Engagement Season: Never Stress! How to quickly find the best Toronto vendors before your wedding in 2020 with ease

With 3 months of engagement season still left, it really is the most exciting time of the year. There’s nothing we love more than getting excited inquiries in our inboxes:

“I’m getting married on __________ 2020 and we are interested in learning more about your services!”

That type of email is typically a very preliminary step in the search for your team of wedding vendors that will take you from planning to wedding day. But there are some key steps that you absolutely cannot miss if you want the best vendors for your wedding. Now they may not be the best in Toronto, but they are the best for YOU. Remember that!

  1. It’s more than just about pricing

CO0A9361There are so many moving parts within the services that wedding professionals offer and it can be difficult to know exactly what the value of a service should be when you know nothing about it. So- you need to deepen your knowledge of what these professionals do. It’s not as simple as slapping a cake together the night before, or ordering some flowers to make some table arrangements. In order to truly appreciate the value of a service, you have to understand it. Ask questions! If you don’t understand why the flowers you want are so expensive? Ask. If you don’t realize how much time and money (yes I said money) goes into planning a wedding? ASK. Get a better understanding of the service, what it entails, the amount of time and resources it takes and once you understand that, pricing will make sense.

2. Don’t just communicate via email

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Okay, no one has time, we’ve established this and making time is a pain but it’s necessary. Why? Because you aren’t JUST hiring a decorator, you aren’t JUST hiring a planner, you aren’t JUST hiring a DJ- they are a whole person. Yes, they are providing a service and the service might be amazingly priced and they might do stunning pictures…but what if you don’t get along? What if you don’t like their process? What if they don’t feel the need to respond to emails as quickly as you would like? What if their laid back manner makes you feel like they aren’t taking your concerns seriously? Wedding professionals are PEOPLE with personalities, do they mesh with you? You can’t always tell over email so get on the phone with them or meet them for coffee. Your level of comfort and how reassured you feel afterwards will assist you greatly when choosing from such a large pool.

3. Respond to emails

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This one drives me batty and yes, I’m going to call it as I see it. 9 times out of 10 you reach out to wedding vendors to get more information, pricing etc. Wedding professionals respond (hopefully in a timely manner) send you information, and then radio silence. You reached out to us, needing our assistance. Have the courtesy to respond back, even if you decide to go with someone else. Let us know, we won’t be offended but to just leave us in limbo is not only rude, but it doesn’t make for a professional relationship. Frankly, a client that doesn’t respond to my emails is telling me they don’t value my service at all. If the expectation if for wedding pros to respond to YOU within a certain amount of time, why can’t we have the same expectation? I don’t keep wedding dates open for long, if I have to send more than 2 follow up emails, I already don’t want to work with you because you don’t value my time. Someone else will!

4. Be transparent

MakeupTell us what you want! Don’t be “iffy” or constantly change your mind (because that is a huge mistake that will cost you!). Just let us know what you want, what you are thinking, what is your best case scenario, what are back up options and we will do whatever we can to make it happen. And if you don’t know…tell us that too! We are there to work it out and work alongside you, that’s how we support you. I love being able to present options to a couple if they “just don’t know” because at the very least it gives you some ideas to start with. But if you don’t tell us what you want, what your vision is, we can’t give you our best. We can’t streamline our talent and creativity without being pointed in some sort of direction. This is YOUR day, we will make it happen if you just tell us what you want!

Wedding planner reveals 4 common mistakes couples must be quick to rethink to avoid jaw-dropping disaster

Your wedding day is a huge investment, not just of money but of time and effort. You want it to go smoothly but it might all backfire if you are doing any of these things.

Changing your mind too many times

Oakview+Terrace+Wedding+-+Bridal+Portraits-83We know it can be tough to commit to one idea, color or concept- there is so much beautiful inspiration, you would do all if it if you could. But you can’t. It’s one thing to think you want one thing and then change your mind, we can deal with that, it happens! Now if you change your mind multiple times, before, during and after meetings and consultations- this is where it gets tricky. Have you ever tried to navigate through an email feed that contains 27 communications trying to find the most recent requested changes? Having to update notes too many times can result in something being forgotten or overlooked, we’re human and it can get confusing. Another issue that stems from this that couples get upset over is that every time you change your mind, the price changes. This leads to having to update another quote and emailing that off, which takes more time. It also means you have less time to execute or place orders because nothing has been concretely decided.

Procrastinating until the last minute

Now, if you wait too long to make decisions (possibly because you keep changing your mind!) this will work against you. Of course we aren’t saying to rush into anything, this is your wedding, you want to think things out clearly and determine what you both want and what works within your budget. However, if you wait until a few weeks before to make choices about crucial elements like décor, entertainment, flowers, food/desserts you will be in for a shock. Vendors get booked fast for wedding dates by couples who know what they want. Certain décor items may already be rented if you wait too long to decide. Flowers must be ordered way in advance or you are looking at a significant increase in price and the possibility of the flowers you want not being available. To wait too long will cost you!

Not starting your seating chart early

Oakview+Terrace+Wedding+-+Reception-19You’re probably thinking “but why? I should just wait to get all my RSVP’s in…”, we guarantee that you will not get all of your RSVP’s in by the deadline date. In fact, we guarantee you will have to designate someone to call people to get their confirmation. If you know off the bat which guests will absolutely come, get those names on a tentative excel sheet and organized into a table. If they need to be swapped later that is fine but get their names, family members and plus 1’s on there. Waiting until you get all of the RSVP’s means you will be way too close to the wedding date trying to get this done and if you’ve chosen to do it yourself, you will not have as much time or energy as you think. Also, keep track of who you invite but don’t give a formal invite too, we’ve seen guests show up and NOT be on a seating chart because they were forgotten!

Micromanaging your wedding planner

We know you want your day to go perfect and we know your organizational skills are superb but so are ours! That’s why your hired us! The day of the wedding is when you relinquish control (cringe…yes we said it), and enjoy your day. Let us worry about making sure Uncle Joe doesn’t get his hands on a microphone, your limo shows up on time and that no one in the family takes it upon themselves to try to change the seating chart the day of because they don’t’ like it (yes, we’ve had that almost happen). Your planner is more than capable of handling those things and more while you spend time with your nearest and dearest and celebrate your beautiful day. Let us do what you’ve paid us to do!

If you choose not to hire a planner, here’s a Wedding Planning Check List PDF you can download to help keep you on track!

50 Wedding Themes for all engaged couple styles

 

1. Life’s a Beach

2. Sorrento (think lemons)

3. Mint to Be

4. Kate Spade

5. Enchanted Forest

6. Secret Garden Party

7. Black Tie (think Gatsby)

8. Roaring 20’s

9. Black Panther

10. Mediterranean

11. Pop-up

12. Welcome Aboard

13. My Sun & Stars/Moon of My Life (Game of Thrones)

14. Parisian

15. Vintage

16. Shabby Chic

17. Boho

18. Boho-Rustic

19. Rustic

20. Country

21. Tropical

22. Old Century

23. Disney

24. Vineyard/Winery

25. Safari

26. Old Hollywood (Vintage Glam)

27. Rustic Modern

28. Italian Romance

29. Masquerade

30. Star Wars

31. Sail Away

32. Go Green

33. Mexican Fiesta

34. Southern Garden

35. Scottish Themed

36. Geometric

37. Impressionist (water colors)

38. 60’s Mod Party

39. 50’s Retro

40. 80’s

41. 70’s Disco

42. Pumpkin Patch

43. Superhero

44. Fire & Ice

45. Winter is Coming

46. Outdoor Pool Party

47. Japanese Cherry blossom

48. Fantasy (think Unicorns)

49. Winter Wonderland

50. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (insert your culture)

How to avoid bride tribe drama

Choosing your bridesmaids and MOH is supposed to be the easiest part but the reality is, sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would and there’s drama. What would cause something like this to happen and if it happens, how do you handle it?

Let’s talk prevention, this isn’t to say everything will go perfectly but a first step for you is to look at each of your potential wedding party candidates and their current lifestyles and circumstances. I guarantee taking the time to do this one thing will eliminate 60% of potential problems. Take comfort in knowing that none of your girls will turn down the opportunity to support you on your big day they love you! But it’s possible that depending what they are juggling in their personal lives can and will interfere with them living up to the expectations of their role in the bridal party. They would never do it on purpose but most of us at some point in time have bitten off more than we can chew and over-promised to someone what can or can’t take on. So, look at what they are dealing with in their lives, if any of them have circumstances that at times are all consuming, or perhaps they aren’t organized or consistent, you might want to rethink giving them a large role. Doing this from the start will help minimize potential issues tremendously.

Bridesmaids

Second step, when you finally have your bride tribe in place lay out your expectations. 9 times out of 10, miscommunication is at the root of most planning faux pas. When everyone is fully aware of and understand their responsibilities, there’s less room for error. It’s not entirely a bad idea to even sit down with all of them and work on a little timeline for example, what month you would prefer to have your bridal shower, ideas on your bachelorette- get it all out while you have everyone there. Side note: have the money talk. It might be uncomfortable but the bottom line is, being part of a wedding costs money. Be transparent about this and make sure that everyone is able and willing (yes, I said willing on purpose) to put money aside for wedding related events, trips and attire etc. If one of your girls isn’t in the position, ask them privately to let you know. You wouldn’t believe the strain money causes on friendships and bottom line, if your friend can’t pull her weight, it complicates so many things. Your other bridal party members have to pick up the financial slack, the cost of their dresses will be cause for contention- the list goes on.

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Third step, try your best to spend time with your bridal party members, all of them altogether AND separately. Keep in mind, if some of your bridal party members don’t know one another, breaking the ice is a good idea. Not all personalities jive and don’t expect it from your girls and it’s okay as long as there is still respect. This is a time where you want to strengthen the bonds of your friendship and enjoy the journey of this upcoming new stage in your life. It makes them feel important and appreciated, yes this is your wedding but don’t get so caught up in the planning that you forget about the people you care about most and who are taking on a lot to support you. Do something special for each of them and do your best to always acknowledge their efforts.

Once you are engaged the next most exciting part is getting your bridal party chosen and why wouldn’t it be your nearest and dearest? It should be! But do your homework, don’t have unrealistic expectations, be transparent and spend time with them. Keep your friendship at the focal point and all of you will have a beautiful experience planning your wedding.

Top 5 Wedding Floral Trends for 2019

Greenery has been at the top of wedding florals for the past 2 years and its likely not going anywhere but other trends have made their way into the wedding industry. If you are saying “I do” this year, there are some big trends that have everyone swooning.

Monochromatic arrangements

Textural detailing is the main focus in this trend, from bouquets to centerpieces; monochromatic blooms in lovely neutral tones or all white are a big hit thanks to the minimalistic wedding trend. Adding some dried elements or sparse greenery add dimension and pretty aesthetic and don’t overpower the simplicity.

Monochromatic

Dried flowers and Grasses

Pampass grass is everywhere and its by far our favorite trend right now! It’s a beautiful feathery light brown grass that looks stunning in floral installations, bouquets and ceremony backdrops. It pairs well with baby’s breath and dried lavender for a more bohemian wedding style. Wheat grass, bunny tails work well as alternatives or added elements to bouquets and centerpieces as well.

Pampass

Ferns

Keeping in stride with the boho wedding style, ferns are an organic and beautiful accent to bouquets, centerpieces and garlands.

Living Coral

This gorgeous color is the Pantone for 2019 and we can’t wait to see how its used. A pop of color in a floral arrangement can go a long way. Calla lilies, ranunculus, poppies, peonies, roses, snap dragons, tulips and dahlias come in coral and are great options depending on the arrangement.

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Big Blooms

Protea and Anthuriums are just 2 insanely gorgeous flowers you can add one or two to a bouquet or a centerpiece and make a huge impact. 

Protea anthurium

Style Shoot: Woodland Escape

I had the privilege of being able to do outdoor shoots last year for Elegant Wedding Magazine. I shared the first one with you all, Spring Garden at the Toronto Botanical Gardens in Toronto.

This shoot was very different and I loved it for that reason. It was paramount that as many natural elements were included to maintain an organic feel. It’s not often an outdoor wedding can utilize most of the natural elements outside to contribute to the overall tone of the event style. But it can be done!

Here are some of our favorite shots of this simply stunning shoot!

To see more head on over to the Elegant Wedding Magazine blog post Moody Woodland Forest Wedding

Vendor Credits:

Venue: Fantasy Farms
Photographer: The Butterfly Photography
Florals: Divine Flowers Toronto
Dresses: Mona Lisa Bridal Gallery
Table Top Decor: Plate Occasions
Rentals: Chairman Mills
Decor and Props: Cre8ive Studios
Stationary: GM Calligraphy
Cake and Confections: Dolce Vita Cakes by Albina
HMUA: Makeup Couture/ Hair Couture

How to rock a venue open house

If you are recently engaged, living in the big TO and still shopping for the perfect venue, this blog post is for you! January-March are the months when venues host an event called an “open house” to showcase the venue’s potential for a wedding. They hire wedding vendors such as a DJ, catering company and sometimes an entertainment company for the evening. You will get to enjoy wine, finger foods, a band or a DJ while getting to check out a venue that might work for your wedding day.

What to look for

Sight-lines

When you look around the room, do you see any large pillars that disrupt a clear line of vision? This is one of the most important things you need to look for when searching for a venue. When you imagine the set up, will anything block the guests view of the ceremony or honor table during the reception? Will photographs look strange? If the room is open concept you are good to go but if it’s a venue with a bit more of a rustic/industrial look, its not a “all bets are off” scenario but careful consideration of the setup will be required.

Washrooms

Besides cold food, nothing is worse than a 200 plus wedding guest count and a one stall washroom…that the bride can barely fit in. Washrooms are a big deal ladies; are they properly cleaned and well stocked (yes snoop those cupboards!!) Does anything look like it’s in need of maintenance? Do the toilet’s flush properly, is there hot water to wash hands, are the soap dispensers full? How many washroom stalls are there and is it wheelchair accessible?

Special Amenities

Another great thing to peep is aspects of the venue that are unique and special. Some venues have an outdoor patio which is great for when you need to get some air. What a about a rooftop patio, who doesn’t love a view? Is there any natural lighting that you love which will translate into beautiful city lights at night and add to the ambience the evening? If you have a summer wedding, do they have a garden area you could gain access too? Parking anyone?!

Wedding Packages

Whether it’s when you first walk in, or are walking out, someone should be handing you a cute little gift bag with a cookie, business cards, gift cards and a wedding package from the venue. It will give a very detailed outlining of what they offer, what’s included and not included in their packages and pricing.

So, call up a few of your girlfriends or bridal party for that matter, when you RSVP include how many will be accompanying you. Don’t eat a heavy dinner since there will be plenty for you to munch on when you get there. Enjoy the entertainment, music and wine and look out for these 4 things I mentioned. It’s a great way to have a nice free little girls’ night out while searching for your wedding venue.

Below are a couple of upcoming venue open houses this month and next, so if you haven’t chosen a venue yet, now’s your chance to see it completely done up and at it’s full potential!

Eg West  Richmond

Style Shoot: Spring Garden

Wedding season is right around the corner so here is some Spring Garden inspo my team and I created at the Toronto Botanical Gardens.

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Planning: AVP Weddings & Events | Photography: White Lotus Wedding Studios | Flowers: CA Flowers | Makeup & Hair: Miss Thani | Dress: Vera Wang Toronto | Decor: Glamourous Affairs Inc. | Rentals: Chair-man Mills | Linens: Linen Closet | Stationery: GM Calligraphy | Cake & Desserts: Fruitilicious Cakes | Popsicles: Happy Pops | Engagement Ring: Michael Hill | Model: ICON Models (Diana) | Venue: Toronto Botanical Gardens

2018 wedding trends that will make you want to have another wedding

As 2018 comes to a close, we are doing a little “throw-back” to some of our favorite wedding trends!

  1. Dark, moody florals

This may have been just a trend for 2018 but I love moody florals all year round. They bring such intensity and depth to bouquets and other floral arrangements.

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  1. Translucent Accents

Acrylic was everywhere this year, acrylic stands, acrylic chairs, see through tents you name it. What we loved about this trend was that it added a contemporary element to décor and the overall feel of the reception. It was combined nicely with rustic themes as well as modern weddings

  1. Colored Candles

A lovely touch to tablescapes this year were candles in multiple hues. It helped balance out bright florals and soften other décor elements.

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  1. Dramatic Backdrops

Flower walls, geometric wooden structures, strings of dangling lights and flowers- it’s the “wow” factor. From photo booths to escort card tables, backdrops were taken to another level this year and we loved it!

  1. Single Stem Bouquets

Brides are going for more quality than quantity. It’s easy to think more blooms look better but reality is, one or two gorgeous blooms have just as much, if not more impact visually. We hope this trend continues!

  1. Balloons

Usually I see faces cringe at the idea of balloons since they are typically seen as a little juvenile and childish. But custom arches and clusters and photo walls are huge statements that brides are loving!

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  1. First Look

We are familiar with a bride doing her big reveal to her soon to be spouse but 2018 included the bridal party, the parents and basically your “day 1’s” and it was just a moment full of feels.

  1. Sleeves

Flutter sleeves, flowy sleeves, cap sleeves and removable sleeves- they were all the rage along with capes when it came to bridal attire. Dramatic and romantic it doesn’t matter, sleeves were a wedding dress highlight this and certainly a trend in 2018.

  1. Circular Arches

We saw them everywhere, style shoots and gorgeous indoor as well as outdoor ceremonies. They added a beautiful dimension to nuptials and photographs.

moncheribride

  1. Unique Non-Traditional Venues

Couples opted for venues that had more of a sentimental feel like beautiful camp grounds, concert halls, the family home backyard. This is such a lovely trend that speaks to the couple making the wedding more personal.

Ease planning pains with our NEW services

Happy Summer everyone! AVPEvents is super excited to launch and share our new service menu with you all!

It’s taken us some time to re-create our services to give more options to brides with different needs. All 4 services are unique and are designed to cover various aspects of the planning process.

Short & Sweet

Just as the name suggests! One of the most daunting aspects of wedding planning is at the very end when you have the paper details to complete. So, we sit down for a 3-hour session and complete the day of timeline, reception timeline, ceremony layout and contact list. Once we’ve finalized this with you, we then email it out to all the vendors who need it and voila!

Smooth & Flawless

Should a wedding ceremony be anything less? Well our job for this package is to give you the “Short & Sweet” package and then coordinate the rehearsal of the ceremony run through twice! The day of the wedding, we show up an hour before the ceremony to check over last minute details, line up your processional, fluff your dress and send you off down the aisle.

Polished Production

This package comes with 6 additional hours of planning on-top of the benefits of both the Short & Sweet package as well as the Smooth & Flawless. We also finalize the details of the reception set up. Once the reception has been executed according to the timeline, our last task is to ensure your personal belongings are packed and ready to go!

Quintessential Package

Your equivalent of partial planning is this service! The previous 3 packages are included and in addition, couples receive 15 planning hours allocated to whatever areas they like!

Of course, we offer full planning for those couples who want assistance through every aspect of planning. A sit-down consultation is required for this service so each couples needs and vision can be properly assessed.