You may have heard... Vineyard Bride is hosting a wedding show, THE FIRST LOOK, at Honsberger Estate Winery this week Sunday, April 10! We're super excited!  You know who else is super excited?! Amanda from Amanda Cowley Events! 

Amanda will be one of the sweet faces that will greet you at the door on Sunday morning! So this week, we're celebrating her! 

Good morning Amanda-tell us a little about what you do!
I can pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with weddings and all that goes into preparing for that most special day, and since then I have been in love with love and celebrating it as beautifully as it deserves. As a wedding planner and designer in Niagara, I am fortunate to assist couples in pulling together all their hopes and wishes for what is inevitably one of the most memorable days of their lives.

How long have you been working in the wedding industry? My journey began as a floral designer 11 long-yet-short years ago. From there I worked in a winery that caters mainly to weddings and events, self-taught myself the craft of baking and decorating special occasion cakes and have even assisted photographers on wedding days. Finally, in August of 2013, I put all of the knowledge and skills I gained over the past decade towards one driving force that is Amanda Cowley Events. You could say I hit the ground running, and I've never looked back.

What makes your business unique? From the initial email I receive from a client I sincerely become emotionally invested in their wedding planning journey (thanks in large part to my dramatic Italian heritage). The process of planning a wedding is a unique and personal experience, one with emotional highs and lows that can come as a surprise to a lot of my couples -- opinions and special requests from family and friends, making decisions that will impact the entire day, or feeling the pressure of impending deadlines, I have been there to lend a shoulder to cry on or an ear for a much needed venting session. My heart goes into each and every event I plan as if it were my own, and at the end of a wedding day I am proud to walk away with newfound friends whom I genuinely care for. I like to think this alone is enough to make my business a special experience for my couples.

Favourite part of your business? Ohhhhh there are too many to choose just one! I'm a sucker for anytime a groom cries, personally written vows, shaking hands during the exchanging of rings, the way a mother of the groom looks at her son with such pride in her eyes, the list goes on and on. However my very favourite part of what I do is getting to show my couples their completed ceremony and reception spaces for the first time. Getting to see the joy cross their faces and the excitement in their eyes when they feel it deep within their hearts that all the hard work that went into their wedding day was worth every hard or stressful moment; nothing feels better than that.

What inspires you? Prepare yourself for the mucho cheesiness of what you're about to read but if I'm going to answer this question honestly, I have to say my husband Paul. My guy for almost 13 lucky years, this man has the patience of a saint and more faith in me than anyone I've ever known. Not once in my bouncing around trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up did he discourage me or make me feel like I wasn't a success in some capacity. He gives me the freedom to be myself in every way, which results in letting my creativity soar and my business flourish.

Who is your mentor/hero in the industry?  I owe a huge part of my taking that leap of faith into starting my business to my dear friend and Niagara photographer, Nataschia Wielink. From the very beginning of our friendship she has always seen something special in me, even when I had a hard time seeing it myself. She's the kind of person who is insanely creative and artistically charged yet remains calm, cool and laid back at the same time -- I leave spending time with her feeling inspired and excited but also completely chilled out (most of the time it's due to a glass or two of wine). I couldn't have asked for a better 'mentor friend'. Oh, and Rhiannon of Hey Gorgeous and Michelle of Michelle Leo Events are pretty much my planner girl crushes. Girls are gettin' it!

On your day off...where would we find you?
I'm a mama to my ridiculously handsome 14 month old baby boy Jude, so a 'day off' is a thing of the past. However, if I do find one of these magical days in my possession, you can find my family and I exploring the loveliness Niagara has to offer. We love Saturday morning trips to the market, spending an afternoon vintage and antique shopping, or having an easy picnic in the park. I also shamelessly love binge-watching whatever series I am obsessed with at the time, cooking a delicious meal with my family, entertaining friends and decorating my house to feel even more like home.

If you weren't a wedding vendor, what would be your dream job? Easy. TV host, hands down. I'm talking the straight Ellen of the television world. The small amount of television work I have done in the past sparked a love for everything that goes into producing a show, from the behind the scenes to being in front of the camera, I would eat that up all day!

What great wedding trends are you seeing this year? Keeping it real! Fresh, natural, easy florals that aren't overdone or overly designed and understated colour palettes and elegant design choices.

Do you have any practical advice for couples planning a wedding? Give yourself time. Time to plan accordingly with room for setbacks or changes in those plans. Time to secure the vendors you have always dreamed of sharing in your special day, and for finding a close alternative if your original hopes fall through. Time to handcraft those charming details you fell in love with on Pinterest. Most important, time to enjoy every moment of the process and to take it all in -- an engagement is one of the most romantic, wonderful times in one's life, don't let it go by without appreciating how special the journey is.