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3 Easy Ways to Make Your Wedding More Meaningful

August 25, 2015

Guest post by Rachel Cravit

When I was in my mid-twenties, I decided I wanted to become the next Martha Stewart. What followed was a mishmash of colourful jobs — working in flower shops, writing for a bridal magazine, and even becoming a bridal consultant — before I ultimately found my calling in another profession. Even so, I know a lot about weddings, and what goes into them. I also know that it’s not always easy for couples to create a meaningful celebration amidst the occasionally crazy, often overwhelming world of weddings. When Jan, a friend and colleague who I met during a photo shoot for Style Me Pretty back in 2013, asked me to contribute a blog post, I thought I would share some tips for wading through the masses of shiny brochures and crafting a celebration that truly reflects your personality, values and story.

1. Forget about other weddings

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In many ways, there is no better time to plan a wedding. While brides of decades past had to assemble their vision with torn out pages of print magazines, now there are hundreds of wedding blogs updated several times a day, chock full of images just waiting to be pinned. On the other hand, the abundance of such easily accessible eye candy brings a mounting pressure to craft the perfect celebration, where every last detail — from the bar signs to the custom dress hangers — is creative, clever and charming. It’s enough to make even the most level-headed bride wash her hands of the entire thing and elope.

That’s why I suggest you stop. Forget about other weddings. Simply close your eyes and imagine all your favourite people in one place. What does it look like? Are your family and friends gathered around the campfire, brushing shoulders at a hip, downtown art gallery or dressed to the nines in a swanky ballroom? Let go of what you think a wedding is supposed to look like and focus instead on what sounds the most appealing to you and your partner.

(Image by Christopher Currie)

For instance: do you have a particular fondness for sweater weather? Ditch the spring blooms for a dramatic autumnal bouquet and slip into a sexy silk sheath paired with a delicious cashmere sweater. Does the thought of typical banquet fare put you to sleep? Call up your favourite takeout place or food truck and see if they cater. Remember: if we can learn anything from the vastness of Pinterest, is that there is no one way to celebrate a wedding.

2. Book a venue with a story

Gary Ashley

Choosing a venue with purpose, beyond merely churning out events, enables your wedding to be part of a broader story.

One bride, whose Toronto Islands wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty last year, booked the local arts and cultural centre Artscape Gibraltar Point in lieu of a traditional banquet hall. “We wanted old, some place that had footprints and a story, we wanted a place that served a purpose for people and not just a hall or building that threw weddings and events. It needed to be more,” she said. The bride and groom also decided to purchase (instead of rent) the majority of their decor so it could later be donated for Artscape to offer to future couples. How’s that for wedding karma?!

When it comes to great venues which service the broader community, Artscape is just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to check back in the coming weeks as Jan will be sharing a few of her personal favourites!

Evangeline Lane

3. Support local designers and smaller businesses

The Loved Ones

Weddings are all about the people, and that includes the ones getting up at the crack of dawn to bring the event to life. Fortunately for brides and grooms, Toronto has a flourishing wedding scene populated by some of the most talented, creative vendors in the industry, but it can be tough to find the right match. Based on my own personal and professional experiences over the past few years, I can’t stress enough how important it is to not only check out reviews on Weddingwire, Yelp and Facebook, but also meet potential vendors in person, even if it’s just to grab coffee and share a few ideas.

I have seen many small businesses and independent designers throw themselves into each and every wedding like it the most important project of their lives, but I have also witnessed vendors who, in spite of being part of the “local” community that many couples want to support, were either not very nice, not well organized, or both. This is where having a wedding planner really pays off — aside from dealing with all the headache-y little details, seasoned pros know right away which vendors will work well together, which vendors are best suited to their clients and which vendors will be able to pull off their vision.

Here are some of my personal favourite small businesses, indie designers and rock star vendors — but this list is by no means definitive, especially since the industry seems to be expanding more and more every day.

Fashion:

  • Armour Sans Anguish – Boho bridesmaid dresses made with 100% recycled fabrics
  • Mikaella Bridal – I discovered Mikaella when I was working as a bridal consultant and it quickly became my favourite label in the salon. Not only are the dresses designed and manufactured right here in Toronto, but the lace is literally the most luscious I have ever seen. A lot of low-grade lace dresses can be itchy but Mikaella laces are so soft you can fall sleep on them. Also, they are GREAT with customizations i.e. adding sleeves, building up a low-cut back for modest brides, etc.
  • Modcloth – I love Modcloth for regular wardrobe shopping because their stuff is affordable, adorable and made by independent designers. However, they also have a great selection of “special occasion” dresses which would be perfect for bridesmaids.

John Newsome

Flowers:

  • Coriander Girl – My favourite florist in Toronto, Coriander Girl is where I get all my arrangements if I am splurging for a special occasion or just to treat myself.
  • Jade Gardens – My go-to place for succulents
  • My Luscious Backyard – Fresh flowers culled from backyards and gardens around Toronto — possibly the coolest idea I have ever heard

Cake:

  • Mrs. Nethery’s Cake Emporium – My family orders all our cakes from Mrs. Nethery (Crystal), she is literally that good. She also does vegan wedding cakes! Based in Oshawa but delivers to T.O.

Music:

Transportation:

Check back soon for more ideas and inspiration!

Image sources:

Dart Photographie, Christopher Currie, Gary Ashley, Evangeline Lane, The Loved Ones, John Newsome.

Intimate Garden Wedding | Mclean House | Dannie & Simon

August 20, 2015

Dannie and Simon flew in from Hong Kong to hold this small,  intimate wedding of at Mclean House, Estates of Sunnybrook. Throughout the planning, I got to know Dannie through emails and whatsapp, but never met face to face, until 2 weeks before the wedding. Getting to meet them finally and  getting to know their story is such a treat.

The wedding was nothing short of beautiful, heartfelt – celebrated in an outdoor garden ceremony, and followed by a lunch reception.  I watched from a far, and heard the crack in Dannie’s voice while she said her vows, and it was so honest and beautiful. Such love between them both.

The beautiful details – luscious florals by Coriander Girl, handwritten calligraphy by the bride herself and handpainted cake by Nadia & Co…just a perfect summer wedding day!

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Since they both reside in Hong Kong now, they had to find something that represents Canada for memory on their wedding day – Tim Hortons!

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Vendors:
Day of wedding coordination: Willow Rose Events

Florals: Coriander Girl

Cake: Nadia & Co.

Photographer: Liza from Mango Studios
Venue: Mclean House, Estates of Sunnybrook