Alexandra Lillian Weddings And Events Winnipeg | Wedding Planning Tips
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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

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.

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 – Blue Nile Inc. Interview

I’m so excited and honored to be blogging today about Blue Nile Inc.  They are one of the largest diamond distributors on the planet and traded on the NASDAQ.  When I first decided to launch a blog series about engagement season, I had a gut feeling to get an interview with their company about diamonds.  On a whim I emailed Amanda, their Public Relations Manager for an interview.

Blue Nile is a massive company and I wasn’t 100 % sure if I would receive an email back.  I was over the moon when Amanda emailed back.  This says a lot about their dedication to customer service.

What makes this company so special to me is that I have a personal connection to the brand, as my engagement ring is from their company.

(Image supplied by Blue Nile Inc.)

Here are some things Blue Nile recommends for getting the best diamond ring possible for your future fiancé:

Do Your Homework. You don’t have to be an accomplished gemologist to buy a diamond, but you must take the time to do research. The No. 1 fear diamond buyers have is – will I get ripped off? With a little research on the education sections of sites like BlueNile.com, you can quickly become knowledgeable. In fact, you’ll end up knowing more than any behind-the-counter jeweler.

Of The “Four C’s,” Don’t Sacrifice Cut. A diamond has four major characteristics – Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight, known as the Four C’s. Taken together, they determine a diamond’s quality and price. All are important, but cut is the most critical because it determines a diamond’s brilliance (sparkle). Even if a diamond has perfect color and clarity, if it has a poor cut, it will appear dull. And a more sparkly diamond = a bigger-looking diamond.

Buy Shy to Save Big. Diamond prices increase disproportionally at the carat and half-carat marks, so shoppers should try to buy just shy of these levels. For example, instead of a one carat diamond, look for a .95. That will save a significant amount of money, and the slight size difference will never be noticed – especially if it has a high-quality cut.

Find the “Sweet Spot.” As a diamond’s color and clarity grade improves, its price increases. But at a certain point the human eye cannot detect the difference in grades. That makes paying for perfect color and clarity like paying someone to paint the bottom of your house. For the best value choose a near-colorless (graded G-H) instead of a colorless diamond (graded D-F), or an eye-clean VS2 clarity grade as opposed to a Flawless clarity grade diamond.

Make Sure It’s Legit. Guess what? Diamonds are not created equal. Insist that the diamond have an independent grading report from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The quality of diamonds accompanied by these grading reports is considered guaranteed. Independent grading is important. If the grading report comes from the jeweler itself, it’s a bit like the fox guarding the hen house.

And of course, pay attention to return policies and whatever you do don’t put it in the dessert! No one wants to wear a sticky ring.

 

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 – 2

Welcome to the second installment of real couples, real proposals!  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.

 

New Years Day Proposal

Savanna Peers (Bride-to-be)

“I was bugging Nick to get engaged for about the last six months, but I didn’t think by any chance we’d actually get engaged until about this coming spring. I was just being annoying.  He always told me that he thought Christmas time engagements were so “obvious” so he didn’t like them. But I love Christmas engagements! So I really really did not have a clue.

My friend Kayla is a photographer, and we’d been saying we’d do just a couples shoot one of these days and we never got around to doing it, so a few weeks  before New Years she casually said maybe we should do it New Years day because everyone’s off work. So we made that plan pretty loosey goosey, sure we’ll do it if it’s nice out and it all works, if not whatever. Little did I know, Nick and Kayla had it all set up from beginning to end and managed to make it seem completely casual. So on New Years day, we left to go meet Kayla at Assinaboine Forrest, argued all the way there about how to get there and by the time we did get there, me and Nick were basically not speaking! So we meet Kayla, and head out to take some pictures, listening to Kayla tell us how to pose “hand here, foot there, etc etc”. All the while Nick has this giant ring box stuffed in his sock and is trying to make sure I don’t see it. If you look in the photo’s you can see a big square sticking out of his ankle!

We took regular “cute couple pictures” for about half hour, then started walking a different direction and Kayla continued telling us how to stand, “face back to back” OK, Nick turn around, OK, Savanna turn around..” and I turned around and he was down on one knee! But of course, being me, I didn’t understand, I thought maybe Kayla had told him to kneel cause we were taking some sort of kneeling down photos…? So I knelt down too and said what the heck kinda photo is this? FINALLY I figured it out, he asked, and eventually after laugh/crying for ten minutes I said yes . I’d truly never been more shocked and surprised, I had NO clue it was happening. We have beautiful pictures of all of it happening (including me, kneeling down in the snow like a moron). It was the best surprise ever.” [Photos provided by couple]

 

Distillery District, Toronto Proposal

Alex Torcolacci (Bride-to-be, owner of Alexandra Lillian Weddings & Events)

In November 2016, my fiancé surprised me with a plane ticket to Toronto to accompany him for a day of sightseeing in advance of a business conference he was to attend. This was my first trip to the city, and little did I know it would be the most memorable trip of my life. After an amazing sleep at the Fairmont Royal York on Friday night, we awoke early Saturday morning to take in the city.

After a full day of exploring downtown Toronto (including Eaton Centre and the Royal Ontario Museum), we got decked out for a nice dinner at Cluny Bistro in the historic Distillery District. My fiancé told me that it was a very fancy restaurant, so I dressed accordingly. However, he decided to wear red denim… a questionable choice for a fancy restaurant, but I didn’t say anything about his decision.

As Cluny Bistro is right along the main road of the Distillery District, we were also treated to the Toronto Christmas Market. This is an annual pop-up market which includes several historical fenced in blocks and numerous vendors selling seasonal products and gifts (as well as kiosks with hot chocolate, a Ferris wheel, carousel, live band and bars). The cobblestone streets and red brick buildings serve as the perfect backdrops for a Christmas market. After dinner, we had the chance to walk around and take in the sites. We eventually came across a large “love” marquee sign. My fiancé covertly asked if I would like to get a photo together. I needed a new Facebook profile picture, so of course, I said yes.

My fiancé suspiciously handed his phone off to someone in the market… This person happened to have two large cameras strapped to himself, this was odd, but I didn’t think much of it. As I started to position myself in front of the marquee sign, my fiancé turned me toward me. He said, “I hope you have had a wonderful trip.” I felt him reaching for his pocket, and get down on one knee. I was overtaken with joy that I could not look away from him. With over a hundred people clapping and cheering, all I could see was him. No words can express the happiness I felt at that moment. The love of my life wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

The man who took our photo came up to us, I initially thought to return my fiance’s phone. As it turned out, my fiancé pulled out all the stops and had hired him, a professional photographer, to capture our proposal and take photos of us for the evening. My fiancé had never met the photographer before, and my fiancé told him to look for the guy matching is description wearing red denim. Now the red denim and two large cameras made sense!

That night we celebrated our engagement with two close friends in Toronto. Wandering around Queen West in the wee hours of the morning, we caught the first snowfall of the year. It was the perfect way to spend our engagement!

Now onto planning the rest of our lives together! 

 

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

Welcome to Engagement Season

Welcome to Engagement Season

 

Welcome to the fifth season of the year, engagement season!  Did you know that 40% of engagements happen between November and February?  That means we are in for a lot of love over the coming months!

Do you or anyone you know hope to get engaged this season?  In November and December I will be curating blog posts to educate and inspire you on purchasing a ring, planning the proposal, and the first steps in planning your wedding.  My goal is to make the engagement process fun and exciting!

Already engaged or married?  Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing real people’s engagement stories.  Psst… One of my favorites includes riding a motorcycle down the Pacific Coast Hwy!  Want to have yours featured?  Send your engagement story to me at alex@alweddingswinnipeg.com.

Happy engagement season!

 

CLICK HERE to see a special love story! 

 

Top 5 Rules of Wedding Etiquette

  1. Call Family First

Your family knows you better than anyone (except maybe your husband to be).  Make sure they feel included in your engagement by giving them a phone call first to break the news.  If your fiancé is traditional, it’s likely that he would have already asked your father for his permission beforehand.  They might have known the engagement was coming and it may surprise you to know that they counselled your now fiancé more than you would have expected.  Don’t leave out any of the details, these are memories to keep for your entire life.

After family knows the details of your engagement, it’s time to perfect your ring selfie.  Maybe give yourself a quick manicure and take a few photos OR click the link below for some engagement announcement ideas.

CLICK HERE FOR ENGAGEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT INSPIRATION

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  1. Send Paper Invites

Once you have carefully worked out your wedding budget with a wedding planner, it’s time to send out invitations.  Everyone’s budget for stationary is different, but one thing should stay the same, always send a paper invitation to guests.
Couples with a medium or larger budget for stationary can look into hiring a local boutique stationary designer.  With a local supplier, you are able to see samples of the product before placing your order.  This allows you to make sure every detail is perfect whereas reviewing proofs online can cause you to miss smaller details.  Couples with a more restrictive budget can look into online printing services like VistaPrint (http://www.vistaprint.ca/).  Online printers have improved significantly over the past couple of years and I am consistently impressed with the quality and speed of the work.  There are now choices for premade templates, paper thicknesses, gloss and custom finishing / cutting.

 

  1. Do NOT add your registry in the Wedding Invites

This is one major faux paux that many couples make when sending out their invitations.  Then how should guests find out about the registry you ask?  Your registry can be linked on your wedding website, shower invitations or communicated in person.

 

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  1. Unplugged Wedding

Social media is a wonderful tool for letting guests know about your wedding.  You want guests to share in the excitement of your big day, but ensure they are present by having an unplugged wedding ceremony.

Two ways to ensure guests are not on their phones during your ceremony are having a cute framed sign at the end of the aisle asking guests to please stay off of their phones or having the officiant explicitly remind guests to turn off their phones.

Phones off will make sure that guests do not become paparazzi, and get in the way of the photographer.  A good wedding photographer is not cheap and having guests in their seats allows them to move around freely and capture every special moment.

 

  1. Thank You Notes

A simple thank you card goes a long way to make guests feel special and appreciated for joining you on your wedding day.  As tempting as it may be to type your thank you cards, it’s important to have them hand printed.  This shows that you took extra care and love into thanking guests.  It also allows you to personalize each letter.  Make reference to something they did or gifted you. Common etiquette is to send thank you cards between one and three months following the big day.

 

CLICK HERE FOR MY TOP 5 TO-DOS, BEFORE THE I-DOS