It takes time to attract your ideal client, be true to your brand, your purpose and your ‘why’ – and naturally the right client will come your way.
Narelle Allen

Narelle Allen

Founder / Creative Director

Location: Toronto, Ontario Wide

Narelle Janine Events is a luxury event planning and design firm that specializes in whimsical, personalized, and breathtaking events. As a little girl, I was always in awe of the extravagant, magical get-togethers my mom would organize; seeing the hard work and creativity come to life and bring together friends, family and loved ones always warmed my heart.

Wedding days pass by so quickly and are such a significant and poignant moment in a couple’s life, so it’s my wholehearted mission to create a seamless event planning and design experience that you can enjoy fully, every step of the way so your entire wedding from start to finish is full of excitement and memories.

My immense attention to detail and creativity started with those gatherings when I was a little girl, and that passion is weaved into every event I design, in every little detail including my love for textures, colours, and patterns. As so many joyful memories are filled with whimsy and connection, every event and wedding I plan is infused with a fanciful, awe-inspiring, meaningful design sure to leave you with a long-lasting impression.

  • The Knot ‘Best of Weddings 2019’
  • Wedluxe Glitterati 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Graduated George Brown College, Special Events Planning, with honours

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?

Being in such a fast paced industry, you will face many challenging requests, you have to be quick to think of a plan b or c if the original plan doesn’t work. In the first year of planning, we planned a tent wedding and boy was it beautiful – we built the tent a few days before the wedding (this is typical) as it was on a family property up north in Canada.

The actual wedding day was extremely windy and even called for weather warning. One of the walls of the tent kept falling over and the tent company was a few hours away. Luckily we were ahead of schedule and had everything else set up, we called a tent company we have worked with before that was closer to the event and asked them to assist with our issue. They were there in an hour and we had all hands on deck to fix the wall; everything was fixed a few hours before the wedding.

We now have processes and procedures in place for the tent company to be on deck the day of just in case anything arises. These challenges during an event help you grow and learn what to do and what not to do. Having a great team of professionals on board is so important to ensure when something happens, everyone is there to help eliminate the issues and have the common goal to solve any problems that arise on your wedding day.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

The advice we give to our couples is not to lean towards wedding trends. We advise them to stick to the core of who they are and not to lean towards wedding trends. When we design a wedding for our couples, we really delve deep into who they are, their interests, their families, their cultures, traditional aspects they want to incorporate at their wedding. That’s where our designs start from our couples.

When our couples look back at their wedding pictures and videos, we want to ensure they are in love with their wedding design years and decades down the line. We want their design to speak to their journey and momentous day that is their wedding day. It’s their start of a new chapter.

I would advise couples to choose a colour palette and mood board that is true to them. Focus on the details on your table setting, the table setting is where your guests are the most at your wedding, it is also visually what they see most of the event, focus on the details on your table setting and elevating the look.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

Focus on what is important to you, don’t focus too much on what a wedding needs to have. We always get asked how to cut costs and what couples can save on, this is different for each couple. Focus on you as a couple and focus on your guests – if you think your guests won’t eat the cake or that’s not an important factor of your wedding, don’t have a cake. We can think of something else your guests will love to substitute.

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

Vendor relationships are tremendously important to a seamless planning process and stellar wedding day execution. Through our years of experience and working with many vendors we have a curated list of vendors we refer our clients to. Our clients come to us for the best wedding planning experience and in order for them to have the best experience a solid team of vendors is absolutely key.

We work on styled shoots during the year and have had the chance to work with some of Toronto’s best vendors. Having a stunning portfolio is only 1 factor of being a great vendor. There are many other factors that make a vendor outstanding – their approach, their overall experience, their punctuality, their communication skills and their ability to go above and beyond for their couples. These are not factors a couple would know prior to hiring them; we provide them with our insight and curate a list for them based on the location and overall style of their wedding.

What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?

Always start with your ‘why’ – what is the purpose and cause of this event. Once you’ve fleshed that information out start with a detailed plan and event proposal covering all aspects of the event. We break our events into 4 pillars, event planning, event design, event production and event execution. Within those 4 pillars are detailed steps.

Once you’ve fleshed out your plan and steps, start thinking about a marketing plan for your event and sponsorships for your event. You want to have as many people attend as possible to contribute to the success of your event.

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

We are always planning something or have something up our sleeves. This year in 2021, we are most excited about our weddings we get to produce that have been postponed due to the pandemic. Our couples are so eager to walk down the aisle and we are so excited to be with them every step of the way.

On the backend business side – we recently did a complete website revamp and it was a project we’ve been wanting to tackle for so long but haven’t had the time. We recently launched it and are so happy with how everything turned out. We are working on some fun collaborations and branded projects this year that we are so excited to share.

We are currently designing our headshots which we are so excited about. We need an updated picture from some we took a few years back.

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?

Crazily enough, I’ve always wanted to start my own company. Since I was a young girl I always had a tie to wedding planning and throwing parties. When I learned about wedding planning being an actual career I wanted to open my own business in my first year of high school. After graduating university, I went to George Brown College and graduated in Special Events Planning and shortly after started my company in 2017.

I had my first few events that year. It takes time to attract your ideal client, be true to your brand, your purpose and your ‘why’ – and naturally the right client will come your way.

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

The first event I planned was in 2013 (I started interning at the time with a planner/ florist). My first event under NJE was in 2017. I am a very cautious person and like to make sure things are aligned before I do anything. In 2013, while interning I learned so much about planning, so many little things I picked up and learned from planning. Now I have templates in place for everything to ensure that everything works like clockwork.

What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

Oh where do I start … so many things. My first piece of advice is get educated on the particular field that you’re getting into, it’s so important to have education on the particular field you’re getting into. Experience and interning in your industry is also very important. I would say intern in different aspects of your industry to gain experience on the industry as a whole. I interned for a florist and worked on high end corporate events for a few years. It was a great insight on the industry as a whole. Education paired with experience is the best way to start.

What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?

Our first wedding was a full planning & design client, we planned and designed their wedding in 3 months in August – a prime summer month. Our bride was very decisive with decision making, she knew what she wanted and what she didn’t want. This made planning with her so much fun and we pulled off a magical, over the top wedding.

Narelle Allen
Author: Narelle Allen

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