WoW Blog

Excelling in Their Industry: Meet The WoW Board

May 22nd, 2015

Our upcoming seminar and creative workshop with Anna Harvey is focusing on how to work more effectively with others. Being able to handle all sort of clients - even difficult ones - is so critical for our wedding industry.

So in that vein, we thought we'd share the stories, in their own words, of experienced wedding professionals who embody openness and positive communication in all they do. We're talking, of course, about the WoW Board!

We started our lovely board just before our two year anniversary, to give our Members more of a voice in the direction of our organization – and so far, they've given us lots of great feedback. If you've appreciated the extra opportunities for 'shameless promotion' and networking this year, or enjoyed our more informative events, then you have your board to thank for it. And the stronger our board, the better our events can be.

So far, our Board is made of Hardip Johal, Anita Voorsluys and Deanna McCollum, three hardworking, successful wedding professionals who have been strong and vocal WoW supporters from the beginning. Their accomplishments continue to inspire us, just like we know they continually inspire the brides and grooms they happily serve. So without further adieu, here's your Wow Board!

Hardip Johal

Hardip and her husband run Magical Moments Decorating, a successful company providing wedding planning decorating, and more. You can see some of their beautiful work here, from when they were Showcase Sponsors at our First Anniversary. Knowing that every little girl dreams of a unique and wonderful wedding day, Magical Moments Decorating works tirelessly to make that special day a reality. Here's what Hardip has to say about herself and her career:

“I help brides book vendors.  Every bride dreams of their wedding day from when they we little girls. I'm here to help them make their vision a reality.

My company is unique from others because of our expertise. Being in the industry for the last 15 years, I've come to know majority of vendors and I know which vendor is suitable for each bride and groom.

And since we are a husband and wife team, my clients get two for the price of one.

I also give my clients the option of having me stay with them throughout their reception, to help with all the little things throughout the night so that the family won't be bothered with the little details – and so that they get to enjoy the night.


I love being able to help a couple achieve everything that they've dreamed of. I also love the look on their faces when they walk into the hall and see exactly what they've envisioned.”

Deanna McCollum

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. Here's what Deanna has to say about herself and her career:

“What makes my service unique? I have 8 years of experience and have photographed over 100 weddings with a large variety of styles and personalities. I also have  a lot of experience with kids and dogs, which has come in handy at quite a few weddings. I've been told by my couples that I helped them feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera and was able to bring out the essence of who they are as a couple. They could be themselves and have fun. Many times they did not even know I was there, so I am able to capture the candid, real moments without intruding on their special day. 

What I love most about working in the wedding industry is getting to know the couples and families I work with. Everyone has an interesting story about how they met and what makes their relationship unique. Being able to capture those relationships on camera for them is a great blessing.

I joined WoW because I caught a vision of what Sharon was trying to create. It was a way to meet other vendors and see new venues to broaden the scope of who I work with, and to learn about other vendors to help better serve my clients when they ask for referrals or recommendations.

I learn something new to help my business at every WoW event I attend, and I have been able to make good friends. Knowing who to refer my clients to when they have a need has helped create more value to my clients as well.

I would love to see WoW grow and become a better known resource in the wedding industry in Victoria and Vancouver Island as the place for brides and vendors to go to create their dream wedding.”

Anita Voorsluys

Anita is the Spa Sales Manager at the popular Willow Stream Spa. Inside the Fairmont Empress, the Willow Stream Spa is relaxing, sensorial and social, coupling the Fairmont's unique brand of luxury and outstanding service with an authentic spa experience. To see inside the spa and get a glimpse of their exceptional offerings, see here.

Anita just celebrated 19 years at the Fairmont (congrats!), and here's what she has to say about herself and her career:

" I kind of stumbled into the hospitality industry. After attending school for a year to become an English Teacher, I realized that it was not for me. I took a summertime job as a hostess in a hot, new restaurant downtown and ended up falling in love with the hospitality industry.  After completing the Hotel and Restaurant Diploma program at Camosun College, I was hired at the Fairmont Empress  in 1996 as an Assistant Manager to open their brand new Fairmont Gold Floor, and then moved to the spa when it opened in 2002.  I have just celebrated 19 years at the Fairmont Empress.  I am passionate about guest service, wellness, beauty and offering outstanding experiences, that is why Willow Stream is the perfect place for me.

As I see it, at the Willow Stream we play two roles in the wedding industry:

#1 - We are here to help brides to be their absolute best on their wedding day.  Through professional consultation and customized spa treatments, we can help them to reach their wedding day goals by having the best possible complexion, softest skin, beautiful makeup and perfectly manicured nails.
#2 - We are here for all the relaxation and wellness needs of the entire bridal party. Willow Stream is a perfect spot for a bachelor or bachelorette party or some pre- or post- wedding relaxation.  Giving the gift of energy is the perfect thank-you gift for those in your wedding party or family members who have helped out on the big day - Willow Stream gift cards are available in any amount.

Our staff are experts in their industry and passionate about what they do. Our number one focus is our guest, so we can customize and create special packages to suit each individual's needs.

I enjoy working in the wedding industry because I love everything about love!  Whether I'm helping to put together a fun spa day for a bachelorette party, or book in a bridal party for some pre-wedding relaxation, I love helping people with their wellness and beauty needs. I am currently helping a gentleman from Vancouver put together a plan on how he is going to propose to his girlfriend in our spa - it's a lot of fun.

I believe that networking and supporting each other's businesses is very important, especially for women. WoW is a perfect place for this. I love meeting new members of the wedding industry and really enjoy the variety of speakers and workshops that they put together.

I love the variety of businesses, people and perspectives that we have in our WoW community.  It's a great place to connect with new business, create new partnerships and help to connect each other."


So that's the WoW Board – we're very grateful to these Members for taking the time out of their very busy schedules to make our networking organization even better. And as successful wedding professionals, we're sure Hardip, Deanna and McCollum have all learned some tips for dealing with difficult clients. If you'd like to up your customer service skills, to be able to handle anything the client world throws at you, don't miss our next event. All wedding professionals in Victoria are welcome.

Our board meets with our WoW team once a month to brainstorm how to make WoW better. If you have any suggestions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to any of us - we're always grateful for feedback and use it to make sure we're meeting your needs.

We'd like to thank our WoW Team, for working hand-in-hand with the Board to make WoW better. That's Sharon Rai, of course, our WoW Founder and owner of Sharon Rai Hair and Makeup Artistry (who was recently recognized as a Young Entrepreneur at the Greater Victoria Business Awards!). And anyone who has been to one of our events knows how much we depend on our Director of Member Relations, Aurezo Sanari's tireless energy and dedication, and Emily of Friendly New Media rounds out the team as our Communications Director, putting together the mail outs and blog posts you read regularly.

And finally, we're also looking for new members to join our Member Board. Joining is a great way to make a difference in the wedding community, and ensure that WoW is really working for you. We're specifically looking for a Member representing a venue, but we welcome all inquiries. And to join, we look for the following qualifications: 

  • good standing attendance
  • available to meet once a month
  • WoW Member for a minimum of one year
  • strong leader in the WoW Community
  • pledged VoW to WoW

Ultimately, we're looking for Board Members who care about WoW and want to make it better.  Please get in touch if that's you!

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