Canadians are known the world over for their obsessive NEED for politeness. We are constantly uttering “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me” as we move through our days – to the point that is has actually become one of those trademark quirks that makes us unique in this country. The great thing about being polite is that it becomes infectious. I hear “thank you for kicking my butt” from my boot-campers, or “thanks for being my part-trainer-part-therapist” from my clients, and “thanks for packing my lunch and doing the laundry sweetie” from my loving fiancée; and it makes me incredibly happy. It puts me in a great mood, causing me to thank (and be thankful for) everyone in my day-to-day. From the teeny tiny gestures to the huge favors I experience every day, I am incredibly grateful for the ever-polite Canadian spirit.
On that note…
I’d like to take this chance, before the whirlwind of my wedding day overtakes me, to thank some people and businesses that have made all the difference to my wedding planning. Yes, my fiancée and maid of honor (and sisters, and mother, and many others) have been amazing – but they have to be… They’re putting up with my “crazy” because they apparently love me. If you’re a bride-to-be (or just planning a party) in the GTA, I highly recommend the following people and businesses:
Planning : Martha Stewart Weddings Department
I know – it’s a HUGE [American] corporation, but please – it’s Martha! Get yourself on their daily email and just watch as the amazing (and surprisingly unique) wedding ideas pour in. This website will channel your inner wedding planner and help with every aspect of your wedding. From the “Save the Date” to your Thank You Cards, it covers it all.
Venue : The Harbord Room : Manager, Sabrina Barusta
If you want to host any event in Toronto for 70 people or less, please, look at The Harbord Room. It’s got all the cache of the most well-known restos in the city with real charm and heart to back it up. They have a knack for making you feel genuinely appreciated and will take the time to make your event exactly what you want it to be. The manager, Sabrina, is a true professional and an absolute sweetie – she has that perfect mix of favorite sister and backstage manager that makes you want to put all your trust into her capable hands. On top of everything they make incredible food and drinks… I mean absolutely, downright, totally DELICIOUS. Go for dinner – your tummy will thank you.
Flowers : Tidy’s Flowers : Wedding Specialist, Frances
I gushed over my experience at Tidy’s after sitting down with Frances. A client told me that she “knew her stuff” but really – what does that mean? It means she knows her stuff! She sat me down and quickly assessed (by the timid and confused look on my face) that I don’t know a daisy from a daffodil and extracted the hodge-podge description of our wedding from me and went to work. Before I knew it, she had nailed down our theme, constructed a colour palette and laid out exactly what I could imagine, but could never have verbalized. She further amazed me when we started talking about the retro-vibe to the wedding – telling me about the dresses, flowers and decorations at the weddings of major Hollywood stars in the 40s and 50s – Frances knows it all!. She’s been there for me since, tweaking my order and answering my inane questions. I’m positive if she ever wanted to branch out into full blown wedding planning she’d have a very successful career. I cannot recommend Frances and Tidy’s Flowers enough. They do beautiful work and can stay within a budget – for any occasion. Next time you need some flowers, be sure to try them out!
Wedding Dress : Cabaret : Co-Owners, Tao and Elizabeth
There was a lot at steak the night I walked into Cabaret on Queen Street. I had been having a horrible time with the wedding plans – feeling overwhelmed and under-supported; I was really starting to push for an elopement. I walked into the store and was greeted by Tao’s incredibly happy face – I really felt like he WANTED me to be there. He welcomed me into the store - I think he might have even given me a hug – and told me I was exactly who their collection was aimed at – the downtown girl with a little edge, looking for a retro inspired dress. He made me feel totally comfortable with my body and myself, helping me into dress after dress. When I put on the Tulip and came out of the dressing room I knew. We both knew. I think the whole world knew – this was my dress. We stood there grinning at each other like idiots (I can only hope that my fiancée has a similar response! From day one to now, my experiences at Cabaret have been some of the best. They are incredible people with incredible dresses and will do everything they can to make you happy. Get yourself to Cabaret for a one-of-a-kind experience… and dress!
Uli is a master. Literally. He’s a master goldsmith, born and trained in Germany and is a consummate professional with a “downtown” edge. While his own designs tend to be quite modern and geometric, he has a keen understanding of art and his craft and did beautiful work on our vintage engagement and wedding bands. Throughout the process he took the time to really listen to our requests, made great suggestions and was conscious of our budget. He was consistently quick to answer my calls, emails and texts and never missed his self-imposed deadlines. Thanks to Uli, we have some beautiful rings which are entirely unique and will be sentimental pieces for years to come.
Hair and Make Up : Lift Beauty Boutique : Emily and Lauren
Emily and Lauren are one dynamic duo. They showed up at my place on the afternoon of GTR’s birthday to do my trial for the wedding (I figured – why not look hot for his big party!?!) , on time and with everything they needed packed into some pretty huge suitcases! They set up quickly in my kitchen and got down to work - I was pretty amazed. 90 minutes later we had tried multiple hair and make up styles and had a plan for the wedding; they had also re-done my hair and make up in a more casual style for the party and were out the door. Not only am I totally confident that they will make me look great on our wedding day, I actually look forward to seeing them again. They channel a real “best friends” vibe into the process, making it super relaxed and fun. I may just have to plan more events in the future just so I can spend more time with them!
Last, but certainly not least;
John-Marc Hamilton : X Rays Photography
Not exactly a wedding professional, but John must be thanked. Again and again, and again. By trade, my brother is a graphic designer, web designer/programmer, photographer, videographer, editor and music producer. We come from a “why-not-do-it-all family” and he definitely has. John has been there for me from beginning to end. He’s given his 2-cents about the venues, designed our save the date cards and drink tickets, helped with wording and style on the invitations, given music input, done a load of work on a special surprise I have for GTR and will be our main photographer the day of. At this point I’m seriously wondering why John isn’t also moving into the professional world of event planning – he’d certainly be great at it! His primary focus at this point is in photography, videography, recording and editing. If you’re looking for a relaxed and easy-going professional who delivers amazingly beautiful finished products, John is your guy. Check out his web-site – I swear this is not a biased recommendation!
So, only the finishing touches left to put on the wedding now. I’ve lost over 10 pounds and am feeling great. I can’t wait to get this show on the road – let the party begin!