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How to write your own wedding vows 

November 3, 2023

Writing your own wedding vows is an ideal way to express your love and devotion to your partner. However, it can seem daunting trying to capture your romantic journey in a short speech while also making promises for your future together. Vows are also often said in front of your entire family. So where to begin? 

Here are some tips that can help you write your own heartfelt vows and as stress-free as possible.  

Consult with your partner 

While many couples wish to keep their vows a surprise, it can be a good idea to ask your partner how you both want your vows to be structured, or even just the overall tone. Do you want more traditional vows? Maybe you want to tell a story with a bit of humour throughout. Knowing what you both want will allow your ceremony to flow perfectly. You can keep the content secret while making sure you’re both on the same page! 

Start writing your rough draft in advance

Do not wait until the last minute. Start writing your vows a minimum of a month before your actual wedding day. Stressful writing can cause you to accidentally omit precious memories or leave you feeling unsatisfied with your result. Even if you start by jotting down a few ideas or sentences, starting early is always best. You can also ask a trusted friend or family member for ideas, input, or even to listen while you practice reading your vows aloud.  

Vow format options

Not sure what format or tone you want to go with? Here are some popular formats:  

Humorous vows: these often include funny stories you love telling, jokes, anecdotes, or movie quotes. Humorous vows can feel very lighthearted yet equally romantic. People listening can get a better sense of your relationship and can laugh along with you. This format is especially good if you’re nervous and want to lighten the mood.  

Romantic vows: these are more traditional in nature and are a great way to really tell your love story. You can start from the beginning of your journey together, all the way to your wedding day. Romantic vows are great for couples who want to really be heartfelt and tell each other how they feel.  

Traditional vows: these are often the ones you see in movies and are usually said when a couple chooses not to customize their vows. Traditional vows can be just as meaningful and represent a couple’s religion or family. These vows often start with ‘I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward…’. You can add a little extra to personalize traditional vows while keeping that familiar feeling.  

Step-by-step vow writing 

Begin by stating who your partner is to you. If you often say they are your best friend, address them as such.  

No matter what format you choose, you can start by saying what you love about your partner, your favourite things about them, why you fell in love, and how you feel when they aren’t around. Tell a story about them that you adore; this can be a funny story or a very romantic story, or both! 

Make promises that you vow to keep; these can be traditional, like: ‘I promise to love and cherish you, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, and to be faithful to you until death do us part.’ You can choose some more humorous vows like: ‘I vow to love you unconditionally, even if you’re a Habs fan,’ or romantic vows like: ‘I vow to love the person you will become, just as I love the person you are now’. 

Conclude your vows by either reiterating the most important parts of your speech or by making one final poignant vow to wrap it up.  

Remember, your vows should be as unique as you are and personalized however you want. Have fun with them!  

Customizing your ceremony makes memorable moments

September 23, 2023


Some people think the ceremony is the boring part of a wedding day. They anticipate it will be long or dry or overly religious or full of legal-type details. They would rather fast-forward to the party.

Those people are missing out.

The legal requirements for a ceremony are short and simple – a question of intent for each partner, signing of the documents, pronouncing the couple as married (Quebec has some additional required text.) There is lots of room for creativity and meaningful connection. Your ceremony can be the highlight of your day, if you put in some effort. Personalizing the script, music, and vibe will result in a ceremony that has personality and will provide lasting memories for you and your guests.


Guests may be expecting classical music and a serene bride or groom gliding down the aisle. But it can be so many other things. We’ve seen flower men, flower grandmas, a choreographed dance up the aisle, pets carrying rings, a ring bear (in a bear costume), ring security guards, and more. One officiant we work with once introduced a wedding party as they came down the aisle as if they were taking part in a WWE wrestling match. From sweet to silly, why not get things started in a way that will set the tone for the ceremony and the party to come? Don’t be afraid to showcase your personalities.


Do not feel bound by tradition. Your wedding music does not have to be classical or instrumental. It can be anything you want, so make it meaningful to you. Make it memorable for your guests. Make it fun. It’s the best when the first few bars of a song hit and the guests look at each other and say, “this is so them!” Pick songs that mean something to you. The one that you sing to each other while dancing around in the kitchen, or one that represents a departed family member, or one that your kids love. Pick a song that bops, or one that croons. A love song or a party anthem, you get to decide. Finish your ceremony with a dance party and invite everyone to take part.


Words matter. Your wedding script can tell your story. If you are having a lot of people at your ceremony, they may not all be familiar with the way you met and how your relationship progressed. Sharing some details will help catch them up and give them an appreciation for why you are standing in front of them. Your script and vows can highlight all the things you love about your partner and your relationship. Tone can vary from formal to downright goofy. Your vows are your promises to each other for your life ahead. They should sound like you, not some one-size-fits-all script.


Include the people who are important to you. While a friend or family member can do a reading during the ceremony, there are lots of other ways to incorporate folks. If you have someone with musical ability, they can sing or play during the ceremony. Recognize your mothers (or parents) by giving each a rose at the beginning of the ceremony. Include kids by giving them a gift, making vows to them, or having them sign a document (Record of Solemnization in Ontario or temporary certificate in other provinces). Bring together a blended family with a sand ceremony where each family member gets a different colour of sand and takes a turn pouring it into a clear jar, a symbol of unity that becomes a permanent fixture in your home. If you want to get everyone involved, pass your rings around from guest to guest in a ring warming. Or give everyone a smooth stone and ask them to hold it during the ceremony and infuse it with their best wishes, then collect them afterward in a jar or box and keep them on display.


The attitude of the couple can have a big impact on the vibe of the ceremony as well. If you are just wishing it would be over, your guests will also probably feel that way. If you embrace the ceremony as a celebration and a key component of your day, then that positive energy will filter through to your guests. It’s a one-time event, so make it something you will enjoy!


What to discuss with your wedding officiant?

May 12, 2023

You know you need a credentialled wedding officiant to make your ceremony legal. But what kinds of things should you talk to your officiant about before the wedding?

Their credentials: You can inquire how they are credentialled and ask to see proof. In the province of Ontario there is a government list where you can search for anyone registered to conduct marriage ceremonies.

The legal bits: When are you planning on getting your marriage licence? (In QC it’s the officiant who acts as the licensing agent). Your officiant will appreciate it if you can send them a clear photo or scan of the licence in advance so they can prep some of their paperwork.

The ceremony language/script: The legal requirements for a wedding ceremony are simple and minimal (question of intent for each partner, sign the paperwork, pronounce you as married, and in Quebec the Civil Code must be read). The rest is up to you. Bring your officiant your favourite poems or readings to include in the script. (They may have suggestions as well if you don’t know where to start.) Talk about any anecdotes or shared experiences or hobbies that you’d like to be mentioned in the ceremony. Discuss ways to honour loved ones who have passed. Talk about cultural traditions you’d like to include.

Tone: Lighthearted and relaxed? Formal and distinguished? Let your officiant know what tone you are hoping to strike, and they will do their best to accommodate.

Colour and theme: Officiants are often happy to dress to complement a couple’s chosen colours or theme. Is it a Western and denim theme? Black tie with a touch of purple? Hawaiian shirts? Feel free to talk about how the officiant should dress.

Mechanics and logistics of the day: Tell your officiant who is responsible for music and/or microphones. How many are in the wedding party? Who will have the rings? Who are the witnesses?

Rehearsal (if you are planning one): Do you need your officiant there? Do you need them to run the rehearsal? What dates/times are you considering?

Additional questions: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Your officiant probably has a great deal of experience and may be able to suggest ways to handle potentially difficult situations. For example, divorced parents who don’t get along, blended families, multifaith unions, an uncle with a drinking problem who may make a fuss, etc. You can also talk to your officiant about your feelings or fears. If they know you are anxious about speaking in front of a crowd, they can help.

Your wedding officiant will try to make your day everything you want it to be. They are more than just the person who “signs the papers,” they are a great asset to your wedding planning, your personal cheerleader, and an understanding ear.

2023 wedding trends

February 15, 2023

breakfast board, live plant centerpiece, pool party

Last year was a banner year for weddings. The pent up demand that built through two years of Covid was released in a flood of nuptials. Wedding vendors were booked up, venues were in short supply, and couples were squeezing their ceremonies into unconventional dates and locations. So what does 2023 hold?

Sustainability and live plants

Couples continue to become more eco-conscious. People are skipping the extraneous stuff – no programs, no welcome bags, no cheap plastic flip flops for the reception, and no takeaways or thank you gifts unless they are edible, plantable, or at least compostable. Fireworks are also losing their appeal as they are pollutants and can have negative effects on animals. Live plants are always a beautiful table centerpiece and you can give them out at the end of the event (think something vibrant and lush, not so much the succulents from past years). Live plants may also feature in the ceremony backdrop or aisle decor, giving the couple the opportunity to use those shrubs and flowers to spruce up their yard afterwards.

Wedding dresses

There continues to be a lot of variation, but this year there is an influx of inspiration from the 1960s, including the minidress. You will continue to see fringe, but less bohemian and more luxe. More high necklines as well, in both lace and fabric.

Pool party

Whether they are pool-side for the ceremony or hitting the pool for the reception, couples will be embracing summer. It can be kept classy and modern, but the pool party prefers to live in the land of retro vibes, bold décor, and over the top umbrella drinks. The couple making a splash for the camera in their wedding garb? Maybe! (Just be careful a water logged dress or suit doesn’t drag you under.) The only sticking point for pool-side fun is the weather.

Beyond charcuterie boards

We’ve seen the idea of grazing nibbles expanded for receptions. Cocktail style receptions offer the flexibility for everyone to get face to face with the wedding couple and guests aren’t stuck chatting with only the folks at their dinner table. While charcuterie boards are still popular, we’re now seeing breakfast boards, dessert boards, butter boards (a trend which spiked on social media last fall), pizza boards, poutine boards, and themed boards for holidays. For folks who aren’t yet ready to go back to buffet-style dining for fear of germ spreading, individually portioned charcuterie boxes or cups may be just the thing.

Couples doing whatever the flip they want

Since Covid, there has been an ‘anything goes’ approach to weddings. Couples are emboldened to make their day all about what they want, not what people expect. Weekday weddings, morning weddings, backyard weddings, tiny weddings, these are all choices that are here to stay. Couples are continuing to select traditions that are meaningful to them and reject the rest. And we’re here for it!

How to pick a wedding date

January 27, 2023

These days, most anything goes when choosing a date for your wedding. Traditional Saturday event? Thursday evening? Halloween? Sunrise ceremony on a Monday? Whatever you want, you can make it happen. When picking a date, you may want to consider the following:

2023 calendar


Take a look at your guest list. Will some be travelling from out of town or even out of the country? Try to be sensitive to people coming from farther away. They may have to take extra days off work and/or spend hours driving/flying. If everyone is local, a Thursday evening may work just fine.


One thing to keep in mind is that your date will affect your wedding costs. Check with vendors to see. Long weekends and holidays may have premiums. Saturday afternoons in the summer and fall are prime wedding days so you can expect to pay full price for everything. If you have the flexibility to choose another day of the week or a morning ceremony, you may pay less as vendors try to fill their schedules on less busy dates. It’s not just prices to think about. Availability can be an issue. A top venue or photographer may be booked years in advance for prime dates, but if you have flexibility with your wedding date you might just be able to snag your dream location.

Potential for conflict

Choosing a date on Thanksgiving weekend or New Year’s Eve could make sense as people will normally be gathering anyway. But keep in mind that friends may have their own family traditions and celebrations they are not willing to give up to attend your wedding. Big events in your wedding city/town should be considered as well, whether a festival, a convention, or something else. These big events can affect venue and hotel availability. Also, remember that July to Thanksgiving are prime wedding weekends. If you are choosing a date in that window, make sure you check with your friend group to ensure nobody else is planning their wedding for your date. Get your invitations (or at least a “Save the Date” card or email) out early so everyone knows when your big day is!

Sentimental check-in

Many couples like to select a date that has additional special meaning, like the anniversary of their first date or another milestone in their relationship. Some also look at wedding dates of parents or grandparents as a nod to family history. On the flip side, try to make sure your wedding doesn’t coincide with a sad or painful memory anniversary for any of the major players – like the death of a parent or sibling. You might also consider world events. It took quite a few years before couples wanted to get married on 9/11 again.

By the numbers

Aligning or repeating numbers is appealing to some folks. Maybe it looks cool on an invitation. 2/22/2022 was a big one, for example. Some people like 4/20 and its association with cannabis culture. Many people believe in lucky or unlucky numbers. The Chinese community thinks 4 is unlucky, while 3, 6, and 8 are lucky. 9 is unlucky in Japan. Some people think Friday the 13 is unlucky. Several cultures think of 7 as lucky. And some people are into numerology and have their own personal lucky numbers.

If you have enough time to plan your wedding, go ahead and pick whatever date you want. You can try to be respectful of others, but you’ll probably never be able to please everyone. As long as the people who are important to you will be there, go for it!


Minimizing cellphones & social media at your ceremony

October 24, 2022

You see it all the time – people viewing the world through their cell phone cameras. For example, recording video of a fireworks display, taking a million photos of an iconic landmark and fiddling with filters trying to get that one ‘gram-worthy shot, and, unfortunately, taking non-stop video or photos of a friend’s wedding ceremony. In all cases, these people are missing out on being in the moment and having the fullest experience. So how do you make them stop for your wedding?

Ask nicely….and more than once

Set your expectations from the beginning by mentioning in your invite that you are having an unplugged or device-free ceremony. Explain that you have hired a professional photographer or appointed a specific friend to capture the event. If you are having wedding programs you can mention it again there by saying, “Thanks for respecting our wish to have a camera and phone-free ceremony.” You could also set a sign at the entrance of your ceremony venue to remind people. Finally, ask your wedding officiant to make an announcement before the ceremony begins telling guests to put their phones on silent and put them away so they can be fully present and enjoy the moment with you.

Or try for a compromise

Another option is to ask guests not to take photos until you have been pronounced as married. The officiant could announce at the beginning of the ceremony that cameras and cellphones should be stored until the end of the ceremony when the couple will spend a few moments posing for guests’ photos.

What about people sharing “unsanctioned” photos online?

You know your guests best. Do you have the type of friends and family who carefully curate or those who post their entire camera roll (including the blurry ones)?

If keeping the lid on wedding photos until you have a chance to view and select your own preferred shot is important to you, you may want to take steps to help that happen.

First, ask your photographer if they can provide a couple of sneak peek shots so you can get a sanctioned photo out on social media quickly, ideally the next day. Another option is to take a “just married” selfie and get your own photo out first that way.

Follow the steps above for an unplugged ceremony. You should also think twice about a wedding hashtag – which will encourage people to post photos.

You can let guests know ahead of time that you would appreciate them not sharing photos online until you have had a chance to post your own. The same as asking for an unplugged ceremony, your options for asking and reminding guests not to post on social media are in the invitation, in the program, via a sign at the venue, and an announcement before the ceremony begins.

You can also review your social media settings and adjust your privacy so people can’t tag you or tagged photos won’t show on your FB or Instagram pages.

Best of both worlds?

If you do want friends and family to share photos from the reception, you can reveal your wedding hashtag at the reception venue. You can also create an Instagram-worthy backdrop or seating area and have a sign encouraging people to take photos.

There will always be one

No matter what you say or do, there will always be someone who doesn’t play by your rules. Try not to get upset. Maybe they are truly addicted to their phone. It’s their loss for not taking time to be in the moment with you. And a good photographer can work around them.



Wedding Arch Alchemy: Creating a Stunning Focal Point

September 8, 2022

Wedding arches are a big décor trend and it seems like they will stick around. And why not? It’s an easy way to have a big impact on your ceremony space.

An arch is a way of drawing the focus to the spot where you will exchange your vows. They are especially helpful if you are getting married outside where there is no obvious focal point or at a venue where it’s essentially a blank canvas.

arch examples

Two takes on the same pergola at the Ottawa Wedding Chapel


An arch can help you incorporate the colours and theme that you have selected for your day. From bo-ho to sleek and modern, an arch is a set-piece that helps create the ambiance you want. You can use pretty much any material — wood, metal, fabric, live plants, etc.

balloon background

Balloons provide big colour impact. Photo: TracyGracePhotography


Your arch can also serve as a backdrop for photos after the ceremony as well. Guests won’t be able to resist snapping a few frames in front of it.

You can rent all sorts of backdrops, flower walls, and arches. Wedding groups on social media or buy and sell sites like Kijiji are also a good source for ready-made items. Of course, if you’re handy you can DIY it and have it to keep or sell to someone else. If you are buying or making a sturdy structure, you can add it to your garden or patio after to extend its life.

You don’t have to break the bank — simple can be very effective. You may be able to use something you already have or something you can thrift or make — sheer curtains, old wooden ladders, paper flowers, a tree branch, etc.

Sunflower round arch

The sunflowers here are a perfect tie-in to the couple’s splashes of yellow.


Keep the weather in mind as you plan. There could be rain or wind and you don’t want your arch to tumble — make sure it’s stable and possibly staked to the ground. Wind can also play havoc with draped fabric.

If there is a view or horizon, pay attention to what vista your arch frames — it’s going to be in a lot of photos. You may want to work the angles to avoid a highway with traffic or the back of a building for example. And while you may think of a wedding arch as having a lot of height to draw the eye, you can create something lower to the ground (especially if you have a view with mountains in the background). An existing flowerbed can be your focal point with some added pillars or use potted perennial plants to create a low-rise semi-circle. You can use the plants for landscaping at your home afterwards or gift them to the members of your wedding party.

This stunning backdrop was created by Ottawa’s Monara Events Photo: Green Tea Photography Venue: Billings Estate Museum


In the end, make sure that the focal point of your ceremony location is something that brings you joy when you look at it. The personality of the couple should be apparent — so don’t be concerned with sticking to something flowery, if that’s not what you like. Get creative and playful. Make it as steampunk, anime, forest elf, comic book, futuristic, or Day of the Dead as you like. It’s a key visual for your day.


Who Can be a Wedding Witness?

March 2, 2022

Signing wedding paperworkWhether you are eloping or having a huge wedding, you are going to need official witnesses for your ceremony to sign the legal marriage documents.

You will need two – one to sign for each partner. At every wedding there must be at least five people present: the couple, two witnesses, and the officiant. In Canada, witnesses must be physically present, they can not be present by video.

Witnesses must have the mental capacity and language skills to understand what they are witnessing and signing. They may not be impaired by drugs or alcohol. Some provinces have rules around age, for example in BC witnesses must be 19+, in Alberta 18+, but in Ontario it’s up to the officiant’s discretion (we still recommend 18+).

Witnesses can be family or friends, or they can be strangers. They do not have to be Canadian citizens or live in Canada.

There is no obligation for your honour attendants (best man/maid, maid/man of honour) to act as witnesses. If you would like to recognize someone else important to you by having them sign as a witness, the officiant can call them up at the appropriate time.

All that witnesses have to do is sign their name on the legal paperwork. They also need to provide their home address for the officiant’s records or marriage register. Should something go wrong with the process of registering the marriage (lost in the post, etc) it is possible that witnesses could be called on to sign/testify that they witnessed the marriage and agree that both parties were consenting, on the date it took place.

If you are planning an elopement and do not have witnesses for your wedding, your officiant may be able to supply them. Our chapel and All Seasons Weddings both offer this service for an additional fee. If you are eloping in a public place, you can try to find witnesses on the spot.

If you are planning something unusual or a location that is difficult to reach (requiring hiking, snowshoeing, paddling, etc) double check that your witnesses are on board, or take those factors into consideration when selecting them. You want someone who is delighted to be standing on top of a mountain with you, not someone who doesn’t have the proper gear or stamina.

No matter if your witnesses are your best friends or complete strangers, your wedding will hopefully be a memory you will carry with you forever.

Take a Deep Breath: Combatting Wedding Stress

January 19, 2022

woman pulling hair outGetting married can be stressful and getting married in the time of Covid-19 has amped that stress level way up. We’ve put together some tips to help keep you focused and avoid spiraling off into the stress abyss.

Decide what is important to you

What do you want to remember about your wedding day? What do you want your guests to remember? Set some end goals and then work backwards. When questions come up and you feel pressured to make decisions, go back to those goals and use them to give yourself permission to let some things go. If you’ve decided dancing to boppin’ tunes with your friends and a killer dessert are at the top of your priority list, you can get the cheaper napkins or pass on buying fancy shoes/wedding favours/fresh flower centrepieces and not give it a second thought.

Covid Caveat: In a landscape of changing regulations for social interactions, decide what is a deal breaker. Do you require dancing? Drinking? Can you be happy with 20 guests or will you hold out for 200? Talking about it in advance can make it easier if the time comes and you have to decide to move forward or postpone. Take it a step further and make a tiny wedding back-up plan. You can’t control the Covid situation. You can be prepared to manage your wedding to fit regulations.

Keeping things smaller to start with

A smaller wedding can end up being easier to plan and less expensive as well, so it might be less stressful to start with. We have certainly seen couples with small Covid weddings say it was a blessing in disguise – they had a ready-made excuse for not inviting far flung cousins and work acquaintances and it kept them focused on what was really important to them. Keeping your wedding party tiny can also prevent drama and keep the day-of logistics simpler.

Manage family expectations

Pleasing family can be a huge stressor. As much as possible, try to be firm with your wishes and let family know from the very beginning of planning what they can expect. If parents are paying, negotiate the areas where they will have a say. Be upfront and honest about what is important to you – and what stresses you out.

Build in time to your wedding day schedule to relax

Space out appointment times, taking into consideration that hair or make-up can take longer than anticipated. Plan for lunch. Sitting down and eating something will give you time to breathe and enjoy the company of your wedding entourage. Not to mention that food will help keep you fueled for the big event to come.

Some couples like to remove themselves from the hubbub right after the ceremony and find a quiet place where they can spend a few moments in just each other’s company. See what options there are at your venue. Some venues have a suite for your use where you can sneak away and chill out for 15 mins in the middle of your reception with nobody trying to take your picture.

Take a break

Make sure planning doesn’t take over your life. You need time to take care of yourself and time to spend with your partner not talking about your wedding. Schedule date nights where wedding talk is off limits. Lunch with friends and tell them ahead of time that you don’t want to talk about the wedding. Schedule a relaxation massage in the week before your wedding.

Get help and delegate

You are only one person. Even if your future spouse is on-board to plan and organize by your side, you are still only two people. Face the fact that maybe you can’t do it all and get help. You can hire a planner (even a consultation for couple of hours with a professional might help you get a better handle on your to-do list and give you a solid plan for moving forward) or enlist family and friends to help. When delegating to someone, be specific in your requests and budget, and then try to let go of the need to control that task.

Stay organized and don’t leave things until the last minute

Whether it’s with lists or charts, on paper or an app, checking things off is a great way to make sure that nothing gets missed. Knowing you are organized can also help keep stress at bay. If the idea of a list makes you break out into hives, maybe you have an organizationally inclined friend who would be happy to act as your coordinator, or hire a pro.

Roll with whatever happens on the day of

Keep your focus on the positives. There is a good chance that something won’t go exactly right on your wedding day. You can’t control all the external factors (weather, vendors messing up, accidents), but you can control how you respond. Remember that the guests don’t know how things are supposed to go. If there was no wedding cake they would assume it was by design rather than you forgot to pick it up. If something goes amiss, look at your partner and remember the purpose of the day. Everything else is secondary, so you might as well try to laugh at any hiccups along the way.

Wedding wisdom (AKA Listen to Your Coordinator)

October 20, 2021

While wedding dreams may be made of castles, mountains of fresh flowers, horse-drawn carriages, gorgeous gowns, and sleek suits, reality is sometimes a little bit different. Nobody ever stumbles or has their stomach growl during a ceremony in the movies. Go ahead and plan a spectacular wedding day that will make your dreams come true. But also, we urge you to practice practicality. Here are some ways to do that.


Fancy shoesYou might love the crystal high heels or a have your heart set on a new pair of swanky dress shoes, but it’s important to keep comfort in mind. You are going to be on your feet a lot!

-Break shoes in before the big day – this goes for anyone from flower girls to groomsmen. Remember that high heels will make your feet ache if you’re not used to wearing them.

-Brides should practice walking around in their wedding dress and chosen shoes. Think about your wedding location. Will you need to climb any steps? Try some in advance. Figure out the most elegant way to pull your dress up out of the way. Heels will also sink into the ground if you are spending time on grass for your ceremony or photos.

-Bring another pair to change into later. Grooms and other wedding party members should consider this as well. You want to focus on making memories not trying to pretend your feet don’t hurt.


Glass of waterYou have planned a wonderful wedding meal for your family and friends, but have you considered what you will eat the rest of the day? Many times, couples arrive to their wedding ceremony location stressed, hungry and thirsty.

-Plan a mealtime into your wedding day itinerary.

-Make sure you have some healthy snacks on hand in case you don’t feel like eating a whole meal.

-Drink water during the day as well. Write it on your schedule. In fact, hydrate yourself in the whole week ahead – your skin and the rest of your body will thank you.

-If you are having a cocktail-style reception (hopefully we’ll eventually be able to hold those again once Covid has run its course), appoint someone to get you a plate of food and deliver it to you. Every guest will want some face time with the newlyweds, so it can be tricky to slip over to the buffet table.

– Consider the kids. Kids may be unsure of fancy dishes they aren’t used to. If you’re not having a specific kids’ plate, make sure at least one part of the meal is straightforward and likely to be agreeable to kids. Maybe mashed potatoes or even bread. This author recently witnessed a wedding dinner where a teen guest ate only bread because everything else was “too weird.” We all know there are picky adults as well.


Trunk full of flowersDon’t drive yourselves anywhere. You want to be able to enjoy a glass of wine or just kick back and not have the stress of worrying about parking or directions.

-Have someone to take you to the ceremony, and someone to take you home or to your hotel at the end of the night.

-Think about the items you need to transport from the ceremony location to the reception venue or home from the reception at the end of the night. If you are having things delivered by vendors like flowers and cake, you’ll need to have space to take leftover items away. Flower arrangements can take up a lot of space in a trunk and backseat! Appoint someone to transport the gifts as well.

-Don’t forget about the guests. To prevent drinking and driving and make sure everyone feels free to celebrate with you, consider arranging a ride home for people and provide info on public transportation access. A shuttle to the hotel where people are staying or a designated driver service can make a difference.

Other practical tips

-If a bride’s bouquet is arriving in a vase of water, have a dish towel or paper towels on hand to dry the stems before she walks down the aisle.

-Make sure your coordinator or a wedding party member has a little emergency kit (think extra hair pins, safety pins, straight pins for boutonnieres, some tissues, pain meds for surprise headaches, a bottle of water, etc.)

-Have a plan for what is happening right after the ceremony. You’re waking down the aisle, freshly introduced as a married couple, and then what? We’ve seen many couples falter as they aren’t sure what to do next. Discuss ahead of time with your photographer. Are you heading directly to a photo location? Are you greeting guests? If you’ve been streaming the ceremony to non-local guests do you want to stop at the camera and give them a few words of thanks for tuning in?

-If you are writing your own vows to read to each other, send them to the officiant (separately if they are a surprise for each other) so they can be included with the officiant’s ceremony script. That way if the cue cards go missing or the phone battery goes dead, there will be a copy for you to read from.

-If someone forgets the wedding rings, you can use an engagement ring or another normally worn ring as a placeholder so as not to make a big deal about it. Or borrow a ring from the officiant or someone in the wedding party.

-Have a simple wedding website where guests can double check date/times/locations/directions/parking info/Covid safety requirements. Sometimes paper invites get tossed or lost.  The Knot has a great rundown of options:

-Make an emergency contact list including numbers for vendors, all parents, honour attendants (best maids/men), your planner/coordinator, and any other key players. Distribute the list and give vendors a specific point of contact for last minute issues. You do not want to be dealing with someone lost trying to deliver a cake before your ceremony begins.


We hope these little nuggets of wisdom will help you keep your feet firmly planted on the ground as you dream about your perfect ceremony and reception. Keeping sight of real-world issues can reduce stress on the wedding day and help you enjoy seeing all your plans come to life.