Evelyn Clark tells us 10 things to know now that you’re engaged!

Last week as I was perusing Twitter, I came across this little gem on Evelyn Clark’s blog. Evelyn is a talented wedding planner here in Calgary and she offers some tips to couples facing the daunting task of planning their wedding. Thanks to Evelyn for sharing these suggestions with us today.

1. Traditions will come out of nowhere.

Oh, your family is very laid-back, and it won’t be a big deal to have traditional elements into your wedding? Hmm…better double check that. Based on my wedding planning experience (and as a bride!), if ever there is a time where you must do something (and in a certain way/order/timeline), it’s on the wedding day. Weddings bring out a lot of emotions, so while you may think that your family won’t care…chances are, someone, somewhere will care, so it’s best to have the discussion nice and early.


2. People will give you unsolicited advice.

Co-workers, friends, relatives will come out of the woodwork to give you wedding advice. This is a good thing, as people want to relate to you and are not trying to question your decisions. However, sometimes it may feel that way. When someone is offering you advice, listen politely and thank them — whether you agree or not. Not every bit of advice is going to be right for you and your wedding and that’s okay.

3. Yes, flowers can cost a lot. And, yes, they really do make a difference to your wedding.

Flowers are flown from all over the world and florists have to pay high costs to order flowers in (hello, jet fuel). There are, unfortunately, just not many local flowers grown in Calgary suitable for weddings. Because flowers are living elements, florists have to deal with unpredictable issues too. Issues like poor weather for a poor growing season, which affects availability, quality and, therefore, cost. All this and we’re not even at labour costs yet! Because flower arrangements are not manufactured and mass-produced by a machine, labour can be quite intense as everything is made “from scratch”. No wonder the costs can be more steep than you think.

However, as any good designer (including this Calgary wedding planner) will tell you, flowers transform your wedding space because you are, literally, bringing life into the room. Sure, the average person may not remember what colour of flower you had in your centrepiece, but they will remember walking into the room and getting a feeling of completeness in the décor and atmosphere. Worth it? I think so.


4. Sometimes, you will feel like eloping or cancelling the wedding.

It’s perfectly normal. Even if you work with a wedding planner to take care of the logistics and communication in wedding planning, you still need to deal with emotions. This will likely be the biggest event you will ever plan. An event that involves inviting family and friends, treating them to fantastic food and a beautiful environment, incorporating tradition and trying to make everyone happy within a budget. And, you know, publicly declaring that you are vowing to love your bride/groom until death do you part. How can anyone not become emotional? Just know that you are not alone in this, and that you will work it out.

5. It’s okay to hire a wedding planner for help.

I know, I know. You think I am biased. But I am basing this on experience. I meet a lot of couples and/or brides that are “type A” and want to be proud of the fact that they did everything in their wedding by themselves (that was me as a bride).

That’s great! And it’s an accomplishment you should be happy about. But at what cost?

Based on my own wedding planning experience, I found myself so stressed out keeping up with family demands (which only gets more intense closer to the wedding day) and organizing all the final details that I ended up doing things half-way…very not like me. No surprise, I was annoyed when things didn’t come out the way I thought they would. I also wasn’t able to spend very much time with friends and family that traveled from afar, and that is probably my biggest regret.


6. Never underestimate the value of a Thank You card.

Yes. Writing 100+ Thank You cards is time consuming. But even if you think Thank You cards are an old-fashioned concept, they are the one wedding tradition I strongly advise you to keep.

Even if you never, ever write another Thank You card in your life, your wedding should be the time to write Thank You cards. Trust me, people get downright bitter if they don’t receive a token of Thank You — it’s part of etiquette for a reason. Often, your guests are buying a new outfit, traveling and purchasing a gift for you in celebration of your wedding and marriage. You may be spending X amount of dollars on this wedding, but don’t adopt the attitude of “they should be grateful I invited them” and just write the Thank You card! P.S. Thanking guests in your toasts or just telling them at your wedding does not, repeat, does not mean you don’t have to write them a Thank You card.

One of my past couples took on their Thank You card writing task by opening a bottle of wine to drink and writing a Thank You note immediately after opening each gift. This made the daunting task more enjoyable and they got the Thank You cards out of the way while still being able to remember who got them what gift.

7. It’s normal to feel like everything is going to be terrible and it will all be your fault.

Good grief! What a horrible feeling, right? But listen, nothing will be “terrible” and people are certainly not going to point their fingers and start whispering if anything goes wrong. In addition to helping you with your wedding planning, part of my duties as a wedding planner is to give peace you peace of mind that I will be there to try and fix anything that doesn’t go according to plan. MC forgot his notes and the itinerary? Don’t worry. I printed an extra copy. You didn’t pack enough candles to fill all of your candles holders? I just happen to have spare tealights in my emergency kit. I’m on it.

8. Vendors need to eat too.

Yes, they do. The most common vendors that you need to include a meal for are photographers, the DJ/band and your wedding planner. On your wedding day, many of us vendors have been up since 6am: packing equipment, going over the wedding itinerary one more time, and leaving our homes early to avoid unpredictable traffic jams. We rarely get a chance to grab a quick bite to eat as we are constantly answering questions and making sure everything gets done the right way.

So, please. Give us a chance to have a proper meal during our long work day in giving you the best wedding ever. We would also be ever so grateful if we ate the same meal as the rest of the guests. Why? Not because we are snobs, but because we often look into the quality of food being served. We make note of who we thought had great service, great taste, etc. etc., so that we know who to contact in the wedding industry when couples like you ask us for suggestions.

9. You won’t be able to please everyone, including yourself.

Despite your best intentions, someone will disagree with the way you have done something for your wedding. The chic, little black bridesmaid dresses you and your bridesmaids love may be funeral-esque to your Aunt Mildred. Cousin Suzy may not like the plated dinner you have chosen and would have rather had the options of a buffet. And, you may have had to forgo the wedding ceremony entrance you dreamed of because of restrictions from the church.

So what then? At some point, you just have to let things go. Which leads me to my final point…

10. Keep the Big Picture in mind.

You’re getting married! To the man/woman of your dreams! And everyone you love is here to celebrate with you. Your guests will not notice that one centrepiece arrangement is a little less full than the others. Or that 4 guests at Table #19 decided not to show up at the last minute, leaving empty seats and unused place settings. You cannot micromanage these tiny details because on the wedding day, the most important thing is that you are celebrating the start of your marriage journey. You don’t like it when your boss micromanages, so don’t do it for your wedding — leave the detail checking to me, the wedding planner. It’s my job.



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