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D & B THEATRE ST JAMES MONTREAL WEDDING

Theatre St James Montreal Toast Events Wedding

This past summer we were privileged to have meticulously planned and designed Dana’s exclusive wedding in Montreal’s Old Port at the Theatre St.James’ Imperial Ballroom. The venue was like none I had ever seen before, formally being the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce built in 1907. The St James Theatre has been transformed into one of Montreal’s most prestigious event venues, complete with 70ft walls, marble floors and suspended stained-glass ceiling. My favourite feature includes the former bank vault where we hosted our champagne bar.

Owners Ezio Carosielle & Luisa Sassano have protected this heritage gem, restoring and impeccably maintaining it over the years. Among the St James, Ezio and Luisa also have Theatre Rialto and are currently renovating a gorgeous church- newly minted as the Theatre Cartier due to open sometime in the near future.

My first site visit was in winter of 2017, this gorgeous brunette arrived draped in a beautiful vintage fur coat. #Queen. We toured the property, looked at all possible event spaces, staging areas and chatted logistics on lighting such a large space and designing a proportionate floor plan. During our conversations she point to the balcony on the second floor overlooking the main reception space and said- “And that’s where we are going to do our thank you speech and bouquet toss.” #died #queenx2 #areyoumystwin? Suffice to say this venue was a blank canvas with endless possibilities. In the end we deiced to fill the entire space with only candles. In person it was a scene out of a 1940’s Vogue Magazine and was beautifully captured by Joel & Justyna Photography . To be honest I’m not sure any guests realized there wasn’t a flower in sight as our main objective was to highlight the architecture of the building through the twinkle of the light reflecting through our 100 crystal candelabras.

Logistically the design was challenging in terms of- we flipped the main event space in 45mins. It’s these types of weddings I live for…. and also almost die for lol…. since I typically have multiple mini heart attacks while planning a seamless transition. Only the best vendors can accomplish the tasks I set forth before them and Wedecor came through without skipping a beat. This all goes to show- we can plan, design, decorate etc literally anywhere, no matter the logistics or complexities. So if you’re planning a wedding in another city-if you have the right planning, design and installation team of vendors, anything is possible.

Dana’s wedding day was absolutely perfect. We arrived onsite at 10am to begin set-up for a 4pm ceremony. Our core planning team of 3 were on our toes until 1am while working with over 15 vendors with a total over 120 staff to manage throughout the day. I’d like to personally thank Wedecor, Brera Catering from Montreal, the wonderful tech & event specialist team at Theatre St.James, Joel & Justyna Photography, Reno Video, Makeup Artist Jaquie Pogue, Hair Stylist Tara Kieran and Primetime Entertainment for their commitment in making Dana’s dream come true. Your dedication for perfection does not go unnoticed and I am forever grateful for having worked with such a great team of vendors.

So without further ado, enjoy the collection of images bellow.

xo

Elise

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BRITTANY & ZACH HORTICULTURE BUILDING

toast events wedding planning ottawa

I almost pinched myself when I walked into the Horticulture Building at 9 am to check in on set-up. There were no words. Even with partial decor I knew every design detail we worked tirelessly on was about to live it's own life.  It's one thing when you're designing on paper- but to see it all come full circle, is truly special. 

We first met Brittany when we're invited to plan her surprise proposal by Laura Kelly Photography. I had never met the bride or groom until just shortly before the proposal, when I shouted from a bush "Zach- show me the goods". (aka the ring) before I walked him to where his unsuspecting fiance-to-be was waiting. And I didn't know it then- but we were in it for the long run. 

Almost two years later Brittany and Zach tied the knot at the Basilica Notre Dame with their reception at the Horticulture Building. Brittany chose her vendors well, investing in the best of what she loved and trusted them to take her wedding from what she envisioned to something which was more beautiful then she could have ever expected. 

It was an absolute honour to plan and work with such a talented team on behalf of Brittany & Zach. 

FROM THE BRIDE:

I can’t believe this is the subject of this email - i’m still a crying wreck today, I can’t believe how emotional I’ve been about all of this.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, from the very bottom of my heart, for everything you (and your team) did for us. Not just on Saturday but throughout the whole engagement. I’m still beyond overwhelmed at the perfection that was Saturday. Walking into that venue was a serious highlight for me.

Not only the set-up/vision (which i know included so many little touches from your own stash, which were truly breathtaking), but also the timeline, organization, and going to bat for me with the crazy people at the church - i cannot thank you enough!

I can seriously say that i look back on Saturday with zero regrets. There is not a single thing i would do differently. I honestly felt like I lived the Toast motto - i felt like the most special guest at my very own wedding reception! I let go of all of my anxiousness, nerves and stress and was able to just fully enjoy all of it!! I cannot thank you enough. Every single one of my family/bridal party who interacted with you and your team this weekend had glowing things to say. We could NOT have done it without you.

I’m so so proud of my wedding day - thank you so much, this is the best feeling!!

xox
B
— Brittany Dinardo
Toast Events Horticulture Building Ottawa Wedding Planner
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Planning & Design: Toast Events 

Photography: Laura Kelly Weddings

Video: Matt & Kat Wedding Videography

Decorator & Florist: Wedecor

Makeup: Klava Zykova

Hair: Top Knot

Stationary & Invitations: La Fabere

Cake: Serendipity Cakes

Dress: Hayley Paige 

Jewelry: Sarah Walsh Bridal

 

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Minimalist National Art Gallery Wedding

Toast Events National Art Gallery Wedding

I'm going to hold this one dear to my heart for a very long time.

Even as I sit here in front of my computer, months later writing this, I still get a little teary eyed. It was so sooooo beautiful. It was such an honour working with Melanie & Charlie as we planned their Ukrainian wedding.

Weddings rich with culture and tradition always leave me with so many more meaningful memories. I'll never forget it when the priest, unscripted, sang grace.....with a choir. The building echoed. It was overwhelmingly magical. 

But instead of writing about this wonderful day, let me show you.

Photography by Joel & Justyna Bedford

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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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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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BEFORE & AFTER INDUSTRIAL WEDDING AT THE HORTICULTURE BUILDING

In popular demand, the Horticulture Building has been one of the toughest venues to reserve. Other than Zibbi, the Hort is the only other trending warehouse venue to accommodate a 200+ guest list.

This space leaves a lot to the imagination and with little to no help from the booking department at the City of Ottawa- a planner is almost essential in navigating permits, rentals, catering, space access and liaison to city staff and security on your wedding day. 

We're no stranger to Landsdowne, as we've planned their largest wedding to date in the Aberdeen Pavillion as well as several other weddings in the Horticulture Building.

So here's the space you have.  And it comes with some tables and chairs and no garbage bins-note to catering ;)

Horticulture Building

A gorgeous blank slate where you can hold your ceremony and reception with cocktails on the patio. Separate catering entrance and work stations located at the back of the space. All patio doors open.

 

HOLLY & SHAWNS TRANSFORMATION

We started planning H+S's wedding back in late 2015. The perfect example of a client who stated their vision then said -- run wild! Now I wouldn't say we went crazy by any means, but we kept the decor chic and minimalistic.

 

INITIAL VISION

Toast Events Wedding Mood Board
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LAYOUT

We included a ceremony in the front half of the space which had never been attempted before which left city staff skeptical. The ceremony turned out perfectly and were able to re-purpose the ceremony floral arch behind the head table.

Toast Events Wedding Mood Board

BEFORE

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Toast Events Horticulture Building Wedding Thyme & Again Catering
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PHOTOGRAPHY: Kymberly Dozois

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THE ELEVATE MASTERCLASS

elevate retreat

 

I'm so excited to announce the launch of The Elevate Retreat, all about taking your business to the next level! 

 

ELEVATE YOUR BUSINESS

ELEVATE YOUR BRAND

ELEVATE YOUR LIFE

 

I seriously couldn't think of a better life then being an entrepreneur and blazing my own trail. It's never easy, but the thrill of the ride is a feeling like no other! 

I started in the business just shy of a decade ago. When Pinterest and Instgram didn't exist and Facebook didn't allow company pages. Yes, 2007 was a time in business where there was no online anything! No content management websites, no one really understood the concept of a blog, SEO was a made up word and there were no workflow cloud organizational tools. Now, when I think of this, I'm astounded!

Elise Schmitz and Laura Kelly Elevate Retreat

I literally had zero tools to set up my business except my own brain, an agenda, my blackberry and a hand written binder for each client. I created my own workflow, developed my own client experience, made all my consultation forms from scratch and lived and learned from my own mistakes. 

I remember one of my old professors say to me, "Don't open your own business up right away. Make mistakes on someone else's dime." And even though I was little appalled, it made sense. So I'm going to be honest- that's what I did. Granted my mistakes were little and insignificant because I had such a wonderful teacher & boss. And so now it's my turn to be here for you! To guide you through life and business without making the same mistakes as I did, and to teach you how to get to the top- faster! 

 
ELEVATE RETREAT
 

 

The ELEVATE MASTERCLASS is all about this journey. My journey and Laura's journey. How we came from nothing to something pretty incredible - Industry Influencers. Our stories are crazy and the knowledge we have gained along the way is yours for the taking. 

So I invite you to check us out! 

FACEBOOK 

ELEVATE WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM @elevateretreat

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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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BEFORE & AFTER

Converted Church ottawa Toast Events Planner
Converted Ottawa church
 

I first met with Samantha and Amin back in the summer of 2013 at small coffee shop in New Edinburg. Little did I know this client was about to give me carte blanche for what would be the most amazing concept to creation a planner could have ever dreamed of in a super exclusive venue. 

I first walked into this reclaimed church for a preliminary site visit I could immediately see the space transforming infront of my eyes. I've been asked about my creative process, and it's something I can't quite put into words. It's kind of like walking into the picture on the right, closing your eyes, and opening them and literally seeing the picture on the left. Vision and potential. And this space checked every box in my creative soul.

The space had been gutted with no immediate plans for any renovations or improvements. Patchy paint, green stained parliamentary looking carpets, 60 scattered unhinged pews, no washrooms or running water. The church in day-light looked weathered. But at night it emanated character of an age gone by and an old world ambiance almost as if you were in transported to little Italy. 

The opportunities this converted church provided were endless and by the time we walked out of the space I knew exactly every design element and the vendors needed to make this an absolutely gorgeous wedding.

 

CURRATED STYLE FILE

Before we delve into the before and after pictures here is the Style File we created for Samantha & Amin in 2014. This is a great glimpse into how our initial style boards come translate to "the day of". 

I will confess! I do have a very specific formula of how I plan and design a wedding. The very first thing I do is establish concept and priorities, solidify venue, then move into design, choose a photographer who will document the wedding according to the clients overall design and style, and lastly secure reputable vendors to ensure a strong cohesive look and feel based on intention and fore-thought can be brought to life. Not rocket science by any means...but that's just the beginning. 

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

DESIGN ELEMENTS

CHURCH PEWS

Since the "church" was now desacralized everything was fair game. This meant we could use the space however we wanted. During our meeting Samantha said something that really resonated with me which unintentionally became the driving force behind our design. She said, her grandmother always wanted her to have a church wedding, but that she herself wasn't did not want a traditional "churchy" wedding. It was almost like a light bulb when off inside my head.......no nuptials inside the church.....we're going to bring all the pews outside on the lawn and your going to get married on the steps leadings up to the church....she died! Little did I know the groom was a New Yorker and HATED BUGS.... good thing I'm a great convincer!

Reclaimed ottawa church wedding planning Toast Events

BANNERS

I tend to pride myself in incorporating a unique design element which I like to call the "Piece de Resistance" that will leave a lasting impression with guests. Something slightly extravagant and unlike anything else you've seen at a generic wedding.

Ugly purple banners turned suspended florals and hanging candles. Bringing the outside, inside. A gorgeous floating element that would not only enhance the space but transform. 

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planner Old Church
Reclaimed ottawa church Toast Events Weddings

SUBTLE GRAND ENTRANCE

As our official altar and entrance to the venue we created a floral climbing vine to soften and accentuate the doorway. It was so perfectly designed, guests thought it was part of the landscape.

Reclaimed church Ottawa Wedding Planner Toast Events
Toast Events Wedding Ottawa

LAST MINUTE 

Two weeks before the wedding the groom straight out of left field said "Hey! Let's have some sort or entertainment.. like maybe some fire dancers..."

My reaction.... "Ummm what?!. lol let me ponder on that for a bit!". 

My thought process thereafter: fire + old church divided by insurance =....not gonna happen.... interpretive dancers in glow in the dark costumes- was that even a thing?.... houla-hoop body morphing performance-negative......hmmmm..aerial silks performance?! Mic drop.

This generated a new problem; space was tight and I needed to find a creative way to incorporate a 20ft structure into the venue without it looking like an eye-soar. It also had to be dismantled before the night was over with guests still milling about. One thing you need to know about me is I hate moving things while guests are using the same space. It just looks bad. This structure was a couple hundred pounds and took 45 mins to set up and would equally take as long to be taken down. If you look closely you will see the acro structure at the back of the venue right in front of the main doors. I took a huge risk in its ultimate placement but I also felt like a genius when every guest walked into the space underneath this structure but only noticed it's presence until show time.

Then guests would move inside for the reception, dinner and dancing. Since Samantha & Amin wanted it to be more of a celebration all our entertainment came from Montreal. Marco Ferri Entertainment provided us with two of their best DJ's and Mc's paired with special Areal Silk performance which literally knocked our socks off.

In the left hand picture you can see all the pews we had to either use or carefully and cleverly store. We used 26 pews outside for the ceremony and integrated 16 inside at guests reception tables. Another unique detail I just had to incorporate. 

Reclaimed ottawa Church Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed ottawa Church Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed ottawa Church Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed ottawa Church Toast Events Wedding Planner

OLD WORD DETAILS

It was important to me to keep the space uncluttered, simple with just the right amount of european styling. 

Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Old world design + reclaimed church = Joel & Justyna from Joel Bedford Photography

DOCUMENTED

With their 1950's Vogue vibe I couldn't have asked for a better photography duo. Old world design + reclaimed church = Joel & Justyna from Joel Bedford Photography.

Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Old world design + reclaimed church = Joel & Justyna from Joel Bedford Photography
Old world design + reclaimed church = Joel & Justyna from Joel Bedford Photography
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planner
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
A better view of the structure located just at the front doors of the church

A better view of the structure located just at the front doors of the church

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

WEDDING PLANNER: Toast Events, Elise Schmitz, Madison Kelly, Victoria Denofrio, Allie Darwin

CONCEPT & DESIGN: Elise Schmitz Toast Events 

DECORATOR & FLORIST: Wedecor

PHOTOGRAPHER: Joel Bedford Photography

CATERER: Tulips & Maple

OFFICIANT: Exceptional Ceremonies

LIMOUSINE: East Coast Limos

INVITATION: Minted

TABLE STATIONARY: Wedecor

CAKE: Thimbles Cakes

MAKEUP: Natalie Peachy

DJ: Marco Ferri Entertainment

AERIAL SILKS: Quality Entertainment (Montreal Acrobats)

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V+S WEDDING AT RESTAURANT 18

Restaurant Eighteen Ottawa Market

My absolute favorite exclusive downtown venue for the luxury bride.

When I think of this place it reminds me of mid week European wedding where the reception is more of a long meal with non-intrusive live music. Drinking and eating and drinking some more. As soon as you step into Restaurant 18 you can rest assured you will be wined and dined with hospitality and care like no other. The ambiance alone leaves little to decorate leaving only small design details for consideration. 

This was the perfect spot for V+S's wedding. When I originally met with this couple, we chatted about unique industrial wedding spaces in Ottawa while still keeping an organic look and feel. We explored Zibbi, Museum of Nature, Aquatopia, Le Belvedere and Restaurant 18. 

Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18
Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18
Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18

Zibbi's was a logistical nightmare (although certainly do-able) but rentals alone would eat half or more of our budget, Museum of Nature isn't the best for photography, Aquatopia was too small and too hot, Le Belvedere was a bit far for her elderly guests which left us with 18. 

The next challenge was keeping the organic look with 18's glitzy mirrored ceilings, gold tree trunk tables and their "Beetlejuice" chairs I love soooo much! And with Erin from the former Full Bloom - this was easily achievable. 

Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18

Using garden flowers and a transparent Eiffel stands we pulled the gold through the glass table from the ground up. Arrangements were designed to look loose and natural with a whispyness- almost like you could see a breeze. 

Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18
Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18
Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18

Dark maroon foliage was a stunning element carried throughout the design and decor ending with a sprig of greenery or bloom on each place setting.

Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18

Tucked away in the wine cellar corner was a long estate table for the bridal party, with those classic "Beetlejuice" chairs I love so much! Hedges of garden roses with black floating candles filled the gap between taller florals. This was a stunner for sure. We kept the design simple and to the point. Like I always tell me clients:

"Choose vendors that inspire you, then let them handle the rest."

Because in reality, a true professional will likely know what you want, before you even really know. 

Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18
Toast Events Real Wedding Ottawa Restaurant 18

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S+A AT LE BELVEDERE

Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa Elise Schmitz with Bride

When you walk onsite it's like a wave of calm slowly sinks in, and this planner is legit relaxed. The view is something I can't really describe. Le Belvedere is like a secluded Muskoka resort, better yet- something you'de see on the cover of a B.C tourism magazine. But I'm not there for the ambiance. I'm there for the exclusivity, five star service, world class cuisine, on-pointe amenities, guest accommodations and well, truth be told, Jessica. That's right, Jessica. The powerhouse  that has made Le Belvedere what it is today. Working in tandem with her is an absolute pleasure. She is one of a few I consider to be a top notch professional.

This past long weekend I had the pleasure of coordinating 2 weddings, one oh which was Sarah & Andrew's wedding at Le Belvedere. This couple melts my heart right down to the core- and for 24hrs I felt like family. 

Now I can't take ANY credit for styling Sarah's wedding, although I wish I could ;) This was all the amazing work of Rebel Petal. If you followed us on Snap Chat (eliseschmitz) last Saturday, you would have been privy to a video walk-through of the space decked out. We also posted pictures in stages to showcase the thought behind this gorgeous design. 

So let me break it down for you. Sarah had no idea what to expect. She provided Michelle & Gary aka "mastermind-florists-taking-over-the world" with her vision, color palette, budget and told Michelle to surprise her. 

Michelle got to work a dreamed up a three stage design concept. She highlighted each estate table with three completely different centerpieces as seen bellow.  

ESTATE TABLE ONE: Long garlands of Sallal and Eucalyptus leaves adorned with mercury vases w/  posy of creamed spray roses

ESTATE TABLE TWO:  Tall Hydrangea centerpieces with cascading Ivy 

ESTATE TABLE THREE: Low pedestal arrangements with Hydrangea, cascading ivy with peach and ivory roses.  

 

Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa
Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa Rebel Petal
Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa flowers floral design centrepieces

This cake is so dreamy. With Tulips in July and the sweet sent of strung Jasmine, I was LITERALLY in heaven people. FYI Jasmine in the floral world is RARE like a blue moon. First time I've ever had real Jasmine on this scale in over 500 weddings.

Now drift your eyes to the right-hand side of the page. The horseshoe...... I just died. The special attention Sarah's sister and Maid of Honor Jessica took in painting these in the "right" tone of gold......I stole one. I full on popped one in my purse and I'm hanging it on top of my front door. (for the record, there was one at my place-setting... I'm so not a shady wedding planner)

Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa wedding cake
Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa Horseshoe Floral Design
Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa
Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa floral centrepieces
Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa

Cascading Ivy and Jasmine in this 10ft tall entrance piece. I love first impressions, especially when this is what you see when you first walk in the reception. 

Toast Events Wedding at Le Belvedere Ottawa

And last but not least a video of our beloved couple on their wedding day by Up North Wedding Films. 

DREAM TEAM

Planning & Coordination: Elise Schmitz, Madison Kelly & Intern Allie Darwin
Venue: Le Belvedere
Floral Design: Rebel Petal
Cake: Take Another Bite
Hair Stylists: Salon Silk
Makeup Artist: Sarah Clayton
Wedding Video: Up North Wedding Films
DJ: Chris Lunardi
Solo Singer: Ryan Tansley
Officiant: Dr Alan Viau
Photography: Union 11, Derrek
Transportation: East Coast Limousines
Stationary: Ink Blossom

 

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OTTAWA NEWEST VENUE: PARISIAN INSPIRED BARN

Toast Events & Stonefields Parisian Style Barn

Last night the team and I attended Stonefields Loft Reveal- and it was everything we had hopped for! I keep saying to myself "Where was this 3 years ago when I got married!". And it's true, Ottawa has grown leaps and bounds with creative new wedding venues, indie vendors with super cool niche products to truly customize your wedding to your own personal brand. 

So let me tell you why I love this venue so much. First it starts with the people who run it. The very heart of Stonfields, Steph & Steve, the power couple.- well, at least that's what I call them, and I'll tell you why. 

Husband & Wife team + 3 year old twins divided by building the prettiest 130 year old Parisian inspired countryside barn, you ever did see! = POWER COUPLE

Steph & Steve, if your reading this- Way to raise the bar guys..... ;)

I had a nice chat with Steve and I asked him, "How do you do it..the re-build, running a full catered establishment..with small twins..." . Kids are a mystery for me and I loved his response, "Passion and dedication.". And it's true -if your passionate about what you do, you will not feel as though you have worked a day in your life. And from there he told me it took him 3 days to assemble every little crystal on their 8ft chandelier. And that my friends in patience.

The story behind the barn is quite astonishing. Not even 365 days ago this exact barn was located a few miles down the road fully functioning with cattle! Yup, yah heard me right...livestock people! I'de really love to see the before pictures.... So with this being said, the barn was dissembled board by board, numbered and re-assembled onsite where Stonefields big white tent used to me. The reconstruction started last October and was completed just in time for Steph & Steve's own wedding.

Toast Events & Stonefield Farm & Wedecor
Toast Events & Stonefield Farm & Wedecor
Toast Events, Stonefields, Wedecor
Decorated & Styled by  Wedecor

Decorated & Styled by Wedecor

With me, it's all about the subtle details. And let me tell you, there were no detail or expense spared. Two elements really took me by surprise, where I stood back and thought to myself; someone really knew what they were doing- like a boss! It might not matter to you but choosing the right tinted crystal for your chandeliers is extremely important. It defines the line between class and meh. I truly am hard to impress, but these statement works of art have the perfect amber undertone. Think Beauty and the Beast....yes that chandelier that literally glows without the lights turned on. I think it might have hypnotized me, because I'm sure I stared at it for a good 5 mins.

Second item- chairs. Oh no, not just any chair, the chair. You know the one, Parisian/Tuscan looking wooden chair we all drool over....well, these ones perfectly matched the 130 year old beams of the barn. I know what your thinking and no, it's not matchy-matchy, it's cohesive providing that detail which provides that polished look.

And lastly, throwing another style detail in here, the hay loft ladders. Their still there! Preserving the character of the barn by these simple details told me, Steve & Steph really put their heart and soul into building a unique wedding venue like no other.

THE DEETS

  • Capacity 200 sit down dinner
  • Heated floors
  • Covered patio across the length of the barn
  • Vaulted ceilings
  • Large indoor integrated bar
  • Tuscan/Parisian style chairs included with space
  • Indoor & outdoor ceremony space
  • Mini resort feel
  • Exclusivity
  • No barn animals :) 

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RANDY FENOLI'S MESSAGE TO ME

Rany Fenoli & Elise Schmitz, Owner & Planner, Toast Events

A few months ago we were hand selected and invited to participate in Randy Fenoli's VIP event at Centrepoint Theaters. 300 brides attended Randy's speaking engagement paired with a boutique style bridal show with the who's-who of Ottawa's wedding professionals. Naturally, we we're honored to have been selected and were most certainly amongst great company!

HIS MESSAGE

Hearing Randy speak re-enforced my own wedding planning philosophies, that a wedding is really a "telling of the couples story". He talked about how important it was to be true to yourself and your own identity - and that this should be reflected in all elements on your wedding day. What's in and what's out really isn't important to Randy -I couldn't agree more! 

Randy mentioned a specific bride which came to him with quite a dilemma. She had tried over 30 glitzy beaded gowns and couldn't find the right one to match her barn reception venue. -hold the phone people! Dress + Venue = Must Match.............?!

At this point it was obvious to Randy that the brides personal identity was more prone to the sparkly beaded gowns with lace accents and Swarovsky crystals, than the understated boho countryside trend she was trying to emulate. And to this Randy replied, "You don't need to match the venue darling, just throw up a chandelier- now you match!".  My thoughts exactly; think outside the box. 

It's always nice to see your own values and philosophies in others. It confirms that I'm on the right track. What's that saying they say......"Great minds think alike." ;) 

 

 

 

 

 

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APPLAUSE

Toast Events Client Testimonial

Every now and again we get some incredible emails from our clients. My team and I pride ourselves in being present and attentive as we journey along with our clients. One thing I can say first hand is that we're here to gently guide and keep you on track as we plan one of the biggest celebrations of your life. So when we get a random email like this, well lets just say, it's very humbling. 


I just want to tell you have WONDERFUL it has been to work with you so far!

As you can imagine during our move we have had to work with a series of companies and people in a short period of time to close up things with our old home and start things with our new home. With anything sometimes you get people that are great and some people you have to deal with are terrible. This week has been particularly difficult with a few companies and it has really made me stop and think about the people who have been great to work with.

I honestly can’t tell you how much I appreciate working with someone that goes with the flow, rolls with whatever and manages our crazy schedules.

At the beginning of this process I wasn’t sure if we needed a planner for anything other than day of and maybe some help with styling and some recommendations – now I WILL HIGHLY RECOMMEND a full plan to any one that listens and I will HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU and YOUR TEAM!!!

You have made this so easy – taken so much stress off of us and pushed us forward even when we were really busy and normally would have waited to make choices – You helped us get exactly what we want – even when we completely changed our minds – and you were excited and happy to take it on! You have been WONDERFUL and I can’t tell you enough how glad both Adam and I are that you are helping us. We are so lucky to have found you!

I personally think people in general don’t always take the time to recognize the companies and people that go above and beyond. So I did want to take this opportunity to tell you that it DOES NOT GO UNNOTICED and it DOES NOT GO UNAPPRECIATED!!!!

Thank You for all of your hard work so far!

Catherine
— Catherine. E, October 15th 2016 bride

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DESIGNING ROSE QUARTZ & SERENITY

Rose Quartz & Serenity

Designing your wedding with Rose Quartz & Serenity by Victoria Denofrio

Pantone’s 2016 colours- gorgeous hues of Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue, lends a softer side to design your special day with. Whether your taste is vintage, rustic, contemporary, botanical or minimalist, these hues can and will take your breath away. 

It's imperative you pair Rose Quartz & Serenity properly or face the potential unintended consequences of your wedding looking like a baby shower. When your designing with a specific palette, be mindful to ensure the right shades are chosen for a cohesive and seamless look.  

Mood borad

"My favorite way to add color is in the details. Tasty drinks, silk hand tied ribbons, stationary and the like. Think big picture, while ensuring your details aren't overdone. Compartmentalize your design areas, then like a coloring book, choose where you feel your color should be. If your table cloth is Serenity, avoid using that same colour for your napkin and table menu. Instead use the color for your stationary typography with a serenity ribbon detail and Rose Quartz floral centerpieces."

-Elise 

If a fully pastel scheme just isn't your style, adding muted shades and the bold pop of a dark colour may give you that sense of adventure your looking for. Feminine, yet lends to the gentlemen; like a navy blue suite! 

For picture references & credit, see our Pinterest account for more details and image links.

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WEDDING DAY GROOMSMEN URBAN RETREAT

Toast Events Urban Retreat Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas

It's all to often that your man get's the short end of the stick when it comes to the whole wedding planning process. Time and time again the groom will lean over to me and say, "Tell me when to show up, and I'll be there!". And when it comes to planning a wedding, you know what, I couldn't ask for anything more! 

But on your wedding day while your getting all primped up, your groom and groomsmen are likely twiddling their thumbs anxiously throwing back a "few" celebratory shots. It literally takes the groomsmen 15 minutes to get ready, so with lots of nervous time on their hands, why not send them to a man retreat. That's right, I said it, MAN RETREAT. There is such a thing!

With the lumberjack / viking / hipster movement, it's now socially "acceptable" for a men to enjoy being groomed... like a gentleman. Thankfully the whole metrosexual term has been dead since 2007. I personally like my husband to take care of himself. He comes home looking dapper and well mannered. If only the barber would throw in some etiquette tips on the DL- I'de send him weekly.

With a discerning eye, I set out to find the perfect man retreat for my husband, but had a list of things that needed to be ticked off my "picky list" before I went just anywhere.

1. I wanted the barber shop environment to exude class, manliness and privacy. Almost like walking into a modern version of a victorian gentlemen's study.

2. Professional customer service with friendly approachable barbers who actually spoke. You know what I mean. No one likes a snobby mute man barber!

3. Because I was keen on purchasing some facial products for my husband, I wasn't interested in the usual "Aveda" or "Biotherm". I wanted a luxury brand, because he deserves the best. As does your man.

4. I'm a sucker for branding, so this too topped my radar.

I waltzed into Warren Chase not knowing they were closed on Mondays. But luck would have it, the owners were in, and the door flew open. I'm huge on first impressions, and I was literally transformed as I walked into the shop. I don't know who styled and decorated the place, but it's man heaven and exactly what I was looking for. I must have looked like a dear caught in headlights. And let me tell you INSTA bestfriend vibes with Trevor & Paul, the owners. I couldn't help dropping some serious cash for a plethora of services for my husband without feeling guilty. After all I was supporting local ;)

In the new year, I was excited for my husband to make his appointment. Naturally I tagged along to witness the whole process. Let me take you threw it... but first some visuals...scroll down & enjoy.....

Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase

THE ASSESSMENT

After you've checked in and have been caffeinated, our barber assessed my husbands hair  and man whiskers, asking quite a few questions from "how do you wear your hair every day" to pointing out certain intricate hair patterns he had - cow licks, flat hair, alfalfa hair and this patch grows faster then the rest. After this inspection a tailored hair cut complete with hot towels and scalp massage followed.

Hair Cut $45

Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase

THE CADILLAC SHAVE

They say, It's time to do it up "old school". The 45 mins ultimate 12 step shave is a full sensory experience that starts with a shot of bourbon and ends with his face as smooth as a baby's back side. 

Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase

As you can see, this is quite the process. I counted at least 8 hot towels and three straight blade pass-overs. Our barber, Corey was great an explaining each step and was super friendly. 

Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase
Toast Events Wedding Bridal Party, Getting Ready Details & Ideas, Hot Shaves, Warren Chase

So how would I rate the whole Warren Chase? A++

The whole process took about 2 and a half hours. The perfect amount of time for your groom and his bridal party to enjoy a hot shave & trim before his long walk down the aisle. Warren Chase has 2 locations. Rideau Street and their flagship shop in Train Yards. So wether your downtown or in the south end, their shop has easy access. If you enquire you might be able to rent the morning solely to yourself. 

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PRO'S & CON'S OF RECEPTION SITES

Toast Events Bride & Groom Chateau Laurier

The biggest decision and the largest amount of your budget will be spent on your venue choice. There are so many options, but which is best for you and what should you consider in choosing your reception venue? Perhaps I can shed some light in helping you determine your perfect fit.

OUTDOORS

Let's face it, outdoor weddings are by far the most romantic, with gorgeous landscapes, glowing sunsets, bonfires and fresh air. Outdoor weddings are among my most favourites, however these settings host a set of it's own challenges and budget constraints. Having a big white tent and a blank canvas can easily throw your budget right out the window. 

CONS

Unpredictable Weather

I hate to say it, and some brides tend to be in a bit of denial when approaching the subject, but weather can make of break your wedding. I've heard horror stories of guests whom have attended rainy outdoor weddings that were wet, hot and humid. The three worst elements to endure in a silk gown. Always have a backup plan ready. 

Tents are Costly

Sure the price tag might says $1,200 but that rarely includes chairs ($8-$15 per), tables ($12-$15 per), cutlery & stemware ($5-$10 a setting), linens, ($12-$25 per) staging ($100-$250), dance floor ($300- $600), draping and electricity ($800-$1200). Add that all up and your tent doubles, sometimes triples in cost. All of these items are rarely charged in other site fees.

Temperature Control

If your looking for heat you'll be left with unsightly propane heaters which you routinely see on restaurant patios. If you do decide to go this route you will absolutely need to make sure the tent is well ventilated so fumes may escape your "enclosed" area. If it's the heat that's bothering you, the last things you should do is open all the tent walls. This encourages any slight breeze to knock over your gorgeous tall centrepieces into your guests laps. I've personally had one knock a guest on the head. Not a good situation! You can however have the option of installing ceiling fans. I've even had standing fans that spray a very light mist located just outside the tent so that guests may refresh themselves without ruining their dress or makeup application. Having paper fans and lots of water or cozy pashmina's handy is also key in keeping your guests as comfortable as possible.  


HOTELS

Great food and exceptional staff. Everything you need right at your fingertips. Prep suites, ceremony, reception and accommodations all in one place. Bonus, no transportation costs which can save you upwards of $1,500. Because hotels typically host a variety of functions rentals costs are trimmed down to esthetic only. No need to bring in chairs, tables, cutlery etc etc. Hotels are truly an all-in-one experience. You can also arrange a post wedding brunch the next morning with your hotel guests, continuing your celebration. 

CONS

Lack of Flexibility

I always find this a challenge to maneuver. But a good wedding planner can encourage options and possibly work those loop holes you might not have thought of. Some hotels also have proffered vendors which you must work with. Your hotel may also be unionized which can slow down vendor set-ups. Tip: Never order any audio visual last minute. It's ghastly. And always check any possible looming strike mandates which could effect your special day.

Hidden Costs

It's not uncommon for hotels to sometimes double their pricing on Food & Beverage from one year to the next. What you choose today in your consultation may either not be available or the market price of your prime rib just might double. Other fees you might not consider, parking ($12-$25 per), vallet ($20-$25 per), cake cutting fees ($1 to $3 p.p), coat check ($2-$3 p.p), overtime ($100-$250 pr/hr).


AT HOME

Sentimental of course. I think we all dream about having our weddings in our own backyard while getting ready in your childhood home and just steps from where your ceremony will take place. Set-up can be done they day before without rushing those last minute DIY details. 

CONS

Rental Costs Go Up

Just like a tent wedding your starting from scratch. The terrain in your backyard may also not be conducive to tent requirements, parking can become a nightmare and noise control in the evening can put a damper on your festivities. 

House Rules

Keeping guests outside and not in your home isin't as easy as simply locking the doors. Some aunt will always complain to use the in-house washroom or request to be in air-conditioning. Prepare yourself to be constantly kicking guests out. 

Runner

You'll need one person dedicated to just running around grabbing last minute things you forgot such as garbage cans and trips to buy ice to replenish your bar. You'll also be left with the mess at the end of the night. Although you may have the next day to clean up, leaving certain items outside may leave you with damaged linens and mucho wasps.


BANQUET HALLS AND THE LIKE

The price is right, potential one-stop-shop for all your planning needs. In-house decorations and florals are some of the inclusive features in some banquet hall packages. Pretty awesome right?

CONS

POTENTIAL "WEDDING FACTORY FEEL"

We know that sometimes getting married in a hall with no windows can sometimes feel like being in a box. This could increase your decor budget to bring in ambient lighting or even hiding out of place wall art or random structural posts. It may also feel like your just another bride in a line up waiting for access to your space and quickly getting out before the next bride starts dropping off her decor items. Not to mention, you'll probably notice the horrible geometric patterned carpet.

RESTRICTIONS

Your bound by the rules. No fixing things to walls, no hanging items off chandeliers, enclosed flames or battery operated tea lights only. Storage is limited and power requirements for bands and Dj entertainment units can be tricky. As a planner I always need to know where the breakers are.

DOUBLE WEDDINGS

There is a real possibility that there will be another wedding beside yours. You may run into "the other bride" and sometimes even share common areas like foyers, washrooms and even bars. I have had instances where the adjacent wedding scheduled their grand entrance right as our wedding speeches were taking place. There is no such thing as a "sound proof room divider". Sorry ladies. All I can say, is be prepared to share and don't get upset if your not the only girl in a puffy white dress. 

THE SAME LOOK

Most weddings at banquet halls all tend to look the same unless you bring in big decor elements to wow your guests. This is where a wedding stylist or a planner can help you create a more unique and personalized look.


RESTAURANTS

If your a foodie, a restaurant wedding might just be for you. Some restaurants are perfectly designed and decorated that minimal decor and florals are needed. Most restaurants also focus on ambiance so that expensive romantic lighting we love so much is at no extra cost. Custom menu, no problem! The sky is the limit in what you can achieve food wise. But be prepared to pay! 

CONS

Min. Food & Beverage Requirements

Yes, it's a thing. Some restaurants require a minimum amount spent on food and beverage for them to give you exclusive access on a Saturday. This could mean you could be looking at $14,000 to $20,000 in food and bar costs alone. Now, if your main priority is food and your not too fussy about adding decor and flowers aren't your thing, than this budget allotment will work for you.

 

Layout, Layout. Layout

Although a restaurant can be intimate and inclusive, it can also limit what you can do with your floor plan. You might have to sacrifice dinner tables on our dance floor with a possible flip. You also won't be able to move most tables as some venues boldt them to the ground or have partial "booth or bench" seating.  

 

Food Delays

Restaurants have a completely different dinning experience. The service is slower. For example, once guests are seated waiters will take guest orders from an A La Cart Menu (15-20mins), orders are then placed with the kitchen. 20 minutes will pass before the first course is served. You would think that salad would be easy and pre-plated. Wrong! Their kitchens are smaller as they normally prepare by staggered orders. This means they plate as they go. This gives you an extended eating experience which allows for speeches in between and lots of time for your guests to chat. Add another 45mins onto your average wedding dinner period. Because guests are sometimes used to quick service they may look at their watch, but I assure you, by the time the second course arrives they'll ease right into the longer dinner service. 


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POP, FIZZ, CLINK!

Meaghan Brunetti, Elise Schmitz & Jenna Brunetti, The Handmade Bride Launch Party

It's kinda my thing. So any chance I'm extended the invitation to curate a party, well you don't have to ask, the answer is already, and always, YES!

And so the adventures of planning The Handmade Bride's grand opening of their gallery inspired flagship store began. Our main goal was to throw a chic party without the fuss and logistics of dealing with caterers, serving staff, bartenders, crazy rentals  etcetera, etcetera. But we needed to keep in mind not only what these fashion attendees would expect, but the fun factor, creative factor, charitable factor and the wow factor!

We decided to stay classy with a simple champagne bar, live mannequins - fun factor, a floral accouterment- the wow factor, a "Beyond the Veil" photobooth- fun factor  and an interactive painting station- the charitable factor,  where guests could, for a donation paint a live mannequins dress in support of Unicef's campaign against child labor.  

The evening was flawless. Over 40 attendees in the fashion & wedding industry perused our gorgeous live models, sipped champagne and left with a Beyond the Veil snap from MDNR photobooth.

The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
090-Jonathan-Kuhn-Photography-THB-Relaunch-5314.jpg
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
Floral Accoutrements with Presh Floral The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events
Meaghan Brunetti, Owner of The Handmade Bride 

Meaghan Brunetti, Owner of The Handmade Bride 

The Handmade Bride Flagship Launch with Toast Events

PHOTOGRAPHY: Jonathan Kuhn Photography

MAKEUP: Klava Zykova

HAIR: Top Knot 

GOWNS: The Handmade Bride

FLORAL ACCOUTERMENTS: Presh Florals

PLANNING & STYLING: Toast Events

PHOTO BOOT: Modern Photo Booth

CATERING: Gourmet Cuisine

RENTALS: Mastermind Events

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