Life is full of beautiful moments – some that arrive with no rhyme or reason and others, that can only successfully unfold after weeks, months or even years of meticulous planning. In order to ensure life’s most beautiful moments go off without a hitch, we truly believe that things are best left to the professionals. We recently caught up with event planner extraordinaire, Krista, of KJ and Co. who shares with us what you can expect from a planner, why she enjoys working with Liuna Gardens and the crazy lengths she has gone to in order to guarantee that her clients have the most memorable day of their lives!
LG: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and KJ and Co.
KJ: KJ and Co. will celebrate 6 years in business this coming February. It’s been an exciting ride, getting to know couples and talented event pros in the Hamilton and Burlington area, as well as beyond, in Toronto and Niagara. Wedding and event planning is the best of both worlds for me. I get to deal with logistics, planning, organization and budget crunching, as well as the pretty design side, pulling together decor details. When I’m not working, I’m spending quality time with my growing family. 

LG: How did you get in the event planning business?
KJ: As a teenager, I began filling in seasonally for the event design company where my mom worked for nearly 25 years as a coordinator-then-designer. Over the years, that had me working on large-scale props, installing corporate holiday and gala decor between Toronto and Ottawa, pulling midnight balloon drops 80-feet up in the air, setting lounge furniture on the Grey Cup field, and riding in Toronto’s luxury hotel freight elevators. You name it. Owning my own business was a lifelong goal, I decided in 2012 that a boutique wedding and event planning business was the perfect fit for me. 

LG: What do you like most about throwing weddings/events at Liuna Gardens?
KJ: The team at Liuna knows their space well and their goal is for your guests to feel wined and dined. While they’re busy witha large volume of events, they take pride in each one.  
LG: What trends are you seeing in the wedding industry right now?
KJ: Couples are foregoing tradition in small and simple ways. Whether that’s skipping wedding cake, or a traditional guest book. They’re leaving out details their guests won’t miss, and this allows them to focus on and invest more in important details for everyone to enjoy. Also, a lot of couples are skipping seated dinner, opting for an extended cocktail reception before hitting the dance floor instead, so the focus remains on the party and celebration. It’s a nice change for guests.

LG: What can a client expect from a wedding planner?
KJ: As a planner, my goal is always to guide clients through wedding planning with less stress, to make the smartest decisions with their money, and to create their perfect day. No matter where they choose, or what they’re spending. There’s so much they don’t know, so many decisions to make. I keep things practical and I offer experienced-based advice. A planner will help you pick the best service package for you, to provide as much or as little help as you need. Some couples are up for the challenge, they have time to do all the research and leg work it takes to pick best-suited vendors, stay on budget and get it all done. They want a month-of coordinator to execute their plans and work as a team with their venue’s staff. While other couples want – or need – more help and guidance throughout planning because they don’t have the time or desire to do things on their own. In that case, they benefit from efficiency and expertise.
LG: How do you help a couple who has no clear vision, figure out what they want, and plan their perfect day?
KJ: Sometimes it’s as simple as a paid planning consultation to help set a budget and make vendor and venue suggestions. But most often I handle partial or full planning. In that case, everyone starts out with 4 clear worksheets, including a customized budget and planning schedule. We work through vendor decisions and design scheme together and I’m a project manager/administrator/designer/therapist along the way. Then I execute the rehearsal and wedding day, so that my clients and their families can enjoy the day moment to moment, and let someone else sweat the small stuff. 

LG: Tell us about one of the most memorable weddings you helped to plan and why.
KJ: I have a difficult time picking one specific wedding. I always say I have too many favourites. The ones that stick out to me, really were a celebration of everyone being together. The couples picked food and details that were special to them to share with everyone.  The decor was timeless, and fitting of them both, even if it often tends be a little more feminine than masculine – I worry about grooms who stay out of things entirely, and walk in to a wedding day that they can’t relate to at all.

LG: What is your favourite part about being a wedding and event planner?

KJ: I love being the problem solver and lightening everyone’s load. Whether that’s day to day through the planning process, or coming to the rescue on the big day. I’ve accepted deliveries, assembled welcome bags, volunteered my own credit card to pay a limo driver, sewn brides back in to their dress, given a wedding officiant the shoes off my own feet, chased down buses for forgotten cellphones, driven late guests, everything under the sun.

We’d like to thank Krista, of KJ and Co. for sharing her expertise with us and for going above and beyond to execute some of Liuna Gardens most extraordinary events! We’d also like to mention the talented photographers featured in today’s blog: Claire Dam Photography, Katie Nicolle Photography and Elizabeth in Love Photography.
Stay tuned for weekly blog updates and make sure to connect with Liuna Gardens on Instagram and Facebook as we deliver fresh, new content to inspire, excite and assist as you plan your dream event. While you’re at it, head over to Liuna Station’s blog to check out our interview with General Manager, Vico Rosatone. 
From all of us at Liuna Gardens, thank you for following along!
Featured Photographers:

Photos 1 and 6: Claire Dam Photography

Photo 2: Katie Nicolle Photography

Photos 3, 4 and 5 Elizabeth in Love Photography