Photo from A Secret Forest

So you're at an event -- be it a wedding, an anniversary, fundraising gala, whatever -- and you've just finished the fourth (or fifth, or sixth) course. It was delicious and now you're stuffed. And yet strangely you're still looking forward to that last course of decadence -- dessert. You're excited. You're curious. And when the waiter plops down a sorbet in front of're deflated.

Sound familiar?

I've never understood why so many people put emphasis on all the prime courses of their menu, ensuring that the first three or more courses "wow" their guests' taste buds, only to fall flat when it comes to the dessert. Perhaps it's a cost factor in which anything customized costs a pretty penny. Or perhaps hosts assume that by the time dessert rolls around, their guests will be so stuffed that no one will notice when that generic tartufo is dropped in front of them. What many hosts don't understand is that dessert -- being the last course of the meal -- is what will linger on their guests' tongues. And if that's the case...Where's that lasting impression?

Here are just a few alternatives to the usual ice cream, tartfufo, sorbet, cake and every other dessert that leaves us whining "again?"


Yes many enjoy that cup of java or tea with their sweet endings, but why not shake things up for your guests. Before the coffee and tea cart rolls around, why not pair a delectable dessert with a sweet, full-bodied ice wine? For eye candy, place the dessert on a long rectangular plate alongside a shot glass of ice wine. The combination is to die for on the palate and for some, it will be a completely unique experience.

This Planner's fave? Naked Grape Vidal Ice Wine! With a hint of honey and apricot aromas, this full bodied baby is as sweet as it sounds.


The Europeans know how to eat well and when it comes to after-dinner fare they have it down! Rather than go with the usual blah blah blah for dessert, why not borrow from the French or Italians and offer a clever combo that is sure to not disappoint. A variety of grapes and cheese served on a platter for the table to share is actually one of the most harmonious pairings for apres dinner. The crisp, sweet taste of the grapes compliment the complex flavours of the variety of cheese. Some of our fave combinations? Black Cornith grapes with Pecorino and Grana Pedano cheese. Perlett grapes with Brie. And Concord grapes with Goat cheese. Light, with a sweet-and-savory influence, grape and cheese platters are an unusual ending to any four-course meal.


This Planner stumbled across this site and happily discovered two incredibly unique dessert options that just make your taste buds swoon. Want to take that boring old dessert and make it fresh, funky and new (not to mention delish)? How's a Tomato Sorbet served with a mozzarella shortbread cookie or Wasabi cheesecake (in the shape of ice cream) served with ginger ice cream (in the shape of cheesecake)!

This Planner is a big fan of Poached Wine Pears. The tartness of the wine coupled with the sweetness of the pear makes for a delicious and belly-warming experience. Not to mention the deep colour of the wine basks the pear in elegance.

Photo from the Guelph Mercury

Or how about this Mixed Berry Soup with Floating Island Meringue by Food in Focus editor Camilla Van Beuningen? The subtle sweetness of the berry soup with the fluffy texture of the meringue makes for an interesting and delicious pairing.

Photo from Food in Focus

Opting for something a little different as your last course will make an already creative and tantalizing meal cross the line into absolutely imaginative and incredible. If you want your guests to leave their tables with a lasting impression of their meal, switching up the blase for the unusual will hit their palate in all the right places and keep their tongues wagging long after your event is over.



So you're wedding is fast approaching or maybe you just got engaged and are starting the planning process. Whether you're already knee-deep in planning or just starting out, there's no doubt that you have an ever-growing To Do List in front of you.

Well, This Planner thought she'd take a different approach. So curl up with a blanket and a steaming cup of coffee and revel in the one list that won't cause even an ounce of stress:


This is a toughie, we know. Everyone from your Mother to your Maid-of-Honour has an opinion about what's proper, what should be included (or excluded), who should sit next to whom and how your wedding should be. With all the outside influences and opinions, couples can go downright batty trying to please everyone forgetting one small important detail: It's YOUR WEDDING. This is your day to celebrate your love in your way no matter how non-traditional or off-the-beaten-path. And if someone doesn't like how you're choosing to celebrate your unity, trust me, they'll get over it eventually.

So how do you plan your wedding your way without insulting those you care about most? There are a few key words to spout off whenever an opinion gets thrown at you. Write this down: "I'll take that into consideration". And do consider it. Then either accept it or toss it. If your case involves parents who contribute financially to your wedding day and feel that this entitles them to make decisions about the wedding, know that offering to contribute to the wedding should be because they truly want to help you with a very special day, not take control.

That said, if they offer to contribute to the wedding, express your gratitude and politely (and immediately!) lay down the ground rules. If the parental units still expect to have control over your wedding either take the contribution and offer to -- write this down: "Compromise" (and do just that) or politely decline the offer and plan a wedding that's within your financial means but that reflects you.

Now go focus on the two people you absolutely must please: yourselves.


It's very easy to get caught up in the beautiful images portrayed in magazines and in blogs. But if those images don't work within your budget --here's that word again -- compromise. You may have to sacrifice one thing in order to have another or you may have to switch up that expensive flower with a more cost efficient flower to get the look you want.

When starting out with your planning, set out which elements of the wedding are of the top priority and which aren't. This will help you decide where to splurge and where to cut back. At the same time, be realistic of what things cost. Do your research and allocate your budget accordingly. (Hint: your food and beverage costs should always be top priority!)

Being on a budget is one thing. Expecting wedding professionals to negotiate their fees or pricing just because you're on a budget is another (not to mention quite disrespectful). This is their career and just like you wouldn't expect your lawyer to negotiate his fees, you shouldn't expect that of a wedding professional. Also keep in mind that old adage "you get what you pay for". If a wedding professional's fees are dramatically lower than his or her competitors, consider that a red flag and make sure you question the reason for such a low fee.


Planning a wedding is extremely time consuming. And if you're having trouble finding the time to get everything done, consider asking for or hiring help. Have favours that need tagging? Consider having your wedding party over for a pizza-and-tagging party. Need help pulling together your vision, keeping on track with planning and budget or need someone to ensure your day executes perfectly? Hire a wedding planner.

There's a reason there are so many wedding professionals at your disposal. You don't want to leave those invaluable plans to chance. Sure enlisting family members to play "wedding vendor" might save money but why would you want them to miss out on all the fun and special moments? They are still your guests after all. Not to mention that wedding professionals -- from DJs to photographers to wedding planners -- are highly skilled at what they do and are equipped with the knowledge and experience to handle any given situation that might arise.

Utilize wedding professionals as much as possible. There's a reason they exist.


Photo by Shane Robert

I've said it before and I'll say it again. When it comes to weddings there are very few "rules". Etiquette and cultural or religious considerations are among them. And that is based out of respect for your guests and yourselves.

Other than that, your wedding is yours to plan however you see fit. If you want elephants to fly in carrying the rings that's your choice. Weddings are a personal celebration so personalizing your wedding to reflect you as a couple is key.

Most elements of weddings are based on tradition or trend. The white wedding gown? A trend started by Queen Victoria. The bouquet and garter toss? Tradition.

No one can tell you how your wedding "should" be. As long as your guests are comfortable, well fed, respected and entertained, you've done your job.


Everyone loves to have brand new things: brand new wedding gown, brand new suit, brand new cake knife and server, etc, etc, etc. But if "brand new" doesn't fit into your budget, consider the not-so-new route. Wedding gowns can be rented, purchased second hand or your mother's gown can be refurbished to fit your style. If you can't afford a custom made suit -- why not wear your own? Can't afford those brand new white wedding stilettos? Use those hot pink stilettos in your closet for a punch of colour. Sometimes hand-me-downs or your everyday items can be a cost-effective and equally sentimental element to your wedding.


With all the design aspects to a wedding, all the "how to make a rocking party" details and consideration of family or other obligations, it's very easy to forget the reason you're having a wedding in the first place. Everyone wants a beautiful, fun wedding, but don't forget the most important aspect to your wedding day: you're marrying the love of your life. That's truly all that should matter over and above everything else.

Don't wait until the wedding day to revel in this. Schedule one night every month in the midst of all that planning (and in some cases, stress) to go out with your Bride or Groom to-be and go do something romantic. Whether it's a romantic dinner at your favourite restaurant, a movie or a romantic walk in the park, be sure that the subject of your wedding plans do not come up in conversation. Enjoy your evening or day and talk about your future together, not about the celebration that will make that official.


There are times that a wedding can seem like it's all about the Bride. And it's easy to see how that thought pops up from time to time. The Bride is the one with "the binder", is researching centerpieces, cakes and wedding gowns. And some Brides have been dreaming of her wedding day since she was a little girl. But Brides need to remember that the wedding day is not just about the Bride. The Groom isn't just showing up to get married. The wedding day is as much his day as it is the Bride's. That having been said, Brides should delegate responsibilities to the Groom to keep him in the loop and share in the planning process. Ask the Groom what his vision for the day is and work together to ensure both visions are met.


In addition to the above, Grooms need to let go of the "Bride's Day" or "Wedding planning is a girl thing" mentality. Grooms need to take an active role in the planning process. This is not just to ensure that the wedding reflects their personality as well as the Bride, but also to alleviate stress from the Bride by taking on some of the responsibilities. Time and time again, I've seen Brides succumb to being overwhelmed by all the planning details because the Groom is sitting back and letting her take control. Grooms should offer to take on some of the To-Do List and be open about his wishes or opinions. They should attend all meetings with all professionals, be it the florist, the cake designer or the wedding planner -- not only those meetings that interest them like the DJ or transportation. You never know what might spark your interest or it might surprise you that you actually have an opinion about something that you thought you wouldn't.


Is rain in the forecast for your wedding day? Are you feeling bloated in your wedding gown? Is your Mother-in-Law having a meltdown because your Mother has the same coloured gown for the wedding day? Stop stressing! There will always be little hiccups to planning any celebration. The key is to roll with them. I have always said to my clients who are stressing about possible rain, "It's rain, not acid. It's not like it's going to melt away your wedding day". Stressing about the little things that can't be helped will only ruin what should be an exciting time in your life, whether it's the planning process or the wedding day itself.

But there are two important things to have on hand to help you not worry about those pesky little things. One is to always have a "Plan B" in place. For example, if there's the possibility of rain, purchase enough umbrellas for your wedding party, or for outdoor weddings ensure that there is an indoor option that you can move the wedding into. The other important thing is to have on hand if you're at risk for stressing is a wedding planner, even if it is merely to manage the wedding day. They'll subtly handle issues that may come up on the wedding day and ensure that the wedding is how you have envisioned it, allowing you to focus on celebrating and little else.

Little things are exactly that: little things. Don't let them put pressure on or ruin your wedding day. In fact, sometimes it's those little things that make your wedding day even more memorable.


With so much focus put on the wedding day it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself. Whether you're the Bride or the Groom, when planning starts to take over your life, schedule some "You" time. How do you know if planning has taken over your sanity? Ask yourself these questions:

Are you stressed?
Are you tired all the time?

Has planning your wedding become somewhat un-enjoyable?

Are you up until all hours planning your wedding?

Is your To-Do List infiltrating your dreams at night?
Can't remember when you last had a girls' or boys' night out during which you didn't talk about the wedding?

If you've answered "yes" to at least three of the above questions you may be overdue for some "You" time. Your To-Do List will still be there in the morning. Go out with your friends (and don't talk about the wedding even if your friends bring it up!), get pampered at a spa, take a weekend trip away with your spouse-to-be or just spend an evening watching reruns of Friends. Scheduling some time away from "wedding planner mode" is a must-do and when you get back to planning the details you'll find yourself more clear-headed and more importantly, happier.




Thanks for visiting us at Et Lofte Events! We know your time is valuable and so due to some serious but temporary technical issues with our web site we're redirecting everyone here for the time being!

Browse around, have a read and a peek. To view our full portfolio, discuss any of of the following services in detail and how Et Lofte Events can be of assistance in planning your out-of-the-box wedding, celebration or unique event, please contact us today to arrange an in-person meeting: 416-885-2497 or

Wedding Services
  • Consultations
  • Creative Direction
  • Wedding Day Management (otherwise known as Day-of Coordination)
  • Month-of Wedding Management (otherwise known as Month-of Coordination)
  • Full Wedding Planning

Event Services
  • Consulting
  • Creative Direction
  • Event Management
  • Full Event Planning

We thank you for your patience and look forward to chatting with you!

Melissa Nowakowski
Creative Director, Et Lofte Events



The creative wheels have been churning over here at This Planner's camp and we're super stoked for some of our most adorable, most funky and most creative weddings and events to surface in 2012! And with that, we've also been busy working on expanding on our slogan "out-of-the-box planning". Cause after all, it's not just about the creation of unique, out-of-the-box weddings and events, but the Planner behind those masterpieces as well. Et Lofte Events has always prided ourselves on the fact that we're not just creative and determined to achieve that unique-factor with every event we do, but that our entire outlook and approach to planning itself is out-of-the-box as well!

Check out below just one of latest string of campaign ads we've been working on to share our pride-and-joy!

Stay tuned for some uber-awesome weddings and events in 2012! In the meantime, check back here often for our unique-minded tips and tricks for planning your very own special occasion!