wedding planning

Doing Your Gift Registry Right
Do your gift registry the right way by planning ahead.

Do your gift registry the right way by planning ahead.

A wedding is a lovely experience for many reasons. While it might not be your primary incentive for tying the knot, you may be a bit excited thinking about all of the gifts that will be coming your way for your special day. Many couples opt to create a gift registry at their favorite shops in order to help guests find the perfect gifts. If you and your partner are planning on creating a registry, it stands to reason that you are going to be looking for some very specific items.

Most couples use their gift registry as a chance to ask for the items and appliances that will help them begin their married life together. This means finding gadgets and equipment for rooms like the kitchen. If you want to make a registry that you feel satisfied with, it can be a good idea to take a moment to think about how you can make the most of the process. Explore some of these ideas and see if you can craft a registry that gets you the best possible items for your future. 

The First Step 

There are many common mistakes that couples make when attempting to create registries for their weddings. For one, most couples assume that they should only be asking for items that they do not yet own. While this might be a great place to start, it does not completely capture the best way of thinking about your needs. You might own a blender already, but it also might be a blender that you have had in your possession for many years. This means it is already outdated and maybe even a bit worn.

Instead of simply creating a gift registry for all of the items that you do not yet own, think about putting items on your registry that you would like to upgrade. That blender in your kitchen may not last as long as you think. By asking for upgraded versions of items that you already own, you are helping to modernize your home and turn it into an up-to-date space you can feel proud of. 

Entertaining

Appliances are some of the more common items that couples put on their gift registry, but there are other options worth thinking over. Dishware is also a common item to see on the list. Unfortunately, plenty of couples wind up making mistakes when they are attempting to register for plates, bowls, and cups. Since it is only you and your partner, you might assume that you only need two of everything. While this is understandable, you are forgetting that there are going to be times when you invite guests over for a meal.

Register for at least four, if not more, of each piece of flatware or stemware that you are considering. This will help you to have enough in your future home for when you are entertaining guests. It can also come in handy when your family starts to grow. Once you have children and they start to get older, you are going to be happy that you have enough plates and bowls in the house for each meal.

Stay Open About Your Gift Registry

You also might want to focus on appliances and gadgets that serve more than one purpose. A waffle maker might be on your radar, but it only makes waffles. This means that you will have a large single-use appliance in your kitchen taking up space. Instead, think about appliances that can serve multiple functions at once.  

When it comes to registering for your wedding, you want to be sure that you are asking for items you can get some use out of. Look into all of your options and see if you can create a gift registry that will make you and your partner feel content.

Why Finances Matter Long Before Your Wedding
Finances matter long before the wedding takes place.

Finances matter long before the wedding takes place.

The idea of marriage has changed a lot over the centuries. Once upon a time, most couples wed for the sake of their families and futures. When two families would join together as a result of a marital union, it would often bring forth plenty of financial benefits to both sides. In fact, many brides and grooms were sized up by potential partners based solely on how much wealth or property their families possessed. These days, the reasons people marry are different, but there are some similarities when it comes to financial matters.

Getting married means sharing everything with your significant other. This, of course, means finances will often be included. People usually get weird when pressed to talk about money. If you and your significant other have not had a conversation about money and the future, then now is an important time to begin. Without this discussion, you could be in for some upsetting or confusing surprises that add stress to the bonds of marital bliss. Take a moment to look over these tips and see what makes the most sense for your situation.

The Practical Side

When you are marrying someone, you are taking on everything this person embodies or possesses and you are making it a part of your life. The good and the bad come along with this. If your partner has a lot of debt, then you might be taking on this debt with your union. Before you get married, you are going to want to sit down with your partner and begin to discuss financial matters and how you will both be impacted by the wedding.

It might not even matter much to you that your partner is currently in debt. Still, you could want to make a plan to help remove this situation from your lives. Having this talk about money early can help both of you to make plans for the future. Discuss how to get out of debt and what you can both do to create a chunk of savings that will last a good long while. The earlier you have this talk, the less stressful it may wind up being when you enter married life. 

Finances After the Wedding

In many cases, a talk about finances is about a lot more than money. You and your significant other might not really have a clear idea of what either of you would like to do for work after marriage. When you both work all the time, it can make it difficult to take the next step in your relationship. Namely, this means finding time to have and raise children. Now is the right time for you to start these conversations. Hopefully by this point the topic of children has come up. If not, now is your chance.

Children are quite a big responsibility to take on. Not only do you need to have the time to raise them, you also need a significant amount of money. During your talk about your future finances, you may want to breach the topic of children. Discuss the best possible paths for making your dreams into a reality. You might discover that it is possible for one of you to work and the other to take care of the family. You’ll never know until you have the talk.

Tomorrow Starts Today 

Most people feel weird discussing money. While this is a natural feeling, it also can be problematic to avoid these conversations with your significant other. To truly enjoy married life, it is a good idea to have open conversations about finances early. Beginning this chat with enough time to spare can allow both of you a bit of room to figure out any snags or issues that you might predict along the way.

Eight Money-Saving Tips for Your Wedding

money-saving ideas for your weddingGetting married is not cheap. According to Weddingbells.ca, a top Canadian wedding planning website, couples can expect to spend an average of $31,685 on their nuptials, including the engagement ring and honeymoon. Many people assume the cost will be less; two recent Canadian surveys concluded couples think they will spend approximately $15,000 to tie the knot. The huge discrepancy can lead to increased stress and large credit card bills after all is said and done.

Be Realistic

Setting a realistic budget before you begin the planning can help you keep better control of the costs and avoid impulse purchases. If you have your heart set on a certain wedding dress that is more than you planned to spend, recognize that you may have to eliminate something else to make up the difference in your budget.

Location Matters

The location of your wedding can have a big impact on the price tag. According to Toronto Life magazine, Ontario is the most expensive province in which to tie the knot. Here is a complete list from most to least expensive:

  1. Ontario
  2. Manitoba/Saskatchewan
  3. Quebec
  4. Alberta
  5. British Columbia
  6. Atlantic

Toronto is the priciest city for nuptials, followed by Vancouver and Quebec.

Keep It Casual

Having a wedding that is more informal can be key to keeping costs down. A few suggestions are a more causal menu instead of a sit-down dinner, and skipping tuxedos and formal dresses for the wedding party.

Try an Alternative Venue

There is no rule stating receptions need to be in a hotel ballroom. Other venues to consider that are frequently less money are the homes of friends, parks, beaches or church reception halls. The same applies for the ceremony. Often, there are fees that must be paid for the use of a church and clergy to perform a service. It is very easy these days to get ordained online; a friend could do it and perform your ceremony someplace other than a church.

Narrow Down the Guest List

Taking the time to really scrutinize your guest list and only inviting people who are an essential part of your life is another way to cut costs. A good way to approach the task is to ask yourself if you think you will be close to this individual five years after the wedding. Also, don’t hesitate to make it clear to your guests if you don’t want them to bring their children along. There are many gracious ways to communicate this message.

Do It Yourself

Many couples are getting creative and finding ways do certain elements of their wedding themselves or are enlisting the help of friends, rather than paying for these services. Some examples are taking your own pictures, baking the cake, and making your own flower arrangements and decorations.

Postpone the Honeymoon

Waiting to take your honeymoon may also save money. Delaying it can give you more time to pay off wedding bills and save for a trip, rather than having to put it on a credit card and pay interest charges.

Prioritize

Deciding the most important components of your wedding in advance can help you stick to your budget. If there is a band you must have, or a reception venue you can’t do without, make a note of it. Eliminating items like over-the-top invitations or expensive goody bags for guests to take home after the party may make it more feasible to have what is really important. Most guests will not miss little extras (or even the big ones), even though they may seem necessary to you at first.

A wedding is a joyous occasion and does not need to result in a mountain of bills. Following these eight tips can help you avoid spending more money than you planned.

Canadian Wedding Trends for 2015

200469678-0012015 is a great year to get married, no matter the season. For Canadian couples planning their nuptials, there are many fun and stylish wedding trends to consider incorporating into their weddings. Some are tried and true classics and others are more recent additions.

Non-Traditional Reception Venues

Having your reception in a formal ballroom is no longer a must. More and more couples are seeking out less conventional spaces such as galleries, museums, lofts, restaurants and outdoor areas. Avoiding a hotel ballroom can also make way for a greater variety of catering options. Many hotels insist you use their in-house services if you use their venue.

Innovative Menus

Food options for Canadian weddings have substantially evolved over time. Instead of a sit-down dinner or buffet, many couples are opting for more innovative alternatives. Some hire food trucks to cater their reception or hold events at independent restaurants. Serving sustainable, locally sourced cuisine is also becoming more important for a number of couples. Another popular trend is to provide comfort food like mac-n-cheese and BBQ rather than serving a more formal meal. The progression to more casual dining has also impacted desserts; cupcakes, macaroons and other bite size sweets are favorites. However, don’t assume food trucks, comfort food and smaller desserts means the tab will be lower.

Pastel Garden Flowers

Feminine pastel colored wedding flowers such as peonies, hydrangeas, freesias and lilacs are very en vogue. They can often be found all mixed together in bouquets and centerpieces which can create a fluffy light look with lots of texture and depth.

Pretty Stationary

A wedding is one of the few occasions where people still mail invitations. The postal service and stationary companies are undoubtedly happy this trend has endured the test of time.

No Formal Ceremony

A popular alternative to a formal ceremony at a church or synagogue is to use a justice of the peace or clerk of the court, and have only a handful of witnesses. There are also websites where people can easily get ordained online so another option is to have a friend or family member officiate the service. After the vows are done, couples may throw a big party at a later date.

Smaller Wedding Parties

The downsizing of wedding parties is a trend that has picked up steam. Many brides are now opting for one to four attendants and any more is increasingly uncommon. Couples are marrying later in life and attendants are typically older as well.

Different Bridesmaids Dresses

There are many more alternatives for bridesmaids’ dresses these days. Instead of picking one dress for everyone to wear, some brides pick a color and let their attendants choose the style of the dress. This often results in dresses that are more figure-flattering. Another option is to pick a dress style and let your bridesmaids’ choose the color they want to wear.

2014 Canadian Wedding Trends

The Annual Reader Survey from Weddingbells.ca (link) provides interesting information on Canadian wedding trends. Here are some of the statistics:

  • There were approximately 162,056 weddings in 2014 in the Great White North.
  • The average cost of a wedding was $31,685. July and August nuptials are a little pricier.
  • In Canada, the average age of a bride is 31 years old.
  • The top month in which to get engaged is December; 18 percent of Canadian grooms propose then.
  • August is the most preferred time to marry with 25 percent of couples choosing that month to tie the knot.
  • There are an average of 128 guests per Canadian wedding.
  • Since 2010 the Bahamas has been the top honeymoon destination for Canadian couples.

These are a few trends that can provide inspiration when planning your big day. A wedding is a once in a lifetime event and should reflect the unique style of the happy couple.

3 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Winter Wedding

88356215One of the first things couples must decide after getting engaged is the date of the big day. The initial instinct may be to opt for a spring or summer wedding, but winter weddings in Canada are fast becoming a popular option. There are many lovely venues around the county that are perfect for nuptials at this time of year.

Snow Can Create a Fairy-Tale Setting

If it snows on your wedding day, you will have a ready-made, magical backdrop and the opportunity for uniquely beautiful wedding pictures. Imagine photos of family and friends with gently falling snow in the background. Guests can also pose alongside outdoor ice sculptures, snowmen and Santa’s sleigh. In addition to snow, you may also benefit from festive holiday decorations already in place at your venue.

Availability

The majority of people still get married when the weather is warm, so chances are you will have more options when it comes to venues. Prices are also usually lower, unless you opt for a wedding at a ski resort in high season. There may be less competition when it comes to the availability of friends and family. With the exception of the holiday season, guests may have fewer social commitments during the winter.

Being Different Is Cool

There are probably a lot of people who have never attended a winter wedding, and the allure of a new experience can be enticing. When it is cold, there is a whole array of different ways to entertain guests, such as skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing and snowball fights. There are also a limitless number of choices for less conventional wedding attire. Think faux fur wraps, Victorian boots and funky hats.

Idyllic Spots for a Canadian Winter Wedding

  • Storm Mountain Lodge and Cabins, Banff

Nestled in the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park, Storm Mountain Lodge and Cabins is the perfect choice for a small wedding in a secluded scenic location.

  • Castle Moffet, Nova Scotia

Located on breathtaking Cape Breton Island, there are views of the surrounding mountains and Bras d’Or Lake. The castle provides a lovely, romantic setting that is the perfect place for couples to begin their life together.

  • Vineland Estates, Niagara on the Lake

Long considered the most popular place to honeymoon, many couples are also realizing the Niagara Falls area is a spectacular place for a wedding as well. Niagara on the Lake is situated several minutes from the falls and has many vineyards and orchards. The Vineland Estates vineyard sits on acres of picturesque countryside, and features a gourmet restaurant and a lovely stone carriage house that is a wonderful place for a wedding. There are also many charming inns in the surrounding area.

  • Ice Hotel, Quebec

If you really want to embrace the cold, holding your nuptials at the Ice Hotel in Quebec may be a perfect choice. Composed entirely of ice and snow, this venue is open from January to April. Quebec City is also one of the most romantic places anywhere and offers an abundance of old world charm and fantastic cuisine.

Other Winter Wedding Tips

  • Be Aware of the Altitude

If you are hosting a wedding in the mountains, and you or guests live at lower altitudes, be aware of the possibility of altitude sickness. Drinking lots of water and not overindulging in alcohol the first night in town are two suggestions. There is also medication available that can help you avoid getting sick.

  • Protect Yourself From the Sun

The sun can be particularly intense during the winter, especially if you are in the mountains. The higher altitude makes the sun’s rays more powerful, and they are reflected in every direction off of the snow. Wearing sunglasses and using sunscreen and lip balm provides additional protection.

Your wedding is a very special event. Be bold and consider following the path less traveled by having it in winter.