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December 6, 2014

a Wedding Planner Wake-Up Call

{ slips happen. }

by: Mary

Mary Bratko Toronto Wedding Planning Coach

“I can’t make this happen on my own.”

“I’m failing.”

“I’m about to go back to a 9-5 job.”

…. sound familiar?

Hey, aspiring Wedding Planners…. consider this your wake-up call!

It’s not you!

It’s your industry.

Or, well, maybe it is you…. but we’ll figure that out.


“Ignoring your passion is slow suicide.

Never ignore what your heart pumps for.

Mold your career around your lifestyle, not your lifestyle around your career.”


Slips happen.

I’ve been making business mistakes since 2008.

Like most wedding planners, I fell in love with planning my own big day…. but I was never meant to be a wife. A series of very fortunate twists-of-fate later and I’m happy to say that I’m “always a planner” ….

But the truth is, I’m not just a wedding planner at all.

Today, after planning hundreds of weddings, working with thousands of vendors, and learning countless lessons about life, love, and the girl I’ve become, I’m able to proudly label myself as the fierce business mind and driving force behind WeddingGirl.ca – one of Toronto’s highest traffic personal blogs, a globally-recognized wedding planning brand, and a marketing source for a series of vertically-integrated business endeavours which have come together to not only change my life but the lives of aspiring dreamers around me.

I’m not in this industry to plan weddings anymore. I’m in this industry to make a difference.


I began blogging before blogging was cool.

I began planning weddings on a budget before being on a budget was the norm.

I’ve gone against the grain into an industry entirely removed from what I studied in school.

I’m passionate about making things happen… but more importantly, I’m passionate about ‘doing epic shit’. I believe in living a life you love, in leaning into the discomfort, and in changing the threads from which you’re woven to create a better version of yourself every single day.

I believe in being unapologetic.

I believe in doing things that scare me.

…. and I’m pretty sure you should too.


Today, while the wedding industry is taking a beating from all sides, the faces of WG can barely keep up with the excitement swirling around us. We’re watching this brand as it grows at an unprecedented rate while we keep getting emails from aspiring planners looking for a job.

What is so wrong with the wedding industry today that dreamers just want to dream, and everything they’re working so hard to achieve is totally going belly-up?! All around me I’m watching brilliant girls-with-dreams closing up shop on their once-loved ventures…. while here we are, wishing we had more planners on board.

I need everyone to know that it’s not just me.

This success isn’t just WeddingGirl.

This success can undeniably belong to anybody.

Any wedding planner can fly in the face of her changing industry and be wildly successful doing what she loves.

I want to make a difference by showing everyone that they can. 

And, believe me, you can.

Slips happen. Vendors are struggling. Planners aren’t planning. Dreamers are giving up and going back to 9-5 jobs they hate. Something needs to change. And, that ‘something’ is about to change…. right now.

Join me for my Wedding Planner Wake-Up Call :: a Strategy Shake-Up Session

December 17 in Toronto


Tickets are available through EventBrite.

Let’s do this.

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January 23, 2014

introducing, the WG magazine!

{ Carm + Mary } ²

The multiplying magic of #WGx in the past couple of weeks has led to some pretty amazing collaborations over  at WG. One of them happened the moment that Carmelina, founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Wedding Planner Magazine, introduced herself to Mary immediately after the  WGx Tête-à-Tête Soirée at the Faculty Club at UofT.

“The instant I met Carm I knew exciting things were about to happen. And she was wearing a hot pink, sparkly scarf. So, clearly there was no alternative.” – Mary reminisces.

They two made plans to get together nearly immediately; americanos at White Squirrel in lovely Queen West.

“I walked into White Squirrel and looked up to see a dark-haired beauty, smiling behind her silver Mac and knew that magic was about to happen. The moment I sat on the stool next to her ideas started flowing and I knew my life was about to change.” – Carm aptly described the creative synergy.
Girl crushes all around!


WeddingGirl.ca Wedding Planner Magazine Toronto


A collaboration was born and today, it’s become official that WeddingGirl.ca has teamed up with The Wedding Planner Magazine to deliver a fresh, new, comprehensive bridal experience from “I Will!” to “I DO” and all-things-wedding in between.

The editorial debut for this wedding-planning duo is set for March 1st, 2014 :: keep your eyes on the WG blog and local Chapters / Indigo shelves!

And because Mary is really bad at keeping secrets… here’s a sneak-peek at the mock-up for the new cover! YAY!


the WG magazine -- working cover

{ media inquiries }

Please direct all advertising and media feature inquiries to info@weddinggirl.ca for an official magazine press kit.

Submissions must be received by February 1st for March 1st publication.

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January 22, 2014

2nd Floor Events | Toronto Wedding Venue

{ #WGx :: pt. II }

“Ignoring your passion is a slow suicide.

Never ignore what your heart pumps for.

Mold your career around your lifestyle not your lifestyle around your career.”

WGx Wedding Planning Internship Toronto


After the remarkably successful WGx event at the gorgeous Faculty Club at UofT last week, it seemed most appropriate to keep the inspiration and momentum going and host a follow-up evening for those anxious to get involved in the WGx project.

For our second evening of think-tank inspiration we invited attendees to join us at the fabulously chic new event space in trendy King West, 2nd Floor Events.

2nd Floor Events Toronto logo

This  event space in downtown Toronto is truly like no other!


With its stylish contemporary design, 2nd Floor is a turn-key function space boasting a sleek backdrop of exposed brick and oversized windows. The versatility of this venue is further enhanced by power-everything.. each light on dimmers, automated dividers, black out blinds on said oversized windows; an event planner’s dream!



And above all the awesomeness that is the space itself, Jessica. There’s something magical that happens when you immediately connect with the event coordinator at a venue and Jessica’s passion, enthusiasm, and charisma spills out around her when you’re in the same room!

Whether you’re hosting an intimate corporate function or an elegantly lavish fête, 2nd Floor has it all. Stumbled upon this gorgeous little collage from MKPhotographics… officially in LOVE.  {{ and the yummy confections were styled by the fabulous SweetTable }}


Here’s to getting our wedding-planning hands all over this space! (and tons more urban bride magic to come)


And as for the multiplying magic of WGx? We couldn’t have asked for a more fabulous evening. A special thanks goes out to Barking Mad Media for providing us with photographic evidence.

WGx 2nd Floor Events Mary Bratko Toronto5

WGx 2nd Floor Events Mary Bratko Toronto4

WGx 2nd Floor Events Mary Bratko Toronto3

WGx 2nd Floor Events Mary Bratko Toronto

WGx 2nd Floor Events Mary Bratko Toronto 2


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January 19, 2014

#WGx Soirée :: University of Toronto Faculty Club


The other week we did a lovely little feature on the gorgeous Faculty Club over at the University of Toronto. A few short nights later, the doors of this private gem of a venue in the heart of the city swung open to greet all the attendees of the WGx Tête-à-Tête Soirée. Warmly received with flutes of champagne and some of the yummiest berry punch I’ve ever tasted, we were welcomed to the Club’s beautiful function space by friendly staff and amazingly tasty hors d’oeuvres. Nothing makes an evening run more smoothly than delicious food, sparkling drinks, and smiling faces.

The evening opened with the Club’s event Coordinator, Michele, introducing us to the space and teaching us about the club. Post-introduction, our evening was underway…. a background story of the girl behind WG, a brief introduction in to starting your own business, and a robust question and answer session about how to get through the entrepreneurial trenches. The evening ended with beautiful, individually-wrapped (and branded!) treats from the wonderful Amy at The Luvvly Cake Co.

One of the girls in attendance chose to feature us in her blog the next day: take a peek at Lisa’s lovely afterthoughts here!











A gigantic, heart-felt Thank You goes out to everyone who came to the WGx event last week, to Michele and Leanne at the Faculty Club (along with their amazing staff), to Jeff Ridout for photographing the evening and to the Mary-posse that showed up to provide additional love and support.

In 2014, WGx is about multiplying, and our night at UofT was just the beginning.

Here’s to lots more love, laughter, and happily ever after for all of us!  - xo


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January 9, 2012

I’d never really thought of myself as a “blogger”….


{ Okay… so….here’s the deal…. }

I’m never seen without my laptop (it is my office, after all).

I’m always updating the WG Facebook, putting up new blogs, searching out fun ways to collaborate…

Yet, I’ve never considered myself a blogger?

Well…. not until this guy came along. His name is Rob Campbell (of Smojoe.com), he’s a digital social media engineer. Rob’s business helps companies build social relevance…. interesting!

Rob got in touch with me late one night to compliment me on the WG blog after I’d ‘liked’ one of his clients’ pages on Facebook (a venue I’d coordinated a wedding at last year). We got to talking, and suddenly  it just made sense! When you’ve got 45,000 visits to your site per month, it’s time to start considering yourself a true blue blogger!

Yesterday morning, Rob emailed me a link to a fabulous article he’d written for his website – a blogging community called CanadaBlogFriends.ca. Follow this link to Rob’s WG Feature on CBF!

Thanks, Rob!

I’m flattered to have been featured and

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in the near future!


{Photography love for this post goes out to….}

The super-cool Rick Denham 

The beautiful Mandie over at Shutterbrugs

My amazing Meg at Earthling Photography, Vancouver

and WG’s fabulous graphics designer, Maggie at Humble Hearth. – thanks, guys! xo

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March 30, 2011

Valvano Salon Spa + ShutterBrugs + Rick Denham Photography = WG 2011 Edition!

As you’ve seen over the past two days, when you add…

… an amazing shoot stylist…. (Thank you, Crystal!)

…. a couture salon….  (Thank you Tony, David, Julia, April, and Kayla!)

…. a fabulous  second-shooter…. (Thank you, Mandie!)

… an awesome venue … (Thanks to the team at the Quality Inn Parkway, St. Catharines!)

and last but far from least, a super talented photographer….

Here are the promotional photos for WG – 2011 Edition!

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