Today we meet Ariel Chiu, of Wonderstruck Events. She is a meticulous and organized wedding planner based in Canada who specializes in destination weddings in Paris. She creates fine art designs and works with some of the most trusted artisans and vendors in the industry. With a background in planning corporate events, she is a romantic at heart. By curating and collecting inspiration from her world travels she truly sees wedding design as an art form.
What inspired you to enter the wedding industry?
I have a textbook Type A personality, so a career in event management seemed fitting after university. As one might imagine, the corporate world was heavy in logistics and lacking in creativity, so after nearly a decade, I found myself gravitating towards wedding planning. It was a natural transition into coordination and planning, but what excited me the most was designing and curating all the visual elements of a wedding. I enjoy working with couples who appreciate the finer details and share a love for luxury and travel. As such, I specialize in destination wedding planning where my passions and expertise align to provide a high-end wedding experience.
What type of client experience do you hope to convey with Wonderstruck Events?
At one point or another, we’ve all experienced that overwhelming feeling of awe and delight. Wonderstruck is the feeling I hope to create for my couples and their guests.
If you could change one thing about the weddings and special events industry, what would it be?
I would love to see more intentional content being created—it's sometimes discouraging to see the same trends recycled in a saturated market.
How does using Aisle Planner help you deliver the client experience you want?
Aisle Planner has helped me streamline my processes and offer a clean and simple platform for collaboration. Most of my couples are tech-savvy and lead a busy lifestyle. Aisle Planner is an accessible tool that replaces the shared Google docs and cumbersome e-mails.
What is your favorite Aisle Planner feature?
The Layout and Seating Tool is an incredibly useful feature. I enjoy the ability to customize floor plans, and my couples appreciate the ease of assigning and changing seats when working on their table arrangements.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming a wedding and event planner?
I would encourage an aspiring planner to work a season or two with an experienced planner or planning company; you simply can’t fast-track or substitute hands-on wedding day experience.
What do you think will change about the weddings and special events space over the next five years?
The global pandemic has really changed the landscape for many industries, ours included. I think intimate weddings and elopements will continue to be a more common choice as couples move away from larger celebrations and choose instead, to provide a more elevated experience for their nearest and dearest.
What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great wedding and event planner?
Investments in yourself and your brand are truly invaluable. The luxury wedding market is such a competitive space, so why should a couple invest in you, if you don’t invest in yourself? To me, that means continuing to refine my brand while challenging myself creatively and also making a consistent effort to nurture my vendor relationships worldwide.
What lights your creative fire?
I find so much inspiration in my travels, so I am eager to satiate my wanderlust once it is safe to travel comfortably again. I am eager to return to Paris, but Seoul and Hong Kong are cities I am also keen to explore.
Is there anything you are particularly excited about working on this year?
This slower year has really allowed me to focus on content distribution, rather than content creation. I am excited to see how this approach performs with newly engaged brides in the new year.
Just for fun
What’s the most used tool in your emergency kit?
Scissors, they always come in handy!
I’m dying to design a wedding or event in…
The Chateau de Tourreau is a gorgeous venue located in the heart of Provence. Featuring endless activities on-site, a stunning infinity pool, and incredible dining, I would love to design a luxury destination wedding extravaganza at this chateau.
What’s one trend you hope to see more of?
I would love to see more wedding weekend experiences—one day is far too short to celebrate with your loved ones!
Your favorite shoes to wear on event day?
My black suede Manolo Blahnik’s, and a pair of Chanel ballerina flats that I keep in my bag.
If you could plan any celebrity’s wedding, who would it be?
Olivia Palermo and Johannes Huebl, they are just an effortlessly stylish and gorgeous pair.
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would change about your wedding?
Now that I’m a fair bit more educated about wedding photography, I would definitely choose a film photographer.
If a client gave you an infinite budget, what would you do differently?
If I had an infinite client budget to work with, I would love to charter the Satori luxury yacht from the Borgo Santo Pietro collection. A week-long adventure along the French Riviera would make for an unforgettable wedding retreat experience.
Hero photo courtesy of Maricle Kang
To find out more about Ariel and her work visit her website: wonderstruck.events