Canadian Vendors Give Their Best Advice For Planning An Amazing Wedding

Wedding planning and design by Filosophi. Photography by The Apartment Photography.

For the perfect wedding day, a group of amazing vendors is a must. We asked five industry pros for their answers to some burning wedding-planning questions.

The Wedding Planner
Erin Bishop, owner and prinicipal planner, Filosophi, Vancouver

What are the details couples should splurge on and save on?
“This is a personal preference for sure, but in my experience, if the guests are happy and having a good time, the couple will be happy and having a good time. The recipe for this is food—high quality and plenty of it—drinks and music. I’ll prioritize a band, an open bar and canapés at the cocktail hour over decor, favours or elaborate invitations. Clients will often list photography as a top priority as well, and I totally agree, as it’s the most lasting service associated with the wedding. However, some clients are very aesthetic-minded and for them, they are happy to have an iPod playlist if it means they can have the imported flowers or dream venue—so it really is a personal choice. The best tip I have for couples is to be sure to discuss early on what the most important elements of the day are to them, and once those priorities are identified, keep coming back to them throughout the process. Make smart decisions that keep those top priorities attainable, and find other areas to compromise if needed.

What do you predict will be some wedding-design trends in the upcoming year?
“We are feeling that monochromatic will be in this year, as well as modern minimalism—which means careful curation of every detail down to the plates and glassware, and not overloading tables with a bunch of stuff. Instead, it’s finding the beauty in lines and shapes, and intentional placement of key pieces. The combination of these two—monochromatic and minimal—will be the hottest ticket in our books. We also expect the love of velvet (in linens, furniture, stationery, etc.) to continue, and deeper tones like mustard and burgundy to continue overtaking white, neutrals and pastel wedding palettes.”

Bouquet by Living Fresh. Photography by Maya Visnyei.

The Florist
Tina Riddell, florist, Living Fresh, Kitchener, Ont.

What is your current favourite trend in wedding floral design?
“Palettes with a bold colour pop or a moody, earthy, natural feel. We also love bouquets and floral compositions that have less greenery and more flowers but are still natural and organic in style. Wh at is a bouquet style you think more brides should consider? We are seeing a shift away from big, lush bouquets with lots of mixed greenery to smaller bouquets that have layers of luscious garden blooms styled in a loose, natural and organic look with very little greenery. Adding a few tropical blooms is a fun twist.”

What is an affordable flower that is often overlooked?
“Carnations! They are so inexpensive and come in amazing shades and textures. They are so much better than they used to be. Just a few added to a bouquet or floral composition adds good texture and helps to balance the cost of some of the pricier blooms, such as garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, and protea. How can a couple cut costs on flowers? Concentrate on pieces that are going to be the focal points and in the majority of the photos, such as the bride’s bouquet, ceremony pieces and head-table florals. These should be more elaborate than the guest-table centrepieces and bridesmaids’ bouquets if you’re trying keep costs down. If you love peonies, get married during peony season—using out-of-season blooms will significantly increase your floral costs as those flowers will be coming from a great distance.”

Photography by Chantal Routhier.

The Photographer
Chantal Routhier, photographer, Chantal Routhier Photography, Halifax

Does the photographer need to be there for getting-ready photos?
“It’s nice to be there for getting ready, but definitely not essential. Some people take this time to recharge, relax and savour the day—keeping their energy for the festivities.”

What are the most important details the photographer needs to know about your wedding day?
“The most important thing your photographer needs to know is what you want to see in your wedding photos. Some people want hours of frolicking on the beach at sunset with just their soul mate. Others want the majority of photos to be of their guests celebrating into the wee hours of the morning. Deciding what your priority is for the images is just as important as style.”

How can a couple who isn’t used to posing be more natural in front of the camera?
“Just keep moving. When you stay still, your body stiffens up and you stop looking natural. When you are moving, playing and embracing your spouse, you can get organic and magical pictures in a short amount of time.”

How do you properly time the bride-and-groom portraits?
“In Nova Scotia, the weather changes every 10 minutes. We plan bride-and-groom portraits in the afternoon, at golden hour and again at night. It might seem like a lot, but we break it down into 15-minute time frames. That way you can keep up your energy, and we have more opportunities to embrace the beauty of the day.”

Cake by Nadia & Co. Photography by Purple Tree.

The Cake Artist
Nadia Colella, founder and cake designer, Nadia & Co., Toronto

How big should a couple expect their wedding cake to be?
“Every cake should be tailored to the size of your event. I believe that the cake should complement and be a reflection of the space it is being displayed in. The cake could be all fresh cake or a mix of fresh and faux depending on how large it should be. If the cake isn’t the primary dessert, I generally recommend it should serve 50% of the guest count.”

What is a hot new cake trend you currently love?
“I’m finding that right now it’s all about texture. We are seeing a lot of embossed, distressed and piped floral cakes. But I don’t find that trendy is necessarily the best route to follow when creating your wedding cake. I believe the design should be true to your style and the overall decor of the day. I am lucky to have clients who are open to me pulling new ideas and inspiration from fashion, textiles and art, or even my travels.”

What are some favourite wedding cake flavours?
“The most popular cake flavour I offer is a pink vanilla bean cake that’s paired with a Champagne rosé ganache & fresh strawberries. I am always drawn to citrusy, floral flavours, or warm and spicy. I love a good dark chocolate and spice pairing, but I can easily say that Earl Grey and lavender always wins my heart!”

Stationery by Wedding Design by Anika. Photography by Mandy Landry Photography.

The Stationery Designer
Anika Loewen, founder and graphic designer, Wedding Design by Anika, Edmonton

Which is better: place cards or a seating chart?
“For a gathering of 60-plus guests with assigned seating, a chart is almost a necessity. Providing a seating chart makes guests feel more confident in finding their places while minimizing the number of people wandering around the reception hall. Place cards ensure that guests sit where the couple would like them to sit and can also help serving staff identify those with special meals. We recommend couples use both, if the venue requires it and the couple’s budget allows.

When should you send out your invitations?
“This is a hotly debated topic in the stationery world, and with changing social norms, there is certainly no “one-size-fits-all” answer. We believe, and advise our couples, that the date the invitations will be sent out is determined by a combination of the stationer, the couple and the overall concept of the wedding. We recommend sending out save-the-dates shortly after the wedding date and location are known. We advise our clients that invitations should be sent out 4-5 months prior to the wedding with a “respond by” date included. This allows 3-4 months for guests to reply, and still leaves approximately one month to round up outstanding replies, provide the caterer with final numbers and dietary concerns, and provide the stationer with details for day-of stationery.”

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