You will be able to try on dresses in a more comfortable setting and see how they really make you look beautiful. As mentioned earlier, skip the wedding dress fashion show and use that time to get the full attention of the vendors.
So load up with sneakers, water, power bars and cameras and have a great time!