There are few wedding planners in the city who do urban simplicity better than Jess Hoang, founder of Bisous Events. Bringing a breath of fresh air to the industry, she builds weddings for the modern couple looking to create an experience that’s heartfelt and polished, yet unpretentious. We chatted with the down-to-earth planner, and our dear friend, to talk tips on budget and keeping it simple.
STYLE / As a planner, how do you help couples figure out their personal style and come up with themes for their wedding? Where does one start?
JH: First off, I’d love to thank you for including us in #FriendsFridays! It’s lovely when you can be friends with those in the industry.
As for getting started when wedding-planning, I always start with inspiration photos, their venue and their favourite colours. From there, we decide on the level of formality they would like their wedding (backyard, glam, black-tie, cocktail or semi-formal) and then we talk about what they are like as a couple. I want to know what their hobbies and date nights are like, how they met and what sort of lifestyle they have. The best weddings are those that are not only detailed and beautiful, but the ones you can tell their relationship was the muse.
PROCESS / There are so many decisions couples need to make in regards to their wedding day. How can people turn this long process into a simpler, more enjoyable experience? Are there ways couples can help you help them?
JH: The first step: hire a planner. Sure, it’s easy for me, a planner, to say that, but there is a reason why more and more couples are hiring one even when they have a smaller budget. When I start the design process with my clients, I always start big and funnel down. I take their huge Pinterest boards and inspirations and break it down into 1 page of 8 images to help them narrow down the theme. There are definitely an infinite number of each vendors in the Greater Toronto Area but not all deliver amazing work and seamless service. My job is to not only make their wedding special but within their budget and with the least amount of headache possible.
Words like “vintage” or “modern” can mean a million things so visuals always help. Couples can help their planners by booking them early before they book most of their vendors so we can help guide their choices. They can also help by being realistic with their vision and their budget.
TIPS & TRICKS / Weddings can get pretty expensive if you don't plan them well. Any budget tips for couples at the beginning of their planning process?
JH: One tip is to make a list of all the vendors they would like and to put them in the “definitely” and the “maybe” category. After that, they need to do the same with their guest list. The best way to achieve their dream wedding on a budget is to have a more intimate affair. Also, more and more couples are opting to not have favours.
If you’re in the market for a planner, make sure you book earlier than later to get the best bang for your buck. He or she may have already worked at that venue if you’re still looking for the perfect location and know how you can save money by using the items they have on-hand. Your planner can also guide you to newer vendors such as florists or photo booths that can give a reasonable discount without adding stress to your big day. Often times, planners can save you more than it costs to hire one, never mind reducing the stress level.
WILD CARD / You’re getting married this year! How has the planning process been, and what are you most excited about for your own wedding?
JH: I am... it is wild being on this side of it all! The process has been great since I always made mental notes at each wedding even before getting engaged, thinking, “Wow, this (insert vendor) is so beautiful… I’m going to ask them more details about my wedding!” But it is also very strange to be a bride-to- be, it’s like suddenly taking our working industry relationship to the next level.
The majority of our family lives in other countries so I am most excited for our family to be all in one place together. I can’t wait to meet some of our little family members that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet to be there. Most of all, I can’t wait to officially call my fiancée, my forever-boyfriend.
Jess' profile photo: Olive Photography