Photos by Stephen Elms Photography

When I first sat down with Delaney and Candido, the Portuguese couple were adamant about one thing. They wanted a unique experience for their guests. Delaney, who works at The Hospital for Sick Children and Candido, a police officer, wanted to align their food with Portuguese tradition -- lots of food coupled with a seafood buffet. And so they had chosen Europa Convention Centre's downtown location in 'Little Portugal' as their venue. But making their food a priority brought on one big challenge for the couple.

It was a venue that hosted a lot of Portuguese weddings and the couple wanted anything but a "typical Portuguese wedding".

And so This Planner designed a wedding for Delaney and Candido that would not only set their wedding apart from what their guests would be anticipating but that also was child-friendly and reflected the couple's personalities: Delaney -- fun loving, passionate about children and obsessed with shoes, and Candido -- a laid back police officer with tongue-in-cheek humour. And both shared a love for espresso.

For the wedding day, the Bride donned a Jim Helm French Lace gown and cathedral length veil (changing later to a fabulous lime fascinator for the reception) and green pumps. Her son Nathan, also the Ring Bearer, let his personality shine with green Converse sneakers. The Groom channeled 'suave' in his Harry Rosen suit yet kept things light-hearted with his accessories.

The ceremony was held at St. Agnes Church in Little Portugal. Guests were given bubbles to float as the Bride and Groom walked the aisle.

For the reception, the colours of lime green and purple were evident and vibrant in everything from the centerpieces to the linens. Choosing to mix things up a bit structurally with alternating round and square tables, we had the centerpieces alternate as well -- one made up of curly willow, florals and crystals and the other made up of bamboo, florals and teardrop candles -- to keep the guests' visuals enticed. And enticed they were -- Sherwin from Petals and Twigs put his creativity to task in creating the stunning floral designs.

Keeping in mind Candido's profession as a police officer and Delaney's sense of humour, we created a guestbook out of actual speeding tickets for the guests to write. The Seating Arrangements were showcased on Firing Range Target designed by Koket Designs. And their blend of personalities were displayed atop their card box.

For the guests' favours, the couple gave away espresso beans by Barzula for the adults and an assortment of goodies for the many children that were present. The aroma of the espresso paired nicely with the aroma of the sliced mango and vanilla wedding cake designed by Andy's Wedding Cakes.

Then there were the interactive elements. We wanted to tap into Delaney's playful side and love for children, but also to keep guests entertained throughout the evening. A throw-back to our own childhood, Cootie-catchers with trivia about the couple rested on tabletops. Brad from Skip A Beat Entertainment kept guests guessing with a "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" Kissing Game (not to mention crowding the dance floor later in the evening) and Bobby Motta from Motta Magic roamed the cocktail hour flabergasting guests with his illusions. Later in the evening, the backdrop behind the Head Table drew back to reveal Motta Magic, returning for a full parlour show.

Guests entering the banquet room were overheard gushing about the vibrant and stunning visuals, personalized detail and entertaining aspects... giving Delaney and Candido exactly what they wanted: a unique experience for their guests setting them apart from "a typical wedding".


Concept Design & Planning: Et Lofte Events

Venue: Europa Convention Centre downtown location)

Photographer: Stephen Elms Photography

Florals/Decor: Petals and Twigs

Linens: Around the Table

Tables: Chairman Mills

Chivari Chairs: Chair Decor

DJ: Skip a Beat Entertainment

Illusionist: Motta Magic

Wedding Cake: Andys Wedding Cakes



Whether it's a Wedding, Birthday Bash, Anniversary Party or any social event, there are three extremely important factors in planning that should never be overlooked or taken lightly. There's an old saying that goes "You never want a 'But' event". What this means is that you don't want an event after which your guests say "The [said event] was beautiful BUT...". The three E's to planning any successful event are easy to remember and will save you from that dreaded "BUT" event.


The food and beverages served at your event should be of the highest priority in your planning. Guests always arrive at an event anticipating great food. Think of the last time you arrived at an event. What was your first thought about the event before arriving (Ok, Ok, aside from whether or not you were looking fabulous)? It was likely something along the lines of "I wonder what kind of food they'll be serving" or, if you haven't eaten all day, "there had better be food!".

So now imagine walking into the said event and there was very little food offered. Or the food that was offered tasted bland, dry or...gasp!...unusual. Ruined your whole evening didn't it?

Your 'EDIBLES' should be presentable, tasty, creative and most importantly, there should be enough to go around! The same can be said for your beverages. Ensure that the quantity and quality is there. That wine being served with dinner should be paired correctly and of proper quality. Consider a minimum of 3 drinks per person for the average social party and much higher consumption for larger events such as weddings. For cocktail receptions, match your beverage choices to the theme and the food that is being passed.

Food and Beverage at your event is the most important element to any event. Give it the attention it warrants and budget accordingly.


Photo from

There's nothing worse than an empty dance floor.

Or a boring event for that matter.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many mistakes that the host can make when selecting the entertainment for their event. It's not as simple as booking just any DJ, Band or Performer -- there are many factors to consider.

One factor is your guest majority or 'audience'. Are they mostly low-key kind of folk or are they party animals? Do they want to be "entertained" or would they rather be left alone to dance (whether they can or can't dance is irrelevant)? Are there children present (is it all children?) or is the event adults-only ? Recognizing who your guest majority is will help to determine the entertainment that will best...well...entertain them!

Also consider the style of the event. Is it black-tie? A casual affair? A wedding in a barn? This will play an important role in choosing your style of entertainment whether you've chosen a band, a DJ or any other entertainment.

And trust your professionals! Try to not burden your DJ or Band with an extensive "Must Play" list. While your super-lengthy list may be comprised of songs that you think are ah-mazing, your guests may think otherwise. The same can be said for extensive "Do Not Play" lists. While you may despise country, a large portion of your guests may love it. Your entertainment professional may be bogged down with requests for country yet he has to turn away disappointed party dwellers because you said so. A talented and experienced entertainment professional can gage his or her audience and keep your dance floor crowded and your guests entertained. A small list of "Do Not Plays" are perfectly fine. Handing your entertainment professional a manual, is not.

Yes, it's your event. Heck, it may be an event in your honour. But as the host of any event, at some point the event stops being all about you and becomes all about your guests.

In a nutshell, whatever entertainment professional you've chosen was selected out of dozens for a reason. That said, let the entertainment professional do their job and provide guidance if you truly want to...just let it be minimal guidance. After all, there's a reason you're not behind that spin table or up on that stage...right?


Photo from Love Amour Love

This Planner has always been a big fan of breaking the rules when it comes to planning events. However, as much of a rebel as I am, there are certain areas in event planning where I feel that the rules shouldn't be broken. 'ETIQUETTE' is one of those areas.

Etiquette exists for a reason. It shows respect. Period. And so when planning any event, etiquette should be kept at the forefront of your mind. Rather than be worried that you'll appear 'stuffy' or 'pretentious' by following proper etiquette, worry more about coming across as 'rude' or 'disrespectful'.

Now, when I refer to etiquette I'm not necessarily talking about where to place your cutlery on a table. I'm more zero'd in on etiquette that directly relates to your guests. For example, NEVER be late for your own event. For some reason, some guests of honour, Bride and Grooms, etc. have this unbelievable idea that "the party can't start without me and it's 'my day' so let them wait".

Pardon me?

Your guests don't care that you couldn't decide on what to wear, that you had to stop to pick up pantyhose or that you want more wedding photos in addition to what was originally scheduled. What your guests DO care about is that they're tired of standing around waiting for you, they're starving and their night has seriously begun to drag on and on. If your party is set to start at a certain time, it had better start at that time unless there's something beyond your control to prevent it from starting on time.

Another enormous etiquette blunder? Never expect your guests to pay for their own beverages -- alcoholic or otherwise. If you hosted a gathering at your home would you charge your guests for the drinks they consumed? Absolutely not! So why then, would it be alright to charge your guests for their beverages merely because the party has moved from your home to a more commercial establishment? Your guests are your personal guests, they're not customers.

Oh and in case you were thinking 'loonie/twoonie' bars, drink tickets, etc were a better option than 'cash bars'....really? This is a hosted function, not a carnival. Think again.

Always keep in mind that etiquette is a form of respect for your guests. Follow etiquette and you'll never have disgruntled guests. Ignore it and you may have guests that won't feel disrespected but you may have guests that do. And that can ruin any event at any time, whether the event just started or it's towards its end. It's not worth the risk.

So there you have it! Following the three 'E's above will not only ensure that you have a hugely successful event but takes the guess-work out of whether or not your event will be a crowd pleaser.

When in doubt, just remember this: if your edibles are lacking, the entertainment downright sucks and you've made your guests wait over an hour to begin dinner because you chose to be late...THAT is what your guests will remember of your event. Not what your centerpieces looked like.