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

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.

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  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.

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!

Wedding Budget: The essential differences between deposits vs final payments

If you are planning your wedding yourself, it’s crucial that you know a few very important things when it comes to your budget and how it will be broken down.  This information isn’t common knowledge so if you find yourself struggling or are weary of making a mistake, hire a planner! Deposits and final payments for your vendors are very important and the key to ensuring how much is for what and when is to read the post I wrote last week about reading your vendor contract!

Deposits

Deposits are what you and your partner put down to essentially “reserve” the vendor, all of your vendors will require a deposit. (Side note: Some planners require a retainer; it’s a fancier word for an advance.) It will be written in the contract exactly how much of a deposit is required to secure their services for your wedding. Most wedding bands require up to wedding-contract-041714-0320%, some photographers require half up front, it really depends so again to reiterate, read your contract!

If you don’t quite understand the contract, set up a meeting with them and have them thoroughly explain so there are absolutely no miscommunications. Once you sign that contract, you agree to everything in it whether you read it or not! In most cases, deposits and retainers are non-refundable. Once you put down your deposit, your vendor has then reserved their services for your wedding date.

One other important thing to keep in mind is when you are meeting your vendors to discuss their services and whether or not you will hire them, be in a position to put down a deposit at the meeting. You have no idea what their booking schedule is like and if they are photographer, some are booked up to a year and a half in advance!

Final Payments

Similarly, the contract should stipulate when your vendor expects their final payment. The amounts will vary and the due dates can be anywhere from two weeks before the wedding day up to the day of the wedding. Discussing this and making changes before you sign the contract is essential. Most vendors can be flexible; others not as much so it’s important that you keep hands1track on a calendar the date final payments are due. For example, most venues will request a deposit up to 20% and then final payment will be the entire lump sum of what is left over due roughly a week before the wedding. You can arrange to make payments so it’s not one large chunk gone at once so be sure to inquire about that.

If any payments are due on the day of the wedding, have someone like a planner, parent or another relative who will ensure the payments are to given to the vendors. You will be busy getting married and celebrating and it’s easy to become distracted since it’s your big day.

In both cases whether it’s a deposit or a final payment, request an invoice or a receipt that stipulates the date you paid and the amount. It’s good to keep a record of these payments for your own security.

10 awful mistakes brides make

No wedding day is completely perfect (unless it is) and there are bound to be some flubs or forgotten details. Here are 10 common mistakes brides make leading up to and on their wedding day:

  1. Don’t carve out enough time for hair and makeup

It is imperative that you consider how large your bridal party is, this should include your mother and mother in law and any flower girls you may have. If you have more than 4 ladies to do hair and makeup for, you should consider hiring two makeup artists and two hair stylists. Make sure they have both met, have pictures of the makeup and hair looks so they can get everyone done on time!

  1.  Drink the night before

Monica drunkTry to refrain from excessive drinking the night before the wedding. Alcohol can make you puffy the next day, if you are sensitive you may even get a mild headache. Trade in a cocktail or glass of wine with some sparkling water and lemon, you’ll thank us.

  1. Rule out a wedding planner

Even if you have managed to plan everything yourself, the week before your wedding is the most stressful. If you had hired a planner for the week of you could have been spending time with your family and friends. Instead, you are left running around keeping track of final payments to vendors, confirming floral deliveries, giving directions…need I continue? Hire a planner.

  1. Don’t account for hidden costs

This is a big one that gets overlooked far too often. Tipping your vendors is a must unless it’s already included in their contract.  Also ensuring they are fed at dinner time if they are present is also important. Marriage license is another hidden cost, postage for “Thank you” cards, meals on wedding day and then there is the “other” category. This is for when the power goes out and you have to buy 200 candles, or the groom forgets to pack his shoes and needs to hail a cab!

  1. Take time with parentsbride with parents

The day of your wedding you are the center of attention and everyone wants to say a word or give a hug. Don’t forget to take a few quiet moments with your parents outside of pictures. It will be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle and it will give you some one on one time with them, they will appreciate it.

6. You forget to eat

Yes, we know you need to fit into your wedding dress as snug as a bug the day of, however, we don’t need a dramatic Scarlett O’Hara fainting moment because you didn’t eat anything. A light breakfast with a few carbs for energy is suffice, lots of water and some snacks while getting ready and during pictures.

  1. Sunless tanning

Anne's gone orange!

Have some practice sessions please! I can’t stress this enough. Sunless tanning can work if you find the right place to go. Be sure to go for a shade that isn’t so far off your natural skin tone, aim for a pre- wedding glow. If you overdo it or go too dark…you will be in your bathroom 2 days before your wedding with half a cup of lemon juice, a quarter cup of sugar…and a loofah sponge.

  1. Don’t feed vendors

Your vendors work hard and rightly so; this is what they do! However, if you have hired a band to entertain your guests, a planner running around behind the scenes, a photographer or videographer- they need to eat. This is customary and likely in the contract you signed when you hired them. Perhaps not what the guests are eating but feed them with something!

  1. Skimp on bridal party gifts

Take into consideration your bridal party (guys too) have spend a ton of money over the past year or so helping you plan your wedding. From wedding gifts, bachelor/bachelorette parties, outfits, dinners, to helping you solve problems, they’ve done so much. Be sure to budget a decent amount (consider how large your bridal party is) so they can feel the love and appreciation you have for all they have done.

  1. Mistreat Single friends

I’ve been one of the single gals at a table, where I don’t know anyone and most of the people I am sitting with are couples. Thankfully I have an outgoing personality and I can talk to anyone but not all your guests are going to find this situation ideal. To ease the pressure or even nerves, try to put them with at least one person at the same table that they know. Please, please have mercy!

AVP Blog Series-Wedding Venues in The 6ix: The Burroughes Building

B2I am so excited to spill the details of this particular venue, I will admit I am a little biased since my couple who got married there on a New Year’s Eve a few years back fell in love with the space. Located at 639 Queen St. West and Bathurst St, this location is eclectic and has quite the history!

The F.C. Burroughes Furniture Company erected the building in 1907 as its flagship retail department store. King Sol, a well known sporting and camping gear retailer called it home for 53 years, ending in 2002. Finally, the Queen Street Partners redeveloped the building. It’s beautiful exposed brick, hardwood floors and rustic essence minimizes the need for excessive décor.  Another feature worth highlighting are the two 100 plus year old restored elevators which brings to life the historical relevance to the venue.

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This hidden gem has actually hosted some of the city’s high profile events such as TIFF events, Holt Renfrew and Phillip Sparks fashion shows. It has also been chosen for fashion designer and bridal magazine photo shoots.

Since we are discussing venues in the 6ix, it makes sense that I highlight tCityscape.jpghat the 6th floor is the most popular location to hold a wedding or event. This floor give you access to the rooftop terrace, I might add that this “View from the 6ix” is unobstructed and absolutely gorgeous and has a bar and heaters (for those planning winter weddings!).

For those attending you wedding or event who are from out of town, this venue is located close to six (notice a theme here?) beautiful 4-5 star hotels including the Fairmont Royal York, The Thompson Hotel and the Shangri-La. Parking won’t be an issue either as there are several lots in the area that can be utilized.

Something to take note of is that The Burroughes requires outside catering but to make life easy, their venue coordinators (not to be confused with wedding planners) have preferred vendor lists that you can use to contact.

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All in all this is a terrific and very unique space to host your event or wedding and is absolutely worth a tour!

Photo credits: www.derekcampbell.net; www.ashleyvictoriaproductions.com; www.theburroughes.com

Wedding Venues in The 6ix: National Event Venue

During some intense outsourcing I was conducting for some clients, I came across this intriguing and equally beautiful venue located at 1000 Finch Ave West (Finch and Dufferin) in the northwest area of the city- National Event Venue. When you first walk in, all I can say is – black and gold. Accents of gorgeous Baroque style furniture, dramatic velvet curtains held together by thick ropes, chandeliers…have I sold you yet? I’m not finished though!

There are so many eloquent features of this diamond in the rough that as a planner, get you so excited for your clients.  The lobby/cocktail area has a stylish bar where you can order your Cosmopolitan or scotch and has plenty of space for mingling. The European reception room is open concept with two stunning chandeliers at each end, a visible dance floor in the center and then a stage at the front. Mind you this isn’t just any stage, if the bride and groom so choose they can stand on a platform that is below the stage that will rise to the top of the stage for a surprise entrance!

In addition to all of this, there are massive LED TV screens with 360 projection mapping that allows you to share videos and photos with all of your guests.  As of recently they provide limousine services for pick up and drop offs as well. They have an incredible team that boasts stunning entertainment, whether it is professional dancers, live musicians, acrobatics or eek…snakes and fire!

Shall we talk gourmet cuisine? They have 3 menus or you can choose essentially any national cuisine you like, from Russian, Portuguese, Italian and more. Their chefs create beautiful and artistic presentations with each dish and will not disappoint your palate by any means. I accompanied my clients to a Saturday night tasting and they left full and completely impressed.

Alex and his staff are truly lovely people, so easy and kind to work with and are ready to cater to whatever your needs are. I am grateful to have such a fantastic working relationship with them and would recommend National Event Venue to everyone who is looking for a superior, first class experience for their wedding day! If you are a couple would like to book a viewing please contact me at Ashley@ashleyvictoriaproductions.com and I will be happy to take you or contact the venue directly at 416-650-0019

Photos taken from: http://www.nationaleventvenue.com; IsaacImage.com

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National Dancers

Acrobatics National

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Wedding Venues in The 6ix: The Avenue Banquet Hall

The Avenue is a fantastic little spot in Vaughan Ontario and one of the not so obvious but convenient aspects of it is that it’s close to all major highways (401, 407 and the Allen). We love the fact that parking is free, and if you have out of town guests, the hotels close by have reduced rates for those who choose to have their event at The Avenue.

Avenue1One thing that I can say I absolutely appreciated about this venue is that it’s literally one venue, so you don’t have to worry about multiple events taking place simultaneously to yours! This is a great selling point for brides who want to ensure there are no mix-ups or distractions on their big day. As a planner, even though we are used to it, it’s a relief to know there are no “hidden fees” that you will have to dig to find and explain to your clients. Many venues have so many additional fees and truthfully it can add up quickly. The Avenue is an exception, everything is up front and visible so there are absolutely no surprises!

Avenue3Another convenient aspect of this little gem is it has the main hall that it has lovely high ceilings and can hold up to 400 guests. There is also separate ceremony room and a private bridal suite and a variety of catering menus to choose from including Mediterranean, Portuguese, West Indian, Italian and more!

Avenue2Whether you are hosting an event or a wedding, the most comforting aspect of this venue for some will be the many 5 star reviews it has received from clients. There are rave reviews about the food, the service as well as working with Marla Kay and her pleasant and valuable experience. As I have met with Marla myself, it’s refreshing to say that she is one of the most open and candid venue coordinators I’ve met thus far and she loves what she does.

All in all, The Avenue is a venue to consider for any event or wedding so please contact them and book a time to view this banquet hall, you won’t have any regrets!

Contact Info:

1600 Steeles Ave, Vaughan ON 905 669 0777 info@theavenuebanquethall.com

 

Wedding Venues in the 6ix: An Introduction

In light of the new year, I thought we would start off with a blog series surrounding wedding venues in the 6ix a.k.a Toronto, Ontario.

One of the things I personally love about this city is the undeniable degree of diversity in everything. From food, fashion, music and language, Toronto has so much to offer to those who want to experience life to the fullest.  This is also true when it comes to wedding venues in the city. To put it bluntly, to get married in Toronto on a budget can be a challenge since it’s an expensive city to live in altogether. However, with constant changing trends with regard to the size of weddings, destination weddings etc, smaller venues are now emerging to cater to those couples who have a modest budget or prefer a more intimate wedding.

This series will take a look at several different wedding venues located in the 6ix for different budgets, couple styles and wedding size. It’s important to note that before you even start to look for a venue that you have a number of guests you plan to attend. Venue coordinators will need to know how many people you are planning to have attend for several reasons:

  1. The size of the guest list may determine whether or not you can fit that many sitting down and or standing up. If there are too many people then you may have to search for another venue that can hold the amount of guests you want.
  2.  There is most likely a minimum spend of food and drink plus the rental fee and if you have a smaller guest list you may not meet the minimum requirements.
  3.  The number of guests you want to have at your wedding has a direct affect on your budget since in most cases the couples covers the cost of dinner and the bar. Generally, the more guests, the more money you spend.

As we examine each venue, we will highlight the benefits of each venue and what makes them unique and a few other things. I hope you enjoy this upcoming series and that it helps you on your search to find your dream wedding venue here in the 6ix!

4 Ways to mortify your wedding guests

We are not foolish enough to think that your wedding day will be completely flawless; you are bound to run into a snag here or there. However, there are a few things that can really upset your guests on your special day. Now, keeping in mind that you cannot please everyone, these 4 grievances go across the entire spectrum of your guest list and for the most part can be prevented…pay attention couples!

  1. Omitting Important Information

Nothing is more disrespectful than not informing your guests of things they will have to pay for dinner and or drinks at your wedding. If dinner is a 4 course meal that is not being covered by the bride and groom but only the wine, you need to indicate this clearly on the invitations you send out. These meals can be very expensive and if most of your guests are married, that means two meals will need to be paid for at the same price! Likewise, if you intend to have a cash bar and do not tell your guests in advance, you will have a lot of people unprepared and upset.

  1. Preparation for outdoor ceremonies and pictures

Rain or shine, the ceremony will go on! Keeping close tabs on the weather will be 0921-04_wedding_horror_story_unhappy_guests_liimportant right up until the morning of the wedding. Aside from wanting to avoid a soggy bride in a ruined white dress, you have guests to think of. It may be a good idea to indicate on the invite for people to bring umbrellas just in case while you supply some cute fans in case it gets hot! Overcooked or damp guests in silk dresses and black suits aren’t a pretty sight, nor is it comfortable for them. Those are the clothes they have to wear for the duration of the wedding celebration. So take into consideration the weather and prepare them or be prepared for them!

3.  One of the most frustrating problems for a guest to face and have to solve it quickly is the issue of accessible transportation and or parking. If the wedding takes place in the city and guests plan to drink, they may opt to take public transit. This becomes problematic if the wedding venue is located in a remote area or where multiple lines of transit need to be taken. Try to have an “easy access” venue for the sake of your guests. Likewise, for those who are driving, they need to find parking and know how to pay for it without hassles. Driving up and down the 5 blocks surrounding the venue is tiresome and agitating. Have mercy…when considering you venue, ask about public transit and parking spaces and then inform your RSVP’s.

  1. Bad Dinner Experience

miseryNot that everyone goes to the wedding for the food but let’s face it, dinner is definitely a subject of discussion after a wedding. Now not everything can be controlled or timed perfectly and most wedding guests who have been to weddings know this. However, a friend of mine did a wedding earlier this year and the dinner was a disaster. Firstly, the head table missed their cue to go to the food stations to get their dinner. That held up the other 12 tables, the MC then started asking tables by number to go up…massive mistake as the head table had not gone yet! To make it worse there were no servers at the food stations to ensure everyone essentially received equal portions. This resulted in the last 2-3 tables almost not getting any dinner because the tables before them were greedy and didn’t consider anyone else. Upset, hungry guests? Absolutely! There had been plenty of food but the catering staff didn’t control the stations…disaster. Ensure your catering company has a plan of execution and that everyone knows where they are to be and what their responsibilities are.

So if the flower girl screams the whole walk down the aisle or someone’s watch gets dropped in the toilet…not much you can do. But ensuring that your guests have been well informed in advance and have been considered in these areas will surely have them buzzing with excitement well after your big day!