All images courtesy of NKPR INC

Since the late '90s, Canadian retailer RW&CO has been outfitting style-conscious men and women with active, casual and urban clothing and accessories. This Spring, RW&CO will be launching their brand spankin' new Special Occasions Collection just in time for wedding season.

This Planner was one of the many privileged Planners to get a sneak peak at the new line which features ultra chic and uber adorable dresses, stylish, well-cut suits, plenty of accessories (including a variety of dress shirts and ties for the men) and the freedom to mix and match styles across the collection. The entire line of dresses flatter a decent range of figures (from size 0 to 14) and are priced under $100 -- perfect for the budget conscious Bridesmaids and guilt-free style for the Bride. Men's suits range from $200 and up (with shirts starting at $58). And upon request, RW&Co provides a personal Bridal Consultant to help choose the perfect look and fit for your occasion.

Yet these dresses and suits aren't just for the Wedding Day. The best part about this new line is its versatility. These dresses don't look like your average Bridesmaid dress (which is perfect because who wants another gown rotting away in their closet?) These dresses and suits are appropriate for virtually any event whether it be a cocktail soiree, engagement party, rehearsal dinner and more.

The RW&CO Special Occasions Collection spring line launches across Canada mid-February while the summer line launches mid-April.



All images courtesy of Hip Ink

This Planner hearts invitation designers who can roll up their sleeves, dive deep and come up with unbelievably creative designs for stationary. After all, invitations are the first thing that the guests will experience when it comes to your event. Needless to say then that your invites will set the tone for your event and let guests know what they can expect.

So guess what stuffy, unimaginative, matchy-matchy invitations would say about an event?

Distinctive invitations are not simply an inspired design on coloured card stock. They involve so much more like creative paper choices, original textures and ingenious embellishments. They involve wit and sass combined with proper etiquette.

Say 'hello' to Hip Ink.

Nothing gets This Planner more excited about an event then when she sees an invitation made of bold colour and unique materials. The custom-made invitations by Hip Ink are just that. Full of colour, oozing with life and an absolute party for the fingertips.

(invitations printed on actual wood!)

Founder of Hip Ink Sarah Spano has carried her passion for paper and typography into creating one-of-a-kind expressions of her clientele's personal style. Her passion for intermingling designs and materials reminds you of that excitement you felt as a kid in Kindergarten when faced with a table of craft materials for the first time.

"I'm passionate about paper - the way it looks, the way it feels, and all the amazing things that you can do with it," Spano says, "I'm passionate about typography - oh how I love to play with fonts, watch how letterforms can change an entire design and geek out over which fonts have the best ampersands. I'm passionate about design - I love to put things together and take them apart, shuffle things around, cut and paste and create magic".

From paper, wood and wicker to felt, crystals and buttons and whether for weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah or Baptisms, Hip Ink's dedication to exploration with materials and textures is part of what sets this designer apart from others. It's hard to not crack a smile when looking at her audacious tones and witty designs. Even her logo spreads a bit of sunshine and gets you in the mood for a lil' bit of Hip.

It's not easy coming up with completely original designs and concepts and in This Planner's opinion, there are a select number of designers out there that can truly drop jaws with their originality and imagination. Hip Ink should be proud to stand tall among them.


All Photos courtesy of KCsHATS

Bespoke Millinery has been predicted to be one of the hottest trends of 2011. If that's true, then International Award-winning milliner David Dunkley can likely be considered one of the pioneers. Combine artistic flair with demure and boldness and you have fascinators, hats and headpieces that drop the jaw and, in some cases, seem to defy gravity. Having studied with the former royal milliner to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (you can't get more impressive than that!), Dunkley's fashions have been worn by members of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's royal entourage and at functions held by Her Majesty herself.


And with one look at Dunkely's creations you can see that same royal style and sophistication embedded in a wide variety of designs from the whimsical and romantic to the distinctive and intrepid.

As I'm sure you know, This Planner has always loved nontraditional headpieces. And at a recent wedding show I had the pleasure of experiencing Dunkley's work up close and personal. To be completely truthful I literally had to hold myself back from playing dress-up. Each and every handcrafted, custom-made design has its own personal structure and delicate embellishments that make each piece a stand alone event. Whether for a wedding or a cocktail party, each piece had the power to instantaneous transform a single outfit into completely different looks.


If millinery is destined to be this year's hottest trend, you can be rest assured that David Dunkley's exquisite millinery will go far beyond any one's expectations and will far outlast any trend of the season.

After all, as far as This Planner is concerned, David Dunkley's work is a trend of its own.



Photos (L-R) by Lou E Photo and Pacifica Productions

Recently I had a chat with Toronto photographer Richard Emmanuel about "Trash the Dress" sessions and how they've evolved over the last few years. Where once the infamous "Trash the Dress" (or TTD if you will) was about getting 'down and dirty' with your pre-loved wedding gown, some Brides are now shying away from ruining their gown and are opting to "Glamorize the Gown" instead.

What's "Glamorize the Gown"? While similar to TTD, "Glamorize the Gown" is set up as more of a fashion magazine-style shoot. It's often set in more urban, fashionable -- yet still creative -- surroundings however it doesn't involve heavy soiling, ripping, etc but rather confident posing, strutting your stuff and looking oh-so-fine. TTD on the other hand gets the most out of unusual settings and isn't afraid to turn that gown from gorgeous to ghastly. This Planner considers it the alter-ego of 'Glamorize the Gown'. While GTG is beauty, TTD is rock.

Would this new 'Glamorize the Gown' trend make rumoured originator of TTD John Michael Cooper wince and groan?

First, let's take a look at exactly what how "Trash the Dress" sessions got started. TTD (or "Rock the Frock" as some know it) has been said to have been popularized by Las Vegas photographer John Michael Cooper (*swoon*) with his unbelievable creativity and serious magazine-esque photography skills.

The infamous photo by John Michael Cooper that sparked the "Trash the Dress" trend.

TTD began as a declaration of sorts -- one that declared that the marriage is complete and that the dress would never be worn again. And the shoots began as Post-Wedding Brides ripping, soiling and essentially destroying their gowns in settings that greatly contrasted the "innocence" or "purity" of the traditional white gown. Perhaps in some cases TTD still currently stands as this declaration however since 2001 it had evolved into something of a liberation for Brides. Trashing their wedding gown was a way to break free of the little-miss-innocent or little-miss-gracious persona of their wedding day and embrace their wild side, letting out their alter ego (and lookin' damn fine while doin' it!).

Today, while TTD is still an extremely popular trend among newlyweds (even Grooms have been getting into the action lately!), 'Glamorize the Gown' is increasing in popularity. Rather than break free completely from that "Angel-in-White" persona, Brides have been giving it a bit of a kick by capturing their "Sugar-and-Spice" identities on film. Diva-esque, fashionable and incredibly hot, "Glamorize the Gown" sessions are becoming a way for Brides to exhibit their inner confidence and show off their smoldering side without destroying that $5000 dress.

Is this departure from "Trashing the Dress" defacing the original trend? Or is it a new take on liberation for the not-so-wild Bride?

We'll let you be the judge.

Photo by

Photo courtesy of Rock My Wedding

Photo by Taylor Jackson

Photo by Lou E Photo

Photo by Luca Ragogna



All Images courtesy of ALTF Photography

This Planner is a huge fan of all things unconventional and I'm always very quick to praise those professionals who embrace non-conformity and exude extreme creativity. Like Event Planning, Photography is one of those professions where it's not just about skill and an eye for detail but about creativity and imagination.

Enter John Michael Cooper of AltF Photography.

This is one photographer whose creativity knows no bounds. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cooper's slogan is “very different" and everything about this photographer from his company name to photographic style captures that very thought. Edgy and definitely not your average romantic approach to wedding images yet still hauntingly beautiful, Cooper has defied what was always expected when it came to event photography.

"I had a lot of people tell me, ‘Oh, no, that won’t work. You can’t do that for brides, they won’t like that kind of stuff.’ But I did it anyway, regardless, and things just started taking off from there." Cooper has said in an interview with Digital Pro.

Cooper first received national attention with his "dress unfriendly" concept of art that inspired the wedding industry's current Trash the Dress trend. His infamous Bride-on-Fire photo instantaneously sparked a desire among Brides to liberate themselves from the innocent-angel-in-white persona and create dramatic, poignant art that would be remembered just as long as their wedding day.

The beauty of John Michael Cooper's talent is that not only has he has perfectly blended the art of posed photography with documentary or photo-journalistic photography but he has also managed to set the bar in terms of applying imagination, originality and a taste of rebelliousness.

In this Planner's opinion, John Michael Cooper has effectively and forever changed the traditional notion of how life celebrations should be photographed.