As wedding planners, we spend the bulk of our days putting out fires and navigating unnoticed through a sea of logistical challenges, so it’s only fitting that every year The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (WPIC) puts on a night of inspiration and recognition for certified planners to enjoy. The WPIC Kick Off event marks an important start to the wedding season for planners, providing a crucial opportunity from across Canada (and beyond) to network and mingle in a relaxed, yet celebratory environment. This event, planned by The Wedding Planners and Tracey M Events (Danielle and Tracey, founders of WPIC) is also chock full of hot new trends to check out as well as stunning design work. This year’s themed event, The Secret Society of Wedding Planners, was held at The Albany Club in the heart of downtown Toronto. The atmosphere was fun and festive, with tons of delicious food and engaging entertainment. Avenue Photo and the video crew at SDE Weddings were on hand to capture all the rich details.

WPIC Kick Off

Entering the main banquet space of The Albany Club, Opulence Wedding Design and DT Floral & Décor created stunning table installations that completely transformed the space. Opulence designed a hanging greenery and crystal installation that glittered all night. Pairing this with small floral arrangements and candles down the narrow banquet tables was a beautiful choice. Craig and his talented team at DT Floral and Decor placed over sized floral and tree arrangements on round tables along the perimeter of the room. Each arrangement featured over sized phalaenopsis orchids and cherry blossoms in a beautiful white on white palette. The team at Linen Closet provided beautiful white feathered linens and Detailz Couture Event Rentals provided the gold accented chairs. The room felt both extravagant yet intimate, and was a true highlight of the event. Guests literally gasped during the room reveal and traffic stopped as guests snapped away at this truly Instagram-worthy design. Every detail was so well thought out, right down to the hand-painted chocolate bonbon favours from Succulent Chocolates.

Many of Toronto’s top vendors came together to make this event happen, including the sweets display using a cart from Soho Sweet Carts, balloon treatment by the Balloons by Dina team, floor treatment by Toronto Floor Wraps, and stationery sponsor Whim Event Planning & Design. A standout 6-tier celebratory cake was crafted by Vanilla Bean Cakery and was as delicious as it was incredibly stunning!

Now we all know that I love to talk about food, and The Albany Club certainly made this easy! The catering team pulled out all the stops with the non-stop appetizers as guests were treated to a sumptuous array of options, including Smoked Salmon Pancakes with caviar and stuffed lobster claws. Dinner was spectacular, fresh and filling starting with a delightful winter salad. The main courses gave guests choice of an Ora Salmon Fillet or a Stuffed Roasted Red Pepper. My favourite part was dessert – a White Chocolate Matcha Bavarois with raspberry and cardamom gelee: light, rich and flavourful topped with a pretty WPIC chocolate logo in the center!

This year marks the second run of the WPIC Wedding Awards. With a thrum of nervous anticipation filling the room, category winners were announced. Each category is judged by a team of impartial non-WPIC judges. This year’s categories included: Best Wedding Under $25,000, Best Wedding Over $25,000, Best Wedding Over $50,000, Best Wedding Over $100,000, Best Tablescape, Most Creative Styled Shoot, and of course, Wedding Planner of the Year. Winners included Arora Wedding & Event Planning, Paras Events, Wonder Chic Events and Alfresco Wedding Planner.

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The entertainment was abundant all night and kept the crowd fully enthralled. I particularly enjoyed Illusionist Ray Chance as he wowed the crowd with his insanely talented illusion show. In keeping with the theme, Freyja’s Daughter gave planners a glimpse into their future while confirming that we’re all a hard working and awesome group. Star 4 a Day Events provided the always-favoured photo booth experience, as we all love to take as many group shots as we can since we really only see each other a very rare few times a year!

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Once dinner was served and all awards were handed out, the dance floor opened up, but with a non-traditional twist! The DJ team handed out headphones to every guest with instructions on how to switch between stations. There were three DJs from Black Creek Music on stage when we walked in, and now it all made sense! We had a silent party with everyone choosing the stations that suited them best, switching back and forth all night. It was a lot of fun to watch it all go down! At one point I took off my headphones to listen to everyone singing along to their respective songs. Everyone was partying and dancing to the beat of their own drum, and it was great to see the dance floor so packed!

The WPIC Kickoff is an event that is near and dear to my heart. As wedding planners, we rarely get to actually be a part of the party and to relax and be together along with our peers. I always appreciate the chance to celebrate our collective accomplishments and start the season off with a bang! A huge thank you to the Albany Club and their phenomenal team for taking such good care of us. Big shout outs to the many sponsors, including Cultural Wedding Planner, Rescue Flats, and of course the WPIC!