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!

100 Insanely smart tips to help a busy bride stay on budget and save money while planning a beautiful wedding

  1. Keep your guest list small
  2. Choose flowers that are in season
  3. Consider a Friday or Sunday wedding
  4. Create & print your own invites- here’s a discount code for Minted
  5. Get married on off-peak season (November-April)
  6. Skip the plated meal and do a buffet
  7. Have more comfort food and snacks vs formal food options
  8. Rent certain items vs buying them
  9. Choose a non-traditional wedding venue: municipal park or beach
  10. Google local sample sales and trunk shows for your wedding gown
  11. Shop local outlet stores for bridesmaids’ dresses
  12. Purchase handmade items directly from the seller e.g. Etsy
  13. Ditch favors or limit them to 1 per couple
  14. Keep the ceremony and reception at the same place to cut down rentals, transportation and décor
  15. Rent your wedding dress
  16. YouTube makeup tutorials or go to Sephora for a makeup lesson then do your own makeup
  17. Swap in a sweet table instead of a dessert course
  18. Buy your own booze for the wedding
  19. Only serve appetizers during the cocktail hour
  20. Find a music student(s) to entertain during cocktail hour or for the ceremony (have them audition first!)
  21. Find a newer cake artist to make your cake
  22. Swap your cake for smaller cupcakes or tarts
  23. Limit the bar hours or have an alcohol-free wedding
  24. Instead of multiple shooters, only have 1 photographer
  25. Use wildflowers as fillers in your centerpieces
  26. Opt for sparkling wine over champagne
  27. Use a credit card to pay for vendors etc that has points or rewards so you get something back
  28. Google local wedding shows to get deals on potential vendors
  29. Use coupons or Facebook Marketplace to score deals on accessories or décor items
  30. Hire a wedding planner; what you pay them to do will end up being made up in savings because they can negotiate contracts and save you time
  31. Schedule to do cake cutting and first dance earlier in the evening to cut down on photography hours
  32. More than 3 courses for dinner might be excessive, guests should be fed but don’t overdo it
  33. Have a smaller cake created for display and cutting and have a larger slab cake in the back that gets served to guests
  34. Have a smaller bridal party to cut down costs and possibly hassle
  35. Ditch the bridal party altogether and just have a flower girl and ring bearer to save on gifts
  36. Use a playlist for the cocktail hour and dinner and a DJ for the reception party
  37. Cocktails and mixed drinks are usually more expensive at the bar so limit the options to beer and wine
  38. See if the venue has larger tables so you cut back on the amount of centerpieces
  39. Use something other than flowers for your centerpieces such as candles, picture frames, lanterns
  40. Elope or do a pop-up wedding
  41. Consider emailing your “Save the Dates”
  42. Only invite people you are close to you (you’ve seen and hung out with them in the last 5 years)
  43. Stick to the house wines offered instead of specialty ones
  44. DIY certain wedding items
  45. If one of your friends recently got married and kept some of their décor, ask to borrow it
  46. Buy things like candles and favors in bulk, the price is usually less (buy more than 50 pieces)
  47. Have your shower or rehearsal at home instead of a restaurant
  48. Naked cakes look lovely or instead choose buttercream icing over fondant
  49. Kids meals are cheaper so be sure to ask for a kids menu if you plan to have kids at the wedding or have no kids at all
  50. Only have 1 or 2 options for vegetarian or vegan meals, the more choices the more money
  51. Borrow accessories from friends or a family member instead of buying them
  52. Have the wine at dinner served rather than sitting on the table so consumption is staggered during the evening
  53. Don’t forget tips, shipping fees and taxes and gratuity to be factored into your budget
  54. Decide if you are allowing +1’s or not, additional guests can impact your budget greatly
  55. Negotiate pricing on some contracts
  56. Read over contract carefully and ask questions, it’s very easy to misunderstand something and then get overcharged
  57. Enable people to RSVP on a website instead of traditional paper RSVP’s, plus it’s easier to track
  58. See if your venue has a list of preferred vendors, sometimes they want you to use them but it might cost you. Ask if you are permitted to use outside vendors. They may require approval
  59. Find a venue that needs minimal décor
  60. Get married in a backyard garden to save on venue and décor costs
  61. Price shop for vendors to before booking anything to see if there are comparable prices available
  62. Avoid getting married on a Saturday or a long weekend, it’s the most expensive day to get married
  63. Keep appetizers between 2-3 pieces per person and keep in mind the caterer will likely try to up sell you
  64. If you are wearing a longer dress, no one will see you shoes so why splurge?
  65. Go through each item on your budget to see if there are ways to trim it down
  66. Everyone loves a good wedding trend but they are usually pricey because they are in high demand
  67. Hand write your place cards/escort cards or design them on Minted
  68. Research various wedding budgets and revise yours based on what your research finds
  69. Thank you’s to the bridal party are lovely but don’t have to break the bank
  70. Consider one big single bloom for the bouquets
  71. Don’t let vendors rope you into more than you want too (a planner can help with this) you can politely decline any add-ons
  72. Florists typically charge more for labor so buy your own flowers in bulk to save
  73. Stick to a signature cocktail during the cocktail hour and have it passed around. It will not only save on alcohol but will add a nice personal touch as well.
  74. Can we say: “Free wedding stationary printables” We said it.
  75. Instead of renting a nice car, can you borrow one from someone you know?
  76. Keep all of your receipts so you can monitor what you’ve spent
  77. Ask guests to email their RSVPs to you directly and keep an email file folder of them
  78. Choose a venue outside of a major city. Costs of downtown venues and parking can make sticking to your budget difficult
  79. Wait for a good deal to take your honeymoon instead of right afterwards. Check out Skyscanner or Next Vacay
  80. Get a dress that actually fits instead of off the rack and needing expensive alterations
  81. When in doubt, don’t buy a dress a size or two too small, it’s easier to make a larger dress smaller than the opposite
  82. For any out of town guests, ask hotels close by the wedding venue for reduced rates based on rooms booked
  83. Instead of expensive centerpieces, have empty vases on the tables and use the bridesmaid’s bouquets as centerpieces
  84. Troll Instagram and wedding websites for contests and giveaways
  85. Go to Wedding Wire and see if any vendors you need are offering discounts on their services
  86. Buy as much as you can in bulk (food, flowers, candy) rather than specialty stores that will have higher prices
  87. Shorten your planning time, you will be much more decisive with a strict timeline
  88. Only have the photographer and videographer cover just the ceremony
  89. See if videography can be added to your photography package instead of hiring 2 separate vendors
  90. Any leftover wedding items you have, sell them online
  91. Use the word “wedding” only when necessary (like with venues and photographers) sometimes there’s an up charge
  92. Only splurge on ONE thing like good food or music
  93. Find out if there is a minimum spend at the venue if they have in house catering. Usually if you make the minimum spend, they waive the venue rental fee
  94. Keep your invites to a singe sheet, pretty but simple. It will save on postage
  95. Ask friends to help where they can, as ushers, officiant, MC, DJ
  96. Sew your own table runners with fabric you purchase yourself
  97. Silk and paper flowers go a long way
  98. Skip the traditional wedding dress shops and go to major retailers like Le Chateau or Etsy for your dress
  99. Consider a different time of day: Morning or afternoon so you save on dinner food
  100. Make sure you and your partner are both on the same page on where to splurge and where to cutback!

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

Behind the scenes: A sneak peek of the Galia Lahav SS19 Collection at White Toronto

Yesterday, was the first day of the Galia Lahav trunk show at White Toronto, so we stopped by to take a peek at the new collection! Stunning fabrics, appliques and tulle, intricate beading and crystals, dramatic shoulders and beautiful trains.

 

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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.

NEW website and features

The warm weather is FINALLY here in Toronto (it only took us 6 months and an ice storm) it was hard to stay inspired this past winter. However, we managed to redo our entire website which made me very excited!

Of course, there are some tweaks to be made still but overall, I am very happy with it! It’s cleaner, better images, new logo, the ability to book a consultation online and download a planning checklist!

The option to sign up for free advice, tips and special offers is also something I am happy we were able to make happen. I think its important for a website to be more than just a collection of photos and services- we should be able to showcase we have to offer!

That being said, for the month of May we are offering 10% off of all our Partial Planning Packages! We know engaged couples have a lot on their plates and a partial planning gives you 20 hours of my time allotted to areas of planning determined by you.

Some couples use this for things like:

  • Budget creation & management
  • Vendor recommendations
  • Seating chart arrangement
  • Booking/attending vendor appointments
  • Creation of “day of” schedule

And the best part of this package is that it also includes our Day of Coordination Package.

As a final send off on this post, we encourage you beautiful couples to download our FREE wedding planning checklist to help keep you on schedule!

 

Mona Lisa Bridal Gallery

While I was thinking about who I wanted to work with for my upcoming published shoot in Elegant Wedding Magazine it took seconds for me to know with a certainty that I wanted the dresses to be from Mona Lisa Bridal Gallery.

I had been trying for the better part of a year to go and visit Frances and her hubby over there and of course planning weddings and life in general got in the way so here was my chance!

Tucked away just north of Toronto in Woodbridge, this bridal studio is run by the one of the sweetest women in the industry. I value humility and a genuine caring spirit and Frances personifies all of it. When I arrived, she was finishing up with a client and I was more than happy to wait. I could overhear bits of the conversation and was able to hear the bride speaking with such confidence over her choice in dress.

Customer service is paramount in this industry rather than getting the sale and I have seen so many missed opportunities to bond with clients and create trusting relationships with them. It’s so much more than just the sale and at Mona Lisa Bridal, you are always going to get a very one on one, in-depth consultation- that isn’t rushed.

Once the studio was clear of brides, I went straight to the back happily anticipating the glitter, tulle, crystal embellishment and all things uber girly. They didn’t disappoint. Frances was at the tail end of her Naama & Anat trunk show. I had never heard of this designer, so she explained they were a Israeli mother daughter duo that custom designed bridal couture. Let me just start by saying wow! I was in awe of some of these gowns and my initial choice in gowns from a completely different designer quickly faded away.

She pulled out a few pieces (they were jaw dropping sort of gorgeous!) and we spent a good half hour going over the look I wanted.  Mona Lisa Bridal also has a stunning collection of designer gowns by Julie Vino, Alma Novia, A & J Designers, Liancarlo, Rosa Clara and Sareh Nouri.

Needless to say, I found the “dream dresses” for my shoot and I left a happy little planner! To my dear Frances and her amazing hubby, thank you both SO much for being a part of the shoot and I know we will be working together again sooner rather than later!

XO- Ash

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Pantone color of 2017: Greenery

It’s everywhere and it shows no sign of slowing down (wahoo!!) I can’t say that I don’t completely love almost every style of greenery décor that I have see thus far this year, it’s all stunning. From table runners, centerpieces, garland draped on seating charts or chairs, archways or ceiling décor- greenery has taken over.  Here are a few examples of how décor and florist companies are incorporating the greenery trend for 2017 couples getting hitched!

bridescom  modweddingcom

britco  myweddingguidecom

weddingforwardcom  Stylemepretty

Seating chartwantthatwedding.co.uk

projectweddingcom

Images:

brides.com; modwedding.com; brit.co; myweddingguide.com; weddingforward.com; stylemepretty.com; wantthatwedding.co.uk

 

AVP Real Wedding: Miguel & Michelle

Miguel and I go back to high school so when he contacted me and asked me to help plan his wedding naturally I was over the moon happy! His fiancée Michelle was lovely and we got to meet at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay downtown Toronto as she tried on a slew of gorgeous gowns.

There were many obstacles these two had to overcome amid all the planning, their daughter Mia was under a year old and that took much time and attention. They had also bought a new house, were renovating and had several setbacks.

Everything came together at the Trent Port Marina, tucked away in a town in the southern part of Ontario on the Bay of Quinte. Very quiet, quaint town where everyone knows everyone (I grew up close to there so it was nice to be “home”). It was an intimate setting of close friends and family for the ceremony and dinner. Michelle and Miguel exchanged vows in the late afternoon and then the party started.

The one thing I won’t forget about this wedding is the way they both looked at each other the entire day. It was with such love and certainty, I was so honored to be a part of their happy day. See more on my website

The Dress  Aisle2  Lean on me  DSCN0550-01  DSC03142-01

Planner: Ashley Victoria Productions//Venue: Trent Port Marina//Catering: Tomassos//Linens, Napkins & Chair Covers: Chair Cover King//Photography: Images by Montserrat

2017 Wedding Trend: Agate

So in case you didn’t already know this is a trend…trend alert! For all my gorgeous couples who don’t know what the agate trend is, let us educate you!

Primarily a volcanic rock, agate is known for its mesmerizing, entwining layers of color. Chalcedony stones typically have a sort of waxy luster, and in most cases are semitransparent or translucent. The best part is that can assume a wide range of colors. Dessert makers, artists, stylists in the wedding industry have taken advantage of how lovely this looks in a nature-scape or boho themed wedding. Everything from invitations, cakes and desserts and jewellery have enveloped this agate look. Here some ways to incorporate this new trend into your wedding!

Agate cake

Wedding cake design

Modern-Bohemian-wedding-inspiration-place-cards-Brit and Co

Place card holders via Brit & Co.

Agate coasters weddingomaniacome

Drink coasters via weddingomania.com

agate-garlands Brit and Co

Garlands via Brit & Co.

ruffledblogcom

Mr. & Mrs. Memoirs via ruffledblog.com

Ring Agate

Ring display for engagement shoot

 

Main image photo credit: Sara-Lynn Photography