Tag: okanagan wedding planner

Share Reality

I’m a realistic.  I’d love to say I was an optimistic. But truly, I’m a realist down to my core.  I live my life seeing things exactly how they are– though I’ve been told by many I have rose tinted glasses on.  Which is probably true too.

I don’t believe in people pleasing.  I’m far too stubborn for that.  I don’t believe that you can buy happiness.  I love my job even if it means some months it’s a stretch to pay all of our bills.  And I don’t believe in waiting for what you want.  Even if it means our wedding happens in peak wedding season and babies come before we can afford a house.

I think sometimes we become so consumed with how we appear to others that we lose our sense of self and what we truly want.  In my business coaching I’ve been challenged to ask myself “why” a lot.  Why does my website look a certain way?  Why do I offer the planning services I do?  Why am I priced the way I am?  And to be honest, my answers are horrendous.  9/10 of them are because that’s what I thought I should be doing.  Since when is making my business model the same as everyone else’s what I should be doing?  I was so afraid of being different that I became generic.  I don’t want to go through the motions with my business and I definitely don’t want to go through the motions in life.  I want to be real and I want to be honest.  Not just to others, but also to myself.

I want to see more of who people truly are through their real life, blogs, and social media.  I don’t want to see another good photo.  Another good cake. Another nice table setting.  Another pretty bride in a pretty dress.  I want to know the person behind it so I can feel truly inspired by their work and their life.  I want to see reality.

Let’s start being real.




Plan for the Worst

I had my first meeting as a boss last night.  That’s right, I officially have 2 assistants. What a weird feeling.  I’ve always had an assistant to help me with wedding season but this year felt really official… a legal contract and everything.  Fair to say sh*t’s gettin real. I can now legitimately use the term,”like a boss”. And you betcha I will.  Time for a new scripted coffee mug.  Moving on.

So last night they asked me, “have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding”.  Oh man, every wedding.  Sometimes really small things and sometimes huge things, but something always goes wrong.  For my client’s blood pressure sake though, let’s switch out the word “wrong” for “different”.  Something always goes differently.  That’s the nature of a wedding day.  9/10 it has to do with the weather as every single wedding of mine either has an outdoor ceremony, outdoor reception, or in my dream wedding world, both.  The other 1/10 of the time it has to do with family drama or forgetfulness. Note, the forgetfulness isn’t on my end though I’ve been known to lose my phone in my own hand.

Past forgotten items include: Pastors suit for a destination wedding (my own actually), groomsmen ties, marriage license, dropping vases off to the florist to prep, bridal party gifts, champagne for the morning of the wedding, umbrellas, etc.  18/19 of my brides are destination weddings so it’s expected on my end that something will be forgotten when they come to the Okanagan before their wedding and pack it all in the car.

As for weather, it’s completely unpredictable.  The best you can do is always plan for the worst and hope for the best.  On a wedding day I was assisting before I started my business the weather was “too nice”.  Yes, too hot, too clear of skies, too perfect.  The bride got heat stroke and a terrible sunburn and missed her entire reception.  I now keep sunscreen and bottled water in my emergency kit and ensure my bridal party has been drinking water all afternoon.  I’ve had the windiest of wedding days, the rainiest of wedding days,  the hottest of wedding days, and the coldest of wedding days.  Here’s how I plan for them:

Hot Day Planning: Have bottled water and a basket of sunscreen at the ceremony, use fan programs, ensure there’s plenty of water for the reception, provide shaded areas for your guests at the ceremony/cocktail hour/reception, rent a tent fan if necessary, buy shakeable icepacks for groomsmen to put on their lower back.

Windy Day Planning: Have all of the girls get their hair put up by the stylist, ensure your tent has walls for all sides, turn your mics and music up for the ceremony, ensure any decor is properly weighted down.

Rainy Day Planning: Have someone designated with umbrellas to assist guests going from their car to the ceremony spot, have enough umbrellas for one per 2-3 guests, have a back-up tent on hold for the ceremony and/or reception, breathe.

Cold Day Planning: Rent propane patio heaters or a tent heater, expect to go through more wine than cocktails, have a coffee/tea/hot chocolate station, provide shawls or a basket/trunk full of pretty blankets, plan to have your bridesmaids in long dresses or matching cardigans.

The most important thing to remember is that whatever goes differently on your wedding day is just part of your story.  It will never ruin your wedding or the significance of what your wedding is all about.  I remember being so stressed about the almost black skies with pouring rain the morning of our wedding and seeing my mother-in-law in a white dress, and you know what?  The skies opened up to the most beautiful sky and my mother-in-law was actually really sweet to me on our day.  If I could take back the stress I felt that morning I would.  Our day was perfect with every flaw– and yours will be too.  I promise.  There is nothing better than getting married to your best friend.  Your wedding is the start of a marriage, something so much bigger than a little rain or heat.

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Staying Organized

It’s taken me 4 1/2 years of university, 3 years of owning a business, and 3 years of living with Royce to develop an organization system that works for me.  Today I’m sharing that with all of you in case you can take away any tips to make your life more organized!

1. Write it down

I’m a type A person and I have a pretty good memory but when my client list began to grow I started forgetting more than I was comfortable with.  That’s when I started writing it all down.  Every single thing I do work wise in a day gets written down and checked off.  Travel, yoga, and special events get highlighted, and anything missed that day gets circled.  Anything circled gets done first the following day.

Why this works: 
1. Who doesn’t love checking things off their to-do’s?!
2. When your life is crazy with work, it helps you feel a much greater sense of accomplishment for what got done that day as opposed to thinking there’s just so much left to do.
3. If I can’t remember if I sent an email or not, I always have a hard copy reference of when something got done (or what didn’t).


2. Sync Calendars

My day planner comes with me everywhere, but Royce is much more digital based than I am so now every calendar of ours is synced.  My iPad, MacBook Air, iPhone, and iMac are all synced to the same calendar so I don’t miss a beat.  Royce colour codes all of his weddings in yellow and all of mine are in purple.  We have a joint colour too so we know where the other is expected to be if we forget to tell each other face to face (ahem… if he forgets to tell me… I always tell him.)

Why this works:

1. It’s been a huge lifesaver for financial stress.  I know when he’s working so when money is coming in and vise versa.
2. We were constantly forgetting each other’s schedules.  Small arguements of forgetting to tell the other (ahem) about a meeting or shoot the other was supposed to helping with no longer exist! Happy wife, happy life right?

3. Get a Notebook

I swear by my notebooks.  Again, the write it down tactic.  Every single consultation I do gets dated and written down with all major wedding details.  Ie) Wedding date, wedding venues, estimated ceremony and reception time, booked vendors, wedding colours, bridal party size, and wedding theme.  I can’t tell you how many times I reference back to these pages with brides.  After every consultation I type up my meeting notes and send them back to my bride if she needs them and otherwise keep them for myself in her client folder.

Why this works:

1. It’s easier to remember what needs to get done after the consultation if it’s written down.
2. If your consultation is dated, you can never forget the last time you met with a client and where they were at in their planning stages.
3. I draw ideas and room layouts so often in a consultation, it’s so nice to have a notebook around for your non-visual brides and for yourself to look back on closer to the wedding date.

4. Folders 

Royce nagged me for years to organize my computer better… fine Royce. You win, okay?! My life is now 1000 times easier because of you.  I have all my business folders in dropbox so I can pick it up from any apple device I own.  That way, I never have to worry if my computer dies in a meeting or if I quickly need to reference something.  My folders are labelled as such:

Created Lovely Brides 2014– Folder for each client with every vendor contract, basic wedding schedule, and master schedule
Created Lovely Contracts 2014– Every bride has a number starting from 100 that corresponds with their invoice and receipt number. Example Title: Created Lovely Contract #141- Nicole & Royce
Get Money- Invoices 2014– Example Title: Created Lovely Invoice #141- Nicole & Royce
Got Money- Receipts 2014- Example Title: Created Lovely Receipt #141- Nicole & Royce
Any revisions to invoices or receipts get updated on the original invoice/receipt and saved as a new title so I never send the wrong one.
Example Revision: Created Lovely Receipt #141- Nicole & Royce (revised May 1, 2014)
Taxes 2014– Any workshops, graphic design, domain hosting, etc. receipt I’ve received via email for taxes
Vendor Pricing– Any vendor pricing I’ve been sent
Styled Shoots– A folder for every shoot I do with inspiration board and final images

And then of course a million more to keep my life feeling like it’s organized.

There you have it!  That’s how I attempt to live an organized life.  Hope this is helpful!



Wedding Place Settings

The topic of conversation with my brides lately is place settings.  What is each seat going to look like?  The way in which you fold your napkins can make a huge difference in how the room looks.  I remember the first wedding I ever did, I refolded 150 napkins 3 different times because I couldn’t decide how the room should look… something I definitely didn’t have the time to be doing but in the end, I’m glad I did!

A few things to consider when choosing your place setting:

1. Formality:  How formal do you want your wedding to be?  Typically the more elaborate the place setting the more formal your reception will feel.  Charger plates, place cards, and printed menus are a great way to bring a unique touch to your place setting.

2. Dinner: What are you serving?
Buffet- plate not on the table (typically)
Family style- plate on the table
Plated dinner: charger plate, no plate on the table
French service: charger plate and plate on the table

3. Napkin Fold: How do you want your napkins to look?
Pocket: great for menu cards or for utensils if you have a basic place setting
Hanging off the charger: simple but perfect for a ribbon or tied place card
In between dinner & side plate: one of my favourite folds and so sophisticated if you change the colour of the napkin to stand out from the dishware.
Accordion fold: also known as the napkin fan.  I’m personally not a fan (pun intended) but it can work if your place settings need a bit of texture.

See some place settings I’ve done below!

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AdrianPhotography.ca AdrianPhotography.ca2014-04-17_0011 2014-04-17_0012



Oh my gosh, if my university professors even new I was writing this blog they’d think it was the best thing in the world.  There is no word I hated studying more in my bachelor of Tourism than “authenticity”.  Of course that was because I was prodominently studying what it meant to keep a tourism related aspect authentic to it’s visitors… to which I was usually sitting there thinking, “I just want to create pretty things. Just surround my entire life with coffee dates, flowers, and pretty weddings.” Let’s just say my essays on cultural authenticity didn’t get the highest of marks.  Moving on.

To me, being authentic in regards to being a business owner means to live, act, and share in your truest and most genuine form.  Whether people agree with what you’re saying or not, as long as it’s the most honest form of who you are and what you believe in then I think that’s what it means to be authentic.  I believe it’s important that your clients and fellow vendors trust you and the only way to do that is to be real.

I see businesses taking shortcuts.  Posting work that isn’t theirs.  Liking work to have their name seen.  Commenting on photos to have their name seen.  Connecting with popular people or businesses to grow their exposure.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being creative in your marketing and networking– we’re all guilty of it.  But there’s something to be said about a private message or commenting from your personal account instead of your business account.  I love it.  I have never wanted to network more or share people’s work more than when they’ve taken the time to be genuine with me.

I want to know about the people I work with.  I want to know why they do what they do, what inspires them, what ways I can make doing their job easier, what kind of family life they have.  I want to know my clients on a personal level.  I want to know where they met, how they know their bridal party, why they want a certain type of wedding, why they chose me as their wedding planner.  I want authentic relationships.

I think if we all put in our strongest effort to be authentic in everything we do that we would see drastic changes in our work and our relationships.

P.S.- If any of my past professors are reading this… A+ right?