Tag: Vernon

A little Cailfornia-education

The day after I moved to Kelowna Royce and I got on a 6am flight to Santa Barbara, California for me to take a two day 1 on 1 workshop with Jill LaFleur, one California’s top wedding planners.  (If you haven’t seen her work, just google her and countless magazine spreads and features will come up.) Besides learning that I love California even more than I thought possible, my iPad is my new best friend, and Jose Villa is prounced VIA… I learnt the following:

1. I love Wedding Planning

Shocking, right? But seriously. When you invest in workshops and have that deep desire to travel wherever you need to to learn from people that truly inspire you, you know you love your job.  After returning from the workshop I knew more than ever that this is the career that I want to push for.

2. Stop Comparing

One of my most memorable conversations with Jill went like this.

Me: “I saw your feature on Style Me Pretty yesterday!  That was such a stunning wedding.”

Jill: “Oh really? Which wedding was that?  I didn’t know it was up.”

In complete astonishment that she must be published so much Style Me Pretty wasn’t of significance I was thinking, must be nice to be so talented you don’t even notice how often you’re featured.  Boy was I wrong.

Me: “Oh.  It was that outdoor one with the incredible ruffled chair covers.  Anyhow, I’ve been meaning to ask you where your inspiration for your wedding designs come from?”

Jill: “To be honest, one night I was lying in bed crying going through everyone else’s features comparing myself to everyone that was so talented thinking I’d never be as good or creative as them.  I started thinking of other careers I could have.  And then I put it away and stopped looking on blogs and buying magazines and just started to design weddings with what I think looks good.”

Me: “So you don’t even look at your own features?”

Jill: “Sometimes, but no not really.”

I’m sure I was staring at her in complete disbelief, because that’s how I truly felt.  Honestly, that might have been the best advice I’ve ever heard.  Looking at other people’s work kills me.  I cannot tell you have often I’ve stressed and doubted what I do based on seeing other wedding planner’s work and how much trends effect the way I plan.  Now, I’m not about to stop buying magazines and looking at blogs because I truly love reading them but I really stopped designing for other people after that day.  Keeley & Jordan’s Gatske wedding was just 2 weeks later and I changed quite a bit of the design around right before the wedding date based on what I trusted would look best.  I’ve continued to do that with every wedding since and am planning a styled shoot next week that might be the most “me” I’ve styled in a while.

3. Get Out of your Comfort Zone

After a day of chatting at Jill’s house, we were off to the wedding rehearsal at the stunning Catholic church in the pictures below.  Jill introduced herself to the couple and then hands me her iPad and tells me to go line everyone up to run the rehearsal.  It’s so funny because I’ve done more than enough rehearsals to run one, but I looked at her in shock and was like, “Me?! Don’t you want to do it?” She looked at me like I was a weirdo for panicking and was like “No, I won’t be at the ceremony tomorrow so you need to do it.” Cool. Thanks for casually letting me know. I’m just running a ceremony of Jill LaFleur’s (yes, say her name slowly for full impact)… by myself… having never shadowed her… no pressure.  Of course it all went smoothly, like I mentioned I’ve done this before and getting a bride down an aisle isn’t exactly rocket science but still.  I was definitely out of what I felt my “realm” or “level” of planning was.  And that’s why workshops are so great.  They push you so far out of your comfort zone that when you get home you don’t want to go back to what you were doing, you want to do more.

So when I see or hear of wedding vendors going to workshops I really acknowledge the significance of what it takes for them not only financially but mentally to make a leap to go do them and to push their business and to make them better at what they do.  And I hope now you do too!




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In just 4 years

I’m no author, but usually writing comes to me pretty naturally.  This blog post, however, has been deleted and restarted so many times.  I just couldn’t find the words to describe how humbled, amazed, and blessed I feel despite the stress and overwhelming emotions this summer has brought on.  I never would have thought this is where I’d be 4 years after moving.

This summer has been crazy.  Between graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management, 17 weddings between Royce and I, a 1 on 1 workshop with Jill LaFleur in California, moving to Kelowna, my sister’s wedding, my other sister’s best friend passing from a courageous fight with cancer, finding out 4 of my friends are pregnant, a wedding with Ryan Ray Photography (incredible film photographer from Texas featured in every major wedding magazine), a feature in Style Me Pretty Canada, a feature in Adore Magazine, and now our own wedding just 18 days away it is amazing to me how much can fit in just one summer.

Here’s my honest, secret story of how I got there:

4 years ago today, I moved from Saskatoon to Kamloops to get a diploma in Events & Conventions Management. TRU was the only university (not college) with an event management diploma close to home and it’s all I wanted to do with my life so it was really my only choice.  I also have this tendency to make decisions very quickly based on where my heart is pulling me even if I haven’t thought it through entirely (99.9% of the time).  Moving on… my parents always had a way of knowing what my limits were, even when I didn’t.  Before I accepted to TRU my dad said to me, “Nikki, if you go, I hope you know you’re not coming back until your diploma is finished.  You’re not changing your mind.”  “Yeah I know, I won’t!” I said a thousand times…  And then I called home almost every 2 days crying about how homesick I was and how much I hated Kamloops and wanted to come back.  Honestly, I flew home 4 times between September and winter break.  Looking back on it, I was going probably going through depression.  I was barely eating, I slept as soon as I came back from classes, I didn’t talk to anyone since my roommate and I hated each other, I had broke up with my boyfriend, and my best friend from back home said to me while hanging out with my ex, “the world doesn’t stop just because you moved.” It was the hardest and worst 4 months I can remember.  The only thing that was going well was my 3.8 GPA and my love for event management.  It was the night before I was flying back to Kamloops for second semester, bundled up in as much winter clothes as possible (it was Saskatchewan after all) and I was out walking our dog with my dad and crying as usual begging him to let me just come home.  He reminded me about not coming back until I was finished, and said things would get better and that they’d come and visit in second semester.  (My parents sound so mean here, but truly it was out of nothing but love knowing how badly I wanted to be an event planner and they weren’t going to let me give up so easily.)

The next week I flew to Dallas, Texas for a conference with an event management club I joined in school.  A girl in the club and I became friends and she happened to  work as a resident advisor (RA) in the residence I was living in.  She said she’d get me switched into a different quad and help me meet some people.  And she did (my new roommate is now one of my bridesmaids).  Two days after we got back she invited me to come to Thursday’s coffee house night where many residents hung out.  I grabbed a caramel macchiato (still my favourite drink) and went into the RA lounge where another RA was sitting with some friends.  He asked my name, my program, and started firing funny questions at me like a game show host.  He asked if he could have my number to let me know when rez events were on so I could meet some more people.  He then had an event to go photograph so he left, but continued to text me all night.  If you haven’t guessed yet that RA was Royce.  When he came back later that evening, we hung out in one of the lounges talking until 6am.  It was like I had instantly met my best friend.  And I had.

Three months later we were dating, 6 months later he started a photography business, 1 1/2 years later we were living together and I graduated my diploma, 2 years later I started my wedding planning business, 2 1/2 years later we were engaged, and 3 1/2 years later we ended up here…here in this incredible summer that if you had told me 4 years ago this is where I’d be I never would have believed you.

I met Royce over the perfect cup of coffee and in 18 days I get to be his wife.  God is so good.

And no, I never moved back home or called my parents begging to let me come back after that night.






Elegant Romance Styled Shoot

Here is how our second shoot turned out! I’m so in love with the dress in this shoot never mind all the other soft touches.
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Stationary: Susanna, Modern Invitations (www.moderninvitations.ca)

Wedding Gown, Flowers, Rentals: Anthony Salituro & Viva Bridal Boutique

Hair & Make-Up: Beauty Code Boutique (www.beautycode.ca)

Photography: Royce Sihlis Photography (www.roycesihlis.ca)

Styling: Nicole, Created Lovely Events & Anthony Salituro

Model: Alicia Glaicar

Kamloops Styled Shoot

I had the opportunity to work with some of my favourite local Kamloops vendors this past weekend on two styled shoots.  Here’s how our rustic shoot turned out.

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Stationary: Susanna, Modern Invitations (www.moderninvitations.ca)

Wedding Gown, Flowers, Rentals: Anthony Salituro & Viva Bridal Boutique

Hair & Make-Up: Beauty Code Boutique (www.beautycode.ca)

Photography: Royce Sihlis Photography (www.roycesihlis.ca)

Styling: Nicole, Created Lovely Events & Anthony Salituro

Model: Sarah Collins

Getting Going

It has shamefully come to my attention that I have spent little time planning my own wedding. To be fair, I’m working with 10 brides, coordinating the Y Dream Home Lottery, and am campaign assistant to BC Liberal Candidate, Minister Terry Lake. However… none of those excuses will make my wedding the day of my dreams so it’s time to get moving.

I met with a bride the other day who showed up to our consultation with an entire binder put together in sections with slip covers for every contract, pictures of how she plans to design it all, and cute Martha Stewart paper to boot. It was that moment when I realized my wedding is all on my laptop and in my head and it’s time to get it in a binder.

So here it is, for all you brides out there knowing you need to get moving but haven’t started yet… it’s time.

1. Get a binder

It doesn’t have to be an official wedding binder, as long as it is at least 2″ and has slip covers and dividers.

2. Tab your binder

You will want a section for every vendor you will have a contract for in addition to a tab at the front for your to-do lists and schedules. Your tabs may include:
– Schedules
– To-Do’s
– Photography & Videography
– Florist
– Cake/Desserts
– Catering
– Venue
– Decor & Favours
– DJ/Band
– Hair & Make-Up
– Guest list & seating chart
– Stationary

3. Print, Print, Print

As soon as you get a contract from a vendor, print it and put it in your binder in a slip cover. This is the easiest way to keep yourself on track instead of going back and sifting through emails to see what you’ve already done.

Why this is essential:

While you may prefer planning on a computer since it’s quicker and easier to change things, I can guarantee it won’t keep you on track as easily as having a binder will.  A binder allows you to see first hand how much is complete and what is not by looking through your dividers.  If that isn’t motivation enough, think of how awesome you look when you show up to an appointment with your binder of everything you’ve done!

Happy Planning!