Unique Party Planning Perfection

I'm one of those people who loves organizing parties & events, but fears the actual menu-planning process of the whole thing. FEARS it. I'm actually not a half-bad cook when I know what I'm doing; where I falter is at the stage when I'm coming up with a menu. Not only do I struggle with guesstimating how much food I'll need for my guests (a true perfectionist, I always overcompensate and buy too much, blowing oodles of money on food that ultimately goes to waste. My mother would plotz ...), but I am clueless about "timing". You know -- what to do first, when to turn that on etc. etc.

If you're on this site, there's a good chance you'll be hosting a wedding-related event at your home in the next little while. Whether its a bridal shower for your girlfriend, a welcome-back soiree after your destination wedding or even your very first house party as a "real" married couple, menu-planning is in your near future, oh yes! If only we all had the money to hire party planners like the celebrites do .... but wait! We do! And it's extremely affordable AND it doesn't matter where in the world you're located! Intrigued? Read on ...

I recently stumbled across a fab website that I thought I would share with you, as it sure had me tickled pink. Party Designers is a web-based party planning company run by the lovely Andrea Worsley (see pic at left ... isn't she adorable?). Click on the link, fill out the questionnaire, and for the price of $25 receive a fully-personalized menu complete with shopping list and prep tips (including timing -- hallelujah!). For an additional $13 you can also receive wine pairings specific to your menu.

The truly unique thing about Party Designers? Menus sent to you are not, repeat NOT taken from and created by a computer database. Instead, an actual honest-to-goodness planner reviews your questionnaire answers and designs a menu around your specific needs. Fabulous enough for ya?

I love love love this idea, love love love that its a local company (what up Calgary! Woot woot!) and will be using Party Designer's services for my upcoming holiday party. I also love that company founder Andrea has recently started a blog of her own at ... check it out for cooking tips, recipies and more!

*all pictures courtesy of Party Designers*


Breakfast Show Vendor List

This past Wednesday I was lucky enough to make an appearance on the Calgary Breakfast Show . Susanne Fox and I chatted about Epiphany Designs, the success of this little bloggie, and then I gave my "Top 5 Tips" to make a wedding unique. I'll do my best to get a copy of the clip up here somehow -- until then, just imagine me doing my best not to look terrified in the beginning, and then talking Susanne's ear off after that (a shrinking violet I am not, as Husband so often likes to point out)

Anyways, if you happened to catch the segment then you may be looking for a list of the vendors I mentioned. And here they are, just to help you out!

Photobook Companies

Flowers (fresh, silk, or fresh-and-silk combo)

p.s. I LOVE La Coquette! Weren't those bouquets delicious? *sigh* I sense a flower design post coming up real soon .... here's a non-pro pic incase you missed them:
The Photobooth Company

Everything else was courtesy of my company Epiphany Designs, so if you want to know where to get those super-cute programs, table numbers or anything else, just drop me a line.

Preview for my next post: Planning an informal at-home reception? Or just want to know how to host a killer cocktail party? Stay tuned for my next post in a few days .. have I got a neat idea for you!


More Etsy Goodies

I love Etsy. You must know that by now.

Feathered Swarovki Crystal Rhinestone Clutch --

Custom Family Name Frame --

Gemstone Tree Caketopper --

Damask Garter --

Wedding Ring for Husband-to-Be --

SO many more I could have posted ... seriously.

*all photos have been linked back to their original credited owner*


Fabulous Foto Find & More

Some of you may know by now that photographers are a hobby of mine. Not photographY, but photographERS. Long before I was even engaged to Husband I was scouring the internet for fabulous photographers around the globe ... simply because I LOVE looking at beautiful photos. Even better? I LOVE stumbling across up-and-comers.

This hobby has come in handy on more than one occasion, and it serves me well even now with my invitation company (my clients often ask for recomendations on vendors within various price ranges, seeing as I'm usually with them so early in the planning process).

And to be honest --- I'm a photo shoot whore. Some gals love their Manolos, I love me a fab photo. Its a sickness, I know.

Given my penchant for photo shoots, I've had the idea lately of getting one done with my little sister to give to our parents as a Christmas gift (oh, how the memory of years of sisterly-bickering and fighting will melt away in my parents' hearts upon beholding a gorgeous photo of their two darlings!). And who should coincidentally come into my life around this same time? Christina at Francesfoto.

Christina is an up-and-coming Calgary photographer with an amazing eye. Her savvy style is photojournalistic and candid, and she seems to have a talent for capturing raw emotion through her images. I was enthralled by her wedding photos, and am in utter adoration of her baby and child images (so sweet).

Little Sis and I have decided to go ahead with our photo shoot, so I will of course be posting images once I've got some. However, I love passing along great fabulous finds, and thought ya'll should know about this one!

For Calgary brides looking for something fresh in the market -- FrancesFoto currently has reduced fees for the 2008/2009 wedding season; the fee includes an online slide show, digital negatives, engagement session and professional coffee table album to boot.

Love it!

Quick update: I promised to post a few pics of my sister-in-law's fall winery wedding, and here they are!
Summerhill Winery, British Columbia
Husband & I outside the pyramid in which the wine is aged

*top 4 images courtesy of francesfoto*
*remaining images courtesy of Epiphany Designs 2008*


Back from the dead 2

Wow, no posts for almost five months, and then two posts in two days? I need to get my priorities straight ...

JUST noticed that the incredible Darcy Miller, editorial director at Martha Stewart Weddings, listed I Love Weddings as one of a small number of recommended wedding blogs over at The Bride's Guide on September 16th. Talk about an honour!

Kind regards for the recommendation, Darcy, and please keep up the good work!

Back from the dead

My goodness, taking a short break can sure get out-of-hand! I've been on a self-imposed exile from blogging for a number of months now, allowing me the chance to focus all of my energy on Epiphany Designs and my day job as a special needs teacher.

Quite honestly, I needed the break. I could see my blog posts dwindling the last half-of the year and recognized that it was time to allow a little more free-time for myself. Unfortunately that did not happen (even on my summer holiday break from teaching!) as my little invitation company is resoundingly taking off . Yay! The past few months at Epiphany Designs have been spent working with new clients, seeing my first ad in print in a bridal magazine, and even being featured in a full-page article in my former college's alumni magazine (see page 23 for the on-line version).

I also had the honour of designing the invitations for BOTH of my sibling-in-laws (thats a word, right?). Both are getting married at destination weddings, and Jamie & I are ridiculously excited to attend!

My sister-in-law Lindsay and her fiance Barclay
Kelowna, Bristish Columbia

My brother-in-law Justin and his fiancee, Tracy (who I am also a bridesmaid for!)
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Stay tuned for pictures of both weddings once they happen!

I also did a design this summer for a client of mine that I loved the look of so much I "borrowed" for my own Big Day coming up:
Yes, you read right ... the big 3-0 is just around the corner. As Jamie likes to remind me, I'm entering cougar territory for sure!

Thats about it for now. I'm back, I'll be doing my best to blog regularily again, and hopefully those of you who emailed wondering where I was are resting easier at night!

*all images copyright Epiphany Designs 2008. Please do not use without permission*

Bridesmaid Gift Alert!

Damn Starbucks and their fancy-schmancy website -- I am unable to figure out how to get a pic to post of this super-cute bridesmaid gift idea! Now I must only use the magical power of the written word to persuade you ....

The maven of all coffee houses is now offering personalized Starbucks cards. As in, cards you can customize with images and messages exactly as you want. LOVE IT! What a great idea to slip into your bridesmaid gift packages. There are a variety of options to choose from, and the idea of having something actually written from you on the card is super-neat.

Since I can't post photos from the site, or show you the adorable card I made up for my pretend bridesmaid Nancy, well, you'll just have to check out the site yourself.


As an addition, I just wanted to let you all know that I've recently re-begun posting on my other blog, Divapreneurs (it fell by the wayside for, oh, a little over a year). If you've ever wondered what its like to run a fledgling invitation company or, heck, are desperate to receive business advice from someone totally not qualified to give it, then feel free to check it out!



Here is something I desperately wanted for my own wedding reception but which was not, at the time, available in my city -- a photobooth!

The use of photobooths at wedding receptions is a fairly new idea, but its catching on wherever it goes. Pure retro, pure fun, this idea is new enough that chances are good your wedding will be remembered as a forerunner by guests.

In my hometown of Calgary, Canada, the best place to get a photobooth is at the The Photobooth Co. . The photobooths used are digital, touchscreen, give guests the option of black-and-white or color, and come out in strips of six. The fabulousness doesn't stop there, though ... how about the option of also purchasing a cd of all the images? Can you say "incredible memento"?!

If you're located in the States, the best way to find a photobooth rental company near you is by checking out America's Photobooth
Association website.

*all images courtesy of The Photobooth Co.*


Etsy = Fabulous

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I am a rabid fan of Etsy. Ridiculously rabid fan. I scour the pages of its site daily, and never leave dissatisfied. I thought I'd make a quick post about some new wedding-related items I've seen recently:

Paper Cakes and Single Paper Cake Slices by Daisy's & Dots

Omigod, HOW cute are these?!!! And imagine the possibilities for bridal showers!!! Looking good enough to eat, each of these little cuties is actually a favour box that you can put goodies inside. SO cute. A few more:

Couture Cake Toppers by SheaChicDesign's Shop

We've all seen the standard silver-plated & swarovski crystal cake initals. I still love those, of course, but they are starting to show up at more and more weddings nowadays. If you like the look but want something a bit more unique, how about one of these cutie-patooties? Definetely for the bride who's having a fun and casual wedding. Love it!

Unique Placecards by Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Love these little beauties for placecards. What a unique idea! This Etsy store does hand-calligraphed placecards on sanddollars and compasses. What a great idea!

*all images courtesy of Dasy's & Dots, SheaChicDesign's Shop, and Laura Hooper Designs respectively.


The Patterns of Spring + An Extra Goodie

I love changes in season. Up here in Canada it's such sweet relief to tumble from the bitter cold of winter into the welcoming arms of spring (I'm so figuratively descriptive today I could puke with disgust) that we will literally start patio season the moment the mercury rises above 0 degrees (er, 32 degrees for my american friends). I adore everything about the spring -- the milder days, the sense of newness all around, the anticipation for summer. Everything just seems brighter, more cheerful, and more-spirited. This sense of fun often transfers itself over to fashion and design, and this spring is no different.

With every change in season I always get asked by brides I work with what's new and delicious in invitation designs ... and for this spring, all I can say is PATTERNS. Patterns, patterns, patterns! Gorgeous, whimsical, fun, flirty, and always fabulous patterns.

It takes serious chutzpa to put patterned paper on a wedding invitation. Many of us have just barely escaped the grasps of ye olde 1990s cream white invitation with the embossed image of 2 intertwined hearts on it ... as such, bright, funky patterned paper seems a ridiculously far step to take!

And yet ... and yet, patterned paper is anything but ridiculous. Depending on how it is used, it can add an air of inherant sophistication and modernity (is that a word?) to event invites, bringing with it both tastes of the past and hints at the future in its design. When creating patterned invitations for clients, I tend to look for papers that harken back to the old days in "new" ways ... unique colours such as lime greens and deep magentas add immediate pop to paisley, for example, or asian-inspired layouts enhance the image of flowers rather then making them look cheesy and over-done.

This week I was playing around with some patterned papers for a client of my invitation company, Epiphany Designs, and decided to create a few samples for your perusal. Here are three I came up with that will hopefully show you the beauty and uniqueness of using patterns on invitations.
Head down to your local invitation company and tell them "I would like to explore using patterns on my wedding invites, please". Or head over to your local scrapbooking store and simply let all the new designs and colors inspire your creativity (#1 fav thing to do on a Saturday!). You'll be surprised what you discover ...


A little addition to my post that I thought would interest you ladies.

One of my minor healthy addictions (lets not even talk about my unhealthy ones!) is scanning the popculture and celebrity-watching sites each day. My absolute favorite, from-a-girl's-perspective blog is (check it out, honestly. Its addicting!). These incredible gals keep coming up with various off-shoots that are equally extraordinary: http://www.fitsugar/, http://www.lilsugar/, and http://www.yumsugar/, to name a few. And what a surprise, they've done it again! But this time its wedding-related. Yay!

IDoSugar is new, fun, savvy, and informative ... basically everything I'd like this little bloggie to be (damn). They update it constantly (damn again), and continue to stumble across the neat, the unique, and the ludicrous (check out their most recent post about engagement-usb sticks -- say whaaat?).

If you're looking to add to your wedding-blogroll, this is one to bookmark. And stay tuned for even more fabulous-ness from the ladies at PopSugar!

*all images courtesy of and copyrighted by Epiphany Designs 2008*