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    Wedding Party Etiquette

    May 23rd, 2019

    The social codes of being a bridesmaid or groomsmen can sometimes be confusing. To help you navigate the often murky waters, here are some of the most commonly asked questions.


    Avoid broadcasting the news (photos included) to social networks before sharing your engagement with family and friends. If you have any children from a previous marriage, they should be told first. Parents, family members, godparents, and anyone you are particularly close with should also be told before the news is public knowledge and before you select your wedding party.


    No, you are not obligated to accept if asked to be a bridesmaid. While it’s a big honour, it’s also a big ask and brides-to-be should be mindful of that. Even if you want to accept, don’t rush into the decision. Before you commit to the potentially pricey and time-consuming task, there are a couple of things that should first be considered: most importantly, the money and time it will cost you. Ideally, the bride should give you as much information about that as possible right off the bat. You should definitely ask if she doesn’t. Will you be expected to pay for your own dress and accessories? What about wedding day hair and makeup? These are important things to know.


    ‘As a bridesmaid, what am I supposed to pay for?’ is the biggest question. It’s a great starting point if the bride can pay for dresses. If she wants a specific look for hair and makeup, it would be nice if she could also cover the cost of that. If that’s not within the bride’s budget, perhaps accessories and shoes are. The couple should cover more of the wedding party’s costs if it’s a destination wedding; they should foot the bill for their transportation or lodging, if not both. Or at the very least, cover the bridesmaids’ outfits. Because of those added costs, many destination weddings either not having a wedding party or have a smaller one.


    If I am a part of the wedding party, do I have to attend every event? There may be an engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelorette party — but you don’t have to attend them all. Be up front with the bride about which events you’ll be able to make. And if you don’t attend a party, you don’t have to feel compelled to give a gift. It’s best to just pick and choose what fits best in your budget. It is, however, recommend always showing up with something in your hand even if it is as simple as a card filled with well wishes. For those who plan on attending most or all of the events, and want to bring a gift to each one, it is recommends purchasing a gift within the $50-100 range.


    Some brides will handle the stress of planning a wedding better than others. If you find yourself with a Bridezilla on your hands, try to be gentle. Get together with the other bridesmaids and see who can help take some tasks off her plate. Then go to the bride and offer specific things you can do to ease her workload. This is one of the biggest parties she will ever plan. Hopefully, your friend’s journey to the altar isn’t too tumultuous for you, and you can both enjoy the fruits of your labour when the wedding day finally arrives.

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    Five Things To Do As Soon As You Get Engaged

    January 9th, 2019

    Congratulations! You’re ENGAGED! Whether you have been waiting for what feels like forever or are caught in a whirlwind romance, getting engaged is an incredibly exciting time in any couple’s life. Once the initial excitement wears off, panic may set in as you find yourself saying, “there is so much to do!”. Don’t fret! We’re here to help get you through the first few weeks with the first five things to do once you get engaged.


    Enjoy this time together! Spend a few weeks just enjoying being engaged, wrapped up in all the and joy that you are feeling, knowing what it means to be engaged and not stressing out about what needs to get done. Go on romantic dates, dream about the day you’ll say “I Do” and flash your ring finger whenever you have a chance. You’ll only be fiancés for so long, so say it often!


    The first thing you’ll want to do is tell everyone you know. We recommend making personal announcements to your immediate family, send out a printed announcement to remaining family and friends or consider posting the happy news online to Facebook and other social media outlets. Everyone will be so happy to hear the news straight from you, so choose whichever method best suits your personal style.


    You don’t have to set a date just yet, but now is a great time to start thinking about the season you’d like to get married in, which will help determine how much time you have to plan. Knowing the season will start to guide your search for venues, conversations with vendors and your wedding dress hunt. And even if you don’t decide on the date for a few more months, your family will be thrilled to tell her friends that you’ll be tying the knot in the fall of 2019 or spring of 2020!


    Before you book any vendors or buy a dress, you’ll need to know how much you’re planning on spending and how your budget will be broken down. Now is the time to figure out if anyone will be contributing to your budget or if the two of you will be paying for the wedding yourselves. Though things will probably change as the months go by, having an idea of how the money will be used will keep you from using your entire budget for a photographer and venue deposits.


    Planning a wedding isn’t all fun and games for everyone, there is a lot to do to prepare for your big day! With a ton of online resources, like this one from WeddingWire, at your disposal, mastering your to-do list is the first place to start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a wedding planner. As planners, we can help you with most of the tasks involved in planning your wedding. From vendors, accessories, etiquette and even the smallest of details, as experts, we have the skills and contacts necessary to make your day come together seamlessly!

    We look very forward to hearing from you and to start planning your amazing Big Day!

    *photos courtesy of: Ruth Eileen Photography, “Summer Engagement”

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    2018: A Year in Review

    December 31st, 2018

    I can hardly believe that the year has come to an end; it feels like only yesterday that we were toasting in this year with sparkling wine and party dresses! As I prepare to ring in the new year of 2019 and rock the next wedding season to come – I wanted to take a moment to share and reflect on all the amazing things that have taken place this past year. Cheers to 2018, it’s been one for the books!


    We started 2018 by being recognized and honoured with our fifth nomination for the annual Ottawa Wedding Awards: Best Planner. To be recognized as a leader in our industry is such a great honour, of which we were awarded when we won the same award back in 2015.

    This year, however, we chose to support our fellow planners by passing on the opportunity. As they say in Hollywood, “it is an honour just to be nominated“!

    February – March

    February and March are traditionally quiet months around the KEP Office. This year I turned 35 and spent a month travelling through mainland China for my birthday (I got to climb the Great Wall!). Upon my return, KEP participated in our favourite boutique wedding show, Tie the Knot.

    photo courtesy of Grey Loft Studios

    Meeting newly engaged Brides and visiting with our vendor friends is something we always look forward to and regard this wedding show as the official kick-off for our next season!


    We rang in the Spring with open arms and gathered a group of top-notch wedding professionals, designing and executing a huge Upper East Side-inspired photoshoot. It was a fantastic, large-scale production that we are extremely proud of!

    photo courtesy of Grey Loft Studios


    With Spring showers come May flowers and May flowers meant it’s Wedding Season! With a stacked 2018 wedding season ahead of us, we couldn’t wait to get started making dreams come true.

    photo courtesy of Fleischer Photography

    Our season kicked off with a BANG! and the beautiful weddings of our clients:

    • Caitlin & Robbie at The National Arts Centre
    • Katie & Matthew at The Museum of Nature
    • Vasi & Alex at The Canadian Space and Aviation Museum


    Officially into the swing of things, June was a welcomed month in our wedding calendars! Bringing on the cake and champagne – we love wedding season!

    photo courtesy of Fleischer Photography

    The KEP team perfectly executed the wedding traditions for our clients:

    • Jaclyn & Michael at their private residence on the Saint Lawrence River
    • Danika Pietro at The Fairmont Chateau Laurier
    • Hilary & Rahman at TwentyTwo at The Westin Ottawa
    • Kristina & Ante at The Fairmont Chateau Laurier
    • Brittany & Francesco at Orchard View Wedding & Event Centre


    July is our birthday month and this year KEP turned a Big 8 years old! It is incredible to have been in business for this long and celebrated amongst some of the top wedding professionals in Ottawa. Cheers to the next birthday!

    photo courtesy of Union 11 Photographers

    In addition to our birthday, we happily celebrated the intimate weddings of our clients:

    • Elizabeth & Jean-Marc at Rivermead Golf Club
    • Samantha & Matthew at The National Arts Centre


    August was hot, hot, hot! I’m not talking just about the record-breaking temperatures, I’m also talking about my amazing team!

    photo courtesy of Rubicon Photography

    Together we basically took up residence in one of Ottawa’s top hotels (with back to back events) and successfully executed the outstanding weddings of some of our favourite clients:

    • James & Mark at TwentyTwo at The Westin Ottawa
    • Laurence & Patrick at Supply & Demand Restaurant
    • Sarah & Alex at Millstreet Brew Pub
    • Mythri & Robbie at TwentyTwo at The Westin Ottawa
    • Alex & Tyler at TwentyTwo at the The Westin Ottawa


    September is historically my favourite month of the year, when the days are still warm but the evenings begin to cool and of course, the leaves start to change.

    photo courtesy of Willow & Wander

    In my opinion, it is the absolute best month to host a wedding and so did our clients:

    • Rachel & Travis at 100 Acre Wood in Picton, ON
    • Jill & David at the Museum of Nature


    October was a huge month! I spent most of the month abroad, marrying the man of my dreams on a private winery, Villa Petrolo, surrounded by the rolling hills of Tuscany, Italy. Photos of our wedding reception have since gone viral (with over 200K likes on Instagram alone) which we both still find incredibly humbling and a little bizarre!

    photo courtesy of Anne Marie Bouchard Photography

    Meanwhile, my team back home rocked the weddings of:

    • Joy & Mark at The Westin Ottawa Hotel
    • Kirsty & Kirill at the Army Ottawa Officer’s Mess


    With the bulk of wedding season behind me, I looked forward to my next project and professional adventure. Collaborating with my very good friend and owner of Le Belvedere in Wakefield, Quebec the foundation of an amazing partnership started to form. Want to know more … you’ll just have to wait and see!

    photo courtesy of Laura Kelly Photography


    Easily the highlight of my month was to have the creative style shoot I produced back in the Spring be featured on one of my favourite national wedding publications, Wedluxe Magazine.

    photo courtesy of Grey Loft Studios

    As I do every year, I got all dressed up and joined some of my dearest friends at our annual industry holiday celebration, Noel en Noir. It is the one day of the year that we all get to get dressed up and treat ourselves as  guests – it’s the perfect way to end the year!

    photo courtesy of Lexi Photobooth

    Thank you so much to all of our wonderful clients, amazing industry colleges, and loyal friends who have supported my team and made this year one of the greatest yet. Your overwhelming love and encouragement continues to motivate me to continue doing what I love to do. What’s next for KEP, you ask? Well, I will be taking the winter months to refocus, reorganize, and come back stronger and better. Change is coming and I cannot wait to share with you all the great *BIG* things to come in 2019!


    Shannon xoxo

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    2019 Wedding Trends to Watch For

    December 20th, 2018

    With only a few days left before we sip and cheer in the New Year, we are so excited to be looking forward to the 2019 wedding season. Whether you are well into your wedding planning or just getting started, we are here to help you include some of the hot 2019 trends into your special day. Check out our hot tips and predictions:

    Coral Colours & Pink Tones

    Pantone has announced it’s colour of 2019 is a bright, sunny, pinky-orange named Living Coral. A cheery tone that’s perfect for Spring and Summer weddings, coral is a fantastic hue to incorporate into a wedding via everything from coral coloured flowers, bridesmaids dresses, cakes, makeup and colour schemes.

    Looking for a natural way to bring Coral into your wedding scheme? Look no further than the peony! A timeless wedding flower, peonies have always been a popular bouquet choice, so you can expect to see lots of these in 2019, too. Peonies can be crafted into bouquets that suit any style of wedding, from very formal affairs to rustic garden parties. However, as the peony season begins in April/May and only runs through to late June, their availability is limited. If you have an early summer wedding and your heart set on peonies then you will be able to get your hands on them. But if your wedding is later in the year, then beautiful alternatives include garden roses (for summer), dahlias (for late summer) or ranunculus (for winter and spring).

    Simple & Classic Wedding Looks

    Minimalists can rejoice because 2019 heralds the return of classic designs and simple styles. The poster girl for this trend is Meghan Markle and her striking yet simple bracelet-sleeved, bateau-necked ceremony gown and halter neck reception dress. For this style, tailoring is key, as is finding the right silhouette to suit your shape. Nail both and you’ll be well on your way to modern princess bride realness.

    Brides are going to be embracing a natural look that highlights their favorite features. Hairstyles will be simple too, think half-up-sweeps that frame the face with a few locks and are softly gathered in the back of the head.

    Bring the Outside, Inside

    Greenery continues to be a classic go-to shade, with flowers and foliage becoming more organic and lush. Trees and lots of foliage throughout floral designs will take centre stage. Florals will be natural, whimsical and romantic. Brides will also include an abundance of greenery in their bridal bouquets. Giant greenery with two to six amazing blooms, such as garden roses, peonies, and protea, are what brides will be carrying into 2019.

    Another interpretation of the ‘bringing the outdoors in’ trend, is by using grasses instead of foliage to decorate your wedding. Ideal if you’re attracted to a neutral colour scheme, or wanting an updated bohemian aesthetic, pampas grass appears incredibly romantic when used to decorate arches and aisles.

    Long Guest Tables with Layering Details

    Our favourite design for a modern tablescape is lots of layering, clean lines, and loads of varying texture. Swapping the round tables and tall centerpieces for long banquet tables with rows of low flowers. Filling out long tablescapes with multiple floral arrangements in a high/low fashion will add depth and dimension at different levels with floral and candles. Guests can see each other, the happy couple can sit in the middle without feeling like they are on display, and it makes for wonderful photos.

    One trend that will continue to prevail throughout 2019 is the pull towards refined elegance. A classic, simple, and refined aesthetic will always be in style; go for minimal decor and an airy color palette. An immaculate place setting—free of virtually everything but your charger, menu, and napkin—are both photographically and spatially pleasing.

    Grazing Tables & Interactive Bars

    Doing away with waiters serving traditional canapés, grazing tables that usually featuring cheese, meats and fruits are presented as a work of art, ensuring your guests never go hungry! What pairs perfectly with a well designed charcuterie spread? An interactive cocktail bar!  Couples like to include something interactive for their guests to do and a having a specialty bar, like a tequila tasting or scotch tasting bars are a fun activity. A mixologist onsite can assist guests in choosing different drinks to try and enjoy!

    Week Day Weddings

    Couples have been adding multiple events to their wedding program including welcome parties, after parties and post-wedding brunches for years, but instead of jamming everything into a three day weekend, more and more couples are turning to alternative days of the week to host their big day. Couples are hosting family and friends all week long and are opting to celebrate, with a full ceremony and wedding, towards the beginning or middle of the week. What do you think of hosting your wedding on a Wednesday?

    No matter what you choose to include in your wedding day, we are here to help! Happy planning into 2019! xoxo, KEP

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    Pantone 2019 Colour of the Year

    December 14th, 2018

    Every year, the Pantone Colour Institute releases it’s ‘Colour of the Year’, a highly anticipated annual announcement for designers and fashionistas alike. The annual Colour of the Year both highlights and influences top seasonal runway colours, forecasts global colour trends, and advises creative companies on popular colours for products and design.

    Pantone has just announced that the 2019 Colour of the Year is: Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral. Described as, “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge”.

    How to Use Living Coral for Your Wedding

    Bright Bouquets

    Florals are a great and easy way to embrace Living Coral into your wedding. Peonies, Ranunculus, and Spray roses are gorgeous and make for beautiful, lush bridal bouquets.

    Bold Bridesmaids

    Bridesmaids attire is a fantastic way to add pops of this gorgeous 2019 Colour of the Year. You can choose to dress your entire party in one solid colour or indulge in a more favourable ombre effect.

    Dazzling Stationery

    From invitation suites to full reception staples, wedding stationery is a fantastic way to incorporate bold and bright colours without overpowering your overall theme and design.

    Lush Florals

    It’s no secret that we love, love, love flowers! To us, florals are like the sprinkles on a cupcake – they absolutely complete a wedding look. Bright and bold florals led themselves easily to a visually dynamic table and ceremony decor. Living Coral will absolutely work in these two areas of your wedding design.

    Fun Snacks

    Consider serving chilled pink lemonade or a refreshing grapefruit cocktail as your welcome drink or signature cocktail as an easy (and yummy!) way to include coral into your wedding pallet. Pink and coral coloured French macarons also make for both visual delicious detail and dessert table addition!

    To further help you explore this gorgeous colour, Pantone has created some inspirational palette ideas. Taking it one step further, we’ve put together some inspiring examples of how to use and include Living Coral into your wedding colour palette:

    Focal Point

    Pantone describes this palette as “immediately drawing our attention like a beacon of light. Living Coral warmly engages, vivifying the palette as it becomes the focal point in the understated and upscale, composed and cool colour grouping”. We love how the natural green and tan tones both calms and compliments this year’s colour!

    Shimmering Sunset

    Pantone describes this palette as “bold and brilliant, a palette evocative of the dazzling portrait of colour splashed across the sky as the sun rises and sets, one where Living Coral energizes and enlivens, adding to our feelings of pleasurable warmth”. We think this pallet is perfect for a peak summer wedding, were the days are both long and warm!

    Under the Sea

    Pantone describes this palette as “awash in colour suggestive of the watery environment that lies beneath a tropical environment. Living Coral is placed at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, evocative of how coral reefs embrace with their warmth and nourishment and provide shelter to diverse kaleidoscope of colourful sea life”. This palette is perfect for a nautical themed wedding hosted by the seaside!

    We encourage you to take these gorgeous palettes to help you bring this year’s special shade into your wedding designs!
    xoxo KEP

    * video, colour descriptions courtesy of: Pantone | example photos courtesy of Pinterest.

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    Fall Wedding Trends We’re Crushing On

    October 26th, 2018


    There is so much to love about a fall wedding—the cooler temperatures, rich colours, and lush, cozy venues. Here are some of our favourite trends that will enhance any autumnal party experience.

    All velvet everything

    This ultra-luxe fabric has made a big comeback in fashion and furniture design over the past few years. It’s no surprise that velvet has worked its way into wedding decor as well. Velvet adds an enhanced level of luxury to a boho-chic event. We especially love it as a table runner with lush florals and tapered candles. It also looks great on a vintage-inspired wedding party or in small ribbon accents.

    Fresh fruit as decor

    Fresh fruit is an easy way to make your decor look like it came straight out of a Dutch Masters’ painting.  Choose jewel-toned fruits like grapes, pomegranates and figs for a moodier feel while citruses like oranges and lemons work for a brighter, cheerier look. Fruit doesn’t have to stop at centrepieces. Use it as a delicious decoration for your cake, incorporate it into your menu, or wear it in a floral crown.

    Relaxed meal service

    Nothing encapsulates the fall season more than a shared meal among friends and family. Opt to have your meal served family style, where dishes are passed between guests, instead of the traditional waiter experience. This encourages your guests to interact with each other which gives a cozier, more intimate vibe. Grazing tables where guests help themselves to spreads of artisanal meats, cheeses, breads, and vegetables are also gaining popularity. Not only will it taste great, but it also acts as a show-stopping centrepiece for the entire event.


    xoxo, KEP
    Featured image credit: Kathy Fleischer at Fleischer Photography 

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    Rachel & Travis

    September 29th, 2018

    | Ceremony & Reception: 100 Acre Wood, Prince Edward County | Tent & Lighting: Sperry Tents Canada | Hair: Showpony Hair + Spa | Make-Up: One Fine Beauty | Band: Sway Band | Silent Disco DJ: Silent Beats Events | Photographer: Willow & Wander Photography | Florist: Roam Flora | Catering & Cake: 100 Acre Wood | Decor Rentals: PartyTime Rentals | Stationery: WishTree Stationery + Design | Planner & Styling: Kennedy Event Planning |

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    Make Your Wedding Stand Out With These Unique Ottawa Vendors

    August 24th, 2018

    The city of Ottawa may have a reputation for being ‘vanilla’ but our wedding industry is anything but that. Every year we’re seeing vendors bring fresh, fun ideas to couples that want to add unique touches to their big day. As planners, there’s nothing better than hearing a wedding guest say “That’s SO them!” when they pick up on a personalized detail. Here’s a list of our favorite local vendors that will make your wedding day one of a kind. 

    Bring in a fun bar

    As elaborate photobooths slip out of style, couples are on the prowl for alternative ways to keep their guests entertained. Cellar 82 is a mobile bar and lounge set inside a stylishly renovated 1967 Airstream trailer. They offer a variety of creative cocktails, boozy snow cones, and alcoholic freezie pops. Not to mention, the beautifully designed trailer provides the perfect backdrop for your guest’s selfies. Rental of the Airstream is $1,500 and an open bar starts at $55 per person.

    Bring in a fun bar…on a bike!

    If there are two things that Ottawans love in the summertime it’s bikes and booze. Sip Beverage Bike has combined these local favourites in an adorable (and safe) way. Sip will come to your venue on a super cute custom bike equipped with an ice bucket and large cooler box stuffed to the brim with beverages of your choosing. Drinks are served by a friendly driver decked out in either a tuxedo or an “I make pour decisions” t-shirt. Their standard event package is $500 for 4 hours of service.

    Involve your pooch in the festivities, risk free

    Have you thought about including your pup in your wedding but are worried they may do something unpredictable like say, pee on a guest? Worry not, Dayna’s Pet Sitting is here to be your dog’s personal Day Of Coordinator. Dayna’s will manage your dog’s needs throughout the rehearsal, ceremony, photos, and any other moment you want them there for. Afterwards, they’ll transport Fido to a caretakers or kennel so you can enjoy your reception and honeymoon. There packages are 100% customizable and quotes are given on a individual basis.

    Make your own wedding bands

    Jewelry workshops that let you design and create your own wedding bands are sentimental and make for a truly unique date night. Cynosure Jewelry Design has a private, two-session class that walks you through the ring-making process from start to finish. Dates and times are flexible according to your schedule and no experience is required. The workshop is $360 per couple plus material fees depending on what type of metal and design you choose.

    Incorporate non-traditional desserts

    Unique wedding desserts can be a great way to show off your personality as a couple. They also tend to be a big hit with guests. Popafella Paleta Bar offers a delicious line of vegan, all-natural popsicles perfect for cooling down guests at outdoor wedding. Their gourmet popsicles start at $4 a piece with lots of different catering options available.

    Xoxo, KEP


    Photo credit

    Cellar 82: Photography by Emma 

    Sip Beverage Bike: Kamara Morozuk Photography

    Popafella Paleta Bar: MDRN Photobooth Company 

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    Alex & Tyler (video)

    August 18th, 2018

    | Ceremony: Saint Patrick’s Basilica | Reception: TwentyTwo, Westin Ottawa | Hair: TopKnot Hair Styling | Make-Up: One Fine Beauty | Dress: Alliance Bridal | Suit: King & Bay | DJ & Lighting: DJ RayRay, Oxygen Entertainment | Photographer: Rubicon Photography | Videography: Mocha Tree Studios | Florist: Capital Florist | Cake: Thimble Cakes | Linens: Groovy Linen | Decor Rentals: Creative Edge Studios | Stationery: Maison Manquette | Planner & Styling: Kennedy Event Planning |

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    Alex & Tyler

    August 18th, 2018

    | Ceremony: Saint Patrick’s Basilica | Reception: TwentyTwo, Westin Ottawa | Hair: TopKnot Hair Styling | Make-Up: One Fine Beauty | Dress: Alliance Bridal | Suit: King & Bay | DJ & Lighting: DJ RayRay, Oxygen Entertainment | Photographer: Rubicon Photography | Videography: Mocha Tree Studios | Florist: Capital Florist | Cake: Thimble Cakes | Linens: Groovy Linen | Decor Rentals: Creative Edge Studios | Stationery: Maison Manquette | Planner & Styling: Kennedy Event Planning |

    See Alex & Tyler’s wedding video below:

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