Wedding Timeline Part 2

Happy Earth Day!  I hope you are celebrating in the greenest way you can.  Yesterday I posted a wedding timeline of things you should be looking at 8-12 months before your wedding.  Today’s post includes 6-8 months before the wedding:

By this time, you probably have the big things booked (venue, photographer, planner, etc.).  It’s a great time to brainstorm decor and think about any projects you want to complete before its time to book rentals and decor in the next couple of months.

6-8 months before the wedding:

□       Finalize your guest list.

□       Begin researching honeymoon locations.

□       Obtain or update passports if you’ll be travelling out of the country.  Inquire about vaccination requirements.

□       Decide on wedding stationery and order invitations, announcements, thank-you cards, and place cards and favour tags if you will be using them.

□       Select the bridesmaids’ dresses, shoes and accessories.

□       Provide your bridesmaids and the parents of your child attendants with information to order attire and arrange for fittings.

□       The groom should begin researching formalwear styles for himself and his groomsmen.

□       Begin looking at cake ideas and meeting with bakers.  Set up tasting appointments.

□       Work over your menu with your caterer and finalize the menu.

□       Plan beverage and alcohol needs with the caterer.  If they are not handling alcohol, arrange for an outside vendor to provide.

□       Begin researching wedding day transportation.

□       Finalize reservations on rentals.

□       Let your attendants know which special responsibilities they will have.

□       Check requirements for a marriage license.

Wedding Timeline Part 1

Wedding season is fast approaching and I’ve been a bit jealous of my industry friends who are out there planning while I’m still on my version of a maternity leave.  So I decided to get back to blogging.  Over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing a series I wrote two years ago on wedding timelines.  Here’s the first installment:

I love using timelines for two reasons: 1. It lets you know what you should be thinking about.  2.  It lets you know what you don’t need to think about yet.  So often people stress out looking at every single detail of a wedding, but honestly, you don’t need to book your limo a year ahead of time, or look for a guest book (gathering information/inspiration about these things is great, but stressing yourself out about things that come later in the time line is unnecessary).

For today we have a basic checklist for the first few months of your wedding planning…depending on formality, style and your personality, everything is flexible according to what you want (just remember that if you’re looking for a particular photographer or venue, it’s best to book as soon as you can).

12 Or More Months Before:

□       Announce your engagement to friends and family.

□       Arrange for both sets of parents to meet if they haven’t already.

□       Start thinking about the big picture: formal/informal, theme, colour scheme and number of guests.

□       Select a few possible wedding dates if you do not have one picked.

□       Determine your overall wedding budget, and divide it into flexible categories.

□       Start a record-keeping system for payments, deposits, and due dates.

□       Using your budget, finalize your wedding vision:  decide on formality level, theme, colour scheme, number of guests, and wedding date.

□       Select your attendants, maid of honour, and best man.

□       Select your ring bearer, flower girl, and train bearer, if you plan to have them.

□       Begin putting together your guest list.  Start gathering contact information.

□       If you plan to use a wedding coordinator, hire one now.

□       Start shopping for the wedding gown.

□       Start looking at ceremony and reception locations.

□       If your reception location offers catering, arrange to meet with the caterer.

□       If your reception location does not offer catering, begin researching and meeting with caterers.

□       Begin researching and meeting with photographers and videographers.

□       Start thinking about ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception music preferences.

□       Begin researching and meeting with DJs, bands, and musicians.

□       Begin researching florists.

8-10 Months Before:

□       Finalize any ceremony site details: keep a copy of the contract and receipt.

□       As a couple, meet with your officiant and discuss any premarital requirements.

□       Confirm your reception location: keep a copy of the contract and receipt.

□       Book your caterer.

□       Book your photographer.

□       Book your videographer.

□       Book your entertainment, including a DJ and other musicians.

□       Book your florist.

□       Select and order the wedding gown.

□       Schedule your first gown fitting.

□       Begin looking for bridesmaids dresses.

□       Start a gift registry.

□       Reserve accommodations for your out-of-town guests at a hotel near the wedding reception.

□       Rent tables, chairs, lighting, a tent for an outdoor wedding.

□       Start looking for other décor items to rent.

□       Begin looking for stationery.

Fair Trade Weddings – Favours

Skip the trinkets and give your guests fair trade favours they will love.  My criteria for choosing favours is to always to pick something that is useable or consumable.  Here are my top 5 picks:

1. Donate to a charity.  Pick a charity that is close to your heart and make a donation in leiu of giving favours.

2. Coffee/tea. Beautifully packaged fair trade coffee or tea is a delicious favour and perfect for waking up after a night of dancing at your wedding.

3. Botanical Paperworks sells favour cards that you can plant, and they grow wildflowers.

4. Beeswax candles are natural, beautiful, and often locally made.  My favourite candles in Winnipeg are made by Barletta Beeswax.

5. Chocolate. Replace the jordan almonds with delectable fair trade chocolate for guests to take home and enjoy (or eat on the ride home).

Favours that are inspired by your location or wedding theme are also great.  Honey, maple syrup, candies, plants, etc are all great.

Eco-Fashion at the Oscars

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Photo: Daily Mail

There were two big eco-fashion statements on the red carpet last night, courtesy of Red Carpet Green Dress.  The Red Carpet Green Dress contest was started by Suzy Amis Cameron (wife of James Cameron) to have designers create sustainable designs.  The winning designs are worn on the red carpet (this was the fifth year).  Olga Kurylengo wore the winning dress designed by Alice Elia, and Kellan Lutz wore a tux designed by Jomnarn Dul (H Brothers).  You can read more about the materials used at ecouterre.

I’m curious – what do you think?  I thought the dress was great – beautiful colour and good fit.  The tux, on the other hand, I’m not a huge fan of.  I know the designers do great work, but this doesn’t seem to fit well.  Thoughts?

Company Crush: Nisolo

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Photo via Nisolo

When I was younger, my mom and I would look through the mall, pick out a few favourite items, then go for lunch and decide what we wanted to buy.  I still use a similar style today, going through the mall or searching the internet.  But when I came across Nisolo, I knew I didn’t need to go to lunch to know for sure that I wanted every single thing in their shop.

I came across Nisolo while on a search for a fair trade or artisan made purse.  The company makes high quality leather shoes and bags in Peru, and I have become slightly addicted.  I haven’t bought anything yet, but I have been on their website several times a day. For a week.  And briefly considered hitting “purchase” on my shopping cart and eating nothing but rice for a month.

Check out some beautiful shoes and have a great weekend!

7 Easy Things to Buy Fair Trade

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Photo: Erin Alexander Photography

1. Coffee. My favourite is Green Bean Coffee Imports (pictured above), and my second favourite is Level Ground.

2.  Tea. Fair trade tea can be purchased from health food stores, Ten Thousand Villages, and some grocery stores.

3.  Wine.  There is a great selection in Manitoba.  Winds of Change is my favourite so far.

4.  Chocolate.  Once you’ve tried fair trade chocolate, you’ll never go back to nestle.  As a bonus, fair trade is more expensive, so I eat less chocolate, but enjoy it more when I do. :)

5.  Gifts.  Ten Thousand Villages, Accompany, Etsy, Oxfam,

6.  Jewelry.  31 Bits, Soko, and Etsy are great options to start.

7.  Sugar.  Fair trade sugar can be found at health food stores, some grocery stores, and Ten Thousand Villages.

Becoming a Wedding Planner: Part 3

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First of all, thank you so much for the response to these wedding planning posts!  It’s been so fun to hear your comments.  This post is the story of how I got started.

When I was in university, I applied for a job as an administrative assistant at a church.  I was more than happy to end the stage of “uniform jobs” (grocery stores, waitressing, etc) and have my first grown up job.  On my very first task list was helping to coordinate a Block Party, and I loved it.  And so over the next couple years I looked for opportunities to plan events for the church and other non-profits.  One day, my boss suggested I consider planning as a career, and so after I graduated I started taking an event planning course by correspondence, and fell even more in love with the idea.

One of my class projects was to come up with a theme wedding, and I chose an eco-friendly wedding.  As I researched for my project I reached out to a few Manitoba vendors who were very, very supportive.  I read Blue Ocean Strategy and began to seriously consider starting my business around the idea of eco-friendly and fair trade events.  There were a few early encouragers: one of the owners of Tall Grass Prairie who took time out of a very busy afternoon to sit down and offer advice and encouragement, Yoko Chapman who offered to collaborate with me on a project even though I had just signed my first client the day before I met her, and several others.

With a Flourish officially launched on August 11th, 2008, with an article on Weddings in Winnipeg (now called It’s Love and under different owners), about flower recycling, which was a service I offered taking flowers that had been used at weddings and repurposing them to hand out at hospitals and nursing homes.  I received 3 calls that day about flower recycling, and a call from an out of town bride looking for a planner.  That first call turned into my first client, which turned into many more weddings and a variety of other events over the past 5 years.

A note on my family:

When I started taking the event planning course, I had a 3-month-old baby and was working nearly full time.  My husband was on board from the beginning, and stayed home with our baby for several months so that I could pursue my “dream job” and has done more than his fair share so that I could work evenings and weekends.  He’s also my bookkeeper, keeps me (sort of) organized and helps me everything computer related.  Our parents have also been amazing at babysitting and helping with trade shows and providing many hours of free labour.  My logo and website were designed by my super creative sister-in-law.

A note on the wedding industry:

The industry has changed a lot in the past 5 years.  Hiring a wedding planner is much more common, and the job description has changed quite a bit.  At the beginning it was hard to gain respect, both from brides and other vendors (it’s amazing how many sarcastic comments I received at the beginning from the same people who now tell me they love to work with wedding planners.  The profession has come so far in a really short amount of time).  One of my first clients used to write me emails late at night that said “I HATE ALL YOUR IDEAS” – and we all know what caps lock means (in the end she was thrilled and kept in touch for a long time after her wedding).  I’m really glad that I stuck with it, developed a thicker skin (and learned not to check my email right before bed) and developed the job into something great.  I’ve met SO many amazing couples and it’s been a true honour to work with every single one.

I think everything else will be covered by a Q&A post for next week.  I have had a few questions emailed to me, and if you have one please leave a comment below, email me at celebrate(at)withaflourish.ca or leave a comment on facebook.