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Monday, 18 July 2011

Important tips for brides / Petits topos pour les futures mariées

Sorry for the delay, but it is wedding season full gear and I have to say I have never been so busy. Between work, event planning, and church activities, I am working an average of an insane 75-80 hours a week. But I love it...

One thing that always put a smile on my face is the call of a newly engaged friend, giving me the news and entering panicking mode with the so predictable question, "What do I do now?".
After the number of weddings I did, decorate, coordinate, or participated to, I've put together my personal checklist of important steps to take the first 3 months after getting engaged.

  • Let things settle down and then share the good news.
This may seem very strange to say, but a lot of future brides do not take the time to enjoy this amazing time and put in perspective what will be coming up next. Take time to enjoy this moment, share it with the most important people in your life. Contain your excitement to really surround yourself with the people who really care about your happiness. No tweets or Facebook status allowed in such important matters! So set aside some time and inform them appropriately.
! A little tip for girls, take the time to visit the jeweler where you significant other bought your ring to re-size it to the appropriate size, as you will be showing it to everybody. It just takes few hours.
  • With a vision, adjust your provision
After the buzz of your engagement, you need to take time to discuss how you see your wedding materialized. How many people would you like to have? Do you want it indoor or outdoor? with a band or DJ? what colors or theme would you like? Do you want a one-thing-at-one-place affair or a formal religious ceremony followed by a proper wedding reception? You also have to consider photography, cakes, make-up artist, caterer if needed, alcohol, hair dresser, wedding gown, wedding tux, wedding invites and reply cards, decorations, transportation, wedding planner and honeymoon. With some research you will be able to have a rough idea of the wedding cost. 
  • Chose a date, confirm wedding location and pick your vendors
There are several factors to consider while picking a wedding date. Many like the idea of getting married on Valentine’s Day or on their anniversary day. You could also get married on one of your birthdays, or on the anniversary of a favorite moment in history.
Also, do you definitely want a Saturday wedding, or do you want to save money by having it on a Friday or Sunday?  Just make sure to avoid some popular and busy days, family holidays like Christmas, Easter, thanksgiving, to make sure your guests are happily present and not sacrificing something important or secretly resentful. 
As soon as your date is known, make sure to visit and book the wedding location of your choice, as well as your place of worship, and make sure your photographer, caterer, florist, cake chef, band or DJ, and MC are available on this date. 


  • Build your DreamTeam 
I am sure you have amazing people surrounding you. When it comes to chose the wedding party, and for the others involve in decoration,  set-up, coordinating and other tasks, you need to hand-pick your people and chose the ones who are dependable, trust worthy, selfless, and available. Being in a wedding team involve a fair amount of responsibility and for the wedding party, it sometimes involves some expenses. In order to avoid future headaches, make sure you lay out clearly what you are expecting of them; and  open the gate to allow the people contacted to decline if they feel they will not be up to the task, and don't insist on having an immediate answer. If someone is not able to afford the cost of their attire or other associated costs, you may want to consider offering some financial assistance. 


  • Build your personal checklist 3 months at the time
Here is a checklist for the first 3 months, assuming your wedding is a year away.
  • Announce your engagement 
  • Choose your wedding bands
  • Select your wedding date
  • Hire a wedding consultant and/or decorator
  • Determine the type of wedding you want (formal, destination, number of guests, time of day, etc)
  • Figure out your budget and how expenses will be dealt with 
  • Develop a system of keeping track of vendor payments and other expenses
  • Compile your guest lists (bride’s, groom’s, bride and groom’s parents)
  • Reserve ceremony and the reception sites
  • Reserve the officiant 
  • Order your bridal gown and groom attire
  •  Determine your color scheme or theme
  • Book the photographer 
  • Choose your wedding party (maid of honor, bridesmaids, best man, and groomsmen)
  • Select bridal party dresses, shoes, and accessories 
I am planing a blog entry on a detailed checklist in the future.

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Désolé pour le délai, mais je suis en plein dans la saison des mariages et je dois dire que je n'ai jamais été aussi occupée. Entre les activités du travail,  de la planification d’évènements, et de l'église, je travaille en moyenne sur 75 à 80 heures par semaine. Mais j'adore ce que je fais ...
J'ai l’habitude de sourire lorsque je reçois l'appel d'une amie, juste fiancée, et en mode panique qui me pose l'incontournable question: «Que dois-je faire maintenant?". Avec l'expérience des mariages que j'ai organisé, décoré, ou coordonné, j'ai mis sur pied une liste personnelle des étapes importantes à suivre les 3 premiers mois après les fiançailles. 

  • Laissez la poussière redescendre et ensuite partager la bonne nouvelle. 
Cela peut sembler très étrange, mais beaucoup de futures mariées ne prennent pas le temps de profiter de ce moment extraordinaire et de mettre en perspective ce que l'avenir réserve. Prenez le temps de profiter de ce moment, et le partager avec les personnes les plus importantes de votre vie. Contenez cependant votre excitation et entourez-vous de gens qui se soucient vraiment de votre bonheur. Pas de tweets ou de statuts de Facebook pour partager votre joie! Prenez le temps nécessaire et informer qui de droit de manière appropriée. 
! Un petit conseil pour les filles, prenez le temps de visiter le bijoutier où votre fiancé a acheté votre alliance pour la redimensionner à la taille appropriée, surtout que vous allez la montrer à tout le monde. Ça prend juste quelques heures. 

  • Avec la vision, ajustez vos provisions
Après l'effervescence des fiançailles, vous devez prendre le temps de discuter de la façon dont vous voudrez que votre mariage se matérialise. Combien de personnes voulez-vous avoir? Voulez-vous qu'il soit intérieur ou extérieur? Avec un groupe musical ou un DJ? Quelles couleurs ou thème aimeriez-vous? Voulez-vous un forfait tout-en-un pour la cérémonie religieuse formelle suivie par une réception de mariage sur le même site? Vous devez également envisager la photographie, les gâteaux, la maquilleuse, le traiteur si nécessaire, les boissons, le coiffeur, la robe de mariage, le smoking, les cartes d'invitation et de  réponses, les décorations, le transport, la coordinatrice du mariage et la lune de miel. Avec quelques recherches, vous serez en mesure d'avoir une idée approximative du coût de mariage.

  • Choisissez une date, confirmer le lieu du mariage et vos fournisseurs               
Il y a plusieurs facteurs à considérer en sélectionnant une date de mariageBeaucoup aiment l'idée de se marier le jour de la Saint Valentin ou le jour de leur anniversaire de rencontre. Vous pouvez aussi vous marier à un de vos anniversaires de naissance, ou pour l'anniversaire d'un moment favori de l'histoire.Voulez-vous absolument un mariage samedi, ou préfériez-vous économiser en vous mariant vendredi ou dimanche? Assurez-vous juste d'éviter les jours populaires et occupés, les fêtes de famille comme Noël, Pâques, l'Action de grace, pour vous assurer que vos invités soient contents d'être avec vous, sans sacrifier quelque chose d'important et sans avoir de ressentiments. Dès que votre date est connue, assurez-vous de visiter et de réserver le lieu de votre mariage, et le lieu de la cérémonie religieuse; assurez-vous aussi de booker votre photographe, traiteur, fleuriste, Pâtissier, groupe de musique  ou DJ et MC.

  • Constituez votre Équipe de Rêve
Je suis certaine que vous avez des gens incroyables qui vous entourent. Mais quand il s'agit de choisir votre cortège de mariage et toutes les autres personnes qui doivent s'impliquer dans la décoration , l'installation, la coordination et les autres tâches, vous devez très rigoureusement sélectionner votre équipe, avec des personnes qui sont fiables, dignes de confiance, désintéressées et disponibles. Être dans une équipe de mariage implique une part de responsabilités et pour le cortège de mariage, ça implique parfois certaines dépenses. Afin d'éviter des maux de têteassurez-vous d'exposer clairement ce que vous attendez d'eux, et soyez flexible et ouvert à la possibilité que  les personnes contactées puisse décliner  s'ils ne se sentent pas à la hauteur de la tâche, et n'insistez pas pour une réponse immédiate. Si quelqu'un est incapable de payer le coût de la tenue de mariage et les autres frais associés, vous pouvez envisager d'offrir une participation financière.


  • Créez votre liste de contrôle personnelle 3 mois à la fois
    Voici une liste de contrôle des 3 premiers mois, en supposant que votre mariage est 
    dans un an.                                
  • Annoncez vos fiançailles
  •  Choisissez vos alliances
  • Sélectionnez votre date de mariage
  • Engagez un consultant de mariage et/ou un décorateur                
  • Déterminez le type de mariage que vous voulez (formel, mariage de destination voyage, nombre d'invités, moment de la journée, etc)
  • Calculez votre budget et comment les dépenses seront traitées
  • Élaborez un système pour garder une trace des paiements aux fournisseurs et des dépenses
  • Compilez une liste des invités (en tenant compte des invités des parents)
  • Réservez le lieu de la cérémonie et de la réception 
  • Réservez le célébrant
  • Commandez votre robe de mariée et la tenue du marié
  • Déterminez votre palette de couleurs ou Thème de mariage
  • Réservez le photographe
  • Sélectionnez votre cortège (dame de compagnie, demoiselles d'honneur, le Témoin, et les garçons d'honneur)
  • Sélectionnez les robes, chaussures et accessoires du cortège
Je projette bientôt de faire un entrée de blog sur une liste de contrôle détaillée et exhaustive.

Mireille

Friday, 10 June 2011

It’s a Wrap / C'est dans la boîte


One of the best investment you will make in a wedding is definitely having a photographer and /or videographer. In fact, despite the fact that I am very much budget conscious, this is one expense I encourage engaged couples not to go on the cheapest side, or hire the first photographer or videographer that came around the corner. The consequences can be heavily disappointing, and I have witnessed brides and grooms, get their wedding pictures and be bitter of the result.

Photographing and filming a wedding require an artistic eye, a passion for people and most importantly a sensibility to others emotions: Getting this tear from the groom when the bride is coming alongside her dad, catching an intimate exchange pre-wedding between mother and daughter, and getting those special moments nobody saw, this is exactly what a real artist should be able to deliver.

Coming back to money, there are little alternatives to the $10,000 tag photographer, but again it comes back to what you are looking for. Personally in dealing with professionals, anything less than $2000 should not be considered. Remember the work usually start with your engagement pictures, then your pre-wedding, wedding and sometimes post-wedding; but consider that the major part of the work is the editing process that requires hours and hours of work. If you go cheap, you get what I call the-nephew-took-it type of work, and this is not what you paid for.

My tips on how to pick a Wedding Photographer?

1.    Get references
You have friends or colleagues who got married and you got excellent comments? Ask for their photographer references. It is better if you have several people dealing with the same person. It is not a guarantee for good work, but it is at least a good start. Please, when you get recommendations make sure that the couple has gone through the whole process from discussing their pre-wedding and wedding day expectations and that they have a beautiful wedding album to show for it. Do not rely on beautiful words; see the work by yourself, after all we all have very different artistic tastes.

2.    Shop around
After you get a list of 3-5 photographers, made your exercise by visiting their websites or seeing their portfolio, do not hesitate to visit their place of business or meet for a casual conversation.  At this meeting you need to address important items: is he available the wedding date? Can he explain his background and give some credentials? Have a look at previous clients’ complete albums. Do you like his photography style? Again don’t settle for a “coup de Coeur”. Unless you hopelessly in love with the work, I recommend my clients to continue the exercise with at least 3 photographer.

3.    The it-factor
It is absolutely not cliché; you really have to click with your photographer or videographer. It is important for you trust him, and also that you feel comfortable enough to express yourself After all, you want your vision to be materialized the way you expect it to be. These professionals will become very intimate, you will invite them for engagement pictures, almost dressing in front of them for the pre-wedding pictures, and they will capture the best pictures out of you and your party. You need someone who understands your personality but who has a good eye to guide you through different intimate, group and family shots.

4.    Clarify expectations
When dealing with a photographer, there are several details that need to be clarified: Money, shooting times, and service provided. Communication and transparency are keys to a successful business relationship.
    - Define if you want a traditional, modern, innovative or artistic flair to your pictures
    - When dealing with photography groups, make sure that the photographer you book and exchange with is the same one who will take charge of your wedding.
   -  Insure you pay all deposits and balances requires prior to the wedding. If you have a package deal, detail what the package deal includes (album, prints, CD, portrait etc…). Also inquire for extra fees like travel fees, overtime charge,
    - Discuss material, crew members, backup plan in case the numeric camera breaks down
   -  Make sure to discuss the editing process and your implication in pictures for selection
    - In this time of social media, your photographer can help you to make it easy for friends and family to view your wedding gallery through his website or other external links. Photographers sometimes use couples shot as promotional material. So make sure you are comfortable with that and in case you are not, address your confidentiality level with the photographer.  
   -  Inquire about the price for duplicate prints, albums, etc.,
    -  Agree on the timeframe for picture or album delivery. We all know those horror stories where couples are still waiting for their wedding pictures after 5 years.

5.    Put it on paper and commit to it
If all of the previous concerns have been addressed and you are certain of your choice, it is time to sign a contract, usually along with a deposit to reserve the date. The contract should usually include:
    - Wedding-date changes or unforeseen cancellation clauses.  
   -  Clear detailing of packages - number of prints, digital files, enlargements, etc with description of service acquiring (i.e. “8 hours of wedding photography and portrait services by photographer), date, time, location of ceremony, reception, and other.
   -   Total charge for services provided. Usually the deposit that is non refundable.
    - A written permission clause for pictures sharing or diffusion

Click on the following link for a Sample Wedding Photography Agreement


Please find below the work of the photographers and videographers I love the most, in Canada and the US.
  • Loudbyte Cinematography, Illinois
I love what these guys do . I discovered him through Essence Magazine bridal Bliss section. Steve Gribben and Ton-Essa La’rocque don’t follow any trends or formulas because their goal is to create wedding motion pictures that couples will enjoy watching again and again. Please enjoy one of the wedding video trailers they did below.      


                                     
Loudbyte Cinematography Presents So Beautiful Wedding Movie Trailer from Loudbyte Cinematography on Vimeo.
  • Choi's Photography, Gatineau, QC
I discovered this team through one of my clients. Choi's Photography delivers amazing photos and movies to their clients. Meesook, the filmmaker along with Jae and Peter, the photographers are amazing. Visit or contact them at Choi Photography.


  • Christina Esteban Photographie, Montreal, QC

     She is one of the best photographesr in Montreal. I have heard of her work through clients, who swear by Christina's work. She is down to earth and extremely professional. But she takes her couples fun as a priority. Please visit her website for more details 

    Mireille...

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Choosing the right first dance / Choisir la chanson de la première danse

(Version française plus bas)




It is sometimes a very daunting task, to choose a wedding song among the billion of options in the music arena. Some couples I know even quarrel on the subject, during wedding preparations. Whether you go with a live band, an acapella, a DJ or from a MP3 list, your first dance choice will set the tone from the rest of the wedding entertainment and dance sequel. After all the pressure is high, because the first dance song, is one of the wedding day souvenirs guests will surely remember.  

My advice for choosing a first dance song:

     If you don’t already have a favorite song, or if you're having trouble coming up with a song, start by defining a theme or a story you would like your song to tell. Research Lyrics from keywords you selected from websites like lyrics.com.

     It is very important to read, and think carefully about your choice of song, through the history or lyrics of your chosen song. I remember a wedding where the bride loved a particular song for its melody, but while dancing the audience was somehow just so impressed: the song was a tribute of the singer to his late dad. Let say, it just kills the mood. Thanks to an amazing DJ, the party was able to lift up.

     Please practice, practice and practice dancing to the beat of your song to ensure it’s not too slow or fast for you both.

     On the technical side, make sure to always give clear instructions to your live band, DJ or wedding planner in charge of the music on what music is being played at what time during your wedding day. Label them properly and keep copies. It is unbelievable the number of times YouTube saved a wedding, as the song chosen was either not properly working, did not have the proper format or worst case scenario was the wrong version, ITunes, has a huge selection of songs for only .99cents. Avoid free online versions, which may be corrupted or shortened.

     In the end, your first dance should reflect your personality. You can therefore go for a popular love song, an exotic rhythm or a dancing medley to impress your guests, as long as you choose a song which is meaningful to you both.



Here is a list of my clients preferred first dance songs by categories (Mostly R&B):

CLASSIC
1.    Endless Love – Duet from Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey
2.    Just The Way You Are - Billy Joel
3.    All My Life - K-Ci & Jojo
4.    You're Still The One -  Shania Twain
5.    The Way You Look Tonight - Tony Bennett
6.    At Last - Etta James
7.    Kiss From a Rose - Seal
8.    From This Moment - Shania Twain & Brian White
9.    Unforgettable - Nat King Cole
11.  The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
12.  Ribbon In the Sky - Stevie Wonder
13.  The Power Of Love - Celine Dion
14.  Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
15.  Everytime I close my eyes – Babyface
16.  For You - Kenny Latimore

CHRISTIAN
       1. When God Made You – NewSong
       2. I Promise  - CeCe Winans
       3.We Will Dance - Steven Curtis Chapman
       4. I Found Love - BeBe Winans
       5. On a night like this - Dave Barnes
       6. Bless The Broken Road – Selah (Personal favorite)
       7. You're the One - Lisa Shipman & Hallerin hill

UPBEAT
       1. You're the first, my last, my everything -  Barry White
       2. Dreaming Of You - Selena
       3. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
       4. It Had To Be You - Harry Connick, Jr
       5. If I Ain't Got You - Alicia keys and Usher
       6. Spend My Life With You - Eric Benet and Tamia
       7. I do -  Boys II Men

MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS
After all is said and done - Beyonce & Marc Nelson

FRENCH
Quand on n’a que l’Amour  – Jacques Brel (ou version Lara Fabian)

__________________________________________________________________




C’est parfois une tâche très ardue, de choisir une chanson de mariage parmi les milliards d'options disponibles. Certains couples se disputent même  sur le sujet, lors des préparatifs de mariage. Que vous ailliez un Band en live, un a capella, un DJ ou une liste de chansons sur votre MP3, votre choix première danse donnera le ton au reste de la réception de mariage. Après tout, la pression est forte, parce que la chanson de la première danse, est l'un des souvenirs dont les invités se souviendront le plus après le mariage.

Mes conseils pour choisir une chanson de première danse:

♫ Si vous ne possédez pas déjà une chanson préférée, ou si vous rencontrez des difficultés à en trouver une, commencez par définir un thème ou une histoire que vous aimeriez que votre chanson puisse relater. Faites ensuite des recherches par mots-clés de paroles de chansons à partir des sites Web comme lyrics.com ou Paroles de chansons.

♫ Il est très important de lire et réfléchir à votre choix de la chanson, à travers l'histoire ou les paroles de la chanson choisie. Je me souviens d'un mariage où la mariée ont sélectionné une chanson pour sa mélodie, mais tout en dansant devant le public, il y avait quelque chose d’étrange dans l’air: la chanson est un hommage de la chanteuse à son défunt père. Disons, que cela tue l'ambiance. Merci au DJ incroyable qui a su relever la soirée.

♫ S'il vous plaît pratiquer, pratiquer et pratiquer votre danse au rythme de votre chanson afin de vous assurer qu'il n'est pas trop lent ou rapide pour vous deux.

♫ Sur le plan logistique, assurez-vous de toujours donner des instructions claires à votre Band, DJ ou votre organisatrice de mariage en charge de la musique sur ce qui doit se jouer et à quel moment lors du mariage. Étiquetez si nécessaire les CDs ou compilations et faites des copies de sauvegarde. C'est incroyable le nombre de fois que YouTube a sauvé un mariage soit parce que le titre choisi ne fonctionnait pas correctement, il n’était pas du format ou encore pire scénario il était de la mauvaise version. ITunes a une grande sélection de chansons pour seulement 99 cents. Évitez les versions gratuites en ligne, qui peuvent être endommagées ou raccourcies.

♫ Enfin, votre première danse doit refléter votre personnalité. Vous pouvez donc aller pour une chanson d'amour populaire, un rythme exotique ou un medley de danses pour impressionner vos invités, aussi longtemps que vous choisissez une chanson qui est importante pour vous deux.




Voici une liste de chansons que mes clients préfèrent classées par catégories:

CLASSIQUES
1.    Endless Love – Duet from Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey
2.    Just The Way You Are - Billy Joel
3.    All My Life - K-Ci & Jojo
4.    You're Still The One -  Shania Twain
5.    The Way You Look Tonight - Tony Bennett
6.    At Last - Etta James
7.    Kiss From a Rose – Seal
8.    From This Moment - Shania Twain & Brian White
9.    Unforgettable - Nat King Cole
11.  The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
12.  Ribbon In the Sky - Stevie Wonder
13.  The Power Of Love - Celine Dion
14.  Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
15.  Everytime I close my eyes – Babyface
16.  For You - Kenny Latimore

CHRÉTIENS
       1. When God Made You – NewSong
       2. I Promise  CeCe Winans
       3.We Will Dance - Steven Curtis Chapman
       4. I Found Love - BeBe Winans
       5. On a night like this - Dave Barnes
       6. Bless The Broken Road – Selah (Personal favorite)
       7. You're the One - Lisa Shipman & Hallerin hill


RYTHMÉS
       1. You're the first, my last, my everything -  Barry White
       2. Dreaming Of You - Selena
       3. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life - Stevie Wonder
       4. It Had To Be You - Harry Connick, Jr
       5. If I Ain't Got You - Alicia keys and Usher
       6. Spend My Life With You - Eric Benet and Tamia
       7. I do -  Boys II Men

BANDES SONORES DE FILMS
After all is said and done - Beyonce & Marc Nelson

FRANÇAIS
Quand on n’a que l’Amour  – Jacques Brel (ou version Lara Fabian)




Mireille