WoW Blog

Our 4th Year Reviewed!

January 10th, 2017 | 0 COMMENTS

WoW, WoW, WoW ... it's hard to believe we're celebrating our 4 Year Anniversary! With another successful year on the books, we're looking back at how much we've accomplished together this year. We've grown as an organization, and we know that our members have all made significant strides with their own business goals, too - and that's what we're all about.

And this has certainly been a busy year. Kally Khaira came on board as our new Director of Member of Relations, to ensure that we're continually meeting our members' needs and expectations. We hosted another fun mock wedding and our first-ever industry wide party, and we showed up in full force to celebrate the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards. And each month, we offered fun, creative workshops at some of the most exclusive venues in the city.

Kally and I would also like to thank the Board Members and the WoW team for all their contributions in the past year - WoW is very much a team effort, and we've just about the best team around.

So without further ado, keep reading for our year in review, to see what wedding professionals, from companies big and small, can accomplish when we work together!

Celebrating Three Years at The Butchart Gardens

We kicked off our year with a fun celebration at The Butchart Gardens. We were treated to their world-famous high tea, so our morning's activities were fueled by a smorgasbord of mouth-watering hot traditional delicacies and savories. Our workshop was "Mastering the Grapevine: Getting - and Giving! - Better Referrals." Each Member had an opportunity to 'shamelessly promote' their wedding business, and in the process, we asked key questions to help reveal their networking strategies and goals. Our hope was that this would lead to more meaningful connections after the workshop, and boy were we right! It was great to see so many members staying late to catch up with their fellow colleagues.

For more pictures and to read more about February's event, please see here. 

The Best Way to Set Goals with WoW

Thanks to the Teahouse at Abkhazi Gardens, in March we learned that the best way to set goals is in a beautiful garden setting, surrounded by fabulous people. The 'Garden that Love Built' provided the perfect setting to connect with our fellow wedding professionals, while we were treated to wine and charcuterie at this beloved Victoria landmark.

Our creative workshop focused on goal setting with vision boards (just like our first ever event!), with each table tasked to envision WoW's future (and how WoW can continue to support their own business goals). We split into 5 groups, representing our 5 'VoWs to WoW': celebrate, network, learn, showcase and share. Each table then was invited to share their vision boards with the whole group, leading to some great, thought-provoking discussion (and lots of note-taking on our part!).

For more pictures and to read more about March's event, please see here. 

Beautiful Views at our April Event

Our April event featured everything WoW is about: great networking, great colleagues, great hosts, great seminars, and a whole lot of fun, too. Who says you can't enjoy yourself  while you grow your business? Certainly not our Showcase Sponsors: Olympic View Golf Club, Brown's the Florist, Details Special Event Planning and Decor, Spark and Whimsy Photography, and Fetching Image Photography!

As highlighted in this event, education is a huge factor in making our events successful - and so useful for our members. Many of our members are solopreneurs, and of course any business that caters to weddings and events gets swamped during the summer. And that means that many of our members simply don't have the time they'd like to stay up-to-date on current industry and marketing trends and best practices. Our jam-packed education sessions help fill that gap so our members can remain leaders in Victoria.

This April, Stacey Mitchell of Directis Consulting Group Ltd stopped by to help members learn more about goal setting and road maps. We love getting great speakers like Stacey to ensure that all our members are learning lots from our WoW events.

For more pictures and to read more about April's event, please see here.

 

Fun & Inspiration at Our First WoW Industry Party

Our May event proved it: WoW knows how to party! We opened our doors to the wider Victoria wedding and events community for our first-ever industry party, and the result was fun and inspirational. Great food, a great venue, and a big turnout with great companies all led to a beautiful evening that left us so excited to start the 2016 wedding season!

For more pictures and to read more about our May event, please see here.

 

Magic Happens When Victoria's Top Pros Meet!

We were so excited to head back to the Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre for our June event - we knew from experience that this seasoned WoW Member wouldn't disappoint! Their beautiful venue provided the perfect backdrop for networking and a great time. We enjoyed delicious appies and mimosas, and a warm, welcoming space right in the heart of downtown Victoria.

We were delighted to have Sarah Barnum of The Butchart Gardens as our guest speaker.  Sarah is one of our dedicated, intrepid Board Members, and she kicked off our event with a special presentation focused on how to pitch to clients quickly and effectively. Sarah is clearly an expert in her field, and she shared tips and strategies for identifying future clients, and communicating the professional, reliable services you can offer them.

For more pictures and to read more about our June event, please see here.

 

WoW Members Hit Another Mock Wedding Out of the Park!

Thanks to a fine group of Showcase Sponsors, a lovely officiant and Lance and Michael, our special guests of the evening, this year's mock wedding was a fabulous event. We laughed, we learned, and we left inspired to provide even better services for all our clients.

By celebrating non-traditional 'mock' weddings with WoW, vendors are able to gain experience and insight, so that they can better serve all couples, no matter the context. Our Hindu wedding and Chinese wedding were both big hits, and now, we're happy to report that our LGBTQ mock wedding was, too. Our 'guests' didn't just watch a wedding; they fully embodied the role of wedding guests, and they also got to ask questions and learn about serving this community. Food, drink and merriment were all included as part of the experience.

For this year's mock wedding, we also opened the floor up to our 'grooms,' letting members ask them all sorts of questions about how they were approaching their 'real' wedding. This offered some great, first-hand insight into issues LGBTQ2 couples face when planning their weddings in Victoria.

We're dedicated to supporting our WoW Community in a variety of ways, so we've developed our mock weddings to ensure all our members are better able to serve many different communities within our city. Yes, this event was fun, but the educational component was even more important. All taking place at the gorgeous Reflections Rooftop and officiated by new WoW member Amanda Tarling, it was a night to remember.

For more pictures and to read more about our July event, please see here.

 

New Venue Offers New Ways to be 'WoW'ed!'

As wedding planners and professionals, we LOVE getting a new venue to explore. So when Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe offered to host our August event, we were all too happy to oblige! And exploring this new venue really highlights why it's important for our venue members to host events. Because for the first time, a group of dozens of professionals got to see exactly what this venue offers - and you can be sure that means they'll be referring it to the right clients going forward. We always work hard to showcase the very best of our venues, especially when they're new members like Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe.

We were also thrilled to welcome back WoW favourite Dawn McCooey of the Women's Enterprise Centre as our guest speaker. We take great care to research all of our guest speakers, to ensure they have something really great to share with our members. We always love Dawn's talks - this year she focused on increasing sales, with lots of great takeaways.

Fore more pictures and to read more about August's event, please see here.

 

A Fun Evening at Epicure

In September, WoW Members met at Epicure for a little networking, a little inspiration, and a little cooking. It was a fresh take on our usual events, offering a wonderful opportunity to learn, relax, and experience the best of what Vancouver Island has to offer.

CEO Amelia Warren opened Epicure's beautiful doors to WoW, for a rare, private cooking class that was as educational as it was delicious. Epicure focuses on quick meals made with healthy, seasonal and minimal ingredients - the perfect solution for busy families who want to put nutritious food on the table. In 7 minutes (7 minutes!), Amelia whipped up Asian Slaw (get the recipe here) and Easy Asian Lettuce Wraps (get the recipe here) .... so yummy!

Amelia also gave a very inspirational talk, about growing her $30 million business and her business philosophy. We know our ambitious members appreciated getting the inside scoop from a seasoned pro.

For more pictures and to read more about our September event, please see here.

 

WoW Experts Share Their Wedding Show Success Stories

We know so many WoW members will be busy during wedding show-season, manning booths and trying to connect with more brides and grooms. So we dedicated our October event to boosting our wedding show skills. We were thrilled to hand over the floor to two WoW veterans and board members, Sharon Rai of Sharon Rai Hair and Makeup Artistry, and Deanna McCollum of Deanna McCollum Photography. Both women have learned the fine art of wedding shows, and they led an insightful, interactive workshop.

For more pictures and to read more about our October event, please see here.

 

WoW Parties Down at the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards

In November, WoW came out big to support all our members and our local industry at the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards. It was a lovely opportunity to connect and network. One of our goals for this year was to expand our network, making it easier for our members to network with professionals across the city - not just fellow members. The Wedding Awards were one the lovely ways we got to accomplish this goal this year.

Hosted by WoW Member The Fairmont Empress, coordinated by WoW Member Party Mood and photographed by WoW Member Spark & Whimsy Photography, the evening was a lovely showcase of what happens when wedding and event professionals join forces.

We know it can be intimidating going to industry events alone - but they're so important for making necessary connections in the industry. That's why it was so important for us to provide a comfortable, easy way for our members to attend this year (for free, no less!).  And besides, our awesome WoW members just make everything more fun - we're already looking forward to next year!

We loved seeing so many WoW members (it's always fun to have a 'night off' at the end of wedding season!), and we loved cheering everyone on. Keep reading to see which WoW members won - although you can probably guess that all our members are 'winners' in our eyes - and in the eyes of the happy brides and grooms they serve.

For more pictures, please see here.

A Smashing Good Time at The Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort

This year's holiday party was our second event at The Delta Victoria, and once again, our hosts didn't disappoint. Ideally located in the heart of the city's vibrant downtown district, on Victoria's Inner Harbour, the views were just stunning. We got to see the city all a-glow with Christmas lights, while staying cozy and warm in their beautiful LURE Restaurant & Bar.

And of course, what makes any WoW event great? It's our wonderful members - and we loved seeing so many come out to celebrate the holiday season - and the end of another successful wedding season, too. We forewent our usual creative workshop and speaker, to give everyone a chance to relax, unwind, have a drink, and make merry. We mingled, we networked, we talked about small things and big things and made plans for the new year. We left inspired by the amazing community we all share, and excited to make WoW even better in the new year.

For more pictures and to read more about our December event, please see here.


As you can see, our events are the key to understanding what WoW is all about. We're proud to give Members the opportunities to Network, Learn, Showcase, Share and Celebrate each month. WoW events are enjoyable and personal - our members are supportive and genuinely care about each other. But they're also focused, purposeful opportunities designed to foster relationships and ultimately drive sales and bookings.

As we move into our 5th year, we're excited to continue our WoW journey with you. We're actively planning out the year ahead, and we'd love your feedback. If you'd like to be a Showcase Sponsor, or if you have an idea for a great WoW event or creative workshop, please contact the WoW team at info@victoriawow.com.

We've also got some more big goals for WoW. In 2017, we will be working to grow WoW, solidify our relationships, and unify our businesses under a recognizable brand. We want all brides and grooms in the Victoria area to recognize the WoW brand and understand that WoW membership is a sure signal that a company offers stellar services, products and customer service.

And finally, it's time to celebrate! Come join us at the Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre this February 21 for our big Anniversary Party. Everyone is invited: find all the details here.

A Smashing Good Time at The Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort!

December 20th, 2016 | 0 COMMENTS

It's that time of year ... when Victoria's best wedding professionals come to Victoria's best venues to party WoW-style. Thanks to our hosts, the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort, this year's holiday party was fun, fab and festive - and left us wanting to see even more of this beautiful setting.

Our holiday party was our second event at The Delta Victoria, and once again, our hosts didn't disappoint. Ideally located in the heart of the city's vibrant downtown district, on Victoria's Inner Harbour, the views were just stunning. We got to see the city all a-glow with Christmas lights, while staying cozy and warm in their beautiful LURE Restaurant & Bar. 

And when the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe says they're going to deck the halls, they mean business. The big, beautiful trees and elegant decor added just the right note to our evening.

To help us all celebrate, WoW was more than happy to provide appetizers for all our guests, exquisitely made at LURE Restaurant & Bar. LURE Chef Dan Bain creates amazing local bites and the bar serves up the Island’s best cocktails, wines by the glass and local brews on tap. And when you combine that food with those views, we know it must be a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, all year long.

And of course, what makes any WoW event great? It's our wonderful members - and we loved seeing so many come out to celebrate the holiday season - and the end of another successful wedding season, too. We forewent our usual creative workshop and speaker, to give everyone a chance to relax, unwind, have a drink, and make merry. We mingled, we networked, we talked about small things and big things and made plans for the new year. We left inspired by the amazing community we all share, and excited to make WoW even better in the new year.


It was such a thrill to see all our WoW-mamas to be, too!

And we can't forget our famous giveaways. This time, thanks to the very generous and always on-point L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services, we had an amazing prize: congrats to Lily Fawn of Earth's Herbal Tea for winning their Christmas Lights Limo Tour! We can't think of a better to way to see the lights of the city.

We were also to happy to have not one but two big gift basket draws, as well as little chocolates and Christmas gifts for all our guests. Many, many thanks again to the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort for helping us have an unforgettable evening, and thanks to our WoW members for another great year. Happy Holidays!

Celebrate the Season with the Best of the City!

November 25th, 2016 | 0 COMMENTS

It's that time of year again .... not only do we have our annual blow-out holiday bash to look forward to. We've also got a city full of WoW members offering special events and special savings to enjoy! Keep reading for tips on how to celebrate in style this year.

We just love Tara McHugh Flora gift baskets - they're a fun, easy and super-posh way to show you care. They're beautifully curated with handmade quality Canadian goods, and can be customized to your needs and your clients. They typically range from $95 to $145.00, and they can be shipped across Canada.

Tara McHugh Flora also offers a gift service, and she wanted to let you know that if you need any help this holiday season please send her an email or give her a call! She can be reached tara@taramchughflora.com.

And finally (this is why we're really excited!), Tara McHugh Flora is offering WoW Members only 20% off her holiday gift boxes. Find them here.

 

Did you know that L.A. Limousines offers Christmas Light Tours? We can't think of a better way to take in the beautiful sites and sounds of the city this holiday season (we recently got to try out L.A. Limousines and loved the results - see more here). Enjoy the tour as you and up to 7 guests spend an hour and half tour in a luxury limousine.

And pssssst ... wanna know a secret? L.A. Limousines has generously donated a free Christmas Light Tour as a door prize at our upcoming Holiday Party. As if you needed another reason to RSVP! All wedding and events professionals in the city are invited - learn more here.


Just like the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort is a beloved landmark in our beautiful harbour, so too is their 'Christmas Starlight Cinema' a favourite tradition in the city. See all the movies and dates they've got lined up here.

 

The Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre reminds us that they still have some spots left for Christmas parties, right in the heart of downtown Victoria!

Also don't miss The Nerdy Days of Christmas, coming up at Ambrosia. Find more details here.

Don't miss Earth's Herbal Tea at the upcoming Pretty Things Craft Fair! Find all the details here.

What's Christmas in Victoria without a trip to see the gingerbread houses at the Inn at Laurel Point? They're as beautiful as always this year, and the Inn at Laurel Point (and their AURA Restaurant) have lots more to tempt you this season. Learn more here.

 

Want a festive and delicious Christmas without all the work and hassle? Then you need a little Truffles Catering in your life (don't we all!). Learn more about their holiday offerings here.

Ginger bitters, fresh ginger cream cheese icing, Kahlua/Baileys whip, sprinkles .... yup, you can get some pretty fine seasonal trips at The Guild Freehouse!

It's that time of year again! Indulge in The Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden's four-course Festive Christmas High Tea by the warmth of the fire, but hurry because they're booking up quickly! See the complete and totally delectable menu here.

The Parkside Hotel & Spa invites you to take a journey through a living snow globe, all within the hotel’s atrium! Enjoy the beautifully decorated trees with all snowflake ornaments available for purchase in support of The Cridge Centre for the Family.  As a thank you for donating, all donors will be entered in a draw for a chance to win a complimentary stay at the hotel in the New Year! Find more details here.



Got little ones in the family? Then sign them up for the Garden Arts Holiday Camp at The Gardens at HCP. Children create fun-to-make garden arts and crafts, using natural materials, upcycled items, and their own two hands! Find more details here.

There's so much to do at The Fairmont Empress over the holidays that it's hard know where to start! Make stopping in to see the 25th Annual Victoria Festival of Trees in their lobby a must on your next trip downtown. And don't forget their Christmas Dinner - find all the details here.

We know The Fairmont Empress is beautiful this time of year (and always!) because they hosted last year's WoW Holiday Party. See more photos here.

And what more can we say about Christmas at The Butchart Gardens? Share the wonder of the season with their Christmas light display, outdoor rink, carollers and festive food. Find all the details here.


And finally, we have to include our Annual WoW Holiday Party in our list of must-do's this season! This year we're inviting all event and wedding professionals to bring a date and get in on the networking fun, all at the stunning Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort. Find all the details here and RSVP now!

WoW Parties Down at the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards!

November 20th, 2016 | 0 COMMENTS

It's Awards Season for wedding professionals, and WoW came out big to support all our members and our local industry at the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards. It was a lovely opportunity to connect and network.

Hosted by WoW Member The Fairmont Empress, coordinated by WoW Member Party Mood and photographed by WoW Member Spark & Whimsy Photography, the evening was a lovely showcase of what happens when wedding and event professionals join forces.

We know it can be intimidating going to industry events alone - but they're so important for making necessary connections in the industry. That's why it was so important for us to provide a comfortable, easy way for our members to attend this year (for free, no less!).  And besides, our awesome WoW members just make everything more fun - we're already looking forward to next year!

We loved seeing so many WoW members (it's always fun to have a 'night off' at the end of wedding season!), and we loved cheering everyone on. Keep reading to see which WoW members won - although you can probably guess that all our members are 'winners' in our eyes - and in the eyes of the happy brides and grooms they serve.

With our 'Vow to WoW,' WoW members are all proven and established leaders in our local wedding community. So it's no surprise that so many of our members were finalists and winners at this year's big awards. Congratulations (again), to our WoW winners:

Hattie Root Photography

Best Wedded Duo Winner
 

The Gardens at HCP

Best Outdoor Wedding Venue
 

Inn at Laurel Point

Best Hotel Venue Award
 

And The Finalists ...


Best Wedding Decor - Magical Moments Decorating
Best Wedded Duo Photo - Spark & Whimsy Photography
Best Candid Photo - Landon Sveinson Photography
Best Wedding Hair - Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry
Best Wedding Makeup - Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry
Best Overall Wedding Florist - Browns The Florist
 
 

A big thank you goes out to the Vancouver Island Wedding Awards for once again showcasing our fabulous wedding community here in Victoria. We know that so, so much work goes into evenings like this, and as usual, the awards coordinators pulled everything together with grace and aplomb.

Thank you also to Juliana Wigmore of Spark & Whimsy Photography, for once again providing all the lovely photos you see on this blog post. See all of her gorgeous shots from the event here.

And finally, thank you to all the WoW members who joined us to help rock the party, WoW style. We've got a big holiday party coming up on December 13th at (yes!!) the Lure Restaurant & Bar at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Hotel & Spa! Email info@victoriawow.com to claim a spot for you and your sweetie now!

WoW Experts Share Their Wedding Show Success Stories

October 26th, 2016 | 0 COMMENTS

Wedding season may be over ... but that means wedding show season is just beginning. We know so many WoW members will be busy over the coming months, manning booths and trying to connect with more brides and grooms. So we dedicated our October event to boosting our wedding show skills. Thanks to some great Showcase Sponsors and to WoW Board Members Sharon Rai and Deanna McCollum, it was a huge success.

Venue: The Gardens at HCP

Part of what separates WoW from other networking groups is our commitment to hosting our events at wedding venues. That way, the venue gets to exhibit their space in a 'real-life' manner, and it makes building working relationships with other Showcase Sponsors easier, too. Plus, it allows all our guests to have first-hand experience with venues across the city, so that we can make better informed referrals to our clients (trust us - clients really love working with local experts!).

And of course, it's also just FUN to meet and network at some of the most beautiful locales in the city. And thanks to The Gardens at HCP, we got to do just that this October. It's obvious why the Gardens have become such a popular wedding destination. As you can see, they offer fabulous spaces for your ceremony, photography and reception. Learn more about weddings at the Gardens here.

And Degrees Catering provided a lovely spread of croissants, muffins, smoothie yogurt parfaits and more ... yum!

Speakers: Sharon Rai and Deanna McCollum

This month, we were thrilled to hand over the floor to two WoW veterans and board members, Sharon Rai of Sharon Rai Hair and Makeup Artistry, and Deanna McCollum of Deanna McCollum Photography. Both women have learned the fine art of wedding shows, and they led an insightful, interactive workshop. 

Focused on maximizing your wedding show ROI, Sharon and Deanna stressed the importance of goal setting before heading to your booth, as well as the three steps necessary to accomplish that goal. We then broke into groups to brainstorm and network, and ultimately come up with more tools for our wedding show arsenals.

Special shout-out to Amanda from Browns the Florist, who recently went to a wedding show as a bride. She was able to share some interesting perspectives, helping us visualize what prospective clients are looking for.

And of course, Sharon and Deanna know what they're talking about  - both are fixtures on the Victoria wedding landscape. Sharon's team at Sharon Rai Hair & Makeup Artistry works to help brides ease into their wedding day, so that they not only look their most radiant, but also feel completely pampered and worry-free.Their top priority is to take care of every detail of the wedding day beauty ritual, as if they were their brides' backup bridal party. To learn more, please see here.

And Deanna McCollum of Deanna McCollum Photography is an experienced freelance photographer with a relaxed, natural and timeless style. To see some examples of her work, look no further than the WoW blog! We've been privileged to have her photograph many of our events, and she always does so beautifully.

Photographer: Fetching Image Photography

Last but not least, we have a big 'thank you' for Fetching Image Photography, who so beautifully captured our event with all the photos you see here. For eight years, hundreds of Victoria couples have trusted Fetching Image Photography to preserve their wedding day. Photographers Brad, Megan and Sofee comprise an all-star team offering a suite of wedding and family portrait packages that couldn't come more highly recommended - we know they're sure to 'WoW!' To learn more about their wedding packages, please see here.

Our Morning: Perfect

Thanks again to all our sponsors, and to all the members who joined us this October - WoW works because our members really make the most of our events, always coming ready to learn and network. We loved hearing all your wedding show stories this month.

We'd also like to thank Whiffcraft Naturals for treating us to some fun parting gifts.  Whiffcraft is a local business in Victoria that handcrafts high quality, natural body care and aromatherapy products. They love offering custom items, such as lip balms, to our clients for special events and promotional items. They're happy to collaborate ideas and produce a product that is unique and uses the best natural ingredients they can find. We're sure these make great wedding favours and bridesmaids' gifts!

The lucky winner of our monthly gift basket giveaway was Amanda Lumley of Browns the Florist. Just one more perk of WoW events!