My name is Ali Westlake. I own a flower shop in Toronto, called Coriander Girl and I recently got engaged to the most extraordinary man, Tyler Hogan. I have been writing a shop blog since opening in September 2009 but never dreamed I’d be invited to share my stories with such a notable publication. I am over the moon about it!
So, where do I begin? Well, I’ve been on the other side of the desk at Coriander Girl for the last year, helping women like you plan their wedding flowers and so I’ve had an interesting perspective on the whole tradition of marriage. I wasn’t even sure if I believed in marriage for a time. I think before Tyler, I hadn’t overly considered it because I hadn’t met my match. When Tyler proposed to me a few weeks ago in his hometown of Picton, Ontario, there was no question. My answer, “Yes, yes, yes of course, yes,” was easy.
We’re still giddy over the proposal but as giddy as I am, I’ve got it almost all planned. I can’t wait to dig in with you and share the things I’ve learned from being an industry insider. But, with all the “to do’s” I’d like to remind myself to bask in the delight of being newly engaged. It’s no coincidence that since my relationship with Tyler began things have been unfolding for me in a fairytale kind of way. I opened my heart to this man who loves and supports me so completely that I have become fearless in the pursuit of my dreams. I’ve always been a risk taker, but he inspires me to take greater risks, big giant leaps beyond my reach, and loves me no matter if I fall flat on my face. You’re reading this, I assume, because you’re in a similar situation. You’ve made the choice to spend your life with someone and now you get to plan the party to celebrate this incredible love. What fun! I say. This year as we plan our weddings we make a commitment to keep it about the couple. Yes, we have certain obligations to family but we cannot forget the reason we’re doing this. I’ll be re-iterating this point a lot because I’ve watched so many women let the stress of it all lead them down a path that isn’t fun anymore. Your wedding day should be joyful, period. So, LET’S DO THIS!
Above is a picture of us the morning after our engagement. We’re standing in front of our most favourite B&B, the historic Merrill Inn, in one of our most favourite places on earth, Picton Ontario. Picture taken by the Inn’s owner, Amy Shubert.