Knowing the ropes and tying the knot

June 2019

In today’s fast-paced world, planning a wedding is a big event. From flowers to photographers, bridal gowns to ballroom dancing, the options are endless, and so are the choices. Decisions have to be made and the tiniest detail can make
or break that special day. This is where a wedding planner can come in handy.

“There are over 700 weddings a year in Thunder Bay,” says wedding planner Shalini Misir, owner/lead planner of Maid For The Bride. “Thanks to media, many couples have big dreams for their weddings, and they are hiring professionals like DJs, photographers, videographers, decorators, etc, to achieve the look. Wedding planners become the glue to pull all the details together to achieve the best possible day for the couple.”

Organizing something so large, complex and important is not easy, and while Thunder Bay is small compared to larger centres, it has challenges all its own. But according to wedding planner Clenton Alfonso, the city and surrounding region more than make up for it.

“Thunder Bay is quiet and scenic,” says Alfonso, “It serves as an ideal destination for wedding couples who look to celebrate their day away from chaotic and densely populated areas. The city offers amazing locations to host the ceremony.”

Traditionally, arranging wedding details is a job given to the bridesmaids, but with busy lifestyles, that’s not always possible. Added to the fact that many weddings are arranged remotely now, with couples out of town returning to Thunder Bay to tie the knot. That can be stressful, adding to an already stressful process. This anxiety can be reduced by hiring a wedding planner who ‘knows the ropes.’

“Younger professionals are busy with school, work, family and home,” says Misir. “So there is very little time to put in the hours needed to plan such a large event. Couples love the idea of having a trusted source for all their planning needs and, very often, they hire us for wedding day management to ensure everything is perfectly coordinated and beautiful.”

The art of wedding/event planning combines both analytical, organizational elements with creative, artistic ones, and I ask them if this skill is something they’ve learned or something they’ve known from early on.

“From a very young age, I assisted my dad in his business of wedding rentals,” says Alfonso. “Gradually, I realized that it brought me happiness and self-content.
I decided to take this interest professionally to let people know me by my passion.”

Originally from the Toronto area, Misir agrees wholeheartedly. “I started off having a career in a very different field (forensics) but I was always drawn to event planning,” she says. “Throughout the years, I planned many graduation celebrations, engagement parties, bridal showers, baby showers and eventually weddings. I took courses in event management and eventually received my certification from the Wedding Planning Institute of Canada. I worked evenings and weekends to pursue my love for weddings, while working in a forensics lab during the week! When I moved to Thunder Bay, I became a full-time wedding/event planner. It’s incredible to think how much I’ve evolved in my career to become my own boss in a business I absolutely love!”

It’s clear that both Misir and Alfonso find joy in working with their couples. “Planning a wedding itself is a blessing for me,” Alfonso says, “because I believe that’s the most beautiful act I could ever practice on earth. The more engrossed I am in planning, the more excited I am to execute.”

“I get very attached to my clients,” says Misir. “After spending sometimes up to two years with my couple, planning their wedding details, getting to know their relationship, their family and friends, I get completely attached to their love story. It’s the best feeling to see the bride walk down the aisle to her groom, and know how much they truly love each other. Being able to be a part of their day and to be trusted for something so important is what gives me the ultimate joy.”

In fact, sometimes brides are happiest when they can brainstorm with a creative organizer. “Weddings are not like conferences, workshops or any other large events,” says Misir. “They are personal events where the client is emotionally involved with each decision. Often times, as a planner, I wear many different hats - from advocate, family therapist, couple’s counselor, errand runner, shoulder to cry on, crafter and personal shopper. Being there for the couple emotionally, in addition to our contracted tasks, having experience in the local market, knowing the trends and providing guidance in making the right choices, etc, is what makes a wedding planner worth their weight in gold.”

With all the choices that couples have to make, working with someone who knows the industry inside and out is a wise choice. With a wedding planner at your side, couples are able to save money and time, and better yet, ultimately enjoy the wedding they always dreamed of!

To learn more about wedding planners, see the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada at, and to get more info about Misir, Alfonso and their work, check out Maid for the Bride at

Heather L. Dickson is a photoshop guru, zoologist and author of 6 novels.

Visit her website at

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