Archive for March, 2009

What’s a bride with two dads to do?

Tuesday, March 31st, 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 getting married in the fall. All the details seem to be coming together nicely except there’s one big problem…My parents divorced when I was eight and my mom re-married shortly after. My step-dad is wonderful and has always basically been the father figure. I am still quite close with my father, though, and I know either would be very disappointed about not walking me down the aisle. What should I do?

A. Hmmm…yes…this is always a very sticky situation when a bride is close to both her father and step-father. Unfortunately, there is never a clear-cut, one-size-fits-all, answer. How you choose to handle this is entirely dependant upon the personalities involved.

If you are very close with both men, etiquette states it is your natural father that should walk you down the aisle. For many brides, though, their step-dad has been so much more involved in their daily lives that it seems an automatic choice to ask him in lieu of their biological parent.

If both men get along and are amiable with each other you can choose to have both of them walk you down the aisle. Strictly speaking, this is a total no-no. However, unless Emily Post (or Dr. Phil) will be onsite to help smooth the ruffled feathers of the “dad” who does not get to walk you down the aisle – this is certainly a viable option. You could either have one escort on either arm, or have your father take you half way, and your step-father the other half. Another option is to choose your natural father to walk you down the aisle, and your stepfather for the father-daughter dance (or vice versa).

The only other option would be to avoid the situation altogether and walk down the aisle alone. From an etiquette perspective, this is a more appropriate compromise than, say, having your mom walk you down the aisle, and can potentially alleviate any hurt feelings. If you’re really worried about it, pick a ceremony venue that has a very skinny aisle (or a ridiculously pouffy dress). Then you can look your dad(s) in the eye and say with confidence…I’m so disappointed, there’s simply not room for anyone beside me. If you opt to go it alone, you could briefly pause to hug them both, and then have your fiancé escort you the last few feet.

It is wonderful to want to observe all the proper etiquette at your wedding…just don’t forget about the potential lifetime of angry glances over the Thanksgiving turkey before you make your final decision.

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

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Hmmm…our venue is on fire…isn’t that delightful!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A, weddings | No Comments


Q. Our wedding is a few weeks away and our reception venue just had a big fire. Although we had our hearts set on this location, we decided to book another place close by instead of waiting for the repairs to be completed. What is the proper way to inform our guests? Can we just tell everyone at the ceremony?

A. All sorts of things can pop up (or burn down) when planning a wedding. The venue can double book, the church can flood, the photographer can unexpectedly choose another occupation (what do you mean you’ve really always wanted to be a plumber?), or there can be a family emergency requiring a postponement. Whatever the scenario, it is not uncommon for something to instigate either a change of date or a change of venue.

Typically, the appropriate etiquette to handle a change of wedding details is mailing the new details to your guests. Either a hand written note or a simple card – printed to match your invitations – is acceptable.

Had you decided to postpone your wedding the same rules would apply. It is the top priority to inform your guests if there is a major change – such as a change of date or a change of locale. Every wedding usually has at least a few guests coming from out of town – they’ve graciously taken time off work and made travel arrangements. Your local guests may have arranged baby sitters or transportation. Make sure you tell them…post haste!

With so little time before your wedding date I suggest using the telephone. Although your new venue is nearby, it is courteous to let your guests have some warning. A reminder at the ceremony – either printed on the programs or with a verbal announcement – is always a good idea. However, there are inevitably always a few guests that don’t make it to the ceremony (I told you it was left on Main Street), and even more guests that don’t bother reading the programs (Oh, doesn’t she look beautiful, I wonder what I’ll look like on my wedding day…).

So, enlist your family and your bridesmaids to help you man the phones. Then, take a deep breath and relax (having a fire extinguisher at the ready couldn’t hurt either!). Well done finding a new reception venue so quickly – your wedding will be smooth sailing.

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Lisa is on top of the world…literally…

Saturday, March 14th, 2009 | travel, trends, weddings | No Comments

I’m currently at the top of Kicking Horse (Golden, BC) preparing for our clients’ wedding later. I refuse to worry about all the snow & wind…it’s still going to be fabulous & a total experience for all of the guests.
The luscious palette of purples and greens will be a gorgeous contrast to the freshly fallen snow. There will be lots of candlelight and lots of pine cones which will be a striking contrast to the dozens and dozens of orchids that will be scattered throughout the space.
All the details from the invitations to the seating chart, place cards, menus and table numbers all match. The table runners are a deep aubergine, the flowers are a mixture of purples and greens, and all the printed materials are green with striking black and white camping symbols…they’re perfect for this couple.
I LOVE that the bride is going to ski down the hill in her princess gown with the photographer taking photos along the way…I can’t wait to see the photos…and will post some of my snapshots as soon as I’m able.

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The Wedding Chicks love our site!

Thursday, March 12th, 2009 | media, testimonials | No Comments

We recently received an email from Amy, half of the fabulous duo that started letting us know how much they love our site. We never tire of hearing that! :D
We are now a Wedding Chicks preferred vendor. You must check out their site – it is filled with all sorts of fabulous & fun things.

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the best man said WHAT???

Monday, March 9th, 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: I’m starting to get a bit nervous about the toasts. We were at a wedding last weekend and the best man was a bit drunk. Not only did he talk too long, but he spent most of the time discussing the groom’s ex-girlfriends. Is there any way to avoid this at our wedding?

A: Absolutely. Feel free to give your family and bridal party some guidelines. Those that plan to give toasts should prepare in advance (written out completely or at least in the form of notes). You don’t want the most memorable thing at your wedding to be how long your uncle droned on about what a talented two-year-old you were, or that the best man rambled endlessly about the groom’s high school high jinks.

There are a few etiquette points to be aware of:

• If seated, stand when offering a toast.
• Keep it simple, and keep it personal.
• To “finish” a toast, raise your glass and say the couple’s names (“To Sally & Ben”), then take a sip. Everyone else will follow your lead.
• When you are the one being toasted, stay seated, and don’t raise your glass.

It is absolutely appropriate to begin by saying you are honoured to share the wedding day with the couple. A good starting point is talking casually about your relationship with the couple and relating one or two quick anecdotes. A nice way to close is by pointing out what’s special about their relationship and why you think they’re perfect for each other.

Dwelling on potentially touchy subjects, like a difference in religion or race, or an unhappy ex-spouse is decidedly NOT appropriate. Don’t apologize for being a bad speaker, or announce you don’t really want to speak. And most definitely don’t talk too much about the bride or groom’s past conquests or be cryptic by telling stories that only the bride & groom will understand (common fodder for the “tipsy toast”).

The most important thing to remember for anyone giving a toast at a wedding is that brevity is the soul of wit. Even if you have a story to tell, don’t use the long version – a wedding toast should never be more than 3-5 minutes long. Very often the errant toast is a result of too many nerves and too little preparation (that sixth glass of champagne probably won’t help either!). So with some helpful hints – and a big deep breath – your fiancé’s best man can deliver a memorable and meaningful toast – and you can relax and enjoy it….Cheers!

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