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What Bride’s Won’t Admit While Wedding Planning

They Judge Their Friends Weddings

Girl, we have all been there. Almost all my couples have told me that if they go to a friends wedding leading up to their own, they will take mental notes about what they liked and didn’t like about that wedding.  This can be things like the order of events, colour scheme, or first dance song.  Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be a negative thing!  You could go to a wedding and adore how they changed up their wedding day timeline.  Let your wedding planner know about what you like and don’t like from those weddings.  Your planner will be able to create a theme or timeline that works best with your vision!

Hating Everyone’s Unsolicited Wedding Advice

Becoming engaged is such an exciting time.  When you get engaged A LOT of people come out of the woodwork and tell you how things should be done on your wedding day.  Auntie Sally believes you should do X, Y, on your wedding day, but then your friend Dayna thinks that the perfect wedding day should include A, B, C.  As a bride, don’t be afraid to be straight forward and direct about what you want YOUR wedding day to be.

Friends… If you have a bestie that’s engaged and your already married, do them a favor and hold back from overwhelming them with a zillion pieces of advice unless they ask.

They Get Caught up in What Guests “Expect” on their Wedding Day

Who gives a F*&^ what your guests want, this day is about you and your hubby.  This mindset of truly personalizing your wedding is becoming more popular and we at ALWeddings are totally on board!  Your wedding doesn’t have to follow any rules.  If you don’t want traditional stationary then don’t, or if you don’t want to do dances then don’t!

To be honest, as wedding planners we start salivating when couples come to us saying they want an nontraditional wedding. This means we get to flex our creative muscle and design an epic wedding that matches our client’s vision.

 

Photos by: Xandra Photography

Melissa and Dylan’s Wedding

I first got introduced to Melissa a couple years ago in New York while sitting next to each other at a hockey game.  We both work in the events industry and instantly hit it off while talking shop.  At the time I had just launched my business and spoke about how excited I was to see it grow.  Who would have thought that several years later I would coordinate her wedding?

Some of my favorite photos from their wedding day included their fur baby Leo.  I swear I’ve never met a more handsome and smiley dog before.  Don’t they make the perfect little family?

Melissa and Dylan chose to tie the knot at the brand-new venue Whitetail Meadow.  It was the perfect backdrop to bring Melissa’s vision to life.  My favorite piece of décor used on their wedding day was the macramé hung from their ceremony arch.  This beast was not light, but tied (yes pun intended) everything together.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the stunning flower arrangements created by Lily Stone Garden?  The bouquets looked so effortlessly pulled together and added the perfect pop of colour.  Many of my 2018 couples decided to use a garland of greenery down the middle of their tables, but the added blooms gave it that extra wow factor for guests.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, what makes a wedding truly special is the people.  Melissa and Dylan were surrounded by the sweetest and most kind group of friends on their wedding day.

I wish Melissa and Dylan the best in this new exciting part of their lives!

VENDORS

Izabela Rachwal Photography | Lily Stone Garden | Whitetail Meadow | Alexandra Lillian Weddings and Events | Grace Hill Salon | Touch of Glass | Jamil Williams | Oak Bluff Limo | Garett Neiles | Little Flower Shop | Justine Barry | WOW Catering | 111 Films

 

 

 

Malaparte – Domestic Destination Wedding Tour

Ahh, The Six… The Big Smoke… or more commonly known as Toronto.  It’s Canada’s city of lights and home to some of our countries best wedding venues.

I like to travel to Toronto once a year to explore and get inspiration.  A couple months ago when I travelled there, I reached out to one of my favorite wedding venues Malaparte for a tour.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t get what you don’t ask for, so I wrote a thoughtful email to the staff at Malaparte, clicked “send,” and waited for a response.  Within 24 hours their venue coordinator April had emailed me back inviting me to see the venue.

Malaparte is perfect for Canadians looking to host a domestic destination wedding.  Say you grew up at opposite ends of the country from your fiancé, but met them at University.  Why not meet in the middle (Toronto) for your wedding?

The Toronto Pearson Airport is the easiest airport in the country to fly to, with direct flights from most airports in the country.  The day of my tour I took the red-eye from Winnipeg to Toronto and landed at 8:00 AM.  Like most major cities, the airport is no where near city center.  However, you can easily jump on the Union Pearson Express (UP Express) and get to downtown Toronto in 25 minutes.  Once you arrive in Union Station you’re either a quick walk, cab or subway ride away from any downtown hotel.

On most trips to Toronto I either stay at the Royal York (rights across the street from Union Station) or the Delta (attached by the skywalk to Union Station).  After checking into the Delta early (9:00 AM…unheard of right!) I freshened up and walked the four blocks to Malaparte.

Malaparte is located in the famous TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) Lightbox building on King Street West.  Needless to say, it’s a pretty cool building and a great way to wow guests as they arrive.

April their venue coordinator was amazing and greeted me with their inhouse chocolate fudge (Yum!) and venue package.  As we walked around she told me some amazing stories about Malaparte.  A year prior, they had a couple from opposite ends of the world that hosted their wedding there. They flew in guests from all over the world.

On my tour I got to see the rooftop terrace and dinning room.  The rooftop terrace is the main selling factor of the venue.  It includes a tent for a wedding ceremony and grand steps for a cocktail hour.  Very little décor would need to be brought in as the venue and skyline truly speaks for itself.

As we continued our tour we walked from the terrace to the formal dining room.  Let’s just say that it’s a jaw dropping space.  The ceiling was my favorite part of the room.  It’s white, textured and slightly angled starting from the bar.  If clean and simple is your look, then this is the venue for you!

A domestic destination wedding is a new concept for a lot of people.  So why not try something new and get married in Toronto at Malaparte!

 

 

 

Janelle and Riley’s Club Regent Event Center Wedding

Janelle and Riley’s Club Regent Event Center Wedding

As a wedding planner I’m constantly surrounded by love and beautiful relationships.  Janelle and Riley’s love however, is the kind of love that could bring a tear to anyone’s eye.  With every look and touch they shared on the wedding day it was apparent how much they loved each other.

Janelle first contacted me about planning her wedding in May 2017.  She had an elegant meets modern vision for the wedding design.  The bridesmaids wore beautiful floor length light pink gowns, and the guys wore sharp blue suits.  To give the venue a modern twist, she used floating candles in glass vases on guest tables and added a “LOVE” marquee sign in front of the head table.

Janelle and Riley chose the Club Regent Event Center for the wedding reception.  I was completely giddy with excitement when Janelle told me, as I had never worked there before!  As a wedding planner it’s always fun to explore new wedding venues.  Their staff was amazing to work with!  They perfectly mixed professionalism and humor.  I don’t think I’ve laughed more at a wedding!

Both myself and my lead coordinator Lisa were incredible proud of how everything came together on Janelle and Riley’s wedding day.  We wish them nothing but the best in married life!

VENDORS

Charmaine Mallari Photography | Alexandra Lillian Weddings and Events | Club Regent Event Center | H & M | Fauna and Fern | Colour Me Artistry | Taylor Neufeld |

Stephanie Anne Cakes

 

 

What to Wear to a Wedding

At a clients one month out meeting, the bride expressed how a couple of her wedding guests had reached out to her unsure of what was appropriate to wear for her formal or black-tie optional wedding.  I thought that if a couple of people are curious on what to wear, so would others. With that in mind, I decided to write this blog post on what to wear to a wedding. In this post I will outline for women, what to wear to a black-tie and formal, semiformal, and casual wedding.

Before we dive into what to wear, I thought a good place to start would be with what NOT to wear.  I’ll try to be nicer about this than Stacey London and Clinton Kelly from the TLC show.

Never ever wear white, unless your directed to on the invitation.  Sure in 2018 we are generally more flexible on wedding attire. But wearing white is still a major faux paux.  Unless you want evil looks from a bride, I would highly suggest hanging up your white dress and saving it for another event.

Formal and Black-tie optional

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine introduced me to the company “Name of Love.” They are a mail order bridesmaid dress company based out of New York. The styles are so classic that you can wear them even as a wedding guest. Something special about the company is that they have a local connection. One of the founders is originally from Winnipeg (woop woop). They have a ton of elegant, minimalist dresses that fit a formal and black-tie optional dress code.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Planner tip: When purchasing a dress look for an investment piece, one which you can wear for years to come.  Ensure it’s a timeless piece, purchase the dress in black, navy, or burgundy.

 

Semi-Formal

The main difference between formal and semi-formal, is that with semi=formal you can play around with colour a bit more.  A dramatic red or sweet blush pink are perfect options.

Keep the length a bit more conservative.  Definitely do NOT wear a mini dress. Save that for the after party. ;).

 

Casual

For a casual wedding play around with some fun floral prints, stripes and colour.  This will be the typical attire for a country wedding.

Luxurious New Years Eve Wedding

When Savanna first contacted me about wedding planning, something clicked!  I knew we would be a great fit working together on her new years eve wedding.  This was my first new years eve wedding, and let me tell you, it was a BLAST to ring in the new year with Savanna and Nick’s friends and family!

In the months leading up to her wedding, Savanna and I met a couple of times to talk about logistics and design.  She had a very luxurious vision for her wedding day, incorporating crisp white, gold and black. One way she incorporated white was in her stunning bouquet by Couture Florals.  How stunning does it look in the picture below?!

At our first meeting Savanna mentioned one of her top priorities was to create the perfect atmosphere for guests.  Let me put it this way, Savanna definitely succeeded in that! During the wedding ceremony and reception everywhere I looked people were smiling and enjoying themselves.  

 

One question I always get asked is “what makes a wedding great?”  The honest answer is the people. I have the privilege to work with some incredible couples that have an amazing group of friends and family.  For example, Savanna’s bridesmaids were incredibly kind and welcoming on the wedding day.

Are you planning a winter wedding?

I would love to assist you plan a magical wedding day like Savanna and Nicks!  Contact me at alex@alweddingswinnipeg.com to arrange a complimentary initial meeting.

CLICK HERE TO SEE SAVANNA AND NICKS WEDDING VIDEO!

Vendors: Alexandra Lillian Weddings and Events, Couture Florals, Niakwa Country Club, Jess Stephens Photography

Top 5 To-Dos, Before the I-Dos

Congratulations to all the beauties out there that just got engaged!  This is an exciting and special moment in your lives, make sure to take a step back and let it all soak in.  To keep this time as stress free as possible, here is a list of my top 5 to-dos, before the I-dos.  Follow these to-dos, and you will be well on your way to a relaxed wedding planning experience.

 

Budget

Budgeting can be tough, especially with so many ideas, pressures and opinions on what your wedding day should be.  Any experienced wedding planner will sit down with you before jumping in head first and create a detailed budget.  This will allow for your planner to refer vendors, venues and designs that are within your budget and avoid potential disappointment later on.  Everyone deserves the wedding day of their dreams, but let’s make sure you don’t go broke in the process.

Choose Your Venue

There are venues out there to fit any style and budget.  The one tricky thing with venues is that popular and trendy ones book up far in advance.  Create a list of both your top three venues and top three wedding dates.  This way you have some flexibility and a backup plan if your first choice is already booked.

PRO TIP: There are dozens of hidden gem venues that fly under the radar which can be both more affordable and flexible than the trendy venues of the moment. I recently had a friend tie the knot in a relatively unknown campground near Winnipeg and the pictures looked just as incredible as venues triple the price and the bride and groom could have their wedding on a prime weekend.
Hire a Wedding Planner

Hiring a planner early in the wedding planning process will take a lot of stress off your shoulders, keep the process organized and save you money in the long run.  As a wedding planner, three services I offer are full wedding planning, month of wedding coordination, and consultations.  Each services fits a certain client’s needs and budget.  For example, full wedding planning clients can expect;

  • Monthly wedding consultations;
  • Creation of a budget breakdown;
  • Wedding design and inspiration;
  • Vendor management;
  • Creation of a day-of wedding timeline;
  • Confirmation and coordination of details and logistics with vendors, ceremony speakers and other service providers;
  • Collection of small décor for the wedding; and
  • Coordination of your wedding rehearsal, ceremony and reception.

As a planner I have worked with a wide range of wedding vendors in the province and would be able to suggest venues, florists, bakeries, officiants, etc. to fit your budget and vision. When you work with an experienced planner, you can be rest assured that you are working with professional, pre-screened vendors who are reliable and affordable (never mind that some vendors often throw in little extras for a bride and groom when the booking is made through a planner they have worked with before).

Hire a Wedding Photographer

There is a wedding photographer out there to meet every style and personality.  Similar to wedding venues, great photographers book up far in advance.  This is why hiring a photographer is one of my top five to-dos before the I-dos.  Feeling stressed about how to pose and position yourself?  A great photographer will make you and your fiancé feel at ease and gently guide your through the photo process.

PRO TIP: In the past 4-5 years, many couples have began prioritizing wedding videos before wedding photos. While each come with their advantages and disadvantages, be warned that high quality videographers are far fewer in numbers than photographers and should ABSOLUTELY be booked early to avoid disappointment. While some photographers may claim to also be able to shoot video simultaneously, I highly recommend that you have a separate vendor for each service (I have unfortunately seen the results of a photographer trying to do both and neither product ended up being as good as it could be).
Choose your Bridal Party

Which best pals will you choose to have stand by your side on the wedding day?  Ignore the politics and pressure, think of who you are closest and trust most.  For some this is an easy decision, but for others can be difficult. If you are part of the latter group, don’t fret – not everyone has a rock solid group who are the automatic choice.  Regardless of your decision, everyone in your life will be happy and supportive on your wedding day.

Pro Tip: Wedding parties come in all numbers. I have seen as low as three and as many as seven. Also don’t forget your partners situation and their desires in filling out their roster.

 

Congratulations again on your recent engagement.  Happy planning!

 

Photography by Aimee De La Lande Photography

 

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PLANNING YOUR BACHELORETTE PARTY

Engagement Season – Shopping for an Engagement Ring

Shopping for an Engagement Ring

You found the perfect partner, now it’s time to find the perfect ring.  I know shopping for an engagement ring can be daunting, but consider these five points to make the shopping process a breeze.

 

Budget

Rumor has it that you should budget two months salary when purchasing an engagement ring.  This amount can range significantly depending on your career.  Spend what makes you feel comfortable and does not put you in significant debt.  

Colour

On the International Grading Scale diamond colour can range from exceptional white (the best) to tinted in colour (the worst).  

When choosing the colour you need to keep in mind the type of metal band you would like to use, and the cut of diamond.  The lighter the metal you use, the more colourless the diamond should be.  This will really make the diamond pop in contrast to the band.  The cut of diamond also dictates the ideal colour.  A round shape should have less colour than an oval, marquise or pear due to how the light refracts.

Carat

The carat (weight) of the diamond can often be confused with the size.  The majority or rings mined in the world are less than a carat.  Diamonds over a carat a more rare, and it’s even more rare to find a diamond over a carat with excellent clarity.  There is a give/take when looking at diamonds.  You have to think of what is most important to your soon-to-be fiance; quality or size?  The larger the diamond, the larger chance it has imperfections.

Clarity

The clarity of a diamond is judged by its amount of inclusions (imperfections).  On the International Grading Scale it ranges from FL (the best) to I3 (the worst).  Don’t worry guys, it’s not the end of the world if your favorite diamond has an inclusion. Unless the diamond is of poor quality,  inclusions are only visible with a 10x microscope.  

Cut

Want an extra sparkly diamond?  The cut of your diamond will depict how sparkly it will be.  The ideal cut will gather and reflect the most amount of light from the top.  If a diamond is too shallow or too deep it will not reflect light back out the top, causing it to sparkle less and appear dull.

Popular cuts include; round, princess, cushion, marquise, emerald, radiant, pear, oval and asscher.

 

I hope this post has helped educate you on what to consider when purchasing an engagement ring.  Over the next couple of weeks I will be highlighting key engagement ring tips and tricks from both local and international experts.  HAPPY SHOPPING!

 

Click here for proposal inspiration.

Engagement Season – Real Couples, Real Proposals

Hello, engagement season!  This blog post is for you men and woman out there looking for proposal inspiration, or a good (happy) cry.  Hope you enjoy these two proposal stories!

If you would like your special proposal featured on my blog, please email me at alex@alweddingswinnipeg.com with a mini write up of your love story, along with a photo.

 

First Home Proposal

Olivia Retter (Wifey/Mama/Entrepreneur)

“Brydon proposed to me as we were walking into our house together for the first time.  I had no idea it would happen then.  I loved how it happened!  It really made our house a home from the get go.” [Photo provided by couple]

 

Epic California Proposal

Bretton Meyer (Bride-to-Be, June 2017)

“Mike’s dream was to ride the Pacific Coast Hwy on his Harley.  I was over the moon when he asked if I was interested in doing the trip with him and I said “of course!”  So we loaded up the motorcycle in the bed of our truck, drove to Las Vegas and unloaded the bike.  We jumped on the bike and road to the Pacific Coast.  Our plan was to spend the first evening in Newport Beach then head North to San Francisco.  

Mike had another plan up his sleeve…  Literally hidden in his vest pocket was my engagement ring!  The drive on the motorcycle was breathtaking and so freeing.  We finally reached the ocean as the sun was setting.  We got off the bike and walked towards the ocean to dip our toes in the water.  Hand in hand we walked, little did I know what was going to happen next.  I felt hesitation in the pull of his hand, and turned around to find Mike down on one knee.  He was holding the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen!

He asked “Bretton Meyer, will you marry me?”  Tears filled my eyes instantly, and I said “yes!” [Photos provided by couple]

 

 

 

CLICK HERE FOR WEDDING INSPIRATION