entertaining tips: mothers day brunch

Last year I hosted Mother’s Day brunch and it was so much fun! My parents are in the States so having my boyfriend’s family and grandparent’s over was so nice! (I’ve always loved a yummy meal surrounded by friends and family)

When playing host, I like to create a little bit of a color scheme. I have such so much fun picking napkins, flowers and accessories. It makes everyone feel special and entertaining is something I truly enjoy.

Here are a few tips to make “playing host” enjoyable!

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1. Prepare as much as you can the night before. There’s nothing worse then being flustered by having too much to do the morning of your event or while your guests are there. By having a few things done prior to your guest’s arrival- you will have more time to socialize and enjoy!

2. Have a plan. Think about what you want to make and create a list of what you will need – again get these items before the day of the event.

3. Make multiple simple dishes or have one fancy meal, don’t do both! For brunch, I like to have options! Simple options.

4. Have enough seating for everyone. There is nothing worse then having guests standing around or sharing a seat- especially for a seated meal. Create an open space for everyone to gather and socialize but ensure the table(s) is large enough for everyone to be together.

5. Have a little something for your guest (s) of honor to go home with. I had 2 centrepiece last year and had my boyfriend’s mom and grand mother leave with one. They were so excited and it really shows that extra thought.

Bonus tip: if you have the time, get crafty and creative- everyone loves personal touches!

Stay tuned for this year’s Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

Happy Planning

vendor spotlight: Peachy Keen Studio

A few weeks ago, when I first met Courtney I was so excited to come across such a sweet vendor in the wedding industry. She showed up to our coffee date with a stylish look, an open mind and of course, a flawless face!

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With her experience in the industry, her unique approach to each bride and her super fun personality- I would highly recommend and trust her with any of my clients, friends or family!

The vendor spotlight series is all about answering the most commonly asked questions by brides. So girls, this is all about you!

1. How far in advance should I book my make up artist? Due to high demand, specifically for wedding dates set between May-Setember, brides should try to book at least 6 months in advance.

2. Do you travel to me or do I come to you? I am a fully mobile service on your wedding day! I am happy to travel to the location of your choice including salons, hotels or your home.

3.  Is there a trial involved? Yes! Trials are highly recommended and are a perfect way for you to receive a little bit of pampering during what can often be a hectic or stressful time during wedding planning. Trials are done out my home studio.

4. What is included in the most common package? Airbrushed foundation is quickly becoming the most popular service that I offer. It provides flawless coverage that feels light and airy without being cake-y or heavy. Airbrushing is fade proof, sweat proof and tear proof.. a must for brides!

5. What make up brand will you be using? My makeup kit s filled with brands including MAC, Urban Decay, Too Faced and Smashbox. I also have several professional brands that are made specifically for flash photography.. perfect for brides. During your trial we will discuss the look you would like and choose the best brad for your skin tone and type.

6. Will you be available for touch ups on my wedding day? Of course, I am happy to stay behind and provide any touch ups for pictures or throughout the evening.

7.  How many people can you accommodate in my wedding party? Is there a minimum/maximum? There is no minimum however maximums depend on the time frame of your day. Alone, I can accommodate up to 10 ladies providing it is a comfortable time frame. If you have a smaller window to get prepared, an assistant can accompany me for no extra charge to you- we want to ensure the morning runs smoothly for you.

8. What is your favourite part of being in the wedding industry? I would have to say that meeting brides for the first time is certainly my favourite. each bride is so unique. They all have a different love story and a different vision for their special day..Being able to meet them during such an exciting new chapter is such an honour for me. I also love seeing their completed look as they leave my studio and feel so happy and even more excited for their special day!

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For more information about Courtney, her talent and her services, check out her website here, and her Facebook page here.

Happy Planning!

food stations & bars

Good morning everyone!

As I meet with new brides and hear about their visions, ideas and desires, I am so happy to hear food bars are still popular.

I am totally one of those people who would prefer to take my time, customize my meal and have lots of options! Interactive food is always a must in my family and I love that couples and caterers and doing such a great job at getting creative and incorporating this into weddings and events.

Here are some favourites for inspiration!

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smores bar

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chili bar

 

From build-your own salad, to yogurt & ice cream bars, cookie bars and the smores station, these food bars are such a  fun way to get your guests walking around and creating a meal they are sure to enjoy!

Happy Planning

an eco friendly wedding

In honor of Earth Day this week I am sharing some tips on keeping your wedding day eco-friendly yet still fabulous : )

1. From the very beginning, be kind to the earth by using biodegradable or recycled paper for your save-the-date and invitations. Less traditional bride? Set up a wedding website or send e-vites! No paper at all. Warning.. some e-mails do get lost in cyber space so make sure to follow up with everyone if you don’t hear back or aren’t sure.

2. Pick a venue that has/includes all the basics. Although a conservation area or outdoor space may seem like a great idea, it’s a blank slate and needs a lot to make it an efficient reception space. Think about the fuel that will be used to bring everything back and forth, the debris that may be left behind and the electricity you will need to make it all work. Not to mention, some historical sites or conservation areas are protected and do not allow trespassers on the grounds. Choose a garden or pretty outdoor location for your ceremony instead, the natural beauty would be a great backdrop!

3. Choose local vendors. Especially when it comes to catering. Local grown, organic food can be amazing and the menu will probably be a nice change for your guests.

4. Get creative with your favors. Donate to a charity that is special to you or choose a reusable gift. See ideas below:

soy candles

plants

I love these soy candles or the pre planted flowers or succulents (give them in a glass jar that can be used over and over). Plant seeds in a biodegradable envelope are great too!

5. Plan a unique honeymoon. There’s an industry all about eco-tourism. Check out the website for ideas and suggestions. No matter where you go, if you are with your love you will have the best time!

the home office

Working from home can be very tricky for some people. It is so easy to get distracted or stay in your pjs all day. Unfortunately, that probably won’t lead to a very productive day.. so here are a few tips for those enjoying the perks and struggles of their home office!

1.  Don’t stay in your pyjamas. Remember, you are at work.  Take a shower, get dressed and work in your office space. Not your dining room table or your couch, your office- this will help you stay focused.

2. Start your day with a to-do list ( and a coffee :) ) having priorities and tasks you need completed will get you started.

3. Have a separate phone line for business- you don’t want to end up on personal calls, your personal facebook, social media, or texting friends.  This will not only keep you focused during the day but it will also help you disconnect at night – when it is personal time.

4. Make that space your own and make it comfortable. Buy a nice chair and desk, frame pictures, quotes, and stay organized. Make that space inspiring, energizing, an office you want to work in.

5. If you find yourself doing laundry, vacuuming or distracted by other house chores, try a coffee shop! Sometimes a little break outside of the house can do you some good.

As for your office decor- here’s some inspiration

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Get creative- remember the DIY Home Organization post? Use some of these ideas in your office. It will create a personalized, pleasant atmosphere and may inspire all kinds of new ideas.

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You are going to be spending a lot of time in this room so make sure you like it. And stay organized!

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Happy Monday!

products I love- the summer edition

It finally feels like Spring! Which means summer is just around the corner and I could not be more excited.

To me, summer means wedding season and amazing moments with  my clients, fun road trips with my guy and beach days with the girls!

As I get into the routine of healthier cooking, more regular exercise and feeling better overall, I am also restocking my favourite summer products.

I am often asked about which products I use so today’s post is all about sharing these great finds!

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Key West Aloe is my absolute favourite moisturizer! I love the light, fresh feeling and the subtle scent that brings me back to the Florida Keys! It’s the perfect everyday moisturizer and their collection is filled with great after sun products. Check out their website for shipping details.

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OPI Too Pink to Hold Em- the perfect bright summer polish for fingers and toes!

flipflop

This flip flop is my go-to for the every day running around. Comfortable, simple & cute (I have them in atleast 3 colors). You can find these at Spring or something similar at Aldo etc.

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I just love this color block maxi dress; It’s casual enough for running errands, but nice enough to be dressed up with a few accessories for a casual work day or dinner out with the girls. Best part? It’s affordable from Target!

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Maybelline’s Full N Soft is my favourite mascara for every day use. It’s waterproof, sweat-proof, does wonders for my lashes and lasts all day!

iLUXE Travel: Vendor Spotlight Part 2

A few weeks ago I published a post all about my chat with Shannon from iLUXE travel. I asked some of the top honeymoon related questions I get from brides and Shannon had the best answers! She truly is an expert in all things luxury travel and honeymoon planning.

Our conversation was filled with so much great advice that I actually had to write a second post, so today, in Part 2 of this vendor spotlight, I am sharing a few more of Shannon’s tips.

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“Planning your honeymoon should be an exciting and stress free occasion. Here are some things to consider when planning your perfect honeymoon.”

1.      When should I start planning my honeymoon? The sooner the better. Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways wants to make your honeymoon perfect so we will work as long this takes to achieve that. Planning ahead allows you time to budget accordingly and get necessary documents needed should you be traveling to destination where you need and do not already have.

2.      Have an idea of your Geography. Yes, Seychelles, Maldives and Fiji are amazing honeymoon destinations, but not if you have only one week for your honeymoon. Picking an exotic location is ideal if you have enough travel time and don’t mind long flights. Some locations require over a day traveling time and you will need to adjust to a time difference.

3.      Know your budget. Airline fares play a significant role when planning your budget. If you are a frequent traveler, save your mileage and try to use your accumulated mile points. Many credit cards also offer airline mileage awards that may assist you as well.

4.      When do you want to leave? If you are getting married on a Saturday, you may want to rethink traveling the next day, especially when traveling to the Caribbean as most flights leave in the morning.

5.      What type of honeymoon are you looking for? Discuss with your fiancé exactly what is most important for you to experience while on your honeymoon: adventure, relaxation, touring, a little of everything? Communication is the key, we will be able to provide options with you of where to go and stay.

6.      What kind of resort are you looking for? All inclusive? Adult only? Many resorts offer all inclusive options, allowing you to know ahead of time exactly how much you are going to spend. If one chooses a non-all-inclusive hotel and has a steadfast budget in mind, many resorts have menus on their website so you can get a general idea of what you will be spending for meals.

7.      Do I need a Visa, do I need vaccinations? Some destinations do require Visas; your travel professional will be able to advise you of that requirement and assist in obtaining them should you need. Also important is what type of passport you are traveling under and many countries are now requiring passports valid 6 months after entering country. Always best to confirm with your doctor if they suggest vaccinations to where you are traveling it to an exotic destination.

8.      I don’t need insurance, this is my honeymoon and I will never cancel. There are hundreds of circumstances that could cause you to cancel your trip, return home early or force you to seek emergency medical treatment while traveling. Travel Insurance provides protection for your travel investment in case an unfortunate situation arises, such as sickness, bad weather, or civil unrest at your planned destination; just to name a few

Executive Travel Manger

1075 Bay St, Toronto, Ontario  M5S 2B1

 D. 416 312 5488 | 1 800 463 1512

www.iluxetravel.com

ceremony backdrops

Happy Monday Everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed the weather this weekend. Finally some spring-like temperatures and sunshine made for a beautiful Sunday.

Today’s post is all about ceremony decor.. I love a great backdrop and today i’m sharing my top 5 for this season.

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This fabric ribbon backdrop is so fun- it would look great behind the head table at the reception too!

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The outdoors, the lanterns, the fabric & the greens.. I just love this romantic look!

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They say less is more.. in this case the oak tree makes a huge statement without needing any otherdecor.

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These floating florals are so unique!

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love, love love.

2014 brides..what trends are you incorporating into your day? Please share, we would love to hear from you!

Happy Planning!

the tassel trend

If you’ve been on Pinterest lately you have probably noticed the tassel trend.

I absolutely love the fun look of this DIY project and I think it’s great for all occasions. Birthdays, weddings, parties, home decor, anything!

I’ve put together a little collection of favourites to inspire you.

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This champagne color palette gives an elegance to the fun piece.

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Mini tassels on a cake, so cute!

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I love the way this tied the whole color scheme of the dessert table together. Simple, yet fun and chic.

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Awesome backdrop.

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Feeling crafty? HGTV shares how to do-it yourself here.

Not sure you want to make it? There are tons of options on Etsy, at Target, at your local party store and my favourite.. Studio Mucci- they have tons of color options!

vendor spotlight: iluxe travel

Dreaming of a warm, sunny getaway lately?

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I know I am!

For this week’s vendor spotlight I am featuring Shannon from i LUXE travel. Shannon plans luxury honeymoons and has been in the industry for over 10 years! She is super personable, sweet and extremely knowledgeable about travel destinations.

A few weeks ago I met with Shannon and asked her a few of the top questions brides have about planning a honeymoon. Here are Shannon’s answers.

1. How far in advance should couples plan their honeymoon?

I recommend booking your honeymoon at least nine months in advance, to allow myself to confirm the places and hotels you would like to include in your itinerary, especially if you will be traveling during peak season. If you are considering a location such as Africa, I would give yourself at least one year

2. How many days is the average honeymoon?

 10 days up to 18 days.

3. What is the biggest advantage to working with a travel agent/planner?

 With over 14 years of experience and TICO licensed, I have been able to build strong working relationships and partners throughout the World which allows me to offer the following Benefits to my clients

·       Passing along personal insider knowledge

·       Exclusive Resort and Cruise lines Preferred rates

·       Resort Credits

·       Select Amenities & Room Upgrades

 7. We’re an adventurous couple- where should we go?
Close to Home, without much travel time – Belize. I have been sending many couples to this location in the last few years. I would compare this to Costa Rica 10 years ago, very rustic and perfect for those who love water sports especially Scuba diving, Zip Lining in the Rain Forest, National Parks and beautiful white sand beaches. Resort to consider: Turtle Inn, owned by Francis Ford Coppola, one of my favorites.. 
8. My fiancé and I are so busy, all we want to do is relax and sunbathe, where should we go?
Tahiti: With 118 islands offering coral reefs, turquoise-blue lagoons, white sand palm-fringed beaches, and over water bungalows, it is where some will say “Where Heaven and Earth Meet”Bora Bora, and Moorea the most popular islands to visit but if you have the time Taha’a, Island should not be missed.
9. What are some upcoming trends for honeymoons?
Mini-Moons Mini-moons are quickly becoming a popular hot item for couples. With limited vacation time and budgets after the Wedding, couples are looking at having a mini-moon after the Wedding and at a later date going on the Dream Honeymoon. Great place to check out : Langdon Hall, Ontario 
10. Top 3 locations for 2014?
HAWAII, INDONESIA/ BALI and MALDIVES
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Interested in discussing your honeymoon plans with Shannon? You can reach her here:
Executive Travel Manager
1075 Bay St, Toronto,Ontario  M5S 2B1
 P. 416 928 3113|  D. 416 312 5488 | 1 800 463 1512
Shannon and I had such a great time chatting- Part 2 of this post is coming soon and is filled with honeymoon planning tips!