Like most of you, this slower period of life has allowed me to pause, evaluate and reflect. I’ve been thinking a lot about the word purpose and how it drives our daily lives, our actions and our thoughts.
A few months ago, pre-global pandemic, I read a very insightful book called “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters” by Priya Parker. For anyone who organizes gatherings, be it book clubs, meetings, weddings, conferences, I highly recommend this book – now more than ever.
Since then, and given the current situation, I’ve thought a lot about the purpose of weddings. At the surface, a wedding is generally comprised of a pretty table design, some beautiful flowers, great food & drinks and amazing music. Some pessimists argue that weddings are merely expensive parties.
However, the purpose of a wedding runs much deeper than that. It’s a celebration of LOVE. It’s about bringing people together to honour the fact that two people have decided to commit to each other, to live life hand in hand and to face both the challenges and the happy times as a unit. As a wedding planner, I’m in the business of bringing people together to celebrate the commitment. That is the core of my purpose. At le wedding mill, we have always valued that celebration, that honouring of love as the most important part of the wedding. In order to create a meaningful and memorable day for our couples and their guests, we enhance the experience with the use of decor, music, food, etc., but those are merely tools – the essence of the celebration is the commitment, the love.
The wedding industry’s mission is essentially the opposite of physical distancing. It’s an industry that brings people together, with the common purpose of celebrating a couple’s commitment. Like so many industries, we’ve been impacted in a big way by the global pandemic. It’s been devastating, but I’m also hopeful that (cheesiness alert) love will prevail. As the wise Emilie of Emilie Olson Photography once said to me: “As long as you get to marry your best friend, your day is complete”.
To all the couples facing postponement and/or rethinking their initial wedding plans, remember that whether your wedding takes place on the originally planned date or later, in front of 150 people or just an officiant, you’ve found your person and that’s what matters.
As for us at le wedding mill, we are romantics at heart and can’t wait to see you walk down the aisle, exchange your vows, dance up a storm with your loved ones and celebrate your love.
At le wedding mill, we pride ourselves on the fact that our designs always consider both form and function. We believe that a wedding should be beautiful but never compromise the comfort of your guests.
One of our favorite wedding day details is the seating chart. As wedding designers, we l-o-v-e coming up with creative ways to guide the guests to their table, while using the opportunity to incorporate the theme or style of the event. Here are some of our most memorable seating charts that prove that this design element is anything but boring.
1. Calligraphy on an Oversized Mirror
Wedding Style: Chic – Elegant
This show-stopping seating chart was created by the talented Jodi of Someday Art Co.. It was a labor-intensive job, but the result made a big statement as guests entered the space.
This seating chart was all about combining form and function. Instead of having the place cards on a table and run the risk of them blowing away due to the outdoor setting, we built a custom frame and secured each place card with luxury velvet ribbon. The first card on each ribbon included the wedding’s signature wax seal and the letters of the alphabet to help guests find their tables with ease.
True to the overall design of the wedding, this seating chart was clean and modern. We custom built a white display and hung an oversized lucite piece with chic ribbon (can you tell we have a thing for ribbon?). One card per table was carefully affixed to the lucite to appear as though the chart was floating.
This luggage tag seating chart was the perfect way to guide guests to their seats and ensure that they all received their favour, which was a custom luggage tag. We tied the place card to each tag (again, we love ribbon) and secured the tag to custom-made linen boards with pearl-tipped pins. As guests arrived, one of our lovely coordinators assisted guests with removing their tags.
For this rustic chic wedding, we printed the seating chart on our white vintage window panes. To balance the vintage/rustic feel of the windows, we opted for chic, elegant fonts for their tables and names.
The seating chart is one of many details to consider for your wedding. We encourage you to think outside of the box and use a seating chart that serves as a guide for guests to find their seats and an additional design element.
We do not offer Day-of Coordination, simply because this role is a wedding industry myth and the term is misleading. Frankly, it’s impossible to show up on the day of your wedding and have all the necessary information to properly interpret your months of planning and execute it at a high quality standard.
As the wedding approaches, you’ll want to have a professional bring everything across the finish line and make sure that you’ve crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s. This is how our 60-Day Coordination service came to be. I find that 2 months before the wedding, emotions start to coming in to play and the confirmation emails start piling up. It’s the perfect timing for us to step in to make sure you have everything covered, adjust anything and have the proper knowledge to be fully aligned with your vision.
Do you have a preferred aesthetic?
My preferred aesthetic is one that is unique. Some of our weddings are modern, some are more classic. Some have a hint of boho, some have an elevated rustic feel. I love when couples come to me with a fresh concept – it allows me to play and use my creative muscles.
More generally, I love weddings that are refined, understated and elegant – and naturally incorporate those vibes into each wedding. I think that there is so much beauty in simplicity. Our designs are carefully curated and pretty, but never over the top.
I value form and function and am constantly thinking of the guest experience when designing. Our couples want their weddings to look lovely on Instagram but they also want their guests to be comfortable in the moment.
Who are your typical clients?
We work with all types of couples, ranging from 25 to 65 years young! They are typically busy professionals with a refined taste. They enjoy both beautiful things and experiences and like me, value form and function. They want their weddings to have a wow factor and be an expression of their personalities.
What’s an average wedding budget?
There are so many factors to consider when determining your wedding budget – style, venue, location, guest count.
One of the first steps in our planning process is to create a personalized and realistic budget for our couples. While we work with all types of budgets, most of our clients spend anywhere between 45K to 100K on their wedding, for approximately 100 to 150 guests.
How much does it cost to hire a wedding planner?
There is a huge range because there is no industry standard. Every planner sets their own pricing based on factors like:
The number of weddings they take on per year
Their level of experience
Their level of involvement in the wedding
The scale/complexity of the wedding
What does your planning process look like?
le wedding mill’s planning process can be summarized in four words: streamlined, fun, simple and personable.
Wedding planning is stressful – that’s no secret. Our clients trust us to guide them through the challenging parts quickly and happily, so that we can focus on the fun stuff.
My venue has an on-site coordinator. Do I still need to hire a wedding planner?
Yes! For a few reasons:
Wedding planners work alongside on-site coordinators to ensure that your wedding is a success. Oftentimes, on-site coordinators have more than one event taking place at the same time so aren’t always dedicated to your wedding.
On-site coordinators are primarily responsible for making sure that the venue’s obligations are upheld. A wedding planner ensures that every vendor contract is respected.
On-site coordinators won’t confirm your hotel room block, create your hair and makeup schedule, pick up your stationery, etc. Wedding planners step in much earlier on in the process and provide a wider range of support.
I work with so many incredible on-site coordinators and love them dearly! Our roles are just different.
Do your clients have to work with vendors on your preferred list?
Not at all! We love meeting new people in the industry and are open to working with the vendors that you choose.
However, while you are in no way obliged to work with our preferred vendors, I recommend doing so! They are preferred for a reason (or two, or many). I’ve worked with so many vendors throughout the years – these vendors have passed our thorough examination.
Think of it like this: When you get married, you hire vendors for one day, so you don’t know how they will actually perform. I’ve seen them in action and know that they’re the best of the best.
How many weddings do you take on every year?
Truthfully, it depends on the year and the types of inquiries. If we have many Full Service Planning clients, we will take on less Design and Coordination clients. We believe in balance!
What do you do when your wedding season is over? It must be nice to have a few months off!
I get asked this question so much, which proves that there is a lot of mystery surrounding the job of a wedding planner. When one wedding season ends, I’m usually already in the thick of planning weddings taking place in the next one.
There is so much to do for each wedding that the seasons overlap every year. The only difference is that during off-season, which is only 3 months long this year, our team has weekends off!
If you weren’t a wedding planner, what would you do for work?
I would be an interior designer. I love home renovation projects and dream of buying a big piece of land and building a house from scratch one day.
On that note
If you have any other questions about wedding planning or le wedding mill, please feel free to contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Finding your wedding venue can be a daunting task. I always tell my clients that it’s the most difficult part of the entire planning process. Why? Because the venue choice will determine the date and style of your wedding. It also takes up the biggest portion of your overall budget. Here are 5 steps that will lead you to finding the perfect location for your dream wedding.
1. Establish the style
There is an abundance of beautiful wedding venues in and around Montreal – how lucky are we! The flip side is that the choices seem endless. Before scheduling site visits at hundreds of venues and feeling even more overwhelmed, the first step is to jot down 3 words that describe the style of your wedding. This will help you stay focused and narrow the search to 3-5 venues. Here are a few examples:
Choosing a venue that fits your style will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to change the vibe of the space. For example, if you choose a rustic venue but want a classic look, you’ll end up paying more for decor to transform the venue with draping as well as elegant linens and chairs. If you book a very modern space but want a garden-style wedding, you’ll have to spend a whole lot on florals to achieve that theme.
2. Set your guest list
A contender for the position of most daunting wedding planning task is setting your guest list. As uncomfortable as it is to determine who will be invited to celebrate the most special day of your life – and who will not make the cut, it’s a crucial step to take before you select a venue.
Couples often underestimate how many guests they will actually end up inviting to the wedding. By setting your guest list from the get-go, you will avoid disappointment and upset down the road. In other words, there is no need to visit and fall in love with a space that only seats 100 people if your list is at 150 guests.
Venue: Espace Canal – Photos: Lisa Renault Photographie
3. Determine your budget
Before visiting venues, I recommend establishing an overall budget for your wedding. The venue, including rental fee, catering and bar service, will take up anywhere from 45 – 55% of your overall wedding budget.
Some venues charge a rental fee, others charge per head. Some do both. Ideally, you should contact venues that you have in mind to get a sense of the costs before visiting. Maybe you’ve seen wedding photos on Instagram of a stunning space, only to find out that the rental fee alone is 50% of your overall budget. It’s best to find out sooner rather than later so that you can find a space that’s just as lovely but won’t break the bank.
Oftentimes, the price points are not listed on the venue’s website but the events team can send you information on their packages before you schedule a visit. Having an Google Sheet or Excel document to compare costs from each venue will help you remain objective and organized!
4. Consider the guest experience
In order for your guests to have a great time, being thoughtful about their overall experience is crucial! The first consideration is parking/transport; you’ll want to keep it simple for everyone. If the venue will be in a remote location, you may opt to rent shuttles that can transport guests so that they can get to and from the wedding safely. Is the space is in the heart of downtown? Find out if your venue provides a valet service to avoid parking frustrations (we all know how difficult it can be to find parking in the city!).
Another factor to consider within the guest experience is capacity. While some venues have a maximum capacity, I always make sure to know what the capacity is for the most comfortable layout so that guests don’t feel crammed.
If you’re planning on having an outdoor component to your wedding, be sure to ask the venue what the contingency plan is for inclement weather. You don’t want to force your guests to stand outside in the pouring rain because there isn’t any space for the ceremony indoors.
5. Trust your instincts
As a wedding planner, I’ve visited so many spaces with my clients. I always say that it’s like shopping for a house: you need to consider the style, size, cost and layout. One important factor, though, is how you feel when you first walk in the house.
The same goes for the venue. Can you picture yourself getting married there? Does it bring a smile to your face or are you instantly overwhelmed by the notion of the room having to be flipped mid-wedding? Trust your gut feeling!
On that note
If you are finding it difficult to select a venue, don’t be shy to seek the advice of a wedding planner! At le wedding mill, we offer consultation services for couples who need a little extra assistance with choosing their dream venue.