I think being reliable is such an asset in life, but especially in this industry where we really need to be able to trust one another to show up and do what we promised.
Carrie-Ann Kloda

Carrie-Ann Kloda

Wedding Coach & Event Planner

Location: Montreal, Quebec

It’s not an accident that my name, Kith & Kin, means friends and family. It’s my mission to help couples refocus their attention on what matters, instead of getting bogged down by things they can’t control.

As a wedding coach, I help brides and grooms enjoy the journey up to the big day. I listen to them and help them figure out: their emotional and logistical needs, what is blocking them from moving forward in their planning, pointing out what is fixable and what isn’t, refocusing their attention on what matters, and being that big sister who keeps them from spinning out mentally.

I know the half-an-Ativan-glass-of-chardonnay experience – it was mine, almost every other day leading up to my wedding – and I don’t want that for anyone. I don’t want you to be stressing because you don’t know how much to budget for sound and lighting gear. It doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. It could, actually, be about more than the destination.

That’s a job that I can do for anyone in the world. For my local couples, I also plan and execute events, from full-touch planning to event management, and that’s for everything from weddings and bar mitzvahs and massive corporate events to baby showers, romantic proposals, and custom bachelorette itineraries.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

I love that people are inspired to have sustainable weddings. There is so much waste in the event industry, and there are so many little tweaks we can make to do better. Take it from someone who worked for a caterer for over 10 years… there’s pretty much no limit to the amount of waste you could cause if you wanted to, or if you simply chose to be blissfully unaware of that fact.

Another trend, which can actually help with reducing waste at your wedding, is calligraphy. I took up calligraphy as a hobby in 2018, and started getting requests to do mirror and plexiglass seating charts almost before I felt ready! Now, it’s one of my favourite requests, because it’s so relaxing compared to event management, and I think it adds a whimsical touch – something handmade but also really elegant.

I did one seating chart on bottles last year and while it was a challenge to get everything perfectly centered, it turned out so pretty and I loved seeing the result once they added flowers and played with heights.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

Every couple has a budget and depending on their dream event and number of guests, any budget can feel tight! My number one tip would be to hire a planner who can get real with you about what things cost and what you can do without. Figure out what matters most to you: is it an amazing meal, a full dance floor, stunning photos to cherish, or jaw-dropping decor?

Once you know this, you can better allocate that budget. And no matter what, no matter how well-organized and creatively DIY you are, you really need an event manager. Everyone needs someone to run their wedding so that they can enjoy the day they have spent so much time, energy, and money creating.

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?

When I was brainstorming my branding, I spent a lot of time dreaming up my ideal client. Resources are a non-starter for me – I truly believe you can have a meaningful, memorable day on any budget. But your approach is definitely going to determine if you love your journey and your day.

My dream client is someone who would rather have experiences than things and has strong family values. They believe in sustainability, kindness, and community. Their wedding is about the people in the room who love them, and they trust me to make decisions for them on their day.

At the end of the event, they feel happy and they have had time and space to create those amazing, precious memories.

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

My relationships with vendors are paramount! Having been in this industry for over fifteen years, I have made so many close friends in the event industry, and I have a ton of respect for the people I work with. The fact is, try as I might to learn, I still know very little about lighting design, so it’s really important for me to work with people who know what they’re doing!

I think of my role as a supporting one – yes, I’m there to run the event, but everyone on the team has the same client, so my job is to make sure that every other professional on the gig has what they need in order to do their job well. I always make sure my suppliers get the timeline in advance so they can let me know if they have suggestions on how to adjust it, and I make sure they are FED! OMG FEED YOUR VENDORS!!! And then trust them. They are the experts.

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?

I worked as a floor manager for a catering company and as an event assistant for over ten years before I ever realized I wanted to be an event planner. For years, even though I was planning and managing my own events, I still told planners that I would never start my own company because I loved being a freelancer so much, and because I had a solid side hustle as a yoga teacher. I never wanted to be out of touch with who I am when I’m at home with myself, losing myself in an effort to be successful financially. I did want more clients, but it wasn’t until I had a non-ideal client that I decided I needed to get in front of more people with a brand that showed potential clients what I’m all about, and allowed them to self-select out when they saw right away that I’m not for them.

A wedding coach is so niche – it’s really not for everybody! I want those more thoughtful people with whom I really resonate – that’s who I want to get in front of so they can have their dream wedding journey. The fact is, I already had clients who had me booked for 2020 and even 2021 before I launched my brand a few months ago. They helped me get really clear on what I do and who I’m doing it for. It’s actually one of my own clients who told me, “You’re more than a planner… I think you’re a coach!” So, this brand is totally new. But I’ve been running events for a long time, and as a purely referral-based business, I’ve been really successful.

I think you just have to show up, keep showing up, be kind, work hard… and people will recognize you. I really just try to be kind, honest, helpful, and calming. And reliable! I think being reliable is such an asset in life, but especially in this industry where we really need to be able to trust one another to show up and do what we promised.

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

The first time I ran an event as a day-of coordinator, both the fire department and the police showed up. Luckily, the biggest issue was a blaring alarm, no one was hurt, and since it was a bat mitzvah, all the twelve-year-old girls were stoked to have their picture taken with the firemen!

I was so lucky that day, and even though a bunch of things went wrong, the client either didn’t know or didn’t care about them, and I got my first taste of success. I realized right away that my role was to grease all the wheels and put out all the fires without ever letting on to the client that I was stressed (or freaking out) and without demanding a pat on the back.

I found out that I LOVE to be behind the scenes.

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