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Planning prep for the new year

December 15, 2017

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:

Wedding Binder

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.

Budget

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.

Guest list

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.

Venue

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?

Photographer/Videographer

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.

Entertainment

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.

Caterers

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.

Wedding Timeline

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.

Purchases

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.

Make your ceremony your own

All Seasons officiant Brigitte Samson conducting a winter ceremony

February 10, 2017

There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to the words and actions that you use to proclaim your love and support to your spouse at your wedding. The right wedding officiant will be willing to perform a personalized and beautiful ceremony that will represent your love story.

If you would like to have traditional elements such as the bride’s father walking her down the aisle, vows that include words such as “in sickness and in health, richer and poorer,” a reading of 1 Corinthians (Love is patient, love is kind…), or a kiss to seal the deal, then by all means, include them. However, there is no reason to feel bound by convention.

The ceremony can include stories and jokes, it can reference your favourite movies or the activities, sports, or hobbies that brought you together or helped your relationship grow. Throw in a favourite song, dance down the aisle, or read a poem. The right officiant will be flexible and understanding and want to work with you.
Legally, the ceremony must include a question of intent to each partner (Do you bride, take groom to be your husband?), the signing of the marriage license by the couple and two witnesses, and the officiant pronouncing the couple as married.

Ask for what you want

The point is, most of the ceremony content is up to you. Don’t be shy! Ask your officiant for what you want. Choose an officiant who will listen to your vision and help you make it a reality. Some weddings officiants are willing to go even further and will dress the part for a theme wedding!

There are great ways to include your children in your wedding. Sand ceremonies or rose ceremonies can make kids feel included and can offer a visual representation of the new family being created. Children can also sign the “record of solemnization” portion of the marriage licence. It is the keepsake portion of the licence that you will keep.

Pets can be included too. Make sure you find an officiant who will be comfortable with this and make sure you have someone to help pet-sit after the ceremony – after taking some cute fur-baby wedding photos.

A good officiant will be able to make suggestions for your ceremony content, work with you to develop the ceremony you want, and then manage the flow of the ceremony on the big day by soothing nerves and high emotions and reminding you to look at your partner – the reason for the festivities in the first place. On your big day, let your personality shine!

Make sure your Officiant is Legit

Marriage licence

December 16, 2016

A Parry Sound, Ontario woman has been charged this week with solemnizing weddings without lawful authority. Michelle Bottineau was charged after a couple she conducted a ceremony for complained to local authorities about not receiving their marriage certificate.

Authorities investigated and discovered that a second couple married by Bottineau was facing the same difficulties in obtaining their certificate. She was charged by local law enforcement with:
-Fraud under $5000
-Forging legal documents and credentials
-Pretending to solemnize weddings without lawful authority
The police suspect more illegal marriages, and they are reaching out to any couples who may have used the services of Bottineau.

We have seen other cases where con artists conduct fraudulent ceremonies for the sake of quick gain. While these couples will eventually have their marriages recognized by the province, they will experience delays in receiving their marriage certificate.

At the Ottawa Wedding Chapel and All Seasons Weddings we always advise our couples to consult the following directory which lists every licensed officiant in Ontario. A confirmation of your officiant’s credentials may save you a lot of trouble and paperwork in the future.

Make sure to visit www.ontario.ca/data/registered-religious-officials before your big day.

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