And The Bride Wore Flip Flops

July 27th, 2011 | Comments »

Summer season is here and we’re in the full thick of wedding season… this week we thought we’d take a look at everything you need to know to pull off a wedding on the water.

You’ve decided to take the plunge and get married at the cottage (a place that will always prove to be interesting and present challenges).  You know it’s not going to be easy with bugs, summer storms and porta-potty rentals. So to help smooth your walk down the aisle or the dock here is some hard earned wisdom of cottage country caterers, photographers, wedding planners, ministers and those who’ve already tied the knot by the lake.  Just remember you’re not getting hitched at the Four Seasons for a reason; embrace the opportunity/experience.

The Ceremony

  • Consider the backdrop of your ceremony; dock, lakefront garden, deck that overlooks the waterfront, rock cliff.
  • Finding your officiant may not be as easy as the location for the ceremony. There may be restrictions around at justice of the peace or a judge performing a ceremony out of chambers. Many Catholic and Anglican priests will not perform a wedding ceremony outside of the church.  Your best bet is a non denominational officiates.


  • There may not be room for everyone at the cottage, however it’s still up to the bride and groom to make arrangements for the guests.
  • Find a local hotel or resort you can work with… maybe a bus rental to get all guest to and from the cottage/reception to the hotel.
  • Don’t forget to inspect the lodging that you’re going to be reserving space in.
  • Another suggestion is cottage rentals…always a FUN option.


  • As we mentioned a bus would be a great option for a central meeting point. Arrange for guests to park at this location and ship everyone in.
  • Another fun experience would be a water taxi (large boat) to move guests from the meeting point to the ceremony/reception.
  • Think outside of the box; consider where your guests are coming from and where they are staying.

The Grounds

  • Make sure there is even ground for those who may have trouble walking (or for those who are fine but just lose their balance that day).
  • Remind people that with a cottage wedding flats and or flip flops are the shoe suggestion of choice. High heels… leave them in the city.
  • Be sure you have seating available for guests during the ceremony & reception. (You may have to groom the grounds slightly to be able to place the chairs you need.)

The Props

  • Flowers: Consider the natural elements your in and the type of weather you’ll be dealing with. (Wind, extreme heat ect..)
  • Tents: There may be inclement weather, have a back up plan in place for the festivities taking place in the great outdoors.
  • Rentals: Some rental companies will work with you on your event, depending on where the cottage is located you may have to pick up the rentals and transport them yourself.  Questions to ask!!!
  • Plan on getting your rentals delivered at least one day before wedding to help avoid transportation issues. (or mistakes that the rental company could make)

Parting Gifts Ideas

  • Flashlights embossed with bride & grooms names
  • Maple syrup or blueberry jam made at the cottage
  • Christmas ornament in the shape of a Muskoka chair or loon
  • Boat Floats printed with the name and details of the wedding
  • Truffles or other treats from the local sweet shop (or near by shop)

Feeding the Masses

  • With a cottage wedding you can really do what you’d like. (Shouldn’t it always be that way!)
  • Keep it casual and fun.
  • To make it easier on yourself still work with a cater. But if you want more of a casual meal… BBQ with a twist perhaps, then work with them on this idea.
  • Always a fun prop; a canoe full of ice with your beer, wine & champagne chilling for your enjoyment! (Provides a great photo opt)


  • Be considerate! Cottagers are easy going folk, but it’s good to give your neighbours a heads up.
  • As a gesture for the chaotic but fun day you may want to invite them to the after dinner party. Always a room for one or two more on the “dance floor”.

The Weather

  • You can’t control the weather… all you can do is consider what your back up plan may be.
  • You shouldn’t go into an outdoor ceremony cottage or not without a back up plan.

At the end of the day it’s all about having fun and making sure it’s all about you and your partner. There are things to consider when you’re outdoors; just remember that cottage & casual does not mean less planning or less details.  Sometimes it means more… but if it’s what you want, you’ll make it work. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help and utilize the professionals.!

Making the Most of YOUR Space

July 19th, 2011 | Comments »

Need to know how to make the most of tight quarters?  Check out these 10 tips to help you fit it all in and make the most of the space you do have:

  • Leave some breathing room: emptiness allows the eye to travel someplace & rest. Every space will feel bigger if you leave some things out.
  • Well organized closets: This is a TOP priority.  If there is no lighting in your closet then be sure to install some. A closet is only 50% useful if you can’t see in it!

  • Take the doors off: Replace doorways and closets with a curtain.  Doors are a huge impediment to flow and they take up space when they are open.

  • Have 3 points of light: Be sure you have 3 points of light at eye level in each room and that they are turned on. By giving your eyes multiple focus points this will help to expand the room visually; thus creating the illusion of more depth and space.
  • Buy LED rope lighting: Purchase by the yard and put it anywhere- your closet at shoe level, as up lighting on top of kitchen cabinets and under cabinets for counter lighting.
  • Mirrors: A neat trick: helps make any room feel more expansive and it helps double the light.

  • GO BIG: Don’t be afraid of choosing ONE large piece for a room and letting it be the main focus and conversation piece.

  • Floor to ceiling curtains: This makes walls seem taller and windows larger. Do this with your shower curtain too to create the impression of a big luxurious shower.

  • Create contrast with colour: Stain the floor dark, use light colours on the walls & paint the ceiling a lighter white (maybe even a soft white with blue tint).  This helps the eye travel up the walls giving a sense of more space.

  • Wash your windows: A simple thing… but remember eyes stop at dirty, however one’s gaze travels through clean glass. Expanding your space is always important when you’re living/working in small quarters.

Hope these few tricks will help make your small space feel a bit more ‘grand’! As usual, have fun!

How To Beat The Summer HEAT!

July 12th, 2011 | Comments »

Since it’s HOT HOT HOT out there these days I thought we’d take the opportunity to switch things up this week and do something fun on how to beat the heat!  I’m sure we’re all looking for ways to keep ourselves, the kids and our pets cool in this sticky heat!

We’ve come up with a few tricks to help cool you down and bring down that body temp during these dog days of summer!

  • One of most enjoyable ways to stay cool in the summer is to enjoy an icy and refreshing treat. Why not try a homemade ice cream recipe or  maybe some frozen yogurt pops!
  • If the air in your house is hotter and more humid than it is outside, you don’t have to crank up the air conditioning then try a damp towel.  The damp towel, preferably light-colored, should hang in a window, where its trapped water evaporates and cools the air flowing through it into your house.
  • Spritz yourself. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot, give yourself a good squirt. It’s all about thermal regulation, as the water evaporates, it cools you. While elephants wet their ears first by blasting water from their trunks, humans should begin with their wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins.
  • Keep the lights off or low.
  • Run a fan and an air conditioner simultaneously. You can use the air conditioner at lower power and still feel cool if the fan is blowing over you. That’s because the air conditioner removes humidity from the air while the fan helps evaporate sweat and moves heat away from your body. (Note: Fans don’t cool a room; they just make people feel cooler, so shut them off before you leave.)

  • Wear light coloured clothing. (Light weight also is helpful…)
  • Cook as many meals as you can on the grill. Better yet, plan two or more “no cooking” nights a week. Prepare salads, raw veggies and dip, cold chicken – get the family’s input and keep the heat out of the kitchen.
  • Turn off any unnecessary appliances and lights that cause heat in the home. Computers, stereos, televisions, desk lamps – if they are not being used, turn them off. Although the heat they generate may be minimal, why add to your misery?
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Keep ice water, hydration drinks and decaffeinated ice tea in the fridge and drink to your heart’s content. If your body is properly hydrated, this aids in replenishing the body’s fluids – which in turn will maintain your energy and your mood throughout your day.
  • If you live in a house or townhouse consider sleeping on the lower levels of the house if that’s an option.  We all know heat rises and sometimes that heat just get traps in the bedrooms upstairs.

  • Sitting in the shade under a tree is always a nice way to escape. Enjoy quiet time with a book and let your mind wander. (away from the heat)
  • Shuck your shoes (if you can).  As the sweat on your feet evaporates, it cools the skin and the blood in your feet. Blood vessels then whisk that blood to other parts of the body, so you’re getting a greater sensation of coolness.
  • Of course is you can find a pool or splash pad then why not spend some time playing in the water. Perhaps you’re lucky to be close to the beach/lake or have the opportunity to hit the cottage.

What ever your options are we hope we’ve give you a couple extra tips to get you through this HEAT! Here’s to toast to summer… it just wouldn’t be summer without these hot & hazy days!