Monday, November 23, 2009
I know with every bone in my body that this is what I was meant to do, but there is the odd moment of panic, like, what if I don't get any clients? What if disaster strikes? What if I use up all my ideas on other people's weddings and then mine is a flop? And I have already faced the fact that I may miss big days in my child's life - for example her 5th birthday this year I am booked. These are things that come with the territory, I mean, what business DOESN'T come with a few sacrifices.
The past few weeks have been so exciting for me, as I always have big ideas but rarely see them past an idea bubble floating about my head. This one I knew I wanted so badly that there was no way this idea would fizzle. I have registered the business, set up banking, have my legal meeting this week, and the website is up!
My dreams are coming true, and I am so happy to share them with you...whoever you
Saturday, November 7, 2009
This is one detail I have no clue about for my own big day. One thing I know, is that I will not buy a dress based on the label nor whether it costs me 6 or 7 pay cheques. What I think clouds some brides judgement when it comes to dress shopping are the visuals in their heads. They see one of their friends, or a bride in a magazine wearing a sweetheart, dropped waist ballroom style dress, and it becomes this vision that they must acquire for their big day. I am a firm believer that if a dress doesn't look good on you, it does not matter anymore, you cannot buy it. Every bride wants to look stunning on their big day, so why choose a dress based on what it looks like on someone else?
Recently, I helped Alison pick out her beautiful dress, and I must say, I had a fleeting moment where I thought to myself "hmm - now THAT is something I would wear on my wedding day", but what do I know? It looks gorgeous on Ali, but could look entirely different on me.
Regarding the silhouette, I have no ideas as to what I would want or look good on me, so come the day, I will probably try on every style out there. One thing I DO know is that I want an element of couture, even if it's not "true" couture (which would mean I would be spending a few dozen pay cheques". I require a few non-classic touches to my dress, feathers or flowers, something unique. I also believe that the dress must match the occassion - flowy, casual for the beach, lace for a classic and elegant wedding and a mermaid silouette with a cage veil for a more retro-chic look. The dress and the venue are usually two elements that need to be decided on to build the foundation of the wedding and then everything else is built on that.
When it comes to name brands on wedding dresses, in New York, or Paris, big fashion capitals this may matter - but I have yet to this day not met a bride who made a huge deal about what designer made her dress, how much it cost and how exclusive she is. This is not to say you cannot tell cheap fabric from silk, but a silk dress found in a local shop and a silk dress purchased from Christian Dior may not stand that far apart from each other - and really, does it matter? As long as it looks amazing and you 100% believe it is "the one", then no one cares if it costs you $500 or $5000.
With the bombarding of wedding shows coming out this year, I must say, the PVR is getting a great workout - one of the ones I love is Say Yes to the Dress. The show is based in New York at a premiere bridal shop by the name of Kleinfeld. By watching numerous episodes, I realize how exclusive a shop it really is - when someone says $2500 for a dress is a tight budget it makes me wonder "well what is average?", but this is what I am saying. We live in Calgary, where $2500 would be on the higher end of the price range for dresses. On one show, a bride came in with a very specific dress in mind - and it came with a price tag of over $25,000. My jaw literally hit the floor - the parents bargained with the sales associate to buy the floor model and the family acted like they had won the lottery when the "scored" the dress for a cool 12 K. Wow.
My role as a wedding planner constantly fluctuates - some day's I can wear the hat of the best friend - being supportive and encouraging, other times I may need to pull out my mom instincts and try to present the practical side of things. At the end of the day - if I have a glowing, radiant and truly joyful bride, I feel like my job is done. I also feel as though I have the best job in the world.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
First, I have to go back to my family to explain where Ali fits in. Anyone who knows me, knows I have three sisters (and four step-sisters too!) and they are my very best friends. Anyone who is a friend to them is close to my heart as well. My sisters have been away from Calgary for sometime. Krista my puppetering sister who has written numerous plays, has a dream of owning a puppet farm (to normal people, this would be an artists retreat), and whom I appear to be a carbon copy of, lives in Toronto. Meagan has just recently graduated from Bond University, on the Gold Coast of Australia and before that, worked for Club Med and travelled the world, lives in Ottawa, we think maybe she's there to become Prime Minister. And my little sister Caitlin, who graduated from ACAD last year and is an amazing painter who has graced our whole house with her beautiful work, is currently in the Outback of Australia cooking for cowboys and having crazy and wild adventures. I miss my sisters dearly and would do anything for them, but since they are not here to actually visit with, I feel very blessed to have a few of their good friends keep me company, and this is where Ali fits in. She's been kind of part of the family, as some of my best friends have been, for years, and am so happy to be collaborating with her creativity to see to it that her dream wedding comes true!
Before I stepped into their wedding picture, Ali had a full binder of pictures, ideas, magazine cut outs, websites, dress patterns and contacts. This is fantastic, as it gives me some sort of concrete foundation to build upon. I love that Ali is decisive, but only after testing out, or "auditioning" vendors. This is a great thing to do so that you feel 100% comfortable with your choices. This is one of the biggest days of your life and one where you can actually call all the shots. You're the boss and you are hiring these people (thanks for not auditioning other wedding planners Ali!). We have had several lengthy visits about flowers, centerpieces, dresses and the palette. The palette for this wedding took a few tries to get it right. I love that Graham actually puts in his two cents about the wedding and vocalizes whether or not he likes something.
After this, we discussed maybe doing a celedon or apple green and brown, which Ali loved but Graham was not a big fan of. Then Ali came to me with the idea of a powder blue and chocolate brown with ivory accents. I thought this would be a wonderful choice, as the blue would be more consistent, and was only a bit different than her initial palette. I went to work and gave Josh his job of coming up with the palette below, and I think it turned out beautiful, and best of all, both the bride and groom to be loved it!
Having my sisters far away is so hard, but having their close friends near by is the next best thing. I am so honored to be working with Ali and Graham and am going to attempt to patiently wait for next June to arrive.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
When Steve popped the question, we all were so elated for him and Din but they chose a date that seemed SO far away, I thought I was going to die of waiting for their big day! One thing I was really grateful for, was Steve keeping his word to me and asking my sweet and feisty daughter Brooklynn to be their flower girl, he had promised this role to her about six months before the engagement but was so happy he remembered, it meant a lot to me. Danielle bought her a custom-made tutu for the big day in their beautiful colours of orange and magenta and she received numerous compliments on the get up.
The happy new fiance's chose their venue which turned out to be a place that I had never even been to, even though it was just a few blocks away from where I work. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is a hidden gem right downtown. It is one of the oldest buildings in the core and the second you are inside you can tell. It was reminiscent to me of the Banff Springs Hotel, the old charm and feel of history and years gone by were everywhere you looked. Danielle brought me for lunch there about a month before their big day and showed me around. At first glance the ballroom, as she warned seemed a little outdated and, at the time we visited, blah, but I could see so much potential in there, with the grand ceiling and the dance floor in the center of the room. The massive windows and the crown molding just added to the ambiance. I knew with the right lighting and their high impact orchid centerpieces the room would just look magical.
Danielle is the most calm and relaxed bride to be I have ever seen. Even the morning of, she was just all smiles and no jitters, and she worked extremely hard on this wedding, right up until the day before. Steve and Danielle hand made a lot of elements to the wedding, place cards, the large painted "trees" with little lamps all over them, the candy buffet and the custom bags that they made. The theme and colours were used so tactfully throughout every detail and someone like me really appreciates all these tiny pieces that make the whole thing come together.
Along with their reception venue, they stuck with a historic theme and chose Calgary Central United Church for their ceremony, the oldest church in Calgary. Their massive wedding party (seven girls and guys on each side) hardly even fit up at the alter. The ceremony was beautiful and all of us had to hold back our tears as our boy Steve became Danielle's new hubby....maybe partially because we were realizing, if all of us were 16 when we met, and Steve was getting married which means we really are getting old, but mostly from sheer happiness for him and Danielle, they really are a perfect match.
*Photo Credit: www.shutterbirdphotography.blogspot.com
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
There are several creative, personalized options out there and I will share a few of my very favourites. For the wedding of Mark and Ashley Dyer last year, they ordered custom Jones soda bottles with their picture on it. I thought it was so whimsical, cute, and for those that need the “usefulness” side of a favour, extreme drinkability. For $29.99 plus shipping you can order cases of several flavours of Jones soda with several different pictures on them, as well as adding a personal message to your guests, I believe Mark and Ashley’s said “thank you for sharing our day with us”. http://www.myjones.com/
Now on to a little less expensive, yet a little more labour intensive favors, those of the homemade variety. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart’s apprentice to be able to pull something like this off. When you are planning a wedding do not be afraid to ask some of your more creative friends and family members for help, most of the time they will be more than happy to. The first fairly easy and inexpensive idea is homemade magnets. These are made out of glass a stone, the one’s that people buy for fish tanks, flat on the back, rounded on top. You can buy bags of these at most craft stores for very little money. Then a good craft glue and a coil of magnetic tape, tissue paper in your wedding colour and however many favour tins with clear tops you will need, and that’s it for supplies. The fun thing with these is you can make whatever pictures or words you want. For Alicia and Neal Bateman’s wedding this past spring we typed “live, love laugh” about a million times on her computer and cut them into circles, used the white glue (which dries clear) to attach them onto the back of the glass stone and then attach a square of magnetic tape. To finish the project off, cut a small piece of tissue paper into each tin and place three magnets in each tin with the words or pictures facing out. Voila! Each favour works out to be about $1.40 total, which is quite affordable, and these were a big hit.
Another idea I was so fond of I considered it for my own wedding is little robin’s egg nests. These are so cute and go with quite a few themes, colours and décor. Taste wise, I personally like no bake cookies to be the ones with coconut and oatmeal, but the one’s I found were with Chow Mein noodles. Then you can use either mini eggs or Jordan almonds for the eggs. So cute. You can double these as name cards by placing the names on little sticks and poking them into the nest portion. These work out to less than a dollar a piece. A very affordable and very fun favor idea.
Now, this post could go on and on, but the point of it is to just give you a few ideas to inspire you and then go from there. This last idea is something unconventional, but seems like it may be a growing trend. People that are a bit more practical with their money may appreciate this one. I have decided for our favors we will be doing a “in lieu of favors” donation to the SPCA in Calgary. Now of course I still want to have a creative spin with this. What I am hoping to do, is to visit the SPCA with Josh and visit with a number of dogs (possibly cats and rabbits, but Josh is more of a dogs only guy) and bring numbers along, have a photo shoot with several dogs, as many as there are tables and do portraits of the dog sponsored at each table with a write up about them such as “My friends Brittany and Josh would like to thank you for sharing this wonderful day with them, and in lieu of favors, they have donated money in your honour to help me survive, thrive and hopefully find a forever home. (Dog’s name, breed, age).”. Some people may find this a bit off the wall or odd, but no one that knows me will. I love animals and from a young age I told my parents the SPCA would be the only ones put in my will, ha ha. Every couple has different charities or causes that mean a lot to them, some environmentalists could plant a tree in every guests honor, or give money to the cancer society and do black and white photos of people you are honouring or remembering on each table. The nice thing about this idea is it is a feel good favour and can be very personal.
What ever your budget or theme is, a favor can really tie things together, and as much as many of them get left behind, there are individuals that enjoy and appreciate a favor, and if anything, they make a great conversation starter, just look at me, I wrote for an hour about them!