Our community of wedding professionals continues to grow and the team here at APHQ is so excited about how many international friends we have now! And, even though Canada may just be our neighbors to the north, we can only imagine how different the wedding industry is there. So today, I am excited to introduce you to Crystal of Distinct Occasions! Read on to hear what she’s learned after 17 years of wedding planning, how many countries she has been to, and her thoughts on this month’s blog theme!
You’ve been in business for 17 years (congrats!), what are the biggest changes in the industry that you’ve seen?
I’ve gotten older while my sweet couples are still the same age (hahaha)! Actually what’s changed the most has been the detail and crazy unique wedding ideas we now regularly come up with. Just when I think we can’t get more creative in celebrating – we always do! Weddings used to be more simplified, at home or church affairs, and now we’re celebrating literally anywhere and everywhere a couple dreams of! Cinnamon Bun wedding cake – check! Multiple dresses and looks – check! Pets enrolled in the ceremony – why not? The options and ideas are literally endless.
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned running your business?
That in business, as in life, it’s 100% about relationships and people. Treat everyone like they are a part of your family and love them unconditionally. You get what you give and if you intentionally choose love in every moment, you cannot go wrong.
You only plan 10 weddings per year. Can you tell us about what led you to making that decision?
Well, my company plans many more, but for me, I wanted to focus and dedicate my time to a handful of incredible couples celebrating. I wanted to put the personal touch in Distinct Occasions at its core so I chose to lead by example. This isn’t any occasion – it’s a Distinct Occasion!
Distinct Occasions has as a planner in Glasgow for the European side of the business, how did you find Victoria?
Victoria and I bonded over gorgeous lashes, pints and bridal designs long before it was fashionable. She’s a dear friend from way back and even coordinated my marriage in the Trossachs in Scotland. I couldn’t dream of a more beautiful friend, colleague and Planner. Her wit, charm and Scottish humour keep me laughing and adoring her.
How many countries have you been to?
At last count 37.
Scotch on the rocks or straight?
Rocks. The ice helps open up the flavor.
Have another book in the works?
Always. Aiming for a romantic Valentines release. Fingers crossed.
How does Aisle Planner help you and your team stay organized?
We chose Aisle Planner as our project management tool for the ease and customization it gave to our clients. With the ability to share across the team, it has made planning weddings globally a snap. Clients love the features of the guest list and table seating, while we can easily manage budgets, décor plans and vendor contacts. I love that no matter where in the world I am planning a wedding, I can stay directly in touch with my team and clients with Aisle Planner.
When you are working with clients, do you invite them into their wedding on Aisle Planner? If so, what are some of the first tasks that you assign to them?
Absolutely! We share the love of Aisle Planner with clients immediately upon signing. We encourage them to get in, explore and co-create with us for their big day. Their first task is always to review the checklists and get us caught up on what they’ve done (or not done) and to include some beautiful images in their Design Studio.
What do you feel is the key to planning a successful destination wedding?
Patience (hahaha) and a great Planner! You need someone who’s well travelled, knows the ins and outs of travel and your location restrictions, is creative, super fun (trust me it helps) and has a “whatever it takes” attitude to getting you your dream wedding!
Do you see any fun international trends in weddings right now?
Every country is so unique and different that it’s hard to pick just one trend! That said, I think that couples are truly breaking the wedding molds and just going with a celebration that feels right to them. We’re seeing a return to more traditional vows (interestingly enough) but celebrations that aren’t so stuffy and unique, quirky, bold and flavorful. Everyone wants a celebration to remember no matter where in the world they celebrate!
What are you most excited for in the coming months?
More destination weddings (of course)!!! As a self-professed Wedding Nomad, I am excited for all the couples booking unique and more adventurous locales – Croatia, Azores, Colombia, New Zealand. Let’s DO this!
On this month’s theme: Be Supportive:
“Support to me looks like people opening up, digging deep, being vulnerable and at the same time coming 100% from a place of love. When we, as business owners, are supportive of our couples, it looks like impeccable customer service, attention to detail, and happy couples. When couples, are supportive to us, it looks like creative opportunity, genuine trust and support of our dreams. Win/Win for everyone.”
Want to see more from Crystal? Check out her website distinctoccasions.ca