Valentine’s Day is tomorrow (eek!), and at this point you’ve probably already purchased the present, are already chilling the bubbly, and have dinner all planned out. But have you picked your playlist? If not, no worries. We’ve got you covered! Spanning the most popular genres, covering 40 of the most romantic options out there, today we’re sharing our top picks for all time best love songs. So get your iTunes loaded, pick your faves for your own personal playlist, and consider tomorrow the perfect time to trial run the most important dance of all, your first dance. Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!
For years December has held the spot for top month to get engaged, meaning right about now there are thousands and thousands of newly engaged couples basking in the glow of an incredible life milestone. It’s an exciting time, one of the best in a person’s lifetime, but it also happens to be one of the most overwhelming. So generally speaking, as soon as the excitement of the moment begins to subside, even just a little, the next logical thought most brides-and-grooms-to-be find popping up in their heads is, “now what?”. To help answer the question, and to help better manage the planning process the right way from the get go, here are the top 5 to-dos to tackle soon after declaring the big “yes”!
1. Share the Love!
You’ll have plenty of time to work the days away planning for the big event. Take some time to enjoy this wonderful time and include those closest to you in the celebration. Keep it low key with an announcement over an intimate dinner with your closest family members or go all out with a big engagement bash. Whatever your approach, just make sure you take the time to really soak in these special moments.
2. A Big Decision.
Not much else can happen unless you know what date you’re targeting. Try to set a date that’s about 12 months out, giving yourself a reasonable amount of time to plan all the details. And try to remain somewhat flexible in case your choice ceremony and/or venue locations are not available on your target date.
3. Get Inspired.
Before you can get down into the details you need to first decide on the big picture. Start to narrow down an event design by getting inspired by all the possibilities. Start up a Pinterest account and beginning following top wedding sources (follow weddingstar’s Pinterest’s boards here), buy some wedding magazines and start regularly following a few inspirational wedding blogs. Just remember to stick to a wedding day look that naturally fits your personal style otherwise you’ll find pulling the design together to be a challenge you’re not likely to enjoy.
4. Money Talk.
Before you get too far into what you have to have for your big day, set an overall wedding budget you’re comfortable with. Although we’d all love a big lavish event, the reality is not everyone can afford one. Make sure you’re not overextending yourself financially and that you’re realistic about not only how much you want to spend but also about how much things actually cost. Not sure where to start? Now’s a good time to consider hiring on a wedding planner to help you get things right.
5. The Perfect Spot
Start looking into venue options for both your ceremony and reception. Many locations book at least a year in advance, especially during peak wedding season (i.e. the summer months), so you’ll want to get a head start and consider as many options as possible. Here’s where that flexibility with date will come in play. To help get you started, check out our Top 15 Tips to Consider When Selecting a Wedding Venue post.
What’s the number one way to keep your planning as stress free as possible? Set a schedule right from the start and then stick to it. To get you started, check out our Buying Guide.
It’s the holiday season and needless to say, we’ve been partaking in a bit of indulging. OK, a lot of indulging! Not too shy to dip into the sinfully delicious, treating ourselves to all things decadent like at no other time of year, we certainly haven’t been quick to pass up on seconds of the sweet stuff. And it’s actually got us quite inspired, inspired to share our thoughts on some creative and tasty ways to fulfill the sweet tooth of all your wedding guests. From unique cake designs to imaginative cake alternatives, here are our favorite mouthwatering wedding dessert concepts.
Dress it Up
Now that you’ve got plenty of ideas for what to serve, join us this coming DIY Wedding Wednesday when we show you how to dress up your goodie display.
Happy Boxing Day everyone! Given we’ve all got shopping at the forefront of our minds, we figured it fitting to take this opportunity to share with you the ultimate shopping guide for your wedding. Breaking it down based on the average 12 month planning journey, we’ve got the details on when to buy what to ensure you stay on track with a stress free prepping experience, helping you avoid as many of those “oh no I forgot!” moments as possible. And in true Weddingstar fashion, you’re not only getting the know how, you also have the opportunity to purchase all the suggestions being made. So without further delay, Happy Shopping!
12 Months Out – Where to Start
You’re newly engaged, with plenty of time on your hands. Now’s the time to take a moment to enjoy. Meaning? It’s party time! Announce your great news to your closest and dearest by throwing an engagement party and take the opportunity to pop your own big question, “will you be my bridesmaid”, to the besties you want by your side. Here are some of the things you’ll want to consider for your big bash and ask.
9 Months Out – Mark Your Calendars
Make sure no one misses your big day by giving everyone you want to have there plenty of notice. Now’s the time to order and send out your Save the Dates. Select a design that gives your guests insight into the style of wedding you’re having. Haven’t decided on a theme or style yet? Then go with a neutral option that’ll work with any wedding day design and the invitation suite you’ll have to select later on down the planning road.
6 Months – Making it Official
You’re half way there and it’s time to get serious about the details, staring with the ordering of your wedding invitation suite, complete with your reply cards. Although you won’t be sending these out until about 3 months out, you’ll want to leave yourself time to embellish your design if desired, address your envelopes, both your invite and reply envelopes, and to organize your mailing.
5 Months Out – DIY Time
If you’re considering DIY’ing any of your wedding day details, you’ll want to get yourself sorted with all the supplies no later than 5 months out. Whether it’s your invites or your favors that you’re taking on as a crafting project, you’ll want to leave yourself plenty of time to get them right and get them done.
4 Months Out – Making it Pretty
The months are flying by and there’s no putting off the details. At this point you should have a defined wedding day theme and look mapped out, now’s the time to decide how you’ll execute on the vision. And this is one of those times where more is more. The more you style your day with cohesive decorative details, the better your big picture will be.
3 Months Out – Cake Time
All the major to do’s are taken care of. Now you just need to consider all the little extras. You’re probably also now sitting down with your cake designer to decide on your final cake details. If you’re considering a cake topper you’ll want to make that a part of your discussion.
2 Months Out – Many Thanks
The bulk of the planning and prep is probably past you. Take the time to thank those that helped throughout all the planning madness, i.e. bridal party members and parents.
1 Month Out – Little Indulgences
It’s all about the last minute details now. Incorporating a candy buffet into your wedding day treats? Organize everything you need to pull it off, think candy fillers and display vessels.
Post Wedding – With Gratitude
The big day is done and you’re left with plenty of amazing memories to last you a life time. Send your thanks to all who attended and helped to make it the best day of your life. Order and mail out thank you cards within 3 months of the festivities.
Don’t See It But Need It?
Chances are Weddingstar has it! With over 3000+ products, including hundreds of new on trend additions that have just been added to the line, what you see here is just a small sampling of what you can get. Shop the full collection on weddingstar.com.
The serene snow white landscape. Glistening icicles that seem to dance around in the daylight. The spirit of celebration thick in the air. The summer may be the most popular time of year to get married, but there’s something so magical and grand about a winter wedding. With countless good reasons to slip on a faux fur cape, against the natural winter wonderland backdrop, a girl can’t help but feel like a real life princess. But just in case your imagination needs a kick start to envision your potential winter wedding, let’s explore the possibility through our latest installment of our A Girl and Her Table Series, All Covered in White – The Winter Bride.
Her Style Personality
Demure but certainly no wallflower, our girl is the perfect example of elegance and grace. She appreciates the finer things in life and isn’t afraid to indulge in the luxurious. Her wedding day will be grand and her wedding day look will be no less.
Luxe details, things that sparkle and shine, and a clean monochromatic white color palette. For her, entertaining is an art form and her wedding day will be the biggest and most important gala she’s thrown to date.
She Has to Have
Glass and crystal decor that highlights all the pretty, candles galore, and a venue that sets the stage for her regal affair. Our modern day Cinderella will see to it that the divine is executed in every last wedding day detail so that her guests feel just as special as she does on the big day.
Are You a Winter Bride?
If you’re loving today’s bridal style, come get further inspired on Weddingstar’s Winter Wedding Pinterest board.
If you’re like me you can’t do a thing without a list. From groceries to weekend plans, if it ain’t on paper, it ain’t happening! The need for a list only becomes that much more of a necessity when things get complicated. And I can think of few more complicated personal projects than the planning of a wedding day design. With endless options, never ending inspiration (thanks Pinterest!), and countless details to work through, it’s downright daunting. So to start the weekend off on a positive note, today I’m sharing my list of top dos and don’ts, listed in no particular order, to getting fabulous day of decor. Happy Stress-Free Friday!
Do try to go for an unconventional venue for your ceremony and reception. Think outside the typical options and go for something that best reflects your personal taste and style.
Don’t take on a blank slate unless you’re prepared to do a lot of work, and consider hiring on a professional wedding planner to help you manage the logistics.
Do have fun with color. Explore bold options and play with a mix of shades.
Don’t go color crazy, mixing too many hues or ones that don’t complement one another. Not sure what works? Use the trusty color wheel!
Do play with heights on your tablesapes. A mix adds tremendous dimension to an event’s design.
Don’t forget to consider line of sight, making sure placement of all centerpieces allows for proper guest interaction.
Do get down into the details. The more intricate your day of design, the better. Think layer upon layer.
Don’t give those details a second thought on your wedding day. Turn to your wedding planner, if you have one, or hire a day of coordinator to execute all you’ve planned.
Do set up decorative vignettes, complete with props, to elevate your overall design to the next level.
Don’t go so prop heavy that your event no longer feels like a wedding.
Do consider event upgrades to customize your wedding design. Think luxury chairs, premium linens and elegant charger plates.
Don’t break the bank in the process. Take on only as much as you can afford.
Do use chandeliers whenever you can. They add a level of elegance to any design.
Don’t forget they require special logistical requirements, i.e. hanging mechanisms.
Do DIY some of your wedding day details, to personalize your event like only you can.
Don’t try to tackle everything and leave the major elements, like food and florals, to the pros.
Do incorporate candlelight whenever possible. No other design element does more to add ambiance to an event.
Don’t forget to make sure your venue will allow it. Some don’t, while others have restrictions about keeping candlelight contained.
Do be daring and get creative. Mix up traditional design concepts with new and unexpected details.
Don’t get hung up on conventional approaches or stuck on what’s been done with your selected venue in the past.
The Big Picture
See all these design elements put into practice by picking up a copy of the current issue of Weddingstar magazine, complete with 128 pages full of inspiration and ideas.
Once your vows have been exchanged, the bubbly’s been popped and your lovely gown has been carefully tucked away, what’s left from your big day? Your gorgeous wedding pictures of course! At least you hope they’re gorgeous.
Given the long term importance of wedding photos, there should be no doubt about the need to invest some serious time, energy and dollars into selecting your wedding photographer. The selection process is one of the more intense tasks you’ll take on while planning your wedding, but because the final product is all you’ll have to forever remind you of one of the most amazing days of your life, you definitely want to make sure you manage it properly. Lucky for you, we’ve got a list of the critical things you’ll want to consider when selecting a photographer, straight from the ultimate subject matter expert, our very own resident freelance wedding photography purveyor, Mugshots Photography. Here’s everything you need to know to get you to your dream wedding pics.
Tip #1: Money Talks
Always start the process of selecting your wedding photographer with a solid understanding of your wedding budget. Set your overall bottom line first and then decide what percentage you want to dedicate to your photographer. Consider the type of coverage you’re interested in, what parts of your day you want captured and what type of final product you’re interested in. This will help you to narrow down your options, based on both service offering and price point. Make sure you approach this from a realistic standpoint and remember the cardinal rule of purchasing any product or service, you get what you pay for.
Tip #2: Set a Benchmark
Look at lots and lots (and lots!) of wedding inspiration to get a solid visual sense of what type of photography appeals to you most. There’s more wedding inspiration available to today’s bride than ever before so use it to your advantage. Scour wedding magazines (like the Weddingstar magazine) and Pinterest to see how others have had their day captured. Do you gravitate towards a photojournalistic approach? Do prop heavy wedding photos appeal to you? Once you understand the type of images you want, you’ll be better prepared to pick the photographer that can get you exactly what you’re after for your photos.
Tip #3: The Playing Field
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different types of wedding photography companies in your market. There are no doubt plenty to choose from, regardless of where you reside. Some photographers may just be starting out and are looking to build their portfolios. Some may be very experienced with 100’s of weddings under their belts. While others still may be set up as ‘studios’ with several subcontracted photographers working on their behalf. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these offerings. For instance, a new wedding photographer may offer you an attractive price as he looks to gain experience, while a seasoned pro will come at an added investment but will already know the ins and outs of shooting weddings. There’s someone for everyone, just make sure you understand what you’re signing up for.
Tip #4: A Serious Commitment
Fall in love with the portfolios of the photographers you are interested in. Anything less and you may not be happy with your final images. And don’t just settle on a photographer’s website portfolio that features their best work. Once you have narrowed down your selection ask your prospective photographers to share with you a full set of images from a couple of recent wedding they have captured. This will give you the best sense of what your potential finished product will look like. Keep an eye out for the types of images that are important to you. And pay attention to any specific processing approach a photographer takes to make sure you like it.
Tip #5: The Meet and Greet
Before the final product comes all the preamble, and an important preamble it is. Your photographer is one of the very few wedding vendors who will spend the better part of your day close by your side. You’ll want to make sure there’s a personality match prior to booking with a specific person. Your potential photographer should easily be able to address all of your questions. Ask him/her to talk about why they started shooting weddings. Ask about their experience and about the equipment they use. The answers you get should confirm how knowledgeable the photographer is, while also provide you with insight into how personable they are. If going with a studio offering, make sure to get some face time with the specific photographer set to shoot your day, before you sign the contract. Be weary if this is not an option.
Tip # 6: The Test Run
Book an engagement shoot. This will allow for a test run in getting your picture taken by a professional photographer so that you feel more comfortable on your wedding day, both as a couple having their pictures taken and with the person taking the pictures. A set of engagement pictures will also help you better define for your photographer the type of images you like best.
Tip #7: Get Organized
Prepare a shot list of important events and people you want captured and share the list with your photographer. Sharing this information will ensure that important memories are captured on your big day. But don’t go overboard in listing out a too detailed shot list. Trust that your photographer will capture the day in a way that is similar to the work that he/she has shown you during the booking process.
To view more of the Mugshots portfolio visit their website at mugshotsphotography.ca, or pick up a copy of the current Weddingstar magazine for front to back wedding inspiration, all captured by Mugshots.
I don’t think I’d be the odd woman out if I said that wedding budget management is not fun. In fact, it’s a major pain. But it’s also an absolute necessity, a top priority in the wedding planning process. As difficult as it is to muddle through the business of managing your wedding spend, it would be downright impossible without a guiding framework. And we’re not talking about anything fancy. Just an outline of the total amount you’re able and willing to dish out, and how you want to allocate those dollars. So in the spirit of a fresh week and getting things off on the right foot, we’re sharing our list of top tips for successful wedding budget management.
Tip #1. First Things First
This may seem obvious but it’s so critical that it’s worth the mention, and the top spot. Setting your wedding budget should be the first thing you do when you set out on the wedding planning journey. Before you book anything, before any of the planning stress sets in, before you even set a date, your first task should be to sit down and map out your maximum total spend.
Tip #2. Where to Start
You may be in complete agreement that a budget is essential, but theory isn’t worth much unless put to practice. And here’s where most couples get stuck. They want a controllable budget. They just aren’t sure how to set one. The short answer is that there is no magic formula applicable across the board. Every couple’s budget is bound to look different. There is however a pretty solid rule of thumb you can go by: take your projected venue / reception spend, double it, and the result is an estimate for total average spend.
Tip #3. Be Realistic
When setting your budget, and throughout the entire planning process, remember that everything comes with a price tag and unless you have an infinite budget, you can’t have it all. You may find it helpful to list out your ‘must haves’, the event details that matter most to you, and your ‘nice to haves’, the extras that you can do without if necessary. For example, a dove release is lovely but not an essential element of a meaningful ceremony. Leave the booking of the extras to the tail end of your planning/spend, and be prepared to make compromises if necessary.
Tip #4. Team Work
Tips 1 to 3 make for a solid wedding budget foundation but unless worked through by both bride and groom, cracks are inevitable. Make sure you’re both comfortable with the total spend set out, and that your list of ‘must haves’ is a shared one. If not, you may find yourself in a tough situation later on down the wedding planning road, at a time where changes aren’t easily made.
Tip #5. Less is More
The number one, fail-safe way to stretch your total spend is to reduce your guest count. It’s simple math. The same total spend will do a lot more for a group of 50 versus for an event hosting 150. And although it may seem like common sense, the challenge arises when tradition, culture and overall community are taken into consideration. So although it’s an easy concept to understand, it’s a lot harder to put into practice, but an important consideration for budget management nonetheless.
Tip #6. Bring on a Pro
Potentially the most challenging aspect of wedding budget management is the time it takes to get it right. The easiest way to ensure you get it right from the get go, and that you stay on track, is to enlist the help of a professional wedding planner. An experienced planner can handle the process on your behalf, based on the parameters you set together.
Tip #7. Cut Backs
Next to your reception venue budget (including food and beverage), floral expenses are likely to be next in line for highest potential spend. Depending on your overall budget and your ‘must haves’, you may find you have to make major cut backs to meet your bottom line. One way to make the cut without impacting on overall ambiance is to replace floral arrangements with a flood of pretty candlelight.
Tip #8. The Time Factor
To aid in spend management, don’t be afraid to ask your wedding vendors for payment plans. Most would be more than willing to accommodate you with a well spaced out schedule that helps to avoid an influx of major spend all at once. But be prepared to make all final payments approximately two weeks prior to your wedding day.
Tip #9. DIY it
What’s the easiest way to control the cost of a given aspect of your event? Do it yourself. Granted, not all aspects of a wedding can be DIY’d, but those that can are guaranteed to bring down spend. That said, make sure to leave yourself enough time to manage whatever parts you’re taking on, and never do it alone. Now’s the time to turn to a wedding planner, your bridesmaids, and close family members.
Tip #10. Check In
When it comes to a budget, there’s no such thing as too much checking in. The budget management process is a constant one, which should be updated with every single spend as it happens, so it doesn’t get missed. And always remember that nothing, other than your bottom line, is set in stone. So shuffle around on an as needed basis.
Speaking of DIY’ing it
Join us every Wednesday for our DIY Wedding Wednesday posts, where we show you creative ways to personalize your event while stretching your wedding budget.
Alright grooms, this one’s just for you! With the next installment in our WS Stylist Series, see the first two features here and here, we figured it’s high time we focus on the man of the hour. Because as important as a bride is on her wedding day, let’s face it, she would be nowhere without her best accessory, her groom. To ensure you look nothing but stylish and sharp while in the spotlight with your bride, we’ve got the top tips for selecting your tailored wedding look straight from the subject matter experts, the stylists at Toronto’s leading menswear store, Gotstyle.
Top 9 Tips for Selecting Your Wedding Suit
1. Don’t Rent. Buy. In order to look your best on the big day, shopping off the rack or made-to-measure suiting is the best way to go. Rented suits are cut for the overall fit of every body type. Sleeves are often too long, waistbands are synched with buckles and sloppy pant hems are pretty much a given. Invest in a suit of your own for your big day that’ll also keep as a long term addition to your wardrobe.
2. The Perfect Fit. The most important thing to think about when buying a suit for your wedding is fit. Just because it is trimmed with lapels you like or is graced with a ticket pocket doesn’t mean it’s the right look for you. Every body is different. Purchasing a suit that fits your body type is the key to keeping you comfortable and feeling good on your big day.
3. Let Your Personality Shine. Your wedding is a day you want to present the best version of who you are. Really like the look of a double-breasted suit but haven’t had the opportunity to wear one? Feel more comfortable in trousers and a blazer? Now’s the time to show your personal style. Your wedding attire should be an extension of who you are when you’re at your very best.
4. Color Conscious. Classic charcoal, crisp navy and breathtaking black are all wonderful options for a wedding suit that can easily work back into your daily wardrobe, but don’t be afraid to go with something bold. Your wedding is a wonderful opportunity to be adventurous. Try a non-traditional color choice such as light grey, burgundy or even electric blue to really get the attention of your family and friends.
5. The Tricks of Tailoring. Once you’ve selected a suit that matches your personality and fits your frame, the final step to perfect fit is alterations. All true gentlemen work with a tailor to tweak any minor adjustment that may be needed to an off the rack suit. Alterations are necessary to perfecting your wedding wear.
6. Detailed Decorations. Accessories are a wonderful way to incorporate your personality or even your wedding theme into your look. Tie bars or rings, lapel pins and suspenders are standout additions, while colored socks or shoelaces have become a wedding staple. For something really special, play with your look throughout the day. Go with a traditional tie during the ceremony and then switch it out for something fun like a patterned bow tie for the reception.
7. Pattern Play. A wedding is arguably the most festive of occasions and always an opportunity to celebrate. Wearing a printed tie, a shirt with a pattern, or even a whimsical pocket square are simple adjustments that will take your suit from business to pleasure. The more fashion forward groom can go as bold as to wear a printed suit in a windowpane or glen check fabric.
8. Conform to the Code. A simple way to alleviate wedding day wardrobe stress is to dress to the code suggested for your guests. If you’re having a casual summer wedding consider wearing a blazer and trousers or a linen suit without a tie. A cocktail dress code pairs perfectly with a shawl collar jacket and tuxedo pant. By following the dress code you eliminate other wardrobe options that can make selecting a wedding outfit complicated.
9. Master of the Mismatch. The final and perhaps least obvious tip is this, the bride does not wear the same dress as the bridesmaids, nor should the groom have to wear the same look as the groomsmen. Differentiating yourself from your groomsmen can be as simple as choosing a different colored tie or adding a vest, to something as unique as wearing a light blue suit while your groomsmen sport navy. It’s your day. Don’t be shy to stand out and enjoy!
With more than eight years of experience helping the men of Toronto find modern, refined looks for every occasion, GOTSTYLE™ has become known as a leading figure in Canadian menswear. They are committed to providing the most inclusive shopping experience, fulfilling every client’s unique requirements in terms of style, tailoring and grooming. Retail locations house edgy, well-edited collections that encompass business, casual, formal and social looks to help make any man a sartorial star.
Last But Not Least
Join us next Friday for the final installment in our Stylist Series, our jewellery feature, showcasing some of the most stunning pieces you’ve ever seen!