Don’t Make These Mistakes on Your Wedding Day

Look! It’s another wedding blog that is going to make me break out in hives. Fear not, this post is to help you re-align your thoughts, get centered and have the best possible day.

Not Prioritizing

What is important to you and your partner? Pick three things that really matter and concentrate on those. That can be where most of your time and money is concentrated and the rest is just icing on the cake.

For example, you could choose venue, food and photography. Those are the things you won’t settle on and will fight to the death to make sure they are spectacular. Then, you reduce your stress on other things like your dress/suit/tux, transportation or centrepieces.

Not giving yourself enough prep time

When you are late for work and running around like a crazy person, are you really at your best? Or are you stressed, irrational and probably irritable. Having enough time is easier if you have a later wedding, but you can still be relaxed if you plan ahead. Make sure you have time to enjoy the getting ready process and arrive where you are supposed to be early.

Look at your schedule with a critical eye a few times to make sure you are utilizing the time effectively. Making sure everything is where it needs to be the night before so you just have to wake up and get to where you need to be. Add an extra hair and/or makeup person to the roster – what could be worse than a bridesmaid with a half done up-do!? Reduce travel time by getting ready close to your venue and have hair and makeup personnel come to you.

Photo by Thomas AE on Unsplash

Not Delegating

Lots of people are going to ask you to help – so let them! Especially if they are going to better at something than you are. You may think, oh it’s something I can easily do, but you will be busy enough. If it’s easy and it takes a little off your load, let people help.

This is also where I plug getting a wedding planner or coordinator. Seriously, you then just have to show up on your wedding day and have an amazing time!

Forgetting Why You are All there

This is a celebration of love! Remember that is why everyone is there, for you to celebrate and have fun. No one is going to remember the little details, so don’t stress about them. People will remember the celebrating and how much fun they had!

Social Media for Small Businesses

You are hustling so hard, you have a million things to worry about, you are already having to learn so many new things – how are you going to add a social media marketing plan to you roster?

Aside from hiring me, You are going to plan, plan, plan and then execute effortlessly. Seriously, social media isn’t as spur of the moment as many people perceive it to be.

Here is a new to do list for you  – but don’t worry it will only hurt in the beginning.

  1. What do you want your social media to say?
  2. Who are you?
  3. What makes you unique? What do you offer that no-one else does?
  4. Are there people in your industry that you look up to? What are they saying? How are they saying it? Don’t copy, but research is always a good place to start.

Once you have done the deep dive and the research, now it’s time to DO

  1. Create a content calendar – plan out when you are going to post things and when. Plan or schedule posts when you aren’t going to events as to not over post and then go silent.
  2. Create the content! – Pro Tip: Create in batches aka take a day to take photos or write some blogs of the content you have planned in your calendar.
  3. Post away!
  4. Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags – this gets you connected to new people and businesses.

Those are the brass tacks. There are a lot more things that go into social media, but at the moment, that is all you should care about.

Wedding Venues You Didn’t Know About

We get it, you want a wedding with elements that no one has seen before. With the rise of social media it’s hard to find something that hasn’t been done.

Why not make it easy on your self and start with a venue that is a hidden gem OR a blank canvas? After that the rest of the pieces should fall into place easily fr you.

Here are some of our ideas.

Madsen’s Greenhouse in Newmarket

We didn’t know this place existed until last year. It is so gorgeous! We haven’t planned or coordinated a wedding there yet, but here’s hoping we will be doing one soon!

 This images are from their website

Holland Marsh Winery

We had never seen this venue before, until someone rented our LOVE sign for it (shameless plug). Plug or not, this place is GORGEOUS. You won’t need to spend much money on décor, because the venue takes care of that itself. It takes the cake – and everything else.

You do have options as a lot of different décor would work in this venue, all white, pops of colour, elegant, rustic…excuse us while we plan our 3 year wedding renewals here.

Photo by Jennifer Newberry Photography

183 Geary

Typically used for shoots, I rented this for an employee holiday party and loved it.

This is the blank canvas that allows your imagination to run wild. I went with an all white party – white balloon arches, white lights above the all white dessert table, white tables, etc. With these walls your colours will POP. They also have this feature where you can hang décor from a thing that I am sure is used for some technical photo shoot thing with a technical name.

Plus – these people were a DREAM to work with and the rental was very reasonable. Did I mention that you can bring your own food and booze in (Huge cost savings).

We hope that helps your search. Please let us know if you have any other suggestions.

How to Plan an Employee Event

Have You ever been tasked with planning an event for your company’s employees – your co-workers? Whether this is in your wheelhouse or not, it’s a tough job.

I don’t want to make you anxious with the added pressures of this type of event. You know, the kind that aren’t associated to most events.

Photo by Alasdair Elmes on Unsplash

First thing is first – what are we going to do!?

When ever I start planning this type of event I ask a few questions – what is the new, trendy thing to do in the city? What is something that people would love to do, but may not get the chance to in their everyday life or want to pay for it (real talk – there a lots of things I think are cool, but am not willing to pay for)?

  • From questions like these, I have planned events that include axe throwing, bubble soccer, scavenger hunts, paint nights, custom airbrushed hats, etc…
  • Make sure there is something for everyone. Some people don’t want to do intense events or paint. So provide an alternative. I paired bubble soccer with oversized games like beer pong, chess and checkers. People could choose either or both!

Next is question – who can I pay to do these things?

In my opinion, with employee events, co-workers shouldn’t lead other co-workers. You need a third party to come in and lead the activity. If you live in Toronto like I do – there are people for anything.

What is the timing?

Once you nail down the what (what you want to do and who could do it), you need to start thinking about timing. There are a number of things that come into play with this so hopefully you have some flexibility. A set time and date that you are allowed to throw this event makes things easier (and sometimes a bit harder). Here is a small list:

  • Working hours – is this during the work day or after? In my experience it is best to have it start towards the end of the workday and extend into the evening. Some people love to hang out with co-workers and others would rather spend their free time with friends and family.
  • End time – is it during the week? Should it end at a respectable time so people can still be productive the next day? Or are you giving employees the tomorrow off?

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

Food

This is something you can have a lot of fun with! Pick a restaurant not near the office so it will be a new experience. I like to try the trendy restaurants or classics with a twist. Foodee and Platterz became my best friend (look them up). I also like to have really exotic desserts (i.e. nitrogen ice cream). Spend your money wisely, but don’t skimp. Make sure you are doing something that will leave an impression.

Alcohol – do we are don’t we?

You’re going to know your company and audience best. Is alcohol necessary? Can you spend your budget elsewhere? I would always supply a little bit of booze (mainly craft beers and coolers), but not make it a focal point – this reduced the spend in that category (and potentially any liability issues).

Nuggets of helpfulness…

  • Always do your research and see what the possibilities are (read = endless).
  • I would always ask a few people for feedback on my ideas, but only a few – DO NOT ASK A LOT OF PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT. You will get too many different responses and it can be too overwhelming. At the end of the day, stick to you guns and your vision.
  • Ask for volunteers – get people you can rely on to help during the event.

I hope this helps! These events can be really, really fun (after all the work of course). Just remember to enjoy yourself.

How do you integrate social media into your event!?

You have been rocking this event planning thing, but social media has been on the back burner or something you just don’t event have time to think about. You have almost everything set for your conference, employee party, thought leadership event, discussion panel or meetup.

Thankfully, we are here to help shed some light on the topic and break it down for you.

You know social media is important – we don’t need to go over that, right?

          *Create ambassadors, engage with (potential) customers, marketing, enhance ROI, gain more insights and data on
attendees.

If you are hosting a conference – assign someone (or maybe more than one) to take care of the social media leading up to, during and AFTER the event. Not only is this social savy person going to help drive interest in your event, but they will help your attendees connect/learn/share. This social media maven is also going to continue the fun once your event wraps and help increase your return.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Some things to consider (but should probably do)

Engage BEFORE the event.

Make sure your profiles are up to date and active before the event (preferably before the invites even go out)

Create a hashtag that is easy and short.

Don’t make it hard for people to engage with you! A hashtag allows people to create or participate in a conversation around the event and the content being presented. It’s also a great way to get a snapshot of what is happening at your event.

Have that hashtag do and mean something.

Whether it shows up on a live stream, screen or enters them into a draw! Have some incentive for your attendees to engage with the content. Uberflip did a great job with this at their Conex conference – you went to a touch screen and entered in your username and if you had tweeted or posted on Instagram a ball came out and it revealed your prize.

Photo by Jakob Dalbjörn on Unsplash

Snapchat filters

Snapchat filters can be really fun and a great way to have people share their experience with their peers. It is actually really easy to get a snapchat filter from Etsy (if you don’t have a in-house creative team) and upload it to snapchat.com then set the parameters, time and location. You are looking to invest between $20-$60 because they calculate the hours and area covered.

A post-event plan

How are you going to keep the conversation going? You spent months planning this great event with amazing content. You lost sleep wondering whether your attendees would find value in what you were presenting to them. Don’t just end the conference after everyone has left – Keep on the top of their minds for weeks after. Utilize sponsors to offer something after, can you have a call to action a few weeks down the road? A survey with a prize is a great way to check in with how people felt about your event. Engage with people – answer questions or….ASK them questions.

Don’t let your event go by as just something people come to get away from life/the office/the kids. Engage them on all fronts!

5 Wedding Trends We Want to Stay

When it comes to trends and weddings, things get a bit tricky. “These pictures are forever, I don’t want regrets” “I’m going more traditional because I know it works” or “It’s how it’s always been done”. Well, wedding traditions aren’t really traditions, someone just started doing it and it hasn’t stopped. Or it is a tradition for a weird reason. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is what you want and makes sense for your day. Here are a few new trends that should be fully embraced.

 

  1.  Fun pictures – we love seeing the “behind the scenes” pictures – getting ready, goofy, party pictures after people have loosened up. This helps capture the whole day and lends itself to finding those tender moments that you wouldn’t see during posed picture time. We still encourage the posed pictures, of course, but make fun a priority too.
    Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash
  2. Let them eat cake, donuts, cake pops or pie. This is a really tasty new trend. We have seen donut walls, donut cakes, macaron trees, you name it. This is a part of the wedding you can have a lot of fun with, so embrace it.
    Photo by The HK Photo Company on Unsplash
  3.  Comfy shoes! Ditch the expensive, sky-high heels and wear done something you can actually wear the whole day.
    Photo by Hanna Morris on Unsplash
  4. The first look. This is when a bride and groom see each other for the first time before the ceremony and usually alone. This is beneficial for a number of reasons including getting all the nerves out then, a truly intimate moment and you can express yourself without 200 eyeballs on you. If you choose to have people there to document it, the pictures are wonderful.
    Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash
  5. Colored wedding dresses. Let’s face it, most of us shouldn’t be wearing all white on our wedding day anyway. So let’s embrace some colour! Truth be told, I went traditional on the wedding dress but now totally wish I had some colour.

Remember, it is you day – have fun with it!

5 tips for your personal brand on social media

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

I’m not going to get into how social media has changed our lives, that’s been done.  I am here to help you navigate because sometimes it can be very overwhelming. Here are some tips I have learned along the way in my personal and professional life.

  1. Don’t be scared to show the real you, not the highlight reel. Everyone knows that 99.9% of what they see on social media isn’t real anymore. So be the breath of fresh air for everyone and stay true to yourself. It may be scary to put yourself out there, but believe me – most people will be nodding and saying “same”.
  2. Show yourself, your likes, dislikes, hobbies. #foodporn is over, show us what makes your heart sing.
  3. Unfollow people/brands/pages that don’t speak to you, make you feel bad about yourself or have no bearing on your life. I follow pages thinking I need to remember this brand or that I want my style to emulate them, etc. then I realize it doesn’t make me feel good every time I see one of their posts.
  4. Lift others up. Promote your friends, brands, people you like, admire, find inspiration from. Shout out the good in your life – on and offline.
  5. Comment and engage with other people, strangers even! Provide feedback, give someone a high five, tell them their content rocks.

Bottom line: BE YOU. Online and off.

 

How to Stay Stress Free Leading up to The Wedding

Wedding planning does not have to be stressful! Here are some tips on keeping your cool and having the best day ever.

  • Keep it simple. Fewer things to worry about is more beneficial to you, your mental state and your wallet.
  • Do everything now. When vendors told me I had lots of time I laughed and kept pushing. Some of them would drag their feet, but I stayed persistent. I reminded them that they may have done a lot of weddings, but this is my first (and I’m paying) so I want to know things now and have things figured out sooner rather than later. Our engagement was 22 months long, so we had lots of time to plan and get a lot done up front. This opened up a lot of time and energy to be ready for last minute things and spending time with family.
  • Get a planner or coordinator. You should have 0 responsibilities that day….0!!! Get gorgeous and let the cards fall as they may.
  • Keep your eye on the prize – you’re marrying the man/woman of your dreams.
  • Don’t listen to people. They either don’t get your vision or are jealous and negative. It took me a long time to get to this point, but people suck. Keep to what you want and don’t even ask people their opinions.
  • Rely on your partner – they can help! They care and they can provide a laugh or 3.

You got this! Remember to enjoy every moment leading up to the day and the big day itself.

Photo by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash

Keeping the Kids Busy

For better or worse, you have decided to allow kids into the wedding.  It is really special, make sure to get a dance with them. They’ll love to see you all dressed up like a princess.

Keeping them busy is key to ensuring they and their parents stay cool, calm and collected. I put together a bag of things to keep them preoccupied and quiet.

  • Food – ensure they meet any of the dietary restrictions. I took a box of organic rice cookies and divided out the little packages to the bags.
  • Finger puppets – kids, siblings and parents can participate
  • Books – self explanatory
  • Colouring – I found these paper puppets that needed colouring- dual purpose!

These don’t have to be expensive, but make sure there is variety and options.  I everything but the food from winners, dollarstore. Buy a couple packages and divide them between the bags.

I asked an older cousin to give the bags to the families – 1 bag/family.

The Great Debate

The Great Debate – Kids or no kids

*If you are a person with a child, please do not take offense to or make a deal about your kids not being invited to the event. This day is about the couple. NOT YOU*

Back to the bride-

I realize I had pretty easy, my people didn’t make a fuss about kids not being invited to our wedding. I wrote the invites with the names of these who were invites. We allowed our nieces and 2 cousins, who were travelling from out of town and thankfully were very well behaved.

I enjoyed both sides of the spectrum, having our beloved little ones there was really special. Especially when the dancing started! I also enjoyed not having kids running around and doing kid things. So I get it, I got my cake and ate it too. You can to!

Here are my tips if you do not want children at the wedding

  • COMMUNICATE – you would think that not including the children’s names on the invites would be end of discussion. You cannot assume that people will get the hint OR that they won’t be hurt. You may have to make it clear to people why you don’t want children. Clearly and nicely, explain to them your vision and feelings. Then tell them you understand if they don’t want to come without their offspring.
  • Some people feel like if you invite some kids you have to invite them all. You do not. Refer back to communication and work through it.
  • Most people want a kid free night! Our guests took this opportunity for a night out on the town and enlisted the appropriate babysitters.
  • Invites are yours to give out as you please. If you feel strongly about this, remember it is your wedding and you get the last say.

If you do decide to have the little ones, check out my upcoming blog post on how to entertain them.