Dance Lessons for your Wedding?



It’s a thought: how about Dance lessons so you can shine and shimmy on the dance floor for your first dance as a married couple?

We’ve all seen the amazing wedding dance videos on YouTube. Whether it’s the happy couple with the amazing moves (Hello, Ryan and Leah Claxton!), the groom — a professional dancer — and his groomsmen putting on an epic show, the “bride and her bridesmaids performing the best Beyoncé wedding dance routine in Texas” or the surprise father-daughter dance to a song mashup that earned over 11 million views, some sweet moves can really make your day epic.

And not one but two Dancing With The Stars weddings last weekend have plenty of engaged couples talking or at least thinking about that first dance in front of the crowd. While nobody’s expected to dance like a pro or waltz and cha-cha so expertly millions of people want to see, it certainly would be nice to avoid stepping on each other’s toes.

Dance lessons can actually be a really fun activity to do together. And thankfully, there are many great dance studios and dance instructors in Ottawa offering wedding dance lessons. Not only do these lessons offer potential stress relief in the midst of your wedding planning, they also offer a pleasurable opportunity to stay fit.

But in order to make that stress relief real, don’t leave them until the last minute. It’s best to start well in advance so you have plenty of time to do the lessons as well as to practice your steps and routine.
If you do want to make a splash on the dance floor, there are a few topics to consider:
What song do you want?
What style of dance do you want to perform?
Do you want to do a medley of styles with a mashup or songs? (This option will, no doubt, be spectacular, but will also require plenty of instruction, planning and practice.)

And what shoes do you wear? Should you have an extra pair for your dance? While this is a topic worth exploring, the quick answer is, “Of course!”


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.



Help for Wedding Day Beauty Emergencies



The day has finally come and you want everything to be perfect. So when a spot suddenly appears on that gown that cost a fortune, or if your vision of the perfect sun-kissed tan has now turned into an oompa-loompa nightmare, the first rule to remember is ‘Don’t freak out’! Despite your best efforts, accidents happen, but they don’t have to ruin your day. With a little pre-planning and resourcefulness, no one will be the wiser. And remember, nothing is perfect, but keeping these tips and tricks in mind will help you get as close to perfection as possible.

So Long, Stains

Once the vino starts flowing, spills happen, but not everyone has to know about it. Grab a clean white cloth and gently begin to dab the spot. (Rubbing may push the stain further into the garment.) Pour water or club soda onto the cloth and continue to dab. Keep dabbing with the clean parts of the cloth until most of the stain has come out. Use chalk or talcum powder to disguise anything that remains and head back to the party!

Your makeup belongs on your face, not on your dress. If you do find a smudge on your gown, press a little club soda onto the spot, then sprinkle salt on top to soak up the moisture and let dry. To remove a water mark, begin by blotting the wet spot with a clean, white towel to soak up excess moisture. You can run a hand steamer over the fabric to lift out the mark but be sure to ask your bridal salon about using steamers and irons on your gown when you make the purchase. Don’t attack wet spots with a hair dryer as it may spread the mark even further. If an ink spot tries to ruin your gown, apply hairspray to a cotton swab and rub lightly over the stain.

Fresh face

For touch-ups throughout the day, concealer is a must. This slim wand will do wonders for dark eye circles, pesky pimples and those makeup runs that tell others you’ve shed a few tears. Dab a few dots

under the bottom lid to brighten the eye area; a dab on a pimple will mask redness. Your concealer should be one shade lighter than your foundation, and keep in mind that if you are tanning for the day, you will need to go darker. For lasting coverage, the concealer will work best with a setting powder.

If you do discover a pimple the night before, acne spot treatments are made for fast-acting removal. There are options depending on your skin type, with many brands sold at your local drug store. Dab a small amount on the spot the night before and get a good night’s sleep to avoid any new stress spots in the morning!

To achieve the bronzed beauty outcome, fake tans may seem like the perfect solution without the harmful rays of the sun, but if not done properly, sprays and creams can leave you looking too dark, unnatural, or with a streaky or blotchy finish. To remove a shoddy outcome, mix lemon juice and sugar to make a consistency similar to toothpaste and use your fingers to rub the paste into the skin. The lemon juice acts as a skin lightener, while the sugar works as a scrub to remove the skin cells that have been coloured. A loofa can also help in the exfoliation process, but don’t scrub for too long or too hard, as you may damage the skin and bring out redness.

It’s always a good idea to have a small emergency kit on hand that can be retrieved easily if needed. Sometimes wedding planners will already have a 911 kit to deal with day-of incidents. If not, have a bridesmaid or someone who you are close to make sure the kit is nearby at all times.

Here are a few other helpful tools that may come in handy:

  • Mini sewing kit: thread, needle, extra buttons, small scissors
  • Double-sided tape: to make sure those dresses stay up
  • Static guard or dryer sheets: to eliminate static cling
  • Bobby pins: great for fly-aways
  • Safety pins: for broken bustles or attachés
  • Clear nail polish: to stop sheer stocking runs (always a good idea to bring extra pairs of stockings)
  • Emery board
  • Nail polish: make sure to purchase the colour you’ve chosen for quick touch-ups

Article By Lindsay Ruck


Your Wedding Planner


Planning Perfect
Working with your wedding planner should take time and attention

There is a misconception that wedding planners are only for the elite or super-wealthy, when in fact 80 per cent of newly engaged couples will hire a planner at some point for their wedding.

It’s your wedding day, and while you’re just waking up, ready to start your day with a mimosa and make-up, your wedding planner has been hard at work, perhaps started decorating late into last night and early morning, making sure everything is to your liking.

Meet and greet

Your relationship with your planner begins with the first consultation. This is where they get to learn about you as a couple and your vision for your day and you decide whether or not they will be the ones to bring that vision to life.

This initial meeting is also when you decide how much responsibility you want to give the planner. Many planners have a number of different options that a couple can choose from.

Planning perfection

During the process, an organized wedding planner makes all the difference and while you begin thinking about seeing your groom for the first time, your wedding planner is making sure that walk down the aisle is seamless.

Once the vows are exchanged, your planner is preparing for the next phase of your day. Generally, he or she will carry an hourly itinerary, outlining the order of events and tasks.

Along with that itinerary are the roles and responsibilities and contact information of every vendor, friend or family member that is taking part in your day. This means they know where everyone and everything should be at all times…so you don’t have to.

Dollars and sense

While some may view the wedding planner as an added expense, a resourceful planner with strong vendor connections could actually end up saving you money. Wedding planners have built relationships with vendors and with a budget in mind, can find exactly what you’re looking for, for a price that doesn’t break the bank.

When it comes down to it, the most important attribute for a successful wedding planner is passion, and this will make all the difference.

No Peeking at the Bride … & more Wedding Traditions



Many of the traditions we include in modern weddings have their roots deep in history. Though many of these customs are based on superstitions or historical necessity, to this day couples still – to some degree – acknowledge them. Though the dynamics of weddings change continuously, with new twists being added to the ‘canon’ all the time, wearing white, tying cans to the bumper, and carrying a bouquet all remain firmly entrenched in the collective psyche.

Unearthing the origins of our most beloved wedding traditions – from the practice of placing wedding bands on the third finger of the left hand to putting coins in the bride’s shoes – help modern brides understand why we continue to do things the way we do.

A Vision in White

“Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind, and true.
When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate.”

One of our most beloved wedding traditions is the white wedding dress. Many historians claim that the vivacious French queen, Anne de Bretagne, was the first to start this most cherished of wedding traditions by wearing a white wedding dress in 1499; however, there remains some speculation as to the veracity of this claim. Another 160 years would pass until accounts of Mary, Queen of Scots’ marriage to the French Dauphin in 1558 also claimed she wore white. In most cases, the white wedding dress is commonly attributed to Queen Victoria of England, however, who in 1840 married Albert of Saxe-Coburg, clad entirely in a white gown that was adorned with some of her own prized white lace. But, as far as wedding traditions are established, it still took awhile for brides to catch on to this new idea; it was, after all, very hard to clean a white dress and keep it that way in those times. Another sixty or so years would pass before brides had the resources to wear white wedding gowns routinely and keep them spotless.

Prior to this time, there were no wedding customs that dictated what color had to be worn, and everyone – from peasants to royalty – would simply wear their finest gown, whether it was blue, purple, or yellow hued. The only colors strictly off limits were black (a symbol of death) and flaming red (often associated with ‘ladies of the night.’), although brides in certain parts of the world wore (and still do) black or red gowns based on local cultural and social wedding customs and requirements. Nowadays, people think that a white dress stands for chastity, but traditionally, if a bride wanted to convey this fact, she would have worn blue in keeping with long-held wedding traditions.

All You Need Is Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

“If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know.
Marry in April when you can, joy for maiden and for man.”

Another favorite of our modern day wedding traditions – the practice of integrating ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue’ – has been a part of the marriage ceremony since the nineteenth century, each standing for a special trinket or symbol the bride carries with her on the wedding day. Most people are unaware of the last line of this phrase, however, which ends with ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe.’ Many cultures practice putting coins in the bride’s shoes, symbolic wedding customs that stand, of course, for wealth and prosperity. In Sweden, for instance, these wedding customs are evident with the mother of the bride placing a gold coin in one shoe and her father placing a silver coin in the other to ensure that she will always have financial security.

‘Something old’ stands for the bride’s old life; wedding customs generally state that she should pick something that reminds her of a loved one (perhaps a grandparent) or past special event. ‘Something new’ signifies the couple’s hope for their future together; a symbol of a shared interest is an excellent choice. ‘Something borrowed’ represents something the bride wishes to aspire to or someone she wishes to honor, whether it be a loved one’s old bracelet or a memento from a friend who has a happy marriage. And finally, the ‘something blue’ part of these wedding traditions, though it no longer holds the same symbolism, denotes the bride’s purity. Many brides today incorporate the color discreetly underneath their dresses in the form of garters or as jewelry.

The Vein of Love Links Both Hearts

“Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go.”

With its circular shape, the wedding ring, which for years has been a part of our most respected wedding customs, represents a love without end and the moment when the bride and groom are joined together. Placing the wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand is usually believed to have come from the ancient Egyptian belief that this part of the body contained the ‘vein of love,’ or a mythical vein that runs from the finger to the heart. With the wedding ring on this finger, another of our most beloved wedding traditions concluded that happiness, love, and commitment were assured (citation:

Early folklore of how our wedding customs came to be claims that the husband would tie his new wife’s ankles and wrists with ropes to keep her spirit on earth for as long as possible; this particular practice stemming from these ancient wedding customs, of course, evolved into today’s modern wedding bands, now made from gold or silver, though the transformation took many forms throughout the years – hemp (which never lasted long), leather, metal, and other durable materials, such as iron (favored by the Romans) to indicate the permanence of the union.

Across the Threshold We Go

“Those who in July do wed, must labor for their daily bread.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see.”

There are at least four explanations why the groom is expected to carry his bride over the threshold, all of which have their origins in wedding customs of centuries past. Well over a millennia or so ago, it was common for the groom to abduct his bride (with the help of his ‘best man’), and essentially, he had to force her into the home. To make the situation easier, he likely carried her across the threshold so she couldn’t escape. Similarly, the belief in evil spirits was rampant, and to protect the couple from harm, popular wedding traditions held that the groom carried her over to leave the potential threats outside.

Another feasible explanation for these wedding traditions rests with the new wife’s reluctance to enter the home and leave behind her family, and with a show of modesty for her husband, the bride would play hard to get, requiring the groom to carry her over the threshold so she entered the home. The last, perhaps most common account of lifting the bride over the threshold is that she must never trip or fall or she’ll suffer years of ill fortune. But regardless of where you go, these wedding traditions still stand for the passage of one phase of life to the next and the hope that the bride and groom have for their future together (citation: Marriage Customs of the World, George Monger, page 270).

Look at Us and Wish Us Well

“Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.”

A long time ago, as a bride was ready to depart with her husband from the marriage ceremony, wedding customs dictated that she should hand her shoes to her father who, in turn, would hand them to her husband, a roundabout way to show her allegiance to her father, who passed on her care and keep to the groom. In the sixteenth century, local wedding customs dictated that newly married English couples should have shoes thrown at them, and it was a good omen if they were hit. To keep these wedding traditions alive, the bridal party now ties shoes to the bumper of the couple’s car along with various other decorations, such as ‘Just Married’ signs or tin cans that are meant to scare away the evil spirits.

Wedding traditions associated with loud commotions to keep the spirits away have their origins in Medieval Europe, when the wedding guests would leave the ceremony and make enough noise with bells, whistles, and pots to frighten the spirits and keep them at bay, ensuring a happy future for the new couple.

Quick, Hide the Bride!

“If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.”

It’s common knowledge that it’s bad luck for the groom to see his bride on the wedding day before the ceremony, as far as wedding customs go. Marriages were frequently arranged a long time ago, a deal between the bride’s parents and the groom’s used to gain alliances, more power, or greater wealth. Until the ceremony, local wedding customs prevented the bride and groom from meeting in person. To prevent the groom from leaving once he saw her (if she was, in fact, unattractive), he was not allowed to speak with her until after the ceremony was finished.

Wedding customs also required that the bride was also required to wear a heavy, thick veil (just in case) and it was only lifted after the ceremony. And, at that point, the groom could no longer back out from his commitment. Many modern brides still incorporate these two wedding traditions; it, of course, lends to the excitement of the day, keeping her groom anxious to see how beautiful she looks when she walks down the aisle.

And Other Wedding Traditions, Customs, and Oddities Still in Practice

There are literally hundreds of other wedding traditions, customs, and superstitions that make up today’s marriage ceremony, and some are quite odd. In certain areas, kissing and/or running into a chimney sweep, dove, or black cat is good luck while sewing your own wedding dress is bad (for every stitch, you’ll shed a tear). Regardless of which wedding customs you incorporate into your special day – from the old to the new – the origins of each are steeped in history, and though they’ve morphed, they still equate to the celebration of love in many diverse ways.

In 2006, Cherie Johnson decided to blend her love of weddings with a business model by starting Creative Wedding Favors, a one-stop shop for baby and bridal shower, graduation, quinceañera, anniversary, and wedding favors. Cherie’s helpful tips have been published on many websites including The Wedding Source, Little Wedding Guide, and The American Chronicle. Over the past few years, Cherie has helped countless couples and families make their big events a success. Prior to starting the company, she worked as a professional wedding photographer. Browse Creative Wedding Favors’ colorful selection of favors by visiting

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Wedding Planning: When A Crisis Happens


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weatherproof Wedding

weatherproof wedding

weatherproof wedding

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

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

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

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

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

Key features in this Weatherproof Wedding

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

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

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

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

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

Involve Loved Ones in Your Wedding


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-Wedding Nerves

pre-wedding nerves

pre-wedding nerves

Feeling a little anxious about your upcoming nuptials? Are you not sleeping so well or having bad dreams or finding yourself distracted or a bit short-tempered on occasion?

That’s okay. Pre-wedding nerves are allowed. But don’t dismiss your feelings. Not only is a wedding a big occasion that entails a lot of preparation and social navigation, it’s also a huge life milestone. It’s the biggest, most public commitment you’re ever apt to make.

You’re pledging to spend the rest of your life with another person … while also scrambling to make party favours and seating arrangements and menu choices.  Not only is this a lot to process intellectually, it’s also a lot to wrap your head around emotionally — especially when things don’t go as planned. Your reception venue might be double-booked or your maid-of-honour has to back out or there’s a fracas over family politics and who will sit with whom at the dinner.

These things can happen and it’s reasonable to feel momentarily stressed or nervous about how your special celebration will unfold. But you can deal. Here are some suggestions to help you get centred again:

Set a time and have a long heart-to-heart with your besties. Vent. You can do it on the phone, in a coffee shop, a cocktail lounge or even via an online messaging option. But talk to people you trust. Laugh. Cry. Talk some more. It can be cathartic.

Spend some quiet, away time with you fiance. Get away for a weekend or even make a pact to go for a long, daily walk together. You will feel more grounded and united in this adventure. The down time spent together will help you see a more positive, optimistic way forward.

If you’re overwhelmed by your wedding to-do list, consider delegating tasks to family members and members of your wedding party. People want to help; ask them.

Get some exercise, try meditating and make an effort to do things — even little things — you enjoy every day. Something as simple as listening to music or writing in a diary can improve your perspective.



Your Wedding Day Priorities

Legs brides and groom, newlyweds walk in the outdoors

When you get together with friends and family members on Thanksgiving weekend, use the opportunity to pose a question. It’s for the gals who have gotten married in the last few years, and it’s a simple, straightforward  one:

If you could have a wedding do-over, is there anything you would change?

You’re apt to get many and varied answers. While life circumstances, family dynamics, guest lists, locations and budgets are never the same, hindsight can still be quite helpful.

Bride and groom cutting a wedding cake

Some responses are obvious:

“I should have had a backup indoor venue in case of rain,” says the woman whose June ceremony took place at a park during a torrential downpour.”

“I wish I had chosen to have everything in the same place, at a wedding site,” says the newlywed whose walk down the aisle was delayed 30 minutes because the pastor was late and the church was locked. 

Others you may not have considered:

I would be more specific with the seamstress who altered my gown. I was disappointed.

I’d shop around more for a cake professional. Our cake was lame.

If I could do it over again, I would not have pitchers of mimosas for my bridesmaids before the wedding. It wasn’t a good idea. 

I’d spend less time at the head table and more time visiting with guests.

My shoes: I should have done more practice-walking on my stilettos. 

I really wish I hadn’t bought a dress assuming I would lose weight. I put myself under too much pressure. 

I would have a second white dress to wear for the reception. A mini for dancing.

Everyone has a different story. As you see in this article on the Cosmopolitan Magazine website, do-over choices also range from hiring a videographer to hiring a wedding planner. Since few people can have it all (and most are trying to stay within budgets), what all these if-onlys do is help you focus on your wedding-day priorities.
What are the key elements that will really define and elevate your day? Figure them out and aim to nail them, with no regrets.