Ask the expert: one of Toronto’s best wedding planners
Part therapist, part clipboard-wielding tyrant, a wedding planner keeps the peace between feuding family members, bustling vendors and manic couples. Melissa Haggerty, one of the city’s best, makes sure the big day runs smoothly
What’s the shortest window of time you’ve had to plan a wedding?
One week. But it was November, so it was easier to plan quickly. After that one, I felt like I could plan anything.
What’s your favourite venue?
The Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District is great because it’s a blank slate. I love The Carlu, but it’s quite a masculine space. The most beautiful venue in town is the new atrium at the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Any tricks of the trade?
I carry safety pins, anti-static spray and double-sided tape, which helps women with ill-fitting shoes and loose bra straps. And you can rub white chalk on dresses to cover up smudges during the photos.
Is the bride always your main point of contact?
No. A lot of my brides live outside Toronto but are holding the wedding here. A key question on my client questionnaire is “Who is paying for this wedding?” That’s the person with the decision-making power. It’s refreshing when the couple is paying for it, because then it’s only about what they want.
Ever had any overzealous grooms?
Fifty per cent of my grooms are ambivalently involved, and the other 50 per cent just show up on the day. Maybe 0.555 per cent get really into it. Last year, I had one groom and it really was his wedding day. The night before, he was assembling the baskets for the bathroom, opening packs of gum and putting all the pieces into a cute little bowl. But it was sweet, not groomzilla. I think he’d always dreamt about his wedding day.
What about planning second marriages—yea or nay?
If I could hang out a shingle that said “Second Marriages Only,” I would. The second time around is so much more chill, because the couple knows what’s important. The wedding’s not going to be about silly wedding favours; it’s about the people and a great party.
What’s your most important piece of advice for brides-to-be?
Hire the best photographer you can afford, because you only get one chance to make it right. Sometimes I’ve felt like throwing up when I saw the pictures—it’s gone in a split second, and the photographer missed all the pivotal moments.
Are you married?
I’m not, actually. It’s funny, but I don’t feel like I need a ceremony or a piece of paper to commit myself to somebody. And forever is a really long time.