Wedding Planning

  • Selling Jewelry with Have You Seen the Ring - an Infographic

  • If Your Vendors Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy

    By Victoria Bauer, Owner of A Bride’s Ally

    Your vendors are the glue that will hold your wedding day together. They are the experts who take the vision in your head and make it a reality. And, while they may be working for you, it’s in your best interest to keep them happy. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.

    Here are some tips for working with you vendors:

    Do your research and sign contracts. Before hiring any vendor, it’s important to do your homework. I'm a big fan of going with vendors recommended by friends/family or other vendors you’ve already hired and trust. If you’re looking at someone who hasn’t come by personal recommendation, take the time to look up reviews on their work. The best places to find reviews are The Knot and WeddingWire. However, remember to take reviews with a grain of salt. If a vendor has 2-3 bad reviews, but 15-20 positive reviews, odds are other factors were in play. Once you pick a vendor, it’s crucial to have some form of written contract or order form from them, especially if they require a deposit up front.

    Keep up your end of the contract. You expect your vendors to provide services as promised without exception, and you should do the same. Create your own binder, calendar, or spreadsheet that shows how much money you owe each vendor and when your payments are due. Also, be sure to list any information they ask for and when they need it by. If your DJ says your song list is due 30 days before your wedding, don’t email it to him 3 days before and then get annoyed because he couldn’t get all of your songs. Contracts aren’t just about what your vendors are supposed to do for you, they’re also about what you’re supposed to do for them so they can provide you with the best possible service.

    If you’re not happy, say so! Vendors are not mind readers. They are also human. If you are unhappy with any aspect of service a vendor is providing, it’s important to speak up and say so. As a vendor, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a bride tell me everything is great, just to go online later and read that they were unsatisfied with some aspect of my service. Don’t get an attitude, don’t be rude, but do be tactfully honest when the service provided is not what you expected. Give them the opportunity to make it right. Getting a partial refund or some other kind of compensation after the fact is not nearly as satisfying as having the vendor fix the issue before it becomes an unhappy memory forever linked with your special day.

    Feed them and review them! One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “What are the little things brides always forget about?” Number one on that list is feeding their vendors. Any vendor who is present during the reception should be fed (DJ/band, photographer, videographer, photo booth attendant, wedding planner, etc). Many vendors request in their contract that you provide a meal for them, but many brides still forget. Most caterers offer a vendor meal option or a discounted regular meal option that doesn’t include the bar fee (if you see one of your vendors knocking 'em back at the bar, you have bigger problem). Also make sure you have a place for them to sit when they eat their meal!

    After it’s all said and done, it’s also important to review your vendors online, especially if you had a really good experience. Most are quick to review if they had bad experience, but it seems getting someone to write about a good experience is like pulling teeth! Ask your vendors if they have any online profiles where you can write reviews. Not only will you be helping them, but you’ll also be helping future brides looking for good vendors, just like you were at the beginning of this article!
    Victoria Bauer
    A Bride's Ally
    The Knot Best of Weddings 2012 & 2013 Pick!

  • Haley Evans: Money Saving Engagement Tips

    It's the time of year when engagement season is wrapping up! Couples are starting to shake off the excitement of their engagement and realize the financial realities of paying for a wedding. The truth is, you will likely spend more money on your wedding than you will on any other day of your life! In fact, the average Canadian wedding costs approximately $27,000 - that's a lot of money! 
    It's fine to spend some money celebrating your relationship and your future, but it's far more important to acknowledge what that dollar amount looks like as a small piece of a very big puzzle. Paying for a wedding should never make it so that you can't live married life the way you want to financially. Don't stress - you can still stay within budget and throw a stunning wedding!

    Managing Costs: Establish Who Is Paying What

    Before starting any of your wedding planning, it is important to figure out who is contributing to your wedding and what exactly that means. If your families plan on pitching in, sit down with them and find out exactly what they plan on giving you and when they plan on giving it to you. This conversation can be a little awkward so be sure to have no expectations, be gracious and show gratitude.  Once you establish this you can take a better look at your budget.
    Cutting Costs: The Engagement Ring
    Engagement rings have become a status symbol but they still need to fit your budget. There will always be something nicer and more expensive when it comes to jewelry but it is extremely important to stay firm to your budget. I have seen so many couples splurge on a ring and regret it after having to cut out something special on the wedding day. 
    If you are set on a big, expensive engagement ring, look online! The internet is a wonderful thing. Websites like eBay, Kijiji and Have You Seen The Ring make buying a used engagement ring is easy and very inexpensive.
    Cutting Costs: Set Your Priorities
    There are a lot of details when it comes to wedding planning. You have flowers, cake, attire, entertainment, catering (the list goes on and on). It is really important to determine what is important to you and your fiance. Some brides put little importance on their wedding gown and would rather spend their money on good food for the reception. Other brides spend more on their gown than any other aspect of the wedding! Sit down with your fiance and rank all of the aspects of weddings and determine what the top three most important things are for you. This will help you decide where to spend your budget.
    Cutting Costs: Hire a Wedding Planner  
    Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty Canada says "One of the best tips that I give all brides is to hire a wedding planner, because a good wedding planner can save you time and money spent on making uneducated decisions and costly mistakes." 
    There is a misconception that hiring a wedding planner is a luxury for brides with a huge budget. This couldn't be more wrong! Hiring a wedding planner will ALWAYS save you money! We have connections and are expert negotiators when it comes to dealing with vendors and making contracts. Even if we can't get you a deal with vendors, we know the wedding industry and have the knowledge to make sure you make the best financial decisions possible. 
    Weddings are expensive, but celebrating your big day does not have to put you in debt. Hopefully these tips will help you save some money on your wedding day! 

    Haley Evans, WPICC
    From Menus to Venues Wedding and Event Planning


  • Wedding Planning - Don't Forget the Love and Laughter!

    Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live

    Weddings symbolize love, laughter and appreciation. A lot of thought goes into personalizing your wedding day with details that reflect who you are, the love that you have for each other, and the gratitude of being able to share your wedding day with loved ones.

    As you plan your wedding, it is important to acknowledge the love and support you receive along the way.  There are many fun, unique and sincere ways to show your appreciation to family, friends, bridal party and your wedding team of professionals.
    The most traditional but tried, tested and true is the thank you card. Your guests have taken the time, effort and thought to celebrate your occasion with a gift so the thank you card should not be overlooked.  When is the appropriate time to send them out?  Thank you cards should be sent immediately after receiving a gift.  For wedding gifts, there is a small grace period but keep in mind that a thank you card should ideally be sent out within three months of your wedding. And you’ll be surprised how a simple card to your wedding team for a job well done can go such a long way, as well. 
    As a host/hostess you are responsible for the comfort of your guests throughout the day and evening. Consider the various events and where you can add your personal touch to enhance your guests’ experience.  Something as simple as amenity baskets in the restrooms can end up being a thoughtful, and much appreciated gesture for those small yet personal emergencies.

    Photo Credit: Xero Digital
    If the day promises to be hot, and you are asking your guests to participate in an outdoor Ceremony then you may want to consider setting up a water table, or offer parasols to create some shade, or even hand out freshly squeezed lemonade or snow cones to guests as they arrive.
    For cooler weather then shawls for the ladies would be a nice touch, and a great way to incorporate your color scheme.

    Though careful planning, and time management for this next idea is a must, your guests will truly appreciate the extra effort, and sincerity when they find a personalized note tucked into their napkin at their place setting.  What a lovely way to start the evening! Another popular trend for later in the evening is having baskets of flipflops setup by the dance floor – a great treat for dancing feet!

    Photo Credit: Joseph+Jaime
    We’re huge fans of the welcome basket delivered to hotel rooms for your out-of-town guests. Adding a list of restaurants, and attractions to see during their stay is especially great for first time visitors to your city.  Consider what your city or location is most well known for and run with it!  Be sure to inquire with the hotel if there is an additional charge to have these boxes/baskets delivered to each room.   
    Don’t forget the little guests!  Wedding days are long days no matter your age. Having professional child care service available is a win for the children, and a win for the parents. If budget is a concern then you can still keep your little guests entertained with child friendly favors or personalized activity boxes at their place setting.  If there is ample space then a craft table with coloring books, puzzles, and activities can be the perfect hangout!
    And finally, a lot of care and thought should be invested in finding a gift for your parents, and wedding party.  After all, they have, most likely, been your main support since your engagement!  Not to mention the number of meetings, planned or unplanned, that they were a part of. From theatre tickets to photo books to custom cufflinks to jewelry to personalized note cards the gift options are endless.
    If you begin to feel overwhelmed with the idea of how to thank so many people then remember the old adage, it is the thought that counts.  The appreciation we share, and how we share it is entirely up to you but it all comes from the same place…from the heart.
    Simply Perfect specializes in wedding day management and coordination.  We are built on family based values and worldwide expertise which allows us to provide our couples with the reassurance that their wedding day will unfold as they envision.  Jodi Gagné is recognized as an Accredited Bridal Consultant™ and a Certified Sandals Specialist™.  In 2012, Jodi was appointed as ABC East Canada Coordinator and is responsible for members in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.  She has been a proud member of The Association of Bridal Consultants since 1999.
    Contact Jodi Gagné at 905.883.9525 or or visit our website at

  • Wedding Trends of 2013

    By Debra Michelle Hiebert
    Owner, Tres Fabu Event Planning and Design

    Weddingplanning season has fully arrived and I am excited to make this year’s trends come to life! As a wedding and event designer for the past 16 years, I always look forward to hearing what my brides and grooms have in store for me. Each year brings new ideas and an opportunity to create something fabulous!


    Bolds are back, especially primary colors.
    Classic black and white weddings are very popular right now but as we get into Spring and Summer, get ready for COLOR! Purples and Pinks are being paired with green, with red, and with chocolate brown. Green is showing up with orange and brown. Colors will be bold throughout the wedding décor—in florals, cakes, linens, bridesmaid gowns, and invitations/programs.

    Patterns are also bold.
    We’re seeing damask again (LOVE IT!) and chevron (classic zigzag) everywhere…brides are having fun with patterns of all colors. They’ll show up in table runners, cakes, invites, floral ribbons, favors, bowties, you name it. What about polka dots, you ask? Perhaps!
    Mixing and Matching is more.

    It’s something we all love to do but can we get away with it? The answer is yes! We can! Couples are mixing and matching with their floral arrangements and with linen patterns. Maybe a bride’s bouquet will be monochromatic while bridesmaids will carry mixed and matched arrangements. Linens can be a combination of different textures and patterns and create a beautiful table. Possibilities are endless!



    Gatsby Glamour? Yes!
    Is it a coincidence that The Great Gatsby movie will be released this May?! Brides are loving the glamour of the Roaring Twenties with the ‘Old Hollywood’ feel and the art deco-inspired décor. The headbands are large, the handbags small, lace is abundant, and so are gold, silver, crystal, diamonds, and pearls. It’s feminine; it’s lovely; and in a designer’s world, it’s fun fun fun! Mark our words as well, that the soundtrack to The Great Gatsby movie will go to the #1 slot on Billboard and you will hear some of these songs spun into the wedding reception celebrations, indeed! JayZ, Kanye West, Jack White, Frank Ocean, Prince, Lady Gaga and Florence and The Machine; and oh so much. It will be a paramount playlist for 2013 and beyond!

    A step back…to the 30s and 40s!
    Vintage is still among us! Beautiful lace gowns embellished with heavy beading…antique tabletop décor and tableware…mint green and muted tones throughout. Florals are simple, such as: roses, freesia, and lisianthus…creating a ‘fresh from the garden’ look. Vintage light bulbs hanging outside in a garden wedding…tiered cakes with simple designs and elegant flowers. Pure romance!

    Debra Michelle Hiebèrt
    Event Designer and Producer
    Servicing the entire West Coast ~ Canada to Cabo!
    ~ Enjoy Kasie & Thomas' film snippet of their Fairytale Wedding!

  • Valentine's Day - The Hallmark Conspiracy

    Like many people, I have always been suspicious of the origins of Valentine’s Day. Previously without spending anytime whatsoever researching the subject, I simply assumed that it was just another ‘special’ day created by Hallmark to sit alongside ‘The Sweetest Day – Oct 19th’,’Friendship Day – August 4th’ or even ‘Toe Nail Picking Day – July 7th’.
    However, I was pleasantly surprised to read that the origins date back centuries, rather than just the creation of Hallmark. Valentine was a third century Roman priest who held secret marriages ceremonies when the act of marriage was prohibited for young men. When Valentines actions were discovered, he was sentenced to death by the Roman Emperor Claudius II.
    Whilst awaiting his fate in prison, it is said that Valentine used his saintly abilities to heal the jailer’s daughter who was blind. Naturally they fell in love. Before being sent to his death on February 14th 270 AD, he wrote a letter to the jailer’s daughter and signed it "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today.
    Over a thousand years later, during the 14th century St. Valentine's Day finally became definitively associated with love and romance. In medieval France and England it was believed that birds mated on February 14, Chaucer used the image of birds as the symbol of lovers in poems dedicated to the day… hence the term ‘lovebirds’.

    During the Middle Ages, Valentine became one of the most popular saints in England and France. The Christian church even attempted to sanctify the holiday. The holiday continued to evolve over the centuries and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England.

    Over time, this tradition spread to the American colonies and by the1840s Valentine's Day greeting cards began to be commercially produced in the United States.

    Valentine’s Day cards represent a quarter of all cards sent each year (1 billion cards), making it the second largest card sending holiday after Christmas.

    Whether or not the above story changes your views on Valentine’s day, Have You Seen the Ring would like to wish a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

  • Chelsea Boehler: Quest for a Wedding Venue

    Having trouble finding your perfect wedding venue? Chelsea Boehler from Dream Team Events offers her advice on the important factors to consider.

    Deciding on a venue for your wedding might be the hardest part of planning a wedding. It seems like it would be easy, but in today’s wedding culture the sky is the limit and many non-traditional wedding venues have opened such as barns and tree farms. In fact, most weddings are now held not in churches but in private sector venues.

    This Saloon is part of the Postelwait’s CountryWeddings located in Canby, OR.

    The main factors for determining your wedding venue are:  

    • Cost/budget
    • Location
    • Convenience (parking, ADA compliance)
    • Ambiance
    • Your personalities. 

    The options are vast ranging from warehouses and lofts to beaches and 5-star hotels.  I help my clients narrow down their options by asking a number of simple questions about how they envision their big day. Are they want to be outside or inside? Riding into the ceremony on a horse drawn carriage? What are your favorite activities? Do you like the movies? Do you snow camp or mountain climb? Is your favorite thing going to the spa? Is your favorite place the beach or your parent’s backyard? Are you wine connoisseurs? Do you love sailing? Where did you first meet and what did you do for your first date? 

    All of these questions help to narrow a couple’s vision down to who they are, how they want to represent themselves and how they want to celebrate their day with their friends and family. I am a true believer that people are most comfortable and will have more fun in a place they feel safe and that feels familiar. If you can choose such a place you will be more relaxed and have a much better experience.

    Once you have your dream venue in mind it’s time to think about all of the other factors. If your venue is specific, like a hut on a mountain, you won’t have as many options. 

    TimberlineLodge and Silcox Hut Weddings

    It’s time to test the venue, and ask yourself the following questions:

    1. Does it fit our budget?
    2. Does it include catering or can I pick my own caterer?
    3. Will I need additional rental items for this venue and do those things fit our budget?
    4. Is it convenient for all of our guests?
    5. Is it easy to find?
    6. Are there any limitations with the venue and do those limit what we want to do there?
    7. Does the capacity of the venue allow for all of my guests or will I have to limit our guest list?
    8. Is the ambiance what I really want for the ceremony and reception?
    9. Will I have to pick a separate ceremony and reception venue or is it all inclusive for both?
    10. Will they allow all of the vendors I would like to use?
    11. Do they have ample parking for our guests?

    After you answer the questions, if the venue fails the test, look for other options that might be in the same type of category of venue. If the property your aunt said you could use won’t work, look into area venues like barns and farms that may work better and already have what you need on site. If you want a beach theme but don’t want to be on sand, maybe a yacht is the way to go. 

    Wish lanterns floating out over the sea off the side of a yacht courtesy of Wishlantern

    Venue selection is like finding a shoe that fits, you will know it when you try it on. Don’t just pick a place by the visual displays online. You need to go to the venue and take a tour, preferably at the same time of year you will be married. Ask for references from past couples and do your research. 

    If you are using a wedding planner, this is when you can utilize this person to get answers to your big questions before you go. Your wedding planner is also a great resource for already knowing what a venue includes in their packaging and the price you will pay for their services. Most wedding planners have toured multiple sites and have worked at dozens of locations and will know firsthand what it is like there.

    If you need help planning your wedding we would love to be of assistance to you.  Please check out our website at  Happy Wedding Planning!

    Chelsea Boehler
    "Best Wedding Planner in Canby" by The Wedding Industry Expert Awards 2012
    Dream Team Events LLC
    o.  (503) 522-7680
  • Haley Evans: Wedding Dress Trends of 2013

    What does a bride think of first when she thinks of her wedding day (after the ring)? Her beautiful gown, of course! Wedding dresses, like any fashion, go through trends year after year – what was popular a few years ago is completely out of style today! Here are the top predication's for wedding dress trends in 2013!
    Last season, we saw a lot of distinctive skirts. We saw designers focusing on hemlines and creating skirts with two tiers. It’s an exaggerated form of peplum detail and its super flattering—the top tier is a great way to camouflage wider hips. This is a trend we expect to see fade away in 2013. 
    Another trend from 2012 that won’t be carrying on into the New Year is the off the shoulder neckline. This year, we will be seeing a lot of ultra-sexy illusion necklines. With this style, a sheer layer of fabric covers the skin, so you get a strapless look with some added coverage. A lot of designers have even been adding jewels and embellishments to give off a glamorous look. 

    This year, non-traditionally colored wedding dresses are going to be more popular than ever. Subtle colors like blush and apricot are always popular, but this year we are even seeing some more daring hues! Vera Wang’s new spring collection is full of beautiful red wedding gowns and many designers are opting for colors like mint and lilac over the standard white.   
    Something we are seeing a lot of is keyhole backs which are sophisticated yet versatile. Most keyhole back styles were encircled with lace detailing, but the illusion effect is just as gorgeous. Countless designers have realized the popularity of this style and are incorporating them into their gowns.  
    What trends are you looking forward to in 2013? Are there any old styles that you can’t wait to see fade away? Leave us your comments below!     

    Haley Evans, WPICC
    From Menus to Venues Wedding and Event Planning

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