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TRUE OR FALSE WEDDING MYTHS

So we played a little game on Instagram that I like to call “What’s the T”, by questioning some of the industries misconceptions about wedding planners!

⭐TRUE OR FALSE?! ⭐

1. Planning a wedding can take over 500 hours 

2. Because I hire a planner- I'm gonna get all the deals

3. You should take your wedding planners advice as suggestion not fact

4. I only have a small wedding of 50ppl, im super easy going about everything so I don't need a planner.

If you have a "myth" or "question" you've always been curious to ask, comment bellow.

So here we go-


DOES IT TAKE 500 HOURS TO PLAN A WEDDING?
More. That's right, It takes more than that! 😱
When you factor in research, pinteresting, attending appointments, communicating with vendors, more research, budget preparation, timeline building, staying organized, double checking invoices and contracts, chasing vendors etc etc.. the hours pile up and before you know it. Then you get to start from scratch again 2- 3 months before the wedding since your vendors have forgotten all the details you’ve pre-organized. But that’s reality - they have probably done dozens of weddings since your last discussions with them. It’s easy for everything to become a blurr.

PLANNING YOUR WEDDING IS A SECOND JOB!😭

The process is fluid- meaning you have 50 balls in the air at any given time and with one misstep you could create a detrimental domino effect. God forbid you "forget" something. I've always said- it's unfair to put that burden on yourself and still expect to have fun planning your wedding or even enjoying your actual wedding day. You've never planned a wedding before so how can you possibly expect not to become overwhelmed and anxious during the process. Let me add another layer here. Say your wedding costs $60,000 and your wedding day is 12 hrs. That means your spending $5,000 an hour on your wedding day. Insane right. So would you rather invest in a planner to make sure your making the right choices or just spend 60k based on a few wedding planning blogs you read?!?!

BECAUSE I HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER- I’M GONNA GET ALL THE DEALS

Ummmm sorry- not really! 💥FALSE 💥
This is a HUGE misconception in our industry and if thats the only reason your hiring a planner- you're in for a big surprise. And the fact that our own industry haS led you to believe this- is a huge dis-favour to planners as it devalues what we actually do. 💔
So let me pull the wool from everyones eyes and tell it like it is. 😱

Some wedding planners structure their business on racking in the kick-backs for themselves which allows them to discount their own planning fee structure. And don't think this isn't happening right here in your own backyard- because it is. Some businesses will also only work with vendors providing kick backs. (cue quality compromise). For the record, at this very moment I can guarantee there are some eyebrows lifting 😵- but I'm here to educate so you can make informed decisions.

I believe in passing along preferred pricing if it exists, which is seldom. Instead, the vendors I like to work with will add more value instead of showing you a discounted dollar figure at the end of your invoice. They'll add more blooms to your floral designs, charge fair pricing, purchase new unique rental inventory just for your wedding, and really go above and beyond your expectations.

Where a good wedding planner can also save you money is in making sure you don't make costly mistakes like overpaying for something because you didn't know any better or even worse cheaping out and paying for something that never shows up on your wedding day.- Again this is a very real thing!

So when you consider a planner, I hope this helps broaden your horizons on expectations and pitfalls.

I love the game of 💥 TRUE OR FALSE.💥 Earlier this week we played that game and asked 3 questions and today we've been answered three of them. Two more to go! “You should take your wedding planners advice as suggestion not fact” and "I only have a small wedding of 50ppl, im super easy going about everything so I don't need a planner.” That’s next week on the blog ;)

xox Elise

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THE REAL COST OF WEDDING DECOR

Photo by  Lace & Luce

Photo by Lace & Luce

Do you ever look at gorgeous wedding inspiration and wonder- what does this actually cost?

Our industry is full of over the top unattainable design ideas which are outrageously costly. One of the top three questions I’m asked in my consults is:

 
How much is the average wedding?
 

That’s such a tricky question! There are so many things I could address by answering this one question. The first thing I tell brides, is that you should be thinking of your wedding as a pie. Now cut that pie in three. One part is decor, one part is food & beverage and the third part is everything else. Now, depending on where your actually priorities lay- those three pie pieces get bigger or smaller and adjust accordingly. Then I tell my clients, whatever image you’re looking at… whatever dollar figure pops into your head, times that by 3.

Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning

BUT! There is a big BUT here. I have designed and planned absolutely stunning weddings for budgets from 20k which can look as beautiful as a wedding you might see in a magazine with a 50k decor budget only. The secret lies in years of experience and a few tricks of the trade.

In todays blog post I’m going to breakdown the cost of my last styled shoot with Lace & Luce and Lavish Decor at the Ottawa Art Gallery.

Before we begin, here is a great behind the scenes clip pulled from my instagram account. This will give you a better perspective of the scale of what we created. You won’t believe what it costs!


In this shoot we set a head table for two and two “honour” reception guest tables for a total of 18 guests. It’s important to note that we also re-used the large white standing art structures for the ceremony and again behind the head table. In this design we also used minimal florals and greenery with an emphasis on candles.

So here is the breakdown:

DECOR

  • 2 Art Structures @ $450

  • Gold Fan Chairs @ $12 each

  • 3 Glass tables with ornate gold guild legs @ $350 ea

  • 1 Round glass cake table with ornate guild legs @ $150

  • 5 Crystal Candelabras per reception table @ $75 ea

  • 24 Crystal Candlestick holders & candles @ $10 ea

  • Gold rimmed scalloped dinner plate & side plate $6 per setting

  • Gold cutlery set @ $3 per setting

  • Silk linen on head table $40

  • Decor installation cost $500

  • Table stationary $18 per person

FLORAL

  • Greenery and blooms on art structures $150 ea

  • Greenery and tables with select blooms $150 per table

  • Floral installtion cost $500

DESIGN TOTAL COST $6,243.00 (aprx)

Now you can look at this in a few ways. This design if applied to a full wedding would be $346 per person. You can do the math quite easily if you have 100 guests, granted you keep in mind some costs mentioned above are fixed and not variable by guest count. It can be costly! Crazy how something that looks so simple can be so costly. But let me change your perception for a minute because if you were a real client I would tell you to keep this design for 1/3 of your guests, and the rest of the tables to something simple and tastefull like floating candles in water with a few tossed blooms and greenery. That would reduce your decor cost by 30%. Now if you’re loving this design, but don’t have the budget I’ll tell you think about doing this design for the head table and family “honour tables” only. Leaving simple decor for the rest of the reception tables. Its’ a design principal I’ve been using for years and how with fore-thought and intention we can make your wedding absolutely stunning while being budget conscious.

I had a nice conversation on-set while setting up this styled shoot with Jenny from Lavish Decor. She’s originally from England so our chat naturally ended up being about the differences between our bridal industry vs Europe’s. And she told me something really interesting. She said- in England they keep all the lavish over-the-top decor in the centre of the room closest to the head table. That way when the photographers shoot- their images make it look like it’s a celebrity wedding. All the other tables are plain with only a few candles or a single candelabra. This eludes to what I had mentioned before about being budget conscious. i always find it fascinating what’s seen as the “norm” in other countries. I was first introduced to this when we planned a wedding in Germany. After the ceremony we arrived at the castle for champagne in the gardens followed by cake and coffee. We then moved guests into the chateau courtyard where we had more cocktails and dinner alfresco. A long procession of eating and celebrating. Oh and the DJ plays until the sun comes up…. not the 1am shut-down time we have here!

So next time you look at beautiful decor pictures on Pintrest, keep in mind that it’s probably three times more expensive than what you think- but that it can be possible if you’re open-minded.

xo

Eliza

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TIPS FOR GREAT GETTNG READY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa

What is the number one things brides almost always overlook on their wedding day? It’s the thing you would least likely expect, but makes a huge impact when you look back through your photographs.

It’s the getting ready location.

I know it seems small and insignificant, but location and tidiness is key to keeping your photography looking great throughout the day. In my opinion there is nothing worse for a photographer than arriving onsite to what might look like a bomb just went off - empty dishes and mimosas from brunch scattered about, a gazillion overnight bags tossed around, misc clothing laying about + the people +the makeup team etc. Chaos! And trust me, it will show in your pictures. Some photographers will do their best to tidy up- but the more they occupy their time with being your maid, the less time they have to get those great getting ready shots. So here are some key tips to making sure your setting yourself up for success. But before we get into all that, the first thing to consider is choosing your getting ready location.

Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Photography by  Laura Kelly Photography

Location Location Location

I always suggest a hotel suite that has a kitchenette/dinning area, a sitting area and a separate bedroom space. This gives you multiple areas for photography and also allows you to order-in brunch and your beauty team can come right to you. This also means there is no rushing around the day before to clean the whole house or grocery shop for brunch the next day.

My Favourite Ottawa Hotel Suites:

Andaz - Large Suite

Le Germain - The Prestige Suite

Chateau Laurier -Presidential Suite or Executive Suite

*** If you live in or have friends that live in a condo building, another option would be to consider checking if you can rent a furnished suite for the day.

Prep Talk

You gotta lay the groundwork. At your dinner rehearsal, reminding your girls of how the day will progress is so so important. This way they fully understand the time constraints and how their actions can affect the overall flow of the day ie: tardiness, forgetfulness etc. Actually, a mini printed timeline with tips would be super helpful. Here is a list of helpful tips i’ve provided brides before:

  • It is very important for all bridesmaids to arrive 15 mins before the suggested arrival time. This provides a small buffer period for everyone to get organized before your beauty team begins.

  • Bring only one overnight bag and place it in the bedroom once you arrive

  • Steam and hang your dresses the night before

  • Don’t forget to bring a comfy pair of shoes for dancing

  • Have a small’ish purse with all your immediately necessary items you want to carry with you throughout the day.

Liz+RyanWedding-2.jpg
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Photography by  Ali & Batoul

Photography by Ali & Batoul

Grown Up Babysitter

I know this sound silly, but as a bride, to truly enjoy your day, you shouldn’t be running after your bridal party to keep them on time and in check. Instead, delegate morning tasks to your Maid of Honour such as:

Preparing morning snacks

Making Mimosas

Ensuring endless coffee available

Keeping the getting ready space clean and tidy

Assisting the beauty team with set-up once they arrive

Ensuring there is a steamer for the brides dress

Gathering any items the bride would like photographed for her details (veil, shoes, perfume, invitations, gifts)

Keeping all the girls on-time throughout the beauty process

 

CONSISTENCY

It's always nice to have getting ready robes available for more cohesive images during your getting ready photography.

Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Photography by:  Photography by Emma

Photography by: Photography by Emma

TIME CHECK 

30 mins before your photographer or videographer is due to arrive, your Maid of Honour should grab whomever is not in a hair or makeup chair, to tidy and clean all areas to ensure you don't have any clutter which can be seen in photos. I’ve personally gone as far as removing artwork. I know, I know….it’s soooo bad…but if a bright neon blue poppy painted in the 90’s in a speckled gold frame doesn’t flow with your wedding vibe- guaranteed I’m taking it down! You’ll thank me later:) Mind you- I’m not always onsite while your getting ready.

Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Photography by  Laura Kelly Photography

The 5 Minute Rule

If there is anytime in a day where you will loose time, it’s while your getting ready. I have this rule. For every person with you getting ready, you will be 5 min late. Let do the math together:

1 bride + 4 bridesmaids + Mother of the Bride + Junior Bridesmaid = 7ppl x 5min = you will be late by 35 mins

Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa
Toast Wedding Planning, Ottawa

Options

With all this being said, it’s important to be prepared. If you feel like you need additional assistance to plan and coordinate and keep you on time during the morning, you may want to ask your planner if she can provide you with a dedicated attendant to ensure everything runs smoothly and you want for nothing! ;)

xo Elise

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BENEFITS OF A WEDDING PLANNER

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Life is short and I firmly believe in investing in the best of what you love, and when you do- you better enjoy every single ounce of it because before you know it- it's over. Let me throw some math at you to help gain some perspective. 

 

$40,000 Budget / 12 hour wedding day =

You're spending $3,333.00 per hour.

 

That number is startling.

Now envision the responsibility in making sure everything you have envisioned come full circle without any issues.....  

Girl- you can't micromanage from that makeup chair and you sure as hell aren't going to leave this burden/responsibility to your mother or maid of honour (they're in the makeup chair next to you). You need a planner, and here's why.

 

SHORTCUT

Hiring a seasoned wedding planner is your biggest shortcut. They provide you with information that's specific to you and your wedding which you can't find on a blog, in a magazine article or even from your best friend who just got married. Although weddings have the same base strategy when it comes to planning, it's the variables in between that are hard to manage. These variables include things like specialty vendors, rentals, design details, time specific schedules etc etc. The more unique you'd like your wedding to be- the more variables are introduced. It's like juggling - except with 50 balls. If you have a hard time seeing the bigger picture now- having a wedding planner with vision can help you focus on priorities and ensure the bigger picture is planned and executed properly. 

 

EDUCATE

A huge part of my job is educating my clients on why things cost what they do and how much work goes into certain tasks- because it all boils down to perceived value and priorities. The number one question you should ask yourself before you begin wedding planning is, "What is important to me and why?". If anyone tells you the first step to wedding planning is figuring out your budget and ask the rents for money- fire them or burn that article! Everyone is so focused on money, when they should be focused on value. Once you know your priorities you'll instantly see value in the money your spending and your budget will form itself. Only then do you have the power to scale back and re-evaluate said priorities. My #1 non-negotiable term when you hire my firm is: "You can't have it all, so don't spread your money thin and cheap out just to have everything". I refuse to let my clients do this. It's such a waste. #truth 

 

READING BETWEEN THE LINES

As a seasoned wedding planner I have literally seen it all and been around the block numerous time/ I could write a Chicken Soup for Crazy Wedding Stories. (please tell me you remember those books...and yes I just dated myself). Because of this- I've learn't from the past and now instill this knowledge into planning your wedding so that these issues never happen on your wedding day. It starts with quality control. It's our job to know the back end of the industry, like when companies turn-over rental inventory, what vendors are expanding too quickly and their quality is slipping and even the newbies on the block whose work is garnering serious attention. I love taking the "guess work" out of the equation for brides. I am your google- so instead of researching vendors and scouring the internet for reviews- I can give you the real 411 based on my own real-life observations and discerning eye so that you can make informed choices. For example- the chair you're looking at renting is in fair condition....today. But once your wedding rolls around a year and a half later- that chivary chair will likely be on it's last legs with a flattened stained seat cushion. How do I know this? Because the chair is wooden, the paint chips easily because their stackable and not made of metal and the seat cushions are polyester, and I personally know that companies maintenance and turn-over routines. 

 

 

This my friends is just scratching the surface in regards to the things we do and know as planners which is hard to write on paper on in two paragraphs on our website when we describe a planning package . It really is my job to know everything- and I'm not boasting. It's a fact and it is also the reason you hire a planner:) 

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THE ONE THING THAT WILL MAKE YOU LATE ON YOUR WEDDING DAY

Toast Events Wedding Planning Horticulture Building

 

Timelines Are In-Place For A Reason!

Let's talk about them for a second.... and imma give you some advice!

These are tricky waters here....because in my eyes-timelines are a loose guideline to keep the day running smoothly. Yes you'll be 10 mis ahead or behind, and it's our job as a planner to gently guide you along without being excessively late.

It's like a science, I know how long certain tasks take and plan for our brides accordingly. By the time your wedding comes, we'll know if @britd (as seen in the photo above) is super organized and on time or not. - B, we love you for being so punctual!

So I'm going to tell you EXACTLY where you will always loose time followed by great advice to make sure you don't let that happen on your wedding day.

Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning

It starts with BEAUTY.

 Bellow I'm giving you explicit instructions on what to do and what NOT to do on your wedding day! 

GIRLS! This is so-so very important!!!

1. What's the number one thing that will mess up your whole day from the get-go?.....your bridal party arriving late for hair & makeup. This is so unacceptable ladies- get it together! xox Pack your bags the night before, make a list and check it twice because when the morning alarm hits- you gotta be up, present and ON TIME!! And no! You can not pick up a Starbucks on the way- why? Reason number two.

Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning

2. The morning should be relaxing and literally want for nothing. When your beauty team is onsite- it's go time. That means no leaving to pick up something you forgot at home or decide you need that Starbucks after all. To all the Maid of Honours reading this blog. This is your cue! It's your job to set the scene. That includes organizing snacks, making coffee, assembling the brides little curated emergencies kit, curating that itunes play list, helping the beauty team set-up, making sure the place is always neat and tidy etc. The morning is your time to shine. The wedding planner isn't there to micro manage everything- so that's your job now :) and for a limited time. You need to keep all the girls in-check with no extra chit-chatting while makeup is being done- this always slows down the process, because once you move your mouth- your artist has to stop. 

Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning

Next.....

3. Someone randomly decided after having their hair done, that they would rather have an up-do than that gorgeous blow-out the stylist just spent 1.2hrs on. For brides, once you make a decision at your trial- stick with it!! There is simply no time for two beauty looks. Same with your bridal party. To avoid this from happening, ask all your bridesmaids to send you a picture of what they would like their hair and makeup style to be in advance. MOH- your job again- make sure those pictures are printed and available for all your artists the morning of. CLICK HERE for my very own Beauty Prep document that I use for all my clients.

Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning
Toast Events Wedding Planning

And there you have it. My achilles heel for loosing time on your wedding day.

Lastly, I'm going to throw some mathematic at yah! 

Add 5 mins for each bridesmaid and that will equal how late you'll be even if you follow all my advice ;) 

Keep in mind, this is just the tip of the iceberg and there's so much more I could chat about for days!!!

But until then my pretties, stay tuned and visit our blog often for more amazing advice, tips and tricks to help you get through your wedding planning. 

xo

Eliza

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101 ON WEDDING CATERING CONTRACTS

Toast Events Industrial Wedding Ottawa Zibbi

There are so many things to consider when signing on that dotted line. But if you've never thrown an event before how are you supposed to know what to looks for or even understand what this contract is actually saying. To help put things into perspective I'm answering my top 6 most asked questions.

 

MINIMUM GUARANTEED DINNER GUESTS 

When you request a catering quote likely you'll provide a potential number of expected dinner, let's say 130 dinner guests. In your contract you may see a statement like " Minimum guaranteed dinner guests of 120." This means that your responsible in paying for that number of guests regardless of what your ultimate number is. Keep in mind that also means 120 adults and does not include children!!! Ultimately if your end up having 115 guests you're still paying for 130ppl. What I like to do is calculate what the cost difference is between 120 and 130 guests and ask if you can use that dollar amount in upgrading your meal or adding a course- that way you're not "loosing" money!

 

RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE WHAT (IF ANY) FOOD IS SUITABLE FOR TAKE HOME

This is a health issue. Once food is out in the open and in an unregulated temperature food can spoil quicker then you expect. Most venues and caterers wont allow you to bring ANY food home. But if they add a clause like this- you're very lucky! 

 

GraTUITY POST EVENT

This means there is not gratuity included in your current bill. If you don't consider this while your comparing notes on various quotes, in the end it can end up in thousands of extra dollars you didn't factor in. Typically %15 grat is standard- for restaurants only. For caterers you're looking at %18 and for luxury hotels it can be upwards of %20+. 

 

CALCULATING COSTS

If you're trying to do your own math here is the formula you should use. Subtotal all the food and beverage. Now add your grat onto that. Subtotal again and then add your taxes. That's right! You read that right, your grat is taxed. Another sneaky way if your numbers don't add up when you get a real revised quote from a caterer.

 

PLANNING & COORDINATION FEE

But you might already have a wedding planner- so why should you pay for a coordination fee to a caterer? Well, it's because there's so much paperwork and time required to ensure your food & beverage team are prepared and ready to perform for your wedding. This includes the following:

  • In person appointments
  • Multiple emails throughout a 1- 2 year period
  • Meetings with culinary team to map out custom menues
  • Research for specialty requests
  • Tasting
  • Food & Beverage timeline prepration for behind the scenes
  • Organizing staffing
  • Inventory & renatls lists 
  • Food requisitions
  • Ordering food & beverage 
  • Working with your planner on the elements of the day 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because a good catering company does so much more! 

 

FOOD & BEVERAGE COST INCREASES

We never really know what the economic climate will be like in the next year or two. For example there could be a Beef shortage and so the price in 2019 vs. 2018 has risen. Typically you can ask your caterer to lock in a max increase of %10. On a side note- this happened in the floral world a few years ago when there was a volcano erupt in Asia. This stopped air traffic and importers were unable to bring in orchid varieties for 2 weeks. So crazy right! This is also a huge reason why you should hire a planner. So we can impart this type of information onto our clients. They type of information that just isn't out there to find for yourself! A great planner will make it their business to know the inner workings of all these things you might never in your life think to consider!

 

And there you have it. Some of the most sneak hidden costs that can seriously break your budget! 

xox

Elise

 

 

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ADULTS ONLY

Toast Events Real Wedding Invite by Lafabere

Toast Events Real Wedding Invite by Lafabere

Sorry but your kids aren't invited.....

In 2016 I started seeing a shift in couples requesting kidless weddings. Now in 2018, it seems like it's not even a question anymore. Quite simply- they should stay home. I know it sounds harsh. But that seems to be the way. In 2018 I'm seeing "black tie only"....

So obviously I get this question a lot. "How do I tell my guests their kids aren't invited to the wedding?".

 

STEP ONE: SETTING THE STAGE

And I feel like I've kinda mastered this one in a two step process. It all starts with the method of your message. The first way I suggest, is to subconsciously hint in the RSVP by adding a line that says " We have __#__ seats reserved for you".

If you don't think your guests will get the hint- add "adult only reception" in small letters at the bottom of your main reception invitation.

 

STEP TWO: THE BOLD

Likely after you've used the first two initiatives- there will be no need for any additional conversation. HOWEVER! If the "bold" decide to +1 their kid on your rsvp, you have but no choice to address the issue. 

If this guest is close to you, a personal call is in order. Explain that by having an adult only reception, what your really saying is that you want everyone to have a great evening laughing and dancing while having a few extra drinks without having to leave early because of their kids. What you want to communicate is that your wedding is the perfect excuse to take the night off and truly enjoy it. It's really not about you- it's about them. See how I did that ;) ;) 

If the guest isn't close to you, likely it's an invite by your parents- hence they should be the ones to call on your behalf and preach your message. 

CONCLUSION

I've never had any issues with the two-pronged attack ;) 

I would say that most guests no longer expect to bring their kids for the whole or even part of the wedding. So Don't be shy- what used to be a faux-pas is now the norm. 

x Elise 

 

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DON'T FORGET THESE THINGS ON YOUR WEDDING DAY

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There are so many things you need to remember on your wedding day. And even though you might have a planner taking care of things on the flip side- there is still a whole host of things you still need to remember for yourself. 

 

EAT

Don't chuckle at this comment, because I have fed more than my fair share of brides granola bars. I totally get it though, I'm not a big eater either, but on your wedding day eating is the number one thing you need to do since you won't have an appetite. It's not that you'll be nervous all day and not want to eat, instead it's like your adrenaline kicks in for 24hrs and you "feel" like - "Nahhhh I'm good, i'll eat later." WRONG! If you're my client you will be getting that 10 am call asking if you've eaten. 

 

DETAILS

Don't forget to grab the sweet little things you'd like photographed on your wedding day. Your invitation suite, jewelry,veil, shoes etc. Now you might think- who cares what shoes I'm wearing..". But fast-forward 30 years when you're flipping through those photos- .... you'll want to be able to remember those details. I personally wish my parents took more then just portraits on their wedding day...I would have loved to see what her style was like back then.

Toast Events - Le Belvedere

 

SUNSET PHOTOS

Have your wedding planner time your golden hour- 30 mins before the sun officially sets. It's the perfect opportunity to take advantage of that warm light, sneak away from dinner and take a few moments to yourselves for some impromptu portraits. With the butterflies gone from the ceremony and the reception kicked-off without a hitch, the golden hour is where I see some of the most relaxed and beautiful photos. 

Toast Events - Le Belvedere
Toast Events - Le Belvedere

 

PAUSE 

During the busy day- consciously take a moment here and there to really soak it all in. It goes so fast, so if you can slow down and really appreciate a few moments throughout the day- do it. 

 

And there you have it. The most important things you should remember on your wedding day. The rest as we wedding planners- is history!

xoxo

Elise

REAL TOAST BRIDE Christine:                PHOTO CRED: Joel & Justyna Photography

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5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN HIRING A WEDDING PLANNER

toast events wedding planners
 
Time is the new definition of luxury
— Elise
 

Choosing your wedding planner will be your most important decision. An investment that can pay of two-fold in saving time, keeping it stress free, and convenience- industry short-cuts. But disclaimer- only if you research and choose the right planner for you. 

So where do you begin? Well the fact that you know you need a planner means your a million miles ahead the rest. You're already saving yourself hours of research and anxiety. What I can tell you is that the basic questionnaires provided online to interview a planner are, well- garbage. A good planner will most likely have an FAQ page that answers all those questions. But what's most important can't be obtained through blasé questions. So here are 5 things you need to consider.

VIBE 

Does she get you? I always love it when a client does their research about my company prior to contacting to obtain our services. By doing this, it's already been established that they already have a good feeling for who the planner is and what their company stands for. So ask yourself- are you looking for a planner who is more design oriented or one who focuses only on planning and organizational and administrational details? Or do you require a planner that specializes in Day Of Coordination only?

Discovering what type of partnership your looking for first and foremost important. This will help you narrow down your choices. Ultimately you want your planner to vibe on your level. When speaking to them you should automatically feel a genuine connection and be able to establish a good level of trust. 

REFLECTION

Does this planner mirror the style of wedding that your looking to create? Does she inspire you? And most importantly is their marketing and advertising genuine. Are they showcasing they're own clients or just inspirational images that aren't they're actual work? With social media these days, it's sometimes hard to tell. What I can say is "buyer beware". Some companies talk the talk but when push comes to shove- the experience is less than enthusiastic. I'll be writing about this exact subject in the coming weeks so be sure to check back! 

EXPERIENCE

It's not enough to only gauge a planner on how many weddings she's planned or how many years she's been in business or if she's "certified". If you really want to know her standing, ask whom her recommended vendors are, whom she's affiliated with, if she's on any preferred vendors lists, if she's been published and where, lastly, how many employees does she employ. This can provide you huge insight into how she operats her business and the success it's provided her. 

CERTIFICATION

I cringe at this all the time. Some of us dinosaurs have been around before wedding planning was considered a profession. So to now spend money to take a weekend course just to have an acronym behind their name - doesn't make sense. What they teach you in class is a quick crash course and theory. It doesn't prepare you for real-life situations, teach you how to make on the spot decisions etc etc. Because all of that is learn't on the job. The amount of experiences I've accumulated over the years can't be taught in a class, it's impossible. And to answer your question, I do have a degree in Event Management as well as Hotel & Restaurant Management. BUT I am not WPIC certified, and never will be. I personally refuse to take the course for said reasons above. HOWEVER! If you are looking for a wedding planner that's new in the game with less experience then she should at least have a course or two under her belt. Because if not- know that she's learning as she goes ;)

CLIENT ROSTER 

This is a big one for me. How many clients do they take on per year. If your looking for a more attentive planner, their client roster will most likely not exceed 10-16 weddings per year. If their boasting 20+ clients, you can count on delayed emails, details missed and a tinge of stress. If your a chill bride- then perfect. 

All the insight provided in this post is purely so that you're "in the know". A bit of insider insight so that you can make an informed decision. And if I can give you any advice- don't rush, if your going to do any research at all, make sure it's on your potential planner. Because with a good planner the rest should be history! Literally.

xoxo

Till next time lovelies! 

 

 

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  WHY A WEDDING PLANNER, HIRED A PLANNER FOR HER OWN WEDDING

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WHY A WEDDING PLANNER, HIRED A PLANNER FOR HER OWN WEDDING

Toast Events

Confessions of a wedding planner: Why I hired a wedding planner for my own wedding day. 

Because look at this photo...... a fraction of the team you'll have behind the scenes on your wedding day. Now ask yourself... do you really want to be the go-to person for the day?

I've been in the game for quite some time, and even though I am more than capable of planning my own wedding, I knew on the day-of I needed a team of professionals to see my vision through.  I'm a firm believer that people are best at what they do for a reason. I can humbly digress and say that even as a planner, I can't and won't work on my wedding day. And here's why. 

 

I FORGOT MY CELL

 

You think I've mastered everything when it comes to wedding planning, but on the day of, I forgot my cellphone and even my overnight bag. Let's be honest- i lost my brain on the wedding day too. #toolegit

 

TIME WARP

 

For that day I literally lived in another dimension. A time warp that didn't care about the numbers on the clock. And to be honest, I never even checked the time to make sure I, master planner- was on schedule.

 

RECEIVING LINE

 

I always thought receiving lines were old fashioned. But there I found myself loving every second of The unscheduled and impromptu hugs and kisses as each guest left the church and wished me well. 

 

HOUDINI AKA THE HUSBAND

 

My groom disappeared and thought cocktails were more important that our bridal pictures. Hah! If it wasn't for my trusted planners I might not have reunited with my newly minted husband on the Chateau Laurier locks for some of the best pictures I hold dear to my heart today. 

 

MIC DROP

 

At the end of the night, I simply left and forgot to check in with my planners to make sure everything was taken care of at the end of the night. Yeah, I totally did that.

 

And to finish everything off, my planner actually took off her shoe and said. "Look at the hole in my shoe! I literally ran around like a maniac all night, and this is the result.

So what am I saying? Don't be the bride that works her wedding day and has a hole in the bottom of her shoe instead of her planner. 

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10 MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WEDDING PLANNERS

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10 MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WEDDING PLANNERS

Myths and misconceptions- they're real. In an industry that fuels unattainable ideas and designs while saturating the market with unfounded wedding advice and information which can be misleading- it's hard to make the distinction in what's actually reality. So here are 5 things we want to shed some light on when it comes to the urban legends surrounding Wedding Planners. 

 

rban legend #1, You'll get all her discounts

Have you heard the saying "If you think hiring a Wedding Planner is expensive, you have no idea how much an incompetent one can". That's a stone cold fact my friends. So how do we begin to address the notion that hiring a Wedding Planner gets you massive discounts, than if you were to go out on your own. Let me debunk this tall tale- because it drives me crazy. A good planner will help you spend you hard earned moulah wisely, making sure you wont fall into the classic money pit-holes of over-paying for sub-par products and services. This includes DIY's that cost you more then if you were to pay for them, as spending money where your guests wont notice, frivolous delivery charges etc etc. A good Wedding Planner takes the guessing work out of the equation, providing you short cuts- saving you in the long run. So even though you don't see a discount on your invoice, rest assured that your money has been spent with intention and fore-thought. 

 

She's there to do all your running around

Negative. We're here to design and organize your wedding. There is literally no time for picking up your wedding dress, cake or stationary last minute. Your planner should be organizing the drop off of these items so these tasks don't fall on you.

 

She's your mediator

A much as we love to calm the waters and make things right, we're not trained to be inter-family crisis mediators. A planner must keep professional boundaries at all times and provide unbiased solutions in assistance.

 

She's a magician

There is only so much we can humanly do to address the issue at hand. Don't expect miracles to happen when in reality, it isn't feasible. Yes, we do have some tricks up our sleeves that will save you in a pinch but that doesn't mean things happen at the click of your fingers just because you hired a planner. 

 

She knows everything

Lets be real. No one knows everything. But this statement does depends on how many dedicated years your planner has put in and how many weddings she has under her belt. Event planning is a long process of learning as you go. No wedding planning course can prepare you for real-time issues, how to build vendor relationships, make on the spot decisions during a crisis or even how to think strategically. 

 

So there you have it. 5 expectations you need to check before you hire a planner. 

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DO YOU WANT TO WORK ON YOUR WEDDING DAY?

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DO YOU WANT TO WORK ON YOUR WEDDING DAY?

Clear Tent Toast Events Wedding Planning

Do you want to work on your wedding day? Or would you rather feel like a guest at your own wedding?

That's the only question you need to ask yourself when considering a planner. I bet I know the answer, and you do too. Don't become the stereotypical bride which after the fact, wishes she had had a planner. And I have to be honest. I cringe every-time I hear those words.

 

BUT MY GIRLFRIEND JUST GOT MARRIED AND SHE'S GOING TO HELP ME

 

You aren't your girlfriend. Her wedding also shouldn't be anything like yours. You have different priorities, likes and dislikes. Although your girlfriend is doing you a huge favour, she isn't working for YOU and her advice will only scratch the surface of what a planner really does behind the scenes.

 

MY MOM SAYS I DONT NEED ONE

 

Mama knows best right? But she won't be hanging up your decorations, checking to make sure your table linens aren't upside-down with the seams showing or making sure your rental company didn't short you on chairs. And if she says she'll step up, I'll tell you right now, everyone had good intentions and thinks they have more time then they actually do. As all the small tasks and oups's add up the week of your wedding, your mother, groom and bridal party may not be taking the added stress with grace. 

 

MY FIANCE THINKS WEDDING PLANNERS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE

 

A huge benefit in having a wedding planner is peace of mind so you're not constantly thinking- did I forget something? Which has it's trickle down effects to the people around you. Especially those who you naturally go to for support. Cue fiance. Yup, it's normally his job to calm the waters, reassure you everything is going to be okay when it's not. But what happens when he's sick of hearing about your wedding planning? Or has a small tinge of- we should have just eloped, type of vibe. It taints the whole process, and darn it! - wedding planning is supposed to be fun! And with a planner, it's our strict mandate that you ONLY get to do the fun stuff. Our team is here to support you, send you 3d mock ups of your floor plan because your mother in law just can't understand your vision or take that late-night call when you've had a mini bridal party meltdown. 

 

THE RECIPE 

 

Stress of that nagging to-do list + the feeling that your always forgetting something + last minute errands to run on time you don't have + family asking you too many wedding questions... NOW throw in a few sleepless nights and a bad dream and voila!

You now wish your wedding day would just be over, before it's even begun.

So I ask you..

 

DO YOU WANT TO ORCHESTRATE THIS, ON YOUR WEDDING DAY?

 

Watch the video. You're welcome. And girl, just pick up the phone and call me ;) 

 

 

 

 

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10 STEPS TO PLANNING YOUR TENT WEDDING

 
Toast Events Tent Wedding Ottawa Wedding Planner
 

The first thing you need to know is that tent weddings are never inexpensive. And if it is, it's because you're doing ALL the work right up to the very last-minute. 

Planning your tent wedding can and will be stressful if you don't have a planner.  Your hopes and dreams for DIY wedding seem attainable, especially if you start planning and making things a year in advance. Wrong. Time will escape you, because planning a wedding can easily become a second job on top of your everyday life. Before you know it priorities kick in and what was important on your wedding to do list is pushed back. 

I know this all sounds so pessimistic, but it's the reality. Even my most organized brides whom we've planned with for their tent weddings - end up feeling that DIY crunch and often email us unattainable to-do-list at 1:45 am just hours before the wedding day. Which is also why we always have 4 Toast staff onsite on the wedding day. 

So here are 10 steps on how to plan your tent wedding- because I know you're brave! 

Toast Events Tent Wedding Ottawa Wedding Planner
Toast Events Tent Wedding Ottawa Wedding Planner
Toast Events Tent Wedding Ottawa Wedding Planner
Toast Events Tent Wedding Ottawa Wedding Planner
Toast Events Tent Wedding Ottawa Wedding Planner

 

HAVE A SYSTEM IN PLACE

Go to Chapters and buy yourself a cute agenda JUST for wedding planning. Live by it. When you add a due date for a DIY- stick to it. Don't ever delay or postpone. You owe it to yourself to me timely. If you want to sew 150 napkins, schedule it so you sew 20 every Wednesday....so you're breaking up the work and don't become overworked and discouraged. You should also have a binder that has every contract and invoice. Even if an invoice has been altered 4 - 5 times, have that copy infile to make sure there are no miscommunications in the days leading up to your big day.

 

TIMELINE BUILD

It's important that your vendors have a good grasp of the timeline of your day so that they can judge what is feasible within your itinerary. 

 

HAVE A RAIN PLAN

Now that you have a timeline you'll need to think of a rain plan. What happens if your ceremony is outside? What do you want to do if your cocktails are outside? Where will you take your pictures if it's raining? How will you address lightning and thunderstorms? What provisions will be made for catering?

 

BOOK THE BEST OF THE BEST

You're building your venue from scratch. Think about that for a minute. Just let that thought really resonate. You're  temporarily transforming a space where there once was zippo. The smartest thing you can do is hire an extremely reputable tent company and the best caterer in your area. You'll regret any penny-pinching. It means you'll be paying minimum 7k for your tent and around 28k for your catering for 140ppl. If you just did some major eye rolling thinking that "this girl doesn't know what she's talking about". Let me tell you that your 2k tent quote doesn't include a liner, any lighting, flooring, tables, chairs, bug screens, catering tents, added fees incase you need a water truck to fill up your tent weights, drilling if they'res rock bed underneath your grass etc etc. 

 

MINIMIZE YOUR VENDOR LIST

If you don't  have a planner to coordinate all your vendors and provide you with floor plans, timelines etc in the months leading up to your wedding, have all your decor and florals come from one company. Make sure they have a standing relationship with your caterer and tent company. It's important because they most likely have the logistics of set-up down to a science. If they work well together - they can communicate amongst themselves for set-up with you having to provide them a 7-page timeline on logistics. That saves you the hassle of min 50 emails, 1 panic attack and 2 sleepless nights.

 

HIRE A LANDSCAPER

Take the pressure of your parents and hire a lanscaper to grade the area you'll be having the tent at least a year prior to your wedding date. This gives the lawn time to set and seed well in advance. Unless of course, you're paying for a leveled floor. Don't assume, getting flooring means it'll be leveled. Some are just plywood they lay down and paint on the spot or come as lego pieces. There is a big difference between a 2k floor and 6k floor. Take a look at the video series bellow as I chat about the effects of flooring and table sizes from a wedding we just did.

 

PAY THE EXTRA

Pay the extra fee to have your tent installed a few days in advance. And I'll tell you why it's soooooo important. Because that hand-drawn floor plan isn't actually to scale. So you actually have less room than you anticipated, and woups!, the tent that was installed is actually smaller than you expected... So you're going to have to play around with all the tables. Then move them again because you realized that tables are one thing, but when you place chairs around them.... the tables had to be moved because they were close together too tight. Remeber that cute Chapters daytimer you were supposed to get. Markdown an afternoon to tackle this task ;) 

 

CONSULT A PLANNER

Schedule an appointment to consult with a planner once you have all your RSVP's and final estimates. Paying $200 - $300 for a few hours of her time to look over all your details will save you three times as much in mistakes you might have made. She'll let you know if there are any red flags or things you might have altogether forgotten. And bring her EVERYTHING! even your floor plans. I'de even go as far in having her check your inventory lists

 

COUNT EVERYTHING

When all you rentals arrive to make sure you count and cross-reference your invoices. You only have a limited time to report missing items that can be charged to you as lost or stolen when they come to pick up again. 

 

HIRE A DAY OF COORDINATOR

Treat yourself. Like I always tell my clients, you deserve to feel like a guest at your own wedding. The time passes so quickly it's sometimes hard to live in the moment. Just remember wherever you are - be all there ;)

Toast Events Tent Wedding Ottawa Wedding Planner

 

So there you have it. The best shortcut advise I can give you to help you on your way. We're always here for you - if you need us ;)

xox

Eliza 

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33 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Union Eleven 

Union Eleven 

Who is the founder/owner of Toast?
Fur baby lover, cappuccino sipper, Elise Schmitz founded Toast Events in 2007 and quickly became one of Ottawa’s most sought after event planners. Elise’s work has been internationally published, garnering her exclusive clients and opportunities to collaborate with Elle Magazine & The Huffington Post. Over the past decade Elise has redefined the wedding planning process exclusively for her clients. Her passion and commitment to her design and client process is unmatched in the industry.

How many people work at Toast?
There are six full time staff members at Toast, not including interns. 

How long have you been planning weddings?
In October 2017 it will officially be 10 years! 

How many weddings have you planned?
If you could see our faces right now, we’re blushing big time because it feels like people never believe us when we say that we stopped counting once we reached 300 weddings in 2013. But     it’s the truth!

How many clients do you book a year?
Toast exclusively accepts a maximum of 10 full plan clients per year.

If I pick great vendors, why do I need a wedding planner?
Choosing fantastic vendors is not the same as planning a fantastic wedding. It’s like cooking; having spectacular ingredients doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a delicious meal. It’s all about the execution of the ingredients by the talented chef that brings it all together. Similarly,    extraordinary weddings have vision behind them and it takes an expert wedding planner to pull all of the elements together and know how to masterfully orchestrate the day. 

How do I know I need a wedding planner?
The fact that your asking this question is a clear indication that you do! Planning a wedding can take over 500 hours, hundreds of emails, late night research and expert industry insights. A wedding planner will help guide you along every step of the journey and help keep stress at bay so you can enjoy the process from proposal to “I do.”

All wedding planners are the same, right?
No way. Consider this, you’ve probably had good hair cuts and bad hair cuts in your lifetime, because not all hair stylists are the same. Similarly, not all wedding planners are the same. 

Here at Toast this is our full-time day job. We aren’t hobbyists and we don’t plan weddings on    the side. Our couples have our complete and undivided attention, as well as the benefit of our decade of experience. We only take a select amount of clients per year to ensure that every    client feels like they are our only bride. 

What is the difference between a venue provided wedding coordinator and an actual wedding planner?
A wedding planner is responsible for the look and feel of your event. A wedding planner designs your day, attends to vendors, helps to style every detail, keeps you on budget, creates floor plans, oversees your itinerary to keep the day flowing and oversees a thousand other significant details. 

A venue provided wedding coordinator simply confirms details which only concern the venue’s best interests. 

If I hire Toast as my wedding planner, can I still be a part of the planning process?
Of course! You can be as involved as you would like to be. We strongly believe that you should only do the parts that you find fun and leave the rest for us!  Also, because no two brides are the same, Toast customizes all of our services around what you want  – not what the wedding    industry may tell you you need.

I definitely want to plan my wedding, but I need guidance along the way. Can you help me?
Absolutely! All of our clients have access to Toast’s exclusive Online Planner which is customized to each of our brides. This tool helps you keep organized every step of the way. Plus we’re here to check in with you, add a few consultation hours at key times during the planning process and to generally help out so you have the best experience possible.

What if I only need help for a couple of hours on my wedding day?
We highly recommend our Half Day Service option, which provides you with management of your wedding from 2pm until your grand entrance. This service is ideal for assisting with the busiest parts of your day and set-up.

I love your style, but I already have a planner. Will you still work with me?
Absolutely! Not all wedding planners are stylists. Toast’s styling process is fluid and transmittable as a valuable tool for your planner to use. Our process begins with an in-depth design consultation, which results in a curated design profile and a list of recommended vendors/sources for your planner to then draw from. 

Will Toast set up my decor?
Absolutely! During one of our final consultations we will ask you to compile a list of items you would like our team to set up and style on your behalf. This includes placecards, table menus, table numbers, favours, simple napkin folds, signing table, sweets table, cake table, gift table etc. We request these items during your ceremony rehearsal with the exception of larger decor items and baked goods which should be delivered to the venue directly.

How many Toast staff will be on-site on my wedding day?
There will be 2-3 Toast staff members present on your wedding day. Due to the fact that wedding days are long (and depending upon the logistics of your event) you will have overlapping staff throughout the day to ensure we are fresh and energized to pay attention to every detail of your day.

Typically Elise will be on site as soon as the venue opens to ensure vendors are arriving on schedule, rentals inventories are taken and that set up is progressing on time. 

Shortly before your ceremony Madison and another of our Principle Planners with their assistant will arrive to greet the groomsmen, the officiant, musicians, confirm cues and ensure decor is set up before the first guest arrives. 

As soon as you’re down the aisle, part of the team will head to the reception venue to ensure all the final details are completed. As the dinner progresses and finds its rhythm, our staff gradually leaves one by one, but we guarantee a Principle Planner will remain on-site until 1am to ensure rentals are returned, gifts are packaged into your vehicle and tear-down goes smoothly.

When do I get to meet the whole team who will be at my wedding?
If you are a full plan bride, you will have met and worked with Madison extensively. If you’ve hired Toast for Day Of only service, you will meet the whole team at your ceremony rehearsal     or in your final information meeting a week or two before your wedding day.

What if you’re sick on my wedding day?
Madison and Elise co-plan every wedding, so we can take that fear out of the equation completely. Also, all of our Principle Planners are highly trained with a minimum of 5 years     experience in the industry with multiple weddings under their belts. In other words, even if one     member is ill on your wedding day, the Toast team is more than capable of expertly completing     your event as originally planned.

What will you not do as a wedding planner?
There are countless things happening on your wedding day in a relatively short amount of time, so Toast is very careful to avoid any tasks that may take us away from our main objective; event management and ensuring your vision for your day comes to life. 

Items we are not able to set up include: backdrop installations, chair covers, moving of chairs from ceremony to reception site, moving large florals from the ceremony to the reception area etc. If you have questions about this, please don’t hesitate to ask us!

What happens if there is an issue on my wedding day?
Toast’s job is to anticipate problems before they happen and fix them in ways that we can’t even begin to explain. It’s what makes us leaders in what we do. We’re here to troubleshoot at a moment’s notice and to make expert judgment calls that suit your personalized day. This ability takes years of experience to hone and we can confidently say that we’ve got your back no matter what!

I’m planning my wedding for Ottawa, but I live in Australia? Are we a good fit?
Half of Toast’s clients live abroad and we offer years of experience crafting gorgeous Ottawa weddings for clients who live all around the world. We call this ‘reverse destination brides.’ If     you fall into this category, we’re prepared for Skype chats that odd hours (on our end) to     accommodate your time zone. And we have a ton of fun along the way!

Have you planned destination weddings before?
Yes and we love them. Toast has planned with clients living in Switzerland, France, China, the    Yukon, Germany, United States, California and across Canada. 

I’m planning a destination wedding. Will you travel?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! We’ve worked with all sorts of destination brides from a Calgary bride who got married in Halifax, to a couple from Berlin who exchange vows in a    German castle! Although accommodation and travel fees are extra of course, our fundamental service fees remain the same. It would be a pleasure to travel for your day.

Have Toast weddings been published anywhere?
We have had articles in ELLE Magazine, Canadian Living, Wedding Bells, The Huffington Post, and The Ottawa Citizen. Toast weddings have been featured on countless blogs as well, including Style Me Pretty, Grey’s Likes, Ruffled, Wedding Chicks, Wedluxe, Perfect Palette and The Knot to name a few. We also had the pleasure of shooting the cover of Ottawa Bride for     four consecutive years.    

I’m having a casual tent wedding and I’m unsure what a planner can do for me. What things should I be considering?
Quick go to my blog…the perfect post is waiting for you!

Do the Toast planners have day jobs?
You are our day job!

Are you a wedding planner or a wedding designer?
While both of these titles operate hand in hand here at Toast, we would have to say that we are primarily designers first and foremost. Our process begins with the art of transforming spaces to reach an elevated aesthetic and is then continued with the design of a tailored planning    experience unlike any other planner. We believe that less is more and that simplicity and    exclusivity can coincide.

I want to hire you, but you’ve never planned a wedding at my chosen venue. Will this be a problem?
This is a non-issue. We’ve planned weddings in gorgeous industrial spaces that had no running water or even electricity. You shouldn’t choose a planner based on if they’ve worked at your     specific venue before or not. You should first find the planner that’s a right fit for you, who     you’ll enjoy working with. We are versatile, resourceful, imaginative and creative – we can     make your desired location work.

Are you on any preferred vendors lists?
We are exclusive/preferred planners for the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, The Westin Ottawa, Le Belvedere, and the Museum of Nature. 

How do you stay organized with brides?
Over the past 10 years we’ve streamlined our planning process on our new exclusive Online Planner. This includes checklists, appointment calendars, timelines, a digital design studio,     guest management, budgets, wedding website creation and so much more! This gives our brides the ability to check in at anytime and see where we are during the planning process. We work very closely with our clients to ensure they feel like they are our only bride, never a runner-up.

Do you work solely off your own preferred vendors list?
No way! Although we have strong relationships with specific vendors which we’ve nurtured     over the years, we are not opposed to looking for new rising stars or vendors that you have     booked prior to reserving our services.

What’s the average cost for a wedding?
This 100% depends upon the number of guests you have. On average we would say that most elegant weddings are typically $250 to $300 per person, which is around $40k for 140 people. 

I still have questions. Can I speak with someone?
Of course! Please contact us at info@toastevents.com with any additional questions you may have and a member of our team will get back to you.
 

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MEET MEGHANN, OUR PARISIAN INTERN

Meet Meghann. Or Parisian intern who flew across the pond from France to learn from us for 3 months. I have to say, her 10 minute email return time is impressive and boy is she ever sharp. And even though she's with us until the end of June, I'm already sad she's leaving us. But enough about that and more about her! 

From Meghann.....

I was born in France, and grew up in a little town named Tours, located in the Loire Valley, a beautiful area full of castles. Do the names Chenonceau, Chambord, Amboise sound familiar?

I absolutely adore my country. There is so much history, so much culture… so many places to go and so many things to do, see… and taste! French gastronomy is probably the thing I like most about France, and I have to admit that I can’t live without my wine and cheese (yep, stereotypes can be true sometimes, except that we don’t wear beret and don’t eat snails).

I love travelling. I am the type of person that needs challenge all the time, to push myself to my limits, and get to know myself a little bit more each time. I love discovering new cultures, meeting new people, speaking different languages and for all those reasons, I’ve planned to go on a one year round the world trip at the end of the year with my hubby… I can’t wait!

As one of passion is travelling, it made sense to me to do my Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages before pursuing with a master’s degree in Management & International Marketing. In order to be graduated, I had to complete an internship and I finally ended up in a wedding planning company based in Ireland, where I worked as a marketing and event assistant for several months. And guess what? I have enjoyed it so much! 

It has been such a enriching experience… For the first time in my life, I was happy to get up and go to work, and that was the trigger. From this moment, I have never stopped dreaming of becoming a wedding planner someday, and have promised myself never to give up and work non stop until I reach my professional goal. 

Starting a wedding from nothing (literally), and see how remarkable it is once everything is finally done is what I love most about planning. Seeing the couple enjoying their big day and celebrating their love… I get emotional every time during ceremonies!

With that being said, being a wedding planner is not as easy as everybody could think: weekend and evening work, deadlines, stress, tough clients… It is mental AND physical hard work. But that didn’t prevent me from loving this job as a whole.

Coupled with my urge for travelling and my hunger for learning even more in the wedding planning field, to kill two birds in one stone, I finally have decided to go to Canada.

After a few researches on google, TOAST EVENTS caught my interest: professional and friendly message through its website, excellent reviews, impressive behind the scenes videos… I just knew I could learn so much from Toast. And that is the case! Elise is so remarkable when it comes to plan and design weddings for her clients. She is really talented, kind and pro, and is a great help to me. I couldn’t find any better!

xox

Meghann

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SO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT WANT TO BE A WEDDING PLANNER

Toast Events Wedding Planner & Stylist Ottawa

PROTEGE PROGRAM 

We've heard you loud and clear! In answer to an overwhelming demand in internships with Toast and a waiting list 25 deep for 2018, we're thrilled to announce our new Protege Program in partnership with Wedecor.

So you think you might want to be a wedding planner, huh? Well let me tell you- you're in for a ride! This industry isn't for the faint-of-heart and sitting in a classroom learning the basics on paper will never prepare you for what it's really like in real time. 

Chances are you’re more than a little wary of launching a new career in an industry where the most experience you’ve likely had is helping your cousin Sarah hang seven hundred fairy lights for her wedding. Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

This program is aimed at those who are seriously considering working in the wedding industry, but don’t quite know where or how to start. This opportunity gives participants an intense, exclusive behind the scenes experience of what you can expect your new career to look like, without the stress and uncertainty of having to quit your day job first.

You’ll have the opportunity to pick their brains, observe and participate on the front lines of two luxury weddings; all with a safety net knowing you’re working under the guidance and coaching of highly skilled professionals.

planning + styling + design

The program is split into three parts:

PLANNING: Join the industries highly sought-after wedding planner, Elise Schmitz as she manages the flow and orchestration of her most detailed weddings in some of Ottawa's most exclusive venues. Witness first hand how Elise handles in-the-minute decision making while coordinating up to 13 vendors at any given time.

STYLING: Collaborate with Elise on her next styled shoot where you'll gain comprehensive insight into her design process and business philosophy which has shaped her identity and elevated her brand to what it is today. 

DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION: Shadow Nancy Tremblay, owner of WEDECOR as she prepares for a weekend of weddings. You'll have the opportunity to work side by side with her floral designers, learn the tips and tricks behind over-the-top designs all while learning the art of transforming spaces.

Each student will complete the Protégé Program with a reference letter and a head start in the industry thanks to its invaluable on-the- job training. 

Interested? Send us a note! Only a few dates for 2017 remain!

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TWENTYTWO - THE WESTIN OTTAWA'S GLASS ENCASED BALLROOM

Westin Ottawa TwentyTwo View

It's all about the hashtag #views am I right?! I'm calling it TwentyTwo's hastag will be #twentytwocurrentviews or maybe something like #tewntytwocurrentvibes or #twentytwoskyhigh, either way this space is definitely what Ottawa's been missing and we can't wait for it's opening in June 2017!

The Westin's TWENTYTWO is sure to be Ottawa's next exclusive luxury wedding venue, and as their preferred wedding planners, yesterday Madison and I were given a private hard-hat tour of the space. Our experience with The Westin's Jill Wright was quite the treat with no details spared to make us feel welcome from the moment valet parked our cars to the cute welcome sign. This no doubt instills that the TWENTYTOW experience is all about exclusivity and attention to detail.

So here's the low-down on all those details which aren't necessarily released to the public and not on their website ;) 

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planner at Westin Ottawa TwentyTwo
TwentyTwo Floor Plan

The sky-high glass encased ballroom is perfectly built around that guest list sweet spot of 135 dinner guests. Preliminary floor plans include round tables of 8ppl, head table, bar and dance floor space. Floor plans have confirmed a max of 152 dinner guests without a dance floor or the option of covering the dance floor with tables and removing before dancing. 

TwentyTwo is due to open June 2017. This new venue is located on Westin's 22nd floor and provides a 270 degrees un-interrupted breath-taking view of Ottawa's Parliament Buildings, Ottawa River, Chateau Laurier, Byward Market and Gatineau Hills. Their emphasis really is the view and it's minimalist take on design with a neutral pallet and simple clean lines . Now when I say "glass encased ballroom" that's literally no understatement! The windows begin about a foot and half from the floor and sky rocket almost two stories tall. The space will have one 6ft x 8ft media wall with flat screens which can be used by DJ's to impose graphics, music videos or even slide shows.

The Westin Ottawa TwentyTwo
The Westin TwentyTwo Toast Events

PERKS

In building this space primarily for weddings and special events, The Westin Ottawa paid special attention to all-inclusive needs. With the rental of TwentyTwo comes the sunlit Rideau Suite with a very generous "getting ready" area. There is also an option of renting the Westin's Boneaventure Suite with an outdoor terrace (one floor up) if both the Bride and Groom would like to get ready on-site. 

Essentially the whole 22nd floor can be yours!

The Westin Ottawa is also offering Brides and Grooms the option of an exclusive room block of up to 14 upgraded guestrooms located on the 22nd floor at a discounted rate.

TwentyTwo has new specialty modern looking china and chairs.

TwentyTwo's chairs... we like!

TwentyTwo's chairs... we like!

Picture of TwentyTwo's-  actual A La Cart Menu 

Picture of TwentyTwo's-  actual A La Cart Menu 

TwentyTwo has no set menu or packages and instead invites clients to sit with their Executive Chef Kenton Leier ato create a custom menu.

 

PRICING

Depending on your guest count and menu choices, the food and beverage pricing is expected to start at $20k. There is a rental fee for the space of $5k which includes the Rideau Suite, pre-function space (cocktail area) and reception area. At first glance you might gasp, but to help put these numbers into perspective here's some general stat's: 

Restaurant Eighteen

  • Minimum food & beverage spend on 16k-18k 
  • seat 135ish 

Andaz 

  • Minimum food & beverage spend on 25k 
  • seat 150 

National Art Gallery - Great Hall 

  • Rental of space sits around 5k

National Art Centre (N.A.C) 

  • New space rental is rumored to be around 3-5k depending on size of room required minimum f&b 15-20k.. their new space and details are limited and all TBD..

Horticulture Building

  • Rental fee is $4,400

Aquatopia 

  • Minimum spend 25k, although includes a few more decor related services

All in all for this venue we find their pricing to be fair and competitive and can't wait to tour our clients here!  If you're interested in more information check out their new website or contact Jill Wright jill.wright@westin.com

 

 

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WEDDING DETAILS YOUR GUESTS WILL NOTICE

Pinterest Image

I always say it's all in the details, but there are those who decorate like a fabric bomb literally exploded in the reception room. Don't shake your head like you don't know what I'm talking about. It's almost like they have a mathematical equation that goes something like this:

Chair covers + Chair Bands + Crystal Broach + Satin linen + Sheer Lace Overlay + Satin Table Runner. And that's just the basic foundation. Then they add.... Gold Charger Plate, Bow-tie Napkin with a Crystal Napkin Ring +  Personal Table Menue + Place Card + Bonbonierre + a bedazzled mirror with a cylinder vase with glue gunned crystals........ and in that vase there are water beads and a tinny little florescent light glowing from within............ Then the ceiling swag fairy came and went to town.....

Layers upon layers of decor which will overwhelm your guest into a blur. The biggest and most costly mistake you can make is definitely within your decor budget, because it can start to look tacky reeeaaallllll fast.

My number one piece of advice, "Don't waste your money on trying to have everything while cheaping out along the way. Sacrifice, re-evaluate your priorities and shift the dollars you would have spent on mediocrity towards a larger element that will leave your guests with a lasting impression." 

I'll give you a few examples, and if your a client reading this, you might have already heard this story. Back in the day when ghost chairs were only coming out of Toronto with a  price tag of $20 per chair, I had a client who just simply had to have them, but couldn't make it work within her budget. So I said "No problem, we'll trick them!". We ordered 1/3 ghost chairs and 2/3 white flip chairs. We used the ghost chairs at square tables and the flips at round tables and strategically laid out our floor plan accordingly. A few months later I heard back from my newlyweds and they said every single guest thought that they were sitting on ghost chairs... they raved about it endlessly. Keep in mind we're talking 2010 when the thought of mixing table types weren't even a design thought in anyone's mind. - I'm actually pretty proud that I hit that before the curve :) 

That's just one example of how I design to be budget conscious with intention. In case your curious, here is where we think you should spend your money.

 

OUR 5 PICKS

Linen-less tables and chairs

Personal dinner menus 

Over-sized organic bouquets

Embellished wedding dresses

Handwritten calligraphy invites

 

 

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OTTAWA's NEWEST WEDDING VENUES

Toast Events wedding 2014, National Art Gallery Great Hall corridor | Photo Cred: Joel Bedford Photography

Toast Events wedding 2014, National Art Gallery Great Hall corridor | Photo Cred: Joel Bedford Photography

Are you looking for the next "it" venue in Ottawa? Do you feel like some venues are a bit overplayed of leave little to the imagination in terms of a trans-formative space?

Well as you can imagine a wedding planner can get equally uninspired by what Ottawa has to offer. But I have to tell you, since 2014-2016 Ottawa has taken leaps and bounds in the venue and rentals departments. 

Before I get started on hat will become some of Ottawa hottest new wedding venues, first I need to say "thank you" to Ottawa for it's 150th birthday - because this is reason why we have so much to look forward. Any pending renovation on the horizon was set in stone to be ready for 2017. 

So here's the skinny on some of the nicest spaces you'll likely see for years to come. 

Current Locations Opened 2017 

Andaz

Andaz Ottawa wedding venue

This Hyatt group boutique hotel opened late this summer and boasts luxury amenities and breathtaking views of downtown Ottawa. This venue can accommodate up to 140ppl Studio 1 +4 and provides brides a all inclusive feel from getting ready to gettin' busy on the dance floor. 

 

Infinity Convention Center

Infinity Convention Center Ottawa Wedding Venue

I first caught wind of this project back in 2012 when one of the owners approached me for feedback on their potential endeavor. And today, 4 years later - it's a reality. Let me first say that even-though this space is extremely high-tech, nicely outfitted- it is still a conference space without windows and a shared lobby. But if this is what your looking for a banquet hall type feel or have over 200ppl, it's hands-down the place to be. There are three hotels in the area for guest accommodations, ample parking, close to the airport and has bridal suite. 

 
Toast+Events+&+Stonefield+Farm+&+Wedecor (1).jpeg

A Gorgeous contemporary loft style barn near Carleton Place. A few months ago we did a full review of the beautiful venue. If your looking for a more modern version of Evermore - look no further, or better yet stop by for a peak if your doing a site visit at Evermore.

 
National Art Gallery

Yes my lovelies, the Great Hall has resumed accepting weddings since it's hiatus back in 2013. There's been a lot of rumors floating around but what I can tell you is #1 Tulips & Maple is the new in-house caterer and #2 the first wedding was hosted this spring. Now currently the galleries website does not provide any additional information or indication that this space is now available. I also have not heard any formal announcements, Which leads me to believe that based on my sources- they're accepting weddings on a case by case basis. Either way, I have clients dying to get in there for 2017 and 2018... and I'll keep you posted on any new developments.

 

 

OPENING 2018....

The following locations have no pictures and aren't even currently booking. I have though confirmed a few details but brief details.

The Westin Rooftop Ballroom 

Westin Grand Ballroom Ottawa wedding venue

Is currently under construction. No renderings, pricing but is due for completion in January 2017. The rose glass encasement photo above is the only visual i've been able to find.

 

The National Art Center Panorama Room

National Art Centre Ottawa Wedding Venue

See my arrow? That's what I "think" is the new Panorama room which will host up to 600ppl.. It was supposed to be finished fall of 2016, but with construction set backs it should be ready for July 2017. No pricing, no renderings and no exact date yet. My last conversations with their event planners was- "we'll get back to you"...

The epic rooftop tent however will not be open until 2019. 

 

So there you have it! Everything you need to know about Ottawa's newest and trendiest wedding venues to come! 

xoxo

 

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10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TENT WEDDINGS

A+C's wedding planned, styled & designed by Toast Events, Ottawa, 2016  |  Florals by: The DesignCo Florals  | Table Top: Plate Occasion's, Toronto

A+C's wedding planned, styled & designed by Toast Events, Ottawa, 2016  |  Florals by: The DesignCo Florals  | Table Top: Plate Occasion's, Toronto

It's gonna get real - real fast! 

I've planned some pretty crazy weddings this year! We've had venues that don't have parking, running water or even electricity. It's a monumental task that not even clients whom we have planned for- know what we as a team had to accomplish to make sure their day was absolutely perfect. I literally blow my own mind every single time with the amount of work it takes.

What I'm about to share is based on my 7 years of experience which also includes the not so awesome garbage picking, errand running, problem solving, dish busing, buffet serving...right down to being a personal therapist. And everyone thinks I have a glamorous job! 

DID YOU KNOW that being a planner is considered by Time Magazine to be the most stressful job on the planet? I was a little taken back when I originally read it...but if you could walk a day in my shoes- you would agree. 

I love my blog because I write it in first person. It's almost like i'm really talking to you right now one on one. Don't forgive me for my bad punctuation or spelling errors because really, quite honestly I don't have time to care. But I will take the time to provide you 100% unadulterated insight on the wedding industry. So listen up, all you newly engaged brides and green wedding planners! You'll benefit from what I'm about to say. And for all us oldies! - high-five for being able to kick it for sooo long, My hat's off to you! 

 The classic things I hear paired with "tent wedding" is:

  • Oh it's cheaper!
  • I'm going to DIY everything! 
  • I'm super organized
  • I just want a simple wedding

Lies! If this sentence was paired with "I want a tent wedding". - you're lying to yourself. Setting yourself up for failure. Even though this is a blog post, I can see you glaring back at your screen rolling your eyes thinking- Why does she have to burst my bubble... she obviously doesn't know what I want...

Oh girl, but do I EVER know what you want! This industry is full of un-attainable ideas. I would know, because I too have fed the creative Pinterest monster with over the top style shoots and glamorous ideas that can quickly eat away an 80k budget..... Circling back, what you want - isn't what your going to get. But I can at least help guide you or even help you understand how to plan your wedding with or without a planner. 

SO LET ME SHARE 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN YOUR PLANNING A TENT WEDDING

UNEVEN GROUND

So you think you have the perfect spot in your parent's backyard.! That's great- until you find out you need to re-level your whole backyard so that you have even ground. Sounds trivial right!? Well it's not. Uneven ground is wedding planner code for - we need to build you a sub-floor since you really have a "hill here" and the tent structure requires a flat surface. But hold on again! If you need to create a sub-floor and are essentially elevating the tent on a platform...you now need to have railings in any opening of the tent as well as stairs. - Wait did you say? Grandma's in a wheel chair..?!?.. now you have to build a ramp. Now wait a minute - your on a septic field? It ain't pretty but now your going to have to water barrel instead of having a nicely pitched tent.

Price Tag $5k-$8k

 

YOU FORGOT

That even though you now have your tent you need to furnish it. That literally means every stick of furniture, linen, plate, napkins, glasses, chairs, tables, dance floor....oh and don't forget the salt and pepper shakers! And here's the kicker - that electrical outlet you think you're going to plug into for electricity - that's just a pipe dream darling! I've tried....

Price Tag $4k to 12k

 

YOU DIDN'T CONSIDER

You didn't consider how old your tent was and that it hasn't been washed in a decade, you can see all the whole patches from quick fixes over the years and that the wind is making your tent flap around like it might just fly away at any moment... The chairs you ordered are also wobbly and falling apart...... 

Girl, tell me you thought about bugs. I'm not talking about the wasps, mosquitoes, farm flies...no no no my friend! I am talking about the little kamikaze flies that look microscopic then suddenly fly into your eye....you know what I'm talking about! Yeah well they love to get lost inside you wine glasses.....or better yet just plain die on your linen.... how they do it, I will never know! 

Have you heard about wicking!? The act: To absorb or draw off (liquid) by capillary action. Just a little heads up... your linen is going to do that.....from the dew in your grass. 

 

YOU NEED TO LOCK YOUR HOUSE

A tent wedding can easily become a house party. There are all sorts of reasons why someone will want to go inside! These are the best ones I've encountered to date.

  1. I don't want to use the outdoor port-a-potty
  2. It's too hot!
  3. It's too cold
  4. The football game is on....

Oh yes my dears... I have heard it all!

 

UNEXPECTED

So the weather's not looking too good, and it rains. If you haven't done your due diligence in raising your tent on a platform or re-surfacing your lawn you could be looking at a hot and humid tent with pools of rain waterunder your tables and even a soggy dance floor.

 

HOT COMMODITIES

Washrooms, Ice and believe it or not, water are hot commodities. All of which will have you running for extra t.p, hand soap, to the corner store to restock ice for the bar and refilling water pitchers. 

 

INVENTORY

As your wedding day approaches your preliminary rental order doesn't quite cut it anymore. Your guest list has grown or maybe shrunken and now that all your RSVP'S are in, you need to re-adjust what you've ordered for tables, chairs, linens, cutlery, plates, bar glassware, the amount of bars you need, dance floor size etc etc.... let the onslaught of emails begin. It literally may feel like a second part time job. I hope your good with MS Word because someone is going to ask you for a floor plan...

 

SET UP

So all your rentals arrive and suddenly you realize it's "drop off only" and it's up to you and your friends to set-up all your tables chairs, lighting, table cloths, centerpieces etc etc etc. Seems like its simple until you quickly see that you didn't leave enough space between the tables for chairs chairs and a decent walking path...or even worse!- the tent is too small for what you thought would work. 

But before you put absolutely everything out, you're going to need to count EVERYTHING! Because if they short you on glasses - disaster... or if you notice that you didn't receive- for example: 250 glasses...the rental company will assume you broke them and CHARGE YOU! Yup! You only have a few hours after rentals have been dropped off to count and find out what your missing and if anything came broken and needs to be replaced.

 

CATERING

What I'm about to explain is a HUGE thorn in my side! Caterers who are un-experienced, purposely under staffing to cut costs which results in poor food quality and lack of service. It never fails - my girls are always busing tables which is NOT in our job description. Please, what ever you do, don't cheap out on your catering. Because if we weren't there.,.. it would have been an absolute disaster! I don't care if it's just  BBQ or a buffet - you need to order more staff then you think you will need! 

 

TEARDOWN

Surprise! That's on you too! The day after should be for relaxing and nursing that epic hangover - after all you just planned the biggest party of your life! But no- you now have to pack everything up and wait for your rental tent company to come three days late to pick up your tent. I swear it's a tent rental company thing....

 

SO WHAT DID WE LEARN?

  1. Hire a planner - seriously!
  2. Mow your lawn at least 4 days prior to your wedding
  3. Put your linens out the afternoon of your wedding after the dew has evaporated
  4. Buy/rent a generator twice as big as you think you'll need
  5. Have a dedicated ice runner
  6. SPEND on a well vetted caterer!!!!! 
  7. Invite or let the neighbors know your having a backyard wedding. (no bylaw). If they do come, keep the volume up but turn your base down- that's primarily what they hear anyways...
  8. Buy at least 24 bags of ice per 50ppl for the entire evening.... that includes cocktails, dinner and dancing
  9. You need one bar with two bartenders and 1 bar back for every 100 guests
  10. Count your rental inventory
  11. Hire an attendant for your portable washroom
  12. Make sure you have lighting not only in the tent but for pathways leading to the tent, for catering and for the bar
  13. Garbage cans and disposal! Make sure catering leaves with all their garbage! 

and lastly....

13. Don't be a hero

Because if something is going wrong on your wedding day- it's already too late.

xox

Elise 

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