Hi Everyone! My big exciting news for this year – Nick and I got married this summer! For those of you who don’t know us very well, we’ve dated since high school – that’s 11-years! I’d like to think that wedding planning was a big part of the reason I haven’t been posting as frequently as I would have liked to, but hopefully I’ll have a bit more free time now!
THE PROPOSAL | I was running late getting home from work. It was my last day before Christmas vacation. I was rushing and frazzled as work-life balance was something I had been struggling with for the past little while. Nick was surprisingly calm when I finally got home and had even grabbed me a chai tea latte. I was shoving clothes into my suitcase, trying to get ready to go as quickly as possible when Nick appeared behind me and asked me to stop for a second. He said, “I have good news and bad news. The bad news, is you aren’t getting a ring for Christmas. The good news is I love you and I know I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I have a ring for you right now!” Now, Nick had been joking about getting me a lump of coal for Christmas to which I would reply, a piece of coal compressed into a tiny diamond?! I honestly didn’t think he had gotten around to getting me a ring by this time so I was extremely surprised to see him getting down on one knee as he was saying all of this!
THE VISION | I think we knew what we didn’t want the day to be and we knew we wanted it to be us – laid-back and fun. I asked my parents if we could do at their new house, north of Toronto. We joked about having a pig roast wedding but that joke quickly became a serious conversation. I think some of our friends and family were confused when we talked about rejecting some traditional aspects of a wedding but no one seemed to miss them come wedding-day.
THE VENUE | As mentioned before, we asked my parents if we could get married at their house. My parents retired to this house about 2 years ago and had long-terms plans to fix up the house and the large 7-acres yard. Unfortunately for them, hosting our wedding meant cramming all these plans into a 9-month period. My dad built the alter and my mom worked tirelessly on the garden. We rented a tent, tables, and chairs and refused to think of a backup plan should it rain.
FINDING THE DRESS | I was worried about finding a dress. I’m notoriously indecisive and self-conscious. We had already picked our wedding date for end of August and the lead-time for ordering a wedding dress is typically 9 months, which didn’t leave me very much time to find The One. I surprised myself by picking the first dress at the 2nd store I visited…. 9 days after we had gotten engaged!
TEA CEREMONY | We had a semi-traditional Chinese tea ceremony for our families in the early afternoon prior to our wedding ceremony. This was one of my favourite parts of the day. It was so nice to have a little bit of time with each family member, to look them in the eye and thank them for everything they have done for us in our lives. I was extremely emotional when serving tea to my parents and grandparents. One of the most touching moments for me, was when Nick’s grandfather presented me with a golden token with our wedding date engraved on it. As a side note, I made my qipao dress (and Nick’s red tie)! I’m so pleased with how they turned out.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Many of my cousins are extremely talented on the violin but we asked one in particular to play all our music for the ceremony. He had just received an electric violin for Christmas and with the use of a looping pedal he created beautiful layered music for us. Music was extremely hard for us to pick, neither of us have extremely strong connections to music.
Processional and Entrance of the Bride: Secrets by One Republic
Signing: Lost Boy by Ruth B
Recessional: All You Need Is Love by The Beatles
As for readings, we had our dear friends Anne and Ryan read Union by Robert Fulghum. It was the only reading we could find that felt genuine and rang true to us. The ceremony was made truly memorable when Anne and Ryan deviated from the script and made changes that made the poem specific to us and our relationship. They read,
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, [biking partner, belay partner, soccer teammate, skiing buddy, running buddy… man these guys do a lot of sports…] even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years.
It was hilarious!!!
Parent’s dance: Upside Down by Jack Johnson
First dance: Hooked On A Feeling by Blue Swede
VOWS | I suggested we write our own vows and Nick begrudgingly agreed. I think he wanted to but was nervous about it. In the end, our wedding day was drawing ever nearer and Nick still didn’t have anything on paper so I provided him with a template. We shared 2 paragraphs and followed the same structure for the other 2. We kept them sincere and light-hearted. I was tearing up but there were also a few laughs built in. We received many compliments from our guests on how they really liked the mirroring in our vows.
PHOTOGRAPHER | I found Laura Fess online and after emailing with her, I was quickly drawn to her energetic spirit. After our engagement shoot we felt so reassured with our decision to work with Laura. If you ever need someone to take photos for you, I HIGHLY recommend her. She was an absolute dream on our wedding day too. She easily takes control of large crowds and delivers amazing results.
THE DETAILS AND DÉCOR | Whimsical Wonderland Weddings quickly became my favourite wedding blog to visit for inspiration. I fell in love with one of their featured weddings and aimed to emulate it. This meant lots of bright colours, no specific colour-scheme, lots and lots of bunting, and otherwise simple decor. My cousins and aunts helped to sew all the bunting. We REALLY wanted our fat cat to be our ring bearer but it was impossible. Instead I painted his portrait and we had a bunch of button pins and magnets produced. One of the highlights of the wedding was seeing everyone (even our grandparents) wearing these hilarious pins. It was like a campaign – Meow Meow for president!!! We also had a giant canoe full of beer, ciders, and radlers. We totally over-estimated how much our guests would drink.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | It’s impossible to pick just one.
- My grandma shaking her finger at Nick demanding “YOU GIVE ME GREAT GRAND SON” during the tea ceremony.
- My great uncle, Rolf, singing a traditional Norwegian wedding blessing song also during the tea ceremony.
- Having an impromptu group hug with my bridesmaids right before walking down the aisle.
- Our violinist, Timmy, was given the opportunity to go first at the dinner buffet. He literally sprinted towards the food when this was announced.
- Nick’s best man gave the most amazing speech, which was so unexpected! It had everyone roaring with laughter and tearing up at the same time.
ADVICE FOR COUPLES | Stereotypically, remember that it is YOUR day. The things we compromised on ended up being our biggest stressors, difficulties, and regrets. You can plan ahead as much as possible, but on the day of, just let things be. The over-arching feeling will be Love no matter what happens! We found that wedding planning surprisingly brought out the worst of each of us occasionally, so remember to take time to remember WHY you’re getting married and that while a wedding is just a day, your relationship will be for the rest of your lives.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer extraordinaire | Laura Fess
The dress | Patience by Maggie Sottero bought in Barrie at Helen’s Bridal
Nick’s suit | Calvin Klein X-fit
Flamingo tie and socks | Banana Republic
Bridesmaid dresses | Bari Jay dresses bought in Toronto at Jealous Bridesmaids
Flowers | DIY! Ordered from Midland Foodland
Catering | Shaw’s Catering pork roast buffet
Rentals | Special Occasion Tent Rentals & Elite Party Rentals
Cupcakes | By my bridesmaid, Joy
Ice Cream | By my other bridesmaid, Liz @ Moo Shu Ice Cream
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about our wedding or our experience :)