Berkeley Church and Berkeley Fieldhouse
Rent either the Church or Fieldhouse, or both together for extra space. The Church space features 17-foot stained glass windows and hardwood floors with a mezzanine and main floor, while the Fieldhouse features French glass doors and high ceilings in the main space, plus a wooden deck and patio area. Renters can bring their own alcohol while Berkeley Catering provides food services. Expect to pay around $135 and up per person. Rentals range from $1,800 to $3,800 for the Berkeley Church and $800 to $3,800 for the Fieldhouse, depending on the day and season.

Steam Whistle Brewery
The popular brewery features beautiful cityscape views and a rustic interior with plenty of exposed brick and wood beams. A variety of spaces can accommodate anywhere from 30 to 250 seated, or up to 500 for a standing reception. Rental costs vary based on the season and day of week – prices range from $1,150 to $5,000. Catering is selected from an approved list of vendors, while Steam Whistle operates the bar – obviously, your beer of choice for the evening is Steam Whistle.

Graydon Manor Hall
The manor’s sprawling gardens could play host to your ceremony, while the estate itself is perfect for an evening affair. The home features ornate moldings, bay windows, and wood-burning fireplaces. Rental fees ($1,000 to $6,000 depending on the time, date, and season requested) include use of the dining room, library, conservatory, bridal suite, groom’s room, gardens, and courtyard. There is a minimum spend of $20,000 to $25,000 depending on your event date, and a 20% service charge for event staff and labour.

Palais Royale
This beautiful venue, open for 86 years, underwent a restoration in 2005. The current space features a plush interior with contemporary art deco furnishings, an original stone fireplace, hardwood dance floor, and a 30-foot vaulted ceiling. The Palais Royale rests directly by the water with a 2-tiered deck patio reaching out to the waterfront. The ballroom can host 350 people for a seated dinner or up to 800 for cocktails. They have an extensive list of preferred suppliers for every service your event might need. Rental fees range from $1,000 to $4,500, while prices per person are $100+ with packages available.

Edward Day Gallery and MOCCA Courtyard
The combo of indoor and outdoor space makes this gallery an attractive option. Another perk: The option to work with the caterer of your choice. With 125 to 150 capacity for seated meals and 300 for a cocktail reception, consider this venue if you’re looking for a sleek and contemporary feel. Rental rates range from $2,500-$4,500 for the indoor gallery space and an additional $300-$500 for the outdoor space. Rental rates include one staff member for up to 100 guests; additional staff is available for $45 per hour.

2nd Floor
This 3,000 square foot space on King West is open-concept with an industrial feel including exposed brick walls, large windows, and a 36-foot bar. The team can accomodate up to 180 people for a seated dinner or 215 for a cocktail party. Rental fees range from $2,000 to $4,000 depending on the day of week, and include tables, chairs, loungers, and candles. A/V equipment is also included in the rental fee and the space has a coordinator who can help to further organize your event, including providing their list of preferred suppliers.

The Carlu
Elegant and glamorous events are the best fit for this lavish ’30s-inspired space. The art deco feeling is carried throughout the historic site, located on the 7th floor of the College Park building. Renovations undergone in the early 2000s restored the space to its former brilliance, but added modern amenities and details. Rentals range from $1,100 to $5,500 depending on the room, or $15,000 for the full floor. There is a list of preferred suppliers that those hosting events must choose from.

Evergreen Brickworks
This dynamic event space can host anywhere from 70 to 2,000 guests. Evergreen strives to mix nature with an urban setting, so it encourages sustainable practices in hosting any events. Their approved suppliers are in keeping with its sustainable goals, and will help couples make eco-friendly choices. A major bonus is the 300 parking spots available for events. Rental fees vary but can reach up to $4,000 and are not inclusive of anything. A permit will need to be purchased if you intend on serving alcohol.

Sunnyside Pavilion
This seasonal space provides an attractive waterside option. Sunnyside has long been a destination for sunbathing and relaxation, and the distinctly Mediterranean feel of the open-aired areas create an exceptional ceremony or reception space. There’s room for 250 to 500 individuals for a dinner; catering can be provided by the venue or an outside vendor. The rental fee is $2,500 for the courtyard or terrace, which does not include anything. Expect packages for guests to start around $100 per person.

The Burroughes Building
This newer event space was originally built as a department store in 1907. The venue has been renovated to carefully preserve its character; exposed brick, wood details, and chandeliers help to create a stylish and urban feel. The 3rd floor (350-guest capacity), 6th floor (450 guests), and rooftop (100 guests) include incredible views of the city. Seated capacity depends on the configuration of the space. Rental fees range from $2,800 and up for the raw space, and guests are welcome to bring in their own vendors, along with purchasing their own alcohol and permit.

Design Exchange
Originally built in 1937 as the home of the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Design Exchange now plays host to incredible exhibitions and a variety of events each year. Highlights of the space include wood finishes, marble details, incredibly high ceilings, and eight murals by artist Charles Comfort. The setting is perfect for parties of 150 to 250, and the rental fee of $4,712 includes chairs, tables, linens, lighting, the sound system, signage, cleaning, security, and some staff. There is a preferred list of caterers and a suggested list for other services.

Hart House
Since its opening in 1919 this unique space in the heart of the University of Toronto campus has played host to numerous events. The grey stone walls, ivy-covered outdoor space, vaulted ceilings, and Gothic arches lend an old world feel. The quad and Great Hall hold up to 250 guests with a dance floor and a nondenominational chapel is available to couples. The rental fee is approximately $3,000 and catering is provided in-house with meals beginning at $50 per person.

99 Sudbury
If you enjoy contemporary, minimalist spaces that work as a blank canvas you should consider this venue, as there are a variety of options available. The Glass Factory, The Lounge, and 99 Gallery can accommodate from 25 to 300 guests for seated dinners and 250 to 800 guests for cocktail receptions. Each space has a loft-like vibe with plenty of wood and exposed brick. Rental rates range from $1,500 to $4,500 depending on the date selected as well as the space utilized.

Arcadian Court
Since the opening in 1929, this venue has hosted Toronto’s first auto show, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s first radio broadcast, and Sotheby’s first auction outside of Britain. The Court’s most beautiful qualities are the grand arches and beautiful chandeliers. The space can accommodate up to 520 for a seated event or 1,200 for a standing reception. There is a rental fee that ranges from $1,000 to $2,500 and a minimum spend for food and beverage that ranges from $6,000 to $25,000. Rental fees include service staff, standard linens, tables and chairs, standard flatware and glassware, candles, and table numbers.

Andrew Richard Designs
The Atrium and The Loft are available for events in this blank-canvas space that allow couples to feature their own aesthetic. The venue offers services such as catering, bar services, staffing, rentals, décor, florals, lighting, production, A/V elements, and entertainment. Venue staff assists in event coordination and help to select the best fit for your event from their preferred vendors list. Rental fees begin at $3,500 and depend on the spaces selected, all other fees are above and beyond.

Eglinton Grand
Ever wanted to see your name lit up on a marquee? Formerly The Eglinton Theatre, the historic landmark has been restored to its original 1936 form. The venue can host dinner from 50 to 550 and receptions for up to 1000. Venue rental includes catering staff and bartenders, tables, banquet chairs, china, cutlery, glassware, linens, and napkins, with packages provided to potential clients. Fees range from $1,250 to $4,500 depending on the day of the week. If your event exceeds 175 guests the rental fee is waived.

Artscape Wychwood Barns
With a long and narrow event space, Wychwood Barns offers the opportunity for a unique event layout. The venue features concrete floors, exposed brick walls, and 22-foot ceilings and windows that provide plenty of natural light. You can supply your own liquor, but must select from a list of approved caterers. Rental fees range from $3,000-$3,500; furniture is available to be rented.

The Fermenting Cellar
In the heart of the Distillery District lies this rustic space that is often transformed for the most chic and sophisticated events. The raw space lets you work with any theme you like all while hosting up to 300 people for a seated dinner or 600 for a stand-up reception. Rental fees range from $4,000-$8,000 for the space alone. When hosting a full event, minimums range from $8,000 to $22,000. You can avoid the room rental fee, staffing charges and 15% Landmark Commission Fee by selecting in-house catering.

The ROM is an exceptional part of Toronto’s cultural landscape and hosts everything from small events to gala receptions regularly. The original stonework heritage building lives side-by-side with the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, and events can be held in both. The original museum’s high vaulted ceilings, soaring windows, and detailed stonework offer a more traditional space, while the crystal has a more modern feel. Rental fees can range from $500 to $12,000, and fees per person can begin around $100.

With a variety of spaces available for events, the AGO is an excellent choice for any admirer of the arts and lover of a luxurious event. Couples can celebrate in Walker Court, Galleria Italia, Sculpture Atrium, FRANK Restaurant or Baillie Court while enjoying a meal prepared by their executive chef or special events chef. Capacities for seated dinners range from 70 to 300, with reception capacities ranging from 130 to 450. Rental fees range from $1,500 to $5,500 and include furniture rental, while minimum spends vary from $3,000 to $30,000. The cost per person is usually around $250.

Casa Loma
Searching for an old castle in Ontario? This is likely the closest you’ll get. The landmark Gothic Revival house was originally constructed between 1911 and 1914 and features 60-foot oak beamed ceilings, bay windows, wood paneling, and hand-crafted ceilings. In addition to these architectural marvels there are marble details and plenty of greenery on the premises. Rental fees are around $3,500 while the price per person tends to begin around $150 and increase based on personalized details.

Toronto Botanical Gardens
There are two primary event halls at the recently renovated Toronto Botanical Gardens – the Floral Hall or the Garden Hall. Both spaces include stunning views of seasonal flowers and provide an excellent space for wedding photos. Rentals range from $1,200 to $1,300 for the Garden Hall and from $2,100 to $3,100 for the Floral Hall, with free parking available. There are 12 preferred caterers for the venue and there is a corkage fee applied for alcohol brought into the space.

Storys Building
Located on Duncan St., this 170-year-old classic brick-and-beam building is a relatively new entry on the Toronto venue scene, having opened to the public in October 2011. It boasts over 14,000 square feet of event space over several floors, with each allowing for 150 seated guests or 225 for a stand-up reception. The on-site chef works with clients to plan imaginative and innovative dishes and the bar is handled on-site. Rentals for weekends are $5,000 per floor and include set-up, labour, security, cleaning, furniture, and all other operating costs. The average cost per person for food and open bar ranges between $125-$150 plus tax and service fee.

The Great Hall
The Great Hall is an important and vibrant piece of the music and arts community in Toronto. The space was built in 1880 and has been restored to its former Victorian glory. The Main Hall includes a balcony, curved glass, wrought iron railings, and 40-foot ceilings. Capacity is 250 for seated guests and 500 for a cocktail reception. The cost is approximately $1,000 to $3,500 per day.

This modern, chic space, located in the TIFF Bell Lightbox, is an upscale and stylish wedding spot, with breathtaking views of the city and an ornate and sloped ceiling. Accommodation is available for up to 150 seated or 200 for a cocktail reception. The rental fee starts at $2,000 and is based on date and time of year; the fee includes staff, white linens, tables and chairs, flatware and glassware, printed menus, candles, and table numbers. Catering is provided on-site with menus beginning at $60 per person. Beverage charges are based on consumption.

5 Brock Events
Placed in the centre of Parkdale down a quiet alley, this gallery, once a warehouse, has retained its original character and includes exposed brick, wood-beamed ceilings, and concrete floors. Art curated by the owners can be left up for your event, or you are welcome to showcase your own pieces for a fee. The space holds 150 for a seated affair or 250 for a cocktail reception. The preferred caterer is Eatertainment but couples can explore outside catering, and alcohol can be brought in. Rental fees are $2,000 Sunday to Wednesday or $2,500 Thursday through Saturday.

Todmorden Mills
This Toronto heritage site is set in 15 hectares of green space in the Don Valley and the grounds contain several historic homes in which events can be held, including the Brewery Gallery, the Papermill Theatre, and the Papermill Event and Museum Gallery. Each space is simple with minimal décor and an industrial feel. Rates range from $125 to $250 per hour with a three-hour minimum required. The only downside is the lack of a full kitchen.

National Ballet School
There are several spaces owned by the National Ballet School available to the public for renting; however, Currie Hall is the most conducive to a wedding. It can accommodate up to 130 seated guests or 220 for a cocktail reception. The space includes a wood dance floor, high ceilings, large windows, dark wood trim, and a state-of-the-art kitchen. Catering services are provided from a list of preferred partners, and a special occasion permit must be obtained. The rental fee is approximately $3,000 with additional time available at $250/hour – a great bonus if you want to party a bit later into the night.

The Estates of Sunnybrook
The Sunnybrook Hospital property has four spaces available for events, all of which donate their profits to the hospital. Spaces include hardwood floors and well-maintained rooms with simple but elegant décor. Capacity ranges from 40 to 160 for seated events or 60 to 200 for standing receptions. Rental fees ($450 to $3,000) cover room set-up, tables and chairs, linens, tableware and candlesticks, as well as servers and bartenders. All rooms include a minimum revenue requirement for food and beverage; average cost is about $165 per person including the taxes and service charges.

Gardiner Museum
Located at Bloor and University, this minimalist space features floor-to-ceiling windows and a contemporary design. The Terrace Room includes stunning views of Queen’s Park and the Royal Ontario Museum, and couples can also rent the lobby designed to include black-glass countertops and limestone floors. Catering is exclusively provided by à la Carte Kitchen Inc. or Jamie Kennedy Event Catering. Both vendors also handle inquiries for availability, rates, planning, and site visits. Rental fees for the space range from $1,500 to $1,800.

Choosing a wedding venue can be an enjoyable experience if you’re looking at the right locations. The following are some recommended venues in and around Toronto region.

  1. Black Creek

    1000 Murray Ross Parkway
    Toronto, Ontario M3J 2P3
    Tel: 416 736-1733 |

    Endless possibilities, in a timeless setting. The historic atmosphere, exceptional banquet facilities and catering services make Black Creek an ideal venue for Wedding Ceremonies. 

  2. Casa Loma

    1 Austin Terrace
    Toronto, Ontario M5R 1X8
    Phone: 416-923-1171

    When planning your wedding reception or wedding ceremony and reception, Casa Loma provides the perfect setting for an evening you will never forget. Enjoy the exclusive use of three charming main floor rooms. Experience the unique ambiance of The Great Hall with its 60-foot oak beamed ceiling and towering bay window, the rich wood paneling and hand crafted plaster ceiling of The Library, and the splendid marble and lush greenery of The Conservatory. The venue can accommodate groups of up to 550 people.

  3. Atlantis Pavillions

    955 Lake Shore Boulevard West
    Toronto, Ontario M6K3B9
    Phone: (416) 260-8000

    This unique landmark location features four spectacular ballrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. Panoramic views of the Toronto Skyline and Waterfront. Exceptional food and service are features that make an event at Atlantis unlike any other.

  4. Hart House

    University of Toronto,
    7 Hart House Circle
    Toronto, Ontario M5S3H3
    Phone: (416) 978-2452

    Hart House is a unique downtown treasure steeped in history. Elegant rooms and beautiful architectural details are perfectly complemented by modern cuisine and exceptional service. Whether you envision a small and intimate gathering or a large-scale celebration, Hart House can offer the perfect space and all the elements you need to design the wedding of your dreams.

  5. Whistler’s Grille and Cafe Bar

    995 Broadview Avenue
    East York, Ontario M4K2S1
    Phone: (416) 421-1344

    Whistler’s Grille and Cafe Bar is available for special occasions, functions, weddings and corporate events. The second-level McNeil Room boasts a stunning view of the Don Valley. Accommodating up to 300 guests, a 16-foot ceiling, natural oak decor, and an in-house DJ service, the McNeil Room is a popular choice for weddings.

New York City reaped $259 million of economic benefits from same-sex marriages in the first year of the law allowing the practice, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn said.

At least 8,200 gay-marriage licenses were issued, accounting for more than 10 percent of the 75,000 wedding licenses issued in New York City in the past year, Bloomberg and Quinn said in a statement today, citing a survey conducted by NYC & Co., the city’s marketing and tourism office, and the city clerk’s office.

New York became the sixth and most recent state to legalize gay marriage a year ago after Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the measure into law. More than 200,000 guests have since traveled from outside of the city to attend same-sex wedding receptions, and more than 235,000 hotel room nights were booked at an average daily room rate of $275, according to the mayor’s statement.

“Marriage equality has made our city more open, inclusive and free — and it has also helped to create jobs and support our economy,” Bloomberg, 70, said at a news conference in Lower Manhattan.

Bloomberg has focused on tourism to diversify the city’s economy beyond Wall Street, with employment in leisure and hospitality growing more than 100,000 in 10 years to 362,400 in June, according to the state Department of Labor.

‘NYC I Do’

The city attracted a record 50.5 million visitors in 2011, and Bloomberg has a 2015 goal to draw 55 million people, add 30,000 jobs and increase the industry’s economic impact to $70 billion from $48 billion last year.

NYC & Co. began the “NYC I Do” marketing campaign after the same-sex marriage law passed, with a goal to make the most populous U.S. city the top wedding and honeymoon destination for couples globally.

In addition to New York, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia, according to Freedom to Marry, a New York- based national advocacy organization.

Sixth State

This year, the legislatures in Maryland, New Jersey and Washington state passed same-gender marriage laws that haven’t taken effect. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill, while opponents in Maryland and Washington have November ballot measures challenging the laws.

Quinn, 45, who with Bloomberg lobbied the Legislature to approve same-gender marriage, benefited from the law when she wed her partner, attorney Kim Catullo, 45, on May 19 at a ceremony attended by the mayor, Cuomo, and U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“What you can’t quantify is just the joy that has happened in New York City,” Quinn told reporters. “What better thing could government do than pass laws that make people equal, repeal laws that say some of us are unequal, and give families the opportunity to have that once-in-a-lifetime moment when a father can walk his daughter down the aisle.”


A generous New York bridal shop owner never questioned the heartbreaking story of a woman who claimed to have cancer and wanted to marry before she died. The bride’s story opened the hearts and wallets of her community who donated thousands of dollars to pay for her wedding and honeymoon.

But months after the wedding, it was revealed that Jessica Vega, 25, lied about her terminal illness and had duped everyone. Now, she has been arrested and charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor and could face up to four years in prison for each felony charge.

Keri Ciastko is the co-owner of Bliss Bridal, which was Bella Couture when she first met Vega in 2010. Vega came into the shop in search of a wedding dress and said she was getting married quickly. Ciastko noticed Vega’s short hair.

"It came up in conversation that she had lost her hair due to this cancer," Ciastko told today. "She pulled at my heartstrings. I’ve lost a lot of family members to cancer, so I did everything I could to help her."

The shop provided Vega with her wedding dress, a seamstress for alterations, the wig for her wedding, shoes and Ciastko even used her own money sometimes to help the new mom, who said she was struggling financially.

Other community members donated money, wedding photos, plane tickets for a honeymoon in Aruba and a time share for the honeymoon.

"It seemed so genuine. I never questioned it," Ciastko said.

The two developed a friendship and Ciastko remembered getting angry when her husband once asked her if she was sure the story was true.

"I said, ‘Who would lie about something like that?’" Ciastko recalled. "I never questioned it and I was floored when it came up that it might not be true."

Months after the wedding, Vega’s husband Michael O’Connell called Ciastko and asked her if she was sitting down. When she asked why, he said, "Jessica lied about everything and she’s not sick. She pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes."

"I didn’t want to believe him," she said. "I knew they were going through some issues, but it just kind of spiraled from there."

Ciastko spoke to Vega once after that and Vega told her she was not lying. Ciastko has had no communication with her since then.

"Now, it makes me angry," Ciastko said. "It was very hard. It’s pitting someone’s worst fears against them."

The couple, who already had a young daughter, married in May 2010 and four months later, Vega’s new husband accused her of faking the illness, according to the Time Herald-Record.

O’Connell allegedly discovered that Vega had forged a letter that was supposedly from a doctor to prove her illness. He called his local paper and reported the scheme.

The couple divorced and O’Connell moved to Virginia, but she later joined him there and they had a second child, the paper reported.

O’Connell told the paper that his wife needed mental health treatment, not prison. He could not be reached for comment by

Vega was arrested in Virginia on April 3 and extradited to New York, according to the attorney general’s office.

She was charged with one count of scheme to defraud, five counts of grand larceny and one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument for the allegedly fake doctor’s letter.

"By pretending to have a terminal illness, Vega inexcusably took advantage of the community’s hearts and minds, and profited off of their generosity," Orange County Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. "Our office will hold this individual accountable for fleecing the public through lies and deception."

Ciastko isn’t seeking reimbursement or taking legal action, but said she has been saddened by the situation and worries about how it could affect others who are actually in need.

"I am very betrayed by what happened. I am. I feel like the generosity of so many people was put in jeopardy, which is what’s so sad," Ciastko said. "Unfortunately, I think she maybe ruined it for people that really could use the help."

But Ciastko said she hasn’t been jaded by the experience. "Given the opportunity to do it again, I would in a heartbeat," she said.

Vega was arraigned in Orange County Court on Friday and pleaded not guilty. Her bail was set at $10,000 cash or $30,000 bond.

She is expected to be back in court on April 20.

Wedding Dates to Avoid

May 27, 2011 Author: John | Filed under: GTA Wedding Tips

Wedding Dates to avoid in 2011 2012 2013

When choosing your wedding dates, it is important to avoid annual events and special events approaching.  After you’ve decided on a date that caters to your preferred weather conditions and convenience, please try to avoid the following dates. 

Long Weekends – Although it sounds like a great choice, many guests will have issues with expensive travel and accomodations.  It also may require them to cancel their previously scheduled holiday plans.

  • New Year’s Day
    Saturday, January 1, 2011
    Sunday, January 1, 2012
    Tuesday, January 13, 2013
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
    January 18, 2010
    January 17, 2011
    January 16, 2012
  • President’s Day
    February 15, 2010
    February 21, 2011
    February 20, 2012
  • Memorial Day
    May 31, 2010
    May 30, 2011
    May 28, 2012
  • Independence Day
    Always July 4.
  • Labor Day
    September 6, 2010
    September 5, 2011
    September 3, 2012
  • Columbus Day
    October 11, 2010
    October 10, 2011
    October 8, 2012
  • Thanksgiving (US)
    November 25, 2010
    November 24, 2011
    November 22, 2012

The Olympics Once every two years, alternating between winter and summer.
July 27 – August 12, 2012, London, UK

The Super Bowl – February 5, 2012 – Indianapolis, IN

The World Cup
Only held once every four years
Approx June 11, 2014 to July 11, 2014.

Final Four
March 31 and April 2, 2012, New Orleans, LA

Others that happen before May

  • Chinese New Year
    February 3, 2011
    January 23, 2012
  • Baha’i New Years Day
    Almost always March 21
  • Palm Sunday and Holy Week
    April 17, 2011
    April 1, 2012
  • Easter Sunday
    April 24, 2011
    April 8, 2012
  • Greek Orthodox Easter
    April 24, 2011
    April 15, 2012
  • Passover
    April 20, 2011
    April 7, 2012

Events that happen after May: 

  • Shavuot
    June 8, 2011
    May 27, 2012
  • Ramadan
    Duration: 1 month
    Begins August 11, 2010
    Begins August 1, 2011
    Begins July 20, 2012
  • Rosh Hashanah
    2011:   September 28 (at sundown) – 30
    2012:   September 16 (at sundown) – 18
    2013:   September 4 (at sundown) – 6
    2014:   September 24 (at sundown) – 26
    2015:   September 13 (at sundown) – 15
  • Yom Kippur
    September 18, 2010
    October 7, 2011
    September 25, 2012
  • Hanukkah
    December 2 – 9, 2010
    December 21 – 28, 2011
    December 9 – 16, 2012
  • Christmas
    Always December 25
  • Kwanzaa
    Always December 26 through January 1.



2011 Wedding TrendsThe following are some trends for all the lovely couples who are planning to get married in 2011.  One of the top wedding trends this year is vintage and retro-inspired with a modern twist. What’s old is new. We’ll see:

  • vintage wedding dresses with cap sleeves
  • beautiful textures with details
  • natural settings, including outdoor and backyard weddings
  • some vintage photography

With the environment in mind, we’ll continue to include more green, environmentally friendly weddings. Think second-hand and vintage wedding dresses, LED lighting, recycled paper invitations and programs, and food from local farms and providers. Charity donations will continue to be a popular option instead of traditional wedding favors, and more couples will be asking for donations to their favorite charity instead of wedding gifts.

The contemporary, modern wedding is still big and many rides are opting for non-traditional dress choices, such as the following

  • beautiful hues instead of the usual white or ivory
  • old shoulder instead of strapless
  • short cocktail dresses instead of a long gown.
  • mixing table shapes and sizes.
  • incorporating bright and bold colors
  • cool lounge settings, and after parties
  • cupcakes instead of a wedding cake

Lastly, social media is playing a part in the wedding planning process. Couples are keep guests informed through wedding websites and post updates about their excitement and plans on Facebook and Twitter. Posts such as “We booked the band today!” allow friends and family to feel like they are part of the planning. It’s great to have everyone involved during the whole wedding planning through to the final reception.

Toronto Wedding Trends of 2010

Feb 8, 2010 Author: John | Filed under: GTA Wedding Dresses, GTA Wedding Tips

It’s important to know the latest wedding trends to ensure that you’ll well dressed for the occasion.  If you’re getting married, it’s you should already be well aware of the trends.  As a new bride to be, I’m assuming that you’ve already attending some wedding shows, checked out various wedding stores, etc.  Every year, designers introduce fresh designs and concepts.  Here are some trends of 2010: 

White & Soft Green – With the new trend toward green and ecofriendly weddings, these colors will look very trendy and perfect for 2010.  Some tones of purple and lilac may also be among the trendy colors.

Black accessories – With trendy light colors, contrasting accessories will create a sharp, modern, and trendy look.  Items such as black roses, decorations, or any other accessories will give a sophisticated and well designed/dressed look.

Pink dresses – One of the top choices of 2010 are pink dresses.  Wedding dressses in paste/classic pink will look great. Flapper dresses along with a mid-calf fitted length style will give a trendy new look to the traditional pink.

Red wedding gowns – Red is sharp, viabrant, and the right choice for the spring of 2010.  Red with classic and pastel white will add color and romantic look and feel.

Mini wedding dress – The fresh trend of spring 2010 is short dresses. You can pair your look with some ankle tied flip-flops or sandals to give a dramatic look.

Bright orange color scheme – Bright orange color will work marvelously if combined with soft peach tones. Use orange petals and camera for the maximum effect around the reception table. You can tie the peach gift boxes with orange ribbons. Also add tiger lilies and orange gerberas into the bridal bouquets

Bright Yellow and Turquoise Shades – If you are looking for a big tropical scheme in the spring of 2010, you can focus around Bright yellow and Turquoise shades. You can mix these colors in the spring of 2010 with the hot wedding theme. Bold boxes can be tied with blue and yellow ribbons. You can order the florist to introduce the slash of the same colors in the bride’s bouquet. This even will be more coordinated with the wedding cake cuts.

10 Things Not To Say At Wedding

Jan 22, 2010 Author: John | Filed under: GTA Wedding Dresses, GTA Wedding Tips

A wedding is an auspicious event that not only celebrates a union of two people, but joins two families together as well. On this happy occasion, a wrong comment, even if its said as a joke, can have a lasting impact on the whole marriage, turning it into an eternal tiff rather than eternal bliss. So make sure you’re not the one responsible for a spat or an uncomfortable atmosphere by avoiding these ten remarks, because when it comes to a wedding, silence is surely the best policy!

1. Never make any mention of past marriages

Past is past and it should remain that way. The couple is starting a new life and therefore, reminding them of a previous marriage in any way is the last thing you would want to do. Even funny comments like, “This one is way better than your last one” or “I hope this one lasts longer than the previous one”, are a big NO.

2. Don’t pass a negative comment about the bride’s dress

The bride’s dress should not bother you because you’re not the one who’s wearing it, and obviously she wouldn’t be wearing it if she thought it were bad! So comments like, “Wasn’t it available in a different color?” or “I think this should have been a little longer/shorter” or “Why didn’t you go to that designer I told you about?”, should be avoided. You don’t want to make a bride loose her confidence on her special day!

3. Don’t criticize the menu

It’s their wedding, therefore they decide the menu. So whatever comes your way should be appreciated. Still if you feel that you can’t have the food over there, then a polite comment like, “My stomach is upset”, or something similar is a better option than actually criticizing the food.

4. Never compare the bride and the groom

Never compare the bride and the groom even if the bride is downright ugly or the groom has the looks of a Greek god and vice versa. As long the couple is happy with each other, you should be happy for them as well. Some people even have the audacity to whisper in the bride or the groom’s ear that they could have done so much better. This is plain rude and a comment like this deserves nothing but tight slap on the speaker’s face.

5. Check before mentioning a deceased family member

A wedding is a happy occasion and the mention of someone who has passed away can give the event a sad atmosphere, especially if that person was close to the bride or groom and their families. Hence it is always better to play it safe and avoid mentioning such a person because you never know who you might end up upsetting.

6. Keep the secrets about bridge and groom to yourself

Everyone has secrets and everyone has done crazy things in the past, and just because someone is getting married doesn’t mean he/she would want their spouse to know, especially on their wedding day. However, relating a funny incident is completely harmless, but besides that, all the wild crazy stuff should go with you to your grave.

7. Don’t tell mother-in-law jokes

Mother-in-law jokes are no doubt very funny but a wedding is not the best place to share them, especially when two newly made mother-in-laws are on the loose. You never know how they or other people might take them, that is why its better to save them for another occasion.

8. If you had/have other plans don’t make any mention of them

People invite you to their wedding because they want you to be a part of their special day and want to share their happiness with you. Saying that you have to go somewhere else or had to be somewhere else gives the impression that rather than being a part of their joy, you were actually doing them a favor by attending the event, and this could even hurt their feelings.

9. Don’t predict the future of the marriage

As a joke, many people, especially the bride and groom’s friends, actually make bets guessing how long would it take for the couple to break the marriage bond. Believe me its not funny, on the contrary its rude and offensive and I shouldn’t even be telling you to keep away from such games, you should be sensible enough to know that yourself!

10. Stop bragging about your gift to the couple

Ok, just because you gave a great expensive gift or a fat cheque to the newly wed couple doesn’t mean that you start bragging about it. Not everyone can afford it and your showing off can make people feel inferior and uncomfortable with their gift or money.



Toronto’s Majestic Castle, Casa Loma. The former home of Canadian financier, Sir Henry Pellatt. Canada’s foremost castle complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800 foot underground tunnel, towers, stables and beautiful 5 acres estate gardens, all in a 98 room castle. Open daily 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Self-guided audio tour in 8 languages, included with admission.

Despite the drizzly weather, the view from the Scottish tower was phenomenal. Casa Loma sits on a hill overlooking downtown Toronto, with views as far as Hamilton and Niagara Falls on a clear day. I had to line up at the winding staircases for people to file upstairs and downstairs before it was my turn to get to the highest point of the castle.

The Queens Own Rifles Museum is part of fulfilling the legacy of Sir Henry Pellatt who always had a dream of turning the castle into a military museum. A large poster on the 3rd floor recalls the significance that Casa Loma played in world history: Casa Loma played an important role in the development of sonar technology, when the British government relocated their sonar research to Canada during WWII and chose underground spaces at Casa Loma as the location for advancing this technology. This invention played a significant role in turning the tide of the war.

The third floor also features servants’ rooms – with surprisingly generous proportions. Sir Henry Pellatt employed about 40 servants, the majority of whom lived on premises. The Round Room, although appearing to have an elliptical shape, is completely round including windows and doors as it is housed in the Norman Tower. The Austin Room and the Pellatt Board Room are actually available for rent for private and corporate functions .

The second floor of Casa Loma houses Sir Henry and Lady Mary Pellatt’s private living quarters. Sir Henry’s Suite is the smaller of the two, and none of the furniture is original. In keeping with mysterious medieval traditions, he had a secret storage area to the left of the fireplace to store confidential documents. His bathroom is most impressive, clad all around in Pavenzo marble. Spray nozzles controlled by six porcelain taps completely surround the shower for a full-body shower experience, way ahead of its time. Sir Henry’s love of modern conveniences also becomes evident in the more than 50 telephones that were installed all throughout the castle. The alcove in his bedroom actually held his electrical control centre from where he was able to control the entire building. Considering that Casa Loma was built almost 100 years ago, it is astounding to see all these leading-edge installations that would not be out of place in a high-end home in the 21st century.

Lady Pellatt’s Suite is decorated in soft pink colours and has an entranceway to a large stone balcony and a beautiful sitting area. In her later years Lady Pellatt was confined to a wheelchair and spent most of her time in her spacious 3000 square foot suite. The Girl Guides Exhibit pays tribute to her important role in this organization which at the time was still in its infancy. Just across the hallway is a Guest Suite which is decorated in a Chinoisery style which complimented Sir Henry’s collection of lacquered Oriental furnishings. On the way down to the first floor Lou pointed out the castle’s original elevator to me: it is named “Otis 1” and was Toronto’s first elevator in a private home. It is still functional today.

We took the grand wooden staircase down to the main floor where Lou pointed out to me that the original staircase, complete with imported marble from Italy, is actually located somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic as the transport vessel sank during the ocean voyage. To the left of the Great Hall is the Library which holds 10,000 books. Lou pointed out that the hardwood floor is the source of an optical illusion: when you look straight down, all the floor boards appear to be the same colour. But when you look away in the distance in one direction, one floor stripe appears light, the other one beside it dark. Then, when you face the other way, the same stripe now appears dark, while the one beside it appears light. The colours of the wooden planks just seem to magically switch.

The family logo “Devant Si Je Puisse” is featured in an elaborate coat of arms on the ceiling of the Library. The Dining Room right next to the Library is lined with walnut – no expense was spared for this castle. A few steps to the left is the Conservatory, for me the most visually stunning space in the entire castle and also Sir Henry and Lady Mary’s favourite place in the entire building. The magnificent bronze and glass doors leading into the Conservatory were modeled after a set made in New York for an Italian villa and at the time cost $10,000 to make.

During our visit, the Conservatory was used as a backdrop for wedding photography, and indeed Casa Loma is one of the favourite places in Toronto for people to get married. Lou mentioned that it takes about two years to be able to book a date for a wedding, and a few years ago one lady booked her wedding date even though she did not even have a groom yet. But in the two years before her wedding at Casa Loma she managed to find her future husband. In the end her dream of a fairy-tale wedding in this stunning castle came true. The black and pink marble floor was imported from Italy while the marble facings on the flower beds are from a quarry in Bancroft, Ontario. The flower beds were heated with steam pipes to ensure the perfect soil temperature for exotic plants.

The Gardens of Casa Loma are astoundingly beautiful and were renovated by the Garden Club of Toronto in 1989. Rare annuals and perennial plants, sculptures and a fountain adorn five and a half acres of well-kept grounds which offer some of the best vantage points to take in the magnificence of this structure. A beautiful terrace on the south side of the castle invites visitors to take a well-deserved rest after an indepth exploration of this heritage building.

Casa Loma is not only the second most important tourist attraction in Toronto, it also offers plenty of special and seasonal events for locals and travelers alike: summer events include Afternoon Tea events which include interesting lectures and a delightful afternoon tea buffet menu. Several Sunday Royal Brunches are offered which include a wide range of gourmet hot and cold foods as well as a sweet table and a free self-guided tour of the castle. The Casa Loma Kid’s Club hosts such events as a Dragon Making Workshop as well as a Become a Knight event. At the end of October Casa Loma becomes a Haunted Mansion for Halloween; and the Middle Ages Come to Life Sundays provide reenactments of the medieval period. There is always something special going on at Casa Loma.

Engagement/Wedding Photo Shoots

Engagement/Wedding photo shoots may be booked from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30a.m.and 12noon – 2:30 p.m. most days, (Subject to availability and special Casa Loma programming). The cost is $300.00 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and $450.00 from 12 noon – 2:30 p.m., and the areas that you would have access to are the Conservatory,the front of the Castle and, depending on the time of the year, the Terrace, and Gardens. For further information and to check on availability email or contact the Catering Department at (416) 923-1171.

Film Shoots

Film shoots may be accepted subject to availability and operational requirements. The basic location fee is $3,000.00 / day for up to 12 hours filming and $300.00 per hour for any hours in addition to the 12. There is an additional fee of $300.00 per hour for dressing and $300.00 per hour for striking. Fees for supervision are $42.00 per hour and for security is $27.00 per hour. The number of security staff necessary will vary depending on timing and complexity. Additional services or requirements will be considered for extra fees. A damage deposit will be necessary and the amount of this deposit will be returned upon the completion of the shoot provided there is no damage or any additional expenses incurred during shooting. For further information please email

Photography – Other Than
Engagement/Wedding Photo Shoots

Photo shoots may be accepted subject to availability and operational requirements. The location fee is $300.00 per hour for minimum of 6 hours. There is an additional fee of $300.00 per hour for dressing and $300.00 per hour for striking. Fees for supervision are $42.00 per hour and for security $27.00 per hour. The number of security staff necessary will vary depending on timing and complexity. A damage deposit will be necessary and the amount of this deposit will be returned upon the completion of the shoot provided there is no damage or any additional expenses incurred during shooting. For further information please email

Some businesses find a way to thrive even in the toughest of economic times.

During the Great Depression, movies and radio found great success as relatively inexpensive forms of entertainment.

While many businesses are struggling today, one niche enterprise has done well. The popularity of beach weddings has continued to grow this summer.

“The beach wedding business has been great,” said Darrel Jones, executive director of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council. “We get an average of seven to nine leads a week (at the TDC). That has grown each year.”

The TDC has advertised its beach wedding opportunities in a popular wedding magazine called Knot. Jones said that has been successful in drawing couples to the Emerald Coast.

Although beach weddings have been big business in the area for years, the economic slump had organizers worried.

“I knew it was a reality out there that people were hurting and people were having to cut back” said Cecilia Cappella, owner of Tropical Beach Weddings in Navarre. “Everyone was concerned. I was concerned as a business owner, being self employed, but I have not seen a decrease at all.”

Cappella said she did not have any wedding cancellations this summer because of lost jobs or anything to do with the economy. She said she only had one couple call to downgrade a previous plan.

Financially, Cappella said she was even with last year’s summer numbers. Things have gone so well this year that Cappella has decided to expand her business next year to add another wedding crew to her staff to increase the number of weddings her company performs.

“It was a very good season. We’re still doing weddings. I’m slammed for September,” she said.

Maggie Halsey, owner of Barefoot Weddings in downtown Fort Walton Beach, said the biggest advantage to a beach wedding is the savings. She said a typical church wedding costs $10,000 to $12,000, whereas the most expensive package she offers is $2,500, which includes the bouquet, photos, chairs, music, decorations and officiating.

“It has been phenomenal,” Halsey said. “I have been really blessed. I just took my first day off since July 4 this past Sunday.”