Tips on choosing the right Toronto Venue

Choosing the right Toronto venue for your wedding is mandatory. Here are 7 tips that will help you in selecting the perfect wedding spot.

Budget

As we’ve said in past blog posts, you must know your budget. Without it, you are asking for trouble. There are so many things to consider when it comes to budget that ultimately we recommend you consult with a professional Wedding Planner or Coordinator to create a preliminary budget sheet for you to follow. There are often fees like SOCAN, Landmark Fees, Service Fees, Venue Fees and Gratuities that are often not mentioned when you are being quoted a per person price.  In addition, they may charge for other items that you don’t even think about when booking.  Items like linens, specific napkins, parking and even the labour on certain napkin folds and décor placement. Make sure you ask as many questions as possible and get the answers you need.

Capacity

How many people does the venue hold? Simple right? Not necessarily. Make sure when you are being quote on maximum capacities you ask if that includes a dancefloor big enough for all the guests to dance as well as a DJ station. Also, you should make sure that tables are not going to be so close together that people are packed in like sardines.

Location

Consider your guests. Where are most going to be coming from? Is parking accessible easily or will your guests need to go on a hunt? If the venue is all stairs, do they have a handicap accessibility point?  Your location can make or break your event. If you want to invite 200 people but it’s inconvenient for 100 or more of them, it would make for a very uncomfortable situation. However, if your heart is set on a location that is an hour away, perhaps considering the option of Bus transportation for your guests would make sense.

Venue’s Flexibility.

When selecting your location you also want to explore the venues flexibility.  What will they allow you to bring in; what are their restrictions? Some venues have preferred vendors that they solely use (Décor, DJ, Catering, Cakes etc). If you have your heart set on a late night food truck or Ice Cream Truck, it’s bet to check before you put down deposit. You also want to find out what time set up can occur and when you need to clear out by. Will they allow you to come in to set up in the morning or will you need to do it 2 hours before your event. With some venues hosting multiple weddings a day, they need to accommodate which may mean your times will be specific.

Availability.

Does the venue have availability? Is your preferred date available and furthermore if you are having your ceremony and reception on one site will there be time logistically for both? Make sure your timing coincides with theirs.

Know what you want.

Don’t go into the venue with no ideas of what you want. Even if it’s just the number of guests, menu, bar & times preferred. Price will be very different depending on the dish. Remember you get what you pay for, so be realistic. Getting Surf and Turf on a Roast Chicken budget is reason to question the quality of your food.

Time of Year.

Always be mindful of the time of year of your wedding. Not simply because of weather but also because of road closures, traffic and construction schedules.

Also, during the winter, it is recommended that your venue is close to your ceremony location so that your guests don’t need to get back on the road in case of bad weather. As we all know, Toronto is a hub for special events, marathons and construction so road closures are not only common, expected.

5 Fun-tastic Gifts for your Wedding Party

Happy #FunFriday to all our Brides and Grooms! For those of you who are nearing your wedding day and are getting that ‘I feel like I’m forgetting something’ vibe, have you thought about the gifts for your wedding party? You remember them; they are your closest family and friends that you can’t imagine your wedding day without; the ones who have put aside everything to be there for you; the ones you want to purchase a memorable gift for. Yep. Them.

We at Toronto’s Perfect Wedding guide want to take some of the stress off of our Toronto Engaged Couples and have come up with some great gift ideas that we think your wedding party will love.

The important thing to remember when looking for that perfect present is to purchase a gift that suits the person you are giving it to. It’s not about how much you spend but the thought behind it. Whether the gifts are matching, theme specific or completely unique, keep in mind that it is a sentimental gift that should be given with the receiver in mind.

1. Silvergram™ – Silvergram™ is an engraved trinket or display canvas that is created using the Diamond Engraving method. You can etch a photo as well as your names and wedding dates onto silver charms, dog (or military) tags as well as a pet tag for your furry pet if you choose to include them in your wedding.

Silvergram™

2. ‘Welcome to our Wedding’ Canvas Tote – Every girl needs a fun tote and this one from Wedding Stuff Plus in Markham is a really nice one that can be personalized with your bridesmaid’s name on it.

“Welcome to our Wedding” Tote

3. Personalized Waterford® Claria Fountain Pen – like this one from The Wedding Shoppe in London, Ontario. A pen is a classic gift that is always appreciated by anyone who writes or has a career in which pen and paper are a must.

Waterford® Fountain Pen

4. 5 Piece BBQ Tools in a Black Golf Bag– Don’t judge, but we love this novelty set of BBQ Tools. It would be perfect for that certain someone who not only loves Golfing, but also is the celebrated ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ of the BBQ.

BBQ Set Perfect for a Golf Enthusiast

Lucky Seven Sterling Silver Bangles

5. Lucky Seven Sterling Silver Bangles – This is one of our favourites for for your Bridesmaid, Maid (or Matron) or Honour or even a Best Ma’am. Super stylish and it can be personalized so that you always remember the wedding date.

The Kennedy’s 60th Wedding Anniversary

What happens when a young and gorgeous Washington Times-Herald’s “Inquiring photographer” marries the handsome Massachusetts Senator? They make national headlines and their wedding day stands to be remembered through the ages. In fact, they have left their indelible mark on history and to this day, they are often referred to as “American Royalty”.

Sixty years ago this month, on September 12th 1953 to be specific, a few months after officially announcing their engagement on June 25th, Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier in a splendid Newport, Rhode Island affair.

Their wedding was the social event of the season attended by senators, diplomats and social figures. An estimated 600 guests witnessed the couple exchanging vows at their wedding ceremony in St. Mary’s Church. Later in the day, 900 guests celebrated with the couple at their illustrious wedding reception at Hammersmith Farm; a Victorian mansion that was the childhood home of Jacqueline Bouvier.

The glowing bride, Jackie Kennedy, looked stunning in her long veil and beautiful wedding gown. New York City, African American fashion designer, Ann Lowe, designed her dress and the dresses of her bridesmaids. Today, you will find Jackie’s wedding dress housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusets. As for her wedding bouquet, Jackie opted for an elegantly cascading bouquet that complemented her wedding dress perfectly. After the lavish and joy-filled wedding day, the newlyweds enjoyed a honeymoon in Acapulco, Mexico.

JFK and Jackie’s wedding was a highly publicized event. So on that day in 1953, LIFE magazine sent photographer Lisa Larsen to cover the wedding. LIFE magazine had also reported on the scene.

Here is an excerpt from an article from their issue “The Senator Weds”:

The marriage of Washington’s best-looking young senator to Washington’s prettiest inquiring photographer took place in Newport R.I. this month and their wedding turned out to be the most impressive the old society stronghold had seen in 30 years. As John F. Kennedy took Jacqueline Bouvier as his bride, 600 diplomats, senators, social figures crowded into St. Mary’s Church to hear the Archbishop of Boston perform the rites and read a special blessing from the pope. Outside, 2,000 society fans, some came to Newport by chartered bus, cheered the guests and the newlyweds as they left the church. There were 900 guests at the reception and it took Senator and Mrs. Kennedy two hours to shake their hands. The whole affair, said one enthusiastic guest, was “just like a coronation.”

Now, it is only fitting that on the 60th anniversary of JFK and Jackie’s wedding, we present this gallery of gorgeous and intimate photographs of one of the most high-profile American weddings.

The Origins of Wedding Traditions

Have you ever wondered where all our beloved wedding rituals began? The origins of some of the things we typically implement into our weddings are quite surprising and not as romantic as you might think, including the wedding itself.

The Wedding: There’s a lot of history here and most of it has nothing to do with love nor can it be covered in one paragraph. Here is a very small snippet based on ancient Greek and ancient Roman beliefs and customs. In the ancient world weddings were primarily focused on the father, or if the father was deceased, the nearest male relative arranging the marriage of a daughter to a worthy male. This was either a close extended family member or a family who provided an appropriate dowry. The actual marriage itself was the contract signing of the trade. It was usually a very sad day for the Bride as it meant she was now the property of her husband and his family. Throughout history, it was common that the act of marriage was contractual and the Bride, usually of a very young teen age was seen as property. As the centuries progressed, suitors and fighting for the lady’s hand in marriage became the romanticism that has evolved us to where we are today.

The Origins of Wedding Traditions :: http://www.theperfectweddingguide.com/the-origins-of-wedding-traditions

Photo Credit : Wikipedia

The White Wedding Dress:Contrary to popular belief and what the Bride’s parents would like to believe, the white dress has nothing to do with purity or virginity. In fact, old Christians actually used blue to symbolize purity as it depicted the Virgin Mary. The norm for wedding dresses was actually wearing your Sunday best. Although Red was a popular choice, any colour was acceptable. That is if you were of middle class or below. As far back as the 1500’s, only royal family members and the upper class would wear white. It was a symbol of your place in society, especially in England and in France, despite it being a colour of mourning in France. Since white fabric was so expensive to buy due to its difficulty to clean, it would be something that would only be worn once which in turn translated to your aristocratic stature. The White Wedding Dress as we know it today, became popular and mainstream only after Queen Victoria’s Marriage to Albert of Saxe-Coburg in 1840.

The Origins of Wedding Traditions :: http://www.theperfectweddingguide.com/the-origins-of-wedding-traditions

Photo Credit: www.colourbox.com

The Bouquet:Believe it or not, the bouquet used to be just a few herbs and garlic. There are two schools of thought for this and it’s likely that both are factual: One, that the smell would ward of evil spirits; and two that the very potent-fragranced bouquet would cover up the stench of ‘death’ back in the dark days of the Plague. It was later that flowers started to be selected for their meanings and symbolism and now simply because the couple has a preferred floral design in mind.

The Bridesmaids and Bridesmaid Dresses: Back in Ancient times, Bridesmaids were used to ward off evil spirits. In fact, they would all wear a similar, if not the same dress as the Bride including veils so as to confuse the evil spirits into not being able to detect whom the Bride was. Nowadays, of course, Bridesmaids are our best friends, cousins and even sisters for moral support and to showcase their importance in the couple’s life.

Although this post is not our typical Inspirational Monday post, it is important to know where our rituals stem from, and even more importantly how far we’ve come. Most of us marry for love and wanting to build a life with our true love; We select our dress based on what we like, not being able to afford a specific colour; We don’t need to carry around garlic in our bouquet’s as we walk down the aisle, in fact, we don’t even have to carry flowers if we don’t want to; and the Bridal Party does not have to dress like the Bride, although wearing the same colour is a trend that has made a comeback.

There is a ton more wedding history that we will cover in a future post, what wedding traditions do you want to know the origin of?

The Best Wedding Gift

Lisa and Lee :: http://www.theperfectweddingguide.com/the-best-wedding-gift

Photo Credit: http://www.walesonline.co.uk

Once in a while as we are either surfing the net, reading the paper or flipping through magazines in search of great inspirations to bring to our readers, we come across some very inspirational ‘feel good’, warm-your-heart, selfless acts that engaged couples or even their loved ones do for one another.

This particular story was one that we just had to share with you.

Once upon a time there was man named Lee who was so in love with a woman named Lisa. Lee and Lisa were childhood sweethearts who had been dating for 13 years. They were so in love and excited to be building a beautiful life together in Wales.

One day in June, just two years ago, he arranged an elaborate but fun scavenger hunt around their village in search of the treasure. Clue after clue, Lisa finally found the treasure – a beautiful engagement ring – and said ‘YES’.

Two years later, this past June, they were married in Cardiff Bay, UK at the beautiful St. David’s Hotel & Spa, and as they exchanged vows of ‘til death do us part’, they knew exactly how meaningful those words were.

You see, Lisa’s wedding gift to her husband Lee was not only unique and memorable, but life changing. She would give her new husband the gift of life – her kidney.

Lee had been suffering from Diabetes for 26 years which got a lot worse two and a half years ago when his ankles and legs started swelling up and he was experiencing severe difficulty in his breathing. After he came home from a gorgeous holiday in Spain he was rushed to the hospital and immediately put on emergency dialysis. He and Lisa found out that he was experiencing kidney failure: both of his kidneys were functioning at only 5% of their full capacity. He then went on hemodialysis three times a week and hooked up to a machine that would clean his blood.

Just as things seemed to be under control again, just a year later, he had another major health scare and had to be put into a medically induced coma. Lee had experienced a stroke caused by severely high blood pressure. It was then that it was apparent that this was a life or death situation for Lee.

Lisa has been by his side every moment to endure it all with him and didn’t for one second even consider any other alternative except to get through this with him. When the results came back that she was a match to be a kidney donor, it was a no brainer what the pain-scared bride-to-be would do.

Despite being petrified of the very painful procedure, it’s a gift that Lisa was elated to give to her now, beloved husband, Lee.

“It really is the perfect wedding present,” Lee said. “But this gift isn’t anything I can really repay or give back. She is going through all of this for me and I will never be able to show my thanks enough. I will just have to look after it as much as possible.”
The procedure is going to take place in about 6-9 months and we here at the PWG wish them a healthy recovery and will keep you posted on the happy ending.
What is the most selfless gift you have ever given or received?

Story first seen in Wales Online

5 Steps to Creating your Wedding Budget

5 Steps to Creating your Wedding Budget :: http://www.theperfectweddingguide.com/5-steps-to-creating-your-wedding-budgetWhen it comes to wedding budgets, couples think with their imagination. The truth is that most of us want to be able to do a lot more than we can possibly afford. Whether you are rich or not-so-rich, a budget needs to be put in place prior to starting the planning of a wedding.

The thing to remember is that there needs to be a ‘magic’ number in place to guide you as you are planning your wedding. Here are a few tips to get your started in creating your ‘magic’ number for your budget.

1. First and foremost, find out who’s paying for what? In other words, if your parents or family is helping you, find out what they will be contributing to your big day. You want to have a true budget going into the planning stages of your wedding.

2. What is your realistic, present-day budget availability? What can you afford today to spend on your wedding; keeping in mind that praying to win the lottery likely won’t get your very far. The last thing you want is to start your marriage off in extreme debt. What was a beautiful wedding day can very quickly become a day you regret.

3. Select your desired wedding date then determine how many months you have to save before your wedding day, based on your current salary. Remember this is in addition to your “in-case-of-a-rainy-day” emergency fund. You really don’t want to be caught a month or two before your wedding when everything is due with expenses you can’t pay for or having to postpone your wedding. Since weather is not guaranteed year-round these days, there are less ‘off-season’ prices now. However, you might want to consider having your wedding on a weekday or a Sunday to save on costs.

4. Determine your guest list. How many people you invite can make a profound difference to your budget. Many couples calculate the guest budget by adding up the per person dollar amount per plate, but they forget that each guest also requires: a favour, a napkin, a charger, a chair, a program, an invitation, etc. The amount per guest can start at about $250 per person on average.

5. Be aware of the small costs that can set your budget soaring. So many couples forget the miscellaneous costs. Things like a guest book, Bousta Box (aka Card Box, Gift Box or the less subtle, Money box), Wedding Party gifts, gratuities (“tips”) for your day of vendors, extra stationary, Hair and Make up, etc. The little things are the ones that sneak up on you and are forgotten until the very last minute.

The PWG has a great budget calculator tool for you, however a great way to discuss your realistic budget is to consult with a wedding planner. They can help you get on the right track from the start and will give you an honest look into what your true budget needs are.

Personalize Your Wedding with a Signature Drink

Signature Cotton Candy Martini :: Personalize Your Wedding With a Signature Drink :: http://www.theperfectweddingguide.com/personalize-your-wedding-with-a-signature-drink

Photo credit: www.upmagazine.com

In a digital age where we Instagram and ‘pin’ routinely, especially gastronomic creations that are served with design and a presentation in mind; in an age where there are so many new flavour variations and the ‘Wow Factor’ is everything; we feel that now, more than ever before, personalization really matters.

Signature Drinks are definitely one of the more fun, cool and easier things to incorporate into your day to bring that unique touch to your wedding soiree. We know that signature drinks are not a new invention, but when you create your own custom blend beverage or match your drink colour to your design hues, it brings your special day up to a whole new level. Guests remember first impressions and definitely things that please their senses.

Discussing drink options with the venue bartender is a great way to research and find an existing drink to suit your theme and design. Another recommended way is to hire a mixologist to craft a drink customized for just the two of you. Our only advice is to remember to have a designated driver when you go for that tasting.

Another great reason to have a signature drink is that in some cases it really helps to keep your budget in check if you are having a consumption bar. You can serve only the signature drink during cocktail hour along with non-alcoholic beverages. That way you have the fixed price for that drink and you can control what goes in it.

Here are a few great signature drinks we’ve come across that we would absolutely recommend for alcohol based signature drinks:

1. For a Blue or Jazzy themed event:

The Blue Velvet Martini

1 & ½ – Vodka
¼ oz. Blue Curacao
Dash of Lime Juice
Stir with cracked ice & strain into a chilled cocktail glass, Garnish with a slice of lemon.
Garnish with a Blue orchid or if you want to a more fun approach, blue rock candy.

2. For a Carnival themed wedding how about a Cotton Candy Martini. If you ask us, we think it’s AHH-mazing.

Cotton Candy Martini

2 oz Cotton Candy Vodka
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash of grenadine
Crushed Ice
Garnish with a pinch of Cotton Candy (or two if you like: )

3. For an outdoor garden wedding how about this:
Brazen Watermelon Blush

1 & ½ parts Watermelon Vodka
2 parts fresh kiwi and strawberries pureed
1 sprig of mint
1 kiwi slice
1 strawberry slice
crushed ice
Watermelon
Combine vodka & pureed fruit in a shaker. Shake and strain over ice and pour into glass.
Garnish with a sprig of mint, kiwi and a strawberry slice.

Bonus Budget Saving Tip: . Ask if your bartender will be willing to serve half portions in smaller glasses or goblets of the same drink and garnish, garnish, garnish. That can really stretch your wedding dollar without jeopardizing the overall vibe.