Guide: Planning a cottage wedding

Tips from cottage-country experts on how to make your special day as smooth as possible

By Steve BreartonSteve Brearton

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Parting gifts

It‘s always difficult to come up with that unique parting gift for guests who’ve travelled from far and wide for your special celebration – and, in the case of the cottage wedding, endured black flies and weekend traffic. But when you stick with the lakeside theme, it’s hard to go wrong. Here are some we’ve heard of:

Flashlights embossed with the newlyweds’ names and date of the ceremony.

Maple syrup or blueberry jam made at the cottage.

Christmas ornaments in the shape of Muskoka chairs or loons.

Boat floats printed with the name and details of the wedding.

Truffles or other treats from the local sweet shop presented in a small paper bag stencilled with a pine tree.

Fun tips

Want your multi-tiered, edible-flower-bedecked wedding cake to be displayed outside, but worried the confection might become a fly magnet? One cottaging couple came up with this fun solution: They suspended a mosquito net from the ceiling of the tent and draped it over the cake like a veil.

At one Stony Lake wedding, the bride and bridesmaids prepped for the ceremony right on the dock. After a morning swim, they emerged from the water and were met by a stylist and makeup artist who did their magic en plein air — including putting the girls under an old-fashioned hair dryer hooked up to a portable generator.

Leave the confetti at home and salute the happy couple with bubbly (cooled in an old galvanized tub, of course) or bubbles (even the grandmother of the bride will love ’em). If fireworks better express the mood, be sure to check with the local municipal office or fire department to see if a special permit is required in your area.

There are as many ways to use cottage elements as there are pebbles on the shore. Dig out those old sap or fire buckets as novel containers for everything from flowers to wine. One couple used small flat stones as place markers, painted with guests’ names and table numbers.

Percentage of total wedding costs consumed by rentals of standard tables, chairs, place settings, and linens: 25%, plus delivery. Shore lunch, anyone?

Don’t mince words on the invites when it comes to proper cottage footwear.


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