So we've shared our top six favourite wedding and event ideas this Holiday Season in Part One of Et Lofte Events' Twelve Days of Christmas/Events. And without furthur adeu, here is Part Two with the other half of our fave concepts and ideas:


We've all become accustomed to seeing a couple's engagement photos on display at weddings. These photos are usually of the couple looking adoringly into each other's eyes in picturesque settings whether urban, nature-inspired or with archetectural interest. What we don't see however, is the couple in their natural surroundings. Why not have engagement photos taken of the couple doing things that they love to do together -- from the mundane to the extreme. Whether it's something fun like a shot of them in the movie theatre sharing popcorn, working out together in a gym or challenging each other with a video game on the comfort of their own couch -- This Planner thinks that these photos share that rare insight into the couple's true coupledom and give guests something to talk about.


Bright, bold colour combos, soft palates and deep, rich tones are amazing to see at weddings and events. The use of metallics is even more amazing. We love pairing the cool, crisp colours of steel blue with jade or metallic gold with a rich berry. What makes these metallics even more amazing is their ability to adapt to any season -- steel blue and jade can make for an icy, wintery feel or a modernist, sophisticated summer soiree. Gold and berry can make the holidays bright or add a bit of haute to an already hot event.


The Royal Wedding brought about an influx in unique fascinators for weddings and events. Almost every gal out there  jumped onto that bandwagon and it has now become a fashion staple. What we're loving however, are Brides that are choosing more unique accessories to accompany their wedding gowns. From chunky bracelets, fake tattoo designs or words scrolled on their exposed skin and the wildest of hair accessories to bold anklets exposed when wearing high-low wedding gowns and bouquets made from unique materials,  Brides are finding unique ways to accessorize and make a statement and we love it!

Photos courtesy of OffBeat Bride (left) and Parant Haute Couture (right)



We love lounge-style weddings and events where the typical table rounds are replaced by couches and coffee tables, but the concept of lounges seem to be all or nothing. We love a combination of the two. If your function does incorporate the typical table rounds for dinner, why not set up lounge areas of couches and coffee tables in the corners of the room to give your event that certain 'je ne sais quois'. Whether simply a place for guests to chill during the party portion of the evening or upping the ante with a speciaty drink served to each lounge area, the VIP Lounge concept makes guests feel just a little bit special while adding class and sophistication to your event.


Hosting a holiday season party doesn't mean that you have to go with the typical festive themes like Ugly Sweater Parties or Tree Decorating. Why not take it one step in a different direction by hosting a "Breakfast with Santa" complete with reindeer shaped pancakes and a visit from Jolly Old Nick himself instead of the usual dinner party? Or make your party one notch more interactive and host a "Twelve Days of Christmas" party where guests partake in a Scavenger Hunt for items in the song hidden in your neighborhood. Follow this fun, day-long event with a bon fire, carols and serve up marshmellows with hot cocoa. With so many holiday parties happening this time of year, make yours the talk of the season.

So there you have it -- our twelve days of Chistmas featuring some of our fave concepts and ideas for weddings and events. What are yours?



Christmas is almost upon us and so This Planner thought she'd share 12 of her favourite things to incorporate into weddings and events! So sit back with a hot cup of cocoa and enjoy Part One of Et Lofte Events' 12 Days of Christmas/Events!


Pair completely different cultural cuisines to give your guests that "to-die-for" culinary experience. Whether it's Italian with Asian like Risotto infused with wasabi or ginger or French with Asian with Pan-seared sweetbread with veal and ancho chili dumplings served with Sichuan pickled relish, opting for uniquely paired cuisine will create that perfect party on the palate.


What is a better, more interactive way to pass the time during a cocktail function/hour than to make your own, personalized cologne or perfume? This Planner first saw the concept while reading about Shannon Doherty's wedding and was super stoked to see that Aromachology here in Toronto offers this service to wedding bliss everywhere. Guests get to create custom-created perfumes and personalized colognes at an on-site, pretty boutique-like set-up and store their wizardry in a bottle customized to the couple.


Photo Courtesy of The Knot

Once upon a time, the Bride and Groom didn't stay until the end of their wedding reception. Well, they stayed almost to the end, but then they changed their outfits, said their good-byes and were sent off to their honeymoon with cheers from their loved ones. I love it when couples reach back to the good ol' days and reserrect this concept. But I love it even more when they arrange their departure with a bang! Sure you can go for the more common send-off via fireworks or crowds of guests waving sparklers or you can go for the more dramatic affect such as guests forming two long lines, each holding lit candles to create a lit pathway for their exit or a marching band leading the way out.


Ok, so having your wedding reception in an art-gallery is nothing new. In fact, it's a quite popular locale for sleek, modernist, intimate weddings. However, what we're loving right now is incorporating the concept of the Art Gallery as a means of personalizing weddings. Forgo the typical slideshow la-di-da and picture your wedding in a stark white or stone-walled room with oversized black and white photographs of your relationship and personal family histories on display on the walls throughout. Something to look at, something to talk about and definitely a subtle, yet striking touch.


Don't just go for the uber glamorous cake at your next function, take it one step further and match it with a flavor combo that's simply divine. Sure you can go the typical red velvet or ganache but why not stray from the ordinary and choose flavors that make you go "huh?" and "yum!" at the same time. From the sweet surprises like coconut with caramel/chocolate mousse a la Andy's Wedding Cakes to the wild and crazy like raspberry lemonade, the possibilities are endless!


Photo courtesy of Figgie Shoes

There is nothing more awesome than pairing a cute party dress or wedding gown with the ultimate in gorgeous shoes. What's even better is having customized, hand-painted shoes! We love that Figgie Shoes ships globally and whether pretty and posh or fun and funky, there's nothing that this artist can't do to personalize your tootsies!


Ok, having a cappucino, esspresso or hot chocolate station isn't exactly unique. It's fun and cute, but not unique. So we're loving the twist on the typical by having a station towards the end of your festive soiree that offers up a variety of warm cocktails. Think drinks like Hot Toddy's, Hot Cafe Denis (coffee, kahlua and Baileys), Hot Peppermint Patties, Hot Buttered Whiskey or even as far out as Bloody Bulls (grey goose, warmed bloody mary mix and a dash of beef broth).

Photo courtsey of Martha Stewart

Stay tuned for Part Two of our 12 Days of Christmas/Events!



The holidays are among us and in addition to the usual fa-la-la, some couples choose this festive time of year to get married. But Christmas weddings don't have to always be winter wonderlands or holly. I'm sure you've already seen our fave unique Christmas Wedding Theme for 2011. And we'd love to share some of our other ideas but this year we thought we'd put the call out to our fabulous Facebook and Twitter pals to see just how creative they can get with unique details for Christmas Weddings. We got a ton of responses and are more than merry to share some of the best here:

"Rustic winter...fau fur carpets under the tables and furs on the back of the chairs, some sort of fire log centerpiece, antlers on the wall...log cabin feel...with a fire place, bon fire smoked hors d'ouevres...favors wrapped as gifts...and a Christmas tree in the middle of the dance floor. Have a game where people dance around it and can win a prize" -- Renee Ferguson

"Nightmare Before Christmas could do really bloody or more cartoony like the film. Black and white...sparkly..." -- Erika Anne Dumencu

"A chestnut roast!" -- Cassiopeia Leigh

"55 ft fir tree with lights and a real live manger underneath!" - @JaniceLynnLewis

"A giant gingerbread house in lieu of a cake. Intricately decorated of course. A mass kris kringle exchange would be awesome too depending on the crowd." -- Nadia Frappa Oppedisano

"A Santa area where the adult guests get to sit on Santa's lap, tell them what they want for Christmas and get a photo taken with him as a wedding keepsake. Seriously, how often do WE get to do that?" -- @et_lofte_events

"Who-ville [theme]. There are Dr. Suess Christmas village houses available. You could use one house per table for a centerpiece or surrounding a wedding cake. The couple can use the houses as part of their [holiday] home decorations after the wedding. Or a Hawaiian wedding 'Mele Kalikimaka'! " -- Louise Drinnan

"Santa's Village Theme: servers dressed as elves, milk and cookie shots garnished with cookie [crumbs], female servers dressed as reindeer (antler headbands, red poofs for tails) on hoops suspended from the ceiling pouring champagne by the bar, DJ dressed as Santa?"
--  Deanna Ouzounis

"A Cake truffle tower where they are rolled in coconut so it looks like a pile of snow balls"
-- @dessertxdesign

Think YOU can top these ideas? Let's hear 'em!



As a Wedding Planner, I often get asked by clients who in their vendor list should receive tips. The question is a reasonable one. In fact, that my clients understand that tipping their vendors -- while not a requirement -- should be a major consideration, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Here is the short answer: Anyone, and I mean ANYONE who has provided a SERVICE with regards to your wedding should be tipped, if you are HAPPY with the service provided.

It doesn't matter if the service was for an hour or for a year, nor does it matter if you paid a discounted rate or an exhuberant fee. (Would you not tip your waiter at a fancy restaurant just because you already paid for a fancy meal?)  Bottom line is that if your Wedding Professional provided a service and you're thrilled with the outcome, TIP.

Now, unlike many other blogs, articles and web sites out there, I'm not going to sit here and lay out monetary suggestions, percentages or materialistic ideas. Yes, when it comes to things like monetary tips, there may be amounts to which many of us are accustomed. But those amounts are not mandetory, they're suggestions.  In my humble opinion, whatever you can afford as a tip for your wedding professional is acceptable, and again, at your discretion. After all, tipping is a way to show your appreciation for a job well done.

If you tip your Wedding Professionals, they know that you were happy with their service and truly appreciate all their hard work. If you don't, no matter how much praise you heap upon them, they'll likely spend many sleepless nights wondering what the heck they could have done wrong to make you not appreciate their efforts (and they likely will, because hey, no Wedding Professional is going to call you up and say "Hey, so I noticed that you didn't give me a tip...")

Now understandably, if your Wedding Professional, such as your venue or caterer for example, has Gratuity already incorporated into the contract, you don't have to provide an additional tip. And obviously, if you're NOT happy with the service, tipping would be out of the question (which is why you typically offer tips after the service has been rendered). But if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands and tip your vendors.

OK, OK, for those of you who really want a list of Wedding Professionals that should be considered for tipping, here is a rough idea, in no particular order:

Food/Beverage Professionals (IF gratuity is not already included in the contract)
-- this includes Catering/Banquet Managers, Servers and Bartenders

Any Venue Attendants
-- including Valet, Coat Room and Bathroom

Wedding Planner

Florist/Floral Designer




Entertainment -- including ceremony musicians/singers, cocktail hour musicians/singers, DJ, Band, special performers, etc

Cake Designer

Stationary Designers (IF your stationary was custom designed)

 -- limos, limo buses, taxi cabs, corporate cards, exotic cars, etc. 

Hair & Make-up

Officiant/ Minister/Clergy Member/Church (for Church's tips are normally in the form of a donation)



So you've got a party in mind. Maybe it's your child's Birthday Party, or an engagement soiree or a special gathering to commemorate a milestone in your life. Congrats! Now begins the wonderful blend of tediousness and fun in creating a party that you believe is going to be the best one to happen in 2012!

Before you roll up your sleeves and get crackin', here are 5 Major Party Planning Mistakes that you will want to avoid. (Oh yes I could go on forever but I have only have a word count to adhere to...or try to adhere to anyhow):


When deciding on a theme for your party -- whatever the celebration -- make sure you really think it through. Will it excite your guests? Is it suitable for the celebration? Will the guest of honor like it?  For example, while Planning an "Over the Hill" Birthday party for your family member or dear old pal might seem like a fun idea and, of course, the theme has the best (humorous) intentions, you have to consider the feelings of that person who has to sit through it. Maybe they're NOT OK with turning a ripe old age. Maybe they've been dreading this moment their entire life. And now they have to grin and bear a party that blatantly throws that fact in their face and pretend that it doesn't bother them.

That Tackle-Football themed party (complete with tackle-football game) or Ultimate Frisbee party may seem like a wild and awesome party to your college your older or less physically capable friends or family...not so much.

Properly thinking through a thematic concept by keeping your guests, your guest of honour and the logistics in mind will help you create that party of the a good way, rather than "THAT party of the year" in a bad way.


This might leave you scratching your head a bit so let me explain. If you are the host of a party, relying on your guests to get the party started is a really, really bad idea. Your guests are arriving expecting to be entertained. Not the other way around. Whether it's chatting up your guests, breaking out the Karaoke or Rock Band or...eek...introducing an Icebreaker Game, it's up to YOU to get that party rockin'.

Hiding out in the kitchen prepping food/drinks is not the model for a good host/hostess either. As the host you should be making your guests feel welcome and mingling among them. If you have to enlist the help of others -- professionally or family/friend related -- then do so. If there's two of you hosting a party then take turns throughout the night as the kitchen maid and the host.


Not giving your guests sufficient time to plan in attending your fete is a major boo boo. Your guests need adequate time to sort out their schedules, find babysitting, purchase gifts (if that's what they want to do), arrange transportation, etc. Don't let your invitations be the last thing on your Party Planning To-Do List. It should be one of the first.

At the same time, giving your guests too much notice of your special gathering can backfire on you as well. Invitations sent too far in advance can be forgotten or misplaced. Here is a rough idea of when you should be sending out invitations (of course this depends on location, etc):

Birthday/Formal Dinner /Anniversary / Graduation Parties - 3 to 6 weeks
Cocktail Parties - 2 to 4 weeks
Weddings - 8 weeks to three months (local), 6 months (out of town/country)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah - 1 to 2 months
Thanksgiving Parties - 2 weeks to 2 months
Christmas Parties - 1 to 2 months
Housewarming Parties - 1 to 3 weeks
Lunch/Tea Parties - 1 to 2 weeks


Sure, you never want this day to end. But your guests do.

Most parties that require a reception such as Weddings, Anniversaries, Bar/Bat Mitzvah typically go for on for 5 -8 hours or more. This is because there is usually a multi-course lunch/dinner followed by dancing set in place. However for parties arranged for Birthdays, etc, it's important to keep in mind your guests' comfort factor, age and, of course, food and entertainment. Remember, the longer the party the more food and entertainment needed.

Need a rough guideline? The average child's (in-home) Birthday party should be anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours, depending on their age (younger means less time). The average adult (in-home) Birthday party should be anywhere from 2 - 3 hours. The average cocktail reception should be 2 to 4 hours. If you think that most of your guests typically arrive late, add an extra half hour buffer.

We've all been to that party where there wasn't a clear ending time and it seemed to drag on forever because no one wanted to be the first person to leave. By setting out a clear start and end time and building a proper timeline you'll have happy guests who had a good time and now can go about the rest of their day/evening not feeling guilty for "bailing early".


This is pretty much a staple in planning ANYTHING. You have to think about all the "what if's" that can happen during your soiree or else you could wind up looking like a bad host/hostess, no matter how beyond your reach the situation is. Having a party that involves a backyard BBQ? Plan ahead for increment weather. Having a Birthday Party for your 4 year old? Expect that not all parents are going to drop off their kids and leave (in other words, have adult drinks/munchies on hand!). Assuming that not all your guests are going to come? Forget that noise! Assume that ALL your guests are going to come and if you don't have enough space in your home to accommodate all invited guests, rent out a space somewhere else! Having a lot of guests or want your party to have a huge visual or entertaining impact? Budget appropriately!

By ensuring that all your i's are dotted and all your t's are crossed you can focus on throwing the best damn party ever instead of staring up at the threatening storm clouds wishing to high heaven you had more than one umbrella in your closet.



Today's post isn't about weddings or events. This is a wake up call about Breast Cancer and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's CIBC Run for the Cure.

Before you roll your eyes thinking that this is just another call for fundraising, consider this: Once upon a time, Breast Cancer was believed to affect women over the age of 40. Today, the statistics are staggering. 1100 women under the age of 40 are being diagnosed with Breast Cancer every year. What's even more scary is that 62 women in Canada are diagnosed with Breast Cancer every bloody day. It's not just our Moms, our Grandmothers or our Aunts that are being hit with this cancer. It's our friends, our's ourselves. It's not just genetic. Only 5 - 10% of cases are caused by genetics. Every woman is at risk no matter age, race or DNA.

Et Lofte Events is taking part in the CIBC Run for the Cure on September 30, 2012. I personally will be running my butt off (5 KM ) to raise funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Why? Until I personally saw the destruction that Breast Cancer can cause, I was always non-chalant about it. That perception has changed emmensely.  I personally have seen what Breast Cancer can do when it rears it's ugly head. Having been attacked by Breast Cancer twice my mother struggled through repeated radiation treatments, a double masectomy and a constant fear of it coming back for a third and last time. My Mother-in-law has struggled through chemo when Breast Cancer struck her. I recently have heard from a dear colleague in the wedding industry that has been hit with Breast Cancer.

And for me personally, being a "high" risk candidate for Breast Cancer and undergoing yearly mammograms and MRIs means always looking over my shoulder and wondering if this is the year that they will tell me those four anguish-ridden words: "You have Breast Cancer".  So I'm running for a future where no woman has to live in fear, dread or suffer under the hideous grip of Breast Cancer. When you donate to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation your money goes to research programs, education and awareness. Genetic screening for example (which made it possible to discover my high risk of getting Breast Cancer) is just one of the many incredible programs that have come out of research and funding. 

This is not just a request for donations. It's a plea for awareness. Even if you can't donate to the cause, you can promise This Planner here and now that you will get checked often and be aware. The more aware you are of this crazy cancer, the better your chances of stopping it before it hits home.  

Let's wipe out Breast Cancer and make pink just another colour again.

*statistics taken from and



Alright I'll say it: I'm not a dress kind of gal. Aside from the fact that I'm more of a tomboy who cringes at the mere thought of not having my legs covered, it's possible that the reason could be that it's difficult for me to find a dress that flatters my figure. Or maybe it's because I hate worrying about runs in my pantyhose (or bunching at the ankles for that matter). Or perhaps it's because I hate worrying about tucking my dress into the said pantyhose. Or that I have the whitest stick legs that would make even Casper the Ghost gasp...whatever.

Brides that opt for an elegant pantsuit for their nuptials rather than the traditional gown is something that isn't exactly new. Many Brides have embraced the concept and I love that's it's now considered somewhat 'normal' in wedding fashion. Even Mothers of the Bride and Groom have chosen to go the pantsuit route. But what you rarely see are Bridesmaids wearing pantsuits

Why is this a rarity? I'm not sure. I can think of at least a dozen women that would be thrilled to walk the ceremony walkway in the comfort and elegance of a beautiful pantsuit, whether it's long and flowing or sleek and chic. Not to mention it would be something that they could wear again...and again...and again...without having to wait for another wedding to come along.

From uber adorable jumpers to sophisticated slacks to beautifully draped 'onsies', pantsuits are a fashionably chic alternative to the typical Bridesmaid dress (not to mention a comfortable one!).

But what do YOU think?



Wedding planning is no small feat. Trust me, as a Wedding Planner I get it. There are so many details, so many considerations and so many costs to keep in mind, that while weddings are a joyous affair, the physical planning of one can be quite daunting.

There are five whopping mistakes that I see couples make time and time again. While I wish I could be there to ensure each and every one of them sidestep these mistakes, alas that's not always possible. But you can read them here! And so, here are Five Wedding Planning Mistakes and how you can avoid such boo-boos.

Everyone has a budget -- that magic number that you absolutely don't want to or can't surpass when it comes to pulling together your wedding. And that's OK. Even the most exuberant of weddings with skyscraper budgets have a cap number that they don't want to cross. But that having been said, having a strict budget is one thing. Wanting the world on that said budget is another. We've all heard the old adage "wanting champagne on a beer budget". There's a reason that it's a quote and not reality.

It's important when you're drafting your budget to take many things into consideration: your guest count, for example, will determine how big a bulk of your budget will be eaten (no pun intended) by your food and beverage costs. The style or formality of your venue will determine how costly or how cost efficient your celebration space will be. Your overall vision will determine whether you will need a variety of rentals like linens or stylish chairs or an exuberant amount of flowers or very little. Get the picture? Then you should go online and do some research. Get an idea of how much things cost. Now look at your budget. Is it realistic? If your budget doesn't match your expectations then you have to grit your teeth and be willing to compromise or sacrifice certain elements to make room for those wedding elements that are most important to you.

This follows on the heels of the point above. Chatting with your desired wedding professional about how you can achieve the same look, feel, sound, etc at a lower cost or asking your wedding professional what compromises can be made to lower your costs are one thing. Expecting or trying to bargain with your wedding professionals to give you what you want for what you're willing to pay is another. If the wedding professional you want is out of your budget you have three options: increase your budget, compromise on what you want or find another wedding professional that does fit your budget. Wedding Professionals charge their rates for a reason: talent/skill, overhead costs, time, labour and quality/customer service are among them. Expecting to have all that and at what you're willing to pay is not only disrespectful but unrealistic. If you wouldn't go into a car dealership and expect them to give you a BMW for whatever you were willing to pay, you don't meet with a wedding professional and expect them to do the same. Focus on what your desired wedding professional can do for their rate and not merely the dollar signs.

Yes, your family and friends are joining you to celebrate your marriage. No, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily all about you, what you want and again, all about you. At some point there's a line that has to be drawn. Now I'm not talking about having your wedding be a reflection of the two of you as a couple. I'm talking about the "It's my party and I'll do whatever I want no matter how it affects others" attitude. The wedding celebration is about you getting hitched, but how the celebration unfolds is about you and your guests. Just as you would do when hosting a dinner in your home, in a wedding you have an obligation to make your guests feel comfortable, give them a good time and overall show respect. Making your guests wait at the church because you want those extra photos is a no no. Making guests pay for their alcohol (or anything really) at the reception is a no no. Allowing your best friend to bring her baby but not allowing your other guests to bring children to the wedding is a no no. The list goes on and on. Make your wedding as much about pleasing your guests as it is about you and you'll have a wedding that everyone will remember...for all the right reasons.

When planning a wedding you have to consider all the "what if's".  You have to have a back-up plan for pretty much anything. Having a backyard tented wedding? What if there is a severe thunderstorm? Hiring a DJ? What if his or her equipment breaks down? Hosting your reception on a long weekend? What if there's heavy traffic or a parade or special events happening throughout the city? Having pictures taken outdoors? What if it's raining? Getting around by your own vehicle? What if it breaks down? Always have a back-up plan and take the "what if" into consideration when you're planning all those nifty little wedding details. Check the contracts of your wedding professionals to ensure that they have a back-up plan should they be unable to perform their services on your wedding day. Leave nothing to chance. By having back-up plans you're safeguarding your wedding day from disasters and you'll walk down that aisle with a big chunk of piece of mind.

I see this all the time. Couples read magazines and blogs or watch television programs and come to the conclusion that what they are seeing is how a wedding should unfold or should look like; or they allow outside influences like family to dictate how their wedding should be planned for fear of insult. There are five main things that you should really consider when you're planning your wedding: the overall experience for/comfort of your guests (i.e: the food, the entertainment, the etiquette, etc), your joint personalities reflected in your design, your budget, your religion and/or your culture (if that's important to you) and...wait for it...your marriage!!!  Dear Gawd, don't forget why you're there in the first place! Use media sources as inspiration, take the opinions of others as just that, opinions that you can implement or discard, and create a wedding day that you will always fondly remember, not a wedding day that you will, twenty years later, wish you had done differently.



By now I'm sure you know how I personally feel about following trends, but let's face it, no matter how much I try to avoid them I see, experience and sometimes have to create a different twist on them to make a client happy.

Yet there are some trends that we are sooooo over. And so we thought we'd put a call out to see what Brides, Grooms and wedding professionals alike had to say about trends that they've just about had enough of. So here you have it, the top trends that we hope are on their way out of events and weddings:

Wedding Trends That We Hope To Never See Again

 "Butterfly releases"

"Slideshows of the bride growing up, the groom growing up and their relationship. "

"Mason jars for vintage weddings"

"White wedding gowns with red corseted backs"

"Typewriters or hay bales. Or burlap" @LavishMary

"Bubbles during the Recessional"

"Sand ceremonies, candy buffets, choreographed first dance, slide shows, sage green bridesmaid dresses, see through corsets!" @TeraMacfie

"Uniform Bridal Parties"

"Paper Lanterns!!!"

"Chair covers"

"Selective colouring in photos! (flowers in color, the rest in b&w)" @InBloomPhoto


"Balloons in centerpieces" <-- Et Lofte Events says: oh, oh my...please tell me this still isn't a trend!!!!

"Food trucks"

"The colour purple and Hydrangeas. There are other colours and flowers around people!" @DeeDeeNewell

"Cash Bars, Loonie-Twoonie Bars" 


"Unity ceremonies - only done because it's "nice" to add to the ceremony. A unity ceremony should be poignant and personal. Buying a vase and some coloured sand isn't personal". - Louise McAllister-Drinnan

"Weddings in barns"

 "The colour tangerine. I know it's 'in' right now but it only looks good in decor. Tangerine is not a flattering colour on anyone people! - " @et_lofte_events

"Centerpieces on mirrors"

"LED lights in centerpieces"

Have a trend that you would prefer to be left in the past or disagree with any of the items listed above? Add your own comment!



Coming up with a children's party theme that's both wildly entertaining and a cinch to pull off can be a daunting task for any parent. Just the mere thought of a handful (or more) of kids running around your house, each needing to be entertained, fed, attended to and likely thinking (if not blurting out loud) how much fun that party is or how much 'funner' that other kid's party was.

So we thought we share some of our favourite Children's Party Themes, ideas for making them the best party ev-ah and why we think they're good choices for your wee one.


WHY WE LOVE IT: At first thought, a theme centered around the classic Wizard of Oz might seem girly-centric. I mean, ruby slippers, good witches, bad witches, frilly ankle socks...doesn't leave much room for the boyish ego does it?  But The Wizard of Oz theme doesn't have to zero in on all things girl and there's a ton of ways to incorporate different elements of the film to make it gender-friendly. And that's why we love it.



Have kiddie-guests arrive dressed up in their favourite character from the movie. The possibilities are vast -- from the main characters like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion, Witch and Wizard to the less obvious like flying monkies, Winkies, the Mayor of Munchkinland and more.

Host a "Yellow Brick Road" scavenger hunt in the backyard or throughout the house using yellow fabric or yellow "bricks" made of Bristol board scattered in a path that lead in different directions to different movie themed items such as apples, flowers, oil cans, lollipops and more. The object is to collect all the items and make it to the Wizard of Oz at the end (played by an adult) to receive a prize.

Feature an outdoor screening of The Wizard of Oz on a big screen or as a night-cap for a slumber party.

Serve lunch items and tasty treats in various picnic baskets laid out on a blue gingham cloth.

Serve up a cake decorated with a yellow brick road running up the tiers and a hot-air-balloon as the topper.

ET LOFTE LOVES!!! Cake by For the Love of Cake



WHY WE LOVE IT: Budget friendly and gender-neutral are the key factors with this party theme. Not to mention FUN! What do we especially love about it? Rather than princesses and damsels, this party theme gives girls an opportunity to feel empowered by choosing heroines with special powers. What does it give boys? Who doesn't like to pretend to be a superhero with special powers and save the day??? Role playing is a great addition to any child's play. Plus it gives kids an opportunity to get creative and drum up their own custom-made superhero if they don't already have a favourite.



Hand out invitations designed like a classic SuperHero comic strip or like a newspaper headline reading "Extra Extra!".  Don't want to spend money on custom-made invites? There are a plethora of stores that carry simple SuperHero themed party invitation packs.

Source: Love Paper Paint

Have kiddies dress up as their fave superhero or custom-create one.  Whether it's SuperMan, Rouge, SpiderMan, Batman or Mulan, kids will have a blast turning from ordinary human into superbeing.

Host a "Save the World" obstacle course in the backyard or throughout the house. Kids must complete each obstacle or "save the human" and get to the finish line to receive a medal from the mayor (again, played by an adult).

Have kids participate in a game of Dodge Ball but name it "Escape the Meteors, Save the World"

Play the classic SuperHero 'X-ray Vision' game: fill a box with a variety of objects and/or foods and have blindfolded guests take turns identifying the objects in the box merely by smell, touch or taste.

Rather than a Birthday cake, offer delicious cupcakes each topped with a different SuperHero emblem from Superman, Batman, WonderWoman and more. Or for a slightly different twist (and less sugar high), offer cakepops adorned with a superhero mask and cape.

Fill lootbags with SuperHero themed colouring pages, comic books, stickers and lollipops dressed with mask and cape.



WHY WE LOVE IT: Not only will this theme encourage a ton of physical activity but it's not weather dependant as well. Have a wintery Birthday? Have Winter Olympics! Have a summer Birthday? Have Summer Olympics!



Send out invitations designed to resemble tickets for the Olympics.

Upon arrival, kids receive a custom-made shirt with the Olympic Rings and "2012 Birthday Olympics" on the front and the child's last name printed on the back. Not only will this get the kids excited about what's to come next but it also serves as a keepsake in lieu of the usual Lootbags.

This theme offers an abundance of Olympic activity opportunities! For Winter Olympics incorporate fun activities like "bobsled races" (a.k.a sliding), mini hockey/road hockey games, "figure skating" (wherein groups of kids put together a mini-performance to music either in skates or boots, on a rink or on pavement), "snow darts" (knocking down objects with snowballs) and table tennis (ok, ok this is technically a summer Olympic sport but hey, it's inside and it's warm!). Don't limit yourself to classic Olympic games however, feel free to get imaginative and custom-make your own 'sports' such as Fort Building competition, snowshoe race, snowman building race and more.

For Summer Olympics incorporate fun mini competitions like the long jump, running race, high jump, water polo, mini soccer game, "gymnastics" (a.k.a a somersault race), the trampoline, mini volleyball game, "triathlon" (obstacle course) and more. Again, feel free to add your own flavour such as a sandcastle competition or a karaoke competition.

Want to make it a kid-and-adult friendly party? Invite the parents as well and have them cheers their kids on from the "bleachers" where they can sit back, relax and sip on cool beverages.

Offer custom-made plastic medals or trophies to the kids once the Olympic competitions have been  completed.

Serve up a Birthday cake decorated with the Olympic Rings or figurines from different Olympic Sports resting on different tiers.




When it comes to weddings, there is so much effort and preparation that goes into the "big day" and everyone wants everything to be perfect. But there are a lot of things that a couple should keep in mind both during the planning process and for the wedding day itself. And a lot of the time it doesn't come to mind or often goes unsaid...unless you have a Wedding Planner of course.

Here are some things that most people likely won't tell you about planning your wedding (but that a good Wedding Planner will):

1. That two year old Flower Girl or Ring Bearer may not make it to the end of the aisle (and that's OK!)
If you choose to have a very young Flower Girl or Ring Bearer you have to accept that there is a possibility that they may not make it to the end of the aisle (or even go down the aisle at all). Sudden shyness, fear or being distracted are all likely possibilities. And if they don't make it down the aisle, your ceremony procession won't be ruined. In all reality no one will care. It may even provide a lighthearted moment. So avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the little ones (and yourselves!). If you're truly unsure of whether or not your Flower Girl or Ring Bearer can do the job you're planning to give them, opt to not have one. There's no rule that says you have to.

2. It's rain, not acid. 
Everyone wants a beautifully sunny, warm day for their wedding. But hey, sometimes Mother Nature has other plans. If increment weather is threatening to rain on your parade, don't let it set you into a panic. It's just rain, not acid. It's not going to melt away your wedding. The key thing is to be prepared. Have matching golf umbrellas handy (a good photographer will be able to set up some awesome positioning/shots utilizing those umbrellas) and have back-up plans for anything happening outdoors whether it's the ceremony, reception or your Wedding Party photos. No one is going to judge your wedding day because you had rough weather. So just accept that you might get wet and move on. (Or don a super cute pair of rain boots and have fun with it!)

3.  S*** Happens. Roll with it.
Any wedding professional who says they can make your wedding day "perfect" is full of it. There is no such thing as a "perfect" wedding day. Stuff can happen. Mistakes can happen. Delays can happen. Bad weather can happen. Just roll with the punches and you'll find that your wedding day will be happy no matter what transpires. And if you have a Wedding Planner you've got it made because they'll do all the stressing and fixing for you which makes ignoring the not-so-great stuff and focusing on all that "hey-I'm-getting-married-today" goodness that much easier.

4.  Not all wedding professionals can give you "discounts" or negotiate their fees. 
There are so many magazine articles and blog posts out there that give you tips on how to "negotiate" with wedding professionals or how to get "discounts". But here's a little secret: Not every wedding professional can give you those discounts or can negotiate their fees. And that doesn't make them bad vendors. That makes them great vendors because they actually value their profession and what they can do for you. You have to understand that this is a wedding professional's livelihood. If you wouldn't accept your Boss docking your salary because they don't want to pay you that much why would you expect a wedding professional to doc their fee? It's important to focus on the quality of service that you'll get, not the price. And if you can't afford that quality, consider downsizing on another element in your wedding so that you can. A good Wedding Planner won't promise to get you "discounts" for all of your vendors. They'll explain that some may offer discounts, others may offer incentives and some will just do their absolute best to make you happy on your wedding day. Focus on what they can DO for you, not on what the dollar sign says.

PS: That goes for us Wedding Planners too!

5. You don't have to please everyone.
Everyone has an opinion or advice as to what you should do or have with your wedding. But that mean that you have to actually incorporate every idea, tradition or demand into it. The biggest mistake you can make is creating a wedding that makes everyone else happy but leaves you stressed and feeling as though it's not about the two of you anymore. I've said it once and I'll say it again, the key words in this scenario is "I'll take that into consideration". Then consider the idea/advice/demand and either put it into practice, toss it or compromise. Parents have their own idea of how weddings should be but while some of their points may be valid in terms of etiquette, culture or religion, you have to remember that they only know how things were done when they got married and they don't quite realize how much the times have changed. If your parents don't like something that you've incorporated, they'll get over it. Trust me. In the end they just want you to be happy (even if they aren't saying it at that moment). Friends, family members and those in your wedding party all, I'm sure, have fantastic ideas but they may not have your budget in mind. The only people that you have to please on your wedding day is your guests and yourselves. If your guests are fed, entertained and respected and you are having the time of your life, then bravo -- you've done what's appropriate.

6. It is not acceptable to be a "Bridezilla" or "Groomzilla".
The fact that there are television programs out there that glamorize the "Bridezilla/Groomzilla" mentality just kills me. It's not funny. It's not cute. It's not even entertaining. The whole "it's my day and it has to be my way" line of thinking is just plain unacceptable. Yes, you want a fantastic wedding day and you want to have a good time. But so do your guests, your wedding party and those who are working their hardest to make that happen. It's all about respect. Giving out as much respect for those celebrating with and working for you will be reciprocated ten fold. Having an overall nasty attitude will just damper your wedding with negativity which defeats what you were trying to achieve in the first place doesn't it?  Refer to point #3 and understand and respect that your wedding will only be as undesirable or enjoyed as your attitude.

7.  Those close to you are as nervous and excited for your wedding day as you are. (Including your wedding professionals!) 
If you have butterflies, can't sleep and are jittery the night before the wedding...guess do those close to you. Even if they don't say it or show it, they all want you to have the absolute best and most memorable wedding day and are secretly crossing their fingers for you. No matter what may transpire before the wedding day, there is nothing but love and excitement and good thoughts for you on the wedding day. So on your wedding day breathe in every laugh, every tear and every pitter-pat of your heart and feel that love and excitement in the air and enjoy one of the most happiest moments of your lives.



The passing of a loved one can be a difficult thing to embrace when celebrating a special occasion. And for most, honouring a loved one who has passed in a celebration can be even more difficult. How do you honor someone without bringing down the mood of the celebration is a question This Planner is frequently asked.

Here are some ways in which you can honor a loved one (or many loved ones) who have passed that cherish their memory but won't damper the mood with tears.

For a wedding ceremony, have a framed photograph of your loved one next to an enclosed candle. The candle can either be lit prior to the ceremony or can be lit during the ceremony as a special inclusion. Following the ceremony the candle and photograph are moved to the reception where it will continue to burn. Not only will this honor the loved one, but it will feel as though they are there celebrating with you.

Did a passed loved one have a special recipe for an appetizer, entree or dessert? Providing that the caterers or venue will allow for it, why not have that recipe replicated in honor of that loved one? Was your Aunt's Southern Fried Chicken a hit at all the family gatherings? Why not have that same recipe replicated by your caterers and served as part of the meal or as a savoury addition to the late night table? Having your Grandmother's perogies as a food station? Why not label the station as "Nana's Perogies" and have a small framed photograph of her next to the label? Food has always been part of celebrations and by incorporating your loved one's special recipe into your celebration you're not just honoring them but celebrating them as well.

Did your loved one have a specific drink that they had in hand at every family gathering? Was there a specific beverage with which they started or ended their day? Why not offer a "signature drink" at your function's bar which is the same drink your loved one preferred and name it after them? Perhaps "Uncle Leo's Spectacular Scotch" for example? Did your Nonno have a shot of whiskey in his coffee every day? Offer a "specialty coffee" as an option with dessert in addition to regular coffee or tea wherein the coffee has that same shot of whiskey as Nonno and name it "Nonno's Special Caffeine Fix".

In lieu of the typical giveaway at a celebration, incorporate a giveaway that will offer a lasting memory of a loved one. Give a donation in each guests name to a charity or organization that reflects on your loved one. Was your loved one a fan of basketball? Give each guests a silver basketball key chain so that they will always have a memory of your loved one with them. Did your loved one have a favourite flower? Give away a crystal frame with that flower pressed inside the glass.

We've all watched the "In Memory" portion of the Oscars wherein a dedicated video montage is shown to honor those actors that have passed that year. It's a moving tribute without bringing down the mood. Loved ones can be honored in a celebration the same way. Whether it's by video or photographs, have a slide show or montage of loved ones who have passed. The key to making this celebratory and not depressing is to choose images that will make your family laugh or smile rather than make them sad. Choose photos from funny moments in their life or a video of them doing something funny rather than just a standard image.

Whether it's wearing your mother's wedding gown, your father's favourite tie or a piece of jewelry that was once coveted by a loved one, incorporating something that belonged to your loved one in your attire will have them present at all times. Attire aside, incorporating a piece of jewelry or a small item that once belonged to your loved one in your wedding bouquet or boutonniere or corsage will make them ever-present in your celebration.

Having a loved one's favourite song played during dinner is another way to honor them without dwelling on the sadness. This song would be played unannounced by the DJ or band, but those who knew and loved the honoree will recognize it immediately. If the song is an upbeat one that can be danced to, have it played during the dancing portion of your evening. Having fun and remembering the good times with that loved one is one of the best ways in which to honor them.

When a dearly loved one is missing from a milestone celebration it can be incredibly difficult but by choosing to honor them in a way that will bring about happy memories rather than sad, you are not only keeping them ever present in their heart but you'll have their spirit celebrating right along with you.

*In loving memory of Alfred Lugli and Gino Vecile*



This Planner has a schedule chock full of parties, weddings and events and so when I have a personal, family celebration I tend to take the more simple yet intimate route. After all, there's only so many hours in a week!

Recently, my son turned one year old and a low key gathering of family and friends was our celebration of choice. The party was simple and casual with, of course, a few personal touches to make it special. We call our son our "lil' monkey" and so a monkey-themed celebration seemed fitting.

The colour scheme

Wanting something vibrant and fun, I chose orange and turquoise for the overall covers of the party. It was still boy-friendly while straying from the usual blues, browns, yellow and greens that a monkey-themed party might utilize.

The menu:

Keeping it simple while offering a variety of options and quantity for a guest count of thirty was key. Aside from the typical cheese and meat platters and veggies and dip as appetizers, we chose a simple low key lunch menu which consisted of:

  • pasta with homemade meat sauce
  • mini pizzas
  • corned beef sandwiches on Pandesal
  • ceasar salad
  • lumpia 
  • rolls with butter or an assorment of lunchmeat and cheeses

Dessert was simply homemade brownies, fruit salad and, of course, the butter pecan cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing.

The personal thematic touches


Turquoise linens covered the various tables in the room. A tower of cupcakes acted as a centerpiece for one of the tables while the others had stuffed monkeys and plastic bananas gracing their surface. Orange and turquoise balloons hovered in the corners of the room.

Orange and turquoise cupcake toppers were handmade to adorn the cupcakes. Cupcake toppers could have been purchased for $4 - $8 but I chose to make them myself to add that personal touch. I found the monkey label online and customized it in Photoshop so that it matched our theme colours. After cutting out the labels, I simply taped a toothpick to the back of one of them and then glued another label, facing out, to the first so that there was a front and back to the cupcake topper.

As a fun and unique parting gift for our guests, I created Monkey Cones. These handmade orange and turquoise cones were stuffed with sweetened banana chips for the adults and banana-shaped marshmellows for the kids.  To make the cones, I used orange bristol board and turquoise ribbon and again, finding a monkey label online, cut out monkey faces to glue onto the cone's front. To make the cone I found an online template and followed the directions. To house the cones I covered white party trays with styrofoam and covered the styrofoam with plastic grass that I had found at the Dollar Store.



We've all been to a wedding where the Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance is to the same song we've heard at the last three weddings we've attended. And no offense to Bob Carlisle or Luis Armstrong, but if This Planner has to hear "Butterfly Kisses" or "It's a Wonderful World" one more time I'll be tempted to slit my throat with my butter knife.

I'm always on the hunt for unique songs for my clients to dance to with their parents -- songs that still have meaning (albeit perhaps not literal meaning) and yet are a little something different for both the couple, their parents and the guests who have to sit through the dances. The Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance are special ones and so they should stand out in their own special way. And so I thought I'd compile a list of some of my favourites.


Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Simple Man"

Jessica Simpson - "You Don't Have to Let Go"

10,000 Maniacs - "How You've Grown"

Loudin Wainright - "Daughter"

Mark Harris - "Find Your Wings"

Neil Young - "Here For You"

John Denver - "For Baby"

Bread - "Daughter"

Trace Adkins - "Then They Do" 

Bruce Springsteen - "When You Need Me"


Bon Iver - "Flume" (there's also a cover by Peter Gabriel)

Dar Williams - "The One Who Knows"

Good Charlotte - "Thank You Mom"

Sissell - "Sarah's Song"

Kristy Lee Cook - "Like My Mother Does"

Mindy Glendhill - "Hourglass"

Blue October - "Blue Does"

Van Morrison - "Days Like This"

Led Zepplin - "Thank You"


Guns N' Roses - "Sweet Child Of Mine" (there is also a cover by Sheryl Crowe)

Taylor Swift - "Never Grow Up"

Hootie & The Blowfish - "Hold My Hand"

Elton John - "Blessed" 

The Waifs - "Shelter Me"



So I'm often dishing out wedding and event planning goodness on this blog and rarely share anything about ET LØFTE EVENTS specifically. So This Planner thought, why not give you a deeper look into who ET LØFTE EVENTS is?  After all, it's not just about what a wedding and event planning company creates but also who the key players are behind the name and their approach. Every Planner is different, each totally fabulous in their own way with clientele so vastly different from one another.  In order to have a successful wedding or event, you have to be working with a Planner who fits your style and with whom you're comfortable. 'Cause you'll be with that Planner for a looooong time!

So open the box, take a peek inside and enjoy your insight into yours truly at ET LØFTE EVENTS!

'ET LØFTE EVENTS' is a weird company name. What made you choose it?
At first glance, the company name may seem a bit off the beaten path for a planning company, especially one that plans weddings. And that's exactly why I chose it. It's so completely different from any name I've encountered in my field which really stands for what I try to achieve with every wedding and event I plan. The name doesn't merely say that I think outside of the box, the name shows it. ET LØFTE also means "a promise' in Danish and that too stands for something. I'm delivering on a promise to do my very best to create a unique, personalized experience for my clients and their guests whether it's a few small details or one grand one.

What's ET LØFTE EVENTS' style?
My approach to planning is a blend of laid-back, edgy, creative and fun with meticulousness and a touch of tough-love. I love it when my clients have fun with planning their wedding and get as excited as I am about their plans. That's what it's really all about. I really do want my clients to enjoy the planning process and be stress free but I'm also not a push-over. I don't sugar coat things - I'm blunt and I'll tell it like it is. I feel that's the only way to combine the 'dream' aspect of a wedding or event with reality. And so my clients and I have a lot of laughs and a general good time throughout the planning process and at the same time I'm not afraid to exercise tough love if needed so that my clients get the wedding or event they've envisioned. 

You're Melissa Nowakowski, Creative Director and Principal Planner... Are you Polish? I'm actually Italian despite the pasty white skin tone and the blazing red hair. My husband is not Polish either despite his surname. He's Filipino. His father isn't Polish either. He's Danish. It's a loooong story. The great thing about personally combining two opposites in culture (Asian and European) is that I really know what it means to embrace and incorporate traditions and beliefs from each culture in life. This really helps me in appreciating the viewpoints of those wedding clients with contrasting cultures and to help them view their cultural difference as a beautiful thing to be celebrated.

Were you always a wedding and event planner?
Gosh no. In my lifetime I've done everything from Theatre to Marketing and PR. Somewhere along the lines I fell into event planning and then wedding planning. In University I studied Musical Theatre and English (my clients still have a hard time picturing me tap dancing).  Funny enough, everything I've done career-wise has had a creative element to it -- whether it was performing in a Musical to creating a launch for a well-known author.

Are wedding planning and event planning your only interests?
While planning weddings and events do keep me quite busy, I do have a life outside of my career. Aside from having a husband and two boys ages one and three years I also have a huge passion for Musical Theatre (see above) and Martial Arts. If I'm not running after my boys (all of them) or kicking some butt (literally), I'm belting out a tune from 'Rent' or 'Wicked' or whatever. My guilty pleasures? Reading tabloids and watching Jersey Shore (I can't believe I'm admitting that actually...)

What is your ideal client?
My ideal client has an open mind. Period. For me, when I'm meeting a client or clients, it's not how glamourously beautiful or how off-beat and funky the wedding or event will be, it's about how open-minded the client is to creativity.

Do you follow the latest trends?
I'm aware of the latest trends in planning but I do my best to not put them into practice. So I guess in a way I don't. I can't focus my energy on creating one of a kind events or weddings if I'm utilizing a concept or design that's been done a million times over.

What is the greatest compliment you've ever received from a client?
I've been very blessed to have uber amazing clients in my career as a wedding planner and event planner, each etching a wonderful memory in my mind. And their compliments are not only flattering and appreciated, but have always spurred me to continue to do great work. I think the two that stick out in my mind specifically though are the celebration client who called me "the Jillian Michaels of event planning" and the wedding clients who said in their speech "you're organized enough to run a miliatry campaign, let alone a wedding". Those still make me giggle to this day.

What is the biggest piece of advice you can offer someone planning a wedding or event?
Don't worry so much about one-upping that other wedding or event you attended. Concentrate your efforts on making your wedding or event personalized to YOU. That is what is going to make your celebration unique in the end, not a random bunch of bells and whistles. I always say that you can have an flying elephant soar across the room dropping crystals from a monogramed sachtel... but if that flying elephant means little to you other than a "wow" factor, it'll mean little to your guests too.  

Wanna know more? Feel free to hit up this post with a comment or question! I tend to be open book to a fault ;)



Photo courtesy of Glamour Magazine

Though This Planner doesn't wear dresses all that often herself (ok, ok, it's rare to see me in one), I'm always scouting for dresses that are a little different for not just myself but for my daring clientele. I'm a big fan of getting creative when dressing up for special events -- whether it's for a Gala, life celebration or whether you're attending or standing in a wedding. When it comes to Weddings especially, This Planner loves seeing non-matchy-matchy Bridesmaids at the alter, each in their own creative styles. There's no rule that says the gals standing in for you have to match, and by allowing them to pick out their own dresses you're allowing them to be themselves as much as you are in your wedding gown. And I am always over the moon for those who aren't afraid to take risks with wedding fashion.

Scoping out the recent Fashion Weeks, there are quite a few dresses that I think absolutely rock -- funky, edgy, whimsical and just plain haute. There's nothing more I'd be thrilled about than to see some of these uber-creative stylings grace the altars of wedding ceremonies or be showcased by hosts of any special event. Check out some of the dresses that caught This Planner's eye below and who knows? Maybe it will inspire your inner-fashionista when deciding on your special celebration dress.





Source Dual Show

Source Cute Like Mad

Source Cute Like Mad

Photo by Randy Brooke/WireImage

Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
Source Zimbio

Source Frills and Thrills