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

 

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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Creative event favours

As event planners here at #KariLywoodEvents, we are full of creative ideas (well, obviously). On top all that goes into planning an event such as a wedding, bridal shower or even birthday party, one must always put a good amount of thought into the event favours. These gifts should fit the theme or vibe of the event in some way, shape or form;  You don’t want to be giving away compact mirrors to both women AND men. To help you out, here are some unique event favours to thank your guests:

Mini champagne bottles

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Now this is something your guests can use (well, drink). So many times event favours will be forgotten at the event, or thrown out when the guests go home; only because there is no use for them. Something cute like this (and alcohol in general) will be something loved by your guests.

Baking ingredients

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One again, something your guests can use! Choose one or multiple recipes and fill up jars with the ingredients. Keep the recipes simple and add pretty touches.

Treat bags

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Something your guests can eat – enough to be said. Some of these will be gone before some people even reach home!

Hangover kits

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This might look suggestive, but it’s a great idea if your family and friends like to drink! Perfect for a birthday party.

Coffee and tea

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Coffee and tea are used in most people’s everyday lives, so why not help them out a little bit?

Benefits of a winter wedding

The inspiration of this post came from being invited to my first winter wedding as a guest. A good friend is getting married in February and the responses I received from many people were all along the lines of “why would she choose winter to get married?” Perhaps it was just the people I told who have the mind set of spring, summer and early fall being the “best” times to get married, but I have a feeling (and facts prove) that is not the case. For some reason, winter weddings are not as popular as they should be. Coming from a wedding planner, it is beautiful to get married during the warmer months, but there are many benefits to choosing a winter wedding. Let me break down a few for you:

Availability

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Hopefully this will change in the coming years, but for now this is true – there is less competition for winter wedding dates. Whether is it a venue, florist, decorator, caterer, etc. that you are interested in; there is definitely a better chance you will get your first choices.

Décor

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Winter has so many themes that you can follow that are different from those of spring, summer and fall. There is a completely different feel to winter décor; there is a warm, cozy and romantic vibe. Red roses are one of my favorite décor ideas.

Scenic

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Warm, sunny weather is what many people hope for when it comes to their wedding photos, some even hope for rain because it makes for great photos. However, imagine how gorgeous your photos would look with a snowy backdrop, Christmas lights or even just all bundled up. Pretty jaw dropping if you ask me.

Colours

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Let’s face it, not all colours can be used all year round for weddings. Having a wedding during a warmer season automatically cuts out certain colours such as forest green and Bordeaux. Just think of the bridesmaid dresses!

Wardrobe

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 There’s a reason why the fashion-oriented wait for the colder months – it’s because there is so much more you can do with your outfit! Don’t get me wrong, the classic sleeveless wedding dress is always stunning, but you can’t always add fur or velvet to add on top (well, unless you want to sweat).

Post by: Melissa Esposito

Engagement season: how we please our clients

It’s engagement season and aside from us being super excited about this, couples will be finalizing their wedding team in the coming months. We will be communicating with many newly engaged couples searching for wedding professionals and we are more than ready. These are the ways we please our clients during this stressful period, making their search easier and calming their nerves:

We always get to know our clients

One thing that is very important to us is to build a connection with our clients beyond business, while of course, keeping it professional. Treating clients as friends and genuinely caring about them as people builds trust and truly allows us to understand them and their needs.

We don’t keep them waiting

As professionals we are always on the ball when it comes to our clients. Newly engaged couples are already worried about enough, we don’t have to be added to that. Responding quickly to our clients lets them know that their needs are priority to us.

We educate them on our experience

Newly engaged couples are not going to hire just anybody, and we respect that. We happily provide examples, portfolios and stories to back up our company’s vision, mission and values.

We respect their point of view

Every couple is different and that is something we always consider with every client inquiry. No matter what the situation, we will take it into consideration and offer you what we believe is best.

We help them save money

Weddings are not cheap – we know this and so do our clients. Once you give us a budget, we will find the vendors and venue that fit it. There is no need to spend ridiculous amounts of money when we can offer quality without emptying your pockets.

We provide a stress-free planning process and experience

This is the last but most important category to us. What we strive for is to give our clients their dream wedding without feeling like they’ve been through a war to get there. We want our clients to enjoy the wedding planning experience, and most of all, their wedding day. Hiring a wedding planner is supposed to give couples a break. Give us your vision, provide your thoughts and opinions and we will deliver.

Post by: Melissa Esposito

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