“One of the best wedding planners in Toronto”
We provide start to finish event planning and producing services – curating food and creating incredible cocktails, we design incredible event spaces and work with the best freelancers in the business to execute our design of your vision.
Editor’s Note: for this Best Wedding Planners in Toronto Spotlight, we had the pleasure of interviewing David Vallee, from Event/Narrative Management Group.
Where have you been featured?
What types of weddings do you specialize in?
We specialize in bespoke, hand-made weddings. Some places churn out weddings like sausage – cookie cutter, often lovely and well done, but flat. Where is the story? Where is the romance? I need to get to know my couples, understand their story. I worked as a journalist in my student days at Queen’s and a lot of the skills I learned interviewing politicians like former prime minister Brian Mulroney, CC or the great Flora MacDonald, CC I use when I first meet our couples.
We like real, local food and wines, flowers everywhere and lots of candles. We avoid trends and gimmicks. For the ceremony, we strive for vision, drama and heartfelt moments – memory making stuff. For the reception, we create a damn good party. Some people go for fashion, we look for style. I am in my 40’s and I work with professionals at the Event/Narrative Management Group that I have known for years, but I also try and always bring in new freelancers to our group to keep our ideas fresh. For example, Conor Obrien, my senior account executive started with me on events and on set as a PA, and he brings a vibrancy to our practice that an old guy like me needs to stay on top my game.
We prefer to work in the full-service model, where the Event/Narrative Management Group produces, designs and executes the wedding from top to bottom. We have a catering kitchen, led by chef Manny Mark, that produces exquisite hand-made food for many of our events, or we work with outside caterers that we have known for years. Our design freelancers, the team that I lead, are just tops but we are also happy to work with other great event designers. We are flexible but always service oriented.
Why do couples love working with you?
People often come to us because they have seen my work on Rich Bride, Poor Bride, Style by Jury, CP 24, CBC, CTV or Entertainment Tonight Canada. They see the feisty advocate for budget sanity in action, hamming it up with my co-stars. So we do try and make the whole process fun – we are planning a wedding not fighting for social justice so a few laughs along the way can smooth the ride. But what most couples who work with us love the most is the confidence we entrust – with our experience, as well as the youth and vitality of members of my team – they know we know how to get it done right, beautifully and on budget.
What do you love most about being a wedding planner?
I love helping people tell their life stories through events. Painters use paints, writers use words – we use food, drink, flowers, décor, as well as all sorts of modern stage-craft – and work with our brides and grooms to tell a love story. I can’t think of a lovelier way to spend your day.
How did you get started?
I got started as a ‘wedding planner’ quite by accident. My partner and I owned a successful catering and event planning company called David Vallee Entertain. We produced huge charity events for CANFAR, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, The Walrus Magazine, and Toronto the Good. We were one of the first companies to work in the Distillery District and from our strong relationships with the galleries and venues in the district, we started doing a lot of weddings. Up until this point, I wouldn’t have called myself a wedding planner although I had planned hundreds of weddings. Then I got a call from Rich Bride, Poor Bride in 2005 – one of the senior productions guys there was a friend. They were looking for someone funny who was also a wedding planner.
What budget range do you cater to?
We work with a wide range of budgets. Our full-service wedding production and planning service is our premium brand but we also offer excellent catering services, event planning only packages, as well as day of wedding coordination that are more price-conscious.
What typically happens at the beginning of the process when someone contacts you?
Clients generally find us at davidvallee.ca or by calling our offices 416-260-1982 and we start a conversation. We are not the right wedding planners for everyone so we set up a time to have a detailed conversation to figure out if we are the right fit for each other. It is a bit like dating. After this initial vetting, we meet with the couple, listen to their stories and give some of our ideas on how to achieve it. From there, we write a letter of commitment, secure the business relationship with a deposit and the fun begins.