Blushing Rose Bridal Boutique: Now Open!

 Calling all Milton brides-to-be!  Are you looking for a great local boutique style shop where you can purchase that wedding gown you have been dreaming about?  Well, look no further.  Yesterday morning I attended the grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting for an exciting new bridal boutique here in my hometown, Milton Ontario.   

Co Owners of Blushing Rose Bridal Boutique,  Ola Potocka and Karolina Wilczynska
perform the official ribbon cutting ceremony with Milton Mayor 
 Gordan Krants 

Blushing Rose Bridal Boutique, located right in the heart of new Milton at the corner of Thompson and Derry, was the gathering place for wedding industry professionals, friends, supporters, local press, and Milton’s Mayor Gordon Krantz this past Wednesday as they officially opened their doors for business. 

Cara Cassidy of Cara Mia Events With Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz
at the Blushing Rose Bridal Boutique Grand Opening.

After the ceremony, I caught up with co-owner Ola Potocka to ask her a few questions about what we can expect to see with her new boutique. 

See what she Ola had to say about Blushing Rose Bridal Boutique.

1.  Why did you choose to open a bridal boutique?  Why in Milton?  

“We love Milton and even when we were finalizing a location we realized how over saturated Mississauga and even Oakville was so it honestly was not a difficult choice for us anyways! I have family that lives here and know how clean and happy the town is! We have always been in fashion, a family member owned a bridal boutiques up north and I have personally worked with haute couture designers myself with events and sponsorship packages. Even my first retail job in highschool was women's fashion, Winners!”

2.  What kind of atmosphere and service are you offering to brides?
“Oh we hope to bring a fresh and young vibe to the wedding fashion industry, we respect anyone that comes through our doors, be it a bride to be or someone browsing out of curiosity. We are very proud, excited and also know deep down we carry good quality products, customer service is a definitely a top priority!”

3.  What is one thing about your boutique that sets you apart form others?
“I love every single dress in my boutique, they are all different and all beautiful. We hand picked every single item to be displayed, even chose our designers, not only the most popular but ones we felt were unique and had well crafted dresses. I'm sure our passion and drive shine through to our brides. We have had excellent feedback and love being apart of the experience when a bride finds her perfect dress and we get to see her face light up.”

4.  Do you currently have any promotions running?
“We will always have promotions running! Currently with a purchase of a wedding gown our brides receive a free hair piece, be it a tiara, hair pin or bird cage veil. We also put our bride's name in a draw to win her dress free, the draw will take place right before Christmas, perfect Christmas gift! But most exciting is we have just implemented brand new lowered fall pricing to help our brides with their wedding budget. We also have 3 surprise gifts in store so anyone can come in and fill in a ballot. PLUS all our sample gowns are on sale, they are brand new but also offered for sale at a discounted price... for those shot gun weddings!”

5.  Is there anything else that you would like my readers to know about your boutique?
“We love what we do, we could not be more excited and happy to be able to provide our high quality products and customer service to Milton and looking forward for a long lasting relationship and sustaining business!”

So, there you have it… if you are in the area, pop in and check it out and say hello to Ola & Karolina!  

Taming Wedding Inspiration Overload

Looking at wedding eye candy is a great and fun way to explore the possibilities and become inspired when planning your wedding.  I fully support (and participate) in a good daily dose of wedding eye candy with my morning coffee!  The possibilities really do seem endless!  The internet is FULL of sites that allow you to "like","pin","fave it","+Pin","love","bundle"  and more.  With all of the emerging ways (and new ones that seem to pop up every day) to view and store the wedding inspiration, it is easy to lose site of your own wedding amongst the chaos.  Is scanning through thousands of gorgeous wedding photos online starting to make you feel overwhelmed? Unfocused? Confused? Well, let's try tame that inner inspiration junkie!

1. Focus your searches
Before you start furiously "pinning" and collecting photos and ideas for your wedding take a few minutes to give yourself a road map to follow during your searches.  Write down your top 5 "must haves" for your wedding and focus your searches on what really matters to you.   Let this list of 5 things bring you back to centre when you start to lose sight of the event that YOU are planning.

3.  Pick your theme and don’t collect images that don’t fit.
Picking a theme can help you search strategically using key words that apply to your wedding.  Ask yourself, does the really awesome picture of the “hanging lanterns in the forest” REALLY go with your theme?  If not… let it go!  You will find plenty of great ideas that DO work with your theme and budget!

2. Keep your inspiration organized.  
Picking just one platform in which you store all of your wedding stuff can help keep you organized when planning your wedding.  Having everything stored in ONE place allows you to focus in on your ideas and see them all together and see what works and what does not.  Whether you choose an online site inspiration site like pinterest, a wedding planning site, a folder on your desktop or a simple binder… just keep it ALL in one easy to access location.

4. Know your own DIY limits.
Yes, there are some AMAZING DYI projects out there that can really give your wedding great personal touches… but before you hit the craft store, consider the amount of time, energy and creativity that you have to bring to the project.  If the project doesn't mesh with what you have to give, choose to either hire someone who can do it for you, or pass on the project and choose something that better suits your needs and ability.
**bonus tip:  before buying all of your supplies in bulk for your wedding DIY project, buy just enough to try a prototype and make sure that it comes together the way you want it to!

5.  Keep your budget in mind:
If your budget is unlimited, then by all means, let’s pull out all the stops!  If not though, remember that you don't have to have EVERYTHING to have an awesome and memorable wedding!  Refer back to your list of must haves often and focus perfecting them first.  If you still have room in your budget after all of the must haves have been taken care of… let’s bring in the extras!

Happy planning!

Wedding Eye Candy: Soft Candle Lit Ceremony and Reception!

Photo by: Cara Cassidy

Happy Friday Everyone!

Just thought I would send you into the weekend with a little eye-candy from a wedding that I worked on recently along side the fabulous Stacey-Star.

This beautiful candle-lit ceremony and reception, at the Capital Event Theatre downtown, was so soft and stunning... Check out the awesome pro photos by JB Smith Photography HERE.
Congratulations to Sarah and Andrew... I had a great time working on their wedding!

Have a great Weekend Everyone!

Why do YOU need a wedding coordinator?

Photo Credit: Courtney Dirks

One of the questions that I frequently get asked is:  Why do I need to hire a Wedding Coordinator? 
I have considered writing a blog post about this for a quite a long time now, but as a wedding coordinator myself, it always felt just a little too self-serving.  That being said, it is an honest question and it deserves and honest answer!  So, without getting all “sales pitchy” on you, I am going to try to answer this question today.

What are the benefits of hiring a wedding coordinator?

1.     A professional wedding coordinator is educated and certified in the field.  We are constantly networking and keeping an eye on the industry for the latest trends, new and specialized vendors, budget saving ideas, and more.  So, how does this help you?  Simply put: we keep ourselves up to date, so that you don’t have to be an expert in the industry to have a great wedding.   It also means that you do not have to do all of the research and leg-work that is necessary to connect with the right people to work on your day.  

2.     A professional wedding coordinator will be able to provide you with trusted vendor selections that meet YOUR specific needs and budget.  And the best part? You don’t have to spend hours and hours narrowing down potential candidates.
(Ethics reminder: WPIC Certified wedding planners (like Cara Mia Events) are bound by a strict code of ethics that forbids the practice of accepting kickbacks – we choose our vendors on merit and do not accept any payment from vendors for referring our clients)

3.     Let’s talk budget:  One of the things that brides and grooms often struggle with, is picking a total wedding budget and then allocating the funds efficiently to make sure that you have everything covered while staying within your original budget.  Wedding coordinators already have an existing knowledge of the cost and the different price ranges of services within the industry.  With this knowledge we are able to help you breakdown your budget in a realistic way that can get you the most “bang-for-your-buck”.  You want to make sure that you don’t run out of money before you have all of the elements covered.

Once the wedding is already planned, what are the benefits of hiring a day/month-of Coordinator?  

Simply put, there has never been a wedding (EVER) that went so seamlessly that no one had questions or concerns throughout the day.   Managing the day-of is a lot of answering questions, directing traffic, making sure that the transitions from one element to the next go seamlessly, and keeping a constant eye on timing.  It is a balancing act and even at the most organized event, there is potential that something could get off track.  When you have invested your money and at least 250 hrs (the time it takes to plan an average wedding) into organizing a great event, you want to be able to enjoy it.  You certainly don’t want to be working!  Hiring a day of coordinator to WORK your wedding day means that your only job is to enjoy!

Can’t I just get my friends and family to help out for the day-of?

 I think that it is WONDERFUL when a couple has supportive friends and family who are eager to lend a helping hand to make sure that you have the wedding of your dreams.  Without taking anything away from these great people in your life, putting a friend in charge of running your wedding day not only means that he or she won’t get the opportunity to celebrate along with you, there is also concern that they may not have the experience necessary to make decisions on your behalf and make changes to the schedule as needed and keep everyone informed.  It is a big job and should be taken on by someone who is working

In short, a wedding coordinator will make sure that you get the most out of the time and money that you invest in your day!  

Venue Visit: Terrace on the Green

Have you been to Terrace on the Green?

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a WPIC networking night and experience first hand all that this great venue has to offer!  Terrace on the Green, located in Brampton on Mississauga Rd is a stunning venue with very impressive qualities!  This was my first time visiting this venue - and I will certainly be returning!

Check out these pictures that I took of their lush grounds…. can you imagine how beautiful your wedding photos would be? 

Not only were the facilities gorgeous and the grounds beautifully maintained, but what really impressed me was the level of customer service that they offer to their guests and their focus on the quality of their food!  The chef really went all out for us, preparing a four course meal that was absolutely delicious!  

In addition to experiencing this charming venue, we were also given the opportunity to get to know some great local vendors who came out to showcase their talents

Suzy Pardo from Flour Girls in Milton spoke to us about her bakery and the range of wedding services that they offer, including cookie favours/escort cards (super cute BTW), cupcakes and wedding cakes to name a few - delicious!

Julie Chivers – designer for JC kreative, spoke to us about her custom invitations and wedding stationary. 

And fellow WPIC alumni Wayne Alldrige was there (with yummy samples) to talk candy buffets. 

I want to thank all of the people that really went out of their way to organize such a valuable networking and learning experience for us all!

Thanks again to

 Jaquie Swadi - WPIC Halton Regional Representative 
Peter Trajkovski venue coordinator (and the rest of the Staff) @ Terrace on the Green
Wayne Alldridge - Marble Weddings 
Julie Chivers - JC Kreative
Suzy Pardo - Flour Girls

Do you Speak "Event"?: A Glossary of Common Industry Terms

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Unless you work in events, planning your wedding is likely your first introduction to the events industry and all the wacky words that come along with it.  If the terms Gobos, amuse-bouch, and B.E.O have you scratching your head, don't worry you are not alone!  Every industry seems to come with it's own language and the wedding/events industry is no exception.  I am often asked by clients to clarify some of the terms and phrases that come up while they are planning their day.  Below is a little "Cheat Sheet" of event terms that I have put together that may be useful to know while you plan your day! 

Amuse-bouche – Is a small one-bite appetizer; directly translated means “Mouth amuser”

B.E.O – Banquet Events Order – This is a document used by most venues that outlines the schedule and elements of your wedding.  It is given to all staff members who will be working on your wedding.

Bomboniere – another word for party favour- a small gift given to guests to thank them for attending.

Charger – A large plate that is placed at each table setting for decorative purposes.  Charger plates are not used to hold food, and are usually used as a base for service plates throughout the evening.  Chargers are always removed before serving dessert.

Escort Cards– Cards that are placed in the reception area and are used to tell guests which table they will be sitting at. 

Flow – This is the path that your guest will use to go from one area/element of your event to the next.  This smooth transition between elements is the “flow” of your wedding.

High top (also called ‘Highboy’)– Is a tall bar height cocktail table.

Initial meeting – Most Wedding Vendors (planners included) offer a FREE Initial Meeting – This meeting is a chance for you to meet with a potential vendor to get to know them, the services that the offers and decide how you can work together.   

Up lighting – lighting that is placed on the floor shining up, used to highlight structures- often used behind a head table backdrop and for interesting architectural elements around the perimeter of the room

            Pin spot – a focused beam of light to highlight a specific object – often used for centerpieces and Wedding Cakes.

Gobos – Metal stencils that are placed over lights to create a pattern or picture – used often in weddings for lit monograms and symbols on dance floors.

Officiant – The individual who will be leading your wedding ceremony and makes your marriage legally binding.

PAL Insurance –PAL (Party Alcohol Liability) Insurance protects you from lawsuits when hosting any function where alcohol will be served – See:  for more information.

Pipe & Drape – Metal pipes that fit together to form a stand for removable drapes.  Pipe and Drape is commonly used at events for temporary room dividers, decoration or to hide unsightly areas.

Place cards  - Cards that are placed on the guest tables and are used to tell guests which specific seat they will be sitting in.

Room flip – A term used to describe the transformation of a room from one part of an event to the next – a room flip is commonly used to change your hall/space from ceremony to reception.

SOCAN fee – SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) fee is collected by your venue and allows you to have music played and/or performed at your event.  Fees are collected and distributed to pay royalties.

Vendors – These are all of the people/services that you hire and work with to create your wedding including your planner, florist, photographer, caterer, decorator etc

Do you have an event industry term you think should be added to the list?  Please leave it in the comments below.  Need clarification on a term?  Ask below and I will leave a response! 

Thanks for reading!

Beat the Heat - Part 2: Summer Wedding Beauty Tips

Photo by:Regis Andrade

One thing we know for sure is that you want to look HOT on your wedding day – as in sexy, beautiful, gorgeous etc… but a lot of you summer brides fear that the steamy weather could have you looking like a hot-mess instead.  For Part-2 of my ‘Beat the Heat – Summer Wedding Survival' series, I have written a few beauty tips to keep you looking (and feeling) your best even in the steamiest weather.
(Click HERE to read Part 1: Planning Tips for Summer Weddings)

Shine control.
Although first instinct may be to load on the pressed powder to eliminate that t-zone shine, it may actually work against you giving you a caked-on look!  Instead, keep your makeup looking light by turning to some blotting papers for shine control - they are quick, convenient and easy to carry with you! 

Staying power.
Invest in a solid makeup primer – it sets a foundation for your makeup and keeps it in place longer... especially in the heat!  Apply your primer after you moisturize your face (don’t forget to use a moisturizer that has a decent SPF) – than apply your makeup as usual. 

Avoid Raccoon Eyes
Cut down the appearance of “raccoon eyes” by staying away from cream based eye shadow – it tends to settle, smear and smudge more in the heat than a powder based shadow.  If you find creams easier to work with, find a powder shadow in the same tone and apply a light dusting overtop of your cream shadow… this will help seal everything in place.  
Don’t forget to finish the look with a good quality waterproof mascara.

Avoid a Sticky Situation
Ok… so, no one likes to talk about it but lets face it ladies: Under a hot dress, in the heat, a little thigh rubbing can cause serious chaffing and uncomfortable red marks! Ouch!  If you tend to have this problem (and don’t worry lots of people do), here is a nifty little trick to make sure that you can still dance the night away.  Just rub a little deodorant on your inner thighs before getting dressed.  This stops the potential sticking and rubbing that causes chaffed legs!  In a pinch, a little bit of baby powder can also do the trick, but won’t hold up all day.

Just a final note before I close, remember if you are purchasing new products for your wedding day, pick them up at least a few weeks in advance and try them all out to avoid any potential allergic reactions on the big day!

If you guys have any great summer beauty tips please leave them in the comments below!  

Summer Wedding Survival – Part 1

Happy belated Victoria Day Everyone!  I hope everyone had a chance to relax and get out and enjoy the great weather.  For most of us, the May 2-4 weekend marks the (un)official start of summer and all the sun and fun that comes with it!  With that in mind, I thought this an ideal time to start a blog mini series on summer wedding survival.  So, without further ado...

Part 1:  A few things to consider when planning your summer wedding...

Avoid Peak-Sun Hours (if possible)
If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, consider planning the ceremony either before 10am or after 3pm to avoid the ‘peak’ sun hours - when the sun is at it’s fiercest.  If there is no avoiding a mid-day ceremony, be sure that you have some sort of shade for your guests! Even some cute wedding parasols can make a huge difference!
(*bonus: parasols look great in photos and make excellent favours for guests too!)

Stay Hydrated
Make sure that you plan to have plenty of water available for all of your guests and your wedding party! For a cute way to incorporate this into your wedding consider setting up a “water bar” with pitchers of water flavoured with different fruit combinations. I found some great recipe combinations for flavoured water from Jamie Oliver here! 

Keep your menu fresh and light
Let’s face it, no one wants to eat a big heavy meal when it’s hot out.  Luckily, summer is the perfect season to buy and eat local fruits and veggies – talk to your caterer about local summer options in your area.  

Protect your cake
Make sure when you order your cake for an outdoor wedding that you take the heat into consideration.  Although buttercream icing is delicious, it doesn’t fare well outside in the summer.  Even with the hardier fondant covered cakes, limit the amount of time it will need to be outside, and make sure to place it in a well-covered shaded area. 

Have a Back up Plan in place
Yes, I know, no one wants to believe that rain is possible on THEIR wedding day and I sincerely hope that you get the perfect weather that you have in mind.  Just in case though, it is SO important not only to have a back up plan in place but also a dependable team of people who are ready to make the switch to Plan B if necessary (yet another reason to hire a wedding coordinator...wink wink).  

Next week, for Part 2 of the summer survival guide I have some great bridal beauty tips to make sure that you are looking your best and that your bridal "glow” doesn’t turn into a “shine” in the heat!

5 Tips to Avoid Last Minute Wedding Stress

Now that the warmer weather has finally arrived and the first long weekend of the season is upon us, I am looking forward to the upcoming flurry of weddings and all the excitement that they brings!  For those getting married this summer/fall you are in the final stages of planning and the countdown has begun; a prospect that can be both exciting and a little stressful for most.  So, for today's blog post I have put together a list of 5 things that you can do to get organized and banish some of that pre-wedding stress. 
  • First and foremost, if you haven’t done so already, hire a “month-of” coordinator to help you in the home stretch!  A month of coordinator will make sure that all those last minute details come together exactly the way that you have carefully planned them!  Just knowing that your coordinator will be there to manage the wedding day for you (with their emergency kit and tons of knowledge), goes a LONG way in eliminating lead up stress.
  • Avoid procrastination and get your seating chart finished as early as possible!  This little “guest jigsaw puzzle” is often a challenge – especially when left to the last minute.  As soon as your RSVP deadline has passed start calling those stragglers and non-respondents so that you can begin plotting the tables early.  Having this guest information early means that you can also finish your escort cards/seating chart etc and knock a few more things off your last minute “to-do” list.
  • Avoid wedding burn out and plan a few “wedding planning free” days – mark them in the calendar and make sure to spend this time relaxing (date-night, perhaps?).  I know it is hard when you feel like there is so much to do… but taking a break and letting your thoughts catch up with you will make you much more efficient when it is time to work.   
  •  Create a wedding “command station” in your house to organize all of your wedding supplies (wardrobe, decor, cake knife, guest book etc).  Pick up a few Rubbermaid bins (or similar) and label them: “Ceremony decor” “Reception decor” “Wedding Coordinator” “Wardrobe” etc and divide your gear accordingly.  From this point on, every time you come home with a new wedding related purchase*, place it directly into the correct container.  You will be so thankful for this organization later when all you have to do is throw the pre-packed and organized bins in the car!                                                                                                             * note: make sure to clean/polish and remove any stickers or tags from all of your items before adding them to the correct bin.  Doing this one item at a time is less stressful than in bulk the day before your wedding.
  •  Spend half an hour (now) organizing all of your wedding paperwork into a binder or accordion file (vendor information & contact, contracts, guest list, etc)- keep adding any new paperwork as you move forward.  When it comes time to meet with your coordinator 4-6 weeks before the wedding, take this binder/folder with you. Having everything readily available in a well organized binder will make the flow of information to your planner very efficient – which means you will have more time to spend talking about the things that are really important to you on your special day.  

Getting these few things out of the way NOW means that you can relax a little and enjoy the summer sun!
If you have any great tips or tricks that you can share, leave them in the comments below! 

Let’s keep this wedding season exciting and as stress free as possible! 
Have a great long weekend everyone and Happy Planning! 

* "Erase Stress" (left) image in the collage above is by: Alan Cleaver

Are you dreaming about the Caribbean?

Whether you're imagining yourself in a wedding dress on a white sand beach, or you simply see yourself escaping the ordinary to relax on a luxury vacation or honeymoon, Sandals® and Cara Mia Events are ready to make your dreams come true!  I am proud to announce that after completing the Sandals® certification course this past weekend, I am officially a Certified Sandals' Specialist and am ready to help you book your next luxury escape to a Sandals resort! 

The Sponsored Sandals Certification Training this past weekend was graciously hosted by The Courtyard Marriott Hotel in downtown Toronto under the direction of Erin Pleizier (Catering Sales Manager for the Marriott and fellow WPIC member!).  The whole day was in true “WPIC style” and a completely brag worthy affair.  After completing our training we were treated to a fabulous reception complete with a delectable array of appetizers (Including "mashed potato bar" Mmmmm), local vendor showcases, photo booth, mind reader, DJ, and more! Such a treat!
Linens Provided my Chair Decor

Linens Provided by Chair Decor

It sure makes continuing education easy and fun when it is done like this!
Thanks again to the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, The Downtown Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Erin Pleizier, Sandals® Resorts everyone else who had a hand in organizing this great event.  I can’t wait to start booking dreams with Sandals!

Who's Your Planner?

Welcome to the new blog for Cara Mia Events!  This is an exciting day indeed... after over two years of running my own business, I have decided that it is high time that I join world of blogging.  I will be blogging everything weddings/events - tricks and tips of the trade, new exciting trends, local talent, interesting ideas and my adventures in the wedding industry.  I feel, however, that for my first blog post it is fitting to introduce myself to you - so here we go...

So, who is Cara Cassidy?

Cara Cassidy
Cara Mia Events
First and foremost, I am the owner and lead planner for Cara Mia Events, and I love my job!  I love the excitement of the being involved in the planning of an event from the ground up and seeing what began as a vision become a reality.  I love the small details and the personal touches and of course, there is nothing more exciting than the “big day” itself.  I am personally invested in each event that I work on; in fact the night before any big event I am filled with the same excitement and energy that I had the night before my own wedding.

So, how did I come to be a wedding planner?  Well I really think that I have been training for it all my life.  The first job I ever had, at the age of 14, was as a banquet server at a HUGE Italian wedding hall, and it's there that I fell in love with weddings and everything that goes into making them spectacular!  Since this first venture into the world of weddings, I have worked in many related industries (film and television, music, entertainment) and I eventually figured out how combine all of these passions for my true career - planning and coordinating weddings and events!  Perfect!  After about a year working as a coordinator of brand-marketing events I decided to launch my own event company so that I could focus on the types of events that I love so much. I completed my certification through the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (the only Canadian Wedding Coordinator Certification Institution that regulates its members) and began building Cara Mia Events

So as a fun way to start this new blogging adventure I thought I would give you a few fun facts about me

- I used to be a bit of a karaoke junkie – I even hosted karaoke for years in the evenings to pay my way through university.
- I LOVE to bake, cook and eat!  I would eat all day if I could!
- I am married and a mother of two
- My guilty pleasure?  Not surprisingly… I love girly wedding movies (shhhhh don’t tell anyone)
- I hate feet… love shoes… but hate feet. 
- I love all things homemade and creative – I always have a list of projects that I am working on
- I love to travel and hope one day to do a lot more of it!

So, there you have it… my first blog post is in the bag!  Check back often to follow my adventures in planning and to get your fun wedding fix!

I would love to get to know some of you as well… feel free to tell me about yourselves in the comments below, or tell me about an event that you currently planning!