February 2019

Is Your Engagement Ring Worth More Debt?
Engagements rings are a long-held matrimonial tradition. However, it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

Engagements rings are a long-held matrimonial tradition. However, it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

How much do Canadian couples spend on engagement rings? According to a March 2016 Global News article, the average cost for each one is around $4,700. After including the typical event and honeymoon costs, the total price tag for a wedding can reach almost $40,000. Cutting expenses can be challenging for couples who want to tie the knot. That’s why it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

Behind the Engagement Ring “Rules”

You may have heard of the supposed “rules” for buying engagement rings. Depending on who you ask, the ring should cost either two or three times one’s monthly salary. Statistics Canada’s 2017 figures revealed that the average weekly salary is around $986. That means the typical Canadian earns almost $4,000 per month before deductions. With these figures, following the oft-repeated rule on rings results in a price tag between $8,000 and $12,000.

How did these modern engagement ring purchasing practices develop? Money Under 30’s David Weliver divulges that they originated with a shrewd marketing campaign launched by the London-based diamond company De Beers. He also contends that they aren’t practical for younger couples because of typical debt burdens and lower salaries. To lower costs, he suggests a few alternatives:

  • Pay for the ring with cash.
  • Select a family heirloom piece.
  • Choose gemstones that are less expensive than diamonds.

Pros and Cons of Financing Your Ring

If there’s no room in your budget to purchase an engagement ring in full, you may be tempted to finance it. Your credit history will determine the types of offers you receive along with spending limits and interest rates. Individuals with favorable credit can choose from many options:

  • Personal loans
  • Vendor’s credit cards or revolving credit lines
  • Major credit cards issued by financial institutions

At the same time, you’ll need to think about how this new debt will impact your upcoming marriage. NerdWallet’s Erin El Issa points out that each spouse is liable for individually incurred debts. This is true regardless of whether they originated before or after the wedding. Yet those debts still affect the couple’s overall financial health. A significant debt load can make it difficult to purchase a home together, contribute to a savings account, or plan for retirement.

In another Money Under 30 article, David Weliver offers suggestions for people desiring to purchase engagement rings on credit. While he still warns readers not to buy rings that they cannot afford, he discusses some favorable financing options. Some jewelry retailers may offer 0 percent financing or no interest and payments for a predetermined time period. Weliver strongly suggests reviewing each offer’s terms. With some, you’ll pay a much higher interest rate after the promotional period expires.

Depending on your credit score, you may qualify for cards that come with 0 percent interest on new purchases for up to one year. Be sure you know what your new APR will be. Also, you should assess whether you can pay off the ring before the promotion ends. Purchase your ring from a reliable online jeweler. Buying online could save you a significant amount of money, letting you spend as little as 50 percent of the brick-and-mortar retailer price. Make sure you request a shipment method with tracking and a signature requirement as well as insurance to cover the ring itself.

Choose Your Credit Options Carefully

In the past, society judged a man’s ability to provide for his future wife by the type of engagement ring he gave her. It’s true that some still take notice at an elaborate ring with a decent-sized diamond. Ultimately, you must consider the effects of purchasing one either with cash or credit. After all, part of your goal should be making smart decisions for your joint financial future.

 

Should You Invite Coworkers to Your Wedding?
Deciding whether to invite coworkers to your wedding can be tricky, so follow these suggestions to make sure you craft an appropriate guest list.

Deciding whether to invite coworkers to your wedding can be tricky, so follow these suggestions to make sure you craft an appropriate guest list.

You’re about to tie the knot, and you’re excited about taking such a huge step. You’re awash in planning details or in awe from the fact that your special someone wants to build a life and future with you. Understandably, you may feel like sharing the happy news and details with everyone. However, prudence is essential when it comes to crafting the guest list. Deciding whether to invite coworkers could become a bit tricky. Fortunately, you and your partner can better navigate this challenge by following some wise advice.

Preliminary Steps To Build Your Guest List

Nearly every wedding planning guide suggests setting your guest count as early as possible. Your budget will impact how many you can comfortably afford to host. Also, your guest count will determine the venue size, amount of food and drink, and supplies you’ll need. The Knot offers advice for trimming a bloated guest list:

  • Don’t include non-relatives to whom you’ve not spoken in three years or more.
  • Leave out people whose names aren’t familiar to you.
  • Do not invite anyone out of obligation or guilt.

Wedding Wire Canada’s Alice Prendergast mentions more categories of people whom you can safely leave off your guest list:

  • People with a tendency to cause drama
  • Those who can’t curb their alcohol intake
  • Individuals who only seem to make negative comments
  • People whom you’ve dated in the past

What Do Etiquette Guidelines Say?

Some modern etiquette guidelines are pretty clear on who should definitely receive invitations. According to Alice Prendergast at Wedding Wire Canada, you must invite people who also attend your showers, pre-wedding bashes, and the engagement party. The only exceptions are destination weddings and showers thrown for you at the office.

Meanwhile, Martha Stewart Weddings provides more etiquette-based wisdom. Citing two etiquette and wedding planning experts, contributor Ellie Finn insists that couples shouldn’t allow a sense of obligation to dictate who makes the guest list. With that said, Finn also mentions three key questions to ask yourself when mulling over whether to include coworkers: Do you often see this individual outside of work? Have you met this person’s significant other or spouse? Would this coworker add happiness to your event that you’d otherwise miss?

Still Can’t Decide About Coworkers? Other Details To Consider

In a 2016 Brides article, Jaimie Mackey mentions that it may be standard practice to invite bosses, CEOs, or presidents in more traditional office environments or conservative-leaning industries such as law or banking. Even in nontraditional workplaces, it may be an unwritten rule to send wedding invites to coworkers. Mackey advises asking employers if there’s an expected custom at your firm.

Next, Mackey suggests that engaged couples consider the size of their workplaces before making a decision. In larger offices, it is easier to invite only a few colleagues who happen to be close friends. The issue becomes trickier in smaller offices, where news of your impending nuptials may quickly spread. If you’re able to tactfully and subtly extend invitations to closest friends, then do so. Otherwise, Mackey recommends either inviting the entire office if there’s enough room to accommodate them or leaving everyone off the guest list.

A Wise Approach Yields Optimal Results

Solving the puzzle of coworkers on your wedding guest list requires a respectful and careful approach. Depending on your relationships with your colleagues and the general workplace environment, determining if or who you should invite from your job can be difficult. Even so, you must consider personal ties, available space, and your own enjoyment before finalizing your count and sending out invitations. With a smart plan and circumspect choices, you’ll find solutions that benefit both you and your guests.

 

 

Changing Trends and Competition Spell Trouble for Big Bridal Stores
With shifts in wedding trends and customers seeking new options, many ask if big-box bridal stores will be able to stand these and future challenges.

With shifts in wedding trends and customers seeking new options, many ask if big-box bridal stores will be able to stand these and future challenges.

In November 2018, CNN reported that David’s Bridal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Documents filed in a U.S. bankruptcy court show that the corporation owes between $500 million and $1 billion to creditors. Some possible factors leading to the American company’s troubles include a decline in marriages, more casual weddings, and strong competition from online and brick-and-mortar retailers. With the same developments occurring in Canada, it’s worth an examination of how they have impacted big-box bridal stores.

Marriage Rates Are Declining

The Canadian Encyclopedia mentions that the marriage rate in Canada is dropping. Statistics Canada recently revealed that married couples head around 65 percent of households. That’s a slight decline from 2001’s findings, which indicated that married pairs headed 70 percent of households. Changing attitudes about marriage and financial worries may have caused this decline.

More Couples Choose Casual Weddings

Nearly every wedding magazine or website offers suggestions for hosting casual affairs. Wedding Wire’s trends report from 2018 mentions some recent notable trends:

  • Grooms are selecting more laidback attire.
  • More couples write their own vows.
  • Wedding parties are walking down the aisle to non-classical music.

A March 2018 piece in Canadian Living supports these observations. Writer Jessica Alcock comments that modern bridal fashions tend to be simple and elegant. Another key trend focuses on gowns designed with runway-inspired details.

Competition From Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

Discount outlets and department stores have made inroads in the industry. As a result, their competition presents challenges for big-box bridal stores. A July 2018 Glamour article showed several gorgeous and inexpensive department-store gowns. Some of these businesses, such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, have store locations in Canada. Hudson’s Bay also partnered with New York City bridal boutique Kleinfeld, offering a wide range of gowns at its Toronto Queen Street location.

Local independent bridal shops provide personalized service and unique formalwear options. Wedding Wire Canada maintains a directory of Canadian boutiques. Several of these stock vintage, consignment, and pre-owned gowns. Brides who want a vintage look or who wish to save some cash can discover fabulous finds at these and other locally owned stores.

Better Deals and More Options Online

Online shops also offer a huge range of options. Many American premier boutiques, some major department stores, and specialty shops ship to Canada. A few examples include Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Revolve, and Forward by Elyse Walker. Anomalie, an online bridal-wear startup, produces custom gowns crafted to meet each bride’s specifications. Their creation occurs during a collaborative process between the bride and a company stylist. The result is a made-to-measure dress that’s shipped directly to the bride. Often, these distinctive gowns cost much less than a comparative dress found in a big-box bridal store.

Can Big-Box Bridal Stores Change With the Times?

All these developments have affected the bottom lines of large retailers like David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo. David’s Bridal currently has 12 locations throughout Canada. As for Alfred Angelo, the corporation had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in United States federal court in July 2017. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported in July 2018 that all its retail stores have permanently closed. Moreover, the company still owed brides more than $20 million in claims for gowns that were never delivered.

David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo relied on classic industry business models. With shifts in wedding trends and customers seeking new options, both companies saw their profits plummet. Will big-box bridal stores like them be able to weather these and other future challenges? That remains to be seen, but the bottom line is that couples will turn to vendors who can provide the products, prices, and services they need.

 

Naked Cakes Enjoy Popularity at Canadian Weddings
Naked cakes continue to enjoy popularity at Canadian weddings, and may be just the right dessert option for your nuptials.

Naked cakes continue to enjoy popularity at Canadian weddings, and may be just the right dessert option for your nuptials.

How do you feel about naked cakes? Ask engaged couples, food fanatics, and wedding industry insiders, and you’ll likely find folks who either love or loathe them. While some south of the border decry the trend as overdone and trite, others suggest that naked cakes will remain a top choice among Canadian couples. If you’re curious about these unusual treats and are thinking of one for your reception, read on.

A Brief History of Naked Cakes

Jennifer Bain reported in a January 2015 Toronto Star piece that naked cakes (cakes in which the sides are bare) became a top choice for weddings in the Queen City that same summer. Bain traces the genesis of the naked cake trend back to 2008, where the treat debuted in New York City at Milk Bar’s grand opening. After chef Christina Tosi invented the confection, it was embraced by foodie culture and eventually crossed the border into Canada.

Brides writer Gabriella Rello adds that naked cakes first hit mainstream American bakeries in 2013. As more establishments added them to their menus, demand for these low-fi desserts slowly increased. American actress Angelina Jolie boosted their popularity when she opted for a naked cake at her August 2014 wedding to Brad Pitt. These treats quickly made the top trends and ideas lists of several major wedding publications between 2014 and 2016. They became a frequent sight at weddings, especially those with rustic, bohemian, or casual themes.

Perhaps due to the common tendency for trends to become trite, 2016 saw a hatred for naked cakes that was just as spirited as the initial fervor for them. In a September 2016 Country Living article, Lyndsey Matthews cited several reasons for this backlash. She opined that the trend had run its course, then pointed to both sloppy execution and their tendency to dry out as her rationale for agreeing with the haters. Even the U.S. version of Wedding Wire said “See ya” to naked cakes, rolling out new cake trends south of the border for 2019.

To Bare or Not To Bare? Key Factors To Consider

Despite the detractors, Wedding Wire Canada’s Alice Prendergast speculates that naked cakes may still be popular choices at Canadian nuptials in 2019. She suggests that they could take on new dimensions in looks and taste, elevated by elements that infuse new aesthetics and flavors. Prendergast mentions a few ideas for kicking your cake up a few notches:

  • Dripped glaze over the top and sides
  • Out-of-the-ordinary decorations
  • Incorporating multiple cake flavors
  • Playing with complementary or contrasting colors

As both Country Living’s Lyndsey Matthews and Brides writer Gabriella Rello point out, naked cakes are at a higher risk of drying out due to the lack of exterior frosting. However, the “nearly-nude” versions avert some of this risk with a very thin layer of frosting on their surfaces. Meanwhile, Lucie Loves to Bake discusses a few other factors that will impact your planning if you select a naked wedding cake. First, your confection will need to be assembled and decorated at the venue, since it can’t be transported in its finished state. Secondly, delivery and assembly should occur as close to your meal as possible. Finally, naked cakes melt more easily in hot weather and have a greater tendency to attract unwanted insects.

Are Naked Cakes Here To Stay?

Depending on who you ask, naked cakes are either the best wedding trend du jour or a tired and overrated fad that’s run its course. Nevertheless, adventurous new takes on this delectably bare dessert may help continue their popularity at Canadian weddings. If you decide a naked cake’s right for your event, plan accordingly and shop for a trustworthy baker who can deliciously and flawlessly execute your vision.

 

 

Food Stations Boost the Fun Factor at Your Wedding
Food stations are a fun and flexible option for any type of wedding, and you should consider them when planning your wedding reception meal options.

Food stations are a fun and flexible option for any type of wedding, and you should consider them when planning your wedding reception meal options.

As you try to figure out your reception meal options, you’re probably inundated with tons of possibilities. Maybe a typical sit-down dinner isn’t suitable for your casual wedding, or you’re not thrilled about the idea of long buffet lines. On the other hand, you may want to encourage guests to mingle more during the celebration. Maybe it’s time to consider food stations, an appropriate option for formal, semiformal, and casual affairs.

The Low-Down on Food Stations 

Brides writer Heather Lee explains how food stations work in an April 2018 article. For your food station setup, you’ll break down your menu into individual categories and then assign each one to a freestanding table. Your guests can then choose from available options and either serve themselves or request made-to-order items.

How should you divide up your reception menu dishes into individual stations? Your caterer can offer some guidance, but some typical arrangements include the following:

  • Assigned stations for entrées, salads, side dishes, breads, and desserts
  • Foods grouped by their countries of origin
  • Heavy appetizer stations

Of course, these are just a few possibilities. You can conceivably divvy up your offerings according to any scheme you wish, as long as you have the room and the budget.

Consider These Key Advantages

In her Brides article, Lee points out several advantages that food stations have over traditional plated multicourse or buffet meals. Your invitees can mingle and eat as they wish, allowing for more opportunities to interact with each other. Made-to-order items are prepped to their specifications, reducing the chance that they’ll be unhappy with their meals. You can also designate some stations to offer alternatives for guests with dietary restrictions. Finally, spreading the stations throughout your venue cuts down on long lines and waiting times.

Planning Tips for Your Food Stations

At the same time, you must also plan properly to ensure that your food station reception is successful. Southern Living, a United States-based lifestyle magazine, mentions that placing your stations too close together can lead to reduced floor traffic flow, longer lines, and congestion. For that reason, you’ll need a reception venue with plentiful room in order to properly space your stations. Be sure to budget appropriately, as Brides writer Heather Lee clarifies that you’ll need additional chefs for interactive stations and more staff to bus tables and assist with cleanup.

Not only that, guests with food allergies and dietary restrictions will require additional assistance in navigating your stations. Wedding Wire Canada’s Alice Prendergast stresses the importance of labeling stations to indicate whether they have vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or nut-free dishes. She also recommends allowing guests with food restrictions to serve themselves first. You’ll ensure that they won’t have to contend with cross-contamination from serving spoons accidentally placed in the wrong dishes.

Stumped for Ideas? Try These Recommendations

Want to incorporate food stations but you’re stumped for cuisine or theme ideas? No worries. You’ll find loads of suggestions at many wedding websites. The Knot mentions several unique food station setups to surprise and delight your guests, with standouts such as a late-night snack bar or mashed potato bar. For brunch receptions, Wedding Wire Canada offers great recommendations such as pancake and waffle, salad, and cereal stations. Lunch and dinner receptions may benefit from Wedding Wire Canada’s savory food station suggestions to please your guests’ palates.

Food stations are becoming more popular at weddings for several reasons. They allow people to select their food when they wish while giving them more opportunities to move around and socialize. For hosts, they provide the chance to offer fun food while accommodating invitees with food restrictions. With wise planning and smart menu selections, your food stations will be a big hit with your guests.

 

Familiarize Yourself With These 2019 Wedding Trends
2019 is right around the corner, so take a look at these wedding trends to discover which are the most appealing to you as you plan your big day.

2019 is right around the corner, so take a look at these wedding trends to discover which are the most appealing to you as you plan your big day.

The New Year is right around the corner. If you are getting married in 2019, then you are likely currently working hard to plan for your event. Unfortunately, weddings trends tend to change at a rapid pace. Designers and tastemakers have already released their predictions and suggestions for what will be trendy at weddings in the new year. Since it can be difficult to keep up with all this information, it can be helpful to get a little bit of assistance learning which fads and trends are out there.

While you don’t need to get on board with all the wedding trends for the coming year, you may find that some of the upcoming styles are right up your alley. Take a look at these 2019 wedding trends, and discover which are the most appealing to you.

Fifty Shades of Purple

Above all other wedding trends, colors tend to go in and out of fashion the fastest. Knowing what colors are “in” at the moment and which are considered gauche might help you avoid a faux pas with décor. In 2018, colors like dusty rose, green, and peach were quite popular. While you can get away with using them next year, it is important to know that trends are shifting away from these hues and toward other options.

The color predicted to see the most use in 2019 is purple. From bridesmaid dresses to tablecloths to invitations, shades of purple are all the rage. It isn’t just standard purple that is seeing popularity, either. Shades like violet, lavender, amethyst, and periwinkle are all excellent choices when you’re looking to incorporate this color into your event. You may even want to think about using colored lights at your wedding, as the soft glow of purple bulbs can help to invigorate the venue in a comforting, intimate way.

Natural Elements

While purple might be the big color of the year, you can explore a variety of shade options when it comes to floral arrangements. According to expert florists, flowers like dahlias are going to see a lot of use in the coming year. The main reason for this is the variety that dahlias can bring. The flowers come in a range of colors, making them easy to incorporate into a number of palettes. From Dutch Explosion dahlias to the large, shimmering Henriette, there are many dahlia types to consider for your needs.

Flowers are not the only way to incorporate nature into the décor of your space. Trendsetters are also predicting wedding trends where couples incorporate “natural elements” into their décor. “Tailored greenery” is specifically popular, which involves stylists working living plants into a reception space in clever ways. If this appeals to you, learn different ways you can bring the outdoors inside for your wedding.

Small Plates Mean Big Satisfaction

Finally, another big trend predicted for 2019 is serving small plates instead of full meals. Also known as tapas, small plates allow guests the opportunity to indulge in a number of different dishes throughout the course of the night. Not only does this allow for a bit more culinary variety, it also can save you and your partner a bit of money when it comes to catering costs.

Wedding trends tend to change frequently. If staying current with the latest styles matters to you and your partner, then it can be a good idea to learn about next year’s trends early. Take time to research your options, pick what works best for your needs, and see what you can accomplish for your big day.

 

Don’t Get Scammed! How To Spot and Avoid Honeymoon Travel Rip-Offs
Take a look at this advice on how to avoid honeymoon travel scams in order to have a carefree vacation without the headaches.

Take a look at this advice on how to avoid honeymoon travel scams in order to have a carefree vacation without the headaches.

To simplify your honeymoon planning, you may depend on a travel agent to reserve your transportation, accommodations, and itinerary. Over the next several months, you’ll remit your deposit and installment payments. All the while, you picture yourself and your sweetheart enjoying majestic scenery, fabulous cuisine, new adventures, and plenty of alone time to spare.

Yet what if you find out that your travel agent pocketed your money, leaving your wallet emptied and with no honeymoon to show for it? That’s exactly what happened to one Alberta couple just weeks before their big day. Fortunately, you can avoid the same thing happening to you by looking for some key warning signs.

Honeymoon Dreams Turned Into Nightmares

A November 2018 CTV News article tells the tragic story of Camrose couple Rhys Herle and Ashley Thengs. The two had planned to marry in Cancun on December 3, relying on travel agent Shez Khan from Beachvows.ca to make their arrangements. After the couple and their destination-wedding guests had paid several thousand dollars to Khan’s agency, they discovered that their airline had only received partial payment. MK Voyages, the third-party vendor in charge of managing other details, claimed that it never received any money. Meanwhile, Khan has slowly reduced contact with the couple, leaving the future of the Herle and Thengs wedding up in the air.

Even so, this isn’t the only type of scam targeting potential travelers. USA Today discusses other common rip-offs in a February 2018 piece, adding that customers often fall for cut-rate prices on airfare, hotels, rental vehicles, and other amenities, only to encounter bait-and-switch tactics or surprise fees.

Avoid the Hustle With These Helpful Tips

As you look forward to your own honeymoon, you’ll need to do your homework and watch out for red flags that could indicate a scam. TripSavvy writer Mark Kahler explains that travel rip-off artists frequently take advantage of bargain-hunting hopefuls as well as the typical industry practice of pre-paying for itineraries and arrangements. Kahler then lists several characteristics of a potentially dishonest deal:

  • Demands for payment without a written contract
  • Transactions performed by phone or courier only
  • Limited-time-only offers
  • Vendors not disclosed in writing
  • Overuse of terms such as “complimentary” or “free”

Besides these warning signs, Kahler also advises customers to beware of travel sellers operating under different names than the providers whose services they sell. In this scenario, the marketing agent may be more interested in closing a sale than in offering a positive experience or attempting to eliminate liability claims and lawsuits. This is precisely what happened to Rhys Herle and Ashley Thengs, since Khan claimed that she booked their getaway through MK Voyages.

Kahler also cautions readers about pricing that’s significantly below fair market value. Some scammers rely on split pricing to dangle cheap rates as bait but bury additional charges deep inside a travel contract. On the other hand, they may use the advertised specials to hook interested buyers and pressure them into purchasing expensive travel package add-ons. Finally, he recommends that prospective honeymooners steer clear of anyone who offers to certify them as travel agents. These offers usually state that agents can access free trips and perks, but you could wind up forking over money for bogus credentials.

Shop Smart and Find a Trustworthy Travel Agent

Locating a good travel agent involves some thorough research and listening to your gut instincts. Start by shopping for local professionals with glowing reviews and who have memberships in the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies. If you do go it alone in booking your travel, it pays to scrutinize online travel deals and look for fine print, loopholes, and outright scams. Following this advice will ensure you get the honeymoon you want without the headaches.

What Do These Popular Wedding Flowers Symbolize?
The best way to find the right flowers is by taking a moment to explore the deeper symbolic meanings offered by some of these beautiful little plants.

The best way to find the right flowers is by taking a moment to explore the deeper symbolic meanings offered by some of these beautiful little plants.

There are few pieces of décor as important to a wedding as flowers. Selecting the best possible blossoms for your big day can be a lengthy endeavor, especially when you’re not exactly sure which buds will suit your needs best. For many couples, the best way to find the right flowers is by taking a moment to explore the deeper symbolic meanings offered by some of these beautiful little plants. Over the years, each individual flower has become entwined with various cultural beliefs and practices.

If you and your significant other are still trying to figure out which flowers will be best for your wedding, then you need to look at some of the facts. Check out these bits of info on what different flowers represent and see what the best choice is for your needs.

Commitment and Friendship

Cornflowers are very popular options when you’re looking for simple, elegant flowers to invigorate your reception venue. These blossoms usually come in a pale, calming shade of blue, though they can also be found in shades of pink, cream, and white. Many people view cornflowers as a symbol of friendship. By featuring these lovely florals on your big day, you are encouraging stronger bonds of friendship between you and your partner, as well as between you and the guests who are in attendance at your event.

Another flower that aims to improve the bonds of the couple tying the knot is the dahlia. For many years, dahlias have been one of the most widespread wedding flowers. While this is primarily due to how gorgeous the blossoms are, the symbolic meaning also carries weight. According to legend, couples who feature these blooms in their weddings are likely to experience many years of happy, unbroken commitment in married life.

Deeper Emotions

Daisies are another excellent choice when you’re searching for the perfect flowers for your wedding. Though most common during events that take place in the spring and summer, there is no bad time of year to feature these buds during your ceremony. Many people believe they encourage those nearby to speak honestly. For this reason, countless couples place vases of daisies around the altar during their ceremonies, hoping to bring forth the most honest responses from those present. Plus, their simple and beautiful look can make them an easy addition to most aesthetics.

Along the same lines are hydrangeas. Another flower perfect for warmer weather and outdoor events, hydrangeas are often inexpensive and easy to come by when they are in season. Like daisies, they are said to help those nearby experience truthful emotions. Specifically, they are rumored to help people get in touch with their emotional responses to a situation. Whether you want these buds for what they represent or for their breathtaking visuals, hydrangeas can be a great fit for most events.

Honor Thy Spouse

Finally, the lily is another classic flower you can consider for the décor on your big day. Lilies were often used during the weddings of royal families, making them a symbol of honor and prestige. Couples who married in the presence of these gorgeous flowers are said to experience married life in an honest way. Though they are suited for the summer, you can add lilies to your event no matter what time of year it falls.

Picking the right flowers can transform the way you feel about your big day. While you may think flowers are simply a way to enhance the décor around your event, you may be surprised to learn how much meaning is placed on each individual bud. Look more into the symbolic meaning of different blossoms, and see what you can do to enhance your wedding.

Shopping Online for Your Wedding? Follow This Smart Advice
Wedding industry vendors jumped on the online commerce bandwagon long ago, but is it wise to buy everything for your wedding online?

Wedding industry vendors jumped on the online commerce bandwagon long ago, but is it wise to buy everything for your wedding online?

Thanks to the rapid advancement of technology and e-commerce, nearly anything can be bought online: groceries, movie tickets, medications, music, vehicles, and more. Wedding industry vendors jumped on the online commerce bandwagon long ago, making it possible to do everything from selecting and printing invitations to purchasing gowns and formal suits. E-commerce offers valuable perks such as convenience and saving money, but is it wise to buy everything for your wedding online? The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

Essential Privacy and Security Tips

More than 80 percent of Canadian brides bought at least one wedding-related item online, according to a Weddingbells survey published in 2015. Wedding décor and supplies, favors, invitations, and fashion accessories are some of the most common purchases. However, couples’ and attendants’ attire also end up on many nearlyweds’ online shopping lists. Many save time, gasoline, and money while discovering great finds that they can’t get from local retailers.

Sounds convenient and easy, right? Well, you still must carefully choose which vendors will get your hard-earned cash. LifeLock, an American identity theft protection company, offers several smart tips for safe online shopping:

  • Purchase only from trusted websites.
  • Do your homework about each vendor. Check for legitimate contact information, and be sure to read online customer reviews.
  • Verify that the website has privacy protection and SSL encryption enabled.
  • Don’t give out too much personal information.
  • Be wary of extremely low prices and “too good to be true” deals.

Also, LifeLock advises that it’s better to use a credit card for your online purchases, as you’ll steer clear of scammers siphoning funds from your primary bank account should your data become compromised. The Financial Consumer Agency reveals that your maximum liability for unauthorized charges cannot be more than $50. Also, you will be reimbursed in full if you took appropriate privacy precautions. To protect yourself, monitor your credit card accounts frequently and take immediate action if you notice unauthorized charges or don’t receive your merchandise.

Helpful Hints for Online Attire Purchases

A blog post by Young Hip and Married, a Vancouver-area wedding services provider, divulges that the average wedding dress costs $1,779 in Canada. The Better Business Bureau of Western Ontario adds that the average wedding tuxedo rental is $297, while Huffington Post contributor Andrea Traynor mentions that made-to-measure suits usually cost at least $500 and bespoke suit prices start at around $2,000.

Most of these figures aren’t as extravagant as the starting price of a Vera Wang gown or an Armani suit, but tighter budgets are one reason why many couples are turning to the internet to find their wedding apparel. Some of the same general tips for online shopping apply, but NerdWallet writer Laura McMullen shares more wise advice to help online buyers get the most for their money:

  • Review the retailer’s policies, especially on returns and expected delivery time frames.
  • Investigate your fabric options. Knowing each material’s basic properties can help you choose garments that are appropriate for your season and venue.
  • Shop for pieces that best flatter your body type.
  • Take your measurements, and follow each company’s sizing guidelines.

Careful Online Shopping Is Key

Online vendors can make your search for wedding supplies and attire easier, but it pays to take some precautions as you shop. Such safeguards include researching each company, purchasing only from trusted suppliers, and confirming that retailers are using the appropriate security protocols. Buying wedding attire can be especially tricky, but you can score good-quality finds if you know your measurements, choose garments that fit properly, and select fabrics that mesh with your event’s season and desired aesthetic. With these best practices, you’ll find the goods you need while avoiding fraud and misunderstandings.

Make a Big Wedding Seem Intimate With These Tips
Many couples face the challenge of how to make a wedding seem intimate when the guest list is quite large, but these tips may help ease your mind.

Many couples face the challenge of how to make a wedding seem intimate when the guest list is quite large, but these tips may help ease your mind.

It can be nice to be a part of a big family. Though having a lot of siblings can definitely come with some disadvantages, there is comfort in knowing you always have people around you to provide love and support. Still, there are times when a big family can become problematic. Planning a wedding, for example, tends to be a lot more complicated when you feel obligated to invite a large number of guests. The real challenge most couples face is how to throw a big wedding while still making it seem intimate.

If you and your partner are currently planning a large wedding, you might need a bit of advice on how to keep everything comfortable and intimate for your guests. Consider these tips, and see what you need to do to get the most from your planning experience.

An Intimate Welcome

From the second your guests enter the venue, you want to make sure they feel welcomed into the space. This can be tough with a big crowd, as guests might feel like they’re being herded from the parking lot to the reception area like cattle. To break this feeling, a cocktail hour can help. This hour is perfect for guests to indulge in a drink, some light snacking, and good conversation with others before the main reception area is ready. This small idea can work wonders when it comes to helping cultivate an intimate atmosphere.

How the reception area is arranged can also make or break the idea of intimacy during your event. Instead of opting for individual tables for guests, you may find it is more welcoming to have long, feast-style tables. This allows guests the chance to really get close to one another. Plus, you may even be able to ditch the idea of assigned seating when you go this route, which is another way to keep guests feeling special and welcomed rather than making them feel like just another person at the event.

Don’t Create Barriers, Do Create Space

It can also be a good idea to take a moment or two to think about the décor you plan on featuring at your wedding. Some couples enjoy the idea of large, lavish centerpieces. While it can be nice to add some personality to the space through clever décor, also make sure you aren’t creating any annoying barriers for your guests. The larger the centerpiece is on the table, the harder it is going to be for guests to communicate with, or even see, the other people they are sitting with.

When there are a lot of people at an event, some guests may hold back and keep to themselves. Since many people don’t love having to interact with large crowds, you might want to consider the option of a separate area where guests can go to unwind. A little lounge space, whether inside or outside, might be able to provide your shyer guests with a nice little respite from all of the excitement happening inside. Plus, it gives you and your partner a more intimate place to sneak off to when you need a break yourselves.

Your Interactions Matter

Finally, nothing makes guests feel more welcome at a wedding than having a moment or two with the happy couple. Though there are lots of people you need to interact with, it is good form to make a plan of action to ensure you at least attempt to say hello or check in with all your guests. By focusing on this goal, you’re doing your best to help everyone feel like they’re a part of the event rather than a part of a crowd.

Large groups can easily pose a challenge when planning a wedding. The more time you take to help keep the event intimate, the easier it becomes to help all your guests have an enjoyable experience.