our first styled shoot… Alan Maudie Photography
It feels like yesterday that I was fresh out of University of Calgary, armed with a business degree and *EAGER* to launch. In our first year, we coordinated 4 weddings and did our first styled shoot. Our very first client was an old friend from high school; The wedding was in Red Deer where I grew up, it had green uplighting (go ahead and let that sink in for a minute…) and I convinced one of my best friends to be my assistant that day.
first Bridal Fair & the reason for my fear of coloured lighting
Year one was filled with big dreams, but scraping by with a side hustle at the neighbourhood coffee shop, and working from a shoddy Ikea desk in the corner of my bedroom. I did whatever I could to get more experience and learn, and I was determined to build the company of my dreams.
Our first destination wedding
Making it Past “The Wedding Planner’s Curse”
From what I had observed, many wedding planning companies have a max life span of 3/4 years… There seems to be a curse once you start to get your feet under you, perhaps people take on too much and quickly burn out. I was determined for that to not be our story. Slow, calculated growth was my goal and we were planning an average of 5-10 weddings a year. Then we had our first feature go to print in WedLuxe Magazine, and won our first national award for the “Best Wedding Over $75K” in Canada… Our “big break” was here and gave us the confidence that we were doing something right?!
Our first award – 2015 Best wedding over $75k, by Gabe McClintock Photography
Finding our Stride
Between years 5-7 is when we started to settle into our skin. We re-branded once we started to really understand our where our strengths lie and we were getting more & more confident in our planning system. I began to get a little sleep the night before a client’s wedding and finally not be so nervous! Aimsley grew from a day-of assistant and joined as my first full time staff member. We are now planning on average 25 weddings a year between the two of us, doing several styled shoots, and building great relationships with vendors and venues in the area that our style resonates with, and as a result our work becomes more consistent.
Mt Stephen Hall becomes our second home, Photography by Ikonica
The Glory Years, Especially 2018
These are now what I lovingly call the “glory years”, where we have fully booked summers of 30-35 amazing and perfect weddings with total dream clients. There were many “pinch me” moments & so many milestones, especially in 2018… This is when I got married in Lake Louise, then a month later won “Canadian Wedding Professional of the Year”, and then a month after that was honoured to be asked to produce the prestigious Engage! Luxury Wedding Summit in Banff. In 2019, we also had our first feature on Martha Stewart, and flew to Greece for another destination wedding… Dreams were coming true, and hard work was paying off.
Our first wedding featured on Martha Stewart, by Justine Milton Photography
Change of Plans, it’s a Pandemic!
So, 2020 was *supposed* to be one of our most exciting summers yet, filled with beautiful weddings we couldn’t wait to bring to life, but COVID took us and the world by surprise. What a shocking, devastating & stressful year it was. The entire events industry was massively impacted by lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings, obviously this had a direct impact on our grand summer plans, BUT! We prevailed. We chose to be positive and found the silver linings where we could; I had more time to spend with my new baby, and started a mentorship group for new wedding planners which was amazing. It wasn’t all bad.
Stephanie also joined our team in early 2020, and as a team we refocused our energy and went into total crisis management mode, helping clients find options, whether they were deciding to postpone, cancel or needing help moving forward safely within the ever changing guidelines. It was a total rodeo at times, but we were committed to being a helpful resource, to leading the industry and to re-imagining what our purpose was in the first place. In the end, we had a few incredible elopements and micro-weddings go forward, and we cherished them dearly.
COVID weddings… we hold these couples close to our hearts for pushing on. Image by Erik Mcritchie
Here we are. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes & ready to put the dumpster fire of 2020 behind us. We are stronger, more efficient, and more adaptable as a business. We are tighter as a team for what we’ve been through, and our service offering has been meticulously perfected while we had some time on our hands. We are ready to take on the next 10 years, and cannot wait to see what adventures it will bring.
Before I end this post, I want to thank every single client & vendor that believed in us, especially in the early years. It truly means the world. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for giving us the chance to practice our passion. We couldn’t do this without you.