Archive for April, 2012

{ man of honour…or…how to have a guy as your bridesmaid }

Friday, April 27th, 2012 | etiquette, media, Q&A | No Comments

I know I’ve already blogged about having male bridesmaids and honour attendants of the opposite sex – but as it is a topic that comes up time and again with clients I thought it bears repeating. I think my first experience with this was a female “best man” in the mid-nineties sometime. She wore a floor-length strapless black gown and looked just lovely – and not even a little out of place – standing between the groom and the groomsmen.
I feel very strongly that you have the person or persons that mean most to you standing next to you while you get married – regardless of gender. You don’t need to have 4 attendants because your soon-to-be spouse is having 4 attendants. You don’t have to have them all in the same outfit (in fact, please don’t!!) – it’s great to infuse some character into your bridal party. And, you definitely don’t have to have female attendants because you’re the bride, nor male attendants because you’re the groom. We have had lots of “men of honour”s and “best women” over the years and it’s always perfectly appropriate – regardless if you’re having a religious or secular ceremony.



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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{ fabulous spring fête }

Friday, April 20th, 2012 | media, weddings | No Comments

This is a lovely wedding we did a while ago, but in honour of the lovely spring day today I thought we could use a touch of the soft pinks and ivories that embued this lovely spring wedding in the mountains.

We were excited to see that one of our weddings was featured in the western Canada edition of WedLuxe Magazine. It was a beautiful wedding in Banff…with an equally beautiful bride & groom.

There were SO many details to look after with this wedding – every detail from the invitations to the bride & groom’s exit was carefully orchestrated. Their monogram appeared on EVERYTHING…invitations, aisle runner, silk panels in the church, programs, menus, table numbers, signage, gobo projected onto the dance floor, favor cards, tags on the late night snack, and even the matchbooks to light the sparklers for their exit.

Menus, cake, Monogram on dancefloor, sparklersthe beautiful bride & groom - Jani & HP

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{ seven brides(maids) for…two groomsmen }

Thursday, April 12th, 2012 | etiquette, 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 having trouble choosing my attendants (or support team, as I like to think of them). I originally wanted only a Maid of Honour (my sister) without any other attendants. Unfortunately, my fiancé really wants 3 groomsmen and has already asked two of them. So I now feel stuck. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 people (one is a guy) for two spots. Two are a husband and wife. He and I have been through a lot together and have known each other much longer than his wife and I, but she has become a good friend too (and I was a bridesmaid at their wedding so I feel obliged to include her). The other two are good friends from when I was in school. How does one make this decision? Please help.

A. Choosing attendants seems to fall into two categories: it’s either easy and clear cut – you have three sisters, you have a tight knit group of four that you’ve known since childhood, you have one sister and your fiancé has one brother, etc. – or, more likely, the whole idea of having to choose more than one, but less than 12, bridesmaids is more challenging than an advanced Sudoku puzzle.

Countless brides juggle choosing who they really want vs. who they feel obliged to ask, simplicity vs. having everyone you know in a matching dress at the front of the church with you…it’s rarely easy.

Just because you were a bridesmaid at someone’s wedding, does not mean you have to ask them to be your bridesmaid in return. Some women have had the (un)fortunate experience of being a bridesmaid a dozen or more times – it would be completely impractical to reciprocate. Sometimes it’s a case of – if you ask Sally, Jane will be upset, and vice versa, so you need to ask both or neither.

You could still make your friend’s wife feel included by asking her to be an usher, or do a reading during the ceremony. However, this depends a lot on her personality. You don’t want your wedding to be a cause of strife in their marriage – so if you really want him as an attendant – and you think she’d be completely insulted to be left out – then ask them both and get your other two friends to participate in some other way.

The other option is to avoid the whole mess by doing what you had originally planned – just ask your sister to be your Maid of Honour and leave it at that (don’t worry about it looking slightly lopsided).

When all is said and done, it is your day, and you should have the “support team” you want, not the one you felt obligated to have.

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{ this is not your mother’s wedding…literally…}

Friday, April 6th, 2012 | etiquette, Q&A | No Comments



Q. We’ve recently started planning our wedding and it seems like everyone has an opinion about how everything is supposed to be done. No one really agrees which one is the “right” way, but I’m fairly certain a lot of them are definitely the wrong way. I really like my future in-laws, but their ideas are making me cringe. I don’t want to offend them – but how do I tell them that their plans are way off base?

A. Getting everyone to agree on details when planning a wedding can often require more tact and patience than a UN peacekeeping summit. You want to make sure that you’re following protocol, and do not offend your guests. However, while you are planning your wedding you are also establishing a relationship with your future in-laws and don’t want to cause hard feelings that may still be lingering when it comes time to plan your 25th anniversary party.

If the details in question are small (your future mother-in-law wants programs that include all the readings for your ceremony and you don’t), the best idea is to let them go – by letting her take charge of something you don’t care too much about – it might take the attention off a more contentious issue. If they’re a big deal like she is determined your wedding colours should be purple and green (or some other combination you find equally distasteful), or she decided she didn’t get to invite enough people and has had her own invitations printed (even though you’ve already invited more people than the venue will hold) – then something should be said – but not by you. It will make for far less hurt feelings to always have your fiancé deal with issues involving his family, and you with yours (bringing in those UN peacekeeping forces might be a wise idea also).

Here are a few tried and tested rules of etiquette that will help the bride and groom, their families and the guests from pulling their (or anyone else’s) hair out:

• The mother of the bride or mother of the groom should never host the bridal shower.
• Don’t invite 400 people if you can only afford to host 100 – and similarly don’t invite throngs of people you know cannot attend in hopes they’ll send a gift.
• Make sure your guests feel welcome – think about details like parking and dietary restrictions – and don’t expect them to pay for anything at your wedding.
• Don’t refer to gifts or gift registries with the wedding invitations; however it is ok in the bridal shower invitations as the bride or bride’s family is not hosting (see above).
• The rules of “who pays for what” are traditional – but don’t be unreasonable: don’t ask the groom’s family for money – but don’t be shy about discussing the realities of the financial situation and accepting help or to split costs.
• The bride and groom must send a written thank-you note for every gift (yes, even those crocheted place mats!) – and do so in a timely manner – aim to get them out in a month – but absolutely no later than three months after the wedding.

Good luck with your in-laws…but don’t let anyone make you lose sight of the fact that the day is about you and your fiancé…enjoy!

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