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I’m engaged – now what??

by Linda Cvetanovic

I know that many holiday wish lists this season include a sparkly bauble for a certain ring finger.  If you are one of the lucky recipients that receives a marriage proposal over the holidays you may ask, “I’m engaged – now what??”  Some of you have been planning this day for years and have many a pinterest board dedicated to the perfect wedding but for the rest of you we offer this blog.  While I may have planned most of my own wedding, I’m not an expert which is why I consulted Jackie Penner Events for some great advice for brides (and grooms) to be.

Let’s start with the obvious, how can a wedding planner assist and what services do you offer?

The biggest advantage of hiring a wedding planner is their experience in the industry, their vendor relationships and their ability to help you strategically spend your money to get the most for your dollar. Weddings are very expensive nowadays so every dollar counts. Jackie Penner Events offers full planning services and day-of coordination. We are your advocate throughout the planning and a reliable and professional resource to ensure you’re wedding planning process and the day of your wedding are stress free for you and your family.”

I have to agree that the worst part of planning for me was the price checking and negotiating for the best deal.  Quite honestly, if we had look at one more album or powerpoint showing us wedding photos and assuring us we would love what they do, I might have eloped! But enough about me, back to you…

For couples that hope to work with a wedding planner like yourself, how soon should they contact you after setting the date?

Couples can contact a planner before they set the date if they are looking for full planning services. We will help you find an appropriate date, a venue that fits in the budget and assist in building your dream-team of vendors from there. If couples are looking for day-of coordination, the sooner they inquire and have us save the date the better. You get more bang for your buck by doing this because you have access to us for any questions and/or issues that arise while you are planning.

It’s nice that there are options so you can choose how much help you need.  Everyone told us booking the hall was the first step, and that brings us to priorities…

What would you say is the number one thing that couples overlook when planning their wedding?

How to spend their money strategically. Setting a budget for a wedding should be one of the first things you do and from there, you can build your dream wedding around it. There are many ways to save and splurge while planning a wedding and whether you are working with a $30,000 budget or an $80,000 you are going to have to do both! A wedding planner can provide you with ways to strategically save and splurge without sacrificing the most important things to you and your fiancé for your big day.”

I know for us it was about the food, the music and the (open) bar … centre pieces were lower on our list but knowing what you can allot to each item on your wish list is super important.

I love how weddings have evolved over the years and you hear more and more about “trends” in weddings.  Hopefully we can all look back at our wedding pictures and not cringe (you 80’s brides know what I’m talking about)

The happy couple circa 1981 (p.s. they are still married!)

The happy couple circa 1981 (p.s. they are still married!)

What are some of the more popular trends for 2016/17 weddings?

I think in 2016/2017 we are going to see more colour in weddings and more unique details. With the over-inspiration on pinterest and the abundance of wedding blogs out there, every bride is trying to ensure their wedding is unique to them. Whether it’s a small detail in a table number or an added experience for their guests, I think couples are trying to bring out more and more of themselves in their weddings.”

I have noticed that. My niece was married last summer and she picked up some unique decor at Centro Garden and other interesting and handcrafted pieces to make the day special – it wasn’t your typical rented wedding vases and stock guest book.  We also love this handmade jewellery from Burlington’s own Sarah Cownley which can be found at Organza Lines on Brant St.

With weddings ranging from intimate family gatherings to large over the top events, what is the best way to choose a venue that works for your wedding?

Set your budget, then make your guest list. This will inevitability choose the venue for you. If you’ve been dreaming about getting married in that historic castle but can’t afford to have 150 people there, you adjust your guest list. If adjusting the guest list is not an option, you have to find another venue. The two go hand in hand with one another and should be the first two things you do!

I wish I knew this 10 years ago!  We are lucky in Burlington to have so many options for wedding venues – if you’re looking for a historic castle, we have the next best thing – a historic mansion!

Paletta Mansion

Paletta Mansion

For the bride to be and her wedding party fashion is always top of mind (refer back to 80’s bride comment)

What should we look forward to seeing on the ladies in the next little while? And the gents?

For ladies, I think we will continue to see more and more of the mix-matched bridesmaid’s dresses. This style allows the girls to be themselves and be comfortable, while still looking cohesive as a bridal party. For the gentlemen, I think we will see a movement towards this mix-matched look as well. For the women, I think it’s important to stay in the same colour palate and for the men, to stay in the same tone. Mirella’s really is a great place to start for bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride dresses!

Mother of the Bride dress from Mirella's

Mother of the Bride dress from Mirella’s

So we are covering a lot of stuff here …. budgets, venues, clothes …as I mentioned at my wedding, great food and drink were at the top of my list and we have photos of the 24 foot table of homemade desserts from all the Baba’s to prove it!

See, I wasn't kidding!

See, I wasn’t kidding!

Are the days of pre-set catering menus over for weddings?

Pre-set menus are still out there but EVERY venue and caterer offer customization. Venues and caterers are becoming more and more flexible when it comes to accommodating the wants and needs of the bride and groom. It also benefits them in allowing couples and guests to see just how capable their kitchen staff can be!”

Let’s end on a fun note with a prediction….

What do you think will be the #1 song for the first dance and is the chicken dance still on the “no play”  list?

Interesting question … I think Thomas Rhett Die a Happy Man will be top of the list for first dance songs and likely whatever Ed Sheeran puts out next!  I have not heard chicken dance at a wedding in FOREVER so yes I’d say that is still on the ‘no play’ list. I think songs that encourage a Congo line should also be on the ‘no play’ list 😉

Noted!

Lucky for me, Jackie thinks of everything including the questions I don’t ask.  Here is some great advice especially if like myself you have different traditions and customs to consider.

I think it’s also important to note how family dynamics play into planning a wedding. While the day is about the bride and groom, it is important to keep in mind the feelings and opinions of the family. My advice to all couples planning a wedding is to have a conversation together as a couple to determine what is most important to you two for the big day. From there, sit down with your families and find out what their hopes for the day are. While you will not be able to accommodate all of them, be willing to compromise in areas that are less meaningful to you and your fiancé in order to make them feel great and even more excited for the big day. This is a family event, celebrating the two of you!”

I got to wear a crown on my wedding day!

I got to wear a crown on my wedding day!

If you are planning your wedding in Burlington, be sure to check out our Wedding page on the website for information on venues, services, accommodations and more.  In addition you can visit the Bridal Show Burlington held January 23 – 24 at the Burlington Convention Centre.

Jackie P

Jackie P

I’d like to thank Jackie for taking the time to share her expertise with us.  If you ever wondered what happens when a wedding planner plans her own wedding then you will want to follow Jackie’s #PlannerTurnedBride series on her blog.

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