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)

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!

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

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

The Top 15 Wedding Abbreviations for Brides

As a soon-to-be bride new to the wedding industry hoopla, you may find yourself lost in a whirlwind of “wedding jargon” and struggling to understand! It’s one of my favorite aspects of planning because it’s like a completely different language that we planners and wedding vendors speak.

Here are 15 abbreviations that all brides should become familiar with:

 

AI                            All-inclusive

BM                         Bridesmaid/Best Man

GM                         Groomsmen

DW                         Destination Wedding

EP                           Engagement Party

DOC                       Day of Coordinator

FH                           Future Husband

FW                         Future Wife

FI                            Fiancé/Fiancée

FOB                        Father of the Bride

MOB                      Mother of the Bride

MOG                     Mother of the Groom

FOG                       Father of the Groom

MOH                     Maid/Matron of Honor

BP                           Bridal Party

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!

 

How to prepare for your wedding planning consult

It doesn’t take long after your acceptance of the proposal for you to realize there is piles of work to do! It can seem daunting but one of the wisest things you could consider doing is hiring a planner. If it’s not a full planning, day of coordination can take so much weight off your shoulders.

When you start your search for a planner here are some questions you need to be prepared to answer:

  1. “What is your wedding date?” Seems like it shouldn’t be a big deal if you don’t have that figured out just yet, but the reality is that planners live by schedules. So, in order for us to even know if we are available to help you- we need to know your wedding date!
  2. “What is your total wedding budget?” Having this discussion with your partner before you book a consultation is important. Most potential clients want to know how much planning costs, but we can’t give proper quotes for services unless we know what your max budget is.
  3. “How many guests do you plan to have?” This is another important question that helps planners determine their fee. To put into perspective: If you plan to have 300 guests, it’s common sense that a planner would then need an assistant. Paying an assistant will be factored into whatever quote is given.
  4. “Do you have a venue yet?” If you do then let us know, we have already done a wedding there and have connections we can utilize. On the flip side, if we haven’t done a wedding there, then a site visit will be necessary, so we can meet the coordinator and see the space.
  5. “What is your vision?” WHAT DO YOU SEE??! When you think of your wedding day, what do you envision it to be like? Rustic chic with pastels and copper accents? Modern minimalist with greenery and crisp white linens? When you know your “couple style” it makes it easier to create a “inspiration/mood” board. We need to see and feel what you do!
  6. “Are there any “absolutely no ways” for your wedding day?” Certain family members, colors, number of dresses…as planners coming up with ideas is part of the job, but we don’t want to come up with suggestions that are a no go on your list. So be clear about what you do not want…ever.
  7. “What service are you interested in?” This can be discussed at the consultation but to have a general idea is helpful for us. If you are a super busy couple, always on the go and worry about not having time- full planning might be the best option. If your wedding is a few months away and you’ve done a portion of the planning, then partial planning might work better. Day of coordination is for couples who want to undertake the planning aspects but have a planner manage the day of execution, so they can enjoy the day.
  8. “What do you want in a planner?” Not all planners will ask you this, but I will. Do you want someone who leaves most of the decision making up to you? Or is trusting someone to take charge and take the lead more what you want?

If you are prepared to answer these key questions, you will have a very productive first consult with your potential planner!