For the second iteration of our Team Q&As, we’re thrilled to share a little more about Sabrina Chen. Sabrina is someone who lights up our team, and we wouldn’t have made it through the pandemic without her. Read on to hear why she loves weddings and what she does when she’s not thinking about weddings.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I was born in Taiwan and my family and I moved to Vancouver when I was in middle school — I’ve called Vancouver home ever since! I love nature, sun tanning, and any activities that let me be out in the sun.
What made you choose wedding planning as a career?
To me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than being part of a celebration of love — and that’s what drew me to weddings. I’m really thankful to all the couples that let me enter their lives and share in their journey as they start a new chapter. Every couple is so unique, and they each have a different story about how they met, how they support each other in good times and bad, and it’s a privilege to learn about these things from them.
What I also love about wedding planning is how detailed we can get. To me, the most beautiful weddings are the ones that are filled with details that relate to the couple, and it’s always a joy to be part of that.
What do you love about wedding planning?
As I mentioned above, I love all the details that can be in a wedding. I really enjoy working with couples to select the theme colour, choose the right invitation style, create custom wax seals, and fashion unique welcome signs and seating charts. To me, these are all small pieces that come together to represent the couple.
Food is another important detail that can truly reflect a couple’s style. I’m a foodie, so helping couples choose the menu for their big day is one of my favourite parts of the planning process.
Bringing my couple’s vision to life is truly my biggest reward. I love the moment when the couple goes into the reception or ceremony space and their face lights up. When they start spotting and admiring the details, like the place cards or the seating chart, that’s when my heart is happiest.
How would you describe your planning style?
From an aesthetic perspective, my planning style leans towards elegance. However, what really defines how I plan weddings is that I pay attention. During the design process, I’m always observing. I see how the couple interacts, their sense of humour, the words they use to talk about their vision, how they dress, and even the drink they order. I’m a believer that truly unique events are in the details, and paying attention helps me understand what needs to go into the wedding’s design to truly make it a reflection of the couple getting married.
In addition, I also work very closely with the vendor team. Bringing a vision to life is not a one-person job, after all. In this regard, I make sure there’s always open communication between everyone on the team, and keep messages clear, concise, and consistent.
Where do you find inspiration?
When it comes to finding inspiration, I truly believe that the best thing you can do is to stay open to it. I find that I’m inspired by details in my daily life, whether that’s a snowfall in winter, the first light in the morning, a bird chirping in early spring, or even random colours in the street. These are all things that have inspired me for wedding details in the past.
Museums are another source of inspiration for me. I love going to a museum or a gallery on my own, putting my earphones in, and walking through an exhibition. Beyond enjoying the art pieces, I find that I also enjoy and learn from how the curators have set up the flow of the exhibit, the atmosphere they’ve created, and even the space that’s been left between each piece. I have often taken these learnings and applied them to our wedding event spaces.
What are your top 5 favourite Vancouver wedding venues?
Vancouver is full of beautiful venues for weddings. At the top of my list is The Polygon Art Gallery. For starters, museums and art galleries are some of my favourite spaces, so staging a wedding in one is always a delight. The Polygon is also wonderful in that it has a great space on the second floor, as well as a balcony overlooking the sea, which is fantastic for photos.
In terms of outdoor weddings, I think the UBC Botanical Garden has the most beautiful garden wedding space in the city. I’m also a fan of slightly unorthodox spaces like the Sky Hangar in Pitt Meadows and Pavilion CoWork, which is a newer venue just south of Olympic Village. Lastly, Belgard Kitchen is a lovely spot for intimate weddings, mixing a vineyard feel with an industrial vibe.
What are your top 5 planning tips?
It’s hard to narrow it down to just five! But here goes:
- Develop a planning timeline early
- Follow that timeline (you made it for a reason!)
- Stay open and transparent with your vendors, even if you have a change of heart about working with them
- Make any decor purchases early — supply chains are unreliable at the moment, and inflation is driving up prices every day
- The most important thing is to enjoy the process and have fun!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Outside of work, I love practicing Japanese ikebana, a style of floral arrangements. I fell in love with stemmed flowers when I started working with Alicia. Working in and around weddings, I realized how much I craved being part of the entire production, not just the planning. So, now, my ideal Sunday morning is spent meditating, lighting an incense, and practicing Japanese ikebana. What I love most about it is how it’s such a slow process to create one beautiful piece of work.
Beyond that, I love spending time in nature. When I’m not at home, you can find me snowboarding on Cypress Mountain in the winter, or grabbing my paddle board and camping gear to go on a new adventure with my cat, Muffin, in the summer.
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