calgary wedding planner

Let There Be Light!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010 | trends, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

We just received a shipment of 30 candelabras – and they’re SO pretty! We love them because they’re elegant & simple. They work really well with a more traditional decor – but I just love that they’re so streamlined they look fabulous with sleek & contemporary and everything in between.

We love using really large versions of these candelabras for the head table.
They’re a great & affordable way to add some drama – and also punctuate the head table.
Can there ever be too many candles?? We think not…let there be light…warm, glowy, flattering candlelight that is!!

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Bride vs. Murphy’s Law…bets anyone?

Monday, June 7th, 2010 | etiquette, media, Q&A | No Comments

Q. My sister got married last weekend and it seemed like every possible thing that could go wrong, did. The make-up artist showed up really late, the beautiful vintage car she had booked broke down, the Videographer missed the entire processional and shot the whole thing focused on the back of their heads, the hotel misplaced their engraved cake knife, and the bridesmaids’ dresses didn’t arrive until 2 days after the wedding. I’m getting married in the spring and although I wasn’t worried about anything, I’m now terrified about all the things that can go wrong. Is there any way to make sure these things don’t happen at my wedding?

A. Yikes! Your sister is apparently the Murphy’s Law poster-child. It’s difficult to plan a wedding without something going awry along the way (and thankfully equally hard to plan a wedding with everything going wrong). A lot of the mishaps at your sister’s wedding could not have been prevented – but planning for acceptable alternatives can help.

Most contracts are written to protect the vendor not the client, so keep that in mind when you’re reading them over. There is almost always a clause pertaining to the “what ifs…” – think about what contingency would make you happy – and don’t be shy to at least suggest it to them. For example, if the car you booked breaks down or is otherwise unavailable – ask to have it written into your contract that the driver will come fetch you in an ancient Egyptian litter (a la Cleopatra) rather than merely substituting a car of equal value. It is highly unlikely they will actually agree to this, mind you, but the mere thought of it may give your sister some satisfaction.

Before booking any vendor, ask about their background, and don’t choose simply based on price. Discuss potential problems with them at the time – it is a lot less stressful to think about these things prior to your wedding.

To help deal with any hiccups on your big day, have a list of all the vendors involved and contact numbers. Another great way to help alleviate stress: Have an emergency kit so you can tackle any last minute problems like a torn dress (which you caught on the door as you were running in because your limo broke down), too few boutonnieres (because the florist didn’t think you were actually serious about there being 12 groomsmen), a missing ring (because the jeweller didn’t quite finish and you don’t want to have to borrow your cousin’s skull ring), or bad breath (because corn nuts are your favorite comfort food – and it seemed like a good idea this morning ).

So…read over your contracts….then pucker up and enjoy that first kiss (breath mint anyone?)!

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always a bridesman, never a….??

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 | etiquette, media, Q&A | No Comments

I know I’ve already blogged about having male bridesmaids and honour attendants of the opposite sex – but as it came up again in a recent meeting with a client I thought it bears repeating. I think my first experience with this was a female “best man” in the mid-nineties sometime. She wore a floor-length strapless black gown and looked just lovely – and not even a little out of place – standing between the groom and the groomsmen.
I feel very strongly that you have the person or persons that mean most to you standing next to you while you get married – regardless of gender. You don’t need to have 4 attendants because your soon-to-be spouse is having 4 attendants. You don’t have to have them all in the same outfit (in fact, please don’t!!) – it’s great to infuse some character into your bridal party. And, you definitely don’t have to have female attendants because you’re the bride, nor male attendants because you’re the groom. We have had lots of “men of honour”s and “best women” over the years and it’s always perfectly appropriate – regardless if you’re having a religious or secular ceremony.

The long road from happy engagement to wedded bliss is paved with potential etiquette faux pas. Wedding planner Lisa Hanslip is here to help you resist your inner Bridezilla along the way.

Q: I’m having a very hard time choosing a maid of honour. I have a few girlfriends that I’m fairly close to, but my very best friend is a guy. We’ve known each other since junior high – and he’s seen me through everything. Would it be weird to choose him instead of a maid of honour? Should he just dress like the groomsmen? Will I give my grandmother a heart attack?

A: Unconventional, yes! Unexpected, you bet! Acceptable, absolutely!

You want your honour attendant – whether it is a maid of honour, matron of honour or man of honour – to be the person to whom you feel closest. You should choose your best friend, the person you want standing beside you on your big day – not the friend that would look best in the bridesmaid dress.

If you choose a man to be your honour attendant – you may opt to eliminate some of the “typical” duties like hosting your bridal shower, or helping you get into your wedding gown. But the most important part of the job description is being supportive and serving as the legal witness to your marriage.

Choosing your attendants can often be a difficult process – for the bride and the groom. There may be family politics involved. Or, like some, you may have served as a bridesmaid for a dozen of your friends and family members and feel obligated to ask them to stand up for you in return. Well…don’t.

This is your day – and although it is impossible to accommodate everyone’s wishes – you can’t make your choices based on not wanting to offend someone. You can’t make everyone happy – nor can you make everyone your bridesmaid – so just choose those you are currently closest to. You can always assign tasks – like doing a reading or taking care of the guest book – to those you want to feel special and included in your wedding but aren’t in the bridal party.

When you decide on the attire for your attendants, he can wear a suit or tuxedo and coordinate his tie to the other bridesmaids. This scenario also holds true for the groom. It is also perfectly acceptable to have a woman be the best “man.” A best “woman” looks great in a black strapless gown to coordinate with the other groomsmen.

So, feel free to choose your best guy friend or brother to stand up for you at your wedding. Just keep your “man of honour” away from the lavender chiffon and size 11 purple pumps – and your grandmother’s heart should be just fine!

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Keep Calm & Eat a Cupcake

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 | trends | No Comments

Could these cupcake wrappers BE any cuter??!!?? We LOOOOOVE them. So much so Kim is practically inventing reasons to use them – friend’s birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers, it’s Thursday! You name it…
To be honest, for a while I was kind of sick of the whole cupcake thing – but these pretty little wrappers have rejuvinated my love for them. We’re always coming up with unique ways to present the cupcakes at the wedding or shower, but hadn’t thought of dressing up the individual cupcakes.
Some of them even have fun patterns on the inside…SO PRETTY…cupcake anyone?

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Weddings & Wildebeests

Friday, March 19th, 2010 | travel | No Comments

I meant to blog about my last vacation but never quite got around to it…but I clicked on a link on about the 10 best hotels in the world to daydream about some future vacation…and the #1 picture looked suspiciously familiar…HEY…that was our room!!
Yes, really, we actually stayed in this amazing & decadent tent during our magical safari in Kenya. It was so magical, and everything was SO special…I couldn’t help but think what a perfect honeymoon destination. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
From the thousands of zebras, gazelles, and wildebeests, to the prides of lions, journey of elephants and copious herds of giraffes it was totally surreal. But what was even more amazing was the service we received at the camp. We had our own private guide, driver, waiter and butler.
They always went out of their way to make each day special and unique. Not just unique from the day before – but unique from the other guests as well. One day we came back from our afternoon game drive and our entire tent (floors, bed, desk, tables) was covered in rose petals with candles lit everywhere. And they had brought one of the gorgeous (and HEAVY) carved solid wood tables onto our terrace with crisp white linens and candelabras and served us dinner (all 4 courses) on our verandah.
When we arrived there was a mommy warthog & her piglets about 3′ outside our tent…I totally fell in love with the piglets – so ridiculously cute…and a couple days later there was a wee little zebra munching on the bushes right outside our tent….Oh Look! We have our own private zebra!!
If you’d like to see some of our photos have a look:
My husband even got to cut his birthday cake with a machete after being serenaded by a tribe of Maasai warriors…definitely a trip for the record books!imgp2694

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How Much is THAT Dress?? Will the Manolos Still Fit in My Budget?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 | trends | No Comments

I had SOOO much fun wedding gown shopping with one of my brides. We started the process late last year and she bought “the one” late last week. wgown
Her initial appointments produced 3 main contenders – one that fit the budget, one that kind of, sort of fit the budget, and one “I think my heart just stopped” definitely, not even a little bit fit the budget.
She was very torn and didn’t know what to do so I joined her to go back & try on her favorites.
Of the first two I knew that one definitely wasn’t right – but the other could potentially be right…so off we went to see the oh-so-beautiful, but oh-so-not in her budget dress.
When we walked in the store I audibly gasped…good grief Lisa…have some self-control. It’s been a long time since I saw a wedding dress that made me totally lose my composure…uh oh!
However I did know that – although I was with her 110% on the amazing, unique, killer dress…I also knew it wasn’t the right one for her…so I did a little peak around the store to see what was new & fabulous since I was last there…and BAD, BAD wedding planner grabbed one that made us both gasp. She even asked me to try it on so she could see it on someone else (but not just in the photo on the website) – I never really expected to have a wedding dress on again – and boy, it sure was fun! :) It made my day to spend a few minutes in an exquisite work of art made of sumptuous fabric…better than a quick trip to the spa…haha!
I had to admit to her that I was very torn – my wedding planner sensibilities were saying NO, NO, NO because it was way too much of her total budget – but I also knew how GORGEOUS she’d look in it and how much she wanted it…
My bride ruminated over the holidays and I sent her out for a whole new round of dresses last week…well she hadn’t even made it out of the change room when her maid of honour called me to COME IMMEDIATELY…”We think we’ve found the one!!”
Well I jumped in my car and sure enough it was, indeed, the one. This gorgeous European confection of silk and lace was nothing like the dress she thought she would want (which is so often the case with wedding gowns) but once she had it on – it absolutely ticked all the boxes…AND…as the sample fit and was in perfect shape…there’s no need to panic about those sassy, sexy, sparkly Louboutins breaking the budget…and after all…aren’t the shoes the only part of a bride’s wedding attire she’ll realistically ever wear again anyway?? wshoes

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The Good, The Bad & The Downright Scary…

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 | etiquette, Q&A | No Comments

One of our brides is currently having some bridesmaid “issues” so we thought this might be useful.

The long road from happy engagement to wedded bliss is paved with potential etiquette faux pas. Wedding planner Lisa Hanslip is here to help you resist your inner Bridezilla along the way.

Q: I’m having trouble choosing a dress for my 10 bridesmaids. I want them all in the same dress but how do I choose one that will look good on all of them? Do I have to pay for all of them? Do they need to match my wedding gown?

A: Just like most things in life – one size usually doesn’t fit all – and one dress won’t suit all unless your bridesmaids have similar body types. When it comes to your attendants’ attire – uniformity is nice, it’s expected, but absolutely not necessary. In fact, mixing up the styles a bit is practically the norm these days. At the very least, it is nice to set your maid of honour apart by choosing a different dress in the same colour or the same dress in a different colour.

Choosing a bridesmaid dress shouldn’t be looked at as an opportunity for retribution for that frilly sea-foam green number taunting you from the back of your closet. Be nice. These are your friends. Most women are initially thrilled when asked to be a bridesmaid, but if they’ve ever been a bridesmaid before, inside their head they’re groaning (What is she going to make me wear?). Consider choosing a colour and style grouping from one designer and letting your bridesmaids choose which one they feel best suits them. That way, as it will be the same fabric and the same general style, they will look matching , but your best friend won’t be hiding in the corner all evening for fear of falling out of the strapless dress you’ve chosen for her.

The bridesmaid dress should match the formality of your dress – so don’t put them in a sundress if you’re wearing a formal gown with a train – but it is no longer necessary to have your attendant’s dresses emulate your gown. Bridesmaid’s dresses not only used to match the wedding gown – but were identical. The original purpose for a bridesmaid was to confuse the evil spirits. These days, they’re there for moral support and to look pretty walking down the aisle.

It is expected that the bridesmaids will cover the cost of their own attire, however some brides opt to pay, depending on the cost of the dress they’ve chosen, or the financial circumstances of their friends. So, unless you are planning to foot the bill yourself – be kind with both style and price. And, by the way, feel free just to have three or four bridesmaids, not ten – you don’t need all of your guests standing at the front with you!

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Lounge it!

Thursday, August 13th, 2009 | trends, weddings | No Comments

This couple had a lovely Ukranian Catholic ceremony follwed by a Korean Pehbek ceremony…GORGEOUS!
It was interesting observing the two families witness & interact during both of these ceremonies.
The bride changed back into her breathtaking Ramona Keveza gown & the groom changed back into his stylish suit and continued on to their lovely Lounge we created for their reception.
The low seating was accented with turquoise cushions, the low mirrored coffee tables were accented with gorgeous florals & LOTS of candles, and the tall cruiser tables kept the guests flowing throughout the space.

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