Anna McCusker Creates Venetian Magic for the Mercantis
I spent the day covering one of the most perfect weddings of the season. The wedding itself… amazing, but as great as it was, I was more excited at the opportunity to go backstage with the wedding planner, Anna McCusker, founder of Hamilton based event planning company Anna McCusker & Co.
With a motto that states “we make the impossible possible”, Anna McCusker has been successfully producing events for the past 27 years. She started her career with a floral shop due to her life long passion for flowers and event planning was naturally incorporated into the mix and in 1992 when she began to focus solely on events. The passion for floral design is still very much alive and incorporated into all her events with assistance from her three trusty floral designers.
For Anna, it is as much about business as it is the design and passion of planning amazing events. Her company is solidly rooted and she has worked hard to ensure that her team is focused on what they promise. It’s one thing to dream up a stylish and lavish design, it’s another to be able to come through without breaking the bank… yours or your clients! For Anna and her team, making magic happen on time and on budget is what they excel at.
Event planning is a business of variety and change. Good planners must stay on their toes and keep on top of new trends. For many of her top events, Anna starts the process two years out. With that much of a gap between the initial design and the event date, a lot can change and the variables can add up fast. According to Anna, “The challenge and commitment of a good planner is to meet your client’s expectations and all within the budgets that you have pre-set with your client. With many extravagant ideas being displayed within magazines and on television, what the client wants and what is actually possible within their budget is a constant issue.”
It is with the goal of creating incredible unique experiences for her clients that Anna and her team have developed an award winning international design firm and been hired to produce some of the most spectacular weddings and events in the past decade. One of her clients, the Mercanti family can certainly attest to her stunning work.
Hired as the planner for all three of the Mercanti children (the first of whom got married 16 years ago), Anna is more than familiar with the family’s high standards. This event, for the Mercanti’s youngest son Joey and his bride Rachel, would be home to 550 of the family’s closest friends and relatives. One of the biggest challenges of this event for the McCusker team was to produce something entirely different from Joey’s brother’s wedding held only a few months earlier. Since the same venue was being used and many of the same guests invited to both events, the pressure was on to be unique and of course amazing!
On the day of this Mercanti’s wedding, I watched in awe as the McCusker team in action as they transformed Carmen’s Banquet at Hall into a Venetian paradise, which the couple specifically requested. As I stood back and observed from the sidelines, steady streams of rental trucks, chefs, sound and lighting teams and McCusker’s planning team bustled in and out of the venue throughout the morning of the big day (which started at 8 a.m). “it’s the preplanning" adds Anna. "being ready gives you the ability to execute and execute well with ease and confidence.”
McCusker and her second in command Melissa McQueen, worked together throughout the morning to coordinate and oversee every detail, providing direction and assistance throughout the process when needed. Melissa must have done at least 10 runs between the church and Carmen’s.
The venetian look was created using a prop heavy design, lots of crystal, glass and mirrors to create water like affects and reflections reminiscent of the canals. Long rectangular tables were used throughout and the colors of soft greys, pinks, silvers and whites accented the romantic theme. Anna incorporated gorgeous branches and stunning blossoms everywhere and when the look was complete the entire room, filled with soft glowing candlelight transported guests to the romance of Venice…. just as requested.
For the Mercanti family it was one of the most important days in their son’s life. For McCusker & team, it was a simply an honor to be trusted with such a momentous occasion and a joy to be able to do what it is they do best…. Design life’s celebrations with the philosophy that “nothing is impossible”
By Lianne Gravitis
Edited by Stacy Wyatt
To learn more about Anna McCusker and to book her for an event please go to www.mccusker.ca.
The Lakeview – www.carmenslakeview.com
Anna McCusker & Co – www.mccusker.ca
Exclusive Affair Rentals (Silver Chiavari Chairs) – www.exclusiveaffair.com
Contemporary Furniture Rentals (Ghost Chairs – Toronto)
Around The Table (Toronto) – Linens – www.aroundthetable.ca
Hofland (Mississauga) – Table Décor – www.hofland.com
Anna Mccusker & Co. – Fresh floral, Backdrop
Anna Mccusker & Co. – Fresh floral, Backdrop
Soundbox Productions Inc. – In house production – lighting , sound – www.soundboxpro.com