I usually like to introduce a wedding with a little dose of wit, but when a bride shares words this beautiful and sincere, it only feels right to begin otherwise, “It’s funny, through the entire planning process I stressed about the tiniest things – would we get our café au lait dahlias for our centerpieces? Would our speeches stay on schedule? At the end of the day, none of this stuff mattered. I was marrying the love of my life, surrounded by our absolute favorite people and nothing could bring me down.” When He Found Her and Bright Sky Weddings captured each moment and it’s just a scroll away.
From the planner Lisa Garofalo… Jennifer was a dream bride. She had a clear vision as to how she saw her wedding day unfold right from the start. It was a beautiful October day, until a rainstorm deterred our plans for an outdoor reveal. This did not stop Jen and Mike from getting some amazing photos, including those with a vintage car, a 1930 Packard, which her father had been saving just for her wedding day.
As guests arrived to Eagles Nest Golf Club, they were greeted with a glass of pink champagne to start the party. They took their places inside the Great Hall, adorned with a stunning green and ivory garland trailing down the aisle, ending at a draped birch arch. Jen was out of this world gorgeous in her Vera Wang gown and Mike wore his firefighter dress uniform. This was extra special as he had just been hired on the fire department a couple months earlier.
The best moment of the day for Jen and myself would be when Jen walked into the Great Hall to see the reception fully set-up, including her stunning head table filled with greenery, mercury hurricane candles and marquee lights that said LOVE. Instead of a plated dessert, guests were able to pick treats from a custom dessert station by the talented Nadia from Nadia & Co., while Barbara from The Lettering Studio created a chalkboard legend of all the desserts. Guests danced the night away to the Dave Murphy Band and Nth Degree entertainment, while they snacked on late night poutine, big mac sliders and sweets from the candy bar.
From The Bride… My husband, Mike always says that our love story is his very favorite. He tells everyone with such pride, knowing that we are so very lucky to have married into each other’s incredible families. Many people say their wedding was years in the making, but ours was, literally, years in the making. Our parents have been good friends for over 25 years, so Mike and I met for the first time when we were just toddlers. As fate would have it, four summers ago Mike was coming to Ontario for a wedding and his date cancelled on him last minute, so he invited me as his back up! My mom was beyond thrilled because I’m certain she knew this was my first date with my future husband. Mike kissed me the second he saw me (before even saying hello) and later told me that he knew at that very moment that we would be together forever. Shortly after our first date, I followed my love to Vancouver and 14 months later, brought him back home to Toronto with me to be near our families.
I have been dreaming of my wedding for what seems like my entire life, and so when Mike proposed to me, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted our wedding to look like. When we started planning, I was so determined to create a beautiful, over the top, magazine-worthy wedding. After several talks with Mike, my family and some fellow brides, my focus shifted and I realized above all else, this day was about celebrating our love with the people who mean the most to us. We wanted to make sure our guests had the most amazing time and felt taken care of from start to finish. We sat down and made a list of our priorities, and decided to focus our energy on the things we agreed were most important in a wedding: venue, food, music and photography.
Mike and I visited about 10 venues before we went to Eagles Nest Golf Club. The minute we walked in we knew it was the place we would get married. Our dream would have been to get married at my family cottage, but because of size, we knew it wasn’t possible. Eagles Nest was the closest thing we could find to a cottage – a beautiful balcony overlooking the golf course, neutral décor and floor to ceiling windows in the Great Hall. We also lucked out that the food at this venue was absolutely phenomenal. We chose the Dave Murphy Band as we had heard them play a couple times before and knew they would be perfect to entertain our guests. They absolutely surpassed every expectation we had of them. The 6 piece band played every genre of music you could think of – from the Beatles and Van Morrison, to Tupac and Robin Thicke, and everything in between. Our entire dance floor was packed right until the lights came on! We found our photographer, Reid of When He Found Her, through a friend who was getting married a couple months before us. Photography was number one on my list and Reid’s photos blew my mind. They were so natural and beautiful and from the first time I saw his work, I knew no one else could photograph the most important day of our lives. Reid has this ability to capture the pure, candid joy of a wedding day, and every time I look at our photos I am reminded of just how happy I was in each of these moments. Once we found a date that worked for the venue, band and photographer, we locked it down and began filling in the blanks for our dream fall wedding.
As soon as I met with Lisa, our planner, I knew we were in good hands. I had so many ideas as to what I wanted our wedding to look like and she was vital in bringing them to life. I wanted to keep our décor neutral with a palate of navy, grey, cream and the tiniest bit of blush. I let Lisa take creative lead on our head table and it was something out of a dream. I nearly burst into tears when I walked into the reception space to see the table lined with gorgeous garland, an abundance of candles and the marquee LOVE sign. I was so thrilled with how our stationary, signage, linens and florals all came together to create this beautiful, elegant garden party I had dreamt up in my head.
So many details contributed to making this day so special. I had always known my processional would be Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles, so to hear the string quartet play this as the doors opened into our ceremony was so surreal. I walked down the aisle with my mom and dad on either side of me, to my handsome groom in his firefighter dress uniform. Our gorgeous flower girl, Isla, is the daughter of our friends who got married four summers ago, on that weekend that Mike and I first met. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and our wedding day was a lovely testament to that.
Buying my dress was not an easy process. In the first month that we were engaged, I tried on over 65 dresses. I ended up buying one, but only out of desperation. It was beautiful, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t “the one”. Finally, 3 months before the wedding I went back to Vera Wang to try on a dress I had loved from the very beginning and couldn’t stop thinking about. The minute I put it back on, I knew this was the dress I had to get married in. Luckily, the wonderful ladies at Vera Wang were able to make this happen for me under our very tight time constraints!
It’s funny, through the entire planning process I stressed about the tiniest things – would we get our café au lait dahlias for our centerpieces? Would our speeches stay on schedule? Would we get married inside or outside? At the end of the day, none of this stuff mattered. I was marrying the love of my life, surrounded by our absolute favourite people and nothing could bring me down. Not the storm that blew in right before our first look or when my dress ripped right before I was about to walk down the aisle. You can’t predict exactly how your wedding day will unfold, but with a little perspective, you will realize that it doesn’t really matter. I can safely say that our wedding day was absolutely, the best, most beautiful day of my life.
Photography: When He Found Her, Reid Lambshead | Videographer: Bright Sky Weddings, Katherine Keene | Planner: Bliss, Lisa Garofalo | Florist: Berries & Blooms | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Cake: Nadia & Co. | Stationary: Paper & Poste | Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Make-Up: Priya Nitu-Patel | Hair: Justin Rousseau | DJ: Nth Degree Entertinament, Tom Hall | Band: Dave Murphy Band | Officiant: Kettle Creek Weddings | Bridal Sash: Accessories By Talia | Linen: Linen Closet | Linen: Around The Table | Musicians: Alex Toskov | Signage: The Lettering Studio, Barbara Kua | Venue: Eagles Nest Golf Club