Style Q & A: Planning To Impress

Jennifer Bergman arranges elegant weddings for her clients while remaining stylish herself



3.1 Phillip Lim dress from Coup {Garment Boutique}

 

photography by Aspen Zettel

styling by Jessica Clark

hair by Sarah Thiele of Mousy Browns

 makeup by Nickol Walkemeyer for Blushed Beauté

photographed on location at Novelle Bridal Shop

 


From social-media announcements to reality shows and extravagant celebrity nuptials, saying “I do” has never been so well-documented. As a result, the pressure to execute a stylish and seamless event has never been so high. However, when Jennifer Bergman launched her eponymous wedding planning and design firm in 2008, the wedding industry in Edmonton was seemingly underserved. She was just 24 years old at the time. 

Holding a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Alberta, she started Jennifer Bergman Weddings (JBW) as a side project while working in a marketing role at Fountain Tire and planning large-scale corporate events. Her first summer in business, however, JBW was no sideshow: She secured 16 accounts.

“Once I got the company online, that was it,” she says. “When people are planning a wedding, it’s a visual thing. It’s the law of attraction. They’re attracted to what they think you can design for them or provide for them.”

Now seven seasons in, JBW has planned hundreds of weddings from Edmonton and the Rocky Mountains to Scottsdale, Ariz.; Los Cabos, Mexico; and South Beach, Fla. She has received national and international accolades. In Edmonton, she’s also recognized for her personal sense of style — Kate Moss-inspired by day, she says, and classic, timeless and polished while on the job.

Top and vest from DKNY; watch from MVMT


Did you ever imagine a career as a wedding planner?

No. I don’t think I could’ve ever dreamt about that. I was never even a girl that thought about weddings. I was very much a tomboy. I played sports. It just wasn’t in my wheel of interests. I really fell into event planning in university, in business school and then, when I was planning my own wedding, through my research of the Edmonton wedding market, I realized there was a big gap. And a light bulb went on. I thought, ‘Here’s a little opportunity. Maybe I could slide on in here.’

Why is it important for you to dress well in the wedding industry?

How you dress is really a reflection of you on so many levels: Your confidence, your wellness, your wellbeing. People are hiring me to design their days, so I think that they need to feel confident that I can put myself together, and I can put an event together. And, also, I think my style is reflective of my brand, which is reflective of our weddings. It all ties together, and having my name on the company, it’s important that I’m living that.  

Top and vest from DKNY; watch from MVMT


How would you describe your personal style?

Classic, but with a bit of an edge, a little bit of trendiness in there. One of the big things for me is comfort and ease. I really like to be comfortable in what I’m wearing. I think it’s my tomboy background — if I have to tug at something all night, or I’m in heels and I look like a deer and can barely walk, I can’t do it.

What do you usually wear to a wedding?

When I’m working, I usually wear a black dress. I like to wear a dress because I like to look as dressy as the guests, but I wear black, and a pretty simple and classic silhouette just to look professional and blend in. I don’t want to wear any patterns or anything to stand out too much. And — back to the comfort thing — I like to move; I have to bend down a lot, I have to walk a lot. We walk a zillion steps in a day when we’re doing a wedding. A big thing for me is that I need to wear heels or wedges. I need to be elevated. It just makes me feel more polished and put together. But I need to be in something that I can walk in, and be in those same shoes for 12, 14, 16 hours.

sweater and pants from DKNY; watch from MVMT; Senso shoes from Coup {Garment Boutique}


What style advice would you give to wedding guests? 

The usual: Don’t wear white. But that’s a very traditional piece of etiquette. It really depends on what kind of school of thought you follow. You always have to take into consideration the wedding couple and the time of year. If it’s a really funky bride who is Boho and doesn’t care as much, and you want to wear a cream dress, just ask her if that’s OK. If it’s a traditional hotel wedding and it’s more of a classic princess-style bride, then you probably don’t want to wear white.

Do you have a trademark look? 

Day to day, I really just like to wear comfy skinny jeans and I love my leather jacket. I think you can wear a T-shirt, ripped jeans, a jacket or a blazer and heels and you look good; it’s still professional.

sweater and pants from DKNY; watch from MVMT; Senso shoes from Coup {Garment Boutique}


Where do you shop?

I know this is bad for a Style Q&A, but I actually really don’t like shopping at all. I love having good clothes and I like looking good, but if I could have someone come to my house with rolling racks and just try stuff on, I would love that. When I do go to a store to go shopping, I just talk to a sales associate and go to a change room and they bring me things. And I find that, as I’ve gotten older, I really know my body, I know what looks good on me, but I still don’t like the act of shopping. So, I do a lot online — Nordstrom; ASOS out of the U.K., I’ve got some good stuff from them. And then sometimes I like random brands and I’ll find them on Instagram. 

What are your favourite Instagram accounts to follow for fashion inspiration? 

I follow Wendy’s Lookbook (@wendyslookbook). She [Wendy Nguyen] is quite put together, with more structured outfits. And then I like Sincerely Jules (@sincerelyjules). She’s more casual, very west coast. And OOTD Magazine (@ootdmagazine), they often will do three outfits and will gauge their followers, but I see some nice stuff on there.  

What wedding dress trends do you expect to see this summer?

A lot of gowns are really romantic right now. The Boho trend is not brand new, but it’s still there, and a lot of people love the idea of a floral crown, just a really soft and flowy vibe. Thinking back to my brides this summer, there was a big shift to the glamorous weddings, more formal, and I’ve seen that in a few of my brides this year. Very statement. Very show-stopping. Gorgeous silhouettes.

Would you ever have your own wedding planning reality show?

I don’t know if I’d be interesting enough! I’m very calm. I keep everything inside. I take my couples’ stress and internalize it for them. I think, on the wedding days, you could make it dramatic — but I’ve always wanted to be on The Amazing Race or Big Brother instead.

Skirt from DKNY; Senso shoes from Coup {Garment Boutique}; top from Club Monaco; Mackage leather jacket from Aritizia; necklace from Banana Republic


Favourites

Hang-out spot:
North Saskatchewan River Valley

Restaurant:
Japonais Bistro

Dish:
Mom’s Sunday dinners

Drink:
Bubbles

Flower:
Ranunculus

Wedding cake flavour:
Lemon

Wedding dress designer:
Reem Acra

Local wedding dress shop:
Delica Bridal and Novelle Bridal Shop

Favourite small-scale venue:
Wedgwood Room at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald 

Favourite large-scale venue:
The Oasis Centre

Local designer:
Poppy Barley

Fashion item in your closet:
Leather jacket

Jeweller:
Hunt Amor

Beauty product:
Coconut oil

Hair Salon:
Weekly Barber Shop & Boutique

Workout regimen:
Healthy Rhino (HIIT classes) – and a mix of running, soccer, basketball and yoga

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