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Planner magazine Greater Toronto ArEA

Weddings with an Ethnic Flair: Spanish, Chinese, Greek

Is Social Media Beneficial to My Wedding? FALL 2012

Perfect Proposals:

Stories of that Perfect Moment

03 Letter from the Editor 04 Staff 06 Checklist



07 Articles 06 Fall Wedding; What Colours Will You Use? 09 Perfect Proposals 11 “I Do”, Take Two: Etiquette for your Second (or Third) Wedding 14 Beautiful Bouquets 17 The Bride’s Project 20 Tips on Finding a Wedding Photographer 22 Weddings with a Spanish Flair 24 Weddings with an Chinese Flair


26 Weddings with an Greek Flair 28 10 Engagement Session Locations 31 Jack and Jonell - Part 3 34 Is Social Media Beneficial to My Wedding

27 Preferred Vendors

Brides, Grooms, and Wedding Enthusiasts, What a great summer this has been! With the release of the Summer 2012 issue back in July, we have been involved in three bridal shows, have added new staff members, and have had the privilege to plan three weddings of our Grand Prize winners, which we met at the Bridal Bazaar 2012, hosted by Confessions of a Thrifty Bride. We are so thankful for our online followers of the magazine as we now have over 650 “likes� and are growing rapidly! In the next few months, we will introduce the Real Weddings section, where we feature the weddings we have planned. And now, thanks to all of our staff and support team, we now present you with the Fall 2012 issue of The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA. Carmelina Karas Editor in Chief

Letter from the


To submit comments, questions or ideas about the magazine to the editor, please email and include your name, age (optional) and city that you are from. You may also include a picture.

Giulia Ciampini

Nathan Kwok


Raph Nogal

Bill Giannos

Marcie Costello


Steven Freiria, Assistant Editor Steven Freiria’s attention to detail and love for writing gives him passion both on paper and in life itself. His keen eye has been a huge help to The Wedding Planner Magazine.

Alysa Nicole Baker, Writer Born and raised in Markham, ON, is currently studying Early Childhood Education at Seneca College part time while raising her beautiful daughter Mallory. She has a passion for child psychology and family law and spends her free time writing, researching, and going to the zoo and science center. She is ambitious, strong willed, and believes that making a difference to one person can change the world.

Arti Patel, Writer Associate Editor at The Huffington Post Canada Living/AOL Canada, Arti is a journalism graduate from Ryerson University. She also performs the occasional freelance multimedia work. Her focus is on women’s issues and human rights and she loves the good old interview.

Barbara Kowalski, Writer & Photographer Barbara Kowalski is the owner of Real & Blush Photography, a Toronto-based portrait and wedding photography studio. She is passionate about creating unique and authentic photographs. She is a proud Torontonian and loves to explore and photograph her city.

Christin Twitchin, Writer Currently employed as a designer at Jennifer Brouwer Design in Markham, ON, Christin holds a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Sociology and Minor in Anthropology from Wilfrid Laurier University as well as an Interior Decorating/Design diploma from the Sheridan Institute of Technology. She is looking forward to a successful career, establishing relationships with her clients, and making their dreams a reality.

Rachel Rawana, Writer When Rachel was young, she loved reading fairy tales and myths - which naturally inspired her to write her own “happy ending” stories. While this passion for creating “happy endings” evolved into an academic interest in post-conflict reconstruction, Rachel has always enjoyed writing about less serious circumstances. She is delighted to be working with The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA and wishes all the best to all those who look through its pages.

Renu Eapen, Writer Renu Eapen, currently a student studying advertising at Sheridan College, grew up in Dubai before moving to Canada with her family. She has a passion for anything and everything creative and is a huge movie buff. She loves nothing more than a good movie marathon.

Craig Belanger, Layout and Design Craig Belanger, currently works as a Production Coordinator for a commercial printing facility in Paris, Ontario. When he’s not out fighting crim....I mean when he’s not a mild mannered Production Coordinator, he spends much of his free time doing what he loves, and that’s designing. His passion for design mixed with his experiences with his schooling and professional career, make him a force to be recon with.

Photography by:

Marcie Costello Photography

Fall Wedding What colours will you use? - Christin Twitchin

Photography by:

Giulia Ciampini Photography

Congratulations! The ring is on the finger and you’ve decided to have your wedding between the months of September and November. Next step?? Choosing a theme or colour combination that is best suited for YOU in order to create the atmosphere you envisioned for your wedding. Fall is a spectacular time to get married! The air is crisp, the leaves are changing to vibrant and rich colours, and the weather is not too hot or too cold. Sounds like a perfect environment to me!! Now, decision time comes. What colours should you use?? I would like to suggest two options. My first suggestion is to totally get inspired from the season that your wedding date falls under and the corresponding environment that goes with it. We really seem to get connected with autumn in a different way than other seasons, so embrace that factor and pull colours that you see outside or colours that just remind you of the fall. Yellows, reds, oranges, browns, greens and greys all would work perfectly for a fall wedding. You can use these colours all together, or in combination. Or perhaps one but with a contrasting

Photography by:

Giulia Ciampini Photography

colour to go with it. The possibilities are endless!! A bouquet with orange, yellow, red, some greenery, and add a pinecone or two equals a STELLAR flower arrangement for a fall wedding! Some common flowers used are sunflowers, mums, geraniums, and of course roses. If it helps, pick something from nature that you like and that reminds you of the fall such as an acorn, a pumpkin, a changing maple leaf or a wheat field. Once you have your item for inspiration, start to pull the colours you see within it and VOILA! You will have your colour scheme or at least a starting point! My second suggestion is to ALWAYS believe in yourself and pick colours that best work for the bride and the groom. Just because your wedding falls under a particular season doesn’t mean you HAVE to decorate accordingly. If there so happens to be a theme that is perfectly suited for you as a couple (such as a beach or pirate theme), then jump right in and GO FOR IT!! The choice is ultimately yours, so remember to have fun, choose colours that make you happy and have a LOVELY wedding!! Enjoy colour picking!! The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 8

Perfect Proposals - Renu Eapen

Earl and Emily James Earl and I met at the beginning of 2008. Earl and myself met through a mutual friend we both know through church. We attended a few of the same events and eventually started talking to each other then it progressed to phone conversations and finally our first date in April 2008 at Kelsey’s. We dated for one year before we became engaged. On our first year anniversary we went to Niagara Falls for the day where I thought for sure he would propose. We spent a great day there but no proposal had taken place. That night he took me across the city to where I am from and we went to the restaurant where we had a first

date. He told me he was going to bring my gift in to the restaurant for me to open but I was being shy and stubborn and wouldn’t let him bring it in as I didn’t want people watching! Since I refused he took me out to the parking lot, handed me a big bouquet of roses with a ring box in the middle and got down on his knees in the parking lot of Kesley’s and proposed at the exact spot we had our first date a year before. We went back to my parents’ house where he had planned for his family and my family to be there waiting with cake, balloons and gifts! It was definitely a memorable day!

Philip and Nicole Karbach Phil and I met at the Markham YMCA. He was working out and smiling at me, and I worked up the courage to walk up to him and ask him if he would like to run with me. We hit it off from there. Our first date was perfect, and we talked for hours, it was during our first dinner together than I knew that we were right for each other. Unfortunately, I also learned later that evening that he would be moving away to the Middle East, as he was just accepted into a cadet program with Etihad Airways. We continued seeing each other before he had to leave (one month), and said to keep in touch. Maybe our paths would cross again, maybe not. It was saddest thing to go through because we both wanted to be together, but it didn’t logically make any sense. He left, and we began emailing each other every single day. Phil came back to Canada for a week almost 6 months later and we got together again. Everything was exactly as remembered, and we picked up where we left off. We decided that the distance was worth it, if it meant being together, and we became a couple. It was very difficult having a long distance relationship, but being together was worth it. We talked on Skype every day, and were always on each other’s minds. We would only see each other 2 or 3 times a year, and those moments were worth everything. For our two-year anniversary, Phil came home from Abu Dhabi to visit me. We hadn’t seen each other in a few months, and I was over the moon just to be with him again. We spent a night in Toronto and he took me to the CN Tower for dinner. We had a beautiful view of the sun setting over the city, but he said the most beautiful view was right in front of him. He said the best part about that night was that I would be the last thing he saw before going to bed, and the first thing he would see when he woke up in the morning. That was what he wanted for the rest of his life. He then slid his engineering ring off of his finger and onto mine and asked me to marry him. I was taken by surprise, and was in complete shock. It was one of the best moments of my life. I couldn’t wait to end our long-distance relationship and begin our life together.

Photography by:

Phil and I are now living together in Abu Dhabi. When I look back, I cannot believe some of the hard times we have gone through. Being in a long distance relationship isn’t easy, but when it is the right person, you would do anything just to be with them. He makes me so happy, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He was well worth the wait j

“I Do”, Take Two: Etiquette for your Second (or Third) Wedding - Rachel Rawana

Photography by:

Raph Nogal Photography

Most people (brides, parents, friends, and some grooms) are aware of general “Wedding Etiquette” – who pays for what, when to invite, who to invite, etc. But what about when you are getting married for the second, third, or fourth time? Are things done differently? Traditional wedding etiquette suggests that subsequent weddings should be simple and more casual, instead of being formal and extravagant. However, with the increasing trend of plural marriages, if you can afford it, why not? While the decorations, themes, and budget are up to the couple, there are a few factors that those of you embarking on your new life should consider:

1. Announcing the Engagement

Children & Parents • If you have children (especially ones who are older and can understand the changes happening), they should be consulted soon after the decision has been made. Remarrying will unite your two families, and you should not be alarmed if your children are stressed by the idea of moving and new family members. They should be given as much time as possible to accept the situation. • Parents will also need time to accept the new situation, especially if they had/have a close relationship with their former son-or-daughterin-law. Ex-Spouses • It is only right that your former partner be made aware of your intentions to re-marry. Hopefully, this can be done in a reasonable manner – if for no other reason than for any children. • Every effort should be made from both of you to speak to children about the role that their parent (your former spouse) will be playing in their new “family”

2. Engagement Rings

• This is a new step in your life – commemorate it with new symbols! All signs of your previous relationship(s) should be put aside, to ease the transition you are making into this new and exciting chapter

3. Announcements

• The medium of your announcement is up to you – there is nothing wrong with being flashy in a newspaper, or declaring your intentions through various forms of social media. (However, if you do choose a public method of announcement, be prepared for backlash by the select few of sourpusses who will not be supportive – but pay them no mind!) • Conversely, you could hold a small engagement party for those closest to you and make a formal announcement of your engagement then.

4. Guest List

• Just like any affair you plan, you can invite whoever you want (taking familial tensions into consideration, of course) • Be wary of inviting ex-spouses and/or former in-laws – unless you are certain of their good behaviour and intentions toward you and your new spouse, including them on your guest list may just cause unnecessary stress

5. Bridal Showers

It is normal for encore brides to have a shower, but there are some small differences: • Only wedding guests should be invited to a more intimate bridal shower • For club, workplace or school showers you could invite non-guests – but think carefully if you want to include guests from your former wedding

6. Vows & Ceremonies

Usually, additional weddings are planned on a lower-scale than first weddings. Regardless, there are many ways to make the ceremony intimate and special: • Writing personal vows are more common, and there are many resources to help any of you who develop writer’s block. • Children can be assigned a special task that integrates them into the ceremony and fosters unity. For example, they could escort you down the aisle, read a passage, or serve as attendants. The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 12

7. Wedding Reception & Parties

• Depending on your taste, the wedding reception could be as large or as small as you want. You could feel free to include all of the traditional elements (speeches, garter/bouquet toss, etc), but they are not necessary. • When you enter, try to include your children. The order is up to you (attendants-childrencouple; couple-children; etc) but their inclusion is important to show to everyone (your children included) that this is the joining of two families

As we already mentioned, your budget will determine many of your choices. However, there are some things that are just Not Necessary, Advisable, and Should Be Avoided for encore weddings. Not Necessary • Rehearsal Dinner • Attendants • Accompanying the bride down the aisle • A wedding procession

The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 13

Advisable • Having a gift registry (even if you don’t want gifts – this will guide those guests who feel they must give you something) • Giving your children important responsibilities during the wedding preparation and within the ceremony • Customize and Personalize your wedding reception PLEASE Avoid • Having similar elements to previous weddings (colours, decorating schemes, themes, etc) • Wearing a similar wedding dress • Having the same venue • Using rings from previous marriages • Criticizing or cracking jokes about former spouses during your wedding MOST IMPORTANTLY: Have fun! While you have many details to arrange and extra things to think about, always remember that you are embarking on a new chapter of life, full of wisdom and excited for the future. Enjoy it!

Beautiful Bouquets - Alysa Baker

Photography by:

Sam Charbonneau Photography

If you enjoy buying or growing flowers, then choosing flowers for your wedding will be your favourite part of planning. This is an area where you can let your personality shine through. Designing and ordering the flowers can be time consuming, especially if you are not aware of the current trends or what you are looking for. Taking that into consideration, we have created some simple steps to make choosing wedding flowers an enjoyable and relaxing experience. First, you should look online and in magazines for various styles, colours, and types of flowers. If you are not someone who is design savvy, try looking up the flowers that are currently in season. Write down your thoughts and ideas, cut out pictures from articles and magazines, and print pictures from the Internet.

Florists can give you a custom quote for what you design. Most florists have a range of product to fit the budget you have in mind. They can also provide excellent ideas for how to obtain certain options that do not fit in your budget. It is important to remember that pricing varies from florist to florist. Some factors that influence pricing are the type of flowers, availability at that time in the year, labour involved, added decor such as ribbons or gemstones, and the size of the wedding. Sam Charbonneau from Freshland Flowers, located in Markham, ON provided Wedding Planner GTA magazine with some expert tips on how to save money on flowers at your wedding. “There are many simple ways to save some cash when you have a tight budget or simply want to get the most bang for your buck. Do it yourself projects are one way. If you find vases or fabrics you like, you can order and supply them yourself to the florist and can pick up the flowers from the shop when they are needed instead of having them delivered. Many flowers can be used multiple times. An example would be ceremony arrangements that can be reused at the reception, pew bows can be placed on chairs, and bouquets can be placed artistically on the tables to resemble centerpieces.”

For the groom’s boutonniere, you generally use one of the same flowers that will be used in the bridal bouquet. It should differ from the groomsmen’s flower choice.

Some brides opt to become their own floral designer. Usually they are on a tighter budget or want a very specific look for their wedding. Generally, no matter which route you choose, you should set up a consultation with a local florist to get you started. They will know things such as how long certain flowers will keep, how much water they will need, what temperature you should store them at, and pricing of the different types. Many floral shops offer consultations free of charge but for more in-depth meetings, there may be a fee. Before the consultation, make sure to have the colour scheme for your wedding and bridesmaids dresses chosen in case certain flowers do not come in the colour you have chosen. When attending your consultation, bring all ideas you have collected for your wedding. This will help the florist to specifically cater to your needs. After all, a picture is worth 1000 words. The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 15

At the reception, centerpieces can be very simple or very elaborate. Some florists even provide backdrops and chair covers. Most florists set up and take down everything for a nominal cost. This might save you and your bridal party some potential hassles with setting up and cleaning later.

What type of bouquets do brides usually have? “Bridal bouquets are the largest and most elaborate, while the maid of honour’s bouquet is similar but smaller. Bridesmaid’s bouquets are similar to the maid of honor’s bouquet, but again, smaller and less elaborate. You generally use similar color schemes and take a few of the same flowers from the bridal bouquet to tie them all together.” Sam explains. Often with decor, the attention is on the ladies of the event but it is important not to forget about the men. “For the groom’s boutonniere, you generally use one of the same flowers that will be used in the bridal bouquet. It should differ from the groomsmen’s flower choice for their boutonniere but the groomsmen’s flower should coincide with the colour scheme and flowers of the wedding.” One bouquet everyone needs to add an element of fun to a wedding is the tossing bouquet. It’s a smaller version of the bridal bouquet and usually it’s not as elaborate since the single ladies of the night usually rip it to shreds. Most florists do not charge for this bouquet

since it can be constructed using extra flowers from the other ones. There are optional flowers for the wedding, including flower girls and ring boys, where something age appropriate should be selected. As well, corsages and boutonnieres for extended family, including parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles can add a nice touch to wedding pictures. They can be very simple and should follow the selected colour scheme. “Some ways clients splurge on their wedding is for the ceremony flowers. The price ranges depending on how elaborate the design. Pew bows can range from just ribbon to entire floral sprays. Often people decorate the arches of the entrance way to the ceremony and include large alter arrangements” With these simple things in mind, whatever arrangements or colours you choose for your wedding, they will surely be the right ones when the special day arrives. The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 16


Bride’s Project - Arti Patel

Photography by: Carmelina Karas

When it comes to celebrating one of the most important days of your life – most brides want to look and feel their best.

and we also hear a lot about how the organizations we support have helped those who did not survive,” she says.

This could mean trying on many wedding gowns, purchasing the perfect pair of designer shoes and making sure your bling goes beyond what’s sitting on your ring finger. But for many brides, this isn’t always the reality and preparing for a wedding can be costly.

In order for Sweet’s project to work, dresses are donated by salons, designers and brides. For new brides who are interested in purchasing a discounted dress, Sweet advises them to make appointments for a dress fitting session.

But one woman wants to change this and on top of it, donate her time and proceeds to charity. Helen Sweet, founder of The Brides’ Project, set out to accomplish two things: to ensure that every bride can get a wedding dress within their budgets and to support cancer charities by donating her proceeds.

“New brides can take the dress of their dreams home that same day and we provide the experts required for any alterations and cleaning that might be required,” Sweet says.

“The project began in 2004, the week after my wedding. I was inspired by the desire to make a difference through my wedding expenditures and wanted to avoid the ‘waste’ of using so many things for only one day.  Weddings remind [us] of those who will share our joy, and those who cannot be in attendance,” she says. On Christmas Eve in 1967, Sweet’s best friend Lisa had lost her leg to bone cancer and later passed away at the young age of nine. Cancer has also touched other members of her family and friends. “I constantly hear stories from clients and staff about cancer and how it has impacted their lives, and their families.  We hear many stories of survival and success,

Currently, Sweet’s store has a selection of 500 to 600 dresses, most of them being less than five years old she says. Designers range from less expensive brands to higher-end gowns from Vera Wang . The average cost

For the past eight years, Sweet has been able to create special memories with many of her clients. “One of our first clients lost her dad to cancer so he couldn’t walk her down the aisle. She felt, that by buying a dress from us, that she would be walking down the aisle with her dad. And with her purchase, perhaps someone else’s dad would be there on [another bride’s] special day,” she says.

of a dress can start from $600 (noting that retail values can be over $1,200). Sweet also says dress prices are capped at $1,250 – to ensure brides that they can pick a dream gown that is still affordable. But a job like this can also get demanding. The 44-yearold based in Toronto Ont., says her job takes up most of her day. Sweet acts as the founder, media liaison, admin staff, janitor and also finds time to officiate weddings and design and make veils to sell on the side. But there is one thing that makes her wake up and go to work every day. “It’s doing something meaningful. We don’t just help brides find dresses, we also help them experience the same joy of giving something back to our communities,” she says.

She also recalls another client who drove all the way from Montreal to buy a dress. Her fiancé was in his stage IV and the bride felt she wanted to donate her dress funds to cancer research. “Many donations come from brides after their wedding in honour of a loved one lost – or one who survived. The latter recognizes the huge strides that have been made in research, prevention and treatment,” Sweet says. These days, Sweet is excited about her first U.S. affiliate store opening and continues to get requests to open up more local Canadian locations. “I hope that donating a wedding dress becomes the norm as opposed to spending hundreds of dollars stuffing [a dress] into a box that never gets opened. These days women don’t want to wear their mother’s dresses. Just as that tradition has changed, a new norm is required.”

For more information, please visit

The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 19

Tips on finding a wedding photographer

- Barbara Kowalski

Photography by:

Real and Blush Photography

Searching for a wedding photographer can be an overwhelming task. A Google search on Toronto wedding photographers alone yields over 80 pages of results, not to mention the results for photographers in the GTA, the province, the country and around the world that you might consider. Finding a photographer that fits your vision and that makes you feel comfortable, however, does not need to be as daunting as it may seem. Below are tips on how you can make the process of finding a wedding photographer successful, and even enjoyable: - Figure out your style – Before beginning the search for a photographer, take some time to figure out the style of photography that is most appealing to you. Are you interested in a fashion spin on your wedding day, with elaborate posing, making you and your wedding party look like magazine models? Or are you attracted to a classic, artistic and authentic feel to photos? Determining what type of photography you would like to apply to your wedding day will help you to narrow down the choices before you. Begin by looking through resources such as The Wedding Planner Magazine, or bridal blogs such as Green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty and Once Wed that bring together wedding images in a range of styles from photographers all over the world. When you find a set of photos that attracts you, try to determine what it is that you like about them. These ideas will decidedly help guide you in the rest of your search. - Research – With your photographic ideas in mind, start searching for photographers that you would potentially be interested in hiring. Remember not to limit your research to the keyboard. Ask around for recommendations from friends, recent brides and wedding vendors. Once you narrow down several choices, investigate further: look through the photographer’s entire portfolio, read their blog and get to know their approach. This is exactly how newly-married Janice Yi made her choice. “[The photographer] worked with natural light a lot and played well with the light that she gets. Her work was beautiful and really spoke to us.” Being absolutely sure that you enjoy a photographer’s style before making the first contact will ultimately ease you into making your final decision. The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 21

- Communication – Meeting and corresponding with your potential photographer can let you determine how comfortable you feel around them. Being comfortable is key as you will likely spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than with your new spouse. Recent bride Chandra Smith says that meeting her photographer played an important part in the decision to hire her. “I had a good feeling about her right off the bat and followed my gut; so glad I picked someone I was comfortable with!”

Photography requires continual training, practice and development... - Consider value versus price – Good photographers can come at a high price. Photography requires continual training, practice and development, as well as gear updates and maintenance, in addition to running a business. That said, when looking at package prices, consider whether it is most important for you to fit your photographer into your budget or that your photographer fit your vision and style. Remember that this decision may affect the quality of the documentary memory of one of the most important events of your life. - Do an engagement session – When you’ve considered all of the above and are ready to commit to a photographer, don’t omit the engagement session. Spending time with your photographer and getting to know their techniques is the best way to become comfortable around them and to release any jitters in front of the camera before your actual wedding day. As a side bonus, you can use the images from this session for save-the-date cards, invitations and reception displays.


with a


Flair - Renu Eapen

Photography by:

Raph Nogal Photography

Spaniards love a party! As such, weddings in Spain tend to be huge, lavish affairs often with hundreds of guests in attendance. What makes this affair extravagant are the barrels of wine, the blasts of music and the dance moves people create on the dance floor. But behind all the wine and the dancing, Spaniards take marriage seriously. In order to be married in Spain, it is often necessary for the bride or the groom to be a Spanish citizen or to have lived in Spain for at least two years. Not to say that people who aren’t Spanish citizens can’t get married, they can be blessed in a non-Catholic church. Venues for Spanish weddings are often located in exotic landscapes ranging from scenic mountain sides to fairytale-like castles. Spanish wedding customs have been handed down for generations and are strictly observed. The couple getting married must be engaged before getting married. That is one of the strictest and most common customs practiced by all cultures. The groom to be must provide the potential bride to be with a necklace or a ring. This is taken very seriously by both parties and is considered as a sacred symbol. The groom to be must ask for blessing from the girl’s father and will present the father with a token of his sincerity.

The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 23

Engagements in Spain can last several years and during the engagement period it is uncommon for a couple to purchase a house or to live together. It is considered to be unlucky for the bride and the groom to see each other the night before the wedding. Traditionally, the father of the bride will drive her to church and walk her down the aisle and give her away. The bride wears an elaborate white dress or a colourful dress. Most ceremonies take up to an hour in a Catholic church. It is customary that the rings that are exchanged are often identical and are worn on the ring finger of the right hand to symbolize their lifetime bond. During the ceremony, the groom will provide the bride with 13 bags of gold coins, to show her that he will not only love her, but also provide for her. After the wedding, huge portions of food and drink will be served at the reception during which there will be a lot of dancing and many, many toasts. The bride also gifts the bride’s maids a pin, often an orchid or lily which is worn upside down during the reception. If the pin falls down during the dancing session of the reception, it is considered to be a good omen that the woman will find love soon.

Weddings with a



- Renu Eapen

Photography by:

Marcie Costello Photography

When you think of a wedding, you think white. White dress, white flowers, white doves. But if involved in a Chinese wedding, think red. Red is THE color for weddings in China. Red signifies love, joy and prosperity and is incorporated in many ways. Most often than not, wedding invitations, gift boxes and the bride’s and groom’s house are decorated in red. Three days before the wedding day, women from the bride’s family give the groom gifts wrapped in red paper. The day before the wedding celebration, the Chinese bride practices a seclusion tradition with her closest friends. This tradition is meant to give the bride-to-be some time to symbolically mourn the loss of her family and friends. The groom’s family carries wedding gifts in red boxes to the bride’s house. One of the boxes contains “uang susu”, also known as “milk money”. The other boxes will contain personal items for the bride. Wedding days are chosen according to astrological signs. On the morning of the big day, the groom is dressed by his parents and then driven to the house of the bride before going to the wedding ceremony. This is the time when the groom presents gifts to the bride’s friends in exchange for letting her go. It is also traditional for the wedding couple to serve tea to both the parents as they kneel in front of them. This gesture symbolises the couple asking for permission to be married. After the tea ceremony, the couple leave for the wedding site together. The ceremony is attended by the couple’s most immediate friends and families. Right after the wedding, the bride will serve tea to her new inlaws in a formal tea ceremony. The reception is usually an elaborate affair, with huge amounts of food and drink. The wedding cake is usually a tiered layer cake symbolising the ladder that the couple will be climbing to be a successful couple. Cake is fed to the parents and the grandparents of the bride and groom, followed by simple music. The guests traditionally shake the hands of the couple before leaving the party.


with a


Flair - Renu Eapen

Photography by:

Giulia Ciampini Photography

Traditions are important in the Greek culture. A Greek couple gets engaged by exchanging rings in front of family, followed by a fest. This ceremony is considered as a binding for the two parties. An old- tradition is the baby rolling ceremony on the matrimonial bed. Babies of friends and family are placed on the matrimonial bed and are gently rolled over from side to side. Rose petals and sugar coated almonds are sprinkled on the bed to bless prosperity to the couple. At the beginning of the wedding week, the wedding flag is made. A branch with five wig endings is found first, the an apple is tied to one of the branches and tufts of red wool are tied on the other four twigs. This is out up on the bride’s home until the day of the wedding is arrived. As the groom and the bride get ready, singing and dancing takes place. The wedding procession begins at the grooms house, where the wedding flag is raised. The flag bearer leads the group and proceeds to the bride’s house where the bride’s mother greets the groom. A glass of wine, a ring shaped biscuit and a bundle of herbs is presented to him. The groom then pins the herbs and kisses the mother’s hand and asks for her blessings. Kissing on both cheeks is a way of showering blessings. The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 27

Greek weddings are always on a Sunday, and aren’t performed after Easter and Christmas. Greek brides traditionally wear veils of yellow or red, which represents fire. It is believed that these brightly colored veils will protect the bride from the evil spirits or demons. In ancient Greek, diamonds were considered tear drops of the Gods, and it was believed that a diamond reflects the flames of love. The bride will also carry a lump of sugar to symbolize sweetness in her life and also ivy to symbolize her endless love. A traditional Greek Orthodox marriage, the groom asks the bride’s father for his hand in marriage. The groom’s best man, then accompanies the couple to the church, to be married. The best man and the priest are the ones in charge of the wedding. He places gold crowns on the heads of the bride and the groom. These crowns are linked by a silk ribbon. For the rest of the wedding day the bride and groom are treated as a king and queen. After the wedding, a huge reception takes place and lasts through the night. Feasting, drinking and dancing are all involved as well as the famous Greek circle dance. Dishes are smashed on the floor as a sign of good luck and money is thrown at the musicians.

10Engagement Session Locations - Barbara Kowalski

Photography by:

Real and Blush Photography

Sessions can be timed with Centreville, the amusement park that runs on Centre Island in the summer, or with the icy landscape that covers the lake and beaches in the winter.

2. St. Lawrence Market

An entire engagement session could easily be centered around sampling food at the St. Lawrence Market. The market’s interior is grungy and bustling and the food stalls are internationally acclaimed (peameal bacon sandwich anyone?). As if it couldn’t get better, the market recently topped National Geographic’s list of top ten world food markets. Foodie couples rejoice!

3. Discovering neighbourhoods

A walk down a street may not seem like enough to fill an entire engagement session, but that can change when it’s a walk through one of Toronto’s most unique neighbourhoods. Fill your engagement session by sightseeing areas like Rosedale, home to some of the most elegant and expensive homes in the city, Cabbagetown, a quirky preservation of the city’s Victorian homes, or Kensington Market, a down-toearth collection of clothing stalls, shabby-chic furniture stores, vegetarian cafes and food shops.

4. Beaches There’s no denying that Toronto’s most popular engagement photo session locations, such as the Distillery District and Brickworks, make for beautiful images. Yet our city has so many locations that could serve as interesting photographic backdrops, there is no reason that couples should feel limited to these few areas and not try something different. Here are ten ideas for unique engagement session locations in the city of Toronto:

1. Toronto Islands

Nature, sailboats and a perfect view of the Toronto city skyline – the Toronto islands are a photographic joy. This series of islands are a ferry ride away from the downtown core and are the perfect hosts for couples who wish to produce a mix of urban and nature images. The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 29

Toronto may not be known for its beaches, but that doesn’t need to stop sand-loving couples from having a session along the shore. Pretty choices include the beach at Sunnyside Park, Woodbine Beaches and Sugar Beach. For a unique spin, have a beach session in chillier weather, or go all out and visit the sand covered in snow.

5. Smaller parks

High Park may be a popular choice for photography, but for a change of scenery try one of Toronto’s smaller parks. In addition to nature and picnicking opportunities, many of the city’s parks have distinct features that are perfect for a session of exploring. Christie Pits has a community vegetable garden open to the public with sunflowers and lettuce, and Allen Gardens’ greenhouse conservatory has a collection of tropical plants, orchids and cacti.

6. The CNE

The Canadian National Exhibition only happens once a year, but it’s worth waiting for. Vintage games, colourful rides, bright lights and food in abundance, the CNE photographs beautifully. Couples should aim for an evening session – the light emitted by the setting sun blends in with the carnival’s lights providing a soft and romantic glow to photos.

7. Don River Valley

Many Torontonians associate the Don River with traffic frustrations, and, really, who could blame them? But the Don River Valley is also one of Toronto’s largest green spaces, with a series of walking paths and bike trails and graffiti-clad bridge underpasses. The valley is ideal for couples wishing for a secluded session in nature.

8. Union Station

Current construction on Union Station will hopefully not deter couples who desire to be captured in this historical landmark’s beauty. This National Historic site has been around since 1914 and its beaux-arts interior mixed with the constant movement of commuters provides interesting opportunities for photography. Please note that a permit is required for professional photography.

9. University of Toronto

It’s not uncommon to see as many as eight couples being photographed at a time at the downtown campus of the University of Toronto. While the ivy-covered and historic Hart House and University College are timeless backdrops, the campus has a variety of alternative locations for photography sessions. St. Michael’s College and Victoria College on the east side of the campus are quieter, equally classic in aesthetics and in close proximity to Queen’s Park for a bit of variety. Alternatively, a stroll down Philosopher’s Walk behind the Faculty of Law can be combined with a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum’s newest glass facade. Please note that permits may be required in certain locations.

10. Scarborough Bluffs

The Scarborough Bluffs are Toronto’s geological wonderland. What makes them even more exciting is that they are relatively unvisited by Torontonians outside of the area. With eroded cliffs adorned by crooked trees overlooking the lake, the Bluffs look more like they belong in the north of France than in eastern Toronto. The Bluffs, combined with the golden light of early morning or sunset, are a guaranteed recipe for beautiful images.

Featured Guest Writer Born in Scarborough, ON and currently residing in Markham, ON, Jesse is a freelance writer and a jack of all trades. He hopes to enter many industries and make a definite impact in the lives of young people.

- Jesse So

The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 31

Jack and Jonell Part 3

He was never the successful, confident guy that he was now; back in college it was different. In his college days, he was, what everybody including Jones, to be a loser. Although he was very aware of this grudging fact, there was little he could do about such. Growing up in a middle to lower class family, everything that he wanted he had to buy for himself. He was never very popular with the ladies, his confidence always somehow lacking; he would always play out the scenarios in his head, the instances where he would run into a girl and he would somehow very smoothly strike up conversation and end it with her number in his head; in reality though, when such instances arose, the results would always be either party walking away and both feeling very awkward.

and the income would only add to his confidence. He had gone out and bought an entirely new wardrobe; it had taken him years, but he looked himself in the mirror years later and finally, he had done it. “The annual dinner party we have is this week by the way.” Ralph said from outside the washroom. “Is it really?” Jack asked quizzically, it had completely slipped his mind.

He had spent years researching and observing what women liked about men; the appearance, the body language, the mannerisms...Jack began to transform himself into an alpha male.

After graduating from college Jack set off as a man on a mission: to be what all women wanted and more. He had spent years researching and observing what women liked about men; the appearance, the body language, the mannerisms. He soon found that there was a term for men who always attracted the women: the alpha male. Derived from the title given to the leader of a wolf pack Jack began to transform himself into an alpha male. He was approached by Ralph a few months after college and had been asked to become his partner in business. Jack almost immediately agreed to the idea, the title

“I thought you had it in your planner on your phone.” Ralph said as Jack stepped out of the restroom. “Apparently not,” Jack said wandering over to his desk. “What’s the dress code this year?” Ralph gave a thin smile, “I think you’ll love it: dress to impress.” Jack chuckled, “Is Jones going to be there?” “Of course,” Ralph replied, “I invited all our major clients.”

Jack nodded absent mindedly already planning what he was going to wear for the party. “Try not to be too flashy Jack, I know how you always take it over the top whenever the occasion requests such a dress code.” Jack smiled; years ago, when the two of them had gone to a birthday dinner party, Jack had been the The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 32

centre of attention. He chose to dismiss the idea of the over done suit, instead he had chosen to wear all white. From head to toe, everything that he wore that night was white, save for his white gold Movado watch which he had gone out and bought just for that occasion. “Where is it going to be at?” Jack asked looking up at Ralph. “The place we went last year, apparently they made new renovations.” Ralph replied not looking up from his work. “Are you sure? The food was great but the hall they put us in looked like it was about to collapse; I’m surprised our clients didn’t say anything about it.” Ralph chuckled, “That’s because they didn’t say anything to you; unfortunately, all the… ’polite’ responses and complaints were directed to me for some reason.”

“You’re one to talk.” He said with a thin smile. She leaned forward and opened her arms for a hug,

Jack leaned forward with one arm and gave her a brief hug.

“How are you?” She asked, taking her place beside him as they watched as the rest of the party made their entrance.

“You know, you remind me of somebody that I knew back in college, he had the same name, but you’re nothing like him.”

“Never been better.” He said without looking at her. “You know, you remind me

of somebody that I knew

back in college, he had the same name, but you’re nothing like him.” “Really?”



innocently, “I get that a lot

from people, apparently

there’s a lot of guys out there that look like me.”

She chuckled, “That’s for sure, I could have sworn

Jack stepped out of his car and handed the valet driver a folded bill, he wore all black this year, his watch was black and as per usual, he had gone out that day and bought it. He walked over to the entrance and lit a cigarette.

you were him; but there’s no way you are, I mean, it

 “You know, you should really quit.” A voice said from behind him.

kept his composure.

He glanced behind his shoulder and spotted Jones lighting a cigarette of her own.

was a long time ago, but he’s probably still the cute dork that I knew.”

He cringed a little inside when she had said that but

“We should head in,” He said putting out his cigarette. She glanced at her watch, “Yeah, we should.”

Is Social Media Beneficial to My Wedding - Marcie Costello

Right! So now you know that your best friend’s cousin’s neighbor is getting married! Great! So now what? Should you comment? ‘Like’ it? Say nothing and then check sixty two times throughout your day to see if anyone you knew from fourth grade decided to comment, which in turn will make you think twice about your choice at 8am pre-coffee not to say anything!! Oh dear! Your day becomes consumed by worry of what other’s will think. You slowly see the number of comments increasing and now you are trapped between the kindnesses of a delayed congrats and the role of an awkward add-on! Really? No wonder there are those that have sworn off social media. Some deem it too time consuming and even claim it to be their intentional method of staying slightly disconnected with everyone they know, thus allowing it to remain just a little less personal…. So then why do we make our lives so public? Use social media to define, create, evolve, connect, describe and boundary who we are? Because we feel we need to, really we do. The average thirty year old woman is working a 9-5 job which begins at 6:30am and winds down with the sound of the dishwasher’s clink, the spin cycle on the washing machine and the folding of brown bags as the last sandwich is placed inside at 10:30pm. By some miracle, with a cup of tea in hand, during the eight minutes the pasta took to boil, she found time to find out why her childhood friend was in a bad mood, see a photo of her best friend when she was four and learn that her life isn’t as bad as it seams because Sarah’s husband just left her and their two children last night…. There is an emotional level to oneself that is easily appeased by the use of social media… and sadly, that is often where we stop and settle on the perspective that has taken over the world. But what are we really getting out of this? Have we learned anything? Helped ourselves? Used the ‘world wide web’ to obtain information that allows us to check things off our arms length to do list? Not really.

Photography by:

Marcie Costello Photography

Now that we know we are open to receiving information as an exchange of shared experiences

through social media, we realize that we do indeed have the power to plan our wedding on our lunch hour rather than using that same resource to like a photo of your uncle’s dog! Start with your priority list, narrow your searches down to specific regions near your home or place of wedding and write a list of questions for all your potential vendors; tap into your memory to recall who just got married; think of a small business owner that you know and feel comfortable speaking to; decide on your budgets and most importantly have no fear! By using social media you can find events advertised like bridal shows and find coupons posted by small businesses. These companies are looking to grow their client base and with a smile I say confidently that you can spend hours pursuing various social media sites for similar information and deals – just make sure you go in to it knowing what you are looking for. I’d be weary of finding your Efficient over a social media site but the rest is fair game. Of course, there is ever-present and we all know its social potential, however there are nifty ways to create bridal shower events, start a group with your bridal party for easy communication and even use a count down tool to start the clock to your big day! You can post photos of your engagement party to your aunt in Vancouver that wouldn’t be able to see it otherwise. And if you must… you can even share a bit of anxiety with your friends and family by updating your status to ‘I’m freaking out’……….. Tweet tweet! ! It’s a love or hate thing but if you’re clever you can create a buzz just the same as the rest of Hollywood about your big day! Twitter offers the inside scoop about what might be going on in your favorite dress makers head and whether or not they are having a good morning….. crossing your fingers to be privy to an exclusive sale announcement! What better way for women to stay in tune with the latest trends on dresses, hairstyles, make up and all the bling then by keeping in informed with the top

magazines in the country! Almost every magazine now has an online component allowing for you to stay connected by the minute! Polls and contests, videos and blogs and the oh so handy forums! Don’t neglect the information free to you on these websites!,,,,,, and are all wonderful examples. Other internet sites that I have discovered through the use of the social media sites listed above include:,,; all of which are great for flowers, chair covers, photography and centerpieces. Pintrest ( is a lovely little world where one can intentionally be lost for hours in the pretty land of quaint ideas and wonderful tools to get your décor down pat, bonbonnieres with style and neat treats and welcome setting ideas for guests. If you’re in the G.T.A, you might want to check out this deal site called Finding local business owners including home based businesses that are often able to provide the best customer care, can be found on chat sites such as or on public sale sites such as or So you see, as long as you use a bit of caution, invest some time to research, be thrifty and ask the right questions, you may just find most of what you are looking for! Of course… take some time to unwind and hide away for a few minutes each day to catch up with the rest of your social circle but don’t forget about the creative ideas and endless potential just a click away and with the right social media websites, you can find everything at the price you can afford and make the connections you need to in order to make your creative ideas come true! The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA • Fall 2012 • Page 36

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The Wedding Planner Magazine - Fall 2012 Issue  

Introducing The Wedding Planner Magazine GTA Fall 2012 Issue. This is our third issue and we are proud to bring you the new digital edition...