Finally after a full couple days of rest, I’ve had time to digest all the happenings of the last two months of planning and crazy few days of execution for A Sweets Affair. Some of my life lessons from this event can be related back to wedding planning in many ways (afterall your wedding is the biggest special event ever!), so I thought I’d share some insights with you.

Details tie the event together
I received a lot of positive feedback about the small details I added to the event, like the signs on the cupcakes and the flags above the sales table. I made sure that even the drinks matched the colour scheme for the night. It’s the little details like these—things that don’t take too much money or effort at all—that distinguish a mediocre event from a well-thought-through occasion. It’s also these little details that guests often take note of, take pictures of and remember when looking back. Well worth it to remember the details!

People are your greatest asset
Though this was a small event, many people came together to make this event possible: Sally had her Psalms team on staff that night, Jenn had a handful of helpers for sales and decorating and I definitely had my share of volunteers at the event. We also had a number of great donations for raffles made possible only by our own personal connections. Whether it was a volunteer collecting the cover at the door or the paid staff selling jewellery, every person at that event played their part to make it a success. In any business or event, people are your greatest asset and resource. Treat people well and make friends! You never know when you might have a future opportunity to work together. I definitely enjoyed meeting and working with Jenn from Sweet Escapes for this event. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to work together again soon!

Hired help vs. volunteers
Words cannot express how thankful I am for my boyfriend being there to help me with the event, not to mention pre and post-event tasks. He helped pick up the keyboard, drove volunteers home, made the background music playlist, helped with AV, had his share of heavy lifting and more. I felt kind of bad that he was dragged in and had an unspoken expectation to help, just because he was a significant other of the event planner who had too much on her plate. But I’m also glad that he was there, because I would have had to do all of it myself, had he not been there. This reminded me of the importance of having a professional wedding coordinator at a wedding. Your close friends and family will no doubt help you out if you need, but how much better would it be if you had hired help and they were free to enjoy the special occasion? I won’t go too much into this here, as I’ve discussed this more in depth in my FAQ’s about hiring a wedding coordinator. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, check it out here.

Saving a few dollars can be stressful
I love getting a good deal and saving money, but sometimes you have to ask yourself if the effort outweighs the money saved. As mentioned in a previous post, because it was a fundraiser, we really utilized our resources and did a lot of things ourselves to save on expenses. Just to give you a glimpse of how we saved money.. Rolling racks were borrowed from a church and from an inside connection with Seneca’s fashion department; tables, chairs and av equipment were borrowed from my office; The mixer and keyboard were borrowed from friends; I made dinner for the volunteers and the beverages for the evening were mixed ourselves. We really saved a ton of money by not renting furniture and buying things we didn’t need, but that meant running around the city and coordinating pickups and deliveries like no tomorrow. Obviously in our case, it was worth it to save money. But if this were a wedding, I would advise the couple to pay for the extra help to have someone else do things for them, because it wouldn’t be worth it to stress and lose so much sleep over a few dollars saved. Saving money always is balanced out by the time or resources put in to make it happen. Make sure you count the costs!

My boyfriend asked me a simple and insightful question the other day: If I were to do it again, what would I change?

After really having reflected on it, I probably wouldn’t have changed much. Sure, it would have been great to have paid for a moving van, rented furniture and had professionals to help at the event. But I don’t think I would have learned as much as I did, having built the event from scratch, and we definitely wouldn’t have saved much money! On a related note, it was also the first time I’ve had to be the event planner/coordinator, AV setup person, delivery person and MC for the same event. Talk about a good learning experience.

All in all, I would count A Sweets Affair a success. I hope you enjoyed it too!

Rebecca Chan is a Toronto wedding planner and day of wedding coordinator providing sophisticated planning for the style-savvy couple. Whether you need planning assistance or wedding day coordination, Rebecca can help you create your dream wedding day. Contact her today, she'd love to hear from you.

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