Five Ways to Add Personal Touches to Your Wedding

Social media feeds are overrun with wedding inspiration and it almost seems as if there is nothing original when it comes to weddings.  Every couple wants to give their guests a unique experience but it can seem like quite a challenge in the beginning. I always tell my clients the strategy to make your wedding stand out is to make it meaningful by considering all your favourite things as a couple in the early stages of planning.


Here are five ways to add personal touches to your wedding day.

  1. Consider working with a friend or family member on a personalized ceremony or share your love story with your officiant. It is a great way to start the wedding in a meaningful way and explain some special touches guests can expect to see throughout the day.

  2. Make a charitable donation in lieu of guest favours.  Many of us have been personally touched by a cause near and dear to our hearts and your dollar goes a lot further to a charity than candy or treats at guest tables.  Explain your donation and meaning behind it on a sign positioned at the receiving table.

  3. Incorporate your favourite foods in your wedding meal and serve them in a special way.   Long gone are the days of formal sit down, rubber chicken dinners and now anything goes when it comes to menu design.  Many of my couples are opting for mingling and lots of opportunity for guests to visit during the evening. If you and your fiancé love Mexican, offer a taco bar or serve up several of your favourite foods on communal platters on each table.  Have your emcee explain the meaning behind the meal or incorporate a description in the menu.

  4. Consider special songs to play.  Music offers a wonderful opportunity to fill your wedding with meaning.  I always tell my couples to take lots of time when considering ceremony songs, grand entrance songs and especially first dance songs. Don’t hesitate to have your emcee give a quick introduction to the song, or include a little note about each song played during the ceremony in the ceremony program.

  5. Weddings often have a huge contingency of out of town guests and quickly turn into wedding weekends with a flurry of dinners and breakfasts which give way to a whole host of opportunities to add meaning.  Pick dinner at your favorite restaurant or provide gift bags to your guests full of things you love as a couple.

By adding personal touches and references to your unique love story, your wedding guests are sure to remember your wedding long after you say ‘I Do!’

This is a guest post by Alli Mae Fresh Events


Message from the President...

Happy Fall EPM members! I hope you had a turkey filled holiday with all of your friends and family and are looking forward to the busy event season coming to all of us! It was a great summer, typical instantaneous fall and now it seems we are going to see snow sooner than later. A staff member said to me; “It’s like we had two July’s and no August”…

Moving into the season I am looking forward to the opportunity to get together with our association members through our Program Committee initiatives with fantastic networking opportunities while having a little fun. Our most recent event held at the Assiniboia Downs hosted by Dale was so much fun and a unique entertainment experience. We felt like VIP’s. In addition the added value to those live events, we also have webinars planned geared towards relevant professional development and event industry information. Easy, sit at your desk, information sharing.

The event planning industry has seen exponential growth in the last 10 years and expecting to grow at a rate of 44% by the year 2020. I look forward to being a part of that success with this group here in Manitoba. Networking and connecting will be the key to sustaining that growth.

There are two ways to look at what we do:

“Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” – Albert Einstein

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

On behalf of myself and the Board, we thank you for your continued support, participation and as always, open to your feedback and suggestion for added value for you, as a member.

Janet Harder, Event Professionals of Manitoba

Innovative Food Experiences to Elevate Your Next Event

Written by Louise Serpa Evanochko – Bel-Ayre Rentals Ltd.      |  |



Food stations are nothing new. But the new trends changing up the scene are elevating guest experiences and creating lasting impressions often without even compromising the budget.

The classic picture of the food station is a chef cranking out omelets or a carving station, the messy chocolate fountain or a flambéed dessert. More recently seen iterations are un-manned stations which gives guests a chance to interact, mingle, and let their inner foodie get creative.  The following are a few trends we’ve been seeing more often:

Donut Wall: Remixed

The dessert crowd pleaser has been around for a few years now. Step it up by adding a mix of plain donuts or mini donut kabobs to be topped with an assortment of fresh fruits, icings, sprinkles, crushed nuts, or even a filler gun.

Hack That Fountain 

Say goodbye to the temperamental chocolate. Commercial quality fountains with multiple heat settings open up a world of possibilities.  Breakfast buffet? Run some syrup through it for a waffle bar. Game night? Setup a wing bar complete with buffalo, BBQ or ranch flowing freely. Taco Tuesday just won’t be the same without a nacho cheese fountain.

You Did WHAT With The Sterno?

Save a few cans from the buffet line and crack them open create an interactive camping cookout. Roast hot dogs or marshmallows to make s’mores (better yet, some marshmallow shots for the bar). Don’t be surprised if your guests break out in a round of Kumbaya.

Be Your Own Barista

Let guests unleash their inner bartender by providing a base drink with a variety of garnishes. Mimosas, Bellini’s (don’t forget the slush machine), mojitos, or Caesar’s are great for swaying from the ‘signature’ drink trend to something more customizable.

Midway Madness

The Ex may have come and gone, but keep the carnival atmosphere alive with a popcorn station complete with freshly popped popcorn and several seasonings. Spin up some cotton candy with personalized flavourings or cool off with some shaved ice.

Thinking outside the box when it comes to your clients food experiences can help elevate the bland buffet or rubber chicken meal to something the guests will be talking about for a while to come.

Reducing Your Event Costs

Written by Robert Manchulenko  Chief Officer of Hospitality & Support Services Niverville Heritage Centre & EPM Treasurer

Besides your venue, décor, flowers, linen and food one of the most important choices is what type of bar service you would like to offer.

Some of the most popular choices for bar offerings will give you the celebration you are looking for without breaking your budget.

The first type and most popular is the “open bar” or “host bar”. Your guests can choose what they would like to drink without worrying about the bill at the end of the night. To keep this under control, consider limiting the types of beverages available to order and you can also place parameters on the service times. Don’t forget that you will be responsible for the bill at the end of the function and your guests will usually consume more.

The second most popular option is the “cash bar”. In this option, the guest is usually not limited as to the options and is responsible to pay for the beverage at the time of order. Most events of this type offer complimentary table wine, or you can offer a signature drink that you will cover.

A third option is to offer a “toonie bar” where the guests are responsible to pay two dollars for each beverage ordered and the difference is paid at the end of the night by the organizer of the event.

Another way of controlling costs would be to offer a combination of a “ticket bar” and a “cash bar”. In this method the organizer pays for a set number of tickets that they can hand out to the guests. Any beverages ordered above this will be paid by the guests. With this method, the tickets are paid in advance and are usually not refunded by the venue if unused.

In Manitoba some venues may also allow the event organizers to apply for a separate liquor licence and can purchase the beverages for service themselves. With this the venue will usually charge an hourly rate for the bartenders and may also charge a “corkage fee” calculated on the number of guests in attendance whether they are drinking or not.

Whatever your choice, also take into thought that beverage service comes with responsibility. All service staff should be trained in responsible alcohol service. (SmartChoicesMB) The law also prohibits overconsumption and monitors this responsibility with unannounced inspections. A designated driver program or arranging a safe ride home for your guests is something you should also think about.

In the end its all about creating an event you can be proud of that will create memories for all that attend. Enjoy!

How we Create Value as Event Planners

Video Review by Megan Steele

As I was perusing the magical world of the Internet the other day, I came across an interesting video about "How to Create Value For your Event Clients." What I specifically found interesting about it was that it was just a simple conversation between two Event Professionals. Now, this video is more targeted towards newer planners, but I think it is a great reminder of where some of our seasoned EPM members may have started.  

The video features Alex Cheung, who actually started the Toronto Special Events Network while he was in school. Alex discusses how he started out, where he is today, and the pathway he carved to get there. The host of this video is Melanie Woodward of Event Planning Blueprint. The video is a little lengthy but is worth the watch. 

My favourite part of the video was the bit about the four pieces of the puzzle which relate to obtaining referrals: Show up on time, Do what you say, Finish what you start, and Say PLEASE & THANK YOU. It sound so incredibly simple, but goes such a long way. As I navigate through my own Event Planning career and grow, I think it's important to talk, learn, and connect. And that's exactly what I feel I get from my membership with EPM and chatting with all of you!