Welcome to the European weddings page, where Celebrations are Made Simple! Come into our studio and enjoy the luxury of booking all you need for your special day in one place! Our creative and friendly team specializes in accommodating varying budgets and cultural styles, while going above and beyond in our goal to make your dreams become a reality.
Our very own Event Director / CEO, Carla Abramovici is well versed in many different wedding cultures but also specializes in European weddings. With unparalleled energy and a visible passion for all areas of the Event Planning Industry, Carla strives for perfection with every client and has made it possible for all “Bridal Couples” with any Wedding Budget to afford a Wedding Planner. With 15 years of Corporate Management experience, she brings to the table extraordinary negotiation skills, a solutions driven approach to the business and a passion for Event Planning & Customer Service. Carla has led the successful execution of over 400 unique weddings and she has experience in both the planning and execution of weddings and events for all cultures.
Elizabeth oversees our Christian Weddings as well as our Portuguese & Brazilian weddings with a strong emphasis on the Christian and European wedding market. Her mission is to inspire her clients a rewarding process and an beautiful spiritual event. Elizabeth welcomes the challenges and opportunities presented by an ever-changing marketplace and her positive approach to every situation, makes her a joy to work with. Elizabeth’s life story, will both inspire you and fill you with hope as you start your wedding planning journey with her.
Debbie specializes in Portuguese and European Weddings. She discovered her passion for wedding and event planning while planning her own wedding and her friends’ weddings. She understands the importance of executing a Bride & Grooms Visions of their dream wedding. She establishes a personal connection with her clients to ensure that their event is customized to their personalities! Debbie thrives to make sure her clients are able to have a stress free and memorable day. Her passion for Coordinating comes with a creative, organized, patient, outgoing personality, and a commitment for perfection in details and in all your wedding day needs.
Sim eu falo Portugues, and proud of it… We currently have 3 Wedding Planners on our Team who speak Portuguese fluently. The owner of Trade Sensation is also Portuguese and born in Lisbon, Portugal so our team has a wonderful understanding of this beautiful culture.
An important moment for Groom would be to finally see his bride at the ceremony as he does not see his Bride until she enters the Church. The Bride’s big moment, however, would start as soon as she wakes up spending her morning with her family and bridal party. Portuguese wedding ceremonies usually consist of a Roman Catholic mass, where traditionally the priest would bind the couple’s hands with his stole, or call for the Bride and Groom to exchange rings, and then cover the couple with his stole, to unite and protect them. When the newlyweds exit the church, friends and relatives customarily throw bonbons and flowers instead of tossing rice. In Portugal, many weddings used to be small and restricted to direct family, while others would be larger affairs where friends and relatives would all lend a hand in planning and organizing all the details of the wedding festivities. In Canada, Portuguese communities have been influenced now by other cultures and old customs are beginning to change. A Reception tradition that still holds strong includes a grand Seafood Buffet where guest can enjoy traditional recipes like “Pastel de Bacalhau, Recois, Arroz de Marisco and Carne a Alentejana”, and it usually includes traditional cakes and pastries like Pastel De Nata, Arroz Doce e Pudim Flan.
Portuguese receptions are known for what seems like a never-ending Royal feast!
Portugal is also known for its wine, and the Romans used to associate the country with Bacchus, their God of Wine and Feasts. Wedding guests indulge in frequent toasts to the happy couple with their wines and spirits. Wedding receptions typically do not have a firm schedule but more than ever modern Portuguese brides are hiring Wedding Planners to create a more elaborate affair with scheduled timelines: parties can last long into the night, well past 1am. Meals are structured to allows time between courses, giving guests a chance to dance, digest and again build up an appetite!
Portuguese wedding receptions use to take place at a private home but in today’s day it takes place at a banquet hall, Country Club or Venue location. They involve music including traditional music and a whole lot of dancing. There is an ancient custom of passing the Bride’s shoe around to all the guests, to receive monetary donations that will help the couple set up their new home. Yet another tradition is also the “money dance”, where guests line up and pay for the privilege of dancing with the Bride or Groom. Another important part of the reception is called ‘Copo d’ Agua’ (cup of water.) During this ritual, the Bride and Groom go from table to table to spend time with their guests, and ensure that everyone is having a good time and enjoying their meal. Late in the evening, a champagne toast is offered as the newlyweds cut their wedding cake, and offer the first slice to each other, to bring them luck and start their life together on the “right foot”. The Bride then customarily throws her bouquet into an eagerly awaiting group of single girls, in which whom ever is the lucky one to catch the bouquet, is said to be the next one in line to get married. The same goes for the boy who catches the garter !
Being Portuguese myself, there is a never a boring moment at a Portuguese wedding …
Italian wedding customs are reflective of a country rich in love and heritage. Family plays a very important part of the process starting from the engagement through to the reception. While plenty of food and lengthy celebrations illustrate the country and culture’s reputation for lavish wedding traditions.
Italian weddings are customarily performed in a Catholic church, however now more and more we are seeing a trend into officiants leading at an “on-site” ceremony at the couples “Reception” Hall or a different ceremony site such as Chapel, Outdoor location such as a Country Club etc…
Traditionally, Italian marriages were arranged by the parents, most notably the father. If a groom wished to have a woman’s hand in marriage, a matchmaker would send a message to her family stating his intentions and starting a round of negotiations among the families. If all went well, the groom gave his bride a diamond engagement ring and she started building a trousseau, including housewares, a small dowry and even clothes for her husband.
The night before an Italian wedding there is a rehearsal dinner. The best man raises his glass of prosecco, a form of Italian champagne, and leads a toast to the couple of “Per cent’anni,” meaning a hundred years. Historically, brides also wore green the night before their wedding to bring them good luck in marriage.
The groom places a piece of iron in his pocket to ward off evil spirits, and the bride wears a slightly torn veil for good luck while covering her face to ward off jealous spirits. In parts of Italy the couple walk to their ceremony together as the bride encounters obstacles along the way, revealing her domestic tendencies. World Wedding Traditions explains, “If she picked up a broom, for example, she will keep a clean house. If they put a child in her way and she stopped to help him, she will be a good mother.”
Once the ceremony begins, a ribbon will be placed across the chapel doors to inform the community the service is in progress. The ribbon is a symbol of the couple’s bond. The wedding ceremony is most-often performed by a priest, and includes a lengthy mass. The luckiest day to get married is on Sunday, but now a days most weddings take place on a Saturday. Tradition discourages marriage services on Lent and Advent, as well as during the months of May and August.
In most European cultures, but especially Italian brides wear a veil in order to hide from envious spirits. Likewise, a groom carries some kind of iron object in his pocket to keep evil and jealous spirits away.
It is a tradition for two white doves to be released following the church ceremony to signify love and happiness for the couple’s future. After the ceremony, guests throw confetti or rice as the wedding couple exits the church. Oftentimes, guests are given nuts and grains to throw at the married couple to promote conception and luck.
The crowd will shout “Auguri”, or “Best Wishes” at the conclusion of the ceremony and the bride and groom will lead a procession by riding in a car that has its front grill decorated in flowers to signify la dolce vita, or the sweet life.
Reception – Italian weddings are both elaborate and grand and surrounded by spectacular food, family, friends and lots of fine “Vino” and Cognac.
Fresh food, local wine and celebration will last long through the evening as guests perform dances like “La Tarantella.” This tradition requires participants to hold hands and move in a circle, abruptly changing directions with changes in the music. Guests also throw small bags of chocolate-covered almonds, called “confetti,” at the married couple to signify the bitter and sweet of their future, and Italian wedding cake may be served.
During the reception, very large quantities of food and drinks are traditional at an Italian reception. The reception begins with the best man and Ushers serving guests an Italian liqueur in the receiving line to toast the newlyweds. While the Bridesmaids take care of the sharing the Traditional Italian cookies, bombanieres giveaway, money box and guest book signing duties.
More and more modern Italian brides are realizing that hiring a Wedding Planner, can save them time, money and stress and are getting at the very least a Day of Co-ordination Planner, to ensure their day is executed flawlessly. Everything they have planned for a year or more, to ensure it goes off without a hitch. Italian weddings are typically 300 or more guests, and it’s a lot to take on, on their own as many european brides are now working professionals.
Following the guest’s arrival, dinner courses begin with the appropriate wine served with each selection. Typically, an Italian wedding dinner consists of Antipasto, Italian wedding soup, Salad, Pasta combination of red and white sauces, Meat Entree, Assorted Fruits and Dessert.
A must at the beginning of the reception and after the reception, is the ultra tasty Italian cookies, which are served as a symbol of good luck. The wedding cake is served last with espresso, but of course…
Candy covered almonds are traditionally given as favors to guests, in combination with something else. During the reception, the couple dances their first dance together. The bridal party follows and then the guests. Time is also dedicated to speeches by family and friends, with a champagne toast ending each speech.
Throughout the reception, the bride will carry a small silk bag, called la basura, on her arm. Guests will place envelopes into the bag in an attempt to help off-set the costs of the extravagant Italian wedding. The bride may wish to wear it while she dances, or have her grandmother guard it for safekeeping.
It is customary to give monetary gifts only at an Italian wedding.
Each culture is both diverse and unique. Whether it’s making holiday decorations or planning a wedding, each culture has it’s traditions. This is especially true with people who are of Greek heritage. While similar in ways to some cultures, there are a number of differences in Greek wedding traditions.
You’re engaged and like most European weddings your Father has been asked by your future husband for your hand in marriage!
A Greek Tradition that has not yet been forgotten!
Once engaged your rings will be blessed by a priest and at the wedding ceremony, the priest once again blesses the rings.
It is a Greek tradition to also receive a Dowry. This is where the mother of the bride usually spends many years collecting a variety of household items from sheets, towels, cutlery, dishware and utensils. The dowry enables the bride to set up housekeeping and start her new life.
Greek weddings will be planned on certain dates throughout the year. Here are a few dates that couples are off-limits for couples to get married on. These days are most of the Christian holidays.
January 5-6 - Great Lent and Holy Week
August 1-15 - August 29 (Beheading of St. John the Baptist) - September 14 (Exaltation of the Holy Cross)
December 13-25 - The day before feast days and all Holy Days of our Lord
Wedding candles are an important part of the Orthodox wedding. The bride and groom each hold up a lighted candle during the service. The candles remind the couple of the light of Christ who is with them throughout the sacrament and their coming life together. The candles are lit by the priest during the service and given to the couple to hold for part of the service. The candles symbolize the spiritual willingness of the couple to receive Christ and His light, as He will bless them through this sacrament.
During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are placed with crowns (Stefana). The Stefana is connected by a single strand of ribbon. The Stefana is a sign of glory and honor. This signifies the union of the couple as well as indicates the pair’s “rule” over their household. Also is a sign of ones giving of one life totally to the other through Christ. The Stefana is exchanged by the sponsor on the couple’s heads three times as to witness the sealing of the couple uniting! The crowns are removed from the couple at the end of the ceremony and the priest prays that God will receive these crowns into His Kingdom.
Greek wedding receptions can be expected to have plenty of food, music and traditional dancing. There are two main dances associated with a Greek wedding. First there’s the Isaiah dance, which is performed by the bride and groom during the ceremony. Then there’s Kaslamantiano, which is performed in a circle during the reception.
Candy covered almonds are considered a tradition at some wedding receptions. Almonds are given to guests immediately following the ceremony. The almonds are usually distributed in a cloth or tulle covering and guests can expect to receive an odd number of the edible delicacies bringing them good luck!!
France the city of Love and Romance!
French weddings are filled with “Joie de Vivre” and tradition both reflective of this amazing culture. Many North American Bride’s choose to emanate French Cultural Details in their wedding and this has now become a Trend and why not – the beauty of France emanating through on your wedding day ?
We wanted to give you a taste of both French Traditional Wedding Customs as well as Ideas and Trends for a Modern North American Bride looking to do a French Inspired Wedding Theme… So, enjoy a bit of both…
You could have the party at a French restaurant, in a French-inspired reception hall, or at a borrowed chateau. No chateau in the neighborhood? Not to worry. Go with an ordinary hall and create a cafe environment. Use small, ice-cream-parlor-style tables topped with bottles of wine, Dijon mustard, and Perrier. Hang Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, and Cezanne framed posters on the walls. Place huge baskets of baguettes around. Erect a postcard stand filled with pictures of Paris for people to take home and set up a continuous slide show of images of Paris. You can even have your waiters wear berets to make the scene complete.
For the bride, why not go with a “Marie Antoinette look”. Huge skirt, tight bustier, and lots of lace. If you want to go couture, check out the Paris-based wedding-dress designer Kastine; for a more modern affair, consider the sleek, Givenchy, Breakfast at Tiffany’s look. Then set your hair to match your gown. But a classic chignon would fit right into a French-themed wedding. And, for the groom? Either go the Louis XVI costume route to your bride’s Marie Antoinette, or pick a handsome handmade suit by a French designers, Pierre Cardin or Yves St. Laurent.
The Fabulous French Food – No wedding is complete without it !
To truly emulate the French, you must think about food and wine before all else. Start your menu of all things francais, during the cocktail hour. Have five or six different French wines available, with a wine expert on hand to pour and explain the different vintages to your guests. It’s an old French custom for the couple to drink their reception toasts from an engraved, two-handled cup called the “coupe de mariage.” They then save the cup to pass on to their children. Follow this tradition with your own two-handed toast. You can buy two-handled cups from a fine furnishings store, or see if a local glass-maker sells or can create one for you.
For hors d’oeuvres, pass canapes, miniature croissant, quiches, escargot, and serve various spreads, such as gourmet cheeses and fine pates, on French bread. Also fill a table with a variety of pates, cornishon pickles, Brie, apples, grapes and let us not forget the very all important of course baguettes. For dinner, serve French dishes such as onion soup, beef burgundy, and coq au vin. For dessert, serve mousse au chocolat, creme brulee, and a Poire Belle Helene — poached pear served with vanilla ice cream and drenched with melted chocolate. Complement dessert with hot chocolate and, of course, cafe au lait.
For a very formal affair, consider a truly French meal served mise en place (everything in its place). Each course is served, in proper order, so more of a Sit Down – French Served mea, which consists of appetizer, soup, main course, palate-cleansing sorbet, salad, cheese, dessert and coffee, and a cordial at the very end. This will require true culinary skill and may work best if you’re holding the affair at a French restaurant or Banquet Hall that allows you to bring in a French Catering Company. E-mail Trade Sensation Events Planner for some help finding a great French Catering Company in Toronto or GTA.
Later, at the post-wedding brunch, or for an afternoon wedding, don’t forget to serve mimosas, a blend of champagne and orange juice. And, how about a make-your-own crepe bar?
Music & Entertainment
Recreate the scene at the Seine by hiring portrait artists to set up easels and paint portraits for your guests during the reception. We have just the perfect, Live Event Artist to recommend “Olga”.
To add to the French ambiance, have a few strolling musicians playing romantic tunes. For your first dance, why not chose Edith Piaf’s bittersweet classic, “La Vie en Rose?” Or how about Gershwin’s “An American in Paris?” If you’re having a DJ, have him play Piaf, Jacques Brel, and all the great American jazz greats who made their name in France.
During the reign of Louis XVI, brides handed over their old fans to bridesmaids as favors. The fans were decorated with mythological paintings. You probably don’t have a stock of fans in your closet, but you can adapt this tradition by giving new fans as gifts, or some more modern, mythologically decorated vanity items, like hand-held mirrors or ornate miniature boxes. Check out Trade Sensation to speak to our Favour Designers, who can help you find something perfect.
Or, there are a number of French fashion houses that should make the gift-giving easy. You could Give tres Hermes scarves to the attendants only, of course (tres expensive!). Favors for all guest, you ask ? We love the idea of giving away pocket-sized French cookbooks, mini bottles of French wine tagged with a personalized wedding label, or small vials of French perfume or cologne placed on each guests’ plate. You can also get Tour Eiffel place card holders, and Centerpieces if you want to go all out…
(Where will you go?) Paris, but of course …
Traditional Wedding Traditions
One important Tradition is the “Bridal Trousseau” meaning the hope chest. A bridal trousseau originated in France, this is when the baby girl is given a trousseau or ‘hope chest’ which means ‘bundle’, by her parents. Her family members and friends give her gifts such as clothes, jewelry or any other items that she would require, once she moves into her husband’s home. In the 21st Century, the bride is presented with all the household necessities in a fancy box by her family, before the wedding.
A Bride who is seeking a French inspired dress will choose an all-white bridal gown embellished with embroidery, beads, bows and laces, and stunningly organte bridal jewelry. The all-white wedding dress symbolizes purity, innocence and sheer joy the bride has over her upcoming wedding.
Décor and flowers used are also typically all white, with some traces of pastel shades if any. Very simple, sophisticated, yet laced with Elegant Charm.
A traditional French wedding requires that the groom escorts the bride from her home to the chapel, on the wedding day. The procession consists of the parents of the bride and the groom, family members, friends and musicians. Children block the bridal couple’s way with white ribbons, which the bride must cut. In some French places like Brittany, beggars plait a hedgerow briar across the couple’s way. The bride has to bribe the beggars to remove the hedgerow briars. These obstacles symbolize the common path that the couple will have to take after their marriage and the overcoming of the obstacles together.
The wedding ceremony is held in a church decorated with white flowers and soft scents of incense. After the guests have gathered, the groom walks his mother down the aisle. Then, the groom and the bride are seated on two red velvet chairs where they exchange vows. The priest’s final blessing is received below a silk canopy known as a ‘carre’. As the newly-weds emerge from the church and proceed towards the reception venue, they are showered with wheat and rice. These grains symbolize fertility and prosperity.
At the wedding reception, a fun tradition in France is for guests to bring small cakes and pile them together at a considerable height in the center of the table. The couple is then asked to kiss without knocking out the pile, if they manage it would symbolize life-long prosperity. To start off the festivities they raise a toast to each other from a traditionally engraved cup known as the ‘La coupe de marriage’. Traditional French food, French wine and the French wedding cake are the highlights of a reception.
French Wedding Cake
A French wedding cake is known as ‘Croquembouche’ meaning ‘crunching in one’s mouth’. This cake is made of cream puff cones filled with French pastry cream and coated with melt in your mouth caramelized sugar. It is decorated with marzipan flowers and chocolate is drizzled all over.
In the olden days, after the day was over friends of the newly engaged couple would show up outside the couples window and make tones of noise with pots and pans, singing and banging in hopes that the newlywed couple would invite them in for drinks and treats!