Gifts for the Groomsmen in Your Wedding

Monday, May 1

groomsmen gift idea

Photo by Steph Schulz Photography

Groomsmen Gift Ideas

Giving a gift to your groomsmen is a great way to say thank you for everything they have done. Depending on the number of guys in your wedding party (groomsmen, dads, ring bearer), the costs can add up quickly. Although there is no required amount you should spend, I find the average to be around $50 for the groomsmen and a bit less for the dad’s and ring bearer.

Remember, the gift should be personal and practical – otherwise it will just get stored in a drawer or closet, never to be seen again.

Some questions to ask yourself: What do the guys use on a regular basis?  What do they have that could be replaced with something better?  The gifts don’t all have to be the same, so feel free to personalize it to the individual while keeping the price point the same throughout.

The following is a list of suggestions to get your creative juices flowing. These products are all Canadian (except for the last one) and are within the $50 price point or less (some may be a tad bit over).

Men’s Wallet



What guy can’t use this good quality customized leather wallet by Anise Leather.

Pocket Knife




Which guy doesn’t need a knife! Go with a customized pocket knife by LoveandLuxeHandmade.


Customized army knife by LoveandLuxeHandmade.



signy rose steel knife

For those manly guys – custom & stock blades combined with hand-crafted handles by Signy Rose Steel.

Wallet Strap



For the fashionable guys – handcrafted leather wallet strap for a key fob, key chain or wallet chain by Anise Leather.

Leather Belt



Customized leather belt by Anise Leather is something every guy can appreciate.

Travel Bag



Another practical necessity for all guys is a good toiletry bag customized by Luuee. There are many great options and styles on Etsy Canada.

Leather Bookmark



This leather bookmark by Anise Leather is a perfect gift for the guys that love reading.

Men’s Socks



How great are these! Personalized socks by JulesandJoyGifts. They may not think they need them, but they do!




Customized hand wood burned hammer by FireArtbyKatrin for that handyman.

Leather Passport Cover and Luggage Tags



For the travellers in your party – leather passport holder and luggage tags from BigBoscoCanada.




For the guys you know would appreciate a good flask, BrandIron offers a handmade leather embossed flask that offers nothing but style.

Bottle Opener



A wall mounted bottle opener on rustic wood by GrubbyGuitars is great for any home, garage, cottage, shed or man cave.




Heavy duty flashlight by LaserArtist – cause every guy needs a flashlight…or two.

Travel Mug and Water Bottle


il_570xN.1187354366_crgg il_570xN.1206814083_920p

Used by many on a daily basis, a travel mug or water bottle by LaserArtists may be the perfect fit.




Another practical gift is a customized cooler by LoveandLuxeHandmade. Which guy doesn’t need a cooler?


Combat cooler by Groovy Groomsmen Gifts. (Provider is in U.S.)


As you can see there are several options out there. Keep in mind, you don’t have to purchase an engraved gift. Should you find a great gift idea at a local specialty shop or store, but still want it personalized, you can always take it to a shop or kiosk for engraving. At the end of the day, you want the gift to be functional for the guys, something they will appreciate.

Happy Shopping!

Month Of Wedding Coordination Services

Thursday, April 27

Month of wedding coordination

Photo: Jeremy Hiebert Photography; Venue: Hawthorn Estates

Month-of Wedding Coordination Package Inclusions

Your wedding plans are in place and you are now waiting for the day to arrive. But wait…are all your plans in place? Wedding checklists are helpful, but it is all too common where there are still some remaining details that need to be sorted out that the couple is unaware of.

As a Wedding Coordinator, I have planned and coordinated many weddings and understand what details need to be considered and in place, allowing me to anticipate areas of concern before your wedding day.

I get asked many times as to what is included in the Month of Wedding Coordination Package. Although all of SWE wedding coordination packages are customized based on individual couples needs, there are some essential services that come with every wedding. Below is a detailed list of the services SWE extends to its couples.

Month of Wedding Coordination

Photo: Jeremy Hiebert Photography; Venue: Hawthorn Estates

Services Prior To Your Wedding Day

Initial Appointment 

  • We will meet one month prior to your wedding day to gather all of the information. I then spend several hours sorting through all the details with a fine tooth comb to look for things that have been missed. We will then correspond via email going over all the last minute details until everything has been confirmed. A thorough study of all the details allows me to execute your day properly, ensuring your wedding day goes smoothly.

Your Wedding Itinerary

  • After we have sorted out all the details I then begin creating the itinerary for your day, which also takes several hours. I will create an itinerary that will compliment your vision and plans, taking into consideration all the details and logistics of the day, including your vendors and guests.  This will help your day unfold effortlessly, leaving everyone feeling at ease.
  • A copy of the itinerary will be emailed back to you for your review and confirmation. After several emails back and forth, a final copy is confirmed.  All those with a role on your wedding day will receive this itinerary informing them of their duties and time schedule. This includes vendors, family members, wedding party and any others that are involved on your wedding day.

Vendor Contact

  • I will contact all your vendors to introduce myself and discuss the details and time schedule. In order to have a proper understanding of your vendor agreements, responsibilities and schedule, I will review all of your vendor contracts. This will help me create an accurate timeline for the day which will be shared with your vendors. I will also familiarize myself with your venue(s) to have a clear understanding of the layout and floor plan details.

Your Rehearsal Day

  • I will be there to run your rehearsal alongside your Officiant. We go through all the logistics – music, timing, processional order, placements, and ceremony details.  I look at the big picture to make sure that all of the little details are considered. For example, we want to make sure your photographer can take great photos during the ceremony, allowing for proper placements and space. In cases where a member of the wedding party can’t make it to rehearsal, I will ensure that he or she is prepared for your wedding day.
  • At your rehearsal we will also chat about the last minute items that will need to be taken care of. I will have you bring any items that still need to be set-up, such as escort cards, favours, cake knife and server set, guest book, centrepieces, etc.
  • Your rehearsal will take approximately 1-1.5 hours. TIP: Please don’t schedule your rehearsal the day before your wedding. I understand that many times it’s not possible to have it earlier due to everyone’s schedules, but if the majority can make it, try to have it a couple days prior. Many times rehearsal dinners run late, and with some remaining last minute items to take care of, it leaves for a late night. Having your rehearsal a couple days prior will allow you to feel more relaxed, and get the rest needed for your wedding day.
Month of Wedding Coordination

Photo: Jeremy Hiebert Photography; Dessert: Stephanie Anne Cakes

Services On Your Wedding Day

You, your family and wedding party will wake up on your wedding day without the stress of taking care of any last minute details or issues. I will be managing your day, giving you will have the assurance that it will all be taken care of!


  • An arrival time will be determined based on your set-up needs and ceremony time. I will be onsite as early as needed to begin working out the days details, greeting vendors as they arrive, and answer any questions they may have. A quality check will be completed to ensure the decor and set-up is as you expect it, taking care of any last-minute set-up.

Primary Contact

  • On your wedding day, I will be your families, wedding party and vendors primary contact.  This will allow you to enjoy your day without having to deal with any possible questions or concerns.

Time Management

  • Most of the details of your day will be time sensitive. You can leave your phone and watch at home, as I will be there to manage your time. I will be there to adjust events accordingly and inform all those involved should there be any unexpected delays.


  • Should you be planning for an outdoor wedding, I will be watching the radar to plan for any possible weather interruptions. I want you to have the wedding ceremony you dreamed of; I will wait as long as I possibly can before switching to plan b. In the event we need to go with a plan b, I will be there to execute it without bothering you with the details.
  • I will be there upon your arrival to take you to your host room, making sure everyone is prepped for the ceremony. When it’s time, I will guide you, your wedding party, and family throughout the processional to ensure proper timing and order. I will be at your ceremony should any unforeseen circumstances take place.

Emergency Kit & Details

  • I will have an emergency kit containing an extensive list of items that could possibly be needed that day. I will also have a copy of your vows and speeches as backup in the event they should go missing (cause it has happened).

Your Guests

  • Not only am I there to take care of you, I will also be taking care of your guests as well. I will be onsite to greet your guests, and will be available to them throughout your reception.


  • Sometimes family photos can be time-consuming and difficult to manage. Prior to your wedding day we will discuss these ‘must-take’ photos and create a list of people in these photos. I will be available to assist your Photographer in gathering your family members to make it as seamless as possible. This will also help ensure that you don’t miss out on any important photos.


  • Timing is everything.  Your caterer is expecting to have your meal served at a specified time – any delays will cause your food to cool. Your guests will most likely be hungry, and waiting is something none of us are good at. I will be there to make sure that everything goes as planned, making any necessary adjustments.


  • Your Emcee has a the role of keeping your guests entertained while following your reception program. There are many details that can cause the timing of events to alter. I will be there to guide your Emcee through it all so he or she can feel relaxed and enjoy the evening.


  • I will place any gifts and cards brought by guests to the ceremony or reception in a secure location.


  • It will be a long day for you and your family. To relieve some of the late-night work, I will put away any items no longer needed.

Once all formalities come to a close I prepare for my departure. This is typically 10-12 hours later following your garter and bouquet toss. Additional services can be added on such as tear down or extended hours if needed.

Month of Wedding Coordination

Photo: Jeremy Hiebert Photography

The Investment

The average investment for the Month of Wedding Coordination Package is $1500 with the Basic Essential Package starting at $500. As every wedding is different, there are some variables that have an effect on the package price. Some variables include: location, required assistants, set-up details, pick-ups, transfers, etc.

There are many benefits to hiring a Wedding Coordinator, some of which include:

  • Peace of mind knowing that your vision and plans will come together. You can have the most beautiful set-up and all the details in place, but if you don’t have someone to manage the day, it can effect the final outcome.
  • Allows you, your family and friends to enjoy the day rather than working on your day. Plus, you, your family and friends may not foresee the possibly issues until they happen. Your Wedding Coordinator on the other hand, organizes, plans, anticipates, problem-solves and manages details for a living; therefore, has the experience and knowledge to prevent many issues before they arise.

Hire SWE

If you are ready to have SWE take care of you and your wedding day, let’s chat! After your initial contact I will send you a questionnaire to help determine your needs. Upon receiving it back I will begin working on a customized package for you. We will then arrange a coffee date for all of us to meet, and to go over the details. This will allow us the opportunity to get to know each other and confirm we are a good fit.

A deposit will be required when you are ready to reserve your wedding date with SWE. The remaining amount to be paid one month prior to your wedding day.

That’s it! I hope that answers all your questions, and if not, just let me know.

I would love the opportunity to work with you!


Month of Wedding Coordination

Photo by Jeremy Hiebert Photography

From one of SWE’s Couple…

“Sharon is THE partner to have by your side for any sort of event. She is meticulous, calm, efficient, professional, so easy to communicate with, organized, quick as a whip and an absolute joy to work with. Sharon provided her services for our wedding on August 8, 2015. She was everything we never even knew we needed, and more, through the whole planning process and the day of. I honestly can’t say enough amazing things about Sharon.

Our wedding was chalked full of small but important details that I had started gathering from the beginning of planning, and Sharon never missed a thing. Any time I added something to the lineups, Sharon took note and I knew she had it completely under control. Organized, detail oriented and so easy to communicate with, Sharon was exceptional in making sure that every single detail was in place and perfect.

Not a single thing went wrong on our wedding day, and I wholeheartedly attribute that to Sharon. I didn’t lift a single finger (the one time I tried she insisted I relax and continue simply enjoying myself) and I was absolutely blown away by the way the whole day went off without a single snag.

Sharon is a true professional and also now a friend. She was amazing with all of our families and friends, I received so many compliments to how amazing she is! I couldn’t ever possibly thank her enough for what she did for Dustin and me. Things can be stressful surrounding a wedding and while I was completely relaxed on the wedding day (again, thanks to Sharon), I know in hindsight that in the heat of the moment I was not the easiest person to rationalize with a couple of times. Sharon never let on that I was being difficult, she only worked harder to ensure I knew I was going to get exactly what I envisioned.

Sharon is a guiding light, and anyone lucky enough to work with her will be blown away by everything she brings to the table.

We couldn’t ever thank you enough, Sharon.”

~ Jade and Dustin

Connect & Grow – A Photographers Gathering

Monday, April 24

Connect & Grow

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

Registration Is Now Open


Connect & Grow – A Photographers Gathering is hosted by Esther Funk Photography and Sharon Webb Events in Winkler, Manitoba.

Join us and many great vendors on May 26th capturing beautifully styled editorials, learning from each other, and having fun. To end the day we’ll have a light dinner with open Q&A where everyone can openly share their experiences and ask questions. Everyone is welcome, no matter if you’re just starting out or have been a photographer for years.

Registration is $150 with limited seats. Email to claim your spot and receive more details. We’re excited to see you there!

Connect Photography

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

Model Call

We’re looking for a few girls to model for our upcoming Photographers Gathering on May 26th. It’s a great opportunity to get dressed up and receive professional photos in exchange for your time (commitment to the full afternoon).
We’d love to have…

  • A bride with her own wedding gown (bring your husband if he’s up for it)
  • A group of girlfriends (max 4)
  • One expecting mom
  • One older couple

Email with a current photo to apply. Brides please send a photo of your wedding day.


About The Hosts


Esther Funk PhotographyEsther – Esther Funk Photography

“I’m a Film and Digital Photographer, enjoying every opportunity and milestone to capture. I’m a wife, a traveller, a ‘wannabe’ floral designer, a lake person.  About a year ago I started to get into Film Photography after I attended a workshop in Charleston, SC hosted by amazing talents in the wedding industry. Ever since that trip, I’ve dreamt of an event similar to a workshop where Photographers can connect and learn from each other; share struggles and joyful experiences, ask questions, and just have fun That’s how Connect & Grow was born.”


meet-sharon-replace-the-current-portrait-photoSharon – Sharon Webb Events

“Who doesn’t love planning, right? At least that’s what I always thought. As I found myself planning parties, trips and vacations for family and friends, I quickly realized how much I loved planning and organizing, but to much of my surprise, others didn’t. As they would get stressed and overwhelmed, I got excited and became full of life! Then it was revealed to me – I was created to plan, organize and serve. That is how Sharon Webb Events evolved. I am writing my own story in serving others, whether it’s helping plan a wedding or event, raising funds for a good cause or anything in between. At the core of it all is an opportunity to serve, and that is my happy place!”


High Tea With The Ladies: A Fun-Filled Evening! RESCHEDULED

Thursday, April 20

High Tea with the Ladies

Image by Esther Funk Photography

It’s Tea Time!

Most have us may have heard of the term High Tea but may not know much about it. Before we get into that, let’s chat a bit about tea. According to Wikipedia, Tea (in reference to food, rather than the drink) has long been used as an umbrella term for several different meals.

Teatime is the time at which the tea meal is usually eaten, which is late afternoon to early evening. Tea as a meal is associated with Britain, Ireland, and some Commonwealth countries.

The 4 Teatime Meals

  • Afternoon Tea – This is a light meal typically eaten between 3.30pm and 6pm. Accompanied by sandwiches (cucumber or egg and cress sandwiches with crusts removed), bread and butter, possibly scones and usually cakes and pastries.
  • Cream Tea – A tea with scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam.
  • High Tea – Tea as an evening meal, also known as meat tea. It is associated with the working class and is typically eaten between 5 pm and 7 pm. High tea typically consists of a hot dish, followed by cakes and bread, butter and jam. Occasionally there would be cold cuts of meat, such as ham salad. The term “high” is used in the sense of well-advanced (like high noon, for example) to signify that it was taken later in the day than afternoon tea.
  • Tea Break – Just as the name states – it’s a 10-15 minute break from work. This may occur mid-morning or mid-afternoon with tea, coffee and biscuits.

Some Tea Facts

Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the world.

According to Wikipedia, the tea drink originated in Southwest China as a medicinal drink. During the 17th century, drinking tea became fashionable among Britons, and became popularly known as a recreational drink.

5 Tea Bases

There are a variety of teas offering different flavours, aromas and purposes.  Teas by Stacey shares 5 bases of teas in which you can then blend with herbal components or enjoy in its purest.
  • White – not most peoples favourite.
  • Black – very standard tea that is caffeinated.
  • Red – Easy to drink tea and pretty colour.
  • Green – easily bitter if steeped wrong but quite nice when brewed properly, also caffeinated, but a different absorption than with standard black tea.
  • Herbal – all herbs of many kinds and options. A widely common tea infused with fruit or herbs made without the tea plants.



High Tea Tickets

By Esther Funk Photography

High Tea With The Ladies – RESCHEDULE TILL FALL

Come out for an evening of fun with your ladies…mothers, daughters (even your little ones), sisters and friends!

A Fun-Filled Evening!

  • Teas by Stacey will be teaching us all there is to know about tea – the ingredients, proper way of steeping, along with some tea etiquette.  Teas by Stacey will also have a table displayed selling a variety of her teas.  After this evening, you will have everything you need (confidence and teas) to host your very own tea party!
  • Adele Dyck will be our inspiration speaker for the night. Most of us women tend to be very hard on ourselves. We have this perception that we need to do it allbe it all, while having it all together. Chasing value and perfection is bound to leave us feeling exhausted and empty. Let this be an evening where you can leave feeling uplifted, inspired and who you were created to be…you!
  • Bloom Petals & Gift will be teaching us how to build a floral bouquet. Many of us wouldn’t know how to begin putting together a bouquet, aside from throwing some flowers and greens together. Together with your ladies, you will be beautifying a bouquet with the guidance of Rita and Esther from Bloom Petals and Gift. At the end of the evening, several lucky ladies will be going home with a beautiful bouquet!
  • Esther Funk Photography will be available to take a group photo of you with your ladies. When was the last time you had a beautiful professional portrait photo taken of you with the ladies in your life? Many of us do all we can to stay behind the camera out of fear of how we will look on a photo. We are so critical of ourselves, and yet, we were all created with beauty. So…get dressed up and make it a memorable evening! Esther Funk Photography will capture a memory you can cherish in the years to come! For those of you who wear a hat or fascinator, you will automatically get entered to win an overnight stay in Winnipeg sponsored by Winkler Quality Inn.
  • Live Music by Christian Kandt and his daughters will be enjoyed throughout the evening.
  • Aley Bakes will be providing us with some delicious baked goods for us to enjoy!

Tickets can be purchased at Winkler Quality Inn, Bloom Petals & Gift and Sharon Webb Events


Rhythms of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

Tuesday, April 11

Salvador, Brazil

Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

We departed Olinda, Brazil and travelled by bus to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, arriving approximately 14 hours later.  Also known as Salvador, it is a city full of culture, color and rhythm.

5 Fun Facts:

  • Third largest city of Brazil with 2.9 million people.
  • First capital of Brazil.
  • Lacerda Elevator was the first public elevator in the world built in 1875I
  • Includes a blend of Portuguese, African and Indian cultures; creating the colorful country it is known today.
  • Salvador’s Raucous Carnival rivals Rio’s as the largest street party in the world, according to Guinness World Records.

After a long day of travel, lounging on a beach is the perfect way to take in some relaxation, while slowly adapting to an unfamiliar place. It’s a great opportunity to not only to soak in the sun, but to also take in the culture and life that surrounds it.

Salvador, Brazil

Salvador, Brazil

A highlight was definitely the local Capoeira performance on the beach – a martial art that combines the element of fight, acrobatics, music and dance. Their strength, flexibility and movement is astonishing!

Salvador, Brazil

Salvador, Brazil

Salvador, Brazil

Salvador, Brazil

Salvador, Brazil

As the saying goes…do as the locals do, so we couldn’t wait to try some coconut water.

5 Fun Facts:

  • Coconuts are a fruit rather than a nut.
  • Coconut water is produced naturally in the center of a young green coconut at about 6-7 months of age; it helps nourish the fruit; it is 94% water and contains little fat.
  • As the coconut matures (10-12 months), it ripens into a solid white flesh known as coconut meat.
  • It should not be confused with coconut milk, which is made by adding water to grated coconut meat, which contains 50% of water and high in coconut fat.
  • An average green coconut provides about 0.5-1 cups of coconut water containing several nutrients and is a great source of hydration.

The idea of drinking straight out of a coconut looks cool, but I have to admit, the taste I was not a fan of! (However, for photo sake, I will pretend I throughly enjoyed it!)

Salvador, Brazil

I am pretty sure Sean enjoyed it much more than I did!

Salvador, Brazil

I am also not a fan of seeing pails of squid on the sidewalk!

Salvador, Brazil

A couple of locals went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Spending a couple of days with these guys left no shortage of entertainment and laughter! This is always the best part of travelling – meeting locals who are eager to share their culture with you.

Salvador Brazil

During our time here it was disappointing to see the amount of garbage left behind by locals and visitors after a day at the beach. (Also too common – people relieving themselves on the sidewalk. Seriously people!)

Salvador, Brazil

Salvador, Brazil

With each new destination is an opportunity to stir all the senses. To see, hear, touch, smell and taste a different culture opens ones heart to a better understanding and self-awareness; leaving us better individuals than when we arrived.  To travel is to live. Don’t procrastinate…you don’t know what amazing experiences await you.

If you enjoyed this post, perhaps you may enjoy these:

The Colorful City of Olinda, Brazil

Explore Cusco, Peru

Inca Trek to Machu Picchu


The Secret To Wedding Styling: 10 Tips That Will Fit Your Budget

Friday, April 7

Head Table Styling

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

The Head Table Is Where It’s At

I previously wrote a blog on Getting The Wow Factor Out Of Your Budget.  In it I referred to 3 wedding elements to help determine what is most important to you as a couple getting married  – food, entertainment and decor. If decor is what you gravitate to, then today’s post will help you achieve that vision you have been dreaming about.

Many couples go with the approach of spreading the love throughout the space, putting a little hear and there with the hopes that it will have that desired impact. Unless you have a healthy budget to work with, having beautiful chairs and florals at each guest table can absorb that budget fairly quickly.

Instead of spreading it throughout the venue, consider narrowing it down to where most photos are taken – the head table. Focus on spending a good chunk of your decor budget on the design and styling of your head table. To get started, use the following tips to help you get the most ‘wow’ out of of your wedding decor budget.



1. THEME. First determine what kind of theme you are wanting to go with. Once you have narrowed it down, you can move forward with the design elements.

Head Table

Photo by Esther Funk Photograpy | Calligraphy by Chloe J Letters

2. TABLE. To have beautiful wooden tables throughout the venue many not be feasible for many couples. However, if you narrow it down to just having them at the head table, all of a sudden the cost doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

wooden table

Photo By Modern Pixel Photography | Florals By Academy Florist

3. LINEN. If a wooden table doesn’t go with style, consider renting beautiful linens. There are many gorgeous colors and textures available. If cost is a concern, you don’t have to use that same linen on your guest tables. You can go with a regular banquet linen on guest tables that will compliment the head table. Take it a step further and incorporate beautiful linen napkins for added color and design.

head table

Photo by Esther Funk Photography | Garland by Heide’s Florist

4. FLORALS. This is where you can really have a lot of fun with the head table. There are so many gorgeous floral designs that are absolutely breathtaking. Many florists love the freedom to be creative! Remember, you are only doing this on the head table, so splurge a little!

Head Table

Photo by Esther Funk Photography | Florals by Bloom Petals & Gifts

5. CHAIRS. Another great element are stylish chairs. Chiavari, rustic cross back, french inspired and ghost styled chairs are all beautiful options. Again, select a gorgeous style for your head table and go with a cheaper option for the guest tables.

head table

Photo by Esther Funk Photography | Florals by Floral Scents | Chairs by CT Event Rentals

6. PLACE SETTING. Add color, design and texture to your table with some dazzling chargers and dinner plates. Add complimenting water goblets, cutlery and wine glasses.

head table

Photo by Esther Funk Photography | Florals by Bloom Petals & Gifts | Calligraphy by Jennifer Bianca Calligraphy

7. ACCENTS. This is the fun part! Personalize your table with decor accents that reflect you as a couple. Hire a calligrapher to design beautiful name placements. Have fun thinking outside the box!

head table

Photo by Esther Funk Photography | Succulent by Earth Buds Florist | Calligraphy by Chloe J Letters

8. CANDLES. There is nothing that adds to the ambiance like beautiful candles. There are a variety of candles to choose from in terms of color, style, height. Start with finding candle holders that will compliment your tablescape. You want to go with different heights and styles to add that dimension.

head table

Photo by Esther Funk Photography | Florals by Floral Scents

9. STATIONARY. Hire a stationary designer to create menus or personalized messages for your wedding party.

head table

Photo by Esther Funk Photography | Stationary by Cassie Gelean | Calligraphy by Chloe J Letters | Greens by Floral Scents

10. BACKDROP. Depending on the venue, you may or may not need a backdrop. Make sure you know exactly where your table will be going and the environment that surrounds it. The last thing you want to do is create a stunning head table, only to have an eyesore behind it.

Head Table

Photo by Modern Pixel Photography | Venue: Cielo’s Garden

Now you have my secret to creating a beautiful venue! Remember, it’s all in the details; make sure your photographer captures them!


Perhaps design and styling isn’t your thing. Or, maybe you just don’t have the time to do it yourself. You can hit the easy button and have SWE do it for you! Many of the images above are designed and styled by SWE. Let SWE create that drop dead gorgeous head table your guests will be talking about!

head table

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

What To Expect…

  • Information Gathering. We will get together and chat about your budget, style (dresses, accessories, colors, invitations, cake, etc), theme, hobbies and passions. You can share your Pinterest ideas and tell me what you love and hate.
  • Personalization. You may love many things on Pinterest, you don’t want someone else’s wedding. SWE will put together an inspiration board that will reflect your vision while incorporating your personalities.
  • Source Out Vendors. SWE will work with your current vendors and source out any additional creatives to help bring this vision to life.
  • Budget. Staying within your budget is priority. SWE will create a design concept that will fit within your budget, while providing creative ideas to save you money.
  • Final Approval. SWE will provide you with the design concept for your final approval. (However, some elements may be kept a secret for that surprise factor!)
  • Day Of Styling. SWE will style your head table to make sure it looks exactly as envisioned.

If you need assistance with any planning, design, styling or day of coordination, contact SWE for your personalized package. In the meantime, feel free to check out all of the services SWE has to offer!

Let’s chat about your wedding day, and how SWE can do it  for you!

Did you find any of the above tips helpful, or have any to add? SWE would love to hear from you!

Perhaps you will also find the following helpful:

The Wedding Budget: Getting Started

Getting The Wow Factor Out Of Your Budget

The Colorful City of Olinda, Brazil

Tuesday, April 4

Olinda Brazil

Our Journey to Olinda

After our Amazon trip we decided to work our way down the coast of Brazil with a stop at Olinda, Brazil. The original plan was to take a river boat cruise from Manaus to Belem to save some money. After hearing about theft problems, the conditions of the boat and length of time it would take, we felt comfortable splurging on a flight instead.

Upon arrival arriving into Belem, we purchased our bus tickets for Recife and called it a night. That following morning we casually packed up only to realize that there was a time difference causing us to almost miss our bus ride! Travel tip: always double check time zones! It hadn’t occurred to us that different parts of Brazil had different time zones. (Newbie travellers!)

About 30 hours later, we arrived in Recife and took a short taxi ride to Olinda. We ended up arriving at dark, which was not ideal; the place felt like a ghost town. Any time I arrive at an unfamiliar place at night, I find that it has an eerie feel to it.

Since we didn’t have any pre-arranged accommodations, we had our taxi driver take us around in search of a place to stay. Unfortunately, it was more of a challenge than we thought it would be. Fatigue combined with the unknown stirred up emotions and fear quite quickly.

It is truly amazing when and how God shows up! It just so happened to be that after awhile (it felt like forever!), we ended up seeing a couple that we had met when we went on our Amazon excursion days prior. What are the chances of that! (Although I can’t say it was chance; I knew exactly who to thank for this one!)

Olinda Brazil

Couple, Mike and Susan, took us under their wings and found us a room at the same hotel they were staying at. What a blessing! The accommodations at Pousada dos Quatro Cantos couldn’t have been more perfect; I would highly recommend it to anyone passing through Olinda.

A Colorful City

Given that we arrived at night, we really didn’t see much of Olinda. So the following morning we were greeted with a pleasant surprise! The city was full of color from buildings to landscaping, making it a picturesque city to tour through.

Olinda Brazil

Olinda BrazilIMG_2148

Olinda Brazil

Olinda Brazil

Olinda Brazil

Olinda Brazil

Olinda Brazil

Olinda Brazil

During our travel, Sean’s Mom followed us online and tried to be a step ahead of us to warn us of all the dangers that lay ahead. It was quit comical when Sean found the following sign and decided to take a photo of it to send to his Mom, only to find that exact photo waiting for him in his email inbox. Gotta love Mom’s that do all the worrying for you!

Olinda Brazil

Since we don’t live anywhere near an ocean, it is always a treat to see one. I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing the blue water.

Olinda Brazil

Olinda Brazil

Olinda Brazil

We stayed in Olinda only for a short time, as we were just passing through for a quick rest before we continued on our journey. We had to shorten the bus ride to Salvador in order to keep our sanity. You will have a better understanding as to why in my next travel post!

Travelling to Peru, or want to know why you should travel to Peru? Perhaps the following posts may be of interest:

Explore Cusco Peru

Inca Trek to Machu Picchu

The Floating City of Iquitos Peru


The Wedding Budget: Getting Started

Wednesday, March 29

Wedding Budget: How To Get Started

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

All too often couples are not fully aware of what a wedding costs until after their wedding day, and then the reality sets in. Finding out your expenses after your wedding is not a good plan; unless you have a money tree growing in your backyard! (..and if you do, please tell me where I can get one!)

Money is the leading stress of most marriages. The reality – you and your partner won’t be immune to this unless you have a good plan in place with open and honest communication. Word of advice: please don’t start your marriage with a load of wedding debt.

How can you avoid this common pitfall? Planning and budgeting. To help you get started, let’s look at a wedding budget breakdown.

Wedding Budget Breakdown

The following is a general guideline for a wedding budget.  I say general because every couple prioritizes differently and will choose to allocate funds according to what they value most. Always budget high to leave some wiggle room for those unexpected expenses – cause there will always be those!

  • RECEPTION 45-50% – This includes the cost of food, cake, alcohol, staffing, venue rental, any rentals such as linens, table & chairs, taxes, and gratuities. The are many variables when it comes to a venue; the size of your wedding will determine your options and the kind of space you are looking for. It can range from $500-$3500 depending on the aesthetics of the space, location and indoor versus outdoor. Caterers charge anywhere from $20-$100/guest depending on the logistics and venue. If you are looking to have a wedding cake, you can expect to spend $300+ depending on the size and details.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY 1015%  – This includes the cost of the services, as well as any required photography location permits, editing, albums and prints. The price ranges between $2000-$6000+ each for a good Photographer and Videographer. You should always do your research and sit down with the photographer and videographer to learn more about his or her style. You are spending a lot of time and money on your wedding, and you want to have it captured well so you can have memories for a lifetime.
  • WEDDING PLANNER & COORDINATOR 10-15% – Depending on the types of services provided, size and details of the wedding, the price average range is any where between $1500-$10,000. Packages are all customizable and based on the needs of the couple. You are investing a lot of time and money into your wedding, don’t leave your day to chance. Hiring a good Planner and/or Coordinator will ensure you can enjoy your day.
  • ATTIRE 10-15% – This category includes wedding dress, alterations, foundation garments, wedding day hair & make-up, groom’s tuxedo, gown cleaning & preservation and going away outfits. Wedding gowns can start at $1500+ and suits $500+ depending on the designer and details.
  • FLOWERS & DECOR 7-15% – This includes all flowers and decorations for the wedding. The costs for this will vary depending this size of the wedding party and the decor details. Wedding Party florals can start at $600+. Decor is dependant on the venue, if it’s indoor or outdoor, and the number of guests and details. You can expect a range between $35-$150 for a table of 8, depending on the linen and chair choice, plus delivery fees. You will also need to add the additional costs of centrepiece, florals, candles, etc.
  • MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT 8-12% – This includes any costs associated with having a Disc Jockey or band, as well as any performers. Typical DJ packages start at $600+ and go up depending on what is needed. eg. ceremony, reception and dance.  Musician costs vary based on the number of instruments, number of artists needed and the length of time, but can start roughly at $400+.
  • STATIONARY 25% – This includes Save the Dates, Invitations, RSVP cards, Thank You notes, Postage, Wedding Programs, Menus, Place Cards, Guest Book, etc. There are many variables with stationery, as it depends on the selection of paper, design details and shipping. Prices can range from $3-$6/invitation, plus postage.
  • TRANSPORTATION 2-3% – This amount would include transportation for the wedding party, guest shuttles or parking attendants. Shuttle fees are typically an hourly rate of $150-$200 depending on the size of vehicle needed. 
  • CEREMONY 2-3% – Marriage license, officiant fee, church donations, musicians, accessories such as unity candle, ring pillow, etc. Marriage licenses are $100; Pastors and Officiants are around $150-$350 depending on the services. 
  • GIFTS 2-3% – Gifts to the groomsmen, bridesmaids, honor attendants, flower girl, ring bearer, both sets of parents any anyone else who has a role in the wedding. On average couples tend to spend around $50-$75 per person in their wedding party.
Wedding Budget Breakdown

Photo by Modern Pixel Photography

Now that you have an idea of some of the expenses, sit down with all those that are paying for the wedding and make a plan. Decide in advance what your total budget will be, and list the expenses that are personal to your wedding. Create a spreadsheet and keep track of ALL of your expenses.

A Wedding Planner Can Save You Money

Hiring a Wedding Planner can really save you money. Here’s why you should seriously consider hiring a Planner:

  • Budgeting may not be your strong point.
  • Getting married is an emotional time, causing you to make emotional decisions which will add to the costs.
  • Time may be limited making it difficult to keep track of ALL of your expenses.
  • Pricing around is may not something you want to do or have time to do.
  • You need an accountability partner that is neutral.
  • Self-control spending may be an issue when your vision is big.
  • You may not know all the little areas where you can save money.

A Wedding Planner can help you create a budget and stick to it. (Transparency is key…no hiding expenses!) A Planner can save you money by negotiating prices on your behalf; and won’t make emotional decisions. Many couples tend to make emotional decisions in the planning process, costing them more money in the end. And those DIY projects? Sometimes doing it yourself ends up costing you more!

A good Wedding Planner will be honest by telling you what is realistic and what is not – showing you how to get the most out of your budget. Remember, this is what they do best! They may also have access to some vendor discounts that would not be available to you otherwise.

Contact Sharon Webb Events to learn more about the services offered. We can chat about your wedding details and any worries you may have, and create a personalized package to fit your needs and budget.  Let’s Chat!

If you found this post helpful, perhaps you may like:

Getting The Wow Factor Out Of Your Wedding Budget

Suit Rentals: What You Should Know Before You Rent

Getting The Wow Factor Out Of Your Wedding Budget

Monday, March 27

Getting The Wow Out Of Your Budget

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

Whether your wedding budget is large or small, the ultimate goal is to get the most bank for your buck. But how exactly does one do this? Many go with the spread the love approach, where you spend a little here and a little there with the hopes it will provide a lasting impression. Today I am going to challenge you to think about what leaves a last impression on you, and to incorporate that into your wedding.

Getting The Wow Factor Out Of Your Wedding Budget

Who doesn’t want that wow factor incorporated into their wedding, but what exactly is that wow factor? What makes an impression varies from person to person. For some it may be food, while others it may be decor and ambiance or possibly entertainment. If your wedding is a reflection of you, and not just another trendy wedding, there is a better chance of leaving that lasting impression.

So, where do you start?

First, let us determine what is most important to you as a couple. When you go to a wedding or event, what jumps out at you? What leaves a lasting impression on you? What are you most critical of? Let’s look at three areas to narrow it down for you.

Food Plating

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

3 Elements of Weddings

FOOD. Do you love food? Do you appreciate good plating? If yes, perhaps this is where you should bring out that wow factor. Talk with your caterer to find out ways your food can stand out from the rest. There are so many creative options out there; your caterer most likely has some creative ideas just waiting to be shared!

ENTERTAINMENT. Do you enjoy being entertained, live bands and dancing? If yes, consider allocating more of your budget to this area. Hire a live band and DJ for your wedding; giving you and your guests an evening to be remembered.

AMBIANCE AND DECOR. When you go to an event, do you notice the candles, lighting, flowers and furniture? If details pop out at you, consider creating an atmosphere you and your guests will love.

Wedding Budget

Budget First

Now that you have determined what is most important to you as a couple, it’s time to think about your budget. By now you may have spent countless hours on Pinterest dreaming about your wedding day. Unfortunately, it’s all too common where a couple’s budget and vision don’t match up.  (Thank you Pinterest!)  You will need to have a good understanding of your budget, and what things cost before you begin dreaming about the details.

Overwhelmed or Need Help?

This week I will be sharing wedding related expenses and tips on allocating your budget.  If you need a little help with your wedding budget, perhaps the hourly consultation is exactly what you need to get off to a good start!  Perhaps you are in need of some creative ideas to personalize your wedding, or some help planning. Whatever the need, SWE is here to help! SWE offers many different services and packages that are customized based on couples’ needs. You don’t need to go at this alone; Let’s Chat!

If you found this posting helpful, perhaps you may like the following:

Suit Rentals: What You Should Know Before You Rent

What You Should Know About Wedding Contracts and Fittings

7 Tips To Hosting The Perfect Baby Shower

Thursday, March 23

Baby Shower

Photo by Esther Funk Photography

Tasty treats, oversized balloons with florals, pops of color, baby decor; all combined in the great outdoors, I’d say that makes for the perfect baby shower!

If hosting a traditional baby shower makes you cringe, the following 7 tips will help you host a baby shower you and your guests will love!


7 Tips To Hosting The Perfect Baby Shower!


1. CREATE AMBIANCE. Go with the ‘less is more’ approach by adding a nice bouquet of flowers for the new Mom to take them home afterwards. Oversized balloons give that wow factor; adding a little bit of greenery to them gives that extra touch! Personalize the decor with one or two pieces of baby decor that Mom can use later. The options are endless, so go on and give chic it up!

2. PROVIDE EYE CANDY FOOD AND DRINKS. Who doesn’t love pretty food and eating it too! Showcase your tasty treats with beautiful platters (different tiers add some dimension); add fruits, or freeze punch with fruit in ice cubes to add to the punch. Get out that fancy glassware you have been waiting to use for that perfect moment; add some pretty straws and accessories.  Skip all the desserts and get one beautiful tasty customized cake made by a local baker.

3. MAKE IT RELAXING. If you’re like me, showers bring out the cringe factor. I don’t know, I just never loved showers. They are always so awkward, especially when the shower games come out! (Do I hear an amen!?) How about getting away from the traditional shower formalities and make it about mingling and enjoying good food…and fighting over who gets to hold the baby! Mom can open gifts as guests arrive, or whenever she feels like it, and guests can enjoy the food. This makes it more relaxing for everyone!

4. CONSIDER DATE AND TIME. Think about your guests when choosing the date and time. We all cherish our weekends and evenings, especially in summer! Consider hosting it at the beginning of the weekend or even a weeknight if you don’t have too many out of town guests on the list. Come and Go Showers are always great! It allows guests to make an appearance and not committed to stay for a set duration.

Another great option is Saturday brunch; host a come and go from 11-1. Who wouldn’t love waffles, yogurt, fruit and mimosa’s?  (I’m getting hungry and thirsty just thinking about this!) This frees up the rest of the day for everyone. Having an event in the middle of the afternoon makes it difficult for anyone to do anything else.

5. HOST A GIFT CARD SHOWER. Mom’s often get duplicate gifts, or clothing that her baby won’t be able to wear in the correct season due to size, or dare I say…a gift that isn’t her baby’s style! (Come on now, we all have different tastes!) Hosting a Gift Card Shower makes it easy for everyone. Guests don’t have to fret over what to get, and Mom can buy what the baby really needs…and wants. Perfect combo for everyone!

Baby Shower

Photo by Esther Funk Photography | Balloons and Florals by Bloom Petals & Gifts

6. HAVE FUN! If shower’s aren’t your thing, call it a celebration. It’s amazing how changing the name of the event can put some of us at ease (at least for me it does!). So don’t sweat the small stuff, have fun with it!

7. HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER. Yes, we all know how to take photos, but let’s think quality here. I don’t know about you, but my photos would never look as good as a professional photographers. This is a momentous occasion, so why not have some photos you can frame on your wall. This is a great opportunity for you to take some special photos before the shower of the baby, mother-daughter and any other photos you have been dying to get.

That’s it. It’s that simple!


If hosting isn’t your thing, consider hiring SWE for planning, invitations, design and styling and/or set-up. Whatever it is that you don’t enjoy doing, SWE can take the stress out of it!

More photos of this celebration in Baby Blair’s Portfolio.