We All Have Our Priorities – Here Are Three of Mine

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Wedding Budget | Saving Money on your Wedding

 

As a professional planner my primary responsibility is always to advise my couples according to their budget and vision. After all, it’s THEIR day, not mine.

That said, there are certain details I believe are worth a bit of a splurge. Here are three:

Photography

Photography – Photographers are trained. They are experienced. Friends with a cell phone cameras are a dime a dozen, and none is a photographer. Hire someone whose JOB is photography and who has experience shooting weddings. Believe me, in 30 years, when your wedding day is a happy but fuzzy memory, you’ll be so glad you invested in a pro to capture your day. Your photographs are your memories.

 Flowers – I have a background in both retail and event floristry (and am an avid gardener) so it’s no surprise that beautiful, fresh flowers make my heart sing. I simply do not understand couples who say they don’t care about the flowers. Truly, I do not understand. We humans are part of the natural world and I suspect this is one reason why we respond to beautiful florals. Simply put, nature, in all its forms, delights us. And professionally designed wedding flowers will delight you and your guests.

 

Wedding Food | Delicious Meal

Food – Every couple I’ve worked with says serving good food to their guests is a priority, but I’ve learned that some are reluctant to put their money where their mouths are. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for; delicious, memorable food is not cheap. There are countless ways to manage your wedding day budget. Saving a few dollars by serving sub-par food will only leave a bad taste in your mouth.

These are just three details I believe are well worth the investment. I’d love to hear your views. What are the wedding details you think are worth a bit of a splurge?

 

Emerging From The Woods…

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
Creemore wedding | rustic Ontario weddings

Creemore Wedding | Frances Beatty Photography

Well hello there. You probably don’t remember me, but I’m Christine, a WPIC certified wedding planner. You wouldn’t know it from my silence on the blogosphere, but 2017 has been a VERY busy year for me. I won’t bore you with all the details, but this Coles Notes summary will paint a picture:

  • daughter got married in February
  • bought a house in Creemore
  • sold our house in Toronto
  • son got married in April
  • travel to BC to help with aging parents
  • moved from Toronto to our new home in Creemore
  • unpacking boxes – so many boxes

So here I am looking at the south end of the year and gradually working my way back to my wedding business. I haven’t been completely quiet on the professional front, but essentially I put Imprint on the back burner while my real life took over.

But now that things are settling down, I’m back, and enthused for the weddings to come. Last year 50% of my weddings were here in the Creemore, Collingwood, and South Georgian Bay area. South Georgian Bay boasts beautiful scenery, unique venues, and talented wedding professionals. It is the perfect choice for your Destination Ontario wedding. Now that I’m a local my professional focus will be working with couples in this region exclusively. If you’re considering getting married in this special corner of Ontario, give me a call. I’d love to show you all it has to offer.

Until then, there are boxes to unpack…..

 

 

The Trend That Is Shaking Up Wedding Flowers

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

 

Slow Flowers Canada | Local Flowers Ontario

Melanie Harrington | Dahlia May Flower Farm

 

Working with your florist to plan and design your wedding day florals is a happy task for most brides. Amongst all the discussions surrounding designs, blooms, and colours, does the word sustainability enter the conversation? Do you stop to consider where the blooms are sourced? Are you comfortable bringing in blooms from thousands of miles away? Do you expect your florist to work with locally-grown flowers? Are you even aware that locally grown blooms are a choice?

In today’s post I hope to expand your floral world by bringing it closer to home.

Fun Fact: In Ontario alone there are more than 200 greenhouse growers who provide locally grown cut flowers year-round. Over 75 varieties are available right here in our backyard; everything from A (alliums) to Z (zinnias). It’s a huge industry and makes a significant contribution to our regional economy.

Nipping at their buds, however, is an emerging sector: farmer growers who are leading the trend to sustainably grown, local flowers.

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How to Save Money & Time by Sweating the Small Stuff

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

 

Wedding Budget | Saving Money on your Wedding

 

The early days of planning your wedding can be overwhelming. So many details! And everything costs SO MUCH MONEY. Establishing your priorities will help you set a workable budget. From there, I always advise couples to start with the biggies (venue, catering, bar, etc.). Once those are taken care of you can turn your attention to other costs.

There are many small things you can either modify or eliminate altogether that will save you time and/or money. These two precious commodities seem to shrink as your wedding date draws near, causing unnecessary stress. In no particular order, here are a few ideas to get you started:

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A Fresh Colour for a Fresh Year

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Colour of the Year | Greenery | Colour Trends

Well, do you love it?

I do. I LOVE Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2017. Greenery is bright, fresh, and full of energy and promise. It’s the colour of spring, rebirth and hope. Every new year should wear this colour.

You’ve got to hand it to those clever folks at Pantone. What started as a marketing initiative in 1999 is now a highly anticipated annual event. Every December eager colour enthusiasts from all walks of life, from around the globe, wait breathlessly for Pantone to announce which hue will be crowned The Colour of the Year.

(Also clamoring for our attention are two well-known paint manufacturers. Benjamin Moore has declared the “…allusive and enigmatic” – who writes this stuff? –  Shadow its Colour of the Year, while Sherwin-Williams has named Poised Taupe as its Colour of the Year. However, neither company has captured the design zeitgeist to the same degree as Pantone.)

Being named Colour of the Year is all well and good, but let’s get practical. Will we see Greenery influencing wedding florals in 2017?

Yes we will. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that greenery in all its forms has been a big trend in wedding florals for a couple of years now. Here’s a detail shot from a rustic wedding I did in September. This lush runner was created by Leuk in Collingwood.

And the bride’s beautiful bouquet, also created by Leuk, emphasized greens over flowers.

 

Here’s an image from another rustic wedding I did last summer. Designer Barbara Koturbash affixed simple greens to plastic hoops, and suspended them from the tent’s support poles. (This is a great trick by the way: hula hoops are inexpensive, easy to find, and lightweight.)

 

If you’re hooked on Greenery, but looking for more design inspiration, check out Style Me Pretty for ideas on how to incorporate this zesty, fresh colour into your wedding design vision.

 

Click here for the story behind Pantone’s selection of Greenery as The Colour of the Year.

Congrats. You’re Engaged. Now What?

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
A wedding coordinator can prove invaluable, saving you time and money.

A professional Wedding Coordinator can prove invaluable, saving you time and money.

 

Update December 29, 2016:  I first published this four years ago, but all the advice it contains is as fresh and relevant now, as it was then. 

 

Happy 2013!

And warm congratulations to all you couples who became engaged over the holidays.

Once the intoxicating first flush of the proposal has faded somewhat – but not too much I hope – it’s time to focus on the work ahead. For as much as planning a wedding can be an awful lot of fun, it is an awful lot of work.

Getting Started

Assuming you’ve shared your happy news with family and friends you can now get down to the details of planning your special day. So, where to begin?

Your initial Top Four considerations are:

  1. Budget
  2. Date
  3. Venue
  4. Guest list

Your first and most important responsibility is to set a budget as every aspect of your wedding flows from there.

The venue you choose, the date of your wedding (a Saturday in August is going to cost more than a Friday in March), the number of guests you’ll be inviting, all of these important considerations depend on your budget. Flexibility is key to successful wedding planning but your budget should be carved in granite. No couple should start off their married life in debt. Remember, your wedding day is just that:  one day. Marriage lasts a lot longer!

Should You Hire a Wedding Coordinator?

To the above list I would add: Wedding Coordinator. Note:  not your friend who has little experience or few qualifications beyond having recently planned her own wedding. A certified, professional Wedding Planner/Coordinator will save you countless hours and potentially thousands of dollars. If this seems counter-intuitive because, yes, we do charge for our expertise, keep in mind that your Wedding Coordinator has already done much of the legwork. With our knowledge of and contacts within the industry we are able to direct you and your fiance to venues and wedding vendors that can help you create the wedding of your dreams – on budget.

Almost 20% of Canadian brides admit to increased bickering with their beloved during the planning process.  Planning your wedding will be stressful and tensions will run high. Your Wedding Coordinator will be a calm, objective third party, as excited for your big day as you two, but keeping a firm eye on the big picture.  She – or he – will help you focus on your priorities while keeping track of the thousands of small details that go into putting it all together. In the long run your Wedding Coordinator will save you time, money – and eliminate those stress headaches.

Still not sure if a Wedding Coordinator is right for you? Consider these tips from The Frugal Bride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three (Affordable) Industrial Chic Venues You Will Love

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
Gibson Centre | Alliston, ON | Industrial Chic Venues

The Gibson Cultural Centre

 

For many couples, there comes the terrible moment during the venue search when you realize there is a disconnect between what you love, and what you can afford. And that’s when reality bites.

You love the industrial chic vibe of downtown Toronto venues such as The Burroughes, 2nd Floor Events, or The Aperture Room, but just can’t make the dollars work.

Don’t give up! I have a solution!

Today we’re going to visit three venues that provide a similar look, at a much friendlier price point, just an hour or two out of town.

Seat belts on? Let’s go.

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Barn Weddings – Buyer Beware

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
Creemore barn wedding | rustic venues Ontario

Private Barn Wedding | Southern Ontario | Photo by Jennifer Klementti

 

 

It’s a couple’s worst nightmare.

Just months before the wedding they’ve been planning meticulously for over a year, they learn that their dream barn venue has locked its doors. Possibly for a few months. Possibly forever.

Why? A neighbour’s complaints escalated, and now the venue’s future is tangled up in the courts.

I wish this was a fictional story, but sadly it’s true. Recently I received a call from a bride’s desperate mother. Her daughter’s spring 2017 wedding is now in jeopardy while her barn venue shuts down to sort out sudden legal issues. Guests are coming from overseas. Flights and hotel rooms have been booked. With only months to go, a bride and groom are without a wedding venue. The bride’s mother called to enlist my help in finding another venue.

Barn venues are hugely popular, but not all barn venues are created equal. Barn venues must meet many specific criteria before they can open their doors. It takes an enormous amount of research, money (so much money), and obsessive adherence to local by-laws to operate a barn venue that is both legal and well managed. A few minor permit violations, or complaints from grouchy neighbours, and suddenly your dream becomes a nightmare.

If you’re dreaming of a barn wedding keep these few tips in mind. They are no guarantee that you won’t experience issues with your venue, but your first responsibility is to ensure your eyes are wide open.

  • check with the local municipality to learn what is required
  • ask to see all permits (they should be posted prominently)
  • the most important permit is the Occupancy Permit – the only permit that allows a barn to host a function in a barn, and is proof that it has met local requirements for zoning, building and fire codes
  • ask how long the venue has been open (newer barn venues might be “getting the bugs” out and vulnerable to problems)
  • read on-line reviews to check the venue’s reputation
  • ask a LOT of questions
  • work with a planner who has experience with barn venues

In 2016 a number of barn venues throughout southern Ontario closed temporarily or permanently. Some had to sort out permit issues. A couple closed outright because the owners realised that running a barn venue was a lot more demanding than they expected. There are some barn venues that are operating without the proper permits. If you are considering one of these, please, take my advice and run as far away as you possibly can. I don’t want any more calls from anguished mothers.

 

 

 

 

My Kids are Engaged & Their Wedding Plans Might Surprise You

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

 

Tahiti elopement | weddings in paradise

 

It’s been a banner year for happy news in the March Family. Early this year our son, Sean, and his lovely, longtime love, Erin, got engaged. We were thrilled.

Last month, our daughter, Andrea and her longtime love, wonderful Jeff, became engaged. Again, we were thrilled.

Now I know what you’re thinking: two kids, two engagements, a wedding planner’s dream. Right?

Ummmm, not so fast.

Are you sitting down?

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Top Tips for a Budget Friendly Wedding

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Budget Friendly Weddings | Affordable Toronto Weddings