By Kristen Wagner :: Photos By Royce Sihlis
About two billion people worldwide watched as Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011. The event called to mind any number of fairy tales: William was handsome in military regalia, Kate’s dress fit like a dream, and the happy couple rode off in a horse-drawn carriage to share a perfect kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
But imagine if Kate had to juggle the responsibilities of booking Westminster Abbey, finding a caterer and conferring with a photographer in addition to looking radiant and greeting the public. Most likely, her smile would have been more than a little strained.
Not every wedding is observed with the rapt attention of a quarter of the world’s population, like Kate’s. But on her wedding day, every bride should feel like a princess—and no princess should spend such an important occasion worrying that the DJ won’t show up.
Fortunately, there’s a solution for stressed-out brides: a wedding planner. A planner can be more than a booker of catering or a negotiator of flower prices; she can be the thin thread of reason that binds a stressed-out bride to reality. “[The planner’s] job is to remove the stress from the bride,” says Nicole Jelinski of Created Lovely Events. As a certified wedding planner with dozens of weddings, fundraisers, and even a successful political campaign under her belt, Nicole is accustomed to anticipating the unexpected and maintaining calm when chaos simmers just below the surface.
Created Lovely offers a variety of planning and coordination services, including full and partial wedding planning. For the bride who wants to plan her own day but also be able to relax and enjoy it, day-of coordination is a very happy medium: Nicole swoops in at the last minute to ensure the event runs smoothly and all vendors show up—not to mention the groom. The goal is always to help the bride enjoy her wedding day, completely stress-free.
Planners fill many roles, but their selling feature is the ability to take a brewing disaster and, at the drop of a hat, turn it into the best day of someone’s life. Last summer, Nicole faced the ultimate test of this skill: a client called to say that the venue had cancelled, just three days before the wedding. Nicole dropped everything and came up with a plan, orchestrating a beautiful backyard wedding for 75 people in as many hours. “I think it was even better than it would have been at the venue,” she says. “But it was chaos.”
Nicole is quick to point out that a wedding’s success can hinge on the bride’s attitude. In the case of the bride in the last-minute backyard wedding, “She was in the mindset of ‘I’m going to marry him, no matter what. We’re getting married this weekend, so we’re going to do what we can,’” Nicole says. “If the bride has the right attitude, the wedding’s going to be perfect.”
A perfect wedding must also match the couple’s tastes and unique relationship dynamic. “[A wedding] is the start of the rest of someone’s life,” Nicole says. “You have to consider what’s going to make them happy and what’s true to their personalities.” Helping to guide the bride and groom toward that vision is one of Nicole’s favourite things about her job—and she has it down to a science.
When a bride-to-be contacts Nicole through her website, she’s asked to answer questions like “Pearls or diamonds?” and “Heels or flats?”. The questions may seem obtuse, but each answer plays a role in helping Nicole get a sense of what the couple is all about. Pinterest is also used to help gauge the bride’s taste and how Nicole can best complement it. She offers ideas and guidance where she can, “but at the end of the day, what the bride wants is what the bride gets.”
With plenty of experience planning special days for other brides, Nicole is well prepared for another task on her plate: she’s getting ready to walk up the aisle herself in September. She and her fiancé Royce, of Royce SihlisPhotography, both work in the wedding industry, so it gives them a unique perspective on the planning of their own event.
“I think it’s a million times harder to plan your own wedding,” Nicole says. “I’ve really tried to take my own advice that I give brides. You have to take a step back and look at the big picture. Your wedding will be perfect if you stay true to you.” For Nicole and Royce—whose idea of a perfect date is a trip to Costco—this means serving a burger bar to their guests on gold charger plates.
At the end of the day, a wedding is a celebration of love, and Nicole is always able to keep that fact at the centre of the weddings she plans. “I’m just so genuinely happy for couples that find each other,” she says. “It just makes me so happy to see other couples’ excitement about getting married.”