“I booked a small local wedding venue and it was the best decision I made!”

Why selecting an unconventional venue location might just make your wedding day that much more special.

Once upon a time, the bigger the wedding the better, but more and more, I have begun to see couples start to scale back the excess, and stick to the essentials. That is, close friends and family, a simplistic backdrop, and an intimate gathering to celebrate love, life, and happiness. There are so many wonderful things to be said about an intimate wedding, and not only do your guests appreciate such a warm and welcoming event, but your pockets will thank you!

Windsor-Essex is lucky enough to have some great options available to those looking for these smaller, more intimate venues, that provide outstanding service, great food and an overall wonderful experience.


Local native Amanda Vojvodin (@lavitaestyle) and I decided to collaborate on this topic a while back, and having just had her wedding here in Windsor, she is able to share her experience with you first hand.

“I loved all aspects of wedding planning, but the most stressful part was by far trying to decide on the wedding venue. This is not only because I found out that many of the typical venues I might have dreamed about having my wedding at had been booked 2/3 years in advance, but also because I wanted to make sure I picked the perfect place to make my wedding vision come to life. There are many elements that factor into the final wedding venue decision: location, size, availability, budget and last but not least, the feeling you get when you are in the space.

As any true millennial would do, the first thing I did when starting to look for potential venues was hunt online. To my dismay I found it harder than I imagined to find a venue in Windsor-Essex that would fit 60-100 people. I found myself looking at beautiful locations for 100-200 people or very quaint spaces for groups of 50-70 people. Not having a good idea of just how many people would be attending I knew I had to find a space that would be able to accommodate up to 100 people but that wouldn’t feel empty if we were only 60. I think that’s why I loved my venue so much in the end because I was able to tailor it to my exact needs based on how many guests I had attending – and (bonus) I was able to book it months in advance without even having the final RSVP numbers and not have to stress about that at all!

Here are some of the advantages that I found working with a smaller local venue for our ceremony and reception:

  • No red tape: I had looked at other bigger locations who specialize in wedding venues but found that they had a lot of “red tape” and rules to follow. Some charged fees per person if your RSVP count went below a certain number. Others charged you extra fees for wedding planning services (which is great if that’s something you want or need).

  • Flexibility: I worked hand in hand with the venue owners to make every part my wedding vision come to life. He was there to give me tips about how best to use the space, but in the end I was able to adapt the space to make it my own.

  • Privacy: In a small venue like a restaurant you get the privilege of having the whole space to yourself which gives you and your guests a sense of exclusivity and you don’t have to worry about other weddings in the room next door.

  • Budget: Not sure if this is the case with all small venues, but contrary to the bigger wedding venues, our space did not charge us a rental cost. This made it so that we could focus more of our budget on other elements of the wedding.

  • Décor costs: Being a smaller space, and having a lot of character on its own, we didn’t need to add very much to it which cut down our décor costs by at least half.

  • Food: There is nothing I love more than food, and I think it’s one of the most important elements of any wedding (especially if you’re an Italian…). So when we decided to have our wedding in a restaurant we were especially happy because it meant that everything was cooked on location and served hot. We were also able to create our own menu alongside the chef to cater everything to our taste and make it fit with the “fall in love” theme.

  • Availability: When we started looking for venues we found that many were not available the weekend we wanted, but with a smaller venue we were able to book only 11 months before the wedding. The team made themselves available the one week we were in town before the wedding to go through everything (décor, menu, logistics etc) and worked with me via email from Italy to make sure everything was clear before the big day.

Overall I loved that on our wedding day when I walked down the aisle and when I stood up to do my speech I looked around the room and was able to see every one of our guests and it felt like a giant family reunion. Both the spaces were intimate enough to make us all feel close, all while not making anyone feel congested. It also made it so that Michelangelo and I were able to have more one-on-one time with our guests. “

For all you future brides to be looking to plan your wedding and wishing for a more intimate and flexible wedding venue location here are a few in the Windsor-Essex area:

  • Mezzo’s Ristorante (my reception location, I cannot speak highly enough of Filip and his team)

  • Low-Martin Mansion (my ceremony location, contact Vern if you want to rent his space for your ceremony or as a wedding photo location)

  • Viewpointe Estate Winery

  • Willistead Manor

  • Art Gallery of Windsor

  • Malden Park Visitor Centre

  • Cooper's Hawk Winery

  • Lakeside Pavillion

  • The Windsor Club

  • Wedding In The Woods

  • Oxley Estate Winery

There are no rules to weddings anymore - the more unique the better! I always say to my couples - "Do you!" - in whatever capacity that is. From the venue, to the Ceremony wording, to the food and drink, do what feels right, and will make YOU happy.

As a Wedding Planner, helping couples navigate through the process of finding a venue for their size is one of my favourite parts! How can we find a space, and make it unique and personal to you? How can we take something already beautiful, and use that as the backdrop to reflect your relationship to each other?

Photos Courtesy of Blue Rose Designs

5 Tips For A Successful Wedding Dress Appointment

You have the ring, you may have a date, and you are READY to go wedding dress shopping! We always recommend researching local boutiques and shops, checking their hours, and making appointments in advance. Here are five more helpful tips that will help make the appointment itself run smoothly. 

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1. Research & Have A Vision In Mind

Although you may have pinned and saved a bunch of photos of your dream wedding dress, be sure you have an idea of what you are looking for, and what suits the style and theme of your Big Day. It is so important that if there is a specific dress you want to try on, to call ahead and see if the boutique carries that particular gown, or designer. 

2. Give Yourself an Ample Amount of Time

Whether you have your date set or not, it is so important to keep in mind ordering deadlines with the Bridal Shops. For most dresses, you are looking at a four to six month timeframe from ordering to delivery. If you are having your gown handmade, you could be looking at a timeline of anywhere from six to ten months. Also consider that once the dress has arrived, the timeframe for alterations may vary from six to eight weeks.

3. Choose Your Attendees Wisely

We know you love ALL your girls, and your family + your Soon-To-Be family as well, but when it comes to dress shopping, make sure you only invite those who you are comfortable receiving opinions from. This is a BIG decision, and everyone has an opinion, so being confident in those that are coming with you is so important!

4. Know Your Budget

Have a number in mind going in, and be sure to let the Shop Assistant know this number right off the bat. This will not only help the Assistant when selecting gowns for you to try, but it will also keep things within reason. 

5. Be Open!

Although you may have a clear vision in mind, stay open to other options. For me, the dress I chose was the complete opposite of everything I had originally wanted. When I saw it on the rack, I thought "Nope, not going to happen." And then I put it on...and fell in love. I was open to the idea of trying new styles, and I'm so glad I did.

3 Meaningful Gifts For Your Significant Other On Your Wedding Day

We have all been witness to those adorable wedding photos where the Bride opens a sentimental gift from her soon-to-be husband, or watch the Groom get a little choked up by his Bride who pens him a love letter on the Big Day. Those are such precious and treasured moments! Here at Little Bird, we love helping couples come up with great gifts for each other - and they don't have to be expensive! Here are a few of our favourite ideas that are not hard on your bank account!

Love Letters

Your love story is what you got you to this moment. We love when one of the partners takes the time to take a trip down memory lane, and all the important moments that led you to the most important day of your life so far. Nothing is more pure than expressing to each other all the reasons you fell in love in a note, or even creating a customized book, such as the ones found on LoveBook.

Proposal Memories

Perhaps your proposal took place at a spot close to your heart, or was created in the most spectacular way! If you had someone there taking photos for that moment, framing your favourite photo such as these adorable photos by Flytographer, accompanied with a special tribute to your journey as an engaged couple is the perfect gift for each other. This is also something that can hang in your home, for years to come!

Video Collaboration

This is something that can be done at home, or by a professional. Before you get started with making this happen, be sure to have a clear vision in mind - What do you want to say, and how do you want to say it? This could be a little glimpse into your love story up until your wedding day, and can describe goals and aspirations for your life together going forward. Plus, this is a gift that can one day be shown to your children - so cute!

You don't have to spend big money to make a big impact on the Big Day! Be sure to let your photographers know if you are exchanging gifts, and if you would like for them to capture these moments for you. 



Cake Design Trends

Don't we all want to have our cake, and eat it too!? I mean, that sounds like a great idea to us!

Designing a wedding cake is no simple task, and we are always so impressed by local Bakeries who create masterpieces that leave both the couple and guests in awe. Whether you are having a very simple Naked Cake, or a 5-Tiered creation, we are breaking down a few Cake Trends for 2018.

White On White

Rooting back to a more simplistic look, these cakes are elegant and understated but can certainly still steal the show! By mixing textures these "once simple" white cakes come to life, and can be simple adorned with some florals or greenery, or left to their own devices and still look gorgeous.

Geometric Genius

We keep going back to this trend in all aspects of weddings this year, and for good reason - it's gorgeous in all capacities. Keeping things classic, with a bold punch like these fun shapes really is a great accessory to any Dessert Table. In an arrangement of shapes and sizes, you can mix and match shapes to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece for your Big Day.

Hand Painted Goodness

There is just something so incredible about taking a regular cake, and turning it into a piece of hand-designed artwork. These cakes are taking the Wedding World by storm, and we are jumping right on board. Talk about talent, and overall beauty. These cakes don't require any toppers or extras, as they speak for themselves.

Brushstroke Beauty 

These cakes are a modern twist on a classic. In varying colours, sizes and textures, these cakes not only look incredible but make your Wedding Photographers REALLY excited about photos! We love when couples group these cakes in sets of three, varying in sizes.