Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ali and Graham

Alison is one of my sister, Meagan's best friends, and I have recently been lucky enough to acquire her and her fiance as new clients. I am so excited as Alison is crafty, imaginative, thoughtful and loves a good glass of wine and some wedding chatter. Her and Graham are getting married June 19th, 2010 at the Calgary Zoo, and I cannot wait to be part of their wonderful day.

First, I have to go back to my family to explain where Ali fits in. Anyone who knows me, knows I have three sisters (and four step-sisters too!) and they are my very best friends. Anyone who is a friend to them is close to my heart as well. My sisters have been away from Calgary for sometime. Krista my puppetering sister who has written numerous plays, has a dream of owning a puppet farm (to normal people, this would be an artists retreat), and whom I appear to be a carbon copy of, lives in Toronto. Meagan has just recently graduated from Bond University, on the Gold Coast of Australia and before that, worked for Club Med and travelled the world, lives in Ottawa, we think maybe she's there to become Prime Minister. And my little sister Caitlin, who graduated from ACAD last year and is an amazing painter who has graced our whole house with her beautiful work, is currently in the Outback of Australia cooking for cowboys and having crazy and wild adventures. I miss my sisters dearly and would do anything for them, but since they are not here to actually visit with, I feel very blessed to have a few of their good friends keep me company, and this is where Ali fits in. She's been kind of part of the family, as some of my best friends have been, for years, and am so happy to be collaborating with her creativity to see to it that her dream wedding comes true!

Before I stepped into their wedding picture, Ali had a full binder of pictures, ideas, magazine cut outs, websites, dress patterns and contacts. This is fantastic, as it gives me some sort of concrete foundation to build upon. I love that Ali is decisive, but only after testing out, or "auditioning" vendors. This is a great thing to do so that you feel 100% comfortable with your choices. This is one of the biggest days of your life and one where you can actually call all the shots. You're the boss and you are hiring these people (thanks for not auditioning other wedding planners Ali!). We have had several lengthy visits about flowers, centerpieces, dresses and the palette. The palette for this wedding took a few tries to get it right. I love that Graham actually puts in his two cents about the wedding and vocalizes whether or not he likes something.

The first palette Ali and I discussed, was ivory, sea foam and chocolate brown. Soothing, calming natural sea colours that they also have integrated into their home, so it only made sense to use these on their big day. This scheme actually posed quite a challenge, every one's thoughts on what "sea foam" was varied greatly and I struggled a bit with finding matching elements. This worried me a bit, as if I had trouble matching the colours just for the palette, then I though we would find it difficult to find decor, dresses, ties, flowers, accessories and centerpieces that all fell in the correct sea foam column.

After this, we discussed maybe doing a celedon or apple green and brown, which Ali loved but Graham was not a big fan of. Then Ali came to me with the idea of a powder blue and chocolate brown with ivory accents. I thought this would be a wonderful choice, as the blue would be more consistent, and was only a bit different than her initial palette. I went to work and gave Josh his job of coming up with the palette below, and I think it turned out beautiful, and best of all, both the bride and groom to be loved it!

Having my sisters far away is so hard, but having their close friends near by is the next best thing. I am so honored to be working with Ali and Graham and am going to attempt to patiently wait for next June to arrive.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Last Night Out

Before my friends started getting married, the last night out, whether it is a stag or a stagette, I had pre-conceived notions what this event was all about. Movies and shows definitely don't do these parties any favors either. My first stagette was a mere 3 months ago and I was ecstatic to be invited to Stacey's Moulin Rouge themed stagette. I love dressing up and any time I have an excuse to do so I go to town on an outfit, my friends can all vouch for this. I loved the idea of this theme, as I love pin up art and the era that this evening would be based on. Feathers, fishnets, glitter, glamour, corsets and pin-curls were everywhere. We began at Stacey's house, which was all a surprise for her, and the group of girls was a mixed bunch, some of which I'd known for years, some newer faces and family members, but we were all in it for the same thing, for Stacey and to make sure this was the best night out! Stacey was totally shocked, and was gorgeous in her black and white Moulin Rouge get-up. The girls and I all had a blast in a stretch SUV limo going from bar to bar, playing games, sipping champagne and indulging in some "live entertainment". I can definitely say it was a bonding experience for all of us which was really nice to have before Stacey and Brian's big day. I finally "got" this big night out and everything it meant, to the bride and to all of us that were there to see her walk down the aisle.

The next stagette was for our dear Danielle, and her stagette was Sex in the City themed. I thought this was perfect for Din, I could totally see her living in New York, maybe in the fashion industry. She loves shoes and had these to-die-for peacock blue Christian Louboutin's she wore on her wedding. Yes, Sex in the City was perfect. Din is adored by everyone who has known her for 15 years or 15 minutes, she's a gem of a human being and one of the best people I know, so the group was massive enough to fit on a bus! Fabulous shoes, make-up and attire accompanied all twenty-some-odd girls around to several bars and pubs after wining and dining at one of the girls houses. My masterpiece for this evening was my first attempt at being a cake master including a frozen butter cream transfer, striped zebra vanilla and chocolate cake, and fondant covering both layers, I think it was a hit. I really think that this idea of trouble making and mischievousness before your wedding day is blown way out of proportion and I now know that these big nights are so important and special, especially when there is a large group of people that have never met each other, it really loosens things up for the actual big day.

Our most recent big night out was actually something my best girlfriends and I came up with, and we named it the Staglerette. This is a hybrid of a stag and a bachelorette party, where it is a mixed sexes night out. Like I have mentioned before, Steve is one of our best friends, so is Brian, but it left us feeling a bit left out that we could not celebrate with them on their joint stag night, so we took the boys out as a surprise to a duelling piano bar, Aussie Rules. There was an even number of girls to guys and I must say, the night was an absolute success, the boys were surprised and we all had an amazing night out. Steve also didn't leave his bed for about 24 hours, sorry Din!

I am the kind of girl that judges things that are unknown to me, one of them being the bachelor and bachelorette parties and all that came with them. I actually thought they were not the best idea after hearing so many horror stories, but now after being to three in the past three months my mind has completely changed, I think they are absolutely necessary to bond friends, old and new and to let loose during a time where the soon to be bride and groom may need to blow off some steam. When the business is up and running I most definitely want to be able to accommodate those who need help putting together their big night out, I'm always down for a good party!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding

Okay, first thing here, I am lucky to have about 20 best friends, but Steve sure is one of them, and he got hitched! Yay! I could not be happier! And the best thing about this? My best friend count just hit 21, because his new beautiful wife Danielle is definitely one more to add to the list.

When Steve popped the question, we all were so elated for him and Din but they chose a date that seemed SO far away, I thought I was going to die of waiting for their big day! One thing I was really grateful for, was Steve keeping his word to me and asking my sweet and feisty daughter Brooklynn to be their flower girl, he had promised this role to her about six months before the engagement but was so happy he remembered, it meant a lot to me. Danielle bought her a custom-made tutu for the big day in their beautiful colours of orange and magenta and she received numerous compliments on the get up.

The happy new fiance's chose their venue which turned out to be a place that I had never even been to, even though it was just a few blocks away from where I work. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is a hidden gem right downtown. It is one of the oldest buildings in the core and the second you are inside you can tell. It was reminiscent to me of the Banff Springs Hotel, the old charm and feel of history and years gone by were everywhere you looked. Danielle brought me for lunch there about a month before their big day and showed me around. At first glance the ballroom, as she warned seemed a little outdated and, at the time we visited, blah, but I could see so much potential in there, with the grand ceiling and the dance floor in the center of the room. The massive windows and the crown molding just added to the ambiance. I knew with the right lighting and their high impact orchid centerpieces the room would just look magical.

Danielle is the most calm and relaxed bride to be I have ever seen. Even the morning of, she was just all smiles and no jitters, and she worked extremely hard on this wedding, right up until the day before. Steve and Danielle hand made a lot of elements to the wedding, place cards, the large painted "trees" with little lamps all over them, the candy buffet and the custom bags that they made. The theme and colours were used so tactfully throughout every detail and someone like me really appreciates all these tiny pieces that make the whole thing come together.

Along with their reception venue, they stuck with a historic theme and chose Calgary Central United Church for their ceremony, the oldest church in Calgary. Their massive wedding party (seven girls and guys on each side) hardly even fit up at the alter. The ceremony was beautiful and all of us had to hold back our tears as our boy Steve became Danielle's new hubby....maybe partially because we were realizing, if all of us were 16 when we met, and Steve was getting married which means we really are getting old, but mostly from sheer happiness for him and Danielle, they really are a perfect match.

The night was a complete success with all of us dancing and hula hooping and partying until the wee hours of the morning, and seeing of our newlyweds off to their hotel to sleep for a few moments before whisking off to their month long honeymoon in Europe. As I write this they are most likely sitting around, sipping wonderful wine and enjoying their new life together, congratulations you two, we love you!

*Photo Credit: