{ to destination or not to destination…? }

Friday, October 12th, 2012 | etiquette, media, Q&A, Uncategorized | No Comments


Q. My fiancée and I can’t quite decide what to do about our wedding. She is the youngest of 10 kids and her immediate family alone now numbers about 52 people, not to mention all the cousins and aunts and uncles. I have three siblings (all married with kids), countless aunts, uncles and cousins, and my parents are both re-married. By the time we actually start inviting all of our friends our guest list will be huge. We’re actually considering a destination wedding because we know very few of them could afford to attend, but we’re not sure we’d be happy with this decision. What should we do?

A. The guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding – even without such an expansive family tree. Destination weddings are increasingly popular for many reasons. Although thinning out the guest list often falls near the top of the list, it’s not the best reason to run off to the islands to get married.

“Is there really a bad reason to get married barefoot on the beach at sunset?” you ask… Actually there is. It really depends on what you want to remember from your wedding day – the pool boy bringing you a Mai Tai in a coconut as soon as you say “I do,” or that your family was there to share it with you.

Destination weddings can be wonderful if you choose a place that has particular meaning to you as a couple. Many resorts do a lovely job with weddings, however most of the time it’s a crap shoot what kind of officiant, flowers and photographer you’ll end up with, so do lots of research before you choose a location. You also want to look into residency requirements – some islands require you to be there several days before you can get a marriage license.

If you do decide to opt for a destination wedding to avoid feeding all 52 of your fiancée’s immediate family (yikes!), just make sure you do a good job of selling them on your penchant for fruity umbrella drinks so no one gets offended. Aloha!






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{ it’s all a matter of perspective }

Friday, September 14th, 2012 | etiquette, media, Q&A, Uncategorized | No Comments

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE CALGARY HERALD, JANUARY 2006, IN LISA HANSLIP’S COLUMN “I DO, BUT DON’T…” { 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. My fiancé and I are planning to get married in about eight months, but we haven’t made many plans yet because we can’t seem to agree on what the wedding should look like. As this is the second marriage for both of us I would like a small intimate event. My fiancé on the other hand comes from a very large family and is expecting a large celebration. Do you have any suggestions how we can plan a wedding that will make everyone happy?

A. A wedding is not just a celebration of the union of two people, but more often than not, it is the joining of two families – which brings with it a veritable treasure trove of opposing traditions and expectations. If the meeting of the in-laws doesn’t tragically mirror a scene from Meet the Fockers consider yourself lucky.

A good compromise in many situations is to split the difference – but I don’t think a medium-sized ceremony and reception will satisfy either side – you’ll still feel like the event was much bigger than you were hoping for (“There were 150 people at my wedding, it was a total zoo!”) – and your fiancé’s family will inevitably deem the moderate guest list too small (“How can we possibly have a proper wedding celebration with only 150 people?!?”).

You might consider having a small intimate ceremony with just your immediate family and closest friends followed by a large celebration later in the day. This way you’ll have the memory of a ceremony that reflected your sensibilities while your fiancé and his family can relish tales of the big bash.

Another option is to have the large wedding your fiancé’s family is hoping for, followed by a small gathering. Try a morning ceremony followed by a raucous afternoon reception – then in the evening you can sit down to an intimate dinner for just immediate family.

Whatever you decide to do – make sure it is a solution that doesn’t leave either of you disgruntled. Focus on what you two need from your day, even if that means ignoring your families. It doesn’t bode well if one of you spends your wedding night on the sofa (because that only leads to a honeymoon spent on the marriage counselor’s couch – and that’s no good for anybody).

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{ wise words }

Friday, July 13th, 2012 | Uncategorized | No Comments


I believe in pink…I believe in kissing, kissing a lot…and I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.

– Audrey Hepburn

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{ Happy Canada Day!! }

Saturday, June 30th, 2012 | Uncategorized | No Comments

We’d like to wish everyone a VERY HAPPY CANADA DAY!!



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{ 5 “quickie” hints for a great relationship }

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 | trends, Uncategorized | No Comments

Thanks to our friends at thenest.com here are 5 great suggestions to keep your relationship fabulous – before and after the wedding…


The New Quickies: 5 Simple Tricks for a Better Relationship

Looking for an instant love boost? Forget the fireworks, Kama Sutra and grand gestures. Sometimes, the obvious is all you need to make your relationship feel fresh again.

The Quickie: Making small, unexpected gestures
Why It Works:
Sometimes the best validation that you’re loved and appreciated is when you experience a gesture that proves your partner is always thinking of you. Yes, planning a romantic night on the town takes thought and is always appreciated. But buying your husband a red velvet cupcake, just because you happened to walk by a bakery, see it in the window and know he would love it, will really make an impression. It’s that for-no-real-reason feeling that makes the act mean so much.

The Quickie: Doing something your partner always does
Why It Works: Sure, when you divided up the chores, you agreed that he would take out the trash and you would do the dishes. But every once in a while, when he’s super-slammed at work, rather than nagging him for not noticing the overflowing trash can, take it out for him. When you love someone, you pitch in — even when you’re not asked (or it’s technically not your turn). Small gestures to make each other’s lives better remind you why you put up with his stinky feet, or her snoring, in the first place. Plus, giving your mate a break means he has one less item to worry about, and the more relaxed he is, the easier it will be for you to appreciate each other’s company (wink, wink).
The Quickie: Letting her (or him) breathe
Why It Works: Because you’ll be so much more excited to see each other! Having someone to come home to is a definite plus to being in a relationship. But sometimes — just sometimes — it would be nice to walk into an empty house and, perhaps, slip into a lavender-scented bath or chill out in front of the TV without having to speak. Even couples that are joined at the hip sometimes require a little alone time — not to brood or escape, but to refresh. Perhaps you don’t understand the need for solo moments. But if your husband enjoys winding down from a long day with only himself and maybe the dog for company, or your wife likes to be alone with her thoughts on Sunday mornings, give him or her that space — guilt free. Make plans to meet a friend for brunch or make a date with your personal trainer for Sunday morning, conveniently come home late from work one night, or run errands alone one afternoon. You don’t need much distance to make the heart grow fonder, but a little goes a long way.
The Quickie: Writing it down
Why It Works: Let’s face it: Telling your mate how much she means to you can feel kind of sappy or trite. But expressing your feelings, even when you assume they’re known, is key in long-term relationships. Otherwise, you risk falling into “taking each other for granted” syndrome. Now, we’re not suggesting you start penning long love letters (or emails). But an “I love you” written on the dry-erase board in the kitchen, or a “Have a great day!” Post-it left on the bathroom mirror, is all it takes to let your other half know you cared enough to take the time to write it down.
The Quickie: Saying “yes”

Why It works: Agreeing to try something you always veto, or joining your partner for something you normally try to get out of (like your two-year-old niece-in-law’s birthday party), shows you are listening to what your significant other wants and are willing to put your partner’s needs first. Now, we’re not suggesting you go out of your way to do something you truly despise — no one benefits if you’re visibly miserable the entire time. But a “yes” to a fairly innocuous, temporary thing can still mean a lot. For example, let him flip to the game and keep watching — and don’t get off the couch. Or maybe have sex the next time you’re tired but she’s raring to go. Seeing how happy these small gestures can make your partner should make you feel good and inspire you to do them more often. Plus, they’ll probably inspire your partner to start doing the same, and soon enough, instead of arguing over who gets to man the remote, you’ll notice you’re starting to work much more like a team.

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7 Relationship Mistakes Even the Smartest Couples Make

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 | Q&A, Uncategorized | No Comments

I always believe it is important to discuss things with your future spouse before they become an issue…less chance for a heated argument – and more opportunity to discover where you’re both coming from. My husband & I sometimes teach marriage prep classes so I’m a big believer in discuss, discuss, discuss….but just in case you haven’t discussed…here are some helpful tips from our friends at thenest.com:


Mistake #1: Not Dealing With Debt

Newsflash: Money is the #1 thing couples fight about. Fess up about your personal debt — because for better or worse — and then set up a financial game plan.


Mistake #2: Alienating Your Friends

Friends are key for a successful marriage, so tag along on those girls’ nights out. Just because you’re not guy-hunting doesn’t mean you can’t be a supportive wingwoman.

Mistake #3: Not Having Enough Sex

Over 60 percent of newlyweds we surveyed were already in a sex rut! Yeah, you’re busy, but that’s not a good enough excuse not to get busy. Initiate sex, even if you don’t feel like it or have to schedule it. If you get in the habit of having it, you’ll start wanting it (and liking it) more.


Mistake #4: Letting Yourself Go

So you put on the “newlywed nine.” Big whoop…you’ve already found your mate, right? Wrong! Make a plan to get fit together or at least respect each other’s goals.


Mistake #5: Outlawing the In-Laws

Fifty percent of couples we surveyed have a problematic relationship with their in-laws (ya think?). Manage expectations, like saying you’ll call on Sundays so his mom doesn’t guilt-trip you for ignoring her weekday messages. Even if your spouse is bitching about his family, resist the urge to chime in. It’ll bite you in the butt later.


Mistake #6: Crazy Fighting

Getting hitched isn’t a free pass to hit below the belt (sorry!). When you’re getting really heated, walk away to cool down for a few minutes.


Mistake #7: Becoming Baby-Obsessed

It’s easy to fixate on that next big step, but chill out — the average couple has a kid within three years of marriage. So really, why rush? Savor the moments (and vacations you can take!) now…when you won’t have to be waking up for a brutal 4 a.m. feeding.


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Monday, April 25th, 2011 | Uncategorized | No Comments


The three components of happiness are:
* something to do
* someone to love
* something to look forward to


Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now ” – Gordon Livingstone, MD

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fight fair

Monday, March 14th, 2011 | Q&A, Uncategorized | No Comments


You can live in a fantasy world, where you think you will never disagree. Why? Because “We just love each other so much.” Well, guess what? That is just not reality. The only way a marriage will never have confrontation is if your spouse always gives in and never challenges anything you do. If this is you, prepare yourself: this is a sign of a very unhealthy marriage.

Since disagreement and confrontations will inevitably come up in your marriage, a great idea is to set some guidelines that will help you through those times and come out as a stronger couple and partnership.

The way you approach a disagreement will largely depend on 2 things:

The Way You Were Raised
When I was younger, I thought all issues in the world were resolved the way my dad confronted them. We would sit down and unemotionally go over whatever the problem was until it was resolved. This method was quite foreign to my wife’s family experience. If I saw something in Carol that I thought was important to confront, it was best for me to package it into a short and concise statement, and then leave it with her. Trying to talk it through on the spot (like I would have with my father) only made the matters worse. We both came to realize very early in our marriage that neither of our family experiences was going to be the model that worked for us.

How was your family experience different from your partner’s? Did you come from a broken home where issues didn’t get resolved? No matter how you were brought up, you can find something that works for your marriage. It is never fun to be confronted, but since it is going to happen, ask your partner the method they would most prefer.

Your Personality Type
There are some people that love to confront and others that try to avoid it. If you are a confronter, pause for a moment and ask yourself if the issue is worth raising. What is your motivation? Is your purpose to help your spouse become a better person, or do you just want them to change to be more like you? 

On the other hand, if you’re avoiding confrontation, is that simply because you’re afraid of it? Would your relationship stand on healthier ground if you were to discuss the issue? If you avoid confrontation, you are not doing your marriage any favours. Your spouse will often never know what bothers you unless you tell him or her. By just stewing about something instead of dealing with it, the problem only grows. 

Timing is everything.
Here are a few ideas to help you pick the right time:

Don’t start talking about a contentious issue as you are going out. You will ruin your evening if you don’t have enough time to resolve things, and you’ll dwell on the issue the entire time.

Don’t let a problem be the first thing you raise after getting together after work. Let those first moments be kept for showing each other how excited you are see each other.

Never pick a time when there are others around. It will be awkward for them and embarrassing for your spouse. 

If you are not ready to deal with something, tell your spouse that you would like to give it a bit of time to think. If you are going to push it off for a while, tell your partner how much time you need. You can’t avoid issues forever and expect a happy marriage.

One last thing: Never attack the person.

There are words to avoid, which if used, will prolong your agony and leave battle scars. Avoid phrases like, “You always” and “You never.” They are rarely true and will provide something else to argue about.

Avoid words that attack the person and not the problem. By saying, “You are a slob,” you’re attacking the person, but by saying “Your actions are messy,” you address the problem. Similarly,  “You’re such a crab” attacks the person, but “You seem to be complaining a lot,” addresses the problem.

If you are prone to getting angry, practise talking slower and at a lower pitch. The goal is not to out-shout your spouse, but to help him or her see things from another perspective, or find some middle ground that you can both live with.

When a resolution is found, apologies may be needed (depending on what has transpired) before you can move on. I heard a story of a husband coming to his wife saying,“I’m sorry.” Her response came with a wagging of her finger: “I’ve seen sorry, and this isn’t it.” Make sure your apology is sincere and heart-felt. If you have wronged your spouse, an “I’m sorry” doesn’t always cut it. You will need to use the words, “Will you forgive me?” It is humbling to say this, but necessary to put it behind you.

After all is said and apologies are made, let the fun part begin. Disagreements are so much easier to take if you know that making up will follow. Since disagreements will come, and maybe some heated verbal exchanges as well, take comfort that you are not alone and working through these issues will only make your marriage stronger.


Source: Parrott, Less III and Leslie Parrott. “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before (and After) You Marry.” Zondervan, 1995.


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Happy Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 14th, 2011 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14th celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after an early Christian martyr, Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Whatever the history…it’s a MARVELOUS excuse for eating good chocolate! mmmm…

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kim + mike

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 | Uncategorized | No Comments


We’re just thrilled that we get to plan one of our own planner’s weddings…


Congratulations to Kim + Mike!! We’re SO happy for you.


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