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Vancity Vendor – Epic Events

June 10th, 2011 by Jeannine

Epic Events - Photo Courtesy Kris Krug

It was clear from such a young age what Briar Johnston was destined to be. Since she was 15, she owned every issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. She was also the go-to girl for any parties that her friends or family needed planned. All the signs were there, it was only inevitable that one day she would be helping brides fulfill their wedding visions.

That day was in 2009, when Briar started Epic Events. As the owner and principal event planner, she offers various packages for brides, from full wedding planning to on-the-day coordination. To help cut down costs, they can all be customized to fit the couple’s needs. During a consultation, Briar will give you an initial quote, and if it doesn’t fit your budget, she will work with you to determine which services you do or don’t need and adjust the price accordingly. It’s like an à la carte menu, where you only pay for what you actually order. Briar will be the main on-site coordinator at the wedding but she will also have an event assistant, as well as a few extra volunteers to help out (the number of volunteers depends on the size of the event). They are event planning students from schools such as BCIT or the Art Institute. Having them around will ensure complete coverage of your wedding, as well, she is helping these students out by giving them much needed on the job experience.

Full planning packages start around $2,000-2,500. A standard 8 hour on-the-day coordination service starts at $500 and includes 2 consultations, one of which will be at the venue for a full walkthrough, creating a comprehensive day of timeline, rehearsal attendance, and overseeing your wedding from set-up to tear down.

A Few Words With Briar…

What sets you apart from others in the same field?
“I think passion for the industry, definitely, its not a job that you can do if you don’t love it, and if you don’t want to inspire your clients and work creatively and collaboratively with other vendors. I think that’s the best part of the job, just getting to know the people that you’re going to manage the most important day.”

Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to décor?
“I really like clean looking, I’m not a ‘frou frou bow’ person, I think there are a lot of outside the box or elegant ways of doing simple décor. It doesn’t matter if the first picture you look at has no relevance to your budget whatsoever. It can be Preston Bailey, beautiful, gorgeous, extravagant wedding for whoever in New York City that costs a million dollars… there’s always ways of picking up the elements of that picture and combining it with a realistic budget. It’s a challenge and I like it!”

How do you handle unforeseen problems at a wedding? Can you give me an example of a real wedding situation you handled?
“Stress management and crisis management are two attributes planners must have and they must be able to have confidence in themselves, their skills and their network to be able to solve problems. I was doing on-the-day coordination, so the bride had planned everything, contacted her vendors… and the cake didn’t come! It was getting too long of a crunch time so I called one of the cake people I usually use and they arrived with a fake cake for display. Of course, it was not the exact cake that the bride and groom had ordered but there was a beautiful cake there, the slab cake came later so there was cake served to guests. It was a quick turnaround, and to be honest, the bride didn’t notice until I chatted with her after… which is great! My job, if there are hiccups, is to solve them without bringing attention to them.”

What do you enjoy most about your job?
“I like hearing people’s initial vision. I find that they express it with either such passion or with hesitation because they’re not sure what saying it out loud is gonna mean. One of my favourite parts is starting the design process of the wedding, looking into what the overall vibe is because it sets off fireworks in my head for what the event is actually going to turn out like.”

What kind of venue is your favourite to decorate?
“I like outdoor ceremonies simply because you don’t have to bring a whole lot in there to make it beautiful. If you have a beautiful backdrop, which in Vancouver is not hard to do, some simple décor, some simple floral arrangement and you have a stunning venue. The Teahouse is one of my all time absolute favourites. I also like tents, just for the décor aspects of it, simply because they’re like blank canvases and you don’t have to compete with hotel carpet and you don’t have to accommodate for posts or windows or walls or doors or anything like that… and whatever your creativity and budget will allow can transform it into something magical.”

If you had to plan a wedding in 3 months, how would you tackle it?
“I believe with flexibility and creativity a wedding can be planned in no time at all. To start, you need to sit down and do your game plan, how it’s going to be attacked, what your steps are gonna be, give yourself super strict deadlines, all that sort of things so you have a really good plan of action before you start anything.”

If you would splurge on one aspect of the wedding, what would it be?
“I think photography is the best thing to splurge on if you have to. I always say to book a photographer based on your artistic style and artistic compatibility. If you go with the person who just fits your budget, and that’s all you’re looking at, you might hate every single photo you get back. It doesn’t mean they’ll be bad, it just means that they’re not your artistic style. At the end of the day the photos are the thing that you keep and cherish and show your family, kids and grandkids, and you want to LOVE them.”

What one piece of advice would you give to a bride and groom?
“Make sure to keep the focus of the day on you as a couple. Realize the importance of what your wedding day will mean to you and your families – yes, it is going to be a beautiful, expensive, fun, adrenaline-filled day, but at the end of it, you will be married.  Enjoy the process and each other, and work hard to create lasting memories of this time in your life.”

To contact Briar, visit her website.
Do you have what it takes to be a Vancity Vendor? Apply here.

Photos courtesy Kris Krug, Fractured Light Photography, Ophelia Photography, and Robyn Michelle Lee Photography. Mouse over each photo to identify the photographer.
All Photos Provided By Epic Events 

Vendor prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are accurate to the date published.

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