Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Real Weddings: Kiera and Blayne

Inside a moody all-black wedding ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

By Andrea Yu| Photography by Barb Simkova
| July 22, 2022

Kiera Caruso, a wedding planner, met Blayne Gross, an investment banker, in September of 2017, when Kiera was planning Blayne’s sister’s wedding. The two started dating shortly afterward and were engaged by October of 2020. Their elegant and moody 150-person wedding at the Globe and Mail Centre took place in April of 2022. Here’s how the celebration came together.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Kiera: I first met Blayne at the rehearsal dinner I ran for his sister’s wedding. It was in an intimate setting at his father’s home, with about 20 other people. I thought Blayne was easy on the eyes, smart and charming, but he didn’t say much that day. He was very quiet and shy.

Blayne: I remember thinking Kiera was super confident and a real go-getter. I saw how comfortable she was in her own skin, and I liked that. She was career oriented, and I could see she was passionate about what she did. And, obviously, I also found her very beautiful. She seemed like someone I wanted to get to know. My entire family met her at the same time as I did, and we all really liked her. The way she bossed my family around was attractive to me.

Kiera: The rehearsal dinner was on a Thursday and the wedding was on the following Sunday, at the Gardiner Museum. I was in action and working the event that day, but I was also around Blayne a lot and using every excuse I could think of to talk to him. He was the MC for that evening, so I would go to him, bend down, touch his arm and be like, “Just giving you a heads up that you’re going to go on in five minutes.” I also told anyone who would listen at the time, “I love the brother of the bride. I think he’s so cute.”

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Blayne: It wasn’t until the end of the night that I worked up the nerve to go and talk to Kiera. She was standing at the bar with all of her stuff, ready to leave. One of the first questions I asked her was about university and when she graduated.

Kiera: I called him out and said, “Are you trying to figure out how old I am?” He laughed.

Blayne: I never actually asked for her number that night. I was too chicken. But, the next morning, one of my friends, who was also at the wedding, called me and asked how I was doing. I told him that I had a crush on one of the planners. He knew Kiera’s boss, so, without my permission, he reached out. Five minutes later, he sent me a screenshot with Kiera’s phone number. I texted her something along the lines of: Hey, it’s Blayne, the brother of the bride. Do you remember me?

Kiera: I wrote back right away. I was so happy to hear from him. We texted back and forth and planned a dinner date at Bar Isabel that Friday. We continued texting throughout the week, just asking how each other’s days were. We wanted to save the deep conversations for in person.

Blayne: I was nervous as hell for our first date.

Kiera: I don’t usually ask people for their opinions about date outfits. But I distinctly remember having five chat threads going and sending pictures of outfits to my friends and family. I changed my outfit so many times. I was so nervous, but I was also beyond excited. When I arrived, I could tell Blayne was really nervous too. He was kind of huddled in the corner.

Blayne: Kiera is a real firecracker, so she walked in and said hi to me like we’d known each other forever. She eventually got me to open up more—a drink or two helped. We started talking about our backgrounds and our families. We’re both very family oriented. I’m Jewish and Eastern European, and Kiera’s family is Italian. There was a real alignment of our values. I also liked that Kiera was so focused on her career. I was impressed by her work and curious to know more about it.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Kiera: I learned more about Blayne’s interests. He’s into food, restaurants and wine. He has a lot of hobbies, including collecting vintage watches. He also loves vintage Porsches. And we both love deep house music. We were inseparable after that first date.

Blayne: It was challenging because we had opposite work schedules—I worked long hours during the week and Kiera worked long hours over the weekend. But we made it work. We spent every weekend together and would meet up multiple times during the week.

Kiera: Back then, I was living at home with my parents, so I spent a lot of time at the loft that Blayne rented at King and Bathurst. He gave me a key shortly after we started dating. In November of 2017, after about two months of dating, we made our relationship official.

Blayne: I took her to dinner at Alobar, and I told her that I loved her and wanted to be her boyfriend.

Kiera: I was elated. I said it back right away. I was excited to take our relationship to the next level.

Blayne: A month later, I found out about an opportunity from my employer to work in New York City for two years. That had been a bucket list thing for me. I thought it would be an upsetting conversation to have with Kiera, but she was so supportive from the get-go. She was like, “What’s the next step? How do I help?” I think that made me fall in love with her even more.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Kiera: I was sad about the prospect of being away from him, but I would never get in the way of his dreams. I figured we’d make it through if it was meant to be. There was never any discussion about the possibility of breaking up. I helped move him out of his Toronto apartment and helped him find a place in New York. I was flying down there at least once or twice a month, and Blayne would come back once every two or three months.

Blayne: I was supposed to stay for two years, but after 18 months, I started to feel more and more lonely in New York. I was missing Kiera, and seeing her only once or twice a month was not enough. I wanted to move forward with her, which meant living together and eventually getting engaged, getting married and starting a family. So I moved back to Toronto.

Kiera: We moved in together right away. I was tasked with finding and setting up an apartment for us. We rented a two-bedroom condo at Yonge and Bloor. Then the pandemic hit.

Blayne: We went from two extremes, from doing long-distance to basically being hermetically sealed together.

Kiera: I loved it. I thought it was great—we made the best of it. And Blayne always had very clear intentions that he wanted to get married. He would say things like “I can’t wait to marry you.” He talked about it so confidently. I felt the same way.

Blayne: Every year, a group of us go on a trip to Ibiza and rent a villa. I was planning to propose there, in the summer of 2020, but then the pandemic hit. By September 2020, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to propose on a trip. We were bubbled with two of our best friends, who are a couple and live in a house in the Beaches. He’s a great cook, so we’d go over at least once a week for dinner. I thought it would be a good place for me to do something without her knowing. Based on photos she had sent me, I ordered a ring from a jeweller in Yorkville—an emerald-cut diamond on a thin gold band.

Kiera: I had no idea.

Blayne: Earlier that month, Kiera had just started her own event planning company, so I disguised the dinner as a celebration for that. We had an inside joke that her company would be called Gross Events. So I got business cards made that said she was the CEO of Gross Events. After we finished dinner, I stood up and made a toast to Kiera, congratulating her for starting her own business.

Kiera: I was looking at the business card and laughing. Then he said, “Turn it around.” On the back, it read: “Will you marry me?" Blayne got down on one knee with the ring. I was in shock. I think my mouth dropped open. I was so surprised. So he asked me, “Are you going to say yes?” After I said yes, we started screaming and jumping up and down.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Blayne: I am completely in love with Kiera. I knew that there was nobody else out there for me.

Kiera: From day one, I knew he was my person. It’s really special when you meet someone whom there is nothing you would change about. We started planning our wedding.

I have executed over a hundred weddings, but I was so excited to plan mine with Blayne. We decided to have an “anti-wedding,” which is funny because I’m a wedding planner. I wanted it to be completely untraditional. We had all-black decor, like a black aisle runner and black drapery. We’re both Jewish, so we also had a black chuppah. I also knew I wanted to do it at the Globe and Mail Centre. We wanted it to be a fun high-end affair that you could get dressed to the nines for.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Blayne: We planned for 150 guests and originally picked a date in November 2021. But we decided to move it to April 9, 2022, because Covid was getting really bad again.

Kiera: When it came to the dress, I had always envisioned myself in long sleeves. I found one by a new Israeli designer called Eisen Stein. It was part of her first collection. It’s more of a gown with long sleeves and a column-style bottom. It has a high neck and an open back and it’s completely beaded from head to toe—very elegant and classy. When my mom and sisters saw me in it, we all started crying.

Blayne: Kiera’s family on her dad’s side runs a tailoring business. They designed and made the tux that I wore. It was beautiful. I thought it was beyond special that it was made by her grandfather’s hands and that it had their family name inside of it.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

It was a pretty traditional tux with wide lapels and a single button. It’s midnight blue with a black bowtie. I wore it with Crockett and Jones velvet slippers. On the day of the wedding, my groomsmen and I got ready at my father’s house in Forest Hill.

Kiera: I rented a place near the venue—Archive Studios—to get ready with my bridesmaids.

Blayne: While we were doing the wedding party photos, I saw a 1980s Porsche 911 parked outside. I kept telling everyone to look at the Porsche. But they all ignored me because they knew that Kiera had rented it for me.

Kiera: Eventually I told him I’d gotten it for us to take photos with. I thought it was a small, quirky way to make the day a little bit more ours.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Kiera: The ceremony was one of the best moments of my entire life. As a wedding planner, I always think it’s an honour to be able to stand up there in front of your closest family and friends and exchange your love for each other. It was so special being under the chuppah with Blayne. And, as you do in the Jewish tradition, our families were underneath it with us as well. We had our parents, my two sisters, Blayne’s sister and her husband with us.

Blayne: I was excited and looking forward to our life together.

Kiera: The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes. We concluded with the Jewish tradition of the breaking of the glass. James Brown’s “I Feel Good” immediately started playing after that, and white flower petal cannons went off—a surprise for our guests. Then we had a cocktail hour. It was half indoors and half on the rooftop. For the reception, we wanted our guests to feel like they were dining at a very high-end restaurant. We had a lot of moody browns, blacks, and heavier tones. We had black calla lilies, scabiosa and ranunculus. There were six-foot dyed fern clouds hanging from the fully draped ceiling, instead of the traditional floral treatments.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Blayne: The dinner was a custom three-course plated menu. Each dish was inspired by our milestones and favourite restaurants. We had Japanese milk buns on the table, inspired by Alo, where I first told Kiera I loved her. The first course was spring casarecce, a pasta dish inspired by Lilia, our favourite restaurant in New York City. The second course was a short rib dish inspired by Alobar, which is one of our go-to favourites. And dessert was Basque cake inspired by our first date at Bar Isabel.

Kiera: In a Jewish wedding, there’s dancing between courses. It’s a fun way of keeping the party going throughout. We also had speeches in between. Once the formalities concluded, we had our first dance as a married couple to a deep house song called “Love Somebody Else” by Maceo Plex while surprise sparkler cannons went off. After that, the band took over for the rest of the evening, but not before starting with the hora. To be up on those chairs, hoisted by all the men there, was exhilarating, slightly scary and completely fuelled by adrenalin.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Blayne: Often with horas, people get competitive and try to up the ante with new stunts. Our group of friends opted for a human pyramid where both Kiera and I had to climb to the top and an arm tunnel trampoline where we were thrown from one end to the other.

Kiera: The party went on until 2 a.m. I feel like I got everything I wanted and more. I would do it all over again.

Blayne: I thought our wedding was perfect.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Kiera: And then, for our honeymoon, in June, we went to Italy and Spain for three weeks. Being Blayne’s wife feels so natural, and I will always be grateful that we found each other. With my best friend by my side, I am so excited for whatever comes next.

Blayne: Since getting married, I feel even closer and more connected to Kiera, which is something I didn’t think was possible. I’m eager for the adventures and memories that lie ahead of us.

Real Weddings: Inside a moody all-black ceremony at the Globe and Mail Centre

Cheat Sheet

Date: April 9, 2022 Location: The Globe and Mail Centre Planner: Kiera Caruso Event Company Florals and Decor: Stemz Officiant: Cantor Cheryl Wunch Photography: Barb Simkova from Simkova Studios Videography: Big Ticket Productions Engagement ring: Edan Diamonds Wedding bands: Emmerson Fine Jewelry Cake: Nadia and Co. Hair: Allison Kam Makeup: (Alex Walderman) Bride’s outfit: Eisen Stein Bridal, purchased from White Toronto Groom’s outfit: Custom bespoke tuxedo from Caruso Fine Tailoring (Kiera’s family) Catering: Food Dudes Entertainment (band and DJ): Sole Power Productions


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