These two will make your heart melt. Avegail booked me for Month of Coordination via my website, without meeting me, which was a first for me. We didn’t officially meet until 5 weeks prior to their wedding when we did the details meeting. One month is more than enough time to fall in love with them. Actually, the amount of time you put in to reading this post is enough time to fall in love with these two. There is this beautiful calm, quietness about Avegail and Marlo, they make you feel like the world really stops for love.
DIY projects. Love them or hate them?
Personally, I am not a very crafty person. Whenever my kids get craft kits they swiftly get packed up for the next visit to Grandma’s house. Some people though, including my Mother, live for DIY projects. Where do you fall in this category? Where do you fall in this category as a bride?
When it comes to weddings there are thousands of articles online and even more photos of DIY projects and hacks on Pinterest that promise to save you money and make your wedding unique. Some are simple projects like chalk hearts to create a path, dipping branches in glitter or mason jars with lace and twine. There are projects that are a little more time consuming and maybe require a bit more skill, like creating your own tulle skirting for your tables, building book arches for your ceremony or creating your own paper lanterns out of up cycled lace and coffee filters. Then there are the really over the top DIY’s that totally blow your mind - the bride that folds 3000 origami cranes for a stunning ceremony backdrop or creating your own floral wall by crafting all of your own hand made crepe paper flowers for your photo booth. These projects take DIY to the next level.
In 12 years of event planning I have seen and set up a lot of projects for my clients. I have had brides that spent their entire engagement tackling project after project and loving every second of it.
These are some memorable DIY’s from recent weddings - a globe hand painted by the bride’s Mother to use as a guests book, a wooden head table back drop made by the groom, bouquets made by the bride with artificial flowers
Photos (from left to right) by Tony|BLF Studios, Reanne Berard, Cynthia Bettencourt Photography
You have the best of intentions, but you get into the project and hate it? Or you realize that your friends love you but don’t want to spend their weekends for the next 12 month crafting with you. What happens when you buy everything, start the project and then realize that you have a Pinterest fail on your hands?
Let’s talk about the DI-Don’t. I am all for saving money at a wedding. I am also a wedding planner and the one thing I hate more than anything for my clients is wedding stress, self induced or other wise. It’s part of my job and I think just in my nature to try and make things easier for people.
The one piece of advice I always give me clients is to know what you can manage and what you can’t. Things you can’t manage you delegate. If you don’t have someone to delegate to then ask yourself if there’s another way to achieve the look you want in an easier way or is there a way to source it through a vendor that will agree with your budget? If you have hired a wedding planner, ask us.
Photos by Stephanie Hodgson Photography
Did you know the print work pictured above is an Etsy downloadable template? The bride customized names and menus in the template and then sent it to the printer. Did you know that when you send your place cards or menus to the printer they cut them for you? Do you know how tedious it is to spend hours the day before your wedding cutting place cards? The vases on the table were all sourced from the dollar store and the candles from Ikea. Laser All The Things cut individual names to serve as place indicators for the guests and the bride spray painted them about a month before the wedding. DIY, but done without much stress and sticking to a budget.
I too often see couples taking on DIY tasks that seem small in the beginning, but are bigger than expected or they realize part way through they don’t have the skill set they need to make it work the way they want. If you are going to take on DIY projects for your wedding, make sure they are projects you can start and finish earlier in your planning stages. This gives you time to fix things that don’t turn out the first time.
Try to limit the number of DIY projects that you need to complete in the last 3-4 weeks before your wedding. Don’t under estimate how insanely busy this month will be, how many times you will need to change your seating arrangement , how many questions you’ll be getting from your wedding party and family.
Remember that almost every couple in the last few weeks of wedding planning is tired of wedding planning, they often just want the day to be there so they are finally married and are annoyed with projects and the constant stream of emails for final numbers, dietary concerns and venue floor plans.
We often think that it’s saving money to do things ourselves, but when time is at a premium, what is your time worth? Your time needs to be accounted for. I guarantee that if you were the bride cutting place cards the night before her wedding at 10 pm in retrospect, you would have paid the $75 to have them printed and cut for you.
Hello Winnipeg and welcome to bridal show season! With the majority of engagements happening over the Christmas season and over Valentine’s Day it’s no wonder our city comes alive with wedding shows and open houses typically between January and March.
As a vendor it can be exhausting and expensive, all the time planning booths, inspiration tables, promotions, reviewing print work, printing canvases, creating slideshows, collaborating with your favourite spaces and people in hopes to capture a wider audience, a different audience, a new one. The wedding industry can be a difficult one to market in because you are literally always looking for new clients. It can also be really fun to see everyone in the industry, not just at a wedding, but to have real time to catch up, check in on each others families, successes and challenges.
As a bride or groom wedding show season can be overwhelming. Yep. I said it. Overwhelming.
When I was a venue coordinator I would see it happen every year. Wedding shows. Open houses. Then came the phone calls or the emergency “we have to see you this week” meetings. Sometimes these calls were accompanied by tears, the panicking brides who suddenly felt like they hadn’t done enough by now or feeling pressured to book right now to get the specials that only come around once a year.
Now this isn’t a bash on wedding shows and open houses. They can be great resources for couples looking for vendors and great for inspiration. Now you’ll read all the articles on the internet about wearing sensible shoes, taking water, collecting brochures and making sure you have enough time to get through everything you need to see, which is all great advice. What I want to talk about though is the overwhelmed part - how to go to a wedding show and not walk away overwhelmed.
If you are just starting out with your wedding plans, make a list of priorities for your day, this can often help you narrow down what areas to look at first.. Have a rough idea of your guest count and have the money talk. What do you want to spend? There’s no sense in visiting a venue for an open house that is too small or too big or way out of your budget range.
Remember that every wedding is different. Every couple’s priorities for the day are individual to them. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in things you don’t really want or need because it’s feeling trendy.
Plan ahead. A couple of weeks prior to the wedding show research some of the participants in categories that you need to look at. Narrow down which ones look like they fit your style or budget and mark them down. Print the floor plan of the show and go as far to even mark what booth numbers they are or mapping out the route you want to take (Geek moment - I do this with the wine show every spring and it brings me so much joy, but it also makes such a huge difference in our experience). This can help you from get distracted or bombarded by all the items you don’t need.
If you’re looking to talk to the vendors then going during the fashion show can be an ideal time because most of the other attendees are watching while the vendors are hanging out in their booths.
Don’t take paperwork from every booth you pass by but only the ones that really strike you or the people that you connected with so that you can research them later to see if they might be a good fit.
Limit your crowd. Taking a lot of people that are all trying to be helpful can sometimes not be helpful. Pick just a couple close people that know you well and have a sense of what your style and what you’re looking for. Have one of them keep a notebook handy for points or pricing that are important when you are getting to know people.
If you have hired a wedding planner, email or meet with them prior to the show to do a check in. I have had a number of couples do this recently and hope that it’s been helpful. Ask for recommendations from them to help narrow the choices or to point out things you should be focusing on first. If you haven’t hired a wedding planner, the wedding show is a great time to find one that you love!
Enjoy the day. Enjoy being engaged. Yes, it’s busy and bustling, but what I know from being on this side of things is that most wedding professionals do what they do because they love their jobs and their clients. We all strive to meet our ideal clients, but in that we form some really amazing friendships when we are lucky enough to connect with people like you.
So many times you see all the posts about the New Year, people being ready to be done with the old one. So eager to move forward into the new, the blank slate. Everyone looking for another chance to get it right, to change it up, but the New Year is really a continuation of a bigger journey that we are all on. We all move forward with a little more wisdom, some well meaning intentions and a lot of love.
I wanted this post to be a chance for me to reflect and to celebrate what an incredible year 2018 was. Sure, when I was in the thick of it there were days I was so done, so tired and not sure which was was up, but I made it through and learned so much along the way this year. 2018 was my second full year of planning and boy did it deliver! I saw over 100% growth from 2017, which exceeded my goal for the number of events booked. I also saw a bit of a shift in my clientele as well, finding that more people that truly felt like “my people” entered into my circle. One amazing thing I have noticed this year too is that the majority of my bookings are still coming from referrals, which makes my heart happy. Knowing that people you have worked with within the industry, couples that booked me or their families/close friends are able to confidently recommend you is an incredible feeling. Knowing that sometimes when the days were long, they were worth every second of energy.
2018 started out with my first venture as a vendor in the Wonderful Wedding Show. I had taken part in the show as a venue coordinator previously, so I had a really good idea of what the chaos would be like , but it was so different when it was my business and my booth. So many moments of second guessing my design ideas, right to the end. I honestly wasn’t sure that I even liked my booth until I saw the photos Casey Nolin Photography sent me on Friday night before the show started.
I also took on a table scape design for the Inn at the Forks booth which had a very different feel than mine, so it was fun to play around with. This design was meant to reflect the style of their restaurant SMITH.
My next venture was two back to back photo shoots - the first with Local Love. Local Love is a smaller, boutique style wedding show that started in Edmonton and has been breaking into Winnipeg. I really love the idea of shows that feel more personal, more intimate and less overwhelming for clients. Reunited with my one of my faves - Casey Nolin Photography and a great group of vendors we did an indoor photo shoot at The Gates on Roblin.
Florals - Couture Floral, Photography - Casey Nolin Photography, Decor - Planned Perfectly, Tableware - Bel Ayre Rentals, Dress - Helen’s Bridal, Suit - EPH Apparel, Makeup - Noir Cosmetic Studio, Hair - Cuts by Cass,/Rehab for Hair, Stationary - Tiny Mighty Moments, Jewelry - Mokada Jewelry, Venue - The Gates on Roblin
The next photo shoot, taking place in February couldn't have been more different in every aspect. When Bond from BLF Studios reached out, I won’t lie, I squealed like a teenage girl. I have known Bond and his wife Leah from BLF Studios since my venue days at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. They blew me away with their style, but also by how genuine they are as individuals. BLF Studios is a fine art photography studio and I love everything they do. I love how you can look through their entire site and every single photo is unique to each event, each client and their story.
Bond had this great moody inspiration that had a really old world feel that I instantly fell in love with. It was so exciting to create something that wasn’t about traditional and bridal, but about beauty and detail. I think we created some magic, but I could be biased. The shoot was published on Once Wed too, which is a favourite wedding blog, so that was a really incredible way to start off 2018.
Photography - BLF Studios, Florals & Chairs - The Floral Fixx, Cake - Cake Studio, Linen - Dream Day Decorators, Dress - Anna Lang Bridal, Henkaa, Hair - Made Beauty Co., Make Up - Jessica Janel for Ashley Tiopo Artistry, Calligraphy - VP Calligraphy & Design
In March I got the opportunity to present to some of the hospitality students at Red River about event planning and what that looks like from both sides - as an independent coordinator and as a former venue coordinator. Sometimes it blows me away that I get to do stuff like this, but after 11 plus years in the industry I do know what I am talking about!
Right before Casey jetted off to get married in Ireland, we figured we’d put something together quickly to try and capture some spring inspiration before wedding season hit full force. Our Mediterranean Inspired Love Story photo shoot came together quickly and boy did we have our day of challenges!
Shooting in early May, outside in Winnipeg is always hit or miss. Well, shooting outside in Winnipeg in general can be hit or miss. The day started out beautifully, blue sky, a hint of sun. Once we were nearly set up, the wind picked up. It was picking up the tableware and flinging it around. Lauren from Stone House Creative had to reattach her ceremony greens, there were olives flying out of the bowls and bread literally tossed across the table. Our poor bridal models were freezing! We ended up unsetting the table and moving it into a little alcove to try and limit the wind, the results were perfect. This shoot features a color palette that isn’t very traditional feeling, but it’s for those brides that aren’t afraid of bold, bright colours. To top it off this shoot was featured on The Perfect Palette - the must read blog for all wedding color inspiration!
Photography - Casey Nolin Photography, Florals - Stone House Creative, Chairs - Winnipeg Wedding Rentals, Tableware - C&T Event Rentals, Linen - Simply Perfect Decor, Stationary - Keeks Paper Co., Dress - Bliss Bridal Boutique, Chic Nostalgia, Rings - Vandenbergs Fine Jewellery, Hair and Make Up - Made Beauty Co
After this photo shoot the two organizations that I volunteer with had their events and then wedding season settled in and things got crazy. In 2018 I produced 21 different weddings/events. I met some new incredible vendors, got to coordinator in some venues that were new to me. There are so many highlights!!
I kick started the season with Liane and Jaydee’s beautiful enchanted garden style wedding at Pineridge Hollow. These two are some of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met. They were incredible clients to be blessed with.
Or Jocelyn and Eric’s tear jerker of a wedding day at the Manitoba Club. I honestly don’t know if I have ever cried so much at a client’s wedding as I did for these two. They have such a beautiful love story.
Jessie and Alastair and Nikita and Matthew got married on the hottest weekend in July and both weddings had substantial outdoor components. I am not sure who wins for being the most relaxed couple of the two though. It was so beautiful to witness them fully enjoying the day and all the people that surrounded them.
Photo on the right - Stephanie Schulz Photography
August was the busiest month of the year for me with 5 weddings in a row which started out an 8 week run of 9 weddings that took me to the end of September. I will say it again and again, THANK YOU. My couples were the best and I so appreciate the love and support I got from my family during this time. I also got to share space with some beautiful families too. They don’t get more gorgeous than these faces.
September was a whirlwind. My girls went back to school - Chaya to grade five and Tierney into grade one. Last year I had been very ready for Tierney to be in kindergarten, but there is something about grade one that is just so final feeling. I will admit there was some tears shed.
I had four weddings in September and a 16th birthday party on the go. I will give a quick shout out to my sister here as she spearheaded Chaya’s 10th birthday party - without her there may not have been a party. Two of my September weddings though were very close to my heart as both were for close friends. The first was for Casey Nolin of Casey Nolin Photography. She and Glen had taken off in the spring and had their dream wedding in Ireland. They decided to have a local reception to celebrate with those who weren’t able to join them in Ireland. What a blast! They chose the King’s Head Pub as their venue and also incorporated traditional Irish dancers, a romantic serenade surprise by Glen and The Dust Rhinos.
I also had the joy in celebrating with my dear friend Chloe and her now husband Ian. I am looking forward to blogging a bit more about her wedding and all the love that went into the day. Chloe and I have been friends for about 17 years, which seems so crazy. They had an intimate wedding with their closest family and friends. They also had the most amazing wedding food ever provided by Denise et Jean-Louis Catering. Chloe let me take the reins when it came to a lot of event design details which was so fun! Chloe made a stunning bride and this Reclamation Design Company dress is jaw dropping.
Photography by Stephanie Hodgson Photography
I capped the season off with a beautiful wedding that melded traditions from two cultures in a venue I had been dreaming of coordinating in - The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Working with Ashley and Aly I got to work with an incredible design idea, but also work on custom dinner menus and wine pairings, which for anyone that knows me, well, they’ll get it. Totally my geek.
This photo though!!!
This post has ended up being so much longer than I anticipated and so much more incredible than I had really thought it would be. Here I am sitting on my couch saying thank you to 2018 for it’s challenges and all the beauty you brought my way. I can’t help but be excited to see where 2019 takes me, but from here it feels like 2018 might be hard to top.
I met Mandi and Juliano about 6 months out in their wedding planning journey. When Mandi described her wedding style - black and white, gold, vintage glam I had star eyes. I responded with “So, Kate Spade style?” and Mandi beamed. They had some vendors booked, but were struggling with decisions, design and time. I created a custom planning package to cover the remainder of their planning needs (Yes! Don’t be afraid to ask for something that feels more suited to where you are in the process.)
Mandi has an incredible sense of style and design, which shines in one of her favourite things- Cosplay. The outfits she designs are something else. She chose this stunning light blush gown and spent hours shopping for and eventually making the perfect bird cage veil for the day.
The design for the event room was centred on playing up the vintage and stripes, but keeping an elegant feel. Mandi and Juliano opted for a matte white satin linen paired with a bold black and white striped table runner. The chargers added a pop of gold and ensured the tables didn’t feel “too white”.
We did two styles of centrepieces on the tables - one with a vintage taper trio and the others with tall gold centres brimming with hydrangeas. This way there was a little extra wiggle in the budget for black chiavari chairs and a custom striped dance floor.
Juliano designed all the day of stationary to fit the theme and the team at High Tea Bakery made the prettiest Kate Spade inspired cake!
I especially love when couples find ways to honour their family traditions or special cultural items. Mandi had spent a number of years as a Ukrainian dancer so it was really important that they had a troupe perform during dinner. Juliano is originally from Brazil and his parents travelled to Winnipeg for the wedding. It was important to them to incorporate the tradition of cutting the grooms tie and selling it off to the guests. Juliano’s Dad also wowed us all with his first speech in English!i
These two also had a love of Disney - they got engaged in Disney and vacation there regularly, so it wasn’t a surprise to hear that their first dance song was from Disney Pixar’s movie “Up”.
You can’t go wrong when you infuse your wedding with your personality and personal style and I think that this wedding really nailed it.