Advice News Wedding Planning



When it comes to choosing a wedding venue, location and season are two of the most important factors to consider. Not only will they impact the overall atmosphere and aesthetic of your special day, but they can also affect the logistics and cost of your wedding since all venues have peak seasons and days of the week resulting in higher costs.

Discuss, as a couple, early on in your planning what day of the week and time of day you want to have your wedding. Do you want a midday ceremony with a tea party reception in a more relaxed atmosphere or an evening ceremony with pictures taken in the sunset and a nighttime reception where everyone can party the night away.

One of the first questions you should ask each venue is about their availability on your desired wedding date. It’s also important to ask about the capacity of the venue and any restrictions on the number of guests you can invite. Additionally, you’ll want to inquire about the rental fees and any additional costs, such as for parking, linens, or tables and chairs.

It’s also a good idea to ask about the venue’s policy on decorations and if there are any restrictions on vendors. You’ll want to ensure that you have the flexibility to personalize your wedding to your liking.

Another factor to consider is the season in which you plan to get married. If you’re dreaming of an outdoor wedding, you’ll want to ask about the venue’s rain backup plan and whether or not they have a covered space in case of inclement weather. You’ll also want to consider the temperature and whether or not the venue has air conditioning or heating.

One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether to have an on-site planner on the day of the wedding or to hire a wedding planning company. Having an on-site planner can be convenient, as they will already be familiar with the venue and can help to coordinate all of the details on the day of the wedding. However, a wedding planning company can bring a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience to the table. They may have relationships with vendors and can often negotiate better rates, which can save you money in the long run.

Ultimately, the choice between an on-site planner and a wedding planning company will depend on your personal preferences and budget. Both options have their own set of benefits, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Choosing the right wedding venue is a crucial step when planning your wedding day. By considering factors such as location, season, and the availability of an on-site planner, you can find a venue that meets all of your needs and creates the perfect atmosphere for your dream wedding.

Above all – ask all the questions you might have. The best venues will be the most supportive and will have someone on their team dedicated to helping you through every part of the process.

If you ever need input or recommendations we are always here to offer suggestions. Having worked with many venues throughout both the Ottawa area and the Peterborough area we are more than happy to provide valuable input into choosing the perfect venue for our wedding day.

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Advice News Wedding Planning

Wedding Invitations

Wedding Invitations

There are so many parts to consider when you start planning your wedding. Some of the first things might be choosing a venue, or finding your wedding gown. But there is an important step that can come a little bit later on in the planning process which every couple will need to do… Invitations.

There are a few different options to consider, each with its own pros and cons. Here’s a comparison of making your own invitations by buying a digital download on Etsy, buying pre-made invitations, and having a designer make and personalize them by hand:

  1. Buying a digital download on Etsy: This is the most affordable option, as you can typically find a wide range of invitation templates for less than $20. The process is simple: just purchase the template, download it, and print it out at home or at a local print shop. You’ll need to have a good printer and some basic design skills to make the invitations look professional, but with a little bit of effort, you can create beautiful invitations on your own. The main downside is that you’ll be limited to the design options available on Etsy, so if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you might have to settle for something close.
  1. Buying pre-made invitations: If you don’t have the time or design skills to make your own invitations, you can purchase pre-made invitations online or at a local stationery store. These invitations are typically more expensive than digital downloads, but they’re also more convenient and often come with envelopes. The main downside is that you’ll be limited to the designs that are available, which might not match your wedding theme or style as closely as you’d like.
  1. Having a designer make and personalize invitations by hand: If you want the most unique and personalized invitations, you might consider hiring a designer to create them for you. This is the most expensive option, but it also gives you the most flexibility in terms of design. You can work with the designer to come up with a completely custom invitation that matches your wedding theme and style perfectly. The main downside is the cost, as custom invitations can be quite expensive. But if knowing your guests will receive the perfect introduction to your wedding day is important to you then this is definitely an option you should explore.

Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your budget, design skills, and how much time you have to devote to making your own invitations. If you have a limited budget and are comfortable with a DIY project, a digital download from Etsy might be the way to go. If you have a little more money to spend and don’t mind giving up some control over the design, pre-made invitations are a good choice. And if you want something truly unique and personalized, a designer might be the way to go.

In the end be sure it fits with the way you envision your wedding!

Advice Dress Shopping News Wedding Planning

Wedding Planning Timelines

Letters to the newly engaged bride.

Congratulations on your engagement! Such an exciting time and there can be so many questions. Not to worry, we’ve been helping brides find their wedding gowns, and have been involved in weddings for over 20 years. We’re here to answer all the questions you have – even if it isn’t related to bridal gowns!

Sinders Bridal House has been in it’s Ottawa, Ontario location since 1987 and over the years we have had the pleasure of working with so many wedding professionals. It’s common for us, once the wedding season is over, to get together, lean into our creative sides, and work on a styled shoot. This gives us the opportunity to meet new people in our industry, but it also lets us share beautiful pictures with our followers, all created from our own imaginations.

What should my first step be?

Often from talking with our brides we hear that the first step is picking your venue. This has split recently considering post-pandemic weddings have branched out to include all sorts of different venues. If you plan to use a popular venue, if you really want to get married on a peak day like a Saturday or Sunday, or if you have one specific date in mind that absolutely has to be your wedding day. Then you should expect at least a year wait before your wedding can happen and the venue will need to be the first thing you plan because that will be your main starting point.

If you’re open to alternate solutions, or always loved the idea of getting married in your own backyard, then the venue will not likely be your biggest time constraint. At this point, you already have a partially formed idea of where you plan to have your wedding so you know the vibe you’re aiming for. This means your timelines might be more restricted by which piece is more important to your wedding day – wedding photographer, florist, or entertainment. And you can move forward even with separate steps even if you don’t have an exact date booked.

Secondary first steps…

We believe that the most important pieces of your wedding day – other than you and your fiancée(e)! – are the wedding photographer and your wedding gown. After all, those are the pieces that will create your memories that you will see hanging on your walls or posted on your social media for the rest of your life. Always read reviews when choosing your wedding photographer, but even more so, look through their portfolio to make sure that they match the look you want to have in your memories. Each photographer has a certain way they capture their images and a certain colour spectrum they work within. Are you looking for crisp colourful photos? Or what about black and white? Or blown out, or editorial style, or a bigger emphasis on candids? Always do your research on the photographers in your area, find a few in your style, then make an appointment to meet them. Honestly, they want to know that you will be a match personally just as much as you do. You both want to be sure that you’re on the same page from day one, so take this one seriously and you’ll love the visual memories you come away with.

Florists have busier seasons like all wedding professionals, but they also work within the constraints of which flowers and greenery are available at any given season. If you have your heart set on a specific flower or a certain colour scheme then it’s best to get input from the experts in this field so that you can book your wedding day within the correct time frame.

Entertainment. Meaning anything from a DJ to a live band to aerialists. This can be a pivotal part of your wedding day, or something that is extremely special to you as a couple. The more particular you get the more it will impact your timeline so find out when they are available early on before booking other professionals.

How finding your wedding dress fits into the timeline you have available.

When a bride asks us about timelines the simplest answer is that we love to be able to order your gown 9-12 months ahead of your wedding day. This gives us room to breathe in the delivery process, as well as several months on the end for alterations to your wedding gown. Though that is the dream timing for us, we always have to mention that whatever timeline you have is the ideal timeline to find a gown. The shortest timeline we have ever worked with is one week. No, I’m not pulling your leg. We look at it as ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’. Thankfully we also work with some incredible designers who have helped us out by working their magic to get a bride her gown on an impossible timeline. These are more stressful, not just for us, but for you (our bride) as well. We are nothing but grateful to the brides who place absolute trust in us in these situations. But please give as much time as you can to order your gown so that you know this vital piece is taken care of and will not be the cause of extra stress leading up to your wedding.

In the end, the best place to start is the part of your wedding that is the most important to you. Take some time to picture what you want your day to look like. Picture you in your gown, your groom in his suit, or your bride in her gown/suit. Picture your surroundings, and picture the overall plan of what you and your guests will do throughout the day or evening. Then discuss with your partner which aspects are the most important for both of you. From there you’ll have a short list of things to focus on – a starting point.

Good luck and remember. If you have questions or are looking for suggestions we love to help! It’s an honour for us to be involved in your wedding day and we love to share our knowledge and experience with our brides!

Advice Wedding Dresses Wedding Planning

Wedding Dress Timelines

Let’s talk wedding dress timelines.

Now that we are launching into our busy season here at Sinders, we’ve had a lot of questions on timelines. So that brings forth the tell-tale question:

“When SHOULD you be starting your journey on finding your wedding gown?”

Well, the truth is – it depends.

On average, wedding dresses can take between 6-9 months to order. This is of course paired with manufacturing, shipping, receiving, customization, accessorizing and general alterations. It can result in a recommended start date of up to 12 months before your desired wedding date.

Before you hit the panic button, we are going to help break down those factors for you. That way, you can be ready to hit the ground running when the time comes.

Here are the top 7 things to consider when crafting your wedding dress timeline:

1. What is your wedding vision?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of what goes into the creation of a garment, let us first start at the beginning.

It is no surprise that the minute you become engaged, an overwhelming number of questions start to pop into your head. Some of which you might not have considered when it comes to planning a wedding.

Location. Time of year. Guest list. Theme. Wedding party. Décor.

It can be a lot to think about.

BUT – these things are all integral pieces to solidifying your wedding vision and ultimately understanding what you may be looking for in a wedding dress.

You might have always envisioned yourself in a beautiful ballgown. Or a sweeping train. Heck maybe even satin ensemble.

Will this be what you may end up falling for?

Perhaps not.

But having an idea of your likes and dislikes are a great starting point.  Especially when knowing what type of timeline you will find yourself on when shopping for your dress. And even more so if this might include customizations.

2. What is the difference in dress designers?

A large reason that we provide such a wide timeframe when talking about timelines is due to the difference in designers we carry.

Simply put, no two designers are the same.

We don’t know which wedding dress that you are likely to say ‘yes’ to. So, it is extremely difficult for us to say exactly what your timeline should look like.

Rest assured though; each designer works diligently to ensure that your gown arrives nothing short of everything you imagined!

Beyond that, our talented team of stylists are here to help make your shopping experience seamless and extraordinary!

If you have your eye on a particular designer before starting your shopping journey, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

3. How many appointments are too many?

Far too often, we hear of brides having gone to dozens of stores, tried hundreds of wedding dresses and feel absolutely overwhelmed with the thought of having to choose. Or, brides so overpacked with appointment after appointment, that they don’t truly get the opportunity to live in the moment when they find the gown that beats them all!

We are by no means saying that going to a few different stores is a bad idea.

In fact, we suggest selecting even 2-3 of your favourite stores to really maximize your shopping experience. Go ahead – discover your style and explore your options!

Just do not overdo it!

We promise you after dozens of dresses and multiple appointments, it will start to become much more difficult to make a confident and informed decision. Plus, if you are someone who finds it difficult making daily decisions, this fact will only be magnified when trying on an abundance of gowns.

So, when shopping for your wedding dress trust the opinions of those around you. Your entourage, your stylist and most importantly – yourself. The joy and exuberance you feel when finally putting on ‘your dress’ should not be lost in the hustle and bustle of traffic.

If you know in your heart of hearts that you want to explore your options – do it!

In fact, consider making each of your selected stores a unique destination. Each store you visit will have its’ own unique atmosphere, selection, and ambiance. So let yourself enjoy them!

Do your research ahead of time. That way, you can go into each and every appointment prepared and know that you could very well walk out with your perfect dress!

Oh, and when you are ready to make your appointment with Sinders Bridal, let us be your final destination of course ;). 

4. Are there any external factors that could be impacting the industry?

You might be thinking, what the heck does this have to do with my shopping timeline?

The answer is quite a bit.

As we have seen over these past two years, our ecosystem is fragile. From mandated closures to capacity limits, and wedding postponements to shipping delays. We can never know what the future holds for our brides or the industry. So timelines become even more important.

If you have the time – consider working some wiggle room into your timeline. We promise you, the last thing you want to be when shopping for your dress is stressed out.

Not sure if your timeline will work? Give us a call. We can help you work through your timeline and make sure you are dressed and ready for your big day!

5. What goes into making the physical wedding gown?

This might seem implied, but give yourself time when shopping. Let the magic of your dress happen. Although it is completely possible to walk out of the store with a dress in your hand – more often than not, your journey is just beginning.

In fact – your dress can take 6-9 months to make its journey from your initial deposit to walking down the aisle.

From production and manufacturing to shipping and delivery. Your wedding dress takes months before arriving back at our boutique. From there, our dedicated quality control group will receive your gown, thoroughly checking each and every aspect of your gown. From seams to clasps and intricate beadwork. It is our job to be meticulous and ensure that your gown ready from top to bottom.

Once you’ve received your call and are able to come meet your dress – it is time to prepare for alterations. Depending on the amount of customizations you have gone with, alterations can take anywhere from 3-4 months to complete.

Add in shopping for accessories and some buffer room for yourself and we have quite a timeline!

Note: It felt wrong to not mention the incredible work that also goes into our custom wedding veils. Many of our veils at Sinders Bridal are hand-made with intricate beading and matching lacework that can take upwards of 5-6 months to complete. The last thing you want is to say yes to your dress and not give yourself enough time to find your perfect veil. Keep this in mind when creating your wedding timeline.  

6. What services do your chosen bridal boutiques offer?

Understanding what services are offered at your chosen bridal boutiques can have a large influence on your timeline.

Will you have the time needed to make the decision? Are you able to bring the number of guests you desire? Do they offer alterations and customizations?

The bottom line is every bridal boutique you visit will have the bread and butter of what you’re looking for (a wedding dress). Finding the right boutiques that have the offerings you are looking for can be the difference between weeks or months added to your timeline.

For the sake of an example, let’s say you are looking for a jaw-dropping train on your wedding dress.

Now, there is an excellent selection of wedding dresses on the market today that would be the perfect selection for your wedding day! Many options can be found both in-person or online. Each can be an incredible choice that will have little impact on your shopping timeline.

However, let’s say that having this train is non-negotiable.

If having a piece that’s your specific taste and style preferences is important, do not be surprised by a longer timeline. Finding that exact dress without having customization can be extremely difficult. You may find yourself at multiple appointments. With hundreds of gowns. All before realizing what you want may not exist on the market.

Enter customizations.

Customizations, although more time intensive, require skill and expertise of a dedicated team. A team who not only has familiarity with wedding dresses, but with your specific gown.

In this specific example, finding a bridal boutique that has a dedicated alterations team is important. A team experienced with the dresses can be the difference of dozens of headaches and one smooth and seamless shopping experience.  

Do your research. 

Choosing the correct stores for the experiences you want can ensure that your piece comes out as a perfect representation and reflection of who you are.

Did we mention at Sinders Bridal, you get exclusive access to Ottawa’s premiere seamstresses? 

7. Are you on a condensed timeline?

Okay, so we’ve given you what seems like a dozen reasons to give yourself as much time as possible when starting wedding dress shopping. You might be thinking, Oh crap, I do not have that much time – I will never find a dress!”.  

That is certainly not the case.

Although more often than not the dresses are ordered – that does not mean that you can’t find a dress on a tight timeline.

Maybe you chose to have a short engagement. Or something has accelerated your plans and suddenly your day is fast approaching.

Enter sample gowns.

Yes, you heard us correctly. You can buy sample gowns right off the floor and walk out of a bridal store with your dress in hand!

Okay, okay, okay.

The options when going this route might be a little more limited, but where there is a will, we will find a way! In fact, there are often hundreds of sample gowns on the floor at one time, so rest assured that your gown is out there.

Let’s get real.

What is most important is to give yourself time, and know in your heart what feels right to you. Because, we could go on and on when it comes to talking timelines.

The moral of the story is – the longer your timeline, the less stressful. In the end, it isn’t our wedding day.

But… maybe consider making us your last stop.

Have your ‘Say Yes’ moment with Sinders. 

We will be behind you every step of the way. To inform you, provide for you, cheer you on and help you thrive. From the moment you walk in the doors, to the final fitting before your big day. Because when you become a Sinders bride, you become family. Every step of your engagement!

So go out there and shine beautiful.


Until next time,

The Sinders Team


Wedding Planning

Bridesmaid duties and responsibilities

You have been asked to stand with one of your closet friends as she takes this important step in her life. Whether you love weddings or think they are a waste of money, you should still feel honoured that the bride values your relationship so much that she wants you not just to attend, but to participate in her special day.

You may be thinking that being a bridesmaid simply means buying a dress and standing at the front of the ceremony site while the couple say “I do,” but that is actually only one of multiple duties.

Being a bridesmaid has quite a few responsibilities, and more expenses then just the dress. Below I’ve explained the customary bridesmaid duties and what she is responsible for financially.

Duties & Responsibilities

A bride should never assume that a her party knows exactly what her anticipated bridesmaid duties are, especially since every bride has different expectations.

Today, many brides send out an email to their bridesmaid to let them know what her plans and (reasonable) expectations are, and what the bridesmaids should be available for.

Customary Bridesmaid Duties:

  • Assist bride in any reasonable way with any wedding planning
  • Accompany bride dress shopping for wedding gown if she asks you too (some brides take their entire bridal party, others just take their maid of honour and other family members)
  • Accompany bride dress shopping for bridesmaids dresses
  • Run errands up to and on the day of the wedding
  • Attend all wedding related events/parties if possible
  • Assist maid/matron of honour in planning bridal shower and bachelorette party, and contribute to costs financially
  • Give a gift at the bridal shower and wedding or contribute to a group gift
  • One or two bridesmaids should record the item and recipient of all gifts at the shower
  • Assist bride in making/assembling save the dates, wedding invitations, and/or wedding favors
  • Assist as co-hostess for all wedding related events; mingle and introduce guests, make sure people are enjoying themselves, etc.
  • Pay for your own attire (dress, shoes, jewelry, hair piece, etc), hairstyling, and make-up (unless the bride has stated she is paying for this)
  • Arrange for your own transportation for the day of, unless the bride has already done so
  • Pay for your own accommodations if you live out of town. Some sources say this is the responsibility of the couple, but majority agree it is the responsibility of the bridesmaid.  If you are unsure, check with the bride to see if she’ll be swallowing this cost or not.
  • Possibly give a speech at the rehearsal dinner (some brides choose a bridesmaid for this task since the maid/matron of honour gives a speech at the wedding)
  • Walk in the processional, stand/sit at the front of the ceremony site during the ceremony, walk in the recessional
  • Greet guests in the receiving line if the bride asks you too
  • Assist the maid of honour with the bride’s bustle if necessary
  • Dance with your designated groomsman at the end of the couple’s dance if they are following this tradition
  • Participate in the bouquet toss

Maid/Matron of Honour

The maid/matron of honour is the primary bridal attendant. She is the bride’s right-hand-woman for the entire wedding planning process and on the big day.
The role is the same for a maid or matron of honour. History simply created the different terms to distinguish whether the lady was single (maid) or married (matron).

On top of the customary bridesmaids duties listed above, the maid/matron of honour has the additional duties of:

  • Initiate and coordinate the bridal shower and bachelorette party (unless another bridesmaids wishes to take on this responsibility)
  • Coordinate group gift from the bridesmaids for the shower and/or wedding if you are doing one
  • Ensure all bridesmaids have ordered their dresses in time, and get any alterations needed in time
  • Hold the groom’s ring during the ceremony if there is no ring bearer
  • Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony (be prepared, these can be heavier than they look)
  • Serve as the ceremonial/legal witness for the marriage
  • Straighten the bride’s train after the processional, before the recessional, and during the photos
  • Make a speech/toast at the reception, and possibly at the rehearsal dinner
  • Bustle the bride’s train at the reception (it helps to attend a fitting with the bride so you are shown how to do this. You might need another bridesmaid’s assistance as well).
  • Assist the bride in changing out of her wedding gown if she is changing outfits
  • Have a list of contact’s from the bride (parents, vendor, officiant, caterer, dj/band, etc.) so you can handle any glitches that occur on the big day so the bride can remain stress free

Being prepared for emergencies is always a good idea. No matter how hard the bride has worked to make her special day perfect, something can go wrong.  To help with the minor mishaps on the day it’s suggested that bridesmaids have an emergency tool kit with them.  When at your seamstress ask for suggestions on any items you should have on hand (ex. needle/thread, safety pins) for any unexpected emergencies.

Other suggestions to include in your kit are aspirin/ibuprofen, bandages, bobby pins, etc.

Who Picks the Dress and Accessories?

Yes you are paying for the dress. Yes you are the one wearing the dress. However, the final decision on what dress the bridesmaids are wearing is up to the bride since it is her day.
A good bride will take your budget and opinion into her consideration, but ultimately she does make the decision.

Some brides are letting their bridesmaids choose their own gowns given some specific parameters; such as colour, length, material, and/or designer.  In this case it’s always a good idea to make sure the bride does give her ok on your dress before you purchase it to make sure it goes with her vision.

When getting alterations on your dress, make sure you wear the same undergarments you’re going to be wearing on the actual day of the wedding. Undergarments do affect how a gown sits and fits.

Also make sure your undergarments are not visible underneath the dress. This occurred at a wedding I was a bridesmaid in. Minutes before we were getting ready to leave we noticed one bridesmaid’s black underwear was showing through her coral gown. Luckily we were in the hotel yet so she could run back to her room and change.

Some brides want a unified look, right down to the toes, so they ask their bridesmaids to all purchase the same pair of shoes and other accessories. Other brides give general specifications (ex. nude pump, pearl stud earrings, etc) but let the girls choose the exact items themselves.
So before you run out and start accessorizing your look find out what the bride has decided.

Hair, Make-Up, Nails

It’s customary for the bridesmaids to pay for their own hair, make-up, and nails. Again, some brides want a certain look for their wedding. Which means all their girls to have an up-do, matching nails, etc. While other brides let the girls choose what works for them.

If the bride doesn’t inform you of her choice, you should check with her or the maid of honour. Don’t make any assumptions either way.

Some brides do decide to pay for this service for their girls as part of her thank you for helping her with her special day. However, this is not a requirement so make sure you leave room in your budget for these services unless the bride tells you otherwise.

Being a bridesmaid should be an enjoyable experience for you. It’s a great time to enjoy the relationship you have with your friend. It can also be a busy and stressful time which can put a strain on your friendship.

To help reduce the stress, it’s always a good idea to find out what the bride’s expectations of your bridesmaid duties are at the beginning. Let the bride know what your budget and time availability is for the event, and to remember that this is a time for celebration so don’t let the little things bog you both down.

Wedding Planning

How to plan the wedding of your dreams, part 1: under $10,000

To offer our brides-to-be a lay of the land on wedding planning and budgeting, we’ve created a three-part series filled with helpful information to make your experience more enjoyable. In Part I we’ll dive into wedding planning under the 10K mark – seems impossible, right?



It’s no secret that the cost of getting married is getting higher and higher, making it feel as if achieving your dream, Pinterest-worthy wedding is far out of reach.

However, just because you have a tighter budget for your wedding, doesn’t mean you need to make tons of sacrifices or go into debt. Because contrary to what you may have heard, planning a beautiful wedding under $10,000 is completely attainable.


According to Wedding Wire, the average cost of a wedding in Canada is a whopping $29,450. As you pick your jaw up off the floor, keep in mind that down in the U.S, the cost is even higher – $44,000!

So how is all this money being spent?

Wedding costs that eat up the most of your budget typically include:

  • Venue
  • Open bar
  • Photography and Videography
  • Catering
  • Flowers

Fortunately, there are tons of ways to cut costs on all these major expenses without sacrificing your vision.


After you have determined your budget and are ready to jump into the planning process, come up with a list of things that are absolutely necessary (open bar, videography, decorations, your dream dress, etc.) and the little things you’d love to have but can live without (favours, calligraphy, certain types of flowers, etc.).

This will help establish your priorities so you can better allocate your budget.

And for the key elements of any wedding that you absolutely cannot live without, here are some tips for reducing the financial blow.



Average cost: $22,500

Your venue is usually the biggest expense of any wedding and can set you back anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000.

Furthermore, most venues will charge significantly higher rates and require a minimum of 100 to 125 guests for weddings taking place during the most popular times to get married (Saturdays from May to October).

But this doesn’t mean you need to need to pay an arm and a leg to have both an amazing venue and a spring or summer wedding on a weekend. The key is to think outside of the box when researching venues and look for locations that aren’t necessarily marketed as wedding venues. That’s because the venues that don’t often host weddings typically won’t charge as much as traditional venues.

This can include parks, university campuses, art galleries, restaurants, farms, and wineries.

Another option is to host a backyard wedding at yours’ or a family member’s home or book an Airbnb or other vacation rental. Just make sure you confirm with the owner of the property that they are okay with you hosting an event before booking. You will also need to make sure there are enough parking and bathroom facilities for your guests.


Average cost: $1,750

You don’t actually need to spend a lot of money to hire a band or DJ in order to get everyone out on the dancefloor at the end of the night. Sign up for a premium Spotify (or other music streaming service) account and build your perfect wedding playlist. Then purchase or rent a large speaker that connects to Bluetooth and assign someone from your wedding party to take care of the music. Not only will this save you money, but it will also ensure you have complete control over what music is played.


Average cost: $70 per person

Instead of a fancy, traditional meal, opt for something more casual like a barbeque buffet.

Another great way to save on food costs is to ask caterers if they have a self-service option. This means they would provide just the food, with no setup or serving staff for a reduced price.


Average cost: $2,679

When it comes to photography, experience does not necessarily mean talent. So, don’t be afraid to hire an up and coming photographer – or photography student – that doesn’t have a lot of experience. Base your decision around the strength of their skills and portfolio, rather than the number of weddings they have shot.

Because lots of talented photographers will offer lower rates if they have less experience than other established wedding photographers.


Average cost: $386

Traditional paper invitations can provide a beautiful keepsake for your guests. But let’s face it, more often than not, they eventually end up in the trash.

Instead, opt for digital invitations sent out via email through a service like Paperless Post. Such a service will help you design and customize a beautiful invitation and Save the Date card and keep track of your responses, but for a significantly lower cost.


Average cost: $3,000

Flowers are often at the top of a bride’s wish list when planning a wedding but can end up being one of the biggest expenses.

Rather than spending thousands of dollars on bouquets and other floral décor and arrangements, consider the idea of faux flowers. Faux flowers can look just as real as actual flowers and are much more cost-effective. Plus, going with faux flowers will ensure you get the exact flowers you want, without having to worry about them not being in season.

Faux flowers will also allow you to set up your decorations in advance without having to worry about wilting.


Average Number of Guests: 167

When devising your guest list, it can be incredibly difficult to keep your guest count low, especially if there is pressure from your families to invite certain people.

But it’s important to keep in mind that the more people you invite means the more money you spend on food, alcohol, invitations, etc. Keeping your guest list to around 50-75 will help ease the stress on your bank account.

But how do you go about picking and choosing who to keep and who to cut from your guest list?

If you have not seen someone in at least two years or more, and do not have contact with them on a regular basis, keep them off the guest list. This even goes for extended family. You and your second cousin may have been close as kids, but if you have little to no relationship as adults, you don’t need to feel obligated to invite them to your wedding.

Other ways you can reduce your guest list is to only allow plus ones for spouses and long-term partners and keep your wedding an adult only (no kids) affair.


Average cost: $600

While a beautifully decorated multi-tiered cake is something many brides dream of having, they are also incredibly expensive and unnecessary.

Remember that by the end of the night, the cake is going to be eaten and guests will likely forget what it even looked like once it’s in their stomachs.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo cake altogether. Instead, get one or more non-tiered, simply decorated cakes – and don’t make any mention of a wedding to avoid the dreaded wedding markup!

Doing away with the traditional, over the top-tiered cake, will also give you the option to pick multiple cakes in different flavours to please all of your guests for a fraction of the price.


When wedding planning on a smaller budget, the focus tends to be on how you can save as much money as possible. But there are some areas where you shouldn’t try to pinch pennies.


Every bride dreams of looking like the most beautiful version of herself on her wedding day. It is your big day after all, and you should feel confident and stunning in whatever you choose to wear.

While it’s perfectly fine to set a budget for your wedding dress, don’t make this your sole priority when choosing a gown. And most importantly, do not buy a dress just because it’s inexpensive. Make sure you absolutely love it and it makes you feel beautiful.

Because those pictures will last forever. And if you are not 100% happy with your dress, it will cloud your memories of your big day.


If you love your wedding dress but some things just feel a bit off, do not settle. With alterations, so much can be done to transform a dress into your perfect gown. However, depending on the scope of what you want done, they can get expensive. But at the end of the day, it will be so worth it to ensure your gown looks perfect on your wedding day.


While your memories from your wedding will last a lifetime, having a videographer present will ensure they are preserved forever. In the months and years following your wedding, you will be glad to have captured all the little details on film that you will come to forget over time.

If you’re the type of bride that has been dreaming of her wedding her entire life and has multiple Pinterest boards filled with ideas, planning a wedding on a budget can be stressful and feel like you’re missing out on the wedding of your dreams. But in reality, with a little research and creativity, you don’t have to sacrifice much to have a perfect wedding.

Just remember to focus on the big things like food and drink, venue, and music, because most guests don’t care about fancy invitations, ornate ceremony programs, and over the top flower arrangements. At the end of the day, your guests won’t remember the little things, but rather the big picture, and how happy you and your new spouse were on such a special day.

Wedding Planning

How to plan the wedding of your dreams, part II: under $30,000


To offer our brides-to-be a lay of the land on wedding planning and budgeting, we’ve created a three-part series filled with helpful information to make your experience more enjoyable. In Part II, we explore the possibilities of wedding planning under $30,000 – let’s see what you can do with this budget!



The average cost of a wedding as of 2019 is around $30,000, which sounds like a lot, but when you break down all the expenses involved in planning a wedding, it actually falls within the mid-size range.

While a $30,000 budget can get you a lot, it also means holding back just a bit to avoid going completely over the top (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and blowing your budget.

To help you balance the two, here are some tips for planning the wedding of your dreams without going over budget.


If you are unsure of how much you should be spending on different areas of your wedding, here is an approximate budget breakdown for a wedding with 100 guests and a $30,000 budget.

  • Venue (all-inclusive with open bar): $17,000
  • Flowers & Décor: $2,500
  • Photo & Video: $3,600
  • Dress and Accessories: $2,500
  • Hair and Makeup for Bride and Bridal Party: $500
  • Cake and Desserts: $500
  • Music: $1,200
  • Day of Coordinator: $500
  • Other Costs (Officiant, bridal party gifts, groom’s attire, etc.) $2,000


Having a healthy budget means you don’t have to cut corners when it comes to big picture items. So, try to focus most of your wedding planning budget on the following areas.


Your wedding venue is one of the most important – and expensive – details of your wedding. It sets the tone for your entire wedding and often dictates décor, food, and so many other elements of your wedding. So, if you can afford to pay top dollar for a venue, go for it.

Most dedicated wedding venues are all-inclusive, which means the cost of renting the venue includes food, service staff, tables and chairs, alcohol for the bar, and sometimes even a day of coordinator. In other words, it’s usually worth spending a bit more money for a beautiful, well-rounded venue that will save you from spending extra time and money on other areas of your wedding


While it’s true that you don’t have to spend a small fortune to look beautiful on your wedding day, it’s also important to remember that this is your special day and you deserve to treat yourself.

When shopping for dresses, don’t focus solely on the price tag. Set your sights on a gorgeous gown that makes you feel like the most beautiful version of yourself.

This also applies to accessories. The right veil, jewelry, headpiece, or other accessories can completely transform the look of your dress. So, don’t be afraid to spend a bit more to find the perfect accents to compliment your bridal look.


The one thing people often remember most about a wedding is the food, so get creative and plan an amazing meal that your guests will be talking about even after the car ride home.

If your venue does not have its own on-site chefs, you’ll have the freedom to shop around and find your own outside caterer.

When planning out your menu, think about what kinds of foods you and your future spouse really love and care about that others will love as well.

Also be sure to take into consideration your guests’ dietary restrictions.


While a cash bar is a great way to save a huge amount of money, asking your guests to pay for cocktails, wine, and even non-alcoholic drinks often leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths and can cloud their perception of your special day.

So, if you can afford to do so, splurging for an open bar is a great way to show your appreciation for your guests who have come together to celebrate your love.

Also consider creating your own signature cocktail for the bartender to serve guests to help personalize your wedding.


Your wedding photos and video are one of the few tangible things you will be able to take away from your wedding to look back on.

As your memories start to fade, you can look back on your photos and re-live how you felt on that most special day.

Therefore, it’s important to invest in an experienced, professional photographer and videographer who will help you preserve all the little details of your big day for years to come.


If you plan on having a big wedding with lots of guests and things going on, you may want to splurge on a wedding coordinator to help move things along and make sure everything runs smoothly during your wedding.

Unlike a planner that helps plan out your big day, a coordinator is someone who handles the logistical side of things on your actual wedding day and helps you get organized and iron out certain details during the lead up to the big day.


With most of your budget tied up in the big-picture items, you will likely need to find ways to save when it comes to the small stuff. Here are some recommendations for areas you can cut back on.


Custom designed invitations and save the dates look beautiful and can be a wonderful keepsake to have, but at the end of the day, most of them will end up in the trash.

Plus, the process of stuffing and stamping 100+ envelopes and having them mailed can be a major, unnecessary pain.

Instead, save both time and money by using a digital invite service such as Paperless Post that lets you choose from hundreds of beautiful designs and customize your own digital invitations and send them out to your guests via email.


While having a June wedding may be your dream, it’s important to note that it’s also one of the most expensive times to get married.


Between May and October are considered peak season for weddings, and venues will often charge significantly more for Saturday weddings during this period.

So, if you find that your budget has become a bit tight, consider choosing a date during the off-season if you are planning an indoor affair.

But if you are set on having a wedding during peak season, think about having your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday to save on venue costs.


While everyone wants to create a beautiful ambiance at their wedding, the truth is that an abundance of flowers and decor are not something most guests tend to remember.

Plus, flowers can set you back thousands of dollars that could be better spent on more important things.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to forgo flowers altogether. Instead of filling your ceremony and reception site with an abundance of flowers, focus on having them for certain elements that are most important to you, such as a ceremony arch, bouquets, and simple centrepieces. Or, consider using high-quality silk flowers.


One of the reasons weddings tend to set you back so much money is the fact that you need to pay to feed, seat, and entertain all your guests. And when your guest count reaches 100 people or more, the costs are often astronomical.

To avoid having to make too many cutbacks and sacrifice your vision for your wedding in order to stay within budget, consider keeping your guest list on the lower side – 100 people or less.


There’s nothing more romantic than being whisked off to an amazing destination immediately after your wedding to bask in the glow of newlywed bliss. But after spending tens of thousands of dollars on your wedding, spending even more on a honeymoon can be difficult to swing.

For this reason, more and more couples are opting to delay their honeymoon for a few months until after they have settled into married life and can afford to jet off on vacation.

An added benefit to this is that you get to avoid the stress of planning and preparing for a trip on top of all the craziness of wedding planning.


While favours are cute and a great way to personalize your wedding, most guests will overlook them and forget to bring them home at the end of the evening, resulting in wasted time and money on your part. Instead, focus on providing your guests with a fantastic experience that is so memorable, they won’t even miss the monogrammed candy, bottle opener, or other trinket by the end of the night.

As the cost of a wedding continues to rise, having a medium-sized budget can feel limiting, but it doesn’t have to be.

When planning your wedding, regardless of budget, always remember to think about the big picture and try not to stress about the little things.

Focus on planning an amazing event, enjoying every moment, and soaking it all in. Because at the end of the day, neither you nor your guests will be thinking about all the little extravagant details. All you will remember is how happy you and your spouse were, and how much fun you had along the way.

Wedding Planning

How to plan a wedding with a $50,000 budget

To offer our brides-to-be a lay of the land to plan a wedding and budgeting, we’ve created a three-part series filled with helpful information to make your experience more enjoyable. In Part III, we indulge in the endless possibilities of wedding planning over $50,000 – get the wedding of your dreams!



For those who are lucky enough to have either saved or been gifted a large sum of money to put towards your wedding, you are in a unique and fortunate position to not have any budget restrictions.

This means you get to plan your perfect wedding exactly how you’ve always imagined. However, when planning a big wedding with a budget of $50,000 and up, it can become easy to get lost in the shuffle and overwhelmed throughout the planning process.

With unlimited options and the ability to say yes to almost anything, it can be difficult to narrow down your vision and decide on all the things you actually want.

So, to help you keep your head on straight and ensure your budget is being allocated wisely – and that you are not spending unnecessarily just because you can – we’ve compiled our top wedding planning tips to help you during this incredibly exciting and stressful time.


  • Venue (all-inclusive with open bar): $20,000
  • Flowers & décor: $7,000
  • Photo & video: $4,000
  • Dress and accessories: $5,000
  • Hair and makeup for bride and bridal party: $1,000
  • Cake and desserts: $2,000
  • Music: $2,000
  • Wedding planner: $4,000
  • Miscellaneous costs (officiant, bridal party gifts, groom’s attire, etc.) $5,000
  • Paper goods (invitations, name cards, menus, etc.): $700



When planning a formal, luxurious wedding, it can feel tempting to invite anyone and everyone to share your special day with. However, remember that you also want to enjoy your wedding and take everything in. Inviting 300+ guests means you will end up spending the entire night thanking guests and making your rounds instead of hitting the dancefloor and having fun at your reception.

To avoid getting completely overwhelmed, try to keep your guest list to 250 people or less.


It’s no secret that when you plan a wedding, in general, it’s incredibly stressful. But when managing a budget of $50,000 and up, trying to coordinate your spending and all your vendor meetings becomes near impossible to do. So, if you have the room in your budget, we highly recommend hiring a professional wedding planner to help.

Plus, a planner will be on hand to help you coordinate the day of your wedding to ensure everything comes together perfectly and goes off without a hitch. This takes the stress off you and your bridal party. Allowing you to focus on the most important thing – getting married!


When it comes to choosing your bridal party, you want those closest to you standing with you at the end of the aisle. So, narrowing your bridesmaid selection down to just a few select people can feel impossible, as you don’t want to leave anyone out.

However, also remember that for the next year or more of wedding planning, you will be spending countless hours with this group and have to coordinate all communications and other important wedding events to make sure they line up with everyone’s schedule. This can become extremely difficult with so many hands-on deck.

Plus, when you have up to 10 or more bridesmaids, conflict and clashing of personalities become inevitable, oftentimes resulting in unwanted drama.

So, to avoid the added stress of having a large bridal party, try to keep the size of your bridal party to around six people or less.

In the event that anyone who was left out has their feelings hurt, explain to them your situation. You can always find other ways to include them in your wedding.


When planning a big-budget wedding, there’s a good chance you are not paying for everything yourself. Most couples in this position often have help from family members who are contributing financially to their wedding.

In these types of situations, though, there can be a conflict if the family members are not happy with certain decisions. For instance, maybe they’d rather a band over a DJ or a traditional wedding dinner instead of a trendy food truck. For this reason, it’s important to sit down early on in the planning process with any parties that will be contributing financially to the wedding and establish who is in charge of paying for what. This way, the family members will know exactly where their money is going and can offer up feedback when appropriate.



You’re already planning the wedding of your dreams, so make sure you have the perfect dress to go with it. When spending so much money on various elements of your wedding, it’s important to prioritize yourself as well. It is your day, after all. So, don’t feel guilty about splurging on a gown that is truly spectacular and makes you look and feel like your most beautiful self.

Whether it’s a princess-worthy tulle and lace ballgown, or a tight fitted dress with stunning intricate beadwork (or both!), look for a gown that fits with your venue and the tone of your wedding. Also lining up with your vision for how you want to look on your wedding day.


Besides having a photographer and videographer on hand to capture your big day, consider paying a bit extra for a photo booth and some props.

Photobooths are always a big hit for guests! It allows them to show off their goofy side and create their own memories of your wedding.


Your wedding venue is the most important element of your wedding. It will dictate the entire look, feel, and vibe of your event. In fact, your venue is where you should be allocating most of your budget. Therefore, it’s important to find an all-inclusive, well-rounded venue that matches your vision for your big day and offers:

  • Catering service
  • Service staff
  • Tables and chairs
  • Linens
  • Dishes and flatware
  • An open bar
  • Good lighting
  • Lots of parking
  • Easy to access location
  • Separate ceremony and reception site
  • On-site accommodations for bride, groom, and bridal party


One of the things guests remember most about a wedding is the food. So it’s highly important that you make this a top priority.

No matter how great the music is, guests won’t feel like dancing if they are left feeling hungry and unsatisfied from dinner.

Work with your venue or caterers to plan out an amazing meal that will appeal to a variety of tastes and accommodate any dietary restrictions. But also take into consideration your own tastes and preferences. Because even if your guests are happy with the meal, your memories of your wedding will be clouded if you didn’t enjoy it yourself.

Also, make sure your guests are well-fed all throughout the night. This means having plenty of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour and some post-dinner snacks as well. Your guests are bound to work up an appetite after hitting the dance floor – no matter how delicious your dinner is.


While florals and décor can seem superficial when it comes to the big picture, they are important to have to help fulfill your vision for your wedding and create a beautiful atmosphere for guests.

Fresh flowers can get expensive, but if you have a large enough budget, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Work with a florist to find the best floral options for your wedding that are in season and can be incorporated into your ceremony with a beautiful arch and aisle decorations.

Also ask your florist to help you design some beautiful centrepieces and table decorations.


When it comes to pulling off a great wedding reception, the key word to remember is fun.

Whether it’s through dancing and live music, cocktail hour games, or fireworks at the end of the evening, it’s important to keep your guests entertained throughout the night. Nobody wants their wedding to be remembered as a boring night where people went home early.

When you plan a wedding, try not to stress about the little things. Focus on the big picture: throwing an amazing bash that both you and your guests will never forget.

Because with a healthy budget, an amazing planner by your side, everything is bound to fall together perfectly. Resulting in the wedding of your dreams and amazing memories.

Wedding Planning

The 15 most important questions to ask your wedding venue before your book

Calabogie Peaks Resort – Photo taken by Brittany Navin Photography


After saying yes to the proposal, choosing your bridal party, and coming up with the guest list comes the most important part of the wedding planning process – finding a venue.

Finding your venue is a crucial component of wedding planning as it will dictate nearly every element of your wedding, from décor to food, and even your dress. But finding the perfect venue is no easy feat, as there are so many factors to take into consideration.

To help you narrow down your search for the perfect venue, we’ll tell you all the questions you should be asking wedding venues before signing a contract.


The general rule of thumb is to book your wedding venue at least a year to nine months before your wedding date. However, you may need to start your search even earlier to secure a popular venue if your wedding is taking place during peak season (May to October).

Just start reaching out to venues you are interested in, and see which ones have availability for your date. From there, you can begin scheduling tours where you will have the opportunity to ask lots of questions.



This one is a biggie. Before booking a venue, you’ll need to know exactly what you are paying for. Does the venue use their own in-house caterers, bartenders, and serving staff? Or do you have to hire your own outside catering? If catering is in-house, what is the menu like? Is it customizable? Are you limited to select few options?

Plus, will you have access to both a ceremony and reception site? What about furniture and table linens? Will the venue be supplying those as well? Ensure everything included in your wedding package is written in black and white.


As previously mentioned, the peak season for weddings takes place between May and October of any given year, making wedding venues and other vendors in high demand during these months. If you are flexible with your date and don’t have your heart set on a particular month, ask wedding venues if they’d be willing to offer you a discount. Most wedding venues do offer discounted rates during the offseason as it is harder for them to book weddings during this time. This could give you the opportunity to book the venue of your dreams that you may not have been able to afford otherwise.


This is another crucial question you absolutely need to ask. Let’s say you have a 150-person guest list, and you find out after booking that your venue can only accommodate 100 people. This would mean you would have to either scale back your guest list considerably or risk forfeiting your deposit.


Planning an outdoor ceremony but want an indoor reception? Make sure your venue can accommodate this. Or, if your ceremony and reception are being held in the same spot, who is in charge of disassembling everything from the ceremony and transforming it into a reception space? Plus, where will your guests mingle during cocktail hour? These are very important logistics you’ll need to know in advance.


Some venues have restrictions on what can or cannot be done. For example, many venues that have their own in-house catering with set menus and do not allow you to use your own catering company. There may also be restrictions on bringing your own alcohol, décor, furniture, dishware, or linens.


Many venues will charge an additional fee to cut and service your wedding cake to guests. This can get pricy, as the average cake cutting fee tends to be around $1 to $2 per slice.


Nearly all wedding venues will require a monetary deposit to secure the venue for your wedding date. However, this number varies from venue to venue and can range anywhere between 20% and 50%.  Therefore, knowing exactly how much money your venue requires for a deposit right off the bat is important so you can budget accordingly.


Weather is unpredictable, and any bride planning an outdoor wedding knows how stressful it is during the days leading up to your wedding as you obsessively check weather reports and hope and pray that mother nature will rule in your favour. For this reason, it’s important to inquire with your venue about whether or not they have a tent or back-up indoor ceremony site available to you in case you have bad weather on the day of your wedding.


While this may seem like a given, many wedding venues only offer the space for rent and require you to provide all your own furniture and décor. So, if you are looking for an all-inclusive wedding venue, make sure that they are providing the seating, and that they have enough to accommodate all your guests.


While not the most important thing to look for in a venue, having on-site overnight accommodations is incredibly convenient, and is often worth paying a little bit more for.

Not only does this provide you with a place to get ready with your bridal party on-site, but also means you and your groom and potentially your immediate family and bridal party will have a place to crash at the end of the night without worrying about how they’ll get home or to their hotel.


While not the question most brides think to ask, this one is pretty important. The last thing you want is your guests spending half the reception in line waiting to use the bathroom. So, make sure that your venue has enough facilities to accommodate everyone, especially if you have a large guest list.


This is another question that often gets overlooked but is incredibly important to ask. Similar to the bathrooms question, it’s important to know whether or not your venue has enough parking for your entire guest list so that your guests aren’t scrambling to make it to the ceremony on time because they couldn’t find a parking spot.


Don’t just assume that you’ll be able to have your venue booked from the early hours of the morning until the middle of the night. Many venues (especially ones with outdoor reception sites) have an 11:00 curfew, which means you may need to wrap up your reception earlier than expected.

So, be sure to ask when the reception has to end, and how early you can show up at the venue on the day of the wedding.


While this may seem like a strange concept, many wedding venues have multiple ceremony and reception sites and will often book more than one wedding for a particular day. So, if the thought of this makes you feel uncomfortable, make sure that you confirm whether or not you will have free reign of the entire venue during your wedding.


Typically, most wedding vendors will require full payment either on the day of, day before, or day after the wedding. But with so much going on in the days leading up to and after your wedding, it’s important to confirm when full payment is due to avoid any confusion or added stress.

While these are some of the most important questions to ask, there are likely more questions that will arise during the planning process. From the cost of the venue to menu options and added costs, it’s important to be thorough when interviewing venues so you know exactly what you are getting on. Added stress and confusion is the last thing you need on one of the most special days of your life!

Wedding Planning

Wedding Terminology: The Ultimate Guide


Wedding planning can be very stressful, but even more so when previously unheard of words and phrases are thrown at you left, right, and centre. From shopping for your wedding dress to booking a venue, there is a lot of wedding terminology you are bound to hear when planning your big day.

To help avoid any confusion along the way, we’ll break down and define some of the most common wedding terminology you may not know that will help you better navigate the wedding planning process.


Let’s start with one of our favourites… photography and video! These are some of the wedding terms you might want to be aware of when you start your planning journey:


While traditionally, the groom/future spouse doesn’t get a glimpse of the bride until they’re walking down the aisle, nowadays, it’s incredibly common for the soon-to-be wedded couple to meet up before the I dos in what’s known as a “First Look.” This moment is typically captured by your photographer, who will likely ask you ahead of time whether or not you plan on doing a first look.


Golden hour is the time of day just after the sun starts to set when the sun is low in the sky. This is most photographers’ favourite time to shoot because the couple will be basked in a gorgeous, golden glow.


A highlight film is a video produced and edited together by your videographer that captures all the most important moments of your wedding in around 7 to 12 minutes.


As you’re getting ready for your wedding, your photographer may ask for your bouquet, rings, accessories, etc. for what’s called detail shots. Detail shots are close-up photos of your bridal accessories.


When booking a photographer, they may ask if you’d like to pay a bit extra for a second shooter. Some photographers may even have a second shooter for all the weddings they photograph.

A second shooter is a photographer that helps the main photographer capture special moments from different angles and snap shots that they may not be able to get on their own. This helps ensure more variety when it comes to your photos.


Okay. Now, for the ceremony. Below are some of the wedding terminology things you’ll need to know:


We all know the term “walking down the aisle,” but you may not know that there is actually a formal name for this. When walking down the aisle to get married along with your bridal party, this is known as the “processional.” Many couples like to customize their processional music and choose different songs for different parts (i.e. one song for the bridesmaids, another for the bride, etc.)

The Recessional takes place after you’ve said ‘I do’ and signed all the paperwork, and you, your spouse, and bridal party walk back down the aisle towards your reception, or to take photos.

The Recessional is also typically set to music and is usually a more fun and upbeat tune.


Not all weddings have this, but for weddings with large guest counts, an usher can be incredibly helpful.

An usher is typically a close friend or family member that is responsible for directing guests to their proper seats during the ceremony. This is a great way to include a friend or family member in the ceremony that wasn’t chosen to be a part of the bridal party.


Your officiant is the person presiding over the ceremony who can legally declare you and your spouse as officially married. The officiant will handle all legal aspects of the wedding, including obtaining and filing the proper paperwork, and will conduct a reading and direct the couple in saying their vows.

While traditionally, this has been a religious role conducted by a priest or minister, there are many non-denominational officiants available as well. In fact, in certain provinces, like Quebec, you can assign a friend or family member to act as your officiant. Unfortunately, though, this option is not available in Ontario.


Your witnesses are two people that act as the official legal witnesses to the marriage. They also sign the marriage licence during the ceremony! This role is typically performed by members of your bridal party.


There are quite a few terms you will also come across when planning a reception. Here is a list of just a few:


This is the table where the newly married couple sits during their reception. Often, this table is decorated and set up more elaborately than the guest tables and is the focal point of the reception.

Typically, the happy couple sits at the head table alone. But, you can also include members of your bridal party as well.


After the ceremony, the happy couple will be off take photos with their family and bridal party. Guests will be ushered to the cocktail hour where they will have the chance to mingle, snack on hors d’oeuvres, and enjoy cocktails before the formal, sit down dinner and reception. You can even provide your guests with entertainment with lawn games, music, etc. Cocktail hour typically lasts for around 1 hour.


Wedding favours are small gifts/trinkets given to your guests as a thank you for coming to your wedding. Favours are often monogrammed with the couple’s initials or wedding hashtag and can include:

  • Snacks and desserts
  • Lip balms
  • Candies
  • Key chains
  • Bottle openers
  • Soaps


When you’re looking for your dream dress, here is some common wedding terminology you might hear during your visits:


With most bridal shops, the gowns that are in the shop for brides to try on are known as “sample dresses”. In most cases, brides do not purchase and bring home a sample gown, as they are only there to try on. After deciding which sample gown you love the most, the bridal shop will order that gown from the designer, and it will be made in your size just for you.


Some bridal shops allow brides to purchase sample gowns “off the rack”, and take home with them. This practice is common with sample sales or bridal outlet shops.


One of the most common wedding dress alterations is adding a bustle to your gown. A bustle is the hook, tie, or buttons added to your gown. This enables you to secure a long train to the back the dress after the ceremony.


Lastly, here are some common planning terms and phrases you will find:


A day of coordinator is similar to a wedding planner. However, they only come in on the day of to help ensure the wedding runs smoothly, rather than planning and organizing the event itself. A coordinator handles the logistical side of things on your wedding day. They help keep guests and the chain of events organized before, during and after the ceremony and reception.


A Save the Date is like a pre-invitation. It lets your guests know ahead of time what your wedding date is so they can make arrangements. This Is particularly helpful for guests travelling from out of town.

The general rule of thumb is to send out Save the Dates at least 6 months before the wedding (8-12 months for destination weddings).


Your rehearsal dinner takes place after your wedding rehearsal, typically the night before the wedding. This allows the soon-to-be married couple, their bridal party, and immediate family to get together one last time for a formal or informal celebration before the nuptials. Often, this is hosted at a restaurant by the couple’s parents.


While not mandatory, many couples choose to create a website dedicated to their upcoming wedding. This is a great way to provide your guests with as much info about your wedding as possible leading up to the big day.

If you don’t have any experience with web design, there are many services that will create and host your website for you for free, such as The Knot. On your website, you can include your date, directions to your venue, local hotel accommodations, names of your bridal party, engagement photos, and even an RSVP function.

As you can see, there is so much involved in the wedding planning process that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We hope this guide to wedding terminology was helpful and makes things a bit easier. After all, planning the most special day of your life should be exciting and fun rather than stressful and confusing.