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Planning, Wedding

Planning Your Winter Wedding

Many Canadians plan to have their weddings during the warmer months of the year. There is just something about the first buds of spring that is so appropriate for the start of a couple’s married life. Summer is the perfect time for an outdoor ceremony and reception, and fall offers a bouquet of lovely colours that also provide a memorable backdrop for such occasions.

For most of us, however, winter is another story. Sure, a White Christmas is lovely and desirable, but unless you enjoy winter sports, this time of year can be a major drag. However, an increasing number of Canadians are choosing the colder months to start their married relationship.

While the actual ceremony and reception occur indoors, the married couple and the wedding party can still pose outdoors against some gorgeous snowy backdrops. When done right, this can lend an appealingly fantasy-like quality to the images and you will find many wedding photographers showcasing such pictures.

Having a wedding around Christmastime also offers logistical advantages. Some family members live a distance away, but if they are already coming to the area for the holidays, they don’t have to make an extra trip.

From a design standpoint, winter offers many creative possibilities for everything from the wedding cake and favours to the venue design.

There can be some challenges, however. There is no way to control the weather, so you could end up with a snowstorm that makes it impossible to get good shots outside, and cause going to and from the venue to become a major issue. (Tip: try to book a reception hall close to the church. Even better tip: have them both in the same building) Even though the wedding party will not be outdoors for too long, it is still a good idea to wear something warm underneath your outfit.

Planning, Wedding

Making the Most of Your Christmas Wedding

It might seem like overkill to celebrate your wedding during the Christmas season, but it’s actually a great way to make the most of two very special occasions. To that end, here are some ideas that mix traditions from both occasions into something unique and enjoyable.

Themed Invitations

Instead of formal white invitations that have become the standard, choose something more colorful. Red and green are the predominant Christmas hues, so work with your designer and create something that mixes the formal and the fun.  The wedding programs will also benefit from this approach, so keep them in mind, too.

Christmas Bouquets

You can really shake up the traditional bouquet design by using Christmas colors instead. Ever seen a rose bouquet? They’re lovely! You can also be imaginative with the bridesmaids’ bouquets.

The Boutonnieres

Make the boutonnieres seasonally appropriate as well with a berry spray, pine needles, or even mini pine cones.

Christmas Decorations

Decorate your reception hall in lovely Christmas themed decorations. They can be natural and include live foliage, or go for a lovely artificial approach. Choose what feels right for the couple and their tastes.

You can also adorn the tables with a beautiful red and green centerpiece, plus Christmas standards, such as gingerbread houses and candy canes and cranberries. Red and green plaid tablecloths also provide a nice touch, and be sure to include a packet of Christmas candy with everyone’s utensils and napkins.

Christmas Wedding Cake

Now, here is where you can really have some fun. Given the near universal revulsion for Christmas cake, you don’t want to go that route. Substitute one that includes a lot of fruit while also offering the texture and taste most guests prefer.


In addition to the usual selection of coffees to have with dessert, why not also offer some hot cocoa with marshmallows? Throw in a serving of Christmas cookies with each cup.

Planning, Wedding

Would You Accept Corporate Money to Pay for Your Wedding?

We all know just how expensive a wedding can be. Perhaps you have spend many a sleepless night thinking about it? Between the clothes, the rings, the food, the alcohol, the hall rental, and every other incidental, you could make a very large house down payment for what the average wedding now goes for. We do not for one second blame anyone who wishes to thoroughly analyze their wedding preparations and make cost-cutting changes where appropriate.

But how far would you be willing to go in compromising your vision of the perfect wedding ceremony and reception? Some couples have also now turned to the recent trend of crowdfunding in order to help meet their nuptial bills. Would you be willing to accept advertising in order to help defray the cost?

Sponsor My Event is one such site where you can find couples can solicit sponsors to make their dream day everything they hoped it would be. In exchange, the company would be able to feature advertising at the event.

Our take is that it just sounds tacky. Certainly everyone has their dream of what a wedding should be, but it should also be something that centres solely on the union of the couple, not some company’s desire to further promote itself.

If your wedding plans are beyond your budget, and there is no feasible way for you to raise the necessary funds, then you must be willing to compromise. What are the things you truly don’t absolutely need? Do you really need 150 people? Cut it down to 75. Do you really need a free bar? Make it a cash bar. Do you need such a big reception hall? Rent a smaller venue.

Be realistic and you can still have a very magical day. When all is said and done, it’s the couple that counts, not the frills.

Planning, Wedding

Budgeting for a Wedding? Don’t Forget These 5 Hidden Expenses


So, what’s our budget for this thing?

It’s the first question most couples ask when they’re planning a wedding. Or, at least it should be. You can’t have a productive conversation about venues, florists, food, or decorations until you know how much money you’re working with.

Failing to set expectations about budget early on in the planning process can lead to conflict and disappointment down the road. That’s the last thing you need in the days leading up to your wedding.

We rhymed off a few of the obvious expenses above, but there’s more to the wedding budget than cakes and caterers. Writing for Apartment Therapy, Taryn Williford points out five hidden wedding expenses people tend to forget. Mark these on your budget to stay in good financial shape from the start.

Decorations, Especially the Small Stuff

The big-ticket items on the list, like chairs and centrepieces, are safely tucked in with your rental and florist budget. Of course, you’ll need more than that to make your venue pop in those wedding photos.

There will be lots of little decorations, like candles, signs, or a ceremony backdrop, that bump up the expense as well. Don’t think you can avoid it by doing it all yourself – craft supplies add up quick. It’s good to set a budget for “small stuff” before you get started.

Beyond Hair and Makeup

For some, getting your hair and makeup done is enough for your wedding day. Some of us are even more low-maintenance than that! But others (and you’ll know if this is you) will require other pre-wedding beauty prep, like a tan, manicure, waxing, haircut or colour. Don’t add this to an already-bloated budget at the last minute.

Meals Before the Wedding

The wedding party will arrive at the venue before everyone else. If you’re having the ceremony before lunch time, you may want to arrange meals for you and your closest allies. This intimate meal could add more great memories to an already-special day, but only if you budget for it properly.


Turns out you’re supposed to tip in the wedding industry. Who knew? You do, now. Check out this guide to wedding etiquette to find out how much should set aside for vendor tips.


Your friends and family gave it their all to give you a wedding day to remember. How could you ever thank them? Well, words may not need enough! Make room in your wedding budget for gifts. You may want to leave a little extra for unexpected MVPs, like florist or DJ who goes above and beyond on the big day.


Planning, Wedding

How to Plan a Restaurant Wedding Reception

No, we’re not talking about the folks who get married at McDonald’s. More and more couples are foregoing the stuffy banquet halls of the past in favour of cozy, high-end eateries.

Restaurants are a popular choice of venue for couples who want good food and an intimate, laid-back reception. Though there’s usually less space for guests, having a restaurant reception takes a lot of the stress out of planning the event.

There’s minimal set-up, as high-end restaurants are already perfectly polished. You won’t have to worry about hiring a caterer, since the venue comes with a team of experienced servers and chefs. It’s also usually less expensive than booking a larger venue (but don’t forget to add gratuity).

The biggest draw of a restaurant reception is, of course, the food. Caterers can be pretty hit-and-miss. If you’ve attended a few weddings, you can probably think of at least one where the food was forgettable (or memorable for the wrong reasons). With a restaurant, you have plenty of opportunity to sample their wares ahead of time, and lots of feedback available from diners online. Plus, unlike caterers, restaurants care about repeat business – they want your guests to come back for seconds!

Thinking of going the restaurant route? Keep the following in mind:

  • Decide on the number of guests before you choose a venue. Make sure there’s enough space to accommodate them, noting that there may be a few last-minute plus-ones. Ideally, you’ll want to trim the guest list to 100 or fewer people.
  • Make sure there’s enough space. Not only does the venue limit the number of people you can invite, it may also limit what you can have in terms of a DJ, photo booth, and dance floor. Be realistic about what you can fit in the space.
  • Be mindful of kids. If there will be children at the wedding, make sure there’s a kid-friendly menu.
  • Consider the restaurant’s busy season. Spring and summer are prime wedding season, but the restaurant industry usually peaks in November and December. Make sure you account for this as you plan, and try to schedule it six to twelve months in advance.
  • Can you bring what you need? Some restaurants aren’t keen on people bringing in outside decor or food (like a cake), even for weddings. Make your expectations clear when you meet with staff.
  • See what they’ve done for other weddings. If it’s a popular spot, check out professional photos from other events at the restaurant to see if it’s what you envision.