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Top Wedding Themes in 2020

Looking for some unique ideas for your big day? In this guide, we look at some of the top wedding themes in 2020.

What is a Wedding Theme?

A wedding theme is a concept or idea that ties together all of the different elements of your wedding day under one cohesive vision. You may choose to apply your theme with subtle touches here and there or go all-in with a themed wedding. Setting a wedding theme will lend a unique style to your celebrations and create a memorable day for all.

Bride and Groom posing together

How to Choose a Wedding Theme

  • Sit down with your partner and brainstorm some wedding theme ideas that reflect your personalities. Make a list of your interests and traits that define you as a couple. If you struggle with this, consider asking friends and family along to contribute.
  • Create a collaborative Pinterest board where you can both add mood-boards of ideas that appeal to you. After a while, you may start to notice some recurring themes in your saved photos.
  • If you have already selected a wedding venue, then this can be a helpful starting point as the venue may suit some themes more than others.
  • If you have set a date, be sure to consider whether the season will suit the theme.
  • Select a colour palette that ties in with your theme and that can be used across many elements such as the venue decoration, invites, menu, photography, flowers etc.
  • Consider hiring a planner for their professional opinion on how to make your vision a reality.
  • Once you have a clear idea of your theme, write a concise brief to give to your wedding venue and vendors.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Picking A Wedding Theme

  1. How did you dream about your wedding as a child?
  2. Will your venue lend itself well to a particular wedding theme?
  3. Have you been to any weddings that took your breath away?
  4. How do you want your guests to feel when they leave?
  5. How formal do you want the wedding to be?
  6. What colours are we most drawn to?
  7. Do you think the theme will age well?
  8. How will you feel looking back at wedding photos 10 years from now, what about 50?

Our Top Wedding Themes in 2020

Social Media

The social media wedding theme is ideal for couples who want to share their special day with the world. The central idea behind this theme is to make it as easy as possible for guests to share their experiences on the day. There a few ways you can do this:

  • Create a wedding hashtag and feature it on your wedding invitations and website.
  • Decorate your reception venue with instagrammable props.
  • Use an app that allows you to crowdsource photos from guests.
  • Live-stream the wedding ceremony via social media so far-flung friends and family can take part in the festivities.
  • Design your own wedding snapchat filter.
  • Showcase your guests’ memories with a wedding day social media wall.


According to data from Arcadia, the average wedding in North America can produce as many CO2 emissions as five people would produce in an entire year. In 2020, many eco-conscious couples are looking for ways to “green” their wedding celebrations. These could be small changes, such as switching out traditional glitter for the biodegradable kind, or big changes like choosing a carbo-neutral venue. Some environmentally-friendly wedding ideas include:

  • Host your ceremony and reception in a single venue to minimise carbon emissions caused by travel.
  • Instead of using paper invitations, ask people to RSVP by email or phone.
  • Decorate tables with living plants instead of cut flowers.
  • Wear a second-hand wedding dress.
  • Instead of requesting gifts, ask guests to make donations to environmental charities instead.


Classic weddings can usually be recognised by their elegant muted colour palette. Light and airy in feeling, these tend to be more formal affairs and are full of traditional touches. As such, this theme is ideal for weddings that take place in luxurious banquet hall venues. Some typical components of a classic wedding include:

  • Monogrammed stationary
  • Formal attire
  • Traditional table settings with fine china, candelabras, chair sashes and fine linens
  • Rose bouquets and arrangements


A perennial favourite, the rustic style remains one of the most popular wedding themes in 2020. This describes weddings that invoke the great outdoors either through an outdoor venue (such as a barn or a vineyard) or through the inclusion of many natural elements. The resulting atmosphere feels unfussy and relaxed. Some key giveaways of a rustic-themed wedding include the use of quaint decorative items such as burlap, mason jars, wildflowers and fairy lights.

Wedding sign in a field as part of a rustic wedding theme

Fairy Tale Romance

Inspired by the grandeur and magic of fairy-tale romances, weddings with a romantic theme are a classic choice. Perfect for a ballroom setting, this fantastical theme can be achieved through the use of barely-there colours, spectacular floral displays, delicate lighting and ethereal details. Couples often take aesthetic inspiration from classic animated movies such as Alice in Wonderland or Snow White and this creates plenty of opportunities to add cute, little touches of whimsy to the big day.



Weddings with a whimsical theme are characterised by their sense of humour and quirkiness. They often feature bright splashes of colour and are full of playful touches. The aim is to inspire a feeling of delight in your guests. The whimsical theme is a perfect fit for any couple who want their bubbly personality to shine though on their big day.


“Boho” is short for “bohemian” – a style that evokes the free-spirited, hippy aesthetic of the 60s and 70s. Boho weddings aim to achieve a chic, Coachella-esque feeling with minimal effort. Boho-themed weddings have been a popular option for a few years now and are expected to remain a top choice with couples-to-be in 2020. Some of the giveaways of a boho wedding include:

  • Festival-inspired fashion with flower crowns and flowing dresses
  • Wildflower bouquets and floral arrangements
  • Venue décor that takes inspiration from nature

Example of a Boho themed wedding


In recent years, there has been a big trend among couples to take inspiration for their big day from yesteryear. Some choose to hone in on a particular decade, whereas others plump for a more general “vintage” theme. If you are thinking about going “old school” with your wedding theme, then you may want to consider using some of the following elements:

  • Hire a glamourous vintage “getaway” car
  • Opt for a real vintage wedding dress or wear a dress inspired by the styles of old
  • Offer a menu of classic cocktails to guests
  • Decorate the venue with antique objects
  • Hire a band that sings quintessential hits from your chosen era

Location-Themed Weddings

If you are looking for a way to make your wedding day more personal, then a location-themed wedding could be the way to go. This is also an ideal option if you want to avoid the hassle and expense of a destination wedding. Location-themed wedding themes involve drawing inspiration from a place that is special for you – perhaps it if your honeymoon destination, the location of a meaningful holiday, or perhaps you would like to pay homage to your heritage. There are many ways you can incorporate this theme throughout your special day from the menu to your choice of décor and wedding favours.


Remember, your wedding is your special day so choose a theme that makes you happy rather than solely going off the hot trends of the day. When choosing your theme, give yourself plenty of time to reflect on how you’ll want to remember that day.


Gin: What Is It & How Is It Made?

New to gin? Read our expert guide find out everything you need to know to become a true gin connoisseur.

What is Gin?

Gin is a juniper-flavoured spirit with a minimum alcohol by volume (ABV) of at least 37.5% in the EU or 40% in the United States. It is produced from a neutral-flavoured base (this can be made from a range of ingredients including corn, rye, barley) which is then infused with a unique combination of botanicals.

What Are Botanicals?

Gins are mixed with a combination of botanicals to give a distinctive flavour. Most gins have somewhere around six and twelve botanicals; however, some brands boast up to 30. The sheer variety of unique botanical combinations available make gin one of the most diverse and versatile spirits on the market. Some examples of commonly used botanicals include:

• Spices: Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger, Nutmeg
• Roots: Angelica, Orris, Liquorice
• Seeds: Coriander, Angelica, Carraway
• Herbs: Basil, Sage, Rosemary
• Flowers: Chamomile, Lavender, Elderflower
• Fruits: Lemon, Orange, Sloe Berries

Gin: A Cocktail Essential

Ever since the invention of cocktails in the 1860s, gin has remained a drinks cabinet essential. Favoured for its versatility and ability to mix well with other ingredients, gin is a key component of countless classic cocktail recipes. In fact, drinks experts attribute the rising popularity of gin to that recent cocktail revival that has taken place over the past decade. What’s more, the emergence of hundreds of new craft distilleries around the world means that today’s mixologists can flavour their cocktails with a diverse array of craft gins.

The 3 Methods of Gin Production

    1. Compound Distillation (Non-Distilled):
      Compound distillation is the simplest method of making gin. It basically involves flavouring the gin with natural flavours without redistilling it. Gin produced by this method is also called “Bathtub Gin”, as this was the method of choice for many Americans during the Prohibition era.
    2. Pot Distillation:
      The base spirit is added into a copper pot still and then the alcohol levels are reduced with water. The spirit is then distilled a second time with botanicals to give it a unique flavour. This is the oldest method of producing distilled gin and is still used by many brands today.
    3. Column Distillation:
      The most modern gin production method, column distillation is the preferred method for large-scale production. You start off by creating a very concentrated spirit which is then redistilled by placing juniper berries and botanicals in a pot still.

A brief history of Gin

The 4 Types of Gin

1. London Dry
The most popular style of gin in the world, most gins are made in the London Dry style. London Dry gins are known for their pungent juniper flavour which tastes “dry” (i.e. not sweet) due to the lack of sugar. Although this style originated in London, it is now produced by brands all over the world.
2. Plymouth Gin
Sweeter than London Dry, Plymouth gin has quite an earthy taste. This is a result of the high amount of root ingredients. Up until 2015, this style of gin had to be made in Plymouth due to a Protected Geographical Indication.
3. Old Tom
Old Tom gin boasts a sweet flavour which comes from the addition of malts or sugar in the re-distillation process. Popular in the 18th and 19th century, this gin eventually fell out of fashion but is now making a comeback due to the growing interested in vintage cocktail recipes.
4. Genever or Dutch Gin
The forefather of London Dry, Genever (or, “Dutch gin”) can be traced back to the 16th-century Netherlands. Rather than using a cereal grains mix, Genever is made from malt grains such as barley, wheat, spelt and rye. This gives the spirit a darker colour and a whiskey-like flavour.
European law mandates that this style of gin can only be produced in the Netherlands or Belgium.


Discover More About Gin

“Fortunately there is gin, the sole glimmer in this darkness. Do you feel the golden, copper-coloured light it kindles in you? I like walking through the city of an evening in the warmth of gin.”
– Albert Camus, French philosopher & writer

If you are interested in learning more about gin, then you should take a look at our infographic below. This useful guide provides a comprehensive beginner’s guide to gin and goes over everything you need to know about the juniper-flavoured spirit. It also includes recipes for five classic gin cocktails including Gin Martinis, Gimlets, Negronis, Tom Collins and Aviations.

Scroll down to the infographic below, “The Savvy Cocktailer’s Guide to Gin”, to find out more.

The Savvy Cocktailer’s Guide to Gin

Liked this? Read our beginner’s guide to wine.


How to Mastermind a Hybrid Event that Succeeds (Infographic)

Learn how to master hybrid events and meetings so you can engage online and offline audiences alike.

What Is A Hybrid Event or Meeting?

According to Communiqué, a hybrid event or meeting “combines a live in-person event at a physical location with a virtual online component for remote attendees.” Hybrid events allow audience members to come together and take part in the same experience at the same time, from different locations. In an increasingly digitised world, more and more corporate event planners are turning to hybrid technology to engage with audience members in a new and exciting way.

What Are The Benefits of Hybrid Events?

• Expanded reach: By developing the virtual side of the event, you will be able to market it to a completely different audience, many of whom would perhaps never have attended the physical event.

• Boosts return on investment: Incorporating a virtual aspect allows you to extend the life of your event through the publication of premium online content. This could potentially create further opportunities for lead generation and monetisation.

• Increased profit: The addition of live video streaming could potentially add an extra source of revenue for the event as you could charge for online access to the videos content.

• Greater online visibility: Events with both a physical and an online presence generate greater user activity on social media, and this can be an enormous advantage when it comes to promotion.

What About Audience Cannibalisation?

Some event planners shy away from hybrid events because they fear audience cannibalisation. This refers to when potential attendees don’t go to the event because they can get everything they need online. However, research has found that the addition of an online element can actually grow rather than reduce audience numbers. In fact, a survey from teamings.com found that there were many other reasons why someone may choose to attend an event or meeting virtually rather than in person:

55% lacked the necessary travel budget
50% couldn’t afford time off work
45% cited cost in general
15% found out about the event as it was happening

In many cases, adding a virtual element is a great way to boost engagement as it appeals to people who otherwise would not have come at all. As Carolyn Clark, PCMA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, put it:

“It is difficult for people to see eye-to-eye when they are not face-to-face, but there are always people who cannot attend a physical event who can attend virtually. Not only does our virtual audience grow from year to year, having hybrid access has motivated more people to come to the physical version of the same event the next year.”

Male tech professional working on a laptop at an event

How To Choose The Right Technology for your Hybrid Event ?

In order to successfully deliver a hybrid event, it’s essential to get the technology right. It’s important to put some thought into the needs and goals of your event. So, before making the decision to invest in a certain piece of software or app, be sure to ask yourself these simple questions:

1. Will it add value?
2. Will it simplify some element of the event?
3. Will it solve a problem?
4. Will the pros of using this technology outweigh the cons?

Some of the most popular hybrid event technologies in 2019 include:

Live Streaming
Live Polling, Surveys and Q&A
Live 360 Video
Live Webinars
Video Conferencing
Virtual Reality

Top Tips for Planning a Hybrid Event

1. Employ a staff member whose specific role is to facilitate the linking between physical and virtual attendees.

2. Create a dedicated event website or app to provide all attendees with multiple virtual access points.

3. Encourage speakers to verbally acknowledge the virtual audience and to include information about how to use the virtual tools throughout their presentation.

4. If your event will have a large international online audience, try to schedule it in a way that is mindful of time-zone differences.

5. Remember to allow for a delay in response from virtual attendees.

6. Find ways to engage virtual attendees during audience breaks e.g. games, live video feed and chat centres.

7. Once you have designed the virtual aspect of your event, discuss your internet needs with your venue. Outline your requirements and ask how much bandwidth the venue can dedicate to your event over specific dates.

Learn How to Plan A Hybrid Event or Meeting in the Infographic Below

How to Mastermind a Hybrid Event that Succeeds Infographic


What’s Keto? The Ketogenic Diet Explained for Beginners

What is the ketogenic (keto) diet and is it a safe way to lose weight? Our infographic offers a handy overview of the ketogenic diet for beginners.

A Brief History of the Keto Diet

The Ketogenic Diet is high-fat, low-carb eating strategy that was first developed in the early 20th century by Dr. Wilder at the Mayo Clinic as a method of treating epilepsy. It resurfaced in the 1970s with the Atkins Diet which also focused on ditching carbs in favour of fats with the aim of inducing ketosis. Around 2013, the keto diet caught public attention again following the publication of a study in the Science journal which revealed that the diet could potentially “slow the aging process and may one day allow scientists to better treat or prevent age-­related disease, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and many forms of cancer.”



The Keto Diet Explained

The aim of the ketogenic (or, keto) diet is to send the body into a state of ‘ketosis’ by using a very strict low-carb diet. In essence, it can be broken down into three core principles:


  1. Keep carbs low
  2. Keep protein moderate
  3. Focus on fat as your primary calorie source

The keto diet meal plan typically comprises 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates.

What is Ketosis?

Normally, our body produces energy by burning glucose from carbohydrate foods.
However once carbs have been eliminated from the diet, the body will start to burn fat instead. Ketosis occurs when the body starts to derive its energy instead from burned fat which comes in the form of molecules called ketones. Ketosis typically sets in after two to four days of maintaining a strict low-carb diet (however this can vary based on a range of factors).


Potential Side Effects

As a result of the extreme restriction of carbs, many people who adopt the Keto Diet experience “the Keto Flu”. Symptoms of Keto Flu include:


      •Dry mouth
      •Bad breath
      •Sleep problems
      •Difficulty focusing


These symptoms usually begin within the first day or two of starting the diet, and generally can last for a week or less. However in extreme cases, these symptoms can last up to a month. One way to reduce potential side effects is to gradually decrease your consumption of carbs over a few weeks

What’s more, as your body adapts to the diet, your body loses excess fluid and this mild dehydration can cause many of the symptoms associated with the keto flu. You may find that your body needs more water than usual. In addition to upping the amount of water you drink, you should also eat plenty of water-rich foods such as watermelon and cucumber.

What are the Benefits of the Keto Diet?

Over 20 studies show that this type of diet can help you lose weight. It has also been found to help lower risk factors for diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. Research has also indicated that keto could be used to reduce some cases of acne that are related to diet and blood sugar.


Some examples of keto diet foods including tomatoes, avocado & boiled eggs

Is The Keto Diet A Safe & Healthy Way to Lose Weight?

Before starting on a Keto Diet, you must first consult your doctor to confirm if it is safe for you to do so. As with any diet, it’s also important to read trustworthy sources and to educate yourself on the risks. You should also bear in mind that there is limited research about the long-term effects of keto.

Some characterise the diet as “extreme” and caution that it should only be adopted as a short-term measure under the strict supervision of a trained physician. Critics of the ketogenic diet also argue that many people tend to eat excessive protein and poor-quality fats from processed foods, with very few fruits and vegetables. The long-term cutting back on carbohydrates without replacing with healthy substitutes could put you at increased risk of insufficient intakes of certain nutrients (such as fibre) and this may lead to health problems down the line. What’s more, the increased intake of high-fat foods is likely to increase your saturated fat intake which in turn can raise the amount of cholesterol in your blood; putting you at a higher risk of heart disease.

Read our handy infographic below for a beginner’s guide to the ketogenic diet.

the keto diet explained infographic


What to Eat with Beer: A Food Pairing Guide (Infographic)

Learning how to match food with beer can bring the best out in a dish while also showcasing the complex flavours of a really great brew. However, with so many styles to choose from, it can be difficult for beginners to figure out which beers go best with certain foods. Our guide tells you everything you need to know about how to effectively pair beer with food


What is a Craft Beer?

The past decade has seen a huge boom in the production and popularity of craft beers. But what distinguishes a craft beer from its more mainstream counterpart? According to the Brewers Association, the producing brewery must meet three key criteria in order for the brew to qualify as a “craft” beer:


The brewery must produce a maximum of six million barrels of beer or less per year.


No more than 25% of the brewery should be controlled by another beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.


The majority of the drink’s total beverage volume must be made through conventional brewing methods.

Basic Beer Tasting Terminology

Did you know that there are over 150 recognised beer styles?

Before learning how to pair beer with food, it is essential to get familiar with some basic beer tasting terminology. This will help you to better identify the flavours you taste, allowing you to find better food partners.

• HOPS: When added early in the brewing process, the acids and oils of hops help to give a bitter flavour. When hops are added towards the end, they can help enhance the fruitiness and floweriness of the beer’s aroma. Very hoppy beers usually have a high IBU (International Bitterness Units) number. Types of beers that tend to be quite hoppy include Double IPAs and Imperial Stouts.

• MALT: While many types of malted grains can be used in beer production, the most common is barley malt. The amount of heating that barley malt receives affects the colour, taste and mouthfeel of the beer. During the heating process, the sugars in the barley caramelize to bring out a slightly sweet, caramel taste. Beers that tend to be quite malty include Brown Ales and Dark Lagers.

• LIGHT: A lightly-roasted malt will result in a pale-coloured light beer. They are known for having a refreshingly clean and crisp taste. Usually, light beers don’t have a particularly strong flavour and aren’t very bitter or hoppy. Typical examples of light beers include light lagers, wheat beers and blond ales.

• DARK: This term is used to describe both taste and colour. Dark beers are made with a malt grain that is roasted until it reaches a dark colour and a rich, heavy taste. Some common types of dark beers include porters and stouts.

For a more extensive list of beer tasting descriptors, check out this list from Winning-Homebrew

The 3 C’s of Pairing Food with Beer

“Anywhere you can use wine, you can use beer, often to better effect. Beer has that bread-like base flavour that works so well with so many different kinds of foods and its carbonation and wide variety of flavours also helps. It’s fairly hard to find food that won’t pair with most beer.” – Chester Carey, Beer Sommelier

• CUT: The carbonation and acidity of beer make it a perfect palate cleanser. Use beer to cut through spicy, creamy and fatty dishes with strong or overpowering flavours.

• COMPLEMENT: Pair like with like. Compare the flavours and richness of both and be sure to find a pair that balances each other out evenly. For example, light-tasting food (e.g. salads, seafood) goes well with light beers, whereas heavy dishes (e.g. stews) pair well with heavy, dark beers like porters. If you are new to beer pairing, then this is the simplest approach to take.

• CONTRAST: Contrast means matching opposing flavours in such a way as to enhance the unique flavours of both the beer and the food. Either the beer or the dish should provide a strong, dominant flavour and then set this against something with a distinct taste that will shine through without being overpowered.

What to Eat with Beer: Food Pairing Examples

Beer Type: Food Pairing:
Lagers Shellfish, seafood, pork, chicken, spicy food
Wheat Beers Spicy food, vegetarian dishes, sushi, citrus-flavoured dishes
India Pale Ales (IPAs) Steak, barbecue, burgers, pizza
Amber Ales Pizza, fried food, smoked pork
Porters Seafood, barbecue, rich stews, chilli, venison, duck
Pilsner Cheese, salad, seafood, Asian food, salty snacks
Stouts Chocolate, roasts, smoked foods, oysters, rich stews

Serving Beer: Our Top 5 Tips

Our many years of catering experience means that we have gleaned a few top tips on how to get the most out of your beer.

1. Beer can taste syrupy if it’s too warm, so try to keep the serving temperature between 40 – 50°F (4 – 10°C). To maintain the right temperature, store beer in the refrigerator, away from the freezer section. Try to serve the beer as soon as possible after removing it from the refrigerator, so it doesn’t get a chance to warm up. Another pro tip is to dip the clean glass into cold rinse water before serving.

2. Make sure your glassware has been properly cleaned as this is essential to acquire the right foam and flavour.

3. Mastering the art of pouring beer will allow you to get the head height of your choosing. Everyone has a preference when it comes to the height of the head. If you want to achieve a fine creamy head, let the beer splash into the glass. Alternatively, tilt the glass at an angle and adjust as you go to get the head you want.

4. Beers are generally best enjoyed fresh, so always check the best before date before you buy.

5. Be gentle when you open bottles. Try not to agitate the bottle too much as shaking the bottle can have a negative effect on the beer’s quality.

To learn more about what foods to eat with different beers, check out our infographic guide below.

craft beer and food pairings the essential cheat sheet infographic


How to Budget for your Wedding Day: A Simple Breakdown

Many couples assume that planning a wedding is expensive, but a well-organised and comprehensive budget can really help to keep the costs down. What’s more, having your finances organised from the get-go can take a lot of the stress out of managing your wedding expenses. In this guide, we will share some top tips on how to create a wedding budget and how to keep the costs of your big day from spiralling out of control.

Man and a woman saving money in a piggy bank

How to Create a Wedding Budget


Did you know that one in three couples go over budget? To avoid overspending, you will need to first work out how much money you realistically have to spend. Start off your wedding budgeting by evaluating your different sources of money. Some examples of income sources may include:

a) The savings that you and your partner have individually built-up
b) The amount you can save from your current income
c) Family contributions (but don’t make any assumptions – more on this below)

Just remember, it’s your special day so don’t allow others to pressure you into spending more than you are comfortable with.


Once you have settled on your budget, you will then need to set your priorities. Create a list of all the major financial aspects of a wedding and work with your partner to assign each item a value from 0 – 3, with 0 meaning unnecessary and 3 being top priority. Then, gather up all the high-priority items and arrange them from most to least important. Be sure to get comfy because getting a consensus on this may involve a fair bit of negotiation! Having decided on your priorities you can create your first draft of the wedding budget breakdown (see more on this below) and allocate funds accordingly.


Keeping track of your expenses in a spreadsheet is one of the most effective ways of preventing costs from spiralling out of control. Spreadsheets are an essential budgeting tool because you can easily see all your incomings and outgoings in one centralised location and can perform complex calculations with just a click of a button. To create a simple wedding day budget spreadsheet, you will need three expense columns:

• Estimated: The amount you expect to pay based on research
• Modified: Adjusted estimates after factoring vendor quotes
• Actual: The amount you actually spent

If you are more technologically-minded, you may want to try out a budget tracking app such as Mint instead of the traditional spreadsheet.

A Typical Wedding Budget Breakdown

In Canada, the typical wedding costs about $31,000. However, whether you have $100,000 or $1,000 to spend, chances are you will have to consider the same expenses in your budget. Figuring out your wedding budget breakdown can be one of the trickiest parts of wedding planning and sticking to it can be even harder, but it’s a worthwhile task as it’ll give you a good guide going forward.

To get you started with some ballpark figures, check out the table below for a sample wedding budget breakdown. No matter how much or little you intend to spend, it can be helpful to have some general guidelines for reference.

Item Percentage of Overall Budget
Wedding Rings
Just-in-Case Fund

The Importance of A Just-in-Case Fund

It’s also a good idea to set aside about 5% of your budget for a “just-in-case” fund to cover any unexpected expenses that arise. While these miscellaneous items might cost an extra few dollars here and there, these numbers can add up and take a chunk out of your budget if you’re not prepared for them. What’s more, you will be immensely thankful to have that back-up should you be faced with any costly surprises.

Bride and groom walking arm-in-arm

Family Contributions

A 2016 survey from Brides Magazine found that, on average, the bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget, the bride and groom contribute 42%, and the groom’s parents contribute 13%.

When setting your budget, it’s not fair to make any assumptions about parental contributions. If your families do wish to contribute, there are typically three options to choose from:

1. Parents contribute a specific amount, leaving the couple free to decide on a wedding budget and make up any difference themselves.
2. Parents pay for specific items (e.g. the wedding dress, catering or the entertainment) leaving the couple to cover everything else.
3. The wedding budget is split evenly between all the involved parties.

Bear in mind that parental contributions can sometimes come with a lot of strings attached, so it’s important to be very clear from the beginning about everyone’s expectations to avoid conflict.

The 5 Biggest Wedding Budgeting Mistakes to Avoid

1. Not doing your research.
2. Forgetting to keep track of how much you’ve spent.
3. Overspending on one item and not saving on another.
4. Rushing into decisions.
5. Booking multiple suppliers where one would do.


15 Easy Ways to Cut Your Wedding Costs

1. Prolong your engagement to give yourselves a plenty of time to save up for the big day.

2. Have a joint bachelor and bachelorette party.

3. Schedule smartly – plan your wedding for an off-peak time such as winter or midweek.

4. If you are planning on a church wedding, schedule your big day near a holiday as the church will already be decorated.

5. As the venue eats up most of the budget, consider using a cheaper, non-traditional alternative.

6. Save on transport and venue costs by hosting the ceremony and reception in the same place.

7. Edit down the guest list.

8. Replace paper save-the-dates and invites with electronic alternatives, such as email or social media.

9. Save printing costs on reply cards by asking guests to RSVP online.

10. By using fewer vendors, you may be able to negotiate discounts.

11. Instead of hiring a DJ, simply use a wedding playlist instead.

12. Consider renting your wedding dress and bridal attire.

13. Rather than hiring a makeup artist, get your hair and makeup done at your local salon.

14. DIY parts of your wedding such as favours, invitations, and centre-pieces.

15. Cut down on the cost of a destination wedding by combining the honeymoon with the wedding.

Liked this? Read our tips on how to find the perfect venue here!


7 Essential Event Planning Apps for Your Next Conference

In this article, we look at the best event planning apps for corporate events, conferences and meetings. The apps listed below offer amazing resources for networking, gamification and note-taking that will help your attendees get the most out of your event.

Male Professionals in Blue Shirts Talking Over a Phone

Conference Networking Apps: Our Top Picks

Encouraging the use of smartphone apps can be a highly effective way of helping attendees get the most networking value out of your corporate event.

1. Brella

Designed specifically to help professionals develop meaningful business relationships, Brella is a popular choice for facilitating networking at corporate events. The app’s powerful matchmaking algorithm allows attendees to easily connect with their peers and arrange one-to-one meetings with just a few clicks.

2. Attendify

Attendify allows users to network in a private, event-only community. Attendees can also use the app to stay up-to-date with event changes and access documentation, such as speaker presentations and notes. One nifty functionality is the schedule feature which can be used to design personalized schedules and set reminders.

3. Whova

The Whova smartphone app boasts a wide range of functionalities which aim to help attendees get the most out of their event experience. These include gamification features such as live polling and surveys which enable users to get more involved in the event. However, its networking features are what really make it stand out. Our favourite feature is the ability to easily scan and save business cards in one secure place.

Corporate Event Gamification Apps: Our Top Picks

A hot topic in the event management world, gamification helps to drive attendee engagement by introducing elements of competition and play into the event experience. If you have read up about gamification, and are interested in applying it to your next conference, meeting or corporate event why not try one of the below apps?

4. Sli.do

The Sli.do app allows audience members to easily participate in live polls and Q&As during speaker presentations. It gathers and presents results quickly and can help to streamline Q&A sessions. What’s more, by allowing audience members to ask questions through their phones Sli.do gives speakers a better way of involving introverted crowds.

5. Event Mobi

Event Mobi uses gamification to create an exciting and memorable experience that encourages attendees get the most out of the event. It enables event organisers to engage attendees through fun challenges. Attendees are rewarded for particular actions (e.g. interacting with others, visiting exhibitors or attending sessions) and can compete against each other in event challenges.

Best Event Note-Taking Apps: Our Top Picks

Rather than keeping your notes on countless scraps of paper and random notebooks, why not use an app to easily keep track of your learnings throughout the conference? These apps are ideal for keeping notes in a range of formats including text, photos, links and even videos.

6. Evernote

Evernote is a virtual, cross-device notebook app in which you can neatly organise all your learnings and key takeaways. While not strictly designed with conferences in mind, Evernote does have some cool features which may come in handy. For example, you can record audio of speakers to listen back to later. It’s also possible to scan and annotate business cards. Another good idea is to use the app to create a checklist of follow-ups with tasks to complete after the conference

7. LinkedIn Slideshare

Organisers can use Slideshare as a channel for content marketing in the run-up to and after their event. Slideshare enables attendees to access speaker presentations after the event so they can deepen their industry knowledge.

7 Essential Event Planning Apps for Your Next Conference

Liked this? You may also be interested in our post “How to Promote an Event with Social Media Marketing – Our Foolproof 20 Point Plan”


Wine Guide for Beginners (Infographic)

As experienced caterers with an interest in fine dining, we at Lakeshore are passionate about sharing our knowledge of wine.

The world of wine can seem daunting to uninitiated, but with just a few basic pointers you can become a true wine connoisseur. Our beginner’s guide includes: a step-by-step guide to wine tasting, a breakdown of terminology, some tips on how to choose good cheap wine, the do’s and don’ts of storage, and a glassware guide.

 Four friends toasting with a glass of white wine

How to Taste Wine

Learning how to taste wine will help you discover what flavours you enjoy and deepen your appreciation of what’s in your glass. The process of tasting wine is actually quite simple and with enough practice you will be able to train your palette to detect even the subtlest notes.

The Five Steps Of Wine Tasting

1. Look: Hold the glass by the stem and inspect the colour, opacity and viscosity for five seconds under neutral lighting.

2. Swirl: By swirling you enlarge the surface area of the wine that comes into contact with the air. This helps to aerate the wine and unleash delicious aromas.

3. Smell: Dip your nose into the glass and inhale two or three times. Keep gently swirling your wine if you can’t smell much. Ask yourself what the aromas remind you of.

4. Taste: Sip the wine and let it linger in your mouth. Expose the wine to more taste buds by rolling it around in your mouth.

5. Reflect: Make notes (written or mental) about what you learned about the wine and reflect on what you liked or didn’t like about the taste.

How To Taste Wine: Notes & Flavours

Knowing how to taste wine is one thing but being able to recognise flavours is another. Some common flavours to look out for in a glass of wine include: dryness, sweetness, acidity, tannins, fruitiness and body.

Dryness/ Sweetness: A dry wine is characterised by the absence of sweetness. This is because it has no residual sugar, i.e. sugar that didn’t convert into alcohol during fermentation. Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc tend to be very dry, whereas Zinfandel and Riesling wines are usually very sweet. To taste for dryness, focus your attention on the tip of your tongue.

Acidity: Fundamentally, all wines lie on the acidic side of the pH spectrum. Acidity gives wine its tart and sour taste and balances out any sweet or bitter flavours. Generally speaking, white wines are more acidic than red wines. Examples of acidic red wines include Beaujolais and Chianti, whereas Sauvignon Blanc is an example of an acidic white wine. To taste, gauge how your mouth naturally puckers after a sip and how much it makes you salivate.

Tannins: Tannins add a bitterness and depth of flavour to wine and will make your mouth feel dried-out. While all wines have tannins, red wines have a higher level than whites. Examples of red wines with lots of tannins include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Syrah.

Fruitiness: Red wines tend to feature flavours from red fruit (e.g. strawberry, raspberry) and black fruit (e.g. blackberry, blueberry). White wines however usually feature tree fruit (e.g. apple, peach) and citrus fruit (e.g. lemon, pineapple) flavours. To taste for fruity undertones, inhale your wine before tasting.

Body: In essence, body describes how the weight of the wine feels on the palette. Body is categorised into full, medium and light. A good way to understand this is by thinking of the difference between skimmed milk (light), whole milk (medium), and cream (full).


How to Choose A Good Wine for Less

One common misperception about wine is that you need to spend a lot of money to find something decent. However, it is very possible to find an enjoyable bottle of wine that is well within budget providing that you keep a few things in mind.

• First, take some time to research up-and-coming wine regions. These areas often produce excellent yet underrated wines at far more reasonable prices than those from more established regions.
• Secondly, experiment with lesser-known grape varieties that do not have the same prestige as the more well-known varieties.
• Avoid wine with a high alcohol content, as oftentimes extra alcohol is added to mask flavours in cheap wines.
• Alternatively, you could try switching to white which tends to be less expensive than red due to its shorter production time.

How to Store Your Wine

The Do’s

When it comes to storing wine, temperature is the most important factor. Try to keep your bottles in a dark, dry space with a temperature that is somewhere between 45° and 65° Fahrenheit. Another handy tip is to store your bottles on their sides. The constant contact with the wine keeps the cork moist and prevents it from becoming “corked”.

The Don’ts

Temperature variations will affect the taste quality of the wine, so avoid putting it anywhere that is too cool or too hot. Similarly, keep it away from windows or other sources of natural light as the UV rays will damage the taste. Finally, try not to store your wine upright for a long time as this could cause it to prematurely age.


Choosing Your Glassware

Using the appropriate glassware can help to enhance the flavours of the wine. Generally speaking, there are two types you can choose from – red wine glasses and white wine glasses.

Red wine glasses are designed in such a way as to bring more oxygen into contact with the wine, thereby allowing it to ‘breathe’ more and give a boost to the wine’s aromas and flavours. Due to their lighter aromas, white wine glasses feature smaller bowls. This helps to release the fragrances while also maintaining a cooler temperature.

To learn more, check out our infographic below which provides a comprehensive beginner’s guide to wine.

 comprehensive beginner’s guide to wine

If you enjoyed this content, you may also be interested in our Ultimate Guide to Herbs & Spices.


How to Promote an Event with Social Media Marketing – Our Foolproof 20 Point Plan

Research from eMarketer has revealed that 87% of B2Bs use social media to promote events. The creative and strategic use of social media marketing is a great way to drive awareness before, during and even after your event.
Key Statistics about Social Media Marketing for Events


Despite the clear advantages of social media event marketing, a whopping 51% of event marketers state that they find it challenging to use. At Lakeshore Convention Centre, our team are passionate about helping you deliver a successful corporate event or conference. In our latest blog post, we show you everything you need to know about how to promote your event with social media marketing.

Your Event Marketing Plan Before the Event

1. Work with your team to create an organic and paid social media plan and stick to it. Create a schedule that everyone can access and use a social media scheduling tool to ensure a steady stream of content. Don’t forget to continually monitor the performance of your activity and to use this data to inform any strategy changes going forward.


2. Assemble a list containing the social handles and hashtags of all relevant event stakeholders, e.g. event sponsors, speakers, venue etc. Ensure that any team member who will be posting to social media during the event has a copy.


3. Create an event page on Facebook. Be sure to upload attention-grabbing profile imagery and an engaging description. If your budget permits, promote your event page with advertising that targets relevant, new audiences and that retargets email subscribers, website users and existing Facebook and Instagram followers.


4. Come up with an event hashtag and start using it well in advance of the event on Twitter and Instagram to boost visibility. Good event hashtags are short, clear and easy-to-remember. Do your research to ensure that the hashtag is original and has not been used before. Be sure to track your hashtag’s performance by using a social listening tool.


5. Update your profile and cover photos across all of your social networks to include your event logo.


6. Regularly share behind-the-scenes photos and videos about event preparations to build a sense of excitement. Don’t forget to include crucial information about the date as well as your unique event hashtag and/or social handle.


7. Host a “like and share” competition on Facebook for free event registration. Put some money behind it and see engagement rates soar! In addition to raising awareness, social media giveaways can also be a cost-effective way to grow your event’s social following, website traffic and email subscriber base.


8. Tease out your speaker line-up over time. With every announcement, feature a speaker profile or interview on your blog.


9. Use the native selling function on Facebook to increase ticket sales. This simplified ticket-buying process allows users to purchase without leaving the social network which in turn means that they are less likely to drop out before clicking “checkout”. In fact, one study has revealed that events that sell tickets directly on Facebook double their sales than events that redirect to a ticketing page.


10.Share visual or video testimonials from attendees of your previous events.


Creative Social Media Marketing Strategies for During the Event

11. More and more internet users are watching live video streams of events. In addition to enabling event planners to promote their event in real time, live video streaming also presents an innovative way to drive additional revenue as 45% of live video audiences would pay for live, exclusive, on-demand video from their favourite team, speaker, or performer. Fortunately, live streaming has never been easier, and marketers can mix and match a wealth of tools including Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and YouTube Live.


12. Twitter is one of the best tools for building engagement and for promoting your event in real time. Tweet content frequently throughout the day – some good ideas include photos, videos and speaker quotes. Don’t forget to @mention any relevant handles and to include your event hashtag. Drive conversation around the event by asking questions and by engaging with attendees’ tweets.


13. Set up a tweetwall by the stage showcasing the best tweets relating to the event. Be careful to appoint someone to select tweets to avoid any mishaps!


14. If the budget permits, create some custom photo props to place around your event venue. These should be designed in such a way to encourage attendees to share photos on social media. Make it easy for them to tag the event by incorporating your event account handle and hashtag into the design.


15. Live polls and Q&As are another highly effective way of encouraging real-time event engagement. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Stories all offer polling features for free. However, there are also a number of event gamification companies that specialise in creating high-quality real-time engagement software for events.


16. If your event is primarily aimed at a younger audience (anywhere up to 25 years of age), you should consider creating a unique Snapchat Geofilter. Geofilters are offered to Snapchat users in a certain location and give them the option of placing a location-based overlay on their photo. This is a great, low-effort way of building visibility and encouraging engagement as everyone in your location can use the filter.


How to Market an Event After it has Finished

17. To get maximum value out of your speakers, publish their presentations on Slideshare.


18. Add a section on your website to house video content from the event.


19. Your event is a content goldmine, repurpose videos and presentations as helpful blog posts.


20.For corporate events, it’s also a good idea to supplement your blog posts by publishing presentations from the event as helpful how-to articles on LinkedIn Pulse. According to LinkedIn, 62% of members say that they engage with content because it is informative or educational.



Promoting an event or conference on social media can seem like a daunting task, however this needn’t be so with just a little preparation, inspiration and strategic thinking. Simply by following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that you create an event that gets noticed!


Like this Post? Why not read our infographic “The Ultimate App Guide for Event Planning” here


The Ultimate Herb & Spice Guide (Infographic)

A great way to pack a punch to any meal, herbs and spices are an indispensable weapon in the home cook’s arsenal. For novices however, the world of herbs and spices can seem daunting at first. With literally hundreds of flavours to choose from, how can you make sure your kitchen cupboards are stocked with the right ones?

Our latest foodie infographic provides a crash course in herbs and spices. We list the six essential flavours every spice rack should have, and we offer our expert tips on the best flavour combinations.

How to Use Herbs & Spices Like a Pro

If you think you are ready to take your meals to the next level with herbs and spices, there are a few pointers you should keep in mind. It’s best initially to be conservative with your measurements, starting off with 1/2 teaspoon for dishes serving four to six people. For maximum flavour, it’s usually a good idea to use fresh herbs however there is nothing wrong or unhealthy about opting for dried instead.

If using with meat, take some time to rub in the herbs or spices with your hands before you cook (just be sure to wash your hands after!). For salads, soak the herbs for 15 minutes to an hour when using as a dressing.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Herbs & Spices

Not only do herbs and spices add incredible depth, flavour, texture and colour to your food, but they also boast amazing health benefits. For example, did you know that herbs and spices are rich in unique antioxidants, essential oils and vitamins? These help our body combat germs, toxins and boost our overall immunity level.

What’s more, by providing a delicious and low-calorie alternative to salt, herbs and spices reduce the risk of salt-related health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Research has also linked the consumption of herbs and spices with lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of cancer.

Read the infographic below for more information.

 The Ultimate Herb & Spice Guide (Infographic)

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