ASK A WEDDING VENDOR: NARELLE JANINE EVENTS
Narelle Janine Events is a luxury full service event planning company, specializing in finely curated events for exceptional couples.
You might recognize Narelle from her stunning work we've previously featured on Tale of Tulle: Al Fresco at the Castle and Old World Romance. We are huge fans! So naturally we were elated when Narelle agreed to do a little wedding Q+A with us and share an inside scoop of Narelle Janine Events.
What are the benefits of hiring a wedding planner?
There are so so so many benefits of hiring an event planner. Planning an event is a full time job and requires meticulous attention to detail. Wedding planning has many moving parts, and when issues arise they have to be dealt with in a timely and professional manner. When you hire a professional wedding planner, we are managing your event. NJE breaks up our planning into 4 pillars, event planning, event design, event production and event execution - and within those pillars there are huge tasks that we cover. We get it you're working full time jobs, maintaining careers, spending time with your family and friends and living your everyday life - hiring a professional event planner allows you to do all of that and enjoy your everyday life while enjoying the visual aspect of planning your dream wedding. Your wedding planner has a wealth of knowledge of the industry and has secured many vendor relationships allowing you to save time and money also during the planning process. We take on the day to day tasks of planning your wedding, while you can visually enjoy the experience and enjoy this phase and blissful stage of being engaged, being a fiance and a bride/ groom to be.
What services do you offer?
We are primarily a full service based event planning & design company based in Toronto, servicing all of Ontario. The services we offer are full planning & design, partial planning & design, full event design, micro wedding planning and we plan social events.
What does your booking process look like?
Typically our couples inquire through our contact page on our website, once they've inquired we send over our pricing guide outlining all our services and what each package entails. We then send over a little questionnaire to get to know what our couples are envisioning for their wedding, what traditions or expectations they have, we want to make sure we are offering them the correct package for their needs - once they've decided they want to book with us we make it official. Then we do a little happy dance, because we are so fortunate to work with such exceptional couples.
What’s the difference between day-of coordination and full service wedding planning?
There are many differences between day of coordination and full service wedding planning, the full service planning is for the couple that wants the full wedding experience without the day to day tasks of planning a wedding. We take on the everyday tasks of planning & designing a wedding - emails, contract review, budget management, curation of timeline, designing of the wedding including floorplans and corresponding with design based vendors. With full planning & design, it includes wedding planning, wedding design, wedding production and wedding execution. It's a concierge level service for our couples. Day of Coordination is a great package for the couple who has planned most of their wedding and wants to relax a few weeks prior to the wedding day. That's when a wedding planner comes on board and catches up on everything you planned and takes over the wedding tasks.
When should a couple book you?
Typically we advise our couples to book 12 - 18 months in advance. It is important for our couples to book their key vendors as soon as possible, so they don't compromise on quality. We always want our couples to get their first choice vendors. Also keep in mind booking your wedding planner as soon as possible is key. If you book a planner 18 months in advance vs. 12 months in advance the price is the same, so booking your planner first is important - you have access to our expertise as soon as you book with us.
How do you involve your couples in the planning process?
We love for our couples to be involved in all aspects of their wedding. We create an initial drive that they have full access to, they then have a wedding workbook which includes their to do list, budget, and all key information for their wedding. Our couples usually have a very visual experience of their wedding, design meetings, tastings, dress shopping, venue shopping, decor meetings while we take care of the day to day tasks and have key logistical meetings to update them on everything.
How do you help your couples choose their other weddings vendors?
Having the right team on board for our couples wedding day, is such an important factor to the synchronization of the wedding day. Their experience with their hired wedding vendors should be phenomenal not only on their wedding day but prior and after as well. We have been fortunate to work with some of Ontario's best wedding vendors and have curated a list of vendors for our couples, depending on their overall look and budget of their wedding. We want our couples to have their own personal experience and we want them to feel very comfortable with their hired vendors, that is key in hiring the right team with our couples.
How would you describe your approach to working with other wedding vendors?
We know the importance of teamwork and know that it takes everybody on board that contributes to the end result of an event. We love working with vendors prior to referring them to our couples, this way we know our couples are going to get exceptional service. A great vendor includes many items - a polished feed or website, the quality of work is only one aspect - we love working with vendors that have the whole package, personality, communication and importance of the client's experience is a huge factor. We want our couples to be blown away by their vendors.
Where do you draw inspiration from when designing a wedding?
We draw inspiration from our couples, our focus is them. We want to ensure their wedding is a reflection of who they are as a couple. Designing a wedding is so special to us, we work very closely with our couples to ensure their wedding is a direct reflection of them and they feel a special tie to the final design when they walk into the room. Overall NJE draws inspiration from human connection - Europe, the food, the fashion, the architecture, there's a simplicity and beauty about Europe that can be interpreted in many different ways - The craftsmanship behind fashion and the way things are put together - I am also heavily inspired by Disney & Dr. Suess.
What were you doing before you were an event planner?
Prior to being in the events and wedding industry, I worked as a stylist and corporate, both careers are very different but it contributed to my overall growth overall and motivated me to open my own business. Corporate helped me in many ways, it taught me how to actually run a business and how the overall mission and growth of a business. When I worked as a stylist at J Crew and then at Holt Renfrew. Working as a stylist was amazing because I got to work in both the mens and womens departments and I started to build a rapport with my clients and how important the client experience is. We would typically have doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, even event planners come in every season and want a whole new wardrobe, it was amazing picking clothes based on their personalities and lifestyle, and even having them try things they normally wouldn't. It changed my views on fashion & couture - we learnt about the designer, the fabric, the stitching, the craftsmanship behind why items were put together the way they were, it was fascinating meeting the people behind the art. I appreciated and indulged in fashion differently after that.
What has been your most memorable moment as a wedding planner?
Wow, so many, here are my top two - 1, when the bride is about to walk down the aisle, it's so emotional and really what the day is all about marrying your best friend. 2, when we do a room reveal and the bride and groom get to see the reception room, it's such a special feeling - we've spent several months planning and designing for our couples and it's amazing to see all the hardwork come to fruition, our couples reactions are always so priceless. It gets us every time.
What was the most unique wedding you’ve ever planned?
One of the first weddings I've planned for Patricia & Jamaal was planned in 3 months, the bride had the best taste and was so decisive with decisions, which made planning so much fun. Patricia wanted to have hanging wisteria for their ceremony and lots of candles down the aisle and the reception area. We had a custom floral dance floor that was beautiful, we mixed rustic and glam, with mirrored tables and gold chairs. It was a very detailed wedding that truly reflected the bride and groom.
Can you describe your dream wedding?
This is always such a tough question to answer - I will try my best haha! I would say somewhere in Europe or an outdoor wedding. Villa Balbiano would be at the top of my list, everything about the venue is breathtaking, they also have an outdoor clear tent that is so stunning (the design possibilities are endless). Another option would be somewhere outside in the summer by the lake even in Ontario there are some jaw dropping private properties right here in Ontario.
The guests' experience is so important to me - so a few events before and after the wedding would also be in order. I want everyone to be smiling and laughing the whole time, nothing matters more than creating memories with people you love. The design aspect would be lots of creams and neutral tones and of course lots of gold.
What’s your favourite part of the wedding planning process?
Getting to know our couples and working with them, they become a part of the NJE family and working with them is something that I truly value. We are a primarily design based wedding planning company. We love designing weddings for our couples. It's lovely getting to know our couples through the planning process and delving deep into their roots, their cultures, their traditions, their lifestyles and who they are as human beings and how they want to encompass all of those details into their wedding design.
What is the most challenging part of being a wedding planner?
Being a wedding planner is a high pressure job and actually top 20 most stressful jobs in the world. You are planning someone's big day - there is a lot of pressure to not only meet expectations but exceed them. I would say the most challenging aspect is you are constantly working on many events at one time so in order for you to stay calm and handle the stress and pressure you have to have amazing processes in place that help you manage everything at once while also having a life. Time management and being organized is key in being an event planner.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career path?
Experience, experience, experience - that would be my first piece of advice. Our industry can seem very glamorous but behind the beautiful pictures there is a whole team of people who put it together and months and years of planning behind it. Our industry is 10% glamorous and the remainder is a lot of physical work and behind the scenes planning that we do that is not seen. You have to really be passionate about this industry because it is demanding and you have to be quick on your feet. With that all being said it is a beautiful and fulfilling industry to be in. There is so much joy and heart that goes into working with our couples and there is a tremendous amount of gratitude I have for working with our couples and forming the connections we do.
I would suggest starting an internship alongside a planner or designer and see the bones behind his industry and what it really is like behind the scenes, get your hands dirty. I also suggest taking a professional course in wedding planning. I went for a 2 year Special Events Planning Program at George Brown College, it was an intensive dive into planning events as a whole as well as how to run a business - we delved into accounting, law, contract reviews, marketing, conference planning, destination planning. It was an extremely informative program. I think experience mixed with education is a great way to start.
What has been your favourite celebrity wedding?
One of the first celebrity weddings I saw on TV was Nick & Vanessa Lachey - I remember falling in love with that special on TV. What I fell in love with most was their focus on their guest experience, because it was a destination wedding, they held so many fun events to welcome their guests - I felt the warmth and love just watching the special.
In terms of aesthetic, KimYe's wedding because I mean common ... lunch at Valentino's private estate, the rehearsal dinner dress, tying the knot in Florence, the bespoke Givenchy gown, the veil, the gold engraved marble tables - even though we only got to see a glimpse - it was all such a vibe. I loved that they also thought about their guests' experience, and planned so many events in France and then surprised their guests and told them they are getting married in Florence, how epic!?
Honorary mention goes to Carrie Bradshaw & Mr. Big (the first wedding) I mean her being a writer and getting married at New York Public Library - epic! Although the wedding didn't actually happen in the movie, the gowns and what we saw of it satisfied my senses.
What wedding trends are you predicting for 2021?
Intimate weddings are here to stay - couples just want to get married, they are loving the intimate setting and all the design possibilities. I think intimate weddings will be here to stay for the time being. Typically we try to advise our couples to stay true to themselves and not focus too much on what is in right now. We want their wedding to represent the core of who they are, we want their wedding to visually represent them. We work very closely with our couples, we try and delve into their traditions, cultures, values, their interests/ hobbies and try to incorporate that into the design elements of their wedding. The ultimate goal design wise, is for couples to look back after years and decades and still be in love with their wedding and how timeless everything looks.
Do you have any advice for couples re-planning their wedding after having to postpone last year?
I totally feel for all the couples who have had to postpone their weddings multiple times. Our first piece of advice would be to breathe and not stress out. This unfortunately isn't something any of us can control. We are all taking it day by day. First I would lay all your options on the table, even if it's not something you considered previously. As none of us know when this is going to end and when we can fully plan weddings at a larger scale, we have to think about other options. Do you want to get married sooner than later or do you prefer to wait and have it at a larger scale like originally planned? Think about the idea of actually downsizing your wedding, although it's not something you originally planned if you do decide you want to get married. I suggest having a few different guest lists, a guest list for 10 people, 25 people, 50 people, 100 people and 150 people. This way if you decide to go forward with the wedding you are prepared to either have an elopement, a micro wedding or stick with the original guest list.
A huge thank you to Narelle for sharing her words of wisdom and expertise with us! If you'd like to develop an obsession with Narelle's work like we have, here's where you can find more:
Tale of Tulle, Canadian Wedding Magazine