Even the most relaxed bride can find the process of planning and coordinating a wedding to be overwhelming. There is so much to think about that it can start to feel like a job. Even more so when planning a destination wedding in the Rocky Mountains. From sourcing vendors to coordinating every last minute of the day, it can be a little… much!
Hiring a wedding planner can take away all that stress so you can get back to making fun decisions and building excitement for your special day. But it’s important to hire someone who you feel can share your vision. A good wedding planner understands what is important to you, and has the experience to execute your vision while being full of suggestions you hadn’t even thought about. They know all the very best local vendors and how to manage them on the day.
One of the best when it comes to Banff + Canmore wedding planning is Ashley Lewkowicz, owner of Signature Weddings by Ashley. She has a lifetime of experience planning hundreds of weddings in the Bow Valley. We had a chat with Ashley to learn more about what makes her a wedding whiz!
Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born and raised in Canmore and had the most wonderful, playful upbringing in this little town. I spent my summers camping, exploring, and spending entire days outside with my friends. For over ten years, I was a competitive dancer and, as an only child, the girls I danced with became my sisters. Though I no longer dance, I love yoga, barre, and all types of exercise that are rhythm and movement-based. I travel as much as possible and take great pleasure in exploring new places that are so vastly different from where I live. I love Canmore, I love the people in it, and I’m grateful every day to do what I love in the place that shaped me.
How did you get started in wedding planning?
I’ve wanted to be a wedding planner since before I can remember. I was enchanted by love and weddings, even as a little girl. For my work experience placement in high school, I was partnered with a local wedding planner, Signature Weddings by Jenna. Four years later, after moving to Calgary to study hospitality management to further expand my knowledge and capabilities in the wedding industry, I had the pleasure of taking over the company which you now know as Signature Weddings by Ashley. Since then, I’ve planned and executed hundreds of weddings in the Bow Valley and loved every minute of it!
What wedding services/packages do you offer?
You must see a lot of trends come and go in your line of work. What would you say is the biggest up and coming wedding trend right now?
More couples are opting for Mountain elopements to keep things intimate and uncomplicated without compromising any of the breathtaking scenery. Couples are opting for more greenery or all greenery for their florals. I adore the way arrangements and settings look when they are more centred around greenery. Lastly, non-traditional bridesmaid looks are huge right now. Brides are moving away from the matching dress and more towards colour themes, or complimentary dresses, or even completely different dresses for each bridesmaid.
What is the most unique wedding you’ve ever planned?
My most memorable, unique wedding that still stands out after all these years was planning my first Indian wedding. I was fortunate to become aware of so many beautiful traditions surrounded by such vibrant people. The wedding was so colourful and detailed. Every single element had a deep-rooted meaning and the event was three days. I loved every second and I felt so grateful to have such a memorable opportunity.
How would you describe your philosophy when it comes to working with couples to organize their wedding?
As a wedding planner, my philosophy when approaching a brand new client is to remember that this will be a day they will remember forever. The day is something they’ve been dreaming about for a long time. Though some couples care about the details more than others, I know that this will be one of the most memorable days for them, their wants, needs, and values come before all else. It sounds simple, but the client-first philosophy drives all of my decisions.
What are the benefits of hiring a planner over trying to plan and organize the wedding yourself?
I’ve actually just published an article about this on my blog! There are tons of reasons including saving money, taking the pressure off your loved ones, not having to stress the little things, and being able to get an insider’s scoop on everything you need to know about your Rocky Mountain wedding.
What are the most frequently asked questions you hear from couples?
The most common question I get from couples is regarding a reasonable budget for a mountain wedding. If this is their first wedding, it can feel impossible to imagine what a mountain wedding might cost in total.
What is the most important advice you would give to couples when it comes to their wedding plans?
Something I want every couple to keep in mind when planning a wedding is to try not to make it seem like a job. Enjoy the process and each decision you make together. It can be stressful from time to time but you’re planning something really special based around the love you share, so step back and remember that as much as possible.
What kind of information should couples have ready for you before the initial consultation?
A few things I’ll need to know about a wedding right from the start are:
What positive feedback do you hear most frequently from couples after their wedding?
The things I hear most from couples are some of the things I pride myself most on. The feedback includes that I have good knowledge of the area and the planning process, that I made the wedding stress-free for them, and that their wedding turned out exactly how they had pictured it. I couldn’t imagine better feedback and it warms my heart to this day!
What else should couples know about Signature Weddings by Ashley?
If you don’t see a package that suits your needs, each service is customizable to exactly what you’re looking for. Lastly, there is no such thing as a crazy idea! No vision is too big, I want to hear what you’ve dreamt up and see what we can do to make it happen. There is nothing too big or too small when it comes to your perfect day!
“Ashley made our destination wedding a dream come true! I hired Ashley for the full wedding planning service, and boy am I so glad I did. She was my constant support system throughout the entire planning process.
I had screened at least three other planners before I found Ashley, and I had a gut feeling right from our first phone call conversation that she was the one. She is professional, calm, and very responsive. She made me comfortable and confident that my now husband and I could plan a wedding in Banff long distance, and avoid an extravagant price.
One of the things I value most about Ashley is her organization and thoughtfulness. She is direct in what needs to be done, but is sensitive and doesn’t overwhelm you. She has suggestions that come from experience but is never forceful. Ashley always reinforces this is YOUR day and is very accommodating, like allowing us to ship decor items ahead of time directly to her for holding. Ashley did all of the communication and bookings with our other vendors and was my sounding board in all the decision making. I was glad to meet her months before the wedding day when we visited Banff to finalize things at the venue site. She scoped things out with us and helped direct the discussions we had with our venue coordinator.
Come wedding day, everything was more beautiful than I could have imagined! Ashley created a thorough itinerary that left none of us wondering where to be, or what we should be doing. She was very present in our day, and I can’t thank her enough for her service and guidance over the course of our year, and then some, of planning. I would recommend Ashley to any bride-to-be!”
If you’re looking for a local professional who is passionate about providing you with the magical wedding day you’ve always dreamed of, Ashley is your gal!
Visit her website here.
Check out Ashley’s work on social media:
All photographs are by Darren Roberts Photography