Birks Men’s Wedding Bands


{This post has been brought to you by Birks}

For over a century, Birks has been Canada’s leading company for luxury jewelry. Just seeing that blue and brown box can set a girl’s heart a-flutter! ;)

But men like a little luxury too! Birks has a wide selection of men’s wedding bands in all sorts of metals and price ranges, syles and designs.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Mens Wedding Rings - edmonton wedding planning1. Engraved 2 Row in Tungsten $550  |  2. Tungsten and 18 kt. Yellow Gold $1,175  | 3. Tungsten and Platinum $1,475  |  4. Comfort Fit Polished White Gold Rectangle Inlay and Sides $2,100

Dress Codes Deciphered


With the Holiday Party Season fast approaching, I thought it would be a good time to discuss Dress Codes.  (As if deciding what to wear wasn’t hard enough!) :)

Dress Codes are largely dependent on the area of the world that you live in, however some basic principles are the same straight across the board – such us “Casual” does NOT mean that you can wear jeans! (More on that later…)

In Canada, we typically have 5 dress codes, although you may only ever encounter 3 of them.  Here’s a list of your standard dress codes and what you should and should not be wearing for each:

White Tie – This is the most formal dress code, and one that most people will never encounter (think State functions and Royal events). Men should wear a long, black coat with tails or a morning jacket, a white waistcoat, and a white tie. Women should wear long gowns, and have professional hair and make-up. Opera-length (to the elbow) gloves are optional. If you happen to own a tiara, this would be the event when you could wear it again, as opulent jewelry is not only accepted, but encouraged.

Audrey Hepburn Princess Regal{ source: flickr }

Liz Hurley Tiara - edmonton event planner

{source: vogue uk }

Black Tie (Formal) – Black Tie has 2 different forms and it is another dress code that you may not encounter very often. However, despite the fact that it is rare, it should be strictly adhered to when it is listed. For the formal version, men should be dressed in a black tuxedo with a classic black bow tie. (A black suit is NOT acceptable). Women should be in long gowns or fancy cocktail dresses with their hair and make-up professionally done.

 Tuxedo Dress Code FormalBlack Tie Dress Code Ladies

Black Tie (Optional) – This form of Black Tie really only concerns the men. This means that the men may wear either a black suit or a black tuxedo, as both are acceptable.

Dress Code Formal Black Suit

Semi-Formal / Cocktail  – This is one of the few dress codes where there is a difference in attire depending on whether the event itself is being held in the daytime or in the evening. For an evening event, men should dress in a dark suit with tie; while women should wear a cocktail dress.

Mens Cocktail Dress Code

Semiformal Dress CodeFor a daytime event, men should be in a suit without a tie, or a tie and waistcoat without a jacket; and women should wear a dress or suit. Traditionally, women should avoid wearing black during a daytime event, as black dresses and suits were more reserved for evening events. However, more and more women have started to wear dark colors to daytime events.

Semiformal Suit Dress CodeLadies Semi-Formal Dress Code

However, it is widely agreed that if the ceremony is taking place in the daytime, and the reception is in the evening (and if time allows), women should be changing outfits for the evening reception.

Business Casual – There is the odd time that you may see this on a wedding invitation, but more than likely you will encounter this for meetings, conferences, etc. Business Casual is typically a bit more formal than what you may wear to the office. For men, this means you could wear khakis or slacks, a button-down shirt, and a sport coat. NO jeans, sneakers or ties. For women, stick to skirts and slacks, blouses and dresses. Shoes can be with or without a heel, however please refrain from “dressy” sandals, flip-flops and jeans.

Mens Business Casual Suit

Womens Business Casual Dress Code Some Additional Notes on Dressing Appropriately for an Event:

  • If the wedding ceremony is being held in a church, ladies please make sure that your attire is appropriate – don’t show too much skin or cleavage. Be careful of strapless/spaghetti straps, see-through fabric, and short hemlines. Think about adding a shawl, cardigan or blazer while you are in the church. It’s a matter of respect for the church and its parishioners.
  • Even if a wedding invitation says “casual“, jeans and running shoes are NEVER acceptable for a wedding! Now, I know that we live in Alberta and I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this one, but a wedding is a special and important event. Therefore, you should not look like you stopped by the ceremony/reception on your way back from working on your truck! At the very least, wear khakis, loafers and a golf shirt (no corporate logos please!).
  • Things get tricky if you are going to the theatre, symphony, opera or ballet. While traditionally these were places where the acceptable dress codes were Black Tie or Semi-Formal, today you will see everything ranging from evening gowns to jeans. This is due to an economic shift over the last few decades. (Translation: These forms of entertainment, while previously reserved only for the wealthy, are now available to the masses). So as you can imagine, the dress code got watered down a bit. Personally, I think that its best to stick to Business Casual to Semi-Formal for these events, depending on whether it is a matinee or evening performance.
  • Remember: it’s all in the details! If you’re wearing a beautiful evening gown, but are carrying around your everyday, giant handbag…well, that just ruins the look, doesn’t it? Pay attention to the details – your shoes, your purse, your nails, your jewelry, etc. It may seem like nit-picking on the details, but together they help to polish your overall look.

If in doubt, never be afraid to inquire as to the dress code of an event.

As for me, I always prefer being over-dressed to being under-dressed. ;)

{ source for all photos, unless otherwise credited: j.crew }

Modern Groom Fashion


I recently was asked to blog about modern trends in Groom’s wedding attire. (Thanks for these suggestions, keep them coming!)

I have to admit that I am as guilty as the next girl of not paying a lot of attention to what the Groom and groomsmen wear at a wedding. For me, it’s all about the dress. ;)

But that being said, Grooms are now starting to add more of their own personality into their wedding day attire. So stand up and take notice everyone, the boys are out in full fashion force!

One of my favorite looks on guys is the waistcoat. This can be both casual or formal, depending on the material, cut and fit.  Here are a few fabulous examples of how to incorporate a waistcoat into your wedding attire:

Man in Suit Vest Waistcoat - edmonton wedding planners

{ source: bourbon and pearls }

Mens Suit Vest

{ source: j crew }

Groomsmen in Vests

{ source: rebekah westover photography }

Another fashion item that is undergoing a “coolness injection” right now is the bowtie. Now I’m not talking about your typical “goes-with-my-tuxedo” bowtie. These modern bowties are thinner and come in a variety of new and cool fabrics and patterns:

Mens Wedding Bowtie

{ source: ruffled }

Funky Wedding Bowtie Pattern

{ source: divine domestication }

 Polka Dot Bowtie

{ source: ruffled }

Another one of my favorite guys accessories are cufflinks. These are a wonderful and subtle way for a Groom or groomsmen to express their personality on the big day:

Game Controller Cufflinks

{ source: crimson king }

Mens Novelty Cufflinks

{ source: have less be more }

Or add your initials and wedding date:

Custom Wedding Cufflinks

{ source: white truffle }

Some other ways to jazz up your wedding day attire:

Snazzy socks and/or footwear:

Converse Sneaker Wedding

{ source: style me pretty }

Or how about adding a patterned shirt:

Groom in Plaid Dress Shirt

{ source: GQ }

Whether your wedding is casual, formal, or semi-formal, there are plenty of ways for you men to get in on the fashion action!

Wedding Etiquette Q&A part 1


So no doubt a lot of you have heard about the 72-day marriage of Kim Kardashian.  In case you’ve been living under a rock (in which case, you’re lucky!), here’s the break-down: Super elaborate wedding with celebrity couple, corporate endorsements and multi-million dollar distribution deals goes sour.

Kardashan Humphries Wedding

Amidst all of this, a friend recently asked me, “So, does she have to return the wedding gifts?”

Ah! Very good question! And this leads to my first post of Wedding Etiquette Q&A:

  • If the marriage breaks up shortly after the wedding, is the couple obligated to return the wedding gifts to the giver?

The short answer is: Yes! If the marriage lasts less than 6 months, it is customary to return any unused wedding gifts to the gift-giver. A handwritten note expressing thanks for the gift and informing them that the marriage has been dissolved should also be included. The same goes for monetary gifts or contributions to an online registry.

  • What about the wedding ring, does the bride have to return that to the groom?

Since the wedding rings are meant to be the first gifts a husband and wife give to each other, the bride does not have to return the wedding ring to the groom (or vice versa).

  • Who gets the engagement ring if the engagement is called off?

Give Back Engagement Ring

Believe it or not, this is actually a legal matter and the answer will vary depending on the laws in your Province or State.

In Alberta, an engagement (and the giving/receiving of an engagement ring) is viewed as a contract between the giver of the ring and the recipient . In the event that an engagement is called off, the other person can actually sue the other for Breach of Promise and damages could be awarded only if the other party suffered financial losses in anticipation of the marriage (i.e.: if they lost out on deposits made in preparation of the upcoming wedding).

By tradition, if the engagement is broken off by the recipient of the ring (traditionally the bride), then they should return the ring to the giver. However if the giver of the ring breaks off the engagement, without fault of the recipient , then the recipient can keep the engagement ring.

  •  If a wedding gets called off, can I get my money back from vendors?

The general answer to this question is: No.  However, many factors come into play here; particularly how close you are to the actual wedding date when the wedding is called off, whether or not you have a prime venue or prime wedding date, and the reason for why you are calling off the wedding.

Typically, vendors take a deposit in order to reserve the date and the product/service for you. (Technically speaking, the term “deposit” implies that it can be returned in certain situations as dictated by the vendor. A “deposit” is no to be confused with a “non-refundable deposit” or a “partial” or “initial payment”.)

Depending on when you call the wedding off, the vendor may not be able to find someone else to step in and take your wedding date and therefore, they will be out that money.  In those situations, they are not likely to return your deposit. If your vendor is not very well-known, or your wedding date is not highly sought-after, you may be able to ask them about having a portion of your deposit returned to you. But this is at the discretion of every vendor, and no two are the same.

My rule of thumb: It doesn’t hurt to ask. What’s the worst that could happen? They say “no”…but then again, you knew that was a possibility. You never know until you ask.


Have you got a question about Wedding etiquette? Feel free to send them to me at: or post them on our Facebook wall.

Midnight Lunch Alternatives


Think of all the weddings that you have ever been to. Now think of the reception – the dancing, the drinks, the cake…but do you remember if the couple had a midnight lunch, and if so, what was served? Uh huh. Drawing a blank, right? ;)

While the Midnight Lunch is one of the staples of an evening wedding reception, chances are that it was not exciting enough to have caught your attention. After all, they’re pretty much all the same: cheese, crackers, assorted deli meats, some fruit and some veg.

But the Midnight Lunch is evolving! Here are some fabulous alternatives that will not only be a welcome respite for hungry wedding guests, but that will also help to add to your “Wow Factor”!

The S’Mores Bar

 Smores Wedding Dessert

{image: wedding window}

Create a S’mores Bar by setting out Sterno cans (for roasting),  marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate fondue. Also feel free to add some chopped nuts, sprinkles or chopped candy for those who may just want a chocolate-covered marshmallow!

The Popcorn Bar

Wedding Popcorn Buffet

{image: p is for party}

Buy or make various flavors of popcorn and place into large containers. Add a scoop and a paper bag and let your guests chow down!

The Cereal Bar

Wedding Breakfast Buffet

{image: F.Y. Wedding Ideas}

A Cereal Bar is so cost effective, and it is also something that your catering manager may be able to set up for you. All you need is an assortment of cereals, toppings (such as chopped fruit) and some milk! This is also a fabulous idea for a morning wedding!

The Coffee Bar

Special Event Coffee Bar - edmonton event coordinator

{image: Beauty & Bedlam}

While I think this is a great idea, I wouldn’t recommend this as a stand-alone item. However, since coffee and tea are traditionally served at the midnight lunch as well, why not give your guests a bit of a treat? Brew a variety of different coffees, put our flavored creamer and even add a few specialty stir sticks (i.e.: brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.) Guest can mix and match to create different flavor combinations.

The Mimosa Bar

Classy Mimosa Table

{image: On To Baby}

Another great addition to a Sunday Brunch-style wedding, is the Mimosa Bar. Offer a different variety of fruit juices and fresh fruit. Mix with Sparkling Wine or Champagne and viola!

The Cookie Bar

Wedding Cookie Bar

{image: design dazzle}

The Cookie Bar could be on its way to replacing the ever-popular Candy Bar (or candy buffet). Here’s another idea: have each baker in your family prepare a batch of their “signature” cookie and on the label of the cookie jar, display the story of who made the cookie or how the recipe came about (i.e.: Was it handed down through the generations? Was this a recipe that your fondly remember baking with your grandmother/mother?, etc.)

The Soda Bar

Old Fashioned Soda Bar

{image: luxe finds}

Like the Coffee and Mimosa bars, the Soda Bar is best when accompanied with snacks or as a stand-alone during cocktail hour / in between the ceremony and reception. To achieve the look seen above, purchase assorted flavors of Jones Soda (available at Costco) and affix your own labels on the bottles. Have fun and create a theme with it, either by color of the soda, or by which flavors you select.

The Burger Bar

Wedding Hamburger Buffet

{image: swanky chic fete}

The Burger Bar (or Sliders Bar) can pretty much be done with any sort of “pub” food – hot dogs, smokies, chicken fingers…you name it.  Just be sure that you provide a wide assortment of toppings and sauces.

The Waffle Bar

Wedding Brunch Waffle Bar

{image: shannon nicole elizabeth photography}

This is another trend that is quickly gaining in popularity, and not just for a wedding brunch. Waffle or Pancake Bars are fabulous because…well…who doesn’t love Brinner? (Breakfast for Dinner). Provide a variety of syrups and toppings such as: icing sugar, Nutella, chocolate chips, sliced fruit and whipped cream and you’re all set!