On September 19, 2007, standing beside the lower chute at the Sunwapta Waterfalls in Jasper, Alberta my husband and I were engaged. Dave’s words are etched into my memory and I clearly remember the giddiness, excitement and love that filled my heart in that moment. Here is a journal entry that I wrote while on our honeymoon:
Finally, a wife. To marry another is an honour, a privilege and one of the most selfless acts that one human being can pledge to another. On Saturday May 24, 2008 – David and I pledged to love and witness and cherish each other for the rest of both of our time on this earth. What an amazing promise. In celebration with friends and family, two souls became one. ~ Nadine Janzen, Journal entry titled “Thoughts of a Wife”
Eight months after getting engaged we were married and it was one of the happiest days of my life.The time in-between, however, is a little bit of a blur. Planning a wedding – let alone planning one for 130 people within eight months – is like having a second full time job. Not to toot my own horn (but I’m going to), I also planned our wedding in Ontario while living in Alberta – double whammy!
Yet, despite the crazy blur, I do remember it being fun. Choosing my bridesmaids, finding THE dress, picking flower arrangements, designing invitations, choosing a venue, sampling food, tasting cake, selecting a photographer, videographer, DJ, MC, MOH … the list goes on and on. For the most part, the ‘control-loving’, organized, type A personality that I am enjoyed every bit. One thing I wish I had the opportunity to do, however, was to attend a wedding show or two. Because I was living in Alberta and getting married in Ontario I really didn’t get a chance to attend anything like the Ancaster Wedding Show.
This May hubby and I will be celebrating 5 years of bliss as husband and wife – *takes a bow* – Thank you, Thank you. So – why attend a wedding show? Well, in the same year that I am celebrating my 5th anniversary, my best friend in the entire world is getting married. To say that ‘she is in the thick of it’ would be an understatement – her wedding is fast approaching. The venue has been chosen, dress ordered, photographer hired, cake flavours selected but there is still much to be done. And, as the Maid-of-Honour (Matron I guess …) I’m dedicated and delighted to be at her side through it all.
Anyone who’s had to plan an event knows that it takes a lot of time and effort to research and connect with vendors. And so, wedding shows like this one are a chance to bring Ancaster (Hamilton area) vendors together in one space for brides to connect with.
I guess you could compare it with speed dating. Brides travel from booth to booth sampling cake, weighing decor, looking at photos, touching dresses, tasting pastas and soups and making decisions as they go about who to hire, colour schemes and other unheard of details to make their wedding day perfect.
Here are some of the vendors that stood out for me at the Ancaster Wedding Show – and this little heart –> ❤ indicates my favourites.
Bridal Solutions Inc: Wedding Planning & Event Production – I love the clear chargers that doubled as place-cards and displayed a menu. These would be perfect for any plated dinner – no space is taken up on the table and they work with any and every colour scheme. The ladies of Bridal Solutions not only take care of decor but also flowers and coordination of your big day.
Elegant Oracles: Psychic Readings For Stylish Weddings – Ok, I know that this sounds a little far fetched but I think that setting up a readings table at a wedding could be fun! Especially during cocktails when you and the love of your life, along with your bridal party, are out getting pictures done and your guests are already bleeding your open bar dry. I’d just be sure that the oracle sticks to happy endings!
Elegantly Enchanting: Custom Wedding Stationery – ❤ Like most wedding stationery now-a-days their designs are classy and colourful. But, what I liked most is that they also had Bridal Shower invitations and thank you’s and also had ideas for creative seating charts. When I got married I ordered my wedding invitations from a company in Edmonton (whose name escapes me) yet saved some cash by putting together all 130+ invitations and inserts on my own. If I could give you some advice it would be to pay the extra few dollars to have them come shipped and 100% complete (oh, and use mail merge to put together labels!) I’m sure Elegantly Enchanting can take care of all of the above.
Elle Et Lui Weddings – It’s about time that we started seeing more unique wedding cakes and macaroons and mini-cake ideas at wedding shows. If there is one thing that I’d admit about my wedding cake is that – although gorgeous – it lacked any reflection of my or Dave’s personality. If you’re looking for something custom that’s going to be a beautiful reflection of you and yours you may want to check these guys out.
Alan C Lee Photography – ❤ Meeting Alan and his wife (whose name unfortunately escapes me) was also a pleasure. I was drawn in by their colourful sign congratulating the happy couples on their pre-marital bliss and promising chocolate. Sounds like a great combination to me. Alan is one-of-a-kind – self admittedly metro-sexual and spent more on his custom-made blue suit than his wife did on her wedding dress. Oh, and his photography wall was pretty spectacular. On a side note, he and his wife had wedding pictures where they were carrying cardboard cutouts of themselves used earlier in the day at their wedding photo-booth. Spectacular!
Glitz N Bitz – Custom-made fascinators, ever-lasting bouquets and garters weren’t even on my radar when I was planning our wedding in 2008. If I were getting married in 2013 they certainly would be – a fascinator especially. Veils are traditional but there is something about these 50’s inspired fascinators that I just love; Glitz N Bitz does too. Christine will work with your colours, themes and designs to create the perfect pieces for you.
Lia Sophia: Sue Smulders – ❤ I hadn’t ever heard of Lia Sophia before attending the Ancaster Wedding Show. I guess it’s really no surprise considering the number of entrepreneurial jewelery businesses like Silpada and Stella & Dot that continue to pop up around markets and trade-shows like these. Yet, I was surprised by how much I liked some of the pieces and by the very affordable prices. Sue Smulders, the Independent Sales Advisor at the show, was a pleasure to chat with and I think I’m going to be calling her about a necklace for my bestie to wear on or leading up to her big day.
Kavar Jewellers – Dave got my engagement ring and wedding band made by Raffi Jewelers in Waterloo. From what I remember they weren’t the greatest to work with although I absolutely love my rings. When it comes to Kavar I really do not know what they are like as a company but what I do know is that they had a pretty impressive collection of Tungsten Carbide wedding bands for men to choose from. Ladies, let’s admit it, it’s pretty simple for us to find the ring of our dreams. Men certainly do not have as much selection. My hubby is on his 3rd ring (long story) but loves the Tungsten band that he has now. The weight and price and selection make this a winner in my books.
Sue Gallo Designs: Fresh Flower & Event Design – ❤ Sue’s designs caught my eye right away; her space had been transformed into the perfect cocktail lounge (too bad she wasn’t handing them out). Her flowers and decor are simple, yet detailed and classic, yet modern. And Sue herself, a pleasure to chat with. Oh, and I especially loved her Swarovski loveseat – what a perfect addition to any cocktail space.
Kettle Creek Weddings: Wedding Officiants – My bride-to-be girlfriend and I first met Kettle Creek Officiants at the Wedding Dreams Bridal Show at Bingeman’s in Kitchener earlier in the year. After much chatting and a follow-up meeting she and her finance have booked them – Martin (to be specific) for their big day. If they are good enough for my bestie then, trust me, they are good enough for anyone!
ShellySpithoff Photography – ❤ Not only are her photographs beautiful but she has impeccable taste (in decor and in chocolate). Shelly’s booth was one of the most elaborate of the show with immense attention to detail and charm that immediately welcomes you in and makes you comfortable. Full of smiles and armed with a camera she’d be a pleasure to have photograph any wedding I’m sure.
Sweet Celebrations Wedding Cakes – ❤ The detail and care put into these cakes is absolutely astounding. I couldn’t help but take a picture of some of the hand-made fondant flowers that donned the creations on display at this wedding show. And, the way that they complimented their cakes with candles and flowers and a silver server took me right to the cake-cutting table and out of the wedding show all together. Now, I can’t say anything for how their cakes taste because they didn’t have any available to try; however, if you’re looking for a wedding cake that transports you to another place altogether then you’re looking for a sweet celebration cake.
CUPCAKE DIVING & A FASHION SHOW
One event happening at the Wedding Show that I was especially excited by was the Cupcake Dive. Four brides-to-be, donning plastic ‘gowns’ got to dig into a pile of frosted cupcakes in search of a hidden diamond ring. The one that finds the diamond ring wins 2 wedding bands of their choice from H&Z Diamond Centre in Ancaster. It was a lot of fun to be up front and center that night – luckily I avoided getting frosting on myself because these girls really got into it.
Rainbow Bridal also put on a great fashion show – bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses, flower-girl outfits and suits for the men. It was a great selection of outerwear. Me, I find my gown and bridesmaid dresses at a small boutique in Georgetown. For the men in my life, we went to Moores in Waterloo and rented suits for the day.
What stands out the most about the fashion show wasn’t officially even part of the show. There was a little 4 year old doll who wanted to show off her beautiful white flower-girl dress that I guess a mom or auntie or nana let her wear to the show. Well, the MC was great to indulge her and she strutted her little 4 year old self up and down that runway like a pro, posing, blowing kisses and kicking up her heels as flashes of cameras made her a star. I got a couple great pictures but just am not comfortable with putting this little one up on the blog without any permission. In any case, it was absolutely adorable!
The day that you get married will be one of the best that you’ll experience for a long time – maybe even the best day of your life. So, brides-to-be, be sure to recruit some of these wonderful vendors to help you out in saying “I DO”.