And, with that, the 2023 season has come to an end!
As I think back on 2023, I am immensely grateful for our team of talented planners, our trusting and fun-loving clients, and our incredible team of venues, vendors, and suppliers who make Every. Single. Thing. we do possible!
2023 was another big year for The Good Party – we spent the last 12 months making our new studio our home, we planned, designed, and executed over 80 weddings, over 30 celebrations & corporate projects, and, once again, inflated way more balloons than anyone wanted to track!
This year’s wrap-up is a little different than in years past, because instead of asking each of our Lead Planners for their top moment of the year, I’m surprising them and choosing my favourite moments that they were involved in. What follows is a love letter to our team, featuring world class events, moments of growth, and most importantly, 13 of my favourite women who go above and beyond for our clients every single time they respond to an email, review a timeline for the 10th time, spend hours customizing a design board, or chase a tortoise flower girl down the aisle…
Anouk – celebrating an achievement!
After taking the winter months to reset and adventure in the land down under, Anouk landed back in Victoria to the news that she had been nominated for a Canadian Special Event Award in the Best Wedding Planning category for Tara + Eric’s Persian Indian Fusion wedding that took place in July of 2022. The multi-day logistically complex wedding saw Anouk working countless hours on very little sleep and was exceptionally planned, designed, and produced by Anouk.
Seeing Anouk’s wedding featured on the big screen alongside other top Wedding Planners from across Canada at the black tie Awards Gala in Toronto was such a proud and exciting moment. As one of our most senior and experienced planners, it was incredible to see her hard work recognized on a national level. We had the best time in Toronto at the Awards themselves, but the even greater treat was getting to spend 4 days exploring the city with Anouk and eating (and sipping!) our way through Toronto’s food scene. I can’t wait for Anouk and I to get to do this again alongside other Lead Planners from our team!
Carley – did you know Carley got married this year?
When I was brainstorming the top moments for this year’s blog post, all I wrote next to Carley’s name was “DUH.”
For those of you reading who don’t know (which is no one, I’m sure), Carley got married this year after what feels like YEARS of being engaged and planning her wedding. I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to Carley + Al’s engagement in December of 2020 and also a front row seat to the next 2.5 years that were spent talking about, discussing, sharing, daydreaming, brainstorming, obsessing over, etc. their wedding plans for August 26th of 2023.
We all tease Carley relentlessly, but to say her wedding wasn’t one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever witnessed would be a lie. Carley was the most effortlessly stunning bride and I truly felt like my little sister was getting married. Several of our team members attended the wedding as guests, and we were also the coolest, most colour-coordinated guests AND emcees you’ve ever seen.
Don’t worry, there’s certainly a very detailed blog post to come (Carley wouldn’t have it any other way).
Photos: Kyle Joinson Photography
Cassie – June 2023 a.k.a Hell Month
June 2023 was referred to as Hell Month around the studio, as Cassie, who was 6 months pregnant with her and her hubby Bryan’s first baby, decided to do the impossible and nail out 10+ corporate events over 5 weeks. Just for reference here, a planner even doing more than three events a month is basically unheard of around here, but Cassie truly made the impossible possible and nailed every single one of her events, leaving a trail of happy clients, and all of us wondering how on earth she’d survived.
Cassie started the month executing a huge Grand Opening Gala for the Royal BC Museum that she’d been planning and designing with the museum’s team since March, threw in a couple of pop-up pubs and social minglers, blew everyone’s socks off with the First Annual Peninsula Gives event for BC Children’s Hospital, somehow pulled off an absolutely epic same day venue change for the Beachland’s PGA Open media launch. She then finished it all up with a next level summer sleepover bash!
Somehow after that, she rested for 6 weeks and then brought the most beautiful, good baby into the world on August 27th 2023 and all of us then fell in love with baby James
Peninsula Gives Photos: Tulle & Tweed Photography
Casey – Jeremy + Jordan at Bodega Ridge
We all knew that Jeremy + Jordan’s wedding was going to be a fan favourite from the moment they booked us – a couple clearly obsessed with each other, one half of the couple basically a wedding planner extraordinaire disguised as a groom, and the best shared sense of humour between the two of them. Casey fell in love with Jeremy + Jordan immediately and I know the feeling was mutual. After their wedding day, Casey gushed to me how their wedding was one of her favourites ever, how much she cared for them, and all the special moments she’d witnessed that would be etched in her memory forever, like their first dance on the patio at Bodega Ridge Resort surrounded by their amazing community of family and friends and the heartfelt speeches and toasts.
While Casey and I have shared many “top moments” this year, I’m choosing this one, because it demonstrates something I love so much about Casey as a Lead Planner, her fun-loving, caring, and all-in approach to weddings, she’s basically the best friend or family member you didn’t know you needed in your life and she’s there on the biggest day of your life… and just happens to be dressed in a party skirt, holding a clipboard, running the show for you.
Photos: Shari + Mike
Chloe – 2023 “Chloe’s BIG Year!”
2023 was a big year for Chloe and narrowing this down to one top moment was a big challenge. Chloe was the Lead Planner on many beautiful weddings this past season, all of which she designed and executed flawlessly. She worked on some of our biggest projects and consistently had us all applauding her detailed and unique designs. Chloe isn’t afraid to push the boundaries with design and doesn’t take no for an answer when she has an idea or her clients ask her to run with something. She’s always advocating for her clients and figuring out a way to make their dreams a reality!
You’d think that Chloe being the lead for a big editorial spread that took place in May and is hitting newsstands in the new year would be the top moment, but after a bit of back and forth, I’ve decided my favourite Chloe moment has to be Julianne + Aly’s wedding in August of 2023. This wedding was logistically challenging, design heavy, and full of unexpected moments. It was the biggest wedding Chloe had worked on to date and she made all of us immensely proud with her detailed timeline, vendor organization, and ability to problem-solve each and every challenge that was thrown her way.
Witnessing her arrive from the ceremony to see the dreamy reception space which our team had set-up with her strict instructions was really special as Chloe was still going 100 miles a minute when she arrived into the room; however, when she paused to take in her and the couple’s vision, in person, I think she even surprised herself with how she had transformed the space and brought the bride’s dream to life!
Photos: Myrtle & Moss Photography
Dakota – Vancouver Island Wedding Awards 2023!
Dakota is one of our team’s most experienced and senior Lead Planners. Having worked on countless weddings over the years, Dakota has done it all and continues to be one of our most frequently requested planners – because, as we like to joke, everyone knows Dakota! She forms truly special relationships with each of her couples and is frequently having coffees, cocktails, and meals with couples long after their wedding day. Dakota forms relationships for life and that’s something that I, and all of her clients, absolutely love about her!
In February of this year, Dakota’s skills as a top wedding planner were recognized in the most exciting way when she was awarded several awards at the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards. As the Awards hadn’t taken place in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid fallout, winners and finalists for three calendar years were honored and Dakota earned top spot for the following categories:
2020/2021 – Winner, Best Wedding Planner
2020/2021 – Winner, Best Elopement
2020/2021 – Finalist, Best Wedding Planner
2022 – Winner, Best Wedding Planner
Our team cheered and celebrated all night long at the Awards! I couldn’t be more proud of all of Dakota’s accomplishments and projects over the past few years, but especially this big achievement.
Grace – too hard to decide!
As I made my way down the list of planners, right away I had thought of Lois + Chris’ wedding to share for Grace; however, I did a bit of flip-flopping and, now, here I am, sharing two of my favourite projects/moments for Grace’s 2023 year!
This year, our team was lucky enough to work on two big projects in one of Victoria’s newest event venues, The Victoria Scottish Community Centre, and Grace was the Lead Planner on Lois + Chris’ wedding that took place at the beautiful new spot in mid-October. Working with a new venue is always a huge learning curve and Grace took on the challenge beautifully and the design she put together with the couple was the perfect fit for a fall weekend! We don’t have the full wedding album to share yet, but when we do, this is another wedding that will certainly be a blog post in the not so distant future.
Moment no. 2 that has to be mentioned because it’s just so damn fun! Grace was quietly working away in the studio back in October and managed to allow a couple of us to convince her to take the lead on designing and decorating The Good Party’s tree for the Festival of Trees for BC Children’s Hospital this year. Never one to shy again from a challenge, Grace hopped right into the project and even put together a design board with multiple options for consideration. We had a lot of fun, and a lot of back and forth, and we all LOVED the tree Grace designed complete with hundreds of disco balls, a giant Taylor Swift inspired friendship bracelet garland, and custom TGP wrapping paper – what could be more sparkly and festive! Grace’s creativity shined through with this project and I can’t wait to see what she dreams up next.
Lois + Chris Photos: Chiara Sparanese Photography
Jules – a stunning year full of beautiful designs
Throughout this year Jules was busy with lots of planning + design projects; however, Katie + Jon’s elegant, west coast wedding celebration fits the bill for Jules’ top moment of 2023! Katie + Jon reached out to us almost exactly a year to the day before their wedding celebration and Jules got things moving with them right away. Jules’ knowledge, calmnesses, and consistency always shines through with all her clients; however, she truly shines when she’s working on a full planning and design project and this celebration was no expectation.
Jules worked with the couple to put together a beautiful, timeless, and picture perfect Hatley Castle wedding and was the perfect example of grace under pressure when we were short a team member at the very last minute. Jules and her on-site team really pulled out all the stops on this hot summer day, yet, look almost as cool and elegant as our bride Katie in their team shot below!
Photos: Meghan Hemstra Photography
Madi – Lead Planner x GENERAL CONTRACTOR?
Madi is a bit of a chameleon around the studio as she works as a Lead Planner on both the wedding and corporate sides of The Good Party; however, she also is our Studio Coordinator, which this year, basically meant a General Contractor. We moved into our new studio in December of 2022 and really started renovations in March of 2023. From electrical to a full kitchen installation, Madi oversaw multiple projects throughout the year and somehow kept the studio organized and running smoothly throughout the entire process.
We have a big studio tour post coming up in the new year, but in the meantime, here are a few peeks into the studio’s before and after, which truly wouldn’t have happened or been possible without Madi’s hard work, creative problem solving, and great communication skills. We love our new studio so much and love Madi even more!
Photos: Dragonflight Photography
Marley – the Year of the Consultation!
Oh man! Picking a top Marley moment is a hard one. Mostly because Marley and I spend the most time communicating out of everyone – so there’s A LOT of moments to pick from! Marley is one of our Senior Lead Planners and she is also our Communications Coordinator, overseeing the consultation, proposal, onboarding, contracts, and invoicing process for all of our clients – regardless if they are wedding couples, balloon builds, celebrations, or corporate projects. Everyone gets to meet Marley and Marley knows the behind the scenes details of every couple, client, and project that is on the go at The Good Party!
This year Marley had some super fun weddings – she always ends up with the kindest and funnest couples – one of her weddings even had a tortoise as the flower girl! However, my favourite Marley memory for 2023 has to simply be how she continues to absolutely slay consultations. She loves meeting with prospective clients and, whether she’s joined by Anouk, Carley, Sarah, or myself, she is always so friendly, kind, funny, and real with clients – no matter who they are. Marley is never afraid to provide a reality check, have a totally unrelated deep dive into dogs or murder podcasts, or get just as excited about wedding plans as the clients themselves!
Carley called Marley’s 2023 moment a “record breaking number of consultations” and I really love this because it couldn’t be truer. We’ve definitely lost count on how many she’s done over the past 12 months! Marley is usually the first point of contact for anyone reaching out to The Good Party and I really wouldn’t have it any other way as her fun personality, sense of humour, and 50/50 mix of Healthy Dose of Reality Planner meets The Sky is the Limit planner is the perfect mix!
Photo: Allison Spargo Photography
Olivia – our very own, Good Party Barbie!
Similarly to Madi, Liv was all over the place with our team this year! She took the lead on balloon installations, kept the studio in tip top shape alongside Madi, and had a handful of wedding clients of her own. However, my favourite Liv moment of the year, hands down, is our team’s annual Christmas party that Liv designed and planned this past December.
Every year, a different Lead Planner takes the lead on the party planning and is in charge of everything from the design of the event to special presents for the team. This year Liv dreamed up a couple of options for the party design, but the winning theme was a no-brainer: A Good Party Barbie Christmas was exactly the fun year end celebration that we truly didn’t know we needed!
Liv’s design skills were on display as she decked out Bear & Joey for the party and didn’t miss out on a single detail. The party was complete with a hot pink Christmas tree surrounded by a sea of gifts wrapped in pink, and sparkling on arrival with custom pink bows. The Christmas party was a great peek into Liv’s creative talent, attention to detail, and evolving design skills and I’m so excited for her next projects.
Ruby – a memorable weekend takeover!
Ruby took the lead on multiple weddings this season and was a fan favourite with all of her clients. She typically began working with her clients anywhere from 3-8 months in advance; however, my Ruby moment of the year was actually for a wedding she wasn’t even the Lead Planner on to begin with!
Katelyn + John were married at one of our favourite spots, Bodega Ridge Resort on Galiano Island, and started planning with our team about 11 months in advance of their August 26th wedding. All along, we had a couple of Lead Planners working on their celebration as we were involved with both design and coordination services and knew that Cassie most likely wouldn’t be able to be on site that weekend because of her baby’s due date. However, a few days before the wedding, when another team member became very sick, we had to do a whole lot of juggling and Ruby stepped up to take on the Lead Planner role for the weekend.
Ruby’s leadership, flexibility, and relational skills were on full display for the entire weekend and our clients and the venue team were thrilled to have had her and our incredible summer assistant, Avery, on site to flawlessly execute the wedding celebration! I’m always so thankful for Ruby’s hard work and dedication to our team and her clients and it was truly a gift to have her takeover for this wedding and step up in so many other ways when asked.
Photo of Ruby and Avery: Ronnie Lee Hill Photography
Sarah – the most magical wedding of all
For Sarah’s moment of the year, there were a couple of large Full Planning weddings that took place outside of Victoria that I really wanted to include in this blog post: a elegant black & white affair at the Qualicum Beach Golf Course and a colourful, wildflower filled, west coast wedding at Hastings House on Salt Spring Island. However, I know in my heart that truly Sarah’s moment of the year was actually her very first wedding of the season, Fiona + Mitch’s elegant magic and fantasy inspired celebration at the Fairmont Empress.
Every so often, there is a couple and planner match that comes along where it seems like they’ve all been friends for years and this was exactly what happened with Fiona + Mitch’s wedding! It’s always fun to watch Sarah’s design process as she’s so happy to lean right into what’s most important to and most unique for each of her clients. Sarah absolutely loved designing this wedding and it was amazing seeing how she brought in Fiona + Mitch’s favourite things like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and, of course, their obsession with each other into the wedding day.
Best part? If you’d like to know more about this special day, you are in luck as Sarah already wrote a blog post about the whole day!
Photos: Jesse Holland Photography