3 easy ways to capture all your wedding day details

3 easy ways to capture all your wedding day details

I am a sucker for great detail photos, it’s like the gravy to my mash potatoes.

Of course you can have amazing wedding photography and skip the detail shots and have a beautiful wedding album and memories at the end. For me though, I love to see the detail photos and all the little things that we have planned and chosen with care captured to be remembered forever. When I am planning with a couple, I likely spend a year (a little less, a little more) getting to know them like friends. All that time together means I get to know their personalities, their likes and dislikes as well as their must-haves and nice-to-haves along the way.

So when the photos come in and they are missing things like those shoes that the bride shopped for months to find, Mom’s earrings that were her “something borrowed” or his Grandfather’s watch that he inherited, those invitations that we went back and forth on with the designer until they were just right, the flowers where we worked out the perfect “recipe” to get the look they wanted, the robes and gifts that were ordered for the bridesmaids and the whisky glasses and rocks that were given to the guys, those favours that we hunted for MONTHS for and had to add tags for hours to, it’s like there was no gravy on my mash potatoes. The details matter! These photos shouldn’t take priority over the photos of you two but there is room for both!

So here is how we do it:

1. It starts with a great schedule! I leave time for the photographers to capture both of you getting ready and its at this time the detail photos start. Then I leave time to capture the empty ceremony and reception area before guests begin to arrive.

Bonus tip: When possible, I also schedule a grand reveal of your reception room so you get to see all that hard work before its filled with guests!

2. Location, location, location! Choose a getting ready location that is bright, open and not cluttered. The best places for getting ready are hotels. It’s a nice idea to get ready at your Mom’s but likely the things that make it a “home” are also the things that your photographer will need to move to capture photos of you getting ready. For example, photos on the night table or wall, teddy bears on beds, coasters on the coffee table. Also, it means your parents are likely coming home late that night to a mess with all the people who have been there! A hotel has staff to help feed and clean up after everyone! If you book a hotel, make sure it has great natural light! My three Ottawa favourites are The Westin Ottawa, Andaz Ottawa Bywards Market, and Le Germain Ottawa.

Bonus tip: You will need to check in the night before your wedding to have access to the room early enough to get ready in it!

3. Being ready for the detail photos! I ask the florist for additional blooms so the photographer can use them for taking detail shots that are just that much better! On my packing list for the wedding day is always your invitation, photographers love to use them for ring shots for example. Print your vows on beautiful stationary!

Bonus tip: Have all your items in one location so when your photographer arrives it’s all together and they don’t need to keep asking you were things are.

These detail photos that will be treasured forever by my amazing clients Thea and Kellan. Thanks to the extremely talented Batoul of Ali and Batoul Photography who I know appreciated all the time we left for her to do her photography magic!

A beautiful wedding in less than four months, or was it two weeks?

A beautiful wedding in less than four months, or was it two weeks?

One of my industry peeps and I have a joke that if there is a last minute wedding to plan, call me. I have this affinity for weddings that need to be planned in a hurry. Two weeks is my current record, so when someone says “I want to get married in four months, is that too soon?”, I’m thinking “No problem! This is going to be fun!”

When I met a client just 4 months before her April 2016 wedding I was totally up for it. From the beginning I loved Miranda. She was so full of life and just “spunky”. Not a word I use often but it truly describes this girl. We met in the strangest of ways, through Kijiji. Well actually we met through one of my all time favourite brides Becky who was selling a black and white vintage umbrella on Kijiji.  Miranda happened to be the buyer. The two ladies got talking weddings and Becky said to her “you’d be crazy to not hire Erica as your wedding planner!”

Miranda and I met soon afterward in January 2016 when she told me they were getting married at the National Gallery of Canada. I didn’t hear from her after this so I assumed she had found another planner. Then in February they had changed their venue to a backyard wedding and then over the next months went back to the Gallery. I was “officially” hired 2 weeks before their wedding. Miranda is a true decision maker though so she just plowed through it all and everything fell into place perfectly.

Miranda and Charles were married on Saturday April 30th 2016 surrounded by all their family and friends, and now with a baby on the way, they are truly a happy growing family. Check out this video of their amazing day.

Venue: National Gallery of Canada
Decor and florals & printing: Wedecor
Photography: Union Eleven Photographers (David Johnson and Brittany Fleming)
Videography: Viking Film Corp
Catering: Whalesbone Catering
Bridesmaids gowns: Rent Frock Repeat
Officiant: Alan Viau
DJ: Quality Entertainment
Cakes: Edible Sins
Hair and Makeup: Recherché Concept Coiffure

Ottawa’s leading Wedding Planners!

Ottawa’s leading Wedding Planners!

A nice little surprise yesterday when Narcity included me on their list of “12 Ottawa Wedding Planners That Will Make Your Special Day Magical”.

The article by Courtney Lundy showcased Ottawa’s leading ladies in the wedding biz. So awesome to be featured with these other amazing entrepreneurs. Here is a snippet from the article but check out the whole thing and scroll through the gorgeous pics!

“You can have a Pinterest board of ideas for your wedding day, but where the hell do you start? Of course, that’s why wedding planners are a thing. They’re there for so many reasons, mostly to help you to not go insane on the biggest day of your life. They can turn a mess into magic, and they need to be thanked for that. Ottawa is filled with so many talented wedding planners who are extremely dedicated, understanding and most of all, talented. You shouldn’t be stressed out planning your wedding, you should be excited. So here are 12 Ottawa wedding planners that will make your special day magical. Because you deserve it!”

Source: Narcity | Courtney Lundy
Venue: Stonefields Heritage Farm
Photographer: Andrey and Elena of Themotions Photography

Fun ways to pop the question to your #bridalsquad

Fun ways to pop the question to your #bridalsquad

You’ve said “yes” to your mister and now you need your sisters!

Your bridesmaids are usually made up of your closest friends and family, the ones you depend on in your daily life but also the ones that won’t bring drama to your engagement and your wedding day.

So why not show them some love? They will be your VIPs, with you all through the planning and by your side on your wedding day. They will invest time and money into getting you down that aisle. Here are some ideas I put together on ways to pop the question “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

I Can't say I do without you. Will you be my maid of honour? | zazzle.ca
You're, like, really pretty. Will you be my bridesmaid? Card for your bridesmaids from zazzle.ca
Will you be my bridesmaid? Scratch card for your bridesmaids | Wedbook.com

There are so many cute cards out there that you can either mail or deliver by hand. Seeing their reaction though would be top on my list. One of these is even a scratch card.

Throw a killer slumberparty (probably been a while?) and give these cute PJs as gifts! The girls can wear them while getting ready on your wedding day as an alternative to the satin robes that have been popular for years.

Plum Pretty Sugar PJs | Photo credit to jacquicole.com

For the wine loving crowd, how about a nice bottle of wine with these super cheeky labels! Then you just have to live up to what you put on there… Or, invite everyone out for a shopping day and pop the question as you hand out these monogrammed totes!

Personalized wine labels to give your #bridalsquad from Etsy.com
Monogrammed Totes from https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/386154204/

Who doesn’t want more jewelry? These adorable bracelets can be worn anytime and I love the little note saying “Will you help me tie the knot?”

 

Tie the knot bracelets from theglitteredgal.com

However you do it, be original and let your personality shine through! Check out my Pinterest under “The Girls” for more ideas.

Newly engaged? Now what? Top 5 tips to kick start your wedding planning

Newly engaged? Now what? Top 5 tips to kick start your wedding planning

I was interviewed earlier this week by Johnna Ruocco of Metro Ottawa for an article about the first steps in wedding planning. After reading it in print I realized it was the makings of the first top 10 list of wedding planning tips on my Blog! Well, in this case a Top 5 list! Although my recommendations are based on wedding planning experiences here in Ottawa, anyone could benefit from these 5 wedding planning tips.

1. HIRE A PLANNER

If you’re thinking of hiring a Wedding Planner, do it right away. Let a planner show you how to take great ideas and actually make them work in your community! If you already have a Pinterest list, great! But realize it’s not always easy to bring those ideas to life.

Couples start planning on their own and then come to me when they are overwhelmed, frustrated and have already booked a couple of items on their list.  Had they come to me right away I could have laid out a plan, shown them options they maybe didn’t know about, and possibly saved them money through some of my discounts.

2. SET A BUDGET

Set a budget or at least a draft budget so you have an idea of what’s ahead. Many couples just haven’t thought about all of the different pieces that need to come together on their wedding day, and almost all of these pieces have a cost.

Many of my clients may say “I have a budget of $25,000.” Then when I ask, does this include your dress, the groom’s suit, hair, makeup, attendant gifts, transportation, etc. many times they say “No, just the food and alcohol at the reception.” I always lay out a detailed budget for my clients so there are no surprises later on.

3. MAKE A GUEST LIST

It’s difficult to say “We want 120 guests at our wedding” until you actually make a list. Couples can be surprised at how quickly the guest count grows, especially because many friends, relatives, or colleagues have partners.

When my clients aren’t sure if they should add a particular guest to the list, I tell them to ask themselves this important question: “Would I invite this person/couple out for dinner at a nice restaurant and offer to pay the bill?” If the answer is no, then you may want to reconsider if they make your guest list.

4. BOOK THE VENUE

Booking the venue will also determine your wedding date, which everything in your wedding planning process will revolve around.

Booking your venue may be difficult if you’re set on a particular date or location. Some venues in your local community may require you book up to two years in advance!

5. CONTRACT WITH YOUR KEY VENDORS

When I work with clients I always recommend finding their photographer first since many of the best photographers can be scheduling one year in advance.

An experienced local wedding planner will have a long list of great vendors they trust, making it easy to check “to-dos” off the list. You’ll quickly be able to fill in the blanks with confidence next to the bridal gown, florist, decorator, music, hair, makeup, invitations etc.

 

SOME FINAL ADVICE

Don’t procrastinate!

The best advice I can give is to not procrastinate. Of course you should enjoy your engagement! But, that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy planning your wedding too. I always tell my clients that planning your wedding should be easy, fun and stress-free. I want to help you host the best party you’ll ever throw and make sure you enjoy every minute of it!

Want to get started? Click here.

Photo Credits: AMBphoto

The Canadian Museum of Nature. A stunning wedding venue

The Canadian Museum of Nature. A stunning wedding venue

I submitted a wedding for the Ottawa Wedding Awards never thinking I would actually win for wedding of the year! I guess I was a bit daunted by the fact that the wedding submitted would be judged by a panel of industry experts. Wedding planners only need apply.

My clients’ wedding had the winning combination. Fabulous style meets fabulous vendors meets fabulous venue – the stunning Canadian Museum of Nature.

It really is a castle in our downtown. The exterior facade, the stone and marble interior and the stained glass, what is not to love! And oh wait, it’s a fabulous museum with beautiful exhibits to top it off.

The ceremony was held at dusk in the Queen’s Lantern so that the light from the sunset could frame the spectacular windows and stained glass. It was warm, intimate, and perfectly decorated with candles in glass vases of various heights, red roses, mahogany chiavari chairs with arrangements down the aisle.

Red roses large balls alter pieces | Canadian Museum of Nature | Union Eleven Photographers
Red roses and orchid mahogany chiavari ceremony | Canadian Museum of Nature | Union Eleven Photographers

Since this wedding was in mid-October, we couldn’t count on outdoor photos. The Museum of Nature though has amazing light inside and so many great spots for photos.

Silk chiffon gown Reem Acra Kleinfelds red roses bouquet | Canadian Museum of Nature | Union Eleven Photographers

The dinner and dancing took place in the Barrack Salon. Its unique half-moon shaped room, tall windows, and light colors were a wonderful start to this timeless decor. Taking cues from the iconic brand Burberry’s red, black, cream, and hints of gold, the decor was timeless and elegant thanks to the help of Wedecor.

Barrick Salon Burberry inspired red black gold wedding | Canadian Museum of Nature | Union Eleven Photographers
Red velvet baccara rose centerpiece gold mercury candle | Canadian Museum of Nature | Union Eleven Photographers
Natural wood chiavari headtable with red florals | Canadian Museum of Nature | Union Eleven Photographers

The in-house caterer Gourmet Cuisine crafted a fabulous five course meal that was both beautiful and delicious! My clients have impeccable taste and expect perfection. They both felt their wedding was perfect and they wouldn’t change a thing! I loved working with the team at the Canadian Museum of Nature and was honoured to have won this award with them.

All photo credit to Kristin de Castro of Union Eleven Photographers

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