Welcome to High Culture’s new blog! I am really excited to launch this blog and will be using this space as a site where I will regularly update my current happenings - be it weddings, events, projects, or travels. I wish for this to be an interactive space where I can share with you things that I believe are important to my business, my work, and my life - things that I think you should know about! I do hope that you visit often and comment regularly. 

Love Story Contest

Love Story Contest with High Culture: Weddings & Special Events, Jill Coursen Photography, The Art of Cake, and Dominique Rivera- Koshuta & Jennifer Rivera-Preston of Rivera Makeup Artistry in honour of Valentine’s Day!

Love Story Contest.1.jpg

We LOVE weddings and we LOVE LOVE stories so in honour of this LOVE and in celebration of Valentine’s day, we have a little contest for the ultimate wedding give-away. Do you and your fiancé(é) share a unique and powerful love story? If so, we want to hear about it. All you have to do is e-mail us at high.culture@me.com sharing the following details: give us a glimpse into your story, tell us why you are the most deserving couple, answer how your wedding will be unique, and share with us your favourite photo of the two of you.

The lucky couple will win the following:

An Engagement Session compliments of Jill Coursen Photography
a value of $250 plus $100 print credit

Hair & Makeup trials compliments of Rivera Makeup Artistry
a value of $150

A six-inch buttercream cake compliments of The Art of Cake 
a value of $75

Your choice of either ‘Planning Basics’ or ‘Design Consultation’ compliments of High Culture: Weddings & Special Events

Planning Basics’ - a complimentary two-hour consultation with Rebecca to converse about the initial steps to planning the perfect wedding. During this meeting, we will work to create an understanding of your wedding vision, style, and budget. We will discuss your plans thus far and those ahead of you while providing you with a personalized planning checklist and the occasion to discuss any wedding-related questions. 
a value of $300

Design Consultation’ -  a complimentary two-hour consultation with Rebecca to converse about your vision. During this meeting, we will work to create a cohesive wedding design to suit your wedding vision. In consideration of your venue(s) and budget, we will begin to design a concept and provide you with some suggestions of suitable service providers.   
a value of $400

The finer details: 
* Current clients of any of the above cannot enter
* Contest is closed to those who are already working with a photographer, hairstylist, makeup artist, cake designer, and/or
wedding coordinator
* Wedding must take place in Edmonton and its surrounding area in order for all services to be relevant. 

Contest closes: February 28, 2011

The Final Week {Edmonton Engagement Photos}

After a year and a half of being engaged and seven years of dating, my friends Michelle and Andy are finally tying the knot next weekend! I have had the pleasure of working with them and assisting them on aspects of their wedding and will also have the honour of standing at their sides on their wedding day. I am looking forward to their wedding and wish for them a fabulous day and a beautiful marriage.

We’ll be decorating the venue (where they first met!) on Friday and I cannot wait to share with you some detail shots. Their wedding colours are the bride’s favourite - pink and chocolate brown which will compliment each other very nicely. Obviously with it being a summer wedding, the richness of the chocolate brown alone would be a little too dark so adding touches of pink and white have made the décor a little more Summery and fun. Lighting is also a fabulous way to dramatically transform a venue in order to make it suit your décor, style, and create a spectacular atmosphere. I am a huge fan of playing with lighting so I am thrilled that when I introduced the idea, Michelle chose to run with it. We’re using pink lighting and I cannot wait to show you what it looks like!

In the meantime, here are some of their engagement photos by Leah of Leah Rae Photography. I am really looking forward to seeing all of what I know will be stunning photos from their special day. 


Photographer: Leah of Leah Rae Photography

Alicia Keys & Swizz Beatz {Celebrity Wedding}

Chelsea Clinton wasn’t the only celebrity to wed this weekend or wear a gown by Vera Wang. Family and close friends were present at singer Alicia Keys and her now husband Swizz Beatz’ private ceremony on the Mediterranean Sea. The setting was beautiful and the bride looked absolutely stunning in her Grecian-inspired gown and updo. The purple calla lillies in Alicia’s bouquet also added a nice hint of colour! 

So far, only one photo has been shared with the public from this private wedding. 


A few details about the wedding:
. Attire:
 . Bride: a Grecian-inspired gown - designed by Vera Wang
 . Groom: a tuxedo with a crisp white jacket - designed by Tom Ford

Photo courtesy of: People.com

Warmest wishes to the newlyweds!

Chelsea Clinton & Marc Mezvinsky {Celebrity Wedding}

There was wedding fever in Rhinebeck, New York yesterday as the highly anticipated Clinton/Mezvinsky wedding took place at the stately neo-classical building and estate, Astor Courts. Located on the banks of the Hudson River, the venue itself is absolutely breathtaking. 


Chelsea had asked that her wedding be kept private but already, only a day after the wedding, there are already tons of photos that have been shared.


Chelsea is Methodist and Marc is Jewish so rather than either of them converting their religions and beliefs, they shared an interfaith wedding ceremony which was conducted by both a Reverend and a Rabbi. Blending elements from both cultural traditions is a beautiful way to truly make a wedding day unique in such a way that it speaks of who the couple are. It was commented that although the bride and groom are well known and bear celebrity status, the wedding was not about celebrity but was clearly about the bride and groom. 


A few details about the wedding: 
. Guest attendance: 400
. Attire:
. Bride: a strapless gown, beaded at the waist - designed by guest, Vera Wang 
. Groom: a Burberry tuxedo - designed by Burberry’s creative director, Christopher Bailey
. Mother of the Bride: a fuschia coloured gown - designed by Oscar de la Renta


Photos courtesy of: The New York Times & Today

Warmest wishes to the newlyweds!

Project Wedding: Talia {Edmonton Wedding Consultant}

As always, my brilliant ‘Project Wedding’ team had a fabulous and successful shoot last week! It has been an absolute pleasure working with these talented women: Jill CoursenLindsay CollinsonDominique Rivera, and Jennifer Rivera-Preston. Together, we have had an incredible time with successful planning and collaborating - it has been a truly enjoyable experience. At the beginning of my collaboration with Jill Coursen, we expected to do a few shoots together; however, because we have enjoyed working together so much as well as with our team, we have decided to continue on our collaboration with ‘Project Wedding.’ Please visit regularly to see what we have to share! 

Our last model and ex-bride for ‘Project Wedding: Brides’ was Talia whom I am proud to call my friend. Talia is stunning and I am so happy that she agreed to be one of our models! She and her husband celebrated their one year wedding anniversary yesterday - congratulations! 

As a bride-to-be, Talia experienced Kleinfeld and bought her breathtaking dress at the shop from ‘Say Yes to the Dress!’ How cool is that?! Read on to hear about her wedding dress shopping experience! 


What was your favourite thing about planning your wedding?
Everything! I loved deciding on the flowers. I loved picking out all of the details for my reception: from candles to vases, to tablecloths and napkins - I loved it! Of course, I LOVED flying to New York City to pick out my wedding dress from Kleinfeld 


Looking back, what is your favourite thing about your wedding day?
Oh my goodness!!! Everything - I loved EVERYTHING! However, if I had to narrow it down, it would have to be my ceremony. It was absolutely beautiful! I had the Ukrainian Men’s Choir sing and they sounded heavenly. I cherished every single part of my ceremony because it was truly the most important part of the day. I love being Ukrainian and being able to experience traditions that have been with this culture for centuries; getting our hands tied with the rushnick and walking around the tetropod three times and being crowned King and Queen of our own family. My ceremony truly went above and beyond all of my expectations. 


What is your favourite thing about being married?
Where do I begin?! My favourite thing IS my husband! Every day is a wonderful dream - I never expected life to be so magnificent.


Tell us about your wedding dress shopping experience… how did you know it was the one?
My wedding dress shopping was indeed a unique experience! I started looking here in Edmonton and in Sherwood Park but I couldn’t find anything I really liked. 

My sister lives in Manhattan so my mother and I thought it would be fun to ‘just look’ at some of the wedding shops there. I made a few appointments with some of the little fine boutiques and of course an appointment with the infamous Kleinfeld! The little boutiques had beautiful, unique dresses that I have never seen before due to the fact that certain designers will only design for a particular store; however, they were very much out of my price point. I could not rationalize paying $8,000 for a dress that I would only wear for 12 hours. 

When we went to Kleinfeld, it was a truly magical experience. They treat everyone like a princess, no matter what your budget is. When I went dress shopping at home, I found it to be very overwhelming which was the opposite to my visit to Kleinfeld. They sit you in a room and talk to you one on one about your ‘big day.’ Then, they ask you what you like and don’t like and of course, how much you want to spend. After you go through all of the details, your assistant leaves and returns with a few different types of dresses (within your budget) that you can try on. 

My dress was the third or fourth dress that she had pulled out. I LOVED it!!! The colour was unique (oyster with rhinestones and delicate beading) and it had a long train. It was very different to anything else that I had tried on and that’s how I knew that it was ‘the one!’

Did your husband see your dress before your wedding?
NO! I didn’t want him to see it and he had no interest in seeing it before we got married. 


After not having a wedding planner, why would you recommend that couples hire one? We’ve chatted about this since your wedding. For example, in the past you’ve mentioned the benefit if not for the entire planning process to hire a coordinator for the day so as to ensure that everything is perfect and no one else has to do anything. I recall you saying that a wedding planner would think of things on your wedding day that you wouldn’t think about because you’re too busy!
Exactly what you just said! I didn’t need help planning the wedding; however, I DID need someone besides my relatives to do miscellaneous jobs. Looking back on it, I really wish that I had someone for the week prior and the day of - I’m not just saying that either! 


Do you have any tips for current brides?
Relax - it’s only one day! As I look back on my perfect and wonderful wedding a year later, it was a really good time in my life; however, I know that the best is yet to come. 


Project Wedding’ team: 
Project Coordinator: Rebecca Fisher-Swarbrooke of High Culture: Weddings & Special Events
Photographer: Jill Coursen of Jill Coursen Photography
Makeup Artist: Dominique Rivera of Rivera Make-up Artistry
Hair Stylist: Jennifer Rivera-Preston of Rivera Make-Up Artistry
Second Shooter: Lindsay Collinson of Parker Rae Photography

As always, there’s much more to come from ‘Project Wedding.’  

Antique Romance Wedding {Edmonton Day of Coordinator}

I first told you about Meghan and Ian’s Antique Romance wedding with the details of how they found me and then, on their one month anniversary, I shared a few of my self taken photos from their wedding. Shortly after, you saw a little more of Meghan in her shoot for ‘Project Wedding.’

I had so much fun working with Meghan and Ian during the final month leading to their wedding day and on their wedding day itself as their day of coordinator. They had a small, intimate, romantic wedding and shared their special day with their closest family and friends. The entire day was enjoyed by all. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to play a role in your special day!  

Always eager to travel, Ria Hansen, a Canadian photographer who travels the country and the world shooting weddings came to Edmonton to shoot Meghan and Ian’s wedding. At the time, Ria was based in Montréal and is now located out West in British Columbia. Here are a few detail and action shots - thank you, Ria! 

Here are some of Ria’s beautiful photos from Meghan and Ian’s wedding day:   


Details: Bridal Shower Décor {Edmonton Wedding & Special Event Decorator}

There’s nothing like working under pressure!

On Sunday, I attended a friend’s bridal shower as a friend, a bridesmaid, and a decorator. After being invited to the shower a few months ago, I had offered my services to decorate the venue or assist where necessary; however, I did not receive confirmation until a few days before the event! In the matter of about four days, I managed to come up with a concept (simple and pink - one of her wedding colours). Coming up with the initial idea wasn’t very difficult but figuring out what materials I had to work with was a little tricky. I knew that I wanted to work with pink linens, have three complimentary cakes (different sizes and different flavours with a pink and white colour scheme), and play around with some materials that I had readily available. I wanted to create a simple, fresh, and clean look which I think I successfully achieved through the use of fresh flowers and trees, crisp white linens along with accents of pink linens, and mirrors and candles.

The newest banquet room at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre, the Leland, also has beautiful natural light which was perfect for an afternoon shower. If you’re having a smaller, intimate function, this new setting is perfect - the service, food, and venue are fabulous! 

As a wedding & special event coordinator, I am so fortunate to have built strong relationships with many fantastic service providers in Edmonton - my mom, a former pastry chef made three beautiful (and delicious!) cakes, as always, Sheldon and Gloria from Infinite Event Services pulled through and let me raid their warehouse (most of their linens and other items had been shipped out for other events so I had to play around with the selection in stock), and Ryan of Ryan + Beth Photographers! came out to take some great detail shots. A huge thank you to you all for making it possible to do my job! 

I love planning every aspect of a wedding or event but to me, décor is one of the best parts… and cake… I love cake! 

Here are some of Ryan’s detail shots: 


Photographer: Ryan + Beth Photographers!

Project Wedding: Meghan {Edmonton Day of Coordinator}

Meghan was a stunning bride as well as now ex-bride whose wedding was my first of the year! Married for about a month and a half, Meghan is my most recent bride and I was so pleased that she agreed to join us for our second shoot. Her wedding theme and inspiration was ‘Antique Romance’ which was really well put together. It started with a very unique, beautiful, vintage inspired dress - which I absolutely adore! None of the details were overlooked - everything matched perfectly: from the invitations to the seating chart to the favours and the table name signs. I wish that I had been hired as their wedding planner earlier in the planning process because Meghan and her now husband Ian were an absolute pleasure to work with! It was a privilege to play a role in their special day as their ‘Day of Coordinator’.   

For Meghan’s shoot, I was very much inspired by her beautiful dress so I asked Dominique to create a vintage inspired makeup look with bold red lips and Jennifer to do a 1940s pinup hairstyle - which, luckily in spite of all of the wind we faced, seemed to hold up well! Lindsay also owns some awesome vintage cameras so I asked her to bring those out too.                  

Thank you very much, Meghan, for providing me with the honour of briefly working with you as your ‘Day of Coordinator’ as well as joining us in ‘Project Wedding.’ 

I asked Meghan a few questions about her wedding experience… 


What was your favourite thing about planning your wedding? 
I’d have to say that my favourite part was probably planning the decor with my sister, Caity. Around Thanksgiving time last year, we came up with the theme ‘Antique Romance’ and things just kind of fell into place after that. Thankfully, my sister is very creative and talented when it comes to design and decor because it’s definitely not my forte. She did an amazing job with the invitations, the favours, the decorations, and the seating chart.  

project-wedding-megh-3.jpgLooking back, what is your favourite thing about your wedding day?
My favourite part of the day was during the reception after the dinner and all of the speeches were complete… I was able to let loose and had a fabulous time dancing with and visiting with all of my wonderful friends and family.  

project-wedding-megh-1.jpgWhat is your favourite thing about being married?
Being able to spend everyday with my best friend. 


Tell us about your wedding dress shopping experience… how did you know it was the one?
I went dress shopping last Thanksgiving weekend with my mom, my sister, and my sister-in-law… I had so much fun that day trying on different dresses. I knew that I wanted something with a vintage or antique look and initially had an all-lace dress in mind. The salesgirl at the shop picked out the dress that I ended up buying… once I put it on, I knew that it was the one, it was so beautiful and unique.  

Did your husband see your dress before your wedding?
No… it lay on our spare bed in it’s bag for several weeks before the wedding and as far as I know, he didn’t sneak a peek.


After having a wedding planner, why would you recommend that couples hire one?
Well, I hired Rebecca to help me with all of the last-minute details the month before the wedding and to be in charge of things running smoothly the day of the event. The month before is such a busy and hectic time and it was wonderful having someone else who was organized and efficient to help keep me on track. Having Rebecca help us the day of the wedding was a lifesaver… I knew that I wanted to just be able to relax and enjoy my day and I wanted the same for my friends and family as well. I didn’t want my friends or family to have to do any set up or take down or worry about any problems that arose and that’s exactly how it turned out. 

project-wedding-megh-9.jpgDo you have any tips for current brides?  
My one piece of advice would be to relax and enjoy your day. Don’t stress about all of the little details… no matter what, things will never go exactly as planned and in the end, those little things are so insignificant.  


Project Wedding’ team: 
Project Coordinator: Rebecca Fisher-Swarbrooke of High Culture: Weddings & Special Events
Photographer: Jill Coursen of Jill Coursen Photography
Makeup Artist: Dominique Rivera of Rivera Make-up Artistry
Hair Stylist: Jennifer Rivera-Preston of Rivera Make-up Artistry
Second Shooter: Lindsay Collinson of Parker Rae Photography

As always, there’s much more to come from ‘Project Wedding.’

Project Wedding: Megan {Edmonton Wedding Planner}

Megan was such a fun bride to work with and definitely one of the sweetest - I actually had to tell her to try to become a bridezilla at one point! While the rest of the planning was successful, the area that is supposed to be the most joyous and the most fun for a bride was a sour point for Megan. Unfortunately, she was given the biggest headache getting her beautiful wedding dress - the one she had fallen in love with. As we came closer to her wedding day, Megan almost had to buy a new dress but she persisted as did a team to ensure that she had the dress of her dreams. With one week before her wedding day, Megan finally received her wedding dress and she was able to live happily ever after. 

For Megan’s shoot, I was very much inspired by her fun and carefree attitude. She has such a great personality so I wanted to bring to the shoot that playfulness and really capture it. We even brought out some bubbles! I asked Dominique to create a golden makeup look to compliment the beautiful colours of her hair and Jennifer to do a natural hairstyle. 

Thank you very much, Megan, for providing me with the opportunity to work with such a sweet bride throughout your entire planning process. I never thought I’d say it but sometimes, turning into a bridezilla is necessary! 

I asked Megan a few questions about her wedding experience… 


What was your favourite thing about planning your wedding?
Everything! I can’t pin point just one. 

project-wedding-meg-2.jpgLooking back, what is your favourite thing about your wedding day?
Just being with Travis… and the dancing. 

project-wedding-meg-8.jpgWhat is your favourite thing about being married? 
It doesn’t really feel much different except for the fact we can just share our feelings with our families.  


Tell us about your wedding dress shopping experience… how did you know it was the one? 
Well, it was a horrible experience but I got it! It just felt like me when I tried it on. 

Did your husband see your dress before your wedding?


After having a wedding planner, why would you recommend that couples hire one? 
Yes, hire one! Especially more for those who are not organized and if not for the whole thing, at least for the day of. It was really nice having someone else there to turn to for advice, ideas, and having someone know what to ask the venues. We were also very happy with the contacts you gave us.

project-wedding-meg-9.jpgDo you have any tips for current brides? 
Give a fake wedding date when buying your dress and keep calling to be updated on where it is now and then. Other than that, have fun while you plan! You don’t realize how fast everything is over. 


Project Wedding’ team: 
Project Coordinator: Rebecca Fisher-Swarbrooke of High Culture: Weddings & Special Events
Photographer: Jill Coursen of Jill Coursen Photography
Makeup Artist: Dominique Rivera of Rivera Make-up Artistry
Hair Stylist: Jennifer Rivera-Preston of Rivera Make-up Artistry
Second Shooter: Lindsay Collinson of Parker Rae Photography 

As always, there’s much more to come from ‘Project Wedding.’

Project Wedding: Second Shoot {sneak peek}

On Friday evening, my incredible team, specially put together for ‘Project Wedding’ got together for yet another successful shoot! It was an evening full of fun, laughter, smiles, and an absolutely wonderful time. Thank you to Jill Coursen of Jill Coursen Photography, Dominique Rivera of Rivera Makeup, Lindsay Collinson of Parker Rae Photography, and Jennifer Rivera-Preston - I admire the talent that you all possess. 

The second shoot for ‘Project Wedding’ was filled with tons of fun - I got to spend the evening with my fabulous team and two of my ex-brides from two very special weddings. I thoroughly enjoyed the honour to work with both of my brides on their weddings and it was fantastic to spend another evening with both of the Megan/Meghan’s. 

These sneak peek photos are behind the scenes shots taken by our second shooter, Lindsay Collinson. It has been awesome having Lindsay on our team and she has taken so many wonderful behind the scenes shots - some of which I will be sharing with you in a special post!


Project Wedding’ team:
Project Coordinator: Rebecca of High Culture: Weddings & Special Events
Photographer: Jill Coursen of Jill Coursen Photography
Makeup Artist: Dominique Rivera of Rivera Make-up Artistry
Hair Stylist: Jennifer Rivera-Preston of Rivera Make-up Artistry
Second Shooter: Lindsay Collinson of Parker Rae Photography

As always, there’s much more to come from ‘Project Wedding.’