The Big Three: Choosing your Venue, Entertainment, and Photographer

Your special day is quickly approaching! In order to make your celebration the most enjoyable and memorable it can be, careful selection of your venue, entertainment, and photographer is essential. We at Kari Lywood Events have put together some key tips to consider when considering the selection of these major vendors.

 

Venue Selection

 

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Photo Credit: The Bell Tower on 34th

Keeping in mind your budget, consider venues that speak to your personalities as a couple and those that can accommodate your desires for decor and styling. Are you hosting both your ceremony and reception at the same venue? Are you considering an outdoor wedding?  Will your guest count limit your options? Consider these thoughts while conducting your research.

A good idea when sourcing potential venues is to record all information you are able to obtain in a spreadsheet or powerpoint with photos. This way, when you have looked at multiple venues, you can cross-compare all of the information and eliminate those right away that cannot accommodate your wishes. Be sure to note not only the name and location of the venue, but also its capacity, availability, parking details, catering, facility extras (such as tables, chairs, linens, and A/V equipment), and most importantly, their rates. If possible, save some photos of each so that you are able to better visualize your day. While not all of this information may be available on the venue’s website, reach out via email or phone and gather as much information as possible so that making your decision can be that much easier. It is important to research these key ideas when sourcing out venues so you can begin to consider whether or not the venue can fit into your budget. If the venue has higher rates for the time of year you are considering having your celebration, has an exclusive caterer, or does not provide some of these facility extras, your tab may skyrocket.

Once you have been able to narrow your list down to your favourites and those that best fit your dream, visit them! Explore the grounds and take a tour so you can better visualize your celebration. This is also a great time to gain more insight into specifics for your event by discussing with staff members. Most importantly, go prepared with questions, a camera, and a notebook! Take down all of the information you learn that day so that you can revisit your notes with your fiancée in a few days and make a decision.

 

DJ and Entertainment Selection

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Photo Credit: BeatMixology

Everyone loves a good celebration! Therefore, the selection of the right DJ or entertainment is crucial. Just like your venue sourcing, spend time doing research and reading testimonials. Reach out to those that interest you and communicate your desires – what type of music you and your fiancée wish to have played during your celebration. Sometimes, particular DJs or bands are more comfortable or better suited to particular genres, so be sure to discuss this before booking. You’ll also want to consider the duration of their set – will they be playing solely during the entrance and dance time? During your meal? During your ceremony as well? These are all things you will want to discuss with your prospects. Many times, the DJ or entertainment service will offer MC services as well. Inquire about this if you do not want to delegate the task to a family member or friend during your celebration.

 

Photographer Selection

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Photo Credit: Seth Partridge

Finally, one of the most important elements of your special day is the selection and hiring of a photographer and/or videographer. In depth research and careful consideration is essential. Not only will they be responsible for capturing the most special moments of your day, you will want to ensure that their creative eye is in line with your desires. Every photographer is different and specializes in particular areas (detail shots, portraits, etc.). You, as a couple, will want to determine a photography style, set up interviews, and view multiple pieces of work from your prospects. If you desire more candid shots, you’ll want to source a photographer who specializes in documentary versus portraiture, which would entail much more styled shots instead of candid. Meet with those who interest you and request to see their work, asking any questions and addressing any reservations you may have. Most importantly, you’ll want to be sure your personalities mesh! Nothing can bring more tension and stress to your celebration than working with a vendor (especially one who is so critical to the day) who you do not get along with.

 


In considering all of these elements for your special day, it is also worth thinking about hiring a day-of coordinator. At Kari Lywood Events, we offer day-of coordination packages that are designed to alleviate all stress from you as a couple, your friends, and family members on your special day. After all, this IS a celebration! Our coordinators will review your current to-do list, create a detailed itinerary for your wedding day, and communicate with your vendors to share your itinerary and any special instructions you may have! From 14-days prior to your wedding day, our coordinators will be the main point of contact and attend your rehearsal, assisting with on-site coordination. Hiring a day-of coordinator allows you to be confident that each of your guests are having the best time possible, responsibility free, and that you as a couple can celebrate your special day to its fullest extent.

For more information on our packages, visit our website at www.karilywoodevents.com or fill out the form below!

 

 

Written by Stephanie La Civita, Event Coordinator at Kari Lywood Events

 

How to Start Planning your Dream Wedding

Congratulations! Before you begin your new lives as a happily married couple, the planning of your celebration must commence. We at Kari Lywood Events have put together some simple steps and reminders to help with your planning process.

Set the Date

Setting the date for your wedding is one of the first, and most essential steps in beginning to plan your dream day. Not only do many venues book up well in advance, this date will be critical when contacting  all other vendors for your day. Having this date in mind will also allow your to prioritize items on your checklist and allow for a clear path for you to follow over the next few months.

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Photo Credit: Zazzle.com

 

Choose your Colours or Theme

This is where it gets fun – infuse your personalities!! Use colours and decor that best represent you as a couple. Knowing your ideal colours and theme are not only important for your decor at both your ceremony and reception, but are also extremely important for elements such as invites, flowers, and bridal party gowns. Decide whether you would like to have a more modern, romantic, or traditional feel to your wedding and choose colour palettes that compliment this, spreading similar style across all elements of your wedding for a cohesive, consistent appeal.

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Photo Credit: enville.com

 

Environment and Venue

Now you need a place! Visit multiple venues and see what can be best offered to fit your taste, personalities, and budget.

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Photo Credit: bridebox.com

 

Dress Shopping!

Every girl’s favourite moment – finding “the one”! Start EARLY! This process takes time, and you do NOT want to feel rushed or pressured into a particular gown because of time constraints. Don’t settle. Fall in love. Keep in mind (multiple) alterations will be needed, and aim to have your dress well ahead of your wedding date.

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Photo Credit: Lockhart’s Weddings and Special Occasions

Mail Invitations

Receiving a physical invitation in the mail for a wedding is always both traditionally valued and truly sentimental. Take the time to send each of your guests individual invitations! Follow-up thank you notes to each of your guests is always appreciated as well.

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Photo Credit: Shine Wedding Invitations

Arrange Entertainment and Photography

Time to make your celebration the best it can be – this is YOUR DAY! Bring together your guests with a live DJ or band, fun activities, and a great photographer who can document the celebration as it happens. Join your guests in the festivities, and create your first memories as a newly married couple.

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Photo Credit: Wedding Idea Box

 

 

Hire Help!

The planning process can be both overwhelming and, at times, challenging. Hire help! Handing off some of the responsibilities to a coordinator not only eliminates stress in the planning process and on your day, but allows both you and your loved ones to enjoy your celebration to the fullest, worry-free. Allow us to take on any troubles that may arise during the planning process or celebration! And most importantly, enjoy your day!

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At Kari Lywood Events, we offer a variety of coordinating packages to suit the needs of your big day. Visit our website for more details, and forward all inquiries to kari@karilywood.com. We can’t wait to help make your day as special as possible! 

-Stephanie La Civita

Top Trends of the 2016 Wedding Season

Personality and creativity are key this wedding season. As couples are becoming increasingly interested in making their weddings a more intimate and overall fun experience for their guests, the infusing of personal elements into various areas of the ceremony are sure to make your wedding unique and extraordinary.

The Celebration

Brunch Weddings

Brunch weddings are an interesting and different way to celebrate with your guests. Having a brunch wedding brings a more casual and laid-back vibe to the celebration where decorations can be kept simple and guests can dress up or down as much as they would like. A ceremony and celebration in this style allows the couple to be as elegant and extravagant as they choose, often with a smaller bill. Besides, who doesn’t love a mimosa!

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Anne Designs

The Look

Boho

Off-the-shoulder dresses in cream and blush are one of the biggest trends for brides this season. Perfect for the bride that wants a little bit of arm coverage without looking too covered.

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Photo Credit: Krisztina Williams Fashion, Beauty, and Lifestyle

Deep-Vs

The deep-v cut gown steps away from traditional ideologies of a bridal gown, but paired with soft lace, enhances the collarbone and shoulders while slimming the overall figure.

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Photo Credit: Canadian Living

Mismatched Bridesmaids

Similar colours and styles are essential to executing this trend successfully at your celebration. This trend allows the members of your bridal party to select a dress that they are more likely to feel comfortable in and wear again, while still creating a cohesive look among your party.

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Photo Credit: Chloe Jackman

Decor

This wedding season brings loads of visual and aesthetic trends to suit any interest. From metallics, to bold pops of colour, to rustic chic there is something for every couple.

Metallics

As described by Harriette Rose, a New-York City event planner, metallics have the potential to be “elegant, whimsical, ethereal or even very natural”. Rosegolds or blush hues are key to creating a soft, romantic ambiance.

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Photo Credit: elegantwedding.ca

Lighting

Intimate lighting with soft glows are a huge trend, contributing to the overall romantic aura of the celebration. Fixtures such as candelabras, chandeliers, and “Edison bulbs” are all great and simple ways to elevate the sentimental feeling of the room.

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Photo Credit: Wedding Party

Rustic Chic

Wooden details bring a natural element to the wedding, providing a nice contrast to soft metallics and palettes. Decorate the venue with natural pieces such as lace, baby’s breath, and hay, paired with creative and modern elements that add personality.

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Photo Credit: Amber Green Photography

Family Style Seating

Moving away from round tables, the incorporation of long rectangular tables and lounge areas with comfortable seating areas for cocktail and after-party hours allows for a more intimate atmosphere. These table styles also allow for flexibility with serving styles that allow for greater interaction among guests.

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Photo Credit: Brides of Oklahoma

Pops of Colour

Bright accent colours are one of the final decor trends of the season. The incorporation of bold colours such as coral and plum among soft hues provides not only contrast, but visual appeal and personality.

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Photo Credit: Bruce Gardner Photography

Centrepieces

Free-Form Bouquets

This “just-picked” look with both big and small blossoms in multiple colours and shades, can use whichever flowers are in season to create a distinct, fun look. To make the bouquets even more visually appealing, ask your florist to use various flowers in similar shades to create a gradient, ombre effect, or, opposite ends of the colour spectrum for a more romantic feel. For another creative twist, ask your florist to include fragrant “edible”items such as coffee beans or herbs, or even berries for an additional pop of colour. Remember, flowers aren’t always necessary for a centrepiece! Using decorative leaves, ferns, blooming branches and lavender sprigs can have just as beautiful visual appeal as a full bouquet of flowers.

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Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

Cocktail Hour

His and Hers Cocktails

Incorporating your favourite beverages into the cocktail hour brings more personality to the celebration and creates a conversation piece.

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Photo Credit: Southern Bride and Groom

Grown-Up Popsicles

Cool down your summer wedding with your favourite cocktail transformed into a frozen treat to put a spin on cocktail hour.

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Photo Credit: Images by Lori

Pairings

Step away from the predictable wine-with-food pairing, and pair cocktails with food! This makes cocktail hour more fun and gives you the opportunity to infuse some personality and your favourite items into the menu in a way your guests will never forget!

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Photo Credit: At Your Table

Deserts and Cakes

“Naked” Cakes

Many couples are moving away from fondant cakes and moving back to buttercream for the light and simplistic taste. A trend gaining more popularity that breaks traditional wedding cake perceptions are “naked” cakes – unfrosted or partially frosted caked topped with berries and fresh flowers.

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Photo Credit: AFM Banqueting

Hand Painting

Hand painted designs on your wedding cake can give a more bohemian vibe to your celebration, and can even be tied over to your invitations or decor.

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Photo Credit: Intimate Weddings

Flavours

Gone is the traditional custard or vanilla flavouring of cake – new cake trends include salted caramel, champagne, and white chocolate mousse, giving guests a decadent treat at the end of their meals.

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Photo Credit: bonappetit.com

Photography and Video

Of course, photos and video are essential to your special day, capturing every precious moment. Action shots and candid photos are a great way to tell a story and convey the emotions you are feeling throughout your celebration. Mixing film and digital also brings interesting contrast to your documentation. Use polaroid cameras! Not only are the photos instantly printed, they give guests a special memory of the night to take home with them and brings an element of fun to the evening. Photos and videos beginning shortly before and ending just after the ceremony and celebration are a final way to capture the entire experience, capturing up to an entire week’s worth of the journey you are about to embark on together.

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Photo Credit: Aevistas Weddings

On behalf of Kari Lywood Events, we would like to congratulate all of our brides tying the knot in 2016! 

-Stephanie La Civita

Photo blog: top naked cakes

Today’s blog post is, in some way, a continuation of last week’s “2016 wedding trends” post. Stated as one of #KariLywoodEvents’ favourite 2016 wedding trends was naked cakes.  Of course, this trend is not limited to just weddings; they’re great for many types of events and we can’t wait to start suggesting them. We love this new trend so much that we want to share with all of our readers some of our top picks. Try not to drool as you’re scrolling!

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2016 wedding trends

New year, new wedding trends! As wedding planners, we need to be on top of all the hot new trends before they even become trends (if that makes sense). We want to offer our clients fresh new ideas that they will love for their special day, and some that save them more money than they would ever expect. These trends are what we have seen and experienced and know will work. Here are some of the many 2016 trends for you to catch up on:

Mixing country and city

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If you ever heard of the saying “city girl with a country heart” and didn’t understand the concept, you will soon be seeing this theme at a lot of weddings. This is one of our new favourites here at #KariLywoodEvents. This could mean a barn wedding with modern décor, or a standard banquet hall with vintage wood seating. Whatever sort of mixes you’re into.

Home cooked wedding favours

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Other than this trend being completely thoughtful, who can say no to homemade baked goods? Everybody loves personalized food giveaways. It’s also a great treat for the end of the night, or the next morning.

Sparklers

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One phrase: amazing photo opp. The idea of all guests lighting a sparker while the newlyweds have their first dance is a jaw-dropping image. We have seen it, and it is quite a magical moment.

Naked Cakes

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Okay, these are beyond amazing. Less is more with these cakes and the guests’ mouths will be watering by being able to see what they will be biting into later. Don’t forget to add a little decorative piece to it.

Last dance

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By no means will this take away from the first dance, it only adds to the night! If you’re stuck between two songs, fret no more. The first dance is, for the most part, romantic in nature, the last dance is meant to be a little more fun and loose (especially since you would have a few drinks in you by that point).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Kari Lywood

Event planning is a growing profession and there is a countless amount of event planners in Toronto and Calgary alone. Each and every planner has their own je ne sais quoi that really draws in specific clients. On paper, planners may all seem the same, so today; we are going to offer you an exclusive interview with the founder and president of #KariLywoodEvents, Kari Lywood, to allow all you readers to get to know the woman behind the curtain. Added are some photos of her work. Enjoy!

Q: How important is a personal connection with your clients to you? And how do you keep this professional?

A: I knew that a personal connection in this industry was the key to success and believe the biggest difference with my clients is that I am authentic. I make friends with my clients but know my professional limits. I make the process exciting and constantly keep my clients updated – there are no surprises with me, they will always be in the loop. Knowing that my clients can reach out via email, text or calls, allows them to have the comfort and flexibility with schedules, all while feeling at ease.

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Q: What personal, unique strength separates you from other planners?

A: I feel that I am always real with my clients! This is probably what creates that special bond with them, which them allows them to be real with me. As a result, nothing is held back and their exact vision is created. This industry has some of the best planners and I am so blessed to work along some of the most talented people. We all have our own strengths and when you build relationships it only allows you to keep a great name and expand your network. I keep in touch with most clients!

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Q: How did you get into wedding and event planning? 

A: I have always been passionate about wedding and event planning. Growing up I always found any excuse to plan a party and was the one that had arrangements completed and details presented. Party planning was always something I considered to be a hobby and now I am so grateful to call this my career.

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Q: What is your favourite part about planning?

A: I love seeing my clients face when they walk into the room for the first time and see what we have created together. There is something about being a part of a couple’s special [wedding] day in that is breathtaking and even leaves me speechless. A wedding day is so magical and I am so grateful that couples allow me to take part in helping create that magic and happily ever after. When a client asks you to be involved in their wedding and they see their vision come to life, it’s the best feeling in the world.

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Q: Are there any wedding trends that you absolutely love at the moment? 

A: Trends are always great to follow and to work from for inspiration. I tell my couples that this is their special day and it’s important to create a wedding to their liking! I love the trend of personalization and adding pieces that symbolize who you are individually and as a couple – whether it be monogrammed napkins or a personalized cake topper – tailor your wedding to you!

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Q: What would you say to a bride that doesn’t think a planner is important enough to fit into her wedding budget? 

A: Find a way! Hiring a planner will actually save you money. Because this is our everyday world and our career, we have some of the best relationships with vendors. Because of this, we will find you the best vendors best suited for your needs since we have established many connections with individuals and companies in the wedding industry. We are here to help you and make your dream day come true, and within your budget. Furthermore, do you really want to be setting up or organizing people on your day? No! Let a planner take the lead so you can sit back and enjoy your day!

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Wedding planning season: a little bit of advice

Before we know it, it’s going to be spring, which means wedding season! However, the focus of this post is going to be about what comes before wedding season, and that is wedding planning season. Wedding planning season is happing right now, meaning it takes place months before wedding season, obviously, right? Not always! Sometimes, wedding planners and coordinators are booked weeks before a wedding, maybe even days. This is a result of couples being skeptical about hiring one, or thinking that they don’t have the money. Today, we are going to put a stop to this misconception and explain to you why it is important to hire a wedding planner a year out, and how that will save you money.

Building relationships

If a wedding planner jumps in when all the vendors have already been booked, it’s not as easy to build that important connection with them. Don’t get me wrong, we are great at jumping in partway, but there is more trust when it is from the start. On top of that, as professionals, we know how to negotiate prices that will fit your budget.

We have the contacts

If a couple has a relationship with a specific vendor, that’s great, but if not, we have all the connections for you. From florists to makeup artists, we got you covered. We know your budget and we will provide you with the vendors that fit it. We don’t want you to have to cut out something in order to fit something else in when you can have it all!

Handymen (or women)

Things go wrong at a wedding, that’s just the way it is. Guests can get out of control and something could get damaged. The power can go out on the lights you spend thousands on and you’ll have no idea why. Wedding planners want everything to be perfect, so they will step in and fix it all (or prevent it from happening). We know how to deal with all situations and will save you any potential damage costs.

We tell you the truth

Wedding planners don’t want you to spend unnecessary money. Despite what you saw on TV or what a friend of a friend had at her wedding, we will tell you what’s worth it and what will work. We have seen it all. We will give you your vision without all the extra costs.