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New to the Wedding Industry? 6 Tips to Help When You Lack Experience


By: Tracey Manailescu

In our WPIC certification classes we find such a diverse group of students.  Some are retired, some are newly married, some are fresh out of university, some are working for venues and resorts, some work for decorators, catering companies, or for other established wedding planners, some are established wedding planners already,  and some have no experience in the wedding industry, whatsoever. This blog is for you!


Everyone needs to starts off somewhere, right? Below are some tips that should ease your mind and get you headed in the right direction.

Volunteer: The WPIC Alumni Association (which is *free to all graduates of The Wedding Planners Institute of Coordination) has a volunteer program in place to help you get more experience.  We recommend that all new grads utilize this program. This is a great chance to find out how other WPIC’ers run their wedding planning companies and work with clients. It is an opportunity to see firsthand how valuable a wedding planner is to a couple.  It is also a great chance to see what you might do differently when working with your own clients after this experience. Hopefully the planner you will be working for will provide useful tips and guidance to you during the process. It is expected that you will fulfill requested duties, and be able to think and act quickly on your own with the information and timelines provided. You must have a signed contract in place between you and the planner. You need to remember that you will be working for someone else, and therefore need to represent that planner’s company, only.  You are not there to promote yourself. We also have paid positions for those who already have experience but would like to know more about a certain culture or want to see how other planners do things.

Show That You are Interested in Learning: You need to let potential clients know that you are interested in learning more. Let them know about industry conferences that you have attended, or are going to attend. Have you attended any industry events around the city? Are you up to date on current wedding trends? Have you taken any courses that will help you in wedding planning such as business administration, book keeping, sketching, project management, floral design, wedding planning or event planning certifications? Are you a part of any industry related associations? Have you read any books that will help you have a better understanding of certain cultures and their requirements/guidelines in regards to customs and rituals for wedding ceremonies/receptions. Sometimes having a desire and passion for something can be far better than experience.

On a personal note, last year when we were looking for a new Office Manager at WPIC, our focus was not on finding someone who had wedding planning experience.  We were much more interested in finding someone who was willing to learn, who had good organizational skills, was a true people person and who could speak Spanish. We got everything we were looking for, except the part about speaking Spanish with Kaley Campbell, LOL!

positive attitude

Positive Attitude: This really should go without saying. I am saying it anyways because it is so very darned important!  Sometimes little to no experience in something can be totally dismissed or overlooked, because of a willingness to learn and a positive attitude. Clients might just get a good vibe from you (and you know that when you go with your gut it usually works out). Having a certain calmness in tricky or stressful situations, being able to see the best in people, and always looking on the bright side, along with a go get’em attitude might be just what some clients are looking for. This will come in handy when dealing with difficult family members or friends. Heck, this might just be the thing that wins them over completely!

You Connect With The Couple: Do you get along and just seem to really fit with the couple on a personal level? You are going to work harder, better, faster and more efficiently if you are trying to please someone and keep them happy. Think about it. Sometimes people are willing to take a chance on someone because of the personal connection and sense of understanding or trust that you have established. Make it a personal challenge to yourself to absolutely ROCK this wedding and be everything that they need.

Ask Questions and Get to Know More Experienced Planners: Ask for help from your peers, join Facebook groups, attend industry mixers, utilize the WPIC Alumni Boards by asking questions, searching past articles, and finding the best and newest questionnaires, contracts, check lists and organizational systems. Have a welcome package, detailed list of services and set pricing. Have policies and strategies in place in case of “What If?”


Talk up Your Strengths:   Stop focusing on your lack of experience, show your confidence and let them know what you are good at. If you keep reminding them that you are lacking experience they will automatically focus on that. Why do you think that you would be a great fit for this couple and their wedding? Are you great at working in a team environment? Can you think quickly on your feet?  Are you good at communicating your thoughts and implementing ideas? Are you a problem solver?

According to Planning Pod these are the “Top 8 Traits of Successful Planners“. The article is actually really good so you should check it out after you finish this one.  (Actually, I am a pretty big fan of their articles as there are lots of useful tips.)

1.Being prepared and planning for contingencies

2. Having passion for what you do

3. Flexibility

4. Staying level headed while under fire

5. Having a vision

6. Attention to detail

7. Ability to listen and understand your clients’ goals

8. Humility

*The WPIC Alumni Association is free to all graduates of our certification course.  It is a privilege and not a right. Membership is contingent on following the WPIC Code of Ethics

Do you have some other helpful and useful suggestions?  Please share them below.

Why aren’t you more successful?


by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Starting a business from nothing can be very difficult.  When you finally start seeing signs of success it is an amazing feeling and you get content in your success and even take it for granted.  You get complacent and stop working so hard and then you look around and wonder, “Why am I not more successful?”  To answer that question, it is time to take a good look at what you are (or are not) doing.

Answer these questions honestly:

  • When was the last time you read a business book?
  • When was the last time you attended an industry conference?
  • When was the last time you wrote a blog?
  • When was the last time you networked?
  • When was the last time you advertised?
  • When was the last time you added a new skill?
  • When was the last time you updated your website?
  • When was the last time you refreshed your look?
  • When was the last time you evaluated your brand?
  • Are you active in an industry association?
  • Do you always carry your business cards with you?
  • Do all of your friends and family know about your business?
  • Does your logo look professional?
  • Does your website look professional and current?
  • Do YOU look current and professional?

If you were honest about your answers, I think you know what you need to do to make yourself more successful.

Time for Wedding Pros to Refresh!

Photo by

Photo by

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

It’s November!  For Wedding Professionals this should be one of the most exciting months of the year.  It’s when you get the chance to refresh and reinvent your business!

There is a reason most Wedding Conferences happen in November.  Yes, it is usually the slowest month of the year for weddings, but more importantly, it is the month that the wedding industry renews itself.

Each year we are faced with a new industry, couples get engaged, enter our industry then they marry and leave our industry.  Wedding professionals do not benefit from year-over-year recognition, once a couple is married they are done with us, but it is exciting in that we get the chance to reinvent ourselves and our companies every year, allowing us to stay current and on-trend.

Most engagements take place between November and February, 70% to be exact.  (That is why all the Wedding Shows happen in January and February.)

engagement ring being offered

November is the time to regroup, rebrand, update, get weducated, and make any changes you want to make to your business, because its a whole new market come December!

sweeping leaves and flowers

So take this chance my colleagues, update that logo, upgrade your website and make it mobile-compatible, add all those photos of the weddings you worked on this year and remove any outdated photos, put up a fabulous new head shot or working shot of yourself and make sure everything is modern.  Write new copy for your website and any advertising materials.

Zerlene Mekdeci, WPICC at the WPIC Wedding Shoot Extravaganza, Photo by

Zerlene Mekdeci, WPICC at the WPIC Wedding Shoot Extravaganza, Photo by

Let us know if the comments what you are doing to renew, rejuvinate and refresh your business!

What the Heck Does a Wedding Planner Do Anyway?


By: Tracey Manailescu

This article is not geared towards couples, this is written with you, the professional wedding planner in mind.

Couples in Canada spend an average of $30k on their wedding according to Weddingbells. When that kind of investment is on the line, couples need some guidance on how best to spend, plan and implement their ideas. It is your job as a wedding professional to educate them on what is necessary, what is not, where they can save, where they can best allocate their hard earned dollars.

This can’t happen unless you are letting them know what you do, why you do it, and how you can help them.

There are still so many couples that don’t see the relevance in having you a part of their wedding team.  What exactly are you doing to show them that having you on board is in their best interests? It’s easy to show pretty photos from past events and weddings on social media, a modern office space, and yes if you pay someone, you too can have a gorgeous website and beautiful business cards, but what about the nitty gritty?

How are you letting couples know what you are there for? Here are some ideas to help.

A Blog:  How often are you updating it? Show your expertise by discussing some challenges that you have had at weddings, and how you and your team overcame them such as the ceremony getting rained out, uninvited guests, unwelcome toasts, cake malfunctions, Officiate is lost, wrong florals were delivered, wardrobe malfunctions, cranky and over-tired ring bearers/flower girls, toilet flooding, food delays, makeup artist is missing in action, etc.

Social Media:

You need to be where your potential couples are.

www.wpic.caTwitter-Logofacebook symbolpinterest symbolyoutube symbolsnapchatPeriscope-Logolinkedin

Be Willing to Share Some Helpful Tips: What are your most used items in your emergency kit? Have you come across any new wedding apps that you found were really great for guest RSVP tracking, seating charts or wedding websites? Share them on your business Facebook/Twitter page, or your blog. Do you have any advice for saving money? Best ways to allocate funds? What should not be skimped on under any circumstances? Tips for running a receiving line, helpful guidance for order and duration of speeches, new trends, pantones new colours for the year, etc.

Behind the Scenes Photos: Show yourself in action pinning on a boutonniere, cleaning chairs, stitching a bridesmaids strap, going over the timeline with  other vendors, putting out place cards, cuing the wedding party, etc.

technology for wedding planners

Photo of Janis from Brocade Events by PhatDogVisuals

Why Should a Couple Hire You, When They can Have a Friend or Family Member Step In? Let them know some reasons. Who will be running interference for them when lights need to be dimmed, when the limo driver is demanding his tip before he leaves, uncle “Ed’ is drunk and hitting on the bridesmaids, four couples arrive after dinner is served and are demanding to be fed, a wedding band is lost, the wedding cake gets ruined because some little peoples fingers got into it, the late night entertainment has not arrived, limo has a flat tire, Grandma can’t stand the Bride’s father and decides now is the perfect time to pick a fight, guests are swarming the couple at cake cutting time, vendors are lost and need directions (they have your #), timeline (catering) needs to be moved to accommodate photography running late, etc.

Sharing Accomplishments: Have you been recognized in your industry with an award, quoted in an article, had one of your couples wedding’s feature on a wedding blog or magazine, or interviewed on tv?

As Seen on WPIC button

Sharing Your Education, Credentials and Memberships to Associations: Have you taken courses, attended conferences, joined an Association, invested in yourself in some way to gain further knowledge?  We strongly believe in continuing education. Never, ever stop learning!

WPIC Certified CanadaWPIC DWC International Plane-Button-600px

Do you have any tips to add to this?  We would love to hear them in the comments below.


Fall on Martha’s Vineyard – Inspiration Shoot

Photo: Lucky Girl

Photo: Lucky Girl

We adore the style of Amanda Douglas, WPICC of Amanda Douglas Events in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and are always giddy when she submits styled shoots or real weddings to us for publication.  They are always understated, thoughtfully crafted and unique.

Today we are happy to share this fall inspiration shoot with you.

Fall on Martha’s Vineyard – Inspiration Shoot

From Amanda: Fall is such a romantic time of year. We planned this shoot with quiet elegance as inspiration and our mind dreaming about fall on Martha’s Vineyard.
We were asked to do a spot for Global Winnipeg on fall decor and decided to turn it into a little photo shoot, too (why not right?).
When we think about thanksgiving or a warm meal shared around the family table we think of something a bit like this:
Ok, maybe this is a bit fancy for your typical family dinner, but let’s dream a little that all family dinners are this chic.
Fall weddings are a magical scene.  Sometimes fall is a bit of a tricker time of year for brides and they might lean a little too far into what’s commercially out there for fall themed weddings.
We wanted to put together a design that was just the right amount of warm fall colours but with a good measure of elegance and class, too.
Watching the leaves change colour is part of the magic of fall and we loved how the florals include the beautiful yellow orange leaves of autumn. They couldn’t have been paired better with the rest of the flowers. Our favourite was the stunning orchids that just put this floral piece over the top with elegance.
We finished off the table design with brass pieces (those cranes right?), gold cutlery, rich and dark teal goblets, rose gold mercury glass candles (as many as we could) and one of our favourites; bees wax candles.
And of course a table isn’t complete without beautiful and welcoming personalized stationery. In this case, menus and place cards at each table setting.
With five days notice (tv deadlines!) we pulled this shoot together with the help of a seriously splendid group of vendors:
Photographer – Lucky Girl Photography 
Stylist/Design – Amanda Douglas Events 
Flowers – Beyond Flowers
Stationery – Keeks Paper Co.
Linens/Chairs – Planned Perfectly 
Jewelry/Fur – Amanda Douglas Events 
If you want to see our little tv spot on how to decorate your table for fall:

Want to know about WPIC? Watch this video!

We recently held a Working Shot Photo Extravaganza at the Miller Lash House in Toronto.

Tom Solkalski, of Wedding Films Toronto, filmed it all and asked us to talk about The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, The Wedding Planners Institute of Coordination and WPIC Alumni.

Check it out!  Recording artist, Snow, even makes an appearance as one of our model grooms!!

Planning a Military Wedding

Planning Military Weddings

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Planning a Military Wedding is not very different from planning a civilian wedding, though there are a few key elements to be aware of.

Wedding Invitations

As we know, wedding stationery sets the tone for the whole wedding, so it is important to address the invitations to wedding guests correctly.  Here is a handy guide we created.

For the invitations wording, the officer’s rank determines where the name is placed:

Officers in the army whose rank is Captain, or higher must have their title printed on the same line as their name.

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Anderson

Canadian Armed Forces

For Junior Officers:

Matthew Peter Anderson

First Lieutenant, Canadian Armed Forces

 When the bride is in the military, her name appears on one line, and her rank on the next:

 Cynthia Lynn Jones

Captain, Canadian Armed Forces

What to Wear

military groom and bride

If the groom or any of the male wedding party are active military, how they should dress is determined by their rank and the formality of the wedding.

Commissioned officers can wear their Dinner or Mess uniform for a Black Tie or Formal wedding.  Their Evening Dress uniform is appropriate for an Ultra-Formal or White tie wedding.

Non-commissioned officers should wear their Dress Blues or Army Greens whether the wedding is Formal or Informal.

Brides who are active in the military may choose to wear their military dress uniform or a wedding gown.

Any officers who are participating as honour attendants in the Sword or Saber Ceremony, must wear white gloves.

*Do NOT pin a boutonniere or corsage on an officer’s uniform, their military decoration is adornment enough.

Arch of Sabers/Swords Ceremony

The main element that differentiates a civilian wedding from a military wedding is the Arch of Swords Ceremony (for Air Force or Army) or the Arch of Sabers (for all other divisions of the armed forces.)  Following the pronouncement of the new couple, the honour attendants will line the centre aisle in pairs and touch the tips of their sabers/swords to create an arch for the couple to walk under.

A second arch may take place outside of the wedding ceremony, where if the bride is a civilian, the final pair of honour attendants will block the couple from passing and the second pair will tap the bride on her rear and say “Welcome to the Army (or appropriate division)”, before letting them pass.

Sword/Saber Cake Cutting

sword cake cutting

At a military wedding, many couples choose to cut their wedding cake using the groom’s saber or sword.  Make sure the sword is cleaned before they cut the cake (not drawn directly out of the sword sheath) and then cleaned again after the cake cutting, before being re-sheathed.


So there you have it, not so scary is it?

From the Ground Up – WPIC Professional Development Event

nestleton waters inn marquee

The Wedding Marquee at Nestleton Waters Inn

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

wpic welcome sign

On September 27, WPIC’s Durham Regional Representative, Amy Stevenson, put together a fabulous Professional Development Event for her fellow alumni called, “From the Ground Up”, at the beautiful Nestleton Waters Inn.

All the lovely WPIC Alumni who attended the event!  (photo courtesy of Nestleton Waters Inn)

All the lovely WPIC Alumni who attended the event!
(photo courtesy of Nestleton Waters Inn)

nestleton waters inn

This event featured guest speaker, Claudia Kent, WPICC, the onsite Wedding Coordinator at Nestleton, educating our WPIC Alumni about coordinating tented weddings.

flowers and tea service

The beautiful flower arrangements were created by Bella Donna.

The event also featured a site tour of the beautiful Nestleton Waters Inn, their tent venue and a beautiful High Tea service.

Each guestroom is decorated differently, this is my favourite inspired by the owners' time in Zimbabwe.

Each guestroom is decorated differently, this is my favourite inspired by the owners’ time in Zimbabwe.

back of Nestleton Waters Inn

tent at nestleton waters inn

nestleton waters in wedding tent

nestleton waters in wedding marquee6034849718470997_n

Love that there is a permanent floor!

afternoon tea

Even Gluten Free for me and the owner!

Even Gluten Free for me and the owner!

It was a lovely day with the perfect mix of education, networking, beauty and treats! Great job Amy!

WPIC Regional Representative: Amy Stevenson
Venue: Nestleton Waters Inn
Flowers: Bella Donnas Flowers
Catering: Lemon Tree Fine Foods

Pantone Releases it’s Wedding Colours for 2016


They are out!  We are so excited!!! Pantone has released the predicted hot colours for 2016 wedding season (whoot whoot!)

Here, are more detail on the top 10 from


1. Rose Quartz 13-1520 Percentage of designers who used this color: 22.55
“This really is a beautiful pink that will radiate well on the skin for women as well as men,” Eiseman said. “Women can always be helped along by cosmetics, but guys have to rely on the colors they’re wearing to sometimes make them look a little healthier.”


2. Peach Echo 16-1548 Percentage of designers who used this color: 19.87
“We know the oranges have been hanging in there even though historically orange is a color that comes and goes. Peach Echo is a very warm, friendly and accessible color,” Eiseman said.


3. Serenity 15-3919 Percentage of designers who used this color: 15.86
“As the name suggests, Serenity is a calming color that plays to the whole idea that we know we’re still living in turbulent times. Blues simply relay that feeling of relaxation,” Eiseman said.


4. Snorkel Blue 19-4049 Percentage of designers who used this color: 15.21
Eiseman said this shade is “meant to be a bit more fun, less serious than navy, and serve as one of the anchor colors for the spring palette.”


5. Buttercup 12-0752 Percentage of designers who used this color: 11.45
“Buttercup is all about sunlight, happiness and cheer — this one just speaks to give us a ray of sunshine, something to be hopeful about. It really energizes,” Eiseman said.


6. Limpet Shell 13-4810 Percentage of designers who used this color: 11.23
“Lovely and refreshing,” Limpet Shell is a blue that has a slightly green twinge, according to Eiseman. Given the number of news stories about climate change concerns, it’s not surprising that in recent seasons many people are instinctively reaching for cooler colors and blues, she added.


7. Lilac Gray 16-3905 Percentage of designers who used this color: 9.78
“There is a need for neutrals every season and this one has a hint of the purple family that is soft and subtle,” Eiseman said. “In light of the state of the economy, people are still mindful about the way they spend their money. If they invested in gray in recent seasons, as many people have, this is a color that is not going to say to them, ‘Oh, that’s so yesterday — I have to get rid of that.’”


8. Fiesta 17-1564 Percentage of designers who used this color: 8.99
“The south-of-the-border influence really plays heavily into this particular shade of red, which is more warm-based than a cha, cha, cha red. It’s very free-spirited,” Eiseman said.


9. Iced Coffee 15-1040 Percentage of designers who used this color: 8.92
“With a tan disposition, Iced Coffee has a warmth that combines well with everything else,” Eiseman said.


10. Green Flash 15-0146 Percentage of designers who used this color: 8.68
With a yellow undertone, this bright green would be well-accepted for spring or summer. “Urban design is very much at the forefront of people’s minds. It’s a fantastic color to combine with others and it may be the driver to buy something new,” she said.

is very much at the forefront of people’s minds. It’s a fantastic color to combine with others and it may be the driver to buy something new,” she said.


Which one is your favourite?

Come to the Jamaica Wedding Conference!

It’s almost here! Co-founders Danielle and Tracey, as well as instructor, Monica Caesar, will be speaking at the Jamaica Bridal Expo Wedding Conference on September 18, 2015 (with a ton of other amazing speakers)! Have you bought your tickets yet?

Come by and visit the WPIC booth at the trade show on the 19 & 20, 2015!

Jamaica Wedding Conference