Something to consider is seeing each other before the ceremony. Personally, I am in favour of this. Not only does it give you a moment with each other, but it also allows you to take photos before the ceremony. This significantly reduces time spent taking photos, so you can enjoy cocktail hour and celebrate as newlyweds with your guests.

Your wedding theme sets the mood, adds your personality, and allows for a consistent flow throughout the day - but there’s no need to overthink it. My advice, keep it simple. Choose a colour palette and style that compliments the unique characteristics of your venue. After all, you chose the space for a reason, so avoid overwhelming it with decor and florals, simply add your own touches.

A seating chart is used to direct your guests to their assigned table - however place cards will further instruct them where to sit, but is this necessary? In my opinion, place cards are worth the extra effort. Not only does it make it easier for guests to find their seat, it also helps catering quickly identify those with allergies or dietary restrictions. Plus, you get to play matchmaker! Sit solo guests together or friends that you think would mesh well.

Keep in mind, your wedding party is made up of those closest to you - to celebrate with you leading up to your wedding, and to be there to support you on your big day. So toss aside tradition and choose those you truly wish to be by your side. As for the details, including the processional and recessional, photos, and introductions, allow your vendors to get creative! And if you’re worried about leaving someone out, give them a role - usher, extra flower girl, assist the ring bearer, or walk your dog down the aisle.

You won’t regret asking your guests to turn off their devices during the ceremony. When guests are fixated on capturing the best shot of you walking down the aisle, it takes away from this precious moment. Allow your guests to be present with you and leave it to the professionals to capture this moment. Simply let your guests know with signs, or have your officiant make an announcement.

Deciding whether to invite kids to your wedding is a tough decision and should be handled with care. If you’re on a budget or have a guest limit, inviting lots of kids is likely not an option. However, if you have kids of your own or some close to you (like a niece or nephew), invite them to the ceremony and cocktail party, and arrange care for afterwards. If nothing is holding you back, go all out! Hire an entertainer, create a kids' meal, and organize childcare. Although in most cases I find parents often prefer to take this opportunity for a date night. 

When choosing your ceremony time, ask yourself some questions. How long is your ceremony? Are you seeing each other beforehand? How many meals are included? When does the sun go down? How late do you want your guests to stay?When creating your timeline, it’s best to work backwards. If you’re getting married at a venue with strict ceremony times, you may be restricted. If not, my ideal time to start the ceremony is 1:00pm. Why? It’s your wedding day (!!!) so spend as much time together to celebrate.

To limit stress, it's best to start planning early to determine your budget, secure your venue and key vendors, and send out save the dates. Staying within budget will significantly reduce stress. As venues and vendors book up quickly, get this done early so there are no letdowns. Schedule a time each week to get something done and use a wedding email address to stay organized.

So much of your day is planned, so I always encourage couples to grasp any element of surprise. If you’re considering having open mic, I say go for it! My suggestion: have speeches planned in advance leading up to dessert. This can include a toast at cocktail, grace, and speeches throughout dinner. As soon as dinner plates are cleared, open the floor for a set amount of time - your MC or DJ can help coordinate and step in in case someone goes off course. 

It’s critical to set a budget before you start planning as this determines every detail of your day. 

1. Review your savings while keeping in mind future expenses - add any contribution from loved ones.

2. Create a spreadsheet - add items you can’t do without such as your venue and officiant. Then add a list of nice-to-haves such as live ceremony music. Keep 10% of your budget aside for unplanned expenses.

3. Split up your budget and add estimated costs - plus add columns for quotes and actual spend to keep track of spending. 

You now have a good indication of what you can afford - venue types, how many guests you can invite, meal plan, attire, etc.

It’s important to plan in advance so money is not a stressor - and be sure to not spend more than you have at time of planning!

Cake-cutting is typically done after dinner and just before dancing begins - it's the last 'official' event of the evening. That said, wedding cakes are quickly being replaced with champagne towers and donut walls - I've even seen a cake piñata! And these can occur at any time of the day or night. If you're on the fence or looking to cut costs, consider only serving dessert or cutting your cake and having it plated for your guests. 

In my opinion, if looking to book your venue on a long weekend, choose the Friday. This allows your guests to start off their long weekend celebrating your love and then carry on with weekend plans. That said, if you're planning a weekend getaway for your guests then a long weekend celebration may be a great option.