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Stellar Events is Ottawa's premier wedding and event planning company. Let us worry about the details so that you can enjoy your next event. Our goal is to make sure your event is: Stellar!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Janet Gray - Financial To Do's Before Saying "I Do"

When I first started my business, I went to a women's breakfast meeting called WBC Orleans and one of the women I met at that group is Janet Gray. Janet is a financial consultant with Investors Group and is someone that I respect and admire as a woman in business. She has taken the time over the past three years to sit down with me to bounce ideas off of, give advice and suggestions and planted a few seeds for ideas of things I would like to do in the next few years. I appreciate all the times she has taken to help me in my business, and I would highly recommend her to anyone wanting to invest in their future. Her contact details are at the bottom and I encourage you to connect with her.

Last week I got an email newsletter from her about the financial to do's before saying "I do" which I wanted to share with all my couples. I think it is very important to have an understanding of your finances before getting married. I tell my couples all the time that they should never go into debt for their wedding. See what the article suggests for couples getting married!

Money and marriage – financial to-do’s before saying “I do”

One of the wonderful mysteries of marriage is how two, often very different people, can learn to live as one – and stay that way through thick and thin, the inevitable ups and downs, for many, many years. It all comes from having a strong foundation of love, mutual respect, understanding – and of your new financial life together. So for couples just starting out, here are some essential financial tips to consider.

Build a financial foundation that matches the life you want to build together Be clear on the ground rules right from the start. Decide how you’ll handle shared expenses – especially if one spouse has a greater income than the other. Will you split expenses evenly or pay a portion according to each partner’s income? Consider whether to use a joint bank account or keep individual accounts.

Check your financial baggage at the door When it comes to your credit history, full disclosure is a must. A partner’s bad – and unshared – credit history could cause some unpleasant surprises if you decide on a joint credit card or jointly apply for a loan.

Build from shared financial goals Agree on how you’ll approach major goals like buying a home or starting a family. If you have children, get started on an RESP to help save for their education.

Get it in writing It’s not at all romantic but a marriage contract or prenuptial agreement can be important if you want to protect certain assets accumulated prior to your marriage – like a business or family cottage – or to protect assets for children from a previous relationship.

Expect the best – plan for the worst If something were to happen to either of you, how will you take care of each other? Not a happy thought – but it could happen. Disability insurance can provide a steady income stream for your family if you become disabled and unable to work. In the event of your death, life insurance can provide a lump sum to your beneficiaries. Mortgage insurance can help pay off some or all of that large debt.

Make your life less taxing Reduce your tax bill by taking advantage of all available deductions and income-splitting opportunities like spousal RRSPs and pension income splitting. Use other tax-planning and investment strategies that will deliver immediate and long-term retirement benefits.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way Except in Québec, marriage usually voids all earlier wills – so update yours. Make sure it spells out exactly how you want your assets distributed. Don’t forget to also update your Power of Attorney, in which you indicate who can make decisions on your behalf if you are still alive but unable to make financial decisions.

Be sure your financial foundation is as strong and enduring as your love for each other – talk to your professional advisor about the plans and strategies that make the most sense for your unique union.

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact Janet Gray, Investors Group Consultant at 613-798-7700 or 1-800-461-3707.

Helping Boomers and their families live a Richer life.

Janet Gray, B.A., B. Admin., CFP, RHU, EPC, CPCA
Financial Consultant, Elder Planning Counselor
Investors Group Financial Services Inc.,
Suite 200- 1525 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R9
Phone (613) 798-7700 Ext . 248
Fax (613) 798-7705, Toll Free 1- 800- 461- 3707

Accepting new clients. Thank you for the introductions.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Your Wedding Cake!

Cake is always a fun topic when it comes to planning your wedding. It is the one time I seem to always get the grooms full attention! Have fun when it comes to deciding what you want to do with your wedding cake - you can get really creative with it.

There are a lot of AMAZING cake artist's in Ottawa. The following are definitely not the only ones in the city, but here are a few of my favourites that I mentioned in my post:

Produced by Reno Video Productions

For more information about Stellar Events, visit us online at

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Importance of Engagement Sessions with Your Wedding Photographer

Last week I spoke to you about some things to think about when choosing your wedding photographer. I wanted to continue talking about photographers and why I recommend doing an engagement session before the wedding day.

Produced by Reno Video Productions

For more information about Stellar Events, visit us online at

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Photo...

Choosing the right photographer is always an important step in the wedding planning process. I always say that no matter how much you love a photographer's work, the most important thing is to make sure you feel totally comfortable with that person! Hear a few things I recommend when trying to find the right photographer for you!

Produced by Reno Video Productions

For more information about Stellar Events, visit us online at

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Theme Suggestions

What are some things you should think about when considering your colours and/or theme for your special day? Here are some of my suggestions of what you should keep in mind while thinking about options. At the end of the day, go with what you love and is a reflection of you and your partner.

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Dress Shopping

As a wedding planner, I am rarely involved in dress shopping - that is something that most brides want to experience with their mother or girlfriends. Now that I am in the bridal party, as well as helping plan the big day, I was very excited to be a part of the shopping process!!

Here is a sneak peak at the dress I will be wearing as a bridesmaid! I chose a gorgeous Alfred Angelo dress - the only difference is that the entire dress will be a dark purple:

Here are a few links to some wonderful bridal boutiques in Ottawa:

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Destination Weddings

Some couples may think they don't need a wedding planner if they are doing a destination wedding - here are a few reasons that may change your mind!

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Ceremony

The next thing to start thinking about is your ceremony! Do you want to go the more traditional route and get married in a church, or do an on location ceremony so your guests don't have to travel anywhere? Find out some of your options!

To find out more about some of the options I mentioned, check the following links:

Dr. Alan Viau:

Exceptional Ceremonies:

All Season's:

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Monday, April 4, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Budget

One of the first things you should start thinking about after you get engaged is your budget - what you are able to spend on the wedding will dictate most other elements in your wedding. You should have a clear idea of what your budget is before starting the planning process

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Figuring out your Guestlist

After you get engaged and figure out the time of year that you would like to get married in, one of the next big things to start thinking about is how many people are you going to invite to your wedding.

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Picking the Date

Once you get engaged, one of the first things you should start talking to your partner about is what time of year do you want to have your wedding. Each season has something different to offer, it just depends on what is important to the two of you and what you want for your wedding.

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Monday, March 21, 2011

How to choose a Planner

If you are thinking about hiring a wedding coordinator to help plan your wedding, here are a few things to consider when trying to find the right one for you!

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - You're Engaged - Now What??

Getting engaged is an exciting time in anyone's life, but most people don't know what to do first in the planning process! In this episode of Tales of a Bridesmaid, I let you know the three things that you should start thinking about when you start planning the wedding of your dreams!

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tales of a Bridesmaid - Introduction

For the first time since starting my wedding/event planning business, I am actually in a wedding party. Here is the introduction of my Tales of a Bridesmaid as I take you through the process of planning a wedding while being a bridesmaid! Hope you enjoy!

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What is in a Name?

I have been asked in the past few years since starting my business, how I came up with the name Stellar Events. Well, here is the story of how I named my company!

Produced by Reno Video Productions

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Video Blog - At Reno Video Productions New Studio!

If you haven't seen my first video blog post, go take a look at that before watching this! I thought the first one turned out ok but I obviously had some challenges (especially with the lighting). I was about to start on my second post when I got a call from my friends at Reno Video Productions with a proposal. Take a look at the results!

Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Get To Know Cristie

I know I haven't been great when it comes to blogging - I've been SO busy helping couples plan their special days that I don't have time left to write! I think I have found a solution to that: video blogging. I recently hosted an event for the wedding and event suppliers of Ottawa in which we had three keynote speakers. Michael Hughes spoke to the group about getting the most out of networking, Carlo Lombard talked to the group about collaborating and joint ventures and Lisa Larter talked to the group about social media. After listening to Lisa speak, I was inspired to do a video blog. I have done a lot of professional video in collaboration with Reno Video Productions, but thought these video blog entries would be a nice compliment to the professional video round table discussions I have been working on with Syl and Caroline from RVP.

Here is my first try, enjoy!