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!

Elegant Wedding Magazine: Berry Bombshell Style Shoot

I was so excited to be offered a style shoot in the 2018 Winter/Spring issue of Elegant Wedding Magazine. Of course, with something this exciting- everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Everything up until and even the day of the shoot- everything went wrong.

Incredibly and thankfully I survived and so did the shoot. I had an incredible team and they pulled through for me and put so much talent and work into making it what it is-amazing!

Flavor and Flair was the magazine theme so I chose to work with a bold, very rich color scheme consisting of deep plum, mulberry, cotton candy pink, chartreuse and gold. I was hoping to create a very “regal” feel to the shoot and everything down to the gowns and jewelry reflected drama and majesty.

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Planning & Concept Creator// Ashley Victoria Productions|Photography// MPSG Weddings| Dresses// Mona Lisa Bridal Gallery//Naama & Anat|Rentals// Event Rental Group| Props// Glamourous Affairs| Hair & Make Up// Blushing Beauty Inc|Cake//Fruitilicious Cakes|Suiting & Shoes// 4 Men United| Florals// Dream Creations|Jewelry & Crown// The Loved One| Stationary// Polkadot Paper Shop| Sweets & Hand Painted BonBons// Succulent Chocolates| Venue// The Great Hall

 

Adios 2017!

2017 is coming to a close and if I might say…good riddance! We want to share some of our biggest highlights from this year!

Cody and HindShe Said Yes!

So as with most of us girl squads, mine has a Whatsapp chat called “Le Crew”. This picture message in our chat pops up after midnight on NYE Dec 31st 2016 from our bestie in Ottawa and her giant sparkling ring…announcing her amazing beau of 5 years popped the question! These two gorgeous specimens had their engagement party in October of 2017- Next stop…Dubai 2019 wedding!

 

Updated Website

I was so thrilled that I was able to sit down with my graphic designer and make the changes I wanted. I needed a different way to showcase some of my work rather than a boring gallery.  I wanted to tell a story and make it distinctive to each couple. We added in an “as seen” section that notes all the publications we’ve been in as well as updated our available services.

Check it out!

Personal

So I moved…again. (Sigh…) Not one of the more enjoyable things I had to do this year but it had to be done. I was previously tucked away in between York Mills and Sheppard on the Yonge line and as of October this year, I am right back down in the mouth of the beast- Yonge and Bloor. The noise, smells and wind tunnels are more than enough for me to wish I was back where I was. Our place is cute and homey but the downtown insanity is exhausting to look at let alone live in. Oh well…here’s to Starbucks meetings and shopping in Yorkville?

Prince Charming proposes

Britain Royal EngagementBy Prince we mean Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (the amazing Rachel Zane from Suits) got engaged and are to marry on May 19th 2018 at Windsor Castle…I can’t WAIT to see who designs her dress! Nothing like a Royal wedding to get us excited for a new year right? For more details see my previous blog post!

Style Shoot

elegant-wedding-toronto-winter-spring-2018-cover-w800-h2000-w800-h2000Oh Elegant Wedding Magazine family, how I love you all! Some of the most hard working, talented and incredible vendors contributed to the styled shoot for the Winter/Spring 2018 issue that JUST hit the stands on December 18th 2017! Soooo go grab a copy and stay tuned for my next post that will give all the details of the shoot! Don’t forget to follow us on instagram: @avpevents

 

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

 

Designer Spotlight: Galia Lahav

“My favorite part about designing for a bride is bringing her childhood fantasy of her wedding to life. Every girl I work with shares how she has dreamed about this day her entire life, and it’s my absolute pleasure to make that dream come true.”- Galia Lahav

If there is any wedding dress designer who’s work I drool over and dream of and essentially need in my life, it’s Galia Lahav.

Her attention to intricate details and who custom designs her gowns to fit every inch of the body, every gown is one of a kind and created with the bride’s individual preferences in mind. (We were not trying to rhyme but hey…).

Born into a Russian family of seamstresses, she began not in designing but making custom lace appliques. It eventually evolved as brides started to reach out with requests for dresses with her custom laces and 2 years later, here she is.

Now creating her exceptional designs in Israel, here are a few of my absolute favorite gowns from each of her collections. I suggest you sit down, this is going to get intense!

La Dolce Vita Collection (Veneto & Florentina gowns)

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Les Reves Bohemians (Blossum & Belle gowns; Tiger Lily gown; Crystal gown)

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Le Secret Royal (Lily rose gown; Guerlain gown; The New Suzanne gown; Gia gown)

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My final and absolute favorite collection…Victorian Affinity

(Charlie gown; Lia gown; Lizzy gown; Rayne gown; Sterling Cape; & my love Thelma)

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Lia  Lizzy

Rayne  Sterling Cape

Thelma

Images via www.galialahav.com

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

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

Wedding Planners: What we really do (Part 2) Partial Planning/Day of Coordination

A service becoming more popular these days due the fact that it’s millennial’s who are getting hitched is partial planning. Why? Well, simply put, they like to be involved! They don’t necessarily want someone to do everything they prefer to be able to really infuse their own couple style into aspects of their wedding day. Couples who are looking for a planner to do a full coordination should read the article I posted last week discussing full coordination. Partial planning can also include the benefits of hiring for Day of Coordination and other planners have it just as its own service.

IMG_5872When you hire a planner for a partial planning, you sit down together and discuss anywhere from 4 to possibly 6 areas you would like your planner to assist in. Once you’ve decided which areas they will manage, everyone gets to work. Different planners will go about this service differently so it’s good to have clear communication and ensure they understand exactly what it is you expect of them.

  • Creating/organizing a wedding budget
  • Coordinate meetings
  • Venue outsourcing
  • Vendor visits
  • Vendor recommendations
  • Email reminders per month to keep couple on track
  • Décor and rentals

These are just a few areas that couples may opt to have their planner manage for a partial planning.

Day of Coordination doesn’t entail your planner handling anything besides what is directly related to the day of the wedding- as the service suggests! Couples who want to leave all the stress and Nneka and fathershiccups on the day of the wedding but want to plan the entire thing themselves will choose this option. 1-2 months before your wedding day is typically when your planner would step in to tie up loose ends, follow up with vendors and then execute your wedding day so you can completely enjoy it and not have to look after anything.

Whether you choose partial planning or day of coordination, be sure that the service you have selected best suits your needs as a couple. Take into consideration factors like your jobs, family and other obligations you have and when in doubt, ask your planner during the consultation for their insight and opinion.

Wedding Planners: What we really do (Part 1) Full Planning

Let’s just clarify from the start we are NOT wedding coordinators at the venue, don’t get us confused and if you are confused read my article I wrote awhile back

JloSo what do wedding planners really do you ask? Well I guess it depends: we mediate, negotiate, police, teach you how to dance, and might even use nail polish remover to un-super glue a piece of statue from your palm…okay maybe I am getting a bit dramatic here but let’s focus on the full-planning service they provide .

Full scale planning is a lot of work, which is likely why you have hired someone to do it because you lack the time (or patience?) to be able to do all on your own. The moment you are engaged and hire a planner, we are there with you every step of the planning process. Here are some of the things we do for a full planning:

  • Help you create a budget
  • Outsource potential venues and set up viewings based on the number of guests you are looking to have attend and your budget limitations
  • Research officiants based on ceremony style and language
  • Aid you in developing your wedding theme and vision

The DressWait, before I continue, let me just say that we research EVERYTHING. Just because you don’t see work being done in front of your eyes, doesn’t mean it’s not taking hours of our time. Research is tedious and details must be acquired for every single vendor needed for the wedding.

  • Research and outsource: DJ’s or bands for the reception, décor/rentals and florists, hair and makeup artists, suiting/tuxedo companies, bridal boutiques and trunk shows, transportation and hotel accommodations, cakes and sweets, photographers and videographers, invitations, catering companies (if the venue doesn’t have an in-house caterer) and in most cases, planners will also go with you to meet these potential vendors.
  • Help negotiate and manage your contracts and develop a record tracking system for your payments
  • Coordinate your fittings and wedding rehearsal
  • Be there the day of the wedding to organize your vendors, ensure they show up on time, oversee set up and tear down- we leave after you leave.

Reading this it doesn’t look like much but when you realize the endless hours of work it entails to be glued to a computer coming up with multiple quotes from multiple vendors- you will understand why you’ve hired a planner…or at least why you should!

Part 2 will discuss how a Partial Planning works and why some couples opt for it instead!

Designer Spotlight: Carolina Herrera

“I have a responsibility to the woman of today- to make her feel confident, modern and above all else beautiful”– Carolina Herrera

Before taking a quick sneak peak at her newest collection fresh off the runway, here are some interesting life facts about the incredible designer, Carolina Herrera:

  • She was born and raised Venezuela and traveled at a young age and was exposed to fashion very early.
  • 1987  she launched first bridal collection and year later her first fragrance
  • 1996 Carolina Herrera de Baez joins as creative director at Herrera’s House of Fragrances
  • 1999 She opened her first flagship boutique in NY on Madison Ave and 75th
  • 2004 she received the Council of Fashion Designers of America “Womenswear Designer of the year” and the Glamour “Woman of the Year award”
  • 2008 The Council of Fashion Designers of America honors Carolina Herrera with the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2010 receives the distinguished “Mercedes-Benz Presents” title for her Spring collection
  • 2014 she received The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion

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To see the rest of her 2018 Spring bridal collection go to http://www.carolinaherrera.com/

Photography: Courtesy of Carolina Herrera