Archive for the ‘Engagement’ Category

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.



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

(ARA) – Next to planning the actual wedding, most brides-to-be will tell you the next hardest thing is figuring out what to put on their gift registries. And one of the big mistakes brides make is not registering for enough.

“It’s definitely a lesson in compromise,” says Taryn Abbott-Wilson, Visual Merchandising Director for Pier 1 Imports. “When my husband and I got married, he had traditional, upholstered furniture and several wooden pieces in the same light finish, while I had a lot of dark antiques. We ended up utilizing almost all of our furniture by combining what worked together and then purchasing a few items to finish out the look.”

“Couples need to think ‘complete’ and register for the smallest accessories to the biggest items. They are doing their guests and themselves a big favor by giving everyone a good range of gifts to choose from and assuring themselves that they’ll be ready for their new family life together,” says Roseanna Robinson, bridal director for The Pfaltzgraff Co., America’s oldest continuously operating pottery company.

According to Robinson, the average age for couples getting married, today, is in the late 20’s. “Most brides and grooms-to-be have lived on their own for a while and accumulated several household items,” says Robinson. “So they need to be strategic about planning their registries.”

Robinson says that means taking inventory of what each person already has, picking out their favorite pieces, and discarding the rest. “Couples should also ask themselves three questions – what are your favorite foods, what does it take to prepare them and what is the best way to serve them? This is a good starting point,” says Robinson, who has been advising brides-to-be on how to complete their gift registries for more than two decades.

She says choosing an everyday dinnerware pattern is usually the main decision that helps structure the registry. “Traditionally formal china was a “must-have” and most often was very expensive, making it feel like another big commitment. Today the overwhelming trend is towards casual dinnerware at affordable prices, which gives registering couples many different options to suit their lifestyle. I encourage brides to have fun, choose pieces that complement the things they already have, and if they want, register for several different patterns,” says Robinson

One pattern Robinson says is gaining in popularity is Pfaltzgraff’s new Pistoulet collection, based on illustrations from the Jana Kolpen book, “The Secrets of Pistoulet.”

“From the moment we discovered the book, we envisioned a beautiful and romantic casual dinnerware collection that would bring to the table Jana Kolpen’s central theme and message – the powerful role that food and meals play to nourish our souls and unite us with friends and family,” says Marsha Everton, president and chief executive officer at Pfaltzgraff.

Each piece in the collection is brightly decorated with freely rendered flowers, vines and vegetables drawn from or influenced by the book’s illustrations, also by Kolpen. Bright, colorful drawings are set against wide watercolor washes that evoke the light and colors of southern France.

“The design is sophisticated in a warm and inviting way, allowing for great mix-and-match possibilities,” says Robinson. “It appeals to both brides and grooms, who are increasingly more vocal in the bridal registry process. The chip-resistant, highly durable Pistoulet collection stands up to everyday use and is safe in the dishwasher, oven, freezer and microwave.”

Featuring a broad range of dinnerware, serveware and accessories, pieces in the collection range in price from $7.99 for a single bread plate to $359.88 for a 36-piece dinnerware set. The Pistoulet collection is available at major department and specialty stores nationwide, including J.C. Penny, and more than 70 Pfaltzgraff stores at outlet malls across the country.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Getting engaged can be one of the most memorable and exciting moments in your life. For the first few weeks after the proposal, you both feel dizzy with happiness and are bursting with anticipation. As well you both should be! You’ve met the man or woman of your dreams, you’ve decided to get married, and now it’s time to plan the wedding — the official celebration of your love and commitment.

As you plan this wonderful day, you both will continue to feel great joy, but may also experience a few butterflies and a little confusion. After all, organizing a ceremony and reception is a big undertaking.

There will be questions about anything and everything: from the meal (fish, chicken, or beef?) to the wedding gown (low-cut, fitted, or empire-waisted?) to the reception music (live band, small orchestra, or DJ?). There will be issues about budgets, guest lists, and styles.

But in the end, just remember what this day is really about — a celebration of love. Stay focused, and keep organized. This is where this article comes in handy. It’s packed with helpful information and useful worksheets that you both can click on and print out to help you stay on top of your wedding planning. You’ll find:

  • checklists for keeping track of what needs to be done
  • useful charts for organizing the many little wedding-related details
  • worksheets for wading through vendor candidates and potential site possibilities
  • hint boxes loaded with valuable tips and other information

Plus, this article features special Stress-Busters and Budget Extenders tips that help you both tackle the tough problems and really stretch the wedding dollars.

Designed to help the engaged couple plan an entire wedding, from announcing the engagement and buying the rings to cutting your cake and planning the honeymoon, this article will help you both create a truly memorable day — without driving yourselves crazy in the process.

Every wedding is different so there might be worksheets that you both will have to reprint to have enough to cover all of your guests or all of your vendor candidates. Conversely, there might be some worksheets that you won’t need at all or that you might have to tweak to fit your needs.

Get started on the right track by beginning a list of important phone numbers — from wedding party members to the florist and musicians. Then take a look at the next page to help you establish a budget and a timetable. You both also will find information about announcing your engagement and how to choose a ring — that is, if you don’t have your rings already!


newspaper and magazine announcements of your engagementNewly engaged couples often send an official announcement to their local newspaper and/or city magazine. They need to contact the publications to find out the submission deadlines, run dates, and photo requirements (you may want to keep an engagement photo log with key information). Be sure to keep track of the newspapers and magazines contacted so you both can buy up plenty of copies when the announcement is published.

A proper announcement includes:

  • Bride’s full name
  • Groom’s full name
  • Bride’s mother’s name
  • Groom’s mother’s name
  • Bride’s father’s name
  • Groom’s father’s name
  • Bride’s parents’ hometown and state
  • Groom’s parents’ hometown and state
  • Wedding site city, state
  • Season, month, and/or date of wedding

It is not recommended that the couple include addresses, since they will receive many wonderful gifts during the next few months and don’t want to tip off burglars.

Engagement parties often occur soon after making the official announcement. Presents are not generally given; if, however, someone does bring a gift, be sure to promptly send a thank you card. It’s an easy gesture to forget, since about now both of your minds are focused on wedding plans, and you probably do not yet have official thank you cards printed.

Did you both get through the budget, timetable, rings, and announcement without a hitch? Good for you! If not, take a deep breath. It will all work out, and there’s a lot more to do! Let’s move on to find out more about making the guest list and selecting invitations in the next section.


While the new couple are flying high and simply giddy, integrate a few stress-busters into your daily life. Then they’ll already be part of your routine once the really tough stuff starts.

Pick your favorite exercise, and stick with it. Whether it’s yoga, kick-boxing, or spinning, give this activity a few hours each week.

If you both have something that calms your nerves — be it reading, painting, or collecting rocks along the shore — don’t always put wedding plans ahead of this activity. You’ll stay calmer, make sounder decisions, and enjoy the entire planning process more if you stay relaxed.

Learn to ask for help. Delegating makes everyone feel better: It makes both or your Moms feel as if she has a vital role, and it puts less on your to-do list.

Don’t forget one of the most important reasons you are getting married to each other — because you love spending time together. Once a week go on a date, and ban any talk about the Big Day.

In decades past, the man got down on one knee, ring in hand, and proposed. Today, many couples jointly decide to become husband and wife. Likewise, they choose the rings together. It pays to know a few things first:

Find a jeweler you can trust. Use recommendations or family connections to find a jeweler you know to be honest and fair.

Select a style. There are many rings out there, with styles from heirloom to contemporary. Choose a style that reflects your personal tastes.

Set a price range. Have some sense of what you can afford before you even visit any jewelers. Most experts agree that the ring budget should total no more than the bride and groom’s combined salaries for two months.

Know your diamond basics. There are four
categories by which a jeweler assesses the worth of a diamond: cut, clarity, color, and carat (see below for more details).

Be sure to keep a good record of where the rings were purchased, how much they cost, the four C’s of the diamond, etc. This will come in handy for insurance purposes and if you find something wrong with the rings after bringing them home.

Also, you both just spent potentially thousands of dollars with a jeweler, so take advantage of your new status as a valued customer and consider using the same jeweler to purchase the bride’s attendants’ gifts. Don’t be timid about asking for a quantity price break.

The four C’S for diamonds

There are four qualities, or Four C’s, that jewelers use to evaluate a diamond.

Color: The closer a diamond is to colorless, the greater its monetary value.

Clarity: This term refers to the number of interior and exterior flaws that can be seen when the stone is magnified ten times.

Cut: A diamond should be proportioned and faceted to bring out the stone’s shine and clarity.

Carat: This refers to the size of the actual stone. Per carat value is determined by color, cut, and clarity. A small stone with flawless color, cut, and clarity can actually have a higher value than a large stone with many imperfections.