Welcome

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. 

An Interview with Rebecca {Edmonton Wedding Planner}

I recently submitted a ‘Planner Profile’ to the ‘Edmonton Wedding Planners’ site and I think it’s worth a read! 

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Photographer: Harvey Miedreich of Love Bucket Photography

What made you get started in wedding planning? 
I have always been a planner. The source of inspiration to plan weddings and special events came to me at a very young age. For as long as I can remember, I have always been inspired by Preston Bailey and Colin Cowie and when I was younger, I absolutely loved to watch Giada de Laurentiis’ television program ‘Behind the Bash.’ I grew up in the hospitality industry - my father a Food & Beverage Director and my mother a pastry chef (former). From there, I worked part time at events for my dad and in grade ten, I was a student in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme where I completed a personal project about weddings - what they consist of and how to plan one. After I had finished my project which I had been fully consumed by, I felt like I was missing something in my life - wedding planning, so I completed a Wedding & Special Event Planning course directed by Milena Santoro, a former wedding & special event coordinator from Vancouver. It was an absolutely incredible experience. After I received my certificate from completing the course, I slowly began to gain clients (while still a high school student!). 

What type of wedding planning do you specialize in (Full, Day of, Design)?
I do it all - I plan other functions as well but weddings are what I choose to specialize in. In regards to weddings, I do full coordination, day of management, and design as well as offer consulting services. I enjoy working on events both locally as well as ones held at other destinations. I love to travel - I have a passport that is always ready to be used! 

What is your favourite part of a wedding? 
This is a tough one - I have a lot of favourites! When I complete full coordination, I absolutely love going through the planning process ensuring that a couples’ vision will be executed as well as being able to see everything unfold on the day of! I find it so gratifying to see my clients wowed and to go beyond their expectations. A few favourites: the beginning of the ceremony, the first kiss, speeches (I love listening to sentimental and heartfelt speeches)… I LOVE knowing that I have been a part of one of the most significant days of a couples’ lives. 

Do you have a favourite style/theme of wedding?
I adore classy and elegant weddings. Candlelight and flowers are two of my favourite items in the area of decor. I also love it when a wedding is unique to the couple - when a couple adds their own personal touch(es) to their wedding, it feels more real, more them. 

What are a few of your favourite blogs?
Preston Bailey
Various Edmonton Wedding Photographers’ Blogs -
there are so many gorgeous images to view!
Wedding Obsession

What are some of your hobbies? 
I love to travel! I am constantly intrigued by trends and traditions within each culture and I think that traveling is the perfect way to gain cultural knowledge. Cooking & baking (I am a total foodie!), painting & decorating, and reading are also some of my favourite pastimes. 

What is one word of advice you would give to a bride?
Well, I think that the advice can be shared between the couple - your wedding day is a stepping stone to spending the rest of your lives together and I think that this process is really the precursor to what you can expect from your life together. Enjoy the moment! 

As always, there’s much more to come! Please visit often to learn more about myself and what I am doing.  

Project Wedding: Elina {Edmonton Wedding Planner}

How does one choose which photos to post when there are so many stunning shots?! Well, here are a few of my favourites from Wednesday night’s shoot for ‘Project Wedding’ with photographer, Jill Coursen - let us know what you think! Our first shoot for ‘Project Wedding’ was inspired by bringing the indoors outside: we did this through bringing a beautiful chair and hanging some picture frames and ornaments in trees - that photo in particular reminds me very much of Alice in Wonderland!

Elina was a fabulous model. Congratulations on almost two years of marriage!

I asked Elina a few questions about her wedding as well… 

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What was your favourite thing about planning your wedding? 
I think my favourite part was trying on literally hundreds of dresses! Many people say they fell in love with one of the first dresses they tried, but I had an idea of what I wanted and it took me awhile to find it! 

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Looking back, what is your favourite thing about your wedding day?
Other than the thrill of ‘getting married,’ our photo shoot was so natural that it ended up being the highlight of our afternoon. We basically had fun on the beach while the photographers snapped photos.  

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What is your favourite thing about being married? 
Seeing my husband (my best friend!) every day, snuggling at night, and knowing that he will be by my side forever.  

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Tell us about your wedding dress shopping experience… how did you know it was the one? 
While I was trying on dresses, I thought of something you said: “the dress has to sing to you!” None of the many dresses I tried were singing, so I was beginning to doubt this logic. But then, I met ‘the dress!’ The moment it was slipped over my head, it burst into song! I felt like I was floating as I walked around with my eyes tearing up - they could hardly peel it off of me! A couple days later I brought another friend with me, tried it on again, and promptly melted in tears… of course I bought it! 

Did Elliott (Elina’s husband) see your dress before your wedding?
NEVER!!! Elliott didn’t see my dress before the wedding… although, he did carry it 20 blocks in the bag for me! We didn’t have a car yet. Also, Elliott reciprocated my dress secrecy by preventing me from seeing his tux until the day of the wedding. It was a great surprise seeing him so incredibly handsome and sharp. 

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After having a wedding planner, why would you recommend that couples hire one?
I would recommend couples hiring a wedding planner because there are so many little details in planning a wedding and only a knowledgeable wedding coordinator can anticipate them all. Also, a coordinator already has a network of reliable connections that are available to ensure that everything is done right for the wedding day. A wedding is not the best time for couples to experiment with their research and event planning skills! Having a coordinator is a good way to avoid disasters before, during, and after the wedding day. 

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Do you have any tips for current brides? 
Enjoy the planning process. Have a coordinator during the wedding day so you’re not the ‘go-to’ girl when anything goes wrong, yet remember that it doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ for it to be a good memory. So… just laugh when Johnny trips and falls on his face coming up the aisle! Relax, know you’re beautiful, laugh, kiss often, enjoy your new hubby, and soak in every moment of the day! 

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It was a fabulous evening ladies, I can’t wait for all of our shoots that we have lined up. 

‘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! Stay tuned for more from ‘Project Wedding.’

Julia Redinger: An Admirable Young Lady

I am a firm believer in supporting special events and people who are doing things for a great cause. For this reason, I want to share with you a profound story that photographer Kelly Redinger shared with me yesterday.

Kelly Redinger is an excellent photographer whom I met awhile ago. He is passionate about his work but based on our first conversation onwards, I can see that Kelly’s family is his priority. What his six year old daughter is doing for the community speaks strongly of what wonderful parents he and his wife, Renee are. 

Kelly’s daughter Julia is participating in a ‘Reach for a Cure’ fundraising event to aid the Canadian Cancer Society. In honour of her grandmother and to support her friend and schoolmate who is currently fighting cancer, Julia decided to donate her hair to make a wig for those battling cancer. After two years without a haircut, Julia will have the most significant haircut of her life at the beginning of July.

Julia’s goal as of yesterday was to raise $1000 for the Canadian Cancer Society: her goal was met in one day! Today’s goal is to raise another $1000 and she’s almost half way there! 

100% of the donations will go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society to help fund cancer research which among many things works to improve cancer treatments, provide reliable and up-to-date information, and offer support services. 

Please donate to help Julia reach and surpass her fundraising goal. You can pledge online through a secure system which reduces administrative costs. 

I am very proud to know of such an admirable six year old - you are a blessing Miss. Julia!  

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Photographer: Kelly Redinger Studios

You can learn more about Julia’s endeavor on her father’s blog as well as her personal page.

Project Wedding: Behind the Lens

I heard about Jill Coursen through our mutual friend and photographer Leah of Leah Rae Photography. I instantly fell in love with Jill’s work but to my disappointment, I learnt that Jill didn’t shoot weddings! I’m thrilled to share with you that this has finally changed! Starting this year, Jill has decided to give weddings a shot and I am positive that there will be nothing but success from this incredible photographer. When Jill recently told me the fabulous news I was truly excited. We decided that we had to work together so we came up with a collaboration to do just that - we decided to give my past brides a second opportunity to wear their wedding dresses and enjoy another session of pampering - so, ‘Project Wedding’ came to be. Through this collaboration, Jill and I are fortunate to be working not only with each other but also with talented makeup artist Dominique Rivera and her business partner, sister, and hairstylist, Jennifer Rivera-Preston, second shooter, Lindsay Collinson, and some of my beautiful ex-brides.

I asked Jill a few questions about why she does what she does and here is what she said:

Why are you a photographer?
I’m a photographer because I love capturing moments and emotions. It allows me to be creative and I’m constantly learning new things. I love meeting new people and being a part of important times in their lives. I can’t imagine a better job than this!

What do you love about portraiture work?
I love portraiture photography - I try to capture who a person is in a photograph.

Why have you finally decided to get into weddings?
After I realized that photographing couples in love is my favourite type of shoot, it seemed only natural to go into weddings. To capture the best day of a person’s life is pretty amazing to be a part of.

Photographer: Leah Rae Photography

I am truly looking forward to working closely with Jill both now and in the future on many projects, weddings, and events. 

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 more to come. Stay tuned for more from ‘Project Wedding.’

Project Wedding: Elina {sneak peek}

Last night, I had tons of fun with a talented group of women. Jill Coursen and I collaborated to create a project that would add to her new wedding portfolio as well as provide us with the opportunity to work together. After coming up with the idea, I decided that it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to work with some of my past brides as well so Project Wedding came to be! 

We had a fabulous team last night with the talented Jill Coursen and second shooter Lindsay Collinson (thank you for taking some awesome behind the scenes shots - I can’t wait to see them!). Dominique Rivera came out to do makeup along with her business partner and sister, Jennifer Rivera-Preston. All of their work was amazing! It’s an honour to work alongside such talented individuals.

A special thank you goes out to Elina, our fabulous model and my very first bride! It was a pleasure to work with Elina and her husband Elliott on their wedding and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to work with her again.

We all had a fabulous time and took advantage of a beautiful evening. I can’t wait to work with Jill on many more shoots in the future! 

Here’s a sneak peek from last night’s shoot. Please comment - we’d love to hear what you think!  

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 more to come. Stay tuned for more from ‘Project Wedding.’

Congratulations - One Month Anniversary! {Edmonton Day of Coordinator}

Happy one month anniversary to Meghan and Ian!

A few days ago, I mentioned that I met Meghan and Ian through past clients Isabelle and Marc and I am so glad that I did - it was an honour to play a role in their wedding. This couple was an absolute pleasure to work with! I met Meghan and Ian during the final month leading to their special day and it was such a blessing. They are such a loving, relaxed, and down-to-earth couple who I am really fortunate to have met and worked with. 

Meghan and Ian booked me for my Wedding Month Coordination/Wedding Day Management service to ensure that they did not have to worry about anything during the final month leading to their wedding as well as on their special day. This couple believed that they should not have had to worry about doing anything on their wedding day except for enjoy it - nor should their family and friends and I completely agree! Along with Meghan and Ian, I believe that you, your family, and your friends should be able to completely enjoy your wedding day. 

I oversaw Meghan & Ian’s vision of Antique Romance and their day was a beautiful success!

The Wedding Month Coordination/Wedding Day Management service is a huge stress reliever. Sometimes, clients don’t necessarily require assistance with the entire planning process but do feel that they need a wedding planner on the day of their wedding. Under these circumstances, the client will choose to hire a ‘Day of Coordinator.’

As your ‘Day of Coordinator,’ I work with your for approximately one month leading to your wedding day. The purpose of hiring a coordinator at this stage in the planning process is to ensure that the main areas of your wedding have been arranged perfectly. Together, with your personal planning and a few consultations before your wedding, I will ensure that your wedding day is orchestrated flawlessly! This package is designed to allow the couple, their family, and their friends to enjoy the special day without having to be preoccupied with the execution of the event. 

This package includes but is not limited to the following: 
. an initial consultation to assess your wedding plans, evaluate any loose-ends, and discuss any aspects that may have been overlooked previously 
. confirmation of all service providers
. creation of a wedding day itinerary
. coordination of rehearsal, set-up, and wedding day
. arrangements for final payments
** A discount will be available to you on the Wedding Month Coordination/Wedding Day Management package when you book consulting services. 

I hope that you enjoy browsing through some of my self taken photos - I look forward to seeing and sharing what their photographer, Ria Hansen from Montreal took! 

I wish Meghan and Ian all the best in their marriage and life together. 

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The Greatest Compliment {Edmonton Wedding Consultant}

The greatest compliment of all is a referral. If you are happy with the services that you receive, there is no greater thank you than a confident referral and for that I am truly grateful. 

Consulting with clients is always a lot of fun! This service is tailored very specifically to a client’s particular requests. Sometimes, clients don’t necessarily require assistance with the entire planning process so instead, the client will choose to consult. The consultation(s) is/are based on specific details or aspects of the client’s wedding or event with which they need some guidance in order to ensure that the best decisions are made.

This service is available at any point in the planning process and includes but is not limited to discussions about the following: 
. budget preparation & assessment
. timeline development (for the planning process, the month leading to the event, or the day of the event)
. theme creation and decor suggestions
. etiquette guidance
. vendor recommendations 
** A discount will be available to you on the ‘Wedding Month Coordination/Wedding Day Management’ package when you book consulting services. 

Isabelle and Marc were married last August and prior to their wedding, I had the opportunity to sit down with Isabelle for a brief consultation over coffee to discuss their wedding plans. We discussed things such as their venue, their style, their officiant, and cake - we touched on a little bit of everything! They did not require my services on the day of their wedding; however, while on an airplane to Costa Rica this Spring, Isabelle and Marc met Meghan and Ian, a couple whom I also had the pleasure to work with. Meghan had told Isabelle that she required a ‘Day Of Coordinator’ (Wedding Month Coordination/Wedding Day Management) and Isabelle gladly passed along my information. A few days following their return from the beautiful sunshine, I was delighted to hear from both Isabelle and Meghan! I believe that their meeting on an airplane was very serendipitous.

I feel very honoured that past clients and others around me truly support my business endeavor and are constantly providing other potential clients with my information. 

I wish Isabelle and Marc a beautiful marriage.  

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Photographer: Photo Alberta

Awesome People Project: Makeup Artist {Edmonton Event Coordinator}

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At the beginning of May I met Harvey Miedreich of Love Bucket Photography and we instantly hit it off - it’s like we’ve been friends for years! I had seen an engagement session that Harvey had shot a little earlier in the Spring while in New York and I felt like I needed to know this talented local photographer. After doing a little more research, I found out about his 100 People Project (which I will be featured in!) and it’s totally awesome! At our first rendezvous, we decided to team up to do some wonderful things together which I am really thrilled about. 

I know a lot of awesome people which is why we decided to start the ‘Awesome People Project.’ The primary focus of this project is to showcase talented individuals whom I recognize as necessary members of my fabulous team. As a Wedding & Special Events Coordinator, it is my responsibility and desire to provide my clients with the best service that I can, both from myself as well as the service providers that I recommend they work with. I have built very strong relationships with my service providers and I would like to use this project as a space to embrace their talents. Throughout the series of posts for this project, I will coordinate the shoot and conduct an interview with the skillful individual while Harvey works his magic with the camera.

On Friday evening, we had our first shoot for the ‘Awesome People Project’ and luckily for us, even though it was a little chilly outside, there was no snow! Who knew that the next day would act as a ‘Winter Wonderland’ for those getting married at the end of May!

Local makeup artist, Dominique Rivera of Rivera Make-up Artistry and my model and muse for the shoot, Magdalena Koziak are both awesome people!

Dominique Rivera is a brilliant makeup artist who fully embraces her passion for the makeup industry. She is a genuine, loving, and creative woman and artist whose canvas is a person’s face. I truly admire makeup artist’s, visual artists whose medium is the human body. Dominique believes strongly in natural beauty and says that makeup only enhances this.

Until Friday’s shoot, Magdalena Koziak really had no experience modeling but when Harvey and I started to discuss the project, I decided that she had to be our model for this shoot. Magdalena is a gorgeous young woman who graduates from high school this year and will attend the University of Alberta in the Fall - congratulations!

All of the stunning images throughout this post are by photographer extraordinaire, Harvey Miedreich. There were far too many beautiful shots to choose from so here is just a snippet from Friday’s shoot.

Please feel free to comment and let us know what you think - we’d love to know!

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 before

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Now onto my interview with Dominique

Magdalena WEB-4292.JPGHow would you describe your style? 
Well, when I’m not in ‘mom mode,’ I would like it to be higher end chic but when I’m in ‘mom mode,’ I’m usually a t-shirt and jeans kind of woman!

Magdalena WEB-3713.JPGWhy are you in the makeup industry? Why do you do what you do? 
I grew up in a family full of artists. Everyone in my family is an artist in some sort of way. I guess it really started with my mom though. When I was growing up, she was always into fashion and she went to design school in Chile. My mom is so talented! She can create a pattern from scratch and can make anything - she even made my wedding dress! Like most of my family, I got into dance where I started to express myself as an artist. I believe that art is a way of expressing how you feel. With dancing, I ended up doing a lot of makeup for shows and that’s how I got into the makeup industry - I got into Clinique and started to show my artistic side in a different way.  

Magdalena WEB-3762.JPGHow long have you been in the makeup industry? How did you start? 
Well, ten years ago, I started with Clinique as a Beauty Advisor. I was with them for three months when a management position opened up so I decided to stay with them for eight more years as a Business Manager. When I started to have a family, I decided to step down and stayed with Clinique part-time as an Associate Consultant where I had the chance to work on the floor and sell products. I realized then how much I loved it and I didn’t want to sell products anymore so I decided to be a freelance artist. 

Magdalena WEB-3878.JPGWhere do you get your inspiration from? 
A lot of things I guess. I think that a lot of the time, it’s looking at different faces. I love to people watch! Every time I see someone, I try to see the natural beauty in their face. Everyone has a beautiful feature. And, I guess everything around me … like a flower (looking at the colours and seeing how I could use them on a face) or watching fashion shows and T.V. I see what else is out there. I research a lot through watching T.V., looking at magazines … whatever I can get my hands on! 

Magdalena WEB-3987.JPGAre there any celebrity makeup artists that you are inspired by? 
Definitely Kevyn Aucoin! He is one of the first celebrity artists that I saw where I just said ‘wow.’ Seeing his work made me want to know more about makeup. I could see that makeup was more than just putting it on a face, it was an art. He has a bunch of books and he has completely transformed peoples’ images through makeup. He could make someone look like someone else (a celebrity) and you wouldn’t even know the difference. I am inspired by him and his story. 

Another artist that I like is Bobbi Brown and I love her approach because it’s all about natural beauty which is something I really believe in as well! Makeup artistry is about enhancing what a person already has. 

Magdalena WEB-4051.JPGAre there any celebrities (past and/or present) that you would like to do makeup for? Why?
Audrey Hepburn! I absolutely think that she is one of the most gorgeous women ever and she’s so classy! 

Magdalena WEB-3935.JPGWhat do you like most about the makeup industry?
The reaction from people - the reaction that you get from a client with the satisfaction from what you have created on their face.  

Magdalena WEB-4079.JPGWhat kind of look do you like to create most?
A dramatic look - a lot of people like their natural daytime look but it’s always fun to try something different on people, something that they don’t do everyday. 

Magdalena WEB-3966.JPGWhat are some of your favourite products? My top three: 
. benefit’s Lemon-Aid eyelid primer. It’s great and allows for the makeup to stand all day without creasing - I can’t go without it! 
. Clinique’s Perfectly Real Foundation - I can’t go without that!
. Of course, any liquid liner (they’re all good!).  

If you were only allowed to have one makeup product/item, what would it be?
My liquid liner!

Magdalena WEB-4220.JPGIn terms of makeup, what should everyone have?
Definitely a good skin care routine. If you don’t have a good skin care routine, your makeup will not look good at all. I always tell people this: your makeup will only look as good as the skin underneath! 

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Any last words Dominique
Thank you! It has been an honour working alongside you. I love all of your amazing and interesting ideas! It’s crazy how quickly you have an idea and within a couple of days, you have all of your resources well organized. You set up the event or project and have it up and going and finished within a couple of days. This is especially true with this project that we did together. What an amazing time with a great team that you put together - the project was a huge success!!! Rebecca, with your knowledge, organizational skills, and especially your warm and spunky personality, you are going to have a very successful career. Thank you for sharing your work with me! 

Magdalena WEB-4300.JPGAfter an eventful evening, long after the sun went down, we decided to take the last photo and call it a night. Here’s the awesome team from Friday’s shoot! I had a fabulous evening with these three individuals and I cannot wait to work with all of them again in the near future. 

Awesome People Project’ team: 
Project Coordinator: Rebecca Fisher-Swarbrooke of High Culture: Weddings & Special Events
Photographer: Harvey Miedreich of Love Bucket Photography

Featured Business: 
Makeup Artist: Dominique Rivera of Rivera Make-up Artistry

As always, there’s more to come. Stay tuned for more from the ‘Awesome People Project.’ 

  

Thank You - Photo Credit

While pursuing her degree in Education at the University of Alberta, my friend Naomi Onishi spent three months in Cochabamba, Bolivia with a Christian organization through which she was provided with the experience to work closely with children. In 2008, she took this opportunity in Bolivia to teach preschool, substitute teach, and work at a Compassion Church site. In recollection of her travels, Naomi has expressed that this was an eye opening experience and has said that she is really glad that she had her camera with her - me too! Naomi has allowed me to use one of my favourite shots from her journey in Bolivia to act as a temporary backdrop for my blog (fourth image below). Thank you Naomi!