The Divorced Wedding Planner

The Spring after my divorce was final, I was prepping to go out and meet with my first post-divorce potential wedding-planning couple.  Out of nowhere, I had this pit in my stomach – can I be a wedding planner if I’m divorced?  Will people take me seriously?  I rolled my eyes, thinking that this was a silly notion, and finished prepping for my meeting.

At these meetings, pre-divorce, I would add in little bits of advice from things I did for my wedding – and out of habit – I did again at this meeting.  As soon as I said it, I wished I could have pulled a Cher and turned back time because right away I realized the next question would be “Aw, how long have you been married”, as it usually was.   Thankfully, this time it wasn’t, and I never mentioned my own wedding plans again (and haven’t at any subsequent meetings the last year, either).

Am I embarrassed to be divorced?  Not anymore.  I can tell you that embarrassment is definitely one of the stages that you have to work through when you go through a divorce, but it’s one I am past.  I don’t forgo discussing my own wedding planning at these meetings because I’m embarrassed, at least I don’t think so.  It’s just not something I talk about anymore, and truthfully sometimes feels like that was someone else’s life, because I feel like (and am) a completely different person now than I was then.  The biggest reason I don’t bring it up, is because I don’t want any couples I’m wanting to work with to decide not to hire me because I’m a divorced wedding planner.  It probably sounds hypocritical, in a way, to be a divorced wedding planner.  I know that it isn’t, but that little grain of self-doubt I had going into that Summer 2016 meeting was only amplified over the course of the last year by people saying things like “Oh – you’re still going to do wedding planning now that you’re divorced” or “Can you still be a wedding planner if you’ve been divorced”.  Yes, these things have actually been said to me.  Sometimes by strangers that happen to know I’m divorced and it has come up.  Sometimes by couples I’ve been potentially going to work with.  And even sometimes by well-meaning friends that don’t realize what they’re saying to me.

From the time I was 15 years old, I have been planning big events.  I love it, I’m passionate about it, and I put my heart into any event that I attach my name to.   I hate to think that because my marriage didn’t work out, that it somehow puts into question my ability to plan an event for another couple.  I was worried – for a split second – after my divorce, that because I was personally a “Hard No” on getting married again, that it would impact how I felt about working with couples getting married and being a part of their day.  In actuality – the complete opposite happened.

I don’t believe in coincidence, and I feel that the first couple that was sent to me post-divorce was for a reason.  This couple was amazing.  I could tell from my initial meeting with them that they were just so in love; they were best friends.   I’ll be honest, after that meeting with them – I went out to my car and I bawled.  To see two people that in love, made me realize that I made the right choice to continue wedding planning after my divorce.  I still believed in love, and to be immersed in it like I was with this couple and all of their loved ones on their wedding day was exactly what I needed to know I made the right decision to continue in my career path.  Not only that, it gave me something to look forward to again.   I’ve seen couples (not any of the couples that I’ve worked with directly) that clearly love each other and want to be married, but they get so caught up in the wedding planning details that they lose some of that spark for a while in the stress.  This couple had none of that.  They weren’t worried about anything other than just being together.  The emotion that came out during their First Look Photos are something that will stay with me forever.  Just love.  I left their wedding with a renewed sense of what love was and is.  It softened my outlook that a “Hard No” to me deciding to get married one day was more like a “Well, I’d have to be in that situation with the right person to know for sure”.

I was worried that being at all of these weddings would be hard in the sense that it would remind me that I am single.  It does, in a way, definitely make a person aware of their own relationship status when you’re at a wedding celebrating two people starting their lives together, usually in a room full of other couples – but I choose to look at it differently.  Instead of looking around reminding myself that I don’t yet have what these couples have, I look around and see all of the love that is in that room and what I hope to have one day.    I look around and see all the things that happened in my life to lead me to this point.  The point where I can look at myself and my life and know that I have worked so hard to get here and am finally at a point where I can say “I’m ready – and he’s going to have to be really special and deserving to be a part of all that I have built for myself and my kids”.    Don’t get me wrong, I still cry at every single wedding – but I did before my divorce too.   Hopeless romantic over here.

In some ways, I wonder if my divorce has made me a better Wedding Planner.  Again, I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, and loved being a part of the couple’s journeys in the Planning process – but now I feel almost more passionate about being a part of these couple’s Wedding Day.  I am now seeing beyond just the planning details and that couple’s journey, I’m seeing a piece of my own future in every wedding that I plan.  I’m learning a lesson from each of these couples about love and relationships, as each couple I work with is so different.   They have all taught me something, even couples I worked with before my divorce.  I can look back at each couple I’ve worked with and tell you something that they have taught me that will stay with me.  People always come into your life for a reason and to say I’ve been blessed with the couples that have been sent to me is an understatement.

I had someone also ask me once if I wasn’t in a relationship, how could I relate to a couple getting married?  If I had a failed marriage, could I relate emotionally to a couple or would run the risk of being a bit bitter that they had what I didn’t.  Say what???  I promise you, divorced people can still feel emotions and understand love and romance.  As I said, working weddings has actually helped me soften some of the barriers that divorce put up.  It added a much needed piece to the work I had already been doing on myself and for myself.  It has helped open up my vision to have an idea of what I wanted things to look like in my love life.  It helped prepare me to meet someone that came out of nowhere as an incredibly happy surprise in my life.  He changed my complete outlook on the types of men that are out there, and he also set a bar for what I will be willing to accept as a partner in my own life.  Although I wasn’t lucky enough to have a dating relationship with him (I actually haven’t dated at all since my divorce), to have met someone who set that standard for me on who a man should be is also a gift.   I am grateful for him being in my life every day – and the friendship that he has given me is something I don’t take for granted.  He is an amazing human, and whoever he eventually chooses to be with as his partner is going to be an incredibly happy woman.  If it can’t be me, I hope it’s someone so amazing, I have no choice but to like her and be really happy for them, because that is the happiness that he deserves.   To be able to have the feelings that I have for this man without fear or hesitation feels amazing, and shows me the growth that I have achieved in the last two and a half years.

See – divorced people aren’t the tin man from the Wizard of Oz without a heart!   Maybe working all these weddings for me is like when the Grinch had his heart grow three sizes.

So the long and short of it is – yes, I can still be a great Wedding Planner even though I’m divorced.  I’m not a hypocrite by wedding planning after divorce.  I can be both divorced and able to work with others on their marriage journey.  I’m still incredibly organized and great at planning details.  My ability to bond with the couples and be genuinely happy for them has actually gotten stronger.  My belief in real love is still there.   While I’m still personally checked in the “unsure” box if I would ever get married again one day, it doesn’t change my belief that marriage can work and the sheer happiness I feel for the couples I get to work with.

If you are planning a wedding and your planner is divorced (or maybe never been in a serious relationship at all), they can still do an amazing job – and maybe, just maybe, they may be the best person suited for the job because you will not only be inspired by them and their ideas, you will inspire each other, and know that your journey in love is fuelling their hopes and dreams for the future too.

Jill & Dave – December 31st, 2016

15776725_1365487766825943_3978867438353310614_oSeeing two people you care about walk down the aisle to begin their journey as a married couple is one of the greatest moments ever.  One New Year’s Eve, I got to witness two amazing people and friends say “I Do”.  Not only did I get to do this as a guest, but as their Wedding Planner.

It was a very unique experience for me, in that I got to see this couple grow from dating to engaged, and engaged to married.  I was part of the rehearsal dinner, the bridal shower and the stagette, but those details we will leave out of the blog to protect everyone’s identity 🙂  I can tell you one thing, that stagette was one for the memory books.  So much fun!  As a planner, I don’t usually get to meet the couple until after they are already engaged, so it added even more to the wedding day to have been a part of all of the festivities leading up to the wedding day.

Right from the start of the planning process for Dave & Jill, you could feel the love that completely surrounded them – from family to friends to the wedding party.  This couple has a life full of people that are so excited for them to be married and they are so absolutely in love with each other. 15781403_1365486946826025_2505996331068904640_n

I love a New Year’s Eve Wedding.  Everyone is looking to get dressed up and celebrate – and what better way to celebrate than by seeing someone get married and be with your closest friends and family?!  There were so many details in this wedding that were personal and heart felt – I teared up many times throughout this wedding.

15781111_10154612587755189_5907814826906580680_nI have to say that my favorite three favorite moments were having the Groom and his band play a set prior to the dance starting, the Groom singing the Father/Daughter dance, and the wedding video that the Bride was surprised with.  I’ve never seen a wedding video where the groom did a little interview/speech about his future wife, and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.  All three of these moments were firsts for me as a planner, and a guest.  It’s always special as a planner that you are the last person to see the bride before she walks down the aisle, and getting a picture of Jill and her Dad right in that moment was also very unforgettable moment.

This wedding is something that I will never forget – and I am so happy for this amazing couple to begin the next chapter of their life.

I cannot wait to see the full wedding album of photos.  Martine Sansoucy was absolutely amazing!!!  The Earl’s Wine Cellar pic and the pic of Dave & Jill with their fur baby, Maui, have to be my two faves.

Jill & Dave did such a good job with all of the details that made guests feel welcome, and a part of their journey together.  The venue looked absolutely stunning, the food was delicious, and the photo booth was a perfect touch.

Venue:  Sheraton Cavalier – Top of the Inn

Photographer: Martine Sansoucy

Decor: Creative Touch

Planner: Natrolite Event Management

DJ:  DJ Kush

Photo Credits – Martine Sansoucy (Watermarked Images) and Non-Watermarked pictures taken by Natrolite Event Management

Saskatoon Farmers’ Market

rsvp-event-design-1-chelsea-klette-photography*Wedding planner for first two images: The amazing RSVP Event Design*

Are you looking for a unique venue for your wedding ceremony and/or reception?  Look no further – The Saskatoon Farmers’ Market is a really great venue in the heart of Riversdale.

The Market can host both indoor and outdoor receptions.  Outdoor is City property, so does require City permits, but it’s a very easy and inexpensive process to obtain them.  There are not many venues left in the city that allow you to not only bring in your own food/caterers, but also allow you to bring in your own alcohol (with SLGA permits).

A huge added bonus to this venue is that it is a one-stop shop for so many aspects of your wedding day.  They have in-house caterers, four different alcohol vendors, as well as a long list of vendors that provide services from florals to favors and bridal party gifts to unique centerpiece creations.  Convenience is a huge plus to any venue, and being able to walk through and check off multiple aspects in your planning process in one place is huge.

rsvp-event-design-6-chelsea-klette-photographyTheir dates are filling up fast for 2017!   If you visit their website at, you can download a wedding package, view availability dates, and more.  They also have some amazing images on their Gallery page.  They just recently held their first ever Wedding Showcase, and will be planning another for Spring 2017.  www.saskatoonfarmersmarket.com/weddings

Here is their current list of participating wedding-related vendors.  Previews of all of these vendors can be found on the Vendors tab of the Market website: http://www.saskatoonfarmersmarket.com/vendors .

Riverbend Plantation – Catering, Wedding Cakes & Desserts, Favors

The German Schnitzelmeister – Catering

Wild Serendipity Foods – Wedding Cakes & Desserts, Favors

Living Sky Winery – Alcohol

Tierra Del Sol / Black Fox Farm & Distillery – Alcohol & Florals

Lucky Bastard – Alcohol

Last Mountain Distillery – Alcohol

Terry’s Old Fashioned Pies & Jams – Favors

Soap Cutts – Favors & Bridal Party Gifts

Three Foragers Honey – Favors & Bridal Party Gifts

Those Girls at the Market – Favors

Uncle Mike’s – Favors & Bridal Party Gifts

Moss Mama – Centrepieces & Favors

Laura’s Fabulous Rolls – Catering

Soul Majick Soul Mates – Favors

River Nile Oriental Foods & Hand Made Goods – Catering, Favors & Gifts

Nvigorate – Favors

Prairie Sun Orchard – Favors

Prairie Poppins – Favors

Name Your Nuts – Favors

For more information on my planning services, please visit www.natroliteevents.ca .

Photo Credit:  Chelsea Klette Photography (Watermarked with RSVP); Memories by Mandy (Left and top right in gallery); Absolute Entertainment (Bottom right collage).  Wedding Planner – RSVP – for top two images.

 

Saskatchewan Small Business Showcase

I can’t believe it’s been over two months since my last blog post!  Having two little ones in school for the first time, plus activities, has definitely made me feel like I blinked and Fall was half over!  Now that routine has settled in, I’m hoping to get back into a one to two posts per month groove again.

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Today’s post is all about the importance of supporting local business.  Saskatoon (and the province of Saskatchewan) is filled with so many amazing small businesses.  Not just in the wedding and event planning world, but in multiple categories.

In September, I decided that I wanted to do an expo called the Saskatchewan Small Business Showcase.  I had noticed a trend that seemed to be settling in, and that was trade shows chalk full of businesses that were not local.  There were always lots of direct selling companies, as well.  I’ll start by saying that I have no problem with local entrepreneurs repping large direct selling companies (I sell candles on the side myself).  Those entrepreneurs have to hustle to build their customer base and make money, and I admire that.

ssbsI wanted to create a show where every single business needed to be started within Saskatchewan, with the exception of allowing 5 direct sales entrepreneurs into the show also.   I had local businesses donate door prize items, and all vendors contributed an item to the silent auction to raise funds for a local charity (The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan).

The show received an overwhelming response of vendors wanting to participate!  I was so proud to look around the room and see so many local business being represented.  We even had a fashion show, showcasing clothing from the fabulous Covered & Co. and models from Infinity Model Management.  I was proud to drop off a cheque to the Children’s Hospital Foundation for $920.

I also learned a valuable lesson with this show about networking.  This event competed with a lot going on in the city that day, so we didn’t have the numbers of attendees I was hoping for.  However, looking around the room, the energy was absolutely positive and amazing.  No one was down about the amount of shoppers – as they were all connecting, networking, and making contacts with each other.  I love the friendliness of Saskatchewan residents – and I love the community that small business owners have with each other.  I received a lot of feedback from vendors that they were each out trying each others services and products and providing referrals.

I want to thank my vendors, the models, the door prize sponsors, and those that came to work the door for me.  A huge thank you to those that attended.  Next year’s is only going to be bigger and better!   September 16th, 2017 – Mark your calendars 🙂

For full company info, please visit www.natroliteevents.ca

Photography: Fat Cat Studios

Logo: Mint Vinyl Designs

Weddings & Beer = The Perfect Marriage

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Most weddings & special event receptions you’ve attended have likely had a bar.  What better way to get guests talking about your bar than to do something out of the ordinary, custom, and unique?  That’s just what 9 Mile Legacy can do for your event.

Owners Shawn Moen & Garrett Pederson have created something really special with their craft beer business, so I wanted to ask them a few questions about 9 Mile and how they can add a special touch to your big day.  From a list of beers that will get your guests lining up all night, to unique bottles you can give to your bridal party, and even a custom beer you can work with them to create – you won’t regret coming to their Riversdale retail store.


PrintQ & A With Shawn Moen:

Tell us a bit about 9 Mile Legacy and how it got started:

Somedays it feels like Garrett and I have been brewing together forever!  We have brewed for roughly a decade, starting our first home batch in the garage one winter night.  Like many home-brewers, we spent quite a lot of time talking about ”starting our own brewery”.  We eventually left professional careers and travelled around the world working in different breweries before starting 9 Mile Legacy.

But the concept of 9 Mile Legacy is much bigger than Garrett and I.  When we started thinking seriously about our brewery project, we realized that this partnership is much bigger than the two of us.  100 years ago, circumstance resulted in our farms being 9 miles apart.  Like many farm families, each generation of our families have worked together, celebrating good times and weathering hard times.  It is a story often told in places like Saskatchewan.

How can people try your product?

_EU77217The best place to try our beer is down at our retail store, which is located right beside the farmers market in Riversdale.  We sell “growlers” of beer from our retail store (a fancy word for 1L and 2L refillable bottles) and, at any given time, we will have 4-5 beer styles pouring at our store.  You are welcome to try them all!

We like to think of beer tasting as an experience; each beer style has its own story, with unique flavors and aromas, and we truly enjoy creating an atmosphere where people can sample each beer and ask questions about the beer and the process.  We shoot for variety at the shop – offering a beer style that is “typical” or “accessible” alongside a beer that is dark, hoppy and perhaps a bit out of ordinary.  We have probably brewed 40 different beer styles since we opened last year.

In addition to our brewery, we have over 10 accounts throughout the city that carry our product.  Check out www.9milelegacy.com/faq for more information.

What makes your product unique?

Being a nano-brewery, we have the ability to play around with beer in a big way.   When you make beer at a smaller scale, it allows you to create personalized batches and recipes and take risks that larger breweries cannot.  We also source our product as locally as possible, which not only supports Saskatoon’s small scale economy, but truly gives our beer a homegrown feel.  As an example, we recently created a beer for Elkridge Resort that was inspired by Northern Saskatchewan and contained spruce tips and wild blueberries.

We like pushing the boundaries of what “beer” can be.

Do you ever sell your product in batches to be served at weddings and special events?

_EU77140-1If so, can it be ordered by the individual bottle, or is it by the keg only?

We most definitely do.  Customers looking to serve our beer at their event can come in and discuss with us their needs as far as quantity, choice, and any special needs they may have (licensing, for example).  We have provided beer for weddings and party sizes of all kinds.  We can send out kegs and rent you a “kegerator” to meet the needs of larger gatherings or we can send out 2L growlers for smaller sized gatherings.  For a couple wanting something special to kick off their event, we can also supply a cask of beer (which the couple would tap with a hammer) – a much more fun way to “cut the cake”.

Can you make a custom blend of beer specific for a couples wedding day based on their tastes?

With enough notice, anything is possible! We can usually accommodate a custom commissioned beer with 2 months’ notice.  These projects are a lot of fun for us as it allows us to flex our creative muscle and really bring out the personality of the couple getting married – in beer form!

9f4c196235e634d683ab62b153f0b5e1Do you fill small orders that couples could use as gifts for the bridal party, parent gifts, etc?

Definitely.  We have a lot of customers who come in to buy full growlers as gifts for their bridal parties.  It is a unique gift that can be individualized based on each individual person’s taste preference! If you want to leave it to your recipient to come in to taste and choose their own beer, we also do gift cards.

 

 

Can a couple order a custom bottle design with their wedding date & name, or the name of the person they are gifting it to?

Again, with enough notice, anything is possible!  We have coordinated custom 1L/2L growlers for special events and have even brewed custom beer to suit the couple’s palate or interests.  If individual gifts of beer are more your intent, we can arrange smaller bottles with labels.  We work with a great team of designers that can add that perfect accent to your big day.


Thanks so much to 9 Mile for completing this interview! I always enjoy my growlers and ordering 9 Mile at various Saskatoon locations – and I can’t wait to work with my very first wedding couple that would like to incorporate craft beer into their wedding day.  I absolutely LOVE the idea of a couple tapping their custom keg together to go with their cake cutting ceremony.  Out of the ordinary – and completely awesome.

9 Mile is a great company to do business with, and they are constantly helping other businesses around Saskatoon – especially in the Riversdale area.  Speaking from personal experience, small businesses helping each other is crucial to success – and these guys are always looking out for other people.

On that note – I think it’s time to pour a beer and put my feet up on this Sunday night.  Maybe even watch one of my fave episodes of Friends…

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For full information on my company and its services, please visit: www.natroliteevents.ca


Photo Credits:

Twine Mugs – www.pinterest.com

Friends – www.tumblr.com

Bar – www.greenweddingshoes.com

9 Mile Pictures x 3 – www.9milelegacy.com

DJ’s vs. iPods


To say I’m obsessed with music might be a strong statement, but it’s pretty accurate.  From playing records on my Strawberry Shortcake record player, to discovering my first Rap Traxx cassette tape, to creating all the warm up mix CD’s for my high school basketball team, to now – where I still get asked to make the playlists when we have house gatherings and holiday get togethers, I love music.  That being said, I am not a DJ (although, back in high school and college I reallllly wanted to learn how to DJ, and even had DJ Drapes picked out as my DJ name).  

ipod_video_white_no_disconnectAs much as I love music, follow music, and put a great playlist together for a road trip and house party, I am not a DJ.  DJ’s are trained professionals in their field and bring a world of experience to the events that they work.  When I have clients let me know that they are considering using an iPod and creating playlists for their events to just play on its own, it sends me into minor Event Planner heart failure.  The list of the things that could go wrong starts whirling through my head immediately!   Thankfully, I’ve always been able to work with my clients and they have ended up hiring a DJ (or band) after discussing the risks involved in an iPod event.

Music can make or break your reception (or any event that has a dance aspect to it).  Think back to an event you’ve attended where the dance floor has been empty for part of/most of the event.  That is something you don’t forget, and it’s definitely not something you want people to remember about your wedding or special event.  A full dance floor creates a night of memories and an amazing experience for your guests.  Even guests that don’t dance still like to enjoy a great set list while they mingle about.  

$_35To weigh in on this topic, I consulted with one of the best!  DJ Anchor of Armed With Harmony.   I’ve worked with Trystan and his crew in the past, and it’s been nothing short of a perfect experience.  They are trained, professional, super knowledgable, and able to read a crowd like nobody’s business!  I’ve never seen an empty dance floor at a function that they have DJ’d.  To top it off – DJ Anchor is also your Saskatchewan Rush official DJ!

Tell us a bit about your company and the things that make you unique:
We aren’t the traditional mobile DJ company.  Yes, we do many of the traditional events like weddings, school grads & Christmas parties, but we also provide services to many bars, pubs, and lounges – meaning we have lots of experience for all kinds of events, are always working, and staying up with trends!  All of our DJ’s actually DJ & Mix. We do not just push play and say we are a DJ.  We are also a 1 Stop shop for all your needs. We provide DJ’s, Sound Systems, Lighting, Special Effects, Photo Booths and full event design. We love social media and have a FREE App for requests and events!
What are the risks you take when you opt to play an iPod for your event?
The biggest risk is who controls the iPod.  Is it somebody who wants to heart their perfect playlist?  A teenager? How are requests dealt with?  What about popular songs with swears in it – do they have clean versions?  Who is supplying the sound system? Is it Uncle Bob and his 1956 vintage stereo?  Who has to pick it up, control it the night of the event, and return it?  Who pays for the legal rights to play music? A Connect Music Licence is required to play music in a public setting as well as Socan fee per event.  Do you want to be worrying about what and who is playing the music or be busy having fun dancing?
What are the biggest advantages to having an experienced DJ in your corner for your function?
Event Experience and Organization! Most people have not planned an event for a birthday of 15, let alone a wedding, staff party for 150+, etc.  We sit down and chat about all the aspects of the event. Set Up/Take Down Times, Event Music Likes/Dislikes.  We are a live DJ able to read the room and play more of what people want and less/none of what they don’t want. A great DJ does all of this while keeping a constant beat/tempo going so you never lose energy in the room and keep on dancing! Nothing kills a party like dead air.
What are some recommendations you can give to people when shopping around for a DJ?
Ask your DJ for 3 things before proceeding:
1) Saskatoon Business Licence
2) Connect Music Licence
3) Canadian DJ Association Licence (which includes 2 Million Dollars Liability Insurance)
Then you can ask all the other questions about planning and music etc.
The DJ should offer a free, in person, sit down meeting.  This will show their experience or lack there-of, and then you can choose if you want to work with them or not.
Thanks so much to DJ Anchor for his feedback on this topic.  
gestao_de_planejamento_0rcamentario,_financeiro_e_contabilIf you think a professional DJ may be out of your budget, talk to your wedding planner!  We can help you get creative with cutting costs in other aspects of your wedding day to free up room in the budget for your DJ.  We also may have arrangements as a preferred vendor with your DJ or other vendors that will save you the money you need to hire a professional.  In addition to the points that Trystan recommended, always check for references!  It’s important to not only go with what your potential DJ tells you, but what others have said.  Your planner may have also worked with many of the DJ’s you’re considering and can give feedback as well.
To summarize, a playlist on an iPod is great for a house party as background music, the gym, or a road trip – but for weddings and special events, I absolutely recommend hiring a professional.  Even if you have access to a professional sound system, without someone to monitor your iPod, as Trystan mentioned, you run the risk of dead air in between songs, a list no one is dancing to, and even songs that play at different volume levels depending on how you downloaded them.  Always trust a professional to take care of you.
I’ll be doing a post soon on Bands vs. DJ’s as well for those that are having trouble deciding between the two – so stay tuned!  
Mic Drop.
Check out some of the pics and vids of Armed With Harmony in action.  Their uplighting is so amazing!!!  Yes, they do that too!  Their reviews and testimonials can be found at: http://armedwithharmony.ca/pages/saskatoon-dj-testimonials
For more info on my company and services, please visit: www.natroliteevents.ca
Photo & Video Credit:
Videos – Armed With Harmony on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfreuQxZIfkOGSP7ZTa16Ag
iPod Graphic: http://findicons.com
Calculator Graphic: http://bit.ly/2bf50x6

Melissa & Justin

IMG_8327 From the moment that I met this couple, I knew that I was going to love working with them.  They were super easy going and were just absolutely, 100%, no questions asked – head over heels in love.

This wedding had so many amazing details to it, and I loved the rustic shabby chic theme.  I really enjoy weddings where there are lots of personal touches and details that really let you get to know the couple.  I left this wedding feeling like I had a great sense of who the couple were as individuals, as well as a couple, and that I had made two new friends.

Hands down – my favourite part of this day was before the ceremony when the couple did First Look Pictures.  As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am obsessed with First Look Pictures and this was my first chance to get to be a part of them.  Melissa entered the room looking absolutely stunning, and didn’t even make it a few steps after seeing Justin standing with his back to her before the tears started – which then cued myself and the bridesmaids to join in.  Melissa & Justin stood back to back while reading letters that they had written each other, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.  It was such a special and intimate moment.  I was recording a video for them of everything, and I had to apologize that all they could probably hear was my sniffles.  It was so beautiful (their moment, not my sniffles).  I was able to capture a picture of Justin’s face right when they turned to face each other, and his expression said it all.  Nothing but love.

The ceremony space was beautiful.  Outdoors with a friend of the couple playing acoustic goodness.  This couple was definitely surrounded by a group of loving friends and family.  Immediately following the ceremony, they went into their first dance in the outdoor space, and that was such a cool touch to the day.  I’ve never seen a post-ceremony first dance, and I thought it was a great moment and perfect time to have it.

The reception was a blast, the food was delicious, and I got a chance to work with and get to know Chelsea Klette of Chelsea Klette Photography for the first time .  I cannot wait to see how Chelsea’s images turned out.   Full vendor listing at the end of the post.

Have a look at these pics that I took of the reception space and all of the little details that made this such a beautiful and unique reception space.  Guests had an absolute blast with the Polaroid Camera Photo Guest Book.  I jumped in there a few times 🙂

Thank you again to Melissa & Justin for having me be a part of your Big Day.  This is a wedding that I will never forget being a part of.  If anyone is looking for inspiration on the love that is possible for two people to have for each other, just meet this couple and you’ll know ❤

Venue for Ceremony & Reception : Albert Hall

Photographer: Chelsea Klette Photography

Caterers: Fresh Dish Catering & Calories

For more information about my services and to see other events past and upcoming, please visit www.natroliteevents.ca

 

My Wedding Top 10

As an event planner, the majority of my clients are wedding clients.  This week, I decided to compile My Top 10 List of things that I absolutely love about the wedding planning portion of my job.

In no particular order:

  1. First Look Photos – I know some people are very superstitious when it comes to seeing each other before they take their vows, but one of my favourite things is when couples tell me they are doing First Look photos.  They cry, I cry, photographers cry.  And I absolutely love it.First Look
  2. Watching the Groom when everyone else is watching the Bride.  When the Bride enters the doorway to walk down the aisle, everyone turns and watches her – while I stare right at the groom.  The look on their faces when they see their soon to be wife for the first time is priceless.  It’s the traditional “First Look” for those that do not want to see each other before their ceremony.
  3. Groom BrideRing Bearers & Flower Girls.  This is always an adventure.  Sometimes it’s babies being pulled in wagons, toddlers running in circles, or slightly older kiddos nervously walking slowly down the aisle.  They are always cute – even when they do not act according to plan (which, PS, happens most of the time) – and can sometimes stand out as a highlight for the entire ceremony.  I’ve even seen pet ring bearers and flower girls, which is equally cute – sometimes messier.
  4. Family Dances (Mother/Son, Father/Daughter, Grandparents, etc.).  I know everyone gets excited to see the first dance between the Bride and Groom, and I do too, especially when they have a cool, choreographed routine up their sleeve.  However, there is something so amazing when a daughter takes the dance floor with her Father, or when the Bride and Groom dance with relatives such as their Grandparents.  It’s such a special moment and you can always feel the pride and the love surround the entire room in those moments.Father Daughter
  5. Welcome to the Family Speeches.  These usually go one of two ways – emotional with lots of tears, or absolutely hilarious.  Either way – of all of the speeches given, this is always my favourite one…..that, or when a Best Man tells an (appropriate for the crowd, but super embarrassing) story he really shouldn’t have and the Groom’s face turns bright red 😉
  6. Slide Shows.  It doesn’t matter if they are quick, 2 minute shows, or the (some guests would say) too long ones that are like mini-movies.  I lose myself in these slideshows.  I love seeing the couples that I’ve gotten so close to in the planning process as babies/toddlers, embarrassing teen year photos, photos of their loved ones, and watching their relationship grow through pictures.   This one gets me every time.  If you’re catching a theme here – I tear up a lot at weddings.  From the first one I attended, the first one I worked, and every one since – I can’t think of one wedding that hasn’t had at least one tear fall.
  7. The rehearsal day prior.  This is usually a mixture of nerves and hilarious happenings.  While the couple is usually nervous and minds running a mile a minute, the bridal party and family are always in humour mode.  It’s the moments where I really get to see the relationships that the couple has with their friends and family in an exciting evening leading up to the big day.  This event is always full of laughter, and I get an idea of which bridal party members I have to warn to behave and keep an eye on 🙂
  8. The dance…right around 11pm.  This one is self-explanatory.  Everyone is in their element, the stress is off, the emotions have settled, and it’s party time!  The dance moves are in full swing and there is never a dull moment.Dance
  9. Extras.  When couples add things like photo posters, tables named after destinations they have travelled to, fun facts about the bride & groom, personalized favours that show their personalities and interests, memorial tables for loved ones passed, when the bride has a sentimental something old or something borrowed…these are the little things that just add to the day and make it a personal and heart felt experience for everyone.
  10. The entire day – I realized while typing this that I really could have typed up countless points about what I love about the weddings that I work and the relationships I build with my clients during the planning process, but I truly do enjoy the entire process.  From meeting my couples for the first time over coffee, to hugging them at the end of their wedding day – I truly love my job.  It’s such an honour to be chosen by my couples to work with them on such an important time in their lives.  THANK YOU to every client that I have had the privilege to work with, and I look forward to the clients to come in the future.

www.natroliteevents.ca

 

Photo Credit – Groom & First Look: http://www.weddingforward.com/first-look-wedding-photos.  Father/Daughter Dance: https://extremeprodjs.wordpress.com/tag/sacramento-wedding-dj/ .  Dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWqwheSZ0zc

Having Pets at Your Wedding

PuppyFor most pet owners, you consider your pet a member of the family.  Some couples cannot imagine their Big Day happening without including their beloved pet(s).

There are many different ways that you can incorporate your animal into your wedding.

  • Have your pet do the proposal
  • Use your pet’s photo as a save the date – especially if your pet is an especially great sign holder
  • Have your pet incorporated into your engagement photos
  • Use your pet as a ring pup or flower kitty
  • Walk your pet down the aisle or carry them in a basket in lieu of (or along with) your bouquet
  • Have your pet be a wedding guest
  • Have your pet in your wedding day photos or in a photo for your Thank You cards
  • Any combination of the above

You’ll have to keep in mind that some of your guests may have animal phobias or allergies, so you should give guests a heads up on the invitation, or ask on the RSVP to have guests note if they will be bothered by your furry/feathered/reptile companion.

Another important thing to note is that animals can be even more unpredictable than children when in large groups, so make sure you take your pet’s type and temperament in mind.  Also, you’ll want to assign a dedicated “Pet Keeper” for the day to ensure your pet is cared for, given food & water, and “Potty Breaks”.

For some pets, being involved in photos and the proposal is the best bet.  For others, they have temperaments that they can be involved in the day start to finish without a hiccup.

Hope you and your pet family enjoy your Big Day!

For more information about my business, please visit http://www.natroliteevents.ca.

Photo from www.everystockphoto.com

 

 

Should You Insure Your Wedding?

everystockphoto_217380_mInsurance for a wedding is something a lot of people don’t think about, and often don’t know that it even exists.

What would you do for compensation if your dress was ruined?  Your photographer or videographer didn’t show up?  The cake baker made you a baby shower cake in error?  While some companies have a great policy in their contracts for such incidents, often times there are vendors who do not have those types of policies in place, or if the vendor suddenly goes out of business unexpectedly, the couple is left with the bill.

Wedding insurance is a cost effective way to sleep easy.  For Canadians, companies such as WedEnsure, offer great and affordable coverage for your big day.

Things that you can look for to be covered in your policy from WedEnsure (or similar companies) are:

  1. Cancellation or Postponement Expenses 
    A large concern for any bride and groom is the wedding being cancelled or postponed. WEDensure will cover the expenses that result from the cancellation or postponement of a wedding. We will pay for any deposits that were placed before your wedding and lost due to a delay or cancellation. For example, if you placed a non-recoverable deposit on transportation and hotel accommodation before the wedding was cancelled, we would pay for the deposit.
  2. Additional Expense Incurred to Avoid Cancellation:
    WEDensure will pay for expenses that are used to avoid a wedding cancellation. For example, if the groom is traveling on a plane to the wedding and the flight is cancelled, WEDensure would pay for another ticket so that the groom can attend the wedding.
  3. Failure of Suppliers 
    WEDensure will pay for any non-recoverable deposits from a supplier who fails to provide their services as agreed upon. For example, if a photographer is unable to attend a wedding due to an unforeseen circumstance, we would pay for the cost of another photographer.
  4. Wedding Attire
    WEDensure will cover any damage to your wedding dress or suit after it has left the supplier and before the conclusion of the wedding. For example, if the bride’s wedding dress is damaged, we will pay for either the tailoring or replacement cost of the dress.
  5. Wedding Rings
    Similar to the wedding attire, this coverage will pay for any damages to the wedding band. The band is insured starting from seven days before the wedding until the conclusion of the event.
  6. Wedding Gifts
    WEDensure will pay for any damages to your wedding gifts up to 24 hours after receiving it. The gift must be either at your house, the reception, or in transit between your house and the reception.
  7. Transportation
    WEDensure will reimburse the non-recoverable deposits that were paid to a transportation supplier if they fail to meet their contractual obligations. For example, if the limousine that takes the bride and groom away from the reception cancels their commitment, we will pay for the costs of another transportation vehicle.
  8. Photographs, Video, DVD, or other Medium
    WEDensure will reimburse the expenses incurred to correct, take, or retake the wedding photographs or videos within 90 days of the wedding.
  9. Wedding Cake and Flowers
    WEDensure will pay for any direct loss or damage to the wedding cake or flowers seven days prior to the wedding until the conclusion of the reception.
  10. Wedding Stationery
    This coverage will pay for any direct physical loss or damage to wedding stationery prior to the wedding. Examples of wedding stationery include: invitation cards, RSVP cards, menus, name cards, itinerary, etc.
  11. Rented Property
    WEDensure will provide reimbursement for direct physical loss or damage to any rented property used during the wedding or reception.
  12. Honeymoon
    WEDensure will reimburse you for any pre-paid, non-recoverable costs of travel arrangements for the honeymoon due to the cancellation or postponement of the wedding.

I’ll bet this is sounding pretty great after reading this!  You can contact WedEnsure, or a company in your city/country for quotes, but the average policy is around $250-500 depending on the coverage you select.

project365-gavel-5541804-lAnother very valuable, and in my opinion the most valuable, type of insurance to get to protect yourself on your wedding day is Liability Insurance.  Policies like this will offer usually one to two million dollars in liability for the host couple for a price range of around $125.

For my clients, I make them sign off that they will be getting this insurance and naming me as an insured on the policy before working with them.  If they decline, then they have to sign a waiver releasing me of liability and signing off that they were advised of the policies available to them and their importance.  That’s how valuable I feel this insurance is.

When alcohol is involved, you always want to assume that people (especially the loved ones at your wedding) will make the right choices, but that isn’t always the case.  Unfortunately, people can make horrible judgement errors that can hurt themselves and others, and the host couple can be on the hook for liability in this scenario.  Protect yourself from the financial repercussions that can come from being named in a legal proceeding for the actions of your guests at or after your reception.  $125 seems like a small price to pay for the security that comes with Liability Insurance.  These policies can be obtained from your local insurance company, and for Canadians, WedEnsure also offers this coverage.

In summary, you never want to sit and think of the things that could go wrong with your wedding day, but as a Planner – I feel it’s my job to ensure my clients are aware of the possibilities and how they can protect themselves.  Insurance is one more way that couples can breathe a little easier in preparation for their big day.

Please visit our website for more great information – www.natroliteevents.ca .

Photos from www.everystockphoto.com
Information for numbered points is directly pulled from the WedEnsure website