The Wedding Flower Girl

The history of flower girls being part of the wedding party dates as far back as the Greek and Roman times. In those days brides were quite young just having walked through childhood and stepped into young adulthood (or what was considered adulthood at the time as these brides were as young as 12 years old). In these times it was customary that some of the bride’s younger childhood friends and relatives be part of the ceremony as symbols of purity, youth and life. Some cultures thought that including young girls sprinkling flowers/grains was a way to ward off evil spirits that might try to ruin the wedding or bring bad luck to the young couple.

The tradition of sprinkling flower petals in the path of the bride was first not even about flowers. The original child attendants would throw grain and herbs (sometimes rice) as a gesture of bestowing fertility on the wedding couple. Later in history this tradition evolved in to less harvest focused items being strewn (although many weddings throwing rice is still popular) and more flowers and rose petals in particular. At this point the meaning was to symbolize the ending of purity and the start of a life of passionate love and fertility.

In the Queen Victoria era the flower girl as we know today was born. The classic white dress, often not just one little girl but many and the flowers became mostly rose petals. The meaning of the rose colours also plays a significant role in whether that colour of rose is allowed. Often the preferred colour is red indicating love and passion but many times pink (meaning sweetness) or orange, peach or the peace rose. Colours that are not usually used by flower girls include white (as it is a symbol of purity) yellow as though it is known as the friendship rose (has also been associated with jealousy) and of course black (learned about this when I researched this article…it was news to me that black rose petals were even available).

In recent years children in the wedding party not only strew flowers and/or petals, sometimes they just walk holding flowers with a more recent custom being one where the little ones blow bubbles around and near the bride. Actually many weddings have replaced rice and confetti thrown by the guests with bubbles and balloons.

Many modern weddings no longer include young children and the presence of flower girls is not as common a practice as it once was. The British royal wedding from a few years ago (Prince William and Princess Kate) was most traditional as this wedding included several young children as bridal attendants with wreaths of flowers in their hair and carrying floral bouquets.

There is a growing trend to have one’s wedding as an adult only event. In these situations flower girls are difficult to incorporate into the wedding party when children in general are barred.
Flower Girl Practice

Flower Girls

Flower Girl

Flower Girl Walk

Funny Blooper Flower Girl

The Wedding Guest List

I think if any couple has survived doing the mandatory marriage course (a prerequisite for most church weddings) and not ended up in a major disagreement over some of those hot topics, the next category to test the unity of the dearly intended is most definitely the guest list. Many families have notions going back years as to whom they think should be invited, who is “owed” an invitation and who should NOT be allowed to attend.(!!) Now combine this with the differences between the bride and groom’s respective families and you have a possibility of a family feud being set ablaze from the differences in opinion and preconceived notions developed over a lifetime.

First of all, most of the arguments are centered on the reception and its inherent price tag as the number of invited guests dictates the cost of the reception. One might think that they barely know 50 people and are shocked to find out that they actually are hoping to invite well over 100 guests without even the other partner’s guests and family. With immediate family likely requiring the better part of a couple of dozen invites it does not take long to reach 100 guests as many guests have a significant other whose attendance must be counted as a distinct possibility.

Sometimes the easiest way to save an argument over who gets to invite who is to calculate the maximum number of guests you can afford together to have attend the reception and split the number down the middle. Often, one side has a bigger family or more close friends and/or wider social group. Strangely enough it is not always the bride’s side with the larger numbers. In more traditional families (or of varied ethnic origins) it can become a big clash if one side of the family is exclusively paying all the wedding costs.  In these cases tact and diplomacy are critical.

A very special friend and relatives may be very important to the groom but perhaps not in the budget of the father-of-the-bride should he be picking up the complete tab. I had a similar experience. My parents-in-law (to-be) had offered to pay for the reception. After all the numbers of guests from both sides were accounted for my mother decided she simply had to have a dozen more of her friends attend. I barely knew these people (other guests I had included were friends with my mom but I also knew them quite well). I objected on the basis that I already had 140 guests (most of which were my friends and family) and with the groom’s family paying for the reception as a gift… the friends my mother wanted in attendance did not really matter much to me.

Well quite a heated debate ensued. In the end my mother asked the cost of each guest at the reception and presented me with a money order paying in advance any extra cost the extra dozen guests might incur. I gave in. In the end it worked out well as my mother was kept quite happy and busy at the reception with her friends and I did not have to increase the overall budget of the reception.

A good rule of thumb when trying to calculate numbers is to remember that a minimum 10% of the invited guests decline or are unable to come (not including out of town guests). Normally this does not matter but in cases where you want to (or need to) invite the occasional extra attendee this does provide some leeway and might prevent a family war.

A few resources listed below to help calculate who you can comfortable invite and who will likely attend.


Wedding Guest List

Wedding Planning: How to Decide How Many People to Invite

Wedding & Dating Advice: How to Decide Who to Invite to Your Wedding

The Wedding Guest List: Where to Cut

Cutting Your Wedding Guest List

Getting the Bridal Couple to Kiss~Wedding Games

Okay we have all been at weddings when the clinking of glasses start sometimes followed by shouts of “Kiss the bride” or “Kiss-Kiss” and then sometimes whistles or hollers.  Other than looking around and picturing your fellow guests at the event and wondering which ones were on the school yard years before  shouting “Shame, Shame, Double shame…” the two of you comply with a “kiss” to the oohs and aahhs of the faithful assembled at your reception.

Many couples plan games and special rules to eliminate the noise and clatter of guests constantly clinking glasses all trying to goad the couple into kissing. Often just on the end of one kiss is only just separated by moments till the next mandated kiss is expected. There are many ways to get your guests involved in a creative team building exercise table by table to prequalify the table as eligible to propose the “kiss the bride” routine. Some different ideas are listed here and be sure to check out the videos at the end.

Sing a song

This can be fun as you can set whatever parameters (rules) you want for each table to comply. Ideas of those rules could be the song must have the word “love” or “marriage” in the lyrics. Another one would be the words “true love” or “mine” or “adore” …I am sure you get the idea.

Funny Games

Another idea is to write silly actions on individual pieces of paper. An example might be to act like monkey (sound effects and all), recite schoolyard skipping rope songs, act out a nursery rhyme or sing some of them aloud (like “Ol McDonald had a farm). Take pieces of paper, write down what the required task is and put one in each of several dozen balloons, then fill the balloons with helium and tie a couple of balloons to each of the tables at your reception. When the guests want to see the wedding couple smooch again they have to pop a balloon and then carry out the instructions on the little paper inside the balloon. You can have a lot of fun with this. Another example would be that all the guests at that table have to stand up, link arms and do a dance (like the “can-can” or line dancing…or Gangnam style).

A game with a twist

This idea is basically the kissing game but in reverse. The bride and groom have a container with the names of all the couples attending the wedding reception as per the guest list. Each time a table requests the newlyweds kiss they must do a draw of the names of a wedding guest couple who must kiss each other passionately first. Then the newlyweds will imitate the kiss (!!).

Other Variations

Something that seems to be catching on in many locales is to have the guest pledge a donation to the couple’s favourite charity before the wedding couple deliver the kiss. Other ways to administrate this would be to have a donation container that is passed around and only after a donation is made can a guest request smooching from the head table.

Another idea is to have a microphone available at the head table and the guest table requesting the public display of affection must vote one of its members to tell a joke. Depending on the reaction from the guests (lots of clapping as opposed to minimal) so goes the temperature of the requested kissing!

Depending on the traditions and/or background of the couple kissing in public may be considered unacceptable. In this case, the Master of Ceremonies should indicate that this is the case and formally request the guests to refrain from trying to have the couple kiss. Usually a warning is enough, however at weddings were the alcohol is flowing freely this may become more difficult to regulate as the reception continues.

The following are a few fun ideas to help you find the right games to incorporate into your wedding reception if this is something you might like to do.

Ottawa Wedding Kissing Game


Kiss Gift Box at Wedding Receptions


Wedding part 9 – Reception intro and kissing game rules


Rules of Kissing Game


Wedding Music for 2013

Every young couple in planning their wedding has to decide on minimally two different selections of music. One is for the actual wedding ceremony the other list of tunes is for the wedding reception. Often the wedding ceremony music is much more formal than the music at the party. Selection of the type of music for your wedding ceremony will depend on whether your wedding is a church event or not. Many churches have strict guidelines about what they will allow at their services, with Roman Catholic, Muslim and some Evangelical churches being the most traditional with regards to the type of music genre tolerated.

If your ceremony is not in a church you will have more latitude in music selection, but there may also be other constraints. For example, in a civil ceremony at City Hall or the Court House there may be other restrictions such as only being able to use digital music with a CD player. In some cases you will be allowed a keyboard with a live entertainer. A small quartet or group of musicians can sometimes be accommodated at some civil ceremonies but restrictions in space and/or policy may render this option unavailable.

Something else to consider when planning the music for your wedding is the acoustic value of where the music will be played. An outdoor wedding has its own challenges in both in volume and acoustic resonance. Music sets the mood and should match the theme of the wedding with more classical music for a traditional church wedding leaving the possibility of a more relaxed venue being complimented with more modern music.

Spend the time to research the music you want played before, during and after the ceremony. Some ceremonies are longer and you can fit several selections of different music throughout the event. Other ceremonies are much shorter and there might only be enough time for a processional (music as you enter the church guests and then bridal party), main event (during and at signing of the register) and at the recessional (exit out of the church first by the bridal party then the guests).

Music at a wedding reception is largely handled by retaining a professional disc jockey or engaging a band. In this instance, you would specify any restrictions and general genres of the music your guests would be familiar with. The decisions behind the music chosen for ones wedding reception should take into consideration the average age of the guests in attendance. You may not fancy older music for you as a couple but if you have many older people especially elderly in attendance you will want to include music from a wide range of years so as to have something for everyone. Younger guests tend to party well into the evening whereas many older guest will leave the reception before the party is over. This is something to keep in mind when choosing some of the dance music. Many entertainers and Disc Jockeys welcome suggestions from the guests.

Ottawa Wedding Show on Facebook is conducting its own survey, check us out on Facebook at and tell us what your favourite wedding love songs are for 2013.

 16 most popular Classical wedding music clips

Thirty-second music clips of the 16 most popular classical music selections used in wedding ceremonies.

Simple Classics for Wedding Music

Top 25 First Dance Wedding Songs

Top 10 Wedding Songs 2012

List most popular top wedding songs 2013

List most popular top wedding songs 2012


Guest lounge at the wedding receptions all the rage!

An emerging trend in wedding receptions, once again, is to include a guest lounge at the wedding reception. This is a place where your wedding guests can mingle and relax away from the dance floor and enjoy snacks and refreshments. This area can be decorated to match the theme of the wedding and adds a relaxed atmosphere where your guests can retreat to enjoy some one-on-one conversation. Some reception lounges will have a sports bar set up, a photo booth, games tables or a caricature artist, as many of these activities are becoming common place at wedding celebrations.

In 2012, there was a huge rise in guest lounges at wedding receptions with an emphasis on creating a comfortable space away from the dance floor where guests can kick back and relax. Another idea, if you have children or young teens attending with their parents, would be to set up a kid’s lounge and employ a few babysitters to keep an eye on the youngsters. This is a great idea as it lets the kids be themselves with supervision and yet allows the parents some adult time either on the dance floor or in conversation as they mingle among the other guests.

Themes for a guest lounge can be as unique as your wedding celebration. At an outdoor wedding the lounge area could include furniture one would normally only see inside such as sofas, chairs, chaises, coffee tables, even daybeds. Other furnishings could include special lights for the evening, torches, candles even chandeliers. Many wedding specialists and party rental companies now include wedding lounge furnishings to suit every style and budget.

Wedding specials around the world are now incorporating wedding lounge planning as part of mainstream wedding fare. A few years ago, prior to 2008, when the economy was thriving and weddings were becoming more extravagant wedding lounges became more common but often only in “over-the-top” events. With this new trend, the lounge is about creating a place for the guests to feel at home regardless of the size or grandeur of the wedding. One theme is to have a quiet place outside (dependent on weather …not in Ottawa in the dead of winter!), decorating with hanging lanterns, torches, candlelight and fire pits to add a different dimension once nightfall. Other ideas are to have a full party sports bar complete with games tables.

In the end, your wedding is a day you will never forget and likely most of your guests will remember for some time. Planning a getaway for your guests from the dance floor with a lounge ensures that the party attendance will stay stronger longer as will the memories.

Don’t forget this weekend is the Ottawa Wedding Show:

WHEN:  February 16 & 17, 2013

WHERE: Ernst & Young Centre
4899 Uplands Drive, Ottawa, ON

HOURS: Saturday & Sunday 11-5
Admission: FREE to General Public

Wedding Lounge Rentals


Wedding Lounge Ideas