Monday, July 25, 2011

Gruber Photographers

My friend Terry Gruber has been working on his web site and facebook page and he's ready for us all to like it! And as a ridiculously marvelous incentive, he's offering a day of photography sweepstakes for "liking" his facebook site. It's worth about $12,500!!! I like it, I like it!

So, give it a whirl and like it too:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Butterflies Galore

A client of mine will be getting her cake from her venue, and she is concerned about the in-house artistry as she'd like her design to be similar to this cover of Martha Stewart Weddings. I promised to decorate the cake personally if the in-house baker couldn't do it, but then I stumbled upon Wedding Star. I was planning to search out butterflies in different sizes and hues (or call my friends and Martha Stewart to find out how it was done). But now we don't have to!
Getting a cake with your venue is a great perk -- but often my clients are worried that the execution may not be exactly as they pictured it if they could choose their own baker. My advice is to show the in-house baker lots of pictures of what you're looking for. Look at their work and make sure they are up to the task. If not, adapt your design to suit their style. If you don't like their sugar bows, use real ribbon. If their sugar flowers are not delicate enough -- use real ones. And if all else fails, go simple and classic.
Kit by Wedding Star
Cute execution also shown by Wedding Star -- love the combination of sugar flowers and butterflies

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Big Enough Company

Many years ago I had the good fortune to meet the ladies from In Good Company, a company that creates a community for women entrepreneurs, and work spaces for them to share. Now these smart ladies are coming out with a book to tell you how it's done. They are also smart enough to know when a company satisfies the needs of it's owner -- and that's the focus of The Big Enough Company -- Creating a Business That Works for You.
The ladies honored me by profiling the Wedding Library and the journey I've taken through the decade plus I've been in business. The trailer link for this inspiring book is here.
Congratulations to these amazing ladies who have worked so hard to provide fellow business owners the tools to make their dreams a success. By the way, the book comes out in September and I can't wait to get my advance copy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bugs Don't Bug Me at All

Constantly trying to convince clients to use them as a motif: butterflies, ladybugs, dragonflies... with varying degrees of success. :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Photo Shoot

I was working on a photo shoot today and came up with these sweet working pictures. I've said it before, I love the birds and the bugs!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We're on Style Me Pretty!

A beautiful wedding we planned has been posted on Style Me Pretty. Thank you Abby for sharing this Everglades Club, Palm Beach wedding with your readers!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


As much as we love it when our couples are all about extravagant details and decor, sometimes keeping it simple is what best represents them and I must admit I’m just as head over heels about these weddings as I am about the extravagant ones.

Probably the most laid back easy going couple out there, Emily & Tim had their wedding ceremony and reception at The Wakefield Mill back in June and Viva was absolutely thrilled to help them with the planning and execution of their intimate day.

Just a few of Viva’s favourite details of their wedding:

~ Emily & Tim were married on the MacLaren House lawn. Two rows of chairs were set up for immediate family and the remaining guests gathered around creating a very warm, intimate ceremony.
~ Emily had nine flower girls. Yes, nine! It was important for her to include all of these lovely girls in the ceremony so they lined up creating an aisle for Emily to walk down and as she did, she was handed flowers from each of them which created her bouquet.
~ Instead of flowers, the girls in the wedding party all carried handmade pinwheels and the guys wore pinwheel boutonnieres.
~ While the ceremony took place, Emily & Tim’s rings were passed around so that each guest could hold and bless them with their best wishes for the soon to be newlyweds.
~ Representing the librarian in Emily, Emily & Tim’s guests signed their congratulations to the bride & groom on library cards which were held in card catalogue drawers.
~ After a fabulous cocktail hour full of wine and tasty hors d’oeuvres, guests visited several food stations (offering pasta and seafood crepes to name but two) and could help themselves to the most amazing cheese platter in honour of the groom’s love affair with cheese.

These wonderful images below are all courtesy of Ottawa Wedding Photographer Blair Gable.
Viva’s always excited when we get the chance to work with Blair! Simply put, he's awesome!! After photojournalism school, Blair Gable worked his way through seven newspapers before leaving a staff position to freelance for some of Canada’s largest media outlets. Blair also shoots a limited number of weddings each year with the same style and intensity as his newspaper assignments – A blend of contemporary storytelling, real moments and dramatic portraits captured naturally.

“When hockey season ends and the politicians head home for the summer I shoot weddings. The pressure situations and tight deadlines I work in prepare me for the chaos and emotion of a wedding day”


Viva just can't get enough of RIVINI so once again on this Wedding Dress Wednesday we're spreading the word about Ashton Station Bridal in Carleton Place and their upcoming RIVINI trunk show taking place July 22-24!

And it gets better...

RIVINI representative James Brown will be at Ashton Station Bridal hot off an engagement at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City. He'll have the latest in wedding fashion trends and best of all - the latest in gossip from TLC Say Yes to the Dress' Randy Fenoli.

Space is limited so what are you waiting for? Book your appointment by calling 613-240-7616 or emailing

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Martha Stewart's Brides Guide News!

Ok, last press for the day. Just thought I'd share Darcy Miller's article about our opening party for Martha Stewart's Bride's Guide here. Thank you again Darcy for hosting our beautiful event (and Martha for attending!)

The Hawthorn Branch Newsletter for the Wedding Industry

So, it's a really good news day for us. Our friends at Hawthorn publications featured us in an article on Wedding Libraries that summed up our philosophy completely -- choosing your vendors is an intimate process where there is the right partner for every couple. Our job is to match them up. We're matchmakers! Enjoy. Link here for the original article.

Bridal Lounges and Libraries: Playing Matchmaker for Brides and Wedding Pro

Let these industry experts take the tough marketing stuff off your plate so you can focus on your craft and the brides who have already hired you.

In the ever-competitive wedding marketplace, a bumper crop of one-stop bridal “lounges” and “libraries” showcasing a select number of vendors and venues is making waves. The concept is to offer complimentary planning assistance to brides while matching them with venues and vendors who suit their overall vision and budget. The featured vendors and venues get great access to brides-to-be, giving them time to focus on what they do best while leaving the sales and marketing up to the experts.

The Wedding Library, situated in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, may be the longest-standing example of the concept, and similar business models have popped up in major cities across the country from Los Angeles to New Orleans to Boston.

Professionals, like Claudia Hanlin, who started the Wedding Library 11 years ago and is now a contributing editor to Martha Stewart Weddings, have their finger on the pulse of the industry and use their extensive, up-to-date knowledge to help brides and industry professionals simplify the booking process. How many brides are we talking about? Some of these operations work with up to 700 brides at the same time. That’s some serious buying power.

Most bridal libraries and lounges are membership based for venues and vendors, and they’re often exclusive. Members pay a monthly or yearly fee to have their portfolio added to the library and to be considered by the in-house coordinators. But what’s unique is that these wedding-industry matchmakers tend to look for the next great, up-and-coming wedding professional. “Brides don’t need me to connect them with that famous, high-profile vendor who everyone knows about; they just need me to find them a talented vendor who will meet their budget needs and mirror their vision,” says Hanlin. They’re also not just there to support the brides; it’s a true matchmaking process from start to finish, continues Hanlin: “We have a very intimate relationship with our members, and when we match a bride with a vendor, we can say with conviction that it’s a good fit.”

Head south from New York City to the Bride’s Lounge in New Orleans, and you’ll see a similar format with all of its own style and flair. Appointments are suggested, but walk-ins are welcome. Once there, brides receive complimentary consultations, full access to vendor portfolios, and beauty consultations from an on-site hair and makeup artists. But again, it’s not just about the bride; vendor and venue members are invited and encouraged to use the lounge space for parties, tastings, client meetings, and networking.

The Boston Bridal Lounge on Newbury Street offers a full library of wedding resources, local vendor portfolios, and an inspiration wall complete with trending color schemes. Brides can also browse seasonal tablescape displays by vendors like Winston Flowers and Rafinelli Events, while sipping champagne and discussing their upcoming weddings with experienced professionals.

The Bridal Bar, which has locations in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Atlanta, does all of the above while placing a focus on education so brides know all they need to know before the big day. They represent a group of vendors they believe to be the best in their area while also offering bridal shows, styling events, sample sales, and designer trunk shows.

In addition to offering their extensive “matchmaking” services and general wedding planning consultations, these locations also often operate as retailers. For example: The Wedding Library carries stationery suites and bridesmaid dresses. They are the flagship store for well-known names like Dessy and Thread, garnering foot traffic that only makes a membership with them all the more valuable.

But what if your wedding business is based far from a major city with no such trendy bridal lounge? Here at Hawthorn, we’ve seen wedding professionals take matters into their own hands by building a network within their area and setting up meetings to share ideas with other venues and vendors. Another option is a virtual one: Connect with other professionals through social media by tagging another vendor in one of your Facebook posts or alerting your Twitter followers by using the “follow Friday” hash tag (#FF) on Fridays to suggest that your fans follow other talented professionals. A time-intensive but effective third option is to come together to plan and design a photo shoot to showcase your collective creativity, then work with editorial outlets to make it all pay off in the form of magazine or online feature. Jubilee Events out of Connecticut did just that with partner vendors in a photo shoot we picked up for the last issue of GALA Weddings New England.

Our point in all of this: Collaboration is key and whether you can join a library or lounge network like those showcased above or generate something grassroots on your own, having a support system of like-minded professionals who know the industry can turn today’s brides-to-be into those you’re working with tomorrow.

Well Wed Shout-Out

Well Wed is featuring our Big Apple Award winning shoot in their fall issue and posted a lovely shout-out on their blog about us. Check it out!
The text is re-printed here:

Congratulations, Claudia Hanlin & The Wedding Library! Last week, Claudia was awarded Best Design Decor by International Special Events Society's Big Apple Awards, which recognizes the best in event planning in the New York City metropolitan area. The award winning shoot will be featured in the WellWed - Hamptons Fall/Winter 2011 issue.

Claudia Hanlin's Wedding Library is a multiple award-winning boutique that assists brides-to-be in selecting the best wedding professionals based on portfolios of their work. These professionals are the most talented and in-demand in the industry. They also assist in planning your big day from day-of planning to full service.

To read what inspired her and what went into the creative process, check out WellWed - Hamptons went it hits stores this fall!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Big Apple, Big Week

Besides a celebrity wedding last weekend and our opening party on Monday I had the pleasure of attending the ISES (International Special Events Society) Awards Dinner for New York's Big Apple Awards this week. My friends Bentley Meeker and Jes Gordon were inducted as Legends and both proved that being incredibly cool and superbly professional and talented are not mutually exclusive. Congratulations!

I was also happy to be nominated for awards in three categories: Best Design Decor, Best Planner and Best Table Top Design.
I was delighted to win a crystal apple for Best Design for a project you can see in the upcoming WellWed magazine -- a sophisticated picnic in Tuxedo Park, New York.
More images from the shoot can be seen on Martha Stewart Wedding's blog, The Bride's Guide. Many thanks to Mel Barlow for her amazing ability to capture and enhance my work with pictures.