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Keeping Children Happy at Your Wedding (An Interview With Children & Alumni)

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey M Events
Photo: Avenue Photo

I had so much fun putting this blog together:)  How could I not?  I interviewed 13 adorable children to get their opinions of what couples can do to make a wedding better for them, and then asked WPIC Alumni to share some of their favourite stories about working with children.

www.traceymevents.cawww.traceymevents.caSophia, 6 & Ella 4 (almost 5)Audrey, 3 (almost 4)
  Alexandros,  5                Brooklynn, 7            Sophia, 6 & Ella 4             Audrey, 3
Julian, 4Joelle, 10Brayden, 11Sierra, 6
Julian, 4                     Joelle, 10                Brayden, 11                     Sierra, 6
Daniel, 15Nicole, 10Graydon,
Daniel, 15               Nicole, 10                  Graydon, 5                     Samara, 7


What did you think about the CEREMONY?

“Wedding was good. A little fun.” -Julian, 4

“It was kind of boring, because it was just them talking about those people getting married.” -Nicole, 10

“It was boring, but it was nice to see them get married.” -Daniel, 15

“Uncle Greg’s wedding -  I liked that it was short and didn’t cut the time for the party and the eating and stuff.” -Joelle, 10

“Lots of people were there, and I couldn’t hear Mommy when lots of people talked so much.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“I was bored.” -Sierra, 6

“It was pretty cool. Just a little bit boring.” -Brayden, 11

“It was okay, I like the second part better. (The reception)”-Ella, 6

“Ceremony? What’s that? (I explain) Oh, my favorite part was when the prince and the princess kissed.” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“It was good but I didn’t like that we were just sitting around watching.” -Alexandros, 5

“It was fun just watching them get married and the beautiful bride walking down the aisle in a beautiful dress.” -Brooklynn, 7

“It was really wet outside so they stopped talking and we got to take our shoes off.” -Graydon, 5

“It was okay?” -Samara, 7


What is your BEST memory of a wedding that you have attended?

“Dancing with the bride.” -Julian, 4

“Dancing!” -Nicole, 10

“The dancing and the food, especially the broccoli soup.” Daniel, 15

“Dancing with my aunt and uncle at their wedding and seeing all my cousins that I hadn’t seen in ages” -Joelle, 10

“When everyone stopped talking.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“That like, um, we went to a big thing and it had lots of food. Something that you went in, like a mansion or something. ” -Sierra, 6

“It was probably when the music went on, and everybody started dancing.” -Brayden, 11

“I loved it when they were cutting the cake and feeding it to eachother. I liked the music too, and dancing, and getting dressed up very fancy with my butterfly bracelet.” -Ella, 6

“I remember dancing with daddy on his toes. That was fun. I liked the food too…it keeps coming and coming and coming. And I really liked the cake. Cake is my favorite. I like cake.” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“My favourite part was when we were eating our dinner, and dancing with Theia Liz (the Bride) and I love when we were allowed to run around!” -Alexandros, 5

“Dancing with my cousin Sierra because we could then show off our dance moves.” -Brooklynn, 7

“Dancing! I got to wear tap shoes!” -Graydon, 5

“I got to wear my princess dress.” -Samara, 7


What is your WORST memory of a wedding that you have attended?

“I liked everything.” -Julian, 4

“Ceremony.” -Nicole, 10

“It was all nice.” -Daniel, 15

“Showing up with a pom pom hairstyle that made me look like smaller version of mini mouse!” -Joelle, 10 *Message from mom: “Her hair was straightened the day before and should have just been blow dried and flat ironed on the wedding day but she decided to wash it in the shower about two hours before the wedding and I certainly did not have the time to do it completely over so my sister gave her poufs!

“When everyone kept running. All the kids were running too fast, but I wasn’t running. I was just walking.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“We had to sit down and wait for the wedding girl and the wedding man to come out. ” -Sierra, 6

“Probably when we all had to sit down, and everbody had to listen to those really long speeches.  It was really boring! ” -Brayden, 11

“Those people who were talking and talking and talking…and talking! I had to be quiet for too long!” (Referring to the speeches) -Ella, 6

“I didn’t want chicken fingers and french fries! Huhhhh!  I wanted what the big people had (flaring hands)!” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“Just the sitting around at the church because it was so boring. It made me need to go to the washroom….that’s how long it took…” -Alexandros, 5

“When you don’t like the food or dessert, I was hungry by the end of the night.” -Brooklynn, 7

“The adults dancing. It freaks me out.” -Graydon, 5

“Eating the bad food.” -Samara, 7


What could the couple have done to make it more FUN for you?

“Have a jumping castle.” -Julian, 4

“Nothing.” -Nicole, 10

“There is nothing I can say bad about it!” -Daniel, 15

“They could have played some more kid friendly music at the reception because it was all adult Jamaican music that I didn’t know so much.” -Joelle, 10

“When the grownups didn’t have to tell their kids to not run at ‘meetings’.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“I would say put ice cream in the wedding. ” -Sierra, 6

“Certain place like a small room where smaller kids go, when speeches start or where we had to sit down for a long time. ” -Brayden, 11

“Remember when I was trying to catch those flowers? Maybe it could be a candy bouquet instead!” -Ella, 6

“Maybe a bouncy castle?” -Sophia, 4 (amost 5)

“Put play things near the dance floor so the kids can play with toys.” -Alexandros, 5

“Add a play place (bouncy castle) so all the kids could have fun together.” -Brooklynn, 7

“Make it a skylanders party with a skylanders cake” -Graydon, 5

“Have another wedding – so I could wear another dress.” -Samara, 7


Did you get in TROUBLE at the wedding?

“No trouble.” -Julian, 4

“No. Ummm…Wait.  Yeah, because we went upstairs. The people that worked there told us to come down.” -Nicole, 10

“No!  I don’t think so…” -Daniel, 15

“No.” -Joelle, 10

“No. I was a good girl, because I am a big girl. And I didn’t touch stuff, like the cake, but it wasn’t for a birthday.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“No!” -Sierra, 6

“No. ” -Brayden, 11

” NO! Hmmmm, nope.” -Ella, 6

“Well, just once when I dropped the kneeling thing in the church. It made a loud noise. But it wasn’t my fault.” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“Actually, No!” -Alexandros, 5

“No.” -Brooklynn, 7

“Why did I get in trouble?!!” -Graydon, 5

“No.” -Samara, 7


Would you go to another WEDDING?

“No. I’d rather go to a playground, or toy store.” -Julian, 4

“Yeah!” -Nicole, 10

“Of course.  There’s a lot of good food and dancing.” -Daniel 15

“Yes I would, because weddings are very fun, and if I had the chance to go to another one, I would.” -Joelle, 10

“No. Just one. Because my friend Aleta (imaginary friend) doesn’t want to go.” -Audrey, 3 (almost 4)

“Yeah.” -Sierra, 6

“Yeah.” -Brayden, 11

“Yes! Weddings are my favorite!” -Ella, 6

“Yes!! Why are you asking me all these questions? Are we going today?” -Sophia, 4 (almost 5)

“I actually would. Only if it is my wedding….oh…or, if it’s people I know!” -Alexandros, 5

“Yes.” -Brooklynn, 7

“No.” -Graydon, 5

“Yes, are you getting married?!!” -Samara, 7

Blog children at weddings

Couples stress endlessly about how to make their wedding different than anyone else’s and yet, somehow forget the little things…the children they invite :)  Children can be your worst critics or your biggest cheering squad, depending on how things are handled. It is really not difficult…

Keep them entertained, keep their hands busy and give them something to look forward to. Really, it is that simple!

Blog Ring_Bearer_Gift

Children want a children’s menu. You could be the “coolest adult ever” with a children’s buffet (Pizza, chicken fingers, hamburgers, hot dogs, taco station, build your own nachos, pasta, jello, ice cream sundae station, etc.)

Blog Children eating

If you want an adults-only reception, why not offer optional childcare for your guests? There are many professional babysitting companies for hire around the world. The cost is usually about $15-$25 per hour, per sitter. Check if your wedding venue has a separate room where the kids can hang out with pizza, movies, popcorn, craft stations, X-Box, etc.  Or, set them up in a hotel room where some of the guests are staying.

Children at weddings sneaking cake

Now for some cute and entertaining stories from some of our WPIC Alumni:

“I had a wedding that a total of 8 kids in the bridal party! The original plan was for them to walk 2 at a time down the aisle, but the bride knew that kids will be kids and just to let them do their thing. Well the first three pairs started down the aisle, then the first set of boys realized that the youngest girls were starting and ran all the way back down the aisle. This caused all the kids to run right back to the very start, and they all then proceeded to race to the altar. The guests absolutely loved it!” -Melissa Gurley of Gurley Events

“For my own wedding I was walking hand in hand down the aisle with my 22 month old daughter and she decided to b-line; so there I was chasing after her! We finally got back on track and then 2 minutes after the ceremony was over (in the Turks & Caicos heat) she decided she was NOT going to wear her fluffy tulle dress anymore! All of our wedding pictures showcase her in a diaper with sweaty curly hair. You just have to roll with it.”
-Ashlie Metcalf of Harmony Wedding & Event Coordination

“I worked with a lovely family a few years back. The flower girl threw a hissy fit just as she was about to walk down the aisle. She didn’t want to walk down the aisle with her Mum, with any of the bridesmaids, or with the bride! Who does she want to walk down the aisle with her? ME! The Wedding Coordinator! Needless to say, it was cute and fun. She made it down the aisle in one piece, and with no tears.” -Christina Spring of  A La Carte Event Management

“I love when there are kids at the wedding and in the wedding party – they add memories.  There’s been a few “cute” photo ops too… in the church a guest’s child was lying in the aisle while the ceremony was going on and he was watching the fans on the ceiling, and entertaining himself for the hour ceremony. The best one was when an out of province B&G got married in Collingwood and when I asked they said kids were invited BUT that during the dinner and speeches they would be having their own party (which we also set up and had 3 sitters with them – their ages ranged from 3 months – 10 years old about 8 of them)  After the first dance the kids came back and we had the sitters choreograph a dance for the B&G – WE made a BIG fuss over it with a huge introduction and lights and loud music on their entrance and then they all danced for the B&G ….. It brought tears to the Bride’s eyes and made this wedding which was more than 4 years ago a very memorable one for not only me and my team but all the guests.  Small miracles BIG BIG MEMORIES!” -Debbie Savic of Fresh Occasion Coordination

“At my brother’s wedding, our nephew, who was 2 at the time, was the junior groomsman. I gave him and the junior bridesmaid a little nudge to get them started, and the walk up the aisle went well for the first few feet, and then he wanted to come back to me instead of walking up to his Mom like we rehearsed. It turns out he had put his toy helicopter in the pocket of my dress, and wanted it with him. Once he had it, he ran to the junior bridesmaid, and happily walked up the aisle holding her hand with the helicopter in the other hand.” Erin Bosak of Erin Bosak Events

“My sister’s wedding, our nephew (5 at the time) was a holy terror. He refused to go down the aisle, and his dad ended up carrying him down – kicking and screaming all the way. He finally calmed down when he joined the rest of the bridal party… but he became the star of the show and added tons of cute “awwwwws” and giggles to an otherwise dull ceremony! Kids make the best entertainment!” -Sharon Kawano of Kawano Decor & Design

“The couple’s 5 y o nephew was the ring bearer.  He got up & said he wanted to sing a song for the bride and groom.  We turned off the music & the boy belted out this country song for the bride & groom to dance to.  I thought he was going to sing a couple lines, but nope, he sang the whole song & insisted everyone dance while he sang.  It wasn’t planned & was really cute.” -Danielle Andrews Sunkel of The Wedding Planners

“My brother/sister-in-law wanted my 3 year old daughter in their wedding. She did great at getting down the aisle, sitting quietly through the ceremony but afterwards when pictures were to be taken – she was done. She has the “evil eye/I’m gonna kill” look in all the wedding pictures. She didn’t want to be in them & made sure we’ll remember that day always. LOL!” -Nicole Marshall of Beautifully Planned Weddings & Events



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WPIC Planner of the Month -Bernadette Sousa

Interviewed by: Tracey Manailescu
WPIC Planner of the Month: Bernadette Sousa of Serendipity & Co. Inc.


We are so proud and happy to share Bernadette Sousa’s story with you.  Bernadette is a WPIC graduate and has some incredibly exciting news to share.  She is celebrating her 100th wedding with her company,  Serendipity & Co. Inc.
A huge and heartfelt congratulations to you and your team, Bernadette :)
Most challenging aspect of starting your business?

The most challenging aspect  I had to overcome in starting up my business was the fact that I had been suffering from fibromyalgia for quite some time and was unsure on the toll this business would take on me.  I had been a stay at home mom for about 18 years and starting this  hobby business, balancing out family and clients was definitely going to be a new challenge for me. Thankfully with the help of my awesome assistants and having the flexibility with the hours and days that I work, I have found the way to balance it all.

Bernadette single
When was your moment when you truly felt you made your company successful?
I measure ” success” by my client base and not by profit margin, after all I was about to launch into this business for the passion of it. I also realize that success can come and go, some years you may have many weddings on the books yet the following year not so much. I live by the motto of ” you’re only as good as your last wedding” However, with that being said, there’s been a few key moments where it sinks in that Serendipity & Co really has become a recognizable wedding planning company.  First in January 2013 when two of my weddings were featured in Elegant Wedding Magazine! Last November when I realized that 2014 would be the year I would celebrate 100 weddings and launched my ” Who will be our 100th Bride” contest.  Most recently during a wedding show, while standing at my booth, several Brides-to-be approaching me and asking me if I was Bernadette of Serendipity, followed by the ” oh my god! I have to have you at my wedding!”
How many staff do you currently have?
I now have 8 girls on staff. 6 fully trained, 2 interns and 4 out of the 8 are WPIC certified. Ideally I will be working towards having all my assistants  become WPICC!
Best moments/memories from one or more wedding(s)?
I have truly been blessed with so many wonderful memories over the course of the past 7 years. But a few that stand out. The wedding of Sarah and Victor in August 2012. Portuguese Songstress ( as I like to call her) with California boy! Sarah very well known in the Portuguese community with a wedding that would be covered by the Portuguese media  The whole day was pretty much a dream. Despite how many weddings I had already planned or coordinated, I was wowed by the hour. Her special Tribute to her deceased Father. Standing in the middle of the dance floor, holding her mother’s hand while listening to a song she recorded as a little girl with her mother and looking over at each of the 4  projection screens where images of her Father looped. Then dancing with 4 key male figures in her life.  That moment was spectacular!
Another moment where I just felt so proud to be a part of it was when another one of my Bride’s who is a performer, wrote and performed a song to her ailing father as he sat is his wheelchair. The amount of love felt in that room, not a dry eye to be found.
As a whole, every one of my weddings has had an ” unforgettable moment” be it with their vows, their first dance as the Groom serenades his Bride…Speeches…All I can say is I love my job and wouldn’t change anything!


Please tell us some things you have learned over the years that have helped you grow?
Although my tag line says ” Close your eyes, tell us what you see” I can never say ” I can do a wedding with my eyes closed”! Each and every wedding is a blank canvas. No matter how much experience you have, I look at every wedding as my first. I learn that you can never be too cocky  and that  you are certainly as good as your team, not only with your assistants but with the vendors you network with.
I try very hard to make conferences but with my busy schedule, it is very hard. I look to my ” wedding bibles” , professionals that have been in the business longer than I have to keep me grounded and informed of trends. I also have my mentors within the WPIC alumni and thank God for them as sometimes I send them a ” help” message or email and they are always there to help me out with advise or referrals!
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
My new 5 year plan is to celebrate my 200th wedding sometime before 2019 while still rocking my stilettos!
On a serious note, having to deal with a major life crisis last year and suddenly becoming a single Mother, life took quite the turn. The business suffered tremendously and the fate of Serendipity & Co Inc was uncertain. However, Serendipity is like my child. I gave birth to it 7 years ago, I have nurtured it and just like any Mom, you don’t abandon your children.  When in crisis, you just pull up your socks and work harder. Once again, realizing that we were on the brink of coordinating our 100th wedding, I knew that Serendipity & Co’s fate was to continue well into the future, to grow and be stronger than ever before! With a fresh attitude, lots of ambition , a passion for weddings and a fabulous group of assistants, Serendipity & Co looks forward to a fabulous 2014 season and to our 100th wedding on June 28, 2014!
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The Low Down on Initial Meetings

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by: Avenue Photo

Initial Meetings are the “getting to know you” moments where you, the wedding coordinator, and the couple meet and decide if you are a good fit.  There is no charge for this meeting.  (It is NOT a Consultation.)

Typically these face to face meetings take place after a couple has seen your website, blog, some form of advertising, or were referred to you by someone, and decided to email or call you to discuss the possibility of hiring you for their wedding. Hopefully your website and blog will tell potential clients a bit about you and your personality. Your branding should speak to your target couple and attract like minded individuals. From that initial contact, you will set up a face to face meeting to get to know each other, where they can hear more about what services you provide, experience you have and if your personalities match. You want to learn more about what ideas, cultural aspects if any, hopes and what type of budget they have for their wedding. The initial meeting should take about an hour.

To do:

  • Arrive 15 minutes early to get comfortable and settled, get your table, perhaps get a tea and have things in place to lead the meeting.
  • Turn off the sound on your cell phone.  Your full attention must be given to  the couple.
  • Shake hands.  Always shake with the right hand in a firm handshake.  Look the person in the eye while you are shaking their hand.
  • Give your business card. Always use two hands to present and receive a business card. (When receiving a business card make sure that you look at the card before putting it away in a safe place to show respect.)
  • Listen.  What are their likes/dislikes? What do they need help with?  What are they excited about?
  • Take notes.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Show your emergency kit, portfolio and talk about the services you offer.
  • Show that you are interested in their plans, and excited for them.
  • Have a contract (with a stamped envelope) ready to give to the couple.

What not to do:

  • Talk about yourself the entire time.
  • Give away tips, vendor referrals and advice without a signed contract and initial payment.
  • Discount your services. If you don’t believe in yourself and your value, why should anyone else?
  • Check your emails, look at the clock, or take phone calls during the meeting.
  • Chew gum or go out for a smoke break.
  • Make unrealistic promises or flat out lying, to get the couple to sign.
  • Badmouth other vendors or past clients.

Sometimes, in, or after the initial meeting, you may get that feeling in your gut that you are just not a good match for each other.  Everyone has their “trigger” that sets them off and sends alerts to your brain.  For me it is hand-holding or very needy clients.  Some people can’t work with  third party involvement such as a very involved sister, best friend or mother of the bride or groom, while others might say, “no way” to indecisive couples.

If you know your trigger, then make sure you are paying attention to the signs for them in your initial meeting so you don’t get stuck in a very uncomfortable working relationship from now until their wedding. If you feel this way, you can bet that your clients do, too.

Or else…

What should you do?  Be honest.  Let the couple know that you don’t feel you would be a good fit and ask if they would like you to reach out to your WPIC Alumni within your Association to find a better match.  Then go back and revisit your branding, and look into how you can change it to attract the couples you do want to work with.

Hopefully, you are a good fit for each other, and they will sign and send the contract along with payment to you, so you can begin working together for their upcoming wedding :)






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WPIC Kickoff 2014

By: Tracey Manailescu

Tracey Manailescu

Photo by

“Fearless in 2014″ was the theme!

Our WPIC Representatives really out did themselves with this event.  Kudos and a HUGE thank you to Meagan Eagles, Dawn Fillion and Amy Stevenson.  These ladies worked their butts off to make this even a memorable night for all of us. We truly appreciate all of the details, relaxed atmosphere and the thoughtfulness that went into it all.

*The Eaton Chelsea pulled it off without a glitch. Great staff and a great location.


We had a gigantic list of sponsors that helped make this night so wonderful. Whether it was the entertainment, venue, sweets, decor, florals, games, slo-mo photo booth, snow cones, chip station, fortune teller, fascinators, swag bag items, prizes or speakers, we appreciate it all, and thank you!


Carnival games?  You betcha ;)






Here are some photos of our amazing WPIC alumni. We were so happy to see everyone who came out to network, learn and just unwind.














The Eaton Chelsea did an amazing job of keeping us fed with vintage circus themed food such as a pretzel station, pulled pork station, mini corn dogs, hot dogs, vegetarian chile, reuben sandwiches, chick pea curry, mushroom ragout, bacon ragout, freshly made hot yukon gold potato roasti and a dessert station.















Our keynote speakers of the evening were WPIC’ers Michael Coombs and Jennifer Maxwell.

Mike spoke on the subject, “Pride. Perseverance and Fear.” He gave some insight into where he came from , how he turned around negatives and how it all helped him be who is is now. Support from family and believing in yourself will get you, and keep you on track. Personal anecdotes always endear the audience, and Mike’s speech was just that.


Jennifer spoke about, “Standing in the Face of Fear”. A funny & warm hearted discussion about not being afraid to change things up in your career to get you on the path you are supposed to be on.  Lists, lists and more lists will keep you organized and on the straight and narrow. Never be afriad to amke mistakes as that is how we learn. Never give up!



Oh yes, we had entertainment.  The incrdibly talented team from A2D2 gave two performances, a strolling cupcake station,and a clown that stole my popcorn and brought back even more then I had lost, got to love that;)



Below are photos of some wild, whacky and gorgeous fascinatiors created by WPIC Alumni, Aimee Alabaster of With Abandon. I loved that we were able to pre select the fascinators that we wanted to wear for the evening.  Danielle bought hers right after the night ended, and I have 2 orders on the go right now!





Photos are all courtesy of the dynamic duo: Jono & Laynie. You both were so easy to work with and we happily recommend you to all of our Alumni and their couples!





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Weddings at Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cuba

Tracey M Events

Photo by Avenue Photo

Photo: Tracey Manailescu
Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Danielle Andrews Sunkel Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu Memories Flamenco Beach Resort in Cayo Coco, Cuba

Photo: Tracey Manailescu in Cayo Coco

Cayo Coco Facts:

*80% of vacationers are Canadian

*Best bet on sunny weather is between November and April

*Bus transfer is 10 minutes from the Cayo Coco International Airport

*Only resorts inhabit Cayo Coco

*Cayo Coco has been ranked 20th of the best beaches in the world (6th in the entire Caribbean)

* Serious crime is very rare in Cuba.  Tourism is extremely important so the Government takes extra precautions with guarding and policing. Here is a link for common dangers and annoyances

Always check up onCanadian Government safety warnings here before you travel:


*Make sure you upgrade your vacation to include the Diamond Club Package ($10 more a day). You get your key and welcome package on the bus instead of having to get in a line, and check in at the lobby. This also gives you upgraded alcohol available at every bar, a Surf & Turf dinner by the pool with some special perks & surprises afterwards. It gives you a special spot on the beach (no rocks) with your own bar (they seriously refuse to serve anyone who is not Diamond Club), etc.

*Go to the shows. 4/6 that we went to were really good. (The Michael Jackson show was different then any I have seen before.) Memories Flamenco has great Entertainment staff and the choreography is excellent. I wish I could shake my tushie the way they can…I could have done without the Mr. Memories Flamenco Show (except for the fact that my brother-in-law was a participant, and made it hilarious for us) and the International Show (boring, unless you are a participant).

*After the great nightly shows, head on over to the lobby bar.  It’s always hopping & happening. (*Bartenders are prone to serving women first)

*Make sure you go to the onsite Disco.  We had a really fun girls night! (Of course, it depends on the crowd, and who you are with, for an optimum experience.)

In the morning, stop by the lobby bar and get yourself an awesome cappuccino on the way to the buffet for breakfast.

*Make sure you got to the a la carte restaurants! The food was surprisingly good!

*Be prepared to spend about $25 CDN  a day on tips (Did you know that Cubans make $15-35 CUC’s a month?) Tipping is how they survive, and buy the extras in their lives for themselves and their families. Of course, this is always at your discretion and for good service.

*Book an excursion or two (or 3). Very reasonable and really well run.

*Bring Canadian Money.  You can exchange $ at the resort bank, just show your passport.  You can also change $ at the reception desk. We always kept $1 coins, and $3 bills on us for tipping.


*Expect to have great internet connection. Unplug yourselves while you are in Cuba.

*Expect to call home every day. Phone calls are VERY expensive.

Legalities (Romantic

The information below outlines the marriage requirements for getting married in Cuba.

  • If you have never been married before, all you need is a passport that is valid throughout your stay in Cuba, and a tourist card (available from a travel agent, airline or the Cuban consulate).
  • If either the bride or groom has been married before, the previously married person must, in addition to the valid passport and tourist card, also produce the following documents:
    • if divorced: his/her birth certificate and Certificate of Divorce;
    • if widowed: his/her birth certificate, Certificate of Marriage and Certificate of Spouse’s Death.
  • Have your birth certificate and any divorce/marriage/death documents translated into Spanish and legalized by the Cuban consul in Canada (service fee applies).
  • In addition, you must:
    • Create a sheet that lists your names, home address, occupations, level of education, nationality and the full names of your parents, living or deceased.
    • Attach the photo page of your passport to this sheet.
    • Fax copies of all documentation (including the extras described above if you have been married before) in both English and Spanish to your hotel in Cuba at least three weeks before your arrival there.
    • Bring all your original documents with you.

Your marriage will be formalized in the name stated on your passport. Your passport must therefore be correct, and the name on your passport must match that on all your other documents.

After your wedding, your Marriage Certificate will be prepared as quickly as possible and either given to you before you leave (time permitting) or couriered at the hotel’s expense to the home address on your documents. Your marriage is legalized by the Canadian Embassy in Havana and the Cuban Foreign Affairs department.

The registrar’s office should be contacted for specific rules regarding planning your destination or beach wedding in Cuba. They will also provide information regarding marriage licenses and marriage certificates.

  • The documents (birth certificates, certificate of diforce, etc.) must be translated into Spanish if issued in a different language and legalized by the Cuban Consulate in the issuing country.
  • All weddings are performed by a Notary Public.
  • Wedding ceremonies are performed on weekdays only, that is, from Mondays to Fridays ( from 10:00am to 05:00pm )

More Information :
Embassy of the Republic of Cuba
388 Main St.
Ottawa ON. K1S 1E3
Tel: 613-563-0141 Fax: 613-563-0068

Cuba Tourist Board
55 Queen St. E, Suite 705
Toronto ON. M5C 1R6
Tel: 416-362-0700 Fax: 416-362-6799
Photo: Memories Flamenco Beach Resort

Wedding Packages:

I am starting with the add on which is what I think, would make your guests remember your wedding for a long, long time…


The Memories of Cuba Package can be added to the Joy, Bliss or Paradise wedding packages:

  • Traditional Cuban music played during ceremony
  • Signature cocktail (Choice of Cuba Libre or Memories Mojito)
  • Rum and coffee bar setup after dinner to sample local coffee and rum flavors
  • Cuban dance lesson for wedding couple (Rumba or Salsa)
  • Traditional salsa and Latino nightlife party after dinner including open bar for 2 hours
  • Cigar rolling lesson (15 cigars hand rolled)

Price: $495.00 CAD

Memories of Cuba Package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.

I would also recommend:


The Private Alfresco Reception is designed for couples who would like to host a Private Reception for their Wedding Dinner, purchased in addition to the Joy, Bliss or Paradise wedding package

  • Private reception alfresco* for newlyweds and their guests with set menu
  • Tables with white linens
  • Open domestic bar for 3 hours
  • Sound system included for 3 hours
  • Interactive Bongo performance (45 minutes)

Price: $625.00 CAD

Package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.

*Location is determined by property and subject to availability
Photo: Memories Flamenco Beach Resort


Memories Paradise Package Includes:

  • Professional services of an onsite, day-of wedding coordinator
  • Upgrade for the bride and groom to the next room category, based on availability at check-in
  • Symbolic wedding ceremony guided by your onsite wedding coordinator in English or French
  • Preferred choice of ceremony location
  • Ceremony table with white linens and tropical centerpiece
  • Tropical floral bridal bouquet and grooms boutonniere
  • 2 bouquets for bridesmaids and 2 boutonnieres for groomsmen
  • Sound system with microphone for ceremony
  • Sparkling wine toast following the ceremony
  • Wedding cake (suited to guest count)
  • Semi-private cocktail reception with canapés and open bar
  • Semi-private dinner reservation for the wedding group in one of the a la carte restaurants with set menu (2 hour duration)
  • Honeymoon breakfast in the room the morning after the wedding
  • Fourteen printed 4×6 colour photos
  • Live Trio available to perform during either ceremony, cocktails or reception (45 minutes)
  • Wedding hair-style and makeup for bride
  • 10% discount at the spa for bride and groom
  • Special wedding gift

Price: $1025.00 CAD

Paradise package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.

Paradise wedding package can be upgraded to a civil ceremony with the addition of the notary fees – please see our “a la carte” services for pricing

Photo: Memories Flamenco Beach Resort
Photo: Memories Flamenco Beach Resort


Memories Bliss Package Includes:

  • Professional services of an onsite, day-of wedding coordinator
  • Upgrade for the bride and groom to the next room category, based on availability at check-in
  • Symbolic wedding ceremony guided by your onsite wedding coordinator in English or French
  • Preferred choice of ceremony location
  • Ceremony table with white linens and tropical centerpiece
  • Tropical floral bridal bouquet and grooms boutonniere
  • Additional maid of honour bouquet and best man boutonniere
  • Sound system with microphone for ceremony
  • Sparkling wine toast following the ceremony
  • Wedding cake (suited to guest count)
  • Semi-private cocktail reception with canapés and open bar
  • Semi-private dinner reservation for the wedding group in one of the a la carte restaurants with set menu (2 hour duration)
  • Honeymoon breakfast in the room the morning after the wedding
  • Twelve printed 4×6 colour photos
  • Special wedding gift

Price: $775.00 CAD

(Bliss wedding package is for all markets except Russia)

Bliss package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.

Bliss wedding package can be upgraded to a civil ceremony with the addition of the notary fees – please see our “a la carte” services for pricing. 


Memories Joy Package Includes:

  • Professional services of an onsite, day-of wedding coordinator
  • Upgrade for the bride and groom to the next room category, based on availability at check-in
  • Symbolic wedding ceremony guided by your onsite wedding coordinator in English or French
  • Preferred choice of ceremony location
  • Ceremony table with white linens and tropical centerpiece
  • Tropical floral bridal bouquet and grooms boutonniere
  • Sparkling wine toast following the ceremony
  • Sound system with microphone for ceremony
  • Wedding cake (suited to guest count)
  • Semi-private dinner reservation for the wedding group in one of the a la carte restaurants with set menu (2 hour duration)
  • Honeymoon breakfast in the room the morning after the wedding
  • Special wedding gift

Price: $575.00 CAD

Joy package includes up to 15 guests - additional guests may be added for $25.00 per person.

Joy wedding package can be upgraded to a civil ceremony with the addition of the notary fees – please see our “a la carte” services for pricing by property.

***Wedding Bonus***

In order to obtain a free wedding package clients must stay at least 6 nights and have 18 pax per group. OR In order to obtain a free wedding package clients must stay at least 12 nights and have 9 pax per group

• Welcoming Cocktail
• Private Check –in
• Notary service, marriage license and legalization of documents
• Up grading (subject to availability)
• Personal Wedding Coordinator
• Sparkling wine in room upon arrival
• Decoration of selected location for the ceremony
• Bride´s bouquet and boutonnière for the groom
• Wedding Cake for the ceremony
• Sparkling wine for the toast
• Chambermaid service after 11:00 am and before 3:00pm on the wedding day
• Taped music (including wedding march)
• Semi private dinner in one of our a la cartes
• “Just Married” hanging sign in door
• Turn down service on the wedding evening
• Continental breakfast in room on the morning after the wedding ( 7-10:00am)
• Enjoy our Honeymoon Package
• Late Check Out 15:00hr (subject to availability)

* If divorced, divorce certificate
* If widowed, wedding certificate and death certification of the former spouse
* If single, just valid passports
* In all cases tourist card (visa) number and valid passport copies

Note: All documents should be translated into Spanish and legalized by the Cuban Consulate in the country of origin. Also, documents must be faxed or e-mail to the Wedding Coordinator at least six (6) weeks prior arrival. Along with the previous documents it is highly important to fill out the Wedding Form and Witness Information to be send to the wedding coordinator via e-mail or fax. Confirmation deadlines: 6 weeks in advance.

*To arrange wedding packages please contact the hotel directly.

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Saving For Your Honeymoon – 52 Week Money Challenge

By: Holly Carney, WPICC of Holly Martrimony

WPIC’er, Holly Carney shares some helpful tips and advice that she gives to her clients when planning their honeymoon. Some great statistics and helpful hints that we as planners, can share with each of our clients. Thanks, for sharing with us, Holly!

Saving For Your Honeymoon – 52 Week Money Challenge

Travel Only Expert (and blogger) Sherry Gratton came to mind for this post because of an image of Aruba she posted talking about how this destination receives 52 WEEKS OF SUNSHINE! Appropriate for a 52 WEEK savings challenge no? Photo Credit:

Travel Only Expert (and blogger) Sherry Gratton came to mind for this post because of an image of Aruba she posted talking about how this destination receives 52 WEEKS OF SUNSHINE! Appropriate for a 52 WEEK savings challenge no? Photo Credit:

According to a survey done by Wedding Papers Diva on engagements and wedding planning, they found that 40% of survey respondents averaged 13-18 months from the ring to the wedding day. According to Wedding Bells Readers Survey in 2013, the honeymoon could increase the wedding budget by $4700 on average. I don’t know about you but this vacation isn’t going to likely be your all-inclusive vacation to Cuba. You might want to do a few more excursions than you normally would or upgrade your suite or level of service or go somewhere a little more exotic? This can apply a lot of pressure on your wedding budget right? What if you could follow a savings plan over your 13-18 month engagement that would allow you to mindlessly but strategically save for your dream honeymoon without feeling like you’re sacrificing a lot?

What will your savings plan look like? Photo Credit:

What will your savings plan look like? Photo Credit:

As 2013 ended and we moved into 2014 I started seeing the typical New Years Resolutions popping up everywhere but one stood out! The 52 Week Savings Challenge. From what I can find, it was started by a lady named Kassondra early in 2013. She has a website that you can sign up for free to help you track your progress and see your savings projection. This can be just the motivation you need and if you want accountability there is even a facebook group you can join and see how others are making their savings goals happen! Starting with a $1 a week each (max contribution per week will be $52), you could see $1378 dollars in savings after 12 months (52 weeks). If both of you are saving, this is now $2756. If you want to do more try doubling the amount and starting with $2 each per week (max contribution per week will be $104) which will result in a projected $5512. How much did we need for that honeymoon again? Looks like you might be able to spend a little more than we thought on this plan! AWESOME!

Setting SMART goals is the key! Photo Credit:

Setting SMART goals is the key! Photo Credit:

Thought I’d share this 52 Week Savings Challenge as it is something that I have adopted into my life for 2014. I don’t think this will be one of those resolutions that you start and don’t finish. If you prefer to see the savings add up but your contribution go down, START at the 52 week amount and go backwards! $52, $51, $50 … etc. In hindsight I should have started this way but it’s a personal choice! What motivates you? Are you joining the challenge? Join the original facebook group by clicking here. Visit the website by the challenge developer and sign up to track your progress by clicking here. Have an android? Download the app by clicking here. Let us know how you’re doing! Set S.M.A.R.T. goals with us! Remember this from school? S.M.A.R.T. goals are SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT (results-focused, realistic, recorded) and TIME-BOUND. My favourite kind. Exactly the kind of goal you want to set while planning your wedding.



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Professional Head Shots- Why Every Wedding Planner Needs One

By: Tracey Manailescu

The good, the bad, and the just plain ol’ ugly. (Yes, I will share some of mine…)  Since I am sharing mine, I might as well drag Danielle into this, too :)

You all know what I am talking about…Don’t be embarrassed. I have some REAL doozies from the not so distant past.  One thing I am famous for, is wearing an elastic on my wrist. Somehow, I always forget to take the darned things off before I am photographed at events, and for impromptu head shots (See a few of Danielle’s and mine below.)  The really bad ones won’t make it here, I am afraid…LOL!

Tracey ManailescuBrightroom Traceytracey yuck


Professional business head shots are important for many reasons:

  • Shows potential clients that you take your wedding planning business seriously, and have invested in your marketing as well as your brand. You ARE your brand!
  • Shows potential clients a little bit about you, and your personality, by the way you choose to present yourself. Don’t be afraid to show your true self in your head shots. If you are going to wear jeans and a blazer, with an amazing pair of shoes in your client meetings, then wear THAT for your photo. If you can rock a business suit, and still show your amazing sense of style, then do it!
  • Shows how you will probably represent yourself at their wedding. Makeup done, hair under control (speaking for myself, here) and an outfit you feel confident in.
  • Shows potential clients if your style matches their expectations of a wedding planner. if not, they will move on.

Here are some that I have liked over the past few years:
www.michellelawsonphotography.comTracey ManailescuTracey ManailescuTracey Manailescu

Here are some of Danielle’s:

Where can you get professional head shots taken?

  • Book a head shot session with your favourite wedding photographer.
  • Scope out, and contact a photography company that you admire, and are hoping to work with in the future. Hire them!
  • Ask other wedding professionals where they had theirs done (WPIC Alumni Association would be a great place to ask).  If someone is happy with their head shot, then they will most likely happily refer you to the photographer that made it happen for them.
  • WPIC has held 2 professional working head shot events for WPIC Alumni with some of Toronto’s most talented photographers. (My photo in the top left hand corner, is from the last event in September at Paletta Mansion.)
  • Networking events
  • FAM trips
  • Conferences and Trade Shows

 Tips to get good head shots:

  • Bring a change of clothing for two different looks.  Be comfortable in what you will be wearing. Yes, go out and buy yourself a new outfit for it if you can!
  • Make sure that you are comfortable with the photographer to ensure real smiles and photogenic poses.
  • Tell the photographer if you are uncomfortable with anything about yourself that may interfere with the photos and your comfort level.  ie. You look way better photographed from your left side, you hate your mole, double chin, etc.
  • Make your eyes smile.  Think happy thoughts and even giggle if you want in the photos.
  • Avoid clothing that wrinkles easily.  It will look messy in the photos.
  • Avoid skin coloured clothing (it’ll look like your naked and/or washed out). This means if you have light skin then avoid tans, pale yellow, pale peach, etc.  If you have dark skin then avoid dark or muted colours. Do the opposite of your skin colour.
  • ***TIP***Apparently, jeweled tones look good on every shade of skin.
  • If you wear glasses 99% of the time, then wear glasses in your head shot. Your photographer can work around the glare.
  • Avoid wearing shiny or sparkly makeup. It will stress out the photographer with the lighting on your face.
  • Avoid large or chunky jewelry. (It will be distracting, and take the viewer away from your face.)
  • Drink lots of water the week before.
  • Get a good sleep the night before.
  • Avoid red wine and heavy foods the night before.
  • Invest in a teeth whitening product.
  • Have enough time scheduled for your session.  Typically an hour works well.

listerinewhiteningstripsNo red winewater bottlejewel toned

How much will it cost?

  • Anywhere from $150-$400+ with a professional photographer.
  • If that stresses you out at the moment, then department stores like Sears,The Real Canadian Superstore,  and Walmart are also there for you, if you are in a pinch, and can provide a much cheaper alternative to get you going.

Working Shots:

Working shots are a great way to show what you will look like on their wedding day.  It shows clients what they can expect from you appearance wise when you are working at their wedding. (FYI- Flip flops, tank tops, cut-off jean shorts, gym outfits, micro mini-skirts, etc. should not be an option).

***TIP***Ask the couple and the photographer to take a photo of you, with the couple. This is a great for future blogs, your portfolio, and memories!

Danielle Andrews Sunkel andTracey Manailescu

So really, there are just no excuses for selfies, passport photos, and night out with the friends photos as your professional head shot. Invest in yourself (this is just one of the ways to do so) and clients will appreciate it, and invest in you!

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How McDonald’s Prepared me for the Wedding Industry

By: WPIC Intern, Cassidy Tsikouras

Vytautas Kielaitis /

Vytautas Kielaitis /

Working previously in the Hospitality industry as a “Hospitality Ambassador” for McDonald’s has given me some well needed skills and experience that I’m able to transfer to working in the wedding planning industry.  Skills like maintaining customer relationships, dealing and overcoming problems or disagreements that a customer may have, satisfying customer needs or wants, this all relates to dealing with everyday clientele in the wedding planning industry.

Maintaining customer relationships is one of the biggest parts of being a successful business person, not just in Hospitality but in any kind of job.  Having a client or customer feel good about their decision of picking you as their wedding planner you have to have trust and communication within your business relationship. Having a client or customer feel like they can come to you with any questions or concerns they may have is what will lead you to having even more successful business relationships in the future.  When a client is happy with the service you have provided they’re more than likely to spread positive feedback about your company to their friends and family.

One of the key problem areas especially in Hospitality is constantly overcoming any issues or concerns a customer may have with a product or service. Your job is to smile and calmly figure out how to overcome these issues and make your client well aware that you will handle and fix whatever problem or concern they may have. Working in a fast food chain, you are trained to deal, react and positively come to a resolution to any customer’s concern or feedback.


Planning a big event or wedding comes with many stresses from a bride or groom with all sorts of demands and issues that arise during the planning process. Previously being trained in dealing with any kind of problem or demand, having this skill already built into my memory makes dealing with any problem a lot easier.

The way a wedding planner or event planner deals with pressure, schedules, time frame or budgets on a day to day basis will end up being the foundation on whether or not a client enjoyed working with you or will one day want to use your services again.  Being able to stay calm under any kind of pressure and being able to make someone’s vision for an event come to life as well as run smoothly, this will determine your future with every customer you come across.

Working in a hospitality based business prepares you to deal with getting things done efficiently and effectively and make a client or customer feel good about their decision to come back to do business with you. Working as a hospitality ambassador has trained me and prepared me in more ways than one.  Working in the wedding and event planning industry makes me feel more confident knowing that I’m able to transfer what I have learned from my previous jobs into event planning.

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Palace Resorts Gets WPIC Certification…Again!

By: Tracey Manailescu

WPIC certifies wedding department at Palace Resorts 2013

WPIC certifies wedding department at Palace Resorts 2013

Danielle and I had the immense pleasure of meeting the newest members of Palace Resorts Wedding Department this past week in Cancun.  We can’t even begin to say how wonderful this group of women are. Smart, kind, funny and they sure do know their wedding business inside and out!

This is the fourth time that WPIC has been asked to certify the wedding department at Palace Resorts. Each time, we jump at the chance.  Not only because we get the chance to stay at Moon Palace, but because we feel at home each time we are there.

The friendly staff, beautiful property, great food, beautiful rooms and pool/beach area are all part of what makes Palace Resorts shine. (We love it here so much in fact, that we brought our families on a personal vacation last spring, so they got to see what all of the fuss was about…LOL!)

These ladies shared their knowledge and experiences with us, and we shared ours. We are so very proud to have them a part of our WPIC Alumni, and can confidently recommend them, and happily send wedding couples to Palace Resorts knowing that they are in good hands.

We love the fact that Palace Resorts has changed their wedding packages to allow couples to show their personalities, by choosing what they feel represents them best. They work with some great suppliers to bring a wide variety of linens, charges, chairs, cakes, florals etc.  Don’t be afraid to shake things up!

You can view some wedding ceremonies in their gallery.

Photo Courtesy of:

Photo Courtesy of:

Some items that are available to enhance your couples weddings:

Mariachis, soloists, Mexican duo, trios, jazz quartet, fireworks, circus show, fire shows, crystal curtains, illuminated mushrooms, Led lamps, hanging and floating Chinese lamps, fire torches, beautiful light up dance floors and horse drawn carriage rides.

I think we have seen almost all of these items at one time or another at events we have attended at Palace Resorts.  We can’t wait to see what comes next…

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