With over 15 years in the industry, hundreds of weddings planned all over the world, and more lives than a cat, I’m here to share my story in the hopes that it inspires you in some way to show up in your life, get out of your own way, and love. Love, Crystal.

Meet Crystal Adair-Benning, international wedding planner/designer and owner of Distinct Occasions in Toronto, ON.  A self-described hopeless romantic, adventure seeker and lover of color and travel, Crystal is a match made in heaven for couples looking to plan awesome, “once-in-a-freaking-lifetime” kind of weddings…anywhere in the world!

On February 9th, 2016 (mark your calendars!), Crystal will be releasing her first book, “Wedding Planner Problems”.  A fun and heartfelt behind-the-scenes look into her personal and professional journey in the wild world of wedding planning.

I am SO excited to share with you today a little Q & A session with this super wedding industry creative!

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YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY FOR OVER 15 YEARS AND HAVE PLANNED SOME BEAUTIFUL AND VERY UNIQUE CELEBRATIONS!  HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?

CAB:  I never wanted to be a wedding planner. I actually just saw a need and filled it. It wasn’t romantic or over thought and I never expected to be doing it 15 years later. Trust me on that!

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Distinct Occassions1 YOUR BOOK “WEDDING PLANNER PROBLEMS” IS BEING RELEASED ON AMAZON ON FEBRUARY 9TH (SO EXCITING!!).  WHAT SPARKED YOUR DESIRE TO WRITE A BOOK AT THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
CAB:  I have been a writer for most of my life and loved it. I have written books for others as a shadow writer, magazine articles, blogs, websites and magazines but never written for myself. It was the encouragement of friends and colleagues that pushed me to tell my story. None of us ever think we are “special” but I guess a lot of people related to my story. I work in rainbows and sunshine but my life was far from perfect.  It changed my life, changed my business and more importantly, changed me. If that inspires someone else to get through their “not perfect” I’m thrilled! Distinct-Occasions_Wedding_Mary-Pat_Dave_Cambium-Farms_010

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CAN YOU SHARE A COUPLE OF HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK WITH US?  WHAT WERE SOME MEMORABLE MOMENTS FOR YOU WHEN WRITING “WEDDING PLANNER PROBLEMS“?
CAB:  The book is meant to be read like you and I are having a drink after a very looooong wedding. It is part my life story and part hilarious behind-the-scenes tales of weddings/events I have produced. Two big moments stick out for me. The first is all about the moment that changed my life… and it happened in New Zealand. The second is the final tale in my book and my very own monsoon wedding. I won’t give more away than that but if you like laughing, crying and shaking your head in wonder – read on!  I wrote the book while in Maui, Hawaii on a destination wedding. A couple of extra weeks for some focused writing time (mixed with surfing time) and my right hand gal, Gina (who works for Distinct Occasions) and the book was born. I actually didn’t struggle writing it as much as I thought I would. I just let it flow and wrote… I laughed. I cried (a lot). But, in the end, it is my heart on a page.

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WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU ENCOUNTERED WHEN WRITING THE BOOK AND WHAT DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT THE PROCESS?
CAB:  I think my biggest challenge was actually choosing WHICH stories to tell! After 15 years, as I am sure you can imagine, there are HUNDREDS. The stories that I ended up choosing I felt really shaped the Planner I have become.  It was incredibly cathartic to open my heart and just write. Put it all out there. Now that it is about to become incredibly public it scares me (a little) but I don’t regret it for a single second. Life is messy. Love is real and Marriage can change the world.

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ASIDE FROM YOUR NEW BOOK BEING PUBLISHED, RUNNING YOUR OWN WEDDING PLANNING AND DESIGN COMPANY AND BEING A MENTOR TO INDUSTRY PEERS THROUGH “WEDDING MAVEN” (TALK ABOUT AMAZING MULTITASKING ABILITIES!), WHAT ARE SOME OTHER DREAMS AND GOALS FOR 2016?

CAB:  I really would love the opportunity to speak more and share my story. We throw the term ‘balance’ around a lot and never more than when you are knee-deep in tulle and bridesmaids. The truth is, it doesn’t exist. What exists instead is happiness. What exists is love. What exists between the weddings is real life – messy, chaotic, scary, awesome, amazing LIFE. I want to share that with everyone!

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Thank you Crystal for being awesome, inspiring and for sharing your story!

Be sure to follow Crystal’s wedding planning adventures here, here and here and get yourself a little copy of her new book on February 9th, 2016 on amazon.com.  Date is already marked in my calendar!

Wishing you a lovely week.  xo

Photo credits: Image 1 / Images 2-6 / Images 7-10 / Image 11 (top right / center / bottom right / bottom left / top left) / Image 12 (top right / bottom right / center / bottom left / top left)

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