Friday, March 13, 2009

Feature Friday: A Hot Pink Petticoat

I discovered A Hot Pink Petticoat via VintageGlamWeddings, when Alison, the mastermind behind A Hot Pink Petticoat, gave away her custom wedding maps to some lucky VintageGlam readers. When I perused A Hot Pink Petticoat's sassy site, and learned that Alison is based here in Toronto, I knew I had to 'interview' this planner extraordinaire. Plus, I couldn't resist this company's name! Read below for a wedding planner's view of the industry and some helpful tips for navigating your wedding planning!

How did you get into event planning?

I have been working as an IT Project Manager for 3 years, and was in coordination roles 5 years prior to that. Although I excel as a Project Manager, something was missing. While I was planning my own November 2008 wedding, I had that light bulb moment. I loved planning my wedding (note that I only had 9 months to do so) and my professional skills of project management led me to plan our perfect wedding within our planned budget. Finally, after 29 years, it made sense. I had found “that thing” which allowed me to love my job.

Why the name "A Hot Pink Petticoat"?

When I decided to pursue my business, I wanted a name that was professional with spunk. I met Toronto free-lanced writer Jen Byck of and it was Jen who came up with this name, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve had customers initially contact me based on my name alone!

Are you finding that many brides are forgoing wedding planners/coordinators in light of the current economic times? Are you working with much smaller budgets?

Are couples forgoing wedding planners/coordinators? I don’t think so. Many brides actually hire wedding planners to help them save money. Most wedding planners have relationships with local vendors, allowing them to negotiate discounted rates. We also know tricks within the industry which a bride or groom may not be aware of. For example, if your venue is bringing in any rentals for your event (e.g. linens, flatware, silverware), you should find out if they are charging you to bring in such rentals. If the answer is yes, then chances are your venue is getting a discount from said rental companies, so see if you can take advantage of that discount. Also, will the venue order the rentals with your credit card allowing you to save those extra dollars?

As for smaller budgets, I personally believe everyone is always looking for ways to cut corners. The reality of it is, most couples are getting married for the first time and are not aware of the costs of having a wedding. They may think they can get away with a small budget.....until reality smacks them in the face. Then, usually one of two things happen: 1) they expand their budget and seek financial assistance from families or banks; or 2) they buckle up and commit to their budget. Hiring a wedding planner from the outset will help identify the average wedding costs upfront and help the couple achieve their financial goals.

What is your advice to brides and grooms for saving money for the big day?

Ask yourself, do you really love this idea? If you decide to DIY (do-it-yourself) everything, don’t forget that your labour is costing you HUGE emotionally and physically. If you don’t love it, focus your money and energy on those projects you do love. Say to yourself “The last time I saw/heard/ate __________ was _________.” Fill that sentence in with anything and everything. Do you really remember that last time you sat in chair covers that made you go wow? Probably not. Do you remember the last time you received a fantastic wedding favour? Maybe. Or how about bad food? Yes, you likely remember that. Focus your hard-earned money and energy on those things you love and what your guests will remember. This is a guaranteed way to save costs.

What is the difference between a "wedding coordinator" and a "wedding planner"?

In my opinion, when looking at a Wedding Coordinator vs a Wedding Planner at a high level, they are one and the same. That is, they are both hired to help plan during the days leading up to the wedding and/or be the “conductor” of events for the day. It is the level of service which differs:

1 – Consulting: A person hired to consult for the wedding, including vendor recommendation, advise on proper wedding etiquette, décor/design and review wedding stationary. Basically, anything the couple requires consultation with, this person will be involved in. This is done prior to the wedding.

2 – Day of Coordinator: A person hired to execute wedding day events as planned by the couple. By the time the coordinator is engaged, the legwork of planning including booking vendors, mailing out invitations etc., has been completed. The coordinator comes in a few weeks leading up to the wedding to co-create the 'day of' agenda with the couple and ensure nothing has been overlooked. We are there for the day of the wedding to oversee everything including coordination of the on-site vendors, looking after/relocating the gifts etc.

3 – Full Wedding Planner: This is the whole package, from announcing the engagement to negotiating with wedding vendors to being there the 'day of ' to help execute the wedding events. We are there every step of the engagement period to plan the wedding with the couple.

What is your favourite venue in Toronto?

It has to be The Berkeley Church. I have to admit I’m slightly biased as that’s where we hosted our wedding, but the venue is truly spectacular. This 1871 Church now-turned-venue oozes character. From the original brick, to the modern décor, this venue has so much going for it. The staff are fabulous. They are not there just to serve you food and then go home. They host the party. They get to know your guests and ensure everyone is enjoying their night. I have been to 3 weddings there (including my own) and every person, at all 3 weddings, raved about the venue. The best part about The Berkeley Church is that it is an all-in-one venue where you can have your ceremony on the mezzanine, then move your guests into the wine cellar for cocktails, and bring them back to the main floor for the reception. You have options, which is key.

Photo by Emma McIntyre via A Hot Pink Petticoat

What is the most outrageous task a bride/groom has asked you to do?

Since I’m still in year one of my business, nothing outrageous has yet been requested. Only thing somewhat out of the ordinary would be when I had to jump in a cab during a wedding reception to retrieve some painkillers for a bride whose back went out on her. Nothing too crazy, but it was interesting nonetheless.

I love your maps. How did you get into that?

My own wedding map was my first. When I posted it on, a couple of brides contacted me to help them out. After a few freebies, I decided to charge these on etsy as part of my service. Surprisingly, these have been selling extremely well and I couldn’t be happier.

Tell me more about your dance choreography service? What types of dances do you teach? On average, how long does it take couple to learn a routine?

I have been dancing for 27 years, 6 years of that as a dance teacher. Today, couples want to wow their family and guests with their dance moves. Some decide to take the traditional ballroom route, while others decide for something a little more sassy due to the popularity of “rock the reception”. That’s what I do. Think fun with a slice of cheese. A dance which will guarantee a standing ovation! The dance is simple yet effective, so ideally it should only take 2 x 1 hour sessions with me. This assumes at least one of the individuals is quick at learning and can review it with his/her partner. The key to a dance being good is for the couple to practice it on their own time.

Photo by Boyfriend/Girlfriend Pictures via A Hot Pink Petticoat

What is your favourite part of a wedding?

I have two favorites. First is seeing the groom right before the ceremony. Grooms are always so excited with a tad of nerves, and seem to relax when they see me. The true emotion in a man waiting to marry the person he loves is amazing. The second is the seconds leading up to the bride’s grand entrance with her parent on her arm. That last second when both the bride and her mom/dad hang on tight to each other and exchange “I love you's.” KILLS ME!! PS – I’m tearing up as I write this. And again when I was proofreading!

A HUGE thank you to Alison for letting me feature her today. To learn more about A Hot Pink Petticoat and their services, visit Happy Friday.


Sheila said...

Loved your interview with A Hot Pink Petticoat. And didn't I nearly shed a tear to the question: fav part of the wedding? Her answer is similar to mine. I LOVE to see the groom's reaction when he first sees the bride walking down the aisle (I think that's a line in a movie somewhere). He gets all choked up and starts to cry. Instant waterworks for me. Gets me EVERY time.

Anyways, the interview was such an enjoyable read. Thanks!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Great interview! And I love the Hot Pink Petticoat name. It makes me want a hot pink petticoat. Even though I have no place to wear such a thing... ; )

Krista said...

Awesome! :) That's a neat interview. Much more interesting than many interviews posted on blogs. (Honestly, I usually stop reading them half way through, but I actually finished it!)

kilee said...

great posts!! I will have to check out her site for mine. xo


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