“One of the best wedding planners in Toronto”
Known for her individualized and creative approach, Karina loves working with couples who seek a wedding to remember.
Editor’s Note: for this Best Wedding Planners in Toronto Spotlight, we had the pleasure of interviewing Karina, from Karina Lemke Weddings & Events.
Where have you been featured?
Karina has been a regular, featured wedding planner on the show “Rich Bride Poor Bride” (seen in over 90 countries and in the United States on the WE network.) She has been featured in the National Post, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Metro Magazine, Toronto Life Weddings Guide, Wedding Bells Magazine, CBC Newsworld, Global National News and CTV evening news as well as numerous appearances on Entertainment Tonight Canada.
What types of weddings do you specialize in?
Although I handle larger, more traditional weddings… and many of them each season – it is smaller, more unusual weddings that light a fire for me. A wedding in a favourite restaurant.. the coffee shop where they first met…. even small destination weddings where I become one part travel agent, one part planner…. Any wedding with a smaller (under 100) guest count where each guest wants to be there… I’ve had other planners and sometimes couples suggest to me that I like smaller weddings because they are ‘easier’ – couldn’t be farther from the truth. When a guest count is high, it is simply not possible to focus on creating a truly unique event – the sheer logistics of feeding and watering 200+ people takes its toll and it’s not possible to spend time on the details or for the couple to feel connected to their party. They might have a great day.. a fabulous party.. but there is not the same sense of connection that is present in a smaller party. When it’s small, you can focus on the details, you can make each one count.
Why do couples love working with you?
I think they sense a warmth.. that I am not just trying to book a date.. that I am interested in their story. I tend to work with vendors that they also love and so they see a continuity of vision in the unfolding of their wedding story… I work a lot with photographers such as Tara Mc Mullen, Rebecca Wood, and Corina V.. all of which offer a look that my clients often identify with and seem to be quite current…
What do you love most about being a wedding planner?
I love the early stages of wedding planning. Newly engaged, very excited and often overwhelmed clients coming to me full of ideas. Of course, I work with clients who just need ‘day of’ help, but if I meet a client right at the start, I can help them make the best choices.. the big decisions that ultimately impact their day. Often wedding planners are aware of locations that clients might not have heard of, or resources that are our ‘best-kept secrets’ – I love sharing the ‘this is how you do it’ with clients.
How did you get started?
I started out by owning a carriage trade floral shop that specialized in weddings and events… I started handling other planning aspects for clients because 15 years ago, there were not a lot of wedding planners in Toronto and the ones that did exist, were mostly older and less in tune with a modern couple. Most of those planners still ‘planned’ the wedding with the ‘mother of the bride/Groom to the exclusion of the couple’. My more urban couples were not interested in this, they were the ones organizing and often paying for their weddings and they needed someone who could help them to do it their way. I then was a featured wedding planner on ‘Rich Bride Poor Bride’ for all 6 seasons. It gave me visibility and allowed me to spread my wings. Seen around the world.
What budget range do you cater to?
We work with all budgets.
What typically happens at the beginning of the process when someone contacts you?
If I am available for the date in question, we usually exchange a few emails and a phone meeting before we decide if a first date is in order… if it is… if we seem to connect well, we can meet at my office, or a location that is easy for the client or the desired venue if one has been selected. The first meeting is 1-2 hours – there is no charge.
Thank you for all your hard work yesterday. We were thrilled with the results. To be honest, it was the best day of my life and I didn’t want it to end. Thanks again for all your help and support.
Trevor and I wanted to thank you for all that you did to help make our wedding day a success. Karina, as always, you did an amazing job of keeping everything running smoothly and on-time as well as helping our vision of our wedding day come to life. Our Day was PERFECT!
Aside from saying “YES” to my now husband when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, the single most important decision I made in regards to our wedding was the decision to hire Karina Lemke to captain our ship. After the initial giddy excitement of the engagement wore off and the realization set in that we had a wedding to plan; panic took over. With our wedding being the first big one in both our families and with our 250 guests traveling from all over the world (India, Australia, England, US and across Canada) we knew that to pull it off we’d need some help.
We did some online searching and an article from Toronto Life came up with a list of reputable planners, Karina being one of them. A friend from high school also put me in touch with her brother’s wife, a television producer who had worked for many years on a show featuring wedding planners. At the top of her list was Karina Lemke – we took this to be a sign as we’d now come across Karina’s name twice, both times highly recommended. We set up a face to face meeting with Karina and knew right away that we simply HAD to have her on our team.