Thursday, February 17, 2011

You're MARRIED! Now What?

Newlywed To-Do List

Feeling overwhelmed now that you're back from the honeymoon and real life has begun? Not to worry we have a list of some of the top things so you can get a jump on those post-wedding tasks.

Have your dress dry-cleaned within 6 months of your wedding. Use a service that specializes in wedding dresses so they use the right solvents. Make sure they stuff it with acid-free tissue, avoid using metal pins or buckles, and store it in a box. Once it's back home, store it in a cool, dry place. Another great idea is to consign your dress. There is a wonderful place here in Ottawa With Love Bridal that you should check out! They were just featured in the Toronto Star on the very subject of consigning. Dress consigning is HOT these days, and hey why not make a little cash back on a dress that you are never going to likely wear again anyways?

Ideally, you should change all your IDs once you have received your marriage certificate. Here's how:

Change your driver's license by going to the Ministry of Transportation You may only change your married name with the ministry when you receive your government issued marriage certificate. Therefore the 6 day name change rule does not apply when changing your name due to marriage.

Change your passport. If you wish to obtain a passport with your newly married name, you must apply for a new passport. You'll need your current passport, a copy of your marriage certificate, and new passport photos. We have included link to access the forms.

Update your OHIP card. To change your name on your health card to reflect your married name, you must visit a Health Card Services - OHIP office, complete a Change of Information (form 0280-82) and present the original marriage certificate     
Call all of your credit card companies to get your name changed too.

Time to check off a new (married) box on your tax forms! Perfect timing as tax season is almost upon us. Now that the two of you are a legal unit, you need to decide whether you're going to file together or continue to file separately (joint filing isn't something mandated by law, though it's generally recommended). Before deciding, consult your accountant to see what he or she advises for the two of you. 

Thank-you notes, its time to get those in the mail within two months of you're wedding is ideal. Divvy up the project with your spouse (say, he does his buddies and his side of the family and you do yours) and the job will be half as daunting.  Hint: Print off address and return address labels on your computer if you can -- it’s neater and will save you major carpal tunnel.

Sick of looking at those three toaster ovens gathering dust in the corner? Bite the bullet and return ’em within two months of your wedding. While stores are likely to be lenient with couples who’ve registered with them, each store will have a different policy on when you need to make returns by and what they’ll take back.
No one likes having "money talks," but hopefully you had this one long before you walked down the aisle. Many married couples opt to merge their single accounts into a combined one, so definitely bring it up now if you haven’t yet. All that entails is a trip to the bank to fill out the necessary paperwork and get new debit cards and checks made.
When the two of you made it official, it meant more than just a tacit agreement not to hog the covers. In the next two weeks, you’ll want to talk about changing beneficiaries -- most newlyweds switch their spouse to their beneficiary on work and life insurance docs. Call your insurance company and HR department at work for these forms.

Next, decide whose work health insurance plan you'll use by comparing cost and treatment options. Within a few months, talk about drawing up a will that reflects your newly combined asset. Use your family lawyer or ask friends for a recommendation.

Thanks to The Nest for the photos and bits of inspiration.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Valentine’s To Remember

Weddings InStyle, Ottawa’s newest wedding venue, gives a girl her Dream Wedding on Valentine’s Day.
Little did Kayla Nylund know that her wedding day inquiry would result in the wedding day of her dreams.  Kayla, young mother of two boys, wanted nothing more than to have a beautiful wedding, but unfortunately only had a very small budget and could only afford a vow exchange and didn't want to settle for City Hall. 
“It was her honesty and her story that touched me,” says Amanda O’Reilly, owner of Weddings InStyle, “I just wanted to scoop her up and give her the wedding of her dreams.”  And that’s just what she did.

It is not too often in life that we get the opportunity to play fairy godmother,  help a young couple with the odds stacked against them start a life together on the right foot, while teaching them a valuable lesson that they will hopefully pay forward not only with their two young kids but to others in need at the same time. “The gift that I want to give Kayla is to always dare to dream.” says O’Reilly.

O’Reilly contacted David McCaffrey of McCaffrey’s Haute Couture, who offered to outfit Nylund with one of his custom creations.  In fact a mere few weeks before Nylund was on McCaffrey's site and found her dream dress but as nice as they were to look at, the reality was she would never be able to afford such a gown.  She clicked off the site sadly.  She is wearing that dream dress on Valentine's Day. Coincidence? I think not - "it's the universe at work" says O'Reilly who believes that what you put out there always finds a way to manifest itself. 
Then came the rings, the cake, the flowers, the photographer...all graciously donated by various vendors who were equally as touched by her story.  

Sometimes people just need a little help, understanding and love to be able to make a difference in this world, after all as my mentor Tony Robbins said, Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.

Kayla and James wedding will take place on this Valentine’s Day, February 14th  at Weddings InStyle located at 107 Murray Street in the Byward Market and will be captured live on A Morning for those who want to tune in to enjoy the magic of a real fairytale wedding.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Winner of the "I Do Dream Come True" Contest.

Back in October while walking at the CIBC Run For the Cure, Neil Headly the morning show host of EZ Rock 99.7 and I decided we wanted to create a contest for Valentine's day. Months later, after back and forth with the station the "I Do Dream Come True" contest came to life. We were in search of Ottawa’s most romantic love story.  

This morning Neil & Viv announced the winner of the contest. Jennifer Lang and her husband Bob will be saying, " I do" live on 99.7 EZ Rock in a dream come true vow renewal ceremony right here with us at Weddings InStyle on Valentine's Day. Jennifer will walk down the aisle in a dream dress from With Love Bridal, holding a gorgeous bouquet from Ottawa Flowers. They will also enjoy a cocktail reception for 30 of their closest friends, while being photographed by Ontario's #1 Photo Journalist Kathi Robertson. Don't worry - there will be cake too, Kate Green is supplying the dream cake and we promise to post pictures.

What inspired us to choose her story? There were so many love stories and we enjoyed reading all of them, honestly it was tough to decided. This story won our hearts because it sums up the notion that true love really does conquer all. 

Please enjoy Jennifer’s Story.

My husband Bob and I met at my daughter's four-birthday party in a small condo area in Barrhaven. He had just moved into our neighborhood and all of my neighbors thought that I would find him quite attractive and told me that he was a single dad of two small kids. Which was perfect as I was a single mother of two kids. His kids came to my daughter Jenna's BD Party and it so happens that his two-year-old daughter's name was Jenna also. The girls played and became close friends over the next few weeks. His son Chris who was 6 years old really looked up to my son Joey who was the oldest at 11 years old. Our children all become very close, so the next step was to get the parent's together. So, Bob was very shy and I am the exact opposite. So, I knocked on his door one Saturday afternoon and asked him to go out with me to Blue's Fest with some of my friends and I.( our wedding vows actually tell the story) He accepted and we have been together every day since then. We were married in 1999, with all of our children being our best men and maids of honor. It was a small but charming wedding ceremony at a local restaurant in Carleton Place. The highlight of my day was having my father walk me down the aisle, which is something I had dreamed about since I was a little girl. My father, whom had a stroke and was left paralyzed on one side, could not walk a few months before the wedding, he was wheelchair bound. But, I am asked him to give me the honor of escorted me down the aisle and he practiced with a cane to walk for months. I couldn't control my emotion when on my wedding day, my father met me and walked me down the aisle...walked me… all of his practice had paid off. Our wedding was the happiest day of my life, with my father and all our children and family. Unfortunately, when we were on our little honeymoon, my father was admitted back into the hospital and died a week later. But, I am grateful that I got my dream come true, and my father was there for me on one of the most important days of my life. Our love story has had its ups and downs raising four children, from two different families, trying to create one big family. It has its struggles, but we all loved each other and vowed to each other till death do us part. Unfortunately, death happened. One of our Jenna's passed away in September 2009, from a rare form of cancer. We spent two years in the hospital while she fought this disease with everything that she had, but the cancer won and we lost our sweet Jenna at seventeen years old. Our lives have been forever changed, and I am not sure that life will ever be the same. The other Jenna misses her sister desperately and has also struggled to deal with a drug addiction that took over her life, due to losing her beloved sister. Needless to say that our lives have been a series of tragedy and heart ache and through it all we have supported, loved and cherished each other.  The year that we putting our sweet daughter to rest would have been our 10th wedding anniversary, we had always planned that on our 10th anniversary we would renew our vows to each other and have a dream wedding with all of our children. We did not have our dream wedding, we were so full of grief and loss and still struggling to help our oldest daughter deal with her addiction. That we just couldn't do it. I am happy to say that our oldest daughter is ok now, getting better every day and as a family we are beginning to heal and be at peace with our sweet angel in heaven. So, you see after all of our family's tragedy and grief. We made it as a family. I am so proud of each of them and especially my husband. He lost one of the loves of his life, his little girl. I would love to show him how proud I am of him as a father and a husband. Help us to renew our vows to each other, and show the world that you can overcome anything if you have the love and support of a great spouse and family.

With love, Jennifer Lang

We just spoke to Jennifer and she is SO excited to recommit herself to the love of her life Bob and have their kids stand up for them.  She kept the contest a secret from Bob and his reaction was one of joyful tears! We love him already! 
Cannot wait to remarry you InStyle in 6 sleeps!!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Romantic “Treasure Hunt”

With Valentine’s Day around the corner you may be trying desperately to come up with something really special to do for the love of your life. Flowers? Over done. Dinner and a movie? Been there done that too. A card and candy? Unless it’s peanut butter and chocolate with decadent wine or bubbles forget it! Okay seriously, while none of those things are all that bad and will most likely be appreciated, you may be searching for something a little more creative and memorable.

This will take a little work to plan out, but it will be worth it.

A “Romantic Treasure Hunt.”What is a romantic treasure hunt? The traditional working of a romantic treasure hunt is when you set up a day or afternoon that is full of fun and romantic gifts and moments for the love of your life.

I did this a few years ago and sent him on a chase across the village to all his favorite spots to pick up various items that would ultimately set the tone for a romantic evening.

Here is an example of what I did.

The day started with breakfast in bed. I told him that he was beginning his day with a “Love Treasure Hunt”, and I handed him his first clue. It was a clue that lead him to a local bakery where he picked up a large basket to gather what would be all the goodies for our evening together.

When he got to the bakery and found the basket there was another note which lead him to the grocery store where he picked up Strawberries & Whip Cream.

Get the idea??

The key is that you give a clue that will take him/her to where they need to go, you preplan with the owner/business in advance so they know to expect their arrival. I had a TON of fun with this and got SUPER creative. The places that I left items had fun as well as in some cases I bought their products and just attached the next clue.

I sent him to the gas station to pick up glasses, you know like in the old days where you would get an Olympic glass for an extra .10 – well these where crystal champagne glasses, but same deal as he had to redeem the .10 Canadian Tire money to get the “goods”.  From there I sent him to his favorite bar to pick up our Champagne. Attached to the bottle was another clue that lead him to the local Chocolate Shop, to the Local spa etc …

I had a TON of fun doing it and it was something that really enjoyed himself.

I only gave him two life lines, so he could call for a clue if he got stuck … I was very clear with the clues, he just needed to pay attention to where he needed to go next. He did of course call more than 2 times, but it afforded us an opportunity to be playful and tease one another - this is always a great build up for a romantic night.

Thankfully he was self-employed and was able to take the morning to complete the treasure hunt. If you your sweetie doesn’t have this luxury, you can also bring this down to an at-home, evening level. You could hide fun and romantic gifts all over the house and leave clues keying them in on where to search.

For example –“Above the shade yet below the roof a vision of love is quite aloof.”
This could lead your special someone to search the top sills of the windows in the home until they find a very small package you have hidden. Get creative around the house, or their office building. There is a TON of stuff that you can do and I promise you, you this will set the tone for the night ahead! If you want romance – be romantic. If you want variety, be spontaneous!

The key is to get creative and have FUN! This will likely be a Valentine’s day that they will not soon forgotten.

Happy Hiding!!