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WPIC Office Team Visits Niagara Falls Wedding Locations

By: Tracey Manailescu

Waterfalls, wineries, butterfly conservatory, botanical gardens and romance…Oh my!
Last month we had the pleasure of being escorted around Niagara Falls to visit some key wedding locations with the lovely and talented, Sue Zareski, the Niagara Parks Wedding and Social Sales Manager (who also just happens to be a WPIC Alumni.)
Let me just say on record, that I don’t recall ever having so much fun on site inspections in my entire life! (I’ve been on quite a few over the last decade, too.)
Niagara Parks Weddings has a great website full of useful tips and locations to get you started.
We were lucky enough to go to see these great locations and have a FAB lunch at Elements on the Falls.
WPIC at Elements by the Falls

Butterfly Conservatory & Outdoor Terrace- Here we had a laugh and a half! Beautiful space but the snake pavilion threw us off. You see, we didnt realize that the snakes were in the cages. We thought they were loose in the pavilion, and couldn’t grasp the concept of why a couple would be okay with that, considering it could be dangerous. (Kim really wasn’t okay with this…) Luckily, Sue Zareski was there to fill us in after Kim’s complete and utter meltdown, LOL!
Butterfly Conservatory

Edgewaters Restaurant
Elements on the Falls Restaurant
Floral Showhouse
Pop & Lolly’s
Legends on the Niagara
Queenston Heights
Whirlpool Restaurant
Queenston Chapel

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Voluntouring – The Newest Trend in Destination Weddings

Destination wedding voluntouring
by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Increasingly, instead of just going somewhere lovely and hot, Destination Wedding couples are choosing locations that are near and dear to their hearts. They love these locations and of course the culture and the people, so they are trying to help the area of their nuptials through Voluntouring.

Voluntouring combines the love of travel with giving back to the place you are touring. You can contact a charity that is working locally and help them out for a day or two, or there are many tourism companies that have voluntouring programs.  You can choose to help with a building project, set up games for at-risk kids, help farm, clean-up projects, you name it people can use your help.  Some resorts have voluntouring programs, like the Sandals Resorts’ ”Sandals Foundation“, where you can visit local schools and read to the children to help encourage literacy, or the Palace Resorts “Palace Foundation” eco-tourism and save the sea turtle programs.

voluntour

Not only will the wedding party and guests get to see the real culture and people of that country, but they will also get the great feeling and memories from the experience, that will last a lifetime.

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Tool of the Trade: Spray Paint

Inside one of our office supply closets, spray paint in various hues

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

After spending an entire day spray painting items for a wedding shoot in Rome, I looked at all the items in our office that have seen multiple lives.

Some of the items we regularly change

Its not something we ever talk about, but spray paint is one of our essential tools of the wedding planning trade. We can change almost any item to match multiple clients’ weddings.  A wrought iron cupcake stand in our office has been black, ivory and silver.  Wood table number frames have been natural, white and ivory.  I just sprayed some bouquet memorial frames and a bouquet holder from silver to copper, and the list goes on and on.  I’ve even spray painted macaroons on a display wedding cake!

So my colleagues, the next time you look at an item and say, “If only it came in…” whip out the spray paint!

An inspiration table using some of our reincarnated items (even the little frames in the Paris sign have been sprayed)

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Destination: Puerto Vallarta

Breakfast Wedding at the Landmark Hotel in PV

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

At the end of March I was lucky enough to be a special guest of the Mexico Tourism Board at Tianguis Turístico México 2012.  We packed a lot in to 5 days so I will be blogging about it for the rest of the month.

Danielle Andrews Sunkel in Puerto Vallarta

Today, I’ll tell you a little bit about our host city, Puerto Vallarta.  The last time I visited Puerto Vallarta it was a small fishing town, now it is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city!

View of Banderas Bay from downtown Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is one of the most romantic tropical destinations to celebrate your wedding. It is a mystical city where tradition remains in its plazas, cobble-stone streets and people.   The colorful expressions and culture as well as its natural beauty make this city a heavenly destination.  Beautiful beaches surrounded by mountains, palm trees and the best sunsets ever seen, provide the perfect backdrop to say your vows to your beloved.

Chapel at La Hacienda

Courtyard of La Hacienda

Weddings can happen in gorgeous cliff-side villas, ancient haciendas, modern hotels or sprawling resorts.  Its unbelievable how much Puerto Vallarta has to offer!

Photo source: VisitPuertoVallarta.com

Winter Home of the Humpback Whales!
Something very unique about Puerto Vallarta is that each year, from October to March, humpback whales arrive in Puerto Vallarta to mate and birth their calves. They also use this area to teach their young very important behaviour such as beaching. Puerto Vallarta has VERY strict laws to protect these whales.

Whale sightings are a daily event, especially during January. Some times, over 20 whales can be seen in a day! 644 individual whales have been counted in the Bay of Banderas (which used to be called Humpback Bay.)

So, the most popular time to get married in Puerto Vallarta, is also the best time to whale watch!

Several WPIC Certified Destination Wedding Planners are experts on Mexico, be sure to contact them for more information about having a wedding in Mexico!

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Your Clients can Experience Fiji like “The Bachelorette”

Koro Sun Resort FijiKoro Sun Resort & Rainforest Spa debuts it’s “Passion Under The Palms” Package in Honour of their special guests fom The Bachelorette.

Tonight, ABC’s 7th Bachelorette, the energetic and vivacious Ashley Hebert, goes to Savusavu, Fiji Islands for a special date. 

Exterior-kavika-falls-fiji The date will include a Seaplane charter to Namena Island near the Marine Park where the couple will enjoy a beach picnic for the day, followed by a romantic dinner arranged by the resort amid a 90-acre virgin Fijian rainforest at dusk. The Bachelorette and her date will greet each other under the canopy of rainforest trees, in a candle lit setting for two. The couple will dine Fijian style on the woven tapestry, seated closely together and savor a succulent menu of beef fillet and walu fish.

Honeymoon suite Fiji
If the Bachelorette’s date accepts the invitation to spend the night in the Fantasy suite, they will enjoy a stay in the Kavika Falls Villa, a 3,500 square foot luxury villa perched along the hillside of a lush virgin rainforest, with chilled champagne and expansive views looking out to the Koro Sea, providing the ultimate in privacy.  The villa comes complete with two bedrooms in the main house, two master bedroom suites, one on each side of great room, with interconnecting walkway verandas. This stunning private Fijian style Villa highlights fine linens, tropical furnishings, and a cascading waterfall through the entire villa with infinity edge swimming pool.

Your Destination Wedding or Honeymoon couples can also experience the “made for television” special date and experience their own special time together with the resort’s new package:

“Passion Under the Palms” Package Inspired By ABC’s The Bachelorette.  Passion under the palms package fijiThe package includes:

  • 5 nights at Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa Fiji
  • Three gourmet meals daily, with fresh vegetables sourced from the resort’s organic gardens, and accompanied by afternoon tea.
  • Fijian welcome with a coconut milk foot soak and leg massage, accompanied by freshly chilled green coconut beverage.
  • Full American Champagne Breakfast in the privacy of your own villa, with fresh exotic plantation fruits.
  • Rainforest Rendezvous private candlelight dinner for two in the Rainforest, with hors de oeuvres and a succulent three course seafood platter.
  • The Ultimate Indulgence, a 1.5 hour treatment starts with Banana Leaf Body Wrap, followed by a Couples Massage in the Rainforest Spa, rated “Top Island Spa” by Islands Magazine
  • Ladies Sulu (sarong) complimentary gift
  • Guided Snorkeling excursion of Fiji’s soft coral capital
  • Fantasy Suite turndown service on the final night, including floating candles in the villa’s plunge pool (Edgewater Villa/Kavika Falls only), followed by a trio of decadent desserts.
  • Waterfall Excursion with Fijian Village Visit and Kava Ceremony.
  • Behind the Scenes Tour of J. Hunter Pearl Farm in Savusavu Bay 
  • Private Beach picnic with tropical fruits, and lunch prepared for your day in the in the South Pacific sun.

The package is based on space availability and is available from July 18, 2011 to March 31, 2013.

ABOUT KORO SUN RESORT & RAINFOREST SPAKORO SUN RESORT & RAINFOREST SPAThe rural and pristine location offers you the genuine warmth and friendliness of the Fijian people. Koro Sun Resort & Rainforest Spa offers a truly native Fijian experience, dedicated to adventure, rejuvenation and romance. 29 enchanting bures and luxury villas are private, exclusive, air-conditioned, and offer vivid views of the ocean and reefs beyond. Your stay is all-inclusive with three gourmet meals and afternoon tea (excluding beverages) and activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, biking, tennis and golf.

From the meticulous attention you receive from the wonderful staff to the spectacular lush grounds, Fiji is yours to discover. 

The Bachelorette airs on Mondays at 8/7 Central on ABC. For more information on The Bachelorette, visit http://abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelorette .

To learn more about Koro Sun Resort & Rainforest Spa visit www.korosunresort.com, as well, your WPIC Destination Certified Wedding Coordinator or Travel Advisor can help you book this amazing trip! 

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Consider Your Carbon Footprint: Eco-Chic Wedding

By Guest Blogger: Wayne Alldridge from Marble Weddings, WPICC

With ever-growing concern for our environment, fair trade and humanitarianism, eco-friendly weddings are projected to be a continuing trend.

In this article you will find key facts, tips, and ideas for developing an eco-chic wedding. Making yourself aware of industrial impact to the environment is the first step. Remember that eco-friendly wedding planning does not have to be all or nothing. Even if you choose one aspect of your wedding to be eco-friendly, that is still one step in the right direction.

Having an outdoor ceremony may seem like the most obvious choice for an eco-friendly wedding, but take into account what might be required. If you are thinking of a park, planning to have 150 guests attending, and must rent your own chairs, that is potentially several runs or several delivery trucks emitting fumes. On the flip-side, having your ceremony at an outdoor venue that caters to weddings, such as the Royal Botanical Gardens, is a great choice. They will likely have everything you need onsite, including a tent in case of rain. The natural garden surroundings make for beautiful décor, and eliminate the need for bringing in additional décor or flowers.

Having your reception at the same site as the ceremony is the most economical way to go. This eliminates more vehicle emissions from guests traveling between the sites, and having deliveries to two locations. If this is not an option for you, encourage your guests to carpool. Overall, a lower guest count is going to be more economical.

Once engaged, one of the first things that a bride does, is buy a dress. As an eco-friendly alternative you can wear a dress passed down from your mother or grandmother, and have it altered. You can also shop for a vintage dress. This brings in an elegant feel from the past. Another option is to have your dress custom made from a fabric like hemp or bamboo. Softer than cotton, and with a silk-like texture, bamboo fabric draws moisture away from the skin, so it's especially great for a summer wedding! But remember, having a bamboo dress made in British Columbia and shipped to Toronto defeats the purpose of eco-friendly. After the wedding you can donate your dress or keep it to have it made into a christening gown or first communion dress for your child.

Eco
Bamboo is a fast growing plant. It releases about 35% more oxygen back into the air than other plants and some species can grow up to 4 feet per day.

Your wedding invitations are the first insight that your guests will have into the theme of the wedding. Paper-less would be the most eco-friendly way to go, but typically, it is not customary to send electronic wedding invitations via email or social media. However, if you are creative enough, and explain to your guests the reasoning behind the electronic invitation, then why not? Video yourselves with a message to your guests: inviting them to your eco-friendly wedding. Within the email you can include the written details as well. Paper invitations should be considered for older generation guests. If you prefer to stick to paper invitations for all of your guests, then use recycled, organic, or hemp paper products. Reduce the amount of paper used by having post-card style RSVP cards. This eliminates the envelope.

Hemp is made from the cannabis plant and is one of the most eco-friendly fibers in the world. The plant controls erosion of soil, generates oxygen and can be cultivated in under 100 days.

When it comes to flowers, the biggest concerns are the chemicals that are used, as well as the conditions in which the farmers in some countries are forced to work. Most flowers bought in Canada are imported from South America. Many chemicals are used to preserve these flowers, even pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that are banned in Canada. Even more than chemicals than the amount used for food preservation. There are organizations that regulate flower farms and limits on chemicals, and better working conditions for the employees. Working conditions are not up to our Canadian standards, but are certainly better than most, including health care and workplace safety. Fair trade flowers can be ordered though Transfair Canada. These are grown in Kenya and imported to Vancouver for distribution throughout Canada. Locally grown flowers can be found here from May through October. Also try to find vases that are made locally. The majority of floral containers (vases and pottery) are imported from China. Fair trade is not regulated in China and human rights regulations are sub-standard.

Eco1
Continue the eco-friendly trend when purchasing décor items. Seek out candles made from beeswax or soy. Not only are they better on the environment, but beeswax candles burn longer, and have a nice natural aroma. Stones, bamboo and salvaged wood pieces make for beautiful centerpieces and additional décor. Candle holders can be made out of wood pieces and personalized stones in lieu of place cards.

Be sure to have labeled recycling bins and green carts at your reception. For esthetic purposes, these do not need to be in plain view at your reception. But can certainly be made available to service staff, and outside the venue. If the weather is going to be hot, have pitchers of water available with biodegradable cups. Avoid disposable water bottles.

Plastic bottles are the most prevalent source of pollution found in our oceans. Every square mile of ocean has over 45,000 pieces of floating plastic in it.

When deciding on your dinner menu, choose foods that are locally and organically grown. Eco-friendly caterers will prepare foods and meats that come from local farmers who use less chemicals, who feed their livestock organic grains, or raise free-range chickens. In order to keep your menu appealing to all parties, consider having the “ordinary” meal accompanied with the option of having the vegan alternative. Keep the beverages to a choice of domestic brands. No imports. We are lucky to be in an area so close to the famous Niagara wineries.

Have more than one purpose for items. The bridesmaids bouquets can be placed in ready-made vases on the head table for additional décor. Flower arrangements from the ceremony can also be used for the reception. The guest favours can be displayed as the centerpiece on the dinner tables.

One eco-friendly option in lieu of guest favours is to make a charitable donation. To make your guests feel more involved in this you can set up a donation table with several baskets or vases labeled with the names of charities. Guests then take their personalized stones (in lieu of place cards) and place their stone in the charity of their choice. An idea for an eco-friendly guest favour would be seeds in a personalized eco-friendly container or a fern sapling in a burlap pouch, for the guests to plant in their garden at home. Burlap is a coarse fabric woven from vegetable fibers.

To package those guest favours or organic cupcakes, use cellophane. Cellophane is the top eco friendly choice for bakers. 100% biodegradable and is made from wood, causing almost no environmental impact. Cellophane seals easily and keeps foods fresh because moisture and oxygen cannot penetrate it. These can be tied with hemp or raffia ribbon, and labels added. Raffia is also made from a plant and is eco-friendly.

Once the wedding is over, you have returned from your honeymoon, and settling back into your lives together, it's then time to send your `Thank You' cards. Finish the wedding experience off with an eco-friendly `thank you' by recording your thank you messages on video and emailing them to your guests. Don't record one standard message, record individual messages for the guests. It's more personal than a card, you could show them what you purchased with the money they gave you, and most of all… it's eco-friendly!

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Wicked Wedding Cocktails

By: Tracey Manailescu

Holy cow!  I am so excited to share these super cool finds with you.  Just when you thought there was nothing else to do with food & drink presentation… Giddyup :)

Passionfruit Shells?

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The hollowed out passionfruit shells contain the Hurricane Cocktail. Mix the seeds of the passionfruit with rum, sugar, cranberry juice and orange to create texture like bubble tea which is eaten through a straw.

Watermelon?

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Watermelon Sours

Instructions 4 cups watermelon chunks, 4 oz Alize Red Passion fruit flavored liqueur (or other fruit flavored liqueur), 8 oz gin, 2 cups sour mix, Sparkling Rose, Lime slices for garnish

Directions: Puree the watermelon chunks, then strain to remove the pulp.  Stir in the fruit liqueur, gin and sour mix.  Chill.  Add sparkling rose right before serving.  garnish with lime slices.

*You can order this Keg Shank from kegworks.com ($30USD for the kit).

Cucumbers?

Blog5 Cucumber Sake-tinis

2 jiggers (3 oz) sake, 2 tbsp simple syrup, 1 pony (1 oz) fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp fresh cucumber purée (see below), ice cubes, club soda

In a highball glass, combine sake, syrup, lime juice, & purée. Fill glass with ice, and stir to mix well. Top to the rim with club soda. Garnish with lime wedge and serve immediately.

*For the cucumber purée: Peel cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, & scrape out seeds with metal spoon. Cut into chunks, place in blender and purée until smooth. Cover & refrigerate until ready to use.

**For a perfect presentation, use a piece of hollowed-out cucumber as a glass, and garnish with a cucumber swizzle stick!

Pineapple?

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Pina Colada

6 oz. brown rum, 6 oz. pineapple juice, 2 oz. coconut cream, 1 oz. cream, Decoration: 1 slice of pineapple, 1 maraschino cherry

Coconut?

Richard Leach, the award-winning pastry chef at The Hurricane Club in N.Y, created the tiki-inspired next 2 cocktails shown below.

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#77

2 ounces golden rum, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 1 ounce cardamom syrup, 2 ounces spiced passion-fruit puree, 1 ounce coconut water,1 ounce coconut milk
Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake well. Strain into a hollowed-out coconut shell. Serve with crushed ice in the shell, and garnish with a bamboo straw and paper umbrella.

Shared Cocktails?

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This Tiki Style cocktail serves 5-8 people!
#440, contains Montecristo spiced rum, pineapple, kiwi and ginger and is served in a scorpion bowl with a flaming shot of Bacardi 151 at its center (currently priced at $46USD)

I think I will be making a stop at the LCBO on the way home…

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A Charity Buffet

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

We've seen the Candy Buffet, the Seafood Buffet, the Chocolate Buffet, now make room for the Charity Buffet!  

I got this idea from one of my bride's, Angela Gil (now Pereira). In lieu of favours or the traditional Donation to a Charity, she created these Charity cards, each worth a $2 donation, which I placed at each of her wedding guest's placesetting.  


Charity cards on Reception tableDuring the course of the evening, guests were encouraged to go to the Charity Buffet and choose which Charity they would like a donation to be made on their behalf by placing the card in the corresponding vase.  


Charity buffet table vases and cards"Donations to Charity in lieu of a Favour" is extremely popular, but countless times I have heard guests grumble, "What if I don't support that charity? Why is a donation being made in my honour to something I don't wish to support?" With the Charity Buffet, guests get to decide where the money goes.

Love it!  Thanks, Angela (& Dan)!


Angela and Dan Pereira
Photos courtesy of my assistant, Dulce Avila 

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Fresh Ideas for Wedding Refreshments

Shutterstock_33174649by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

We all know there is nothing more tacky than a Cash Bar.  Asking your guests to help pay for your wedding is inexcusable, but offering a bar at a wedding can be very expensive for the hosts.  As with everything about weddings, you just need to be a little creative when quenching your guests' thirst.

The best way to keep the cost of the bar down, is to go to a venue that lets you purchase and provide you own alcohol, but there are ways to save even further.  A signature cocktail or specialty drink is still the favourite way to save on alcohol.  Simply purchase a case or two of one type of alcohol (example: vodka) and mix.  Using the same cocktail glasses, alcohol and mix for everyone cuts down on costs significatly and eliminates waste.  Pair the signature drink with beer and wine, and everyone is happy, especially the host.


A fresh idea is to use the same alcohol base and offer several different mixes in large pitchers on a self-serve or grab n' go bar.  You could have a Vodka Martini Bar or a Vodka-infused Cocktail bar, a Sangria Bar, a Margherita bar, the possibilities are endless. Lauren Balden of Catering by Design in Tampa, FL sets up Champagne-infusion Bars, where only the presentation rivals the amazing taste.

Shutterstock_39938362 Another great idea, that comes from Kim Baker, the President of the West Coast Florida Chapter of NACE, is to serve frozen cocktails on a stick!

Shutterstock_19373044Who says you have to serve alcohol? "Fresh" is THE Catering trend this year, so why not carry that over to the bar? Have a smoothie or juice bar (like above). Set up a cordial or lemonade station. Offer fruit-infused waters for a fresh spa-like feel.  Bonnie Fimiano of Cafe a la Carte offers Speciaty Gourmet Coffees served from a custom cart, complete with a Barista.

You need to offer your wedding guests something to drink and with all the options available, a unique and fun bar can be cost-effective and a feature!

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The Wishing Wall


Wishing-wallby Guest Blogger, Monica Hui, WPICC of Wishahmon Wedding Creations in Calgary, AB



In an effort to save money, I have been staying away from shopping malls. Instead, I have been doing some online shopping and paying for shipping! (My efforts of saving have gone out the window.)


I came across a wonderful product at Uncommon Goods called a “Wishing Wall.” Traditionally, at most weddings, guest sign a book or picture of the newly wedded couple. More recently, some couples have cards for guests to sign and to hang on a “wishing tree.” Personally, I feel that the traditional method does not allow me to write enough blessings to the couple. Regarding the wishing tree, I don’t really want everyone to read what I write to the couple!




The Wishing Wall is a wonderful compromise, much like a marriage. Guests can write all their blessings on a piece of paper, roll it up and place it in one of the compartments. They can be as creative and personal as they want. Not only is this a neat way for the couple to reveal and store all the blessings from their guests, I think it will also look cool as a piece of modern artwork.


The Wishing Wall is also Eco-friendly!  It is made out of 100% recycled cardboard and 30% recycled paper fibre.  It comes with a Wish Chest and sells for $45.








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