The Ottawa Wedding Chapel would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for a fabulous new year. Enjoy this season of celebration with those you love and remember to open your heart to those less fortunate. If we can keep the Christmas spirit all year round, the world will be a better place!
Our office will be closed as of 4:30 pm on Thurs., Dec. 21 and will re-open on Tues., Jan. 2.
The holiday season is upon us and as the year is coming to an end, your wedding planning may be on hold until the new year. If you haven’t started planning your summer 2018 wedding, you’ve still got time.
We have put together a list of things to start working on as soon as the holiday festivities are over. We cover the most important reservations that you must secure before you lose some important vendors and dates due to unavailability:
Create or buy a wedding binder that will hold all the important details of your wedding in one place. Use it to stay organized, store your contracts and receipts, and add any articles or ideas that you may want to use later. It might seem a little bridezilla, but it’s really a great planning tool.
Create a budget for your wedding and stick to it. Determining your budget will enable you to decide on the type of venue you want, if you can afford a reception, the number of guests you can invite, and the level of luxury implemented in your wedding components.
A guest list will help you determine your budget, your wedding party, and the size of the venue that you may need. Leave room to include the full names of your guests, contact information, and addresses. Include an RSVP section as this will be your master guest list which you can make copies of for your vendors. Purchase your invitation cards, or plan your online invites, as soon as your list is finalized.
Securing a venue is the first booking that you must focus on. Your venue(s) will host your ceremony and reception. Many venues get booked years in advance and if you still haven’t booked one yet, it is time to start making inquiries regarding availability and quotes. If you are planning to have the wedding at a private residence, then it would a good idea to inspect the house and the backyard and front yard. Familiarize yourself with the space and put yourself in your guests’ shoes. What would they need? What do you want them to see once they come in and what path do you wish for them to take to get to their seating area?
A wedding should always be documented. Decades from now, you, your children and your grandchildren will want to see you on your special day. Ensure that you book a photographer ahead of time, the good ones get booked fast. If you have a friend who is good with a camera, you could ask them to document the day for you.
Book your Officiant
Officiants are usually booked a year in advance for weekend dates. Booking early means you will have more choices.
The entertainment will depend on your musical taste and your guests. If you have always envisioned a live band at your wedding, it is a good idea to try and watch them performing at another event before booking them. Another option is a DJ who will offer a large selection of music. Consider if you need music over dinner or during the ceremony itself.
If your venue does not offer catering options then you may want to meet with several different caterers. Competition is high in the catering industry, so you may be able to get a lower price for what you’re seeking in terms of quantity and quality, if you check several companies. Keep in mind the dietary restrictions and allergies of your guests.
Create a timeline of all the events that will unfold during the wedding day. (ceremony start time, dinner, first dance, cutting the cake, etc…) Punctuality is important for vendors and your guests.
It’s not too early to work on some of your other purchases as well. A wedding dress/suit may need alterations or tailoring. Your ideas for flowers can be discussed with a florist to ensure they are feasible. Wedding cakes can be tasted in advance and designs discussed.
Each wedding is unique and has all sorts of small details that make it special. This list contains only the essentials that you should consider well in advance. There are many more elements that can be added to customize your wedding as you move through the planning process.
The Ottawa Wedding Chapel happily welcomed two couples to our second pop-up wedding event at the end of the summer.
Both couples had kids and wanted the children to feel involved in the ceremony. Our officiant Natasha St. Jean worked with them and in both cases it was decided that a sand ceremony would give the children an active role. It also provided the family with a colourful memento to keep in their home.
Each couple enjoyed one hour of time in the chapel, as well as a ceremony performed by one of our professional officiants. They had the services of our photographer partner, Melissa LaFrance of Direct Your Focus Photography during their ceremony and afterwards for a brief photo shoot. They also toasted each other with some sparkling juice.
Erika and Ryan
This couple came with just their two boys, so we provided the witnesses and they had an intimate ceremony in our chapel. The bride was radiant with a fantastic flower crown and the kids were excited to stand right up beside (and sometimes between!) the couple. Each boy had a ring and when the time came for the ring exchange they offered them up with big smiles.
Melanie and Eric
This upbeat couple had a great time with their three kids and their guests. The vibe was fun and relaxed and the bridal party and all the guests were dressed in varying shades of blue, with many of the gentlemen sporting dapper hats. They got some great photos in the chapel’s backyard after the ceremony.
As wedding season winds down for this year, next year’s brides (and grooms) are just getting going with their planning. They are deciding on colours, themes, venues, officiants, invitations, table centrepieces, favours, and more! And more importantly, they are deciding which wedding projects they want to tackle themselves. The do-it-yourself movement is huge in the world of weddings.
The internet is full of wedding décor inspiration – much of it handmade. Hit a few blogs or magazine sites and you’ll see stunning, Pinterest-worthy projects. Even the least crafty soul will want to run for the burlap ribbon and scissors.
If you are thinking about a do-it-yourself wedding, here are some things to consider.
Why do you want to DIY? Is it because you’re on a budget and want to save some coin? You love to craft? You think you can’t get your signature look any other way? Whatever the motivation, make sure you achieve your desired end result. Preparing for your wedding should be enjoyable and satisfying, so if the headaches and stress of DIY are going to outweigh the positives, step away from the glue gun!
Make sure to leave yourself enough time to accomplish these do-it-yourself tasks. Depending on the number of DIY projects and their complexity, the time investment could be significant. If you don’t have a lot of free hours in your regular schedule, DIY may not be for you. Brides who are crafting paper flowers or decorating their own wedding cake shaped cookie favours the night before their nuptials are, for the most part, grouchy brides. If you are a natural procrastinator, this can add an extra layer of stress to your wedding preparations. So, start early, like now, for next summer.
Don’t overestimate your abilities
If you’re not a crafty person, don’t expect to become one overnight. Some projects are tougher than others. Take a look at pinterestfail.com to see just how wrong things can go! That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try, but choose one or two wedding projects you think you can realistically accomplish.
It’s a great idea to have back-up. If your bridal party is full of competent crafty folks, by all means, throw some wedding bee nights and work together on your handmade invitations or wedding favours. It’s a great way to build anticipation for the big day and bond with your best girls/guys. Remember though, some bridesmaids are just better at “tying one on” than tying bows!
DIY projects can be a great way to involve people outside of the bridal party as well. When you can’t have all your friends and family in your wedding party, you might be able to find special projects or tasks that will make them feel included. Make sure it’s a job that’s suited to them!
Just because you’re making it yourself, doesn’t make it less expensive. If you don’t already have some of the tools and supplies, you can quickly rack up a big bill at your favourite craft shop. Consider your finances and the raw materials you may already have access to. Maybe you have a rural connection that can supply some rustic wood. Perhaps you have a stash of empty mason jars. You could save soup cans and spray paint them gold or plant succulents in cheap thrift store teacups. The best way to save money is to use what you’ve got or source some of the raw materials from your circle of friends.
Capitalize on the work of others
Your local Facebook wedding groups and Kijiji ads are full of the homemade props and décor of brides whose weddings have come and gone. Sometimes they are great deals. Keep an open mind when viewing these sorts of items. Even if they don’t match your colours or aesthetic exactly, think about how you could adapt or revamp them to suit your needs.
If you’ve considered all the facets of a DIY wedding, and still think it’s the right move for you, good luck with your crafting! Enjoy creating something special and personalized that’s just for your unique day.
It can be great fun to run with a theme. From attire to decorations to food and favours, some motifs lend themselves to all aspects of your wedding planning. And yes, finding the perfect cake topper to complement your theme may be cause for a small celebration. If you are someone who enjoys the planning, a theme can seem like a good idea.
The officiants at All Seasons Weddings have seen and done it all – including many theme weddings. Officiants have dressed up as wizards and Santa and a Star Trek officer just to name a few. They have also presided over ceremonies in some unique and sometimes challenging locations, including a baseball diamond, a roller coaster platform at Canada’s Wonderland, and at the end of a muddy ATV trail.
If you’re considering a theme wedding, whether it be Harry Potter, Day of the Dead, the Great Gatsby, or something else that catches your fancy, here are some things to think about.
Don’t be upset if your guests don’t play along
If you are having hundreds of guests, they won’t all want to play your game. Some of them will just politely decline to dress up or get involved themselves. Others may just be puzzled by the whole thing – especially if your theme is drawn from current pop culture. Maybe grandma hasn’t read Harry Potter.
Remember the photos last a long time
While not as permanent as a tattoo, wedding photos have a way of sticking around. If you think you might ever get tired of explaining your wedding theme to curious relatives, or your kids, or grandkids, every time someone throws back to your big date on social media, maybe a theme wedding isn’t for you.
It’s better if it means something
A wedding theme should speak about your personality or your love story in some way. Maybe you both really love Game of Thrones. Is that enough to remind you in 25 years why you were wearing fur and chewing on a turkey leg with your direwolf by your side during your wedding reception? It has to mean something. Baseball makes sense if you met playing on a beer league team and bonded over your favourite pro team. Maybe all your dates were to superhero movies and your guests will know that you have both dressed as superheroes at Halloween since you were little. Maybe you are both world travellers with a bucket list of destinations you plan to visit together. Pull an element from your real life and go with it.
Make sure you have an officiant who is on board
While some officiants will be excited to dress up or change the ceremony wording to support your theme, others may not be comfortable doing so. These are questions you want to ask before putting down your deposit.
Getting carried away with a theme is a sure path to unnecessary expenditures
Those “have to have” extras that match your theme might seem like a good idea at the time of purchase, but have a way of adding up. Do you really need those Cinderella carriage table number holders or the fairy wings for the flower girl? Pick a couple of theme elements that won’t break the bank.
Sometimes less is more
A theme can quickly become overwhelming. Your guests may appreciate small nods to your motif, such as a creative line or two in your ceremony or a particular style of cake or hair accessory, more than a full blown Tim Burton-esque fantasy world.
Your theme can be fun!
After perusing the pages of bridal magazines and blogs you might start to think that weddings with themes are the norm. Phrases like “Wizard of Oz-inspired nuptials,” “whimsical Cinderella scene,” and “opulent 1940s styled wedding” abound. Don’t stress. Many amazing weddings take place without a theme. Focus on friends, family, food and your day will be memorable and fabulous.
White beaches, soft breezes, gorgeous sunsets, there is no denying that tying the knot in a southern paradise has appeal. Before you get swayed by the idea of palm trees in your wedding pictures, however, think it through. Getting married in a foreign country can be complicated. It may be easier to have the legal paperwork taken care of in Canada before stepping on the plane to your sunny destination.
Elope at home first
Here are a few reasons why: To avoid having to get your documents translated into a language other than French/English.
Once documents are translated, some countries require you to have them legally certified by a professional, and legalized by the Embassy/consulate.
Documents may then have to be translated to French/English in order to register your marriage here in Canada.
There are more documents required in some countries than needed in Canada and some countries require a blood test!
Some resorts require minimum stays and a minimum number of rooms.
Some countries require couples to be in the country for a certain number of days prior to the wedding.
Friends/family that can’t make the trip to your sunny destination may come to a Canadian ceremony. Maybe Grandma is too frail to make the trip, but would still love to see you get married. Perhaps some friends don’t have the cash to join your vacation.
Much easier to correct a mistake on legal documentation if it occurred in Canada rather than dealing with authorities in another country, possibly in another language.
Easier to check legal credentials of Canadian officiants.
Greater possibility of the ceremony in language of choice (if French/English).
Ability to order a marriage certificate from your home province.
Two days of celebration, rather than one!
It’s a lot to think about. Do your homework to find the hidden costs of your destination of choice. In the end, it may make more sense to conduct a small elopement ceremony on Canadian soil so your destination wedding really will be a walk on the beach.
Sometimes couples have kids before they get married; with each other or from other relationships. When this is the case, the marriage ceremony takes on a whole new dynamic. It may be a blending of families. Aside from the obvious roles of flower girls, ring bearers, and junior bridesmaids or groomsmen, there are a ton of other great ways to include the kids.
Take part in the vows
You can mention your children by name in your wedding vows, or even have the officiant address a question to them. For example, “Do you promise to work together and share your love with this new family being created today?”
Token or gift
You can include gifts for the kids in the ceremony to give them something tangible to remember the day and provide a feeling of inclusion. It can be jewelry, a rose, or some other token.
The kids can walk mom down the aisle. Add bubble blowers, bell ringers, or sign carriers to the procession.
In Ontario, the Record of Solemnization is the portion of the marriage licence that you sign and keep after the wedding. (The officiant sends the other signed portion to the government for registration.) It is a keepsake and not a legal document, so it’s okay if the kids sign too.
At the Ottawa Wedding Chapel, many of our officiants love to use a sand ceremony as a visual representation of the blending of families. Each member of the family has a colour of sand in a container. They slowly pour them into a clear communal container making a colourful final product that can be kept and used to remind the kids of their important place in the family. Just as the grains of sand can never be separated into their individual containers again, so the family will be joined together.
This ceremony can also be done using candy if that will keep the kids’ attention!
Keep in mind short attention spans when planning for kids to take part in your ceremony. Standing up at the front on display for the entire ceremony might be too much for some kids. And the pressure of all those eyes might bring on a bout of shyness. On the other hand, some kids will go to town once given the spotlight – they might carry on and be disruptive to the remainder of the ceremony. Be sensitive to the personalities of the children…. And of nap times, a tired child is often a grumpy child.
Please consult with children before assuming they will want to take part in the ceremony. You don’t want them to feel resentful of having to participate. The second marriage of a parent can be an emotional event, even if the child has a good relationship with the incoming step-parent – your child might prefer not to be at the centre of attention as they struggle with the feelings of the day.
By working together with your officiant and consulting with your partner and the kids, you will be able to find a ceremony that will fit your family perfectly.
There is nothing that can compare to the beauty of light falling through a stained glass window. At the Ottawa Wedding Chapel we have some of the most beautiful stained glass in the area. Featuring flowers, rather than religious iconography, our windows have a wide appeal.
Stained glass is a form of painting that began over 1,000 years ago. One of the oldest known examples of multiple pieces of colored glass used in a window were discovered in Jarrow, England at St. Paul’s Monastery, which was founded in 686 AD.
The glass makers were called glaziers, and while most never left a signature or identifying mark on their artwork, during the middle ages they belonged to very powerful “guilds.” Companies that built stained glass would be under contract with these guilds and could not produce windows without an “official” glazier being on site. Metallic salts were added during the glass making process to produce glass of different colours.
A stained-glass window consisted of pieces of coloured glass held together in by a web of lead. In early days, the glass had details such as faces and hands painted and fired on to it in black or brown paint.
About the year 1300, stain was discovered that had the ability to turn white glass yellow or blue glass green after it was fired, opening up more colours and shading options. The term “stained glass” derives from this silver stain that was applied to the back side of the window.
Some of the most powerful art produced in the Romanesque and Gothic time periods were religious visual stories, in French cathedral windows. Advances in construction made it possible to make larger windows. Because of this the craft underwent a revival and was used as a storytelling medium, consisting mostly of biblical scenes.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, glass making was in decline. It wasn’t until the 19th century that another revival took place. Less expensive production methods made it more accessible to a wider range of people. US inventor Louis Tiffany used copper foil and solder to connect the glass pieces instead of lead. This development also allowed for a higher level of detail. His company, Tiffany Studios was a huge success and Tiffany lamps became especially popular.
Now stained glass has reached the masses, with home glass studios common for hobbyists. Regardless of its popularity, a beautiful piece of glass lit by the sun remains a breathtaking view.
The stained glass windows at the Ottawa Wedding Chapel are remarkable for their design. They provide a calm, soft natural light without an overbearing “churchy” feel. They are a wonderful backdrop for photos. If you are looking for a more spiritual presence, the chapel does have one large window that features a cross.
Outdoor weddings are often fun and are enhanced by the beauty of nature. Being outdoors presents a lot of advantages, but there are also many factors that may cause calamity.
Here is a list of things to consider:
1. Bad weather is your worst enemy
Bad weather will ruin your wedding, if you are not prepared for it. Make sure to have cozy blankets ready in case the temperature drops, shade areas to combat the heat. Umbrellas and cover areas will also come in handy, so unexpected showers don’t take you and your guests by surprise.
2. Care packages
Be prepared with all the essentials your guests may need for an outdoor wedding. You might include include blankets, sunscreen, band aids, emergency contact list, bug repellent, flashlights, fans, bottles of water, and flip flops for the sake of dancing!
Some venues allow guests to bring their own wine to weddings for a flat fee paid by the host of the event. This is a great method to save money and allow your guests to enjoy the alcoholic beverages which they prefer the most. If you are having a wedding in your backyard or estate, then this option would offer a variety of selection. You would have to provide the glasses and maybe a self-serve bar area.
4. Tell your guests where to go
Regardless of the layout and theme which you have for your outdoor wedding, make sure that your guests are clear on where to go and what is expected of them. Provide clear signage to where everything is from the bar to the bathroom.
Do your best to windproof your décor as a gust of wind can make everything go flying, including food and beverages. You don’t want a big spot of red wine on your wedding dress!
6. Manage the heat creatively
A hand held fan may a blessing during a hot outdoor wedding ceremony. Be creative by putting your wedding program on a fan; your guests will memorize your wedding program by the end of the ceremony. Make sure to keep your guests hydrated — not just beer and wine! An ice cream cart with a selection of frozen treats would be a hit with guests, because who hates ice cream?
7. Save the Flowers!
Ask your florist to mist the flowers if you are expecting a very hot day.
If your wedding plans will plunge into the darkness of the night, then string lights may be the best option for you. They are easy to set-up, and if you have trees around then you can create a magical forest feeling for your guests. Placing camping lanterns underneath table clothes will enhance that magical feel.
Despite the biggest snowstorm of the season, four couples tied the knot at the Ottawa Wedding Chapel on Sunday February 12 in our first ever pop-up wedding event. There were snowflakes caught in fancy updos, cheeks rosy from the cold, one late bride, and some chapel staff members stuck in the parking lot at the end of the afternoon, but the snow didn’t stop the show.
Four different love stories celebrated in one day made for an amazing experience. Each couple was unique — from the camouflage-themed wedding rings and bouquet to an elven princess. They wrote their own vows and proclaimed their love in front of a couple of people that are close to them — best friends in one case, parents in another case, and their children in a third case.
Some brides took advantage of our beautiful fresh bouquet from Blooms by Beyond the House in Russell, Ontario. It was a lovely collection of dusty pink roses, white hydrangeas, soft pink lilies,and greenery. It was subtle enough not to overpower our diverse brides, but still some gorgeous eye candy for the photos.
All couples received two 5×7 prints from Photography by Margaret Link to take home with them and most decided to purchase a CD full of edited photos from their wedding as well.
Our lovebirds celebrated with a glass of sparkling wine and some treats created by Homecoooked Meals To Go after their ceremony was complete. There was bite-sized strawberry cheesecake, mini butter tarts and chocolate turtle bites. Delicious!
Get in on the next Pop-up event!
We are so pleased to have been a part of the weddings for these four couples. Enjoy a few photos from our Pop-up wedding event.
It was such a success, we’re considering doing it again. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, drop us a line and let us know. We’re collecting a list of potential pop-up sweethearts.