I have to admit, Toronto is quickly becoming one of my favorite locations for weddings. It seems to have a never-ending abundance of stunning venues, like the Drake Hotel – which you’ll see in this wedding from Christine Lim. This beauty is pushed over the top with impeccable floral design from Coriander Girl!
From the bride, Betsy: Though my husband and I both care about design and aesthetics, the words that kept coming up in our planning had more to do with how we wanted our wedding to feel: warm, intimate, personal, and fun. The ceremony was very important to us; we put a lot of time and thought into writing it, as well as choosing the readings and music. After that, we wanted great food and a can’t-stop-won’t-stop dance party to take us through the night. We filled in the blanks with design elements that held personal significance and made us smile (like peach carnations and gold dinosaurs), whether or not they necessarily made immediate sense together. In the end, it looked and felt like us, which was exactly what we wanted.
Overall, I think the vibe we ended up with was a kind of eclectic, industrial glam with touches of vintage charm, not all of which we can take credit for. For instance, my lovely and beautiful bridesmaids each have terrific style, and without any real coordination other than the color of the dresses, they ended up looking like the most glamorous 60s girl group — it fit the party and the venue perfectly. We had a loose palette of gold, peach, pale pink, and black and white, but we didn’t let ourselves stress out too much about coordinating the details. We trusted what we liked, and it all came together in the end.
As far as DIY went, we were incredibly lucky to have the help of our very talented family and friends. One of our closest friends (and a groomsman) is an amazing graphic designer who created all of our paper goods. My stepmother-in-law is a phenomenal hostess, and she surprised us by turning the simple welcome party we had planned into a huge pre-wedding feast. The guest favors were a lovely team effort from my parents: My mother is a beekeeper, so she supplied honey from her hives, while my patient father put together all of the packaging. Receiving the gift of time and energy from the people we love kept us sane and also helped make everything even more personal.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Know your DIY limits. It was important to me to make the wedding cake, but I didn’t want to be stressing out about piping frosting when I could be spending pre-wedding time with a rare assemblage of all my favorite people. Rather than taking on a big traditional cake, I made three smaller cakes, and focused on great flavors instead of elaborate design. I baked the layers and made the frosting ahead of time, then had someone at the venue help to put the simple, spare cakes together the morning of the wedding. Also, even if you’re not having a destination wedding, consider hosting a welcome party for all of your guests to meet or catch up before the big day. By the next night, people from the often very disparate spheres of your life will be greeting each other like old summer camp pals, which helps everyone (including you) have a better time. Finally, have hilarious family and friends. One of the most frequent comments we still hear about the wedding was how much everyone loved the speeches!
Groomsmen Processional: “I Walk the Line,” Johnny Cash
Groom’s Processional: “Funky Good Time,” James Brown and the JBs
Bridesmaids’ Processional: “Deanna (Acoustic),” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Bride’s Processional: “I’m Sticking with You,” The Velvet Underground
Recessional: “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher,” Jackie Wilson
First Dance: “Higher Power,” Jonathan Richman
Last Dance: “Lust for Life,” Iggy Pop
Wedding Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada / Photographer: Christine Lim / Flowers: Coriander Girl / Venue and Caterer: The Drake Hotel / Wedding Dress and Accessories: My dress was a 1930s vintage gown from a store called Backstage in Charlotte, NC. I made my headpiece from an art deco bracelet from the same store / Wedding Shoes: Sacha London / Groom’s Suit and Groomsmen Ties: Hugo Boss / Groom’s and Groomsmen Pocket Squares: 18 Waits / Wedding Cake: Bride / DJ: Trevor Young / Wedding Invitations and Paper Goods: Flaming Unicorn Skeleton