The Superheroes Who Will Save Your Wedding Day

Monday, April 18th, 2016


Happy Bride | Relaxed Bride

     Why is this bride so relaxed? She knows the Superheroes are taking care of everything.


It’s been my good fortune to be involved in the planning and execution of dozens of weddings over the years. I’m happy to report that most run like clockwork. Hooray for me. (Sorry for the shameless self-congratulatory moment.) The payoff of hiring a good wedding planner is a wedding day that runs without a hitch.

And yet…

…sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. On those (rare) occasions when glitches threaten to derail a well-planned event I know there are two superheroes I can turn to for support and assistance. They don’t wear capes or weirdly coloured full-body spandex, but they care about your wedding day, almost as much as you and I do.

Superhero #1 – The Venue Banquet Manager

When you’re shopping for your wedding venue your main contact will likely be a sales person. She or he will give you the tour, provide a quote and work with you as you and your planner fine-tune the details of your day. But that person disappears on the wedding day itself. The job of overseeing your wedding reception falls to the venue’s Banquet Manager. He or she liaises with the kitchen, bar and serving staff – and your planner – to ensure your wedding reception flows as smoothly as possible. It is the Banquet Manager who will adapt and improvise if the wedding timeline is altered for any reason. It’s very likely you won’t meet this Superhero at all (unless you’re acting as your own wedding coordinator, which is nuts by the way), but he or she will be there making sure you and your beloved have a night to remember.

Superhero #2 – Your DJ

Yes, your DJ’s role is often so much more than just providing the soundtrack to your rockin’ party. The DJ keeps your guests entertained when unexpected delays or schedule changes throw things off. If your DJ is also acting as your MC – as many do – he (or she) will keep your guests entertained while behind-the-scenes drama works itself out. A good DJ works closely with your planner, reads your crowd, and responds accordingly. Your DJ is a trained professional who adapts and adjusts his role to accommodate the changing nature of your reception.

As a planner/coordinator I can honestly say that these two Superheroes are who I rely on when things threaten to veer off course, even if just slightly. Together, we three form a cohesive support system that ensures you have the best wedding and celebration possible.

Have another look at the relaxed, happy bride at the top of this post. She’s completely unaware of the behind-the-scenes drama at her wedding. Thanks to the smooth, stealth work of her wedding superheroes:  her planner, banquet manager and DJ, all this bride knows is that her wedding celebration is amazing. And that’s the way it should be.


Wedding Flower of the Month – Tulip

Friday, April 8th, 2016


Tulips | Art in Bloem | Spring Wedding Flowers

Elegant tulip centrepiece created by Art in Bloem

Back in the 17th century a type of madness overtook the otherwise rational citizens of The Netherlands. That madness was known as Tulipomania. Basically people went bonkers for tulips and pushed their value way up into the stratosphere (think Toronto or Vancouver housing prices). The Dutch economy nearly sank and fortunes were lost. All for a somewhat exotic flower from Asia. Had I lived in Holland during that era I have no doubt I, too, would have succumbed to that madness. After all, my personal motto is:  One can never have too many tulips.

Given my predilection, I had no trouble declaring the tulip as my April Wedding Flower of the Month. I love them. Tulips are happy harbingers of spring. They bloom in a variety of forms and colours. And they can fit into any budget. Depending on the type of bloom you choose, the per-stem cost could range from $2 – $7 per stem.

The genus tulipa is vast – over 3,000 registered cultivars – but only a small percentage are grown commercially. If you’re a couple that cares about supporting local growers you’ll be happy to know that Ontario growers produce 90-100 million cut tulips every year. Spring Valley Gardens is Ontario’s largest grower of cut and potted tulips, growing about 50 different types of  cut tulips for the retail florist industry. Their prime season is December to May. Perfect for the winter/spring bride.

Tulips are easy to grow in the home garden, but I caution brides against growing their own wedding blooms – of whatever flower. Mother Nature is unpredictable, and timing your flowers to coincide exactly with your wedding is simply too risky. Work with a professional florist who will help you achieve your floral vision.

So now that I’ve shared my bias with the world, let’s look at some arrangements featuring three of my favourite types of tulips.

Parrot Tulips


Fringed Tulips

Purple Wedding Bouquet | Spring Bouquet


Double Tulips (aka Peony Tulips)

Peony Tulip Bouquet | Tulip Bouquets


Tulips are:  beautiful, versatile, affordable, colourful….and perfect for your wedding florals.


A Spring Wedding Soiree in Support of My Friend’s House

Monday, April 4th, 2016


My Friend's House | Collingwood | Wasaga Beach


My Friend’s House is a non-profit agency offering support for abused women and children living in the Georgian Triangle of Ontario. Since opening their doors in 1991, My Friend’s House has helped thousands of women and children get the effective safety and supports they need to rebuild their lives. Their free and confidential services are available to all women and their children across the Georgian Triangle – from Wasaga Beach and Collingwood to Creemore and Meaford and all parts in between. My Friend’s House is the only service agency in the Georgian Triangle offering this range of services to local women and children.

On April 23rd It’z Your Day and Exchanging Vows Bridal Boutique invite you to kick off the 2016 Wedding Season with a Spring Soiree in support of My Friend’s House at the Westin Trillium House. Check out the fabulous items on offer through the Charity Silent Auction while enjoying delicious canapes created by Oliver & Bonacini and sipping on local prosecco from Georgian Hills Vineyard. At 7:30pm Exchanging Vows Bridal Boutique will present a fabulous fashion show featuring local retailers presenting the latest in bridalwear.


Saturday, 23 April 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain – 220 Gord Canning Dr., Blue Mountain Resort

I’m excited to be part of this very special evening of fun, fashion and food, all in support of a wonderful cause.  Click here to learn more and purchase tickets. See you there!


The Albany Club

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Looking for a downtown Toronto venue that oozes history? Then join me on Sunday, April 17 when The Albany Club – one of the oldest private clubs in Canada – opens its doors for a very special Wedding Open House. Meet some of the best vendors in the city, explore the Club’s stunning architecture and various event spaces, including the cozy rooftop patio. Enjoy a cocktail and sample delicious bites prepared by the Club’s outstanding chef, Jay Parhar. This is the first time The Albany Club is opening its doors to the public and I’m thrilled to work with their events team to pull together this very special day. Interested? Please RSVP to April Thornton at 416 364 5471 or



The Albany Club | Historic Toronto wedding venues


Wedding Flower of the Month – Ranunculus

Monday, March 7th, 2016


Ranunculus | Cloni Ranunculus

Image by Flowerona


If you love peonies and garden roses, you’ll love the delicate, crepe-like flowers of Ranunculus. Symbolising “dazzling radiance” their multi-layered petals add an elegant touch to all weddings florals.

Ranunculus are now entering prime season here in Ontario which makes them an excellent choice for the late winter or early spring bride. And, as this colour chart illustrates, you’re sure to find the perfect hues and tints to suit your wedding colour palette.

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Hidden Wedding Costs – Landmark Fees

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016




There are many costs couples neglect to factor in when developing their wedding budget. These can add up and push your budget well beyond your comfort zone. One of the most annoying is the mysterious Landmark Fee – an amount charged by some venues and applied to the catering total. Sometimes the fee is a percentage of the catering costs. (The percentage generally varies from 15-30%.) Some venues charge a flat rate. Some venues will charge either a flat fee or percentage of catering costs, whichever is higher. However it’s assessed, the final amount will have a significant impact on your wedding budget. So, what the heck is a Landmark Fee exactly?

Many in the industry believe it’s a flat out cash grab by venues. Others will say it’s a financial “incentive” that encourages clients to work with their preferred caterers. Some venues will waive the Landmark Fee if you work with one of their preferred caterers. Others might charge a 15% Landmark Fee on a preferred caterer, but charge 25% for a non-preferred caterer. In certain situations, the Landmark Fee is used to help maintain precious heritage venues. But not always. And some venues don’t charge a Landmark Fee at all. Confused? Yeah, me too.

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Wedding Flower of the Month – Anemone

Friday, February 12th, 2016


Anemone Bouquet | Periwinkle Flowers | Toronto Wedding Flowers

Anemone Bouquet by Periwinkle Flowers

We are on the cusp of Valentine’s Day; the time of year when red roses hog the spotlight. Well, you can have your red roses. My February Wedding Flower of the Month is most definitely NOT a red rose. It’s not even a rose.

It’s wonderful, whimsical anemone.

Continue Reading »

Cheap is Such an Ugly Word

Thursday, January 28th, 2016



affordable weddings | budget weddings| wedding planning


Many budget-conscious couples use the adjective cheap when searching online for their vendors. They’ll punch in terms such as cheap wedding planner or cheap venues Toronto or cheap wedding photographer.

I’d like you to eliminate the word cheap from your wedding planning vocabulary.

Let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a modest budget. Some of the most beautiful and joyous  weddings I’ve been involved with were lovingly crafted with a minimum of cash, but a lot of heart. Cheap is an ugly word with nasty implications.

The word suggests:

  • shoddy
  • inferior
  • tacky
  • discreditable

There are better words. Let’s replace cheap with affordable, budget-friendly, inexpensive. These are all positive words that suggest:

  • value
  • realistic
  • manageable
  • smart

If what you want is a truly cheap wedding, go for it. Get married at city hall and host a small gathering at your local fast food resto afterwards. But if you want a beautiful celebration that is meaningful and budget-friendly you can do that too. A modest budget doesn’t mean your wedding won’t be beautiful. And, paradoxically, having a Donald Trump-sized budget (huge!) doesn’t mean your wedding will be beautiful.

Working with an experienced, professional wedding planner can help. We mine our vast networks to find you the wedding vendors who best suit both your vision and your budget. To quote The Brokeass Bride, “…it’s not about how much you spend, its how you spend it!”




Take a Deep Breath

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Stressed Out Bride

You’re newly engaged. And you’re a mess. What you should be doing is basking in the glow of this special time. What you’re actually doing is tearing your hair out.

I’ve had so many inquiries from freshly engaged brides (I’m talking a week, max) who are already starting to freak out.

“I haven’t got a venue.”

“I want to book my photographer but we haven’t confirmed our wedding date.”

“We don’t have a budget but I really want a barn venue.”

To all of these brides (and grooms) I say, take a deep breath.

Wedding planning is a LOT of work. And the evil industrial wedding complex (I’m being sarcastic, but you get my drift) doesn’t help. There are literally millions of Pinterest sites devoted to weddings. Brides-to-be are scouring Instagram and the countless wedding-themed websites and blogs searching for inspirational ideas for their own vision boards. Should we be surprised when we see brides-to-be who are a stressed-out mess so early in the planning process?

It is very very easy to become overwhelmed. A couple I worked with last summer actually declared a two week-long moratorium on wedding planning. The stress was affecting their relationship so they stepped back and redirected their focus from wedding planning to just…being. A smart move, and I can tell you that their wedding was one of the most relaxed and heartfelt celebrations I’ve ever witnessed.

Planning a wedding is a lot of work. Factor in the head-spinning array of wedding planning resources out there and you’ll see that succumbing to information overload is almost unavoidable. Focus on your priorities: each other. A clear head and a fresh perspective are your two best wedding planning tools.


Smiling Couple | Relaxed Couple


Wedding Flower of the Month – Hellebore

Friday, January 8th, 2016


Hellebore | Mason Jar


In  December I started a new blog feature, Wedding Flower of the Month. Every month I’m going to introduce you to a beautiful bloom. One that flies a bit under the radar but is, IMHO, deserving of your consideration when you’re designing your wedding day florals.

Our January flower of the month is hellebore. A terrible name for a lovely bloom. (Do yourself a favour and don’t look up the origin of the name. It isn’t very romantic.) Some of the more popular varieties are Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose – misleading names for a flower that bears no relation to roses at all. In fact, hellebores belong to the buttercup family. The sweet nodding flowers come in a wide range of colours – from icy white to pale pink to deep maroon. Some are speckled. Some are striped. All are beautiful. But don’t let the delicate looking flowers fool you; gardeners love this tough perennial because it’s one of the first plants to bloom in the late winter. Whether your style is elegant or rustic, hellebores are little-known blooms that are perfect for a winter wedding.

Hellebore centrepiece | winter wedding centrepiece