We are so excited to share with you this series where we interview our lovely Union Friends. We are always blown away by the passion and incredile talent in the Vancouver wedding industry and we wanted to share these amazing people with you all.
Happy Monday, everyone! We hope you all had a great weekend. Ready for our next Union Friend interview? Meet the lovely Alicia Keats and Aurora Buchanan from Alicia Keats Weddings + Events. (That is Alicia on the left in the photo above and Aurora on the right.) Alicia & Aurora are two extraordinary women who truly are a fantastic team. Their kindness, professionalism and passion for weddings have built them a well-deserved great reputation in Vancouver. Alicia & Aurora are always a pleasure to be around and we’re sure you’ll agree after reading their interview!
Why weddings? What do you love about them?
Alicia: It is so special being a part of someone’s memories of this important day that they are going to remember forever. I love making what my clients are imagining for their wedding day actually happen for them.
Seeing the love everywhere on a wedding day is wonderful. Not just the love of the couple but of everyone surrounding them. There is love all around, and it is absolutely amazing.
I love too getting to be intimately connected to my clients and their families. Especially with cultural weddings where suddenly I’m not on the outside of their culture, I’m included and get to be a part of it all.
Most of all, I love making people happy and knowing that I can take all the stress away for our couples so they can just relax and enjoy their wedding day.
Aurora: We have similar views on this, which is why we are working together. I enjoy getting immersed in someone’s family for the year and getting to know everyone. Being able to give them their dream wedding is amazing. I can help the couple make choices along the way which can be stressful for them. Guiding them through it all with our experience is really rewarding. We get to give the couples what they want. Our couples trust in us and it is so great for the couples to see that we are for real and we can really make it happen and that all things are possible. Especially with a budget in mind, you can have an incredible wedding as long as the couple is flexible and open to creative solutions.
I also love ceremonies, I tear up at every one. I’m a huge romantic.
Alicia: I love sending a bride down the aisle. I love having a moment with the bride, when it is just the two of us. I get her present so she can take it all in. I love it and I always get goose bumps.
How did you two meet and start working together?
Aurora: We met working at another wedding planning company.
Alicia: It was kind of love at first sight. We clicked right away. We are very similar with some really good differences that help each other. Aurora is stricter than I am.
Aurora: I am stricter than Alicia, but we balance each other out. We’re both very passionate, hard working, and sensitive.
What is one of your most memorable or best experiences in business?
Alicia: There are so many! I had a client a few years ago who through the course of the planning found out that her mom had cancer. I had consequently just went through a close family member having cancer as well. I’m a strong believer that we get certain clients for certain reasons. I was able to take on more of the wedding pressures so that she could focus on her mom and her mom’s recovery. Her mom was able to make it to the wedding and having her mom be a part of the ceremony was so special. That is one of the privileges that we get as wedding planners; to be allowed into a stranger’s life and to cry with them and laugh with them and sometimes get them through challenging circumstances, it is so special. Thankfully her mom is doing really well.
Aurora: When I saw the photos of this one particular wedding I was so happy and proud of what the client and I had created. It was so much fun working on it and then seeing it all unfold on the day and come together. It was so beautiful and the couple loved it. Months later I cried when I saw the photos. The couple was so lovely together and it was breathtaking against the background of the wedding. I was very proud and it was a big moment for me.
What is your favourite part of a wedding?
Aurora: The speeches and the ceremonies are my favourite parts because they are so moving. I always feel so touched by the raw emotion.
I also really like to see the rooms come together. One of my favourite moments is when the room is all set up and no one else is in it yet.
Alicia: I love making our clients’ dreams come true. It is so cheesy to say but it is true. Seemingly to be able to read their mind. And what I said about sending my brides down the aisle.
What is your best piece of advice for an engaged couple?
Aurora: Hire a wedding planner!
Alicia: Preserve the engagement. Try not to rush it. It is such a special time, and I think it goes so quickly. Try to enjoy the engaged part of your relationship. If you hire a planner early on, when you get bombarded with all the questions of “When are you getting married, where is it happening?” etc you can just tell people that you have a planner and she is handling it all. Then you can just step away from all the noise and pressures all those questions create.
Aurora: “You have to do a cake cutting! You’re getting married at our church, right?” All those questions from your well intentioned relatives and friends. You can just tell them that you have a planner and we are figuring it out.
I would also say to make time for dates during the engagement. Your schedule can be really busy when you add the wedding planning into the mix so it is important to take the time to do fun couple things.
Alicia: Yes! Date night! My clients know all about date nights.
What is the one thing about you that not many people may know?
Alicia: I love Coronation Street. Not many people know that. But I know you share this with me, Holly & Roger!
Aurora: I used to be a dancer years ago. I did jazz, hip hop and musical theatre. I loved it!
What is your most prized possession?
Alicia: I’m not super attached to most of my stuff. I really don’t have a huge attachment to things. If my house was burning down I would grab my boyfriend.
Aurora: My photo albums. I took photos of my entire life. In high school I took photos of everything! I was obsessed! It is so cool to look at them now and see myself then with the perspective that I have now. I love looking at photos of my grandparents and parents so I want to have those photos to show my children one day.
What was the best decision you ever made?
Aurora: The best decision I ever made was asking Alicia if she would be interested in working with me. As long as I’ve known Alicia, I thought she was amazing and really wanted to work with her no matter what. As soon as I saw Alicia’s ad for her own company in WedLuxe I called her immediately and asked her out for coffee.
Alicia: I lost my mind with happiness. I had just started my company and I didn’t even have a full season of weddings yet.
Aurora: I told her I could be her assistant, or whatever she needed.
Alicia: I get emotional every time I think about it. Aurora saw the potential in me and our company and took the risk to join me in the very beginning because she believed in me.
Aurora: It was one of those decisions in life where I had no questions at all. I just knew I wanted to work with Alicia.
Alicia: One of the best decisions I ever made was to take a chance on myself.
If you could learn one random skill, what would it be?
Aurora: To speak another language. Maybe French or Spanish. I’ve tried to learn both and I just couldn’t pick them up. Or to read lips. It would be so good at weddings. I could see any if there are any issues happening from across the room!
Alicia: I would love to be a better surfer. That and I would love to be better at spelling.
What is inspiring you lately?
Alicia: Is it really cheesy if I say Aurora? Aurora doesn’t give up; she always finds a solution for our clients. She is just so on it. Her vision for what she sees for us in the business and for her clients is so inspiring. I love working with her and her clients adore her.
Aurora: My clients, they are all so different and have diverse ideas. It is so inspiring to work on all these unique weddings and continue to learn and brainstorm.
If you could trade places with another person for a week, who would it be?
Aurora: Audrey Hepburn. I could be an actress, in a fabulous era with great clothes, and I could pull off a pixie cut!
Alicia: Oprah. I would love to switch places with her because she has the power to change people’s lives in a really big way. I admire her business skills, taking risks and staying true to her values. To have her influence to better the world would be incredible.
Alicia & Aurora, thank you so much for taking the time for us to interview you for our series. It is always such a pleasure spending time with you two!