Archive for February, 2009

Receiving line…yay or nay?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A | No Comments


The long road from happy engagement to wedded bliss is paved with potential etiquette faux pas. Wedding planner Lisa Hanslip is here to help you resist your inner Bridezilla along the way.

Q: We’ve been told we need to have a receiving line at our wedding – but we don’t really know when it is supposed to be or even who exactly is supposed to be included – do we really need to have one?

A: Traditionally, it is considered proper etiquette to have a receiving line at any wedding with more than 50 guests. The purpose of the receiving line is to give the hosts and the happy couple an opportunity to personally greet each guest.

The receiving line usually starts with the parents of the bride, followed by the groom, the bride, the parents of the groom, and sometimes the maid of honour. The groomsmen do not participate in the receiving line nor do the bridesmaids (hmmm…eight attendants and 250 wedding guests…we might get to sit down for dinner sometime before their first anniversary).

Today, it is perfectly acceptable not to have a receiving line. If you’re planning to invite enough people to fill all four halls of the Round-Up Centre – it is probably best to skip it. But, if you’ve invited less than 200 people, it can certainly be manageable – and useful: If even your best party-mingling efforts don’t allow you to visit with each guest during the reception – you can relax knowing you spoke with everyone during the receiving line.

The receiving line can be held at the church as people exit or at the reception as people enter. It can be a great way to usher people out of the ceremony or into the reception – but allow enough time so you’re not impinging on your time for wedding photos or the start of dinner. The receiving line can be rather a lengthy process – so count on at least half an hour to greet all of your guests – closer to an hour if you have lots of chatty relatives to contend with.

Just remember – whether or not you have a receiving line – the important thing is that you greet each and every guest and thank them personally for sharing in your big day. If you decide to go for it – make sure your comfy shoes and bottle of Purell are at the ready – and you’ll be all set.

Lisa Hanslip is a Calgary wedding planner (www. Her advice appears regularly on the Love Stories pages.

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Lisa Hanslip featured on CBC Radio One – weddings & the economy

Monday, February 16th, 2009 | media, trends | No Comments

Lisa Hanslip was featured on several programs throughout the day on CBC Radio One. Lisa discussed the effect of the economic downturn on weddings.


Statistically when the economy takes a big downturn there tends to be more weddings – just with an overall lower average budget. There probably won’t be any noticeable effect on most weddings until next year – as the vast majority of clients that we work with set their budget in 2007 or 2008 when the economy was in much better shape.

Long after the economy has recovered newlyweds will be remembering their big day and looking at their photos. In any economic environment it is important to prioritize what your priorities are for your wedding day so you have the day that reflects your personalities and your relationship. There are certain things that are worth splurging on – like a great photographer – and many areas that you can easily cut back – like guest list, amount of flowers or number of courses at the reception – so you don’t break the bank but still get your dream wedding.

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Man of Honour?!?

Monday, February 16th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A, trends, weddings | No Comments



The long road from happy engagement to wedded bliss is paved with potential etiquette faux pas. Wedding planner Lisa Hanslip is here to help you resist your inner Bridezilla along the way.


Q: I’m having a very hard time choosing a maid of honour. I have a few girlfriends that I’m fairly close to, but my very best friend is a guy. We’ve known each other since junior high – and he’s seen me through everything. Would it be weird to choose him instead of a maid of honour? Should he just dress like the groomsmen? Will I give my grandmother a heart attack?


A: Unconventional, yes! Unexpected, you bet! Acceptable, absolutely!


You want your honour attendant – whether it is a maid of honour, matron of honour or man of honour – to be the person to whom you feel closest. You should choose your best friend, the person you want standing beside you on your big day – not the friend that would look best in the bridesmaid dress.


If you choose a man to be your honour attendant – you may opt to eliminate some of the “typical” duties like hosting your bridal shower, or helping you get into your wedding gown. But the most important part of the job description is being supportive and serving as the legal witness to your marriage.


Choosing your attendants can often be a difficult process – for the bride and the groom. There may be family politics involved. Or, like some, you may have served as a bridesmaid for a dozen of your friends and family members and feel obligated to ask them to stand up for you in return. Well…don’t.


This is your day – and although it is impossible to accommodate everyone’s wishes – you can’t make your choices based on not wanting to offend someone. You can’t make everyone happy – nor can you make everyone your bridesmaid – so just choose those you are currently closest to. You can always assign tasks – like doing a reading or taking care of the guest book – to those you want to feel special and included in your wedding but aren’t in the bridal party.


When you decide on the attire for your attendants, he can wear a suit or tuxedo and coordinate his tie to the other bridesmaids. This scenario also holds true for the groom. It is also perfectly acceptable to have a woman be the best “man.” A best “woman” looks great in a black strapless gown to coordinate with the other groomsmen.


So, feel free to choose your best guy friend or brother to stand up for you at your wedding. Just keep your “man of honour” away from the lavender chiffon and size 11 purple pumps – and your grandmother’s heart should be just fine!

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Style Me Pretty! The Wedding Planner gets listed in the Little Black Book!

Saturday, February 14th, 2009 | media, testimonials, trends, weddings | No Comments


Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book is a highly edited collection of wedding service providers – from mom and pop boutiques to A-Listers. Personally recommended by our closest girlfriends, industry insiders and Style Me Pretty readers, there are a few hand-picked listings per category. Brace yourself, though…it’s that good!

The Wedding Planner is currently one of only 4 wedding planners in all of Canada to make this prestigious list. We’ve long been a fan of Style Me Pretty so we’re happy to hear they’re a fan of us too!

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Bridesmaids Dresses….what ever will they wear?

Friday, February 6th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A, weddings | No Comments




The long road from happy engagement to wedded bliss is paved with potential etiquette faux pas. Wedding planner Lisa Hanslip is here to help you resist your inner Bridezilla along the way.


Q: I’m having trouble choosing a dress for my 10 bridesmaids. I want them all in the same dress but how do I choose one that will look good on all of them? Do I have to pay for all of them? Do they need to match my wedding gown?


A: Just like most things in life – one size usually doesn’t fit all – and one dress won’t suit all unless your bridesmaids have similar body types. When it comes to your attendants’ attire – uniformity is nice, it’s expected, but absolutely not necessary. In fact, mixing up the styles a bit is practically the norm these days. At the very least, it is nice to set your maid of honour apart by choosing a different dress in the same colour or the same dress in a different colour.


Choosing a bridesmaid dress shouldn’t be looked at as an opportunity for retribution for that frilly sea-foam green number taunting you from the back of your closet. Be nice. These are your friends. Most women are  initially thrilled when asked to be a bridesmaid, but if they’ve ever been a bridesmaid before, inside their head they’re groaning (What is she going to make me wear?). Consider choosing a colour and style grouping from one designer and letting your bridesmaids choose which one they feel best suits them. That way, as it will be the same fabric and the same general style, they will look matching , but your best friend won’t be hiding in the corner all evening for fear of falling out of the strapless dress you’ve chosen for her.


The bridesmaid dress should match the formality of your dress – so don’t put them in a sundress if you’re wearing a formal gown with a train – but it is no longer necessary to have your attendant’s dresses emulate your gown. Bridesmaid’s dresses not only used to match the wedding gown – but were identical. The original purpose for a bridesmaid was to confuse the evil spirits. These days, they’re there for moral support and to look pretty walking down the aisle.


It is expected that the bridesmaids will cover the cost of their own attire, however some brides opt to pay, depending on the cost of the dress they’ve chosen, or the financial circumstances of their friends. So, unless you are planning to foot the bill yourself – be kind with both style and price. And, by the way, feel free just to have three or four bridesmaids, not ten – you don’t need all of your guests standing at the front with you! 


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