ABC Launches Canada East in 
Country With Wedding Industry Growth

By Milena Santoro, CMM, CMP, PIDP, MS Productions, Edmonton, Alberta, and Jodi Gagné ABC™, CSS™, Simply Perfect, 
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

The Association of Bridal Consultant’s (ABC) East Canada launch kicked off on Monday, July 9, at The Toronto Wedding Chapel. ABC President David Wood helped celebrate the occasion and met many members, each of whom walked away with the knowledge that the ABC offers an active networking community and a great selection of education tools and resources.

Already 106 members strong, ABC Canada is united through the efforts of Jodi Gagné, ABC™, CSS™, Simply Perfect, Richmond Hill, Ontario, on the east coast, and Milena Santoro, CMM, CMP, PIDP, MS Productions, Edmonton, Alberta on the west coast. Members are experiencing a renewed enthusiasm for the ABC community and all it has to offer. But, most importantly, attendees realized that they all share a common belief in the value of investing in themselves and connecting with one another. The support, feedback, and commitment members have received through the ABC is providing the fuel that promises to ignite a stronger Canadian ABC presence.

The state of the industry
But just what does Canada have to offer? And what is the state of the Canadian wedding industry? Here’s a primer. According to the 2011 “The Wedding Industry at a Glance” at ThinkSplendid.com, the Canadian wedding industry is a $4 billion dollar annual industry. Though one of the bottom three, and not even close to the United States’ industry average of $161 billion, it is a growing market. What’s unique is that, since 2000, same-sex unions have been legally recognized across the majority of Canadian territories and provinces. In addition, the country has much to offer couples seeking to marry there.

A little flavor of Canada
Canada offers a robust inventory of outdoor attractions. From coast-to-coast, Canada has been a destination of choice for many couples celebrating their wedding day. Whether they’re looking for a particular climate or setting—perhaps a seascape, a farm, or a hip urban locale, the choices are truly endless. Canada is always in full bloom, rich in living color from its ever-changing seasons. And regardless of the season of choice, Canada can fulfill dreams by providing a unique backdrop for any wedding. Here’s a little taste of what Canada has to offer by province.

British Columbia—The sea-to-sky beauty of this area includes the Whistler mountains and Okanagan Valley, also known as Wine Country, and famous for its wedding-friendly orchards. Couples can wed on the lake view veranda in Kelowna or have a garden wedding at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa. Consider the west coast urban lifestyle that feeds the soul through the Yaletown district and revitalized Gastown district.

Alberta—Edmonton and its River Valley or Calgary and the Stampede are the major centers in Alberta. There are plenty of luxury accommodations in the lovely Rockies and mountain towns of Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise and Canmore—all postcard-pretty wedding destinations.

Saskatchewan—Saskatchewan is a prairie province and the reputed “Land of Living Skies.’’ Neighbor to the United States’ Montana and North Dakota, it is rich in history and culture and offers visitors endless water-based recreational opportunities, abundant wildlife, spacious parks, outdoor adventures like canoeing and horseback riding, farm vacations, and amazing and accessible golf opportunities.

Ontario—In Ontario, there’s something for every mood. The picturesque backdrop of the Kawarthas in northern Ontario promises a quiet and serene return to nature. The lure of the city and its hidden gems in Toronto where many a wedding has taken place everywhere from rooftops to manor estates to restaurants and clubs to lakefront properties.  The Niagara wine region is home to over 50 world-class wineries where wine tours and culinary delights are musts.

Quebec—Here, old world charm is at its finest. Quebec offers a balance of natural, historical, or vibrant settings with a touch of romance.  The majestic Notre-Dame Basilica built in 1824 is an experience in itself, as is the cool, cathedral of ice at Hotel de Glace.

Maritimes—A region in eastern Canada that means “of the sea” and includes Newfoundland/Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, the Maritimes is home to diverse cultural activities rich in music, dance, and theatre.  For those set on a storybook wedding—literally—fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables can make like protagonists Anne and Gilbert and declare their love in the Avonlea-theme village of Cavendish, PEI. Or, boldly go barefoot along the islands’ stunning beaches of red, pink, and champagne colored sands.

Canada is rich in history, and diverse in culture
Best known for its diversity, Canada is a hotbed of multiculturalism, a coming together of ethnic communities that have been influenced by other cultures and customs. Many of today’s wedding ceremonies also are a blending of traditions, artfully fused together with the ancestry of past generations, which provide each couple with a unique and personalized experience.

So, the next time you’re considering a destination wedding, think about the variety Canada has to offer, eh? You’ll be glad you did. ••

Profile: The Canadian Wedding Industry
Number of Canadian weddings annually: 150,000
Average budget: $25,000 – $27,000
Wedding planner rates: 10-15% for full service
Average guest count: 120
Source: Stats Canada: marriage data, release date 2005-2008, July 2011.

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