A picture perfect wedding doesn’t come without its road bumps. One sign of a successful wedding however, is when those little road bumps go unnoticed by the bride and groom-to-be and their guests. Who is this inconspicuous individual, hosing out those mini wedding-related fires that can flare up oh so unexpectedly? Why a wedding planner of course! These magical humans with their clipboards in hand are the unseen and often unsung heroes that play such a big role in the behind-the-scenes action of so many successful nuptials. Wedding planners take care of coordinating the little details and troubleshooting any unexpected issues so that the bride and groom can focus on the more pressing aspects of their day – like being in love and having fun!
We recently caught up with wedding planner Leah Craig, of Leah Craig Events to find out the benefits of hiring a wedding planner, her favourite trends in the wedding industry right now and what advice she has for newly engaged couples who are about to dive into the wedding planning process.
LG: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
LC: My name is Leah Craig, and I’m a WPIC (Wedding Planners Institute of Canada) certified planner and small business owner located in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.
Weddings are definitely my passion. I think about plans, lists, and unique ideas all day, every day. I get really excited when I hear someone speak passionately about their wedding plans.
When I’m not in wedding mode, you can find me hanging out with my husband Tyler, and our 2 little boys Logan and Brennan. I probably have my hair in a ponytail, while playing with Lightning McQueen Hot Wheels or a T-ball set.
When it comes to my business, Leah Craig Events – I love to help in any capacity.
I offer several different packages to help ensure your special day goes exactly the way you envisioned. Everything from full service wedding planning, to month-of wedding coordination services, to a professional confidant ready to help whenever you need it.
LG: How did you get into wedding planning?
LC: I have always planned different events both in my personal life, and my previous professional life. I loved coordinating vendors, and making checklists, and personalizing the event. Every aspect of event planning excited me.
Of course, weddings are a whole different ball game. Everything is amplified tenfold, and I dove in feet first.
I started helping my friends plan their weddings, then I planned my own wedding, then I started planning friends-of-friends weddings. That’s when I thought to myself – “This is my passion, I need to make this my living”
When I told friends and family members that I was starting my own business as a wedding planner, the reaction was the same for nearly everyone. Not a single person was surprised! The most common comment was some form of “well, of course you’re going to be a wedding planner. That only makes sense”.
I had somehow become the girl who knew a lot about weddings and event planning, and this next step was just natural progression.
So, I became a certified wedding planner and coordinator with WPIC and Leah Craig Events came into fruition. I’m now in my 4th year of business and loving every minute of it.
LG: What is your favourite part about being in the business of planning weddings?
LC: I absolutely love that I get to be a small part of someone’s big day. A wedding day is a big, emotional day that has a lot of expectations to live up to. I feel so honoured when a couple trusts me, and chooses me to help with their vision. A big part of my business is a “month-of coordination” package. I essentially step in to help with the last 6 weeks before your wedding – you know, the super stressful part! I coordinate the logistics, multiple itineraries, vendor communication, and everything on the day of the wedding. This enables the couple to plan their dream wedding on their own, but then hand over the reins to a professional to ensure all plans go off without a hitch.
I LOVE when my couples say that they got to enjoy the day, and that they didn’t stress about a single thing. That’s what it’s all about – giving the newlyweds the opportunity to soak in every second of their dream day.
LG: What are the benefits of hiring a wedding planner?
LC: I believe the number one reason to hire a wedding planner or coordinator is to have someone on your side. A wedding is something you plan once (or twice) in a lifetime, it can be a very confusing, daunting and emotional process that has a lot of moving parts. To have a professional planner there to guide them through ideas, contracts, etiquette, and vendor decisions is pretty powerful.
LG: What advice do you have for newly engaged couples who are about to dive into the wedding planning process?
LC: Communication with each other is key. You need to decide as a couple what aspect of the wedding day is important to you, and what you can be more lenient with.
It is exceptionally easy to get caught up in the gorgeous floral choices, and glittery table numbers, and breathtaking lace dresses – especially when you are trying to impress your guests. However, in the end, your guests will only remember the overall experience of your day. My advice is to plan your day how YOU want, and not how you think others would want. Focus on creating an event that is completely and unreservedly “you”!
LG: What are the big questions you ask your clients to get a feel for their vision and what questions should couples ask you?
LC: I don’t really have a “go to” list of questions for my clients. When we get together for the initial consultation, we just meet for coffee and start chatting about anything and everything wedding related. I ask about ideas, their vision, their traditions, frustrations, stressors etc. to get a feel of how I can help them. I always leave the initial meeting already emotionally invested in their wedding, but I believe my couples appreciate that. They know that I’m going to do everything in my power to help make it the “best day ever!”
If I were a bride, looking to hire a wedding planner/coordinator I would want to know about their experience and the scope of their responsibilities for my wedding day.
LG: What are your favourite trends in the wedding industry right now?
LC: My favourite trend from a décor prospective is the thought of “juxtaposition”. I love when two different looks are mashed together and somehow just work. For example: Mixing geometric or industrial elements with soft cascading florals. Or hosting your reception in a barn, but glamming up the space with crystal chandeliers and sparkly tablecloths, instead of the traditional burlap and lace.
I like the element of surprise that comes with mixing ideas and themes together. Of course, if you are planning on going this route – I would highly suggest hiring a professional décor company to get it just right!
Another trend that I can totally get behind is the “unplugged” ceremony. Encouraging guests to put away their electronic devices during the ceremony and just be completely present is so great. At every wedding that I work, I stand at the back during the ceremony. The amount of phones and iPads I see hovering over other guests’ heads is enough to drive any photographer crazy.
LG: What has been your favourite wedding you’ve planned and why?
LC: Oh, that is a tough question – I’m not sure that I have one favourite wedding.
There are so many different moments from different weddings that stay with me. My most favourite moment was when a bride walked down the aisle to a recording of her late father singing. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get emotional, I don’t think I will ever forget how I felt when that song came over the speakers.
Focusing on the personal elements on your wedding, will make the most impact for a memorable day.
We’d like to thank Leah for her sharing her passion and expertise with us as well as Sylvia Pond Photography, Lindsay Coulter Photography, BoXphotography and Denise Belanger Photography for their beautiful photographs.
Stay tuned for weekly blog updates and make sure to follow us on social media as we deliver fresh, new content to inspire, excite and assist as you plan your dream event. From all of us at Liuna Gardens, thank you for following along!