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A Quick Guide to Planning Your Backyard Wedding
A backyard wedding can be way more cost effective than the bloated chapel-centered counterparts.

A backyard wedding can be closer and more intimate than the traditional church wedding.

A backyard wedding can be a great alternative to traditional nuptials in a house of worship or an expensive venue. This is great for couples who want to publicly celebrate their love and long-term commitment while saving money. Arranging such an affair takes some time and careful planning to ensure you don’t miss any of the important details. Before you dive headfirst into pulling together your intimate backyard wedding, consider these important tips.

Decide on Your Backyard Wedding Budget Early

As couples like Leigha and Todd from Ontario frequently prove, it is possible to hold a lovely affair for less. Intimate Weddings profiled the pair in a 2015 featured post, detailing how they planned their 2014 ceremony and reception. They opted to keep the guest list small, with only 24 people in attendance. They also opted for a backyard wedding with home-cooked food for their guests. As Leigha revealed, this allowed them to devote significant portions of their budget to food, flowers, and photography. Overall, the couple spent less than $5,000. Similarly, if you know your own upper limits for what you and your sweetie can set aside for your nuptials, it will enable you to make decisions and prioritise where you spend your money.

Is Your Backyard Ready?

Of course, the backyard or acreage in which you hold your nuptials must be prepared for you, your sweetie, and your guests. HGTV Canada published several tips in an October 2016 article about backyard weddings, recommending that you examine the land and layout of your yard first. The level of the ground is important, as you’ll need to know whether your land is flat or sloping, as well as the approximate number of people it can realistically hold. If you evaluate your yard and then realise it will not hold 100 people comfortably, you have a crucial choice to make: Either invite fewer people or decide on another location for your nuptials.

In addition, you must consider other factors besides the size and layout of your yard while planning. If your location boasts a lot of natural flora and greenery, you could save significantly when it comes to site decorations and flower arrangements. Moreover, you should think about how to accommodate parking for your guests as well as be prepared for any potential noise concerns from your neighbours.

A Wedding at Home Isnt Always Cheaper

With a backyard wedding, the costs can be as much or as little as you make them. In other words, you can plan anything from a lavish, extravagant affair to a simple yet tasteful celebration. It’s all in the details—or rather, the prices of them. Shop wisely, and get a good idea of what each item will cost before paying any money or signing contracts. You’ll need to factor in extra items that you don’t require for an indoor celebration, like tents, tables, and seating. If you’re aiming for less expensive nuptials, consider these cost-cutting ideas:

  • Hold a breakfast, brunch, or lunchtime reception.
  • Choose fresh flowers for only the wedding party and ceremonial focal points.
  • Wed on an off-peak day or time, avoiding Saturday evenings.
  • Purchase inexpensive party decorations in bulk.
  • Design and print your own invitations and programs.

Planning Your Affair Takes Attention to Detail and Forethought

There’s no need to stress over your upcoming nuptials. Nevertheless, making sure that you take the time to plan the details is important to ensuring your backyard wedding happens with as few complications as possible. Thinking of the size of your guest list, your budget, your physical location, and other important factors will aid you in successfully arranging your special day.

Sticking Close to Home for Your Honeymoon
There are plenty of places around Canada to spend your honeymoon.

When planning your honeymoon, it may be more financially sound to stay around your home.

Getting married can be an expensive endeavor. Even a small reception might wind up costing you way more than you anticipated. It might be useful for you to consider ways to cut back on your expenses. The costs don’t stop coming once the wedding has ended. Your honeymoon is also a financial hit. Instead of rushing off to some far-flung corner of the globe for your romantic getaway, it might be more exciting to take a look at what Canada has to offer.

There are some absolutely lovely destinations located across Canada for you and your spouse to explore. No matter what you enjoy doing on your vacations, you can be sure you’ll find something worth your time when you begin your search. To get you started, here are a few wonderful spots to consider for your honeymoon.

By the Bay

Many couples determine their honeymoon destinations based on what they are hoping to get from the trip. For some, the dream honeymoon is one that provides ample time to unwind. You and your new spouse want to spend time alone together. This means you could gain a lot from a trip to Ontario to relax at Georgian Bay. If you enjoy the thought of sitting in a lodge, watching the sunlight sparkle over the lazy waters of the bay, then this might be for you.

Immersing yourself in the splendor of nature has a way of revitalizing the spirits. There are tons of exciting activities to take part in during this trip as well. When you’re done with relaxation for a bit, take a boat out on the water and explore some of the islands located throughout the bay. Adventure awaits you when you decide to visit this amazing destination right in Ontario.

Something Different for Your Honeymoon

Those born and raised in Canada are usually well aware of the beauty of the land. This is one of the reasons some couples don’t consider sticking close to home for the honeymoon. If you’ve already been on endless hikes through the woods and seen many of the sights the country has to offer, you may want to think about something a bit different. A trip to Yukon can allow you a totally new experience with a visit to Kluane.

Kluane National Park has a diverse and appealing geography that offers couples a wealth of different activities to explore. You and your partner can hit the trails and see Canada from an entirely new perspective by hiking through a truly remarkable environment. Thrillseekers will have the opportunity to kayak in a rushing river, scale some wild heights and engage with the natural world in a spectacular manner.

City Life

Where you visit in Canada for your honeymoon will have a lot to do with where you currently live. One might find the idea of a trip to Quebec City to be quite appealing. The hustle and bustle of the city might not be the right place for everyone to live but there is a ton of fun to be had during a vacation. You and your partner will be able to take in all of the sights of the city during the day and indulge in some amazing nightlife activities after sunset.

There are many wonderful destinations to explore right in your own backyard. Instead of traveling across the planet for your honeymoon, think about the fun that can be had here in Canada. Explore all of your options and you’re bound to discover an amazing trip.

Exploring Interesting Canadian Wedding Customs
Some wedding customs are as old as weddings themselves.

Examples of longstanding wedding customs would be the throwing of the bouquet, the throwing of the garter belt, and the couple slicing the first piece of cake.

It is no small surprise that Canadians love their country and all of its expansive beauty. Though Canada shares a lot of its culture with countries in Europe and America, there are many wedding customs that exist within the nation that are unique. If you are planning on getting married in the near future, you may be wondering how your fellow citizens go about the process. Recent studies have shown some interesting facts about how modern couples get married.

Long Standing Wedding Customs: The Month of December

Popping the question to your significant other is a big part of the wedding process. Without taking this initial step, you really can’t move forward with a marriage. Engagements are different depending on the culture. This is especially true of when people decide to pop the question to their partners. A study surveying a large number of Canadian men points out an interesting trend in this regard. A vast majority of men have proposed or are planning to propose in the month of December.

Age Is a Number

Wedding customs marriage change as much as the times do. Statistics show that the average age for a woman to get married in Canada in 1950 was 25. This number fluctuated a bit in the subsequent decades, dropping to an average of 23 from the 1970s until more recently. This trend in Canada reflects a larger movement happening among women of all backgrounds. Though this primarily is a shift in Western cultures, women are adopting more professional roles in greater numbers.

Under Pressure

The idea of a wedding has grown a little bit out of control in recent decades. Once, a wedding was simply a union between two people who loved each other. Polls taken of young brides approaching their wedding have shown that a large number of women feel pressured to spend more than they can afford. While you may want to spend a good amount on your wedding, it is important to be sensible with your budget and keep enough cash around to start your life with your partner after the big day.

Making It Your Own

Paying attention to wedding customs and trends can help with planning a wedding that meets your own specific needs. It is important for you to follow your own path. Couples should not caught up in what everyone else is doing.

While you may want to explore popular trends to see what is interesting to you, making your decisions based on what you personally enjoy will help result in the best celebration of your love. Find a way to make your special day a unique experience. This will make it easy to remember fondly for many years to come.

Choosing Your Wedding Venue
When looking for the right wedding venue, couples usually settle on a church. There are many other options available to choose from.

Choosing the right wedding venue can be essential to making your big day absolutely perfect.

The wedding venue accounts for a large part of the budget and the look of your wedding. You really cannot move forward with any of the planning until you choose a venue. However, it can be very overwhelming to look at all the options. Consider these questions when choosing your wedding location:

  1. What type of wedding do you want to have?

The style of your wedding is probably one of the most important considerations. If you are having a modern, elegant wedding, you want to look for places that give you those vibes. Maybe there is a place that is particularly meaningful to you and your partner, and you really want to go there. You need to think about what you want your wedding to look like.

  1. How many guests do you expect to attend?

Even if you don’t have budget restraints, most places have a limit on how many people the venue can hold. Most places are limited by local regulations and restrictions, not because they want you to keep your guest list to a minimum. You should also remember to consider the logistics of getting everyone to this place. Is there parking? Will you need to hire a bus or limousine to transport family?

  1. What are the budget considerations?

The wedding venue can be very expensive. You have to consider how much you want to spend on the venue for the ceremony and the reception. But your budget is not the only consideration. You should also think about your guest list. Are your friends still in school? Can your extended family afford to fly to a luxury resort? Of course, you can choose to have that expensive destination wedding, but remember that if you want people to attend, you might need to look at places that are accessible and affordable.

  1. How much planning do you want to do and how much control do you need?

When it comes to some venues, you may be limited on the approved vendor list. You may have to work with a caterer who doesn’t offer the food you want. Some destination wedding locations have package deals, which make planning easy. However, you may not have many choices.

On the other hand, choosing a unique destination where you have a stunning backdrop may have its own challenges. You may have to work with each local vendor yourself and piece together the things you need to make guests comfortable. You have a lot of control this way, but it will take time to find the right vendors to provide what you want.

  1. How much money do you have for vendors?

If you are planning a lovely wedding in the mountains of Banff, you may need to pay for flowers to be shipped in. You may also find that there are fewer local vendors to provide different services. Will you have to provide travel expenses for your officiant? You have to ask yourself lots of questions about your budget before nailing a location down.

Special Requirements to Consider Chile Choosing a Wedding Venue

Don’t forget to think about the weather. Even if you’re planning an indoor ceremony and reception, you should think about what the weather could do to your plans. When you get closer to choosing a venue, ask about the rules and regulations. Some churches may not allow alcohol to be served on site. You might also want to consider locations that accommodate guests with disabilities or children.

It will take time to choose the venue that fits your needs, but it’s worth the research. Don’t forget to check on deposits and contracts and make sure your date is locked in before you move forward. Confirm everything with the venue coordinator and check in with them about every other month to make sure you’re on the calendar. Have a great wedding by getting the venue right.

Ontario Mosque Donates Funds to the Community
Ontario Mosque Donates Funds

Ontario Mosque Donates Funds

You might be wondering why it’s news that a mosque is giving back to the community, but it’s an interesting story. The only mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, suffered damages after the Paris bombing attacks. A firebomb had been placed in a window, causing a fire. It was not the only mosque targeted in Ontario. Fortunately, no one was injured in the bombing, although there were people in the building just an hour before the firebomb went off. Members were celebrating the birth of a baby, according to the president of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association (KMRA), the group which oversees the mosque.

Aftermath of the Bombing

While the congregation of the mosque waited for it to be rebuilt, a local synagogue hosted prayer sessions for them. A crowdfunding campaign was started to ensure that the resources would be available to pay for the damages. Almost $100,000 was raised in just a few days. The damages were estimated at $80,000. Insurance ultimately paid for the repairs, which left the donations free and clear for the mosque.

The KMRA reported that they also received many letters and emails from across Canada demonstrating support for the mosque. Individuals in the community came together in solidarity, with people leaving flowers and notes outside of the building. Some women held a drumming and singing vigil after the fire. The KMRA reports that it had to install security cameras, just in case there is another attack. This is the second time the mosque has been damaged after an international incident. The first time was after the 9/11 attacks. In that attack on the mosque, only windows were smashed.

What Happened to the Money?

The KMRA is donating the crowd-funded money to the YMCA Crossroads women’s shelter and to another shelter in the community which works with children and teens who have special needs. The association wanted to assist those who were vulnerable, because that is how they feel right now. This is a statement from their website:

“We the members of the KMRA are shocked and deeply disturbed by the November 14th incident at Masjid Al-salaam. The damage of the incident which is now being investigated as a possible hate crime has been estimated to exceed $80,000. In spite of the incident, we are deeply touched and highly encouraged by the overwhelming support we have received from the Peterborough community at large. We will continue to work with all faith groups and concerned citizens in raising awareness of peace and tolerance. We are thankful to all those who have extended their support to our community and we look forward to strengthening ties with the broader Peterborough community.”

The attitude of the mosque’s leadership should be commended. Instead of turning inward and shutting out those in the community who reached out to them after the tragedy, they turned around and did what they could for the neediest individuals.

Imam Shazim Khan stated that the building was “rebuilt better than it was before.” The entire congregation is taking the incident as a way to demonstrate their faith.

According to the Peterborough Examiner, the individuals which gave money to the crowd-funding campaign had a chance to get their money back if they chose. KRMA was upfront with the donators that the money would be donated to the community, instead of being used for rebuilding the mosque.

On December 23, the mosque reopened with a prayer service. It’s reported that there will be an open house on January 17. Whatever faith you do celebrate, this open house would be a great chance to learn more about the Muslim religion and people. This mosque has demonstrated its heart and character after a devastating event.

Canadians with Religion Are More Likely to Lie for Money

money

At the University of Regina in Canada, a study has attempted to get some data about the tricky subject of people lying, especially where there is money to gain from the lie.  One result of the study seemed to indicate that more than half the subjects were willing to lie to get a direct financial gain.  The study was set up to let the subjects remain anonymous, and involved testing whether a person would give truthful information to another person in the test, knowing a lie would likely end up delivering more money to the person who told it.

The study split volunteers into teams of two, separated them, and set up a situation where two packages worth $5 and $7 in one version, or $5 and $15 in another version of the controlled study were to be divided between the two participants.  Person A knows the amounts in the delivery, and is directed to tell the other person which is the higher amount.  Person B gets to choose which to select (presumably the higher amount).  Person A had the opportunity to be dishonest, with anonymity, and with no other impact on the study, except that lying could be counted on to be likely to return a few extra bucks to that person.

The creator of the study then connected the willingness to lie in the study for greater gain to other individual traits, which had been noted at the outset, including major area of study (the subjects were all college students), and other categories, including religion, family background, age, and some economic indicators, including student debt.  The three largest indicators of willingness to lie in the study were religious identity (those that self-identified as more religious being more likely to use deceit for financial gain, although lying is classed as a sin in the main religions represented), being a child of a divorced couple, and being a business major.

The creators of the study seemed nonplussed by the last two indicators of higher levels of willingness to be deceitful, being familiar with prior studies that supported the notion that business majors as a class were ambitious and statistically more prone to value financial gain over moral values.  Perhaps it is true, as the creator of the study postulates, that a religion that distinguishes itself as the one true faith, as most major faiths teach, creates a condition in which there are those who are inside those particular parameters of righteousness and those who are not of the flock, and perhaps for some with this worldview, it is easier to cheat a little for some extra money, as against those who are not of the same faith, even if lying is a sin in the belief system.

But for those who respect all as children of the same universe, such as the Universal Life Church teaches, the idea of damaging or harming another individual to benefit oneself would be anathema and would conflict also with the principle of doing good in the world.  This may be closer to true religion, the notion that harming one causes harm to all.