Flowers can be a key element in the design of a wedding and if you're striving to make your overall design unique there are a few things to keep in mind. Perhaps one of the most important things is to hire a professional. While DIY flowers (a.k.a running to your neighbourhood Costco, buying flowers in bulk and tossing them into a vase) will likely be easy on the wallet, if you're not savvy on the specifics of your desired florals not to mention how to arrange the flowers appropriately, maintain their look for hours on end or create that unique factor that you're after...well...you're more likely to be left with a simple arrangement that lacks lustre as well as some thorn pricks and a lot of frustration.

Nicole North, the uber-talented owner and designer at Petals Stems & Leaves -- a Custom Floral and Event Design Studio -- says that one thing to remember is that wedding flowers should reflect your personal style. After all, you want the flowers to make you happy right? While some couples may reflect their personal style in choosing a certain colour scheme or specific flower, others may use a central theme or a flower that rings sentiment such as "the one" that the Groom had used to propose to his Bride or that flower that always sat on Grandma's dining room table.

Nicole also encourages couples to stretch the boundaries of what is traditional -- you don't have to have what everyone else does! Let your floral designer get to know you as they'll be able to suggest flowers that will suit your taste as well as make constructive suggestions.

Colour is also one of the most important elements that affects the overall appearance and sets the tone.

"Couples need to coordinate -- but not necessarily match -- and consider all aspects of the wedding in relation to colour", Nicole explains, "Aspects such as the Season, the Bridesmaid Dresses, the linens, the cake, ceremony and reception locations and, of course, their flower choices".

With the ability to add beauty, depth and interest to even the smallest of arrangements, texture is a must and as important as colour. However Nicole advises that texture doesn't have to be focused only on the flowers. The foliage in an arrangement or even the container that holds the arrangement can create texture as well.

And last...location, location, location! Taking the location into account is of huge significance.

"I know that I've mentioned this in the colour aspect, but it's not just the colours at your location that you need to thing about", Nicole says, "Take into consideration the style of venue. For example is the location contemporary or art deco? Also consider the surroundings such as how tall the ceilings are and whether there are windows in the room".

When it comes to flowers for a wedding the possibilities are endless. Whether your personal style is sophisticated and elegant or funky and wild, flowers can accentuate the little details and aid in carrying through the overall ambiance from the ceremony to the bouquet toss.

Petals, Stems & Leaves is a Custom Floral and Event Design Studio founded by Head Designer Nicole North. Her passion and dedication has earned Petals, Stems & Leaves the reputation of being the best of the best. Nicole and her team create distinctive and imaginative events that easily incorporate into any setting and make your event truly memorable. www.petalsstemsandleaves.com



Support for those flying solo at The Bridal Shop...

While having a gaggle of opinions thrown at you about your chosen wedding gown (or any formal dress really) by your Bridesmaids, friends and family may seem overwhelming to some, having to make a decision about the dress all on your own can make you want to crouch in the corner of the dressing room and cry. Enter Fashism.com -- a super duper cool site that lets you upload a photo of yourself in your selected dressing room garment, add a question and get answers from online users (read: unbiased strangers!) who will tell you whether they like it or hate it.

Grooms who let their personality shine = pure awesomeness...

There's nothing more awesome than when a Groom puts his sneakered foot down and just says "NO!" to traditional wedding attire. If you're unsure as to what we're referring to, we're talking about the same old black tux, tie and vest. Whether it's going with a collarless suit, formal meets informal jeans, bold coloured ties and accessories or going sans suit altogether, This Planner personally hearts men who take their Bride's lead and let their personalities customize their wedding attire.

Supportive Garments. Because no one wants boob-rolls...

Gals, you know what I'm talking about. Those unsightly rolls at the bustline that can make any Bride feel all blubbery inside. Shapeez provides an awesome solution to this problem with its 'Ultimate Long' shaper that prevents rolls at the bustline (and shapes your torso as well...Bonus!)

Il Vestito Nero...Ti Amo

While it has a long way to go before it's widely accepted on the runway to wedded bliss, This Planner will forever love shunning the Queen's personal style and welcoming with open arms the sexy, bold and beautiful aura of the black wedding dress.

Pumps with Personality...

Way back in the day, a Bride who wore her sneakers or her army boots under her gown was not only making a personal statement but was creating a fashion hoopla. Today, more and more brides are stepping away from the traditional matchy-matchy white wedding shoes and opting for more personality whether it's in their brand choice, colour selection or structural style.


DYSFUNCTIONAL DESSERTS: Break away from the ordinary Baking

Cakes, cupcakes, cookies and doughnuts have been a wedding and event dessert staple for quite some time. And so to see these desserts cross over to the...er...dark side of traditional baked goods would not only be a shocker for some guests, but a refreshing change for others.

Now when we say the 'dark side of traditional baked goods', we mean it. We're talking flavours that you would never even think of combining like bacon, peanut butter and chocolate or avocado, candied rose petals and wasabi peas. Yup, you read that right.

For your next function, grab some totally brazing inspiration from these daring dessert gurus hailing from Portland, Chicago and, of course, New York City, and challenge your caterer or cake designer to come up with their own badass flavours and concepts.

Bleeding Heart Bakery in Chicago

Bleeding Heart is the ultimate badass in baking. Whether it's their creatively-flavoured doughnuts (think sweet potato topped with cream cheese glaze or cinnamon sprinkled with coffee beans), crafty cupcakes (like the bacon peanut butter chocolate cupcake) or super cool cakes (This Planner freaked over their tattoo cakes!), these edgy sweet-masters know how to stun.

Bacon Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake

Tattoo Cake

Maple Bourbon Bacon Doughnut


Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon

Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain praised this doughnut-duo for their "nonconformist" flavours. From the 'Arnold Palmer' (a vanilla doughnut sprinkled with a lemonade or iced tea dusting), 'Double Bubble' (a vanilla iced doughnut with bubble gum dusting and a bubble gum on top) and 'Maple Bacon Bar' ('nuff said) to their signature 'Voodoo Doll' (a raspberry filled doughnut covered in chocolate frosting and served on a pretzel stake), these guys are cursed with raw talent.

Photos from Voodoo Doughnut

Captain My Captain Doughnut

Bacon Maple Bar

Voodoo Doll


'The Carnival' from Abe & Arthur's in NYC

This uber chic restaurant in New York City catered by Executive Chef Franklin Becker has been highlighted in the press for it's famous dessert, 'The Carnival'. Warm ricotta doughnuts and cinnamon funnel cake chunks are set in a Ferris-wheel-like stand and paired up with strawberry and caramel filling. Guests can either dip their donuts or create their own doughnut holes with their choice of filling. This Planner fell head over heels for this concept as it would be an incredibly interactive (not to mention delicious!) dessert option for a table of guests to share and enjoy.

Designers and Culinary Professionals alike are coming up with creative and favourable concepts every day. Rather than play it safe, become a dessert delinquent and offer your guests an opportunity to get daring with their dessert.