All Photos courtesy of The Designer Cookie

Just when you think that cookies could get any cuter for your celebration, Toronto's The Designer Cookie deliciously proves you wrong!

Of course this uber-adorable bake shop located at 292 Eglinton Ave West in Toronto provides scrumptious treats for any special occasion -- from cupcakes, cookies and cakes to popcorn, prezels and more, but The Designer Cookie is the only bake shop in Toronto that offers "direct print technology". This special technology enables the shop to print images, logos, text and photos directly onto your edibles (whether it be chocolates, cookies, cupcake toppers or cakes) without the need for edible paper.



With cookie flavours ranging from Cocoa Chanel to Issey Mitoffee and cupcakes frosted in flavours like Jean Pual Brule, Dolce and Banana and Pradapple, you'll almost forget just how cool the treat looked before you ate it! And don't let their name fool you! The Designer Cookie is a wizard at creating ultra-adorable, super creative cakes for any occasion!


Think that's got your Sweet Tooth doing the happy dance? The Designer Cookie is not just a pretty little Bake Shop on Eglinton Avenue! It's also mobile, interactive and creative! Whether you're hosting a Wedding, Birthday, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Holiday Party or any other celebration, what's a sweeter way of both entertaining and thanking your guests for attending than having The Designer Cookie's "Live Booth" at your event! Guests can have their photo taken at the Booth then magically have that photo printed on a chocolate lollipop!

Having a Kosher event? Not a problem! The Designer Cookie has a close relationship with a Kosher kitchen so that they can provide Kosher goods for their clients.

When it comes to your event, there's no better way to roll out your dough then to go Designer!


Photo courtesy of Et Lofte Events

Even though it's late November believe it or not, it's pouring rain outside. However rather than let the grey dismal-looking morning get me down I've let it inspire today's blog post: Wedding Umbrellas!

But not just any wedding umbrellas...I mean, let's face it: anyone can buy a white umbrella and deem it a "wedding umbrella". Oh no, these wedding umbrellas range from the beautiful to the colourful to the oh-so-cute!

Eclectic Vintage - ET LOFTE LOVES!
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs

Photo Courtesy of Bow Occasions

Pinwheel inspired!
Photo Courtesy of Bella Umbrella

Photo Courtesy of DST Exports

Photo Courtesy of Light in the Box

Photo courtesy of Brollies Galore

Rather than let Mother Nature threaten your Wedding Day, beat her to the punch with an ultra stylish umbrella that will not just keep you looking good, it'll make a statement all it's own!




As we mentioned in our last post, not all questions targeted at wedding and event professionals have a black and white answer. If one fully understands why they are asking the question in the first place they will likely have a full comprehension of (and appreciation for) the answers they get back. It will also help one understand why THEY are asking the question and whether or not it is truly important to them.

Continuing from our last post, here are a few more questions that, in this Planner's opinion, you should -- or perhaps shouldn't -- ask your potential Planner and, more importantly, why.

Does your Planner have "Preferred Vendors"? Yes!

This can be a great question to ask however be sure to fully understand what you're asking before posing the question. First, understand the difference between "preferred" vendors and "exclusive" vendors.

Preferred vendors are vendors with whom the Planner has worked with many times, has a strong relationship, full trust and -- just as the term implies -- with whom the Planner prefers to work. However, by no means are you obligated to work with your Planner's "Preferred Vendors". As previously mentioned, your Planner has a responsibility to refer you to vendors who will provide the best quality of service but that are also within your personal budget and therefore while they may suggest their "Preferred Vendors" they cannot coerce you into working with them. After all while they may click with their "Preferred Vendor", you as a client may not. "Exclusive Vendors" -- while rare with Planners (you see this more often with venues, etc)-- are vendors with whom the Planner will work and only with whom they will work. In this case it is unlikely that they will recommend anyone outside of this "exclusive" vendor list.

The reason it's a good idea to ask whether a Planner has "Preferred Vendors" is that while the term can seem somewhat scary, it actually speaks to how a Planner manages their relationships within the industry and also how extensive their relationships with vendors can be. For some clients, it can be comforting to know that a Planner has such a close-knit professional relationship with "Preferred" vendors, while others may view a "Preferred" vendor list as being closed-minded and not open to their personal tastes. Whatever your view on "Preferred Vendors", make sure that you ask about them.

Does your Planner accept kickbacks/commissions/referral fees? Yes!

This is quite a heated debate among many Planners out there in the planning world. There are Planners who take kickbacks/commissions/referral fees in the industry and there are Planners who don't. In the event industry this can be quite common and in some circles, accepted. In the wedding industry it's less accepted and viewed by many as unethical. In the end, it is you -- the client -- who decides whether kickbacks or commissions are acceptable or not.

In this Planner's personal opinion, a Planner who accepts money or a percentage of the vendor's revenue in any form (otherwise known as a 'kickback', a 'referral fee', a 'commission', etc) in exchange for referring business -- regardless of the industry -- is putting their personal needs ahead of the client. Even if that Planner has worked with a referred company for years, if they are receiving any form of kickback consider that the said company must account for the percentage they are "kicking back" to the Planner and therefore the client is not saving money but could very well be paying more in mark-ups!

The best way to put it is this: Would you trust a doctor who referred you to a brain surgeon because he or she gets compensated financially for doing so?

Is your fee comparable to other Planners in the Industry? Yes!

Unfortunately there are two God-awful, giant and ugly misconceptions out there regarding Planners...especially Wedding Planners...and it's creating some confusion among clients.

Misconception #1: Planners are a luxury item.

Misconception #2: Planners are "cheap".

While it's true that Planners were once utilized only by high society, today this is no longer the case. More and more individuals, companies and couples are realizing the VALUE of a Planner and how essential they are not only for creating a masterpiece of an event but ensuring that it runs flawlessly as well. Therefore more and more people are realizing that Planners are quite affordable considering this immeasurable value. Planners should be one of the first vendors you book for your event, not the last or when you think you might be able to "afford" them.

Regarding Misconception #2, unfortunately there are many misinformed people out there who believe that a Planner -- who will likely spend anywhere from 200 - 600 hours or more with a client planning their special event -- should cost less than that of a Photographer!!! To be blunt, this is absolutely ludicrous!

As mentioned before, the age-old saying rings true: "You get what you pay for". There is no such thing as an "expensive Planner" or a Planner's fees being "too high". Planners set their fee at a certain rate for a reason much like any other wedding and event professional. A Planner's fees reflect their level of experience, knowledge and years of practice, their reputation among clientele and within the industry, their guaranteed quality of service and, more importantly, their VALUE in ensuring a beautiful and flawless event. A low fee will reveal one of two things about the Planner: either they have little knowledge and experience in planning (and of the industry for that matter) OR they do not feel that they are worth more than what they are charging -- both of which should be giant red flags to you as a potential client.

That said, it's important to ask what the Planner's fee is and why the fee is set as such. And even more importantly, ask if their fee is comparable to others in the industry. If you've met with a few other Planners (as you should have!) and you find that one fee is dramatically lower than the others, obviously the lowest-priced Planner doesn't know the industry as well as they imply and that alone should speak volumes.

Can I get your opinion/advice on...what do you think of...have you ever worked with 'So and So' and are they good to work with, etc. No!

If you are meeting with a Planner for the first time to "interview" them (for lack of a better word), then you are there to gage their appropriateness as a Planner for your personal event. The Planner is not meeting with you to simply provide free advice.

So often, folks will meet with Planners with an expectation that if the Planner truly wants their business they will answer any question asked including providing planning advice, opinions on already-laid out plans or reviews of specific vendors whom the client may have in mind. This couldn't be further from the truth. As a potential client, you have likely done your research of Planners. You've scoped out hundreds of web sites and looked for reviews by former clients. And eventually you have narrowed down your list of Planners to those who you feel will likely do the best job of planning your event. That said, if you, as a client, are serious enough about a particular Planner to set aside time in your busy schedule (not to mention the Planner's!) and meet with them in person to get to know them even better, then you should have enough confidence that the Planner will be able to answer all your questions once hired.

Judging a Planner by their willingness (or lack thereof) to provide free advice just to obtain your business will merely provide you with questionable behaviour rather than confidence in the Planner. After all, a qualified and reputable Planner won't feel the need to "win" your business and view the information that they can provide you as an invaluable service worth its weight in gold. A Planner who jumps at the chance to offer free advice upon first meeting a client either doesn't value their knowledge and skill, greatly lacks confidence and feels that they need to "prove" something to a client or is struggling in obtaining business. All of which are, again, red flags to you as a potential client.

Can you customize your services to meet my personal planning needs? Yes!

You've likely been hit over the head with this expression as well "No two people are alike". That said, why should you, as a client, be pigeon-holed into specific "Packages" for planning services with set fees? Most Planners have a wide range of services from full planning, event design and consulting to what some refer to as "partial planning" and "day-of" coordination. Regardless of how many services a Planner provides or what those services may be, a good Planner should have the ability to provide flexibility with these services and customize them to the client's needs. And as the service is customized, so is the fee accordingly.

Labelling a package a cute name will not change the fact that it is still, in fact, a package deal. After all, a Rose by any other name is still a Rose. When building a new home, you wouldn't want a Home Builder who forced you into one specific model of a house -- the same house with the same designs as everyone else on the block -- would you? No. You would choose the Builder that enabled you to choose the kitchen you want, the flooring you want, heck, the style of brick that you want! Choosing your Planner is very similar. A good Planner can customize their services to what it is that you need as the client, not what is easiest for them to perform.

The list of questions doesn't end here. However, in this Planner's humble opinion, the questions listed in these posts are a few of the most important -- and yet least understood -- questions that you should pose to your potential Planner. You will likely spend anywhere from three months to over a year planning your event with your Planner. Be sure that he or she is someone with whom you "click", in whom you have full confidence and most importantly, is someone who you now fully understand.




If you do a Google search for "questions to ask your wedding/event planner" you will likely wind up with a plethora of web sites like the Knot offering a comprehensive list of questions that you should be asking. However many of these sites don't fully explain why you should be asking these questions which leads many to blindly ask them and in return receive answers that may or may not sit well with them.

Not all questions targeted at wedding and event professionals have a black and white answer. If one fully understands why they are asking the question in the first place they will likely have a full comprehension of (and appreciation for) the answers they get back. It will also help one understand why THEY are asking the question and whether or not it is truly important to them.

Here are just a few questions that, in this Planner's opinion, you should -- or perhaps shouldn't -- ask your potential Planner and, more importantly, why.

Do you have any kind of formal education or training in your field? Yes!

This, in this Planner's opinion, is an extremely important question to be asking. So often we hear of Planners who "dabble" in the industry or who view the profession of wedding or event planning as a hobby. And yes, sadly, there are many out there masquerading as qualified Planners.

Asking if your Planner has completed any form of education or training will help you determine if they are serious about their profession and from where they've received their knowledge. A Planner who has and, more importantly, continues to invest their time (and not to mention finances) in programs, seminars, conferences, recognized courses, books, networking events and more, shows that they are serious about what they do and are equally serious about continuing their education to remain up to date in their field.

How many years of experience do you have planning weddings/events? Yes!

This is also an important question to ask but understand that how you perceive the answer will depend on your preferences.

A Planner with many years of experience obviously would seem like the better choice. After all they've seen and experienced it all, have watched trends emerge and re-emerge over time, have vast knowledge of their field, can adapt to the changing times and any situation, etc yet still have a stylish eye and strong creativity. On the flip side however, a Planner with only a few years experience may have a fresh perspective on traditions, may be equipped with modern approaches and a new way of thinking towards certain situations and yet will still have adequate knowledge and a few years of experience in their belt.

And of course, a Planner who has only 5 months experience may not have the same skill or knowledge level of a Planner who has been working within the profession for more than a year or two.

In the end it will all come down to whom you have full confidence and trust and with whom you feel a connection (After all, you'll be spending quite a bit of time with your chosen Planner!). Some clients will want a relatively new Planner or a Planner that can relate to their own personal perspective while others are more comfortable with a Planner who has many years of experience and have "been around the block" so to speak.

How many weddings/events do you do in a year? Yes...and No.

This can be a loaded question and so it's important to understand why you're asking it. Why does it matter to you how many weddings or events your Planner does in a year? Is it because you're concerned that the Planner may spread themselves too thin and want to ensure that you receive adequate focus? Is it because in your mind a Planner who does 50 weddings or events in a year means that they are more successful than one who does 10?

While one Planner may do 25 weddings in a year and another may only do 10, this does not necessarily reflect on their experience level, their success in the industry nor how serious they are about their profession. Every Planner has a different business model and operates differently. Some Planners are equipped with a team that enables them to work on countless weddings or events per year, while others operate alone and feel that they can only take on so many weddings/events per year in order to give proper focus to each event that they plan. Some Planners may be engaged in other projects such as speaking at conferences, philanthropy, etc. which may result in taking on less events or weddings per year to do so. Other Planners may still be early in their profession and therefore continue to hold down another source of income. Or you may find that a Planner may be selective in how many weddings or events they work on each year due to family or personal obligations.

If you feel that this question is important to you and your Planner is able to give you a rough estimate of the number of weddings or events that they do each year, be sure to ask WHY they choose to do that many and let that be your focus, not the exact number. You may find that their answer concerns you more or less than at first thought.

How many weddings or events have you done in your profession? (In this Planner's opinion) No.

Personally I have yet to meet a Planner who accurately keeps track of how many weddings or events they have completed in their professional careers. Most have a general idea but not a exact number.

Again, ask yourself why this question is important to you, if at all before you put it out there. A Planner who has been in the business for 20 years will likely have more weddings or events under his or her belt than a Planner who has been in business for 10. However the number of weddings/events a Planner has done in their lifetime does not necessarily equate to how fabulous a Planner he or she is. After all, just like any wedding or event professional, a Planner may have done thousands of weddings or events but what is more important is how many of those weddings or events were done well or that most closely resemble what you are specifically looking for in a wedding or event.

That said, rather than focus on how many weddings/events your Planner has done in their career be sure to ask how long they have been in business and more importantly, ask to see a comprehensive Portfolio and let their work speak for itself.

As my Planner can you save me money by negotiating discounts with vendors? Yes...and No.

If your Planner tells you that they can save you money because they get "discounts from vendors", proceed with caution.

By now you've heard of the saying "You get what you pay for". Nothing rings more true than this sentiment in the wedding and event industries. Yes, a Planner may receive a discount from a vendor on your behalf however you have to consider whether any quality is being sacrificed in order to provide that discount. Also, you need to ask your Planner whether he or she has actually worked with the vendor providing the discount. After all, there is no sense in hiring a mediocre DJ simply because he or she gives your Planner a special price. Part of a Planner's responsibility to their client is to direct them to the best possible vendors within their budget range. If your Planner is recommending a vendor based solely on away.

Qualified Planners have worked with many, many wedding professionals in their career and many of those professionals who would like to continue to work with these Planners will often provide exceptional service and, in some cases, provide even more value for their fee rather than provide a discount.

Instead of focusing on whether your Planner can or will negotiate discounts on your behalf, focus on what the vendors with whom your Planner works can do for you. Period.




We hear of it so often...the "Fairytale" themed party. Whether it's a Sweet 16, a child's birthday or that wedding that the Bride has dreamed of since she was ten, "Fairytale" will forever be synonymous with "theme".

So this Planner thought she'd throw some of our all time fave inspiration photos from party planners who did the theme justice and...well... those who just did the theme.

Glass slippers, the pumpkin carriage, yada, yada, know how the story goes...

Gothic or glam the possibilities for this fairytale are endless...

New meaning to "letting your hair down"



Alvina Valenta Bridal Collection by Victoria McMillan



Bouquet by Letters for Lilly on Etsy


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