When a Wedding Planner Weds: Finding a Wedding Dress

If you haven’t been following along with the series, so far I’ve talked about how we developed our wedding design and stayed within our budget. Today I wanted to talk about how I found my wedding dress.

wedding dress niagara^ Not my wedding dress, but how beautiful was Kimberley’s?

Finding my Wedding Dress

Confession, I didn’t try on a single wedding dress. What? I didn’t even step into a wedding dress store. I know! I was actually walking around Saks Off 5th when I saw this beautiful dress that I will not yet describe to you because Jordan doesn’t know what it looks like! I pointed it out to his sister and she told me I should buy it for weddings. While it was way too fancy to wear for working, I did want to buy it. In store, the dress had these ugly thick black straps that someone, somewhere thought would be a good idea. Me, not so much. However, I did see the potential in the rest of the dress, with a few alterations.

So this dress is a designer dress, originally listed for $2500. I purchased it for $180! Guys, I know! The best part is, I didn’t purchase it because it was cheap, I am in LOVE with it. It perfectly suits me and I saved a ton. Again, I was thinking outside of the box, at what could be and now I not only have a dress that literally no other bride will have (as it wasn’t marketed as a wedding dress and will be custom altered), but I saved a ton on what I had originally budgeted.

Not everyone will be able to come across a dress like that just sitting in-store, but don’t rule out looking in alternate places just in case!

So tell me, where did you purchase your dress from? Was it in budget or did you go over finding the perfect dress?

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Wedding Design: How to Develop Your Vision on Budget

Earlier this week I wrote the first post of my new series “A Wedding Planner Weds” which talked about how Jordan and I have developed our own wedding design and how we are staying on budget. Today I want to share how you can design your overall theme and tone and ways to implement the details without sacrificing your budget or your ideals. (Or you could just send me a message and I can work with you one-on-one- shameless plug).


Wedding design

Developing your ideal wedding design vision.

The first thing I have clients do, is to pick 5 adjectives that describe how they want their wedding to look and feel. I have a list we go through together to really get down to the heart of my clients wants and needs. On your own, you can pick 5 adjectives you can reflect back to throughout your planning process to ensure you’re staying true to your vision.

Examples: Romantic, fun, upbeat, slow, large, lively, etc.


What are your hobbies? What does your home decor look like? How can you incorporate “you” into your wedding?


Think about what details you can incorporate based on how you currently live your lives together. I know this isn’t always easy for non-visual people, and some find it hard to translate those details into wedding design. (That’s where I come in!) My advice is to think simply. Do you love to be outside in nature or do you prefer to be inside and cozy? Maybe you prefer inside and cozy and therefore a late fall or winter wedding would be well suited for you. What are ‘cozy’ elements you could add in to the wedding? I think of blankets, and warm drinks. Wood burning fires (maybe you can light some incense to create that scent). Candles would mimic the flames of a fire. What textures can you use? A heavier linen would be perfect for later in the season.  Do you see how one small piece of something you love can inspire a whole lot of inspiration?

Staying on Budget

Deciding what your priorities are is the first step to ensuring you don’t have to make sacrifices with your budget. If your heart is set on a 5 course meal with wine pairings, but you aren’t able to afford that for a 200 person wedding, invite less people or have a dinner with just your immediate family and wedding party and the next day throw a wedding brunch. If you really want to invite 300 people, but you can’t afford a sit down meal, throw a cocktail event with canapes and charcuterie. Think about what you want and then don’t be afraid to break “the rules” when it comes to your wedding. In fact, there are no rules when it comes to planning a wedding because quite frankly, it’s your wedding and you can do what you wish with it.

What do you plan on incorporating into your wedding design to make it feel like “you”? Are you having trouble with your budget? Are you able to think outside of the box and welcome the untraditional? Let me know in the comments below! If you need help with your planning and making your vision come to life, send us a message with the contact form below!

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When a Wedding Planner Weds: How we developed our theme, on budget.

The other day I was sitting around thinking about what I could share on my blog that would be helpful and interesting to my readers. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged last, which is mainly because it was high peak wedding season and as a wedding planner and florist, I really just didn’t have the time to create great content, but also because I don’t want to rewrite posts I’ve essentially already written or write something non-useful and boring just for the sake of creating content. As I was brainstorming, I thought about writing a series not just through the eyes of a wedding planner, but also myself as to-be bride. With that being said, I’m going to openly share our (myself & Jordan’s) journey of planning our own wedding.

It makes sense to start from the beginning with how we decided on our overall theme, what we’ve been doing to develop it and how we’ve managed to stay on budget.

wedding planner niagara

Atmosphere: Intimate, warm, dinner-partyesque, romantic, fun

Above are the 5 adjectives we chose to describe the way we want our wedding to feel, look and be. As we choose each of our vendors and details, we will reflect back to these words to ensure our original design is upheld.

Details we love: Wood, bohemian, rustic elements, greenery, flowers

We love the outdoors and hiking. Jordan makes reclaimed wood furniture and decor pieces and I of course am a florist and wedding planner. We also love hosting dinner parties when we have free time. Our home is filled with wood pieces and green plants. We wanted our wedding to reflect all of this so it would reflect us as a couple.

Staying on budget:

 I’ll start by saying we are incredibly lucky to be immersed in the world of weddings and have made an abundance of great friends who have so graciously given us great pricing for our wedding. I will also be doing my own floral design for the wedding. I know- it’s overzealous of me but I have a vision and I like to be in control – ha! It also means we are only paying for wholesale florals and the labor is of course free.

The bottom line is, neither Jordan and I, nor our parents are in the position to host a 300 person wedding AND have our priorities and wants shine through. Think about that for a minute though. The budget we have decided on could absolutely feed and dethirst 300 people no problem. Our priority is not to mearly feed 300 people with mediocre food. Our priority is to create an experience for our guests. Top notch food, a highly curated design, photography and entertainment are our priorities. In order to get those bang on, we had to think outside the box.

We actually wanted to skip a lot of the traditional elements of a wedding, so we are going straight to the party by inviting our guests to a locally sourced charcuterie and wine (& beer!) party. We’re talking farm to table, from Niagara or surrounding area meats and artisan cheeses. No one will go hungry or feel like they couldn’t get enough to drink- that’s important to us. We wanted to keep the atompshere lively and intimate so we chose a band for our entertainment so it would truly feel like a party for our guests. By choosing to have a non-traditional wedding, we are not only keeping our budget down, but we’re doing so without sacrificing our overall ideals for the wedding.

You don’t have to be a wedding planner to feel “allowed” to do something outside of the norm. I’ll follow up this post with ideas on how you can develop your own wedding ideals while staying within your budget later this week, and I’ll post more information on the specific details we have chosen to incorporate as well as my dress shopping experience etc. throughout this blog series which will be posted every Monday, as long as I have new information to share with you!

Until then, I’d love to hear your thoughts on thinking outside of the box. Would you personally rather attend a traditional seated dinner with no thrills, or a party that celebrates the couple with unique touches and special thought? Let me know if the comments! If you need help planning your own wedding on budget without sacrificing details, send me a message in the form below for information on how I can help!


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Marriage License Niagara: Be Legally Married in Niagara

legally married niagara

Photo by Elizabeth in Love

A marriage license is probably the most boring part of your wedding planning process, however the most important part of any wedding is of course, actually getting legally married. In order to do this you need just two things; a licensed officiant and a marriage license. Here are things you should know when obtaining your marriage license in Niagara, especially for out-of-province or country couples.

1. The earliest you can apply for your marriage license is 3 months prior to your wedding date.

*If you are from out of town and you plan on visiting before your wedding date, see if you can plan to visit within 3 months of your wedding date so that you can apply for your license in advance and not have to worry about it right before you’re wedding.

2. You can obtain your marriage license from any city hall in Ontario. If you are not local to Niagara but you live in Ontario you can get this in your own city.

3. If you are arriving from out of Ontario you can get your marriage license on the same day you arrive and even on the day of your wedding (though I don’t advise that!). There are no delays or having to wait for a certain amount of days from either arriving in town or before the wedding date.  City Hall in Niagara Falls is open from 8:30 am -4:30 pm Monday- Friday, excluding holidays.

*If you are planning to be married over the weekend, make sure to arrive so there is enough time for you to get your license on the Friday. I even recommend arriving a day or two earlier than that in the event you should run into any problems. (It’s not likely, but you never know!).

4. If you one or both of you were previously married, check with a lawyer in your hometown to ensure you have ALL of the proper documents to verify you are no longer married. Without this, you will not be granted a marriage license.

5. When you sign a marriage license and your officiant sends it away, you are legally married everywhere. (Aside from obvious countries with much difference views from North America).

6. If you are still concerned about the legality of getting married in Ontario, you can always have a quick civil ceremony in your hometown and have the ceremonial aspect with your guests in Niagara.

7. Another option and trend is to have a friend preform the ceremony. In Ontario, only licensed officiants can legally marry you (and it’s not a simple or cheap process for a friend to complete). If you like the idea of having a friend preform the ceremony you have two choices. 1. Get legally married in your hometown and have your friend preform the entire ceremony in Niagara or 2. Use a licensed officiant to complete the legal parts and have a friend do the more emotional parts.

So there you have it, all of the tips and tricks I can think of to ensure you are legally married if you decide to have your wedding in Niagara!

You can check out the Niagara Falls City Hall Website for more information and a quick thank you to Cathy Davis for the fact checking!

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Vineland Estates: Niagara Winery Elopement

A couple weekends ago we planned a sweet Niagara winery elopement for Viviane and Kevin. Viviane wanted to make sure that whatever we planned, the ceremony was meaningful and beautiful. She had expressed interest in finding an old brick building that was reminiscent of Old Europe. I knew instantly that Vineland Estates would be perfect location. In between days upon days of rain, we managed to sneak the ceremony and a few rain free photos in.

When I plan a winery elopement, my goal is to make the ceremony just as memorable and beautiful as if it was a full-sized wedding.

winery wedding ceremony

winery elopement niagara

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niagara wedding planner


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niagara wedding bouquet


niagara wedding planner


niagara winery weddingPhotos by Ally Allison Photography

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