To say that Sarah Kalnay-Watson, the owner of Let Me Knot on 52 Street, is just a wedding planner would be vastly understating her duties.
She acts as a wedding and events planner, but also as a florist and even administers marriage and officiates weddings out of her quaint shop.
“Some of my friends joke around that I’m the ‘Las Vegas’ of Yellowknife because I can have people come in and get their marriage licence and get married right here in the shop,” Kalnay-Watson said.
Born in Ottawa but raised in Yellowknife, Kalnay-Watson has moved away and returned several times between Ottawa, Scotland and Toronto as she pursued school and various jobs.
During one of her stints in Yellowknife, she trained as a florist while working as a wedding planner at the now defunct Flowers By Manuela.
“At the time, I was doing side video gigs and needed a job. I was planning my own wedding and was talking to someone at Flowers By Manuela about different flowers because I was going to do my own arrangements and she offered me a job,” said Kalnay-Watson. During her couple years there, her employer felt she had enough skill so they paid for training in Edmonton.
After leaving again to work in the film industry in Toronto, she finally returned to Yellowknife again and started Let Me Knot out of her home in 2014 as a wedding and event planning business. The three years that followed were successful enough to allow her to open a brick and mortar shop in November 2017. That’s when she also incorporated floral services.
“It’s been an incredibly successful year for the business, which I’m really excited about,” said Kalnay-Watson.
She’s been able to pay herself a salary and is almost to the point of being able to hire her first part-time staff member, which can be relatively difficult for a new business owner.
The possibility of hiring a staff member would be a great relief to Kalnay-Watson, who maintains a hectic schedule despite multiple disabilities.
“In 2015 I had spinal surgery for scoliosis (curvature of the spine) so I have two titanium rods in my spine, so I don’t have a lot of flexibility in my back,” she said.
Watson was also born with a condition called patella alta, meaning her kneecaps are in the wrong position.
“A lot of event and setting up work involves a lot of bending of the knees,” she said. “At any given moment I can dislocate my knee on the spot, so it’s physically straining.”
Let Me Knot is not the only wedding planning or floral business in town, but Kalnay-Watson feels there is plenty that sets her business apart.
“All the flowers I get are seasonal by the week. I get a new order sheet every week where I can pick my flowers and won’t have to be locked in to standing orders,” she said.
Kalnay-Watson also forages the Yellowknife area for local flora and vegetation.
“I recently did a casket spread for a local hunter’s funeral. His casket has local moss and Labrador tea and branches to represent the area he came from. I try and work with a lot of the elements we find here.”
Her line of work involves emotions at varying ends of the spectrum.
“I am a sucker for romance and getting to see the love that exists within this town,” said Kalnay-Watson said. “You get to see the softer, more romantic side of the town which most people don’t get to see.”
Kalnay-Watson will be partnering with Copper House next month for a Valentine’s day special called A Match Made in Yellowknife. She also plans on partnering with farms in the area to provide more locally grown flowers in her arrangements.