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Hosting A Green Wedding in Niagara Falls or Niagara on the Lake

Are You Hosting A Green Wedding In Niagara on the Lake and Niagara FallsHere are some green wedding tips and idea's!

If recycling and hybrid cars are important to you, there’s no reason you can’t add a green sheen to your white wedding and make your nuptials eco-friendly. From your ring and gown to your ceremony and honeymoon, there are countless ways your big day can have a small carbon footprint. Here are some ideas:
  •  Think about reducing the amount of paper you use. For invitations, use recycled paper or paper made from bamboo or hemp. Have guests RSVP by email or postcard, which eliminates the need for envelopes. Also, instead of having a program for each guest, offer one per couple.
  • When shopping for a ring, avoid conflict diamonds, which fund battle in war zones. Jewelers should be able to provide certification that a stone is conflict-free. If in doubt, choose a rock from Canada or Australia or use a ring passed on from one generation in your family to the next.
  • When it comes to the wedding gown and groom’s tuxedo, try a second-hand store, particularly if you’re after a vintage look. There are several fine used clothing boutiques in Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake. If you’re buying new, try organic silk or hemp, and choose a simple dress or suit you can wear again. If it’s a gown you desire but don’t want to store for years after the big day, consider donating your dress to charity. There are plenty of agencies in Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake that can be of assistance.
  • If you and your fiancé already have many household items, ask for only a few unique, signature items or fill your registry with eco-friendly requests, such as energy efficient appliances. You could also suggest guests make donations to your favourite charities on your behalf.
  • Hold your ceremony and reception in the same location to save your guests driving between two spots. As well, there are many gorgeous outdoor locations that require very little décor or have exquisite backdrops, such as museums and botanical gardens, throughout Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
  • No wedding is complete without flowers or food. Consider greenery from a florist who uses locally grown or organic flowers, or, better yet, both. Keep local, organic and in-season in mind when planning the menu too. Niagara is bountiful when it comes to farm to table cuisine. Many Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake reception venues offer locally sourced menu items. Want to go really green? Serve a vegetarian meal.
  • Instead of buying trinkets for your bridal party, consider massage gift certificates or items that can be used and enjoyed, such as wine or fair trade tea or coffee. For serious tree huggers, saplings or seedlings may be the ideal thank you.
  • Ensure those cleaning up separate recyclables from non-recyclables. And ask kitchen staff to toss food scraps into composters. Niagara has an extensive recycling program and it’s likely your venue already participates in such a program, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.
  • Given it’s your honeymoon, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending a lot of time in your hotel room. So save big trips, like Greece or Fiji, for another holiday and consider honeymooning closer to home. If possible, go by train. If you’re staying in a hotel, search out hotels with green policies around linen washing and recycling programs.

potted herbs


Patti Wallington is a Master Bridal Consultant and owner of Occasions in Niagara, Niagara's premier wedding planning service. Since 1996, she has coordinated thousands of weddings fo couples from all over the world.

New Year's Eve Weddings in Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake


Hosting A New Year’s Eve Wedding In Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the-Lake

If you’re afraid of forgetting your wedding date or just love the idea of having a huge celebration built in, New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls or Niagara-on-the Lakes is a great time and place for a wedding. And Dec. 31 wedding dates are becoming more popular, particularly with urban, hip couples. But if you’re planning to kiss as newlyweds as the ball drops, there are a few things you should consider.

Reserve Early

Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake are extremly busy at that time of year, mostly due to the large celebration that takes place across the street from Niagara Falls - A huge evening of entertainment and thousands of locals and tourists attend this free night of entertainment.   So not only is this date becoming more popular, many venues are reserved for New Year’s Eve parties. Make your reservations at least one year in advance or more, if possible.

Save The Date!

Many of the hotels in Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake have annual New Year’s Eve plans so to avoid disappointment on either end, make sure you inform your guests of your wedding date as soon as you have reserved your venue.

It’s All About Timing

The ideal time to begin a Dec. 31 wedding is at 8 p.m. because if you’re planning to party until the wee hours of the morning, anything sooner might be too much for some guests. If you want to say your vows on the stroke of midnight, you might want to have appetizers and a cocktail hour first, followed by dinner and then the ceremony.

Eat, Drink and Be Married

Since the focus of a New Year’s Eve wedding – in terms of timing – is on midnight, you need to inform your guests of whether you will be serving a three-course dinner or simply hors d’oeuvres and desserts so they can plan accordingly. Ensure you have lots of champagne and coffee on your drink list.

Get Glamourous

This is a great time to do a black tie event. Many people dress up when they go out for New Year’s Eve so if you want to have a sophisticated affair, this is an excellent opportunity to do so. Black, silver and gold are colours often associated with New Year’s, so you can use those in your colour scheme, as well as glitter – and lots of it!

Auld Lang Syne

Ringing in the New Year is such a large part of our culture, it should also be included in your wedding. Purchase party accessories, such as noise makers, hats and confetti (if allowed). As well, if you’ve already said your vows, make sure you have a television to join the ball drop from the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, and of course the fantastic fireworks display over Niagara Falls.

Make a Resolution

A great way to keep your guests engaged is a resolution tree. This is the same as a wishing tree, where guests write down best wishes or words of advice to the couple and the pieces of paper are attached to a tree. Have your guests write down one resolution they intend to keep and then hang them on the tree with ribbon.


If you can’t arrange for fireworks to be lit for your personal celebration, see if your venue is located near the Niagara Falls fireworks show. There might be an opportunity for your guests to view the fireworks on a rooftop patio or other viewing area.

New Years Eve Wedding Photo


Patti Wallington is a Master Bridal Consultant and owner of Occasions in Niagara, Niagara's premier wedding planning service. Since 1996, she has coordinated thousands of weddings fo couples from all over the world.

Niagara Falls - Niagara-on-the-Lake Weddings – Important Wedding Tips


Niagara Falls/Niagara-on-the-Lake Weddings – Important Wedding Tips 2014

You’ve been anticipating your wedding for a year or longer. You’ve read all the magazines, you’ve scoured every website and wedding blog, you’ve picked your friends’ brains and you’ve got checklists to spare. Despite being as prepared as you can be, there are bound to be surprises and things that will happen you didn’t bargain for. Here are some items to consider that will help even the most prepared of brides.

Money, Money, Money

You might as well face it, your wedding is going to be expensive and you will likely go over budget. No matter how cautious you’ve been and how many negotiations you feel you’ve won, there are going to be times when you absolutely can’t barter your way out of shelling out a few extra bucks. You can try to be ready for it by building a buffer into your budget, but be aware that unexpected costs are bound to arise.

I Get So Emotional, Baby

Even if you’re usually a levelheaded individual, there’s something that touches everyone at weddings. It might be when you walk down the aisle, it could happen while listening to speeches or it might be your first dance. But your emotional cup is bound to runneth over. Make sure your maid of honour has some tissues handy.

RSVP Please Please

It is reasonable to think your guests would find the time to respond to something as important as a wedding. Yet, you would be wrong. You will need to track down some of your guests – or get your mother or wedding party member to do it – a couple of weeks before the big day. Also, be ready to see extra people at your wedding, such as your cousin who said she wasn’t bringing someone and then shows up with a new boyfriend or you’ve specified no kids at your wedding and your friend from high school’s there with her entire brood pretending the babysitter was sick.
No Bathroom Alone Time

When you need to go to the bathroom, bring your maid of honour. You will need help with your dress so it doesn’t get dirty. In fact, if you have a large gown, you might just want to step in and out of it to do your business.
Schedule, Schmedule

The schedule will run amok. This is inevitable. Even if you’re on time for the ceremony, it will run a little long, or the photos will take too long and your dinner will be delayed or – and we suggest trying your best to make sure this doesn’t happen – the speeches will drag on. If you run ahead of schedule, that’s fine. People enjoy mingling. But stay calm if you get behind the times, the show won’t go on without you.

Something Will Go Wrong

No one’s day goes perfectly. You can mitigate crises by hiring a wedding planner who will help smooth things out on your wedding day, but no big event (wedding included) goes off without a hitch. Don’t worry about what can go wrong, focus on your day and just be ready to handle anything that comes up. 

Enjoy Each Moment

This is the one piece of advice every newlywed will give to brides-to-be. But it’s a bunch of malarkey. Your wedding day is a busy day and you will feel rushed throughout most of it. You will enjoy each and every moment, but don’t feel as though you need to be living in the moment at each possible second. Make sure you go on a honeymoon afterwards where you will get the time to enjoy each other and spend some time reminiscing about your wonderful day.

Patti Wallington is the premiere wedding planner in Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Please enjoying reading this blog and the others we have listed. We offer a full slate of wedding services for Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake to both Niagara couples and those who live out of town. Also check out the sister website

Wedding Planning Checklist 2014

Announcing Your Wedding Engagement 2014


Within minutes of Paulina Gretzky and golfer Dustin Johnson – notice we didn’t need to give her a title, you all know who she is – taking to the Internet, thousands of people knew a wedding was on its way. A little birdie told their secret.

In the age of social media, when you get engaged, you can instantly blast this news out to everyone you know – and many “friends” you don’t. If you don’t want to announce your engagement on Twitter, Facebook or other social media site, what are your options?

And, if the tradition and grandeur of a wedding appeals to you, what kind of old-school ideas can you use to announce your happy news?

A Newspaper Announcement:

This is probably the most traditional way to announce you are getting married. And, if you want to keep with an age-old custom, then the parents of the bride-to-be are the ones who will make the announcement. However, as there are various kinds of families these days, that traditional engagement declaration has evolved and many couples choose to announce their engagement themselves.

If you want your parents announce your betrothal, this is how it should read:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith of Niagara Falls announce the engagement of their daughter, Mallory, to Joe Clark, son of Michael and Mary Clark, also of Niagara Falls. Very proud grandmothers are Andie Smith and Margaret Clark. Thrilled siblings are Charlie Smith, Zach Smith and Richard Clark. An August wedding is planned in Costa Rica.

Send Out Cards:

You can create beautiful cards or postcards to send to your friends and family with the thrilling news. Not only can you word them however you wish, you can also introduce them to the style or theme of your wedding, right from the initial announcement. If you include your wedding date in the card, it can double as a save-the-date card

Create a Wedding Website:

Though this is moving towards the Twitterverse or Facebook territory, you can design an entire website – there are many, many apps and templates you can choose from for help and inspiration – that will keep your guests updated on the wedding details, including shower dates, registry information, directions and places to stay for out-of-town guests. By having a personal website, you can invite only the people you want to view it rather than posting it on Facebook and that “friend” you don’t really remember from high school will be none the wiser.

niagara falls wedding engagement

Music free wedding receptions


If you don’t want to have music at your wedding reception, don’t think you’re automatically doomed to have a dismal night. Many couples forgo dancing at weddings – there’s something to be said for not hearing the chicken dance or the YMCA.

You don’t need to tell any of your guests you’re having a dance-free wedding reception. They will figure it out when they arrive and see no dance floor set up. But if you decide to tell people ahead of time, be prepared to get some flack. For decades, people have been holding dances after the wedding dinner.

wedding reception

If you’re planning to do away with the DJ or iPod, here are some things you can do to ensure your guests have a great time.

Cocktail Party

If you’re having a dance free reception, your wedding reception will feel more like a formal dinner or cocktail party. Hire a string quartet or other small ensemble that will create an elegant atmosphere for your event, but won’t coax Aunt Matilda out for the Macarena.

Change the Time

The easiest way to alleviate the expectation of dancing is to hold your wedding earlier in the day. Traditionally, people anticipate dancing after a late dinner as it’s more of a nighttime activity. Plan a champagne brunch or afternoon reception. No one wants to do the electric slide at 3 p.m.

Relax the Venue

Think backyard or garden wedding. This creates more of a casual atmosphere, one where you wouldn’t expect people to cut the rug, and you can get away with not having the couple’s first dance, father and daughter dance because you can use that time for mingling with your guests. If you’re going to have lots of children at your wedding, consider hiring a balloon artist, makeup artist to do face painting or bouncy castles to keep them entertained.

Provide Entertainment

If you’re worried about your guests getting bored, then think of ways for them to be amused. One idea gaining in popularity is the photo booth. Let your family and friends mug for the camera. It’ll get them laughing and you might even have some great souvenirs of the day! If you’re getting married at a winery here in Niagara, set up a winery tour they can embark on or wine tastings.

Feast for a King

The sure fire way to host a successful wedding reception is to wine and dine your guests. Have your venue offer first-rate appetizers while you get your photos done and mingle with your guests, and make sure your meal is unforgettable. Don’t scrimp. Make it an entire dining experience by hiring waiters to serve three- or four-course meals or create food stations, giving guests the opportunity to try different dishes.

Wedding time-lapse photography


You want every possible moment of your wedding captured. But, you don’t want the risk of putting disposable cameras on the tables and having 1,000 pictures of Uncle Bernie’s crazy chicken dance. Or, the budget just can’t stretch enough to pay the videographer to stay for the reception. 

One solution costs less than $300 and requires you to just place it on a table or other strategic location to capture long-lasting memories. TheBrinno P arty Camera (it’s official name is the TLC200 f 1.2) can capture every moment of the big day, and is perfect for the wedding reception. Simply leave the camera on its rotating base and it will spin 360 degrees every 60 minutes, creating a panning effect in time-lapse video.

brinno time lapse camera resized 600

As your guests enjoy your wedding reception, the camera will slowly rotate, capturing more moments than a wedding photographer or videographer would be able to, from completely new and innovative angles. You can also switch up the camera’s location, moving it from the head table to the dance floor to capture different views of your guests having fun.
This camera features a super-wide 140 degree angle lens, a sensor that can adapt very well to low-light situations (ideal for a reception) and a spherical lens for excellent image quality. A 1.44-inch preview screen allows for the precise framing of scenes. And, when the reception is over, and you want to reminisce with your wedding party and family, or, simply with your new husband, you can playback the images on-the-spot with any Smartphone and a Brinno card reader, or by popping the SD card into any computer.

Shooting in HD, the camera is both adjustable and rotatable, which means you can aim the camera in any direction you wish it to shoot.

As well, if you want to show guests at the Sunday brunch or other post-wedding event, you can easily do so without much work. Though editing is available, it’s not necessary because the frames taken by the camera are automatically compiled into a well-edited time-lapse video.
The Brinno Bundle, which retails for $253, includes the TLC200 f1.2 and ART100 rotating base. For information, visit

Celebrity Weddings


Everybody loves hearing about – and looking at – pictures of celebrity weddings. They’re lavish, over-the-top and, sometimes, outrageous. But weddings of the rich and famous can also be great starting points for ideas for your own upcoming wedding. Celebrity brides always wear the most up-to-date fashions, decorate in the hottest colour palettes and are very trend setting in every detail. Here are some ways you can incorporate the celebrity touch into your own wedding:

Magazines and entertainment shows
Celebrity weddings are all the rage so they regularly appear in gossip and entertainment magazines and shows. Flip through some of these magazines and you’ll see what’s in style and what you’re favourite celebrities are doing – whether it’s their first or fourth marriage. Use these images to inspire your planning and help you with the theme of your own wedding.

Fergie and Josh articleimage resized 600

Choose your favorite detail
Examine celebrity weddings for those details you think you might like to incorporate into your wedding. Check out the design of the gown or the hairstyle of the latest Hollywood wedding, or maybe what centerpieces they are using.

Hire a wedding planner
Preparing for a wedding can be a difficult task. It can get very complicated if you are eyeing a particular celebrity wedding you want to replicate. Hiring a wedding planner, who is up on all the latest celebrity styles, can help you organize your plans and put them into action. The proper wedding co-ordinator will also find the things you want – or be able to suggest better alternatives, while still lending that celebrity feel to your wedding.

Pick a celebrity hairstyle
Some celebrities are known for their perfect hairstyles. Look for pictures of the celebrity style you most admire and present them to your salon so they can replicate the look. You deserve to look magnificent on your wedding day, and that’s why your stylist should be able to copy exactly what your celebrity counterpart has on her head.

Copy that celebrity wedding gown
Vera Wang might not custom design a gown for you, but, armed with a picture of the gown you adore and the proper help, you can have your own gown designed to look exactly like one created by a famous designer.

No matter what you choose for your wedding, there is no question you will be the biggest celebrity that day. Make sure you get what you’ve dreamed of because it’s your special day and you deserve nothing less than perfect.

Wedding Cake Toppers


Every detail of your wedding will give your guests a glimpse into your personality, from the flowers and bouquets you select and the meal you serve to how you decorate the tables, your preference in colours and the design of your cake. But there’s a little detail you might not think of during the initial phases of planning your big day – the wedding cake topper.

Gone are the days when the wedding cake topper was a bride and groom posing stonily. Today, the possibilities are endless. From humorous and cheeky wedding cake toppers to classic and stylish designs, there are literally hundreds to choose from.

sports fan cake topper

The best thing about a wedding cake topper is that it doesn’t necessarily have to follow the style of your day. For example, if you’re having a traditional wedding, you can still have a fun wedding cake topper, such as a couple driving away to start the honeymoon. If you’re huge sportsfans, you’re in luck. For the baseball fan, you might want a bride swinging a baseball bat and her groom holding out a mitt or for those who love the links, maybe a bride impatiently waiting for her groom to finish his round of golf is appropriate.

If you’re having a themed wedding, you can, of course, incorporate that into your wedding cake topper, such as seashells for a beachside wedding or a castle if you’re more of a princess. Also available these days are cake toppers that reflect our multicultural society and ethnic diversity. But, if you’re a traditionalist at heart, there are plenty of options for you, from a single, bejeweled initial to a monogrammed topper that you can later display to remember your day.

Hollywood themed wedding


You’ve probably seen this wedding picture. Napster co-founder Sean Parker, who was also Facebook’s inaugural president (he was played by Justin Timberlake in The Social Network), married singer-songwriter Alexandra Lenas recently in the charming forested surroundings of Big Sur, California. Though many thought the wedding would be Game of Thrones-themed extravaganza, Parker Tweeted before the big day that it wouldn’t.

game of thrones wedding theme

Nevertheless, Lenas wore a lavish and opulent gown by Elie Saab (and resembled Daenerys Targaryen from the hit HBO show). The couple also spent $10 million to transform a boutique hotel into what would pass as a movie set and hired the costume designer of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy to create costumes for their 300 guests. The only thing missing was the dragons.

If you don’t want to travel that far back in time, another popular wedding trend right now is The Great Gatsby-esque/Roaring Twenties/Art Deco theme. 

Recently, Aaron Paul, star of the AMC drama Breaking Bad, tied the knot with Lauren Parsekian, co-CEO of non-profit Finding Kind Productions, in a Gatsby-themed wedding ceremony in Malibu, California. The bride donned a shell-shaped purse and the guest were encouraged to look their Twenties best, from furs and head pieces to flapper-like dresses and pearls. The couple also doled out masquerade masks to their guests at the reception.

Even if you’re working with a limited budget, there are many ways to incorporate these hot trends into your wedding décor or theme if so you desire. Aside from medieval- or vintage-inspired cake, invitations, flowers, invitations, hors d’oeuvres or wedding meal, here are some ways to focus your theme on the little extras.

For a medieval-themed wedding:
-    long, flowing hairstyle for the bride, braids or flowers woven into the hair
-    ask guests to wear brightly coloured robes
-    hold your wedding in an enchanted location such as a museum, castle or courtyard
-    chalice-like cups, and other dramatic tableware at your reception
-    hire minstrel-like musicians to play during cocktails or the dinner

For a Roaring Twenties-themed wedding:
-    pearls, feathers, headbands and vintage jewellery
-    black tuxedos (with tails!)
-    ask your guests to wear top hats (men) and gloves (women)
-    flapper gowns
-    a signature cocktail with gin 
-    jazz music or a jazz band to dance the night away

Wedding Shower Themes 2013


The bridal shower is one of the most exciting parties for brides. This party is exclusively for and about the bride. It’s a chance to give her some time to relax, be pampered and shown just how much she’s valued. Unlike bachelorette parties, where sometimes things get a little wild, the bridal shower usually includes every female the bride is close to, including grandmothers, aunts and mother and the future mother-in-law, so what goes on at this wedding event should be PG. If you’re planning a bridal shower for a special lady, here are some suggestions for party themes.

wedding shower

Wine & Cheese
If the bride is a wine connoisseur or just someone who enjoys relaxing with a good vintage, then this is an excellent idea for a shower. Mix it up and host a bit of a wine tasting, offering a variety of different wines for guests to sample, along with a nice selection of cheeses, chocolates and other gourmet treats.

Spa Shower
Planning a wedding can certainly be a stressful time in a bride’s life, and what better way to pamper her than to host a spa shower? You can either bring the ladies to a spa for a special afternoon or evening out, or you can hire estheticians to come to someone’s home to provide mani-pedis or facials. You can also hire a masseuse to provide massages for member of the wedding party as an extra special treat.

Stock-the-Bar Shower
The original purpose of the bridal shower was for the bride to receive gifts that would help her set up home once she was married. With many couples living together before the big day, many already have towels and other items for the home. If the bride and groom enjoy entertaining, then why not help them stock their bar? If you’re looking for a way to make sure the bride doesn’t end up with six toasters, ask an aunt to bring a bottle of vodka, and a good friend to chip in with a chardonnay.

Garden Shower
Along the same idea as a stock-the-bar shower is the garden shower. Not only can you host a wonderful garden party, with summertime beverages, luscious fruit trays and other warm weather delights, but guests can bring hard-to-find flowers, seeds, bulbs and perennials the bride would love to add to her garden, as well as gardening tools and other items. For a bride who is yet to begin her garden, this is the perfect opportunity to get her started!

On-the-Hour Shower
With weddings, you can always default to money for a gift. But with showers, it’s not so simple. One great way to get guests to think of unique and appropriate gifts for the bride is to give them a time of day. For example, if you’re asked to bring a gift for 8 a.m., you might think about a lush housecoat or breakfast dishes. If you’re assigned 6 p.m., then dinnerware and stemware it is! Just make sure you give 10 p.m. times to younger friends and family members, who won’t be too shy to purchase lingerie. 

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