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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 centerpieces. Use it as a delicious decoration for your cake, incorporate it it in to 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 centerpiece for the entire event.
Featured image credit: Kathy Fleischer at Fleischer Photography
| 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 |
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.
Cellar 82: Photography by Emma
Sip Beverage Bike: Kamara Morozuk Photography
Popafella Paleta Bar: MDRN Photobooth Company
| 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 |
Your wedding day is fast approaching and you’ve got all the big items checked off your budget: the venue, the dress, the food. But have you included the smaller charges that often creep up unnoticed? These can quickly balloon your budget if you’re not careful. As planners, we work closely with couples and their money concerns on a daily basis. Here are the areas people tend to forget about when making their wedding budget.
The cost of postage can add up quickly, especially if you’re sending save-the-dates, invites, and thank you cards. Stamps start at $1 and can go up to several dollars per piece depending on weight. If your budget is tight, make sure to discuss approximate postage costs with your stationary provider before committing to that luxury boxed invitation suite.
Taxes and tips
Have you received a too good too be true quote from a vendor only to realize later that it didn’t include the 13% sales tax and 18% gratuity? You’re not alone. While these costs shouldn’t be hidden, many couples don’t take them into account on their original budgets. Keep in mind that a service charge is not the same as a tip and does not go directly to the staff. If a vendor has provided great service and doesn’t automatically add gratuity, it’s customary to tip them on the wedding day or soon after.
The legal paperwork for you marriage is an unavoidable and important cost. In Ontario, the fee for a marriage license ranges from $75 to $166. Looking to cut costs where you can? Grab your partner and go on a little road trip. Rural licensing offices tend to charge significantly less than ones located in larger cities.
Vendors who are on-site the day of your wedding often state in their contracts that they must be provided with a meal. Some couples may raise an eyebrow at this, but it’s for good reason. Day of vendors typically work 12-14 hours on your wedding day with little downtime. If they’re sneaking off to eat their own meals or to take breaks they risk missing important moments. Vendors should always be provided with a meal and a chair, but feel free to skip the stationary and centerpieces.
Alterations, undergarments and accessories
Remember that the price of the wedding dress is not just the number on the tag. Bridal gowns typically require alterations, specialty bras and shapeware, shoes, and jewelry. Alterations can range from $75 to $250 and up depending on the intricacy of the dress and amount of work needed. Play it safe and add a cushion of at least $500 on top of your dress budget.
Planner or Day Of Coordinator
Even if you choose to do most of the wedding planning yourself, you’re going to want someone on the ground overseeing your big day. Many couples are disappointed when they assume they can rely on a friend, family member, or their venue coordinator to fill that roll. The cost of a coordinator may seem like a lot upfront, but it allows you and your guests to relax and fully enjoy the day knowing it’s safe in the hands of a professional. Check out KEP’s Services page for more details on how to pick the perfect coordination package for your needs and budget.
Choosing the right vendors is the most important and challenging aspect of planning a wedding. Whether it’s florists, photographers, DJs, or caterers, there are some some standard tips for making good vendor decisions. Here are some of our do’s and don’ts for selecting the perfect people to make your dream wedding a reality.
Do: Start with a Wedding Planner
Okay, so we may be a little bit biased, but the absolute best way to ensure you’re getting quality vendors is to hire an experienced wedding planner. Wedding planners can end up saving you both time and money in the long run. At KEP we provide every couple with a list of well-respected, experienced vendors—tailored to your personality, style, and budget. Contact us today and we’ll set you up with the best vendors Ottawa has to offer.
Don’t: Keep looking once you’ve made a decision
This one’s for you, indecisive couples! Resist the temptation to price shop or keep looking around once you’ve committed to a vendor. Trust us, it will make the whole planning process a lot less overwhelming. The internet is constantly churning out new trends, decor ideas, dress styles, and color palettes. Be confident in your decisions and use your time to focus on other tasks.
Do: Your research
With the popularity of Instagram and Pinterest, it’s hard to resist the appeal of vendors with the prettiest online presence. While social media is a good place to start, don’t forget to do your due diligence. Always check out a vendor’s Google and Facebook reviews. Websites like WeddingWire and The Knot also have honest industry reviews. However, online reviews don’t always tell the whole story of a company. Ask newlywed friends or family members for recommendations.
Don’t: Always choose the cheapest option
It doesn’t matter if your budget is $1,000 or $100,000, every couple loves a good deal. However, —just like in any industry—you get what you pay for. Be wary of vendors offering too good to be true pricing or are seriously under-charging for services compared to their counterparts. Instead, choose someone that fits your style and ask if they can work within your budget. If not, you may need to consider adjusting your budget and/or expectations.
Do: Trust your gut
Always meet a vendor in person (or via video chat) before signing a contract with them. Don’t underestimate the power of your instinct. Do your personalities mesh well? Do they seem genuinely interested and excited about working with you? Can you speak with past clients they’ve worked with? These are things you should be asking yourself during the meeting.
Don’t: Forget that vendors are people too
This one may sound obvious, but it’s important to maintain perspective when working with vendors. A vendor that’s taking a little too long to respond to your emails can leave couples feeling frustrated and anxious. Remember that vendors are usually small business owners with families and responsibilities just like you. Be respectful when confronting someone who’s not meeting your expectations. A great vendor will be receptive of your concerns and work to rectify issues. After your wedding, don’t forget to thank vendors who helped make your big day amazing.
Well looky here, another year has come and passed and Kennedy Event Planning has turned 8 years old.
We have learned a lot about ourselves over the last year. Through the good and the bad there has been one constant pillar and that is Shannon Kennedy, owner and lead planner of Kennedy Event Planning. Without her blood, sweat, and tears KEP would not be where it is today and we would not be where we are without her.
Her naturally welcoming aura enthralls you the second you meet her. The moment you sit down with her and listen to her speak about her love and passion for weddings and planning you’ll fall head over heels. Over the last 8 years Shannon has grown KEP into one of the most sought-after planning services in Ottawa. She has put together an all-star team of five strong ladies and guided us throughout our careers.
To celebrate year 8, we wanted to personally Thank Shannon for all that she does not only for her clients but all that she does for us!
I’ve been with KEP for 6 years now. Shannon and I have been through a lot together – almost so much that we could write not one, but several books about our work experiences. I consider it to be an honour to be part of this team and it makes me proud every single wedding season to see the work we do for our clients. None of it would be possible without our fearless leader. She is strong and hard working. She is elegant and hilarious. She cries at the best moments of each wedding, just like me.
She is Kennedy Event Planning.
There are few people I would chose to work 32 hours within 2 days with – but I pick you. Thank you for letting me part of your family Shan! – Sonya
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work under the leadership of Shannon as part of a team member at KEP. She truly has been one of the most wonderful leaders I have met to date. A true inspiration, her love and aspirations for creating beautiful events has grown into one of the greatest event companies in Ottawa. Shannon leads with love, empathy and determination. She inspires her team and others to go beyond what thought possible, creating true magic. – Barbara
When I think of Shannon Kennedy, I think Boss Lady. I think of a woman who had a dream filled with love and planning, who worked hard at achieving it and still works hard at maintaining it. I am so honoured to work for Shannon who I view not only as my mentor but as a great friend. Thank you, Shannon, for all your hard work and dedication, for taking a leap of faith with me and helping me grow. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support and inspiration. – Natalina
As KEP’s newest staff member, I’ve learned very quickly that Shannon is not just a boss and KEP is not just a company. She has been a great mentor, friend, and inspiration from the get-go. After 8 years in the biz, KEP is truly at the top of its game thanks to the hard work, passion, and energy Shannon gives to every client. She is constantly innovating and adapting to the ever-changing market, with some very exciting projects still to come this year. Thank you, Shannon, for bringing out the #girlboss in all of us! – Chelsea
After meeting Shannon when I was working in the catering industry, I was so inspired by her business and the way she ran it. I’m so thrilled to be a part of KEP now. Thank you, Shannon, for continuing to be the driving force that you are, and for constantly sharing your knowledge and expertise. You’re such a cheerleader for your team, and I’m very proud to be a member! – Lauren
Kennedy Event Planning is Shannon’s life and her clients along with us are her babies. She cares for us like no other and will do all that she can to ensure everything we aspire for will be achieved.
We love you Shan and we love watching you and KEP grow.
Much Love Always,
Your Team xoxo
Pride Month may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate it into your wedding all year round. Many lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) couples use their wedding to recognize and honour the fight for equality that is still ongoing today. If a full-on ROYGBIV themed bash isn’t your style, we’ve got some subtler suggestions that will be right up your alley.
A dessert table is the perfect place to show off your individuality as a couple. If you’re looking for something subtle, opt for a rainbow layered surprise when you cut into the cake. For a bolder look, go all out with a statement piece that screams “Love is Love”, finished off with a cute custom topper.
You and your wedding party’s wardrobe is a great place to add little nods to Pride. If you’re wearing suits, try rainbow cufflinks, socks, or pocket squares. If dresses are more your style, accessorize with rainbow heels, jewelry, or a colourful bouquet. With accessories the possibilities are endless.
Similar to accessories, decor is a great way to bring in small touches or big bold statements. Consider a tasteful ceremony arch that incorporates the colours of the rainbow or signage that celebrates LGBTQ love. Rainbow inspired florals or centerpieces can also give a pop of Pride fun.
If you’ve chosen a trendy dark, moody colour palette for your wedding you may struggle to fit rainbows into your decor. Why not take some creative Pride-filled photos instead? Do some scouting with your photographer to find a colourful graffiti wall. Take your engagement photos during Pride month when there are already a lot of great decorations around the city. This way you can share you pride without changing your overall vision for the wedding.
At the end of the day Pride is about a lot more than rainbow flags and glitter (although we’re big fans of both!). The best way to show your Pride is by ditching the wedding rule book and having a celebration that is uniquely you. In lieu of a gift registry, ask guests to donate to your favourite LGBTQ organizations. Use an inclusivity-focused reading in your ceremony like a passage from the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States. Skip a formal ceremony all together and have a Queer Eye cast member marry you on a Pride parade float!
In 2017, Huffington Post published an article on the Top 10 Hottest Bachelor and Bachelorette Party Destinations. Out of the ten cities, two of them were in Canada and one happened to be Montreal, Quebec.
Located approximately two hours from Ottawa, this gorgeous city boasts all that you can hope for and more when it comes to planning that special weekend away with you and your friends.
If you’re in need of a little culture, this beautiful island gives you old European vibes with its cobblestones and gothic revival buildings; but also screams new world with its numerous festivals and extravagant nightlife.
Today at KEP we’ll tell you about some of our favourite things about Montreal.
WHERE TO STAY
Although Montreal offers many wonderful hotels, it can sometimes be tricky to find a room to accommodate your entire party.
Airbnb is a great option in this wonderful city. It allows you to find a home, apartment or condo for you to share with all of your friends without having to be separated in different rooms or parts of a hotel.
Through Airbnb, hidden in downtown Montreal we found a penthouse condo that can host up to 12 guests. Depending on the time of year you plan to head to Montreal this condo can start at $455 CAD per night.
The best part about this gem is it has its own private terrace with a hot tub and spectacular views of downtown and Mount Royal!
WHERE TO EAT
Le Bremner and Garde Manger
Well known Canadian Chef Chuck Hughes is co-owner and executive chef of Garde Manger and Le Bremner. He is a best-selling author and also has his own show with fellow Canadian Chef Danny Smiles called “Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip”
These two restaurants are sure to not disappoint. Both seafood inspired however each location has its unique differences.
KEP TIP: Be sure to check out the menus to find which locations suits your palates more. Once that is done make that reservation as soon as you can. Both locations accept reservations up to 30 days in advance.
WHAT TO DO
Montreal offers more activities than we know what to do with! We have narrowed 3 very different things to do based on what you and your group may be looking for.
The Thrill Seekers: La Ronde
If you are looking for thrill and adventure along with feeling like a teenager again head on over and spend the day at La Ronde. Ride some roller coasters, spin in some tea cups and try your luck at the carnival games!
KEP TIP: If you’re there the third weekend of September you need to check out their event “La Nuit Blanche”. In celebration of the beginning of fall, La Ronde will stay open until the early hours of the night and have dj’s and live performances from all over the world for this one night of fun!
The Partiers: Beach Club
Located approximately thirty minutes from downtown Montreal is the infamous Beach Club. North America’s largest outdoor club offers you all the vibes of Vegas and being down south in one. With a new DJ or artist each weekend we’re sure you’ll be able to find a weekend that will satisfy you and your friends.
KEP Tip: Contact Beach Club for their Cabana reservations. They are located around the pool and include VIP tickets, bottle service with a private server and a comfy day bed for the ultimate experience of soaking up the sun and partying with your gal pals.
The Chillers: Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau
Right in the Old Port with spectacular views of the city is Bota Bota, spa sur l’eau. Essentially Bota Bota is just that; a spa on the St Lawrence. Enjoy saunas, hot tubs, hot and cold pools and all the spa treatments you can think of.
KEP TIP: Be sure to check out their promotions. They include theirwater circuit along with massages and/or food and drink and many other options.
There are so many more excursions for you and your group to do in Montreal. It is one city that will not disappoint, especially since their nightlife is open until 3 am and some places extend to after hours. So do you research and find out which activity best suits you and your friends. We hope we were able to give you a bit of a head start.
If you’ve ever attended an outdoor summer wedding you’ve probably noticed two things: 1.) they are beautiful 2.) they can be HOT. That doesn’t just apply to outdoor venues. Older churches and rustic venues with no air conditioning are notorious hot boxes as well. But fear not! It is possible to keep your guests from melting without sacrificing your wedding vision. Here are some of our favourite ways to beat the heat and keep everyone cool, calm, and collected at your summer wedding.
Don’t skimp on refreshments
Set-up a cute welcome station at the entrance to your ceremony that includes fruited water, lemonade, or ice tea. While it may be tempting to bump up the cold beer or white wine offerings, remember that alcohols and sugary drinks dehydrate people faster. Save the good stuff for after the sun goes down. For dessert, swap the traditionally heavy wedding cake for your favourite gelato, popsicles, or snow cones.
Implement creative props
There are lots of ways to incorporate cool-down methods into your overall decor without sacrificing style. A simple and affordable option is creating a ceremony program that doubles as a fan for every guest. Forgo traditional guest gifts and put together tote bags that include mini versions all the summer essentials—sunscreen, sunglasses, and a bottle of water. Going with a whimsical or vintage theme? Consider renting decorative umbrellas to keep guests looking cute and comfortable all day long.
Relax the dress code
Let’s face it, no one wants to see sweat stains in their wedding photos. A great way to avoid this is by implementing a more casual dress code—outdoor weddings tend to be more laid-back affairs anyways. Make it clear on the invitations that guests will be outside so they can prepare accordingly. You can carry this through to the bridal party as well. Bridesmaids will appreciate breathable, flowy maxis or short, tea-length dresses in lighter colours. The men can trade suit jackets and ties for trendy suspenders or linen vests.
Bring out the big guns
If you’re dealing with a real record-breaking scorcher on your big day, paper fans and popsicles may not cut it. Heat exhaustion is a serious medical condition and you don’t want anyone leaving your wedding in an ambulance. Worse comes to worst, have an indoor option on standby. If you don’t want to give up your dream of an outdoor wedding, rent a tent and industrial misting fans to keep things cooled off.
Featured image: Blair Gable
All other images courtesy of Style Me Pretty