Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vampires, Cupcakes and Candles

Happy Halloween my fellow wedding and all-things-fun friends!

Even though my business is solely focused on organizing and executing lovely people's nuptials, one thing you may not know about me is I should probably star on that show "Party Mama's", but maybe alter it to "Party Mama's on a Budget" since there is no way I am blowing my mortgage on a big bash!

I absolutely love theme parties, and once I pick a theme I go all out, and it's a force that cannot be contained! A lot of people ask where this obsession with theme parties comes from and I finally realized, I got it from my momma! My mom always put some serious effort into holidays and birthday's. I vividly remember my sister Meagan's panda themed birthday party: it was 1988 and the Giant Panda's were being lent to the Calgary Zoo from China and my mom took that and went with it. I remember the Panda cake and ice cream, games and masks, I just thought it was so awesome, we had THE coolest parties ever. I don't know if my mom realized how much this meant to us, and apparently helped me choose my career path, if not, thanks ma. I hope Brookie loves all her parties just as much as I loved mine and all my sisters', who knows, maybe she'll be my partner in party crime one day!

Last weekend I was honored to host the monthly ladies "book club" (see: ladies drinking copious amounts of wine, eating delicious food and acting like we just got fake ID's). It is always hosts choice for what book we will be reading and I took full advantage of this privilege and made it a Twilight Party - that's right, yours truly is a major Twi-hard. Thank you in advance to my fellow Twi-hard friend Danielle of Death by Shoes and Chelsea of Shutterbird Photography for most of these wonderful pictures, Chels - the food pictures actually made my tummy grumble!

When I first decided on this theme I searched far and wide on the wonderful world wide web for a classy and creepy way to celebrate my favorite vampires and werewolves. Thank goodness for the queen of theme parties Hostess with the Mostess for her delightful Twilight Party post . It really got the blood flowing (like that? ha ha...) and the ideas just fogged up my mind for weeks before the big bash.

First on my agenda were the apples. I sent Josh to the store to pick up "the shiniest, most Twilightiest apples you can find". He was so nervous about this ever so important mission that he came home with a huge bag of Red Delicious as well as a huge bag of Spartans, both very pleasing to me, such a gem that guy is.

I hosted this party at a perfect time of year, the Halloween decor is on sale and there was Christmas stuff coming out as well - I found thick, wired satin ribbon which I weaved into my blinds and draped over the table to re-create the look of the cover on Eclipse. I places the apples everywhere, in vases with floating candles and water, up my front steps, and in the sangria I made - danger juice! There were candles everywhere to create a classy but haunting appearance and frames the quotes that HWTM provided.

Now, the food, a very important item to the book club. I did a lot of googling and research into what foods were mentioned in the Twilight series. My first find was mushroom ravioli, so I homemade (I will NEVER do that again!) them the night before and fried them up in a sage brown butter. I also made lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread, red velvet cupcakes with both blood splattered and sparkly cream cheese icing and vampire bite cookies! I have to say, the red velvet cupcakes were a hit, and I will certainly be making those again, yum!

The success of a theme party is dependant on how dedicated you are to it, and most are created starting from one single object or colour and then expand from there, in this case a simple apple.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween and yes, we did discuss Team Edward and Team Jacob and came up with a very sensible solution - Edward in the summer to keep you cool and Jacob in the winter to keep you warm. We're such intellectuals!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

FRD - Apple of My Eye - Evelyn and Jeff

Evelyn and I first "met" online in our Event Management course. Her and I got along very well, we agreed on a lot of things and are similar in many ways, we were even born within a few days of one another! We have since met in person but both of us being small business owners, plus working our day jobs, renovating, pet owning and life living leaves little time for real meet ups, thank goodness for Facebook! Ev has started a wonderfully successful event design company and she is extremely talented in colour coordinating and making things look absolutely flawless. Check her drool worthy dessert tables and other pretty projects out at Thank you to As I See It Photography for the stunning images of Evelyn and Jeff's crisp, clean, modern and of course, perfectly put together wedding.

Evelyn & Jeff

September 13, 2008

Overall theme/colour/feel for the wedding:

I’m a Contemporary Classic girl all the way, so I wanted our wedding to be timeless, sophisticated but a little fun as well. For cultural reasons, I could not have the Black and White combo I craved…black and white is too stark and could be misinterpreted as colours of mourning in Chinese culture, so I compromised with ivory/white, silver and apple green (I wanted desperately to use green apples after seeing a really cool centrepiece idea on The Knot!). Ours was a “Fall”-ish wedding, but I really did not want to use the more conventional reds, oranges and browns.

How we met:

We met at the University of Alberta through our mutual friend Ainsley – I was friends with Ainsley throughout high school and she became friends with a group of boys she met in Engineering…one of them happened to be my future husband! We didn’t start seeing each other until 2 weeks before our First Year ended…just in time for Jeff to move back to BC for the summer. Fun (?) fact: we have actually spent about half of our dating years in a long-distance relationship.


It’s not your typical romantic story…

I was still in my last year of school in Edmonton and Jeff was living in Calgary. I came down on the bus to visit and when Jeff picked me up, I was hungry and wanted a McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries. I eat at a snail’s pace…reallllly slow…so I was wondering why Jeff was pacing in the living room of his condo while I was taking my time eating my supper. Jeff proposed that we should take a walk after I finished eating…at this point, it was about 11pm…which was a rather odd time to choose to take a walk, non? Nevertheless, we went on a walk. Long story short, we wandered in what seemed like an aimless fashion, with him acting more and more bizarre, and then suddenly, we walked back to the condo. I did think “Oh my god, is he going to propose?” but when NOTHING happened, I thought that I was going a little crazy. After arriving back to the condo, I went to wash up for bed, completely confused. After I finished getting ready for bed, Jeff pulled me aside and got down on one knee to propose in the living room of his condo, just after midnight! Turns out, he had an elaborate plan of candles and rose petals but he spent too much time running errands with his parents that afternoon so they thwarted his plans. As well, he was going to propose at sunset, but since I took so long eating, we missed sunset. The aimless wandering? He was trying to find a location he saw once that had twinkle lights strung up…nope, those weren’t around. So what’s a boy to do? He proposed in the most practical location, in the privacy of Home with no fanfare, just genuine words. And to be honest, I’m not a roses and candles kind of gal, and the hijinks are so typically “us” – perfect.

Wedding drama:

Lordy, if only I knew what I know now! I would have hired a Day of Coordinator, for sure, because the amount of stress of planning a detailed wedding while working a demanding full-time job, being a new Cat Mom, organizing and coping with all of our out-of-town family and wedding guests (96% of our guests came from outside of Calgary) and doing all of this while my fiancĂ© was mostly out-of-town, himself, nearly sent me over the edge! I slept, probably 2 hours the night before my wedding – tops – and I didn’t have time to absorb the wonderful feeling of having all of my loved ones with me to celebrate. This is partially the reason I became a wedding planner and designer – to save Brides from headache and to allow them to have a (mostly!) stress-free Day and enjoy spending this happy time with loved ones.


Church: Hillhurst United

Reception: Valley Ridge Golf Club

Dress: Alfred Sung
Blissful Bridal
127- 7004 Macleod Trail SE
(It’s a small salon across from Cactus Club. Tammy, the owner, is THE most personable and hands-on salon owner I’ve ever met)

Shoes: Le Chateau

Bridesmaids: Le Chateau

Groom and Groomsmen : Derk’s Formalwear

Rings : Blue Nile

Florist : Eternabloom

Stationery : Me!

Cake: Cakery Bakery

Dessert bar : Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (caramel apples, marshmallow kabobs, chocolate suckers, caramel popcorn) – not photographed

Photography: As I See It Photography

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stop Motion Videos

I am slightly obsessed with people that are talented in the area of photography and videography, maybe because while I own good equipment and happen to take an okay shot now and again, the time, effort, knowledge and expertise of these people blow my mind. My lovely sister Krista sent me this little gem today and I think it's just beautiful:

And then there's this invitation that I think I emailed to everyone and their dog I was so obsessed, I watched it several times a day, for several weeks:

There certainly is not a whole lot out there on the world wide web in this area, and I think it may be because of the intense involvement and dedication of such a project, but if someone is willing, the outcome is certainly something spectacular

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

iPhone Proposal = LOVE!

Anyone that knows me is well aware that my iPhone (bless it's heart) is like an extra limb for me (shattered limb right now, poor thing!), so I was delighted to see such a sweet, creative proposal. I love when guys put so much work into something so important - raising the bar for all those guys with sparklies in their pockets out there!

About the video:

"I proposed to my girlfriend, Vy (Vee), by writing a song and making a music video for her. We went out to see a film at our favorite movie theater and she was completely surprised once she figured out what was playing on the screen wasn't actually an iPhone commercial."


FRD - Here Comes the Sun - Claire and Mike

Claire and I are old pals. We were the best of friends in elementary and junior high school so I have a lot of funny memories. Huck em' chuck em' fishing, the iffy boy ("I'm iffy about almond paste") in cooking class, baby tees with Little Miss Sunshine emblazoned on them, peace sign earrings and green alien necklaces (hey now, don't make fun, they were in style back then!), stealing J-ello powder from our family's pantry's (extra points if you brought the "cool" flavors, blue raspberry or watermelon!) and numerous adventures with the Girl Guides are just some of the memories we share. She is the best hairstylist in Calgary, a loyal friend, a great sister, daughter and devoted wife. I am so happy to share her and her husband's beautiful day with you, photos are courtesy of Nate Northridge and are so vivid, rich and romantic. His beautiful wife is another old pal of mine, Claire's best friend, Christina who you will see in the wedding party. Thanks for sharing you two, wishing you a marriage filled with sunshine and J-ello powder!

Mike and Claire
July 25th 2009

We were married out in Cochrane at All Saints Anglican church, we had our photos done near the river in Cochrane, and had our reception at Beupre Hall west of town. We decided to make our wedding a beach theme because of our love of the ocean (my husband is a maritimer) We kept the beach accents to a minimum. Our colour scheme was chocolate brown and Tiffany blue.
The first thing I did when we got engaged was book the church and the venue. Secondly I went and bought my dress. I got my dress at Ethos Bridal, and it was actually the first dress I tried on. I didn't need a whole lot of fitting done, but the woman at Ethos that helped us runs a business out of her house and she did it for me and did a great job. I loved my dress.

The groomsmen wore black tuxes with brown vests and ties, the groom wore a black tux with a silver vest and tie. The bridesmaids wore chocolate brown dresses that we found on Victoria's secret. They were called "convertible dresses" and each bridesmaid wore theirs a slightly different way.

Our linens were white and Tiffany blue. I rented them from a place online, they were reasonable and the woman did pick up and delivery.

Our cake was made by Kathleen Kudding. The cake not only looked great, but tasted fantastic too.

We had our hair and make-up done where I work as a stylist, at Angles in Tuscany. It was kind of like a wedding pre-party because I got to hang out with my closest friends and family and get ready for the big day.

Our photos were done by Nate Northridge with Northridge photography. We could not have been happier with how they turned out. The day was scorching hot, and we had to suffer through the heat taking pictures, but it was worth it. When we were all done, Nate took us through the Starbucks drive thru for much needed ice tea's.

The flowers were done by Panda flowers in Cochrane, they did a fabulous job. We had to give them our order a week before the wedding due to a major screw up by a different flower shop. They came to the rescue and I loved our flowers. I had a mixture of sunflowers, orange gerbera daisies and purple orchids. The men all had orchids to pin to their jackets and the ladies carried sunflowers.

Our centerpieces were square glass vases with sand, shells and candles in them. When all lit up, they looked pretty cool.

How we met:

Embarrassingly enough, we met at a bar called the Metro, 8 years ago. I was only 17 and shouldn't have been there, and he was a broke student who couldn't really afford to be there. He had just recently moved to Calgary from Nova Scotia and approached me for his friend. I quickly shut down his friend and got to talking with him. We parted that night with each others numbers. He called the next day, and we have been in love ever since.


This was very casual. My mum had been asking us about wedding dates quite persistently. One evening we were hanging out at home talking about it and Mike asked if I wanted to go look at rings (um...of course!) So off we went. Mike had his heart set on a particular ring and had to have it for me. In the car on the way home he says; "so you wanna be my wife?" How could I say no?

Mike's Favorite part:

My favorite part was walking into the reception. I was relieved to be married and excited about having fun and relaxing, partying with family and friends.

Claire's Favorite part:

How to narrow it down? The whole day was wonderful. Getting to marry my long time love is at the top of the list! I just loved having the opportunity to celebrate our relationship with all of our family and friends.

Ceremony Location: All Saints Anglican church, Cochrane
Reception Location: Beaupre Hall, Forestry Trunk Road

Dress: Ethos Bridal, 17th ave Calgary
Bridesmaid dresses: Victoria's Secret
Tuxes: Black and Lee Tuxedo

Hair: Angles in Tuscany, Calgary

Shoes: Aldo

Rings: Ben Moss

Flowers: Panda Flowers, Cochrane

Photography: Northridge Photography

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FRD - All that Sparkles - Lisa and Cam

Welcome to Urban Vows' very first "Friday Real Deal" post! I figured, since I only actually conduct under 10 weddings per year for now (you know, since I work full time in oil and gas, work part time doing events at an art gallery, I am trying to finish up my event management certificate, have a child, boyfriend, friends etc. to attend to) I wanted to cover other weddings that are going on in and around the Calgary area. This is a great way to see what other couples are doing, especially for venue and vendor choice.

When I first chatted with Lisa about featuring her and Cam's wedding she was so willing and excited, and I can see why! A beautiful ceremony at St. Mary's Cathedral and a stunning and glamorous wedding hosted at the Calgary Zoo and photographed by the ever so talented Edward Ross (, no wonder she was ready to share!

Lisa had a few testing moments prior to the wedding, including a horror story with her dress - trust me brides, you may take back anything you have stressed about thus far in your planning after reading this!

Congratulations Lisa and Cam, all the best to you in your new life together!

Lisa and Cam’s Wedding
August 21, 2010

The overall theme/colour/feel for the wedding:
The colours were ivory and black with some bright pink and deep greens. Silver was also incorporated into the colour scheme. I wanted simple and elegant with some sparkle.

My dress was relatively simple with a sparkly brooch on the hip and one on the small of my back. Lea, the florist, added big chunky crystals to my bouquet to match the crystals on my shoes and Stacey, the designer, added sparkle to my birdcage veil to match the dress brooches and crystals to my garter to match the shoes. The groom wore a black suit, with an ivory vest and an ivory tie. He had a single ivory rose pinned to his jacket.

The bridesmaids wore fushia coloured dresses with silver shoes and ivory bouquets. The groomsman wore black suits, black vests and silver ties. They had three ivory spray roses on their jackets.

The linens were ivory and the chair covers were black with ivory sashes. The centre pieces were high cylindrical vases with ivory and green hydrangeas, green leaves and fuchsia roses at the bases with fern-like leaves, ivory roses and fuchsia flowers on stems jutting out of the top.

How we met:
Lisa and Cam met at Queen’s University in their second year of Chemical Engineering. Cam first saw Lisa in a chemical engineering lecture when he sat behind Lisa and her friends. Cam was instantly attracted to Lisa and, with the help of a friend, they met...first through msn...and then in class...
Lisa and Cam have been inseparable from that point on.

From Cam’s POV – It was a Saturday night and Lisa was out running some errands when I decided that it was the right night to propose. I started setting up the house; first I made a trail of rose pedals and candles from the front door to the top of the stairs where I placed one rose with a card which read “Past.” The card described how we had first met while at Queen’s University and some of the incredible memories I had from those first few months.

I continued the trail of rose pedals and candles to another rose and card which read “Present.” This card described how we moved from University to ‘Grown up’ life and all the amazing experiences and memories we had including the addition of our dog Tucker.

The trail of rose pedals and candles continued to outside our bedroom door where I placed the last rose and card which read “Future.” The card read, “I have no idea what the future holds but all I know is that I want you in it with me!” Inside the bedroom I made a giant heart shape with the remaining rose pedals.

I put on a suit making sure I had the ring and tried to get the dog into the bedroom with me to wait for Lisa. Unfortunately, this was the time I discovered Tucker was scared of candles and so I had to coax him into the room with a handful of cookies. He was more nervous in the room with the candles lit and nowhere to escape so he did what he always does when he gets nervous – drops himself to the ground with his bum in the air and rolls around. I heard the garage door open and desperately tried to re-create the heart shape while keeping the dog calm and by my side. I could hear Lisa getting close and when she finally opened the door Tucker and I were looking at her with the ring box between his paws.

Wedding Drama:
Stacey Roberts, designer and owner of Rose's Custom Sewing and Alterations in Ontario had sewn my dress to perfection back in May. I was told to get the dress steamed once back in Calgary to remove any wrinkles from the train of the dress that may have formed on the plane ride to Calgary. I took the dress to the Bridal Centre in Calgary and when I went to pick it up on the Thursday night before my wedding it was ruined!

The delicate, rounded shaped rouching in the bodice had been flattened by ironing it on a board - creating knife pleats and lines where there should not be lines. The stitches under the pleats holding up the rouching were now in plain site because they had been flattened and pulled out of the way so it looked like I had a row of buttons down the front of my dress. The rouching on the back of my dress was also flattened to knife pleats and seams were showing and some were seams were even ripped out. The most frustrating part was that the train was more wrinkled then when I brought the dress in (and removing the wrinkles from the train was the reason I brought it in).

I cried all night long and told everyone to start cancelling the wedding because my dress was not wearable. At 6:00am Friday morning, I called Stacey, (the perfectionist designer/sewer) told her what happened and begged to fly her from Ottawa to Calgary. She agreed to come and try to salvage the dress. Of course all the early and direct flights were booked so she did not get here until 9:00pm Friday night before the wedding. She took the whole dress apart, wet it down to remove the knife pleats, re-shaped the rouching and sewed it back together. It was not ready until 8am the morning of my wedding…….and I had not slept since Wednesday night. At least I had a dress!

Stacey stayed with me the entire day to ensure my dress was perfect all day long. It was amazing to have my own stylist at the photo shoot!

Lisa’s favorite part:
Since the wedding almost did not happen due to my dress being ruined, every part of the day was my favourite and I cherished every minute. I had the perfect dress, shoes, veil, garter, designer, florist/decorator, photographer and even perfect weather! Most of all I had the perfect groom to share the day with.

Cam’s favorite part:
Seeing Lisa enter the Church looking so beautiful and happy; it brought tears to my eyes instantly.

Ceremony Location: St. Mary's Cathedral
Reception Location: Tent at the Calgary Zoo

Dress: Rose's Custom Sewing & Alterations

Custom veil and garter: Stiltskin's Spindle - Dresses Outside the Book

Shoes: Stuart Weitzman (Diamond Collection)

Rings: Tacori

Flowers/Decorations: Designing on the Edge

Photography: Edward Ross Photography