“I hope my wedding’s as good as what I pinned on Pinterest”
I have been putting off this wedding recap forEVER. Mostly because I knew it would take a long time, but also becuase I never wanted to revisit the treachery that is wedding planning ever again. Ever. Thankfully all turned out well & our wedding went **mostly** according to plan. All of the below photos of our woodsy winter wedding were taken by the INCREDIBLE Daniel Caruso. ENJOY!
The McMichael Art Gallery was literally the ONLY venue that Andrei & I could agree on. Andrei was looking for something big & grand, while I was looking for small, intimate & rustic…. hard features to compromise on. THANKFULLY the McMichael was a PERFECT blend of grand & elegant with rustic & intimate. It seriously could not have been a more perfect place for us to tie the knot.
The McMichael is a beautiful stone & wooden gallery filled with celebrated Canadian Artists. It’s situated on a vast, expansive forest & was a great setting for our woodsy winter wedding.
We really couldn’t have been blessed with a more perfect winter day – the temperatures were relatively warm, yet we had the most beautiul, fluffy snowfall that lasted until about 2 in the morning. EXACTLY what I had hoped for.
I’m always asked why we went with a winter wedding. There are a few different reasons…
A. Winter is my favourite season
B. Andrei asked me to be his girlfriend on the first day of winter
C. I wanted to give our guests something to look forward to, & celebrate in the winter
D. Winter is romantic, cozy, intimate.. & pure magic
E. Most importantly…. I didn’t want to sacrifice a summer weekend up at the cottage
First Look & Outdoor Photos
My DRESS! I went to the bridal salon & said “You know when most brides come in & say they don’t want to look like a cupcake… I want the cupcakiest dress you have”. Dress is from Bella’s Brides.
I will be forever grateful to these ladies for sacrificing their dresses & testing the limits of thermoregulation all for the sake of my wedding photos.
OMG HE IS SO HANDSOME! Suit is from Empire Customs.
This moment was seriously magical. I’m a fairly traditional person & was initially completely opposed to a first look. However outdoor lighting was limited because we were having a winter wedding, so I begrudgingly agreed to a first look for the sake of good wedding photos! Turns out, our first look was one of my favourite moments of our wedding!
Our first look was in a forest of snow covered birch trees. I remember walking up to Andrei, light snow falling around us, & thinking this was straight out of a fairytale (or a scene from Game of Thrones). It was just the two of us, plus our photographer lolz, & seeing him before the ceremony completely eased all of my anxieties.
Bouquets, Boutonnieres, Invitations & Save the Dates
These flowers by Emily at Threads & Blooms still take my breath away. I wanted rich, moody colours to tie in with our woodsy winter wedding & WOW… Emily could not have done a better job. She is extremely, EXTREMELY talented – when we met to discuss florals I gave her a general idea of what I wanted (ie. rich reds, loose, moody) & essentially left the rest up to her (including flower type).
I generally tend to defer to the experts – they know what they’re doing… I do not.
The calligraphy for our flowers were done by the talented Kimberly Erin Calligraphy.
I wanted our save the dates & invitations to give our guests a sneak peek into what they could expect from our wedding day. Burgundies & golds were obviously our two main wedding colours, so I ordered these beautiful burgundy envelopes & Andrei & I sealed each of them ourselves with a gold wax seal – you can find it HERE on Amazon for just $6.99.
I made sure to carry through all of the elements (flowers, pinecones, greenery etc.) featured on this stationary into our centrepieces & head table. As a nod to our art gallery wedding, I wanted the artwork to have a “hand brush painted” look surrounded by paint splatter (the idea being they had been freshly painted). I also had the artwork prominently featured throughout our wedding. The “Save the Date” pinecones were printed on all of our signage, & the invitation artwork was printed on our menus & projected above our bar with our initials. It’s all about the “brand” people… even for a wedding.
They were designed by one of Andrei’s employees! Contact ME if interested 😉
We were married in Art Gallery 8 at McMichael, surrounded by STUNNING Indigenous Art & two grand totem poles.
Gallery 8 in the McMichael has a long wooden bench dividing the room – making it a tad bit of an awkward ceremony space! We were able to remedy this by lining this bench/our aisle with photos of Andrei & I at different stages throughout our life. The idea being that when we walk down the aisle, we’re quite literally taking a trip down memory lane, past all of the moments that led us to each other & to our wedding day.
We gave our guests bell ornaments in memory of our loved ones. Each bell had an attached note that read: “Every time a bell rings an Angel gets their wings”; a line from one of our favourite Christmas movies, It’s A Wonderful Life. Underneath the quote we listed all of our family members who had passed away. We asked that our guests ring these bells when we exited the ceremony so that our passed family members could still be with us on our wedding!
These bells accomplished three things:
1. They served as a memorial token for our loved ones
2. The art gallery doesn’t allow rice or flowers thrown because of the potential damage to artwork (plus who wants to clean up that mess?). The ringing bells were a nice alternative send-off – plus there’s also the tie in of “wedding church bells”.
3. Wedding favours! We asked that our guests take these home as ornaments for their Christmas Trees – another tie in to our winter wedding.
WOW WOW WOW. When Andrei & I first heard Canadian guitarist Norman Liota perform at a Wedding Open House we both knew that we HAD to have him perform at our wedding. He is SO incredibly talented.
His music truly helped set an enchanting, intimate & romantic tone for the evening. I asked him to play an acoustic version of Can’t Help Falling In Love for our processional; it was my mom and dad’s song for their first dance on their own wedding day!
If you’d like to inquire about his services – click HERE!
Those snow covered trees!!!!! SWOON! Our ceremony backdrop were these gorgeous floor to ceiling windows with a view of the expansive forrests surrounding the art gallery & LOTS of snow-covered pine trees. It was the PERFECT way to capitalize on the season by bringing the outdoor winter weather indoors… without freezing our guests have to death.
This was my favourite part of our wedding day by FAR. I was honestly not looking forward to the ceremony at ALL & just wanted to get to the whole celebration part of it all. I’m incredibly surprised that, looking back, THIS moment was my favourite. We wrote our own vows – for those of you debating writing your own vows… DO IT. It was so worth it – I’m actually framing them to put up in our bedroom.
These centrepieces were a labour of LOVE. My parents & I sliced logs on Thanksgiving Weekend up North at the cottage – we used trees on the property that had already fallen. The rocks & pinecones were collected with friends, neighbors & family from the surrounding forests & lake shores. If you follow me on Instagram… then you KNOW that I spend a great deal of time at the cottage so I REALLY wanted to bring some of those northern elements to our woodsy winter wedding in the city. Plus the reception space truly lends itself to this type of decor.
Emily from Threads & Blooms added a touch of vintage glam to these rustic, woodsy centerpieces with elegant burgundy florals, earthy moss & speckled gold antique votives – it really helped balance the centrepieces out! I wanted an elevated, elegant, more sophisticated rustic look.
These cookies were a TOTAL last minute add & I am so happy that my mother in law volunteered to make them… all 220 of them! She baked, stuffed, stamped & hand tied each & every one of them. They were hazelnut cookies topped with chocolate, & they were SO delicious…. plus they really looked great on everyone’s bread plates!
Oooof… another labour of love. I designed the menus myself in photoshop. Whenever I’d receive an RSVP, I’d create that guests’ personalized menu in photoshop. These honestly took forEVER.
My inlaws, parents, Andrei & myself took the ENTIRE family day weekend to cut each of the menus & then add them to the gold glitter paper.
In lieu of a Guest Book, we had our guests sign this beautiful piece of wood – again, I really wanted to drive the whole woodsy winter wedding theme home. We’re going to have this wood treated & shellac’ed so that we can have it mounted in our bedroom with our framed vows.
I LOVED this seating chart! Jenna Moreira at Herc’s Halo Lettering created this mirror seating chart, as well as the “B & A” on our wooden wedding “guest book”. She was SO awesome to work with & was incredibly efficient… I gave her about two weeks notice on these projects 😛
Okay this is obviously not a professional shot – we didn’t get a details shot on this HOWEVER I still very much wanted to include it in this post. My mom has a serious penchant for collaging. She has this beautiful collage that she gifted my dad on his 50th birthday that featured photos of my entire family from birth to present & I REALLY wanted that displayed somewhere in our wedding – I think it’s a great way for guests to connect us more as a couple if they get a sneak peek into the more intimate moments of our lives.
She made one for Andrei’s family for the wedding – pictured above! We had these displayed on easels by our guest book & mirror seating chart. Emily from Threads & Blooms finished them off with gorgeous greenery.
I’m going bold & saying this was the best cake I’ve EVER had. Not that I am bias or anything… 😉
Our entire wedding cake was made completely from scratch by my aunt & cousin. Bourbon salted caramel? From scratch. Chocolate ganache? From scratch. Vanilla Icing? From scratch. Toasted almond cake batter? You guessed it… From scratch.
We wanted heavier, rich flavours that would fit with a winter wedding… so toasted almond cake with bourbon salted caramel & chocolate ganache it was! The exterior was a perfect, snow covered dream! They ALSO made “snowballs” – AKA white chocolate & raspberry truffles. Drooling yet? If you want this home cooked goodness for yourself… click HERE!
A charicature & sketch artist… another last minute add! I’m SO glad that Andrei thought of this literally two weeks before our wedding because it was a MAJOR hit. People were lining up for Jay Sese Art… we got married at an art gallery – how did we not think of this sooner?!
First Dance! Our song was Baby It’s Cold Outside – A. because it’s our favourite Christmas song & we know literally every single word & obscenely belt it out over the holiday season & B. because it couldn’t be a MORE appropriate song for a winter wedding.
Andrei’s brother & sister-in-law gifted us with dance lessons for our wedding with Tania at Dance ConneXion. We had one month & 5 lessons to practice… I think that we did pretty well for ourselves!
…last dance 😉
One of my favourite elements that isn’t pictured here was our spiked hot chocolate bar! As SOON as we decided on a winter wedding I knew I wanted Baileys & Hot Chocolate to be incorporated SOMEHOW! We had a late night hot chocolate station, equip with marshmallows, candy canes, whipped cream, candies & LOTS of booze.
Okay… I think that’s about all of the energy I have for this. Hope you enjoyed!