February 29, 2008

Eco- friendly and beautiful? Perfect!

JESS - Erin, there’s a lot of hubbub about “green” weddings and “eco-friendly” events these days- Why don’t we tell our readers about the many options available to brides that want to make better choices on their big day?

Erin - Well the first thing that comes to mind are the socially responsible roses that we carry. As many people know there is a huge market for roses imported from South America. They have the perfect growing conditions. Roses from countries such as Ecuador are a superior product, they have much larger blooms then those grown in Canada, with a higher petal count. Periwinkle flowers introduced their line of socially responsible roses in 2007. Check out this article that appeared in our January newsletter last year. It explains everything you need to know:

Periwinkle Flowers is happy to introduce a new line of socially responsible roses imported from Ecuador. Through research and discussions with our suppliers we have decided to only sell roses from growers that are members of the initiatives such as the Flower Label Program or sell under the Sierra Eco Label. Programs such as these seek to improve the lives of their workers and practice environmentally friendly growing techniques. Members of such groups are committed to providing above average wages, prohibiting child labour, providing health care and prohibiting the use of highly toxic chemicals. Standards for these programs are based on the International Code of Conduct, and guidelines from the International Label Organization and the World Health Organization. At the same time as improving the floral industry, these growers are still able to remain competitive, by keeping the cost of roses in line with less responsible growers. Making a wiser choice is easy. To get more information visit this link http://www.sierraeco.com/

JESS - that’s great info

Erin - And there are more ways that brides can choose “green” but lets save that for our next entry!

February 28, 2008

One Day I'll Win ...

I'm happy to announce the winner of a pair of tickets to the Eco-Wedding & Lifestyle Show is Kathryn K.

Congrats Kathryn!!! :)

February 27, 2008

You Can Follow Me Wherever I Go

Just got back from my first meeting with the lovely Yoko & Khalid. If you can't remember their story, please go back and read it here. They are both so refreshingly sweet, in love and outside-the-box thinkers ... I love it! It will honestly be an honour to be a part of their multi-cultural wedding & lives.

I didn't want to say anything until I told them but the reason why I wanted to get involved in their day is because of a reminder of a missed opportunity I had a few years back. One of my best friends (and creator of Deeya Design) had her own family troubles when her wedding day rolled around ... her story reminds me very much of Yoko & Khalid's. Back then because of work and a few hundred kilometres I wasn't able to help her out in planning so this is my way of reaching out and making life a bit easier for people now that I'm able to. It just goes to show you that we're all connected in some way ... even if it takes us time to find one another!


Keep Reading ...

February 26, 2008

Strike A Pose

For the first time in about five years, my husband and I opted not to throw our usual Oscars party ... we watched them quietly by ourselves instead ... what a difference! This year we were able to pay attention to the red carpet, listen to George Clooney's joking and avoid the pressure of coming in last in the Oscar party pool. We're not sure if we'll go back to hosting or not but this year gave me a chance to come up with some favourite dresses. Each one of them I loved for different reasons but one stood out as my absolute favourite. Humour me while I list them ...


The one-shoulder accent was huge this year ... Amy Ryan showed everyone how to model it flawlessly.


Helen Mirren never ceases to amaze me. She manages to choose something that is classic yet striking on her. Nothing too young for her age or too old. Beautiful!


Keisha Whitaker flew under the radar (likely because of who her husband is) but I wanted to give her a shout out for this gown ... love it!


Breaking away from the popular jewel tones was Cameron Diaz. It was such a refreshing colour let alone style ... elegant!!!


Katherine Heigl. My husband enjoyed fawning over her, I enjoyed fawning over this spectacular creation. Personally, this red dress blew all of the other ones out of the water for me. Glamour personified.


This dress is not for everyone ... let me make that clear right away. In fact, I've seen it on most Worst-Dressed lists. I completely disagree though. The dress is actually something I would wear because I have that eclectic kind of taste but the reason why I wanted to post about it is to reaffirm something I tell my brides. Diablo Cody chose to put on something she was comfortable with and reflected who she is. And for those who think it isn't sexy, check out the straps and the way-high slit. But I digress ... take a page from Diablo's fashion novel ... when thinking about your attire whether it be your dress, bridesmaids dresses or the men's garb. Pick something people are HAPPY with. Be you and you'll look even more beautiful :)

February 25, 2008

The Story of The Breakdown and The Magic Panties

As per my previous post, I went to my parents house on Saturday to visit, and then take my dress to Lisa to get the bustle put in and a new zipper and some minor tweaks that needed to be done, since I bought off the rack. It has been a while since I tried my dress on, so I was a bit nervous.

On Saturday I arrive and my mum wants to show me the dress she bought to wear. We decided to have a dress rehearsal in her bedroom. She puts on her gorgeous lilac Alfred Angelo dress... Perfection.
She helps me get into my dress... Not so perfect.

I have gained so much weight that the zipper won't do up. Not only that, but it is tight across my thighs, my belly looks like I'm about 5 months preggers, I resemble a sausage and it's all rippled. Cue start of meltdown. I knew I had some weight to lose, but this was extreme. My mum was even shocked. And trust me when I say it looked horrible, I'm not one to over dramatize this type of thing.

My mum whips the dress off of me and starts inspecting the seams to see if it can be let out. It would be tricky. I don't want to get into details since FI reads this... I try to assure my mum (and myself) that I can lose that kind of weight easily, but in my head I am seriously thinking- "where the heck can I buy a new dress??" All night long I stewed over it, near tears.

The next morning, we head to Lisa's. I don't even want to look at my dress, let alone put it on again. But begrudgingly, I go into the change room and wiggle into some new fake Spanx I bought, slide the dress over my head and WHAMMO! It looks almost perfect!!! I come out and my mum says, "what happened?? Why does it fit today? It even zips up." I HAVE MAGIC PANTIES!! I knew they would make a difference, but this is shocking.

Suddenly, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, I'm get married in 111 days and all is right with the world. Phew.

That's not to say I don't need to drop a few pounds, but it does mean I love my dress again. And that's all I care about. Now I'm off to the gym. ;)


February 23, 2008

The Fitting

Tomorrow I am going to Waterdown to have my first dress fitting with Lisa Van Hattem. She will be putting in my bustle and fixing up a few things since I bought my dress "off the rack". It has been a long time since I last tried my fantastical dress and I have a strong suspicion that the zipper ain't going up. (And my mum will be the first to point it out.)

That being said, I'm pretty excited for my dress visit. Hee. Even more exciting is that my Matron of Honor, who lives in the UK will be there. She just happens to be in the city this weekend. Good timing! We will be going out for brunch and I get to talk her ear off about all of the wedding crap that is flying through my brain these days. And she HAS TO listen because she is my MOH. Muhahahahaha.

I will also see my Mum's dress for the first time. Maybe we will do a dress rehearsal, shoes and all. Exciting day! Except the fat part...


February 21, 2008

We're Gonna Win

Ready to win a pair of tickets to the Eco-Wedding & Lifestyle Show???

All you have to do is email me at inquiries@momentsthatshine.com with two things:

- make sure you put "Contest" in the subject line
- give me one reason how you're making your wedding green OR a way in which you could (this could be as simple as you're holding the ceremony & reception at the same venue or maybe your bridesmaids dresses are something they can wear again!)

It's that simple! I'll then pick a random winner on Wednesday, February 27th at 9p.m. EST. They will be contacted by Thursday at noon and then posted on the blog :)

February 20, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Well, as I'm finally back from a lovely vacation (but catching up today so don't bombard me ;)), I thought I'd share with you how Valentine's Day wound up between my husband and I.

In case you don't remember, the criteria for our gifts were ...

- green
- metal
- rectangle
- three
- cloth

... and we had to meet three of the five (but we always try for all five for bragging rights).

My gift to him was a bit of a fluke. I happened to just walk by it one day and it fit everything except for green! I added a wee something to make it fit all five though .... here's a couple of pics and then I'll explain:

So in case you can't decipher what it is, I found this desk set that was pretty much perfect for my husband (ie. he loves golf). It's about 4 inches high and is a pen holder ... great for work. The golf bag is made of cloth, the pens inside are metal, there are three pens and it came in a rectangular box. To put the green in, I went back to something I used to do a few years back ... little tiny scrolls that, when unwrapped, reveal little reasons why I love him. Of course they were printed on green paper ;) So, five out of five!

And my husband did really well, too. I don't have pictures but he found me a great lamp (yes, romantic :P) ... its base is metal and it has a green, cloth shade. He also bought three organic bars of soap to complete all five criteria!

All in all, a fantastic February 14th!!!

February 15, 2008

Different is cool!

JESS - so Erin you’ve been in the business a LONG time- what has been your favourite wedding to work on in terms of the flowers?

ERIN – I have been sitting here for five minutes thinking about this. That’s a really tough question. I honestly do enjoy all of the weddings we work on but I tend to really enjoy the more unusual ones. Like the one we did a few months ago that was done in all green flowers: green orchids, green mums, lime ribboning etc. Remember that one? Check out the picture of the bridesmaid’s bouquets above.

JESS - That one was very funky- and perfectly suited the setting in the distillery district here in. A really beautiful mid winter wedding- cool, understated and unique! It’s interesting that that was your favourite, Erin, because in terms of flowers it was pretty minimal- the tables had five cylinder vases set along them, each with a single mokaru orchid inside, the bouquets were tight and tailored too- Not at all like the lovely, soft and romantic flowers at your own wedding, so I know it isn’t that they are your personal style favourite so what made this events flowers so special for you?

ERIN – I liked it because the design really showcased the individual flowers. The lines were very crisp and clean and I loved the colours. The bride was really brave to choose bridesmaids bouquets that were all green. Green flowers appeal to a lot of people but many brides are afraid that the guests at the wedding won’t get it, so they choose “safer” colours.

JESS - I think my favourite was one we did this past summer- see photo of the centerpieces at end of post- it’s sort of modern casual. It was a beach theme event; check out the little starfish set into the black sand. I like this because it is unexpected and made up of several smaller elements all set together.

Erin – yeah that one was cool too. That is one of the reasons I love doing wedding so much. Each and every one is different from the last.

February 14, 2008

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

On this international day o' love, I'm would like to share the following story with you. It was brought to my attention by the fabulous Judy Cormier of Elementz of Fotographie in a wedding photography context she was holding ...

Our Journey to Happily Ever After – Yoko & Khalid’s Story

Once upon a time there was a girl named Yoko and a boy name Khalid. They met, fell in love, and lived happily ever after. If only things could be that easy. Okay, so that’s the short and sweet version but here’s how it really goes….

Khalid and I met when we were 12 years old. His family moved to Canada from Pakistan in December 1986 fleeing persecution from their homeland due to religious conflict. Khalid’s father was a prominent lawyer in Pakistan, known for his integrity in a place where bribes and corruption were commonplace. Due to his refusal to be corrupted, his family was threatened and their lives endangered by a mob of criminals that came en masse to their home to take revenge on Khalid’s father for prosecuting a notorious crime lord. Khalid described to me years later, his last memory of Pakistan. His father looked at him and in a grave tone, told him that he had to look after his mother, sister and younger brother if anything should happen. Khalid’s father then went outside with his 2 older brothers to face an angry mob of 200, sent by the crime lord who had been put in jail. Though help arrived in the nick of time, he was beaten badly. Knowing they were fortunate to be alive and that it would be dangerous to remain in Pakistan, a week later, the family was on a flight bound for a new life in Canada.

Khalid’s family moved into the same apartment building I lived in at 100 Dundalk Drive in Scarborough. His family lived on the 8th floor and mine lived on the 10th. We both come from big families, Khalid being the second youngest of 5 and I being the oldest of 5. We both lived in 2 bedroom apartments with 7 people crammed in each of our homes. Although some may say we grew up poor, we were fortunate in that we were rich with the love from both of our large families.

As children, we played hide and seek, climbed trees, rode our bikes, had water fights and went swimming at the local pool. Our families knew each other because I was good friends with both Khalid and his younger brother Qasim. Our friendship continued into our teens where we traded in our water guns and hide and seek games for movie watching and hanging out at the mall. We even attended the same high school and ended up working part time together at the same senior’s home. Basically, we were together 24/7. This close friendship deepened and eventually, we realized our feelings for each other were much stronger. There we were, 16 years old, naïve, young and happy in love and that is precisely when many of our challenges began.

Although we attended a fairly multi-cultural high school, inter-racial dating was still quite rare. Many people were not tolerant of a Pakistani boy and Japanese girl being together and we were surprised that even some of our “friends” were against it. We faced quite a bit of racism and nasty comments at school where many of the Pakistani and Asian students were outraged that we were dating outside of our culture. In public it was much the same and we had to endure hushed comments and dirty looks outside of school as well. It was difficult for us but it truly made us and our relationship stronger.

To add to our challenges, were Khalid’s parents. Once they suspected Khalid and I were a couple, the fact that I was not Pakistani nor Muslim became a huge issue and they forbade him from seeing me. We had to date in secret which caused a huge strain on our relationship for many years. So you could imagine how comical it was that even though we lived in the same building, we had to hone our undercover skills to avoid being seen together or caught by his parents. We resorted to taking the elevator at different times, meeting a couple blocks from our apartment building, coming home separately and so on. We came up with a secret phone ringing code, such as ringing once was the sign for Khalid to call me back. We had to be quite creative and could have become secret agents with the skills we picked up. I laugh at it now but looking back, it was difficult for me. Although my parents were fairly strict about dating, they accepted Khalid while his parents stopped speaking to me and my family. Eventually I accepted that this was our situation and just focused on building our relationship.

Later, Khalid’s father threatened to arrange a marriage for him and tried to separate us but none of it worked. His father was so adamantly against his children marrying outside the community that when his eldest daughter, who had been arranged to be married at 18 years old and sent to London, England informed him that she was going to divorce her abusive husband, she was ex-communicated. He didn’t attend the weddings of his 2 older sons’ as one brother married a Polish girl while the other married a Vietnamese girl. For several years, I can honestly say that relations with his parents were non-existent and I know it was especially hard on Khalid that his parents didn’t acknowledge our relationship.

When Khalid and I moved in together his parents resolve against their children marrying outside of the community slowly started to thaw. With barely any communication with their children, his parents realized that they might eventually lose them forever. I’m happy to say now that we are all a happy family. No more missed holidays and happy occasions. I get along marvelously with his parents and I couldn’t be happier. Now both sides of the family can interact and we will finally be united in marriage and our family size will literally double. It has been a long and hard fought journey to get to this point but being here now is such a blessing because family means so much to both Khalid and I.

Over the years, we have endured people not accepting our relationship, feuding family members, deaths in the family, personal illness and more recently our parents’ health problems as they age. The most challenging has been my father’s health. The last year has been especially difficult and filled with extensive medical testing. We found out just before Christmas that my father has been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease (HD). While we are happy to know the cause of his physical changes, given HD is genetic, it has been emotional knowing there is the possibility that I may contract the disease and that HD has the potential for a fairly early age onset. I was personally struggling with the news and scared to tell Khalid at first, especially as we’re in the midst of wedding planning and buying our first home. Both Khalid and I have always tried to be strong for each other and I am truly lucky to have him by my side as he has been so positive and supportive in the face of this diagnosis. I know that we can make it through anything and although HD is a deteriorating disease, I am so happy that my father is doing relatively well and will be able to attend and witness our wedding.

When our families found out we were engaged, they were so happy and joked that, “It was about time”. I wonder if we could get into the record books for the longest courtship ever? In March 2008, it will be 16 years that we have been a couple. We started dating at 16 and 16 years later, we’ll be getting married. Initially because we’d been together so long, we were thinking of getting the deed done in a quickie City Hall ceremony but realized that we wanted something more. Our wedding will be the first wedding Khalid’s mother and father will attend as they missed the other siblings’ weddings. Also for various reasons of distance and circumstance, other siblings have not been able to attend weddings. Our wedding truly marks the first wedding where there are no feuds, the family ties are strong and that every family member will be in attendance.

For this reason, these wedding pictures not only mean so much to us but to the rest of our family as well. It is heartbreaking for us to see Khalid’s siblings’ wedding photos where his parents are not in any pictures or a sibling or two are missing. Our wedding gives us a chance to celebrate with everyone and it means so much to be able to preserve this important moment in our lives.

Our wedding not only unites us finally in marriage but marks a day when our entire family will truly come together. Iwasaki’s and all of the Khawaja’s will be together and that has made our families so happy and giddy about our wedding. It’s as if they’re all getting married again too.

Couples always say this but in our case it’s true. We are meant to be together and I can honestly say that I will marry by best friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with and love.

So this is how our story really goes…Once upon a time in a land not so far away called Scarborough, there was a girl named Yoko and a boy named Khalid. They were childhood friends that came from very different backgrounds. They met, fell in love and over the years their relationship faced many obstacles. But through it all, they persevered and their love endured and only grew stronger. Finally, that love will culminate in their wedding 16 years later on Sunday, July 20th, where they will be joined by their friends and loving family to begin their continuing journey of happily ever after.

In addition to winning Judy's contest, I was so moved by their story that I jumped on board and I'm happy to say I'll be providing a free day-of-coordination service. I very much look forward to meeting up with this couple and will be posting about the wedding for sure!

February 12, 2008

People Make Up the Wildest Things

Surfing through websites and I found this back on a dress ... wowzaas!!!

It's by the fine folks at Get Conscious ...

Think About the Place Where You Live ...

Just to alert everyone to the button on the right-hand side of the blog, there's a great new event I think you should all attend! The Eco-Wedding & Lifestyle Show is being held at the Design Exchange in Toronto on March 1st & 2nd.

Organizers are promising to help the discerning couple make purchasing choices that have a lighter impact on the environment without sacraficing style and joy. Participating vendors have made a commitment to the environment and will be eager to show you ways in which you can reduce your footprint on the earth. There will be Interactive Fashion Stations, Mini-Seminars, Wedding Carbon Calculators and Eco-Café and of course PRIZES!

I'm going to be giving away tickets to the show as I whole-heartedly believe you should be attending ... stay tuned for whatever strange plan I come up with for deciding on who receives the tickets ;)

For more info on the show, click on the banners!

February 11, 2008

She's My Inspiration ...

I honestly was set to post about a lovely artist friend of mine and a great idea she has with weddings. I went to her website to grab some links and more info and I'd like to now change the topic of my post completely!

Heather from Illustration Castle is an artist I had the fortune of meeting about three and a half years ago. She specializes in illustrating for children's books but has recently very much changed her way of living and is quite the role-model. In taking a brief look at her blog I was seriously proud ... she's gone green! That's a very easy statement to make but Heather is very much practicing what she preaches. Check out some of the things she's doing ...

In my home studio

• PDF Addict : I confess I’m a PDF addict since going paperless. From PDF proofs to sending signed contracts and invoices, PDFs are my new best friend with sending documents to & from clients.
• Digital Backups : I use an external hard drive and USB for my temporary backups
• Hard Copy Backups : I use DVDs instead of CDs to reduce waste (for backups and to send hard copies of files to clients)
• Unplug printer & scanner & other equipment when not in use… and my Mac is set to go to sleep mode after not being in use for a minute (rather than a screen saver)
• Compost pencil shavings
• Reuse scraps of illustration paper for smaller illustrations
• Use recycled materials to send artwork to clients
• Design reusable promotional items (such as calendars)
• Only print stationery as it is needed
• When printing use both sides of the page
• Donate any unwanted books & art supplies to art students (a.k.a. my brother!)
• Trade in old computer equipment (and will be e-cycling next time an electronic product dies on me!)
• Avoid using spray glue fixatives and aerosols
• Dispose & recycle diluents safely
• Purchase art paper and supplies in bulk to reduce visits to the shop and on packaging
• Blog regularly with ideas & solutions for how to be a green designer & illustrator
• Recycle ink cartridges
• Use canvas bags when shopping
• Switched to Renewable Energy through AGL for only $0.99 more a week (Oct 2006)
• Consolodated my work environment into one unit : my Mac is my creative hub, my tv, my stereo, my dvd player, and my telephone!

Most know that this is a direction I'm going in, too ... right now it's trying to switch bad habits into good ones. Heather's actions are some we should all be trying to emulate! To find out more of her GREEN steps, visit her blog by clicking on the picture below.

February 9, 2008

"The Off Season"

For those brides and grooms to be who are somewhat unfamiliar with the wedding industry and how everything works, at least photographers and videographers, most of us go through a slooooow period, from around November to March. *Most* of my bookings are throughout April to October, as my brides and grooms generally enjoy the spring feel, summer warmth, and fall colors, rather than the harsh, bitter cold and sloppy slush. But to each his or her own, right? During the off season, I do my *research* on my competition (will touch on that later, wink wink), meet with and book new clients, update my website, explore new and interesting ways to advertise, and constantly think of ways to improve on my work. While the subject of keeping up with technology is a blog all to itself, we can all respect and understand that the more expensive and sophisticated equipment is, the more expensive the packages may be. I'm recently exploring the era of high definition cameras. Not one you can buy at Best Buy for $700, but a professional camcorder costing upwards of $7000! For a small business like my own, this is a very large investment. Currently, if a bride and groom want high definition coverage, all I do is rent an HD camera, and transfer the additional cost to the package. A rental for one day is only about $250 from Vistek, so it's not that much. However, the editing is a little more intense and the processing time is a little longer, so that also affects the price. However, I do recommend at least exploring the option of HD coverage for your wedding as it does look much better than standard definition (6 times the resolution!). If you don't know what I mean, go to Futureshop and have a seat at one of their cookie-cutter living rooms with the leather couches and surround sound, and I'm sure a salesperson will be along in no time to try to take your money =) Have a look at the quality of the video and compare it to a standard definition TV that is conveniently, deliberatly and strategicly hidden in one of the aisles away from the customer's main traffic routes. You'll see the difference. High Def has it's pros and cons, I'll be candid (just like my style of videography!). While I've already pointed out that the resolution is much higher hence looks much better than it's predecessor, SD, it also may reveal those small bodily imperfections we all (or at least most of us think we) have. If the videographer's style of shooting is close-up, you'll see every little pore and blemish on your skin, if of course the filming is in a well lit area. If you're filming HD in a low-lit area, you're likely to experience lesser quality video, perhaps more "grainy" and less vibrant color saturation. Please forgive me, I don't want to get too techy here, as some of you readers are more tech-savvy than others, but to say it in short, good quality SD cameras react much better in low light than moderate quality HD cameras, according to their Lux rating (won't get into that too much here, but basically a Lux rating is the manufacturer's measurement of how sensitive the camera is to light - the lower the number the better).

As I mentioned before, I'm in the market for a new HD camera. During the last 6 months, there has been a lot of buzz from all the major manufacturers, Sony, Panasonic, Canon mostly. And we all know what happens when this happens - prices tend to fall. So I'm going to wait till the dust settles to make my selection. I'm sure it will be worth the wait!

February 7, 2008

The Rebuttal

In rebuttal to KK's post-


I will happily talk about my wedding any day, anytime, to anyone (glazed eyes be damned!)

That's all.

A post about The Dress is coming. I promise.


ps. Still no ring. Grrr.

February 6, 2008

all about the Benjamins....or the Bordens

So a friend asked me recently "Your wedding's comming up. I cant wait! Arent you excited?"
I replied "Not really. I just want it all over and done with."
He was absolutely in shock. "How can I be more excited about your weding than you?"

Well, really, how can he NOT? At the begining, it was everything wedding. And that was the way I liked it. I was the bride . Vendors were approaching ME at the bridal shows and in the stores (true, most of them probably only saw me as a walking dollar sign, but I managed to overlook that fact in exchange for the tonnes of attention they showered on me), friends and family asked to see the ring and wanted to discuss how plans were going.

It was a great way to satisfy my inner narcissist (Okay, maybe not THAT "inner"!). But really, you know at work when the first person asks you where the bathrooms are you happily answer...but when the 20th person asks, you get annoyed and bored with the repetitive question? Well, that's what happened to me!

"Yes I already have my dress"...for the 30th time!
"My brother's fiancee is my maid of honour"...just like I told your friend 10 seconds ago
"Yes its an open bar"...GAH!!!!!!

All of a sudden, I was HAPPY to talk about anything BUT the wedding!

The icing on the cake is that when the clock struck midnight on new years, it was no longer "Im getting married next year" but "Im getting married in 3 months." That realization was followed by the one that I only had a handfull of paychecks left. Suddenly this chance to 'save little bits from every paycheck over time' was running out. What will we do if we are a little short? We cant just insert another payday between now and then. Will we have to pull the dj equivalent of a "dine and dash" (a dance and run to your hotel room)?

When I get worked up about this, I try to focus on the fact that things like this always have a way of working out. I try to focus on my work bonus Im expecting in a few weeks, a raise my fiance will get for the last few checks before the wedding and a few other little sorces here and there. I try to think of it that worrying about it NOW will not help. Its like trying to change the TV channel by staring really hard. But still, no matter how I calm down about it, I still cant get as excited as my friends and family are. And personally, I dont blame me!

What A Surprise ...

Considering we've known each other for quite some time and we even get together for the occasional Girl's Night Out, it really isn't a surprise Ms. Jessica Blaine Smith is now joining the blog! Most of you will know her as the Boudoir Queen ... no, that's not a shot at her love life ... she shoots beautiful boudoir sessions (as well as weddings, corporate and all that good stuff). She even came by my place last year to take my head shots so I can attest to her fabulous people skills and corny I'm-going-to-make-you-smile jokes ;)

Welcome, Jessica!

Hip & Fun Cocktail & Dinner Music

Hi Everyone!

Lisa from hello DJ! here! When you're thinking of music for your cocktail hour and dinner, feel free to venture beyond the traditional elevator music or instrumental stuff! You can have your music make a statement, with tunes your friends can hum along to and recognize. It's great to include the stuff you can't dance to, but can definitely lounge out and mingle to! Some of my favourite hip & fun cocktail & dinner songs right now include:

Feist - 1,2, 3, 4
Michael Buble - Everything
Nouvelle Vague - I Melt With You
The Garden State Soundtrack - Various...
Apologize - One Republic
Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks
Sweet Baby - Macy Gray
The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
Coldplay -Various
U2 - Various
Bob Marley - great for outdoor summer events!
Jack Johnson - Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
Ne-Yo - All Because of You
Bob Sinclair - Love Generation
Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape
Fergie - Glamorous

Don't be afraid to be bold with your cocktail tunes as people mingle about! You can always mix up some adult contemporary with some great vocal jazz by:

Ella Fitzgerald
Louis Armstrong
Sarah Vaughan
Billie Holiday
Etta James
Diana Krall
Frank Sinatra
Dean Martin
Norah Jones
Michael Buble

I hope I've given you some ideas to work with! Please feel free to check out hello DJ! online @ www.helloDJ.ca

We are booking quickly for 2008 - get in touch with us via Lisa@helloDJ.ca for our latest availability.

February 5, 2008

Can't Help Wondering Why

While waiting for the phone company this morning I was watching a little Breakfast Television. One of the stories that caught my attention was a little blurb about You & Your Wedding Magazine (UK based) taking a survey of brides that has resulted in them compiling together a contract for bridesmaids to sign. I realize some brides will actually love this but I can't help but think it's a touch over the top in certain areas. I will admit it was good for a laugh though. My personal favourites were:

"I will not gain more than 7lbs between now and the wedding"
"I will not intentionally fall pregnant before the wedding"
and last but not least ...
"I will not remove any item of my Bridesmaid outfit during the reception"

To see the whole article and the contract click on the photo (by Heather Castles at the Illustration Castle) ...

Young Folks

I'm thrilled to say Lisa Ng from hello DJ! has joined the crew at the blog ... please check out her work online and if you're in the market for a DJ, I highly suggest giving her a jingle. Not only is she young, hip and the most energetic vendor I've had the pleasure of meeting but she's masterfully managed to make a name for herself in an industry dominated by men (no offense, guys). I'd boast about her recent feats but she may want to say a bit about that in her first posts ;)

Welcome to the mix, Lisa!!!

I'm hoping to add another few young folks so stay tuned ... as soon as they send their pictures, they'll be up here ;)

February 4, 2008

And We'll Have Fun Fun Fun Til the Boss Doesn't Want Us to Playyyyyy

A little bit of fun for a Monday morning ...

What bride isn't curious to see if her wedding vision will match an online quiz? Okay, maybe not all of you care but I was amazed just now when I took a 'Wedding Style Quiz' and my result matched the look of my wedding completely! I was a mix of three of the four styles but the one that was me more so than the others was definitely what the finished product wound up being ...

That's my own wedding with a dear friend who had just read a favourite poem for my husband and I :)

To take the quiz GO HERE or click on my results above.


February 2, 2008

Do your guests a favour

If you really want to do your guests a favour and have them be supremely happy - then give them an edible gift favour at your wedding or event.

Why not treat your guests to something sweet that ties in to the theme of your wedding or event, matches the monograms on your invitations, or acts as a place card?

Offered in vanilla, chocolate, gingerbread - or even custom flavours, decorated cookie favours are a sweet treat that everyone will love. Packing in clear cellophane bags tied with satin ribbon, Chinese take out boxes, or clear pvc boxes available.

February 1, 2008

Got your bridesmaid's dresses picked out? Then lets talk flowers!

JESS- Hey Erin- how many months before the big day do you personally prefer to meet with a bride for the first time?

ERIN – anywhere between 3 and 6 months ahead- Unless you are an extremely organized bride there are just too many questions that still need answering. It is very difficult to come up with a concept for a wedding when decisions like dress colours are not made yet

JESS- I totally agree. I’ve had brides come in a year or so in advance and there is just no way we can WOW them at that point, because there isn’t any framework to build on. As you said- no bridesmaids dress colours, no colour theme! Plus, I think any more than 6 months means that they haven’t narrowed down a budget- so we come in with a quote for the floral designs of their wildest dreams- then reality sets in closer to and we’ve lost the event without ever really having a shot at it. What would you say are the basic things a bride needs to know or have decided on before coming to see you?

Erin –They should already know or have a good idea of the following

- The colour and style of their own gown

- The colour and style of the bridesmaids dresses

- Whether they want a formal or casual wedding

- The date of the wedding

- The location of the wedding ceremony and reception

They don’t have to worry about knowing exactly what they want their flowers to look like or the types of flowers they want. That’s the point of the consultation. We sit down with the bride and ask them a number of questions designed to guide them in their decisions. We really do work one on one with the bride (and groom) to figure out what they are looking for. I have had so many brides leave an appointment saying “I had no idea what I wanted before we sat down today- and now I love what we picked out!” It’s our job to know what is in season and to know which flowers will last the longest in a wedding bouquet and to help them choose flowers that will convey their own personal style.

JESS- That’s a great list Erin- the only thing I’d add is, as I said before, a basic idea of budget- It doesn’t have to be exact, but I’d far rather know during the consultation if I have roughly $50 per table or if they are able to spend $100 per table- it lets us concentrate more on the areas of importance to them, and helps narrow down choices early- brides are busy enough without us throwing extra information at them!

Keep Reading ...

The Ring

No, not the horror movie starring Naomi Watts. But almost…

We spent all of last weekend doing wedding stuff. Most of it was tedious. But the thing I was most looking forward to was shopping for our wedding rings. Although, FI swore he would never wear a ring, he said he would look at least. And I knew EXACTLY what I wanted. So I thought my choice would be a breeze, and his would be the toughie.

Not so much.

I think FI was surprised at how many he actually liked. And at the end of the day he ended up buying a VERY cool ring. I think he likes enough that he might even wear it everyday. Which would make me very happy. But I’m not holding my breath yet.

Me, on the other hand. I’m having issues. I had a style in mind that I wanted. I thought it was a pretty common thing. My e-ring is a spectacular solitaire, so I wanted a wedding band that would bend around it to show it off. I saw one I liked at Zales in Buffalo and I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to find something similar, maybe even better here at home. I hunted everywhere for it. Couldn't find it. I had to explain a million times to jewelers what I was talking about. Seems it’s not such a common design after all!

Then magically, at a shop in the mall, I found it. I was so excited/ I made FI get out the camera-phone to take pictures. I slipped it on… and HATED it. Gasp. How could this be? I was not even thinking about bands at all. I had it all planned!

So then I was back to square one. And a little upset. And a little tired. And more than a little grumpy. All that searching and it didn’t matter.

Then we went to Spence Diamonds (where FI bought his band). They have hundreds of options. I found a few that were okay but not THE ONE RING. (Har. A LOTR fan joke.) I still wanted something that fit around my solitaire. And for some reason I don’t want to get a custom ring. Not sure why.

Then the very nice salesperson made a suggestion. She showed me this amazing ring. I slipped it on, and it fit around my solitaire like it was forged in the fires of Mount Doom with my e-ring. (That’s the last one, I swear). Anywho, they fit together like a puzzle. Perfection. BUT (did you feel the BUT coming?) BUT I always envisioned myself with something subdued. Diamonds, but not a ton. Something that compliments my e-ring but doesn’t distract from it. This ring, this perfect fitting ring, was, well, a friend described it as a Hello How Are Ya! ring. It was chock full of diamonds. And blingy. Very blingy. FI saw it and said right away that my solitaire gets lost. And I know it’s true. But a PERFECT FIT?? How can I turn that down?

I decided to walk away, think about it and go back. I will return to the store on Sunday with a gaggle of lady-friends to help me get some perspective.

But in the meantime, I’m still a little upset, a little tired and a little more than grumpy about the whole thing.


Beautiful Flower

On this cold, blustery day in the Greater Toronto Area I decided to flip through my favourite Australian magazine ... if only to feel a little warmer! There are tonnes of fantastic ideas and I'll likely come back to a few but for now I wanted to post something that caught my eye.
There's a section on jeweled flowers that is stunning ... the one that I fell in love with is the picture below. Instead of adding jewels to the actual bouquet, why not add gems to the ribbon trailing beneath? Simple yet sophisticated! Not to mention I love orchids ;)