Edmonton Wedding Planner & Designer Fairytale Wedding | Tasha & Stephen | the first of September | two thousand and twelve | As Seen In Perfect Wedding Magazine


Rebecca, Thank you again for helping Stephen and I plan our dream wedding!
The day could have not been more perfect and we (and all of our guests) had an amazing day. Thank you for all of your patience, encouragement, and support during the whole process. It was great to have someone who could understand our crazy vision and make it come to life. Thank you again for helping us have our fairytale wedding day.
God bless! Love, Tasha & Stephen


Earlier this year, we had the great privilege of receiving an incredible memento of Tasha and Stephen’s wedding day — a beautiful four page feature in Perfect Wedding Magazine, a national premium luxury publication. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to design this fairytale wedding for a princess and her prince, alongside many of Edmonton’s finest wedding vendors, and the remarkable Reine Mihtla who travelled from Vancouver to photograph this grandiose wedding.

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It never ceases to amaze me; the way in which a wedding that surpasses hundreds of guests can feel so intimate. Their profound love for one another, their families, their friends, and their faith was at the center of Tasha and Stephen’s wedding day.

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Following a traditional Ukrainian Catholic ceremony at St. Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish, guests were invited to a glamorous reception. Overlooking Edmonton’s River Valley, Hall D, the most grand of halls at the Shaw Conference Centre, lent itself as the canvas of this fairytale wedding.

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Acknowledging how they first met, the majestic scrim from Shumka’s production of “The Nutcracker” was an ode to their love story. The dance ensemble, joined by some of the couple’s family members, also performed a special dance for the newlyweds.

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With many intricate details, what mattered most to the couple was ensuring that they acknowledged the significance of their families. Honouring their culture and their families, Tasha and Stephen incorporated many Ukrainian traditions, as well as included family heirlooms and sentimental items. Pieces from the Sendziak family farm and the couple’s parents’ wedding attire, along with photographs from family members’ weddings were on display for guests to recognize the importance of Tasha and Stephen’s family.

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The newlyweds commissioned a local artist to create a unique painting for their new home; guests were also invited to add a stroke of paint which turned the piece into a collaborative between the artist and the couple’s loved ones.

The intimacy felt, amidst the hundreds of guests, is a true testament to the sincerity of the love that Tasha and Stephen share with each other and with their families.

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Favourite Moments
Tasha — There were so many favourite moments from the day. Mine was seeing Stephen for the first time and walking down the aisle to him. Also, when Stephen declared at the beginning of the mass in the loudest, most proud voice I have ever heard “I have!” Also, our vows in church. The speeches were also beautiful. Everyone’s speech was so personal and heartfelt and got to the core of the meaning of why we [were] there. I can’t wait to see them on the video again because they were so beautiful. I also have to add in that all our friends’ little girls who had come to the Church to see a princess. They were so sweet and thought I was a real princess and it really made my day.
 Also having my parents, cousins as well as Steve’s siblings present us with shots at the beginning of Shumka’s performance. 
It’s so hard to pick just one thing that was the best. The whole day, from my perspective, was just perfect.

Stephen — First seeing Tasha as she walked down the aisle, and then when the priest was laying the cloth over our hands joining us as husband and wife. During the reception my favourite part was our first dance. The whole day was amazing and it really is hard to pick just one thing that we loved!

Advice from the Newlyweds

Get a planner to help with the details. Ask your friends and family for help. Stop looking on pinterest after you finalize your design. Don’t make everything yourself. It can look easy online, but it is really not any more cost effective than buying things sometimes. Especially when things don’t go right. It is too stressful of a year to take too much on. Also get everything done as soon as you can. Don’t procrastinate on getting organized. The less you have to do the month before the better.


Tasha and Stephen, МНОГАЯ ЛІТA! Congratulations on the first of many anniversaries to come. May your marriage be blessed with many more beautiful moments. Love, Rebecca

Wedding date: 01 September 2012 | Location: Edmonton, Alberta | Guest list: 369 | Ceremony Venue: St Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Parish | Reception Venue: Shaw Conference Centre | Wedding Planner & Designer: High Culture | Photographer: Reine Weddings | Videographer: Imago | Gown Boutique: Blush Bridal (Vancouver) | Gown Designer: Kenneth Pool | Bride’s Accessories: Birks | Shoes: Style & Co. (bedazzled with Swarovski crystals by the Bride) | Groom Formal Wear: Derks | Menswear Designer: Versace, Custom Tailored Shirt (Derks) | Groom’s Accessories: Birks | Jeweller: Birks |Stationery: Notables (Invitations) / Urszula Kaniuch, Friend (Reception Stationery) | Cake Shoppe: The Art of Cake | Floral Designer: faBLOOMosity | Design & Décor: High Culture | Make-up Artist: Lana Anglin & Wrama (Bridal party’s makeup and Bride’s mother) / Jessica Churcher (Groom’s mother and sisters) / Anita Gill (Bride’s makeup) | Hair Stylist: Jenn Chivers Freelance Hair & Makeup (Bride, bridal party, and mothers) | Ceremony Music: Ukrainian Men’s Choir / Ursus String Quartet | Reception Entertainment: Dominika Koziak (Live Artist) / Social Photo Booths (Photo Booth) / Tyt i Tam (Live Band) | Transportation: Blue Sky Limos | Other: MEDIACO / Production Lighting (A/V Technicians & Lighting) | Honeymoon Destination: Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora | Travel Agent: Wards, The Travel Company

{PERSONAL post} Auntie Rebecca Walks for Josh

Last year, my now eight year old nephew, Joshua, was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. On Saturday 7 September 2013, I will participate in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, alongside Josh and his family. Friends, please take a moment to click on the link and learn more about how you can contribute. All donations are greatly appreciated. My goal is to reach $1,000. Please help me double it!

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Joshua is a remarkable eight year old. He is bright, compassionate, and caring. I have known Josh for five years, since I started dating his Uncle Adam, and throughout these five years, it has been an honour to become a part of his family — it has been a privilege to watch him grow. Recently, Josh has started to study art and I am certain that his parents have a budding Picasso on their hands!

Last year, Josh was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, a group of neuromuscular disorders that are characterized by progressive weakness and wasting of the voluntary muscles that control body movement. He is in the Duchenne/Becker spectrum, called Intermediate Dystrophinopathy. Until Josh was diagnosed, I knew very little about Muscular Dystrophy — apparently, most people know very little about MD. According to Muscular Dystrophy Canada, “Over time, persons with neuromuscular disorders may lose the ability to walk, speak, and ultimately breathe. For some individuals, the disorder is fatal. There is currently no cure.” It breaks my heart to see Josh, a young boy who should have every opportunity to run and play with his younger brother, have to endure this battle and to witness his family struggle with the uncertainty of Josh’s future. No child should have to suffer through what Josh is experiencing. With the support of their family, Josh and his family have been incredibly strong. Already, Josh has overcome many obstacles.

Alongside Josh and some of his loved ones, I am participating in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy to raise awareness. Through participating in the Walk and sharing Josh’s story, I hope to play a small role in the attempt to enhance the lives of people affected by neuromuscular disorders, like Josh.

You can make a difference by donating generously — any donation, big or small, will be greatly appreciated. Together, we can make muscles move! On behalf of Josh’s family, thank you for your generosity, love, and support.


High Culture — A Preferred Vendor of The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

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{Photographs in High Culture’s ad from left to right: Pink Sugar Photography, JDS Photography, Cassie’s Camera}

It is with considerable joy that I officially announce that I have the great privilege of being one of The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s hand-selected preferred vendors. It is an honour to be among a dozen of Edmonton’s finest industry experts, many of whom I have had the pleasure of working with. I greatly look forward to working closely with The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald on a number of weddings and special events throughout 2013; their venue, their staff, and their service are unparalleled.

To see one of our weddings that took place in the Empire Ballroom, please visit Nadia and Felipe’s wedding post on the blog.

Edmonton Wedding Planner: Nadia & Felipe the eleventh of August | two thousand and twelve


Advice From the Newlyweds

Get a wedding planner, it’s worth the investment. Ensure that who you have next to you (your wedding party) are those who will stand by you, even after your wedding. Enjoy every moment, soak it all in, and get a good photographer and videographer because you will want to relive that day—trust me! Also, go on your honeymoon right after the wedding, it’s a nice way to finish the wedding celebrations.


It is hard to believe that it was already nearly two years ago that I, along with some of Edmonton’s finest wedding professionals, designed and co-produced Edmonton’s Exclusive Royal Wedding Event hosted at The Chateau Louis Hotel & Conference Centre. Together, the collaborative sponsored the largest event celebrating the royal wedding in Edmonton. While we celebrated the wedding of the century, our sponsors and our community proudly supported the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and Edmonton’s Food Bank.

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Local designer Lani van Rooyen of R O O Y Couture created a number of sketches of designs that she believed would be suitable for the Duchess of Cambridge. Following the event, she shared her experience of Edmonton’s Exclusive Royal Wedding Event, along with the highlight video designed by Raj Patel of A Love Story — check it out here — by far, this was one of my highlights of 2011. Through social media networks and the “sharing” of the video, bride-to-be Nadia found me. After conversing on and off for a number of months, we finally met and delved into the design of her and Felipe’s wedding. From our initial consultation, I became inspired by Nadia’s adoration of clean, simplistic design and the significance of family (including their fur baby Sinatra!) and their cultures; I was asked to design a wedding that would convey their story. Nadia and Felipe’s wedding would become one of my highlights of 2012 and following their wedding, I was granted the honour and the privilege of becoming one of The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s preferred vendors.

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It was Thanksgiving weekend of 2009 when Nadia and Felipe first met; they have been inseparable ever since. True to his South American roots, Felipe played the role of the finest host to his friends for a Thanksgiving dinner. A mutual friend of Nadia and Felipe invited Nadia to join — an invitation that she is glad to have accepted. Instantly, Nadia and Felipe were attracted to each other; their smiles, their eyes, their personalities — there was an instantaneous, unexplainable connection.

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Slightly over a year into their relationship, Felipe invited Nadia to join him in a place close to his heart — his home country — Chile. Although they knew that they wanted to share the rest of their lives together, after only a few months into their relationship, Nadia did not anticipate that their trip to Chile would be life changing. Here, Felipe surprised Nadia with a proposal and, of course, she said yes.

The wedding ceremony was held in the beautiful Empire Ballroom at The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald; there was an immense amount of joy, laughter, and love as Nadia and Felipe exchanged nuptials. Following the candlelit ceremony, guests were invited to join the newlyweds on the Terrace as they released eleven balloons — to symbolize the date of the wedding day — that had handwritten wishes from their guests attached to the strings. As their guests’ wishes were released into the sky, the couple were greeted by their loved ones. Meanwhile, inside the Empire Ballroom, a team meticulously flipped the room into a beautiful reception space; the promptness of the switch was impressive.
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A few short hours later, guests returned to the Empire Ballroom only to be witness to a dramatic change compared to what they had witnessed earlier. As they entered the room filled with candlelight and lush white floral, they were welcomed by the smooth melodies of a live jazz band. While wishing to maintain a simplistic, clean, romantic atmosphere, we also wanted to incorporate elements that were unique and significant to the couple. Their fur baby came into play; we requested that Sinatra would have a voice within the reception stationery where he “thanked” his parents’ guests for celebrating their wedding day with them and in lieu of traditional favours, the couple opted to donate to the Humane Animal Rescue Team (HART).

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One of the couple’s favourite elements of their reception was the entertainment. Unlike a traditional wedding filled with numerous speeches, Nadia and Felipe opted to share with their guests some of the things that were most important to them; song and dance. The bride’s best friend opened the entertainment with a beautiful rendition of Etta James’ infamous At Last. Following this special gift of song, Nadia and Felipe invited performers to share their heritage; in honour of his Chilean roots, Judith Garcia, a local flamenco dancer performed alongside the live music of her husband, followed by a colourful performance by Cheremosh, to acknowledge Nadia’s Russian background. After an evening filled with entertainment and dancing, Nadia and Felipe shared another one of their favourite things with their guests — breakfast for late lunch.

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Directly following their wedding, the newlyweds jetted off to California for a few weeks to relax and rejuvenate in the sunshine; instead of a typical resort honeymoon, the couple opted to create their own adventure filled with the things that they love most.


Nadia & Felipe, Thank you for providing me with the privilege and honour of working with you on the planning, design, and details of your wedding. I greatly enjoyed our many lattes and scrumptious breakfasts (even if they weren’t during “breakfast!”). May you continue to flourish in your businesses, with the love, support, and encouragement that you share as newlyweds. Wishing you many blessings throughout your marriage. Love, Rebecca

Wedding date: 11 August 2012 | Location: Edmonton, Alberta | Guest list: 145 | Ceremony Venue: The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Empire Ballroom | Officiant: Pastor Dan, Red Willow Church, St. Albert | Reception Venue: The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Empire Ballroom | Wedding Planner: High Culture | Photographer: pink sugar photography | Videographer: Dave Tameling | Gown Boutique: Bridal Debut | Gown Designer: Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Accessories: Claire’s | Shoes: Toms | Groom Formal Wear: Jimmy’s Tailor, custom suit | Groom’s Shoes: Gravity Pope | Jeweller: Gemoro, West Edmonton Mall | Stationery: Paperhearts studio | Cake Shoppe: The Art of Cake | Floral: Urban Affairs | Design & Décor: High Culture | Rentals: Urban Affairs | Make-up Artist: Mimi Make Up | Hair Stylist: Christine Goodridge | Music: Galen Noland (harpist, ceremony) / Infinite Entertainment Services (dj, reception) / Oliver Miguel (band, reception) | Additional Entertainment: Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company / Flashworks (photo booth) / Judith Garcia (flamenco dancer) | Transportation: Budget Car Rentals | Honeymoon Destination: California (hermosa beach, san diego, los angeles)

{Published} Blush Magazine Spring|Summer 2013

Firstly, check out the cover of the newly released Spring|Summer 2013 issue of Blush Magazine. What do you think? It was an incredibly fun, creative shoot with Brianna Hughes of Brianna K Photography, Jenn Chivers of Jenn Chivers—Freelance Hair & Makeup, and Mackenzie Jardine of Mode Models—I could not have asked to work with a better team. As the creative director, working with a team that consisted of a strong group of women who hold variety of creative perspectives, I could not be happier with the way the result; what started as my vision became our vision and I believe we created a fashion forward, haute couture, Vogue-style shoot to inspire the readers of Blush Magazine.


As well as my work for the cover shoot, I also played a role in two of the featured weddings. It is always a great privilege to be involved in one of the most significant days in a couple’s life together. An added compliment to my work is when these weddings are published. After months of waiting, I am thrilled to now be able to share that two of our couples are featured in the Spring|Summer 2013 issue of Blush Magazine, Edmonton’s leading wedding publication now distributed Alberta-wide. The magazine consistently proves to be a great inspiration and guide for brides and, although I am biased, the featured wedding section is one of my favourites. As the exclusive writer of the featured wedding section, it is always exciting to see the beautiful weddings and see which of the submissions the editor selects. Upon selection, I have the opportunity to interview the couples and I was happily surprised to see two who I knew on the list. One of my favourite aspects of writing this section is being able to document the couple and their love story in a unique way—to keep as a special memento of their relationship and of their wedding day. Congratulations to Carmen & Patrick (photographed by Cassie’s Camera) and Kim & Avery (photographed by Kelly Redinger); it was an honour to be a part of your weddings.


Be sure to visit a Chapters/Indigo location near you, or the Blush subscription form to order your copy of the Spring|Summer 2013 issue of Blush Magazine, to see these features and many other beautiful real weddings and inspiring features and articles.

Now that the publication is released, be sure to visit the blog soon for a special blog post for each wedding.

Empowering the Modern Bride: A Collaboration Between High Culture and Shandro Photo

{The Fashionable Groom}

Author: Haley Shandro

The bridal gown is often the focus of the wedding style – the right gown can set the tone for the wedding.  But what about the groom? It’s important for every groom to choose attire with the right style and fit to match his partner, and help him look dapper on his wedding day. Today we’re exploring the options of rentals vs. purchasing a suit.


One of our grooms opted for a custom suit for their wedding.  Here is Shauna’s perspective on why Troy bought a suit from Henry Singer instead of renting.


“We talked about a rental but neither of us really thought we’d get the right suit to rent for the day.  Troy doesn’t wear full suits to work but he will on occasion wear pieces of the one he’s purchased (the shirt, pants).  We also thought it would be nice to bring the pants on the honeymoon for some dressier dinners we’d be going to, so really it was a balance between getting the polished look Troy wanted that we didn’t know a if a rental could provide, versatility post wedding and really wanting to give Troy the opportunity to wear something unique/special on the day too – why should brides have all the fun!  It worked for us, in fact he left this morning in his suit pants.”


We asked a few of our couples about their experiences with one of the popular rental companies in Edmonton: Derks Formals.  The questions we asked were:

– why did you choose rental instead of purchase?

– why did you choose Derks in particular?

– were you happy with the choices offered – ie were they standard, were you looking for something different

– how was the service?

– anything else you want to mention?


Laura & Joe:

“For us the big reason we picked rentals over purchasing is price. For 150 – 200 you can get the suit you want for a weekend. To spend 500+ to get a really nice tux and accessories to wear it once seemed like a waste of money. Plus what guy wants to permanently own a hot pink vest!

We chose Derks as they actually had suits you can try on. Some places didn’t actually have all the suits to try on. I didn’t like the idea of not being able to try something on until right before the wedding.

I was happy with the choices as they had lots of options for jacket styles. With a few men in the party having the wide broad shoulders but little waists, the regular box cut jackets wouldn’t do. We need slimmer cut jackets and they had that available.

Service was good, I wouldn’t say it was above normal or exceptional, but no complaints either.

Know the specials for groom discounts and such. I think we may have gotten overcharged as I know most places have a book 4 groomsmen or something like that get the groom free. We didn’t get any type of offer like this with ours.”


Amanda & Foster

“Rentals were the practical option for us. With the groom and his groomsmen all being around 24, none of them could ever afford to purchase everything!

We chose Derks because of their good reputation, it was a no brainer.

They have so many options of styles and colors for those who might want something different than a plain black and while tux.

The service was great. The staff were very attentive and worked hard to make sure we were completely satisfied.”


Joanne & Colin

“Price was definitely a factor in choosing rentals over purchase, and I didn’t think my groomsmen would pay to buy anything pink! We also had some sort of deal from a bridal show or something that we got a discount of some sort. I think we got shoes and maybe something else free and we also got the groom free for having 4 other rentals.

Derks seemed to have good service as well as a good selection for colors. We too were looking for a ‘hot’ pink and the color Derks had seemed to match best with the color we had selected for the bridesmaid dresses. The selections as far as the tuxes went were great too.

Also, they made everything pretty hassle free as far as having all of our groomsmen living out of town and being able to send in measurements as well as us living out of town. Service and follow up was pretty good in that regard and we got an adorable tux for our little ring bearer too”

Groom and Groomsmen Style

Finally, here is some inspiration for you!  Your wedding may have a strong colour theme, and renting a tux may help to accomplish that. What the groomsmen wear is also very important to keep a cohesive theme, match or complement the bridesmaids, and support the look of the bride and groom. Don’t forget cool accessories like funky socks or uniquely themed cufflinks! Here are a few unique looks from our weddings.


A collaboration between High Culture & Shandro Photo.

{Grand Opening} Pottery Barn

On Thursday afternoon, I, on behalf of Blush Magazine, had the great pleasure of being given a private tour of Edmonton’s first Pottery Barn location. Located in West Edmonton Mall, this leading American brand is a specialty retailer of high-quality products for the home. I have had the pleasure of visiting other Pottery Barn locations across North America, but the architecture and design of this store is unique to this location; the wood that was used for the ceiling is recycled from an old barn.
With the opening of Pottery Barn, Edmonton has now welcomed a source of inspiration for the home like nowhere else. The 15,000 square foot store is organized into “rooms”—just as if you were in your own home. With areas dedicated to living rooms, outdoor spaces, dining rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms, as well as feature walls that will display lighting, rugs, and window treatments, you are bound to find a plethora of inspiration. You are invited to shop comfortably and visit design specialists in-store—you’re welcome to bring in photos of your home and seek the advice of the Pottery Barn’s design experts.

Features that I love about Pottery Barn:
1. Gift registry—available for any special event including weddings, anniversaries, birthdays. Also, a feature that I love about the gift registry is the “completion discount.” If your guests do not purchase all of the items on your gift registry, you will be granted an extension period to purchase the items yourself at a discounted rate.
2. You can shop Pottery Barn from the comfort of your own home—and I don’t just mean online! Should you not have a schedule that permits you to visit Pottery Barn, a design specialist can come to your home to discuss your design needs and you can order your items directly from your very own living room.
3. Instead of taking a bottle of wine as a hostess gift, Pottery Barn offers a gift bar with affordable and unique items that are already packaged beautifully—so you don’t even have to think about the wrapping paper!

If you have a moment this weekend, amidst your Thanksgiving feasts, I highly recommend paying a visit to Edmonton’s very first Pottery Barn.

Follow Pottery Barn on Twitter: @potterybarn and Facebook.