Wedding Planning

Wedding Planner Tips: Personalized Engagement Party

Wedding and event planner Martina Stritesky plans parties for a living, but her own wedding is the biggest job she's ever had. See photos from her sweet, red-themed long distance love engagement party and get tips on how to personalize your own.

Photo byMirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

Evan & Martina; Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

I have been planning gorgeous events for years now; from nearly a decade as part of FLARE’s dream events team doing their VIP galas and fashion events to a few years with the fabulously chic ladies at The Society Global, to now owning my own international events company called White Bow Events, I live and breathe everything pretty. But weddings are a whole other ballgame. When I got engaged to my amazing fiancé, Evan, and the task of planning our own wedding came to be, I realized I had one of my biggest jobs ahead of me.

Even as a wedding planner, I contemplated eloping, but not having our friends and family with us as we said our I Do’s held us back. Because I was up for the challenge, we decided to plan our wedding in a short timesix monthsand our November 1 wedding day was fast approaching. To kick off the celebrations, we had a fabulous engagement party thrown for us by my generous parents.

engagement globe sweets

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

The Theme: Long Distance Love

The true task behind any great event is finding its heart and soul. What is the message you are trying to tell people? What will help draw people in and make them feel closer? For us, the answer was simple. Evan and I met due to a chance encounter, a pull of fate. I was visiting my best friend and maid of honour in Tallahassee, Florida where she was doing her Masters in Film. I boarded my return flight to Toronto and when I landed in my connection city of Charlotte, my flight home was cancelled. I was sent back to Tallahassee, and within a couple hours of landing I met my now-fiancé. Funnily enough, my flight for the next day was cancelled as well and I was stuck for an extra 50 hours than I was supposed to be. And as they say, the rest was history.

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

We dated long distance for a year and a half, so we decided to play up this theme in a fun way. From toy plane props and globes, to a custom-designed travel sweet table, to Save the Date travel postcards for our upcoming wedding, we played up all the little details on what it meant to be a long distance couple.

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

We had love fortune cookies wrapped in twine, to play up how fate plays a part in our lives and displayed it next to our favourite book by Paulo Coelho, opened to our favourite line “I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”  Evan and his brother Matt (who’s also the best man) also played a live musical set, singing “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

The whole party was red-themed, from my dress to the candies to the doughnut wedding cake to the edible flowers in the champagne. It all spoke to what I believe is the most powerful colour of love there is. The key behind it all was giving our closest friends and family a glimpse into our lives and helping everyone all feel the love.

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography

Photo by Mirza Noormohamed, Wandering Eye Photography