Category Archives: Canadian Mountain Weddings

5 Tips to Ensure Your Wedding Decor is Set Up the Way You Envision

To ensure your wedding decor is set up the way you envision it, you need a clear picture of what you want. Your wedding decor sets the stage, the atmosphere, if you will, for the entire experience. Whether you envision every single detail or just have a general feeling of what you want, get clear on it and then communicate it to whoever is doing the setup for you. You can’t have your wedding decor setup the way you want if you can’t communicate your vision.

Wedding decor setup tips by Naturally Chic |

Five Tips to Ensure Your Wedding Decor is Set Up the Way You Want

Whether you’re setting up the decor for yourself or have helpers setting it up for you (or a professional wedding coordinator), these 5 tips will help ensure that everything is set up the way you envision it!

  1. Practice setting up on your wedding decor. Set out all the decor you have for a single area (e.g. the cake table, the card table etc.). Working on one vignette at a time, practice setting up your decor. To ensure accuracy, get the measurements of tables, consoles, mantles, or anything you will be using for set up on the actual wedding day.
  2. Take a photograph of how you want your decor setup to look. Once you’ve practiced setting up your decor and are satisfied with how it looks, take a photo of the decor. You can print up the photo and tape it onto your wedding bins. This visual representation of your setup will make it super easy for others to duplicate your setup.
  3. Use a “Decor Setup Checklist”. Make a decor checklist detailing every single piece of decor that you have. It’s helpful if you divide your checklist into the various setups (e.g. ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner reception, etc.). Once you have the different setup areas, you can break the list down even further (e.g. ceremony – ceremony altar, ceremony aisle, aisle, signing table guest chairs etc.). List all the decor that you have for each area. Print up copies of the checklist and distribute it to your helpers.
  4. Carefully pack and label your decor. Use your decor checklist when packing your decor items to ensure that you have packed everything. It is a good idea to try and pack items that you will be using in one area in the same bin(s). For example, if you’re having a sweets table, try and pack everything for the sweets table in one or two bins. You don’t want to sort through every bin you have to find the items you need. Label your bin for the specific area (e.g. sweets table). You can even list all the contents of each bin on the label so that nothing gets misplaced.
  5. Designate a trust-worthy point person for setup. Whether this person is a friend or your wedding coordinator, you want one person who understands your wedding vision. Ideally, it’s best to sit down with this person in person and go over every single detail of the setup. You can show them your setup photos and your decor checklist. Then, if any of your other helpers have questions on the wedding day, they can go to the point person for clarification.

Bonus Tip

Discuss your wedding decor setup with your venue coordinator. Let them know what you have planned for your decor. Be sure to ask what time you can get into the room to set up your decor and any setup restrictions that they have. For example, does the venue require time to “flip” the room from your ceremony setup to your dinner reception (knowing this can help you determine how much time you will have for setup and how many helpers you’ll need for the time available)? You can also ensure you have all the right tools for the job (e.g. if your venue doesn’t allow nail holes in the wall, ask them what is acceptable and bring that instead).

Once you have all your decor organized and have communicated your decor vision to the key people involved with your setup, you should be good to go! It’s time to relax and enjoy your wedding day!

Expert Wedding Planner: Naturally Chic

Naturally Chic is a Canmore-based, mountain wedding specialist known for their natural aesthetic and innovative wedding design. They focus on creating meaningful experiences that are a reflection of the couples they work with.

Photo Credit:

Photography: Sarah Vaughan Photography; Design and Styling: Naturally Chic; Flowers: Willow Flower Co.

Do You Have Wedding Backup Plans?

If you are planning an outdoor wedding, you may want to consider having a backup plan. As a wedding planner in Calgary, AB, the one thing out of my control is the weather! In this city it could be raining one minute, sunny the next and snowing after that. Do you have a Plan B?

Having a Weather Backup Plan for Outdoor weddings from Shannon Valente Weddings, Corrina Walker Photography

My advice? Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!

1. Location – If mother nature chooses to bless you with rain on your big day (it’s considered good luck) have an alternative location for your ceremony. Your reception area can be a great option for this. Ideally, your reception location can use the same chairs for both ceremony and reception. If the ceremony plan B and reception will be in the same area, ask the venue about a room divider to keep the reception reveal a surprise!

2. Communicate – Make sure your guests know that if it is raining they are to go to the plan B location. You don’t want to leave your guests in limbo and have them miss the ceremony? If possible, have someone stay at the original ceremony location to direct guests.

3. Time – Allow extra time for any back and forth that comes along with moving locations. If you choose to wait out a rain cloud you may also need extra time to….well, wait!  Or time to dry off the guests’ chairs so they don’t get wet. Make sure your timeline isn’t too tight so you will still have plenty of time for pictures, dinner, dancing, or whatever follows.

4 . Relax – No one can control the weather. Life is full of surprises (and this will surely NOT be the last one you and your new partner encounter), don’t let a little silly rain spoil your special day.

5 . Supplies – Bring supplies to combat the weather, waterproof makeup, towels, umbrellas for pictures (smooching under an umbrella in the rain makes for a great photo opp!) and for running to and from the car/limo.

There are a lot of things you can control on your wedding day, rain is not one of them. So don’t fret about things that are out of your control. By having a wedding backup plan you can roll with it and at the end of the day, rain or no rain, you will still be married to your perfect match.

Wedding Backup Plan Credits:

Corrina Walker Photography

EXPERT WEDDING PLANNER: Shannon Valente Weddings

Shannon Valente Weddings is a Calgary, Alberta wedding planning and design studio known for their simple, classic designs. They believe in innovation over extravagance. Creating personalized, fun weddings that celebrate YOU!


How to Plan a Wedding

Congratulations! You’re newly engaged and ready to plan your wedding. Now, what? How do you plan a wedding, exactly?

There are numerous steps that go into planning a wedding and many decisions to make. Here are the main things you need to do to get to “wedded bliss”!

How to Plan a Wedding - Basic tips for the newly engaged couple from Naturally Chic | www.naturallychic.caMain wedding planning tasks

  1. Decide when you want to get married. One of the first questions couples often get asked after becoming engaged, is “when are you getting married”? Choosing your wedding date hinges on many factors such as your wedding budget, your guest list size and the availability of your wedding venue. It’s good to have a general idea, though, of when you want to get married. The average engagement lasts about 14 months. There are no rules to how long you should be engaged for, but it can take some time to book your wedding venue and other professionals and to plan the wedding you want. Once you have an idea of when you want to get married, you can move forward with the wedding plans.
  2. Discuss your wedding vision. Sit down with your partner and discuss the type of wedding you both envision. Discuss openly and honestly, what you want for your wedding. The end goal is to come up with a shared vision for your wedding day.
  3. Set your budget. What do you want to spend on your wedding? What is realistic? Discuss your budget with your partner and with your families to determine what you have to spend and who will contribute to your wedding. Will you need to make any adjustments to your wedding vision based on budget? Do you need to set a longer timeline to plan (and finance) your wedding?
  4. Decide on your guest list. Now that you have a wedding budget, decide on your guest list. Keep in mind that the more guests you have, the more your total costs will be. Start with a list of everyone you ideally want to invite to your wedding. Then, be prepared to trim the list in order to work within your budget.
  5. Book your wedding venue. Once you have an idea of your wedding vision, have your wedding budget and have an idea of your guest list size, it’s time to book your wedding venue and set your wedding date.
  6. Choose your wedding party. Choosing who will stand up for you on your wedding day is an exciting task. It’s a good idea to choose your wedding party after you discussed your wedding budget and booked your wedding venue. A wedding party often means more expense (more bouquets and boutonnieres, more gifts, etc.).
  7. Hire your wedding professionals (vendors). It’s best to determine what your wedding priorities are. Do you want a certain band or photographer? Use your wedding vision as a guideline to help you determine how to allocate your wedding funds and then begin the hiring process. Some wedding vendors, such as your marriage commissioner, are a must. After that, the vendors you hire are optional.
  8. Invite your guests. Whether you send out formal invitations, electronic invites, or call each guest personally, you need to let guests know where and when your wedding is!
  9. Shop for your wedding attire. Whether you are wanting a beautiful gown or a tailored suit, consider the season of your wedding, and as always have your budget in mind.
  10. Decide on your wedding decor. You may want a simple wedding or something more elaborate. Whatever your decision, you need to determine what your wedding will look like. What will the ceremony be like? What will your floor plan for your reception be (round tables, long tables, or a combination of both?). Do you require linens, flowers or decor?
  11. Plan your wedding menu for your guests. Whether you are wanting a casual stand-up reception or a fully plated dinner, you will work with your wedding venue and/or caterers to plan meals for your guests.  As always, keep in mind your budget. Food and beverage can often account for 40% or more of your wedding budget.
  12. Plan your wedding day timeline. What is this exactly? In the most basic sense, your wedding day timeline is what happens on your wedding day and when. What time is your ceremony? What time will you have cocktails and dinner? A basic timeline will include all the major wedding day events. When will you be getting ready? What time do your wedding vendors need to show up? If you want to be more detailed, you can plan exactly what time to have photographs taken, what time speeches will be at, when you have to leave to the church etc.
  13. Confirm your wedding day plans with your wedding “team”. Once you’ve made all your decisions, booked your venue, hired your wedding pros, decided on your decor and meals, and planned your wedding day timeline, you need to confirm your plans. Communicate your plans to your family and friends, and to your wedding team (the wedding pros) who will execute your plans on your wedding day. Confirm your final guest count with your wedding venue and make sure everyone knows where to be and at what time.

There you have it! “How to Plan a Wedding” in a nutshell! Obviously, the process is more detailed then we’ve outlined here, but hopefully, this gives you a basic framework to plan your wedding.


Expert Wedding Planner: Naturally Chic

Naturally Chic is a Canmore-based, mountain wedding specialist known for their natural aesthetic and innovative wedding design. They focus on creating meaningful experiences that are a reflection of the couples they work with.


3 Wedding Planning Tips for Getting Started

“There is so much to do…where do I start?”

Expert Wedding Planning Tips \ Getting Started with Wedding Planning | from Shannon Valente Weddings and Photo by Corrina Walker Photography

Photo credit: Corrina Walker Photography

Where to Start

You are probably feeling overwhelmed by the looming to-do list or worse… don’t even have a list! The question I receive the most is definitely “where do I start”? After all, you have never done this before and a wedding is a HUGE undertaking. There are a few key things you can do at the beginning of the planning process to ensure you and your sanity remains intact.

1. Checklist – don’t start checking things off the list until you actually have a list! There is a natural progression to planning a wedding. You can’t send out the save the dates until you have a venue, you can’t book a venue until you have an approximate guest count, you can’t book the ceremony music until you have a ceremony location, you get the idea. If you start randomly booking vendors and then fall in love with a venue that isn’t available for the date you have booked music, entertainment, and so on, you may be in some BIG trouble. Caution: the venue may dictate your wedding date, so if you have your heart set on a certain date and a certain venue, call early to avoid disappointment.

2. Budget – set one!  Although the budget for certain items may change as you find out how much things actually cost, set an overall budget for the wedding and then you can move things around within it. More importantly, find out how you will be paying for everything and where the money will be coming from. You want to make sure if you find a vendor you love that you are ready with a deposit to avoid losing them. Will you and your fiancé be contributing the bulk of the funds? Will your parents be chipping in? If so, you need to know how much you can count on before you get too deep in the planning process. So have the difficult conversation if you must, otherwise, assume everything will be coming out of your pocket.

3. Color Scheme – I have seen the color scheme for so many weddings change drastically once the bridesmaid’s dresses are purchased. A gorgeous purple wedding could turn black, pink or blue when you can’t find the perfect purple bridesmaid’s dress. Depending on how bold your colors are you might want to get the dress shopping out of the way before going overboard on the linens, stationery and flowers.

My advice? Get yourself a good checklist, a budget, and a vision. Any professional wedding planner should hold the mother of all checklists and budget calculators, complete with a chronological order and timelines when everything should be done. Even if you don’t plan on hiring a wedding planner, you might want to consider booking a consultation at the beginning of your planning process to get you started on the right foot.

Expert Wedding Planner: Shannon Valente Weddings

Shannon Valente Weddings is a Calgary, Alberta wedding planning and design studio known for their simple, classic designs. They believe in innovation over extravagance. Creating personalized, fun weddings that celebrate YOU!

An Insider’s Guide: How to Give a Great Wedding Toast from Evelyn Clark Weddings

Some of the perks of being a wedding planner include the fact that I get to listen in on the heartfelt wedding toasts from my couples’ closest family and friends. These toasts are often funny, touching and sweet, and give me insight into aspects of my clients’ lives that I did not have.

Wedding Toast Tips from Evelyn Clark Weddings | Photo by Kyla Brown Photography

Photo Credit: Kyla Brown Photography

Unfortunately, wedding toasts can also be awkward, lengthy or just plain uncomfortable. I’m sure we have all been there when a toast starts going terribly wrong or terribly long, leaving you squirming in your seat. Of course, these are never the intentions of the wedding toast-er. Nerves and inexperience are the culprits when it comes to bad wedding toasts, so I have collected a few of my best tips to help avoid those awkward moments and help you for making a great wedding toast.

Wedding toast tips from Calgary wedding planner Evelyn Clark Weddings

1. Bring a glass up with you to do your wedding toast.

Simple, but most people actually forget this part! You can’t do a toast without a beverage in your hand, so please remember to bring one. This glass can also give your hands something to hold onto so that you are not fidgeting with a pen, paper, etc. Also, don’t forget to actually ask everyone to toast the Bride and Groom. Along the years, the “toasts” have become synonymous with “speeches”, and many people forget that the purpose of the toast is to declare a collective sentiment to the Bride and Groom, wishing them well in their marriage.

2. Remember that the main idea behind a wedding toast is to honor the Bride and Groom.

While it is all fun and games to subtly mention how the Groom tamed his former wild ways when he met the Bride, please try to refrain from playing any cliché games à la “please return the Groom’s house keys to him right now” and have a parade of women dropping off keys into a bucket, in addition to telling any “wink-wink, nudge, nudge” stories about the Groom’s Bachelor days. These kinds of clichés or games can create awkward moments for everyone because of the negative connotations. Or, worse, they can go over flat if guests do not quite understand the “game” or the inside-joke stories. Instead, focus on simply speaking from the heart and speaking about positive things…leave the song & dance for another time.

3. Keep the toast Short & Sweet.

This has been said and gone over so many times, I feel like I shouldn’t list this tip. However, keeping your toast short is probably one of the most difficult concepts when it comes to wedding toasts. I think that the there is a misconception that if your toast is short, that means you didn’t put any effort into writing it. This is simply not true. In this case, being succinct and the Quality, not Quantity rule applies. While your toast should probably consist of longer than 3 sentences, if it takes you longer than the amount of time to recount 1 story about the Bride/Groom, then your toast is probably too long.

4. The wedding toast is not about You.

Anyone remember that cringe-worthy scene in the movie “Bridesmaids”? (I practically had to leave my living room, I was so embarrassed). Often, toast-ers use their toast as a time to recount their relationship with the Bride or Groom. While sharing 1 or 2 short anecdotes about your time together is fine, you do not need to use your toast to prove how close you are to the Bride and/or Groom. If they have asked you to do a toast at one of the most important days of their lives, we already know that you must have a close relationship with the Couple of Honour…you don’t need to assert your friendship/relation status by going through a detailed timeline of your relationship.

5. Practice your wedding toast.

So simple, right? Unfortunately, procrastination usually takes over, and you are scrambling to write your toast the evening before the wedding, leaving you…no time to practice. It is just like when you were in school and had to do any public speaking assignments. If you don’t practice, you are not able to gauge how long your toast is, how fast/slow you are speaking and if your toast even makes any sense.

A good trick I picked up from my Classical piano performance days is to record yourself delivering your toast — most Smartphones have a recording app. Knowing that you are being recorded will help create a similar feeling of performance (when all 200 wedding guests are staring at you for your toast). This helps you learn how to control your nerves. Replaying your recordings will allow you to pick up, and fix, any issues like speaking too fast or mumbling your words. Trust me, by the time you actually get up to do your toast, you will feel a lot more at ease!

Finally, if you are completely lost on where to start with writing your toast, here is a good formula to stick to if you are at a loss for what to say:

A Beginning:

•Thank the Hosts of the wedding for a fantastic Reception (be it the Bride/Groom and/or their Parents)

•Briefly describe how you know the Bride/Groom or Couple

A Middle:

•Explain why the Bride/Groom is so incredible (this can be 1 short story)

•Explain why the Bride and Groom make such an incredible couple

An End:

•Invite everyone to toast and declare your wish for their wonderful marriage/long future together/etc.

Use these tips and you should be on your way to creating a wonderful, meaningful wedding toast. Brides and grooms, don’t forget that these rules apply to you too when you are making your own toast!


Expert Wedding Planner: Evelyn Clark Weddings

Evelyn Clark Weddings is a Calgary based wedding firm known to create memorable, once-in-a-lifetime wedding experiences for their couples. They are available wherever your love takes you.