Courtesy of heidi allen
Heidi Allen has suffered through couples asking to have penguins as ring bearers, a bride wearing see-through lingerie and being hit on by a groom half an hour after he got married. “That marriage lasted a year,” says Allen, chuckling.
But Allen is no cynic — she is the co-founder of Weddings Heidi Style, a brand that encompasses a bridal salon in St. Catharines, wedding planning services and a magazine.
The TV show Rich Bride Poor Bride picked her to be a wedding planner to couples on a budget.
Allen was never the little girl who dreamed of a fairy tale wedding, but she loves that she can take part in a ceremony that ties two people together.
“I’m a very emotional person. I’m involved in the most important day of people’s lives and I get to be a part of that and I think that’s a privilege,” says Allen, who has been married twice.
Allen got into the wedding industry when she and her father started a photography company 13 years ago. They found that most of their business was in weddings and Allen and her second husband, Mike, bought a bridal magazine where she writes a wedding advice column.
“Tradition is a con,” says Allen about weddings. “They say you have to have a cake, you have to have favours. You don’t have to do that anymore. Today’s weddings are about showing people who you are.”
Allen’s second wedding almost three years ago was definitely not a traditional affair. After the reception, Allen’s father surprised the guests with 15 motorcyclists from his group, the Southern Cruisers. “They were in their leathers and riding their Harleys and gave the guests a ride. People told me later it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to,” says Allen.
However, she says she worries about the intentions of young people looking to get married. “All they want is the wedding day, being the princess. You have to realize you’re getting married. I was that young bride once.”
Allen, 36, married her first husband when she was 23 years old and was married for almost nine years. “We grew up together. The two of us were young and there were wonderful moments, but I had career goals and he didn’t. I keep telling my kids, ‘You’re not getting married until you’re 30,’” she jokes.