Latest Industry Trends’ Category


Sneak Peak into an AWE Engagement Party!

Today, I’m happy to share one of my own events with all of you – my Engagement Party!

As a planner planning your own event has it’s own slew of stresses and although it’s hard to believe – I faced a lot of the same emotions and predicaments most brides go through as well!  When planning my own events, it went on the back burner – especially when my focus was on my brides. My family turned to me or almost expected that everything would be taken care of by me, since it’s what I do, in turn putting a lot of pressure on the shoulders of a couple of people!

Going through the wheels and motions of planning one of my own events has actually been a blessing – now I’ve TRULY felt first hand what feelings and emotions, what family stresses my own brides face!  What’s my vision, do I even have one? What should I wear? What should my look be? Am I creating a memorable experience for my guests? And am I forgetting anything?!?!  All of these emotions and thoughts I felt as I went about planning this event.  In the end, I couldn’t have been happier with how it unfolded thanks to the wonderful people around me – my family, dear friends, my supportive fiancé and of course event team that helped pull everything together!

Here’s a quick snippet of my engagement event that I’m happy to have all of you be a part of!

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Concept, Planning & Coordination: Arora Wedding & Event Planning

Cinematography: P-Your Vision

Photography: G+H Photography

Decor & Florals: PARAS Events

Venue: Atlantis Pavilions

Catering: Atlantis Pavilions & The Host Fine Indian Cuisine

Stationary: Vibrance Designs

Live Artist: Olga Pankova

Hair: Ladylyn Gool

Make Up: Dawna Boot

Jewelry: Tara Fava Jewelry

Cake & Dessert Table: Bobbette & Belle

Happy Planning!

~ Richha Arora


It’s Not Just About the Parties | The After Hours Job!

Come Fall & Winter the events and wedding industry goes into event overload with Grand Openings, Launches, Open Houses and Industry Nights.  In an industry where most of our events take place in the summer months, we see a bit of a lull before we go head first into corporate events and booking for the following season(s).

This week was especially exhausting as our team attended a number of events and parties.  Now if you follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter you may get the impression of “is all these girls do is party?”  Well we do, we are event planners after all! However, these parties have a lot more meaning and take a lot more work than it appears!  What do these parties entail and why do we “have” to go? Well it’s a part of our job – just like any other service based job ours involves research, staying on top of upcoming trends and building relationships.

So, attending these events allows us to see emerging trends in decor, florals, color palettes and also simulates our creative juices on the next big thing we can do for our upcoming weddings.  In addition, we’re able to see what’s trending in terms of food and beverages – what are some new ways of service, presentation, or ideas for signature drinks – all which add value to our current and future brides and grooms!  During the summer months we don’t really get a chance to really connect with our industry partners and so here we run into new people we’d like to work with or who can offer our clients a great product or service and we meet old friends whom we catch up with, all in all making our relationships stronger for – you guessed it, our clients!  It also gives our team a time to connect, talk about us and what skills we need to improve on and how we can function better together, all in all giving our clients a highly efficient, expert team as the backbone to their events.  So yes, while we do enjoy the mixing and mingling, the food and the drinks we are still working – but hey doesn’t every job have it’s perks?

If you missed all the action, here’s a visual summary from our week out on the town!

Happy Planning!

~ AWE Team

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Weekend in The Hamptons | A Luxury Inspired Editorial Spread

The design and decor reflect casual elegance at its finest.  The theme of relaxed luxury is communicated through the use of decorative elements amongst bountiful floral and fruit.  Timeless blue and white ceramic dinnerware evoke a sense of nostalgia, while remaining formal.  Wooden furnishings provide warmth to the overall design scheme.  Relaxed summers by the beach provide perfect inspiration for this wedding!  View the complete spread in print in the newly released Summer/Fall 2013 issue of Lavish Dulhan magazine – in stores now!

LD Blog Weekend in Hamptons

Concept & PlanningArora Wedding & Event Planning

Photography: Melanie Galbrand-Chen, Verve Photo Co.

Beauty: Amplified Soul: Makeup+Hair Couture

Styling & FloralParas Events

Cakescape & Sweet Table: Fine Cakes by Zehra

Stationary Love, Paper & Ink: Fine Bespoke Stationary

Decor Rental: Design2Decor

FashionCTC West

Dining Tables & Chairs: Contemporary Furniture Rentals

Menu: Chef Michael Robertson, Oliver & Bonacini Events

Millinery: David Dunkley

Veil & FeatherBlair Nadeau Millinery


Distillery Events – Industry & Launch Party

Last night we were mixing and mingling with the event industry at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District!  Check out the some highlights below as the latest in decor and food trends were displayed!

Featured below is a dramatic chandelier treatment and the use of boxwood to create fun and social lounge clusters.  All food stations and bars were also done in boxwood.

The lime margaritas and taco station were definitely our favourite featuring fresh guacamole and tortilla chips as well as mini chicken and pork tacos that we went back for a second round!  The dessert bar was also a highlight with nothing less of chocolate everything – Chocolate Sliders, S’mores in a Jar, Maple Syrup and Cheese taffy and fresh candy floss!!

Definitely a great venue for those couples looking for a historic site that’s industrial chic, and understands great service and food!

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Platter-Passed Dining ~ Adding Variety & Fun to your Dinner Service!

Just as many wedding receptions start off with energetic chatter during cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, we find many couples putting the breaks on their night soon after this “cocktail hour” is done. Mingling is most often interrupted by “Please find your seats, we’re about to begin dinner.” And don’t get us wrong, formal dining is still the most common service style requested by today’s couples. When done right, it is classy and elegant. Yet, for some of today’s more adventurous couples, the cocktail hour is just the beginning. They want to carry this energy right through the meal and with a “Mix & Mingle” style of service, and although some hesitate, it’s easily accomplished!

How can we do this? Through creative menu design, floor plans that create movement and service staff who are dedicated to the concept as well. There are many menu and food presentations we can use to achieve this — however, the one on the cutting edge is the four-course cocktail party. This concept involves recreating each course so that it can be easily served and consumed while roaming the reception venue and is only limited by the chef’s imagination and your vision. Below is a sample menu that we created and how it works.

Cocktail Hour: Passed Appetizers
You’ve seen hors d’oeuvres and cocktails before, nothing new here. Just make sure you include a fun variety of both hot and cold items that compliment the courses to follow. The presentation should be as fun as the items themselves!


First Course: Standing Salad Service
The first course is announced by  your MC, DJ and visually by the servers as they work the room. In this case, we recommend a trio of delicious, bite-sized salads.  Add variety again by using different greens, dressings and also seasonal fruits.


Second Course: Soup Shots
Tray-passed and served in tiny demi-tasse cups (we are thinking espresso size servings). The staff would circulate offering a variety of tasty and colorful soup options – again here you can opt for some cold and hot options!


Third Course: Seated Entrees
At this point, guests are asked to take a seat at tables for a family-style meal.  The mingling will continue at the table as guests pass the platters to one another. For family style service we recommend a maximum of 5 dishes (not including any sides)

Fourth Course: Passed Desserts
Work with your venues pastry chef to create something unique and perfect for your event. Again our suggestion is: variety, and lots of it! An assortment of mini treats and flavours that compliment the cake or in some cases, replace the cake all together.


As you can see, there are many options to the traditional sit-down dinner. Platter-passed courses offer so many opportunities to keep the energy level high and to ensure that everyone has a rich and memorable experience. It’s your party, so do what makes you happy and comfortable but most of all remember to make the time to mix, mingle and enjoy!


Are you Instaready? This is How to Instagram Your Wedding!

If you’re like me and addicted to Instagram here are some easy ways that I have found to help satisfy your Instagram and Wedding Planning addiction!

1) Hashtag Your Wedding & Print Pictures with Printsagram or PostalPix - Come up with a hashtag for your wedding and spread the news to friends and family (via your wedding website obviously!). There are several sites that will allow you to print from Instagam.  Postalpix is an app that will let you do this (print pictures on luster sheen paper, aluminum and more). Check out Printstagram for mini albums and books. They’re the perfect complement to your professional album from your photographer!

2) Send Postagram Save-the-Date Postcards! - Download Postagram to  your phone, choose your photo, add the content, and compile your guests’ home addresses. This site actually coordinates and sends the cards for you!

3) Rent an Instaprint Photo Booth - Rent an Instaprint photo booth and you’ll have everything you need to shoot and print mini Instagram prints on location for all your guests to take with them. If you’re a DIY bride, I’ve also read about some couples that create their own DIY Instagram photo booths using the Instagram app for iPad!

4) Create Sticker Labels for Favor boxes using Instagoodies - Add some pizzaz to your wedding favor boxes or thank-you cards with Instagram photo stickers using Instagoodies. It’s a low-cost way to really make an impact!

5) Show off your Honeymoon Pics with Casetagram! - How else are you going to put all those beach photos to good use? Casetagram lets you design and create your very own iPhone case — made entirely out of Instagram photos. This could potentially also be great for bridal party, or bachelor/bachelorette favors as well!

Happy Planning!




2013 Cocktail Trends – Part 1

As the 2013 wedding season is hitting us in full force, the bar and beverages are becoming an integral part of the planning process. With cocktail scene moving at a rapid pace we are already out with old and in with the new for 2013 – and here is what we think will be big!  We’ll be doing a series of 3 blog posts to share these ideas with you!

daiquriCan anyone say Daiquiri’s? What makes Daiquri’s so great is that they are so simple. With just 3 key ingredients: White Rum, Lime Juice and simple Syrup, you’re on your way to a rocking cocktail!  Also RUM is making a huge comeback and so we’ll be seeing a lot of these fruity cocktails at weddings this summer.

Chef’s Inspiration: The distance between the bar and the kitchen is getting shorter at a rapid rate.  Chefs are starting to create ingredients to be used in cocktails.  Using creative foods such as smoked pepper infused Bourbon, or pickled bitters are just some example of how far you can take it! chef

Lower Alcohol Content: This is something that we’ve seen slowly becoming really popular.  Taking drinks that may originally have a higher alcohol content but switching them to lower content alternatives. For instance substituting Whiskey with a Campari, dramatically drops the alcohol content by 50%.  As the North American palate changes toward more of the dryer, bitter and reasonable tastes this trend will continue to grow!

Spirit of the Year Goes to Brandy! The next big spirit we will see this year is brandy. Drinks like Cognacs and Armagnacs will be seen everywhere as the world of booze is starting to take similar form as the world of wine. Barreled Brandy’s and aged Cognac’s will be all the rage!


Next Big Ingredient – Minerals: So in 2012 we’ve already done vegetables and so 2013 goes back to the elements and using minerals. Things like slate-cured Vodkas and serving mineral salts alongside your drinks so that people can add this to suit their taste buds will be seen in upscale bars as well as at luxury wedding events.

Stay tuned for more inspiration for your bars in Part 2!

Happy Planning!


The Importance of Customization – Creating the perfect Bridal Lehnga

CTC West | South Asian Bridal & Formal Wear

It is definitely Bridal Season!  As we speak, North America’s 2010 and 2011 Brides are surfing the web, analyzing what the stars are wearing and scouring bridal boutiques in honour of one of the greatest internal debates – what should they wear on their wedding day!?!

At CTC West, we generally find that the “perfect outfit” rarely exists online, or in a bridal wear store.  Quite often, the PERFECT outfit… is yet to be made.

On her wedding day, a bride should be entitled to wear an outfit that fits, feels and falls the way Goldilocks would have it – jussssst right!  This is definitely not the day to be compromising on clothing!

As a bride, your wedding lehnga needs to be made up of all the right elements.  The right design, the right fabric, the right colour.  The right blouse cut with straps or sleeves that accentuate your features.  The right length and shape and cut for your lehnga skirt to make you feel like a modern-day Empress.  The elements should be perfect, and thankfully, you no longer need to settle on a make-shift solution!

At CTC West, we feel that if a lehnga is too long for a bride, the solution is not to simply cut an inch or two off the top – that’s like cutting the forehead off of the Mona Lisa!  You would lose the border or an element of design that ties the bottom of your lehnga into your blouse.  Your outfit is an art piece, and your body is the designer’s canvas.

The CTC West Custom Couture Experience ushers in a new era in South Asian Bridal Wear.  When you find a CTC West design that you are IN LOVE WITH, we make a brand new and unique piece just for you. Take a look at an example of the CTC West Custom Couture Experience below.

For more information on ordering your custom bridal wear, visit us online at CTC


All That Glitters – How to create a dramatic look for a dark room

One of the hottest trends this season has been the use of crystals in all aspects of decor. Wether a wedding, corporate gala or anniversay the use of crystals has been worked into practically every color scheme imaginable.  The ability of crystals to reflect light can make a soft room look bright and make a dark room look dramatic!

We sat down for a quick chat with the Creative Director at Design 2 Decor, Paras Mehta to find out about his inspirations in creating shimmering elegant events.

AWE: How long have you been designing in the Wedding/Special Event Industry?

Paras: I have been designing events since I was in middle school, but didn’t realize its career potential until I was 21.  I have been designing events professionally for eight years now and it is a true passion of mine.  I have had the pleasure of working with some of the city’s finest.

AWE: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Paras: Mainly, my clients are my inspiration.  They challenge me to create amazing event experiences that fuse their personality with my creative abilities.  My design inspirations come from nature, fashion, interiors, and architecture.  My mentors and colleagues in the design and events industry are always a source of inspiration.

AWE: What is your favorite color trend for 2010?

Paras: My favourite colour trend for this year is sapphire blue and coral, anything yellow…shades of green will always be my ultimate fave.  In terms of metallics, gold and bronze are definitely making a comeback in recent years.

AWE: What is the most popular design trend for 2010?

Paras: A return to the basics of event design and décor – Neutral palettes, monochrome colour themes, simple elegance…modern design with classic interpretations.

AWE: What are some of your favorite venues to work in?

Paras: My favourite venues in Toronto are determined by not only their interiors and level of service, but by the relationships that I have formed with their friendly and knowledgeable events team.  These include the Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, Pearson Convention Centre, Mississauga Convention Centre, Le Jardin Special Events Venue, International Centre Conference Centre, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, and the Intercontinental Toronto.

AWE: Why do you like working with event planners?

Paras: Planners are the backbone to an event.  They are talented producers that bring together all the components of an event.  I enjoy collaborating with planners to create amazing, seamless events that are organized, highly stylized, and a true reflection of their clients’ objectives.

Take a look at how Paras Mehta from Design 2 Decor has incorporated the use of crystals into his designs – let us inspire you with this visual spread of decor!


The Shoppe Girls

chocfountain Hi everybody, thanks for joining us on our very first blogging journey! The Chocolate Fountain Shoppe (TCFS) has been up and running for close to 4 years now and we’ve decided to venture into the world of social networking….that’s right blogging! Feel free to send ideas our way on what you would like to see us talk about.  Every month, we will be featuring new and exciting discussions, specials and we ask for your feedback and new suggestions to help us cater to you – bigger and better.

This month, we really wanted you to get to know us and what we do. We are Sandy and Mindy and have been inseparable sister-friends for over 12 years. We’ve always had a passion for delectable desserts and high quality sweets, so after a year of painstaking research we took the plunge and road tripped to the States to purchase our perfect, shiny fountains. What started off as a charming Chocolate Fountain Company grew within a year to include high quality, decadent dessert options. And today we can comfortably cater events of up to 1200 guests and can confidently promise that everyone will absolutely LOVE our sweet ending to your perfect night.

The Chocolate Fountain Shoppe has had a great start this year. Our February wedding show at the Toronto Congress Centre was a huge success, as always. We were especially excited this year because our TCFS booth finally received a much needed and long overdue makeover which we just adored! We had a great turn out, and needless to say, the Belgian milk chocolate by Barry Callebaut was definitely the popular choice for our clients yet again this year. It’s actually our favorite too! – Especially with pineapple!


Since the show, we have been busy bees with client consultations and tastings! Here we get to meet some great couples and families who bring a natural flair of excitement when they come to meet us. Wedding planning can be stressful, but the dessert planning is nothing less than a delightful experience! Especially when you get to take home the desserts; talk about a sweet deal! We especially enjoy this part of our business because it gives us a chance to really get to know our clients and be able to provide them with exactly what they want for the day of their big occasion!


Additionally, we have had some great events in the last few months. We were invited to be part of the Father Sierra fund-raiser for the second year in a row, this was an absolute blast! We always look forward to giving back to the community and kids with chocolate & marshmallow covered faces are the cutest thing in the world! We also had a huge dessert table for an amazing client Lily, who went above and beyond in planning an elaborate peacock/Bollywood themed sweet 16 party. We worked with Lily’s vision for her daughter’s party and especially loved working with her because she was open to our suggestions and was genuinely excited about having our dessert table at her nothing-less-than-fabulous party! Needless to say our desserts and fountains were a hit! The guests especially loved the Larocca Picollinis as well as the assortment of Larocca cakes!

Last month we also had the great pleasure of working with our friends from Arora Wedding & Event Planning in Woodbridge. Guests were especially eager to try the desserts and even lined up before we had opened the table! We’re pretty sure from their reaction that it was well worth the wait!

fruit  Until next month, we will be busy with bookings for the coming summer months. Looks like it will be a busy summer for TCFS but we’re looking forward to it!