Who to bring, what to wear, when to leave, how much to give and why it all matters. The evolution of wedding guest etiquette.
THE PRESENT MOMENT
While the rule of thumb used to be that you pay for your plate, Toronto wedding planner Karina Lemke believes people have long been smashing that sacred proverb (often without even realizing it). With a nuptial landscape that’s greener than ever, covering your palatable plate of rosemary organic chicken, truffle risotto and the cavalcade of buttercream desserts that follow can mean dishing out $600–$1,000 per couple, if you consider the countless rounds of Cabernet that coincide. Instead, Lemke estimates that the average couple gives closer to $250–$400, regardless of how posh the property is. While you should consider boosting your busta to cushion the blow, “most etiquette experts would back up the philosophy that if you’re throwing or hosting a party, you’re doing so with the expectation of nothing in return. You’re doing it because you’re a host.” The rise of destination weddings has also ushered a new wave of gifting, which Lemke personally experienced while exchanging vows with Yuk Yuk’s founder Mark Breslin in an intimate Laguna Beach ceremony in 2010. “If you’re getting married away you have to assume that you’re not going to get very much because their contribution is the fact that they’re going — and they’ve probably spent anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 a couple to join you for the week.” The Emily Post Institute Inc.’s etiquette blog also dispels the pay-your-plate myth, suggesting that “the amount you spend is strictly a matter of your budget, how close you are to the bride and groom and what you think is an appropriate gift.”
Spring is in the air, and Pantone’s Fashion Colour Report has you in the know for all the season’s hottest new shades. Hopscotch your way through a spectrum of lights and brights.
1. TAKES THE CAKE
Planning a spring wedding? Treat your guests to a lip-smacking creation from I Do! Wedding Cakes. Cake designer Olivia Nguyen knows how to craft a delicacy that’s unique to you, making your fete a deliciously memorable one.
2. WORDS OF WISDOM
Start your day with a positive kick by cracking open this charming weekly calendar. Stay organized and inspired while planning your 2013 adventures.
3. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Bright and cosy, the Rosette Euro Sham from Anthropologie will infuse your home with energy and bring some warmth to your down time.
4. BRING THE BLING
Australia’s trendiest accessories boutique has pieced together this coral-toned beauty. Reminiscent of the beaches, cocktails and sunsets of summer, it’s a piece that’ll give you a tropical boost.
With its eclectic blend of culture, flavour and activity, your local culinary scene is packed with edible adventures. From classic to modern, from bubbly bar scenes to rustic atmospheres, here’s a hand-picked hot list of mouth-watering mealtime destinations for you to sink your teeth into.
1. Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria
When co-owner Justin Lussier toured Italy in 2005, he fell head over heels for the fire-roasted pizzas he tasted in Naples. It was this delicious experience that inspired him and his two partners to bring Italy’s famous Neapolitan pizzas to Canada. Taste the phenomenon yourself at the highly acclaimed Famoso!
2. Mill Street Brewery
Thirsty? Surround yourself with rustic charm, talkative friends and world-class beer at Mill Street Brewery in Toronto’s historic Distillery District. The deliciously unpolished style of Mill Street Brewery will add a kick of interest to your downtown dining experience.
The 18th annual Gourmet Food and Wine Expo took place on Nov. 15 – 17, 2012, at the North Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Guests had the opportunity to sample gourmet cuisine, as well as an assortment of 1,500 wines, beers and spirits. Expo highlights included an All You Need is Cheese Stage, a Connoisseur’s Corner, a Fine Wine Tasting Lounge, a Spiritology Pavilion and tutored tastings. The forthcoming Gourmet Food & Wine Expo will take place on Nov. 14 — 17, 2013 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
There’s a sizzle of spirit spilling through a Vaughan Chapters, and of its endless rows and stacked tables of literature, the open book is Rocco DiSpirito. He’s walking in brown leather shoes and fitted in an olive zip-up, weaving through a fidgeting crowd. A woman brazenly shouts out a dinner invitation to him, and he presses a mic to his mouth. “Buy a book or give me a hug,” he deadpans. A shameless grin spreads across her face as he wraps his arms around her. The audience inches close.
The American celebrity chef and bestselling author from New York City is in town to promote his latest cookbook, and while expounding the virtues of healthy food, he’s unabashed when confessing an erstwhile sweet tooth for saccharine cinnamon rolls. “I had an addiction to Cinnabon — it was harder to break than my crystal meth habit,” he jokes, the crowd doubling over in a fit of laughter. Continuing to quip and cajole and lightheartedly lecture on Japanese kale and kamut, he concludes his visit with personalized autographs and photos that stream through the Twitterverse.
However comfortable he appears to be in his own skin, DiSpirito surprisingly had difficulties achieving a level of assuredness that leaves audiences enraptured.
A few meals before, at Alimento Fine Food Emporium in Toronto, he’s sipping on espresso at a table tucked away from the lunch crowd. Vividly recalling his early days, the cordon bleu cook, food show host and former culinary judge was once gripped by self-consciousness. “I have to tell you of the days I was frightened over my own shadow. I used to practise Today segments in the private dining area of my restaurant: a host would play Matt Lauer and a hostess would play Katie Couric. When you have to be yourself on TV, the anxiety of worrying whether that self is the self everyone will like just gets to you.” He moderates the disclosure with a bon mot, his modus operandi. “I take medication now, so it’s much better.” At 46, his charm braises in a drum of alacrity.
City Life Magazine gives you 10 good reasons not to cry on your birthday. We’ve scoured the GTA and uncovered free merchandise, food and fun for you to save hundreds of dollars on the one day you can.
1. COMPLIMENTS OF THE CHEF
For those who think there’s no such thing as a free lunch, feast your eyes on Tucker’s Marketplace’s free birthday buffet. Located in Mississauga, Burlington and Etobicoke, this culinary hot spot will make you salivate on that special day with scratch-made soup, hand-carved roast beef and crème caramel. Just show some proof and enjoy the bread pudding! Value is $18.99 on weekdays and $22.99 on weekends.
2. IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW
This is the ideal deal for the good friend who offers to treat their birthday buddy. The rules are simple: simply pick up the celebratory chum, take them to the nearest Casey’s restaurant, order yourself a delicious entrée (min. $14.99) with a drink and let Casey’s cover the cost of your ID-carrying comrade.
Maximum Value is $14.99.
When it comes to the palate of the experienced epicurean, ambiance is a distinct necessity. It involves an unabashed drive to beautiful design, a commitment to exceptional service and an irresistible selection of gastronomic creations. For the seasoned restaurateur, it’s a road map to raising the roof for those that crave the wow factor. “This is an urban restaurant for the suburban patron — someone searching for a downtown feel without leaving home,” says Luigi Beccati, owner of A1 Autostrada in Vaughan. “And it’s all about family and good food.”
A restaurateur and chef with over 20 years of experience, Beccati’s unending search to reinvent the dining experience has culminated in an innovative concept that began two and a half years ago. Guests are immediately welcomed into a sublime setting that ingeniously simulates the adrenaline rush of riding in a supercar. Designed by the award-winning firm II BY IV DESIGN, the spacious interior is awash with pops of colour, subway-inspired graphics, marble fixtures and a pizza oven blazing with a mosaic of red-orange tiles. A wine cellar and trendy prosciutto bar displaying market-style charcuterie are among the restaurant’s favoured features. A glance at the sunken dining area in the heart of Autostrada reveals a table for eight embraced by a mesh fabric scrim. The centrepiece showcases a sentimental print of Italian people gathered in tradition. Speeding along the wall of the main dining area is a customized Pirelli tire tread, achieved by individually placed, luminescent tiles that result in a stunning 3D feature. In 2011, Boutique Design Awards praised Autostrada with a Best Restaurant award.
There’s no need to hibernate — oodles of winter activities are calling your name, and they’re all just around the bend.
Black Creek Pioneer Village
Step back in time and discover the rustic simplicity of a pioneer Christmas. Black Creek Pioneer Village invites you to celebrate with traditional candlelit dinners, Victorian-style ballroom dances, taffy pulls and more.
Uplands Ski Centre
Hit the Alps — without leaving town! Uplands Ski Centre, Vaughan’s hidden winter wonderland, gives families a safe environment to make a day of dashing through the snow.
Supervised Outdoor Skating Rinks
It’s like a scene from The Bishop’s Wife: skates laced, scarf wrapped and hands clasped to your significant other’s. Give your holiday a playful spin by hitting the ice at Nathan Phillips Square or Woodbridge’s Chancellor Park.
Elizabeth Grant Skin Care presented THE BIG GIVE on Nov. 7, 2012, at Toronto’s Berkeley Church. Hosting 650 young professionals and raising close to $30,000, the event supported Canadian cancer charity Look Good Feel Better. Delicious food and beverages were provided by Frozen Assets, Elle Cuisine, Qualifirst Foods, Cupcake Culture, Three Olives Vodka, Corona and Rosehall Run Vineyards as The Little Black Dress, The Apollo Effect, Black Mink and DJ Jody Litvack entertained guests.
On Sept. 16, 2012, families came together for an annual event at the Spadina Museum. In support of the local food movement, the City Cider event with Not Far From The Tree featured fresh food, live arts, crafts, and more. Participants also learned how to properly pick apples and make delicious cider at Spadina’s orchard.