January 30, 2008

Somebody Waits

Okay ... the draft layout for blogger bride's (and groom's) invites are ready! Of course I know things are going to change but they're anxiously awaiting and this is a beginning! Keep in mind that the tops are going to be die-cut to the shape we discussed in the first trial.

* please note the images used are under copyright by other companies and will not be used in the final product by Moments That Shine
** also note text involved (addresses, names, etc) is strictly sample information. If you look for blogger bride on King Street or her wedding at the Bata Shoe Museum, you'll be disappointed ;)

The first page ... it will be a lovely clover/sage green and the artwork is coming from a friend of the bride's ...

Page Two ... the main invite itself. Yes, We've decided to flip it to portrait ... for now anyhow ;) For the next few pages, we're going to go with a clean white paper.

Third page ... all about the bus & accommodations! It will be white as well ...

Last page of the white will be the map. Yes, it's pretty boring now. Blogger Bride & Groom are making their own for the finished product though ...

And last but not least, the RSVP. Here we're going to go back to the same green as is on the cover and the coup-de-grace is I'll be perforating the right hand side so guests tear off their reply and send it back postcard style!

There's still a lot of work to be done! Oh, and don't worry ... those thick black lines won't be staying ... that's simply to give you some perspective since everything is on a white background at the moment ;)
Edited to add: those lovely red & green underlines won't be staying, either ... this is what happens when you take a screen capture from a good software program. For some reason they think 'blogger' isn't a real word ;)

Kind & Generous

One of the best feelings in business is when you find out you've made a great impression on someone when you weren't even trying. I'm always on my best behaviour when meeting someone new but let's face it ... we're all human. Sometimes crankiness comes through so you don't always know what a prospective client thinks of you.

Well, this lovely lady didn't end up being a client (we met rather late and I was already booked on her date) but that didn't stop her from making my day. I spotted a very sweet testimonial on her Facebook page that really warmed my heart ...

"Wedding Planner and more- Moments that Shine- i have heard soooooooo many great things about Susan. If you need a wedding planner i would highly recommend her based on all the great reviews..plus she makes stationary products and jewelry!!! Very creative! Check out her website and blog www.momentsthatshine.com"

Thank you so much, Mari! That truly means a lot to me ... especially since it was so unexpected!

January 29, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. What was that? Did I hear collective groans mixed with a few cheers? Actually, I have a few friends who are very much into celebrating the Hallmark-inspired day-o-love but I have many more who simply detest it. For those who know me, it's not difficult to see I'm *not* into February 14th at all. I'm a very private person, not into public displays of affection and I think it's kind of lame we're forced to celebrate our love on a specific date. In fact, I'm not even big on my anniversary. Yes, I'm aware that this sounds incredibly jaded and weird coming from a wedding planner. How I got into weddings, I'm not entirely sure ... but I do know that I love witnessing other people's joy so that's all that matters ;)

Back to Valentine's Day though ...

My husband is the exact same way that I am (thank goodness). The first few years we were together we did the cutesy-pukey stuff but quickly realized it was just for show. We then got creative. Oh ... I should mention that my birthday is on February 18th so it makes things really painful for my husband in the romantic gifts department ... so he was more than eager to participate in this idea ...

We turn Valentine's into a bit of a treasure hunt. We decided that we would buy gifts for one another but we'd make it interesting. We sit down and come up with five criteria. The gift has to meet at least three of the five but really we want the bragging rights so we go for all five. Let me give you a warning in that this makes the gift buying slightly difficult but on the flip-side it is so much more fun and gratifying in the end.

Let me give you the example of the first year we did this. The criteria were:
- Red
- Metal
- Glass
- Four
- Square

I'm proud to say that year we both managed to meet all five criteria. He bought me a pair of earrings (that matched a pendant I had just bought) and I bought him a pocket watch. Good fun!

This past weekend we sat down to figure out what it will be this year and it's not going to be easy!

- Green
- Three
- Rectangle
- Metal
- Cloth

I popped those things into Google but no help there. I'm thinking a day of shopping is going to be in order for this one!

So my point is (forgot I had one), even if you don't enjoy a certain holiday and it feels like a chore, it is possible to make it fun! Feel free to use this idea .... I just want to know what you bought one another ;)

Oh .. and if you have any suggestions for the gift I'm to buy this year, I'm all ears ;)

January 25, 2008

A Little Help From Our Friends

It occurred to me that I actually added a gallery to the main site a while back and completely neglected to post about it!

Almost a year ago, a fantastic fundraiser was organized by designer Leanne Beagan, graphics designer & planner Reem Fattouh and myself. The mission was a fashion show in support of Rethink Breast Cancer ... what resulted was an outpouring of kindness from people we truly weren't expecting it from. The entire night consisted of volunteers (some of whom blog on this site, some of whom I was fortunate enough to meet through the forum Frugal Bride). A complete list of vendors involved can be found on the gallery's page but I would like to give a special shout out to Crystal, Danielle, Sara and Sandy who gave their time and energy to the cause as well.

The show was a particularly tough time for me as my mother-in-law passed away from cancer two days before. I mention that not to ask for sympathy or to show you that no matter what, I follow through with my events ... I mention it because people need to openly talk about how cancer is affecting their lives and that it touches EVERYONE.
I was lucky enough to lean on family & friends very heavily at the time and I'd like to thank all of you for that (you know who you are). Because of that support I was able to view the event as a huge success and for a little while my family was able to focus on something hopeful and we were even entertained ... I mean, who wouldn't be distracted by a fire-dancer?! ;)

Check out the GALLERY and spread the word about this great cause!

January 23, 2008

Falling into place.

I want to tell you that I DO think of you (the readership) often. I feel so guilty for not posting more and sharing more with you about the things I've learned in this whole planning process. But everytime I read a new post on here I think "Wow, I havent posted in a long time. I really should....hmmm, but what to post about?"

I have two theories as to why Im at such a loss of words (those who know me say Im NEVER at a loss for words and I have no problem going on about myself). The first possibility is that maybe Im just having a hard time remembering all the little details. The other possibility is that a lot of aspects of the planning for me just came together almost on their own.

I got engaged just over a year ago on Christmas '06. The proposal was nothing special...at least on paper anyway. FI and I are more like best friends than we are the gushy sentimental. So we were at our condo and he asked "so...wanna get married?" and I said "Yeah I guess."...see? paper (or computer screen) doesnt capture the tone that it was said in with kind of a "see this is something serious but Im not saying in a serious tone" ironic humour.

The next thing I know, there was a whirlwind of bridal shows, vendors, contracts and deposits. Often times, it seemed too easy.

I knew that I wanted a venue with a hotel on site because if I was going to have open bar (which I certainly was), I wanted to make it easy for people to take advantage of. Out of the few resorts that met my qualifications, the decision was pretty simple and came down to pricing.

The first officiant we met with was really amazing. Easy-going yet, plenty of ideas.

The first photographer I met with is sort of a friend of my parents. They absolutely love his work and were really impressed with him when he was taking pictures of their club function. I had no objections from our meeting, and what better recomendation than my parents!

My dress...well, see previous post. For my attendants' dresses, I wanted THEM to choose what they wanted. Off the rack dresses from pacific mall (an asian mall) fit well with the theme and are pretty cheap too. Truth be told, only my maid of honour has hers as of today. The other girls and I are going next week to get theirs.

I ordered stationary from a site online and gotthree samples of different asian themed invitations. I absolutely fell in love with the ones that featured cherry blossoms. And luckily I was able to get rsvp cards, thank you cards, and placecards with the same pattern!

One of my aunts loves baking. She's really good at it too! So who better than to bake my wedding cupcakes!

Adam's aunt used to work at a florist and still does flowers for family and friends. So I was thrilled when she offered to do our flowers as a wedding gift!

See what I mean? Everything kind of took care of itself. I can hear your objections. "That's not ALL you need for a wedding!" and you're right, there are still some other aspects I didnt mention. Those are the things that didnt immediately fit in the the theme of this post with everything coming together almost TOO easily!

Are You Ready to Rock?!

Okay ... I think we've established the invitations won't say that but it makes for a good posting title ;)

I thought I would share some of bloggerbride's first draft pics of her invites since she was speaking of them. For those of you who haven't worked with me during the self-proclaimed creative process, the first meeting about invites is about likes/dislikes, colours, ideas ... a general draft. So keep in mind that this is *not* what they will look like in the end. I thought it would be fun to take you on the journey of the invites as we're going along with bb on the journey of her wedding, too!

Here's the concept invite that struck a chord with bloggerbride and her FI ...

And here is what we turned it into ...

Closer ...

And an adjustment we're going to make to the top will be to add this (just not the colour ;)) ...

I can't wait to see the next draft! Oh wait ... I'm the one making it ...

January 21, 2008

Anyone Else But You

This is a post with a bit of a double-purpose ...

First, if you haven't seen the movie Juno, GO SEE IT! Yes, there's a ton of hype and I'm adding to it. If you're anything like me and kind of quirky, you're going to be glad you saw it.

On the same topic, there's an amazing soundtrack to this flick. The reason I mention it is because after seeing the movie opening weekend, my husband & I were driving home, being the perpetual critics we are and going on and on about a bunch of things. I won't ruin the movie for you at all but there's a scene where the two main stars are just playing guitar and singing a song together. The simplicity of the scene was so sweet and it got my husband and I thinking about being 'different' ... bear with me ... I have a point to bring this to weddings.

It somewhat pains me to admit this was my husband's idea and not mine but it's too good to pass up. He said rather than going with the traditional first dance (that is painful for some), he would have loved to actually serenade one another instead. Now, we aren't the best of singers and our guitar playing skills aren't up to snuff (yet) but we are insane music lovers. Had we thought about it years before, I totally would have been up for that. How unique of an idea is it to actually entertain your guests like that?! Not to mention it's a beautiful sentiment between two people. I get all weepy just thinking about that idea.

So I challenge you to think outside the box for the first dance, the cake, the vows ... anything you do! Make it your own and be an event people talk about. And of course if you need some inspiration on ideas, give me a shout ;)

For those interested in the song in question from the movie Juno, it's Anyone Else But Youby the Moldy Peaches. To hear a clip: Audio

The Invitations

This weekend we met with Susan to design our invitations. We based them on something similar that she has in her portfolio, but tweaked them to make them a little bit more personalized. It was a relatively painless experience, as FI and I seemed to agree on everything. Always a good sign.

Well, almost everything. FI decided instead of a monogram on the cover page he would prefer to see “Are you ready to rock??” Um. Not so much.

When we first went through Susan’s portfolio of ideas, we were stuck trying to decide between “Classy” invites and “Fun” invites. The Classy ones fit the venue, but the fun ones fit FI and I. In the end Fun beat Classy. That being said, they aren’t exactly ‘wacky’ and the paper and font will be quite classic. They are just a bit of an unusual concept and shape. We have been receiving a lot of Michael’s kit wedding invites lately and we decided a while ago that was NOT the route we wanted to take. I am very excited for our unique, personal design. To make them even more personal, one of our bridesmaids who is a graphic design has agreed to create our monogram.

And no, despite a second attempt by FI the rsvp choices will not be:

Yes- I’m Ready to Rock
No- I Respectfully Decline the Invitation to Rock


Susan is in the process of putting together a sample for us. I can’t wait to see what she creates.

We also had a talk with our respective families about The Guest List. So far, no one has made any unreasonable requests. Fingers crossed. We have started to gather addresses, which is proving to be harder than one might think.

We are scheduling a hardcore Wedding Planning Weekend this week. The idea is to knock the following things off of the list:

Wedding bands
Hotel/ motel/ B&B

That would be nice. Then we are in the home stretch. I’ll let you know if any of that became a reality, next Monday.


When You Say You Love Me

It's been a while since I posted a proposal story and I did promise a certain someone it would be up a lot earlier! Without further ado, here's the story of Jacqueline & Peter. Make sure you click on the link at the end to watch the video ...

My FI and are both actors, and we met on stage when we were cast as a couple! We became amazing friends immediately and when the 13 weeks of rehearsals and shows were finished...we clearly weren't willing to let it end. We were practically inseparable from then on. Fast forward 18 months, an apartment, 2 dogs, 2 thrilled families and a new house. Oh, and another 2 shows. During the most recent, I directed him in his staring role in a musical.
Apparently, his ring search began almost a year before he proposed, and he has had his proposal planned since the day we met...
Without my knowing (actors?!?), he found a gorgeous ring in a store. He tricked me into 'shopping for styles that I liked so that he would know what to look for when the time came'. While I was looking at more modest styles, he pointed out the one he liked, casually - I honestly had NO CLUE what he was up to! The ring was extravagant in my world, but, it admittedly became a bit of a pedestal piece...I never dreamt I would have it.
He then spent 4 months searching out a loose 1+ carat Lucida stone (OMG!!) and had the design he liked 'tweaked' and custom created the ring for me.
Back to the musical: one Friday night show (April 27th), with and audience of 170, 40+ being our friends and family - he took his bows and after the curtain closed, he called me up on stage and introduced me to the audience. You would think that I would have known. NO!! We had talked and we were not getting engaged for another 8-12 months! Besides, he is really good at showing me off and has a tendency to be a tad grandiose! After he introduced me to the crowd, he asked to sing another song and serenaded me with, 'When You Say You Love Me', by Josh Grobin.
At the climax of the song, he gestured to the SFX/LX booth and the closed curtains slowing opened to reveal a stage now scattered with 200 red and pink roses!!!
At the end of the song, the last words are: "I love you..." he got down on one knee...and asked me marry him!
I could not answer, my legs turned to jell-o and he had to jump up to save me from toppling backward...all I could do was nod...
The audience cheered!
Be still my heart! It races just re-playing it in my mind.
He is so good to me - he also made sure that the entire thing was videotaped, so now we have a DVD to show our families, friends, and one day, our children.
I never dreamed that I would be blessed with such finding my soulmate, and now that I get to marry him, I am constantly bursting!!

Now make sure you watch the video!!!

January 18, 2008

Orange is the new white!

ERIN - Hi Jess. I hope you had a nice week. How did your bridal consultation go yesterday? What colours did she choose? I have been noticing a real trend in colours with all of the brides I have been meeting with for 2008 weddings. A lot of my brides are incorporating bright colours into everything from their wedding bouquets to the ceremony arrangements and the centerpieces. One colour that keeps popping up is orange! Quite a change from the traditional all white wedding eh?

JESS - Wow- how did you know? Orange is exactly the colour we are working with for her! The wedding is in early May, but she is choosing to use a really strong palette- deep purples and vivid orange with some deep yellow thrown in the mix. It is so nice to use such strong tones for a spring wedding- unexpected for the guests. Colour scares a lot of people, but if you use it right you can create such drama and richness. We’re going to use more exotic bold flowers for her, again unexpected for a May event- purple callas with orange mokaru orchids and gerberas.

ERIN - Really? That is so funny. Looks like it is going to be one of the hot colours this year, Which is great because it happens to be one of my favorites. What sort of look is she going for? Casual, elegant, romantic?

JESS - She’s going for an elegant look- which can be hard to pull off when using bolder colours, so we have to keep everything clean lined and not too casual. Keeping the colours to just two or three, rather than going with the whole colour wheel helps achieve this, and we’re going to use more exotic flowers such as the callas and orchids to keep it from feeling too casual. It’s challenging, but that’s the fun part for me! Are you doing any weddings with orange that are going the elegant route too, or more casual?

ERIN - my bride is also looking for something that is elegant and very fresh looking. So what we are doing is sticking to the softer orange tones, an orange that does not have a lot of red in it but is still vibrant. We are keeping it elegant by placing it with a neutral green and a very soft yellow. So the other colours are there to accent the orange so it is still the star. This is keeping it elegant because you are avoiding that circus look by not having too many different colours.

JESS - To our readers- the photo above shows the seasons hottest flower colour trend, namely orange, and is the bouquet that Erin made for the Wedding Bells feature!

January 16, 2008

SugarTree Photography ....Because life is sweet!

My name is Kristina Laukkanen and I'm the creative photographer behind SugarTree Photography. My company specializes in weddings, portraits & commercial work. We also have fun doing it! Besides, if we didn't enjoy it so much, what's the point?

A little About Moi:
I've been photographing people, places & things since I was 12. My parents met at Photo Hut in the 70's while working for the company and then I came along shortly there after. I took photography all through high school and summer classes but never thought I would seriously do it as a career. My focus was marketing and business. And then one day when I was 25, my grandmother convinced me that I should enter a local contest. So for kicks, I did and won 2nd place. One of the judges asked for my portfolio and I was like "Yeah right - the family photo album is around here somewhere." And that was the year I turned my life in another direction and headed for my dream. I decided that I wasn't going back to school full-time so I applied to work at Black's Photography. I figured - what better way to learn about photography than by being in the business. And that's what started it all. 5 years later I own all the equipment I'll ever need to be ready & prepared for any photo job, I have my own studio space (by appointment only), I have a wonderful and fun team of professionals and I have first hand experience about how to run a business and succeed - my most treasured asset from Black's.

Some background with Susan:
I thought it was wonderful when Susan and Bernard hired me as their wedding photographer a few moons ago because they were such a fun loving couple...but it was even cooler when we became friends after the honeymoon! *lol* I remember the wedding like it was yesterday. *dream sequence* As I wandered around the golf & country club, photographing the details of Susan & Bernard's wedding I thought to myself "WOW! This has got to be one of the most creative weddings I've ever shot!". From the Guest Branches - where guests could leave their well wishes and marriage advice/thoughts on a piece of paper and hang it on a branch for Susan to later scrapbook - to the heart warming center piece adoption kits for chimpanzees - a sanctuary for lab chimps near Montreal. A cause Susan & Bernard are very passionate about. Adopt-A-Chimp I still talk about it to my clients! (Susan - can you confirm this link.) Everything was well thought out and created with such passion that it's no surprise that Susan has done so amazing, planning other bride-to-be weddings!

So stay tuned for the next post where I'll discuss what else you can do with your wedding dress after the big day and REALLY get your moneys worth!

Keep Reading ...

January 15, 2008

MGX Productions Introduction!

Hello All,

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Martin from MGX Productions. This is my first blog entry and I have to say I'm very very excited to be a part of the Moments That Shine Blog. I met Susan at a Breast Cancer fundraiser last year, it was a great event for a worthy cause! I have to say she handled everything so wonderfully that evening, and I'm looking forward to working with her again!

A little bit about me and the company. At MGX Productions, we concentrate on wedding and special event videography. My style is documentary, candid, unobtrusive. Meaning no big bright lights! Have you ever been to a wedding and all of a sudden, huge 1000 watt movie lights are turned on? In all honesty, it does make the video look marginally better, but realistically, it ruins the atmosphere of the wedding, along with all the hard work people put into decorating the space. These days, video cameras are much more sensative to light than in the past. Meaning, you need less additional light to make the video quality look great! (*tip - If you're in the market for a videographer, make sure they use 3CCD video cameras - they are much more sensitive to light than cameras with 1CCD)

I've been in the wedding videography business for over 8 years. I graduated from Seneca at York in 2000 with honours, where I majored in video production & visual effects compositing. After graduation, I worked on a freelance basis for a year or so, then decided to go on my own and started MGX Productions in 2001! It's been so great, I've filmed and edited over 250 weddings, and have worked with so many great vendors throughout the years.

I love working with people. The most rewarding part of what I do is knowing that I have a hand in preserving a couple's memories for a lifetime.

I'll be adding entries here and there when I have stuff to talk about! Until then!

Girl ... er ... Guy In Green

Last Friday I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Hamilton photographer Trevor Weeks. It was a rather serendipitous meeting as an email from him found its way to my desktop with perfect timing ... Trevor's very much an activist for something important ... going GREEN. He taught me quite a bit (and still is) about carbon-neutral events ... offsetting your emissions. If you remember from a previous post, I've been trying to figure out ways to make this a habit with my own company and to spread the word about how being conscious about the environment is a must. At the moment I'm working with Trevor to find additional vendors with the same desire. If you happen to know of anyone we should check out, please feel free to send me an email or respond to this post.

In the meantime, I hope you'll be kind in welcoming Trevor to the mix of guest bloggers on this site! He's sure to not only shed some light on photography but on the world of green as well!!!

Oh, and he has amazing taste in music ... be sure to ask him about that ;)

Tell Me More!

For all of you getting married in the coming months, do you have your invitations yet? Whether you're doing something simple and conjuring up an e-vite or you want to go with the traditional paper, time is ticking! Remember that your invitation is the first thing your guests will see that will give them insight as to the mood of your party. It should reflect who you are as a couple and give your guests a hint as to what to expect. Make sure you contact us after browsing through the website!

January 10, 2008

A Slice of Advice

Second only to the gown, the wedding cake is one of the most memorable aspects of any wedding. Today, cakes need to be stunning to look at and taste even better. Here are some tips to follow when looking for your ultimate wedding cake!
  • Order your cake as early as possible. If you are looking to go with a custom cake designer, then you should be contacting them as soon as your venue is booked. Cake designers generally limit the number of cakes they create due to time involved, therefore they book up very fast and early. In general, anywhere from 6-9 months or more in advance is preferred. Some months and weekends are busier than others – prime wedding season (May - October) will book up early – so plan ahead!

  • Talk to your friends who recently got married, look at the links associated with other vendors you have booked - these are great ways to find the right person to create your wedding cake. The Internet allows brides&grooms instant access to the portfolios of all the talented cake designers in the area. Be sure to look through all the galleries to get a sense of what they are capable of. You may be wanting a sculpted or novelty cake for your wedding, so looking at all their work will let you know if they are capable of creating your dream cake. Remember in most cases the galleries simply represent the scope of the designer's past work, it is not a menu. They will want to create something unique for your special day!

  • Make sure you have a budget in mind before meeting your cake designer/baker. Designer cakes will cost designer prices. Wedding cakes are not simply flour, sugar and eggs. They are an edible memory that you and your guests look forward to and remember. Most of the costs associated with designer wedding cakes lie in the time, expertise, and labour involved in creating the finished design, although quality ingredients and size also play an important role. Pricing varies from designer to designer; some price per tier, others price per cake or per serving. If your budget is an important issue, make sure you discuss that with your cake designer. With a budget in mind, they can then provide you with some options in order to try to reduce costs.

  • Do some research before your appointment. Search the Internet, clip pictures from magazines. Get a good idea of what you like and what you don’t. Make sure you bring along any images you find so that your designer can see what style of cake you are wanting. These pictures are not so that the designer can make a copy of that design, but they are a great way to express what you are looking for in a cake design. Also bring along any fabric swatches that you may want to coordinate, dress images, invitations - basically anything that inspires you.

  • Decide if you want to save the top tier. This tradition was fine during the days fruitcake was the common wedding cake choice. But with today’s butter cakes, buttercreams, and other finishes, the idea of saving the top tier has become less important. If you still want to keep with tradition, make sure to tell your cake designer. They will need to size the cake accordingly.

  • Be prepared to pay a deposit once you decide upon your cake designer. This is necessary to guarantee your date. Due to the amount of time involved with custom wedding cakes, many cake artists will only take on a few bookings per month, so they book up early. If you want a custom and unique wedding cake, be sure to book early!

  • Make sure to find out if there are any delivery fees, set up costs, or other additional fees. Delivery fees are common, especially if the baker needs to travel a great distance from their studio. Set up fees are sometimes needed when the cake design is one that must be set up on site. Additional fees would pertain to cake stand rentals or other display materials that must be secured with a deposit and returned. Please note that in Ontario, there should never be any taxes applied to the sale of your wedding cake. Therefore you should not be charged either G.S.T or P.S.T on the sale of any whole cake in Ontario.

Keep Reading ...

January 9, 2008

Tick Tock

16 months ago, when I got engaged, 2008 seemed like it would never come. Et voila. It is upon us. It is officially our “Wedding Year”. It seems a tad ridiculous, but it makes a difference. When you tell someone your wedding is, “June 2008” it is WAY different than just plain ole, “this June”. As of today, the countdown is at 157 days. Cue the panic. Deep breath. To make myself feel better I am compiling a list of everything we have accomplished, one more deep breath. And here we go:

Venue Booked- it feels like we did this a million years ago now.
Photographer booked- and her blog lovingly gazed at, at least once a day.
Susan is on the job (thank god)
Dress purchased- still needs bustle and some tweaks.
Shoes purchased- still need to be worn in.
Make and hair person booked- trial in May
2/5 bridesmaids dresses ordered, 2 more to be done this weekend, 1 MIA. argh.
FI has started to gather address for invites (…which we haven’t chosen yet! Wait- this is supposed to be a list of DONE stuff… Ignore that.)

I have a sneaking suspicion that the “To-do list” is about double that size. Maybe the whole list idea wasn’t such a good one…


January 8, 2008

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

Remember my list post about engagement pictures and whether or not you should get them done? Well, one of my recent brides (whose wedding was *uh-mazing*) took it to a whole other level with her groom.

Right after the wedding they went on their merry way to various spots in Europe for their honeymoon. They visited Berlin, Barcelona, Paris to name a few. What was incredible (or more incredible) was that they took their wedding attire with them and were able to take more professional shots ... check out the location ...

Way to be an inspiration, T&H!!! :)

January 7, 2008

With This Advice, I Thee Wed

Did you find yourself newly engaged over the holiday season? Perhaps you’ve been in the soon-to-be-wed stage for a while now and time is catching up to you? Or maybe you know someone who is about to take the plunge. No matter your situation, a little bit of guidance from an event planner can be a huge help during a wedding. When I sit down with potential clients for the first time, they’re one of two things … completely ‘ready’ or in shock that there are so many things they hadn’t thought of. The ones who are ready normally realize they aren’t right before the big day (see my Week-Of Coordinator tip below) and the ones who are in shock tend to calm down after a few minutes and some kind words. Either reaction is completely natural. And don’t get me wrong … there definitely are some people who don’t need a lot of help from me but who doesn’t want free advice? Read on for some of my most-treasured tidbits.

Give yourselves plenty of time. Unless it’s completely necessary, slow down. A good rule of thumb is six months to a year and a
half of planning. The biggest reasons why I try to get couples to put the brakes on is this … not all of your vendors will be available and your taste may change. Take your time and enjoy the planning part of things. It will reduce stress and you’ll look back with fond memories.

Budget. Weddings are expensive. You may think you can put things together for under $5000 (and if you did it, more power to you!) but that’s very unrealistic. Before getting scared over the amount, make a list of priorities. Figure out what you want to splurge on and what you can cut out. This is incredibly important to sit down and do. If you’re having troubles being serious about it, make an appointment with a planner and they’ll help. Many will offer Budget Planning appointments.

Hire professionals. Family & friends will want to help you (and let them … see my tip on delegating) but when it comes to your vendors, don’t rely on Cousin Freddy to be the DJ or your mom to do all the cooking. Those of us in the industry know what we’re doing, we know the possible hiccups and we’re going to make the day special. Besides, your guests should enjoy the day as … well … guests!

Obtain at least three quotes from vendors. Yes, it’s work but it’s totally worth it. You may find that all three caterers are about the same price but you really clicked better with one of them. Not only do you now have the info on each one but you also know their personalities.

Get things in writing. This may seem like a no-brainer but you would be amazed at the amount of people who don’t do it. Someone’s word isn’t enough on a day this important.

Delegate. Please don’t try to do everything on your own. Get help with anything you’re making, assign Aunt Vera to gift collection duty … things like that. You’re going to need a lot of help leading up to the day and at the wedding that vendors won’t be able to do for you. And you know everyone will want to help!

Do what you want to and not what everyone is telling you to do. Enough said.

Realize the wedding won’t be perfect. As soon as you come to that understanding in your head, the wedding will be better than you thought it would be. Kind of reverse psychology. The bottom line is if you’re focused on making everything perfect, you’re going to notice all of the little things that aren’t.

Sleep, Eat and Drink plenty of water! The sleep thing may or may not happen but at least try to rest the night before the wedding. When it comes to eating and drinking though, these are musts. Make sure you have breakfast (and snacks and lunch when you get the chance) and drink a LOT of water. Keeping yourself hydrated is as important as remembering the marriage license.

And last but not least …

Hire a Planner. Ever since I started Moments That Shine I’ve been trying to get it across to people that planners are essential. Your wedding should reflect your personalities and you should be able to enjoy the entire day. Let a third party worry about the troubles that will pop up. If you don’t think you need someone for the entire process, consider hiring a Week-Of Coordinator. That last week before the show can be nerve-wracking. What better way to alleviate some stress?

January 6, 2008


Happy last minutes of your birthday, Reem!!!

Keep Reading ...

January 4, 2008

Conversations about flowers

ERIN- Hey Jess, Susan from Moments that Shine kindly asked us to be guest bloggers on her website. Isn’t that exciting?

JESS- I know- what a great thing to be part of- but are you sure we have anything to say that’s going to be of interest? Why would readers want to hear from us?

ERIN- Of course we have something to say, we have been in this industry for years. We have dealt with hundreds of brides and have tons of experience designing wedding flowers.

JESS- That’s true. And hey, we’ve been recognized for our bridal flowers recently- you just had that gorgeous bouquet you made featured in the winter Toronto Wedding Bells magazine; it was stunning by the way! There are so many things I can think of that I wish brides knew about flowers- here is our chance to tell them. Sometimes I feel bad for brides when they first come in- they seem so overwhelmed by all the planning, it almost seems a chore to them to be sitting down with yet another vendor- its great to see their energy come back as we start to draw out their personality and their creative talents. That is the great thing about the flowers for a wedding. This is where the bride can show her preferences, is she romantic, modern, casual, elegant-it all comes out in the flowers and the guests recognize it when it fits. And that I guess is why brides need our help and know how! What would be the main thing you wish you could tell all brides-to-be about flowers Erin?

ERIN- Hmmm that is a tough one. I guess the main thing I would want to tell them has to do with weddings overall, not just the flowers. Planning a wedding is very stressful and we understand all of the pressures they are under. I guess I want them to know that planning a wedding should be fun too. And I really feel it is our job to take care of all the little details so that they don’t have to worry about them and they can enjoy their day.

JESS- that is so true Erin- So I guess we’re saying- pick a florist that you like and trust, and most importantly who likes what they do and then you can relax and let them do their job. And we both really like what we do and are pretty good at it too (Is self back patting allowed on blogs? ;) )

Katie & Ant - September 8, 2007

I'm happy to say Katie & Ant's gallery is finally up on the website! Rather than posting the whole story again in here, please click on the above link and take a gander!

January 3, 2008

Hasn't Hit Me Yet

2008? How can it be?! I've been in Ontario for almost 8 years now?! Yikes. What would my fellow B.C. buddies think? Well, back to business ...

Thanks to everyone for all of their support and well-wishes in 2007. Looking back on it, my husband and I kind of want to forget the year happened but there definitely were some shining moments. Of course this includes the couples I met, the vendors I became friends with and the happiness I witnessed. Speaking of happiness, I threw out that teaser with Jacquelyn & Peter's wedding. Well, imagine my surprise when flipping through Wedding Bells and I see their wedding featured! I was told it would be in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue but I had no idea it would hit newsstands in December! Anyhow, here are JPGs of the actual spread. I'm not mentioned there but I am on the online portion.

Feels pretty cool!!!