We are so pleased to introduce a new addition to our journal, ‘Five Questions For…’, featuring incredibly talented, well respected and experienced wedding professionals. We feel honoured to work with wedding industry experts who constantly amaze us with their superior service and talent. Their dedication to their couples, experience & vision makes them some of the best in industry! We hope this special feature will help all of your brides-and-grooms-to-be with a whole lot of inspiration and advice!
Caryn, Lead Planner and Business Owner of As You Wish Weddings has planned and executed some of the most beautiful and memorable weddings in the GTA & Niagara regions. Follow below as we asked her five questions about wedding planning!!
What inspires you as a wedding planner?
Being able to help my clients through one of the most exciting, but also what can be one of the most stressful times in their lives. Seeing the joy and happiness when their vision comes to life on the wedding day is hands down one of the best parts of my job. This definitely inspires me to work hard to be the best planner I can be for them.
From a design perspective, social media (Instagram, Pinterest) allows me to keep on top of the current trends. Beyond that, it’s fun to look at non-traditional avenues for inspiration – cool restaurants, boutique hotels, brands such as Anthropologie, and home decor stores.
I also love seeing how each couple's personalities and unique sense of style influences the design of their day. It's what makes each wedding a little different and keeps what I do interesting and exciting!
What would be your biggest tip for newly engaged couples planning their wedding?
Set a budget. I often find clients really have no idea what they should expect to be spending on their wedding – which completely makes sense, as most haven’t planned a wedding before! Unless you have an unlimited budget (which most don’t!), this can become stress inducing rather quickly. When working with clients, I sit down at the very beginning of the process and review each category of wedding planning in detail. It helps them to understand the ranges they can expect to see when it comes to everything from venue, to florals, to stationery. While often eye-opening, doing this before any of the budget has actually been spent is helpful in then allocating funds to their priorities, such as great food and amazing photography vs. other items they may be able to live without.
Pick a venue - but be informed! With popular GTA venues booking up a year to 18 months in advance, couples often feel pressure to book their venues immediately. And while time is of the essence, carefully evaluating a venue before signing on the dotted line is equally important. A few key points to consider:
1. Customer Service: was the person you met with helpful, knowledgeable, responsive, excited for your wedding? This is also a key time to bring a wedding planner on board – with their experience, they’ll be able to give you the inside scoop on what a venue may be like to work with.
2. Rain Plan: this is a big one. Make sure you are just as happy with ceremony plan B, as you are with plan A. Booking your venue for it’s gorgeous outdoor space, only to have your wedding fall on a less than ideal weather day can lead to major disappointment.
3. Fees: ask about any additional taxes and gratuities that will be charged over and above the per-person cost or minimum spend. With 13% HST and an 18% average gratuity, these fees can add up quickly and have a huge impact on your overall budget.
How does the wedding planning process work?
The first step would be to connect with me for an initial consultation. During our initial consult I love to hear about your wedding day vision, any details you have planned so far, and discuss how we can best help / which services will be the best fit for you.
Once we have determined that we'd be a great fit for one another, the process varies based on the planning service that is selected. With our Wedding Month Management (month-of coordination) clients, we will meet with them 4 - 6 weeks out from the wedding date to discuss all of the details they have planned for their day. From there we work with them to create a detailed wedding day itinerary, confirm details and timing with the vendors they have booked, review all contracts and help them finalize any remaining to-do's.
We also provide all of our clients with a Planning Checklist that is personalized to their wedding date. Tasks are broken out into monthly to-do's to help them stay on track without feeling overwhelmed.
To get to know our Design clients better, we ask them to complete our Design Questionnaire letting us know their likes and dislikes, must-have items, any inspiration they are loving, etc. We then visit the wedding venue together to see the space, and following that we put together a detailed Design Plan for their day (more on our Design process here).
If you're a Full Planning client, we are with you every step of the way during the process - managing your budget, recommending vendors, attending appointments, and keeping you on track with monthly planning tasks. This service is designed to allow you to truly enjoy your engagement, while letting us take care of the nitty-gritty.
What has been your favourite wedding planned to date?
This is SO hard. Any wedding where our clients have fully trusted us to design their day is always a favourite - and luckily we've had the chance to be a part of a number of weddings like this!
Last year in particular was exciting to plan and design a wedding for my sister and her fiancé at Archeo in the Distillery District (a venue I had always wanted to work at), in addition to being a bridesmaid!
I loved that they went outside of the box and chose a bright and fun colour scheme (perfect for a Summer wedding in July), chose touches that were meaningful to them like donuts from their favourite neighbourhood bakery, and as a bonus - I also got to work with some of my favourite vendors!
Exciting things planned for As You Wish Weddings in the future?
Having just celebrated our 5th year in business, we're excited for the beautiful weddings we are currently planning and designing for this wedding season. In addition, I am excited about having a team of talented Lead Planners who will allow us to take on additional Wedding Month Management clients, while I focus on managing our Full Planning and Design couples.
Follow along in the months to come as we continue to feature more inspirational professionals! Contact us here for more information on our wedding photography process!