Tracey Manailescu & Danielle Andrews Sunkel, co-founders of The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, brought their first-ever Wedding Professional Workshop to Toronto this past weekend at the Pantages Hotel Toronto Centre. Bringing along with them some of the heavy hitters of wedding industry, the day was a jam-packed education session designed to provide attendees with real, actionable tools and skills all wedding professionals can use to immediately elevate their business, inspiring us all to “shine on” like big bright stars!

We were dazzled from the minute we stepped inside: beautiful gold and pink decor and linens paired with beautiful floral arrangements – this is what I call higher learning! As the first speaker took to stage, all in attendance knew they were going to be a part of something special that day.

Talented photographer Enrique of Decordova Photography captured every detail of this gorgeous AND incredibly informative event!

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The amazing line up of guest speakers kicked off with Jen O’Brien, editor of Weddingbells. She engaged the group with fast facts on who today’s bride is and how wedding professionals should market and engage with her.

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Sharing his tips on providing clients with “WOW” factor catering was Encore Catering president, Cary Silber. Speaking of “wow”, Cary surprised all in attendance with one of Encore’s Signature colossal cookies – this thing was HUGE! and had everyone in the room wishing for more samples when he began describing some of the other amazing dishes that Encore prepares for their clients!

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The lights dimmed and it was time for the one and only, celebrity wedding planner Diann Valentine to share her oh-so-many pearls of wisdom.  So many  great stories!

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The first panel of the day featured four of Toronto’s top wedding planners sharing their collective insight on the state of the industry. Their knowledge covered the gamut: what it’s like having worked on a reality TV show, tips on planning gigantic South Asian weddings, coordinating a wedding while staying true to cultural expectations and planning a lavish wedding in Italy.

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Laura Atendido (Laura & Co. Events), Jagdish Brar (My Big Day), Michelle Garber ( Fab Fête Event Planning Boutique), Carmen Luk (Devoted To You) – all WPIC alumni

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Samuel Fleming of Evolved Entertainment gave us insight into the technical side of events: from how to use lighting to add drama and enhance your theme to where best to place the speakers on a floor plan to ensure the enjoyment of all guests.

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The next Q&A panel included EventSource’s very own Amy Stevenson – that’s me!

Among the questions posed: with all the hard work and attention to detail involved in organizing and arranging exceptional wedding and events, how do industry professionals go about getting gaining maximum publicity and exposure through magazines and online blogs (like the one you’re reading right now)?  I had a great time!

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Branding expert Meghan Ely of OFD Consulting asked attendees “who do you think you are?” and shared her tips on how to effectively brand your business.

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What would a conference be without a look at trends as well as the direction of the industry? Patricia Drewnowska of Patricia’s Cake Creations showed us some of the top trends in wedding cakes and samples of her exquisite work.

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Tracey and Danielle shared that their prediction as well:  2015 will be the “year of the guest” at weddings and shared two unique entertainment options – dancing queens and flair bartending!

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The Wedding Professionals workshop was a day jam-packed with speakers and networking opportunities!  Judging by the feedback I heard from attendees, everyone will be back in 2015 for part two!

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Danielle, Diann & Tracey


There is so much to love about this absolutely gorgeous wedding from Mango Studios and Toronto event planner extraordinaire Melissa Andre Events. Bride and groom, Priscilla and Andrew chose one of Toronto’s hidden gem venues, The Burroughes to celebrate their wedding reception and with the help of Melissa, transformed the space into absolute gorgeousness – truly breath-taking!

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“A perfect combination of downtown city chic and touches of vintage charm, this wedding was the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday in June. Tables were set with nostalgic pieces of mismatched china and glimmering gold details. Contrasting shiny white finishes, an oversized 36 foot custom bar, glossy kartel chairs, and the rooftop cocktail party gave the event a really young and fresh feel.”  – Melissa Andre

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When these photos arrived from the uber talented wedding planner Lynzie Kent of Love by Lynzie Events + Design, I immediately knew this wedding had to be shared! With gorgeous photography from Scarlet O’Neill capturing all the fun and romance of Lindsay and Colt’s carnival themed wedding, we know you’re going to love it.

To make things even more interesting, Lindsay and Colt were planning their wedding from abroad. Lynzie shares her experience with us:

“Lindsay and Colt wanted a wedding that felt like a destination wedding, but was undeniably Canadian. Planning their wedding from a distance (Colt is a professional hockey player which takes them all over North America), they enlisted my help to create a colourful, picnic-carnival that was a non-traditional affair and would be a fun getaway for everyone involved. Cleveland’s House in Muskoka was the perfect venue, with brightly coloured Muskoka chairs dotting the lawn where the ceremony would take place.”

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“We used many different colours of gingham to create runners, bunting and ribbon, decorating the space and giving it a casual, authentic picnic feeling. We rented carnival games and held cocktails in the park with swings. We served poutine, corn on the cob, grilled cheese, burgers and brought in a classic Canadian staple- a BeaverTails food truck!”

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Fun fact: did you know that Lynzie (the event planner) is also the lead singer of Toronto band Electric Blonde?  Not only did she plan this gorgeous wedding from start to finish, but she also entertained all the guests until the wee hours of the morning – a true renaissance woman!

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