I know, I know. We Canadians tend to think of wedding season as May - September, with the occasional fall wedding thrown in there because the colours are pretty. I get it, weather here is not at all guaranteed, and you're taking a risk if you go for an April or even a May wedding. Rain plans will be KEY, and you may find yourself sourcing a tent or moving the ceremony indoors if the forecast isn't cooperating.

 

One solution for Torontonians in love is to embrace our mostly dark, mostly cold climate by planning a winter wedding. I've always had a soft spot for winter weddings, and I get excited every time a client tells me that they're thinking of a date between December and March. Firstly because, odds are I have it available, and also because it's a little different.

 

If you aren't in the wedding industry, it might surprise you to learn that there are a few distinct reasons to consider a low-season celebration... Here's my top five reasons to consider a winter wedding date.

 

 

1) Availability of Venues and Vendors

 

If you are looking at a popular venue and are set on a June - August weekend date, you may find yourself booking 18 months to two years out. This can be a real downer if you want to tie the knot within a year or so of your engagement date. Most venues will have far more availability between December and April, so your odds of getting a Saturday or Sunday wedding date are much higher. Consider this option if you have a specific venue in mind! In addition, the vendors that you hire will likely have more flexibility to take you on as a client within a shorter timeline. It's more likely you'll be able to get your first choice team if you pick a low-season date.

 

2) Cost

 

As a wedding planner I'm ALWAYS focused on cost and getting the best possible deal for a client. Even if you don't have a specific budget in mind, it's always beneficial to be economical and make decisions that get you the most bang for your buck. Many venues offer great pricing on winter wedding packages since the dates are less popular. Your venue might waive the room rental fee or offer some other promotional inclusion when you book in the winter. It's most definitely worth considering a winter date for this reason alone.

 

3) Consider your Guests

 

Let's face it, when you are a certain age, a LOT of your friends are getting married all at the same time. There will be some summers that you're going to a wedding every couple of weekends for family and friends. I personally love weddings and (so far) haven't gotten enough, but they are tiring and expensive, both for wedding party and guests. It doesn't help that we tend to squish all weddings into one season. I would recommend considering a winter wedding because not too many other people in your circle will be having them. Your guests will probably be a little less wedding-worn, and the whole idea will be a little more novel. Think about early February - it's a drab time of year by any standard, and I for one would be THRILLED to be invited to a kick-ass party to liven up the season a little.

 

 

4) The Anniversary

 

This is snowballing (see what I did there?) off of point number 3, but having your anniversary at a cold, dark and holiday-less time of year definitely gives you an excuse to do something special to break up the long winter. An annual beach vacay in January or February is MORE than welcome, and I think an anniversary is a great excuse.

 

5) Hot Chocolate, Snow, Apple Cider, Cozy Sweaters...

 

Winter has it's downsides, but it's really beautiful in it's own way (especially if you get out of the city!) A retreat wedding in winter is SWOON worthy and can include so many unique experiences for your guests. Why not offer a winter-y excursion for the out-of-towners a couple of days before your wedding? Snow shoeing, skiing, ice wine tasting - the sky's the limit! For the wedding itself, there's no shortage of food and beverage upgrades like a hot chocolate bar (PRO TIP: make sure to offer Bailey's), apple cider, mulled wine, Beavertails, you name it! PLUS obviously make sure to incorporate gorgeous bridal accessories like a shrug or a wrap into your photos. If there's snow, grab some pics outside of your venue as well - it's cold for a minute, but they last forever.

 

 

I love winter weddings because they are thematic without being corny. There's an inherent coziness when all of your nearest and dearest have come inside from the cold to celebrate your love. To enhance, pick a venue with a fireplace and make sure to include LOTS of romantic candlelight, deep wintery hues and some hot bevvies to tie the whole thing together.

 

If you need a little help, we're currently booking month-of wedding planning clients for Winter 2020, and all wedding planning packages for Winter 2021.

 

xo,

 

Lexy

 

 

 

 

 

#wedding #weddingplanning #winter #winterwedding #eventplanning #eventplanningtips #toronto #canada #eventdesign #weddingdesign #weddingideas

Updated: Sep 26

This past summer has been totally transformative for me work-wise. I've recently had my first few experiences with destination wedding planning. For my entire events career, destination wedding planning has been my dream job and it has been a trip (ha ha ha) to actually begin to make this a reality. Coming off of this wild season, I'm full of tips and tricks for those considering the destination option. Here are my top five.

 

Tip #1: Destination Weddings are FAB for Lowering your Guest Count

 

I can't provide you with specific percentages as it varies hugely, but if you are looking to shave some distant relatives or loose acquaintances off of your guest list, a destination wedding is absolutely the way to go. As soon as there is a time and financial commitment, MANY of your guests will drop off. This creates a really unique guest list - very few people will be there out of obligation, so you'll likely end up with only close family and friends. On the flipside of this, it is important to manage your expectations - you are asking A LOT of people when you invite them abroad, so unless you're paying for all travel and accommodations, be prepared that it may not be realistic for everyone to attend. Having a lower key celebration when you get home is a good option for including those that weren't able to attend your destination wedding.

 

 

Tip #2: Consider Event Insurance

 

This is a biggie for any wedding, even a local one, but consider how you will insure your event before you select and pay for your venue. For Canadians, it's relatively easy to buy insurance for certain destinations including the USA, the Caribbean and the UK. If you're looking at France, Greece or Italy for example, it can be a little trickier. You are likely better off asking about it when you are venue searching, as some venues will have access to insurance that can cover their international clients and some won't. Do yourself a favour, and think about this at the beginning before you've spent any money.

 

 

Tip #3: Language is a BIG deal.

 

English speakers (myself included!) can sometimes take it for granted that they'll be able to communicate when they travel abroad. Often, you won't run into problems - if you head to a big city or a popular tourist destination you should be okay. HOWEVER, if you're looking at a more remote location, you might have a harder time with language barriers. There are a few ways around this - Consider engaging a planner with a working knowledge of the local language (French works for me!) or select a venue with English speaking staff that will help you liaise with local vendors, and make sure they're aware that this will be required BEFORE you book. If you're worried about it or want to avoid headaches all together, select a location that's predominantly English speaking.

 

PRO TIP: Avoid selecting a location where only a family member speaks to local language. This will put a lot of undue stress on that person - literally hundreds of emails will be exchanged throughout your planning process, and your family member will need to be reading, translating and replying to all of them on your behalf. This is an incredible amount of work to task on someone close to you, and may not yield the best results in the end.

 

 

Tip #4: Take Advantage of the Local Products and Services!

 

Part of the fun of travelling is taking in all of the local charm and indulging in the local offerings. Wherever possible, try and incorporate these into your wedding as well! If you're in France or Italy, see if you can source the wine and favours directly from local vendors for example. Ask the caterer to put together a menu based around local ingredients, and have them prepare the food using the traditional cooking methods. Pick a florist that you love and then advise them to use local florals and greens. Often, local is a little cheaper too, so that's an added perk.

 

 

Tip #5: Go with the Flow.

 

As North Americans, we have a tendency to want what we want and want it now. This is part of our culture and it works for us, but it's important to remember that this is not the case everywhere in the world. Cultural differences are significant and largely non-negotiable. To further complicate, there is always a little uncertainty when you travel. It's inherently more difficult to plan a wedding from abroad, and there absolutely will be more wild cards if you choose to go this route. My best advice is to embrace, stay positive and go with the flow! If you are planning a wedding in a centuries old Chateau in the French countryside using a local caterer, it might be challenging for them to create an elaborate signature cocktail or offer flair bartending. In Europe, longer cocktail hours are customary, wedding cakes are less common and multi-option event menus are practically unheard of! The easiest way to sidestep mishaps is to REMAIN FLEXIBLE, expect that the experience will be unique and unlike many of your friend's weddings - and enjoy the ride!

 

 

BONUS TIP: Consider Your Crowd.. and maybe Elope?!

 

This one is an extension of Tip #5. Think about how comfortable your family and friends will be with new experiences and travel in general. Think about whether your chosen destination and venue will be something they will enjoy and embrace. Even if you LOVE the idea of travel and adventure, there are people out there that might shy away. If a full scale destination wedding isn't a great fit for your crowd, consider an elopement instead. I know "elopement" is a scary word, but the meaning has changed a lot in recent years. Elopements now account for the fact that most people want at least their immediate families and/or BFFs at their weddings, so "elopement" can just mean very small weddings! Usually about 25 people or less. To appease those that won't be attending, maybe throw a dinner or cocktail reception in your hometown to loop in the other important people in your life once you return. Added bonus: The absolute MOST effective way to save $$$$ on a wedding is to lower the guest count. Food for thought.

 

 

Destination weddings are a LOT of work, and they are objectively more complicated to plan and execute than local weddings. That's just the truth. That being said, when they're good, they're incredible. I hope these few tips give you some insight into whether a destination wedding or elopement is a good fit for you. Like everything, there are pros and cons BUT for what it's worth, I wouldn't want to get married any other way.

 

xo,

 

Lexy

 

 

 

 

I don’t think it will come as a surprise when I tell you that you don’t need a wedding planner to get married. Lots of people have beautiful weddings without one, and the guests may never be the wiser (that is, unless you have an event planner as a guest).

 

I’ve had many people over the course of my career ask me, “so what do you really do?” and say things like “my brother didn’t have a planner, and his wedding seemed fine.” The truth is, wedding planners aren’t for everyone! And that’s totally okay. Asking "why?" is a perfectly legit question - there's a cost associated, so what's the value add?

 

You know how when you visit a tourist attraction like a museum or an art gallery, and there’s an option for a guided tour? Some people choose to pay a little more and go on the tour because they want to get the most out of the experience, and some people choose to forego the tour and figure things out for themselves. Both people have paid to get to the tourist attraction, and both people have paid the entry fee, but I guarantee you one of them had a more memorable, fulfilling experience.

 

I think this experience is similar to a planner vs. no-planner comparison. You can have either experience either way! You'll see the same things and you'll probably have fun, but one way optimizes your experience - you get more out of it.

 

Here’s a fun piece of insider knowledge about weddings and events in general, they NEVER go 100% according to plan. Someone will always be stuck in traffic, the venue will always be short a table or the ring bearer will have gotten chocolate all over his shirt right before the family photo session. This is to be expected, and it’s fine! These are all problems that can be resolved. The issue is that if you don’t have a planner, the bride, groom, MOB, MOH or some other wedding day VIP will have to take time and energy out of their day to fix it.

 

Wedding planners are all different, and depending on their brand, they offer different types of services. Usually, my clients want to prioritize enjoying their day with their nearest and dearest, and they don’t want to worry about anything other than having a fantastic time, surrounded by all the people they love most.

 

 

My whole brand and approach to weddings is simple – If a problem can be avoided, I’ll help you figure out how to sidestep it in advance. If it can’t, I’ll figure out how to handle it, often without bothering you.

 

Any good wedding planner's main priority is to help you have the best day possible. Every other vendor you hire has a role in your day, from the florist to the catering staff, but no one else will look out for you and your interests the way your planner will. Their entire job is to understand your vision and make sure it happens and then (and this is the tough part) adjust the plan when necessary, all without anyone being the wiser.

 

If you use an event planner, you’ll walk away having had a better overall experience than if you go it alone. Keep in mind that at the end of the day, creating the best memories is what all of this is really about. Why not have someone on your team that is prioritizing that? You'll get more out of the experience if you do.

 

xo,

 

lexy