Weddings Week 2011: seven Toronto couples share the intimate photos from their special day

Weddings Week 2011: seven Toronto couples share the intimate photos from their special day

Seven Toronto couples share snapshots from the day they tied the knot

Bryan Soucie and Amanda Martin wed at the Royal York on the day of a Justin Bieber concert just down the street at the ACC (Image: Joseph and Jaime) 

August 21, 2010

Amanda and Bryan

The Royal York

Amanda Martin and Bryan Soucie met in Grade 9 at their Sudbury high school and later went to prom together—but only as friends. They kept in touch while attending university in different cities. After graduation, he stayed in Toronto and she returned to Sudbury. When he showed up at a party in their hometown five years ago, Amanda realized he was boyfriend material. He became husband material by proposing at home on St. Patrick’s Day, 2009, placing the engagement ring on a chair, which Amanda promptly sat on, clueless. “She didn’t notice anything. I was sitting there just trying to clear my throat,” says Bryan. Amanda dove right into planning their 1930s-themed wedding. “I never really pictured myself getting married, until I started dating Bryan,” she says. “I wasn’t the type of person who had always fantasized about a wedding, but after he proposed, I was in planning mode 24/7. I loved it.”

“I love how the black and white pictures turned out. There was a Justin Bieber concert at the ACC that night, so young girls walking by kept saying congratulations and taking pictures of us. It was hilarious, and a little embarrassing.”—Amanda 
“This is at the Royal York, where my bridesmaids and I stayed the night before, and got ready. I was a bag of nerves. My veil was custom-made by Twigs and Honey, an Etsy seller.”—Amanda 
“This is one of the last photos taken on our wedding night. Bryan and I stole away from the group for a picture underneath all those lights, on York Street.”—Amanda 
“It was raining during our ceremony, but by the time we went up to the roof for pictures, it had cleared up, and there were beautiful views of the city.”—Amanda 
“Bryan’s brother was the best man, and this was taken during his speech. It was a hockey analogy—about Bryan always persevering and being a great brother—but it was really moving.”—Amanda 
“Our first dance was to ‘Since I Don’t Have You’ by Guns N’ Roses, our favourite band. We’re not slow-dance people, so we were having such a hard time choosing one. A few days before the wedding, Bryan played me this song, and it was perfect. Now it’s our song.”—Amanda 
“We got married in the ballroom, which has an amazing hand-painted ceiling. It’s very striking when you walk into the space. That’s what made us decide on the Royal York. It was so different from anything we’d seen.”—Amanda 
“My bridesmaids and I bought calla lilies and orchids at Av and Dav and made the centre­pieces for the guest book table.”—Amanda 
Photographer: Joseph and Jaime
Bride’s dress: White
Groom’s attire: Hugo Boss
Hair and makeup: Del Monaco Hair Studio
Bridesmaid dresses: Ginger’s Closet
Venue: Fairmont Royal York
Caterer: Through venue
Flowers: GLP Events
Music: DJ Randy LeGendre of Third From the Sun
Invitations: Maria Platusic
Guests: 130
Cost: $40,000

May 1, 2010

Austin and Tommy

Art Gallery of Ontario

Austin Wong and Tommy Brown’s love for each other is rivalled only by their mutual love of Paris. It’s where Tommy, a 35-year-old financial marketing manager, proposed to Austin, who’s 39 and an entertainment lawyer. It was Thanksgiving weekend, two years into their relationship, and Tommy whisked Austin away on a surprise trip, then knelt on the banks of the Seine to ask for his hand. The ultra-romantic proposal was a far cry from their first date at Tequila Bookworm. Austin ordered waffles for dinner that night; Tommy was sick with a cold. “His voice was gravelly,” says Austin. “But I thought it was sexy.” At their wedding, the pair stood beneath the spirals of Frank Gehry’s wooden staircase at the Art Gallery of Ontario to say their vows, and a groomsman serenaded them with an acoustic rendition of “La Vie en Rose.” The Paris-themed reception was held in the gallery’s Baillie Court, a grand setting for three entertainment acts. Tiny Eiffel Towers adorned each table, and Moulin Rouge–costumed cancan dancers got the party started.

“We had five guys and five girls in our wedding party, and a mix of men and women on both sides.”—Austin 

“We picked out the silk fabric at Leo’s Textiles on Queen West and had vests custom-made. Red’s my favourite colour, because it’s dramatic. It says passion.”—Austin 
“We wanted our wedding to have pizzazz, and I liked the idea of getting married at a city landmark. We did the vows in Walker Court, where the high ceilings created the perfect dramatic space, and held the reception in Baillie Court.”—Austin 
“I wanted something from my Asian heritage, so we had three Chinese lion dancers do a traditional dance.”—Austin 
“The AGO had only recently reopened, so it was the first time many of our guests had seen the Gehry renovation.”—Tommy 
“Before the ceremony, we gave all the girls Tiffany heart necklaces, and they were delighted. The guys only got ties.”—Austin 
“The theme of the wedding was Paris: we had to have Moulin Rouge cancan dancers.”—Austin 
“We are label whores. The cake represents our four favourite designers: a Louis Vuitton monogrammed suitcase, Hermès and Paul Smith gift boxes, and a Tiffany box on top.”—Austin 
“We flew in an act from Chicago called Quick Change. He whirls flags around while she changes her dress over and over. They were finalists on the first season of America’s Got Talent.”—Austin 
Photographer: Mango Studios
Videographer: Samo Films
Austin’s attire: Dolce and Gabbana suit, Gucci shoes, Louis Vuitton cufflinks, custom vest by Sheila Lam
Tommy’s attire: Burberry suit, Gucci shoes, Paul Smith cufflinks, custom vest by Sheila Lam
Hair and makeup: Blush Pretty
Venue: Art Gallery of Ontario
Caterer: Frank
Cake: Wedding Cake Shoppe
Flowers and decor:
Music: Hello DJ!
Invitations: Yes, Absolutely
Guests: 153
Cost: $75,000

August 28, 2010

Bromley and Matt

Algonquin Park

India, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, China—29-year-old Bromley Frey and 30-year-old Matt Henning have been many places together, but Algonquin Park is their favourite destination. Both grew up camping and cottaging in the area with their families. Eighteen months into their relationship, they bought their own cottage in northern Quebec. The couple first met under the mistletoe at a Christmas party, and discovered they had been students at Queen’s University at the same time, though they’d never met. After graduation, they both moved to Toronto and found jobs in real estate. Six years after that mistletoe meet-cute moment, Matt popped the question at home on a Tuesday night, as Bromley came in from walking their beagle, Roadie. “Matt had flowers and was down on one knee in the kitchen,” says Bromley. “I didn’t quite put it together. Then I saw the ring.” To them, a wedding in cottage country was the obvious next step. The camp where Bromley spent 14 summers didn’t hold weddings, so they ended up at Camp Tamakwa, on Tea Lake, with 100 of their friends and relatives bunking in cabins for the weekend.

“We spend a lot of time outdoors and up north, and one of the first summer vacations we did together was a canoe trip. So for our wedding, we wanted a relaxed weekend for everybody to come and enjoy our favourite place in the world.”—Bromley  
“This is me and my bridesmaids, coming from the cabin where we got ready, headed for the ceremony. They wore matching blue Vera Wang dresses. We walked over a stream and down to the swim docks on a perfect summer day.”—Bromley 
“I was boated over to the ceremony by camp staff; everybody was waiting on the dock. It was an unusual entrance.”—Bromley 
“For the ceremony, all the guests sat on the stairs and bleachers looking down at us. Matt waited on the dock with his groomsmen until my mom, my bridemaids and I arrived in the ‘bride boat.’ ”—Bromley 
“The reception was in the dining hall, with cocktails on the porch. We had sangria, and a tequila-Clamato shot called the Frenning, for Frey-Henning.”—Matt  
“We named each table for a lake in Algonquin Park, and decorated them with sunflowers and dahlias. Our first dance was ‘Wildflowers’ by Tom Petty, which was approp­riate for the setting.”—Bromley 
“This photo captures the theme and feel of our wedding really well. It shows the distance everybody travelled.”—Bromley 
Photography: Joseph and Jaime
Bride’s dress: Nicole Miller
Groom’s attire: Hugo Boss suit from Tom’s Place, shoes from Allen Edmonds
Bridesmaid dresses: Vera Wang
Venue: Camp Tamakwa, Tea Lake, Algonquin Park
Caterer: Camp Tamakwa chef Guy Tetreault, formerly of Deerhurst Resort
Cake: Mariposa Market, Orillia
Flowers: Kay and Young Florist
Music: Guitar player and singer Glenn Bladon during ceremony; YYZ Records DJ
Invitations: Homemade with paper from the Japanese Paper Place
Guests: 100
Cost: $25,000

July 31, 2010

Lindsay and Mark

Steam Whistle Brewery

Mark Forgrave and Lindsay Fauquier share a love for “anything on a board or a bike,” says Lindsay. Mark, a 32-year-old client manager at Hewlett-Packard, proposed to Lindsay, a 30-year-old associate manager with HBC, during a snowboarding vacation in Kelowna, B.C. “Lindsay broke her arm the next day,” Mark recalls. “Yes, the left one, with the engagement ring.” The couple met eight years ago at a friend’s birthday party; Lindsay then tracked down Mark’s e‑mail and asked him out. For their second date, they went rock climbing. When it came to planning their wedding, both wanted to keep it personal and relaxed. Lindsay enlisted friends to help her with the centrepieces and her hair and makeup, while Mark decorated the tables with lanterns made from soup cans that he painted and punched numbers in. Because the evening cere­mony made post-vow photo time a bit tight, the couple broke with tradition and took most of their pictures before the nuptials. “The bridal party met up beforehand for a drink,” says Lindsay. “I liked it that way. You’re not so nervous and stunned walking into the ceremony.”

“Originally we were going to have one person stand up for each of us. Mark couldn’t decide, so he had two guys and I had one matron of honour—my friend Jen, in grey. My friend Jennifer, in the gold dress, helped with makeup and hair.”—Lindsay 
“We love living in Toronto, and we wanted our photos to reflect city life. It was fun to be in our wedding outfits in the middle of Yonge-Dundas Square, surrounded by people in their street clothes. It was also Caribana, so there were some interesting characters around.”—Lindsay 
“We took photos in Trinity-Bellwoods Park and came across a hockey rink where guys were skateboarding. I just grabbed a skateboard from some guy who was taking a break.”—Mark 
“This is Mark’s 91‑year-old grand­father, Jack. We toyed around with the idea of a destination wedding, but it was really important that our grandparents be there.”—Lindsay 
“This was taken on the Dundas streetcar on a Saturday afternoon. The other passengers were nice about moving for the photo. The fascinator was a really last-minute find. It’s just a fabric flower from Claire’s.”—Lindsay 
“I spent the night before the wedding at the Royal York, and then my two groomsmen came and met me to get ready together. Wearing Converse kept it pretty casual.”—Mark  
“The guys wore boutonnieres of calla lilies and Billy buttons, from Quince.”—Lindsay 
“My sister’s wedding gift was a quilt sewn from all the squares signed by our guests that day.”—Mark 
“Steam Whistle has a big patio, so at 10 o’clock or so, we got everyone outside. We had buckets of sparklers for everyone and Mark and I walked through the arch. It was really fun and very romantic.”—Lindsay 
“The ceremony was led by Lindsay’s brother. We had an officiant, from All Seasons Weddings, stand to the side and do the legal minimum.”—Mark “My brother isn’t a public speaker, but he did a good job. We wanted to keep everything really intimate and small.”—Lindsay 
Photographer: Johnny Lam
Bride’s dress: Sash and Bustle
Groom’s attire: Hugo Boss suit from Harry Rosen, tie from The Bay
Venue: Steam Whistle Brewery
Caterer: En Ville
Dessert: Homemade cupcakes baked by Lindsay’s mom
Flowers: Wedding party florist, Quince; centrepieces by Lindsay and her bridal party
Music: DJ from The In Crowd
Invitations: Rasideas, through
Number of guests: 85
Cost: $30,000

July 10, 2010

Valery and Joel

Fort Erie

It’s not surprising that Valery Gore and Joel MacDonald went DIY for their midsummer nuptials. Joel, who is 31, works in production at a computer animation studio, and Valery, who is 28, is, in Joel’s words, a “rock star.” (She fronts an eponymous band and has toured with Buck 65 and Joel Plaskett.) The two met as teenagers in Fort Erie, and both moved to Toronto after high school. “I always saw him as a really hilarious and awesome friend to hang out with,” says Valery. After the two lost touch for a while, friends brought Joel to Valery’s final jazz recital at Humber College. The pair realized there could be something more, and started dating. “I was never super big on marriage,” says Joel, “but taking that step together felt right. Something clicked.” They wanted to hold their wedding in their hometown, but not in a hall or a church. When they noticed that a local house Valery had always admired was for rent, they moved their bridal party in for a week, and put together an eclectic, intimate celebration.

“I got a lot of heck from my mother-in-law about the bridesmaids wearing white. But my wedding dress was gold and ivory, and I thought the bridesmaid dresses looked nice and clean, and were the right palette for wearing whatever jewellery and shoes they wanted.”—Valery 
“The clothesline held childhood photos of us, and three generations of other family wedding photographs. We toyed with the idea of doing a slide show, but this was less cliché.”—Valery 
“The turquoise lace-up shoes are from Sey­chelles. I kept sinking into the lawn during the ceremony, so after that I just went barefoot all night.”—Valery 
“That’s our wedding program. It’s a picture of us as little kids: me at Halloween and Val during a dance recital. We designed them to be used as fans, too, because it was a hot summer day.”—Joel 
“I ordered my dress from a prom Web site full of slutty pageant dresses, and had it altered in Toronto. This was the one dress that looked more classic. The rest were short and poofy Miss U.S.A. styles. It was thrilling when it arrived in the mail.”—Valery 
“We didn’t notice the flagstone in the backyard until we were setting up for the ceremony. It just happened to be heart-shaped. Then Val remembered there was chalk in a closet in the house.”—Joel 
“Joel’s sister and I made the cupcakes: key lime, gluten-free beet and double chocolate. I thought the moustaches on top would be funny. We were looking for photo ops and anything to spark spontaneous conversation.”—Valery 
“We searched for love-related quotes, poems and song lyrics, then printed and cut them out. A Tom Robbins quote is our favourite: ‘Love is the ultimate outlaw.’ Joel makes me laugh, and Robbins is that kind of writer.”—Valery “A crew of 10 girlfriends up on ladders attached the banners to pine trees, in front of the big willow. It was awesome. It made that area of the ceremony feel almost like a church—closed in and intimate.”—Joel 
Photographer: Boyfriend/Girlfriend
Bride’s dress: Bought on-line, altered in Toronto
Makeup: Jessica Hall
Groom’s attire: Zegna suit, tie from
Bridesmaid dresses: J. Crew
Venue: Rented house in Fort Erie, Ontario
Caterer: Niagara Gourmet
Dessert: Homemade cupcakes
Flowers: Bouquets by Lush Floral and Events; centrepieces by Silver Leaf Designs
Music: Personal playlists
Invitations: Self-designed, printed at Paper Things
Guests: 66
Cost: $14,000

June 5, 2010

Justiene and James

St. Paul’s Bloor Street

There were at least 400 students in the McMaster University auditorium where James Lindholm first spotted his future wife, Justiene Lal. “That is the hottest girl at Mac,” he said to his friends. Then he changed his mind. “That is the hottest girl I have ever seen!” Determined to meet her, James signed up for the same French seminar as Justiene, despite his lack of finesse with the language of love, and repeatedly disrupted the lesson to chat her up. “His French was horrific,” says Justiene with a laugh. But she thought he was cute, so she agreed to be his tutor. What followed was a decade-long relationship, during which the two moved to Dublin for med school and then to Winnipeg for their residencies. In the last six months, they opened a private family practice in Etobicoke, found a new condo in Yorkville and squeezed in a 430-person wedding—involving three outfit changes each—plus a second ceremony in India. “It’s crazy,” says Justiene. “But you only live once.”

“The base and the flowers were gold leaf, and each of the seven tiers was a different flavour.”—Justiene 
“That’s my dad walking me down the aisle. My veil is from Ritché Bridal. I wanted to cover my face as I walked in. I like the tradition: it adds a little bit of mystery.”—Justiene 
“That’s James and his dad, Konrad, getting ready at the men’s salon.”—Justiene 
“The boys all went to Mankind Grooming that morning. James had never had a hot towel shave before. He said it was a relaxing way to start his day.”—Justiene 
“For an Indian wedding, 400 guests is not that big—I’ve had friends who had 800. And it didn’t feel that big because it’s a room full of people you know.”—Justiene 
“This is me and my mom at my parents’ house in North York before the wedding. She was so happy. She had the biggest smile the entire day.”—Justiene 
“Our flower girls and ring bearers were James’s niece and nephews, and my cousin. The photo was taken during a shoot at the Brick Works, which I chose for the natural setting.”—Justiene 
“Indian girls have at least two wedding outfits, and I wanted to wear the traditional white dress, too. So we thought, why not have James change with me? He’s easygoing. He wore a white tuxedo, a black tuxedo and a beige sherwani.”—Justiene 
Photography: Mango Studios
Bride’s attire: Wedding dress, Amanda-Lina’s; pink lengha, Raja Fashions; sari, Asiyans
Hair: Tania Thomas
Makeup: MAC
Groom’s attire: White tuxedo, Syd Silver; black tuxedo, Ted Baker; sherwani, Raja Fashions
Bridesmaid attire: Raja Fashions
Venue: Ceremony, St. Paul’s Bloor Street; reception, Verdi
Caterer: Through venue
Cake: Cakes by Design Shanti
Flowers: Flower Accents
Music: DJ Mistry
Invitations: Parekh Cards in India
Guests: 430
Cost: $132,000

June 13, 201

Jen and Daniel

Palais Royale

“Our relationship has always been whimsical and electric,” says Jen Kluger of her two years with Daniel Ger, a 30‑year-old real estate developer. Knowing that Jen, a 31-year-old co‑owner of Foxy Originals Jewellery, liked the kitschy romance of carnivals, Dan proposed to her on the ferris wheel at the Ex, arranging ahead of time to have the ride stop when the couple had reached the top. They kept to the theme at their Palais Royale wedding, mixing silly carny nostalgia—cotton candy instead of a wedding cake—with heartfelt tradition. Jen and her female relatives embroidered the chuppah with 200 leaves, a tree, birds, and the Song of Solomon phrase “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,” in Hebrew and English. During the reception, Dan surprised Jen with a live performance of the Freddy Cannon song “Palisades Park,” about falling in love at a carnival. (Sample lyric: “You’ll never know how great a kiss can feel when you stop at the top of the ferris wheel.”) “He and his buddies had been secretly rehearsing for weeks,” says Jen. “It’s my favourite wedding memory—everybody rushed to the dance floor, squealing. It felt like a rock concert.”

“I had watched all those YouTube videos of brides falling out of the chair and into the crowd during the hora, so I was clutching the arms—you can see how white my hand is.”—Jen 
“A friend and I pieced the band together to form a traditional big band.”—Daniel “The tables had assigned songs. When the band played your song, your whole table had to get up and dance.”—Jen 
“I designed Foxy Origi­nals cufflinks for all six groomsmen.”—Jen 
“We asked guests to write ‘advice for the ride of our lives’ on little cards. Someone wrote, ‘Keep your fights clean and your sex dirty.’ ”—Jen 
“This picture, taken right before the ceremony, is my favourite. I think Dan looks really handsome, and I love how it captures that sense of anticipation.”—Jen 
“Our theme was vintage carnival, so we wanted the invitations to be nostalgic, in an old-fashioned letterpress style.”—Daniel 
“Jen and I took photos before the ceremony, so this was our ‘big reveal’ moment. My buddies took me, blindfolded, down to the beach from Palais Royale, and left me waiting for Jen.”—Daniel 
“For our engagement shoot, we went to Malabar and tried on costumes until we found the perfect carnival-chic outfits. Then the photo was printed onto vinyl, and we cut the faces out so that our friends could pose with us.”—Jen 
“Making the chuppah was really important to me. All the women in my family worked on it together for about three months. It was a true labour of love.”—Jen 
“This is our interpretation of the Jewish tradition called ‘gladdening the bride.’ I held a parasol and my bridesmaids danced around, weaving ribbons. It kicked off the night.”—Jen 
Photography: Mango Studios
Bride’s dress: Becker’s Bridal
Hair: Alexis Jardin
Makeup: Janine Falcon
Groom’s attire: Suit by Tiger of Sweden, bow tie from Harry Rosen, cufflinks and tie pin by Foxy Originals
Bridesmaid dresses: Love by Enzoani
Venue: Palais Royale
Caterer: Through venue
Flowers: Celebrationz
Music: Urban Groove
Dessert: Cupcakes and carnival snacks, including cotton candy
Invitations: Toolbox Strategies
Guests: 230
Cost: Undisclosed