I haven’t previously focused too much on promoting the day-of coordination side of things in my business, and I am finally excited to do so.

Sarah Dunn

Owner/ Decorator/ Coordinator

Location: Canada

I was raised in a small town of Alliston, Ontario, and growing up in the family wedding business, I not only grew up knowing everything there was to know about weddings, but I quickly came to have my own love for weddings and special occasions. I am delighted to say I currently reside in my home town of Alliston with my husband Mike, our sweet 2 year old daughter Madelyn, and our fur baby Bailey.

I have worked with so many wonderful couples designing and creating décor for their special events for over 10 years now in and around the Simcoe County Area.

I am a proud graduate of Seneca College with diplomas in both Visual Merchandising, and Event Management and Exhibit Design. After finishing up my 3rd and final year at Seneca in Events, I knew that being in the event industry was definitely something I wanted to pursue. Not only do I love putting together all of the many details that go into a wedding or a special event, I enjoy getting to know couples throughout the planning and designing process. The look on their faces after the reveal is the real reward on the day of and is a constant reminder of why I have a love for weddings and special events.

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

The event industry the last year has really taken a hit due to COVID-19, but there have been two types of weddings that have been quite popular and I am so honored to have been part of. Micro Weddings and Elopements.

I definitely continue to see many of these types of weddings in the coming days and years ahead as they have definitely proven to be a big success. For so many years large weddings and gatherings have been the thing to host, and in the last year people have really been forced to limit the size of gatherings and have their special day, but on a much smaller scale.

I really have seen so many positive outcomes and special weddings that have taken place while being part of these new trends. Clients are less stressed on and leading up to the big day, along with being so much more relaxed day of. Most importantly they are able to be with their closest family and friends and celebrate their love in a much more intimate and enjoyable way.

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

Some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget would be to start with researching an affordable and reputable venue and vendors. Look into at having your wedding outdoors at a family cottage or backyard to save a bit on the biggest expense. Vendors are what is going to make your dream day a huge success and a day you will never forget!

Once those details are confirmed, prioritize the things are that are most important to you. Focus on areas such as your ceremony space, and your reception space, places and areas that will be most photographed.

Try to incorporate décor pieces and accents that can be transferred from your ceremony to reception area to get the most use out of these décor pieces. Try to create a few of the smaller details yourself, such as place cards, favors, photo and memory tables, guestbooks, and cake and candy tables. If clients are feeling really creative and crafty they can even try to put together their own table centerpieces.

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

Vendor relationships are so important and definitely something I strive to keep strong with each and every vendor I work with in my business past, present, and future. With being in the event industry for many years before owning my own business, I knew it was important to pick and choose vendors I could trust, who were punctual, reliable, and reputable. The event industry is definitely one I find very competitive in Ontario, full of many talented people, but its not always easy finding vendors who are reputable. Such a big part of these vendor relationships depend on how great and flawless the outcome of an event can be!

I ensure to keep in touch with vendors I work with frequently, or other businesses with which I have worked, with a friendly visit, a simple email, or in previous years, holiday greeting cards to keep the relationships familiar.

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

The most exciting thing on the horizon for Stunningly Dunn Designs and Décor is I have recently, for the 2021-2022 season, taken on more clients who are looking for the full décor and coordination experience. I haven’t previously focused too much on promoting the day of coordination side of things in my business, and I am finally excited to do so.

Focusing on the design and décor side of things has always been my priority, but with any business comes change and growth. This year especially! I have always had a hand in some of the coordination to an extent with any and all of my weddings and events, but now I am working with clients a little more on helping them achieve their dream day!

I also hope in the coming year or two to design and create more décor for theme parties, specifically children’s parties, and smaller intimate gatherings.

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?

Growing up I was raised in a family owned and operated bridal boutique. My late Grandmother had started a home-based business making wedding, and special occasion cakes for many years. She then began to sell wedding and special occasion dresses and accessories, and offered wedding decorating along with her cakes. She was such an inspiration to me, and if the timing had been right, along with being a bit older myself upon her retirement, I would have loved to have taken over the family bridal boutique. My mother had taken over the business for a few years until she decided to retire from the industry. Turns out lifting all of those pretty wedding dresses with big trains and skirts is a daily work out, and quite tiresome on the body.

I knew for many years that I had a love for weddings and that I saw myself continuing my career in the wedding industry. I furthered my education at post secondary school about ten years ago and after graduating I started promoting my business right away at tradeshows, and bridal and women’s shows.

As in any business, it took some time to build up a clientele and reputation. I worked full time when I first started my business for many years at a home décor store in town that I absolutely loved, but as time went on I knew it was time to make this a full time venture.

I can now say I have clients referring friends and family and many word of mouth referrals in my client base.

Susan Null
Author: Susan Null

Share on Twitter: