Alexandra Lillian Weddings And Events Winnipeg | Wedding Planning
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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

 

 

 

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.

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

Top 10 Moments and Happenings of 2017

Pop the bubbly – It’s time to reminisce on the past year and tell you about my top 10 moments/happenings of 2017.

  1. Who’s Who Wedding Magazine

    In the Fall 2017 Winnipeg Free Press, Who’s Who Wedding Magazine I had not one, but THREE features.  This was a huge honor and something I’m very proud of.  It was definitely my TOP moment of 2017.
    CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MAGAZINE.

  2. First Wedding Show

    I participated in my first wedding show in March with the Big Day Wedding Expo at Assiniboia Downs.  Let me tell you, wedding shows are not easy!  It took a lot of time to design my booth, marketing material, and set everything up.  Luckily I had my assistant Lisa there to keep me company during the show!
    CLICK HERE to read a past blog post about my experience at the show.

  3. Taking on More Weddings

    At the start of 2017 I gave myself a goal amount of couples to help on their wedding day.  I’m so happy and proud to say that I surpassed that goal by SEVEN weddings!  That’s huge!  I can’t wait to help my 2018 and 2019 couples with their weddings.

  4. Lisa becoming a Lead Wedding Coordinator

    Lisa has been with me from the very beginning and has been a major part of our company’s growth.  This year she took on her first solo wedding and became a Lead Wedding Coordinator.  I’m so excited to say that she is continuing to lead weddings and assist me in 2018.  I’m so thankful to work with her, she’s an absolute rockstar!

  5. First Destination Wedding

    This summer I had the privilege to help a couple from Calgary plan their wedding in Clear Lake, Manitoba.  Clear Lake is such a special spot.  I’ve gone up there every summer for the past six years with family, but this was my first time being there for a wedding.  If you or anyone you know are looking to plan a destination wedding, I highly suggest Clear Lake!

    [Photos by Esther Funk Photography]
  6. Wedding Planner Pals

    Shout out to all the planner pals I’ve met this year, you know who you are!  It’s great to have alleys to grab a glass (or bottle) of wine, and catch up about life and business.

  7. New Venues

    In 2017 I had the chance to work at several new wedding venues.  One of my favorites I had the chance to work at was Ashgrove Acres.  In September I had not one but three weddings there.  It was my home on weekends.  The venue is so diverse and offers many different photo-op spots for couples and their wedding parties.

  8. Self and Business Improvement

    As a business owner I’m always trying to push myself and grow.  Courses, podcasts and books are my largest source of inspiration.  Shoot me an email at alex@alweddingswinnipeg.com and I can send you a list of my favourite books and podcasts!

  9. First back-to-back weddings

    My first back-to-back weddings are happening in a couple of days on December 30 and 31.  This is a HUGE milestone that I’m excited to accomplish.  I will most likely spend the following 24 hours vegetating in bed watching Netflix but it will be worth it!

  10. Planning my Wedding

    After getting engaged in November 2016 many of our vendors were booked within a couple of months.  Spring/Summer/Fall 2017 was spent refining our design, creating a guest list, having our engagement shoot, and shooting our pre-wedding video.  In July 2018 my fiance and I say our “I-do’s.”


    I’m excited and ready to take on 2018!  I still have several dates available for month-of wedding coordination in April, May, August and September.  Give me a shout at alex@alweddingswinnipeg.com and I would love to hear more about your upcoming wedding!

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT ALEX ABOUT MONTH-OF WEDDING COORDINATION

Engagement Season – Real Couples, Real Proposals – 3

Welcome to the third and FINAL 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.  This week’s installment is extra special, as I’m featuring a he said, she said of a proposal.  This gives you a cool look into the thoughts going through their minds leading up to the proposal.

 

He Said / She Said Proposal

 

She Said – Anna (Bride-to-be)

“Stephen has always been a bit of an open book to me and so the summer of 2015, I knew something was “up”. It was also the summer my sister was getting married. Stephen of course was invited to the wedding and would meet my whole extended family for the first time that year (we are quite dispersed throughout the world) and both of us were feeling it a bit inadequate to just introduce him as my “boyfriend” when we had already been together for 4 years and knew we wanted to be together forever. Unbeknownst to me, when he got back from medical school in Ireland that summer, the first week back he invited my parents out for a walk in Assiniboine park to ask their permission to ask me to marry him.  

Four weeks later, Stephen decided to surprise me with a dinner. I was immediately suspicious, but Stephen just said it was a dinner but refused to tell me where it would be, so I let it go and decided that it was probably just a dinner and not to get my hopes up. The other important thing was that Stephen knows I love to document special occasions, trips, and nights out, so I always take tons of pictures. He also knew that I would hate to look bad when he proposed to me, or to be dressed down. So the same night of that surprise dinner, I was going for a makeup trial for my sisters wedding (not a coincidence! Stephen made sure he was going to propose to me that night so I would look my best in the pictures!). So by the time we got to the restaurant, I was wearing a dress, heels, and had had my full makeup done.

We were seated in a relatively empty section (which I thought odd for a Thursday night) and Stephen proceeded to be quite nervous and fidgeting with his jacket (which was a weird item to have in July on a 27 degree day, now that I look back on it). Before I knew it, Stephen was telling me how much I meant to him and how he felt and all of a sudden he was on one knee with a beautiful ring in his hand and I was VERY surprised. Even though I thought I would know when it was coming, he managed to completely throw me off. The whole restaurant applauded, we were both shaking and laughing and we had champagne brought out to us right away (pre-arranged, of course). It was a bit of a traditional and perhaps not out of the box proposal, but it was a total surprise to me, even though I thought I would know when it was coming.  I guess, the moral of the story is, Stephen, through his deep understanding of me found a way to make it a surprise, made sure I would look the way I wanted to on that day, included my family and bought me the most beautiful ring that suited me in particular. And we looked great in the pictures!” [Photo provided by couple]

 

(Photo by Gabrielle Touchette Photography)

He Said – Stephen (Groom-to-be)

“For her engagement ring Anna had wanted something different. She always looked at different ring designs. When she came across the black diamond concept she loved it (she always said she hated yellow gold and yellow diamonds). She had hinted strongly that she loved the princess cut style. Once I had a basic idea of what she was looking for, I realized that jewellers would most likely not have the ring I wanted to give Anna in stock, so I went to Vandeburg jewellers since they make custom rings. I wanted The black diamond to be show cased, so I picked a princess cut with bold lines, with a ring of white diamonds and 6 white diamonds in the band. This was the final design. I went back and forth with adding some smaller black diamonds in the ring, but as I mentioned before, they detracted from the main diamond. when I first saw the final product, the black diamond really popped so I was I knew it was perfect!

On the night I was going to propose, I couldn’t even think straight. I was shaking and nervous and couldn’t focus. A lot of guys say they already know what the answer will be then ask, but part of me was terrified for a “what if she says no” scenario. I had called ahead to make a reservation, so the restaurant knew why were coming; they put us in the corner and ensured the tables around us were empty. I can’t remember exactly what led to what, but at one point Anna had said that she was a bit disappointed, not in anything important, but something had happened. I said “I think I can make your night better” Then I got down on one knee and asked. She said yes and I almost dropped the ring putting it on he finger because I was shaking so much. I kissed her after and then we started calling all of our friends and family.

The rest is history!” [Photo provided by couple]

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.