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Getting engaged is one of the most incredible moments of a person’s life. After the “will you marry me?” question is asked, the couple launches into a full-fledged week of endless celebrations, congratulations, and conversations about their future wedding. But after the champagne bottles have been popped and the pictures of the engagement ring have been spread all over social media, a new question begins to circulate – the question of, “what should we do next?” That’s when, all of a sudden, the stress kicks in and the decisions pile up on a wedding to-do list that feels like it goes on forever. “I’ve never found myself more stressed out than I did the weeks after I got engaged,” says Laurie Hart, a bride getting married in June 2018. “It honestly started to cause a lot of friction in my relationship with my fiance. I wish we put the pause button on everything, spent quality time together, and learned about what we needed to do, before jumping right in.” The trend of going on an Engagement-Moon is one that Manoir Hovey, an intimate Relais & Châteaux resort in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, is spearheading, for a good reason, to help couple’s ease into the wedding adventure in the most peaceful and fun-filled way. Their “Engagement-Moon” weekend retreat is from July 20-22th 2018.  It is where couples can decompress and rekindle their relationship as they get tips for planning a great wedding. Couples who book the Engagement-Moon will savor delicious food and drinks, enjoy activities like biking, paddle boarding, foraging, and yoga, and participate in workshops with *ME*. The fun and interactive sessions will feature such topics as:
  • From the Royal Wedding to the Latest Must-Have: Stunning Wedding Trends for Your Big Day
  • Old School: How to Incorporate the Best Wedding Traditions and Etiquette Into a Modern Wedding
  • He Said, She Said: Keeping the Peace and Managing Difficult Conversations
  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen and In-Laws: How to Handle the People Who Are by Your Side During the Wedding Process
  • Things to Do Together Before Getting Married
 

Here are three key tips to help you fight off engagement stress:

  1. Plan a Weekend Getaway
Spend the weekend at Manoir Hovey so that you and your fiance can properly celebrate your engagement. Going away for the weekend allows you to frolic in the excitement that you’ve both decided to take your relationship to the very next step. It will allow you to jump into wedding planning with fresh eyes and a fresh understanding of what you both want.
  1. Find the Right Wedding Help
Planning a wedding isn’t something you should do alone. Finding the right vendors is an easy way to kick off stress and nerves before your wedding. Whether you do research online or ask for recommendations, gather a team together of people you trust.
  1. Learn How to Handle Difficult Tasks
Spend a few days learning the answers of how to handle some of the difficult tasks you have on your wedding to-do list. From figuring out how to keep the peace between your friends and family to learning how to incorporate old-school traditions with a modern twist, the Manoir Hovey retreat will teach you all of that and more.   Learn more about the Engagement-Moon here!
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Getting engaged is one of those moments in life that are worthy of a celebration. Think about. The person you’ve been spending quality time with for years, building your life with day-by-day, and falling madly in love with over all of that time, just asked you to take things to the next level and you responded with a gigantic, I DO! Of course, wedding planning should be fun, but sometimes it’s filled with stressful moments that can challenge you and your new fiance.  According to a recent report by the wedding registry company Zola, 96% of engaged couples and newlyweds surveyed admitted that the project is stressful, and almost half said it was “very” or “extremely” stressful. With wanting your big day to be the biggest hit on social media and in 2018, up to the royal wedding standards, it’s important now, more so than ever, that couples who planning a  future together and an upcoming wedding should take a few steps back before they dive into planning so that they don’t immediately jump into making endless decisions, a wave of stress, and the headaches that sometimes come with working with wedding vendors. A couple of months ago, I decided to team up with Manoir Hovey, an intimate Relais & Châteaux resort in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, to help newly engaged couples reveal in their new relationship status. We brainstormed how we could combine my endless wedding knowledge with their beautiful property, services, and on-site activities, to give couples a weekend retreat that would help them approach wedding planning in an entirely new way.
We came up with the concept of launching an “Engagement-Moon”, a weekend retreat from July 20-22 where couples can decompress and rekindle their relationship as they get tips for planning a great wedding. Couples who book the Engagement-Moon will savor delicious food and drinks, enjoy activities like biking, paddle boarding, foraging, and yoga, and participate in workshops with *ME*. The fun and interactive sessions will feature such topics as:
  • From the Royal Wedding to the Latest Must-Have: Stunning Wedding Trends for Your Big Day
  • Old School: How to Incorporate the Best Wedding Traditions and Etiquette Into a Modern Wedding
  • He Said, She Said: Keeping the Peace and Managing Difficult Conversations
  • Bridesmaids and Groomsmen and In-Laws: How to Handle the People Who Are by Your Side During the Wedding Process
  • Things to Do Together Before Getting Married
So if you’re reading this saying, YES, PLEASE, I need to do this with my fiance, here are the details of what’s included and how to sign up.: The Engagement-Moon weekend includes two nights’ lodging in a deluxe room with a lake view, balcony, and therapeutic tub, a four-course dinner for two in Le Hatley Restaurant, a casual dinner for two in the Tap Room Pub, two full country breakfasts for two, gratuities on meals, four workshops, a sunset lake cruise, and a mixology workshop introducing 2018/19 cocktail trends. Rates start at  $1,695 per couple (CAD), plus tax and gratuity. Learn more right here!  
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*This post is a guest post written by: Mindy Kipling* Weddings are a great place to meet guys and as one of the bridesmaids, you’re in luck. It might be the bride’s big day but any guy looking to meet someone isn’t paying attention to her. He’s keeping his eye on those who are still available.

How to make the most of your time as a bridesmaid

Being a bridesmaid means you’re in focus all day long. Standing at the front of the gathering where wandering eyes can easily check you out. You’re in great form – hopefully in a great dress but definitely with good hair and makeup. Friends surround you and everyone is smiling and laughing. Of course, you’ve been the perfect bridesmaid all day long. This is why bridesmaids are usually regarded as the highlight of the wedding for single guys. But you shouldn’t take your position for granted. You still need to put in the work if you want to strike it lucky. If your objective is to find a cute, young guy — This is the easiest shot at it. So, below we’ve compiled some tips to help you make the most of the big day.

1)   Do your research

Before the wedding, once all the responses are back you can begin to make inquiries. Perhaps you know the groom’s friends and have your eye on someone already. If this is the case, don’t be shy about asking the bride for her opinion – she probably knows them better. If you’re going to spend the wedding throwing glances in one particular direction, it’s best to make sure the target is worth landing on. Fortunately for you, weddings are one of the absolute best places for older women looking for younger men to find success. If the bride doesn’t think he’s as good as he looks, you can trust her to be honest about it. After all, she’s already got hers. So now it’s time to move on to the rest of the group. Even if you don’t know the groom’s side of the party, a heads-up regarding who’s single and who’s not will be a big help.

2)   Keep your options open

However, not every bride has the time or the inclination to help her friends find dates on her big day. If this is the case, you’ll need to go in cold and keep an open mind. Before the wedding, remind yourself to check out all the guests before you begin to flirt. You don’t need to worry about not pouncing on the best guy right away. He’s not the bouquet – and that’s not how this works. Even if you look the other way a couple of times, this can play to your advantage. Acting a little aloof does wonders for a younger guy’s appetite. If he thinks he needs to make an effort to get your attention, he’ll only want you all the more.

3)   Forget the “Spanx” and make sure your shoes are comfortable

It’s tempting in the run-up to a wedding to obsess over every little lump and bump. Even if you’re not the bride, hitting the gym a few extra times before Saturday is almost standard behavior. However, once the day arrives, you’ll need to harness a relaxed frame of mind and this goes for clothing too. Opting for those spiked heels might have made you feel tall and slim at the bridal store. But after eight hours, you’ll keel over. The same goes for your Spanx. And if you do happen to hook up, you’ll be left trying to peel them off in the bathroom and explain away the lines and stripes too.

4)   Be firm on your dress

Yes, it is her wedding – But that doesn’t mean you have to wear anything the bride wants. If you find the suggested dress unflattering to you, your skin tone or body shape, say something. Because making sure you look good in your bridesmaid’s dress is key to meeting a younger guy at a wedding. It’s also a good idea to have different colored dresses, for example in a range of pastels and neutral tones. That way, if he knows you’re in pastel beige, you’ll be easier to spot in a crowd.

5)   Make eye contact

Once you’ve scoped out a possible target, it’s time to make a move. Eye contact is the most straightforward way to do this. While standing in your bridesmaid’s line, let your gaze drift to the rest of the congregation. When you find him, linger a moment. We can often feel someone looking at us and this makes people look back. When he does, hold your glance for a second and then look away at nothing in particular. A little lip bite can be a good way of saying, “I’ve been found out”. Now wait a few seconds and look back again, but only for a short time. If he’s looking, give a little smile. If he’s not, look away again. Within a few moments, he’ll be tempted to look your way once more. This isn’t just good advice for weddings but for everyday life. Everywhere an older woman looking for a younger man is at, eye contact will be key.

6)   See and be seen

Mingling is the keyword here. Directly after the ceremony, once the bride and groom leave, start moving around to say hello to as many different people as you can. This time is precious as this is when many guys get their first, natural look at the bridesmaids. So if you’ve already had a little eye contact, this time builds on any possible attraction.

7)   Hang out with the girls

Just like you, if a guy sees someone he likes, one of the first questions on his lips is whether or not they’re single. He could ask you, but many guys, especially younger ones are a little embarrassed to do so. The best way to make sure he gets the message is to show it in your behavior. This means, hanging out with the girls and not sitting next to a guy you know well – or an ex – just because you feel comfortable around them. Anytime a guy sees you sitting next to another guy, he assumes he’s your partner or a date.

8)   Get up and boogie

Once the wedding meal is out of the way, it’s time to burn off some calories and draw attention to yourself. The best way to show yourself off at a wedding is by dancing. Most parties have a good mix of music suited to kids and families as well as couples and wild singles. Pace yourself, dance a couple and sit down for a few to talk to people. You want to be seen, but not because you’re dripping with sweat.

9)   Don’t get wasted

It should go without saying, moderation is key regarding the reception champagne. You want to be relaxed but not so relaxed it impairs your judgment. A few drinks can really help you when it comes to talking to strangers. But there’s a fine line. Weddings are usually an all-day event and you need to go steady if you’re going to last until the evening. If you have a couple of drinks during lunch, cut yourself off afterward until the sun goes down. This way you’ll stay level-headed enough to continue your flirting agenda.

10)  Know your intentions and your limits

Weddings are intensely emotional events and as such, you can get carried away too easily. Before the ceremony even starts, decide for yourself how far tonight’s going to go. Even if you haven’t met the guy yet, this is a good tactic. Tell yourself up front if you’re looking for a flirt, a date, a kiss or something more. It can be hard to decide in the moment and after a few glasses of bubbly. If you do decide you’re going all out, make sure you have cash and battery power so you can get home safely afterward. Don’t forget, 100 percent at 10 a.m. can quickly turn into 3 percent after all those wedding photos. Also, have a wing-girl ready – someone who expects to be told where you’re going and with whom.

11)  Avoid the toad

At every wedding, there’s a guy whose only aim is to sleep with any one of the bridesmaids. We get it, bridesmaids are hot – that’s part of the fun. But we don’t want to be a number in anyone’s hook-up book. However, working out who this guy is, isn’t always that easy. He might start off being really cute and endearing. But by the time the curtain starts to fall, he’ll be going from bridesmaid to bridesmaid trying his luck. This guy makes every woman feel pretty worthless, but if you’ve flirted with him earlier – cutting him loose when he shows his true colors can be a headache. The classic signs of the wedding toad are obvious once you know them. His first move will be to try to get you drunk. One shot is funny but trying to get you to drink three is just weird. Too many flirty jokes and questions about whether or not you’re sharing a room with anyone is also a big give away. And of course, if he’s hitting on everyone, give him a wide berth. But if you do find yourself the target of the toad, don’t panic. Maybe a couple of hopeful glances in the direction of your intended will bring him over and lead to something more romantic.  
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Around this time of year, we’re definitely hearing about all the beautiful wedding memories while also envying the highlight reel of our friends’ honeymoons. However, we’re also hearing about all the engagement stories and aww-worthy proposals! That’s right, ladies, a beautiful wedding season just ended and we’ve headed into an even more exciting engagement season. Excuse me while I swoon over all the pretty rings and winter-themed proposal photos!   On the other hand, while it’s mostly exciting, we don’t really hear are the stressful parts of wedding planning. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you know there are a lot of elements to consider. You have your venue, the entertainment, and of course what do you wear?!   Even on a budget, it’s imperative to prioritize. But how do you narrow down from most important to things you may be able to do without? We’re here to help!  
  1. Don’t Do It Alone
Wedding planning is a daunting task to do all by yourself, and married couples agree! In a recent survey conducted by Zola, around 20% of newlywed couples regret not hiring a wedding planner. Sure, you might think it’s only one day, so how hard could it be? Well, consider this to be the biggest party you will ever throw…do you really want to tackle that solo? Wedding planners, coordinators, and even professional bridesmaids like our team here want to help you achieve your perfect day, so take the extra help where you can!  
  1. Jazz It Up
Speaking of parties, you need entertainment! A lot of couples find that the reception can help make their wedding unforgettable. Make sure you do your research before hiring a DJ or band. They’re the ones in charge of getting the party started, and this is your chance to unwind and get on the dance floor with your friends and family.  
  1. Capture The Memory
In the same Zola study, a shocking 35% of couples wish they’d hired a videographer. During the ceremony, and even afterwards, the bride and groom are so busy that they may not have a moment to take it all in. It’s one day that goes by very quickly, so we recommend having a video to recap the speeches, the reception, and the moments that made your day truly special.
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