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

portrait of young woman using mobile phone in cafe

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

close up photography of woman sitting beside table while using macbook

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 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