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Niagara Wedding Planner, Budget Weddings, Wedding Girl

August 19, 2014
Posted by WeddingGirl

just. be. kind.

{ random musings of a business girl }

This blog is for all of you dreamers, thinkers, doers… all of you entrepreneurial adventurers who trek out into the world of the unknown and brave the fear of ridicule and rejection to create something that didn’t exist before you came along. This blog is for all of you, out there, like me.

Entrepreneur Coach Toronto Mary Bratko


Even after six years of dancing around WG-land, I still firmly believe that I fell into this industry by accident. Back then, I had no idea what it meant to be an entrepreneur, a business owner, even a wedding planner for that matter. I remember, at that early time, blindly reaching out for any help, advice, motivation, and inspiration I could get my hands on. I’ll never forget what one photographer said to me…

“Never say a bad word about anyone behind their back, ever.”

He warned me, “The industry is small; it will get back to them.”

At the time he, too, was young, but he was wildly more experienced. I trusted his advice and respected his opinions. Despite the number of times my human ego got in the way, I continued to repeat this particular mantra when faced with difficult clients, difficult vendors, difficult situations.

It will get back to them.

Wedding industry professional aside, sometimes I find myself just stepping back and taking the time to give life some thought: the obstacles, the lessons, the trials, the triumphs. What is it about our egoic need to be right or to be better that drives us to compete with one another? Sure, it’s Darwinian – the strongest get ahead… but at what cost? Is it really fair to get ahead by dragging someone else down?

It will get back to them.

When I first came to Toronto from small-town Niagara, I remember driving into the city, moving into my little condo, and staring, wide-eyed at all of the opulent venues, lavish vendors, and piles of competition.

…. well, sort of.

The whole idea of “competition” seems so ridiculously subjective to me. It’s a perception rather than a threat. So take a moment to consider how you view others who do something similar to you… were there other wedding planners I admired? (perhaps even envied?) – Obviously! Are there still some today that I look at and think, “God, I wish I was more like __________________.” – Yup. But do I wish anything ill upon them? or send them anything but love and light? Not if I can keep my ego in check.

Kindness goes so much further than animosity.

Support extends way beyond the furthest reaches of contempt.

It will get back to them.

It’s scientifically supported that women in business present fierce competition against other women in business strictly on the basis of emotional response. Not facts, not evidence…. emotion. We don’t fight in the boardroom but then go for beers afterwards; we slug it out via passive aggressive comments on social media platforms and mask ill wishes as supposedly virtuous intent.

But, belief in virtue isn’t virtue.

Oh, and stepping on someone to further your own agenda doesn’t make you successful.

For the sake of all that is right in the world, kind in business, and just downright decent as a human being….. check your personal ego at the business-owning door. There’s no room for it here. Look around – we’re all in this together!

I’m not your competition, and you aren’t mine. We’re jointly working really hard to build the kinds of lives for ourselves that we’ve always imagined.

We’re doing the best we can with what we know.. and only when we know better, can we do better.

We’re facing the same struggles.

We’re battling the same fears.

We’re celebrating the same triumphs.

We are all in this together.

“Never say a bad word about anyone behind their back, ever.”

He warned me, “The industry is small; it will get back to them.”

And he wasn’t wrong.

Please, for the sake of loving all-things-in-love…. just. be. kind.




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August 18, 2014
Posted by WeddingGirl

WG x the Ancaster Wedding Show | 2014

{ WGxAWS }

Chalkboard pens, cupcake trays, one-hole punches and little black dresses.

These were just a few of the last-minute details the WG team meticulously arranged in the final hours leading up to their latest exciting project – sponsoring (and being a part of!) the Ancaster Wedding Show.



Some vendors out there are Wedding Show pros – they can do their setup and teardown with their eyes closed and know the spiel inside-out-and-backwards.

Not us.

In the nearly six years I’ve lived in WeddingLand, never have I ever been a part of a wedding show – so when the organizers of the AWS got in touch and invited us to come on board, I looked to the WG team for all the support and inspiration they could give.

“We need to make it different.”

“It has to be unique.”

“We should have cute giveaways.”

We sat and brainstormed and made spreadsheets and conjured up a plan.

We scoured every Homesense, IKEA and Winners from Scarborough to Niagara.

In the end, a DIY vs. Luxe design, Kate Spade inspired, bright, bold, punchy setup is what we brought to life!

Kate Spade Quote Pink Black White inspired wedding


{ DIY vs. Luxe }

Our goal was to showcase to brides how wedding funds can be spent or saved, and how designs could be gorgeously executed either way.

Do-It-Yourself | Budget

Standard white cotton linens, covered venue chairs, a wrapping paper runner, wrapping paper + ribbon wrapped tin cans, inexpensive blooms, wholesale votive candles, and standard venue tableware. We added silk napkins, themed favours and stationary, plastic IKEA place mats, and a DIY mini- pink champagne guest favour.

Behind our table setup? A DIY ribbon backdrop: trendy, and oh-so-simple to create.

Kate Spade DIY luxe wedding decor

Pink Champagne Wedding Favour Istilia Roche Stationary

Luxe on a budget

A sequin linen overlay, black and white striped runner, chiavari chairs, sparkly beaded place mats, themed dinnerware, coloured stemware, stemmed votive holders, and a high-low floral design. The same silk napkins were folded into trendy bows and tied with Kate Spade signature polka dots, accented with matching stationary, finished off with truffle chocolate guest take-aways (pink and black, of course!)

Behind the deluxe table: an eye-catching hot pink + sparkling rosette backdrop.

Kate Spade Wedding Design Istilia Roche Toronto

Kate Spade Wedding WeddingGirl.ca Toronto Planners

A Note to our Supporting Cast

When we first put a call out to vendors who’d like to come on board in our stylings, never could we have ever expected such a heartfelt outpouring of responses. From slews of hair and makeup stylists to handfuls of stationary designers and decorators, we were seriously feeling the love when vendors offered to amp up our design. In the end, we were surrounded by some incredible people… a few familiar faces and a handful of new ones…. and we are so grateful! Each of these vendors believe in enhancing value, in helping brides make smart spending choices, and in making things gorgeous without breaking the bank (just like us!)

The WGxAWS project would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Paje over at Honor Beauty. She showed up in Ancaster, bright and early, and beautified our team. Hair, makeup, and even vegan + cruelty-free, homemade lip glosses for each of us to take home – this lovely lady did a stellar job and was an absolute pleasure to work with. There’s something so magical that happens when women are not only doing what they love, but feel beautiful doing it. Paje, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your time and energy! We absolutely can not wait to share your latest and greatest transitions with our WG audience!

If you look around closely in the next few weeks, you might see some lovely ladies sporting some gorgeous mehendi on their hands, wrists, or even ankles / legs (a few girls got creative with their henna tattoo placement!). We were so pleased to welcome Deepali of Henna Kreations to the show, who alongside Leah and WG-Fusion, shared a love for cultural diversity by offering brides and vendors an opportunity to experience ethnic beauty.

Henna Kreations Burlington Deepali WeddingGirl.ca

A note of appreciation goes out to the amazing woman behind Istilia Roché who lovingly created the pink, black, and bling stationary that accented our table design. From Kate Spade quotes to glitter cards, every piece of stationary we showcased yesterday was made with the same sparkle that this woman exudes in person – and we’re lucky to know her.

Kate Spade Pink black White wedding stationary Istilia Roche

The WG team definitely boasted one of the sweetest setups at the show,  giving away hundreds of mini cupcakes created by Ryan and Stacey at Above And Beyond Cupcakes. Vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, lemon…. hundreds of stunning little beauties that attracted hundreds of brides and garnered comments like, “This is the best cupcake I’ve ever had!” – over and over again. We watched people have a cupcake, wait a few seconds, and then take another one – they were that good. As wedding planners, we really do get to eat a lot of cupcakes – and when really, really amazing creations strike our radar, we take notice. These lovelies weren’t only totally delicious, they were seriously stunning… and a beautiful accent to our display.

Pink Black White Cupcakes Above Beyond Niagara

Fraîche Floral.  Oh, Fraîche – how we love you. Not only have you become a passion project for various members of the WeddingGirl team, you give brides on a budget a stunningly gorgeous alternative to boring, budget blooms. Daring to be different, braving to be bold, and boasting the “brightest pop of colour” in the entire show (a quote we heard over and over and over) – these flowers were seriously stellar.

Mary Bratko WeddingGirl.ca AWS 2014

Thank you, J. Company for the napkins, chair covers, and linens!

Kate Spade Wedding Place Setting Pink Black White Silver Sparkle

We couldn’t have pulled this off if it wasn’t for each and every one of you. Thank you!


A Note to the Brides we met


Our beloved Brenda came up with this hashtag at one of our team meetings, and it seems our WG brides agreed!

It was such a lovely surprise to see so many familiar WG faces at the show yesterday, especially the ones that we know drove from far and wide to visit! Even more heartwarming was the opportunity we had to welcome all of the new brides into our world of all-things-awesome.

HennaKreations Burlington Wedding Planners

A Note to the WG team

What more can I say?

When we get together, we make things happen. And we make it epic.

For all of us, the AWS this past weekend truly was a labour of WG love.

From planning spreadsheets and cupcake flags to colour-coordinated truffles and the Starbucks coffee that showed up mid-afternoon… pretty wicked things happen when we get together. While a few of the WeddingGirls were missing in the flesh, they were with us in spirit and in our hearts all day. Thanks for being awesome, Ladies!

WeddingGirl.ca Ancaster Wedding Show 2014

WeddingGirl.ca team Toronto


Finally, a Note to Tiffany

Last but (certainly) not least….

There’s something to be said for putting on a really, *really* great wedding show. There’s a reason WG has never exhibited at a show before, and it’s because most of them… well…. most of them suck.

I speak on behalf of every girl on the WG team that being a part of such a beautifully planned, meticulously executed event yesterday was an absolute privilege! Tiffany, we heard nothing but lavish praise all around – from brides, from family members and friends, and vendors alike.

Your hard work and energy shone through in every single detail of the day and it felt as though we set up, blinked, and it was over.

The lineup outside the doors to get in yesterday afternoon was an incredible testament to how much you know (and love!) your industry.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, a hundred times over, for allowing us to be a part of it! We can’t wait to start gushing about next year!




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Read the WG Story:


- the girl behind it all.

  • wedding planner
  • neuro-nerdy Starbucks lover
  • bridal lifestyle blogger
  • event stylist
    just a girl who loves her job
​                   





just. be. kind.
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WG x the Ancaster Wedding Show | 2014
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